The Church will have less to do with the world than it had in the past, because it will have shaken off the fetters of the world: it will not be always explaining to the young how they can enjoy the world and yet deny the world: it will not need to explain itself so often, to insist so pathetically on the superiority of its own channels of influence, but it will attract to itself, or rather to the work that it is trying to do—for it will have forgotten self—all the adventurous spirits who are prepared to risk pain and failure as fellow-workers in fulfilling the purposes of God in the world. What is worth knowing about Christianity is surely first and foremost that it is a leaven that might leaven the whole world; and that until that leaven works in each individual heart, in each society, where two or three are gathered together, Christ’s presence cannot be claimed. As this knowledge is gained, it will be possible for the learner to know in his heart, and not merely by heart, what is meant by the great mysterious terms Incarnation, Atonement, Resurrection; as this knowledge is tested and proved true by experience of life, the meaning and power of prayer will become clearer. A clue will have been put into the hand of each as he travels along the way which he has not passed heretofore. It will not lead all by the same path but it will lead all towards that “great and high mountain,” whence “that great city, the Holy Jerusalem” may be seen. If the teacher is wise, when the mountain top is nigh and before that vision breaks upon his fellow-traveller’s sight, he will stand aside with thankful heart, and close his task with the prayer that the Glory of God may shine more brightly and more continuously on the newcomer, than it has shone on him.
[Footnote 1: Nothing is said here about the co-operation of the home with the school. In religion as in all other matters it is assumed. The influence of the home cannot be exaggerated but schoolmasters must resist the temptation to shift the burden of responsibility for any failure on to other shoulders.]
By A. MANSBRIDGE
Founder of the Workers’ Educational Association