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While such classics as Plato's Republic and More*s 
Utopia show that the problem of society has engaged 
the world's great thinkers in former times ; yet it 
may be truly said that no previous age was so much 
occupied with social questions as the present. From 
this widespread and still growing interest the Christian 
Churches cannot stand aloof ; and the record of the 
function of Christianity in history sketched in the 
volume justifies the conviction that they ought not. 
The Christian Church has in the past exerted a pro- 
found moral influence on society, and has brought about 
far-reaching changes in social conditions. This series 
of essays, each of which is written by a scholar specially 
qualified by his previous studies for the task he has 
undertaken, aims at exhibiting not only the principles 
which from time to time have found recognition as 
constituting the Christian Ideal of Society, but also 
the methods by which that Ideal has -been partially 
realized under varying circumstances. It is hoped that 
in fulfilling this purpose the volume will not only 
suggest changes which are to-day desirable, but also 
means of bringing those about which are practicable. 
In the Introduction the Modern Social Problem 




is presented as a summons to the Christian Churches 
to think and work out its solution. As the roots of 
Christianity are in Judaism, the first chapter sketches 
the Social Ideals in the Old Testament. The second 
chapter shows how the Christian Ideal was revealed 
in Jesus. Since at a very early stage in its history 
the Christian Church found an entrance into the 
Graeco-Roman World, the preparation for the reception 
of the Gospel engages attention in the third chapter. 
How far this Christian ideal was realized in the 
Primitive Church the fourth chapter seeks to prove. 
Within three centuries the Christian Church spread 
throughout the Roman Empire ; by what means the 
fifth chapter inquires. How the Roman Empire 
was influenced by the Christian Church is discussed 
in the sixth chapter. After the fall of the Roman 
Empire the Church transmitted its bequest of civiliza- 
tion to the new nations then formed. The seventh 
chapter exhibits the Influence of the Christian Church 
on Social and Ethical Development during the 
Middle Ages. While the Reformation was primarily 
religious, yet it formulated social principles, and had 
social effects ; and both these are described in the 
eighth chapter. After the Reformation the most 
important event for the Protestant Churches of Great 
Britain was the Evangelical Revival in the eighteenth 
century. How this was the inspiration of the philan- 
thropy which marked the beginning of the nineteenth 
century the ninth chapter demonstrates. So import- 
ant has been the influence of the French Revolution 


on modern social theories that the tenth chapter has 
been devoted to this subject. In no modern enterprise 
of the Christian Church to-day is its social influence 
so fully or clearly illustrated as in Foreign Missions ; 
the proof of this is given in the eleventh chapter. 
As the Christian Church can effect its social mission 
only in co-operation with other factors of human 
progress, it seemed necessary for the purpose of the 
volume that the last chapter should give some account 
of modern scientific and philosophical thought regard- 
ing human society. May this record of the past awaken 
an interest, and spur on to an effort in the present, 
which will make the Christian Church of the future 
a more constant and potent force for the good of 
human society than it has ever yet been ! 



Preface v 

Introduction : The Modern Social Problem, by the Rev. 
John Scott Lidgett, M.A., D.D., Warden of the Ber- 
mondsey Settlement, and ex-President of the National 
Free Church Council ....... 3 

Social Ideals in the Old Testament, by the Rev. W. H. 
Bennett, M.A., Litt.D., D.D., Professor of Old Testa- 
ment Language and Literature in New and Hackney 
College, London ....... 45 


The Christian Ideal revealed in Jesus, by the Rev. 
Alfred E. Garvie, M.A., D.D., Principal of New College, 
London . . . . . . . . .81 

The Preparation for the Christian Ideal in the 
Gentile Environment of the Primitive Church, by 
C. Franklin Angus, IVT.A., Fellow and Classical Lecturer 
of Trinity Hall, Cambridge . . . . .119 


The Christian Ideal as realized in the Primitive Church, 
by the Rev. J. Vernon Bartlet, M.A., D.D., Pro- 
fessor of Church History in Mansfield College, Oxford 153 




The Factors in the Expansion of the Christian Church, 
by the Rev. James Orr, M.A., D.D,, Professor of Apolo- 
getics and Systematic Theology in the United Free 
Church College, Glasgow 191 


The Influence of the Christian Church upon the Roman 
Empire, by the Rev. H. H. Scullard. M.A., D.D., 
Professor of Church History in New and Hackney College, 
London ......... 237 


The Influence of the Christian Church on the Social 
AND Ethical Development of the Middle Ages, 
by the Rev. H. B. Workman, D.Lit., Principal of 
Westminster Training College, London . . . 273 


The Social Principles and Effects of the Reformation, 
by the Rev. H. Andrews, B.A., Professor of New Testa- 
ment Exegesis and Criticism in New College, London 335 


The Evangelical Revival and Philanthropy, by the 
Rev. Thomas Cuming Hall, D.D., Professor of Christian 
Ethics in Union Theological Seminary, New York, 
Author of **The Social Meaning of Modern Religious 
Movements in England " . . . . . . 377 

Christianity and the French Revolution, by J. Holland 
Rose, Litt.D., Author of "The Revolutionary and 
Napoleonic Era." 411 




The Social Influence of Christianity as illustrated 
BY Modern Foreign Missions, by the Rev. James S. 
Dennis, D.D., Author of " Christian Missions and Social 
Progress " ........ 447 


Modern Scientific and Philosophic Thought regarding 
Human Society, by Henry Jones, M.A., LL.D., Pro- 
fessor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow 491 

Index 523 


By the Rev. J. SCOTT LIDGETT, M.A., D.D., Warden of 


National Free Church Council. 

C.c. B 


(i) The aim of the Volume Historical and Practical. 

(2) Satisfaction with the Past out of place. 

(3) A Clear and Convincing Indication of the Social Meaning and the 

Moral Effects of the Christian ReUgion needed. 

(4) Christianity Absolute as the Fulfilment of the Old Testament Religion — 

its hope of the Kingdom of God in Christ, 

(5) The Forces of the Christian Religion and the Social Problem of to-day. 

(6) The Social Problem still Unsolved and more Manifest. 

(7) The Presuppositions of this Volume. 

I. The Modern Social Problem. 
(i) The Situation constantly altering in Relief of the Problem. 

(2) Remaining Problem Economic with Religious, Moral and Intellectual 


(3) The Fact and the Sense of Insecurity and the Consequences. 

(4) The Deadly Effect of the Environment of the Slum. 

(5) The State of Things often pronounced Inevitable. 

(6) The Problem of the City Slum one with the Social Problem elsewhere. 

(7) The Luxury of the Rich at the other end of the scale. 

II. The Solution of the Problem. 
(i) No hope of a Solution from the Purely Economic Standpoint. 

(2) The Palhatives of the Poor Law and Charitable Relief unsatisfactory. 

(3) The Social Problem above all Spiritual, although conditioned by Economic 

Facts and Laws, and affected by Political Action.? 

III. The Peculiar Responsibility of the Christian Church. 
(i) The Minor Reasons for its Action. 

(2) The Christian view of Suffering as Discipline no Objection. 

(3) The Relation of Organized Christianity to the Social Problem the difficulty. 

(4) The Laws of Christ not for His Church only, but through it Universal. 

(5) The Christian Personality Reahzed in Social Relations. 

(6) The Christian Religion, while Spiritual and Transcendent, sovereignly 

immanent in human society. 

(7) The Conflict in the Legislative application of Spiritual Principles inevit- 

able, yet Consistent with the Church's Spiritual Mission. 

(8) The Church's Main Service as Influential Witness to Ideals in a truly 

Christian and Catholic Spirit. 

(9) The Decisive Results in the Modern Social Problem of the Manifestation 

of this Temper. 

/lo) The Practical Service of the Churches outside the Field of Public Life. 
(11) The Redemptive Mission of Christianity. 



The aim of this volume, though primarily historical, 
is above all practical. It sets forth the nature and 
growth of great social ideals, which were fulfilled in 
Christ, and thereby for ever included both in the con- 
tent of His religion and in the commission of His 
Church. It traces the working of these ideals and the 
way by which they passed from being merely the 
spiritual heritage of the Church into motive forces 
playing a great part in moulding and transforming 
Western civilization. The reason, however, of this 
attempt to represent historic facts is rather to provide 
guidance for the future than to encourage satisfaction 
with the past. 

For many reasons such satisfaction would be out 
of place. Leaving out of account for the moment our 
existing social evils, which are deeply rooted in the 
past, it is undeniable that Christ's ideals have been 
but imperfectly apprehended even by the best of His 
followers, and have been largely misconceived by the 
majority. The endeavour faithfully to apply even 
the imperfect apprehension of them to the life of the 
Church itself has only for brief periods been strenuous 
and has often failed altogether. Any sustained at- 


tempt to base civilization in its entirety upon them 
has yet to come into existence. The downward drag 
of human inertia and the clash of selfish interests within 
the Church have often led to almost flat contradiction 
of the precepts of Christ, and to complete denial of 
His Spirit. The vindication of Christ — though it should 
be offered as a tribute and not as a defence — can only 
be, taking history as a whole, by the condemnation, 
always of the limitations and often of the infidelity of 
His Church. Such vindication will take the form of 
showing the permanent sufficiency of the ideals which 
Christ revealed, or to which He gave the sanction of 
His authority, of describing their sustained influence 
upon mankind throughout the ages and, above all, 
at seasons of spiritual revival, and of demonstrating 
from the transforming and uplifting results of their 
partial application that all that is required for the 
redemption of mankind is that they should be embraced 
with such faith and devotion as will give them full 

Hence what is mainly required is a clear and 
convincing indication of the social meaning and the 
normal effects of the Christian religion. Such an indi- 
cation will be largely given by the two inductive 
methods of difference and of concomitant variations. 
That is to say it will exhibit the normal effects upon 
civilization exerted by the introduction of the Chris- 
tian religion, and will show that human and civil well- 
being have varied directly as the faith of Christ has 
been truly embraced and resolutely applied to the 
problems and tasks of human society. The most 
beneficent effect of such an endeavour will be to supply 
an incentive for the future : for the verification of 
Christianity, at least on its practical side, must lie in 
its complete realization and in its full application to 


human affairs. Hence the present investigation of the 
influence of Christianity upon the evolution of civiliz- 
ation is intended so to illustrate its principles and to 
reveal its relations to human nature and progress, as 
to supply inspiration and guidance for a vast task that 
is quite obviously incomplete. 

The claim is made that the religion of Christ is the 
absolute religion. Yet it is absolute, not as a creation 
out of nothing, but as the fulfilment of the Old Testa- 
ment religion out of which it sprang, and through 
which it stands connected, as well as contrasted, with 
the other religions of mankind. Now the distinctive 
mark of Old Testament religion was that it offered to 
faith the prospect and assurance of a supreme his- 
toric end which should satisfy every power, meet every 
need, and idealize every relationship of mankind. 
That end is the Kingdom of God ; not only His sove- 
reign gift, but His spiritual manifestation within the 
whole realm of human, and even natural, existence. 
The advent of this kingdom was represented as neces- 
sary to satisfy, not so much the material cravings, 
as the spiritual demands which the religion of Jehovah 
had itself created in the heart of His people. <Jhe 
promise of the Kingdom of God affirmed the worth, 
and suggested the permanence of personal existence. 
It declared the sacredness of human society, morally 
ordered and spiritually inspired. It founded the 
social order in God and set forth its perfecting as 
the final act of God and the characteristic hope of 
true religion. Hence inevitably the consummation, 
divinely promised, became the ideal of human effort 
and the test, as the prophets insisted, of human char- 
acter^ The spirituality of Christ led to the fusing of 
the Apocalyptic and the moral elements of the Old 
Testament in a perfect whole. Neither element can 


be ignored. The union between them is not always 
apparent in the Gospel narratives as they stand. It 
must be found in our Lord's treatment of the Father- 
hood of God and of the sonship of men, and in the truth, 
contained therein, that the recreative activity of God 
begins in the character and influence of His children. 
Hence as crude Apocalyptic hopes passed away from 
the Christian Church, the earnest of the true Apocalypse 
began to appear in more far-reaching social endeavour. 
This volume will show how far-reaching such endeavour 
became, how it reappeared in every phase of Christian 
development, and how its principles worked even in 
movements, like the French Revolution, which were 
ostensibly a revolt against organized — but in reality 
travestied — Christianity. 

The vital question, however, remains. What 
forces can the religion of Christ bring to bear upon the 
Social Problem of to-day ? Every age involves a 
crisis for civilization, for the gains of the past can only 
be preserved by the continued advance of the present. 
Yet in some respects the present crisis is unique, both 
by reason of the demands it makes and equally by 
reason of the new means of meeting them. On the 
one hand is the extent and intimacy of our world-rela- 
tions, which are fast making, humanity to stand, not 
merely for a common nature, but for a Commonwealth. 
In addition, there is the vast development of our 
industrial system, with all the moral, economic, and 
physical problems involved in it. Accompanying 
this development is the colossal and cosmopolitan 
organization of financial power that is almost imper- 
sonal — that certainly either claims to be or submits 
to become devoid of those restraining and guiding 
influences which moral personality stands for. If 
these elements in combination give unique gravity 


to the problem of modern civilization, on the other 
hand the present age has unique powers of dealing 
with it. Democracy has come into being, a deeper 
sympathy is everywhere at war with inherited and 
vulgar callousness, while the advance of science is 
every day increasing the resources available for hu- 
mane sympathy, when it becomes a democratic pur- 
pose. The practical object of this volume will best 
be served, therefore, by examining at the outset the 
challenge which the modern Social Problem offers to 

In what has already been said it is implied that so 
far from the social problem having been solved in the 
past — whether by the Christian religion or by other 
means — its full nature and dimensions are only now 
for the first time in human history becoming manifest. 
Particular evils have been overcome. But the 
development of human life in modern times, although 
on the whole it has meant real progress, has been 
attended by serious drawbacks and has given rise to 
a multitude of incidental evils that are not the less 
dangerous or evil, because they may be treated as 
incidental. Moreover, the standards of society — whether 
political, economic, or social — in so-called Christian 
countries have never made and do not now make any 
pretence of being completely Christian. This is not 
merely a complaint on the part of those who take the 
Christian religion seriously. The average opinion of 
the present day pronounces the religion of. the Sermon 
on the Mount to be an impracticable ideal and holds 
that any attempt systematically to apply it would be 
attended by almost fatal disaster. So long as this 
state of mind prevails convinced and consistent Chris- 
tians can find little satisfaction in the social condition 
of the age, and will draw the inference that great as 


has been the influence of Christ it is destined to become 
greater and more far-reaching in the future. The 
Christian view of the world, while not optimist as to 
any particular stage of historic development, (is pro- 
foundly so as to the ultimate possibihties, nay certain- 
ties, as it regards , them.} ^he Christian believer is 
conscious of spiritual forces within himself and the 
Church, which would quickly transform the world if 
they had full play and became universale Further, 
he is profoundly convinced that the nature of the uni- 
verse is so constituted and its course so ordered that 
all things must, of necessity, conspire to further every 
true attempt to translate the Christian ideal into 
actuality. Hence, leaving out of account such social 
evils as are obviously caused by deliberate wrong- 
doing. Christians are constrained to regard all social 
evil which rests upon collective volition embodied in 
laws and customs, as being due to imperfect under- 
standing and unfaithful application of the spirit and 
laws of Christ, and will insist that the true remedy is 
to be found in a fuller acceptance and expression of 
His revelation. Hence Christianity cannot be satis- 
fied with the achievements of the past. To begin with, 
because great as they have been they have yet been 
so largely ineffectual. In the next place, because 
Christianity is a continuous spiritual life, which flour- 
ishes only so long as it puts forth victorious energy 
for the transformation of the world. And, finally, 
because the essential nature of its spiritual life de- 
mands the most far-reaching social expression. The 
history of the relations between Christianity and civil- 
ization cannot,therefore, be a completed book. (Neither 
Christianity nor civilization has been completed, nor 
will either reach its consummation till its relations 
with the other have been perfected. ) The history. 


therefore, is chiefly useful as giving both guidance and 
inspiration for present and future efforts. It will 
supply principles rather than precedents ; vital ends 
and not accidental means. It will instruct us by its 
shortcomings as well as by its achievements. In par- 
ticular it will teach the all-important lesson that Chris- 
tianity has most truly served the cause of social pro- 
gress by the creative fearlessness, which has shrunk 
from no innovation, or even revolution, which has been 
possible and needful in order to full realization of its 
distinctive life. To celebrate the triumph of Christian 
principles and movements in the past, without asking 
what kindred, and even greater service they prompt 
us to render in the present, is, as our Lord has taught 
us, to build the sepulchres of the prophets and thereby 
show ourselves to be the children of those who slew 
them. The prophetic succession is the only tribute 
that the prophets can receive. Hence the present 
inquiry seeks to elucidate the characteristic influence 
of Christ in order to show that the modern social pro- 
blem not only makes an imperative demand upon the 
Churches, but also that it can only be solved by the 
means that the Churches can bring to bear. 

The point of view of this volume is governed by 
certain important presuppositions. To begin with, 
it is assumed that our present social condition is 
unsatisfactory. In the next place it is suggested 
that the problem set |by the present social condition 
is one. However many elements may he present, 
they go to make up one organic whole. Further, 
it is assumed that the social problem of the ages has 
a distinctively modern form, claiming, therefore, a 
treatment special to our own age. Again the form 
prescribed for our investigation takes for granted that 
the problem will not solve itself. A remedy cannot 


be hoped for in automatic action, but only by de- 
liberate effort. Moreover, such effort must not be 
confined within those limits of practical life wherein 
the problem finds external manifestation. If it were 
so, the only people concerned with it would be the 
statesmen, economists and organizers of commercial 
and industrial life. On the positive side, it is pre- 
supposed that the problem is in the last resort spiritual, 
concerned rather with the wills of men than with in- 
adequate or refractory conditions of their lot. If it 
were the latter, men would not be called to solve a 
problem, still less would spiritual influences be in- 
voked. Humanity must, in that case, organize its 
ambulance service and be content. Being held to be 
a spiritual problem, the social problem is treated as a 
call to the Christian forces of the nation. Finally, it 
is suggested that the problem is soluble, if treated as 
ultimately spiritual and dealt with by spiritual means. 
All these assumptions must be considered before we 
are enabled to show what Christians ought to do, and 
to make an appeal to them well grounded alike in the 
nature and history of their religion to discharge their 
duty, in the faith and obedience of Christ. It is well, 
therefore, that we should start with a clear recognition 
of the imperfection of our existing civilization and of 
the task that this fact imposes upon Christians. 

What, then, is the Modern Social Problem ? It is 
impossible, within our space, to attempt a detailed 
description of it for, while existing everywhere through- 
out the country, it differs very much in detail and in 
degrees of acuteness, according as we consider urban 
or rural populations ; and in regard to the former 
greatly depends upon the size of the population and 
upon the differing conditions of local industry. Again, 
we are living in times of rapid legislative and adminis- 


trative changes, and when such changes are chiefly 
directed towards alleviating social evils. The situa- 
tion alters constantly. The grant of Old Age Pen- 
sions, for example, has profoundly affected it, not so 
much because of the immediate relief given to the aged 
poor, but because of the reforms both in regard to the 
relations of the State to industry, and in regard to the 
Poor Law, which are involved in it. Again, the hous- 
ing problem, at any rate in the towns, is by no means 
as grave as it was a few years ago, owing in part to 
the carrying out of great housing schemes both by 
municipal and private activity, and still more to the 
multiplication of facilities for cheap transit, which 
have sensibly relieved the congested areas of the great 
cities, and will tend to the reduction of rents.^ The 
Housing and Town-planning Act recently passed, 
though by no means as effective a measure as could 
have been desired, is likely to accelerate this remedial 
process, while doing something to increase the amen- 
ities and therefore the healthfulness of large towns, 
at any rate so far as their future growth is concerned. 
Once more, the treatment of the social problem may 
easily create a feeling of undue pessimism, because 
the brighter features, both of the retrospect and the 
prospect, are inevitably left out of account. We must, 
however, not forget that the great increase of the 
national wealth, although it has not been attended 
by an equitable distribution of it, has greatly raised 
the standard of living for the successful in all classes 

^ See the Return of the number of Empty Houses in the great 
cities and towns of the United Kingdom presented to the House 
of Commons by the President of the Local Government Board in 
August 1909. It must be remembered, however, that such empty 
houses owing to their character and situation, are often not available 
for relieving congestion elsewhere, even in the same town. 


of society. In addition, the cheapening of the neces- 
saries of Hfe that has resulted from Free Trade and 
from the poHcy of selecting luxuries and superfluities, 
instead of necessaries, for taxation has increased the 
purchasing power of the poor. The steady develop- 
ment of popular education, despite many obstacles 
and much obstruction, has accomplished much and 
promises still more. The industrial classes, moreover, 
have won, after long struggles, complete liberty of 
combination. The skilled trades have, therefore, been 
enabled to secure higher wages and better conditions 
of labour, though some serious deductions must be 
made in respect of the insecurity resulting from trade 
depression, ill-health and other causes. The extension 
of the franchise and the estabUshment of representa- 
tive authorities for local government, with steadily 
rising ideals and increasing powers to deal with social 
conditions are important factors, the possibiUties of 
which must be fully recognized. If it is not our busi- 
ness now to dwell upon these relieving features they 
must not for a moment be forgotten. 

Yet an immense problem remains, which is, to 
begin with, economic, but which includes reUgious, 
moral, and intellectual elements that are of profound 
importance. A large proportion of the population, 
both in town and country, have to exist permanently 
upon less than a living wage, that is upon less than is 
necessary so to feed, clothe and house an average 
family as to secure physical well-being, with some 
small margin for needful recreation.^ This is the 
case, not merely in so-called sweated industries, 

^ See upon this subject Rowntree's Poverty (Macmillan, is.). 
The writer's estimate of the proportion of the population that 
comes short of enjoying a living wage may be somewhat excessive. 
But on any calculation, the facts are sufficiently serious. 


but in regard to the great mass of unskilled labour 
both in town and country. Still more serious, per- 
haps, is the lack of security, of which more must be 
said later on. Owing to these causes, the industrial 
movement upwards is accompanied by a terrible drift 
downwards which, as will be seen subsequently is 
extending in area, and is filling the centres of our great 
cities with almost hopeless wrecks of humanity. If, 
then, we wish to realize the meaning of the Modern 
Social Problem we must, first of all, explore the city 
slum, and not only the slum, properly so-called, but 
the ever-widening areas of our great cities, especially 
of London, which are the headquarters of unskilled 
labour. Here the insufficiency of wages to maintain 
health, the rise of rents owing to pressure of popula- 
tion (in the case of London because its imperfect 
unification leaves the poorer districts unjustly bur- 
dened with the cost of sanitation and other local 
charges), and the insecurity of labour are to be found 
at their worst. To these centres have come the victims 
of agricultural depression in the country, often dis- 
placing from employment the less vigorous town-bred 
labourer. Hither drift the unfit of every kind. Here 
is to be found the hopeless competition of scores or 
even of hundreds of men to obtain one job. 

While not dwelling on the obvious physical evils 
of such a state of things, it is necessary to point out 
some aspects of the matter which are little realized 
by the well-to-do. Above all, is the fact and the sense 
of insecurity. At any moment depression of trade, 
the introduction of labour-saving machinery, or the 
failure of a business firm may bring the most deserv- 
ing face to face with the horrors of unemployment. 
Such an experience is bewildering in itself, but still 
more so if it be borne in mind that the causes which 


put a man out of particular employment are usually 
sufficiently wide in their operation to prevent him 
from getting work elsewhere. Moreover, he who seeks 
work under such conditions is exposed to cruel in- 
dignities, must often fight like a wild beast to get his 
place from other competitors, and is exposed to gnaw- 
ing anxiety, until such demoralization sets in as deadens 
his sensibility by destroying his manhood. Hence the 
swift transition from being unemployed to becoming 
unemployable. Meanwhile the hard necessity is too 
often laid upon the breadwinner that whoever may 
come short of food^ — whether wife or little ones — he 
must be fed lest the last ray of hope should vanish 
through his breakdown. And short of such calamities, 
the pressure of competition and the various risks of 
employing any save the most efficient labour destroy 
the chance of employment after the prime of muscular 
vigour has been passed, and cause workmen to be 
haunted with the fear of failing sick or of displaying 
any physical infirmity, however slight. To all this 
must be added the manifold evils that attend upon 
casual or seasonal labour, with long periods of enforced 
idleness and with the almost hopeless demoralization 
which comes from uncertainty and irregularity of life. 
The ignorance, immobility, and lack of elasticity that 
characterize such labour should also be borne in mind. 
Economists speak somewhat loftily of the absorption 
of displaced labour by new industries. But the pro- 
cess is at best slow and takes full effect only in the 
next generation of workers. Meanwhile the tragedy 
of broken lives is unspeakable. Further, let it be 
remembered that children are born into this hereditary 
condition. Their early years are, too often, pinched 
and saddened by it, their outlook is limited by its 
narrowing conditions, and at too early an age they are 


thrust out to repeat the experiences of those who have 
gone before them, or even, it may be, to inflict still 
further damage upon the industrial chances of the pre- 
vious generation. It need hardly be said that such 
influences work havoc with the home. Overcrowding, 
frequent *' flittings," occasional acquaintance with 
the workhouse, the breaking down of order, all tend 
to destroy not only the beauty, but too often the exist- 
ence, of home life. Young people, not out of their 
teens and brought up under such conditions, found 
homes and rear families in their turn. Is it a wonder 
that unfitness to discharge parental duties is one of 
the saddest features of slum life, that mothers, who 
have themselves spent the most momentous years 
of their life in casual labour and are forced to continue 
in it after marriage, are so helpless and unwise that it 
has been found necessary to establish schools for them 
in order that they be instructed in the most rudiment- 
ary truths concerning the care of infants ? 

Around such hapless and hopeless people the en- 
vironment of the slum closes with deadly effect. Its 
fetid atmosphere, its insanitary conditions, and its 
deadly monotony are enough to drag its inhabitants 
down to the lowest level of physical and mental inefli- 
ciency. Yet this is the least part of it. The slum is 
also the " congested area *' where drink shops vie with 
one another to complete the ruin of the unfortunate 
and unfit. The exclusion of young children from 
licensed premises in such circumstances is but an in- 
adequate and makeshift remedy even so far as they are 
concerned. The atmosphere of drink is all around. 
The drink habit is one of the earliest formed. Intoxi- 
cating drink is the supplement of insufiicient food, 
the condiment or substitute for food, unattractive 
both in its nature and in the way it is prepared. Above 


all it is the anodyne of misery, the artificial means of 
rising above squalid cares and surroundings. Worst 
of all, perhaps, is the fact that all those who are neigh- 
bours suffer from the same evils and are reduced to a 
common unfitness. There are few to set a higher 
standard and thereby to kindle the spirit of a healthy 
emulation. No doubt education has done something. 
The heart of a little little slum child is as receptive to 
higher influences as is that of one in higher station. 
But the influence of school is too weak to overcome 
the steady pressure of the whole of the ordinary en- 
vironment. Meet the youth or girl of seventeen or 
eighteen, after a few years ' occupation in casual labour, 
and how coarsened they have become since the old 
school days. The influences at the most critical period 
of their life are downward and not upward. Of course, 
the excellent work of evening schools, institutes, clubs 
and brigades must not be overlooked. But the pro- 
vision of such help comes pitiably short of the need. 
Indeed, speaking generally, the Churches are not or- 
ganized, equipped, and inspired, as yet, for a decisive 
victory where the fight for a Christian civilization is 
hardest. Here and there, at much cost of men, women 
and money a successful work is carried on. But wise, 
sympathetic and magnetic friendship is largely wanting 
where it is needed most. An overworked minister of 
religion, deserted by the workers who have gone to the 
suburbs, and harassed to keep his dwindling congrega- 
tion together, cannot carry on a vigorous or successful 
campaign against the sin and suffering he sees around 
him. And, were his resources a hundredfold greater, 
let it be remembered that no agency or institution can 
take the place of a healthful and happy home ! The 
very multiplicity of our agencies is often the surest 
evidence of the well-nigh incurable evils with which 


their promoters are bravely struggling to deal. Hence 
the presence at the heart of all our great cities, and 
especially of London, of multitudes of people, phy- 
sically degenerate, mentally unstable, demoralized and 
materialized, who are the victims and not the heirs 
of our so-called Christian civilization. Their case has 
been only imperfectly presented. They are the em- 
bodiment and expression of the Modern Social Pro- 

In the consideration of this state of things, two 
important facts must be borne in mind. In the first 
place, that this state of things has hitherto, for the 
most part, been pronounced to be inevitable. No 
doubt those who speak thus have little or no personal 
acquaintance with the human meaning of the facts of 
which they glibly speak. They deal with economic 
factors, without enough sensibility or imagination to 
remember that their own brothers and sisters are 
concerned. The industry and commerce of the world, 
and especially of the country, must be carried on. 
Reservoirs and reserves of cheap labour are required. 
So long as this need is supplied and the merchant gets 
his goods, what does it matter to the business man at 
a distance, or to the abstract theorist, that men and 
women are being thrown upon the scrapheap by the 
process, more surely than is the case with obsolete 
or worn-out machinery ? This is not an imputation 
of heartlessness in the ordinary sense of the term. 
Sympathy is the offspring of seeing. And owing to 
the distance that separates rich and poor in large cities, 
the personal contact, which enables and even compels 
seeing, is absent. Hence many are shocked when the 
plain facts are stated, and are ready to assume that 
their informant is hysterical or embittered. In ad- 
dition to the necessities of the army of industry, it is 
c.c. c 


held that the greatest efficiency of the fit can only be 
maintained by the sacrifice of the unfit. The pressure 
of competition, and even of unregulated competition, 
is held to be so needful, if each is to do his best, that 
things must be allowed to take their course. The in- 
dependence of the economic unit slowly won from serf- 
dom and from the public regulation of labour, must 
be jealously upheld. Moreover economic laws are 
constantly spoken of as if they acted as irresistibly 
and with as complete independence of the human will 
as gravitation itself. Hence no effective pressure in 
the direction of reform can be expected from those 
whose immediate interests are served or whose philo- 
sophy is satisfied by the present state of affairs. 

In the second place, the problem of the city slum 
is in complete solidarity with the social problem else- 
where. Not only are its essential features reproduced 
on a small scale in countless towns and villages, but 
the existence of kindred evils in the country leads 
directly to their increase in the great centres of popu- 
lation. The unsatisfactory position and prospects 
of the agricultural labourer have denuded the rural 
districts only to add to the congestion and extreme 
competition of the cities. Size, the element of chance, 
colour, excitement all arouse hopes and desires which 
attract from the countryside. The failures drift to 
the great centres. The energetic set their face thither 
and displace less vigorous labour where they come. 
Thus, though the centre of the problem is in the city 
it can only be dealt with there by means sufficiently 
powerful and all-embracing to cure the evil every- 

At the other end of the social scale is to be found 
the luxury of the rich. It is neither necessary, nor 
would it be altogether just, to bring the charge of 


wasteful luxury and extravagance against any class 
as a whole. There are many of the rich to whom it 
does not apply. Still more, the loss of simplicity of 
life and restraint in expenditure are characteristic 
evils at present in every class, where income exceeds 
the primary needs of life, measured by the special 
standard of each class. The pursuit of pleasure, with 
the indiscipline and extravagance that spring out of 
it, are the forms which the social problem takes among 
the successful and secure. That which interferes 
with an indulgence is regarded as an injustice. At the 
time when this is written, those who dislike the land 
taxes of the present Budget paint gloomy pictures 
of the unemployment which will result from them. 
It seems never to occur to those who use such argu- 
ments how small is the body of labour which is af- 
fected, even assuming that the whole of it is useful. 
Many a change of fashion in dress has involved more 
loss of employment than Mr. Lloyd George's Budget 
can possibly bring about. Still more, it is necessary 
to balance against diminished demand for labour by 
the wealthy, the increased demand for it which would 
immediately take place were the burdens of the poor 
lightened by effective social reform. 

This imperfect review of the present social situa- 
tion shows that, regarded from the purely economic 
standpoint, there is no hope of a solution. It tends, 
on the contrary, to perpetuate itself. Commercial 
interests are nervous of change which may affect for 
ill the gigantic and sensitive interests of finance, or 
may give temporary advantages to foreign rivals. 
Those who have accustomed themselves to a certain 
standard of comfort and luxury are easily alarmed at 
the possibihty of any unfavourable alteration, whether 
positive or relative. The worst victims of social evil 


have neither the energy, the hope, nor the organizing 
power to work out their own salvation by themselves. 
It may be suggested that the hope of the future lies 
in combination. But waiving the objection that the 
remedy of combination assumes a state of permanent, 
if latent, warfare between capital and labour, this 
method is impracticable. So long as an excess of 
unskilled labour exists, constantly recruited from the 
unsuccessful, the untrained and the juvenile, there is 
no possibility of collective bargaining with employers. 
The ultimate resource of combination, a strike, is 
impossible — unless indeed the conditions are such as to 
bring outside moral forces into the field, as was the 
case in the London Dock Strike of 1889 — for the labour 
withdrawn can, in most cases, be at least temporarily 
replaced. Moreover, the risk of such combination 
is one of the most powerful influences in securing the 
introduction of labour-saving appliances. Hence the 
economic problem cannot be solved by ordinary 
economic forces, if left to themselves. 

But, it may be asked, what about the palliatives 
which exist ? Apart from such help as is afforded 
by the co-operation of the very poor themselves — 
for example by the more imperfect types of sick benefit 
societies, which are for the most part organized by 
philanthropic agencies — these consist of the Poor Law 
and of charitable relief. 

The Poor Law is intended to prevent the possibility 
of death by starvation or from inability to obtain 
medical attention in sickness. The common work- 
house, with its infirm wards, is the primary institu- 
tion, which reveals its original design.^ The estab- 

^ It is impossible within our limits to touch upon the origin and 
history of the Poor Law or to explain the reasons that led to the 
momentous reform of 1834, which is the basis of present Poor Law 


lishment of great Poor Law infirmaries for the sick, of 
various systems of dealing with children, of separate 
institutions for the treatment of the aged and infirm, 
the able-bodied and other classes, are developments 
brought about in part by administrative necessities, 
and still more by the growing sympathy and wisdom 
of Guardians of the poor and of the ratepayers to whom 
they appeal. The fundamental condition of rehef, 
however, is destitution. The chief end proposed is to 
maintain the economic independence of the poor by 
exacting from them the spirit of independence and 
self-help. Hence the first principle of Poor Law relief 
has been that it must be less attractive than the most 
meagre subsistence without it, and that the offer of 
it must be associated with such deterrents, and even 
indignities, that no one will be tempted to have re- 
course to it who can possibly do without it. Any 
softening of such conditions in recent times marks a 
departure from the original principle, and, as recent 
experience has shown, may produce, so long as it is 
carried on under the legal conditions at present exist- 
ing, the embarrassment of costly institutions and of 
the rapid spread of pauperism. Hence the following 
dilemma is created. Either the Poor Law must be 
administered in all its severity, in which case its very 
relief is an aggravation of the sufferings of the poor by 
reason of the mental anguish it inflicts, or its severity 
must be relaxed, with the result that sound economic 
progress is checked, and that new kinds of demoraliza- 
tion abound. It is impossible that the action of the 
present Poor Law should be, in any true sense, reme- 
died, save in the case of children educated and started 
in life by the more competent Boards of Guardians.^ 

^ Even in such cases the powers of the Guardians are too limited 
to secure the largest amount of success. 


The very fact that it can only step in when men and 
women have hopelessly broken down means that any 
remedial action, if attempted, comes too late to secure 
the co-operation of hope, energy, and character in its 
object. Yet this is quite indispensable if a satisfac- 
tory result is to be reached. Help to prevent failure 
is what is needed, instead of attempts to palliate 
failure after it has taken place. Humane progress is 
swiftly giving the ascendency to sympathy over coer- 
cion. This involves the total reform of the system, 
in order that sympathy may be armed with adequate 
powers — educational, disciplinary and co-operative — 
to make its action truly remedial so long as the causes 
which necessitate special treatment of the unfortunate 
continue to operate.^ 

To a large extent, the same objections must be 
taken to charitable relief. Of course, it is impossible 
to foresee a time when special needs and emergencies 
will not call for private help. When such help is 
brought with the comprehension and sympathy of 
true friendship it can do nothing but good, for it calls 
forth the best and most powerful of motives, in both 
giver and receiver, and cements the fellowship out of 
which it springs. Short of this charity does more 
harm than good. It delays the application of real 
remedies, it attracts the least worthy to receive it ; 
it is spasmodic in its action and frequently unwise in 
its methods. Furthermore it involves the manifold 
evils of patronage, can be exploited for unworthy ends, 
and becomes a profession instead of a ministry. By 
its nature it can only temper effects, without dealing 
with causes. It is exposed to the subtle temptation 
of seeking to perpetuate, rather than to end, the social 
conditions to which it owes its rise. Only as the ideal 
^ See the Minority Report of the Poor Law Commission, 1909. 


of righteousness supersedes that of charity, as the 
goal of independence, instead of dependence, is sought 
for its objects, and as its exercise means the co-opera- 
tion of friendship, can philanthropy be treated as a 
real factor in the emancipation of the poor, and the 
transformation of society. Its truest aim, so far 
as private effort is concerned, should be to provide the 
upholding influence, the stand-by, of personal contact. 
Suflicient has now been said to show that the 
Modern Social Problem is above all spiritual. No 
doubt it is conditioned by economic facts and laws. 
It can be greatly affected by political action. The 
grant of Old Age Pensions, the establishment of labour 
exchanges, the carrying out of great schemes of State- 
aided and supervised insurance against invalidity and 
unemployment, the prevention of sweating, the stay- 
ing of the torrent of unskilled labour by diverting 
from it, through sounder education, the more capable 
boys and girls who at present swell it, the opening 
up of the land to small holders, the institution of 
public works — afforestation, drainage, coast protection, 
etc. — against times of trade contraction — all these may 
be expected to make a marked impression upon existing 
evils. The remodelling of the aims and powers of the Poor 
Law — in a sense its abolition — will effectively supple- 
ment these wider processes, whatever arrangements 
may be made for superseding the present Boards of 
Guardians. A truly progressive municipal policy 
will steadily improve all the conditions of town life, 
But if such a social policy in all its entirety is to be 
set on foot, effectively carried through, and success- 
fully administered — in spite of hostile combinations 
and human inertia — great spiritual influences must 
be at work throughout the community. The social 
problem must be grasped as an organic whole. Its 


solution must be undertaken as a national task in 
which all classes are called to co-operate. / It must 
be pursued with steadfast and strenuous resolution./ 
It must be compassed by far-reaching and continuous 
efforts, legislative, administrative and philanthropic. 
All this is impossible till one supreme ideal gains com- 
mand of the nation as the prime object of this collective 
endeavour./ That object can be nothing less than the 
complete abolition of demoralizing and degrading 
poverty, and thereby the bringing of the poorest into 
the full inheritance of civilization./ Many elements 
go to make up the fullness of this ideal, but the indis- 
pensable basis of them all is the determination to secure 
for all at least the minimum of economic well-being 
which is essential to the enjoyment of all the highest 
goods of life. The attainment of this great end cannot 
be reached without manifold readjustments of social, 
economic, and political relations. It calls for renewed 
hope and effort on the part of the less fortunate, for 
no man can be saved, for any true end of life, in spite 
of himself. Equally/ it calls for the triumph of bro- 
therly co-operation and brotherly sacrifice on the part 
of the more fortunate. In short, the social conscious- 
ness must become sovereign in its authority over the 
national life, subordinating, until it utterly expels, 
selfish individualism, class jealousies, and timid dis- 
like of necessary change. ^ Only slowly, and with much 
difficulty, will political forces and economic relations 
respond to and become transformed by this supreme 
ideal. / True the so-called '' economic man '* is so 
stiff an abstraction as to be a caricature of humanity. 
The pursuit of wealth for its own sake is not, commonly, 
the master motive even in the case of those who seek 
to get rich. But selfishness, stupidity, and timidity 
are mighty forces of obstruction, not to speak of the 


material difficulties that must be encountered. No- 
thing but heroic determination, collective wisdom, and 
a great inspiration of brotherhood will suffice. It 
would be a fatal mistake to confuse these qualities 
with a particular economic doctrine — say, for example, 
with State Socialism. The question is therefore that 
of the national character — its seriousness, sympathy, 
sense of brotherhood. Can the social consciousness 
overcome the forces that are arrayed against it ? In 
other words, the Modern Social Problem is, above all, 
spiritual. Produced in its^most aggravated symptoms 
by the unrestrained freedom of industrial develop- 
ment and competition, its terrible and menacing 
import is forcing the mind and conscience of the nation 
to face anew the ultimate principles of social righteous- 
ness. They cannot be ignored or postponed. Pallia- 
tives have proved ineffectual. The agencies of phil- 
anthropy, alike in their promise and their shortcomings, 
show the presence of good-will, but of good-will defec- 
tive in power, range and equipment. The whole army 
of humanity must take the field. / Because the social 
problem is spiritual and national, the only hope of its 
solution lies in a great religious inspiration./ 

This conclusion establishes immediately the pecu- 
liar responsibility at this juncture of the Christian 
Church. There is no need to dwell on the minor rea- 
sons which strengthen this contention. Some of them 
must, however, be named. The social problem has be- 
come a grave danger to the State. The Church must 
always be a school of true patriotism, encouraging its 
members to serve the State ; both warning the State 
of its spiritual dangers and assisting it to overcome 
them. The social problem inflicts untold and un- 
merited sufferings on multitudes. The Church is a 
school of humanity, and, on peril of brutalizing men 


both within and without its pale, must bring home 
to all the meaning of the evil and seek by all legitimate 
means to alleviate it. The social problem exposes its 
victims to cruel temptations, threatens where it does 
not destroy their power to resist them, materializes 
their outlook and, incidentally, defeats the efforts of 
the Church to awaken their faith and hope of better 
things. Hence if the Church is to become a '' covert 
from the storm,*' as '' the shadow of a great rock in 
a weary land," resolute action must be taken to 
destroy such evils at the root. Furthermore, so far 
as the social problem exists through the collective 
will of the commimity, expressed in laws and customs, 
the members of the Church are implicated in the wrong 
that is done, strengthening or at least acquiescing in 
it, if they do not contribute to reform it. It is a fatal 
mistake, in a democratic age, to depersonalize the 
action of the State, and thus to belittle the responsi- 
bility of the citizens, and not least of Christian citizens, 
for it. Once more, it is Christianity more than any 
other influence which has elevated the social condition 
into a problem. To be a problem it must be conceived 
as, at once, an evil and a remediable evil. It is Chris- 
tianity that has made it both. Kindred evils existed 
in, and hastened the downfall of ancient civilizations. 
Yet the heart of the community was not moved, nor 
was the conscience stirred by them. The political 
philosophy even of Plato and Aristotle — always con- 
cerned with the ideal State — justified these evils, as 
not only inevitable, but as reasonable and even bene- 
ficial. It is Christianity which has changed the social 
outlook, not only by its doctrine of the personal worth 
of the lowliest and worst, and by evoking in them 
unsuspected spiritual powers, but by the cumulative 
effect of its message on mankind. The Fatherhood 


of God, the divinely-humane ministry of the in- 
carnate Son of God now exalted as the Sovereign 
and spiritual Redeemer of mankind, " the new Jerusalem 
coming down from God out of heaven,'' the redemption 
of the universe from its evil, the supremacy of the 
law and life of Love, what are these but a challenge 
to all existing evils ? Wherein lies their final verifica- 
tion if the realm of reality to which they belong is a 
world apart, out of all organic relationship to the earthly 
history of mankind ? Such a view contradicts the 
witness of the Incarnation, reduces Isaiah to imbecil- 
ity, and gives the lie to the deepest teachings of our 
Lord.^ The Fatherhood of God can only be set forth, 
verified and vindicated by the brotherly love of His 
Church. God's universe, and still more mankind, 
must constantly be summoned, by the faith that re- 
moves mountains, to give consenting witness to the 
truth that God is Love. In Christianity no .Dual- 
lism is possible. And with the denial of Dualism 
vanishes contempt for the meaning and despair of the 
possibilities of earthly life as the gift of the Divine 
Father and the preparation for eternal life. Not only 
will the reason of man be bafiied and his humanity 
receive a deadly blow unless this be the case, but faith 
itself will lose its buoyancy and the active reason by 
which it goes forward to reconcile and unify heaven 
and earth — by thought, ideal and deed — will be foiled. 
Therefore, the spiritual must be fulfilled in the moral, 
the moral must mould the social, and the social must 
assume command over and transform the material 
environment, if regenerated mankind is to work to- 
gether with God to make all things new. Hence it 
has come to pass that every great revival of Christianity 

^ E.g. the Sermon on the Mount, the Parables of the Grain of 
Mustard Seed, the Leaven, etc. 


has inaugurated a new period of social endeavour and 

It may be asked whether the Christian revelation 
does not assume the permanent existence of suffering, 
treat it as an indispensable discipline, and thereby 
transmute it into a means of higher good. Un- 
doubtedly it does. Nor is it possible that social re- 
form, carried to its utmost limits, can ever eliminate 
the element of suffering from the human lot. A life 
bounded by death, and exposed to the buffets and 
mortal strokes dealt by material nature, will never 
be immune from suffering. If he became so, man 
would sink into a denizen of earth instead of rising to 
become a citizen of heaven. But the following all- 
important considerations must be borne in mind. 
Firstly, the Christian religion has no mercy upon those 
who callously allow their brethren to remain under 
remediable suffering. Let the epistle of St. James be 
read as a summary of Christian teaching on this point. 
Or let St. John, the greatest mystic of the Christian 
religion, speak : *' But whoso hath the world's goods, 
and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth up 
his compassion from him, how doth the love of God 
abide in him ? " Above all, let our Lord's test be 
borne in mind, " Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one 
of these least, ye did it not unto Me.'* In applying 
such declarations, let it be remembered that if in 
some ways individual liberty is increased in modern 
times, yet in other respects the more complex organiza- 
tion of modern commerce and industry forces both 
justice and compassion to assume collective expres- 
sion, if they are to be applied at all. Secondly, the 
New Testament insists much more constantly upon 
the inevitable passion and suffering of those who would 
be the agents of God in redeeming their fellows, than 


upon the necessary sufferings of those they seek to 
redeem. Modern Christianity has lightly transferred 
this burden, assuming for the most part that the repre- 
sentatives of Christ are to be protected from the suffer- 
ing of a Christlike passion, while '' the masses '' are 
to feel its full force. Thirdly, the irreducible mini- 
mum of suffering works beneficent ends only so long 
as men face the causes of suffering as a whole, hope- 
fully and unitedly, in the serious and joyful determina- 
tion to overcome them. Dull submission to evil not 
only deadens the spirit, but destroys the power of 
suffering itself to refine and build up character. 

All this will probably be allowed. The difiiculty, 
for many minds, arises when the question of the rela- 
tion of organized Christianity — the Church — to the 
Social Problem is reached. So long as sentiments of 
humanity, or the individual conduct that springs from 
them, are concerned little or no objection is raised. 
But directly the attempt is made to universalize senti- 
ments as principles of collective action and to give 
expression to them in the complex relations of eco- 
nomic and political life, then — although this may be 
the only means of making them prevail — the objection 
is strongly taken that this lies outside the province of 
the Church, and is even contrary to its peculiar mis- 

To begin with, it is frequently held that the laws 
of Christ are laws for His Church, intended, therefore, 
to govern the select relations of the members, and not 
as law universal. This raises, of course,^ the whole 
question of the relations of the Church to the ordinary 
world, not so much in the externality of its organiza- 
tion and action, as in the scope of its spiritual princi- 
ples. It is impossible to deal exhaustively with this 
subject now. But the following considerations are 


all-important. The universalism of Apostolic Chris- 
tianity must be our clue to the meaning of specialized 
Church relations. Christ, says St. Paul, " ascended 
far above all the heavens that He might fill all things " 
(Eph. iv. lo). Out of that universal immanence 
spring the ministries of the Church. All men are, 
therefore, potential subjects of the kingdom and mem- 
bers of the Church ; they are to be treated as such. 
Moreover, love — the life-spring of the Church — will 
not be limited either in its range or in its objects. Its 
realized expression in the Church necessitates its going 
forth to all mankind. 'VAs ye have opportunity do 
good unto all men, and especially unto them that are 
of the household of faith '' is as broad in its extent as 
it is natural and human in its recognition of primary 
and special obligations. Still less can love, as the 
supreme principle of life, tolerate two incompatible 
standards of conduct, one towards those that are 
within the Church and another towards those that are 
without, or, perhaps, one towards members of the 
Church in their spiritual and another towards them 
in their economic interests and relations. Love finds 
such dichotomies both suicidal and hypocritical. 
Moreover, if love would sincerely prevail for all the 
ends of life within the Church, its victory must also 
be won in all the realms that lie outside. For the 
Church, however separate it may seek to be from the 
concerns of ordinary life, is so inextricably bound up 
with them, that either the Church must seek spiritually 
to prevail over them or they will prevail over and 
within the Church. Hence the isolation of the Church 
from the social problem conceived as spiritual cannot 
be maintained for the two reasons that such isolation 
would negative the universal mission of the Gospel 
and also that it would make any effort to live out 


the life of Christ within the borders of the Church 
itself absolutely hopeless. When any body of ear- 
nest Christians have actually withdrawn from the 
world, they have always organized for themselves an 
ideal state. Such withdrawal being possible only 
temporarily and on the narrowest scale, it becomes 
vital that the whole Church, cultivating the common 
life and in alliance with all men of good-will, should 
seek to transform the whole State. 

But more deepseated difficulties must be con- 
sidered. Some that were urged in bygone days are 
rapidly losing their significance at the present time. 
For example, it used to be contended that the mission 
of Christ, and therefore of His Church, was to save 
individual souls, and that, therefore, social and ma- 
terial concerns were beyond the sphere of the directly 
Christian commission. For most thoughtful persons 
this objection has broken down at both points. To 
begin with the importance of the personal experience 
of salvation being granted, it is impossible to deal 
with an abstract individual, cut off from all social rela- 
tionships. Such an individual does not and cannot 
exist. Hence the Gospel is addressed to persons who 
can only realize their personality in and through social 
relationships. Salvation must, therefore, include the 
transformation of those personal relationships and all 
that springs from them. In the next place neither the 
religious nor the psychological interpretation of indi- 
viduality will permit complete separation qf soul and 
body, of powers directed to the spiritual and those 
directed to the physical ends of life. Not only does 
the personality unite both, but it unites them not by 
an external, but by a vital and organic bond. Hence 
as the man is one the work of salvation cannot ignore 
any part or need of his complex nature. All this is 


securing growing recognition by the Christian Church 
at the present day. 

The truth of these reasons for Christian action to 
solve the social problem, however, has not yet pro- 
duced universal conviction. It is urged that the Chris- 
tian religion belongs to a transcendent order of things. 
It consists in the conveyance of eternal life to be- 
lievers in Christ. Its source, goal and " conversa- 
tion " are in heaven. Hence Christ did not concern 
Himself with political, economic and social concerns, 
and, if He ministered physical healing, it was by 
spiritual influences and for spiritual ends. His ex- 
ample must, of needs, limit our conduct, not only be- 
cause of His authority, but because any departure 
from His methods involves spiritual disaster. It leads 
those who suffer from earthly disadvantages unduly to 
magnify them, instead of seeking to live the transcen- 
dent life, in which evil is itself transmuted into a means 
of good. Further, it materializes the aims and spirit 
of the Church and thereby disables it from receiving 
the highest spiritual influences and attaining the high- 
est spiritual ends. It is, furthermore, an entire mistake 
to suppose that material security and prosperity have 
anything to do with the Kingdom of God. It is con- 
ceivable that all our social problems might be success- 
fully solved, without the Kingdom of God being appre- 
ciably advanced. At the best, its work of evangelizing 
men would have to be done anew for every successive 
generation, no matter what might be their social con- 
dition. Moreover, legislation means, in the last re- 
sort, the prevalence of strength. In our more civilized 
days, legislation by majorities has taken the place of 
civil war. But it partakes, notwithstanding, of the 
nature of warfare. Hence the Church is debarred from 
interfering with the course of legislation, since our 


Lord has said, " My kingdom is not of this world/' 
To all this must be added the many practical dangers 
of internal strife and loss of influence with those who 
are opposed to particular reforms, which must ensue 
whenever the Church departs from an attitude of strict • 
neutrality in all social concerns that ultimately in- 
volve political relations. Hence, as the result of all 
these considerations, it is argued that the social influ- 
ence of the Christian Church can only be incidental 
and indirect, or, at the utmost, limited to the inculca- 
tion of spiritual principles, upon which social reform 
may and ultimately will be based. 

It is necessary to consider the case thus presented, 
although limits of space prevent any exhaustive treat- 
ment of it. Let it be granted, at once, that the Chris- 
tian religion is spiritual and transcendent. Yet what 
is spiritual transcendence, whether that of God over 
the universe, that of Christ over humanity, or that of 
the Spirit over the individual heart ? It implies 
sovereign immanence. A transcendent God who was 
not also immanent would cease to be transcendent 
in any relevant sense of the term, and vice versa. 
And the same is true of the other relations just instanced. 
To say that Christianity is a spiritual life, realized in 
and through Divine relationships, does indeed imply 
that it cannot be defined in any terms of secular life, 
be they political, economic, or social. It is more than 
and other than all these whether separately or in com- 
bination. In the same way, it cannot be defined in 
terms of intellect, feeling or will. Yet this is not to 
say that it either can or seeks to exist apart from all 
these interests and powers. The very fact that it 
transcends all these gives to it, not only the power 
but the function to subordinate, direct and inspire 
them all. In the living complex of human life re- 

c.c. D 


ligion must fulfil its transforming and uplifting office 
in the most vital and thorough-going way, or the 
elements it has failed to control will rise up to corrupt 
and degrade it. By this light we must understand 
both the example and the teaching of our Lord. With- 
out dwelling upon the primary objects or the limiting 
conditions of His historic ministry, it will suffice to 
call attention to His declaration that He came " to 
fulfil '* the law and the prophets. Fulfilment always 
transcends preparation in every realm of life. Thus 
our Lord's fulfilment is not only disentangled from 
the limitations of time and place which affected both 
the law and the prophets, but thereby manifests a 
new order of truth and life. Yet the fulfilment must 
be in vital, and not merely external relations to the 
preparation. It must fulfil a promise and expectation 
latent and growing in the preparation. Both the 
Law and the prophets, in different ways and in differ- 
ing degrees of perfection, seek expression for the 
spiritual in the social. In particular, the prophets 
cannot conceive of any true religion which does not 
issue in a state ideally moral and humane. The 
fact that such a state is the creation and gift of God, 
does not remove it from the aspiration and effort of 
men. Nay, it imposes upon men the duty of seeking 
to create it. Our Lord's fulfilment, as all His teach- 
ing shows, lay in its supreme revelation of the meaning, 
power and obligation of Love — to God and man. 
Love is a spiritual principle. It can never be identi- 
fied with any particular practical endeavour, or with 
any external arrangements. Yet it must needs strive 
to express itself in such endeavours, and to create for 
itself the state of things in which it can display all its 
potency. Hence, though the universality and spirit- 
uaUty of our Lord's example were in themselves suffi- 


cient to prevent His limiting His everlasting Gospel 
by temporal efforts, He gave final manifestation 
and inspiration to principles, which can only survive 
by expressing themselves throughout the whole range 
of human life and by the use of all the instruments 
at their disposal. Of course, all attempts thus to 
assert the meaning and to gain the results of the supreme 
principle of Love must be governed by the Spirit of 
Christ. The material is a Christian concern, not in 
its abstract secularity, but in so far as it enters into 
and affects for evil or for good, as it assuredly does, 
the spiritual life of love. Its place must neither be 
exaggerated nor ignored. Above all, it must be seen 
that man cannot touch, appropriate and shape the 
material for his own ends without his very use of it 
reacting upon him, to his spiritual advantage or injury. 
When a spiritual being handles '' things,'' they in- 
evitably become more than things : they become 
forces or objects of a spiritual activity, which will be 
exalted or debased according to its use or abuse of 
them. No doubt the legal, customary, or material 
result of social reform, viewed in itself, is secular and 
cannot for a moment be confounded with the Kingdom 
of God. But the attempt to secure such results may 
and should be spiritual, in both motive and method. 
Indeed it may impose the greatest strain upon spiritual 
virtues, often severer than what is regarded as more 
spiritual work. For example, we have known many 
whose advancement in Christian love is sufficient to 
make them ardently desire the '' salvation of souls,*' 
who are extremely stingy in the matter of subscriptions 
towards beneficent ends, or keenly resent any call 
to contribute through taxes and rates to social reforms 
which they admit to be beneficial or even necessary. 
Yet though the outward result of social reform be 


not spiritual, that result, when unified with the spiritual 
forces which have brought it about and continue to 
use it for their own vital ends, is inextricably bound 
up with the coming of the Kingdom of God. Other- 
wise the Apocalyptic visions, both of the Old Testa- 
ment and the New, must be dismissed as the childish 
fancies of an unspiritual imagination. 

So far as the legislative application of spiritual 
principles is concerned it may be admitted that some- 
thing in the nature of warfare may enter into the case. 
Yet an objection, which would make it impossible 
for the Christian Church, as such, to bring pressure 
to bear for the closing of the sweater's den and the 
gambling hell, to demand the suppression of the Indian 
opium traffic, or the rescue of the enslaved Congo 
races, and which would withdraw the missionary 
societies from all concern in the humane progress of 
India were the Government to nationalize their schools 
and hospitals, surely needs some careful scrutiny. 
It might as truly be said that the exercise of authority 
by a Christian father over a rebelhous child, or of 
discipline by a Christian schoolmaster over a refractory 
scholar, are of the nature of warfare. It will be replied 
that such cases imply recognized authority on the 
one side, and tutelage on the other. Evil has un- 
doubtedly resulted whenever the Christian Church 
has claimed that exactly these relations exist between 
itself and mankind. Yet such examples show that 
the exercise of pressure, as well as of influence, may 
often be justified on the highest grounds. And it is 
preposterous to contend that the one influence, which 
on occasion can counteract the selfishness of men, 
and appeal to their better nature against their worse, 
should refrain from exercising this influence at any 
crisis when the interests of humanity are at stake. 


That would be to allow the Devil's forces to occupy 
the field. The objects and duty of the Church as a 
whole can never be narrower and poorer than those of 
its individual members, else it would cease to guide and 
inspire their life. Nor can fidelity to a principle be 
reconciled with the neglect of practical measures for 
carrying it out. But if the Church enter the field of 
social warfare, it must be on conditions which are 
laid down by its spiritual mission. To begin with, it 
must be when the general sense of its members recog- 
nizes a divinely-imposed obligation to do so. In the 
next place, it must be for truly cathoUc ends ; for ends, 
that is to say, that are recognized as necessary to 
fulfilling the second Commandment, " Thou shalt 
love thy neighbour as thyself." If these conditions 
are fulfilled, not only will the Church pursue no sec- 
tional object, but, even in case of controversy or 
struggle, its members will be satisfied that the attain- 
ment of a truly catholic end can in no wise really 
injure even those who for the time being oppose it. 
In this respect the action of the Church will arise 
from altogether different motives from those of or- 
dinary sectional or political warfare. Thus typically 
Christian action will, for the most part, be reconciling 
rather than controversial. Its appeal will be to the 
highest and most universal interests. In prosecuting 
these it will mediate rather than aggravate strife. It 
will enable spiritual and moral interests to make them- 
selves heard and felt above the clamour of interested 
factions. This view, if taken, is sufficient to turn 
aside the danger either of identifying the Christian 
Church with any particular political party, or of the 
creation of a so-called Christian party by the Church. 
Sound progress demands, just as human Umitations 
insure, the interaction of progressive and of critical 


minds. Each type has its own distinctive service 
to render, the office of the Church being to assist to 
get all problems, however regarded, treated in the 
light of the Kingdom of God. In all these situations, 
a truly spiritual Church wiU find the guidance of faith, 
and will act for ends that are never lower and less 
than those of humanity. That mistakes should be 
made, in social concerns as in others, is inevitable. 
Yet the Church need fear no warfare, so long as her 
sword is '' the Sword of the Spirit,'' and she takes the 
'' armour of righteousness on the right hand and on 
the left." 

Yet, although the Christian Church must from 
time to time pursue essential principles on to the field 
of controversial life, her main service is that of influen- 
tial witness to the ideals by which men and states 
must live. The supreme marks of a truly Christian 
and catholic spirit are sixfold. In the first place, 
there is the inwardness which responds to the pres- 
ence and power of God in Christ, thus enabling the 
fullness of spiritual life to be realized through faith. 
Such inwardness must, however, be saved from the 
snare of pietism by the universality of its aim, in corre- 
spondence with the world-purpose of Christ. Such 
spiritual universalism must, above all, be true to the 
redemptive meaning and purpose of the Gospel. It 
must not be ashamed of the Cross of Christ, or of any- 
thing that the Cross reveals or implies. Only through 
the forgiveness of sins and divinely-wrought regenera- 
tion can men enter the Kingdom of God. Yet the 
presentation of redemption must not be so rigid as to 
destroy the comprehensiveness of Christ. The res- 
toration, fulfilment and satisfaction of human nature 
is the end of redemption. If we must " die to live," 
the life that is reached through this death enriches all 


human powers and touches them to finer issues. Com- 
prehensive sympathy is therefore one of the marks of the 
Christian spirit. With it goes the progressive temper, 
which is ceaselessly original and creative. True Chris- 
tianity is ever making and remaking the world in 
accordance with the growing vision of the Divine ideal. 
Hence, finally, it becomes impossible to rely simply 
on past precedents or on external regulations. The 
continuity of Christian life is shown in its power to 
exhibit identity in and through difference ; so to 
adjust itself to new conditions that the immanent 
sovereignty of its life is displayed. Its inmost un- 
changeableness is revealed by its free response to 
the changing conditions of secular progress. It is hard 
to combine in living unity and due proportion, in- 
wardness, universality, redemptive power, broad 
comprehension, progressive sympathy, and consistent 
self-adjustment. The secret can only be conveyed 
by fellowship with Christ Himself, and by the baptism 
of that holy love which manifests itself naturally 
by unifying all these elements in a consistent temper 
that answers both to the truth of God and to the 
realities of life. 

In proportion as this temper prevails its manifest- 
ation will have decisive results upon the Modern Social 
Problem. Spiritual inwardness will destroy the self- 
ishness and greed of practical materialism. A truly 
universal aim will set free from subservience to any 
class or to sectional interests of any kind. Fidelity 
to the redemptive message of the Gospel will arouse 
the powers in human nature, without which no social 
reform can gain its full effect. Comprehensiveness 
of spirit, progressive sympathy, and self-adjusting 
power will enable the Church to rise above narrowness 
and adherence to the external precedents of the past, 


so as to take a proper share in the reconstruction of 
society on more spiritual and social lines. The first 
consequence of all this will be that in teaching and in 
life the Christian Church will, if faithful, express 
and enforce the principles of universal brotherhood. 
While practical endeavours to give effect to these 
principles are being made by the State, the Church 
will bring to bear the inspiration of faith in the world- 
embracing and world-transforming purpose of Divine 
iQve, will call men to brotlierly co-operation for the 
rescue of, the weak and helpless, andwill demand the 
self-discipline which^jadly accepts the sacrifices that 
are necessary tojhis ead. The primaf y call which the 
modern social problem makes upon the Christian 
Church as a whole, is for just this prophetic witness, in 
word and deed, by authoritative guidance and indi- 
vidual conduct, to the claims of human brotherhood as 
paramount, and as fixing the standard and goal for 
all effort in every sphere of life. 

