Sunday morning the large Chicago  church was filled to its utmost. Henry Maxwell, coming into the pulpit from that all-night vigil, felt the pressure of great curiosity on the part of the people. They had heard of the Raymond movement, as all the churches had, and the recent action of Dr. Bruce had added to the general interest in the pledge.

Along with this curiosity Mr. Maxwell sensed something deeper, more serious. And in the knowledge that the Spirit’s presence was his living strength, he brought God’s message to the church that day.

Henry Maxwell had always had a dramatic preaching style, but ever since he had promised to do as Jesus would do, he had grown in a certain quality of persuasiveness that had all the essentials of true eloquence. This morning the people felt the complete sincerity and humility of a man who had gone deep into the heart of a great truth.

After telling briefly of some results in his own church in Raymond since the pledge was taken, he went on to ask the question he had been asking since the Settlement meeting. He took for his theme the story of the young man who came to Jesus, asking what he must do to obtain eternal life. Jesus had tested him" "Sell all that thou hast and give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." But the young man was not willing to suffer to that extent. If following Jesus meant suffering in that way, he was not willing. He would like to follow Jesus, but not if he had to give so much.

"Is it true," asked Henry Maxwell, his thoughtful face glowing, "that the Church of today, the Church that is called after Christ’s own name, would refuse to follow Him at the expense of suffering and physical loss? At a large gathering in the Settlement last week, a leader of the working class stated that it was hopeless to look to the Church for any reform or redemption of society. On what was that statement based? Plainly on the assumption that the Church contains, for the most part, men and women who think more of their own ease and luxury than of the sufferings and needs and sins of humanity.

"How true is that assumption? Are the Christians of America ready to have their discipleship tested? How about the men who possess large wealth? Are they ready to take that wealth and use it as Jesus would? How about the men and women of great talent? Are they ready to consecrate that talent to humanity, as Jesus undoubtedly would do?

"Is it not true that the call has come in this age for a new exhibition of Christian discipleship? You who live in this great, sinful city must know that better than I do. Is it possible you can go your ways careless or thoughtless of the awful condition of men and women and children who are dying, body and soul, for need of Christian help? Is it not a matter of concern to you personally that the saloon kills its thousands more surely than war? Is it not a matter of personal suffering in some form for you that thousands of able-bodied, willing men tramp the streets of this city and all cities, crying for work and drifting into crime and suicide because they cannot find it? Can you say that this is none of your business?

"What is the test of Christian discipleship? Is it not the same as in Christ’s own lifetime? Have our surroundings modified or changed the test? If Jesus were here today, would He not call some of the members of this very church to do just what He commanded the rich young man, and ask them to give up their wealth and literally follow Him? I believe He would do that if He felt certain that any church member thought more of his possessions than of his Savior. The test would be the same today as then.

"I believe Jesus would demand as close a following, as great a denial of self, as when He lived in person on the earth and said, ‘Except a man renounceth all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.’ That is, unless a man is willing to do that for Jesus’ sake, he cannot be Jesus’ disciple.

"What would happen," continued Mr. Maxwell, "if in this city every church member should begin to do as Jesus would do? It staggers our minds to imagine the results! We all know that certain things would be impossible that are now practiced by church members. What would Jesus do in the matter of wealth? How would he spend it? How would Jesus be governed in the making of money? Would He take rentals from saloons? From tenement property?

"What would Jesus do about the great army of unemployed who tramp the streets and curse the church, or are indifferent to it, lost in the bitter struggle for the bread that tastes bitter when it is earned on account of the desperate conflict to get it? Would He say it was none of His business?

"What would Jesus do in the center of a civilization that hurries so fast after money that the girls employed in great business houses are not paid enough to keep soul and body together without fearful temptations? Where the demands of trade sacrifice hundreds of lads in a business that ignores all Christian duties toward them in the way of education and moral training and personal affection? Would Jesus, if He were here today as part of our age and commercial industry, feel nothing, do nothing, say nothing in the face of these facts that every businessman knows?

"Does the Church do its duty in following Jesus when it gives so little money to establish missions or relieve extreme cases of want? Is it any sacrifice for a man who is worth ten million dollars simply to give ten thousand dollars for some benevolent work? Is he not giving something that cost him practically nothing so far as any personal pain or suffering goes? Is it true that the Christian disciples today in most of our churches are living soft, selfish lives, very far from any sacrifice that can be called sacrifice? What would Jesus do?

"It is the personal element that Christian discipleship needs to emphasize. ‘The gift without the giver is bare.’ The call of this age is a call for a new discipleship, a new following of Jesus, more like the early, simple, apostolic Christianity when the disciples left all and literally followed the Master. Nothing but a discipleship of this kind can face the destructive selfishness of the age, with any hope of overcoming it. Then it would be possible to sing with exact truth:

Jesus, I my cross have taken

All to leave and follow thee.

"If we can sing that truly, then we may claim discipleship. But if our definition of being a Christian is simply to enjoy the privileges of worship, be generous at no expense to ourselves, have a good, easy time surrounded by pleasant friends and by comfortable things, live respectably, and at the same time avoid the world’s great stress of sin and trouble because it is too painful—if this is our definition of Christianity, then surely we are a long way from following the steps of Him who trod the way with tears of anguish for a lost humanity; who sweat, as it were, great drops of blood; who cried out on the upreared cross, ‘My God! My God! Why has thou forsaken me’!"

When Henry Maxwell finished his sermon, a great silence fell over the congregation. Through the silence, there came to those present a consciousness of the presence of a divine Power. Everyone expected the preacher to call for volunteers who would do as Jesus would do. But Maxwell had been led by the Spirit to deliver his message and wait for results.

