The Project Gutenberg eBook of Christianity and Problems of To-day: Lectures Delivered Before Lake Forest College on the Foundation of the Late William Bross

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Title: Christianity and Problems of To-day: Lectures Delivered Before Lake Forest College on the Foundation of the Late William Bross

Author: John H. Finley

Jeremiah Whipple Jenks

Charles Foster Kent

Paul Elmer More

Robert Bruce Taylor

Release date: May 20, 2014 [eBook #45701]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by David E. Brown, Richard Hulse, Bryan Ness and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at






Rev. Marcus Dods, D.D.


J. Arthur Thomson, M.A.


Frederick J. Bliss, Ph.D.


Josiah Royce

THE WILL TO FREEDOM, or the Gospel of Nietsche and the Gospel of Christ

Rev. John Neville Figgis, D.D.


H. W. Wright, Ph.D.


John P. Peters, Ph.D., Sc.D., D.D.


By Various Authors



James Orr, D.D.


Rev. Thomas James Thorburn, D.D.

Transcriber’s Notes:

Footnotes have been accumulated in a single table at the end of the book.

Punctuation has been standardised.

This book was written in a period when many words in the text had not become standardized in their spelling or hyphenation. These variations have been left unchanged unless noted in text.







NEW YORK ... 1922

Copyright, 1922, by


Printed in the United States of America

Published September, 1922

Scribner Press Seal








From Generation to Generation
Jesus’ Social Plan
Personal Religion and Public Morals
Religion and Social Discontent
The Teachings of Jesus as Factors in International Politics, with Especial Reference to Far-Eastern Problems




3 There are many Hebrew legends which have gathered about that early figure on the dim edge of history, Enoch, the son of Jared,—not the Enoch, son of Cain (after whom the latter named the city that he builded in the land of Nod), but the Enoch of whom the Biblical record is simply that he lived so many years, “walked with God and was not, for God took him.” According to one of these legends he was the first great teacher, inventor, and scientist of the race and the first to attempt to pass on, in a systematic way, from generation to generation, the wisdoms of human experience and divine revelation. For, having been forewarned that the earth would be destroyed once by fire and once by water, he erected two pillars (that came to be known as “Enoch’s Pillars”) on which he caused to be inscribed “all such learning as had been delivered unto or invented by mankind.” “Thus,” the legend adds, “it was that all knowledge and learning were not lost, for one of these pillars remained after the flood.”

Here have we the primordial illustration of that subjective mystery of the mind’s desire which is ever pushing out beyond the verge of the known, and which is not content until it has tried to tell the next generation what it has learned, and has found expression 4 objectively in such institutions as this and in such systems of education as to-day cover great portions of the earth.

There is a subsidiary legend about this primal teacher, inventor of sewing, and scientist (whose first text-book was one of these pillars) that has further pertinency. It is said of this patriarch, who did not die (and who may thus be said to personify the generic ideal teacher, in that his influence persists as if he were living), that he visited heaven once before his final translation, in order that he might be prepared to teach his fellow men upon his return to earth. (This would seem to impart a theological training, such as your new president has had—at any rate, instruction in sacred things.) He was lifted to the abode of the archangels, who, it is said, not only arrange and study the revolutions of the stars, the changes of the moon, and the revolutions of the sun, “but also arrange teachings and instruction and sweet speaking and singing of all kinds of glorious praise.” What better or more enchanting picture of an ideal institution for the preparation of teachers, established from the foundation of the earth! A curriculum in which science is interspersed with sweet speaking and singing by archangels! “Bring first,” said the Lord, “the books from the store place and give a reed to Enoch and interpret the books to him.” And so it was that this first university, with an archangel for its president, instructed its first earth pupil. For thirty days and thirty nights did the archangel instruct intensively 5 (the legend has it, “his lips never ceased speaking”) while Enoch wrote down “all the things about heaven and earth, angels and men and all that it is suitable to be instructed in.”

And when the course of instruction was ended and Enoch had filled three hundred thirty-six note-books (this sounds very like a modern university lecture course), the Lord said: “Go thou with them upon the earth.... Give them the works written out by thee and they shall read them and shall distribute works to their children’s children and from generation to generation and from nation to nation.”

“From generation to generation and from nation to nation.” Here was the command given to the first schoolmaster. So Enoch went back to earth and began wide-spread education—even kings and princes coming with multitude to be instructed, as a result of which “Peace reigned over the whole world for two hundred and forty-three years.” His pedagogical influence extended over the whole of the little Biblical earth in its physical scope, and all that was known of angels and men (that is, the “supernal and temporal”) was embraced in his curriculum.

I have evoked this golden legend (for it should be included among the golden legends of the race), a legend which is not as familiar as the stories that have come down from the mythological days of Greece and Rome, and I have copied it to illuminate, as with a golden letter, my page, in the story of the inauguration of this new Enochian president.

6 We have an intimation in this legend of the rich curriculum that should be presented for the training of those who are to incarnate the best that the race has aspired to and striven for in one generation (and there is nothing more important than their broad, thorough training) and to carry on those supreme gifts to the next generation. A recent report of the Carnegie Foundation says, in its summary of a survey of the professional preparation of teachers, that if “training of any sort can provide men and women who are equipped and willing to serve youth as youth should be served, their service is pre-eminent”—and it is “altogether a more difficult service than any other to render well.”

I remember to this day my feelings as a college student at Knox, when the president of the college, Doctor Newton Bateman, whom Abraham Lincoln called his “little friend, the big schoolmaster” of Illinois, spoke in chapel of the qualities and knowledges which a teacher should possess. They were so far beyond what I, an awkward farm boy, could hope to attain as to give me a sense of guilt that I had ever attempted to teach even a district school, and to confirm me in my purpose to enter another field of work. But as I look back now, I realize that the “little friend” of Lincoln out here on the prairies was but saying what educational surveys and foundation studies are setting forth in ponderous volumes. And long, long back of my prairie schoolmaster, another was saying in the so-called Eternal City words that should be written 7 in flaming letters on the walls of every legislative hall and every banquet-room. Indeed, I am not sure that we need others than these on our Enochian pillars, if only they were heeded by the nation:

For not alone they are useful to the State who defend the accused, bring forth candidates for office and cast their vote for peace or war, but they who encourage the youth [the teacher was ranked with the senator] who in so great a scarcity of good teachers instruct the minds of men in virtue [there was a great scarcity of good teachers then as now, but who knows what the eternal influence of some unknown teachers of to-day may be, for the greatest of world teachers was then going, as the record has it, “among the villages of Galilee, teaching”] and hold them back from running after wealth and luxury [for so it was in the first century, as in this] and teach what is meant by honesty, patience, bravery, justice, contempt of death and how much freely given good there is in a good conscience.

How difficult it is to prescribe the training for this high office of incarnation and instruction is best intimated in the answer which the president of a Missouri normal school gave when asked the question as to how teachers can be best taught: “This is a question which only angels can answer.” But we do, indeed, need educational archangels (as the legend of Enoch intimated) as the teachers of our teachers. And there are many of us who have reason to thank the Lord that here, in this valley, even, in some of its little prairie colleges, there were and are such archangels who revealed things about heaven as well as earth, and angels as well as men. One of them, who was my teacher, is to be the next speaker.

8 But my thought is rather of the transmission to the new generation, as a whole, of what—to paraphrase George Edward Woodberry—has been built out of the mystery of thought and passion of the past, as generation after generation has knelt, fought, faded, and given the best “that anywhere comes to be” to the souls of Enochian urge to carry on, “letting all else fall into oblivion. ”

As the most primitive and picturesque visualization of the curriculum of this bequest of the race mind of one generation to the next, the pillars of Enoch stood on the verge of history against the Eastern sky of our civilization’s dawn. They have crumbled, or they lie buried in sands that have hidden their wisdoms. The excavator’s spade could uncover no more interesting record than that which would tell us what this great teacher thought should be saved from flood and fire out of the experience of the race.

I have tried to imagine what was written there. It must have been a very meagre list to have all been written in the large letters or symbols of primitive speech on a single column. But the earth was then young to human eyes. (It has since grown so aged as to have its years counted by the thousands of millions.) And man was but come upon it, or so he then thought. When I was a college student, I supposed that he came in the year 4004 B.C., but now we are informed that he has been here hundreds of thousands of years. Even so, in those days he was still living in what I have called the perinikian age; that is, in the 9 age when he had conquered only the near, an age when the angels even were very near the earth and walked with man. The ideal being in that period was a creature with wings. I once turned to my Greek lexicon to discover how many far words there were in that perinikian period, whose world the Greeks had somewhat extended, and I found sixty-seven columns of “peri” (near) words and only about five, as I recall, of the “tele” (far) words, for the earth was only that which was within reach of the naked eye, the unaided voice. It was without the far-travelling printed word.

Out upon the shores of Phœnicia, in the days of the war, I imagined Cadmus, the legendary father of letters, who is reputed to have borne the alphabet to the Western world out of the Orient, as not entirely certain that he had blessed humanity with this last means of far conquest, in this our day of higher mobility and greater transmissibility of ideas. I seemed to hear him say:

“When I witness all the ravage

Of my alphabetic lore,

See the neolithic savage

Waging culture-loving war,

Using logarithmic tables

To direct his hellish fire

Preaching philosophic fables

To excuse his mad desire;

See pure science turned to choking,

Shooting, drowning humankind;

Hear a litany, invoking

Hate in God’s benignant mind;

10 See the forest trees transmuted

Into lettered pulp, while man

With a brain deep-convoluted

Takes the place of primal Pan,

And instead of finding pleasure

In a simple life, with song,

Spends his planetary leisure

Reading of a world gone wrong—

Seeing, hearing this, I’ve wondered

’Mid this murder, greed and fret,

Whether I had sinned or blundered

Giving man the alphabet.”

But when one becomes reflectively conscious of what the world’s literature has added to the few sentences upon Enoch’s pillars, beginning with the Book of Books, the one book that man cannot be without, one has a reassuring answer for Cadmus. Indeed, I found it myself in the Christian literature that was collected in a city just north of Tyre and Sidon, awaiting the end of the war, for its scattering throughout all that region on whose edge the pillars once stood (as I have seen the columns of old Heliopolis, the city once so beloved of the sun that he hastened over the eastern hills to spend his cloudless days about it, and lingered upon the Lebanon Mountains as long as possible in the summer afternoon, reluctant to leave the sight of it).

There has recently been published by a Princeton professor of biology an essay which would seem to intimate that great progress has not been made since those pillars were set up somewhere beyond the Euphrates; 11 for his contention is that human evolution has reached its end; that for at least ten thousand years there has been no notable progress in the evolution of the human body, and that there has been no progress in the intellectual capacity of a man in the last two or three thousand years—that all we can do now is to lift the mass to the height of the most perfect individual. I cannot assent to this, for I see man upon his way from God to God, while summing the race that’s been, ever giving glimpses of a diviner grace than has evolved (or will, if we accept the teaching of the biologic mind that sees his evolution at an end)—than has evolved, but will, for soul is bound to mould such body as its needs require to bear it toward the goal it seeks; else why were clay uplifted to this height if it can never reach the higher height, the image it would make of God in man?

But whether the biologist be right or I, we agree that it is the constant obligation of the living generation to try to lift mankind toward whatever highest height the individual has reached or can reach—and it is not a local, a parochial, a provincial, or even a national obligation, but a world obligation, in this tele-victorian age—from generation to generation, from nation to nation. As Mr. Wells has put it, it is a dream not alone of “individuals educated,” but of a world educated for the sake of all mankind.

But long before Mr. H. G. Wells put before the world the suggestion of a fundamental world curriculum (it was even before the Great War had made the need 12 more manifest), it came to me that the curricula of the elementary schools of the nations of the earth should be analyzed to discover just what each nation was attempting to teach its children through formal education, and then that the residuum, after the purely local matter was eliminated, should be synthesized into a single body of knowledge (“delivered to or invented by mankind”), which should embrace what the race as a whole seemingly thought it most vitally important to transmit out of its experience to those who were to follow.

Once that were had, we should then call upon the greatest minds of the earth—the Enochs of to-day—to confer as to what this minimum for every child should be; for mere mental inertia, pride, prejudice, the force of habit and such causes have prevented that curriculum from keeping up with the accumulation of fundamental truth as it has been brought into the luminous circle of the knowledge of some, at any rate, of the race, from the encircling darkness.

These pillars must stand in the clear sight of all the children of the earth, so that every child and youth may have advantage of all these race lessons and come to know them by heart (i.e., in their hearts), if there is to be progress toward a goal, which, if it were not beyond our present reach, would be a mean one, and if it were not ultimately attainable, would be Tantalian, for it is the law of progress that one generation shall stand on the shoulders of the one that went before.

13 When the captive king, Crœsus, was asked by the victorious king, Cyrus, why he went to war, he answered that he had been directed to do so by the oracle, and he then volunteered the remark: “For no man in his senses would prefer war to peace; since in peace the sons bury their fathers, whereas in war the fathers bury their sons.” This is a biologic law, and it conditions intellectual and spiritual progress as well. The sons must bury their fathers not only by outliving them but by outdoing them.

This is so obvious that I should apologize for repeating it more than two thousand years after it was recorded (by Herodotus, as I recall), except for the fact that the world has not heeded it. As a distinguished university president said a few nights ago in my hearing, the world needs a “bath in the obvious.” While I should not characterize the perusal of H. G. Wells’s Outline of History as taking this sort of an ablution (so far as some of his conclusions are concerned), I think that he was justified in giving more space to this remark of Crœsus and the incidental circumstances of its relation than he gave to certain whole periods of national or race existence. It is the caption that should be written at the top of our world Enochian pillars.

And I should write below it that utterance of President Fisher, of England’s Board of Education, made in the midst of the war, when the days were darkest:

“Education is the eternal debt which Maturity owes to Youth.”

And beneath that I should put, I think, the lines of 14 Gilbert Murray, whom I saw the same day, taken from the lips of Hecuba:

“God, to Thee

I lift my praise, seeing the silent road

That bringeth justice ere the end be trod

To all that breathes and dies.”

What should be written in detail below these captions, I should let a great international committee recommend—a committee with planetary consciousness which could let each people continue the excellence that has “grown habitual to its being,” and yet include such instruction in the excellence of others as to abate the hatreds that now divide the men of the earth, even as they were divided by their misunderstandings in that early post-Noachian period when Eber, the son of Shelah, named his boy Peleg, “because in his day the earth was divided,” and the children could no longer read the lessons upon Enoch’s pillars.

I travelled the entire length of this line during the war, from the edge of the desert on the farther edge of which Enoch’s pillars stood to the North Sea. From the Mount of Olives I heard and saw the beginnings of the battle of Armageddon—not an allegorical battle, but the literal battle, for when I made my way to Headquarters down on the plain of Sharon, General Allenby, coming out of his map-room, said: “I have just had word that my cavalry are at Armageddon. The battle of Armageddon is on.” And a few nights after I walked through the broken entanglements of wire across that plain, past the Mount, as the dawn 15 came, where our Lord is said by some to have delivered what we call the Sermon on the Mount, on to Nazareth, the little city which a Denver paper referred to familiarly as “Christ’s home town.” And I thought the thousand years of peace referred to in the Book of Revelation had come.

But I have since travelled over a great part of that way—the long, long way, let us not forget, by which we have come out of captivity—and I found that, while the barbed-wire entanglements have been cleared from most of the fields and the trenches had been filled, the entanglements, suspicion and hate, were still keeping nations apart, even without guns and bombs and poisonous gas.

I was the first American to make the journey across Asia Minor after the Armistice. Starting from the vicinity of the Tower of Babel, which stood amid “the whole earth of one language and one speech,” and which sought to reach the heaven until the builders were suddenly unable to understand one another’s speech and were dispersed, gibbering and gesticulating and quarrelling, over the earth—starting from the neighborhood of that Scriptural memory, I travelled for days through homeless misery and physical want and mental hate, which I felt were but the sequelæ of the world disease, and would soon pass. But conditions are, if anything, worse than when I passed that way. It is only the mercy and ennobling philanthropy of Americans that are preventing the extermination or degradation of a race.

But I have more lately travelled over nearer sections 16 of that long way back to the cradle of the race and of Christian civilization. Within the year I have walked, or ridden by ship or train or airplane, all the way from the west coast of Ireland to the then closed door of Russia and along its then impenetrable western wall down to Hungary and back. Alas! the separating, the estranging hatreds are still there.

Barriers and entanglements, visible and invisible, were upon every border all the way across Europe. Unspeakable inconveniences, often hardships, had to be endured by the ordinary traveller in these zones of suspicion and antipathy and hate, till I came to think of the countries they separated as the “United Hates of Europe.”

What I wish to bring out of this all is not our local obligations, our interstate and intranational obligations, but our world obligations, which we share with others—the obligations to see that all the children of the earth have a chance to escape from those hatreds into the best things of the race as a whole.

In my mid-European travels I came one day to the country where Copernicus had developed the new theory of the universe. There I had an experience which lifted my thought into the broader view which ignored barriers and entanglements. It was a journey in an airplane that rose high above boundaries and connected Warsaw with Prague and Strasbourg and Paris. It was the morning of Pentecost Day that I made the journey—the day which celebrates the coming together of people from many nations and their 17 understanding one another and being understood because of the cloven tongues that descended upon them. As we flew over the prairies of Poland that beautiful, clear spring Sunday morning, I could see the shadow of the plane as of a cloven tongue flying beneath us from village to village, and even over the disputed territory of Upper Silesia. This was the symbolic prophecy of the new sort of understanding, the unifying fabric woven by such shuttles that must by their woof replace the separating entanglement of suspicion and hatred if Europe, and so the world, is to survive something worse than fire or flood.1

Before I began the airplane journey from Warsaw I went to take my last look at the statue of Copernicus, whose conception of a heliocentric universe is the capital event in modern thought. At the foot of the Vosges Mountains, which I crossed a day or two later into France, there is the little village of St. Dié, where, in a book on the Ptolemaic System, the name America was first put on the printed page, and on a world map. America was baptized into the Ptolemaic cosmos, but 18 its inhabitants (after the aborigines) dwelt from the first in a Copernican universe, wanderers in an infinity of space, “with a shuddering sense of physical immensity.”

Europe could not readily forget the geography of its infancy and childhood and maturity, but America began its God-fearing settlement with an astronomy of infinite distances, with a cosmography in which it was itself infinitesimal, and with a geography partaking of the sky, as well as of the sea and land.

With this Copernican consciousness of the universe, America should be the least provincial, and Americans the most “universe-minded” of all the inhabitants of the earth.

Isolate we have indeed been as a people, but not provincially nor narrowly nor proudly isolate. We kept out of the partisan Ptolemaic concerns of Europe, but when the freedom of mankind was threatened, America’s policies leaped to the world horizon of her interest in humanity. Our America has had from the first a cosmic view, a concern for all mankind. “All men” are included in its national creed. It is only those who would narrow our horizon of sympathy and bring a Ptolemaic sky over our heads again that it has in its doctrine excluded.

So it is not by accident, I think, that we have put the stars in the field of our flag. They are cosmic symbols gathered from the immeasurable universe, not from pieces of earth and stretches of water, which together make up what we are accustomed to call, whatever 19 our origin, “our native land”—a people of clearly defined national personality, but of planetary consciousness and of interdependent destinies.

But in this land of Copernicus, where “the capital event of modern thought” occurred, I found that only two million eight hundred thousand children of school age out of four million six hundred thousand had any schooling whatever. It was hoped by the minister of education that by 1928, if only the fear of a new partition of Poland could be removed and credits found, they might make some most elemental provision for the rest—and this only because so many of the young men of Poland had perished in the World War that the coming generation would be a smaller one. I could present statistics of like import for other European states. They would all support my thesis, that since we have had a World War for freedom, we should have a world plan for giving the children who have suffered in this divided earth (the millions of “Pelegs”) an elemental chance to enjoy that freeing of the soul which is, with the unity of mankind, the ideal end of the state.

A plan which I proposed some time ago, and which I have now taken courage of the support in modified form by men of large financial and organizing experience to defend, is that the Allied debts be made a permanent trust fund, to be administered for the education of the children of all peoples, so far as they can be so applied. The proposal has been characterized as “good business,” not to demand the full payment 20 of these debts with interest of that which we loaned, but spent largely at home, and after we entered the war. The fundamental thought on which I should base the proposal is that the world, as a whole, owes something to the children who have no fair chance in it because of what those upon whom they are naturally dependent have sacrificed for the good of the world as a whole.