It is not necessary to speak in detail of the practical 
service which the Churches should render outside the 
field of public life. /If the social problem cannot be 
solved on its economic and civic side without great 
spiritual inspiration and leadership, it is equally true 
that its solution will need unstinted personal and 
voluntary service rendered by the Churches them- 
selves./ Their most competent members should accept 
the burdens of public office./ Their philanthropic 
societies should furnish greater assistance to civic ad- 
ministration, and should watch with ceaseless vigilance 
the course of public administration./ The charitable 
endeavour of the churches should be keenly scrutin- 
ized to make sure that they are not retarding instead 
of advancing social reform./ Churches must free 
themselves from being in their charitable endeavours 


either the tools of interested parties or the instru- 
ments of a thoughtless and impulsive sympathy./ 
Above all, the Churches must cultivate a genius of 
personal friendship, which will bring them into such 
relations with the poor, and especially with the young, 
as will make the good that is within reach seem desir- 
able and attainable. Such friendship in club and 
institute, in guild and reading circle, may easily prove 
the turning-point in many lives, and may effectively 
raise the standard of life, without which all work done 
for others will be in vain. If such a ministry is to be 
exercised the Churches must establish the centre of 
their influence among the poor. The spiritual well- 
being of the rich will be served not less, but more, 
successfully if the governing ideal be to follow Christ 
in close contact with and far-reaching toil for and with 
the poor. The state of many Churches in the poorest 
populations is a disgrace to the common Christianity, 
showing a lack of energy, sympathy, and self-sacrifice 
on the part of the weU-to-do, which reveals that, for 
many, the Christian religion is but a source of senti- 
mental consolation or a conventional formality and 
not the enthusiasm of devotion to God and man./ 
All these practical consequences, and more, will 
result in ever-extending range and fullness from the 
deepening and spread of social sympathy. / It is for 
the Churches so to extend their conceptions of Chris- 
tian duty that Isaiah, if he could return to earth, would 
feel at home in them./ What is needed is the constrain- 
ing conviction that the social problem, as it exists 
to-day is, from every point of view, intolerable and 
disgraceful, that it is remediable, and that it is for 
Christianity to manifest the glory of its redemptive 
mission by freely giving the inspiration and 
sacrifice by which the remedy can be applied. /The 


unspiritual and the anti-social are one. /The cure for 
both is in the proclamation and application of the 
two great Commandments, " Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and 
with all thy mind and with all thy strength'* and 
" Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.'*^ 


Social Ideals in the Old Testament 

By Rev. W. H. BENNETT, M.A., Litt.D., D.D., Profes- 
sor OF Old Testament Language and Literature, 
New College and Hackney College, London. 


Little Distinction in Israel between Church and State. Social and Religious 
Ideals Inseparable. Chief Bond between Israelites Loyalty to Yahweh . 
Growth of Social Ideal may be traced through Five Stages. 

I. Nomad Period. Before the Conquest of Canaan Social Conditions simple 

and austere. Mutual Loyalty within the Tribe. 

II. Period before the 'Canonical Prophets, from the Conquest to the beginning 

of the eighth century b.c. Change from Nomad to Settled Agricultural 
Life. New Feature of Social Life, the Bond between the Family and the 
Land. Large Class of Farmers owning the Land they tilled. Develop- 
ment of Pohtical Organization. Rise in Standard of Living. 

III. Law and Prophecy in the Eighth Century B.C. Growth of Luxury. Forma- 

tion of Numerous Large States. Farmers driven from the Soil, become 
Landless Paupers. Protests of the Prophets. Attempts to secure 
Healthy Conditions by affirming Primitive Customs in Legal Codes. 

IV. Law and Prophecy in the last period of the Monarchy and during the Exile. 

Previous Evils Continue. Protests from Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Re- 
newed Attempts at Reform through Social Ordinances in Legal Codes. 
Deuteronomy, etc. Social Development checked by Invasion and 

V. Period after the Exile. Recrudescence of Former Evils. Attempts at Reform 

byNehemiah and the Prophets. Social Ideal in Priestly Code, Liberty 
for all Israelites, and for each Family an Independent Means of Liveli- 
hood through the Ownership of Land. 

VI. Review. Difference of Social Conditions necessitates Care in applying 

O. T. Principles to our Times. Prophets would have condemned Chris- 
tendom for its failure to develop a Righteous Social System. O.T. seeks 
Energy for Reform in Love to God and one's Neighbour. Social Reform 
to-day hindered by Mutual Antagonism of the Churches. For Social 
Reform we need Alliance of Social and Religious Enthusiasm and Co- 
operation of the Churches. Failure to secure Social Righteousness 
means the Ruin of Christian CiviHzation. Our hope is in the Spirit 
of Christ. 


Social Ideals in the Old Testament 

In Israel, as in the ancient world generally, society 
was essentially religious ; the ritual of public worship 
and private devotion were included amongst social 
duties ; and what we should call secular law and 
custom were enforced by religious sanctions as being 
part of Revelation. The good citizen would sacrifice 
and pay tithes and observe the Sabbath ; and on the 
other hand the regulations as to the punishment of 
criminals or the conduct of war had been made known 
by God to priests, prophets and lawgivers. But in 
writing to-day of a Social Ideal we shall be chiefly 
occupied with secular and ethical subjects ; we shall 
not attempt to determine the belief or the forms of 
worship of the ideal society ; nor shall we attempt — 
at any rate in this particular essay — to lay down 
an exact dogma as to the relation of social principles 
to religious sanctions. Nevertheless, it is impossible, 
especially in dealing with the Old Testament, to 
ignore altogether the place and influence of religion 
in society ; and the plan of this volume includes the 
consideration of the attitude of the Church to social 
questions. In Israel, however, the modern distinc- 
tion between Church and State had not arisen ; Israel* 



as a whole and in all its individuals, was a religious, 
just as much as a political, unity. In practice there 
were many beginnings of what we should call a diverg- 
ence of Church and State, but these were regarded 
as failures to maintain the National Ideal, a view 
upheld by the law and the prophets. It was taken for 
granted that the religious organs of the community — 
king, priests and prophets — would determine the con- 
ditions of social life. 

The inspired leaders of Israel always looked for- 
ward to the coming of the Kingdom of God ; they 
expected that the frail and sinful Israel of their experi- 
ence would be transformed by the grace of God into 
an ideal society. They had glowing visions of the 
future glory of the righteous nation ; and they did 
their best by teaching, law-giving and administration 
to train the Israelites to be worthy citizens of the 
Kingdom. Hence the Old Testament is largely occu- 
pied with the setting forth of a Social Ideal, of which 
we must attempt some slight sketch in the following 

It will be convenient for our purpose to divide 
the history of Israel into five periods : (i) The No- 
madic Period, from the rise of the Israelite people till 
the Settlement in Canaan ; (ii) The period before 
the Canonical Prophets, from the Settlement to about 
the beginning of the eighth century B.C. ; (iii) The 
Later Monarchy, with special reference to the prophets 
of the eighth century and the earlier laws ; (iv) The 
close of the Monarchy and the Exile, with special 
reference to Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Deuteronomy ; 
(v) The Post-exilic Period, with special reference to 
the Priestly Legislation and the Wisdom Literature. 


i. The Nomad Period. 

Before the Conquest of Canaan, Israel was a 
confederation of nomad tribes, and until the Fall of 
Jerusalem, at any rate, part of the population in the 
border lands to the south and east continued to lead 
a nomad life. The Israelites always had much to 
do in the way of trade and war with the roving Bedouin 
of the surrounding deserts. It was natural therefore 
that their religious and social life should be profoundly 
influenced throughout by conditions under which 
it first arose, and with which it was always in 
close contact. Israel brought lofty ideals from the 
desert, and when the nation had fallen upon evil 
times, many looked back to these early days as to a 
Golden Age when life was simple, pure and noble, 
and men were loyal to their kinsfolk and their God.^ 
In some matters the Israelites always thought and 
spoke in terms of the nomad life ; an army dispersed 
to its homes to the cry of '* To your tents, O Israel ! " 
and the priestly writers after the Fall of the Monarchy 
drew up their code of laws in terms of the wilderness, 
the camp and the Tabernacle, doubtless following 
established precedent. 

The social conditions of nomad life are simple 
and severe. A Bedouin tribe wandering with its 
flocks and herds from pasture to pasture cannot 
obtain many luxuries ; it is inured to hardship, and 
trained in the primitive virtues of courage and patriot- 
ism. Such a society is virtually a large family, and 
can only exist by the mutual loyalty and devotion 
of the clansmen. Their dependence on one another 

^ E.g., Jeremiah ii. 1-3. A less favourable view of this period 
is also taken in the Old Testament; and is the view with which 
most of us are more familiar. 


in the face of danger and difficulty checked alike 
insubordination and tyranny. 

The virtues of the nomad are chiefly to be looked 
for in his dealings with his fellow-tribesmen; as far 
as others are concerned, it may be said of him, as of 
his prototype Ishmael, that " his hand is against 
every man, and every man*s hand is against him.'* 
Yet this is not wholly true of his attitude to strangers ; 
Arab hospitality is proverbial, and has its roots in a 
humane sense of brotherhood. For in the life of the 
desert changes of fortune are sudden, violent and 
frequent ; witness the example of Job. Thus the 
wanderer, helpless, unprotected and destitute, is wel- 
comed, partly because his host may soon be in like 
extremity himself. Similarly the ordinary traveller 
receives entertainment, which the sheikhs look for 
themselves when their affairs take them from the 
encampments of their own tribes. But it is signifi- 
cant that the name of the guest may not be asked, 
lest there should prove to be a blood-feud between 
his tribe and his entertainers. 

Again, when tribes are allied because they count 
kinship, or on any other ground, there is not only 
the sense of duty to fellow-tribesmen, but that of 
obligation to allies, and the community has its res- 
ponsibilities as well as the individual. 

As the Israelites of our first period formed a loosely 
confederated group of Bedouin clans or tribes, they 
handed down to later generations traditions of a 
simple life and of mutual loyalty and helpfulness 
amongst fellow-citizens. Moreover the chief bond 
which held the tribes together was their common 
devotion to Yahweh, the God of Israel. 


ii. The Period before the Canonical Prophets. 

The Conquest of Canaan brought about a com- 
plete change in the social conditions of most of the 
Israelite clans. From a group of nomad tribes they 
became in time a nation of what we should call yeoman 
farmers and peasant proprietors ; or in other words 
they lived by agriculture, and the land was owned 
by those who cultivated it ; the words '' landlord," 
'' tenant/' and '' rent '' are unknown to the Old 
Testament. The conquest involved a change from a 
wandering life in tents to a settled life in houses ; 
and also what we should call a rise in the standard of 
living ; the possibilities in the way of comfort and 
luxury were increased, and in such matters men come 
to feel that they want all they can get. 

We shall only deal briefly with the social conditions 
of this period because we shall have to refer to them 
again when we consider the ideals of the early prophets 
and lawgivers ; but we must spend a few words on 
the leading points just referred to. 

First as to social organization : Israel, as we have 
seen, entered Palestine as a loosely connected group 
of clans or large families ; and this system was the 
starting point for the new order. For the most part 
each clan ^ settled together, in the same district, and 
maintained for a while the old family feeling. But 
family or clan feeling gradually degenerated to mere 
local feeling, and the interests of neighbouring farmers 
are by no means so identical as those of members of 

^ We use " clan " as an elastic word ; it may be loosely under- 
stood to mean a subdivision of the " tribe," as we use that word 
in the phrase " The Twelve Tribes." The " clan," the Hebrew 
mishpdhd, often translated " family," might vary from a score tO; 
a thousand or more " families," as we understand the word. 
e.g. ^, 


the same nomad tribe. Moreover in most districts 
the IsraeUtes mingled with the native population, 
and gradually the two amalgamated into a more or 
less hybrid race. The conquering nomads found 
the land thickly strewn with fortified places ; and as 
they were involved for centuries in a struggle for 
existence with their neighbours, they very largely 
settled in these walled towns and villages, and also 
added new ones to their number. Thus the district, 
the village, or the town took the place of the clan, 
and there was a beginning of city-life. 

Instead of the clan, as in the desert, the family 
became the social unit ; but it was the family in a 
larger sense than we commonly give to the word ; 
it was not merely a married couple and their children ; 
but would often include a man, his mother, his wives, 
his children, sometimes also his sons* wives and their 
children, his slaves and others living under his pro- 
tection. i While a man's mother lived she would be 
the head of the harem or women's apartments. 

These changes distributed, so to speak, the old 
family feeling on a large scale, the clan feeling. The 
larger share went to the smaller family just described ; 
and, as elsewhere in antiquity, family ties, the sense 
of mutual affection, confidence, duty and respon- 
sibility remained one of the strongest social forces. 
The recognition of clan kinship persisted in some 
measure, at any rate, for a time, but was largely 
replaced by neighbourliness towards fellow-towns- 
men and those living in the same district, citizenship 
on the smaller scale. There was also a gradual growth 
of patriotism, the sense of membership of the nation, 

^ The ger or resident alien, perhaps originally also in some cases 
a member of another Israelite clan, is constantly referred to as a 
m^niber of the household. 


Israel ; but as political union was not fully accomplished 
in this period, the chief bond between Israelites as 
Israelites remained that of religion, loyalty to Yahweh, 
the God of Israel. 

By the settlement in Canaan a new element was 
added to the family, namely its land, the homestead 
and the farm. For the most part a free Israelite family 
is thought of as holding land ; for the farm or estate 
was not the absolute property of the occupant for 
the time being ; he could not dispose of all rights in 
it. The land came to be considered a sacred and 
inalienable gift of God. Thus when Ahab wished to 
buy Naboth's vineyard, Naboth refused with the 
words, '* Yahweh forbid that I should give thee the 
inheritance of my fathers " ; and Jezebel could only 
get the vineyard for her husband by having Naboth 
put to death on a criminal charge. 

A similar bond existed between the tribe or clan 
and the district which it occupied, and men soon 
came to feel that there was an organic union between 
the Holy Land, the Chosen People, and their God. 

Our information is too scanty to enable us to 
construct a complete picture of Israelite society in 
this period. But amongst the handful of men and 
women who make brief appearances on the stage of 
history, we discern a few wealthy nobles like Barzillai, 
Nabal and Shimei. We also observe well-to-do 
families, whose members take their share in the work 
of the farm ; Saul goes to look for his father's asses, 
David feeds his father's flock. Probably such fami- 
lies were the largest class in the Israel of our period, 
comfortable, middle-class folk, as we should say. 
Extreme poverty would be almost unknown; even 
slavery was comparatively mild. 

There was in the earher part of this period a mini- 


mum of government, law, and police. Later writers 
mark the contrast between their own times and the 
period of the Judges, '* In those days there was no 
king in Israel ; every man did that which was right 
in his own eyes.*' ^ The chief secular authorities 
were the local sheikhs and the leaders specially ap- 
pointed for war. But these were reinforced and 
supplemented by religious custom and priestly oracles. 
For many years after the Conquest the Israelites 
were exposed to constant attacks from the yet unsub- 
dued Canaanites, from the nomads of the surrounding 
deserts, and from the Philistines and other enemies ; 
there were no properly organized national military 
forces, so that there was little assurance for life, liberty 
or property. The establishment of the monarchy 
gave greater security against external enemies, but 
involved a certain amount of taxation, partly in the 
form of the corvee or forced labour on public works. 
Thus Solomon's exactions of labour for the Temple, 
and his other buildings, the '* grievous yoke '' which 
he laid upon his people,^ were one cause of the 
Secession of the Ten Tribes. Internally the increase 
in the power and activity of the government no doubt 
did something to protect the weak against the strong, 
though we do not read of any such beneficence ; but 
probably the machinery of the State was more widely 
used to enable nobles and officials to aggrandise 
themselves at the expense of the small farmers. Naboth, 
no doubt, had fellow victims ; and lesser men, accord- 
ing to their power and opportunity, imitated'Ahab and 

iii. Law and Prophecy in the Eighth Century B.C. 
After a while things mended a little, and the 
1 Judges xxi. 25. . » i Kings xii. 4. 


Israelites were less harried by raids and invasions. 
For long periods there was peace between Israel and 
Judah, and probably the severe struggle in which 
several successive kings of Israel were engaged with 
the Syrians of Damascus was not without advantages 
for Judah. But in the course of the ninth century 
B.C. the renewed activity of Assyria in the lands be- 
tween the Euphrates and the Mediterranean crippled 
Damascus, and Israel and Judah alike were left with- 
out any formidable enemies in their immediate neigh- 
bourhood, and flourished accordingly. More especially 
Israel under Jeroboam II, B.C. 783-743, attained 
to something like the splendour and power of the 
reign of Solomon. 

At the best the modern capitalist would have 
regarded Israel as a doubtful sphere for the exercise 
of his energies ; any ventures there would have been 
felt to be of a highly speculative nature, from which 
a correspondingly liberal profit would be expected 
in case of success. Nevertheless there was a con- 
siderable measure of material progress ; it is won- 
derful how great an advance in civilization may result 
from even a modicum of continuous settled order. 
This material progress involved many social changes, 
of which the most important was the break-up of the 
old land system. A strong government meant heavy 
taxation, and the requisitioning of the labour of the 
poorer farmers and their cattle for public works in 
time of peace, and for military service in time of war. 
These burdens, combined with bad seasons, and losses 
suffered from foreign enemies, plunged the farmers 
into debt, which finally resulted in the transfer of 
their land to wealthy creditors and sometimes in the 
enslavement of the debtor and his family.^ In other 

^ 2 Kings iv. i. The statements in the previous sentences are 


ways also, legitimate and illegitimate, the land came 
to be largely held in great estates ; the sacred bond 
between the family and the land was broken ; and 
there arose a landless class, which tended to sink into 
slavery, pauperism, or crime. At the same time, 
however, many of the dispossessed farmers would betake 
themselves to the towns, and some might become 
artisans. On the other hand the wealthy families 
were often given up to callous, self-indulgent luxury. 
Of course a large measure of family feeling and patriot- 
ism survived, but their influence was weakened by 
mutual distrust and dislike of one class towards 

In the latter half of the eighth century B.C. a deter- 
mined attempt to check the growth of social corruption 
was made by Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah and those 
associated with them. About the same time, per- 
haps somewhat earlier, another attempt to promote 
social well-being was made by publishing the brief 
codes of laws included in the earlier documents of the 
Pentateuch, notably the Book of the Covenant?- The 
legislation and the prophetic teaching both sought the 
same ends, nor was either of them revolutionary. 
Rather both of them sought to maintain or to restore 
the ancient social ideals of Israel — doubtless with 
modifications and improvements suited to altered 
circumstances. We will consider, therefore, what 
contributions towards a social ideal are made by the 
early laws and by the prophets of the eighth century. 

Let us turn first to the Laws. These assume the 
ordinary social conditions of ancient times, rich and 

partly theoretical deductions from the known facts ; but cf. Neh. v., 
which will be dealt with later on. 

^ Exodus XX. 22-xxiii. 33. Some parts, however, of these 
chapters may be later than the time with which we are now deaUng. 


poor, freemen and slaves ; and they do not attempt 
to change the social system. In some matters the 
harsh customs of primitive times are endorsed ; e.g. 
punishment by mutilation, " eye for eye, tooth for 
tooth.** ^ If a man beats his male or female slave to 
death, he is not to be punished, unless the victim 
actually dies under his hand, '' for he is his money.** * 
But efforts are made to secure an impartial adminis- 
tration of justice,^ to alleviate the lot of slaves, and to 
render some help to the poor. 

Thus a Hebrew was not to be compelled to remain 
in slavery for more than six years * ; if a slave died 
under the rod, his master was to be punished ; 2 and 
if an owner deprived his slave of an eye or a tooth, 
the sufferer was to be emancipated. Money is to be 
lent to the poor gratis, the taking of interest being 
forbidden ; and a garment received as a pledge is 
not to be kept overnight.^ 

The code contained in the Book of the Covenant. 
short and incomplete as it is, worthily upholds the 
great Semitic principles of social justice formulated 
by the Babylonian king Hammurabi hundreds of 
years before, and maintains the kindred tribal ideal 
of mutual helpfulness, service and loyalty. The 
latter finds striking expression in the exhortation, 
** If thou meet thine enemy* s ox or his ass going 
astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him. If 
thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under 
his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou 
shalt surely help with him.** « 

^ Exodus xxi. 24. 

* Exodus xxi, 20, 21. ' Exodus xxii. 21-24, xxiii. 6-9. 

* Exodus xxi. 2. 5 Exodus xxii. 25-27. 

* Exodus xxiii. 4, 5. By the ** enemy " and " him that hateth 
thee " we must understand fellow-Israelites. 


In the same spirit the prophets utter their inspired 
protests against the growing tendency by which the 
resources of the community were made to serve chiefly 
the pride and luxury of wealthy nobles. Isaiah and 
his contemporaries denounce in no measured terms 
the way in which the machinery of government, 
official status, the administration of so-called justice, 
were used to enable the authorities to rob and ill- 
treat their fellow-countrymen. Thus — '' Seek justice, 
relieve the oppressed, vindicate the rights of the 
fatherless, plead for the widow.'' i And again,** Yah- 
weh will enter into judgment with the elders and 
princes of his people : It is ye that have eaten up the 
vineyard ; the spoil of the poor is in your houses : 
what mean ye that ye crush my people, and grind 
the face of the poor ? This is the Oracle ^ of the 
Lord, Yahweh Sebaoth,*' ^ and again 

Woe unto those who set up unjust decrees, 

And the scribes who busily write oppression 

To turn aside the helpless from judgment, 

And to despoil the wretched of my people of their rights 

That widows may be their prey, 

And that orphans may be their plunder.* 

Amos sets in the forefront of the unpardonable 
sins of Israel the guilt incurred, ** because they have 
sold the innocent for silver, and the needy for a pair 
of shoes." ^ In Samaria ** they store up violence 
and robbery in their palaces.*' « So too Micah, ** Hear, 

1 Isaiah i. 17. 

* The Hebrew word ne'um, EV " saith," is an emphatic epithet, 
asserting that the preceding is an inspired message from God. 

' Isaiah iii. 14, 15. 

* Isaiah x. i, 2, the translation is Cheyne's in the Polychrome 

^ Amos ii. 6. ® Amos iii. 10, cf. iv. i, v. 11 f., viii. 5 f. 


I pray you, ye heads of Jacob, and rulers of the house 
of Israel : is it not for you to know judgment ? You, 
who hate the good and love the evil ; who pluck off 
their skin from them, and their flesh from off their 
bones ; who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay 
their skin from off them, and break their bones ; yea, 
they chop them in pieces as for the pot, and as flesh 
within the caldron. . . . The heads thereof judge 
for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and 
the prophets thereof divine for money . . . therefore 
shall Zion be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall 
become heaps, and the Temple Hill as the high places 
of a forest/' ^ 

A similar protest is made against the ostentation, 
self-indulgence and debauchery of the nobles. They 
were rolling in wealth, and they are condemned because 
they were proud and haughty, ^ drunken,^ flaunting 
their vices before man and God, ''they declare their 
sin as Sodom, they hide it not.''* The great ladies, 
the leaders of fashion in Jerusalem, were tarred with 
the same brush as their husbands ; they were haughty 
and wanton. 5 The widespread social corruption pre- 
sented another feature which the prophets unhesitat- 
ingly condemned, the change in the land system, a 
change by which the free Israelite farmers were being 
driven off the land, in order that it might be held 
in large estates by a limited class. Thus Isaiah, 
*' Woe unto those who join house to house, who add 
field to field, till there is no more room, ajid ye are 
settled alone in the midst of the land." « The lan- 
guage suggests something corresponding to our great 

^ Micah iii. cf. Hosea xii. 6-8. 

2 Isaiah ii. 7-17. ® Isaiah v. 11, 22. 

* Isaiah iii. 9. *» Isaiah iii. 16. 

• Isaiah v. 8, Cheyne's translation, Polychrome Bible. 


mansions standing isolated in their square miles of 
park. Micah too denounces those who when they 
find themselves in power ** covet fields and seize 
them ; and houses and appropriate them ; they 
oppress a man and his house, even a man and his 
heritage *'. . . '* the women of my people ye cast 
from their pleasant houses/' ^ 

Moreover just as the prophetic literature asserts 
the rights of the actual cultivator as against the land- 
lord, so also it emphasizes the dignity of the farmer's 
calling. His skill and traditional lore have been 
given by divine inspiration ; they come from " the 
Lord of Hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and 
excellent in wisdom."* 

The prophetic protests against the social deca- 
dence of their age might be summed up in the pictures 
of an ideal State and an ideal Ruler ; the just King, 
divinely inspired to protect the poor and the oppressed.' 

It might of course be said that such ideals were 
commonplace, merely expressing an universal aspira- 
tion, and further that the movement against which 
the prophets protested was an inevitable social and 
economic development, a natural stage in the ad- 
vance of civilization ; and that the misery by which 
it was accompanied was only the suffering necessarily 
incidental to national progress. But the cardinal 
wickedness which the prophets condemn is really the 
iniquitous distribution of the gain and loss arising 
out of the social changes ; the profit mainly falls to a 
hmited class of nobles and officials, callous, self- 
seeking and self-indulgent; and deepens their moral 
deterioration ; while the loss is borne by the poor 
and helpless. At the same time a conmiunity of 

* Micah ii. 2, 9. 

* Isaiah xxviii. 29. * Isaiah xi. 1-9. 


independent freemen was passing into one of plutocrats 
and their dependents. 

Perhaps the prophets hoped for some good effect 
from the codes of law which attempted to protect 
the ancient order ; but, at any rate, they were clear 
that a nation which sacrificed the people to the pride 
and vice of its nobles could not endure ; it must 
perish by the judgment of God. 

iv. Law and Prophecy in the last period of the Monarchy 
and during the Exile. 
We cannot say how the social movement would 
have developed if Israel had remained prosperous 
and matters had been allowed to take their natural 
course without interference from outside. As it was, 
the material advance of both nations was cut short 
by foreign conquest, and the doom pronounced by 
the prophets was speedily fulfilled. During the life- 
time of Isaiah the Northern Kingdom was carried 
captive by the Assyrians ; and Judah underwent 
a similar fate at the hands of the Babylonian king 
Nebuchadnezzar about 140 years later. In the inter- 
val Judah suffered much, first from the Assyrians 
and then from the Babylonians. There were, indeed, 
brief periods of peace and comparative prosperity 
tempered by the necessity of paying a heavy tribute 
to the suzerain power. But the land was again and 
again harried by ruinous invasion, the country was 
laid waste, towns were sacked, Jerusalem itself was 
frequently besieged and more than once taken, and 
numbers of the jwpulation were carried away as 
slaves. Sennacherib, for instance, claims that in one 
campaign, tliat of B.C. 701, he captured forty-six of 
the towns of Judah and carried off 200,150 persons, 
*' small and great, male and female,'* besides innumer- 



able horses, mules, asses, camels and cattle. These 
misfortunes may have served, in some measure, as a 
moral and spiritual discipline, and the reforms of 
Josiah in B.C. 621 aimed amongst other things at an 
improvement of social conditions. But little was 
really effected, and we gather that the nobles who 
exploited national prosperity also contrived that 
the burden of disaster should chiefly fall on the weak 
and helpless. 

But if there was little or no amelioration in the 
actual condition of society, but rather the reverse, 
yet the inspired prophets and lawgivers still main- 
tained and developed their ideals of social right- 
eousness, and did their best to realize them as far as 
circumstances permitted. 

The most important laws of this period are found 
in the legal portion of Deuteronomy y chapters xii- 
xxvi, in the Law of Holiness, Leviticus xvii-xxvi,^ 
and in Ezekiel xl-xlviii. Speaking generally, these 
documents are a development from the laws of the 
previous period, as set out in the Book of the Covenant ; * 
and Deuteronomy and the Law of Holiness may be 
said roughly to be enlarged and emended editions 
of the earlier code. There is nothing revolutionary — 
'* the poor shall never cease out of the land " ^ — but a 
renewed attempt to secure the well-being of the people 
under the existing social system by maintaining all 
that was beneficent in ancient custom, by purging 
the system of its corruptions and by introducing 
desirable reforms. 

The provisions, both of Deuteronomy and of the 
Law of Holiness, attempt to deal with the pauperism, 
the driving of the farmers from the land, and the 

1 And some other passages. 
• 2 cf. p. 54. 3 Deut. XV. II. 


other social evils, which arose towards the close of 
the Monarchy. The permission given ^ to persons 
passing through a vineyard or a cornfield to eat their 
fill of fruit or grain, was probably in accordance with 
established custom ; and this may also have been 
the case with the injunctions that portions of the 
harvest, of the vintage and of the produce of the 
olive plantations should be left for the poor,^ and 
that the resident alien, the orphan and the widow 
should enjoy the hospitality of the well-to-do at the 
feasts. 3 Here and elsewhere, however, it is difiicult 
to say how much is ancient usage and how much is 

It is an indication of the changes in social condi- 
tions and of their vicious character that we meet with 
references to free labourers, " hirelings,'* which show 
that it was necessary to protect them not merely 
from sweating but from delay in the payment of 
their wages.* Another indication of the sympathy 
of this legislation with the poor is the provision that 
a runaway slave shall not be returned to his owner, 
but shall be allowed to settle wherever he chooses, 
and shall be well treated.^ The necessity for such 
regulations throws a lurid light on the character of 
the Israelite plutocracy, and helps to explain the 
dislike shown by the inspired writers to the accumu- 
lation of great wealth — a feeling illustrated by the 
fact that even the king is forbidden to possess many 
horses or wives, or much gold and silver.® A fortiori 
the nobles might be expected to content themselves 

^ Deut. xxiii. 24 f. 

2 Deut. xxiv. 19 f., Lev. xix. 9 f., xxiii. 22. 

^ Deut. xvi. 11-14. 

* Deut. xxiv. 14 f., Lev. xix. 13. ^ Deut. xxiii. 15. 

• Deut. xvii 16 L 


with moderate means. On the other hand, the pros- 
perous man is exhorted to help those who have fallen 
into poverty ; and if the ruined farmer is compelled 
to part with his liberty, he is not to be treated as a 
slave but as a free labourer.^ 

But the most remarkable of these attempts to 
avoid alike destitution and congested wealth, is the 
institution of a '' release ** at the end of every seven 
years.2 The cancelling of debts, when social con- 
ditions had become intolerable, was a familiar resource 
of revolutionary leaders in the Greek and Roman 
republics. Its great drawback was that it was an 
uncovenanted breach of legal contracts. The Deu- 
teronomic " release " was an attempt to obtain the 
relief afforded by such measures without their dis- 
advantages. The Book of the Covenant ^ had already 
directed that Israelite slaves should be released at 
the end of six years ; Deuteronomy * r epeats this 
ordinance, but further ordains that all debts shall 
be cancelled at the end of every seven years. But 
nevertheless the rich are not to hesitate to lend, but are 
to open their hands to their needy brethren. Thus 
relief would be given to the unfortunate on a clear 
legal understanding, without, the breach of faith in- 
volved in the revolutionary cancelling of debt amongst 
the Greeks and Romans. As we shall see in the next 
section, this *' release " as a permanent institution 
was impracticable ; but the proposal shows that the 
legislator cherished social ideals, according to which 
the prosperous man was bound, even at the cost of 
serious sacrifice, to see that his less fortunate neigh- 
bour was not left in a state of hopeless poverty. 

^ Lev. XXV. 35-39. ^ Deut. xv. i. ^ Page 54. 

* Deut. XV. The law of the Jubilee, Lev. xxv. 8 ff., is not part 
of the original Law of Holiness ; see next section. 


For the prophetical teaching of this period on 
social matters we have chiefly to rely on Jeremiah 
and Ezekiel. The Fall of Jerusalem and the Cap- 
tivity diverted men's minds from social questions 
to international poHtics, so that the great Prophet 
of the Exile, the author of Isaiah xl-lv, and others ^ 
have little that concerns our subject. 

As in the earlier prophets, we still find emphatic 
testimony to the principles of social righteousness, 
and indignant protests against their violation. Ezekiel, 
for instance, in describing the righteous man whom 
God approves, speaks of him as one who '* hath not 
wronged any, but hath restored to the debtor his 
pledge, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath 
covered the naked with a garment, hath not lent 
upon interest, neither hath taken any increase, hath 
executed true justice between man and man.** ^ This 
prophet also sets forth in striking figures the iniquity 
of social evils that are only too persistent. " The 
shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my sheep,'* » 
in other words, the governing classes, legislators, 
administrators, judges, did not use their authority 
to promote the welfare of the people, but rather made 
and administered laws and carried on the government 
with a view to aggrandizing themselves at the expense 
of the people. Another figure shows in a very clear 
light how able, wealthy, or powerful men not only 
clutched for themselves all that was most desirable 
in the way of comfort or luxury, but also by their 
wanton waste and callous greed spoiled what little 
they left for their less fortunate countrymen. '' Seem- 
eth it a small thing unto you to have fed upon the 
good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet 

^ Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Obadiah. 
* Ezek. xviii. 8. ^ Ezek, xxxiv. 8. 


the residue of your pasture ? Seemeth it a small 
thing unto you to have drunk of the clear waters, 
but ye must foul the residue with your feet ? And 
as for my sheep, they eat that which ye have trodden 
with your feet, and they drink that which ye have 
fouled with your feet/' ^ The social conditions 
were such that the rich purchased their luxury by 
depriving the poor of the opportunity of a decent and 
wholesome life. Ezekiel unsparingly condemns the 
system, and the well-to-do people who were content 
to profit by it.^ The prophets also condemn a par- 
ticular form of this evil, the corvee or forced labour, 
a specially iniquitous kind of taxation imposing heavy 
sacrifices on the poorest classes. Jeremiah denounces 
a certain king of Judah because he used '' his neigh- 
bour's service without wages, and gave him no hire/*^ 

Another burning social question, that of land 
tenure, has also left traces on the prophetical litera- 
ture of the period. The sanctity of the bond between 
an Israelite family and its land is illustrated by 
the fact that in the death-agony of Jerusalem, just 
before the final catastrophe, Jeremiah exercised his 
right of preemption in order to prevent a field going 
out of the family.* And on the other hand the reck- 
less disregard of these sacred ties by the kings and 
their courtiers is shown by EzekieFs ordinance ^ 
that the prince shall not expel the people from their 

An episode in the life of Jeremiah shows not only 
how the primitive social ideals were cherished by 
the prophets, but also how they were set at nought 

^ Ezek. xxxiv. 17 ff. 

2 Cf. Jer vii. 6, xxii. 3 ; Ezek. xxii. 7, 8, 29. 
^ ^ Jer. xxii. 13. * Jer. xxxii 6-15. 

5 Eziek. xlvi. 18.. 


by the nobles. The Book of the Covenant, as we 
have seen/ ordained that no Hebrew should be kept 
in slavery for more than six years ; but in Jeremiah's 
time this law had become a dead letter. When, 
however, the Chaldeans were pressing the siege of 
Jerusalem, and the city was at the last extremity, 
the King Zedekiah, the princes and the people entered 
into a covenant to emancipate their Hebrew slaves, 
and accordingly they were set free. By thus ful- 
filling the ancient law, they hoped to propitiate Yah- 
weh and avert the threatened calamity. Apparently, 
they were not disappointed ; for a time, at any rate, 
the siege was raised. When the danger seemed to 
be over, the King, princes and other slave-owners 
forthwith resumed possession of the slaves whom 
they had solemnly emancipated. According to Jere- 
miah this was the final, unforgiveable offence which 
rendered the Captivity inevitable.^ 

V. The Period after the Exile. 

The Return of the Jews from Babylon to Jerusa- 
lem was a new departure rather than a restoration 
of the old order. Henceforth, until the Old Testa- 
ment was practically complete,^ the Jewish community 
in and about Jerusalem was a subject portion of 
some heathen empire, Persian or Greek ; it had a 
measure of home-rule, sometimes more, sometimes 
less. Within a strictly limited sphere the Jews had 
social privileges, duties and opportunities ; but they 
were burdened by heavy taxation imposed by a 
foreign government, and more or less harassed by 

^ Page 55. * Jer. xxxiv. 8-22. 

^ As far as our subject is concerned. A few portions of the Old 
Testament were written after Jewish independence was restored 
by the Maccabees, but they have no importance for the social ideals 
of the Old Testament. 

C.C. F 


the oppressions and exactions of foreign officials. 
Thus the free social development of Israel was no 
longer possible, so that the imagination was at liberty 
to construct the picture of the ideal state without 
being hampered by the prosaic necessities of practical 
government. The New Israel was no longer to be 
looked for through the adaptation or transformation 
of an independent state in actual existence ; but the 
New Jerusalem was to come down from God out of 

The legislators of this period endorsed the older 
ideals by including the earlier codes in the complete 
Pentateuch ^ or Tor ah, which became the Bible ^ of 
the Jews. The newer laws ^ were conceived in the 
ancient spirit, except so far as their advocacy of 
social righteousness was weakened by insistence on 
the paramount importance of the exact observance 
of a minute and elaborate ritual. 

But, at any rate, these later lawgivers clung tena- 
ciously to the ancient idea of the sacred bond between 
the Israelite yeoman and his farm. Chapter after 
chapter^ is taken up with an account of how the 
land of Palestine was divided by Divine Revelation 
amongst the tribes, clans and families of Israel. 
Thus the land of a family or clan was a sacred gift 
from God,^ and the lawgiver did his best to secure 

^ First the authors of the Priestly Code, c. B.C. 400, included in 
their work the Law of Holiness, see p. 60. Then the Book of the 
Covenant, see p. 54, Deuteronomy, the Priestly Code, etc., etc., were 
all combined to form the Torath or authoritative Revelation, our 

2 The Pentateuch was recognized as canonical before the other 
portions of the Old Testament, and has ever since been held in 
higher esteem by the Jews. 

^ Priestly Code and later portions of the Pentateuch. 

* Joshua xiii.-xxi. ^ Cf. p. 51, 


that it should be permanently held by those to whom 
God had given it. By the celebrated Law of Jubilee 1 
it was enacted that the freehold, as we should say, 
could not be sold. Every fiftieth year all land which 
had been sold since the last Jubilee was to revert to 
its original owners. Such a law would have effectually 
prevented the formation of great estates, and would 
have secured the permanent existence of a class of 
yeomen farmers. In the same spirit it was enacted 
that heiresses should marry among their own kinsfolk. ^ 
! The Law of Jubilee was obviously impracticable 
and for the most part remained a dead letter ; but 
an incident in the administration of Nehemiah shows 
that the Jewish leaders were sincerely anxious to apply 
the principles of the priestly legislation as to the 
tenure of land. We must bear in mind that Ezra 
and Nehemiah, wielding the authority of the Persian 
king, established the Priestly Code as the law of the 
Jews ; Nehemiah was twice the Persian governor 
of Judah. After the Return an attempt had been 
made to restore the old order, by settling — for the 
most part at any rate — each family on its own land. 
But there was heavy taxation, and seasons were 
bad ; many of the farmers borrowed money on mort- 
gage ; and soon the mortgages were foreclosed ; 
and, as under the Monarchy, most of the land was 
appropriated by a few wealthy men, while the 
farmers and their families became landless paupers 
and some of them were sold into slavery. In their 
despair they appealed to Nehemiah ; he remonstrated 
with the nobles, and when he found that remonstrance 
was not sufficiently effective '* he held a great assembly 
against them '' ; or in other words, he called a general 
meeting of the Jewish community to put pressure 
^ Lev. XXV. 8-55, cf. p. 62. ^ Num. xxxvi. 


on the offenders. He told them that he and his 
friends and followers had been doing their best to 
relieve the distress by buying and emancipating Jews 
who had been sold into slavery ; and all the while 
his efforts were being thwarted by the greed of his 
fellow-countrymen who were making a profit by 
reducing their brethren to slavery. Nehemiah acknow- 
ledged that he and his friends had lent money at 
interest. We may well believe that the interest 
was moderate, and that the loans were made with a 
view to helping the borrowers. Nevertheless, Nehe- 
miah proposed that he and all parties concerned should 
henceforth refrain from taking interest, and that the 
nobles should restore fields, vineyards, oliveyards 
and houses to their original owners.^ Nehemiah 
was supported both by the authority of the Persian 
court and by the enthusiastic approval of the great 
majority of the Jewish assembly. The nobles had 
no choice but to consent. They promised to restore 
land and houses, and to do all that Nehemiah wished. 
He, however, feared that they might imitate their 
predecessors under Zedekiah,^ and recall their promise 
as soon as the pressure of existing circumstances was 
removed. Accordingly he sent for the priests, and 
bound the nobles by a solemn oath ; and he himself 
pronounced a curse upon them in case they should 
be faithless. In his own words, '' I shook out my lap 
and said, ' So may God shake out every man from his 
house and from the fruits of his labour that performeth 
not this promise ; even thus may he be shaken out 
and emptied.' 

* The conditions of this restitution are not fully or clearly 
stated ; but there is no doubt that the nobles made very heavy 
sacrifices, as far as their legal claims were concerned. 

2 Cf. p. 63. 


"And all the assembly said * Amen/ and praised 

'' And the people did according to this promise/' ^ 

We may notice that this incident illustrates the 
feeling of the Jews not only as to the family holding 
of land, but also as to slavery ; the public conscience 
revolted more and more against the idea of a Jew 
being a slave. Nehemiah's suppliants pleaded, " Our 
flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children are 
as their children." — Why then should their sons and 
daughters be sold into slavery ? And Nehemiah 
accepted their plea. The influence of such feelings 
is also manifest in the Law of Jubilee. It is plain 
that the idea of Jews in bondage was repugnant to 
the authors of that law, though they felt it impossible 
to abolish such slavery altogether. They had to 
content themselves with doing their best to limit it 
as far as possible, and to mitigate its severity.^ If a 
Jew is driven by poverty to sell himself as a slave, 
he is not to be treated as a slave, but as a hired servant 
or a resident alien. ^ 

A similar spirit shows itself in the writings of 
the post-exilic prophets.* It is true that they, like 
the lawgivers, are very much preoccupied with the 
Temple, its priesthood and its ritual ; but none the 
less they bear their testimony to social righteousness. 
The fast is worthless when the worshipper oppresses 
his labourers, and the true fast is not to bow down 
the head like a rush and to sit in sackcloth and ashes ; 
but to loose the bonds of wickedness ; and to let the 

^ Nehemiah v. 

* Leviticus xxv. 39 f., 47 ff. 
3 Get. 

* Isaiah xxiv.-xxvii., Ivi.-lxvi., etc. ; Haggai, Zechariah, 
Malachi, Joel, etc. 


oppressed go free ; to feed the hungry ; to house the 
outcast ; and to clothe the naked.^ 

In this last period the Wisdom Literature ^ of 
Israel becomes important, and its witness is quite in 
harmony with that of the Law and Prophets. Job's 
noble picture of the Righteous Man ^ is one of the 
passages in which the teaching of the Bible reaches 
a climax ; it presents an ideal which has never been 
surpassed. The righteous man uses his advantages 
of rank, power and wealth in the service of his less 
fortunate brethren. He is the helper of the poor, 
the fatherless and the widow; he is *' eyes to the 
blind, feet to the lame, and a father to the needy.'* * 
Again Job enumerates among the sins which draw 
down the wrath of God upon the wicked, contempt 
and neglect of the claims of slaves ; and that a man 
should eat his morsel alone, while the fatherless go 

It is a little depressing to pass from the passion and 
pathos of ]Joh to the " canny " shrewdness of Proverbs 
and the cynical pessimism of Ecclesiastes. Yet both 
imply that the true social order is based on mutual 
helpfulness, and suggest that if the ultimate and per- 
manent condition of society is one in which the interests 
of the people are sacrificed to the pride, ostentation 
and self-indulgence of privileged classes, then, indeed, 
life is *' vanity of vanities." 

^ Isaiahyviii. 3-8. 

^ Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew and Protestant 
Canon of the Old Testament. 
^ Job xxix., cf. xxxi. 
* Job xxix. 11-16. ^ Job xxxi. 17, 21. 


vi. Review. 

A recent writer 1 says, with much truth, that many 
take for granted that the social teaching of the Bible 
may be ignored because the social conditions 2 of our 
time are different from those of the beginning of the 
Christian Era, and are still more remote from those 
of Old Testament times. We plume ourselves on 
the advance of civilization, and scout the idea that 
we can learn from ancient prophets and lawgivers. 
It seems like expecting a sixth-form prefect to learn 
from a youngster in the second or third. We may 
illustrate the difficulty by two important matters 
which involve those moral considerations with which 
we are specially concerned — Does not the Old Testa- 
ment accept slavery and polygamy? In a qualified 
sense it does. But for that matter, slavery flourished 
in Christian states far into the last century ; and 
when one calls to mind the casual ward and the work- 
house, the sweated industries and the unemployed, 
and Piccadilly at midnight, it is a perfectly defensible 
position that, for all practical purposes, the condition 
of labour and the status of women were better in the 
Judah of Isaiah than they are in England to-day ; 
and that Jerusalem, even under Manasseh, was no 
worse than many of the great cities of Christian peoples. 

Moreover whatever the defects of ancient Israel, 
we must remember that even inspired teachers have 
to start from things as they find them and to speak 
in terms of existing institutions. Nor do they sanc- 
tion everything which they do not propose to alter ; 
no sane reformer tries to set everything right at once ; 

^ Koberle, Soziale Probleme im alien Israel und in der Gegenwart, 
pp. I f. 

2 Kulturentwicklung. 


that is anarchism. Ideals have to be sought in men's 
positive teaching, not in what they seem to take for 
granted ; and the positive teaching of the Old Tes- 
tament, the changes it introduces into the existing 
order, are upward. We have seen ^ that there is 
a constant anxiety to improve the position of slaves 
and to limit slavery as much as possible. It is true 
that the lawgivers are chiefly concerned for Israelite 
slaves, but then a man's social ideals are naturally 
applied first to his own people. So too the whole 
tendency of Old Testament teaching is in favour of 
monogamy. At the Creation only one woman was 
provided for the first riian ; the patriarchal stories seem 
intended to illustrate the disadvantages of polygamy ; 
and Proverbs might have been written for a purely 
monogamous people. It is difficult to imagine the 
Excellent Woman 2 sharing her authority with a rival. 
If, however, these considerations show that the 
inferiority of the civilization of Israel is no reason for 
ignoring the teaching of the Hebrew Scriptures, they 
are equally conclusive against a wholesale application 
of texts in a literal sense. The practical remedies 
advocated by prophets and lawgivers were designed 
to meet the circumstances of their own people and 
their own age, and are not absolute laws binding on 
every one, everywhere, at all times. It is not too 
much to say that *' It is wrong in principle to deduce 
without qualification from the Bible, Old or New 
Testament, any political, economic, hygienic or any 
other demand as to the external course of social life.'* ^ 
We must not, for instance, maintain that the Old 
Testament binds us to secure to the farmer the owner- 
ship of the land he cultivates. Such an arrangement 

^ Page 69. 

* Prov. xxxi. 10-31 ; ^ Koberle, p. 22. 


may or may not be desirable ; in deciding such ques- 
tions we should welcome any light the Hebrew Scrip- 
tures can afford ; but we must remember that there 
may be moral considerations which did not occur to 
the ancient prophets and lawgivers ; and also that 
economic laws and material circumstances cannot 
be ignored. It is still more evident that we cannot 
use isolated texts to show that some given social 
change must be made at once in some particular 

This frank avowal clears the way for the legiti- 
mate application of inspired principles and ideals 
to modern needs ; for these principles and ideals are 
like the sun ; however circumstances may change, 
they still reveal their character and help us to deal 
with them. 

The prophetic standard of social righteousness 
would emphatically condemn Christendom ; Isaiah 
and Jeremiah would have scouted the idea that we 
are merely the victims of circumstances, or that the 
social ills under which we labour are the inevitable 
results of inexorable economic laws. They would 
have found the root of the evil in moral corruption, 
in the callous selfishness which is rampant to-day as 
it was thousands of years ago. Now as then, they 
might have told us, eagerness to acquire, to increase, 
or to defend luxuries and privileges makes men in- 
different to the misery and degradation of their fellows. 
Modern methods are not so crude as in ancient times. 
In England, at any rate, Naboth is not condemned by 
intimidated judges on notoriously trumped-up evi- 
dence, but the poor man loses his vineyard all 
the same. In spite of many changes in outward 
forms, if Ezekiel were here to-day, he might still 
declare that those who feed upon the good pasture 


trample the residue, and that those who drink the 
clear waters foul the residue with their feet, so that 
the sheep have nothing to eat or drink except that 
which has been trodden down and befouled.^ Nor 
would the Psalmist admit that his ideal of the Righteous 
King who is to do justice to the poor and save the 
needy * is realized by the rulers of modern Christendom. 

But if our social system is found wanting when 
tried by these ancient standards, another question 
arises. How can Law, Prophets and Psalmists guide 
us in our search after a better way ? How can they 
help us in our struggles for reform ? Our thoughts 
at once turn to our Lord's answer to the inquiry, 
" Master, which is the great commandment in the 
law ? *' '' Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with 
all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy 
mind. This is the first and great commandment. 
And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments 
hangeth the whole law, and the prophets.*' * No 
word of Christ compels a more prompt and unquali- 
fied acceptance. And with regard to social evils we 
feel, as it has been well said, '' The only safeguard is 
the diffusion of the spirit which loves one's neighbour 
as oneself, which is willing to consider the ' stranger ' 
as well as the home-born, and which, in fact, regards 
the members of one's community with precisely the 
same trust, kindliness, forbearance and open-handed- 
ness as the members of one's own family." * 

But one of the most serious difficulties of the 

^ Ezek. xxxiv. i8 f. 2 Psalm Ixxii. 4. 

^ Matthew xxii. 36-40, R.V., quoted from Deut. vi. 5, Lev. 
xix. 18. 

4 Prof. W. F. Lofthouse, " The Social Teaching of the Law." 
Expositor, May, 1908, p. 468. 


present situation is that those who are anxious to 
live according to this spirit find themselves baffled 
by a system which tends to reduce society to 
millionaires and their dependents, slaves in all but 
name, and without the compensations of slavery. 
Can the study of Hebrew ideals help us discover social 
reforms by which the spirit of Christ may be set free 
from its shackles and may have free course and be 
glorified ? 

We are at once met with the difficulty that for 
devout Israelites the ideal society was alike Church 
and State, a society in which religion was the supreme 
bond. Whereas in Christendom religion is a divisive 
influence, and the mutual jealousy of the Churches 
paralyses the nation in its struggle against ignorance, 
misery and vice. This is not the place to discuss the 
question of organic reunion ; but is there no way by 
which sectarian quarrels may be limited to matters 
ecclesiastical, and the moral and religious forces of 
the country united in the crusade against social wrong ? 

There is, however, another aspect of this difficulty. 
The ideal Israel, as we have said, was to be a religious 
society, such as the British Empire is little likely 
to become in the near future. Would the prophets 
have allowed us to hope for social progress under our 
present conditions ? The reader will find such subjects 
more fully dealt with in succeeding papers, but we 
may say a word or two. We may remind ourselves 
that for the prophets religious unity did not depend 
on the universal acceptance of the same set of abstract 
dogmatic propositions, and that they did not measure 
a man's loyalty to Yahweh by the frequency and 
regularity with which he observed religious rites^ 
public or private. We are not even told that Isaiah, 
Jeremiah, and Ezekiel expected true believers to 


attend their prophesyings three times a week. May 
we not contend that the rehgious sentiment in some 
form and to some extent is universal ? Possibly 
mutual sympathy and recognition between the Churches 
and those who are more vaguely and informally 
religious would be for the general advantage, would 
promote the growth of religion, and increase its influence. 

On the other hand there is no lesson that is more 
clearly taught by the Old Testament than the impor- 
tance of the spiritual life to social progress. In 
some form or other man's faith and love towards 
God and God's grace given to man are essential con- 
ditions of a nation's welfare. But, again, the pro- 
phets are equally emphatic in condemning devout 
men who are indifferent to social righteousness and 
neglect their duties as citizens. 

In such matters the Hebrew Scriptures furnish 
us with many plain examples ; thus the prophets 
and lawgivers are the champions of freedom ; they 
constantly attempt to limit the extent of slavery 
and to mitigate its severity. Moreover their demand 
that the Israelite family shall be secured in the posses- 
sion of land is an effort to make the people free in 
fact as well as in name. No one enjoys real liberty 
who can be deprived of the means of livelihood at 
the arbitrary will of an employer. In ancient Israel 
ownership of a farm was the natural way to provide 
a man with an independent and assured opportunity 
of earning a living for himself and his family. In 
our own times the application of the principles of 
prophetic teaching must take account of altered cir- 
cumstances. It would be folly now to give every one 
land and expect him to take to farming. The evil 
against which Isaiah and Amos protested is appearing 
in a new form. The class who were their own masters — • 


yeomen, tradesmen, master workers, small manufac- 
turers — is rapidly disappearing, and its members are 
being replaced by managers and foremen. There is 
a continual increase of the proportion of the popula- 
tion who are liable to be cast into the ranks of the unem- 
ployed through the avarice, the caprice or the malice 
of the heads of great commercial enterprises. Men 
who are thus helplessly dependent are not free, and 
were the prophets amongst us to-day they would 
renew their protests against industrial slavery. 

Nevertheless, it does not follow that we ought to 
transfer the prophetic denunciation of Israelite oppres- 
sors to the ruling classes to-day. Nor need we conclude 
that the sentence of doom passed on Israel and Judah 
is also pronounced against Christendom. It is true 
that the ancient plague symptoms reappear now with 
equal virulence ; we are threatened with a plutocratic 
oligarchy, hitherto the harbinger of moral and material 
ruin. But our spiritual resources to-day are greater 
than those of ancient Israel. The leaven of the King- 
dom of God is working in our midst. The experience of 
two thousand years has shown us that the Spirit of 
Christ, the influence of His teaching. His example 
and His personality, make for righteousness even more 
powerfully than the ministry of the Hebrew prophets. 

But we must let this Spirit have free course. We are 
often told that we cannot curtail the luxury of the few 
in order to provide the many with the necessaries 
and decencies of life, because such a policy would bring 
about industrial ruin. But the unhesitating testimony 
of the Old Testament is that an awful and speedy 
Divine judgment awaits the people that acquiesces in 
national wickedness. 


The Christian Ideal Revealed in Jesus. 

By Rev. ALFRED E. GARVIE, M.A., D.D., Principal of 
New College, London. 


(i) The Religious Good of the Christian Gospel — Divine Fatherhood and 
Human Sonship. 

(2) The Correspondent Human Duty — Love to God, and Love to Man 
as Likeness to God. 

{3) Impartiality and Universality of this Love— The Good Samaritan. 

(4) This Love Practical — ^The Last Judgment, The Unrighteous Steward, 

The Rich Man and Lazarus. 

(5) The Guilt of Injury of Man measured by the worth of each Soul to God. 

(6) Did Jesus institute the Church and the Sacraments ? 

(7) Jesus' Conception of the Kingdom of God. 

(8) His Attitude towards and Action in regard to the Existing Social 

Order in Church and State no Illustration of Permanent or Universal 

(9) No Ready-Made Solutions of Social Problems, but Suggestive Refer- 

ences to Social Relations and Institutions — ^The Family — Divorce. 

(10) The Duty of Children to Parents taught by Jesus — His Treatment 
of Women and Children. 

(ii) The Economic Basis of the Family — Property — ^An Inference from 
Jesus' Teaching on the Family — His Refusal to Interfere in Dispute — 
Discouragement of Covetousness. 

(12) The Influence of Riches and Poverty on the Soul — Poverty Advan- 

tageous and Wealth Dangerous — ^The Beatitudes — ^The Rich Fool, 
The Rich Man and Lazarus. 

(13) Does Jesus discourage Industry ? — His References to the Relations of 

Master and Servant. 

(14) Jesus' Teaching on Simplicity of Life not Ascetic — Total Abstinence 

— ^Not Indifferent to Aesthetic Aspect of Life. 

{15) Does Jesus Condemn Government? — Reasons against this View — 
Present Application of this Teaching. 

(16) The Absence of Detailed Instructions a Proof of the Universality and 

Permanence of the Christian Religion — Contrast with Mohammed 
and Buddha. 

(17) Did Jesus Foresee the Gradual Progress of the Kingdom ? — Christian 

Means and Ends of Progress. 

{18) The Dependence of the Realization of the Christian Ideal on Personal 
Relation to Christ — Devotion and Duty. 


The Christian Ideal Revealed in Jesus 

(i) The heart of the Christian Gospel may be found 
in the confession and the invitation of Jesus in Matt, 
xi. 25-30. His unique nature as the Son of God, 
known by the Father alone, and alone knowing the 
Father, and His unique vocation to reveal the Father 
to whomsoever He willeth qualify Him to offer to 
labouring and heavy-laden mankind rest of soul in 
learning of Him and taking His yoke, which is easy, 
because He Himself is meek and lowly in heart. His 
intimate communion with God is accompanied by an 
absolute dependence and a complete submission. As 
all things are delivered to Him by the Father, so He 
thanks the Father for whatsoever is well-pleasing in His 
sight. It is not necessary here to discuss the meta- 
physics of the Incarnation. The religious conscious- 
ness and the moral character of Jesus alike bear wit- 
ness to a relation to God in which He is alone among 
and above all mankind. This relation, which is His 
by nature, it is His vocation to mediate for mankind 
by His grace. *' The only begotten Son who is in the 
bosom of the Father hath so declared Him," as to give 
to as many as believe " on His name the right to 
CO. " G 


become the children of God" (John i. i8, 12). The 
relation, which is original for Him, is mediated by Him 
for them, so that He who is the subject of the religion of 
Jesus becomes the object of faith in the Christian religion. 
He not only shows God as Father to men, but also brings 
men as children to God. He Himself reveals the divine 
Fatherhood by realizing the perfect sonship under the 
conditions and limitations of human life. The Divine 
Son who knows, loves, trusts, obeys God as Father is 
the Human Brother, so that through Him all the human 
brothers may become divine sons. He calls men to 
Himself that He may bring them to God. '' Come to 
Me." " Learn of Me." " Take My yoke." '' Follow 
Me." This is His invitation, for only in such close 
fellowship with Himself can men be brought into 
intimate communion with God. 

There is, however, a hindrance which must be 
removed if His invitation is to be fully accepted ; and 
He recognizes it ; and, therefore, in His attitude and 
His assurance to sinners He removes it . He is the Friend 
of sinners (Matt. xi. 19). He calls not the right- 
eous, but the sinners (ix. 10-13). He has the right on 
earth to forgive sins Tverse 6) ; He welcomes the peni- 
tent with the words of pardon, '* Thy sins are forgiven " 
(Luke vii. 48). The salvation which He offers to men 
involves His own sacrifice. He must give His life as 
a ransom for many (Matt. xx. 28), and the new covenant 
of grace is in His blood (xxvi. 28). Yet He, the Son of 
God, and, as the Saviour of men, the firstborn among 
many brethren, cannot be holden of death, but is raised 
from the dead, and becomes, as Mediator between God 
and men, the supreme authority and the universal 
presence. The divine Fatherhood revealed and the 
human sonship realized in and through Him are to be 
preached throughout the whole world in order that 


the whole family of God may be brought home (xxviii. 

(2) This religious good, which is the priceless gift 
of Jesus to mankind, involves a correspondent moral 
duty. It claims not only the human faith which wel- 
comes, uses and enjoys the divine grace ; but also the 
energy of that faith, its expression and exercise in love, 
grateful to God, and generous towards man. Jesus, 
coming as the Jewish Messiah, claimed to fulfil the law 
and the prophets, and in that fulfilment required that 
His disciples should exceed the righteousness of the 
Scribes and Pharisees, the commonly acknowledged 
and approved exponents, in theory and practice, of the 
law (Matt. V. 17-20). He unified, simplified, elevated 
and vitalized that law by summing it up in one princi- 
ple — an absolute love to God and an equal love for self 
and others (xxii. 37-39). Although this principle was 
laid down in what might at first sight appear only as 
a casual answer to a hostile question, yet it necessarily 
results from, and is, therefore, in complete harmony 
with the essence of the Christian religion. The 
morality of a religion of divine Fatherhood and human 
sonship must be, and cannot but be, love. As God, 
manifest in the grace of Jesus, is altogether lovable, 
love to Him need not be enforced as a duty ; for it will 
be the spontaneous response to the grace that is re- 
ceived in faith. Jesus assumes that human gratitude 
will be the inevitable consequence of divine generosity. 
He who is forgiven much will love much (Luke vii. 47). 
He does not enforce the duty of absolute love to God 
in His teaching, not only because He is always exhibit- 
ing it in His life, but still more because He is always 
caUing men to faith in God, and is confident that as 
men through faith freely receive the grace of God, so 
will they freely give in love to God. 


It is otherwise, however, with the love to man which 
is enjoined. This is not a love of gratitude, but of 
generosity. Men are not to be loved because they are 
lovable. Jesus expressly contrasts the love which 
He requires of His disciples with natural affection, 
and with the love which is called forth, and is an answer 
to love (Matt. v. 46, 47). The fullest expression and 
the highest exercise of Christian love are required in 
regard to those who make it most difficult. Enemies 
and persecutors are to be loved (verse 44). Two reasons 
are given for this demand. The first is this, that fellow- 
ship with God is realized in likeness to God. He who 
enjoys a filial communion with God must show a filial 
resemblance to God. In order that the disciples may 
be the sons of the Father in heaven, they must display 
the same impartial affection as He does in sending 
sunshine and shower to all men alike (verse 45) ; only 
as they are peacemakers can they enjoy the blessedness 
of being called sons of God (verse 9) ; the perfection of 
the heavenly Father in loving is to be their ideal (verse 
48) ; the second reason is that only the loving can ap- 
prehend, appreciate and appropriate the love of God. 
He who hardens himself against man closes himself 
against God. The merciful obtain mercy (verse 7) ; 
the forgiving are forgiven (vi. 14). So dependent is 
filial communion with God on filial resemblance to 
God, that they cannot enjoy God's grace who are 
without grace to others. So closely united are love 
to God and love to man. 

(3) Besides this characteristic, which so closely 
connects religion and morality that love to God is 
shown and proved in love to man, Jesus assigns to this 
principle these other features. It is to be not only 
impartial as regards moral character, but it is also to be 
universal, unlimited by the common divisions among 


men. This is brought out most clearly in the parable 
of the Good Samaritan (Luke x. 30-37). Just because 
there was kinship in blood and likeness in religion 
between Jew and Samaritan, was Jewish exclusive- 
ness most uncompromising towards the Samaritan. 
It is to rebuke this racial hate that Jesus holds up a 
Samaritan as an example to be followed. Had He 
represented the Samaritan as the sufferer, and the Jew 
as the helper, Jewish pride would have been gratified ; 
and the lesson of neighbourliness would not have been 
so effectively given. Jesus' limitation of His own minis- 
try to *' the lost sheep of the house of Israel '* does not 
disprove the universality of His love. It was necessary 
that the offer of God's grace should be first made to the 
people who had received a promise of it and a prepar- 
ation for it. That Jesus might secure attention to His 
claims as Jewish Messiah, it was necessary that Jewish 
prejudice should not be provoked by any attempt to 
reach the Gentiles. Even when rejected by the Jewish 
people, Jesus was possessed by the conviction of the 
necessity of His death in Jerusalem at the hands of the 
Jewish nation ; and He, therefore, did not turn to the 
Gentiles. His welcome and approval of Gentile fai^h 
show the wideness of His love. 

(4) This impartial and universal love is to be practi- 
cal. It is to be displayed in feeding the hungry, cloth- 
ing the naked, and visiting the sick and the imprisoned. 
The parable of The Last Judgment, in Matt. xxv. 
31-46, represents as the standard of judgment such 
acts of philanthropy. Those who have done these 
things are blessed, and they who have left them undone 
are accursed. That Jesus is here laying down a univer- 
sal test is not disproved, as is sometimes argued, by two 
phrases in the parable. Even if the judgment des- 
cribed is that of '' all the nations " (verse 32) in dis- 


tinction from the Christian Church, a less measure of 
love will not be required of disciples. Their righteous- 
ness must exceed not only the righteousness of the 
Scribes and Pharisees, but surely of the Gentiles also. 
The disciples are expressly required to forgive insult 
and injury ; and much more severely is love tested by 
such a demand than by this call to doing good. Even 
if the epithet ''my brethren'', applied to those benefited, 
meant believers on His name, and the parable was thus 
intended to encourage the disciples by the assurance 
that Jesus would regard their interests as His very own, 
this limitation, which is by no means certainly proved, 
does not justify the inference that it is only philan- 
thropy to Christians which Christ will reward, or 
inhumanity to them which He will punish. Could 
He who commended the divine impartiality for imita- 
tion to His disciples have represented Himself as thus 
restricting His interest and sympathy ? 

