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Brussels in about two years' time. to be carried per unit width of wheel
As regards that section of the con- left out the important factor of the ingress relating to the influence of the fluence of wheel diameter, though, luckvehicles themselves on the road, some ily, owing to the influence of the Engof the papers were very valuable; but lish-speaking delegates, it is probable curiously enough the French, who this factor will be reinstated in the above all other nations were the first form in which it exists in our own very to appreciate the great advantages of well-considered regulations issued by large wheel diameter, in their draft the Local Government Board. resolutions fixing the maximum weights
Prayer and thanksgiving are per- come inore and more a momentary expetually coupled in the Old Testa- pression of personal relief, escape, or ment. The latter was as essential as happiness. The Jews' devout interprethe former in the worship of Jehovah. tation of their history, which made To forget the benefits of God to the memory ever ready with reasons for race was the very foundation of im- spiritual rejoicing, sprang, at least in piety. The Jew came into the pres- some measure, from their early beliet ence of God with a psalm of thanks. in a tribal God. Our knowledge of giving. It was part of the ordained the history of the world, our belief sacrifice. The Passover itself was a that God is in no sense a national God, feast of thanks. In like manner St. forbid us any longer to take the JewPaul dwells urgently upon the spirit- ish point of view. For generations the ual necessity of thankfulness. The early Church rejoiced in the thought Christian must “in everything give of the abolition of death by Christ. thanks." Evidently St. Paul con- The glory of the great discovery made sidered thanksgiving to be a duty, and even martyrdom easy. Truly those one from which a man must not look men had something to be thankful for! to his personal situation or his sympa- That period of keen and intense spiritthetic sufferings to absolve him. The ual perception is gone. In the proviwhole creation might groan and trav- dence of God, it did not last very long. ail around him, but still he must give But it left the world with a theory of thanks.
the universe, a theory which Paul Considering this attitude of the Jew- conceived, and which sprang alive ish and early Christian Churches, it is from his brain, a vital thing palpitat. strange to remember that the Lord's ing with the eternal emotions of conPrayer does not contain a clause de- trition, love, and forgiveness. It convoted to thanksgiving, and that but tained in itself the elements of change little direct allusion is made in the and of growth, and might have reGospel to the duty of thankfulness. mained vital until
had the Without doubt the comparative silence schoolmen not defined it to death. of our Lord on this subject is sympa- Till lately, however, the dry bones of thetic to the modern man. Thanks- this theory have sufficed to pacify the giving "in every thing”- -even formal spiritual curiosity of the world, and thanksgiving—is not as easy to us as men thanked God that at least they it was to our fathers. It tends to be- were not in the dark. We are begin
ning to feel now that the great plan of God is beyond our grasp; that St. Paul was right when he confessed that after all he had not altogether apprehended it; and that it has been analyzed since his time by no ecclesiastical Committee whatever. We cannot any longer thank God that we, without merit of our own, deemed from an eternal torture to which others, without fault of their own, are condemned. Such thanksgiving would stand between our souls and the keeping of the two Commandments of Christ. Even if we could still hold the terrible doctrine that the God in whom Christ taught us to trust was at enmity with all those who had not been reconciled to Him by correct conviction, compassion would seem to us a more worthy emotion than thankfulness. Again, to come to smaller matters, we can no longer rouse thankfulness in our own breasts, nor in those of our friends, by pointing to the greater and less deserved misfortunes of others. Our thanks are silenced by sympathy. Those who take upon them to preach their duty to the suffering at all point not to the glorying
the martyrs, but to Christ's resignation to the will of God.
Nevertheless, it remains a self-evi. dent fact that thankfulness is in itself a good thing. Some conscious effort after it must, therefore, be a wholesome discipline, --some effort which shall lift us above our own gains and grievances. It is the religious aspect of gratitude, and they are ungrateful people who are for ever weighing the exact amount of the benefits they have received, and for ever missing the eternal values which defy calculation. In the stiff spirit of rebellion which today forbids so many people to bow their heads in thankfulness to God or man there lurks a strange weakness. Cowardice and selfishness prey upon
them, and they cannot shake them off. As a rule, they are a mischievous ele. ment in the community in which they find themselves. As we watch them we understand why our Lord spoke in one breath of “the unthankful and the evil." Some invisible link would seem to exist between the spirit of thankfulness and moral strength. If we are led to wonder how a given man can be so thankful in such adverse circumstances, or so grateful for so lit. tle kindness, we are sure to find ourselves wondering also at the exceptional beauty of his character. It certainly "becometh well the just to be thankful"; but even for the just it is often very difficult.
