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Title: Victory out of Ruin
Author: Maclean, Norman, 1869-1952
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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VICTORY OUT OF RUIN


BY

NORMAN MACLEAN



HODDER AND STOUGHTON LTD.

LONDON -- NEW YORK -- TORONTO

MCMXXII



Printed in Great Britain by T. and A. CONSTABLE LTD.
  at the Edinburgh University Press



PREFACE

There is a joy in battle; but the greatest of all joys is to take some
part, however humble, in the fight for the triumph of righteousness.
There is a thrill such as can be found nowhere else in facing a mass of
people whose prejudices and social customs are as an unscalable wall,
in compelling their attention and, at last, in winning them to espouse
your cause.  To fight your opponent, loving him all the time, is the
essence of Christianity.  The excitement of betting on races or
watching football matches is nothing compared to the excitement of
facing an audience not knowing whether you are to be trampled on or to
be applauded.  Those who have fought under the banner of the King of
Kings know the indefinable joy there is in it.  That is why the young
and the chivalrous give a swift response when the call is to a forlorn
hope in the service of Christ.

And the joy of it is this, that, whatever may happen, you are bound to
win.  The Infinite has infinite resources.  Those who array themselves
against Him are up against all the forces in the universe.  The fight
for the Kingdom of God is the greatest in which man ever fought; it
goes on ceaselessly without any discharge; the big battalions seem
always on the other side; but God always wins.  There never has been a
fight for deliverance, a struggle for progress, but the forces of
righteousness conquered at last.

This book is the third of a series.  The Great Discovery portrayed the
spiritual emotions of the Great War; Stand up, Ye Dead dealt with the
soul of the nation in the midst of its travail; and this third book
seeks to point out the way of deliverance and renewal.  The malady of
the world is spiritual.  The fountain of healing is with God.

N. M.

EDINBURGH, _September_ 1922



NOTE

Chapters I, II, III, IV, VIII, IX, XI, XII, and XIII appeared in _The
Glasgow Herald_, and Chapters VI, VII, and X in _The Scotsman_.
Chapter V is based on an article in _The Glasgow Herald_, but it has
been rewritten.



CONTENTS


CHAPTER I

THE ONLY HOPE


CHAPTER II

THE SUPREME NEED


CHAPTER III

IN THE SACRED NAME OF LIBERTY!


CHAPTER IV

THE GREATEST OF TYRANNIES


CHAPTER V

THE LAST DELIVERANCE


CHAPTER VI

THE PERIL OF THE CROWD


CHAPTER VII

LET US HAVE PEACE


CHAPTER VIII

THE WAY OF PEACE


CHAPTER IX

NO ROOM


CHAPTER X

DOMINION FROM SEA TO SEA


CHAPTER XI

THERE WERE IN THE SAME COUNTRY SHEPHERDS


CHAPTER XII

THE FULNESS OF THE TIME


CHAPTER XIII

VICTORY OUT OF RUIN



CHAPTER I

THE ONLY HOPE

'To a large extent the working people of this country do not care any
more for the doctrines of Christianity than the upper classes care for
the practice of that religion.'--JOHN BRIGHT in the year 1880.


It is wonderful how quickly, when a peril is past, men forget about it
and straightway compose themselves to slumbrous dreams again.  It was
so after the Great War; it is so already regarding the great strikes.
'Don't disturb our repose,' they as good as say; 'we have had an
anxious time; do let us sleep.'  But wars and strikes are only symptoms
of the hidden disease; and the allaying of a symptom without the
healing of the disease is of all things the most dangerous.  What we
must consider is the disease and set ourselves to find a remedy.  Then,
and then only, will the symptoms harass us no more.  It was a little
bald man with a straggling beard and one eye that had got a little
tired of the long-continued effort to look at the other, who set me
thinking.  The burden of his contention was that this country and the
world at large is sinking back into paganism.  Though I endeavour to
keep an open mind and refuse to accept opinions ready-made, however
much inclined I may be to shirk the preliminary fatigue of forming
opinions of my own, yet the opinions of my friend are worth recording.
They are at least gropings after the truth.


I

'What is the test of a Christian?' asked the little man, trying to
bring his vagrant eye to bear on me; 'if we once settle that we shall
be able to judge whether this is now a Christian world.  The test is
not beliefs or opinions regarding the Founder of Christianity (for
trifles such as that men used cheerfully to burn their fellows
aforetime, thinking they were doing God service); to find the true test
we must go back to the only test known to those who knew Christ.  What
was their test?  It was this--'If any man have not the Spirit of
Christ, he is none of His.'  That spirit was love enduring even the
Cross--love emptying itself that it might serve.  Now, apply that test
to our social organisation to-day.  In the one city you find in one
street mansions such as a Roman emperor could only desire in vain; and
a few yards away a street of crowded closes and airless dugouts and
fetid tenements where little children perish.  Herod slaughtered a
score of babies and the centuries pour the vials of infamy upon him.
But this holocaust goes on, year in year out, ceaselessly.  Yet the
dwellers in the terraces tolerate that.  The causes that produce slums
and keep slums full are manifest.  Yet they will not rouse themselves
to remove them.  Is that being a Christian?  We assemble in church and
recite, "I believe in God the Father," and every fact of the faith we
profess condemns our callous indifference.  If we realised that God is
the Father of these babes, we would die to save them; yet we leave them
a prey to vested interests.  Is that toleration of evil compatible with
Christianity?'

'You forget,' I objected, 'the law of environment.  No man can live
ahead of his own time--at least only the great can--and we are waking
up to social duty as never before.'

'Waking up!' he exclaimed; 'we are going to sleep.  A Christian should
never need to waken up to facts like that.  He would have them as a
burden ever on his heart until they were for ever banished.  He would
be constantly hearing the voice of Him who said of little ones like
these that it was better for those who did them wrong that a millstone
were hanged round their necks and that they were cast into the midst of
the sea....  If only we were Christians, endued with Christ's spirit of
love, we would make an end of that at once....  We are only
semi-pagans.'


II

'It isn't merely what you see outside,' went on the little man,
polishing his shining poll, 'but look inside the churches
themselves--any one of the hundreds in this city--and what do you find?
You find the house of God given over to an unholy merchandise.  Every
church is parcelled out into so many square feet, and these are bought
and sold as ecclesiastical allotments.  Did you ever think of that
gruesome traffic, and the weirdness of it?  That good news of Love
brooding over all, caring even for the grass and the sparrow, has now
become the monopoly of the renter, while the poor are shut out.  And it
was at first proclaimed to the poor without money and without price,
committed to the winds of Galilee.'

'Put like that,' I said, 'it is rather weird.'

'Aye,' he went on, 'and every half-year managers and deacons assemble
in the houses of God to traffic in these square feet of pews.  There is
a story how One long ago knotted a whip of cords and drove the
traffickers out of His Father's house, His eyes blazing with anger.
Would He not wield the same whip on these deacons and managers, and
drive them out to-day?  How astonished they would be, with all the law
and all the vested interest on their side ... and yet that whip!'

The little man fell silent, and his strange eye looked as if he were
seeing it all.  And he smiled curiously.

'Did you ever trespass on an ecclesiastical allotment?' he asked
jerkily.  'No!  Well, it is a thing not to be done.  I once trespassed
on a garden allotment out in Kelvinside, just to admire some wonderful
sweet-peas, and the man who owned it found me and welcomed me like a
brother, and sent me away with a radiant bunch of flowers; but an
ecclesiastical allotment is another story.  An old heritor once said to
me that the only thing that really roused the devil in a Scotsman's
heart was trespassing on his ecclesiastical allotment.'

'That only shows,' I retorted, 'how dear to a Scotsman's heart his part
in the Church is.'

'That is only quibbling,' jerked out the bald man.


III

'Last Sunday evening,' went on the bald man, speaking very rapidly and
walking up and down the room in his excitement, 'I went to a church
situated in a mean street, surrounded by closes that each holds the
population of a sparse parish.  A tattered bill on the door proclaimed
the traffic in seats.  There seemed to be no demand.  There were only
eighteen present.  A cheap church, with varnished pews, that could hold
a thousand--and only eighteen there--old people and two or three
children--none who could lay hold on life with both hands.  To that
handful a discouraged and hopeless preacher proclaimed the evangel of
the love of God ... but his voice died in the disconsolate and empty
spaces....  But when I came out, there in an open space were massed
thousands of men, and the air throbbed with vitality as they listened
to an orator denouncing capital and proclaiming the coming of the new
day when every man could have his heart's desire--money and more
money....  Eighteen at the church where the salt had lost its savour,
and thousands where the chaff of worldliness was the only bread served
to perishing souls.'

'But you must remember that there were some churches quite full in the
city that evening,' I interjected.

'Quite so,' resumed the bald man, 'but who were they that filled them?
Only the one class that has still kept its hold on the seriousness and
the duty of life--the middle class--the one layer of health in the
nation.'

'You forget,' I protested, 'that the other two classes have proved that
they know how to die.'

He came to a sudden halt, and his tripping sentences suddenly stopped.

'Yes,' he answered, 'they know how to die; but what is the use of
knowing how to die if they do not know how to live?'


IV

'What is the use of facing death,' went on the bald man, resuming his
walk up and down, and pointing now and again an accusing finger, 'if
death does not teach the way of life?  Through death we conquered the
greatest tyranny that ever threatened the world, but the enemy has
really been the victor, for the spirit of the enemy has now conquered
us.  That spirit is the covetousness that knows no law but force.  It
does not matter whether the goal aimed at be the hegemony of the world
or more and more of gold--the spirit is the same.  And now it has
seized us.  There is the profiteer living on the results of other men's
industry and fattening on the plunder of the public--his god is
covetousness.  There are the millions who are ready to march over the
ruins of the Empire, careless of the sufferings of others if only they
will get their demands on the world.  Nobody realises the futility of
gaining the world and losing the life.  Eighteen in church and
thousands out for their share of the world....  It is covetousness
triumphant.'

The old man came to a halt and began to speak as one weighing his
words.  'We are just sinking into savagery,' he went on.  'The savage
knows no weapon but force--and Christianity knows no weapon but
love--but we have chosen force.  We have, in truth, abolished the
bludgeon of force as between man and man, but pagan Rome did that.  We
have never learned that law must rule between class and class, as well
as between man and man.  We remained pagan in our jealousy and distrust
as between class and class, and failed to make law supreme.  We failed
because we had no brotherliness, no love.  If we had been Christians we
would have made the law of love supreme long ago....  What a hollow
mockery our actions are.  Our statesmen become rhetorical over a
tribunal of the nations that will make wars cease for ever, while war
reigns in our own midst.  Tribunals and treaties are nothing if truth
be not supreme in the heart.  But there is never a word about that....
We think we can raise the world to a level higher than we have attained
ourselves, as if water could ever rise higher than its source....  The
law of force is honest paganism, but this covering up of the world's
foulness with scum--that is nauseating pharisaism.  Where the spirit of
love and truth is not, there peace cannot be.'


V

Whether the bald man with the one piercing and the other straying eye
was right or wrong I am no great judge.  But it is clear that there is
something very far wrong.  It is not in our country, the fairest on
God's earth, that the evil lies, nor in the Empire, the greatest and
richest ever reared by man.  The evil is not without but within us.
The only hope for us is in a regenerated spirit.  And there is none who
can give us that new spirit but the Carpenter of Nazareth.  He was
Himself a poor working man toiling for twenty years, wielding heavy,
clumsy tools as he shaped rude ploughs in a village of poor fame.  He
can feel for poor toiling working men; it was He who first taught
brotherhood.  To a generation that says, 'Let me get all I can, however
much others may suffer,' He says, 'Say not so, but rather say, Let me
serve all I can, however much I may suffer.'  If He were here now He
would be talking to men in public-houses and at the street corners and
on the fringes of crowds, and He would say, 'My brothers, why excite
yourselves over the world?  Life is not money.  Life is love and beauty
and sonship with God.  It is not what the hand grasps but what the eye
sees and the heart feels that makes life great.  If you want the
fulness of life, lose it.'  And to rich men He would say, 'Your riches
are only yours in trust that you may serve: consecrate them or they
will be taken from you.'  He would have but one law for all--Love.  If
they but loved there could not be any more profiteering, or ca' canny,
or any injustice.  For love never says 'Give,' only 'Let me give.'  ...
But, alas! we make room for every spirit but that.  For forty years we
have taught the children by statute, but they have not been taught
that.  They have been taught figures and the records that are mainly
the records of crime, and the explanations that are no explanations.
We must begin again and teach our children what duty is, what the love
of God and man is, what reverence is, and how there is a moral purpose
working out life and death--life if men conform to it and death if they
defy it.  We teach everything by statute except that--the one thing
needful.  We teach that man is to be saved by the brain; we have
forgotten that salvation is of the soul.  There is but one power known
among men that can turn the self-willed and self-centred life into the
self-sacrificing and the God-centred life, and that power is the spirit
of the Carpenter of Nazareth.  If we but sought it, then it would fuse
the poor fissiparous sand of our national life into the unity and
potency of steel.  It is our only hope.



CHAPTER II

THE SUPREME NEED

'To me through these thin cobwebs Death and Eternity sat
gazing.'--THOMAS CARLYLE.


Many eager hearts looked for the redemption of mankind to come out of
Armageddon.  Aceldama has been cleansed, but redemption seems to tarry.
And nobody need be surprised.  Out of filth and mud and horror the
cleansed soul does not emerge.  There was a king long ago who saw ten
horrible plagues succeed each other until at last the first-born lay
dead--but he was the same until the sea overwhelmed him.  And man is
the same in all ages.  Cataclysms do not work renewal.  Miracles do not
regenerate.  Not even the millions dead will mean a new earth or a new
Britain.  That new Britain of the heart's desire will only come if men
and women whose souls are quickened will arise and make their world
anew.  The world's supreme need is not reorganisation, but a new spirit.


I

The pathos of humanity is that men are ever the victims of illusion.
After Waterloo, when a conflict that waged for a quarter of a century
ended, our fathers hailed the millennial dawn.  But, alas!  Peterloo
succeeded Waterloo.  The nation was seized with the passion for riches.
To get rich quick the nation had to be reorganised on an industrial
basis, and the people were swept out of the green of England and out of
the straths and valleys of Scotland into sunless, airless cities.  A
population that formerly lived in cottages was now piled into barracks.
In mills above ground and in mines beneath little children were set to
labour.  Social conditions were created that destroyed two hundred
babies out of a thousand in the first year of life.  These conditions
still continue.  The pages of the Press in these last days show how
horrifying they still are.  There are streets in our cities which are
sacrificial altars on which the little children are offered to the
social Moloch....  These things came after Waterloo.  The cannon-fodder
of war became the cannon-fodder of industry.  The small minority that
got rich quick were balanced by the vast multitude who got poor quick.
And for four generations the ugly streets have presented the spectacle
of files of men begging for work--begging for permission to exist!
To-day the files wait for the dole.  The folly and the greed have
worked out the inevitable consequences.  History goes on monotonously
repeating itself.


II

And just as a hundred years ago men thought they were going to make a
new and better world by reorganisation, so also is it to-day.  On all
hands the cry is reorganise.  In Paris and in Glasgow it is the same.
In Paris they are to save the world from all future bloodshed by a
treaty.  That childlike faith in treaties!--they have forgotten that
treaties were unable to save even one fragment of Europe eight years
ago.  But this time the treaty is to be so very big that it will save.
But, alas! no treaty is of value beyond the truth in the soul of its
signatories--and of that there is never a word.  No treaty can exorcise
greed, ambition, and lust out of the heart--and it is from these wars
spring.  If the hearts of the nations be not changed, one more mirage
will be added to the many humanity has pursued across the burning
sands, strewing the barren desert with bleached bones.

In London or Glasgow or Hamilton or Fife it is the same.  There also
the new earth is to come through redistribution.  Society will be
differently organised.  The voice that to-day cries, 'What is yours is
mine,' will to-morrow shout victory.  The day of material good will
come through the maximum of pay for the minimum of work.  The new order
will banish all our ills.  But the question emerges--How is the new
order to be worked?  If the new order is to bless humanity it must be
guided and administered by men of truth, unselfishness, and honour.
Unless there be such, then the mastery of capital will be only
succeeded by the tyranny of the mob.  None asks how such men are to be
found.  The hope of the new world lies not so much in better machinery
as in better men.  The men in the Cabinets adjusting the map of the
world and the men in the shipyards and the mines are alike in this,
that they forget that man's supreme need is regeneration and not
reorganisation.


III

It is on that ultimate fact--that the supreme need of the day is a new
spirit--that the Church seeks to fix the attention of the nation.  The
Church has only one purpose--to make God blaze forth once more before
the eyes of men.  In that alone lies the salvation of the future.  The
great host of the toilers may adopt the watchword 'Brotherhood,' but
that is only half a truth.  A brotherhood that knows nothing of a
common fatherhood will not stand the day of strain.  The Church
therefore proclaims the full truth that the brotherhood of men only
realises itself in the Fatherhood of God.  To the nations seeking a
unity by way of parchments, the Church must also proclaim that there
can be only one ultimate unity for nations--the only unity that will
stand all strain--the unity of the Spirit.  The Church has the one
message for warring nations and for warring classes: 'One is your
Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren.'  The Church alone can
bring home to the hearts of men that the way of honour is that of
service, and the path of greatness that of sacrifice.  Looking back on
that long road by which humanity has marched forward even to this hour,
it is strange to think how the great days on which the epochs turned
have not been the days of mammon-worship or of military glory, but the
days on which the Cross suddenly blazed forth in the heavens, as it did
to Constantine, when the summons rang--'By this sign conquer.'  It was
then that men set their faces to climb upward, realising that the
greatest thing a man can do with his life is to lay it down.  And not
by a cross blazing in heaven, but by millions of crosses round which
the winds moan and sigh on earth, does God summon us to-day.  It is
that summons the Church would sound.  By the spirit of self-sacrifice,
by the law of love--by these alone can the world be saved.


