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Howard Coop | Unchanging principles

Do you remember a popular song Doris Day sang so beautifully? That song started a basic fact of life: “The future’s not ours to see.” There is an old axiom that has been a part of our culture for two thousand years: “No one knows about that day or hour.” The one thing known is: the future is unknown. Yet, have you noticed an interesting fact? There are those who come forth regularly and say with absolute certainty that they have received special insight that tells them exactly where we are and what the future holds for us? 

At the beginning of the twentieth century, C. F. G. Masterman was a popular English political leader who was recognized by his peers as an intellectual and man of letters. In 1913, Masterman, at the age of 40, wrote “In Peril of Change,” his most popular book. In that book, he, as Alfred, Lord Tennyson said, “dipped into the future as far as human eye could see” and “saw the vision of the world, and all the wonders that would be.” What Masterman saw was indeed interesting. “The general view” at that time, he said was that the world was changing, and he used two metaphors to indicate the nature of that change. It was becoming a “well-ordered watering place” and “a safe playing ground for children.” 

Then, 1913 ended peacefully and 1914 began in peace but in a short time, it became exceedingly turbulent. The devastation of World War I made the world anything but a “well-ordered watering place” and “a safe playing ground for children.”

In 1847, Henry Lyte wrote, “Change in all I see.” Change is constant, and it comes rapidly, but we are not given the ability to look ahead and see what that change will bring. In this world of constant and unpredictable change, what we need, and what we must have, are some unchanging principles that will guide us through those constantly changing conditions.