THE FORWARD MOVEMENT
ADDRESSES DELIVERED BY REV. DR. CODY AND
MR. J. H. GUNDY
Before the Empire Club of Canada, Toronto,
Thursday, January 15, 1920
MR. J. H. GUNDY
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen,-Some one said the other day that when he wrote the word "campaign" now, he wrote it without the "g". I think that probably ex-, presses the first attitude of us all when someone with a smile and the most ingratiating manner that he can command, walks into our office and suggests that we have a small part in the new campaign. As the boys say, we are pretty well fed up; and so, if there is to be a Forward Movement, an inter-church national campaign, there has got to be a pretty good reason for it in these days to command the support of the people of Canada, and because we know that it is commanding the support of the strongest men in the country, we feel that it is worth our while to sit down and see what it is all about and see if their judgment for once has gone astray or whether it is sound.
It is always easier to destroy than to build. We all have the greatest admiration for the President of our sister Republic, but I fancy that he, as well as the whole world, will now say that he under-estimated the size of his problem when he sailed across the sea to make the world safe for democracy. The world is not safe for democracy, although the rubbish of militarism and tyranny that was represented by Prussia has been destroyed.
Our men from Canada and from other parts of the Empire and from the United States and from France did a thorough job. They destroyed the Prussian machine. There is not anything left of it except the spirit of selfishness that was the basis of it; and that spirit of selfishness is here in Canada, and it is in China and Japan and everywhere, and wherever it is it is a curse.
There is only one man that has found the recipe for making the world safe for democracy and decency and liberty, and that is the Man of Nazareth. Europe has been cleared of the rubbish; the ground is fallow, and the responsibility is upon every man whose bones do not lie in Flanders' fields to see that in the waste places a great structure follows. Some of us heard Sherwood Eddy talk about the situation in China the other day. He met the groups from the south and from the north, and they discussed the future of China and would like to have a democracy. Why can they not have one? Because there is not the spirit of unselfishness and honour that makes our public men work their heads off, night and day, year after year. You do not find that, where you do not find Christianity. If the world is to be a safe place, it has got to be a Christian place. Why, you would not get anybody trying to sell bonds or machinery or anything unless for cash, except where the people have got the standards of Christianity; for without them it isn't safe to do business. You are taking a chance, if you have any relations with people who have not got our standards. It is true you can, in a limited way, do business with them but it has got to be on a cash basis, and you never know when you are in trouble from a purely business standpoint. The standards that make Canada a safe place to do business in must be set up throughout the whole world, and it is a good business for Canadians to invest in the establishment of Christianity all over the earth, including Canada.
This country is getting pretty well off, although the Government is in debt to us for a couple of billion dollars. We have saved in the last five years a billion dollars that we have put in the savings banks in addition to saving two billions to put into war bonds; in addition to piling up the resources of Insurance Companies and Loan Companies and all sorts of investments, we have paid off many millions of dollars which we owed to Britain. Our farmers have paid off their mortgages to a tremendous extent. Our great industrial institutions, that were in difficult positions in 1913, now have tremendous surpluses. The general condition of the business people of Canada is very much improved. The sons of the present generation begin where their fathers left off and in an entirely different condition from that where their fathers began. There is danger to any country under an influx of sudden wealth, and that is the danger that faces Canada. It is the basis of a great deal of unrest. It is not a good thing for the boys and the girls of this generation to grow up with lots of easy money. The working men see that; everyone feels that. Now, there is only one safe place to invest the surplus wealth that is being piled up in Canada and that is in the unselfish establishment of Christianity in Canada and all over the world. (Applause) The money that you invest in that way will not harm your son; what you save tip and hand to him may. It is a pretty good way to invest your money.
Then our self respect demands that we change our basis of living. We would like to forget about the war and treat that as an historical incident-as someone is said to have regarded it who should have known better. We would all like to forget about it, but we cannot forget about a thing that has taken fifty thousand of the best men in Canada. It can't be done. We cannot face those men on the street who fought and lay in dirty trenches, who endured all they endured, and forget about the war -it can't be done! What we have got to do today is to face these men in our offices, in our homes, on' the street, in the churches, in the lodges. Everywhere, these men face us and, while they do not say it in words, their very presence and the whole spirit of sacrifice of the great war which keeps ringing in our ears, seems to say: "Such men as these died to make Canada a better place and the world a better place. What are we doing to make Canada and the world a better place?" We cannot getaway from it and we do not want to get away from it. (Hear, hear) That will explain to us a thing that was rather interesting when I noticed it the other day. I picked up the morning paper and read that the President of one of our great institutions had made a very illuminating statement the day before at his annual meeting with regard to the financial situation, an institution with which he had been connected since 1884. Well, it was a fine address, but I knew he wasn't at the meeting for he was down in Montreal digging up $50,000 subscriptions for the Forward Movement, while the annual meeting of his own institution was going on here in Toronto. I heard that same man say with regard to a certain thing that he was worrying about and struggling with, "I will never take a responsibility like that again." He said, if I hadn't been able to get that thing through, I would have been ill. The whole strength of men in these days is going into doing everything they can do to make this old Canada of ours a decent place and to make the world a safe place (Applause)
There is a little preacher away back near Bobcaygeon somewhere, and when his old College President met him and asked him how he was getting on he said, "I never worked so hard in my life as I am working this year." Why? "Because this programme of the Forward Movement puts it up to me every minute and I daren't lose a second in putting this thing over." A letter comes in from another place away down in the corner of Western Ontario, from a little country church of two or three hundred people, and they say, "We have raised our objective of $3,800; we want to get rid of that and concentrate on the spiritual end of this campaign." These are illustrations of what is taking place in Canada and they are characteristically Canadian. The people of Canada generally have the same ideals that were exemplified by our men overseas, and this campaign of the Forward Movement gives us an opportunity to work, to give of our money, to give of our time and our organizing ability and to give to the limit for the betterment of the land that has been bought and paid for with its citizens by the blood of those who have made the great sacrifice.
