A sermon by B.H. Carroll.
TEXT: “I will stir up thy sons, Zion, against thy sons, O Greece.” Zech. 9:13 (Revised Version).
This text is a part of a great Messianic prophecy. That venerable father in Israel, Jesse Mercer of Georgia, in a great mission sermon on Acts 13:47, has shown how Old Testament prophecy becomes New Testament obligation. This relation between old-time prophecy and present duty arises from the fact that God’s foretold purposes are to be accomplished by human instrumentalities. And so the prophecy in this text concerns us much if its meaning be not misconceived. Rightly interpreted it becomes a marvelous revelation of duty to us, which being well done, will prove our loyalty, love and friendship toward our Lord and insure riches of privilege and joy to our children. If the “sons of Greece” are an opposing force in our day we ought to know it. If we are the “sons of Zion” who need to be stirred up against them, we ought to know that. And if human means are to be employed in this stirring up of God’s people we ought to begin a search for them and, when found, zealously employ them.
Preliminary to the interpretation of the text is needful a brief
The history of the contact between the Greek and Hebrew cults is very voluminous and every way full of interest. It may be noted without present comment that certain Jewish books attribute to a King of Sparta the curious statement, based on alleged records, that the Spartans, with the Jews, “are of the stock of Abraham.” I. Maccabees 12:21. These apocryphal books, I. and II. Maccabees, recount with thrilling interest the heroic struggles of the Jews against the Syrian subdivision of the Greek empire. Josephus has a marvelous account of the march of Alexander, himself, against Jerusalem, and of the supernatural reasons which constrained that world-conqueror not only to forego his threatened vengeance against the Holy City, but to confer great privileges upon the Jewish people. He also tells us a stirring story of the continuation of Grecian favor accorded by the Ptolemys who subsequently ruled over the Egyptian part of Alexander’s divided empire. And particularly of the translation of the Hebrew Bible into the Greek language, thus giving to the world, by a royal patronage more helpful than that which later immortalized King James, the famous version of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint, from which Jesus himself sometimes, and the New Testament writers more frequently quoted. Indeed, Alexandria, established by Alexander himself at the mouth of the Nile, by its liberal policy towards this hated people, became a second Jerusalem, which evidenced for centuries in the religious and philosophical literature of its Jewish residents the modifying influence of Greek culture. The b0ok of Daniel has much to forecast concerning the rise, extent, subdivisions, and influences of the coming Greek empire, and its relation to the Kingdom of the Messiah. The records of the New Testament are all preserved for us in the Greek language. Jesus himself, somewhat, and his apostles much more at a later date, came into personal contact with Greek people. And the simplicity of the gospel which they preached throughout the world, met, at every turn, the opposing forces of Greek culture, Greek philosophy and Greek idolatry. Some of the most noted of Paul’s apostolic labors, sufferings, conflicts and triumphs were in Athens, Corinth, Ephesus and other famous Greek cities, and very much of the argument and exhortation of his letters was called forth for the solution of practical problems of Christian life arising from Greek environment. The second largest ecclesiastical organization of the professing Christian world to-day is called the Greek Church, whose religious primate is the patriarch of Constantinople and whose secular head and champion is the Czar of all the Russias.
There exists also to-day a galvanized Greek government, kept upon its feet by the foreign powers, but in no way fulfilling the ideal for which Marcos Bozzaris fought and Byron sang. Far more significant than this weakling of a government. rendered doubly ridiculous by its recent fiasco with Turkey, is a wide spread and menacing revival of ancient Greek philosophy, wrongfully supposed to lie hopelessly dead in the the graves of Epicurus, Lucretius and Democritus. The tombs of the heathen Greeks have been robbed, their philosophy exhumed and rehabilitated, and now, like the soulless giant, Prometheus, that sprang from the brain of Godwin’s daughter, it stalks in colossal strides across affrighted continents or like Nebuchadnezzar’s huge and incongruous dream-image, stands an imposing Titan in the path of the rolling stone of the Messiah’s Kingdom.
Following this introduction comes an inquiry into the import of the text, for somewhere on historic ground must we find the time, place and need for Divine intervention in stirring up the Sons of Zion against the Sons of Greece. From some point in historical background must flash the light that illumines the text. This brings us fairly to the question:
WHEN AND BY WHAT EVENTS COMES THE FULFILLMENT OF THIS PROPHECY?
The difficulty here is not one of exegesis but of interpretation. The grammatical construction is simple and every term of the prophecy easily defined. The question is, What does it mean? Are we to understand by “Sons of Zion” Israel according to the flesh or spiritual Israel? Are “Sons of Greece” limited to men of Greek nationality? Is the conflict to which God purposes and promises to incite the one against the other an ordinary war between nations, a strife for tribute, territory or conquest? Unquestionably the grammatical construction admits the natural and literal interpretation. In such case, however, we must look far back into the past to find fulfillment of the prophecy, far beyond the birth of Christ, for when Jesus came, the scepter had departed from Greece as well as from Judah and Rome ruled the world. In his time and for ages after, all Judea and all the subdivisions of the Greek empire were Roman provinces. The literal interpretation forces us back to a time when both Jews and Greeks had national existence and grounds of quarrel.
Therefore, to the question, When and by what events is the prophecy fulfilled? Most commentators promptly answer: When the Maccabees waged heroic and triumphant war against Antiochus Epiphanes and his successors, a thrilling account of which struggle is recounted in Josephus and the apocryphal books of the Maccabees. If their interpretation be correct the text would have to be misused to serve my present purpose.
But to my mind, the objections to this limited and local interpretation are insuperable. Not merely because the course of Antiochus Epiphanes was the one exception to the otherwise uniform kind treatment of the Jews by Greek nations and is more than counter-balanced by the course of Alexander himself and of the Ptolemys, nor simply because the Maccabean war is an insignificant and inconsequential climax to so great a prophecy, nor even mainly because this war is manifestly irrelevant to the Messianic features of the prophecy, but chiefly because the context, separately in all its parts, and together as a whole, absolutely forbids it, both as to time and events.
Let us look somewhat at this context. Immediately preceding the text, intimately and necessarily associated with it, indeed its only proper introduction, is this unquestioned Messianic prophecy:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off; and he shall speak peace unto the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.
