I am not without hope that if Labour can assert its own honest self of commonsense against the poisonous rubbish of young, hot-headed revolutionaries … Labour will cease from its attitude of mistrust and its age-long quarrel against the capitalist, and will once more realise that, unless each man will do his bit, the Empire is doomed and bankrupt, and all the war has been in vain.

But back of all this lies the crux for the Christian Church.  How can we spiritualise the materialism which has so got hold of master and man as to degrade work from its God-given purpose of helping the brotherhood and ministering to the common weal by turning it into a mere machine for making money and quarrelling about its division.  How can we bring it about that the old monkish proverb, “To work is to pray”, shall be a reality, and Labour – both of master and man, labour of brain and hand – shall begin to perceive the joy of maintaining “the fabric of the world, and that in the handiwork of their craft is their prayer.”

It seems to me that it is the business of the Churches now and always to preach up the inherent nobility of all work as lying in the possibility of giving our life for the brethren, and though we may, and must, urge that the labourer is worthy of his hire, and that sweated labour throughout the world must cease, we can at least assert that work done only for money’s worth will never satisfy the soul, and will never be done at its best.  We have all to learn that the joy of labour lies in the motive behind it, and that motive, if it is to bring joy, is the motive of giving our best for the good of the community, for the building of the social fabric of the State, for the helping of the commonweal.

True work, no matter if it be done in factory, or workshop, or preacher’s study, or Council Chamber, work of head or hand, would take on quite a different complexion if we could all believe that the task was not our own appointing, but was by the will of that Heavenly Father to whom we pray, “Give us day by day our daily bread,” and I can never forget that by that prayer we do not ask for loaves to tumble into our laps, but for power and health and strength and opportunity to quit ourselves like men at the task appointed, and to serve our fellows as we work for it.

It was surely not for nothing that our Saviour worked at the carpenter’s bench in Nazareth, nor that His first disciples toiled hard with boat and net and the making of nets.  If God Incarnate disdained not work of hand, how dare we think that handwork has not such divinity about it, as to help us to be nearer God—the Almighty ceaseless worker—as we toil.

Nor will the Churches have done their duty till they preach up, in season and out of season, the Fellowship of Labour.  Henceforward let us cease to divide work into two categories, the work of hand and the work of brains.  All workers whether of hand or brain are one the whole world over.  There would be no class differences if all would, by their labour, help their time and serve the common weal.  The common goodwill and heroism in effort for the common good would breed new brotherhood….  The man or woman who takes the new morning as a means of helping the world forward for the glory of God and service of their fellows, will lie down at night, glad for the chance of work, and grateful for chance of rest to fit them for another day of labour.

If instead of chattering and endless conferences, if instead of romancing about the coming golden age—when every man shall have whatever he thinks is his share of the world’s good without working for it, we could all—to me a metaphor—take our coats off and turn to solid work, we might yet save England and the Empire.  We shall save it sooner if we realise the nobleness of service which all true work ensures, and the eternity of God’s purpose that in work and by work alone the highest was possible for each and all.

(Church Family Newspaper, 26 (5 December 1919), p. 26)