The same duty of philanthropy is enforced by the 
companion parables in Luke xvi., although it must be 
admitted that the interpretation of both is involved 
in some obscurity. The parable of the Unrighteous 
Steward Cverses 1-9) appears to be intended to teach 
that the use of wealth in showing kindness and giving 
help to others will be rewarded in the future life (verse 
9). More doubtful is the interpretation of the phrase 
mammon of unrighteousness as '' ill-gotten wealth." 
It is hard to believe that Jesus meant to teach, as Dr. 
Bruce maintains (The Expositor's Greek Testament, i, 
p. 586), that '' the more ill-gotten the more need to be 
redeemed by beneficent use.*' 

The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (verses 
ig_3i) appears to convey the lesson that wealth used 
selfishly in indulgence and luxury to the neglect of the 
claims of the poor and the suffering will bring on the 


possessor the severest condemnation. The only man 
whom Jesus in all His teaching pillories in the place of 
torment is the Rich Man, who left Lazarus unrelieved 
at his gate. It is necessary to point out that these 
promises and these rewards alike, presented in these 
parables, seem to appeal to a lower motive than love 
of others. As Jesus condemns the alms given in osten- 
tation to gain '' glory of men " (Matt. vi. 2), so doubt- 
less He would have condemned any form of charity 
from self-interest only. We must recognize the in- 
adequacy of the parable form to convey the truth com- 
pletely. Jesus, when He thus speaks of rewards or 
punishments, presupposes the love of others which alone 
gives any moral value to acts of beneficence. 

(5) Love will not only give all the help it can to 
others ; it will be very careful not to do injury to 
others, especially by leading them into sin, or by hinder- 
ing their faith. How very solemn is the warning against 
causing one of the little ones to stumble (Matt, xviii. 6). 
Whether the sayings which immediately follow in the 
First Gospel regarding the sacrifice to be made in order 
to avoid any offence refer to injury done to others may 
be questioned ; but, even if the immediate reference 
be to the peril which sin brings on the sinner himself, 
yet it is a legitimate extension of the truth to apply it 
to injury to the souls of others. If a man is to love 
his neighbour as himself, he must be prepared at as high 
a cost to avoid his hurt even as his own. 

The explanation of the severity of the demand here 
is to be found in Jesus* estimate of man. He taught 
the infinite worth of every soul. Not only is each man 
worth so much to himself that the gain of the whole 
world cannot compensate for the forfeit of himself, 
and that he has no possession he can offer as a ransom 
for himself (xvi. 26) ; but every man is worth so much 


to God that his loss through sin grieves God, and his 
recovery brings God joy. This is the lesson taught in 
the parables in Luke xv. Such is the worth of each 
soul to God that Jesus came '' to seek and save the 
lost " (Luke xix. lo). Whatever a man's character 
or condition, as a man, capable of becoming a son 
of God, and even in his sin loved by God, he has 
an infinite worth, and so an absolute claim to be 
so loved that his salvation shall be sought at any 

(6) The relation of God and man as the heavenly 
Father and the earthly child, and the relation of men 
to one another as brethren is the religious good Jesus 
offers, and love is the moral duty He enjoins. This is 
the broad and sure foundation for a Christian society ; 
but on this foundation Jesus does not Himself rear 
the complete superstructure. The name by which 
the Christian society was afterwards known is only 
mentioned twice. In the commendation of Peter for 
his confession (Matthew xvi. 18-19), that confession is 
accepted as the foundation of the Church, to which is 
promised the power to resist all assaults, and to which 
is entrusted the stewardship of the Kingdom in its 
moral j udgment of human actions. But no organization 
is prescribed. In the command regarding the treat- 
ment of an offending brother, a local organization of the 
Church, similar to that of the synagogue, seems to be 
assumed (xviii. 15-20). It must be added, however, 
that the authenticity of both passages has been chal- 
lenged ; the other Synoptics have no parallel, and 
there is no other indication in the teaching of Jesus 
that He ever spoke to His disciples about founding 
such a society. But even if we set aside these doubts, 
and accept these passages, they do not aid us at all 
in defining more distinctly the Christian social ideal. 


Whether Jesus Himself instituted the ordinance of 
baptism into the threefold name (Matt, xxviii. 19) is 
regarded as doubtful by many scholars, who find in this 
passage a reflexion of contemporary belief and practice 
rather than a remembrance of past history. Even the 
intention of Jesus to establish a memorial feast in the 
ordinance of the Supper has been called in question. 
The narrative in Mark (xiv. 22-25) gives no indication 
that Jesus desired the acts to be repeated ; and in this 
respect Matthew (xxvi. 26-29) follows Mark. Luke's 
narrative (xxii. 14-20) is clearly influenced by the 
custom of the Apostolic Church. He adds the words, 
'' This do in remembrance of Me.*' Paul's account 
(i Cor. xi. 23-26) is quite evidently determined by the 
general practice of the Church. Absolute certainty 
seems in this matter quite unattainable ; but it is 
probable that the Christian community had some 
warrant in Jesus' teaching for these ordinances, which 
were recognized from its very beginnings. Jesus de- 
sired in these symbolic acts, these acted parables, to 
keep before His disciples the moral cleansing and the 
religious fellowship which He was ever offering to 
mankind. We can have little doubt, however, that 
He never intended them to become the formal, mys- 
terious, supernatural sacraments into which ecclesiasti- 
cism afterwards changed them. 

Were it proved, however, that Jesus said and did 
nothing to indicate His desire that His disciples should 
form themselves into a society, yet it could be confi- 
dently maintained that these disciples in effecting their 
union in the Church were moved and guided by His 
Spirit, were giving an inevitable application in the 
historical conditions to the essential principle of His 
Gospel. It was fitting and needful that those who felt 
themselves to be brethren, because they knew God 


as Father, should come together for common witness, 
worship and work. 

(7) But it must be asked, Can the Christian ideal 
of society be regarded as fully reaUzed in the Church, 
the community of those who as disciples of Jesus and 
believers in Him have received His salvation ? Jesus 
only twice (if at all) spoke of the Church ; but there 
was a phrase constantly on His Ups, the Kingdom of 
God. Those who are eager for social reform often seize 
upon this phrase as giving the sanction of Jesus to their 
social interpretation of the Gospel. It cannot be ignored, 
however, that not only the meaning of the term, but 
even the content of the conception is doubtful. Does 
kingdom mean realm or rule ? In the former case the 
social aspect would be implied, in the latter not. Is 
the Kingdom present or future ? Did Christ believe 
Himself to have established it at His first coming, or 
did He anticipate its establishment at His return in 
power and glory ? Is it to come into the world by a 
gradual progress or by a catastrophic act ? Is the means 
of its estabUshment moral and spiritual influence, or 
supernatural power ? Texts can be quoted for each of 
these views. The obscurities, ambiguities and per- 
plexities of the subject are all due to the fact that Jesus 
had to present the heavenly treasure of His own moral 
and religious ideal in the earthen vessels of prophetic 
predictions and popular expectations. 

It is often assumed by scholars that Jesus was so 
completely a man of His own age and people that what- 
ever in His teaching goes beyond or rises above the 
current conceptions must be regarded as an addition 
to His genuine utterances, a reflexion of the beliefs, 
hopes, and aims of the Christian Church at the time 
when the Gospels were composed. We may, in opposi- 
tion to this view, press several questions. Is it prob- 


able that Jesus did not conceive the Kingdom of God in 
as spiritual and ethical a form as would correspond 
with His perfect revelation of God and man ? Is it 
probable that One whose religious consciousness and 
moral character so transcended the thought and life 
around Him was so closely bound by the common 
beliefs on a question of such moment for faith and life ? 
Is it probable that the community of His disciples, so 
dependent on Him for what was truest in its beliefs 
and best in its deeds, so soon, even within a generation, 
outstripped Him in its conception of the Kingdom of 
God ? The contrary assumption is very much more 
probable, that the conception of a present, ethical 
and spiritual relation of God to man, to be progressively 
completed and extended, was the kernel of Jesus' own 
teaching, and that the apocalyptic language in which it 
was expressed was but the husk, necessary to protect 
and preserve that kernel. When Jesus likens the 
Kingdom to the treasure in the field and the pearl of 
great price it is represented as an individual possession 
(Matt. xiii. 44-46). When He compares it to the 
mustard seed and the leaven, He so presents its expansive 
power and its pervasive influence as to suggest, but not 
more than suggest, that it is a social benefit (31-33)- I^ 
must be admitted that Jesus' teaching about the King- 
dom of God does not show that He intended any re- 
organization of human society, or what a reorganiza- 
tion in accordance with His principles would be. 

(8) The results of our inquiry do not appear any 
more positive when we consider Jesus' attitude to- 
wards, and action in regard to the existing social order 
in Church or State. He was not the leader of a revolt ; 
He was careful not to say or to do anything that would 
provoke a revolution. This caution was required of 
Him by the historical conditions. The popular expect- 


ations were fixed on a political Messiah, one who would 
cast off the Roman yoke, and establish a prosperous 
and powerful as well as a righteous rule in Jerusalem. 
The temper of the people was very dangerous. A word 
or a deed of Jesus might have precipitated an explosion 
of the pent-up hate against the Roman oppressor. 
However repugnant to Jewish patriotism the Roman 
Empire was, and however oppressive its dominion 
might often prove to be, yet a Jewish rebellion could 
have ended only in the destruction of the nation. 
There was no promise or prospect of a new society to 
be founded on the ruins of the Roman Empire. It was 
not, however, merely prudent calculation that res- 
trained Jesus' action. His words to Pilate, *' My King- 
dom is not of this world '' Qohn xviii. 36) give the 
deeper reason. It was contrary to the essential char- 
acter of His purpose that He should seek its fulfilment 
by any outward changes, ecclesiastical and political. 
Further, that it might be advanced as the expanding 
mustard seed, or the pervasive leaven, it must not 
needlessly be brought into conflict with any of the 
kingdoms of the world. His warning to Peter : '* All 
they that take the sword shall perish with the sword " 
(Matt. xxvi. 52) discloses the reason for His submission 
to both ecclesiastical and political authorities. 

These instances of conformity do not illustrate any 
permanent or universal principles of Christian action 
in Church or State. Under altered conditions oppo- 
sition, or even defiance, may be as consistent with the 
Christian ideal as was Jesus' own submission. When 
conscience compelled Jesus to enter into conflict with 
the ecclesiastical authorities. He did not shrink from it, 
even though His own death was the inevitable issue. 
What His example does teach is that there may be con- 
formity to the existing order in Church and State 


wherever that is consistent with conscience, the claims 
of duty, or the call of faith. This conception of His 
Kingdom as not of this world has, however, permanent 
and universal significance. Confidence in the power of 
truth, righteousness, grace to fulfil the ends of God is 
Christian. Reliance on the outward means of changes 
in organization, ecclesiastical or political, is not. This 
emphasis on the inward and indifference to the out- 
ward is probably the explanation of Jesus' having left 
the organization of the community of His disciples to 
be carried out after His Resurrection. While there is 
nothing in Jesus' teaching to forbid the use of the 
machinery of the Church or of the State to restrain 
vice, to relieve misery, to promote health and happi- 
ness, even to protect and preserve character ; yet 
we must not hide from ourselves that Jesus Himself 
was indifferent to the mechanics of outward organiza- 
tion, and was concerned about the dynamics of inward 
inspiration. Make the tree good, and its fruit will be 
good (Matt. vii. 20). Christ's method is to change 
character, and not to alter institutions. 

(9) If this is His method, we shall go to Him in vain 
for any ready-made solutions of social problems. He 
reveals principles ; He does not prepare programmes ; 
but it was inevitable that in a ministry so varied 
and in teaching so comprehensive as His He should 
touch on social relations and institutions ; and although 
it was never His intention to be a legislator, yet we 
shall find that He does, if not expHcitly, yet implicitly, 
lay down principles of His Kingdom, which may be 
practically applied to our present perplexities and 

It is noteworthy that the family was the only social 
institution regarding which He gave very definite in- 
struction. That He chose to describe the relation 


between God and Man, revealed and realized in Him, 
by the family relationship of Father and Son is itself a 
most pregnant consideration. 

In condemning the interpretation of the Jewish 
law by the Scribes, He took two of His instances from 
the family. The law of divorce was explained by many 
of the Scribes in such a way as to make it very easy for 
a man to get rid of his wife ; and the common practice 
was an encouragement to moral laxity. In the Sermon 
on the Mount, in close connexion with His condemna- 
tion of the lustful look as a commission of adultery in 
the heart, He condemns divorce as adultery. The 
husband who divorces his wife makes her an adulteress, 
and the man who marries the divorced wife becomes an 
adulterer. One ground for divorce is given in the 
clause " saving for the cause of fornication '' (Matt. 
V. 31, 32). In another setting this same prohibition 
of adultery is repeated, although the language slightly 
varies; and the justification of this teaching is given by 
an appeal to Scripture, to the intention of the Creator 
in making mankind male and female that there should 
be an indissoluble union of husband and wife, '' What 
therefore God hath joined together let not man put 
asunder." In reply to the challenge that He was thus 
annulling a commandment of Moses, He laid down a 
general principle applicable to many other provisions 
of the Jewish law. '* Moses for your hardness of heart 
suffered you to put away your wives " (xix. 3-9). 
In this passage, too, one cause for divorce is recog- 

In the parallel passages in Mark (x. 1-12) and Luke 
(xvi. 18) no mention of this exception is made. It is 
argued that the clause in the First Gospel is a gloss, 
intended to bring Jesus' teaching into harmony with 
the practice of the Church in this matter. It must be 


admitted that the author of this Gospel, for whom the 
teaching of Jesus is the legislation of the new kingdom, 
does sometimes insert such explanatory clauses, without 
any intention to add to or take from the teaching, but 
only to make its meaning plain. It seems certain 
that Jesus did not intend to legislate ; and we put His 
words to another use than He intended if we look to 
them for the details of laws of divorce. The version in 
Mark seems to be the original, and here what is con- 
demned is divorce, either by husband or wife, in order 
to effect a marriage with another. This apparently 
common motive of divorce is unhesitatingly condemned ; 
but there is nothing said as to whether there is or is not 
any legitimate ground for divorce. Luke's version 
combines part of Mark's and part of Matthew's, and 
is evidently secondary. The words as given in Matthew 
V. 32 are not at all as intelligible as Mark's version of 
the saying. Should not the man who divorces his wife 
be pronounced as himself guilty of adultery, instead of 
being charged with the offence of making his wife an 
adulteress, an offence which she could be guilty of only 
by her marriage to another man ? The version in 
Matthew xix. 9 is nearer Mark's, and expressly con- 
demns not divorce merely, but divorce with a view to 
marrying another woman. As Jesus does not seem to 
be prohibiting divorce altogether, the exceptive clause 
in Matthew must be regarded as an explanation, added 
when the words of Jesus, which referred only to divorce 
for the sake of marrying another, were generalized into 
a law regarding divorce. 

It seems altogether a vain dispute, although it has 
been long and hotly waged, whether Jesus does, or does 
not make an exception to His prohibition of divorce, 
as His interest lay elsewhere, even in condemning one 
instance of scribal casuistry, which made it easy for 


men and women to foUow their own whims in tempor- 
ary marriage relationships. The principle that Jesus 
does lay down is that the relation between husband 
and wife is intended by God to be so close that it is 
to be lifelong. Whether there are offences which so 
destroy the relationship as to justify the legal recog- 
nition that it has ceased to be Jesus nowhere expressly 
teaches. It may be added that His ideal of marriage 
does condemn as a heinous sin any moral laxity, any 
infidelity in fancy or feeling, and that it does require of 
every society which claims the Christian name that 
the sanctity of marriage shall be recognized in its laws 
as in its morals. 

(lo) The second instance of scribal casuistry which 
Jesus condemned was the ingenious device by means 
of which a son was relieved of the obligation to support 
his parents. All he had to do when his parents asked 
him for anything was to declare that that thing was 
dedicated to God, and he was exempted from his duty 
(Mark vii. 10-12). It would appear even that this 
dedication was not regarded as withdrawing the pro- 
perty from his own use. The duty of children to care 
for their parents Jesus affirmed as the law of God, and 
such attempts at evasion as traditions of men which 
made void God's word. These two instances prove 
how highly Jesus valued family life. There is no 
ground whatever in the teaching of Jesus for the assump- 
tion, on which the artificial piety of monasticism is 
based, that He regarded celibacy as superior to marriage, 
or the casting off of family relationships as better than 
the discharge of the duties that these relationships im- 
pose. It is true that He Himself did not marry ; but 
that is surely fully explained by the unique vocation 
He fulfilled and the unique relation He consequently 
sustained to all mankind. It is true also that He 


left His home at Nazareth, withstood the interference 
of His family with His ministry, and, even when the 
claims of His mother and brethren were insisted on, 
affirmed the higher worth for Him of spiritual affinity 
than of natural relationship (Mark iii. 34, 35). What 
His example teaches is that the claims of the family are 
not absolute, but subordinate to the claims of the King- 
dom of God. The selfishness of the family is rebuked ; 
but its necessary function in human society is recog- 

The treatment of women and children by Jesus has 
also a direct bearing on the problem of the family. 
Jesus was not at all effeminate, but thoroughly manly ; 
and yet we can speak of His womanliness and His 
childlikeness. He understood the heart of the woman 
and the mind of the child. To give only a few in- 
stances! He surprised the disciples by talking with 
the woman of Samaria, as a Jewish Rabbi would have 
scorned to do (John iv. 27). He offended his host 
Simon by accepting the offering of the penitent sinner's 
gratitude for the grace of forgiveness (Luke vii. 39). 
He defended with the insight of love the overflowing 
of the heart of Mary of Bethany (Matt. xxvi. 10-13). 
He watched the children at their play (xi. 16, 17). He 
set a child in the midst of His disciples as an example 
to them (xviii. 2, 3). He welcomed the mothers and 
the babes, whom His disciples wanted to send away 
from Him (xix. 13-15). Reverence for womanhood 
and childhood is the sure foundation for the sanctity of 
the home. 

An asceticism, which has no warrant either in the 
teaching or the example of Jesus, has sometimes 
betrayed the Christian Church into a depreciation of 
the family, with the consequent disrespect to woman- 
hood and childhood. But wherever the teaching of 
c.c. H 


Jesus regarding the family, reinforced as it is by His 
treatment of women and children, has been fully 
accepted, there there has been a purification and 
elevation of the home. It can be said with absolute 
confidence that a society is Christian only as it main- 
tains marriage and the family inviolate. 

(ii) The family has not only a physical foundation 
in the relation of the sexes and the generations to one 
another ; but demands also an economic basis. The 
home presupposes the house. We must inevitably 
pass from the institution of the family to the institu- 
tion of property. Jesus in His teaching assumed pri- 
vate ownership, the current custom of His age and His 
people ; but just as little as we are entitled to infer 
from His references to the offering upon the altar 
(Matt. V. 23, 24), or to the interpretation of the law by 
the Scribes (xxiii. 2, 3), that He meant to perpetuate 
by His authority the Jewish ritual and the Jewish code, 
just so little right have we to assume from His allu- 
sions that private ownership is the only Christian method 
of holding property. As even sacrifice to God was to 
be subordinated to reconciliation with a brother (v. 
24), so we may be confident that Jesus would approve 
whatever method of holding property might be most 
favourable to the fulfilment of the law of equal love to 
self and neighbour. 

There is one inference regarding property that it 
seems legitimate to draw from Jesus' teaching about 
the family. In any collective ownership of the means 
of production in a socialist State, it would be neces- 
sary to make provision for the economic unity and 
independence of the family. Husband and wife, 
parents and children, must not be treated as individual 
units with their separate economic relation to the com- 
munity, but such a measure of private ownership would 


seem to be necessary from the Christian standpoint as 
to maintain the interdependence of the members of each 

With the distribution of wealth Jesus would have 
nothing to do. When appealed to about a dispute 
regarding property, He not only refused to interfere, 
but even rebuked the covetousness which His moral 
insight enabled Him to detect as the motive of the 
request. '' Man, who made Me a judge or a divider 
over you ? . . . Take heed, and keep yourselves from 
all covetousness : for a man's life consisteth not in the 
abundance of the things which he possesseth '' (Luke 
xii. 14, 15). If in the distribution of wealth covetous- 
ness is to be shunned, surely from the Christian stand- 
point love is to be sought. The modern economic 
system involves an inequality in the distribution of 
wealth that encourages covetousness, and disowns 
love, and in view of the Christian ideal of brotherhood 
stands condemned. 

The possession of property Jesus discourages as an 
aim in life. The Kingdom of God, with its religious 
good of Divine Fatherhood and its moral duty of human 
brotherhood, is worth immeasurably more than all the 
riches of the world. Even as regards the means of 
meeting the simplest bodily wants for food, clothing 
and shelter, Jesus forbids any concern, and calls for 
trust in God. '' Work not for the meat which perish- 
eth, but for the meat which abideth unto eternal life, 
which the Son of Man shall give unto you " (John vi. 
27). " Be not therefore anxious, saying. What shall we 
eat ? or. What shall we drink ? or, Wherewithal shall 
we be clothed ? For after all these things do the 
Gentiles seek ; for your heavenly Father knoweth that 
ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first His 
Kingdom and His righteousness ; and all these things 


shall be added unto you " (Matt. vi. 31-33). Character 
is what Jesus cares for, not property. 

(12) It must be recognized, however, that character 
and property are not altogether unrelated. The prob- 
lem of riches and poverty is moral as well as economic. 
If Jesus was indifferent to the modern pressing problem 
of the mode of ownership of property. He was keenly 
interested in the influence of riches or poverty on the 
soul. His judgment reverses current opinions. He 
regards poverty as spiritually advantageous, and wealth 
as spiritually dangerous. 

It is probable that Luke has preserved the beati- 
tudes in their original form, as it is less likely that he 
would omit the qualifications found in Matthew in order 
to give expression to his Ebionitism, than that Matthew 
would add these qualifications in order to adapt the 
direct personal address of Jesus to His disciples as 
general legislation for the Christian Church. Jesus 
pronounces blessed the poor, the hungry, the weeping 
and the persecuted, and utters His woe upon the rich, 
the full, the laughing, and those that are well spoken 
of (Luke vi. 20-26). He expressly states the reason for 
His judgment regarding the peril of the rich. '' How 
hardly shall they that have riches enter into the King- 
dom of God ! " (xviii. 24). The explanation which is 
given in Mark, '' How hard is it for them that trust in 
riches to enter into the Kingdom of God ! " (x. 24) 
may have been given by Jesus ; but we cannot avoid 
the suspicion that it was the form of the saying which 
afterwards became current in order to modify the ap- 
parent harshness of the original words. Nevertheless 
it does bring out Jesus' meaning. For Him the danger 
of wealth was the self-sufficiency that it was likely to 
breed, indifference to the claims of God on the one hand, 
and to the needs of men on the other hand. 

REVEALED IN JESUS/^"^ ^^^^ ^ '.^iii- 

The first peril is presented to us in the parable of the 
Rich Fool (Luke xii. 16-21) ; and the second in the 
parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (xvi. 19-31). 
How great Jesus' estimate of this peril was is surely 
shown by the sacrifice He required in order that it 
might be escaped. To the rich young ruler, whose 
wealth imperilled his eternal life, Jesus said, " One 
thing thou lackest yet ; sell all that thou hast, and 
distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure 
in heaven ; and come, follow Me " (xviii. 22). This is 
not a universal demand ; but it is applicable wherever 
and whenever property endangers character. '' The 
things which are impossible with men are possible with 
God " (verse 27). There are rich men who so humbly 
depend on and so sincerely serve God that their wealth 
is not a danger to their own souls, but a trust from God 
that they hold as a means of doing good to others. 
Wealth can be robbed of its poisonous sting only as it is 
used in relieving the needs of others. That, as has 
already been indicated, is taught positively as precept 
in the parable of the Unrighteous Steward (xvi. 1-9), 
and negatively as warning in the parable of the Rich 
Man and Lazarus (19-31). 

It is noteworthy that in the second parable we have 
the only instance of the use of a proper name. Surely 
some part of the lesson taught is hid in the proper 
name Lazarus ; if not, why did Jesus here only depart 
from His usual method ? Lazarus is the Greek ab- 
breviation of the Hebrew Eleazar, which means, " God 
hath helped." The poor man is represented in the 
story, in contrast with the rich man, as one whom God 
cared for because he trusted in God. The advantage 
of poverty is that it exercises man's trust in God as 
wealth does not, and that it has an experience of the 
care of God as wealth has not. His wealth keeps the 


rich man from God ; his need drives the poor man 
to God. 

It must be added, however, that when Jesus speaks 
of poverty, He is not thinking of such a ruthless struggle 
for daily bread, such unrelieved misery, such moral 
degradation and religious despair as the conditions of 
our modern society impose on its outcasts. There is a 
squalor and shame, a sorrow and suffering in the poverty 
of our complex civilization which a simpler society 
did not know. 

Jesus assumes that the needs of the poor will 
be met. He condemns ostentatious, but commends 
secret almsgiving (Matt. vi. 1-4). This is what He 
requires of the young ruler (xix. 21). The neglect of 
this duty is what damns the Rich Man (Luke xvi. 25). 
Jesus Himself during His ministry had compassion, and 
not only healed the sick, but even fed the hungry. The 
society Jesus approves is not a society which in its 
distribution of wealth intercepts the Father's bounty 
to the most needy of His children, but one that through 
the help of human love responds to the trust in divine 
love. If under present conditions private charity 
should prove inadequate to relieve all necessities, then 
Jesus* teaching and example in regard to the poor 
impose the obligation of a collective provision for such 
human wants. 

(13) Wealth is spiritually perilous, and poverty 
spiritually advantageous ; yet the way in which the 
rich class can escape its disadvantage is by giving 
freely to relieve the necessity of the needy class. Is 
Jesus then, we seem to be forced to ask, indifferent or 
even hostile to industry ? He Himself left His car- 
penter's bench in Nazareth ; He called His disciples 
from their fishing in the Sea of Galilee ; when He sent 
them out on their mission to '' the lost sheep of the 


house of Israel '' He forbade their making provision 
for their bodily needs, and made them depend on the 
bounty of those to whom they were sent. Accordingly 
voluntary poverty and mendicancy have been advo- 
cated as the distinctively evangelical virtues. We are 
not left to the reductio ad absurdum argument that 
if there were no workers, but all became beggars, society 
would come to an end. The vocation of Jesus and His 
disciples was unique ; the preacher of the Gospel ren- 
dered a service to the hearer which gave him a claim 
for support, " The labourer is worthy of his food ** 
(Matt. X. 10) ; the disciples as the destined leaders of 
the Christian community needed the elementary disci- 
pline for their high and holy calling of an absolute sub- 
mission to and dependence on God even in regard to 
their bodily needs. 

Jesus in His teaching shows an interest in the mani- 
fold callings of men, the husbandman, the shepherd, 
the fisherman, the merchantman ; even the duties and 
cares of the housewife receive His notice. There is no 
evidence whatever that He disapproved of industry, 
and commended mendicancy. 

If not in Palestine generally, yet throughout the 
Roman Empire, slavery was common, and most labour 
was servile. Jesus does not appear to have had any 
occasion to pronounce any judgment on the question ; 
but from His general principles we may infer that He 
would have acted in regard to it as did the Christian 
Church afterwards. Instead of advocating the aboli- 
tion of the institution. He would have so applied to 
the relation of master and slave the law of love as to 
transform its character. In several parables Jesus 
refers to the relation of master and servant. The 
exacting demands of the Kingdom are illustrated by 
the master, who enjoins the servant on his return from 


the field to wait on him while he sups without thanking 
him for the service (Luke xvii. 7-10). But Jesus here 
pronounces no moral judgment on the master's con- 
duct ; and it would be an unwarranted inference that 
Jesus approved harsh treatment of servants. Such 
an impression finds its correction in the three parables 
of the Hours, the Talents, and the Pounds, of which, 
according to Dr. Bruce, the '' common theme is the 
political economy of the Kingdom " {The Parabolic 
Teaching of Christ, p. 178). " The Parable of the 
Pounds," he says, '* illustrates the proposition that 
when ability is equal quantity determines relative 
merit'' (p. 179). ''The Parable of the Talents illus- 
trates the proposition that when ability varies, then 
not the absolute quantity of work done, but the ratio 
of the quantity to the abiUty, ought to determine 
value." '' The Parable of the Labourers in the vine- 
yard or of the Hours teaches that a small quantity of 
work done in a right spirit is of greater value than a 
great quantity done in a wrong spirit " (p. 180). 
These are the principles by which the relation of work 
and wages is to be determined in the Kingdom of God ; 
and, although Jesus is thinking of anything but the 
organization of industry, yet surely in a just economic 
system ability must be recognized, industry rewarded, 
and fidelity commended. 

Jesus refers not only to reward, but also to punish- 
ment in the relation of master and servant. Unfaith- 
ful servants will be beaten with few or many stripes 
according to their demerit (Luke xii. 48). Wrong- 
doing cannot go unpunished in a Christian society. 
Yet forgiveness must always be ready for penitence, 
but that penitence alone is recognized as genuine which 
includes the willingness to forgive. The Parable of 
the Unforgiving Servant (Matt, xviii. 23-35) teaches 


this truth. In the relation of master and servant, as 
Jesus presents it in the parables, faithfulness in the 
servant is insisted on, but righteous and even gracious 
principles of action are assumed on the part of the 
master. We should be putting these parables to a 
use Jesus never intended, if we attempted to derive 
from them directly regulations for the relations of 
Capital and Labour to-day. It is with moral dis- 
positions and not with economic conditions that Jesus 
is solely concerned. Nevertheless, we may confi- 
dently affirm that no relations of Capital and Labour 
are Christian in which these moral considerations are 
ignored, in which the supreme law of equal love to 
self and neighbour is disobeyed. 

(14) The industry, which Jesus takes for granted 
without censure, and even with commendation of such 
virtues as it brings into exercise, is industry directed 
towards meeting the needs of a comparatively simple 
life. Modern industry is producing not only the neces- 
sities, but even the comforts, refinements and luxuries 
of life. We may well ask ourselves whether Jesus, 
living the simplest life, absorbed in the Kingdom of 
God, indifferent to earthly goods, could approve our 
complex civilization. It may be said unhesitatingly 
that the luxury which ministers to the vanity or the 
indulgence of the rich stands absolutely condemned. 
This is not the place in which to show that this luxury 
is as economically wasteful as it is morally hurtful 
and socially wrongful. There are material advances 
in modern society that are a hindrance to the progress 
of the Kingdom of God. When the earth is searched 
far and near, and bird and beast are mercilessly slaugh- 
tered, to tickle the palate and to adorn the person of 
those whom a superfluity of wealth has robbed of the 
taste for simple pleasures, there is decadence and not 


improvement. When it is recognized that this super- 
abundance of riches in the few is accompanied by, nay, 
in some measure is the cause of the insufficiency for 
the needs of hfe of the many, then it must be admitted 
that the Christian social ideal is absolutely contra- 
dicted. That life might be made much more simple 
without any loss of any good, aesthetic or intellectual, 
worth preserving, must surely be freely admitted ; 
such simpler life would certainly be more Christian. 

On the other hand, the teaching and example of 
Jesus do not seem to demand that that simplicity 
should be carried as far as asceticism. Jesus did 
require self-denial, the sacrifice of the offending eye, 
hand, foot (Matt. v. 29, 30 ; xviii. 8, 9), the taking up of 
the Cross, (xvi. 24), the abandonment of home and 
kindred (viii. 18-22), the loss of life itself (xvi. 25) ; 
yet the demand is always made in the interests of the 
Kingdom of God. Pain or loss or death is not an 
end in itself ; self-torture is no duty. The Kingdom 
offer a fuller and a larger good than any which for its 
sake must be surrendered. Jesus Himself lived in 
utmost simplicity and even utter poverty ; yet He was 
no ascetic. In this respect in the popular opinion He 
compared unfavourably with John the Baptist. *' The 
Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say. 
Behold a gluttonous man, and a wine-bibber, a friend 
of publicans and sinners'' (xi. 19). 

It is hardly necessary to add that the advocacy of 
total abstinence as the most effective method of deal- 
ing with the evil of strong drink to-day is not based on 
asceticism, but on the Christian principle of avoiding 
at any cost every moral offence, every cause of stumb- 
ling to self or another. If Jesus' example cannot in 
this respect be appealed to, it is because the conditions 
of His age did not require this form of self-denial. 


The motive from which total abstinence is practised 
by many to-day is in complete harmony with His 
spirit and purpose. Can it be doubted that if self- 
denial for the sake of the Kingdom were in mani- 
fold forms more common, our society would be 
very much more Christian in character than it is 
to-day ? 

That Jesus was not altogether indifferent to what 
may be called the aesthetic aspect of life may be in- 
ferred from His interest in nature around Him, the birds 
of the air, and the flowers of the field (Matt. vi. 26, 28). 
To promote art, science, literature, or philosophy 
did not fall within the scope of His unique vocation— 
the revelation of God as Father, and the redemption of 
man from sin — on the fulfilment of which during His 
brief earthly ministry He had to concentrate all His 
desire and effort: ''working while it was yet day." 
His perfection was not extensive, quantitative, but in- 
tensive, qualitative. His speciality was not everything, 
but "the one thing needful,'' the union of God and 
man, without which nothing has enduring meaning, 
unchanging worth. In the Divine Fatherhood and the 
human brotherhood there is nothing adverse to any of 
these interests and pursuits, even although Jesus in 
His absorption in, and devotion to, this one aim had no 
thought to spare, and no help to give to any of them. 
Genuinely Christian character has been developed in 
seeking the True, loving the Beautiful, as well as striv- 
ing for the Good ; and accordingly none of these aims 
or endeavours needs to be shut out from a fully Chris- 
tian society. All these interests and pursuits, how- 
ever, to be fully Christian in spirit and purpose, must 
ever be controlled by the law of love. The defence 
Jesus offered of the gift of the sinful woman (Luke 
vii. 44-47) and of Mary of Bethany (Matt. xxvi. 10-13) 


suggests that the society Jesus would approve need not 
rest on any narrow utilitarian basis. 

(15) The teaching of Jesus has recently been so 
interpreted as to deprive of His moral sanction the 
very existence of an organized society with laws which 
may be enforced. His prohibition of personal revenge, 
and His instructions to His disciples when persecuted 
to submit readily and fully to any wrongs inflicted on 
them, have been generalized into a final theory of 
government. The three concrete instances Jesus gives 
of such submission, the turning of the other cheek to 
him who has smitten the one, the surrender of the cloak 
to him who by law has taken away the coat, the going 
of two miles when forced to go one (Matt. v. 39-41) 
have been treated as rules of permanent and universal 
application. Under no conditions, it is argued, is 
force to be met with force ; wrong must never be with- 
stood ; obedience to law cannot be compelled. 

In disproof of this conclusion it may be pointed out 
first of all that Jesus is here not laying down rules of 
conduct, but is giving illustrations of a principle, and 
illustrations of what one may call the maximum re- 
quirement of the principle. If your love for your 
enemies, if your forgiveness of the insults and injuries 
they inflict upon you, demand such submission to 
wrong, you must submit — this is His meaning. Jesus 
does not seek by hard and fast rule to supersede con- 
science ; conscience must judge in each case whether 
the principle demands this or another application. 
Secondly, it is to be noted that one of the illustrations 
is drawn from temporary and local conditions — the 
service enforced by the Roman soldiery — as in the case of 
Simon of Cyrene who was compelled to carry the cross 
of Jesus (Mark xv. 21) — and cannot be a rule for all 
ages. Thirdly, the command is addressed to His dis- 


ciples for their guidance under persecution. Jesus has 
not at all in view the problem of the government of 
society. He is not here pronouncing any opinion as to 
the functions of the State, or the means by which its 
authority may be enforced. 

One may say confidently that government with the 
assent of the governed is nearer the Christian social 
ideal than the rule of force. That does not, however, 
involve that wrong-doers shall not be restrained, if need 
be, by force. So far as the moral interests of a society 
demand the suppression of vice and crime, there is 
nothing in the teaching of Jesus, reasonably and con- 
scientiously interpreted, to forbid such repression. If 
the punishments inflicted are vindictive, then the 
Christian principle is most certainly violated. If 
the punishments even are only preventive, they fall 
short of the requirements of the supreme law of love. 
Only if they are reformatory in intention, even though 
they may not always be in result, are they consistent 
with the Christian social ideal. Undoubtedly there 
is a stupidity and even a cruelty in many of the prison 
regulations, which sets them in absolute antagonism 
to the spirit of Jesus. 

If Jesus' principle of non-retaliation is to receive its 
proper modern applications, it is not only in individual 
conduct, but also in social regulations. When Christian 
men are not only subjects, but citizens, then not sub- 
mission to government only, but participation in govern- 
ment in order that as far as is possible the Christian 
ideal may be advanced and not retarded in its realiza- 
tion, is their duty. His ideal is a society in which love 
is so supreme, that law with its penalties is no longer 
necessary. Till love gains such supremacy law may 
be enforced, so long as it keeps not back, but hastens 
on the reign of love. So also in international relations 


the Christian principle appears to demand that war, 
and the suspicions, rivalries, ambitions which lead to 
war, shall be avoided at any cost of wealth, or power, or 
fame. To the writer it seems that the possibility must 
be allowed of a national resistance to aggression or 
tyranny which would not come under the condemna- 
tion of Jesus. Just as within a nation crime may be 
restrained, so as between nation and nation an attack 
on a people's liberty may be resisted. Yet from the 
Christian standpoint the ideal is a humanity that has 
forgotten the arts of war. Whatever in international 
relations removes the provocation to war is an applica- 
tion of the principle which Jesus enunciated. A literal 
obedience in all cases to the instances given as rigid 
rules would involve the supremacy of wrong in the 
world, the suppression of right, not only a temporary 
delay in the realization, but even the final extinction of 
the Christian ideal of just and kind and helpful govern- 

(i6) Having thus briefly surveyed the teaching of 
Jesus on those questions which are of urgent interest 
to us to-day, we are led to two considerations which 
seem to be of utmost importance if that teaching is to 
afford us the guidance which we need now. Social 
reformers in their ardour have sometimes felt that the 
teaching of Jesus did not yield them at once the solu- 
tions of the problems which they sought. This feeling 
is due to mistaken expectations, to putting the wrong 
questions to Jesus. The proof of the universality and 
permanence of the Christian religion lies just in this, 
that it does not deal directly with the needs of one age 
or of one people, that it does not perpetuate and diffuse 
temporary and local customs and standards. If Jesus 
had personally concerned Himself with the social 
problems of His own time and surroundings, He could 


not have become the world's Saviour and Lord. If 
our social problems had been anticipated by Him, and 
He had dealt with them, His teaching would have 
been out of all relation to the life around Him. The 
temporal and particular could have a place in His 
teaching only by way of illustration of the permanent 
and the universal. To grasp the illustration and cling 
to it would in most cases be to let slip and lose the 
principle. Just because Jesus so simplified and 
unified religion and morality as filial love to God and 
fraternal love to man, is the Christian faith so adaptable 
to different races and changing periods. Just because 
He applied that supreme principle only to a few funda- 
mental relations of human society, can there be pro- 
gress in Christian society. 

The wisdom and the worth of the method of Jesus 
are made more evident, if we compare it with that of 
Mohammed or Buddha. Buddha, that he might share 
his way of salvation with others, founded an order of 
monks, and only unwillingly associated with it in an 
inferior position an order of nuns. Alike his problem 
and its solution were temporary and local. Without 
altogether losing its distinctive features Buddhism can- 
not be the religion or morality of a progressive, civil- 
ized, modern society. Mohammed was not content 
with giving a creed ; he must needs attach to it a code 
which minutely regulated the morals, manners, duties 
and relations of his followers. Although he was a 
reformer, he was not so detached from his environment 
as to be uninfluenced by its beliefs, customs, institu- 
tions. While purposing to make Islam the universal 
religion, he nevertheless forced it into the moulds of 
Arab society, and so made it incapable without funda- 
mental change of adaptation to new conditions. That 
Jesus did not legislate for His community as Buddha 


and Mohammed both did is a proof that His Kingdom 
was not of this world, the natural product of one age or 
one people, but came in Him from an eternal and 
infinite source, above the divisions of race and the mu- 
tations of time, and so adapted, when it entered into 
human history, for universality and permanence. Be- 
cause we cannot find ready-made answers to all the 
questions of our time in the teaching of Jesus, it is 
fittest to yield to those who know how to cast the 
plummet of their conscience, quickened by His Spirit, 
into the depths of His principles the guidance that any 
age or any people may need. 

(17) It may be objected, however, that Jesus, 
although He laid down such permanent and universal 
principles, did not foresee any so gradual progress of the 
Kingdom of God in the world. There is a tendency 
among some scholars to force the teachings of Jesus into 
the Procrustean bed of contemporary Jewish thought : 
and to deny to them any originality of truth. It is 
impossible here to enter on a discussion of the difiicult 
subject of Jesus* eschatological teaching, in which He 
foretells in the near future God's judgment on Jerusalem, 
and in close connexion with it anticipates His own 
Second Advent, and the consummation of the age. 
There is no indication of any long interval of time 
between the events. It must be observed, however, 
that He expects the fall of Jerusalem in the same 
generation (Matt. xxiv. 34), but of His Return even He 
the Son knows not the hour (verse 36. It seems 
reasonable so to understand these conflicting indications 
of time, as there appears to be considerable confusion 
in the evangelists' reports of these utterances of Jesus). 
The parables collected in Matthew xiii. bearing on the 
mystery of the Kingdom suggest at least that Jesus had 
in view a longer and slower development of the King- 


dom by moral and religious means, and not by super- 
natural power. It is very difficult to believe that Jesus 
as the founder of the Kingdom of God on earth had not 
at least as clear a foresight of its historical progress as 
He had a keen insight into its moral and religious 
principles. A closer consideration should surely con- 
vince us that the Kingdom which is not of the world, 
which spreads as a mustard seed, and works changes 
like the leaven, which is so valued as a treasure or a 
pearl of great price as to be secured at the greatest 
sacrifice, into which the tares may be introduced as well 
as the wheat, and the success of which depends on the 
receptivity of human souls for divine truth and grace, 
that such a Kingdom comes not with outward obser- 
vation, or in sudden manifestation. That Jesus' 
foresight included any detailed knowledge of the history 
of His cause in the world need not, and cannot be main- 
tained ; but it is surely giving Him less than is due to 
His wisdom and grace to suppose that He did not anti- 
cipate, as the joy set before Him, for which He endured 
the Cross, the world-wide spread, and age-long growth 
of His Kingdom unto an end as great as, and worthy of. 
His sacrifice. As other essays in this volume will show, 
the Kingdom of God has been coming in a gradual pro- 
gress in human history ; and if the results are any indi- 
cation of the intention of Jesus, we are warranted in 
concluding that, however revolutionary His moral and 
religious principles might be, the method of Jesus in 
applying these principles in human society is evolution- 
ary, not in opposition, to, but in agreement with, the 
method of God in Creation and Providence. If pro- 
gress is to be Christian in character, it must not be 
secured by physical violence, or even political expedi- 
ency, but by the enlightening of the mind, the quicken- 
ing of the conscience, and the renewal of the life, 
c.c, I 


From this conclusion there follows an important 
inference in regard to the function of the Christian 
Church in Social Reform. It is not enough that its 
end should be Christian, the means too must be. It is 
not the task of the Church to hasten or delay changes in 
the economic conditions by stimulating the suspicion 
and hostility of the masses against the classes, or the 
reverse, by taking sides either for Capital or Labour, 
by defending private property or advocating collective 
ownership, by identifying itself with or opposing itself 
to any political party. It is its task, however, to insist 
that not bare legal justice, or even mere economic 
equality, but genuine Christian love shall inspire all 
social relationships ; that the aim of all social progress 
shall be a wider and yet closer brotherhood of mutual 
sympathy and service ; that the pity of Christ Himself 
shall be felt by all who are the members of His body for 
the miseries and sins of even the lowest of His brethren ; 
that the fellowship of His sufferings and conformity to 
His death means to-day very specially individual 
sacrifice for the common good ; that the power of His 
Resurrection will be realized above all in this age not so 
much in personal experience only, as in former ages, but 
in national and international history ; that the wrongs 
and cruelties that men inflict on one another must be 
brought to the judgment-bar of the Holy Love that 
gave itself in desolation and darkness to save sinful 
mankind. This may appear a less attractive method, 
but if the experience of the past offers guidance for the 
present, it will prove the more effective. 

(i8) In conclusion it seems necessary to add that 
the work of the Church is limited by its strength, that 
its abounding fruit depends on the fullness of life that 
it can draw from its roots in the truth and grace of 
God in Jesus Christ, Not only the teaching and exam- 


pie of Jesus must be taken into account in dealing with 
the Social Problem of to-day. The Christian Ideal is 
not only revealed, but also realized in Christ. It is not 
there merely for our contemplation and imitation. It 
is there for our appropriation by faith in His grace. 
Loftier and larger principles were never uttered ; a 
greater service was never rendered to mankind ; and 
never was a greater sacrifice endured for the good of 
men. Yet these principles can never be fully applied, 
nor can that service or that sacrifice be closely imitated, 
until Christ Himself in His present and potent Spirit 
becomes the inmost life of the soul, until His truth 
illumines the conscience, His grace energizes the will, 
and His love captivates the affections. Nothing could 
be more foolish than the tendency which is only too 
common to-day to oppose the devout life and the prac- 
tical duty. The lower springs of admiration for and 
acceptance of the teaching and example of Jesus will 
not keep full the river of Christ-like ministry to the 
needs of men ; it must draw its streams from the higher 
springs of a life lived with Christ in God, a life crucified 
and risen with Christ. Meditation on, and communion 
with the Living Lord is the source of the wise and holy 
love for men that is needed in all social relations. 

Should the much serving of even philanthropy 
divert the desire and interest of the Christian Church 
from the one thing needful, the love of the Father 
through the grace of the Son in the fellowship of the 
Spirit, ere long the work for man itself would lose its 
inspiration, would sink into a soulless routine, would 
fail in bringing to men their highest good. It was for 
the world's lasting gain that Jesus made it '' His meat 
and His drink," to do the Father's will in caring for 
the souls of men even unto the sacrifice of His Cross, 
even though His eyes had to be withdrawn from, and 


His heart had to be closed to many of the other interests 
of Ufe. His concentration on the revelation of God's 
Fatherhood, and the realization through redemption of 
man's sonship, was the necessary condition of the ever- 
widening expansion of man's brotherhood. The reli- 
gious good of the Kingdom of God must be secured for 
man before its moral duty could be imposed on man. 
Accordingly, the Christian ideal of social relations has 
its core in the Christian faith in God as the Father who 
in grace forgives the son who in faith comes to Him. 
The grateful love to God which is the fruit of the divine 
grace is the root of the human sympathy, service and 
sacrifice on behalf of others which brings the Kingdom 
of God on earth in a holy brotherhood of mankind which 
reflects the Holy Fatherhood of God. 


The Preparation for the Christian Ideal in 
the Gentile Environment of the Primitive 

By C. franklin ANGUS, M.A., Fellow and Classical 
Lecturer of Trinity Hall, Cambridge 


I. The Seed of the Gospel and the Soil of the Graeco-Roman World — The 

Traditional Account of its Condition One-Sided and Based on In- 
sufficient Evidence. 

II. The General Law of Development — The two Stages : (i) The Basis of 

Society among the Greeks and its Demolition — The Guidance of 
Philosophy — Epicureanism and Stoicism — (2) Rome as a MiUtary 
State — The Patria Potestas — Hardness and Strength. 

III. The Actual Picture — A Society in Process of Decomposition but giving 

Promise aheady of a New Order of Things. 

(i) Parallels to Modern Society in the Early Roman Empire — 
A High Level of Prosperity in Material Civihzation, a Sense of Econ- 
omic Responsibihty in the Government, Corruption in the Upper 
Classes, Abounding Generosity. 

(2) Pecuhar Points in the Imperial Age — ^The Position of Women, 
The Public Games, The Institution of Slavery, and the Influence of 
Philosophy — The Defect of the Philosophy — The Absence of a Vivify- 
ing Spirit. 


The Preparation for the Christian Ideal in 
the Gentile Environment of the Primitive 

Uw? ovv olov re rjp rrjv elpTjviKtjv ravirju hiha(TKa\iav 
KpaTTJaaif il /jlt) to T/7? oiKov/xivi]^ rrj 'Irjaov iirLSrjfila 
fjb€T€^e^\rfTo Travra'x^ov iirl to ri/jbepdjTepov ; Origen. 

' EiraL^aycoyeL yap koX t) ^CKo<To^ia to ^EWtjviKov o)9 
o vofjLo^ Tovf ^E8paiov<i el^ XptaTOP. TrpoTrapaa/cevd^ec 
TOLVVV avTTj TTpo oBoTToiovaa TOP VTTO XpLGTov TeXevov- 

Clement of Alexandria. 

Freed from the narrow bonds of Judaism, the Christian 
Gospel invaded the Graeco-Roman world. What was 
the kind of civilization which it found there estab- 
lished ? What ideas and institutions had it to com- 
bat ? On the other hand, to what extent and through 
what processes had the hearts and minds of men been 
prepared for its reception ? What, in a word, was 
the nature of the soil into which the good seed must 
fall, and what was already sown or growing there ? 
These are the questions which we have now to con- 

It has been usual until quite recent times to regard 
the Roman Empire, during the first century of our 
era, as a world of profoundest moral darkness, relieved 




only where a few faint beams of light, reflected from 
the East, gave promise of the coming dawn. A true 
picture of society was found in the familiar lines of 
Matthew Arnold : — 

" On that hard pagan world disgust 

And secret loathing fell ; 

Deep weariness and sated lust 

Made human life a hell." 

Contemporary writers were quoted to the same effect. 
Had not Tacitus written of his own age as " a reign 
of terror, in which no virtue could live,'' and called 
the Imperial City '' a common sink where all the 
abominations of the world met and multiplied 7 ** ^. 
Seneca was the tutor of Nero, and knew the secrets 
of the court : could anything exceed the bitterness 
of his description ? — 

" All things are full of iniquity and vice. More crimes are com- 
mitted than can be remedied by force. A monstrous contest of 
wickedness is carried on. Daily the lust of sin increases : daily 
the sense of shame grows less. Casting away aU regard for what is 
good and honourable, pleasure runs riot without restraint. Vice 
no longer hides itself, it walks abroad before all eyes. . . . Inno- 
cence has ceased to exist . . ." ^ 

From these and similar passages we have learnt 
to picture a world of absolute power unregulated by 
conscience, of enormous wealth free from any sense 
of responsibility ; where wickedness sat enthroned, 
while more than half the population lived in slavery, 
chattels of masters trained to seek amusement in 
scenes of blood and human agony ; where the widow 
and orphan were unregarded, and the very name of 

^ Tacitus, Agricola i. Annals, xv. 44 ; see also the whole 
chapter in the Histories, i, 2. 
' Seneca, De Ira, ii. 8. 


charity was unknown ; a world where sense and 
intellect were abundantly gratified, while the soul 
starved, because love had no place in it. How a 
society so essentially corrupt could have held together 
for so long was not explained : in this barren and 
exhausted soil, it was believed, Christianity, like a root 
out of dry ground, miraculously grew. 

To deny that the traditional account contained much 
truth would be absurd, but it was one-sided and based 
on insufficient evidence. The best known classical 
writers are either historians, who amid the excite- 
ments of the court and capital give only occasional 
attention to the provinces, or satirists whose very art 
presupposes a certain amount of exaggeration and 
caricature. Peace and the prosperity of humble folk 
have always found few annalists. Moreover it is 
difficult to trace the infl.uences at work upon those 
who did not read. This is unfortunate, because, as 
we must never forget, Christianity first found welcome 
among the '' lower '* classes, and worked its way up- 
wards. Yet probably these classes are less susceptible 
to change than the rest of the community. The picture 
of the masses in Petronius and the Golden Ass 
reveal very much the same characteristics that still 
mark the peoples of the South — a gay, sensual crowd, 
materialistic in its hopes and fears and at the same 
time very superstitious. The researches of recent 
years among inscriptions, papyri and humbler pot- 
sherds are bringing to light an immense amount 
of evidence which may some day be combined into a 
vivid presentation of their every-day lives,^ but 
already we have enough to justify the statement of 

^ See Deissmann, Ltcht vom Osten, Osten ^, 1909, p. 212 : also 
his remarks in the Expositor, for Feb. 1909, p. 100 ; Renan, Les 
Apdtres p. 312. 


Renan that the world in general had never been so 
happy as during the first two centuries of the Roman 
Empire. Parts of it indeed, as for instance Asia 
Minor, '' the province of five hundred towns,'' have 
never reached so high a level since. Of the many 
modern authorities which might be quoted, let us 
cite one paragraph from the most recent English work 
on the subject : it will serve at once to correct the 
traditional view of our period and to mark out the 
lines which our investigation must follow. In the 
introductory chapter of his Roman Society from Nero 
to Aurelius, Dr. Dill writes : — 

" The inscriptions, the letters of the younger Pliny, even the 
pages of Tacitus himself, reveal to us another world from that of 
the Satirist. On countless tombs we have the record or the ideal 
of a family life of sober, honest industry, and pure affection. . . . 
The provinces, even under a Tiberius, a Nero, a Domitian, enjoyed 
a freedom from oppression which they seldom enjoyed under the 
Republic. Just and upright Governors were the rule and not the 
exception, and even an Otho or a Vitellius, tainted with every pri- 
vate vice, returned from their provincial governments with a repu- 
tation for integrity. Municipal freedom and self-government were 
probably at their height at the very time when life and liberty in 
the capital were in hourly peril. The great Stoic doctrine of the 
brotherhood and equality of men, as members of a world-wide 
commonwealth, which was destined to inspire legislation in the 
Antonine age, was openly preached in the reigns of Caligula and 
Nero. A softer tone — a modern note of pity for the miserable, 
and succour for the helpless — ^makes itself heard in the literature of 
the first century. The moral and mental equality of the sexes was 
being more and more recognized in theory, as the capacity of women 
for heroic action and self-sacrifice was displayed so often in the age 
of the tyranny and of the Stoic martyrs. The old cruelty and con- 
tempt for the slave will not give way for many a generation ; but 
the slave is now treated by all the great leaders of moral reform as 
a being of the same mould as his master, his^equal, if not his superior, 
in capacity for virtue." ^ 

* Dill, op, cit.t pp. 2 f. See also Mommsen, Provinces of the 


These facts, evidence of a new influence at work, 
require fuller treatment and illustration. But a 
preliminary question arises. What was the source 
of this new influence ? Not Christianity, for it shows 
itself in authors to whom the infant sect was unknown. 
Indeed, as has been said, '' had the new life flowing 
forth from Christ encountered the still unbroken 
ancient life, it would have recoiled from the encounter 
ineffectually." ^ We cannot imagine St. Paul obtain- 
ing a hearing at Athens in the time of Pericles, or at 
Rome during the second Punic War. His message 
would have fallen upon preoccupied ears and never 
reached the hearts of men who felt no need of his 
gospel. '' But when the fullness of the time was 
come " — the phrase is historically accurate ! Ancient 
civilization had reached a crisis in this first century 
of the Roman Empire. Society was in a state of 
transition : — 

" Wandering between two worlds, one dead. 
The other powerless to be born." 

If then we are to understand what a French writer 
has called " this preparation of souls," 2 it will be 
necessary to inquire into the manner and process of 
the change, even at the cost of an apparent digression. 

Let us begin with what may be called the general 
law of development in the histories of all dominant 
nations. In modern Europe it appears as clearly as 
in ancient Rome. There are two stages to be dis- 

Roman Empire, p. 4 ; Bussell, The School of Plato, introduction, 
and infra, p. [37]. 

* Uhlhorn, Die christliche Liebesthdtigkeit in der alien Kirche 
(E. T., 1883, p. 40). 

' Martha, Les Moralisies sous I'Empire romain, p. 4. 



tinguished. The first is the age when the tribal or 
civic spirit is supreme, when the individual is sacrificed 
to the State, and intellectual interests are subordinated 
to the political. During this period the power is 
probably in the hands of the few, and the condition 
of the masses is one of poverty and neglect ; but the 
nation itself is strong in war and rapidly expands its 
dominion. Then as conquest brings wealth, and wealth 
luxury, a second period begins. The body of the nation, 
as it were, is at rest and the mind is allowed to awake. 
The softer, feminine side of human nature begins to 
find expression; the claims of pleasure, art and all 
forms of indi^idual culture press forward to be recog- 
nized. In the reaction against the supremacy of the 
State, public duties are found to be irksome, and insti- 
tutions such as marriage or an established religion 
become unfashionable. Men object to any responsi- 
bilities that threaten to limit their personal indepen- 
dence, and demand freedom to make their own fortime 
or to save their own souls. Economically, the centre 
of gravity is changing, money becomes a force as well 
as birth and the sword. A middle class arises and 
slowly acquires political power. As a military force 
the nation has begun to decline. Morally and intel- 
lectually it is hanging in the balance, and contem- 
porary observers will express most diverse opinions 
as to its condition. In the fierce conflict between old 
traditions and new ideals, symptoms emerge which 
one party will hail as signs of progress," the other as 
marks of '' corruption." 

The Graeco-Roman world then was in the midst 
of its second period when Christianity entered it. To 
recognize this fact will help us to understand the con- 
fusions and contradictions which we shall find as we 
proceed to study its details. But we have first to 


examine rather more particularly the causes which 
brought the first period of its history to an end. 

The basis of ancient society, among both Greeks 
and Romans, had been the City-State . The ''City'' was 
an end in itself, the supreme object of devotion to its 
members, whose obedience it claimed in every relation 
of life under the triple manifestation of Law, Citizen- 
ship and Religion. The citizens were bound to one 
another by mutual ties and obligations ; all non- 
citizens, whether slaves or foreigners, were, originally 
at least, without any rights whatsoever ; the claims 
of common humanity were neither recognized nor 

It was this narrow conception of the State which 
wrecked the efforts of the Athenians to found a lasting 
empire in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., and 
limited the speculations of even the greatest philoso- 

The first blow at the ancient fabric was struck, 
perhaps, by Socrates, who declared himself a citizen, 
not of Athens, but of the World ^ : the demolition was 
completed by the conquests of Alexander, whose 
greatness appears more in his political enlightenment 
than in his military successes. To Aristotle the dis- 
tinction between Greek and barbarian appeared natural 
and ultimate, and when Alexander was master of the 
East, his old tutor is said to have advised him to 
treat the first as a leader treats his friends, but to use 
the foreigners as instruments of his despotic pleasure. 
*' But he,*' continues Plutarch, '' as one come down 
from heaven to reconcile the feuds of mankind, bade 
all consider the world their country and the virtuous 
their friends.'' 2 

^ Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, v. 108. 
* Plutarch, De Alexandri Fortuna, v. 


The political and social effects of Alexander's con- 
quests were immense— nothing less than the end of 
the classical age of Hellas. Politically, innumerable 
petty republics were merged into one vast unity. 
Sovereign states sank to provincial towns : councils 
accustomed to debate on themes imperial, found them- 
selves limited to questions of municipal organization. 
Moreover, the old philosophy disappeared with 
the conditions which had given it birth. It is one 
of the most ironical proofs of man's short-sightedness 
that Aristotle's Ethics was out of date almost as soon 
as it was published. Theories of citizenship lost their 
interest when the ''City" was no more. Still it is true 
of nations as of individuals that by dying we live, and 
with the end of Hellas Hellenism began. Though 
Athens had lost her Empire, and even her independence, 
she now for the first time reahzed the proud title which 
Pericles had given her, and became the university of 
the world, and by the conquests of Alexander, absorbed 
and extended in the Empire of Rome, Greek ideals 
and Greek civilization spread from the five rivers 
of Indus to the Atlantic Ocean. Again, when their 
collective majesty was taken from them, men found their 
individuality. Though systems perished and Empires 
changed hands, private lives still went on, and personal 
sorrows had to be borne ; indeed now that public 
duties had been so diminished, they filled the larger 
part of the horizon. The change is clearly shown in 
the comic stage, where the varying fortunes of indivi- 
duals now engrossed the attention formerly given 
to affairs of state, and here was the origin of Terence's 
famous line : — 

" Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto." 
Thus two important results emerge : first, a cosmo- 


politanism, in which the old distinction between Greek 
and barbarian disappears, and second, the new spirit 
of individuaHsm. 

For serious guidance in their perplexities men turned 
to philosophy, which adapted itself to the new order. 
The difference may be shown by two definitions. To 
Plato and Aristotle the origin of philosophy was a 
sense of intellectual doubt and bewilderment. To 
Epictetus it is : — '' A consciousness of one^s own 
weakness and insufficiency for what is required.'' ^ 
Metaphysics, that is to say, sinks to the background ; 
ethics becomes of supreme importance. Philosophy 
is no longer the pillar of fire going before a few intrepid 
seekers after truth : it is rather an ambulance follow- 
ing in the wake of the struggle for existence and picking 
up the weak and wounded. Plato's contemptuous 
exclamation : — '' For the people philosophy is impossi- 
ble !" 2 is not repeated ; on the contrary, philosophy, 
as Cicero puts it, '' is the art of life " ; and the post- 
Aristotelian schools, like modern churches, made no 
distinction of sex, or status, or nationality. They 
offered to all, by divers ways, a road to peace and 
happiness and a stronghold against the attacks of 
external fortune. 

Two systems of thought, separated by a funda- 
mental difference of standpoint, and appealing to 
opposite sides of human nature, were pre-eminently 
successful in their attempts to supply this need. It 
did not occur to either Epicurus or Zeno to '' call in a 
new world to redress the balance of the old." They 
brought no hopes of heaven, no fuller revelation of 
God, but sought rather to make each man a god unto 
himself, and this present life independent of circum- 

^ Epictetus, Dissertations, II. xi. 
^ Plato, Republic, 494a. 


stances. Into the details of their teaching we need 
not now enter ; they concern us only in so far as they 
helped to modify or reform the social ideas of our 
period, and we may be content with the most general 

Epicurus was a man to whom tradition has done 
scant justice. We have been taught to call him a 
godless scientist and pleasure-seeker, and neither title 
is strictly applicable. A kindly soul, with a genius 
for friendship, he was the author of a real evangel to 
many who were in bondage to the fear of death or 
to the mental disquietude which is the result of poly- 
theism. His ideal was a quiet life, and his Articles show 
that he was prepared to sacrifice any '' system *' to 
secure it. By what he believed to be a true, or at 
least a plausible, account of man's nature and environ- 
ment, he hoped to banish panic from their minds, and 
pain from their members. Happiness, he taught, 
consisted not in the multitude of possessions but in 
the fewness of desires : in the service of philosophy was 
true freedom. He was, perhaps, the first to discover 
that society is made for man, and not man for society. 
In the garden where his followers met, women and 
even slaves were made welcome, and little children 
were among the recipients of his letters. '' In his 
lifetime," writes a biographer, *' his friends were 
numbered by whole cities," ^ and generations after his 
death disciples were found eager, like Lucretius, to 
praise the saviour who had brought life and — mortality 
to light ! The school hardly appears above the surface 
of history. Averse by tradition from activity in either 
politics or research, and inspired rather by the example 
of its master than by his promulgation of " the truth," 
it survived its great rival as well as all early forms 
^ See Diogenes Laertius, x. 9. 


of Greek philosophy, and lasted into the fourth century 
of the Christian era. The grosser minds of Rome 
seized upon those parts of Epicurus' teaching which 
were most liable to perversion, and won for it the 
infamy now associated with the name of epicure.^ But 
while it must be admitted that Epicureanism was 
always fatally open to abuse, it did much in a hard 
and unsettled age to develop the more amiable virtues 
of domestic life. 

