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own body and mind and heart. "Whenever evening came he went forth out of the city." He found a place of escape in outlying garden and on the surrounding hills. There was his oratory, his soul's rallyingground. He found "God in gardens" -"the strength of the hills was his also." The solitude had its friendships and its uprisings from the calm depths of life.

These ministries see a precious heritage. We ought to find occasionally, if not regularly, a way of escape. For efficient work in the city there must be these tonics and renewals in God's out-of-doors. In his Southampton ministry, Alexander MacLaren considered his Mondays in the New Forest among the most delightful and profitable of all his days.

A love of nature will mean also a permanent enriching of character in certain unmistakable ways. It will mean a widening of outlook. We shall remember that we are citizens of a universe; our lives and our sermons will have a spacious setting; they will breathe an ampler air.

"After hearing in a church," said Emerson, "a discourse that makes God a partial being and identifies him with a sect, I delight to escape into the open air, and one view of the heavens or of any of the great features of nature is enough to scatter the gloom that has gathered over me and to teach me that what has been said is false."

It is to be hoped there are no such sermons now. Men ought not to feel on coming out of church that they have escaped into a bigger world. They ought to feel that they are in a big world in church. They ought to be conscious there of the spaciousness of God's thoughts. Going to church ought to be indeed an escape from a little world, of material concerns and

cares.

"Nature is a powerful teacher of liberal feelings." In the presence of In the presence of God's vast thoughts, the little differences that agitate and divide men

diminish in importance. I have read of the captain of a Zambesi steamer, a Scotsman by birth and a United Presbyterian by upbringing. Out there he had received a notice demanding payment of a heritor's assessment for the parish-manse at home. "Did you pay it?" asked the writer. "Yes," replied the captain; "far out here on the Zambesi a man's mind gets broadened." Horizons make a difference. Possibly if Christianity had lived more in the open air, we should have had fewer sects.

Then nature has inimitable aids in the suggestion and the teaching of truth. There will be many a surprize and revelation by the way. In most unexpected places there may be an opening into the infinite, the breaking through of some new light of truth. Of tiniest things may come profoundest thoughts. The ooze from a local pond, seen through a microscope, may be as real a link with the Infinite as

Jacob's golden ladder. Indeed we can scarcely be said to be at home in the universe until all these things, small or great, have more than local or material significance.

In the presentation of truth, hills and pools, stars and flowers, rocks and trees will all serve. Profoundest analogies will be found in simplest things, and there's an illimitable store. And when all else has possibly been forgotten, the simple illustration, well exprest, will be remembered.

How suggestive, for instance, are the ways of plants, their curious adaptations. Trees on the campos in South America sink trunk and limbs in earth. Only the stems appear above ground, so that they have the appearance of shrubs. Thus, by exposing as small an area as possible they protect themselves against drought and fire"They do not fear when the heat cometh!” cometh!" To illustrate the individual's service to humanity Watkinson somewhere uses the fact that, when

leaves fall from the trees, a tiny thread passes from each leaf point-through stem and trunk-so that for the little leaf's life the tree in that thread is the stronger!

Again, botanists tell us that in every district there are species of plants on the borders of survivaljust managing to live. If the conditions became slightly unfavorable they would disappear. A delicate readjustment of circumstances and there is loss!

How true an illustration of many is virtue!

Every realm of nature is full of such "windows through which to look at truth." The use of them will add immeasurably to the interest and effectiveness of sermons. They will

bless him that gives and him that takes. And how great a recompense to see some face light up with the dawning of a new truth-to know that by means of one of these windows some life has seen new beauty and found new inspiration! We shall appeal to some, whom possibly otherwise we might never influence. There are many nature-lovers who are just waiting for some sign of sympathy in the pulpit. And if there be any truth in the words that

"He prayeth best who loveth best

All things both great and small.” Even our prayers will be enriched by these wider sympathies. And, pondering these works of God, we shall find ample occasions for moods. of wonder and devotion and praise.

WHAT IS THE AMERICAN IDEAL
WILLIAM ELLIOT GRIFFIS, D.D., L.H.D., Ithaca, N. Y.

NoT in the prophet's far perspective, nor in the land of hope, but on the solid ground of experience is founded the Scriptural axiom, "Without a vision, the people perish." In that most practical book in the Bible, which is "the wisdom of heaven applied to earth," we have the history of civilization written in one line (Prov. 29: 18). A critical rendering is "Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint." The same rare but fitly chosen Word, in Ex. 32: 25, tells us that "When Moses saw that the people were broken loose (for Aaron had let them loose for derision among their enemies) he stood in the gate of the camp," calling on all who stood for the national ideal to show their colors-"Whoso is on Jehovah's side." The crisis passed and Israel was saved.