IV

The remedy for every woe on earth is the one commandment--'Love one
another, as I have loved you.'  It is so divinely simple--perhaps that
is why the generations refuse to listen.  The measure of the law is its
greatness--'As I have loved you.'  To obey that law means--blood.  It
was the greatness of the sacrifice that was made and the greatness of
the sacrifice demanded that stirred the hearts of men to life.  'He
loved me, and gave Himself for me,' the Christian said, and with
rapture in his heart he looked at others and said, 'He loved that man
also, and gave Himself for him.  I cannot rob or murder or leave in
misery a man for whom Christ's hands were nailed to the cross.'  That
was what revolutionised the world long ago.  It is the only way in
which the world can be revolutionised to-day.  If only the world can be
brought to listen to the law of love, the world will become new.



CHAPTER III

IN THE SACRED NAME OF LIBERTY!

'The ranks are gathering; on the one side of men rightly informed and
meaning to seek redress by lawful and honourable means only, and on the
other of men capable of compassion and open to reason but with personal
interests at stake so vast and with all the gear and mechanism of their
arts so involved in the web of past iniquity that the best of them are
helpless and the wisest blind.'--The Right Hon. C. F. G. MASTERMAN.


It is difficult for men and women to arrive at a true estimate of their
own state of mind.  What others think of us is often a truer gauge than
what we think of ourselves, for we can only look at ourselves through
the distorting glass of self-love and self-interest.  In these last
days we have had a wonderful revelation of what others think of us.
Our hoardings and our advertisement pages are crowded with appeals
which could only appeal to a generation that had ceased to think and
ceased to bear upon their hearts the woes of their fellows.  In the
sacred name of liberty, in the cause of brotherhood and equality, we
were exhorted on every horizon to hold fast and change not.  And we
were, above all, to beware of fanatics!  We are indeed fallen very low
if this measure of our intelligence be correct.


I

In the sacred name of liberty we are exhorted to lay no sacrilegious
hand on the sacred ark of our licensing system.  Whatever results may
ensue of perishing babes and ruined manhood we must vote No Change, for
liberty is great.  Moloch of old was great; so great that he demanded
and got the sacrifice of a child now and then.  But 'Liberty' is
greater still.  If it be true that in proportion to the number of
licences in a district is the death-rate among the babies; if in
districts crowded with public-houses there be a death-rate of something
like 160 to 180 per 1000 babies in the first year of life, while in
districts where public-houses are rare the death-rate is about 40 per
1000 babies in the first year of life; and if we are to vote No Change
and acquiesce in that in the name of liberty, how great that idol
Liberty must be!  We must examine it and make sure that its feet be not
of clay.


II

What is freedom?  Freedom is that condition of things which enables a
man to co-ordinate all his faculties for the development of what is
best in him.  The best a man is capable of is the evolution of a
character whose uprightness and honesty will command respect.  But no
sooner does a man set his face toward that goal than he finds that he
can only climb towards it by sacrificing the liberty of his lower
nature.  The animal in man must be fettered that the spirit may grow.
Only so can nobility of character be produced.  It is manifest then
that freedom to produce character is only achieved by sacrificing
liberty.  The idol Liberty is not, after all, really so great.

The best in life is not, however, developed in isolation.  For we are
bound up with our fellow-men in the complex organism of life.  And we
have no right to exercise any liberty that will mean loss or injury to
our fellows.  It may be beneficial to me that I should have the
stimulus of alcohol; it may add colour to my drab life, and make the
bores that harass me more tolerable; and I may find in it a sacramental
value, as it promotes the flow of easy fellowship; but if the provision
made to supply one with that stimulus means the ruin of others--the
perishing of babes and the destruction of homes--then I have no right
to that provision.  The limit of my personal freedom is the beginning
of hurt or injury to my fellow-men.  It is along this great line that
civilisation has evolved.  Each step forward has been a restriction of
liberty.  Every extension of the franchise has been a restriction of
the power of the classes that ruled previously; each new law a
restriction of the right to do what one liked.  Every great social
advance has been a restriction of previous liberty.  No man is free now
to leave his children uneducated; no employer is free to deal as he
pleases with his employed.  No sooner is the child born than the law
has it in its grip: within a few days the parent must register it and
give a biography of its ancestors to a registrar; then it ordains that
it be inoculated.  At five years of age the child is deprived of
liberty, for he is shut up in barracks and then made a prisoner for ten
years, compelled to learn things that will never be of any value in all
the after years.  After he has escaped from that prison-house, there
comes an interval of illusory liberty.  He comes and goes as he likes
after the hours of toil.  Then comes an emotional crisis and he
marries--and what is there left of his liberty?  Every family is
established on this--the restriction of liberty.  The traffic in the
street and the narcotic in the shop are alike in the grasp of law.
From the cradle to the grave a man is surrounded with restrictions of
liberty.  There is no base liberty left to-day but the liberty to get
drunk.  In the name of freedom there must come an end to that liberty.


III

And yet the horizon glows with these placarded appeals to leave things
as they are in the name of liberty.  There is a true feeling behind
these appeals--the feeling that above all things Scotsmen love freedom.
And so they do.  There is no race under the sun that have hazarded
their lives so much and so frequently for freedom as we have done.  How
it stirs our blood to read the words in which our ancestors in the year
1320 defied the Pope when his Holiness sided with England against King
Robert Bruce.  'The wrongs which we have suffered under the tyranny of
Edward are beyond description,' wrote the nobility and commonalty of
Scotland in Parliament assembled, '... while a hundred of us exist we
will never submit to England.  We fight not for glory, wealth, or
honour, but for that liberty without which no virtuous man can
survive.'  We know the end of that and of every fight our fathers
fought for liberty.  It was the moorsmen and cottars of Scotland, who
defied three kingdoms, and fought on with the Bible in one hand and the
sword in the other, that saved the liberties of nations.  But what
liberty was it they fought for? The liberty to get drunk!  The liberty
to establish at every street corner a centre for the spreading of
disease, misery, and pauperism! Those who make such appeals surely
underrate the intelligence of a generation who have not yet quite
forgotten the exploits and the sacrifices of their sires.  The freedom
they achieved was the freedom to worship God as their consciences
directed, and to develop that national character of uprightness and
understanding that has been so fraught with blessing to the world.  And
that freedom it is left to us to carry to fruition--by developing a
State that shall be free from ignorance, from degradation, from vice,
from self-indulgence--in one word, from drunkenness in every form.  'He
who will not give up a little temporary liberty for essential safety,
deserves neither liberty nor safety,' declared Benjamin Franklin.  We
shall awake and establish public safety on the ruins of a false and a
degrading liberty.  When we shall have achieved that--then we shall be
free indeed.


IV

Nothing appeals to my own heart so much as the anxiety shown by those
publicists regarding my taxation.  They feel so much for me, and are
afraid that I shall require to pay more of an income-tax if I do not
vote No Change.  This care for my personal interests touches me
profoundly; and the desire that the nation should drink itself into
financial prosperity must affect every patriot's heart.  But, again,
Scotsmen can think.  And no sooner do we exercise our minds than we see
how fallacious all this is--and how ungrounded our fears.  The greatest
loss the nation sustains is the revenue from alcohol.  What are the
losses that are entailed by that revenue?  Against it must be put the
pauperism that the State has to support, and which is mainly caused by
alcohol; the cost of police and judges and prisons that are mainly
required because of alcohol; the loss to the State of the lives wasted
and ruined by alcohol.  Strike a balance--and there is no gain to the
State from the revenues of alcohol.  The greatest loss the State
sustains is the revenue it derives from the misery and degradation of
its citizens.  No State can grow rich by exploiting the misery and the
vice of its own people.  Were the money now wasted in this
non-productive trade devoted to industry, the resultant product would
pay the State over and over again for any loss from the sacrifice of
alcohol.  Already this is being proved in the United States.  In the
State of Massachusetts an increase in the taxation of theatres, soft
drinks, candy, and transport not only made up for the loss from the
taxes on alcohol, but realised an increase of over 500,000 dollars in
the first dry year!  There in America the breweries and distilleries
are being converted into jam factories, boot factories, and where
formerly 250 men were employed they now employ 1500 men!  One such
factory bears the placard:--

  'Once we made booze,
  Now we make shoes.'

The revenue that comes from prosperity enriches a nation; the revenue
that comes from its degradation impoverishes.  When we are freed from
the waste and ruin wrought by alcohol--then our national revenue will
flourish as never before.  In a prosperous land the revenue will look
after itself.  Those who are so anxious lest we be overtaxed are trying
to inspire us with groundless fears.


V

The most sacred thing on earth is the mother and the child.  It is they
who suffer and perish because of conditions that are indefensible.  The
little spark of grey matter behind the eyes of a little child may
become a Newton, a Knox, or a Walter Scott.  'There is no wealth but
life,' declared Ruskin.  Every motive of patriotism and religion moves
us to do everything in our power to save childhood and motherhood.
There never in any land was any propaganda so cynical, so unblushing as
the propaganda that for weary weeks has now screamed in our ears--'No
Change.'  The blood of four dread years, and then--'No Change!' The
agony of the world's most awful Gethsemane, and at its end--'No
Change!' ... Nothing more need be said.  Only the blind could have made
such appeals.



CHAPTER IV

THE GREATEST OF TYRANNIES

The deadliest foe of humanity is the deadening power of custom.  What
we have seen from our earliest days has no power to stir our conscience
or kindle the fire of indignation.  It may be the case that when Lot
went down to Sodom he was at first 'vexed with the filthy conversation
of the wicked.'  But he did not continue vexed very long.  He got to
like it.  At last he sat at the gates of that city with great
enjoyment.  As he sank into the mire he became unconscious of the
slough.  Otherwise he would never have returned to it.  When the great
war of the five kings against four reached its consummation, and Lot
was a prisoner going north with a halter round his neck, he often
groaned, 'If I ever get out of this I'll never look near that filthy
Sodom again.'  Like a bolt from the blue came deliverance and victory
and spoils--and back he went to Sodom and its filthy conversations as
before.  It is such a wonderfully modern story.  In every age men get
so accustomed to the filth that it no longer seems filth.  The mud of
their daily habit becomes their gold.


I

When we look back on the long road by which humanity has travelled and
read of the things men once did in cold blood, we wonder how they could
ever have had the heart to do them.  The answer is--custom.  To us it
is incredible that men should once have trafficked in human flesh and
blood.  And yet to our forefathers of even recent years it seemed the
most natural thing.  Were there not slaves from the beginning, and
naturally there would be unto the end!  The captains of the slave ships
would assemble their crews in their cabins for prayer meetings while
the holds of their ships were filled with men and women dying in these
gehennas!  So far from experiencing any twinges of conscience, these
slave captains regarded themselves as benefactors of humanity.  Sir
John Hawkins was not alone in priding himself on the fact that he
brought so many of the heathen of Africa into Christian lands, where
they might hear the Gospel.  It is not so long ago when children of six
years worked in factories from five in the morning to nine at night.
We who play with our babes and build our brick castles in Spain while
they shout for joy--think of it!  What hearts they must have had--these
fathers of ours--who took the babes by their thousands and harnessed
them to the car of their juggernaut!  And yet they were not any
different from us.  They were only blinded by custom....  Whoever has
wandered over the hills of his native land will remember the leap of
the heart when he has suddenly seen some fair valley open up before his
amazed eyes.  He can hear the song of the river that waters it, he sees
the clouds playing on the slopes, his awestruck lips murmur with the
great artist as he looked on Glen Feshie, 'Lord God Almighty!'  But no
human dwelling is there, only heaps of stones where the homesteads once
stood; only the bleating of sheep where children once shouted at play.
What became of the people?  They were driven out.  The will of one man
or one woman drove the population of a parish into the Cowcaddens of
Glasgow or exiled them beyond the seas.  And the Church of Christ
looked on silent.  And the men who made the countryside waste prided
themselves on the fact that they set the people, whom they drove forth,
on the way of fortune!  How could men do deeds like these?  How could
the Church be silent in the face of them?  Again it was just custom.
The ears had got so accustomed to phrases such as the 'sacredness of
property,' the 'right of a man to do what he liked with his own,' that
the heart forgot the sacredness of the Gospel and the rights of the
people in the land of their birth.  It is time we stopped mouthing
about the cannon-fodder of war, and began to speak about the
cannon-fodder of custom.


II

If poor, blundering, pitiful humanity had not been blinded by custom to
the folly of war, it would have made an end of war long ago.  But all
the days of youth humanity has shut into dreary barracks, learning all
sorts of foolish things.  And the history it learns is just the history
of war after war!  At fourteen the centuries seem to a boy but a river
of blood.  He deems it an inevitable weapon in the progress of the
world--this ceaseless killing!  It is custom alone that prevents
humanity from making an end of that horror.  And strikes are only war
in another form--the bludgeon of force!  Kaiserism is not dead.  World
dominion for me or destruction for you has its counterpart in two
shillings for me or ruin for you.  The spirit is the same.  If custom
had not deadened us to the meaning of war and strike, we would shrink
back in horror at the very sound of the words.  But, instead of that,
ere humanity has recovered from the woe of the one, we are plunged into
the woes of the other....  It sounds a respectable sort of word!  And
the right of a man to stop working seems elementary--for we are not
slaves.  But humanity has learned there is a higher word than
rights--and that is duty.  We owe service to our brethren.  We can pay
too high a price for two shillings more a day if they mean starving
women and perishing children.  Life is more than livelihood; and if the
endeavour to better livelihood means the destruction of life, then it
is condemned.  And that is what it means.  Europe is perishing.  Vienna
is dying.  All over the world Rachel is weeping for her children.  What
Europe needs is coal and raw materials, that it may have wherewith to
buy food.  And we go on strike.  And ships can no longer carry food or
cotton; and Europe will starve ... starving is a good discipline and I
shouldn't mind ... but, God! the little children ... the babies....
'Strike,' we shout, finding it easy through long custom.  But our
striking is only completing the work that Kaiserism began.  And the
little graves are dug faster and faster;  and you can hear the falling
of tears like soft rain....  What savages we are, unable through any
disciple to learn that the world can only be saved by submitting to law
and by ceasing to wield the bludgeon of force....  When one thinks of
the poor suffering, quarrelling, dying slaves of custom; when one sees
the world in one blinding flash convulsed in the death throes--Oh, God!
if only there came a gale from Heaven--a sudden, rushing wind.  Only
that could save a world blinded like this.


III

You may imagine that I am exaggerating the power of this tyrant of
whose despotism you are unconscious.  But you have only to think and
you will at once recognise that my words are but the words of
soberness.  Use your eyes as if for the first time--and what a world
this is that surrounds us!  I read the other day a paragraph in the
morning paper that made my blood cold.  A discharged soldier got his
gratuity and spent his day in jollity.  He came home at night and, in
the presence of his children, trampled his wife to death, and not his
wife only, but the unborn child--and in the presence of his children.
That, in the most cultured city in Bible-loving and Christian Scotland.
And every day the tale is much the same.  Little children are
perishing, mothers are broken-hearted, and the streets are strewn with
human wreckage.  The casualties of war pale in significance before the
casualties of peace!  But this does not move us: we are accustomed to
it.  These crowded, reeking public-houses, thirty to the half-mile,
battening on the misery of the poor--we have seen them from our youth
and they move us not.  How many in our Circuses and Terraces and Places
will even trouble themselves to so much as vote for the deliverance of
their fellow-citizens?  Very few in these particular places, if I
mistake not.  For they cannot shake themselves loose from the yoke of
custom.


IV

And this same tyrant blinds us to the goal to which we are hastening.
The last great proof of the power of custom is that when nations and
empires were perishing they never knew they were perishing.  Men were
so accustomed to the riches and greatness and security of the Roman
empire, that even when it was tottering to its fall they never realised
that it was doomed.  All nations have gone the one road.  They have
abolished God or the gods!  They have cast duty to the winds; they have
given themselves to Mammon and to pleasure; and they perished--but they
never knew that the world that seemed to them so secure was passing
away.  And unless there comes a change--a mighty gale from Heaven--then
this world we know must perish.  Custom alone blinds us to the fact,
plain to the open eye.  Scotland cannot feed her people but for a few
weeks in the year.  For the rest they must be fed by the food brought
from overseas by the fruits of our industries.  If these industries
fail ... we perish.  The Clyde will no longer hum with the throbbing
engines or great ships come with food....  And every strike, every
stoppage of labour, is but a step towards the abyss....  But probably
that is what God means.  He makes the wrath of men to praise Him--He
will use hunger as the instrument wherewith to scatter the great
Scottish race broadcast over the world, to people the mighty plains of
Canada and the wastes of Australasia.  A great silence will fall over
the plain of central Scotland.  The most hideous of all the workings of
man will be beautified when the lichen grows over the crumbling ruins.
The mavis will sing in the thorn-tree, dewy with fragrance, where
Motherwell now stands ... or Anderston.  That may be the hidden purpose
of our follies and our crimes.  This, at least, is sure, that if we
cannot shake ourselves loose from the grip of custom--custom will be
our destruction.



