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Title: Outspoken Essays
Author: Inge, William Ralph, 1860-1954
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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All the Essays in this volume, except the first, have appeared in the
_Edinburgh Review_, the _Quarterly Review_, or the _Hibbert Journal_. I
have to thank the Publishers and Editors of those Reviews for their
courtesy in permitting me to reprint them. The articles on _The
Birth-Rate, The Future of the English Race, Bishop Gore and the Church
of England_, and _Cardinal Newman_ are from the _Edinburgh Review_;
those on _Patriotism, Catholic Modernism, St. Paul_, and _The Indictment
against Christianity_ are from the _Quarterly Review_; those on
_Institutionalism and Mysticism_ and _Survival and Immortality_ from the
_Hibbert Journal_. I have not attempted to remove all traces of
overlapping, which I hope may be pardoned in essays written
independently of each other; but a few repetitions have been excised.



   I. OUR PRESENT DISCONTENTS                        1

  II. PATRIOTISM                                    35

 III. THE BIRTH-RATE                                59

  IV. THE FUTURE OF THE ENGLISH RACE                82


  VI. ROMAN CATHOLIC MODERNISM                     137

 VII. CARDINAL NEWMAN                              172

VIII. ST. PAUL                                     205



  XI. SURVIVAL AND IMMORTALITY                     266

Photera theleist soi malthaka pseydhê lhegô, hê sklhêr' alêthhê;
phrhaze, shê gar hê krhisist.


The case of historical writers is hard; for if they tell the truth
they provoke man, and if they write what is false they offend
God.--_Matthew Paris_.

Quattuor sunt maxime comprehendendae veritatis offendicula; videlicet,
fragilis et indignae auctoritatis exemplum, consuetudinis diuturnitas,
vulgi sensus imperiti, et propriae ignorantiae occultatio cum
ostentatione sapientiae superioris.--_Roger Bacon_.

    Iudicio perpende; et si tibi vera videntur,
    Dede manus; aut si falsum est, accingere contra.


Eventu rerum stolidi didicere magistro.


'All' hê toi men tahyta thehôn en gohynasi kehitai.




(AUGUST, 1919)

The Essays in this volume were written at various times before and
during the Great War. In reading them through for republication, I have
to ask myself whether my opinions on social science and on the state of
religion, the two subjects which are mainly dealt with in this
collection, have been modified by the greatest calamity which has ever
befallen the civilised world, or by the issue of the struggle. I find
very little that I should now wish to alter. The war has caused events
to move faster, but in the same direction as before. The social
revolution has been hurried on; the inevitable counter-revolution has
equally been brought nearer. For if there is one safe generalisation in
human affairs, it is that revolutions always destroy themselves. How
often have fanatics proclaimed 'the year one'! But no revolutionary era
has yet reached 'year twenty-five.' As regards the national character,
there is no sign, I fear, that much wisdom has been learnt. We are more
wasteful and reckless than ever. The doctrinaire democrat still vapours
about democracy, though representative government has obviously lost
both its power and its prestige. The labour party still hugs its
comprehensive assortment of economic heresies. Organised religion
remains as impotent as it was before the war. But one fact has emerged
with startling clearness. Human nature has not been changed by
civilisation. It has neither been levelled up nor levelled down to an
average mediocrity. Beneath the dingy uniformity of international
fashions in dress, man remains what he has always been--a splendid
fighting animal, a self-sacrificing hero, and a bloodthirsty savage.
Human nature is at once sublime and horrible, holy and satanic. Apart
from the accumulation of knowledge and experience, which are external
and precarious acquisitions, there is no proof that we have changed much
since the first stone age.

The war itself, as we shall soon be compelled to recognise, had its
roots deep in the political and social structure of Europe. The growth
of wealth and population, and the law of diminishing returns, led to a
scramble for unappropriated lands producing the raw materials of
industry. It was, in a sense, a war of capital; but capitalism is no
accretion upon the body politic; it is the creator of the modern world
and an essential part of a living organism. The Germans unquestionably
made a deep-laid plot to capture all markets and cripple or ruin all
competitors. Their aims and methods were very like those of the Standard
Oil Trust on a still larger scale. The other nations had not followed
the logic of competition in the same ruthless manner; there were several
things which they were not willing to do. But war to the knife cannot be
confined to one of the combatants; the alternative, _Weltmacht oder
Niedergang_, was thrust by Germany upon the Allies when she chose that
motto for herself. If the modern man were as much dominated by economic
motives as is sometimes supposed, the suicidal results of such a
conflict would have been apparent to all; but the poetry and idealism of
human nature, no longer centred, as formerly, in religion, had gathered
round a romantic patriotism, for which the belligerents were willing to
sacrifice their all without counting the cost. Like other idealisms,
patriotism varies from a noble devotion to a moral lunacy.

But there was another cause which led to the war. Germany was a curious
combination of seventeenth century theory and very modern practice. An
Emperor ruling by divine right was the head of the most scientific state
that the world has seen. In many ways Germany, with an intelligent,
economical, and uncorrupt Government, was a model to the rest of the
world. But the whole structure was menaced by that form of
individualistic materialism which calls itself social democracy, and
which in practice is at once the copy of organic materialism and the
reaction against it. The motives for drilling a whole nation in the
pursuit of purely national and purely materialistic aims are not strong
enough to prevent disintegration. The German _Kriegsstaat_ was falling
to pieces through internal fissures. A successful war might give the
empire a new lease of life; otherwise, the rising tide of revolution was
certain to sweep it away. As Sir Charles Walston has shown, it was for
some years doubtful whether the democratic movement would obtain control
before the bureaucracy and army chiefs succeeded in precipitating a war.
There was a kind of race between the two forces. This was the situation
which Lord Haldane found still existing in his famous visit to Germany.
In the event, the conservative powers were able to strike and to rush
public opinion. Perhaps the bureaucracy was carried along by its own
momentum. Two or three years before the war a German publicist, replying
to an eminent Englishman, who asked him who really directed the policy
of Germany, answered: 'It is a difficult question. Nominally, of course,
the Emperor is responsible; but he is a man of moods, not a strong man.
In reality, the machine runs itself. Whither it is carrying us we none
of us know; I fear towards some great disaster.' This seems to be the
truth of the matter. No doubt, a romantic imperialism, with dreams of
restoring the empire of Charlemagne, was a factor in the criminal
enterprise. No doubt the natural ambitions of officers, and the greed of
contractors and speculators, played their part in promoting it. But when
we consider that Germany held all the winning cards in a game of
peaceful penetration and economic competition, we should attribute to
the Imperial Government a strange recklessness if we did not conclude
that the political condition of Germany itself, and the automatic
working of the machine, were the main causes why the attack was made.
There is, in fact, abundant evidence that it was so. The scheme failed
only because Germany was foolish enough to threaten England before
settling accounts with Russia. But this, again, was the result of
internal pressure. Hamburg, and all the interests which the name stands
for, cared less for expansion in the East than for the capture of
markets overseas. For this important section of conservative Germany,
England was the enemy. So the gauntlet was thrown down to the whole
civilised world at once, and the odds against Germany were too great.

For the time being, the world has no example of a strong monarchy. The
three great European empires are, at the time of writing, in a state of
septic dissolution. The victors have sprung to the welcome conclusion
that democracy is everywhere triumphant, and that before long no other
type of civilised state will exist. The amazing provincialism of
American political thought accepts this conclusion without demur; and
our public men, some of whom doubtless know better, have served the
needs of the moment by effusions of political nonsense which almost
surpass the orations delivered every year on the Fourth of July. But no
historian can suppose that one of the most widespread and successful
forms of human association has been permanently extinguished because the
Central Empires were not quite strong enough to conquer Europe, an
attempt which has always failed, and probably will always fail. The
issue is not fully decided, even for our own generation. The ascendancy
will belong to that nation which is the best organised, the most
strenuous, the most intelligent, the most united. Before the war none
would have hesitated to name Germany as holding this position; and until
the downfall of the Empire the nation seemed to possess those qualities
unimpaired. The three Empires collapsed in hideous chaos as soon as they
deposed their monarchs. In the case of Russia, it is difficult to
imagine any recovery until the monarchy is restored; and Germany would
probably be well-advised to choose some member of the imperial family as
a constitutional sovereign. A monarch frequently represents his
subjects better than an elected assembly; and if he is a good judge of
character he is likely to have more capable and loyal advisers.
President Wilson's declaration that 'a steadfast concert for peace can
never be maintained except by a partnership of democratic nations; for
no autocratic government could ever be trusted to keep faith within it,'
is one of the most childish exhibitions of doctrinaire _naïveté_ which
ever proceeded from the mouth of a public man. History gives no
countenance to the theory that popular governments are either more moral
or more pacific than strong monarchies. The late Lord Salisbury, in one
of his articles in the _Quarterly Review_, spoke the truth on this
subject. 'Moderation, especially in the matter of territory, has never
been a characteristic of democracy. Wherever it has had free play, in
the ancient world or the modern, in the old hemisphere or the new, a
thirst for empire and a readiness for aggressive war has always marked
it. Though governments may have an appearance and even a reality of
pacific intent, their action is always liable to be superseded by the
violent and vehement operations of mere ignorance.' The United States
are no exception to this rule. They have extended their dominion by much
the same means as the empire of the Tsars or our own. Texas and Upper
California, the Philippines and Porto Rico, were annexed forcibly; New
Mexico, Alaska, and Louisiana were bought; Florida was acquired by
treaty; Maine filched from Canada. In no case were the wishes of the
inhabitants consulted. Our own experience of republicanism is the same.
It was during the short period when Great Britain had no king that
Cromwell's court-poet, Andrew Marvell, urged him to complete his
glorious career by demolishing our present allies:

    A Cæsar he, ere long, to Gaul,
    To Italy an Hannibal.

On the other hand, none of the 'autocrats' wanted this war. The Kaiser
was certainly pushed into it.

Democracy is a form of government which may be rationally defended, not
as being good, but as being less bad than any other. Its strongest
merits seem to be: first, that the citizens of a democracy have a sense
of proprietorship and responsibility in public affairs, which in times
of crisis may add to their tenacity and endurance. The determination of
the Federals in the American Civil War, and of the French and British in
the four years' struggle against Germany, may be legitimately adduced as
arguments for democracy. When De Tocqueville says that 'it is hard for a
democracy to begin or to end a war,' the second is truer than the first.
And, secondly, the educational value of democracy is so great that it
may be held to counterbalance many defects. Mill decides in favour of
democracy mainly on the ground that 'it promotes a better and higher
form of national character than any other polity,' since government by
authority stunts the intellect, narrows the sympathies, and destroys the
power of initiative. 'The perfect commonwealth,' says Mr. Zimmern,' is a
society of free men and women, each at once ruling and being ruled,' It
is also fair to argue that monarchies do not escape the worst evils of
democracies. An autocracy is often obliged to oppress the educated
classes and to propitiate the mob. Domitian massacred senators with
impunity, and only fell '_postquam cerdonibus esse timendus coeperat_.'
If an autocracy does not rest on the army, which leads to the chaos of
praetorianism, it must rely on '_panem et circenses_.' Hence it has some
of the worst faults of democracy, without its advantages. As Mr. Graham
Wallas says: 'When a Tsar or a bureaucracy finds itself forced to govern
in opposition to a vague national feeling which may at any moment create
an overwhelming national purpose, the autocrat becomes the most
unscrupulous of demagogues, and stirs up racial or religious or social
hatred, or the lust for foreign war, with less scruple than a newspaper
proprietor under a democracy,' The autocrat, in fact, is often a slave,
as the demagogue is often a tyrant. Lastly, the democrat may urge that
one of the commonest accusations against democracy--that the populace
chooses its rulers badly--is not true in times of great national danger.
On the contrary, it often shows a sound instinct in finding the
strongest man to carry it through a crisis. At such times the parrots
and monkeys are discarded, and a Napoleon or a Kitchener is given a
free hand, though he may have despised all the demagogic arts. In other
words, a democracy sometimes knows when to abdicate. The excesses of
revolutionists are not an argument against democracy, since revolutions
are anything rather than democratic.

Nevertheless, the indictment against democracy is a very heavy one, and
it is worth while to state the main items in the charge.

1. Whatever may be truly said about the good sense of a democracy during
a great crisis, at ordinary times it does not bring the best men to the
top. Professor Hearnshaw, in his admirable 'Democracy at the
Crossroads,' collects a number of weighty opinions confirming this
judgment. Carlyle, who proclaimed the merits of silence in some thirty
volumes, blames democracy for ignoring the 'noble, silent men' who could
serve it best, and placing power in the hands of windbags. Ruskin,
Matthew Arnold, Sir James Stephen, Sir Henry Maine, and Lecky, all agree
that 'the people have for the most part neither the will nor the power
to find out the best men to lead them.' In France the denunciations of
democratic politicians are so general that it would be tedious to
enumerate the writers who have uttered them. One example will suffice;
the words are the words of Anatole Beaulieu in 1885:

     The wider the circle from which politicians and
     state-functionaries are recruited, the lower seems their
     intellectual level to have sunk. This deterioration in the
     personnel of government has been yet more striking from the
     moral point of view. Politics have tended to become more
     corrupt, more debased, and to soil the hands of those who
     take part in them and the men who get their living by them.
     Political battles have become too bitter and too vulgar not
     to have inspired aversion in the noblest and most upright
     natures by their violence and their intrigues. The élite of
     the nation in more than one country are showing a tendency
     to have nothing to do with them. Politics is an industry in
     which a man, to prosper, requires less intelligence and
     knowledge than boldness and capacity for intrigue. It has
     already become in some states the most ignominious of
     careers. Parties are syndicates for exploitation, and its
     forms become ever more shameless.

A later account of French politics, drawn from inside knowledge and
experience, is the remarkable novel, 'Les Morts qui parlent,' by the
Vicomte Le Vogué. Readers of this book will not forget the description
of the _bain de haine_ in which a new deputy at once finds himself
plunged, and the canker of corruption which eats into the whole system.
It is no wonder that the majority of Frenchmen do not care to record
their votes. In 1906, 5,209,606 votes were given, 6,383,852 electors did
not go to the poll. The record of democracy in the new countries is no
better. We must regretfully admit that Louis Simond was right when he
said, 'Few people take the trouble to persuade the people, except those
who see their interest in deceiving them.'

2. The democracy is a ready victim to shibboleths and catchwords, as all
demagogues know too well. 'The abstract idea,' as Schérer says, 'is the
national aliment of popular rhetoric, the fatal form of thought which,
for want of solid knowledge, operates in a vacuum.' The politician has
only to find a fascinating formula; facts and arguments are powerless
against it. The art of the demagogue is the art of the parrot; he must
utter some senseless catchword again and again, working on the
suggestibility of the crowd. Archbishop Trench, 'On the Study of Words,'
notices this fact of psychology and the use which is commonly made of

     If I wanted any further evidence of the moral atmosphere
     which words diffuse, I would ask you to observe how the
     first thing men do, when engaged in controversy with others,
     is ever to assume some honourable name to themselves, such
     as, if possible, shall beg the whole subject in dispute, and
     at the same time to affix on their adversaries a name which
     shall place them in a ridiculous or contemptible or odious
     light. A deep instinct, deeper perhaps than men give any
     account of to themselves, tells them how far this will go;
     that multitudes, utterly unable to weigh the arguments on
     one side or the other, will yet be receptive of the
     influences which these words are evermore, however
     imperceptibly, diffusing. By argument they might hope to
     gain over the reason of a few, but by help of these
     nicknames the prejudices and passions of the many.

The chief instrument of this base art is no longer the public speech
but the newspaper.

The psychology of the crowd has been much studied lately, by Le Bon and
other writers in France, by Mr. Graham Wallas in England. I think that
Le Bon is in danger of making The Crowd a mystical, superhuman entity.
Of course, a crowd is made up of individuals, who remain individuals
still. We must not accept the stuffed idol of Rousseau and the
socialists, 'The General Will,' and turn it into an evil spirit. There
is no General Will. All we have a right to say is that individuals are
occasionally guided by reason, crowds never.

3. Several critics of democracy have accused it not only of rash
iconoclasm, but of obstinate conservatism and obstructiveness. It seems
unreasonable to charge the same persons with two opposite faults; but it
is true that where the popular emotions are not touched, the masses will
cling to old abuses from mere force of habit. As Maine says, universal
suffrage would have prohibited the spinning-jenny and the power-loom,
the threshing-machine and the Gregorian calendar; and it would have
restored the Stuarts. The theory of democracy--_vox populi vox dei_--is
a pure superstition, a belief in a divine or natural sanction which does
not exist. And superstition is usually obstructive. 'We erect the
temporary watchwords of evanescent politics into eternal truths; and
having accepted as platitudes the paradoxes of our fathers, we
perpetuate them as obstacles to the progress of our children.'[1]

4. A more serious danger is that of vexatious and inquisitive tyranny.
This is exercised partly through public opinion, a vulgar, impertinent,
anonymous tyrant who deliberately makes life unpleasant for anyone who
is not content to be the average man. But partly it is seen in constant
interference with the legislature and the executive. No one can govern
who cannot afford to be unpopular, and no democratic official can afford
to be unpopular. Sometimes he has to wink at flagrant injustice and
oppression; at other times a fanatical agitation compels him to pass
laws which forbid the citizen to indulge perfectly harmless tastes, or
tax him to contribute to the pleasures of the majority. In many ways a
Russian under the Tsars was far less interfered with than an Englishman
or American or Australian.

5. But the two diseases which are likely to be fatal to democracy are
anarchy and corruption. A democratic government is almost necessarily
weak and timid. A democracy cannot tolerate a strong executive for fear
of seeing the control pass out of the hands of the mob. The executive
must be unarmed and defenceless. The result is that it is at the mercy
of any violent and anti-social faction. No civilised government has ever
given a more ludicrous and humiliating object-lesson than the Cabinet
and House of Commons in the years before the war, in face of the
outrages committed by a small gang of female anarchists. The
legalisation of terrorism by the trade-unions was too tragic a surrender
to be ludicrous, but it was even more disgraceful. None could be
surprised when, during the war, the Government shrank from dealing with
treasonable conspiracy in the same quarter.

     The _Times_ for May 24, 1917, contained a noteworthy example
     of justice influenced by pressure, and therefore applied
     with flagrant inequality. In parallel columns appeared
     reports of 'sugar-sellers fined' and 'strike leaders
     released.' The former paid the full penalty of their
     misdeeds because no body of outside opinion maintained them.
     The latter, who were stated to have committed offences for
     which the maximum penalty was penal servitude for life, got
     off scot-free because they were members of a powerful
     organisation which was able to bring immense weight to bear
     on the Government.[2]

The 'immense weight' was, of course, the threat of virtually betraying
the country to the Germans. The country is at this moment at the mercy
of any lawless faction which may choose either to hold the community to
ransom by paralysing our trade and channels of supply, or by organised
violence against life and property. Democracy is powerless against
sectional anarchism; and when such movements break out there is no
remedy except by substituting for democracy a government of a very
different type.

Democracy is, in fact, a disintegrating force. It is strong in
destruction, and tends to fall to pieces when the work of demolition
(which may of course be a necessary task) is over. Democracy dissolves
communities into individuals and collects them again into mobs. It pulls
up by the roots the social order which civilisation has gradually
evolved, and leaves men _déracinés_, as Bourget says in one of his best
novels, homeless and friendless, with no place ready for them to fill.
It is the opposite extreme to the caste system of India, which, with all
its faults, does not seem to breed the European type of _enragé_, the
enemy of society as such.

6. The corruption of democracies proceeds directly from the fact that
one class imposes the taxes and another class pays them. The
constitutional principle, 'No taxation without representation,' is
utterly set at nought under a system which leaves certain classes
without any effective representation at all. At the present time it is
said that one-tenth of the population pays five-sixths of the taxes. The
class which imposes the taxes has refused to touch the burden of the war
with one of its fingers; and every month new doles at the public expense
are distributed under the camouflage of 'social reform.' At every
election the worldly goods of the minority are put up to auction. This
is far more immoral than the old-fashioned election bribery, which was a
comparatively honest deal between two persons; and in its effects it is
far more ruinous. Democracy is likely to perish, like the monarchy of
Louis XVI, through national bankruptcy.

Besides these defects, the democracy has ethical standards of its own,
which differ widely from those of the educated classes. Among the poor,
'generosity ranks far before justice, sympathy before truth, love before
chastity, a pliant and obliging disposition before a rigidly honest one.
In brief, the less admixture of intellect required for the practice of
any virtue, the higher it stands in popular estimation.[3] In this
country, at any rate, democracy means a victory of sentiment over
reason. Some may prefer the softer type of character, and may hope that
it will make civilisation more humane and compassionate than it has been
in the past. Unfortunately, experience shows that none is so cruel as
the disillusioned sentimentalist. He thinks that he can break or ignore
nature's laws with impunity; and then, when he finds that nature has no
sentiment, he rages like a mad dog, and combines with his theoretical
objection to capital punishment a lust to murder all who disagree with
him. This is the genesis of Jacobinism and Bolshevism.

But whether we think that the bad in democracy predominates over the
good, or the good over the bad, a question which I shall not attempt to
decide, the popular balderdash about it corresponds to no real
conviction. The upper class has never believed in it; the middle class
has the strongest reasons to hate and fear it. But how about the lower
class, in whose interests the whole machine is supposed to have been set
going? The working man has no respect for either democracy or liberty.
His whole interest is in transferring the wealth of the minority to his
own pocket. There was a time when he thought that universal suffrage
would get for him what he desires; but he has lost all faith in
constitutional methods. To levy blackmail on the community, under
threats of civil war, seems to him a more expeditious way of gaining his
object. Monopolies are to be established by pitiless coercion of those
who wish to keep their freedom. The trade unions are large capitalists;
they are well able to start factories for themselves and work them for
their own exclusive profit. But they find it more profitable to hold the
nation to ransom by blockading the supply of the necessaries of life.
The new labourer despises productivity for the same reason that the old
robber barons did: it is less trouble to take money than to make it. The
most outspoken popular leaders no longer conceal their contempt for and
rejection of democracy. The socialists perceive the irreconcilable
contradiction between the two ideas,[4] and they are right. Democracy
postulates community of interest or loyal patriotism. When these are
absent it cannot long exist. Syndicalism, which seems to be growing, is
the antipodes of socialism, but, like socialism, it can make no terms
with democracy. 'If syndicalism triumphs,' says its chief prophet Sorel,
'the parliamentary régime, so dear to the intellectuals, will be at an
end.' 'The syndicalist has a contempt for the vulgar idea of democracy;
the vast unconscious mass is not to be taken into account when the
minority wishes to act so as to benefit it.'[5] 'The effect of political
majorities,' says Mr. Levine, 'is to hinder advance,' Accordingly,
political methods are rejected with contempt. The anarchists go one step
further. Bakunin proclaims that 'we reject all legislation, all
authority, and all influence, even when it has proceeded from universal
suffrage.' These powerful movements, opposed as they are to each other,
agree in spurning the very idea of democracy, which Lord Morley defines
as government by public opinion, and which may be defined with more
precision as direct government by the votes of the majority among the
adult members of a nation. Even a political philosopher like Mr. Lowes
Dickinson says, 'For my part, I am no democrat.'

Who then are the friends of this _curieux fétiche_, as Quinet called
democracy? It appears to have none, though it has been the subject of
fatuous laudation ever since the time of Rousseau. The Americans burn
incense before it, but they are themselves ruled by the Boss and the

The attempt to justify the labour movement as a legitimate development
of the old democratic Liberalism is futile. Freedom to form
combinations is no doubt a logical application of _laisser faire_; and
the anarchic possibilities latent in _laisser faire_ have been made
plain in the anti-democratic movements of labour. But Liberalism rested
on a too favourable estimate of human nature and on a belief in the law
of progress. As there is no law of progress, and as civilised society is
being destroyed by the evil passions of men, Liberalism is, for the
time, quite discredited. It would also be true to say that there is a
fundamental contradiction between the two dogmas of Liberalism. These
were, that unlimited competition is stimulating to the competitors and
good for the country, and that every individual is an end, not a means.
Both are anarchical; but the first logically issues in individualistic
anarchy, the last in communistic anarchy. The economic and the ethical
theory of Liberalism cannot be harmonised. The result--cruel competition
tempered by an artificial process of counter-selection in favour of the
unfittest--was by no means satisfactory. But it was better than what we
are now threatened with.

That the labour movement is economically rotten it is easy to prove. In
the words of Professor Hearnshaw, 'the government has ceased to govern
in the world of labour, and has been compelled, instead of governing, to
bribe, to cajole, to beg, to grovel. It has purchased brief truces at
the cost of increasing levies of Danegeld drawn from the diminishing
resources of the patient community. It has embarked on a course of
payment of blackmail which must end either in national bankruptcy or in
the social revolution which the anarchists seek.' The powerful
trade-unions are now plundering both the owners of their 'plant,' and
the general public. It is easy to show that their members already get
much more than their share of the national wealth. Professor Bowley[6]
has estimated that an equal division of the national income would give
about £160 a year to each family, free of taxes. But even this estimate,
discouraging as it is, seems not to allow sufficiently for the fact that
under the present system much of the income of the richer classes is
counted twice or three times over. Abolish large incomes, and jewels,
pictures, wines, furs, special and rare skill like that of the operating
surgeon and fashionable portrait painter, lose all or most of their
money value. All the large professional incomes, except those of the low
comedian and his like, are made out of the rich, and are counted at
least twice for income-tax. It is certain that a large part of the
national income could not be 'redistributed,' and that in the attempt to
do so credit would be destroyed and wealth would melt like a snow man.
The miners, therefore, are not seeking justice; they are blackmailing
rich and poor alike by their monopoly of one of the necessaries of life.
And now they strike against paying income-tax!

It is not necessary or just to bring railing accusations against any
class as a body. Power is always abused, and in this case there is much
honest ignorance, stimulated by agitators who are seldom honest. In a
recent number of the _Edinburgh Review_ Sir Lynden Macassey speaks of
the widespread, almost universal, fallacies to which the hand-worker has
fallen a victim. They believe that all their aspirations can be
satisfied out of present-day profits and production. They believe that
in restricting output they are performing a moral duty to their class.
They do not believe that the prosperity of the country depends upon its
production, and are opposed to all labour-saving devices. They refuse
co-operation because they desire the continuance of the class-war. Such
perversity would seem hardly credible if it were not attested by
overwhelming evidence. The Government remedy is first to create
unemployment and then to endow it--the shortest and maddest road to ruin
since the downfall of the Roman Empire.

We may have a faint hope that some of these fallacies will be abandoned
by the workmen when their destructive results can no longer be
concealed. But sentimentalism seems to be incurable. It erects
irrationality into an act of religious faith, gives free rein to the
emotion of pity, and thinks that it is imitating the Good Samaritan by
robbing the Priest and Levite for the benefit of the man by the
road-side. The sentimentalist shows a bitter hatred against those who
wish to cure an evil by removing its causes. A good example is the
language of writers like Mr. Chesterton about eugenics and population.
If social maladies were treated scientifically, the trade of the
emotional rhetorician would be gone.

We have seen that democracy--the rule of majorities--has been
discredited and abandoned in action, though officially we all bow down
before it. Another popular delusion is that the chief change in the last
fifty years has been a conversion of the world from individualism to
socialism. In the language of the Christian socialists, who wish to
combine the militant spirit and organisation of medieval Catholicism
with a bid for the popular vote, we have 'rediscovered the Corporate
Idea.' But if we take socialism, not in the narrower sense of
collectivism, which would be an economic experiment, but in the wider
sense of a keen consciousness of the solidarity of the community as an
organic whole, there is very little truth in the commonly held notion
that we have become more socialistic. It is easy to see how the idea has
arisen. It became necessary to find some theoretical justification for
raising taxes, no longer for national needs, but for the benefit of the
class which imposed them; and this justification was found in the theory
that all wealth belongs to 'the State,' and may be justly divided up as
'the State'--that is to say, the majority of the voters--may determine.
Whenever the question arises of voting new doles to the dominant section
of the people at the expense of the minority, our new political
philosophers profess themselves fervent socialists. But true socialism,
which is almost synonymous with patriotism, is as conspicuously absent
in those who call themselves socialists as it is strong in those who
repudiate the title. This paradox can be easily proved. The most
socialistic enterprise in which a nation ever engages is a great war. A
nation at war is conscious of its corporate unity and its common
interests, as it is at no other time. The nation then calls upon every
citizen to surrender all his personal rights and to offer his life and
limbs in the service of the community. And what has been the record of
the 'socialists' in the struggle for national existence in which we have
been engaged? In the years preceding the war they ridiculed the idea
that the country was in danger of being attacked, and used all their
power to prevent us from preparing against attack. They steadily opposed
the teaching of patriotism in the schools. When the war began, they
prevented the Government from introducing compulsory service until our
French Allies, who were left to bear the brunt, were on the point of
collapse; they, in very many cases, refused to serve themselves, thereby
avowing that, as far as they were concerned, they were willing to see
their country conquered by a horde of cruel barbarians; and they nearly
handed over our armies to destruction by fomenting strikes at the most
critical periods of the war. This attitude cannot be accounted for by
any conscientious objection to violence, which is in fact their
favourite weapon, except against the enemies of their country. Their
socialism is, in truth, individualism run mad; it is the very antithesis
to the consciousness of organic unity in a nation, which is the
spiritual basis of socialism. In this sense, the nation as a whole has
shown a fine socialistic temper; but the disgraceful exception has been
the socialist party. The intense and perverted individualism of the
so-called socialist is shown in another way. Whatever liberties a State
may permit to its citizens, it is certain that no nation can be in a
healthy condition unless the government keeps in its own hands the keys
of birth and of death. The State has the right of the farmer to decide
how many cows should be allowed to graze upon ten acres of grass; the
right of the forester to decide how many square feet are required for
each tree in a wood. It has also the right and the duty of the gardener
to pull up noxious weeds in his flower-beds. But the socialist
vehemently repudiates both these rights. Being an ultra-individualist,
he is in favour of _laisser faire_, where _laisser faire_ is most
indefensible and most disastrous.

It would be easy to maintain that the organic idea was more potent, both
under medieval feudalism and under nineteenth-century industrialism,
than it is now. In former days, economic and social equality were not
even aimed at, because it was thought inevitable that in a social
organism there must be subordination and a hierarchy of functions.
Essentially, and in the sight of God, all are equal, or, rather, the
essential differences between man and man are absolutely independent of
social status. In a few years Lazarus may be in heaven and Dives in
hell. Beside this equality of moral opportunity and tremendous
inequality in self-chosen destiny, the status of master and servant
seemed of small importance; it was a temporary and trivial accident.
Accordingly, in feudal times, as to-day in really Catholic communities,
feelings of injustice and social bitterness were seldom aroused and
class differences take on a more genial colour. In spite of the
lawlessness and brutality of the Middle Ages it is probable that men
were happier then than they are now.

The French Revolution, which was a disintegrating solvent, pulverised
society, and was impotent to reconstruct it. Yet under the industrial
régime which followed it in this country, the nation was conscious of
its unity. The system was the best that could have been devised for
increasing the population and aggregate wealth of the country; and even
those who suffered most under it were not without pride in its results.
The ill-paid workman of the last century would have thought it a poor
thing to do a deliberately bad day's work.

I am not praising either the age of feudalism or the 'hungry forties' of
the nineteenth century. In the latter case especially the sacrifice
exacted from the poor was too great for the rather vulgar success of
which it was the condition. But to call that age the period of
individualism, and our own generation the period of socialism, is in my
opinion a profound mistake. In Germany, too, the real socialists are not
the 'Spartacist' scoundrels who have betrayed and ruined their country,
but the bureaucracy with their _Deutschland über Alles_. If I were a
little more of a socialist, I could almost admire them, in spite of all
their crimes.

The landed gentry (and in honesty I must add the endowed clergy) are a
survival of feudalism, as the capitalist is a survival of industrialism.
Both have to a large extent survived their functions. The mailclad
baron, round whose fortified castle the peasants and others gathered for
protection, has become the country gentleman, against whom the
indictment is not so much that his only pursuit is pleasure, as that his
only pleasure is pursuit. 'The rich man in his castle, the poor man at
his gate' were intelligible while the rich man protected the poor man
from being plundered and killed by marauders; but in our times nobody
wants a castle or to live under the shadow of a castle. The clerical
profession was a necessity when most people could neither read nor
write. But to-day our best prophets and preachers are laymen. As at
ancient Athens, in the time of Aristophanes, 'the young learn from the
schoolmaster, the mature from the poets.' Similarly, the captain of
industry cannot hold the same autocratic position as formerly, in view
of the growing intelligence and capacity of the workmen; and the
capitalist who is not a captain of industry is a debtor to the community
to an extent which he does not always realise. This class is becoming
painfully conscious of its vulnerability.

There are, therefore, irrational survivals in our social order; and
though it may be proved that they are not a severe burden on the
community, it is natural that popular bitterness and discontent should
fasten upon them and exaggerate their evil results. It cannot be
disputed that this bitterness and discontent were becoming very acute in
the years before the war. An increasing number of persons saw no meaning
and no value in our civilisation. This feeling was common in all
classes, including the so-called leisured class; and was so strong that
many welcomed with joy the clear call to a plain duty, though it was the
duty of facing all the horrors of war. What is the cause of this
discontent? There are few more important questions for us to answer.

Those who find the cause in the existence of the survivals which we have
mentioned are certainly mistaken. It is no new thing that there should
be a small class more or less parasitic on the community. The whole
number of persons who pay income-tax on £5000 a year and upwards is
only 13,000 out of 46 millions, and their wealth, if it could be divided
up, would make no appreciable difference to the working man. The
wage-earners are better off than they have ever been before in our
history, and the danger of revolution comes not from the poor, but from
the privileged artisans who already have incomes above the family
average. We must look elsewhere for an explanation of social unrest. If
we consider what are the chief centres of discontent throughout the
civilised world, we shall find that they are the great aggregations of
population in wealthy industrial countries. Social unrest is a disease
of town-life. Wherever the conditions which create the great modern city
exist, we find revolutionary agitation. It has spread to Barcelona, to
Buenos Ayres, and to Osaka, in the wake of the factory. The inhabitants
of the large town do not envy the countryman and would not change with
him. But, unknown to themselves, they are leading an unnatural life, cut
off from the kindly and wholesome influences of nature, surrounded by
vulgarity and ugliness, with no traditions, no loyalties, no culture,
and no religion. We seldom reflect on the strangeness of the fact that
the modern working-man has few or no superstitions. At other times the
masses have evolved for themselves some picturesque nature-religion,
some pious ancestor-worship, some cult of saints or heroes, some stories
of fairies, ghosts, or demons, and a mass of quaint superstitions,
genial or frightening. The modern town-dweller has no God and no Devil;
he lives without awe, without admiration, without fear. Whatever we may
think about these beliefs, it is not natural for men and women to be
without them. The life of the town artisan who works in a factory is a
life to which the human organism has not adapted itself; it is an
unwholesome and unnatural condition. Hence, probably, comes the
_malaise_ which makes him think that any radical change must be for the

Whatever the cause of the disease may be (and I do not pretend that the
conditions of urban life are an adequate explanation) the malady is
there, and will probably prove fatal to our civilisation. I have given
my views on this subject in the essay called _The Future of the English
Race._ And yet there is a remedy within the reach of all if we would
only try it.

The essence of the Christian revelation is the proclamation of a
standard of absolute values, which contradicts at every point the
estimates of good and evil current in 'the world.' It is not necessary,
in such an essay as this, to write out the Beatitudes, or the very
numerous passages in the Gospels and Epistles in which the same lessons
are enforced. It is not necessary to remind the reader that in
Christianity all the paraphernalia of life are valued very lightly; that
all the good and all the evil which exalt or defile a man have their
seat within him, in his own character; that we are sent into the world
to suffer and to conquer suffering; that it is more blessed to give than
to receive; that love is the great revealer of the mysteries of life;
that we have here no continuing city, and must therefore set our
affections and lay up our treasures in heaven; that the things that are
seen are temporal, and the things that are not seen are eternal. This is
the Christian religion. It is a form of idealism; and idealism means a
belief in absolute or spiritual values.

When applied to human life, it introduces, as it were, a new currency,
which demonetises the old; or gives us a new scale of prices, in which
the cheapest things are the dearest, and the dearest the cheapest. The
world's standards are quantitative; those of Christianity are
qualitative. And being qualitative, spiritual goods are unlimited in
amount; they are increased by being shared; and we rob nobody by taking

Secularists ask impatiently what Christianity has done or proposes to do
to make mankind happier, by which they mean more comfortable. The answer
is (to put it in a form intelligible to the questioner) that
Christianity increases the wealth of the world by creating new values.
Wealth depends on human valuation. For example, if women were
sufficiently well educated not to care about diamonds, the Kimberley
mines would pay no dividends, and the rents in Park Lane would go down.
The prices of paintings by old masters would decline if millionaires
preferred to collect another kind of scalps to decorate their wigwams.
Bookmakers and company-promoters live on the widespread passion for
acquiring money without working for it. It is hardly possible to
estimate the increase of real wealth, and the stoppage of waste, which
would result from the adoption of a rational, still more of a Christian,
valuation of the good things of life. I have dealt with this subject in
the essay on _The Indictment against Christianity_, and have emphasised
the importance of taking into consideration, in all economic questions,
the _human costs_ of production, the factors which make work pleasant or
irksome, and especially the moral condition of the worker. Good-will
diminishes the toll which labour takes of the labourer; envy and hatred
vastly increase it while they diminish its product. It is, of course,
impossible that the worker should not resent having to devote his life
to making what is useless or mischievous, and to ministering to the
irrational wastefulness of luxury. Christianity, in condemning the
selfish and irresponsible use of money, seeks to remove one of the chief
causes of social bitterness. Senseless extravagance is the best friend
of revolution.

The abuse poured upon 'the old political economy,' as it is called, is
only half deserved. As compared with the insane doctrines now in favour
with the working-man, the old political economy was sound and sensible.
Hard work, thrift, and economy in production are, in truth, as we used
to be told, the only ways to increase the national wealth, and the
contrary practices can only lead to economic ruin. There is not much
fault to find with the old economists so long as they recognised that
their science was an abstract science, which for its own purposes dealt
with an unreal abstraction--the 'economic man.' Every science is obliged
to isolate one aspect of reality in this way. But when political economy
was treated as a philosophy of life it began to be mischievous. A book
on 'the science of the stomach,' without knowledge of physiology or the
working of other organs, would not be of much use. Man has never been a
merely acquisitive being; for example, he is also a fighting and a
praying being. If our dominant motives were changed, the whole
conditions dealt with by political economy would change with them. There
have been civilisations in which the passion for accumulation was
comparatively weak; and notoriously there are many persons in whom it is
wholly absent. Devotion to art, to scientific investigation, and to
religion is strong enough, where it exists, to kill 'the economic man'
in human nature. A civilised nation honours its idealists, and
recognises the immense benefit which they confer on the community by
creating or revealing new and inexhaustible values; in an uncivilised
country they can hardly live. Ruskin and William Morris saw, and
doubtless exaggerated, the danger to which spiritual values were exposed
at the hands of the dominant economism. Our danger now is that neglect
of the simplest economic laws may plunge the nation into such misery
that the people will no longer be willing to support art, science,
learning, and philosophy. A large section of the labour party has the
same standard of values as the hated 'capitalist,' and detests those
whom it calls intellectuals and sky-pilots because they depreciate the
currency which their class, no less than the capitalist, believes to be
the only sound money.

It may be asked whether there is any reason to think that there is now
less regard for the higher, the qualitative values of life, than at
other periods. My opinion is that ever since the time of Rousseau and
his contemporaries, we have been led astray by a will-of-the-wisp akin
to the apocalyptic dreams of the Jews in the last two centuries before
Christ, dreams which also filled the minds of the first generation of
Christians. The Greeks never made the mistake of throwing their ideals
into the future, a practice which, as Dr. Bosanquet has said, 'is the
death of all sane idealism.' The belief in 'a good time coming' is a
Jewish delusion. It nourished the Jews in their amazing obstinacy, and
led to the annihilation of their State which, to the very end, they saw
in their dreams bruising all other nations with a rod of iron, and
breaking them in pieces like a potter's vessel. But, as any idealism is
better than none, the Hebrew race has won remarkable triumphs, though of
a kind which it never desired.

The myth of progress is our form of apocalyptism. In France it began
with sentimentalism, developing normally into homicidal mania. In
England it took the form of a kind of Deuteronomic religion. As a reward
for our national virtues, our population expanded, our exports and
imports went up by leaps and bounds, and our empire received additions
every decade. It was plain that when Christ said 'Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth,' He was thinking of the British
Empire. The whole structure of our social order encouraged the
measurement of everything by quantitative standards. Everyone could
understand that a generation which travels sixty miles an hour must be
five times as civilised as one which only travelled twelve. Thus the
beneficent 'law of progress' was exemplified in that nation which had
best deserved to be its exponent. The myth in question is that there is
a natural law of improvement, manifested by greater complexity of
structure, by increase of wants and the means to satisfy them. A nation
advances in civilisation by increasing in wealth and population, and by
multiplying the accessories and paraphernalia of life.

Belief in this alleged law has vitiated our natural science, our
political science, our history, our philosophy, and even our religion.
Science declared that 'the survival of the fittest' was a law of nature,
though nature has condemned to extinction the majestic animals of the
saurian era, and has carefully preserved the bug, the louse, and the
spirochaeta pallida.

    We dined as a rule on each other;
    What matter? the toughest survived,

is a fair parody of this doctrine. In political science, by a portentous
snobbery, the actual evolution of European government was assumed to be
in the line of upward progress. Our histories contrasted the benighted
condition of past ages with the high morality and general enlightenment
of the present. In philosophy, the problem of evil was met by the
theory that though the Deity is not omnipotent yet, He is on His way to
become so. He means well, and if we give Him time, He will make a real
success of His creation. Human beings, too, commonly make a very poor
thing of their lives here. But continue their training after they are
dead and they will all come to perfection. We have been living on this
secularised idealism for a hundred and fifty years. It has driven out
the true idealism, of which it is a caricature, and has made the deeper
and higher kind of religious faith abnormally difficult. Even the hope
of immortality has degenerated into a belief in apparitions and voices
from the dead.

Nature knows nothing of this precious law. Her figure is not the
vertical line, nor even the spiral, but the circle--the vicious circle,
according to Samuel Butler. 'Men eat birds, birds eat worms, worms eat
men again.' Some stars are getting hotter, others cooler. Life appears
at a certain temperature and is extinguished at another temperature.
Evolution and involution balance each other and go on concurrently. The
normal condition of every species on this planet is not progress but
stationariness. 'Progress,' so-called, is an incident of adaptation to
new conditions. Bees and ants must have spent millennia in perfecting
their organisation; now that they have reached a stable equilibrium, no
more changes are perceptible. The 'progress' of humanity has consisted
almost entirely in the transformation of the wild man of the woods, not
into _homo sapiens_ but into _homo faber_, man the tool-maker, a process
of which nature expresses her partial disapproval by plaguing us with
diverse diseases and taking away our teeth and claws. It is not certain
that there has been much change in our intellectual and moral endowments
since pithecanthropus dropped the first half of his name. I should be
sorry to have to maintain that the Germans of to-day are morally
superior to the army which defeated Quintilius Varus, or that the modern
Turks are more humane than the hordes of Timour the Tartar. If there is
to be any improvement in human nature itself we must look to the infant
science of eugenics to help us.

It is not easy to say how this myth of progress came to take hold of
the imagination, in the teeth of science and experience. Quinet speaks
of the 'fatalistic optimism' of historians, of which there have
certainly been some strange examples. We can only say that secularism,
like other religions, needs an eschatology, and has produced one. A more
energetic generation than ours looked forward to a gradual extension of
busy industrialism over the whole planet; the present ideal of the
masses seems to be the greatest idleness of the greatest number, or a
Fabian farm-yard of tame fowls, or (in America) an ice-water-drinking
gynæcocracy. But the superstition cannot flourish much longer. The
period of expansion is over, and we must adjust our view of earthly
providence to a state of decline. For no nation can flourish when it is
the ambition of the large majority to put in fourpence and take out
ninepence. The middle-class will be the first victims; then the
privileged aristocracy of labour will exploit the poor. But trade will
take wings and migrate to some other country where labour is good and
comparatively cheap.

The dethronement of a fetish may give a sounder faith its chance. In the
time of decay and disintegration which lies before us, more persons will
seek consolation where it can be found. 'Happiness and unhappiness,'
says Spinoza, 'depend on the nature of the object which we love. When a
thing is not loved, no quarrels will arise concerning it, no sadness
will be felt if it perishes, no envy if it is possessed by another; no
fear, no hatred, no disturbance of the mind. All these things arise from
the love of the perishable. But love for a thing eternal and infinite
feeds the mind wholly with joy, and is itself untainted with any
sadness; wherefore it is greatly to be desired and sought for with our
whole strength.' It is well known that these noble words were not only
sincere, but the expression of the working faith of the philosopher; and
we may hope that many who are doomed to suffer hardship and spoliation
in the evil days that are coming will find the same path to a happiness
which cannot be taken from them. Spinoza's words, of course, do not
point only to religious exercises and meditation. The spiritual world
includes art and science in all their branches, when these are studied
with a genuine devotion to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful for
their own sakes. We shall need 'a remnant' to save Europe from relapsing
into barbarism; for the new forces are almost wholly cut off from the
precious traditions which link our civilisation with the great eras of
the past. The possibility of another dark age is not remote; but there
must be enough who value our best traditions to preserve them till the
next spring-time of civilisation. We must take long views, and think of
our great-grandchildren.

It is tempting to dream of a new Renaissance, under which the life of
reason will at last be the life of mankind. Though there is little sign
of improvement in human nature, a favourable conjunction of
circumstances may bring about a civilisation very much better than ours
to-day. For a time, at any rate, war may be practically abolished, and
the military qualities may find another and a less pernicious outlet.
'Sport,' as Santayana says, 'is a liberal form of war stripped of its
compulsions and malignity; a rational art and the expression of a
civilised instinct.' The art of living may be taken in hand seriously.
Some of the ingenuity which has lately been lavished on engines of
destruction may be devoted to improvements in our houses, which should
be easily and cheaply put together and able to be carried about in
sections; on labour-saving devices which would make servants
unnecessary; and on international campaigns against diseases, some of
the worst of which could be extinguished for ever by twenty years of
concerted effort. A scientific civilisation is not impossible, though we
are not likely to live to see it. And, if science and humanism can work
together, it will be a great age for mankind. Such hopes as these must
be allowed to float before our minds: they are not unreasonable, and
they will help us to get through the twentieth century, which is not
likely to be a pleasant time to live in.

Some writers, like Mr. H.G. Wells, recognising the danger which
threatens civilisation, have suggested the formation of a society for
mutual encouragement in the higher life. Mr. Wells developed this idea
in his 'Modern Utopia.' He contemplated a brotherhood, like the
Japanese Samurai, living by a Rule, a kind of lay monastic order, who
should endeavour to live in a perfectly rational and wholesome manner,
so as to be the nucleus of whatever was best in the society of the time.
The scheme is interesting to a Platonist, because of its resemblance to
the Order of Guardians in the 'Republic.' A very good case may be made
out for having an ascetic Order of moral and physical aristocrats, and
entrusting them with the government of the country. Plato forbade his
guardians to own wealth, and thus secured an uncorrupt administration,
one of the rarest and best of virtues in a government. But political
events are not moving in this direction at present; and the question for
us is whether those who believe in science and humanism should attempt
to form a society, not to rule the country, but to protect themselves
and the ideas which they wish to preserve. But I agree with Mr. Wells'
second thoughts, that the time is not ripe for such a scheme.[7]
Christianity, 'the greatest new beginning in the world's history,'
appeared, as he says, in an age of disintegration, and 'we are in a
synthetic rather than a disintegrating phase.... _Only a very vast and
terrible war-explosion can, I think, change this state of affairs.'_ The
vast explosion has occurred, and the stage of disintegration, which Mr.
Wells ought perhaps to have seen approaching even eleven years ago, has
clearly begun. But it will have to go further before the need of such a
society is felt. The time may come when the educated classes, and those
who desire freedom to live as they think right, will find themselves
oppressed, not only in their home-life by the tyranny of the
trade-unions, but in their souls by the pulpy and mawkish emotionalism
of herd-morality. Then a league for mutual protection may be formed. If
such a society ever comes into being, the following principles are, I
think, necessary for its success. First, it must be on a religious
basis, since religion has a cohesive force greater than any other bond.
The religious basis will be a blend of Christian Platonism and Christian
Stoicism, since it must be founded on that faith in absolute spiritual
values which is common to Christianity and Platonism, with that sturdy
defiance of tyranny and popular folly which was the strength of
Stoicism. Next, it must not be affiliated to any religious organisation;
otherwise it will certainly be exploited in denominational interests.
Thirdly, it must include some purely disciplinary asceticism, such as
abstinence from alcohol and tobacco for men, and from costly dresses and
jewellery for women. This is necessary, because it is more important to
keep out the half-hearted than to increase the number of members.
Fourthly, it must prescribe a simple life of duty and discipline, since
frugality will be a condition of enjoying self-respect and freedom.
Fifthly, it will enjoin the choice of an open-air life in the country,
where possible. A whole group of French writers, such as Proudhon,
Delacroix, Leconte de Lisle, Flaubert, Leblond, and Faguet agree in
attributing our social _malaise_ to life in great towns. The lower
death-rates of country districts are a hint from nature that they are
right. Sixthly, every member must pledge himself to give his best work.
As Dr. Jacks says, 'Producers of good articles respect each other;
producers of bad despise each other and hate their work.' It may be
necessary for those who recognise the right of the labourer to preserve
his self-respect, to combine in order to satisfy each other's needs in
resistance to the trade-unions. Seventhly, there must be provision for
community-life, like that of the old monasteries, for both sexes. The
members of the society should be encouraged to spend some part of their
lives in these institutions, without retiring from the world altogether.
Temporary 'retreats' might be of great value. Intellectual work,
including scientific research, could be carried on under very favourable
conditions in these lay monasteries and convents, which should contain
good libraries and laboratories. Lastly, a distinctive dress, not merely
a badge, would probably be essential for members of both sexes.

This last provision tempts me to add that the Government would do well
to appoint at once a Royal Commission, or, rather, two Commissions, to
decide on a compulsory national uniform for both sexes. Experts should
recommend the most comfortable, becoming, and economical dress that
could be devised, with considerable variety for the different trades and
professions. Such a law would do more for social equality than any
readjustment of taxation. It has been often noticed that every man looks
a gentleman in khaki; and it is to be feared that many war brides have
suffered a painful surprise on seeing their husbands for the first time
in civilian garb. There need be no suggestion of militarism about the
new costume; but a man's calling might be recorded, like the name of his
regiment, on his shoulder-straps, and the absence of such a badge would
be regarded as a disgrace, whether the subject was a tramp or one of the
idle rich. This suggestion may seem trivial, or even ludicrous; and I
may be reminded of my dislike of meddling legislation; but the
importance of the philosophy of clothes has not diminished since 'Sartor
Resartus.' Clerical dignitaries might be trusted to vote for this
mitigation of their lot.

Some may wonder why I have not expressed a hope that the guardianship of
our intellectual and spiritual birthright may pass into the hands of the
National Church. I heartily wish that I could cherish this hope. But
organised religion has been a failure ever since the first concordat
between Church and State under Constantine the Great. The Church of
England in its corporate capacity has never seemed to respect anything
but organised force. In the sixteenth century it proclaimed Henry VIII
the Supreme Head of the Church; in the seventeenth century it
passionately upheld the 'right divine of kings to govern wrong'; in the
eighteenth and nineteenth it was the obsequious supporter of the
squirearchy and plutocracy; and now it grovels before the working-man,
and supports every scheme of plundering the minority. In fact, we must
distinguish sharply between ecclesiasticism, theology, and religion. The
future of ecclesiasticism is a political question. In the opinion of
some good judges, the acute nationalism now dominant in Europe will
quickly pass away, and a duel will supervene between the 'Black
International' and the 'Red.' Catholicism, it is supposed, will shelter
all who dread revolution and all who value traditional civilisation; its
unrivalled organisation will make it the one possible centre of
resistance to anarchy and barbarism, and the conflict will go on till
one side or the other is overthrown. This prediction, which opens a
truly appalling prospect for civilisation, might be less terrible if the
Church were to open its arms to a new Renaissance, and become once more,
as in the beginning of the modern period, the home of learning and the
patroness of the arts. But we must not overlook the new and growing
power of science; and science can no more make terms with Catholic
ecclesiasticism than with the Revolution. The Jacobins guillotined
Lavoisier, 'having no need of chemists'; but the Church burnt Bruno and
imprisoned Galileo. Science, too strong to be victimised again, may come
between the two enemies of civilisation, the Bolshevik and the
Ultramontane; it is, I think, our best hope.

I am conscious that I have spoken with too little sympathy in one or two
of these essays about the Ritualist party. I was more afraid of it a few
years ago than I am now. The Oxford movement began as a late wave of the
Romantic movement, with wistful eyes bent upon the past. But
Romanticism, which dotes on ruins, shrinks from real restoration.
Medievalism is attractive only when seen from a short distance. So the
movement is ceasing to be either medieval or Catholic or Anglican; it is
becoming definitely Latin. But a Latin Church in England which disowns
the Pope is an absurdity. Many of the shrewder High Churchmen are, as I
have said in this volume, throwing themselves into political agitation
and intrigue, for which Catholics always have a great aptitude; but this
involves them in another inconsistency. For Catholicism is essentially
hierarchical and undemocratic, though it keeps a 'career open to the
talents.' The spirit of Catholicism breathes in the Third Canto of the
'Paradiso,' where Dante asks the soul of a friend whom he finds in the
lowest circle of Paradise, whether he does not desire to go higher. The
friend replies: 'Brother, the force of charity quiets our will, making
us wish only for what we have and thirst for nothing more. If we
desired to be in a sublimer sphere, our desires would be discordant with
the will of Him who here allots us our diverse stations.... The manner
in which we are ranged from step to step in this kingdom pleases the
whole kingdom, as it does the King who gives us the power to will as He
wills.' Accordingly, these ecclesiastical votaries of democracy cut a
strange figure when they seek to legislate for the Church. The High
Church scheme (defeated the other day by a small majority) for drawing
up a constitution for the Church, consisted in disfranchising the large
majority of the electorate and reserving the initiative and veto for the
House of Lords (the Bishops). In fact, the constitution which our
Catholic democrats would like best for the Church closely resembles that
of Great Britain before the first Reform Bill. In the same way the
ritualistic clergy, while professing a superstitious reverence for the
episcopal office, make a point of flouting the authority of their own
bishop. The movement, in my opinion, is beginning to break up, and Rome
will be the chief gainer. But many of its leaders have been among the
glories of the Church of England, and I could never speak of them with

Catholicism, whether Roman or Anglican, stands to lose heavily by the
decay of institutionalism as an article of faith. It is becoming
impossible for those who mix at all with their fellow-men to believe
that the grace of God is distributed denominationally. The Christian
virtues, so far as we can see, flower impartially in the souls of
Catholic and Protestant, of Churchman and Schismatic, of Orthodox and
Heretic. And the test, 'by their fruits ye shall know them,' cannot be
openly rejected by any Christian. But fanatical institutionalism has
been the driving force of Catholicism as a power in the world, from the
very first. The Church has lived by its monopolies and conquered by its
intolerance. The war has given a further impetus to the fall of this
belief, which, with its dogma, _Extra ecclesiam nulla salus_, was
tottering before the crisis came.

The prospects of Christian theology are very difficult to estimate; and
I am so convinced myself of the superiority of the Catholic theology
based on Neoplatonism, that I cannot view the matter with impartial
detachment. We all tend to predict the triumph of our own opinions. But
miracles must, I am convinced, be relegated to the sphere of pious
opinion. It is not likely, perhaps, that the progress of science will
increase the difficulty of believing them; but it can never again be
possible to make the truths of religion depend on physical portents
having taken place as recorded. The Christian revelation can stand
without them, and the rulers of the Church will soon have to recognise
that in very many minds it does stand without them.

I have already indicated what I believe to be the essential parts of
that revelation. Whether it will be believed by a larger number of
persons a hundred years hence than to-day depends, I suppose, on whether
the nation will be in a more healthy condition than it is now. The chief
rival to Christianity is secularism; and this creed has some bitter
disappointments in store for its worshippers. I cannot help hoping that
the human race, having taken in succession every path except the right
one, may pay more attention to the narrow way that leadeth unto life. In
morals, the Church will undoubtedly have a hard battle to fight. The
younger generation has discarded all _tabus_, and in matters of sex we
must be prepared for a period of unbridled license. But such lawlessness
brings about its own cure by arousing disgust and shame; and the
institution of marriage is far too deeply rooted to be in any danger
from the revolution.

I have, I suppose, made it clear that I do not consider myself specially
fortunate in having been born in 1860, and that I look forward with
great anxiety to the journey through life which my children will have to
make. But, after all, we judge our generation mainly by its surface
currents. There may be in progress a storage of beneficent forces which
we cannot see. There are ages of sowing and ages of reaping: the
brilliant epochs may be those in which spiritual wealth is squandered,
the epochs of apparent decline may be those in which the race is
recuperating after an exhausting effort. To all appearance, man has
still a great part of his long lease before him, and there is no reason
to suppose that the future will be less productive of moral and
spiritual triumphs than the past. The source of all good is like an
inexhaustible river; the Creator pours forth new treasures of goodness,
truth, and beauty for all who will love them and take them. 'Nothing
that truly _is_ can ever perish,' as Plotinus says; whatever has value
in God's sight is safe for evermore. Our half-real world is the factory
of souls, in which we are tried, as in a furnace. We are not to set our
hopes upon it, but to learn such wisdom as it can teach us while we pass
through it. I will therefore end these thoughts on our present
discontents with two messages of courage and confidence, one from
Chaucer, the other from Blake.

    That thee is sent, receyve in buxomnesse,
    The wrastling for this worlde axeth a fall.
    Her is non hoom, her nis but wildernesse:
    Forth, pilgrim, forth! Forth, beste, out of thy stall!
    Know thy contree, look up, thank God of all:
    Weyve thy lust, and let thy gost thee lede;
    And trouthe shall delivere, it is no drede.

And this:--

    Joy and woe are woven fine,
    A clothing for the soul divine;
    Under every grief and pine
    Runs a joy with silken twine.
    It is right it should be so;
    Man was made for joy and woe;
    And when this we rightly know
    Safely through the world we go.


     [1] _Times Literary Supplement_, July 18, 1918.

     [2] Hearnshaw, _Democracy at the Crossroads_, p. 63.

     [3] Miss M. Loane. Mr. Stephen Reynolds has said the same.

     [4] Professor Hearnshaw quotes: 'Il y a opposition évidente
     et irréductible entre les principes socialistes et les
     principes démocratiques. Il n'y a pas de conceptions
     politiques qui soient séparées par des abîmes plus profonds
     que la démocratie et le socialisme' (Le Bon). 'Socialism
     must be built on ideas and institutions totally different
     from the ideas and institutions of democracy' (Levine). 'La
     democratic tend à la conciliation des classes, tandis que le
     socialisme organise la lutte de classe' (Lagardelle).

     [5] A.D. Lewis, _Syndicalism and the General Strike_.

     [6] _The Division of the Product of Industry_.

     [7] _First and Last Things_ (pp. 148-9. Published in 1908).



