Our form of government is good. Call it a democracy if you are a democrat, or a republic if you are a republican, but help to make it a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. A democracy is wiser than an aristocracy because a democracy can draw from the wisdom of the people, and all of the people know more than any part of the people. A democracy is stronger than a monarchy, because, as the historian, Bancroft, has said: “It dares to discard the implements of terror and build its citadel in the hearts of men.” And a democracy is the most just form of government because it is built upon the doctrine that men are created equal, that governments are instituted to protect the inalienable rights of the people and that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.
We know that a grain of wheat planted in the ground will, under the influence of the sunshine and rain, send forth a blade, and then a stalk, and then the full head, because there is behind the grain of wheat a force irresistible and constantly at work. There is behind moral and political truth a force equally irresistible and always operating, and just as we may expect the harvest in due season, we may be sure of the triumph of these eternal forces that make for man’s uplifting. Have faith in your form of government, for it rests upon a growing idea, and if you will but attach yourself to that idea, you will grow with it.
Fourth, the subject presents itself in another aspect. You must not only have faith in yourselves, in humanity and in the form of government under which we live, but if you would do a great work, you must have faith in God. I am not a preacher; I am but a layman; yet, I am not willing that the minister shall monopolize the blessings of Christianity, and I do not know of any moral precept binding upon the preacher behind the pulpit that is not binding upon the Christian and whose acceptance would not be helpful to every one. I am not speaking from the minister’s standpoint but from the observation of every-day life when I say that there is a wide difference between the desire to live so that men will applaud you and the desire to live so that God will be satisfied with you. Man needs the inner strength that comes from faith in God and belief in His constant presence.
Man needs faith in God, therefore, to strengthen him in his hours of trial, and he needs it to give him courage to do the work of life. How can one fight for a principle unless he believes in the triumph of right? How can he believe in the triumph of the right if he does not believe that God stands back of the truth and that God is able to bring victory to His side? He knows not whether he is to live for the truth or to die for it, but if he has the faith he ought to have, he is as ready to die for it as to live for it.
Faith will not only give you strength when you fight for righteousness, but your faith will bring dismay to your enemies. There is power in the presence of an honest man who does right because it is right and dares to do the right in the face of all opposition. That is true to-day, and has been true through all history.