The tearing down of a great, monstrous machine like Prussia is an extremely important and an extremely spectacular piece of work. The building up of the structure of civilization through the ages and making it more Christian and more free is a vastly greater though a much less spectacular piece of work; and the difference is that it is your job and mine, and not the other fellow's. So we find, as a matter of coincidence, that the Church of England almost spontaneously began the campaign for the Forward Movement, and the Presbyterians and Methodists and Baptists found they were working on the idea and that their people demanded they be led forward. These bodies came together and they formed a common campaign which is now going forward and which will culminate in a financial drive in the second week of February. With regard to the spiritual objectives I will not speak, not because they are not equally or more important, but because others can speak of them better than I.
So far as the financial drive is concerned it has three main branches, education, pensions for the aged ministers, and missions. Now, is it not absolutely vital, Gentlemen, that if the Church, if Christianity, is to be strong, its leaders, its workers preachers and young men, whether in the ministry or in business, or wherever they may be, shall be well-instructed and grounded and know what they are talking about. You cannot have your colleges too strong in these days. The minister of the Gospel, the lawyer in the court, and the business man in his office, each has got to know, in order that he may give adequate leadership in these days. What is the basis of Bolshevism? Ignorance. You couldn't get this assembly of people into Bolshevism, but you take a poor, misinformed man from the far parts of Russia, who knows nothing about the advantages of liberty and freedom and ordered government, and he easily becomes the victim of that sort of thing. So our leadership must be strong. We must have strong educational influence, and accordingly a substantial part of this campaign is for education, for paying -off the debts of colleges, for making them stronger, for giving us adequate leadership.
What about the pensions for the old and aged ministers? They get, I suppose from $300, $400, $500 or, $800 possibly in certain cases, after thirty or forty or fifty years of labour on salaries which, as you know, enable them to just barely live, and, in these days of higher prices, I do not know how on earth they get along at all. Now, if we have got any respect for ourselves at all, which we have;- if we mean anything when we talk of Christianity or civilization even, if we believe it is a good thing to have a church in the community, if we would rather live in Canada than India or China, I think the least we can do is to make the old age of these men reasonably safe, and the amounts of money that are provided for that purpose are not too much-not too much.
Then with regard to missions, we have found that the ' perils of the seas are not sufficient to shut us off from Japan, from China, from Russia. We have found that the only way to have a comfortable Canada is to have a decent world; and you can check it up as far as you like. You may not believe in Christianity as such; but as a business proposition, look at the countries where Christianity is strong and look at the countries where there is no Christianity, and see whether you think it is a good investment to make this world a Christian world.
If it is not, we had better close up our churches and play golf on Sunday, all day long and all week long, and do something else in the winter time and quit this Christianity fooling; for if it isn't good enough for the Chinaman and the Jap, I don't want any of it. I mean that Christianity is a strong and vital force in the life of the world, or it is no good. If it is strong, it is strong enough to conquer those nations of intelligent men and women as it was strong enough to conquer old Britain in the ancient days. I am sure that the considered judgment of the people of Canada is that Christianity is a worth-while thing, that it is a virile thing, and that it will make of those countries, countries worth while in the highest sense, countries with whom we can trade and with whom we can co-operate for the advancement of the world.
We have got some of the cleanest cut, cleverest, best educated men that this country ever produced in its colleges over there in those countries, and they are establishing hospitals but they haven't got adequate equipment; they are establishing churches and schools, trying to educate and teach and propagate Christianity, and we are not giving them the tools to do it with and it is a shame. If they are prepared to give their lives, which are just as good as ours, I see no reason why they should not live in the same kind of comfort as we do. They chose this other harder, isolated course, and the least we can do is to give them the tools with which to work, to give them medical equipment, to give them hospital equipment, to give them educational equipment, so that they can do a first-class job in the work they are undertaking.
Now, so far as business men are concerned there are two things that we can do. They are very considerable things and we know how to do them, but it is a matter of whether we will or whether we won't. In the first place we can give our money on a scale which we have never done before, and we ought to do it. It is being done, Gentlemen, and it will be done in this campaign. The next thing we can do is to put at the service of this campaign the organizing ability of the business people of Canada. It is not enough to say to the Minister, "This is a fine thing, go ahead with it." There is no country on the face of the earth where the people have the ability to organize themselves, where they have demonstrated their ability to put things over, where they have shown they know how to co-operate for a great purpose, as the people of Canada have shown. Let us put all we have into this campaign in the way of organizing ability, in the way of thought and energy, and there can be no doubt as to its success. (Applause)