The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, November 01, 1916, Page 15, Image 15

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    The Commoner
Nineteen -hundred years ago wise men came
from the Bast, following the Star of Bethlehem
and seeking Him who was to be born the Prince
of Peace. If they could do this, inspired only by
nrophecy unfulfilled, this great Christian nation,
after nineteen centuries of demonstration,
should bo able to go as a wise nation from the
west, carrying gift to relieve the distress on
both' sides, and appeal to these people to come
with us and, in the name of the Prince of Peace,
lift the world out of the bloody mire and up to
a plane upon which a permanent peace can be
bUSome talk about going into this war,, if honor
requires. Oh, my countrymen, there is no honor
that we can secure or defend by going into -this
war this is comparable with the bonor that wo
can win if we can, persuade the warring nations T
to turn, like prodigal sons, from the husks on ,
which they have fed and make the future. of the.
world bright by substituting co-operation .for .
combat, and friendship for the hatreds, out, of ,
which wars grow.. ' l .
(From Lalce Mohonk Speech.) . . ,.-. t .
' f
the time he reaches, maturity has fixed some re
lations between himsefr and God and no material
change in this relation can take place without
a revolution in the, man, and this relation is the
most potent influence that acts upon a human
(From The Prince of Peace.) -
' '' " '".,.
Even some olderi-peope profess to regard re-,
ligion as a superstition, pardonable in the ig
norant but unworthy of the educated. Those
who hold this view look down with mild con
tempt upon such as give to religion a definite
place in their thoughts and lives. They assume
an intellectual superiority and often take little
pains to conceal the assumption. Tolstoy ad
ministers to the. Ycultured crowd" (the words
quoted are, his-), a, severe rebuke whence de
clares that the reHgious sentiment rests npt up
on a superstitious fear of the invisible torces of
nature, but. upon man's consciousness of his
finiteness amid anvinflnite .universe and of his
sinfulness; and this consciousness, .the .great
philosopher addg. .mqn. can never outgrow. Tol
stoy is right; man je'epgnizing how limited are
his own powers add how vast is the. universe,
leans upon the .arm that is- stronger than his.
Man feels the weight of his sins and looks for
One who is sinless.; -
(From The Prince of Peace.)
Man is a religious being; the heart instinct
ively seeks for a .(oL. Whether he worships on
the banks of the. .Ganges, prays with Ms face
upturned to the suti, kneels toward Mecca, or,
regarding all space as 'a temple, commutes with
the Heavenly Father according to the Christian
creed, man is essentially devout. ' '",.'
(From T?he Prince of Peace.) ,
, GOD j
The existence bit-God need hot be proven; 'it
is a self-evident truth. "In the 'beginning was
God" we can riot' go beyond that. We must
commence somewhere; we must start with some
thing, and the Christian starts with Jehovah.
The mystery of creation is not made clear by
assuming that matter and force are eternal;
the Christian begins with a more reasonable as
sumption, namely, that God is eternal.
If it is difficult to Understand how there can be
an all-pbwerful, all-wise, and all-loving God
the Creator of all things, it is still more difficult
to understand how there can be a world-, such
as we see about .us, without such a supreme and
eternal being as its author and director. 'It is
r . for the numan miQd to believe in such
a God than to believe in any other theory of
creationhence the almost universal belief in a
Creator. 'The heavens declare the glory bt
God; and the firmament showeth His handi
work. His power, His wisdom, and His love
are all manifested in the provision Ho has made
for the welfare of His children. And how de
pendent we are upon Him! "Give us this day
our daily bread," is not a formal petition. If
He ceased to gather the mists from the ocean
and formhem into clouds, all life would dis
appear from the earth, but wo have His prom
ise, of the early and the latter rain, of seed time
and harvest. If He drew a veil botweon us and
the sun, night would bring with it a sleep that
would know no waking, but light and heat are
meted out to us each day according to our needs,
and he gives as freely to the humblest as to the
greatest. No. wonder He Is called Father, and
Father of all, whether they acknowledge: their
Indebtedness to Him or not.
(From The Fruits of The Troe.) -
Next to the belief in God I would' placo the
acceptance of the Bible as tho word of God.
I need not present arguments in its support; its
claims have been established tho burden of
proof is upon those who reject it. Tlibse who
regard it as a man-made book should bo chal
lenged to put their theory to the test. If man
made the Bible; he is, unless he has degenerated,
able to make as good a book today.
