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BY LYMAN ABBOTT
"KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON”
As a young
FRIEND recently sent me
came a benediction to every visitor. I quite verses which he thought interpreted sincerely believe that his influence in the vil
my message, or one of my messages, lage was greater than any he could have to the world. The first verse reads as exerted had he spent in active life the years follows:
he spent imprisoned in his invalid chair. No “If the day looks kinder gloomy
preacher could have given with half the eloAnd your chances kinder slim,
quence of his cheerful heart the messageIf the situation's puzzlin'
“Just keep on keepin' on.” And the prospect's awful grim, And perplexities keep pressin'
To the familiar question, Who is your Till all hope is nearly gone,
favorite author ? I should reply, One of them Just bristle up and grit your teeth,
is St. Paul—evangelist, poet, philosopher. I And keep on keepin'on."
regard him as one among a score of most In this paper I want to introduce to my illuminating personalities in human history. I readers three men of my acquaintance who have a fair collection of books in my library have brought this message to me.
interpretative of his career and character.
Among them one of the first in value is A little book in my library, small in size "The Spiritual Development of St. Paul," by but fuller of value than some larger books, George Matheson. It is a study of Paul's contains the life of John Carter.
writings by a spiritual poet, and discovers man, he fell from a tree, dislocated his neck, and interprets, as only such a poet can, the and was paralyzed from his neck down. He spiritual experience of this great dramatic could use neither hands nor feet. For the philosopher of the Hebrew people, rest of his life he was a prisoner on his bed. It must be nearly or quite forty years ago His body was paralyzed, but not his spirit. that on a visit to England I made my way to He made his teeth serve the purpose of Edinburgh to spend a Sunday there, largely hands, and, holding now a pencil, now a that I might hear George Matheson preach. brush between his teeth, learned to write, to I then learned for the first time that he was draw, to paint. The story of his life contains absolutely blind. I could not have guessed reproductions of his work.
“ His energy,”
No one says his biographer, " was alive, and he began led him to the pulpit ; no one helped him up accordingly, drawing sometimes upon a slate, or down the pulpit stairs. He seemed to ansometimes upon pieces of paper pinned to nounce his hymns from the hymn-book; he the pillow, working first with a pencil, and seemed to read the Scripture lesson from the afterwards with water-colors. The first pulpit Bible. I learned afterward that he piece produced in this way was a butterfly. committed the Scripture lesson to memory,
The insect was caught in the room, a and really recited what he appeared to read, sixpenny box of paints was sent for, and the and that he had acquired by practice the drawing made forthwith.”
ability to go with ease and without aid from A neighbor of mine in our country home the robing-room to and from the pulpit. He met with a similar accident. It left him some was living with two sisters, who gave themslight use of his arms, but helpless from his selves to their brother. One of them had shoulders down. He contrived a rack cn learned the Hebrew and, I believe, the Greek which a newspaper or a book could be placed language that she might read the Bible to before him so that he could read. Reading him in the original tongues.
He is known and calls from his friends were his only diver- in all English-speaking lands as a spiritual sions. I used to call on him from time to interpreter of the Bible, both the Old Testatime, and never without getting more from ment and the New. He is known in most the call than I could give. I never saw him Protestant churches by his famous hymn,“ O other than cheerful. He was a dispenser of Love that Will Not Let Me Go.” He is known sunshine. His courage overflowed and be- throughout Scotland as one of the most spiritually eloquent preachers in a land famous nition. “I am reading,” he said, “ Mr. John from before the days of Chalmers and Guthrie S.C. Abbott's Life of Napoleon Bonaparte,' for its pulpit orators. Invited to his home, I and find it very interesting. I have one adfound him one of the merriest of social com
vantage over you. For you must have many panions. Poet, author, orator, scholar, social social engagements; but I have none, and so companion—and blind! Nothing I have ever I have my evenings for uninterrupted readread of his has impressed me as equaling in ing." I afterwards called on him in his home. eloquence the eloquent message of his life : He occupied a comfortable and well-furnished "Just keep on keepin' on."
