Skip to main content
POLITICAL CHANGES. 603
them correct moral judgments and moderation in action,
which neither scepticism nor atheism can call forth. The
progress of society brings with it new problems to solve. At
present the problem of the future of the working-classes, of
their principles and relations to property and government, is
a very serious one, and becomes gloomy and alarming when
the pressure of financial and commercial distress Is felt.
These classes have learned no wisdom, and can learn none but
by coming under the control of pure moral and spiritual ideas.
It was a part of the oath of the dikasts at Athens that they
would not consent to the cancelling of private debts nor to the
redistribution of land.* Are the communists now any nearer
to regarding such things to be flagitious than the ancient
demagogues were, or any the less afraid to avow their hostili-
ty to the family institutions, to transmission of property by
testament? Have we not seen in the present age an empire
established, because the middle class was afraid of the actors
in the revolution on this very account? The truth is that in
addition to misgovernment and to calamities arising from the
close connection of the parts of the world, which propagate
their waves of commercial distress as if through the sky all
abroad, we have new principles of justice, claims of absolute
equality of condition through society, claims which so kindle
the feverish brain of the depressed that nothing can lead them
to patience and tranquillity but some of those Christian virtues
which they have cast off, The tendency is not to the dis-
charge of duties in these times, but to the enforcement of
claims, which society cannot admit because they would be
attended with immediate financial, social and political ruin.
Nor does it appear possible that a pure code of morals, per-
there be pure vading a community without religious faith to
morals without re- & . J ?
^s1011? support it, could have much ability to sustain
the fabric of society and of the state. A sway of pure morals
consists in this, that a just conception of character, a true
idea of a perfect life, should be so fixed in the minds of men,
*Demost. c. Timocrates, pp. 746, 747, §§ 149, 150.