Very different was the object and influence of 
Stoicism. Its founder, Zeno, was like many of its 
early leaders, a Phoenician, and in him appear some 
of those characteristics — an intolerance of imperfection 
almost amounting to a sense of sin, a demand for 
resignation before the All-Supreme, and an uncompro- 
mising idealism — which we associate with the Semitic 
spirit, but which were new in the thought of Hellas. 
To him seems to have been due the introduction of the 
ideas and words of duty and conscience, as well as the 
distinction of moral values, which are absolute, from 
practical values, which are relative and strictly indif- 
ferent. He first clearly stated that the will or intention 
is everything, and that circumstances are nothing, 
except as forming material for exercising the will or 
building character. The Empire of Alexander seems 
to have produced upon his mind an effect very like 
that which centuries later the Roman Empire produced 
upon the mind of St. Augustine. He, too, had his 
vision of a City of God, in which were neither Greek 
nor barbarian, male nor female, slave nor free, but all, 
as recognizing one law of Reason, members of one 

^ Its most typical representative under the Empire is perhaps 
Horace, and it would be interesting to consider what has been 
the moral effect of his Odes upon successive generations of 
Enghsh gentlemen. 

c.c K 


State and therefore one of another. For the Reason, 
which is in and rules the world, is one with the reason 
in our breasts which does or should govern our lives. 
Therefore the Law of the universe is also the law of 
our own nature, and we can only realize ourselves and 
obtain our freedom in conforming to the purposes 
of God. 

To some members of the school this thought came 
with all the force of a religion ; and so Cleanthes, like 
Newman, has his hymn : — 

" Lead me, O Zeus, and thou, O Destiny, 
Lead Thou me on : 
To whatsoever task thou sendest me 

Lead Thou me on : 
I follow fearless, or if in mistrust 
I lag and will not, follow still I must." ^ 

Thus the Stoics literally made a virtue of necessity. 
Still, it was this mystic assurance that formed the 
strength of the school. 

" The enormous influence which it exerted over the minds of 
the ancient world, its power to strengthen the souls of the noblest 
men for action and endurance, lay in its firm grasp of this central 
idea — that there is a rational principle in the world which is one in 
nature and with the self-conscious intelligence within us, and that 
through apparent disorder this principle is inevitably reaUzing 

Praise such as this is to be found in all accounts 
of Stoicism ; and yet we must haste to add qualifications. 
If it had peculiar strength, it had also peculiar 
weaknesses. No other school failed so completely 
to connect its ideals with practical life. A curious 
unreality, a fatal lack of grip, runs through the whole 

1 Quoted by Epictetus, Manual, 52. 

* Caird, The Evolution of Theology in the Greek Philosophers ^ 
vol. ii. p. 84. 


system. Enunciating the loftiest ideas as to the 
sovereignty of " God '' and the universal brotherhood 
of man, it fails, nevertheless, to release them from the 
region of intellectual concepts. Again, the slight 
importance which Stoicism attached to external circum- 
stances, while forming much of its power as a creed 
for the individual, greatly weakened its force to stimu- 
late practical reform, or inspire active benevolence. 
The characteristic attitude of the Stoic to life is fairly 
portrayed in Henley's Invictus, but his "unconquerable 
sour* could be gained only at the cost of much sacrifice. 
All emotions that might disturb the central calm, all 
adjuncts which were within the reach of envious for- 
tune — ^life, honour, the fate of others — these must be 
regarded as indifferent by the true sage. "He is 
incapable of passion,'* we read, ''neither does he forgive 
any man." ^ To render himself invulnerable, the Stoic 
turned his heart into a stone : — " He made a solitude 
and called it peace." This profound egotism, so incon- 
sistent with the better instincts of humanity,' will meet 
us again when we consider the great Stoics of Rome. 
It remains first to inquire how Roman society 
underwent the change which had revolutionized the 
Hellenistic world. 

From its earliest history Rome was essentially a 
military state. The effect upon the characters of its 
citizens is well shown in Lecky's History of European 
Morals : — 

" The Roman," he says, " had learnt to value force very highly. 
Being continually engaged in inflicting pain, his natural or instinct- 
ive humanity was very low. . . . Indomitable pride was the 
most prominent element of his character. A victorious army which 
is humble or diffident, or tolerant of insult, or anxious to take the 
second place, is, indeed, almost a contradiction of terms. ... On 

^ Diogenes Laertius, vii, 123. 


the other hand, the habits of men were unaffected, frugal, honour- 
able and laborious. A stern discipline pervading all ages and classes 
of society, the will was trained, to an almost unexampled degree, to 
repress the passions, to endure suffering and opposition, to tend 
steadily and fearlessly towards an unpopular end. A sense of duty 
was very widely diffused, and a deep attachment to the interests of 
the city became the parent of many virtues." ^ 

The rigour and severity of ancient Rome is illus- 
trated by the patria potestas. The Roman father was 
absolute head of his house and exercised the power of 
life and death over all its members : even when his 
sons attained manhood and possessed families of their 
own they were not exempt from his authority. Many 
instances of its relentless exercise, regarded by the 
Greeks as intolerable tyranny, are recorded with 
respect by the national historians. 

But if the most distinctive mark of the Roman 
nature was hardness, there went with it a strength 
which no other country could resist. By the middle 
of the second century before Christ the supremacy of 
Rome was manifest. A series of wars left her without 
a rival in the political world,, heir of Alexander, pro- 
tector of Greece and mistress of the Orient. From 
this point a twofold current of conflicting tendencies 
flowed westward. While the Roman conquerors 
returned with enormous stores of treasure and all the 
instruments of Eastern luxury, there followed also in 
their train the Greek philosopher preaching the creed 
of Epicurus or the Porch. The immediate effect was 
disastrous, for the old traditions of Roman society 
gave way before the new ideas had had time to con- 
struct an alternative rule of life. In the atmosphere 
of irresponsible power the primitive integrity of the 
Roman fathers died. The Government proved in- 

* Op, cit, p. 224. 


adequate to the enormous extension of its authority. 
The town had become a world-capital, containing nearly 
a million souls ; the State an Empire stretching from 
the deserts of Africa to the German Ocean, bounded 
on one side by the Straits of Gibraltar and on the other 
by the Euphrates. Commercial interests acquired 
more and more weight in the foreign policy of the 
Senate. As the value of the provinces increased, the 
struggle of parties at home became more bitter and 
unscrupulous. A century of civil war, which devas- 
tated Italy and reduced most of the inhabitants to the 
verge of penury, while the wealth and resources of civili- 
zation were shared between a few capitalists, left one 
man undisputed master through all this vast territory, 
lord of life and death over fifty millions of men. What 
Julius Caesar might have achieved, had he lived to 
carry out his reforms it is impossible to determine; 
but in reducing Italy and the provinces to one level 
he certainly took a great step towards the unification 
of the Empire, though the admission of all free men 
to the full rights of Roman citizenship was not actually 
realized till a.d. 216. But even while political dis- 
tinctions of status remained, the magnificent facilities 
for travel and permeation of Greek language and ideas, 
together with the absence of racial or colour prejudices 
and the absorption of all nationalities and religions, 
had produced a practical homogeneity throughout 
the ancient world by the time that Christianity entered 

Hitherto we have been occupied with causes or 
antecedents. We have tried to account for the con- 
dition of affairs in the first century in our era. It 
is now time to turn to the actual period and examine 


the picture which we have been allowed to expect — a 
society in process of decomposition but giving promise 
already of a new order of things. The picture, it is 
only fair to remind ourselves, must be far from com- 
plete. The evidence for a full description of provincial 
life is still being collected ; but even the partial testi- 
mony of ancient literature may serve to show a move- 
ment within the Pagan world fertilizing the old soil 
and preparing it to receive new seed. 

In many of these essential features the early Roman 
Empire presents astonishing parallels to modern 

" It has never been difficult for me to realize," writes its most 
recent historian, " that contemporary Europe and America, the 
Europe and America of railroads, industries, and monstrous swift- 
growing cities, might find present in ancient Rome a part of their 
own very souls — restless, turbulent, greedy." ^ 

In material civilization, at least, a high level of pros- 
perity was maintained. The " majesty of the Roman 
peace ''and the large extent of municipal independence 
permitted by the central authority covered the pro- 
vinces with flourishing cities. Every year our excava- 
tions are bringing to light traces of highly organized 
communities in regions where desert and solitude now 

" The world is filled," said a panegyrist of the age, " with gym- 
nasia, fountains, porticoes, temples, factories and schools : the 
whole earth flourishes Hke a garden." 2 

The great roads which spanned the empire from end 
to end, the security of the inland sea, and the absence 

1 Ferrero, Characters and Events of Roman History (Lowell 
Lectures for 1909), p. 248. The whole book is an enlargement and 
illustration of the text. 

2 Aristides, Or. xiv. 3.91 (quoted by Dill, p. 197). 


of protective tariffs, gave an enormous impulse to 
industrial production. The new countries of Gaul, 
Spain and Britain vied with, and in some respects 
surpassed, the old manufactures of Asia and the East. 
The new middle class offered a market for cheap imita- 
tions and popularized luxuries. The increase of trade 
between the different parts of the world led to a great 
development in letter-writing, while at home civic 
intercourse was fostered by innumerable clubs and 
private societies. 

" Among the many parallels which can be drawn between the 
first centuries of the Christian era and our own times there is prob- 
ably none more striking than that of their common tendency to- 
wards the formation of associations. There were, as now, associa- 
tions for almost innumerable purposes. In almost all parts of the 
Empire there were trade guilds and dramatic guilds : there were 
athletic clubs and burial clubs and dining clubs : there were 
friendly societies and literary societies and financial societies. If 
we omit those special products of our own time, natural science 
and social science, there was scarcely any object for which men 
combine now that they did not combine then." ^ 

No institution of ancient life so favoured the growth 
of Christianity as these societies ; and indeed the local 
churches owed chiefly to them whatever status or 
organization they originally possessed. 

Nor was the Government entirely without a sense 
of economic responsibility. Sumptuary laws to check 
individual extravagance were continually being passed. 
Evidence has been found for the existence of a Poor 
Rate in Egypt.^ In Rome the lower classes had 
been encouraged to look to the State for free food and 
amusement. In 46 B.C., 320,000 citizens were receiv- 

^ Hatch, Bampton Lectures, 1880, p. 26. See also Renan, Les 
Apotres, p. 350. 

2 Expository Times, Nov. 1908, p. 90. 


ing daily grants of corn, at a cost to the Empire of 
£650,000 a year. Caesar reduced the number, which 
seems to have become fixed at 200,000. Originally 
a political bribe to the masses, its continuance by the 
Emperors has caused some perplexity to historians ; 
but as recent research has discovered traces of similar 
institutions in Greek municipalities, perhaps those are 
right who see in it a deliberate attempt to solve a 
difficulty not confined to ancient cities, and a recog- 
nition that *' the main duty of an enlightened Govern- 
ment is to pauperize its people.'' ^ 

Corruption is most evident in the upper classes. The 
political revolution greatly interfered with their tradi- 
tional occupations of waging war and administering 
affairs, and even what opportunities were left them, 
most showed little inclination to employ. Instead, 
all sorts of personal interests occupied their time — 
intellectual culture,the pleasures of art, sensual extrava- 
gances, and every form of sport. What little educa- 
tion there was tended solely to develop the instinct 
of rhetoric, or, as we should say, journalism. It was 
essentially a superficial age ; its notes are nervous 
hustle and purposeless activity. The lines of Horace 
are well known : — 

" Caelum, non animum, mutant qui trans mare currunt. 
Strenua nos exercet inertia," 

and Seneca two generations later writes in a similar 
strain 2. But the censure of court poets and court 
philosophers only records the failure of the Govern- 
ment's efforts to restore a bygone simplicity. Society, 
then, as now, invented countless claims upon the leisure 
of its members. 

^ Bussell, The School of Plato, p. 11. 

2 Horace, Epistles, I. xi. 27. Cf. Seneca, De Tranquillitate, 12. 


" It is astonishing," writes Pliny, " how time is spent in Rome. 
Take any day by itself and it either is, or seems to be, well spent ; 
then review many days together, and you will be surprised to dis- 
cover how unprofitable they have been. Ask any one — ' What 
have you done to-day ? ' He will tell you, ' I was at a friend's 
giving his son the toga virilis, another requested me to be witness to 
his will, a third asked me to a consultation. All of these things 
appear at the time to be extremely necessary, but when we reflect 
that day after day has been thus spent, such employment seems 

Still there were those who, like Pliny himself, 
found other means of filling their time and spending 
their money. Any public calamity or wide-spread 
disaster excited the most general interest and found 
practical sympathy. In 17 a.d. an earthquake de- 
stroyed twelve of the most populous cities of Asia 
Minor. Tiberius at once promised a sum of ^^83,000 
and remitted all taxation for five years, while the Senate 
despatched a commission of inquiry and relief. Ten 
years later the collapse of an amphitheatre at Fidena 
killed or maimed fifty thousand persons. The houses 
of the gentry were thrown open, and every form of 
medical aid was placed at the disposal of the sufferers.^ 

" There has probably seldom been a time," writes Dr. Dill, 
" when wealth was more generally regarded as a trust. . . . There 
was never an age in which the wealthy more frankly and even reck- 
lessly recognized this imperious claim." ^ 

Pliny, according to the estimate of the same writer, 
spent £80,000 in benevolence. The endowment of 
institutions for the support of poor children, « begun by 
the Emperor Nerva, was continued by private indivi- 
duals. Charitable bequests are frequent in the in- 

! Pliny, Epistles, I. ix. 

^ Tacitus, Annals, ii. 47, iv. 63 

^ Dill, Roman Society, p. 231. 

'^ Pliny, Panegyric, 28 ; Epistles, VII. xviii. 


scriptions. A stone, erected by the grateful community, 
commemorates the gift by an ItaUan Apothecary of 
£60 and 300 jars of " aromatic herbs '' for the free 
distribution of drugs to the sick and needy of his 

So much then for the aspects in which the Imperial 
Age most strikingly resembles our own. There remain 
four points in which it was peculiar — the position of 
women, the public games, the institution of slavery 
and the influence of philosophy. In each of the first 
three we shall find traces of the growth of a humaner 
spirit, while in the fourth will be seen the main source 
and limitation of its power. 

Nowhere were the signs of change more manifest 
than in family life. Parental despotism was too heroic 
or too harsh for these later days, and a Roman knight, 
in the time of Augustus, who exercised the traditional 
privilege of flogging his son to death, was almost torn 
in pieces by the mob.^ The position of women was 
one of complete social and moral emancipation, and 
while possessing few legal rights, they enjoyed a greater 
amount of personal freedom than has ever been per- 
mitted them since. They seem to have paid for it by 
losing the respect of those whose privileges they invaded. 
To Tacitus, Agrippina showed herself an unnatural 
mother in seeking to share with Nero his imperial 
burden.3 But they were still regarded in general as 
the instrument of men's pleasure, and even the philo- 
sophers seem to have thought it hardly worth while 
to protest. Epictetus credits no woman with thoughts 
above sensual gratification.* Indeed, nothing in 
Pagan literature so scandalizes the modern reader as the 
light-heartedness with which every violation of sexual 

^ Inscr. Orelli, 114. ^ Seneca, De dementia, i. 15. 

^ Tacitus, Annals, xiii. 5. * Epictetus, Manual, 40. 


morality was regarded and even practised. The tre- 
mendous emphasis laid by the early Church upon per- 
sonal purity was the necessary reaction. For even 
when men had begun to imderstand the value of human 
life, they had still to learn the sanctity of their own 
bodies. Yet one inscription has been found com- 
memorating a Society for the Preservation of Chastity/ 
and many others preserve the record of lives passed 
in innocence and fidelity, while history contains some 
notable instances in which husband and wife taught 
one another how to die. 

It is probably true of all nations that their public 
entertainments exhibit their worst side, but the 
Roman games are deservedly notorious. No descrip- 
tion can surpass the horrors of the reality : they ap- 
pealed to the lowest and most brutal passions of which 
human nature is capable. The gladiatorial shows were 
evolved out of the Etruscan practice of offering human 
sacrifices to the shades of the dead, and were intro- 
duced into Rome at the beginning of the foreign wars. 
From the first the blood and treasure of the conquered 
nations was dedicated to their embellishment ; but 
as the Games increased in popularity, there gradually 
arose a professional class, each member of which was 
under contract " to let himself be chained, scourged, 
burnt or killed without opposition, if the laws of the 
institution should so require.'' Criticism or protest 
in the days of the Republic is hardly audible. ** To 
some, I know,'' writes Cicero 2, '' the exhibition of the 
gladiators seems cruel and inhuman, and perhaps, as 
things are done nowadays, they are right. But what 
an example of courage," he continues, '' what con- 
tempt of death ! No better instance of discipline can 

1 Inser. Orelli, 2401. 

2 Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, ii, 41. 


be presented to the eye/' A hundred thousand are 
said to have fought during the reign of Augustus. 
Passion for these spectacles ran Uke a disease through 
all sections of the community, irrespective of age, sex, 
or rank. 

" What room is left for liberal arts," asks a contemporary,^ 
" when the mind is preoccupied and obsessed with such enthusiasms ? 
In how many homes will you find any other subject of conversation ? 
What else do we hear discussed by our young men, if we enter their 
lecture rooms ? Nor indeed does any theme more frequently 
engross their instructors." 

And Juvenal complains that the disaster of Cannae 
could not have caused more consternation among the 
Romans of that day than is shown by their descendants 
at the defeat of a popular side in the arena.^ We are 
perhaps hardly in a position to condemn this mis- 
direction of the public interest, but at least its 
object in our day is more innocent. 

From Rome the Games spread to the provinces. 
Only in Greece, with the exception of the half-foreign 
port of Corinth, did they fail to secure a foothold. 
When an attempt was made to introduce them into 
Athens, a philosopher bade the people first overthrow 
the Altar of Pity. Greek ideas, indeed, inspired the 
initial opposition. It is in philosophers like Seneca 
that we first find a sense of revolt openly expressed. 

" The Games," he writes, " are mere massacres," and again» 
" man, a sacred thing, is butchered to make a holiday for his fel- 
lows." 3 

Such utterances were not altogether fruitless ; and 
later Emperors, such as Vespasian and Marcus Aurelius, 
discouraged the shows, though many years had to 

^ Dialogus de claris oratorihus, 29. ^ Juvenal, xi. 185. 

^ Seneca, Epistles, vii. 3, xcv. ^Z- 


pass and stronger influences arise before they ceased 

Another institution of the period, whose history 
illustrates the same conflict between a traditional 
disregard for human life and a growth of more humane 
sentiments, is slavery. Every community has at one 
or another stage in its development contained a class 
of men doomed, by birth or the fortunes of war, to live 
dependent on the whims of others, unprotected by 
any legal status and regarded by society as mere 
machinery to minister to its convenience. To the 
Law, the slave was not a person, but a thing, at the 
absolute disposal of his owner. But the actual lot 
of the slave has varied immensely according to the 
character of his masters. In Greece his position was 
worse in theory than in fact. 

"In no country of the ancient world were slaves treated with 
such humanity as in Hellas ; it was not the law, but custom that 
forbade the Greek to sell his slaves to a non-Greek master, and 
so J)anished from this region the slave-trade proper." ^ 

But at Rome all the vices of the national temperament 
combined to make his life intolerable : against its lust 
and cruelty he had for centuries no redress. The 
callousness with which the elder Cato sold in their 
declining years the slaves who had worn out their 
energies in his service shocked his biographer, Plu- 
tarch. 2 A Roman might have considered it enough 
that they had been spared so long ! Brutal punish- 
ments and death itself were inflicted upon them for 
the slightest faults, or even with no excuse at all. The 
lines of Juvenal are well known : — 

^ Mommsen, Provinces of the Roman Empire, p. 272. 
2 Plutarch, Cato Major, v. 


" 'Go, crucify that slave.* ' For what offence ? 
Who the accuser ? Where the evidence ? 
For when the life of man is in debate, 
No time can be too long, no care too great ; 

Hear all, weigh all with caution, I advise * 

' Thou sniveller ! is a slave a man ? " she cries. 
' He's innocent ! be't so : 'tis my command. 
My will ; let that, sir, for a reason stand.' " * 

In one of his epistles, Seneca describes the fashionable 
aristocrat at dinner, surrounded by a multitude of 
slaves, each a specialist in some minute item of the 

" He eats more than he can hold, but his unfortunate slaves 
must not so much as move their lips. Every sound is threatened 
with the whip ; not even an accidental cough or sigh is forgiven. 
The slightest violation of the silence is dearly paid for. All night 
they stand dumb and fasting. Hence the proverb * in every slave 
an enemy ' : we make them so. I pass over the inhumanities which 
we perpetrate upon them as though they were brute beasts. . . . 
One carves the costly birds, guiding a trained hand through breast 
and back along prescribed curves. Unhappy being, whose sole 
mission in life it is to carve fowls properly:" 

Then he contrasts this behaviour with the attitude 
dictated by philosophy : — 

" So live with an inferior as you would have a superior live 
with you. Admit a slave to your conversation, even to your table. 
Let some dine with you because they are worthy : others that they 
may become so. 'He is a slave ' — but perhaps his spirit is free. 
A slave ! what harm is there in that ? Show me one who is not ! 
Some are slaves to lust, others to avarice or ambition ; all to fear. 
I can name you a magistrate the slave of a hag ; a Croesus enslaved 
by a waiting-woman, young noblemen at the beck of actresses : 
no servitude is so disgraceful as that which we impose upon our- 
selves." ^ 

Elsewhere his writings exhibit the same influence. 

^ Juvenal, vi. 219. — W. Gifford's translation. 
2 Seneca, Epistles, xlvii. 


" Philosophy knows no respect of persons, and recognizes no 
patent of nobility but its own. We must consider not the origin but 
the goal." ^ 

and again : — 

" A man should keep within reasonable bounds in his treatment 
of slaves. Even when they are our absolute property we ought to 
consider not how much we may torture them with impunity, but 
how far such conduct is permitted by natural humanity and justice. 
While all things are lawful towards a slave, some things are not law- 
ful towards a man : the very Law of Nature forbids. Because 
Vedius PolHo fed his lampreys with human blood, he was execrated 
by society even more than he was hated by his slaves. Cruel masters 
are pointed at with loathing in all parts of the city." ^ 

History records several instances where a new tone 
in public opinion made itself felt. When slaves 
suffered from disease which seemed incurable, it had 
been the custom to expose or kill them. The Emperor 
Claudius made the latter course a criminal act, and 
gave those who were exposed their freedom.^ If a 
master was murdered by a slave, the law decreed that 
all the slaves beneath the same roof should be put to 
death. A case occurred in the year 61, and 400 were 
led out to execution. '' The people rose, '' says 
Tacitus, *' to defend the innocent, and protests against 
such excessive severity were heard even in the Senate.'* 
The speech of the conservative spokesman, Cassius, 
is very significant : — 

" A slave was always suspect to our ancestors, even when he was 
born upon their estates or in their houses, and felt from the first 
affection for his master. But now that our households contain 
nations, separated by diverse customs and worshipping foreign gods 
or none at all, the only possible restraint is that of fear." 

The majority decided that the law must take its course, 

^ Seneca, Epistles, xliv. 2 Seneca, de dementia, i. 18. 

^ Suetonius, Claudius, 25. 


and the sentence was carried out by the soldiers in the 
face of a dense and threatening mob.^ Gradually, 
however, limitations were imposed upon the absolutism 
of the masters. A law was passed forbidding slaves 
to be matched against wild beasts in the arena, and 
under Antoninus they were not allowed to be put to 
death without a cause assigned. Subsequent legis- 
lation *' appointed officers through all the provinces 
to hear the complaints of slaves ; enjoined that no 
master should treat his slaves with excessive severity, 
and commanded that when such severity was proved, 
the master should be compelled to sell the slave he had 
ill-treated.'' 2 Finally the jurists accepted the maxim 
of philosophy that all men are by nature free. 

Thus for social amelioration, as for guidance in moral 
and spiritual problems, men looked more and more to 
the philosophers. We have seen what philosophy 
was to Epictetus. Juvenal, Plutarch and Marcus 
Aurelius say much the same. The evidence of the 
first is perhaps the most striking, as coming from one 
who is, as we may say, not only a layman but even an 
anticlerical. Possibly his recantation is too generous : 

" Divine philosophy ! by whose pure light. 
We first distinguish, then pursue the right. 
Thy power the breast from every error frees. 
And weeds out all its vices by degrees." ® 

Plutarch speaks more soberly : — 

" The crown of all our education should be philosophy ; it is 
the only remedy for the weaknesses and diseases of the soul. It is by 
its advice and assistance that we distinguish right from wrong, 

^ Tacitus, Annals, xiv. 42. 

2 Lecky, op. cit, p. 308. See Seneca, De Beneficiis, iii. 22. 

^ Juvenal, xii. 187, Gifford. 


what is just from what is unjust, what is good from what is evil. It 
teaches us how to conduct ourselves in all relations ; to worship the 
gods, honour our parents, reverence our elders, obey our laws, be 
subject to our rulers, love our friends, behave to our wives with 
restraint, our children with affection, to our servants without 
arrogance. Chief est lesson of aU, it teaches us not to be overjoyed 
in prosperity, or overwhelmed in misfortune, not to be dissolute in 
our pleasures, nor furious and brutal in our passions." ^ 

'' What is man's life ? " asks Marcus at the end of 
his second book. 

" Life," he answers, " is a warfare and a sojourning, and after-fame 
oblivion. What then can be our guide ? One thing, and one alone 
— Philosophy — which keeps the spirit within unspotted and with- 
out offence, superior to pleasures or sorrows, doing nothing foolishly 
or with deceitfulness . . . and finally awaiting death, the dissolu- 
tion, with serenity." ^ 

But the philosophers, we must remember, were not 
so much men of speculative originality or profound 
learning as professionaLexperts in the problems of daily 
life. In varying ranks and stations, inmates of palaces, 
like Seneca, or wandering for conscience' sake in exile, 
like Dio Chrysostom, they formed the clergy of the 
Pagan world, and exalted by their neighbours upon 
a moral pedestal, made an easy target for the satirists 
who preferred to emphasize the defects of their practice 
rather than the excellences of their preaching. But 
no class of men, now or then, may fairly be judged by 
such a test, and though some philosophers, no doubt, 
conformed too much to the fashion of this world, they 
played a necessary and important part in the general 
preparation. To them it belonged to offer consolation 
to the bereaved, to rebuke the ostentation of the rich, 
and make a stand against the tyranny of rulers. They 
preached the natural equality of man beneath the 

^ Plutarch, De Liheris Educandis, x. 
2 Marcus Aurelius, To himself, ii. 17. 
C.C. L 


sovereignty of heaven, and inculcated upon all the 
duty of benevolence to their fellows. They painted 
the pleasures of a simple life, and commended a kindly 
tolerance towards the faults of others, and a resolute 
and cheerful bearing of whatever fortune or providence 
might send. These are the themes which fill the essays 
of Seneca and Plutarch, and inspire the sermons of 
Dio and Epictetus. It was from such sources eventu- 
ally that the Emperor Marcus Aurelius derived his 
'' conception of an equal commonwealth based on 
equality of right and equality of speech, and of im- 
perial rule respecting first and foremost the liberty 
of the subject.*' ^ These lessons, which the upper 
classes received through literature and lectures, were 
preached to others in their market-places. If Dio 
complains of his order that 

" They do not go to the people, despairing perhaps of their 
abiUty to ameliorate the masses," ^ 

we may infer that he at least recognized the obligation 
and strove to discharge it. The Stoics, admits an 
early Father,^ did not leave even slaves or women 
unevangelized. Wearing the ragged cloak of a beggar, 
and with a book in his left hand, the bearded '' sophist " 
was a familiar sight in every town, and everywhere 
found eager audiences, imploring guidance in moral 
questions. In one of his discourses Epictetus has 
drawn a picture of the ideal missionary. " Let no 
man rashly assume that office without a conscious- 
ness of his vocation. He is an ambassador from God 
sent to proclaim to men the error of their ways and 
show them a more excellent road to happiness. Let 

^ Marcus Aurelius, " To himself," i. 14. 

^ Dio, or. xxxii. 

' Lactantius, Divine Institutes, iii. 23. 


him prepare himself by emptying his heart of all 
desires ; his life must have nothing to conceal. Because 
of the stress of this present evil time, let him go 
without encumbrances, calling no home his own, at- 
tended by no servant, and professing himself a citizen 
of no earthly country ; patient of ill-treatment, and 
commending in his own person the doctrines which he 

It is a high ideal, and yet there is surely something 
wanting. It has nothing to say with regard to the 
preacher's audience : they are taken for granted, as 
so many cases of the disease which must ensue where 
philosophy is not known. There is no realization of 
'' my neighbour ** as a concrete individual. Relations 
are regarded as '' encumbrances.'* In the same spirit 
he speaks elsewhere of wives and children as " bits of 
shell or weed,'* which the voyager on the sea of life 
may pick up at a port of call : '' but when the captain 
calls, drop everything and hurry back to the ship.'* 2 
Passion and pity, we remember, were both vices and 
alien to the sage. This limitation appears in a curious 
passage of Seneca in his treatise " On Clemency.'* He 
is discussing the relation of that virtue to pity, which 
he says is parallel to the relation of faith to supersti- 
tion. } 

" Stoicism is often accused of being too hard, although no sect 
is more benign or gentle, more kindly affectioned towards men, or 
more attentive to the common welfare. But pity is a vice. A man 
cannot maintain the same level of greatness, if fear and sorrow 
darken and contract his mind, and therefore he will not pity, since 
he cannot do so without a piteousness within, though he will gladly 
do all that pity usually suggests." ^ 

^ Epictetus, Dissertations, iii. 22. ^JUanual, vii. 

^ Seneca, De dementia, ii. 5. 


But, unless the distinction is without meaning, that is 
just what he cannot do. The mind that values its 
own serenity too high to risk it in the service of another 
can never enter into the sympathy which prompts 
true assistance. Those who 

"counsel and speak comfort to that grief 
Which they themselves not feel/* 

awake no response in the hearts of their fellows. They 
are more akin to the priest and levite than to the 
good Samaritan. 

The same arrested benevolence is seen in Marcus 
Aurelius. At one time his thoughts turn to the great 
Community of Nature which will not allow anyone of 
us to isolate himself. 

'* Have you ever seen a dismembered hand, or foot, or decapi- 
tated head, lying severed from the body to which it belonged ? 
Such does a man, so far as he is able, make himself when he refuses 
to accept what befalls, and isolates himself, or when he pursues self- 
seeking action. You are cast out from the unity of Nature of which 
you are an organic part ; you dismember your own self.'* ^ 

At another, the egotistic motive, and the limits of its 
energy, are more apparent. 

" In one respect men are our nearest duty, in so far as we are 
bound to suffer them and do them good. But in so far as particular 
individuals interfere with my proper functions, man becomes to me 
a thing indifferent, no less than sun or wind or beast of the field." ^ 

" We are bound to suffer them and do them good ! ** 
That is the high-water mark of Stoic altruism. At 
best our fellows are the exercising ground for our 
virtues, or a trial sent to discipline us by an inscrutable 
Providence. There is always a note of condescension 
in the message ; the preacher is preoccupied with 

^ To Himself, viii. 34 ; cf. Epictetus, Dissertations, ii. 5. 
2 Ibidem, v. 20. 


himself. Like the White Knight, "he is thinking of 
a way'* to improve himself, *'and so has no reply to 
give '' to them that labour and are heavy laden. To the 
appeal of mere philosophy the world answers that it 
'' patches grief with proverbs '* and is more ready to 
preach the necessity for reform than to provide the 
motive power for its realization. It may induce men 
to change the topic of conversation in deference to 
the presence of the philosopher,^ but it has seldom 
produced any alteration in their habits. And so we 
do not wonder at the final pessimism with which 
Seneca exclaims : — 

" Vice ebbs and flows like a tide. Evil we are, evil we have been 
and, though reluctantly I say it, evil we shall ever be." ^ 

To conclude, we see that human nature without 
Christ was then just what it is now. Men were not 
altogether without hearts or sympathies and did not 
lack consciousness of failure and impulses to better 
things. But there is an absence of any vivifying spirit, 
there is no power to replace weakness by strength, to 
conquer lust or selfishness ; above all there is no enthus- 
iasm. The ideal of the Brotherhood of Man broke 
down for lack of an adequate conception of the Father- 
hood of God. Men had no hope because they found 
no faith. 3 Even now, in a society still only tinged by 
the Spirit of Christ, we may note the same contrast 
between the senseless extravagances of a few and the 

^ See Petronius, 85. 

* Seneca, De Beneficns, i. 10. 

^ This is well brought out in connection with Marcus Aurelius 
by T. R. Glover, The Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman 
Empire, pp. 197 ft. 


monotonous pauperism of many (a contrast only 
heightened by our increased command of material 
resources), the same reign of sensual desire and moral 
perversion, the same symptoms in short as those in 
which St. Paul saw a revelation of the Wrath of God. 
But already the true Light was coming into the 
world. We have now to watch its reception and 
follow its victorious growth. New seed will be sown 
throughout the Mediterranean world, but how many 
tares, sprung from previous sowings, will appear 
among the wheat ? How far will old conventions 
and presuppositions survive, and the conquered once 
more impose conditions on the Conqueror ? 


The Christian Ideal as Realized in the 
Primitive Church 

By Rev. J.VERNON BARTLET, M.A., D.D., Professor of 
Church History in Mansfield College, Oxford. 


The Kingdom and the Church — ^The Blending of Jewish and Gentile Ideas 
in Practical Piety. 

I. The Christian Life of the Early Jewish Christianity — ^The Idyllic Sim- 

plicity of the Primitive Community — More Reflective and Organized 
Forms Gradually Assumed — ^The Influence of the Gospel on the Com- 
munities of the Dispersion — ^The Didactic and other Writings — The 
Testimony of Pliny. 

II. The Christian Life of the Early Gentile Churches — The Hindrances 

to Christian Brotherhood — The Full Fellowship of all Behevers — 
The Recognition of the Supreme Value of Moral Personality — ^The 
Application of Sacrificial Language to Christian Service — The Spirit- 
ualization of the Whole of Life — ^Application of the Christian Principle 
to the Home and the Household, Husband and Wife, Parent and 
Child, Social Intercourse Generally — The Correspondence of the 
Actual Practice with these Characteristics — Discipline Corporate in 
Spirit and in Form — ^The Eucharist as a Bond of Unity — Ignatius' 
Insistence on Fellowship — ^The Communion Service a Fountain-head 
of Christian Altruism — The Subsequent Transformations of the 
Primitive Social Feast — ^The Discipline of the Church's Public Opinion 
— ^The Relation of the Church to Society in General — Love as the 
Keystone of the whole Fabric of Christian Conduct. 

The Principle of Selection in the Picture given — The Worldly 
Spirit in the Church as Reflected in the Shepherd of Hennas and the 
Second Epistle of Clement — Importance of Discovering the Moral 
Forces in Early Christianity, their Religious Springs and Social Issue 
— ^The Demand of Economic Justice as well as Redemptive Pity. 


The Christian Ideal as ReaHzed in the 
Primitive Church 

In previous essays the growth of the Christian ideal 
has been traced. We have seen first its emergence 
in a Chosen People, and then its fulfilment in the 
person and teaching of Jesus, God's Anointed, the 
destined Head of a people filled with a like spirit of 
filial holiness and love. We have now to consider 
how far the early Church actually realized its vocation 
to embody the spirit of Christ in human life, personal, 
social, and civic. Our chief concern is with the social 
manifestations of the Christian impulse and principle. 
But since these work from within, from the regenerated 
consciousness of the individual, outwards to their 
social issues, the '* Kingdom of God '' within the 
human soul as character must be kept constantly in 
view. The '' Kingdom " as realized in a renewed 
society, comes through the spread of the Kingdom 
as filial loyalty in its personal units, after the type 
exemplified in Jesus as Son of Man. In fact a new 
sense of personality, of the moral value of each soul 
as directly related to God, was perhaps the chief 
ethical contribution of the Gospel, the spring of its 
dynamic for illimitable progress, individual and social. 
It is with the operation of this new master-idea, while 



as yet it shone with fresh splendour for the eye of 
humanity, that ths essay will have largely to deal. 
When the Church began to conceive of salvation less 
in terms of personaHty than of '' grace '' abstracted from 
moral experience, at that moment it began also to 
depart from its original spirit. 

While it is needful at times to study Jewish and 
Gentile Christianity apart, in relation to the native 
atmosphere and antecedents of each, it is not so in 
the present instance save in quite a minor degree. 
It was in the practical piety of daily life that all types 
of Christians most agreed, standing out as such from 
their several social environments in virtue of marked 
common features. These features we are now to 
examine in a summary and connected fashion, with a 
view to realize their dependence on a common faith 
or attitude to life, due to the action of the Gospel of 
Christ. Yet one fact tending to explain the similarity 
even of the forms in which the evangelic impulse 
took effect among Jewish and Gentile believers, must 
be kept steadily in mind ; namely, the blending of 
Jewish and Gentile ideals which had already come 
about in certain circles. The Jews had spread widely 
beyond Palestine, especially around the eastern Medi- 
terranean ; Graeco-Roman civilization had invaded 
Palestine, the Holy Land of the Jews ; and each type 
had in a measure leavened the other. The results 
were the Graecized Jew, or Hellenist, and the cor- 
responding semi- Jewish or '' God-fearing '' Gentile. 
Here the Jewish faith contributed the essential reli- 
gious and moral elements; but the liberal and cos- 
mopoHtan temper, as well as the forms of culture 
characterizing both classes, was due mainly to Greek 
influences dating from the conquests of Alexander, 


and in a lesser degree to Roman. Northern Syria, 
Asia Minor, Alexandria, and Rome itself, all contained 
large and influential Hellenistic or semi- Jewish popula- 
tions : and as the Gospel naturally made its first 
and strongest appeal to these, we are prepared to 
find fundamental resemblances in the Christian life 
as it took shape in such regions. Generally speaking, 
then, it was only in certain Palestinian communities 
that the exclusive Jewish spirit, with its national 
caste customs, persisted among Christians. Apart from 
these the universal spirit of the Gospel gradually estab- 
lished itself in the eyes of most Christians of Jewish 
birth and training, as traced in the book of Acts. The 
detail, indeed, in which it describes the process whereby 
Jewish limitations gave way under the lead of the 
Spirit, shows how great were the barriers overcome 
and how potent the ideas operative in this moral 
and social revolution. We do not think enough 
of the heroism of faith and sacrifice to which the 
Evangelic spirit braced those Jews who made the 
great renunciation involved in admitting the Gentiles 
as '' brethren '' in Israel, — in simple loyalty to the 
Spirit of God manifest in such souls as " purified by 
faith,'* apart even from certain requirements of that 
Law upon which God had so long placed honour 
among His people. Whither '* the Spirit of Jesus " 
led they followed, '* not knowing whither they 
went," but leaving an example to Christians in all 
ages of the duty of following the gleam visible in 
the fresh openings of Providence, yet always in con- 
tinuity with the spirit underlying the progress of the 
past. Such is ever the prophetic spirit. But never 
did it win a more striking victory. The warning as 
to the penalty of disobedience to such a call is no less 
impressive. As the progressive section of Judean 


Christianity was rewarded with undreamt-of fruit- 
fulness, so the conservative was blasted with sterility. 
" Crushed by the letter of Jesus ** — the letter of the 
example of a Master who had Himself conformed on 
the whole to the usages of the Law, though in sovereign 
freedom of spirit — they '' died a lingering death/' i 
Aloof alike from national Judaism and from the 
Christian Church as a whole, Ebionism became *' heresy " 
in the eyes of both. There is food for reflexion and 
heart-searching here. It affords a signal instance of 
the law of spiritual life through death to the letter 
of even a sacred past, exemplified already in the Head 
of the Church Himself, but to be fulfilled in His Church 
again and again, notably at the great Reformation 
wherein the modern Christian world was born out of 
the medieval. 

The Christian ideal, life as lived under the sway of 
love for God as holy Father and for men as related to 
Him, was too rich in moral possibilities to be fully realized 
at once in any one circle of Christians, if indeed in all 
taken together. It asserted itself piecemeal, here on 
one side, there on another, according to prior training, 
yet in all cases raising to a higher power the purer 
and more humane elements in existing moral life, 
and paralysing or controlling the selfish and morbid 
ones. But as these differed largely according as Jewish 
training did or did not determine the life of the com- 
munity, we find at first two rather distinct types of 
Christian piety ; though these tend more and more to 
blend into a common type in the second Christian 

1 Harnack, Expansion of Christianity, i. yz f- » compare Hort, 
Judaistic Christianity, y. 37. 



Christian life in the primitive community at Jeru- 
salem was at first characterized by an idyllic simplicity. 
The brethren were absorbed in immediately religious 
duties to God and man, with little or no reflexion 
as to the future and the conditions imposed by ordinary 
social wants in such a world as this. They were 
expecting the present order soon to give place to 
another : hence religion was ' all in all * in a very obvious 
sense. To feel and express grateful love to God for 
His redemptive acts in Christ, whether past or future 
(both being to their feelings wondrously nigh), and 
to extend the expression of devotion into their rela- 
tions with others, as embraced within the scope of 
God*s fatherliness — that was the sum of the matter. 
In such an atmosphere all was worship and all was 
unity, whether they hung on the Apostles* lips for 
further knowledge of their Master's ways, or expressed 
their fellowship in the intimate communion of simple 
meals that recalled the recent and sacred union of 
Jesus and His personal disciples. How far the spirit 
of ''all things in common *' carried them in practice 
is not quite clear. But certainly there was no com- 
pulsion and no formal system about their doings in 
those early days, even when certain went the length 
of selling their goods to supply the needs of others. 
What was distinctively Christian, directly expressive 
of the new bond between them as Messiah's followers, 
was domestic in form (''at home "), though they 
also assembled about their leaders for instruction 
within the Temple precincts. Thus in exultant glad- 
ness and openheartedness they lived the life of abso- 
lute human '* communion '' (koinonia), and all alike was 
''holiness to the Lord" (Acts ii. 42-47). 


Of course, this state of simple " enthusiasm/' 
without thought for the morrow in any sense, could 
not continue unchanged. It gradually assumed more 
reflective and organized forms, one of which was the 
daily distribution of the necessaries of life to those 
utterly dependent, especially the widows and orphans 
of the community, an institution which we see deve- 
loping in the pages of Acts (iv. 34 f. ; vi. i ff.). But 
that the primitive community long remained *' of 
one heart and soul,'' so that the spirit of egoism in 
the use of possessions was largely swallowed up 
by love, we have reason to believe. In this sense 
they continued to '' have all things common,*' and 
to regard lack of brotherly sympathy the most grievous 
breach of the law of Christ, — '' the regal law of liberty " 
in love. This appears not only from the tone of the 
Epistle of James,^ but also from the emphatic teaching 
of a Gospel current among certain old-fashioned 
believers in the latter part of the century, which had 
large affinity with the element common to our Gospels 
of Matthew and Luke. In this " Gospel according 
to Hebrews " it was said that he was guilty of the worst 
kind of sin ''who grieved the spirit of his brother" : 
and the Lord was reported as having said to His 
disciples, " And never be ye glad save when ye have 
looked on your brother in love." If further confirm- 
ation were needed, it exists in the teaching of the 
*' Two Ways," a Jewish-Christian catechism widely 
current in primitive times, and probably going back 
in substance to the earliest days. Among its injunc- 

^ This writing presents Christian piety as the fulfilment of the 
ideal spirit of the Jewish Law as expounded by the Prophets and 
the Sermon on the Mount, and illustrates how needful was the new 
Christian dynamic to the realization of the ideal of Divine brother- 


tions was this : ^ " Thou shalt not turn away from 
him that is in want, but shalt make thy brother par- 
taker in all things, and shalt not say that they are 
thy very own. For if we are fellow-partakers in 
that which is imperishable, how much more in the 
things perishable ? " How essential to true faith 
such conduct was held to be, appears also from the 
fact that "remembrance of the poor'* was put for- 
ward by the leaders of the Judaean Church as the sole 
condition 2 of their recognition of the Christianity 
otherwise proved to exist among Paul's Gentile con- 
verts — a '* fruit " of living faith which Paul was no 
less eager to foster. 

So far we have dealt mainly with Christian life in 
Palestine, the Holy Land of Judaism, where a high 
ethical ideal was traditional and needed chiefly to be 
raised to a higher power and range by a new spiritual 
impulse. But in the communities of the Dispersion 
the morality of Old Testament religion existed amid 
more mixed and complicated conditions, which, if they 
tended to emancipate both Jew and proselyte from 
the narrowness of much Palestinian piety, tended 
also to make simplicity and unworldliness of character 
harder of attainment. How the Gospel worked as a 
renewing and refining leaven in such circles also, 
may be seen in the Didache or " Teaching of the 
Apostles,'' which embodies the " Two Ways " in a 
form showing how the more negative traits of Judaism 

* Didache, iv. 8. 

^ Gal. ii. 10, cf. James* Epistle, ii. 15 ff., where care for a brother's 
bodily needs is made the typical test of living faith. Paul's concern 
for the same quality goes far beyond collections for " the poor of the 
saints in Jerusalem " (Rom. xvi. 26 f., cf. Acts xi. 30 ; xii. 25) ; 
it is part of the " kindness and goodness " which he regards as " fruit 
of the Spirit " (Gal. v, 22 f., vi. 10, Rom. xii. 8, 13). 


gradually felt the touch of a larger and more loving 
spirit. The essence of the Way of Life is indeed left 
as it was originally adopted from Jewish oral 
" teaching '' for proselytes in the Dispersion. '' First, 
thou shalt love God who made thee ; secondly, thy 
neighbour as thyself ; and all things whatsoever 
thou wouldest not have done to thee, do thou also not 
do to another." ^ But the sub-Christian features 
were gradually supplemented, first by additions breath- 
ing the spirit of the Golden Rule of positive love and 
then by incorporation of those precepts of Christ 
which embody it most strikingly (ch. i. 3 ff.). ''For 
what grace is it if ye love them that love you ? Do 
not even the Gentiles the same ? But love ye them 
that hate you, and ye shall not have an enemy." Then 
follows the law of meek forbearance under injury, 
with a view to overcoming evil not with its own 
weapons but with good, which is characteristic of early 
Christianity in all circles, and the spirit of which is 
nowhere more nobly expounded and illustrated than 
in Paul's Epistles. '' Render to no man evil for evil. 
. . . Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto 
wrath. ... Be not overcome of evil, but overcome 
evil with good. Owe no man anything, save to love 
one another ; for he that loveth his neighbour, hath 
fulfilled the law. . . . Love is long-suffering, is kind, 
. . . seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh no note 
of evil, . . . hopeth all things, endureth all things " (Rom. 
xii. 17 ff. ; I Cor. xiii. 4 ff.). Here we have not only 
practical rules, but also the motive which alone makes 
them practicable. The insight of the compiler of the 
DidachS does not carry him so far, and he sets forth 

^ This appears in the early addition to Acts xv. 20, 29, as " All 
things which ye would not have happen to yourselves, do not to 


this particular part of the Christian ideal as a counsel 
of perfection (" thou shalt be perfect ") ; yet he 
takes it very seriously, as did all Christians at first. ^ 
He is filled also with the passion of sympathy for 
the appeal of want, wherever met. " Give to every 
one that asketh thee, and ask not again ; for the 
Father willeth that to all should be given from His 
own unmerited gifts." Here again emerges an authen- 
tic note of the Christian spirit, the consciousness that 
all man has, is held on trust for its one and sole Giver, 
the heavenly Father, for whose ends therefore it 
ought in all loyalty to be utilized. ''What have we 
that we have not received ? " Thus Paul utters the 
same thought in a way which excludes not only all selfish 
use, but also '* glorying " in any possession, spiritual 
or material, as if one had created it and it were one's 
very own (i Cor. iv. 7, xii. 7, 25). Indeed this idea of 
utter dependence, and consequent stewardship as 
regards one's life and all its powers and resources, 
conjoined with that other master principle of Christ, 
love to God and man, may be said to have constituted 
the secret and power of early Christian conduct. 

In other circles than that of the DidacM the 
Jewish limitations in the ethical ideal of the *' Two 
Ways " were set aside somewhat differently, 2 and 
fresh applications of the principles of Christian 
living were made, still on lines unaffected by special 
Pauline influence. This was the case for instance 

^ Indeed, this has been a mark of most revivals of the Gospel 
manner of life ; witness the early Franciscans, the Anabaptists 
and others in the sixteenth centm-y, the Friends, certain minor 
Russian communities, and the Salvation Army. 

^ Thus the Epistle of Barnabas, representing Christianity in 
Alexandria about 70-80 A.D., in citing it omits a number of its 
more rudimentary precepts, e.g. those prohibiting certain things 
because they lead to others yet worse {Did. iii. 1-6). 

C.c. M 


in a far later attempt ^ to set forth the Apostolic 
type of moral teaching, yet one expressing what had 
long been the local Christian ideal in North Syria. Here 
the self-seeking and overreaching temper {pleonexia) 
and the spirit of retaliation are singled out as the 
great solvents of goodness. Very emphatic warning is 
also given against seeking the admiration of the other 
sex by adornment of the person, as placing temptation 
in the way of others, if not in one's own. This shows a 
fine sense of responsibility for the indirect effects of 
conduct, and brings home vividly to us the new 
love infused into humanity, that love which is " the 
identification of oursdves with God's interests in 
others." Truly did another writing ^ of much the 
same region and date, but belonging to a more Jewish 
circle, sum up Christian ethics in saying: '* Every 
fair deed shall the love of man teach you to do, 
even as hatred of men suggests ill-doing." In this 
spirit Christian elders are to act as parents to orphans 
and as husbands to widows, with all cheerfulness 
supplying to them their livelihood, yet always subject 
to the sound maxim ^ *' To the craftsman work, to the 
feeble alms." Love is still the secret ; and love gains 
entrance in no way more effectively than through 
*' the common partaking in salt." Hence mutual 
hospitality is to abound ; for it leads to beneficence, 
and beneficence to salvation. Let all put their living 
at the disposal of the brethren in God, for such tem- 

^ The so-called Apostolic Didascalia (Bk. i.), put together in 
the course of the third century. 

2 Epistle of Clement to James, cc. viii. ff. 

^ Compare Didache, xii. 3 f. If a brother from a distance " will- 
eth to settle among you, and is a craftsman, let him work and (so) 
eat. But if he have no craft, according to your prudence provide 
that a Christian shall not live with you in idleness." 


poral giving meets with eternal receiving. Give to 
the hungry, thirsty and naked ; visit the sick ; reheve 
those in prison ; welcome to your homes the stranger. 
But Christian '' philanthropy " extends further into 
the sphere of social relations. Let brethren at variance 
not go before the secular authorities, but be reconciled 
by the Church's elders, yielding them ready compliance. 
Nay, let the overreaching instinct (pleonexia) be shunned 
as a thing which for temporal gain sacrifices eternal 
good ; let weights and measures be just, and trust- 
money be held sacred. Even chastity is intimately 
bound up with this fundamental '' philanthropy,*' 
which affords the moral basis for God's mercy at the 

Such a picture of Christian ethics — allowing for 
its semi- Jewish traits — not only recalls the Didache 
(ch. xii.) with its catholic love for the stranger brother, 
balanced by wholesome provision against the vagrant 
idler who would '* make merchandise of Christ," but 
also agrees with the impressions of an outsider that 
reach us in his own words. Pliny, the governor of 
Bithynia, writing about 112 A.D., reports that the 
Christians "used to assemble on a fixed day (the Lord's 
day) before dawn, recite responsively a hymn to 
Christ as to a god,i and pledge themselves with a 
religious vow {sacr amentum) not to any crime, but 
against theft, robbery, adultery, breach of trust or 
denial of a deposit when claimed." Pliny may or may 
not be right in believing that these Christians at 
their weekly morning worship actually pledged them- 
selves afresh to the moral ideal implied in allegiance 
to Christ. But his words at least cast vivid ligh; 

^ So Pliny would conceive the matter. Of such primitive 
hymns we may get an idea from Eph. v. 14, i Tim. iii. 16, cf, 
2 Tim. ii. 11 f. 


upon the idea of the Christian Hfe, as distinct from that 
of the world around. They show the sort of vocation 
to which men felt themselves consecrated by baptism, 
which was then, as it is to-day on the mission field, 
regarded as finally setting the believer apart from 
the old manner of life to atotally new one. Thus bap- 
tism was associated with an explicit renunciation of 
the Way of Death, and an embracing of the Way of 
Life (as set forth in the Didache, cf . ch. vii.) . Its phrasing 
might differ locally, but its substance was one and 
the same, and intensely practical. The idea of a 
definite moral covenant as part of the new allegiance 
underlies all early references to baptism. Thus Justin 
Martyr, after stating the moral teaching of Christ 
[Apol. i. 15 f.), says that those who come forward for 
baptism " promise that they are able thus to conduct 
their life " (i. 61) ; and he describes the newly bap- 
tized as '* covenanted '' to Christ's service,^ just as 
soldiers are to Caesar's (i. 65). That the military 
analogy was present to his mind, as to the mind of 
Christians generally from the time when Paul com- 
pared the self-denying conditions of the two services 
(2 Tim. iv. 3 ff.), is clear from his remark that, if sol- 
diers put their profession and allegiance (homologia) 
above home and life itself, it were absurd for Christians 
to fail in loyalty to Him whose service promises 
rewards so much more to be desired (id. 39). So 
Tertullian, when denying that the Christian should 
seek the military decoration of a garland in Caesar's 
service, cries,^ '' Can we believe it allowable to add 
the oath of human service to the divine, and to pledge 
oneself to another lord after Christ ? " 

* So Tertullian On Modesty, ch. 8. 

* De Corona Militis, c. 11. 



Striking as is the brotherliness of early Jewish 
Christianity compared even with Judaism generally, 
especially as between rich and poor, yet here the 
advance was largely on pre-existing lines. Hence it 
is among non-Jews that we look for the full test of 
the Gospel's power to beget brotherly love in 
human nature. Did it succeed in diffusing an enthu- 
siasm for humanity as such ? For humanity was 
broken up into many sections, within which the tie of 
blood bound men together in such a way as to keep 
those in one racial division aloof from all the rest. 
The ultimate sanction too of such division lay in 
religion, as is the case in India to-day, where caste 
distinctions divide even those within the same national 
system, Hinduism. Indeed it is by keeping Indian 
caste in mind, that we can best measure the strength 
of the new moral factor, as able to abolish even such a 
wall of partition as that reared by race and circum- 
cision between Jew and Gentile. But, apart from 
this, the barriers everywhere of race, religion, civil- 
ization, and culture, were such that a thoughtful 
observer like Celsus, writing towards the end of the 
second century after Christ, regarded it as chimerical 
to imagine that all the inhabitants of the earth should 
ever agree in obedience to one law of life.^ Yet this 
is exactly the basis upon which PauFs missionary work 
actually achieved its large success. For him there 
was '' in Christ '* neither Jew nor Gentile, Greek nor 
barbarian, bond nor free ; but only one divine-human 
type of humanity. And on the same principle did 
Christianity win over the Roman Empire. 

^ Origen, Against Celsus, viii. 72, cf. Harnack, Expansion of 
Christianity, i. 318 note. 


The foundation of the new sense of brotherhood be- 
tween all men without racial distinction was laid by the 
Gospel deep in the common spiritual nature of humanity 
as related to God. His fatherly relation to all excluded 
*' respect of persons " on God's part, and therefore 
on man's.^ The " offspring of God '' must recog- 
nize each other under every guise, once the archetype 
of humanity had appeared, bringing to light in His 
own person the fact of man's capacity for sharing the 
Divine life as universally as the moral law at work in 
the conscience of all. In Jesus the Christ, God's 
destined Head of a humanity corresponding to the 
purpose of the Divine Grace, all barriers, even those 
raised by God Himself round His elect people for a 
limited and temporary purpose, were virtually done 
away for ever. With free and intimate access to 
God as Father, in and through Christ as the ** Head 
of every man," came full fellowship between all who 
accepted their sonship and the moral conditions that 
involved. It was a great moment when this was 
finally and openly acknowledged even by Palestinian 
Christianity through the mouths of Peter and James. 
Thus the old caste custom which barred Jews from 
the special intimacy of table-fellowship with even the 
best and holiest of Gentiles, was now done away for 
the great bulk of Jewish Christians, on conditions that 
were mainly moral. The one remaining restriction as 
to food, that against partaking of *' blood," was one 
about which many Gentiles felt some scruple. In any 
case, it is clear that these Jewish Christians gave up 
in sheer obedience to God and charity to their fellow- 
believers what nothing but a supreme moral motive 
would have induced them to surrender. Hence the Jeru- 
salem Conference of Acts xv. marks one of the greatest 
^ Acts xvii. 23 if., cf. x. 34 f. 


triumphs in the moral history of humanity, and affords 
a proof of the mighty dynamic of the new Christian 
ideas.i And thanks to Paul's splendid devotion to 
the idea of the unity of Jew and Gentile in Christ, 
which he led his converts to embody in a great object- 
lesson, the tangible token of their grateful love to "the 
poor saints "of the mother-Church in Jerusalem (Rom. 
XV. 25 ff.), the Judaean Church as a whole never revoked 
its decision. 

This palmary proof of the Gospel as the religion 
of the Spirit, with its inner law — a true attitude of 
soul towards God — in contrast to the religion of legal 
ordinances and outward rites, is typical of early Christi- 
anity. It recognized the supreme value of moral 
personality, as what gives a man his significance 
for God, and viewed the religious man's relations with 
God and his fellows as essentially ethical. Even 
worship itself became ethical, determining and deter- 
mined by the worshipper's whole volitional life, and 
most of all his conduct towards men, seen in the 
light of divine destiny. Thus while in the old type of 
sacrificial service a man brought part of his posses- 
sions as homage to God, the Christian sacrifice was 
the man himself, soul and body, placed at the service 
of God for His own uses. It was a '' living sacrifice," 
and no longer one of dead things ; it was a " sacred 
service " {liturgy) informed and inspired by conscious 
personal ends. 2 

^ As commentary, take the following modem analogy. Speak- 
ing of the immense difficulty of transcending caste feeling on the one 
side, and the sense of racial superiority on the other, between Hindus 
and English in India, a Brahmin lately said : " But where you meet 
a real Christian, the ideal is possible ; and it is possible nowhere else 
in the world " (Paper on " Racial Unity," in The Student Movement, 
vol. X. p. 149). 

^ Rom. xii. i, " your reasonable/' or spiritual ** service '* 
{XojLfCT) Xarpela). 


The use which Paul makes of sacrificial language 
is always in this sense metaphorical, though for that 
very reason most spiritually real. " Sacrifice and 
solemn service," " an odour of a sweet smell (cf. Lev. 
i. 9), a sacrifice acceptable,'' '' ministrant,'* '' minis- 
tering in sacrifice,'' *' offering " — all these are used by 
him 1 to describe the devotion of human life in one 
form or another to the sanctifying service of God, 
without -any reference to formal acts of worship. 
The same is the case with the Hellenistic writer of the 
'' Epistle to Hebrews," with his *' sacrifice of praise 
to God continually " and his statement that with the 
'' sacrifices " of doing good *' God is well pleased " 
(xiii. 15 f.). Such language "passed gradually and 
almost imperceptibly into liturgical use, and hence 
acquired new shades of meaning," as the sacrificial 
associations of Old Testament and even pagan worship 
closed round it afresh. But in the New Testament 
itself the sphere of divine service (latreia) is not prim- 
arily public worship, but is rather the whole circle of 
conscious volition and action in which the transformed 
spirit may realize its new allegiance, not to the ways 
of the world or age, but to the will of God. This is 
seen in the illustrations which Paul goes on to give of 
the working of the mind of Christ in the collective 
life of His followers. It transcends the natural egoism 
whereby man appropriates to his own use or glory 
the gifts with which he finds himself endowed, whether 
by nature or grace. '* In Christ " all gifts are felt to 
be held in trust for the good of all, in that fellowship 
which is the very life of the Christian Commonwealth, 
the Church of God. The idea of an organism of 
spiritual life, with Christ as head and Christians as 

^ Phil. ii. 17, iv. 18, Rom. xv. 16. 


members one of another, should control all conduct 
among Christians (Rom. xii. 3 ff., i Cor. xii. 12 ff.). 
Nor does Paul in this connexion distinguish be- 
tween official and purely personal services or graces : 
preaching, teaching, ruling, relieving, showing hos- 
pitality, sympathizing in joy and sorrow, humility, 
forgiveness, abstinence from retaliation — are alike 
traced to the initiative of the selfsame indwelling 
Holy Spirit. Nothing is more characteristic of early 
Christianity ^ than its spiritualization of the whole 
of life in the light of this idea, coupled with that of 
Love, to God and man, as the chiefest gift of all, 
in and through which all others attain their end and 
perfection. Thus the common daily walk is no less 
'' holy *' than the more special acts of divine service 
or worship. It is this which makes it the absolute 
religion, as the Christian apologists of the second 
century feel and urge in various forms, notably Aris- 
tides and the author of the Epistle to Diognetus, who 
appeal to the morale of the Christians, who '' in their 
lives surpass the laws," in proof of the divine origin of 
their faith. Such was the conception of holiness 
embodied once for all in the life of its Founder Himself 
and in the writings of its early prime, notably those 
of Paul. The Lordship of Christ for faith, as devoted 
loyalty to His person and will, covers everything and 
settles even ritual questions (Rom. xiv). " One man 
esteemeth one day above another : another esteemeth 
every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in 

^ Striking proof of the persistence of the idea of Christian life 
as an inspired life, is furnished by the " Canons of Hippolytus," 
probably a late form given to his work entitled " Apostolic tradition 
touching spiritual gifts." There Hippolytus (about 200-220 a.d.), 
in spite of his opposition to Montanist exaggerations, treats the 
distinctive Christian graces of character as gifts of the Spirit. 


his own mind." He is to do or abstain as " unto the 
Lord ** ; yet not in any individuahstic spirit, but as 
in love to his brother's soul also, avoiding as far as 
possible what might cause him to stumble or act 
with a bad conscience. '* Whatsoever is not of faith 
(i.e. conviction as to the Lord's approval) is sin." There 
we have the sum and substance of Christian ethics 
on the Godward side ; and on the manward side, 
the principle is equally simple and inclusive, What- 
soever is not of love is sin (Rom. xiii. 8-10, xiv. 15, 
I Cor. xiii). The power, range, flexibility yet strin- 
gency, of these motives are infinite, as Paul shows 
in the varied applications he makes of them in his 
different epistles. " Faith energizing by love " consti- 
tutes a perfect religion of the spirit, as distinct 
from the letter. The correlative of this is the Spirit 
of God, as a spirit of holiness and love, abidingly at 
work in the soul of him who has sincerely said in his 
heart, *' Jesus is Lord " (i Cor. xii. 3 ; Gal. v. 13-16, 

Hitherto we have described Gentile Christian 
ethics mainly as set forth by Paul in the Epistle to 
the Romans, which is specially adapted for our purpose 
as being a summary of his experience of Christian 
life without that more special reference to local con- 
ditions in one or another of his young communities 
which marks the bulk of his Epistles.^ But there 
is one other Pauline epistle which is similarly general 
in scope and serves to supplement the picture in 

^ E.g. , those to Thessalonica, where he has occasion to emphasize 
the duty of patient, honest work for one's own daily bread, and to 
Corinth, where love as the organic principle of Christian society is 
variously used to counteract the Greek egoism and intellectualism. 
What is most impressive in all cases is Paul's confidence that the 
inward dynamic of the Gospel is adequate to overcome all abuses, in 
spite even of misunderstanding. 