“As for thee also, because of the blood of thy covenant I have set free thy prisoners from the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even to-day do I declare that I will render double unto thee. For I have bent Judah for me, I have filled the bow with Ephraim; and I will stir up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and will make thee as the sword of a mighty man.” Zech. 9:9-13 (Revised Text).
This preceding context, on the face of it and in every particular, excludes the literal interpretation under consideration. It expressly cuts off the use of the carnal weapons employed in the Maccabean war; it proclaims peace and not war to the opposing heathen; its captives are prisoners of hope to be saved by the blood of the covenant; the dominion attained is too wide to fit the territory redeemed by the Maccabean victories. The inspiration of the New Testament expressly interprets the coming of the king described in it to mean Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem (See Matt. 21:1-11).
The bending of Judah as a bow and the fitting of Ephraim to it as an arrow, prior to the stirring up of the sons of Zion, has no fulfillment in Maccabean times, but finds plausible interpretation in the Apostles who, except Judas that perished, belonged to tribe of Ephraim rather than of Judah, but who proclaimed the word of the law from Jerusalem, when the ascended Jesus, the great archer, shot them forth as arrows to the ends of the earth. They were his spiritual children, “an heritage of the Lord” who became as arrows are in the hand of a mighty man.
As the preceding, so the succeeding but more remote context. It is all Messianic. There we behold “the wounds in his hands received in the house of his friends.” There we see the “weighing out of the thirty pieces of silver as his price.” There we hear the divine apostrophe: “Awake, O Sword against the Shepherd” and there we foresee the pouring out on the house of David and the city of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of supplication and of mourning when they look on him whom they had pierced,” and there the consequent “opening of a fountain for sin and uncleanness in the city of David.”
Indeed, not one circumstance, not one detail of time or event in all the context, can be applied without gross violence to the times of Antiochus and the Maccabees. Moreover, Zechariah must line up with Daniel when he also forecasts the same Messianic kingdom and its foes. In the great and luminous image of Nebuchadnezzar and in the four beasts of his vision Daniel is made to see four successive world empires, three of them nationally defunct in the beginning of fulfillment, but all of them alive in their characteristic spirit and genius and all of them in this genius and spirit to be opposed and overturned by the universal kingdom set up by the God of Heaven. The Assyria, the Persia, the Greece, as well as the Rome which Daniel saw were to be equally alive at one and the same time and constituted one colossal image of opposition to the Messianic Kingdom.
When God stirs up the Sons of Zion against the Sons of Greece, he does not array an ancient Jewish army against the Macedonian phalanx, nor a modern Jewish army against the lean, sprinting battalions of the poor little, make-believe government now at Athens, cowering under Turkish suzerainty. The question then recurs: What events fulfill this prophecy?
Is it merely a coincidence that just after John’s vivid description of the fulfillment of the first part of this prophecy, he strangely interjects the story of the coming of certain Greeks to see Jesus and how Jesus more strangely replied: “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified… now is the crisis of this world”? (John 12:12-33.)
At any rate Paul’s dispute at Athens with Epicurean and Stoic philosophers was no mere coincidence. And, singularly enough, the New Testament record of that conflict verbally fulfills the prophecy of the text. I will stir up thy sons,O Zion,” says the text. “And while Paul waited for them at Athens his spirit was stirred within him,” says the New Testament record. Under that stirring up of his spirit he smote the Grecian philosophy which affirms the eternity of matter, which denied immortality to man, which enthrones chance or Fate, which declares all existing forms to be the result of a fortuitous concourse of atoms, which claims that the highest and most complex of living organisms, including man, were evolved in long processes of time from the lowest forms. Go; re-examine the teachings of Epicurus as embodied in Lucretius’ song, De Rerum Natura, or read that Epicurean and Stoic composite by Democritus and ask yourselves what essentially new and fundamental thought has been added in our day to the ancient Grecian theory evolution, by Darwin, Hæckel, Huxley, Tyndall Spencer?
And then note how Paul, the son of Zion, when divinely stirred in spirit, smote the whole business, hip and thigh, by that grandest of all compound propositions, commencing: “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is the Lord of heaven and earth.” Here, indeed, was a coming controversy between the Sons of Zion and the Sons of Greece, huge enough to cast its shadow before upon the prophetic eye. Beside this heaven-covering and earth-darkening cloud, the Maccabean war was merely a minute speck in the sky of the future. That controversy with Antiochus Epiphanes ended long ago and was soon swallowed up from human sight by far grander and more momentous events. But this Grecian war is still on and this mightier Antiochus, does now in moments of temporary victory set up a “real abomination of desolation in the holy place.” Paul again states the case as he found it in Corinth, another Greek city: “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent will I reject. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe. Seeing that Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumbling block and unto Gentiles foolishness; but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” I. Cor. 1:19-25. (Revised Version.)
Yes, even now, as of old, the Greeks seek after wisdom. By their own wisdom they propose to solve all of life’s problems. And now, as then, their wisdom leads to the same God-denying and man-dishonoring conclusions: “Man is only a developed beast. He is soulless. Death ends him. There is no God, no judgment, no heaven, no hell. Pleasure is man’s chief good.”
The Grecian philosophers at Athens mocked when Paul spake of the resurrection. And they are right as to the chief good, if Paul is wrong. So he himself argued: “If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.” I. Cor. 15:32.
In the Christians of to-day we find the “Sons of Zion”. And in modern evolutionists and materialists we find the “Sons of Greece” And now, as much as in Paul’s time, the Sons of Zion need to be stirred up against the Sons of Greece. This brings us to the next question:
WHAT BEARING HAS THIS INTERPRETATION ON EDUCATION?
Evidently much every way. The schoolroom is the battle-field.The Greek philosophy has captured nearly all the universities and colleges, both religious and secular. It has crept into the text-books of nearly all the public schools. It masquerades in the garb of Science. Ten thousand teachers teach it in ten thousand schools. Not advanced pupils only, but little children are being diligently filled with a speculative philosophy which insidiously but surely undermines all faith in revelation and in God.
