Now, let us look just a bit at this present pressing emergency. There are grave perils threatening, and a great victory possible.
Well, first of all there is real danger of a new aggressive heathenism; a new, energetic, but distinctly un-Christian civilization, in the heathen world. Many thoughtful men who are keenly watching the world movement believe that without doubt there is to be a new leadership of the human race in the Orient. It may be a heathen leadership. That danger is a distinct possibility. The new world-leadership may have all the enormous energy and mental keenness of Christian peoples, but without the Christian spirit.
That means practically a new heathenism, no longer asleep but wide-awake; no longer being manipulated by the Western nations, but maybe manipulating and managing them. An aroused, organized, energized heathen world, with all the science and inventiveness and restless aggressiveness of the western nations and, mark you—and all the spirit of the old, Godless, Christless heathenism dominating its new life—that is the danger.
The heathen world is awake at last after a sleep of centuries. It is sitting up, rubbing its eyes, and taking notice. It is entering upon a new life. That's as clear as a sunbeam on a cloudless morning. What that life shall be depends entirely on the Church waking up. That means, to be more practical, that it depends on you and me waking up, just now, and doing what we easily can. It may be a new Christian life, shot through and through with the blessed principles and spirit of Jesus. It may be a new life of energized, Westernized heathenism! They may get merely our energy and mental awakeness without the Christian spirit that gave these to us.
These two opposite things are standing by the bedside eying each other. Which will get the patient? Who knows? If the Church fail—!
This is a real peril seriously threatening. It is probably far more grave and far more likely than the best-informed and keenest observer is aware of.