Romans by certain other applications, particularly 
as regards the Christian home and household. The 
Epistle known as that '' to the Ephesians," but really 
a circular letter to Churches in the Roman province 
of Asia, with Ephesus as its centre, is wonderfully 
rich in its domestic ethics, the sphere where we enter 
the very holy of holies of the Christian lifei and the 
unit of its social reform. The sanctity of the Christian 
home rests upon its nobler idea of woman and her 
possibilities as man's equal, though not his duplicate, 
in all that constitutes true humanity. Man and 
woman '' in Christ," as joint-sharers in the Divine 
life, are fellow-helpers in all that belongs to this 
supreme vocation, and together constitute a part- 
nership so full and intimate as to supply the type of 
the union of Christ and His Church (Eph. v. 22-33). 
This idea placed conjugal love on a new basis of mutual 
reverence which contained the promise and potency of a 
new type of conjugal life altogether. Yet here too 
the natural truth in the old doctrine and practice 
is conserved while transfigured. The headship of the 
man and the subordination of the woman, as the 
more dependent sex, is taken for granted ; but all is 
animated by the new reverence and love. It is '' in 
the fear of Christ '' that each gives way to the other, 
and this transforms everything. The relation of 
Christ to the Church becomes the model of the hus- 
band's spirit towards his wife in all things ; and the 
wife's attitude is typified by that of the Church to 
Christ. All selfishness is thereby eliminated from 
their relations. The husband's headship is no longer 
arbitrary, over-bearing, unsympathetic or patronizing ; 

^ The new attitude to women and children is touched on with 
much insight in T. R. Glover's Dale Lectures, where it is contrasted 
with that of even the best pagan morahsts. 


the wife gains a fresh dignity in his eyes and in her 
own, passes out of mere pupillage under his will and 
enters on an intelligent co-operation in the vocation 
of applying a higher will than that of either, as embodied 
in their Lord's life and teaching. The frivolity of 
female life in antiquity, conditioned by the triviality 
of its occupations and interests, is remedied at its 

Thus the foundation is laid for the Christian home. 
The children are no longer in theory and practice 
chattels of the paterfamilias, but God's divinest 
trusts to both parents, to be viewed from birth as 
His, and to be trained to realize their vocation as 
members of Christ. '' Holy," as born of parents 
holy unto the Lord by the covenant (i Cor. vii. 14), 
they were to be treated as themselves of ** the house- 
hold of the faith " and not of the world. Thus they 
are exhorted to obey their parents *' in the Lord," 
i.e. as being Christians and from Christian motives ; 
while parents are to nurture them with instruction and 
admonishing of a like order (vi. 1,4). Very significant 
of the new spirit of consideration is the warning to 
fathers not to provoke their children, by harsh or 
unreasonable commands, '' lest they lose heart " 
(ib. 4, Col. iii. 21) — a fine touch which has not yet 
had its full effect. Similarly the lot of domestics, 
mostly slaves, felt at once the breath of the Divine 
philanthropy (Titus iii. 4), which forthwith brought 
inward freedom to the spirit and thereby transfigured 
the outward lot, even where full emancipation did not 
follow, as it did doubtless in many cases. Though 
Paul felt it inexpedient to declare war against slavery 
in general, partly because this would have brought 
his message to a violent end as subversive of social 
order, and partly because he regarded the existing 


order as having a very short lease of Hfe, the whole 
tendency of his emphasis upon the common lordship 
of Christ, for master and slave alike, must have made 
strongly against slavery among Christians (Eph. vi. 9, 
Col. iv. I ; and esp. Philemon passim). Later on 
we have clear evidence that this took effect in Christian 
practice .1 

Beyond these special applications, however, we find 
also in Ephesians, and its companion Colossians, 
striking use made of the essential Christian spirit 
as the purifier and sweetener of social intercourse 
generally. The following quotations 2 show how the 
silent revolution wrought by a new idea of God and 
man worked itself out, just as it does on the mission- 
field to-day. 

" No longer walk even as the heathen walk, without true moral 
aim, alienated from the Divine life through insensibility of con- 
science, and so running into all sorts of excess. But ye did not so 
learn Christ, if ye were duly taught truth as it is in Jesus, namely, 
to put off the ways of your old moral character, and assume the new 
character made after God's image. So be truthful with each other ; 
for we are members one of another. Let anger not grow into sin, 
as abiding resentment. Let him that stole steal no more ; rather 
let him labour, working with his hands the thing that is good, that 
he may have whereof to give to him that hath need.^ Let no corrupt 
talk escape you, but such as builds up noble manhood, remembering 
the Holy Spirit that dwells within. Hence, let all bitterness and 
angry railing and malice be put away ; and put on, as God's elect, holy 
and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, long-suffer- 

1 For some account of the effects of early Christianity upon the 
condition of women, children, and slaves, see C. Schmidt, The 
Social Results of Early Christianity (recently re-issued by Pitman & 
Sons). Perhaps the most striking evidence, however, is the habitual 
tone of the epitaphs found in the Catacombs. 

2 Eph. iv. 17-V. 21, Col. iii. 5-17, both passages being used and 
slightly paraphrased. 

^ This motive for industry is characteristic of early Christianity ; 
see below. 


ing ; forbearing one another and forgiving, if any one have complaint 
against any. Even as God in Christ graciously forgave you, so also 
do ye. Be ye, therefore, imitators of God, as beloved children ; and 
walk in love, even as Christ also loved us and gave Himself up for us, 
an offering and a sacrifice of sweet savour to God. To one living in 
this consecrated spirit sin alike of the flesh and of the spirit, passion, 
evil desire, and covetousness, * which is idolatry,' are utterly alien. 
With such * unfruitful works of darkness ' have nothing in common, 
but rather even reprove them by contrast, as children of light. Look 
then carefully how ye walk, wisely making the best of the present 
season ; for the times are evil. Avoid such exhilaration of the 
senses as men seek in wine, with its riot ; seek instead exaltation 
from the Divine Spirit, such as overflows in holy speech for the 
common good ; teaching and admonishing yourselves in psalms and 
hymns and spiritual songs, singing with gratitude of heart unto the 
Lord. Finally, whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the 
name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through 

Here one gains two complementary impressions ^ ; 
first, that the Christian life is simply the true human 
life, realizing the normal relations which should sub- 
sist among mankind ; and next, that all these relations 
of life, as baptized into Christ, become parts and 
modes of Church fellowship, animated and sustained 
by the sense of a special bond. Divine as well as human, 
which invests even " the daily round and common 
task '* with a heavenly dignity and sanctity. 

With the above characterization of Christian life 
we have reason to believe that the actual practice of 
the early Christian brotherhoods corresponded in the 
main.2 No doubt there were exceptions, due partly 
to inexperience of '* truth as it is in Jesus,'* as distinct 
from current moral standards, and partly to erroneous 

^ Compare Hort, Christian Ecclesia, 228 ff. 

2 This is the general result of the full and dispassionate consider- 
ation given to the point not only in the Apostolic Age, but down to 
the close of the next century, in E. von Dobschiitz's Christian Life 
in the Primitive Church, 1904 (Williams & Norgate). 


theories which arose in certain circles as to the relation 
of **the flesh" to ''the Spirit" in the Christian 
walk, tending on the one hand to antinomianism and 
on the other to false asceticism. But these were 
probably passing aberrations for the most part, cor- 
rected by further teaching or by the discipline of 
temporary exclusion ^ from the full local " fellowship 
of the Saints." " Reprove one another," says the 
Didache (xv. 3), " not in wrath but in peace, as ye have 
it in the Gospel (cf. Matt, xviii. 15-17); and with any 
that trangresseth against his fellow let none talk, nor 
let him hear speech from you until he repent." 

Discipline was corporate both in spirit and in form, 
and must have had immense moral authority, seeing 
that half the joy and strength of the new life lay in 
its loving fellowship. '' The fruit of the Spirit is love, 
joy, peace " (Gal. v. 22) ; and it was on the occasions 
of outward '' fellowship of the Spirit " afforded by 
the Agape, or Love-Feast, that the Kingdom of God 
was most manifestly felt as peace and inspired joy 
(Rom. xiv. 17). Then was love reaHzed to the full 
as " the bond of perfectness," and '' the peace of Christ " 
swayed all hearts as the arbiter of divergent individual 
interests (Col. iii. 14 ff.), as they held high fellowship 
in the Spirit, with psalms and hymns and spiritual 
songs. The most vivid account we possess of a Love- 
feast comes from as late as the very end of the second 
century 2 : yet we may safely carry it back to any of 
the intervening decades. 

To such Christian fellowship how fatal all that 
divided in spirit those who sat side by side at the 
sacred social board ! To gather in the spirit of faction 

^ 2 Thess. iii. 14 f., cf. i Thess. v. 14 1, Gal. vi. 1-5, 7 f., 2 Cor. 
ii. 5-11. 

^ Tertullian, Apology, ch. 39. 


or with enmity lurking among the members, would be 
to '' come together not for the better but for the worse " 
(i Cor. xi. 17) : it would be *' impossible to eat a 
Lord*s supper *' in deed and truth. Accordingly 
everything was done to safeguard the feast of Holy 
Communion from profanation by loveless participa- 
tion. It opened with a symbol of mutual affection, 
the kiss of peace, accompanied doubtless by some 
fitting words of reminder as to its significance and 
sanctity ; and how seriously the duty of making the 
inward state answer to the outward symbolism of 
the breaking of one loaf and the drinking together 
from the same cup, is shown by Didache chapter xiv. 
'* On the Lord's Day gathering yourselves together 
break bread and give thanks, having first confessed 
your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure.^ 
But let no one that hath a dispute with his fellow 
assemble with you until they be reconciled, that your 
sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that 
which was spoken by the Lord (Mai. i. 11) : In every 
place and time offer me a pure sacrifice." Here we have 
a deeply ethical idea of the Christian sacrifice, of 
which the Eucharistic prayer was the most solemn 
form ; its purity, and so its virtue, was forfeited by 
unforgiven sin on the conscience, and particularly 
by the sin of unbrotherly feeling, in violation of the 
fundamental Christian law of Love. As long as the 
Eucharist was so regarded, so long the Christian life 
had at the very heart of its corporate worship the 
most powerful of sanctions for the safeguarding of 
its distinctive ethical and social ideal. Thus while 
Baptism, as we have seen, made impressive the con- 
ception of the Christian life as loyalty to a covenant 

^ Cf. iv. 14, " Thou shall confess thy transgressions, and shalt 
not come to prayer with a bad conscience,'* 


solemnly sealed and attested — a covenant implicitly 
or explicitly renewed from week to week ; recurring 
Eucharistic communion with fellow-members, as also 
with the Head of the Body, served to refresh the 
life of Love as the very life of God within the soul, 
and to brace it for every call to self-sacrifice and ser- 
vice. In proportion as these twin conceptions ceased 
to be uppermost, the rites themselves lost their moral 
and social value. 

It was realization of this, namely, that Love was 
the essence of Christian life and worship, and that it 
found expression and nourishment in the Agapi or 
Eucharist of the united local brotherhood, which 
made Ignatius of Antioch, early in the second century, 
so vehement against heresy as fatal to unity and love. 
Hence his insistence on fellowship with the corporate 
life of the local Church under its duly recognized 
ministry, the congregational bishop and the body of 
elders and deacons amidst whom he presided, as the 
outward safeguard of unity. Thus he cries : ^ 

" He that is within the place of sacrifice (the Church as a praying^ 
people) is pure ; but he that is outside the place of sacrifice is not 
pure ; that is, he that doeth aught (in a Church capacity) apart from 
bishop and eldership and deacons, this man is not pure in his con- 
science. ... Do ye, therefore, arm yourselves with meekness (in 
contrast to the self-confidence of sectaries) and so recover full health 
in faith, which is the flesh of the Lord, and in love, which is the blood 
of Jesus Christ. Let none of you bear a grudge against his neighbour. *' 

Here in Ignatius' mystical language, as Lightfoot 
says, faith is the flesh, the substance of the Christian 
life ; love is the blood, the energy coursing through 
its veins. 

This sacrificial language is of the type already 

^ To the Trallians, vii., viii. ; compare To the Ephesians, v. 
2 So Polycarp, To the Philippians, iv. , calls widows, as specially 
devoted to the life of prayer, " an altar of God." 

C.C. N 


seen in Paul and in the Epistle to Hebrews. The 
people are the place of sacrifice (altar), as their prayers 
of thanksgiving (Eucharist) are also the sacrifice 
proper, '' the sacrifice of praise . . ., that is, the fruit of 
lips that make acknowledgment to His name '' (Heb. 
xiii. 15). Their sacrifices are simple thankofferings 
and not expiatory in intention, the homage of those 
already brought nigh by Christ's one sacrifice, and 
thereby made priests unto God for to offer sacrifices 
well-pleasing to Him.^ And as in Hebrews such 
sacrifices were deeds ^ of beneficence and charity 
(v. 16), so the ** pure sacrifice " of the heart in praise 
assumed the outward form of thankofferings for God's 
service, especially in the cause of the poor. By 
Clement of Rome (c. 96 a.d.) they are referred to as 
'* the gifts " offered to God (ch. xliv, and Lightfoot's 
note). The uses to which these free-will offerings 
were put, beyond the portion of them used for the 
Eucharistic bread and wine proper, are indicated by 
Justin Martyr (i Apol. 67) as being the succour of 
orphans and widows, those in want through sickness 
or other cause, those in prison, strangers, and in short 
all that are in need.^ A century or so later the Chris- 
tian who is tempted to spend his money in gambling,* 

* Compare the Rabbinic saying, ** One day all offerings will 
cease, only the Thankoffering will not cease ; all prayers will cease, 
only the Thanksgiving prayer will not cease " (quoted by Westcott 
on Heb. xiii. 15). 

2 As God's name is " glorified among the Gentiles/* by sacrifices 
of charity, according to Mai. i. 11, 14, as cited in Did. xiv. 3, so con- 
versely God*s name is blasphemed among the heathen through an 
unloving walk (Polycarp ad Phil., x. 2 1). 

^ In course of time the support of the ministry, which at first 
was a matter of direct gift by the donor to the recipient (Didache, 
xiii. 2-7, cf. xv.J;2), came to be a charge on the collective offerings. 

* De Aleatoribus, xi, which deals earnestly with this social evil. 


is bidden '' Scatter thy money upon the Lord's table." 
Indeed the first privilege belonging to the baptized 
Christian is that he is now '* made worthy to present 
an ofering " in the Eucharistic service/ and it is for- 
bidden that any should thus contribute to the Chris- 
tian sacrifice until fully admitted by baptism to 
God's priestly people. To grasp this early idea of the 
Christian sacrifice, is to realize that no act of public 
worship is more sacred or characteristic of our religion 
than the offertory, especially the ** sacramental offer- 
tory " for the needy members of the Church, if only 
we enter into its original spirit. It expresses not only 
the brotherly love which is the manward aspect of 
our religion, but also the fact that the Christian holds 
no property his own, but only as in trust for God, the 
giver of all, at His disposal for His own uses. Thus the 
Communion Service was, and should ever be, a fountain- 
head of Christian altruism, and of devotion to the service 
of God in man. 

That this has not been the case to a far greater 
degree in the history of Christianity as a whole, is 
partly due to the changes both in idea and practice 
which from the third century onwards transformed 
the primitive social feast of love (agape) and thanks- 
giving (eucharistia) into the Catholic mystery of the 
Mass. Apart altogether from the truth or falsity of the 
new conceptions of a bodily presence of Christ in the 
elements, the mind of the partaker had a new preoccupa- 
tion, as he brooded upon the mystery of such a form of 
communion with his Lord ; and the whole emphasis of 
thought and feeling shifted from the personal relations 
of fidelity to God and man which constituted the 
normal Christian life, and tended to rest on a divine 

* Didascalia (c. 250-275). So in iv. 5-6, only the gifts of those 
walking worthily are to be accepted. 


opus operatum unrelated to Christian experience. Thus 
the connexion of the Service with conduct and motive 
became more indirect ; and at the same time the idea 
of grace therein conveyed became more individualistic. 
Concurrently with this, the deeply ethical idea of the 
Christian's sacrifice, in and though his ''gifts" brought 
to the altar of God's service, was gradually transferred 
to the eucharistic symbols of Christ's passion as conse- 
crated by the minister (hence growingly styled ''priest") 
in sacred formulae ; so that, in the elements, the body 
and blood of Christ themselves were conceived to be 
offered as a sacrifice of expiation, the counterpart and 
continuation of Christ's own oblation in Heaven. Nay 
more, by a further confusion, which we can trace in the 
West at least, an expiatory value came to be trans- 
ferred back to the Christian's own oblations, and the 
ideal of salvation became once more at its very heart 
both legal and precarious. 

While the primitive Communion Service and its 
prayers were a positive inspiration to loyal love and 
unselfish living, both it and the conduct which it 
fostered were safeguarded in more negative fashion by 
a discipline which brought the full force of the Church's 
public opinion to bear upon serious breaches of the 
Christian ideal. Indeed so closely were the two 
related, that the final form of such discipline was exclu- 
sion for a season from the Church's supreme act of 
fellowship. But what here most needs emphasis 
is the genuinely collective character of such discipline ^ 

* Tertullian, Apology, chap. 39, describes how the Christians 
meet to enforce discipline according to the Gospel's precepts. 
Then take place " exhortations, corrections and divine censures. 
For both judgment has great weight as being delivered among those 
assured that God is looking on, and the strongest presumption is 
created as to what the award in the future will be, whenever any has 


during the whole period that has any claim to be 
called primitive. Each case came before the assembled 
brotherhood, and the censure expressed the moral 
communis sensus of " the saints," in whom the mind 
of Christ was believed to operate through the Holy 
Spirit. Could any moral sanction be more impressive 
and potent for the Christian conscience ? And could 
it fail to lose much of its distinctive force, as rooted 
in the whole genius of Christ's teaching on mutual 
responsibility among His disciples, as well as in the 
actual usage implied in Matthew xviii. 15-20, just 
in proportion as the duty of watching over each other's 
souls became deputed in form and in fact to the officers 
of the community ? None can say, indeed, how much 
transformation of the very principles underlying 
Christian practice, both personal and social, and how 
much arrest in the education of the average Christian 
consciousness in what is most proper to it, may be put 
down to such withdrawal of collective moral responsi- 
bility from the rank and file of Christians. But none 
can doubt that the effect has been great ; while few 
intelligent Protestants will question that it has been on 
the whole an evil. 

So far we have considered early Christian life 
chiefly as taking effect among Christians themselves, 
rather than society in general. But there was more 
than this. '* As we have opportunity, let us work 
that which is good toward all men, and especially 
toward them that are of the household of faith " 
(Gal. vi. 10). The latter reference naturally prevails, 
particularly at first ; yet, as occasion offers. Christian 

so sinned as to be banished communion in prayer and assembly and 
all sacred intercourse. Tried seniors preside, having obtained that 
honour not by money but by general testimony.'* So too the 
Syrian Didascalia, ii. 47, more than half a century later. 


writings breathe a large dutifulness to '' them that are 
outside/* The primary duty towards such was, of 
course, to win them over by '' holding forth the message 
of life," as mirrored in a Christlike walk. AU needless 
offence to their feelings or sense of right and wrong 
was studiously to be avoided (Rom. xii. 17 f.). The 
only form of revenge allowable towards foes and per- 
secutors was to cause in them a burning sense of shame 
by patient rendering of good for evil. The only kind 
of resistance even to official persecution was to be 
passive ; for in idea civil authority is ordained of God 
for the good of men, in the long run, and the terror 
of evil-doers. The actual authorities might be mis- 
guided or misinformed as to matters of conscience, 
which go beyond their ken and therefore their strict 
competence : and in that case conscience must be 
obeyed, God rather than man, by passive resistance 
to the usurping action of the State. But where con- 
science is not directly involved, civic dues of all kinds 
are to be rendered. Every human duty is to be dis- 
charged by the Christian as by others, save that with 
him, one, the supreme debt of love, cannot be paid off, 
but remains ever in force. " Thou shalt love thy neigh- 
bour as thyself '' holds in relation to all men, according 
to their state of need and receptivity .^ '* Let us not 
be found men-pleasers,'* cries an early preacher (2 
Clement, ix), but at once adds, '' Not that we are to 
please one another only, but also the men that are 
without, as far as righteousness goes ; that the Name 
(of Christ) be not reviled by reason of us.'* Similarly 
the Epistle to Diognetus, an '* open letter " to cultured 
pagans which must have missed its aim had it not 
kept pretty close to obvious facts, claims for Christians 
that " they love all men, and are persecuted by all. . . . 
^ The above summaries Rom. xii. 19-xiii. 10. 


They are reviled, and they bless ; they are insulted 
and they respect. ... In a word, what the soul is 
in a body, this the Christians are in the world. . . 
So great is the office for which God hath appointed 
them, and which it is not lawful for them to decline." 
Thus once more we are brought back to love as 
the keystone of the whole fabric of Christian conduct, 
without which it collapses the more surely that the 
strain of its ideal on obedience is so enormous. It is 
no wonder that the very idea of Love in the Christian 
sense is other than what it was prior to Christ. Not 
that maxims of love, more or less universal, were lacking 
both in Judaism and outside. But they were largely 
isolated and incidental ; or were not meant in the 
same serious sense which Christianity attaches to them, 
because they were not backed by a spirit of real enthus- 
iasm for humanity. Thus love was not before made 
the root of all other virtues, or insisted upon as the 
test of true fellowship with God ; nor could it be, 
until the idea of God as Himself Love was fully and 
effectively revealed in Christ. Then, " Ye shall be 
perfect (in love) as your heavenly Father is per- 
fect,'* supplied the needful rehgious dynamic for the 
supreme moral disposition, that ''ardent, passionate, 
or devoted state of mind'' declared by Jesus to be 
*' the root of virtue." ^ This '' expulsive power of a 
new affection " proved itself in fact the root prin- 
ciple of Christian ethics. Of this fact the First Epistle 
of John affords impressive evidence ; for its message 
is that sin and Christian love are in experience mutually 
exclusive ; and that faith in the love of God made 
manifest in Christ means victory over the world and 
all its forces. And what this Epistle witnesses of Chris- 

^ Ecce Homo, a book which abounds in noble passages bearing 
upon the subject of this essay. 


tian experience at the end of the second generation, 
that the Hterature ^ of the second and third centuries 
abundantly confirms. Christian love, too, was no 
mere chance emotion of individual sympathy : it was 
universal in its scope, because rooted in profound 
reverence for the human soul as related to God. The 
revolutionary effect of this conception may be illus- 
trated by contrasting Aristotle's ideal man, the "lofty- 
minded " person of consciously superior gifts and 
character, with Goethe's description of the truly great 
soul, in which dwells a threefold reverence — for that 
above himself, that on his own level, and that as yet 
below his own condition. 

To the foregoing picture of early Christian life it 
may be objected, that it is unreal because one-sided, 
only the better features being selected for notice. 
This objection would be justified if a complete picture 
were in question. But such is not the case. Space 
and the special scope of the series of essays of which 
this forms part, alike imposed the necessity of selection 
in order to place in relief those features which seem 
reaUy to explain the marvellous effect produced by 
Christianity in the Roman Empire. Ere three cen- 
turies were over, the religion which had at first seemed 
the foe of social order was recognized by Constantine, 
one of the ablest of the world's statesmen, as the one 
possible basis of that Empire both morally and socially. 
This means that the Church's best and most distinct- 
ive features had been most operative, in spite of 
enormous hindrances and opposition from the hitherto 
dominant forces in society, in spite also of all the 

^ Pagan as well as Christian ; compare Lucian's contemptuous, 
" How the Christians do love one another." 


moral shortcomings of those who owned the new 
inspiration and its ideals. So viewed, the evidence of 
moral failure among early Christians generally, amounts 
to no more than what may serve to remind us to-day 
of the terrible power of evil tradition and custom in 
ancient society, and of the grim reality of the struggle 
for a purer life as carried on by the new society in an 
atmosphere charged with moral malaria. 

Take, for instance, the Shepherd of Hermas and 
the earliest extant homily, called the '' Second Epistle 
of Clement,'* two writings reflecting the ravages wrought 
within the Christian fold by the worldly spirit rife in 
two great cities (Rome and another, probably Alexan- 
dria) about 120-150 A.D. The homily shows especially 
how the Greek theory as to the moral independence 
of the spiritual and physical elements in man afforded 
a subtle excuse for yielding to sins of the flesh, as 
though the spirit suffered nothing thereby either here 
or hereafter. But it shows also how strong was the 
reaction against such conduct on the part of the local 
Church as a whole ; so much so, that the homily itself 
was treasured among its archives for occasional reading, 
and ultimately attained semi-canonical rank. Hermas, 
on his part, illustrates the subtle temptations of wealth, 
and how surely the Master himself had diagnosed 
its tendency to sap the vitality of spiritual simplicity 
and earnestness, on which the realization of the Chris- 
tian ideal depends, and to foster the spirit of com- 
promise even with the ways of an alien society. But 
he shows too, how the Christian consciousness was 
reacting afresh against such dangers and resisting 
Mr. Facing-both-ways, with his objection, '' The 
Christian ideal may be glorious, but is it practicable ? " 
Hermas points to the innerness of the Christian ideal ; 
to its stress on the master-motive ; to the enthusiastic 


love of the good in singleness of heart, as the great 
antidote to " evil desire '' in every form ; to faith 
as the mother of the virtues ; and to the Holy Spirit 
of God, striving in the soul against the desires of 
the flesh, as the ground of a joyous assurance of 
victory.! Here we have true evangelic notes, though 
side by side with them there are traces of a revived 
doctrine of supererogation, — token of a legalist mode 
of thought, — in the notion that certain parts of the 
Christian ideal, e.g. self-denial for the sake of the widow 
and orphan, constitute a special " sacrifice '* to God not 
incumbent on followers of Christ as such.^ Here, in- 
deed, was a menace to the Christian life, the doctrine 
of two standards of obedience among Christians, one 
which for various reasons, more or less plausible, spread 
quickly in certain circles during the third century, 
to the lowering of Christian conduct, personal and 
social. But on the whole, the Shepherd — which also 
hovered for a century or two on the borders of the 
Christian Canon — tends, like the kindred homily, not 
to disprove the adequacy of the new moral dynamic 
at work among men, but rather to heighten our sense 
of the terrible reality and potency of the counter- 
current against which Christians were making sure, 
if often painful headway. 

After all, what is of most significance both his- 
torically and practically, is to gain some fair impres- 
sion of the moral forces prevalent within early Chris- 
tianity, their religious springs and social issues. This 
is what it is hoped may have been rendered possible 
by the above sketch. Nor does it seem that our 
modern world affords a field of operation less suitable 

! Mandates, xii. 1-2, Visions, iii. 8, 3 ff.. Similitudes ix. 13, 2 ; 
24, 2 ; X. 3. 

^ Contrast Christ's teaching, Ecce Homo (1867), p. 299. 


for the development of the latent possibilities of the 
distinctive Christian motives and principles here set 
forth, than was the ancient world. On the contrary 
Christendom at any rate is in a state of inherited 
semi-preparedness ^ such as presents an opportunity 
of infinite possibilities, if only the essential Gospel of 
Love, divine and human, and of love's sacrifice for 
the realization of human good as it was to the eyes 
of Christ, be proclaimed afresh in all its spiritual 
simplicity but far-reaching practical application, accord- 
ding to the special needs of the age. To see society 
as through the eyes of Jesus Christ, — that the social 
effects of Methodism in one century, and of the Sal- 
vation Army in the next, show to be the secret of 
adequate moral dynamic, through a baptism into His 
spirit, as ** enthusiasm of humanity " for every human 
being as before God. 

The practical corollary of such reverence for all 
human capacity as of God and unto God, is not only 
redemptive pity but economic justice. This demands 
in God's name both steady effort and sacrifice, in order 
to secure the greatest possible equality of opportunity 
for all. To rest short of this, or to plead '' inherent rights 
of property," is to rob God, by denying His ownership 
of all wealth and the means of its production, including 
human faculty, and by refusing Him free use of what 
is necessary to His own development of His real treasure, 

1 Compare the general effect of Mr. Benjamin Kidd's writings 
as to the sensitiveness of the modern social conscience. Further, if, 
as he argues in his " Romanes Lecture," the condition of society's 
becoming more organic be subordination of the individual to the 
common good, and of the present to the future ; then Christianity, 
especially early Christianity, has proved itself pre-eminently able 
to effect this. For it can create the social will needful to a fully 
social State. 


latent human capacity, for want of fitting conditions. 
** No rights apart from correlative duties/* that is 
more and more plainly dawning on men as the funda- 
mental law of society, historically and ethically 
regarded. But if this is to be embodied also in law, 
without either bloodshed or loss to personal and indi- 
vidual development, the spirit of willing self-sacrifice, 
where one's superfluity means loss to others, must be 
diffused and maintained as never before throughout 
the body politic. For this we need the Christian con- 
sciousness of God, as the Creator of all things, with- 
out and within a man, and so as Sovereign Disposer 
of all the issues of man's dependent productivity. 
But as this consciousness came to Christendom through 
the experience of God's grace and man's dependence 
in the matter of the soul's salvation in Christ from sin 
and all its disabling effects, so must it be spread and 
sustained by the same experience. Thus doubly 
shall men learn to say, " What have we that we have 
not received ? " and with double reverence to use all 
their powers and goods as in trust from God for His 
end of ends. His Kingdom of holy Love among 
men. Such at least is the moral of early Christian 
life and institutions. 

The Factors in the Expansion of the 
Christian Church 

By Rev. JAMES ORR, M.A., D.D., Professor of 
Apologetics and Sytematic Theology in the United 
Free Church College, Glasgow. 


The Problem of the Extension of Christianity — The Growing Complexity 
and Difficulty. 

I. Was the Early Progress of Christianity Surprising and Unprecedented ? 

— ^The Parallel with other Religions not Real — Buddhism not a " Uni- 
versal Religion " — ^The World-Conquering Principle of Christianity 
— ^The [Remarkable Reception of the Gospel everywhere — Gentile 
Christianity not exclusively identical with Paulinism — ^The Period 
of Greatest Expansion — ^The Estimates of Modern Scholars — The 
Pervasion of all Ranks and Classes of Society — The Evidence of a 
Learned and Eloquent Christian Apology — ^The Secret Influence of 

II. The Causes or Factors of the Expansion and Influence. 

(i) Can Conditions in the Pagan World itself Explain this Success ? 
— ^The Peculiar Preparation for the Reception of a Universal Religion 
— ^The External Aspects of the Preparation — The Profounder and far 
more Positive Lines of Preparation — The Strain to Universalism. 

(2) These conditions do not explain the Progress of Christianity 
— Baur's Error — The Failure of the Philosophies — The Moral 
Corruption Prevalent — The Ethical Revival of the Age of the Anton- 
ines produced no great Change — The Main Counts in the Indictment 

(3) The Bearing of the Religious Conditions on the Acceptance 
of the Gospel, the Wide Spread of Scepticism and the Vast Growth 
of Superstition — The Help and the Hindrance to Christianity. 

III. The Explanation to be sought within the Religion itself — ^The Deeper 

Necessity of the Age Met — ^The Real core of the Religion not Spirit- 
uality, nor Monotheism, nor Doctrine of Immortality. Conversions 
due to Christian Life and Witness — The Real Spring in the Doctrine 
of the Cross — ^The Christian Faith in the Risen and Exalted Lord — 
The Absoluteness of Christ's Person and Work — The Gift of the Holy 
Spirit — ^The Moral Changes wrought by the Spirit of Christianity : 
a New Spirit of Active Charity, a New Ideal of Moral Purity, Puri- 
, fication of the Family Life; the Elevation of Women, the Amelioration 
of the condition of the Slave, the Consecration of Labour — The Firm 
Organization of the Christian Church — Not a New Gospel needed 
but a Gospel better understood. 


The Factors in the Expansion of the 
Christian Church 

By Rev. JAMES, ORR, M.A., D.D., Professor of Apolo- 
getics AND Systematic Theology in the United Free 
Church College, Glasgow. 

The extension of Christianity in the early centuries 
presents problems which grow in fascination with 
increase of knowledge and closer attention to the 
facts. Till the school of Baur opened the way to a 
broader investigation, the subject was mainly dis- 
cussed as a branch of apologetics. The early apologists 
not unnaturally dwelt on the surprising rapidity of 
the spread of their religion as a proof of the divine 
energy inherent in it.^ Every one has heard of 
Gibbon's '* five secondary causes " of the rapid growth 
of Christianity, and of the refutations of the sufficiency 
of these by Bishop Watson and others.^ Since Baur*s 
time the standpoint and method of treatment have 
largely changed. Learning and research have enor- 

^ The passages are given at length in Harnack*s Expansion 
of Christianity, vol. ii. (E. T.), pp. 147-82. 

2 Gibbon's Decline and Fall, chap. xv. : in reply Watson's 
Apology for Christianity, etc. Gibbon veils his purpose by naming 
as the primary causes, " The convincing evidence of the doctrine 
itself," and " the ruling providence of its great Author." But, of 
course, the so-called " secondary causes " are to him the real ones. 



mously increased our knowledge of that ancient world 
into which Christianity entered. The political, social, 
moral, and religious conditions of the Graeco-Roman 
world, the interacting forces at work in it, philosophic 
tendencies, imperial poUcy and its effects, have been 
minutely and carefully studied. New worlds have 
been opened up by exploration of antiquity, and 
immense extensions have taken place in our acquaint- 
ance with Oriental religions. The Christian Origins 
themselves have been made the subject of exhaustive 
critical inquiry. 

Under these various influences, the problem of 
the causes of the early progress of Christianity has 
become vastly more complex and difficult. The 
change is seen in such works as Harnack's, where a 
good part of the success of Christianity is attributed 
to the power of Christ's religion to " absorb the ele- 
ments of the ancient world into itself " ; ^ or as Otto 
Pfleiderer's, where, in the fashion of Baur, Christianity 
is '' studied as the normal outcome of the manifold 
factors in the religious and ethical life of the time.'* 2 
The study of the progress of Christianity, in other 
words, from being apologetic, has become scientific. 
If the inquiry is rightly conducted, we are satisfied 
that apology does not suffer from the process. More 

^ In an article in The Contemporary Review for August 1886, 
p. 234, Haraack speaks of " The Catholic Church as that form of 
Christianity in which every element of the ancient world has been 
successively assimilated which Christianity could in any way take 
up into itself without utterly losing itself in the world. . . . Chris- 
tianity has throughout sucked the marrow of the ancient world, 
and assimilated it." This is not put so strongly in his latest work, 
but cf. i. pp. 291 if., 395 ; "» PP- 327 ^', 34^ ^-^ 349 ^■> 4^7 ^-^ 
437 ff., 441 if. 

2 Introduction to his Primitive Christianity : its Writings and 
Teachings in their Historical Connexions ; cf . his Christian Origins. 


important even than apologetic gain are the lessons 
to be gleaned from the study for our own tasks in 
advancing the Kingdom of God in the world. 

A preliminary question relates to the fact itself to 
be investigated. How far are we entitled to speak 
of the early progress of Christianity as something 
surprising and unprecedented, needing special causes 
to explain it ? Does not the history of religions, 
outside Christianity, afford examples of like vigour 
and rapidity of diffusion ? There is Judaism, which, 
notwithstanding its exclusive spirit and repellent 
customs, had, through the zeal of its propaganda, 
gained an astonishing hold upon the Gentile world.^ 
Harnack computes the numbers of the Jews in the 
time of Augustus at about a seventh or eighth part 
of the whole population of the Roman Empire.* 
There are the Egyptian, Persian, and other foreign 
cults, with their mysteries, which flooded the Empire 
in the early centuries : so much so that Harnack 
declares that in the third century the worship of 
Mithra '' became the most powerful rival of Chris- 
tianity." 3 There is the extraordinarily rapid exten- 
sion of the Mohammedan Empire, which, in less than 
a century after the Hegira, had spread through Arabia, 
Syria and Egypt, far into the interior of Africa, and 
in Europe embraced Spain and part of Gaul. Above 
all, there is Buddhism, which, driven from India, 

^ Of. Matt, xxiii. 15 ; Acts xv. 21. 

2 Expansion, I. pp. 10 ff. He takes the population of the 
Empire to be 54,000,000, or 60,000,000. This, however, is probably 
an underestimate. V. Schultze computes 100,000,000 for the whole 
empire ; Gibbon, 120,000,000. 

^ History of Dogma, i. p. 118 (E. T.). 

c.c. o 


took possession of China, Japan, and neighbouring 
countries, and continues to reckon its adherents by 
hundreds of millions. With Christianity, Islam and 
Buddhism are ranked by investigators as '' universal 
religions " ; ^ and it may be claimed that the diffusion 
of the latter faith is as wonderful as anything in the 
history of the religion of the Cross. 

Yet, more closely viewed, the parallel between the 
spread of the religions named and that of Christianity 
in the first flush of its conquering vigour is seen not 
to be a real one. Judaism cannot fairly be put in 
comparison with Christianity, since, apart from other 
reasons (the majority of the Jews in the Empire were 
no doubt Jews by birth and descent), Christianity 
was itself an outgrowth from Judaism, accepted its 
revelation and Scriptures, and proclaimed, so far, 
the same truths, appealing to the Old Testament 
prophecies, and declaring itself to be their fulfilment. 
Besides, the religion of Moses never gained possession 
of the Empire as Christianity did, or came within 
imaginable distance of such a consummation. Mithra- 
ism, again, was a transient phenomenon, appealing 
to a special class and a passing spasm of feeling, and 
could not, as Harnack shows in his latest interesting 
discussion, possibly '* gain the day." ^ in its austere 

^ Cf. Kuenen's Hibbert Lectures (1882) on National Religions 
and Universal Religions, pp. 5 ff. Kuenen gives to Mohammedanism 
" according to one of the latest estimates, 175,000,000, against 
Christendom's 400,000,000, and Buddhism's 450,000,000." 

2 Expansion, ii. pp. 447-51. Harnack, in his Appendix, after 
studying CumonVs work on the Mysteries of Mithra, appears to have 
considerably modified his earlier verdict. He shows that the entire 
domain of Hellenism was closed to Mithraism, that in the West it 
was chiefly a miUtary cult, and that it was not, after all, a real rival 
to Christianity throughout the West. The resemblances to Chris- 
tian sacraments are " superficial." Cf. Dill, Roman Society from 
Nero to Marcus Aurelius, pp. 619 ff, 


monotheism, Mohammedanism had a truth superior 
to that of the idolatries around it, and was capable of 
inspiring a fierce, fanatical zeal ; but, even with this 
truth, despite Carlyle's dictum in his Heroes, the religion 
of Mohammed made little headway till the prophet 
took to the sword as a means of propagating his 
faith. '' I affirm," says Dr. Marcus Dods truly, " that 
the man must shut his eyes to the broadest, most 
conspicuous facts of the history of Islam, who denies 
that the sword has been the great means of propagating 
this religion." ^ In no sense is Mohammedanism 
fitted to be a universal religion. Palgrave somewhere 
tells of a boast of Mohammed that he would make 
his religion spread wherever the palm-tree grew. 
This, in fact, is nearly the limit of its progress. Where 
it touches higher civilization, it acts as a bhght and 
curse. 2 Where it holds possession of lower races, 
it presents an almost insuperable obstacle to the 
entrance of higher conceptions. ^ 

Buddhism stands on an altogether different level. 
It would be unjust to deny the elevation of much 
of Buddha's ethical teaching, and still more the mild 
and benevolent spirit which breathes through the 
teaching from the personality of Buddha himself. 
Yet it is only by an illusion that we can speak of 
Buddhism as a *' universal " religion, or of Buddha's 
original doctrine as a religion at all. It would be 

^ Mohammed, Buddha and Christ, p. 99. 

2 One of the best books on this aspect of Mohammedanism is 
Freeman's Ottoman Power in Europe. Of. especially chap, iii., which 
discusses the general character of the rehgion. 

^ In his Mohammed and Mohammedanism, Mr. R. Bosworth 
Smith defended the view, which has been taken by others, that 
Mohammedanism has special adaptation to low and unprogressive 
races. He subsequently considerably modified this view in an 
article in The Nineteenth Century, Dec. 1887. 


more proper to describe it as a pessimism, on a basis 
of Brahmanistic metaphysics. In any case, its way 
of salvation — its method of attaining Nirvana — is 
possible only for the ilite — for the fewest of the few. 
For the many there is the simple code of the five pre- 
cepts, but without any effective moral motive behind 
to secure fulfilment. In practice, therefore. Buddhism 
has not proved a spring of progress. It does not dis- 
place rival systems, but subsists peacefully alongside 
of them, or amalgamates with them. Thus with 
Confucianism and Taoism in China ; thus with Shinto- 
ism in Japan. Its later fantastic developments are 
an abandonment of Buddha's essential ideas.^ By 
confession of its own votaries, its day is now done in 
lands where it has held sway.^ 

A glance at the undoubted facts in regard to the 
early spread of Christianity shows how different a 
phenomenon we are here dealing with. From the 
first Christianity aimed at being a world-conquering 
principle — a world-conquering principle on the grandest 
scale and in the highest sense. The task it set before 
itself was stupendous. Its message, on the face of 
it, was not one likely to commend it to either Jew or 
Greek. " Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumbling- 
block, and unto Gentiles foolishness.'* ^ It sprang 

^ For the historical Buddha (Gautama) was substituted a long 
series of imaginary Buddhas — past Buddhas, prospective Buddhas, 
a primordial Buddha, of whom the rest were emanations, an 
Amida Buddha, All-Saving and Compassionate, who takes believers 
to his own Paradise, etc. 

2 In 1896 one of the leading Buddhist Japanese journals wrote : 
" Buddhism is holding its own to-day by the mere force of inertia 
. . . within ten years Buddhism will fail in all its endeavours." In 
1897 another Buddhist journal said : " Buddhism is dead. There is 
no advantage in concealing the fact " ; and still another asserted : 
" All that remains of Buddhism is its literature." 

3 I Cor. i. 23. 


from a despised nation, and was preached at first by 
men unlearned in the schools.^ It renounced tem- 
poral weapons ; had nothing to rely on for success 
but the power of the naked truth. Jesus is reported 
to have said, " My Kingdom is not of this world ; if 
My Kingdom were of this world, then would My ser- 
vants fight." 2 Paul declares, *' The weapons of our 
warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God 
to the casting down of strongholds.'' ^ It had nothing 
to offer to temporal ambition, or for the gratification 
of the flesh ; on the contrary, its disciples had to take 
on them the yoke of a strict and severe self-denial 
in regard to the pagan life around them,* and had to 
lay their account for reproach, persecution, and the 
possible loss of all things, often of life itself.^ To 
the outward view, the new religion stepped into the 
arena for conflict, like a bared athlete, stripped of 
every earthly advantage. 

Yet no one who reads the annals of the early progress 
of Christianity can doubt that, wherever this Gospel 
of the Kingdom was preached, it met with a remarkable 
reception. Its universal principle was still partially 
veiled in the Jewish-Christian communities, which 
clung, as a matter of observance, to the customs of 
their fathers, even where the legitimacy of the Gentile 
mission was acknowledged.® With Paul it freed 
itself from all limitations, and entered on a period of 
rapid and wide diffusion. Whereas Mithraism, when 
it appeared later, found no access into the Hellenic 

1 Acts iv. 13 ; I Cor. i. 26-28. 
^ John xviii. 36. ^ 2 Cor. x. 4. , 

* Rom. xii. 12-14 ; Col. iii. 5-10 ; Titus ii. 12 ; i Peter iv. 3, etc. 
^ Matt. V. ID, II ; I Thess. ii. 14, 15 ; iii. 3, 4 ; i Peter iv. 

12-16, etc. 

* Acts xxi. 20, 21 ; cf. Justin's Dial, with Trypho, chap. 47. 


world, and gained its chief successes in the semi-bar- 
barous provinces on the boundaries of the Empire/ 
it is the pecuUarity of the PauHne mission that it 
followed the great lines of Roman communication, 
and aimed definitely at establishing itself in the 
large cities — the centres of civilization. ^ Its goal 
was *' Rome also." ^ The Book of Acts and the 
Epistles show how striking were the results. Already 
in A.D. 58, before his own visit to the city, Paul could 
speak of the faith of the Church in Rome as *' pro- 
claimed throughout the whole world " ; * and six 
years later, a.d. 64, according to Tacitus, the Chris- 
tians involved in Nero's persecution were ** an immense 
multitude.'' ^ Churches were planted in all the great 
cities of Asia Minor and Macedonia. Only very 
remarkable successes could justify such hyperboles 
of the Apostle as *' preached to all creation under 
Heaven," '* in all the world bearing fruit and increas- 
ing." « 

It was a mistake of the older scholars to identify 
Gentile Christianity exclusively with Paulinism. Paul 
was only one worker in that vast Gentile field, and 
even his own ground was afterwards wrought over 
by other Apostles — e.g., by John in Asia Minor.' 
Our materials for estimating the progress of Chris- 
tianity in the post-apostolic age are scant, but they 
are sufficient to allow of our perceiving the Gospel 

1 Cf. Harnack, ii. pp. 448-9. 

2 Cf. Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 147 (ist edition),etc. 

3 Rom. i. 15. * Rom. i. 8. 

^ MuUitudo ingens. Annals, xv. 44. Clement of Rome (a.d. 96), 
speaking of the same persecution, uses a like expression, " great 

* Col. i. 6, 23. 

' Cf. Ritschl, AUkatholische Kirche (2nd edition), pp, 272-3 


pursuing its way, and casting its spell alike on far 
East and far West, in centres of civilization and dim 
regions of barbarism. The Epistles of Ignatius and 
martyr-scenes like Poly carp's illuminate the darkness 
for us ; a letter like Pliny's to Trajan (a. a.d. iio) 
throws a flood of light on the condition of the pro- 
vinces of Bithynia and Pontus ; inscriptions evidence 
the power of the Gospel in other parts of Asia Minor ; 
Justin speaks of the religion of Christ as spread among 
all races of men.^ Then, in the last quarter of the 
century, great Churches, as those of Carthage and 
Alexandria, flash into visibility, and abundant testi- 
monies meet us of the vigour with which Christianity 
is pressing forward to its conquest of the Empire. 
Deadly persecutions could not stop this march of the 
Church to victory. Writings of clever satirists like 
Lucian, brilliant literary assaults like The True Word 
of Celsus, made, apparently, no impression upon it. 
The glowing periods of Tertullian may be rhetorically 
coloured, but it can hardly be doubted that they 
represent at least the essential fact.^ 

From the middle of the third century, at any rate, 
there is no question any longer that the Church was 
progressing by leaps and bounds. ^ This is the period 
in which Harnack puts its great expansion.* On the 
back of the most relentless persecution it had yet 
endured, it found itself suddenly raised by the success 
of the arms of Constantine to a position of acknow- 
ledged supremacy. When in this period we find the 
usurper Maxentius seeking to ingratiate himself with 

1 Dial, with Trypho, chap. 117. 

2 Cf . my Neglected Factors in the Study of the Early Progress of 
Christianity, pp. 62-4. 

^ Cf. Eusebius, Ecc. Hist, viii, i 
* Expansion, ii. p. 455. 


the Romans by pretending that he was of the Christian 
faith ; ^ or hear Maximin, most obstinate and cruel 
of the persecutors, giving as the reason why the perse- 
cution had been undertaken, that the emperors 
*' had seen that almost all men were abandoning the 
worship of the gods, and attaching themselves to the 
party of the Christians,'' ^ we feel that Constantine's 
act was but the recognition of a victory that had 
already been achieved. 

These facts have a justice done to them by modern 
scholars which we do not find in the cold and critical 
pages of Gibbon, who thinks that the Christians may 
have constituted at most one-twentieth of the whole 
population of the Empire in the time of Constantine 
(on his computation about 6,000,000). ^ '' The facts 
of the case," says Harnack, '' do justify the impression 
of the Church-fathers in the fourth century, of men 
like Arnobius and Eusebius and Augustine — the 
impression that their faith had spread from generation 
to generation with inconceivable rapidity." * He 
discards the extreme opinion that the number of 
Christians, even in the West, ever amounted to half 
the population,^ but shows that there were extensive 
regions in which they were nearly, or entirely, the 
half, and large districts which at the opening of the 
fourth century '* were practically Christian all over." 
Other districts were more backward, but in many of 
these the Christians formed '' a very material portion " 

^ Eusebius, Ecc. Hist. viii. i. 

^ Ibid. ix. 9 (in the edict stopping the persecution), 

' He reckons the population of the empire at 120,000,000 
(chap. ii.). It is incredible, however, as V. Schulze says, that the 
Christians at this date should have been fewer than the Jews. 

* Expansion, ii. p. 466. 

6 Ibid. p. 453. 


of the population.* To our mind Harnack somewhat 
under-estimates the degree of the progress of Chris- 
tianity prior to the third century, when, in his view, 
this '' astonishing expansion '* notably took place, 
and, specially, seriously understates the extent of 
the Christian element in Rome itself.^ But the 
picture, even as he gives it, is sufficiently marvellous. 
There are many other facts besides those already 
noticed which require to be taken into account in 
judging of this remarkable expansion of Christianity. 
It is not merely in its numerical progress that the 
penetrative power of the Gospel is seen — not merely, 
even, in the fact that it was in the important centres 
of population, chiefly, that its influence was concen- 
trated — but in the degree in which it succeeded in 
pervading all ranks and classes of society, in finding 
its way into circles of learning and culture, and in 
affecting the thought and practice of Paganism itself. 
The old idea that Christianity found its converts 
only among the lowest and most servile classes has 

1 Expansion, ii.p. 457. Allowance must be made also for the ignor- 
ance arising from the extremely fragmentary character of our inform- 
ation. The history affords many illustrations of this. The Churches 
in Alexandria, Carthage, Spain break on us quite suddenly. Inscrip- 
tions show the existence of a numerous Christian Church in Cyrene, 
of which we do not hear otherwise. 

2 He ignores wholly, e.g.. the evidence of the Catacombs, which, 
on the lowest computation of the numbers of the dead, show a far 
larger Christian population in Rome than he allows. (Cf . my Neg- 
lected Factors, pp. 35 ff.). He estimates the Christians in Rome in 
A.D. 250 at about 30,000 (out of 800,000 or 900,000) at a time when 
the Emperor Decius was declaring that he would rather have a rival 
emperor in Rome than a bishop (Expansion, ii. pp. 386-7). Too 
much is made of Origen's " very few " in a passage relating to 
agreement in prayer {Expansion, ii. p. 454), as against the other 
strong testimonies of Origen himself. Cf. also Harnack's own 
statements on Maxentius, etc. (ii. p. 459), which speak to a very 
extensive influence of Christianity in Rome. 


to be given up. The Gospels and Epistles, furnishing 
as they do numerous examples of persons of higher 
social position attaching themselves to Christ and to 
His Church, already discredit such a notion. Men 
and women of rank and '* substance,'' ^ *' of honour- 
able estate," ** not a few," ^ wealthy and hospitable,^ 
of official status,* possessors of land and houses,^ 
owning slaves,* etc., appear freely in their pages. 
Early secular and ecclesiastical history, now corrobor- 
ated in marvellous fashion by the Catacombs, shows 
that the influence of Christianity on the higher ranks 
of society, not least in Rome itself, had formerly been 
far under-estimated. It is enough to mention as early 
examples Pomponia Graecina, in the reign of Nero, 
Clemens the Consul and his wife Domitilla, near 
relatives of the Emperor Domitian — the crypt of the 
Flavians showing, as Harnack says, that ** an entire 
branch of the Flavian family embraced the Christian 
faith " ' — Acilius Glabrio, in the same reign, one of 
the wealthiest and most illustrious men in the State 
(crypt also found), Urania, the daughter of Herod 
Atticus, reputed '' the richest man in Greece, and 
probably in the world," Caecilia, the noble virgin- 
martyr, etc.s It is undoubted that, as the Church 
grew in numbers, it also grew in wealth and social 

^ Luke viii. 2. 

2 Mark xv. 43 ; Acts xvii. 4, 12. 

^ Luke xix. 2 ; Acts xvi. 14 ; i Cor. xvi. 15 ; 3 John i. ; 
2 Tim. i. 16. 

* Mark v. 22 ; Luke i. 3 ; vii. 5 ; Acts viii. 27 ; xiii. i, 12 ; xvii. 
34 ; xviii. 8 ; Rom. xvi. 23. 

^ Acts iv. 37 ; V. I, 2 ; xii. 12. 

® Ep. to Philemon ; cf. Eph. vi. 9 ; Col. iv. i. 

' Princeton Review, July 1878, pp. 266-69. 

* See the evidence in detail on this subject in my Neglected 
Factors, etc., Lect. ii. ; cf. Harnack's Expansion, ii. pp. 183-239, 


influence, often, as the examples of Carthage, Alex- 
andria, and Spain show, and as the persecutions, 
when they came, revealed, to the great detriment of 
its purity.^ Origen declares that in the multitude 
of believers were found *' not only rich men, but 
persons of rank and delicate and high-born 'ladies.'* 2 
The Court, in the third century, was conspicuous for 
the numbers of its Christians. ^ 

As evidence of the influence of Christianity in 
literary and cultured circles, one need only point to 
the rise in the second century of a learned and eloquent 
Christian Apology, to the attempts at a combination 
of Christianity with Oriental theosophy in Gnosticism, 
to the wide range of knowledge and skill in writing 
displayed by the Early Church Fathers, to the famous 
Catechetical school in Alexandria, to the conflicts 
with heresies and development of Christian doctrine. 
Gnosticism itself is an instance of the powerful out- 
going of force from Christianity on pagan ideas and 
beliefs ; a similar influence may be traced in Neo- 
platonism ; not improbably, also, in certain features 
of the pagan ethical revival and propaganda of the 
second century and of the heathen mysteries.* 

Christianity, in short, had entered as a powerful 
leaven or ferment into ancient pagan society, and 
its secret influences, direct and indirect, were being 

1 Neglected Factors, pp. 130, 141-3 ; Harnack, ii. pp. 441-4. 

2 Against Celsus, iii. 9. 

3 Eusebius, Ecc. Hist. vii. 10 ; viii. 6 ; Of. Harnack, ii, pp. 

* Cf. Neglected Factors, Lect. iii. We must not be misled by the 
studied silence of pagan writers on Christianity {Ihid. pp. 166-67, 
and authorities quoted there). Origen could affirm even in his day 
that " almost the entire world is better acquainted with what Chris- 
tians preach than with the favourite opinions of philosophers '* 
(Against Celsus, i. 7). 


felt on every hand. When one reflects on the solid 
opposition this young and unprivileged religion had 
to encounter in social odium, religious fanaticism, 
imperial proscription, philosophic scorn, and keen 
and unsparing literary attack, one may feel justified 
in aflirming that never since has Christianity had such 
obstacles to overcome — has not even in the thought 
and culture, the science and philosophy, of our own 
time such difficulties to face — as it had in those first 
ages in which it achieved so notable a victory. 


The way is now open for the consideration of the 
main problem we have in hand — the causes or factors 
which explain this remarkable expansion and influence 
of Christianity in the early centuries. And, as a first 
branch of the question— Can this success of Chris- 
tianity be explained out of conditions in the pagan 
world itself ? Or, How far do these conditions con- 
tribute factors for the explanation ? 

No impartial student of history will deny that 
the outward and inward conditions of the Roman 
Empire in the first century formed a peculiar prepara- 
tion for the reception of a universal religion like 
Christianity. It is the undying merit of Baur to 
have elaborated this thesis with a philosophic breadth 
and historical insight which have left their mark on 
all subsequent study. ^ Christ's Gospel and Paul's 
teaching are pregnant with the idea of a ripeness of 
times. '' The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of 

^ Cf. his pages on the Universalism of the Roman Empire as a 
preparation for Christianity in the opening of his Church History of 
the First Three Centuries, 


God is at hand/' . . .1 ''When the fullness of the 
time came, God sent forth His Son/' ^ Apologists 
like Origen dwell on the fact, though chiefly with an 
eye on the external preparation.^ It is obvious, 
however, that this profound correlation between 
Christianity and the condition and needs of the age 
into which it entered, affording so manifest an evidence 
of a divine, overruling providence, may readily be 
turned to another purpose, and made the means of 
explaining the rise and victorious progress of Chris- 
tianity as the result of a natural conjunction of causes 
in the time itself. This, in fact, is Baur's method. 
'* It is the object of the historian,'' he tells us, '' to show 
how the miracle of an absolute beginning may itself 
be regarded as a link of the chain of victory, and to 
resolve it, so far as the case admits, into its natural 
elements" ; and he concludes, '' The universalism of 
Christianity is essentially nothing but that universal 
form of consciousness at which the development of 
mankind had arrived at the time when Christianity 
appeared." * We must look, therefore, at the kind 
of forces at work in the pagan world, and see how far 
this is an adequate explanation. 

The external aspects of the preparation for Chris- 
tianity as a universal religion — those which naturally 
impressed the Apologists — though important and 
striking, are too familiar to need much illustration.^ 

1 Mark i. 15 ; Cf. Reuss, Christ. Theol. of Apostolic Age, i. 139, 

2 Gal. V. 4. 

^ Against Celsus, ii. 30. Melito of Sardis draws attention to the 
fact that Christianity (the universal religion) was born at the same 
time as the Roman (universal) Empire (Euseb. Ecc. Hist. iv. 26). 

* Church Hist. i. pp. 4, 5. 

^ A good sketch is given in Uhlhom's Conflict of Christianity 
pp. 2-21. 


One thinks here of the union of all peoples and nations 
in one vast political organization, under the rule of 
a single head ; of the net-work of inter-communica- 
tion spread throughout the empire ; of the wide 
diffusion of Greek as a common language ; of the 
peace that prevailed at the time of the introduction 
of Christianity, and the like. These outward con- 
ditions formed the necessary frame-work without 
which the propagation of a religion like Christianity 
would hardly have been possible. By breaking down 
external barriers, and promoting intercourse among 
the peoples ; by the extension of Roman law and 
administration to the provinces ; still more by the 
imperial idea which the system enshrined, and which 
early threw out an image of itself in that strange 
simulacrum of a universal religion — the worship of 
the Emperor, — the new order fostered the spirit of 
universalism which, from other causes, was already 
in the air, and, so far, prepared an atmosphere for 
the Gospel. These things were aids for such a religion 
as Christianity when it came : furnished channels 
along which its influence might flow ; but they had 
no efficacy in themselves to create the religion that 
was needed. In some respects, indeed, they raised 
new obstacles, and created fresh perils. This is 
strikingly illustrated in the case of the worship of 
the Emperor, in which, for the first time, the ancient 
world gained a centre of religious unity. In this 
cult, which had amazing popularity, the Roman 
Empire expressed its inmost spirit. Caesarism was 
the apotheosis of brute force. It rested on the army. 
It was the army that made the Emperor ; the army 
that could unmake him. The worship of the Emperor 
was thus no chance phenomenon, but had a true 
logic in the heart of it. As the deification of brute 


power, it was the strongest possible antithesis to the 
worship of the Christ. It was the worship of the 
Beast. 1 

There were, however, it is not to be denied, far 
profounder, and far more positive, Hnes of preparation 
for Christianity in the ancient world than those first 
indicated. The age was one, as Baur well shows, 
straining out to universalism in every direction. 2 
If pagan religions had decayed, it was partly, as he 
says, because '' the spirit, whose religious feelings 
the former once served to express, had expanded and 
risen beyond them.'* ^ Nq small part of this result 
was due to the development of Greek philosophy from 
the time of Socrates. Platonism, with its lofty idealism, 
was a powerful force in this direction — many, like 
Justin and Augustine, found it a bridge to higher 
conceptions, — but to apprehend the full measure of 
the preparation, the whole development must be 
taken into account. The effects are chiefly seen along 
three lines, i. In a more inward view of morality. 
With the overthrow of the old traditional morality, 
there began with Socrates the search for a better 
ground of morality in man's own nature. Socrates 
bade men turn from the outward to the inward, 
drove man in upon himself, bade him seek his law of 
action in something within himself. Especially does 
the later post-Aristotelian philosophy bear this pre- 
dominantly ethical character. This is seen in the 
nature of the questions discussed — the idea of the 

^ Cf. Uhlhom's Conflict of Christianity, pp. 56-62 ; Boissier's 
La Religion Romaine, i. pp. 122-208. This worship of the Emperor, 
Uhlhorn says, was the point where Christianity and heathenism 
came into sharpest conflict (p. 60). 

2 Cf. Uhlhorn, pp. 21 £f. 

^ Church History, i. p. 10. 


good, the nature of the moral end, the relation of 
virtue to happiness. Stoic and Epicurean were at 
the opposite poles of ethical theory, but they were 
agreed in this, that man's true good is within, is to 
be sought for in the sphere of the soul. 2. In the 
recognition of a nature in man which unites him with 
his fellows, and lays the basis of a universal moral 
fellowship — this specially through Stoicism. With 
the breaking up of the old State-life in Greece, this 
nobler conception survived ; and when at length 
Rome had founded a universal empire. Stoicism was 
ready to furnish the intellectual counterpart in its 
doctrine of an equality of man, and of a universal 
commonwealth or fraternity of mankind, based on 
reason. 3. In the tendency to monotheism observable 
in all the greater thinkers. Especially in the writings 
of the Platonists and Stoics of the Roman age ^ — not 
to go further back — whatever the explanation, we 
cannot but acknowledge that the human mind was 
groping, and not altogether unsuccessfully, towards 
that conception of the unity, the all-embracing provi- 
dence, and the unerring wisdom and goodness of God, 
found already in Judaism, and soon to be made the 
common possession of men by Christianity. 

Here, then, it may be thought, are strains of teach- 
ing and affinities of ideas in the ancient world, which 
may in considerable part account, if not by their 
synthesis for the origin of Christianity, at least for 
the hold the new religion was enabled to take of 
earnest minds, and so for its rapid progress. And it 
is certainly to be conceded that the progress of Chris- 
tianity could never have been what it was, either in 
range or in quality, had this intellectual and spiritual 

' E.g. Seneca, Plutarch, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius. 


preparation not preceded. If, however, any one 
supposes that Christianity was in any appreciable 
degree indebted to the ideas now mentioned, either 
for the substance of its teaching, or for the forces 
which gave it driving power in the Roman world, 
such an opinion must be pronounced mistaken. Here 
is where Baur erred. '' When an old system decays,'' 
he thinks, ''it is because the new truth which is to 
succeed it is already there : the old would not decay, 
if the new had not arrived, be it but in germ, and had 
been long labouring to undermine and eat away the 
existing structure." ^ But it is not really so. The 
old may decay, as Baur himself abundantly shows 
had happened in this case — " Paganism had sunk 
into the mindless religion of the vulgar. . . . Decay 
and dissolution had completely seized on the old 
religions." 2 But it in no wise follows that an age 
which, in its better minds, is conscious of the hollow- 
ness of the existing forms, and has even thoughts and 
aspirations of a higher order, is able from its own 
resources to bring forth the new religion, charged 
with spiritual forces, which is needed to supply the 

It would, indeed, be strange if the philosophies of 
Greece, which failed to save Greece itself, or prevent 
it from sinking in intellectual bankruptcy and moral 
dissolution, had been able to save the Roman Empire, 
when transplanted to that yet more corrupt soil. 
Nor did they. The views promulgated were too 
unclear, were too abstract and speculative, lacked 
too much the fundamental element of certainty, to 
enable them to reach the popular mind, or lay hold 

^ Church History, i. p. 10. 

^ Ibid. i. pp. 6, 9. In qualification see Uhlhorn, Conflict of 
Christianity, pp. 40 ft. 
c.c. p 


on the popular conviction.^ The nobler minds did 
not dream of disturbing the State religion, but lent 
themselves to maintain it by rigorous enforcement 
of the laws. The theism of a Seneca and an Epictetus 
still rests on the Stoical nature-basis, and Plutarch's 
Platonism does not hinder him from attempting a 
reconciliation between his philosophical conceptions 
and the popular theology by the help of a doctrine of 
demons or undergods, and through reading into the 
myths a deeper allegorical meaning. The haughty 
self-sufficient temper of Stoicism was profoundly alien 
from the dispositions inculcated by Christianity. 
Stoics talked of a universal city — a brotherhood of 
reason ; but no attempt was ever made by any one 
to start a society in which such an ideal might find 
realization. 2 The hopelessness of any regeneration 
from forces within paganism will best be seen by 
glancing at the actual condition of the Graeco-Roman 
world into which Christianity came. 