CHAPTER V

THE LAST DELIVERANCE

Every great social advance made by men in the past has been made under
the pressure of public opinion.  That public opinion was created by a
free and an unfettered Press.  The grim fact that we are now faced with
is that the day of the free Press is over.  Syndicates of capitalists
control the Press of the country, and newspapers whose circulation
approaches a couple of millions create the opinion their owners desire.
The duty of the newspaper is to record facts, and communicate to the
people the correct data on which public opinion can be based.  If the
Press purposely suppresses what is true, lends itself to the colouring
of the records so that the false seems to be the true and the true
false, then it becomes the greatest public peril.  A generation that is
doped with doctored news can scarcely arrive at the truth.  The
newspapers are supplied free by the bureaux of the interested with news
that serve their purpose.  Thus it comes that the machinery for
creating public opinion is largely in the hands of those whose purpose
is that public opinion shall not destroy or lessen their profits.
There are noble exceptions; but, taking it as a whole, the syndicated
Press of this country is no longer a mirror of the truth.


I

In the United States of America and in Canada there are one hundred and
twenty millions who speak our language, whose religion is also ours,
who are the most intelligent and hard-headed people on the face of the
earth, yet if one were to believe what the Press of this country says,
one would be driven to the conclusion that they are poor foolish
idealists who have said farewell to their senses.  And that because the
Press serves the public with doctored news.  One day we are told how a
hundred thousand New Yorkers are to march in procession through the
streets demanding the return of their alcoholic drinks.  The columns
are full of the preparations for the greatest uprising of the oppressed
and parched citizens.  The great day comes and the procession is a
fiasco.  But the syndicated Press omit to record that only a miserable
handful paraded the streets, the offscourings of the city's purlieus,
amid the derision of the onlookers.  We are later informed under great
headlines that the American Medical Association or some such society
has called for the annulling of the Prohibition Law.  We feel that the
climate is bound to become wet again, for the doctors demand it.  But
we soon learn that this particular association of doctors is a mere
fragment of a noble profession--a fragment separate from the American
Association which corresponds to the British Medical Association.  But
the syndicated Press does not record that fact.  The Press that
distorts events after that manner can only flourish among a generation
that desires not the truth.


II

There is nothing more to be desired than that the people of Great
Britain should acquaint themselves with the facts regarding the
greatest social advance ever made by humanity in a generation.  Can it
be the case that the millions of America committed an act of social
folly when they outlawed the liquor traffic and closed the saloons, and
that, awakening from their dream, they are to restore the traffic in
alcohol and the saloon once more?  That is the impression that a
spoon-fed Press seeks to create.  Can it be true?

To answer that question we must ascertain first whether the prohibition
of the sale and manufacture of alcohol in the States was an act of
panic legislation, the result of a snap vote, the effect of a passing
enthusiasm or a fanaticism that was triumphant for a moment?  If it be
of that order, then it may be expected to be cast aside by a wearied
and disillusioned people.  But the movement that prohibited alcohol
across the Atlantic has the toil and sacrifice and devotion of three
generations behind it.  It is not a thing of yesterday.  As far back as
1834 the selling of liquor to Indians was forbidden by law.
Seventy-six years ago (in 1846) the first Prohibition Law was enacted
in the State of Maine.  Fifty-seven years ago the Presbyterian General
Assembly excluded liquor distillers and liquor sellers from the
membership of the Church.  In 1873 the Women's Temperance Crusade
movement was inaugurated--a movement whose ideal was to make the United
States safe for women and children by the suppression of the saloon.
In 1893 the Anti-Saloon League was formed--an organisation that brought
the various societies into unity and fused them into the strength of
steel.  There were long years of work in school and of teaching in the
churches ere on the 18th December 1917 the Amendment in favour of
Prohibition passed the Legislative Assemblies at Washington.  Having
passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, it had to be
ratified by a majority of the various States.  The States had seven
years in which to ratify; but within one year and two months forty-five
States, with a population of over one hundred millions, ratified the
Amendment.  Only three out of the forty-eight States failed to ratify.
On the 29th January, it being certified that three-fourths of the
States had ratified as the Constitution requires, the 18th Amendment to
the Constitution of the United States, prohibiting alcohol, became law.
And on that night the leaders of the movement held a service of
thanksgiving in Washington, and when the hour struck ushering in the
first day of the new era, Mr. W. J. Bryan began his address by reading
the words: 'They are dead that sought the young child's life.'  An
Amendment to a National Constitution which has the generations behind
it is not one to be repealed.  To repeal it requires now a majority of
three-fourths of the States!  The one great fact to remember, is that
by local option two thousand two hundred and thirty-five counties in
the United States had made an end of the liquor traffic in their areas
before Prohibition became the national law, and that there were only
three hundred and five counties in all the States which had not
declared themselves dry before Prohibition became the law.  If anything
be certain under the sun it is that Prohibition is the settled and
unalterable policy of the United States of America.  During a visit of
three months, and after inquiries in several cities, I never met a
single person who wanted the saloon again reopened in the States.
Whatever criticism might be made, there was among everybody only one
sentiment regarding the saloon--and that was thankfulness that it was
closed for ever.


III

There are, however, those who desire the Volstead law defining alcohol
amended so that the sale of beer and light wines may be permitted in
restaurants with meals.  To us that seems reasonable; but there is no
chance of such a policy being adopted.  The reason is that these
experiments have already been made in the States and have been found
unworkable and unsatisfactory.  The settled policy of the reformers in
the States is to seal up the sources of drunkenness.  Every drunkard
began as a moderate drinker; and the evil has to be stayed at its
source.  Mr. Bryan described the process dramatically: 'The moderate
drinker says every man should stop when he has had enough.  But the
difficulty is to know when one has had enough, for enough is a horizon
that recedes as one approaches it.  A frail brother was advised by a
friend to drink a glass of sarsaparilla when he had had enough.
"That's right," was the reply, "but when I have had enough I cannot say
sarsaparilla!"'  The prevailing opinion among the Church and social
leaders is that the liquor trade as it was conducted in America could
not be mended, and that it had to be ended.  And it was ended.  Having
been ended, there is no possibility of its being amended!


IV

It is one thing to legislate and another to make that legislation
effective.  We know that by experience in this country.  It took long
years to make the laws against smuggling operative in this country; and
it was only after Queen Victoria's accession that the laws abolishing
slavery in the British Empire, passed in a previous reign, were made
operative.  In the States the stage of legislation regarding alcohol is
past, and the stage of making the legislation effective has come.  The
difficulty of making Prohibition operative is great, but the difficulty
is being steadily overcome.  No law that ever was made has been fully
successful: otherwise there would be no theft and no murder in a
perfect world.  In one State--Detroit--it is said that five thousand
automobiles are stolen every year, but nobody ever suggested that the
commandment forbidding theft should be repealed in Detroit.  There are
more murders in New York in any one year than in the whole of Ireland
in its most distressful year, but nobody suggests that the commandment
against murder should be repealed in New York.  That a law is broken is
no argument for its repeal.  And notwithstanding all the smuggling
there is no doubt but that the Prohibition Law is obeyed by 99 per
cent. of the American people.  'In Nebraska there are several times as
many men in the penitentiary for stealing automobiles as there are for
violating the liquor laws.'  The persons who are convicted for breaking
the law are the aliens newly come to the country--Italians, Poles,
Irish, Spaniards.  A native-born American scarcely ever is found among
the breakers of the Prohibition Law, and very seldom a Scotsman.  But
the newspapers themselves are the proof of this.  If the disregard of
Prohibition were the general thing,  the  newspapers  would  cease  to
record it; for according to the Press news is the exceptional.  To walk
to business every day is commonplace and receives no record; but to be
run down in the traffic and break a limb is news.  That receives its
paragraph.  It is the exceptional that receives the big headlines.  And
the big headlines about smuggling across the Canadian border and from
the Bahama Islands or about wood alcohol are the proof that these
things are exceptional.  Otherwise they would not be news.  That
ethical passion which passed the 18th Amendment is now being diverted
to its enforcement.  The traffic across the Canadian border is being
stopped, for Canada is now going dry.  The traffic from the Bahamas
under the British flag is being dealt with.  'We shall move heaven and
earth to make Prohibition effective,' said  the orator.  'You had
better move the Bahamas,' came the reply.  It would be a disaster if
the false impression created in this country by the syndicated Press
regarding the working of Prohibition in the States were to lead those
in authority to imagine that the people of the States will regard with
no indignation the British flag being used for the flouting of the laws
and of the Constitution of the United States.  It is impossible that
that can go on.  Everywhere in the States the organisation for making
Prohibition effective is being tightened up.  In social reform the
citizens of the States are determined to lead the world.  I for one am
convinced that they will not be turned from their chosen path or
deflected from their goal by bootleggers or by Jewish syndicates.
Whoever will judge of the condition of the States regarding Prohibition
from the newspapers in New York will find themselves misled.  'In New
York,' says _The World_, 'it will be necessary to install three
enforcement agents to a family, so that they can stand in three
eight-hour shifts, or hire the entire population of the city as special
enforcement agents and set every man to watch himself.'  That is the
sort of piffle that is supplied gratis to the newspapers in this
country.  What is forgotten is the fact that the millions of homes
where the fathers and mothers live and toil, who have carried the law,
say nothing.  Their voice is not heard in their Press.  And they have
not weakened in their resolution that their country shall be a country
where children shall grow up untempted and where monopolies shall no
longer be free to fill the jails and the poorhouses.  No amount of
jibes can alter the fact that there has been no ethical revolution in
the history of the world comparable to that passion for righteousness
which passed the 18th Amendment and which is now determined to enforce
it.  'Our parents,' said a wet orator lately, 'taught us to lay up
something for a rainy day: how much nicer if they had only taught us to
lay up something for a dry one.'  The American will make any number of
jokes about his climate, but his determination is unalterable that it
shall be dry.  There has been no great moral advance made by humanity
in these last centuries which has been unable to hold its ground.
Whatever dust may be thrown in their eyes, the people of this country
may be certain that there will be no repeal.  When the choice is
'Repeal' or 'Enforce,' the American chooses unhesitatingly.  'Enforce'
becomes his watchword.


V

Though in the Western States full enforcement of the Prohibition Law
has not been effected so far, yet the beneficial effects of the closing
of the saloons are so many and great, that he who runs may read.  There
were four millions idle in the States at the time when I was there, but
the nation was going through the greatest industrial crisis in its
history with perfect calm, and without suffering the pangs of
destitution, because workmen no longer wasted their money in the
saloons.  Here in Britain the idle have been pauperised by doles from
the public exchequer; in the United States there have been no doles.
The nation can thus come through a crisis of unemployment without half
its number becoming a charge on the remainder.  That is possible
because the sources of waste are sealed up.  Statistics amply prove
that drunkenness is rapidly disappearing.  The Salvation Army ceased
its rescue work among the drunkards in New York because there were no
more drunkards to be rescued.  In Pittsburg I found the jail well-nigh
empty and the poorhouse without sufficient inmates to keep it clean.
It is the same everywhere.  One great employer of labour, whose opinion
I asked, said: 'Prohibition has given us a good Monday in our factory.'
That was the most terse and effective testimony to Prohibition that I
heard.  There is no broken time owing to drunkenness.  Industrial
efficiency has been increased 20 per cent.  One man who had an interest
in a big hotel told me that the profits from soft drinks
(non-alcoholic) were last year double the profit they used to make by
the sale of alcohol.  Hotels never had such a time of prosperity as
they have had lately.  The reason is that men can bring their wives and
children to stay at the hotels with perfect safety.  The proprietor of
the biggest hotel in a city where I stayed told me that he was glad to
be rid of the bar and that he would never have it back on any account.
A Canadian-Scot who has prospered greatly told me how he became a
Prohibitionist.  'I am interested in a mine in the north,' said he,
'and I went to visit it.  I saw the men wasting their substance and
their lives in the saloons--lying around drugged, with their pockets
empty.  It was shocking.  I used to give $500 to fight Prohibition.
When the wet agent came to my office after that for my subscription, I
said: "Get out!  I'll give $500 a year in the future to make an end of
all saloons!"  It is thus the movement spreads.  The moderate drinker
is as determined as the Rechabites that the saloon shall never open its
door again--and it never will.  One of the oddest testimonies in behalf
of the success of the new law was this saying: 'In Detroit there has
been a falling off in the taxi-cab trade.'  The inference is that
everybody can walk home now.  'We saw,' says Mr. Harold Spender, 'only
a single drunken man in America for three weeks, and then he was a
politician going to Washington.'  In a period of three months I saw
none.  Though this reform has been in operation for so short a time, it
has already effected the greatest miracle in modern history.  It has
healed the sick by the hundred thousand and it has raised the dead.


VI

The readers of the commercialised Press when they scan the inspired
articles regarding America's social uprising have only to use their
common-sense to realise that they are being served up falsehoods.  They
have only to think what a mighty change for the betterment of humanity
has been wrought in the great cities where alcohol no longer seeks and
lies in wait for the unwary at every street corner.  Instead of liquor
seeking him, the drouth must now seek the liquor--and the search is a
toilsome one in a dry and parched land.  What a deliverance that must
be for the weak-willed when the State no longer, by licensed premises
every few yards in the crowded streets, tempts them to take the road to
pauperism and destruction.  They have only to think of the lives of
rich and poor whom they themselves knew, that have made shipwreck on
these rocks and shoals, and think what a deliverance has come to the
nation that no longer, with the marshalled host of its liquor sellers,
seeks to enslave and destroy its citizens.  They have only to look at
the city of their habitation and ask themselves why it is that so many
hundred thousand of their fellow-citizens live under conditions that
mean unspeakable misery.  Why are families doomed to one-roomed houses?
why are children reared under conditions that mean their being damned
before they are born?  The answer is--Alcohol!  In proportion to the
number of public-houses in any district is the misery of the housing
conditions.  You have but to scratch the surface of human misery
anywhere in our cities and you find the turgid stream of alcohol.  Let
the reader of the subsidised Press ask himself why all the money spent
on clearing and cleaning slums has wrought no result?  It is that
alcohol creates new slums faster than the old are cleared away.  Let
him ask why all the money spent in mission work, in philanthropic work,
in rescue work, has not diminished the mass of human misery; and the
answer is--Alcohol!  Let him think of the money now wasted by the
workers in the reeking public-houses being used to clothe and feed and
house the children--and what wonderful cities we would have and what a
new race we would become.  And all that has been done in the United
States and in Canada.  'Our great claim as Prohibitionists,' said
Admiral Sims, 'is that it has shut up the schools of future drunkards,
the saloons and the clubs.  We have saved the rising generation.'  No
amount of misrepresentations can alter facts.  The Americans are not
fools.  They know their own business.  'In every community,' said
President Harding recently, 'men and women have had an opportunity to
know what Prohibition means.  They know that debts are more promptly
paid, that men take home the wages that once were wasted in saloons,
that families are better clothed and fed, and more money finds its way
into the savings bank.  In another generation I believe that liquor
will have disappeared, not merely from our politics, but from our
memories.'


VII

Great Britain led the world in the deliverance of humanity from the
degradation of slavery; the United States and Canada are leading the
world in the still greater deliverance of humanity from the degradation
of alcohol.  Out of the West cometh the world's salvation.  America,
that is for ever singing of itself as the 'sweet land of liberty,' is
now the seat of the greatest experiment in personal coercion that the
world has known.  And that is because the American has freed his mind
from cant.  He has replaced the conception of liberty as liberty to do
as we like by the conception of liberty which is the liberation of
large masses of the community from thraldom to their base appetites and
from the oppression of grafters and profiteers.  The main cause of that
deliverance was the awakened conscience of the people.  When the power
to veto licences was placed in the hands of the people, the citizens
became conscious of the fact that when they voted for a licence they
were just as much partners in the saloon as if they furnished the
liquor and sold it standing behind the bar.  When they considered that
the poisoning of the poor by alcohol was a road to wealth, when they
traced the misery and ruin that afflicted the community to the saloons,
they felt that they could not any longer be sharers in the traffic nor
incur responsibility for it.  It was the Churches of the land that
wakened the conscience of the people.  It was better that any community
perish rather than that they should offend one of the little ones for
which Christ died....  What we need is that the conscience of the
community should be wakened in the same manner.  The Church of Christ
alone can sound the trumpet that wakens from the slumber of torpor.
But the Church seems more concerned about dealing out soothing syrup to
its soporific members than about wakening the dead.  The spectacle of
bishops denouncing Prohibition in the name of Freedom; of
representative Church Councils refusing to recommend the cause of
No-Licence; of congregations being narcotised to the slaughter of the
innocents that goes on ceaselessly all around them--the victims of
Bacchus laid for ever on his altar--while the preacher proclaims peace,
peace, where there is no peace, and expounds an evangel of sweetness
and light while the people are perishing--all that may well make angels
weep.  But the Churches are wakening.  The founder of Christianity
prayed, 'Lead us not into temptation,' and Christians cannot for ever
acquiesce in the State tempting its own children to their destruction.
Just as we look back and marvel how any Christian could ever defend
slavery, so fifty years hence, when the liquor traffic will have become
a memory, men will marvel how Christians could ever have defended the
Liquor Trade and looked on, silent, while it swept the young and the
strong to doom.



CHAPTER VI

THE PERIL OF THE CROWD

The history of humanity is in large measure the history of its own
illusions.  It has always been towards the mirage that men have tramped
with bleeding feet, only to strew the desert with bleached bones.  One
great illusion has been that the golden age would come when the world's
autocracies gave place at last to democracy, and the will of the
multitude became law.  It has come; democracy now wields the world's
sceptre.  But alas! the golden age tarries, and the wistful doubt
arises whether the greatest peril confronting humanity may not be just
that--the sceptre in the hand of the unregenerate crowd.