My original proposal was that the principal should be cancelled as it was so spent, but Judge Lovett, president of the Union Pacific, has proposed merely the application of the interest at a moderate rate annually to this purpose if and when it can be paid, though he has given it a broader scope—putting education last—the care of widows, orphans, and crippled first—but ultimately it should all be devoted to education.

A ten-billion dollar war debt converted (as a thanksgiving offering for deliverance from something worse than the world knows even at its worst to-day) into a perpetual trust fund for the children of the world, especially for those who have come “trailing clouds of glory” into a part of the world where they haven’t a chance to come into the heritage of their generation.

Five hundred million dollars a year (an incredible number of Austrian crowns, Russian roubles, or Polish marks (if indeed the interest could be paid at the rate of five per cent)) which would give an elementary-school training to ten million children each year—as many children as are born each year into the world. 21 And this interest could be paid if armaments were unnecessary.

Ten million children a year taught the best that has been “delivered unto or invented by mankind” (as listed in the world curriculum) and led in their tuition toward the conscious unity of the race—planetary consciousness!

Has a more stirring opportunity ever been offered to any people than is ours in the refunding of the great war debt, in such a way as to make it a blessing to the next generation instead of a crushing burden to the tax-paying generation that now goes bent with its burdens across Europe? If we were to demand our pound of flesh we should deserve the future fate of those in the “Inferno” who went eternally about weighed with cloaks of lead that were covered by a veneer of gold.

Some of the principal might be used to buy books in which these millions of children might enter into the common possession of the race (perhaps in a common language), free of scorn of other nations, and so never know the hatreds which estranged their fathers; and some might be spent for the syndicated material of which Mr. Wells speaks—the knowledges of those things which would help them to find their particular place in the cosmos.

Again, a part of the principal might be spent (and cancelled as a debt when so spent) in building schoolhouses where none can otherwise be built for a generation or two. These would be modern Enochian pillars—for 22 what is a schoolhouse, after all, essentially but the very thing that Enoch caused to be erected—at any rate, when the teacher is in the schoolhouse furnished with the knowledge of the race mind?

Even so, there would be enough left to provide for millions of planetary pupils in perpetuity.

It would be the greatest foundation ever established upon earth for the salvation of civilization.

Many years ago, when as a young college president in this valley I was speaking at a real-estate dinner in Chicago, I recalled how an ancient city was saved by the fact that it had so many score thousand children who could not tell their right hand from their left hand—and also much cattle. Innocent children and cattle saved Nineveh for a time, but not permanently. If the prophet Jonah were alive to-day he would know that the doom he preached finally came upon the city. He sleeps (or so the tradition is) in a village but six or eight miles from Bethlehem, that might have seen the star if it had been awake on the night when it came and stood over the place where the young child was. He would know if he, himself, were awake that it is only children who have learned the lessons of the race who have the power of world salvation—children who have also learned by heart the lessons of the two great commandments.

Years ago I was ploughing corn on a hot June day on an Illinois prairie when I heard a sound in the air above me, which one unused to the country might 23 have thought the thrumming of a choir celestial. But with a farm boy’s instinct I divined that it was a swarm of bees, even before I saw the little cloud moving over the field toward the woods two or three miles away. I did what any farm boy would have done if he could leave his team. I followed the swarm, throwing up dust and clods of earth, and making all possible noise, with the result that I brought the swarm down upon the branch of a tree at the edge of the field. Then at evening I got a hive, lured them into it, and then carried them home, where they made honey for the season.

So if we follow these ideals, which may seem at first but some millennial rhetoric, and bring them down to earth, we may find a way to sweeten the bitter bread of millions of children in other lands—and yet have enough and to spare for our own, in spite of the reports which I have been hearing to-day from those same corn-fields, whose bountiful crops the farmers cannot sell, though others are starving.

But let us take courage of the way we have already come, since Enoch reared his pillars in the pre-Noachian days. The children of Israel were required to keep each year the feast of the tabernacles, during the seven days of which they were commanded to leave their homes and go out and live in booths or tents, not for a holiday, but that they might be kept mindful of the fact that their fathers came out of captivity. I have often thought that it would have a very wholesome effect if all the world could keep such a feast, 24 and this would be its proclamation, as I have drafted it, though not in the usual form:2

“This shall ye do, O men of earth,

Ye who’ve forgotten your far birth,
Your forebears of the slanting skull,
Barbaric, brutal, sluggard, dull,
(Of whom no portraits hang to boast
The ancient lineage of the host)—
Ye who’ve forgot the time when they
Were redolent of primal clay,
Or lived in wattled hut, or cave,
But, turned to dust or drowned by wave,
Have left no traces on Time’s shores
Save mounds of shells at their cave doors
And lithic knives and spears and darts
And savage passions in our hearts;
This shall ye do: seven days each year
Ye shall forsake what ye hold dear;
From fields of tamed fruits and flowers,
From love-lit homes and sky-built towers,
From palaces and tenements
Ye shall go forth and dwell in tents,
In tents, and booths of bough-made roofs,
Where ye may hear the flying hoofs
Of beasts long gone, the cries of those
Who were your fathers’ forest foes,
Or see their shadows riding fast
Along the edges of the past;
All this, that ye may keep in mind
The nomad way by which mankind
Has come from his captivity,
Walking dry-shod the earth-wide sea,
25 Riding the air, consulting stars,
Driving great caravans of cars,
Building the furnace, bridge and spire
Of earth-control and heav’n desire,
Rising in journey from the clod
Into the glory of a god.

This shall ye do, O men of earth,
That ye may know the crownéd worth
Of what ye are—and hope renew,
Seeing the road from dawn to you!
Then turning toward the pillared cloud
Ahead, or pillared fire, endowed
With prescience of a promised goal
See still a highway for the soul.”

And along the way at intervals stand the Enochian schools, colleges, and universities, giving instruction in the best that the human race has learned “from generation to generation and from nation to nation.”




29 Jesus of Nazareth was so many-sided that each man and each age have found in him the qualities in which they are most interested. He has with truth been characterized as prophet, poet, philosopher, physician, and saviour of men. In the eyes of his contemporaries he was pre-eminently the teacher of the masses, the healer of the sick, and the friend of sinners. The ascetic Middle Ages saw in him only the man of sorrows, and pictured him as sad and anæmic. To the Protestant reformers and the Puritans he was the supreme protestant against the sins of mankind. The discerning thinkers of our present social age are beginning to recognize in him the great social psychologist, who not only analyzed the ills of society but also provided for them a potent cure.

The majority of men, however, fail to appreciate Jesus’ social teachings, because they think of him as far removed from the complex social programme presented by our highly developed civilization; but the enlightened historian well knows that between the first century in which Jesus lived and our own there are many startlingly close analogies. In Jesus’ day the old racial and national bonds had been largely destroyed and many ancient traditions and customs had been rudely shattered or else cast aside. Men were 30 sharply divided into classes separated by clashing interests. Industrial slavery held great masses of men in a bondage that was both physical and moral. Herded together in congested districts of the great cities that had suddenly sprung into existence, they lived a life that was in many respects worse than that of the beast. Lax divorce laws and looser marital relations had undermined the integrity of the home. A great wave of social immorality was destroying the physical and spiritual health of the individual and of society.

At the same time mankind was beginning to feel its unity and to work out its problems in universal terms. The yearning for brotherhood and for vital bonds that would bind each man to his fellows was strong. Consciously or unconsciously men everywhere were seeking for a satisfying philosophy of life that would afford them peace and happiness in this life and a definite hope of even greater joy in the realm beyond. They were also longing for a social organization that would give them freedom and an opportunity for each to live his life to the full. Dissatisfaction with the outworn social programmes of the past was expressed on every side. The expectancy of a dawn of a new day was almost universal.

Practically every type of social programme known to us to-day was found in that old Roman world. Rome, in name still a republic, was in reality an imperial monarchy, ruled absolutely by the will of one man. It was a typical representative of the ancient 31 autocratic idea of government. The old Hebrew commonwealth, like the city states of Greece, was only a memory of the past, but it stood for the democratic ideal—the rule of the people, by the people, for the people—in which the ultimate authority was vested in a popular assembly. Subject to the rule of Rome, the later Jewish hierarchical form of government still survived in Jerusalem as a representative of that peculiar type of social organization in which religious and temporal authority are blended. The rule of the rabble, to be instituted by violence and revolution and maintained by force, found its protagonists in those bloody, relentless Bolshevists of the first century, the Zealots. They only waited the leader and the opportunity to fly at the throats of their Roman masters and to make a mad attempt to overthrow all existing forms of government. On the ruins of society they wished to set up a Jewish state that would rule the rest of mankind with a rod of iron.

Down along the rocky banks of the brook Kedron, less than fifteen miles from Jerusalem, lived the Essene brotherhoods. They represented the purest type of communistic socialism. All property was held in common. The results of the labor of each went into the common store. All shared alike their possessions. It was also a nobler communism than we know to-day, for its chief aim was not the division of the products of human enterprise, but the lofty and unselfish ideals of serving and uplifting humanity.

The learned scribes and Pharisees were dreaming of 32 a far different type of world state: one that was to be suddenly and miraculously established. Jerusalem was to be its capital and a Jewish Messiah its head. The faithful martyrs who had died for their religion were to be reincarnated to share its glories. The heathen nations were to be subdued and the rule of Israel’s God was to be recognized throughout the whole earth.

Only a few humble students of the prophets and psalmists were quietly working and hoping for a society in which justice, good-will, and mutual helpfulness were to be the compelling bonds and the will of God the guiding authority. Autocracy and democracy, hierarchy and anarchy, communistic socialism and nationalistic theocracy each found enthusiastic devoted supporters in that vast laboratory of social experimentation in which Jesus lived. Every type of social programme that we know to-day was there represented.

Did he have a social plan, and was it adapted to the needs of the twentieth as well as to those of the first Christian century? The records of Jesus’ work are so fragmentary that they have given to most readers the impression that he was simply an itinerant preacher and teacher without definite plan and method. Paul is ordinarily regarded as the great organizer who gave Christianity its corporate form. A more careful study of the facts, however, reveals a clearly defined aim and a systematic, comprehensive plan underlying all of Jesus’ work.

It is important to remember that for more than 33 three-fourths of his life Jesus was an active business man and, therefore, in close touch with the economic and social life of his age. He was a son of Joseph, the technôn, that is, the constructor or builder. It is probable that the early death of Joseph left Jesus, the eldest son, in charge of this family firm of builders. The names of four other sons are given. This added responsibility would mean that Jesus was not only a manual laborer himself but was also accustomed to directing the work of others. The conclusion that he was a master builder, who knew the importance of a definite plan and method and of carefully counting the cost, is confirmed by many of his teachings. “Who of you, if he wishes to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the costs to see whether he has money to complete it? Or what king, on going to war with another king, does not first sit down and deliberate whether with ten thousand men he can withstand the one who is coming against him with twenty thousand?”

No one laid greater stress on foresight than did Jesus. At every point he reveals familiarity with system, method, and organization. In this respect he is more like the modern Occidental than the Orientals of his day. His detailed directions to his disciples, when he sent them out two by two to extend the bounds of his work, are models of business efficiency. “Take nothing but a staff,” which makes long journeys on foot comparatively easy. “Take no extra baggage,” which impedes progress. “Do not stop to greet any one on the road,” for the elaborate Oriental greetings 34 often consumed hours of precious time. Commanded to take no food, they were dependent upon that Oriental hospitality which opened wide the door and the heart of those whom the disciples were to reach and to help. “Stop only at the homes where you receive a hearty welcome,” for there only can you do efficient work. “Be content with the entertainment provided, and do not go from house to house,” for in this way will you avoid wasteful distraction. “Go out two by two,” for this is the best unit in doing effective work (as our modern drives have amply demonstrated). Directness, economy, and practical efficiency characterize each of these commands. The principles underlying them are everywhere accepted as standard in the scientific business world of to-day.

Jesus, as portrayed in the earliest records, was not an impractical dreamer nor a wan ascetic, as ordinarily pictured in art and in popular imagination, but a practical man of affairs with definite plans and systematic methods of carrying them into execution.

The evidence that Jesus has a definite social plan is cumulative and convincing. From the beginning of his public appearance his thought and activities were shaped by it. It is the background of that dramatic story of the temptation, which comes straight from the lips of Jesus himself. Though its language is highly figurative, the story throws a flood of light upon Jesus’ purpose. The first temptation suggests the vigor with which he rejected the natural inclination to yield to the instinctive desire for ease and self-indulgence and 35 to use his divine powers for his own happiness rather than that of society. The second and third temptations deal with the methods to be used in carrying out his far-flung social programme. Should he use sensational devices and by some miraculous act, such as throwing himself down from the temple heights, gratify the popular demand for divine credentials? Or should he realize his plan by compromise?

The breadth of his social outlook is clearly disclosed by this third temptation; from the first his plan included “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.” The tempting thought came to him that these could easily be brought under his benign sway, if he would but set aside his lofty ideals, if he would but be silent regarding the crimes of the ruling powers, if he would but give up his exalted conception of the rule of God and fulfil the current national expectations that were beating strong in the hearts of the multitudes that thronged about him. As the event proved, they were eager to hail him as the popular Messiah. His temptation to bow down to Satan is vividly illustrated in the dramatic scene where Peter professes his faith in Jesus as the Messiah, and then tries to dissuade him from going up into Jerusalem to face shame and probable death. “Away with you, Satan,” is Jesus’ vehement exclamation, “for you are thinking the thoughts of man, not of God!” This striking incident makes it very clear that in the mind of Jesus there was a definite, practical plan, far different from that which obsessed his race and in the end lured them on to their 36 ruin in the tragic years of 69 and 70. So eager was he to see its early adoption, not only by his race but by all nations, that short cuts and even compromises were to him very real temptations. But his social plan was so clearly defined that the specious doctrine that the end justifies the means could not swerve him. He had no desire to build a social structure that would rise and fall like the thousands that have been reared before and since—what Henry Adams describes as “the perpetual building up of an authority by force and the perpetual appeal to force to overthrow it.”

Jesus’ words to Peter, “On this rock I found my community,” indicated that he was seeking to build a structure that would endure, because it was built on the solid rock of reality and in accordance with the divine purpose. For this reason he keenly appreciated the importance of building on the right foundations and with the right material. The major part of his time and energy was devoted to preparing these materials. Hence his intense interest in the saving and remaking of men and women. Peter, the rock, was typical of the social citizens that he was seeking to develop and out of which he planned to build his new society.

Like Zoroaster, Confucius, and Gautama Buddha, Jesus was not content with presenting merely an abstract social programme. He was eager to incarnate it in flesh and blood, so that men could see it with their eyes and participate in it. With all the enthusiasm and energy of his kinetic personality, he went 37 about laying the foundations for the new society. This aim alone explains why at first he left Galilee, went down into Judea, and allied himself with that courageous herald of the new social order, John the Baptist. When the opposition of the Jewish leaders and the cruel relentlessness of Herod Antipas closed the doors of Jerusalem and Judea to Jesus he returned to Galilee but not to Nazareth. He chose instead, as the scene of his future work, the great Jewish metropolis of Capernaum. Its choice as the centre of his public activity is exceedingly significant. Jesus was by birth and training a peasant. He always felt most at home among the tree-clad hills. City life had none of the attractions for him that it had for Paul, the cosmopolitan. Going to a great city was for Jesus a daring adventure. He went to Capernaum because it was the largest centre of Jewish population in northern Palestine. As the present ruins indicate, it extended for four or five miles along the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee, from the point where the Jordan enters the lake on the north to the borders of the plain of Genneseret to the northwest. Across the Jordan was Bethsaida, and a few miles to the north, at the head of a rocky gorge, was Chorazin, another of the many populous suburbs of the greater Capernaum.

In this huge metropolis were crowded “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” whom Jesus came to seek and to save. Jesus went down into the sickness and crime-infected slums of Capernaum to transform them and to make them the homes of happy, co-operating 38 men and women. In that large, typical suburban centre he aimed to establish the fraternal community that was to be the corner-stone of the new social order that he hoped would ultimately include “all the nations of the world.”

He also chose the greater Capernaum because it was the focal centre from which the great international highways radiated in all directions. Past its western suburbs ran the main caravan road from Egypt and Philistia to Damascus and Babylonia. Other roads ran southward to Jericho and Jerusalem. Another great highway ran past it from Arabia northwestward across the plain of Genneseret to Tyre and Sidon, and then on to Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, and Rome. It is evident that Jesus, not Paul, initiated early Christianity’s broad policy of establishing fraternal communities in the great strategic centres, and from there extending their influence to the smaller cities and towns, and thence to the surrounding country districts. This was clearly a part of his social plan, and the spread of these Christian communities to Jericho, Damascus, Cæsarea, and Antioch within the first decade after his death confirmed its practical wisdom.

In Capernaum Jesus found all types of men, women, and children. Here were presented superlative needs and superlative possibilities. Here every phase of the social problem was in evidence. Here were the rich and poor, learned and ignorant, honest and dishonest, happy and unhappy, reputable citizens and outcasts, the well and the sick. With each of these classes Jesus 39 came into intimate contact. From every rank he drew the followers who became members of the fraternal community that he was seeking to found. A social plan that succeeded in the greater Capernaum had world-wide possibilities. That great metropolis, with its population of perhaps a quarter of a million, was a fitting laboratory for the world’s greatest social psychologist.

Into this great field Jesus threw himself with untiring zeal and enthusiasm. His final words, as he left it to escape the treachery of the Pharisees and of Herod Antipas, indicate clearly that he had hoped to transform this huge city into one great fraternal community: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For had the marvellous deeds that have been performed in you been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes; I tell you it will be better for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. Will you, Capernaum, be exalted to the sky? No, you will go down to destruction. For had the marvellous deeds performed in you been done in Sodom, it would have remained standing until this day.”

To-day the site of the greater Capernaum is an uninhabited ruin. A dread silence has settled down upon it. Yet no student of history can for a moment doubt the implication of Jesus’ pathetic words. Capernaum might to-day and through the intervening centuries and for all time have been “exalted to the sky” had its citizens in the first Christian century responded to their great opportunity. Then and there the problems 40 common to all human society might have been solved. There the whole world might have beheld the glorious vision of a vast city in which sin and sickness and suffering had been banished, and love and loyalty and zeal to serve the common cause bound all together into one great fraternal community. There the students of all nations and ages might have studied in concrete form the principles and laws that lie at the foundation of a perfect society. Within even the limits of the first century the Capernaum plan might have been transplanted and developed in all the great cities of the earth.

From the moment that Jesus entered Capernaum he went to work to gather about him and train a band of helpers that would effect the great transformation. He did not make the mistake of many later social creators of trusting merely to external organization. He began by remaking men and by training individual citizens. He personally selected each of his helpers and first freed their bodies from disease, their minds from error and prejudice, and their hearts from hate and jealousy. In turn he filled their minds with a broad, practical philosophy of life and their hearts with faith and love and the desire to co-operate. After he had trained them by careful teaching and thorough apprenticeship, he sent them forth under his direction to become fishers of men—that is, to attract and train definite men and women, so that they also might be prepared to become worthy citizens in the fraternal community.

41 The plan was as simple as it was practical. It was in perfect accord with all the laws, natural, social, and psychological, that later scientific study has disclosed. That it met at once with partial success is an established historic fact, for of the five hundred disciples to whom Paul refers in 1 Corinthians 15:6, probably the great majority, if not all, belonged to the Capernaum community. But it is equally clear that Jesus’ success at Capernaum was not commensurate with his hopes and that his relative failure was due to that which the Infinite has made a basic principle in the universe—the freedom of the human will. The convincing common sense, the radiant sympathy and love, and the attractive social plan of the Master Teacher were not able to conquer the fixed habits and prejudices and hatreds of a majority of the inhabitants of the greater Capernaum. The wooden orthodoxy and the narrow jealousy of the Pharisees led them to block and undermine, rather than support his work. The opposition of these acknowledged religious leaders confused the minds of the people. How electrical and far-reaching would Jesus’ great social experiment have been, had it met with the immediate success he craved, only the imagination can picture. That from Capernaum might have gone forth mighty influences that would have quickly transformed human society as a whole is not beyond the realm of practical possibility, for the world was closely knit together in the first Christian century and nothing is more potent in society than practical demonstration. Even as it was, 42 the social leaven that Jesus placed in greater Capernaum spread with remarkable rapidity, so that before the close of the first Christian century fraternal communities were found not only in Damascus, Cæsarea, and Antioch, but in all the great cities and even the remote provinces of the Roman Empire.