The picture of the frightful moral corruption of 
the ancient heathen world has been so often drawn 
that it is only needful to touch on leading points.^ 
Nor is it necessary to indulge in any rhetorical exaggera- 
tion. Able writers have done their best to bring out 
relieving features, and tone down the blackness of 
the customary descriptions,* and we thankfully accept 
what they have to tell us of the many better elements 
still surviving in that ancient pagan society.^ Yet 

^ Cf. Uhlhorn, pp. 28, 37, 51-2, etc. 

2 Cf. Lightfoot, Philippians, pp. 306-8, 319, 322. 

^ Cf. the descriptions in Uhlhorn, Schaff, Pressens^, Lecky, 
Farrar, Fisher, etc., and see next note. 

* Among the writers who take this more favourable view may be 
mentioned Friedlander, Renan, Merivale, Boissier, Hatch, Dill, etc. 

^ Cf. specially 'Dill's Roman Society from Nero to M. Aurelius, 
pp. 1-3 ; 142-4. Dill's charming picture of " The Circle of the 


when all deductions have been made, the general 
impression of the character of the age, as pictured 
by those who knew it best, is but little affected. There 
were honourable exceptions, and perhaps more of 
them than we have been accustomed to think ; but 
it remains the fact that it was not the vulgar satirist, 
but the nobler spirits themselves, who took the gloomiest 
view of the corruption of their times, and saw least 
hope of a remedy. Whether Seneca should be ranked 
among these '' nobler spirits " may be doubted, for 
his personal character was far from harmonizing with 
his lofty teaching ; but his view, at least, of the vice 
of his time was of the darkest. '' All things,'* he 
writes, *' are full of iniquity and vice. More crimes 
are committed than can be remedied by force. A 
monstrous contest of wickedness is carried on. Daily 
the lust of sin increases ; daily the sense of shame 
diminishes. Casting away all regard for what is 
good and honourable, pleasure runs riot without 
restraint. Vice no longer hides itself, it stalks forth 
before all eyes. So public has iniquity become, so 
mightily does it flame up in all hearts, that innocence 
is no longer rare : it has ceased to exist." ^ This 
savours of rhetoric ; but writers like Livy, Tacitus, 
Lucian, and historians and moralists generally, speak 
hardly less strongly. '' Lucian and Marcus Aurelius," 

Younger Pliny " may serve as an example of the whole. On the 
other hand, it is impossible, in face of overwhelming evidence, to 
acquiesce in so sweeping a statement as that of Dr. Hatch : "It 
is probable that there was in ancient Rome, as there is in modern 
London, a preponderating mass of those who loved their children 
and their homes, who were good neighbours and faithful friends, 
who conscientiously discharged their civil duties, and were in all the 
current senses ol the word ' moral ' men " (Hihhert Lectures, pp. 

* De Ird» ii. 9. 


says Dill, " seem to be as hopeless about the moral 
condition of humanity as Seneca and Petronius were 
in the darkest days of Nero's tyranny." ^ '' Rome 
has become great by her virtues till now/' writes 
Livy, *' when we can neither bear our vices nor their 
remedies." ^ '< Tacitus," we are told, '' is a moralist 
with a sad clinging pessimism. He is doomed to be 
the chronicler of an evil time, although he will save 
from oblivion the traces and relics of ancient virtues. 
He has Seneca's pessimistic theory of evolution." ^ 
Juvenal, again, while possessing *' a higher moral 
intuition, a vision of a higher life," *' is an utter pessi- 
mist about his time, more extreme even than Tacitus. 
His age, if we believe him, has attained the climax 
of corruption, and posterity will never improve upon 
its finished depravity." ^ 

If it be thought that these depressing descriptions 
are born of what Dill calls '' The Terror " in the period 
from Nero to Domitian, and that a new era of hope 
opened for the empire with the disappearance of that 
tyranny, and the ethical revival of the age of the 
Antonines, it must be owned that the evidence does 
not warrant us in assuming that, beneath the surface, 
the change was really great. The utmost that can 
be said is, that '* it was easier to be virtuous in the 
reign of M. Aurelius than in the reign of Nero, and it 
was specially easier for a man of the highest social 
grade." * The ethical revival was a reality, of which 
many noble things might be said. There was teaching, 
preaching, declaiming, on a scale that had never before 
been heard of.^ It may be doubted, indeed, whether 
this excessive insistence on ethics — often a matter 

1 Roman Society, p. 6. ^ In Prcef. 

3 Dill, p. 26. * Dill, p. 7. 

.J Cf. my Neglected. Factors, etc., pp. 185, 190-206. See also 


of rhetorical display — ^was itself a healthy sign. An 
age, as Uhlhorn says, which is always feeling its pulse 
in an ethical respect already confesses itself to be in 
a sickly and declining state. ^ In any case, we have 
the testimony of the philosophic Emperor himself 
that, despite it all, the times were hopelessly evil.2 
The ethical propaganda, in fact, had but the most 
transient results. The tide of corruption was there, 
checked, dammed up for the moment, but ready to 
burst forth the instant the barriers were removed. ^ 
This was seen when Marcus died, and Commodus 
succeeded. It was as if the powers of the pit were 
let loose again. So far from the much-praised age 
of the Antonines being the beginning of a new day, 
it was really the last glow of the sunset before the 
light finally disappeared. Renan, as a sympathetic 
interpreter of the age, may be cited. '' At bottom,'' 
he says, " the progress wrought by the reigns of 
Antoninus and Marcus Aurelius had only been super- 
ficial. Everything was bordered by a varnish of 
hypocrisy, by exterior appearances which were taken 
as caused by the unison of the two wise Emperors. . . . 
What reigned throughout all was a deep gloom." * 

With due allowance, therefore, for whatever may 
be said in alleviation of the picture of the gross moral 
corruption of the Roman world in the first centuries, 
it must be contended that the main counts in the 
indictment of that age stand unshaken, i. AU writers 
note the unsound social conditions of the age — ^the 

Merivale 's i^owaws Under the Empire, chaps. Ix., Lxvi. ; Dill's Roman 
Society, Bk. ii. ; Renan, Marc. Aurele., chap, iii., Hatch, etc. 

1 p. 92. 2 cf. Dill, pp. 6, 303, 335. 

^ See the vivid picture in the commencem^it of Froude's 
*' Origen and Celsus," in Short Studies, vol. iv. 

* Marc. Aurele, chap, xxvi. 


boundless luxury and extravagance at one end of the 
social scale, ^ and deep poverty and degradation at the 
other. The slavery on which the social structure 
was built meant the destruction of free labour and the 
cutting out of a middle class sustained by honest 
industry, with unspeakable degradation and vice to 
the immense masses of human beings in the servile 
condition.2 As a natural result, labour itself was 
held in contempt, and the idle, frivolous crowds had 
to be supported in other ways— by doles from the 
State, as hangers-on upon the rich, etc. 2. Equally un- 
mistakable is the testimony to the ruin of domestic life, 
and the shameless licentiousness and profligacy among 
both men and women, though doubtless noble excep- 
tions can be cited. ^ Marriage had fallen largely into 
desuetude ; * divorces were common ; women of the 
highest rank condescended to acts of the most shameful 
lewdness. Juvenal's Sixth Satire could not have been 
written unless it had rested on a basis of fact in the 
general condition of society. 3. Another point is 
the spirit of cruelty and delight in brutal and sanguinary 
amusements : on this we need not dwell.^ Idleness, 
frivolity, sycophancy, licentiousness, luxury, cruelty, 
such practices as exposure of children, infanticide, 
driving out sick or aged slaves to die, etc.,® — these are 
not casual blots, but deep-seated plagues, affecting 
the entire social body. 

1 The incredible extravagance of the age maybe seen illustrated 
in Dill, pp. 20, 32, etc., or in Uhlhorn, pp. 104 ff. 

2 On slavery, cf. Uhlhorn, pp. 131 ff. ; for a slightly milder 
view, Lecky, European Morals, i. pp. 318-26. 

3 Cf. Lecky, ii. pp. 320-29. 

* "A great and general indisposition towards marriage, which 
Augustus attempted in vain to arrest by his laws against cehbacy,'* 
etc. (Lecky, ii, p. 322). ^ Cf. specially Lecky, i. pp. 287-305. 

* Cf. Lecky, ii. pp. 26-30. Seneca defended the kiUing of 
weak and deformed infants {De Ird, 1. 15). 


It is very evident that from a society so radically 
corrupt forces were not likely to proceed that would 
help Christianity much in its endeavours to establish 
a Kingdom of God among men. It was a society 
that needed salvation ; not one that could bring it. 
There is, however, yet another aspect under which 
this society must be regarded, which does bear directly 
on the readiness shown by many to accept the Gospel, 
viz., the condition in which the Roman world found 
itself religiously, as the result of the action of the 
causes — intellectual and moral — already described. 

The two facts which stand out most clearly in 
this connexion are — i. The wide spread of scepticism, 
or total unbelief, among the cultured or educated 
classes ; and 2. The vast growth of superstition, 
and a great influx of foreign cults, in the empire 
generally. The scepticism was but a continuation 
of the scepticism of Greece, and strengthened itself 
by the aid of Greek philosophy. It took the form, 
first, of an absolute disbelief in the popular religion, 
even while insisting that the State-religion was to 
be maintained as a measure of political expediency ; 
then passed over, with many, to doubt or open denial 
of the existence of any gods, and, very generally, to 
doubt or denial of a future life.^ Even where there 
was not positive unbelief, a dread uncertainty hung 
over everything. The extraordinary development of 
superstition, not simply among the common people, 
but in all classes, 2 and the great influx of foreign 

1 On the prevalence of Scepticism, cf. Lecky, i. pp. 170-74 ; 
Uhlhorn, pp. 46, ff . Pliny declares it to be a sure result of science 
that there are no gods : '* Nature alone is god " (Nat. Hist. ii. 7). 
On doubt or denial of immortality, cf . Dill, pp. 485 ff. 

* See especially Dill, pp. 168, 443 ff. PMny, Suetonius, Tacitus, 
Marcus Aurelius, etc., were all deeply superstitious. 


religions are not a contradiction of the former fact, 
but a confirmation of it. It was because the heart 
was so empty of real faith that it betook itself so 
readily to monstrous superstitions ; because the old 
gods failed to satisfy that there was such a craving 
for new ones. The foreign cults most in favour were 
Oriental ones — e.g., the worship of Isis and Serapis, 
later of Mithra. This is a significant fact, as showing 
that the religious consciousness had entered on a 
deeper phase ; was now more earnest in its desire for 
spiritual rest and peace. For, whatever the demerits 
of the Oriental religions, there was at least expressed 
in them a deeper feeling of the discord, the pain, the 
mystery of existence, and in the mysteries connected 
with some of them were ideas and rites which had 
reference to redemption.^ 

It is quite true that the characteristics of the age 
just described, in certain respects, made the task of 
Christianity not easier, but harder. The fondness 
for new gods and goddesses, new rituals and worships 
—especially for such as gratified the craving for 
excitement, and had great elaboration, pomp, and 
splendour — was one to which Christianity, as a simple, 
spiritual, unadorned religion, without images, temples, 
ceremonies, or outward attractions of any kind, could 
offer no satisfaction. The fanatical superstition of 
the age, again, so far from helping the progress of 
Christianity, was everywhere its greatest hindrance. « 
In the medley of religions which filled the empire, 
there was no one which set up for itself any exclusive 

1 On the ideas, rites, influence of the cults of Isis and Mithra, 
see especially Dill, pp. 560 ff., 585 ff. On the relation with Chris- 
tianity cf. my Neglected Factors, pp. 209-15. The moral influence 
of the Mysteries must not be exaggerated. Many facts show that it 
was really not great. 

* Cf. the scene at Ephesus, Acts xix. 24 ff. 


claim. Devotion to one cult did not mean rejection 
of the rest. But Christianity had none of this toler- 
ance. It was with it war to the death against all 
forms of pagan idolatry. If the God whom the 
Christians worshipped was the true God, there was 
no room for any other. Hence the popular rage which 
the new religion everywhere aroused against itself. 
It was to the populace a gloomy, unsocial superstition, 
which they must stamp out in self-defence. With 
its pure, holy spirit, it must have been an abomination 
to the crowds which flocked to the amphitheatres, 
or to the shrines of Bacchus or Venus. 

What can be said on the other side is, that, while 
opposed to the great mass of the surface sentiment 
of the age, Christianity met the deeper wants men 
were feeling, and so related itself to all the better 
tendencies already traced. In the very depths of 
that grovelling superstition, of that prostration of 
the soul at foreign shrines, evidence is seen, as just 
remarked, of that weariness and disgust of life, that 
longing for salvation, that desire for knowledge, 
certainty, communion with the Unseen, which formed 
so important a part of the preparation for the Gospel. 
One may doubt whether this was not often the most 
influential factor of all in securing for Christianity 
the favourable hearing it obtained. The profoundest 
preparation of the pagan world for the new religion, 
surely, was its sense of utter need. 


A suitability in the general condition of the Roman 
world for the reception of a universal moral and 
spiritual religion like Christianity must thus be recog- 


nized ; but it must now likewise be apparent that 
the real key to the explanation of the remarkable 
expansion of Christianity in the early centuries is to 
be sought for within the religion itself, and not in 
any external or adventitious circumstances. Judaism, 
by its wide dispersion, its synagogues, its circulation 
of the Jewish Scriptures in the Greek tongue, its 
fringe of proselytes and following of more loosely- 
attracted converts — the *' devout persons " of the 
New Testament ^ — afforded, especially at the begin- 
ning, a helpful bridge for the passage of the Gospel 
to the Gentiles. But the power by which the rehgion 
of the crucified gained its victories was still wholly its 
own, though it claimed that all the hopes and promises 
of the older Covenant were fulfilled in it. 

We are brought here to the kernel of the matter. 
Christianity won the day because, as already hinted, 
it met the deepest necessity of the age into which it 
had come. It met the monotheistic tendency of the 
age ; it met the universalistic tendency of the age ; 
it met the deeper and stronger ethical tendency repre- 
sented by Stoicism. Above all, it met the deep craving 
of the age for spiritual peace and rest, its need of 
certainty, its longing for redemption, and for direct 
communion with God. To these wants it brought a 
satisfaction which no religion of the time could pretend 
to offer. It did not meet them by teaching merely 
— as if Christ were only a new Socrates — but it met 
them by the positive exhibition of the redeeming love 
of God in Christ, by the setting forth of the personal 
Jesus in His life, death and resurrection, by the pro- 
clamation of forgiveness of sins through Him, by the 
bestowal of the power of the Holy Spirit. It was 
not a doctrinal religion merely, but a rehgion of 
^ Acts X. 2, 22 ; xiii. i6, 26, etc. 


dynamic — of power. It did not only tell men what 
to do, but gave them power to do it. Its ideals were 
the highest, and in many ways new — a *' trans valua- 
tion of all values," to borrow a phrase of Nietzsche's 1 
— but it brought them within men's reach as realizable. 
Hence it prevailed. In a striking passage in his 
Representative Government, John Stuart Mill says : 
'' On the day when the proto-martyr was stoned to 
death at Jerusalem, while he who was to be the Apostle 
of the Gentiles stood by ' consenting unto his death,' 
would any one have supposed that the party of the 
stoned man were there and then the strongest power 
in society ? And has not the event proved that they 
were so ? Because theirs was the most powerful of 
existing beliefs." ^ That is in brief the explanation 
of the success of Christianity. It was the strongest 
thing in the world at that time, and it was sure to 
conquer. The sword could not stop it. 

In investigating this connexion of the success of 
the Gospel in the heathen world with its essential 
nature, the important thing is to be certain that we 
get to the real core of the religion, and do not stop 
short, in our search for causes, at any inferior point. 
Baur, e.g., finds the essence of Christianity, and the 
secret of its success, in the general idea of its *' spirit- 
uality," 3 and, no doubt, so far rightly. But while 
the pure spirituality of the Gospel — its freedom '* from 
everything merely external, sensuous, or material " 

^ Umwertung alter Werte. 

2 " But what is Christianity itself ? . . . We answer in a word, 
its spirituaHty. . . . When we inquire what constitutes the abso- 
lute character of Christianity, we must point to its spirituality " 
(Church Hist., i. p. 9). 

3 Cf. Justin's account of his fascination by Platonism in Dial, 
with Trypho, chap. ii. 


— may have commended it to minds trained to spiritual 
contemplation/ it is obvious that to great multitudes 
in paganism, both educated and uneducated, this 
very spirituality must have presented itself as a draw- 
back and difficulty. It was, indeed, the ground of 
the charge of " atheism '' against the Christians that 
their religion was without temples, and images, and 
the other paraphernalia of worship.^ It is tempting, 
again, to think of Christianity as commending itself 
by its monotheism ; and here, unquestionably, as 
already seen, is a side of relation with the highest 
strain of thought in later paganism. There is little 
doubt, e.g., that it was chiefly as a system of mono- 
theism that Christianity appealed to a secular mind 
like Constantine's. It is nevertheless true, as the 
pagan speculations themselves show, that abstract 
monotheism, divorced from other elements, has little 
power to found or propagate a religion. Christianity 
was a great deal more than an abstract monotheism ; 
had it been only this, it would not have achieved the 
success it did. It is to be remembered also how 
Christianity differed from pagan monotheism in its 
inability to tolerate or reconcile itself with existing 
idolatries. Between it and existing cults there could 
be, as remarked above, no compromise. ^ It is inade- 
quate, again, to assign as a cause of the success of 
Christianity its preaching of immortality.* Paganism, 
indeed, sorely needed the comfort of an assured hope 
of a future life ; but an abstract doctrine of immortality 

^ On Represent. Govt, 9. 6. 

2 Cf. Origen, Against Celsus, vii. 62 ff. 

^ Gibbon gives as one of his Causes the " intolerant zeal " of the 
eariy Christians (chap. xv.). But intolerant zeal does not seem a 
likely way of gaining favour, 

* This is another of Gibbon's secondary causes. 


would have been as ineffective for the ends of propa- 
gation as an abstract monotheism ; and the kind of 
immortality Christianity preached had little in common 
with the speculations of the schools. It was an 
immortality bound up with Christ, and involved a 
resurrection — a doctrine at which the speculative 
mind stumbled. ^ 

We seem on surer ground when the accent is laid 
on the changed characters and holy lives of the Chris- 
tians, on martyr devotion, and on the new spirit of 
love, manifesting itself in deeds of active philanthropy, 
which Christianity brought into the world. For 
here undeniably we are in contact with the purest 
spirit of the new reHgion — that by which it was most 
directly and impressively brought under the notice 
of the heathen. Justin tells us that his conversion 
was partly due to witnessing the constancy of the 
martyrs, 2 and there were numerous cases of the same 
kind.3 On the transforming effects of Christianity, 
which stamped it from the first as a social regenerative 
force of the mightiest order, we shall have more to 
say immediately. Meanwhile it is to be observed 
that even here we are in contact with the stream 

1 Cf. Acts xvii. 32 ; i Cor. xv. 12 ; 2 Tim. ii. 18. It is to be 
admitted that in certain, perhaps most, of the Mysteries, there were 
points of contact with the doctrine of the Resurrection, only, how- 
ever, as nature-myths. 

2 2 Apol. 12. 

^ The Martyr spirit of the age is well exemphfied in Ignatius 
(Ep. to Eph. I ; Romans, v., vi. : " Let fire and the cross, let the 
crowds of wild beasts . . . come upon me : only let me attain to 
Jesus Christ " ; and in Polycarp (Eus. Ecc. Hist., iv. 15). Cf. Euse- 
bius, viii., ix., on the Martyrs under Diocletian : "At these scenes 
we have been present ourselves, when we also observed the divine 
power of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself present, and 
effectually displayed in them," etc. 


rather than with the fountain from which it flows ; 
with the outcome of the divine Hfe rather than with 
its source. Still less can we lay the stress on miracles, 
or on '' miraculous claims," in explanation of the 
success of Christianity.^ It is now agreed on all hands 
that these had little to do with the general propagation 
of the Gospel. So far as miracles entered into the 
Christian argument, it was usually not the act of 
power, so much as the character of the work, to which 
appeal was made.^ On the pagan side miracles were 
less seldom doubted than ascribed to sorcery .^ 

Shall we then, mounting higher, seek the ultimate 
secret of the power of the Gospel in its doctrine of 
redemption — in the Cross ? Here we might seem 
to have with us the Master Himself, when He declares : 
" I, if I be Hfted up from the earth, will draw all men 
unto Myself " ; * and His great Apostle, when he 
extols the Gospel of the Cross as *' the power of God.*'^ 
But attention to these very words shows us that 
something lies yet behind. The emphasis in Christ's 
saying is on the personal pronoun — '' /, if I be lifted 
up.'' In Paul's statement, while '' Christ Crucified " 
is declared to be '' unto Jews a stumbling-block, and 
unto Gentiles foolishness," it is, after all, not specifically 
of '' Christ Crucified," but of '' Christ " Himself, that 
the assertion is made : '' Unto them that are called, 
both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and 
the wisdom of God." Here we come to the ultimate 
fact — Christ's own Personality ; a Personality to be 
interpreted, indeed, through all that He was and 

1 Yet another of Gibbon's Causes. 

^ Cf. Origen, Against Celsus, i. 67, 68, etc. 

3 Ibid. i. 6, 68 ; Justin, i Apol. 30. 

* John xii. 32. 

' Rom. i. 16 ; i Cor. i. 23, 24. 


did ; yet that which stands behind, and gives 
significance and potency to everything else in His 
religion — stands behind Cross, Gospel, Church, Scrip- 
tures, doctrines, changed characters, social trans- 
formations, and makes them what they are — from 
which, supremely, stream out the forces that have 
made the world new ! The Apostle John gave the 
secret when he wrote : '* This is the victory that hath 
overcome the world, even our faith. Who is he that 
overcometh the world, but he that believeth that 
Jesus is the Son of God.'* ^ 

That here we reach the real spring of the marvellous 
energy displayed by the Gospel in its early course 
can readily be verified. One might proceed deduct- 
ively in showing how this faith in Jesus as the Son 
of God is necessarily a principle of moral victory in 
the hearts that possess it, and in society. We prefer, 
in closing, to ask historically how this faith in Jesus 
did work in the ancient world in gaining its moral 

The early Christians were well acquainted with 
the historical facts of Christ's life from careful oral 
instruction, 2 and, later, from the written Gospels. ^ 
The image of the historical Jesus must, therefore, 
ever have been with them as an example and inspira- 
tion to goodness. But Jesus was never to these early 
believers simply a wise and gracious Teacher and 
Example. His Person and character had for them 
from the beginning an absolute worth. He was 
their risen and exalted Lord. They conceived of Him, 

1 I John V. 4, 5. 2 Q L^j^g j ^ 

^ The Gospels were regularly read in the Christian Assemblies in 
Justin's time (i Apol, 66, 67). In the New Testament an acquaint- 
ance with the facts of Christ's life is presupposed in the exhortations 
to imitations of Christ's patience, forbearance, gentleness, etc. 


with Paul and John, as pre-existing in *' the form of 
God," 1 and as humbling Himself to become man, 
and suffer death, for man's salvation. Without 
theologizing on the subject, they raised Him in their 
thoughts and worship to equality with the Father. 
The effects of this transcendent conception of Christ's 
Person on the mission to the heathen world can 
readily be seen. Its first result was to invest Christ's 
Person itself with an absoluteness which could belong 
to no other. This sense of absoluteness the primitive 
Christian consciousness expressed by the simple word 
'' Lord." Later thought found an expression for it 
in the term " Logos." Ritschl shows how the con- 
ception of the Logos in the Apologists and their suc- 
cessors, designating as the word did '* the universal 
and absolute character of Christianity," secured the 
recognition of Christianity as a universal religion. 2 
A second and consequent effect was to clothe Christ 
with an absolute authority, and to give to everything 
in His revelation a character of immovable certainty. 
One is constantly struck, in the early Christian writers, 
with this note of confident assurance of the truth of 
their message, as compared with the tentative, uncer- 
tain, vacillating opinions of the pagan teachers. 
Pagan philosophy was groping in confessed darkness 
on the highest subjects : here was truth, drawn not 
from their own wisdom, but from the '' Word " Him- 
self, who had been manifested, and had given them 
an understanding, that they might know Him that 
was true. 3 

This absoluteness conceived of as belonging to 
Christ's Person, however, bore not only on the know- 

1 Phil. ii. 6 ff. 

2 AUkath. Kirche, pp. 307, 317. 
' I John ii. 27 ; v. 9-13, 20. 


edge He came to impart on God and divine things, 
but equally on His work as Saviour. Christianity 
was above all things else a message of salvation — 
of reconciliation, of peace with God, of a new life in 
the Spirit. This, supremely, was the aspect of it 
which met the need of a world ill at ease with itself, 
and longing for a way of escape from its woes. The 
weary seeker for a cleansing from his sins, and hope 
of immortality, found in Christ's Gospel a satisfaction 
such as all the mystical rites of paganism could not 
yield him. Great power lay also in the historical 
character of this redemption. Dill, speaking of 
Mithraism, says of the sacrifice of the bull, '' which 
seemed to occupy the same space in Mithraic devotion 
as the Sacrifice on Calvary:'' '* But one great weak- 
ness of Mithraism lay precisely here — that, in place 
of the narrative of a Divine life, instinct with human 
sympathy, it had only to offer the cold symbolism 
of a cosmic legend." ^ Here, again, was a lever of 
incalculable power with which to act on the heathen 

Lastly, with this absoluteness of Christ's Person 
was connected, in the belief of the Early Church, the 
gift of the Holy Spirit — Illuminator, Renewer, Sancti- 
fier. In Montanism the Spirit was connected with 
gifts and prophesyings. But already in Paul's and 
in the other New Testament Epistles, the idea of the 
Spirit as the author of miraculous '* gifts " recedes 
behind that of His operation in regeneration and the 
quiet renewal and development of Christian char- 
acter ; and the production of the fruits of discipleship 
in holy living.^ Above all is His working seen in the 
developing and perfecting of the supreme grace of 

1 Roman Society, etc., pp. 622-3. ^ Gal. v. 16-26. ^ i Cor. xiii. 
C.C. Q 


These great dynamic forces in the heart of Chris- 
tianity once recognized, the fullest place can be given 
to the wealth of new and revolutionary ideas 
associated with them, to which they gave vitalizing 
power, and to the forces of social transformation 
and amelioration which it brought into the pagan 
world in such fullness. We do not think here of a 
bare monotheism, or abstract doctrine of immortality, 
but of great pregnant truths like the Fatherhood of 
God and brotherhood of man, God's loving providence, 
the infinite value and redeemableness of every human 
soul, accountability and judgment, the spiritual 
equality of master and slave, rich and poor, in God's 
Kingdom, the place of woman by man's side as his 
spiritual helpmeet and equal. Who shall estimate 
the force of the lofty ethical ideals of Christ when 
seen actually realized in human lives, or the continuous 
elevating influence of that image of perfect holiness 
flashed on the world in Christ Himself ? ^ 

We are not left to conjecture as to the effects of 
these ideas and forces ; they are *' writ large " in 
the whole history of the moral changes wrought by 
the spirit of Christianity in that decaying and hope- 
lessly corrupt civilization already described, into 
the midst of which it came. The Apologists for the 
Gospel have no stronger arguments to present on its 
behalf than the moral miracles wrought, and visible 
to all ; in the changed character of its converts, their 
pure and upright lives, their well-ordered homes, the 
abounding charity and beneficence with which the 
new religion inspired them.^ The active and organized 
charity of the Church — ^to which paganism could show 

^ Cf. Lecky, European Morals, i. p. 412. 

2 Cf. Justin, I Apol 12, 15, 16, 30, etc. ; Tert. Apol 2, To the 
Nations, 4 ; Origen, Against Celsus, iii, 68, etc. 


no parallel — and the wealth of beneficent institutions 
which that charity created, were a constant object- 
lesson to the heathen of the new spirit of holiness and 
love which had entered the world through Christ .^ 

In an age like our own, when Christianity as a 
power of social regeneration is again upon its trial, 
it is fitting that these inestimable services of Christ's 
religion to the ancient world should be gratefully 
recalled. The chief may be briefly summed up thus : — 

1. A new spirit of active charity. 

2. A new ideal of moral purity. 

3. Purification of the family. 

4. The elevation of woman. 

5. The amelioration of the condition of the slave. 

6. The consecration of labour. 

Only a few points in this large field, which has 
been ably dealt with in many special works,^ can be 
singled out for illustration. 

Jesus well speaks of the commandment of love 
He gave to His disciples as ** a new commandment." 
It was new to paganism, into the dark, unloving 
depths of which Christianity, at the beginning of our 
era, shot the ray of a new hope ^. As the Christian 

^ Lecky, European Morals, ii. pp. 83, 84 if. ; 90, 107, etc. 
This author says : ** Christianity for the first time made charity a 
rudimentary virtue. ... It has covered the globe with institu- 
tions of mercy, absolutely unknown in the whole pagan world " 
(pp. 84, 91). 

^ The following may be named in English. C. Loring Brace, 
Gesta Christi ; Uhlhorn, Christian Charity in the Christian Church 
(E. T.) ; C. Schmidt, The Social Results of Early Christianity (E. T.) ; 
Lecky, Hist, of European Morals. 

^ The exceptions and partial qualifications above alluded to 
(p. 210), on the condition of paganism, are not forgotten. In 
view of them all, Uhlhorn does not hesitate to entitle the 
opening chapter in his work on Christian Charity! "A World 
without Love." 


Church spread, a kindUng breath of love began to 
make itself felt through all the relations of society. 
The Churches themselves were full of this love, and, 
on the whole, nobly maintained their function of 
setting to the world an example of active kindness. 
Plentiful oblations were brought to the love-feast. 
The alms-chest was liberally replenished. The poor, 
the widows, the orphans, were generously provided 
for. Hospitality was ungrudgingly exercised. The 
sick, the prisoners, those in exile, such as were con- 
demned to die, were objects of constant care. Some 
Christians in Numidia having fallen into the hands 
of their enemies as prisoners of war, Cyprian's con- 
gregation in Carthage raised a sum equal to about 
£850 towards their ransom .^ No wonder the heathen 
exclaimed : " See how these Christians love one 

This charity of the Church, however, was far 
from confined to its own members. Towards the 
heathen population it took the form of an omnipresent 
and active philanthropy.^ The poor were assisted, 
foundlings rescued, lepers tended, the sick ministered 
to. When plagues broke out in Carthage and Alex- 
andria, the heathen fled, but the Christians remained, 
organized corps of help, and rendered unselfish ser- 
vice .^ Paganism was destitute of any trace of organized 
charity. But the spirit of Christian love soon began 
to crystallize itself into institutions. On all sides, 
after the Empire had become Christian, were to 
be seen rising houses for strangers, houses for the 
sick, houses for widows, orphanages, houses for the 

1 Cyprian, Ep. lix. 

2 " Our compassion spends more in the streets," says Tertullian, 
" than yours does in the temples " (Apol. 42). 

3 Cf. Uhlhom, pp. 187-9. 


rearing of children, whether bereaved of friends or 
foundlings, houses for the aged, asylums for the blind, 
dumb, insane,^ etc. A striking testimony was borne 
by the Emperor Julian when, urging the pagans to 
like works of love, he said : ''It is disgraceful, when 
the godless Galileans support our poor as well as 
their own, that our people should be without our 
help/* 2 The same humane spirit which dictated 
these offices of charity fought unceasingly against 
all that savoured of cruelty in the life of the time, 
and especially against the gladiatorial and other 
sanguinary sports of the arena. It was through the 
action of a brave monk Telemachus, who, in a.d. 404, 
leaped into the ring and sacrificed himself, that these 
abhorrent spectacles were finally abolished. 

Little need be said of the services to moral purity. 
The standard set up by Christianity was higher than 
sages had ever dreamt of ; yet in Christ men found 
a power enabling them to attain to it. The obliga- 
tions to holy Hving were of the strictest ; yet the worst 
slaves of lust and passion were seen asuming them. 
To the astonishment of their heathen neighbours, they 
laid aside their old vices, and became humble, patient, 
truthful, sober, just. In the changed position of 
woman as wife, mother, daughter, in the Christian 
household, we see an evidence of the new ideas about 
woman introduced and diffused through ancient society 
by the Gospel. This, with its result in the creation 
of the Christian home, was unquestionably one of the 
most beneficent, and at the same time most deep- 
reaching, of the reforms wrought by Christianity. It 
placed marriage on its original divine foundation. It 
forbade divorce save for the gravest cause. It united 

* Cf . Uhlhom, p. 330 ; Brace, p. 62 (2nd Edit,). 

* Cf. Uhlhom, p. 326 ; Schmidt, p. 328. 


the members of the household in bonds of love, and 
bade them labour, not only for each other's temporal, 
but for each other's spiritual welfare. Christian 
homes were as bright lights in a dense surrounding 
darkness ; oases in a moral desert ; centres of pure 
influence amidst the corruptions of a paganism which, 
with its neglect of woman, its contempt for infant 
life, and its universal dissoluteness, left small place for 
domesticity. Some of the most beautiful characters 
in the early history of the Church are Christian women 
(Nonna, Monica, Anthusa) ; from the bosom of 
Christian homes came some of the most distinguished 
teachers of the Church — Origen, Gregory, Chrysostom, 
Augustine, Theodoret, etc. Moreover, in purifying 
the home, Christianity took the first step to a regenera- 
tion of general society ; for, without pure morals in 
the home, how shall we look for pure morals in the 
State ? 

There is no institution with which the teachings 
of Christianity are more fundamentally at variance 
than that of slavery. The Christian Church, therefore, 
from the first took up the cause of the slave. It did 
not begin by preaching a general crusade against 
slavery, which, in the then existing condition of 
society, would only have provoked a revolution, and 
probably have done more harm than good. But it 
internally transformed the condition of the slave, and, 
by urging its own truths and principles, slowly but 
surely undermined the system. The impulse to 
emancipation was soon felt. Hermes, a Prefect of 
Rome, under Trajan, gave his 1,250 slaves their 
liberty, and means to gain a livelihood, on the day 
of their baptism ; ^ Chromatins, another Prefect of 
Rome, in the reign of Diocletian, freed 1,400 slaves, 
^ Cf. Schmidt, p. 226. 


who had become Christians, saying : '' Those who 
have become the children of God ought to be no 
longer the slaves of men." There are many similar 

A word only can be spared for the remaining point 
to which attention was directed — the restoration by 
Christianity of the idea of the dignity of labour. This 
was another idea by the introduction of which Chris- 
tianity counterworked slavery. Early Christianity 
did not preach the rights of labour ; it preached the 
duty of labour. Its boundless charity was saved 
from harm by the companion principle, that if a man 
would not work, neither should he eat. Efforts were 
made to render the poor capable of work, and to put 
them in a position to earn their own livelihood. Thus, 
observes Mr. Brace, " throughout the Roman Empire 
a grand rehabilitation of labour began under Chris- 
tianity, which has never ceased. Work became 
honoured under the new religion. The Christian 
ecclesiae became little fraternities of free labour and 
competitors of the great slave-estates." 2 With full 
justice may the Gospel claim to have inaugurated the 
modern industrial era. 

These hints may perhaps suffice to show the 
nature of the forces through which Christianity won 
its triumphs in the early centuries. Much might 
be said of subordinate causes, as, e.g., the firm organiza- 
tion of the Christian Church — a true imperium in 
imperio. But this was of gradual growth, and the 
extent, compactness, and vigour of the organization 

1 Ibid. Brace properly calls attention to the fact that " the 
Christians dried up another source of slavery by steadily and con- 
sistently opposing the abandonment and exposure of children " 
(Gesta Christi, p. 68). 

2 Page 69. 


are rather indications of the hold the Church had 
already gained, than causes of its progress. It is to 
be said of the Early Church that it owed much to the 
great and truly good men who were its leaders — its 
bishops like Ignatius, and Polycarp, and Irenaeus, 
and even Cyprian — but these men themselves were 
trophies of the grace of God. It must be acknow- 
ledged, too, that less spiritual methods of propaga- 
tion were sometimes employed, as in Gregory's mis- 
taken policy in Pontus of converting heathen festivals 
into Christian celebrations ; ^ and that, when the 
Church grew more prosperous, worldly and impure 
elements were found in it. We see this in the pictures 
given us of the Churches in Carthage and Alexandria ; ^ 
in the defections at the persecutions ; in the evils 
unveiled in the Spanish Church by the canons of the 
Council of Elvira.3 It is evident, however, that the 
wealthy and worldly do not flock into a Church till 
it has already become popular : the very degeneration 
implies a previous state of higher purity. These 
things are not the causes of the Church's success, but 
an effect of it. The bare fact that the Church came 
through the storm of Diocletian persecution as it did, 
and, by the sheer heroism of suffering, forced the 
recognition of its claims upon the Empire, shows 
how sound the kernel must have been. 

The lesson we would draw from this survey for our 

^ Cf. Hamack, Expansion, ii. pp. 350-3. Hamack admits : 
" Gregory is the sole missionary we know of during these first three 
centuries, who employed such methods." The statement of his 
biographer that Gregory found only seventeen Christians in his native 
town and neighbourhood must be taken cum grano. Hamack him- 
self notices the testimony of Lucian that Pontus was " full of atheists 
and Christians " more than half a century before. 

^ By TertuUian and Clement of Alexandria. 

* Cf. Hamack ii. pp. 441-3. 


own arduous task in extending the Gospel in the world, 
and seeking for it victory in society, may be stated 
in a sentence. It is not in getting a new Gospel, but 
in learning to understand better the Gospel that we 
have — in learning really to understand, use, preach, 
and apply it — that the hope of the world lies. *' Unto 
Him that loved us, and loosed us from our sins by 
His blood ... to Him be the glory and the dominion 
for ever and ever. Amen.'' ^ '' By this sign conquer." 

1 Rev. i. 5, 6. 


The Influence of the Christian Church 
upon the Roman Empire 

By the Rev. H. H. SCULLARD, M.A., D.D., Professor of 
Church History in New College, London. 


Introductory Considerations. 

I. The Influence of the Church and ol Christianity not Identical. 

II. The Church had only very Restricted Authority in the Empire. 
{a) The heritage into which it came. 

(6) Shortness of the time. 

(c) The Church never established. 

{d) Too late to avert the ruin of the Empire. 

III. Disadvantage of Confining our Thoughts to a Limited Period. 

IV. Can a State ever be Christianized ? 

The Ways in which the Church affected the Social Life of the Empire. 

I. In the Realm of Ideas. 

Sociality of Christianity as Contrasted with (a) the Religions and (6) the 

Philosophies of the Empire. 
The Teaching of the Church regarding (a) EquaUty ; (6) Liberty ; (c) Fra - 


II. In the sphere of Conduct. 

(i) In the Church- 
Communism — Philanthropy — ^Democracy. 

(2) In the Monasteries — 

Withdrawal from the world not absolute — Within the monasteries there 
was comradeship. 

(3) In the World— 

(a) How did Christians regard the Empire ? 

(6) How far did Christians abstain from public and civic duties ? 

(c) Did Christianity affect the laws of the Empire ? 


The Influence of the Christian Church 
upon the Roman Empire 

In considering the social influence of the Christian 
Church upon the Roman Empire, it is specially desir- 
able to keep in mind the wider and more correct use 
of the word " social." It is possible so to limit its 
meaning as to neglect important aspects of the Church's 
influence, and come away from our study with a sense 
of disappointment. We are so accustomed to regard 
" the social question " as an economic and legislative 
one, that we are in danger of neglecting some of the 
most important influences which affect social senti- 
ment, social custom, and social life. I hope before ' 
the close of this Essay to show that the influence of ; 
the Church even upon legislation was by no means 
slight ; but I wish also to suggest, if not fully to prove 
(for only a small fraction of the evidence can be dealt 
with), that even if the Church did comparatively 
little to Christianize the instrument of Government 
and prevent the ruin of the old regime, it nevertheless 
rendered an incalculable benefit to the social life of the 
world which then was and to the world which was to 
be. But there are some preliminary remarks which 
ought to be made. 

I. The Influence of Christianity and thelnfluenceof 



the Church are not the same. The Church as an organized 
society or group of societies may only have embodied 
very imperfectly at any one period the Christianity of 
Christ and His apostles. Both by defect and excess 
its influence may be somewhat different from the 
influence of Christianity. Some part of the original 
message and some element of its original power may 
be wanting ; or on the other hand foreign elements 
may have been introduced which tend to counter- 
act and neutralize its influence. The question, '' What 
is the religion of Christ ? " is by no means so easy as 
the celebrated character in one of Fielding's novels 
found it — " When I mention religion I mean the 
Christian religion, and not only the Christian religion 
but the Protestant religion, and not only the Protestant 
religion but the religion of the Church of England '' — 
but I should think that hardly any one would wish 
to identify in all points the religion of Churchmen in 
the second, third, fourth and fifth centuries with the 
religion of the New Testament. Before, then, we 
criticize Christianity for its failure or small success 
in any direction, we must know whether Christianity 
has ever been brought to bear upon the social life of 
the time at the necessary point. Something like 
Christianity has been before the world and operating 
upon society in every generation since the first ; but 
before we confess the powerlessness of Christianity 
to solve all social problems and extinguish social evils 
we must be sure that it has been before the world in 
all its fullness and purity, and allow it time. Some 
Churchmen may not even have been Christians at all, 
and certainly the best of Churchmen were not perfect 
Christians. The representation of Christianity, e.g., 
which confronted the empire in the last generation 


before the capture of Rome by the Goths contained 
elements which must seem to many quite ahen 
from the pure Christianity of Christ — magic, divin- 
ation, sacerdotaUsm , the medicinal lie, intolerance, 
asceticism, monasticism and so forth. 

II. Almost equally important, though from another 
point of view, is the fact that during our period the 
Church never rose to the place of absolute authority 
in the counsels of the Empire. During the larger 
part of the time it was a proscribed society, despised 
and persecuted. It could hardly be expected to 
influence very powerfully, along the line of its own 
desires, the social policy of persecuting emperors. 
And when with the conversion of Constantine it seemed 
to get its opportunity, it was very far from obtaining 
the determining voice in the affairs of the State. 
For consider for a moment these things, each of which 
must be dismissed in a few lines. 

(a) The heritage into which it came. The reforming 
party, if such we may regard either the Church, or 
Constantine and his Christian friends, was in a hope- 
less minority. Beugnot estimated that the heathen 
population of the empire at the accession of Constan- 
tine was still nineteen-twentieths of the whole. But 
if we put the Christian element at one-tenth instead 
of one-twentieth, the difficulty of transforming the 
Roman empire by means of legislation will still 
appear almost insuperable. What could the one- 
tenth have done against the nine-tenths, even if they 
had been social enthusiasts ? We know _ something 
about the difficulties of legislation in advance of 
public sentiment in our own country. If total pro- 
hibitionists constituted only one-tenth of the popula- 
tion, could they succeed in making effective a total 
prohibition law, even if it found its way into the 


statute book ? But the drinking habits of our country 
are not more difficult to change than the gladiatorial 
games of ancient Rome. The latter were quite as much 
a factor in national life, as inveterate and apparently 
as indispensable as alcoholic drinking is with us. 
When we remember the determined stand the early 
Church took against that crying evil of the Roman 
empire, we may be led to ask whether the modern 
Church is as free from blame in reference to the debasing 
customs of English society. 

Conservatism in Rome was a far more powerful 
and mischievous thing than it is in England. There 
was no power of initiation, no hope, no idea of pro- 
gress, in ancient paganism. The people had sur- 
rendered one after another their democratic sentiments 
as well as privileges. They wanted only to be fed 
and amused by the State and lij^ in idleness. The 
extension of the franchise did not mean^ny increased 
interest on the part of the people in the government 
of the Empire. The decayjif4iiibiiiC spirit is noticeable 
as early as the reign of Tiberius. The noblest Romans, 
such as Symmachus, towards the close of the Empire, 
when the barbarians were threatening its existence, 
would not sacrifice themselves to the extent of allow- 
ing their serfs to enlist in the army. Their worship of 
the past made them oblivious to the needs of the 
present. The changelessness of the present order, 
the eternity of Rome, was the one influential article 
in their creed. 

(b) Then how short was the time in which the 
Church was able to exert its influence. In less than a 
hundred years after Christianity became a tolerated 
religion, Alaric and his Goths had entered Rome. 
Rome had fallen. And during all those hundred years 
the northern nations were pressing upon the frontiers, 


and settling within the empire. The population 
of the empire was changing rapidly; the limits of the 
empire were contracting. It was a time of public 
danger, and such times are never favourable for social 

It may of course be said in reply to this argument 
that the Christian emperors and the Christian bishops 
found time for theological controversies and for legis- 
lation in favour of the clergy and the Church : and 
some may wish that all the heat spent in violent 
controversy had been directed to the passing and 
enforcement of better laws for the people. But the 
two things were not at all on the same level as regards 
practical politics, whatever may have been their rela- 
tive importance. Constantine and his sons chose 
the line of least resistance in concentrating so much 
of their attention upon theological matters, and the 
later emperors found it much easier to issue perse- 
cuting edicts against the pagans than to put a stop 
to the games, or to reform the barbarous finances 
of the empire. As a matter of fact the pagans in 
many instances do not seem to have cared very 
much about the closing of their temples, but the cur- 
tailment of their pleasures was a much more serious 
thing. Constantius, Gratian and Arcadius all found it 
perilous to interfere with the amusements of the 

(c) Then we have to remember that the Church 
was never in the proper sense established. The 
advisers of Christian emperors were for the most 
part heathen, and, what was equally important, the 
administration was in the hands very largely of heathen 
men who could prevent or render difficult the perfect 
administration of the laws. The Empire was never 
Christianized in the sense of being ofiicered by Chris- 
ex. R, 


tian men. De Broglie^ goes so far as to say that with 
the exception of Ambrose all the favourites of the 
emperors in the fourth century were " enemies of 
the truth/* i.e. heathen or Arian. And we cannot 
help regarding it as a most noteworthy if not deplor- 
able fact that the one man who better than any one 
else might have guided the social policy of the time, 
the great Athanasius, '' the jurisconsult Athanasius/* 
as Sulpicius Severus calls him, was three times exiled 
by Christian emperors. Probably Athanasius by 
the firm stand which he took for the freedom of the 
Church, as well as by his vindication of Christian 
truth, did more for his own and other ages than he 
would have done as a jurisconsult or social reformer 
in happier times; but it is not to be wondered at, 
after his own experience of the tyranny of kings and 
the time-serving of bishops, that when he turned his 
thoughts to social problems he should have leaned 
towards the monastic life. 

{d) And, finally, it should be remarked in this 
connexion that when the Church arrived at a position 
of power in the State, so far as she did do so, it was 
too late to avert the ruin of the Empire. *' It is one 
of the most tragical facts of all history,'* said J. S. 
Mill '' that Constantine rather than Marcus Aurelius 
was the first Christian emperor. It is a bitter thought 
how different the Christianity of the world might 
have been had it been adopted as the religion of the 
Empire under the auspices of Marcus Aurelius instead 
of those of Constantine.** 2 Modern historians do 
not all take such a favourable view of the political 
sagacity of Marcus Aurelius as Gibbon did; but as 
regards the time, it is interesting to try and imagine 

1 UEglise et VEmpire romain au IV"' Steele, vol. iv. Resum^. 
^ Essay on Liberty, p. 58. 

■. ) 


what a Christian Emperor like Constantine might 
have done, if he had had the chance which the Stoic 
Marcus Aurehus had a century and a half before. 
The empire as reformed by Diocletian was already 
past redemption. The Church might hasten or retard 
its end, but it could not avert it. 

III. The influence of Christianity can never be 
fully estimated by confining our thoughts to a single 
limited period. The work of the Church, like the 
work of Jeremiah, is '' to pluck up and to break down, 
and to destroy and to overthrow,*' as well as to build 
and to plant. The destruction of the Roman Empire 
was necessary for the progress of the race ; and though 
the chief actors in the scene little realized how this 
was to come about, and would have resisted it with 
all their might if they had done so, yet the purpose 
of God was accomplished through them. Wishing 
only to build and to plant, i.e. to maintain the stability 
of the empire, the Church found that it had also to 
pluck up and to break down and to destroy and to 
overthrow. The question is, did the Church while 
so doing prepare the way for a better time ? Did 
it mediate between Roman and the Barbarian ? Did 
it preserve what was best in the old Roman civilization ? 
Receiving a new spirit and principles calculated to 
produce better social conditions, did it hand them 
down faithfully to succeeding generations ? The 
prophets of Judah did not succeed in creating an 
ideal city by cleansing Jerusalem of its abominations : 
but they did a work whose influence is felt to-day. 
Can we say the same of the teachers and workers in 
the early Church ? Even if they did not succeed in 
applying the Gospel in the wisest ways to every phase 
of life in their day, did they deliver and transmit a 
Gospel capable of transforming the world ? 


IV. There is one other preliminary question — 
Can a State ever be Christianized, not nominally, 
but in the sense of becoming permeated by the spirit 
and principles of Jesus Christ ? Is there not something 
in the very constitution of a State which prevents 
the perfect application of Christian morality ? How 
can a society governed by force illustrate the principles 
of the Sermon on the Mount ? It is an old question, 
but one also that is ever with us, and never more per- 
sistently than now. There are many in our day who 
incline towards a very high doctrine of the State, 
conceding to it an authority, prerogative and function, 
which they would deny to any organized Church. 
There are others on the contrary who make much 
more modest claims for the State, and believe, among 
other things, that it can never be a perfect embodi- 
ment, nor even a proper instrument, of the Kingdom 
of Heaven. 

There is no occasion here, however, to discuss 
rival theories of the State, its functions or its possi- 
bilities, inasmuch as what we have now to deal with 
is simply the Roman Empire : and whatever may 
be true of other forms of government we may believe 
that the Roman Empire could not be Christianized. 
A despotism of the Oriental type can never afford 
ideal conditions, social, material, or industrial. Ambrose 
was nearer the truth when he said that the Church 
was the outward form of justice.^ Liberty and justice 
were impossible in the empire of his day. And of 
course the larger question of the possibility of Christian- 
izing any State lies in the background of our thoughts. 

But we must now confine our attention to positive 
results. In what apparent and conspicuous ways 
^J)e Officiis, i. 29, 139. 


did the Church affect the social hfe of the empire ? 

I. And first in the realm of ideas, where all great 
victories have first to be won, what did the Church 
achieve ? Most important of all — it maintained against 
all rival theories and beliefs the social conception of 
God received from Christ and His apostles. It attacked 
the anti-social, unsocial, and imperfectly social ideas 
of God which it found prevalent in the empire, and 
substituted something better in their place. It saw 
one after another of those imperfectly social, or 
even mischievous ideas retire into the background, 
and make way for the Christian idea of which it was 
the guardian and interpreter. That was the first 
and the greatest victory of the Church. Men are not 
likely to be better than their gods. Their social 
ideals stand in close connexion with their religious 
beliefs. No nation can change its gods without 
changing very much besides. 

Now what was there of social efficiency in the 
religious ideas which Christianity resisted and to so 
large an extent displaced ? 

The old gods of Latium were intimately connected 
in the minds of their worshippers with the fortunes 
of the State. They were the gods of the nation, and 
to neglect their worship was to involve the nation in 
disaster. But the old Roman idea of religion was 
essentially magical, commercial and selfish. The gods 
were to be appeased by sacrifices and made to do 
what the worshipper desired. It was a question of 
contract and the fulfilment of contract, not of fellow- 
ship between the worshipper and his god. Religion 
Kad nothing to do with morality. The action of the 
deity did not extend to the thoughts and desires of 
the heart. Man might be dependent upon the gods 
fpr his daily bread,.,but he was dependent upon him- 


self alone for h is morals. Such intercourse as there 
might be Detween the gods and man was concerned 
with the outward fortunes of the individual or the 
State. The inadequacy of these ideas was felt as 
time went on, and the Eastern cults came in to minister 
to the deeper needs of men. The ideas of brotherhood 
with men and fellowship with God, which found no 
place in the old religion, did find some expression in 
these Oriental religions. It was the fact of their 
greater sociality which accounted for their rapid 
success. Mithraism, e.g., could never have been 
the dangerous rival to Christianity which it must 
have seemed had it not provided a real brotherhood, 
and promised union with God. The victory of Christi- 
anity over Mithraism was the victory of a superior 
form of Socialism over an inferior form. Mithraism 
was defeated on its own ground. The religion which 
promised most and could accomplish most for society 
was the one which survived. In the third century 
Mithraism probably numbered its adherents by mil- 
lions. It had established itself in nearly every part 
of the Roman empire. It was the religion of the 
men who ruled the empire, i.e. to say of the soldiers. 
But where is it to-day ? What monuments has it 
left behind it ? Nothing practically but monuments of 
stone. In the expressive words of Dr. Rendel Harris, 
*' It is not merely that Mithraism is dead, but there 
are no gesta Mithrae; there never were any." ^ 

And why was Mithraism, which seemed to promise 
so much, so socially ineffective ? It would be easy 
for the sociologist to point to glaring defects, such 
as the exclusion of women from its privileges and its 
severe and imperfect view of human nature, but 
behind all these surface defects there is a radically 
^ Aaron's Breastplate, p. 139. 


unsocial view of God. The Divine is the ethereal 
and non-human. Man must first divest himself of 
those things which are most properly his, before he 
can enter into the blessedness of heaven. 

The old gods of Latium having been found wanting, 
military and other Eastern cults having lost their 
hold upon the more earnest minds in the Empire, 
nothing remained but the apotheosis of the Emperor 
and the worship of the Dea Roma. But a State 
which worships itself is morally dead. The vision 
has gone and the people have perished. 

Still, there was philosophy, if not religion : did 
not that, we may ask, keep alive a social ideal 
worthy of a great empire ? Aristotle begins his 
Politics by telling us that man is a political animal, 
and that he who by nature and not by accident is 
without a State is either above humanity or below it. 
That means that the State exhausts the possibilities 
of human development : man is only man because 
he finds a place in the State. Concerning man as a 
member of an eternal order, and the State as the 
sphere in which God is training men for a higher life, , 
Aristotle has nothing to say. God is non-moral and / 
unsocial. He does not interfere with mankind. The / 
highest virtues consequently are intellectual, not moral. / 
Aristocratic, abstract, unsocial, the ideal of Aristotle/ 
was powerless to effect any social reform. It was/ 
so with Epicurus. The gods did not trouble themselves/ 
with the affairs of men : it was foolish therefore for 
man to live for any one but himself, or take any pari 
in civic concerns. Platonism and Neoplatonism wen 
likewise unfit to introduce a higher social order, because 
the highest ideal in the one case was aristocratic] 
intellectual, and unhuman: in the other absolutely 
non-human. In the case of Stoicism alone can it 


be said that the ideal has even the appearance of 
being a social one, and the fact that the legislation of 
the Stoic jurisconsults compares in some points favour- 
ably with that of Christian emperors makes the 
resemblances and differences of the greatest interest. 

Stoicism did possess a social ideal; it conceived 
of its god as being in closest relations with men. It 
was the old tribal idea of God, with humanity sub- 
stituted for the tribe. Gods and men formed one 
commonwealth ; men were partakers of the divine 
nature. This community of gods and men was not 
to be identified with the State. Foiled in his attempts 
to serve the earthly state, the wise man, says Seneca, 
may remember that he belongs to a greater common- 
wealth whose bounds are only to be measured by the 
circuit of the sun, where he will not work in vain, or 
rather meditate in vain.i This social ideal is incom- 
parably higher than that of Aristotle. Not only is 
the State cosmopolitan and not Greek ; not only 
are all men, even slaves, admitted into citizenship in 
the earthly kingdom, but over and beyond this there 
is the greater commonwealth of gods and men. There 
is an ideal as well as a cosmopolitan element in the 
Stoicism of Seneca which seems to promise much. 
And yet Stoicism failed to influence permanently 
the fortunes of the empire. Stoicism was much 
more closely allied with the empire than Christi- 
anity. It was an essentially Roman philosophy. It 
had a far more favourable, because earlier, chance 
I of remedying by legislation the evils of the empire 
j than Christianity had. Yet Marcus Aurelius does 
1 not inaugurate a brighter period for his people ; he 
1 closes the golden age of Roman history, the age which 

\ 1 De OHo, iv. 


before all other ages in the history of the world Gibbon 
thought was the happiest to have lived in. 

We shall misinterpret Stoicism if we put it on 
the same level as Christianity for social outlook and 
effectiveness. The differences are much greater than 
the resemblances. The Stoic community of gods and 
men, by merging the human and the divine, by con- 
fining the divine within the limits of a commonwealth 
homogeneous in all its parts, shuts out God from all 
effective action upon the world as fatally as the cold 
isolation of Aristotle's deity. God is imprisoned 
in His own universe. He is man's equal, morally 
perhaps his inferior, but constitutionally his equal. 
He is not the giver of grace to men, for man shares 
already what God possesses, save immortality, and 
this God never imparts. He is not the giver of vir- 
tue, for man is the author of his own salvation. And 
as there is no transference of moral power from God 
to man, so man cannot possibly influence his neigh- 
bour on the higher side of his nature. Each man is 
sufficient in himself. A man should indeed love his 
neighbour, and a very able writer in a recent work on 
Stoicism, has used the peculiarly Christian phrase, 
*' enthusiasm of humanity,'' to describe Stoic phil- 
anthropy, but we must remember that the love of the 
Stoic was the love of one who denied the rights of the 
affections and emotions. It was without passion 
and without hope. It was without hope either for 
the individual or for the earthly commonwealth. Stoic 
eschatology will not bear comparison with Christian. 
The aimlessness of the one is in strong contrast to 
the progressive and final character of the other. The 
Golden Age for the Stoic was in the past rather than 
in the future. But a social reformation is impossible 
without hope. The Christian had been begotten 


again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus 
Christ from the dead, and in Jesus Christ had found 
a Hfe of fellowship with God and man which was im- 
possible before. But the Stoic's faith was self-centred. 
It was in himself. And the outlook was dark and 

Before passing away from the realm of ideas to 
more concrete illustrations something may be said 
regarding the three democratic, republican and social- 
istic ideas of Equality, Liberty and Fraternity as 
held in the early Church. The revolution which 
Christianity wrought in the Roman Empire cannot 
y be understood if we ignore this part of our subject, 
(a) Equality. Christianity asserted the absolute 
equality of all human beings in the sight of God. 
The early Church, confronted by very different ideas 
on the subject in the Roman Empire, in Gnosticism 
as well as in heathenism, set itself resolutely to bring 
( public sentiment on to its side. 

And, first, with regard to the child. From the 

first and consistently the Church championed the 

cause of the child. From its very birth and even 

before birth the infant was a being with sacred rights 

11 which it was both crime and sin to violate. Infanticide, 

11 a practice concerning which the ancient world was so 

11 callous that the author of the fine saying '* I am a 

II man, I count nothing human to be foreign to me,'* 

1\ did not see the inconsistency of being enraged with 

l\ his wife for refusing to destroy their infant daughter 

I \ with her own hand. To the Church and to the Church 

1 \ almost exclusively belongs the honour of securing the 

\ \ natural rights of the child. Before the middle of the 

\ Vthird century a similar spirit had made itself felt in 

\ §toic circles, and the jurisconsult Paulus characterized 


infanticide as murder. But the general Stoic attitude 
is best seen in Epictetus, who regards children as 
" snivelling brats '* beneath the notice of the wise 

Then with regard to Woman. In theory, according 
to Boissier,2 the Church treated women badly enough, 
accusing them of weakness and vanity. ''What do 
these miserable women want, laden with sins, turned 
about in all directions by opinions, always learning 
and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth ?*' 
said Jerome. Yet even Jerome must not be taken 
too seriously. The ladies were his favourite pupils. 
They were to be educated as carefully as men. They 
might read Cyprian, Athanasius, Hilary, and — climax 
of all generous concessions — they might learn Hebrew. 
And this view of the sinfulness of the feminine nature 
is only one side of the picture. Her social inferiority 
was sometimes regarded as due to the fact that the 
woman was the first to sin. But Ambrose, e.g., will 
not allow that she was the sole cause of the Fall, and 
says that if man were the stronger he ought to have 
resisted the temptation more easily.^ Moreover sal- 
vation had come into the world through her. *' The 
Saviour gives abundant proof of the dignity of woman 
in being born of a woman," said Augustine.* And in 
the school of Christ all were alike disciples. Justin 
Martyr held that God had given to women equally 
with men the ability to keep the whole law^. Tatian 
said that Christians admitted women to the pursuit of 
philosophy, all in fact who desired to hear, even old 

^ Bigg, Church's Task under the Roman Empire, p. 70. 

2 La Fin du Paganisms, iv. 2, 4. 

3 De Instit. Virgin., 4. 25. 
* Sermo, 190. 

^ Trypho, 25. 


women and striplings, persons of every age and sex.* 
" The virtue of man and woman," said Clement of 
Alexandria " is the same. For if the God of both is 
one, the Master of both is also one ; one Church, one 
temperance, one modesty ; their food is common, 
marriage an equal yoke ; respiration, sight, hearing, 
knowledge, hope, obedience, love, all alike. And 
those whose life is common have common grace 
and a common salvation : common to them are love 
and training.'* 2 Chrysostom said, '' They surpass 
us in love to the Saviour, in chastity, in compassion 
for the miserable." ^ 

Sentiments such as these could not be held in 
every part of the empire from Carthage to the furthest 
East without profoundly modifying the social life 
of the empire. A vassal, often honoured and res- 
pected, but always dependent upon the will of father, 
husband or son, in the days of the Republic ; a freed- 
woman, often cruel and degraded, but always the victim 
of her own caprice or passion, emancipated yet not 
free, in the days of the empire ; it was only in the 
school of Christ that woman received her freedom and 
entered into a life of perfect liberty. 

With regard to slavery, Harnack is no doubt right 
in saying " It is a mistake to suppose that any slave 
question occupied the early Church." * Slavery was 
an institution of such long standing and so widespread 
that any direct attack upon it would have been dis- 
astrous to all concerned, to the slaves themselves 
and to society at large, as well as to the slaveowners. 
The very existence of society depended upon slave 
labour. If abolished, it could only be aboUshed very 
gradually. Both Stoicism and Christianity however 

1 Cohort, 32 and 33. ^ Paedag, i. 4. ' Horn. 42. 

* Expansion of Christianity, i. 3, 7. 


had much to say upon the subject.-/^hey both re- 
garded it as unnatural, and contrary to primitive 
custom. At the beginning it was not so, but Uke 
divorce under the Mosaic law, it was allowed because 
of the hardness of men's hearts. It was an accom- 
modation to a corrupt state of society. According to 
Seneca it was unnecessary in the age of innocence- 
According to the Church writers it was a result of 
the Fall. But the Church writers were able to look 
upon it with greater calmness and hopefulness than 
the Stoics. As it was due to sin, that is to the will 
of man, it was not necessary ; and as it was allowed 
by God, it must be for some holy and gracious pur- 
poses. It was a punishment for sin, and a discipline for 
the sake of righteousness. To Seneca it naturally 
seemed a thing utterly hateful,^ though even according 
to Stoic doctrine the wise man might rise superior 
to its bitterness and be free though in bonds. To 
the Christian it seemed a temporary ordinance of 
God, to be dissolved only by mutual consent, and 
while it lasted an opportunity, not to be missed, 
for glorifying God. It may require an effort of the 
imagination to conceive the heightened sense of 
dignity which the consciousness of union with Jesus 
Christ in the new life gave to men in those early days, 
which led them to work cheerfully and suffer uncom- 
plainingly in bonds, and even for the sake of the 
Gospel to sell themselves into slavery as Clement of 
Rome tells us some did ^ ; but it was by that new 
sense of dignity and that new spirit, and not by any 
violent agitation, that slavery was undermined. It 

^ The best treatment (in English) of slavery in the early Church 
perhaps is in vol. I. of A. J. Carlyle's Mediaeval Political Theory in 
the West, iii. 8, 9 and 10. 

2 I Ep. chap. 55. . . 


was to the new-found liberty of men in Christ Jesus, 
with the consequent respect it inspired, rather than 
to the Stoic doctrine of the natural equality of men, 
that the world owed the mitigation and partial abolition 
of slavery. 