Judged by human standards, man is far bet
tor prepared to write a Bible now then ho was
when our Biblo Was written. The characters
whose words and deeds are recorded, in tho Bible
were members of a single race; they lived among
the hills of Palestine in a territory scarcely
larger than one of our counties. They did not
have printing presses and they lacked tho learn
ing of tho schools; they had no great libraries
to consult, no steamboats to carry them around
the 'world and make them acquainted with tho
various centers of ancient civilization; they had
no telegraph wires to bring them tho news from
the ends of the earth and no newspapers to
spread. before them each morning the doings of
the day before. Science had not unlqcked Na
ture's door and revealed the secrets of rocks be
low and stars aboye. From what a scantily sup
plied storehouse of knowledge they had to draw,
compared with the unlimited wealth of informa
tion at man's command today! And yet these
Bible characters grappled with every problem
that confronts mankind, from, the creation of
the. world to eternal life beyond the tpmb. They
have given us a diagram of man'.s existence from
the cradle to the grave and they have set up
warnings at every dangerous point along the
We turn back to the Bible for the Ten Com
mandments which fprm the foundation, of bur
statute law and for the Sermon on the Mount,
which lays down the rules for our spiritual
growth. The Biblo gives us the story of the
birth, the words, the works, the crucifixion, the
resurrection and the ascension of Him whose
coming was foretold in prophecy, whoso arrival
was announced by the,. Angel voices, singing
Peace and Good-will the history of Him who
gave to the world a code of morality superior
to anything that the world had ever known be
fore or has known since the thrilling story of
One who is the growing figure of all time, whom
the world Is accepting as Saviour and as the Per
fect Example. ' '
Let the athlests and the materialists produce
a better Bible than ours, if they can. Let them
collect the best of their school to bo found
ambng the graduates tit universities as many
as they please arid from every land. Let the
members of this selected group travel whero
they' will, consult such libraries as they please,
and empldy every modern riieans of swift com
munication. Let themglean in the fields of geol-
ogy, botany, astronomy, biology and zoology; and
then Toam at will wherever science has opened
the way; let them take advantage of -all the
progress in art and in literature, in oratory and
in history let them use td the full every in
strumentality that is employed in modern civil
ization. And when they have exhausted every
source, let them embody the results ofttheir best
intelligence in a book and offer it to the world
as a substitute for this Bible of ours. Have they
the confidence that tho Prophets of Baal had- in '
their God? Will they try? If not, what excuse
will they give? Has man fallen from his nigh
estate, so that wo can not rightfuUy expect as
much of him now as nineteen eenUrles ago?
Or does the Bible come to us from a source that
is highor than mam which?
But our case is evon stronger. The opponent
of the Biblo can not tako refHge in the plea that
man Is retrograding. Thoy loudly proclaim that
man has grown and that ho Is growing still. They
boast of a world-wldo advance and their claim
is founded upon fact. In all matters except in
tho scienco of life, man has made wonderful
progress. Tho mastery of tho mind ovor tho
forces of naturo seems almost complete so far
do wo surpass tho anclenta In harnessing tho
water, tho wind and tho lightning.
For agos, tho rivers plunged down tho mountain-sides
rind exhausted their onorgles with
out any appreciable contribution to man's ser
vice; now they are estimated as so many units
of horse-power and wo find that their fretting
and foaming Were merely a language which they
omployed to toll us of thoir strength and of their
willingness to work for us. And, while falling
water is becoming each day a larger factor in
burden bearing, wator, rising in tho form of
steam, is revolutionizing tho transportation
methods of tho world.
Tho wind that first whlsporcd Its sccrot of
strength to tho flapping sail is now turning tho
wheel at tho well.
Lightning, the red demon that, from tho dawn
of Creation, has been rushirg down its zigzag '
path through tho clouds, as if Intent only upon
spreading death, having beon metamorphosed
into an errand boy, brings ua Illumination from
tho sun and carries our messages around tho
Inventive genius has multiplied tho power of
the human arm and supplied tho masses with
comforts of which tho rich did not dare to
dream a few centuries ago. Science is ferreting
out the hidden causes of disease and' teaching
us how to prolong life. In every lino, except In
tho lino of character-building, the world seems
to have been made over, but tho marvelous
changes by which old things have becomo now
only emphasize tho fact that man, too, must be
born again, while they show how impotent arc
material things to touch the soul of man and r
transform him into a spiritual being. Whorever
the moral standard Is being lifted up wherover
life Is becoming largos In tyro vision that directs
it and richer In Its fruitage, tho imprpvemont
is traceable to tho Bible and to the influence of
the God and Christ of whpm the Biblo tells.
The atheist and the materialist must confess
that mart ought to bo able to produce a better '
book today than man, unaided, could have pro
duced in any previous age. The fact that they
have tried, time' and time again, only to fall
each time'moro hopelessly, explains why thoy
will not why they can not-accept tho chal
lenge throwji down by the Christian world to
produce a book' worthy to' tako the Bible's
They havo prayed to their God to answer with r
fire prayed to inanimate matter with an earn- '
cstness that is pathetic and they havo em-'
ployed in the worship of blind force a faith
greater than religion requires, but their al- '
mighty is asleep. How long will thoy allow the
search for the strata of stone and fragments of
fossil and decaying skeletons that are strewn
around the house to absorb their thoughts to -the
exclusion of the architect who planned it -all!
How long will tho agnostic, closing his
eyes' to the plainest truths, cry "night, night," ;
when the sun in his meridian's splendor an
nounced that noon is here?
To the young man "who is building character '
I present the Bible as a book that is useful al-
ways arid everywhere. It guides the foosteps
of tho young; it throws a light upon tho path
way during the mature years, and It is the only
book that one cares to have beside him when tho
darkness gathers and he knows that the end, is
near. Then he finds consolation in the promises
of the Book of Books and his lips repeat, even -when
his words aro inaudible, "Yea, though I
walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil, for Thou art with me, Thy
rod and Thy staff they comfort me," or "I,go,
to prepare a place for you' "that where I am,
there ye. may be also." " ' . .
(From The Making of a Man.) j
J , fc
The divinity of Christ is a material parta'bfc'
the Christian creed; it can not be omitted. . IV -Christ
is to be a Saviour, or even an authorita-
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