Peanut patriotism and pure patriotism [by] R.A. Torrey. Our duty to God and our country in this time of crisis.
|Main Author:||Torrey, R. A. 1856-1928.|
|Published:||[Los Angeles, The Biola book room, Bible Institute of Los Angeles] c1918.|
|Subjects:||World War, 1914-1918.|
Peanut Patriotism and Pure Patriotism; Our Duty to God and Our Country in this Time of Crisis. “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.” Judges 5 :23. Our subject this morning is “Peanut Patriotism and Pure Patriotism : Our Duty to God and our Country in this Time of Crisis.” You will find the text in Judges 5 :23, “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.” The speaker is the angel of Jehovah. It could be proven, if there were time to go into it, that the angel of Jehovah was the second person of the trinity before His incarnation in Jesus of Nazareth.
So this declaration of a curse upon slackers is an utterance of Jesus Christ. The whole chapter from which our text is taken. Judges 5, is an inspired hymn. It is God’s hymn. The sentiments of the hymn are God’s sentiments, and it is Jehovah God who pronounces the curse of the text. God had called Israel to battle, to literal war, to bloody war against His enemies and theirs. Sisera was the Kaiser Wilhelm II of that day. Some had heard the call of God and rallied to His war. These had conquered the enemies of God and their enemies, and won a glorious victory. God had fought for them and with them. It was Jehovah who had “discomfited Sisera and all his chariots, and all his hosts, with the edge of the sword before Barak” (Judges 4:15). But in that time of God’s war for liberty and righteousness, Meroz had shirked its duty.
They had proven shirkers and slackers and brought the curse of the Almighty upon their heads. It is clear that there are times when God calls His people to war when a war is God’s war. If there was ever a time in the history of this country when our side in the war was God’s side, and our war was God’s war, it is in this present war. It is to my mind far easier to justify the part of the United States in this war than to justify our part even in the War of the Revolution, or to justify the part of the North in the Civil War. Indeed, this present war ‘ was forced upon us. We had to fight or else to leave our citizens and our women and children to be murdered by a government and a nation that knew no law, no truth, no honor, no regard for the most sacred rights of other nations, or even of women and children.
Because I believe in justice because I believe in the rights of the weak, both individuals and nations, because I believe in veracity and in the keeping of treaties and covenants because I believe in the protection of the honor of women and girls because I believe in everything that is high and holy and pure and true, I believe in this war, and in the destruction of the power of the Hohenzollerns and the punishment and humiliation of the people that support and follow William the Second in his villainies and deviltries. And every man, woman, and child in the land has a duty to our government and nation at this time, and those who fail to perform their whole duty at this time, who fail to come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty, will bring a curse upon their heads.
There is a most cheering display of pure patriotism throughout our land. I have spoken, since the war began, throughout our land from Boston on the Atlantic to Los Angeles on the Pacific, and from Vermont on the north to Texas on the south, and I have seen everywhere an enthusiasm for our righteous cause that has cheered my heart. But along with this pure patriotism I have also seen a cheap and tawdry patriotism, a peanut patriotism, a patriotism that in no sense deserves the name of patriotism, a patriotism that has cost nothing but has often brought profit to the alleged patriot, a patriotism that has proved profitable in money or in applause to the alleged patriot, a patriotism for example, that has tried to fatten the purse of flag manufacturers by fostering an over-use of our beautiful and glorious flag, and by uses of the flag that were not honoring, but dishonoring, using the flag.
For example, as mere decoration, or thrown over chairs to sit on, or placed on platforms to trample on, or even used as a handkerchief to blow your nose on or spit on, or that has sought to play to the galleries by attacking people who were falsely alleged not to properly display the flag, or not to display the flag sufficiently, while the man who was courting applause by his lying attack upon others was making no personal sacrifices by going to the war himself nor by sending any one who was dear to him to the war, nor giving any considerable sum to Red Cross, or Y. M. C. A., or buying Liberty Bonds, or by any other of the thousand and one ways of sacrifice that have been open to the one who is not seeking applause for himself, but holds what he has and is at his country’s and his God’s disposal. I believe in our flag; I believe from the bottom of my heart that it is the most beautiful national emblem that floats. I have taken my hat off to it as I have passed be- neath it on German soil.