The strength of Jesus’ social plan lay in its simplicity. Society in the first century, as at present, had become hopelessly complex. The individual was but a spoke in the wheel of things. He was so enmeshed in a rigid social organization that he had few opportunities for spontaneous self-expression. Jesus quietly set aside all this complex social machinery and substituted a simple neighborhood organization, so simple that its members were unconscious of any organization at all. The warm, fraternal spirit of the fraternal community, which was simply an extension of the high ideals and traditions of the Jewish home, provided the atmosphere that every man, and especially “the lost,” the millions of detached men, women, and children in the old Roman Empire, were craving. In these Christian communities they found friendship and good-will. If they were needy, here they were sure of help. If they were sad, they found sympathy and comfort. If they stumbled and fell, they were tenderly lifted up, given counsel, and guided in the way of life.

Here the deepest yearnings of their hearts were satisfied, for they were taught to listen to the inward voice. The Master himself set the example of devoting many hours in his crowded ministry to prayer and 43 meditation. Under his guidance they learned to enter the inner chamber of their souls, and there to gain peace, joy, and inspiration from communion with him who reveals himself to all who seek him in sincerity and truth.

The fraternal community enabled each member to gratify his higher desire for self-expression. Jesus also had the marvellous power of arousing these desires. The needs and work of the community gave each member, however great or however humble be his gifts, abundant opportunity to use them. The humblest could enjoy the proud consciousness of serving the community, even if it be only in serving the food at the common meal. Those who possessed the gifts of teaching or preaching or healing had ample opportunity to use them in a social environment that was receptive and appreciative. If the task be outside and attended with danger, those who served were always sure of warm support and sympathy within the community.

Mark tells us that the life of the fraternal community that Jesus founded at Capernaum was characterized by a joyousness that aroused the harsh criticisms of the captious Pharisees. They complained that, unlike John the Baptist, Jesus never taught his followers to fast. The Master acknowledged the charge, and likened their lives together to one continuous wedding-feast. When we recall that a wedding-feast was the one event in the ancient East that brought joy and recreation and amusement to all members of the community, 44 we begin to gain a true conception of the charm of that community life which Jesus developed, and to understand why it appealed to young and old alike. Here recreation and religion were perfectly blended. Here every man found physical, mental, and spiritual life, and that in abundant measure. Had not the Pharisees, as Jesus said, persistently blocked the door, the masses would undoubtedly have sought admission to the fraternal community in great numbers, for we are told that the common people heard him gladly.

Jesus was not content merely to open wide the door to all who were seeking fellowship and inspiration to fuller living. From the first he began to train his disciples that they might go forth on a mission of healing, preaching, and teaching. His social plan included an aggressive, organized missionary propaganda. He not only himself sought the lost, but also trained and taught his followers to do the same. This fact explains not only the tremendous drawing, but also the kinetic power of early Christianity.

To-day every individual is consciously or unconsciously longing for a fraternal community in which he can find sympathy, good-will, and an opportunity to serve his fellow-men. Capital and industry are groping for a common basis of justice and co-operation, where they can forget their present destructive feuds and hatreds and join in conserving their mutual interests and in discharging their obligations to society. All the nations of the earth are eager to perfect an 45 agreement which will eliminate the horrible wastage of hate and war and enable them to dwell together as one great family. The Christian Church is also seeking a way in which it may adequately meet the crying needs of the individual and of society.

Is it not possible that Jesus’ social plan is the true and only way so to adjust the individual to his environment that he will find that which he is seeking? Is it not possible that Jesus’ plan provides the only practical way to eliminate the disastrous hatreds and wastage of modern industry, and to bring capital and labor into effective co-operation? Is it not possible that his idea of the fraternal community is the only satisfactory solution of our international problems? Is it not true that his simple social plan represents the historic commission of the Christian Church, and that the Church’s present divisions and most of its complex machinery are only impedimenta? Is it not possible that a whole-hearted effort to carry through his social plan in this plastic twentieth century might unite not only his nominal followers, but also the many who are not now reckoned as members of his fold? Upon the answers that the leaders of this generation make to these fundamental questions depends the future of our civilization. To the leaders in our Christian institutions of learning we look to-day for affirmative answers.




49 The last quarter of a century has seen a vast change in the general attitude toward organized religion. To some extent that change has had its points of pause and punctuation; we could tell where one paragraph ended and another began. In thought, a Robertson Smith or a Briggs case marked a period. The real range of a theological debate can never be measured by the resolution of an ecclesiastical assembly. Its main repercussion is upon the crowd, which becomes gradually conscious of the significance of the issue. The great change has come, however, almost without observation, and it may be said to have affected religion rather than theology. It has shown itself in lessened church attendance, and in the challenging of the right of the church to assume the monopoly of religious interest. The reduction in the number of men seeking to find their life-work in the Christian ministry is a grave feature; for the temper of the martyr and the soldier is not dead among us and the call for sacrifice has always in it a peculiar ring and compulsion. The Christian ministry is a great and noble calling, in which a man, if he is to have any happiness in his work, must deliberately put the world behind his back. But that particular form of sacrifice is losing its urgency. The war revealed, to those who were actively engaged in it, not so much a changed condition 50 as unpleasant actualities in the old condition. It became wofully apparent that religious instruction had not penetrated as deeply as the religious organizations had imagined. One never knew whether to wonder most at men’s ignorance of what the Christian Church should have been teaching them, or at their indifference to some matters which the peace standard of domestic ethics regarded as vital, or at their continual and magnificent gaiety of spirit, their glorious comradeship, their mastery of fear. The war showed how little conventional religion stood for. It also made it plain that the great words of the Gospel—joy, peace, love, righteousness, sacrifice—were of the very heart of high conduct as men understood high conduct, face to face with death, in those most desperate conditions.

If one asks oneself what it is that has been going on beneath the surface to bring about so profound a change in religious outlook, one may say that it has been the challenging of the seat of authority in religion. In organized religion there have been two main conceptions of the seat of authority.

The Romanist and high-church view is that authority lies in the Church, in its continuity of tradition and in its possession of sacramental power. If men are to be left to their own devices there will be anarchy in religion. But if they will but look back to the very foundations of Christianity, they will find a body of truth steadily handed down, and an efficacy communicated by the laying on of episcopal hands, transmitted from one generation to another. They will find a 51 divinely guided history of councils and creeds through which the deposit of truth has been safeguarded; and the doubter may commit himself with certainty to this system, which is the embodiment not only of divine truth but of human wisdom and practical knowledge. A Scottish Presbyterian is not predisposed to favor such a conception, but one has to admit its power. The majority of mankind are neither able nor willing to examine a long course of church history for themselves, and a strong, dogmatic assertion and a definite historical position have a vast power with a certain conservative and clinging and devotional type of mind. There are many people who have not sufficient intellectual daring to wrestle constantly with things for themselves. They want certainty. And so Newman and Adelaide Procter and many other equally pure souls have found rest in this obedience to authority. There is, however, particularly in this new land, a different temper springing up. The community spirit seeks inclusion rather than exclusion. It tries to use different gifts without judging between them. It will not nullify categories; it will simplify them. The question of apostolic succession, except where men are still held to belief in it by ecclesiastical authority, is ceasing to be an issue, just because this practically minded world does not see any such monopoly of spiritual power in one particular church. And, with regard to the permanence of any creed, we are in an atmosphere which tends more and more to utter its faith in the language of the day. A man may be very near to his Lord and 52 yet unable to discern his Lord in the Athanasian Creed. The process is too long which requires that the believer search back through all those centuries of tangled historical stuff before he finds his Master. He does not need to be either a prophet or the son of a prophet who declares confidently that the sacramentarian, historically exclusive, miraculous, sanction of religion is likely to become less and less powerful.

Is, then, the seat of authority for religion in the claims of Holy Scripture? This has been the appeal of the Reformed churches. At the Reformation, when the assertion was again made of the rights of the human spirit to come directly into fellowship with Christ, Scripture of necessity took a place of new importance. It was the road of direct access to God. One can understand how, after being bound in the chains of the Roman Catholic Church, men and women found in Scripture the glorious liberty of the children of God. Is it any wonder that they brooded over it until even the translations themselves seemed to be the very breath of the Almighty? But the earliest and greatest of the reformers had no such cast-iron view of verbal inspiration as afterward came to prevail, in its turn to become a tyranny just as exacting as the old. Both Luther and Calvin knew far too much of religious history and of the Bible to be led into any such unbending position. Luther, for instance, had his pronounced views upon the Epistle of James, which he would have excluded from the Canon. He was well aware of the doubt which had prevailed as to the canonicity 53 of the splendid Epistle to the Hebrews. The preacher of to-day is not wise who neglects Calvin on the Psalms and Calvin on Isaiah; but Calvin saw clearly that there were Aramaic elements in the 139th Psalm, and that the ascription of it to David was impossible. Gradually, however, what was really the record of a revelation came to be regarded as the revelation itself. It is not the New Testament which reveals God. It is Christ who reveals God, and it is the New Testament which gives the story of the incarnation of the Most High. In the post-Reformation days, however, when the Reformation, as a mighty revival of personal religion, was giving place to the time when men were trying to state in logical and philosophical form those wonderful experiences which they had lived through of the power of the Holy Spirit, the Bible came to be used as though it were a collection of proof-texts. A creed is obviously the product of the time when the first overwhelming flood of enthusiasm has passed, and men have begun to reason about the experiences through which they have lived. Thus, in the seventeenth century the doctrinaire view of Scripture stiffened. There was no attempt to understand the history underlying this great library of sacred writings. So truculent a book as Esther was believed to be, every word of it, the breathing of the Almighty, because it found itself within the sacred boards, while so glorious a record as First Maccabees was ranked with any other piece of secular history because its date precluded its inclusion within the Canon. There was no 54 knowledge of the fact that the early narratives of Genesis had a relationship to the Babylonian cosmogony; that, the Septuagint being witness, there had been widely varying texts of the Book of Jeremiah; that the Hebrew text of Hosea was in places in such confusion that anything more than a conjectural translation was impossible. The general and well-founded belief that Scripture was the Word of God was stretched until it became a new legalism, until it covered every word of the Authorized Version, and, in the minds of many, every comma of the splendid translation. That was an inflexible, an uncritical, an unscholarly position that was perilous. In the minds of multitudes it linked the truth in Jesus with some conundrum about Cain’s wife. It put the great causes of religion at the mercy of the negative and unbelieving critic. Many of us remember still the shock it was to our faith when we found that Scripture was being examined by the ordinary methods of critical and linguistic analysis; and yet we now realize that it is through this liberty that our faith has been re-established and set foursquare to all the winds that blow.

The present condition of things is that, while scholars have made the adjustment in their own minds, the great majority of believing people have not. That distinction between the revelation and the record of it is a delicate and subtle thing compared with the direct and unsophisticated view that every word within the boards that contain Holy Scripture is absolutely inerrant, in the most literal sense of the term. Piety 55 and intellectual acumen do not always go together. Those who know out of a long experience what Scripture has been to them, in strengthening and comfort, are jealous with a godly zeal when they think they see heedless hands laid upon the ark. And so some good people have tried to beat back the tide by accusing scholars of unbelief, and again and again the attempt has been made to control the teaching in theological colleges in the interest of a particular theory of inspiration. The result is that the teaching of the pulpits has often become suspect by men poles apart in their general view. Some, clinging to the old ways, have been looking for heresy; others, feeling the new breath, have been wondering whether the preacher was frank. There has thus been unsettlement of a most profound character, and it is unsettlement upon a really first-class issue. The Protestant world as a whole has yet to be brought to understand that the believer’s faith in his Lord is something that will be affected in no way by a discussion of the question whether the sun did actually stand still upon Gibeon. Such a faith rests on something much more precious than the authority even of the written Word; it rests on the witness of the spirit of the believer to the revelation of God as he finds it in Christ.

If, on the one hand, this unsettlement has caused pessimism and distress on the part of those who cannot see that a living faith is bound to be a growing thing, an organism and not a crystal, it has brought about a very different attitude on the part of many others, 56 who feel that certain obvious religious duties are incumbent upon them, even if they may never be able to solve for themselves such questions as modern scholarship has raised. The social and business life of to-day has one fine feature, unfortunately quite dissociated from the Christian Church, although created largely by Christian people. Men, immersed in business and professional life, have yet religion in their hearts; they know the need, for their own spiritual health as well as for the good of the community, of guarding against the tendency to selfishness and absorption in gain. And so we have springing up everywhere Rotarian Clubs and Kiwanian Clubs and many other organizations of similar kind, which foster a genial and kindly rivalry in well-doing. Once a week men gather and refuse to admit that they are growing old. They laugh and are happy. They are looking around for some good thing to do. Is it an industrial training home for boys, away among the mountains, in the best of surroundings, far from the city streets; is it the installation of a new hot-water apparatus in their city hospital—to take two instances known to me of the activities of a Rotarian and a Kiwanian Club—they throw themselves into the effort with zeal, and get, as surely they should do, joy for themselves in the securing of joy for others. Behind it there lies the feeling that whatever the uncertainties of faith may be, there are certain duties incumbent upon all who love their kind. It is better to be unselfish than selfish, better to be glad than frowning, better to come out of your 57 isolation and know your neighbor and competitor than to retire into your shell and imagine all kinds of evil about his persistent activities. Such a movement, spreading with somewhat of the fire of a crusade, is just another evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit, another proof that religion is the most pronounced and permanent bent of the human mind. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, and the Spirit will always manifest himself in varying modes.

What we are faced with to-day is not the destruction of religion but the change in its form and outlook. The permanent thing in the Christian religion, the unique thing, is that it has been the attempt to set forth Jesus of Nazareth. Everything else has been temporal, but that has been permanent. As men look back over history they see that many expressions of that loyalty have become antiquated, and have, without any active hostility on the part of reformers, simply ceased to be. The human mind has no longer regarded them as adequate. The study of a doctrine such as the Atonement is the best of all evidence for the fact. On so great a truth the greatest thinkers of all times have exercised themselves, and the statements made of the doctrine have been made in terms intelligible to the men of the age in which they were made. Books which deal with the subject of the Atonement are invariably stronger on their historical and critical than on their constructive sides. It is easy to understand now the defects of so great and permanent a book as Anselm’s 58 Cur Deus Homo, or, leaping over many hundreds of years, to question the adequacy of the statements of Robertson of Brighton, or of MacLeod Campbell. Even the greatest writers, when they deal with eternal truth, the Apostle Paul himself being witness, write in the language of their time for the men of their time, and are influenced in their statements by the ideas that are in the air in their time. The truth itself is a matter of Christian experience, whether it be taught by the old women of Bedford to John Bunyan, or by the thoroughly equipped scholar of to-day to a student who has all his senses exercised to receive the truth. But, while mediæval thought has few greater names than that of Anselm, Cur Deus Homo is now studied exactly like Faraday’s Researches, only as a matter of history. Human thought has left Anselm behind.

To the trained thinker, of course, this position is the merest commonplace. The wine of divine truth is ever new, and it has to be put into new bottles. He does an infinite disservice to faith who strives to tie it indefinitely to particular statements. The heresy of yesterday may be the orthodoxy of to-day, and the orthodoxy of to-day the exhausted formula of to-morrow. The men of this generation read with amazement the attacks of the sixties on Darwin, attacks so full of acerbity, so reckless in their bandying of evil charges and in their ascription of anti-religious motives. And to-day, while the biologist may still debate the particular issue, we know that the conception of continuity and development has been of enormous 59 service in every range of thought. The first debates on the Origin of Species have given place to a general conception. Einstein, in the same way, may influence profoundly not only physical but theological and ethical problems.

And so those who to-day have faith in a living and personal Christ must not lose courage, even if they do find the envelope in which that faith was wrapped being torn asunder. This particular envelope may have served its turn. We have this treasure in earthen vessels. We may ask as a matter of intellectual curiosity as to the form in which men expressed their belief some centuries ago, but the vital thing for us is that to-day we shall have such a form as shall be intelligible and arresting for us and our contemporaries. Wherever the Spirit of Christ is quick there will always be the double process in action, the challenging of old forms and the creation of new. The speech in the process may vary from generation to generation, but the process itself is a symptom of life. The desire for change is no evidence of impiety; it may be the setting forth of the prophet. The ages which are the ages of godlessness are those in which there has been no challenging of the accepted thing. In social as in religious life there are always multitudes whose motto is “Leave well alone.” The position is a complete begging of the question. Is the situation really “well”? Many to-day in the Old Country sigh for the industrial conditions of forty years ago, when labor was subservient and cheap, and when taxation was low. At that time 60 it never seemed to occur to any one that there was something wrong with a system in which one-third of the population of a great city like Glasgow lived in houses of one room, where women went barefoot throughout the winter months, where the question of the next meal was an insistent one with tens of thousands. Because the system had existed so long, the sufferers under it did not challenge it, while those who profited by it had no sense of the anomaly of a situation which worked comfortably for them. It was not that men were heartless or unbelieving. They were tender in their affections and quick with their charities. But the existence of this condition of great wealth alongside of abject poverty and degradation was regarded with the inevitableness of fate. It existed and therefore it was accepted. It had the sanction of age and was not to be challenged. The public conscience was not awake. There was no vision and the people perished. The last seven years have wrought a mighty change. Apart from any immediate economic issue there has been an alteration in the general attitude toward the question of wages. A community is not stable in its ordering nor is it genuinely prosperous if one main element in its financing is the maintenance of vast industries by labor so cheap as to be always upon the verge of destitution. The economic considerations are not the only ones, nor indeed are they the primary ones. A healthy and contented population is real wealth. A generation ago our cities emptied their filth into the rivers and lakes at their doors, and then 61 used dredges to remove the sludge. Now, under new methods, unclean products are purified by chemical or bacteriological processes; the effluent is clean and innocuous, and there is no need for dredging. A great deal of the social rescue work and philanthropy of past years has been a beginning at the wrong end. Drunkenness and an iron social system manufactured the criminal, the wastrel, the lunatic, and we dealt with the waste product. Now we are trying to keep our rivers clean.

A change of similar character, but even more rapid in its operation, is taking place in our thoughts of religion. It is coming about rather by the opening of the eyes than by any special process of reasoning or by any definite challenging of old methods. We are becoming not a little wearied of the tyranny of organization. We are afflicted by “drives” of all sorts; by vast conceptions of “the world for Christ in this generation,” while the streams of Christian thought are all the while running shallower and more shallow, with less and less power to drive anything. In the States, as in Canada, there have been great campaigns for funds which also tried to be campaigns for spiritual results. It has been discovered to be an easier thing to raise money than to quicken the spirit. Life remains as materialistic and as worldly as before, and the temperature is dropping as with the coming of an east wind on the Maine coast. Theologically in both countries we are still inclined to fight for a former condition of things which, as a matter of fact, has ceased 62 to have power. It is our burden, as it is our glory, to stand in difficult days. We shall all the sooner come to grips with the real issue if we understand that it is our business to set forth the undying Christ as we know him, and not to resuscitate, if that were possible, the forms and phrases and intellectualisms of an age that is gone. Back to Christ is the necessity—not the Christ of the Creeds compounded with the technical terms of Greek philosophy or the juristic outlook of Roman law, but the Christ of the Gospels. Any religious awakening which is going to move the common weal will begin in a revival of personal religion. Public morals are what personal religion makes them. The power-house is more vital than the transmission-plant. Wherever one looks it is to find that great public movements have had their origin in the hearts of consecrated men and women. Religion does not suffer by changing its form; it will founder if it be not ever related afresh to Jesus.

