Abbildungen der Seite


June 16. Henry James said that three marks distinguish London - her her size, her parks, and her 'magnificent mystification.' To know the mystification one needs to spend a night-cool, moonless, and windy on top of St. Paul's Cathedral. After climbing as many steps as there are days in the year and a journey through devious diagonals, we emerge by a tiny door leading to the Golden Gallery, three hundred feet above the sleeping city. Sounds as they ascend are isolated and identifiable, even when softened by distance or teased by the wind. Fleet Street, westward, is a ravine of yellow glamour. Cheapside looks like a fissure in the side of a volcano, where blackness swallows up everything else. The bridges play at criss-cross with lampreflections in the river. The clock-tower of Westminster, like a moon and a half, shines dimly, and the railway signals at Cannon Street Station look like stars of the under-world- crimson, emerald, amber. By half-past three a sky, mottled with heavy clouds, begins to sift them into planes and fills the breaks with the sort of light that is 'rather darkness visible.' Slowly the pall over the city, half mist and half s.noke, the same 'presumptuous s noake' of Evelyn's day, begins to drift sullenly with the wind, like a gas-attack. An hour ago the lamplights made everything seem ghostly; now the ghostliness is theirs. Presently, out of a sea of slate, Wren's steeples rise like gaunt spectres, with an air compounded of amazement and composure. The last thing to take shape is the Cathedral itself; first the gilt Cross shines palely, then the Lantern grows to unearthly whiteness, but the Dome still broods in darkness. As we watch, the campaniles and the statues below turn from alabaster to ivory. Squadrons of clouds float in an atmosphere that is turning from gray to pearl, and from pearl to gold, like the rosy

[ocr errors]

amorini in a Venetian altar-piece. The river is astir with barges, and early trams sprinkle grains of humanity about the thoroughfares. the thoroughfares. Camden Town crawls back under its pall of industrial smoke. At last the city, in all its infinitude of detail, is revealed, and the mystification of the night gives way to the day with 'sovran eye.' A flashing glimpse of the Cathedral from within, in the glow of the eastern windows, makes one wonder why we do not offer our worship, as they do in the East, at dawn.

July 25. With appalling clarity we are beginning to see how little we gained by the war, and how much we lost. Instead of a world worthy of the generosity and idealism of the dead, we have moral collapse, revolutionary influenza, industrial chaos, and an orgy of extravagance. In politics, in business, in social life, things are done which would have excited horror and disgust in 1914. One recalls the lines of Chesterton written after the landslide election of 1906:

The evil Power, that stood for Privilege
And went with Women and Champagne and

Ceased: and Democracy assumed its reign,
Which went with Bridge and Women and

Nothing is more terrible than the moral let-down all about us, unless it is the ease and haste with which a wild and forgetful world has proved false to the vows it swore in its hour of terror. Yesterday a London magistrate said that half the crime in the kingdom is bigamy. Reticences and modesties seem to have been thrown overboard to an accompaniment of the jazz dance, which has become a symbol of the mood of the hour. Often it has been said that man is the modest sex, but I never believed it until now. Young girls between fifteen and twenty-two are unmanageable, and imitate the manners of courte

sans. Working for good wages, they are independent of their parents, demanding latchkeys, to come and go at all hours; and at the slightest restraint they leave home. In broad daylight the public parks are scenes of such unspeakable vulgarity that one is grateful for the protection of garden walls. Who can estimate the injury done by this loosening of the moral bonds, this letting down of the bars to the brute? Those who speak of war as a purifier of morals are masters of a Satanic satire! September 12.-These are days when anything may happen. Having lived for five years in an atmosphere of violence, men are irritable, and riots break out on the slightest pretext. Many fear that the history of a century ago, when Peterloo followed Waterloo, may repeat itself. Nobody is satisfied with the result of the Peace Conference sorriest of sequels to a victory won by solidarity and sacrifice. Some think the treaty too hard, some too soft, and all wonder how it can be enforced without sowing the seeds of other wars. The Covenant of the League is criticized as keenly here as in America, but with nothing like the poisonous partisan and personal venom displayed at home. It is felt that, if the nations hold together, the Covenant can be amended and the treaty revised and made workable as need requires; but if they pull apart, the case is hopeless.