I

For what we have to remember is that the crowd is by its very nature
and spirit capable of crimes such as the individual autocrat would
shrink from in horror.  You may think that fantastic, and imagine that
a crowd consists, after all, of so many individuals, and that the
spirit of the crowd can only be the aggregate of the individuals
comprising it.  But such a view is mistaken.  The corporate spirit of
the crowd is not that of the units composing it.  The best illustration
of this is the sudden reeling back into the jungle of a crowd when a
panic seizes them.  Let the cry 'Fire' be raised in a crowded building,
and though the separate individuals be of the gentlest and most
considerate, yet instantly the crowd becomes dæmonic, a wrestling,
writhing, struggling mass trampling the weak under foot, with no
thought but self-preservation.

There are various explanations.  One is the law of sympathy, by which
an emotion is intensified in being shared.  At the first cry of peril a
wave of fear passes through the crowd; and as each looks at the faces
around him he sees fear in every eye.  The emotion suddenly unloosed is
like a river whose source is amid the silent hills, that gathers in its
course a thousand rills, until at last it sweeps in mighty floods
everything before it.  Before the flood of terror generated by the
crowd all the decencies of civilisation vanish, and man becomes once
more the animal with but the one instinct--to fight for one's life.
And it is the same with anger.  Let a skilled orator set himself to
rouse the passion of a crowd, and he will soon generate a spirit that
utterly obliterates the individual.  Let him depict the wrongs they
suffer, and anger sweeps through the multitude, bending them to the
spirit of the orator as the corn field bends before the wind.  Though
as individuals they may tremble in their shoes before their wives, now,
fused by rhetoric into one glowing mass, they are ready to loot a city,
pull down a Bastille, and level an absolutist throne with the dust.
But the great explanation of the spirit of the crowd as distinct from
the individual is that in the surge of contagious emotion generated by
the crowd the sense of personal identity is lost.  Each only lives in
the crowd.  And with the loss of identity comes the loss of personal
responsibility.  I no longer stand alone to be judged for my acts; it
is the crowd who will be judged.  The brake of personal responsibility
suddenly snaps.  It is thus that a crowd will commit a crime that the
individual afterwards remembers with horror.  Only a crowd could have
said: 'His blood be on us and on our children.'

In these last years the horrors that struck a chill into the heart of
the world were committed by the crowd.  Suddenly in a Belgian village
the cry was raised, 'We are being sniped.'  Instantly the soldiers were
swept by one emotion, and there rose the cry for vengeance.  Then the
Mayor and the priest and a handful of village notables would be
gathered and shot.  It was the rage and panic of a crowd seeking its
own safety through brutality.

It is plain, then, that the spirit of the crowd is something far other
than that of the individual, and is capable of the greatest crimes.  It
was the crowd that compelled Socrates to drink the hemlock; it was the
crowd that overbore that poor vacillating weakling, Pilate, with their
monotonous chant, 'Crucify, Crucify'; it has always been the crowd that
has turned the sanctuaries into the nesting-places of owls and bats;
and the rock on which humanity may make shipwreck at last is just
this--the crowd.  The millions of the dead have made the world safe for
democracy: the appalling question now is--Who will make democracy safe
for the world?


II

It is, however, only when the crowd is organised that the crowd becomes
a real menace.  The horrors of war are unspeakable just because they
are the horrors committed by the crowd perfectly organised.  A crowd
that has met for no purpose, and is a mere fortuitous concourse of
atoms, can do neither good nor harm.  In proportion to its organisation
is the peril of the crowd.  The power of the crowd that committed the
greatest crime in the history of the world lay in the fact that it was
perfectly organised.  It was there in that chilly morning with only one
purpose, to cry, 'Crucify, Crucify.'  Across all the mists of the
centuries we can see the organisers at work moving among the crowd.
They whisper to one group: 'He struck you in your property, overturning
the tables of your barter; if he lives you are ruined'; and to the
other: 'Remember his blasphemies: what he called himself.' ... And in
the trail of the organisers arose with intenser volume the cry,
'Crucify, Crucify.'  It was the organised crowd that nailed the Son of
Man to the cross.

The fact that confronts us to-day is that the crowd is at last
perfectly organised; so perfectly organised that all the industry and
transport of three kingdoms can be stopped by the flash of an electric
wire.  The crowd knows what it wants, and it has organised itself to
get it.  But the crowd to-day is not an isolated handful such as that
of old in Athens or Jerusalem.  The crowd is now world-wide and
international.  What is shouted on the banks of the Volga in the
morning, at noon is shouted on the Clyde, and at the setting of the sun
in New York.  For the cable and the telephone and the wireless have
woven humanity into one web.  From the rising to the setting of the
sun, slowly but steadily on the forge the international crowd is being
hammered into the unity of steel.

In the old days the crowd had to storm their way into the presence of
their Pilates before they could cry 'Crucify.'  But to-day the
organised, super-national crowd has changed all that.  Now the crowd
can make itself heard across half the world.  It assembles on the banks
of the Ganges and formulates its demands.  The Turk must stay at
Constantinople!  If not, well, there will be trouble.  There in London
or Paris or Washington the modern Pilate receives his message.  The cry
of the crowd hums in his ears across five thousand miles.  'What shall
I do with the bleeding and persecuted?' asks he.  'What is that to us?'
answers the crowd on the Ganges.  And expediency gains the day as it
did in Jerusalem....  And fifteen thousand crosses arise with their
bleeding, agonising victims in Anatolia....  The governors of this
world have had but one rule in all the ages.  Instead of fixing their
eyes on the stars they have gazed at the streets and have listened to
the crowd....  And the organised crowd can to-day make itself heard
round all the world as it cries, 'Crucify, Crucify.'


III

There is to-day one other added element in the peril of the crowd, and
that is the removal of the forces that formerly restrained and curbed.
The witness of history is that only one spirit can stand up against and
cast out the spirit of the crowd, and that is the spirit of religion.
I am not speaking of Christianity merely, but of religion in its
generic sense.  There was only one force in Jerusalem on Good Friday
stronger than the thirst for blood, and that was the feeling that they,
the crowd, must not defile themselves ceremonially.  Only one power,
religion alone, can cut the claws of the tiger in man....  In the midst
of the darkest deeds the thought of God's judgment-seat has ever and
again pulled humanity up.

But it is gone now--that sense of the Unseen Assize.  Two generations
ago the international crowd of the learned (for crowds are of many
kinds), having discovered they could explain some processes, took it
for granted that nobody initiated these processes.  With great
congratulations on the delivery of humanity from superstition, they
bowed the Creator out of His universe.  In so doing they thought they
were ushering in a new world, where man would find deliverance from all
ill through the illumined brain....  Alas! for human hopes.  The
learned have now gone back to the old truth--that this world is
organised spirit.  But the sad thing is that though it is easy to
bamboozle the crowd, yet, once they are bamboozled, it passes the wit
of man to debamboozle them again.  The scientific crowd bowed God out a
generation ago; but to bow Him in again is beyond them.  And the spirit
of the crowd is left to-day without curb or chain from Siberia to Cork.


IV

There are few sadder thoughts than this--to think how the Church has
thrown away the power that once it knew how to use, the mesmeric
instinct of the crowd.  'In our State,' said an American, 'the devil is
fighting hard against the Church!'  'Ah! in Montana it is different,'
was the reply; 'there with us, the devil is running the Church.'  It
would look as if it were even so.  Wherever there was a crowd waiting
anywhere on the ministry of the Gospel, the devil set himself to break
up that crowd.  He did it in ways most skilful.  Had his true
personality appeared, he would instantly have been cast forth.  It was
therefore apparelled as an angel of light that he set about the work.
He never failed to mouth high-sounding phrases.  His favourite
watchword was principle.  It did not matter much what the principle was
if only thereby the crowd could be broken up.  In the beginning of the
seventeenth century the evangel of Jesus, that was committed to the
winds of Galilee and to a handful of peasants, was intellectualised
into a massive system of propositions that was to be for all time the
test of orthodoxy.  One might smile if the fountain of tears lay not
here.  That religion, which is like the wind blowing where it listeth,
was caught at last, and embodied in legal enactments and
formulas--sheltered behind statistics!  Whoever heard of wind blowing
through legal documents?  Build shelters and there is no more wind!
Yet these legal documents became the test of that religion which is
life and which is love.  If any doubt was expressed about the use of
shelters when men needed the fresh breeze from heaven--then the devil
appeared and said that to abide by the shelter was a principle.  Nobody
must touch or change that structure.  If that be done, then those who
were loyal must separate.  By a discreet use of the principle of
loyalty to confessions the devil broke up crowd after crowd of
worshipping Christians.  There was nothing that he could not use for
that purpose.  The doubt arose whether the all-loving Father could
really send babes to everlasting torments or decree that the vast
majority of mankind be tortured, for ever and ever.  That was used to
break up the Church.  A hymn, a paraphrase, the form of a prayer, the
posture at worship, a vestment--anything, everything, was good enough
for the devil's purpose.  By these he achieved his ends.  The crowd was
no longer to be found in one sanctuary.  Here, where I write, in the
days of my boyhood the folk assembled in the open air for their great
Christian festival on the second Sunday of August.  It was a moving
spectacle to see a couple of thousand people in the hearing of the sea,
with the hills brooding over them, raise a psalm to heaven.  But that
crowd has been broken up into four fragments.  There is no longer a
crowd.  The devil has secured its overthrow.  On the wave of an emotion
generated by a thousand hearts no soul shall again be wafted heavenward
in that green place.  For the devil has seen to it that the thousand
hearts shall be no longer there.


V

There is a hopeful side to all this if only Christians will learn
wisdom.  Instead of allowing the devil to break up congregations into
fragments, as he has done for a hundred years, what the Church must do
now is to provide the crowd which will exercise the powerful attraction
of the herd-instinct on the side of righteousness.  The spectacle
presented in a poor and crowded district of a great city by competing
missions--Primitives, Wesleyans, Presbyterians, Catholics, Salvation
Army, and so on--each weak and ineffective--is heart-breaking.  There
are so many of them that there can be a crowd at none of them.  The day
of home-mission activities as now conducted is at an end....  At
Pittsburg I was taken to a meeting in a great auditorium, seated for
8000 people, where Gipsy Smith was carrying on a mission.  The place
was crowded.  There was a massed choir of a few hundred voices.  After
a great volume of praise rolled heavenward, there came an atmosphere
vibrant with the sense of the Divine as prayer was offered.  I never
heard Gipsy Smith before, and I was not prejudiced in his favour.  But
his simplicity, his directness, his power of speaking straight home to
the heart, made me captive.  Here was a master of crowd-psychology.
The Jesus whom this man preached was the elder brother, the lover of
men, the saviour from self.  When the preacher asked those who desired
to follow and obey Jesus to stand up, they rose in hundreds.  It almost
seemed as if the whole congregation were on their feet.  The difficulty
when every force seemed to lift one up was in continuing to sit still.
This is the only mission that can to-day be effective--the mission in
which the mysterious powers latent sub-consciously in man are directed
heavenward.  Instead of weak, isolated, competitive missions, if the
churches would organise home-missions after this order....  There in
Pittsburg, as in every city where men such as Gipsy Smith exercise
their ministry, the first requisite is that the churches organise to
provide the herd.  Without the herd, the herd-instinct cannot operate.
First provide the crowd, and then the masters of crowd-psychology can
turn their faces heavenward.  It will be a poor ruined world if the
crowd be left much longer as the monopoly of the devil.  The laws of
crowd-psychology, which can crucify a Christ and turn an ancient
civilisation into carnage and animalism, can also shape humanity to the
noblest ends.  By these same laws self-sacrifice, love, heroism,
idealism can make their irresistible appeal.  Along this line victory
will come.



CHAPTER VII

LET US HAVE PEACE

It was to attend a Congress of Churches that I crossed the Atlantic,
but it is not listening to speeches that gives a realisation of any
country.  It is when wandering about the streets, sitting in cafés,
listening in a smoking-car, or talking to a man in a hotel lounge that
one forms some impression of the atmosphere which Americans breathe.
It has been asserted, doubtless with truth, that human aberrations are
a misplaced worship.  That happiness which men were created to find in
fellowship with the Highest, they seek in base and sensual forms.
Drunkenness, on this theory, is a species of misdirected worship.  If
this be granted, then, Americans are of all nations the most devout.
They worship the vast in every form.  At Pittsburg you could hear a man
rolling out statistics of millions of tons of steel a year; of harbour
dues, though the city is far from the sea, that put even London and
Glasgow in the shade; and as he speaks you feel that he has a thrill
approaching adoration.  He is on his knees before the greatest he
knows.  It is the same in everything.  A town of 14,000 inhabitants in
1840 is now a city of a million.  He rolls the figures as if they were
a mystic ritual.  Everything with which he has to do must be the
greatest on the earth.


I

It was, however, in New York that one came to the inner shrine of
American idealism.  I had stayed for two days in the academic calm of
Princeton, had heard Lord Bryce lecture in iced and polished and
classic phrases on the age-long problem of Church and State; had spoken
to two hundred theological students who might just be in Oxford or
Edinburgh, for their eyes were just the same--the eyes of youth, who
perennially believe that they at least were born to put this old world
right.  (That is the wonderful feeling that keeps pulpits filled--the
feeling that however much the message has been spurned and others have
failed, yet I cannot fail--glorious dream of youth!)  From that
atmosphere of reposeful idealism I was suddenly projected into the
midst of New York.  It was a bewildering experience.  A friend who knew
his way in the maze guided me to the Pennsylvania hotel, 'The biggest
hotel in the world, with 2200 baths!'  I found a room on the twentieth
storey, served by an 'express' service of lifts.  I could enter into
the feelings of the countryman who, descending in one of those for the
first time and seeing floor after floor flash past, murmured, 'Thank
God, I am safe so far.'  Having secured our 'baths' we went forth to
see New York by night.

Straight as an arrow my friend brought me to the spots where the full
blaze of the illumined streets burst into view.  On every hand the
street fronts blazed with multi-coloured lights.  Rainbows of dazzling
splendour spanned the avenues.  Above every sky-scraper, darkening the
stars, letters of fire proclaimed  'The Greatest Boot Emporium in the
World' or 'The Vastest Store in all the Universe.'  St. John in his
dreams of apocalyptic splendour in Patmos could never have dreamed
anything weirder than this.  Far as the eye could see down Fifth Avenue
the quivering lights proclaimed to the silent stars:  'We are the
people--the greatest on the earth!'  But, after all, the world is but a
tenth-rate little gutta-percha ball in the immensity of infinitude, and
it was a comfort to think that the constellations were not impressed.
On our way back we rested in a 'Soda-Fountain' refreshment room where
we sucked nectar through straws.  'This,' said my friend, 'was a
notorious saloon before the war, and here are we, two douce parsons,
drinking in all the phylacteries of respectability.'  That, on the
whole, was the most wonderful thing we saw that night in New York.  But
as I looked from the dizzy height of my room in the sky-scraper, out on
that city of glittering light, I seemed to realise what it meant.  That
building of monstrous height, these proclamations that darkened the
heavens, making the stars but a background for vaunting--what are they
but the pursuit of the ideal; the scaling of heaven by force; the soul
laying hold on immensity by both hands.  It is humanity on its knees
before the wrong altar.


II

It is the same when the Great War is recalled, as it inevitably is
every hour.  To the American his share looms so vast that he is
convinced he won the war.  Among certain classes 'We won the war' has
become a watchword.  'My brother last year travelled through Italy and
France and part of Germany,' a typical American will confide in you,
'and he met a German officer, and this German told him that they
thought little of the English and less of the French, but that when the
Americans came in they recognised their masters and quitted at once.'
Hereupon a quiet man in a corner begins to talk.  'We air a wonderful
nation, sir, and that's a sure thing,' he nasalises; 'we had only
50,000 casualties, and you had a million, and the French a million and
a half, and the Russians perhaps two millions, and the Italians half a
million--say five millions in all among the Europeans.  My friend says
we won the war with 50,000 casualties!  His idea seems to be that an
American is worth a hundred of his brethren in Europe.  It is the
atmosphere here, sir.  We air a great nation, sir.'  Upon this the
first eyes the second speaker askance.  But a Canadian takes up the
tale.  'There was an Englishman down in Florida this summer and he went
bathing,' thus the Canadian.  'There was a poster forbidding bathing at
a particular beach; but there the Englishman, having donned his bathing
suit, plunged in.  The watcher of the beach rushed to him on his return
to shore and reprimanded him for disobeying orders.  "Oh!  I am all
right, for I took precautions," was the answer.  "What precautions?"
exclaimed the watcher, at once professionally interested.  And the
bather turned round and showed his newly-bought bathing suit.  On one
side it bore the stars and stripes and on the other the legend "We won
the war."  Pointing to these he said, "I was perfectly safe, for no
shark that ever swam in the ocean would swallow that!"' ... The
Canadian can beat the Yankee at his own game.  He just pricks the tube
and you hear the wind whizzing.  But in a few years nobody in the
States outside the ranks of the learned will know anything about any
one's sufferings and heroisms in the Great War except their own.  Just
as to-day it is a surprise to a German to learn that Wellington won
Waterloo, so in the future it will be a surprise to an American to
learn that Britain and France by rivers of their blood won the Great
War.  'We won the war' has only begun as yet to run its course.


