"I AM just back from a visit to
Raymond," Dr. Bruce began, "and I want
to tell you something of my impressions
of the movement there."
He paused and his look went out
over his people with yearning for them
and at the same time with a great
uncertainty at his heart. How many of
his rich, fashionable, refined,
luxury-loving members would understand
the nature of the appeal he was soon to
make to them? He was altogether in the
dark as to that. Nevertheless he had
been through his desert, and had come
out of it ready to suffer. He went on
now after that brief pause and told them
the story of his stay in Raymond. The
people already knew something of that
experiment in the First Church. The
whole country had watched the progress
of the pledge as it had become history
in so many lives. Mr. Maxwell had at
last decided that the time had come to
seek the fellowship of other churches
throughout the country. The new
discipleship in Raymond had proved to be
so valuable in its results that he
wished the churches in general to share
with the disciples in Raymond. Already
there had begun a volunteer movement in
many churches throughout the country,
acting on their own desire to walk
closer in the steps of Jesus. The
Christian Endeavor Society had, with
enthusiasm, in many churches taken the
pledge to do as Jesus would do, and the
result was already marked in a deeper
spiritual life and a power in church
influence that was like a new birth for
All this Dr. Bruce told his people
simply and with a personal interest that
evidently led the way to the
announcement which now followed. Felicia
had listened to every word with strained
attention. She sat there by the side of
Rose, in contrast like fire beside snow,
although even Rose was alert and as
excited as she could be.
"Dear friends," he said, and for
the first time since his prayer the
emotion of the occasion was revealed in
his voice and gesture, "I am going to
ask that Nazareth Avenue Church take the
same pledge that Raymond Church has
taken. I know what this will mean to you
and me. It will mean the complete change
of very many habits. It will mean,
possibly, social loss. It will mean very
probably, in many cases, loss of money.
It will mean suffering. It will mean
what following Jesus meant in the first
century, and then it meant suffering,
loss, hardship, separation from
everything un-Christian. But what does
following Jesus mean? The test of
discipleship is the same now as then.
Those of us who volunteer in this church
to do as Jesus would do, simply promise
to walk in His steps as He gave us
Again he paused, and now the result
of his announcement was plainly visible
in the stir that went up over the,
congregation. He added in a quiet voice
that all who volunteered to make the
pledge to do as Jesus would do, were
asked to remain after the morning
Instantly he proceeded with his
sermon. His text was, "Master, I will
follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest."
It was a sermon that touched the deep
springs of conduct; it was a revelation
to the people of the definition their
pastor had been learning; it took them
back to the first century of
Christianity; above all, it stirred them
below the conventional thought of years
as to the meaning and purpose of church
membership. It was such a sermon as a
man can preach once in a lifetime, and
with enough in it for people to live on
all through the rest of their lifetime.
The service closed in a hush that
was slowly broken. People rose here and
there, a few at a time. There was a
reluctance in the movements of some that
was very striking. Rose, however, walked
straight out of the pew, and as she
reached the aisle she turned her head
and beckoned to Felicia. By that time
the congregation was rising all over the
church. "I am going to stay," she said,
and Rose had heard her speak in the same
manner on other occasions, and knew that
her resolve could not be changed.
Nevertheless she went back into the pew
two or three steps and faced her.
"Felicia," she whispered, and there
was a flush of anger on her cheeks,
"this is folly. What can you do? You
will bring some disgrace on the family.
What will father say? Come!"
Felicia looked at her but did not
answer at once. Her lips were moving
with a petition that came from the depth
of feeling that measured a new life for
her. She shocked her head.
"No, I am going to stay. I shall
take the pledge. I am ready to obey it.
You do not know why I am doing this."
Rose gave her one look and then
turned and went out of the pew, and down
the aisle. She did not even stop to talk
with her acquaintances. Mrs. Delano was
going out of the church just as Rose
stepped into the vestibule.
"So you are not going to join Dr.
