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But in the noontide fullness of the nation's maturity Judah's muse and ecstasy gives a vision of purer and softer tints and tones. They sing of peace. They prophesy of swords turned into ploughshares. They picture God enthroned as Judge over the dwellers of His footstool. His decisions render superfluous the appeal to arms. The art of war is forgotten in consequence. Not as one destined to snatch his laurel from a torrent of blood, but as one waving the palm undefiled by grime of murder, they name and hail the future ruler of their nation "Prince of Peace."
The consecration of Israel's prophetic assurance is upon us. The glad day of its fulfillment is nearing. Let them doubt who will. Ours is the fervent faith that vindicates the forevision.
What old fable told of Titan parent devouring his own offspring, in inverted sequence we know to be the fate of war. The children of war devour their progenitor. Every device and every invention which the warlike spirit has cradled have contributed to hold war itself in greater restraint. Old scrap iron are the proud floating fortresses constructed only a decade ago. The dreadnoughts of to-day will be regarded as puerile toys to-morrow. They have filled torpedo and projectile with explosives of terrible potentialities of havoc. Armors are pierced with as great ease as though they were glued together of paper. But while shipyards are teeming with thousands of toilers intent on forging the steel ramparts of the treacherous deep, from the quiet laboratory of an experimenter emanates the fuse that reduces turrets and steel cuirass to impotent makeshift. Mercenaries used to be the sons of war. Later only a small percentage of the people under command of professional soldiers were drafted into the service. Now war calls to arms the whole nation. And this very fact puts powerful brakes on the car of Juggernaut. "Prepare war if thou desire peace." The Latin's wisdom is discredited. The very futility of all preparations, the gruesome certainty that the breech-loaders of to-day will be useless to-morrow is one of the many curses which go with armed peace. What folly of dissipation, what waste of toil and treasure! Shall human sweat not be deemed too precious to devise and to fashion implements meant for defence and thus believed to prevent attack from without, which, ere they are finished on the anvil or formed in the furnace, are outclassed by others in this mad rage and race for more thorough preparedness for war in the interest of peace?
Our hope is founded in the advent of the plough. By a very costly and circuitous route the sword has been turned into a ploughshare even as it is now. Gun-metal had to be returned to industry, for in many cases and in an experience ever repeated, when employed for war's purpose it was, scarcely molded, detected to be insufficient, for a rival across the frontier had discovered a more powerful engine which the day after again had to be abandoned because another had hit upon a still quicker process. We would come to the plough by a more direct and less wasteful road. Yea, the plough has arrived. If it is true that every war was in the last analysis inspired by fear of hunger and not by dynastic ambition or national antipathies, then the larger the number of ploughs the less the need for war. Intensify the productive methods which coax from earth the blessings stored therein and hunger's dominion correspondingly shrinks. None need to starve if all work together to prevent famine's capricious and iniquitous intrusion.
We hail the advent of the plough. It is the sign of triumphant democracy. The toilers have always had to pay the price of war, Theirs was chiefly the toll in blood and tears and treasure, upon them the recoil inevitable of brutality. But the men of the plough have come to understand the fallacies wherewith they have hitherto been misled and duped. There is no clash between the interests of the toilers in one country and those in another. Nations are historic organisms devised to heighten the efficiency of humanity's diversified duties and achievements. Co-operation, not competition, is the ultimate solvent. With it as with the polar star, friction will be minimized. And what of friction remains can be adjusted by applying to nations the principles established in all civilized lands to the relations of individuals. If the courts are competent to maintain the social equilibrium between different contestants and litigants in one country shall we despair of international tribunals' efficiency in making for equilibrium among the nations? If all nations were united would one single nation dare reject the decree?
The plough confers moral blessings as rich as ever were those imputed to war. Does industry try men's souls less searchingly than does war? Will we lapse into hopeless materialism if we are spared the periodical crises that urge sacrifice of one for the larger good of others and many? The complexity of modern life
consecrated to the development of man and the resources of his home is such that heroism, altruism, self-sacrifice, high resolve and strenuous effort are conditions of self-maintenance. Constructive co-operation in all those things that make for the humanizing of men dispenses strength as robust and virility as elastic as ever did destructive warfare.
The vision of the prophet speaks of industrial conditions combining economic independence with social co-operation. The freedom of every individual through and in co-operation will indeed lend to the establishing of God's throne among men and above the nations. A dream this? No, a forevision. Vision is a forerunner, always, of achievement. Let nations dream of peace and peace will be sure of consummation. The hands that guide the plough carry credentials of nobility and strength less doubtful than do the fingers that pull the trigger. Not of inane impossibilities have they raved who foretold the coming of the day when nations shall no longer learn the art of war. Seated each one under his own vine and fig-tree in independence and freedom, none will covet the others' possessions, but all will bow to the decision of the Highest Judge, whose throne is pillared on Justice and whose sceptre is tipped with Righteousness.
