It will be generally admitted that there is much in the world that does not make for righteousness. There is often a great gulf fixed between spiritual progression and its opposite. Yet it is not always easy to see the gulf, which is hidden from our view by veneer. Conventional restrictions are too much for us, and life's realism takes a back seat. Nevertheless we have been rudely awakened to the fact that there is a necessity for a reconstruction of life on lines which will open out the possibility of a community of interests, by which we may rise to the eternal conditions of well-being. We have begun to think; but thinking is not sufficient. We must have sympathy and intelligence necessary to remove the economic evils which afflict ourselves and mankind. We must believe with the late Lord Grey that things might be better. He felt that everything was poisoned by self-interest. He said in effect: Make a man feel that he owes a duty to his fellow men; convince him that he is responsible for the welfare of others, and all that is good in that man's nature will grow and expand.
It will be observed that this idea includes the duty of sympathy along with sanctified common sense, which Lord Grey calls intelligence. We talk of our civilization, but we have yet to learn that knowledge alone will not help us unless allied with the power to appreciate those things which are "of good report." Intellect alone is not sufficient. There must be something beyond the mental. There must be the moral and spiritual. Still, when intelligence is dominated by goodness, intelligence is safe, and has a profound longing to sympathize with the sorrow of the world.
At the present moment we need to have a broad outlook, to understand how to act amid the chaos around us. We are all desirous of serving our country in some way, and we should have a supreme desire to master ourselves, so that we may not lapse from the highest standard of attainment. Character building is more important than church-building, important though the latter may be; for in the former everything that is worth having rests. Likewise the service we render to the State must be actuated by motives of sound reasoning with conformity with the deepest aspirations of the soul. Only thus can we illustrate the value of mind. Reason will not lift us to a higher moral platform. Jesus hardly gave a hint about mentality. With him the one thing needful was the life—the life in tune with the Infinite—the life at one with God. "For the life is more than food, and the body than raiment." Little else matters. We may by our cleverness achieve the power of flight; but unless we soar in the realms of the spiritual we shall fail to make the best use of the intellect, or to understand the true relation of man to man and our duty towards God. In union with the spiritual life the intellect obtains full play, which can be manifested in all our undertakings, and make us fitted to become helpful to others. This alone will generate the higher socialism which disregards selfishness because it looks beyond the individual to humanity.
We need to learn this truth at the present time, when both the rich wd the poor are too frequently found with a standard of life out of harmony with the Divine teaching revealed in the human soul. We do not only want to conquer our enemies, but to conquer our own lower life; and to succeed in this we must use our powers of mind for the development of a Christ-like character, individually and nationally, which culminates in the fruits of the Spirit, and gives joy and peace.
—In The Christian Life