Out of the past the present was born,
With its benefits and grace;
Out of the present, the future’s morn
Will dawn and take its place.
But what of the future, will it fall heir
To a heritage as true?
Or will we of the present, cease to share
The dream that our forbears knew?
I have often wondered what Isaac thought when he first cast his eyes upon Canada. In Genesis 26: 2-5, we learn that Isaac was about to go to Egypt to escape the famine which had come upon the land, but the Lord God Almighty stopped him. He had said to Isaac, in vision, “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes and my laws.” Of course, included amongst all these countries destined for the Israel nations was Canada, a beautiful jewel surrounded by water on three sides and on the fourth, the border of our best friend, America, or, as Jacob Israel described it, “the great nation.”
King George VI and his queen, Elizabeth, parents of the current monarch, visited Canada way back in 1939. According to a small article appearing in The National Message, the prime minister of Canada, the Honourable William Lyon MacKenzie King, made a comment to His Majesty at a reception at the Chateau Frontenac, Quebec, The King replied, “This moment is historic. It is the first time a British king has crossed the Atlantic. It is also the first visit of the Sovereign to one of his overseas Dominions. It is fitting that it should be the senior Dominion of the Crown.” Then King George, who knew, by the way, that he was an Israelite and that his throne and he were descended from the Throne and House of David, referred to Psalm 72:8 (A Psalm for Solomon). King George continued, “You in Canada have already fulfilled part of the Biblical promise and obtained dominion from sea to sea.” And, “you are now engaged in fulfilling the latter part of that promise, in consolidating Government from the river to the ends of the earth; from the St. Lawrence to the Arctic snows.”
Still, like America, Canada’s path has not always been without travail. Great sacrifices were made by our forebears as they endured the hardships of the landscape, Indian wars, internal conflicts and wars, colonial greed and many other adversities. There was even a war between the Canadians and Americans in 1812. Yet, they were days when the best of men and women came out and the toughness of the New World brought out many uncommon leaders, men and women who built this country, not just for money and power, but for the betterment of their communities and fellow citizens. These uncommon Canadians led Canada into the twentieth century, thirty-three years after confederation on July 1st, 1867. One by one, new provinces and territories were added and in 1949, the addition of Newfoundland and Labrador made Canada complete. And it was great. The country fought valiantly in two world wars and its many thousands of lost young men testified to its dedication to freedom and to God. Yes, coming out of the Second World War, Canada was a strong Christian nation, its churches were well attended and for the most part, its politicians, businessmen and citizens operated in a framework of fairness and with each others’ interests at heart. It was a nation respected in the world and a credit to its forebears. I doubt that John Cabot could ever have visualized what a great nation he helped discover when he planted the Cross of St George on Nova Scotia soil in 1497.
The question we must ask, of course, is from the poem at the beginning of this article, i.e., “will our future fall heir to a heritage as true as they sought?” A Canadian today might say we have a greater future because we are such a diverse society due to immigration and a kinder, gentler nation dedicated to multiculturalism, sexual freedom, religious freedom and equality policies. Outwardly, particularly those Canadians under forty are likely to agree but inwardly, particularly Christian Canadians, probably realize something is wrong, although most contain their views in their private thoughts.
In his poem, Mr. Jeffrey concluded with the words, “Or will we of the present, cease to share the dream that our forbears knew” We would have to ask, “Would our forebears be saddened by what they would see today?”
Would they be disappointed that citizens of Canada, a nation founded upon our Lord Jesus Christ, don’t seem to object that God has been chased from schools, public places and more importantly, according to a recent poll, from the hearts and minds of over a third of Canadians. Or that the Christ in the minds of the balance of Canadians, few of which even bother to attend church, is a watered down version fitting in with the new reality of the country.
Would they cry out for our children and our children’s children if they saw the great mountain of debt we have thrust upon them? Would they accuse us of making our children servants to lenders?” Would their tears flow as they witness how the ever widening difference between the rich and the poor weakens the very fabric of our society? “Where are the great men and women who once governed our country,” they might call out, as they learned that our precious wealth of resources have been turned over to primarily international corporations. How shocked would they be as they noted the appalling crime statistics, the excessive transfer of wealth to other parts of the world, including tens of thousands of jobs, and so many other changes..
Yes, our forebears would be saddened by what they would see today. Yet, Canada remains a jewel and I can’t help but remember a comment made by a Bible scholar some years ago. He suggested that Canada, with its small population, large area and plentiful natural resources will play a huge role in God’s Great Plan when the King of kings, Lord of lords returns in the not too distant future. I think so too, but I also believe we have gone past the point of no return; we need Jesus Christ to help our nation now. Going as it is, the poem so correctly prophesies, “Out of the present, the future’s morn will dawn and take its place.”