Ideals and their Attainment

The millennium has not been delayed because of a lack of ideals, but rather because of the ignorance and indisposition which have barred the approach to them. In all the centuries the Christian ministry has presented to men the character of Christ Jesus as the standard for all true living, and to-day this standard is recongnized among all nations and peoples where it is known, as the one matchless ideal whose attainment would satisfy the universal conscience and insure the solution of both the individual and the national problem. All ethical and religious leaders are at one in exalting the example of the Nazarene, and no one can read the homilies and addresses of to-day without nothing how generally and how fully the Christ-life has replaced the creedal standards of past requirement.

It, therefore, the possession of a fine ideal, the knowledge upon our part of what we readily concede we ought to be and ought to do, if this measured up to our need, the state and stage of our spiritual development would be far in advance of its present register. The fact is, that to present men with a high ideal of character and conduct may mean more of discouragement than of inspiration if they are not shown at the same time a practical demonstration of the way this ideal may be brought into life.

In his "Republic," Plato, with a prophetic vision of human possibilities which pierced the oncoming centuries, outlined a communal state which in many respects is yet far in advance of the race, but he gave no hint of the progressive steps by which that state was to be developed, and his ideal has meant very little to the progress of the race.

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Board of Lectureship
February 6, 1904

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