III

It was, however, at Mount Vernon, sixteen miles south of Washington,
that I seemed to be nearest to the soul of America.  It was with a
quiet thankfulness that I left the city behind and went on pilgrimage
to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington.  There the scenes amid
which the Father of his country moved and had his being are unchanged.
In the city, the Washington monument, a shaft of white marble rising to
a height of '555 feet 5 1/8 inches,' confronts one's eyes at the end of
every vista.  But here no monument challenges the world by its height.
The plain, wooden building, painted to resemble stone, with a piazza
extending along the whole front, consisting of two storeys and an attic
with dormer windows, surmounted by a small cupola and an ancient
weathervane, is just as it was when Washington lived and died.  In
these rooms with the tables and chairs and bed and pictures, and the
books (duplicates mostly), just as they were a hundred and fifty years
ago, there were dreamed dreams that have changed half the world.  Out
of this farm-house came the impulse and the power wherewith 'The
embattled farmers stood and fired the shot heard around the world.'

There could be found few spots on earth in which one could better muse
on the mutability of earthly affairs than in these rooms tenanted by
ghosts.  Here in the main hall is the key of the Bastille, sent by
Lafayette from Paris as a gift to Washington after the capture of the
prison in 1789.  'Give me leave, my dear General,' wrote Lafayette, 'to
present you with a picture of the Bastille, just as it looked a few
days after I ordered its demolition, with the main key of the fortress
of despotism.  It is a gift which I owe as a son to my adopted country,
as an aide-de-camp to my General, as a missionary of liberty to its
patriarch.'  No nation ever owed so great a debt for its liberty as the
United States owed to France.  George Washington won the War of
Independence because half the people of Britain sympathised with him,
knowing that he was fighting their battle for liberty as well as his
own; but mainly because France espoused his cause on sea and land, and
sent him money, and men, and leaders such as Lafayette.  But in the
realm of international politics gratitude has no place.  When France in
1914 faced the menace of overwhelming and final destruction; when
Belgium, to whose independence the United States was a signatory at the
Hague Convention, was overrun, the Government at Washington did not
even enter a protest, and the President still addressed the Kaiser as
'great and good friend.'  While France that won her liberty for America
was for three years in Gethsemane, the States were 'too proud to
fight.'  As late as 1917 there was the famous speech about 'peace
without victory.'  It was only when a Presidential Election was gained
by 'the Man who kept us out of the war,' and when the interests of the
States on the high seas were threatened with ruin, that the Americans
at last entered the fray.  If Britain had acted as the States did,
France to-day would have been the conscript appendage of Germany.  When
the American Ambassador in London declared in a candid moment that
America came into the war for 'her own interests,' the resolutions
passed and the speeches made disowning him were amazing.  That key of
the Bastille there in Mount Vernon is a monument of international
ingratitude.  There is no reason to narcotise ourselves into believing
that poor humanity has been changed for ever in this year of grace at
Washington.


IV

To-day Mount Vernon is a shrine, and a sky-scraping monument dominates
Washington, but George Washington learned in his own day the lesson
that in politics there is no gratitude.  The founder of the great
Republic did not escape the common fate.  He was accused as President
of drawing more than his salary, of aping at monarchy; there were hints
of the guillotine being needed; until at last the scurrilous attacks
drove Washington to declare at a Cabinet meeting in 1793 that he would
rather be in his grave than in his present position.  It is said that
at the end he would have preferred to seek reunion with Britain.  (An
American lecturer was howled down in New York two years ago for
venturing to refer to that!)  This at least is sure, that Washington
was glad to end his days in the peace of Mount Vernon.  If this may
seem incredible one has only to think of the fate of Clemenceau, of
Venizelos, or of Woodrow Wilson.  There is to-day in Washington a
living monument of national ingratitude.  Whatever may be thought of
many of the acts of President Wilson, of his leaving France to her fate
until he won his election to the second term of office by the help of
the anti-British and pacifist votes, yet posterity will undoubtedly
acclaim him as Lincoln now is acclaimed.  It was he who not only, with
the dreamers of all the years, dreamed the dream of perpetual peace,
but by his unbending will-power forced the nations of Europe to place
that dream, materialised in the League of Nations, in the forefront of
the Treaty of Versailles.  That was one of those epoch-making events on
which the history of the world turns.  It is idle to think that the
coming generations will not place the man who did that among the
greatest of the human race.  And yet to-day his own countrymen can find
no words strong enough to express their contempt and dislike.  There is
no more pathetic figure in all the world.  A shattered body gains him
no respite from abuse.  When the broken man drove for the last time
from the White House to his own home--the burden at last laid down--a
demonstration organised by the League of Nations Union cheered him at
his gate.  They would not go away until he spoke.  He was taken to a
window, and after saying a few words he pointed to his throat, in token
that he could not further reply to the ovation.  History can scarcely
parallel that tragedy.  But Woodrow Wilson can comfort himself with the
thought that the hosannas will rise in chorus when he is dead.  George
Washington has now a monument 555 feet high; a hundred years hence
Woodrow Wilson will have a monument 666 feet high.  The generations of
those who garnish tombs never fail.  'I tremble for my country,' said
President Jefferson, 'when I remember that God is just.'


V

The world has raised a chorus of rejoicing over the results of the
Conference at Washington.  While we rejoice at the prospect of reducing
the number of battleships, we can only rejoice with trembling.  (It is
America, who had the Japanese navy on the brain, that has the greatest
cause to rejoice.)  But agreements and treaties are not going to save
us.  The crucial question is not the form and context of a treaty, but
rather whether there is among men sufficient truth and righteousness to
fulfil its terms.  The warfare of the future will be a warfare of
chemistry.  (According to a statement ascribed to Edison, the whole
population of London can in the future be wiped out in eight hours by
poison gas!)  Is there a possibility  of restricting laboratories and
the massing of deadly germs?  The men who will release the energy in an
atom will be able to destroy a world.  If we look at facts we shall not
be drugged by oratory.  'Rhetoric,' said Theodore Roosevelt, 'is a poor
substitute for the habit of looking facts resolutely in the face.'  The
facts confronting us are ominous enough.  Twice recently one of the
greatest of nations has thrown over the signature of its Supreme Head
and its Secretary of State.  The United States repudiated its President
and refused to ratify the League of Nations; and not only that, but
refused also to ratify the Agreement made with France and Britain to
secure France against future aggression.  The present misery and unrest
in Europe are largely due to the failure of one hundred and ten
millions of the English-speaking race to honour the signature of their
Chief.  The best of them bewail it, and say that it is the fault of
their political system.  Under the worst system of European government
such events would be impossible.

But though the failure to ratify treaties be grievous, yet the failure
to observe treaties duly ratified is still more grievous.  And the
history of our relations with the States is largely the history of
broken treaties.  There was the famous Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850
regarding the Panama Canal; it was repudiated in 1880, and its history
since is a history of broken agreements.  There have been so many
conferences, so many agreements, so many treaties since the days of the
Holy Alliance to the days of The Hague, and the end has always been the
same.  In 1916 Mr. Elihu Root made a speech in the American Senate, the
echoes of which will ring round the world in the coming years.  The
burden of his sorrow was shame for his country's repudiation of their
obligation to protect Belgium.  Here are some sentences:--

'Wherever there was respect for law, it revolted against the wrong done
to Belgium.  Wherever there was true passion for liberty, it blazed out
for Belgium.  Wherever there was humanity it mourned for Belgium....
The law protecting Belgium was our law and the law of every civilised
country....  We had played our part, in conjunction with other
civilised nations, in making that law....  Moreover, that law was
written into a solemn and formal Convention, signed and ratified by
Germany, and Belgium and France, and the United States....  When
Belgium was invaded, that Agreement was binding, not only morally, but
strictly and technically, because there was then no nation a party to
the war which was not also a party to the Convention.  The invasion of
Belgium was a breach of contract with us for the maintenance of a law
of nations....  The American Government failed to rise to the demands
of a great occasion.  Gone were the old love of justice, the old
passion for liberty, the old sympathy with the oppressed, the old
ideals of an America helping the world towards a better future, and
there remained in the eyes of mankind only solicitude for trade and
profit and prosperity and wealth.'

Yes, humanity might mourn for Belgium, and the States stand aloof in
spite of its plighted word, but what of that when an election had to be
won and the Irish vote conciliated!  The world being what it is there
can be no hope of deliverance along the road of treaties.  There can be
no salvation by parchments.  You cannot make a treaty when there is no
sense of truth and honour.  You cannot make a treaty with paganism.
There is no truth or honour there for a treaty to rest on.  And the
world is still overwhelmingly pagan.  Europe may have been baptized and
America also, but Asia still dreams that its day will return.  Japan is
haunted by the dreams of Potsdam, and the hunger of empire is in her
eyes.  China, India, Africa, and the Turk are not yet even baptized!
And yet people think that we have arrived at last within sight of the
millennium.  The characteristic of humanity is its credulous
simplicity.  Men cannot rid themselves of the fond belief that they can
reform the jungle by manicuring the tiger's claws.


VI

The march of events is the proof that the woe of humanity is too deeply
seated to be healed by any human salve.  There is no balm in any Gilead
for these wounds.  The first step towards the rehabilitation of the
world would be the mutual cancelling of the nations' debts to each
other.  The United States alone makes this impossible.  Money that we
borrowed for our allies, and which we cannot recover from our allies,
America insists that we pay.  And yet that money was spent to save
America as well as ourselves.  To realise that one has only to think
what would have happened if Germany had won?  The greatest day in the
history of Scotland was when the German fleet, its crimes against the
laws of Neptune for ever ended, came sailing into the Forth to
surrender.  Through the mist that shrouded it there never moved a
procession so humiliating and so woeful.  Judgment at last overtook the
murderers who gloated over the _Lusitania_!  But supposing Germany had
won, what then?  The first condition would have been the surrender of
the British fleet at Kiel.  And we would have no choice; for a starving
nation must sacrifice everything to feed its children.  But what would
have happened then?  Think of the Emperor William master of the British
and French fleets as well as his own.  What would have become of the
Monroe Doctrine next morning?  What would have become of the scores he
had to settle about the supplying of munitions to his foes?  In face of
the might confronting her, America would have been helpless.  New York
would have been given to the flames if America came not to heel.  We
saved the great Republic as well as France and ourselves.  And now,
having given our sons and our treasure, we are being bled white that we
may pay America for the munitions which we used in her defence.  These
payments are earmarked for the payment of American war-pensions!  The
world has never seen so grotesque a situation.  The protected and the
delivered demand that their protectors and deliverers should pay for
the privilege of protecting and delivering them!  What is at the back
of so preposterous a state of things?  It is this, that there is the
shadow of a Presidential Election looming ahead, and the cancelling of
the debts guaranteed by Britain would be unpopular.  One can quite
realise the use the Irish orators would make of that.  We forget that
Anglophobia is still the staple of American history as taught in her
schools.  The Boston Tea Party and the War of Independence were due to
British vices and the triumph of American virtues.  To cancel the debts
for which such a nation is responsible would be to repudiate the makers
of America! ... What is required, of course, is the right education of
the American democracy.  Schools should teach that it is impossible in
so imperfect a world that all the right can be on one side.  Yet that
is how history is taught, not only there but here.  Our foes also were
always wrong!  There will be no peace in the world until the spirit of
spread-eagleism is replaced by that of meekness; until nations and men
realise that we are members one of another, and that we are here to
help and serve each other.  Until that new spirit breathes through the
masses of humanity, there will be war.  And we shall have to endure.
We who saved America must pay for the privilege of saving her; and we
must do it while every opportunity of doing so is snatched from us.  A
tariff that will exclude our goods has been established; the only way
left to pay is by acting as carriers on the seas!  Now we are to be
driven from that service by nationally subsidised mercantile American
fleets!  And yet we must pay! ... If anything could waken humanity to
the fact that the conversion of the people can alone save the world, it
would be this.  Missionaries to convert the hearts of the American
voters is the world's supreme need.


VII

One of the most impressive sights in New York is the tomb of General
Grant.  Its site overlooking the deep-gorged Hudson river is most
impressive.  It is a square building of white granite without and white
marble within, surmounted by a cupola with Ionic columns.  Above the
door, between two figures emblematic of peace and war, are inscribed
the words, 'Let us have peace.'  These are the closing words of his
letter accepting the Presidency.  Grant had a right to use the words,
for he was a great peace-maker.  He made peace by conquering the forces
of disruption.  He kept stubbornly at it.  But when he won at last he
would not humiliate Lee by taking his sword from him; and when he was
told that Lee's men owned their own horses--'Let them keep them,' said
Grant; 'they will need them for the spring ploughing.'  Nor would he
allow any salvos of victory.  'We are all citizens of the same
Republic,' said he; 'let us have peace.'  To-day the whole world is one
Republic woven together by the mighty shuttles of steamships, airships,
and wireless.  In that world there can be no hermit nation.  In that
world, 'let us have peace.'  In the Governor's garden at the base of
the slope that leads to the citadel, in Quebec, there is an obelisk
that stirs the heart.  It is a monument to Wolfe and Montcalm.  The one
died content that he had won a dominion greater than he knew for the
nation that he loved; the other, dying, comforted himself with the
thought that he did not live to see the surrender of Quebec.  There,
these two heroic souls, near the scene of their heroism, share a common
monument.  The inscription is the most beautiful I know:--

  Mortem, Virtus, Communem,
      Famam Historia
    Monumentum Posteritas
          Dedit.

'Valour gave them a common death; history a common fame; posterity a
common monument.'  That obelisk visualises the hope of the future.  It
would indeed be a miserable world in which men went on hating for ever.
Only the spirit of Him who for the love of men stooped to a cross can
dig the grave of hate and war at last.  When the world shall awake from
its nightmare and shall listen to Him, then the world will have peace.


VIII

When I shall have forgotten all else, I shall remember a morning spent
in Trinity Church, New York.  The oldest grave in the graveyard
surrounding it is that of a little child, Richard Churcher, 'who died
the 5 of April 1681 of age 5 years and 5 months.'  The child's name has
outlived the city; for the old city is gone.  A few years ago the spire
of Trinity Church was a landmark.  Now they are completely hidden by
the buildings of enormous height that surround them.  By contrast the
church and spire look like toys.  One building soars to 724 feet--49
storeys, with elevators rising 41 storeys in one minute, and express
elevators 30 storeys in 30 seconds!  Even St. Paul's Cathedral
surrounded by buildings such as the Woolworth, rising to 800 feet,
would be dwarfed into significance, and Trinity Church is small
compared to St. Paul's.  It is when one ponders such a scene that one
realises what it is that is wrong with the world.  The towers and
pinnacles of Mammon soar everywhere high above the puny sanctuaries of
faith.  The evangel of the Carpenter of Nazareth is jostled aside and
crowded out.  What the world has to do is to make room once more for
love and self-sacrifice--for idealism.  That is the only road to
salvation.  Nobody knows that better than the American.  He likes to
listen to oratory about world-peace; but when the oratory is done he
smiles.  'We might as well,' says he, 'try to lift ourselves by our
bootlaces.'  And that is the moral of it all.

      *      *      *      *      *

The United States refused the mandate for Armenia, and the mandate for
Constantinople, and dishonoured the signature of its chief magistrate
guaranteeing the security of France.  To-day the blood of the slain
cries to Heaven, and Britain is left alone holding the gates of Europe
against a race whose only rule is government by massacre.  And from
America the Press reports a cablegram to the Prime Minister:--'Win
civilisation's everlasting appreciation by keeping the brutes out of
Europe.  Americans expect every Englishman to do his duty.'  What a
strange species of humour!  In very truth the regeneration of the
world's democracies is the only road to peace.



CHAPTER VIII

THE WAY OF PEACE

The supreme need of the world to-day is peace.  Europe is sinking into
the morass of despair because across their frontiers a dozen nations
drilled and armed are watching each other with sullen eyes.  From the
shores of the Pacific to the long wash of Australasian seas everywhere
it is the same.  Civilisation is perishing; but it is a civilisation
armed to the teeth that is awaiting its obsequies.  Every newspaper
proclaims the one need is Peace.  The Conference on disarmament has but
one word to express the sum of all its desires--Peace.  There must be
some stupendous barrier in the way when all this yearning and endless
talking fail to reach the goal of humanity's striving.  However eagerly
the nations pursue it, peace seems to be for ever a receding horizon.
If on one spot of an anguished world statesmen confer as to the things
that make for peace, yet behind their fortified frontiers the nations
are still sharpening their swords.  It is, as it has ever been, a mad
world.


I

There must be some hidden cause of this failure of humanity to work out
its own deliverance.  And our duty is to find out that cause.  It is
quite possible to make an idol even of peace.  Peace is not necessarily
the supreme good.  If there have been wars which call for repentance
and humiliation on the part of those who waged them, there have been
again and again periods of peace which call for even deeper humiliation
and keener repentance.  If we have waged war when we ought to have been
at peace, we have as often been at peace when we ought to have waged
war.  Time and again, a generation ago, we heard of Armenians being
massacred.  But we kept the peace.  There never was a more disgraceful
peace in the history of the world, and awful has been the price that we
have paid for it.  To keep the peace when the innocent are being
massacred is damnation.  Peace is not then the supreme word in man's
vocabulary.  By mouthing it man often falls into the mire.  There is a
greater word by far, and that is--righteousness.  The only peace worth
having is the fruit of righteousness.  That is why peace flies faster
than its pursuers.  The votaries of peace have forgotten that fruit
does not grow without roots and soil.  Eloquence can do much, but it
cannot grow grapes without vines deep rooted in the soil.  And peace is
a fruit of the spirit deep rooted in righteousness.  And the nations
pursuing peace have forgotten that pilgrimages to Washington or The
Hague may be good, but the supreme need of humanity is to go on
pilgrimage to the fountains that will cleanse the heart.  The
deliverance of the world is not by way of renewed or remodelled
treaties, but by the old, old way of renewed and converted souls.


