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[Rev. W. E. Orchard, D.D., in The Christian Commonwealth]

Our great social hopes turn to religion for confirmation. The social consciousness which is so characteristic of our age has been formed by supernatural inspiration. The great dreams which disturb our people—of emancipation from wage-slavery, suffering, and pain—are obviously due neither to economic pressure nor to the compulsion of conditions. They are as utterly unlike anything that we have ever seen or have the right to expect as the Messianic predictions of the Hebrew prophets or the millennial hopes of the early Christian. If there is not divine inspiration behind them, they can never face the facts of existence; and to recognize their origin is to recognize the only hope of their realization.

At present we are still hoping to bring these conditions about by education, by legislation, or by coercion. One by one we shall work through these delusions, and the utter futility of our methods will become apparent. What the plain man has said long ago is true, despite all the pathetic dogmatism of social democrats, namely, that we can only realize these hopes if we can change human nature. What we must have, therefore, is a new theory of human nature, a new understanding of the purpose of life, a sense of God, a realization of what Christ means, a belief that the Holy Spirit presides over the counsels of those who wait for His leading. Our social hopes depend upon the possibility of regeneration from above.

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March 14, 1914

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