This entry is part of 50 in the series article 26

Our Master said, in concluding His Sermon on the 
Mount, according to Matt. 7 : 24-27 : 

"Every one, therefore, that heareth these words of 
mine, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise 
man who built his house upon the rock; 

"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and 
the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell 
not; for it was founded upon a rock. 

"And every one that heareth these words of mine, 
and doeth them not, I will liken unto a foolish man, 
who built his house upon the sand; 

"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and 
the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell; 
and great was the fall thereof." 

With these words for a foundation, the author feels 
it necessary to issue a word of admonition which he 
hopes will be taken seriously by all who find a use 
for this little volume. 

Under the old economy it was "an eye for an eye, 
and a tooth for a tooth." But Jesus of Nazareth 
changed that standard and established a new order of 
things. He reversed the standards of the past and 
laid the foundation for a glorious future in the history 
of mankind. The angelic anthem that was wafted over 
the storied hills of old Judea, some nineteen hundred 
years ago, "Peace on earth; good will to men," con- 
tains the nucleus of a civilization that would usher in 
the most ideal condition among men, if properly 
applied by peoples, nationalities and races in their 
intercourse with each other. The idea of the brother- 
hood of man is so big that the world has failed to 
grasp its full significance. Parts of humanity, here 
and there, have caught something of the spirit of 
Christ, which they have demonstrated in an earnest 
effort to bring about universal brotherhood, and sub- 
sequently universal peace. But other portions of 
humanity have challenged that ideal from time to time, 
and have instituted in its stead the theory of the ''sur- 
vival of the fittest," in which competition and war 
have been given a prominent position, and of which 
might has been made the dominating factor. By them 
Jesus has been pronounced either a fanatic or a crank. 
They have ruled out His teachings as visionary and 
Utopian, and have refused to accord Him any degree 
of consideration, much less of divinity. The conse- 
quence has been the sudden eruption of the warlike 
spirit at different times in the past, followed by the 
rise and fall of nations according to the proportion 
that said nations have founded their national civiliza- 
tion upon Christian or antichristian ideals. 

History is but repeating itself to-day with a lesson 
more terrible, yet more fruitful, we hope, than at any 
time in the past — a lesson so costly that it will result 
altogether in the elimination of war. We have just 
emerged from a welter of blood in which practically 
all the nations have been involved. The apparent 
causes were racial strife and commercial prejudice and 
kingly ambition; but the real issue lying at the bottom 
of things was the old issue that has confronted human- 
ity time and again since the Nazarene went back 
to the right hand of His majesty on high. Certain 
classes of men have ruled Christ out of human affairs, 
discarded and pooh-poohed His teachings, and insti- 
tuted their own wisdom instead. So we must affirm, 
with all the emphasis of intellect and soul, that the 
real underlying issue of the great war was a religious 
issue — an issue involving the supremacy of Christ over 
rationalistic and atheistic philosophy, upon the outcome 
of which will depend the future of civilization itself. 
We desire to analyze this issue briefly, and conclude 
this homiletic effort with a word of warning to be 
taken from the trend of modern events. 

Modern philosophy originates with the reasoning of 
the German teacher and professor, Immanuel Kant. 
While Kant himself was a stickler for the funda- 
mentals of the Christian faith, yet he left behind him 
a system of philosophical thought that was easily dis- 
torted, from its original and intended meaning, into 
a pure rationalism, by his successors. It was Arthur 
Schopenhauer, the philosopher and pessimist, who orig- 
inated modern atheism. Schopenhauer taught that 
humanity is fundamentally bad. The only God which 
he recognized is what he called "The Will to Live" 
which might be interpreted as a blind striving to exist, 
an impelling force within all humanity, that causes 
reproduction and propagation in order to escape anni- 
hilation. Naturally Schopenhauer was an autocrat, 
and a firm believer in the "survival of the fittest." 
He is the man who has shaken modern religious 
thought from its very foundation, and left, in many 
places, nothing but spiritual darkness in his wake. It 
was another German philosopher, however, who abetted 
Schopenhauer in the work of leading humanity away 
from spiritual values. This man was David Friedrich 
Strauss. His attack took another course. He assailed 
the authenticity of the Biblical manuscripts, and pro- 
nounced the narratives of Matthew, Mark, Luke and 
John nothing more than Hebrew legends. He denied 
the divinity of Christ and the inspiration of the 
Scriptures. In so doing he laid the foundation of 
modern destructive criticism. Thus we can see that 
these two men, both of them prominent in the higher 
educational circles of Prussia, are indirectly responsible 
for the holocaust which has engulfed humanity to-day. 

It remained, however, for another man, a German 
philosopher also, to bring about the actual condition 
that would result in the disruption of civilization. 
This man, brilliant, though insane, was Friedrich 
Nietzsche, who lived in the nineteenth century. 
Nietzsche admits that he gave up Christianity after 
reading Schopenhauer. We recognize in his "Will to 
Power" but the evolution of Schopenhauer's "Will 
to Live." Nietzsche idealized the victor, moral 
or immoral. He deified authority and power. He 
argued for the revolutionizing of society and 
the development of the "superman" by means of 
the laws of eugenics. He admitted that Jesus 
approached the "superman" to a certain degree, but he 
maintained that Jesus lacked the power of ruling 
others. His philosophy may be summed up in these 
words, written by himself: "Seal philosophers are 
commanders and lawgivers. They say: 'Thus shall it 
be' Their knowing is creating." This is the very 
spirit of Prussian militarism. Nietzsche combined the 
pessimism of Schopenhauer with the criticism of 
Strauss, and added thereto his own insanity and lust 
for power. The consequence of such philosophy was 
the formation of a military autocracy that has recently 
set out to conquer and Prussianize the world. 