It may be taken for granted that an inquiring age like this will never submit itself to an intellectual position which presents itself merely on the ground of authority. The Reformation won the right to think, and in this we shall not be less than our fathers. Whatever we believe must be in harmony with our reason and our experience. This does not mean that those who exercise this right to think are become rationalists. We know ourselves everywhere to be surrounded by the evidences of a divine purpose: for us the things which are not seen are eternal. We find in the history 63 of to-day—in the history of those past seven tangled and tragic years—clear manifestations of the hand of God. But we believe that in the interpretation of Jesus personal experience must always have a major part. Our faith must be something not merely personal to ourselves but of which we can give some sort of account to others. Christ spoke no more incisive word than this: “Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?”

There can be no question as to the dire need there is of such an awakening by which men and women may once again be turned to spiritual things. War is, under all conditions, and even when waged for the purest of motives, an unmitigated evil. The saddest things in war are not the deaths in action. Abnormal conditions, which bring together millions of men in a cause in which the sense of personal responsibility is merged in the sacrifice for a general purpose, produce abnormal results. The old moorings are lifted. The old restraints, so largely the result of environment and of local opinion and knowledge, cease to operate. The sense of “mine” and “thine” is loosened. Continence ceases to be a primal virtue. The idle become yet more idle and the reckless yet more reckless. And if the results upon the men who have seen service have been thus evil, the effects on the stay-at-home community have been even more evil because less gross. Money has been made in great quantity by those who have no sense of the stewardship of wealth, and has been displayed with an aggressiveness that only embitters 64 the way of simple and modest people. If the morals of men have deteriorated, women may well consider whether their fashions of dress have not contributed largely to the general demoralization. There were periods when lewdness advertised itself by its garb and indecency wore a uniform. It is not possible now to draw any large generalizations. The pungent definition of the modern novel as the kind of book that no nice girl would allow her mother to read may or may not be justified, but a glance through the pages of the cheap American story magazine will leave no one in uncertainty as to the kind of thing that is apparently most marketable. Any one to-day who takes a grave view of moral and religious conditions need not be afraid of being counted a misanthrope. Public life will always reflect not inaccurately private conditions. If ever there was a time when those who name the name of Christ required to reflect the character of Christ it is now.

Suppose, then, we come to Jesus and ask ourselves what were the characteristics of the life he lived and the faith he taught, should we not set down some broad and simple issues which current religious life might well be reminded of?

1. The Joy That He Brought.

When our Lord came it was to a world which was shrouded with the idea of demons and vindictive spiritual powers. That dark time between the close of the Old Testament period and the beginning of the New had been a forcing ground for all such thoughts. The 65 powers of evil were serried ranks over against the power of God, and in the hands of those powers of evil Pilate and Herod were mere puppets. St. Paul, for instance, speaks of the wisdom of God, and then he adds: “Which none of the princes of this world knew, for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory” (1 Cor. 2:8). “It was not of Pontius Pilate and of Herod that Paul was speaking, but of things far more awful and far more powerful—thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers—as he calls them elsewhere the world rulers of this darkness, and at their head is the prince of the power of the air” (Glover, Jesus in Experience, page 1).

Not only on the side of the Jews was this terror of hidden and revengeful and incalculable powers felt. The Greek-speaking world had become permeated by Mithraism with its hierarchies of evil potentates, and as a result men lived in gloom and in a temper which made the propitiation of the unseen a main element in their religion. This was swept away not so much by what Jesus said as by what he was, and the New Testament, as the result, is the most joyous of books. Our Lord revealed the Father; there was none between the Father and himself. He was the Door; not only were there no other doors, but there was no necessity for other doors. He came to give life and more abundant life. He linked himself deliberately with those Old Testament Messianic passages which declared that there was liberty for those who were in bondage. He overstepped the inhibitions and prohibitions of ecclesiasticism. 66 He took the Jewish law, and, reaching through the letter to the spirit, he tore off the accretions which had overlain the original purifying and liberating purpose. He declared the spiritual manhood of believers and invited those who cast in their lot with him to take up their great inheritance.

It is in the setting forth of Christ that the New Testament is self-evidencing. No theory as to its origin and descent is needed to guarantee its inspiration. The evidence of experience goes to show that the New Testament has power within itself. It is the word of God because it effectively conveys the message of God. Its glow, its simplicity, is due to this, that it was written by men who had just come through an overwhelming religious experience, an experience differing in kind but related in each case to the same supreme Source. In the case of a great work of art we are able to trace an origin and an evolution. The development may be rapid but there is demonstrable sequence between the Byzantine art and Giotto, between Giotto and the great Umbrians. In pure literature the master does not arise like some volcano from the midst of a plain. He has his predecessors in form, and his rivals differ only in degree. But in the case of a religious movement, the first burst is the most powerful, the first vision the most clear. Every effect must have an adequate cause. What Cause was it which made of these plain disciples literary and religious figures of incomparable power and dignity? Who of mortals can have taught the writer of the Fourth Gospel the interpretation 67 that he has to hand on to us? The power of the written Gospel is due to the unique power that was at work in these men’s hearts. After they were gone other Christian writers arose, better equipped in scholarship, and men of true piety as well, but they have left nothing that can be mentioned in the same breath with those narratives of the life of Christ, with the torrent of the Apostle Paul. Those who were nearest the source received most of the light. No naturalistic explanation has ever done anything to solve the riddle of those New Testament writings. An exercised Christian experience carries the truth. Almost all of those to whom we owe the New Testament died violent deaths, but their hearts were filled with singing, and their tribulations were matters only of joy. Base the inspiration of the Scriptures on their universal and ever youthful experience, and nothing can move the authority of the Gospels. Rest it on some theory of verbal inerrancy, and it is shaken by every negative critic. The vital question with regard to the New Testament is whether it does or does not reveal Jesus as God in the flesh. If it does this, then every other question as to the mere harmony of this account and that becomes almost irrelevant. We can admit and must admit the human element. God works through personalities, not through colorless nonentities. Every experienced Christian is a separate instrument, giving forth a separate tone. And men rejoice in the New Testament because other men two thousand years ago rejoiced, and their gladness and release still sound true.

68 Those who grasp this thought enter into the glorious liberty of the children of God. To-day all kinds of demons, even though they may not call themselves such, are supposed to be holding the ground between the truth-seeker and Jesus. It may be the general dread of life which always sees the possibilities of doom in to-morrow; it may be some carrying over into the spiritual sphere of an analogy from the physical law of causation; it may be some visualizing of the past, which makes reparation appear to be a prerequisite of any approach to a new life. Alas, reparation is no longer possible for most of the moral and spiritual failures, and in any case the kind of man we have become is a much more important matter than the mistakes which may come back to us on the selective wings of memory. And then there are other fears which deal not so much with spiritual things as with material and personal conditions. Not a few are haunted by their own suspicious natures. No man is to them wholly spontaneous or open-handed. The motive behind the generous or the brotherly thing must be sought, and that motive is invariably found to be something mean or selfish. How can there be any joy in the heart when there is this suspicion of one’s fellow? And others are dogged by their anxieties about their own ill health. One’s memories of the Riviera are sufficient to induce one to view Christian Science with a kindly eye. Those who have had the easiest of lives and endless leisure in which to indulge their whims cannot use the gifts they have by reason 69 of the overstrain they would incur! As if life were worth having on the terms of a constant hypochondria. And others again are haunted by their fear for their own reputation. They have to dress in a certain way, walk with a certain gait, live in a certain type of house, spend money at a certain rate, choose their friends among those who will be useful to them, speak the safe and colorless theory when epigram is on their tongue and provocativeness in their heart—all because they have to maintain a reputation. Yet, He made himself of no reputation, and because He sought only to live in dependence on his Father He had no fear, no divided mind, no anxiety, only joy and peace in believing.

Is not the recovery of that joy something that the Christian Church and the Christians within the church are crying out for. It is so evidently one of the first-fruits of fellowship with Christ, and how really rare a gift it is! St. Francis had it because, like the birds he loved, he leaned only upon God. Some men in war, having given themselves wholly to a cause that they believed to be of God, learned the quiet of having the world behind them. We who are burdened about so many things, so anxious to assume the right attitude, to maintain the conventional opinion, to insure against every conceivable misfortune of worldly estate, how can we know the joy of living free, the release of casting the burden upon the great Burden-bearer? The stoic taught the Roman to endure by denying the presence of pain. His strength was in his passive receptivity. But Christ Himself felt pain, dreaded pain, 70 was distressed by pain in the house of His friends; and, moved thus by the sombre and unkind things in life, He yet had an undisturbed peace. If the church is to regain its hold upon men, it must be composed of joyous Christians. Only then will there be removed those misapprehensions which have made for such multitudes the thought of religion the thought of gloom. Only thus shall we be conquerors through Christ who loved us.

2. The Faith Which He Possessed.

Although it is two years since its publication, Mr. Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians still leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Mr. Strachey made it his business to destroy the halo around some well-known and long-venerated heads. He spoke what he believed to be the truth, not always in love, about Thomas Arnold and Florence Nightingale and General Gordon and others. He suggested that Gordon had been intemperate, and that some of his daring had been due to this fact. To read the insinuation was to remember the day, nearly forty years ago, when Gordon, at a few hours’ notice, stepped out of London and took his road for Khartoum and death and an immortal name. The magic of the story is felt beyond the bounds of the British Empire. A real hero is the possession of all mankind, and the thought of this one solitary and God-possessed soldier setting out alone by sheer personality to quench the rebellion that had spread over half a continent will always make the blood of the lethargic and the stay-at-home run a little 71 faster. But that temper, if we could only grasp it, is essentially the temper of religion, and it means the possession of peace. The materialism of our day has overshot all our conceptions of peace, and we identify peace with comfort and a substantial bank balance and a fortification against the vicissitudes of chance. No wonder that the venture and the happiness have gone out of faith, which is the trust in the centuries as against the years, in the unseen instead of in the seen. There is little to be gained by society congratulating itself in its victory over alcohol if all the time it judges all success by outward and obvious standards. As things are, it is regarded almost as a crime not to have made money, and the doom of the “unsuccessful” is not pity but reprobation. How is it that, in a universe in which we believe that the fundamental factors are spiritual, such a conception should have come to rule! Simply because we have forgotten the rock from which we have been hewn, and have made a God after our own image. “He granted their request but sent leanness into their souls” (Ps. 106:15). We have had our reward. Is it any wonder that church life is stagnant? Why should it be otherwise if such conceptions virtually rule? Faith is become a comfortable dogma instead of a living conviction. The popular conception of faith implies no sacrifice. The faithful do not live in any way which marks them off from the faithless. Generally speaking, they pursue the same interests, follow out the same policy of insuring against most of the inevitable risks of life. Godly and ungodly 72 alike, they meet the demand of charity, and are not wholly unmindful of their duty to their neighbors. But that the Christian Church should be composed of people who truly are casting their burden upon the Lord is an unknown conception. Nor can they ever think of themselves launching off like Gordon on a quest that was inspired simply by belief in a command of God, as the realization of a need, by faith in an ideal.

If the church of to-day is uninteresting and without appeal to youth, the reason may very well be found in the lack of any thought of a living faith. Our Lord depended absolutely upon the Father. The Father’s will was his will, and as the result quiet dwelt with Christ. But his was no prudential service. Peace had its willing price. “Peace be unto you ... and when he had thus spoken he showed them his hands and his side” (John 20:19, 20).

Public life will rise no higher than its source in personal religion. A quick sense of the brotherhood of man led to the antislavery movement. The removal of the merely penal idea in punishment has led to the new treatment of criminals. Every religious revival may be traced by changes in public administration. A new grasp of the meaning of faith, as the leading by God out into the wilderness, will draw out of their pessimism and social ineptitude men and women who loathe the publicity and mud-slinging of public life and have hitherto stood apart from it. If, however, they come to it out of an awakened conscience, 73 they will step forth, not as unwilling recruits, obeying the uninspiring call of mere duty, but as crusaders to strive for the kingdom of God upon earth.

The great aim of this and of every day is definite and in itself simple—to make spiritual things real. Each man has to understand his dependence upon a world which he cannot control, which was before he was and will endure when he has gone, a world in which right rules inevitably and finally, where the secrets of all hearts are known. And then, having recognized with all its implications his place in this kingdom of the spirit, he has to play his part through the institutions of civilized life, the church, the state, the municipality, in making this unseen life an actuality in the region of things mundane. But first things come first. The social interest does not create the clean heart. The power of Christ alone can do that. The Salvation Army is a mighty factor in moral uplift but it had its origin in Methodism and in the Christian experiences of a godly man and of a still more God-inspired woman. Those churches are not wrong or out of date which lay stress on the relationship of the believer to his Lord. That, after all, is the fundamental thing, the source out of which all wider and more impersonal movements flow. Evangelical faith is not outgrown. It never can be outgrown. It needs, it is true, constant restatement. The living phrases of one generation become almost certainly the catchwords of the next. It is not only the right 74 but the duty of each generation of exercised Christians to state its belief in its own way; and those who are older must have faith in those who are young and allow them to tell their story in their own words. It was a great friendship which existed between D. L. Moody and Henry Drummond. The older man was self-educated, brought up to a religious belief that was under attack by scholars and scientists. The younger man was both a scholar and a scientist, a setter forth of new views of things. But it was Drummond who was chosen by Moody to follow up his work, to gather together the results of the missions. For Moody, “the greatest of living humans,” as Drummond called him, saw that they were both striving for the same thing, actually saying it in different words. They both have had their reward in the affection of countless men and women who think of them as messengers of the new life. But an awakened soul is the beginning of things. He who has been truly aroused to the life of God will not be slack in the life of man.




77 A couple of years ago one of the most distinguished of our social philosophers, Professor John Dewey, of Columbia University, was invited to lecture at the Imperial University of Japan, and, having delivered his message in Tokyo, proceeded to China, where he was welcomed eagerly by the younger malcontents as an exponent zof Western ideas. The character of these ideas which our collegiate missioner carried across the Pacific Ocean may be learned from the little book since published by him under the title of Reconstruction in Philosophy. His thesis, indeed, is simple almost to naïveté. Hitherto, he avers, philosophy and religion have been nothing but an attempt to “identify truth with authoritative dogma.” And this attempt has a double aspect, theoretical and practical. On the one hand, mankind is prone to forget the evils of yesterday and to gloat in memory over the good, so that by the combined force of memory and imagination the past remains with us as a kind of idealized dream, a lovely, impalpable curtain hanging between our vision and the hard realities of the present. From such an iridescent dream has grown the philosophical and religious belief in an immaterial world of ideas, a glamorous make-believe under whose sway “we squirm,” as Mr. Dewey says in his pragmatic style, “dodge, evade, disguise, cover up, find excuses and palliations—anything 78 to render the mental scene less uncongenial,” and so to escape the actualities that confront us. Buddha, Plato, Jesus, and the other great masters and doctors of the life unseen were merely juggling with words and leading us nowhere; the discipline of character proposed by them and their offers of supernatural peace were a fraudulent perversion of the facts of human experience. The only true knowledge is that which comes to the farmer toiling at his crops, and to the carpenter laboring with his tools; the real facts of life are those that we can see and smell and taste and handle, and, so far as I can understand Mr. Dewey, such things alone.

That is the theoretical aspect of the reconstruction of philosophy proposed by our tender-hearted materialist; and the practical aspect is like unto it. Existing forms of government, established order, property, the church, institutions generally, draw their support from the idealizing illusions of memory and imagination; they are in truth the dead hand of the past clutching the throat of the living present. Throughout all the ages preceding the advent of Mr. Dewey, or by a gracious inclusion anterior to Francis Bacon, it has been the task of philosophers and religious leaders to find reasons for the existence of such institutions on ideal grounds, and to justify those who profit from them at the expense of the masses. Religion and philosophy have been simply the servile allies of the predatory classes of society. The hope of the world is in the new gospel of pragmatic materialism.

79 I trust I have not misrepresented Mr. Dewey’s teaching. Indeed, with an individual teacher I should have no quarrel, were he not in a position of authority; but it is another matter when such doctrines are spreading out from a lecture-room all over the country, and, as I hear from Chinese friends, are persuading the young reformers of the Far East that the only salvation for their people lies in adopting the crudest materialism of Western civilization, and in emancipating themselves from all that philosophy and religion hitherto have meant to the Occident as well as to the Orient. At least here is a matter to consider.

Now in one sense Mr. Dewey’s theory of religion—I use this word preferably, since the classical forms of philosophy which he would reconstruct belonged essentially to the field of religion—in one sense this theory is so far from being revolutionary that it has been current almost from the inception of human thought. Plato knew that the religious temper was naturally reverential of the past and conservative in its influence. It was, indeed, for this reason that he gave to religion and to a philosophy of the unseen world so thorough a control over the polity of his state. Polybius, the Greek historian of Rome, not only recognized this function of religion, but went so far as to maintain that even the palpable fictions of superstition should be upheld as a safeguard against political anarchy. “Since the multitude,” he argues, “is ever fickle and capricious, full of lawless passions, and irrational and violent resentments, there is no way left to keep them 80 in order but the terrors of future punishment, and all the pompous circumstance that attends such kinds of fictions. On which account the ancients acted, in my opinion, with great judgment and penetration, when they contrived to bring in these notions of the gods and of a future state into the popular belief.” And on this basis Polybius goes on to show how the power and permanence of Rome were connected with a national morality grounded in irrational beliefs, whereas the inquisitive rationalism of Greece was the cause of her ethical and political decline. Livy’s annals of Rome are inspired throughout by the same idea, though without the tincture of scepticism that pervades the philosophy of the Greek historian. The city on the Tiber, Livy thought, grew mighty and conquered the world because of her faith in the gods and in that mystical Fatum which presided over her destiny, and kept her, through all the formal changes of her government, true to her original êthos. “You will find,” he writes, “all things have prospered for those who follow the gods, while adversity dogs those who spurn them—invenietis omnia prospera evenisse sequentibus deos, adversa spernentibus.” So, for Tacitus, religion was, as he expresses it in his epigrammatic way, instrumentum regni. Christianity, though it altered much, maintained this same view. The greatest preacher of the ancient church, Chrysostom, was fond of pointing to the connection of religious humility, mother of all the virtues, with the principle of orderly subordination, on which, as on the golden chain of 81 divine law, depended the stability of society and the happiness of the people.

But I must not fatigue you with examples. Passing on to the eighteenth century, one finds the politico-religious thought of England and France dominated by the Polybian notion that religion was imposed more or less deliberately on the people by their masters as an instrument of government, only with this important difference, that in England the imposition was commonly regarded even by the more radical deists and freethinkers as a salutary and necessary fraud, whereas across the channel a more logical and less prudential habit of speech led the bolder spirits at least to spurn the whole fabric of traditional religion as an impediment to liberty and progress. It was characteristic of the British mind, then as it has always been, to stop short of final conclusions and to be tolerant of a certain penumbra of illusion about the ultimate principles of life, a trait which has resulted on the one hand in the national willingness “to muddle through,” and, on the other hand, in a deeper sense of spiritual mysteries. Bolingbroke, atheist or deist, as you choose to call him, would take the position frankly that the truths of scepticism are for the enlightened few who, as Aristotle said, have learned from philosophy to do voluntarily what other men do under compulsion. Religion, to Bolingbroke and his class, was simply an integral part of that marvellous fiction, the British Constitution. “To make a government effectual to all the good purposes of it,” he says, “there must be a religion; 82 this religion must be national, and this national religion must be maintained in reputation and reverence.” And a little later in the century one of the correspondents of that admirable and very British gentleman, Sir William Pepys, condemns Gibbon for divulging to the public the sort of scepticism which he might have enjoyed lawfully in his closet. “I agree,” avows our correspondent, “that no man should ‘take the bridle out of the mouth of that wild Beast Man’ (as Bolingbroke writes to Swift).... Tho’ a man may be allowed to keep poisons in his closet, he shall not be permitted to vend them as cordials.” (Which, so far as I know, is the first attempt recorded in history to evade, prophetically, the Eighteenth Amendment of our own Constitution.) Nothing is more characteristic of the ruling temper of England than the fact that this same Gibbon, he who had expended his wit and his vast erudition in “sapping a solemn creed with solemn sneer,” in his old age should have confessed admiration for Burke’s chivalry, even for his “superstition,” and should have planned a dialogue of the dead, wherein Lucian and Erasmus and Voltaire were to be heard discussing the danger of shaking the ancient faith of the people in religious institutions.

