Imágenes de páginas


That Last Hour

Condensed from The Ladies' Home Journal

Grace S. Richmond

IN the last hour before the Sunday morning service the Reverend Thomas Brown is trying to write the closing paragraph of his sermon on Home Missions. He never particularly enjoys preaching this annual sermon on missions, to be followed by a special collection, but it has to be done. The week has been crammed so full with all sorts of extra calls upon his time that he couldn't get at his sermon until late Saturday evening. And that final paragraph, that is to hit the pocketbooks hard, is still in the air. You can't fire your gun unless it's loaded; and his task is now to get that last eartridge into that gun. He runs his fingers through his tempest-tossed hair again. "Lord, give me the thing to say," he breathes. It really sounds less like a prayer than a demand, one of those sight drafts which heaven is expected to honor.

The Lord looks down from heaven -oh, yes, He does, you know!-and sees His servant Brown, and notes the children on the other side of the thin partition in the small parsonage. Being omniscient, the Lord knows that Tommy, Junior (aged two) is going to hit his head on something within a minute or two, Mrs. Brown being busy with buttoning up Big Sister (aged four). So the Lord gives Brown an idea for the opening words of his paragraph-anyhow, that's the way Brown feels about where the idea came from when he gets it out of the blue.

A moment afterwards, as the Lord foresaw, Tommy smashes his head against the floor, and a frightful roar ensues, which Brown tries to ignore but can't. He loves Tommy much better than he does writing money-raising sermons. He meets his wife at the door, with Tommy in her arms.

"Dear, you'll have to hold him a minute till I get a bandage; it's bleeding dreadfully."

So it is; Brown gets a spot of blood on his clean, white, ministerial cuff. He loses ten minutes while Tommy is being attended to. Then he dashes back to the typewriter, his eye on the inexorable clock upon his desk.

Probably his heavenly Helper has other panic-stricken ministers to look after now, for He seems a little deaf to Brown's needs. A telephone call breaks in upon his labors. One of his trustees has been inspired by Satan to choose this moment to consult him-at interminable length. Brown tries not to show his irritation, but the trustee feels as he hangs up his receiver that the pastor was -well, certainly a little crisp.

Thirty minutes left! The church is next door-if it weren't, Brown would never be in his pulpit in time-so he has until the last minute. He begins to put down words without meaning, or so it seems to him. The sermon has got to end somehow. Mrs. Brown puts in her head. "Tom, are you almost through?"

"No; and I never will be if I get any more interruptions! Shut that door!" Brown is now unhappy because he lost his temper. Ministers about to preach shouldn't lose their tempers, they should be on their knees, getting spiritually ready. He hasn't time to go on his knees, but he again breathes: "Lord, forgive me. But I've got to do it somehow. It's your work-and I've been so busy-"

But the inspiration doesn't come. Nervousness does. Visions of a waiting congregation crowd into his laboring brain. Poetry-if he could find just the right bit of verse to close with. All he can think of is "From Greenland's Icy Mountains." Brown

knows that Mrs. Brown is waiting for him outside the door; he can feel her there. He throws open the door. "For heaven's sake! Take the children over and leave me a minute by myself."

"You ought to be going now, Tom. Mr. Beamish telephoned he wanted to see you five minutes before the service, and I promised him you'd be there.'

"Oh, thunder! Tell him I'll see him after church." No, he doesn't say the word he'd like to, but he looks it. He's only human, and his sermon isn't finished.

"Mr. Beamish wants a notice given out-why, you can't offend him."

"I can, and I will! I'd offend the angel Gabriel himself if he bothered me right now."

Back in his study, the minister is feeling suddenly unfit, desperately unfit, to go into his pulpit. The sermon should have been written by the middle of the week, but people were sick and needed him. People died and had to be buried. People insisted on being married. They gave church suppers and invited him to make clever speeches. So he asks the Lord once more, very humbly this time. The

Lord is through now with the other ministers, and the Lord gives Brown His whole attention. And when the Lord gives any man His whole attention something is bound to happen.

Thomas Brown rises from his knees without another idea for his last paragraph that will bring the lump into the throat and make the hand go deep down into the pocket. And yet surging through his consciousness is something intangible as air itself, yet like a rushing, mighty wind for power. He knows now that even without words he can preach.

Mrs. Brown sees the spot of blood upon Tom's cuff as he comes in; no

body else would notice it. She wonders if he blackened his dusty shoes; she meant to see to them herself, but hadn't time. But she realizes, with a thrill of relief, that his face is serene, even a little uplifted, as she loves to see it.

So Tom Brown preaches. Mr. Beamish-not to offend whom seems sometimes to the Browns so important, and then again so unimportant --says it was one of his greatest sermons. Anyhow, it brought many dollars out of Mr. Beamish's pocket. When they are at home again, Mrs. Brown comes up to Tom. "How did you do it, dear? You didn't seem to be ready at all when I left youbeforehand."