Bruce's volunteer company?" Mrs. Delano
asked, in a queer tone that made Rose
"No, are you? It is simply absurd.
I have always regarded that Raymond
movement as fanatical. You know cousin
Rachel keeps us posted about it."
"Yes, I understand it is resulting
in a great deal of hardship in many
cases. For my part, I believe Dr. Bruce
has simply provoked disturbance here. It
will result in splitting our church. You
see if it isn't so. There are scores of
people in the church who are so situated
that they can't take such a pledge and
keep it. I am one of them," added Mrs.
Delano as she went out with Rose.
When Rose reached home, her father
was standing in his usual attitude
before the open fireplace, smoking a
"Where is Felicia?" he asked as
Rose came in.
"She stayed to an after-meeting,"
replied Rose shortly. She threw off her
wraps and was going upstairs when Mr.
Sterling called after her.
"An after-meeting? What do you
"Dr. Bruce asked the church to take
the Raymond pledge."
Mr. Sterling took his cigar out of
his mouth and twirled it nervously
between his fingers.
"I didn't expect that of Dr. Bruce.
Did many of the members stay?"
"I don't know. I didn't," replied
Rose, and she went upstairs leaving her
father standing in the drawing-room.
After a few moments he went to the
window and stood there looking out at
the people driving on the boulevard. His
cigar had gone out, but he still
fingered it nervously. Then he turned
from the window and walked up and down
the room. A servant stepped across the
hall and announced dinner and he told
her to wait for Felicia. Rose came
downstairs and went into the library.
And still Mr. Sterling paced the
He had finally wearied of the
walking apparently, and throwing himself
into a chair was brooding over something
deeply when Felicia came in.
He rose and faced her. Felicia was
evidently very much moved by the meeting
from which she had just come. At the
same time she did not wish to talk too
much about it. Just as she entered the
drawing-room, Rose came in from the
"How many stayed?" she asked. Rose
was curious. At the same time she was
skeptical of the whole movement in
"About a hundred," replied Felicia
gravely. Mr. Sterling looked surprised.
Felicia was going out of the room, but
he called to her:
"Do you really mean to keep the
pledge?" he asked.
Felicia colored. Over her face and
neck the warm blood flowed and she
answered, "You would not ask such a
question, father, if you had been at the
meeting." She lingered a moment in the
room, then asked to be excused from
dinner for a while and went up to see
No one but they two ever knew what
that interview between Felicia and her
mother was. It is certain that she must
have told her mother something of the
spiritual power that had awed every
person present in the company of
disciples who faced Dr. Bruce in that
meeting after the morning service. It is
also certain that Felicia had never
before known such an experience, and
would never have thought of sharing it
with her mother if it had not been for
the prayer the evening before. Another
fact is also known of Felicia's
experience at this time. When she
finally joined her father and Rose at
the table she seemed unable to tell them
much about the meeting. There was a
reluctance to speak of it as one might
hesitate to attempt a description of a
wonderful sunset to a person who never
talked about anything but the weather.
When that Sunday in the Sterling
mansion was drawing to a close and the
soft, warm lights throughout the
dwelling were glowing through the great
windows, in a corner of her room, where
the light was obscure, Felicia kneeled,
and when she raised her face and turned
it towards the light, it was the face of
a woman who had already defined for
herself the greatest issues of earthly
That same evening, after the Sunday
evening service, Dr. Bruce was talking
over the events of the day with his
wife. They were of one heart and mind in
the matter, and faced their new future
with all the faith and courage of new
disciples. Neither was deceived as to
the probable results of the pledge to
themselves or to the church.
They had been talking but a little
while when the bell rang and Dr. Bruce
going to the door exclaimed, as he
"It is you, Edward! Come in."