But the French mind could not rest in this severance of logic and practice. To their more incisive and less humble way of thinking, true was true and false was false, and to confound the boundaries of truth and falsehood was only to pay homage to canting hypocrisy. 83 There was no distinction for them between an illusion and a plain lie, nor would they rest satisfied with a suppression of truth as known to individual reason, in order to leave room for a practical faith as taught by public experience. So it happened that the philosophes as a body were not theoretical sceptics merely but militant atheists. If, as La Mettrie believed, “the soul is an empty word of which no one has any idea,” if men are no more than blind “moles creeping in the field of nature,” then, o’ God’s name, out with the truth of it; society can only profit from universal knowledge of the facts. In like manner a Holbach will take up the old theory of Polybius, but without the Polybian and the British “reserve.” “Experience,” he says, “teaches us that sacred opinions were the real source of the evils of human beings. Ignorance of natural causes created gods for them. Imposture made these gods terrible. This idea hindered the progress of reason.” And again: “An atheist ... is a man who destroys chimeras harmful to the human race, in order to lead men back to nature, to experience, and to reason, which has no need of recourse to ideal powers to explain the operations of nature.”

And the French view has prevailed, or threatens to prevail, as courageous views inevitably tend to supplant timid views, however true it may be that courage in such matters may sometimes be another name for insensibility, not to say conceit. So Leslie Stephen, writing of the eighteenth century in England, with a 84 sneer that contrives to combine the French boldness with the British reserve, declares that “the church, in short, was excellent as a national refrigerating machine; but no cultivated person could believe in its doctrines.” And at last Mr. Dewey, perhaps the most influential teacher to-day in America, is renewing the old cry and persuading our young men that religion is a fallacy of the reason devised to maintain the more fortunate classes in their iniquitous claims, and that progress and democracy are bound up with the materialistic pragmatism that emanates from his own chair of reconstructed philosophy.

Now, it will be clear from these illustrations, which might be multiplied indefinitely, that the classic philosophy, the philosophy of idealism properly so called, which underlies all religion, whether Platonic or Christian, has been regarded by most thinking men from ancient times to the present day as a conservative, or at least as a regulative, force in society. But thinking men have differed profoundly in their valuation of such a force. Those who hold this philosophy to be true are naturally undivided in their opinion that its social function is beneficial; but those sceptically and materialistically inclined, to whom the spiritual world of Plato and St. Augustine is merely an insubstantial fabric wrought out of the discontent of mankind with the actualities of life, have been divided in their attitude. By some this dream of the unseen, though a deception, has been accepted as necessary for the ordered welfare of society; the enlightened few might indulge their 85 superiority of doubt, but without the restraining content born of superstition the turbulent desires of the masses would throw the world into anarchy and barbarism and universal misery. That was the prevalent attitude of ancient rationalism; and it is still common enough to-day among those who have a condescending respect for the church as a useful ally of the police court. To others, a rapidly growing number, it seems that the spirit of content engendered by religion, if based on a falsehood, must be detrimental to the progress of mankind. Or perhaps their position might be expressed more accurately by reversing the terms. They would not say that religious content is false and therefore must be detrimental; but, rather, religious content is inimical to progress and therefore must be false.

I am not here before you to-day to determine the truth or falsehood of the ideal philosophy which supports religious institutions; that is a question which for the present we may waive. We will not discriminate between those who hold this philosophy to be true and those who regard it as an illusion, but an illusion necessary for the preservation of society. The line for us is drawn between those who, for whatever reason, cling to a religious philosophy of the unseen and those who denounce such a philosophy as a check to the progress and prosperity of the race. And you will see at once that the issue between these two classes has been sharpened for us of the present day by the intrusion into sociology of a new theory of existence—new 86 at least in its scope and claims. I mean the great and all-devouring doctrine of evolution.

Now the evolutionary philosophy, by which we have become accustomed, rather prematurely perhaps, to test all problems of truth and utility, has many aspects and follows various lines of argument. What it means to the working scientist is one thing, and what it means to the metaphysician may be quite another thing; but when it intrudes into the field of sociology, and more specifically when it lays its grasping hand upon that part of sociology which attempts to weigh the value of religious belief, you will find it almost inevitably taking the note so clearly defined in pages of Mr. Dewey’s typical book. Evolution is identified with progress, progress is measured by increased power to satisfy physical wants, and the effort to increase this power is conditioned on dissatisfaction with material conditions. Oh, I know that many evolutionary sociologists will demur against the reduction of their theories to a crudely materialistic formula; but many of them will not, and I am sure the formula does not misrepresent the real conclusions of their doctrine. It comes down to this: Physical progress has its source in physical discontent, and, by an extension of terms, social progress has its source in social discontent; and any doctrine which dulls the edge of this discontent is thereby an obstacle in the path of individual and racial welfare. Discontent is motion and the striving for better things, it is life; content is just stagnation and death. And here lies the charge against religion. By drawing off 87 the mind to the contemplation of those so-called eternal things that are not visible to the bodily eyes or palpable to these fleshly hands, by injecting spiritual values into this present life and raising hopes of other-worldly happiness, religion, together with the whole range of illusory philosophy on which it is nurtured, throws the feelings of physical discomfort out of the centre into the further margin of the field of vision, into the penumbra, so to speak, of insignificance, while it imposes a stillness of content upon the naturally restless soul of man. In such a mood the past, out of which the oracles of faith seem to sound by some miracle of memory, acquires a tender sanctity, and the institutions of tradition are often invested with a reverence and awe which easily flow into vested rights. If the religious mood were really to prevail, they say, then society would sink into the slothful decay described by old Mandeville in his “Fable of the Bees,” that terrible poem which the modern humanitarian would abhor as a black parody of his doctrine, but which in good sooth told the facts of a materialistic sociology once for all:

All Arts and Crafts neglected lie;
Content, the Bane of Industry,
Makes ’em admire their homely Store,
And neither seek nor covet more.

What shall be said of these contrasted views? I think first of all we must say that the issue is confused by an ambiguity lurking in the terms employed. And 88 this is no new thing. It is, in fact, one of the curiosities of our human warfare that the most bitter disputes on the most fundamental questions often go round about in a circle because the two parties to the dispute do not see that the same word may be used in different senses. So it is certainly of content and discontent; and a man’s attitude may very well be determined by his understanding or misunderstanding of the double meaning of these words. Cardinal Newman, perhaps the keenest psychological analyst of the past century, has insisted on this distinction in one of his sermons:

To be out of conceit with our lot in life is no high feeling—it is discontent or ambition; but to be out of conceit with the ordinary way of viewing our lot, with the ordinary thoughts and feelings of mankind is nothing but to be a Christian. This is the difference between worldly ambition and heavenly. It is a heavenly ambition which prompts us to soar above the vulgar and ordinary motives and tastes of the world, the while we abide in our calling; like our Saviour who, though the Son of God and partaking of His Father’s fulness, yet all His youth long was obedient to His earthly parents, and learned a humble trade. But it is a sordid, narrow, miserable ambition to attempt to leave our earthly lot; to be wearied or ashamed of what we are, to hanker after greatness of station, or novelty of life. However, the multitude of men go neither in the one way nor the other; they neither have the high ambition nor the low ambition.

If that sounds oversubtle, or if the preacher’s assumptions seem to beg the question, let us drop the pulpit jargon and look at the distinction as it works out practically in the lives of two highly useful members 89 of society, the plumber and the college president. Suppose a plumber is called into your house on a raw day of January to tinker up a disordered pipe in the cellar. Probably that plumber is discontented; indeed, I cannot imagine how a plumber can be anything but discontented. Nevertheless, his discontent may be either one of two very different sorts. He may be grumbling to himself because he has to work at a cold and dirty job, while you are enjoying your newspaper up-stairs over a warm and cosey fire. In that case his discontent may take itself out in slighting his task and wasting your time and lengthening his bill. These things are said to happen. And he may even carry his discontent into a view of the organization of society which expresses itself in very hardy politics. But suppose now that his discontent takes another form. Imagine him content with his lot as a plumber, even proud of it, but dissatisfied with the common reproach of slackness and extortion, ambitious to excel in his profession. I do not cite such a plumber as a probability; but all things are possible in a Bross lecture. At any rate, such a paragon would be worthy of succeeding to that famous chair of the Harvard faculty once occupied by a gentleman whom the trustees hired as the Plumber professor of Christianity, but whom the undergraduates irreverently dubbed the Christian professor of plumbing.

And so the other end of the scale, the college president. He too is said sometimes to be discontented; and again his discontent may assume either one of two 90 forms. He may be ambitious of size and réclame for his institution, and may measure his dignity by the number of students over whom he presides. His alumni are likely to encourage him in this, and I have myself known the head of an ancient university in the East who used to scan the catalogues of the great Western institutions year by year with bitter jealousy and heart-burning as their register of students gradually approached his own, and then shot beyond it. Inevitably such discontent leads to a lowering of standards, mitigated by the pious belief that that form of education is noblest which is desired by, and accessible to, the largest number of paying candidates. Thus a debasement of education becomes identified in his mind with social service. But one can imagine another kind of discontent, which should pursue just the opposite course. Its standard would be qualitative, not quantitative, and it would fear the temptation of size, not the murmurs of ambitious alumni. It would look for its reward not in a swelling registration or spreading houses or additional courses of study, but to its success in attracting the better minds and the stronger characters and in directing these in the narrow and tried paths. It might even go so far—though this is confessedly a fairy-tale—as to lay a rough, restraining hand on that most corrupting nurse of materialism in our schools, professional athletics.

However it may be with the plumber and the college president, clearly these words, content and discontent, are replete with ambiguity; they are consequences 91 rather than motives of conduct, and we cannot safely argue upon them until we lave looked more closely into the springs of action which control respectively the religious and the natural life. And here I must beg you to indulge me in a bit of pedantry. Our English speech, with all its practical efficiency, has never developed a very precise ethical terminology, and so to get at the distinction I have in mind I am going to ask you to consider two rather outlandish-sounding Greek words which were much in use among the early moralists of our era. One of them is tapeinophrosynê, the other is pleonexia.

Tapeinophrosynê is a compound word, meaning primarily lowness of mind; it embraces the idea of humility and meekness, but neither of these conveys its full significance. St. Paul uses it in the Epistle to the Ephesians, where it is translated specifically “lowliness,” but its force really runs through the whole passage: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness (tapeinophrosynê) and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Paul had in mind the saying of Christ recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, where an equivalent phrase is rendered “lowly in heart”: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” And the first of the 92 Beatitudes contains the same idea in slightly different language: “Blessed are the poor in spirit (i.e., the lowly in heart), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This, then, is the virtue, or, rather, as Chrysostom calls it, the mother of the virtues, which was upheld by the fathers, without exception one might almost say, as the basis of Christian character and the motive of religious living—tapeinophrosynê. And the result of such a virtue, as it works itself out through character into content and discontent, is readily seen. It lays the axe at the very root of that restlessness, that uneasy ambition, that natural instinct of jealousy, that covetousness forbidden in the Tenth Commandment. It goes even further than that. You may have observed that the blessing bestowed in Matthew on the “poor in spirit,” in Luke is directed simply to the “poor,” or “beggars,” as the word might be translated. Now Luke, it is fair to say, introduced a disturbing element into religion by his habit of giving this materialistic turn to spiritual graces. But it remains true, nevertheless, that this glorification—the word is scarcely too strong—of poverty, or at least of the freedom from material possessions, as in itself a state of blessedness, is a note not only of all the Gospels but of most of the other great religious books that have moved the world. Always Chrysostom, to refer again to the model Christian preacher, connects humility with the twin virtue of charity. And charity, as he commends it, is not so much an act of giving out of sympathy for the sufferings of the needy and downtrodden—though this feeling 93 is not absent—as it is a voluntary act of surrendering our worldly possessions in the belief that in themselves they may be a snare to the spirit. For Chrysostom, in a very literal sense of the word, it was more blessed to give than to receive. If religion suffered discontent to abide in the heart of a man, it would not be because he owned too few of this world’s goods, or felt humiliated by his relative rank in society, but because the world was too much with him. For true content he should look to treasures laid up elsewhere and to riches that the eye of the flesh could not count.

So much for the religious motive of humility. Pleonexia, the driving force of the natural man, might be defined as its exact opposite. Etymologically, as an ethical term, pleonexia means simply the reaching out to grasp ever more and more, whether this impulse show itself in the grosser appetite for possessions, or in the ambition to overtop others in rank and honors, or in that universal craving which Hobbes regarded as the state of nature: “A general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death.” To call this the natural state of man might seem to involve a libel against both nature and man, but by natural, as you see, is meant only the condition of mankind if all those restraints were excluded which we have defined as religious. And such a liberty has never lacked its advocates as being not only the natural but the rational, even the ideal rule of conduct. It would be easy to prove this by abundant citations from modern writers; 94 indeed, the name of Nietzsche leaps to one’s lips; but as I have already trespassed on your patience by the introduction of Greek terms into my definitions, I will presume further by going for my illustrations to the people who coined the expression. In one of the dialogues of Plato, then, you may hear a respectable citizen of Athens rebuking Socrates for his fantastic notions of conduct, and arguing for what was really the popular code of morality:

The makers of laws are the many weak; and they make laws and distribute praises and censures with a view to themselves and to their own interests; and they terrify the mightier sort of men, and those who are able to get the better of them, in order that they may not get the better of them; and they say that dishonesty is shameful and unjust; meaning, when they speak of injustice, the desire to have more (pleon echein) than their neighbors, for knowing their own inferiority they are only too glad of equality.... I plainly assert that he who would truly live ought to allow his desires to wax to the uttermost, and not to chastise them; but when they have grown to their greatest he should have courage and intelligence to minister to them and to satisfy all his longings. And this I affirm to be natural justice and nobility. But the many cannot do so; and, therefore, they blame such persons, because they are ashamed of their own inability, which they desire to conceal, and hence they say that intemperance is base.

This is manifestly the Hobbian view of the natural state of man, thought out long before Hobbes, not to mention the naturalists of our own day. And it was not theory only, but practice. Turn to Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War, which Hobbes translated, 95 and from which, though this is not generally known, Hobbes borrowed the principles that stirred up the seventeenth century as Nietzsche troubled the nineteenth. Read there the famous debate between the envoys of Athens and the magistrates of Melos. The Athenians are advising the Melians, whose racial affinity was with Sparta, to submit their city to the empire of Athens; and to the Melians’ argument from justice they reply with cold-blooded candor:

“We tell you this, that we are here now both to enlarge our own dominions and also to confer about the saving of your city....” “But will you not accept?” plead the Melians, “that we remain quiet, and be your friends (whereas before we were your enemies), and take part with neither.” “No,” reply the Athenians, “for your enmity doth not so much hurt us as your friendship would be an argument of our weakness, and your hatred of our power, amongst those whom we bear rule over.... As for the favor of the gods, we expect to have it as well as you; for we neither do nor require anything contrary to what mankind hath decreed either concerning the worship of the gods or concerning themselves. For of the gods we think according to the common opinion; and of men that for certain, by necessity of nature, they will everywhere reign over such as they be too strong for. Neither did we make this law, nor are we the first that use it made, but as we found it, and shall leave it to posterity forever, so also we use it.”

Such was the philosophy of the natural man in ancient Greece, and such is the philosophy of the natural man to-day, however it may be disguised and glossed over; it is based on the instinctive motive of pleonexia, the “perpetual and restless desire of power after 96 power, that ceaseth only in death.” I need not dwell on the kind of discontent it begets in the soul, a discontent intrinsically and totally opposite to that which accompanies the purely religious motive.

But you will say that these principles of conduct and the feelings that go with them are mere abstractions, fictions of the analytical reason; no man is, or can be, purely religious as I have defined the term, or purely naturalistic. And that is true, is in fact the point at which I am aiming. On the one hand, no man can utterly uproot the natural impulses out of his soul; and if a few men in a generation approach anywhere near it, the saints and martyrs and lonely sages, they are by their virtues cut off from the common life of mankind. Were all men, or even a considerable proportion of men, at any time to overcome the natural discontent that drives us on to seek greater possessions and higher honors and more power, then, surely, all ambition and invention would die, the wheels of progress would slacken and stop, civilization would fail, and society would sink back into barbarism, so far at least as we measure civilization and barbarism by physical standards. Such would be the issue of “content, the bane of industry.”

On the other hand, it will be said, and by none more loudly than by the champions of sentimental naturalism who belong to Mr. Dewey’s school, that the picture of the man controlled by the “perpetual and restless desire of power,” and by that alone, is a pure caricature of human nature. Even a Napoleon, they 97 will say, who might stand for the model of such a monstrosity, yet had thought for the glory of his land, and was a great reformer of laws and institutions. So, too, the Athenian envoys in Thucydides, cynical as were their confessions of the desire of power to rule their own people and all peoples, nevertheless were compelled to mix some honey in their gall, and tried to persuade the Melians that the hegemony of Athens would be prudently exercised and would promote the well-being of her subject states.

Such an objection we readily grant. It is perfectly true that the creature in whom the instinct of greed and the lust of power should reign without modification or mitigation would be no man at all, but a ravening beast of prey. Both the religious man and the natural man, as I have portrayed them, are avowedly abstractions, at least to the extent that no society could exist if composed of either type in its purity. They are abstractions, but they are made such by abstracting one of the two contrasted impulses that do reign together in virtually every human breast, and by showing what would result if one of these impulses were so allowed an unhampered sway over a man’s conduct. And now and then, in some rare individual, the one or the other of these types has been realized almost in its purity, the religious type in a St. Francis of Assisi, with his ideals of poverty and chastity and obedience, the natural type, if not in a Napoleon or an Alexander, yet in certain notorious criminals who have raged through life with the ferocity of a starving wolf.

98 The truth we must recognize is that both these motives exist in the human heart, and that the conduct of man, not as the saint would see him in the cloister nor as the evolutionist would see him in the jungle, but as we see him in the market-place and the theatre and the courts and the home—that the conduct of man is a resultant from these two contrary impulsions.

Now, it is fair to say that religion has always recognized the legitimacy of another standard of life besides the one peculiarly its own. It has seen clearly that the ideal of poverty and chastity and obedience, which would uproot altogether the natural instincts, is possible for very few men, and that the attempt to enforce such a standard absolutely on society at large would result in a world of hypocrisies, if it did not actually run counter to the command of the Creator. So the Christian Church, even in its most ascetic days, admitted that property and marriage and prestige were the normal condition of life; and Buddhism drew up two distinct tables of law, one for the religious state pure and simple, the other for the mass of mankind who are engaged in practical affairs. But both Christianity and Buddhism held that the natural instincts were ruinous if left to themselves, and that they became salutary instruments of welfare only when limited and softened and illuminated by a law not of themselves.

On the contrary, it is of the very essence of naturalism that it should admit no standard but its own. To a naturalist and materialist of the true type all the 99 ideal philosophy of the past, with the religion which grows out of it, is a lying cheat of the imagination and corresponds to nothing real in the nature of things; its peace is a pitiful sham cherished by those who are too cowardly to face the facts; its promise to mitigate the harsher passions of greed is only a cunning pretext devised to blind the dispossessed of their rights and to fortify the owners of wealth and power in the unmolested enjoyment of their criminal advantages. From the very beginning the double standard of things spiritual and material has been the foe of progress, and only then will justice and peace and prosperity prevail, when the deceptions of priest and philosopher are swept away and our vision of material values, as known to the scientist in his laboratory and to the blacksmith at his forge, is not confused by false lights. This, I repeat, is no caricature of the sort of naturalistic pragmatism that is sweeping over the world.