The sentiment of patriotism has seemed to many to mark an arrest of
development in the psychical expansion of the individual, a half-way
house between mere self-centredness and full human sympathy. Some
moralists have condemned it as pure egoism, magnified and disguised.
'Patriotism,' says Ruskin, 'is an absurd prejudice founded on an
extended selfishness.' Mr. Grant Allen calls it 'a vulgar vice--the
national or collective form of the monopolist instinct.' Mr. Havelock
Ellis allows it to be 'a virtue--among barbarians.' For Herbert Spencer
it is 'reflex egoism--extended selfishness.' These critics have made the
very common mistake of judging human emotions and sentiments by their
roots instead of by their fruits. They have forgotten the Aristotelian
canon that the 'nature' of anything is its completed development (hê
phusis telos estin). The human self, as we know it, is a transitional
form. It had a humble origin, and is capable of indefinite enhancement.
Ultimately, we are what we love and care for, and no limit has been set
to what we may become without ceasing to be ourselves. The case is the
same with our love of country. No limit has been set to what our country
may come to mean for us, without ceasing to be our country. Marcus
Aurelius exhorted himself--'The poet says, Dear city of Cecrops; shall
not I pay, Dear city of God?' But the city of God in which he wished to
be was a city in which he would still live as 'a Roman and an Antonine.'
The citizen of heaven knew that it was his duty to 'hunt Sarmatians' on
earth, though he was not obliged to imbrue his hands with 'Cæsarism.'

Patriotism has two roots, the love of clan and the love of home. In
migratory tribes the former alone counts; in settled communities
diversities of origin are often forgotten. But the love of home, as we
know it, is a gentler and more spiritual bond than clanship. The word
home is associated with all that makes life beautiful and sacred, with
tender memories of joy and sorrow, and especially with the first eager
outlook of the young mind upon a wonderful world. A man does not as a
rule feel much sentiment about his London house, still less about his
office or factory. It is for the home of his childhood, or of his
ancestors, that a man will fight most readily, because he is bound to it
by a spiritual and poetic tie. Expanding from this centre, the sentiment
of patriotism embraces one's country as a whole.

Both forms of patriotism--the local and the racial, are frequently
alloyed with absurd, unworthy or barbarous motives. The local patriot
thinks that Peebles, and not Paris, is the place for pleasure, or asks
whether any good thing can come out of Nazareth. To the Chinaman all
aliens are 'outer barbarians' or 'foreign devils.' Admiration for
ourselves and our institutions is too often measured by our contempt and
dislike for foreigners. Our own nation has a peculiarly bad record in
this respect. In the reign of James I the Spanish ambassador was
frequently insulted by the London crowd, as was the Russian ambassador
in 1662; not, apparently, because we had a burning grievance against
either of those nations, but because Spaniards and Russians are very
unlike Englishmen. That at least is the opinion of the sagacious Pepys
on the later of these incidents. 'Lord! to see the absurd nature of
Englishmen, that cannot forbear laughing and jeering at anything that
looks strange.' Defoe says that the English are 'the most churlish
people alive' to foreigners, with the result that 'all men think an
Englishman the devil.' In the 17th and 18th centuries Scotland seems to
have ranked as a foreign country, and the presence of Scots in London
was much resented. Cleveland thought it witty to write:--

    Had Cain been Scot, God would have changed his doom;
    Not forced him wander, but confined him home.

And we all remember Dr. Johnson's gibes.

British patriotic arrogance culminated in the 18th and in the first half
of the 19th century; in Lord Palmerston it found a champion at the head
of the government. Goldsmith describes the bearing of the Englishman of
his day:--

    Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
    I see the lords of human kind pass by.

Michelet found in England 'human pride personified in a people,' at a
time when the characteristic of Germany was 'a profound impersonality.'
It may be doubted whether even the arrogant brutality of the modern
Prussian is more offensive to foreigners than was the calm and haughty
assumption of superiority by our countrymen at this time. Our
grandfathers and great-grandfathers were quite of Milton's opinion,
that, when the Almighty wishes something unusually great and difficult
to be done, He entrusts it to His Englishmen. This unamiable
characteristic was probably much more the result of insular ignorance
than of a deep-seated pride. 'A generation or two ago,' said Mr. Asquith
lately, 'patriotism was largely fed and fostered upon reciprocal
ignorance and contempt.' The Englishman seriously believed that the
French subsisted mainly upon frogs, while the Frenchman was equally
convinced that the sale of wives at Smithfield was one of our national
institutions. This fruitful source of international misunderstanding has
become less dangerous since the facilities of foreign travel have been
increased. But in the relations of Europe with alien and independent
civilisations, such as that of China, we still see brutal arrogance and
vulgar ignorance producing their natural results.

Another cause of perverted patriotism is the inborn pugnacity of the
_bête humaine_. Our species is the most cruel and destructive of all
that inhabit this planet. If the lower animals, as we call them, were
able to formulate a religion, they might differ greatly as to the shape
of the beneficent Creator, but they would nearly all agree that the
devil must be very like a big white man. Mr. McDougall[8] has lately
raised the question whether civilised man is less pugnacious than the
savage; and he answers it in the negative. The Europeans, he thinks, are
among the most combative of the human race. We are not allowed to knock
each other on the head during peace; but our civilisation is based on
cut-throat competition; our favourite games are mimic battles, which I
suppose effect for us a 'purgation of the emotions' similar to that
which Aristotle attributed to witnessing the performance of a tragedy:
and, when the fit seizes us, we are ready to engage in wars which cannot
fail to be disastrous to both combatants. Mr. McDougall does not regret
this disposition, irrational though it is. He thinks that it tends to
the survival of the fittest, and that, if we substitute emulation for
pugnacity, which on other grounds might seem an unmixed advantage, we
shall have to call in the science of eugenics to save us from becoming
as sheeplike as the Chinese. There is, however, another side to this
question, as we shall see presently.

Another instinct which has supplied fuel to patriotism of the baser sort
is that of acquisitiveness. This tendency, without which even the most
rudimentary civilisation would be impossible, began when the female of
the species, instead of carrying her baby on her back and following the
male to his hunting-grounds, made some sort of a lair for herself and
her family, where primitive implements and stores of food could be kept.
There are still tribes in Brazil which have not reached this first step
towards humanisation. But the instinct of hoarding, like all other
instincts, tends to become hypertrophied and perverted; and with the
institution of private property comes another institution--that of
plunder and brigandage. In private life, no motive of action is at
present so powerful and so persistent as acquisitiveness, which, unlike
most other desires, knows no satiety. The average man is rich enough
when he has a little more than he has got, and not till then. The
acquisition and possession of land satisfies this desire in a high
degree, since land is a visible and indestructible form of property.
Consequently, as soon as the instincts of the individual are transferred
to the group, territorial aggrandisement becomes a main preoccupation of
the state. This desire was the chief cause of wars, while kings and
nobles regarded the territories over which they ruled as their private
estates. Wherever despotic or feudal conditions survive, such ideas are
likely still to be found, and to cause dangers to other states. The
greatest ambition of a modern emperor is still to be commemorated as a
'Mehrer des Reichs.'

Capitalism, by separating the idea of property from any necessary
connection with landed estate, and democracy, by denying the whole
theory on which dynastic wars of conquest are based, have both
contributed to check this, perhaps the worst kind of war. It would,
however, be a great error to suppose that the instinct of
acquisitiveness, in its old and barbarous form, has lost its hold upon
even the most civilised nations. When an old-fashioned brigand appears,
and puts himself at the head of his nation, he becomes at once a popular
hero. By any rational standard of morality, few greater scoundrels have
lived than Frederick the Great and Napoleon I. But they are still names
to conjure with. Both were men of singularly lucid intellect and
entirely medieval ambitions. Their great achievement was to show how
under modern conditions aggressive war may be carried on without much
loss (except in human life) to the aggressor. They tore up all the
conventions which regulated the conduct of warfare, and reduced it to
sheer brigandage and terrorism. And now, after a hundred years, we see
these methods deliberately revived by the greatest military power in the
world, and applied with the same ruthlessness and with an added pedantry
which makes them more inhuman. The perpetrators of the crime calculated
quite correctly that they need fear no reluctance on the part of the
nation, no qualms of conscience, no compassionate shrinking, no remorse.
It must, indeed, be a bad cause that cannot count on the support of the
large majority of the people at the _beginning_ of a war. Pugnacity,
greed, mere excitement, the contagion of a crowd, will fill the streets
of almost any capital with a shouting and jubilant mob on the day after
a war has been declared.

And yet the motives which we have enumerated are plainly atavistic and
pathological. They belong to a mental condition which would conduct an
individual to the prison or the gallows. We do not argue seriously
whether the career of the highwayman or burglar is legitimate and
desirable; and it is impossible to maintain that what is disgraceful for
the individual is creditable for the state. And apart from the
consideration that predatory patriotism deforms its own idol and makes
it hateful in the eyes of the world, subsequent history has fully
confirmed the moral instinct of the ancient Greeks, that national
insolence or injustice (hybrist) brings its own severe punishment. The
imaginary dialogue which Thucydides puts into the mouth of the Athenian
and Melian envoys, and the debate in the Athenian Assembly about the
punishment of revolted Mitylene, are intended to prepare the reader for
the tragic fate of the Sicilian expedition. The same writer describes
the break-up of all social morality during the civil war in words which
seem to herald the destruction not only of Athens but of Greek freedom.
Machiavelli's 'Prince' shows how history can repeat itself, reiterating
its lesson that a nation which gives itself to immoral aggrandisement is
far on the road to disintegration. Seneca's rebuke to his slave-holding
countrymen, 'Can you complain that you have been robbed of the liberty
which you have yourselves abolished in your own homes?' applies equally
to nations which have enslaved or exploited the inhabitants of subject
lands. If the Roman Empire had a long and glorious life, it was because
its methods were liberal, by the standard of ancient times. In so far as
Rome abused her power, she suffered the doom of all tyrants.

The illusions of imperialism have been made clearer than ever by the
course of modern history. Attempts to destroy a nationality by
overthrowing its government, proscribing its language, and maltreating
its citizens, are never successful. The experiment has been tried with
great thoroughness in Poland; and the Poles are now more of a nation
than they were under the oppressive feudal system which existed before
the partitions. Our own empire would be a ludicrous failure if it were
any part of our ambition to Anglicise other races. The only English
parts of the empire were waste lands which we have peopled with our own
emigrants. We hauled down the French flag in Canada, with the result
that Eastern Canada is now the only flourishing French colony, and the
only part of the world where the French race increases rapidly. We have
helped the Dutch to multiply with almost equal rapidity in South Africa.
We have added several millions to the native population of Egypt, and
over a hundred millions to the population of India. Similarly, the
Americans have made Cuba for the first time a really Spanish island, by
driving out its incompetent Spanish governors and so attracting
immigrants from Spain. On the whole, in imperialism nothing fails like
success. If the conqueror oppresses his subjects, they will become
fanatical patriots, and sooner or later have their revenge; if he treats
them well, and 'governs them for their good,' they will multiply faster
than their rulers, till they claim their independence. The Englishman
now says, 'I am quite content to have it so'; but that is not the old

The notion that frequent war is a healthy tonic for a nation is scarcely
tenable. Its dysgenic effect, by eliminating the strongest and
healthiest of the population, while leaving the weaklings at home to be
the fathers of the next generation, is no new discovery. It has been
supported by a succession of men, such as Tenon, Dufau, Foissac, de
Lapouge, and Richet in France; Tiedemann and Seeck in Germany; Guerrini
in Italy; Kellogg and Starr Jordan in America. The case is indeed
overwhelming. The lives destroyed in war are nearly all males, thus
disturbing the sex equilibrium of the population; they are in the prime
of life, at the age of greatest fecundity; and they are picked from a
list out of which from 20 to 30 per cent. have been rejected for
physical unfitness. It seems to be proved that the children born in
France during the Napoleonic wars were poor and undersized--30
millimetres below the normal height. War combined with religious
celibacy to ruin Spain. 'Castile makes men and wastes them,' said a
Spanish writer. 'This sublime and terrible phrase sums up the whole of
Spanish history.' Schiller was right; 'Immer der Krieg verschlingt die
besten.' We in England have suffered from this drain in the past; we
shall suffer much more in the next generation.

    We have fed our sea for a thousand years,
      And she calls us, still unfed,
    Though there's never a wave of all her waves
      But marks our English dead.

    We have strawed our best to the weed's unrest,
      To the shark and the sheering gull,
    If blood be the price of admiralty,
      Lord God, we ha' paid in full.

Aggressive patriotism is thus condemned by common sense and the verdict
of history no less than by morality. We are entitled to say to the
militarists what Socrates said to Polus:

     This doctrine of yours has now been examined and found
     wanting. And this doctrine alone has stood the test--that we
     ought to be more afraid of doing than of suffering wrong;
     and that the prime business of every man [and nation] is not
     to seem good, but to be good, in all private and public

If the nations would render something more than lip-service to this
principle, the abolition of war would be within sight; for, as Ruskin
says, echoing the judgment of the Epistle of St. James, 'The first
reason for all wars, and for the necessity of national defences, is that
the majority of persons, high and low, in all European countries, are
thieves.' But it must be remembered that, in spite of the proverb, it
takes in reality only one to make a quarrel. It is useless for the sheep
to pass resolutions in favour of vegetarianism, while the wolf remains
of a different opinion.

Our own conversion to pacificism, though sincere, is somewhat recent.
Our literature does not reflect it. Bacon is frankly militarist:

     Above all, for empire and greatness, it importeth most, that
     a nation do profess arms, as their principal honour, study,
     and occupation. For the things which we formerly have spoken
     of are but habilitations towards arms; and what is
     habitation without intention and act?... It is so plain that
     a man profiteth in that he most intendeth, that it needeth
     not to be stood upon. It is enough to point at it; that no
     nation, which doth not directly profess arms, may look to
     have greatness fall into their mouths.

A state, therefore, 'ought to have those laws or customs, which may
reach forth unto them just occasions of war.' Shakespeare's 'Henry V'
has been not unreasonably recommended by the Germans as 'good
war-reading.' It would be easy to compile a _catena_ of bellicose maxims
from our literature, reaching down to the end of the 19th century. The
change is perhaps due less to progress in morality than to that
political good sense which has again and again steered our ship through
dangerous rocks. But there has been some real advance, in all civilised
countries. We do not find that men talked about the 'bankruptcy of
Christianity' during the Napoleonic campaigns. Even the Germans think it
necessary to tell each other that it was Belgium who began this war.

But, though pugnacity and acquisitiveness have been the real foundation
of much miscalled patriotism, better motives are generally mingled with
these primitive instincts. It is the subtle blend of noble and ignoble
sentiment which makes patriotism such a difficult problem for the
moralist. The patriot nearly always believes, or thinks he believes,
that he desires the greatness of his country because his country stands
for something intrinsically great and valuable. Where this conviction is
absent we cannot speak of patriotism, but only of the cohesion of a
wolf-pack. The Greeks, who at last perished because they could not
combine, had nevertheless a consciousness that they were the trustees
of civilisation against barbarism; and in their day of triumph over the
Persians they were filled, for a time, with an almost Jewish awe in
presence of the righteous judgment of God. The 'Persæ' of Æschylus is
one of the noblest of patriotic poems. The Romans, a harder and coarser
race, had their ideal of _virtus_ and _gravitas_, which included
simplicity of life, dignity and self-restraint, honesty and industry,
and devotion to the state. They rightly felt that these qualities
constituted a vocation to empire. There was much harshness and injustice
in Roman imperialism; but what nobler epitaph could even the British
empire desire than the tribute of Claudian, when the weary Titan was at
last stricken and dying:

    Hæc est, in gremium victos quæ sola recepit,
    humanumque genus communi nomine fovit
    matris non dominæ ritu, civesque vocavit
    quos domuit, nexuque pio longinqua revinxit?

Jewish patriotism was of a different kind. A federation of fierce
Bedouin tribes, encamped amid hostile populations, and set in the
cockpit of rival empires against which it was impossible to stand, the
Israelites were hammered by misfortune into the most indestructible of
all organisms, a theocracy. Their religion was to them what, in a minor
degree, Roman Catholicism has been to Ireland and Poland, a consecration
of patriotic faith and hope. Westphal says the Jews failed because they
hated foreigners more than they loved God. They have had good reason to
hate foreigners. But undoubtedly the effect of their hatred has been
that the great gifts which their nation had to give to humanity have
come through other hands, and so have evoked no gratitude. In the first
century of our era they were called to an almost superhuman abnegation
of their inveterate nationalism, and they could not rise to it. As
almost every other nation would have done, they chose the lower
patriotism instead of the higher; and it was against their will that the
religion of civilised humanity grew out of Hebrew soil. But they gained
this by their choice, tragic though it was, that they have stood by the
graves of all the empires that oppressed them, and have preserved their
racial integrity and traditions in the most adverse circumstances. The
history of the Jews also shows that oppression and persecution are far
more efficacious in binding a nation together than community of interest
and national prosperity. Increase of wealth divides rather than unites a
people; but suffering shared in common binds it together with hoops of

The Jews were the only race whose spiritual independence was not crushed
by the Roman steam-roller. It would be unfair to say that Rome destroyed
nations; for her subjects in the West were barbarous tribes, and in the
East she displaced monarchies no less alien to their subjects than her
own rule. But she prevented the growth of nationalities, as it is to be
feared we have done in India; and the absence of sturdy independence in
the countries round the Mediterranean, especially in the Greek-speaking
provinces, made the final downfall inevitable. The lesson has its
warning for modern theorists who wish to obliterate the sentiment of
nationality, the revival of which, after a long eclipse, has been one of
the achievements of modern civilisation. For it was not till long after
the destruction of the Western Roman Empire that nationality began to
assume its present importance in Europe.

The transition from medieval to modern history is most strongly marked
by the emergence of this principle, with all that it involves. At the
end of the Middle Ages Europe was at last compelled to admit that the
grand idea of an universal state and an universal church had definitely
broken down. Hitherto it had been assumed that behind all national
disputes lay a _ius gentium_ by which all were bound, and that behind
all religious questions lay the authority of the Roman Catholic Church,
from which there was no appeal. The modern period which certainly does
not represent the last word of civilisation, has witnessed the
abandonment of these ideas. The change took place gradually. France
became a nation when the English raids ceased in the middle of the 15th
century. Spain achieved unity a generation later by the union of Castile
and Aragon and the expulsion of the Moors from the peninsula. Holland
found herself in the heroic struggle against Spain in the 16th century.
But the practice of conducting wars by hiring foreign mercenaries, a
sure sign that the nationalist spirit is weak, continued till much
later. And the dynastic principle, which is the very negation of
nationalism, actually culminated in the 18th century; and this is the
true explanation of the feeble resistance which Europe offered to the
French revolutionary armies, until Napoleon stirred up the dormant
spirit of nationalism in the peoples whom he plundered. 'In the old
European system,' says Lord Acton, 'the rights of nationalities were
neither recognised by governments nor asserted by the people. The
interests of the reigning families, not those of the nations, regulated
the frontiers; and the administration was conducted generally without
any reference to popular desires.' Marriage or conquest might unite the
most diverse nations under one sovereign, such as Charles V.

While such ideas prevailed, the suppression of a nation did not seem
hateful; the partition of Poland evoked few protests at the time, though
perhaps few acts of injustice have recoiled with greater force on the
heads of their perpetrators than this is likely to do. Poles have been
and are among the bitterest enemies of autocracy, and the strongest
advocates of republicanism and racialism, in all parts of the world. The
French Revolution opened a new era for nationalism, both directly and
indirectly. The deposition of the Bourbons was a national act which
might be a precedent for other oppressed peoples. And when the
Revolution itself began to trample on the rights of other nations, an
uprising took place, first in Spain and then in Prussia, which proved
too strong for the tyrant. The apostasy of France from her own ideals of
liberty proved the futility of mere doctrines, like those of Rousseau,
and compelled the peoples to arm themselves and win their freedom by the
sword. The national militarism of Prussia was the direct consequence of
her humiliation at Jena and Auerstädt, and of the harsh terms imposed
upon her at Tilsit. It is true that the Congress of Vienna attempted to
revive the old dynastic system. But for the steady opposition of
England, the clique of despots might have reimposed the old yoke upon
their subjects. The settlement of 1815 also left the entire centre of
Europe in a state of chaos; and it was only by slow degrees that Italy
and Germany attained national unity. Poland, the Austrian Empire, and
the Balkan States still remain in a condition to trouble the peace of
the world. In Austria-Hungary the clash of the dynastic and the
nationalist ideas is strident; and every citizen of that empire has to
choose between a wider and a narrower allegiance.

Europeans are, in fact, far from having made up their minds as to what
is the organic whole towards which patriotic sentiment ought to be
directed. Socialism agrees with despotism in saying, 'It is the
political aggregate, the state,' however much they may differ as to how
the state should be administered. For this reason militarism and
state-socialism might at any time come to terms. They are at one in
exaggerating the 'organic' unity of a political or geographical
_enclave_; and they are at one in depreciating the value of individual
liberty. Loyalty to 'the state' instead of to 'king and country' is not
an easy or a natural emotion. The state is a bloodless abstraction,
which as a rule only materialises as a drill-sergeant or a
tax-collector. Enthusiasm for it, and not only for what can be got out
of it, does not extend much beyond the Fabian Society. Cæsarism has the
great advantage of a visible head, as well as of its appeal to very old
and strong thought-habits; and accordingly, in any national crisis,
loyalty to the War-lord is likely to show unexpected strength, and
doctrinaire socialism unexpected weakness.

But devotion to the head of the state in his representative capacity is
a different thing from the old feudal loyalty. It is far more
impersonal; the ruler, whether an individual or a council, is reverenced
as a non-human and non-moral embodiment of the national power, a sort of
Platonic idea of coercive authority. This kind of loyalty may very
easily be carried too far. In reality, we are members of a great many
'social organisms,' each of which has indefeasible claims upon us. Our
family, our circle of acquaintance, our business or profession, our
church, our country, the comity of civilised nations, humanity at large,
are all social organisms; and some of the chief problems of ethics are
concerned with the adjustment of their conflicting claims. To make any
one of these absolute is destructive of morality. But militarism and
socialism deliberately make the state absolute. In internal affairs this
may lead to the ruthless oppression of individuals or whole classes; in
external relations it produces wars waged with 'methods of barbarism.'
The whole idea of the state as an organism, which has been emphasised by
social reformers as a theoretical refutation of selfish individualism,
rests on the abuse of a metaphor. The bond between the dwellers in the
same political area is far less close than that between the organs of a
living body. Every man has a life of his own, and some purely personal
rights; he has, moreover, moral links with other human associations,
outside his own country, and important moral duties towards them. No one
who reflects on the solidarity of interests among capitalists, among
hand-workers, or, in a different way, among scholars and artists, all
over the world, can fail to see that the apotheosis of the state,
whether in the interest of war or of revolution, is an anachronism and
an absurdity.

A very different basis for patriotic sentiment is furnished by the
scientific or pseudo-scientific theories about race, which have become
very popular in our time. When the history of ideas in the 20th century
comes to be written, it is certain that among the causes of this great
war will be named the belief of the Germans in the superiority of their
own race, based on certain historical and ethnological theories which
have acted like a heady wine in stimulating the spirit of aggression
among them. The theory, stated briefly, is that the shores of the Baltic
are the home of the finest human type that has yet existed, a type
distinguished by blond hair, great physical strength, unequalled mental
vigour and ability, superior morality, and an innate aptitude for
governing and improving inferior races. Unfortunately for the world,
this noble stock cannot flourish for very long in climates unlike its
own; but from the earliest historical times it has 'swarmed'
periodically, subjugating the feebler peoples of the south, and
elevating them for a time above the level which they were naturally
fitted to reach. Wherever we find marked energy and nobleness of
character, we may suspect Aryan blood; and history will usually support
our surmise. Among the great men who were certainly or probably Germans
were Agamemnon, Julius Cæsar, the Founder of Christianity, Dante, and
Shakespeare. The blond Nordic giant is fulfilling his mission by
conquering and imposing his culture upon other races. They ought to be
grateful to him for the service, especially as it has a sacrificial
aspect, the lower types having, at least in their own climates, greater
power of survival.

This fantastic theory has been defended in a large number of German
books, of which the 'Foundations of the Nineteenth Century,' by the
renegade Englishman Houston Chamberlain, is the most widely known. The
objections to it are numerous. It is notorious that until the invention
of gunpowder the settled and civilised peoples of Europe were in
frequent danger from bands of hardier mountaineers, forest-dwellers, or
pastoral nomads, who generally came from the north. But the formidable
fighting powers of these marauders were no proof of intrinsic
superiority. In fact, the most successful of these conquerors, if
success is measured by the amount of territory overrun and subdued, were
not the 'great blond beasts' of Nietzsche, but yellow monsters with
black hair, the Huns and Tartars.[9] The causes of Tartar ascendancy had
not the remotest connection with any moral or intellectual qualities
which we can be expected to admire. Nor can the Nordic race, well
endowed by nature as it undoubtedly is, prove such a superiority as this
theory claims for it. Some of the largest brains yet measured have been
those of Japanese; and the Jews have probably a higher average of
ability than the Teutons. Again, the Germans are not descended from a
pure Nordic stock. The Northern type can be best studied in Scandinavia,
where the people share with the Irish the distinction of being the
handsomest race in the world. The German is a mixture of various
anatomical types, including, in some parts, distinct traces of Mongolian
blood, which indicate that the raiding Huns meddled, according to their
custom, with the German women, and bequeathed to a section of the nation
the Turanian cheek-bones, as well as certain moral characteristics.
Lastly, the German race has never shown much aptitude for governing and
assimilating other peoples. The French, by virtue of their greater
sympathy, are far more successful.

The French have their own form of this pseudo-science in their doctrine
of the persistence of national characteristics. Each nation may be
summed up in a formula: England, for example, is 'the country of will.'
A few instances may, no doubt, be quoted in support of this theory.
Julius Cæsar said: 'Duas res plerasque Gallia industriosissime
prosequitur, rem militarem et argute loqui'; and these are still the
characteristics of our gallant allies. And Madame de Staël may be
thought to have hit off the German character very cleverly about the
time when Bismarck first saw the light. 'The Germans are vigorously
submissive. They employ philosophical reasonings to explain what is the
least philosophic thing in the world, respect for force and the fear
which transforms that respect into admiration.' But the fact remains
that the characters of nations frequently change, or rather that what we
call national character is usually only the policy of the governing
class, forced upon it by circumstances, or the manner of living which
climate, geographical position, and other external causes have made
necessary for the inhabitants of a country.

To found patriotism on homogeneity of race is no wiser than to bound it
by frontier lines. As the Abbé Noël has lately written about his own
country, Belgium,

     the race is not the nation. The nation is not a
     physiological fact; it is a moral fact. What constitutes a
     nation is the community of sentiments and ideals which
     results from a common history and education. The variations
     of the cephalic index are here of no great importance. The
     essential factor of the national consciousness resides in a
     certain common mode of conceiving the conditions of the
     social life.

Belgium, the Abbé maintains, has found this national consciousness amid
her sufferings; there are no longer any distinctions between
French-speaking Belgians and Walloons or Flemings. This is in truth the
real base of patriotism. It is the basis of our own love for our
country. What Britain stands for is what Britain is. We have long known
in our hearts what Britain stands for; but we have now been driven to
search our thoughts and make our ideals explicit to ourselves and
others. The Englishman has become a philosopher _malgré lui_, 'Whatever
the world thinks,' writes Bishop Berkeley. 'he who hath not much
meditated upon God, the human soul, and the _summum bonum_, may possibly
make a thriving earthworm, but will most indubitably make a sorry
patriot and a sorry statesman.' These words, which were quoted by Mr.
Arthur Balfour a few years ago, may seem to make a large demand on the
average citizen; but in our quiet way we have all been meditating on
these things since last August, and we know pretty well what our _summum
bonum_ is for our country. We believe in chivalry and fair play and
kindliness--these things first and foremost; and we believe, if not
exactly in democracy, yet in a government under which a man may think
and speak the thing he wills. We do not believe in war, and we do not
believe in bullying. We do not flatter ourselves that we are the
supermen; but we are convinced that the ideas which we stand for, and
which we have on the whole tried to carry out, are essential to the
peaceful progress and happiness of humanity; and for these ideas we have
drawn the sword. The great words of Abraham Lincoln have been on the
lips of many and in the hearts of all since the beginning of the great
contest: 'With malice towards none; with charity for all: with firmness
in the right as God gives us to see the right--let us strive on to
finish the work we are in.'

Patriotism thus spiritualised and moralised is the true patriotism.
When the emotion is once set in its right relations to the whole of
human life and to all that makes human life worth living, it cannot
become an immoral obsession. It is certain to become an immoral
obsession if it is isolated and made absolute. We have seen the
appalling perversion--the methodical diabolism--which this obsession has
produced in Germany. It has startled us because we thought that the
civilised world had got beyond such insanity; but it is of course no new
thing. Machiavelli said, 'I prefer my country to the salvation of my
soul'--a sentiment which sounds noble but is not; it has only a
superficial resemblance to St. Paul's willingness to be 'accursed' for
the sake of his countrymen. Devil-worship remains what it was, even when
the idol is draped in the national flag. This obsession may be in part a
survival from savage conditions, when all was at stake in every feud;
but chiefly it is an example of the idealising and universalising power
of the imagination, which turns every unchecked passion into a
monomania. The only remedy is, as Lowell's Hosea Biglow reminds us, to
bear in mind that

     our true country is that ideal realm which we represent to
     ourselves under the names of religion, duty, and the like.
     Our terrestrial organisations are but far-off approaches to
     so fair a model; and all they are verily traitors who resist
     not any attempt to divert them from this their original
     intendment. Our true country is bounded on the north and the
     south, on the east and west, by Justice, and when she
     oversteps that invisible boundary-line by so much as a
     hair's breadth, she ceases to be our mother, and chooses
     rather to be looked upon _quasi noverca_.

So Socrates said that the wise man will be a citizen of his true city,
of which the type is laid up in heaven, and only conditionally of his
earthly country.

The obsession of patriotism is not the only evil which we have to
consider. We may err by defect as well as by excess. Herbert Spencer
speaks of an 'anti-patriotic bias'; and it can hardly be disputed that
many Englishmen who pride themselves on their lofty morality are
suffering from this mental twist. The malady seems to belong to the
Anglo-Saxon constitution, for it is rarely encountered in other
countries, while we had a noisy pro-Napoleonic faction a hundred years
ago, and the Americans had their 'Copperheads' in the Northern States
during the civil war. In our own day, every enemy of England, from the
mad Mullah to the mad Kaiser, has had his advocates at home; and the
champions of Boer and Boxer, of Afridi and Afrikander, of the Mahdi and
the Matabele, have been usually the same persons. The English, it would
appear, differ from other misguided rascals in never being right even by
accident. But the idiosyncrasy of a few persons is far less important
than the comparative insensibility of whole classes to the patriotic
appeal, except when war is actually raging. This is not specially
characteristic of our own country. The German Emperor has complained of
his Social Democrats as 'people without a fatherland'; and the cry 'À
bas la patrie' has been heard in France.

It is usual to explain this attitude by the fact that the manual workers
'have no stake in the country,' and might not find their condition
altered for the worse by subjection to a foreign power. A few of our
working-men have given colour to this charge by exclaiming petulantly
that they could not be worse off under the Germans; but in this they
have done themselves and their class less than justice. The
anti-militarism and cosmopolitanism of the masses in every country is a
profoundly interesting fact, a problem which demands no superficial
investigation. It is one result of that emancipation from traditional
ideas, which makes the most important difference between the upper and
middle classes on the one side and the lower on the other. We lament
that the working-man takes but little interest in Christianity, and rack
our brains to discover what we have done to discredit our religion in
his eyes. The truth is that Christianity, as a dogmatic and
ecclesiastical system, is unintelligible without a very considerable
knowledge of the conditions under which it took shape. But what are the
ancient Hebrews, and the Greeks and Romans, to the working-man? He is
simply cut off from the means of reading intelligently any book of the
Bible, or of understanding how the institution called the Catholic
Church, and its offshoots, came to exist. As our staple education
becomes more 'modern' and less literary, the custodians of organised
religion will find their difficulties increasing. But the same is true
about patriotism. Love of country means pride in the past and ambition
for the future. Those who live only in the present are incapable of it.
But our working-man knows next to nothing about the past history of
England; he has scarcely heard of our great men, and has read few of our
great books. It is not surprising that the appeal to patriotism leaves
him cold. This is an evil that has its proper remedy. There is no reason
why a sane and elevated love of country should not be stimulated by
appropriate teaching in our schools. In America this is done--rather
hysterically; and in Germany--rather brutally. The Jews have always made
their national history a large part of their education, and even of
their religion. Nothing has helped them more to retain their
self-consciousness as a nation. Ignorance of the past and indifference
to the future usually go together. Those who most value our historical
heritage will be most desirous to transmit it unimpaired.

But the absence of traditional ideas is by no means an unmixed evil. The
working-man sees more clearly than the majority of educated persons the
absurdity of international hatred and jealousy. He is conscious of
greater solidarity with his own class in other European countries than
with the wealthier class in his own; and as he approaches the whole
question without prejudice, he cannot fail to realise how large a part
of the product of labour is diverted from useful purposes by modern
militarism. International rivalry is in his eyes one of the most serious
obstacles to the abolition of want and misery. Tolstoy hardly
exaggerates when he says: 'Patriotism to the peoples represents only a
frightful future; the fraternity of nations seems an ideal more and more
accessible to humanity, and one which humanity desires.' Military glory
has very little attraction for the working-man. His humanitarian
instincts appear to be actually stronger than those of the sheltered
classes. To take life in any circumstances seems to him a shocking
thing; and the harsh procedure of martial law and military custom is
abhorrent to him. He sees no advantage and no credit in territorial
aggrandisement, which he suspects to be prompted mainly by the desire to
make money unjustly. He is therefore a convinced pacificist; though his
doctrine of human brotherhood breaks down ignominiously when he finds
his economic position threatened by the competition of cheap foreign
labour. If an armed struggle ever takes place between the nations of
Europe (or their colonists) and the yellow races, it will be a
working-man's war. But on the whole, the best hope of getting rid of
militarism may lie in the growing power of the working class. The poor,
being intensely gregarious and very susceptible to all collective
emotions, are still liable to fits of warlike excitement. But their real
minds are at present set against an aggressive foreign policy, without
being shut against the appeals of a higher patriotism.

And yet the irritation which is felt against preachers of the
brotherhood of man is not without justification. Some persons who
condemn patriotism are simply lacking in public spirit, or their loyalty
is monopolised by some fad or 'cause,' which is a poor substitute for
love of country. The man who has no prejudices in favour of his own
family and his own country is generally an unamiable creature. So we
need not condemn Molière for saying, 'L'ami du genre humain n'est pas du
tout mon fait,' nor Brunetière for declaring that 'Ni la nature ni
l'histoire n'ont en effet voulu que les hommes fussent tous frères.' But
French Neo-catholicism, a bourgeois movement directed against all the
'ideas of 1789,' seems to have adopted the most ferocious kind of
chauvinism. M. Paul Bourget wrote the other day in the _Écho de Paris_,
'This war must be the first of many, since we cannot exterminate
sixty-five million Germans in a single campaign!' The women and children
too! This is not the way to revive the religion of Christ in France.

The practical question for the future is whether there is any prospect
of returning, under more favourable auspices, to the unrealised ideal
of the Middle Ages--an agreement among the nations of Europe to live
amicably under one system of international law and right, binding upon
all, and with the consciousness of an intellectual and spiritual unity
deeper than political divisions. 'The nations are the citizens of
humanity,' said Mazzini; and so they ought to be. Some of the omens are
favourable. Militarism has dug its own grave. The great powers increased
their armaments till the burden became insupportable, and have now
rushed into bankruptcy in the hope of shaking it off. In prehistoric
times the lords of creation were certain gigantic lizards, protected by
massive armour-plates which could only be carried by a creature thirty
to sixty feet long. Then they died, when neither earth, air, nor water
could support them any longer. Such must be the end of the European
nations, unless they learn wisdom. The lesson will be brought home to
them by Transatlantic competition. The United States of America had
already, before this war, an initial advantage over the disunited states
of Europe, amounting to at least 10 per cent. on every contract; after
the war this advantage will be doubled. It remains to be seen whether
the next generation will honour the debts which we are piling up.
Disraeli used to complain of what he called 'Dutch finance,' which
consists in 'mortgaging the industry of the future to protect property
in the present.' Pitt paid for the great war of a hundred years ago in
this manner; after a century we are still groaning under the burden of
his loans. We may hear more of the iniquity of 'Dutch finance' when the
democracies of the next generation have a chance of repudiating
obligations which, as they will say, they did not contract. However that
may be, international rivalry is plainly very bad business; and there
are great possibilities in the Hague Tribunal, if, and only if, the
signatories to the conference bind themselves to use force against a
recalcitrant member. The conduct of Germany in this war has shown that
public opinion is powerless to restrain a nation which feels strong
enough to defy it.

Another cause which may give patriots leisure to turn their thoughts
away from war's alarms is that the 'swarming' period of the European
races is coming to an end. The unparalleled increase of population in
the first three quarters of the 19th century has been followed by a
progressive decrease in the birth-rate, which will begin to tell upon
social conditions when the reduction in the death-rate, which has
hitherto kept pace with it, shall have reached its natural limit. Europe
with a stationary population will be in a much happier condition; and
problems of social reform can then be tackled with some hope of success.
Honourable emulation in the arts of life may then take the place of
desperate competition and antagonism. Human lives will begin to have a
positive value, and we may even think it fair to honour our saviours
more than our destroyers. The effects of past follies will then soon be
effaced; for nations recover much more quickly from wars than from
internal disorders. External injuries are rapidly cured; but 'those
wounds heal ill that men do give themselves.' The greatest obstacle to
progress is not man's inherited pugnacity, but his incorrigible tendency
to parasitism. The true patriot will keep his eye fixed on this, and
will dread as the state's worst enemies those citizens who at the top
and bottom of the social scale have no other ambition than to hang on
and suck the life-blood of the nation. Great things may be hoped from
the new science of eugenics, when it has passed out of its tentative and
experimental stage.

In the distant future we may reasonably hope that patriotism will be a
sentiment like the loyalty which binds a man to his public school and
university, an affection purged of all rancour and jealousy, a stimulus
to all honourable conduct and noble effort, a part of the poetry of
life. It is so already to many of us, and has been so to the noblest
Englishmen since we have had a literature. If Henry V's speech at
Agincourt is the splendid gasconade of a royal freebooter, there is no
false ring in the scene where John of Gaunt takes leave of his banished
son; nor in Sir Walter Scott's 'Breathes there a man with soul so dead,'
etc. 'If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her
cunning.' We cannot quite manage to substitute London for Zion in
singing psalms, though there are some in England--Eton, Winchester,
Oxford, Cambridge--which do evoke these feelings. These emotions of
loyalty and devotion are by no means to be checked or despised. They
have an infinite potency for good. In spiritual things there is no
conflict between intensity and expansion. The deepest sympathy is,
potentially, also the widest. He who loves not his home and country
which he has seen, how shall he love humanity in general which he has
not seen? There are, after all, few emotions of which one has less
reason to be ashamed than the little lump in the throat which the
Englishman feels when he first catches sight of the white cliffs of


     [8] In his _Introduction to Social Psychology_.

     [9] The reasons of their irresistible strength have been
     explained in a most brilliant manner by Dr. Peisker in the
     first volume of the 'Cambridge Medieval History.'



The numbers of every species are determined, not by the procreative
power of its members, which always greatly exceeds the capacity of the
earth to support a progeny increasing in geometrical progression, but by
two factors, the activity of its enemies and the available supply of
food. Those species which survive owe their success in the struggle for
existence mainly to one of two qualities, enormous fertility or parental
care. The female cod spawns about 6,000,000 eggs at a time, of which at
most one-third--perhaps much less--are afterwards fertilised. An
infinitesimal proportion of these escapes being devoured by fish or
fowl. An insect-eating bird is said to require for its support about
250,000 insects a year, and the number of such birds must amount to
thousands of millions. As a rule there is a kind of equilibrium between
the forces of destruction and of reproduction. If a species is nearly
exterminated by its enemies, those enemies lose their food-supply and
perish themselves. In some sheltered spot the survivors of the victims
remain and increase till they begin to send out colonies again. In some
species, such as the mice in La Plata, and the beasts and birds which
devour them, there is an alternation of increase and decrease, to be
accounted for in this way. But permanent disturbances of equilibrium
sometimes occur. The rabbit in Australia, having found a virgin soil,
multiplied for some time almost up to the limit of its natural fertility
and is firmly established on that continent. The brown rat (some say)
has exterminated our black rat and the Maori rat in New Zealand. The
microbe of the terrible disease which the crews of Columbus brought back
to Europe, after causing a devastating epidemic at the end of the
fifteenth century, established a kind of _modus vivendi_ with its hosts,
and has remained as a permanent scourge in Europe. Other microbes, like
those of cholera and plague, emigrate from the lands where they are
endemic, like a horde of Tartars, and after slaying all who are
susceptible disappear from inanition. The draining of the fens has
driven the anopheles mosquito from England, and our countrymen no longer
suffer from 'ague.' Cleanlier habits are banishing the louse and its
accompaniment typhus fever.

Fertility and care for offspring seem as a rule to vary inversely. The
latter is the path of biological progress, and is characteristic of all
viviparous animals. That any degree of parental attention is
incompatible with the immense fecundity of the lower organisms needs no
demonstration. Such fertility is not necessary to keep up the numbers of
the higher species, which find abundant food in the swarming progeny of
the lower types, and are not themselves exposed to wholesale slaughter.
Speaking of fishes, Sutherland says:

     Of species that exhibit no sort of parental care, the
     average of forty-nine gives 1,040,000 eggs to a female each
     year; while among those which make nests or any apology for
     nests the number is only about 10,000. Among those which
     have any protective tricks, such as carrying the eggs in
     pouches or attached to the body, or in the mouth, the
     average number is under 1000; while among those whose care
     takes the form of uterine or quasi-uterine gestation which
     brings the young into the world alive, an average of 56 eggs
     is quite sufficient.

Man is no exception to these laws. His evolution has been steadily in
the direction of diminishing fertility and increasing parental care.
This does not necessarily imply that the modern European loves his
children better than the savage loves his. It is grim necessity, not
want of affection, which determines the treatment of children by their
parents over a great part of the world, and through the greater part of
human history. The homeless hunters, who represent the lowest stage of
savagery, are now almost extinct. In these tribes the woman has to
follow the man carrying her baby. Under such conditions the chances of
rearing a large family are small indeed. Very different is the life of
the grassland nomads, who roam over the Arabian plateau and the steppes
of Central Asia. These tribes, who really live as the parasites of their
flocks and herds, depending on them entirely for subsistence, often
multiply rapidly. Their typical unit is the great patriarchal family, in
which the _sheikh_ may have scores of children by different mothers.
These children soon begin to earn their keep, and are taken care of. If,
however, the patriarch so chooses, Hagar with her child is cast adrift,
to find her way back to her own people, if she can. The grasslands are
usually almost as full as they can hold. A period of drought, or
pressure by rivals, in former times sent a horde of these hardy
shepherds on a raid into the nearest settled province; and if, like the
Tartars, they were mounted, they usually killed, plundered, and
conquered wherever they went, until the discovery of gunpowder saved
civilisation from the recurrent peril of barbarian inroads. Barbarians
of another type, hunters with fixed homes, seldom increase rapidly,
partly because the dangers of forest-life for young children are much
greater than on the steppe.

In the primitive river-valley civilisations, such as Egypt and
Babylonia, the conditions of increase were so favourable that a dense
population soon began to press upon the means of subsistence. In Egypt
the remedy was a centralised government which could undertake great
irrigation works and intensive cultivation. In Babylonia, for the first
time in history, foreign trade was made to support a larger population
than the land itself could maintain. There was little or no infanticide
in Babylonia, but the death-rate in these steaming alluvial plains has
always been very high.

When we turn to poor and mountainous countries like Greece, the
conditions are very different. It was an old belief among the Hellenes
that in the days before the Trojan War 'the world was too full of
people.' The increase was doubtless made possible by the trade which
developed in the Minoan period, but the sources of food-supply were
liable to be interfered with. Hence came the necessity for active
colonisation, which lasted from the eighth to the sixth century B.C.
This period of expansion came to an end when all the available sites
were occupied. In the sixth century the Greeks found themselves headed
off, in the west by Phoenicians and Etruscans, in the east by the
Persian Empire. The problem of over-population was again pressing upon
them. Incessant civil wars between Hellenes kept the numbers down to
some extent; but Greek battles were not as a rule very bloody, and every
healthy nation has a surprising capacity of making good the losses
caused by war. The first effect of the check to emigration was that the
old ideal of the 'self-sufficient life,' which meant the practice of
mixed farming, had to be partially abandoned. The most flourishing
States, and especially Athens, had to take to manufactures, which they
exchanged for the food-products of the Balkan States and South Russia.
The result was an increasing urbanisation, and a new population of free
'resident aliens.' Conservatives hated this change and wished to revive
the old ideal of a small self-supporting State, with a maximum of 20,000
or 30,000 citizens. Plato, in his latest work, the 'Laws,' wishes his
model city to be not too near the sea, the proximity of which 'fills the
streets with merchants and shopkeepers, and begets dishonesty in the
souls of men.' On the other side Isocrates, the most far-seeing of
Athenian politicians, realised that the day of small city-states was
over, and that the limited, 'self-sufficient' community would not long
maintain its independence. He urged his countrymen to pursue a policy of
peaceful penetration in Western Asia, as the Greeks were soon to do
under the successors of Alexander. But the prejudice against
industrialism was very strong. Greece in the fifth century remained a
poor country; her exports were not more than enough to pay for the food
of her existing population; and that population had to be artificially
restricted. The Greeks were an exceptionally healthy and long-lived
race; their great men for the most part lived to ages which have no
parallel until the nineteenth century. The infant death-rate from
natural causes may have been rather high, as it is in modern Greece, but
it was augmented by systematic infanticide. The Greek father had an
absolute right to decide whether a new-comer was to be admitted to the
family. In Ephesus alone of Greek cities a parent was compelled to prove
that he was too poor to rear a child before he was allowed to get rid of
it.[10] Even Hesiod, centuries earlier, advises a father not to bring up
more than one son, and daughters were sacrificed more frequently than
sons. The usual practice was to expose the infant in a jar; anyone who
thought it worth while might rescue the baby and bring it up as a slave.
But this was not often done. At Gela, in Sicily, there are 233 'potted'
burials in an excavated graveyard, out of a total of 570.[11] The
proportion of female infants exposed must have been very large. The
evidence of literature is supported by such letters as this from a
husband at Oxyrhynchus: 'When--good luck to you--your child is born, if
it is a male, let it live; if a female, expose it.'[12] Besides
infanticide, abortion was freely practised, and without blame.[13] The
Greek citizen married rather late; but as his bride was usually in her
'teens this would not affect the birth-rate. Nor need we attach much
importance, as a factor in checking population, to the characteristic
Greek vice, nor to prostitution, which throughout antiquity was
incredibly cheap and visited by no physical penalty. As for slaves,
Xenophon recommends that they should be allowed to have children as a
reward for good conduct.[14]

A rapid decline in population set in under the successors of Alexander.
Polybius ascribes it to selfishness and a high standard of comfort,
which is doubtless true of the upper and middle classes;[15] but the
depopulation of rural Greece can hardly be so accounted for. Perhaps
the forests were cut down, and the rainfall diminished. It was the
general impression that the soil was far less productive than formerly.
The decay of the Hellenic race was accelerated after the Roman conquest,
until the old stock became almost extinct. This disappearance of the
most gifted race that ever inhabited our planet is one of the strangest
catastrophes of history, and is full of warnings for the modern
sociologist. Industrial slavery, indifference to parenthood, and
addiction to club-life were certainly three of the main causes, unless
we prefer to regard the two last as symptoms of hopelessness about the

The same disease fell upon Italy, and was coincident not with the
murderous war against Hannibal and the subsequent campaigns, costly
though they were, in Spain, Syria, and Macedonia, but with the
Hellenisation of social life. Lucan, under Nero, complains that the
towns have lost more than half their inhabitants, and that the
country-side lies waste. Under Titus it was estimated that, whereas
Italy under the Republic could raise nearly 800,000 soldiers, that
number was now reduced by one-half. Marcus Aurelius planted a large
tribe of Marcomanni on unoccupied land in Italy. In the fourth century
Bologna, Modena, Piacenza, and many other towns in North Italy were in
ruins. The land of the Volscians and Aequians, once densely populated,
was a desert even in Livy's time. Samnium remained the wilderness that
Sulla had left it; and Apulia was a lonely sheep-walk.

The causes of this depopulation have been often discussed, both in
antiquity and in our own day. Slavery, infanticide, celibacy, wars and
massacres, large estates, and pestilence have all been named as causes;
but I am inclined to think that all these influences together are
insufficient to account for so rapid a decline. The toll of war was
lighter by far than in periods when the population was rising;
infectious disease (unless we suppose, as some have suggested, that
malaria became for the first time endemic under the Roman domination)
invaded the empire in occasional and destructive epidemics, but a
healthy population recovers from pestilence, as from war, with great
rapidity. The large grazing ranches displaced farms because corn-growing
in Italy was unprofitable, but there was a large supply of grain from
Sicily, Africa, and other districts. Slavery undoubtedly accounts for a
great deal. This institution is excessively wasteful of human life; it
is never possible to keep up the numbers of slaves without slave-hunting
in the countries from which they come. And we must remember that ancient
civilisation was almost entirely urban. The barbarians found ample waste
lands between the towns, which they did not as a rule care to visit,
probably because those who did so soon fell victims to microbic
diseases. The sanitary condition of ancient cities was better than in
the Middle Ages; but the death-rate was probably too high to permit of
any increase in the population. But after admitting that all these
causes were operative, it may be that we shall be obliged to acknowledge
also a psychological factor. If a nation has no hopes for the future, if
it is even doubtful whether life is worth living, if it is disposed to
withdraw from the struggle for existence and to meet the problems of
life in a temper of passive resignation, it will not regard children as
a heritage and gift that cometh from the Lord, but rather as an
encumbrance. That such was the temper of the later Roman Empire may be
gathered not only from the literature, which is singularly devoid of
hopefulness and enterprise, but from the rapid spread of monasticism and
eremitism in this period. The prevalence of this world-weariness of
course needs explanation, and the cause is rather obscure. It does not
seem to be connected with unfavourable external conditions, but rather
with a racial exhaustion akin to senile decay in the individual. But
there is no real analogy between the life of an individual and that of a
nation, and it would be very rash to insist on the hypothesis of racial
decay, which perhaps has no biological basis.

The influence of Christianity on population is very difficult to
estimate. Nothing is more unscientific than to collect the ethical
precepts and practices of nations which profess the Christian religion,
and to label them as 'the results of Christianity.' The historian of
religion would indeed be faced by a strange task if he were compelled to
trace the moral ideals of Simeon Stylites and of Howard the
philanthropist, of Francis of Assisi and Oliver Cromwell, of Thomas
Aquinas and Thomas à Becket, to a common source. The only ethical and
social principles which can properly be called Christian are those which
can be proved to have their root in the teaching and example of the
Founder of Christianity. But the Gospel of Christ was a product of
Jewish soil. It is historically connected with the Jewish prophetic
tradition, which it carried to its fullest development and presented in
an universalised and spiritualised form. Its social teaching consists
chiefly of general principles which have to be applied to conditions
unlike those contemplated by its first disciples, who were under the
influence of the apocalyptic expectations prevalent at the time. Jewish
morality was in its origin the morality of a tribe of nomad Bedouins;
and we have seen that infant life is held sacred by these peoples.
Marriage is regarded as a duty, and childlessness as a misfortune or a
disgrace. The forward look, characteristic of the Hebrews from the
first, made every Jew desirous to leave descendants who might witness
happier times, and one of whom might even be the promised Deliverer of
his people. No Hebrew of either sex was allowed to be a servant of vice;
abnormal practices, though screened by Canaanite religion, were far less
common than in Greece or Italy. To this wholesome morality Christianity
added the doctrines of the value, in the sight of God, of every human
life, and of the sanctity of the body as the 'temple of God.' To the
Pagans, the continence of the Christians was, next to their affection
for each other, their most remarkable characteristic. From the first,
the new religion set itself firmly against infanticide and abortion, and
won one of its most signal moral triumphs in driving underground and
greatly diminishing homosexual vice. Its encouragement of celibacy,
especially for those who followed the 'religious' vocation, was an
offset to its healthy influence on family life, and ultimately, as
Galton has shown, worked great mischief by sterilising for centuries
many of the gentlest and noblest in each generation; but this tendency
was adventitious to Christianity, and would never have taken root on
Palestinian soil. The cult of virginity has lasted on, with much else
that belongs to the later Hellenistic age, in Catholicism.

In the Middle Ages the population question slumbered. The miserable
chaos into which the old civilisation sank after the barbarian
invasions, the orgies of massacre and plunder, the almost total oblivion
of medical science, and the pestiferous condition of the medieval walled
town, which could be smelt miles away, averted any risk of
over-population. Families were very large, but the majority of the
children died. Millions were swept away by the Black Death; millions
more by the Crusades. Such books as that of Luchaire, on France in the
reign of Philip Augustus, bring vividly before us the horrible condition
of society in feudal times, and explain amply the sparsity of the

The early modern period contains another notable example of a sudden and
unaccountable decline in population. The scene is Spain, which, after
playing an active and very prominent part in the world's history, sank
quickly into the lethargy from which it has never recovered. It may be
noted that here, as in the case of Rome, the decay of population and
energy followed a great influx of plundered wealth. On the other hand,
the increase of population in our newly-planted North American colonies
must have been extremely rapid for two or three generations.

The enormous multiplication of the European races since the middle of
the eighteenth century is a phenomenon quite unique in history, and
never likely to be repeated.[16] It was rendered possible by the new
labour-saving inventions which immensely increased the exports which
could be exchanged for food, and by the opening up of vast new
food-producing areas. The chief method by which the increase was
effected, especially in the later period, has been the lengthening of
human life by improved sanitation and medical science.[17] Since 1865
the average duration of life in England and Wales has been raised by a
little more than one-third. Other European countries show the same ratio
of improvement. This astonishing result, so little known and so seldom
referred to, was bound to have a great effect on the birth-rate. So long
as the swarming period continued at its height, a net annual increase of
15 or even 20 per thousand could be sustained; but the expansion of the
European peoples has now passed its zenith, and a tendency to revert to
more normal conditions is almost everywhere observable. One of the most
advanced nations, France, has already reached the equilibrium towards
which other civilised nations are moving. The old-established families
in the United States are believed to be actually dwindling.

The student of international vital statistics will be struck first by
the very wide differences in the birth-rate of different countries. He
will then notice that the more backward countries have on the whole a
considerably higher birth-rate than the more advanced. Thirdly, he will
observe the parallelism between the birth-rate and death-rate, which
makes the net increase in countries with a high birth-rate very little
larger than that of countries with a low birth-rate. The following
figures will illustrate these points; they are taken from the
Registrar-General's Blue Book for 1912.

                      Birth-rate Death-rate Net rate of
United Kingdom           23.9       13.8         10.1
Australia                28.7       11.2         17.5
Austria                  31.3       20.5         10.8
Belgium                  22.9       16.4          6.5
France                   19.0       17.5          1.5
Germany                  28.6       17.3         11.3
Italy                    32.4       18.2         14.2
New Zealand              26.5        8.9         17.6
Norway                   25.4       13.4         12.0
Roumania                 43.4       22.9         20.5
Russia                   44.0       28.9         15.1

It will be seen that Australia and New Zealand, with low birth-rates and
the lowest death-rates in the world increase more rapidly than Russia
with an enormous birth-rate and proportionately high death-rate. No one
can doubt that our colonies achieve their increase with far less
friction and misery than the prolific but short-lived Slavs.
Civilisation in a high form is incompatible with such conditions as
these figures disclose in Russia. The figures for Egypt and India are
similar to the Russian, but in India, which is overfull, the mortality
is greater than even in Russia, and the same is true of China, in which
we are told that seven out of ten children die in infancy. It has been
suggested that the fairest measure of a country's well-being, as regards
its actual vitality, is the square of the death-rate divided by the

It is well known that a decline in the birth-rate set in about forty
years ago in this country, and has gone on steadily ever since, till the
fall now amounts to about one-third of the total births. It thus
corresponds very nearly to the fall in the death-rate during the same
period. It is also well known that this decline is not evenly
distributed among different classes of the people. Until the decline
began, large families were the rule in all classes, and the slightly
larger families of the poor were compensated by their somewhat higher
mortality. But since 1877 large families have become increasingly rare
in the upper and middle classes, and among the skilled artisans. They
are frequent in the thriftless ranks of unskilled labour, and in one
section of well-paid workmen--the miners. The highest birth-rates at
present are in the mining districts and in the slums. The lowest are in
some of the learned professions. In the Rhondda Valley the birth-rate is
still about forty, which is double the rate in the prosperous
residential suburbs of London. In the seats of the textile industry the
decline has been very severe, although wages are fairly good; among the
agricultural labourers the rate is also low. It will be found that in
all trades where the women work for wages the birth-rate has fallen
sharply; the miner's wife does not earn money, and has therefore less
inducement to restrict her family. In agricultural districts the housing
difficulty is mainly responsible; in the upper and middle classes the
heavy expense of education and the burden of rates and taxes are
probably the main reasons why larger families are not desired. We may
add that in almost all the professions old men are overpaid and young
men under-paid. Mr. and Mrs. Whetham[18] have found that, before 1870,
143 marriages of men whose names appear in 'Who's Who' resulted in 743
children, an average of 5.2 each; after 1870 the average is only 3.08.
Celibacy also is commoner among the educated. 'From the reports issued
by two Women's Colleges, it appears that, excluding those who have left
college within three years or less, out of 3000 women only 22 per cent.
have married, and the number of children born to each marriage is
undoubtedly very small.' The writers consider that this state of things
is extremely dangerous for the country, inasmuch as we are now breeding
mainly from our worst stocks (the feeble-minded are very prolific),
while our best families are stationary or dwindling. Without denying the
general truth of this pessimistic conclusion,[19] it may be pointed out
that the miners are, physically at least, above the average of the whole
population, and that the very low birth-rate of residential districts is
partly due to the presence in large numbers of unmarried domestic
servants. The death-rate of the slums is also very high.

The fears of the eugenist about the quality of the population are far
more reasonable than the invectives of the fanatic about its defective
quantity. Of the latter class we may say with Havelock Ellis that 'those
who seek to restore the birth-rate of half a century ago are engaged in
a task which would be criminal if it were not based on ignorance, and
which is in any case fatuous.' And yet I hope to show before the close
of this article that for two or three generations the British Empire
could absorb a considerable increase, and that the Government might with
advantage stimulate this by schemes of colonisation. The lament of the
eugenist resounds in all countries alike. The German complains that the
Poles, whom he considers an inferior race, breed like rabbits, while the
gifted exponents of _Kultur_ only breed like hares. The American is
nervous about the numbers of the negro; he has more reason to be nervous
about the fecundity of the Slav and South Italian immigrant. Everywhere
the tendency is for the superior stock to dwindle till it becomes a
small aristocracy. The Americans of British descent are threatened with
this fate. Pride and a high standard of living are not biological
virtues. The man who needs and spends little is the ultimate inheritor
of the earth. I know of no instance in history in which a ruling race
has not ultimately been ousted or absorbed by its subjects. Complete
extermination or expropriation is the only successful method of
conquest. The Anglo-Saxon race has thus established itself in the
greater part of Britain, and in Australasia. In North America it has
destroyed the Indian hunter, who could not be used for industrial
purposes; but the temptation to exploit the negro and the cheaper
European races was too strong to be resisted, and Nature's heaviest
penalty is now being exacted against the descendants of our sturdy
colonists. We did not lose America in the eighteenth century; we are
losing it now. As for South Africa, the Kaffir can live like a gentleman
(according to his own ideas) on six months' ill-paid work every year;
the Englishman finds an income of £200 too small. There is only one end
to this kind of colonisation. The danger at home is that the larger part
of the population is now beginning to insist upon a scale of
remuneration and a standard of comfort which are incompatible with any
survival-value. We all wish to be privileged aristocrats, with no serfs
to work for us. Dame Nature cares nothing for the babble of politicians
and trade-union regulations. She says to us what Plotinus, in a
remarkable passage, makes her say: 'You should not ask questions; you
should try to understand. _I am not in the habit of talking._' In
Nature's school it is a word and a blow, and the blow first. Before the
close of this article I will return to the eugenic problem, and will
consider whether anything can be done to solve it.