Bismarck carried out this philosophy in the forma- 
tion of the German Empire. By means of intrigue and 
wars of aggrandizement, deliberately planned and per- 
petrated, he wrested territory from Denmark, Austria 
and France in quick succession, and drove the sur- 
rounding principalities into a coalition with Prussia, 
under the reign of William I., thus forming the Ger- 
man Empire out of the historic policy of " blood and 
iron." Surrounded by champions of his own policy, 
he set about the formation of a military system that 
was intended to carry German "kultur" over the 
entire world. In this he was aided by Heinrich Von 
Treitschke, the principal editor and historian of the 
empire. He made everything subservient to the state. 
He began the plan of educating the people to such a 
conception of government — a conception which exalted 
the state above everything else; which even went to the 
extremity of accounting anything right, whether moral 
or immoral in itself, if done for the state. And he 
based the power of the state upon one instrument — 
the army. For the last seventy-five years the most 
important thing in the German Empire has been the 
army — an army consisting of every male subject of the 
state, carefully equipped and rigorously disciplined, 
ready for war at the sound of the bugle. 

The policy originated by Bismarck has been fol- 
lowed carefully by his successors. The Emperor him- 
self, William II., has been the foremost in the propa- 
gation of this policy of pan-Germanism. For a long 
time war has been looked upon by the military leaders 
of Germany as "a national industry" in which so 
many millions are expended and so many more millions 
made in profit by annexation and indemnity. "War has 
been called a purifier of national life, and the idea of 
universal peace hooted with derision. Perhaps the 
most enlightening book on this subject is that of Gen- 
eral Bernhardi, entitled "Germany and the Next 
War", written some two years previous to the outbreak 
of the recent conflict. 

What does all of this elaboration mean to us? It 
means that in the universities of Heidelberg, Leipsic, 
Jena, Munich and Berlin has originated all the atheism, 
criticism and rationalism that has turned the world 
away from Christian ideals. It was in these univer- 
sities that it was first discovered that Jesus was a 
fanatic, the Bible a Hebrew legend, and the ethics of 
Christianity too antiquated for the notice of modern 
thinkers. This species of teaching spread into the uni- 
versities of France and England, and, in recent years, 
has crossed the Atlantic to take up its abode in the 
larger American institutions of learning. There are 
very few universities in the United States, to-day, that 
are not surrounded by this air of atheism and rational- 
ism. For a long time our noted intellectualists have 
refused to accord any degree of consideration to any- 
thing that has not worn the trademark, "Made in Ger- 
many." Degrees obtained from German universities 
have been given a higher value; and courses have 
not been considered complete unless the finishing 
touches have been given them in Germany. As a con- 
sequence, we have developed the same sort of an intel- 
lectual aristocracy that is unchristian in character and 
ideals. The philosophy and rationalism of the educa- 
tional system of Germany have finally robbed the 
masses of their primitive faith. Much in the same 
manner are the criticism and rationalism of American 
higher learning, born and nurtured in Germany, rob- 
bing the Christian ministry of its enthusiasm, and 
indirectly turning the common people into the luke- 
warmness of uncertainty and unbelief. The philosophy 
of Nietzsche, interwoven with the educational and 
political systems of Germany, has brought about the 
desecration of Christian ideals, and the glorification of 
brute force as the foremost factor of a progressive 

What was the consequence? The terrible world war. 
The intellectualists of the world have ruled Christ out 
of human affairs, and turned to their own wisdom for 
infallibility. But God does not propose to allow such 
a condition to exist very long. To-day they are paying 
the price of their folly. The wisdom of the wise is 
becoming consummate foolishness because of the irony 
of present social and political conditions. Heidelberg, 
Jena, Leipsic, Berlin, Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and 
Yale are all guilty to a certain degree. To-day they 
are paying for their desecration of higher ideals. 
To-day the European universities are empty. They 
no longer resound with the virile step of young man- 
hood. Where are all of the strong young men that, 
just a few years ago, walked and talked within those 
classic halls? Their bones are decaying in the fields 
of Flanders, or in the mountain passes of the Car- 
pathians. Mankind has just descended into an awful 
grave — but there lies a resurrection beyond, a resur- 
rection to the millennial reign of Christ in the hearts 
of men, a glorious era illuminated by the splendor of 
the cross. Men are being brought to a contemplation 
of divinity as never before, as a consequence of suf- 
fering and travail. The world is just beginning to 
realize a need of the immortal, ascended, glorified 

This is the time for ministers to throw away 
theories and hypotheses, creeds and cults, and get busy 
preaching the Word. Let the message of the gospel 
ring from ocean to ocean, from land to land! Let 
the personal Christ be held up for the contemplation 
of humanity! Let the twentieth-century civilization 
be founded upon the principles of Christianity, so that 
it may be an enduring civilization! Let the divinity 
of Christ be given a special emphasis, as well as the 
inspiration of the Scriptures. Let the idea of universal 
brotherhood become a reality, and universal peace will 
be brought about by disarmament of nations. Let the 
word of God be preached in all of its original purity 
and power, the way of salvation pointed out clearly to 
those in the bondage of sin, and the promises of the 
gospel be proclaimed to the uttermost parts of the 
earth. Let the ministry of the gospel profit by the les- 
son of to-day, face about, burn all the bridges behind 
them — bridges of theory and speculation — and press 
forward in the evangelization of the race. In so 
doing, brother minister, Jesus Christ will be with you 
even unto the end of the world.
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