Will our nation perish for lack of true men & women?
See how the ancient cities fell because their men were citizens and no more. They had no heavenly citizenship. They were not kindled by the vision of the righteous city of God, growing up through all the cities of men. They did not seek first the Kingdom of God. What have we among us to make men, to make good men and discredit bad ones? What is to protect us from that nation-killing passion for sport and pleasure, for instance, which is breeding gamblers and bleeding citizenship, which throngs to football but cannot be dragged to service?
We are in more danger from the slow perdition of subtle selfishness and popular materialism than from gross and palpable wickedness. The one is the soil in which the other thrives. On what is our citizenship, our public spirit to live in future? The men, who have done most for our cities in the past, have been moved by the faith, brotherhood, and Kingdom of God.
What are we trusting to, to keep that flame alive and burning in time to come? What is the tendency of our current religious life? It is making true humans or religious consumers, citizens or sectarians, mere delegates of interests, mere self-seekers even in their Salvation, mere fugitives from Hell?
"The sheep of my pasture are men, saith the Lord." What a text! And when God would save the world, He sent it a Man to set up a Divine Kingdom out of all the cities of earth. And if our public life is not made by men who are made by Christ, we have nothing to look for but the doom of the old Empires. The men we need are men who are not only unashamed of a Christian faith but men who consult the will of God in private about every great public movement or step in which they are engaged.
P.T. Forsyth, "The Ideal City," preached at the Congregational Church, Llandrindod Wells, on 20th July, 1913. From Revelation Old and New: Sermons and Addresses by P.T. Forsyth, edited by John Huxtable (London: Independent Press, 1962).