Signs of the Times

[Dr. James D. West, as quoted in the Chronicle, San Francisco, California]

Whatever makes a man a true Christian makes him at the same time a good citizen. Given a Christian character and spirit, it is but natural that this should express itself in all the relationships of life, including those that relate us as citizens to the city, the state, and the nation in which we chance to live. ... One may be a reasonably good citizen without being a professed Christian; still he must have absorbed a number of the characteristics of Christianity—obedience, cooperation, service, and a decent regard for both right and justice as applied to his fellow-men. Everyone seems to be in favor of applied Christianity. Some, however, seem to forget that one must possess it before it can be applied; hence, the vital relation of spiritual Christianity to applied Christianity. If we like the fruit, we must cultivate the root, the trunk, and the branches of the tree on which grow the leaves that heal the state and the nation, as well as the fruit that is so delightful to the taste of all who want a decent political and social state in which to live. Genuine Christianity destroys hate, malice, envy, and selfishness, while creating unselfishness, good will, and love.

The church, because it is the great promoter of Christianity, and presents Jesus Christ as the chief arch in the structure of Christian civilization, is the chief organization upon which the state can depend for the character in its men and women that will insure good citizenship. Jesus Christ alone promises and produces, when accepted, the spirit and the power to weld together the many races, kinds, and conditions of people which make up our population into anything approaching a homogeneous whole. His spirit, manifested in the application of the Golden Rule, is the only thing that can make it possible for us to-day, in the close relationships into which we are thrown in the modern world, to live together peaceably, comfortably, and helpfully.

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March 31, 1928

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