HAS THE CABINET THE COURAGE?
"Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from His fierce anger that wc perish not? "
The days of Nineveh were numbered. They were numbered because God had so determined. The fact was communicated to Jonah the prophet of Israel. He was reluctant to speak a word that should in any way save Nineveh, for he hated its peoples and its rulers. His own wilful spirit had to be broken, and broken it was by an experience never to be forgotten. The result of it was a childlike obedience to God's instructions: "Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee."
It is much to be regretted that our religious leaders are not as obedient as Jonah was. They prefer to preach their own ideas instead of declaring the counsel of God. Nothing is more pitiable in our public life to day than the public addresses of our Archbishops and their colleagues. They have seats in the House of Lords, they have considerable influence in the religious broadcasts and they can readily fill the Albert Hall when they will. So far as I know no Archbishop or Bishop has used the opportunity in the House of Lords to tell their lordships they need to be born again of the Holy Spirit to enter the Kingdom of Heaven; or to call them and the people of Britain to repentance for their sins against God. The Archbishops complain that the newspapers report only the political things they utter and leave out the spiritual. The remedy is perfectly simple. Let them leave out the political and economic! Let them preach the preaching that God bids them, let them cease from these falsities of a new and better world coming out of present world wickedness and let them, if they are, as they claim to be, in the true apostolic succession, declare with no uncertain sound that there is
to the wicked, and that to be without Christ is to be without hope and without God in the world. In every generation God has had to raise up a prophetic voice to speak His word because the ecclesiastical organisation had ceased to function His mind and wi11. That is true to day! The Minister of Information said in the House this week that in any presentation of the Protestant viewpoint there must be included the observations of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. There are hundreds of enlightened Christians in this country, including many Anglicans, who feel that their Graces are quite incapable of being the representatives of Protestant thought to-day. For God's word to Britain at this hour is not a word of comfort but a word of judgment. It is all very well to talk about what we will do to Nazi criminals when the Armistice is arranged, but supposing we are not able to dictate the Armistice? Britain is at the bar of Divine judgment. There are thousands in this country who even to-day are quite careless about God. The time has come when we must declare to them with the utmost earnestness that not only is there a God, not only is He a factor in this war, but that the whole issue is in His hand. We can be sure there will be
until Britain becomes really serious about God, and indeed we may go further and declare that unless Britain speedily and seriously considers its position in the sight of God, Divine judgment will inevitably fall upon the nation in more complete fashion than hitherto. We may build our aero planes, our tanks, our battleships, but if God raises His hand against us in judgment nothing we attempt will prosper. I marvel that religious leaders to-day have not made this clear to the nation. God has no interest in spreading paganism through Japanese victories or Nazism through German domination. Therefore it is perfectly clear that the nation which God has so richly blessed, especially in the precious heritage of the Bible, is by its guilt and sin putting itself outside of Divine mercy. The
we have suffered should make us think. From Norway to Greece the Germans have tipped us out of Europe. We advanced to Benghazi and we had to retreat. To the amazement of the Prime Minister Tobruk was captured. We have lost Singapore and Burma and India is threatened. It is impossible for us here with so little news rightly to understand the situation there, but it is grave. Brave men have gone to their death on sea and land and in the air. The recent attack on Dieppe was described as "A Reconnaissance in Force." It was spoiled by the " one chance in a million," so we are told, of a small convoy of the enemy which, being in the Channel and, meeting our ships, signalled the alarm. A million to one chance! Was that chance or an intervention of God? I believe
God will do Nothing
to save us and bestow victory until the statesmen and people of Britain regard Him seriously and reverently and are as much concerned to honour Him as they are concerned not to offend Mr. Roosevelt. The message to day is that Britain can have either blessing and victory or judgment at the hand of God. They can fall into the hands of God or into the hands of the enemy. The time has come to choose and the time is short. There are two points I would press home on your minds.
