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"A TERRIFIC TASK."

-----"---'---FIFTY-FOURTH…

PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS

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PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS CLARION CALL 10 THE CHURCH, Tuesday. The Bishop gave us one of the most notable Presidential Addiesse's which have been heard at a. Church Congress for many years. Dr. Woods took aoout forty minutes to read it, and he was applauded again and again. We meet to-uay," said the Bi>jLop, "in icirciuiimtancies winch for the Coiigress are unique. lruiii its first meeting in Camoridge in 1861 until 1913 the Congress never lapsed. Since the memoraole gathering at Southampton, no meeting has been held. Six years have gone oy, the most momentous six years in the history of our British race. A decisive chapter of history has been written down since 1913. This lends a striking significance to the fact that. the theme of the last Congress was the Kingdom of God. For the events that have happened since would seem to announce its failure. At Southampton the speakers at every meet- ing proclaimed the Kingdom, but before year had passed the streets of tne town were ringing with the tramp of â¢armed men, aid the famous Water wws crowded with, 1 "ships on which they hastened to the fray. In the course of his inaugural address on that occasion the Bishop of Winchester spoke as follows: Can we claimâin a time when the very pillars of the house are shaken, when the fundamental things are challenged,, when problems of an un- precedented range are broachedâthat the Kingdom of God in Christ supplies at once the stimulus and the control which combine to make the vital stability, the stable movement of true and ordered progress ? Can we see how the Church, the Kingdom's poor pur- blind, faltering trustee, can do some- thing rn this great enterprise, and with all her faults, something which no other power or creed or movement can do? We-take up the story where Southamp- ton left it. In those day it may have sounded unpracticalâeven academicâto assert that" in the Kingdom of God alone can be found the solution of all our problems. But now we know it. During these last five years it has been iri-esistibly proved. Not all the science of the nineteenth century, not all thfc educational progress of the age, could avert the disaster. Science can be the handmaid of destruction; education. however technically perfect, can be prostituted to a false ideal. It may be urged, indeed, that in this common failure religion must be included. i The Kingdom Has Not Failed. II Yet it is not on religion, but on the want of it, that the blame must be laid. It is not the Kingdom of God that has failed, but the men and women who. though professing allegiance to its ideals, never believed that they were practical, and declined the sacrifice by which alone they could be reached. We now see that they are so practical that, apart from them, the days of civilisation are numbered. As someone predicted in the early days of the war, the choice before us now is between Hell and Utopia. Southampton proclaimed the Kingdom of God. The war unveiled the hideousness of a civilisation not based upon its principles. -The future peremptorily demands it if the world is to be saved. We exist as a Church to establish it. How can we bring it about ? The new age is opening; what contribution is to be expected from the Society of Christ ? Wo New Experience. I would remind you, in the first place, that to be confronted with a new age is no new experience for the Church. 1'rom the earliest times it has been the prerogative of the people of God to be always looking for a better world, for they alone have the right to expect one. Behold, I make all things new repre- sents the perennial contidence of those in its ranks who were alive to the signs of the times. Reconstruction was the normal and congenial task of the society whose business it was to be always re- calling men to the true foundations of life, bidding them scrap unworthy struc- tures and build again 0:1 better lines. There have been certain epochs when, amid great upheavals in politics or reli- gion, a new volume of history was opened. Once more the Society of Christ, still divided, is facing a chang- ing world. Is it to be merely a passive spectator of this world process, or is it boldly to come forward as a creator and provide the moulds in which the new age is to take its shape ? There have been moments in the history of the Church of England when she has been content with the role of spectator. Such a one, for instance, was that period- one hundred years ago and more-which is usually known as the industrial revo- lution. I. venture to call your atten- tion to this with some emphasis, because we are now suffering from the effects of the Church's inaction at that time. The entire industrial life of the country was in the melting-pot. A Church alive and alert to the opportunity would have so preached the gospel of co-operation and comradeship that the partners in all the ships would have realised their fellow- ship and would have organised their in- dustry on that principle. Instead of that, moral considerations were practi- cally excluded from the process. Instead of one great industrial comradeship oi Britons, the workers^-whether of brain or hand, assembled in two opposing camps-one labelled Capital and the other Labour. And the driving force of the whole, instead of being the sense of fellowship in the common welfare, was found in a bitter and soulless competi- tion. In other words, at a moment when the spiritual might have taken its proper place in our industrial life, it » rejected in favour of the materia," and for that rejection we are paying the price to-day. The opportunity found the Church wholly pre-occupied with the redemption of the individual as con- trasted with the community. We have learned our message more ade- quately since then, and now another such opportunity is ours. This time it is on a world-wide scale. Never has the Church been faced with a task so colossal or an opportunity so superb. And despite much that must cause anxiety, the encouragements are great. There is in all parts of the world a grow ing allegiance to the Christian ideal oi fellowship which in comparatively recent times would have been written down as merely fantastic and visionary. Increa-singly men are confessing that the root of our problems is spiritual. It is a new spirit that is wanted. The asser- tion af this obvious fact is so frequent as to be almost monotonous. Reservoir of Service. And when you scrutinise not merely humanity in general but humans in particular in the light of the last fivfe years, you are aware of a reservoir oi service and sacrifice which only waits to be captured for the Kingdom of God. By a great consensus of testimony human nature as revealed in the war is better, not worse, than we thought it. Nor are the encouragements limited to these great group sentiments to which I have referred. Already they are finding definite expression. The machinery of I fellowship is already in some measure constructed. The League of Nations is in being. This fact is in itself- a revolu. 1 tion. Prophets and kinas have desired