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were too abstruse. For them some simpler, more obvious method was demanded, some means that would convey directly and unmistakably the truth of the Christian life. It was in response to this demand that painting sprang up and ran its course through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. On the tombs of the catacombs, on the walls of the churches, in gigantic frescoes, on canvas and paper, the artists of that time told the whole story of the Bible for the hungry multitude. Miles and miles of convent and cathedral walls were covered with the record of our Saviour's life, passion, death and resurrection. The whole biblical history of man, from the legendary Fall of the Angels to the Last Judgment, was pictured again and again. Innumerable canvases were filled with deaths of martyrs, with legends of the monastic orders, with events in the lives of prophets and saints. In this way there was conveyed to the people, to the meaning of the life they were not forever supply this want.
masses, in visible form, the leading. But painting could There was need for some means
of diffusing knowledge more widely and more rapidly. The picture can be seen by but a limited number, and copies require time and cost much money. To remedy this defect came the printing press and the movable type. The spoken word could now be duplicated at slight expense and distributed as widely as need be. It is significant that the first volume thus distributed was a copy of the Bible.
From that time to the present the history of the means of conveying the truth to men has been mainly the history of the printing press. No very great change is noteworthy except the multiplication of presses, until we reach the opening of the present century. By that time the growing organization of society and the spread of democracy demanded a more rapid
distribution of the truth. The demand was met in two ways: by the invention of the cylinder press, and by the application of steam to the propulsion of boats and railway carriages. Later, came the invention of the telegraph. In the meantime the impression of the movable types had begun to take on a peculiar form to meet the exigencies of the time. The book was found too slow and clumsy to supply the needs of the constantly growing state. Periodicals soon sprang up, and at last papers that were published every day and which aimed to furnish a report of the social and political situation for that day or the one preceding. Not to give the history of newspapers at tedious length, it may be said that, for the past half century, their efforts have been directed toward conveying to mankind a true report of the meaning of life. The papers have not always succeeded in doing this; indeed they have seemed sometimes grossly to misrepresent life; and yet on the whole the tendency has been in the right direction. Were we able to bring all the results before us, we should find them to be of simply stupendous importance. It would be found that to-day on a scale never before attempted in the history of the world, the whole range of human activity is being pictured to men's minds, pictured not at long intervals, but daily, almost hourly. In a hitherto unprecedented way, that truth which is to make man free, and which is making him free, is fluttering down upon his door-step. The meaning of society, the steps in its onward progress, the evidences of the unity and the kinship of man, the record of the emancipation of humankind from ignorance and prejudice-all these are reflected in the columns of the daily paper, if not clearly, at least to be seen by those who will take the pains to look for them.
If there be any truth in this view, the connection between
the newspaper and Christianity needs no further demonstration. The newspaper is the most powerful ally that Christianity has ever had. That it fails in one point or another, that one editor is venal and another wrong-headed, proves nothing; rather it exhibits the direction which the advance is bound to take, namely, toward the elimination of the purely individual element. Humanity is no longer an infant crying in the night, and with no language but a cry. The infant has grown into a strong-limbed youth. The cry has become articulate, and now is passing into a language by which all men may hold communion. It is not enough that the press do what painting did. The social conditions have changed. It is not enough that newspaper nien publish in a haphazard and arbitrary way whatever comes into their heads. Society has become organized and demands an organized instrument for the reporting of its workings and the distributing of its intelligence. Opinions, guesses, dreams, comments, in general, the whole dead mass of what is known as editorial matter, all this as the basis for action must give way before the influx of truth, the honest report of the facts which we need to help us in our living.
Shall we ever have such an instrument? Is it likely that the newspapers will ever band together into one great organism bent upon conveying the truth of life to the minds of all men? I am very confident that the time is not far distant when the logic of events will urge them to this step. I could, were this the proper time and place, give evidence that the movement has already begun. But whether it come soon or late, whether it spread with the rapidity of a tidal wave, or whether it reach its culmination only with the slow advance of centuries, I think a man might venture all that he have of faith in this world, upon
the chance—if it be no more than a chance— that therein lies the solution to problems which have vexed the world since the gospel of Christ first began to be preached. "I am the way,' said the Saviour. There is but one way, and when we have found that, when we have discovered a great channel by which the truth may be brought home to the lives of men, then no matter how poor and trivial and unworthy and unclean that way may seem to be, we may rest assured that it is for us of to-day, the voice of the real, the living Christ.