I would not imply that all these enemies of religion, or even those of them who are most influential to-day, are conscious advocates of a pitiless egotism or believe that the repudiation of religion would throw mankind into that anarchy of internecine warfare which Hobbes described as the state of nature, or which Nietzsche glorified as the battle-field of the superman. It is rather the mark of modern naturalism that it is plastered up and down, swathed and swaddled, masked and disguised, with sentimentalisms. A Dewey, for instance, wields his influence over the young and troubled minds of our generation because he stands 100 forth as a reformer with a precious panacea for the calamities of history. It is the dream of another realm, such reformers declare, that has riveted upon us the chains of lethargy and despair; shatter these, let men become aware of their real nature, let them see that the only truth is to recognize this life as all they have, and that their only hope of happiness is to get together and increase the physical comforts of existence—let this once come to pass, and at last a peace born of universal benevolence will settle down upon this long-vexed planet. Sympathy, they maintain, is a natural instinct of the heart, as surely as the lust of power and possessions; rather, it is the genuine basis of nature, and of itself will control the other natural instincts if unhampered by false ideals. That is a pretty faith; but is it true? No doubt the human heart is swayed by sympathy and benevolence; but are these the qualities of the natural man? I will not go into the answer given to this question by the religious minds from Plato down to Cardinal Newman, who all with one accord assert that sympathy and benevolence of an active sort do not spring up from the soil of nature, but result from the reaching down, so to speak, of a higher principle into the lusts of the flesh. They all maintain, with one voice, that the only effective bond of union, whether it be of friendship or of society, is through our perception of oneness in the spirit. Mercy droppeth down as a gentle dew from heaven. I will not argue from this thesis, because it would carry us into the brier patch of metaphysics. But history 101 and science both would seem to enforce the bitter conviction that at the best the instinct of natural sympathy is a fragile and treacherous support against the assaults of a restless and perpetual desire of power. Greece learnt this, to her frightful ruin, when she followed the law of nature as avowed by the Athenians at Melos; and to-day we have rediscovered it in the same desolation of war. That, I fear, is the lesson of history. And science has no different lesson. Indeed, by the natural man I would signify precisely the realization, if such were possible, of the principle of natural selection and the survival of the fittest by which the world is governed as the scientist, the natural philosopher, as he used to be called, sees it when he eliminates the religious idea from his view. I mean nothing more than what Huxley, the protagonist of evolutionary philosophy, meant when, in his essay on The Struggle for Existence, he thus described the law of nature as actually seen in operation:

From the point of view of the moralist, the animal world is on about the same level as a gladiator’s show. The creatures are fairly well treated, and set to fight—whereby the strongest, the swiftest, and the cunningest live to fight another day. The spectator has no need to turn his thumbs down, as no quarter is given. He must admit that the skill and training displayed are wonderful. But he must shut his eyes if he would not see that more or less enduring suffering is the meed of both vanquished and victor. And since the great game is going on in every corner of the world, thousands of times a minute; since, were our ears sharp enough, we need not descend to the gates of hell to hear

102 “sospiri, pianti, ed alti guai,

Voci alte e fioche, e suon di man con elle”

—it seems to follow that, if this world is governed by benevolence, it must be a different sort of benevolence from that of John Howard.

And I think, if you look closely into the social theory based on the naturalistic, or let us say the purely economic, view of life, you will find that beneath its mask of sentimental sympathy the reality is a face of greed and animal rapacity. According to this theory, progress is a result of discontent. Because men are discontented with their present state they push out for something better. And no doubt in a half-way that is true. But when discontent is associated with material standards alone, and purchasable comfort, and worldly opportunity, or, to put the matter in its most favorable light, when success and the goal of achievement are measured by the pleasures, however you may refine them, and by the pride of a few brief years of physical existence, beyond which there is nothing, and when for failure in these no compensation is held out, no supernatural hope, no refuge of peace, here and now, such as the world cannot give—when the driving force of progress is so presented, what is there in the nature of things to offer in the long run any effective resistance to the innate desire of power after power that ends only with death? What equal counterpoise will you 103 set against that instinct of pleonexia which reaches out for ever more and more?

Philosophy is full of mockeries. These honorable gentlemen who are teaching a pure naturalism in the schoolroom, who denounce the content of religion and other-worldly philosophy as a base acquiescence, who in the restlessness of an itching egotism go out as missionaries to the people of the far Orient, may deceive themselves and may try to deceive us; their language may be sleek with the sentiment of brotherly love, but strip off its disguise, and the social theory they are proclaiming will leer forth in its true face as an incentive not to progress but to the anarchy of the jungle. These men are distilling into society a discontent that knows no satisfaction, that must engender only bitterness of disappointment and mutual distrust and hatred, and that in the end, if not checked by other motives, will bring about internecine warfare and a suicide of civilization of which the hideous years through which we have just passed are a warning admonition. And these teachers have the field to-day. We applaud them for their pretensions of philanthropy, even when we doubt the utility of their philosophy. We are browbeaten by the volume of their noisy propaganda. We are mealy-mouthed and afraid to speak out in open denunciation, even when secretly we burn with indignation at the baseness of their words. We sulk in silence, as if we had nothing to say. Meanwhile they have had the field to themselves, and the world every day is more filled with fear and disquiet.

104 There is no danger that by opposing other views of life to this insolent naturalism we shall put an end to that normal discontent with material conditions which may be a necessary incentive to natural and social progress. Certainly, however it may have been at other times, we need apprehend no such danger now. In a world manifestly distracted and blown from its moorings, in a society seething already with envy, it is not the part of wisdom to sow broadcast words that are calculated to inflame discontent into passionate hatred or sullen despair. That way leads to madness. What we need is rather a clearer perception of, and a firmer insistence on, those immaterial values which it is within the power of every man to make his own, whatever may be the seeming injustice of his material condition. We need rather to emphasize the simple truth that poverty is not the only, or indeed the worst, of mortal evils, that happiness does not consist mainly in the things which money can buy, that the man of narrow means may enrich himself with treasures which only he can give to himself, and which no one can take from him, that the purest satisfaction is in the sense of work honestly done and duties well met, and a mind and conscience at ease with itself. Even to the very poor, if such must be, religion may offer manifold compensations. “Blessed be ye poor,” it was said, “for yours is the kingdom of God.” Shall we say that these words were spoken in ignorance or jest or mockery? I think not. We for the moment may have lost the key to their meaning, we may have listened to 105 teachers who turn them into ridicule; nevertheless, they are true words, rich with a gift of solid content.

But it is not the less fortunate and the poor alone, or I might even say chiefly, who need to hear the precepts which the new philosophy is drowning with its clamorous tongue. If the home of theoretical materialism is in the lecture-rooms of philosophy, the home of practical materialism is in the offices of Wall Street. If there is any truth that needs to be reiterated to-day, it is the simple truth that a man may heap up riches and increase his power indefinitely, and command all the visible sources of pleasure, and still be a poor, mean creature, a mere beggar in the veritable joys and honors of life. He that has many possessions needs be a strong man to escape their strangling grip. They wrap him about, they color all his thinking, they hang like a heavy curtain, as it were, between himself and his soul. You have heard the saying: “It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”; that is a hard lesson, but in reality it is only an Oriental way of expressing what Plato had taught long before in the Academy: “Neither when one has his heart set on gaining money, save by fair means, or even is at ease with such gaining, does he then bestow gifts of honor upon his soul; rather, he degrades it thereby, selling what is precious and fair in the soul at the price of a little gold, whereas all the gold on the earth and under the earth is not equal in value to virtue.” That is the invariable lesson of religion and the idealistic philosophy. 106 Certainly, it is a truth we shall not recover by listening to the words of the new naturalism. It is not by a philosophy that preaches social discontent as the means of progress, and measures content by material values, however it may disguise the banality of its aims in a sentimental philanthropy—it is not by such a philosophy that justice and mercy and humility shall be imposed upon the natural pride of those who have the larger share of this world’s goods.

It is true that religion, or religious philosophy, as its friends and foes have seen from the beginning, is an alleviator of discontent and a brake upon innovation; but the content it offers from the world of immaterial values is a necessary counterpoise to the mutual envy and materialistic greed of the natural man, and the conservatism it inculcates is not the ally of sullen and predatory privilege but of orderly amelioration.





(Note.—This address was delivered on November 4, 1921, before the Conference on Limitation of Armaments and Far Eastern Questions began its work. It is now published some months after the Conference was held. Readers who are familiar with the work of the Conference will be interested in noting how far the Governments concerned followed the principles laid down in the address. Most will probably agree that no other important international conference dealing with questions of this type has come so near following the principles of Jesus’ teachings here laid down as did the Conference at Washington. Certainly it will be of interest to those who read the address to compare its principles with those followed by the conferees.)


I. Introduction

No other political event of the past year has awakened so great interest and hope as the calling by President Harding of the Conference on Limitation of Armaments and Far-Eastern Questions. The greatest statesmen of Europe, America, and the Far East have avowed their belief in the supreme significance to world civilization and political and industrial progress of such a conference, and the sincerity of their statements is proved by the caliber of their representatives.

Secretary Hughes has expressed the desire that leading Christian bodies in the United States be active in presenting their views to the public and to the members of the conference, in the hope that thereby the influence of a powerful public opinion may be exerted along the noblest lines. It seems peculiarly fitting, therefore, and in full accord with the spirit of the Bross Foundation, that an attempt be made to search out the bearings which the teachings of the founder of the Christian religion may have upon the solution of these most important political problems. Moreover, if we are to be just and helpful, his teachings must be 110 analyzed and treated not as religion and therefore sacred, but as psychology and political or social science, as are those of Aristotle or Kant or Herbert Spencer.

Any careful student of the New Testament recognizes at once that however deep Jesus laid the philosophical foundation of his life-work in human nature, his teachings dealt directly with the day-by-day practical activities of the individuals with whom he talked. His direct appeals to his hearers were so to change their outlook upon life as to make of them new creatures. They were to do their life-work in a new and better way, and the final outcome of this changed, wiser, and loftier mental and spiritual attitude on the part of great masses of people was to be a new type of society, a better world which he designated the Kingdom of God.

II. Jesus’ Fundamental Teachings

Through the years of his ministry Jesus met and discussed the issues of life and society with many thousands of people. We have the records giving an account of his sayings in many specific cases and of the marvellously illuminating illustrations of his principles of living contained in his parables. Moreover, the account of his life and his dealings with his contemporaries—friends, critics, and persecutors—illustrates better, perhaps, even than his teachings his fundamental principles of living. A careful analysis of the various topics which he discussed and of the accounts of his acts will show that there were a few principles which 111 are absolutely basic, and which are of such a nature that as they entered the consciousness of men they changed their lives; and in consequence, in the course of the centuries that have followed, they have wrought a very considerable transformation in society.

Our international problems to-day, both economic and political, have to do primarily with men’s motives and purposes. If men and nations can attain the right spirit toward one another and toward their own duties, the most difficult problems are well on the way toward solution. It is worth while then to analyze with care the principles of living of this greatest moulder of human motive.

III. Truth

The first of these principles to be enumerated is “Truth,” taking the word in its most comprehensive sense.

In the light of our modern social studies every one must concede that truth is the greatest social virtue, and a lie the greatest social sin. It may well have been the case in barbarous times that fear was the binding force that held society together and that caused its different members to function; but there can be no doubt that in modern society, both economic and political, confidence is the chief essential factor to any effective functioning. It is a commonplace among business men that modern business rests upon credit, and that credit depends absolutely upon the confidence that men will live up to their contracts, and that a 112 man’s word, however given, must be kept literally and rigidly. Trickery and deception may win temporary gains, but no great permanent business can be built except on the basis of fair dealing. Good measure and the qualities represented by strict accuracy in the maintenance of standards are all required if a business is to succeed. Even advertising is now conducted with strict regard for truth. In politics, too, as well as in business, truth pays in the long run, as even the diplomats are beginning to concede. Truth, too, means seeing straight as well as talking straight.

There is perhaps no more striking characteristic of Jesus’ mental attitude toward truth than his clarity of vision, the keenness of his insight into the real meanings of things. He did not believe in “cleansing the outside of the cup or of the platter and leaving the inside untouched.” He did not think that a courteous manner and fair promises revealed the character of a man. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” He did not believe in long prayers that recite the virtues of the petitioners. God looks into the heart as Jesus did and sees the man as he is.

Moreover, in his interpretation of the law he was not content with the mere word. He must understand the purpose and significance of the law. Life and life’s activities were with him not matters of form; they were matters of purpose and intent. When criticised for violation of the law regarding the Sabbath Day, he recognized to the full the sanctity of the day, but claimed that the purpose and not the form of the deed 113 determined its sanctity. “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” If the purpose of one’s acts is the uplift of humanity or the bringing of comfort to a suffering soul, the deed is good, the Sabbath is not broken. These traits of Jesus show clarity of mental vision and mental integrity, the ultimate essence of truth. He does not necessarily condemn the moral integrity of those who keep the letter of the law in good faith, not seeing its spirit; but he does say that they do not know the truth.

Aside from this, however, no other sin of humanity seems so to arouse his righteous indignation as does wilful misrepresentation, conscious hypocrisy. “When ye pray, ye shall not be as hypocrites: for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have received their reward” (Matt. 6:5).

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye tithe mint and anise and cummin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith: but these ye ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone.... Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but inwardly ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matt. 23:23, 27, 28).

114 Jesus recognized also how imperative is the need of a clear statement of thought and opinion, if one is to deal honorably and successfully with others. Not only does he condemn profanity in the taking of oaths, but he goes still farther than that. “Let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; and whatsoever is more than these is of the evil one” (Matt. 5:37). Throughout his teachings we see how direct and clear are his own statements, so that it is impossible, if one considers those to whom he was speaking and the circumstances under which his words were uttered, to misunderstand his meaning.

Nevertheless, there seems to be equal evidence that he saw the need of suiting his words to the occasion and to the people with whom he was dealing, in order to secure the best effect for what he was saying. “If thy brother sin against thee, go, show him his fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he hear thee not, take with thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or three every word may be established. And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican” (Matt. 18:15-17).

Observe the skill with which Jesus dealt with his questioners when they attempted to corner him in argument. When the chief priests and elders asked him by what authority he did those things, he responded by saying: “I also will ask you one question, 115 which if ye tell me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven or from men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why then did ye not believe him? But if we shall say, From men; we fear the multitude; for all hold John as a prophet” (Matt. 21:23-26).

When the Pharisees inquire whether it is “lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar or not,” he shows them their Roman coins with the image and superscription of Cæsar and replies, “Render therefore unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21).

With all of his insistence upon absolute uprightness and truth-telling and plainness of speech, we find no hint of a lack of courtesy or kindness, or of diplomacy in the best modern American sense of that much-abused word. The direct, truth-telling, open diplomacy that is imperative upon a democratic government like the United States, where it is impossible to have secret treaties or for any great length of time even confidential understandings between nations that are not public in their character, is quite in accord with the teachings of Jesus; whereas the secret treaties such as those that led to grave misunderstanding on the part of the United States when it entered the Great War are directly contrary to the spirit and practice of Jesus’ teachings. It is not sufficient to call such practice of a secret diplomacy “discreet,” which would be 116 proper; but often, as in the cases mentioned, where vital interests of others are involved, such treaties lead to direct deception, and, in consequence, to injurious practices. Indeed, it is often because of the unjust nature of such treaties that the attempt is made to keep them secret.

In the farewell visit with his disciples just before his betrayal, Jesus showed them how throughout the period of their discipleship he had been gradually teaching them as they were able to understand. He had not taught them all his life principles to begin with, because they were not yet ready to receive all of the truth. And even in this last discourse, when he was rehearsing for the disciples the nature of his relations with them and their relations with the world, he still gave them to understand that only as they became equipped to receive the truth could all the truth be given them. “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth....” (John 16:12, 13).

In his final words to them he expressed his conviction that he had already so put his principles of life and action into the minds of men that through their gradual fruition in the future there would be given unto us a new earth, a new society, and he concluded: “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). His task had been completed. He 117 was confident that his principles in time would conquer and give the world peace.

IV. The Worth of the Common Man: Individual Responsibility

The greatest single contribution that Jesus made to social and political science was his insistence upon the worth of the common man. That is practically a declaration of the moral equality of all mature individuals, rich and poor, bond or free, a declaration of their duty to make their own decisions on questions of right and wrong, and in consequence the recognition of the responsibility which each must bear for the conduct of his own life.

This was a new philosophy that Jesus brought into the world. No one of the great teachers among the Greek philosophers had dreamed of such a doctrine. In the Republic of Plato and in the writings of Aristotle we find, indeed, a type of republican form of government, but in that government the rulers are to be the intellectual aristocrats, the philosophers, while the great mass of the common people are to be subservient. Among the ancient Hebrews, even in the days of the kingdom, there was more than an inkling of a democracy. The common man had many rights which were protected by the law, but he had relatively few responsibilities. If he obeyed the law as that law was given him by the priests, he was doing right. The responsibility did not rest upon him to interpret the law. And in the days when Jesus lived, the priests 118 and the commentators prescribed in minute detail the application of the law to life: the clothing which should be worn, the food that should be eaten, the work that should be done on the Sabbath—all the minute forms of religious ceremonial were matters of prescription which the common man need not think about. He was to do as he was told. How revolutionary, then, was this doctrine that Jesus taught of the infinite worth of the individual human soul!

“Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they?” (Matt. 6:26).

And again: “If God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matt. 6:30).

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father: but the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore; ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-31).

But with this doctrine of individual worth is combined, of necessity, the principle of individual responsibility. Each man is to decide for himself what his life shall be, and his punishment or reward at the hands of God, that is, the development or degradation of his own character and soul are dependent upon his determining decision.

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the 119 earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.... No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:19-21, 24).

“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19).

Then again: “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” And it is his individual decision that determines.

This development through the bearing of responsibility demands, of course, independence of judgment. We have already noted how in his own life, in interpreting the ancient laws and in determining his course of action, Jesus held himself independent of the decisions or interpretations of the laws as given by others. He must think out by the light of his own reason, independently, his course of action. He likewise expected his disciples, as he sent them on their mission, to judge and determine their own actions.

But if I demand from others the right to think independently and to determine my own line of action, it is, of course, imperative upon me to grant that same 120 right of independent action to my fellow men. I ought not to insist upon my right to bear my own responsibilities without being tolerant of the rights of others; and Jesus nowhere in his teachings or life shows any lack of tolerance. Perhaps the most striking incident of this trait of character is found in the broad-minded way in which he dealt with the woman taken in adultery. With ironical scorn for her hypocritical accusers he said: “Let him that is without sin among you first cast a stone.” And then he gives a judgment as merciful as it is just. “Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more.” So long as repentance and determination for right living in the future is secured, forgiveness can be granted. There must be no prejudice about formal rules or customs.

In his scornful condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees, he always placed the emphasis not upon any difference of opinion, but upon their hypocrisy and cruelty. A difference of opinion need not be condemned, but hypocrisy, falsity in mind and heart, is worthy of the utmost contempt and punishment.

No person who bears responsibility can safely make decisions without proper study of his problems and preparation for his work. Jesus’ life and teachings exemplify this principle completely. So much emphasis has been placed by many Christian teachers and writers upon the divine nature of Jesus that many assume that there was given him all knowledge and wisdom in some superhuman way entirely different from that by which ordinary human beings attain their 121 knowledge and bases of judgment. Such persons apparently overlook the fact that if that were true Jesus could not have been tempted in all points as we are. From the evidence given in the New Testament, Jesus, when a boy of twelve years of age, showed a remarkable precocity and mental grasp of the deep problems of life in his discussions with the wise men in the Temple. Nevertheless, he did not venture upon teaching in any formal way and making public his convictions regarding life and society until he was some thirty years of age. Moreover, there was a progressive development in his views and plans for the redemption of humanity. During his period of preparation, he made himself master of the Hebraic law and the writings of the leading commentators upon it. Evidently, also, while he was working at his trade of carpenter, and presumably also as master carpenter and contractor and citizen, he had been studying and reflecting most deeply upon the traits of human nature as manifested in the people whom he met and those with whom he had come in contact through his work and studies. When he began his public ministry, he had at his command the most profound knowledge of human motive and of human nature possessed by any of the great teachers of history. While he left us no formal analytical discussion on psychology, and probably never made one, as did Aristotle or Immanuel Kant or William James, none of them had more completely understood the ways in which human hearts and minds are to be touched and convinced so as to change their entire 122 nature. It is not too much to say that as regards the practical working knowledge of human nature and the way in which it is to be influenced and changed, Jesus Christ is the greatest social psychologist of history. He had made himself such by long and patient study during a period of from eighteen to twenty years of preparation.

V. Love: Welfare of Humanity: Golden Rule

The third great principle laid down by Jesus for the conduct of life is love: devotion to the welfare of others.