II

How has peace ever come to men?  It has come in one way only--the way
of the renewed spirit.  I have been reading again the wonderful story
of this Scotland of ours, and that old, simple truth has come home to
me afresh.  The problem that confronted Scotland in the dawn of its
history was how to unify and pacify warring tribes that were
ceaselessly drenching the land with blood.  And the way the problem was
solved here is the way in which alone it can be solved on the greater
stage of the whole world.  Fourteen hundred years ago there was no
Scotland anywhere on the map.  There were four kingdoms in North
Britain--the Picts north of the Grampians, the Britons in Strathclyde,
the Angles in the Lothians and southward to the Tweed, and in Kintyre a
small and feeble colony of Scots who had crossed from Ireland.  (In
those days a Scot was invariably an Irishman.)  In those distressful
days wars in North Britain were as common as strikes are now, and women
went forth to battle along with the men.  And they were wars of
extermination--without mercy.  Out of that welter how did unity and
peace come?  The uniter and pacifier came out of Ireland.  The Scots in
Kintyre were Christians, and the pagan Picts under King Brude inflicted
on them a shattering defeat.  It looked as if Christianity were on the
eve of being stamped out in Kintyre.  To Columba in Ireland there came
the cry of his kinsmen's woe--'Come over and help us.'  To a man
burning with ardour and longing for new fields to conquer for his
Master, that cry was like a bugle summoning to battle.  He came to
their help, but not with spears and arrows.  He came with the might of
the Cross.  The greatness of the man is revealed in the fact that
instead of material weapons he went straight to the fountain-head of
the misery.  He realised that there was only one way of salvation for
the Christian Scots in Kintyre, and that was by converting to Christ
the wild people in the North that had braved the Roman arms and were
still in their primitive savagery.  In those days to convert a clan one
had first to convert the chief; to convert a nation one had first to
convert the king.  The goal towards which St. Columba set his face was
the castle of King Brude at Inverness.  Iona was but the base for the
great campaign that was to make North Britain safe for Christians.  If
to-day the problem be how to make the world safe for democracy (though
the problem is really greater--how to produce a democracy worth the
sacrifice of making the world safe for it), in the sixth century the
problem was how to make Scotland safe for Christ.


III

The greatest story in our history is that which tells how Columba made
his venture of faith and conquered.  He never lacked courage this man.
'Do you think, Columba, shall I be saved?' asked the King of Ireland.
'Certainly not,' answered Columba, 'unless you break off from your
sins, repent, and be converted.'  The courage wherewith he faced his
kinsfolk, with that same courage he now faced his enemy.  We can see
his galley sailing up Loch Linnhe with the Cross at the masthead, and
the face of the leader set like a flint.  He would go to the stronghold
of paganism.  Up the great glen the little band trudged with death
lurking behind every bush, but there was never a thought of faltering.
In vain did King Brude bar his gates against him.  No walls can shut
out the Spirit, no gates of iron can debar the Word living and
powerful.  Outside the gates Columba and his band begin to chant a
Psalm--'We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us,
what work Thou didst in their days ... how Thou didst drive out the
heathen with Thy hand....'  And as that voice of his rolled like
thunder the King and the people 'were affrighted with fear
intolerable.'  The gates were flung open and King Brude surrendered to
the ambassador of Christ.  The wild race, whom the legions of Rome
could not subdue, were conquered by an unarmed man.  What a light must
have been in that man's eye: what a fire in his heart!  From that day
Scotland was safe for the followers of Christ, and the little band of
Christians in Kintyre could now sleep peacefully at night, for King
Brude was learning the law of love and the way of peace.  From that day
the good seed was sown broadcast over all the land.  That dauntless
messenger traversed sombre, uncharted gulfs, trod his way along
rock-strewn sounds, and the darkness of the centuries faded before the
Cross that gleamed at the masthead.  The Picts became Christians, and
in due course united with the Christian Scots in Kintyre, and Scotland
found a name.  In time the Angles and Strathclyde were merged in the
unity of the Kingdom of Scotland.  There came first the unity of one
ideal, of one law, of one faith--and out of that there came the four
kingdoms merged at last in the unity of the one Kingdom of Scotland.
Until at last, after weary centuries, the sounds of war hushed into
silence: clan no longer lifted up sword against clan; brethren in
Christ could no longer slay one another.  Peace lay at last like a
golden shaft across all the land.  One fearless unarmed man faced a
king with the weapons of the Spirit, sowed the harvest which we are now
reaping.


IV

It is only by that road that humanity can come at last to the great
goal of universal peace.  It is the road that nations are unwilling to
tread.  They still are following the mirage that has strewn the deserts
of time with the bleached skeletons of those who set out to reach it.
The mirage is salvation by treaties.  That idol has had hecatombs
offered on its altars, and unless there comes a change it will have
hecatombs in the future.  If there be no truth and righteousness in the
heart that signs, then treaties are valueless.  The history of the
centuries is the proof of their futility.  The treaties of to-day can
no more save than the treaties of all the yesterdays.  For the nations
that sign cannot trust each other.  In the hearts of the nations there
is not throned that righteousness which can be trusted.

The world's sickness is of the soul.  What the nations need is that
truth and righteousness be enthroned in their midst.  Without that,
peace is only the scum on the surface of the foul and stagnant pool.
And the witness of the centuries is that righteousness is the fruit of
the vision of God.  The foundation of righteousness is the realisation
of the ceaseless operation of the laws whose source is God.  If only
the vision of God could blaze forth before the eyes of democracies as
it blazed forth before the eyes of King Brude, then the way of peace
would open up for groaning humanity.  How can there be lasting peace in
a world of conflicting ideals?  Can Christianity be at peace with
Mohammedanism stained with the blood of millions of Armenians; with
paganism still brooding over the ideal of an empire based on force?
Can the ideals of unselfish service and of pride and greed lie down in
peace together?  There can be no peace until humanity is brought into a
unity of the soul--of allegiance to one King, of obedience to one law.
The only hand worthy to wield the sceptre of the world is the hand that
was nailed to a Cross.  What the world has to realise is that the
Manger overthrows the Cæsars, and that the road leading to a Cross is
the way of peace.  When we shall send forth over all the world men
endued with the spirit of St. Columba, then there will be hope of the
world.  But that is the last thing we think of.  We fondly believe that
while we ourselves are sinking back into the mire we shall be able to
lift the world up into light; while we ourselves turn our backs on the
Prince of Peace, that we will bestow peace on the world.  It is the
weirdest of all obsessions.  When William Ewart Gladstone was once
asked how a man of his intellect could listen to such dull sermons, he
answered--'I go to church because I love England.'  There is a wider
motive--'I go to church because I love the world, because I can hear
there a law that men should love one another with a love that stoops to
a Cross, by which alone the world can be saved.'  It is vain for
nations that forsake the worship of a God of love to spend their days
devising schemes for bringing peace to a ruined world.  For there is no
way of peace save one--the way of love.  No nation has as yet tried
that way.  And there is no sign that they mean to try it.  The world
waits for the man who will convince it that the new order must be based
on fraternity and not on fighting.  But the world will applaud him
instantly.  Fraternity--that's the word!  Most excellent!  But when the
new Columba will go on to show that fraternity without a Fatherhood to
rest on is meaningless and powerless; that humanity can only realise
its brotherhood in a common Father--even God.  Then the world will once
more shrug its shoulders.  'This is the same old wheeze,' it will
say--and go its way.  For we have no longer any use for God.  That is
the root of our misery.



CHAPTER IX

NO ROOM

There is an old Gaelic proverb that says: 'Where there is heart-room
there also is house-room.'  There was room enough in that mean inn for
the farmers with their pouches filled with money for the tax, for the
soldiers that swaggered with the pride of empire, for the
village-talebearers with their rude jests; but for a poor woman in the
hour of her need there was no room.  She was shut out because there was
not found in that inn any with heart big enough to make room for her.
What was she anyway?--a mere chattel; and what her child?--already
there were too many children; and the only course to adopt was to let
most of them die!  And so at its dawn we can see what a mighty change
Christianity has made in the world.  Though the mother and the Child
were shut out of the inn and consigned to the asses' stall, yet because
of that mother and Child womanhood is to-day honoured and childhood
most precious.  To-day, in whatever land on which the shadow of the
Cross has fallen, there is heart-room and house-room for mother and
child.


I

As one reads the old beautiful story, this foot-note that explains how
the Founder of Christianity was born in a stable because 'there was no
room for them in the inn' stirs the mind with a wistful poignancy.  The
book slips down on the knees and the imagination awakes.  The essence
of nineteen centuries of Christian history is here.  The web of all the
centuries is woven after the one pattern.  Shut out at His birth, His
fate has been the same ever since.  He came with the message of
humanity's renewal.  He proclaimed the most revolutionary doctrine ever
preached to men--that the pariahs of humanity, publicans, sinners,
slaves, those ignorant of the law and therefore accursed, were all the
sons of God; and that only one law was requisite, that men should love
one another with a love that gleamed red with sacrificial blood.  But
what have men done with this evangel?  They have shut it out!  It was
too beautiful for their gross hearts and their self-clouded eyes.  It
was also very difficult.  It required the changed heart and the
transfigured life.  And that has always been most difficult--to
transmute the self-centred into the God-centred and all it means.  So
men set themselves to circumvent that demand for the surrendered
heart--and they offered the surrendered brain.  That is quite easy.
They formulated logical propositions setting forth that thus and thus
God acted, and they said--'Believe this and be saved, or disbelieve and
be damned!'  Christianity that came into the world as spirit and life
became mere intellectual gymnastics!  And with the name of the Lord of
Love on their lips Christians cheerfully burnt each other because their
definitions differed....  What an amazing fate to overtake the most
beautiful thing that ever was seen on the earth! ... A Borgia sits on
the throne of St. Peter; Calvin burns Servetus; the Jesuit exterminates
his opponents; the Covenanter proclaims that he prefers to die than to
live and see 'this intolerable toleration'; and all the time the Lord
Jesus Christ is shut out.  Not wholly shut out, however, for He has in
every age found a shelter and a welcome in the stables and the sheds,
among the ragged, the mean, and the outcasts of humanity.


II

It is not only in the great organisations that bear His name that there
has often been found no room for the Christ; but still less has there
been found room for Him in the social order.  This great revolutionary
identifies Himself so closely with humanity, that He declares that
whosoever receives a little child and loves it receives and loves Him.
How then do we deal with the Founder of Christianity as He comes to us
in the form of a little child, saying, 'Receive Me'? ... This is the
way we deal with Him.  Every five minutes of the day a baby dies
somewhere in the United Kingdom.  There are districts in great cities
where two hundred out of one thousand perish in the first year of life.
A third of the possible population die in the years of childhood.  The
horrors of war are small compared to the horrors of peace, to which we
have become so inured that we scarce notice them.  We have taken the
sunshine and the fresh air and the starlight from millions of our
fellow citizens and shut them up in barracks and surrounded them with
forces of degeneration, and have provided them a narcotic for their
misery, so that womanhood becomes degraded and childhood pines and
dies.  Still, after nineteen centuries, Jesus Christ is shut out from
the social order we have laboriously created.  And we celebrate
Christmas Day without so much as a sense of incongruity between our
beliefs and our actions.


II

One of the weirdest symptoms of decay in our day is the way the whole
social system seems to have conspired to shut out the child.  In the
last years property-owners had one condition that was unaltered: they
would not let their houses to tenants with children.  'How many
children and how old are they?' was the deciding question that always
shut the door.  The coming of a baby was often the signal that brought
an ejectment warrant.  The penalty for bringing a child into the world
was being thrown into the street.  The men who filled the inn at
Bethlehem with mirth nineteen centuries ago have had a mighty multitude
who shared their spirit.  Rents have been to them more to be desired
than babies.

Here is an advertisement that appeared in the _Daily Chronicle_ of 29th
May 1917: 'Chapel-keepers, man and wife (no children), for large
Congregational church, Central London; must be total abstainers ... 5
rooms, coal and light provided.--Write ------, hon. secretary, ... E.C.
4.'  I forbear giving the name of the Christian church that provides
five rooms for its 'keeper' and slams the door in the face of the
child.  (The curious can find it in the files.)  Even in this day, when
the child is so precious to the race, one can see unblushing
advertisements for gardeners and lodge-keepers with the clause 'no
children.'  That the children of this world should act so is
deplorable; but that the children of the light should have 'five
rooms,' and in them all no place for a cradle--that suggests doom.
Think of that congregation hailing, with songs of rapture, the coming
of the Child; the preacher getting dewy over the callousness of the inn
in Bethlehem--and their own servants forbidden a child! ... It was
something like that which caused a prophet of old to exclaim--'Judgment
begins in the House of God.'


IV

At this Christmastide what we need most is to make room for the Child.
People are ever ready to make room for that which they recognise to be
precious.  The most precious thing on earth is goodness.  Give any
mother her choice of her son being rich and a rogue, or poor and good;
she will choose poverty.  There is no power that builds up men and
women in unselfishness and goodness but the power that is radiated from
Him whose life on earth began in a manger.  We must, if need be, cast
away our costliest treasures that we may make room....  In very truth
He cannot now be shut out altogether.  No contumely will drive Him
hence.  It is different now from the day when a woman groped her way in
agony to the asses and the stall.  Different now, for He comes in
through the closed doors.  That is how the world has not been able to
destroy Christianity; and that is how the Child conquers at the last.



CHAPTER X

DOMINION FROM SEA TO SEA

No part of the Empire rendered the cause of the world's soul in the
world war greater service than Canada.  When the clouds of chlorine gas
were let loose it was the Canadians who stopped the gap through which
the torrent of destruction was flowing.  And the question the wounded
men gasped out of tortured throats and lungs was not 'Shall I live?'
but 'Did the Huns get through?'  In the great host that at last swept
the wolves back to their lair, the Canadians were foremost.  'We pledge
ourselves solemnly before God to keep faith with our fallen comrades,'
wrote General Currie to Sir Robert Borden, and nobly did they fulfil
the pledge.  To-day when a citizen of the States begins to demonstrate
how his countrymen won the war, a Canadian produces the official
statistics from his pocket and shows how the ten millions of Canada
gave more of their sons over to death and wounds than the total
casualties of the one hundred and ten millions in the States.  And it
is not surprising that Canada should have a clear vision of the ideal
of duty.  The very name that their country bears lifts that young
nation into the fellowship of the highest ideal.  When a name was
discussed for the new confederation an inspiration came to Sir Leonard
Tilley as he read the eighth verse of the seventy-second psalm: 'He
shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the
ends of the earth,' and on his initiative the name Dominion was
adopted.  Not for Canada alone but for the whole Empire that name sets
forth the only ideal.  The cry of 'World-dominion or death' can only be
overcome at last by the watchword 'God-dominion and Life.'


I

It is difficult for men to learn the lesson of their own most bitter
experience.  Only when the Cross stands far back across the years does
its meaning and purpose faintly gleam on the minds of men.  It need be
no matter for surprise that men who did not themselves stand in the
breach of death should be unable to articulate the master-word of the
future.  That great word will be--Spirit.  What the world gazed on for
four years of woe was the triumph of the spirit.  To the men who,
footsore and limping, marched back from Mons, defeat was
incredible--their souls knew not the word.  And because victory, even
as they retreated, was in their souls, they swept the enemy back from
the gates of Paris.  For four years in mud and misery and defeat the
soul endured and triumphed.  It was the greatest of all the soldiers of
France who said to his body as it shrank in his first battle:
'Tremblest thou?  If thou knewest the dangers into which I shall this
day carry thee, thou wouldest tremble!'  Often and often in these four
years the poor worn suffering body said, 'I have had enough--enough of
mud and vermin--I am fed up; I will do no more,' but when the call of
duty came the soul said to the body, 'I will make you face it, make you
go through with it'; and the soul compelled the body to charge into the
very face of death.  It was the spark of the Divine in the soul that
enabled our brothers to conquer the shrinking of flesh and blood and so
to conquer the foe.  It is in the measure that armies are souls that
armies conquer.  And it has been the same at home in castle and
cot-house.  We have but to think of the wives and mothers.

  'They let them go forth at the wheels
    Of the guns and denied not.  But then the surprise
  When one sits quiet alone!  Then one weeps, then one kneels,
    God! how the house feels.'


However deeply the iron pierced, there was never a thought of defeat
being even possible.  And when the call came the women toiled in the
factories, and the ammunition dumps were their spirit materialised.  At
home and in the battle-line the final destiny of every nation depends
upon the soul.


II

Still more is the mastery of this word apparent when we consider the
future destiny of the world.  One result of the world's blood-bath is
that all thoughtful men are asking, How can the world be saved in the
future?  And multitudes discuss the way of the world's salvation by a
League of Nations or other method.  By parchments and signatures the
world is to be saved!  All that is but the folly with which men have
deceived themselves in all ages.  The folly is apparent when we ask,
Whence do wars spring?  They spring from greed and lust and
ambition--from the life surrendered to evil.  We speak of the horror of
war; what we should speak of is the horror of wickedness.  For war is
only a symptom, not the disease.  What all these weary discussions
about 'Leagues to make an end of war,' and the new watchword 'No more
war,' aim at is the doing away with the symptom--leaving the disease to
run its deadly course.  To suppress symptoms without removal of the
hidden cause is the way of death.  What the nations must face is the
disease and its healing!

