With which is incorporated "The Light of Reason"
Founded by James Allen
Edited by Lily L. Allen
Vol. 5. December, 1915 No. 12
What shall I say of this Christmas? It will be long before we shall wish one another “A Merry Christmas” again! Hardly shall one greet another so in the whole of Europe, for there will be empty chairs by the Christmas tables, and the memory of beloved faces seen no more as we gather around the Yule log, will make tens of thousands of hearts ache in every country in Europe. And not only in Europe, but in India, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. What can I say but to send the one greeting that is never out of place, never out of season, and that never grows old,—GOD BLESS YOU!
With this month The Epoch completes its fifth volume, or, incorporated with the Light of Reason, its seventeenth volume. It is very cheering and encouraging to look back over the years and mark how the influence and work of the Magazine has grown month by month, and year by year, until today we have subscribers and readers in every part of the world. Many of our readers remember with great affection the little green-covered Magazine, and the title it then bore. It was first published by “the Savoy Publishing Company,” Strand, London. The first copy was given away by tens of thousands in the streets of London and through the post, to almost every town in the Kingdom, a fair number of subscribers being the result. It was up-hill work, however, and hard work for many years, but the Founder and Editor never grew weary, never for one moment did he doubt the mission of the Magazine, he knew it must grow and prosper until its message of Love and Purity, Strength and Righteousness, went out into all the world. It stands today, as it stood then, for the essential divinity of the human heart; it teaches today, as it did then, that all men are divine, Children of the Infinite, and that every soul is searching for the Light, consciously or unconsciously—some it may be making painful paths for the long travel of the soul, but all, at last, will come to peace.
Subscriptions for 1916
Will our many readers whose subscriptions fall due at this time kindly send them in without further notice? Although the expenses are far more today than they ever were, and our missionary work quite quadrupled, the price of the Magazine remains the same. This should be an incentive to our subscribers to send in their subscriptions as quickly as possible so that we may not only have the financial aid, but may also realize that we have their continued sympathy and kind cooperation with us in the work. The new postal regulations necessitates the leaving of the envelope open at the end instead of being closed down as hitherto.
The New Democracy
We are reading and hearing a great deal today about the New Democracy? What does the word mean? The people are to rule. They are looking for this at the end of this great European war; they tell us that they are eagerly expecting a form of government in which the power resides in the collective body of the people, who conduct the affairs of the Nation—the World—by representation and delegation of powers; in short, the people are to be the rulers.
Are the People Ready?
But we do not hear much about the people becoming prepared for this power. The people certainly are not ready for it. The very fact that “the powers that be” have to make laws restricting the sale of intoxicating liquors is one very significant sign that the mass of the people have to be governed, and are not yet prepared to govern. And we do not write this with any reflection upon the working classes. Right well do we know that it applies to all classes, rich and poor, men and women. Surely those who are writing and talking so much about “government by the people” would do well to try to awaken the people to some sense of the necessity of becoming fit to govern.
Our Great Need
What the Nation needs is government by men and women of high moral principles, too noble to be swayed by selfish interests; men and women of character who are masters of themselves, unafraid, strong, wise. It matters not whether they be drawn from the rich or poor. "Who will assume to teach here may well prepare himself, body and mind, He may well survey, ponder, arm, fortify, harden, make 11th himself,” said the great poet of Democracy.
So, if in the future greater power is to be placed in the hands of the people, then it behooves the people to begin to discipline themselves, that they may become strong enough to stand for the Right, for Sobriety and Purity, not because they are forced to do so by the law of the land but because they choose to do so from principle and conviction, and because they themselves love the Good, the True and the Beautiful.
Character All Important.
Only those men and women who can govern themselves are fit to govern the Nation; only those who are above the necessity of the Law are fit to make laws. What we need are men and women of strong personality, men and women of clean hands and great hearts to govern us. It is coming! The Day is coming when character will be the all-important force; when real wealth will be considered; when a man’s moral influence will have weight, and not the class he belongs to. When the wise and good govern the people, the land will be blest, and the people prosperous and happy.
The Self-governed Should Govern
The self-governed are alone fit to govern, and only he who has mastered himself and who reigns monarch over his body and spirit is fit to make laws or to govern the people. If, therefore, the people are to have greater power, then let them see to it that they become worthy of it. Let them begin now to be sober, not because they have to, but because they wish to. Let them begin now, in these dark days of stress and sorrow, to prove to themselves, and to one another, that they are worthy of the Democracy they talk about; let them show that they are men and women indeed, who will worthily wield whatever power may come to them. Let them not forget that—
Justice, health, self-esteem, clear the
way with irresistible power.”
“Before a man can accomplish anything of an enduring nature in the world he must first of all acquire some measure of success in the management of his own mind. This is as mathematical a truism as that two and two make four, for ‘out of the heart are the issues of life.’ If a man cannot govern the forces within himself, he cannot long hold a firm hand upon the outer activities which form the visible world. On the other hand, as a man succeeds in governing himself he rises to higher and higher levels of power and usefulness and success in the world.”
True Religion and Undefiled
The Rev. A. J. Waldron, Vicar of Brixton, writing on the Brotherhood of the Trenches, says: “You do not stop to ask a man if he has been confirmed; there is only one Church in the trenches, where the sky is the roof and the decorations are created and built up of human heroics Pick up some of the Church papers, read the articles which even in these days men have the audacity to write—why, it is bathos, a tragedy, an insult to death, and almost a blasphemy against God. What clergyman, minister, or priest would refuse the Sacrament to a dying soldier? Even a Jewish Rabbi in a French trench gave the blessing to a French Catholic, took the crucifix from the hand of the soldier, and, raising it over the dying man’s face, gave the Catholic benedictions, remembering there is only one God. Creeds are being recast. They talk religion in the trenches, and ask one another why. The clergy and ministers of all denominations must make no mistake about a coming revival of religion, or, else, methinks, they will have a sad awakening. I know that varieties of character, disposition, &c., born of climate, language, &c., must find expression in methods of devotion, forms of worship, but let the Army be the model. The Scots can still wear their kilts and play the bagpipes; the infantry, cavalry, artillery will each have their different functions, but all unite for the common purpose. So in the Churches. If there be rivalry, and there must be, it should be the rivalry in doing good; there will be discipline of a sterner order, but it should be shot through with a bigger charity, and no ecciesiasticism should be allowed to rear barbed wire fences of demarcation.”
A Timely Word
We thank the good vicar, for his timely warning, for his broad charity, his brotherly love and sympathy. It is just the word we have been waiting for, and we should like to see such words scattered broadcast throughout the world. The “barbed wire fences of demarcation” are coming down. There is no need to pull them down; they are just falling down, too weak to stand any longer. Men and women will be ashamed directly to speak of their particular church as the “true church,” for there will be only one Church, and “man to man the whole world o’er will brothers be.” And while some will choose to worship God under carved arch and stately pillar, and others under the plain grey rafters, others will dispense with both and will find Him in the forest and in the wilderness, -but no one will condemn another and say, “My way is the right way, and your way is the wrong way.” Oh, we are learning sense through this war. It is teaching us many things, things we are never going to forget. The Vicar says, “They talk religion in the trenches;” yes, and so they do in the Huts and Camps and the Convalescent Wards. It has been our privilege to entertain a soldier on furlough lately at The Epoch home, and in our many conversations I gathered how much the soldier thinks of the deeper things of life, and how often and earnestly they talk of religion in the. Huts and Camps. And, methinks there is much more true, simple, child-ike religion—the religion of Jesus of Nazareth—in the Camp and in the Trenches than most people are aware of.