Wars and Rumors of Wars

The world, Hamlet declared, upon a famous occasion, was out of joint, and he went on to regret the despite which had made of him the instrument for its regeneration. Hamlet, as the world views him to-day, was not precisely calculated to restore order out of chaos, even from Elsinore to Poland. It is, indeed, in its reliance on men that the world has made one of its worst mistakes. Shakespeare, a giant in a company of giants, surrounded by such colossi as Bacon and Burleigh, Drake and Hawkins, Spencer and Ralegh, might almost be forgiven for the mistake, were it not that almost within his own day the world had been almost turned topsy-turvy by three unknown preachers with nothing but an idea amongst them.

Luther, an Augustinian canon, in a provincial German town; Calvin, a law student in Orleans; Knox, a Scots notary: these three men, poor, unknown, despised, had struck the spark, and fanned into flame the great religious conflagration of the Renaissance. And they had done this because, counting themselves as nothing, and taking their own lives in their hands, they had answered the covert threats of their enemies, contained in the contemptuous question, Where would they be in the face of those opponents' power and number? with the words of Luther himself, "Where? Then as now, in the hands of Almighty God." That it was which gave these men the power that kings and popes could not wrench away from them—a simple understanding of what Christ Jesus meant when he said, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise."

Simple Living
March 27, 1920

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