Among the nations of the earth, as well as at home, the old order changes and a new order begins

New voters in Maidenhead were urged to exercise their new rights wisely.

GREAT RESPONSIBILITIES. – BISHOPS’ LETTER TO NEW VOTERS

The following letter has been addressed by the Archbishops to the men and women who have become electors by virtue of the Representation of the People Act. It is signed by the two Archbishops and by all the Diocesan Bishops except those of London and Oxford, who are abroad:

Lambeth Palace, SE, Nov. 19., 1918

We Bishops of the Church of England offer our heartfelt greeting to the men and women of our nation who, in the forthcoming General Election, will exercise the franchise for the first time.

The possession of a vote in the choice of representatives of the people in Parliament is at all times a solemn trust. To you it has been committed at an hour when the nation’s responsibilities and opportunities are so great, so clear, so solemn, that the most unthinking can hardly fail to be impressed.

Here at home the most urgent problems of national welfare await solution. Arrears have to be made up; arrested progress resumed; new ventures attempted. Your help is needed in securing that long long-standing abuses are taken away and much-needed reforms are brought about to improve the health, the housing, the education, the moral standard of the nation. Your help is needed in filling our political life with that spirit of fellowship and service for the common weal which has wrought so mightily in the peoples of the Empire since we went to war. Your help is needed in making England a land to which her sons and daughters may be more and more proud and thankful to belong. We shall rise to the height of the occasion only if the energies of the whole nation are united and controlled by the force of a citizenship instructed and self-disciplined, sustained by a high ideal and devoted to the common good.

Nor can we forget that, now more than ever, our political responsibility is world-wide. Among the nations of the earth, as well as at home, the old order changes and a new order begins. It is for us as a nation to do our part in seeing that the new order shall be firmly established on the foundations of righteousness and liberty. Whatever of added influence our victory has brought us must be used to strengthen the ties which shall bind all nations in one fellowship for the peace and welfare of mankind.

Remembering these high responsibilities, you will realise that in the choice of representatives in Parliament it is not enough to be satisfied with party zeal or fluency of speech. You will wish to choose members who are marked by width of outlook, by single-minded service, and by sterling character.

God is making a new world, and He is calling upon all who, loving good and hating evil, desire to seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, to be His fellow-workers. If we are ready to obey the call, we may hope to do something in our generation to hasten the day when in fuller measure than we have known as yet God’s kingdom shall come and His Will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P181/28A/27)

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