The familiar words, "On earth peace, good will toward...

The Christian Science Monitor,

The familiar words, "On earth peace, good will toward men," inextricably associated as they unfortunately are generally with holidays, going to church on a week day, Christmas presents, and so forth, have lost much of their force in the course of the years. Peace on earth seems as far from being realized as ever it was, while good will to men remains to many a beautiful and poetic form of words. Some modern translators, however, have thrown a fresh light upon the subject by giving a different phrasing to the words, for "peace on earth to men of good will" certainly awakens a new train of thought. If the promise of peace was conditional, then it is not to be wondered at that peace is still problematical, if the conditions of its coming are not fulfilled.

It only requires a brief glance at the history of the human race since those words were uttered to see that men of good will have been few and far between. To go no further than the record of the early Christian churches, given in the Acts of the Apostles and the epistles, it is abundantly evident that they did not know how to preserve this mutual good will which was the condition of peace. We find the writers of the epistles admonishing their flocks constantly on the lines of mercy, pity, compassion, courtesy, and so on, leading to the conclusion that the early Christians were just as liable as later ones to the impulses of the human will, and knew little if any better how to control them.

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