International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo

Vegetarian Federal Union 1889-1911


PREFACE.

-->o<--

Rejoice to-day with one accord,
Sing out with exultation;
Rejoice and praise our mighty Lord
Whose arm hath brought salvation;
His works of love proclaim
The greatness of His Name
For He is God alone
Who hath His mercy shown;
Let all His saints adore Him!

When in distress to Him we cried,
He heard our sad complaining;
Oh, trust in Him, whate'er betide,
His love is all-sustaining;
Triumphant songs of praise
To Him our hearts shall raise
Now every voice shall say,
"O praise our God alway;"
Let all His saints adore Him!


Another year has passed, and once again I have been asked to write a few words of preface to the Report of the Vegetarian Federal Union.

The Report itself is significant of the change that is passing over the face of Society. The Vegetarian movement advances by leaps and bounds; no longer despised and rejected of men, this doctrine of the perfect way in diet begins to number its disciples in every class of the community. The Jubilee Year through which we have just passed, with its memorable meetings, was the fitting crown for the first half-century of conflict; but as we turn our eyes from the perplexed past to the fateful future - we may well rejoice in the growing glories of the golden day.

There is no longer need for fear; the lions of the portal are vanished and gone; the path of perfection begins to wander through dewy orchards and past banks of fragrant flowers. It is no longer difficult to be a Vegetarian; the shadow of the cross of sacrifice is lustred with the shining of the crown of triumph. Even Saul is among the prophets, and the prescriber of pills and potions begins to meditate upon the mysteries of Hygiene. The Press is become our most faithful trumpeter, and proclaims "urbi et orbi'' the marvels of the coming change. Everywhere the spirit of Vegetarianism is abroad; the world is becoming more tender-hearted; it is renewing its youth, and the fire of a fervent faith is pulsing like the breath of Spring through its palsied veins - the blind begin to see, the ears of the deaf are unstopped - and, as the surging waves of hope and joy burst through the icy barriers of destruction, the dumb begin to sing, and the lame to leap.

Once again the promise of the first Paradise rings with delicious music through the tortured air. "Be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said: Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed ; to you it shall be for meat. . . . And God saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good." Here is the gospel of Vegetarianism, pure and undiluted from the fountain-head once more the centuries roll backward, and all the murky clouds of sin, and shame, and sorrow are transfigured with the radiance of eternal Love. Once again from Sinai's top there thunders the awful warning, "Thou shalt do no murder - thou shalt not kill," and the prophet makes clear the interpretation when he declares, He that slayeth an ox shall be as he that slew a man." There may be degrees of moral turpitude in the ghastly gamut of slaughter - but there is no essential difference. The sportsman who ruthlessly destroys the fowl of the air, or the hunter who relentlessly does to death the brute of the field, come under the same condemnation - they have broken that which they cannot mend, they have brought into the world the curse of cruelty, and these curses in the divine Providence come home to roost. The butcher, as he pole-axes the bullock or cuts the throat of the helpless lamb, is the minister of Satan to fulfil the lusts of the flesh.

How shall we escape this great damnation, this loss of love, this lack of life, but by forsaking for ever the dark dominion of Death. The world is awaking - the psychological moment is come - the pæan of the Psalmist begins to clothe itself with actuality. "O, thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end."

Who, then, will be so dull, who so apathetic as not to join in the victory of the Vegetarians. Already, beneath the trumpet blast of the last fifty years the walls of the jerry-built Jericho of the shambles begin to tumble down. "Escape for your lives, look not behind you," is the warning for the nineteenth century Lot. In the divine arithmetic, a thousand years are but as one day, and one day as a thousand years. It may well he that we have come to the beginning of the end; as the river rolls near to the cataract, the speed increases, and as the dominion of the truth draws closer to the final catastrophe, so will the Redemption of the world make haste. To every one of us it is given to-day to take part in stirring events - the air is tense with conflict - Christendom calls for a champion - the Armageddon of Alcohol draws nigh - the coming of the Lord is at hand - the humblest worker in the Vegetarian movement shall be the hero of the Kingdom of God.


"Only an armour-bearer, yet may I share
Glory immortal, and a bright crown wear
If in the battle to my trust I'm true,
Mine shall be the honours in the grand review.
Hear ye the battle-cry - 'Forward' the call,
See, see the faltering ones, backward they fall,
Surely my Captain will remember me
Though but an armour-bearer I may be.

A. F. HILLS.

Vegetarian Federal Union index | 1897 Annual Report index