THE State Convention of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union of Minnesota was held at Duluth, September 11 and 12. The following extract from the speech of the president, Mrs. H. A. Hobart, sets forth the aims of the W. C. T. U. It can be depended on, for it was copied from her manuscript:—
“If the interest and welfare of the people and their advancement in social, civil, and religious power, with their growth, manufactories, commerce, agriculture, arts and sciences, have any place in the policy of this government, and our life nationally is not to be a farce and travesty, a sort of political comedy played for the benefit of the few hundred millionaires and monopolists, then the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union is right in standing as it does ‘with malice toward none and charity for all,’ using every item of influence which it possesses for the upbuilding of righteousness in the prohibition of the legalized liquor traffic by whatever political party has the courage and manhood to do it.
“But what political party shall thus lead for ‘God and home and humanity’? Has it been born? Has it a name? With what radiant entablature shall it come forth ramifying all parties, and uniting not only the memories of the blue and the gray in our ‘sweet dream of peace,’ but moulding all the manhood and womanhood of the North and South in marshaled force and power against the common foe of each? Whatever name such a party shall bear, or wherever it shall appear, one or two facts in reference to its advent are self-evident. This coming party, the advocate of truth and righteousness, of the equality of the sexes before the law with one code of morals for men and women, will be the child of the Prohibition party and Woman’s Christian; and its most royal, inflexible, and foremost principles of platform will be the recognition of God in the government, and the constitutional prohibition of the liquor traffic, and everything that degrades humanity.
“While we wait for the coming of such a party, what are the W.C.T.U. doing. Will they who by prayer and faith and well-directed effort made the coming of such a party a moral certainty, rest on the record of past achievement? Oh no! A thousand times no. They are praying more earnestly and instantly. They are studying God’s word more carefully. They are instructing the children in scientific temperance more diligently. They are bearing to the prisoners and to the victims of strong drink words of help and hope. They are securing these brands from the burning more tenderly, as with mother love they lead them to the crucified One. They are mastering the mysteries of State statute laws and unraveling the labyrinths of man-made penal codes…. But when the influence of the blessed gospel shall have permeated lands and climes and lives, and like the leaven which you know a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened,—then when Christ shall be king of this world’s customs and commerce, king of its revenues and its resources, king of its farms and its factories, king of its mints and mines, king of its press and its politics, king of its courts, its judges, its juries, and its laws, then shall we, in our sun-bright home in the glory land, begin to have some idea of the greatness of this foundation work, this Woman’s Christian Temperance Union work to which God has called us. Then too shall we have some appreciation of the value of that unflinching determination of some men of to-day who, rising above all selfish considerations, labor, and pray, and vote for a pure political party. So by God’s grace we are doing the very work that none could do, and which angels might well desire to do.”
This repeats and enlarges somewhat in the matter of particulars, Miss Willard’s declaration a few years ago that “Christ shall be this world’s king.” They seem determined, just like those worldly-minded and politically-ambitious people of old, to take him by force and make him king.
These women should draw lessons now from the fact that then he withdrew himself from them (John 6:15); and the more clamorous are their efforts to make him king the further he will withdraw himself. And, too, Mrs. Hobart thinks that in this they are doing a work which angels might desire to do. It may be so but if it is so it must be “the angels which kept not their first estate.”
A. T. J.