But before one is prepared to even consider properly any theory of education he must, if intelligent, answer satisfactorily to himself certain antecedent questions:
(1) What is man? Solomon, earth’s wisest man, in a matchless book of philosophic inquiry tentatively sounds the bottom of the Epicurean view of man’s nature: “I said in my heart, it is because of the sons of men, that God may prove them, and that they may see that they themselves are but as beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them : as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; and man hath no preeminence above the beasts: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man, whether it goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast, whether it goeth downward to the earth?” Eccles. 3:18-21.
Believers in the Bible theory of man’s origin and nature are compelled to say to the advocates of the Greek theory, “Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that they that would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” There is no ground of compromise, no hope of amalgamation. The variance is radical, fundamental and vital. Both cannot be true and a mixture is less desirable than either. If there be no essential distinction between man and beast, evidently the Bible is a fraud, root and branch. And equally self-evident is the proposition: the nature of the being must determine the scope of his education. Education has no creative power; it is merely the development of inherent and latent potentialities.
But if, as revelation teaches, man was made in the image of God, if when God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life he became a living soul, if God is the creator of his spirit and that spirit is dowered with immortality and destined to a future life, how immeasurably superior becomes the scope of education which is determined by his nature!
Those who attempt to harmonize the two theories by a compromise which credits God with the paternity of man’s soul and credits beast-evolution with the maternity of man’s body only render themselves ridiculous to both sides.
(2) What are man’s relations? All obligation arises from relation. Where there is no relation, there is no duty. If, in the universe, there be a thing or being to which man bears no relation, then towards that thing or being man has no duty. The quality and extent of the relation is the measure of the duty. The higher the relation, the more important the duty and paramount obligation arises from the highest relation. The several relations of husband and wife, parent and child, master and servant, subject and ruler, citizen and government, creature and creator, redeemer and redeemed define and measure the reciprocal obligations involved therein.
On this line speak the Scriptures: “A son honoreth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father where is mine honor? and if I be a master, where fear? saith the Lord of hosts.” That therefore is the best education which trains one into harmony with all his relations in due proportion and order. If, therefore, man be related to God as creature to creator, as subject to king, as son to father, as redeemed to redeemer, Solomon and Paul and Jesus are right: “This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard: Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.” Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And be not fashioned according to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second, like unto it is this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” And the catechism surpasses the Epicurean philosophy in defining obligation: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”
To ignore this relation in any theory or plan of education is to ignore the most important of all. Because Nebuchadnezzar did not know and would not recognize the supremacy of God’s government of the world, a man’s heart was taken away from him and a beast’s heart given to him for seven years. When, after he had gone on all-fours as a beast, after he had eaten grass as an ox, after his nails had grown into claws and after his very thoughts had dwindled to beast thoughts, and God restored his mind, he realized and suitably acknowledged the distinction in nature, relation and obligation between a man and a beast.
I say that antecedent to all theories and plans of education must first be answered the questions, What is the nature of man, what are his relations, what the obligations arising from the relations, what is the chief good, what is the end of man?
Evidently his education must be along the line of his nature, calculated to harmonize him with his relations, enable him to perform his duties, be helpful toward the attainment of the most desirable things and fit him best for his destiny.
According to the Bible, man has a dual nature. There is an inner and an outer man. The second is but the casket which holds the jewel, the temporary house of an immortal inhabitant. The second may perish, the first never dies. The first is the real man, the second but his external form. Under this general classification the Bible calls the inner man, soul, and the outer man, body. Matt. 10:28. But when it distinguishes between the physical and intellectual departments of the animal nature on the one hand and the higher spiritual nature on the other hand, the whole man is said to consist of body, soul and spirit. I. Thess. 5:23.
Under this more exact classification the dual nature remains: body and soul make the outer man; spirit, the inner man. This distinction naturally separates education into three great divisions: Physical, intellectual and spiritual. Physical culture promotes a sound body. Intellectual culture a sound mind. Spiritual culture a sound spirit. All are important, but the importance increases as the grades ascend. Physical education is inferior to intellectual development and spiritual culture surpasses both and should control both. “I keep my body under,” said Paul. That meant that the higher nature should be kept on top. When undue emphasis is put on physical culture, the result is a prize-fighter, a gladiator, boat racer, a football player. The outcome of undue emphasis on intellectual culture may be a Voltaire, a Hume or a Bolinbroke. Neglect of physical and intellectual culture for exclusive spiritual training develops an impractical religious enthusiast, who retires from a world in whose affairs he is disqualified to participate or a fanatic who becomes a menace to society. A symmetrical and well-rounded development of the whole man, body, intellect and spirit, may result in a Robert E. Lee, or a Wm. E. Gladstone. Voltaire was superior to John L. Sullivan but far inferior to Lee or Gladstone. In the sphere of spiritual culture lies all sound morality, all matters of conscience. There can be no morality without law which prescribes the good and proscribes the evil, and without a conscience to apprehend and apply its precepts. There can be no conscience where there is no spirit and no moral law without a Divine law-maker who thereby binds the conscience: “The spirit of the man is the candle of the Lord.” Apart from a moral law, divinely given and authoritative, morals are but customs, mere matters of expediency, changing with time, place and circumstances.
To this religious foundation of political wisdom and national morality the framers of constitutions, the makers of laws, and the executives of legislation are constrained to appeal in every great crisis of human affairs. The wires from Washington City, even now, flash abundant verification and timely illustration. There, in the Nation’s capitol, Congress is wrestling with the problem of seating a polygamous representative from Utah. And there, only three days ago, Congressman Lanham from Texas, well known to you all and honored by you, was using this language in the lower house:
“Mr. Speaker, the framers of our Constitution realized their dependence upon an all-wise Providence, and were not indifferent to religious obligations.” I find that at one time during their deliberations, when, as Martin reported, “the Convention was on the verge of dissolution, scarce held together by the strength of a hair,” Benjamin Franklin, the oldest one among them, to restore calm, just as the House was about to adjourn, proposed that the Convention should be opened every morning by prayer, and said:
“The longer I live the more convincing proofs I see that God governs in the affairs of men. I firmly believe that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it”
George Washington, who was President of the Constitutional Convention, in his Farewell Address, which will be a classic while the English language is spoken and political scripture wherever Americans dwell, said:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are the indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest Drops of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and cherish them A volume could not trace all their connection with private and public felicity…..
“Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.”
This leads us to another question:
WHO SHOULD EDUCATE?
Shall it be left to the family, to private enterprise, to the State or to the Church? Very thoughtfully do I answer, To all of them. The right and obligation to educate inhere wherever there is ability and opportunity to educate. Education is good. Physical education is good. Intellectual development is good. Spiritual culture is good. All of it is good. The family, private enterprise and the church, separately or combined, have failed to teach all the people. And all the people are entitled to education. The interests of society demand universal education. Hence the intervention of the State.
Not merely to prevent misconception in later statements but to express an honest and deliberate conviction, I wish now to align myself with state education. Very heartily do I favor, and very cheerfully I contribute through taxation in support of our whole system of public instruction. In my judgment, Christians in general and preachers in particular, should so conduct themselves as to be reckoned among the staunch friends of the free school system, and should ever oppose appropriations by the State to any denominational schools on any pretext whatsoever. And because of the necessity of education by the State, and of the intrinsic value of the work done by the teachers in the public schools, the friends of Christian colleges should never allow themselves to be betrayed into opposition to any part of the free school system. On the contrary, they should cultivate the friendliest relations with the graded primary schools, with A. and M. Colleges and with State Universities in all their departments of literature, classics, sciences, law and medicine.
I have been thus careful in advance, to make a candid statement of these convictions, partly because they are honest and partly with a view to forestall misconstruction of my attitude in the discussion of the next question.
Seeing that the State provides free education for all the people, in all departments, from primary grades to university courses, why should Christian people voluntarily tax themselves to establish and support colleges? In other words, and under these conditions
WHY CHRISTIAN EDUCATION ?
This is both a grave and pertinent question. It is also eminently practical. If there be no necessity for Christian colleges, it is waste to have them. And waste is sin. Some Christian people, entirely apart from consideration of what the state is doing, go so far as to deny the right of the churches of Jesus Christ intermeddle at all with any matter but preaching the gospel. They oppose orphanages, asylums, all schools whatever but Sunday schools, all medical missions under church or Christian auspices. We may well thank God that their number is small and their influence less. They have not rightly studied the life and teachings of our Lord.Very tender and sympathetic was he toward all human sufferings and wants. A large part of his work was to alleviate the one and provide for the other. He cared much for the body, much for the mind in caring mainly for the spirit. He fed the hungry, clothed the naked, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, work to the idle, and ministered to the diseased mind, while forgiving sin. Indeed, nothing which concerned humanity was foreign to him. He inculcated a like spirit in his disciples when he sent them out as missionaries (Matt. 10:8; Luke 10 :9) and made attention to man’s lower wants a proof of interest in his higher nature (James 2:15-17).
Indeed, Jesus gained attention from the inner man by loving help to the outer man (John 9:1-7 compared with 9:35-48). And to-day the denomination which leaves out of consideration and practice help for physical and intellectual wants will get no hearing when they speak of spiritual needs. If you deny bread to the hungry body, the hungry soul will not receive spiritual bread at your hands. Again, thank God, this narrow-minded class of Christians is both few and uninfluential. Let us dismiss their case.
But this does not dispose of our question, Why Christian education where we have state education? Let us address ourselves carefully to its answer. For if we cannot fairly and satisfactorily justify Christian education where there is state education, let us give it up and sell out all our schools. My first reason is that state education in this country, with all its conceded value so far as it goes, does not now cover the ground, and in the nature of the case never can cover it. This brings us to the consideration of
THE LIMITS OF STATE EDUCATION
In this country there is, and of right ought to be, a divorce between church and state. The most important of the first ten amendments to the constitution which constitute our national bill of rights, declares that “Congress shall make no law concerning an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This is the fundamental safeguard against a dreaded union of church and state. Bear in mind this fact.
A second fact is that in the second term of Washington’s administration there was negotiated, at his instance and through his secretary, formerly a preacher, a treaty between this government and Tripoli, a north African piratical power, in which is a clause embodying this solemn disclaimer: “The government of the United States of America is in no sense founded on the Christian religion.” This treaty was ratified by the United States Senate in the administration of John Adams, Washington’s successor. A treaty has the same force as the constitution itself. It is the supreme law of the land.
We pass to a third fact. Infidelity has established one college and only one, the Girard College. It was provided in the will of Stephen Girard that a high wall should enclose the campus of this institution, with gates of iron, and that through these portals the foot of no preacher of the gospel should ever pass. Those who, apart from this will, would have inherited the Girard estate, attempted to break the will, employing, with other eminent counsel, Daniel Webster. Mr. Webster mainly rested his case on a single proposition from which he deduced one conclusion. His proposition was: This is a Christian nation. His conclusion was: The will of Stephen Girard is out of harmony with the genius and spirit of a Christian nation and should therefore be declared null and void. Mr. Webster made a great speech, but lost his case. He lost it because he failed to sustain his premise: This is a Christian nation.
A fourth fact lies within the memory of this generation. There were introduced in the United States Congress, by Mr. Blair, two bills, called the Sunday Rest Bill and the Education Bill. A clause in the latter required all teachers of the public free schools to teach the fundamental principles of the Christian religion. After able discussion, both bills were defeated and on the same grounds, that they were obnoxious to our fundamental law.
These facts are but samples of many that could be cited on the same line, going to prove that in this country state education is necessarily restricted to the lower departments, namely : physical culture and intellectual development. It cannot enter one inch into the higher realm of spirit or lay the weight of its little finger on the domain of conscience.
On this account also, the state can never have a university in the historic or etymological sense of the term. A university, by its very name and idea, must embrace all the schools or colleges. The highest and most important of these is the school of theology. The state schools must leave out the Bible, the best of all the classics, and must be silent on all relations between man and God.