flat on Sixth Avenue, and he introduced me
to his wife. I asked her if they had any When I first became associated with Henry children. She laughed in. :eply: “ He is all Ward Beecher in the editorship of what was the children I want,” she said. And, in truth, then the “Christian Union," it was just it was quite evident that she had to dress and beginning to recover from a serious disaster undress her husband as a mother her child due to a combination of causes, and its future or a nurse her patient. He and I became was somewhat problematical. Its two editorial good friends, and when we met, as occasionrooms were separated from the business offices ally we did, on the street or in the cars. we only by a low partition, and every inquiry and always cordially greeted one another, someevery complaint came to my ears while I was times to the evident surprise of other passenvainly endeavoring to concentrate my attention gers. He told me that his nurse had let him on some editorial problem in politics or theol- fall when he was a baby, and paralysis was ogy. The composing-room was in the attic, and the result. It affected not only his limbs but just off from it was a storeroom full of dis- his speech. It was difficult to understand carded furniture_left-overs, I suppose, from him, for his words came out gurgling and in more prosperous days. I cleared off a space
fragments like water oured out of a bottle on a discarded desk in this storeroom and turned upside down, and came with contorretreated there on Monday morning, which tions of the mouth painful even to look upon, was then our day for going to press, in order surely hard to endure. But he made a comthat I might write undisturbed. One morn- fortable living by his trade, asked no man's ing I heard the door of this storeroom open, charity, and was beholden to no one. He and then a queer scuffling noise upon the set high store by his independence, and told floor. Looking up, my eyes were greeted me that when he was twelve years old, deterwith a most pathetic sight.
mined not to be a burden to his father, he A man perhaps between thirty and forty
ran away from home. I cannot even now years of age was making his way slowly and think of that boy on his knees and extempo. laboriously toward me. My first impression rized crutches stumping away secretly some that he was a dwarf a second glance corrected. night from home to make his own way in the He was on his knees; the legs below the world without a queer feeling at the heart knees were dragging on the floor behind like tears and laughter intermingled. him. Two short sticks serving the purpose He is no longer living.
But I have never of canes or crutches were under his arms, so ceased to be grateful to him.
He did me a that he was navigating his way in quadruped world of good. For it was a time of great fashion. His clothes were scrupulously clean, perplexity and some foreboding. I seemed to he had a high forehead, fine hair, and an air myself to have made a failure in the ministry. of manly refinement illuminated his features I wondered whether I was going to fail or to with a life that was better than beauty. succeed in journalism. The conditions were Whether his face could have been called difficult; the anxieties many; unsectarian handsome I did not ask myself then, and I journalism a doubtful experiment; and my could not tell now. It certainly was attract- ideals, both theological and sociological, far ive. He had for sale some sort of soap war- from popular. And I needed the message ranted to take spots off from clothes. I made of his quite unconsciously brave life: a purchase, and we fell into conversation.
"Just keep on keepin' on." That morning, I am afraid, the printer had to wait a little for my editorial.
There is only one irreparable loss-the When my visitor learned my name, his face loss of courage. lighted up with a delightful smile of recog- The Knoll, Cornwall-on-the-Hudson.
FROM THE SPEECH BY ELIHU ROOT, EX-SECRETARY OF STATE, DELIVERED
IN CARNEGIE HALL, NEW YORK, TUESDAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 15
EASURED and restrained expres- justice and humanity, cannot be maintained sion, backed to the full by serious upon the complaisance, the good nature, the
purpose, is strong and respected. kindly feeling of the strong toward the weak; Extreme and belligerent expression, unsup- that real independence real liberty, cannot ported by resolution, is weak and without rest upon sufferance; that peace and liberty effect. No man should draw a pistol who can be preserved only by the authority and dares not shoot. The Government that observance of rules of national conduct shakes its fist first and its finger afterward founded upon the principles of justice and falls into contempt.
humanity; only by the establishment of law Our diplomacy has lost its authority and among nations, responsive to the enlightened influence because we have been brave in public opinion of mankind. words and irresolute in action. Men may say. that the words of our diplomatic notes were
LIBERTY AND JUSTICE justified; men may say that our inaction was To them liberty means not liberty for justified ; but no man can say that both our themselves alone, but for all who are opwords and our inaction were wise and cred- pressed. Justice means not justice for themitable.