One looking down upon us from some distant planet might easily be misled into the belief that terrestrial nations are even at this late day, twenty centuries after the birth of the child of Bethlehem, still believers in polytheism. When national hysteria seizes hold of our would-be civilized nations, the truth which one of Israel's prophets urged upon his people, the unity of God and the oneness of humanity, seems indeed to be curtained from the vision of the peoples preparing to spring at one another's throats or actually engaged in the conflict. Each of the contestants calls upon God to bless his arms, apparently oblivious of the solemn and sublime certainty that as even Mohammed knew "the East is the Lord's and the West is His also." Is there one God to watch over the soldiers of France and another to care for the regiments of Germany? War thus does not only exact heavy toll in treasure and life and limb, it also undermines the very foundations of religion's sanctuaries. It throws doubt on the essential verities of the religions that at least with their lips if not with their hearts the peoples of Christendom are professing. Should they not at least remember the obligation which the seer
of Jerusalem would have his followers rejoice in: "These with swords-yet we in the name of our God.-Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God made us all? Why then should brother deal treacherously with brother?"
The records of war often tell of swelling hymns entoned after the day of battle by victorious hosts eager to return thanks to the God who led them through the fiery furnace to the terrible hour of triumph. That such homage paid the divine arbiter lacks not impressiveness may be conceded. The battle hymn of the reformation leaping to sound from tent to tent and from campfire to the fireless outposts and solitary pickets, is a scene that even in description retains much of its power to move the distant or late born onlooker. Yet even so the sublimity of the act of grateful worship is eclipsed by the thought cloaked into legend in the books of old Rabbis. According to them, after the fearful day that sent Pharaoh and his army to a watery grave, the angels in heaven began singing anthems of triumph and thanksgiving. But God hushed them into awful silence, saying: "Know ye not that my children, fashioned by my hand, have been submerged in the Red Sea's wrath, and ye would sing me praises?" Yea, every battle victory is purchased by a ransom which God Himself has to pay.
His children's life is taken. To sing Him praises because victory has perched on our bayonets wears close similarity to blasphemy. If all nations have but one God, how may His worshippers pray that He be with their nation's brigades and not also with those of their adversaries?
But will not peace rob us of our manliness? Will we not sink hopelessly into the mire of materialism if never again mankind will have to pass through the hurricane that searches men's souls? Industry has magnet as strong to draw out the gold of fortitude and sacrifice from the soul of men as ever had war. Would one withhold to womanhood the tribute due heroism? And yet true women never wore the Amazon's accoutrements or rushed forth to battle. Every Madonna breathed on canvas by master genius proclaims the heroism of maternity, and in that heroism woman has saved the race for its nobler duties and sublimer destinies. The ferocity and brutalism of men often have menaced the best treasures which God has vouchsafed to the dustborn. Thousands and thousands in the battalions of peace face
death and danger almost daily as they pursue the path of their vocation. Yet of them there is neither song nor story. In the bowels of the earth the poorly compensated miner throws down the gauntlet to a mightier foe than ever met soldier on battlefield. Yet his is no glory. It is indeed not true that men and mankind will lapse into brutalism and forfeit their power to lay down life and limb in the service of ideals and duties if war shall forever be leashed. The contrary is the truth. War has always fathered brutalism. Long after the cannons have ceased to roar murder finds furious hands to do its unhuman bidding. Passions that are low are aroused by the frenzy of the contest and are kept at fever-point by the coarseness, the inhumanity of the discipline and associations of the march. Then war estranges the children of men. Long after the conclusion of peace resentments lurk behind. France still looks askance at Germany, though more than three decades have passed since their armies last measured swords on historic fields. The sword indeed estranges, the plough brings
Last year more than one thousand French miners were suddenly entombed. The jealousy of the sprites that stand guard over the treasures left by world conflagrations in the dark caverns of the planet had once more found its opportunity to remind man that as yet his mastership was not absolute. Then from across the frontier came at early dawn a small company of German miners. They had heard of the imprisonment of their brothers and had come to risk their lives in the endeavor to bring them aid. That one act of peace has done more to remind the noble French nation of the brotherly ties that ought to bind and hold in unity all the sons of God on earth than warlike pomp and circumstance and petty nationalism and idolizing patriotism ever after will make them forget. Ah, the plough, emblem of man's peaceful dominion over nature's forces and over himself, is the sign in which nations will come to learn and read the unities and humanities always menaced by the sword. "Righteousness exalted a nation." A righteous cause may always be submitted to a righteous judge. God will decide among the nations and they shall learn war no more. Amen. Amen.