EPISCOPAL and other utterances for the New Year sound a note of disillusion and disappointment. The effect of the war, it had been expected, would be to cause a breakaway from old low standards of life, and to make men and women eager to follow after higher things. That “great moral wind” that was said to be blowing through the world with a force that would prove irresistible seems to have dropped, if it ever really blew. The evidences cannot be ignored: they are too painfully clear. Self-indulgence, extravagance, rank materialism are widely rampant. The endeavour to get rich quickly, to seize every opportunity of excitement, to prefer self above the welfare of society, seems to be the most desirable pursuit of men and women of every class. Church worship is increasingly neglected. Divorce is so rife that the Judges cannot deal with the crowd of cases that call for hearing. Is there not good reason for saying that we have been disillusioned, and that the work of rebuilding the world has to be begun from the very beginning, by laying the foundations of morality and religion, of truth and justice? It was hoped that we could assume the recognition of first principles, but that hope was an illusion. The men and women of the present time seem to question every great principle on which alone moral conduct can be securely based.
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