The Nation and the Gospel

2 05 2009

“The Nation and the Gospel” is the title of an article written by James Russell Lowell (1819 – 1891). He was a professor of modern languages at Harvard University. I ran across the article because I am getting ready to teach American History next year.   I decided to print it here because I have run across so much secular thought lately.  It seems that every time you turn on the news, there is more information about how determined we (as a society) are to deny that Christianity has positively affected and directed this nation.  It is the height of ingratitude.  So here it is.

The worst kind of religion is no religion at all, and these men living in ease and luxury, indulging themselves in the amusement of going without religion, may be thankful that they live in lands where the gospel they neglect has tamed the beastliness and ferocity of the men who, but for Christianity, might long ago have eaten their carcasses like the South Sea Islanders, or cut off their heads and tanned their hides like the monsters of the French Revolution.  When the microscopic search of skepticism, which had hunted the heavens and sounded the seas to disprove the existence of a Creator, has turned its attention to human society and has found a place on this planet ten miles square where a decent man can live in comfort and security, supporting and educating his children unspoiled and unpolluted; a place where age is reverenced, infancy respected, manhood respected, womanhood honored, and human life held in due regard- when skeptics can find such a place ten miles square on this globe, where the gospel of Christ has not gone and cleared the way and laid the foundation and made decency and security possible, it will then be in order for the skeptical literati to move thither and then ventilate their views.  But so long as these men are dependent upon the religion which they discard for every privilege they enjoy, they may well hesitate a little before they seek to rob the Christian of his hope, and humanity of its faith, in that Savior who alone has given to man that hope of life eternal which makes life tolerable and society possible, and robs death of its terrors and the grave of its glooms.

There are plenty who will take issue with this article and point out the deficiencies of Christians on an individual basis.   To that reader I say, yes, Christians need the law and moral code of the Scripture too, for without it they can easily lose their way because of their own sin.   The point of the article is that this country’s sound moral basis came from Scripture.  The astounding piece of literature known as the Bible has guided this country for many years and as our leaders look away from it and try to operate without the Truth of the word, this country will become more and more dangerous and most will live without regard for God or His Word and will not regard neighbors as important as themselves….already we see that.

I hate ending on a gloomy note so if you are still reading this rather lengthy piece, let me end with this Scripture…

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13



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