« ПретходнаНастави »
goes on, as the necessary result of the years of strife and sacrifice. Simultaneously, in many lands these aims of the war are finding expression. More and more as the war goes on are the ablest minds calling for them as the only satisfactory rewards of the awful cost, and as the only guarantees of permanent peace. We refer first to some form of a League of Nations pledged to settle disputes by judicial and Christian methods, and secondly, to the extension of the Christian ethic to the relationships of nations, as it has been practised among individuals for a
It is a most noteworthy fact, that, quite independent of each other, several of the most prominent English statesmen, Lord Bryce, Viscount Grey, Mr. Asquith, Lord Robert Cecil, G. Lowes Dickinson, W. H. Dickinson, M.P., and several of our most prominent American statesmen and think ers, Mr. Taft, President Lowell, Ambassadors Straus and Marburg, Hamilton Holt, led by President Wilson, have everywhere been saying that unless some "concert of nations," "league of nations," "partnership of nations,” composed of the great powers, and all others that may come in, shall be achieved, this war has been fought in vain.
It has been in every message and address of the President of the United States since the famous address to the Senate on January 22, 1917. In that address he says that this war must end in a "concert of nations." Perhaps nowhere has the desire been
more forcibly expressed than in his famous Des Moines address: “I pray
God that if this contest have no other result, it will at least have the result of creating
some sort of joint guarantee of peace on the part of the great nations of the world."
Mr. Asquith in his recent widely quoted address at Manchester put this as the chief aim of the war. He said that he saw no hope for any future civilization that was not based on "a partnership of nations” pledged to the peaceful settlement of international disputes, and engaged in co-operative work for the welfare of the world instead of in the selfish advancing of national interests, and also there must come with this some beginning at universal disarmament.
We cannot go into the details of these various proposals here, although they are very simple, namely, to extend those principles of political organization and conduct that already prevail within every civilized nation.
But we would earnestly urge upon every clergyman and upon all other Christian leaders that they be instructing the people in the aims of this war as expressed by our President, so that when our delegates go to the peace conference they may be prepared to demand, with the voice of the nation behind them, that new political order for which the President went to war, and which, as it looks now, England and France will demand. Many books dealing with this new
order, and with some form of a league of nations have been published recently and should have the careful study of every intelligent man. Above all, we wish every one would secure a copy of the book just published, called “Why We Are at War," containing the messages of the President of the United States, and would go through it with pencil, marking the passages that state "the aims of this war." And, more and more, the allied nations are accepting our President as their spokesman.
The other conviction that is everywhere emerging and finding expression in the utterances of Christian leaders in both Europe and America is that there can be no world safe for democracy, civilization, or religion itself, so long as the present double standard of ethics, Christian for people, pagan for nations, prevails. The conviction is seizing the prophetic men everywhere that this war must put an end to that sort of thing for ever, and that nations must be brought under the ethics of Jesus Christ as individuals have been brought, that nations must be held accountable to the same laws of God and man that govern the relationships of all decent men. It has not been so. We have had two standards of right and wrong, one for men, another for nations. It has been wrong, even a crime, for man to steal from man; we have condoned, yes, even praised stealing by nations. It has been wrong, even a crime, for man to kill his brother man, except in self-defence, but we have not raised our voice, until
very recently, when a big nation went out ruthlessly to destroy a weaker nation. We put the man in prison who attempts to act as his own judge and juror, and to inflict punishment with his own hands, but we have expected nothing but that on the part of nations. All Christian gentlemen long ago abandoned the settlement of disputes by brute force, fists, guns, knives, and have learned to settle them peaceably, under the law of Christ; but the first thought, when two nations have a quarrel, is to rush to arms. We have long ago learned to call that man great who gives most to the world, who serves his fellowmen; we call that nation greatest which can get the most by any means. The Christian man does not live by a doctrine of rights alone. He is thinking of his duty and opportunity before the weak ones of the world. He would never insist upon getting his rights when the process involved the innocent. But nations have lived for rights alone until recently, and have known no duties to any but themselves.
All this must be changed now, and nations must live by those same principles of action, laws of conduct, common relationships that prevail universally among good men, and are enforced against evil men. We have brought the realm of human relationships up into the kingdom of God; now we must bring up the nations until all the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. We must insist that as a result of
this war there be but one standard of ethics in the kingdom of God. There is no other security for religion or even for life itself.
We would say in encouragement of those who read, that during the last two years the sermons of both England and America, those published in journals and in books, are everywhere saying this thing. It runs through the best books of the last