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THE CHRISTIAN YEAR

LECTURES DELIVERED AT THE
CAMBRIDGE CONFERENCE, 1918

BY

VIDA D. SCUDDER

AUTHOR OF THE CHURCH AND THE HOUR:
REFLECTIONS OF A SOCIALIST CHURCHWOMAN,” ETC.

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NEW YORK
E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY

681 FIFTH AVENUE

BY E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY

All Rights Reserved

Bu30
S4

Printed in the United States of America

PREFACE

People who are indifferent to organized religion are strongly advised by the author to keep away from this book. They would find it either annoying or meaningless; at best, time spent on it would be wasted, and wasted time is a serious matter in a world where no one can read what he should.

The book is written for those who care deeply and lovingly for the Christian Church; more specifically, for those in the habit of following the Seasons of the Church Year through the Anglican Prayer-Book. More specifically still it will make its strongest appeal to persons who are awake to the social gospel on which so much salutary stress is now laid, and who want to find a harmony between the precious traditions of spiritual experience and the new life astir in our hearts, impelling us to a strange and untried world.

Christians of a liberal turn of mind and an affection for the Prayer-Book! This may seem a restricted group, but it is larger than some people think. Moreover, so far as the author is concerned, the embargo on reading is off in the case of any persons religiously disposed. Her chief ambition will be realized, should the book quicken social passion and faith in devout minds.

Three strong convictions have inspired the writing.

The first is, that a new world-order is surely on the way. To affix labels would be premature and impertinent; but, on broad lines, what is happening is already evident. Democracy is reaching out from the political to the industrial sphere; the old class-alignments are doomed to vanish; large types of wealth and large sections of industry are to be socialized; and our children are destined to live in a civilization as different from that of our fathers as that was different from mediæval Europe. To speak more technically, a system based mainly on private capital and the incentive of private profit, is in process of yielding to a system partly at least based on some form of socialized capital, and on incentive of another kind.

The second conviction is, that the tremendous changes in prospect can only be safely accomplished if religion supplies them with a soul. A socialist and atheistic world is conceivable; but every Christian knows that it would carry its doom within it. Such a world would be a travesty of our dearest hopes. In the noble words of the

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