At the present time, when an apparently internecine conflict is raging
between the British Empire and Germany, a more detailed comparison of
the vital statistics of the two countries will be read with interest. In
England and Wales the birth-rate culminated in 1876 at a little over 36,
after slowly rising from 33 in 1850. From 1876 the line of decline is
almost straight, down to the ante-war figure of about 24. In Prussia,
owing partly to wars, the fluctuations have been violent. In 1850 the
figure (omitting decimals) was 39; in 1855, 34; in 1859, 40; in 1871,
34; in 1875, nearly 41. From this date, as in England, the steady
decline began. In 1907 the rate had fallen to 33; in 1913 (German
Empire) to 27.5. Here we may notice the abnormally high rate in the
years following the great war of 1870, a phenomenon which was marked
also throughout Europe after the Napoleonic wars. We may also notice
that the decline has been of late slightly more rapid in Germany,
falling from a high birth-rate, than in England, where the maximum was
never so high. Another fact which comes out when the German figures are
more carefully examined is that urbanisation in Germany has a
sterilising effect which is not operative in England. Prinzing gives the
comparative figures of _legitimate_ fertility for Prussia as follows:

                               1879-1882  1894-1897

Berlin                            23.8      16.9[20]
Other great towns                 26.7      23.5
Towns of 20,000 to 100,000        26.8      25.7
Small towns                       27.8      25.9
Country districts                 28.8      29.0

Now urbanisation is going on even more rapidly in Germany than in
England. The death-rate in England and Wales rose from 21 in 1850 to
23.5 in 1854; after sharp fluctuations it reached 23.7 in 1864; since
then it has declined to its present figure (in normal times) of 14. In
Prussia after the war of 1870 and the small-pox epidemic of 1871, there
has been a steady fall from 26 to 17.3 (German Empire in 1911). The net
increase is only slightly larger (in proportion to the population) in
Germany than in England; and the increase in our great colonies,
especially in Australasia, is much higher than in Germany. There is
therefore no reason to suppose that a rapid alteration is going on to
our disadvantage.

It is widely believed that the Roman Catholic Church, by sternly
forbidding the artificial limitation of families, is increasing its
numbers at the expense of the non-Catholic populations. To some extent
this is true. The Prussian figures for 1895-1900 give the number of
children per marriage as:

Both parents Catholic            5
Both parents Protestant          4
Both parents Jews                3.7

An examination of the entries in 'Who's Who' gives about the same
proportion for well-to-do families in England. The Catholic birth-rate
of the Irish is nearly 40.[21] The French-Canadians are among the most
prolific races in the world. On the other hand, their infant mortality
is very high, and it is said that French-Canadian parents take these
losses philosophically. It is quite a different question whether it is
ultimately to the advantage of a nation which desires to increase its
numbers to profess the Roman Catholic religion. The high birth-rates are
all in unprogressive Catholic populations. When a Catholic people begins
to be educated, the priests apparently lose their influence upon the
habits of the laity, and a rapid decline in the births at once sets in.
The most advanced countries which did not accept the Reformation, France
and Belgium, are precisely those in which parental prudence has been
carried almost to excess. We must also remember that the Dutch Boers,
who are Protestants, but who live under simple conditions not unlike
those of the French-Canadians, are equally prolific, as were our own
colonists in the United States before that country was industrialised.
The advantages in numbers gained by Roman Catholicism are likely to be
confined to half-empty countries, where there is really room for more
citizens, and where social ambition and the love of comfort are the
chief motives for restricting the family.

The population of a settled country cannot be increased at will; it
depends on the supply of food. The choice is between a high birth-rate
combined with a high death-rate, and a low birth-rate with a low
death-rate. The great saving of life which has been effected during the
last fifty years carries with it the necessity of restricting the
births. The next question to be considered is how this restriction is to
be brought about. The oldest methods are deliberate neglect and
infanticide. In China, where authorities differ as to the extent to
which female infants are exposed, the practice certainly prevails of
feeding infants whom their mothers are unable to suckle on rice and
water, which soon terminates their existence. Such methods would happily
find no advocates in Europe. The very ancient art of procuring
miscarriage is a criminal act in most civilised countries, but it is
practised to an appalling extent. Hirsch, who quotes his authorities,
estimates that 2,000,000 births are so prevented annually in the United
States, 400,000 in Germany, 50,000 in Paris, and 19,000 in Lyons. In our
own country it is exceedingly common in the northern towns, and attempts
are now being made to prohibit the sale of certain preparations of lead
which are used for this purpose. Alike on grounds of public health and
of morality, it is most desirable that this mischievous practice should
be checked. Its great prevalence in the United States is to be
attributed mainly to the drastic legislation in that country against the
sale and use of preventives, to which many persons take objection on
moral or æsthetic grounds, but which is surely on an entirely different
level from the destruction of life that has already begun. The
'Comstock' legislation in America has done unmixed harm. It is worse
than useless to try to put down by law a practice which a very large
number of people believes to be innocent, and which must be left to the
taste and conscience of the individual. To the present writer it seems a
_pis aller_ which high-minded married persons should avoid if they can
practise self-restraint. Whatever injures the feeling of
'sanctification and honour' with which St. Paul bids us to regard these
intimacies of life, whatever tends to profane or degrade the sacraments
of wedded love, is so far an evil. But this is emphatically a matter in
which every man and woman must judge for themselves, and must refrain
from judging others.

In every modern civilised country population is restricted partly by the
deliberate postponement of marriage. In many cases this does no harm
whatever; but in many others it gravely diminishes the happiness of
young people, and may even cause minor disturbances of health. Moreover,
it would not be so widely adopted but for the tolerance, on the part of
society, of the 'great social evil,' the opprobrium of our civilisation.
In spite of the failure hitherto of priests, moralists, and legislators
to root it out, and in spite of the acceptance of it as inevitable by
the majority of Continental opinion, I believe that this abomination
will not long be tolerated by the conscience of the free and progressive
nations. It is notorious that the whole body of women deeply resents the
wrong and contumely done by it to their sex, and that, if democracy is
to be a reality, the immolation of a considerable section of women drawn
from the poorer classes cannot be suffered to continue. It is also plain
to all who have examined the subject that the campaign against certain
diseases, the malignity and wide diffusion of which are being more fully
realised every year, cannot be successful through medical methods alone.
If the institution in question were abolished, medical science would
soon reduce these scourges to manageable limits, and might at last
exterminate them altogether; but while it continues there is no hope of
doing this. I believe then that the time will come when the trade in
vice will cease; and if I am right, early marriages will become the rule
in all classes. This will render the population question more acute,
especially as the diseases which we hope to extirpate are the commonest
cause both of sterility and of infant mortality. Under this pressure, we
must expect to see preventive methods widely accepted as the least of
unavoidable evils.

When we reflect on the whole problem in its widest aspects, we see that
civilised humanity is confronted by a Choice of Hercules. On the one
side, biological law seems to urge us forward to the struggle for
existence and expansion. The nation in that case will have to be
organised on the lines of greatest efficiency. A strong centralised
government will occupy itself largely in preventing waste. All the
resources of the nation must be used to the uttermost. Parks must be cut
up into allotments; the unproductive labours of the scholar and thinker
must be jealously controlled and limited. Inefficient citizens must be
weeded out; wages must be low and hours of work long. Moreover, the
State must be organised for war; for its neighbours, we must suppose,
are following the same policy. Then the fierce extra-group competition
must come to its logical arbitrament in a life and death struggle. And
war between two over-peopled countries, for both of which more
elbow-room is a vital necessity, must be a war of complete expropriation
or extermination. It must be so, for no other kind of war can achieve
its object. The horrors of the present conflict will be as nothing
compared with a struggle between two highly-organised State socialisms,
each of which knows that it must either colonise the territory of the
other or starve. It is idle to pretend that such a necessity will never
arise. Another century of increase in Europe like that of the nineteenth
century would bring it very near. If this policy is adopted, we shall
see all the principal States organising themselves with a perfection far
greater than that of Germany to-day, but taking German methods as their
model; and the end will be the extermination of the smaller or looser
organisations. Such a prospect may well fill us with horror; and it is
terrible to find some of the ablest thinkers of Germany, such as Ernst
Troeltsch, writing calm elegies over 'the death of Liberalism' and
predicting the advent of an era of cut-throat international competition.
Juvenal speaks of the folly of _propter vitam vivendi perdere causas_;
and who would care to live in such a world? But does Nature care whether
we enjoy our lives or not?

The other choice is that which France has made for herself; it is on the
lines of Plato's ideal State. Each country is to be, as far as
possible, self-sufficing. If it cannot grow sufficient food for itself,
it must of course export its coal or its gold, or the products of its
industry and ingenuity. But it must know approximately what 'the number
of the State' (as Plato said) should be. It must limit its population to
that number, and the limit will be fixed, not at the maximum number who
can live there anyhow, but at the maximum number who can 'live well.'
The object aimed at will not be constant expansion, but well-being. The
energies liberated from the pitiless struggle for existence will be
devoted to making social life wiser, happier, more harmonious and more
beautiful. Have we any reason to hope that this policy is not contrary
to the hard laws which Nature imposes on every species in the world?

In the first place, would such a State escape being devoured by some
brutal 'expanding' neighbour? What would have happened to France if she
had stood alone in this war? The danger is real; but we may answer that
France, as a matter of fact, did not stand alone, because other nations
thought her too precious to be sacrificed. And the completely organised
competitive State which I have imagined would be a far more unlovely
place than Germany, and more unpleasant to live in. The spectacle of a
saner and happier polity next door would break up the purely competitive
State from within; the strain would be too great for human nature. We
cannot argue confidently from the struggle for existence among the lower
animals to our own species. For a long time past, human evolution has
been directed, not to living anyhow, but to living in a certain way. We
are guided by ideals for the future, by purposes winch we clearly set
before ourselves, in a way which is impossible to the brutes. These
purposes are common to the large majority of men. No State can long
maintain a rigid and oppressive organisation, except under the threat of
danger; and a nation which aims only at perfecting its own culture is
not dangerous to its neighbours. It is probable that without the
supposed menace of another military Power on its eastern flank German
militarism would have begun to crumble.

In the second place, would the absence of sharp competition within the
group lead to racial degeneration? This is a difficult question to
answer. Perhaps a diminution of pugnacity and of the means to gratify
this instinct would not be a misfortune. But it is certainly true that,
if the operation of natural selection is suspended, rational selection
must take its place. Failing this, reversion to a lower type is
inevitable. The infant science of eugenics will have much to say on this
subject hereafter; at present we are only discovering how complex and
obscure the laws of heredity are. The State of the future will have to
step in to prevent the propagation of undesirable variations, whether
physical or mental, and will doubtless find means to encourage the
increase of families that are well endowed by Nature.

Assuming that a nation as a whole prefers a policy of this kind, and
aims at such an equilibrium of births and deaths as will set free the
energies of the people for the higher objects of civilised life, how
will it escape the cacogenic effects of family restriction in the better
classes combined with reckless multiplication among the refuse which
always exists in a large community? This is a problem which has not yet
been solved. Public opinion is not ready for legislation against the
multiplication of the unfit, and it is not easy to see what form such
legislation could take. Many of the very poor are not undesirable
parents; we must not confound economic prosperity with biological
fitness. The 'submerged tenth' should be raised, where it is possible,
into a condition of self-respect and responsibility; but they must not
be allowed to be a burden upon the efficient; and the upper and middle
classes should simplify their habits so far as to make marriage and
parenthood possible for the young professional man. Special care should
be taken that taxation is so adjusted as not to penalise parenthood in
the socially valuable middle class.

For some time to come we are likely to see, in all the leading nations,
a restricted birth-rate, prompted by desire for social betterment,
combined, however, with concessions to the rival policy of commercial
expansion, growing numbers, and military preparation. The nations will
not cease to fear and suspect each other in the twentieth century, and
any one nation which chooses to be a nuisance to Europe will keep back
the progress and happiness of the rest. The prospect is not very bright;
a too generous confidence might betray some nation into irretrievable
disaster. But the bracing influence of national danger may perhaps be
beneficial. For we have to remember the pitiable decay of the ancient
classical civilisation, which was partly due, as we have found, to a
desire for comfortable and easy living. There have been signs that many
of our countrymen no longer think the strenuous life worth while; part
of our resentment against Germany resembles the annoyance of an
old-fashioned firm, disturbed in its comfortable security by the
competition of a young and more vigorous rival. It is even suggested
that after the war we should protect ourselves against German
competition by tariff walls. This abandonment of the free trade policy
on which our prosperity is built would soon bring our over-populated
island to ruin.

In conclusion, if we leave the distant future to fend for itself when
the time comes, what should be our policy with regard to population for
the next fifty years? I am led to an opinion which may seem to run
counter to the general purport of this article. For though the British
Isles are even dangerously full, so that we are liable to be starved out
if we lose the command of the sea, the British Empire is very far from
being over-populated. In Canada and Australasia there is probably room
for nearly 200,000,000 people. These countries are remarkably healthy
for Northern Europeans; there is no reason why they should not be as
rich and powerful as the United States are now. We hope that we have
saved the Empire from German cupidity--for the time; but we cannot tell
how long we may be undisturbed. It would be criminal folly not to make
the most of the respite granted us, by peopling our Dominions with our
own stock, while yet there is time. This, however, cannot be done by
casual and undirected emigration of the old kind. We need an Imperial
Board of Emigration, the officials of which will work in co-operation
with the Governments of our Dominions. These Governments, it may be
presumed, will be anxious, after the war, to strengthen the colonies by
increasing their population and developing their resources. They, like
ourselves, have had a severe fright, and know that prompt action is
necessary. Systematic plans of colonisation should be worked out, and
emigrants drafted off to the Dominions as work can be found for them.
Young women should be sent out in sufficient numbers to keep the sexes
equal. We know now that our young people who emigrate are by no means
lost to the Empire. The Dominions have shown that in time of need they
are able and willing to defend the mother country with their full
strength. Indeed, a young couple who emigrate are likely to be of more
value to the Empire than if they had stayed at home; and their chances
of happiness are much increased if they find a home in a part of the
world where more human beings are wanted. But without official advice
and help emigration is difficult. Parents do not know where to send
their sons, nor what training to give them. Mistakes are made, money is
wasted, and bitter disappointment caused. All this may be obviated if
the Government will take the matter up seriously. The real issue of this
war is whether our great colonies are to continue British; and the
question will be decided not only on the field of battle, but by the
action of our Government and people after peace is declared. The next
fifty years will decide for all time whether those magnificent and still
empty countries are to be the home of great nations speaking our
language, carrying on our institutions, and valuing our traditions. When
the future of our Dominions is secure, the part of England as a
World-Power will have been played to a successful issue, and we may be
content with a position more consonant with the small area of these

I believe, then, that if facilities for migration are given by
Government action, it will be not only possible but desirable for the
increase in the population of the Empire, taken as a whole, to be
maintained during the twentieth century. It is, of course, possible that
chemical discoveries and other scientific improvements may greatly
increase the yield of food from the soil, and that in this way the final
limit to the population of the earth may be further off than now seems
probable. But within a few centuries, at most, this limit must be
reached; and after that we may hope that the world will agree to
maintain an equilibrium between births and deaths, that being the most
stable and the happiest condition in which human beings can live


     [10] Myres, _Eugenics Review_, April, 1915.

     [11] Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, _Kultur der Gegenwart_, 2, 4, 1.

     [12] Cimon, Pericles, and Socrates all had three sons, and
     apparently no daughters.--Zimmern, _The Greek Commonwealth_,
     p. 331.

     [13] _Cf. (e.g.)_ Plato, _Theaetetus_, 149.

     [14] We may suppose that the disproportion of the sexes,
     caused by female infanticide, was about rectified by the
     deaths of males in battle and civic strife. We do not hear
     that the Greek had any difficulty in finding a wife.

     [15] Families, he says, were limited to one or two 'in order
     to leave these rich.'

     [16] The population of England and Wales is said to have
     been 4,800,000 in 1600, and 6,500,000 in 1750. It was
     8,890,000 in 1801, 32,530,000 in 1901, and approximately
     37,000,000 in 1914.

     [17] Statistics are wanting for the early part of the
     industrial revolution, but my study of pedigrees leads me to
     think that the average duration of life was considerably
     increased in the eighteenth century.

     [18] _The Family and the Nation_, p. 143.

     [19] The births per 1000 married men under fifty-five in the
     different classes are:--Upper and middle class, 119;
     Intermediate, 132; Skilled workmen, 153; Intermediate, 158;
     Unskilled workmen, 213.

     [20] It must be remembered that the illegitimate birth-rate
     in Berlin is scandalously high.

     [21] The crude birth-rate of Ireland is wholly misleading,
     because so many young couples emigrate before the birth of
     their first child.

     [22] The possible effect of the labour movement in
     diminishing the population is considered in the next Essay.
     The last two years have, in my opinion, made the outlook
     less favourable.



In the year 1890 Sir Charles Dilke ended his survey of 'Greater Britain'
and its problems with the prediction that 'the world's future belongs to
the Anglo-Saxon, the Russian, and the Chinese races.' This was in the
heyday of British imperialism, which was inaugurated by Seeley's
'Expansion of England' and Froude's 'Oceana,' and which inspired Mr.
Chamberlain to proclaim at Toronto in 1887 that the 'Anglo-Saxon stock
is infallibly destined to be the predominant force in the history and
civilisation of the world.' It was an arrogant, but not truculent, mood,
which reached its climax at the 1897 Jubilee, and rapidly declined
during and after the Boer war. These writers and statesmen were utterly
blind to the German peril, though the disciples of Treitschke were
already working out a theory about the future destinies of the world, in
which neither Great Britain nor Russia nor China counted for very much.
There were illusions on both sides of the North Sea, which had to be
paid for in blood. In both countries imperialism was a sentiment
curiously compounded of idealism and bombast, and supported by very
doubtful science. In the case of Germany the distortion of facts was
deliberate and monstrous. Not only was every schoolboy brought up on
cooked population statistics and falsified geography, but the thick-set,
brachycephalous Central European persuaded himself that he belonged to
the pure Nordic race, the great blond beasts of Nietzsche, which, as he
was taught, had already produced nearly all the great men in history,
and was now about to claim its proper place as master of the world.
Political anthropology is no genuine science. Race and nationality are
catchwords for which rulers find that their subjects are willing to
fight, as they fought for what they called religion four hundred years
ago. In reality, if we want to find a pure race, we must visit the
Esquimaux, or the Fuegians, or the Pygmies; we shall certainly not find
one in Europe. Our own imperialists had their illusions too, and we are
not rid of them yet, because we do not realise that the fate of races is
decided, not in the council-chamber or on the battle-field, but by the
same laws of nature which determine the distribution of the various
plants and animals of the world. It may be that by approaching our
subject from this side we shall arrive at a more scientific, if a more
chastened, anticipation of our national future than was acceptable to
the enthusiasts of expansion in the last twenty years of Queen
Victoria's reign.

The history of the world shows us that there have been three great human
reservoirs which from time to time have burst their banks and flooded
neighbouring countries. These are the Arabian peninsula, the steppes of
Central Asia, and the lands round the Baltic, the original home of the
Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples. The invaders in each case were
pastoral folk, who were driven from their homes by over-population, or
drought and famine, or the pressure of enemies behind them. It is easy
for nomads to 'trek,' even for great distances; and till the discovery
of gunpowder they were the most formidable of foes. The Arabs and
Northern Europeans have founded great civilisations; the Mongol hordes
have been an unmitigated curse to humanity. The invaders never kept
their blood pure. The famous Jewish nose is probably Hittite, and
certainly not Bedouin. There are no pure Turks in Europe, and the
Hungarians have lost all resemblance to Mongols. The modern Germans seem
to belong mainly to the round-headed Alpine race, which migrated into
Europe in early times from the Asiatic highlands. In England there is a
larger proportion of Nordic blood, because the Anglo-Saxons partially
exterminated the natives; but the old Mediterranean race, which had
made its way up the warm western coasts, still holds its own in
Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, and the Western Highlands; and within the last
hundred years, owing to frequent migrations, has mixed so thoroughly
with the Anglo-Saxon stock that the English are becoming darker in each
generation. This is not the result of a racial decay of the blonds, as
the American, Dr. Charles Woodruff, supposes, but is to be accounted for
by the fact that dark eyes seem to be a Mendelian dominant, and dark
hair a more potent character than light. The inhabitants of these
islands are nearly all long-headed, this being a characteristic of both
the Nordic and Mediterranean races. The round-headed invaders, who
perhaps brought with them the so-called Celtic languages at a remote
period, and imposed them upon the inhabitants, seem to have left no
other mark upon the population, though their type of head is prevalent
over a great part of France.

The ability of races to flourish in climates other than their own is a
question of supreme importance to historians and statesmen, and, it need
not be said, to emigrants. But it is only lately that it has been
studied scientifically, and the results are still tentative. German
ethnologists, of what we may call the _ædicephalous_ school, already
referred to, regard it as one of the tragedies of nature that the noble
Nordic race, to which they think they belong, dies out when it
penetrates southwards. In accordance with this law, the yellow-haired
Achæans decayed in Greece, the Lombards in North Italy, the Vandals in
Spain and Africa. After a few generations of life in a warm climate the
Aryan stock invariably disappears. We shall show reasons for thinking
that this theory is much exaggerated; but there is undoubtedly some
truth in it. It has been found to be impossible for white men to
colonise India, Burma, tropical America, and West Africa. It has been
said that 'there is in India no third generation of pure English blood.'
It is notoriously difficult to bring up even one generation of white
children in India. The French cannot maintain themselves without race
admixture in Martinique and Guadaloupe, nor the Dutch in Java, though
it is said that the expectation of life for a European in Java is as
good as in his own country. It seems to be also true that the blond race
suffers most in a hot climate. In the Philippines it was observed that
the fair-haired soldiers in the American army succumbed most readily to
disease. In Queensland the Italian colonists are said to stand the heat
better than the English, and Mr. Roosevelt, among other items of good
advice which he bestowed so liberally on the European nations, advised
us to populate the torrid parts of Australia with immigrants from the
Latin races. In Natal the English families who are settled in the
country are said to be enervated by the climate; and on the high
plateaux of the interior our countrymen find it necessary to pay
periodical visits to the coast, to be unbraced. The early deaths and not
infrequent suicides of Rand magnates may indicate that the air of the
Transvaal is too stimulating for a life of high tension and excitement.
There are even signs that the same may be true in a minor degree of the
United States of America. Both the capitalist and the working man, if
they come of English stock, seem to wear out more quickly than at home;
and the sterility of marriages among the long settled American families
is so pronounced that it can hardly be due entirely to voluntary
restriction of parentage. The effects of an unsuitable climate are
especially shown in nervous disorders, and are therefore likely to tell
most heavily on those who engage in intellectual pursuits, and perhaps
on women rather more than on men. The sterilising effects of women's
higher education in America are incontrovertible, though this inference
is hotly denied in England. At Holyoake College it was found that only
half the lady graduates afterwards married, and the average family of
those who did marry was less than two children. At Bryn Mawr only 43 per
cent, married, and had 0.84 children each; the average family per
graduate was therefore 0.37. If it be objected that new immigrants and
their children are healthy and vigorous in America, it may be truly
answered that the effects of an unfavourable climate are manifested
fully only in the third and later generations. The argument may be
further supported by the fate of black men who try to settle in Europe.
Their strongly pigmented skin, which seems to protect them from the
actinic rays of the tropical sun, so noxious to Europeans, and their
broad nostrils, which inhale a larger number of tubercle bacilli than
the narrow nose-slits of the Northerner, are disadvantages in a
temperate climate. In any case, of the many thousands of negro servants
who lived in England in the eighteenth century, it would be difficult to
find a single descendant.

But there are other factors in the problem which should make us beware
of hasty generalisations. It is obvious that since the American Republic
contains many climates in its vast area, there may be parts of it which
are perfectly healthy for Anglo-Saxons, and other parts where they
cannot live without degenerating. Very few athletes, we are told, come
from south of the fortieth parallel of latitude. But the decline in the
birth-rate is most marked in the older colonies, the New England States,
where for a long period the English colonists, living mainly on the
land, not only throve and developed a singularly virile type of
humanity, but multiplied with almost unexampled rapidity. The same is
true not only of the French Canadian farmers, but of the South African
Boers, who rear enormous families in a climate very different from that
of Holland. The inference is that Europeans living on the land may
flourish in any tolerably healthy climate which is not tropical.

There are, in fact, two other causes besides climate which may prevent
immigrants from multiplying in a new country. The first of these is the
presence of microbic diseases to which the old inhabitants are wholly or
partially immune, but which find a virgin soil in the bodies of the
newcomers. The strongest example is the West Coast of Africa, of which
Miss Mary Kingsley writes: 'Yet remember, before you elect to cast your
lot with the West Coasters, that 85 per cent, of them die of fever, or
return home with their health permanently wrecked. Also remember that
there is no getting acclimatised to the Coast. There are, it is true, a
few men out there who, although they have been resident in West Africa
for years, have never had fever, but you can count them on the fingers
of one hand.' There can be no acclimatisation where the weeding out is
as drastic as this. Either the anopheles mosquito or the European must
quit. There are parts of tropical America where the natives have
actually been protected by the malaria, which keeps the white man at
arm's length. But more often the microbe is on the side of the civilised
race, killing off the natives who have not run the gauntlet of
town-life. The extreme reluctance of the barbarians who overran the
Roman Empire to settle in the towns is easily accounted for if, as is
probable, the towns killed them off whenever they attempted to live in
them. The difference is remarkable between the fate of a conquered race
which has become accustomed to town-life, and that of one which has not.
There are no 'native quarters' in the towns of any country where the
aborigines were nomads or tillers of the soil. To the North American
Indian, residence in a town is a sentence of death. The American Indians
were accustomed to none of our zymotic diseases except malaria. In the
north they were destroyed wholesale by tuberculosis; in Mexico and Peru,
where large towns existed before the conquest, they fared better. Fiji
was devastated by measles; other barbarians by small-pox. Negroes have
acquired, through severe natural selection, a certain degree of
immunisation in America; but even now it is said that 'every other negro
dies of consumption.' There are, however, two races, both long
accustomed to town-life under horribly insanitary conditions, which have
shown that they can live in almost any climate. These are the Jews and
the Chinese. The medieval Ghetto exterminated all who were not naturally
resistant to every form of microbic disease; the modern Jew, though
often of poor physique, is hard to kill. The same may be said of the
Chinaman, who, when at home, lives under conditions which would kill
most Europeans.

The other factor, which is really promoting the gradual disappearance of
the Anglo-Saxons from the United States, is of a very different
character. The descendants of the old immigrants are on the whole the
aristocracy of the country. Now it is a law which hardly admits of
exceptions, that aristocracies do not maintain their numbers. The ruling
race rules itself out; nothing fails like success. Gibbon has called
attention to the extreme respect paid to long descent in the Roman
Empire, and to the strange fact that, in the fourth century, no
ingenuity of pedigree makers could deny that all the great families of
the Republic were extinct, so that the second-rate plebeian family of
the Anicii, whose name did appear in the Fasti, enjoyed a prestige far
greater than that of the Howards and Stanleys in this country. Our own
peerage consists chiefly of parvenus. Only six of our noble families, it
is said, can trace their descent in the male line without a break to the
fifteenth century. The peerage of Sweden tells the same tale. According
to Gallon, the custom or law of primogeniture, combined with the habit
of marrying heiresses who, as the last representatives of dwindling
families, tend to be barren, is mainly responsible for this. Additional
causes may be the greater danger which the officer-class incurs in war,
and, in former times, the executioner's axe. In our own day the
reluctance of rich and self-indulgent women to bear children is
undoubtedly a factor in the infertility of the leisured class.

This brings us naturally to the second part of our discussion--the
consideration of the causes which lead to the increase or decrease of
population. It is the most important part of our inquiry; for it is
usually assumed that the British Isles will continue to send out
colonists in large numbers, as it did in the last century, and the hopes
of the imperialist that a large part of the world will speak English for
all time depend on the untested assurance that the swarming-time of our
race is not yet over. Our starting-point must be that the pressure of
population upon the means of subsistence is a constant fact in the human
race, as in every other species of animals and plants. There is no
species in which the numbers are not kept down, far below the natural
capacity for increase, by the limitation of available food. It may not
always be easy to trace the connection between the appearance of new
lives and the passing away of old, nor to say whether it is the
birth-rate which determines the death-rate, or the death-rate the
birth-rate. But it is well known that, wherever statistics are kept, the
numbers of births and of deaths rise and fall in nearly parallel lines,
so that the net rate of increase hardly alters at all, unless some
change, which can easily be traced, occurs in the habits of the people
or in the amount of the food supply. In civilised countries the greater
care taken of human life, and its consequent prolongation, has reduced
the birth-rate, just as in the higher mammals we find a greatly
diminished fertility as compared with the lower, and a much higher
survival-rate among the offspring born. The average duration of life in
this country has increased by about one-third in the last sixty years,
and the birth-rate has fallen in almost exactly the same proportion. The
position of a nation in the scale of civilisation may almost be gauged
by its births and deaths. The order in Europe, beginning with the lowest
birth-rate, is France, Belgium, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Switzerland,
Norway, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Spain, Austria, Italy, Hungary, the
Balkan States, Russia. The order of death-rates, again beginning at the
bottom, is Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United
Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Serbia, Spain,
Bulgaria, Hungary, Roumania, Russia. These two lists, as will be seen,
correspond very nearly with the scale of descending civilisation, the
only notable exception being the low position of France in the second
list. This anomaly is explained by the fact that France having a
stationary population, the death-rate in that country corresponds nearly
with the mean expectation of life, whereas in countries where the
population is increasing rapidly, either by excess of births over deaths
or by immigration, the preponderance of young lives brings the
death-rate down. We must, therefore, be on our guard against supposing
that countries with the lowest death-rates are necessarily the most
healthy. In New Zealand, for example, the death-rate is under 10 per
1000, the lowest in the world; and though that country is undoubtedly
healthy, no one supposes that the average duration of life in New
Zealand is a hundred years. To ascertain whether a nation is long-lived,
we must correct the crude death-rate by taking into account the average
age of the population. When this correction has been made, a low
death-rate, and the low birth-rate which necessarily accompanies it, is
a sign that the doctors are doing their duty by keeping their patients
alive. If our physicians desire more maternity cases, they must make
more work for the undertaker. Large families almost always mean a high
infant mortality; and it is significant that a twelfth child has a very
much poorer chance of survival than a first or second. The agitation for
the endowment of motherhood and the reduction of infant mortality is
therefore futile, because, while other conditions remain the same, every
baby 'saved' sends another baby out of the world or prevents him from
coming into it. The number of the people is not determined by
philanthropists or even by parents. Children will come somehow whenever
there is room for them, and go when there is none. But other conditions
do not remain the same, and it is in these other conditions that we must
seek the causes of expansion or contraction in the numbers of a

At the end of the sixteenth century the population of England and Wales
amounted to about five millions, and a hundred years later to about six.
There is no reason to think that under the conditions then existing the
country could have supported a larger number. The birth-rate was kept
high by the pestilential state of the towns, and thus the pressure of
numbers was less felt than it is now, since it was possible to have,
though not to rear, unlimited families. Occasionally, from accidental
circumstances, England was for a short time under-populated, and these
were the periods when, according to Professor Thorold Rogers, Archdeacon
Cunningham, and other authorities, the labourer was well off. The most
striking example was in the half-century after the Black Death, which
carried off nearly half the population. Wages increased threefold, and
the Government tried in vain to protect employers by enforcing
pre-plague rates. Not only were wages high, but food was so abundant
that farmers often gave their men a square meal which was not in the
contract. The other period of prosperity for the working man, according
to our authorities, was the second quarter of the eighteenth century. It
has not, we think, been noticed that this also followed a temporary
set-back in the population. In 1688 the population of England and Wales
was 5,500,520; in 1710 it was more than a quarter of a million less. The
cause of this decline is obscure, but its effects soon showed themselves
in easier conditions of life, especially for the poor. Such periods of
under-saturation, which some new countries are still enjoying, are
necessarily short. Population flows in as naturally as water finds its

It was not till the accession of George III that the increase in our
numbers became rapid. No one until then would have thought of singling
out the Englishman as the embodiment of the good apprentice. Meteren, in
the sixteenth century, found our countrymen 'as lazy as Spaniards'; most
foreigners were struck by our fondness for solid food and strong drink.
The industrial revolution came upon us suddenly; it changed the whole
face of the country and the apparent character of the people. In the far
future our descendants may look back upon the period in which we are
living as a strange episode which disturbed the natural habits of our
race. The first impetus was given by the plunder of Bengal, which, after
the victories of Clive, flowed into the country in a broad stream for
about thirty years. This ill-gotten wealth played the same part in
stimulating English industries as the 'five milliards,' extorted from
France, did for Germany after 1870. The half-century which followed was
marked by a series of inventions, which made England the workshop of the
world. But the basis of our industrial supremacy was, and is, our coal.
Those who are in the habit of comparing the progressiveness of the
North-Western European with the stagnation or decadence of the Latin
races, forget the fact, which is obvious when it has once been pointed
out, that the progressive nations are those which happen to have
valuable coal fields. Countries which have no coal are obliged to
import it paying the freight, or to smelt their iron with charcoal This
process makes excellent steel--the superiority of Swedish razors is due
to wood-smelting--but it is so wasteful of wood that the Mediterranean
peoples very early in history injured their climate by cutting down
their scanty forests, thereby diminishing their rainfall, and allowing
the soil to be washed off the hillsides. The coasts of the Mediterranean
are, in consequence, far less productive than they were two thousand
years ago. But in England, when the start was once made, all
circumstances conspired to turn our once beautiful island into a chaos
of factories and mean streets, reeking of smoke, millionaires, and
paupers. We were no longer able to grow our own food; but we made masses
of goods which the manufacturers ware eager to exchange for it; and the
population grew like crops on a newly-irrigated desert. During the
nineteenth century the numbers were nearly quadrupled. Let those who
think that the population of a country can be increased at will, reflect
whether it is likely that any physical, moral, or psychological change
came over the nation coincidently with the inventions of the
spinning-jenny and the steam-engine. It is too obvious for dispute that
it was the possession of capital wanting employment, and of natural
advantages for using it, that called these multitudes of human beings
into existence, to eat the food which they paid for by their labour. And
it should be equally obvious that the existence of forty-six millions of
people upon 121,000 square miles of territory depends entirely upon our
finding a market for our manufactures abroad, for so only are we able to
pay for the food of the people. It is most unfortunate that these
exports must, with our present population, include coal, which, if we
had any thought for posterity, we should guard jealously and use
sparingly; for in five hundred years at the outside our stock will be
gone, and we shall sink to a third-rate Power at once. We are
sacrificing the future in order to provide for an excessive and
discontented population in the present. During the present century we
have begun to be conscious that our foreign trade is threatened; and so
sensitive is the birth-rate to economic conditions that it has begun to
curve very slightly downward in relation to the death-rate, instead of
descending with it in parallel lines.[23] This may be partly due to the
curtailment of facilities for emigration, owing to the filling up of the
new countries. For emigration does not diminish the population of the
country which the emigrants leave; it only increases its birth-rate.

We are now in a position to enumerate the causes which actually lead to
an increase in the population of a country. The first is an increase in
the amount of food produced in the country itself. If the parks and
gardens of the gentry were ploughed up or turned into allotments, a few
hundred thousands would be added to the population of the United
Kingdom, at the cost of one of the few remaining beauties which make our
country attractive to the eye. The introduction of the potato into
Ireland added several millions of squalid inhabitants to that
ill-conditioned island, and when the crop failed, large numbers of them
inflicted themselves on the United States, to the detriment of that
country. The richest countries to-day are those which produce more food
than they require, such as the United States, Canada, Australia,
Roumania, and the Argentine. (We need hardly say that throughout this
survey we are using the statistics of the years immediately before the
war.) But this state of things cannot last long, for the net increase in
such countries is invariably high, either by reason of a very high
birth-rate, as in Roumania, or because newcomers flock in to enjoy a
land of plenty. Another condition which leads to abnormally rapid
increase is found when a civilised nation conquers and administers a
backward country, introducing better methods of agriculture, and
especially irrigation and the reclamation of waste lands. The alien
Government also gives greater security, without raising the standard of
living among the natives, since the dominant race usually monopolises
the lucrative careers. In this way we are directly responsible for
increasing the population of Egypt from seven millions in 1883 to nine
and three-quarter millions in 1899, an augmentation which, in the
absence of immigration, illustrates the great natural fertility of the
human race in the rare circumstances when unchecked increase is
possible. Still more remarkable is the rise in the population of Java
from five millions in 1825 to twenty-eight and a half millions in the
first decade of this century. The cause of this increase is the
augmented supply of food combined with a very low standard of living, a
combination which is specially characteristic of Asia, where extreme
supersaturation exists in India and China. A third cause is production
of goods which can be exchanged for food grown abroad. This exchange, as
we have seen, is stimulated by the presence of capital seeking
employment. Our large towns are the creation of the capitalist, much
more than if he had populated their depressing streets with his own
children. Fourthly, a reduction in the standard of living of course
makes a larger population possible. The misery of the working class in
the generation after the Napoleonic Wars was a condition of the
prosperity of our export trade at this period; and conversely, the
prosperity of our export trade was necessary to the existence of the new
inhabitants. Capitalism is the cause of our dense population; and the
proletariat would infallibly cut their own throats by destroying it.

It is an important question whether a crowded population adds to the
security of a nation or not. Numbers are undoubtedly of great importance
in modern warfare. The French would have been less able to resist the
Germans without allies in 1914 than they were in 1870. But we must not
suppose that France could support a much larger population without
reducing her standard of living to the point of under-deeding; and an
under-fed nation is incapable of the endurance required of first-class
soldiers. A nation may be so much weakened in physique by under-feeding
as to be impotent from a military point of view, in spite of great
numbers; this is the case in India and China. Deficient nourishment also
diminishes the day's work. If European and American capital goes to
China, and provides proper food for the workmen, we may have an early
opportunity of discovering whether the supporters of the League of
Nations have any real conscientious objection to violence and bloodshed.
We may surmise that the European man, the fiercest of all beasts of
prey, is not likely to abandon the weapons which have made him the lord
and the bully of the planet. He has no other superiority to the races
which he arrogantly despises. Under a régime of peace the Asiatic would
probably be his master. To return from a short digression, we must note
further that a nation with a low standard has no reserve to fall back
upon; it lives on the margin of subsistence, which may easily fail in
war-time, especially if much food is imported when conditions are
normal. It can hardly be an accident that in this war the nations with a
high birth-rate broke up in the order of their fecundity, while France
stood like a rock. The sacrifice of comfort to numbers, which we have
seen to be possible by maintaining a low standard of living, not only
diminishes the happiness of a nation, and keeps it low in the scale of
civilisation; it may easily prove to be a source of weakness in war.

The expedients often advocated to encourage denser population--which
those who urge them thoughtlessly assume to be a good thing--such as
endowment of parenthood, and better housing at the expense of the
taxpayer--have no effect except to penalise and sterilise those who pay
the doles, for the benefit of those who receive them. They are intensely
dysgenic in their operation, for they cripple and at last eliminate just
those stocks which have shown themselves to be above the average in
ability. The process has already advanced a long way, even without the
reckless legislation which is now advocated. The lowest birth-rates,
less than half that of the unskilled labourers, are those of the
doctors, the teaching profession, and ministers of religion. The
position of this class, intellectually and often physically the finest
in the kingdom, is rapidly becoming intolerable, and it is the wastrels
who mainly benefit by their spoliation.

The causes of shrinkage in population are the opposites of those which
we have found to promote its increase. The production of food may be
diminished by the exhaustion of the soil, or by the progressive aridity
caused by cutting down woods. The manufacture of goods to be exchanged
for food may fall off owing to foreign competition, a result which is
likely to follow from a rise in the standard of living, for the labourer
then demands higher wages, and consumes more food per head, which of
itself must check fertility, since the same amount of food will now
support a smaller number. The delusion shared by the whole working class
that they can make work for each other, at wages fixed by themselves, is
ludicrous; a community cannot subsist 'by taking in each other's
washing.' Or the supply of importable food may fail by the peopling up
of the countries which grow it. Any conditions which make it no longer
worth while to invest capital in business, or which destroy credit, have
the same effect. One of the causes of the decay of the Roman Empire was
the drain of specie to the East in exchange for perishable commodities.
When trade is declining a general listlessness comes over the industrial
world, and the output falls still further. There have been alleged
instances of peoples which have dwindled and even disappeared from
_taedium vitae_. This is said to have been the cause of the extinction
of the Guanches of the Canary Islands; but the symptoms described rather
suggest an outbreak of sleeping-sickness.

Paradoxical as it may seem, neither voluntary restriction of births, nor
famine, nor pestilence, nor war, has much effect in reducing numbers.
Birth-control instead of diminishing the population, may only lower the
death-rate. France in 1781, with a birth-rate of 39, had much the same
net increase as in the years before the war with a birth-rate of 20. The
parallel lines of the births and deaths in this country have already
been mentioned. Famine and pestilence are followed at once by an
increased number of births. India and China, though frequently ravaged
by both these scourges, remain super-saturated. Of course, if the famine
is chronic, the population must fall to the point where the food is
sufficient; and a zymotic disease which has become endemic may be too
strong for the natural fertility of the nation attacked, as has happened
to several barbarous races; but an invasion of plague, cholera, or
influenza has no permanent effect on the numbers of Europeans. War
resembles plague in its action upon population. When, as in the late
war, nearly the whole of the able-bodied men are on active service, the
loss of population caused by cessation of births is greater than all the
fatal casualties of the battle-field. A rough calculation gives the
result that twelve million lives have been lost to the belligerent
nations by the separation of husbands and wives during the war. And yet
it may be predicted that these losses, added to the eight millions or so
who have been killed, would be made good in a very few years but for the
destruction of capital and credit which the war has caused. If we study
the vital statistics of a country like Germany, which has engaged in
several severe wars since births and deaths began to be registered, we
shall find that the contour-line representing the fluctuations of the
birth-rate indicates a steep ravine in the year or years while the war
lasted, followed by a hump or high table-land for several years after.
In a short time, as far as numbers are concerned, the war is as if it
had never been. When we remember that the number of possible fathers is
much reduced by casualties, this rise in the birth-rate after a war
offers a strong confirmation of the thesis which we have been
maintaining, that the ebb and flow of population are not affected by
conscious intention, but by increased or diminished pressure of numbers
upon subsistence. If the German people, who before the war consumed more
food than was good for them, have been habituated by our blockade to a
reasonable abstemiousness, we shall have contributed to the eventual
increase of the German people, in spite of all their soldiers whom we
killed in France, and the civilians whom we starved in Germany. And if
our success leads to a greater consumption by our working class, our
population will show a corresponding decline. Emigration, as we have
seen, does not diminish the home population by a single unit; and so,
while there are empty lands available for colonisation, it is by far the
best method of adding to the numbers of our race.

It should now be possible to form a judgment on the prospects of the
Anglo-Saxon race in various parts of the world. In India, Burma, New
Guinea, the West Indian Islands, and tropical Africa there is no
possibility of ever planting a healthy European population. These
dependencies may grow food for us, or send us articles which we can
exchange for food, but they are not, and never can be, colonies of
Anglo-Saxons. The prospects of South Africa are very dubious. The white
man is there an aristocrat, directing semi-servile labour. The white
population of the gold and diamond fields will stay there till the mines
give out, and no longer. Large tracts of the country may at last be
occupied only by Kaffirs. The United States of America are becoming less
Anglo-Saxon every year, and this process is likely to continue, since in
unskilled labour the Italian and the Pole seem to give better value for
their wages than the Englishman or born American, with his high standard
of comfort. In Canada, the temperate part of Australia, New Zealand, and
Tasmania the chances for a large and flourishing English-speaking
population seem to be very favourable, though in these dominions the
high standard of living is a check to population, and in the case of
Australasia the possibility of foreign conquest, while these priceless
lands are still half empty, cannot be altogether excluded.

Even more interesting to most of us is the future of our race at home.
As regards quality, the outlook for the present is bad. We have seen
that the destruction of the upper and professional classes by taxation
directed expressly against them has already begun, and this
victimisation is certain to become more and more acute, till these
classes are practically extinguished. The old aristocracy showed a
tendency to decay even when they were unduly favoured by legislation,
and a little more pressure will drive them to voluntary sterility and
extermination. Even more to be regretted is the doom of the professional
aristocracy, a caste almost peculiar to our country. These families can
often show longer, and usually much better pedigrees than the peerage;
the persistence of marked ability in many of them, for several
generations, is the delight of the eugenist. They are perhaps the best
specimens of humanity to be found in any country of the world. Yet they
have no prospects except to be gradually harassed out of existence, like
the _curiales_ of the later Roman Empire. The power will apparently be
grasped by a new highly privileged class, the aristocracy of labour.
This class, being intelligent, energetic, and intensely selfish, may
retain its domination for a considerable time. It is a matter of course
that, having won its privilege of exploiting the community, it will use
all its efforts to preserve that privilege and to prevent others from
sharing it. In other words, it will become an exclusive and strongly
conservative class, on a broader basis than the territorial and
commercial aristocracies which preceded it. It will probably be strong
enough to discontinue the system of State doles which encourages the
wastrel to multiply, as he does multiply, much faster than the valuable
part of the population. We are at present breeding a large parasitic
class subsisting on the taxes and hampering the Government. The
comparative fertility of the lowest class as compared with the better
stocks has greatly increased, and is still increasing. The competent
working-class families, as well as the rich, are far less fertile than
the waste products of our civilisation. Dr. Tredgold found that 43
couples of the parasitic class averaged 7.4 children per family, while
91 respectable couples from the working class averaged only 3.7 per
family. Mr. Sidney Webb examined the statistics of the Hearts of Oak
Benefit Society, which is patronised by the best type of mechanic, and
found that the birth-rate among its members has fallen 46 per cent,
between 1881 and 1901; or, taking the whole period between 1880 and
1904, the falling off is 52 per cent. This decline proves that the
period of industrial expansion in England is nearly over. It would be
far better if our birth-rate were as low as that of France, as it would
be but for the reckless propagation of the 'submerged tenth,' England
being now a paradise for human refuse, the offscourings of Europe
(170,000 in 1908) take the place of the better stocks, whose position is
made artificially unfavourable. These doles are at present paid by the
minority, and this method may be expected to continue until the looting
of the propertied classes comes to an enforced end. This will not take
long, for it is certain that the amount of wealth available for plunder
is very much smaller than is usually supposed. It is easy to destroy
capital values, but very difficult to distribute them. The time will
soon arrive when the patient sheep will be found to have lost not only
his fleece but his skin, and the privileged workman will then have to
choose between taxing himself and abandoning socialism. There is little
doubt which he will prefer. The result will be that the festering sore
of our slum-population will dry up, and the gradual disappearance of
this element will be some compensation, from the eugenic point of view,
for the destruction of the intellectual class. This process will
considerably, and beneficially, diminish the population: and there are
several other factors which will operate in the same direction. High
wage industry can only maintain itself against the competition of
cheaper labour abroad by introducing every kind of labour-saving device.
The number of hands employed in a factory must progressively diminish.
And as, in spite of all that ingenuity can do, the competition of the
cheaper races is certain to cripple our foreign trade, the trade unions
will be obliged to provide for a shrinkage in their numbers. We may
expect that every unionist will be allowed to place one son, and only
one, in the privileged corporation. A man will become a miner or a
railwayman 'by patrimony,' and it will be difficult to gain admission to
a union in any other way. The position of those who cannot find a place
within the privileged circle will be so unhappy that most unionists will
take care to have one son only. Another change which will tend to
discourage families will be the increased employment of women as
bread-winners. Nothing is more remarkable in the study of vital
statistics than the comparative birth-rates of those districts in which
women earn wages, and of those in which they do not. The rate of
increase among the miners is as great as that of the reckless casual
labourers, and the obvious reason is that the miner's wife loses nothing
by having children, since she does not earn wages. Contrast with these
high figures (running up to 40 per thousand) the very low birth-rates of
towns like Bradford, where the women are engaged in the textile industry
and earn regular wages in support of the family budget. If the time
comes when the majority of women are wage-earners, we may even see the
pressure of population entirely withdrawn. Thus in every class of the
nation influences are at work tending to a progressive decrease in our
national fertility. It must be remembered, however, that at present the
annual increase, in peace time, is 9 or 10 per thousand, so that it may
be some time before an equilibrium is reached. But if our predictions
are sound, a positive decrease, and probably a rapid one, is likely to
follow. For our ability to exchange our manufactures for food will grow
steadily less, as the self-indulgent and 'work-shy' labourer succeeds in
gaining his wishes. If the coal begins to give out, the retreat will
become a rout.

We are witnessing the decline and fall of the social order which began
with the industrial revolution 160 years ago. The cancer of
industrialism has begun to mortify, and the end is in sight. Within 200
years, it may be--for we must allow for backwashes and cross-currents
which will retard the flow of the stream--the hideous new towns which
disfigure our landscape may have disappeared, and their sites may have
been reclaimed for the plough. Humanitarian legislation, so far from
arresting this movement, is more likely to accelerate it, and the same
may be said of the insatiate greed of our new masters. It is indeed
instructive to observe how cupidity and sentiment, which (with
pugnacity) are the only passions which the practical politician needs to
consider, usually defeat their own ends. The working man is sawing at
the branch on which he is seated. He may benefit for a time a minority
of his own class, but only by sealing the doom of the rest. A densely
populated country, which is unable to feed itself, can never be a
working-man's paradise, a land of short hours and high wages. And the
sentimentalist, kind only to be cruel, unwittingly promotes precisely
the results which he most deprecates, though they are often much more
beneficial than his own aims. The evil that he would he does not; and
the good that he would not, that he sometimes does.

For, much as we must regret the apparently inevitable ruin of the upper
and upper middle classes, to which England in the past has owed the
major part of her greatness, we cannot regard the trend of events as an
unmixed misfortune. The industrial revolution has no doubt had some
beneficial results. It has founded the British Empire, the most
interesting and perhaps the most successful experiment in government on
a large scale that the world has yet seen. It has foiled two formidable
attempts to place Europe under the heel of military monarchies. It has
brought order and material civilisation to many parts of the world which
before were barbarous. But these achievements have been counterbalanced
by many evils, and in any case they have done their work. The
aggregation of mankind in large towns is itself a misfortune; the life
of great cities is wholesome neither for body nor for mind. The
separation of classes has become more complete; the country may even be
divided into the picturesque counties where money is spent, and the ugly
counties where it is made. Except London and the sea-ports, the whole of
the South of England is more or less parasitic. We must add that in the
early days of the movement the workman and his children were exploited
ruthlessly. It is true that if they had not been exploited they would
not have existed; but a root of bitterness was planted which, according
to what seems to be the law in such cases, sprang up and bore its
poisonous fruit about two generations later. It is a sinister fact that
the worst trouble is now made by the youngest men. The large fortunes
which were made by the manufacturers were not, on the whole, well spent.
Their luxury was not of a refined type; literature and art were not
intelligently encouraged; and even science was most inadequately
supported. The great achievements of the nineteenth century in science
and letters, and to a less degree in art, were independent of the
industrial world, and were chiefly the work of that class which is now
sinking helplessly under the blows of predatory taxation. Capitalism
itself has degenerated; the typical millionaire is no longer the captain
of industry, but the international banker and company promoter. It is
more difficult than ever to find any rational justification for the
accumulations which are in the hands of a few persons. It is not to be
expected that the working class should be less greedy and unscrupulous
than the educated; indeed it is plain that, now that it realises its
power, it will be even more so. In some ways the national character has
stood the strain of these unnatural conditions very well. Those who
feared that the modern Englishman would make a poor soldier have had to
own that they were entirely wrong. But as long as industrialism
continues, we shall be in a state of thinly disguised civil war. There
can be no industrial peace while our urban population remains, because
the large towns are the creation of the system which their inhabitants
now want to destroy. They can and will destroy it, but only by
destroying themselves. When the suicidal war is over we shall have a
comparatively small population, living mainly in the country and
cultivating the fruits of the earth. It will be more like the England of
the eighteenth century than the England which we know. There will be no
very rich men; and if the birth-rate is regulated there should be no
paupers. It will be a far pleasanter age to live in than the present,
and more favourable to the production of great intellectual work, for
life will be more leisurely, and social conditions more stable. We may
hope that some of our best families will determine to survive, _coûte
que coûte_, until these better times arrive. We shall not attempt to
prophesy what the political constitution will be. Every existing form of
government is bad; and our democracy can hardly survive the two diseases
which generally kill democracies--reckless plunder of the national
wealth, and the impotence of the central government in face of
revolutionary and predatory sectionalism.

Meanwhile, we must understand that although the consideration of mankind
in the mass, and the calculation of tendencies based on figures and
averages, must lead us to somewhat pessimistic and cynical views of
human nature, there is no reason why individuals, unless they wish to
make a career out of politics (since it is the sad fate of politicians
always to deal with human nature at its worst), should conform
themselves to the low standards of the world around them. It is only 'in
the loomp' that humanity, whether poor or rich, 'is bad.' There are
materials, though far less abundant than we could wish, for a spiritual
reformation, which would smooth the transition to a new social order,
and open to us unfailing sources of happiness and inspiration, which
would not only enable us to tide over the period of dissolution, but
might make the whole world our debtor. No nation is better endowed by
nature with a faculty for sane idealism than the English. We were never
intended to be a nation of shopkeepers, if a shopkeeper is doomed to be
merely a shopkeeper, which of course he is not. Our brutal commercialism
has been a temporary aberration; the quintessential Englishman is not
the hero of Smiles' 'Self-help'; he is Raleigh, Drake, Shakespeare,
Milton, Johnson, or Wordsworth, with a pleasant spice of Dickens. He is,
in a word, an idealist who has not quite forgotten that he is descended
from an independent race of sea-rovers, accustomed to think and act for
themselves. Mr. Havelock Ellis, one of the wisest and most fearless of
our prophets to-day, quotes from an anonymous journalist a prediction
which may come true: 'London may yet be the spiritual capital of the
world; while Asia--rich in all that gold can buy and guns can give, lord
of lands and bodies, builder of railways and promulgator of police
regulations, glorious in all material glories--postures, complacent and
obtuse, before a Europe content in the possession of all that matters.'
For, as the Greek poet says, 'the soul's wealth is the only real
wealth.' The spirit creates values, while the demagogue shrieks to
transfer the dead symbols of them. 'All that matters' is what the world
can neither give nor take away. The spiritual integration of society
which we desire and behold afar off must be illuminated by the dry light
of science, and warmed by the rays of idealism, a white light but not
cold. And idealism must be compacted as a religion, for it is the
function of religion to prevent the fruits of the flowering-times of the
spirit from being lost. Science has not yet come to its own in forming
the beliefs and practice of mankind, because it has been so much
excluded from higher education, and so much repressed by sentimentalism
under the wing of religion. The nation that first finds a practical
reconciliation between science and idealism is likely to take the front
place among the peoples of the world. In England we have to struggle not
only against ignorance, but against a deep-rooted intellectual
insincerity, which is our worst national fault. The Englishman hates an
idea which he has never met before, as he hates the disturber of his
privacy in a steam-ship cabin; and he takes opportunities of making
things unpleasant for those who utter indiscreet truths. As Samuel
Butler says: 'We hold it useful to have a certain number of melancholy
examples whose notorious failure shall serve as a warning to those who
do not cultivate a power of immoral self-control which shall prevent
them from saying, or even thinking, anything that shall not be to their
immediate and palpable advantage.' To do our countrymen justice, it is
often not self-interest, but a tendency to deal with the concrete
instance, in disregard of the general law, that blinds them to the
larger aspects of great problems. Those who are able to trace causes and
effects further than the majority must expect to be unpopular, but they
will not mind it, if they can do good by speaking. The logic of events
will justify them, and science has a new weapon in official statistics
which will register at once the disastrous effects upon wealth and trade
which the insane theories of the demagogue will bring about. No agitator
can explain away ascertained figures; if we go down hill, we shall do it
with our eyes open. It may be that reactions will be set up which will
render the anticipations in this article erroneous. Things never turn
out either so well or so badly as they logically ought to do. Prophecy
is only an amusement; what does concern us all deeply is that we should
see in what direction we are now moving.


     [23] In the small islands round our coast increase has
     ceased for some decades. The vital statistics of these
     islands furnish an excellent illustration of automatic
     adjustment to a state of supersaturation.



The strength and the weakness of the Anglican Church lie in the fact
that it is not the best representative of any well-defined type of
Christianity. It is not strictly a Protestant body; for Protestantism is
the democracy of religion, and the Church of England retains a
hierarchical organisation, with an order of priests who claim a divine
commission not conferred upon them by the congregation. It is not a
State Church as the Russian Empire has[24] a State Church. That is a
position which it has neither the will nor the power to regain. Still
less could it ever justify a claim to separate existence as a purely
Catholic Church, independent of the Church of Rome. A community of
Catholics whose claim to be a Catholic and not a Protestant Church is
denied by all other Catholics, by all Protestants, and by all who are
neither Catholics nor Protestants, could not long retain sufficient
prestige to keep its adherents together. The destiny of such a body is
written in the history of the 'Old Catholics,' who seceded from Rome
because they would not accept the dogma of Papal infallibility. The
seceders included many men of high character and intellect, but in
numbers and influence they are quite insignificant. The Church of
England has only one title to exist, and it is a strong one. It may
claim to represent the religion of the English people as no other body
can represent it. 'No Church,' Döllinger wrote in 1872, 'is so national,
so deeply rooted in popular affection, so bound up with the institutions
and manners of the country, or so powerful in its influence on national
character.' These words are still partly true, though it is not possible
to make the assertion with so much confidence as when Döllinger wrote.
The English Church represents, on the religious side, the convictions,
tastes, and prejudices of the English gentleman, that truly national
ideal of character, which has long since lost its adventitious connexion
with heraldry and property in land. A love of order, seemliness, and
good taste has led the Anglican Church along a middle path between what
a seventeenth-century divine called 'the meretricious gaudiness of the
Church of Rome and the squalid sluttery of fanatic conventicles.' A keen
sense of honour and respect for personal uprightness, a hatred of
cruelty and treachery, created and long maintained in the English Church
an intense repugnance against the priestcraft of the Roman hierarchy,
feelings which have only died down because the bitter memories of the
sixteenth century have at last become dim. A jealous love of liberty,
combined with contempt for theories of equality, produced a system of
graduated ranks in Church government which left a large measure of
freedom, both in speech and thought, even to the clergy, and encouraged
no respect for what Catholics mean by authority. The Anglican Church is
also characteristically English in its dislike for logic and
intellectual consistency and in its distrust of undisciplined
emotionalism, which in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was
known and dreaded under the name of 'enthusiasm.' This type is not
essentially aristocratic. It does not traverse the higher ideals of the
working class, which respects and admires the qualities of the
'gentleman,' though it resents the privileges long connected with the
name. But it has no attraction for what may be impolitely called the
vulgar class, whose religious feelings find a natural vent in an
unctuous emotionalism and sentimental humanitarianism. This class, which
forms the backbone of Dissent and Liberalism, is instinctively
antipathetic to Anglicanism. Nor does the Anglican type of Christianity
appeal at all to the 'Celtic fringe,' whose temperament is curiously
opposite to that of the English, not only in religion but in most other
matters. The Irish and the Welsh are no more likely to become Anglicans
than the lowland Scotch are to adopt Roman Catholicism. Whether Dissent
is a permanent necessity in England is a more difficult question, in
spite of the class differences of temperament above mentioned. If the
Anglican organisation were elastic enough to permit the order of
lay-readers to be developed on strongly Evangelical lines, the lower
middle class might find within the Church the mental food which it now
seeks in Nonconformist chapels, and might gain in breadth and dignity by
belonging once more to a great historic body.

