I challenge the doctrine, now being taught, that we must enter into a mad rivalry with the Old World in the building of battleships—the doctrine that the only way to preserve peace is to get ready for wars that ought never to come! It is a barbarous, brutal, un-Christian doctrine—the doctrine of the darkness, not the doctrine of the dawn.
Nation after nation, when at the zenith of its power, has proclaimed itself invincible because its army could shake the earth with its tread and its ships could fill the seas, but these nations are dead, and we must build upon a different foundation if we would avoid their fate.
Carlyle, in the closing chapters of his “French Revolution,” says that thought is stronger than artillery parks and at last moulds the world like soft clay, and then he adds that back of thought is love. Carlyle is right. Love is the greatest power in the world. The nations that are dead boasted that people bowed before their flag; let us not be content until our flag represents sentiments so high and holy that the oppressed of every land will turn their faces toward that flag and thank God that it stands for self-government and for the rights of man.
The enlightened conscience of our nation should proclaim as the country’s creed that “righteousness exalteth a nation” and that justice is a nation’s surest defense. If there ever was a nation it is ours—if there ever was a time it is now—to put God’s truth to a test. With an ocean rolling on either side and a mountain range along either coast that all the armies of the world could never climb we ought not to be afraid to trust in “the wisdom of doing right.”
Our government, conceived in liberty and purchased with blood, can be preserved only by constant vigilance. May we guard it as our children’s richest legacy, for what shall it profit our nation if it shall gain the whole world and lose “the spirit that prizes liberty as the heritage of all men in all lands everywhere”?
THREE PRICELESS GIFTS
The Bible differs from all other books in that it never wears out. Other books are read and laid aside, but the Bible is a constant companion. No matter how often we read it or how familiar we become with it, some new truth is likely to spring out at us from its pages whenever we open it, or some old truth will impress us as it never did before. Every Christian can give illustrations of this. Permit me to refer briefly to four. My first religious address, “The Prince of Peace,” was the outgrowth of a chance rereading of a passage in Isaiah. This I have referred to in my lecture entitled “His Government and Peace.”