effect upon the minds of those who listened: ‘I shall not be with you much.’
The aloofness of Episcopalians, the self-centered interests of the Baptists, the multifarious activities of the members of the Mystic
communions, and the willingness of the clergymen to allow matters outside their own parishes to run without special help, coupled with the absence of that subtile spirit of self-sacrifice which animates the true missionary, the undeveloped correlative element that sees the need of unity in Christian effort—these may be recorded as some of the causes of its failure.
The causes were known to some, the fact was deplored by many.
This may be considered a drastic arraignment of the existing incumbents, and, in extenuation, it may be pleaded that it is thought by many that such societies sap the life and weaken the energy of the churches.
But let us suppose the institution had been sustained and could now be numbered with the one thousand six hundred kindred associations in the land, its capacity for the improvement and entertainment of young men, increased by the addition of a gymnasium, bowling alleys and a swimming pool, supplemented by the opportunity to participate in in-door games, and the encouragement of ‘current topics’ discussions, what a vast benefit might have accrued to Medford
, what a powerful influence for good upon her future!
Since then two other efforts have been made to establish beneficial associations, the ‘Improvement Society’ in 1884, and the ‘Good Government Club’ in 1900.
The former survived about two years, the latter a shorter period.
In the light of these experiences, may not the question be asked most significantly, ‘Has Medford
made the most of her opportunities?’