Whether the time be slow or fast,
Enemies, hand in hand, Must come together at the last.
No matter how the die is cast, Or who may seem to win We know that we must love at last - Why not begin?'
The teaching of hatred to children, the fostering of hatred in adults, can result only in harm to the people and the nation where it is fostered. The dragon's tooth will leave its marks upon the entire nation and the fair life of all the people will suffer by it. The holding in contempt of other people makes it sometimes necessary that one's own head be battered against the wall that he may be sufficiently aroused to recognise and to appreciate their sterling and enduring qualities.
The use of a club is more spectacular for some at least than the use of intellectual and moral forces. The rattling of the machine-gun produces more commotion than the more quiet ways of peace. All of the powerful forces in nature, those of growth, germination, and conservation, the same as in human life are quiet forces. So in the preservation of peace. It consists rather in a high constructive policy. It requires always clear vision, a constantly progressive and cooperative method of life and action; frank and open dealing and a resolute purpose. It is won and maintained by nothing so much in the long run as when it makes the Golden Rule its law of conduct. Slowly we are realising that great armaments - militarism - do not insure peace. They may lead away from it - they are very apt to lead away from it.
Peace is related rather to the great moral laws of conduct. It has to do with straight, clean, open dealing. It is fostered by sympathy, forbearance. This does not mean that it pertains to weakness. On the contrary it is determined by resolute but high purpose, the actual and active desire of a nation to live on terms of peace with all other nations; and the world's recognition of this fact is a most powerful factor in inducing and in actualising such living.
Our own achievement of upwards of a hundred years in living in peaceable, sympathetic and mutually beneficial relations with Canada; Canada's achievement in so living with us, should be a distinct and clear-cut answer to the argument that nations need to fortify their boundaries one against another. This is true only where suspicion, mistrust, fear, secret diplomacy, and secret alliances hold instead of the great and eternally constructive forces - sympathy, good will, mutual understanding, induced and conserved by an International Joint Commission of able men whose business it is to investigate, to determine, and to adjust any differences that through the years may arise. Here we have a boundary line of upwards of three thousand miles and not a fort; vast areas of inland seas and not a war vessel; and for upwards of a hundred years not a difference that the High Joint Commission has not been able to settle amicably and to the mutual advantage of both countries.
I know that in connection with this we have an advantage over the old-world nations because we are free from age-long prejudices, hatreds, and past scores. But if this great conflict does not lead along the lines of the constructive forces and the working out of a new world method, then the future of Europe and of the world is dark indeed. Surely it will lead to a new order - it is almost inconceivable that it will not.
The Golden Rule is a wonderful developer in human life, a wonderful harmoniser in community life - with great profit it could be extended as the law of conduct in international relations. It must be so extended. Its very foundation is sympathy, good will, mutuality, love.
The very essence of Jesus' entire revelation and teaching was love. It was not the teaching of weakness or supineness in the face of wrong, however. There was no failure on his part to smite wrong when he saw it - wrong taking the form of injustice or oppression. He had, as we have seen, infinite sympathy for and forbearance with the weak, the sinful; but he had always a righteous indignation and a scathing denunciation for oppression - for that spirit of hell that prompts men or organisations to seek, to study to dominate the minds and thereby the lives of others. It was, moreover, that he would not keep silent regarding the deadly ecclesiasticism that bore so heavily upon his people and that had well-nigh crushed all their religious life whence are the very springs of life, that he aroused the deadly antagonism of the ruling hierarchy. And as he, witnessing for truth and freedom, steadfastly and defiantly opposed oppression, so those who catch his spirit today will do as he did and will realise as duty - " While wrong is wrong let no man prate of peace!"
Peace? Peace? Peace? While wrong is wrong let no man prate of peace! He did not prate, the Master. Nay, he smote!
Hate wrong! Slay wrong! Else mercy, justice, truth, Freedom and faith, shall die for humankind.
* From that strong, splendid poem, " Buttadeus," by William Samuel Johnson.
Nor did the code and teachings of Jesus prevent him driving the money-changers from out the temple court. It was not for the purpose of doing them harm. It was rather to do them good by driving home to them in some tangible and concrete form, through the skin and flesh of their bodies, what the thick skins of their moral natures were unable to comprehend. The resistance of wrongdoing is not opposed to the law of love. As in community life there is the occasional bully who has sometimes to be knocked down in order that he may have a due appreciation of individual rights and community amenities, so among nations a similar lesson is sometimes necessary in order that it or its leaders may learn that there are certain things that do not pay, and, moreover, will not be allowed by the community of nations.
Making might alone the basis of national policy and action, or making it the basis of settlement in international settlements, but arouses and intensifies hatred and the spirit of revenge. So in connection with this great world crisis - after it all then comes the great problem of reorganisation and rehabilitation, and unless there comes about an international concord strong and definite enough to prevent a recurrence of what has been, it would almost seem that restoration were futile; for things will be restored only in time to be destroyed again.
No amount of armament we know now will prevent war. It can be prevented only by a definite concord of the nations brought finally to realise the futility of war. To deny the possibility of a World Federation and a World Court is to deny the ability of men to govern themselves. The history of the American Republic in its demonstration of the power and the genius of federation should disprove the truth of this. Here we have a nation composed of forty-eight sovereign states and with the most heterogeneous accumulation of people that ever came together in one country, let alone one nation, and great numbers of them from those nations that for upwards of a thousand years have been periodically springing at one another's throats. Enlightened self-government has done it. The real spirit and temper of democracy has done it. But it must be the preservation of the real spirit of democracy and constant vigilance that must preserve it.