The Church of England, then, can justify its existence as English
Christianity, and in no other way. It began its separate career with a
series of (doubtless) illogical compromises, in the belief that there is
an underlying unity, though not uniformity, in the religion as well as
in the character of the English people, which would be strong enough to
hold a national Church together. The dissenters from the Reformation
settlement were numerically insignificant, and their existence was not
regarded as a peril to the Church, for it was recognised that in a free
country absolute agreement cannot be secured. The Roman Catholics, after
some futile persecution, were allowed to remain loyal to their old
allegiance in spiritual matters, while the Independents and similar
bodies were anarchical on principle, and upheld the 'dissidence of
Dissent' as a thing desirable in itself. But the defection of the
Wesleyan Methodists was another matter. This was a blow to the Church of
England as irreparable as the loss of Northern Europe to the Papacy. It
finally upset the balance of parties in the Church, by detaching from it
the larger number of the Evangelicals, particularly in the tradesman
class. It gave a great stimulus to Nonconformity, which now became for
the first time an important factor in the national life. Till the
Wesleyan secession, the Nonconformists in England had been a feeble
folk. From a return made to the Crown in 1700, it appeared that the
Dissenters numbered about one in twenty of the population. Now they are
as numerous as the Anglicans. Their prestige has also been largely
augmented by their dominating position in the United States, where the
Episcopal Church, long viewed with disfavour as tainted with British
sympathies, has never recovered its lost ground, and is a comparatively
small, though wealthy and influential sect. Within the Anglican
communion, the inevitable religious revival of the nineteenth century
began on Evangelical lines, but soon took a form determined by other
influences than those which covered England with the ostentatiously
hideous chapels of the Wesleyans. The extent of the revival has indeed
been much exaggerated by the numerous apologists of the Catholic
movement. The undoubted increase of professional zeal, activity, and
efficiency among the clergy has been taken as proof of a corresponding
access of enthusiasm among the laity, for which there is not much
evidence. In spite of slovenly services and an easy standard of clerical
duty, the observances of religion held a larger place in the average
English home before the Oxford Movement than is often supposed, larger,
indeed, than they do now, when family prayers and Bible reading have
been abandoned in most households.

The Oxford Movement claimed to be, and was, a revival of the principles
of Anglo-Catholicism, which had not been left without witness for any
long period since the Reformation. The continuity is certain, as is the
continuity of the Ritualism of our day with the Tractarianism of seventy
years ago; but the development has been rapid, especially in the last
thirty years. Those who can remember the High Churchmen of Pusey's
generation, or their disciples who in many country parsonages preserved
the faith of their Tractarian teachers whole and undefiled, must be
struck by the divergence between the principles which they then heard
passionately maintained, and those which the younger generation, who use
their name and enjoy their credit, avow to be their own.

In the Tractarians the Nonjurors seemed to have come to life again, and
one might easily find enthusiastic Jacobites among them. Unlike their
successors, they showed no sympathy with political Radicalism. Their
love for and loyalty to the English Church, which found melodious
expression in Keble's poetry, were intense. They were not hostile to
Evangelicalism within the Church, until the ultra-Protestant party
declared war against them; but they viewed Dissent with scorn and
abhorrence. They would gladly have excluded Nonconformists from any
status in the Universities, and opposed any measures intended to
conciliate their prejudices or remove their disabilities. Archdeacon
Denison, in his sturdy opposition to the 'conscience clause' in Church
schools, was a typical representative of the old High Church party. But
still more bitter was their animosity against religious Liberalism. Even
after the feud with the Evangelicals had developed into open war, Pusey
was ready to join with Lord Shaftesbury and his party in united
anathemas against the authors of 'Essays and Reviews.' The beginnings of
Old Testament criticism evoked an outburst of fury almost unparalleled.
When Bishop Gray, of Cape Town, solemnly 'excommunicated' Bishop
Colenso, of Natal, and enjoined the faithful to 'treat him as a heathen
man and a publican,' for exposing the unhistorical character of portions
of the Pentateuch, he became a hero with the whole High Church party,
and even the more liberal among the bishops were cowed by the tempest of
feeling which the case aroused. In the same period, many Oxford men can
remember Bishop Wilberforce's attack upon Darwinism, and, somewhat
later, Dean Burgon's University sermon which ended with the stirring
peroration: Leave me my ancestors in Paradise, and I leave you yours in
the Zoological Gardens!' From the same pulpit Liddon, a little before
his death, uttered a pathetic remonstrance against the course which his
younger disciples were taking about inspiration and tradition.

Reverence for tradition was a very prominent feature in the theology of
the older generation. They spent an immense amount of time, learning,
and ingenuity in establishing a _catena_ of patristic and orthodox
authority for their principles, reaching back to the earliest times, and
handed down in this country by a series of Anglo-Catholic divines. This
unbroken tradition was conceived of as purely static, a 'mechanical
unpacking,' as Father Tyrrell puts it, of the doctrine once delivered to
the Apostles. The Church, according to their theory, was supernaturally
guided by the Holy Ghost, and its decisions were consequently
infallible, as long as the Church remained undivided. Thus the earlier
General Councils, before the schism between East and West, may not be
appealed against, and the Creeds drawn up by them can never be revised.
Since the great schism, the infallible inspiration of the Church has
been in abeyance, like an old English peerage when a peer leaves two or
more daughters and no sons. This fantastic theory condemns all later
developments, and leaves the Church under the weight of the dead hand.
On the question of the Establishment the party was divided, some of its
members attaching great value to the union of Church and State, while
others made claims for the Church, in the matter of self-government,
which were hardly compatible with Establishment. Their bond of union was
their conviction of 'the necessity of impressing on people that the
Church was more than a merely human institution; that it had privileges,
sacraments, a ministry, ordained by Christ Himself; that it was a matter
of highest obligation to remain united to the Church.'[25]

As compared with their successors, the Tractarians were academic and
learned; they preached thoughtful and carefully prepared sermons; they
cared little for ecclesiastical millinery, and often acquiesced in very
simple and 'backward' ceremonial. Their theory of the Church, their
personal piety and self-discipline, were of a thoroughly medieval type,
as may be seen from certain chapters in the life of Pusey. They fought
the battle of Anglo-Catholicism, at Oxford and elsewhere, with a
whole-hearted conviction that knew no misgivings or scruples. Oxford has
not forgotten the election, as late as 1862, of an orthodox naval
officer to a chair of history for which Freeman was a candidate.

A change of tone was already noticeable, according to Dean Church, soon
after Newman's secession. Many High Churchmen, in speaking of the
English Church, became apologetic or patronising or lukewarm.
Progressive members of the party professed a distaste for the name
Anglican, and wished to be styled Catholics pure and simple. The same
men began to speak of their opponents in the Church as Protestants; no
longer as ultra-Protestants. Other changes soon manifested themselves.
The archaeological side of the movement lost its interest; the appeal to
antiquity became only a convenient argument to defend practices adopted
on quite other grounds. The _epigoni_ of the Catholic revival are not
learned; they know even less of the Fathers than of their Bibles. Their
chief literature consists of a weekly penny newspaper, which reflects
only too well their prejudices and aspirations. On the other hand, they
are far busier than the older generation. The movement has become
democratic; it has passed from the quadrangles of Oxford to the streets
and lanes of our great cities, where hundreds of devoted clergymen are
working zealously, without care for remuneration or thought of
recognition, among the poorest of the populace. Of late years, the more
energetic section of the party has not only abandoned the 'Church and
King' Toryism of the old High Church party, but has plunged into
socialism. The Mirfield community is said to be strongly imbued with
collectivist ideas; and the Christian Social Union, which is chiefly
supported by High Churchmen, tends to become more and more a Union of
Christian Socialists, instead of being, as was intended by its founders,
a non-political association for the study of social duties and problems
in the light of the Sermon on the Mount. This attitude is partly the
result of a close acquaintance with the sufferings of the urban
proletariat, which moves the priests who minister among them to a
generous sympathy with their lot; and, partly, it may be, to an unavowed
calculation that an alliance with the most rapidly growing political
party may in time to come be useful to the Church. Their methods of
teaching are also more democratic, though many of them make the fatal
mistake of despising preaching. They rely partly on what they call
'definite Catholic teaching,' including frequent exhortations to the
practice of confession; and partly on appeals to the eye, by symbolic
ritual and elaborate ceremonial. Their more ornate services are often
admirably performed from a spectacular point of view, and are far
superior to most Roman Catholic functions in reverence, beauty, and good
taste. The extreme section of the party is contemptuously lawless, not
only repudiating the authority of the Judicial Committee of the Privy
Council, but flouting the bishops with studied insolence. A glaring
instance is to be found in the correspondence between Mr. Athelstan
Riley and the Bishop of Oxford, which followed the Report of the Royal
Commission on ritual practices.

Doctrinally, the modern Ritualist is prepared to surrender the old
theory of inspiration. He takes, indeed, but little interest in the
Bible; his oracle is not the Book, but 'the Church.' What he means by
the Church it is not easy to say. The old Anglican theory of the
infallible undivided Church is not repudiated by him, but does not
appeal to minds which look forward much more than backward; he is not
yet, except in a few instances, disposed to accept the modern Roman
Church as the arbiter of doctrine; and the English Church has no living
voice to which he pays the slightest respect. The 'tradition of Western
Catholicism' is a phrase which has a meaning for him, and he probably
hopes for a reunion, at some distant date, of the Anglican Church with a
reformed Rome. It is therefore essential, in his opinion, that no
alteration shall take place in the formularies which we share with Rome;
the Bible may be thrown to the critics, but the Creeds are inviolable.
The Thirty-nine Articles he passes by with silent disdain. They are, he
thinks not unjustly, a document to which no one, High, Low, or Broad,
can now subscribe without mental reservations.

The theory of development in doctrine, which, in its latest application
by 'Modernists' like Loisy and Tyrell, is now agitating the Roman
Church, is exciting interest in a few of the more thoughtful
Anglo-Catholics; but the majority are blind to the difficulties for
which the theory of two kinds of truth is a desperate remedy. Nor is it
likely, perhaps, that the plain Englishman will ever allow that an
ostensibly historical proposition may be false as a matter of fact, but
true for faith.

This party in the Church has a lay Pope, who represents the opinions of
the more enterprising among the rank and file, and is president of their
society, the English Church Union. It has the ably conducted weekly
newspaper above referred to, and it has the general sympathy and support
of the strongest man in the English Church, Charles Gore, Bishop of
Birmingham. This prelate, partly by his personal qualities--his
eloquence, high-minded disinterestedness, and splendid generosity, and
partly by knowing exactly what he wants, and having full courage of his
opinions, has at present an influence in the Anglican Church which is
probably far greater than that of any other man. It is therefore a
matter of public interest to ascertain what his views and intentions
are, as an ecclesiastical statesman and reformer, and as a theologian.

Bishop Gore exercised a strong influence over the younger men at Oxford
before the publication of 'Lux Mundi.' But it was his editorship of this
book, and his contribution to it, which first brought his name into
prominence as a leader of religious thought. The religious public, with
rather more penetration than usual, fastened on the pages about
inspiration, and the limitations of Christ's human knowledge, which are
from the editor's own pen, as the most significant part of the book. The
authors are believed to have been annoyed by the disproportionate
attention paid to this short section. But in truth these pages indicated
a new departure among the High Church party, a change more important
than the acceptance of the doctrine of evolution, which was being made
smoother for the religious public by the brilliant writings of Aubrey
Moore. The acceptance of the verdict of modern criticism as to the
authorship of the 110th Psalm, in the face of the recorded testimony of
Christ that it was written by David, was a concession to 'Modernism'
which staggered the old-fashioned High Churchman. Liddon did not conceal
his distress that such doctrine should have come out of the Pusey House.
But the manifesto was well timed; it enabled the younger men to go
forward more freely, and sacrificed nothing that was in any way
essential to the Anglo-Catholic position. Since the appearance of 'Lux
Mundi,' the High Church clergy have been able without fear to avow their
belief in the scientific theories associated with Darwin's name, and
their rejection of the rigid doctrine of verbal inspiration, while the
Evangelicals, who have not been emancipated by their leaders, labour
under the reproach of extreme obscurantism in their attitude towards
Biblical studies.

As Canon of Westminster, and then as Bishop of Worcester, and of
Birmingham, Dr. Gore has written and spoken much, and has defined his
position more closely in relation to Anglo-Catholicism, to Church
Reform, and to the social question. It will be convenient to take these
three heads separately.

This Bishop regards the excesses of the Ritualists as a deplorable but
probably inevitable incident in a great movement. He quotes Newman's
remonstrance against some hot-headed members of his adopted Church, who,
'having done their best to set the house on fire, leave to others the
task of extinguishing the flames.'[26] But he reminds us that there has
always been 'intemperate zeal' in the Church, from the time of St.
Paul's letters to the Church at Corinth to our own day. 'It must needs
be that offences come,' wherever persons of limited wisdom are very much
in earnest. The remedy for extravagance is to give fair scope for the
legitimate principle. In the case of the so-called Ritualist movement,
the inspiring principle or motive is easily found. It is the idea of a
visible Church, exercising lawful authority over its members.

This is the key to Bishop Gore's whole position. It rests on the
conviction that Jesus Christ founded, and meant to found, a visible
Church, an organised society. It is reasonable, the Bishop says, to
suppose that He did intend this, for it is only by becoming embodied in
the convictions of a society, and informing its actions, that ideas have
reality and power. Christianity could never have lived if there had been
no Christian Church. And, from the first, Christians believed that this
society, the Catholic Church, was not left to organise itself on any
model which from time to time might seem to promise the best results,
but was instituted from above, as a Divine ordinance, by the authority
of Christ Himself.[27] The witness of the early Christian writers is
unanimous that the conception of a visible Church was a prominent
feature in the Christianity of the sub-apostolic age, and it is plain
that the civil power suspected the Christians just because they were so
well organised. The Roman Empire was accustomed to tolerate
superstitions, but it was part of her policy to repress _collegia
illicita_. The witness of the New Testament points in the same
direction. Jesus Christ committed His message, not to writing, but to a
'little flock' of devoted adherents. He instituted the two great
sacraments (Bishop Gore will admit no uncertainty on this point) to be a
token of membership and a bond of brotherhood. He instituted a _civitas
Dei_ which was to be wide enough to embrace all, but which makes for
itself an exclusive claim. The 'heaven' of the first century was a city,
a new Jerusalem; Christians are spoken of by St. Paul as citizens of a
heavenly commonwealth. The distinction between the universal invisible
Church and particular visible Churches is 'utterly unscriptural,' and
was overthrown long ago by William Law in his controversy with Hoadly.

As for the 'Apostolical Succession,' Dr. Gore thinks that its principle
is more important than the form in which it is embodied. The succession
would not be broken if all the presbyters in the Church governed as a
college of bishops; and if something of this kind actually happened for
a time in the early Church no argument against the Apostolical
Succession can be based thereon.[28] The principle is that no ministry
is valid which is assumed, which a man takes upon himself, or which is
delegated to him from below. That this theory is Sacerdotalism in a
sense may be admitted. But it does not imply a _vicarious_ priesthood,
only a representative one. It does not deny the priesthood which belongs
to the Church as a whole. The true sacerdotalism means that Christianity
is the life of an organised society, in which a graduated body of
ordained ministers is made the instrument of unity. It is no doubt true
that in such a Church unspiritual men are made to mediate spiritual
gifts, but happily we may distinguish character and office. Nor must we
be deterred from asserting our convictions by the indignant protests
which we are sure to hear, that we are 'unchurching' the non-episcopal
bodies,[29] We do not assert that God is tied to His covenant, but only
that we are so.

Dr. Gore has no difficulty in proving that the sacerdotal theory of the
Christian ministry took shape at an early date, and has been
consistently maintained in the Catholic Church from ancient times to our
own day. It is much more difficult to trace it back to the Apostolic
age, even if, with Dr. Gore, we accept as certain the Pauline authorship
of the Pastoral Epistles, which is still _sub judice_. The 'Didache' is
a stumbling-block to those who wish to find Catholic practice in the
century after our Lord's death; but that document is dismissed as
composed by a Jewish Christian for a Jewish Christian community. After
the second century, the apologists for the priesthood are in smooth

The conclusion is that 'the various presbyterian and congregationalist
organisations, in dispensing with the episcopal succession, violated a
fundamental law of the Church's life.'[30] 'A ministry not episcopally
received is invalid, that is to say, it falls outside the conditions of
covenanted security, and cannot justify its existence in terms of the
covenant.'[31] The Anglican Church is not asking for the cause to be
decided all her own way; for she has much to do to recall herself to her
true principles. 'God's promise to Judah was that she should remember
her ways and should be ashamed, when she should receive her sisters
Samaria and Sodom, and that He would give them to her for daughters, but
not by her covenant.'[32] The 'covenant' which the Church is to be
content to forgo in order to recover Samaria and _Sodom_ (the 'Free
Churches' can hardly be expected to relish this method of opening
negotiations) is apparently the covenant between Church and State. 'In
the future the Anglican Church must be content to act as, first of all,
part and parcel of the Catholic Church, ruled by her laws, empowered by
her spirit.' The bishops are to be ready to maintain, at all cost, the
inherent spiritual independence which belongs to their office.

Such a theory of the essentials of a true Church necessarily requires,
as a corollary, a refutation of the Roman Catholic theory of orders,
which reduces the Anglican clergy to the same level as the ministers of
schismatical sects. Bishop Gore answers the objection that the Roman
Church is the logical expression of his theory of the ministry, by
saying that Roman Catholicism is not the development of the whole of the
Church, but only of a part of it; and moreover, that spiritually it does
not represent the whole of Christianity as it finds expression in the
first Christian age or in the New Testament.[33] The Roman Church is a
one-sided outgrowth of the religion of Christ--a development of those
qualities in Christianity with which the Latin genius has special
affinity. It has committed itself to unhistorical doctrines, involving a
deficient appreciation of the intellectual and moral claim of truth to
be valued for its own sake no less than for its results. Much of its
teaching can only be explained as the result of an 'over-reckless
accommodation to the unregenerate natural instincts in religion.'[34]
The fact that the largest section of Christendom has become what Rome
now is, is no proof that theirs is the line of true development. We can
see this clearly enough if we consider the case of Buddhism. The main
existing developments of Buddhism are a mere travesty of the spirit of
Sakya Muni.[35] In this way Dr. Gore anticipates and rejects the
argument since then put forward by Loisy, and other Liberal Catholic
apologists, that history has proved Roman Catholicism to be the proper
development of Christ's religion. In short, the Anglican Church, which
indisputably possesses the Apostolic Succession, has no reason to go
humbly to Borne to obtain recognition of her Orders.

So far, in reviewing Bishop Gore's published opinions, we are on
familiar High Anglican ground. But what is the Bishop's seat of
authority in doctrine? He has shown himself willing, within limits, to
apply critical methods to Holy Scripture. He has very little respect for
the infallible Pope. And he would be the last to trust to private
judgment--the _testimonium Spiritus Sancti_ as understood by some
Protestants. Where, then, is the ultimate Court of Appeal? Bishop Gore
finds it in the two earliest of the three Creeds, 'in which Catholic
consent is especially expressed;' and in a half apologetic manner he
adds that this Catholic basis has been 'generally understood' to imply
'an unrealisable but not therefore unreal appeal to a General
Council.'[36] No revision, therefore, of the Church's doctrinal
formularies can be made except by the authority of a court which can
never, by any possibility, be summoned! The unique sanctity and
obligation which Bishop Gore considers to attach to the Creeds have been
asserted by him again and again with a vehemence which proves that he
regards the matter as of vital importance. 'There must be no compromise
as regards the Creeds.... If those who live in an atmosphere of
intellectual criticism become incapable of such sincere public
profession of belief as the Creed contains, the Church must look to
recruit her ministry from classes still capable of a more simple and
unhesitating faith.'[37] And, again, in his most recent book: 'I have
taken occasion before now to make it evident that, as far as I can
secure it, I will admit no one into this diocese, or into Holy Orders,
to minister for the congregation, who does not _ex animo_ believe the
Creeds.'[38] Dr. Gore has not spared to stigmatise as morally dishonest
those who desire to serve the Church as its ministers while harbouring
doubts about the physical miracle known as the Virgin Birth, and one of
his clergy was a few years ago induced to resign his living by an
aspersion of this kind, to which the Bishop gave publicity in the daily

Now it has been generally supposed that the Anglican clergy are bound to
declare their adhesion not only to the Creeds, but to the Thirty-nine
Articles, and to the infallible truth of Holy Scripture. Bishop Gore,
however, holds that when a new deacon, on the day of his ordination,
solemnly declares that he 'assents to the Thirty-nine Articles,' and
that he 'believes the doctrine therein set forth to be agreeable to the
word of God,' he 'can no longer fairly be regarded as bound to
particular phrases or expressions in the Articles.'[39] And further,
when the same new deacon expresses his 'unfeigned belief in all the
canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments,' 'that expression of
belief can be fairly and justly made by anyone who believes heartily
that the Bible, as a whole, records and contains the message of God to
man in all its stages of delivery and that each one of the books
contains some element or aspect of this revelation.'[40]

The Bishop himself has affirmed his personal belief that some narratives
in the Old Testament are probably not historical. It may fairly be asked
on what principle he is prepared to evade the plain sense and intention
of a doctrinal test in two cases while stigmatising as morally
flagitious any attempts to do the same in a third. For it is
unquestionable that a general assent to the Articles does not mean that
the man who gives that assent is free to repudiate any 'particular
phrases or expressions' which do not please him. A witness who admitted
having signed an affidavit with this intention would cut a poor figure
in a law court. And it is difficult to see how adhesion to the
antiquated theory of inspiration could be demanded more stringently than
by the form of words which was drawn up, as none can doubt, to secure
it. These things being so, either the accusation of bad faith applies to
the treatment which the Bishop justifies in the case of the Articles and
the Bible, or it should not be brought against those who apply to one
clause in their vows the principle which is admitted and used in two

There are some honourable men who have abstained from entering the
service of the Church on account of these requirements. But there are
many others who recognise that knowledge grows and opinions change,
while formularies for the most part remain unaltered; and who consider
that, so long as their general position is understood by those among
whom they work, it would be overscrupulous to refuse an inward call to
the ministry because they know that they will be asked to give a formal
assent to unsuitably worded tests drawn up three centuries ago. Dr. Gore
himself would probably have been refused ordination fifty years ago on
the ground of his lax views on inspiration; and the Bishops who approved
of the condemnation of Colenso, who condemned 'Essays and Reviews,' and
who would have condemned 'Lux Mundi,' were more 'honest' to the tests
than their successors. But an obstinate persistence in that kind of
honesty would have excluded from the ministry all except fools, liars,
and bigots. Again, it might have been supposed that the laity also, who
at their baptism and confirmation made the same declaration of belief in
'all the articles' of the Apostles' Creed, and who are bidden by the
Church to repeat the same Creed every week, are in the same position as
the clergy. But the Bishop again attempts to draw a distinction. 'The
responsibility of joining in the Creed is left to the conscience of the
layman,' but not to the conscience of the clergyman, nor, we suppose, of
the choir.[41] This plea seems to us a very lame one. The Church of
England has never thought of imposing severer doctrinal tests on the
clergy than on the laity, and assent to the Creeds is as integral a part
of the baptismal as of the ordination vows.

No loyal Christian wishes to impugn a doctrine which touches so closely
the life of the Redeemer as the account of His miraculous conception,
which appears, in our texts, in two books of the New Testament. If the
tradition is as old as the Church, which is very doubtful, it must, from
the nature of the case, rest on the unsupported assertion of Mary, the
mother of Jesus; for Joseph could only testify that the child was not
his. It is therefore useless to reinforce the Gospel narrative by
appealing to 'Catholic tradition,'[42] as if it could add anything to
the evidence. It is significant, however, of the Bishop's own feelings
about tradition, that he quietly sets aside the plain statement of the
Synoptic Gospels that Joseph and Mary had a large family of four sons
and more than one daughter by their marriage. This statement, which is
doubtless historical, became intolerable to the conscience of the Church
during the long frenzy of asceticism, when marital relations were
regarded as impure and degrading; and in consequence the perpetual
virginity of Mary, though contradicted in the New Testament, became as
much an article of faith as her conception of Jesus by the Holy Ghost.
We have no wish to criticise the arguments for the Virgin Birth which
Dr. Gore has collected in his 'Dissertations.' But when a strenuous
effort is made to exclude from the ministry of the Church all who cannot
declare _ex animo_ that they believe it to be a certain historical fact,
it becomes a duty to point out that, on ordinary principles of evidence,
the story must share the uncertainty which hangs over other strange and
unsupported narratives. The Bishop expresses his doubt whether those who
regard this miracle as unproven can be convinced of the Divinity of
Christ. This only shows how difficult it is for an ecclesiastic in his
high position to induce either clergy or laity to talk frankly to him.
To most educated men there would be no difficulty in believing that the
Son of God became incarnate through the agency of two earthly parents.
The analogy of hybrids in the animal world is not felt to apply to the
union of the human and divine natures, except by persons of very low
intelligence. We should have preferred to be silent on this delicate
subject, but for the fact that some men whom the Church can ill spare
have been advised officially not to apply for ordination, on account of
their views about this miracle. Fortunately, the practice of demanding
more specific declarations than the law requires has not been adopted
in most dioceses.

The question of the miraculous element in religious truth has indeed
reached an acute stage. The Catholic doctrine is and always has been
that there are two 'orders'--the natural and the supernatural--on the
same plane, and distinguishable from each other. The Catholic theologian
is prepared to define what occurrences in the lives of the Saints are
natural, and what supernatural. Miracles are of frequent occurrence, and
are established by ordinary evidence. Three miracles have to be placed
to the credit of each candidate for canonisation before he or she is
entitled to bear the title of saint, and the evidence for these miracles
is sifted by a commission. This theory has been practically abandoned in
the English Church. There are few among our ecclesiastics and
theologians who would spend five minutes in investigating any alleged
supernatural occurrence in our own time. It would be assumed that, if
true, it must be ascribed to some obscure natural cause. The result is
that the miracles in the Creeds, or in the New Testament, are isolated
as they have never been before. They seem to form an order by
themselves, a class of fact belonging neither to the world of phenomena
as we know it, nor to the world of spirit as we know it. From this
situation has arisen the tendency, increasingly prevalent both in the
Roman Church and in Protestant Germany, to distinguish 'truths of faith'
from 'truths of fact,' The former, it is said, have a representative,
symbolic character, and are only degraded by being placed in the same
category as physical phenomena. This contention is open to very serious
objections, but it at least indicates the actual state of the problem,
viz. that to most educated men the miraculous element in Christianity
seems to float between earth and heaven, no longer essentially connected
with either, while on the other hand the majority of religious people,
including a few men of high intelligence, find it difficult to realise
their faith without the help of the miraculous. Supernaturalism, which
from the scientific point of view is the most unsatisfactory of all
theories, traversing as it does the first article in the creed of
science--the uniformity of nature--gives, after all, a kind of crude
synthesis of the natural and the spiritual, by which it is possible to
live; it is, for many persons, an indispensable bridge between the world
of phenomena and the world of spirit. But when the heavy-handed
dogmatist requires a categorical assent to the literal truth of the
miraculous, in exactly the same sense in which physical facts are true,
a tension between faith and reason cannot be avoided. And it is in this
literal sense that Bishop Gore requires all his clergy to assent to the
miracles in the Creeds.

The fact is that the Catholic party in the Church are in a hopeless
_impasse_ with regard to dogma. They cannot take any step which would
divide them from 'the whole Church,' and the whole Church no longer
exists except as an ideal--it has long ago been shivered into fragments.
The Roman Church is in a much better position. The Pope may at any time
'interpret' tradition in such a manner as to change it completely--there
is no appeal from his authoritative pronouncements; but for the High
Anglican there is no living authority, only the dead hand, and a Council
which can never meet. It is much as if no important legislation could be
passed in this country without a joint session of our Parliament and the
American Congress. It is difficult to see any way of escape, except by
accepting the principle of development in a sense which would repudiate
the time-honoured 'appeal to antiquity.'

We have next to consider Bishop Gore as a Church Reformer. We have seen
that he desires an autonomous Church, which can legislate for itself.
The dead hand, which weighs so lightly upon him when it forbids any
attempt to revise the formularies of the faith, seems to him intolerably
heavy when it obliges the Church to conform to 'the laws, canons, and
rubrics of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which it cannot
alter or add to.'[43] The only remedy, he thinks, is a really
representative assembly, of bishops, presbyters, and laymen. In the
early Church, as he points out, the laity were always recognised as
constituent members of the government of the Church. In a democratic
age, the laity as a body should exercise the powers which in the Middle
Ages were delegated to, or usurped by, 'emperors, kings, chiefs and
lords.' The parish ought to have the real control of the Church
buildings, except the chancel; the Church servants ought to be appointed
and removed by the parish meeting. It would be a step forward if these
parish councils could be organised under diocesan regulation, and
invested with the control of the parish finances, except the vicar's
stipend; the right to object to the appointment of an unfit pastor; and
some power of determining the ceremonial at the Church services. The
diocesan synod should become a reality; there should also be provincial
synods, which could become national by fusion. But in the last resort
the declaration of the mind of the Church on matters of doctrine and
morals ought to belong to the bishops.[44]

But who are the laity? 'By a layman,' he says, 'I mean one who fulfils
the duties of Church membership--one who is baptised into the Church,
who has been confirmed if he has reached years of discretion, and who is
a communicant.' A roll of Church members, he suggests, should be kept in
each parish, on which should be entered the name of each confirmed
person, male or female. The names of those who had passed (say) two
years without communicating should be struck off the roll. Further,
names should be removable for any scandalous offences.[45]

It is easy to see that the 'communicant franchise' would work entirely
in favour of that party in the Church which attaches the greatest
importance to that Sacrament. It would exclude a large number of
Protestant laymen who subscribe to Church funds, and who on any other
franchise would have a share in its government. But we need not suspect
Dr. Gore of any _arrière pensée_ of this kind. His ideal of parochial
life is one which must appeal to all who wish well to the Church. We
will quote a few characteristic sentences:

     'Are we to set to work to revive St. Paul's ideal of the
     life of a Church? If so, what we need is not more
     Christians, but better Christians. We want to make the moral
     meaning of Church membership understood and its conditions
     appreciated. We want to make men understand that it costs
     something to be a Christian; that to be a Christian, that
     is, a Churchman, is to be an intelligent participator in a
     corporate life consecrated to God, and to concern oneself,
     therefore, as a matter of course, in all that touches the
     corporate life, its external as well as its spiritual
     conditions.... We Christians are fellow-citizens together in
     the commonwealth that is consecrated to God, a commonwealth
     of mortal men with bodies as well as souls.'[46]

With regard to ritual, he will not allow that the disputes are
unimportant. The vital question of self-government is at stake. From
this point of view, a 'mere ceremony' may mean a great deal. St. Paul,
who said 'Circumcision is nothing,' also said, 'If ye be circumcised
Christ shall profit you nothing,'[47] This is quite consistent with his
hearty disapproval of the introduction of purely Roman ceremonial.

Does this ideal of a free Church in a free State involve
disestablishment? Not necessarily, Dr. Gore thinks. Why should not legal
authority be entrusted to diocesan courts, with a right of appeal to a
court of bishops, abolishing the jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee
in spiritual cases? It is the paralysis of spiritual authority, in his
opinion, which pushes into prominence all extravagances, and conceals
the vast amount of agreement which exists in essentials. 'We are weary
of debating societies; we want the healthy discipline of co-operative
government.'[48] The policy of this self-governing Church is to be
'Liberal-Catholic,' a type which 'responds to the moral needs of our
great race.'

Such is the scheme of Church reform towards which the Bishop is working;
and he has told us, in the sentence last quoted, what kind of Church he
looks forward to see. But what kind of Church would it actually be, if
his designs were carried out? It would not be a national Church; for
his belief that Catholicism 'responds to the moral needs of our race' is
contradicted by the whole history of modern England. The laity of
England may not be quite 'as Protestant as ever they were, though we
often hear that they are so; but they show no disposition to become
Catholics. Catholicism as we know it is Latin Christianity, and even in
the Latin countries it is now a hothouse plant, dependent on a special
education in Catholic schools and seminaries, with an _index librorum
prohibitorum_. Such a system is impossible in England. Seminaries for
the early training of future clergymen may indeed be established; but
beds of exotics cannot be raised by keeping the gardeners in greenhouses
while the young plants are in the open air. The 'Liberal Catholic'
Church, accordingly, would shed, by degrees, the very large number of
Churchmen who still call themselves Protestant. Nor would the adjective
'Liberal' secure the adhesion of the 'intellectuals.' Bishop Gore's
Liberalism would exclude most of them as effectually as the most rigid
Conservatism. It would also be a disestablished and disendowed Church;
for surely it is building castles in the air to think of episcopal
courts recognised by law. The prospect of disestablishment does not
alarm the Bishop. Some of his utterances suggest that he would almost
welcome it. Indeed, disestablishment is viewed with complacency by an
increasing number of High Church clergy. They feel that they can never
carry out their plans for de-Protestantising the Church while the Crown
has the appointment of the bishops. For even if, as has lately been the
case, their party gets more than its due share of preferment, there will
always, under the existing system, be a sufficient number of Liberal and
Evangelical bishops on the bench to make a consistent policy of
Catholicising impossible. And the Catholic party are so admirably
organised that they are confident in their power to carry their schemes
under any form of self-government, even though the mass of the laity are
untouched by their views. Moreover, the town clergy, among whom are to
be found advocates of disestablishment, find in many places that the
parochial idea has completely broken down. The unit is the congregation,
no longer the parish, and the clergy are supported by pew-rents and
voluntary offerings, not by endowments. In such parishes,
disestablishment might, they think, give them greater liberty, and would
make little difference to them in other ways. But in the country
districts the case is very different. Thirty years after
disestablishment, the quiet country rectory, nestling in its bower of
trees and shrubs, with all that it has meant for centuries in English
rural life, would in most villages be a thing of the past.

For these reasons, the Bishop's policy of reconstructing the Church of
England as a self-governing body, professing definitely Catholic
principles and enjoining Catholic practices, seems to us an impossible
one. The chief gainer by it would be the Church of Rome, which would
gather in the most consistent and energetic of the Anglo-Catholics, who
would be dissatisfied at the contrast between the pretensions of their
own Church and its isolated position. The non-episcopal bodies would
also gain numerous recruits from among the ruins of the Evangelical and
Liberal parties in the Church.

But, it may be said, this dismal forecast may be falsified if the
Anglican Church can win the masses. The English populace are at present
neither Protestant nor Catholic; they are, if we count heads, mainly
heathen. May not the working man, who has no leaning to dissent, unless
it be the 'corybantic Christianity' of the Salvation Army, be brought
into the Church?

Bishop Gore has always shown an earnest sympathy with the aspirations of
the working class to improve their material condition. He is also
profoundly impressed by the apparent discrepancy between the teachings
of Christ about wealth and the principles which His professed disciples
wholly follow and in part avow. These anxious questionings form the
subject of a fine sermon which he preached at the Church Congress of
1906, on the text about the camel and the needle's eye. Jesus Christ
chose to be born of poor and humble parents, in a land remote from the
centre of political or intellectual influence, and in the circle of
labouring men. He chose to belong to the class of the respectable
artisan, and most of the twelve Apostles came from the same social
level. In His teaching He plainly associated blessedness with the lot of
poverty, and extreme danger with the lot of wealth. All through the New
Testament the assumption is that God is on the side of the poor against
the rich. As Jowett once said, there is more in the New Testament
against being rich, and in favour of being poor, than we like to
recognise. And is not this the cause of our failure to win the masses?
Is it not because we are the Church of capital rather than of labour?
The Church ought to be a community in which religion works upward from
below. The Church of England expresses that point of view which is
precisely not that which Christ chose for His Church. The incomes of the
bishops range them with the wealthier classes; the clergy associate with
the gentry and not with the artisans. We must acknowledge with deep
penitence that we are on wrong lines. For himself, the Bishop admits
that he has 'a permanently troubled conscience' in the matter. Then,
with that admirable courage and practicality which is the secret of much
of his influence, he proceeds to indicate four 'lines of hopeful
recovery.' First, the Church must get rid of the administration of poor
relief. Where the charity of the Church is understood to mean the
patronage of the rich, it can do nothing without disaster. All will be
in vain till it has ceased to be a plausible taunt that a man or woman
goes to church for what can be got. Secondly, we must give the artisans
their true place in Church management, and must consult their tastes in
all non-essentials. Thirdly, the clergy should 'concentrate themselves
upon bringing out the social meaning of the sacraments,' and giving
voice to the spirit of Christian brotherhood. Lastly, we ought to free
the clerical profession entirely from any association of class.

The Bishop is not a Collectivist, but he has great sympathy with some of
the aims of Socialism. In a 'Pan-Anglican Paper' just issued, he
discusses the attitude of the Church towards Socialism. Christianity, he
says, must remain independent of State-Socialism, as of other
organisations of society. Socialism would make a far deeper demand on
character than most of its adherents realise. 'An experiment in
State-Socialism, based on the average level of human character as it
exists at present, would be doomed to disastrous failure.' (Bishop
Creighton said the same thing more epigrammatically. 'Socialism will
only be possible when we are all perfect, and then it will not be
needed.') But what we have is no Socialistic State, but a great body of
aspiration, based on a great demand for justice in human life. The
indictment of our present social organisation is indeed overwhelming,
and with this indictment Christianity ought to have the profoundest
sympathy, for it is substantially the indictment of the Old Testament
prophets. The prophets were on the side of the poor; and so was our
Lord. Where is the prophetic spirit in the Church to-day? We need 'a
tremendous act of penitence.' Our charities have been mere
ambulance-work; but 'the Christian Church was not created to be an
ambulance-corps.' We have followed the old school of political economy
instead of the prophets and Christ. Broadly, we may contrast two ideals
of society: individualism, which means in the long run the right of the
strong; and socialism, which means that the society is supreme over the
individual. 'On the whole, Christianity is with Socialism.'

This 'Pan-Anglican Paper' is a fair representation of the views which
are spreading rapidly among the High Church clergy. The party is in fact
making a determined effort to enlist the sympathies of the working man
with the Church, by offering him in return its sympathy and countenance
in his struggle against capitalism. This is a phase of the movement
which it is very difficult to judge fairly. Dr. Gore's sermon was
calculated to give any Christian who heard it, whether Conservative or
Liberal, 'a troubled conscience;' and his practical suggestions are as
convincing as any suggestions that are not platitudes are likely to be.
But in weaker hands this sympathy with the cause of Labour is in great
danger of becoming one of the most insidious temptations that can attack
a religious body. The Church of England has been freely accused of too
great complaisance to the powers that be, when those powers were
oligarchic. Some of the clergy are now trying to repeat, rather than
redress, this error, by an obsequious attitude to King Working-man. But
the Church ought to be equally proof against the _vultus instantis
tyranni_ and the _civium ardor prava iubentium_. The position of a
Church which should sell itself to the Labour party would be truly
ignominious. It would be used so long as the politicians of the party
needed moral support and eloquent advocacy, and spurned as soon as its
services were no longer necessary. The taunt of Helen to Aphrodite in
the third book of the 'Iliad' sounds very apposite when we read the
speeches of some clerical 'Christian Socialists,' who find it more
exciting to organise processions of the unemployed than to attend to
their professional duties.

    hêso par' ahython hiohysa, thehôn d' haphoeike kelehythoy,
    mêd' heti sohisi phodessin hypostrhepseiast 'Holympon,
    hall' ahiehi perhi kehinon hohizye kahi he phylasse,
    ehist ho khe s' hê halochon poihêsetai, hê ho ge dohylên.[49]

It is as a slave, not as an honoured help-mate, that the Social
Democrats would treat any Christian body that helped them to overthrow
our present civilisation. And rightly; for Christ's only injunction in
the sphere of economics was, 'Take heed and beware of all covetousness,'
He refused pointedly to have anything to do with disputes about the
distribution of property; and in the parable of the Prodigal Son the
demand, 'Give me the portion of goods that falleth to me,' is the
prelude to a journey in that 'far country' which is forgetfulness of God
(_terra longinqua est oblivio Dei_). Christ unquestionably meant His
followers to think but little of the accessories of life. He believed
that if men could be induced to adopt the true standard of values,
economic relations would adjust themselves. He promised His disciples
that they should not want the necessaries of subsistence, and for the
rest, He held that the freedom from anxiety, covetousness, and envy,
which He enjoined as a duty, would also make their life happy. This is
a very different spirit from that which makes Socialism a force in

Bishop Gore, we may be sure, will not willingly allow the High Church
party to be entangled in corrupt alliances. When he handles what may be
called applied Christianity, he does so in a manner which makes us
rejoice at the popularity of his books. The little commentaries on the
Sermon on the Mount, and on the Epistles to the Romans and Ephesians,
are admirable. They are simple, practical, and profound. We subjoin a
short analysis of the notes on the first part of the Sermon on the
Mount, as an illustration of the teaching which runs all through the
three commentaries.

     The Sermon on the Mount is not the whole of Christianity. It
     is the climax of law, of the letter that killeth. The Divine
     requirement is pressed home with unequalled force upon the
     conscience; yet not in the form of mere laws of conduct, but
     as a type of character. It is promulgated not by an
     inaccessible God, but by the Divine Love manifested in
     manhood. The hard demand of the letter is closely connected
     with the promise of the Spirit. We are told that many of the
     precepts in the sermon were anticipated by Pagan and Jewish
     writers. But this we might have expected, since all men are
     rational and moral through fellowship with the Word, who is
     also the Reason of God. Christ is the light which in
     conscience and reason lightens every man throughout the
     history of the race. But the Sermon is comprehensive where
     other summaries are fragmentary, it is pure where they are
     mixed. It is teaching for grown men, who require principles,
     not rules. And it is authoritative, reinforced by the
     mysterious Person of the speaker. The Beatitudes are a
     description of character. Christ requires us, not to do such
     and such things, but to be such and such people. ... True
     blessedness consists in membership of the kingdom of heaven,
     which is a life of perfect relationship with man and nature
     based on perfect fellowship with God.... The Beatitudes
     describe the Christian character in detail; in particular,
     they describe it as contrasted with the character of the
     world, which, in the religious sense, may be defined as
     human society as it organises itself apart from God. The
     first Beatitude enjoins detachment, such as His who emptied
     Himself, as having nothing and yet possessing all things. We
     are all to be detached; there are some whom our Lord
     counsels to be literally poor. 'Blessed are they that
     mourn' means that we are not to screen ourselves from the
     common lot of pain. We must distinguish 'godly sorrow' from
     the peevish discontent and slothfulness which St. Paul calls
     the sorrow of the world, and which in medieval casuistry is
     named acedia. 'Blessed are the meek' means that we are not
     to assert ourselves unless it is our duty to do so. The true
     Christian is a man who in his private capacity cannot be
     provoked. On a general view of life, though not always in
     particular cases, we must allow that we are not treated
     worse than we deserve. The fourth Beatitude tells us that if
     we want righteousness seriously, we can have it. The fifth
     proclaims the reward of mercy, that is, compassion in
     action. Pity which does nothing is only hypocrisy or
     emotional self-indulgence. On the whole, we can determine
     men's attitude to us by our attitude to them; the merciful
     do obtain mercy. 'Purity of heart' means singleness of
     purpose; but in the narrower sense of purity it is worth
     while to say that those who profess to find it 'impossible'
     to lead a pure life might overcome their fault if they would
     try to be Christlike altogether, instead of struggling with
     that one fault separately. 'Sincerum est nisi vas,
     quodcunque infundis acescit.' On the seventh--there are many
     kinds of false peace, which Christ came to break up; but
     fierce, relentless competition is an offence in a Christian
     nation. The last shows what our reward is likely to be in
     this world, if we follow these counsels. Where the
     Christ-character is not welcomed, it is hated.

From the later sections a few characteristic comments may be given in an
abridged form.

     We are apt to have rather free and easy notions of the
     Divine fatherhood. To call God our Father, we must ourselves
     be sons; and it is only those who are led by the Spirit of
     God who are the sons of God.... Ask for great things, and
     small things will be given to you. This is exactly the
     spirit of the Lord's Prayer.... Act for God. Direct your
     thoughts and intentions Godward, and your intelligence and
     affections will gradually follow along the line of your
     action.... You must put God first, or nowhere.... It is a
     perilous error to say that we have only to follow our
     conscience; we have to enlighten our conscience and keep it
     enlightened.... There is no greater plague of our generation
     than the nervous anxiety which characterises all its
     efforts. We ought to be reasonably careful, and then go
     boldly forward in the peace of God.... Our Lord did not
     mean to make of His disciples a new kind of Pharisee.
     ....'Judge not,' means, Do not be critical. The condemnation
     of one who is always finding fault carries no moral weight.
     It is those who have the lowest and vaguest standards of
     what is right who are often the most critical in judgment of
     other people.... We ought so to limit our desires that what
     we want for ourselves we can reasonably expect also for
     others.... A man who wants to do his duty must always be
     prepared to stand alone.... Christianity is not so much a
     statement of the true end or ideal of human life, as a great
     spiritual instrument for realising the end.

These extracts will be sufficient to show what are the characteristics
of these little commentaries. They exhibit extreme honesty of purpose,
fearless acceptance of Christ's teaching honestly interpreted, scorn of
unreality and empty words, and a determination never to allow preaching
to be divorced from practice. No more stimulating Christian teaching has
been given in our generation.

The valuable treatise on the Holy Communion, called 'The Body of
Christ,' is too theological for detailed discussion in these pages. The
points in which the Roman Church has perverted and degraded the really
Catholic sacramental doctrine are forcibly exposed, and the true nature
of the sacrament is unfolded in a masterly and beautiful manner.

A study of the whole body of theological writings from the pen of this
remarkable man leaves us with the conviction that he is one of the most
powerful spiritual forces in our generation. It is the more to be
regretted that in certain points he seems to be hampered by false
presuppositions and misled by unattainable ideals. His loyalty to
'Catholic truth,' as understood by the party in the Church to which he
consents to belong, prevents him from understanding where the shoe
really pinches among those of the younger generation who are both
thoughtful and devout. He makes a fetish of the Creeds, documents which
only represent the opinions of a majority at a meeting; and what manner
of meetings Church Councils sometimes were, is known to history. He is
still impressed with the grandeur of the Catholic idea, as embodied in
the Roman Church, and will do nothing to preclude reunion, should a
more enlightened policy ever prevail at the Vatican. But this country
has done with the Roman Empire, in its spiritual as well as its temporal
form. The dimensions of that proud dominion have shrunk with the
expansion of knowledge; new worlds have been opened out, geographical
and mental, which never owned its sway; the _caput orbis_ has become
provincial, and her authority is spurned even within her own borders.
There is no likelihood of the English people ever again accepting
'Catholicism,' if Catholicism is the thing which history calls by that
name. The movement which the Bishop hopes to lead to victory will
remain, as it has been hitherto, a theory of the ministry rather than of
the Church, and its strength will be confined, as it is now, mainly to
clerical circles.

Catholicism and Protestantism (in so far as they are more than names for
institutionalism and mysticism, which are permanent types) are both
obsolescent phases in the evolution of the Christian religion. 'The time
cometh when neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem shall men
worship the Father.'

A profound reconstruction is demanded, and for those who have eyes to
see has been already for some time in progress. The new type of
Christianity will be more Christian than the old, because it will be
more moral. A number of unworthy beliefs about God are being tacitly
dropped, and they are so treated because they are unworthy of Him. The
realm of nature is being claimed for Him once more; the distinction
between natural and supernatural is repudiated; we hear less frequent
complaints that God 'does nothing' because He does not assert Himself by
breaking one of His own laws. The divinity of Christ implies--one might
almost say it means--the eternal supremacy of those moral qualities
which He exhibited in their perfection. 'Conversio fit ad Dominum ut
Spiritum,' as Bengel said. The visible or Catholic Church is not the
name of an institution which has the privilege of being governed by
bishops. It is 'dispersed throughout the whole world,' under many
banners and many disguises. Its political reunion is (Plato would say)
an hen mhythô ehychê, and is at present neither to be expected nor
desired. Among those who are by right citizens of the spiritual kingdom,
those only are in danger of exclusion from it who entrench themselves in
a little fort of their own and erect barriers, which may make them their
own prisoners, but which will not hinder the great commonwealth of
seekers after truth from working out modern problems by modern lights,
until the whole of our new and rich inheritance, intellectual, moral,
and æsthetic, shall be brought again under the obedience of Christ.


     [24] In 1908.

     [25] Palmer's _Narrative_, p 20.

     [26] _Contemporary Review_, April 1899.

     [27] _The Church and the Ministry_, pp. 9, 10.

     [28] _Ibid_., p. 74.

     [29] _The Church and the Ministry_, p. 110.

     [30] _Ibid_., p. 344.

     [31] _Ibid_., p. 345.

     [32] _Ibid_., p. 348.

     [33] _The Mission of the Church_, p. 32.

     [34] _Church Congress Report_, 1896, p. 143.

     [35] _Ibid_., p. 142.

     [36] _Church Congress Report_, 1903, p. 15.

     [37] _Ibid_., p. 17.

     [38] _The New Theology and the Old Religion_, p. 162.

     [39] _Church Congress Report_, 1903, p. 16.

     [40] _Ibid_.

     [41] _The New Theology and the Old Religion_, p. 163.

     [42] _Dissertations_, pp. 41-49.

     [43] _Church Congress Report_, 1899, p. 63.

     [44] _Church Congress Report_, 1899, pp. 65-67.

     [45] _Ibid_., 1896, pp. 342-346.

     [46] _Epistle to the Ephesians_, pp. 113, 114.

     [47] _Contemporary Review_, April 1899.

     [48] _Ibid_.

     [49] 'Go and sit thou by his side, and depart from the way
     of the gods; neither let thy feet ever bear thee back to
     Olympus; but still be vexed for his sake and guard him, till
     he make thee his wife--or rather his slave.'



The Liberal movement in the Roman Church is viewed by most Protestants
with much the same mixture of sympathy and misgiving with which
Englishmen regard the ambition of Russian reformers to establish a
constitutional government in their country. Freedom of thought and
freedom of speech are almost always desirable; but how, without a
violent revolution, can they be established in a State which exists only
as a centralised autocracy, held together by authority and obedience?
This sympathy, and these fears, are likely to be strongest in those who
have studied the history of Western Catholicism with most intelligence.
From the Edict of Milan to the Encyclical of Pius X, the evolution which
ended in papal absolutism has proceeded in accordance with what looks
like an inner necessity of growth and decay. The task of predicting the
policy of the Vatican is surely not so difficult as M. Renan suggested,
when he remarked to a friend of the present writer, 'The Church is a
woman; it is impossible to say what she will do next.' For where is the
evidence of caprice in the history of the Roman Church? If any State has
been guided by a fixed policy, which has imposed itself inexorably on
its successive rulers, in spite of the utmost divergences in their
personal characters and aims, that State is the Papacy.

Beneath all the eddies which have broken the surface, the great stream
has flowed on, and has flowed in one direction. The same logic of events
which transformed the constitutional principate of Augustus into the
sultanate of Diocletian and Valentinian, has brought about a parallel
development in the Church which inherited the traditions, the policy,
and the territorial sphere of the dead Empire. The second World-State
which had its seat on the Seven Hills has followed closely in the
footsteps of the first. It is not too fanciful to trace, as Harnack has
done, the resemblance in detail--Peter and Paul in the place of Romulus
and Remus; the bishops and arch-bishops instead of the proconsuls; the
troops of priests and monks as the legionaries; while the Jesuits are
the Imperial bodyguard, the protectors and sometimes the masters of the
sovereign. One might carry the parallel further by comparing the schism
between the Eastern and Western Churches, and the later defection of
northern Europe, with the disruption of the Roman Empire in the fourth
century; and in the sphere of thought, by comparing the scholastic
philosophy and casuistry with the _Summa_ of Roman law in the

The fundamental principles of such a government are imposed upon it by
necessity. In the first place, progressive centralisation, and the
substitution of a graduated hierarchy for popular government, came about
as inevitably in the Catholic Church as in the Mediterranean Empire of
the Caesars. The primitive colleges of presbyters soon fell under the
rule of the bishops, the bishops under the patriarchs; and then Rome
suffered her first great defeat in losing the Eastern patriarchates,
which she could not subjugate. The truncated Church, no longer
'universal,' found itself obliged to continue the same policy of
centralisation, and with such success that, under Innocent III, the
triumph of the theocracy seemed complete. The Papacy dominated Europe
_de facto_, and claimed to rule the world _de jure_. Boniface VIII, when
the clouds were already gathering, issued the famous Bull 'Unam
sanctam,' in which he said: 'Subesse Romano pontifici omnes humanas
creaturas declaramus, definimus, et pronuntiamus omnino esse de
necessitate salutis.' The claim is logical. A theocracy (when religion
is truly monotheistic)[51] must claim to be universal _de jure_; and its
ruler must be the infallibly inspired and autocratic vicegerent of the
Almighty. He is the rightful lord of the world, whether he gives a
continent to the King of Spain by a stroke of the pen, or whether his
secular jurisdiction is limited by the walls of his palace. In the
fourteenth century the Pope is already called 'dominus deus
noster'--precisely the style in which Martial adulates Domitian. In the
Bull of Pius V (1570) the claim of universal dominion is reiterated; it
is asserted that the Almighty,

     'cui data est omnis in caelo et in terra potestas, unam
     sanctam catholicam et apostolicam ecclesiam, extra quam
     nulla est salus, uni soli in terris, videlicet apostolorum
     principi Petro Petrique successori Romano pontifici in
     potestatis plenitudine tradidit gubernandam.'

But the final victory of infallibilism was the achievement of the
nineteenth-century Jesuits, who completed the dogmatic apotheosis of the
Pope at the moment when the last vestiges of his temporal power were
being snatched from him.

Now a government of this type is always in want of money. The spiritual
Roman Empire was as costly an institution as the court and the
bureaucracy of Diocletian and his successors. The same necessity which
suppressed democracy in the Church drove it to elaborate an oppressive
system of taxation, in which every weakness of human nature was
systematically exploited for gain, and every morsel of divine grace
placed on a tariff. But this method of raising revenue is only possible
while the priests can persuade the people that they really control a
treasury of grace, from which they can make or withhold grants at their
pleasure. It stands or falls with a non-ethical and magical view of the
divine economy which is hardly compatible with a high level of culture
or morality. The Catholic Church has thus been obliged, for purely
fiscal reasons, to discourage secular education, particularly of a
scientific kind, and to keep the people, so far as possible, in the
mental and moral condition most favourable to such transactions as the
purchase of indulgences and the payment of various insurances against
hell and purgatory.

Another necessity of absolute government is the repression of free
criticism directed against itself. Heresy and schism in an autocratic
Church take the place of treason against the sovereign. Cyprian, in the
third century, had already laid down the principles by which alone the
central authority could be maintained.

     'Ab arbore frange ramum; fractus germinare non poterit. A
     fonte praecide rivum; praecisus arescit.... Quisquis ab
     ecclesia separatus adulterae iungitur, a promissis ecclesiae
     separatur. Alienus est, hostis est. Habere non potest Deum
     patrem, qui ecclesiam non habet matrem.'

Schismatics are therefore rebels, whose lives are forfeit under the laws
of treason. Heretics are in no better case; for the Church is the only
infallible interpreter both of Scripture and of tradition; and to differ
from her teaching is as disloyal as to secede from her jurisdiction.
Even Augustine could say, 'I should not believe the Gospel, if the
authority of the Church did not determine me to do so'; a statement
which a modern ultra-montane has capped by saying, 'Without the
authority of the Pope, I should not place the Bible higher than the
Koran.' Bellarmine claims an absolute monopoly of inspiration for the
Roman Church on the ground that Rome alone has preserved the apostolic
succession beyond dispute.[52] As for the treatment which heretics
deserve, the same authority is very explicit.

     'In the first place, heretics do more mischief than any
     pirate or brigand, because they slay souls; nay more, they
     subvert the foundations of all good and fill the
     commonwealth with the disturbances which necessarily follow
     religious differences. In the second place, capital
     punishment inflicted on them has a good effect on very many
     persons. Many whom impunity was making indifferent are
     roused by these executions to consider what is the nature of
     the heresy which attracts them, and to take care not to end
     their earthly lives in misery and lose their future
     happiness. Thirdly, it is a kindness to obstinate heretics
     to remove them from this life. For the longer they live, the
     more errors they devise, the more men they pervert, and the
     greater damnation they acquire for themselves.'[53]

In all matters which are not essential for the safety of the
autocracy, an absolutist Church will consult the average tastes of its
subjects. If the populace are at heart pagan, and hanker after
sensuous ritual, dramatic magic, and a rich mythology, these must be
provided. The 'intellectuals,' being few and weak, may be safely
rebuffed or disregarded until their discoveries are thoroughly
popularised. The pronouncements of the Roman Inquisition in the case
of Galileo are typical.

     'The theory that the sun is in the centre of the world, and
     stationary, is absurd, false in philosophy, and formally
     heretical, because it is contrary to the express language of
     Holy Scripture. The theory that the earth is not the centre
     of the world, nor stationary, but that it moves with a daily
     motion, is also absurd and false in philosophy, and,
     theologically considered, it is, to say the least, erroneous
     in faith.'

The exigencies of despotic government thus supply the key to the whole
policy and history of the Papacy. 'The worst form of State' can only be
bolstered up by the worst form of government. There should therefore be
no difficulty in distinguishing between the official policy of the Roman
See--which has been almost uniformly odious--and the history of the
Christian religion in the Latin countries, which has added new lustre to
human nature. The Catholic saints did not fly through the air, nor were
their hearts pierced with supernatural darts, as the mendacious
hagiology of their Church would have us believe; but they have a better
title to be remembered by mankind, as the best examples of a beautiful
and precious kind of human excellence.