First: When, a nation gets careless about God it gets careless about itself. That is why our statesmen and politicians saw the Germans building up their formidable military machine and did little for our defence. In those days our present Prime Minister was a lone voice in the wilderness. They allowed the Germans to build aeroplanes in such numbers, that our cities could be bombed and blasted and thousands killed, and they did almost nothing to provide an airfleet for ourselves. But then it is the spirit of Belshazzar over again! Nations get reckless about God and reckless about themselves. Indeed it is only the infinite mercy of God that has saved us to this hour. The second fact is that
The Morale of a Nation
can never be permanently sustained by material ambitions or even moral considerations. It needs and must have the vigour and the vitality of deep spiritual convictions and inspirations. At the moment our political leaders and Members of Parliament may not be willing to listen. Nevertheless it is true, that if Britain were to experience a great spiritual revival its moral strength would be so increased that within a very short time the artificial morale created by Nazi methods in Germany would collapse and the devilish thing we are fighting would be broken. But at the moment we are far too proud to draw near to God! We would far rather declare how much we owe to our allies than acknowledge what we owe to God. Nevertheless the time is coming and the hour of destiny is striking. It will be
Victory by God's Help
or not at all! The complacent way in which we are told that victory will come in probably 1943 or 1944 has no substance in reality. We used to be told that time was on our side-but now we are warned not to be too sure. Who can tell what will be the conditions of human life in two years time? There is a sure and quicker road to victory if we will take it and that is by a great national return to God. You will notice that when Jonah spoke the people believed not Jonah but God. He spoke in such power that men knew he was speaking the truth and were sure, pagans as they were, that this foreigner in their midst spoke the truth of God. Oh for such a prophet in our midst to day, a man whose words were with such power and solemnity that men were convinced they were of God! But while the
People Believed God
as they listened to Jonah they were given a splendid lead by the King of Nineveh. Even that pagan monarch, a cruel monster, was smitten to the heart by the words of Jonah. He arose from his throne, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. He was not content with a day of prayer and a hope that all would go to church, but he issued a proclamation which made it clear to the people that in the view of the Government of Nineveh the people must get right with God. At all cost in order that the threatened judgment might be averted. The question to day is: Has the Cabinet the courage to do the same? Will they take God seriously and so get right with Him that we may see a speedy end to this terrible bloodshed, or will they continue putting their efforts into the material warfare while giving God merely a secondary place? We are at a moment of grievous national peril and stern remedies are needed to meet the hour. God is demanding from the Government
of repentance which are to be pressed home on the nation. Has the Government the courage to act publicly? Has it the courage to act publicly in regard to Sunday? Thirty years ago no Cabinet Minister ever dreamed of giving a public speech on Sunday. The Labour Party fostered Sunday political meetings until to day it is the usual order for some Minister of the Crown to be speaking on Sunday. Let the Cabinet issue an order that no member of the Government is to make any public speech of a political character on Sunday. Let them imitate the splendid example of the Minister of Health, who is either preaching the Gospel on the Sunday or sitting in the pew to worship with others. I can quite appreciate that some places of refreshment should be open on Sundays in these days, but, surely we do not need every public house to be opened on that day.
Surely the brewers could be told that there must be a rota for public houses on Sundays, and that they must arrange amongst themselves for a fifty per cent cut in Sabbath opening. Better still, if they can be closed in Wales why not in England? I fail to understand why all teashops should close at 6 in the week but public houses should continue open. If abstainers must go without anything to quench their thirst why should those who like intoxicants be so amply provided for? Surely the fuel problem has a bearing on such an issue? But, then, the drink question is not one of logic, it is one of daring to do the right and again we ask: Has the Cabinet the courage? And why is it necessary to keep shops open on Sunday to sell tobacco and confectionery? Surely in the interests of economy everybody who wants these things can buy them on Saturday? The Government should take public action with regard to luxuries.
