« PreviousContinue »
insist on the thorough Americanization of ourselves. Let us encourage the fullest industrial activity, and give the amplest industrial reward to those whose activities are most important for securing industrial success, and at the same time let us see that justice is done and wisdom shown in securing the welfare of every man, woman, and child within our borders. Finally, let us remember that we can do nothing to help other peoples, and nothing permanently to secure material well-being and social justice within our own borders, unless we feel with all our hearts devotion to this country, unless we are Americans and nothing else, and unless in time of peace by universal military training, by insistence upon the obligations of every man and every woman to serve the commonwealth both in peace and war, and, above all, by a high and fine preparedness of soul and spirit, we fit ourselves to hold our own against all possible aggression from without.
We are the citizens of a mighty Republic consecrated to the service of God above, through the service of man on this earth. We are the heirs of a great heritage bequeathed to us by statesmen who saw with the
of the seer and the prophet. We must not prove false to the memories of the nation's past. We must not prove false to the fathers from whose loins we sprang, and to their fathers, the stern men who dared greatly and risked all things that freedom should hold aloft an undimmed torch in this wide land. They held their worldly well-being as dust in the balance when weighed against their sense of high duty, their fealty to lofty ideals. Let us show ourselves worthy to be their sons. Let us care, as is right, for the things of the body; but let us show that we care even more for the things of the soul. Stout of heart, and pledged to the valor of righteousness, let us stand four-square to the winds of destiny, from whatever corner of the world they blow. Let us keep untarnished, unstained, the honor of the flag our fathers bore aloft in the teeth of the wildest storm, the flag that shall float above the solid files of a united people, a people sworn to the great cause of liberty and of justice, for themselves, and for all the sons and daughters of men. 1
V FEAR God; and take your own part! Fear God, in the true sense of the word, means love God, respect God, honor God; and all of this can only be done by loving our neighbor, treating him justly and mercifully, and in all ways endeavoring to protect him from injustice and cruelty; thus obeying, as far as our human frailty will permit, the great and immutable law of righteousness.
We fear God when we do justice to and demand justice for the men within our own borders. We are false to the teachings of righteousness if we do not do such justice and demand such justice. We must do it to the weak and we must do it to the strong. We do not fear God if we show mean envy and hatred of those who are better off than we are; and still less do we fear God if we show a base arrogance towards and selfish lack of consideration for those who are less well off. We must apply the same standard of conduct alike to man and to woman, to rich man and to poor man, to employer and employee.
1 From Fear God and Take Your Own Part. Copyright, 1916. George H. Doran Company, publishers.
Outside of our own borders we must treat other nations as we would wish to be treated in return, judging each in any given crisis as we ourselves ought to be judged - that is, by our conduct in that crisis. If they do ill, we show that we fear God when we sternly bear testimony against them and oppose them in any way and to whatever extent the needs require. If they do well, we must not wrong them ourselves. Finally, if we are really devoted to a lofty ideal we must in so far as our strength permits aid them if they are wronged by others. When we sit idly by while Belgium is being overwhelmed, and rolling up our eyes prattle with unctuous self-righteousness about “the duty of neutrality," we show that we do not really fear God; on the contrary, we show an odious fear of the devil, and a mean readiness to serve him.
But in addition to fearing God, it is necessary that we should be able and ready to take our own part. The man who cannot take his own part is a nuisance in the community, a source of weakness, an encouragement to wrongdoers and an added burden to the men who wish to do what is right. If he cannot take his own part, then somebody else has to take it for him; and this means that his weakness and cowardice and inefficiency place an added burden on some other man and make that other man's strength by just so much of less avail to the community as a whole. No man can take the part of any one else unless he is able to take his own part. This is just as true of nations as of men. A nation that cannot take its own part is at times almost as fertile a source of mischief in the world at large as is a nation which does wrong to others, for its very existence puts a premium on such wrongdoing. Therefore, a nation must fit itself to defend its honor and interest against outside aggression; and this necessarily means that in a free democracy every man fit for citizenship must be trained so that he can do his full duty to the nation in war no less than in peace.
Unless we are thoroughgoing Americans and unless our patriotism is part of the very fiber of our being, we can neither serve God nor take our own part. Whatever may be the case in an infinitely remote future, at present no people can render any service to humanity unless as a people they feel an intense sense of national cohesion and solidarity. The man who loves other nations as much as he does his own, stands on a par with the man who loves other women as much as he does his own wife. The United States can accomplish little for mankind, save in so far as within its borders it develops an intense spirit of Americanism. A flabby cosmopolitanism, especially if it expresses itself through a flabby pacifism, is not only silly, but degrading. It represents national emasculation. The professors of every form of hyphenated Americanism are as truly the foes of this country as if they dwelled outside its borders and made active war against it. This is not a figure of speech, or a hyperbolic statement.
Patriotism, so far from being incompatible with performance of duty to other nations, is an indispensable prerequisite to doing one's duty toward other nations. Fear God; and take your own part! If this nation had feared God it would have stood up for the Belgians and Armenians; if it had been able and willing to take its own part there would have been no murderous assault on the Lusitania, no outrages on our men and women in Mexico. True patriotism carries with it not hostility to other nations but a quickened sense of responsible goodwill towards other nations, a good-will of acts and not merely of words. I stand for a nationalism of duty, to one's self and to others; and, therefore, for a nationalism which is a means to internationalism. World peace must rest on the willingness of nations with courage, cool foresight, and readiness for self-sacrifice to defend the fabric of international law. No nation can help in securing an organized, peaceful and justice-doing world community until it is willing to run risks and make efforts in order to secure and maintain such a community.
The nation that in actual practice fears God is the nation which does not wrong its neighbors, which does so far as possible help its neighbors, and which never promises what it cannot or will not or ought not to perform.
Peace is not the end. Righteousness is the end. When the Saviour saw the money-changers in the Temple he broke the peace by driving them out. At that moment peace could have been obtained readily enough by the simple process of keeping quiet in the presence of wrong. But instead of preserving peace at the expense of righteousness, the Saviour armed himself with a scourge of cords and drove the money-changers from the Temple. Righteousness is the end, and peace a means to the end, and sometimes it is not peace, but war which is the proper means to achieve the end. Righteousness should breed valor and strength. When it does breed them, it