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The Rt. Rev. William Lawrence has lived for ninety year. He has seen the Civil War come and pass. He has seen the Spanish-American War come and pass. He has seen the First World War. And now the Lord has vouchsafed that he should live to see the coming of a Second Great War.

In ninety years a violin mellows--wine ages--and men mature. The Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts has mellowed and aged; in his views on war he has not entirely matured. Three wars he has witnessed, their strife and their slaughter, but his words yesterday did little to prove it.

The Allies are shedding their blood, the Bishop said, "for the defense of personal liberty, the rights and sacredness of the individual, the freedom of the press, religious liberty, Christian civilization. And then they look across at this country, great and strong, talking so sympathetically of the cause of the Allies, and yet in the same breath saying firmly that we will not enter the war.... Our citizens write eloquently of International Brotherhood and Good Neighbors and pronounce us ready to help and lead the world, but this nation will not risk a single life to join those who are defending the principles upon which our nation is founded."

That is Bishop Lawrence speaking--the respected and loved, humane and long-serving Bishop Lawrence, First Citizen of Massachusetts. And this is 1940.... Shut your eyes and listen to his words once more. It is 1917, and another clergyman, Bishop Williams, speaks. The War, he avers, is engendering a new idealism in the Allies, in comparison to which America's moral apathy and materialistic sluggishness are disgraceful. The citizens of France and England "are no longer living for the things men usually live for among the commonplaces of peace... They are living, toiling, serving, sacrificing and dying for country, humanity, honor, justice, righteousness."

If war is hell, then Bishop Williams did his part in sending the best and finest young men of his flock to purgatory. A quarter-century has not yet passed, but already Bishop Lawrence speaks out. Before his innings are over, America--and Harvard--will be making the world safe for democracy.

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