You will notice that the King of Nineveh had the courage to call a fast of necessities, but let the Government have the courage to deal with luxuries. The Tobacco Controller is reported to be back from America, and he is able to announce us that the tobacco supply for next year is assured. Do I understand then that the Government is providing shipping space to bring tobacco to this country that they are willing to risk the lives of brave men for tobacco? Is the Cabinet afraid to interfere with smoking lest it weaken the morale of the nation and the soldiers? These are days when women are being conscripted for heavy work in armament factories. Why then waste enormous manpower in making cigarettes and intoxicating liquors? Why not turn these factories over to war production? There are plenty of articles greatly needed by the people that are now out of manufacture because the Government have peremptorily taken over the factories for war work. Why do they not do the same with beer and tobacco? One of the greatest helps to me in the maintenance of good health is milk. I like at least a pint a day, but henceforth through the winter I am cut down to three pints a week. Where is the justice and equality in cutting down the nation's milk supplv while luxuries are still being manufactured? The hand of Government seems strangely paralysed when it deals with drink. It knows what a curse it is, yet it allows the B.B.C. to make coarse jokes about it and fears to challenge the trade. If the Government gave to chicken feeding half the cereals they allow the brewers there would be an abundance of eggs for the people. I believe, too, that if this Cabinet had the courage it ought to deal with Romanism. The Government is concerned about news getting through to Germany via the German and Italian Legation in Dublin.
The weak spots in the British Empire in this war are Quebec and Southern Ireland. Both of them are predominantly Romanist. Rome in Ireland feeds the fires of British hatred, while over in this country the Government, the Archbishops and Bishops and the Free Church leaders tumble over one another to keep in the good books of Cardinal Hinsley. I notice that Romanists have been cooperating in street flag days recently. It appears they do not mind uniting where they can get a share of Protestant money for their institutions, but they will not pray with us for God's blessing on the nation.
The so-called Roman Church is nothing more or less than an Italian organisation, a vast political machine with a veneer of religion calculated to dupe the millions. Did not the Pope give a golden rose to the Queen of Italy when Ethiopia was conquered. Did not Cardinal Hinsley's friends clear all the British Protestant Missionaries out of Ethiopia as soon as the Italians had possession? Why then should Protestant, which owes its greatness to the Bible and to the Reformation, why should Protestant Britain regard the Pope as a political head of a sovereign state and send an envoy to the Vatican? Since the Pope claims to be a temporal sovereign it becomes an issue for a Romanist as to where is his principal loyalty. Therefore the Cabinet should specifically ask every Romanist in the government to whom he acknowledges primary allegiance. Is it to the Italian head of the Italian organisation in Rome or is it to our own King?
If the Prime Minister publishes the answers he gets the nation will probably be vitally interested. Great Britain has Englishmen who are pro-Nazis and pro-Communists and pro-Fascists. It keeps some of them in safety and security and for a long time it suppressed the " Daily Worker, but the greatest menace of all these organisations is the Italian political and religious conspiracy organised from Rome, and to our utter amazement this Protestant country puts Romanists into positions of tremendous influence. Let Cardinal Hinsley prove his loyalty to Britain by pleading with his opposite number in Ireland and with the Pope to espouse the British cause.
The Pope has blessed Italian officers in this war, he has entered into diplomatic relations with Japan. One would have thought that if the Pope of Rome were really God's representative on earth he would have denounced the wicked outrages on Norwegians, Dutch and others, and would have declared a crusade in the name of God against such wickedness. But this individual claiming to be the infallible Vicar of Christ on earth, waits to see who is likely to win before he shows his hand. As soon as the Vatican is certain the Allies will win the Pope will speak out, then once again our political leaders will cover him with fulsome eulogy and he will be quoted on the B.B.C. ad nauseam In the meantime the Japs have cleared out all British and American Missionaries and the Vatican steps in to fill their places with Italian Romanists!
