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A plow is coming from the far end of a long field, and a daisy stands nodding, and full of dew-dimples. That furrow is sure to strike the daisy. It casts its shadow as gaily, and exhales its gentle breath as freely, and stands as simple, and radiant, and expectant as ever; and yet that crushing furrow, which is turning and turning others in its course, is drawing near, and in a moment it whirls the heedless flower with sudden reversal under the sod!
And as is the daisy, with no power of thought, so are ten thousand thinking sentient flowers of life, blossoming in places of peril and yet thinking that no furrow of disaster is running in towards them—that no iron plow of trouble is about to overturn them.
When, then, our sorrow comes, when we are in the uninstructed surprise of our trouble, when we first discover this sepulcher in our garden, we sit, as these women sat, over against the sepulcher, seeing, in our grief, nothing else but that. How strangely stupid is grief! How it neither learns nor knows, nor wishes to learn nor know! Grief is like the stamping of invisible ink. Great and glorious things are written with it, but they do not come out till they are brought out. It is not until heat has been applied to it, or until some chemical substance has been laid upon it, that that which was invisible begins to come forth in letter, and sentence, and meaning. In the first instance we see in life only death-we see in change destruction. When the sisters sat over against the door of the sepulcher, did they see the two thousand years that have passed triumphing away? Did they see anything but this: “Our Christ is gone"? And yet your Christ and my Christ came from their loss; myriad, myriad mourning hearts have had resurrection in the midst of their grief; and yet the sorrowful watchers looked at the seed-form of this result and saw nothing. What they regarded as the end of life was the very preparation for coronation; for Christ was silent that he might live again in tenfold power. They saw it not. They looked on the rock, and it was rock. They looked upon the stone door, and it was the stone door that estopped all their hope and expectation. They mourned, and wept, and went away, and came again, drawn by their hearts, to the sepulcher. Still it was a sepulcher, unprophetic, voiceless, lusterless.
So with us. Every man sits over against the sepulcher in his garden, in the first instance, and says, "It is grief; it is woe; it is immedicable trouble. I see no benefit in it. I will take no comfort from it.” And yet, right in our deepest and worst mishaps, often and often, our Christ is lying, waiting for resurrection. Where our death seems to be, there our Saviour is. Where the end of hope is, there is the brightest beginning of fruition. Where the darkness is thickest, there the bright, beaming light that never is to set is about to emerge.
When the whole experience is consummated, then we find that a garden is not disfigured by a sepulcher. Our joys are made better if there be a sorrow in the midst of them, and our sorrows are made bright by the joys that God had planted around about them. The flowers may not be pleasing to us, they may not be such as we are fond of plucking, but they are heartflowers. Love, hope, faith, joy, peace-these are flowers which are planted around about every grave that is sunk in a Christian heart.
WANT to talk to you of the attitude that should
properly be observed by legislators, by executive officers, toward wealth, and the attitude that should be observed in return by men of means, and especially by corporations, toward the body politic and toward their fellow-citizens.
I utterly distrust the man of whom it is continually said: "Oh, he's a good fellow, but, of course, in politics, he plays politics." It is about as bad for a man to profess, and for those that listen to him by their plaudits to insist upon his professing something which they know he cannot live up to, as it is for him to go below what he ought to do, because if he gets into the habit of lying to himself and to his audience as to what he intends to do, it is certain to eat away his moral fibre.
He won't be able then to stand up to what he knows ought to be done. The temptation of the average politician is to promise everything to the reformers and then to do everything for the organization. I think I can say that, whatever I have promised on the stump or off the stump, either expressly or impliedly, to either organization or reformers, I have kept my promise; and I should keep it just as much if the reformers disapproved, and vice versa.
A public man is bound to represent his constituents, but he is no less bound to cease to represent them when, on a great moral question, he feels that they are taking the wrong side. Let him go out of politics rather than stay in at the cost of doing what his own conscience forbids him to do.
I think that there is no one problem that is so diffi. cult to deal with as the problem of how to do justice to the wealth, either in the hands of the individual or the corporation, on the one hand, or, on the other, how to see that that wealth in return is used for the benefit of the whole community. The tendency is for men to range themselves in two extreme camps, each taking a position that in the long run would be almost equally fatal to the community.
Oh, if I could only impress upon you, if I only had the eloquence and the power of enforcing conviction upon you, to make you understand the two sides of the question-not understand it, you may do that in theory now, but to make you realize it--the two sides, that the rich man who buys a privilege from a Board of Aldermen for a railway which he represents, the rich man who gets a privilege through the Legislature by bribery and corruption for any corporation, that man is committing an offence against the community which it is possible may some day have to be condoned for in blood and destruction, not by him, not by his sons, but by you and your sons. If I could only make you understand that on one side, and make you understand on the other-make the mass of our people, make the mass of our voters understand, on the other—that the worst thing they can do is to choose a representative who shall say, “I am against corporations; I am against capital," and not a man who shall say, "I stand by the Ten Commandments: I stand by doing equal justice to the man of means and the man without means; I stand by saying that no man shall be stolen from and that no man shall steal from any one else; I stand by saying that the corporations shall not be blackmailed on the one side and that the corporations shall not acquire any improper power by corruption on the other; that the corporations shall pay their full share of the public burdens, and that when they do so they shall be protected in their rights exactly as any one else is protected!" In other words, if I could only make our people realize that their one hope and one safety in dealing with this problem is to send into our public bodies men who shall be honest, who shall realize their obligations, not their obligations to the rich man and the poor man, but between the honest man and the dishonest man!