On this account, also, they are put to incalculable disadvantage in treating of man’s relations to man. The higher motives must all be left out. The great argument in favor of public schools is that the perpetuity of free institutions depends upon the morality of the freemen. Not intelligence alone, for the intelligent are the more dangerous to society if immoral. But in inculcating morality, the public schools have no fixed and authoritative moral law. No God whose voice speaks to the conscience. The public school is new, its years are few, and so far its moral tone is unconsciously borrowed from that Bible which may not become a text-book. The momentum of unacknowledged Christian institutions carried them safely along thus far. But the momentum is constantly losing its force. Causes are at work on every hand to decrease it more and more until the friction shall overcome it altogether in the absence of fresh power applied. If these schools, by the inexhaustible resources of state patronage, drive all others to the wall, and become the only schools in the nation, what will be the moral effect one hundred years hence?
This is a sober and momentous question. Its solemnity is enhanced when we consider two other sinister influences whose pressure on the public school system never ceases:
The first is their subjection to the ebb and flow of vicious party politics. This is evident in the selection of school superintendents, or regents and faculty, and in all legislation touching text-books, or indeed any other matter. From this political influence the city schools are no more exempt than others.
The second sinister influence is the ever increasing pressure of infidelity, which demands the obliteration of even the idea of God, of prayer, of a coming judgment and of a future destiny. I cite as a significant fact, indicating the trend of this pressure, the platform of principles adopted at a meeting of the Liberal League in Boston not very long ago. Infidelity has the legal right to organize as much as Christianity and to adopt an efficient system of propagandism. This organization is compact, vigorous and growing. It has intelligence, it has money, and thick as autumn leaves fall the printed sheets of its propagandism over all the land. Substantially this was the platform adopted: “Resolved, that we will never disband this organization, nor cease from agitation until the remotest reference to the deity is expunged from the Federal Constitution, nor until all chaplaincies in the navy, army, congress, state legislatures, penitentiaries and asylums are abolished.o Nor until all houses of religious worship are taxed like any other property. Nor until the Bible and other books of religion are banished and outlawed from every school in the United States supported by city, county, state or national funds.”
That this pressure is real and potential and cumulative one would be blind to deny. To this add the trend of speculative philosophy which, in the name of science, creeps into all the text-books on geology, zoology, biology, sociology and kindred departments. I refer specifically to the Epicurean philosophy which knows no God and no future life and draws no distinction between man and beast.o These Sons of Greece would not only monopolize all the public school system as their peculiar territory for exploiting their unverified hypothesis but by manipulation of a godless press deny to Christian schools, yea even to the theological seminaries, the right to cast out conscienceless professors who have crept in unawares and who would use the chairs endowed by Christian piety as an inside base from which to undermine or bombard the Christian faith.
Not only this, but a sentiment is being cultivated assiduously by some, and its watchwords and catchphrases put into the mouths of some misinformed and thoughtless Christian people to the effect that Christian schools have no right even to existence. The exponents of this sentiment use all manner of catchwords and appeal to all kinds of motives. They come with Jacob’s voice in the garb of Esau. They say, with all assumption of reverence, Relegate religious instruction of children to the family, and let the Holy Church confine itself to preaching the gospel in the houses of worship. They stop not to inquire how few families have any religious instruction, nor how few students educated to believe the Epicurean philosophy will attend houses of worship. They ignore the fact that the state has come into the place of the parent, not only in matters of secular education, but unwittingly, through an insidious philosophy, in matters of religious education. In favoring church disestablishment our reverent fathers meant nothing against religion. What was intended as neutrality is wrested into positive hostility. This sentiment delights to mock the lack of material resources in equipment and salaries which characterize struggling Christian schools and appeals to the covetousness of undeveloped Christians to withhold the financial remedy on the plea that it is useless sacrifice: “Patronize state schools and save your money.”
I am very far from attributing this exclusive and hostile spirit to all teachers in the state schools. Very many of them have a broader and wiser spirit. They are not only ready to cultivate friendly relations with Christian schools but steadfastly oppose the misuse of state schools for exploiting infidelity. Many of them are reverent Christians themselves.
I cite another serious limitation to state education. The highest power in any art or science is denied to the godless. They lack the afflatus of inspiration and the drawing and uplifting attractions of immortality and of the world to come. Lacking altitude, their horizon is narrow. Earth-bound, their life cannot be large. Miss Rose, the sister of President Cleveland, explained well why George Eliot, magnificent in prose and accurate in rhyme and measure, could never write poetry. Poetry has a soul which will not dwell with an agnostic. This is true in sculpture, painting, oratory, and in all the realms of jurisprudence and statesmanship. Themes, as well as inspiration, are wanting to the agnostic who would be a poet, a sculptor, a painter, an orator, a jurist or a statesman. The epics, the statuary, the paintings, the judicial decisions, all operative legislation, and all the master-pieces of oratory which to-day thrill the world, are evidences in point. Governments crumble when the idea of responsibility to God is weakened. Bayonets cannot enforce law where the conscience has lost touch with God. Agnosticism looses the tiger when the masses receive it.
An important value, therefore, of the Christian college to the State at large is that it provides a succession of witnesses and furnishes by its examples perpetual grounds of comparison that prevent public instruction by the government from drifting into downright atheism. The State University needs the Christian University more than the Christian University needs the State University.
In this State, at least, another disability attaches, not indeed in theory but in practice, to State education. I refer to the want of that intermediate school, the county academy. Our fathers intended otherwise. They made provision for the academy as a very vital part of the public school system. But in some way subsequent legislation overlooked their benign purposes. The city high school vainly tries to fill the gap. It suffices for the city but is powerless to meet the want of the country. Private enterprise just here does a valuable, but inadequate work. Very helpful also, in the same direction is the system of affiliated schools now being established by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
In further justification of Christian schools, I now address a line of argument to the Baptist conscience. If you are a Christian at all, if your allegiance to Jesus Christ is more than nominal, it ought in some way and to some degree to arouse your interest and touch your heart. Again I cite a fact: Reliable statistics prove that about nineteen out of twenty of all the people converted to God are converted in the school period of life. I do not say that God cannot or does not convert some old people. I speak of the rule, not the exception. In view of this momentous fact, I submit a question to the Christian conscience: What, in your judgment and from your standpoint, ought to be the environment and atmosphere of that plastic period wherein character is formed, destiny is shaped, and the battle of eternal life is usually fought and won or lost forever ? So far as your own children are concerned, is there nothing here to awaken and to alarm? Does the fact fail to quicken your sense of responsibility and suggest no imperative duty? Does salvation come by the use of means? Is it enough to love our offspring but take no adequate steps to provide for their salvation? Are we not like David whose heart was toward Absalom, but whose affection contrived no practical and effective plan to bring the wanderer home? Do we not need the rebuke administered to him: “For we must needs die, and once dead we are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; and because God hath not taken away his life, he hath also devised means that his banished be not expelled from him”? II. Sam. 14:14.