This principle had been enunciated by all of the great religious teachers, but never before had it been so emphasized as by Jesus. The Buddha had taught kindness and mercy, and among the Buddhists even to-day it is not uncommon for people to make gifts to the community, such as bridges or rest houses by the wayside, or public buildings, in order “to acquire merit.” Likewise Confucius and the Hebrew lawgivers teach mercy and kindness and devotion to the welfare of the community. Nowhere, however, in all literature have we quite the same range of touching human sympathy as is expressed in the parable of the Good Samaritan, or quite the same direct guide to human action as in the Golden Rule. Most Christian teachers, indeed, have spoken of this principle of love as the cardinal principle of Jesus’ teachings, often as if it were almost the sole principle of social import; whereas, far-reaching as it is, the principle was not so new in social science as that of individual responsibility.

123 The social value of this principle is most clearly demonstrated by recognizing the fact that Jesus apparently made the welfare of humanity the basis of his ethical teachings, his test of right and wrong. And that is perhaps, on the whole, the best test that can be applied to individual or social action to-day. Much has been said by Christian teachers, and by the teachers of other religions, of the Law of God; and the test of what is right and wrong has seemed to be either some specific commands, such as, for example, the Ten Commandments of the Hebraic law, or other pronouncement of priestly doctrine; but Jesus, in his interpretation of the ancient law, sought for a fundamental principle which was to be applied to individual human action by the individual himself. In his declaration, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath,” in his parable of the Good Samaritan, in his condemnation of the Pharisees for their hard-heartedness, in his enunciation, indeed, of the Golden Rule itself, we find various ways in which the truth that whatever tends to benefit humanity is right and whatever tends to injure humanity is wrong is made the basis of judgment.

This principle of Jesus would generally, I believe, be accepted for the basis of individual action. Of course, customs, habits, laws have so passed judgment upon most of our every-day acts that we do not need to stop to argue with ourselves the question as to whether stealing or killing other human beings or bearing false witness are for the benefit of humanity or for its detriment. 124 We know it, we feel it; custom has made it instinctive; and yet our laws make very clear the distinction between murder and the execution of the death sentence or killing in self-defense; and the basis of the distinction is, of course, the welfare of the community.

Many writers, however, especially perhaps some of the leading German jurists, have drawn a sharp distinction between personal ethics and governmental ethics, arguing that though it may be wrong for an individual to lie, it is entirely proper for a government to deceive, if by so doing its own immediate welfare can be promoted. Along the same line is argued the justification for wars, seizure of territory of weaker peoples, and other acts of government that throughout all history have been assumed to be right, or passed over with little condemnation.

On this point again there can be no question that this broad principle, the promotion of the welfare of humanity at large, comes the nearest of any test of right and wrong that has been, probably that can be, discovered. This makes no distinction between underlying principles of governmental ethics, personal ethics, international ethics. The differences, whatever they may be, lie in the different influences that are brought to bear by the acts of an individual in his private and in his governmental capacities. It is, however, not difficult ordinarily to make the distinction.

Whatever the varying conditions may have been that guided governmental actions in the upward progress 125 of civilization, the best test, perhaps, of national morality and of a higher civilization is that as time goes on the principles which should guide individual action in a society shall more and more become the rules by which governmental action within the society and also in international relations shall be guided. The higher civilizations, in their dealings with one another, and especially in their dealings with weaker peoples, should base their actions more and more upon truth, development of the individual through responsibility, the Golden Rule.

VI. These Principles of Action Produce Democratic Government

If we review hastily these principles of personal action which are really the summary of the most important of Jesus’ social teachings, we note that in enunciating these principles Jesus laid the foundations of democracy. He dealt the death-blow to imperialism, even to a benevolent despotism. When the mature individuals in a community deal truthfully and frankly with one another, when they feel a keen sense of individual responsibility for their actions, judging those actions with independence of spirit, with tolerance for the same independent judgment on the part of others, with the consciousness that they must study and prepare themselves for the bearing of their responsibilities, and when they also feel that they must devote themselves with all that they have and all that they are to the promotion of the welfare of the community at 126 large, we have the ideal democracy. Is not this true? I have asked many thoughtful students of government whether or not these principles are the fundamental principles of popular self-government, and whether any other principles besides these are needed to be brought into play in order to give us popular self-government of the best type; and so far I have found no one who denied these to be the principles of democracy or who had anything to add to these principles. If, then, these are the principles of Christianity, if these are the complete summary of Jesus’ fundamental teachings, is it not the fact that Jesus, although not dealing directly with government, is nevertheless the founder of democracy, of self-government? It is certainly true that before his day the various attempts that had been made toward the establishment of republics or of democratic governments did not recognize the worth of the common man. In all of the earlier attempts that had been made there was a substantial equality of rights among the so-called better classes in the community; but the great masses of the serving classes, of the working classes, if not slaves were at least not supposed to bear the responsibilities of guiding the affairs of the community. Even in Great Britain, until after the great reform acts of the middle of the last century, there was no real democracy.

Moreover, the chief difficulties in democracy arise from the fact that we do not have in the great mass of our citizens in any community by any means a universal acceptance of these principles of Jesus. Although 127 these are the principles of the ideal democracy, not until these principles are accepted and acted upon by the great masses of individuals in the community shall we have a perfect democracy. To improve our governments, therefore, if we are to accept Jesus’ guidance in our actions, our efforts should be devoted primarily not so much to increasing the power of individuals in the community or to weakening the power of leaders, as to increasing, on the part of our individual citizens, the capacity for wise, independent self-judgment and bearing of responsibility through increase of knowledge and increase of the spirit of unselfishness.

This leads us naturally to a brief consideration of the principle of self-determination on the part of nations and peoples, which has been so much discussed since the Great War. Perhaps there has been no other watchword that has been more misused in its application to governments and peoples than that of self-determination, but if we note carefully the way in which Jesus applied these rules that have been enunciated, we shall find the key to a wise and just application of this principle of self-determination. What limitations did Jesus place upon the principle?

When he said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me; forbid them not; for to such belongeth the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14, 15); and again (Mark 9:35-37), “If any man would be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all. And he took a little child, and set him in the midst of them: and taking him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive 128 one of such little children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever receiveth me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me”—he clearly had in mind the humility and receptivity of children, their eagerness to learn, and had no thought at all that they should decide for themselves what to do. He seems throughout his teachings quite in accord with the teachings of Paul in his epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, that children should obey their parents, and that it took mature men, measuring up to the spiritual stature of Christians, to decide their own beliefs and actions. It is, of course, recognized in the laws and customs, as well as in the good judgment of all peoples, that children are not yet persons in the legal sense of the word. The same principle applies to weak-minded individuals. One of the great problems of self-government is to determine at what age or at what stage of development people are to be considered competent to make decisions for themselves, and, in governmental matters, for other members of the community. In America we have assumed that at twenty-one years of age people may properly be asked to take that responsibility. In some other countries twenty-five years is assumed as the proper age. In most countries, before people are allowed to act as representatives to pass on the making of laws, a still more advanced age, and, in consequence, a greater degree of maturity, is required.

What is only good judgment and common sense as applied to children is also good judgment and common sense, and good Christianity, in accordance with the 129 teachings of both Jesus and St. Paul, as applied to certain peoples where the majority are so untrained or incapable that they cannot judge. It is not at all a question of social status. The extreme radical change that Jesus made was in that field. Jesus taught that there were no people born better than others, or in a ruling class, who could remove responsibility from any individual for deciding his own beliefs and determining his own actions. On the other hand, there is no reason for thinking that Jesus in any particular fostered the doctrine that any individual or small group of whatever degree of immaturity of judgment should under all circumstances be allowed to determine their own acts or their own form of government, and especially to control their relations with other peoples.

A second limitation upon the privilege of self-determination is, of course, the rights and the welfare of others. While we are to decide our own actions in accordance with the spirit of Jesus, we should impose upon ourselves the limitation that we will not act contrary to the interests of others or contrary to the welfare of the community, and this same principle would properly apply in any democratic community or state. While it is right for them to seek their own development, people should avoid injury to other peoples or races, and resistance to such injury is justified. Jesus did not hesitate to denounce the Pharisees for their unjust treatment of others, nor to expel forcibly from the Temple those who were desecrating its precincts to the detriment of the faithful.

130 I have heard the parable of the Good Samaritan cited by extreme pacifists as an argument against all war, and have heard Jesus characterized as “The Great Pacifist.” In addition to the present parable, I have sometimes wished that he could have left us another in which he depicted the scene a little earlier, just at the time when the wayfarer was struggling in the hands of the robbers. The priest might well have shrunk from a contest. Pleading to himself that it would ill become one of his cloth to be involved in a wayside brawl, he would pass by on the other side. The Levite, too, arguing to his conscience that the victim was a stranger to whom he was under no obligation, and that, at any rate, the robbers were too many, would pass by on the other side. But the Good Samaritan, seeing only a neighbor—though a total stranger—in dire distress at the hands of scoundrels, would hurl himself like a bolt into the fray. And if, after deadly conflict, he too lay robbed, bleeding, and sore by his neighbor’s side, there would be no glimmer of regret in his heart; but as each helped the other to bind up his wounds, their hearts would rejoice that each had found a friend in a good fight for the right.

The main difficulty in the application of the principle of self-determination is, of course, the apparent conflict of interests and benefits that occurs at times. Judgment should be rendered as nearly as possible by a consensus of opinion of the least prejudiced and best informed and most unselfish, disinterested observers. It is in exactly this field that we look forward to an 131 ultimate international court of nations to which such questions as are formally justiciable may be put, and to a council of nations that may discuss, determine, and formulate the opinions of the nations on questions that are political in their nature. We may look forward to a time when such a decision rendered by such a court or such a council will be practically self-enforcing through the public opinion of the world. In the meantime, however, it should be a matter for the consciences of the statesmen of all of the different nations to settle this question with the spirit of Jesus and in the light of experience. Most thoughtful people of the present day, if their interests are not immediately concerned, would concede that the welfare of humanity and the progressive development, not only materially but also intellectually and spiritually, of the most backward individuals and peoples would be furthered by limiting the extent to which they may determine their own actions, especially so far as they concern other peoples through international relations. Heretofore such questions have been decided by the nations that had the greater power to enforce their will. Cases could be selected where the nation from whom the right of self-determination has been taken was probably better able to judge wisely its own acts than the dominating power. On the other hand, probably far more instances could be cited where the limitation for a time of the self-determining power in international matters has been beneficial to humanity. The right principle and the Christian principle would seem to be that an effort 132 should be made to develop the capacity for self-determination on the part of backward peoples, and to withhold the power of self-determination in matters which involve deeply the interests of others, until such self-determining capacity has been developed to a degree to make its use safe for other peoples and nations. Doubtless as a practical matter for some time to come it will be the will of the stronger power in individual instances that will settle this question of the degree of self-determination that shall be granted and its application; but eventually the world court or council which has been mentioned may determine such matters in default of agreement among the peoples immediately concerned.

VII. Problems of the Far East

With the preceding discussion of principles as manifested by the teachings of Jesus Christ, we may consider briefly their application to the problems of the Far East and the limitation of armaments.

The three countries most concerned are Great Britain, the United States, and Japan. Of these, the first two claim to be Christian, and should therefore be willing to follow the teachings of the Founder of their religion. The third claims that her aim is to take the best from the civilization of the other two, and, wherever possible, to improve it. If all of them are really sincere and a correct analysis has been made of Jesus’ teachings, they may well prove to be satisfactory bases 133 for discussion and agreement. If the powers can agree, the conference will be a success.

All of the problems of the Far East, from the point of view of the United States, seem to be centred about Japan, her acquisitions of territory, her claims regarding her interests and rights, her attitude toward other nations and the proper methods of procedure; and, on the other hand, from the point of view of Japan, one might in like manner assert that the problems of the Far East seem to be centred about the United States, her acquisitions of territory, her claims regarding her interests and rights, her attitude toward other nations, and the proper methods of procedure.

It is frequently stated by those who are discussing the nature of the forthcoming conference that the great problem of the Far East is China, and minor problems are Siberia and the islands of the Pacific; while still others speak of immigration and racial equality as the most important problems to be discussed. It will readily be seen, from our point of view, that if we eliminate Japan as an active factor, the other problems would not be of so serious import for international discussion, especially in connection with the possible limitation of armaments; whereas from the point of view of Japan, if the United States were eliminated as an important factor, such discussions would be of minor import. She could take care of the difficulties herself. There seems to be a conflict of views mainly between Japan and the United States, with Great Britain and, to a less degree, the other 134 nations invited as vitally interested umpires, whose voices will largely decide, and who wish not to offend either Japan or America.

A complete discussion of these vital problems would involve careful and sympathetic consideration of questions that differ widely in form and nature, yet may be greatly simplified by the application of these principles of Jesus to their solution. Such a study would involve a sketch of the political history of the Far East since the China-Japan War, with notice taken of earlier conflicts over China, giving motives and methods of aggressions of various nations with their results; the marvellous expansion of Japan in both territory and influence, with a judgment as to her real needs for territory and materials and consideration of satisfying these needs; and the present and probable effects upon the world of the continuation of her policies; a similar study of the acquisition of territory and extension of influence in the Far East of the United States, Great Britain, and the other nations, and the probable future effects of the continuation of their policies—all to be judged in the light of these principles of Jesus: truth; development of personality of individual human beings; the Golden Rule, care for the welfare of humanity as the test of right and wrong.

To-day I may only indicate the method and nature of such study, and let each follow out the thought to a conclusion.

1. Truth: While every care should be taken to be courteous and considerate and just to all, if Jesus’ principles are right the future policies of the nations 135 must discourage militaristic methods of deceit and trickery, propaganda of falsehood, secret diplomacy that is misleading, and the employment of force or threats, except in war. This can best be done by taking action which shows that such methods do not succeed and will not be tolerated in international relations. An “open-door” policy freely entered into (and this has been repeatedly affirmed by all) must be kept by all, and, if necessary, enforced by joint action. Promises regarding territory and treaties entered into freely must be kept, while those extorted by force should be considered invalid.

2. The spread of democracy in the sane sense of the word must be recognized and encouraged. World history under the teachings of Jesus shows this trend, and the outcome of the World War makes it clear that imperialism cannot survive. All nations must recognize this fact, and kings and emperors must retain their thrones by becoming the leaders of their peoples, whom they will train to assume responsibility. The nations whose spirit and policies are most intelligently and most sincerely devoted to developing stable self-government among their peoples must extend their influence, and those with other views must change or their governments will in no long time perish. Again, it is practically certain that any policy that is at variance with this principle will certainly lead to war in the not distant future—not to peace. These facts should have influence in the conference in determining future policies.

3. The policy should be encouraged of promoting 136 the welfare of weak and backward peoples, not by selfish exploitation, but by aiding them to fit themselves for the responsibilities of self-government in all ways practicable, while not encouraging a movement toward a weak independence that would endanger the peace of the world.

4. All these questions must be handled—if the teaching and practice of Jesus are to be followed—in the light of reason and common sense and the practicable. To attempt to reverse actions of generations ago, whatever our views as to their justice then, might well do more harm than good. The annexations of Hong Kong, Indo-China, the Philippine Islands, Corea, are questions that cannot and ought not to come before the Washington conference. The ways in which the different nations have administered those territories may well be factors in determining what further opportunities should be given to the nations concerned. On the other hand, questions of grave importance are still pending and others involving the same principles may well arise.

(a) All the nations represented at the conference have formally agreed to the open-door policy in China. If that policy has been violated by any of the powers, the facts should be clearly brought out and recognized. On the basis of these facts, measures should be taken to insure a strict observance of that policy in the future. Presumably international inspection by international commission, including, of course, China as a party, probably as chairman, or possibly international control, will be needed in certain particulars.

(b) The treaties between China and Japan in 1915 137 and 1918 (which China claims were obtained by threats and show of force against a friendly power in time of peace) have not been recognized by the United States as valid so far as they concern the rights of America or American citizens, or the territorial integrity or the sovereignty of China, or the principle of the “open door.” These treaties involve the extension of power and influence of Japan in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, and Fukien province of China, as well as her official influence with the Chinese Government and the entire question of Shantung province and Japan’s hold on Kiao Chow. The United States Government as well as China have consistently refused to consider these questions closed. They should now be considered and settled in accordance with the principles laid down. The truth should be fully brought out and recognized; measures should be taken looking toward the best development of the peoples concerned, so as to fit them for self-government in due time. As fast as possible they should be given the responsibility of self-determination. If not ready now, steps should be taken to prevent them from oppression or loss of their territory, while they are encouraged to find their way.

(c) The welfare in the long run of the peoples concerned, the welfare of humanity through them, should be the test of right and wrong in making these decisions and working out these plans. In case of differing opinions, based not on self-interest but on sincere conviction, if the history of twenty centuries is to count, the opinion should prevail of those nations whose practices have followed most nearly the principles of Jesus.

138 The same tests may be applied to conditions in Siberia, to Yap, and the islands of the Pacific whose status has not yet been agreed to by all the powers, and to the other problems raised by conditions in China.

Two questions more raised by Japan at different times may be briefly touched upon: Oriental immigration into Western countries and the race problem. Can the New Testament help on these?

Japan claims that she is already overpopulated; that the countries to which her people wish to go object to their coming, and that the countries to which they might go (Formosa, their own northern islands, Hokkaido and Saghalien, Siberia, Manchuria) are not suited to them. The facts are naturally that they wish to go to countries whose standards of living are higher than theirs. Then they have the advantage in competition. But such advantage is at the expense of those countries, whose standards will be lowered. They do not wish to go to countries whose standards are lower than theirs. The advantage in competition would then be against them, as experience in Corea and Manchuria has shown, and they must lower their standards to succeed. That they are naturally unwilling to do. For the same reason they exclude Chinese and Corean laborers from Japan in actual practice. In my judgment they are wise in so doing.3

139 It is the common economic conflict of standards of living where the fittest, in the sense of the ones who will produce the most at the lowest rates, because they have diligence and thrift, and are willing to live on lower standards, survive, and those who insist upon higher standards must go. It is perfectly evident, and to my mind entirely proper and in strict accord with the spirit of the teachings of Jesus, that every effort should be made to maintain the higher standards to the utmost extent possible, and that the methods of competition that should be admitted in connection with the principles of expansion should be those which would further the welfare of the populations, including the opportunities for developing intellectually, and gradually exercising more and more of a capacity for a self-determination of policies. This would not exclude Japanese from Corea or Manchuria, if they will deal fairly with those peoples. On the other hand, the nations that object to the admission of the Japanese on the grounds that their coming in large numbers will lower their standards of living and introduce a type of 140 civilization that on the whole they feel to be lower than their own, are not therefore unchristian, provided proper methods of exclusion are followed. Japan is likewise fully justified in adhering to her policy of excluding from her own territory those laborers, especially Chinese and Coreans, who, if allowed to come in large numbers, because of their lower standards of living, would lower the standards of living and the opportunity, in consequence, for cultural development of the Japanese people.

As the Japanese Government has insisted upon limiting the competition of some foreign corporations that were obtaining too much control of certain industries in Japan (such as the American Tobacco Company), and insisted upon rigid control of the foreign companies doing business there, so it seems fully justified for the Chinese and those sympathetic with them to object to the dominating control by the Japanese, at the expense of the natives and of foreign competitors, of the territory of Kiao Chow, of the administration of the South Manchurian Railway, if the charges of discrimination are true, and of the methods of administration of Corea. I am not raising now the question of the legal right in any of these cases, but of the Christian principle of improving the welfare of the masses of the peoples of the countries concerned through the opportunities for developing to the highest degree the individuals.

Going now to the question of what the Japanese can do to maintain their own standards and improve them, 141 unless they are allowed to enter freely in large numbers the territories of those whose standards of living are higher, three suggestions may be made:

First, they may become, at home, as they have already shown their capacity to become, more of an industrial nation, in which case the increase in the density of the population would be an advantage in competition rather than a disadvantage, and in which—owing to the rapid improvement of industrial conditions—the standards of living could be improved rather than lowered. The best illustrations of the success of this policy are found in Great Britain and Germany, both of which improved very rapidly with an increasing density of population.

The second suggestion is that in the countries readily open to Japanese immigration, where the population is not so dense as in Japan, i.e., in certain parts of Corea and Manchuria, in Hokkaido, and in other countries that might be mentioned (other parts of China and Siberia), a similar policy might well be followed. This does not mean political control, which is not necessary, but Japanese immigration. If they will undertake economic and industrial development, there will be room for a large and increasing population.