The papal autocracy has now reached its Byzantine period of decadence.
During the Middle Ages Catholicism suited the Latin races very well on
the whole. Their ancestral paganism was allowed to remain substantially
unchanged--the _nomina_, but not the _numina_ were altered; their awe
and reverence for the _caput orbis_, ingrained in the populations of
Europe by the history of a thousand years, made submission to Rome
natural and easy; a host of myths 'abounding in points of attachment to
human experience and in genial interpretations of life, yet lifted
beyond visible nature and filling a reported world believed in on
faith,'[54] adorned religion with an artistic and poetical embroidery
very congenial to the nations of the South. But a monarchy essentially
Oriental in its constitution is unsuited to modern Europe. Its whole
scheme is based on keeping the laity in contented ignorance and
subservience; and the laity have emancipated themselves The Teutonic
nations broke the yoke as soon as they attained a national
self-consciousness. They escaped from a system which had educated, but
never suited them. Nor has the shrinkage been merely territorial. The
Pyrrhic victories over Gallicanism, Jansenism, Catholic democracy
(Lamennais), historical theology (Döllinger and the Old Catholics), each
alienated a section of thinking men in the Catholic countries. The Roman
Church can no longer be called Catholic, except in the sense in which
the kingdom of Francis II remained the Holy Roman Empire. It is an
exclusive sect, which preserves much more political power than its
numbers entitle it to exert, by means of its excellent discipline, and
by the sinister policy of fomenting political disaffection. Examples of
this last are furnished by the contemporary history of Ireland, of
France, and of Poland.

These considerations are of primary importance when we try to answer the
questions: To what extent is the Roman Church fettered by her own past?
Is there any insuperable obstacle to a modification of policy which
might give her a new lease of life? We have seen how much importance is
attached to the Church's title-deeds. Is tradition a fatal obstacle to
reform? Theoretically, the tradition which she traces back to the
apostles gives her a fixed constitution. So the Catholic Church has
always maintained. 'Regula quidem fidei una omnino est, sola immobilis
et irreformabilis.'[55] The rule of faith may be better understood by a
later age than an earlier, but there can be no additions, only a sort of
unpacking of a treasure which was given whole and entire in the first
century. In reality, of course, there has been a steady evolution in
conformity to type, the type being not the 'little flock' of Christ or
the Church of the Apostles, but the absolute monarchy above described.
It has long been the _crux_ of Catholic apologetics to reconcile the
theoretical immobility of dogma with the actual facts.

The older method was to rewrite history. It was convenient, for example,
to forget that Pope Honorius I had been anathematised by three
ecumenical councils. The forged Decretals gave a more positive sanction
to absolutist claims; and interpolations in the Greek Fathers deceived
St. Thomas Aquinas into giving his powerful authority to infallibilism.
This method cannot be called obsolete, for the present Pope recently
informed the faithful that 'the Hebrew patriarchs were familiar with the
doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and found consolation in the
thought of Mary in the solemn moments of their life.'[56] But such
simple devices are hardly practicable in an age when history is
scientifically studied. Moreover, other considerations, besides
controversial straits, have suggested a new theory of tradition. A Cæsar
who, like the kings of the Medes and Persians, is bound by the laws of
his predecessors, is not absolute. Acceptance of the theory of
development in dogma would relieve the Pope from the weight of the dead

The new apologetic is generally said to have been inaugurated by
Cardinal Newman. His work 'The Development of Christian Doctrine,' is
no doubt an epoch-making book, though the idea of tradition as the
product of the living spirit of a religious society, preserving its
moral identity while expressing itself, from time to time, in new forms,
was already familiar to readers of Schleiermacher. Newman gives us
several 'tests' of true development. These are--preservation of type;
continuity of principles; power of assimilation; logical sequence;
anticipation of results; tendency to conserve the old; chronic vigour.
These tests, he considered, differentiate the Roman Church from all
other Christian bodies, and prove its superiority. The Church has its
own genius, which yes and works in it. This is indeed the Holy Spirit of
God, promised by Jesus Christ. Through the operation of this spirit, old
things become new, and fresh light is shed from the sacred pages of
Scripture. Catholic tradition is, in fact, the glorified but
ever-present Christ Himself, reincarnating Himself, generation after
generation, in the historical Church. It is unnecessary to enquire
whether there is apostolic authority for every new dogma, for the Church
is the mouthpiece of the living Christ.

This theory marks, on one side, the complete and final apotheosis of the
Pope and the hierarchy, who are thereby made independent even of the
past history of the Church. Pius IX was not slow to realise that the
only court of appeal against his decisions was closed in 1870. 'La
tradizione sono io,' he said, in the manner of Louis XIV. The Pope is
henceforth not the interpreter of a closed cycle of tradition, but the
pilot who guides its course always in the direction of the truth. This
is to destroy the old doctrine of tradition. The Church becomes the
source of revelation instead of its custodian. On the other side, it is
a perilous concession to modern ideas. There is an obvious danger that,
as the result of this doctrine, the dogmas of the Church may seem to
have only a relative and provisional truth; for, if each pronouncement
were absolutely true, there would be no real development, and the
appearance of it in history would become inexplicable.

This new and, in appearance, more liberal attitude towards modern ideas
of progress has raised the hopes of many in the Roman Church whose
minds and consciences are troubled by the ever-widening chasm which
separates traditional dogma from secular knowledge. While dogma was
stationary--_immobilis et irreformabilis_--there seemed to be no
prospect except that the progress of human knowledge would leave
theology further and further behind, till the rupture between
Catholicism and civilisation became absolute. The idea that the Church
would ever modify her teaching to bring it into harmony with modern
science seemed utterly chimerical. But if the static theory of
revelation is abandoned, and a dynamic theory substituted for it; if the
divine part of Christianity resides, not in the theoretical formulations
of revealed fact, but in the living and energising spirit of the Church;
why should not dogmatic theology become elastic, changing periodically
in correspondence with the development of human knowledge, and no longer
stand in irreconcilable contradiction with the ascertained laws of

Thus the dethronement of tradition by the Pope contributed to make the
Modernist movement possible. The Modernists have even claimed Newman as
on their side. This appeal cannot be sustained. 'The Development of
Christian Doctrine' is mainly a polemic against the high Anglican
position, and an answer to attacks upon Roman Catholicism from this
side. Anglicanism at that time had committed itself to a thoroughly
stationary view of revelation. Its 'appeal to antiquity'--a period
which, in accordance with a convenient theory, it limited to the
councils of the 'undivided Church'--was intended to prove the
catholicity and orthodoxy of the English Church, as the faithful
guardian of apostolic tradition, and to condemn the medieval and modern
accretions sanctioned by the Church of Rome. The earlier theory of
tradition left the Roman Church open to damaging criticism on this side;
no ingenuity could prove that all her doctrines were 'primitive.' Even
in those early days of historical criticism, it must have been plain to
any candid student of Christian 'origins' that the Pauline Churches were
far more Protestant than Catholic in type. But Newman had set himself to
prove that 'the Christianity of history is not Protestantism; if ever
there were a safe truth, it is this,' Accordingly, he argues that
'Christianity came into the world as an idea rather than an institution,
and had to fit itself with armour of its own providing.' Such
expressions sound very like the arguments of the Modernists; but Newman
assuredly never contemplated that they would be turned against the
policy of his own Church, in the interests of the critical rationalism
which he abhorred. His attitude towards dogma is after all not very
different from that of the older school. 'Time was needed' (he says)
'for the elucidation of doctrines communicated once for all through
inspired persons'; his examples are purgatory and the papal supremacy.
He insists that his 'tests' of true development are only controversial,
'instruments rather than warrants of right decisions.' The only real
'warrant' is the authority of the infallible Church. It is highly
significant that one of the features in Roman Catholicism to which he
appeals as proving its unblemished descent from antiquity is its
exclusiveness and intolerance.

     'The Fathers (he says complacently) anathematised doctrines,
     not because they were old, but because they were new; for
     the very characteristic of heresy is novelty and originality
     of manifestation. Such was the exclusiveness of the
     Christianity of old. I need not insist on the steadiness
     with which that principle has been maintained ever since.'

The Cardinal is right; it is quite unnecessary to insist upon it; but,
when the Modernists claim Newman as their prophet, it is fair to reply
that, if we may judge from his writings, he would gladly have sent some
of them to the stake.

The Modernist movement, properly so called, belongs to the last twenty
years, and most of the literature dates from the present century. It
began in the region of ecclesiastical history, and soon passed to
biblical exegesis, where the new heresy was at first called
'concessionism,' The scope of the debate was enlarged with the stir
produced by Loisy's 'L'Évangile et l'Église' and 'Autour d'un Petit
Livre'; it spread over the field of Christian origins generally, and
problems connected with them, such as the growth of ecclesiastical power
and the evolution of dogma. For a few years the orthodox in France
generally spoke of the new tendency as _loisysme_. It was not till 1905
that Edouard Le Roy published his 'Qu'est-ce qu'un dogme?' which carried
the discussion into the domain of pure philosophy, though the studies of
Blondel and Laberthonnière in the psychology of religion may be said to
involve a metaphysic closely resembling that of Le Roy. Mr. Tyrrell's
able works have a very similar philosophical basis, which is also
assumed by the group of Italian priests who have remonstrated with the
Pope.[57] M. Loisy protests against the classification made in the papal
Encyclical which connects biblical critics, metaphysicians,
psychologists, and Church reformers, as if they were all partners in the
same enterprise. But in reality the same presuppositions, the same
philosophical principles, are found in all the writers named; and the
differences which may easily be detected in their writings are
comparatively superficial. The movement appears to be strongest in
France, where the policy of the Vatican has been uniformly unfortunate
of recent years, and has brought many humiliations upon French
Catholics. Italy has also been moved, though from slightly different
causes. In the protests from that country we find a tone of disgust at
the constitution of the Roman hierarchy and the character of the papal
_entourage_, about which Italians are in a position to know more than
other Catholics. Catholic Germany has been almost silent; and Mr.
Tyrrell is the only Englishman whose name has come prominently forward.

It will be convenient to consider the position of the Modernists under
three heads: their attitude towards New Testament criticism, especially
in relation to the life of Christ; their philosophy; and their position
in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Modernists themselves desire, for the most part, that criticism
rather than philosophy should be regarded as the starting-point of the
movement. 'So far from our philosophy dictating our critical method, it
is the critical method that has of its own accord forced us to a very
tentative and uncertain formulation of various philosophical
conclusions.... This independence of our criticism is evident in many
ways.'[58] The writers of this manifesto, and M. Loisy himself, appear
not to perceive that their critical position rests on certain very
important philosophical presuppositions; nor indeed is any criticism of
religious origins possible without presuppositions which involve
metaphysics. The results of their critical studies, as bearing on the
life of Christ, we shall proceed to summarise, departing as little as
possible from the actual language of the writers, and giving references
in all cases. It must, however, be remembered that some of the group,
such as Mr. Tyrrell, have not committed themselves to the more extreme
critical views, while others, such as the Abbé Laberthonnière, the most
brilliant and attractive writer of them all, hold a moderate position on
the historical side. It is perhaps significant that those who are
specialists in biblical criticism are the most radical members of the

The Gospels, says M. Loisy, are for Christianity what the Pentateuch is
for Judaism. Like the Pentateuch, they are a patchwork and a compound of
history and legend. The differences between them amount in many cases to
unmistakable contradictions. In Mark the life of Jesus follows a
progressive development. The first to infer His Messiahship is Simon
Peter at Cæsarea Philippi; and Jesus Himself first declares it openly in
His trial before the Sanhedrin. In Matthew and Luke, on the contrary,
Jesus is presented to the public as the Son of God from the beginning of
His ministry; He comes forward at once as the supreme Lawgiver, the
Judge, the anointed of God. The Fourth Gospel goes much further still.
His heavenly origin, His priority to the world, His co-operation in the
work of creation and salvation, are ideas which are foreign to the other
Gospels, but which the author of the Fourth Gospel has set forth in his
prologue, and, in part, put into the mouth of John the Baptist.[59] The
difference between the Christ of the Synoptic Gospels and the Christ of
John may be summed up by saying that 'the Christ of the Synoptics is
historical, but is not God; the Johannine Christ is divine, but not
historical.'[60] But even Mark (according to M. Loisy) probably only
incorporates the document of an eye-witness; his Gospel betrays Pauline
influence.[61] The Gospel which bears his name is later than the
destruction of Jerusalem, and was issued, probably about A.D. 75, by an
unknown Christian, not a native of Palestine, who wished to write a book
of evangelical instruction in conformity with the ideas of the
Hellenic-Christian community to which he belonged.[62] The tradition
connecting it with Peter may indicate that it was composed at Rome, but
has no other historical value.[63]

The Gospel of Matthew was probably written about the beginning of the
second century by a non-Palestinian Jew residing in Asia Minor or Syria.
He is before all things a Catholic ecclesiastic, and may well have been
one of the presbyters or bishops of the churches in which the
institution of a monarchical episcopate took root.[64] The narratives
peculiar to Matthew have the character rather of legendary developments
than of genuine reminiscences. The historical value of these additions
is _nil_. As a witness to fact, Matthew ranks below Mark, and even below
Luke.[65] In particular, the chapters about the birth of Christ seem not
to have the slightest historical foundation. The fictitious character of
the genealogy is proved by the fact that Jesus seems not to have known
of His descent [from David]. The story of the virgin birth turns on a
text from Isaiah. Of this part of the Gospel, Loisy says, 'rien n'est
plus arbitraire comme exégèse, ni plus faible comme narration
fictive.'[66] Luke has taken more pains to compose a literary treatise
than Mark or Matthew. The authorities which he follows seem to be--the
source of our Mark, the so-called Matthew _logia_, and some other source
or sources. But he treats his material more freely than Matthew. 'The
lament of Christ over the holy city, His words to the women of
Jerusalem, His prayer for His executioners, His promise to the penitent
thief, His last words, are very touching traits, which may be in
conformity with the spirit of Jesus, but which have no traditional
basis.'[67] 'The fictitious character of the narratives of the infancy
is less apparent in the Third Gospel than in the First, because the
stories are much better constructed as legend, and do not resemble a
_midrash_ upon Messianic prophecies. "Le merveilleux en est moins banal
et moins enfantin. II paraît cependant impossible de leur reconnaître
une plus grande valeur de fond."'[68]

The Gospel of Luke was probably written (not by a disciple of St. Paul)
between 90 and 100 A.D.; but the earliest redaction, which traced the
descent of Jesus from David through Joseph, has been interpolated in the
interests of the later idea of a virgin birth. The first two chapters
are interesting for the history of Christian beliefs, not for the
history of Christ. As for the Fourth Gospel, it is enough to say that
the author had nothing to do with the son of Zebedee, and that he is in
no sense a biographer of Christ, but the first and greatest of the
Christian mystics.[69]

The result of this drastic treatment of the sources may be realised by
perusing chapter vii of Loisy's 'Les Évangiles Synoptiques,' The
following is a brief analysis of this chapter, entitled 'La Carrière de
Jésus.' Jesus was born at Nazareth about four years before the Christian
era. His family were certainly pious, but none of His relatives seems to
have accepted the Gospel during His lifetime. Like many others, the
young Jesus was attracted by the terrifying preaching of John the
Baptist, from whom He received Baptism. When John was imprisoned He at
once attempted to take his place. He began to preach round the lake of
Galilee, and was compelled by the persistent demands of the crowd to
'work miracles.' This mission only lasted a few months; but it was long
enough for Jesus to enrol twelve auxiliaries, who prepared the villages
of Galilee for His coming, travelling two and two through the north of
Palestine. Jesus found His audience rather among the _déclassés_ of
Judaism than among the Puritans. The staple of His teaching was the
advent of the 'kingdom of God'--the sudden and speedy coming of the
promised Messiah. This teaching was acceptable neither to Herod Antipas
nor to the Pharisees; and their hostility obliged Jesus to fly for a
short time to the Phoenician territory north of Galilee. But a
conference between the Master and His disciples at Cæsarea Philippi
ended in a determination to visit the capital and there proclaim Jesus
as the promised Messiah. As they approached Jerusalem, even the ignorant
disciples were frightened at the risks they were running, but Jesus
calmed their fears by promising that they should soon be set on twelve
thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 'Jésus n'allait pas à
Jérusalem pour y mourir.'[70]

The doomed prophet made his public entry into Jerusalem as Messiah, and,
as a first act of authority, cleared the temple courts by an act of
violence, in which He was doubtless assisted by His disciples. For some
days after this He preached daily about the coming of the kingdom, and
foiled with great dexterity the traps which His enemies laid for Him.
'But the situation could only end in a miracle or a catastrophe, and it
was the catastrophe which happened.'[71] Jesus was arrested, after a
brief scuffle between the satellites of the High Priest and the
disciples; and the latter, without waiting to see the end, fled
northwards towards their homes. When brought before Pilate, Jesus
probably answered 'Yes' to the question whether He claimed to be a king;
but 'la parole du Christ johannique, Mon royaume n'est pas de ce monde,
n'aurait jamais pu être dite par le Christ d'histoire.' This confession
led naturally to His immediate execution; after which

     'on peut supposer que les soldats détachèrent le corps de la
     croix avant le soir et le mirent dans quelque fosse commune,
     où l'on jetait pêle-mêle les restes des suppliciés. Les
     conditions de sépulture furent telles qu'au bout de quelques
     jours il aurait été impossible de reconnaître la dépouille
     du Sauveur, quand même on l'aurait cherchée.'[72]

The disciples, however, had been too profoundly stirred by hope to
accept defeat. None of them had seen Jesus die; and though they knew
that He was dead, they hardly realised it. Besides, they were
fellow-countrymen of those who had asked whether Jesus was not Elijah,
or even John the Baptist, come to life again. What more natural than
that Peter should see the Master one day while fishing on the lake? 'The
impulse once given, this belief grew by the very need which it had to
strengthen itself.' Christ 'appeared also to the eleven,' So it was that
their faith brought them back to Jerusalem, and Christianity was born.

'The supernatural life of Christ in the faithful and in the Church has
been clothed in an historical form, which has given birth to what we
might somewhat loosely call the Christ of legend.' So the Italian
manifesto sums up the result of this reconstruction or denudation of the
Gospel history.[73] 'Such a criticism,' say the authors not less frankly
than truly, 'does away with the possibility of finding in Christ's
teaching even the embryonic form of the Church's later theological

Readers unfamiliar with Modernist literature will probably have read the
foregoing extracts with utter amazement. It seems hardly credible that
such views should be propounded by Catholic priests, who claim to remain
in the Catholic Church, to repeat her creeds, minister at her altars,
and share her faith. What more, it may well be asked, have rationalist
opponents of Christianity ever said, in their efforts to tear up the
Christian religion by the roots, than we find here admitted by Catholic
apologists? What is left of the object of the Church's worship if the
Christ of history was but an enthusiastic Jewish peasant whose pathetic
ignorance of the forces opposed to Him led Him to the absurd enterprise
of attempting a _coup d'état_ at Jerusalem? Is not Jesus reduced by this
criticism to the same level as Theudas or Judas of Galilee? and, if this
is the true account, what sentiment can we feel, when we read His tragic
story, but compassion tinged with contempt?

And on what principles are such liberties taken with our authorities?
What is the criterion by which it is decided that Christ said, 'I am a
king,' but not 'My kingdom is not of this world'? Why must the
resurrection have been only a subjective hallucination in the minds of
the disciples? To these questions there is a plain answer. The
non-intervention of God in history is an axiom with the Modernists.
'L'historien,' says M. Loisy, 'n'a pas à s'inspirer de l'agnosticisme
pour écarter Dieu de l'histoire; il ne l'y rencontre jamais.'[75] It
would be more accurate to say that, whenever the meeting takes place,
'the historian' gives the Other the cut direct.

But now comes in the peculiar philosophy by which the Modernists claim
to rehabilitate themselves as loyal and orthodox Catholics, and to turn
the flank of the rationalist position, which they have seemed to occupy
themselves. The reaction against Absolutism in philosophy has long since
established itself in Germany and France. In England and Scotland the
battle still rages; in America the rebound has been so violent that an
extreme form of anti-intellectualism is now the dominant fashion in
philosophy. It would have been easy to predict--and in fact the
prediction was made--that the new world-construction in terms of will
and action, which disparages speculative or theoretical truth and gives
the primacy to what Kant called the practical reason, would be eagerly
welcomed by Christian apologists, hard-pressed by the discoveries of
science and biblical criticism. Protestants, in fact, had recourse to
this method of apologetic before the Modernist movement arose. The
Ritschlian theology in Germany (in spite of its 'static' view of
revelation), and the _Symbolo-fidéisme_ of Sabatier and Ménégoz, have
many affinities with the position of Tyrrell, Laberthonnière, and Le

It is exceedingly difficult to compress into a few pages a fair and
intelligible statement of a _Weltansicht_ which affects the whole
conception of reality, and which has many ramifications. There is an
additional difficulty in the fact that few of the Modernists are more
than amateurs in philosophy. They are quick to see the strategic
possibilities of a theory which separates faith and knowledge, and
declares that truths of faith can never come into collision with truths
of fact, because they 'belong to different orders.' It suits them to
follow the pragmatists in talking about 'freely chosen beliefs,' and
'voluntary certainty '; Mr. Tyrrell even maintains that 'the great mass
of our beliefs are reversible, and depend for their stability on the
action or permission of the will.' But philosophy is for them mainly a
controversial weapon. It gives them the means of justifying their
position as Catholics who wish to remain loyal to their Church and her
formularies, but no longer believe in the miracles which the Church has
always regarded as matters of fact. Nevertheless, an attempt must be
made to explain a point of view which, to the plain man, is very strange
and unfamiliar.

Two words are constantly in the mouth of Modernist controversialists in
speaking of their opponents. The adherents of the traditional theology
are 'intellectualists,' and their conception of reality is 'static.' The
meaning of the latter charge may perhaps be best explained from
Laberthonnière's brilliantly written essay, 'Le Réalisme Chrétien et
l'Idéalisme Grec.' The Greeks, he says, were insatiable in their desire
to _see_, like children. Blessedness, for them, consisted in a complete
vision of reality; and, since thought is the highest kind of vision,
salvation was conceived of by them as the unbroken contemplation of the
perfectly true, good, and beautiful. Hence arose the philosophy of
'concepts'; they idealised nature by considering it _sub specie
æternitatis_. Reality resided in the unchanging ideas; the mutable, the
particular, the individual was for them an embarrassment, a 'scandal of
thought.' The sage always tries to escape from the moving world of
becoming into the static world of being. But an ideal world, so
conceived, can only be an abstraction, an impoverishment of reality.
Such an idealism gives us neither a science of origins nor a science of
ends. Greek wisdom sought eternity and forgot time; it sought that which
never dies, and found that which never lives.

     'An abstract doctrine, like that of Greek philosophy or of
     Spinoza, consists always in substituting for reality, by
     simplification, ideas or concepts which they think
     statically in their logical relations, regarding them at the
     same time as adequate representations and as essences
     immovably defined.'[76]

Hellenised Christianity, proceeds our critic, regarded the incarnation
statically, as a fact in past history. But the real Christ is an object
of faith. 'He introduces into us the principles of that which we ought
to be. That which He reveals, He makes in revealing it.' In other words,
Christ, and the God whom He reveals, are a power or force rather than a
fact. 'A God who has nothing to become has nothing to do.' God is not
the idea of ideas, but the being of beings and the life of our life. He
is not a supreme notion, but a supreme life and an immanent action. He
is not the 'unmoved mover,' but He is in the movement itself as its
principle and end. While the Greeks conceived the world _sub specie
æternitatis_, God is conceived by modern thought _sub specie temporis_.
God's eternity is not a sort of arrested time in which there is no more
life; it is, on the contrary, the maximum of life.

It is plain that we have here a one-sided emphasis on the dynamic aspect
of reality no less fatal to sound philosophy than the exclusively static
view which has been falsely attributed to the Greeks. A little clear
thinking ought to be enough to convince anyone that the two aspects of
reality which the Greeks called sthasist and khinêsist are correlative
and necessary to each other. A God who is merely the principle of
movement and change is an absurdity. Time is always hurling its own
products into nothingness. Unless there is a being who can say, 'I am
the Lord, I change not,' the 'sons of Jacob' cannot flatter themselves
that they are 'not consumed.'[77] But Laberthonnière and his friends are
not much concerned with the ultimate problems of metaphysics; what they
desire is to shake themselves free from 'brute facts' in the past, to be
at liberty to deny them as facts, while retaining them as representative
ideas of faith. If reality is defined to consist only in life and
action, it is a meaningless abstraction to snip off a moment in the
process, and ask, 'Did it ever really take place?' This awkward question
may therefore be ignored as meaningless and irrelevant, except from the
'abstract' standpoint of physical science.

The crusade against 'intellectualism' serves the same end. M. Le Roy and
the other Christian pragmatists have returned to the Nominalism of Duns
Scotus. The following words of Frassen, one of Scotus' disciples, might
serve as a motto for the whole school:

     'Theologia nostra non est scientia. Nullatenus speculativa
     est, sed simpliciter practica. Theologiae obiectum non est
     speculabile, sed operabile. Quidquid in Deo est practicum
     est respectu nostri.'

M. Le Roy also seems to know only these two categories. Whatever is not
'practical'--having an immediate and obvious bearing on conduct--is
stigmatised as 'theoretical' or 'speculative.' But the whole field of
scientific study lies outside this classification, which pretends to be
exhaustive. Science has no 'practical' aim, in the narrow sense of that
which may serve as a guide to moral action; nor does it deal with
'theoretical' or 'speculative' ideas, except provisionally, until they
can be verified. The aim of science is to determine the laws which
prevail in the physical universe; and its motive is that purely
disinterested curiosity which is such an embarrassing phenomenon to
pragmatists. And since the faith which lies behind natural science is at
least as strong as any other faith now active in the world, it is
useless to frame categories in such a way as to exclude the question,
'Did this or that occurrence, which is presented as an event in the
physical order, actually happen, or not?' The question has a very
definite meaning for the man of science, as it has for the man in the
street. To call it 'theoretical' is ridiculous.

What M. Le Roy means by 'interpreting dogmas in the language of
practical action' may be gathered from his own illustrations. The dogma,
'God is our Father,' does not define a 'theoretical relation' between
Him and us. It signifies that we are to behave to Him as sons behave to
their father. 'God is personal' means that we are to behave to Him as if
He were a human person. 'Jesus is risen' means that we are to think of
Him as if He were our contemporary. The dogma of the Real Presence means
that we ought to have, in the presence of the consecrated Host, the same
feelings which we should have had in the presence of the visible Christ.
'Let the dogmas be interpreted in this way, and no one will dispute

The same treatment of dogma is advocated in Mr. Tyrrell's very able book
'Lex Orandi.' The test of truth for a dogma is not its correspondence
with phenomenal fact, but its 'prayer-value.' This writer, at any rate
before his suspension by the Society of Jesus, to which he belonged, is
less subversive in his treatment of history than the French critics whom
we have quoted. Although in apologetics the criterion for the acceptance
of dogmas must, he thinks, be a moral and practical one, he sometimes
speaks as if the 'prayer-value' of an ostensibly historical proposition
carried with it the necessity of its truth as matter of fact.

     'Between the inward and the outward, the world of reality
     and the world of appearances, the relation is not merely one
     of symbolic correspondence. The distinction that is demanded
     by the dualism of our mind implies and presupposes a causal
     and dynamic unity of the two. We should look upon the
     outward world as being an effectual symbol of the inward, in
     consequence of its natural and causal connection

But Mr. Tyrrell does not seem to mean all that these sentences might
imply. He speaks repeatedly, in the 'Lex Orandi,' of the 'will-world' as
the only real world.

     'The will (he says) cannot make that true which in itself is
     not true. But it can make that a fact relatively to our mind
     and action which is not a fact relative to our
     understanding.... It rests with each of us by an act of will
     to create the sort of world to which we shall accommodate
     our thought and action. ....It does not follow that harmony
     of faith with the truths of reason and facts of experience
     is the best or essential condition of its credibility....
     Abstractions (he refers to the world as known to science)
     are simple only because they are barren forms created by the
     mind itself. Faith and doubt have a common element in the
     deep sense of the insufficiency of the human mind to grasp
     ultimate truths.... The world given to our outward senses is
     shadowy and dreamy, except so far as we ascribe to it some
     of the characteristics of will and spirit.... The world of
     appearance is simply subordinate to the real world of our
     will and affections.'

Because the 'abstract' sciences cannot and do not attempt to reach
ultimate truth, it is assumed that they are altogether 'barren forms,'
This is the error of much Oriental mysticism, which denies all value to
what it regards as the lower categories. In his later writings Mr.
Tyrrell objects to being classed with the American and English
pragmatists--the school of Mr. William James. But the doctrine of these
passages is ultra-pragmatist. The will, which is illegitimately
stretched to include feeling,[80] is treated as the creator as well as
the discerner of reality. The 'world of appearance' is plastic in its
grasp. It is this metaphysical pragmatism which is really serviceable to
Modernism. If the categories of the understanding can be so disparaged
as to be allowed no independent truth, value, or importance, all
collisions between faith and fact may be avoided by discrediting in
advance any conclusions at which science may arrive. Assertions about
'brute fact' which are scientifically false may thus not be untrue when
taken out of the scientific plane, because outside that plane they are
harmless word-pictures, soap-bubbles blown off by the poetical
creativeness of faith Any assertion about fact which commends itself to
the will and affections and which is proved by experience to furnish
nutriment to the spiritual life, may be adhered to without scruple. It
is not only useful, but true, in the only sense in which truth can be
predicated of anything in the higher sphere.

The obvious criticism on this notion of religious truth as purely moral
and practical is that it is itself abstract and one-sided. The universe
as it appears to discursive thought, with its vast system of seemingly
uniform laws, which operate without much consideration for our wishes or
feelings, must be at least an image of the real universe. We cannot
accept the irreconcilable dualism between the will-world and the world
of phenomena which the philosophical Modernists assume. The dualism, or
rather the contradiction, is not in the nature of things, nor in the
constitution of our minds, but in the consciousness of the unhappy men
who are trying to combine two wholly incompatible theories. On the
critical side they are pure rationalists, much as they dislike the name.
They claim, as we have seen, to have advanced to philosophy through
criticism. But the Modernist critics start with very well-defined
presuppositions. They ridicule the notion that 'God is a personage in
history'; they assume that for the historian 'He cannot be found
anywhere'; that He is as though He did not exist. On the strength of
this presupposition, and for no other reason, they proceed to rule out,
without further investigation, all alleged instances of divine
intervention in history. Unhampered by any of the misgivings which
predispose the ordinary believer to conservatism, they follow the
rationalist argument to its logical conclusions with startling
ruthlessness. And then, when the whole edifice of historical religion
seems to have been overthrown to the very foundations, they turn round
suddenly and say that all their critical labours mean nothing for faith,
and that we may go on repeating the old formulas as if nothing had
happened. The Modernists pour scorn on the scholastic
'faculty-psychology,' which resolves human personality into a syndicate
of partially independent agents; but, in truth, their attempt to blow
hot and cold with the same mouth seems to have involved them in a more
disastrous self-disruption than has been witnessed in the history of
thought since the fall of the Nominalists. In a sceptical and
disillusioned age their disparagement of 'intellectualism' or rather of
discursive thought in all its operations, might find a response. But in
the twentieth century the science which, as critics, they follow so
unswervingly will not submit to be bowed out of the room as soon as
matters of faith come into question. Our contemporaries believe that
matters of fact are important, and they insist, with ever-increasing
emphasis, that they shall not be called upon to believe, as part of
their religious faith, anything which as a matter of fact, is not true.
The Modernist critic, when pressed on this side, says that it is natural
for faith to represent its ideas in the form of historical facts, and
that it is this inevitable tendency which causes the difficulties
between religion and science. A sane criticism will allow that this is
very largely true, but will not, we are convinced, be constrained to
believe with M. Loisy that the historical original of the Christian
Redeemer was the poor deluded enthusiast whom he portrays in 'Les
Évangiles Synoptiques.'

However this may be--and it must remain a matter of opinion--the very
serious question arises, whether it is really natural for faith to
represent its ideas in the form of historical facts when it knows that
these facts have no historical basis. The writers with whom we are
dealing evidently think it is natural and inevitable, and we must assume
that they speak from their own spiritual experience. But this state of
mind does not seem to be a very common one. Those who believe in the
divinity of Christ, but not in His supernatural birth and bodily
resurrection, do not, as a rule, make those miracles the subject of
their meditations, but find their spiritual sustenance in communion with
the 'Christ who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Those who
regard Jesus only as a prophet sent by God to reveal the Father,
generally pray only to the God whom He revealed, and cherish the memory
of Jesus with no other feelings than supreme gratitude and veneration.
Those, lastly, who worship in God only the Great Unknown who makes for
righteousness, find myths and anthropomorphic symbols merely disturbing
in such devotions as they are still able to practise. In dealing with
convinced Voluntarists it is perhaps not disrespectful to suggest that
the difficult position in which they find themselves has produced a
peculiar activity of the will, such as is seldom found under normal

We pass to the position of the Modernists in the Roman Catholic Church.
It is well known that the advisers of Pius X have committed the Papacy
to a wholesale condemnation of the new movement. The reasons for this
condemnation are thus summed up by a distinguished ecclesiastic of that

     'Why has the Pope condemned the Modernists? (1) Because the
     Modernists have denied that the divine facts related in the
     Gospel are historically true. (2) Because they have denied
     that Christ for most of His life knew that He was God, and
     that He ever knew that He was the Saviour of the world. (3)
     Because they have denied the divine sanction and the
     perpetuity of the great dogmas which enter into the
     Christian creed. (4) Because they have denied that Christ
     Himself personally ever founded the Church or instituted the
     Sacraments. (5) Because they deny and subvert the divine
     constitution of the Church, by teaching that the Pope and
     the bishops derive their powers, not directly from Christ
     and His Apostles, but from the Christian people.'

The official condemnation is contained in two documents--the decree of
the Holy Inquisition, 'Lamentabili sane exitu,' July 3, 1907, and the
Encyclical, 'Pascendi dominici gregis,' September 8, 1907. These
pronouncements are intended for Catholics; and their tone is that of
authoritative denunciation rather than of argument. In the main, the
summary which they give of Modernist doctrines is as fair as could be
expected from a judge who is passing sentence; but the papal theologians
have not always resisted the temptation to arouse prejudice by
misrepresenting the views which they condemn. We have not space to
analyse these documents, nor is it necessary to do so. It will be more
to the purpose to consider whether, in spite of their official
condemnation, the Modernists are likely in the future to make good their
footing in the Roman Church.

Even before the Encyclical the Modernists had used very bold language
about the authority of the Church.

     'The visible Church (writes Mr. Tyrrell in his "Much-abused
     Letter") is but a means, a way, a creature, to be used where
     it helps, to be left where it hinders.... Who have taught us
     that the consensus of theologians cannot err, but the
     theologians themselves? Mortal, fallible, ignorant men like
     ourselves! ... Their present domination is but a passing
     episode in the Church's history.... May not history repeat
     itself? [as in the transition from Judaism to Christianity].
     Is God's arm shortened that He should not again out of the
     very stones raise up seed to Abraham? May not Catholicism,
     like Judaism, have to die in order that it may live again in
     a greater and grander form? Has not every organism got its
     limits of development, after which it must decay and be
     content to survive in its progeny? Wine-skins stretch, but
     only within measure; for there comes at last a
     bursting-point when new ones must be provided.'

In a note he explains: 'The Church of the Catacombs became the Church of
the Vatican; who can tell what the Church of the Vatican may not turn

It is thus on a very elastic theory of development that the Modernists
rely. 'The differences between the larval and final stages of many an
insect are often far greater than those which separate kind from kind.'
And so this Proteus of a Church, which has changed its form so
completely since the Gospel was first preached in the subterranean
galleries of Rome, may undergo another equally startling metamorphosis
and come to believe in a God who never intervenes in history. We may
here remind our readers of Newman's tests of true development, and mark
the enormous difference.

Mr. Tyrrell's 'Much-abused Letter' reaches, perhaps, the high-water mark
of Modernist claims. Not all the writers whom we have quoted would view
with complacency the prospect of the Catholic Church dying to live
again, or being content to live only in its progeny. The proverb about
the new wine-skins is one of sinister augury in such a connection. If
the Catholic Church is really in such an advanced stage of decay that it
must die before it can live, why do those who grasp the situation wish
to keep it alive? Are they not precisely pouring their new wine into old
bottles? Mr. Tyrrell himself draws the parallel with Judaism in the
first century. Paul, he says, 'did not feel that he had broken with
Judaism,' But the Synagogue did feel that he had done so, and history
proved that the Synagogue was right.

Development, however great the changes which it exhibits, can only
follow certain laws; and the development of the Church of Rome has
steadily followed a direction opposite to that which the Modernists
demand that it shall take. Newman might plausibly claim that the
doctrines of purgatory and of the papal supremacy are logically involved
in the early claims of the Roman Church. The claim is true at least in
this sense, that, given a political Church organised as an autocracy,
these useful doctrines were sure, in the interests of the government, to
be promulgated sooner or later. But there is not the slightest reason
to suppose that the next development will be in the direction of that
peculiar kind of Liberalism favoured by the Modernists. It is difficult
to see how the Vatican could even meet the reformers half-way without
making ruinous concessions.' This supernatural mechanism,' M. Loisy says
in his last book, 'Modernism tends to ruin completely,' Just so; but the
Roman Church lives entirely on the faith in supernatural mechanism. Her
sacramental and sacerdotal system is based on supernatural mechanism--on
divine interventions in the physical world conditioned by human agency;
her theology and books of devotion are full of supernatural mechanism;
the lives of her saints, her relics and holy places, the whole
literature of Catholic mysticism, the living piety and devotion of the
faithful, wherever it is still to be found, are based entirely on that
very theory of supernaturalistic dualism which the Modernist, when he
acts as critic, begins by ruling out as devoid of any historical or
scientific actuality. The attractiveness of Catholicism as a cult
depends almost wholly on its frank admission of the miraculous as a
matter of daily occurrence. To rationalise even contemporary history as
M. Loisy has rationalised the Gospels would be suicide for Catholicism.

It is tempting to give a concrete instance by way of illustrating the
impassable chasm which divides Catholicism as a working system from the
academic scheme of transformation which we have been considering.

     'The French Catholics (writes the _Times_ correspondent in
     Paris on June 25, 1908) are awaiting with concern the report
     of a special commission on a mysterious affair known as the
     Miraculous Hailstones of Remiremont. On Sunday, May 26,
     1907, during a violent storm that swept over that region of
     the Vosges, among the great quantity of hailstones that fell
     at the time a certain number were found split in two. On the
     inner face of each of the halves, according to the local
     papers that appeared the next day, was the image of the
     Madonna venerated at Remiremont and known as Notre Dame du
     Trésor. The local Catholics regarded it as a reply to the
     municipal council's veto of the procession in honour of the
     Virgin. So many people testified to having seen the
     miraculous hailstones that the bishop of Saint-Dié
     instituted an inquiry; 107 men, women, and children were
     heard by the parish priest, and certain well-known men of
     science [names given] were consulted. The report has just
     been published in the _Semaine Religieuse_, and concludes in
     favour of the absolute authenticity of the fact under
     inquiry. ....The last word rests with the bishop, who will
     decide according to the conclusions of the report of the
     special commission.'

This is Catholicism in practice. Those who think to reform it by their
contention that supernatural interventions can never be matters of fact,
are liable to the reproach which they most dislike--that of scholastic
intellectualism, and neglect of concrete experience.

This denial of the supernatural as a factor in the physical world seems
to us alone sufficient to make the position of the Modernists in the
Roman Church untenable. That form of Christianity stands or falls with
belief in miracles. It has always sought to bring the divine into human
life by intercalating acts of God among facts of nature. Its whole
sacred literature, as we have said, is penetrated through and through by
the belief that God continually intervenes to change the course of
events. What would become of the cult of Mary and the saints if it were
recognised that God does not so interfere, and that the saints, if
criticism allows that they ever existed, can do nothing by their
intercessions to avert calamity or bring blessing? The Modernist priest,
it appears, can still say 'Ora pro nobis' to a Mary whose biography he
believes to be purely mythical. At any rate, he can tell his consultants
with a good conscience that if they pray to Mary for grace they will
receive it. But what is the good of this make-believe? And, if it is
part of a transaction in which the worshipper pays money for assistance
which he believes to be miraculous and only obtainable through the good
offices of the Church, is it even morally honest? The worshipper may be
helped by his subjective conviction that his cheque on the treasury of
merit has been honoured; but if, apart from the natural effects of
suggestion, nothing has been given him but a mere _placebo_, is the
sacerdotal office one which an honourable man would wish to fill?

We have no wish whatever to make any imputation against the motives of
the brave men who have withstood the thunders of the Vatican, and who in
some cases have been professionally ruined by their courageous avowal of
their opinions. Perhaps none but a Catholic priest can understand how
great the sacrifice is when one in his position breaks away from the
authority of those who speak in the name of the Church, and deliberately
incurs the charge, still so terrible in Catholic ears, of being a
heretic and a teacher of heresy. Not one man in twenty would dare to
face the storm of obloquy, hatred, and calumny which is always ready to
fall on the head of a heretical priest. The Encyclical indicates the
measures which are to be taken officially against Modernists. Pius X
ordains that all the young professors suspected of Modernism are to be
driven from their chairs in the seminaries; that infected books are to
be condemned indiscriminately, even though they may have received an
_imprimatur_; that a committee of censors is to be established in every
diocese for the revision of books; that meetings of liberal priests or
laymen are to be forbidden; that every diocese is to have a vigilance
committee to discover and inform against Modernists; and that young
clerical Modernists are to be put 'in the lowest places,' and held up to
the contempt of their more orthodox or obsequious comrades. But this
persecution is as nothing compared with the crushing condemnation with
which the religious world, which is his only world, visits this kind of
contumacy; the loss of friendships, the grief and shame of loved
relatives, and the haunting dread that an authority so august as that
which has condemned him cannot have spoken in vain. Assuredly all lovers
of truth must do homage to the courage and self-sacrifice of these men.
The doubt which may be reasonably felt and expressed as to the
consistency of their attitude reflects no discredit on them personally.
Nevertheless, the alternative must be faced, that a 'modernised'
Catholicism must either descend to deliberate quackery, or proclaim that
the bank from which the main part of her revenues is derived has stopped

What will be the end of the struggle, and in what condition will it
leave the greatest Church in Christendom? There are some who think that
the Church will grow tired of the attitude of Canute, and will retreat
to the chair which Modernism proffers, well above high-water mark. But
the policy of Rome has never been concession, but repression, even at
the cost of alienating large bodies of her supporters; and we believe
that in the present instance, as on former occasions, the Vatican will
continue to proscribe Modernism until the movement within her body is
crushed. She can hardly do otherwise, for the alternative offered is not
a gradual reform of her dogmas, but a sweeping revolution. This we have
made abundantly clear by quotations from the Modernists themselves. If
the Vatican once proclaimed that such views about supernaturalism as
those which we have quoted are permissible, a deadly wound would be
inflicted on the faith of simple Catholics all over the world. The Vicar
of Christ would seem to them to have apostatised. The whole machinery of
piety, as practised in Catholic countries, would be thrown out of gear.
Nor is there any strong body of educated laymen, such as exists in the
Protestant Churches, who could influence the Papacy in the direction of
Liberalism. Not only are the laity taught that their province is to
obey, and never to call in question the decisions of ecclesiastics, but
the large majority of thoughtful laymen have already severed their
connection with the Church, and take no interest in projects for its
reform. Everything points to a complete victory for the Jesuits and the
orthodox party; and, much as we may regret the stifling of free
discussion, and the expulsion of earnest and conscientious thinkers from
the Church which they love, it is difficult to see how any other policy
could be adopted.

Of the Modernists, a few will secede, others will remain in the Church,
though in open revolt against the Vatican; but the majority will be
silenced, and will make a lip-submission to authority. The disastrous
results of the rebellion, and of the means taken to crush it, will be
apparent in the deterioration of the priesthood. Modern thought, it will
be said, has now been definitely condemned by the Church; war has been
openly declared against progress. Many who, before the crisis of the
last few years, believed it possible to enter the Roman Catholic
priesthood without any sacrifice of intellectual honesty, will in the
future find it impossible to do so. We may expect to see this result
most palpable in France, where men think logically, and are but little
influenced by custom and prejudice. Unless the Republican Government
blows the dying embers into a blaze by unjust persecution, it is to be
feared that Catholicism in that country may soon become 'une quantité
négligeable.' The prospects of the Church in Italy and Spain do not seem
very much better. In fact the only comfort which we can suggest to those
who regret the decline of an august institution, is that decadent
autocracies have often shown an astonishing toughness. But as head of
the universal Church, in any true sense of the word, Rome has finished
her life.

A more vital question, for those at least who are Christians, but not
Roman Catholics, is in what shape the Christian religion will emerge
from the assaults upon traditional beliefs which science and historical
criticism are pressing home. We have given our reasons for rejecting the
Modernist attempt at reconstruction. In the first place, we do not feel
that we are required by sane criticism to surrender nearly all that M.
Loisy has surrendered. We believe that the kingdom of God which Christ
preached was something much more than a patriotic dream. We believe that
He did speak as never man spake, so that those who heard Him were
convinced that He was more than man. We believe, in short, that the
object of our worship was a historical figure. Nothing has yet come to
light, or is likely to come to light, which prevents us from identifying
the Christ of history with the Christ of faith, or the Christ of

But, if too much is surrendered on one side, too much is taken back on
the other. The contention that the progress of knowledge has left the
traditional beliefs and cultus of Catholics untouched is untenable. It
is not too much to say that the whole edifice of supernaturalistic
dualism under which Catholic piety has sheltered itself for fifteen
hundred years has fallen in ruins to the ground. There is still enough
superstition left to win a certain vogue for miraculous cures at
Lourdes, and split hailstones at Remiremont. But that kind of religion
is doomed, and will not survive three generations of sound secular
education given equally to both sexes. The craving for signs and
wonders--that broad road which attracts so many converts and wins so
rapid a success--leads religion at last to its destruction, as Christ
seems to have warned His own disciples. Science has been the slowly
advancing Nemesis which has overtaken a barbarised and paganised
Christianity. She has come with a winnowing fan in her hand, and she
will not stop till she has thoroughly purged her floor. She has left us
the divine Christ, whatever may be the truth about certain mysterious
events in His human life. But assuredly she has not left us the right to
offer wheedling prayers to a mythical Queen of Heaven; she has not left
us the right to believe in such puerile stories as the Madonna-stamp on
hailstones, in order to induce a comfortably pious state of mind.

The dualism alleged to exist between faith and knowledge will not serve.
Man is one, and reality is one; there can no more be two 'orders of
reality' not affecting each other than there can be two faculties in the
human mind working independently of each other. The universe which is
interpreted to us by our understanding is not unreal, nor are its laws
pliant to our wills, as the pragmatists do vainly talk. It is a divinely
ordered system, which includes man, the roof and crown of things, and
Christ, in whom is revealed to us its inner character and meaning. It is
not the province of faith either to flout scientific knowledge, or to
contaminate the material on which science works by intercalating what M.
Le Roy calls 'transhistorical symbols'--myths in fact--which do not
become true by being recognised as false, as the new apologetic seems to
suggest. Faith is not the born storyteller of Modernist theology. Faith
is, on the practical side, just the resolution to stand or fall by the
noblest hypothesis; and, on the intellectual side, it is a progressive
initiation, by experiment which ends in experience, into the unity of
the good, the true, and the beautiful, founded on the inner assurance
that these three attributes of the divine nature have one source and
conduct to one goal.

The Modernists are right in finding the primary principle of faith in
the depths of our undivided personality. They are right in teaching that
faith develops and comes into its own only through the activity of the
whole man. They are right in denying the name of faith to correct
opinion, which may leave the character untouched. As Hartley Coleridge

    'Think not the faith by which the just shall live
       Is a dead creed, a map correct of heaven,
    Far less a feeling fond and fugitive,
       A thoughtless gift, withdrawn as soon as given.
    It is an affirmation and an act
    That bids eternal truth be present fact.'

For all this we are grateful to them. But we maintain that the future of
Christianity is in the hands of those who insist that faith and
knowledge must be confronted with each other till they have made up
their quarrel. The crisis of faith cannot be dealt with by establishing
a _modus vivendi_ between scepticism and superstition. That is all that
Modernism offers us; and it will not do. Rather we will believe, with
Clement of Alexandria, that pistê hê gnhôsist, gnôsthê de hê phistist.

If this confidence in the reality of things hoped for and the
hopefulness of things real be well-founded, we must wait in patience for
the coming of the wise master-builders who will construct a more truly
Catholic Church out of the fragments of the old, with the help of the
material now being collected by philosophers, psychologists, historians,
and scientists of all creeds and countries. When the time comes for this
building to rise, the contributions of the Modernists will not be
described as wood, hay, or stubble. They have done valuable service to
biblical criticism, and in other branches, which will be always
recognised. But the building will not (we venture to prophesy) be
erected on their plan, nor by their Church. History shows few examples
of the rejuvenescence of decayed autocracies. Nor is our generation
likely to see much of the reconstruction. The churches, as institutions,
will continue for some time to show apparent weakness; and other
moralising and civilising agencies will do much of their work. But,
since there never has been a time when the character of Christ and the
ethics which he taught have been held in higher honour than the present,
there is every reason to expect that the next 'Age of Faith,' when it
comes, will be of a more genuinely Christian type than the last.


     [50] Bishop Creighton always emphasised this view of Roman
     Catholicism. 'The Roman Church,' he wrote, 'is the most
     complete expression of Erastianism, for it is not a Church
     at all, but a state in its organisation; and the worst form
     of state--an autocracy.' (_Life and Letters_, ii. 375.)

     [51] In contrast with 'henotheism' or 'monolatry,' such as
     the worship of the early Hebrews.

     [52] 'Nunc defecit certa successio in omnibus ecclesiis
     apostolicis, praeterquam in Romana, et ideo ex testimonio
     huius solius ecclesiae sumi potest certum argumentum ad
     probandas apostolicas traditiones.' Bellarmine, _De Verbo
     Dei scripto et non scripto_, IV, ix, 10.

     [53] Bellarmine, _De Laicis_, III, xxi, 22.

     [54]: Santayana, _Return in Religion_, p. 108.

     [55] Tertullian, _De Virg. Vel_., 1.

     [56] Encyclical of October 27, 1901.

     [57] In _The Programme of Modernism_, and _Quello che

     [58] _The Programme of Modernism_, p. 16.

     [59] _The Programme of Modernism_, pp. 50-54.

     [60] Loisy, _Simples Réflexions_, p. 168.

     [61] _Ibid. L'Évangile et l'Église_, pp. 3-5.

     [62] _Ibid. Les Évangiles Synoptiques_, p. 119.

     [63] _Ibid_.

     [64] _Ibid_. p. 143.

     [65] _Ibid_. pp. 138, 139.

     [66] _Ibid_. p. 104.

     [67] Loisy, _Les Évangiles Synoptiques_, p. 166.

     [68] _Ibid_. p. 169.

     [69] _Ibid. Le Quatrième Évangile_, passim.

     [70] Loisy, _Les Évangiles Synoptiques_, p. 214.

     [71] _Ibid_. p. 218.

     [72] Loisy, _Les Évangiles Synoptiques_, p. 223.

     [73] _The Programme of Modernism_, pp. 82, 83.

     [74] _Ibid_. p. 90.

     [75] Loisy, _Simples Réflexions_, p. 211.

     [76] Laberthonnière, _Le Réalisme Chrétien et l'Idéalisme
     Grec,_ pp. 44, 45.

     [77] _Malachi_, ii. 6.

     [78] Le Roy, _Dogme et Critique_, p. 26.

     [79] _Lex Orandi_, p. 165 (abridged).

     [80] This is not carelessness on the part of the writer.
     Paulsen also says (_Introduction to Philosophy_, p. 112), 4
     It is impossible to separate feeling and willing from each
     other.... Only in the highest stage of psychical life, in
     man, does a partial separation of feeling from willing
     occur.' But it is the highest stage of psychical life, the
     human, with which we are alone concerned; and in this stage
     it is both possible and necessary to distinguish between
     feeling and willing. Some Voluntarists, hard pressed by
     facts, try to make 'will' cover the whole of conscious and
     subconscious life, with the exception of logical reasoning,
     which is excluded as a sort of pariah!

     [81] Mgr. Moyes, in _The Nineteenth Century_, December,



The life of Newman was divided into two nearly equal portions by his
change of religion in October 1845. For the earlier half of his career
we have long had his own narrative; and Newman is a prince of
autobiographers. It was his wish that the 'Apologia' should be the final
and authoritative account of his life in the Church of England, and of
the steps by which he was led to transfer his allegiance to another
communion. The voluminous literature of the Tractarian movement, which
includes large collections of Newman's own letters, has confirmed the
accuracy of his narrative, and has made any further description of that
strange episode in English University life superfluous. With the
'Apologia' and Dean Church's 'Oxford Movement' before him, the reader
needs no more. Mr. Wilfrid Ward has therefore been well advised to
adhere loyally to the Cardinal's wishes, by confining himself to the
last half of Newman's life, after a brief summary of his childhood,
youth, and middle age till 1845. Nevertheless, it is misleading to give
the title 'The Life of Cardinal Newman' to a work which is only, as it
were, the second volume of a biography. There are very few men, however
long-lived, who have not done much of their best work before the age of
forty-five, and Newman was certainly not one of the exceptions. From
every point of view, except that of the Roman Catholic ecclesiastical
historian, Newman's Anglican career was far more interesting and
important than his residence at Birmingham. He will live in history, not
as the recluse of Edgbaston, nor as the wearer of the Cardinal's hat
which fell to his lot, almost too late to save the credit of the
Vatican, when he had passed the normal limit of human life, but as the
real founder and leader of nineteenth century Anglo-Catholicism, the
movement which he created and then tried in vain to destroy. The
projects and failures and successes of his later life seem very pale and
almost petty when compared with the activities of the years while he was
making a chapter of English history. His greatest book, though it was
written many years after his secession, is the record of a drama which
ended in the interview with Father Dominic the Passionist. It is 'The
History of my Religious Opinions'; and after 1845 his religious opinions
had, as he says himself, no further history. The incomparable style
which will give him a permanent place among the masters of English prose
was the product of his life at Oxford, where he lived in a society of
highly cultivated men, whose writings show many of the same excellences
as his own. Newman's English is only the Oriel manner at its best. Such
an instrument could hardly have been forged at the Birmingham Oratory,
where his associates, who had followed him from Littlemore, were of such
an inferior type that Mark Pattison, who knew them, was surprised that
he could be satisfied with their company. His best sermons and his best
poetry belong to his Anglican period. 'The Dream of Gerontius,' with all
its tender grace, is far less virile than 'Lead, kindly Light,' and
other short poems of his youth. Moreover, his record as a Roman
ecclesiastic is one of almost unrelieved failure. If he had died
eighteen years after his secession, when he already looked upon himself
as an old man whose course was nearly run, he would have been regarded
as one who had sacrificed a great career in the Church of England for
neglect and obscurity. From the first he was distrusted by the 'Old
Catholics' (the old Roman Catholic families in England), and suspected
at the Vatican, where Talbot assiduously represented him as 'the most
dangerous man in England.' When Manning, Archdeacon of Chichester,
followed his example and joined the Roman Church, Newman was confronted
with a still more subtle and relentless opponent, whose hostility was
never relaxed till the accession of a Liberal Pope made it no longer
possible to resist the bestowal of tardy honours upon a feeble
octogenarian. The recognition came in time to soothe his decline, but
too late to enable him to leave his mark upon the administration of the
Roman Church.

The main events in a very uneventful career are narrated at length in
Mr. Ward's volumes. After his 'conversion' Newman first resided in a
small community at Maryvale (Oscott) but soon left it on a journey to
Rome, where he spent some time at the Collegio di Propaganda, and had a
foretaste of the distrust with which Pius IX and his advisers always
regarded him. His plan at this time was to found a theological seminary
at Maryvale; and in this scheme he had the support of Wiseman, the
ablest Roman ecclesiastic in the United Kingdom. But the 'Essay on
Development,' with its unscholastic language and unfamiliar line of
apologetic, seriously alarmed the theologians at Rome; and Newman,
accepting the first of many rebuffs, abandoned this project in favour of
another. He resolved to join the Oratorians, an order founded by St.
Philip Neri, and obtained permission to modify, in his projected
establishment, the rules of the Order, which, among other things,
prescribed frequent floggings in public. He visited Naples, and came
back a believer in the liquefaction of the saint's blood. The amazing
letter to Henry Wilberforce, writter from Santa Croce, shows that he was
the most docile and credulous of converts. Even the Holy House at Loreto
caused him no difficulty. 'He who floated the ark on the surges of a
world-wide sea, and inclosed in it all living things, who has hidden the
terrestrial paradise, who said that faith might remove mountains ...
could do this wonder also.' It 'may have been'; 'everybody believes it
in Rome'; therefore Newman 'has no doubt'!

The new Oratory was placed by Papal brief at Birmingham. The first
members of it were his friends who had left the English Church with him.
Recruits soon came in, and branch houses were talked of. But for many
years Newman had reason to complain of neglect and want of sympathy. He
even found empty churches when he preached in London. In conjunction
with Faber, he next started a series of 'Lives of the Saints,' in which
the most absurd 'miracles' were accepted without question as true. The
'Old Catholics,' who had no stomach for such food, protested; and
Newman, this time thoroughly irritated, had to admit another failure.
The Oratory, however, and its London offshoot under Faber were
prosperous, and the churches where Newman preached were not long empty.
In 1850 we find him in better spirits. He employed his energies in a
series of clever lectures on 'Anglican Difficulties,' in which he
ridiculed the Church of his earlier vows with all the refined cruelty of
which he was a master. But he was soon in trouble again. One Dr.
Giacinto Achilli, formerly a Dominican friar, gave lectures in London
upon the scandals of the Roman Inquisition, which had imprisoned him for
attacking the Catholic faith and fomenting sedition. The temper of the
British public at this time made it ready to believe anything to the
discredit of the Roman Church, and Achilli became a popular hero.
Wiseman published a libellous article upon him in the _Dublin Review_,
which passed unnoticed. But when Newman repeated the charges of
profligacy in a public lecture, Achilli brought an action for libel,
which in costs and expenses cost Newman £12,000. The money however was
paid, and much more than paid, by his co-religionists. This trial was
quickly followed by the inauguration of a scheme for founding a Catholic
University in Ireland, the avowed object of which was to withdraw young
Catholics from the liberalising influences of mixed education. This
scheme was sure to appeal strongly to Newman. Liberalism had come in
with a rush at Oxford, after the dissipation of the 'long nightmare' (as
Mark Pattison calls it) while the University was dominated by religious
medievalism. The Oxford of Newman had become the Oxford of Jowett. The
ablest of Newman's young friends and disciples, such as Mark Pattison
and J.A. Froude, were now in the opposite camp, full of anger and
disgust at the seductive influences from which they had just escaped.
Newman, as might be expected, was anxious to protect Catholic students
from similar dangers, and accepted the post of Rector of the proposed
Catholic University. He intended it to provide 'philosophical defences
of Catholicity and Revelation, and create a Catholic literature.' The
lectures in which he expounded his ideals at Dublin were a great
success, and he returned to England full of hope. With a curious
inability to read the character of one who was to be his worst enemy, he
offered Manning the post of Vice-Rector. Manning's refusal was followed
by his failure to obtain the support of Ward, Henry Wilberforce, and
others; and Catholic opinion in Ireland was much divided. For three or
four years Newman was engaged in ineffectual efforts to push his scheme
forward. At last, in 1855, he was installed as Rector, and began his
work at Dublin. A fine church was built at St. Stephen's Green with the
surplus of the Achilli subscriptions, and Newman produced some excellent
literary work in the form of University lectures and sermons. But the
whole movement was viewed with distrust by the Irish ecclesiastics, who,
as he said in a moment of impatience, 'regard any intellectual man as
being on the road to perdition.' There was a cloud over his work from
first to last. He had been promised a bishopric, without which he was
made to feel himself in an inferior position by the Irish prelates; but
the promise was not fulfilled. The Irish objected to one or two English
professors on his staff, because they were English. Dr. Cullen, the
ruling spirit in the Irish hierarchy, was a narrow conservative, who
wished to use Newman merely as an instrument against progressive
tendencies in Church and State. In 1857 he resigned an impossible task,
and returned to Birmingham.

