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duct of our individual lives, and to be prepared for far-reaching changes in society, which is now organized upon principles directly contrary to those proposed by Christ. We shall be led to superlatively heart-searching enquiry into our real relation to our religion; we shall be obliged to consider whether we truly hold, or merely profess it. For the very essence of religion is the subordination of the present interests of the individual to the larger interests of mankind; in that scientific and beautifully accurate as well as thoroughly supported language with which Mr. Kidd has lately made us familiar, Religion is that which provides an ultra-rational sanction for the subordination of the interests of the individual to the interests of the social organism; a sanction, that is, for social conduct.1 In plainer words, a religion is a belief which moves men to be unselfish, which teaches them to sacrifice themselves for their brothers. As we look about on the tragic spectacle of humanity's life-drama; as we see the conditions under which the far greater portion of its children come into the world; as we consider the hard lot of the patient millions who bear the burden of the world's toil, and the scarcely less unhappy circumstances which condemn their envied neighbors to the care of wealth, and bind them down to places in a system in whose grasp also their hearts are crushed and ground; as we hear the recriminations of the envisaged classes, and see based on the fabric of political equality the most obvious social and material inequality; as we see the pursuits of peace carried on upon the theory of war, and with the same mercy,—shall we not have reason to ask ourselves why, if we truly believe in our religion, its sanctions do not induce us to social conduct; why, after nineteen centuries in which to contemplate the life of our Blessed Lord, the adorable mystery of His humiliation, the stupendous and unexampled sacrifice of Calvary, we have not learned to practise Love and Sacrifice, why we have not seriously set about building up the Kingdom for whose foundation He laid down His life? That enquiry we shall have to make.
We shall have to examine, sometimes word by word, Christ's spoken and recorded commands, which, perfectly understood in their literal sense by His contemporaries, -who, understanding, hated and crucified Him,-worldly theology has refined upon until they mean very little that is in conflict with selfishness and ease. The restoration of their primitive meaning and force to those commands, and the unquestioning submission to them of men, of states, of the Church, we shall find demanded, not only as at all times by fairness and honesty, but in an especial manner demanded by the exigencies of this hour of social travail. The world is tumultuous with undefined hopes; murmurous with inarticulate expectancy. The vision upon men's souls of an ideal society, is stirring them with divine discontent. That vision is of nothing else than of that for which Christ taught us to pray, “ Thy Kingdom come," and the New Obedience looks for nothing less than its peaceful and steadily more perfect realization as the fact becomes recognized that Jesus Christ was a social teacher, and that He gave literal, plain, explicit and exact directions for social conduct. These directions we must enquire into, and fit ourselves intelligently to obey, by studying the example of Obedience set by Him who gave them. For Christ himself “ learned obedience by the things which He suffered ; and having been made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him."