The world is dark around us and the prospect seems deepening in gloom. and yet there is light ahead. On the volume of the past in starry characters it is written Â— the starry legend greets us shining through the misty vistas of the future Â— that the great and noble shall not perish from among the sons of men, that the truth will triumph in the end, and that even the humblest of her servants may in this become the instrument of unending good. We are aiding in laying the foundations of a mighty edifice, whose completion shall not be seen in our day, no, nor in centuries upon centuries after us. But happy are we, indeed, if we can contribute even the least towards so high a consummation. The time calls for action. Up, then, and let us do our part faithfully and well. And oh, friends, our children's children will hold our memories dearer for the work which we begin this hour.
To understand the meaning of a great religious teacher we must find in our own life experiences somewhat akin to his. To selfish, unprincipled persons whose heart is wholly set on worldly ends, what meaning, for instance, can such utterances have as these? "You must become like little children if you would possess the kingdom of heaven;" "You must be willing to lose your life in order to save it;" "If you would be first you must consent to be last." To the worldly-minded such words convey no sense whatever; they are, in fact, rank absurdity.
I don?t in the least know how to set to work to write, and I begin by expressing only the hundredth part of my ideas after infinite groping. Not one who seizes the first impulse, your friend, no! not at all! Thus for entire days I have polished and re-polished a paragraph without accomplishing anything. I feel like weeping at times. You ought to pity me!
One cannot deny that in former times man's life had been one of toil and hardship. It is correct to say, therefore, that modern civilization and the progress of science have greatly improved man's life and have brought comfort and ease in their trail. But civilization can serve man both for good as well as for evil purposes. Experience shows that it has invariably brought great dividends to those who use it for good purposes while it has always brought incalculable harm and damnation to those who use it for evil purposes. To make our wills obedient to good influences and to avoid evil, therefore, is to show the greatest wisdom. In order to follow this aim one must be guided by religion. Progress without religion is just like a life surrounded by unknown perils and can be compared to a body without a soul. All human inventions, from the most primitive tool to the modern atom, can help man greatly in his peaceful endeavors. But if they are put to evil purposes they have the capacity to wipe out the human race from the surface of the earth. It is only when the human mind is guided by religion and morality that man can acquire the necessary vision to put all his ingenuous inventions and contrivances to really useful and beneficial purposes.
On the question of racial discrimination, the Addis Ababa Conference taught, to those who will learn, this further lesson: That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained; And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed; Until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and good-will;
The time has gone by when a Huxley could believe that while science might indeed remold traditional mythology, traditional morals were impregnable and sacrosanct to it. We must learn not to take traditional morals too seriously. And it is just because even the least dogmatic of religions tends to associate itself with some kind of unalterable moral tradition, that there can be no truce between science and religion.
We plan, we toil, we suffer ? in the hope of what? A camel-load of idol's eyes? The title deeds of Radio City? The empire of Asia? A trip to the moon? No, no, no, no. Simply to wake up just in time to smell coffee and bacon and eggs. And, again I cry, how rarely it happens! But when it does happen ? then what a moment, what a morning, what a delight!