I have carried it, not only from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Labrador to Georgia over our continent, but in China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, India, Switzerland, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, and Belgium, and even Germany, but I do not take any stock in that form of patriotism that exhausts itself in seeing how many flags it can tuck on to an automobile, or in putting out a service flag that has as many stars upon it as you have distant relatives that are mere camp hangers-on. I have seen a large and beautiful flag displayed in a home and many flags fluttering from automobiles where I had good reason to suspect that our glorious flag was simply used as a camouflage for lurking pro-Germanism and I have seen a service flag fluttering from a house with five stars upon it when there was only one man in the whole household old enough to enlist. What does real patriotism, pure patriotism demand of us at the present time?
I. JOINING THE ARMY. First of all, pure patriotism demands that when we are drafted we should go to the war, unless there is something else we can do that will be more for our nation’s welfare, and for the honor of God, and for which, therefore, we may be properly exempted.
1. Why do I say, when we are drafted? Because I believe that a selective draft is the only fair way of securing soldiers for the war. We cannot all go, some must stay at home to back those who do go. If we depend upon voluntary enlistment then only the best go and the worthless and comparatively worthless stay at home to enjoy the fruit of the sacrifices of the brave and true. A draft is the fair, and the only fair way of securing soldiers, and while our own draft law may not be perfect, it is certainly as good as could be expected. It is a remarkably good law. In fact, taken as a whole it is a thoroughly wise law.
2. There are sometimes other things that we can do than going to the war whereby we will help our country more than by going to the war. Hoover can do more at the present time by using his peculiar abilities and his unusual experience in conserving the food stuffs of the country than he could by taking a gun and going out to the trenches. Many a man can do more by inspiring a hundred men to do their duty than he could by firing one rifle. Many a man can do more for God and country at this time by preaching the pure gospel than he could by shouldering a gun. Of course, there are many preachers who do no good either for their God or country, and would be of much more use in the trenches than in the pulpit.
3. But some one will ask, “Is it right for a Christian to bear arms? Doesn’t the Bible forbid it?” The Bible certainly does not forbid our bearing arms under all circumstances. Two of the most highly commended men in the Bible were soldiers. In the Gospel of Matthew, the eighth chapter and the tenth verse, our Lord Jesus gives one of the highest commendations that ever fell from His lips to a captain in the Roman army. He says in praise of his faith. “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” And our Lord did not suggest, even in the remotest way. that this man of towering faith should quit the army. And in the tenth chapter and the eleventh chapter of the Acts of the Apostles we have a picture of another captain in the Roman army, a man of such exceptional devotion and such exemplary conduct in the use of his money for God and the poor that God sent an angelic messenger to him to tell him that his prayers and his alms had gone up for a memorial before God. Our Lord Jesus did not tell the Roman centurion to quit the army, nor did the angel nor Peter tell Cornelius to quit the army. While Cornelius was still in the army the Holy Ghost came in a remarkable way upon Cornelius and his whole household, in which numerous soldiers were included. It is very evident that a man may be a soldier and still be peculiarly favored and instructed of God and still remain a soldier. Some of the ripest and most intelligent Christians I have ever known have been in the army, some of them officers and some of them privates.
II. CONTRIBUTING MONEY TO THE PROSECUTION OF THE WAR. The second thing that pure patriotism demands of us is that if we cannot ourselves go to the war for one reason or another, that we contribute of our money to the prosecution of the war and the comfort of those who are bearing the heat and burden of the day. Just as Christians who cannot go to the foreign field themselves should contribute to the support of those who can, so also the patriot who cannot go to the war should contribute to the support of those who can and do. Why should those who are drafted bear all the sacrifice? Does the drafted man owe anything to the country that we do not? There may be reasons why we should not go, but there are no reasons why we should not make sacrifices as well as he. There are many ways in which we can contribute to the prosecution of the war.
1. First of all, by paying our taxes without any attempt to evade or diminish them, and paying them promptly. The man of means who seeks to evade or postpone the payment of his income tax is as truly a slacker, a traitor and a criminal as the man of twenty-five who seeks to dodge the draft by sneaking out of the country.
