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Towards the Great Peace   By: (1863-1942)

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TOWARDS THE GREAT PEACE

BY

RALPH ADAMS CRAM, LITT.D., LL.D.

1922

INTRODUCTION

For the course of lectures I am privileged to deliver at this time, I desire to take, in some sense as a text, a prayer that came to my attention at the outset of my preparatory work. It is adapted from a prayer by Bishop Hacket who flourished about the middle of the seventeenth century, and is as follows:

Lord, lift us out of Private mindedness and give us Public souls to work for Thy Kingdom by daily creating that Atmosphere of a happy temper and generous heart which alone can bring the Great Peace.

Each thought in this noble aspiration is curiously applicable to each one of us in the times in which we fall: the supersession of narrow and selfish and egotistical "private mindedness" by a vital passion for the winning of a Kingdom of righteousness consonant with the revealed will of God; the lifting of souls from nervous introspection to a height where they become indeed "public souls"; the accomplishing of the Kingdom not by great engines of mechanical power but by the daily offices of every individual; the substitution in place of current hatred, fear and jealous covetousness, of the unhappy temper and "generous heart" which are the only fruitful agencies of accomplishment. Finally, the "Great Peace" as the supreme object of thought and act and aspiration for us, and for all the world, at this time of crisis which has culminated through the antithesis of great peace, which is great war.

I have tried to keep this prayer of Bishop Hacket's before me during the preparation of these lectures. I cannot claim that I have succeeded in achieving a "happy temper" in all things, but I honestly claim that I have striven earnestly for the "generous heart," even when forced, by what seem to me the necessities of the case, to indulge in condemnation or to bring forward subjects which can only be controversial. If the "Great War," and the greater war which preceded, comprehended, and followed it, were the result of many and varied errors, it matters little whether these were the result of perversity, bad judgment or the most generous impulses. As they resulted in the Great War, so they are a detriment to the Great Peace that must follow, and therefore they must be cast away. Consciousness of sin, repentance, and a will to do better, must precede the act of amendment, and we must see where we have erred if we are to forsake our ill ways and make an honest effort to strive for something better.

For every failure I have made to achieve either a happy temper or a generous heart, I hereby express my regret, and tender my apologies in advance.

CONTENTS

LECTURE

INTRODUCTION

I. A WORLD AT THE CROSSROADS

II. A WORKING PHILOSOPHY

III. THE SOCIAL ORGANISM

IV. THE INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM

V. THE POLITICAL ORGANIZATION OF SOCIETY

VI. THE FUNCTION OF EDUCATION AND ART

VII. THE PROBLEM OF ORGANIC RELIGION

VIII. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

APPENDIX A

APPENDIX B

TOWARDS THE GREAT PEACE

I

A WORLD AT THE CROSSROADS

For two thousand years Christianity has been an operative force in the world; for more than a century democracy has been the controlling influence in the public affairs of Europe and the Americas; for two generations education, free, general and comprehensive, has been the rule in the West. Wealth incomparable, scientific achievements unexampled in their number and magnitude, facile means of swift intercommunication between peoples, have all worked together towards an earthly realization of the early nineteenth century dream of proximate and unescapable millennium. With the opening of the second decade of the twentieth century it seemed that the stage was set for the last act in an unquestioned evolutionary drama. Man was master of all things, and the failures of the past were obliterated by the glory of the imminent event.

The Great War was a progressive revelation and disillusionment... Continue reading book >>




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