selves alone, but a shield for all who are weak I have said that this Government lost the against the aggression of the strong. When moral forces of the world by not truly inter- their per natures are stirred, they have a preting the spirit of the American democracy. spiritual vision in which the spread and per
fection of free self-government shall rescue DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
the humble who toil and endure from the The American democracy stands for some- hideous wronys inflicted upon them by ambithing more than beef and cotton and grain tion and lust for power, and they cherish in and manufactures ; stands for something that their heart of hearts an ideal of their country cannot be measured by rates of exchange loyal to the mission of liberty for the lifting and does not rise or fall with the balance of up of the oppressed and bringing in the rule trade.
of righteousness and peace. The American people achieved liberty and To this people the invasion of Belgium schooled themselves to the service of justice brought a shock of amazement and horror. before they acquired wealth, and they value The people of Belgium were peaceable, intheir country's liberty and justice above all dustrious, law-abiding, self-governing, and their pride of possessions. Beneath their free. They had no quarrel with any one on comfortable optimism and apparent indiffer- earth. They were attacked by overwhelming ence they have a conception of their great Re- military power ; their country was devastated public as brave and strong and noble to hand by fire and sword; they were slain by tens of down to their children the blessings of free- thousands; their independence was destroyed dom and just and equal laws.
and their liberty was subjected to the rule of They have embodied their principles of an invader for no other cause than that they government in fixed rules of right conduct defended their admitted rights. which they jealously preserve, and with the There was no question of fact; there was instinct of individual freedom they stand for no question of law ; there was not a plausible a government of laws and not of men. They pretense of any other cause. The admitted deem that the moral laws which formulate rights of Belgium stood in the way of a the duties of men toward each other are mightier nation's purpose, and Belgium was binding upon nations equally with individ- crushed. uals.
When the true nature of these events was Informed by their own experience, con- realized, the people of the United States did firmed by their observation of international not hesitate in their feeling or in their judglife, they have come to see that the independ- ment. Deepest sympathy with downtrodden ence of nations, the liberty of their peoples, Belgium and stern condemnation of the in
DUTY OF THE UNITED STATES
vader were practically universal. Wherever and wasting our substance in continual readithere was respect for law it revolted against ness for war. Our interest in having it mainthe wrong done to Belgium. Wherever there tained as the law of nations was a substantial, was true passion for liberty it blazed out for valuable, permanent interest, just as real as Belgium. Wherever there was humanity it your interest and mine in having maintained mourned for Belgium.
and enforced the laws against assault and As the realization of the truth spread it robbery and arson which protect our personal carried a vague feeling that not merely senti- safety and property. ment but loyalty to the eternal principles of right was involved in the attitude of the American people.
Moreover, that law was written into a solemn and formal convention and signed and rati
fied by Germany and Belgium and France And it was so, for if the nations were to and the United States in which those other be indifferent to this great concrete case for countries agreed with us that the law should a century of military power trampling under be observed. When Belgium was invaded, foot at will the independence, the liberty, and that agreement was binding not only morally the life of a peaceful and unoffending people but strictly and technically, because there was in repudiation of the faith of treaties and the then no nation a party to the war which was law of nations and of morality and of hu- not also a party to the convention. manity—if the public opinion of the world The invasion of Belgium was a breach of was to remain silent upon that, neutral upon contract with us for the maintenance of a law that, then all talk about peace and justice and of nations which was the protection of our international law and the rights of man, the peace, and the interest which sustained the progress of humanity and the spread of lib- contract justified an objection to its breach. erty, is idle patter—mere weak sentimentality; There was no question here of interfering then opinion is powerless and brute force in the quarrels of Europe. We had a right
. rules and will rule the world. If no differ- to be neutral, and we were neutral as to the ence is recognized between right and wrong, quarrel between Germany and France, but then there are no moral standards. There when as an incident to the prosecution of come times in the lives of nations as of men that quarrel Germany broke the law which when to treat wrong as if it were right is we were entitled to have preserved and which treason to the right.
she had agreed with us to preserve, we were The American people were entitled not entitled to be heard in the assertion of our merely to feel but to speak concerning the own National right. wrong done to Belgium. It was not like in- With the right to speak came responsiterference in the internal affairs of Mexico or bility, and with responsibility came dutyany other nation, for this was an international duty of government toward all the peaceful wrong. The law protecting Belgium which men and women in America not to acquiesce was violated was our law and the law of every in the destruction of the law which protected other civilized country. For generations them, for if the world assents to this great we had been urging on and helping in its and signal violation of the law of nations, development and establishment We had then the law of nations no longer exists, and spent our efforts and our money to that we have no protection save in subserviency end.