2. Second, by buying Liberty Bonds and War Savings Certificates and Thrift Stamps. I speak of that as a sacrifice, but in reality it is little or no sacrifice. Liberty Bonds and War Savings Certificates and Thrift Stamps are a good investment, and those who buy them will ultimately gain by so doing. How well I remember years ago one of the leading men of wealth of New Haven, Conn., who laid the foundations of his fortune by buying United States Bonds in the time of the Civil War. He did it as a patriotic duty and it proved a remarkably good investment. Certainly we far better put our money into Liberty Bonds and War Savings Certificates and Thrift Stamps than squander it in all kinds of foolishness of dress, amusement and physical self- indulgence.
3. In the third place, we can contribute money to the prosecution of the war by giving to the Red Cross, or the Y. M. C. A. I witnessed the work of the Y. M. C. A. during the Spanish-American War, and I have seen something of it during the present war at Camp Bowie and Camp Kearney. I have been told the Y. M. «C. A. are not doing the same kind of work in this war that they did in the Spanish-American War, but my experience is they are doing even a better work, and not only a larger work but a more intelligent and more definite work, a work with better results. That there may be some things in connection with it that you and I would not believe in, I do not doubt for a moment, but no intelligent man expects perfection from any human organization, and no fair minded man refuses to cooperate with an organization because it does not do everything just as we want it done.
III. HELPING TO CONSERVE FOOD FOR THE ARMY AND FOR OUR ALLIES. The third thing that pure patriotism demands of us is that we help to conserve food for the army and for our allies. Here and there some are grumbling because we are asked to go without meat one day in the week, or to go without wheat bread, or to economize on sugar and butter. So far we have been called upon to make no sacrifice that is any real sacrifice at all. We would all be better off physically any way if we went without meat more than one day in the week. Rye bread is as wholesome and as toothsome as wheat bread. Most of us eat too much sugar any how and most of us too much butter. The time may come, and I suppose it will come, when the Food Administration will find it necessary to call upon us to make some real sacrifices. It will be remarkable if such a time does not come. When it does come pure patriotism demands that we make these sacrifices without a murmur, yes, that we make them with glad hearts, glad that we can make some sacrifice for our country’s sake and for God’s sake.
How I thank God that I was born on American soil and underneath the Stars and Stripes. I have lived in many other lands. I know something by experience of what a privilege it is to be born in America and to live in America, and shall I make no sacrifices for my country and for my God who in His wondrous grace gave me the privilege of being born in this land? We should also economize even where the Government does not ask it. Why squander money, e. g., on candy and soft drinks, that do us no earthly good and often do us positive harm, especially when one of the great lacks of our allies is sugar. In this connection let me say we should obey without hesitation all the war laws and regulations. Some of them may not appear to us to be wise, possibly they may not be wise, for we cannot expect perfect legislation on any subject from imperfect men, but even if we do not approve of the law it is our business to obey it. It is our Christian duty to obey it.
God expressly commands us in His Word to “be subject to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake : whether it be to the king, as supreme, or unto governors, as sent by Him for vengeance on evil doers and for praise to them that do well. For so is the will of God that by well doing (i. e,,well doing in being in subjection to men’s laws’* ye should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” (1 Peter 13:15). In these days of anarchy and I. W. Wism, and an unintelligent, unbalanced, and German inspired, even though well-meaning, pacifism, every Christian owes it to his God and to his country to study carefully the ordinances that our rulers make and observe them with the most scrupulous exactness, even though there is no danger of our being discovered if we should violate them.
IV. TO PRAY. But there is something that we can do that will mean more toward the winning of the present war than our going into the trenches, or contributing our money for the promotion of the war, or our helping to conserve the food for the army and our allies, WE CAN PRAY. Prayer has won many battles and conquered many apparently unconquerable despots and nations. The United States at the time of the Revolution won more by the prayers of the Godly people than by the wisdom or the bravery of its Washingtons. So we too should pray. This is our first obligation to our country at the present time. I do not mean, of course, that we should pray and do nothing else, that we should pray and shirk our duty of shouldering a gun or contributing our money, or obeying the laws, or being willing to do whatever lies in our power in these respects.
