Half a century ago, as a mere stripling out of college, it was my good fortune to become associated with the beginnings of a manufacturing company which now sells its products around the world. Although I have risen through the ranks to major responsibility, the nature of my work has remained essentially the same. For ten months of each year I have traveled among the main cities of the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific and north of the Mason and Dixon Line. For only two months of each year have I ever had the chance to worship in my home church. On the majority of Sundays (some two thousand across the long span of time), I have attended Protestant public worship somewhere in the northern section of our country, always once, sometimes twice and, on occasion, three times. Out of what may well be a unique experience as a layman, I submit certain observations as I retire from active business.

If there has been a penalty in having spent such limited time in my own local church, there has been much advantage in worshipping with fellow Christians in different parts of our land. Never shall I forget, during the first year of my pilgrimage, the time I was in a suburban church listening to a young preacher who had been highly recommended to me by a friend. It was an electrifying experience. There have been many other inspiring experiences, sometimes in very unlikely areas, in which the power of the Christian fellowship has taken on light and meaning for the worshipper.

Sorting out the notes which I have preserved in my visitation of Protestant churches in the northern states across the years, I find five impressions, the first independent and the remaining four related to each other.

RISE OF THE FRINGE SECTS

The first impression ...

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