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The Seven Vials Of Wrath
by [?]


Unless all signs fail, the world is on the eve of a war such as was never known in all the mighty cycles of human history. Lucky indeed will it be if the twentieth century is not born amid the shock of universal battle.

Is our boasted civilization breaking down beneath its own ponderous weight–the rotting props and pillars unable to sustain the gilded roof? Are the prophecies of Scripture about to be fulfilled–the world rushing headlong to the final catastrophe?

A murderous mania hath everywhere seized upon the minds of men. The pulse of the race is beating the reveille; the soul of the world is sounding “boots and saddles.” Savagery is reasserting itself–the Christian nations are further than ever before from that age of gold,

“When the war-drum throbs no longer,
And the battle-flags are furled
In the parliament of man,
The federation of the world.”

Peace? “There is no peace war is inevitable.” The ostrich may avoid seeing the approach of the fierce simoon by hiding his head in the sand, but cannot stay its onward march. The craze for slaughter, the lust for blood, is abroad in the land. The stars are evil, and Ate, ranging hot from Hell, plants her burning feet on every brow.

For years the brute passions of man have had no outlet–a prolonged peace hath become that good custom which doth corrupt the world. A new generation hath arisen in Europe and America which knows naught of the horrors of war, but is intoxicated by its glory. Its superfluous energy must find expression, its pent-up passions are ready for explosion. It is all aweary of these piping times of peace–wildly eager for the glorious pomp and circumstance of war–the bullet’s mad hiss and the crash of steel. Civilized man is but an educated savage sooner or later his natural ferocity will demand its pound of flesh.

. . . . . .

I know not whether Deity or Devil be the author of war. All human advancement is born of strife. Only warlike nations march in the van of the world’s progress–prolonged peace has ever meant putrefaction. The civilizations of Greece and Rome were brightest when their blades were keenest. When the sword was sheathed there followed social degradation and intellectual decay. When all Europe trembled at the haughty tread of her matchless infantry, Spain was empress in the realm of mind. The Elizabethan age in England was shaped by the sword. America’s intellectual preeminence followed the long agony of the Revolution, and blazed like a banner of glory in the wake of the Civil War. The Reign of Terror gave forth flashes of true Promethean fire–the crash of steel in the Napoleonic war studded the heavens with stars. It required an eruption of warlike barbarians to awaken Italy from her lethargy, while Celt and Saxon struck sacred fire from the shields of the intrepid Caesars. The Israelites were humble and civilized slaves in Egypt, cowering beneath the lash and finding a sweet savor in the fleshpots of the Pharaohs. Thrust forth into the wilderness, they became the fiercest of all barbarians before giving us the Psalms of David and the Song of Solomon. They had to become conquering warriors–had to be heroized–before they could breed inspired poets.

The age of “blood offering” has not yet passed. Is it possible that these awful rites are necessary to foster that spirit of self-sacrifice which marks the highest reach of humanity? to feed the golden lamp of love? to inculcate the virtue of valor? Can heroes be forged only with the hammer of Thor? Is genius the child of blood and tears? Are wars the tidal waves in the mighty social sea, ordained by the Deity to prevent putrefaction? Was the Phoenix of the ancients but an old civilization, enervated by luxury and corrupted by peace, that could only be purified of its foul dross and infused with new energy by fire? Was that poet inspired who declared that, “Whatever is, is right?” I do not know.