"No, I wasn't. I was tired-and cross-just plain discouraged. don't see how the Lord manages to make use of me at such times. I didn't feel fit to preach after I got so angry with you and the children.'

[ocr errors]

"Tom, I think the Lord uses you because-well, because a man who has spirit enough to say what you did about not minding offending the angel Gabriel if he bothered you just then, has spirit enough to preach a sermon that will make people give to missions. I think the Lord was amused and delighted with what you said about Gabriel. He liked it, just for a change from whining prayers to Him to do things people are too lazy to do for themselves. And that's why He helped you out about preaching.'

It may not be the explanation, but I believe the Great Head of the Church does extraordinarily approve and make use of the spirit which doesn't mind offending the Mr. Beamishes or even the angel Gabriel himself, so it gets the Master's work done.

L.H.J., O., '22.

"Most sincere congratulations on your magazine. It supplies a real need.”—M. R. A., Upper Montclair, N. J.

Science Remaking the World

Condensed from The World's Work

Edwin E. Slosson

1. WONDER-WORKING GASOLINE The first of a series of articles in The World's Work designed to show by examples how a single scientific discovery may influence politids, finance, industry, social customs, personal habits, standards of living, moral ideals, the drift of population, and the balance of power.


THE United States has been favored above all nations with oil, and it was here that it first became an important factor in civilization. Why petroleum is an unprecedented wealth producer and how it can be so readily monopolized is seen by reference to its geology. It comes in pockets. The first man who drills through the rock gets the oil, not only the oil under his own claim, but much of what seeps in from his neighbor's claims. Hence the race to get down the first well. But great haste means great waste. It is estimated that half the oil is lost in drilling. Much of it runs off or is burned up before the well is brought under control. More of it is left in the ground through inefficient, competitive drilling. At the other end of the process, the consumption, at least half the product is wasted, either through the burning the oil to make steam when it might be used in internal combustion engines, or by the careless use of the gasoline in automobiles. On the other hand, refining and transporting, being under unified management, is carried on with comparative efficiency and economy. Yet we hear little complaint over the irreparable loss of some three-fourths of the world's supply in the drilling

and the using, while there is furious and incessant denunciation of those who carry on the distribution and distillation because they have made so much money out of it. We do not seem to care how much wealth is wasted but we feel dreadfully if somebody gets more than we do.

Wealth is produced by the expenditure of energy-human, animal or inanimate. The unprecedented accumulation of wealth within the last 150 years is due to the utilization of inanimate energy, chiefly the heat of combustion of fossil fuel in the steam and gasoline engine. In America, the greatest use has been made of such forces and therefore this country is the richest in the world. If measured in the ancient way in terms of manpower, we would each of us on the average have 20 able-bodied slaves waiting on us, day and night. This increment of energy has given to all of us comforts and conveniences beyond the power of potentates in former times.

Gasoline is simply the lightest part of petroleum, the part that comes over at the lowest temperature when the distillation of petroleum begins. Next comes kerosene, and then the heavy lubricating oils, and later vaseline and paraffine, while asphalt is left behind in the still. Formerly, when there was no demand for gasoline so much of it was run into the next fraction, the kerosene, as this would stand without blowing up in the lamps. Each state had to have an oil inspector. Now there is no difficulty on that score because the temptation is all the other way, to run the heavier kerosene fractions into the gasoline until it becomes too heavy to burn and the motor knocks. In the early days the gasoline was allowed to run from the

refineries into the streams where it sometimes took fire.

Gasoline amounted to about 11 per cent of the crude oil, until W. W. Burton, president of the Standard Oil Company of Indiana, worked out a scheme of distillation under pressure which cracked up the heavy oils into lighter fractions. Crude oil is now made to give 28.5 per cent gasoline, amounting to 54.4 per cent of the value of the product. The profits of this process are so great that stock in the Standard of Indiana rose from $1,000,000 in 1911 to $385,276,806 in 1921.

Another new source of motor fuel is the saving of the gasoline vapors that are obtained in natural gas. These used to be lost but are now condensed by cooling and provide about 8 per cent of our present supply.

In 1896 there were only four gasoline cars in the United States. Today there are 10,000,000. Of these

four pioneer automobiles, one was built by Henry Ford, one by C. E. Duryea of Pennsylvania, one by Eiwood Haynes, of Kokomo, Indiana, and one by Benz of Germany.

Macaulay says: "Of all inventions, the alphabet and printing press alone excepted, those that have shortened distance have done the most for humanity." Then gasoline must rank among the most beneficial of human inventions. The smallest territorial unit of our country used to be the school district, which was measured by the length of the legs of the littlest children. Now the school bus can collect the children from a county. The radius of a metropolitan area is determined by the average time taken out of the day in coming in to shop or office and going home again. The extent of territory reached by a newspaper or a store depends on the delay in delivery. Cutting the time in half means the multiplying the tributory territory by four for the area increases as the square of the radius.