or in force. In legislative resolution and executive dec- And with the right to speak there came to laration and diplomatic correspondence and this, the greatest of neutral nations, the greatspecial treaties and international conferences est of free democracies, another duty to the and conventions we had played our part in cause of liberty and justice for which America conjunction with other civilized countries in stands—duty to the ideals of America's nobler making that law. We had bound ourselves nature, duty to the honor of her past and the by it, we had regulated our conduct by it, hopes of her future ; for this law was a buland we were entitled to have other nations wark of peace and justice to the world, it observe it.
was a barrier to the spread of war, it was a That law was the protection of our peace safeguard to the independence and liberty of and security. It was our safeguard against all small, weak states. the necessity of maintaining great armaments It marks the progress of civilization. If the world consents to its destruction, the It would have ranged behind American world turns backward toward savagery, and leadership the conscience and morality of the America's assent would be America's aban- neutral world. It would have brought to donment of the mission of democracy. American diplomacy the respect and strength
of loyalty to a great cause. FALSE NEUTRALITY
But it was not to be. The American Yet the American Government acquiesced
Government failed to rise to the demands of in the treatment of Belgium and the destruc
the great occasion. Gone were the old love tion of the law of nations.
of justice, the old passion for liberty, the old word of objection or dissent to the repudia
sympathy with the oppressed, the old ideals tion of law or the breach of our treaty or the
of an America helping the world toward a
better future, and there remained in the eyes violation of justice and humanity in the treatment of Belgium, our Government enjoined
of mankind only solicitude for trade and upon the people of the United States an un
profit and prosperity and wealth. discriminating and all-embracing neutrality,
The American Government could not really and the President admonished the people
have approved the treatment of Belgium, but
under a mistaken policy it shrank from speakthat they must be neutral in all respects, in act and word and thought and sentiment.
ing the truth. That vital error has carried We were to be, not merely neutral as to the
into every effort of our diplomacy the weakquarrels of Europe, but neutral as to the
ness of a false position. treatment of Belgium, neutral between right
Every note of remonstrance against inter
ference with trade, or even against the deand wrong, neutral between justice and in
struction of life, has been projected against justice, neutral between humanity and cruelty, neutral between liberty and oppression.
the background of an abandonment of the Our Government did more than acquiesce, principles for which America once stood, and for in the first Lusitania note, with the un
has been weakened by the popular feeling speakable horrors of the conquest of Belgium among the peoples of Europe, whose hearts
are lifted up by the impulses of patriotism still fresh in our minds, on the very day after
and sacrifice, that America has become weak the report of the Bryce Commission on Bel
and sordid. gian atrocities, it wrote these words to the Government of Germany:
Such policies as I have described are
doubly dangerous in their effect upon foreign Recalling the humane and enlightened atti- nations and in their effect at home.
It is a tude hitherto assumed by the Imperial German
matter of universal experience that a weak Government on matters of international right,
and apprehensive treatment of foreign affairs and particularly with regard to the freedom of
invites encroachments upon rights, and leads the seas, having learned to recognize the Ger
to situations in which it is difficult to prevent man views and the German influence in the field of international obligation as always
war, while a firm and frank policy at the outengaged upon the side of justice and humanity, set prevents difficult situations from arising
and tends most strongly to preserve peace.
On the other hand, if a Government is to And so the Government of the United
be strong in its diplomacy, its own people States appeared as approving the treatment must be ranged in its support by leadership of Belgium. It misrepresented the people
of opinion in a national cause worthy to of the United States in that acquiescence
awaken their patriotism and devotion. and apparent approval. It was not necessary that the United States should go to war
STUMBLING TOWARDS WAR in defense of the violated law.
We have not been following the path of
peace. We have been blindly stumbling ARE WE WEAK AND SORDID ?
along the road that, continued, will lead to A single official expression by the Govern- inevitable war. Our diplomacy has dealt with ment of the United States, a single sentence symptoms and ignored causes. The great denying assent and recording disapproval of decisive question upon which our peace dewhat Germany did in Belgium, would have pends is the question whether the rule of given to the people of America that leader- action applied to Belgium is to be tolerated. ship to which they were entitled in their If it is tolerated by the civilized world, this earnest groping for the light.
nation will have to fight for its life. There