What is happening in America is hard to make out, except that, under cover of a poison-gas attack on the President, all the elements that opposed the war -including the whole hyphenated contingent have formed a coalition of hatreds to destroy him. At the Peace Conference he was the victim of a vendetta by men of his own country who, for partisan purposes, tried to stab their own President in the back at the very moment when he was negotiating a treaty of peace in a foreign land! Not

VOL. 128- NO. 4


unnaturally the attitude of the Senate is interpreted on this side as a repudiation of the war by America. "You came late and go early; having helped to put out the fire, you leave us to clean up the mess,' my English friends say. No wonder they feel bitter, and this feeling is fanned by the anti-American fanatics, whose organized propaganda-something new in England has been so active since the Armistice. No doubt it is provoked in part by the stupid antiBritish propaganda in America, with other elements added, the while sinister forces are busy in behalf of estrangement between two peoples who should be, not only friends, but fellow workers for the common good.

(An unhappy example of this feeling, which marred the closing weeks of my ministry, was an alleged 'interview' which appeared in the Daily News, purporting to come from me. It made me use words remote from my thought, in a spirit foreign to my nature; and the result was an impression so alien to my spirit, and so untrue to the facts, as to be grotesque. Such words as these were put into my mouth: 'I have come reluctantly to the opinion that an American minister cannot really succeed in England. There is something in the English character or point of view - I cannot define it - that seems to prevent complete agreement and sympathy between the two. There exists a body of opinion amongst the middle men in the ministry and the churches that objects to the permanent settlement of American preachers in this country.' All of which was manufactured so far as I was concerned, however true it may be to English opinion. When the man who did it was asked for his reason, he said that he wished 'to keep American ministers from coming to England.' Of course, it will take more than that to keep us from going to England, — though I dare say it will be many a day before an American accepts an English pastorate, — but the incident illustrates the state of mind almost a year after the Armistice. Unfortunately that feeling still exists, and it makes an exchange of pulpits difficult for Americans who have any national self-respect.

However, by patience and mutual regard this irritation may be overcome in the morning of a fairer, clearer day.)

October 9. Sir Oliver Lodge lectured in the City Temple to-night. The Temple was full, with many standing in the aisles. His subject was "The Structure of the Atom,' and he spoke for more than an hour, holding his audience in breathless interest Even the children present heard and understood, as if it had been a fairy-story. Indeed, it was more fascinating than a fairystory - his illustrations were so simple, so vivid. As a work of art, the lecture was a rare feat. If only the men of the pulpit could deal with the great themes of faith-surely not more abstract than the structure of the atom - with the same simplicity and lucidity, how different it would be! Tall, well-formed, his dome-like head reminding one of the pictures of Tennyson, the lecturer was good to look at, good to hear; and the total impression of his lecture was an overwhelming sense of the reality of the Unseen. He made only one reference to psychical studies, and that was to warn people to go slow, not to leap beyond the facts, and, above all,since spiritualism is not spirituality,not to make such matters a religion. This advice came with the greater weight from the man who more than all others, perhaps, has lifted such investigations to the dignity of a new science. October 12. Mr. Asquith, Lord Robert Cecil, Mr. Clynes, and Premier Venizelos of Greece, all on the same platform, speaking in behalf of the League of Nations! Such was the bill of fare at the Mansion House, to which was added for me a spicy little chat with Mrs. Asquith, most baffling of women. She is lightning and fragrance all mixed up with a smile, and the lightning never strikes twice in the same place. Mr. Asquith read his address - as he has been wont to do since

he first became Prime Minister in a — style as lucid as sunlight and as colorless: a deliberate and weighty address, more like a judicial opinion than an oration, yet with an occasional flash of hidden fire. Clynes also read his address, which was a handicap, for he is a very effective speaker when he lets himself go. Lord Robert tall, stooped, with centuries of British culture written in his face was never more eloquent in his wisdom and earnestness; and one heard in his grave and simple words the finer mind of England. If only he were more militant, as he would be but for too keen a sense of humor. He has the spiritual quality which one misses so much in the statesmanship of our day

I shall never be happy until he is Prime Minister! Venizelos was winning, graceful, impressive; and in a brief talk that I had with him afterward, he spoke with warm appreciation of the nobility and high-mindedness of the President. He has the brightest eyes I have seen since William James went away. Without the moral greatness of Masaryk, or the Christian vision of Smuts, he is one of the most interesting personalities of our time and one of its ablest men.

