Some twenty years ago I turned back to the sixth verse of the ninth chapter of Isaiah to refresh my memory on the titles bestowed on the Messiah whose coming the prophet foretold. After reading verse six, my eyes fell on verse seven and it impressed me as it had not on former readings. This was probably because I had recently been giving attention to governmental problems and had occasionally heard advanced a very gloomy philosophy, namely, that a government, being the work of man, must, like man, pass through certain changes that mark a human life—that is, be born, grow strong, and then, after a period of maturity, decline and die. It is a repulsive doctrine and my heart rebelled against it. It offends one’s patriotism, too, to be compelled to admit that, in spite of all that can be done, our government must some day perish. In verse seven we read of a government that will not die:
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, ... to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever.”
The fault in the philosophy to which I have referred lies in the fact that while government is each day in control of those then living, it really belongs to generations rather than to individuals. As one generation passes off the stage another comes on; therefore, there is no reason why this government should ever be weaker or worse than it is now unless our people decline in virtue, intelligence and patriotism. It should grow better as the people improve.
In the verse quoted we find that the enduring government—the government of Christ—is to rest on justice. And so, our government must rest on justice if it is to endure. But what is justice? We are familiar with this word but how shall it be interpreted in governmental terms? Christ furnished the solution—He presented a scheme of Universal Brotherhood in which justice will be possible.
To show how important this doctrine of brotherhood is, let us consider for a moment the alternative relationship. There are but two attitudes that one can assume in regard to his fellowmen—the attitude of brother and the attitude of the brute; there is no middle ground.
This is the choice that each human being must make—a choice as distinct and fundamental as the choice between God and Baal; and it is a choice not unlike that.
One may be a very weak brother or a very feeble brute, but each person is, consciously or unconsciously, controlled by the sympathetic spirit of brotherhood or he hunts for spoil with the savage hunger of a beast of prey.