"Unifies men and nations"

Solomon is commonly accredited as one of the wisest of men, and it was doubtless out of his own experience that he evolved this bit of practical wisdom, "A soft answer turneth away wrath," — one of the best known, most frequently quoted, and yet least acted upon of his proverbs. The reason for this, perhaps, is that to human belief, while conceding the truth of this saying, preaching is held to be much easier than practice.

The counsel voiced by the prophet Isaiah is along the same line: "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord;" but this reasoning process to which we are invited cannot be made effective if those who should "reason together" are not courteous, considerate, and Christian, rather than angry, dictatorial, and unchristian, and this applies to nations as well as to individuals. Indeed, we may reasonably ask how many of the wars which have stained the pages of history would have been prevented had the wisdom of Solomon prevailed, and had those concerned preferred to "reason together" instead of forcing conclusions, based, not upon the good of all mankind, but upon personal prejudice and angry intolerance, unmindful that he "who overcomes by force, hath overcome but half his foe."

Perhaps the same impression prevails with nations as with individuals, that a "soft answer" is an indication of a weak or invertebrate personality ; but this is not true. "The truth is always the strongest argument," wrote a pagan sage, and the hand of iron grasps none the less firmly when encased in a velvet glove. As a celebrated English divine cleverly counseled his students : "If you are drawn into a controversy, use very hard arguments, but very soft words."

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Assurance of Immortality
September 12, 1914

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