Newspaper Page Text
15 — £6. s~ pa^T*=ts THE SAX FRAXCISCO CALL, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 19, 1897. CHRIST'S MESSAGE : What It Means After Nineteen Centuries. HRIST'S message of peace on earth, Cgood will to men is nearer realiza tion to-day than ever before. When our race was in barbarism man When our race was in barbarism, man was arrayed against man, clan against clan, family against family, city against city, tribe against tribe, nation against nation. Courts have taken the place of private wars. Meanwhile there is nothing inconsist ent in a Christian nation strengthening itself by land and sea. "_•*** our army and our navy be invincible and peace is assured. Unhappily all men on the surface of this planet are not yet in spired by Christian principles. There are yet nations who Imagine that might makes right, and ■ therefore, for the sake of humanity and "civilization* a Christian power must- be able and will ing to meet strength .with strength, , to repel, if need be, an Invading army, of I WISH all the daughters (and sons) T on the Pacific Coast a very happy x Christmas. Some of you may say, ah. Mrs. Bottom*, you would not wish me a happy Christmas if you knew my circumstances.. Yes, I would. The song the angels sang. on the fields of Bethle hem will make us glad if we accept it. no matter what our circumstances may be.' Oh, if we only catch the glad music of Christmas we shall exclaim, "The suffering of the present hours are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed." Help everybody to a happy Christ mas. Thus will be brought about the day of which angels sing. MARGARET BOTTOMS, President of the International Order of the King's Daughters and Sons. barbarians, and . thus to preserve for mankind the results which centuries of Christianity have achieved. When that happy day shall have arrived, which is ever drawing nearer, when all nations and peoples shall dwell in the light of Christ, then the powers of earth may wholly disarm themselves. . -. REV. W. H. MOREL AND, St. Luke's Episcopal Church. . — — - » ♦ » ■ — — \ ■ T the time of' Christ's appearance Z_j thro was no peace anywhere on zh earth except where populations were overawed by Roman legions, and good will among men did not exist. The ! stranger was an* enemy, 'international hospitality and racial j fraternity had no existence. Slavery was universal, and the master had absolute , power over the life and person of the slave. Emancipation _ began- with the Chris tian church. Its principles and prac tices broke the chains, of the slave and. created freedom of thought. A spark of liberty was ' kept alive during the middle age's, until, through' the' church and the Christian universities, it made possible conditions " under which " peo ples could govern themselves. The wars of all preceding centuries held progress and development in check. The pagan world was grossly immoral; the Christian world has sanctified the marriage tie. The Roman world knew neither sympathy nor pity. There was no place lv it for the homeless, the helpless, the unfortunate, the widow PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN. or the orphan. The distinction of our time is the universal acceptation of the responsibility of prosperity to care for misfortune. The Roman world had the few highly educated and the masses densely ignorant. The Christian world has thrown the duty of education upon the state and the state is intelligently A^-l-Y subject is one- that has filled / \ great libraries and galleries of art; has powerfully influenced, as no"other thing could. do, the history of the world ; j has changed the character of men's thoughts and aspirations, and must'; ever necessarily be interwoven ''with men's hopes for the future of hu manity. ■»,-» '■"■'.•; '•*-'•''"" ' . When 'the Christ-child -was born, the whole world was becoming* more and more conscious of a sense of decrepi tude and decay. . When, in' the solemn midnight, the -heavens were- opened and the air made luminous by the presence and musical with the voices of angelic hosts pro claiming the birth of the Messiah, the glad tidings were announced for all men everywhere, and first, with singu lar fitness, to the poorest and lowliest. Through his appointed teachers, from that day to this, the child who was born in Bethlehem has been preaching His life-giving gospel and proclaiming His sweet beatitudes. For every age and each individual He has made these beatitudes at tainable, and the conditions of them practicable and feasible, by His holy precepts and . examples, by the aid of purifying and strengthening sacra ments, by the charities and countless benefactions with which He has in spired His followers, and by the my riad images of His own perfection and goodness in the lives and teachings of holy men and women. He has taught the world to build hospitals and asy lums for the solace of all the ills that flesh is heir to. He has emancipated' the slave, He has raised woman from her condition of the slave and toy of man to that of his equal companion. He has given new impulse and inspira tion and almost creation to the finer arts architecture, painting, sculp ture,' poetry, music, oratory litera ture and jurisprudence. -He alone has made possible -Magna Charta and the preamble of the Declaration of Inde pendence. He has turned the face; of the world from its wistful gaze after . a fast' receding mythical golden age to a confident looking for a fulfillment, in no small literal measure, of the prayer that He taught the • world: "Thy king dom come, Thy will 'be done on earth as it is in heaven." ' My heart, yet bleeding from the. fresh wound of the loss of 'the. great genius who was my friend, at one time a citi zen of 'San Francisco, but long since an adopted citizen of the world, prompts me to say that the inspiration of the thought of Henry George could ' have come only from the Christ-like ■ spirit and the Christ-like love of jus tice and of the brotherhood -which per vade that thought. It is this that has • won to him the heart of the world, and that makes his monumentaL work; not merely a philosophy, but a prophecy, a poem and a prayer. * - and universally meeting the obliga tion placed upon it. The brotherhood; of .man and the peace of the world are to-day the aspi rations of nations, "the work of states men and the continuing efforts of the church. .