“I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life,” wrote Dr. James Allan Francis.
“Behind the debris of these solemn supermen and self-styled Imperial diplomatists stands the gigantic figure of one person because of whom, by whom, in whom, and through whom alone mankind may still have hope. The person of Jesus Christ” wrote Malcolm Muggerdige.
One Solitary Life By Dr James Allan Francis
Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself…
While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.
This essay was adapted from a sermon by Dr James Allan Francis in “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons”
© 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp 123-124 titled “Arise Sir Knight!”). If you are interested, you can read the original version . Graham Pockett
Twentieth Century Summary By Malcolm Muggerdige
We look back upon history and what do we see? Empires rising and falling, revolutions and counter-revolutions, wealth accumulated and wealth dispersed. Shakespeare has spoken of the rise of great ones that ebb and flow with the moon.
I look back upon my own fellow countrymen, once upon a time dominating a quarter of the world, most of them convinced in the words of what is still a popular song, that the God who made them mighty will make them mightier yet. I’ve heard a crazed cracked Austrian that announced to the world a reich that would last a thousand years. I’ve seen an Italian clown that said he was going to stop and restart the calendar with his own ascension to power. I met a murderous Georgian brigand in the Kremlin, proclaimed by the intellectual elite of the world as wiser than Solomon, more humane than Marcus Aureleus, more enlightened than the Shoka.
I have seen America wealthier, and in terms of military weaponry more powerful than the rest of the world put together, so had the American people so desired, they could have outdone a Caesar or an Alexander in the range and scale of their conquest. All in one lifetime! All in one lifetime! Gone! Gone with the wind. England part of a tiny island off the coast of Europe threatened with dismemberment and even bankruptcy.
Hitler and Mussolini dead and remembered only in infamy. Stalin a forbidden name in the regime he helped found and dominated for some three decades. America haunted by fears of running out of those precious fluids that keeps her motorways running and the smog settling. With troubled memories, and painful memories, of a disasterous campaign in Vietnam, and the victory of the Don Quixotes of the media as they charged the windmills of Watergate.
All in one lifetime! All in one lifetime! Gone! Gone with the wind.
Behind the debris of these solemn supermen and self-styled Imperial diplomatists stands the gigantic figure of one person because of whom, by whom, in whom, and through whom alone mankind may still have hope. The person of Jesus Christ. The more I look at the saviors of men, the more beautiful the Lamb of God looks to me.
—Malcolm Muggeridge, Former Editor of Punch Magazine, and a former BBC Anchor