On this incident or text no commentary excels that of Abraham Lincoln. A delegation of ministers once called on the President in war-time.

After long arguing, the chairman wound up, saying, "Well, Mr. Lincoln, we hope the Lord is on our side." The great American replied: "I am less concerned about that than that we should be on the Lord's side."

A crowning mercy, for which we should ever be thankful, is that in every great crisis in the history of that amazingly composite body called "the American people" a voice of authority has reaffirmed true nationality and the American ideal. Besides the fundamental documents of 1776 and 1787, Washington, Webster, and Lincoln have expounded the law of our national being and the principles which should guide us. Our first President steadied the helm when the ship of state faced her first dangers. Against partizanship mistaken for patriotism, against apostles of delusion who, to divide America, preached the false republicanism of the France that first fell victim to Bonaparte and then reverted to the

us.

Bourbons-Washington warned In the various crises created by nullifiers, filibusters, Know-Nothings, the slavery-extending oligarchs, polygamists, "malefactors of great wealth," the madness of pseudo-state sovereignty, and what not, a voice has ever cried, bidding us to prepare, even in the wilderness of threatened anarchy, the nation's highway of duty. If the temple of true Americanism falls, it will not be on account of weakness or rottenness at the ancestral foundations.

To-day new perils confront us. Untransformed and and unassimilated masses of immigrants retaining their ancestral language, ideas, customs, and belligerent sympathies threaten us with social anarchy. Instead of the United States and "a more perfect union," a sort of Balkan confederacy, or a Mexico, seems to some a possible and not distant possibility. At such a time, surely it behooves us to reread history, to define the American ideal, and to inquire what true nationality is. Dr. Edward Everett Hale wanted "a professorship of American" established in every college.

To illuminate such a line of inquiry we have warnings and awful examples from the bale-fires in our own history. We need not go further in time or space.

1. The American ideal is not in Decatur's sentiment-"My country, right or wrong." Out of such a seedbed of principle have sprung the colossal weeds of imperialism and the international insanity of 1914. Rather than such pinchbeck patriotism, so beloved of Satan, it were better for our men of high salaries, whether in epaulettes or ermine, to resign and go into exile. "My country, right or wrong," was and is the policy of empires incarnated in the Pharaohs and represented in Babylon's humanfaced bulls, symbols of intellect united to brute force. Yet these

powers, that once shook the world, have slept for decades of centuries under the sand, in oblivion. Nothing founded on force perdures (Rev. 13 : 10).

2. True Americanism is not the spawn of the Know-Nothings, whose secrecy and riotous career stained our political record. Their true successors are "Asiatic Exclusion Leagues" and laws, not limiting or regulating, but barring our immigrants on account of race, creed, or color. Darkness in political organization and methods belongs with Satan's masterpiece-secret diplomacy. To hate an alien simply because of his religion, race, or birth-heritage is but reversion to savagery and the morals of the clan; such as, for example, crushes and curses the veneered but not yet Christianized Japan-so beloved by men who flourish the big stick. Foolishly profest and affected by the monarchies of Europe, this principle is nothing but an appeal to the law of the desert and the pack. The command, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy," is, since Calvary, anti-Christ.

3. True Americanism does not select the ostrich for its symbol. Neither in the optimism of ignorance nor in trusting to wealth and mercenaries does it expect ample national defense to rise out of the ground between sunrise and sunset.

4. Nor is the national ideal fulfilled in either attack upon or propagation of any creed by the State, or by denying freedom of conscience to the law-abiding. The corner-stone of the American as well as of the Dutch Republic was laid in the words of William the Silent-"The conscience is God's province." In 1573-one generation before Roger Williams and forty-eight years before William Penn was born-he wrote to the magistrates of Middelburg-"You have no right to interfere with the con

science of any one, so long as he has done nothing that works injury to another person or a public scandal."

All these notions of State Church and persecution or oppression for non-conformity-social, political, or religious-which still linger, not only in Africa and Asia but even in England, the fathers of the American people rejected.

For the true American ideal we must look into the mirror of our history-not as presented in popular text-books which, to give an example, make even the disreputable war of 1812 a "victory," nor in the movingpicture shows, nor on the stage. Our national records show that we are not a new England, but rather a new Europe; and that, during three centuries, we have been busy in achieving unity.