New undertakings followed, no more successful than the abortive
university scheme. There was to be a new translation of the Bible, and a
new Catholic magazine called the _Rambler_. The former enterprise was
already well advanced when the general indifference of the Catholic
public caused it to be abandoned. The _Rambler_, the contributors to
which used a freedom of discussion unpalatable to Roman ecclesiastics,
struggled on amid a storm of criticism till 1859, when Newman, who was
then himself editor, resigned, and one more humiliating failure was
registered. The management of the magazine passed into other hands. The
Oratory School at Birmingham, a much less contentious undertaking, was
successfully launched in the same year.

In 1860 came the emancipation of the States of the Church by Cavour and
Victor Emmanuel. Newman referred to the Piedmontese as 'sacrilegious
robbers,' but his advocacy of the temporal power was not strong enough
to please the Vatican, while the strength of Manning's language left
nothing to be desired. Newman became more unpopular than ever. His
reputation suffered by his former connection with the _Rambler_ and his
supposed connection with the _Home and Foreign Review_, which Acton
intended to represent the views of progressive Catholics, till it also
was snuffed out by the hierarchy. The five years from 1859 to 1864 are
considered by Mr. Ward to have been the saddest in Newman's life. He
felt, truly enough, that the dominant party had no sympathy with his
aims, and that he was treated as 'some wild incomprehensible beast, a
spectacle for Dr. Wiseman to exhibit to strangers, as himself being the
hunter who captured it.' 'All through my life I have been plucked,' he
writes to an old Oxford friend. There was even in his mind at this time
a wistful yearning after the friends and the Church that he had left--a
feeling, doubtless transient, but significant, which his biographer has
allowed to show itself in a few pages of his book. After reminding
himself, in his diary, of the warning against those who, after putting
their hand to the plough, 'look back,' he proceeds to look back, because
he cannot help it.

     'I live more and more in the past, and in hopes that the
     past may revive in the future.... I think, as death comes
     on, his cold breath is felt on soul as on body, and that,
     viewed naturally, my soul is half dead now, whereas then [in
     his Protestant days] it was in the freshness and fervour of
     youth.... I say the same of my state of mind from 1834 to
     1845, when I became a Catholic. It is a time past and
     gone--it relates to a work done and over. "Quis mihi
     tribuat, ut sim iuxta menses pristinos, secundum dies,
     quibus Deus custodiebat me? Quando splendebat lucerna eius
     super caput meum, et ad lumen eius ambulabam in tenebris?"
     ... I have no friend at Rome; I have laboured in England, to
     be misrepresented, backbitten and scorned. I have laboured
     in Ireland, with a door ever shut in my face....
     Contemporaneously with this neglect on the part of those for
     whom I laboured, there has been a drawing towards me on the
     part of Protestants. Those very books and labours which
     Catholics did not understand, Protestants did. I am under
     the temptation of looking out for, if not courting,
     Protestant praise.... What I wrote as a Protestant has had
     far greater power, force, meaning, success, than my Catholic

Such reflections might seem to indicate a disposition to return to the
Anglican fold. But a man must have vanquished pride in its most
insidious form before he can leave the Church of Rome for any other. The
aristocratic _hauteur_ of the _civis Romanus_ among barbarians lives on
in the sentiment of the Roman Catholic towards Protestants. When Newman
was publicly charged with intending to return to Anglicanism, this
spirit broke out in a disagreeable and insulting manner.

The bitterness of these five years of neglect, in which he had been
eating his heart in silence, must be remembered in connexion with the
famous Kingsley controversy, which in 1864 roused him to put on his
armour and fight for his reputation. There had always been an element of
combativeness in Newman's disposition. '_Nescio quo pacto_, my spirits
most happily rise at the prospect of danger,' he wrote early in life.
And when he could persuade himself that not only his honour but that of
the Church was at stake, he could feel and show the true Catholic
ferocity, the cruellest spirit on earth. 'A heresiarch,' he had written
even in his Anglican days, 'should meet with no mercy. He must be dealt
with by the competent authority as if he were embodied evil. To spare
him is a false and dangerous pity. It is to endanger the souls of
thousands, and it is uncharitable towards himself'! This was the temper,
soured by defeat and not mellowed by age, which Charles Kingsley in an
evil moment for himself chose wantonly to provoke. At Christmas 1863
there appeared in _Macmillan's Magazine_ a review of Froude's 'History
of England,' in which Kingsley wrote 'Truth for its own sake has never
been a virtue with the Roman clergy. Father Newman informs us that it
need not be, and on the whole ought not to be--that cunning is the
weapon which Heaven has given to the saints wherewith to withstand the
brute male force of the wicked world.' This charge was in fact based on
a careless reading, or an imperfect recollection, of the twentieth
discourse in 'Sermons on Subjects of the Day.' The discourse in question
is a somewhat nauseous glorification of the servile temper, but it only
says that the meekness of the saints is (by Divine providence) so
successful that it is always mistaken for craft. The _imputation_ of
cunning is therefore a note of sanctity in its victim. Kingsley ought to
have read the sermon again, and withdrawn unreservedly from an untenable
position. But he thought that something less than a complete apology
would serve; and so gave Newman the opportunity of his life. When the
withdrawal which he offered was rejected, Kingsley made matters ten
times worse for himself by an ill-considered pamphlet called 'What then
does Dr. Newman mean?' In this effusion he vents all his scorn and
hatred for Catholicism--for its tortuous tactics, its monstrous
credulity and appetite for miracles, which must proceed, according to
him, either from infantile folly or from deliberate imposture.
Forgetting altogether that he has to defend himself against a specific
charge of slander, he offers his great opponent the choice between
writing himself down a knave or a fool--a knave if he pretends to
believe in the Holy Coat and the blood of St. Januarius, a fool if he
does believe in them.

The coarseness of this attack upon an elderly man of saintly character
and acknowledged intellectual eminence, who had to all appearance
blighted a great career by honestly obeying his conscience, offended the
British public, which was now fully disposed to give a respectful and
favourable hearing to whatever Newman might care to say in reply. In a
Catholic country it would have been useless for a Protestant, however
falsely attacked, to appeal to Catholic public opinion for justice; but
Newman understood the English character, and saw his splendid chance.

The famous defence was, from every point of view except the highest, a
complete triumph. And although Hort was strictly accurate in describing
the treatment of Kingsley as 'horribly unchristian,' it is demanding too
much of human nature to expect a master of fence, when wantonly attacked
with a bludgeon, to abstain from the pleasure of pricking his adversary
scientifically in the tender parts of his body. The bitterest passages
were excised in later editions; and the 'Apologia' remains a masterpiece
of autobiography, and a powerful defence of Catholicism. To Newman this
appeared to be the turning-point in his fortunes. He felt strong enough
to administer a severe snub to Monsignor Talbot, his old enemy, who,
hearing of the success the 'Apologia,' invited him to preach at Rome.
Then at once he threw himself into a great scheme for founding an
Oratory at Oxford. Eight and a half acres were bought between Worcester
College, the Clarendon Press, the Observatory, and Beaumont Street, a
magnificent site, which the Oratorians acquired for only £8400. But here
again he was thwarted. W.G. Ward opposed the scheme with all his might,
insisting on the necessity of 'preserving the purity of a Catholic
atmosphere throughout the whole course of education.' The whole tendency
of the Ultramontane movement was to secure, before all other things, a
body of militant young Catholics to fight the battles of the Church.
Newman was willing to support the English Church in its warfare against
unbelief; to the Ultramontane a Protestant is as certainly damned as an
atheist, and is more mischievous as being less amenable to Catholic
influence. Manning and Talbot seem to have given the project its _coup
de grâce_ at Rome, and Newman sold the land which he had bought. He was
bitterly disappointed; but the growth of public esteem had given him
self-confidence, and he did not again fall into despondency, though he
had a strange presentiment of approaching death, which prompted his last
famous poem, 'The Dream of Gerontius.' A second attempt to go to Oxford
was thwarted by enemies at Home and in England in 1866-7. The extreme
party, with Manning, now Archbishop, at their head, seemed to be
victorious all along the line. They were able to proceed to their
supreme triumph in the Vatican Council which issued the dogma of Papal
Infallibility. Newman, while others were intriguing and haranguing, was
quietly engaged in preparing his subtlest and (on one side) his most
characteristic work, 'The Grammar of Assent,' an attempt at a Catholic
apologetic on a 'personalist,' as opposed to an 'intellectualist' basis.
He declined to take an active part in the theological conferences about
infallibility, being by this time well aware how little weight such
arguments as he could bring were likely to have at Rome. He was
disgusted at the insolent aggressiveness of the Ultramontanes, but he
had no wish to combat it. The situation was hopeless, and he knew it.
The death of several friends increased the sense of isolation, and
during the years 1875 to 1879 his silence and depression were very
noticeable to those who lived with him. His dearest friend, Ambrose St.
John, was one of several who died about this time. But Trinity College,
Oxford, made him an honorary fellow in 1877, an honour which seemed to
prognosticate the far higher distinction which was soon to be conferred
upon him.

The death of Pius IX in 1878 brought to an end the long reign of
obscurantism at the Vatican, and with the election of Leo XIII Newman
emerged from the cloud under which he had remained for more than a
generation. The new Pope lost no time in making him a Cardinal, though
even now the prize seemed to be on the point of slipping through his
fingers. He valued the honour immensely as setting the official seal of
approbation on his life's work, and the last ten years of his life were
quietly happy. He was able to mingle actively in affairs of public
interest, and to write long letters, till near the end. He died on
August 11, 1890, in his ninetieth year, and was buried, by his own
request, in the same grave with his friend Ambrose St. John.

Why is it that this sad, isolated, broken life, in which the young man
renounces the creed of the boy, and the elder man pours scorn upon the
loyalties of his prime; which found its last haven in a society which
wished to make a tool of him but distrusted him too much for even this
pitiful service, has still an absorbing interest for our generation? For
it is not only in England that Newman's fame lives and grows. In France
there is a cult of Newman, which has produced biographies by Bremond and
Faure, as well as a history of the Catholic Revival in England by
Thureau-Dangin. In England, besides Dean Church's 'Oxford Movement,' we
have biographies by R.H. Hutton and W. Barry, and appreciations or
depreciations by E. Abbott, Leslie Stephen, Froude, Mark Pattison, and
several others.

The interest is mainly personal and psychological. Newman's writings,
and his life, are a 'human document' in a very peculiar degree. Bremond
is right in calling attention to the _autocentrism_ of Newman. 'Although
(he says) the words "I" and "me" are relatively rare in Newman's
writings, whether as preacher, novelist, controversialist, philosopher,
or poet, he always reveals and always describes himself.' Even his
historical portraits are reconstructed from his inner consciousness;
hence their historical falsity--all ages are mixed in his histories--and
their philosophical truth. In a sense he was the most reserved of men.
We do not know whether he had any ordinary temptations; we do not know
whether he ever fell in love. But the texture of his mind and the growth
of his opinions have been laid bare to us with the candour of a saint
and the accuracy of a dissector or analyst. He reminds us of De Quincey,
who also could tell the story of his own life, but no other, and whose
style, like his own, was modelled on the literary traditions of the
eighteenth century.

He has left us, in the 'Apologia,' a picture of his precocious and
dreamy boyhood, when he lived in a world of his own, peopled by angels
and spirits, a world in which the supernatural was the only nature. He
was lonely and reserved, then as always. It is not for nothing that in
his sermons he expatiates so often on the impenetrability of the human
soul. A nature so self-centred has always something hard and inhuman
about it; he was loved, but loved little in return. And yet he craved
for more affection than he could reciprocate. 'I cannot ever realise to
myself,' he wrote once, 'that anyone loves me.' It is a common feeling
in imaginative, withdrawn characters. Deepseated in his nature was a
reverence for the hidden springs of thought, action, and belief. When he
spoke of 'conscience,' as he did continually, he meant, not the faculty
which decides ethical problems, but the undivided soul-nature which
underlies the separate activities of thought, will, and feeling. In this
sense the epigrammatist was right who said that 'to Newman his own
nature was a revelation which he called conscience.' He 'followed the
gleam,' uncertain whither it would lead him. The poem 'Lead, kindly
Light' is the most intimate self-revelation that he ever made. This
mental attitude, which he took early in life, became the foundation of
his 'personalist' philosophy, and of the anti-intellectualism which was
the negative side of it. But this reliance on the inner light, which
nearly made a mystic of him, was clouded by a haunting fear of God's
wrath, which imparts a gloomy tinge to his Anglican sermons, and which,
while he was halting between the English Church and Rome, plied him with
the very unmystical question 'Where shall I be most _safe_?' an argument
which he had used repeatedly and without scruple in his parochial

It is nevertheless true that this self-centred spirit was, at least in
early life, impressionable and open to the influence of others. His
friendship with Hurrell Froude and Keble affected his opinions
considerably: and still more potent was the pervading intangible
influence of Oxford--the academic atmosphere. It cannot indeed be said
that the University was at this time in a healthy condition. Mark
Pattison has described with caustic contempt the intellectual lethargy
of the place, and the miserable quality of the lectures. Oxford was
still _de facto_ a close clerical corporation, and in most colleges
'clubbable men' rather than scholars were chosen for the fellowships.
Oriel won its unique position by breaking through this tradition, and
also by making originality rather than success in the university
examinations the main qualification for election. But even at Oriel, and
among the ablest men, there was great ignorance of much that was being
thought and written elsewhere. Knowledge of German was rare. Even the
classics were not read in a humanistic spirit. 'Of the world of wisdom
and sentiment--of poetry and philosophy, of social and political
experience, contained in the Latin and Greek classics, and of the true
relation of the degenerate and semi-barbarous Christian writers of the
fourth century to that world--Oxford, in 1830, had never dreamt.[83]
Theological prejudice in fact distorted the whole outlook of the
resident fellows, and confounded all estimation of relative values.
Newman never, all through his life, took a step towards overcoming this
early prejudice. He imagined a golden age of the Church, or several
golden ages, and found them in 'the first three centuries,' in the time
of Alfred the Great or of Edward the Confessor, or in the seventeenth
century. He was only sure that the sixteenth century was made of much
baser metal. This unhistorical idealisation of the past, even of a
barbarous past, was very characteristic of Newman and his friends. They
bequeathed to the Anglican Church the strange legend of an age of pure
doctrine and heroic practice, to which it should be our aim to 'return.'
The real strength of this legend lies in the fact that it has no
historical foundation. The ideal which is presented as a return or a
revival is nothing of the kind, but a creation of our own time,
projected by the imagination into the past, from which it comes back
with a halo of authority. Newman had his full share of these illusions.
In his youth and prime he was more of an Englishman than an Anglican. He
despised foreigners, unless they were Catholic saints, could not bear
the sight of the _tricolor_, and hated all the 'ideas of the
Revolution.' His dictum, 'Luther is dead, but Hildebrand and Loyola are
alive,' throws a flood of light upon the contents of his mind, as does
the truly British prejudice which caused him to be horrified at the
sight of ships coaling at Malta 'on a holy day.' His range of ideas was
so much restricted that Bremond, a sincere admirer, says that his
imagination lived on 'une poignée de souvenirs d'enfant.' How tragic was
the fate which caught this loyal Englishman and more than loyal Oxonian
in the meshes of a cosmopolitan institution in which England counted for
little and Oxford for nothing at all!

The Reform of 1832 seemed to threaten the English Church with
destruction. Arnold in this year wrote 'The Church, as it now stands, no
human power can save.' The bishops were stunned and bewildered by the
unexpected outbreak of popular hostility. Old methods of defence were
plainly useless; some new plan of campaign must be devised against the
double assault of political radicalism and theological liberalism. To
Newman both alike were of the devil; theological liberalism especially
was only specious infidelity. He never had the slightest inkling that a
deep religious earnestness and love of truth underlay the revolt against
orthodox tradition. His fighting instincts were aroused. When Keble
attributed the scheme for suppressing some Irish bishopries to 'national
apostasy,' he rushed to arms in defence of Church privileges and
property. In the first Tract (1833) he says:

     'A notion has gone abroad that the people can take away your
     power. They think they have given it and can take it away.
     They have been deluded into a notion that present palpable
     usefulness, produceable results, acceptableness to your
     flocks--that these and such-like are the tests of your
     Divine commission. Enlighten them in this matter. Exalt our
     holy fathers the Bishops, as the representatives of the
     Apostles, and the Angels of the Churches, and magnify your
     office, as being ordained by them to take part in their

That was the keynote of the whole Tractarian movement. A weapon was
needed to smite liberalism. Nothing but a compact and powerful
organisation could repel the foe. God must have provided such an
organisation: a Divine society, certain of ultimate victory, must exist
somewhere. Newman and his friends hoped to find it in the Anglican
Church; and such was the power of their contagious zeal and confident
enthusiasm, that the immediate danger was actually staved off, and the
Establishment was allowed a new lease of life. But the national Church
of England was not constituted to resist the national will, and the
attempt to reorganise it on Catholic lines was fore-doomed to failure.
And so, since the assumption that a great institutional fighting Church
_must_ exist was never even questioned, when Anglicanism failed him
there was no other refuge but Rome.

He was certainly more logical than his friends who remained behind.
Anglo-Catholicism has its theoretical basis in a definition of
Catholicity which is repudiated by all other Catholics; its traditions
are largely legendary. But it is an eclectic system well suited to the
English character, and the distorted view of history which Newman
bequeathed to the party has enabled it to borrow much that is good from
different sides, without any sense of inconsistency. The idea of a
Divine society has been and is the inspiration of thousands of ardent
workers in the Anglican Church. It lifted the religion of many
Englishmen from the somewhat gross and bourgeois condition in which the
movement found it, to a pure and unworldly idealism. And, unlike most
other religious revivals, especially in this country, it has remained
remarkably free from unhealthy emotionalism and hysterics. The social
atmosphere of Oxford, always alien to mawkish sentiment, penetrated the
whole movement, and maintained in it for many years a certain sanity and
dignity which, while they doubtless prevented it from spreading widely
in the middle class, made the Tractarians respected by men of taste and
education. But these influences could not be permanent. The goodwill of
the Tractarian firm (if we may so express it) has now been acquired by
men with very different aims and methods. The ablest members of the
party are plunging violently into social politics, while the rank and
file in increasing numbers are fluttering round the Roman candle, into
which many of them must ultimately fall.

The progress of the movement between 1833 and 1845 was almost entirely
in the direction of teaching the clergy to 'magnify their office.' The
other part of the scheme, the combat against theological liberalism,
fell quite into the background. The main reason for this was that during
those strange years the theologians so completely dominated Oxford that
liberalism could hardly raise its head, and was despised as well as
hated. Only after Newman's secession could the regeneration of the
University begin. Then indeed liberalism came in like a flood, though it
was a very shallow flood in some cases. This was the day of the
self-satisfied young rationalist, 'ecarté par une plaisanterie des
croyances dont la raison d'un Pascal ne réussit pas à se dégager,' as
Renan says--an orgy of facile free thought which after a generation was
chastised by another clerical reaction.

If Newman could have foreseen the victory of his party in the English
Church, he might perhaps have been content to remain in it. We cannot
tell. But it is doubtful whether he would have taken Pusey's place as
leader of the party. Newman's influence was disturbing and subtly
disintegrating to every cause for which he laboured. His startling
candour often seemed like treachery. He could not work with others, and
broke with nearly all his friends, retaining only his disciples. He
confessed himself a bad judge of character. It is doubtful, after all,
whether he was much injured by the jealousy and almost instinctive fear
which he inspired among the Roman Catholic hierarchy. If he had been
allowed to take the place due to his abilities, his character, and his
reputation, what could he have done that he was unable to do at
Edgbaston? We cannot fancy him plunged in crooked ecclesiastical
intrigue, like that _Inglese italianato_, Cardinal Manning. Still less
can we fancy him haranguing strikers, and stealing the credit of
composing a trade dispute. No doubt he suffered under the sense of
injury; but probably he did what was in him to do. If the Roman Church
would not use him as a tool, it was probably because he would not have
been a good tool. There are some mistakes which that Church seldom
makes; it knows how to choose its men.

What will be the verdict of history on the type of Catholicism which
Newman represented? He was kept out in the cold by a conservative Pope,
and honoured by a liberal Pope. Which was right, from the point of view
of Catholic interests and policy? This is perhaps the most important
question which the life of Newman raises; for it affects our
anticipations of the future even more than our judgments of the past. Is
Newman a safe or a possible guide for Catholics in the twentieth

Newman was no metaphysician; he confesses it himself. 'My turn of
mind,' he says, 'has never led me towards metaphysics; rather it has
been logical, ethical, practical.'[84] For metaphysics requires an
initial act of faith in human reason, and Newman had not this faith.
Even in his Anglican days he uttered many astonishing things in contempt
of reason. 'What is intellect itself (he asks) but a fruit of the Fall,
not found in paradise or in heaven, more than in little children, and at
the utmost but tolerated by the Church, and only not incompatible with
the regenerate mind?... Reason is God's gift, but so are the
passions.... Eve was tempted to follow passion and reason, and she
fell.'[85] 'Faith does not regard degrees of evidence.'[86] 'Faith and
humility consist, not in going about to prove, but in the outset
confiding in the testimony of others.' 'The more you set yourself to
argue and prove, in order to discover truth, the less likely you are to
reason correctly.'[87] The amazing crudity of this avowed obscurantism
is likely to make the orthodox apologist writhe, and to move the
rationalist to contemptuous laughter. In this and many other cases,
Newman seems to love to caricature himself, and to put his beliefs in
that form in which they outrage common sense most completely. We can
imagine nothing more calculated to drive a young and ingenuous mind into
flippant scepticism than a course of Newman's sermons. The _reductio ad
absurdum_ of his arguments is not left to the reader to make; it is
innocently provided by the preacher.

And yet Newman's central position is not absurd, or only becomes absurd
when it is applied to justify belief in gross superstition. He holds
that what he calls 'reasoning' deals only with abstractions, and is not
the faculty on which we rely in forming 'judgments.' These judgments, to
which we give our 'assent,' and by which we regulate our conduct, are
affirmations of the basal personality. And these have an authority far
greater than can ever arise out of the logical manipulation of concepts.
'There is no ultimate test of truth besides the testimony borne to the
truth by the mind itself.' The 'mind itself,' the concrete personality,
is concerned with realities, while the intellect, which for him
corresponds very nearly with the discursive reason (dihanoia) of the
Greek philosophers, is at home only in mathematics and, up to a certain
point, in logic. The concepts of the intellect have no existence outside
it. 'The mind has the gift, by an act of creation, of bringing before it
abstractions and generalisations which have no counterpart, no
existence, out of it.'[88] Parenthetically, we may remark that passages
like this show how wide of the truth Mr. Barry is when he speaks of
Newman as a 'thorough Alexandrine.' To deny the existence of universals,
to regard them as mere creations of the mind, is rank blasphemy to a
Platonist; and the Alexandrines were Christian Platonists. No more
misleading statement could be made about Newman's philosophy than to
associate him with Platonism of any kind, whether Pagan or Christian.
Newman adopts the sensationalist (Lockian) theory of knowledge. Ideas
are copies or modifications of the data presented by the senses; 'first
principles are abstractions from facts, not elementary truths prior to
reasoning.' This is pure nominalism, in its crudest form. It makes all
arguments in favour of the great truths of religion valueless; for if
there are no universals, rational theism is impossible. It follows that
the famous scholastic 'proofs of God's existence' have for Newman no
cogency whatever; indeed it is difficult to see how he can have escaped
condemning the whole philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas as a juggling with
bloodless concepts. Newman himself pleaded that he had no wish to oppose
the official dogmatics of his Church. But protestations are of no avail
where the facts are so clear. 'The natural theology of our schools,'
says a writer in the _Tablet_, quoted by Dr. Caldecott in his
'Philosophy of Religion,' 'is based frankly and wholly on the appeal to
reason.' This is notoriously true; and what Newman thought of reason we
have already seen. His extreme disparagement of the intellect seems to
preclude what he calls 'real assent' to the creeds and dogmas of
Catholicism; for these clearly consist of 'notional' propositions. But
Newman would answer that the Church is a concrete fact, to which 'real
assent' can be given; and the Church has guaranteed the truth of the
notional propositions in question. But since reason is put out of court
as a witness to truth, on what faculty, or on what evidence, does Newman
rely? Feeling he distrusts; that side of mysticism, at any rate, finds
no sympathy from him. Nor does he, like many Kantians and others, make
the will supreme over the other faculties. Rather, as we have seen, he
bases his reliance on the verdicts of the undivided personality, which
he often calls conscience. This line of apologetic was at this very time
being ably developed by Julius Hare. It is in itself an argument which
has no necessary connexion with obscurantism. 'Personalism,' as it is
technically called, reminds us that we do actually base our judgments on
grounds which are nob purely rational; that the intellect, in forming
concepts, has to be content with an approximate resemblance to concrete
reality; and that the will and feelings have their rights and claims
which cannot be ignored in a philosophy of religion. But while it is
compatible with a robust faith in the powers of the constructive
intellect, personalism is beyond question a self-sufficient,
independent, individualistic doctrine. When it is combined with a
nominalist theory of knowledge, it naturally suggests that every man may
and should live by the creed which bests suits his idiosyncrasies. Now
there was much in Newman's temperament which made him turn in this
direction. 'Lead, kindly Light' has been the favourite hymn of many an
independent thinker, to whom the authority of the Church is less than
nothing. But on another side Newman was all his life a fierce upholder
of the principle of authority. His reason for accepting the dogmas of
the Church, and for wishing to destroy heresiarchs like wild beasts, was
certainly not that his basal personality testified to the truth and
value of all ecclesiastical dogmas. He believed them 'by confiding in
the testimony of others'--in other words, on the authority of the
Catholic Church. If we push back the enquiry one step further, and ask
on what grounds he chooses to prefer the authority of the Catholic
Church to other authorities, such as natural science or philosophy, we
are driven again to lay great stress on the almost political necessity
which he felt that such a Divine society should exist. In accepting the
authority of the Church, he accepted the authority of all that the
Church teaches, in complete independence of human reason. But the Roman
Church never professes to be independent of human reason. The official
scholastic philosophy claims to be a demonstrative proof of theism.

Newman, then, was only half a Catholic. He accepted with all the fervour
of a neophyte the principle of submission to Holy Church. But in place
of the official intellectualist apologetic, which an Englishman may
study to great advantage in the remarkably able series of manuals issued
by the Jesuits of Stonyhurst, he substituted a philosophy of experience
which is certainly not Catholic. The authority claimed by the Roman
Church rests on one side upon revelation, on the other upon an elaborate
structure of demonstrative reasoning, which the simple folk are allowed
to 'take as read,' only because they cannot be expected to understand
it, but which is declared to be of irresistible cogency to any properly
instructed mind. To deny the validity of reasoning upon Divine things is
to withdraw one of the supports on which Catholicism rests.
Subjectivism, based on vital experience, mixes no better with this
system than oil with water. Scholasticism prides itself on clear-cut
definitions, on irrefragable logic, on using words always in the same
sense. For Newman, as for his disciples the Modernists, theological
terms are only symbols for varying values, and he holds that the moment
they are treated as having any fixed connotation, error begins. It is no
wonder if learned Catholics thought that Newman did not play the game.
Father Perrone, in spite of his friendship for the object of his
criticism, declared that 'Newman miscet et confundit omnia.'

The accusation of scepticism, which was not unnaturally brought against
him, was hotly resented by Newman, and with some justice. Of the
intensity of his personal conviction there can be no doubt whatever.
Indeed, it was just because his faith was in no danger that he cared so
little for any intellectual defence of it. He might have made his own
the lines of Wordsworth:

    'Here then we rest; not fearing for our creed
     The worst that human reasoning can achieve
     To unsettle or perplex it.'

Wordsworth too, it may be remembered, speaks of 'reason' with hardly
more respect than Newman himself as:

              'The inferior faculty that moulds
    With her minute and speculative pains
    Opinion, ever changing.'

Robert Browning also, especially in his later years, uses
anti-intellectualist language equally uncompromising. 'Wholly distrust
thy reason,' he says in 'La Saisiaz.' Coleridge's distinction between
'understanding' and 'reason,' or Westcott's distinction between 'reason'
and 'reasoning,' might have saved these great writers from the
appearance, and perhaps more than the appearance, of blaspheming against
the highest and most divine faculty of human nature. For the reason is
something much higher than logic-chopping; it can provide, from its own
resources, a remedy for the intellectual error which is just now
miscalled intellectualism; it is the activity of the whole personality
under the guidance of its highest part; and because it is a real
unification of our disordered nature, it can bring us into real contact
with the higher world of Spirit. Newman's scepticism was not
doubtfulness about matters of faith; it was only a wholly unjustifiable
contempt and distrust for the unaided activity of the human mind. This
activity, as far as he could see, produced only various forms of
'liberalism,' which he strangely enough regarded as a kind of
scepticism. Thus he retorted, with equal injustice, the unjust charge
brought against himself.

Newman has often been suspected or accused of quibbling and intellectual
dishonesty. Kingsley, whose healthy but somewhat rough English morality
and common sense were revolted by Newman's whole attitude to life and
conduct, was unable to conceive how any educated man could believe in
winking Virgins and liquefying blood, and thought that Newman must be
dishonest. More recently Dr. Abbott has accused him of being a
_philomythus_. Judged by ordinary standards, Newman's criteria of belief
do seem incompatible with intellectual honesty. Locke, whom Newman
resembles in his theory of knowledge, lays down a canon which condemns
absolutely the Cardinal's doctrine of assent. 'There is one unerring
mark,' he says, 'by which a man may know whether he is a lover of truth
in earnest, namely, the not entertaining any proposition with greater
assurance than the proofs it is built on will warrant.' Newman himself
quotes this dictum, and argues against it that men do, as a matter of
fact, form their judgments in a very different fashion. To most people,
however, the fact that opinions _are_ so manufactured is no proof that
they _ought_ to be so. To most people it seems plain that the practical
necessity of making unverified assumptions, and the habit of clinging to
them because we have made them, even after their falsity has been
exposed, is a satisfactory explanation of the prevalence of error, but
not a reason for acquiescing in it. It is useful, they hold, to point
out how assumption has a perilous tendency to pass for proof, not that
we may contentedly confuse assumption with proof, but that we may be on
our guard against doing so. But such is Newman's dislike of 'reason'
that he rejoices to find that the majority of mankind are, in fact, not
guided by it. And then, having made this discovery, he is quite ready to
'reason' himself, but not in the manner of an earnest seeker after
truth. Reason, for him, is a serviceable weapon of attack or defence,
but he is like a man fighting with magic impenetrable armour. He enjoys
a bout of logical fence; but it will decide nothing for him: his
'certitude' is independent of it. It is easy to see that such an
attitude must appear profoundly dishonest to any man who accepts Locke's
maxim about truth-seeking. It is equally easy to see that Newman would
spurn the charge of dishonesty as hotly as the charge of scepticism. His
principles made it easy for him to adopt the characteristic Catholic
habit of 'believing' anything that is pleasing to the religious
imagination. His sermons are full of such phrases as 'Scripture _seems_
to show us'; 'why should we not believe ...'; 'who knows whether ...,'
and the like, all introducing some fantastic superstition. He
deliberately accepts the insidious and deadly doctrine that 'no man is
convinced of a thing who can endure the thought of its contradictory
being true.' To which we may rejoin that, on the contrary, no man has a
right to be convinced of anything until he has fairly faced the
hypothesis of its contradictory being true. So long as Newman's method
prevailed in Europe, every branch of practical knowledge was condemned
to barrenness.

For what kind of knowledge is it which is acquired, not by the exercise
of the discursive intellect, or by the evidence of our senses, but by
the affirmations of our basal personality? Surely the legitimate
province of 'personalism' lies in the region of general ideas, or rather
in the _Weltanschauung_ as a whole. Our undivided personality protests
against any philosophy which makes life irrational, or base, or
incurably evil. It claims that those pictures of reality which are
provided by the intellect, by the æsthetic sense, and by the moral
sense, shall all have justice done to them in any attempted synthesis.
It rejects materialism, metaphysical dualism, solipsism, and pessimism,
on one or other of these grounds. Such a final interpretation of
existence as any of these offers, leaves out some fundamental and
essential factor of experience, and is therefore untenable. If no
metaphysical scheme can be constructed which is at once comprehensive
and inwardly consistent, personalism insists that we must acknowledge
defeat for the time, rather than take refuge in a logical system which
may be free from inner contradictions but which does not satisfy the
whole man as a living and active spiritual being. This is a sound
argument. But it is absurd to suppose that our personality, acting as an
undivided whole, can decide whether the institutional Church, or one
branch of it, is the Body of Christ and the receptacle of infallible
revelation; whether Christ was born at Bethlehem or Nazareth; or whether
Nestorius was a heretic. We have no magical sword for cutting these
knots, and no miraculous guide to tell us that authority A is to be
believed implicitly, while the possibility of authority B being right is
not to be entertained even in thought. Newman as usual supplies us with
the best weapons against himself. It startles us to find, even in 1852,
such a sentence as this: 'Revealed religion furnishes facts to other
sciences, which those sciences, left to themselves, would never reach.
Thus, in the science of history, the preservation of our race in Noah's
ark is an historical fact, which history never would arrive at without
revelation.' The transition from belief on the purely internal ground of
personal assent to belief on the purely external ground of Church
authority is certainly abrupt and hard to explain; but Newman makes it
habitually, without any consciousness of a _salto mortale_. In the
'Apologia' he even says that the argument from personality is 'one form
of the argument from authority.' The argument seems to be--'There is no
third alternative besides Catholicism or Rationalism. But "personality"
will not accept the dictation of reason; therefore it must accept the
authority of the Church.' It is a strange argument. All through his life
he enormously exaggerated the moral and intellectual weight which should
be attached to Church tradition. 'Securus judicat orbis terrarum' were
the words which rang in his ears at the supreme moment of his great
decision. His 'orbis terrarum' was the Latin empire. And when even in
those countries the authority of the Pope is rejected, he condemns
modern civilisation as an aberration. This however is a complete
abandonment of his own test. He first says 'The judgment of the great
world is final'; and then 'If the world decides against Rome, so much
the worse for the world.' After all, Newman had no right to complain if
his opponents found his reasoning disingenuous. To make up our minds
first, and to argue in favour of the decision afterwards, is in truth to
make the reason a hewer of wood and drawer of water to the irrational
part of our nature.

It is precisely his sympathy with Catholicism on the religious side, and
his alienation from its intellectual method, which makes Newman's
apologetic such a two-edged weapon. In attempting to defend Catholicism,
he has gone far to explain it. To the historian, there is no great
mystery about the growth and success of the Western Catholic Church.
Christianity was already a syncretistic religion in the second century.
Like the other forms of worship with which it competed for the popular
favour, it contained the necessary elements of mystery-cult, of ethical
rule, of social brotherhood, and of personal devotion. But besides many
genuine points of superiority, it had a decisive advantage over the
religions of Isis and Mithra in the exclusiveness and intolerance which
it derived from the Jewish tradition. When the failure of the last
persecution forced the Empire to make a concordat with the Church, the
transformation of the federated but autonomous Christian communities
into a centralised theocratic despotism, claiming secular as well as
spiritual sovereignty, was only a matter of time. It was inevitable,
just as the principate of Augustus and the sultanate of Diocletian were
inevitable; but there is nothing specially divine or glorious about any
of these phases of human evolution. The revolt of Northern Europe in the
sixteenth century was equally inevitable; and so is the alienation of
enlightened minds from the Roman Church at the present day. Newman shows
with great force and ingenuity that all the developments in the Roman
system which Protestantism rejects as later accretions were natural and
necessary. But this only means that the Catholic Church, in order to
live, was compelled to adapt itself to the prevailing conditions of
human culture in the countries where it desired to be supreme. The
argument, so far as it goes, tells against rather than in favour of any
special supernatural character belonging to that institution. And if the
'orbis terrarum,' which once gave its verdict in favour of Latin
Catholicism, is now disposed to reverse its decision, how, on Newman's
principle, can its right to do so be denied? The true reasons for the
strength and vitality which the Roman Church still retains are not
difficult to find. Its system possesses an inner consistency, which is
dearly purchased by neglecting much that should enter into a large and
true view of the world, but which guarantees to those who have once
accepted it an untroubled calm and assurance very acceptable to those
who have been tossed upon a sea of doubt. It surrounds itself with an
impenetrable armour by persuading its adherents that all moral and
intellectual scruples, in matters where Holy Church has pronounced its
verdict, are suggestions of the Evil One, to be spurned like the
prickings of sensuality. It has succeeded, by long experience, in
providing satisfaction for nearly all the needs of the average man, and
for all the needs of the average woman. In particular, the æsthetic
tastes which, in Southern Europe at any rate, are closely connected with
religious feeling, are fully catered for; and those superstitions which
the majority of mankind still love in their hearts, though they are
somewhat ashamed of them, are allowed to luxuriate unchecked. Further,
Catholicism encourages and blesses that _esprit de corps_ which has
produced the brightest triumphs of self-abnegation as well as the
darkest crimes of cruel bigotry in human history. A Church which unites
these advantages is in no danger of falling into insignificance, even if
the best intellect and morality of the age are estranged from it. It may
even have a great future as the nucleus of a conservative resistance to
the social revolution. It is doubtful whether those who wish to preserve
the traditions and civilisation of the past will be able to find
anywhere, except in the Latin Church, an organisation sufficiently
coherent and universal to provide a rallying ground for defence against
the new barbarian invasion--proceeding this time not from the rude
nations of the North, but from the crowded alleys of our great
towns--which threatens to plunge us into a new Dark Age. The menace of
the Red Peril will secure, for a long time to come, the survival of the

But the Roman Catholicism which has a future is probably that of
Manning, and not that of Newman. A Church which depends for its strength
and prestige on the iron discipline of a centralised autocracy, and on
the fanatical devotion of soldiers who know no duty except obedience, no
cause except the interests of their society, can make no terms with the
disintegrating nominalism, the uncertain subjectivism, of a mind like
Newman's. It has been the strange fate of this great man, after driving
a wedge deep into the Anglican Church, which at this day is threatened
with disruption through the movement which he helped to originate, to
have nearly succeeded in doing the same to the far more compact
structure of Roman Catholicism. The Modernist movement has from the
first appealed to Newman as its founder, and has sought to protect
itself under his authority. It is necessary to consider, as the last
topic of this article, whether this affiliation can be allowed to be
true. No one who has read any of Newman's works can doubt that he would
have recoiled with horror from the destructive criticism of Loisy, the
contempt for scholastic authority of Tyrrell, and the defiance hurled at
the Papacy in the manifesto of the Italian Modernists. Newman's doctrine
of Development was far removed from that of Bergson's 'L'Évolution
Créatrice.' He defended the fact of development against the staticism of
contemporary Anglicanism; but his notion of development was more like
the unrolling of a scroll than the growth of a tree or the expansion and
change of a human character. 'Every Catholic holds,' he says, 'that the
Christian dogmas were in the Church from the time of the Apostles; that
they were ever in their substance what they are now.' Compare this with
the following words from the Italian manifesto: 'The supernatural life
of Christ in the faithful and in the Church has been clothed in an
historical form, which has given birth to what we might somewhat loosely
call the Christ of legend.... Such a criticism does away with the
possibility of finding in Christ's ministry even the embryonic form of
the Church's later theological teaching.' 'A dogma,' says Le Roy, one of
the ablest philosophers of the school, 'proclaims, above all, a
prescription of practical order; it is the formula of a rule of
practical conduct. Why then should we not bring theory into harmony with

These extracts mark a much later phase of the revolt against Catholic
dogma and scholastic theology than can be found in Newman's writings.
They are contemporary with the Pragmatism of James and Schiller, and the
Activism of Bergson. So bold a defiance of tradition would have been
impossible thirty years earlier. And yet, when Newman pours scorn upon
human reason, and when he enthrones the 'conscience' as the supreme
arbiter of truth, is he not, in fact, preparing the way for these
startling declarations, which imply a complete rupture with Catholic
authority? Dogmas are indisputably 'notional' propositions; that is to
say, they belong to that class of truths to which Newman ascribes only a
very subordinate importance. We cannot, in his sense,'assent' to an
historical proposition as such, but only to the authority which has
ordered us to believe it. And is there any justification for Newman's
confidence that this authority may make apparent innovations, such as he
admits to have been made throughout the history of the Church, but no
real changes? If he had been able to think out the implications of his
doctrine of development with the help of such arguments as those of
Bergson, would he not have seen that without change and real innovation
there can be no true evolution? Do not the fluidity and pragmatic
character of dogma, so much insisted on by Sabatier and Le Roy, follow
from the anti-intellectualist personalism which we have seen to be the
foundation of Newman's philosophy of religion? The Modernist might argue
that he is only extending to the history of the Church the doctrine of
education by experience which Newman found to be true in the
life-history of the individual. Life itself, with its experiences and
its needs, is the revealer of truth. We cannot anticipate the wisdom of
the future.

                      'I do not ask to see
    The distant scene; one step enough for me.'

The kindly light leads a man on step by step; it conducts him from
experience to experience, not without lapses into error; it reproves him
if he desires to 'choose and see his path.' If this is true in the
history of the individual, is it not probably also true in the history
of the Church? And if it is true in the history of the Church, are not
the dogmatists wrong who have tried to legislate not only for the
present but the future, and to bind the Church for all time to the
formulations which appeared satisfactory to themselves? If Providence is
leading the Church through varied experiences in order to teach it
greater wisdom, is it not clear that we must not rashly preclude the
possibility of future revelation by stereotyping the results of some
earlier stage of experience? Thus the empiricism of Newman leads
logically to consequences which he would have been among the first to

Some rather shallow thinkers in this country have expressed their
surprise and regret that the Vatican has refused to make any terms with
Modernism. They have supposed that the fault lies with an ignorant and
reactionary Pope. But there are many reasons why this dangerous and
disintegrating tendency must be rigorously excluded from Roman
Catholicism. In the first place, Modernism destroys the historical basis
of Christianity, and converts the Incarnation and Atonement into myths
like those of other dying and rising saviour-gods, which hardly pretend
to be historical. But it was this foundation in history which helped
largely to secure the triumph of Christianity over its rivals. In the
place of the historical God-Man, Modernism gives us the history of the
Church as an object of reverence. We are bidden to contemplate an
institution of amazingly tough vitality but great adaptability, which in
its determination to survive has not only changed colour like a
chameleon but has from time to time put forth new organs and discovered
new weapons of offence and defence. We ask for evidence that the Church
has regenerated the world; and we are shown how, by hook or by crook, it
has succeeded in safeguarding its own interests. Ecclesiastical
historians are ingenious and unscrupulous; but it is impossible even for
them to exhibit Church history as the record of a continuous
intervention of the Spirit of Christ in human affairs. If any Spirit has
presided over the councils of popes, cardinals, and inquisitors it is
not that of the Founder of Christianity.

Further, the religious philosophy of Modernism is bad, much worse than
the scholasticism which it derides. It is in essentials a revival of the
sophistry of Protagoras. And if it were metaphysically more respectable
than it is, it is so widely opposed to the whole system of Catholic
apologetics, that if it were accepted, it would necessitate a complete
reconstruction of Catholic dogma. Let any man read the Stonyhurst
manuals, and say whether the radical empiricism of the Modernists could
find a lodgment anywhere in such a system without disturbing the
stability of the whole. Catholicism is one of the most compact
structures in the world, and it rests on presuppositions which are far
removed from those of Modernism. It is one thing to admit that dogmas in
many cases have a pragmatic origin, and quite another to say that they
may be invented or rejected with a pragmatic purpose. The healthy human
intellect will never believe that the same proposition may be true for
faith and untrue in fact; but this is the Modernist contention.

Lastly, the subjectivism of Newman and the Modernists is fatal to that
exclusiveness which is the corner-stone of Catholic policy. The analogy
between the individual and the Church suggests that God may 'fulfil
Himself in many ways, lest one good custom should corrupt the world.' As
there are many individuals, each of whom is being guided separately by
the 'kindly light,' so there may be many churches. The pragmatic proof
of the truth of a religion, from the fact of its survival and successful
working, does not justify the Roman claim to monopoly. The Protestant
churches also display vitality, and their members seem to exhibit the
fruits of the Spirit. The condemnations of Modernism published by the
Vatican show that the Papal court is quite alive to this danger. To the
outsider, indeed, it might seem a happy solution of a long controversy
if the Roman Church would be content to claim the gifts of grace which
are really hers, without denying the validity of the Orders and
Sacraments of other bodies, and the genuineness of the Christian graces
which they exhibit. It would then be admitted on all hands that some
temperaments are more suited to Catholicism, others to Protestantism,
and that the character of each man develops most satisfactorily under
the discipline which suits his nature. But we must not expect any such
concession from Rome; and in truth such an admission would be the
beginning of the end for Catholicism in its present form.

Our conclusion then is that although Newman was not a Modernist, but an
exceedingly stiff conservative, he did introduce into the Roman Church a
very dangerous and essentially alien habit of thought, which has since
developed into Modernism. Perhaps Monsignor Talbot was not far wrong,
from his own point of view, when he called him 'the most dangerous man
in England.' One side of his religion was based on principles which,
when logically drawn out, must lead away from Catholicism in the
direction of an individualistic religion of experience, and a
substitution of history for dogma which makes all truth relative and all
values fluid. Newman's writings have always made genuine Catholics
uneasy, though they hardly know why. It is probable that here is the

The character of Newman--for with this we must end--may seem to have
been more admirable than lovable. He was more apt to make disciples than
friends. Yet he was loved and honoured by men whose love is an honour,
and he is admired by all who can appreciate a consistently unworldly
life. The Roman Church has been less unpopular in England since Newman
received from it the highest honour which it can bestow. Throughout his
career he was a steadfast witness against tepid and insincere
professions of religion, and against any compromise with the shifting
currents of popular opinion. All cultivated readers, who have formed
their tastes on the masterpieces of good literature, are attracted,
sometimes against their will, by the dignity and reserve of his style,
qualities which belong to the man, and not only to the writer. Like
Goethe, he disdains the facile arts which make the commonplace reader
laugh and weep. 'Ach die zärtlichen Herzen! ein Pfuscher vermag sie zu
rühren!' Like Wordsworth, he might say 'To stir the blood I have no
cunning art.' There are no cheap effects in any of Newman's writings. He
is the most undemocratic of teachers. Such men do what can be done to
save a nation from itself, its natural enemy. They are not indifferent
to fame, because they desire influence; but they will do nothing to
advertise themselves. The public must come to them; they will not go to
the public. There have been other great men who have been as indifferent
as Newman to the applause of the vulgar. But they have been generally
either pure intellectualists or pure artists, in whom

    'The intellectual power through words and things
     Went sounding on a dim and perilous way.'

Newman's 'confidence towards God' was of a still nobler kind. It rested
on an unclouded faith in the Divine guidance, and on a very just
estimate of the worthlessness of contemporary praise and blame. There
have been very few men who have been able to combine so strong a faith
with a thorough distrust of both logic-chopping and emotional
excitement, and who, while denying themselves these aids to conviction,
have been able to say, calmly and without petulance, that with them it
is a very small thing to be judged of man's judgment.

     'What (he asks) can increase their peace who believe and
     trust in the Son of God? Shall we add a drop to the ocean,
     or grains to the sand of the sea? We pay indeed our
     superiors full reverence, and with cheerfulness as unto the
     Lord; and we honour eminent talents as deserving admiration
     and reward; and the more readily act we thus, because these
     are little things to pay.'[89]

Such unworldliness as this, in the well-chosen words of R.H. Hutton,
'stands out in strange and almost majestic contrast to the eager turmoil
of confused passions, hesitating ideals, tentative virtues, and groping
philanthropies, amidst which it was lived.'

Another mark of greatness is unbroken consistency and unity of aim in a
long life. There are few parallels to the neglect of his own literary
reputation by Newman. Higher interests, he thought, were at stake; and
so he had no dream of building for himself 'a monument more durable than
brass,' and of claiming a pedestal among the great writers of English
prose and verse. He accepted long years of literary barrenness; he wrote
historical essays for which he had no special aptitude, and dogmatic
disquisitions which even his genius could not save from dulness; he even
descended into mere journalism. The 'Apologia' would probably not have
been written but for the accident of Kingsley's attack. It has, no
doubt, been said with truth that Newman showed great dexterity in
choosing opponents with whom to cross swords--Kingsley, Pusey,
Gladstone, and his old Anglican self. But this does not alter the fact
that a man who must have been conscious of rare literary gifts made no
attempt to immortalise himself by them. It was for the Church, and not
for himself, that he wrote as well as lived.

That his life is for the most part a record of sadness and failure is no
indication that he was not one of the great men of his time.
Independence is no passport to success in a world where, as Swift said,
climbing and crawling are performed in much the same attitude. And if we
are right in our view that there was something in the composition of his
mind which prevented him from being either a complete Catholic or a
complete Protestant, this too is no obstacle to our recognition of his
greatness. He has left an indelible mark upon two great religious
bodies. He has stirred movements which still agitate the Church of
England and the Church of Rome, and the end of which is not yet in
sight. Anglo-Catholicism and Modernism are alien growths, perhaps, in
the institutions where they have found a place; but the man who beyond
all others is responsible for grafting them upon the old stems is secure
of his place in history.


     [82] Cf. e. _Parochial and Plain Sermons_, vi. 259.

     [83] Mark Pattison, _Memoirs_, p. 97.

     [84] _Stray Essays_, p. 94.

     [85] _Parochial and Plain Sermons_, v. 112.

     [86] _Ibid_. vi. 259.

     [87] _Ibid_. vi. 340.

     [88] _Grammar of Assent_, part i. c. 1 and 2.

     [89] _Parochial and Plain Sermons_, vii. 73.



Among all the great men of antiquity there is none, with the exception
of Cicero, whom we may know so intimately as Saul of Tarsus. The main
facts of his career have been recorded by a contemporary, who was
probably his friend and travelling companion. A collection of letters,
addressed to the little religious communities which he founded, reveals
the character of the writer no less than the nature of his work. Alone
among the first preachers of Christianity, he stands before us as a
living man. Ohiost phepnytai, toi de skiai hahissoysi. We know very
little in reality of Peter and James and John, of Apollos and Barnabas.
And of our divine Master no biography can ever be written.

With St. Paul it is quite different. He is a saint without a luminous
halo. His personal characteristics are too distinct and too human to
make idealisation easy. For this reason he has never been the object of
popular devotion. Shadowy figures like St. Joseph and St. Anne have been
divinised and surrounded with picturesque legends; but St. Paul has been
spared the honour or the ignominy of being coaxed and wheedled by the
piety of paganised Christianity. No tender fairy-tales are attached to
his cult; he remains for us what he was in the flesh. It is even
possible to feel an active dislike for him. Lagarde ('Deutsche
Schriften,' p. 71) abuses him as a politician might vilify an opponent.
'It is monstrous' (says he) 'that men of any historical training should
attach any importance to this Paul. This outsider was a Pharisee from
top to toe even after he became a Christian'--and much more to the same
effect. Nietzsche describes him as 'one of the most ambitious of men,
whose superstition was only equalled by his cunning. A much tortured,
much to be pitied man, an exceedingly unpleasant person both to himself
and to others.... He had a great deal on his conscience. He alludes to
enmity, murder, sorcery, idolatry, impurity, drunkenness, and the love
of carousing.' Renan, who could never have made himself ridiculous by
such ebullitions as these, does not disguise his repugnance for the
'ugly little Jew' whose character he can neither understand nor admire.
These outbursts of personal animosity, so strange in modern critics
dealing with a personage of ancient history, show how vividly his figure
stands out from the canvas. There are very few historical characters who
are alive enough to be hated.

It is, however, only in our own day that the personal characteristics of
St. Paul have been intelligently studied; and the most valuable books
about him are later than the unbalanced tirades of Lagarde and
Nietzsche, and the carping estimate of Renan. In the nineteenth century,
Paul was obscured behind Paulinism. His letters were studied as
treatises on systematic theology. Elaborate theories of atonement,
justification, and grace were expounded on his authority, as if he had
been a religious philosopher or theological professor like Origen and
Thomas Aquinas. The name of the apostle came to be associated with
angular and frigid disquisitions which were rapidly losing their
connexion with vital religion. It has been left for the scholars of the
present century to give us a picture of St. Paul as he really was--a man
much nearer to George Fox or John Wesley than to Origen or Calvin; the
greatest of missionaries and pioneers, and only incidentally a great
theologian. The critical study of the New Testament has opened our eyes
to see this and many other things. Much new light has also been thrown
by studies in the historical geography of Asia Minor, a work in which
British scholars have characteristically taken a prominent part. The
delightful books of Sir W.M. Ramsay have now been supplemented by the
equally attractive volume of another travelling scholar, Professor
Deissmann. A third source of new information is the mass of inscriptions
and papyri which have been discovered in the last twenty years. The
social life of the middle and lower classes in the Levant, their
religious beliefs and practices, and the language which they spoke, are
now partially known to us, as they never were before. The human interest
of the Pauline Epistles, and of the Acts, is largely increased by these
accessions to knowledge.

The Epistles are real letters, not treatises by a theological professor,
nor literary productions like the Epistles of Seneca. Each was written
with reference to a definite situation; they are messages which would
have been delivered orally had the Apostle been present. Several letters
have certainly been lost; and St. Paul would probably not have cared
much to preserve them. There is no evidence that he ever thought of
adding to the Canon of Scripture by his correspondence. The Author of
Acts seems not to have read any of the letters. This view of the
Epistles has rehabilitated some of them, which were regarded as spurious
by the Tübingen school and their successors. The question which we now
ask when the authenticity of an Epistle is doubted is, Do we find the
same man? not, Do we find the same system? There is, properly speaking,
no system in St. Paul's theology, and there is a singularly rapid
development of thought. The 'Pastoral Epistles' are probably not
genuine, though the defence of them is not quite a desperate
undertaking. Of the rest, the weight of evidence is slightly against the
Pauline authorship of Ephesians, the vocabulary of which differs
considerably from that of the undoubted Epistles; and the short letter
called 2 Thessalonians is open to some suspicion. The genuineness of
Ephesians is not of great importance to the student of Pauline theology,
unless the closely allied Epistle to the Colossians is also rejected;
and there has been a remarkable return of confidence in the Pauline
authorship of this letter. All the other Epistles seem to be firmly

The other source of information about St. Paul's life is the Acts of
the Apostles, the value of which as a historical document is very
variously estimated. The doubts refer mainly to the earlier chapters,
before St. Paul appears on the scene. Sane criticism can hardly dispute
that the 'we-passages,' in which the writer speaks of St. Paul and
himself in the first person plural, are the work of an eye-witness, and
that most of the important facts in the later chapters are from the same
source. The difficult problem is concerned with the relation of this
writer to the editor, who is responsible for the 'Petrine' part of the
book. There is very much to be said in favour of the tradition that this
editor, who also compiled the Third Gospel, was Lucas or Lucanus, the
physician and friend of St. Paul. It does not necessarily follow that he
was the fellow-traveller who in a few places speaks of himself in the
first person. Luke (if we may decide the question for ourselves by
giving him this name) must have been a man of very attractive character;
full of kindness, loyalty, and Christian charity. He is the most
feminine (not effeminate) writer in the New Testament, and shows a
marked partiality for the tender aspects of Christianity. He is
attracted by miracles, and by all that makes history picturesque and
romantic. His social sympathies are so keen that his gospel furnishes
the Christian socialist with nearly all his favourite texts. Above all,
he is a Greek man of letters, dominated by the conventions of Greek
historical composition. For the Greek, history was a work of art,
written for edification, and not merely a bald record of facts. The
Greek historian invented speeches for his principal characters; this was
a conventional way of elucidating the situation for the benefit of his
readers. Everyone knows how Thucydides, the most conscientious historian
in antiquity, habitually uses this device, and how candidly he explains
his method. We can hardly doubt that the author of Acts has used a
similar freedom, though the report of the address to the elders of
Ephesus reads like a summary of an actual speech. The narrative is
coloured in places by the historian's love for the miraculous. Critics
have also suspected an eirenical purpose in his treatment of the
relations between St. Paul and the Jerusalem Church.

Saul of Tarsus was a Benjamite of pure Israelite descent, but also a
Roman citizen by birth. His famous old Jewish name was Latinised or
Graecised as Paulos (Sahylost means 'waddling,' and would have been a
ridiculous name); he doubtless bore both names from boyhood. Tarsus is
situated in the plain of Cilicia, and is now about ten miles from the
sea. It is backed by a range of hills, on which the wealthier residents
had villas, while the high glens of Taurus, nine or ten miles further
inland, provided a summer residence for those who could afford it, and a
fortified acropolis in time of war. The town on the plain must have been
almost intolerable in the fierce Anatolian summer-heat. The harbour was
a lake formed by the Cydnus, five or six miles below Tarsus; but light
ships could sail up the river into the heart of the city. Thus Tarsus
had the advantages of a maritime town, though far enough from the sea to
be safe from pirates. The famous pass called the 'Cilician Gates' was
traversed by a high-road through the gorge into Cappadocia. Ionian
colonists came to Tarsus in very early times; and Ramsay is confident
that Tarshish, 'the son of Javan,' in Gen. x. 4, is none other than
Tarsus. The Greek settlers, of course, mixed with the natives, and the
Oriental element gradually swamped the Hellenic. The coins of Tarsus
show Greek figures and Aramaic lettering. The principal deity was
Baal-Tarz, whose effigy appears on most of the coins. Under the
successors of Alexander, Greek influence revived, but the administration
continued to be of the Oriental type; and Tarsus never became a Greek
city, until in the first half of the second century B.C. it proclaimed
its own autonomy, and renamed itself Antioch-on-Cydnus. Great privileges
were granted it by Antiochus Epiphanes, and it rapidly grew in wealth
and importance. Besides the Greeks, there was a large colony of Jews,
who always established themselves on the highways of the world's
commerce. Since St. Paul was a 'citizen' of Tarsus, i.e. a member of
one of the 'Tribes' into which the citizens were divided, it is probable
(so Ramsay argues) that there was a large 'Tribe' of Jews at Tarsus; for
no Jew would have been admitted into, or would have consented to join, a
Greek Tribe, with its pagan cult.

So matters stood when Cilicia became a Roman Province in 104 B.C. The
city fell into the hands of the barbarian Tigranes twenty years later,
but Gnaeus Pompeius re-established the Roman power, and with it the
dominance of Hellenism, in 63. Augustus turned Cilicia into a mere
adjunct of Syria; and the pride of Tarsus received a check.
Nevertheless, the Emperor showed great favour to the Tarsians, who had
sided with Julius and himself in the civil wars. Tarsus was made a
'libera civitas,' with the right to live under its own laws. The leading
citizens were doubtless given the Roman citizenship, or allowed to
purchase it. Among these would naturally be a number of Jews, for that
nation loved Julius Cæsar and detested Pompeius. But Hellenism could not
retain its hold on Tarsus. Dion Chrysostom, who visited it at the
beginning of the second century A.D., found it a thoroughly Oriental
town, and notes that the women were closely veiled in Eastern fashion.
Possibly this accounts for St. Paul's prejudice against unveiled women
in church. One Greek institution, however, survived and flourished--a
university under municipal patronage. Strabo speaks with high admiration
of the zeal for learning displayed by the Tarsians, who formed the
entire audience at the professors' lectures, since no students came from
outside. This last fact shows, perhaps, that the lecturers were not men
of wide reputation; indeed, it is not likely that Tarsus was able to
compete with Athens and Alexandria in attracting famous teachers. The
most eminent Tarsians, such as Antipater the Stoic, went to Europe and
taught there. What distinguished Tarsus was its love of learning, widely
diffused in all classes of the population.