Other social inequalities were also transcended 
in the thought of the early Church. Poverty ceased 
to be regarded as necessarily a crime, disgrace, or 
disadvantage. The Church became the recognized 
champion of the poor. This was as true of the Gentile 
Churches as of the Jewish. A recent writer has, 
indeed, spoken of the Jewish-Christian Churches as 
constituting the " radical social wing of the primitive 
Church," and of the social spirit which glowed in 
that part of the Church as '' inadequately represented 
in the main current of Christian life which finally 
resulted in Catholic Christianity." ^ If by '' radical" 
is meant lawless and revolutionary there may be 
truth in th^ observation. The Sibylline books, some 
of which emanated from Jewish-Christian sources, 
breathe a spirit of hostility to the existing order of a 
very violent kind. But radicalism is not necessarily 
of a violent or anarchical character. The type of 
socialism represented by such Jewish Christians as 
James was very different from that which found 
favour among some of the wilder spirits of Alexandria, 
and there seems to be no reason why it should be con- 
sidered more *' radical " than that of Paul. A 
sympathy with the poor as intense and as practical 
as that shown by James glowed in the heart of Paul ; 
and that kind of sympathy, the Christian rather than 
the Sibylline, fortunately did prevail '* in the main 
current of Christian life which finally resulted in 
CathoUc Christianity." Some of the Catholic writers 

^ Rauschenbusch, Christianity and the Social Crisis, p. loi. 


are as outspoken as James himself against oppression 
by the rich, and these denunciations were accom- 
panied by appropriate works. Again it appears that a 
higher form of sociaUsm survived a lower ; and one 
reason for the disappearance of Jewish Christianity, 
which some writers deplore, may have been its failure 
to remain where James had left it, and its alliance 
with a more violent (though not more radical) type 
of social theory. 

(b) With regard to the second of the democratic 
ideas, that of Liberty, it is hardly possible to exaggerate 
the service the early Church rendered to mankind 
before the fall of the empire. It was the constancy 
of the confessors and martyrs that forced the idea of 
toleration on to the attention of men. Individual 
conviction, first an object of wonder, then of scorn, 
finally became the strongest force with which the 
Roman emperors had to reckon. Even Stoicism, 
though professing to hold in honour the manhood of 
every man, threw itself blindly against the Christian 
sentiment and called the Christian's conduct *' obsti- 
nacy.'* Rationalism joined the alliance of Super- 
stition with Despotism and attempted to crush the 
only Faith which had within it the promise of civil and 
religious liberty. But it failed. Christianity triumphed 
over the combined assault, and its victory marked the 
beginning of a new era and of a new world. 

The victory was not of course at once complete. 
The conflict was again and again renewed. The 
leaders of the Church were not always true to the 
principles for which Apologists like Tertullian and 
Lactantius had contended and in obedience to which 
the martyrs had died. That those principles made 
any headway at all against the powerful currents that 
resisted them is a splendid tribute to their own inherent 


strength and to the heroism of the men who held 
them. The essential thing to notice is that ideas of 
liberty utterly foreign to the philosophy of Plato or 
of Cicero had laid hold of the minds of men and were 
getting themselves applied in various directions. 

(c) It was so with the idea of Fraternity. Brother- 
hoods were not unknown in the ancient world. There 
were many in the Roman Empire. But Christianity 
gave a new meaning and a new sanction to the idea of 
brotherhood. '' Thus we love one another, because 
we do not know how to hate/* said Minucius Felix, 
" Thus we call one another brethren as being born of 
one God and Father, comrades in faith and fellow-heirs 
in hope.'' ^ " Thou shalt not call things thine own : 
for if ye are partakers in common of things which 
are incorruptible how much more of things which are 
corruptible." 2 It is *' divine religion, which alone 
effects that man should hold man dear, and should 
know that he is bound to him by the tie of brother- 
hood, since God is alike a Father to all." ^ Passages 
like these abound in rich profusion throughout the 
writings of the period, and reveal the twofold way in 
which the brotherhood of men was regarded. At the 
foundation of all lies the universal Fatherhood of God : 
men are brethren all the world over, because created 
by the One God. But it was the fellowship of faith 
and hope and love in the Gospel of Jesus Christ that 
gave its peculiar charm and its peculiar power to the 
Christian brotherhood. The Fatherhood of God meant 
much more to the Christian than to the philosophers, 
but it was the consciousness of the new life in Christ 
which converted theory into practice and produced 

^ Oct. 31. ^ Barnabas, chap. 19. 

3 Lactantius Div. Inst., v. 7. 


'* the insatiable desire for doing good " of which 
Clement of Rome speaks. ^ 


It is now time to look at some of the attempts 
which the early Church made to apply these ideas. 

The first efforts of the Church, then, were directed 
to forming a society independent of the State in 
which the social ideas of Christianity could be more 
perfectly applied. The origins of that society are 
clearly seen in the New Testament, and the pictures of 
primitive Church life there given reveal the astonishing 
power which the new faith had to create a higher 
social life than the world had ever known. Surely 
all things in the way of social reform were possible to 
that faith. The enthusiastic type of Communism 
may be compared with the other social phenomenon des- 
cribed in the same chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, 
the Gift of Tongues ; for just as the latter sign indi- 
cated the unifying socializing power of the Gospel in 
one direction so the former did in another. Language 
and property represent two great hindrances in the 
way of a perfect mutual understanding and intercourse. 
These hindrances are done away in Christ. The one 
can be Christianized as perfectly as the other. 

We are in the habit of regarding this Pentecostal 
experience and its outcome as something exceptional 
in the life of the early Church, confined to Jerusalem 
and attended with very dubious results. The sub- 
sequent poverty of the Church at Jerusalem has even 

1 I Ep. chap. ii. For further illustrations the English reader 
should consult the valuable works of^ Lecky and Schmidt. Brace's 
Gesta ChrisH is not so good. Croslegh's Christianity Judged by its 
Fruits, and Storr's Divine Origin of Christianity may also be 

c.c. S 


been ascribed to it. We may leave that alone. But 
what is specially important to note is that in theory 
and principle the Communism was not exceptional. 
The new Christian theory of property — '' not one of 
them said that aught of the things which he possessed 
was his own '' — is one which we fi|id constantly 
adopted and applied in the new society. The conse- 
cration of property to the common weal is one of the 
fundamental principles of the new Church life, and 
one which the teachers of the Church are never tired 
of insisting upon. A long catena of passages, from 
the Didache which says " Thou shalt share all things 
with thy brother '' to Augustine and Pelagius who 
both regarded poverty as better than riches, could 
very easily be given, and would abundantly prove 
the contention that all Churchmen believed that 
naught which the Christian possessed was his own, 
but that he was bound to surrender it or to use it for 
the common good. Against any theory of State Com- 
munism or compulsory Communism the Church writers 
would have unanimously protested. The immorality 
of Plato's RepubUc, e.g., was pitilessly exposed by 
Lactantius, who said that the ownership of property 
contains the material both of vices and of virtues, but 
a community of goods contains nothing else than 
the licentiousness of vices : Covetousness, not private 
property, was the cause of the evils of society.^ 

Private ownership was not abolished in the Church, 
but every encouragement was offered to voluntary 
giving to the point of self-sacrifice and even consequent 
poverty. Clement 'of Alexandria, who believed in the 
use and not in the total surrender of property, never- 
theless held that to reduce one's wants to a minimum 

^ Div. Instit. iii. 22. The references here and elsewhere will be 
found in the " Ante-Nicene Christian Library." 


was a social duty, and Augustine, though he recognized 
in opposition to Pelagius the right of earthly property, 
looked upon it in very much the same way as he did 
upon the institution of slavery. It was good to con- 
quer the love of money, but it was better to add works 
to the inward victory. 

The liberality of the Church is too evident on every 
hand to need illustration, and it showed itself in a 
great variety of ways. In the middle of the third 
century the Roman Church supported 1,500 poor 
persons. In cases of emergency Ambrose, Augustine 
and others parted with the vases and ornaments of 
the Church to help the unfortunate. The legend says 
that Paulinus of Nola sold himself into slavery to 
redeem a young man the only son of a widowed mother. 
Basil turned a part of the town of Neo-Caesarea into 
a colony of mercy with an asylum for the aged, a hos- 
pital for the sick, a home for children, and an inn for 
travellers. In times of plague Christians ministered 
to the dying who had been basely deserted by their 
pagan friends. All this charitable work was well- 
known to the heathen and cannot have been without 
its influence in changing public sentiment in the 
empire. Even the Stoics who despised the Christians 
for their obstinacy and want of reason may have learnt 
something from these object lessons. Men sometimes 
do learn from the people they profess to despise ; only 
generally they do not acknowledge their obligations. 
Some of the laws which heathen emperors put upon 
the statute-book may have been suggested by Chris- 
tian examples. When we come to Julian we know 
that something of this kind did take place. " It has 
happened," he said, *' that the indifference of our 
priests for the poor has suggested to the impious 
Galileans the thought of practical beneficence. . . . 


It would be shameful when the Jews have not a beggar, 
when the impious Galileans nourish both ours and 
theirs that those of our cult should be deprived of the 
succour which we ought to give them.'* So he told 
his priests to bestir themselves. 

But these forms of practical charity did not exhaust 
the sociality of the ancient Church. Work was pro- 
vided as well as alms. Teaching was given. Oppor- 
tunities of social intercourse were afforded. Even 
after the Church had modelled itself only too closely 
on the imperial lines, the democratic spirit of the earliest 
age could not be quenched. The people could elect 
their own bishops, though they may not have been 
supposed to nominate them. And those bishops were 
their friends. They championed the cause of the 
poor. They intervened in case of disputes. They 
resisted their oppressors. And so great was the popu- 
larity and moral authority of their voluntary tribunals 
that at the end of the fourth century the Emperor 
Arcadius passed two laws which made the sentences 
of the bishops legal. When attacked by the bar- 
barians, bishops like Sidonius and Synesius defended 
their flocks and proved themselves better patriots 
than the heathen nobles. And over and above all 
these advantages of a temporal kind there was com- 
munity in the deepest things. It is no wonder that 
the Church was more popular than the State. It was 
accomplishing many of the things which the empire 
had failed to do. It was doing much which the empire 
had never attempted. And the fact that the Church 
in later times fell lamentably short of the ideal formed 
by men like Ambrose, and Martin of Tours, and other 
bishops, and showed that tyranny was not confined to 
civil governments, is no reason why we should refuse 
to acknowledge the splendid social service which it 


rendered during this period in protecting the weak 
and in affording a sphere in which the individual^ 
could come into possession of his own. ^'^ 

But what about Monasticism ? Was this a gain 
to the Roman Empire ? It is one thing to say that a 
contented, happy, fellowship of Christians such as we 
see depicted for example in the Apology of Aristides, 
" a document so altogether altruistic in its ethics and 
disclosing a people so utterly happy in the faith into 
which they had been brought that one might have 
blushed to find the difference between their spiritual 
temper and our own " — it is one thing to say that 
such a fellowship, in the world and yet not of it, must 
have been a good thing in itself and also for the world ; 
but we may hesitate before saying that the monastic 
life which was so popular at the end of our period 
was good either for the men who fled from the world, 
or for the world from which they fled. 

But some things ought to be remembered. 

Monasticism is not Christian, though it may have 
been adopted by the Church from motives partly 
Christian. The fact that it did not make its appear- 
ance for three hundred years shows that it is no essen- 
tial part of Christianity. But in the fourth century 
it was the spirit of the age. It arose from causes 
over which the Church had no control. And the 
Church had to reckon with it. Some of the leaders 
resisted the movement, but the greater number yielded 
to it and tried to utilize it, just as our Churches to- 
day try to be *' up to the times '' and take advantage 
of any strong current of public opinion. 

Another thing — the whole Church did not become 
monasticized. Monasticism became a sort of Church 
within the Church, and even this monastic section did 


not break wholly with the world. Many of the monks 
for good and ill continued to take a living interest 
in the world they had renounced. They even graced 
marriage ceremonies by their presence. They insti- 
tuted something similar to our Pleasant Saturday 
Evenings. The monasteries too were often homes of 
learning : they were centres of charity : they were 
sources from which evangelistic missions proceeded : 
they were labour colonies and, to mention social 
influence of another kind, we cannot forget that it 
was from this class, whichwe, from our modern stand- 
point, are inclined to regard as altogether mischievous, 
that a social wrong which had defied all the efforts of 
pagan and Christian emperors received its deathblow. 
It was not by legislation, but by the noble act of a 
monk that the gladiatorial shows were stopped. 

For those within the monasteries the social life was 
far from being an ideal one ; still it was at least a social 
life. The rights of the individual were respected. 
Men met one another, men rich and poor, noble and 
serf. Equality, liberty and fraternity did find recog- 
nition within the walls of the monastery. ^ To us the 
monastery with its rigorous rules, and its isolation of 
husband and wife, seems a very imperfect substitute 
for the home and the relations of family life. Yet 
even this was easier to husband and father than to see 
wife and children daily dying of starvation, or sold into 
slavery before his eyes. The life to which they came 
was better than that they left behind. 

But what about those left still in the world ? Was 
not their lot made the harder by the withdrawal of 
so many to the monasteries ? The taxes had still 
to be paid, public burdens had still to be borne. This 

^ See, e.g., Genesis of the Social Conscience, an interesting work 
by Prof. Nash, chaps, v. and vi. 


was of course a serious evil, and the mention of it 
brings us to the last part of our subject, the actual 
participation of Christian men in the public Hfe of the 
empire. Had the Christians of those days any civic 
conscience at all ? 

To answer that question we ought to consider : 

{a) What view did they take of the social order to 
which they belonged, i.e. the Roman empire ? 

{b) How far did they abstain from public and 
civic duties ? 

(c) Did Christianity as a matter of fact succeed in 
changing to any extent the laws of the empire ? ^^/ 

(a) Considering that the empire was so long in 
opposition to the Church, the almost invariable respect 
shown to it by Christian writers is one of the miracles 
of history. Persecuted and despised by the State; 
the Church nevertheless honoured the State, and wh^n 
we remember the different spirit shown by the Jews^|i^e 
shall see in the peaceable spirit of the Christians; a 
striking tribute to the presence of a new power in 
their midst. It was no more natural for the Christians 
than it would have been for the Jews to pray for their 
enemies, willingly to pay taxes to the Emperors who 
denied them liberty, and remain law-abiding citizens 
in a State which regarded them as outlaws. But this 
the power of Christ effected. The conservative atti- 
tude of Paul and ist Peter and the Acts of the Apostles 
to the Roman Empire is the prevailing one : though 
echoes of another kind are not altogether wanting. 
Clement of Rome says that it was God who *' gave 
the power of the Kingdom to our rulers and governors on 
the earth . . . that we might be subject to them, nought 
resisting Thy will.'' ^ MeUto of Sardis speaks of the 

1 Ep. Ixi, 


happy beginning of the empire, and regards it as an 
auspicious circumstance that Christianity arose about 
the same time.^ 

Irenaeus says that civil governments are ordained 
of God though they are due to human sin.^ Minucius 
Fehx says " our infant empire was begotten in crime 
and maintained by terrorism,'* yet*' we are not disloyal, 
though some of us refuse the honours of public office/'^ 
And time would fail to tell of Prudentius and Orosius 
and Ambrose and Augustine and the rest. Two more 
illustrations may suffice. Paulinus says — *' As far as 
the heaven is above the earth, so great is the distance 
between the things of Caesar and of Christ,*' and yet 
he tells us that St. Felix, with the help of the Apostles 
Peter and Paul, obtained a prolongation of the Roman 
Empire, thus making not only the Saint, but the 
Apostles, responsible for the continued existence of 
the empire. Again, St. Jerome speaks of Rome as 
" Babylon,'' and yet exclaims, when Alaric and his 
Goths have sacked it, '' the light of the world is 

Justin Martyr occupies an interesting position in 
relation to this question. His broad outlook upon the 
world leads us to expect that he will find in human 
institutions as well as in human philosophies illustra- 
tions of his favourite doctrine of the Logos. Why 
should not the '' seed of reason " spring up in the 
works as well as in the thoughts of men ? But Justin 
does not develop this idea. Even the world which 
God has made, not aimlessly but for the sake of the 
human race, is no proper object of the Christian's 
desire. To seek a human kingdom is to deny the 

^ Eusebius, Ecc. Hist. iv. 26. 2 y 24, 2. 

* Octavius, chaps. 25 and 31. 


Saviour. To flee from those things which seem to be 
good is the road to blessedness. But after the Resur- 
rection there will be a thousand years of earthly bliss 
for the Christian. 

The influence of the millenarian hopes upon the 
attitude of the early Church to the world opens up a 
large subject, but the tendency of many writers seems 
to be to regard it too much as an evil thing. It is 
true that the expectation of the approaching end of 
the world produced an unrest and indisposition to 
work at Thessalonica and elsewhere ; but that it was 
on the whole an anti-social and mischievous belief it 
would be very difficult to prove. The enormous 
power of such a hope must not be judged simply by 
the extravagances which accompanied it in special 
instances, whether few or many. If sometimes it led 
to 'ecstasy and idleness, at others it led to patient 
continuance in well-doing, made men forget their 
weariness, their animosities, their differences. A living 
hope of any kind was of priceless value for that '' hard 
Roman world " on which *' disgust 

And secret loathing fell ; 
Deep weariness, and sated lust 
Made human life a hell. 

And if the hope of Justin and others was judged 
too earthly by Augustine and later teachers of the 
Church, it had brought courage to do and bear, and 
added a new motive for brotherly love and mutual 
service. The consciousness of belonging to an eternal 
kingdom, whatever the particular form the Christian 
hope might assume, brought an increase both of sym- 
pathy and of power. Whether it led to a neglect of 
practical duties and civic responsibilities is a question 
of fact rather than of theory. 


(b) With regard then to participation in pubhc 
and civic Ufe there is much again that should be said. 
If Christians held aloof during times of persecution 
ought we to be surprised ? The wonder is all the 
other way. It was one of the moral victories of 
Christianity that its adherents did not betake them- 
selves to the deserts three hundred years before they 
did actually go in their hundreds and thousands. In 
the second and third centuries they were still in the 
world, though not of it. Everything points that way ; 
not simply the testimony of a writer like the author 
of the Epistle to Diognetus, who compares the presence 
of Christians in the world to that of the spirit within 
the body, but also the testimony of extreme men 
like Tertullian, who shows that, whatever his own 
particular tastes and convictions in the question might 
be, Christians were as a matter of fact to be found 
everywhere — in the army, the market place, the booth, 
the workshop, the inn and other places. And indeed 
the enemies of the Christians imply as much, as might 
be easily shown. 

And all this time the Christian Church had not 
only to fulfil its social and civil duties in the face of the 
strongest prejudices against it, but also in direct 
resistance to a current in heathen society which had 
set strongly in an anti-social and anti-civic direction 
No one can deny that the Church strengthened and 
purified family life ; and if on the other hand it may 
seem to have done something to discourage marriage, 
it was in the attempt to substitute a moral for an 
immoral celibacy, that is to say, at most an imperfect 
social ideal for one mischievously and outrageously 
antisocial. Or take military service. The Christians 
disliked it, because they fought under an idolatrous 
military regime, as well as because it was ideally 


opposed to the Gospel. They did sometimes avoid 
military service. But so did the heathen, and possibly 
in much larger numbers, and from a very different 
motive. Long before the fall of the Roman Empire 
the demoralization of public sentiment (i.e. from the 
patriotic point of view) had reached such a stage 
that barbarians were admitted into the empire not 
only to finance it but to fight for it. Or take muni- 
cipal duties. Christians no doubt often tried to evade 
the unenviable position of the curialis ; but so did 
the heathen, for the honour had become an intolerable 
burden, a remorseless instrument for crushing out of 
existence the middle classes. Christians did not wish 
to be either the victims or the instruments of a form 
of tyranny which was simply ruining the State. In 
this respect they yielded to the prevailing dislike to 
accept municipal obHgations. But the saying of 
TertuUian, '' Nothing is more foreign (to the Christian) 
than public affairs ** represents an extreme opinion 
and not the general practice of the early Church. Even 
after monasticism had become a popular movement, 
Augustine could say " Let those who profess that the 
Christian religion is hostile to the Republic give us 
military men, provincials, husbands, parents, sons, 
masters, servants, kings, judges, and administrators 
equal to those that Christianity has formed." ^ 

(c) But finally did the Church succeed in influenc- 
ing legislation to any considerable extent ? 

If we recall the observations made at the opening 
of this essay we shall look for indications of the mind 
of the Church or of the Christian emperors rather 

^ See Schmidt, Social Results of Early Christianity, p. 287. 
Harnack in Historian's History of the World, vol. vi., Appendix B. 
Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 432 if. Nash, op. cit., 
p. 147. Hodgkin, Italy and Her Invaders, ii., p. 561, etc. 


in what they proposed than in what they succeeded 
in carrying out. Many of the laws passed must have 
been inoperative, and many more would no doubt 
have been forthcoming had there been any prospect 
of their being obeyed. There were however a con- 
siderable number which clearly show the new spirit 
which was striving to find expression in the legislature. 
De Broglie tells us that in seven years Constantine 
issued 140 edicts, in nearly all of which the new spirit 
; of Christianity is to be seen 1 : while Dean Stanley 
\ said : ** In 313 a.d. was issued the Edict of Toleration. 
\ Then followed in rapid succession the decree for the 
1 observance of Sunday in the towns of the Empire, 
the use of prayers for the army, the abolition of the 
punishment of crucifixion, the encouragement of the 
emancipation of slaves, the discouragement of infanti- 
cide, the prohibition of private divinations, the prohi- 
bition of licentious and cruel rites, the prohibition of 
gladiatorial games. Every one of these steps was a 
gain to the Roman Empire and to mankind such as 
not even the Antonines had ventured to attempt, 
and of these benefits none has been altogether lost.'' 2 
These opinions may be a little too enthusiastic. The 
latter hardly does justice to the noble though com- 
paratively futile efforts of some of the Roman emperors ; 
while the former must not blind us to the unchristian 
character of some of the edicts of Constantine and 
his successors. But it is hardly appropriate in this 
brief essay to do more than indicate generally a few 
lines upon which advance was made. Among the 
laws which followed there were many others designed 
to alleviate the miseries of men. Abuses such as John 

^ Op. cit. I, chap. ii. and iii. 
^ Eastern Church, vi., p. 230. 


Howard in later times brought to light in the treatment 
of prisoners were forbidden by various edicts. Judg- 
ment was not to be delayed beyond a definite period. 
Actresses were encouraged to escape from their demoral- 
izing profession. There were laws giving to mothers 
the right of guardianship over their own children : 
laws directed against immorality and with the object 
of limiting divorce : and many laws which reveal a 
growing sympathy with the weak, the poor, and the 

Special laws were directed against the injustice 
and oppression of the taxgatherers and of the rich. 
We can in short see most clearly that the Christian 
idea of government existing for the protection of the 
weak and of the poor had laid hold of the minds of 
Christian emperors. The Church through its own 
organizations, and in connexion with the anti-demo- 
cratic and anti-Christian type of government prevailing 
in the empire, which frustrated its efforts at every 
turn, did a splendid work in alleviating poverty and 
distress.! While the State was kilHng the middle 
classes and so putting the dagger to its own bosom, the 
Church was at least championing the cause of the 
poor and mitigating the misery of the unfortunate. 
Many things may be laid to the charge of the Church 
in the first four centuries with more or less of plausi- 
bility and of justice, but the very last thing with 
which she can be charged with any degree of truth- 
fulness is a want of sympathy with the poor, the help- 
less, and the unfortunate. Before the empire fell, 
the merciful spirit of the Church was reflected, not only 

^ Even Karl Kautsky says — " Though it did not aboKsh poverty, 
it was the most effective organization for alleviating the misery 
growing out of the general poverty within its reach." Quoted by 
Rauschenbusch, p. 133. 


in the works of Christian authors, and in Church insti- 
tutions and in Canon law, but even in the legislation 
of a despotic and still largely pagan State. That State 
had not been transformed by the Church from a des- 
potism into a representative government, or taught 
political economy, or saved from the inevitable 
consequences of centuries of folly. But *' amid all 
the perverse errors of legislation and the hopeless 
corruption of the financial service,*' as Dr. Dill remarks, 
" the central authority was keenly alive to its duties 
and almost overwhelmed by its responsibilities." ^ 
Speaking of the last emperors he says: '* Almost every 
page of the code bears witness to the indignant energy 
with which the Emperor and his council strove to 
check the anarchy of the provincial administration. 
But with a high sense of duty and the appearance of 
omnipotence the central authority had lost control of 
the vast system.'* ^ And again — *' Yet it is impossible 
to ignore the high sense of duty, and the almost effu- 
sive sympathy for the suffering masses which mark 
the last utterances of the imperial jurisprudence.** ^ 

That surely was no small victory for Christianity 
to have won. It is for Christian men to-day, having 
the inestimable advantage of living in a land of popular 
government and free institutions, which the teaching 
of Christianity has done much if not everything to 
secure for them, to act with greater devotion and with 
greater knowledge in the interests of the common- 
wealth; but it would be foolish and unjust to ignore 
the debt which we owe to the early Church. 

^ Roman Society in the Last Century of the Eastern Empire, p. 

2 P. 278. 3 p, 277. 


The Influence of the Christian Church on 
the Social and Ethical Development 
of the Middle Ages 

By Rev. H. B. WORKMAN, D.LiT., Principal of 
Westminster Training College, London. 


§ I. The Fall of the Empire— The Task of the Church— A Survey of 
the Ruin — West Goths — Salian Franks — Vandals — Slavs — Huns 
— ^The Muslim Conquests — ^the Wikings — Attila and Leo — the Church 
and the Salvation of Civilization. 

§ II. The Conquests of the Cross — ^The only Hope of Civilization — Saracen 
Culture inadequate — Roman Culture, the Extent of its Survival — 
Roman Schools — Classical Literature — Inadequacy for the Crisis of these 
Survivals — The New Civilization not the Effect of Survivals — Illustra- 
tion and Proof from Gregory the Great — The New Nations and the 
Church — ^The Soil of the New Civilization — Nominal Conversions — 
Their Value— Testimony of Sir J. Stephen, of Ritter— Effect on 
the Growth of Papal Supremacy. 

§ III. The Church and Civilization — Its Life and Spirit — ^The Impotence 
of Arianism — The Individualism of Barbarism — Illustrations — The 
SoHdarity of the Church — Its effect on the Middle Ages — Social 
and Spiritual Significance of this Solidarity — Objection raised from 
the Individualism of the Reformation — The Objection answered. 

§ IV. Examination of the Social Work of the Church in Detail — Greater 
Value of Human Life — Deduction for the Penal Code — ^The 
Inquisition — The Abolition of Slavery — The Redemption of 
Captives — ^The Church and Poverty — Breaking down Class Distinc- 
tions — St. Louis and Brother Giles — The Modern Fear of Poverty 
— The Doctrine of Works and its Effect on Charity — The Church 
and War — The Increase of Fanaticism — Diminution of Atrocity — 
The Ideal of Chivalry— The Status of Woman — The Ideal of Virginity 
— Place of Women in the Middle Ages — Illustrations — The Church 
and the Growth of Liberty — The Difference in this matter between 
the Early and Later Middle Ages — Aquinas and Marsiglio — The Rise 
of Democracy — The Social Guilds — ^Their Work and Extent — The 
Great Pillage — Practical Christian Socialism. 

§ V. In Social Evolution Factors now harmful have played their Part — 
Illustration from the Papacy — From the Penitential System — Its 
Origin and Evils — Disciplinary Powers — The Conception of Solidarity 
in the Doctrine of Merit. 

§ VI. The Work of Monasticism — Monasticism and the Papacy — ^The 
Origin of Monasticism — The Debt of Civilization — New Dignity of Toil 
— The Value of Obedience — Monasticism and the Layman — The 
Deductions that must be Made. 

§ VII. The Reform Movements of the Later Middle Ages — Their Classifi- 
cation — The new Spirit of Nationalism — Evangelical Poverty — 
The Union of Democracy and Reform — Arnold of Brescia — The Peas- 
ants' Revolt — Wyclif's Doctrine of Dominion — His Sympathy with 
the Poor — His Kinship with St. Francis — His Appreciation of the 
Real Humanity of Jesus — The Emphasis of Humanity among the 


The Influence of the Christian Church on 

the Social and Ethical Development 

of the Middle Ages 

With the fall of the Roman Empire in its western 
section we enter upon a new chapter in the history of 
humanity. The former things had for ever passed 
away ; but it was rather the coming of a new hell 
than a new earth or a new heaven that seemed, at 
first, to be the result. In reality it was necessary to 
remove the things that were shaken, even though the 
removal should be by consuming fires, that there 
might be laid the abiding foundations of the City 
of God. 

The student would do well to obtain some idea of 
the task which awaited the Church in the centuries 
between the sack of Rome and the conclusion of the 
wanderings of the nations. He should turn to the 
map of the empire and realize its meaning ; the 
majesty of its unity, the diversity of nations and 
tongues which had lost their differences in the prouder 
consciousness of a common citizenship, the reality of 
c.c, 2'^ T 


the law and order which bound the ends of the earth 
to one common centre, the extent and depth of its 
civilization, the wide diffusion of the arts, culture, 
and science of the old world. The darker sides of 
the picture he would do well, for the moment, to neg- 
lect ; the religious rottenness, the financial ruin, the 
limited few for whom the culture and civilization 
existed, the vast hordes of slaves, the social and 
political cancers which had eaten out the heart of 
the empire. These things should be abstracted ; 
the majesty of Rome and her civilization is so incon- 
testably great that a world in which that force was 
lost, or apparently lost, seemed to Christian prophet 
and heathen thinker alike a ruined world. From 
his realization of the greatness of the empire, and 
the debt under which she had laid humanity, let the 
reader now turn to the results of the wanderings of 
the nations. In place of the old unity of speech, re- 
ligion, law, and civilization, we find a babel of lan- 
guages, a chaos of conflicting barbarisms ; anarchy 
written large on all life, and darkness covering the 
face of the deep. 

A brief survey of the extent of the ruin may not 
be out of place. The invasion of Greece by the West 
Goths under Alaric (396) began the series of move- 
ments which resulted in the breaking up of the West- 
ern Empire into barbarian kingdoms. Driven from 
their original home round the Aral, by the presence 
of the Huns, the West Goths swept through Thrace, 
Greece, and Illyricum and under Alaric captured 
Rome itself (408). The death of Alaric at Cosenza 
terminated for a while their onward march ; but this 
deadly blow at the heart of the empire had already 
been accompanied by the loss of outlying provinces. 
In 407 the Romans retired from Britain ; fifty years 


later such civilization as they had established was 
swept away before the inroads of Saxons, Angles and 
Jutes. In 409 a mixed band of Vandals, Suevians 
and Alans — the last a race, probably, of non-Aryan 
origin^ — crossed the Rhine, ravaged Gaul, and occupied 
Spain, though many of the towns still remained in 
Roman hands. In 413 the West Goths, retiring from 
Italy, advanced to the Pyrenees, and established 
in North-East Spain a kingdom with Barcelona as 
the capital, in Southern Gaul a second kingdom 
round Toulouse. From these centres they slowly 
extended their dominion over almost the whole of the 
peninsula. In consequence of their pressure, the 
Vandals in 429 abandoned Spain and invaded Africa. 
Under the leadership of Gaiseric their conquest was 
rapid ; the loss of Carthage in 439 marked the begin- 
ning of the end of Roman dominion. Thirty years 
later Sardinia, Corsica and the Balearic Islands sur- 
rendered to their fleets. 

Northern Gaul had already fallen before the Salian 
Franks. This German tribe from the regions between 
the Scheldt and Rhine throughout the fifth century 
slowly consolidated their conquests, until in 507 Chlo- 
dovech (Clovis) drove back the West Goths beyond 
the Garonne. Meanwhile in South-East Gaul the 
Burgundians established themselves in Savoy (439) ; 
while in Italy Theodoric founded an Ostrogothic 
kingdom which stretched from Pannonia (Hungary) 
to Sicily (489-493). 

Even more dreaded than Vandals, Ostrogoths, or 
Franks were the Huns, Asiatic nomads akin to the 
Turks, who in the fifth century established under 
Attila an empire which reached from the Volga to 
the Rhine, from the Danube to the Baltic. Their 
defeat at Mery-sur-Seine in 451 alone saved Gaul 


from their devastations ; while their invasion of 
Italy in 452 and their sack of the great city of Aquileia 
are said to have led to the foundation of Venice by 
Christian fugitives. 

In the sixth century, a temporary revival of the 
empire under Justinian (f 576) led to the disappear- 
ance of the kingdoms of the Vandals and Ostrogoths ; 
but other races were ready to take their place. In 
565 the Lombards descended into Italy from Pan- 
nonia, and within four years won for themselves the 
country which they still possess. 

Meanwhile in the East Slavonic tribes, Chrobats, 
Serbs, Sorbs and others were slowly occupying what 
once had been imperial soil, bringing with them polit- 
ical problems, the end of which is not yet ; while in 
Northern Europe, Slovenes, Wends, and Czechs were 
establishing themselves in their permanent homes, 
attempting to hem in Teutonic expansion on the 

As if the medley of races were not sufficient, we 
find in the seventh century the Turanians swarming 
over parts of Europe. In 679 the Bulgarians crossed 
the Danube and occupied their present kingdom. 
Another oriental tribe, the Ugrian Magyars, a race 
very different in origin from the Huns, were for many 
years the terror of Europe. But in 955, after their 
great defeat by Otto the Great, they settled down in 
Pannonia, a district afterwards known, by a mistake 
in identification, as Ungaria or Hungary. 

A blow to the Church, even more serious, was to 
come from the East. When Gregory the Great died 
(604), Muhammad had not yet begun to believe in his 
own mission. Before the century was completed, 
Syria, North Africa, Egypt, the most fertile districts 
of Spain — Leon alone was saved for the Cross — had 


exchanged their Christianity for the creed of their 
Muslim masters. The great victory of Charles Martel 
at Tours (732) alone saved France from the same 
fate. At one time (849) it seemed as if Rome herself 
would become a Muhammadan city ; the coasts and 
islands of Italy had already fallen before the Saracen 

The West had scarcely begun to recover from its 
struggle with the CaHphate when the thirst for plun- 
der woke again in North and East. Swarms of Wik- 
ings, secure in their command of the sea, descended 
on every coast, swept up the rivers to burn the inland 
towns, and destroyed with indifferent ferocity church, 
castle, and village. '' Deliver us, O Lord,'* ran the 
litany of the times, '' from the frenzy of the North- 
men.'' Heathenism hurled itself in a last desperate 
rally on the Christian world. Thor and Woden and 
misshapen Asiatic monsters struggled to overthrow 
the Cross. 

When in 482 the terrible Attila, after his defeat 
by the Visigoths at the battle of the Catelaunian 
fields (Chalons), flung himself on Italy, the Romans, 
in their despair, sent the foremost of their citizens 
to implore the Hun to make peace and withdraw. 
With their senators they associated the venerable 
Leo, their bishop. The mission was successful ; Attila 
and his Mongolian hordes retired to Pannonia. Later 
legends have claimed all the credit of this deliverance 
for the Bishop of Rome. Leo is represented, for 
instance, in the paintings of Raffaele as standing with 
the great figures of St. Peter and St. Paul at his back, 
menacing with drawn sword and unutterable woes 
the trembling Hun. Which things are an allegory. 
In Leo, for whose person Attila probably felt no more 
reverence than for that of his fellows in the deputy- 


tion, we salute the representative of the force which 
alone could subdue the barbarian. For we may 
boldly claim that the Church saved civilization ; but 
for her missions and her influence this would have 


The story of Christian aggression forms no part of 
our purpose. The great missions of the early Middle 
Ages will ever remain one of the proudest records of 
the Church. The heroes of the Cross, with their lives 
in their hands, succeeded in recovering for their Master 
the lost provinces of His kingdom. From the Steppes 
of Russia to the shores of the Atlantic, the barbarians, 
nominally at least, before the end of the eleventh 
century accepted the authority and submitted to 
the discipline of the Church. The savage Wends 
between the Elbe and Oder were almost the last 
to forsake their idols ; not until 1333 did Albert the 
Bear of Brandenburg beat down into a reluctant Chris- 
tianity the dwellers round the modern Berlin. But 
passing by the records of victory, we must confine 
ourselves to the question : what was the effect upon 
civilization of this aggression of the Church ? 

We have claimed that civilization was saved by the 
Church ; at the same time it was transformed. As is 
usual in all great movements, the movement itself 
was almost unconscious of what it effected. The 
Church was not thinking of civilization — for civiliza- 
tion in some of its aspects the mediaeval .Church 
had a profound contempt — she was thinking of her- 
self, or rather of her Master. The great missionary 


enterprises inaugurated in the seventh century by 
Pope Gregory the Great were only just in time. On 
every side the dominion of the Church was threatened, 
her borders straitened. Only by persistent aggres- 
sion could Christianity be saved, more especially 
when we remember that the Cross was destined shortly 
to lose the Greek Empire in Europe and Asia Minor to 
the Othman Turks. 

The changes produced by the inrush of the bar- 
barians were more than territorial. They swept 
away not only Roman rule, but Roman civilization ; 
this last, in some lands, partially only, in others, for 
instance England, absolutely and for ever. Roman 
law gave place to the customs of the tribes ; Roman 
schools survived only in a few sheltered towns ; classic 
culture became lost for centuries ; above all the '' Pax 
Romana,'' the greatest gift which Rome conferred 
on humanity, was exchanged for the confused struggle 
of tribe with tribe. Life everywhere, in all its forms, 
whether social or political, tended to slip back into 
barbarism. But for the Church the ruin would have 
been complete. 

For, save in the Church, where else shall we find, 
in the general welter of the times, a force sufficient to 
save civilization ? Shall we turn to the new nations 
— Franks, Huns, Northmen and the like ? Or, since 
this is unthinkable, shall we fall back upon the culture 
introduced into Europe by the Arabs ; the arts and 
sciences which we owe to their inspiration ? But 
unless we misread the whole history of the West, 
Eastern culture must always have formed an alien 
element, the mark, at best, of Saracen conquerors. 
Its philosophy, potent though it became as an heretical 
force in the schools of Toledo and Paris, was too essen- 
tially Eastern in its Pantheism to influence the West. 


As one of the elements absorbed by the awakening 
intelligence of Europe, Saracen culture had its value ; 
as a foundation for Western civilization and moral life 
it was impossible. Nor shall we rest on firmer ground 
if we seek for our sources of civilization in the survival 
of the old Greek and Roman culture. 

The extent of the survival of the Roman culture 
— for our present purpose Greek letters may be neg- 
lected — has often, it is true, been underestimated. 
In the darkest days of barbarian triumph there were 
still here and there, in Italy at least, Roman Schools, 
and the traditions of Roman culture and law. These, 
like Roman roads, Roman aqueducts and bridges, 
were built too solidly to be easily swept away. But 
though surviving, their effect upon the life of the sur- 
rounding barbarians was but slight. We may take, 
for instance, Roman Law, the codification of which 
was the great legacy of the later Empire. The key 
to the existence of Lombard cities and Lombard 
schools lies in the continued recognition through the 
darkest ages of the old Roman system of jurisprudence. 
But the effect of Roman Law upon the barbarians 
was almost nil until they had been Christianized. 
Only when the age of iron gave place to the first rude 
attempts at order could Roman Law re-assert herself. 
Then indeed her influence was tremendous, both 
upon the common law of the new nations, and especi- 
ally upon the Canon Law of the Church. This last, 
in fact, was moulded upon the Roman model. But 
this influence, we maintain, was secondary, not causal, 
the result of a suitable environment prepared by the 
Church. Without the civihzation fostered by the 
Church the nations would never have turned from 
their rude codes to the more scientific jurisprudence 
of Justinian. For the question of the influence of 


Roman Law resolves itself into the struggle between 
the surviving Romanized and Christianized civic 
communities and the surrounding barbarian and 
heathen populations with their own codes. But for 
Christianity the struggle would have been unto death ; 
it was really the Christianity of the towns that won 
over the country pagans. 

In estimating the effect of Roman Law upon civil- 
ization we must not forget that its influence was not 
without its drawbacks. If we compare the legal 
story of England and Germany we see the greater 
benefit that might have accrued from the growth of 
a native system of law, Teutonic in origin, moulded 
under Christian influences, than from the institution 
of a jurisprudence that in some aspects at least was 
essentially alien. Many of the worst features of law, 
in Germany especially, are the result of this old wine 
in new bottles. 

This reasoning is still more correct when applied 
to Roman schools, and all the culture that Roman 
schools might be supposed to have fostered. That 
here and there the traditions of the old schools lingered 
on, perhaps even the actual schools themselves, need 
not be disputed. But the influence of this old culture 
as a civilizing element was almost nothing, until the 
Church had done the spade-work which alone made 
it fruitful. The new schools of Europe, from Charles 
the Great and Alcuin to Abailard, were, with few excep- 
tions, strictly Christian schools ; if not the work of 
missionaries, at any rate the result of the labours of 
great Christian teachers. From the sixth to the 
twelfth centuries the great educational centres were 
almost invariably monasteries ; they alone kept burn- 
ing a dim but living light. In the twelfth century 
no doubt we see a change. Education passed away 


from the monastery to the cathedral school ; this 
last, in turn, gave place to the grammar school and 
the university. We may call this great twelfth cen- 
tury movement — the leading figure of which was 
Abailard — '* the protest of the secular spirit " ; but, 
if so, we must be careful to define our terms. The 
opposition of '' secular '' is to the '' regular '' or mon- 
astic, not to the Church, much less to Christianity — 
this last an idea almost inconceivable to the mediaeval 
mind. But whether by '' secular '' or *' regular '', 
the mediaeval education of Europe, such as it was, 
owed all to the protecting care of the Church — Italy 
alone possibly excepted — until the rise of the Uni- 
versities, and the first dawn of the Renaissance. 

But if the great civilizing forces of the Middle Ages 
cannot be found in either Roman Law or Roman 
Schools, much less shall we find them in the survival of 
that Roman and Greek culture which formed so great 
a factor in the Renaissance. As a matter of fact, 
during the Middle Ages Latin literature was almost 
unknown. Virgil survived ; but chiefly as the memory 
of a mighty wizard. The gold of past culture had 
sunk ; for the most part it was only the light and 
worthless rubbish that had floated down the stream 
of time, saved for us by Boethius, Cassiodorus, Mar- 
tianus Capella and other compilers. So Httle was 
the old culture a factor in the new civiUzation that it 
might be maintained, with a fair show of justice, 
that the Church sinned against civilization by the 
contempt she poured upon this culture, and the 
trivial place in life to which through her influence 
culture was condemned during mediaeval times, with 
the single exception, from the twelfth century onwards, 
of the logic of Aristotle— the '' new logic '' as it was 
called— and Plato's doctrine of ideas. The rise of 


the Western Church was no doubt accompanied by 
a steady decHne in the study of classical letters ; Greek 
became an unknown language ; the grammarian was 
expelled by the schoolman ; in some quarters learn- 
ing was looked upon as a hindrance to the Gospel. 
The reproduction of material became, in time, all 
that was asked of scholars. But the more we em- 
phasize this result, the more potent the argument 
that the new civilization was not the effect of the 
survival of Greek or Roman culture. No better 
illustration of this can be found than the fact that 
the hostility of the Church to pagan culture finds its 
most famous expression in one to whom civilization 
will ever owe an incalculable debt.i 

The hostility to classic culture of Gregory the Great 
and other early mediaeval ecclesiastics should not be 
misinterpreted. *' It was to a great extent merely 
the reflection within the sphere of Theology of the 
political and social conditions of the times.'' 2 Jn 
reality it was only among Churchmen that an educa- 
tional ideal was maintained at all. We cannot there- 
fore subscribe to the opinion of some writers of repute 
who have contended that the hostility of the Church 
to secular learning flung back civilization, to some 
extent even Christianity itself, into a superstition 
very little superior to paganism. We may own that 
the age between Charles the Great and Hildebrand 
was one of almost universal darkness, in which re- 
ligion, divorced not merely from learning but also 
from morality, assimilated to herself a variety of pagan 

^ Gregory the Great : Ep. ix. 54. " A report has reached us 
which we cannot explain without a blush that thou expoundest 
grammar to certain friends," etc. 

2 Rashdall, Universities *« the Middle Ages, i. 26. 


and materialistic elements. But this divorce, with 
all its disastrous consequences to civilization, was 
due to the hopeless welter of the age rather than to 
the spirit of the Church. We have proof of this last 
in the fact that every mediaeval revival of religious 
life, for instance the great reform of the eleventh 
century, the moving spirit of which was Hildebrand, 
led at once to a new interest in letters, in art, and 
in all the higher things of life. Even the religious 
movements which at first sight seem antagonistic 
to civilization, for instance monasticism, will be 
found, upon examination, to furnish their contribu- 

We have claimed that the idea of finding the great 
new civilizing factor in the life of the barbarian 
nations is unthinkable. The statement needs a certain 
qualification. In the successive swarms of barbarians 
the keenest eye can detect little but savagery, miti- 
gated by frankness and bravery, and by a certain 
absence of the corruptions of the dying Roman world. 
Nevertheless the new nations formed a fine soil for 
the growth of a new culture ; but the new culture 
was in every case planted there by the Church, in no 
case the product of internal latent powers. We may 
take as an illustration the case of the Northmen of 
Normandy. At the commencement of the tenth cen- 
tury they were still the terror and scourge of Christen- 
dom. Their drinking cups were oftentimes human 
skulls ; their amusement to throw children into the 
air and catch them on the points of their spears. By 
the end of the century the Norman pirates had for- 
gotten their native land, its language and rough cus- 
toms, and abandoned the worship of Woden for that 
of '* the white Christ.'* The result was marvellous, 
both in the facts themselves and in the rapidity of their 


accomplishment. The new faith chastened and trans- 
formed into the beginnings of a new poetry the wild 
fancy which had thought of the thunder as the hammer 
of Thor, and heard in the wind the war-cry of Woden. 
Hence it is in Normandy that we first see the break- 
ing of light in the dark ages. There the new and 
nobler spirit became a national enthusiasm. Monas- 
teries arose in every glade, while the schools of Bee 
and Avranches might well be called, for awhile, the 
universities of the West. Thus the energy of the 
Wiking pirates, at the call of the Church, aroused 
Europe from its night of sleep, and gave a new 
dawn to civilization. But the force that made for 
civilization was the transforming touch of the 

Before we pass away from the conversion of the 
nations it may be well to meet an objection. These 
wholesale conversions, it may be urged, were but 
nominal and external. Christianity gave to barbar- 
ism hardly more than its superstition, turning its 
cruelty into the new channels of hatred for unbe- 
lievers and heretics. It scarcely cleansed the outside 
of the cup and platter ; within it was as of old full of 
extortion and excess. All this is true and more. 
Nevertheless it is one of those half truths which are 
more false than any lie. ''Where is that country 
and what is that time in which Christianity has been 
more than this amongst the great multitude of those 
who have called and professed themselves Christians ? 
The travellers in the narrow way who are guided by 
her vital spirit have ever been the '' chosen few." The 
travellers along the broad way, wearing her exterior 
and visible badges, have ever been the '' many called.'* 
And yet he who should induce any heathen people to 
adopt the mere ceremonial of the Church, to cele- 


brate her ritual, and to recognize, though but in words, 
the authority of her Divine Head, would confer on 
them a blessing exceeding all which mere human 
philanthropy has ever accomplished or designed. 
For such is the vivifying influence of the spirit of the 
Gospel that it can never be long otherwise than prolific 
of the highest temporal benefits to all, and of the 
highest spiritual blessing to some in every land which 
acknowledges it as a rule of life, and receives it as a 
system of worship." ^ 

To the same effect also is the verdict of another 
thinker. " Christianity," says Ritter, in his History 
of Christian Philosophy, '' offered itself and was ac- 
cepted by the German tribes as a law and as a dis- 
cipline, as an ineffable incomprehensible mystery. 
Its fruits were righteousness and works and belief in 
the dead word. But in a barbarous people this is an 
immense advance, an inestimable benefit. Ritual 
observance is a taming, humihating process ; it is sub- 
mission to law ; it is the acknowledgment of spiritual 
inferiority ; it implies self-subjection, self-conquest, 
self-sacrifice. It is not religion in its highest sense, 
but it is a preparation for it." 

One result of this nominal and rudimentary con- 
version must not be overlooked. Its very super- 
ficiality rendered easy the supremacy of Rome. Super- 
stition is ever the characteristic of the heathen ; con- 
version and civilization but slowly destroy its hold. 
Upon its follies and terrors, as well as upon reverence 
and awe, Rome securely founded her vast system 
of privilege and pretension. Moreover, if the Church 
influenced the barbarian, the barbarian was not with- 
out his reaction on the Church. We see this in the 

^ Sir J. Stephen, Collected Essays, p. 130. 


growth in the Church of materiaUzed superstitions.^ 
If these to the modern mind seem oftentimes to differ 
but shghtly from the grossest idolatries we must 
remember, as some excuse, the wilder practices from 
which the heathen were weaned. The history of 
Latin Christianity is the demonstration that childish- 
ness, as well as wisdom, is oftentimes justified by 
her children. The whole policy of Rome, in its deal- 
ings with the heathen, will be found in the letter of 
Gregory the Great to MelHtus : ''It is evidently 
impossible, in the case of hard hearts, to cut off every- 
thing at once. A man who is endeavouring to scale 
a summit rises by steps, not by bounds.'' 2 Rome 
grew because she was in creed, organization and ritual 
perfectly adapted, as a biologist would phrase it, to 
an imperfect environment. She ruled the age be- 
cause!! she represented in herself its weakness as well 
as its strength. Unlike the early Church she took 
refuge in a policy of syncretism*. 


We should do well to inquire what it was in the 
life of the mediaeval Church that especially made for 
civilization in its relations with the rough material 
left by the barbarian conquests. One word of caution 

^ See Diet. Christian Antiq., ii. 1542. 

2 The whole letter should be read. See Bede H. B. i. xxx. 
With this should be compared Gregory's letter to Augustine, ib. 
i. xxvii. (undoubtedly genuine), and the letter of Boniface in 
Haddan and Stubbs' Councils, iii. 304-6. 

2 On the refusal of the Church in the first three centuries to 
adopt a policy bf syncretism see my Persecution in the Early 
Church, pp. 86, 351. 


is advisable at the outset. In our discussion we shall 
deal with the matter in an abstract fashion, examining 
the great forces and processes of society much as the 
anatomist examines an organism or bodily frame- 
work. From such examination much may be learned. 
But after all more important far than organic frame- 
work is the Hfe of which this frame is but the outer 
covering or shell. And it was neither the beauty of 
its sacred writings, the strength of its organizations, 
nor the fascination of its religious services, but the 
life of Christ manifesting itself abundantly in the 
mediaeval Church — poor, incomplete, inconsistent, as 
may at times have been its expression — that saved 
the world from the deluge, and in place of barbarism 
restored civilization. 

The student would do well to note that the Chris- 
tianity which civilized has always been Catholic. 
Many of the barbarians were converted at a time 
when they were in contact with Arians, and Arians, in 
consequence, they became. But Arianism, however 
vigorous it might appear for the moment, has always 
proved in the long run to be effete and unfruitful. The 
peoples which adopted it have either died out, for in- 
stance the Vandals, or have repented and received the 
Catholic faith, as the Visigoths. But in all ages the 
Christianity which has remained loyal to Christ and 
His claims has wielded an influence the extent and 
duration of which cannot be explained by logic, and 
which forms in itself no small part of the argument 
for the truth of the Catholic faith. 

Moreover, in spite of all shortcomings, there has 
never been a time when the Church has forgotten its 
divine mission as the representative of Him Who 
came not to be ministered unto but to minister. 
Even in the dreariest days God has not left Himself 


without His witnesses, men and women not a few, 
whose lives, made radiant by the Cross, have filled 
with light the darkest places. In every age, even in 
those in which the life of the Church has seemed at 
its lowest, the greatest force that has made for civiliza- 
tion and uplifting has been the continued vitality of the 
great principles of the Gospel ; its abounding altru- 
ism ; the value given to the poorest and meanest as 
the brother for whom Christ died ; the stress laid upon 
sin as the blot on human life, the hindrance to further 
progress, the cause of inevitable retribution ; the 
revolution effected by the teaching of a future life, 
the bringing in of a new world to redress the balance 
of the old, with its doctrine of judgement and conse- 
quent rewards and punishments. 

Nor must we overlook in our enumeration of the 
factors in Christianity that have made for the regenera- 
tion of mankind its optimism. The crude doctrine 
of total depravity enunciated by St. Augustine has 
never succeeded in banishing, in practice, the belief 
of the Church that the latent powers which make for 
righteousness exceed those which are evil, that even 
in the far country man is near the kingdom of God, 
and that human nature, on the whole, is on the side 
of the angels. With these necessary cautions we are 
now in a position to approach the somewhat abstract 
question ; what was it in the mediaeval Church that 
especially fitted it to be the formative factor in medi- 
aeval civilization ? 

Before an answer can be given we need to ask the 
further question : what were the essential features 
of the barbarians the taming of whom fell to the lot 
of the Church. By an answer we do not intend a 
catalogue of vices — cruelty, lust, bloodshed, and the 
like — these, it might fairly be contended, were as 
c.c. u 


marked characteristics of the Romans whom they had 
conquered as of the barbarian victors. We would 
look deeper ; can we find in barbarism a general for- 
mula of which its various aspects are in the main the 
expression ? Can we find a similar general formula 
in the life of the mediaeval Church ? We think we 

The great central principle of barbarism, as we see 
it at work in the Western world on the break up of 
the empire, is its essential individualism. The limit 
of outlook is the local tribe ; neighbour and enemy 
are almost interchangeable terms. The one bond of 
solidarity is the great chief, and the usages and cus- 
toms that centuries of superstition had turned into 
bonds more unbreakable than steel. The state as 
state — a collective fact, not the mere expression of 
loyalty to the individual chief — is unknown ; and 
in consequence all political matters are in constant 
flux. As in the lower organisms, kingdoms divide 
and sub-divide, or reunite their fragments, with amaz- 
ing facility. Generalizations are often dangerous, 
but we shall not err widely in summing up the inner 
spirit of European barbarism as unregulated individ- 

One illustration of this position must suffice. The 
Wiking, sailing from his Northern home, thinks noth- 
ing of the spread of his empire, casts few looks behind, 
is bound by no links of loyalty. He sails hither and 
thither, indifferent to all save the impulses of the 
moment. If he settles, it is not as a colonist pushing 
forward the frontiers of his native state. Whether 
Varangian in Russia, or Norman in France and Sicily, 
he forgets the old and founds round himself a new 
kingdom. The very intensity of his individualism, 
unfettered by national outlook or lasting tradition, 


enables him rapidly to adapt the new state, whether 
in Russia, France, or Sicily, to the special environ- 
ment. Even language, the one feature, besides his 
religion, which links him on to his former associates, 
is to him so essentially an individual matter, that he 
is wilHng to cast it aside for the tongue of the people 
he has conquered, as he had already cast aside his 
religion. The Frank in Gaul, Norman in France, 
Varangian in Russia, Lombard in Italy, are but a 
few of the illustrations of this principle that we could 

Nor was it only among the barbarians that we 
find the action of particularist tendencies. We see 
the same fatal process at work in the Carolingian 
Empire. The kingdom the unity of which has been 
painfully accomplished by the labours of some hero, 
ever tends to fall back into an aggregation of counties 
loosely bound together by shadowy ties, which are yet 
too weak to prevent the constant internecine strife. 
The period of the heptarchy was not peculiar to Eng- 
land ; what was peculiar was the speedy deliverance 
of our country from the centrifugal forces which on 
the Continent wrecked all attempts at political unity. 
The student of to-day is apt to be misled by such 
modern facts as France, Italy and Germany into for- 
getting that in the Middle Ages the Continent was 
split up into an indescribable number of semi-inde- 
pendent duchies, counties, bishoprics, and the like. 
But for the unity given by the Church the forces of 
disintegration might have become supreme. 

In contrast to this unregulated individualism of 
the barbarian, we find in the mediaeval economy the 
working out of the great principle of solidarity. The 
effort of human society in the Middle Ages is to fit 
itself in with great institutions, or rather with the 


governing ideas of such institutions. The one means 
that is held out to men as the key to accompHshment 
is the sinking of the individual in some form of cor- 
porate life. Instead of the struggle of clan with clan 
we find the great dominant conception of a world- 
empire and a world-Church. Of these two the second 
is the more important ; the unity of all in one Catholic 
Church lies at the root of the notion of one Holy Roman 

The absorption of the individual into a corpora- 
tion, primarily spiritual but with a secondary out- 
look upon the political, is thus the key to mediaeval 
life and thought. The religious life of the individual 
was but in a slight sense a matter of his own experience. 
From first to last in the spiritual world he is con- 
ditioned and determined by his corporate environ- 
ment ; his baptism into the corporation, his participa- 
tion in its sacraments, his relation to a priestly caste, 
and the like. Just as in the secular mediaeval state 
the life of the individual was conditioned by his guild, 
rank, or city in a way and to a degree of which we 
have to-day illustrations only in the dreams of Social- 
ists, so, even more strictly, in the spiritual life. In 
fact, it was the training in the consciousness of solidar- 
ity, given from cradle to grave by the Church, that 
alone made possible the emphasis placed upon cor- 
porate life in the civil estate. 

We are at length in a position to answer our ques- 
tion : What was the great force in the Catholic Church 
that made for civilization, leaving aside for the mo- 
ment its definite spiritual activities? We find it in 
this consciousness of solidarity. But in reality this 
principle is none other than the translation into new 
and more spiritual terms of the root principles of the 
old Roman Empire into whose dominion the Church 


had stepped, whose genius of administration she had 
inherited, whose work she was destined to carry on 
to still higher issues. This it was, enforced by all 
the sanctions and fears of another world, that subdued 
the individualism of the barbarian, with its vagaries 
and divisions, and forced him slowly to adapt himself 
to the needs, limitations and service of society ; that 
gave him a wider outlook than the clan and its struggles; 
that made him conscious both of what he owed to 
posterity, and of his indebtedness to the past. 

Furthermore in this emphasis of solidarity we see 
the force which prepared the new races to receive the 
inheritance of law and order which had come down 
to them from Rome. The Church by its great essen- 
tial ideas made ready the soil, dug about the roots, 
rendered possible in different ways the renewed vital- 
ity of the withered but undying principles of Roman 
and Hellenic civilization. The secret of civilization 
is growth combined with continuity ; progress is never 
the result of cataclysm. The Church not only sup- 
plied the element of continuity with older cultures, 
but, from its very nature, the possibihties of and 
stimulus to development and growth. 

The student should not forget that the emphasis 
laid by the Church upon solidarity was not material 
only ; it demanded from all the apperception of cer- 
tain ideas. The gross materialism of much of the 
corporate life of the mediaeval Church cannot be 
denied ; but even the most superstitious devotee 
could not fail to be conscious at sundry times and in 
divers ways of the existence of a great spiritual society 
the bounds of which, both past and future, were in 
the infinite distances. By many differing ways (super- 
stitious or otherwise need not now detain us), he was 
ever forced to realize that his salvation depended 


completely upon his union with a Church visible and 
invisible, upon forces spiritual, far-reaching, infinite, 
that transcended the little circle of his immediate 
sensations. Whatever the superstition, or ignorance 
of the Middle Ages — and we are not careful to mini- 
mize these matters — underlying all we may find the 
presence of potent ideas that drove men to look before 
and after. But it is precisely the absence of such 
ideas that constitutes barbarism, with its concentra- 
tion upon the needs of the moment ; it is the pres- 
ence above all else of such ideas that makes for civiliza- 

This consciousness of solidarity, characteristic of the 
mediaeval Church, was of immense social significance ; 
it took the disintegrated units of life and society that 
survived the barbarian invasions and built them up 
into a new order, drawing strength even from the 
prevalent decay. By its more spiritual conceptions, 
above all by the homage which in the worship of Christ 
it ever paid to renunciation, the Church slowly broke 
up the military ideas of feudalism, and for brute force 
and passion substituted law and order. Its doctrine 
of the unity of the human race, both in Adam and in 
Christ, was destined to prove fatal to all slavery. 
Even the mediaeval doctrine of sin, by its essentially 
social rather than individualistic outlook, became, 
as we shall see later, a powerful instrument in the 
suppression of barbarian tempers and customs. 

One objection to this generalization is so obvious 
that it needs to be met. We have emphasized the 
solidarity of the Catholic Church as the root idea — 
neglecting for the moment the spiritual forces — 
which gave her power to tame the individualism of 
the barbarian. But historians have pointed out that 
the Reformation was the protest of the individual 


against an organization which gave the individual 
as such Uttle or no place. How then, it may be asked, 
can the Reformation be looked upon as a factor in 
advancing civihzation, when it appears to be a set-back 
to ideas from which humanity had been emancipated 
by the mediaeval Church ? 

The answer is plain. The individualism of the 
Reformation was not the individuahsm of the bar- 
barian ; it was an individuahsm of thought, not of 
action. Unregulated individuahsm in action, whether 
in the fifth-century Vandal or the twentieth-century 
manufacturer, leads to anarchy ; individualism in 
thought, however ill regulated, makes for hberty, 
and, in the long run, for righteousness. Individual- 
ism may rightly be claimed to be the highest and 
rarest product of human development, but such 
individualism does not come first in the order of time, 
except in so far as we may dimly discern its roots in 
the anarchic selfishness of the barbarian. In the 
historical order solidarity comes first, alone making 
possible the civilization in which this higher individ- 
ualism — genius, personal magnetism, leadership, lofty 
thought, the artist's touch, the poet's vision — call it 
what we will — shall have its truest chance. 

Moreover, the protest of individualism was not 
the only feature of the Reformation. Side by side 
with it we see the revolt of nationalism, the deter- 
mination of the Western nations to work out their own 
life on their own lines. But nationalism and individ- 
ualism necessarily contain contradictory elements. 
In the play of these two principles — the greater oppor- 
tunity of the individual as such, the expression of 
solidarity in nationalism rather than in the unity of 
creed, ritual and organization — united only in their 
protest against the common tyranny of Rome, we see 


the cause and trace the varying phases of the Reform- 
ation. But the consideration of this matter belongs 


From this somewhat abstract generalization we 
shall do well to pass on to details. In any survey of 
the civilizing factors of the mediaeval Church we may 
claim the value assigned to human life as the result of 
the doctrines of the sanctity of each immortal soul ; 
the mitigation of the horrors of war ; the impulse 
given to the manumission of slaves. The mediaeval 
Church provided the one power that could successfully 
oppose the reign of force, that could uphold and main- 
tain a certain discipline over the passions of the 
greatest. To the Church also we owe the formation 
of a loftier ideal of womanhood, the beginnings of 
education, the rise of art, the noblest achievements 
of architecture. In the coming of the friars, to a lesser 
extent also in the earlier monastic movement, we note 
the most successful effort ever made towards con- 
structive socialism. Many of these matters are so 
self-evident, so acknowledged by all, that they need 
not detain us ; some have been dealt with already 
in a previous section, in so far as we see them at 
work in the early Church in its relation to the Roman 

The emphasis of the greater value of human life 
is observed in the formation of a strong public opinion 
against the common sins of the empire, abortion and 
infanticide ; and in the growth during the Middle 
Ages of foundling hospitals. That this last move- 
ment became in time a source of danger to chastity 
must not blind us to its value at its first origin in 


teaching charity and humanity. Nor should we over- 
look, as another instance of the great law of compen- 
sation that runs through all history, that the com- 
passion of the Church for infants was largely the result 
of its extreme doctrine of Baptism. The hell which, 
according to common belief, awaited the unbaptized, 
led the Church to insist on the saving of life. But 
from the serfdom or slavery into which the children thus 
saved were too often sold the mediaeval Church only 
slowly effected deliverance. 

