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could hand in to the Secretary of their house amendments or changes which they desired to propose. Then, when in the order of business the Report of the Commission came before the house, these resolutions, and these resolutions only, should be debated. When all these questions had been disposed of, then the Report as amended should be adopted as a whole and directed to be made known to the various Dioceses. In this way only vital and well-digested alterations would be proposed, and the unity of the Revision work would be preserved to the great benefit of the Church.
The General Convention is itself on its trial. Its present organization, its size as a representative body, the enormous expense connected with its sessions and the gathering of its members from all over the world, will be justified, not by the brilliancy of the receptions, the fervor of the oratory, or by the social charm and distinction of those who are fortunate enough to attend, but solely by the wisdom of its legislation. The progress of the Church in the coming years will depend on the adaptability of its great service book to the needs of our age and country. The Convention of Detroit must prove itself equal to its task.
BY REV. GEORGE LYNDE RICHARDSON, D.D.
BEAUTIFUL three-year-old boy, playing on the lawn before his grandmother's house, was asked the other day what he was doing so energetically.
"I'm throwing bombs," he replied promptly.
The answer sets one thinking. Must his generation, too, learn the hideous business of destruction? It is youth always that must be sacrificed when war comes. No appeal can touch our hearts today like that which speaks in
"The unforgotten names of eager boys,
Who might have tasted girls' love and been stung
And starry griefs, now the spring nights come on,
Yet one does not know which is worse, the sending the flower of our youth to be slain, or the constraining of them to the sickening business of slaughter. How any man who knows what war is can wish to perpetuate war is beyond explanation; yet the plain fact is that there are many men who wish it. Nor do they all live in Germany! Every nation can furnish its contingent made up of those who think too little and those who think too much-a force pressing us back into the old ways that make war an inevitable phase of the social order.
In retrospect, the conclusion is inescapable that war had to come in 1914. This is said with full knowledge that there are thoughtful men who still doubt the necessity. Dr. Orchard, for example, in his thought-provoking book, The Outlook for Religion, suggests that doubt:
"A wiser and sadder Europe, with all the facts free to be considered, may discern (i. e., when the war is over) that the war was a tragic mistake. . . that at any time it
could have been prevented . . . if only the right word had been spoken."
These words were apparently written before America entered the war. Thoughtful Englishmen, such as Archbishop Lang and Sir George Adam Smith, have expressed to American audiences their feeling that the entry of America gave proof that the war was unavoidable. Dr. Orchard seems not to consider that, while Great Britain may have been forced into hostilities too quickly to be sure that nothing else was possible, the United States waited long enough and tried hard enough to find some other way, if another way had been open. "If the right word had been spoken," war might have been avoided? Well, President Wilson spoke words enough if that were all, and they were thoughtful and reasonable words and voiced a long patience which some of us did not feel. The fact is that the war could not have been avoided because the business of avoiding war, or of building a world system in which war is impossible, has never been carried into the region of practical politics at all. Very much of the thinking about how we may put an end to war has been on a level with the remark of a gentle Quaker lady in a Pennsylvania town when she was asked by a militant neighbor what she would have done if the Germans had come to their streets as they came to Louvain and Charleville. She replied, "I would have made coffee and sandwiches and put them on a table at the front gate with a sign above them, 'Help thyself.""
But, whether or not Dr. Orchard is right in hinting that there was a way to prevent the great world war in 1914, if we had only known enough to discover it, he surely is right when he urges so eloquently that the task laid upon Christianity now that the war is over is to push the advantage which the natural reaction from war's sufferings has given, and try to turn what is left of our civilization into new channels of development. "If we are going to put an end to war, we have first to cut some of the roots that are feeding it: the competitive
social order, the great financial interests, which are always working up diplomacy and sometimes deliberately engendering war scares. But, alongside this, we have to work away at the perfecting of international machinery for settling disputes as well as getting the mind of the masses armoured against the immoral appeals to hate and the age-long delusions and false idealisms of war. . . . This should be especially the Church's work, but to this task the Church has yet to be aroused."
When the optimist urges that "the kingdom of heaven cometh not with observation," the pessimist's ready retort is, “If you mean that no one can see a sign of its coming, I agree with you." The fact is that there is not a man living who is able to interpret in any large and comprehensive way the signs of these times. There are too many signs and they cannot be made to agree with one another. No one can have a broad enough basis of knowledge to generalize. The most widely separated and contradictory opinions are, for instance, held and expressed as to whether or not the effect of the war has been for moral progress. On one side are enthusiasts who dwell upon the regenerating and constructive achievements of the past four years with such jubilation that they seem to imply that the war, with all its slaughter and desolation, was after all the best thing that could have happened to the world. On the other hand, there are great numbers of men and women who, stricken with horror at the incredible mass of suffering-the hatreds, the greed, the degradation and misery, that have been the war's bitter fruits-can see nothing before us that is hopeful at all. The Bishop of Oxford warned his hearers, during his recent visit to America, that a period of moral apathy and reaction was very likely to follow upon the great war, just as such a period succeeded the Napoleonic struggle a century ago. The students of American history will recall the scandals and moral disasters of the years that immediately followed our Civil War, the rascality of the "carpet baggers" in the South and of Tweed and his many imitators in the North, the corruption in political life, the fierce industrial conflicts marked by
such lawless violence as that of the Ku Klux Klan in the border states and the "Molly Maguires" among the miners of Pennsylvania. All were evidences of a moral reaction of which that war was a direct cause. The great war just ended did produce in many of our people splendid heroism, unselfish devotion and high patriotism. It did bring into glorious relief the great ideals of freedom and democracy, but alongside these hopeful signs there may be discerned in every nation a return to primitive passions, a confusion and uncertainty in popular ideals and motives, a hardening and debasing process full of peril. These opposing tendencies confront each other at this critical time. The attack and counter-attack as did the armies in the long drawn battles of the western front. A swirling, seething, unstable flood is the social order of today, like a river in freshet, out of its banks, doing unexpected things, here destroying and there building up, leaving ruin and fertility alike behind it, full of strange surprises, returning eddies, swift and baffling currents and changes.
It is natural that some of us who are eager for progress should grow impatient over the apparent slowness of the Church, yet perhaps that very slowness has its advantage. Something must be stable in this unstable world and, just as in the midst of the crashing ruin of the Roman Empire, men turned with a sort of eager desperation to the Church as an eternal and unshakable certainty, so today it may be that a church that is not too ready to identify itself with some one of the many programs the reformers may happen to propose, will be the church that finally contributes most to the building up of the true Kingdom of God. But, while this is true, it is also true, as Dr. Orchard so eloquently says, that the task laid upon us is not simply the examination of "the various principles of social and economic reconstruction which are placed before us and criticizing and rejecting them because they do not follow the Christian principle" but the creation of a different system. "It is only fair that those who have put forward the principles thus criticized should ask, What, then, does your Gospel teach? It is quite