He closed the service with a prayer, and the people slowly began to move out of their pews.

Then followed a scene that could never have happened if Maxwell had attempted to rally, these people to a cause without the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Men and women in great numbers crowded around the platform to see Mr. Maxwell and to bring him the promise of their consecration to the pledge to do as Jesus would do. It was a voluntary, spontaneous movement that broke upon his soul with a result he could not measure.

But had he not been praying for this very thing? It was an answer that more than met his desires.

The people staying after the service then met in a prayer service that in many ways repeated the Raymond experience. In the evening, to Mr. Maxwell’s joy, the Endeavor Society—almost to a member—came forward as so many of the church members had done in the morning and seriously, solemnly, took the pledge to do as Jesus would do. A deep wave of spiritual baptism broke over the meeting near its close that was indescribable in its tender, joyful, sympathetic results.

That was a remarkable day in the history of that church, but even more so in the history of Henry Maxwell. He left the meeting very late. He went to his room at the Settlement where he was still staying, and after an hour with the bishop and Dr. Bruce, which was spent in a joyful rehearsal of the wonderful events of the day, he sat down to think over again, by himself, all the experience he was having as a Christian disciple.

He knelt to pray, as he always did before going to sleep, and while he was on his knees he had a waking vision of what a wonderful world there could be once the new discipleship had made its way into the conscience and conscientiousness of Christendom. He was fully awake, but what he saw distinctly was a series of future events—a vision planted in his heart and mind and soul by his Creator.

He saw himself going back to First Church in Raymond, living there in a simpler, move self-denying fashion than he had yet been willing to live, because he saw ways in which he could help others really dependent on him for help. He also saw, more dimly, that the time would come when his position as pastor of the church would cause him to suffer more on account of growing opposition to his interpretation of Jesus and His conduct.

But this was vaguely outlined. Through it all he heard the words My grace is sufficient for thee.

He saw Rachel Winslow and Virginia Page going on with their work of service at the Rectangle and reaching out loving hands of helpfulness far beyond the limits of Raymond. Rachel he saw married to Rollin Page, both fully consecrated to the Master’s use, both following His steps with an eagerness intensified and purified by their love for each other. And Rachel’s voice sang on in the slums and dark places of despair and sin, drawing lost souls back to God.

He saw President Marsh of the college using his vast learning and influence to bring reform in city politics and to inspire young men and women to live lives of Christian service, always teaching them that the educated have more responsibility for the weak and ignorant.

He saw Alexander Powers meeting with sore trials in his family life, with a constant sorrow in the estrangement of wife and friends, but still going his way in all honor, serving in all his strength the Master whom he had obeyed even unto loss of social distinction and wealth.

He saw Milton Wright, the merchant, meeting with great reverses that fell through a combination of circumstances no fault of his own, but coming out of his reverses with Christian honor to begin again, and work up to a position where he could be an example to hundreds of young men of what Jesus would do in business.

He saw Edward Norman, editor of the News, creating a new approach in journalism that would in time come to be recognized as one of the strong forces of the nation. His would be the first of a series of such papers begun and carried on by other disciples who had also taken the pledge.

He saw Jasper Chase, who had denied his Master, moving into a cold, cynical life, writing novels that were social successes, but each one with a sting in it, the reminder of his denial.

He saw Rose Sterling, dependent for some years upon her aunt and Felicia, finally married to a man far older than herself, accepting the burden of a relationship that had no love in it on her part, because of her desire to be the wife of a rich man and enjoy the physical luxuries that were all of life to her. Over this life the vision cast certain, dark shadows that were not shown in detail.

He saw Felicia and Stephen Clyde happily married, living a joyful life together, enthusiastically pouring out their great strong service into the dull, dark, terrible places of Chicago, and redeeming souls through the personal touch of their home dedicated to the human sickness all about them.

He saw Dr. Bruce and Bishop Hampton going on with the Settlement work. He seemed to see the great blazing motto over the door enlarged: What would Jesus do? And by this motto everyone who entered the Settlement walked in the steps of the Master.

He saw Burns and his companion and a great company of men like them, redeemed and giving in turn to others, conquering their passions by divine grace and proving by their daily lives the reality of rebirth, even the lowest and most abandoned of persons.

And then he saw the figure of the Son of God beckoning to him and to all the other actors in his life history. An angel choir somewhere was singing. There was sound as of many voices and a shout as of a great victory. And the figure of Jesus grew more and more splendid. He stood at the end of a long flight of steps.

"O my Master, has the time come for a new dawn of Christian activity? O my Lord, break upon the Christendom of this age with Your light and truth! Help us to follow Thee all the way!"

Mr. Maxwell arose at last with the awe of one who has looked at heavenly things. He felt the human forces and sins of the world as never before. And with a hope that walks hand-in-hand with faith and love, Henry Maxwell, disciple of Jesus, lay down to sleep and dreamed of the regeneration of Christendom, and saw in his dream a Church of Jesus Christ, "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing," following Him all the way, walking obediently in His steps.



 Well, we have come to the end of our story, but, if you have decided to take the Pledge that Henry Maxwell proposes, you are only starting a new and remarkable journey with the Lord as you begin to "WALK IN HIS STEPS." When you ask yourself the question, "What would Jesus do" before doing anything, and then following through on the firm conviction of what you honestly feel He would do, it will change your life dramatically! You will never be the same again! You will begin to experience what the New Testament Church experienced when they gave their all for the cause of Christ.

(Stepping in the Light) CLICK HERE

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