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Yesterday afternoon the Rev. P. S. Moxom of Springfield conducted the first Vesper Service of the year. Fewer outsiders attended the service than usual, probably owing to the stormy weather, and to the fact that the beginning of the series was not generally know beforehand. A large number of students, however, were present.
Dr. Moxom read some selections from the seventh chapter of the Gospel of St. John, and took that as his text. He spoke in effect as follows:
In the earlier Gospels, the works and sayings of Christ are put before the world as miracles and wonders, powerful in themselves, and bearing witness to His divinity. But St. John presents these acts as signs of a power behind, and lays special stress upon Christ's mission as a messenger to transmit the thoughts of God who sent Him.
This higher view of religion, that one should push on, past the mere signs, to the power which lies behind them, is too often forgotten. Much as men will labor for mental civilization, they wish to gain easily, at a single step, a perfect faith and thorough understanding of the truth. They forget that no valuable result can be won without a struggle, and become discouraged at the very first difficulty.
There is another feeling prevalent, which is quite as inconsistent. We are apt to stand aloof from religion, in its practical aspects, giving as a reason, that we lack faith. We fail to consider that in religion, as in all else, knowledge can be gained only by study and practice. If a man would have faith and true spiritual growth, let him act conscientiously according to the little faith and slight knowledge he already has. Thus, and thus only, can he develop the highest part of his nature.
It is especially fitting that young men who are seeking cultivation in orther things should learn the lesson, that things spiritual, more than all else, require gradual, painful progress; that religious development deserves eager effort. If such an effort is heartily made, the beauty and truth of God will bless the undertaking.
The music throughout the service was excellently rendered. Garret's Harvest Cantata were sung, and a tenor solo, "Be thou faithful unto death," from Mendelssohn's St. Paul. E. M. Waterhouse '97 sang the latter especially well.
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