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ON THE WATCH TOWER

[By Ariel.] There are several points of likeness be-, twren the present crmia and the French' Revolution. The main one ia that both were led up to by a literature. Voltaire and Kouweaa were the characteristic fig-. urea in the French literature of destruction, but they were followed by many others, less able and more earnest. This literature laughed religion to scorn, sapped authority of all kinds, and placed a deadly mine under the social fabric. The justification oi the Revolution went before it, and after it had overthrown oof ciator in Trance there was a nation boiling wita enthusiasm to spread far and wide the benefit* of French " culture." It was fortunate enough, or perhaps I ought to say it was unfortunate enough, to discover a supreme military genius, and owing to him it took 20 years to suppress and overthrow the enthusiasm of the French nation and to restore liberty to Europe. In the present cataclysm there was the same outburst of literature, but the German rulers, instead of being submerged by it, contrived to ride upon it. The literature attacked religion and sapped conscience, but left the imperial throne untouched. Indeed, it mistrusted and despised the people, and, like Carlyle, worshipped the strong man. It taught thai a nation, or rather their nation, ought to give itaelf to the utmost cultivation of the art of killing, and then use its efficiency to crush its neighbors and to establish itself as the master of the world. It was the strong wine of victory that gave this torn to the German upheaval. The French were not drunk with that wine at the outset. Their initial intention was to overthrow kings and to establish the freedom of the human race. The idea of world empire and the drunkenness came in with Napoleon. It was not till he was himself intoxicated with success that he became an oppressor; but the Germans had that smbition from the beginajnt;. It is the motive of their literature and their wars. There is another vital difference : the French had a real genius to lead them. Germany has only u manufactured one. The great conservatories of rmisic do not produce the musical geniuses. The universities do not produce the- great poets and authors. Genius occurs, it i.i not made to order, or shaped by the authorised machine. Shakespeare, Burns. Dickens, Eliot. Kipling simply occur.* They are not made. The same thing is true of military genius. Clive and Nelson owed nothing to the machine that was supposed to manufneture warriors. Xone of the great Mohammedan or Mongolian conquerors and none of Napoleon's splendid retinue wore made on German methods. This, I take it, is the most important difference between the two cases, the French and the German. In their former wars, which intoxicated them and filled them with dreams of successfully bullving the world. I hold that they had all the luck. They beat Austria with the breech-loader, anil France because she was hopelessly unprepared. 11l the present war all the main plans have failed, and general after general has been turned clown, and there remain only two in whom the Kaiser has confidence—himself and his yon ; and I fancy he must whiles '• hae his doota" of the latter. * # * * * # * It took 20-years to overthrow Napoleon and his France. How long will it take to overthrow the Kaiser and his Germany? Until 1812 Napoleon was able to feed the. French imagination with most real and splendid victories, largely through meeting his enemies singly. *He had beaten Austria ipur times, Russia twice, and had utterly crushed Prussia, at one blow. Ho had annexed Italy and Spain and half at Germany, and was able to make foreigners maintain his huge armies, while Paris was adorned with the spoils nf a dozen capitals. As soon as. ho suffered defeat the French began to fall away from their idol. In the case of the Kaiser all his enemies" have been attacked at pnee, and the victories so vital to such enterprises as his have to be invented. What is to happen when tht> nation realises how it has been fooled? Yesterday every German expected to be, neater than a King; now ho is only food tor powder. The great sap that "mined religion and conscience so effectively missed the Throne only by the accident of the nation being drunk with the strong wine already named. The fames of this wine are already getting out of the German brain. When the giant awakes what will happen? Only the most smashing victories on record could have realised German expectations. How will poverty, bereavement, humiliation, and tho hatred and contempt of the world fit in? In place of their boast that Odin has defeated Jesus, will they not remember that their great epic is 'The Fall of the Niebelungen,* the Cloud-dwellers, Odin and his set? In place of their boast that Corsica has vanquished Galilee, will they not remember how Corsica ended up'.'

