And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?…
"What shall we do?" each asks in turn. Observe the Baptist's method in reply. He was able to answer that question because he had a firm hold of a few fundamental principles — righteousness, equity, love. That was his charm, his power, his resource. He was not political, but he dealt with politicians; nor military, but he dealt with soldiers; nor mercantile, but he dealt with finance; hence we may learn, by the way, the relation of the pulpit to politics. Unless the preacher can raise politics out of the sphere of party spirit, let him keep silence; but when a Government policy infringes on the moral plane, when and where it can be tested by common principles of righteousness, equity, and love, then its policy is as much the preacher's sphere of comment as murder, theft, or selfishness. If any Government, e.g., is culpably indifferent for years to the state of Ireland, and can only be roused to activity by Parnellism: when I observe that the Indian budget, upon which hangs the well-being of distant millions, is proverbially discussed by an apathetic group in an empty House: when I see the men of Parliamentary authority combine to crush out the risings of freedom in Egypt with brute force, simply because influential speculators want a high rate of interest for their money on an iniquitous loan — why, it is time to ask, "ought the pulpit to keep silence?" Certainly not. The policy infringes on the moral sphere, and has to be judged by the same Divine principles to which the Baptist invariably appealed. Aye, and I will go further and say that the temper of political debate is also a matter for pulpit comment. When public time is wasted, crises at home and abroad neglected, and the whole tone of the House lowered because two political gladiators want to have a stand-up fight, and the honourable members are content to form a ring, is such wanton fooling as that in high places not to be arraigned by those who profess to view party conduct by the light of a morality which seems unknown to party politics?
(H. R. Haweis, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?