St. Paul did not belong to the upper class. He was a working artisan, a
'tent-maker,' who followed one of the regular trades of the place.
Perhaps, as Deissmann thinks, the 'large letters' of Gal. vi. 11 imply
that he wrote clumsily, like a working man and not like a scribe. The
words indicate that he usually dictated his letters. The 'Acts of Paul
and Thekla' describe him as short and bald, with a hook-nose and
beetling brows; there is nothing improbable in this description. But he
was far better educated than the modern artisan. Not that a single
quotation from Menander (1 Cor. xv. 33) shows him to be a good Greek
scholar; an Englishman may quote 'One touch of nature makes the whole
world kin' without being a Shakespearean. But he was well educated
because he was the son of a strict Jew. A child in such a home would
learn by heart large pieces of the Old Testament, and, at the Synagogue
school, all the _minutiæ_ of the Jewish Law. The pupil was not allowed
to write anything down; all was committed to the memory, which in
consequence became extremely retentive. The perfect pupil 'lost not a
drop from his teacher's cistern.' At the age of about fourteen the boy
would be sent to Jerusalem, to study under one of the great Rabbis; in
St. Paul's case it was Gamaliel. Under his tuition the young Pharisee
would learn to be a 'strong Churchman.' The Rabbis viewed everything
from an ecclesiastical standpoint. The interests of the Priesthood, the
Altar, and the Temple overshadowed everything else. The Priestly Code,
says Mr. Cohu, practically resolves itself into one idea: Everything in
Israel belongs to God; all places, all times, all persons, and all
property are His. But God accepts a part of His due; and, if this part
is scrupulously paid, He will send His blessing upon the remainder.
Besides the written law, the Pharisee had to take on himself the still
heavier burden of the oral law, which was equally binding. It was a
seminary education of the most rigorous kind. St Paul cannot reproach
himself with any slackness during his novitiate. He threw himself into
the system with characteristic ardour. Probably he meant to be a
Jerusalem Rabbi himself, still practising his trade, as the Rabbis
usually did. For he was unmarried; and every Jew except a Rabbi was
expected to marry at or before the age of twenty-one.

He suffered from some obscure physical trouble, the nature of which we
can only guess. It was probably epilepsy, a disease which is compatible
with great powers of endurance and great mental energy, as is proved by
the cases of Julius Cæsar and Napoleon. He was liable to mystical
trances, in which some have found a confirmation of the supposition that
he was epileptic. But these abnormal states were rare with him; in
writing to the Galatians he has to go back fourteen years to the date
when he was 'caught up into the third heaven,' The visions and voices
which attended his active ministry prove nothing about his health. At
that time anyone who underwent a psychical experience for which he could
not account believed that he was possessed by a spirit, good or bad. It
is significant that Tertullian, at the end of the second century, says
that 'almost the majority of mankind derive their knowledge of God from
visions.' The impression that St. Paul makes upon us is that of a man
full of nervous energy and able to endure an exceptional amount of
privation and hardship. A curious indication, which has not been
noticed, is that, as he tells us himself, he five times received the
maximum number of lashes from Jewish tribunals. These floggings in the
Synagogues were very severe, the operator being required to lay on with
his full strength. There is evidence that in most cases a much smaller
number of strokes than the full thirty-nine was inflicted, so as not to
endanger the life of the culprit. The other trials which he
mentions--three Roman scourgings, one stoning, a day and night spent in
battling with the waves after shipwreck, would have worn out any
constitution not exceptionally tough.

We must bear in mind this terrible record of suffering if we wish to
estimate fairly the character of the man. During his whole life after
his conversion he was exposed not only to the hardships of travel,
sometimes in half-civilised districts, but to 'all the cruelty of the
fanaticism which rages like a consuming fire through the religious
history of the East from the slaughter of Baal's priests to the
slaughter of St. Stephen, and from the butcheries of Jews at Alexandria
under Caligula to the massacres of Christians at Adana, Tarsus, and
Antioch in the year 1909'--(Deissmann). It is one evil result of such
furious bigotry that it kindles hatred and resentment in its victims,
and tempts them to reprisals. St. Paul does speak bitterly of his
opponents, though chiefly when he finds that they have injured his
converts, as in the letter to the Galatians. Modern critics have
exaggerated this element in a character which does not seem to have been
fierce or implacable. He writes like a man engaged in a stern conflict
against enemies who will give no quarter, and who shrink from no
treachery. But the sharpest expression that can be laid to his charge is
the impatient, perhaps half humorous wish that the Judaisers who want to
circumcise the Galatians might be subjected to a severer operation
themselves (Gal. v. 12). The dominant impression that he makes upon us
is that he was cast in a heroic mould. He is serenely indifferent to
criticism and calumny; no power on earth can turn him from his purpose.
He has made once for all a complete sacrifice of all earthly joys and
all earthly ties; he has broken (he, the devout Jewish Catholic) with
his Church and braved her thunders; he has faced the opprobrium of being
called traitor, heretic, and apostate; he has 'withstood to the face'
the Palestinian apostles who were chosen by Jesus and held His
commission; he has set his face to achieve, almost single-handed, the
conquest of the Roman Empire, a thing never dreamed of by the Jerusalem
Church; he is absolutely indifferent whether his mission will cost him
his life, or only involve a continuation of almost intolerable hardship.
It is this indomitable courage, complete self-sacrifice, and
single-minded devotion to a magnificently audacious but not
impracticable idea, which constitute the greatness of St. Paul's
character. He was, with all this, a warm-hearted and affectionate man,
as he proves abundantly by the tone of his letters. His personal
religion was, in essence, a pure mysticism; one worships a Christ whom
he has experienced as a living presence in his soul. The mystic who is
also a man of action, and a man of action because he is a mystic, wields
a tremendous power over other men. He is like an invulnerable knight,
fighting in magic armour.

It is an interesting and difficult question whether we should regard the
intense moral dualism of the Epistle to the Romans as a confession that
the writer has had an unusually severe personal battle with temptation.
The moral struggle certainly assumes a more tragic aspect in these
passages than in the experience of many saintly characters. We find
something like it in Augustine, and again in Luther; it may even be
suggested that these great men have stamped upon the Christian tradition
the idea of a harsher 'clash of yes and no' than the normal experience
of the moral life can justify. But it is not certain that the first
person singular in such verses as 'O wretched man that I am! who shall
deliver me from this body of death?' is a personal confession at all. It
may be for human nature generally that he is speaking, when he gives
utterance to that consciousness of sin which was one of the most
distinctive parts of the Christian religion from the first. It does not
seem likely that a man of so lofty and heroic a character was ever
seriously troubled with ignominious temptations. That he yielded to
them, as Nietzsche and others have suggested, is in the highest degree
improbable. Even if the self-reproaches were uttered in his own person,
we have many other instances of saints who have blamed themselves
passionately for what ordinary men would consider slight transgressions.
Of all the Epistles, the Second to the Corinthians is the one which
contains the most intimate self-revelations, and few can read it without
loving as well as honouring its author.

We know nothing of the Apostle's residence at Jerusalem except the name
of his teacher. But it was at this time that he became steeped in the
Pharisaic doctrines which loamed the framework in which his earlier
Christian beliefs were set. It is now recognised that Pharisaism, far
from being the antipodes of Christianity, was rather the quarter where
the Gospel found its best recruits. The Pharisaic school contained the
greater part of whatever faith, loyalty and piety remained among the
Jewish people; and its dogmatic system passed almost entire into the
earliest Christian Church, with the momentous addition that Jesus was
the Messiah. A few words on the Pharisaic teaching which St. Paul must
have imbibed from Gamaliel are indispensable even in an article which
deals with Paul, and not with Paulinism.

The distinctive feature of the Jewish religion is not, as is often
supposed, its monotheism, Hebrew religion in its golden age was
monolatry rather than monotheism; and when Jahveh became more strictly
'the only God,' the cult of intermediate beings came in, and restored a
quasi-polytheism. The distinctive feature in Jewish faith is its
historical and teleological character. The God of the Jew is not natural
law. If the idea of necessary causation ever forced itself upon his
mind, he at once gave it the form of predestination. The whole of
history is an unfolding of the divine purpose; and so history as a whole
has for the Jew an importance which it never had for a Greek thinker,
nor for the Hellenised Jew Philo. The Hebrew idea of God is dynamic and
ethical; it is therefore rooted in the idea of Time. The Pharisaic
school modified this prophetic teaching in two ways. It became more
spiritual; anthropomorphisms were removed, and the transcendence of God
above the world was more strictly maintained. On the other hand, the
religious relationship became in their hands narrower and more external.
The notion of a covenant was defined more rigorously; the Law was
practically exalted above God, so that the Rabbis even represent the
Deity as studying the Law. With this legalism went a spirit of intense
exclusiveness and narrow ecclesiasticism. As God was raised above direct
contact with men, the old animistic belief in angels and demons, which
had lasted on in the popular mind by the side of the worship of Jahveh,
was extended in a new way. A celestial hierarchy was invented, with
names, and an infernal hierarchy too; the malevolent ghosts of animism
became fallen angels. Satan, who in Job is the crown-prosecutor, one of
God's retinue, becomes God's adversary; and the angels, formerly
manifestations of God Himself, are now quite separated from Him. A
supramundane physics or cosmology was evolved at the same time. Above
Zion, the centre of the earth, rise seven heavens, in the highest of
which the Deity has His throne. The underworld is now first divided into
Paradise and Gehenna. The doctrine of the fall of man, through his
participation in the representative guilt of his first parents, is
Pharisaic; as is the strange legend, which St. Paul seems to have
believed (2 Cor. xi. 3), that the Serpent carnally seduced Eve, and so
infected the race with spiritual poison. Justification, in Pharisaism as
for St. Paul, means the verdict of acquittal. The bad receive in this
life the reward for any small merits which they may possess; the sins of
the good must be atoned for; but merits, as in Roman Catholicism, may be
stored and transferred. Martyrdoms especially augment the spiritual
bank-balance of the whole nation. There was no official Messianic
doctrine, only a mass of vague fancies and beliefs, grouped round the
central idea of the appearance on earth of a supernatural Being, who
should establish a theocracy of some kind at Jerusalem. The righteous
dead will be raised to take part in this kingdom. The course of the
world is thus divided into two epochs--'this age' and 'the age to come.'
A catastrophe will end the former and inaugurate the latter. The
promised deliverer is now waiting in heaven with God, until his hour
comes; and it will come very soon. All this St. Paul must have learned
from Gamaliel. It formed the framework of his theology as a Christian
for many years after his conversion, and was only partially thrown off,
under the influence of mystical experience and of Greek ideas, during
the period covered by the letters. The lore of good and bad spirits (the
latter are 'the princes of this world' in I Cor. ii. 6, 8) pervades the
Epistles more than modern readers are willing to admit. It is part of
the heritage of the Pharisaic school.

It is very unlikely (in spite of Johannes Weiss) that St. Paul ever saw
Jesus in the flesh. But he did come in contact with the little Christian
community at Jerusalem. These disciples at first attempted to live as
strict members of the Jewish Church. They knew that the coming Messiah
was their crucified Master, but this belief involved no rupture with
Judaism. So at least they thought themselves; the Sanhedrin saw more
clearly what the new movement meant. The crisis came when numerous
'Hellenists' attached themselves to the Church--Jews of the Dispersion,
from Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere. A threatened rupture between these and
the Palestinian Christians was averted by the appointment of seven
deacons or charity commissioners, among whom Stephen soon became
prominent by the dangerously 'liberal' character of his teaching. Philo
gives important testimony to the existence of a 'liberal' school among
the Jews of the Dispersion, who, under pretext of spiritualising the
traditional law, left off keeping the Sabbath and the great festivals,
and even dispensed with the rite of circumcision. Thus the admission of
Gentiles on very easy terms into the Church was no new idea to the
Palestinian Jews; it was known to them as part of the shocking laxity
which prevailed among their brethren of the Dispersion. With Stephen,
this kind of liberalism seemed to have entered the group of 'disciples.'
He was accused of saying that Jesus was to destroy the temple and change
the customs of Moses. In his bold defence he admitted that in his view
the Law was valid only for a limited period, which would expire so soon
as Jesus returned as Messiah. This was quite enough for the Sanhedrin.
They stoned Stephen, and compelled the 'disciples' to disperse and fly
for their lives. Only the Apostles, whose devotion to the Law was well
known, were allowed to remain. This last fact, briefly recorded in Acts,
is important as an indication that the persecution was directed only
against the liberalising Christians, and that these were the great
majority. Saul, it seems, had no quarrel with the Twelve; his hatred and
fanaticism were aroused against a sect of Hellenist Jews who openly
proclaimed that the Law had been abrogated in advance by their Master,
who, as Saul observed with horror, had incurred the curse of the Law by
dying on a gibbet. All the Pharisee in him was revolted; and he led the
savage heretic-hunt which followed the execution of Stephen.

What caused the sudden change which so astonished the survivors among
his victims? To suppose that nothing prepared for the vision near
Damascus, that the apparition in the sky was a mere 'bolt from the
blue,' is an impossible theory. The best explanation is furnished by a
study of the Apostle's character, which we really know very well. The
author of the Epistles was certainly not a man who could watch a young
saint being battered to death by howling fanatics, and feel no emotion.
Stephen's speech may have made him indignant; his heroic death, the very
ideal of a martyrdom, must have awakened very different feelings. An
undercurrent of dissatisfaction, almost of disgust, at the arid and
unspiritual seminary teaching of the Pharisees now surged up and came
very near the surface. His bigotry sustained him as a persecutor for a
few weeks more; but how if he could himself see what the dying Stephen
said that he saw? Would not that be a welcome liberation? The vision
came in the desert, where men see visions and hear voices to this day.
They were very common in the desert of Gobi when Marco Polo traversed
it. 'The Spirit of Jesus,' as he came to call it, spoke to his heart,
and the form of Jesus flashed before his eyes. Stephen had been right;
the Crucified was indeed the Lord from heaven. So Saul became a
Christian; and it was to the Christianity of Stephen, not to that of
James the Lord's brother, that he was converted. The Pharisee in him was

The travelling missionary was as familiar a figure in the Levant as the
travelling lecturer on philosophy. The Greek language brought all
nationalities together. The Hellenising of the East had gone on steadily
since the conquests of Alexander; and Greek was already as useful as
Latin in many parts of the West. A century later, Marcus Aurelius wrote
his Confessions in Greek; and even in the middle of the third century,
when the tide was beginning to turn in favour of Latin, Plotinus
lectured in Greek at Rome. Christianity, within a few years after the
Crucifixion, had allied itself definitely with the speech, and
therefore inevitably with the spirit, of Hellenism. At no time since
have travel and trade been so free between the West of Europe and the
West of Asia. A Phrygian merchant (according to the inscription on his
tomb) made seventy-two journeys to Rome in the course of his
business-life. The decomposition of nationalities, and the destruction
of civic exclusiveness, led naturally to the formation of voluntary
associations of all kinds, from religious sects to trade unions;
sometimes a single association combined these two functions. The
Oriental religions appealed strongly to the unprivileged classes, among
which genuine religious faith was growing, while the official cults of
the Roman Empire were unsatisfying in themselves and associated with
tyranny. The attempt of Augustus to resuscitate the old religion was
artificial and unfruitful. The living movement was towards a syncretism
of religious ideas and practices, all of which came from the Eastern
provinces and beyond them. The prominent features in this new devotion
were the removal of the supreme Godhead from the world to a
transcendental sphere; contempt for the world and ascetic abnegation of
'the flesh'; a longing for healing and redemption, and a close
identification of salvation with individual immortality; and, finally,
trust in sacraments ('mysteries,' in Greek) as indispensable means of
grace or redemption. This was the Paganism with which Christianity had
to reckon, as well as with the official cult and its guardians. The
established church it conquered and destroyed; the living syncretistic
beliefs it cleansed, simplified, and disciplined, but only absorbed by
becoming itself a syncretistic religion. But besides Christians and
Pagans, there were the Jews, dispersed over the whole Empire. There were
at least a million in Egypt, a country which St. Paul, for reasons
unknown to us, left severely alone; there were still more in Syria, and
perhaps five millions in the whole Empire. In spite of the fecundity of
Jewish women, so much emphasised by Seeck in his history of the Downfall
of the Ancient World, it is impossible that the Hebrew stock should have
multiplied to this extent. There must have been a very large number of
converts, who were admitted, sometimes without circumcision, on their
profession of monotheism and acceptance of the Jewish moral code. The
majority of these remained in the class technically called
'God-fearers,' who never took upon themselves the whole yoke of the Law.
These half-Jews were the most promising field for Christian
missionaries; and nothing exasperated the Jews more than to see St. Paul
fishing so successfully in their waters. The spirit of propagandism
almost disappeared from Judaism after the middle of the second century.
Judaism shrank again into a purely Eastern religion, and renounced the
dangerous compromise with Western ideas. The labours of St. Paul made an
all-important parting of the ways. Their result was that Christianity
became a European religion, while Judaism fell back upon its old

It is very unfortunate that we have no thoroughly trustworthy records of
the Apostle's earlier mission preaching. The Epistles only cover a
period of about ten years; and the rapid development of thought which
can be traced during this short time prevents us from assuming that his
earlier teaching closely resembled that which we find in the Letters.
But if, during the earlier period, he devoted his attention mainly to
those who were already under Jewish influence, we may be sure that he
spoke much of the Messiahship of Jesus, and of His approaching return,
these being the chief articles of faith in Judaic Christianity. This
was, however, only the framework. What attracted converts was really the
historical picture of the life of Jesus; his message of love and
brotherhood, which they found realised in the little communities of
believers; and the abolition of all external barriers between human
beings, such as social position, race, and sex, which had undoubtedly
been proclaimed by the Founder, and contained implicitly the promise of
an universal religion. We can infer what the manner of his preaching was
from the style of the letters, which were probably dictated like
extempore addresses, without much preparation. He was no trained orator,
and he thoroughly disdained the arts of the rhetorician. His Greek,
though vigorous and effective, is neither correct nor elegant. His
eloquence is of the kind which proceeds from intense conviction, and
from a thorough knowledge of Old Testament prophecy and psalmody--no bad
preparation for a religious teacher. If at times he argued like a Rabbi,
these frigid debates were as acceptable to ancient Jews as they are to
modern Scotsmen. And when he takes fire, as he deals with some vital
truth which he has lived as well as learned and taught, he establishes
his right to be called what he never aimed at being--a writer of genius.
Such passages as 1 Cor. xiii., Phil, ii., Rom. viii., rank among the
finest compositions in later Greek literature. Regarded merely as a
piece of poetical prose, 1 Cor. xiii. is finer than anything that had
been written in the Greek language since the great Attic prose-writers.
And if this was dictated impromptu, similar outbursts of splendid
eloquence were probably frequent in his mission-preaching. Their effect
must have been overwhelming, when reinforced by the flashing eye of the
speaker, and by the absolute sincerity which none could doubt who saw
his face and figure, furrowed by toil and scarred by torture.

In addressing the Gentiles, we may assume that he followed the customary
Jewish line of apologetic, denouncing the folly of idolatry--an aid to
worship which is quite innocent and natural in some peoples, but which
the Jews never understood; that he spoke much of judgment to come; and
especially that he contrasted the pure and affectionate social life of
the Christian brotherhood with the licentiousness, cruelty, injustice,
oppression, and mutual suspicion of Pagan society. This argument
probably struck home in very many 'Gentile' hearts. The old
civilisation, with all the brilliant qualities which make many moderns
regret its destruction, rested on too narrow a base. The woman and the
slave were left out, the woman especially by the Greeks, and the slave
by the Romans. Acute social inequalities always create pride, brutality,
and widespread sexual immorality. And when the structure which
maintained these inequalities is itself tottering, the oppressed classes
begin to feel that they are unnecessary, and to hope for emancipation.
When St. Paul drew his lurid pictures of Pagan society steeped in
unnatural abominations, without hope for the future, 'hateful and hating
one another,' and then pointed to the little flock of Christians--among
whom no one was allowed to be idle and no one to starve, and where
family life was pure and mutual confidence full, frank and seldom
abused--the woman and the slave, of whom Aristotle had spoken so
contemptuously, flocked into his congregations, and began to organise
themselves for that victory which Nietzsche thought so deplorable.

It is not necessary in this essay to traverse again the familiar field
of St. Paul's missionary journeys. The first epoch, which embraces about
fourteen years, had its scene in Syria and Cilicia, with the short tour
in Cyprus and other parts of Asia Minor. The second period, which ends
with the imprisonment in A.D. 58 or 59, is far more important. St. Paul
crosses into Europe; he works in Macedonia and Greece. Churches are
founded in two of the great towns of the ancient world, Corinth and
Ephesus. According to his letters, we must assume that he only once
returned to Jerusalem from the great tour in the West, undertaken after
the controversy with Peter; and that the object of this visit was to
deliver the money which he had promised to collect for the poor 'saints'
at Jerusalem. He intended after this to go to Rome, and thence to
Spain--a scheme worthy of the restless genius of an Alexander. He saw
Rome indeed, but as a prisoner. The rest of his life is lost in
obscurity. The writer of the Acts does not say that the two years'
imprisonment ended in his execution; and if it was so, it is difficult
to see why such a fact should be suppressed. If the charge against him
was at last dismissed, because the accusers did not think it worth while
to come to Rome to prosecute it, St. Luke's silence is more explicable.
In any case, we may regard it as almost certain that St. Paul ended his
life under a Roman axe during the reign of Nero.

'There is hardly any fact' (says Harnack) 'which deserves to be turned
over and pondered so much as this, that the religion of Jesus has never
been able to root itself in Jewish or even upon Semitic soil.' This
extraordinary result is the judgment of history upon the life and work
of St. Paul. Jewish Christianity rapidly withered and died. According to
Justin, who must have known the facts, Jesus was rejected by the whole
Jewish nation 'with a few exceptions.' In Galilee especially, few, if
any, Christian Churches existed. There are other examples, of which
Buddhism is the most notable, of a religion gaining its widest
acceptance outside the borders of the country which gave it birth. But
history oilers no parallel to the complete vindication of St. Paul's
policy in carrying Christianity over into the Græco-Roman world, where
alone, as the event proved, it could live. This is a complete answer to
those who maintain that Christ made no break with Judaism. Such a
statement is only tenable if it is made in the sense of Harnack's words,
that 'what Gentile Christianity did was to carry out a process which had
in fact commenced long before in Judaism itself, viz. the process by
which the Jewish religion was inwardly emancipated and turned into a
religion for the world.' But the true account would be that Judaism,
like other great ideas, had to 'die to live,' It died in its old form,
in giving birth to the religion of civilised humanity, as the Greek
nation perished in giving birth to Hellenism, and the Roman in creating
the Mediterranean empire of the Caesars and the Catholic Church of the
Popes. The Jewish people were unable to make so great a sacrifice of
their national hopes. With the matchless tenacity which characterises
their race they clung to their tribal God and their temporal and local
millennium. The disasters of A.D. 70 and of the revolt under Hadrian
destroyed a great part of the race, and at last uprooted it from the
soil of Palestine. But conservatism, as usual, has had its partial
justification. Judaism has refused to acknowledge the religion of the
civilised world as her legitimate child; but the nation has refused also
to surrender its life. There are no more Greeks and Romans; but the Jews
we have always with us.

St. Paul saw that the Gospel was a far greater and more revolutionary
scheme than the Galilean apostles had dreamed of. In principle he
committed himself from the first to the complete emancipation of
Christianity from Judaism. But it was inevitable that he did not at
first realise all that he had undertaken. And, fortunately for us, the
most rapid evolution in his thought took place daring the ten years to
which his extant letters belong. It is exceedingly interesting to trace
his gradual progress away from Apocalyptic Messianism to a position very
near that of the fourth Gospel. The evangelist whom we call St. John is
the best commentator on Paulinism. This is one of the most important
discoveries of recent New Testament criticism.

In the earliest Epistles--those to the Thessalonians--we have the naïve
picture of Messiah coming on the clouds, which, as we now know, was part
of the Pharisaic tradition. In the central group the Christology is far
more complex. Besides the Pharisaic Messiah, and the records of the
historical Jesus of Nazareth, we have now to reckon with the
Jewish-Alexandrian idea of the generic, archetypal man, which is
unintelligible without reference to the Platonic philosophy. Philo is
here a great help towards understanding one of the most difficult parts
of the Apostle's teaching. We have also, fully developed, the mystical
doctrine of the Spirit of Christ immanent in the soul of the believer, a
conception which was the core of St. Paul's personal religion, and more
than anything else emancipated him from apocalyptic dreams of the
future. We have also a fourth conception, quite distinct from the three
which have been mentioned--that of Christ as a cosmic principle, the
instrument in creation and the sustainer of all his in the universe. We
must again have recourse to Philo and his doctrine of the Logos, to
understand the genesis of this idea, and to the Fourth Gospel to find it
stated in clear philosophical form. In this second period, these
theories about the Person of Christ are held concurrently, without any
attempt to reconcile or systematise them. The eschatology is being
seriously modified by the conception of a 'spiritual body,' which is
prepared for us so soon as our 'outward man' decays in death. The
resurrection of the flesh is explicitly denied (1 Cor. xv. 50); but a
new and incorruptible 'clothing' will be given to the soul in the future
state. Already the fundamental Pharisaic doctrine of the two ages--the
present age and that which is to come--is in danger. St. Paul can now,
like a true Greek, contrast the things that are seen, which are
temporal, with the things that are not seen, which are eternal. The
doctrine of the Spirit as a present possession of Christians brings down
heaven to earth and exalts earth to heaven; the 'Parousia' is now only
the end of the existing world-order, and has but little significance for
the individual. These ideas have not displaced the earlier apocalyptic
language; but it is easy to see that the one or the other must recede
into the background, and that the Pharisaic tradition will be the one to

The third group of Epistles--Philippians, Colossians, and Ephesians--are
steeped in ideas which belong to Greek philosophy and the Greek
mystery-religions. It would be impossible to translate them into any
Eastern language. The Rabbinical disputes with the Jews about
justification and election have disappeared; the danger ahead is now
from theosophy and the barbarised Platonism which was afterwards matured
in Gnosticism. The teaching is even more Christocentric than before; and
the Catholic doctrine of the Church as the body of Christ is more
prominent than individualistic mysticism. The cosmology is thoroughly
Johannine, and only awaits the name of the Logos.

This receptiveness to new ideas is one of the most remarkable features
in St. Paul's mind. Few indeed are the religious prophets and preachers
whose convictions are still malleable after they have begun to govern
the minds of others. St. Paul had already proved that he was a man who
would 'follow the gleam,' even when it called him to a complete breach
with his past. And the further development of his thought was made much
easier by the fact that he was no systematic philosopher, but a great
missionary who was willing to be all things to all men, while his own
faith was unified by his strength of purpose, and by the steady glow of
the light within.

It is difficult for us to realise the life of his little communities
without importing into the picture features which belong to a later
time. The organisation, such as it was, was democratic. The congregation
as a whole exercised a censorship over the morals of its members, and
penalties were inflicted 'by vote of the majority' (2 Cor. ii. 6). The
family formed a group for religious purposes, and remained the
recognised unit till the second century. In Ignatius and Hermas we find
the campaign against family churches in full swing. The meetings were
like those of modern revivalists, and sometimes became disorderly. But
of the moral beauty which pervaded the whole life of the brotherhoods
there can be no doubt. Many of the converts had formerly led
disreputable lives; but these were the most likely to appreciate the
gain of being no longer outlaws, but members of a true family. The
heathen were amazed at the kind of people whom the Christians admitted
and treated like brethren; but in the first century scandals do not seem
to have been frequent. Women, who were probably always the majority,
enjoyed a consideration unknown by them before. The extreme importance
attached by the early Church to sexual purity made it possible for them
to mix freely with Christian men; indeed, the strange and perilous
practice of a 'brother' and a virgin sharing the same house seems to
have already begun, if this is the meaning of the obscure passage in I
Cor. vii. 36.

Chastity and indifference to death were the two qualities in Christians
which made the greatest impression on their neighbours. Galen is
especially interesting on the former topic. But we must add a third
characteristic--the cheerfulness and happiness which marked the early
Christian communities. 'Joy' as a moral quality is a Christian
invention, as a study of the usage of charha in Greek will show. Even in
Augustine's time the temper of the Christians, 'serena et non dissolute
hilaris' was one of the things which attracted him to the Church. The
secret of this happy social life was an intense realisation of
corporate unity among the members of the confraternity, which they
represented to themselves as a 'mystery'--a mystical union between the
Head and members of a 'body.' It is in this conception, and not in
ritual details, that we are justified in finding a real and deep
influence of the mystery-cults upon Christianity. The Catholic
conception of sacraments as bonds uniting religious communities, and as
channels of grace flowing from a corporate treasury, was as certainly
part of the Greek mystery-religion as it was foreign to Judaism. The
mysteries had their bad side, as might be expected in private and
half-secret societies; but their influence as a whole was certainly
good. The three chief characteristics of mystery-religion were, first,
rites of purification, both moral and ceremonial; second, the promise of
spiritual communion with some deity, who through them enters into his
worshippers; third, the hope of immortality, which the Greeks often
called 'deification,' and which was secured to those who were initiated.

It is useless to deny that St. Paul regarded Christianity as, at least
on one side, a mystery-religion. Why else should he have used a number
of technical terms which his readers would recognise at once as
belonging to the mysteries? Why else should he repeatedly use the word
'mystery' itself, applying it to doctrines distinctive of Christianity,
such as the resurrection with a 'spiritual body,' the relation of the
Jewish people to God, and, above all, the mystical union between Christ
and Christians? The great' mystery' is 'Christ in you, the hope of
glory' (Col i. 27). It was as a mystery-religion that Europe accepted
Christianity. Just as the Jewish Christians took with them the whole
framework of apocalyptic Messianism, and set the figure of Jesus within
it, so the Greeks took with them the whole scheme of the mysteries, with
their sacraments, their purifications and fasts, their idea of a
mystical brotherhood, and their doctrine of 'salvation' (sôtêrhia is
essentially a mystery word) through membership in a divine society,
worshipping Christ as the patronal deity of their mysteries.

Historically, this type of Christianity was the origin of Catholicism,
both Western and Eastern; though it is only recently that this character
of the Pauline churches has been recognised. And students of the New
Testament have not yet realised the importance of the fact that St.
Paul, who was ready to fight to the death against the Judaising of
Christianity, was willing to take the first step, and a long one,
towards the Paganising of it. It does not appear that his personal
religion was of this type. He speaks with contempt of some doctrines and
practices of the Pagan mysteries, and will allow no _rapprochement_ with
what he regards as devil-worship. In this he remains a pure Hebrew. But
he does not appear to see any danger in allowing his Hellenistic
churches to assimilate the worship of Christ to the honours paid to the
gods of the mysteries, and to set their whole religion in this
framework, provided only that they have no part nor lot with those who
sit at 'the table of demons'--the sacramental love-feasts of the heathen
mysteries. The dangers which he does see, and against which he issues
warnings, are, besides Judaism, antinomianism and disorder on the one
hand, and dualistic asceticism on the other. He dislikes or mistrusts
'the speaking with tongues' (glôssolalhia), which was the favourite
exhibition of religious enthusiasm at Corinth. (On this subject Prof.
Lake's excursus is the most instructive discussion that has yet
appeared. The 'Testament of Job' and the magical papyri show that
gibberish uttered in a state of spiritual excitement was supposed to be
the language of angels and spirits, understood by them and acting upon
them as a charm.) He urges his converts to do all things 'decently and
in order.' He is alarmed at signs of moral laxity on the part of
self-styled 'spiritual persons'--a great danger in all times of ecstatic
enthusiasm. He is also alive to the dangers connected with that kind of
asceticism which is based on theories of the impurity of the body--the
typical Oriental form of world-renunciation. But he does not appear to
have foreseen the unethical and polytheistic developments of sacramental
institutionalism. In this particular his Judaising opponents had a
little more justification than he is willing to allow them.


There is something transitional about all St. Paul's teaching. We cannot
take him out of his historical setting, as so many of his commentators
in the nineteenth century tried to do. This is only another way of
saying that he was, to use his own expression, a wise master-builder,
not a detached thinker, an arm-chair philosopher. To the historian,
there must always be something astounding in the magnitude of the task
which he set himself, and in his enormous success. The future history of
the civilised world for two thousand years, perhaps for all time, was
determined by his missionary journeys and hurried writings. It is
impossible to guess what would have become of Christianity if he had
never lived; we cannot even be sure that the religion of Europe would be
called by the name of Christ. This stupendous achievement seems to have
been due to an almost unique practical insight into the essential
factors of a very difficult and complex situation. We watch him, with
breathless interest, steering the vessel which carried the Christian
Church and its fortunes through a narrow channel full of sunken rocks
and shoals. With unerring instinct he avoids them all, and brings the
ship, not into smooth water, but into the open sea, out of that perilous
strait. And so far was his masterly policy from mere opportunism, that
his correspondence has been 'Holy Scripture' for fifty generations of
Christians, and there has been no religious revival within Christianity
that has not been, on one side at least, a return to St. Paul.
Protestants have always felt their affinity with this institutionalist,
mystics with this disciplinarian. The reason, put shortly, is that St.
Paul understood what most Christians never realise, namely, that the
Gospel of Christ is not _a_ religion, but religion itself, in its most
universal and deepest significance.



It happens sometimes that two opposite tendencies flourish together,
deriving strength from a sense of the danger with which each is
threatened by the popularity of the other. Where the antagonism is not
absolute, each may gain by being compelled to recognise the strong
points in the rival position. In a serious controversy the right is
seldom or never all on one side; and in the normal course of events both
theories undergo some modification through the influence of their
opponents, until a compromise, not always logically defensible, brings
to an end the acute stage of the controversy. Such a tension of rival
movements is very apparent in the religious thought of our day. The
quickening of spiritual life in our generation has taken two forms,
which appear to be, and to a large extent are, sharply opposed to each
other. On the one side, there has been a great revival of mysticism.
Mysticism means an immediate communion, real or supposed, between the
human soul and the Soul of the World or the Divine Spirit. The
hypothesis on which it rests is that there is a real affinity between
the individual soul and the great immanent Spirit, who in Christian
theology is identified with the Logos-Christ. He was the instrument in
creation, and through the Incarnation and the gift of the Holy Spirit,
in which the Incarnation is continued, has entered into the most
intimate relation with the inner life of the believer. This revived
belief in the inspiration of the individual has immensely strengthened
the position of Christian apologists, who find their old fortifications
no longer tenable against the assaults of natural science and
historical criticism. It has given to faith a new independence, and has
vindicated for the spiritual life the right to stand on its own feet and
rest on its own evidence. Spiritual things, we now realise, are
spiritually discerned. The enlightened soul can see the invisible, and
live its true life in the suprasensible sphere. The primary evidence for
the truth of religion is religious experience, which in persons of
religious genius--those whom the Church calls saints and
prophets--includes a clear perception of an eternal world of truth,
beauty, and goodness, surrounding us and penetrating us at every point.
It is the unanimous testimony of these favoured spirits that the
obstacles in the way of realising this transcendental world are purely
subjective and to a large extent removable by the appropriate training
and discipline. Nor is there any serious discrepancy among them either
as to the nature of the vision which is the highest reward of human
effort, or as to the course of preparation which makes us able to
receive it. The Christian mystic must begin with the punctual and
conscientious discharge of his duties to society; he must next purify
his desires from all worldly and carnal lusts, for only the pure in
heart can see God; and he may thus fit himself for 'illumination'--the
stage in which the glory and beauty of the spiritual life, now clearly
discerned, are themselves the motive of action and the incentive to
contemplation; while the possibility of a yet more immediate and
ineffable vision of the Godhead is not denied, even in this life. There
is reason to think that this conception of religion appeals more and
more strongly to the younger generation to-day. It brings an intense
feeling of relief to many who have been distressed by being told that
religion is bound up with certain events in antiquity, the historicity
of which it is in some cases difficult to establish; with a cosmology
which has been definitely disproved; and with a philosophy which they
cannot make their own. It allows us what George Meredith calls 'the
rapture of the forward view.' It brings home to us the meaning of the
promise made by the Johannine Christ that there are many things as yet
hid from humanity which will in the future be revealed by the Spirit of
Truth. It encourages us to hope that for each individual who is trying
to live the right life the venture of faith will be progressively
justified in experience. It breaks down the denominational barriers
which divide men and women who worship the Father in spirit and in
truth--barriers which become more senseless in each generation, since
they no longer correspond even approximately with real differences of
belief or of religious temperament. It makes the whole world kin by
offering a pure religion which is substantially the same in all climates
and in all ages--a religion too divine to be fettered by any man-made
formulas, too nobly human to be readily acceptable to men in whom the
ape and tiger are still alive, but which finds a congenial home in the
purified spirit which is the 'throne of the Godhead.' Such is the type
of faith which is astir among us. It makes no imposing show in Church
conferences; it does not fill our churches and chapels; it has no
organisation, no propaganda; it is for the most part passively loyal,
without much enthusiasm, to the institutions among which it finds
itself. But in reality it has overleapt all barriers; it knows its true
spiritual kin; and amid the strifes and perplexities of a sad and
troublous time it can always recover its hope and confidence by
ascending in heart and mind to the heaven which is closer to it than
breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.

But on the other side we see a tendency, even more manifest if we look
for external signs, to emphasise the institutional side of religion,
that which prompts men and women to combine in sacred societies, to
cherish enthusiastic loyalties for the Church of their early education
or of their later choice, to find their chief satisfaction in acts of
corporate worship, and to subordinate their individual tastes and
beliefs to the common tradition and discipline of a historical body. It
is now about eighty years since this tendency began to manifest itself
as a new phenomenon in the Anglican Church. Since then, it has spread to
other organisations. It has prompted a new degree of denominational
loyalty in several Protestant bodies on the Continent, in America, and
in our own country; and it has arrested the decline of the Roman
Catholic Church in countries where the outlook seemed least hopeful from
the ecclesiastical point of view. Such a movement, so widespread and so
powerful in its results, is clearly a thing to be reckoned with by all
who desire to estimate rightly the signs of the times. It is a current
running in the opposite direction to the mystical tendency, which
regards unity as a spiritual, not a political ideal. Fortunately, the
theory of institutionalism has lately been defended and expounded by
several able writers belonging to different denominations; so that we
may hope, by comparing their utterances, to understand the attractions
of the theory and its meaning for those who so highly value it.

Aubrey Moore, writing in 1889, connected the Catholic revival with the
abandonment of atomism in natural philosophy and of Baconian
metaphysics. These were, he thought, the counterpart of individualism in
politics and Calvinism in religion. The adherents of mid-Victorian
science and philosophy were bewildered by the phenomenon of 'men in the
nineteenth century actually expressing a belief in a divine society and
a supernatural presence in our midst, a brotherhood in which men become
members of an organic whole by sharing in a common life, a service of
man which is the natural and spontaneous outcome of the service of
God.'[90] In the view of this learned and acute thinker, Catholicism, or
institutionalism, is destined to supplant Protestantism, as the organic
theory is destined to displace the atomic.

More recently Troeltsch, writing as a Protestant, has emphasised the
institutional side of religion in the most uncompromising way.

     'One of the clearest results of all religious history and
     religious psychology is that the essence of all religion is
     not dogma and idea, but cultus and communion, the living
     intercourse with the Deity--an intercourse of the entire
     community, having its vital roots in religion and deriving
     its ultimate power of thus uniting individuals, from its
     faith in God.... Whatever the future may bring us, we cannot
     expect a certainty and force of the knowledge of God and of
     His redemptive power to subsist without communion and
     cultus. And so long as a Christianity of any kind shall
     subsist at all, it will be united with a cultus, and with
     Christ holding a central position in the cultus.'[91]

From America, the last refuge of individualism, there has come a
pronouncement not less drastic. Professor Royce, the author of the
admirable metaphysical treatise entitled 'The World and the Individual,'
has recently published a double series of Hibbert Lectures on 'The
Problem of Christianity,' in which he affirms the institutionalist
theory with a surprising absence of qualification. The whole book is
dominated by one idea, advocated with a _naïveté_ which would hardly
have been possible to a theologian--the idea that churchmanship is the
essential part of the Christian religion.

     'The salvation of the individual man is determined by some
     sort of membership in a certain spiritual community--a
     religious community, and in its inmost nature a divine
     community, in whose life the Christian virtues are to reach
     their highest expression and the spirit of the Master is to
     obtain its earthly fulfilment. In other words, there is a
     certain universal and divine spiritual community. Membership
     in that community is necessary to the salvation of man....
     Such a community exists, is needed, and is an indispensable
     means of salvation for the individual man, and is the
     fitting realm wherein alone the kingdom of heaven which the
     Master preached can find its expression, and wherein alone
     the Christian virtues can be effectively preached.'[92]

These statements, which in vigour and rigour would satisfy the most
extreme curialist in the Society of Jesus, are not a little startling in
an American philosopher, who, as far as the present writer knows, does
not belong to any 'Catholic' Church. The thesis thus enunciated is the
argument of the whole book, in which 'loyalty to the beloved community'
is declared to be the characteristic Christian virtue. It is true that
the satisfaction of Professor Royce's Catholic readers is destined to be
damped in the second volume, where he forbids us to look for the ideal
divine community in any existing Church, and expresses his conviction
that great changes must come over the dogmatic teaching of Christianity.
But for our purpose the significant fact is that throughout the book he
insists that Christianity is essentially an institutional religion, the
most completely institutional of all religions. For Professor Royce to
be a Christian is to be a Churchman.

Our last witness shall be the learned Roman Catholic layman, Baron
Friedrich von Hügel, the deepest thinker, perhaps, of all living
theologians in this country. 'It is now ever increasingly clear to all
deep impartial students that religion has ever primarily expressed and
formed itself in cultus, in social organisation, social worship,
intercourse between soul and soul and between soul and God; and in
symbols and sacraments, in contacts between spirit and matter.' He
proceeds to discuss the strength and weakness of institutionalism in a
perfectly candid spirit, but with too particular reference to the
present conditions within the Roman Church to help us much in our more
general survey. He mentions the drawbacks of an official philosophy,
prescribed by authority; 'only in 1835 did the Congregation of the Index
withdraw heliocentric books from its list.' He emphasises the necessity
of historical dogmas, but admits that orthodoxy cherishes, along with
them, 'fact-like historical pictures' which 'cannot be taken as
directly, simply factual.' He vindicates the orthodoxy of religious
toleration, and refuses to consign all non-Catholics to perdition,
lamenting the tendency to identify absolutely the visible and invisible
Church, which prevails among 'some of the (now dominant) Italian and
German Jesuit Canonists.' Lastly, he boldly recommends the frank
abandonment of the Papal claim to exercise temporal power in Italy. This
is not so much a critique of institutionalism as the plea of a Liberal
Catholic that the logic of institutionalism should not be allowed to
override all other considerations. The Baron is, indeed, himself a
mystic, though also a strong believer in the necessity of institutional

We have then a considerable body of very competent opinion, that a man
cannot be a Christian unless he is a Churchman. To the mystic pure and
simple, such a statement seems monstrous. Did not even Augustine say, 'I
want to know God and my own soul; these two things, and no third
whatever'? What intermediary can there be, he will ask, between the soul
and God? What sacredness is there in an organisation? Is it not a matter
of common experience that the morality of an institution, a society, a
state, is inferior to that of the individuals who compose it? And is
organised Catholicism an exception to this rule? And yet we must admit
the glamour of the idea of a divine society. It arouses that _esprit de
corps_ which is the strongest appeal that can be made to some noble
minds. It calls for self-sacrifice and devoted labour in a cause which
is higher than private interest. It demands discipline and co-operation,
through which alone great things can be done on the field of history. It
holds out a prospect of really influencing the course of events. And if
there has been a historical Incarnation, it follows that God has
actually intervened on the stage of history, and that it is His will to
carry out some great and divine purpose in and by means of the course of
history. With this object, as the Catholic believes, He established an
institutional Church, pledged to the highest of all causes; and what
greater privilege can there be than to take part in this work, as a
soldier in the army of God in His long campaign against the spiritual
powers of evil? The Christian institutionalist is the servant of a grand

There are, however, a few questions which we are bound to ask him.
First, is his idea of the Church Christian? Did the Founder of
Christianity contemplate or even implicitly sanction the establishment
of a semi-political international society, such as the Catholic Church
has actually been? Orthodox Catholicism maintains that He did. Modernism
admits that He did not, but adds that if He had known that the Messianic
expectation was illusory, and that the existing world-order was to
continue for thousands of years, He would certainly have wished that a
Catholic Church should exist. And, argues the Modernist, if it is a good
thing that a Catholic Church should exist, it is useless to quarrel with
the conditions under which alone it can maintain its existence. The
philosophical historian must admit that all the changes which the
Catholic Church has undergone--its concessions to Pagan superstition,
its secular power, its ruthless extirpation of rebels against its
authority, its steadily growing centralisation and autocracy--were
forced upon it in the struggle for existence. Those who wish that Church
history had been different are wishing the impossible, or wishing that
the Church had perished. But this argument is not valid as a defence of
a divine institution. It is rather a merciless exposure of what happens,
and must happen, to a great idea when it is enslaved by an institution
of its own creation. The political organisation which has grown up round
the idea ends by strangling it, and continues to fight for its own
preservation by the methods which govern the policy of all other
political organisations--force, fraud, and accommodation. There is
nothing in the political history of Catholicism which suggests in the
slightest degree that the spirit of Christ has been the guiding
principle in its councils. Its methods have, on the contrary, been more
cruel, more fraudulent, more unscrupulous, than those of most secular
powers. If the Founder of Christianity had appeared again on earth
during the so-called ages of faith, it is hardly possible to doubt that
He would, have been burnt alive or crucified again. What the Latin
Church preserved was not the religion of Christ, which lived on by its
inherent indestructibility, but parts of the Aristotelian and Platonic
philosophies, distorted and petrified by scholasticism, a vast quantity
of purely Pagan superstitions, and the _arcana imperii_ of Roman
Cæsarism. The normal end of Scholasticism is a mummified philosophy of
authority, in which there are no problems to solve, but a great many
dead pundits to consult. The normal end of a policy which exploits the
superstitions of the peasant is a desperate warfare against education.
The normal end of Roman Imperialism is a sultanate like that of
Diocletian. It is difficult to find a proof of infallible and
supernatural wisdom in the evolution of which these are the last terms.
We read with the utmost sympathy and admiration Baron von Hügel's loyal
and reverent appeals to the authorities of his Church, that they may
draw out the strong and beneficent powers of institutionalism, and avoid
its insidious dangers. But it may be doubted whether such a policy is
possible. The future of Roman Catholicism is, I fear, with the
Ultramontanes. They, and not the Modernists, are in the line of
development which Catholicism as an institution has consistently
followed, and must continue to follow to the end. I can see no other
fate in store for the _soma_ of Catholicism; the germ-cells of true
Christianity live their own life within it, and are transmitted without
taint to those who are born of the Spirit.

We must further ask the institutionalist what are his grounds for
identifying the Church of God with the particular institution to which
he belongs. On the institutionalist hypothesis, it might have been
expected either that there would have been no divisions in Christendom,
or that all seceding bodies would have shown such manifest inferiority
in wisdom, morality, and sanctity, that the exclusive claims of the
Great Church would have been ratified at the bar of history. This is, in
fact, the claim which Roman Catholics make. But it can only be upheld by
writing history in the spirit of an advocate, or by giving a preference,
not in accordance with modern ethical views, to certain types of
character which are produced by the monastic life of the Catholic
'religious,' It is increasingly difficult to find, in the lives of those
who belong to any one denomination, proofs of marked superiority over
other Christians. Of course, we know little of the real character of our
neighbours as they appear in the eyes of God; but in considering a
theory which lays so much stress on history as Catholic institutionalism
does, we are bound to make use of such evidence as we have. And the
evidence does not support the theory that we cannot be Christians unless
we are Catholics. Nor does it even countenance the view that we cannot
be Christians unless we are enthusiastic members of _some_ religious
corporation. Professor Royce seems to have been carried away by the idea
which prompted him to write his book; but a little thought about the
characters of his acquaintances might have given him pause.

The mechanical theory of devolution which assumes so much importance in
some fashionable Anglican teaching about the Church need not detain us
long. The logical choice must ultimately be between the great
international Catholic Church and what Auguste Sabatier called the
religion of the Spirit. The religion of all Protestants, when it is not
secularised, as it too often is, belongs to this latter type, even when
they lay most stress on the idea of brotherhood and corporate action.
For with them institutions are never much more than associations for
mutual help and edification. The Protestant always hopes to be saved
_qua_ Christian, not _qua_ Churchman.

A third question which must be asked is whether institutionalism in
practice makes for unity among Christians, or for division. Too often
the chief visible sign of the 'corporate idea' of which so much is said,
is the rigidity of the spikes which it erects round its own particular
fold. The obstacles to acts of reunion (which in no way carry with them
the necessity of formal amalgamation) are raised almost exclusively by
stiff institutionalists. The much-discussed Kikuyu case has brought this
home to everybody. But for these uncompromising Churchmen, Christians of
all denominations would be glad enough to meet together at the Lord's
table on special occasions like the service which gave rise to this
controversy. Anglicans are well aware that the differences of opinion
within their body are far greater than those which separate some of them
from Protestant Nonconformity, and others of them from Home. Allegiance
to this or that denomination is generally an accident of early
surroundings. To make these external classifications into barriers which
cannot be crossed is either an absurdity or a confession that a Church
is a political aggregate. A Roman Monsignor explained, _à propos_ of the
Kikuyu service, that no Roman Catholic could ever communicate in a
Protestant church, because in so doing he would be guilty of an act of
apostasy, and would be no longer a Roman Catholic. The attitude is
consistent with the Roman claim to universal jurisdiction; for any other
body it would be absurd. The stiff institutionalist is debarred by his
theory from fraternising with many who should be his friends, while he
is bound to others with whom he has no sympathy. His theory is once more
found to conflict with the facts.

Lastly, we must ask whether institutionalism is really a spiritual and
moral force. Of the advantages of _esprit de corps_ I have spoken
already. No one can doubt that unity is strength, or that Catholicism
has an immense advantage over its rivals in the efficiency of its
organisation. But is not this advantage dearly purchased? Party loyalty
is notoriously unscrupulous. The idealised institution becomes itself
the object of worship, and it is entirely forgotten that a Christian
Church ought to have no 'interests' except the highest welfare of
humanity. The substitution of military for civil ethics has worked
disastrously on the conduct of Churchmen. Theoretically it is admitted
by Roman casuists that an immoral order ought not to be obeyed; but it
is not for a layman to pronounce immoral any order received from a
priest; if the order is really immoral, 'obedience' exonerates him who
executes it; in all other cases disobedience is a deadly sin. The result
of this submission of private judgment is that the voice of conscience
is often stifled, and unscrupulous policies are carried through by
Churchmen, which secular public opinion would have condemned decisively
and rejected. The persecution of Dreyfus is a recent and strong
instance. If all France had been Catholic, the victim of this shocking
injustice would certainly have died in prison. It is extremely doubtful
whether the presence of a highly organised Church is conducive to moral
and social reform in a country. The temptation to play a political game
seems to be always too strong. In Ireland the priesthood has probably
helped to maintain a comparatively high standard of sexual morality, but
it cannot be said that the Irish Catholic population is in other
respects a model of civilisation and good citizenship. In education
especially the influence of ecclesiasticism has been almost uniformly
pernicious, so that it seems impossible for any country where the
children are left under priestly influence to rise above a certain
rather low level of civilisation. The strongest claim of
institutionalism to our respect is probably the beneficial restraint
which it exercises upon many persons who need moral and intellectual
guidance. It is the fashion to disparage the scholastic theology, and it
has certainly suffered by being congealed, like everything else that
Rome touches, into a hard system; but it is immeasurably superior to the
theosophies and fancy religions which run riot in the superficially
cultivated classes of Protestant countries. The undisciplined mystic, in
his reliance on the inner light, may fall into various kinds of
_Schwärmerei_ and superstition. In some cases he may even lose his
sanity for want of a wise restraining influence. It is not an accident
that America, where institutionalism is weakest, is the happy
hunting-ground of religious quacks and cranks. Individualists are too
prone to undervalue the steadying influence of ancient and consecrated
tradition, which is kept up mainly by ecclesiastical institutions. These
probably prevent many rash experiments from being tried, especially in
the field of morals. Even writers like Dr. Frazer insist on the immense
services which consecrated tradition still renders to humanity. These
claims may be admitted; but they come very far short of the
glorification of institutionalism which we found in the authors quoted a
few pages back.

The institutionalist, however, may reply that he by no means admits the
validity of Sabatier's antithesis between religions of authority and the
religion of the Spirit. His own religion, he believes, is quite as
spiritual as that of the Protestant individualist. He may quote the fine
saying of a medieval mystic that he who can see the inward in the
outward is more spiritual than he who can only see the inward in the
inward. We may, indeed, be thankful that we have not to choose between
two mutually exclusive types of religion. The Quaker, whom we may take
as the type of anti-institutional mysticism, has a brotherhood to which
he is proud to belong, and for which he feels loyalty and affection. And
Catholicism has been rich in contemplative saints who have lived in the
light of the Divine presence. The question raised in this essay is
rather of the relative importance of these two elements in the religious
life, than of choosing one and rejecting the other. I will conclude by
saying that our preference of one of these types to the other will be
largely determined by our attitude towards history. I am glad to see
that Professor Bosanquet, in his fine Gifford Lectures, has the courage
to expose the limitations of the 'historical method,' now so popular. He
protests against Professor Ward's dictum that 'the actual is wholly
historical,' as a view little better than naïve realism. History, he
says, is a hybrid form of experience, incapable of any considerable
degree of being or trueness. It is a fragmentary diorama of finite
life-processes seen from the outside, and very imperfectly known. It
consists largely of assigning parts in some great world-experience to
particular actors--a highly speculative enterprise. To set these
contingent and dubious constructions above the operations of pure
thought and pure insight is indeed a return to the philosophy of the man
in the street. 'Social morality, art, philosophy, and religion take us
far beyond the spatio-temporal externality of history; these are
concrete and necessary living worlds, and in them the finite mind begins
to experience something of what individuality must ultimately mean.' Our
inquiry has thus led us to the threshold of one of the fundamental
problems of philosophy--the value and reality of time. For the
institutionalist, happenings in time have a meaning and importance far
greater than the mystic is willing to allow to them. Like most other
great philosophical problems, this question is largely one of
temperament. Christianity has found room for both types. I believe,
however, that the aberrations or exaggerations of institutionalism have
been, and are, more dangerous, and further removed from the spirit of
Christianity than those of mysticism, and that we must look to the
latter type, rather than to the former, to give life to the next
religious revival.


     [90] Moore, _Science and the Faith_, Introduction.

     [91] Troeltsch, _Die Bedeutung der Geschichtlichkeit Jesu
     für den Glauben,_ pp. 25 _sq_.

     [92] Royce, _The Problem of Christianity_, vol. i. 39.



No thinking man can deny that this war has grievously stained the
reputation of Europe. Even if the verdict of history confirms the
opinion that the conspiracy which threw the torch into the
powder-magazine was laid by a few persons in one or two countries, and
that the unparalleled outrages which have accompanied the conflict were
ordered by a small coterie of brutal officers, we cannot forget that
these crimes have been committed by the responsible representatives of a
civilised European power, and that the nation which they represent has
shown no qualms of conscience. That such a calamity, the permanent
results of which include a holocaust of European wealth and credit,
accumulated during a century of unprecedented industry and ingenuity,
the loss of innumerable lives, and the destruction of all the old and
honourable conventions which have hitherto regulated the intercourse of
civilised nations with each other, in war as well as in peace, should
have been possible, is justly felt to be a reproach to the whole
continent, and especially to the nations which have taken the lead in
its civilisation and culture. The ancient races of Asia, which have
never admitted the moral superiority of the West, are keenly interested
spectators of our suicidal frenzy. A Japanese is reported to have said,
'We have only to wait a little longer, till Europe has completed her
_hara kiri_.' This is, indeed, what any intelligent observer must think
about the present struggle. Just as the feudal barons of England
destroyed each other and brought the feudal system to an end in the
Wars of the Roses, so the great industrial nations are rending to pieces
the whole fabric of modern industrialism, which can never be
reconstructed. Mr. Norman Angell was perfectly right in his argument
that a European war would be ruinous to both sides. The material objects
at stake, such as the control of the Turkish Empire and the African
continent, are not worth more than an insignificant fraction of the
war-bill. We are witnessing the suicide of a social order, and our
descendants will marvel at our madness, as we marvel at the senseless
wars of the past.

There has, it is plain, been something fundamentally wrong with European
civilisation, and the disease appears to be a moral one. With this
conviction it is natural that men should turn upon the official
custodians of religion and morality, and ask them whether they have been
unfaithful to their trust, or whether it is not rather proved that the
faith which they profess is itself bankrupt and incapable of exerting
any salutary influence upon human character and action. Christianity
stands arraigned at the bar of public opinion. But it is not without
significance that the indictment should now be urged with a vehemence
which we do not find in the records of former convulsions. It was not
generally felt to be a scandal to Christianity that England was at war
for 69 years out of the 120 which preceded the battle of Waterloo.
Either our generation expected more from Christianity, or it was far
more shocked by the sudden outbreak of this fierce war than our
ancestors were by the almost chronic condition of desultory campaigning
to which they were accustomed. The latter is probably the true reason.
The belief in progress, which at the beginning of the industrial
revolution was an article of faith, had become a tacitly accepted
presupposition of all serious thought; and even those who were dubious
about the moral improvement of mankind in other directions, seldom
denied that we were more humane and peaceable than our forefathers. The
disillusion has struck our self-complacency in its most vital spot.
Nothing in our own experience had prepared us for the hideous savagery
and vandalism of German warfare, the first accounts of which we
received with blank amazement and incredulity. Then, when disbelief was
no longer possible, there awoke within us a sense of fear for our homes
and women and children--feeling to which modern civilised man had long
been a stranger. We had not supposed that the non-combatant population
of any European country would ever again be exposed to the horrors of
savage warfare. This, much more than the war itself, has made thousands
feel that the house of civilisation is built upon the sand, and that
Christianity has failed to subdue the most barbarous instincts of human
nature. Christians cannot regret that the flagrant contradiction between
the principles of their creed and the scenes that have been enacted
during the last three years is fully recognised. But the often repeated
statement that 'Christianity has failed' needs more examination than it
usually receives from those who utter it.

History acquaints us with two kinds of religion, which, though they are
not entirely separate from each other, differ very widely in their
effects upon conduct and morality. The _religio_ which Lucretius hated,
and from which he strangely hoped that the atomistic materialism of
Epicurus had finally delivered mankind, has its roots in the sombre and
confused superstitions of the savage. Fear, as Statius and Petronius
tell us, created the gods of this religion. These deities are mysterious
and capricious powers, who exact vengeance for the transgression of
arbitrary laws which they have not revealed, and who must be propitiated
by public sacrifice, lest some collective punishment fall on the tribe,
blighting its crops and smiting its herds with murrain, or giving it
over into the hand of its enemies. This religion makes very little
attempt to correct the current standard of values. Its rewards are
wealth and prosperity; its punishments are calamity in this world and
perhaps torture in the next. It is not, however, incapable of
moralisation. The wrath of heaven may visit not the innocent violation
of some _tabu_, but cruelty and injustice. In the historical books of
the Old Testament, though Uzzah is stricken dead for touching the ark,
and the subjects of King David afflicted with pestilence because their
ruler took a census of his people, Jehovah is above all things a
righteous God, who punishes bloodshed, adultery, and social oppression.
So in Greece the Furies pursue the homicide and the perjurer, till the
name of his family is clean put out. Herodotus tells us how the family
of Glaucus was extinguished because he consulted the oracle of Delphi
about an act of embezzlement which he was meditating.

