In these last months there has come to the nation a spiritual and ethical revival. Life will never again be what it was in the last long summer days ere the guns began to speak. It will be a better world than it has yet been. The nation is being saved as by fire, and in the fire much dross will be consumed. The conscience of the State has been stirred, and it cannot in the future acquiesce in the continuance of the social evils which are gnawing at the nation's heart. The fate of the Empire in the long years to come will depend more on the fight for social renewal in the midst of the streets than on red battlefields. To the men who have stood between the race and destruction the State owes a debt which it can only repay by such measures of social regeneration as will make possible for every man and woman to realise the thrill and the joy of life. These pages only represent an effort to portray the first stirring of that newly awakened consciousness of God and of duty which was felt in every parish throughout the Empire, and which is destined to transform the world.
nly sign he gave of his long absence from church. The sermon was never finished. The preacher in a low voice said, "Let us pray." And he humbled himself as one who enters the valley of humiliation. And then he gave out this psalm:--
Now Israel May say, and that truly, If that the Lord Had not our cause maintained; * * * * * Then certainly They had devoured us all. * * * * * But blessed be God, Who doth us safely keep, And hath not giv'n Us for a living prey Unto their teeth, And bloody cruelty. * * * * *
This psalm as we sang it that day was a pæan of triumph. The clouds suddenly broke. We heard our fathers singing it in their dark days. The melody wedded to the words soared in exultant triumph, wailed like the cry of the shingle swept by the surf; the sighing of the wind over the heather was in it, and the hissing of the storm through the spray. It was fierce as devouring death; it was gentle as a mother crooning over her child. It put iron into the blood of our fathers as they sang it.