From the Press

[Rev. Drs. MacLean and Sclater, as quoted in Minneapolis (Minn.) Tribune]

Can we conceive the soldier hurled from the hell of battle into an endless hell? Are men who never had a chance on earth to be deprived forever of any chance? Doubtless many of them are men of sanguinary language and strange deeds; but they are the products of a civilization that herds men in slums and encircles them with every evil. They lived in grime; how could they be but grimy? Are they to be damned for the grime they did not create? But no grime of man's creation can hide the godlike in them. They laugh at misery; they go down to the earthly hell with a jest; they scorn death to save a comrade; and for dim ideals they lay down life itself right joyously. It is inconceivable, whatever infallible theologians may say, that hell can be the portion of these. But it is equally inconceivable that lives so stained and marred can "immediately pass into glory." They would be very unhappy if they did; for they would not feel at home. There is so much of good in them that hell cannot be their portion, and so much of evil that heaven cannot at once receive them. What then can be their lot?

Just as boys who pass from one school to another take up their tasks where they left off, some lower down and some higher up, according to their development, so will it be in the great school of life beyond. There the life suddenly ended on earth will take up the interrupted task of its discipline and development. The soldier who, like all his comrades, spurned the cheap narcotic that would assure heaven to all men dying in battle was quite right. It is the heroic in the soul that spurns such opiates.

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September 7, 1918

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