The Disciples of Christ said, “Teach us to pray," and the world owes them an eternal debt. Yet we sometimes wish they had added, “Teach us to give thanks." Can we extract this teaching from the Gospel for ourselves? There is not much to go on; but there is something. Christ's teaching on the subject, so far as we can gather it from His precept and example, bears a close relation to His teaching about prayer.
He did not restrict either the one or the other to spiritual benefits. He prayed for the necessities of life, and gave thanks for them. In almost every description of a meal the Evangelists record the giving of thanks. He thanked God also for the simplicity of true religionthat it could be revealed to ignorant people who in the eyes of the wise were but children--and He thanked God for the
that His prayers were heard, -"Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always." He grieved over the fact that only one man in ten who was restored to health interrupted his business pleasure to return open thanks to God, and He advised the man whose faith, He said, had healed bis sickness to
make acknowledgment of his thank
which thou gavest me have 1 lost fulness according to the rites in which none." he was brought up,—to "offer the gift May we not say, then, without unthat Moses commanded.” It is impos- duly straining either incidents or lansible to suppose that our Lord thought guage, that Christ counsels us to give of God as requiring any sacrifice—the thanks for our daily bread, for our prophets had risen ages before above health, the love of our friends, the simany such conception-impossible also plicity of true religion and for the symto imagine that our Lord thought that pathy of God? A nobler rule of in the case of the careless nine, God, thanksgiving could not be imagined. It like some half-hearted philanthropist, does not require us to understand the would grieve over a deficit of thanks. universe, to take any particular view When He said, “The Sabbath was
of history-such things are impossible inade for man," He put all religious
to "babes"—or to share the ecstasy of observances on to a new plane. It the early Church. Christ is "the light was the men, not God, who registered
of the world," not its explanation, a a loss. It would have been good for “kindly light amid the encircling them to have been mindful of their gloom.” Even Newman could say no benefits, would have lifted their more. Christianity takes for granted thoughts aud made them happier and that there is "something amiss," — stronger. He was
distressed that some enemy hath sown tares. It takes they had failed to recognize "the for granted, also that all will come things which belong unto thy peace.”
right in the long last, “but of that day One of the severest condemnations in
und that hour knoweth no man, no, all the parables is spoken against the
not the angels which are in heaven, man who remained unsoftened by the
neither the Son." The thanks forgiveness of a debt. An act of cru
quired of those who accept the reelty cancelled for him the gift of grace.
ligion Christ taught preclude neither His own shortcomings were counted to sympathy nor bewilderment. They him again.
Once more he is made to are such as the vast majority of men "possess the iniquities of [his) youth."
can offer during the greater portion of We see that he has injured his own
their lives. As to those who cannot moral nature by his ingratitude. These
we can but conclude that with the are, we think, the only direct refer- Silcrifice of thanks, as with the sacriences to thankfulness contained in the
fice of alms, “if there be first Gospels. In the last prayer of Christ
willing mind, it is accepted according as it is recounted by John He
to that a man hath, and not accordspeaks of the friends whom God had
ing to that he hath not." Otherwise given to Him, and whom He loved the yoke of Christian worship woull to the end, and implicitly, if not ex
not be easy, but, like the Jewish cereplicitly, gave thanks that he had re
monial which it supplanted, a burden tained their devotion. "Of them too grievous to be borne.
THE DOWNFALL OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.
The greatest athletic contest in the ily against the Government. The Reannals of electioneering has resulted in publican niachine, at any rate, it was the election of Mr. Taft to the Presi- confidently held, would be crippled for dency. Mr. Bryan has not improved effective electioneering by the withthe position he attained in the presi- drawal of the heavy financial support dential voting of 1896 and 1900, and of the rich corporations, which it had Mr. Taft's "plurality” is almost as hitherto received. Finally, a great palarge as that of Mr. Roosevelt over rade was made of the entrance of the Judge Parker in 1904. Though some Federation of Labor, with its two milof the middle Western States have per- lion members, into party politics upon ceptibly weakened their Republican at- the Democratic side. tachment, as, for instance, Ohio and It is now evident that all these conIndiana, which have elected Demo- siderations had very little weight with cratic State governors, the only gains the body of the American electorate. which Mr. Bryan has been able to add East or West, or else that any infiuto swell the allegiance of his "Solid ence they exercised was counteracted South" are Nevada, Montana, Colorado by other more potent and less evident and his native State, Nebraska. The forces. There can be no question but keystone States, New York, Indiana, that widespread and violent discontent and Ohio, all of which it was virtually exists among large sections of the peoessential Mr. Bryan should win to se- ple, particularly among the lower cure a reasonable chance of his return, grade wage-earners of the industrial have gone for Mr. Taft, and the nation centres, who, even before the pinch of stands firm to the cause of the Repub- poverty in this disastrous year, had lican Party.