There came into the hall a
commanding figure. The Bishop was of
extraordinary height and breadth of
shoulder, but of such good proportions
that there was no thought of ungainly or
even of unusual size. The impression the
Bishop made on strangers was, first,
that of great health, and then of great
He came into the parlor and greeted
Mrs. Bruce, who after a few moments was
called out of the room, leaving the two
men together. The Bishop sat in a deep,
easy chair before the open fire. There
was just enough dampness in the early
spring of the year to make an open fire
"Calvin, you have taken a very
serious step today," he finally said,
lifting his large dark eyes to his old
college classmate's face. "I heard of it
this afternoon. I could not resist the
desire to see you about it tonight."
"I'm glad you came." Dr. Bruce laid
a hand on the Bishop's shoulder. "You
understand what this means, Edward?"
"I think I do. Yes, I am sure." The
Bishop spoke very slowly and
thoughtfully. He sat with his hands
clasped together. Over his face, marked
with lines of consecration and service
and the love of men, a shadow crept, a
shadow not caused by the firelight. Once
more he lifted his eyes toward his old
"Calvin, we have always understood
each other. Ever since our paths led us
in different ways in church life we have
walked together in Christian
"It is true," replied Dr. Bruce
with an emotion he made no attempt to
conceal or subdue. "Thank God for it. I
prize your fellowship more than any
other man's. I have always known what it
meant, though it has always been more
than I deserve."
The Bishop looked affectionately at
his friend. But the shadow still rested
on his face. After a pause he spoke
"The new discipleship means a
crisis for you in your work. If you keep
this pledge to do all things as Jesus
would do -- as I know you will -- it
requires no prophet to predict some
remarkable changes in your parish." The
Bishop looked wistfully at his friend
and then continued: "In fact, I do not
see how a perfect upheaval of
Christianity, as we now know it, can be
prevented if the ministers and churches
generally take the Raymond pledge and
live it out." He paused as if he were
waiting for his friend to say something,
to ask some question. But Bruce did not
know of the fire that was burning in the
Bishop's heart over the very question
that Maxwell and himself had fought out.
"Now, in my church, for instance,"
continued the Bishop, "it would be
rather a difficult matter, I fear, to
find very many people who would take a
pledge like that and live up to it.
Martyrdom is a lost art with us. Our
Christianity loves its ease and comfort
too well to take up anything so rough
and heavy as a cross. And yet what does
following Jesus mean? What is it to walk
in His steps?"
The Bishop was soliloquizing now
and it is doubtful if he thought, for
the moment, of his friend's presence.
For the first time there flashed into
Dr. Bruce's mind a suspicion of the
truth. What if the Bishop would throw
the weight of his great influence on the
side of the Raymond movement? He had the
following of the most aristocratic,
wealthy, fashionable people, not only in
Chicago, but in several large cities.
What if the Bishop should join this new
The thought was about to be
followed by the word. Dr. Bruce had
reached out his hand and with the
familiarity of lifelong friendship had
placed it on the Bishop's shoulder and
was about to ask a very important
question, when they were both startled
by the violent ringing of the bell. Mrs.
Bruce had gone to the door and was
talking with some one in the hall. There
was a loud exclamation and then, as the
Bishop rose and Bruce was stepping
toward the curtain that hung before the
entrance to the parlor, Mrs. Bruce
pushed it aside. Her face was white and
she was trembling.
"O Calvin! Such terrible news! Mr.
Sterling -- oh, I cannot tell it! What a
blow to those girls!" "What is it?" Mr.
Bruce advanced with the Bishop into the
hall and confronted the messenger, a
servant from the Sterlings. The man was
without his hat and had evidently run
over with the news, as Dr. Bruce lived
nearest of any intimate friends of the
"Mr. Sterling shot himself, sir, a
few minutes ago. He killed himself in
his bed-room. Mrs. Sterling--"
"I will go right over, Edward. Will
you go with me? The Sterlings are old
friends of yours."'
The Bishop was very pale, but calm
as always. He looked his friend in the
face and answered:
"Aye, Calvin, I will go with you
not only to this house of death, but
also the whole way of human sin and
sorrow, please God."
And even in that moment of horror
at the unexpected news, Dr. Bruce
understood what the Bishop had promised