Keepers of the Springs
By Peter Marshall
Once upon a time, a certain town grew up at the foot of a mountain range. It was sheltered in the lee of the protecting heights, so that the wind that shuddered at the doors and flung handfuls of sleet against the window panes was a wind whose fury was spent. High up in the hills, a strange and quiet forest dweller took it upon himself to be the Keeper of the Springs. He patrolled the hills and wherever he found a spring, he cleaned
But the City Council was a group of hard-headed, hard-boiled businessmen. They scanned the civic budget and found in it the salary of a Keeper of the Springs. Said the Keeper of the Purse: "Why should we pay this romance ranger? We never see him; he is not necessary to our town's work life. If we build a reservoir just above the town, we can dispense with his services and save his salary." Therefore, the City Council voted to dispense with the unnecessary cost of a Keeper of the Springs, and to build a cement reservoir.
So the Keeper of the Springs no longer visited the brown
The City Council met again. Sorrowfully, it faced the city's plight, and
Do not think me fanciful, too
There never has been a time when there was a greater need for Keepers of the Springs, or when there were more polluted springs to be cleansed. If the home fails, the country is doomed. The breakdown of
The emancipation of womanhood began with Christianity, and it ends with Christianity. It had its beginning one night nineteen hundred years ago when there came to a woman named Mary a vision and a message from heaven. She saw the rifted clouds of glory and the hidden battlements of heaven. She heard an angelic annunciation of the almost incredible news that she, of all the women on earth
It was nineteen hundred years ago "when Jesus Himself a baby deigned to be and bathed in baby tears His deity"
When He grew up and began to teach the way of life, He ushered
It remained for the twentieth century, in the name of progress, in the name of tolerance, in the name of
She wanted equality. For nineteen hundred years she had not been equal--she had been superior. But now, they said, she wanted equality, and in order to obtain it, she had to step down. And so it is, that in the name of broadminded tolerance, a man's vices
Twentieth-century tolerance has won for woman the right to become intoxicated, the right to have an alcoholic breath, the right to smoke, to work like a man to act like a man--for is she not man's equal? Today they call it "progress"
No nation has ever made any progress in a downward direction. No people ever became great by lowering their standards. No people ever became good by adopting a looser morality. It is not progress when the moral tone is lower than it was. It is not progress when purity is not as sweet. It is not progress when womanhood has lost its fragrance. Whatever else it is, it is not progress!
We need Keepers of the Springs who will realize that what is socially correct may not be morally right. Our country needs today women who will lead us back to an old-fashioned morality, to an old fashioned decency, to an old fashioned purity and sweetness for the sake of the next generation, if for no other reason.
This generation has seen an entirely new type of womanhood emerge from the bewildering confusion of
The result of all this is that the modern child is brought up in a decent, cultured, comfortable, but thoroughly irreligious home. All around us, living in the very shadow of our large churches and beautiful cathedrals, children are growing up without a particle of religious training or influence. The parents of such children have usually completely given up the search for religious moorings. At first, they probably had some sort of vague
There remains only one place where it may be obtained, and that is in the Sunday School, but it is no longer fashionable to attend Sunday School. The result is that there is very little religious education, and parents who lack it themselves are not able to give it to their children--so it is a case of "the blind leading the blind," and both children and parents will almost invariably end up in the ditch of uncertainty and irreligion.
As you think of your own mother, remembering her with love and gratitude--in wishful yearning, or lonely longing, I am quite sure that the memories that warm and soften your heart are not at all like the memories the children of today will have... For you are, no doubt, remembering the smell of fresh starch in your mother's apron or the smell of a newly ironed blouse, the smell of newly baked bread, the fragrance of the violets she had pinned
The challenge of the twentieth-century motherhood is as old as motherhood itself. Although the average American mother has advantages that pioneer women never knew--material advantages: education, culture, advances made by science and medicine; although the modern mother knows a great deal more about sterilization, diets, health, calories, germs, drugs, medicines and vitamins, than her mother did, there is one subject about which she does not know as much--and that is God.
The modern challenge to motherhood is the eternal challenge--that of being a godly woman. The very phrase sounds strange in our ears. We never hear it now. We hear about every other kind of women--beautiful women, smart women, sophisticated women, career woman, talented women, divorced women, but so seldom do we hear of a godly woman--or of a godly man either, for that matter.
I believe women come nearer fulfilling their God-given function in the home than anywhere else. It is a much nobler thing to be a good wife than to be Miss America. It is a greater achievement to establish a Christian home than it is to produce a second-rate novel filled with filth. It is a far, far better thing in the realm of morals to be old-fashioned than to be
Let us not fool ourselves--without Christianity, without Christian education, without the principles of Christ inculcated into young life, we are simply rearing pagans. Physically, they will be perfect. Intellectually, they will be brilliant. But spiritually, they will be pagan. Let us not fool ourselves. The school is making no attempt to teach the principles of Christ. The Church alone cannot do it. They can never be taught to a child unless the mother herself knows them and practices them every day.
If you have no prayer life yourself, it is rather a useless gesture to make your child say his prayers every night. If you never enter a church it is rather futile to send your child to Sunday school. If you make a practice of telling social lies, it will be difficult to teach your child to be truthful. If you say cutting things about your neighbors and about fellow members in the church, it will be hard for your child to learn the meaning of kindness.
The twentieth-century challenge to motherhood--when it is all boiled down--is that mothers will have an experience of God
A minister tells of going to a hospital to visit a mother whose first child had been born. She was a distinctly modern girl. Her home was about average for young married people. "When I came into the
I believe that this generation of young people has courage enough to face the challenging future. I believe that their idealism is not dead. I believe that they have the same bravery and the same devotion to the things worthwhile that their grandmothers had. I have every confidence that they are anxious to preserve the best of our heritage, and God knows if we lose it here in this country, it is forever gone. I believe that the women of today will not be unmindful of their responsibilities; that is why I have dared to speak so honestly. Keepers of the Springs, we salute you!
Our Father, remove from us the sophistication of our age and the skepticism that has come, like frost, to blight our faith and to make it weak. We pray for a return of that simple faith, that old fashioned trust in God, that made strong and great the homes of our ancestors who built this good land and who in
Peter Marshall was the U.S. Senate Chaplain from 1946-48 during the presidency of Harry Truman, and died in 1949. He was born in Scotland and was known for his passionate preaching and deep conviction, as well as his picturesque speech.