It is with nations as with individuals!  How can a man protect himself
against a thief.  He can do it in three ways.  He may (1) use force; or
(2) he may make an agreement with the thief--enter into a treaty with
him; or (3) he may endeavour to reform the thief.  The first method is
militarism and, whether in the form of armies or policemen, is costly
and uncertain.  The second only protects so long as the thief finds it
convenient or in his own interest to keep it.  Neither a burglar nor a
robber-state can be warded off by treaties.  The third alone provides a
certain protection; the only safety is that the thief experience a
change of spirit--be, in short, converted.  'Admirable,' said Cardinal
Fleury, when a scheme for 'perpetual peace' was submitted to him;
'admirable, save for one omission--I find no provision for sending
missionaries to convert the hearts of princes.'  The day of princes is
over, and the day of democracy has come.  The first requisite of
perpetual peace is that the nations of the world experience a change of
heart and spirit--should repent.  But in all the schemes for ending war
there is no suggestion of sending missionaries to convert the world's
democracies.  France has 'extinguished the lights of heaven which none
shall rekindle'; England, if the number of worshippers in the churches
be any gauge, is rapidly sinking back into paganism; and across the
Atlantic the United States is resolved to live unto itself alone,
separating itself from the perishing nations; while on the Continent of
Europe there is but one ritual: 'We did no wrong: we did not begin the
war.'  Missionaries to convert the democracies of the world--they are
needed in legions.  But such a need is not in all the thoughts of the
orators.  They can only think of forming leagues to abolish the
vultures that swoop down on the carcases.  They cannot realise that the
only way to make an end of the swooping vulture is to make an end of
carcases.  Unless the world experiences a spiritual and moral renewal,
any league that would secure it peace in the midst of its depravity
would only secure its moral doom.  It is manifest then that the only
way to abolish war is to bring the body into subjection to the spirit.
The way of salvation is the way of spiritual renewal.  Love does not
kill or poison, and humanity's feet need to be guided into the way of
love.  Along that road there is but the one guide: He who said 'I am
the way....  Love as I have loved you.'  The measure of that love is
the Cross.  And that is why the way to salvation leads through
Calvary....  Peace will only come when the kingdoms of this world shall
submit to that kingdom of the soul whose dominion is from sea to sea.
'I find a hundred little indications to reassure one that God comes,'
writes H. G. Wells.  'The time draws near when mankind will awake ...
and there shall be ... no leader but the one God of mankind.'  But
though Mr. Wells writes sentences so vital as that, yet when one asks
him what God is--he is silent.  Is He holy and righteous?  Though Mr.
Wells' God is but an abstraction, yet the truth remains.  The coming of
the Kingdom of God is the one hope of mankind--that Kingdom which Jesus
preached.  And the entrance into that Kingdom is by way of repentance
and love and faith.  When the soul of the world awakes to that, the day
of deliverance shall have dawned.


III

This, then, must be the goal of human effort, to bring the nations of
the world into such a unity of spirit that war will no longer be
thinkable.  But we, as a nation, can only do this if we ourselves bring
our lives into conformity with the laws of righteousness.  It is
manifest that no amount of oratory will enable us to raise the world to
any higher level than we have attained ourselves.

The first duty, then, is to see that we base our own lives on
righteousness.  The problem is how to bring to bear on the human heart
those motives that will move it irresistibly towards righteousness.
That road is not easy to travel and the choice of it means effort and
travail.  It means a battle against selfishness and self-seeking--a
battle long-drawn-out.  Why should men choose that conflict rather than
ease and self-indulgence?  There can be no reason save this: that God
wills and enjoins righteousness.  But does He?  We know very little
about God, and the strange thing is that the more knowledge that comes
to us regarding Him, the more mysterious He becomes.  But there is one
thing that we do know with absolute certainty regarding God, and it is
this--that all down the thousands of years of recorded history the
power of the Unseen Ruler of the universe can be traced fighting
against iniquity, burying corrupt nations under the avalanche, digging
the grave for tyranny and corruption.  The history of the world is the
history of God making an end of crime.  The way to destruction has been
the way of iniquity.  That God should have so ordered the universe that
the stars in their courses fight against the Siseras, that all its
forces are at last arrayed for the destruction of evil, is the proof
that God is righteous and holy and that the passion in His heart is
that His children should be righteous and holy.  The world, as God
means it, is the school for the training of men and women in
goodness--and so in the image of God....  It is only the call of the
Unseen Ruler as He summons His children to bring their lives into
unison with Himself, that can turn the feet into the way of
righteousness.  There is no impelling force equal to the choice of good
rather than evil except this--that God wills goodness.  No other motive
save that can turn the faces of men towards the heights.


IV

The greatest of all questions then is this--how most efficiently to
bring that motive to bear upon the nation.  It is in the early and
plastic years that the destiny of individuals is fixed.  If anywhere,
it is in our schools that our children shall learn the things out of
which are the issues of life and death.  What atmosphere shall we
surround our children with in our schools? is the supreme question.
'To educate without religion is only to produce clever devils,'
declared the Duke of Wellington in his downright way.  And as a nation
we have made sure of everything being taught--except religion.  No
government-inspector ever asks about it!

What a waste it all is and what a travesty--this pumping of facts and
figures into the weary, jaded brains of little children.  Only five per
cent. or so of the people are capable of benefiting by a long process
of education--yet everybody must be confined in dreary barracks from
five to fifteen years, learning things that will never be of use and
are straightway forgotten.  We ordained that all the children should be
taught, but in our usual blundering fashion we never settled what we
should teach them.  The child looks out on a world of wonder, and
proves its wisdom by peopling every grove and every hill with fairies.
For the child the world is spiritual.  And it comes to us and asks how
came it and why came it?  But our legislators decreed that, so far as
they were concerned, the child should be taught geography and the names
of rivers and hills, but not about the God who made the rivers and
hills and the world; botany, but not about the God who made the grass
and the flowers; physiology, but not about the God who fashioned man;
dates of kings and of battles, but not about the God whose providence
is written over all history; about laws, but not about the Source of
all law--the divine commands that regulate human action.  The only part
of man that the educators considered was the brain.  If they
intellectualised the race they deemed that the millennium would come.
They did it.  But the millennium is further off than ever.  They caused
all the people to go through the mills where knowledge was ground out;
they learned to read and write.  The only consequence was that they
became the victims of every charlatan.  They turned their arithmetic
into roguery and their literature into lust.  They became the victims
of the gamblers and the betting touts.  They pursued the missing words
and became the disciples of demagogues.  And salvation has tarried
though the brain has been nurtured.  Yes! there has come a vast
progress!  London in the next war can be completely destroyed by
spraying it with gas bombs--in eight hours!  Education, with God left
out, will, then, have come to its fruition!


V

National education will only become a means of deliverance from evil
when our schools shall have been transformed into the nurseries of
goodness.  For after all, what we need is good men and women.  Clever
men are as common as berries; what the world cries for is men who can
be trusted, men whose motive will be the welfare of others and not
their own.  'His fame was immense,' was the verdict on a Roman patriot;
'his private property was so scanty that there was not enough to pay
the expenses of his funeral.  He was buried at the public cost.  The
matrons mourned him as they mourned Brutus.'  Ah! the terrible thing is
not to die poor but to die with a character no man honours.  To train
our children to love and desire goodness is our need.  The history of
the ages is the proof that goodness cannot flourish apart from
religion.  And the Bible tells the story of the dealing of God with
men--of the evolution of religion.  It is that which constitutes the
supreme value of the book.

But no book has suffered more at the hands of its friends than has the
Bible.  The Bible is an Eastern book, and it is filled with glowing
metaphors and parables.  Dull, unimaginative Western minds said: 'These
are literally true, and unless you believe them so you are lost.'  The
writer of the beautiful book of Jonah wrote a story rebuking the narrow
spirit of the Jews, and his book has become the citadel of all the
narrow souls who see nothing in it but the whale.  Children should be
taught that science and religion cannot contradict each other, because
they both are revelations of the one God; that the Bible is full of
poetry and parables which the writers never meant that any should
mistake for treatises; that the slaughter of the Canaanites and the
psalms of cursing are no more of the essence of religion, than the
Stuart tyranny the essence of Scotland; that the serpent in the garden
and Jonah in the whale are parables; that religion, in short, is a
flowing and deepening river and not a stagnant pool.  But religion as
too often taught in our schools is only the teaching of things which
the growing boy discovers to be untrue.  So far from doing good, it is
the destruction of religion.

When the Bible is taught as the record of the evolution of the
revelation of God, it will move the hearts of men towards goodness
while time endures, for it enshrines the figure of Him who based a
Kingdom on love and meekness--a Kingdom that endures for ever, because
no guns can fight against a Spirit, nor any frontiers bar it.  The
education that has not this as its base may produce the chlorine
gas--but it will never produce that goodness which alone maketh great.
But the course is so crowded that something must be jettisoned.  And as
inspectors take no note of religion--let it be thrown overboard.  Its
total omission in Secondary Schools is declared necessary, because the
syllabus is too crowded already!  It is as if a man having a ship laden
with dross were offered some nuggets of fine gold and answered, 'My
ship is overloaded already, I cannot take more.'  But he wouldn't be
such a fool.  He would throw everything overboard, if need be, to make
room!


VI

In the last year of the Great War a new Education Bill was passed for
the Northern Kingdom, and provision was made for everything but the
teaching of religion.  At every election the voters who desire that
religion be continued must have another spell of sentry-go to secure
it--all except Roman Catholics and Episcopalians!  Truly we are of the
race of the Bourbons.  The expense of teaching has been trebled; the
futility of what is taught remains as before.  I heard the Chairman of
an Education Authority being asked whether provision was made in the
schools for teaching the children the scientific facts about alcohol.
He replied that the syllabus was too crowded already!  Alcohol has
claimed more victims from humanity than all the wars and famines of all
the centuries; and yet our children were not to be taught the truth
about it because the syllabus was so crowded!  What is it they teach
that could compare in value with the truths of temperance and
self-discipline?  Through a course of training so expensive that the
countryside is well-nigh bankrupt because of its cost, the children
pass and they go forth into the world unwarned of the rocks and shoals
on which the millions have perished....  That, at this time of day, we
should shut the doors of our schools against the knowledge of God, in
whose love alone men can find their healing, and against the teaching
of truth and temperance, which alone can make children grow in
character and goodness, seems possible only on the supposition that we
have been bereft of our judgment.  'If they do abolish God from their
poor bewildered hearts,' said Carlyle, 'all or most of them, there will
be seen for some length of time, perhaps for some centuries, such a
world as few are dreaming of.'



CHAPTER XI

THERE WERE IN THE SAME COUNTRY SHEPHERDS

'He would denounce the horrors of Christmas until it almost made me
blush to look at a hollyberry.'--EDMUND GOSSE'S _Father and Son_.


The world is moving so fast that, before each nightfall, yesterday is
forgotten.  Sitting here before the fire I have been stirring up my
memory, and, out of the subconscious, queer recollections have emerged.
I can see now the grim-faced Highland minister demonstrating in the
month of December to his perfect satisfaction that the Founder of
Christianity was born in midsummer, and that Christmas was but a pagan
festival sprinkled over with holy water so-called.  I think it was the
first time I heard of Christmas.  That good man denounced the horrors
of Christmas with such zest that I, too, would have blushed to look at
a hollyberry--only no holly grew in that part of the Isle.  And that
was so not because the Isle was remote and the folk spoke there an
ancient and little-known language that segregated them from the great
life of the world.  It was the same in great centres very conscious of
their own culture.  It was really only yesterday that Walter Smith was
dealt with by his presbytery for holding the first Christmas service in
his church in Edinburgh.  But we have travelled far since that
particular yesterday, and I am glad that the children of to-day will
never need to blush before a hollyberry.  For from the Solway to the
Pentland Firth the church bells everywhere to-day summon the people to
keep holy day and go on pilgrimage to Bethlehem.


I

There was never a time when the people of this land needed more to go
on such a pilgrimage.  There are ample signs that Mammon has captured
the hearts of this generation.  The day is gone on which Ruskin
declared that there is no wealth but life.  We have outlived that.  A
full bank account and an empty house--that is our modern wealth.  The
rich flaunt their riches in a world seething with discontent.  And the
aforetime quiescent masses now demand that Mammon should smile on them.
Society may perish, but they must have their full share in the largesse
of Mammon.  On the altar of that god duty and patriotism are laid as
the meet offering.  'Great is Mammon,' is the burden of the praise of
our day.  And what a god before whom to bow the knee!

It is only when I go on pilgrimage to-day to the grotto in the rock in
which the asses were stabled in Bethlehem and to the stall where the
Child is laid that I can realise the vulgarity and the meanness of
Mammon.  Out of that manger there issued a power compared to which all
other influences that moulded men are as the rushlight to the sun; in
that stable lies the fountain out of which sprang the river that has
borne on its bosom for nineteen centuries all of beauty and of truth
and of love wherewith humanity has been blessed; and yet all that came
out of the direst poverty.  Mammon had no smile for the greatest and
most radiant thing in all the world's history.  Money secures at least
food and shelter, and it was because they had none that the innkeeper
shut them out.  If they could have showed him a purse full of gold
pieces, he would soon have made room.  And all the life of this Jesus
was woven after that pattern.  The cheapest food sold then were
sparrows.  It was because He was often sent to buy them that He knew
that two of them were sold in the market place for a farthing.  The
patched garment is the symbol of poverty--or used to be!  And He knew
all about garments being patched and patched until they were past
mending.  At the eventide when the boy James brought a coat to be
mended He heard His mother say with a weary sigh: 'I have mended this
again and again: nobody can keep boys in decent clothes; so different
from girls; a new patch will just tear a bigger hole in the old.'
Often He saw His mother cast a half-farthing into the treasury, for she
had nought else.  The tax-gatherer comes, and there isn't a coin to
pay.  Jesus gave much, but He never gave any money, for He had none to
give.  He was homeless for three years, deemed mad by His family, with
no place where to lay His head.  A grave given in charity receives Him
at the last.  The place of Jesus from the manger to the grave is among
the poorest of the poor.  He belonged to the great class of the
disinherited.  If the greatest thing on earth sprang from poverty such
as this, then surely Christmas pours the contempt of heaven upon Mammon.


II

We have only to look at him with eyes cleansed by gazing at the Child
in the manger and we realise how tawdry a god this Mammon is.  What can
he do for us?  Nothing of any worth.  He has never minted a coinage
which can buy the inspiration of a noble thought, which can purchase
love for the starved heart, or can endow a man with the vision and the
faculty divine.  One has but to consider a moment and he will realise
the poverty-stricken condition of Mammon's devotees.  They can command
speed on earth or in the air; they can fly a hundred miles an hour; but
what is the good when at the end of the hundred miles they are as at
the beginning--sated, restless, and dissatisfied?  They can command no
speed by which they can escape from themselves.  And it is vain to wing
a flight upwards through the air if heaven be empty overhead; vain to
alight five hundred miles away if on earth there be no temple, no holy
day, no shrine at which to worship.  'You own the land,' said the poor
painter to the new-rich who boasted his land: 'you own the land but I
own the landscape.'  The great gift is to own the landscape.  And no
money ever bought that.  The only thing Mammon can do is to secure
food, shelter, and clothes.  It can also secure freedom from work--but
that is a freedom shared with the tramp.  Life is greater far than
livelihood; and the worshippers of Mammon lose the very essence and the
end of life in a vain pursuit of the means of living.

That is the witness raised by Christmas as it calls the nations to
realise the true greatness of man.  To a generation that has made life
a hectic rush after money and pleasure, Christmas testifies that to
estimate any man by the money he owns is to blaspheme against the Child
laid in the manger.  The wealth of Croesus makes him but the prey of
the conqueror, and the dust of centuries has buried the pomp and glory
of emperors.  But this Child, cradled in poverty, reigns from
generation to generation.  The voice of an Alexander or a Napoleon
would to-day cause no heart to beat quicker; but millions would die for
Him.  And that because He alone revealed to men the things that are
unpurchasable, the riches that are unseen.  He alone made men realise
that a man's life consisteth not in the things that he possesseth, but
rather in the thoughts that he thinks, in the motives that sway his
action; in the ideals towards which he presses; in the God whom he
worships and makes his own.  How great a revolution He made.  That one
hour in the manger has changed the world.  Every time I sit down to
write a letter and head it 1922 I bear witness to the truth--that the
world I know began when a Child laid in the manger brought to earth the
realisation that all the great and noble things in life can be
mine--though my raiment be shabby and though my banker never thinks it
worth his while to throw me even a word when I reluctantly pass in
through his swing door.  What a wonderful new wine He brought, and how
generously does He pour it into our bottles.  Still new--after nineteen
centuries!  Still bursting the old bottles on all sides!  I can be
quite patient.  There is no need for passionately tearing them in
pieces.  Nineteen centuries!  What are they in the arithmetic of
eternity!  Give the Child time--and all the bottles of Mammon and
vulgarity will at last be burst.


III

No wonder Christmas sends a glow of warmth round the heart, and causes
joy bells to ring in the souls of even the drooping.  It is to-day as
it was of old, when the disciples--poor, dull, purblind men--were
disputing even near the end as to which of them would have the greater
position and the greater wealth and honour.  And Jesus placed a little
child in the midst and said, 'Except ye be converted, and become as a
little child, ye cannot enter the kingdom.'  And in a world weary of
disputing, sated with strife as to who is to have the higher place and
the greater portion, Christmas places the Child in the midst and says,
'Except ye be converted...' What men need is not the sharing of a
booty, but the regenerating of a Spirit.  The faith, the trust, the
purity, the love of the childlike spirit--that's what we need.  What we
do or what we get matters nought, if only that spirit be in the heart.
One man may whirl past in a Rolls-Royce, befurred, bejewelled, and may
be the most pauperised soul on earth; while the stone-breaker at the
roadside may be the inheritor of all things and rich beyond all dreams.
Christmas is the surety of that.  That was the wisdom of 'Stonecracker
John,' who sang:--

  'The good Lord made the earth and sky,
    The river and the sea--and me!
  He made no roads, but here am I
    As happy as can be;
  For it is just as if he said--
  "John, that's the job for thee."
  And so in my appointed place,
  By God's good grace,
  I work, according to his plan,
  And would not change with any man.'