--rr " CHATJNCEY DEPEW. NOTHING is more misleading, or, indeed-, more prejudicial to the Christian religion than Scripture misunderstood or misapplied.; The canticle. of the. angels over the crib of Bethlehem on the night of', our Re- I deemer's birth seems to be gainsaid by the actual history of -- the- world ' since then; and the contrast between the prophecy and the event, between the peace that was announced and the endless wars that have deluged even Christian nations With blood, * drives j I ' some into doubt and despair and drives some into doubt and despair and others •-"■•"> -.*■■» THE great principles of Justice, Liberty and Equality, with the "Golden Rule.", have been* echoed and re-echoed around the globe through the centuries by the leaders of all great religions. It is folly to claim for any blind faith what science, rea son and advancing civilization have achieved for the human race. Has this message brought "peace- and good will to the starving multitudes?" And what has this . message of "peace and good will" done -for w< man? When the mothers of the race enjoy justice, liberty and equality, then, and not till then -can. they echo back the glad message of love: "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth and good will to all mankind." : . ELIZABETH CADY STANTON. to look for a realization of the pur poses of the Incarnation to an imagin ary millennium. In reality there is no contradiction, no contrast, for there , was neither, prophecy nor promise of universal ' peace. The Catholic reading of theGqspel is: Glory to God in the, highest; Peace on earth to men of good will. However the words "good will" be in terpreted, they, clearly mark a'restric tion,* a limitation, and indicate that the peace proclaimed is personal, interior, spiritual, the peace of which the apos tle speaks. . '■■' ! It would be interesting, to examine how far the Gospel has affected the warlike passions of ; nations or the usages of war; but if it 'be maintained -that Christ our Lord and the Christian religion and the cross have -given only one occasion more for sanguinary con flict among the unhappy sons of men, this, instead of being an argument against ! Christ, is an argument for Christ. ! But there are many, evils besides war, many good , things besides peace. - Whether Christianity has or has not exerted a benign influence in the coun cil chambers of rulers and in the tents of generals, no one can doubt that to it must be ascribed many of the bless ings we enjoy. ; In view of the teaching, the life, the death of him whose birthday Christ inas commemorates, we must ask not what has our Lord Jesus Christ done 'mv iu*n pd.viaodj ipiqw p-jo.\_ *c uioji but is grace life eternal? Is the Gospel the power of God unto the salvation of every one that belleveth? - -_"»'? " • REV. J. J. PRENDERGAST, ' • , Rector St. • Mary's Cathedral. PAGES 15 ~ 26. THE divine message of peace and good will which came to the earth with the advent of the Savior nine teen centuries ago has never been, so far as history reveals the story of the years, so potent in its influence as it is to-day. It may be regarded as the greatest of all the watchwords of Christian progress and enlightenment, for while men have differed and have even made war upon each other in their zeal or bigotry regarding articles ; of creed and tenets of faith, they all yielded admiration for and j belief in this promise of harmony and love. The • fulfillment or realization of universal ' amity . has made more rapid and broader, progress under the influence ■ of the Christian faith than under all ; other creeds of religion known to man. The great principle of internation al arbitration has in the last half century been time and again em ployed for the successful avertment of war and the adjustment of quarrels which would, if left unsettled, have been continuous causes of anxiety, danger and material loss. The growth of national as well as individual sen timent and desire is stronger, year by year, for arbitrament through reason instead of by the sword. In like pro portion has been the development and perfection of the codes of law, of trade and commerce toward the common goal, the attainment of justice and ths maintenance of peaceful and prosper ous intercourse. We are told that "the ways of ths Lord are past finding out," and in con sidering this working out of the pro phetic promise who shall say that the modern marvels in war-making power the giant battle-ships, the fleet and deadly torpedo, the dreadful long range j artillery, the Mitrailleuse and the magazine — are not themselves means in the hands of the Almighty toward the same great merciful end. None of the great nations of the world for now more than twenty-five years have dared to war with each other, and the very perfection and power and cost of these weapons have made war almost prohibitive. Recent wars have mainly been confined to the operations of civilized nations in opening up to Christianity and enlightened inter course the continents and ' 'countries which are encumbered by savage or barbaric races. These efforts, leading as they do to the amelioration of the condition of the subjugated peoples, may well be regarded as making for the realization of that world-wide peace which the Evangel of Christmas tide heralds in angelic chorus to all lands and all peoples. LEVI P. MORTON. 1 1 -y LORY to God in the highest, and ' rLon earth peace, good will toward — Luke ii:l4. . : :";,:>:" This is the first Christmas carol. You ask,* "What has it to do with us to day?" i It has everything to do with us. We cannot separate the song from the unique personality of whose na tivity it was the annunciation. We are in the last years of the last decade of the nineteenth century since the birth of the babe of Bethlehem. The birth of that child has had more - influence on the history of the world than any other event since time began. • The Christ-child was no son -of." distin guished parents, no heir to riches or royalty, and yet, as Richter said, "Hs lifted the gates of empires off their hinges and turned the streams of his tory into new channels." The Christ child is lord of the world's calendar. Even creation is forgotten as the. epoch from which all is to be reckoned. - -.* The fair promise of "peace on earth and good will to all me? which the listening shepherds of Bethlehem heard from the angels singing in the sky has not found its complete fulfillment . yet. Signs, such as the Alabama and other arbitrations, are not wanting -that we are hastening, toward the glad day of promise and prophecy, when the na tions "shall beat, their swords into plowshares and their spears into prun ing-hooks." YYIY,: May God haste the day when "peace on earth and good will toward men" shall be not the song of angels merely, but an accomplished fact. REV. JOHN HEMP^ItL, -A *, Calvary Presbyterian Church. * ' T4£*tiz _ — _- .'