How havo the world empires grown in the past? Have they been the result of deliberate design and of predetermined conquest? Never, as far as I can remember, except in the case of such temporary scouxges as Attila and Tamerlane. Rome was the result ot several centuries of extension. She was drawn on from conquest to conquest bv the disorders of neighboring tribes. She had practically become n world Power before .«he know it or designed it. Tho British Empire is not the result of anybody's design. Someone ha» said that Britain came into tho possession of an empire in a fit, of absence of mind. The Home authorities steadilv opposed conquest in India; but. frontier troubles drew us on and on till we caiiio to natural frontiers. Britain took South Africa tivico. After the first conquest she voluntarily surrendered it buck to the Dutch. Canada was an honorable conquest in a war with Prance. Australia was lying -vacant, and Britain tuok it ax a site to shoot her rubbish on. Nobody wanted it. It took-years of agitation Co cet her to take New Zealand," Fiji, and New Guinea. Into Egypt she proposed to go in company with France, but Franco backed out at the last moment, and she went alone, for tho benefit of the civilised world. Britain never designed to become ai -world Empire. Tho United States has grown by peaceable development to be a very great Power, but nev»>r had any mien ambitious national policy. Ilussia was a world Power, too, before* she knew it. Alexander, Charles XII., and Napoleon tried to build empire* by suddeu strokes and of purpose aforethought, but their schemes all came to naught. What precedent fairora the present German enterprise?

Are we doing our share in the life and death struggle in which our nation is engaged? We We as nracli benefit from the power and eecurity of the British namo and Empire « the people at Home. It is not arguable that the Home people are batter off than we are; that thev hare better institutions, more liberty, more of *J» lojo of life, or more of anything that makes life worth Irving than we ha vs. Set we owe what we are and what we enjoy, and the security that sweetens everyghing, to our noble ancestry and nationality. The Mother Land gave- us these jnusfnl islands, protected ua in them., tound <oa means to develop them, and buys all that we have to aell. But this is far from aO. Man shall not lire by bread alone. W© «• rich not only in material things, 'bat in sentiments, memories, hopes, glorious traditions, literatures, achievement* and 8001-lifting renowns. Wehavo a goodlr heritage, and it is all at stake. Jb» w* doing all we should to protect and to eniarge it I We are about 145 th as numerous as the United Kingdom, and we ought to raise at least l-50th of the men the Mother Land raises. That would Xean 90,000 to her million. She k now r advanced with the second million, while -we are sticking at about 10,000. We seed to -wake up. What are we doing to fan the fire? When I remamHer the inemdnf meetings we had during the Utile Boar War—they were five or six in number—l am amazed at our stolidity in this great edsis. Why did we not nave on Emden D*y? WJsr did the great oT«nt of the turning back of the «nemy from

Paris pass in silence T Why have the great Russian victories not fluttered a yard of bunting? Why have not sonio of" our disaster,; at sea "and tho death of Tiord Roberta led to some suitably solemn civic function ? Thirteen years .ago the heart of tho CSty was sot beating over smaller things. Arise and do it again. Think less of raising money and more oil raising men. The way to redress the wrongs oi Belgium is to drive tho hatoful enemy out, of her borders.

There aro little sectarians who are constantly nagging on th;e sublime policy of not calling the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland England for short. Each parish ought to receive its separate share and allotment of praise and honor, especially at such a time as this. Down with "England" and ".the English," and up with "the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland." Rubbish, my friends; utter nonsense! This is no time for the resurrecting of microscopic nationalities that Nature and Providence are trying to obliterate. Life is short, and in speech and writing wo take straight cuts through tho spaces of prolixity, circumlocution, and general round-about to got at the thing we mean. You don't really mean that Nelson should havo signalled "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland expects that every man will do his duty"? Or that the poet should have written "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland with all thv faults. I love theo still"? Your idea would distract a great deal of poetry. How would this go, for instance-: He might have been a Eoosinn, A Frenchman, of a Proosian;