The salvation of our children is largely a matter of probabilities and of the use of means. Environment counts for much. The simple question is this: Are conditions more favorable to conversion in a Christian school than in an unchristian school? What testimony do reason, observation, and experience bear on this vital point? And if the child be lost through unpropitious environment, what can you give in exchange for his soul? And what profit has it been to him to gain a world, if his soul be lost?
I cite a case in point: I went much out of my way to visit a well-to-do farmer to enlist his co-operation in behalf of our school system. As soon as I began to point out the advantages of Christian education on this very line, he stopped me at once with the abrupt statement that he was sufficiently informed already on that point. And that he did not get his information from books, but from sad experience. He had ventured a boy on each theory of education. The one sent to a school which had no Bible, no spiritual atmosphere of restraint, no prayer, no God, came back home a moral wreck. The other sent to a Christian school came home a happy convert. The fate of the first cast a moveless shadow over the home and put a raven-beak into the parental heart. The salvation of the second illumined the hearth-stone and the parental heart. This father’s information was certified, but it was very costly.
I have no interest in pressing this argument beyond its value. Some boys are weak, some are strong. Some are superior to all surroundings. I speak of probabilities in the case of the average boy. I cite another fact, more general, with which I am quite familiar: Nearly all the students who come unconverted to Baylor University go home Christians. Can that be said of any non-religious school in the world?
Addressing myself now exclusively to Baptists, I press another argument as verified by observation and experience. You Baptists lay unusual stress on the importance of the church. You delight to sing:
“For her my tears shall fall;
For her my prayers ascend;
To her my cares and toils be given
Till toils and cares shall end.”
You boast of its Divine institution and magnify its mission to men and angels: to men, ministering salvation; to angels instruction, since unto “principalities and powers shall be made known by the church throughout all ages the manifold wisdom of God.” You insist that it is the pillar and ground of the truth, and founded on the rock, Christ Jesus, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Holding these views of the church, I submit another solemn question of probabilities and means: Assuming that your child leaves home converted to attend school, how will that child’s relation to the church be affected by the school attended? Is it probable that your Christian boys and girls will come home from a Christian school more attached to the church than from a non-religious school? What answer would reason suggest? What reply does observation make? What response comes from experience? Many of you have the experience. Like the farmer before mentioned, you have ventured a son or daughter on the experiment. If sent away to a worldly, fashionable, or purely secular school, does the child come home as devoted to the church as when he or she left home? Is there the same simple trust in God and faith in Jesus? Or has prayer and Bible study ceased, spirituality declined, and the once firm grip on Bible doctrine become the shaking. slipping clasp of a paralytic? O, ye criminally careless Christians, wake up to your duties and your opportunities! And now in fear and trembling I approach the application:
THE STIRRING UP OF THE SONS OF ZION
Let us commence with a blessed promise: “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” Isa. 59:19. Unquestionably, here is the bed-rock of our trust. God himself purposes and pledges to stir us up and unfurl for us a banner of victory, It was this one precious fact which engaged and committed me to the stupendous and otherwise hopeless enterprise in whose behalf I now speak. Too well, I knew the prevalent lack of interest; too well, the incorrigible covetousness of God’s people; too well, the jangling voices and jarring discords of opposition; too well, the benumbing spirit of slumber that locks up the sense of our Texas Baptist people; too well, the centrifugal and tangential forces which disturb unity of purpose and break up the cooperation of the brotherhood; too well, the narrow and selfish pastoral spirit which restrains the church from participation in the denominational life; too well, how malice, envy and jealousy, a triad of harpies would swoop down upon the movement with befouling beak and rending talon. Ah! too well, I knew all these things, and more, to venture out in my own name or strength to do this work. I knew well that in spite of my puny arm, thorns and briers would continue to choke the educational garden of God unless the Spirit of the Lord should be poured out from on high.
Two hundred thousand dollars could not be raised for Christian education in two years from the mammon-worshipping Baptist of Texas by any man unaided from on high. Every hour have I known and felt this. Every hour have I yearned to feel the under-girding arm of 0mnipotence, and in every step of the dark and lonely way, a veritable valley of the shadow of death, cried out for the sense of the divine presence and the comfort of the good shepherd’s staff. Very sweet has been human sympathy when tendered; very precious the knowledge that some dear ones of God’s children were praying for me every day, and unspeakably welcome any whole-hearted co-operation received from preacher or layman; very sad the denial of sympathy, help or prayer; very grievous any downright opposition; most painful of all the disappointment concerning some, both men and women, whose help was confidently expected, but never came. True, all these, but never for one moment has the uplifted eye been turned or the trusting heart swerved from the Holy One whose breath is life, whose smile is light and whose favor is victory. Even now while I speak downward to dry bones, “O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord,” I pray upward, “Come, O Breath, and breathe upon these slain that they may live.”
Brethren, everywhere interest in the work has to be created. And that is God’s work alone. There may be fire when we leave a place, but the next place is cold as death. A pastor gets the benefit in advanced work of each past week’s labor, and with him, it is like the dawn of the morning, brightening more and more unto perfect daylight. But ours is a fresh plunge into an ice cold stream every week as we go to a new place. Already we have heard excuses enough to bury so deep out of sight the rocky back-bone of the western continent that not even Mts. St. Elias, Pike’s Peak, Shasta, Popocatepetl or Chimborazo, would be visible. And they are so alike in every place, the conclusion is irresistible that one devil furnished the mould which shaped them all.
