INDIANAPOLIS, Dec 26, 1900
My dear Dr. Cuyler.
I can hardly tell you how grateful your letter was to me, or how highly I value your approval. My soul has been in revolt against the doctrine of Congressional Absolutism. I want to save my veneration for the men who made us a nation, and organized the nation under the Constitution. This will be impossible if I am to believe that they organized a government to exercise from their place that absolutism which they rejected for themselves. The newspaper reports of my Ann Arbor address were most horribly mangled, but the address will appear in the January number of the North American Review. Allow me, my dear friend, to extend to you the heartiest thanks, not only for your kind words, but for the noble life which gives them value.
With all good wishes of the Christmastide,
Most sincerely your friend,
When I entered upon the Christian ministry fifty-six years ago, there was no probability that I would live to see four-score. My father had died at the early age of twenty-eight, and several of his brothers and sisters had succumbed to pulmonary maladies. My mother was dangerously ill several times, but had a wiry constitution and lived to eighty-five. That my own busy life has held out so long is owing, under a kind Providence, to the careful observation of the primal laws of health. I have eschewed all indigestible food, stimulants, and intoxicants;—have taken a fair amount of exercise; have avoided too hard study or sermon making in the evenings—and thus secured sound and sufficient sleep. In keeping God’s commandments written upon the body I have found great reward. From the standpoint of four-score I propose in this chapter to take a retrospect of some of the moral and religious movements that have occurred within my memory—in several of which I have taken part—and I shall note also the changes for better or worse that I have observed. If as an optimist I may sometimes exaggerate the good, and minimize the evil things, it is the curse of a pessimist that he can travel from Dan to Beersheba and find nothing but barrenness.
The first change for the better that I shall speak of is the progress I have seen in church fellowship. The division of the Christian church into denominations is a fixed fact and likely to remain so for a long time to come. Nor is it the serious evil that many imagine. The efficiency of an army is not impaired by division into corps, brigades and regiments, as long as they are united against the common enemy; neither does the Church of Christ lose its efficiency by being organized on denominational lines, as long as it is loyal to its Divine head, and united in its efforts to overcome evil, and establish the Kingdom