But our highest obligation is to pray. Furthermore, in order that we may pray effectively, in order that we may pray so that our prayers will count, in order that we may so pray that our prayers will bring things to pass, we must in our own lives meet the conditions of prevailing prayer. A good deal of praying has been done already that we might win the war, but little seems to have come of the praying. Why has not God answered the prayers of England? Why has not God answered the prayers of America more largely than He has? Because neither England nor America has met the conditions of prevailing prayer. God told His people that He would answer their prayers in the hour of their defeat and bondage if they would repent of and confess their sins and get right with Him, and observe His will as revealed in His Word.
He said in Deut. 30:1-3, “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, and shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey His voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; that then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the peoples, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.” England has not repented of its sins, America has not repented of its sins. Have we as individuals? Much prayer to God is simply making a convenience of God, asking God to be “mit uns” when we are ignoring God, when we are neglecting God’s holy Word, rejecting God’s holy Son, and using God’s holy day for our own convenience and pleasure.
Pure patriotism demands that we repent of our sins, that we get right with God, that we accept the Lord Jesus as our Saviour, and surrender absolutely to Him as our Lord and Saviour and that we confess Him publicly as such before the world, and live to please Him day by day. When we are thus right with God, then we can pray and God will answer. The one who refuses in this time of crisis to get right with God in order that he may pray in power, is a traitor to his country. He is a worse slacker than the one who refuses to register for the draft, or to answer the draft when he is called. We can come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty more by prayer and by being fit to pray than in any other way.
V. TO DO WHAT WE CAN TO FIT OUR FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN FOR WAR OR PEACE. The fifth thing that pure patriotism demands of us is that we do all that lies in our power to fit our fellow-countrymen for war or peace. We are suffering today from a lack of preparedness. We must do what we can to see that our country is not again caught unprepared. But where we are most fatally unprepared is not in the physical unfitness of so many of our young men, nor in the lack of guns and other equipment, but in our moral unfitness. Nothing so fits a man for righteous war as a true Christian experience. An intelligent faith in Jesus Christ makes a soldier brave; it fits him to face the danger of death without the slightest fear, for he knows that there is nothing in death for him to fear, for to die means “to depart, and to be with Christ,” “which is very far better.”
It is then a solemn duty that we owe to our country to do everything we can in our power to bring our young men to Christ, not only those who are going to war, but those who re- main at home, that they may be fitted to do their duty to their country in this hour of crisis. There has never been a time in the whole history of our land when real Christian men and women were so much needed as they are today. We owe it to our God and to our country at all times to do everything that lies in our power to bring others to an intelligent acceptance of Christ, but an unusually solemn responsibility rests upon us at this present time to do it. There is but one thing in all this world that produces true manhood and true womanhood, and that is an intelligent and whole-hearted acceptance of Jesus Christ. True manhood and true woman- hood are the great, crying need of the hour. True Christian men and true Christian women are more needed than great statesmen are needed, more needed than great generals are needed, more needed than large armies are needed, and it lies within the power of each one of us to do something, yes, to do much to foster true manhood and true woman- hood among the people of our land.
There is an imperative cry that many of our young men go to the front. There is an imperative cry that we do what lies in our power to contribute to the thorough and effective prosecution of the war. There is an imperative cry that we do what we can by self- sacrifice to conserve the food supplies of the country. There is a more imperative’ cry that we pray and that we be in such relations to God that we can pray with power, and there is an equally imperative cry that in every way in our power we do what we can to lead as many of our young people as we can to an intelligent acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Saviour, and a whole-hearted surrender to Him as their Lord and King.
CONCLUSION. True patriotism is an essential part of true Christianity. Our Lord Jesus Christ loved all mankind, but He loved His own country in a peculiar way. Who was it wept over the capitol city of His land, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not?” It was the Lord Jesus. The Apostle Paul also was a patriot, one of the noblest patriots the world ever saw. He longed to work for his people, but God sent him to the Gentile nations. But even still he said, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were anathema from Christ for my brethren’s sake, my kinsman according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:1-3). We need today a patriotism like that of the Apostle Paul. We need today a patriotism like that of our Lord Jesus, a real patriotism, not patriotism that parades itself, that seeks applause for itself, that plays to the galleries, but a patriotism that puts all that a man is and has at the disposal of his God and his country.