felt the crushing force of the Tariff This result, foretold with confidence and the Trusts. But why should this by most watchful observers of the cur- discontent find vent in the election of rents of public opinion in the United Mr. Bryan and the substitution of the States, must serve to correct some of Democratic political machine for the the impressions of the American situa- Republican? The Democrats do not tion and the American character previl- even pretend to be Free Traders, or to lent among foreigners. Mr. Bryan ap- seek more than to abate the burden of peared to possess many of the qualities the Tariff, and, though they breathe of an acceptable candidate. Shallow fury against the Trusts, they have taand uncritical as he was, he bad per- bled no practical proposals of grapsonal magnetism and the gift of emo- pling with them more plausible than tional oratory, and bis platform ap- those set in operation by Mr. Roosevelt pearances in the stupendous campaign and his law officers. The discontented which has just ended were admittedly and the revolutionary elements have more successful than those of Mr. Taft. come to recognize that neither of the Again, it was anticipated that the ca- two historic parties has the will or the lamitous condition of trade during the power to rectify by the federal instrulast twelve months, directly attributed ment the heavy inequalities and ecoand not without some reason to the nomic abuses from which they suffer. turbulent activities of the Republican It looks as if the more detailed record administration under the stimulus of of the voting would give solid testiMr. Roosevelt, would have told heav- mony to this feeling, either in a large
abstention or in a considerable acces- to our interpretation of American insion of votes to the Socialist and inde- stitutions, the gravely improper part pendent candidates.
played by Mr. Roosevelt in using the If due allowance is made for this influence of the White House, first, to factor, the preference of what is procure the nomination of the Republiknown in America as "the better ele- can candidate, and, secondly, to push ment" and of the solid phalanx of po- his candidature by assuming the part litical indifferents for Mr. Taft is in- of chief organizer of a party campaign. telligible. The sober business Ameri- To our mind, this is nothing other than can, whose secret influence upon the an abuse of a high position of trust lower grades of citizens is very great, which the American Constitution, ils has returned the strong, safe man. He interpreted by the uniform conduct of has felt that what was needed most previous occupants of the Presidential just now a restoraion of conf. chair, designed to be removed from dence, and that Mr. Taft was more and above the schemes and struggles likely to bring about the restoration of party. We are well aware that party than Mr. Bryan. It is true that Mr. as a political instrument stands on a Taft is committed to a continuance of different footing in the United States the drastic cleaning process which Mr. from here, and at least one important Roosevelt has applied with so much officer whose impartiality might have vigor to the business institutions of his been expected to remain intact-to wit, country. But Mr. Taft's record has the Speaker in the House of Represenbeen bright rather than meteoric, he is tatives-has come to be little better less impulsive and more taciturn (to than a party tool. If it were merely il put it mildly) than his godfather, and question of personal dignity, we might his policy is likely to be slower and agree with Mr. Roosevelt's friends that more conciliatory. Now this is what he has so much dignity he need not the ordinary "good American,” who is stand upon it to preserve it. But for neither a friend of trusts nor a Radi- a President, who had already stretched cal reformer, wants. A gradual res- every precedent in encroachment upon toration of profitable business, no sud- those legislative functions which it den violent laying of hands upon the was the most express design of "the levers of public or private finance, a founders" to remove from the execufirm and moderately active foreign pol- tive officials, to end his term of office icy, and more discreet relations with as a passionate partisan, might seem : the Federal Legislature--these are the license likely to provoke resentment principal requirements of the American aunong constitutionalists in America. whose influence has elected Mr. Taft. Finally, some speculation upon the It will be a presidency more likely to probable future of the Democratic mark time than to make history. But Party is inevitable. It has long been it may be none the worse for that, for recognized that the earlier lines of there has been discernible a certain principles and policy which demarbreathlessness in the efforts even of cated it from the Republican are althe more energetie sections of the most obliterated. States rights no American people to keep pace with the longer furnish a cleavage. No solution rushes of their President.
of the graver social problems of AmerThere are two reflections which we ica is even conceivable upon State as would make upon the character and distinguished from federal lines. the result of this election. The first There is no strong genuine difference has reference to the extraordinary and, beween the attitude of the two par