In His Steps eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 238 pages of information about In His Steps.
in his mind that the saloon would be beaten in Raymond at the election now near at hand.  If so, they could go on with some courage to do the redemptive work begun by the evangelist and now taken up by the disciples in his own church.  If the saloon triumphs again there will be a terrible and, as he thinks, unnecessary waste of Christian sacrifice.  But, however we differ on that point, he convinced his church that the time had come for a fellowship with other Christians.  Surely, if the First Church could work such changes in society and its surroundings, the church in general if combining such a fellowship, not of creed but of conduct, ought to stir the entire nation to a higher life and a new conception of Christian following.

“This is a grand idea, Caxton, but right here is where I find my self hesitating.  I do not deny that the Christian disciple ought to follow Christ’s steps as closely as these here in Raymond have tried to do.  But I cannot avoid asking what the result would be if I ask my church in Chicago to do it.  I am writing this after feeling the solemn, profound touch of the Spirit’s presence, and I confess to you, old friend, that I cannot call up in my church a dozen prominent business or professional men who would make this trial at the risk of all they hold dear.  Can you do any better in your church?  What are we to say?  That the churches would not respond to the call:  ‘Come and suffer?’ Is our standard of Christian discipleship a wrong one?  Or are we possibly deceiving ourselves, and would we be agreeably disappointed if we once asked our people to take such a pledge faithfully?  The actual results of the pledge as obeyed here in Raymond are enough to make any pastor tremble, and at the same time long with yearning that they might occur in his own parish.  Certainly never have I seen a church so signally blessed by the Spirit as this one.  But—­am I myself ready to take this pledge?  I ask the question honestly, and I dread to face an honest answer.  I know well enough that I should have to change very much in my life if I undertook to follow His steps so closely.  I have called myself a Christian for many years.  For the past ten years I have enjoyed a life that has had comparatively little suffering in it.  I am, honestly I say it, living at a long distance from municipal problems and the life of the poor, the degraded and the abandoned.  What would the obedience to this pledge demand of me?  I hesitate to answer.  My church is wealthy, full of well-to-do, satisfied people.  The standard of their discipleship is, I am aware, not of a nature to respond to the call of suffering or personal loss.  I say:  ’I am aware.’  I may be mistaken.  I may have erred in not stirring their deeper life.  Caxton, my friend, I have spoken my inmost thought to you.  Shall I go back to my people next Sunday and stand up before them in my large city church and say:  ’Let us follow Jesus closer; let us walk in His steps where it will cost us something more than it is costing us now; let us pledge not to do anything without first asking:  ‘What would Jesus do?’ If I should go before them with that message, it would be a strange and startling one to them.  But why?  Are we not ready to follow Him all the way?  What is it to be a follower of Jesus?  What does it mean to imitate Him?  What does it mean to walk in His steps?”

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In His Steps from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.