We all understand what it is to feel pity one for another in case of need, to have love one for another, if not because of natural attraction, then because of all being children of the same Father, members of one family in God.
And that this thought of the unity of the race is growing is evident in many ways. Legislation is on more beneficent lines than used to be the case, and is steadily, if slowly, improving. Prison life would scarcely be recognized as such by our ancestors of only a few hundred years ago—punishment is considered more in the corrective than the vindictive spirit, though the latter is still too often apparent. Our waifs and strays are cared for to a greater extent than hitherto—though we must not forget that the need constantly increases with the increase of city life. And to what is this improvement mainly traceable? To the growing feeling of pity in the human heart for all who are troubled in any way—a natural result of the belief in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. When we believed that only those who accepted our creed had any chance of being "saved," then to a great extent we ignored the sorrows and sufferings of the aliens—those without the gates of our own orthodoxy. There are still many whose religious ideas are narrow, but it must be evident to all that religious thought generally has broadened in recent years; some even recognize that there is an equal chance of Salvation for all, of whatever religion or creed, if only there is the true and earnest seeking for the Light, the Truth, and the Way. What are we that we should arrogate to ourselves the supreme power of judging others in the matter of conscience? It was that mistake which caused the persecutions and imprisonments in the name of religion in times not so very old. We have the right to judge ourselves only—and may not be able to do even that justly—we individually alone know whether our motives are pure and of good repute to ourselves—our inner self, the conscience, the voice of God speaking in the soul, which, if listened to, grows in power, clearness and strength; but each time it is ignored and stifled then is a step taken backwards and downwards in moral and spiritual progress.
The distinguishing trait of the early Christians was love. Love one to another. "See," said the heathen, "how these Christians love one another!" That was one of the tests of the true believer.
But our love must not be limited. The fact and belief in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man forbids that. And love means pity for all who need our pitying love, "For pity melts the mind to love."
Having realized that the various races of men are all members of one family in God, we may learn a further lesson, all life is one; one life from God the Father, and this, like every other lesson or truth in moral or spiritual life, means an increase of responsibility for each.