October 20. The President is stricken at a time when he is most needed! It is appalling! Without him reaction will run riot. Though wounded in a terrifying manner, he still holds the front-line trench of the moral idealism of the world! Whatever his faults at home, his errors of judgment or his limitations of temperament, in his world-vision he saw straight; and he made the only proposal looking toward a common mind organized in the service of the common good. Nothing can rob him of that honor. If our people at home had only known the sinister agencies with which he had to contend, how all the militarists of Europe were mobilized against him at Paris, - they would see that his achievement, while falling below his


al Council of the Brotherhood Movement, which gave me so warm a welcome in 1916, tendered me a parting dinner an hour which I can neither describe nor forget. Dr. Clifford veteran soldier in the wars of God presided, and his presence was a benediction. Looking back over my three years and a half in London, I can truly say that, though I did not want to come, and would not have come at all but for the war, I do not regret that I did come

save for the scenes of horror and suffering, which I pray God to be able to forget. Nor do I regret leaving, though my ministry has been a triumph from the beginning, in spite of many errors of my own added to the terrible conditions under which it was wrought. As long as I live I shall carry in my heart the faces of my dear friends in England, and especially the love and loyalty of the people of the City Temple- the memory of their kindness is like sacramental wine in the Cup of Everlasting Things. Perhaps, on the other side of the sea, because I now know the spirit and point of view of both peoples, I may be able to help forward the great friendship.

November 14. - Hung in my memory are many pictures of the beauty-spots of this Blessed Island: glens in the Highlands of Scotland; the 'banks and braes o' bonny Doon'; stately old cathedrals, strong, piteous, eloquent, sheltering the holy things of life; the towers and domes of Oxford; Stoke Poges on a still summer day; the roses of Westcliff; the downs of Wiltshire, where Walton went a-fishing and Herbert preached the gospel — and practised it, too; Rottingdean-on-the-Sea; scenes of the Shakespeare country the church, the theatre, the winding Avon; the old Quaker Meeting-house in Buckinghamshire, where Penn and Pennington sleep; the mountains of

ideal, as all mortal achievements do, was nothing short of stupendous. Those who know the scene from this side have an honorable pride in the President; and though his fight should cost him his life, when the story is finally told he will stand alongside another who went 'the way of dominion in pitiful, highhearted fashion' to his martyrdom. He falls where a brave man should fall, at the front, as much a casualty of the war as any soldier who fell in Flanders or the Argonne.

November 11.- Sunday evening, the 9th, was my last service as the Minister of the City Temple, and the sermon had for its text Revelation 3:14"These things saith the Amen.' It was an effort to interpret that old, familiar, haunting word, the Amen of God to the aspiration of man, and the Amen of man to the way and will of God, seeking to make vivid that vision which sees through the shadows, and affirms, not that all is well, nor yet that all is ill, but that all shall be well when 'God hath made the pile complete.' Its message was that, when humanity sees what has been the Eternal Purpose from the beginning, and the 'far-off divine event to which the whole creation moves,' the last word of history will be a grand Amena shout of praise, the final note of the great worldsong. To-day, at noon, all over the Empire, everything paused for two minutes, in memory of the dead. The City Temple was open and many people gathered for that moment of silent, high remembrance; and that hushed moment was my farewell to the great white pulpit, and to a ministry wrought in the name of Jesus in behalf of goodwill

speaking with stammering voice those truths which will still be eloquent when all the noises of to-day have followed the feet that made them, into Silence. November 12.-To-night the Nation- North Wales; great, gray London, in

all its myriad moods: London in the fog, the mist, the rain; London by moonlight; the old, rambling city whose charm gathers and grows, weaving a spell which one can neither define nor escape; London from Primrose Hill on a clear, frosty day; London from the

dome of St. Paul's; London from the Savoy in October, seen through a lattice of falling leaves, while a soft haze hangs over the River of Years. It is said that, if one lives in London five years, he will never be quite happy anywhere else— and I am leaving it just in time!



WORDS with the freesia's wounded scent I know,
And those that suck the slow irresolute gold
Out of the daffodil's heart; cool words that hold
The crushed gray light of rain, or liquidly blow
The wild bee droning home across the glow
Of rippled wind-silver; or, uncontrolled,
Toss the bruised aroma of pine; and words as cold
As water torturing through frozen snow.

And there are words that strain like April hedges
Upward; lonely words with tears on them;

And syllables whose haunting crimson edges

Bleed: 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem!'

And that long star-drift of bright agony:

'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani!'

« ZurückWeiter »