The supreme difficulty is to get a fair hearing. The hearing without the money is better than the money without the hearing. The first and greatest right of any God-sent man is a hearing of his message. An ambassador does not count to whom an audience is denied. “How can they believe except they hear?” It required one year’s work to get the inner ear of 2,000 people, but that 2,000 gave the first $100,000. Very many thousands heard with the outer ear, after first deciding the question. Do not misunderstand; we are not speaking to empty benches, but very many hearing, hear not; and seeing, do not understand. Unquestionably, it is a case for divine interposition.
The first and supreme need is the pouring out of the spirit of grace and of supplication. Unless our people pray and pray right – wrestling, importunate prayer – the game is blocked. This battle is to be won on our knees. Faith must accompany prayer. We must see the king with the keys, having power to open so that no man can shut. We must believe that he can not only raise the putrid dead, but do that greater thing, melt the miser’s heart. We must not only see the Divine title to all property and recognize Jehovah’s brand on all cattle, but we must trust His power to make men realize their stewardship. We have no need to pray for discovery of new mines of coal, or gold, or streams of oil, but that omnific power may loose the purse-strings of coin already minted and open the pocket books of currency already printed.
To this faith must be added courage. Not that lower courage to face a storm of shot and shell, but that higher courage which dares to lay men’s duty before them in God’s authoritative name. To this courage, patience, not merely to suffer, but to calmly abide at duty’s post, notwithstanding opposition and the seductive beckoning of easier things, but because God holds this door open. Like Paul replying to tempting Corinth: “I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost; for a great door and effectual is opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”
Then we must be wedded to the conviction that truth is mighty and prevalent only as it is pressed on men’s hearts and lovingly received. That even God’s omnipotent purposes and foreordination involve the use of means. That attention must be secured, the dormant spiritual power awakened, the mind informed and effort systematized. We want no blind, nor involuntary contributions. We must make our appeal to intelligence and reason and rest our case on enlightened conviction. We ought to be ashamed to trap a contribution from the unwary, or to extort it from mere good nature. We need no adroit contrivance of method; no high pressure of human sensationalism; no cunningly devised catch-phrases; no senseless hue and cry. A residuum of judgment yet abides with the people. We must get to it some way. Men are yet susceptible of influences through lofty motives and reasonings of the higher nature.
To that tribunal must we carry our case. We have a good case, when fairly stated, whose prospects of a favorable verdict increase as we keep on appealing from lower courts to higher courts. We may not hope to win over all the people or half of them. If we fairly gain the honest and heartfelt co-operation of one Texas Baptist out of every forty, the victory will eclipse any achievement of modern times. One out of every forty means five thousand. Last year, we had only two thousand in line. To insure marvelous, glorious, complete success, I ask of God the loving co-operation of only five thousand Baptists this year. Will you be one? Will you engage to enlist another? Don’t eat your own heart out worrying over the one hundred and ninety-five thousand who sit still and do nothing, but seek out and rejoice over the five thousand helpers. One preacher out of six, one layman out of forty, one church out of ten, to give any real, substantial help is sufficient. It is like the gospel: many are called, few are chosen. But you speak to all to take out the Lord’s people. And now speaking to the two hundred thousand that the five thousand may hear, I submit, in God’s name and fear, certain reflections intended, with divine blessing, to stir up the Sons of Zion on the line of Christian Education.
THE GROUND IS HISTORIC
Well may we join in the prophetic exclamation of our context: Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live forever? But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers?” Zech. 1:5-6. Here is a case of Baptist succession:The teachers of bygone days are dead, but while they lived they taught. The pupils instructed by them are dead, but while they lived they learned. Other teachers arise to teach another generation. There is no transmission of instruction by inheritance. Each generation must learn as if former generations had never heard. This calls for new and living teachers as Paul commanded : The
things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” We want no new things. “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” Jer. 6:16.
To apply this case: How stood our fathers on the matter of Christian education? And if the word took hold of their hearts, then let our hearts be open to it. It is true that in the dark ages the Baptists established no stationary schools. But why? Simply because until the passage of the Act of Toleration in the reign of William and Mary, no country on earth allowed them the legal right to have a college. But from the passage of that act till this good hour they have averaged the establishment of one college a year. To-day they occupy the front rank in Christian education. Our Texas fathers, in the days of the Republic, 1845, organized for education before they organized for missions. Their historic foundations stand to-day in Baylor University and Baylor Female College. Would any living man dare to remove these ancient landmarks? Shall we not rather build on them? If you want to be counted in the historic Baptist succession, you must fall into line with Christian education. Whence cometh your wisdom so superior to theirs that you should say: “We need them not”?
The Baptist General Convention of Texas declares its constitution that the object of its organization shall be missions and education; the promotion of harmony concerning missions and education; the devising of a plan of operative measures for the promotion of harmony of feeling and action in order to foster missions and education. How comes it that you know so much more than your brethren? What warrants you in arrogating to yourself a higher discernment than God allowed to the assembly of his people? Is not the presumption against you ? Is it not probable that the majority are more spirit-guided? The American Baptist Education Society is the Baptist denomination of the United States organized for the promotion of Christian education on the best and safest lines. This national organization was called into being by the alarming fact that State education was driving the old time Christian college from the field. They saw and declared what a blind man ought to see and even a fool ought to know, that the old time Christian college in the South, which once could draw on the whole State for favor and patronage cannot now live under the new conditions brought about by the well-equipped and far-reaching system of State education, without more solid foundations, better equipments and richer endowments, and hence that we should discourage the needless multiplication of colleges and concentrate on one good college or university in the State, and provide academies to feed it. Are you better informed than the united wisdom of Baptist educators of the nation? If you think a few poor and widely scattered Baptist churches, not a fourth of them able to support a pastor, can, under these conditions. find money to establish, and patronage to support a college, your zeal far outruns your discretion and your effort is fore-doomed to shameful and heart-breaking failure. There is no restraining compulsion but the dictates of sound reason and common sense. You are at liberty
to be foolish. But when you try it and both backs and hearts begin to break; when mortgage takes ground-hold on your campus and foundation-brick; when interest eats into your soul; then consider your own folly and vainly wish you had united with your brethren to accomplish possible things.