International law was protected by the same fear of divine vengeance.
The murder of heralds must by all means be expiated. When the Romans
repudiate their 'scrap of paper' with the Samnites, they deliver up to
the enemy the officers who signed it, though (with characteristic
'slimness') not the army which the mountaineers had captured and
liberated under the agreement. To destroy the temples in an enemy's
country was an act of wanton impiety; Herodotus cannot understand the
religious intolerance which led the Persians to burn the shrines of
Greek gods. Thus religion had a restraining influence in war throughout
antiquity, and in the Middle Ages. The Pope, who was believed to hold
the keys of future bliss and torment, was frequently, though by no means
always, obeyed by the turbulent feudal lords, and often enforced the
sanctity of a contract by the threat or the imposition of
excommunication and interdict. In order to make these penalties more
terrible, the torments of those who died under the displeasure of the
Church were painted in the most vivid colours. But in the official and
popular Christian eschatology, as in the terrestrial theodicy of the Old
Testament, there is little or no moral idealism. The joys or pains of
the future life are made to depend, in part at least, on the observance
or violation of the moral law, but they are themselves of a kind which
the natural man would desire or dread. They are an enhanced, because a
deferred, retribution of the same kind which in more primitive religions
promises earthly prosperity to the righteous, and earthly calamities to
the wicked. Values, positive and negative, are taken nearly as they
stand in the estimation of the average man.

But there is another religious tradition, which in Greece was almost
separated from the official and national cults, and among the Hebrews
was often in opposition to them. The Hebrew prophets certainly
proclaimed that 'the history of the world is the judgment of the world,'
and often assumed, too crudely as it seems to us, that national
calamities are a proof of national transgression; but the whole course
of development in prophecy was towards an autonomous morality based on a
spiritual valuation of life. Its quarrel with sacerdotalism was mainly
directed against the unethical _tabu_-morality of the priesthood; the
revolt was grounded in a lofty moral idealism, which found expression in
a half-symbolic vision of a coming state in which might and right should
coincide. The apocalyptic prophecies of post-exilic Judaism, which were
not based, like some political predictions of the earlier prophets, on a
statesmanlike view of the international situation, but on hopes of
supernatural intervention, had their roots in visions of a new and
better world-order. This aspiration, which had to disentangle itself by
degrees from the patriotic dreams of a stubborn and unfortunate race,
was projected into the near future, and was mixed with less worthy
political ambitions which had a different origin. The prophet always
foreshortens his revelation, and generally blends the city of God with a
vision of his own country transfigured. We see him doing this even
to-day, in his Utopian dreams of social reconstruction.

And so it has always been. We remember Condorcet foretelling a reign of
truth and peace just before he was compelled to flee from the storm of
calumny to die in a damp cell at Bourg la Reine; and Kant hailing the
approach of a peaceful international republic while Napoleon was
preparing to drown Europe in blood. Apocalyptism is a compromise between
the religion of rewards and punishments and the religion of spiritual
deliverance. It calls a new world into existence to redress the balance
of the old; but its discontent with the old is mainly the result of a
moral and spiritual valuation of life. Greek philosophy has really much
in common with Hebrew prophecy, though the Greek envisaged his ideal
world as the eternal background of reality, and not under the form of
history. In its maturest form, it is a transvaluation of all values in
accordance with an absolute ideal standard--that of the Good, the True,
and the Beautiful. This idealism appears in a still more drastic form in
the religions of Asia, which preach deliverance by demonetising at a
stroke all the world's currency. Spiritual values are alone accepted;
man wins peace and freedom by renouncing in advance all of which fortune
may deprive him.

We are apt to assume, in deference to our theories of human progress,
that the evolution of religion is normally from a lower to a higher
type. It would, indeed, be absurd to question that the religion of a
civilised people is usually more spiritual and more rational than that
of barbarians. But none the less, the history of religions is generally
a history of decline. In Judaism the prophets came before the Scribes
and the Pharisees. Brahmanism and Buddhism were both degraded by
superstitions and unethical rites. Christianity, which began as a
republication of the purest prophetic teaching, has suffered the same
fate. In each case, when the revelation has lost its freshness, and the
enthusiasm which it evoked has begun to cool, a reversion to older
habits of thought and customs takes place; and sometimes it may be said
that the old religion has really conquered the new.

Christianity, as taught by its Founder, is based on a transvaluation of
values even more complete than that of Stoicism and the later Platonism,
because, while it regards the objects of ordinary ambition as a positive
hindrance to the higher life, it accepts and gives value to those pains
of sympathy which Greek thought dreaded, as detracting from the calm
enjoyment of the philosophic life. This acceptance of the world's
suffering, from which every other spiritual religion and philosophy
promise a way of escape, is perhaps the most distinctive feature of
Christian ethics. In practice, it thus achieves a more complete conquest
of evil than any other system; and by bringing sorrow and sympathy into
the Divine life, it not only presents the character and nature of the
Deity in a new light, but opens out a new ideal of moral perfection.
This is not the place for a discussion of the main characteristics of
the Gospel of Christ, and they are familiar to us all. But, since we are
now considering the charge of failure brought against Christianity in
connexion with the present world-war, it seems necessary to emphasise
two points which are not always remembered.

The first is that there is no evidence that the historical Christ ever
intended to found a new institutional religion. He neither attempted to
make a schism in the Jewish Church nor to substitute a new system for
it. He placed Himself deliberately in the prophetic line, only claiming
to sum up the series in Himself. The whole manner of His life and
teaching was prophetic. The differences which undoubtedly may be found
between His style and that of the older prophets do not remove Him from
the company in which He clearly wished to stand. He treated the
institutional religion of His people with the independence and
indifference of the prophet and mystic; and the hierarchy, which, like
other hierarchies, had a sure instinct in discerning a dangerous enemy,
was not slow to declare war to the knife against Him. Such, He reminded
His enemies, was the treatment which all the prophets had met with from
the class to which those enemies belonged. This, then, is the first fact
to remember. Institutional Christianity may be a legitimate and
necessary historical development from the original Gospel, but it is
something alien to the Gospel itself. The first disciples believed that
they had the Master's authority for expecting the end of the existing
world-order in their own lifetime. They believed that He had come
forward with the cry of 'Hora novissima!' Whether they misunderstood Him
or not, they clearly could not have held this opinion if they had
received instructions for the constitution of a Church.

The second point on which it is necessary to insist is that Christ never
expected, or taught His disciples to expect, that His teaching would
meet with wide acceptance, or exercise political influence. 'The
world'--organised human society--was the enemy and was to continue the
enemy. His message, He foresaw, would be scorned and rejected by the
majority; and those who preached it were to expect persecution. This
warning is repeated so often in the Gospels that it would be superfluous
to give quotations. He made it quite plain that the big battalions are
never likely to be gathered before the narrow gate. He declared that
only false prophets are well spoken of by the majority. When we consider
the revolutionary character of the Christian idealism, its indifference
to nearly all that passes for 'religion' with the vulgar, and its
reversal of all current valuations, it is plain that it is never likely
to be a popular creed. As surely as the presence of high spiritual
instincts in the human mind guarantees its indestructibility, so surely
the deeply-rooted prejudices which keep the majority on a lower level
must prevent the Gospel of Christ from dominating mundane politics or
social life.

Moreover, the actual extent of its influence cannot be estimated. The
inwardness and individualism of its teaching make its apparent
effectiveness smaller than its real power, which works secretly and
unobserved. The vices which Christ regarded with abhorrence are
perversions of character--hypocrisy, hard-heartedness, and worldliness
or secularity; and who can say what degree of success the Gospel has
achieved in combating these? The method of Christianity is alien to all
externalism and machinery; it does not lend itself to those
accommodations and compromises without which nothing can be done in
politics. As Harnack says, the Gospel is not one of social improvement,
but of spiritual redemption. Its influence upon social and political
life is indirect and obscure, operating through a subtle modification of
current valuations, and curbing the competitive and acquisitive
instincts, which nearly correspond with what Christ called 'Mammon' and
St. Paul 'the flesh.' Christianity is a spiritual dynamic, which has
very little to do directly with the mechanism of social life.

It is, therefore, certain that when we speak of Christianity as a
factor in human life, we must not identify it with the opinions or
actions of the multitudes who are nominally Christians. We must not even
identify it, without qualification, with the types of character
exhibited by those who try to frame their lives in accordance with its
precepts. For these types are very largely determined by the ideals
which belong to the stage through which the life of the race is passing;
and these differ so widely in different ages and countries that the
historian of religion might well despair if he was compelled to regard
them all as typical manifestations of the same idea. There are times
when the disciple of Christ seems to turn his back upon society; he is
occupied solely with the relation of the individual soul to God. These
are periods when the opportunities for social service are much
restricted by a faulty structure of the body politic; periods when
secular civilisation is so brutal, or so servile, that the religious
life can only be led in seclusion from it. At another time the typical
Christian seems to be the active and valiant soldier of a militant
corporation. At another, again, he is a philanthropist, who devotes his
life to the redress of some great wrong, such as slavery, or the
promotion of a more righteous system of production and distribution. In
all these types we can trace the operation of the genius of
Christianity, but they are partial manifestations of it, with much alien
admixture. The spirit of the age, as well as the spirit of Christ, has
moulded the various types of Christian piety.

If there has ever been a time when organised Christianity was a concrete
embodiment of the pure principles of the Gospel, we must look for it in
the era of the persecutions, when the Church had already gained
coherence and discipline and a corporate self-consciousness, and was
still preserved from the corrupting influence of secularity by the
danger which attended the profession of an illicit creed. A vivid
picture of the Christian communities at this period has been given by
Dobschütz, whose learning and impartiality are unimpeachable. The Church
at this time demanded from its followers an unreserved confession, even
when this meant death. It was a brotherhood within which there was no
privileged class. Men and women, the free and the slave, had an equal
share in it. It abolished the fundamental Greek distinction of civilised
and barbarian. It looked with contempt on none. Its great organisation
was spread by purely voluntary means, till it gained a firm footing
throughout the Empire and beyond it. To a large extent it was an
association for mutual aid. Wherever anyone was in need, help was at
hand. The tangible advantages of belonging to such a guild were so great
that the Church had to enforce labour on all who could work, as a
condition of sharing in the benefits of membership. Social distinctions,
such as those of rich and poor, master and slave, were not abolished,
but they had lost their sting, because genuine affection, loyalty and
sympathy neutralised these inequalities. Great importance was laid on
truth, integrity in business, and sexual purity. A complete rupture with
pagan standards of morality was insisted on from new members. The human
body must be kept holy, as the temple of God. Revenge was forbidden, and
injustice was endured with meekness and pardon. This is no imaginary
picture. In that brief golden age of the Church, such were indeed the
characteristics of the Christian society. In the opinion of Dobschütz
the moral condition of the Church in the second century was much higher
than among St. Paul's converts in the first. The paucity of references
to sins of the flesh, and to fraud, is to be accounted for by the actual
rarity of such offences. For a short time, then, the artificial
selection effected by the persecutions kept the Church pure; and from
the happy pictures which we can reconstruct of this period we can judge
what a really Christian society would be like.

The history of institutional Catholicism must be approached from a
different side. Troeltsch argues with much cogency that the Catholic
Church must be regarded rather as the last creative achievement of
classical antiquity than as the beginning of the Middle Ages. Its growth
belongs mainly to the political history of Europe; the strictly
religious element in it is quite subordinate. There is, as Modernist
critics have seen, a real break between the Palestinian Gospel and the
elaborate mystery-religion, with its graded hierarchy, its Roman
organisation, its Hellenistic speculative theology, which achieved the
conquest of the Empire in the fourth century. The Church, as Loisy says,
determined to survive and to conquer, and adapted itself to the demands
of the time. It has travelled far from the simple teaching of the
earthly Christ; though we may, if we choose, hold that His spirit
continued to direct the growing and changing institution which, as a
matter of history, had its source in the Galilean ministry. In truth,
however, the extremely efficient organisation of the Roman Church began
in self-defence and was continued for conquest. It is one of the
strongest of all human institutions, so that it was said before the war
that it is one of the 'three invincibles,' the other two being the
German Army and the Standard Oil Trust.

But our admiration for the subtle and tenacious power of this
corporation must not blind us to its essentially political character.
Its policy has been always directed to self-preservation and
aggrandisement; it is an _imperium in imperio_, which has only checked
fanatical nationalism by the competing influence of a still more
fanatical partisanship. In the present war, the problem before the
Pope's councillors was whether the friendship of the Central Powers or
that of the Entente was best worth cultivating; and the unshaken loyalty
of Austria to the Church, together with a natural preference for German
methods of governing as compared with democracy, turned the scale
against us. In Ireland, in Canada and in Spain the Catholic priests have
been formidable enemies of our cause. As for the other Churches, they
have not the same power of arbitrating in national quarrels. The Russian
Church has never been independent of the secular government; and the
Anglican and Lutheran Churches can hardly be expected to be impartial
when the vital interests of England or Germany are at stake. Lovers of
peace have not much to hope for from organised religion. National
Christianity, as Mr. Bernard Shaw says, will only be possible when we
have a nation of Christs.

The downfall of the medieval European system, though in truth it was a
theory rather than a fact, has removed some of the restraints upon war.
The determining principle of the medieval political theory was the
conception of a 'lex Dei,' which included the 'lex Mosis,' the 'lex
Christi,' and the 'lex ecclesiae,' but which also, as 'lex naturæ,'
comprised the law, science, and ethics of antiquity. These laws were
super-national, and no nation dared explicitly to repudiate them. They
formed the basis of a real system of international law, resting, like
everything else in the Middle Ages, on supposed divine authority.

This theory, with its sanctions, was shattered at the Renaissance; and
the Machiavellian doctrine of the absolute State, accepted by Bacon and
put into practice by Frederick the Great, has prevailed ever since,
though not without frequent protests. The rise of nationalities, each
with an intense self-consciousness, has facilitated the adoption of a
theory too grossly immoral to have found favour except in the peculiar
circumstances of modern civilisation. The emergence of nationalities was
often connected with a legitimate struggle for freedom; and at such
times _esprit de corps_ seems to be almost the sum of morality, the
substitute for all other virtues. Loyalty is one of the most attractive
of moral qualities, and it necessarily inhibits criticism of its own
objects, which has the appearance of treason. But, unless the aims of
the corporate body which claims our absolute allegiance are right and
reasonable, loyalty may be, and often has been, the parent of hideous
crimes, and a social evil of the first magnitude. The perversion of
_esprit de corps_ does incalculable harm in every direction, destroying
all sense of honour and justice, of chivalry and generosity, of sympathy
and humanity. It involves a complete repudiation of Christianity, which
breaks down all barriers by ignoring them, and insists on love and
justice towards all mankind without distinction. The worship of the
State has during the last half-century been sedulously and artificially
fostered in Germany, until it has produced a kind of moral insanity.
Even philosophical historians like Troeltsch seem unable to see the
monstrosity of a political doctrine which has caused his country to be
justly regarded as the enemy of the whole human race. Eucken, writing
some years before the war, in a rather gingerly manner deprecates
_Politismus_ as a national danger; but he does not dare to grasp the
nettle firmly. It is possible that this deification of the State in
Germany may be in part due to an unsatisfied instinct of worship. In
Roman Catholic countries, where there must be a divided allegiance,
patriotism never, perhaps, assumes such sinister and fanatical forms.

But we shall not understand the attraction which this naked immoralism
in international affairs exercises over the minds of many who are not
otherwise ignoble, if we do not remember that the repudiation of the
Christian ethical standard has been equally thorough in commercial
competition. The German officer believes himself to have chosen a
morally nobler profession than that of the business-man; he serves (he
thinks) a larger cause, and he is content with much less personal
reward. Socialist assailants of our industrial system, much as they
dislike war, would probably agree with him. It is not necessary to
condemn all competition. The desire to excel others is not
reprehensible, when the rivalry is in rendering useful social service.
But it cannot be denied that the present condition of industry is such
that a heavy premium is offered to mere cupidity; that the fraternal
social life which Christianity enjoins is often literally impossible,
except at the cost of economic suicide; and that in a competitive system
a business man is, by the very force of circumstances, a warrior, though
war is an enemy of love and destructive of Christian society. When the
object of bargaining is to give as little and gain as much as possible,
the Christian standard of values has been rejected as completely as it
was by Machiavelli himself. The competition between two parties to a
bargain is often a competition in unserviceableness. Money is very
frequently made by creating a local and temporary monopoly, which
enables the vendor to squeeze the purchaser. In all such transactions
one man's gain is another man's loss. This state of things, the evils of
which are almost universally recognised and deplored, marks the end of
the glorification of productive industry which was one result of the

Hardly anything distinguishes modern from medieval ethics more sharply
than the emphasis laid by Protestant morality on the duty of making and
producing something tangible. Theoretically the Protestant may hold that
'doing ends in death,' and he may sing these words on Sunday; but his
whole life on week days is occupied in strenuous 'doing.' We find in
Calvinism and Quakerism the genuinely religious basis of the modern
business life, which, however, has degenerated sadly, now that the
largest fortunes are made by dealing in money rather than in
commodities. In the books of Samuel Smiles, and in Clough's poem
beginning 'Hope ever more and believe, O Man,' we find the Gospel of
productive work preached with fervour. It is out of favour now in
England; but in America we still see quaint attempts to make business a
religion, as in the Middle Ages religion was a business. In these
circles, it is productive activity as such to which value is attached,
without much enquiry as to the utility of the product. The result has
been an immense accumulation of the apparatus of life, without any
corresponding elevation in moral standards. The mischiefs wrought by
modern commercialism are largely the fruit of the purely irrational
production which it encourages. There are, says Professor Santayana,
Nibelungen who toil underground over a gold which they will never use,
and in their obsession with production begrudge themselves all
inclinations to recreation, to merriment, to fancy. Visible signs of
such unreason appear in the relentless and hideous aspect which life
puts on; for those instruments which emancipate themselves from their
uses soon become hateful. 'A barbaric civilisation, built on blind
impulse and ambition, should fear to awaken a deeper detestation than
could ever be aroused by those more beautiful tyrannies, chivalrous or
religious, against which past revolutions have been directed.' We
cannot, indeed, be surprised that this ideal of productive work as a
means of grace, precious for its own sake, has no attraction for the
masses, and that independent thinkers like Edward Carpenter should write
books on 'Civilisation, its Cause and Cure.'

This Puritan ideal is not so much unchristian as narrow and
unintelligent; but the money-making life has of late become more and
more frankly predatory and anti-social. The great trusts, and the arts
of the company-promoter, can hardly be said to perform any social
service; they exist to levy tribute on the public. We may say therefore
that, though war between the leading nations of the world had become a
strange idea and a far-off memory, we had by no means risen above the
principles and practices of war in our internal life. The immunity from
militarism hitherto enjoyed by Britain and the United States was a
fortunate accident, not a proof of higher morality. Our fleet protected
both ourselves and the Americans from the necessity of maintaining a
conscript army; but we had drifted into a condition in which civil war
seemed not to be far off, and in which violence and lawlessness were
increasing. By a strange inconsistency, many who on moral or religious
grounds condemned wars between nations were found to condone or justify
acts of war against the State, organised by discontented factions of its
citizens. Revolutionary strikes, prepared long in advance by forced
levies of money which were candidly called war-funds, had as their
avowed aim the paralysis of the industries of the country and the
reduction of the population to distress by withholding the necessaries
of life. These acts of civil war, and disgraceful outbreaks of criminal
anarchism, were justified by persons who professed a conscientious
objection to defending their homes and families against a foreign
invader. This state of mind proves how little essential connexion there
is between democracy and peace. It discloses a confusion of ideas even
greater than the antithesis between industrialism and militarism in the
writings of Herbert Spencer. On this latter fallacy it is enough to
quote the words of Admiral Mahan; 'As far as the advocacy of peace rests
on material motives like economy and prosperity, it is the service of
Mammon; and the bottom of the platform will drop out when Mammon thinks
that war will pay better.' This is notoriously what has happened in
Germany. A short war, with huge indemnities, seemed to German financiers
a promising speculation. If such were the rotten foundations upon which
anti-militarism in this country was based, the Churches cannot be blamed
for giving the peace-movement a rather lukewarm support.

In Germany there was no internal anarchy, such as prevailed in England;
there was also no illusion about the imminence of war. Our politicians
ought to have read the signs of the times better; but they were too
intent on feeling the pulse of the electorate at home to attend to
disturbing and unwelcome symptoms abroad. The causes of the war are not
difficult to determine. War has long been a national industry of
Germany, and the idea of it evoked no moral repugnance. The military
virtues were extolled; the military profession enjoyed an astonishing
social prestige; the learned class proclaimed the biological necessity
of international conflicts. The army believed itself to be invincible,
and it had begun to control the policy of the country; where these two
conditions exist, no diplomacy can avert war. Professionalism always has
a selfish and anti-social element in its code, and the professionalism
of the soldier is always prone to override the rights and disdain the
scruples of civilians.

The dominant classes in Germany also found that their power was being
undermined by the growing industrialisation. The steady increase in the
social-democratic vote was a portent not to be disregarded. A letter
from a German officer to a friend in Roumania, which found its way into
the newspapers, tells a great deal of truth in a few words. 'You cannot
conceive,' he wrote, 'what difficulty we had in persuading our Emperor
that it was necessary to let loose this war. But it has been done; and I
hope that for a long time to come we shall hear no more in Germany of
pacifism, internationalism, democracy, and similar pestilent doctrines.'
Sir Charles Walston, in his thoughtful book 'Aristodemocracy,' lays
great stress on this. 'It appeared to me,' he says, 'ever since 1905,
that in the immediate future it was all a question as to whether the
labour-men, the practical pacifists, would arrive at the realisation of
their power before the militarists had forced a war upon us, or whether
the military powers would anticipate this result, and within the next
few years force a war upon the world.' To the influence of the military
was added the cupidity of the commercial and financial class. The law of
diminishing returns was driving capital further and further afield; and
large profits, it was hoped, might be made by the exploitation of
backward countries and the reduction of their inhabitants to serfdom. To
a predatory and parasitic class war seems only a logical extension of
the principles upon which it habitually acts; and for this reason
privileged orders seldom feel much moral compunction about a war-policy.
Lastly, among the causes of the war must be reckoned one which has
received far too little attention from social and political
philosophers--the tenacious and half-unconscious memories of a race.
Injustice comes home to roost, sometimes after an astonishingly long
interval. The disaffection of Catholic Ireland would be quite
unintelligible without the massacres of the sixteenth century and the
unjust trade-legislation of the seventeenth and eighteenth. The
bitterness of the working class in England has its roots in the earlier
period of the industrial revolution (about 1760-1832), when the
labourer, with his wife and children, was treated as the 'cannon-fodder'
of industry. Similarly, the seeds of Prussian brutality and
aggressiveness were sown at Jena and in the raiding of Prussia for
recruits before the Moscow expedition. If such were the causes of the
great world-war, how little can be hoped from courts of international

These considerations have, perhaps, made it clear that the main causes
of international conflicts are what the Epistle of St. James declares
them to be--'the lusts that war in your members,' the pugnacious and
acquisitive instincts which pervade our social life in times of peace,
and not least in those nations which pride themselves on having advanced
beyond the militant stage. There are some who accept this state of
things as natural and necessary, and who blame Christianity for carrying
on a futile campaign against human nature. This is a very different
indictment from that which condemns Christianity for tolerating a
preventible evil; and it is, in our opinion, even less justified. The
argument that, because war has always existed, it must always continue
to exist, is justly ridiculed by Mr. Norman Angell. 'It is commonly
asserted that old habits of thought can never be shaken; that, as men
have been, so they will be. That, of course, is why we now eat our
enemies, enslave their children, examine witnesses with the thumbscrew,
and burn those who do not attend the same church.'

The long history of war as a racial habit explains why a ruinous and
insane anachronism shows such tenacity; for the conditions which
established the habit among primitive tribes demonstrably no longer
exist. It is probably true, as William James says, that 'militarist
writers without exception regard war as a biological or sociological
necessity'; lawyers might say the same about litigation. But laws of
nature 'are not efficient causes, and it is open to any one to prove
that they are not laws, if he can break them with impunity. It would be
the height of pessimistic fatalism to hold that men must always go on
doing that which they hate, and which brings them to misery and ruin.
Man is not bound for ever by habits contracted during his racial nonage;
his moral, rational, and spiritual instincts are as natural as his
physical appetites; and against them, as St. Paul says, 'there is no
law,' Huxley's Romanes Lecture gave an unfortunate support to the
mischievous notion that the 'cosmic process' is the enemy of morality.
The truth seems to be that Nature presents to us not a categorical
imperative, but a choice. Do we prefer to pay our way in the world, or
to be parasites? War, with very few exceptions, is a mode of parasitism.
Its object is to exploit the labour of other nations, to make them pay
tribute, or to plunder them openly, as the Germans have plundered the
cities of Belgium. War is a parasitic industry; and Christianity forbids
parasitism. Nature has her own penalties for the lower animals which
make this choice, and they strike with equal severity 'the peoples that
delight in war,' The bellicose nations have nearly all perished.

There remains, however, a class of wars which escapes this
condemnation; and about them difficult moral problems may be raised. We
can hardly deny to a growing and civilised nation the right to expand at
the expense of barbarous hunters and nomads. No one would suggest that
the Americans ought to give back their country to the Indians, or that
Australia should be abandoned to the aborigines. But were the
Anglo-Saxons justified in expropriating the Britons, and the Spaniards
the Aztecs? There is room for differences of opinion in these cases; and
a very serious problem may arise in the future, as to whether the
European races are morally justified in using armed force to restrict
Asiatic competition. As a general principle, we must condemn the
expropriation of any nation which is in effective occupation of the
soil. The popular estimate of superior and inferior races is thoroughly
unchristian and unscientific, as is the prejudice against a dark skin.
The opinion that a nation which is increasing in population has a right
to expel the inhabitants of another country to make room for its own
emigrants is surely untenable. If it justifies war at all, it sanctions
a war of extermination, which would attain its objects most completely
by massacring girls and young women. The pressure of population is a
real cause of war; but the moral is, not that war is right, but that a
nation must cut its coat according to its cloth, and limit its numbers.

Unless we justify wars of extermination, war has no biological sanction,
and Christianity is not flying in the face of nature by condemning it.
On the contrary, by condemning every form of parasitism, it indicates
the true path of evolution. It is equally right in rejecting the purely
economic valuation of human goods. The 'economic man' does not exist in
nature; he is a fictitious creature who is responsible for a great deal
of social injustice. Some modern economists, like Mr. Hobson, would
substitute for the old monetary standards of production and distribution
an attempt to estimate the 'human costs' of labour. Creative work
involving ingenuity and artistic qualities is not 'costly' at all,
unless the hours of labour, or the nervous strain, exceed the powers of
the worker. More monotonous work is not costly to the worker if the
day's labour is fairly short, or if some variety can be introduced. The
human cost is greatly increased if the worker thinks that his labour is
useless, or that it will only benefit those who do not deserve the
enjoyment of its fruits. Work which only produces frivolous luxuries is
and ought to be unwelcome to the producer, even if he is well paid. It
must also be emphasised that worry and anxiety take the heart out of a
man more than anything else. Security of employment greatly reduces the
'human cost' of labour. These considerations are comparatively new in
political economy. They change it from a highly abstract science into a
study of the conditions of human welfare as affected by social
organisation. The change is a victory for the ideas of Buskin and
Morris, though not necessarily for the practical remedies for social
maladjustments which they propounded. It brings political economy into
close relations with ethics and religion, and should induce economists
to consider carefully the contribution which Christianity makes to the
solution of the whole problem. For Christianity has its remedy to
propose, and it is a solution of the problem of war, not less than of
industrial evils.

Christianity gives the world a new and characteristic standard of
values. It diminishes greatly the values which can accrue from
competition, and enhances immeasurably the non-competitive values. 'A
man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he
possesseth.' 'Is not the life more than meat, and the body than
raiment?' 'The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness
and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.' Passages like these are found in
every part of the New Testament. This Christian idealism has a direct
bearing on the doctrine of 'human costs.' Work is irksome, not only when
it is excessive or ill-paid, but when the worker is lazy, selfish,
envious or discontented. There is one thing which can make almost any
work welcome. If it is done from love or unselfish affection, the human
cost is almost _nil_, because it is not counted or consciously felt.
This is no exaggeration when it is applied to the devoted labour of the
mother and the nurse, or to that of the evangelist conscious of a divine
vocation. But in all useful work the keen desire to render social
service, or to do God's will, diminishes to an incalculable extent the
'human cost' of labour. This principle introduces a deep cleavage
between the Christian remedy and that of political socialism, which
fosters discontent and indignation as a lever for social amelioration.
Men are made unhappy in order that they may be urged to claim a larger
share of the world's wealth. Christianity considers that, measured by
human costs, the remedy is worse than the disease. The adoption of a
truer standard of value would tear up the lust of accumulation by the
roots, and would thus effect a real cure. It would also stop the
grudging and deliberately bad work which at present seriously diminishes
the national wealth.

The Christian cure is the only real cure. It is the fashion to assume
that militarism and cupidity are vices of the privileged classes, and
that democracies may be trusted neither to plunder the minority at home
nor to seek foreign adventures by unjust wars. There is not the
slightest reason to accept either of these views. Political power is
always abused; an unrepresented class is always plundered. Nor are
democracies pacific, except by accident. At present they do not wish to
see the capital which they regard as their prospective prey dissipated
in war; and for this reason their influence in our time will probably be
on the side of peace. But, as soon as the competition of cheap Asiatic
labour becomes acute, we may expect to see the democracies bellicose and
the employing class pacific. This is not guess-work; we already see how
the democracies of California and Australia behave towards immigrants
from Asia. Readers of Anatole France will remember his description of
the economic wars decreed by the Senate of the great republic, at the
end of 'L'Île des Pingouins.' It would, indeed, be difficult to prove
that the expansion of the United States has differed much, in methods
and morals, from that of the European monarchies; and the methods of
trade-unions are the methods of pitiless belligerency. Democracy and
socialism are broken reeds for the lover of peace to lean upon.

In conclusion, our answer to the indictment against Christianity is
that institutional religion does not represent the Gospel of Christ, but
the opinions of a mass of nominal Christians. It cannot be expected to
do much more than look after its own interests and reflect the moral
ideas of its supporters. The real Gospel, if it were accepted, would
pull up by the roots not only militarism but its analogue in civil life,
the desire to exploit other people for private gain. But it is not
accepted. We have seen that the Founder of Christianity had no illusions
as to the reception which His message of redemption would meet with. The
'Prince of this World' is not Christ, but the Devil. Nevertheless, He
did speak of the 'whole lump' being gradually leavened, and we shall not
exceed the limits of a reasonable and justifiable optimism if we hope
that the accumulated experience of humanity, and perhaps a real though
very slow modification for the better of human nature itself, may at
last eliminate the wickedest and most insane of our maleficent
institutions. The human race has probably hundreds of thousands of years
to live, whereas our so-called civilisation cannot be traced back for
more than a few thousand years. The time when 'nation shall not lift up
sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more,' will
probably come at last, though no one can predict what the conditions
will be which will make such a change possible.

The signs are not very favourable at present for internationalism. The
great nations, bankrupt and honey-combed with social unrest, will be
obliged after the war to organise themselves as units, with governments
strong enough to put down revolutions, and directed by men of the
highest mercantile ability, whose main function will be to increase
productiveness and stop waste. We may even see Germany mobilised as one
gigantic trust for capturing markets and regulating prices. A
combination so formidable would compel other nations, and our own
certainly among the number, to adopt a similar organisation. This would,
of course, mean a complete victory for bureaucratic state-socialism, and
the defeat of democracy and trade-union syndicalism. Such a change,
which few would just now welcome, will occur if no other form of state
is able to survive; and this is what we may live to see. But there is
no finality about any experiments in government. A period of
internationalism may follow the intense nationalism which historical
critics foresee for the twentieth century. Or perhaps the international
labour-organisations may be too strong for the centralising forces. It
is just possible that Labour, by a concerted movement during the violent
reaction against militarism which will probably follow the war, will
forbid any further military or naval preparations to be made.

Whatever forms reconstruction may take, Christianity will have its part
to play in making the new Europe. It will be able to point to the
terrible vindication of its doctrines in the misery and ruin which have
overtaken a world which has rejected its valuations and scorned its
precepts. It is not Christianity which has been judged and condemned at
the bar of civilisation; it is civilisation which has destroyed itself
because it has honoured Christ with its lips, while its heart has been
far from Him. But a spiritual religion can win a victory only within its
own sphere. It can promise no Deuteronomic catalogue of blessings and
cursings to those who obey or disobey its principles. Social happiness
and peace would certainly follow a whole-hearted acceptance of Christian
principles; but they would not certainly bring wealth or empire.
'Philosophy,' said Hegel, 'will bake no man's bread'; and it is only in
a spiritual sense that the meek-spirited can expect to possess the
earth. Nevertheless, it is a mistake to suppose that a Christian nation
would be unable to hold its own in the struggle for existence. A nation
in which every citizen endeavoured to pay his way and to help his
neighbour would be in no danger of servitude or extinction. The mills of
God grind slowly, but the future does not belong to lawless violence. In
the long run, the wisdom that is from above will be justified in her



The recrudescence of superstition in England was plain to all observers
many years before the war; it was perhaps most noticeable among the
half-educated rich. Several causes contributed to this phenomenon. The
craving for the supernatural, a very ancient and deeply rooted
thought-habit, had been suppressed and driven underground by the
arrogant dominance of a materialistic philosophy, and by the absorption
of society in the pursuit of gain and pleasure. Modern miracles were
laughed out of court. But materialism has supernaturalism for its
nemesis. An abstract science, erecting itself into a false philosophy,
leaves half our nature unsatisfied, and becomes morally bankrupt before
its intellectual errors are exposed. Supernaturalism is the refuge of
the materialist who wishes to make room for ideal values without
abandoning the presuppositions of materialism. By dovetailing acts of
God into the order of nature, he materialises the spiritual, but brings
the Divine will into the world of experience, from which it had been
expelled, and produces a rough scheme of providential government, by
which he can live.

The revolt against scientific materialism was made much easier by the
disintegration of the mechanical theory itself. Biology found itself
cramped by the categories of inorganic science, and claimed its
autonomy. The result was a fatal breach in the defences of materialism,
for biology is being driven to accept final causes, and would be glad to
adopt some theory of vitalism, if it could do so without falling back
into the old error of a mysterious 'vital force.' Biological truth, it
is plain, cannot be reduced to the purely quantitative categories of
mathematics and physics. Then psychology aspired to be a philosophy of
real existence, and attacked both absolutism and materialism. The
pretensions of psychology rehabilitated subjectivism and founded
pragmatism, till reactionary theology took heart of grace and defended
crude supernaturalism, with the whole apparatus of sacerdotal magic, as
the 'Gospel for human needs.' All protection against the grossest
superstitions was thus swept away. With no fixed standard of reference
to distinguish fact from fiction, it was possible to argue that
'whatever suits souls is true.'

In this atmosphere many old habits of thought reasserted themselves.
While we enjoyed peace and prosperity, the credulity of the public found
its chief outlet in various systems of faith-healing and in the
time-honoured pretensions of priest-craft. But the devastation which the
war has brought into countless loving families has turned the current of
superstition strongly towards necromancy. The 'will to believe,' no
longer inhibited and suspected as a reason for doubt, has been allowed
to create its own logic. A few highly educated men, who have long been
playing with occultism and gratifying their intellectual curiosity by
exploring the dark places of perverted mysticism, have been swept off
their feet by it, and their authority, as 'men of science,' has
dispelled the hesitation of many more to accept what they dearly wished
to believe. The longing of the bereaved has created for itself a
spurious and dreary satisfaction.

One cause of this strange movement cannot be emphasised too strongly. It
proves that the Christian hope of immortality burns very dimly among us.
Those who study the utterances of our religious guides must admit that
it is so. References to the future life had, before the war, become rare
even in the pulpit. The topic was mainly reserved for letters of
condolence, and was then handled gingerly, as if it would not bear much
pressure. Working-class audiences and congregations listened eagerly to
the wildest promises of an earthly utopia the day after tomorrow, but
cooled down at once when they were reminded that 'if in this life only
we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.' Accordingly,
the clerical demagogue showed more interest in the unemployed than in
the unconverted. Christianity, which began as a revolutionary idealism,
had sunk into heralding materialistic revolution. Such teachers have no
message of hope and comfort for those who have lost their dearest. And
they have, in fact, been deserted. Their secularised Christianity was
received with half-contemptuous approval by trade unions, but far deeper
hopes, fears, and longings have now been stirred, which concern all men
and women alike, and on the answers to which the whole value of
existence is now seen to depend. Christianity can answer them, but not
the Churches through the mouths of their accredited representatives. And
so, instead of 'the blessed hope of everlasting life,' the bereaved have
been driven to this pathetic and miserable substitute, the barbaric
belief in ghosts and dæmons, which was old before Christianity was
young. And what a starveling hope it is that necromancy offers us! An
existence as poor and unsubstantial as that of Homer's Hades, which the
shade of Achilles would have been glad to exchange for serfdom to the
poorest farmer, and with no guarantee of permanence, even if the power
of comforting or terrifying surviving relations is supposed to persist
for a few years. Such a prospect would add a new terror to death; and
none would desire it for himself. It is plainly the dream of an aching
heart, which cannot bear to be left alone.

But, it will be said, there is scientific evidence for survival. This
claim is now made. Cases are reported, with much parade of scientific
language and method, and those who reject the stories with contemptuous
incredulity are accused of mere prejudice. Nevertheless, I cannot help
being convinced that if communications between the dead and the living
were part of the nature of things, they would have been established long
ago beyond cavil. For there are few things which men have wished more
eagerly to believe. It is no doubt just possible that among the
vibrations of the fundamental ingredients of our world--those attenuated
forms of matter which are said to be not even 'material,' there may be
some which act as vehicles for psychical interchange. If such psychic
waves exist, the discovery is wholly in favour of materialism. It would
tend to rehabilitate those notions of spirit as the most rarefied form
of matter--an ultra-gaseous condition of it--which Stoicism and the
Christian Stoic Tertullian postulated. The meaning of 'God is Spirit'
could not be understood till this insidious residue of materialism had
been got rid of. It is a retrograde theory which we are asked to
re-examine and perhaps accept. The moment we are asked to accept
'scientific evidence' for spiritual truth, the alleged spiritual truth
becomes for us neither spiritual nor true. It is degraded into an event
in the phenomenal world, and when so degraded it cannot be
substantiated. Psychical research is trying to prove that eternal values
are temporal facts, which they can never be.

The case for necromancy is no better if we leave 'scientific proof'
alone, and appeal to the relativist metaphysics of the psychological
school. Intercourse with the dead is, we are told, a real psychical
experience, and we need not worry ourselves with the question whether it
has any 'objective truth.' But we cannot allow psychology to have the
last word in determining the truth or falsehood of religious or
spiritual experience. The extravagant claims of this science to take the
place of philosophy must be abated.

Psychology is the science which describes mental states, as physical
science describes the behaviour of matter in motion. Both are abstract
sciences. Physical science treats nature as the totality of things
conceived of as independent of any subject; psychology treats inner
experience as independent of any object. Both are outside any idea of
value, though it is needless to say that the votaries of both sciences
trespass habitually, and often unconsciously. Both are dualisms with one
side ignored or suppressed. When psychology meddles with ontological
problems--when, for instance it denies the existence of an Absolute, or
says that reality cannot be known--it is taking too much upon itself,
and has fallen into the same error as the materialism of the last
century. On such questions as the immortality of the soul it must remain

Faith in human immortality stands or falls with the belief in _absolute
values_. The interest of consciousness, as Professor Pringle-Pattison
has said in his admirable Gifford Lectures, lies in the ideal values of
which it is the bearer, not in its mere existence as a more refined kind
of fact. Idealism is most satisfactorily defined as the interpretation
of the world according to a scale of value, or, in Plato's phrase, by
the Idea of the Good. The highest values in this scale are absolute,
eternal, and super-individual, and lower values are assigned their place
in virtue of their correspondence to or participation in these absolute
values. I agree with Münsterberg that the conditional and subjective
values of the pragmatist have no meaning unless we have acknowledged
beforehand the independent value of truth. If the proof of the merely
individual significance of truth has itself only individual importance,
it cannot claim any general meaning. If, on the other hand, it demands
to be taken as generally valid, the possibility of a general truth is
acknowledged from the start. If this one exception is granted, the whole
illusory universe of relativism is overthrown. To deny any thought which
is more than relative is to deprive even scepticism itself of the
presuppositions on which it rests. The logical sceptic has no _ego_ to
doubt with. 'Every doubt of absolute values destroys itself. As thought
it contradicts itself; as doubt it denies itself; as belief it despairs
of itself.' It is not necessary or desirable to follow Münsterberg in
identifying valuation with will. He talks of the will judging; but the
will cannot judge. In contemplating existence we use our will to fix our
attention, and then try conscientiously to prevent it from influencing
the verdict. But this illegitimate use of the word 'will' does not
impair the force of the argument for absolute values.

Now, valuation arranges experience in a different manner from natural
science. The attributes of reality, in our world of values, are
Goodness, Truth, and Beauty. And we assert that we have as good reason
to claim objective reality for these Ideas as for anything in the world
revealed to our senses. 'All claims on man's behalf,' says Professor
Pringle-Pattison, 'must be based on the objectivity of the values
revealed in his experience, and brokenly realised there. Man does not
make values any more than he makes reality.' Our contention is that the
world of values, which forms the content of idealistic thought and
aspiration, is the real world; and in this world we find our own

But there could be no greater error than to leave the two worlds, or the
two 'judgments,' that of existence and that of value, contrasted with
each other, or treated as unrelated in our experience. A value-judgment
which is not also a judgment of existence is in the air; it is the
baseless fabric of a vision. Existence is itself a value, and an
ingredient in every valuation; that which has no existence has no value.
And, on the other side, it is a delusion to suppose that any science can
dispense with valuation. Even mathematics admits that there is a right
and a wrong way of solving a problem, though by confining itself to
quantitative measurements it can assert no more than a hypothetical
reality for its world. It is quite certain that we can think of no
existing world without valuation.

'The ultimate identity of existence and value is the venture of faith to
which mysticism and speculative idealism are committed.'[93] It is
indeed the presupposition of all philosophy and all religion; without
this faith there can, properly speaking, be no belief in God. But the
difference between naturalism and idealism may, I think, be better
stated otherwise than by emphasising the contrast between existence and
value, which it is impossible for either side to maintain. Naturalism
seeks to interpret the world by investigation of origins; idealism by
investigation of ends. The one finds the explanation of evolution in
that from which it started, the other in that to which it tends. The one
explains the higher by the lower; the other the lower by the higher.
This is a plain issue; either the world shows a teleology or it does
not. If it does, the philosophy based on the inorganic sciences is
wrong. And the attempt to explain the higher by the lower becomes
mischievous or impossible when we pass from one _order_ to another. In
speaking of different 'orders,' we do not commit ourselves to any sudden
breaks or leaps in evolution. The organic may be linked to the
inorganic, soul to the lower forms of life, spirit to soul. But whether
the 'scale of perfection' is a ladder or an inclined plane, new
categories are necessary as we ascend it. And unless we admit an inner
teleology as a determining factor in growth, many facts even in
physiology are hard to explain.

If the basis of our faith in the world-order is the conviction that the
Ideas of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful are fully real and fully
operative, we must try to form some clear notion of what these Ideas
mean, and how they are related to each other. The goal of Truth, as an
absolute value, is unity, which in the outer world means harmony, in the
intercourse of spirit with spirit, love; and in the inner world, peace
or happiness. The goal of Goodness as an absolute value is the
realisation of the ought-to-be in victorious moral effort. Beauty is the
self-recognition of creative Spirit in its own works; it is the
expression of Nature's own deepest character. Beauty gives neither
information nor advice; but it satisfies a part of our nature which is
not less Divine than that which pays homage to Truth and Goodness.

Now, these absolute values are supra-temporal. If the soul were in time,
no value could arise; for time is always hurling its own products into
nothingness, and the present is an unextended point, dividing an unreal
past from an unreal future. The soul is not in time; time is rather in
the soul. Values are eternal and indestructible. When Plotinus says that
'nothing that really _is_ can ever perish' (hapolehitai ohyden thôn
hontôn), and when Höffding says that 'no value perishes out of the
world,' they are saying the same thing. In so far as we can identify
ourselves in thought and mind with the absolute values, we are sure of
our immortality.

But it will be said that in the first place this promise of immortality
carries with it no guarantee of survival in time, and in the second
place that it offers us, at last, only an impersonal immortality. Let us
take these two objections in turn, though they are in reality closely

We must not regard time as an external, inhuman, unconscious process.
Time is the frame of soul-life; outside this it has no existence. The
entire cosmic process is the life-frame of the universal Soul, the
Divine Logos. With this life we are vitally connected, however brief and
unimportant the span and the task of an individual career may seem to
us. If my particular life-meaning passes out of activity, it will be
because the larger life, to which I belong, no longer needs that form of
expression. My death, like my birth, will have a teleological
justification, to which my supra-temporal self will consent. When a good
man's work in this world is done, when he is able to say, without
forgetting his many failures, 'I have finished the work that Thou gavest
me to do,' surely his last word will be, 'Lord, now lettest Thou Thy
servant depart in peace'; not, 'Grant that I may flit for a while over
my former home, and hear what is happening to my country and my family.'
We may leave it to our misguided necromancers to describe the adventures
of the disembodied ghost--

    'Quo cursu deserta petiverit, et quibus ante
     Infelix sua tecta supervolitaverit alis.'

The most respectable motive which leads men to desire a continuance of
active participation in the affairs of time is that which Tennyson
expresses in the often-quoted line, 'Give her the wages of going on, and
not to die.' We may feel that we have it in us to do more for God and
our fellow-men than we shall be able to accomplish in this life, even if
it be prolonged to old age. Is not this a desire which we may prefer as
a claim? And in any case, it is admitted that time is the form of the
will. Are we to have no more will after death? Further, is our probation
over when we die? What is to be the fate of that large majority who, so
far as we can see, are equally undeserving of heaven and of hell? To
these questions no answer is possible, because we are confronted with a
blank wall of ignorance. We do not know whether there will be any future
probation. We do not know whether Robert Browning's expectation of
'other tasks in other lives, God willing,' will be fulfilled.

         'And I shall thereupon
          Take rest, ere I be gone
    Once more on my adventure brave and new.'

The question here raised is whether there is such a thing as
reincarnation. This belief, so widely held at all times by eminent
thinkers, and sanctioned by some of the higher religions, cannot be
dismissed as obsolete or impossible. But if it is put in the form, 'Will
the same self live again on earth under different conditions?' it may be
that no answer can be given, not only because we do not know, but
because the question itself is meaningless. The psycho-physical organism
which was born at a certain date and which will die on another date is
compacted of idiosyncrasies, inherited and acquired, which seem to be
inseparable from its history as born of certain parents and living under
certain conditions. It is not easy to say what part of such an organism
could be said to maintain its identity, if it were housed in another
body and set down in another time and place, when all recollection of a
previous state has been (as we must admit) cut off. The only continuity,
it seems to me, would be that of the racial self, if there is such a
thing, or of the directing intelligence and will of the higher Power
which sends human beings into the world to perform their allotted tasks.

The second objection, which, as I have said, is closely connected with
the first, is that idealism offers us a merely impersonal immortality.
But what is personality? The notion of a world of spiritual atoms,
'_solida pollentia simplicitate_,' as Lucretius says, seems to be
attractive to some minds. There are thinkers of repute who even picture
the Deity as the constitutional President of a _collegium_ of souls.
This kind of pluralism is of course fundamentally incompatible with the
presuppositions of my paper. The idea of the 'self' seems to me to be an
arbitrary fixation of our average state of mind, a half-way house which
belongs to no order of real existence. The conception of an abstract ego
seems to involve three assumptions, none of which is true. The first is
that there is a sharp line separating subject from object and from other
subjects. The second is that the subject, thus sundered from the object,
remains identical through time. The third is that this indiscerptible
entity is in some mysterious way both myself and my property. In
opposition to the first, I maintain that the foci of consciousness flow
freely into each other even on the psychical plane, while in the eternal
world there are probably no barriers at all. In opposition to the
second, it is certain that the empirical self is by no means identical
throughout, and that the spiritual life, in which we may be said to
attain real personality for the first time, is only 'ours' potentially.
In opposition to the third, I repeat that the question whether it is
'my' soul that will live in the eternal world seems to have no meaning
at all. In philosophy as in religion, we had better follow the advice of
the Theologia Germanica and banish, as far as possible, the words 'me
and mine' from our vocabulary. For personality is not something given to
start with. It does not belong to the world of claims and counter-claims
in which we chiefly live. We must be willing to lose our soul on this
level of experience, before we can find it unto life eternal.
Personality is a teleological fact; it is here in the making, elsewhere
in fact and power. So in the case of our friends. The man whom we love
is not the changing psycho-physical organism; it is the Christ in him
that we love, the perfect man who is struggling into existence in his
life and growth. If we ask what a man is, the answer may be either, 'He
is what he loves,' or 'He is what he is worth.' The two are not very
different. Thus I cannot agree with Keyserling, who in criticising this
type of thought (with which, none the less, he has great sympathy) says
that 'mysticism, whether it likes it or not, ends in an impersonal
immortality.' For impersonality is a purely negative conception, like
timelessness. What is negated in 'timelessness' is not the reality of
the present, but the unreality of the past and future. So the
'impersonality' which is here (not without warrant from the mystics
themselves) said to belong to eternal life is really the liberation of
the idea of personality. Personality is allowed to expand as far as it
can, and only so can it come into its own. When Keyserling adds, 'The
instinct of immortality really affirms that the individual is not
ultimate,' I entirely agree with him.

The question, however, is not whether in heaven the circumference of the
soul's life is indefinitely enlarged, but whether the centre remains.
These centres are centres of consciousness; and consciousness apparently
belongs to the world of will. It comes into existence when the will has
some work to do. It is not conterminous with life; there is a life which
is below consciousness, and there may be a life above consciousness, or
what we mean by consciousness. We must remind ourselves that we are
using a spatial metaphor when we speak of a centre of consciousness, and
a temporal one when we ask about a continuing state of consciousness;
and space and time do not belong to the eternal world. The question
therefore needs to be transformed before any answer can be given to it.
Spiritual life, we are justified in saying, must have a richness of
content; it is, potentially at least, all embracing. But this
enhancement of life is exhibited not only in extension but in intensity.
Eternal life is no diffusion or dilution of personality, but its
consummation. It seems certain that in such a state of existence
individuality must be maintained. If every life in this world represents
an unique purpose in the Divine mind, and if the end or meaning of
soul-life, though striven for in time, has both its source and its
achievement in eternity, this, the value and reality of the individual
life, must remain as a distinct fact in the spiritual world.

We are sometimes inclined to think, with a natural regret, that the
conditions of life in the eternal world are so utterly unlike those of
the world which we know, that we must either leave our mental picture of
that life in the barest outline, or fill it in with the colours which we
know on earth, but which, as we are well aware, cannot portray truly the
life of blessed spirits. To some extent this is true; and whereas a bare
and colourless sketch of the richest of all facts is as far from the
truth as possible, we may allow ourselves to fill in the picture as best
we can, if we remember the risks which we run in doing so. There are,
it seems to me, two chief risks in allowing our imagination to create
images of the bliss of heaven. One is that the eternal world, thus drawn
and painted with the forms and colours of earth, takes substance in our
minds as a second physical world, either supposed to exist somewhere in
space, or expected to come into existence somewhen in time. This is the
heaven of popular religion; and being a geographical or historical
expression, it is open to attacks which cannot be met. Hence in the
minds of many persons the whole fact of human immortality seems to
belong to dreamland. The other danger is that, since a geographical and
historical heaven is found to have no actuality, the hope of eternal
life, with all that the spiritual world contains, should be relegated to
the sphere of the 'ideal.' This seems to be the position of Höffding,
and is quite clearly the view of thinkers like Santayana. They accept
the dualism of value and existence, and place the highest hopes of
humanity in a world which has value only and no existence. This seems to
me to be offering mankind a stone for bread. Martineau's protest against
this philosophy is surely justified:

     'Amid all the sickly talk about "ideals," it is well to
     remember that as long as they are a mere self-painting of
     the yearning spirit, they have no more solidity than
     floating air-bubbles, gay in the sunshine and broken by the
     passing wind. You do not so much as touch the threshold of
     religion, so long as you are detained by the phantoms of
     your thought; the very gate of entrance to religion, the
     moment of its new birth, is the discovery that your gleaming
     ideal is the everlasting real.'[94]

But though our knowledge of the eternal world is much less than we could
desire, it is much greater than many thinkers allow. We are by no means
shut off from realisation and possession of the eternal values while we
live here. We are not confined to local and temporal experience. We know
what Truth and Beauty mean, not only for ourselves but for all souls
throughout the universe, and for God Himself. Above all, we know what
Love means. Now Love, which is the realisation in experience of
spiritual existence, has an unique value as a hierophant of the highest
mysteries. And Love guarantees personality, for it needs what has been
called _otherness_. In all love there must be a subject and an object,
and a bond between them which transcends without annulling their
separateness. What this means for personal immortality has been seen by
many great minds. As an example I will quote from Plotinus' picture of
life in the spiritual world. This writer is certainly not inclined to
overestimate the claims of separate individuality, and he is under no
obligation to make his doctrine conform to the dogmas of any creed.

     'Spirits yonder see themselves in others. For there all
     things are transparent, and there is nothing dark or
     resisting, but everyone is manifest to everyone internally,
     and all things are manifest; for light is manifest to light.
     For everyone has all things in himself and sees all things
     in another, so that all things are everywhere and all is all
     and each is all, and infinite the glory.'[95]

This eternal world is about us and within us while we live here. 'Heaven
is nearer to our souls than the earth is to our bodies.' The world which
we ordinarily think of as real is an arbitrary selection from
experience, corresponding roughly to the average reaction of life upon
the average man. Some values, such as existence, persistence, and
rationality, are assumed to be 'real'; others are relegated to the
'ideal' Under the influence of natural science, special emphasis is laid
on those values with which that science is engaged. But our world
changes with us. It rises as we rise, and falls as we fall. It puts on
immortality as we do. 'Such as men themselves are, such will God appear
to them to be.'[96] Spinoza rightly says that all true knowledge takes
place _sub specie æternitatis_. For the pneymatikost the whole of life
is spiritual, and, as Eucken says, he recognises the whole of the
spiritual life as his own life-being. He learns, as Plotinus declares in
a profound sentence, that 'all things that are Yonder are also Here

Is it then the conclusion of the whole matter that eternal life is
merely the true reading of temporal life? Is earth, when seen with
purged vision, not merely the shadow of heaven, but heaven itself? If we
could fuse past, present, and future into a _totum simul_, an 'Eternal
Now,' would that be eternity? This I do not believe. A full
understanding of the values of our life in time would indeed give us a
good _picture_ of the eternal world; but that world itself, the abode of
God and of blessed spirits, is a state higher and purer than can be
fully expressed in the order of nature. The _perpetuity_ of natural laws
as they operate through endless ages is only a Platonic 'image' of
eternity. That all values are perpetual is true; but they are something
more than perpetual: they are eternal. These laws are the creative
forces which shape our lives from within; but all the creatures, as St.
Augustine says in a well-known passage, declare their inferiority to
their Creator. 'We are lower than He, for He made us.' Scholastic
theologians interposed an intermediary which they called _ævum_ between
time and eternity. _Ævum_ is perpetuity, which they rightly
distinguished from true eternity. Christianity is philosophically right
in insisting that our true home, our _patria_, is 'not here.' Nor is it
in any place: it is with God,'whose centre is everywhere and His
circumference nowhere.' There remaineth a rest for the people of God,
when their warfare on earth is accomplished.

A Christian must feel that the absence of any clear revelation about a
_future_ state is an indication that we are not meant to make it a
principal subject of our thoughts. On the other hand, the more we think
about the eternal values the happier we shall be. As Spinoza says, 'Love
directed towards the eternal and infinite fills the mind with pure joy,
and is free from all sadness. Wherefore it is greatly to be desired, and
sought after with our whole might.' But he also says, and I think
wisely, that there are few subjects on which the 'free' man will ponder
less often, than on death. The end of life is as right and natural as
its beginning; we must not rebel against the common lot, either for
ourselves or for our friends. We are to live in the present though not
for the present. The two lines of Goethe which Lewis Nettleship was so
fond of quoting convey a valuable lesson:

    'Nur we du bist, sei alles, immer kindlich:
     So bist du alles, bist unüberwindlich.'

'Death does not count,' as Nettleship used to say; and he met his own
fate on the Alps with a cheerfulness which showed that he believed it.
The craving for mere survival, no matter under what conditions, is
natural to some persons, and those who have it not must not claim any
superiority over those who shudder at the idea of resigning this
'pleasing, anxious being.' Some brave and loyal men, like Samuel
Johnson, have feared death all their lives long; while others, even when
fortune smiles upon them, 'have a desire to depart and to be with
Christ, which is far better.' But the longing for survival, and the
anxious search for evidence which may satisfy it, have undoubtedly the
effect of binding us to earth and earthly conditions; they come between
us and faith in true immortality. They cannot restore to us what death
takes away. They cannot lay the spectre which made Claudio a craven.

    'Ay, but to die and go we know not where;
     To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;
     This sensible warm motion to become
     A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
     To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
     In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice;
     To be imprisoned in the viewless winds,
     And blown with restless violence round about
     The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
     Of those that lawless and uncertain thoughts
     Imagine howling! 'tis too horrible!
     The weariest and most loathed earthly life
     That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment
     Can lay on nature, is a paradise
     To what we fear of death.'

We know now, if we did not know it three years ago, that the average man
can face death, and does face it in the majority of cases, with a
serenity which would be incomprehensible if he did not know in his
heart of hearts that it does not matter much. He may have no articulated
faith in immortality, but, like Spinoza, he has 'felt and experienced
that he is eternal.' Perhaps he only says to himself, 'Who dies if
England lives?' But the England that lives is his own larger self, the
life that is more his own life than the beating of his heart, which a
bullet may still for ever. And if the exaltation of noble patriotism can
'abolish death, and bring life and immortality to light' for almost any
unthinking lad from our factories and hedgerows, should not religion be
able to do as much for us all? And may it not be that some touch of
heroic self-abnegation is necessary before we can have a soul which
death cannot touch? When Christ said that those who are willing to lose
their souls shall save them, is not this what He meant? We must accustom
ourselves to breathe the air of the eternal values, if we desire to live
for ever. And a strong faith is not curious about details. 'Beloved, now
are we sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be. But we
know that when He is made manifest we shall be like Him, for we shall
see Him as He is.'


     [93] Quoted by Professor Pringle-Pattison from an article by
     me in the _Times_ Literary Supplement.

     [94] _Study of Religion_, vol. i. 12.

     [95] _Ennead_, v. 8, 4.

     [96] From John Smith, the Cambridge Platonist.


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