Excerpt from The Church of England Pulpit, and Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 39: January to June, 1895
I will not comment upon this summary Of an observant man's experience. But I say that, among all encouraging features of our life - and encouraging features are real and many - the prevalence of a spirit of lawlessness, a spirit, I mean, not of revolt against a particular law, but Of general moral slackness, pervading all classes and showing itself alike in rich and poor, in politics, in commerce, in marriage, in literature, in industry, in common He, is a most alarming fact. Righteousness exalteth a nation, and sin is a reproach to any people. Nay, if the Prophets of the Old Testament spoke eternal truth, it tends to bring inevitable catastrophe on any people.
We sometimes hear this or that Old Testament Prophet described as a Radical agitator. All that it seems to me we can truthfully say is that a Radical agitator might well be like an Old Testa ment Prophet. The Prophet has a burning hatred of selfishness, and luxury, and injustice in society, and Of cruelty towards the poor, a holy contempt for easy-going religion, an unﬂinching determina tion to speak his stern words in the king's sanctuary and the royal house. But his point Of view is not the rights of a class, but the will of a holy G'od. And the point of view makes a vast difference. It is this vivid sense of the will of a righteous God, bearing equally upon all classes and sorts of men, which we do so terribly need, as in politics, so in society as a whole. This will of a righteous God is impartial. It is against un righteousness of all sorts. It knows clear distinc tions. It cannot tolerate false shows. It is the spirit Of judgment. It calls good good and evil evil. It discerns between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. As for those who anticipate social reformation by mere political and educational progress without widespread moral penitence and conversion, the prophet would say to them, Wherefore would ye have the day Of the Lord? It is darkness and not light. Shall not the day Of the Lord be darkness and not light, even very dark and no brightness in it?
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