German Emperor On Christianity
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
ON April 24, 1901, William, Emperor of Germany, took his son, the Crown Prince Frederick William, to Bonn, to place him as a student in the university. At the reception given at night in his honor, he made a splendid speech, from which we take a few selections :
" For you, my dear young comrades, it is needless to dwell upon the feelings that stir my heart upon finding myself in dear Bonn again and among its students. There unrolls before my mind's eye a splendid and glittering picture, full of the sunshine of happy contentment which filled the period of my stay here. There was joy in life, joy in people, old and young, and, above all, joy in the young German Empire which was then just gathering strength. The wish that fills my heart at the present moment, above all else, is that as happy a student's time may be granted my dear son as once was mine. And how could that well be other-wise in this beautiful town of Bonn, so accustomed to the doings of buoyant youths? It is as if it were created for them by nature.
" Yet may the Crown Prince find here memories of his illustrious great-grandfather, whose kindly eye lighted up whenever the name of Bonn was mentioned; of his grandfather; of the noble Prince Consort and life companion of that glorified and queenly woman who ever strove for peaceful and friendly relations between her people and ours, who, indeed, are both of Germanic stock, and of so many other noble German friends who here prepared for their later careers."
Turning to the toast which had been assigned him—William, the Founder of the German Empire—he said :
" The empire now stands before you. May joy and grateful delight fill you, and may firm and manly resolve keep your hearts aglow. Work for Ger-mania ! The future awaits you and will need your strength, not to squander in cosmopolitan dreams or one-sided party tendencies, but to foster the stability of national thought and ideals which the German race, by God's grace, has been permitted to bring forth from Boniface and Walther Von der Vogelweide to Goethe and Schiller. They have become a light and blessing to all mankind; they worked `universal' and were nevertheless in themselves strictly exclusive Germans. We need such men now more than ever. May you all strive to be-come such men. But how shall that be possible? Who shall help you? Only One—He whose name we all bear, who has borne our sins and washed them away, who lived for our example and worked as we should work. May our Lord and Saviour plant in you moral earnestness, that your impulses may ever be purer and your aims ever sublime. Then you will be armed against all temptations and, above all, against vanity and envy. Then you can sing and say, ` We Germans fear God, but nothing else in the world.' Then we shall endure in the world, strong, spreading civilization."
In these days, when there are so many little and inefficient men lamenting or rejoicing in the supposed decline of Christianity, it is truly inspiring to hear the live young ruler of the live young empire say to the youths of his land that their influence in the state will be measured by the power of Christ's atonement in their hearts.