To-day, as it has done for the centuries and the years that are so many
that one wearies in counting them, Christmas throws the halo of beauty
over all shepherds abiding in the fields calling on their dogs; over
all toilers in mines and workshops; over all stonebreakers and
street-sweepers; over all mothers and all babes.  It proclaims to-day
with a voice whose certainty changes not that the man who serves Mammon
and gains the world while he loses his soul makes a grievous and a
profitless barter.



CHAPTER XII

THE FULNESS OF THE TIME

If there be no will guiding the affairs of men towards a predestined
end, what a meaningless welter it all is!  What a record of wars and
feuds, of rising and of perishing empires, of civilisations born and
civilisations overwhelmed: in very truth

          'A tale
  Told by an idiot: full of sound and fury
  Signifying nothing.'

There is unity and a new dignity in the tale when one gets up on a hill
and sees it in far perspective.  Things did not happen by chance.
There was through it all a purpose at work, welding humanity together
with the cement of blood, throwing down the barriers of race and
language, silencing the sound of tumult and war until at last the song
is heard on the plain of Bethlehem that has sung itself into the hearts
of men, ushering in the dawn of peace and goodwill.  In the fulness of
the time the Child was laid in the manger.


I

Every advance of humanity in its upward struggle has sprung from some
divine dissatisfaction.  It was the fulness of the time in that the
world, disillusioned and dissatisfied, realised its need.  The Greek
found no answer for their moral needs in the pantheon of gods that
filled the heart with the passion for beauty alone.  Socrates before
drinking the hemlock advised his disciples to search for another
teacher; but that other could not be found.  The only remedy for the
ills of man that they discovered was that he should cut himself loose
from the world--a gospel of suicide.  The Roman made a god of power.
But when he had conquered the world, invested it with roads and bridges
and by force had imposed peace on it, then he confronted the awful
mystery of his own personality, and his questioning was baffled by a
silence in which there was no voice nor any that answered.  His gods
became objects of derision.  In the gratification of his bodily
cravings he sought to lull the hunger of his soul.  At last Rome
presented the dread spectacle of a Nero who was at once 'a priest, an
atheist, and a god.'  There is preserved a record which visualises the
awful depths to which that pagan world descended.  Nero had murdered
his mother, and he comes back to Rome nervous as to how the people will
receive him.  But the citizens poured out to meet him in their
thousands, and rent the welkin with their shouts of welcome--'Hail,
Nero, the god!'  If that world was to be saved, it had to be saved
then.  If God was ever to intervene in the affairs of men, He had to
intervene then.  The extremity of man was God's opportunity.  The
Unseen Ruler must either come and deliver a world such as that or
abdicate.  The coming of the Child was a necessity.


II

It is very hard to understand how things do happen; and our only
comfort is that we really understand nothing.  We have in these last
years been mesmerised into thinking that we understand a great deal
when in reality we understand nothing at all.  We camouflage our
ignorance by speaking of law--but what is it?  Why do like causes
produce a like result always?  No answer.  We used to explain the
heavens by gravitation.  What is it?  No answer.  We ushered in the new
age of electricity.  What is it!  Silence!  There is no reason, then,
for rebelling against the fact that we cannot understand the greatest
of all mysteries--the coming of God more fully into the lives of men.
All we can hope to do is to realise how natural it is that God should
so come to men.  As the years pass that thought becomes more and more
natural.  In other days God was thought of as dwelling far removed from
the world.  That is not now the great thought regarding God.  'Whatever
sort of being God may be,' writes William James, 'He is nevermore that
mere external inventor of contrivances intended to manifest His glory
in which our great-grandfathers took such satisfaction.'  (The
conception of our great-grandfathers may have been limited; but it is
more important that we should try to be as good men as they were.)
This conception of 'an absentee God outside the world watching it go,'
has given place to another.  The world is now realised as spiritual
through and through; the shrine of an indwelling life.  God is in the
world, has always been in the world, and man's reasoning and loving is
but a reflection of his Maker's reason and love.  Through all the weary
centuries God has been with men, in men, striving with their spirits,
never absent from them, the source of all their aspirations, visions,
and dreams.  If that be so, it is the most natural thing in all history
that in the fulness of the time, when the need was greatest, God should
come in fuller measure into the lives that He had made.  Surely natural
that the glows and flashes preceding the dawn should at last break
forth into the glory of the sunrise.  God, who has been with man from
the dawn, guiding and leading, at last in the noontide speaks with the
articulate Word, making His purpose clear.  If once we realise that
there has never been an impassable chasm between God and man, then the
incredible becomes credible.  For this is not an isolated event; it is
rather the beginning of another great stage in man's spiritual
evolution by which God comes and dwells more and more in the hearts of
men, becoming incarnate in lives risen from the dead; in souls renewed
after His image.


III

With us, too, it is the fulness of the time.  If God intervenes when
the need is sorest, and when man realises the need--then we can well
cherish the expectation that another manifestation of God is at hand.
Nineteen centuries ago He came to a world whose religion was dead.
With us it is not dead; it is sore stricken.  The glow has vanished,
and those who bow down in the house of God in our day do so largely
from force of habit, and not because they believe.  Religion to-day
curbs few evils, and is powerless against the selfishness that
sacrifices the well-being of nations on the altars of self-interest.
And, just as in Rome the unrest of soul made the degenerate a prey to
every charlatan and soothsayer that came out of the East, so the
spiritual hunger of our day brings men and women to crystal-gazers and
table-rappers, bowing down before every superstition, however gross.
And if the Rome of the Cæsars sought to allay its soul hunger at the
banquets of pleasure, so also with us.  Low forms of pleasure have led
the multitudes captive.  The London of Charles II. could not hold a
candle to the London or Glasgow of to-day in the way of refinements of
material sensation.  The old cry of 'bread and circuses' has given
place to the cry of dancing-halls and doles!  In that old world at last
there was no room for the cradle in the family life--the babe was shut
out.  And so to-day.  There is every sign that God must again intervene
and save, or the civilisation we know will be buried with the
civilisations of all the past.  The fountain of inspiration, of
cleansing, of righteousness must be opened afresh, and its reviving
waters sent flowing over all the land.  Unless God does so come there
is no hope.  But all history is the proof that He will so come.  We can
hear the rumble of His chariot wheels as He comes.  Here and there the
Spirit is moving on the face of the waters.  Of old it was shepherds
and fishermen who first received the glad tidings.  That fishermen
should be the first to feel the coming outrush of spiritual power in
our day is wholly natural.  The glad tidings of Christmas is that God
is ever coming to His own.  The duty laid upon us is that we prepare
His way, and make room for Him.  It will be a new Edinburgh and a new
Glasgow when the renewing Spirit shall have swept through them.  It is
the one hope.  In Melrose Abbey there is an old inscription, 'When
Jesus comes the shadows depart.'  Some monk who felt the shadows
gathering round him realised Christ as a living presence--and the
shadows were wafted away.  And he carved the words.  And our shadows
will vanish when He who lay in the manger will come again, in the
fulness of His reviving and quickening Spirit.  Then God will again
work marvels in transfigured lives and in nations reborn.


IV

There are some good people to whom the word Revival is anathema.  There
have always been such people.  'Their doctrines are most repulsive, and
strongly tinctured with impertinence and disrespect to their
superiors,' wrote the Duchess of Buckingham to Lady Huntingdon,
regarding the early Methodists.  'It is monstrous to be told that you
have a heart as sinful as the common wretches that crawl the earth.
This is highly insulting, and I wonder that your Ladyship should relish
any sentiment so much at variance with high rank and good breeding.'
Yet it was that same Revival of religion in the days of Wesley and
Whitefield that saved England when the evil days befell in the end of
the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth.  There is
no nobler figure in all history than that of John Wesley riding over
the whole country, reading as he rode, contesting all England for God,
everywhere wakening the dead.  To duchesses and highly refined folk
that Revival seemed to be 'repulsive' and 'monstrous.'  Religion was
good enough in its own place, but it must not interfere with their
amusements.  They wanted their religion well iced.  To-day when only
another such outrush of spiritual energy can save a poor sick world,
there is no need to trouble about the mocker.  There is only reason to
rejoice that there are manifest stirrings in the depths of human life
which no earthly theory can explain.  Often and often on wearied men
there comes the breath of a new life, and armies, long worn out, arise
and snatch redemption out of ruin.  The prelude to these triumphs of
the Spirit has always been a sense of expectation springing up
mysteriously out of the depths.  That expectation is wholly natural.
We have come through the most awful carnival of blood and tears in the
world's history, and so far there has been no result commensurate with
the sacrifice.  The old world is dead and the new tarries while men are
left

  'Wandering between two worlds, one dead,
  The other powerless to be born,'

If man's extremity be God's opportunity, then, once more, it is the
fulness of the time.



CHAPTER XIII

VICTORY OUT OF RUIN

The world has always been a hard place for minorities.  Majorities are
capable of crimes which, as individuals, they would shrink from in
horror.  And no crimes that stain the pages of history can equal in
ghastly cruelty those which have been perpetrated under the influence
of religious passions.  The Founder of Christianity was crucified at
the frenzied call of those who were the most devout and religious of
their day.  The Pharisees prayed nine hours a day!  Their cry,
'Crucify!  Crucify!' still rings in the ear.


I

Human nature has not changed very much in these nineteen centuries.
And the majority of mankind are still pretty much as they were.  There
is not much good in getting suffused with sentiment over a minority of
one crucified so long ago.  It is more important to realise that the
grim tragedy is for ever and for ever being repeated.  It is a grim
thought to think that the very passions of self-righteousness and
self-interest which crucified the Galilean are now operating in His
name.  In a little village in the Hebrides well known to me, four
Presbyterian churches celebrate the Communion in August.  Here they
are--the Parish Church; the United Free Church; the Free Church; the
Free Presbyterian Church!  If you attended a service in any of these
you would not know any difference between them.  On all vital matters
they are at one.  But there they are in the very name of Christ
negating His purpose and breaking His law.  For His purpose is to unite
men together; bring them into the fellowship and unity of love.  And
they break up that small community into four fragments--and they do it
from the highest motives and under the sanctions of the name of the
Highest.  They act exactly as the Pharisees acted nineteen centuries
ago.  They too were moved by the highest motives; they too had a
passion for the Sabbath.  The Christians to-day, like the Pharisee of
old, make the gospel vain by their traditions.  If He came Himself and
said to them, 'You are wrong: my law is that ye love one another: the
sign of my faithful followers is the love their lives evince,' ... He
wouldn't be listened to.  They would not cry 'Crucify.' ... No!  They
would only give Him a nickname and declare that He had no right
principles!  ... But it isn't in remote villages one beholds that.  It
can be seen anywhere.  Moderators and bishops and dignitaries have met
for a quarter of a century in Edinburgh to knock at the door of heaven
with petitions asking God to unite them!  And they will meet
anywhere--in licensed premises even--except in a church; they will do
anything except have the Communion together....  And they go on
praying!  To-day the very bigotry that sent the Lord stumbling to
Calvary under a Cross is glorified by the name of Christ.  That to-day
is His crucifixion.


II

That, however, is but half a truth.  When we take long views we can
realise that there is no day in the year when we have more right to
cherish the spirit of hope than on this day when the world waits for
the Easter joy bells: Rejoice, Rejoice.  The message of a day such as
this is that no cause that has in it the seed of righteousness, however
feeble it may be and however overwhelming its opponents, need give way
to despair.  There never was a minority so feeble on the face of the
earth as these Galileans whose Master had been crucified.  The cause
was lost.  They had not even understood what He had tried to teach
them.  While He spoke of a kingdom not of this world they could think
of nothing but pitiful thrones such as Herod's!  They left Him in a
minority of one--and that minority was crucified.  Nobody in all the
wide world knew or understood why He hung there....  He who was to
smash the Gentiles, as the Jew believed, was there crucified by
Gentiles; He who was innocent was stamped for ever with the criminal's
brand--done to death with two thieves.  If ever there was an end made
of any cause there was an end made of that personified by the Carpenter
of Nazareth.  The majority trampled the minority into extinction.

The body can be crucified and can be sealed up in a tomb, but
majorities are powerless against the spirit.  When his disciples asked
Socrates where they would bury him he replied: 'You can bury me
anywhere if you can catch me!'  The soul can never be caught; can never
be sealed up in a tomb.  The wind bloweth where it listeth; and no
walls, however high, can imprison it; no tomb hold it.  Out of the dust
the new life arose--the life of the spirit.  And suddenly men realised
that a kingdom not of this world--an empire without legions--was not
only thinkable and possible, but was actually established.  So has it
always been since: the perishing of the body has been but the
triumphing of the spirit.


III

One of the miracles of history is the way in which that crucified ideal
arose and conquered; in which peasants and fishermen went forth to sow
the seed of an invisible kingdom beneath the feet of militarists and
tyrants, who though they rooted it up could never destroy it, until at
last the minority was transformed into a majority.  And that same
miracle is for ever being repeated.  What happened then happens now.
And there are two reasons for that.  The first is that man is much
nobler than he is himself aware of.  Beneath the subliminal
consciousness there are untold riches--golden ore waiting to be mined.
Under the influence of the herd-instinct and of crowd-psychology a man
can on Friday yell, Crucify!  Crucify! but on Saturday he may enter the
valley of repentance and be made anew.  Memory awakes in him when he is
alone.  He recalls the face and the words of the Crucified; doubts
arise as to whether it was right--that cry of Crucify.  No malefactor
could have borne himself like that....  Long-forgotten feelings are let
loose.  Truly that Man had a regal spirit.  However much a man may
sink, he never sinks below the capacity of feeling the contagion of a
triumphant spirit.  Where is the man who cannot thrill as he hears
Livingstone say, 'I'll go anywhere, provided it is forward'?  It is in
that hidden depth the hope of humanity lies.  The cause that seems lost
rallies to its side the multitudes that no sooner do the wrong than
they are smitten with shame therefor and repent thereof.  From the
ranks of its enemies the cause of righteousness ever recruits its most
valiant fighters.  The Sauls are transformed into Pauls, and powerless
minorities into triumphing majorities.

Not only are the laws of the spirit on the side of the righteous
minority, but also the laws of the universe.  The cause of reform
cannot ultimately be defeated because the unchanging laws of nature are
arrayed against evil.  The great ally of every righteous minority is
death.  That was how Christianity conquered at the first.  The
Christians lived righteous lives, and by the very laws of life outlived
the Pagans.  So is it now.  The life of self-indulgence and
self-interest has no vitality to resist.  Death removes it.  The ranks
of the devotees of pleasure are being swiftly depleted.  Death is the
great ally of righteousness.  The multitude, who wanted to turn back to
Egypt, 'died by the plague before the Lord' in the wilderness.  Some
virulent influenza came--and they hadn't the stamina to resist! ...
That's how majorities vanish and room is made for the vigorous and
healthy minority to possess the land.


IV

The Calvaries of Christ are to-day everywhere.  Wherever a child
hungers or perishes, wherever men and women decay and die, there He,
who identifies Himself with men, is again crucified.  Where little
babies die, 200 out of every thousand; where in proportion to the
number of licensed premises is the death-rate among the babes--there He
is crucified.  Here, in this capital city, an hour in the evening has
been added to the hours on which the monopolists in alcohol prey on the
people, that more homes may be ruined and more children perish.  It
seems utterly hopeless.  What is the use of trying to arouse people so
dead to the decencies of life as this?  But, to-morrow, the city will
begin to be ashamed.  The Church will begin to rouse itself.  When Lord
Shaftesbury was toiling to free 35,000 children from five to thirteen
years in Lancashire alone from the Moloch of the factory he wrote--'The
sinners are with me and the saints against me.' That is indeed weird:
how often has the Church looked on, indifferent, while wrong triumphed.
There is nothing more pathetic than to see the Church mustering up
courage to condemn what the world has already judged and set aside! ...
But to-day the message that comes across all the centuries to the heart
of all minorities struggling for the right is this--'Be of good cheer:
victory is on the way: though it tarry, wait for it!'  The darkness of
Calvary is but the prelude to the triumph of Easter morning.



STAND UP, YE DEAD


3rd Edition, 3s. 6d. net.

'It is a book that shakes the heart.... We know no man who has seen
into the heart and verity of things more clearly, "Awake thou that
sleepest...."  In the hands of a master in Israel the same thrilling,
disturbing cry will wake men from their apathy and complacency.'--_The
British Weekly_.

'One of our prophetic voices is Norman Maclean....  Some people do not
know how dead they are, and others do not know how much life there is
in the apparently dead. Let both sorts read this book and awake....  A
terrible chapter is called "The Slum in the Man."'--_Public Opinion_.

'Unless you have the heart of a Kaiser it must thrill you through and
through.'--_From Defeat or Victory_, by ABTHUR MEE and J. STUART HOLDEN.

'There are few writers in whom sympathetic insight and uncompromising
moral judgment, mystic intuition and prophetic fire, are so perfectly
blended.'--_The Christian_.


HODDER AND STOUGHTON LTD.  LONDON



_BY THE SAME AUTHOR_


  DWELLERS IN THE MIST
  HILLS OF HOME
  CAN THE WORLD BE WON FOR CHRIST?
  THE BURNT-OFFERING
  AFRICA IN TRANSFORMATION
  THE GREAT DISCOVERY
  STAND UP, YE DEAD
  GOD AND THE SOLDIER
  LIFE OF JAMES CAMERON LEES





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