Speedier communication tends to expand the boundaries of political divisions. But it does more than that. Commerce, the child of science, is

doing more to promote the unification of the world than all the politicians.

We are spending approximately $8,000,000,000 a year on motor cars, including tires, gasoline, repairs, insurance, taxes, drivers' salaries, etc. As automobiles did not exist 25 years ago it would be interesting to find out, if we could, from what sources this immense amount of money has been derived. From what other channels has it been diverted? Savings and investments have not diminished but have increased during this period. More money is spent on clothing and food and theaters and almost everything else. The only lines in which a definite falling off can be discerned and ascribed to the introduction of the auto is in carriages, city stables, and the like, but this is little compared with what is spent on motor cars.

The building of railroad mileage has been virtually at a standstill for a number of years. It may be said, then, that a large part of the money spent for motor transportation would otherwise have been put into spurline railroads, electric railways, or else, which is more probable, there would have been much less in the way of transportation facilities available and consequently less wealth created.

A saving in the wages of farm workers has been another source of income for automobile investment. The decrease in labor has been taken care of by farm machinery, including motor transportation.

The important thing is to get a realization of the innumerable ways in which any such invention affects all our lives. Take, for instance, the effect of the automobile on church attendance. Have congregations fallen off because people go riding, or have they increased, because the people drive to church from many miles around? Or again, consider the effect of the automobile on the spirit of democracy. Discussing this point in my classes at Columbia, students from New York City were apt to say that the auto had intensified the tension between social classes because the

poor resented having to turn out of the road at the honk of the plutocrat. But students from the West reported that the automobile wiped out the distinction between classes. Formerly, when a few had buggies and the rest had to ride to town in lumber wagons, the former set looked down on the other, but now that all had automobiles, they were substantially on a level. This must be the case in such states as California, Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska, which have one motor vehicle for each five and a fraction persons-that is, one for every family.

Some of my students said that automobiles promoted marriages by providing courting parlors, but others said they dissolved marriages for similar reasons.

It was commonly assumed that the automobile would relieve the congestion of our cities. But, on the contrary, our cities continue to grow and the bigger they are the faster they grow. Autos are more used to bring countrymen into the town than townsmen out to the country. But however the balance lies, the net result is to bring about a greater mixing of rural and urban population.

The roadside has been revived. Front rooms of farmhouses have been turned into tea houses. Produce is set out by the roadside in charge of a child as salesman. This brings the grower and eater together and cuts out the middle man or men. The auto reaches communities that have never been awakened by the whistle of a locomotive. It has made engineers of our boys and girls. Gasoline has given to man the wings he has always despaired of getting until he got to heaven.

The boom in rubber began in the Bicycle Age. Brazilian forests could not supply the caoutchouc needed for pneumatic tires and electrical apparatus, so attention was turned to the Congo where a reporter for the New York "Herald," named Stanley, had established a Free State under the patronage of European nations and the United States. The protecting

powers, fearing that the natives might be exploited if put under one of the greater powers, picked out a minor power ruled by a benevolent-looking old king and gave him a mandate for the Congo. But King Leopold of Belgium was a high liver and a free spender and was not content with the 300 to 800 per cent income on the capital invested. So the Belgian offiIcials in the Congo, to get their tale of rubber, drove the Negroes deeper into the jungle. Men were murdered, women were flogged, children had their hands cut off. Finally the Congo atrocities aroused the world and the Free State was rescued from the hands of Leopold.

In 1910 the price of Para rubber had risen to $2 or $3 a pound and the forests were being depleted of the trees. Then science came to the rescue and showed how an unlimited supply of the precious gum could be obtained without robbing the natives or ruining the trees. This was by cultivating the rubber tree. The foresighted British and Dutch set out rubber plantations and produced a better product than the wild rubber for 25 cents a pound or less. The United States consumes 75 per cent of the world's rubber, but it is all foreign grown. We found what it meant to have neglected our own garden when the war broke out and threatened to ruin the third largest of our industries by taking off our tires. So we see that the development of a new motive power affects international relations everywhere. The same thing may bring ruin to the Congo and prosperity to the Malay Straits.

The great fortunes that are peculiar to our time had their origin in petroleum and it would be impossible to overestimate their influence in all fields of modern life. John D. Rockefeller, for example, dispenses_about $10,000,000 a year through the Rockefeller Foundation for medical schools and sanitation and this is only a small part of the money that will be spent by the institutions in carrying on the work thus started. Who can calculate the effect on the world of sup

« AnteriorContinuar »