“The Church on Imperialism” American Sentinel 13, 40, pp. 636, 637.

WHILE a few voices within the church are raised in warning against the policy which would launch the nation upon the sea of imperialism, it is evident that, in general, the church will give that policy her vigorous support. For in it the church sees—or believes that she sees—the opportunity for a rapid and easy extension of her own conquests, which, being those of Christianity, must be for the welfare of all people, and justify the means by which they are introduced.

The tendency of the church is more and more to ally herself with the state in political affairs; to see in political questions the moral questions which belong to her divinely-appointed sphere; to see, in short, as Cardinal Manning expressed it, that “politics are morals on the widest scale.” And this the church discerns all the more readily when, as in the present instance, a certain policy on the part of the state contains the promise of an important advantage for herself.

Some impressive words in support of an imperial policy by the Government were spoken on an impressive occasion on the 5th inst. in Washington, D. C. That occasion was the triennial council of the Protestant Espicopal Church of the United States. The conference included in its participants the House of Bishops, which is the chief governing body within the church, and among its lay delegates such men as Chief Justice Fuller, of the Supreme Court, J. Pierpont Morgan, the financier, and Captain A. T. Mahan, author of the famous book on the influence of naval power; numbering about five hundred persons in all.

Bishop Tuttle delivered a discourse from the text “Lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes,” declaring that “in everyday experience, to hold what is got is quite as valuable a quality of well-balanced human [637] nature as to get more to hold.” Touching the theme of national expansion, the bishop said:—

“Wide, aye—wide, the work of the church should be. Extension is in the air for us Americans now. If we fall into line at its bugle blast some may claim to our risk and harm that it is an unwonted call, an out-of-the-way call, an unfit call to such as we are. Be that as it may, the logical course of events is a force not to be counted out, and it may make the sounding of bugle calls and the rolling forward of the chariot wheels of destiny things that we cannot stop if we would.

“We who think are startled and subdued and awed at the responsibilities devolved upon the Union now.

“Now, if the things which we are looking at as citizens are wide and far and deep, how shall we bear it if the church cowers and draws back and lies down? We ought to be, we want to be, the hammer and the arm driving it, to strike hard Hawaii, Porto Rico—go forward to possess the land. The Philippines—if the flag we honor and love is to float sovereign there—go yet in there also. And if the forceful logic of events that we wot of lift the flag into prominence over other regions yet—go ye there, too, to bide and work and help and save.

“We may find China likely to be our neighbor, even in the ordinary sense of mundane locality. In the literal sense and in the catechism’s sense she has been our neighbor for years.

“Then for our own countrymen shall this church be content with any narrower aim than to be in zeal and duty and sympathy the American Church.

“Then for our own countrymen shall this church be content with any narrower aim than to be in zeal and duty and sympathy the American Church.

“We need not the fact that we are gathered in the nation’s capital to remind us how thick and fast are growing the nation’s responsibilities, which are centering here.

“The Anglo-Saxon race seems harnessed to the twofold work of giving to the world the sweets of personal liberty and the restraints of order without which liberty cannot be preserved.”

But is not the church right in supporting the policy of national expansion, that she may go to new fields under the protection of the national flag? The answer is that the power of the Church of Christ is not national power, but that of the Holy Spirit, with which the disciples were baptized at Pentecost, and by which the early church proclaimed the gospel with a power and success that have never been equaled since. The divine hand, that is over all the affairs of men, may bring opportunities for the gospel out of war and political strife, even as he has the power to compel the wrath of man to praise him. But it is not for his church to join in the strife or to depend upon any one of the contending powers. Her motto must always be “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord.”

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