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680 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY
nate all the works of rescue which grew out of Christian faith and love in response to social need. Many voluntary fraternities had been formed, in different countries and in different branches of the church, to respond to the call of suffering. These free associations, without any outward union, had in common one foundation, faith that Christ is the Redeemer of the perishing, and one goal, to raise men out of sin, and free them from its consequences, by means of the gospel and the offer of fraternal kindness. It is only by using the exact phrases of these men that we can get their point of view. It is not the broad language of Lessing and Herder, but the intense and keen expression of men of clear conviction as to both end and means.
"The Inner Mission does not mean this or that particular work, but the sum of labor which arises from loving faith in Christ, and which seeks to renew within and without the con- dition of those multitudes in Christendom upon whom has fallen the power of manifold external and internal evils which spring directly or indirectly from sin, so far as they are not reached by the usual Christian offices with the means necessary for their renewal" (p. 6). No form of evil or misery is to be neglected. No class is to be ignored. No social form, family, state or church is to be left unused.
While Wichern is chiefly occupied with the labor of his own national church, his survey covers both Catholic and Protestant enterprises in Europe and America. Wichern expresses the hope that Christians divided upon creeds will find in practical efforts of benevolence a ground on which all can agree. His appreciation of others is liberal and unstinted.
Agencies. — The family is the point of departure for all dis- cussions of the social question. Missionary laborers discover in the ruin of domestic economy, in extreme destitution, in indecent crowding, in neglect of education, culture and religion the primal spring of general decay. In relation to the state the Inner Mission assumes an attitude of independence and of interest. No particular party theory of constitution or political organiza- tion is favored. Reverence for law and government will be