But, in spite of. all temptation To belong to another nation, He remains a United-Kingdom-of-Great-Eritain-and-Ireland roan. You surely observe that the- scansiou is gravely interfered with. There is therefore no rhyme in your contention, neither is there any reason. It is the universal custom of man to put the part for the whole. In doing so he invariably selects the more conspicuous part, and confers on the whole the glory of that part. Very lit tlo indeed of the Koman Empire was Roman ; yet men of all races were proud of the name of the City of the Seven Hills. The Byzantine Lropire of Constantino, though Greek in blood, was haughtily lioman in name. Charlemagne rc'surrected the name oi Boman Empire for the west. The HoJv Roman Empire of the nupsburgs dropped its name only in Napoleon's time. Even now I read \hat there are visions, in spite of Herman, of "A Germnn-Roiruvn Empire." All this comes of giving the name of a village of peasantry to large portions of three continents, if alt the "allies" as they came in had insisted on having their" name* brought into the titlo of the State, would there have ever been a Roman Empire at all, think you? ****-* * * j 1 apologise to the General Election for having taken so little notice of it hitherto. There are tides in the affairs of men that submerge politicians, and that place their little bickering& in true perspective. If I tvliev© both, sides I can believe neither. for they are unanimous that the other can only be described in unparliamentary language. No man can make a statement that he has not ilatly contradicted on some previous occasion, or support- a measure that he ha 3 not previously opposed. It would appear that, if it is true that wise men change their minds, bnt I fools never, theTe will be an uncommon ! dearth of fools in the next Parliament. Two or three honorable men—they are all honorable men—have withdrawn from the contest rather than face the mud-slinging z.nd the ink-sliiging that characterise the appeal to the reason of the people. Politics brLig ono acquainted with strange bedfellows. A candidate whose chief plank is opposition to tho aggregation of estate? is said Lo be himself the owner of the farms of six smaller men, whom, he has bought out, and the gentleman who proposes hint has. bought out eight or ten! .Most of the land reformers seem to be well provided for in broad acres, if we can trust their opponents. An ex-parson and a. famous temperance advocate i.s strong against the Bible in schools, and goes out of his district to speak against a bare majority man! The temperance people, by the way. have been Jess vocal than usual. They, too, are submerged by the war; but they, no doubt, have considered that tho war cables were carrying on their campaign for them to some purpose, for tho.se cables have reported a good many cases of prohibition, and have, said nothing abo'it the alleged virtues of liquor for bring:;;:: the best, out. of a man. ■* ■* #*■*■* # The suspicion ot hciesy haunts every live teacher of divinity in these degenerate d:.ys. The "proof text." which was the end of controversy in former times, has been dethroned, and has itself to bo proved. The 'Confession of "Faith' calls for mental reservations, and 'The Reign of Grace' has not yet come to an end. Future things are not so confidently spoken of, and the thermometer has shown a distinct fall. Darwin interferes with Moses, and eonipantive iciigion with most .other thipgs. There 1»- those (and let them, by ::ll means 1 , clear their conscience and vindicate their judgment) who could say from the Gliair uf Divinity: "None, ot these things move me." They are like rocks in a rivei—they serve to show how fast the stream is going by. If there were enough of thorn they would be able to dam up the stream for a time, but only to make it go with i- more headlong Tush in the near future. But the days of the theological dam—which, by tho way. Has not infrequently ended in "n"—are fallen into the sere and yeliow leaf. The burden of proof is now transferred from the accused to the accuser, an arrangement which reminds r.io of an ancient law which required every proposer <-f change to do so with a halter round his neck, for the convenience of the executioner should the proposal fail. The transference of the burden of proof sbculd discourage protests till a more convenient season. As to the arraigned professor, when I think of the fact* above recited—well, I find myself in the position of the American juryman ■vvho was waiking into the box. " Look at tho prisoner," commanded the Judge. He turned and carefully examined the acenried. "Yes, .Todge, - ' said he: "Ithink he'a guilty."

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141202.2.75

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ON THE WATCH TOWER, Issue 15665, 2 December 1914

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2,501

ON THE WATCH TOWER Issue 15665, 2 December 1914

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