Which of the pioneer ships crossing the Atlantic, from the old seats of culture, was more truly representative of the elements of unity for the forming of a true Americanism than the Half Moon in 1609? Nor was there one more richly freighted in piety, morals, ideals, high hopes, and ambitions than was the new, clean ship New Netherland in 1623, whose Walloons, or martyr-exiles from the Belgian Netherlands, flying before Spanish oppression, tho finding, just as the Pilgrims did, a brief surcease in the same city, Leyden, in a "State without a throne" "where religion was free for all men." These two ships represented a republic of seven States, that had won liberty of conscience and of the press, the freedom of the seas, free public schools sustained by taxation, a federal union based on a written constitution and with a flag in which every stripe represented a single State, which, whether large or small, had an equal vote in their Congress, and in which republic and judiciary was supreme. In their social system there was no entail, but equal

distribution of property among all the children.

Both ships entered the sea-gate of what was to be the region of distinctive America. These people of 1623 settled the four Middle States with families, churches, and schools. Between the glaciated soil, on which slavery was economically impermanent, and on the unglaciated soil, on which it was long to flourish, and between the extremist Cavalier and Puritan, divine Providence set the republican Netherlander and the tolerant Quaker. Here, also, were planted many ethnic stocks of diverse creeds, a population, therefore, more truly typical of the United States than that of either the North or the South. Here was the focus whence all unifying forces were to be generated. Whether Pilgrim, Puritan, Dutchman, Quaker, German, Cavalier, or Huguenot, all were people of initiative, of courage, of faith in God, loving home, church, and school. Yet at home only the Dutch had already won their freedom and Protestant faith, had sheltered all comers and founded a State.

It is the caricature of history to suppose that we are an English nation or that our Federal union is simply an evolution from English ideas and institutions. From this mistake, following the fact that most of our nation's story has been written chiefly in one section, we suffer even in 1916 to the contempt of English-speaking peoples who have accepted this version as final and a reality. Such a distortion of history puzzles the hyphenate, retards his interest or desire. for naturalization, stiffens the back of the man of German speech, descent, or sympathies, and hardens him in his bitterness against us, while confusing his ideas of neutrality. Even more has this notion, that we are an English people, alienated the sympathies of the people of the four nations in

the British Isles, and of Canada and Australia. In popular drama and mythology-which the uneducated American so dearly loves to cultivate -this notion lingers, largely because it is kept alive by after-dinner oratory, bulky popular literature, and on the stage. Happily the illusion is giving way slowly before true history. If Weem's story of George Washington and the cherry-tree be true, then there are few things so un-American as our average popular history-books.

In reality, the Dutch republicans, the Huguenots, the Scotch, Welsh, and Irish, and the Palatinate Germans had common ideals with those whose language and common law are ours, whom we call "Anglo-Saxons."

They were equally God-fearing, religious, and moral pioneers, loving freedom, education, and law. Tho not writing so voluminously, or in self-praise, their history, or blazoning their virtues and deeds to the world, they held substantially the same ideas, tho better tempered, as did the Pilgrim and the Puritan. The number of American historians who have studied the originals of the non-English pioneers in America is disgracefully small. How few have ever made themselves familiar with the soul-history of the Walloons, Dutch, French, Germans, or Scandinavians! Did we seek to know the soul of the mmigrant as eagerly as we exploit is commercial value, we should have now "a more perfect union." It seems a miracle of Providence that our country was settled just when and how it was, with many souls of whom the world of Europe then was not worthy.

Climate, soil, economic forces, fron tier influences, and nearness or remoteness from the old land of culture, far more than original status, morals, or character, were responsible for the elevation or degradation of Americans-whether city folks or mountain

whites; nor is one any the less a Christian for believing so. We have all beheld the Annunciation Song of Mary (Luke 1:52) fulfilled in both the degenerate descendants of Puritan gentry and in the elevated sons of Redemptioners and Hessians. Had slavery been as dollar-winning as shipbuilding or factories in the Eastern States, or unprofitable on southern soil, the story of that colossal labor episode, which conditioned our development for a century, would have been vastly different. The first voices against slavery were raised by Plockhoy of Delaware, and the German Brethren of Germantown, Pa. Not the causes usually assigned, after a dinner on Forefathers' Night, or in school histories beyond which millions never look or graduate-were the forces set by God for the making of America in the framework of the universe. The same spirit animated the pioneers in the northern, southern, and middle colonies. Despite local jealousies, narrow colonial notions, economic struggles, and the conflict of sectional interests, and because of this unity of spirit, we under God became Americans. By 1775, our fathers saw the need of independence, of which, Benjamin Franklin declared, Holland "was our great example."

The battle for conscience and of a free Church in a free State had already been fought in this middle region by the Dutch churchmen in New York, who kept up the fight from 1664 to 1778; in which year the New York Constitution, which led all others in full freedom of religion, was adopted. This was but the logical result of conditions in the colony and State, where in 1708 the word and the idea of "the people" as the true fountain of authority first appeared in a document written on the soil of America; and the precedent was soon followed in all the States. In 1787, having followed, step by step, the pre

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