Very deliberately do I say it, that under the present conditions of State education, no ten Baptist Associations of Texas can establish a college. And by rights there ought to be a hundred thousand dollars in hand, to start an academy. It is more truthful now than when uttered by Dr. Lyman Beecher, the greatest of all Beechers: “We must educate! We must educate! Or we must perish by our own prosperity.” But it is still nearer the truth now to say: “We Baptists must concentrate! We must co-operate!Or we can never educate.” Under conditions of State education religious denominations can not educate all the people. They must educate some who will be witnesses to all the people. It is not expected that all who help in the cause of Christian education shall receive a direct return in the education of their own children. We no more appeal to that selfish motive in behalf of Christian education with most people than we do in behalf of missions. An objection to help based on that ground does not touch the question on top, bottom or side. The motive is: For Christ’s sake. The good to most of us is mainly indirect and reflex. It is good to the cause, to the State, to the world. The good may not reach your family in your time. It may reach only your grand-children or great-grand-children. But it will come mightily sometime.
THE WORK IS EXTRAORDINARY
We must bear this constantly in mind. To have an established school system; one central university; one female college; four wisely distributed affiliated and subordinate schools ; all equipped and free of debt, with property aggregating half a million dollars – that is no ordinary thing. We are now on the last hundred thousand. But the time is short. Under the solemn compact of the Commission, the time for debt-paying and equipment ends in November when the Convention meets. After that date the Commission must devote itself to endowment. Endowment cannot wait any longer. Considering this urgency of time, if we accord to this work the treatment that an ordinary work may receive and survive, this work perishes. Missions, orphanage, Sunday school work you have always with you. It is wrong to defer proper help to them this year, but that wrong is not without remedy, and may be made up next year. But with this work it is help now or never. To withhold help now is to withhold it forever. An extraordinary work, one not to be repeated, calls for large sacrifices. We may not measure our contributions to it by the amount we give to other things year by year.
SOWING MUST PRECEDE REAPING
With the exception of some gleaning we have reaped the harvest of previous sowing. We must prepare a new crop. We must clear off the brush and break up afresh the fallow ground. We must plant again and then cultivate, praying for the early and the latter rain. This is all hard and trying but necessary work. We need to enlist more laborers. How shall we get over this great Texas field in time? How can we secure the volunteers? How can we get our people to thinking and praying and working? Do not misunderstand. Do not construe certain things said as indicative of despondency. They are designedly said on the double principle that we must know the worst in order to provide against it and that when our fears correspond to the danger, the danger is past. Alarm bells waken sleepers. Conviction is bitter, but it must precede conversion.
IT IS A CENTENNIAL EFFORT
It rounds up the nineteenth century. As none ever sees but once the bloom on an agave plant, so this is the only time in our lives to celebrate the end of a century. The Southern Baptist Convention calls upon all its constituent states to join in a suitable celebration. The Baptist General Convention of Texas decided by unanimous vote to respond to the call. A Campaign of Education along all the lines of our denominational work is being planned. It is far from needful to neglect one in order to promote another. All are helped by keeping step together.
Shall not the dying nineteenth century bequeath to its successor a well grounded system of education? Shall not the first beam of the twentieth century light fall upon six Baptist schools in Texas harmoniously correlated, and all of them well equipped and freed from debt? How then can the new era withhold endowment, even in its opening years? And is not this our best preparation for the responsibilities and opportunities of the new century? The first quarter of the century promises more startling revelations, more rapid changes and developments, more open doors of opportunity and wider fields of Christian enterprise, than any two centuries of the past ever unfolded. Every dark place on earth, every habitation of cruelty is now penetrated with the light. The millennial dawn will soon flush the sky. The thousand years of gospel triumph seem about to commence.
No state on the globe fronts the great future more favorably than Texas. With the opening of the Panama Canal, the Gulf of Mexico becomes the Mediterranean Sea, whose waves wash the shores of an empire. Through that channel the eyes of the Orient see Texas. Her ports become marts of world-traffic and in her harbors rich navies ride, laden with the commerce of every clime. All her produce, animal, mineral and vegetable, finds a market among the needy millions across the Pacific. Her sons behold enterprises opening a thousand doors of employment at home and abroad. Manufactories will multiply. Land and sea and sky will be subdued. Nature’s secrets of wealth and power and beauty will be revealed. All her forces will be under tribute. Texas, with her developed resources, will teem with an incredible population. Her progress will be pushed by millions of freemen. The raw-hide dynasty will be forgotten.
Our children will live in a grand and awful time, an age on ages telling. How shall we prepare them for it? With what shall they be equipped? What part shall Baptists have in these great revolutions and achievements s0 near at hand? What place will our people occupy? Will they be in the front or rear? Shall they carry banners in the van or stay at home with the stuff? After fifty-five years of effort for schools and colleges, will they end the old century with disaster and let the new century find them a broken column, a defeated and divided people, ever breaking into smaller fragments? Then be sure the kingdom of heaven will be taken from our long-favored people and given to another people who will bring forth the fruits thereof. Our Father will not bear with our folly always. While the light of individual Christianity is never extinguished, the candle-stick of organization can be removed.
My soul enlarges within me and thrills with indescribable sensations when I face this great future and think of the mighty part in earth’s redemption now possible to our Texas people. It is offered to us. We have but to reach forth our hands and grasp it. There looms up in outlines of colossal sublimity the part we may play in the Christian education of the world. I see Baylor University with a thousand collegiate students. I see a pastoral college like Spurgeon’s sending out its Bible-trained preachers to the ends of the earth. I see all the schools of our system crowded with students. Our sons and daughters educated under propitious auspices.
But I also see a dreadful possibility. The denomination that leaves out Christian schools must go to the rear and to the bottom.Their children, when they would sharpen an ax or a plow, must hunt up a Philistine grind-stone, the supreme proof of vassalage. I see how it is possible, through the selfishness and covetousness and cowardice and division of God’s people, for the spirit of the Sons of Greece to write all text-books, prepare the matter for all encyclopedias, capture all the schools and breathe into the nostrils of our children that death-cold philosophy: Man’s father was a beast. He is like his father. Death ends him. There is no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit. No God, no judgment, no hell, no heaven.
O that even now the Lord would fulfill his promise! That he would lift up a standard against the enemy coming in like a flood. That he would stir up the Sons of Zion against the Sons of Greece.
“Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light.”