A third suggestion has to do with the very rapid increase in the population of Japan, owing to the high birth-rate. It is well known that in countries where the standard of living is rapidly rising, the birth-rate rapidly falls. This is a normal consequence of the increased care for their children, their training and their 142 education, on the part of parents, with their own improved standards of living and the desire to give to their children the best which is possible. If Japan improves her industrial standards, unless there are some special efforts made either through religious influence or governmental influence to the contrary, the birth-rate will normally decrease. A militaristic nation wishes a high birth-rate, an industrial nation gets a low rate. Already there has been discussed in Japan, by their most thoughtful citizens, the question of birth control and the inculcation of the knowledge regarding sane and proper methods of birth control among the more ignorant classes of the population. It is a question that may well be given thoughtful consideration not only in Japan but in other countries.

It is, however, urged frequently that the Japanese cannot expand industrially unless they are in a position to secure the raw materials for their industries that are not produced in Japan itself. This is the usual defense that is given for many of the aggressive acts of Japan in securing control of coal and iron mines in various parts of China. Other nations, such as France, Great Britain, the United States, have imported large quantities of the essentials for industrial development, such as the raw materials mentioned, and petroleum and food-supplies, without feeling the necessity of political control. For decades the population of Great Britain, it has been known, could not survive many months without the importation of large quantities of foodstuffs, while her cotton industry has 143 been dependent upon the United States for its raw material for many decades. There would be no objection whatever to Japan importing coal and iron ore and other products from China in as large quantities as she needed in the ordinary course of business for the support of her industries; and if her policy were an industrial one rather than a politically imperialistic one, her industries would be as safe as are those of Great Britain. They would be much safer than during the last years, when their acts have produced the Chinese boycott.

From the viewpoint of the United States, the difficulty in the Japanese expansion has been the apparent insistence on the part of her friends that she must have for her protection a political control over raw materials while her competitors along certain lines are satisfied with industrial access to raw materials; and also her insistence upon forcing her people into competition where they would lower the standards of living of other nations when they might readily find plenty of opportunity for work at higher standards, though it would require capital, to the benefit of not only themselves but of the populations who would welcome them.

VIII. Racial Equality

These considerations bring up also, as the Japanese Government itself brought up at the Paris Peace Conference and frequently elsewhere, the questions of racial equality and the statement so frequently made 144 that any discrimination between races, by immigration laws, for example, is unchristian.

It is highly important that we understand with the greatest clearness the spirit of the teachings of Jesus in connection with the question of race and race equality. At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry he apparently felt that his message was first and chiefly to the Jews. That was natural, and quite possibly it appeared the most expedient course for the rapid spread of his vital principles of living. There can be, however, no doubt, as shown for example in the parable of the Good Samaritan and in the spirit of his teachings throughout, that Jesus believed and taught that all individuals of whatever race were equally precious in the sight of God, and that all would be equally citizens in his kingdom if they possessed and manifested his spirit as shown in his life and teachings. It is no less clear, however, that with his marvellous insight into the realities of life, he recognized as accurately and completely as any thinker possibly can, the differences between classes, professions, sects, and races, and the influence of these differences upon social life. Samaritans, Pharisees, Sadducees, Jews, and Gentiles are recognized as different types, to be dealt with according to their differences in type. In other words, Jesus recognized social facts as they were and acted in accordance with those facts, so as best to improve the welfare of all. This is the spirit of his teachings. No sane, intelligent person denies the fact that the differences between Negroes, Japanese, Jews, Anglo-Saxons, 145 Arabs, Chinese, Hindus, Hottentots, are very marked. No Christian doubts that any member of any of these races who knows and follows the teachings of Jesus is equally a Christian, and equally worthy and precious in the sight of God; and yet with their great differences in social and political customs and habits of living, it is equally clear that if the attempt were made for them all to mingle with each other in close association, even with the best intentions and the best Christian spirit, there would be brought about inevitably a great loss of effective energy, not to say great friction. When one considers still further that the racial differences are so great in many instances that there is an instinctive objection on the part of the different races toward the most intimate association of married life, with the consequent mingling of blood and mental and temperamental as well as physical traits, it is evident that from any effort to bring these races together into close personal association without cordial willingness on the part of both races so to associate, there is certain to arise, under present conditions at any rate, friction that will not promote but will seriously retard the welfare of both races concerned. If the situation is such that one dominates the other, creating a servile race, that is clearly contrary to the spirit of Jesus’ teachings, and the objection to such association, if the spirit of Christianity prevails, would be as great on the part of the dominating as of the servile race.

Promotion of the welfare of all the races is the spirit of Jesus’ teachings. It is idle as well as contrary to 146 the teachings of Jesus to close one’s eyes to facts of race differences and of the practical effects of those race differences upon the associations between the races. When those facts are clearly seen, it is in accord with the spirit of Jesus’ teachings so to adjust those relations as to promote the welfare of all, not of any one race at the expense of the others. Where racial differences are so marked that association is not acceptable to both races, there is no equality of treatment in forcing them to associate or in permitting one to force itself upon the other. Equality of treatment will demand that each race or each nation shall be allowed to determine for itself what other races shall be admitted to close association.

It therefore seems that the Japanese, as well as the Americans and the Canadians, have been wise in controlling with great care the immigration of other races and the conditions under which business shall be done in their countries by the peoples of other races and countries. The equality of the races that should be demanded is the recognition of the equal right of all to determine for themselves without injuring the rights or welfare of others what method will best promote the interests of all and the equal personal respect in which each individual of a different race should be held for the personal qualities that he himself possesses and cultivates.

While there is doubtless much race prejudice, most of the pleas of the Japanese that their exclusion from certain countries because of their race is a declaration 147 of a belief in their inferiority seems rather a special plea to arouse sympathy and feeling than a statement of fact. They are excluded (a) because their industrial standards of living are such that their admission in large numbers will tend to injure the welfare of the community industrially, and (b) because the difference in race is so marked that their coming in large numbers is likely to promote social friction, and thus to injure the community politically and socially. In many instances these effects might well be brought about because of the recognition of their superior industrial, mental, and political accomplishments in certain lines. They do well to control their own country so as to prevent injury to it. It is in accordance with the spirit of Jesus that the same principle of promoting the welfare of the community be followed in other countries.

In saying these things I wish not to be misunderstood. I believe that the greatest benefits can come from close associations between the nations, industrially and politically, from very frequent and close associations in the way of visiting and of travelling and of international co-operation, so that good traits, good qualities, noble attainments of each nation may be as widely spread as possible among the other nations. I believe also that the Christian spirit of recognition of these good qualities and of the individual excellencies of all nations should be recognized. The principles laid down are made merely to suggest the ways in which the Christian spirit of co-operation can best be attained by avoiding unnecessary friction wherever possible.

148 It is entirely possible that in the course of time, through the spread of international culture, there will be a gradual mingling of customs which will promote a much greater degree of association than now, but it is certainly not only unwise but it is unchristian to attempt to force association where friction is bound to be the inevitable result. It would seem as if the sensitiveness of nations would lead them rather to avoid making themselves the cause of friction than to insist upon creating it.

IX. Methods of Japan

The chief problem of the Pacific so far as Japan is concerned has been caused by the methods that the Japanese Government has followed in promoting what they believe with all sincerity to be their interests. I have no desire to blame the Japanese Government for its policies. Under the conditions, it seems to me that they have been normal. In 1916, before the United States entered the Great War, but after Japan had expelled the Germans from Shantung, seized control of that territory, forced upon China the twenty-one demands, and insisted under threat of war upon the acceptance of all of them but the fifth group, while holding that for future consideration, a leading Japanese statesman said to me that Japan saw in the Great War an opportunity for promoting her own interests. He advised the government to select the very best men to take advantage of that opportunity to make Japan as great a state as possible. It was a normal spirit for a Japanese patriot.

149 Another Japanese statesman of high standing at about the same time said to me that it was natural that the Japanese Government should be militaristic: her constitution had been modelled after that of Germany; her armies and the officers of her armies had been trained by Germans; her army was modelled after the German army; all of the great strides forward that had made her one of the great powers instead of a small nation had been won by armies (Corea, control over Manchuria, the victory over Russia, and her great influence in the councils of the nations); what more natural than that she should believe in militarism and in German methods! Yet he personally thought those methods should be stopped. One need not blame the Japanese statesmen for the policy which they followed, but it is our business in this discussion to question whether these methods are now in accord with the teachings of Jesus, and whether it is incumbent upon the rest of the world, especially the Christian world, to encourage the continuance of those methods or to put what obstacles it can in their way. I have just given the testimony of two leading Japanese statesmen, testimony given to me personally. Many instances could be cited in the writings of Japanese statesmen to the same effect, and no careful student of history of the last twenty years will deny the facts.

The conference at Washington, in its consideration of the problems of the Far East, should face facts in the bold clear-seeing spirit of Jesus. Japan secured the control of Corea by violation of treaties, deception of the rest of the world, and the employment of force. 150 She cannot deny this now. I think the question of Corea should not be raised now, but it gives a basis for judgment. These same methods were followed in the extension of her control over Manchuria and in such measure of control as she has in Shantung and other parts of China. Japan’s government of Corea has doubtless in many respects been better than the government by the Corean monarchy, and this in spite of universal testimony that the Corean revolts of the last year have been largely caused by the cruelty and despotic methods of Japanese administrators. The annexation of Corea by Japan was assented to by all of the leading nations of the world really because the previous government had been so inefficient and corrupt that it was believed that the welfare of the nation would be promoted by the annexation. Some of the nations who had promised in their treaties to use their influence to protect Corea against aggression from outside, before acting should have investigated with greater care than they did both the conditions surrounding the annexation and the prospects for the future; but, however that may be, if the Japanese Government were now to administer Corea with the welfare of the Coreans in mind, with the purpose of enabling them to develop their own feeling of responsibility so that as rapidly as possible they might be granted, in their internal affairs at any rate, the principle of self-determination, most people would believe that whatever the past may have been, the present and the future would be as nearly as practicable in accordance with 151 the spirit of Jesus’ teachings, and would readily assent. If, however, cruelty and coercion continue, the decision would be the opposite.

The other questions regarding the open door in Manchuria, Shantung, the Pacific islands, have not as yet been universally accepted as settled. They are questions still to be settled. The methods that have been followed for years, practically up to the present time, have been those of force and fraud in the countries themselves, and, so far as it was practicable, deception by means of propaganda in countries abroad. These statements are made, not with any bitterness or blame, but merely as facts necessary for judgment, based on overwhelming testimony of practically all foreigners who are in a position to know the facts and of the liberal Christian thinkers among the Japanese themselves.

Is it for the welfare, morally and spiritually, as well as industrially, of these countries and of the rest of the world, that these practices be permitted to continue, or would the Christian nations be following more clearly the teachings of Jesus if they were to insist that these methods should stop? The nations assembled in the conference at Washington will follow the teachings of Jesus if they give to Japan the opportunity to promote the welfare of her citizens along all lines that will tend to inculcate in them the spirit of the Christian teachings; and they are also the teachings of Confucius and the Buddha and other great teachers. We ought not to attempt to force Christianity upon Japan. 152 That would be unwise, unjust, and unchristian. There should be encouraged among them not only mercy and justice, but also the spirit of individual thinking, individual self-determination, just as rapidly as they can be trained enough to accept that responsibility; and the welfare of the other peoples who have been under their influence can certainly best be promoted by the adoption of international policies enforced by the influence of the united nations that shall prevent fraud and force from triumphing, but shall secure to the peoples concerned and the nations interested full and free opportunities for a greater self-development.

X. Limitation of Armaments

If the spirit of Jesus characterizes the conference and if these principles should be accepted by all, the question of the limitation of armaments, speaking from the point of view of the United States, would be easy. It would be merely a question of proportion among small numbers. From the point of view of Japan, the question may well be asked whether the United States is willing to follow this same spirit. The reply to the question is to be found simply in the facing of the facts. Are the proposals of Secretary Hughes in this spirit? Has the United States attempted to seize unjustly or to oppress the native peoples in Cuba, in Porto Rico, in the Hawaiian Islands, in the Philippine Islands, in China, or elsewhere? The inefficient Cubans were given a start toward self-government, 153 were set upon their feet industrially and were given the opportunity of self-determination as regards all matters in which they could not injure the rights or the welfare of others. Similar statements may be made with an equal degree of truth with reference to Porto Rico, the Hawaiian Islands, Philippine Islands, China. While doubtless many individual mistakes may have been made, the spirit of the administration in all these countries, by the universal testimony of those who know, including the Filipinos themselves, shows that the spirit has been in accord with the teachings of Jesus.

The Japanese claim they fear, and doubtless in many instances they sincerely do fear, that the United States is aggressively attempting to gain control of the Pacific. Any one conversant with the facts knows that it wishes simply the promotion of the welfare of the people concerned, including the welfare of its own citizens, by fair, peaceful, industrial methods, in accord with the spirit of self-determination of the peoples themselves just so rapidly as they are able to assume that power.

XI. Our Government in the Conference

What is the position that our government should take in the conference? While exercising all due courtesy and exhibiting every care possible for the feelings of those in attendance, it should still have the Christian courage to face the facts as they have been and as they are, and to insist upon it that all the nations 154 present see those facts and, basing their actions upon those facts, adopt so far as possible the Christian methods that will promote the welfare of all the peoples of the Far East, including Japan, so far as these problems of the Conference are concerned. If this is done, it does not mean that Japan’s future or China’s future is endangered. It means that every militaristic policy must be abandoned, but that the industrial, social, and even political future of all the nations, including Japan, will be better secured than can be possible in any other way. It will mean that the welfare of the inhabitants of China, including Manchuria and Shantung, of Siberia and of the islands of the Pacific, will be promoted by encouraging in every way possible their industrial development, by protecting them if necessary by joint international influence against aggression from without, and so far as possible by encouraging within those countries policies which will secure order, peace, and the development of the individuals toward acquiring a capacity for self-government which they seem to have been attaining so far only to a most unsatisfactory degree.

Above all, the guiding spirit, with its clear-sightedness and rigid adherence to practical conditions as they are, should be the spirit of peace and righteousness.



The Bross Lectures are an outgrowth of a fund established in 1879 by the late William Bross, lieutenant-governor of Illinois from 1866 to 1870. Desiring some memorial of his son, Nathaniel Bross, who died in 1856, Mr. Bross entered into an agreement with the “Trustees of Lake Forest University,” whereby there was finally transferred to them the sum of forty thousand dollars, the income of which was to accumulate in perpetuity for successive periods of ten years, the accumulations of one decade to be spent in the following decade, for the purpose of stimulating the best books or treatises “on the connection, relation, and mutual bearing of any practical science, the history of our race, or the facts in any department of knowledge, with and upon the Christian Religion.” The object of the donor was to “call out the best efforts of the highest talent and the ripest scholarship of the world to illustrate from science, or from any department of knowledge, and to demonstrate the divine origin and the authority of the Christian Scriptures; and, further, to show how both science and revelation coincide and prove the existence, the providence, or any or all of the attributes of the only living and true God, ’infinite, 156 eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.’”

The gift contemplated in the original agreement of 1879 was finally consummated in 1890. The first decade of the accumulation of interest having closed in 1900, the trustees of the Bross Fund began at this time to carry out the provisions of the deed of gift. It was determined to give the general title of “The Bross Library” to the series of the books purchased and published with the proceeds of the Bross Fund. In accordance with the express wish of the donor, that the “Evidences of Christianity” of his “very dear friend and teacher, Mark Hopkins, D.D.,” be purchased and “ever numbered and known as No. 1 of the series,” the trustees secured the copyright of this work, which has been republished in a presentation edition as Volume 1 of the Bross Library.

The trust agreement prescribed two methods by which the production of books and treatises of the nature contemplated by the donor was to be stimulated:

1. The trustees were empowered to offer one or more prizes during each decade, the competition for which was to be thrown open to “the scientific men, the Christian philosophers and historians of all nations.” In accordance with this provision, a prize of $6,000 was offered in 1902 for the best book fulfilling the conditions of the deed of the gift, the competing manuscripts 157 to be presented on or before June 1, 1905. The prize was awarded to the Reverend James Orr, D.D., professor of apologetics and systematic theology in the United Free Church College, Glasgow, for his treatise on “The Problem of the Old Testament,” which was published in 1906 as Volume III of the Bross Library. The second decennial prize of $6,000 was awarded in 1915 to the Reverend Thomas James Thorburn, D.D., LL.D., Hastings, England, for his book entitled “The Mythical Interpretation of the Gospels,” which has been published as Volume VII of the Bross Library. The announcement of the conditions may be obtained from the president of Lake Forest College.

2. The trustees were also empowered to “select and designate any particular scientific man or Christian philosopher and the subject on which he shall write,” and to “agree with him as to the sum he shall receive for the book or treatise to be written.” Under this provision the trustees have, from time to time, invited eminent scholars to deliver courses of lectures before Lake Forest College, such courses to be subsequently published as volumes in the Bross Library. The first course of lectures, on “Obligatory Morality,” was delivered in May, 1903, by the Reverend Francis Landey Patton, D.D., LL.D., President of Princeton Theological Seminary. The copyright of the lectures is now the property of the trustees of the Bross Fund. The second course of lectures, on “The Bible: Its Origin and 158 Nature,” was delivered in May, 1904, by the Reverend Marcus Dods, D.D., Professor of Exegetical Theology in New College, Edinburgh. These lectures were published in 1905 as Volume II of the Bross Library. The third course of lectures, on “The Bible of Nature,” was delivered in September and October, 1907, by Mr. J. Arthur Thomson, M.A., Regius professor of Natural History in the University of Aberdeen. These lectures were published in 1908 as Volume IV of the Bross Library. The fourth course of lectures, on “The Religions of Modern Syria and Palestine,” was delivered in November and December, 1908, by Frederick Jones Bliss, Ph.D., of Beirut, Syria. These lectures are published as Volume V of the Bross Library. The fifth course of lectures, on “The Sources of Religious Insight,” was delivered November 13 to 19, 1911, by Professor Josiah Royce, Ph.D., of Harvard University. These lectures are embodied in the sixth volume. Volume VII, “The Mythical Interpretation of the Gospels,” by the Reverend Thomas James Thorburn, D.D., was published in 1915. The seventh course of lectures, on “The Will to Freedom,” was delivered in May, 1915, by the Reverend John Neville Figgis, D.D., LL.D., of the House of the Resurrection, Mirfield, England, and published as Volume VIII of the series. In 1916 Professor Henry Wilkes Wright, of Lake Forest College, delivered the next course of lectures on “Faith Justified by Progress.” These lectures are embodied in Volume IX. In 1921, the Reverend John P. Peters, Ph.D., of Sewanee, Tennessee, delivered a course of lectures on “Spade and Bible.” These lectures are embodied in 159 Volume X. The present volume is comprised of lectures delivered November 3 to 6, 1921, before Lake Forest College, on the occasion of the inauguration of the President.

Herbert McComb Moore,
President of Lake Forest University.

Lake Forest, Illinois.


1 — Mr. Frank Vanderlip has expressed the same view in his work What Next in Europe: “The prerequisite for that is a change of spirit, and I believe we can do a great deal to allay the suspicions, the hatreds and the selfishness of European people. We can help them see the necessity for unity; help them apprehend the terrible cost of selfishness. They must understand that the reconstruction of Europe is a comprehensive task. Only united effort, and a recognition that the welfare of individual nations can be achieved through general international good-will, can accomplish it. We could largely aid in developing such a spirit.
‘Our first duty,’ as Mazaryk said, ‘is to understand!’”
2 — Published in Scribner’s Magazine.
3 — A few facts should be kept in mind: (a) Some Japanese writers as well as foreigners claim that Japan is not at all overpopulated now, considering that she is becoming an industrial nation. Japan proper has 394 inhabitants to the square mile; England and Wales, 618; Belgium, 665; Netherlands, 534; Italy, 332; Germany, 325. (b) Japan has urged claims on Shantung of which the density of population is 525 to the square mile. Of course she has not desired to settle that country, only to control and manage its mines, railroads, ports, commerce—and this would give practically political control. (c) Certain writers claim that the Japanese soil is not now properly cultivated to produce the best results agriculturally. Large preserves are held out of cultivation in crown lands, as was done earlier in Great Britain and Germany. The people are expert in rice culture and wish to eat rice. They might use to excellent advantage much other land than they do, land entirely suitable for other food production, though not for rice.