is, therefore, only natural, I think, that my interest and pride in this community should be deepened and rendered indelibly lasting by a sense of gratitude for what this community has done for me.
I am convinced that I am essentially a small-town man. For apart from such considerations as the small town's neighborliness and opportunity for human relationships, I think there is something infinitely fine and worthy of preservation in the virile pride and civic selfrespect which characterizes our North Carolina towns and cities. Anyone who has deeply pondered the subject at all knows, that in the case of the individual, the first requisite of the spiritual life is a deep and abiding self-respect. Until a man is conscious of the eternal value and even divinity of human personality, he cannot establish contact with the living springs of spiritual power.
This analogy applies, I think, in the case of a state or town, or even more especially a church. North Carolina's tremendous forward march these last years is attributable in no small measure, in my judgment, to the fine state pride and patriotism of her people. And similarly, but gaining in intensity because confined to a narrower field of activity, the consciousness of individual civic and religious responsibility, and faith in the efficacy of coöperative endeavor have made this one of the most wholesome communities in North Carolina. There is nothing of resignation or indifference to the problems about this town or its people. It is a living, breathing part of a great and aspiring commonwealth and it is in this spirit that I bring greetings and a message of welcome to the representatives of our great denomination assembled here today. And if into this message I inject a note of challenge, I am proud of the assurance, born of years of observation of the struggles, vicissitudes, and triumphs of our Baptist people, that the most genuine welcome I can bring to you is