THE chief law-making body of the country is involved in a scandal. The fact has come to light that several United States senators have made use of their official positions for purposes of personal gain. By speculating in shares of sugar stock at a time when the price of sugar was dependent upon their own action, knowing that the price of sugar stock would be advanced as soon as certain Senate proceedings became known to the public, they were able to add thousands of dollars to their private wealth. There was no risk involved in the transaction. It was simply a matter of using the knowledge and power which were theirs by virtue of their official positions.
Such a proceeding is plainly dishonest, and therefore in violation of a principle which every law-making body is bound to uphold. More than this: it is a betrayal of a high public trust, and therefore indicative of a thoroughly selfish—or lawless—disposition.
Law-making cannot be safely entrusted to lawless men. And when men in the highest law-making assembly in the land themselves disregard the law, the spectacle affords the strongest illustration of the inability of law in itself to produce good government.
The first need of all men—in positions of public trust  or out of them—is an unselfish character. Such a character makes men good as neighbors and good as legislators. But law is powerless to produce this character. Self can be overcome and driven out of the heart only by the grace of God.
When the grace of God shall no longer work upon men’s hearts—when by continued rejection the Spirit of God shall have been driven away from them—the Government is doomed. Its Constitution will not save it. No principles of right and justice which have been established in a government by its founders, however noble and great, can avail aught when that government is administered by selfish, unscrupulous men.
True, it is proposed to remedy the situation by removing all such men from office, and putting good men in their places. But of this it need only be said that it cannot be done. The cry, “Turn the rascals out,” has long been the campaign motto of the “reform” forces, but the “rascals” are in office still. There is nothing in politics which has a tendency to evolve good men. And as long as men retain natures susceptible to corrupting influences, as long as the masses of mankind remain followers instead of leaders, so long will politics continue to be ruled by the “boss” and the “machine.”
The influence of evil is spreading, its power is augmenting; and it cannot be overcome by law. Law will not administer itself. He who makes and administers the law much have his own heart safeguarded from the prevailing selfishness, or the law will not be made the instrument of justice.
Not law, but the grace of God, is first in the maintenance of peace and justice in the earth. Without the power of the Spirit, no reform from evil is possible.