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educational activities. So the Church has no such hold on her followers as she did have in the past.

The Church then, the world over, is growing weaker, and not stronger. Mind you, I do not believe that the priesthood is growing much wiser, take it as a whole; for I wish you to see what danger really fronts us. We have granted the Church in this country, perhaps not too much, but certainly a dangerous measure of freedom; and we cannot too jealously guard against admitting any interference whatsoever with the integrity of our political or our educational life. This we must fight for at all hazards; for the Church to-day, instead of being democratic, is the closest aristocracy that is known in all the world. The Roman Church forbids secret societies, possibly because it wants no rivals; for the Church of Rome is governed by the most autocratic secret society that the world has ever known,- a secret society of priests and bishops, a hierarchy that takes no advice or reproof from its millions of members. I have no sort of doubt that the Church of Rome, if it had the power, would do what it has done in the past; for infallibility never goes to school, infallibility cannot learn anything, infallibility cannot improve. My hope, then, is not in any change of heart on the part of the priesthood of the Romish Church, but only in the growth of the civilized world.

Father, we believe Thou art in and leading the modern world into larger liberty, broader light, higher truth. Let us follow Thee, and it will be out of darkness, out of ignorance, out of evil, into light and knowledge and good foreverAmen.


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What Christmas Good Will might do.*

"Good will to men."- LUKE ii. 14.

As we reflect upon the personal suffering which first or last we all are called on to endure, and as we look over the face of society and see the pain, the disease, the heartache, the sorrow of every kind, we are sometimes tempted to accuse the Author of this complex scene of things of either cruelty or indifference; we wonder at his way of governing the world. And yet I am convinced that, if we look not superficially, but carefully and dispassionately a little beneath the surface of things, we shall discover that almost all the evils of human society are preventable by men themselves. Nearly all the sorrows and troubles of life—not all - are the results of evil wills, and might be cured by good wills. Of course death would remain, the temporary separation caused by death, and diseases of some kinds, though not nearly all the kinds nor with anything like their present severity; for a large part of the diseases of the world are preventable or curable by human will. Earthquakes, tornadoes, the calamities caused by the action of these natural forces that are a part of the constitution of things, these would remain; but a little careful thought will reveal the fact that the immense majority of those things that trouble, poison, imbitter, human life, and make it a scene of sorrow rather than one of gladness, are caused by men, and might be prevented by men.

I wish here to discuss for a moment two or three possible theories of the control or government of the universe, so as

* Stenographically reported.

to clear your thought a little and enable you to justify in your thought the ways of God to men.

How could God prevent these evils that I am speaking of? We will suppose that he might have made man a mere automaton, like a piece of mechanism, a watch or a clock, to be wound up and run regularly without any will of his own until he runs down and his existence ceases. We may suppose that God might have made men and women this way; but I question whether we shall be inclined, after thinking it over, to find fault with him because he has not.

Another thing is conceivable. God might perpetually, daily, hourly, momently, interfere to prevent the natural results of thoughtlessness, of stupidity, of selfishness; and then what? Why, I might go stumbling about the world, not trying to think what I ought to do or how I ought to do it; and, when I did something that had an evil result, or if an evil result threatened, an angel could come in and prevent it. I might be selfish, grasp eagerly at what I wanted without regard to the rights of anybody else, trusting that a supernatural interference would guard the rights of other persons from my injury. It is conceivable that evil might be prevented in some such way; but it supposes a supervision which would turn the world into a huge nursery, watched over and guarded at every step as a nurse guards a little child who is learning to walk, ready to catch him up at the first threat of a stumble or fall. Do you not see? And yet strangely enough I find people wondering that God does not interfere, and asking: Why does he do this? Why does he let that happen? Do you not see that anything like learning, anything like experience, anything like growth, anything like moral cultivation or development, would be out of the question in a world governed after that fashion? What is the use of my remembering that fire burns, and so keeping out of it, if I know that every time I am in danger of stumbling into it God is going to snatch me away and prevent any harm? What would be the use of my thinking of your rights as related to me if I knew that after the utmost grasp

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