you will observe are vital and important. We are in dire peril and stern measures must be taken. No price is too big to be paid for the shortening of this war. Has the Cabinet the courage for this movement Godwards? Will the Prime Minister deal with the question of Sunday? Will he deal with the inequalities to which I have referred? I can appreciate that the people need entertainment and may love it in the drama and in sport, but there is no sport in dog racing and horse racing. Their principal influence is to encourage gambling and betting which any economist would tell the Cabinet is a vicious thing in society. We are pleading for a serious concern in the hearts of our leaders about the nation's attitude towards God. We are asking for a real day of humiliation before God and a crying unto God, a crying mightily, as the King of Nineveh urged, until God shall be gracious. The time is overdue for
The Cabinet must give the lead. Let it set apart a day of uttermost humiliation when all shops, cinemas, public houses, theatres, shall be closed. Let every Member of Parliament, every Borough Councillor and Mayor follow the lead and press upon the people the need for a crying out to We should discover that God was waiting to be gracious. In our humiliation He would meet us with forgiveness and favour. No price is too big to pay to save the lives of those who, if this war continues, must die. The suffering in Norway, in Denmark and Europe, the wicked affliction of our Dieppe prisoners is sure evidence that the cup of Nazi iniquity is full. Let us then turn to God as the first and foremost act of our leaders at this time. We shall find that the Divine hand will turn to our good and we shall be saved. We have
A Great Prime Minister
and we must never forget that he has borne the burden of office with remarkable fortitude and courage. But great as has been his service to the country we cannot afford to support a Cabinet that will not take strong measures Godwards. We plead with the Prime Minister to take his courage in both hands and to give the nation the lead at this time that will eventuate in national repentance. If he does his part the blood of others will not be on his hands. We can never be too grateful to the Government for the exceptional favour they have shown to Missionary Societies in this war when the export of sterling has been such a drain on the national resources. God wants to bless us fully for this. He wants to be gracious and in many ways we can see the Divine hand of preservation. But if Mr. Churchill and his colleagues prefer to continue leaving God to the final phrase in their speeches and to ignore the Divine right to man's worship on the day of rest; if the Government prefer to attempt to secure victory without any undue help from God then we who believe that God is speaking can do no other: we must plead with God to set up
which shall rightly interpret His mind and will and bring us through to victory. The Government must act! God's message of judgment is as real to day as in the days of Jonah. A great spontaneous lead from the Cabinet--a courageous, daring lead of faith, glorifying God--would be the opening of the floodgates of Divine blessing. Without it strive, as we will, victory will elude us. I believe God is giving Britain a great opportunity to return to its Bible, its Sunday, its Protestantism, which have been the secret of its greatness. Has the Cabinet the courage to give the lead? If not let us lay hold of God without ceasing day and night for the instrument of His purpose! Glorious indeed will it be if in answer to that prayer we should see the coming of the King of kings, the Saviour of the world. That He is coming we are certain. In the meantime let us pray for the Divine pulling down of these strongholds of evil that hold up a speedy victory. Pray God to break down the strongholds of darkness!
Press the Cabinet to act with courage!
EXTRACT FROM THE DAILY TELEGRAPH;
How grave and serious is the Roman position will be seen from the following paragraph which appeared in the "Daily Telegraph , of October 15th, 1942:
Sir ARCHIBALD SOUTHBY (Cons.) asked the Prime Minister if he had any official information to show that the Italian air force was assisting the Luftwaffe on the Russian front, and if so why did we not attack military targets in Italy, particularly in Rome and in the Val D'Aosta, to assist our Russian allies by opening a second aerial front in Italy.
Mr. ATTLEE, Deputy Prime Minister: Operational matters cannot be dealt with suitably at question time.
Sir ARCHIBALD SOUTHBY: Has any communication, direct or indirect, passed between the British Government and any party in Italy with regard to aerial action by us upon Italy, and has the time not arrived for us to assist our army in Egypt by bombing the sources of supply which take the German troops to Egypt ?
Mr. Attlee did not reply.
The " Daily Telegraph" in its issue of October 19th, announced the result of the Clayton bye-election. The declaration of the poll was made on Sunday, October l8th. Commenting on this the paper said: "Search among the records for many years did not yield a precedent for a Sunday declaration." The votes could quite easily have been counted on Monday,
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