what takes place here and now is notunimportant, but it is infinitely lessimportant than what shall take placehereafter. He looks upon his life here asbut a preparation for the life to come.His experiences here, whether of joy orsorrow, are of value to him only as theyenable him the better to meet the ever-lasting demands of life after death. He isnot indifferent to the rewards which maycome in this world to industry, endeavor,and opportunity; but failure, illness,poverty, abuse—what do these amountto, to a man who believes he is to enjoythe sublime privileges of eternity? Hemeasures everything by the infinite.Wealth, luxury, power, distinction—hemay not despise these, but he looks uponthem as being but temporary—meredelights that are given as tests of hischaracter.“Faith in eternal life smooths out everyinequality and injustice of the presentlife, under the great weight of the infi-nite. It makes the poor feel rich, andgives to the unfortunate a sense of heir-ship to the Almighty. It makes the richfeel a sense of grave responsibility andtrusteeship.“Now, it is not needful for this discus-sion to consider whether such a faith isreasonable or not.
The Wall Street Journal
has no concern in theologicaldiscussions. It takes no part for oragainst any creed, but it is intenselyinterested in the economic and politicaleffects of any change in the thought, thehabits, and the lives of men. If there hasbeen a marked decline in religious faith,that fact must be of profound, far-reach-ing significance. It alters the basic con-ditions of civilization. It becomes a fac-tor in the markets. It changes the stan-dards and affects the values of thingsthat are bought and sold. It concerns theimmediate interests of those who neverhad such a faith almost as much as itdoes the lives of those who have had thefaith and lost it.“The question, therefore, is of practi-cal, immediate, and tremendous impor-tance to Wall Street, quite as much asany other part of the world. Has therebeen a decline in the faith in the futurelife; and, if so, to what extent is thisresponsible for the special phenomenaof our times, the eager pursuit to suddenwealth, the shameless luxury and dis-play, the gross and corrupting extrava-gance, “the misuse of swollen fortunes,”the indifference to law, the growth of graft, the abuses of great corporatepower, the social unrest, the spread of demagogy, the advances of socialism,the appeals to bitter class-hatred? Tofind out what connection exists betweena decadence in religious faith and thesocial unrest of our time, due, on oneside, to oppressive use of financialpower, and on the other to class agita-tion, might well be worth an investiga-tion by a commission of governmentexperts, if it were possible for the gov-ernment to enter into such an undertak-ing.“Whatever may be a man’s own per-
2RAYS FROM THE ROSE CROSS