From the credit due to the Church on this matter 
of the greater value attached to life, the crown of which 
was the abolition of the gladiatorial shows, one deduc- 
tion must be made. The Church in the Middle Ages 
did nothing to mitigate the barbarity of the penal 
code. This is the more remarkable when we remem- 
ber that the early Church excluded its members from 
holding office in the State, because their duties could 
not be carried out ** without chaining and torturing." ' 
Unfortunately the persecuting zeal of the intolerant 
led not only to the abandonment of this early spirit, 
but in the later Middle Ages to a decided retrogression. 
In 1252 Innocent IV made torture legal for the hunt- 
ing of heretics, and forced its use on the secular courts. 
Not the least of the many crimes of the mediaeval 
Inquisition was the way in which she thus poisoned 
the administration of justice and the methods of evi- 
dence. To this sin she added the studied hypocrisy 
with which, on handing over the *' relaxed " to secular 
judgment, she solemnly admonished the authorities 
that the punishment to be enforced " should not 
imperil life or limb, or cause effusion of blood." 

As regards slavery the progress made in the Middle 
Ages was somewhat slow. We must remember that 
^ See my Persecution in the Early Church, p. 179. 


the Church did not at first recognize the greatness of 
St. Paul's Epistle to Philemon, that no slave question 
existed in the early Church, and that the legitimacy 
of slavery was generally acknowledged in theory. 
But in practice, the doctrine of the value of '' the 
brother for whom Christ died '' slowly triumphed. 
The freedom of serf or slave in testamentary bequest 
was inculcated as the most acceptable gift that could 
be made *' for the benefit of the soul.*' By the end 
of the fourteenth century slavery in Europe of Chris- 
tian people was almost unknown. Serfdom lingered 
long, and its abolition was hindered by the great 
number of serfs attached to the estates of the Church. 
Many of these no doubt were originally free peasants 
who had bartered their liberty for the greater security 
and protection which the spiritual overlord could 
afford. Like many other movements commendable 
in their origin this, in time, became a disaster both for 
civilization and the Church. The serfs of the Church 
were among the last to secure their liberty. But in 
its practical working mediaeval serfdom was not quite 
so evil as it seems to us to-day. We may well doubt 
whether the landless peasantry of modern England, 
though nominally free, is in reality much better off 
than the mediaeval villain whose land was secured to 
him by custom. 

Closely connected with the abolition of slavery 
was the constant effort of the Church, throughout the 
Middle Ages, to redeem Christian captives from their 
servitude. This movement had been begun in the 
days of persecution ; one of the objects of the monthly 
collection allowed by Roman Law in the churches 
was the redemption of brethren banished to the mines 
of Sardinia. With the barbarian invasions such a 
fund became still more necessary ; and the leaders 


of the Church, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, Caesarius, 
Eligius and others distinguished themselves by their 
efforts in this matter. Caesarius of Aries (t542) was 
not the only bishop of his times who, to purchase 
back the captives of his flock, sold the gold and silver 
vessels and ornaments of his church. When money 
failed Eligius of Noyon {h. 588) in his constant work 
of manumission, he sold even his clothing. The Mus- 
lim conquests and the terror of the Algerine pirates, 
led the Middle Ages to found societies specially 
devoted to this object, the chief of which was the 
Trinitarians or Maturines. But in all such movements 
the Church took the foremost part ; to the mediaeval 
mind a philanthropy not ecclesiastical in origin and 
control was almost inconceivable. 

With the abolition of slavery there came into 
greater prominence the evil of poverty. From the 
first the Church sought to meet this by constant 
charity. Collections for the poor always formed 
part of the Eucharistic services, and at an early date 
charity was elevated into one of the leading graces 
and merits of life. The effects of this zeal for the 
poor made themselves manifest in the closing days 
of the Empire ; they were even more apparent in the 
Middle Ages. We see, perhaps, the highest expres- 
sion of this spirit in the great revival ushered in by 
St. Francis of Assisi. No religious life seemed then 
to be complete which did not devote itself to the care 
of the outcast or leper, or give of its substance to the 
relief of the sick and the aged. All over Europe the 
rude barbarity of the times was counteracted by a 
deep stream of pity which founded hospitals, lazar- 
houses, and almshouses in almost every city and vil- 
lage. Nor were the claims of the poor in the matter 
of education forgotten. The Franciscan revival 


ushered in the golden age of our universities ; for a 
few years Oxford and Paris were accessible to the 
poorest. The greater part of the endowments for the 
mitigation of poverty and suffering were unfortunately 
swept away at the Reformation, or handed over to 
individual ownership. This unparalleled pillage of 
the common wealth by the greed of unprincipled ex- 
ploiters of the Reformation forms a great stain upon 
a movement that in other respects ministered to the 
social well-being. 

One effect of the mediaeval habit of charity was to 
break down the barriers which separated the classes. 
Of Aletta, the noble mother of St. Bernard, we are 
told that '* she was accustomed to go personally from 
house to house, searching out the poor and weak . . . 
preparing food for them, ministering to the sick, cleans- 
ing their cups and vessels with her own hands, and 
performing for them the humblest offices usually dis- 
charged by servants." Such records might be multi- 
plied indefinitely ; they witness to a kindliness of 
sympathy between rich and poor that did much to 
counteract the evils of feudalism, and to redress 
economic inequalities. 

The call to fraternity, as we have seen, reached 
its climax in the coming of the friars. In France 
the number of leper hospitals rapidly sprang from a 
few to over two thousand. But by nothing is the 
success of St. Francis' attempt to bring the classes 
together more clearly brought out than in the famous 
tale of the Little Flower. 

How St. Louis, King of France, went in person in the guise of a 
pilgrim to Perugia for to visit the holy Brother Giles. ... So the 
porter went to Brother Giles and told him that at the door was a 
pilgrim that asked for him. . . . And being inspired of God it was 
revealed to him that it was the King of France : so straightway with 


great fervour he left his cell, and ran to the door, and without further 
questioning, albeit they ne'er had seen each other before, kneeling 
down with great devotion they embraced and kissed each other, with 
such signs of tender love as though for a long time they had been 
close f amihar friends ; but for all that they spoke not, the one nor 
the other, but continued in this embrace in silence. 

Let US hear the comment of one of our own pro- 
phets. '* Of all which story not a word of course is 
credible by any rational person. Certainly not : the 
spirit nevertheless which created the story is an en- 
tirely indisputable fact in the history of mankind. 
Whether St. Louis and Brother Giles ever knelt to- 
gether in Perugia matters not a whit. That a king 
and a poor monk could be conceived to have thoughts 
of each other which no words could speak . . . this 
is what you have to meditate on here.'* ^ 

We must not pass away from this question of the 
relation of the Church to poverty and suffering with- 
out pointing out the great factors in mediaeval life 
which made for charity. The Middle Ages — unlike 
the twentieth century — was not afraid of poverty ; 
poverty was not the one evil of life which more than 
any other must be shunned. So far from looking 
upon poverty as a crime or stigma, the mediaeval 
Church erred rather in the opposite direction in elevat- 
ing poverty, provided it was voluntary, into the mark 
of saintliness. Mediaeval practice, we must confess, 
was not always in accord in this matter with mediaeval 
theory ; but the Church of the Middle Ages was at 
any rate true to its Founder in refusing to recognize 
the ideal of life in the successful millionaire. Its 
saints and true leaders never forgot the great lesson 
taught us in the Old Testament that God is always 
on the side of the poor and suffering, against the rich 

^ Ruskin, Mornings in Florence, p. 89. 


and strong. Great wealth and great piety were incom- 
patible ideas ; renunciation of riches lay at the root 
of all holiness, and in such renunciation the poor were 
not forgotten. Again and again we find that the pre- 
cept of Christ, ** Go, sell all that thou hast and give 
to the poor, and come follow Me,'* is elevated into the 
universal rule for all who would seek the higher life. 
In the lives of the saints no text is so fruitful in produc- 
ing the great crises of the soul, or in leading to emanci- 
pation and light. At one time, even, as we shall 
see later, no small party in the Church — though for the 
most part classed as hopeless enthusiasts, Fraticelli, 
Lollards and the like — sought to make absolute 
poverty the sine qua non of all true spiritual life.^ 

Moreover, in its doctrine of merit by works the 
Church possessed a potent weapon for reducing charity 
into more than a pious sentiment. We must own that 
too often charity was forced into foolish channels, too 
often, moreover, it sprang from purely selfish motives. 
Nevertheless instances abound of attempts to win 
salvation by deeds of love of the highest benefit to 
wider circles than the clergy. On all hands, in the 
Middle Ages, we see the rise of institutions of mercy 
absolutely unknown to the pagan world. Even the 
mediaeval almsgiving, though doubtless indiscriminate 
and wasteful, oftentimes even productive of the very 
miseries it was intended to cure, must not be wholly 
judged by the rules of Political Economy. The culti- 
vation of a habit, if not a sense, of pity, especially in 
a society otherwise brutal, is worth more than the 
accumulation of capital. 

As regards the effect of the Church upon war our 
conclusion is not altogether satisfactory. History 
shows us that in the Middle Ages the Church stirred 

* See infra, p. 325. 


up many wars, some of them of especial ferocity. 
Nothing could be more appalling in its bloodshed 
and horror than the struggles over Investitures, which 
began with Hildebrand, and which were not settled 
until fifty years later, at the Concordat of Worms 
(1122). More ferocious still were the Crusades, 
whether by Europe against the Muslims, by Teutonic 
Knights against the heathen Wends of Prussia, or 
by catholic orthodoxy against the Albigensian heretics 
of France. The ideal of peace so characteristic of 
the early Church, the disinclination to have anything 
to do with war, or the soldier's calHng even in times 
of peace, which led to many martyrdoms in the days 
before Constantine,^ gave place in the Middle Ages 
to a delight in war, one cause of which was too often a 
fanatical spirit or ecclesiastical interests. Against 
this it is but a slight offset that the Church instituted 
in the tenth century the '' Truce of God," at one time 
of some value in repressing private wars. 

But while it is impossible to plead that the Church 
diminished the number of wars, we may yet contend 
with justice that the Church secured a real diminution 
in their atrocity. Throughout the Middle Ages the 
rights of the enemy over his conquered foe were savage 
enough at best, nevertheless we see the slow growth of 
better things. '* The evangelical precepts of peace 
and love," writes Freeman, " did not put an end to 
war, they did not put an end to aggressive conquests, 
but they distinctly humanized the way in which war 
was carried on. From this time forth the never-end- 
ing wars with the Welsh ceased to be wars of exter- 
mination. The heathen English had been satisfied 
with nothing short of destruction and expulsion of 

1 See my Persecution in the Early Church, 2nd edition, pp. 181-90. 


their enemies ; the Christian EngHsh thought it 
enough to reduce them to poUtical subjection." ^ 
We have an illustration of this greater humanity of 
war in the way in which the Church secured the recog- 
nition of a principle, utterly unknown in the Roman 
world, that Christian prisoners — Muslim and others 
were regarded as outside the pale of this charity — 
should not be reduced to slavery. 

Moreover the ideal of chivalry, which the Church 
fostered and consecrated by special rites, contained 
within itself many softening elements which could not 
fail to mitigate the effects of war. To give one in- 
stance out of many : of Tescelin, the father of St. 
Bernard, it is related that while *' noble in descent 
and rich in possessions, he was yet a great lover of 
the poor, with an extraordinary love of justice, so 
that he was accustomed to wonder that it should seem 
hard for any to observe justice toward others, especi- 
ally that they should desert the justice of God by 
either fear or love of gain. He was the bravest of 
soldiers, yet shrank from the praises which others 
sought. He never took up arms except in defence of 
his own territory, or at the call of his feudal lord." 
Such men as Tescelin were not so rare as we are accus- 
tomed to think. But, as the chronicler adds, this 
temper was all due to his '' magna pietas." 

That the Church uplifted the ideal and status of 
woman cannot well be denied. Whatever else may 
be said about the mediaeval cult of the Virgin this 
much must be acknowledged, the immense influence 
it exerted upon the whole conception of womanhood. 
More than spoken eloquence or dogmatic teaching, 
the cult of the Virgin, under its different aspects, 

^ Norman Conquest, i. 33-4. 


more especially as Mater Dolorosa, or as Virgin and 
Child, taught men the sacredness of the mother, and 
the majesty of suffering gentleness. 

Writers have sometimes urged that the mediaeval 
Church, by its exaggeration of the value of a celibate 
life, by the reverence it paid to those who abandoned 
the cares and duties of motherhood and fatherhood 
for the contemplative life of the cloisters, lowered the 
ideal of home. There is in this considerable truth. 
Ultimately, no doubt, as the Reformation felt, the 
monastery is opposed to the home, and an exaggerated 
emphasis upon consecrated virginity is inimical to 
the best interests of the State. Nunneries, two cen- 
turies before the Reformation, had outlived their 
usefulness ; a sufficient proof of this may be found 
in their general neglect and reduced numbers. But 
in the earlier dark ages the nunnery had a part to play 
in civilization of the utmost importance. Only in 
the monastic life was a woman safe from the unbridled 
lust of the powerful. Into this retreat, guarded by 
sacrosanct terrors, none dare break. Barbarians who 
ventured to insult '' the brides of God " soon ex- 
perienced, or thought they experienced, His avenging 
wrath. Hence the ideal of virginity, though false 
and exaggerated, was not without value in counter- 
acting the lustful reaHties of the world around. 

The reader should not forget the important place 
which women often attained in the mediaeval Church, 
and, in consequence, in the mediaeval State. Few 
nobler types of womanhood have ever appeared than 
Joan of Arc or Catherine of Siena ; few prophets 
to whom more attention was given than Hildegard 
of Bingen, or Bridget of Sweden. But these char- 
acters, so beautiful and rare, were largely dependent 
on the mediaeval environment. An age which could 
CO. X 


produce a Joan of Arc or a St. Catherine may be for- 
given many exaggerations and sins for their sakes. 

The noblest place of woman is in the home, and 
mediaeval home life was oftentimes more beautiful 
than we are wont to allow. Again and again in the 
annals of the age we find records of devoted mothers 
who trained up their children for service in Church 
and State with an intensity of consecration which in- 
fluenced their whole subsequent life. Of such were the 
mother of St. Anselm, and the mother of St. Bernard, 
and many other illustrious examples in cottage and 
castle. In the Middle Ages, as in any age, the germ- 
cell of all that was best in the social system of the times 
lay in the purity and consecrated zeal of Christian 

The greatest service rendered by the Church in the 
later Middle Ages was the assistance given to the sacred 
cause of civil liberty. In the early Middle Ages the 
Church threw its mighty influence into the scale of 
authority, and abandoned the appeal to the masses on 
the principles of liberty — one great source of its power 
in the Roman Empire — for reliance upon the rulers 
of the new nations. To this change, no doubt, the 
Church was driven through its contact with the bar- 
barians. To restore order where all around was chaos 
and ruin needed not so much liberty as force, the 
authority of such men as Charles the Great, or WilHam 
the Conqueror. 

But in the later Middle Ages, when the peril of the 
new nations had passed away, the Church returned, 
to some extent, to its former attitude, and became 
once more the friend of liberty. We may own that 
the assistance was rather accidental than deliberate ; 
that the ultimate object of the Church was to obtain 
authority for herself by the subjection of the State. 


Nevertheless, but for the Church, the nations of the 
West would have been ground between the upper and 
nether millstones, the competing tyrannies of local 
magnates and absolute monarchs. The influence of 
the papacy from the days of Hildebrand onwards was 
always cast against the claim of kings to exercise 
authority by an indefeasible title. Ecclesiastical 
lawyers and theologians were firm in their assertion 
of the divine right of the people to raise up and pull 
down princes. '' A king,*' said Thomas Aquinas, 
" who is unfaithful to his duty forfeits his claim to 
obedience. It is not rebellion to depose him, for he 
is himself a rebel whom the nation has a right to pull 
down.'' But we see how the doctrine, originally 
formulated by the Church for its own purposes, and 
with limitations that would have guarded its own 
interests, could minister in other hands to the growth 
of hberty, when Thomas Aquinas goes on to add : 
'' But it is better to abridge the king's power that he 
may be unable to abuse it. For this purpose the 
whole nation ought to have a share in governing 
itself. The Constitution ought to combine a limited 
and elected monarchy with an aristocracy of merit, 
and such an admixture of democracy as shall admit 
all claims to office by popular election. No govern- 
ment has a right to levy taxes beyond the limit 
determined by the people. All political authority 
is derived from popular suffrage, and all laws must 
be made by the people or their representatives." 

The assertion of the great principles of liberty is 
even more clearly found in the Defensor Pads (1324) 
the magnum opus of the great mediaeval political 
thinker, MarsigHo of Padua. Than MarsigHo no seer 
ever had a clearer vision of the new order towards 
which the world was slowly moving ; no prophet ever 


glanced deeper into the future. In his principles 
the modern Constitutional statesman, the modern 
Protestant finds little to alter ; he has only to develop 
and fill in the outline. Sovereignty, so Marsiglio held, 
rests with the people, " from whom, or the majority 
of them, determining by their choice or will, expressed 
by speech in the general assembly of citizens, proceeds 
all right and power.'* For the purposes of action 
'' the rule of the king is perhaps the more perfect," 
but the king, as the officer of the people, must be 
directly elected. Marsiglio will have nothing to do 
with either divine right or the hereditary principle. 
Such elected monarch is responsible to the people, 
whose instrument he is, and by whom he may be 
deposed if he override the national will. Equally 
remarkable is Marsiglio' s anticipation of certain modern 
social movements. He would give to the civil power 
the right of determining the number of men to be 
employed in every trade or profession. 

Now the astonishing thing is that these two quota- 
tions are from writers of utterly hostile schools. 
Thomas Aquinas was, and is still, the chosen advocate 
of Rome ; Marsiglio sweeps away the pretensions of 
a sacerdotal order, and would treat the clergy, in all 
but their strictly spiritual functions, exactly the same 
as all other members of the civil society. With Mar- 
siglio the State is supreme, or rather. State and Church 
— this last he defines as the corporation of the faith- 
ful^ — become one. Ecclesiastics, even the pope him- 
self, must be subject to the State's tribunals, their 
number be limited by its pleasure. To the State 
also belongs all patronage, which should as a rule be 
exercised by the free election of the parish itself, with 
which also should rest the power of dismissal. The 
ecclesiastical property must be vested in the State, 


which can at any time secularize superfluities to other 

Nevertheless these two writers are yet united, for 
purposes completely contradictory, in laying down 
principles that were fatal to the absolutism of feudal 
society. The Churchman and the doctrinaire philo- 
sopher were one in asserting both the rights of demo- 
cracy and the criminal nature of absolute power. 
The lawfulness of insurrection was not only admitted 
but defined as a duty sanctioned by religion. The 
representative character of all offices and institutions 
both in Church and State was clearly laid down. The 
result was seen in the powerful struggle in the four- 
teenth century between democracy and privilege. 
But Rienzi, Marcel, Artevelde, John Ball and other 
champions of freedom were before their age. The 
story of the unfortunate circumstances through which 
the sixteenth century saw the set-back of the principles 
of liberty, and the triumph of absolutism over the 
nascent institutions of democracy, does not belong to 
our present purpose. But we must not forget the 
debt which democracy will always owe to the Church- 
men and heretics, who for opposite reasons so clearly 
enunciated its main principles in the Middle Ages.^ 

As regards liberty of thought there is less to be 
said. The whole conception was somewhat alien to 
the times. But we should do well to avoid exaggera- 
tion. Scholasticism, at least in its earlier develop- 
ments, was by no means the crude hair-splitting appeal 
to mere logic and authority which in its later days it 

1 Marsiglio's Defensor Pads will be found in Goldast's Monarchia 
Romani Imperii, vol. 2 (Hanover, 1612). A good account of Marsig- 
lio will be found in Poole's Illustrations of the Hist, of Med. Thought 
(1885), G. 9. For the growth of the idea of popular sovereignty see 
Gierke's Pol. Theories of Middle Ages (Ed.^Maitland, 1900), §§ 6 and 7. 


tended to become. The thoughts of Anselm and 
Abailard move in spheres far above the narrow con- 
troversies of the pedants. Though modern science 
cannot sufficiently express its contempt for the vast 
superstructure which the schoolmen raised on their 
narrow and flimsy foundations, nevertheless that 
strange system was in a true sense preparing the way 
for the advent of better things. And, within the limits 
provided, there never was a time, until the Reforma- 
tion, when considerable liberty of thought and expres- 
sion was not allowed, especially in the Universities. 
In our present connexion we should note that the 
whole intellectual movement of the times centred 
round the problems of theology. The evils of this 
narrowed vision none will deny ; nevertheless it bears 
witness, after its fashion, to the desire for intellectual 
unity which lies at the root of all knowledge. 

In the rapid development in England in the later 
Middle Ages of the social guilds or fraternities we see 
more than the growth of democracy. Though origin- 
ally founded in imitation of the successful craft or 
trade guilds of London, Bristol, and other great cities, 
the new guilds had httle connexion with trade. Their 
object was the furtherance of neighbourhness and 
mutual help. They combined the advantages of a 
social club with the benefits of insurance and assur- 
ance against fire, water, thefts, poverty, disease and 
death. They undertook for their members the duties 
now discharged by burial clubs, by hospitals, by alms- 
houses, and by the guardians of the poor. By steady- 
ing the price of labour, or by obtaining work for their 
members they discharged the function of modern 
trades unions. They discouraged judicial strife by 
insisting upon their members submitting to arbitration. 
In some towns, for instance Coventry and York, the 


guilds found lodgings and food for poor strangers. In 
times of special need, when the bridge was broken 
down, or the steeple in need of repair, the guilds of a 
town united to carry out the object. They provided 
dowers for portionless girls ; they furnished school 
fees for promising lads ; in some places they maintained 
schools of their own ; on the coast they insured against 
loss at sea ; above all, they made the '' Merry Eng- 
land " of our fathers by reason of their incessant Church 
ales and other festive entertainments, " mummings," 
miracle-plays, mysteries, and the like. To the joyous- 
ness of life they largely contributed by the attention 
they paid to singing, in many places maintaining a 
special song-master. 

From the first the guilds were strictly associated 
with the Church. Each guild linked itself on to some 
special saint or chapel, whose feast-day it kept with 
processions and banquets, and for whose services it 
provided candles and funds. The wealthier guilds 
even maintained chaplains of their own, at the cost 
of ten marks a year, to offer masses for the quick and 
the dead. On Corpus Christi day the guilds of a town, 
especially in a cathedral city, united in a gigantic pro- 
cession. On the death of any member the whole guild 
attended his funeral. 

The popularity of these guilds, if we may judge 
from their number and rapid growth, was extra- 
ordinary. In London there were at least ninety of 
them connected with parish churches. There were 
fifty-five at Lynn. Nor were they confined to the 
larger towns. There were eight guilds in the little 
parish of Oxburgh in Norfolk, twelve at Ashburton, 
and forty-two at Bodmin in Cornwall. By the begin- 
ning of the fifteenth century there was scarcely a town 
or village of any importance without them. Some of 


these possessed large endowments. Many included 
women as well as men. By one of the greatest crimes 
in history nearly all these guilds were swept away at 
the Reformation, in a few places a pitiful fragment 
of the spoils being handed over to the people to estab- 
lish a school. Even the endowments for the poor 
were greedily seized by men who built up princely 
fortunes by the robbery of the parish. But for this 
great pillage of social funds England to-day would 
have needed no poor-law, and no school rate.^ Only 
slowly are we waking up to the great loss to the life 
and well-being of the people which has followed the 
divorce of religion from the corporate life, the reduction 
of insurances to commercial transactions, of all care 
for the poor to a matter for the guardians. To the 
ideals and practice of the mediaeval guilds, whose 
centre in all their attempts to realize brotherhood was 
the Church, the twentieth century would do well to 

Our debt to the Church must not be measured 
only by the ethical results, or by the means of their 
attainment which commend themselves clearly to 
the twentieth century. The reader too often forgets 
the evolution, slow and painful, of society and morals, 
and in consequence neglects, in reading history, to 
look at progress from the standpoint of that which 

1 The reader interested in the social side of the mediaeval guild 
should study the case of Boston in the Victoria County History of 
Lincoln, vol. ii. From one guild and its pillage he can learn all. 
The mockery involved in calling schools, " King Edward VI founda- 
tions " has been abundantly shown by Mr. Leach in his various 
educational works. 


was attainable in the age in question. When thus 
considered relatively, forces and tendencies which to- 
day we should rightly condemn as mischievous, are 
seen to have been, at their time and for their purpose, 
potent for good ; though the good was not unmixed 
with evil, and was often pregnant with coming catas- 
trophe. Of this truth the greatest illustration is the 
rise in the Middle Ages of the papal supremacy, in 
many respects the most wonderful event in his- 

The student who would investigate the part that 
the Papacy has played in the evolution of society should 
realize at the outset that the mediaeval Church was 
not so much a Church, in the modern or scriptural 
sense of the word, as a State. '* Convenience," writes 
Professor Maitland, '' may forbid us to call it a State 
very often, but we ought to do so from time to time, 
for we could frame no acceptable definition of a State 
which would not comprehend the Church. What 
has it not that the State should have ? It has laws, 
lawgivers, law courts, lawyers. It uses physical force 
to compel men to obey its laws. It keeps prisons. 
In the thirteenth century, though with squeamish 
phrases, it pronounces sentence of death. It is no 
voluntary society. If people attempt to leave it 
they are guilty of the crimen laesce majestatis, and are 
likely to be burnt. It is supported by involuntary 
contributions, by tithe and tax. ' That men believe 
it to have a supernatural origin does not alter the case. 
Kings have reigned by divine right, and republics 
have been founded in the name of God-given liberty.'* ^ 
But the constitution of this State was unique in one 
all-important respect. This was a State within a 

1 Maitland, Canon Law in Church of England, p. 100. 


State, a State which had neither boundaries nor Hmits ; 
which existed in, was part of, and yet distinct from 
every other State, over the which in fact it claimed 
priority and pre-eminence. 

Herein will be found the secret both of the growth 
and downfall of the papal supremacy. For the papacy 
was no gigantic upas tree of fraud and superstition 
planted and reared by the enemy of mankind, but a 
necessary factor, so far as we can see, in the evolution 
of society. The patriarchate of Rome became the 
supreme power in the mediaeval world because Western 
Europe had been cradled in the belief of the necessity 
of one world-power, to which all other powers should 
give adherence and form a part. To this legacy of 
the Caesars the popes became the heirs. Amid the 
chaos and welter of the great upheaval they alone 
offered unity of administration and law. They won 
the gratitude of Europe by never flinching from their 
task of beating down anarchy into order, and asserting 
the supremacy of moral ideas over brute force. Thus 
they stood for the solidarity of Europe in one world- 
state. The virtual downfall of the papacy at the 
beginning of the fourteenth century was due to the 
same cause. Men did not throw over the yoke of 
Boniface VIII because they had ceased to believe in 
the pope's spiritual pretensions. The Reformation 
in its first origin was political, not religious ; social, 
not moral ; a protest against an all-centralized yet 
omnipresent world-power, in theory spiritual, in prac- 
tice secular, which had outlived the conditions of its 
birth. The imperial idea, which originated with 
Alexander, but was completed by the Caesars, was at 
last exhausted. World-wide administrative central- 
lization, whether secular or spiritual, had ceased to be 
the ideal. The building up of the nation had begun 


to be revealed as the goal of history, at any rate so 
far as the immediate future was concerned. 

Other aspects also of the mediaeval Church that 
to-day excite contempt or pity, possessed considerable 
influence as civilizing factors in an earlier age. We 
may illustrate by the doctrine of penitence. With 
the corollaries of this mediaeval doctrine, the system of 
indulgences on the one hand, and the penitentials on 
the other, we are all famihar. As regards indulgences 
— the great abuse of the system, — the chief errors 
sprung up in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, 
largely as an outcome of the Crusades, nor was the 
matter at any time a factor of the greatest importance. 
It was different with the penitentials. This great 
instrument for Christianizing barbarian tempers was 
probably the creation of the Irish Church and in 
special of Columban. Thence through Theodore of 
Tarsus and the English prelates the penitentials 
passed into the general Church of the West. 

In condemnation of the principles and methods 
of the whole system historians are nowadays substan- 
tially agreed. Nevertheless, the student should re- 
member the great law illustrated on every page of 
ecclesiastical history, '' that those beliefs or institutions 
which seem irrational, or absurd, or unworthy of the 
Christian spirit, have come into vogue in order to kill 
some deeper evil, not otherwise to have been des- 
troyed." ^ The penitentials were a necessity if the Church 
was to bring the masses that had nominally passed into 
the kingdom of Christ, yet remained in many respects 
heathen at heart, into any real experience of religion. 
In the mediaeval Church, unlike the Church of the 
first four centuries, baptism came first, oftentimes the 

^ Allen, Christian Institutions, p. 408. 


baptism of whole races received as they were into 
the Church of the Empire which they had conquered ; 
training and discipline must needs follow. 

Penance, to adopt for this system of discipline the 
familiar title nowadays somewhat restricted in its 
application, was thus no mere creation of sacerdotalism, 
but a response to popular needs, the outcome of the 
revolution produced by the barbarian invasions. In 
the decaying Roman world no state save the Church 
was either strong enough or civilized enough to enforce 
obedience to moral law, or hold down the usages and 
reminiscences of heathenism. Her punishments were 
at first hmited to those sanctioned by the pains and 
fears of the wounded conscience. Unfortunately the 
Church soon yielded to the Teutonic custom of com- 
muting misdeeds by a money payment, or by means 
of substitutes. Hence the opening of the door to the 
abuse of indulgences. In the earlier age the chief 
defect of the system lay in the fact that punishment 
bore more hardly on the poor than on the rich, while 
above all it made sin something arbitrary and extemcJ 
to the soul. The priest also who could release from 
its punishments on earth, or whose prayers had power 
with God in the mysterious other world of retribution, 
took the place of the Christ who could purify the 
heart. Thus the pope and not the Holy Spirit became 
the administrator of mercy and pardon. The human 
race became afraid of dealing directly with God, and 
sacerdotalism won its long triumph. 

The other evils of the system of penance have 
been often exposed, and are sufficiently familiar. The 
student of ethics will point out the tendency — always 
natural to the Roman spirit — to stiffen all morality 
into legal restrictions, and to confound the inner law 
with the regulations of the Church. Or he may dwell 


on the bands of Flagellants who in times of popular 
excitement covered the land, stripped to the waist 
and plying a scourge knotted with iron, the use of 
which for thirty-three days cleansed the soul from all 
stains of sin. He may instance the madness of that 
typical hermit Dominicus Loricatus, who with a broom 
in each hand and singing psalms, could wipe off, as 
his friend Damiani relates with pride, a century of 
guilt within a week. The theologian, finally, will 
point to the constant haggling and bargaining over 
the degree of sin and the value of merit, or he may 
relate the numberless instances of desperate abuse, a 
chicken or a pint of wine purchasing absolution for 
the foulest deeds. 

These evils should not be minimized ; nor should 
their exaggeration obscure the real inwardness to the 
mediaeval mind of the doctrine and its corollaries. As 
Harnack allows, its first effect was the deepening of 
the sense of sin, though the deepening was counter- 
balanced in time by the stupefying readiness with 
which men confessed that they were sinners. Another 
effect was the formation side by side with the sacra- 
mental Christ of the image of the historical Jesus, in 
the contemplation of whose sufferings Bernard and 
others found their most passionate exaltation. In 
the doctrine, first suggested by the English doctor 
Alexander of Hales, and developed by Thomas Aquinas, 
of the common treasury of merit out of whose inex- 
haustible store the pope could dispense to the spirit- 
ually destitute, we see another instance of the great 
mediaeval conception of solidarity so unintelHgible 
to latter-day individualism. In everything the social 
aim predominates ; the duties of life spring out of 
our unity as a race ; humanity on earth is one in its 
sufferings with humanity in the invisible world. All 


this formed part of the education of the race for better 
things to come. 


In the rehgious Ufe of the Middle Ages the two 
distinguishing features are the power of the papacy 
and the strength of Monasticism. The two were 
mutually dependent. It was by no accident of history 
that the fall of the one coincided in time with the dis- 
solution of the other. But for the help of Rome the 
monasteries could not have resisted the attacks of 
covetous kings ; but for the monks the pope would 
never have succeeded in building up his universal 
dominion. This was the political side of their work, 
in reality the least part of their mission ; and with 
this we are not now concerned. On the social side 
it was given to monasticism to represent in the midst 
of barbarism an ordered if one-sided life, and moral 
ideals above the age ; and to lay, in the midst of rude 
and opposing forces, the foundations of a noble civiliza- 

The origin of Monasticism, the phases through 
which it passed, its ideals and history, are familiar to 
our readers, or easily accessible. In the spread of 
Monasticism we see two strangely contrasted influences 
working together to change the aspect of Europe. 
The one was the passion for solitude, the other the 
desire for fellowship. The passion for solitude drove 
the saint into the wastes and forests ; the desire to 
imitate his life, and the protection which his foundation 
could afford turned the lowliest hermitage into a 
crowded monastery surrounded by a thriving depend- 
ency of serfs and tenants. The illustrations of this 
would be almost as numerous as the monasteries 


themselves. Everywhere it was the same ; whether 
by the slopes of the Jura, in the forests of Bavaria, 
or amidst the wastes of Northumberland. Europe 
does not always remember the debt which she owes 
to those who in their longing to escape from the haunts 
of men, cleared the densest jungle, drained pestilent 
swamps, and by the alchemy of industry turned the 
deserts into waving gold. The sanctity of the hermit, 
drawing after him against his will a brotherhood of 
disciples, laid the foundation of our busiest towns, 
broke the silence of waste and fen with a chain of 
religious houses, set agricultural colonies in the midst 
of the profoundest forests, or planted on some dreary 
coast the forerunner of a busy haven. 

Not the least result of Monasticism, as developed 
by St. Benedict in the West, was the change which 
the movement brought into men's conceptions of the 
dignity of toil. In the degenerate Roman world, as 
among the rude barbarian conquerors, manual labour 
had been exclusively reserved for slaves. But in the 
Rule of Benedict manual labour formed an indispens- 
sable part in the life of every monk, however noble 
his birth. " This is a fine occupation for a count,'' 
sarcastically exclaimed Duke Godfrey of Lorraine 
when he found his brother Frederick washing dishes 
in the kitchen of the monastery. '' You are right, 
duke," was the answer ; " I ought indeed to think 
myself honoured by the smallest service for the Master." 
Such tales might be multipled indefinitely ; we may 
smile at them, but their value is not the less great. 
They witness to the elevation of labour into new esteem, 
the commencement of that organized social industry 
which in later years was to destroy feudalism itself 
and shift the centre of power to the producer and 


Of almost equal value with the exaltation of labour 
was the emphasis laid by Monasticism upon the virtues 
of humility and obedience ; from the monastic stand- 
point the two tend to become one, related as cause 
and effect. Hitherto obedience had been learned in 
one school alone — for we may neglect the obedience 
of the slave, — the school of the army. Now men 
were taught by a discipline other than military that 
the highest type of life is that which learns to obey. 
It is difficult to exaggerate the value of this lesson in 
the peculiar circumstances of the times. Amid the 
dissolution of old society and the ascendency of the 
barbarians, the lesson was once more enforced of the 
old obedience which had made; Rome great, but in a 
purer and more spiritual form. With all deductions 
that may be made for an exaggeration of obedience 
into a servile degradation of will — a tendency that we 
see issuing finally in Jesuitism — or even into a nega- 
tion of self-respect, we should not ignore the value to 
civilization in its turbulent youth of the Church pro- 
posing for the reverence of mankind a life of obedience 
as the highest ideal of virtue. 

We must not forget that Monasticism attracted 
the lay world as well as the clerics of the Church to 
its own ideal, though in an entirely different way. 
From the twelfth century onwards we find a number 
of half-monastic orders, Teutonic Knights, Hospitallers, 
Tertiaries of St. Francis, Beguines, brotherhoods and 
the rest. The life of every town was leavened with 
these half-ascetic clubs, which besides enabling the 
layman to do something for the salvation of his own 
soul, undoubtedly developed obedience and civil 
order, and fostered a spirit of charity and altruism. 

From any estimate of the benefits of Monasticism 
certain deductions must be made. The over insist- 


ence upon asceticism was not for the good of humanity, 
and led to some extent to a weakening of home ties. 
From the standpoint of race continuation and develop- 
ment the result was in part disastrous. Celibacy 
doomed the holiest and most intellectual to sterility ; 
the future was left ^to those of coarser clay. Monas- 
ticism was also responsible for a certain lowering of 
civic virtues. By their very constitution as an order 
the monks were cosmopolitans. As a result they were 
also largely anti-national. They formed a State within 
a State, an ecclesiastical internationalism whose head 
centre was Rome. The sole care of the monk was 
too often the welfare of his monastery, and the spread 
of his order. The organized socialism of which at 
one time the monasteries were the truest exponents 
became, too often, a struggle for individual wealth 
on the part of prior or abbot. But when all deduc- 
tions have been made the balance of our debt to 
Monasticism is incalculable ; nor is it the less that the 
system, like other institutions, outlived its usefulness, 
and became a curse where at one time it had been a 


As yet in our investigation we have said nothing 
as to the influence of the Reform Movements of the 
Middle Ages ; we have confined ourselves to the action 
of the Church. To us of a later age the mediaeval 
Reformations, or attempts at Reformation, loom large ; 
to the men of the times they were not of the highest 
moment. As students of history we see them in 
their right perspective, and hail their scattered rays 
as the dawn of a new day ; we salute their preachers 
as the heralds of a better age. But the men of the 
c.c, y 


time saw in them little but unreasoning revolt, and, 
on the whole, their influence, social and otherwise, 
was not so great as sometimes we imagine. But such 
as it was it demands attention. 

Mediaeval reform movements may be roughly 
classified as follows, (i.) Those which aimed at a 
reformation of the Church from within, by a stricter 
observance of its primitive law and spirit, and a purging 
of the whole in head and members, (ii.) Those which 
protested against the suppression by Rome of all 
independence. These aimed at lessening the excessive 
internationalism of the Church, and at the develop- 
ment of a strong local feeling by the emphasis of 
nationalism in ritual, government and language. 
These two objects or causes of religious revolt often 
tended to become one, as in the case of the Hussite 
movement in Bohemia. But, in the case of the reform 
movement which culminated at Constance, the strong 
desire for amendment in head and members was really 
vitiated and made of no account by the new spirit of 
nationalism which we find so rampant in the Council 
itself. 1 (iii.) The movements of reform or revolt 
which originated in a deep belief in evangelical poverty 
as the sine qua non of all spiritual life, (iv.) Protests 
against the excessive sacerdotalism of the times, 
especially against its causa causans, the doctrine of 
transubstantiation. But the objections to transub- 
stantiation of Wyclif and others scarcely fall within 
the plan of this chapter ; they are theological rather 
than social. 

The best work of the mediaeval Church lay, no 
doubt, in the reformations which may be classed as 
from within ; the coming in the early years of the 

1 See my Dawn of the Reformation, vol. ii. chap. v. for the fuller 
proof of this. 


thirteenth century of the Friars under St. Francis and 
St. Dominic, the ConciHar movement of the fourteenth 
century which led to Constance (1415), or, to go back 
to an earHer age, the great reform of the Church associ- 
ated with the name of Hildebrand. But the bearing 
of these movements upon social development has been 
sufficiently considered already in connexion with 
the work of the Church, of which in fact they were the 
strongest advocates and supports. As regards the 
protest against the suppression of the national feeling, 
or revolts which sprang from the new consciousness 
of nationalism, it is needless to write at length. In 
these, as for instance in the Hussite revolt, which 
began in the constant struggle between Czech and 
Teuton, we find the birth of that new spirit which was 
to prove dominant, for weal or woe, at the Reformation 
itself. But such movements were of greater influence 
upon the politics than the morals of the times. In 
Bohemia, to cite one illustration, the influence of Hus 
upon the development of its national spirit is undying ; 
his contribution to the permanent moral and religious 
uplifting of his nation has been but slight. 

The revolts which may be classified under (iii.) or 
(iv.) often tended to run the one into the other. For 
our present purpose they are of far greater importance 
than the orthodox reformations which fall under (i.) 
and (ii.). These latter reformations, because they 
were orthodox, added little save revived zeal or wider 
horizons to the moral and social ideals of the Church. 
The unorthodox reformations, on the contrary, cor- 
rected many errors or exaggerations of mediaeval 
method and aim, oftentimes it must be confessed by 
over emphasis of the contrary. 

The revolts which originated in the protest of 
enthusiasts against the wealth of the Church, and which 


proclaimed the need of evangelical poverty, were almost 
continuous from the twelfth century to the Reforma- 
tion. They assumed many forms and different names, 
but underlying all is the same spirit. Whether called 
Henricians, Patarines, Waldensians, Poor Men of 
Lyons, or Lollards ; whether deriving their origin 
from Joachimists, Spirituals, Fraticelli and the like ; 
whether they looked to the writings of Wyclif, or to 
the Introduction to the Eternal Gospel of Gherardo 
da Borgo San Donnino ; — their doctrines are funda- 
mentally allied ; the tendency to identify poverty 
and perfection, to take from the Church its endow- 
ments and to bestow them on the poor, or devote 
them to the resources of the State. On their political 
side these revolts mark the rise of a new democracy ; 
the leaders of the one were often the leaders in the 
other. The Spiritual Franciscans, especially, joined 
their devotion to the poverty of their founder with an 
enthusiasm for new philosophies, new heresies, and 
new social movements that was always driving them 
into conflict with either Church or State. A wave of 
democratic agitation was sweeping over Europe ; a 
fierce struggle between reason and authority was 
working its way to the surface in the sphere of politics 
as well as of belief. For in that age all revolutions were 
naturally religious in origin and character, while all 
reformation led of necessity to social revolution. 

The illustrations of this union of democracy and 
reformation are many, in every century from the 
twelfth onward. We may mention in the first half 
of the twelfth century Henry of Lausanne, a monk of 
Clugny, barefooted, carrying a cross in his hand, 
attacking the corruptions of the Church with such 
earnestness that a dozen towns have boycotted their 
clergy ; this at a time when St. Bernard rules Europe 


for orthodoxy from his cell at Clairvaux. In the towns 
of Italy at the same time this revolt against authority, 
allied with the reaction of the Christian conscious- 
ness against a worldly Church, took the special form of a 
struggle to shake off the yoke of feudalism, both civic 
and spiritual. The twelfth century witnessed the 
rise of the free republics of Lombardy and Tuscany. 
In Rome that remarkable reformer, Arnold of Brescia, 
used the local disaffection to advance his dreams of 
a nobler Utopia. 

If Abailard was the incarnation of the new spirit 
which in the twelfth century claimed for itself freedom 
of thought, in Arnold of Brescia, the pupil and com- 
panion of Abailard, we find the leader in the new claim 
for freedom of will. His life will serve as an excellent 
example of the union in the Middle Ages of democracy 
with the preaching of evangelical poverty. Born at 
Brescia, Arnold on his return from his studies in Paris 
plunged into the struggles of the citizens against their 
bishops. Brescia was a seat of the Patarines, and 
Arnold, though in theology most orthodox, added fuel 
to the flames of heresy and patriotism by his invectives 
against the worldliness of the priests. The possession 
of property, he maintained, was contrary to Christi- 
anity ; he urged the secularization of the estates of the 
Church. Clerical wealth should be escheated to the 
commune ; henceforth the ministers of religion should 
depend on the voluntary tithes of the people. His 
teaching suited both the politics and pockets of the 
market-place. All Lombardy was stirred with wild 
expectation in which it would be difficult to say whether 
the hope of plunder or reform was the dominant motive. 
After various adventures in 1147, we meet him at 
Rome preaching his favourite doctrines to a democracy 
which needed no persuasion. The purity of his life. 


the high morality of his teaching appealed to the few ; 
the many were reached by the fiery eloquence with 
which a man clothed in a monk's robe and worn with 
fasting preached in the peasant's tongue apostolic 
poverty in priest and pope. Arnold's ideal was of a 
great Christian repubhc, in which the existing feudalism 
should give place to the sovereignty of the people, to 
whom should belong the vast estates of the Church ; 
much the same idea as was afterwards more clearly 
enunciated by MarsigUo. Triumphant democracy 
would possess all the virtues and none of the wrongs 
of the systems it would replace ; it would usher in an 
era of true religion, for which the world sought in vain 
in existing ecclesiastical organizations. 

In many respects Arnold was an unpractical dreamer. 
As we look back upon his ideals and remember that he 
attempted to reahze these among the ignorant and 
oppressed lower classes of the twelfth century, our 
admiration of his daring is only equalled by our astonish- 
ment that he should mistake the transitory intoxica- 
tion of the Romans for reUgious and moral conviction. 
Nevertheless his memory should be reverenced. The 
world has too few prophets for us to despise one 

Who rowing hard against the stream. 
Saw distant gates of Eden gleam 
And did not dream it was a dream. 

In 1155 Arnold, a true martyr for freedom, was 
hanged and burned, and his ashes thrown into the 
Tiber by Pope Adrian IV, the one Englishman who 
ever occupied the papal chair. 

The life of Arnold is typical. We find its details 
repeated, mutatis mutandis, in every country and 
century. In the thirteenth century for a few years 
we see the cessation of revolt, but this was only 


because for a few years we see the triumph, or fancied 
triumph, of democracy and piety in the person of St. 
Francis. With the loss of his ideal the old struggle 
once more breaks out ; but in every case the leaders 
of the people in their battle for freedom are the preachers 
of the need of apostoHc poverty. In England we have 
an illustration of this in the case of the Peasants* 
Revolt. At the back of this great revolt we find the 
friars, who had for years been preaching to the people 
** that all things should be in common,'' as we learn 
from Langland. Though Wyclif's direct influence 
upon this revolt was slight, nevertheless his communis- 
tic ideas, reported secondhand by his Biblemen, or 
distorted by men indifferent to their subtle and unwork- 
able distinctions, 1 had not been without their effect. 
The Peasants' Revolt, though far from being a com- 
munistic movement, was but the rude translation into a 
world of practice of a theory of '' dominion " that des- 
troyed the *' lordship " of the wicked and exalted 
possession into the inalienable right of the saint. 2 

Wyclif's arguments are obscured by being expressed 
in the definitions and distinctions of a decaying feudal- 
ism. Like most schoolmen Wyclif starts with an 
ideal state of society : *' all authority is founded in 
grace." *' Lordship " rests with God alone, who as 
Suzerain of the world hath allotted '' dominion " to 
popes and kings in fief and tenure of their obedience 
to Himself. Of this feudal tenure '' from the Lord in 
chief " mortal sin is a breach, and in itself '' incurs 
forfeiture " — a doctrine bound to lead to anarchical 
consequences if Wyclif had applied his conclusions to 
existing society. But he saved himself by a curious 

^ For illustrations see Chronicon AnglicB (Rolls. Series) 282, 340. 
* Wyclif's political theories are best seen in his De Dominio. 
For an analysis see Poole, Med. Thought, 290-306. 


metaphysical juggle. He carefully distinguishes be- 
tween '' dominion," which belongs alone to the 
righteous man, and '' power," which the wicked may 
have by God's permission in consequence of the Fall. 
In thus building up society upon the Fall, Wyclif 
foUowed the usual mediaeval theories. Thomas 
Aquinas alone had discerned that social instincts are 
an essential part of man's moral constitution. 

The natural corollary of this doctrine of '' dominion '' 
is the defence of Christian socialism. Communism 
is with him the translation into reality of his main 
thesis that " every righteous man is lord over the whole 
sensible world " ; '* the faithful man " — Wyclif is 
quoting Proverbs xvii. 6 — '* hath the whole world of 
riches, but the unfaithful man hath not even a farthing ! '* 
In his scheme '' lordship " is thus always linked with 
service ; the two are corresponding terms, as the most 
exalted of all potentates acknowledges by his title of 
Servus Servorum. Thus '* rights " and '' duties " be- 
come equivalent and interchangeable. But Wyclif 
was not ignorant that his ideal society is not yet 
capable of realization. He is careful to insist that the 
righteous must not attempt to acquire their inalienable 
rights by force. 

With Wyclif s revolt on its political, scholastic, 
and theological sides we are not here concerned. But 
whatever judgement may be passed upon his political 
theory of '' dominion," or his Erastian ideal ot 
reformation, not even his bitterest opponent can deny 
Wyclif's intense love of, and sympathy with, the poor. 
To WycHf the Epistle of St, James would be rather 
the marrow of the Gospel than *' an epistle of straw," 
but then Wyclif's sympathy with and understanding 
of the poor was deeper than that of Luther. Their 
needs are at all times uppermost in his thoughts. His 


sorrow for their woes runs through his works like a 
wail of love, and redeems his fiercest denunciations, 
his most impossible schemes. Half his writings might 
be compressed into his bitter cry : '* Poor men have 
naked sides, and dead walls have great plenty of 
waste gold.^ Wychf, in fact, had he not been ham- 
pered by his scholastic training, might have figured 
in the Roman calendar as a second St. Francis. In 
more than one of his doctrines the critic may discern 
resemblance to the teaching of the saint of Assisi. His 
*' poor priests '' were a revival of the '* Little Brothers/' 
He constantly speaks as if poverty were the duty of 
the whole Church. But we miss the sweetness and 
light, the radiant joyousness, the absence of all aggres- 
siveness save love, which make the Italian immortal. 
The very fierceness of Wyclif 's attacks upon the degen- 
erate friars of his age witnesses to his kinship with 
them. He hated them with all the hatred which an 
earnest man feels for those who have degraded his 
ideal or disappointed his hopes. But these attacks 
should not blind us to Wyclif's spiritual lineage. The 
Reformer was, in fact, '* the genuine descendant of the 
friars, turning their wisdom against themselves, and 
carrying out the principles he had learned from them 
to their legitimate political conclusions.'' 2 Perhaps 
it would be more accurate to classify him with the 
Spiritual Friars, whose ideas and phraseology he in 
part assimilated ^ ; though, with English common 
sense, he abandoned their apocalyptic ravings. 

Before we pass away from Wyclif it is of interest 

^ Matthews, Eng. Works of Wyclif, 91. Select Eng. Works, iii. 

2 Brewer, Monumenta Franciscana, i. p. Kx. 

^ Cf . Wyclif, Dominic Divino, 5 n. 15 ; also Select English Works, 
iii. 212, and especially iii. 304 (very doubtful if by Wyclif), 360, i. 314. 


to note one matter of doctrine in which Wyclif's 
intense social sympathies lead him to a conclusion 
unusual in a mediaeval. We refer to the strong appre- 
ciation which Wyclif shows of the real humanity of 
Jesus, especially in his treatise de Benedict a Incarna- 
tione. Here he claims that Christ is the universal 
man identical with all His brethren. The *' literal 
reaUty of Christ's human nature is a most precious 
jewel '' which he will not surrender ; Christ and His 
humanity must never be divided. This identification 
of Christ and the communis homo is not merely due to 
Wyclif's scholastic Realism ; it marks rather that 
intense sympathy for suffering humanity, so charac- 
teristic of the Reformer, which led him to the same 
conclusion as in the first century it had led the writer 
of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 

We note the same emphasis of humanity in Wyclif's 
Lollard disciples. We see this in the protest of Purvey, 
Wyclif's assistant in the translation of the Bible, 
against all crusades : '' Certes, as long as heathen 
men will live peaceably with us Christians, and not 
war on us to destroy our Christendom, we have no 
authority of God to war against them " ; and in his 
plea, rather, for foreign missions : "A true successor 
of St. Peter should rather grant indulgences to suffer 
pains meekly, to convert heathen men." Pilgrimages, 
if made at aU, should be '' made only unto the poor " ; 
" it were better to deal money unto poor folk than to 
offer to the image of Christ." ^ '' If ye desire," said 
Margery Baxter (1428) '' to see the true Cross of 
Christ, I will show it you at home in your own house. 
Then the said Margery, stretching out her arms abroad 
said : This is the true Cross of Christ, and this cross 

^ Foxe (ed. Pratt), iii. 597 ; iv. 133. Purvey, Remonstrance, 23, 
25» 5S, 64, 66. 


thou oughtest and mayest every day behold and 
worship in thine own house ; and therefore it is but 
vain to run to the church to worship dead crosses/' 
Similar answers were given by Sir John Oldcastle 
and other Lollards. Said the heroic William Thorpe 
in his examination before Archbishop Arundel in 1407, 
when giving his reasons why images ought not to be 
worshipped in any wise : '' Man that was made after 
the image and likeness of God is full worshipful in his 
kind ; yea, and this holy image, that is man, God 
worshippeth [respectethy* To the same effect was 
the testimony of John Edmunds (1521) : '' This 
John Edmunds talking with the said Baker of pil- 
grimage bade him offer his money to the image of God. 
When the other asked what that was, he said that 
the image of God was the poor people, blind and lame.'' 
Many other like illustrations could be given how the 
Lollards cared more for '' preventing the sufferings of 
Christ's people " than for '* picturing to themselves 
the bodily pain, long since passed, of one Person." * 
But the greatest service of the Lollard and other 
mediaeval heretics and reformers lay in the emphasis 
they placed upon the right of individual judgment. 
They demanded '' the liberty of prophesying " which 
in the next age was to give power to the Reformation. 
Above all they taught men how to die for their faith 
and conscience. Though in their days they lived 
without influence, and died without respect, they have 
since seen of the travail of their souls and are satisfied. 

:ic H: 4: 4: 4( 

We have finished our survey of the influence of 
the Church on the social and ethical development of 
the Middle Ages — from Gregory the Great to the later 

^ 'RMskin, Lectures on Art,yi-6; with which compare Foxe(ed. 
Pratt), iii. 594, 265 ; iv. 238. Wyclif, Select English Works, iii. 463. 


Lollards. The vast extent of the period covered has 
precluded all but the most cursory examination, and 
many matters of interest have, perforce, been omitted. 
With all its defects — and the reverse side of the page 
may well fill us with indignation — the mediaeval Church 
presents a noble spectacle of moral grandeur, and of 
true work done for humanity. That many of the 
forces and institutions which in their day ministered 
to righteousness in a later age became positive hin- 
drances, the clearing away of which was necessary for 
further development, is only in harmony with the 
known laws of progress. That they without us should 
not be made perfect is not the condemnation of the 
hope of those who have gone before, but the providential 
law of evolution. 


The Social Principles and Effects of the 

By Rev. H. T. ANDREWS, B.A., Professor of New Testa- 
ment Exegesis and Criticism, New College, London. 


Preliminary — Difficulties involved in the Treatment of the Subject — (i) The 
Danger of Subjectivism — (2) The Social (Question not a Prominent 
Issue with the Reformers — (3) The Different Meanings attached 
to the term Reformation and the Need of Definition — (4) The Difficulty 
of Separating the Religious from other Influences at Work during 
the Period. 

I. The Social Teaching of the First Reformers and its Effects. 

(A) Luther, His Fundamental Position — The Peasant Revolt — 
Its Causes — The Programme of the Peasants — The Attitude of Luther 
— His Vindictive Pamphlet — Effect of Luther's Action on the Refor- 
mation and on Germany — Luther's Attitude to the New Commercial 

(B) Calvin — Differences between Luther and Calvin — The Con- 
dition of Geneva — The Fundamental Principles Underlying Calvin's 
Work — The Attempt to Establish a Theocracy — The Relation between 
Church and State — The Relation between the Individual and the 
Community — Knox's Attempt to Establish Calvin's Regime in Scot- 
land — His Social Programme — ^The Influence of the Reformation 
on the Struggle for Independence in the Netherlands. 

II. The Indirect Effects of the Reformation on Social Progress. 

The Indirect and Ultimate Effects more Important than the Imme- 
diate Results — The Influence of the Reformation Seen — (a) in the 
introduction of a New Conception of Life and the Overthrow of the 
Monastic Ideal ; (6) the Consecration of Family Life ; (c) a New 
Sanctity attached to Labour, Commerce and Civic Life ; (d) the Con- 
ception of a Social Ideal ; (e) The Reformation Enhances the sense 
and value of Personality ; (/) It fosters the Spirit of Intellectual 
Freedom ; (g) Its Influence on Political and Social Liberty and (h) 
on the Growth of Democracy ; (i) It Revolutionizes the Conception 
of Charity and (/) Gives a new Stimulus to Education ; (k) the Reform- 
ation and the Middle Classes ; (l) Socialistic Theories in the Reform- 
ation Period ; (m) Certain losses entailed by the abandonment 
of the Mediaeval Dream of Unity and the Introduction of the Com- 
mercial Spirit. 


The Social Principles and Effects of the 

It is by no means an easy task to gauge with anything 
like scientific precision the exact contribution which 
the Reformation made to the social progress of the 
race. There are many difficulties which such an 
investigation is bound to surmount before it can hope 
to reach a satisfactory result. 

In the first place we must strive to guard against 
the danger which is incidental to all such inquiries 
of unconsciously imposing our own ideas and judg- 
ments upon the data of history. *' History/' as 
Froude once said, '* is like a child's box of letters. 
You can make it spell whatever you please." There 
is no region in which the dictum — ** the mind sees 
what it brings with it the power of seeing " — is better 
illustrated than in the philosophy of history. It will 
therefore be absolutely necessary for us to guard 
our selves against hasty generalizations, especially 
when the generalization is in accord with our own 

Then again a difficulty arises from the fact that 
the social question was not one of the most prominent 
issues at the time of the Reformation. Democracy 



had not yet realized itself. There was, of course, 
grave discontent among the peasantry of Europe, and 
serious outbreaks occurred in Germany, England and 
Bohemia ; but it cannot be said that the social pro- 
blem filled the thought and imagination of the age as 
it does to-day. The Reformation was pre-eminently 
a spiritual movement. Its main purpose was to 
emancipate religion from the tyranny of the Roman 
Church. It was only incidentally, here and there, that 
it was brought face to face with definite social issues. 
Whatever contribution therefore the Reformation 
made to social reform was in the nature of a by-pro- 
duct, and cannot be regarded as part of the original 
purpose of the movement. 

Furthermore, before we can hope to reach con- 
vincing results, it will be necessary to define the mean- 
ing which we attach to the term '' Reformation.*' 
The word is used in many different senses. To some 
minds it simply denotes the results achieved by Luther 
in Germany during his lifetime. Others regard it as 
signifying primarily the changes introduced by Henry 
VIII in the relations between the EngHsh Church and 
the Papacy. To others the work of Calvin at Geneva 
constitutes the real Reformation. Our conclusions 
are bound to vary with our definition. As a matter 
of fact the most diverse results have been obtained 
by scholars in the past. Lord Acton, for instance, 
in his History of Freedom asserts that '' The direct 
political influence of the Reformation effected less 
than has been supposed. . . . When the last of the 
Reformers died, religion instead of emancipating the 
nations had become an excuse for the criminal art of 
despots. Calvin preached and Bellarmine lectured, 
but Machiavelli reigned.'* In striking contrast to 
this statement of Lord Acton, we have the aflirma- 


tion of M. Borgeaud in his Rise of Democracy, " Modem 
democracy is the child of the Reformation." Now 
Lord Acton and M. Borgeaud are both of them right. 
The difference in their conclusions is due to the fact 
that the former rigidly limits the Reformation to the 
lifetime of the Reformers, while the latter includes 
the Puritan movement of the seventeenth century in 
the scope of the Reformation. In the present essay 
the Reformation will be taken in the broadest sense 
of the term. To limit it to the work of the first Re- 
formers is to take an unduly narrow and circumscribed 
view of history. Luther and Calvin only laid the 
foundations, and it was two hundred years before the 
full effects of the movement began to be realized. We 
must regard the Reformation, therefore, as including 
all the new spiritual forces which were generated in 
Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth cen- 
turies in the effort to break down the superstition and 
tyranny of the Papal authority. 

Finally, we have to remember that there were 
other forces at work during this period besides the 
religious. There was, for instance, the Renaissance, 
which re-introduced the social and political ideals of 
ancient Greece and Rome. Great changes, too, were 
taking place in the world of commerce. The develop- 
ment of navigation and the discovery of America had 
broadened the basis of trade. A new order of mer- 
chant princes was beginning to arise. Wealth no 
longer necessarily meant the possession of land. The 
economic condition of Europe was steadily being 
revolutionized. The Feudal System was ceasing to 
be the pivot of society. The profitable employment 
of money in trade enhanced the value of capital. With 
all these influences at work, it is extremely difficult 
to disentangle any single strand from the complicated 
c.c. z 


thread of causation and estimate its particular effect 
upon the social development which ensued. To take 
an illustration. We know that between the time of 
Wyclif and the death of Queen Elizabeth the wages 
of agricultural labourers doubled in England, and as 
Prof. J. R. Green says, " villeinage died out so rapidly 
that it became a rare and antiquated thing.'' Our 
first impulse would naturally be to attribute this result 
to the new religious ideas introduced by the Reforma- 
tion. We are bound, however, to take into considera- 
tion the other influences which were at work, and 
we must never forget the economic fact that the Black 
Death had swept off half the population of the rural 
districts, and so made labour scarce. Even in feudal 
times, in spite of the safeguards provided by Parlia- 
ment in the interests of the feudal lords, a depletion 
of the labour market was inevitably followed by an 
advance in the status and wages of the labourer. It 
would be as unscientific to ascribe the amelioration 
in the condition of the labouring classes entirely to 
the propaganda of Wyclif and the Lollards, as it would 
be to deny altogether the part which the new religious 
ideas played in creating what Thorold Rogers called 
" the golden age '' of the English peasant in the fif- 
teenth century. 

Keeping these difficulties in mind, we can now 
proceed to the examination of the facts. It will be 
necessary first of all to investigate the principles 
laid down by the great Reformers on the subject of 
Social Reform, and the direct effects produced by the 
movement in different countries ; and then, when 
this has been done, we shall be in a position to esti- 
mate the larger and more general influences which the 
Reformation generated in the sphere of social and 
civic life. 



It will be impossible, of course, to survey all the 
different religious movements in connexion with the 
Reformation. We shall have to confine ourselves in 
the main to an examination of the teaching of Luther 
and Calvin, though some allusion must also be made 
to the work of John Knox in Scotland, and the great 
struggle for religious liberty in the Netherlands. We 
find that though the various movements which make 
up the Reformation have much in common, yet they 
have many points of difference as well. The doctrines 
of the new faith were in their essence the same all 
over Europe ; but in spite of the common basis, no 
two movements assumed the same form or issued in 
the same results. The different shapes which the 
Reformation assumed in different places were due 
partly to the temperament of the leaders and partly 
to the social and political environment in which the 
battle had to be fought out. 

A. The Social Teaching of Luther. 

Luther was from the first pre-eminently concerned 
with the religious question. The problem for him 
had always been, '' How can a man be just with God ? *' 
After a desperate struggle he had found the answer 
which satisfied his own soul, and he was anxious to 
give that answer to the world. The main point for 
Luther was the estabhshment of a right relationship 
between man and God. The question of the right 
relationship between man and man never concerned 
him very deeply. He felt that if men could be in- 
duced to accept the doctrine of justification by faith 
and enter into a hfe of fellowship with God, the re- 
generation of society would naturally follow. " Save 


the individual, and by saving the individual you will 

save the State '' — that was the watchword of the 

/Lutheran Reformation. Luther was therefore anxi- 

/ous to keep the movement from being entangled in 

/ any social or political complications. In this policy 

/ however he was doomed to fail. 

/ At a very early stage in its development the German 

/ Reformation was brought face to face with a grave 
social crisis. The Peasants' Revolt in 1524 made it 
necessary for Luther to decide once for all whether 
the movement should ally itself with the forces of 
democracy in their struggle for freedom, or whether 
it should support the ruling classes in their effort to 
maintain the old feudal order. 

It is impossible within the limits of the present 
Essay to attempt to describe all the issues which 
were involved in the Peasants* Revolt. For fifty 
years and more the German peasantry had been 
seething with unrest. Economic changes had been 
taking place all over Europe which amounted to 
little less than an agrarian revolution. The discovery 
had been made that land possessed a commercial 
value. In former days the feudal lord was perfectly 
contented if the land provided him with men to serve 
him in husbandry or war. Now he became anxious 
to make money out of the soil. The common lands 
were gradually enclosed. The produce of the woods 
and the rivers, which in the past had been regarded 
as common property, was appropriated by the lord 
of the manor. The introduction of Roman Law, 
too, altered for the worse the agricultural customs 
and usages which had prevailed in Germany for ages, 
and lowered the status of the labourer. The growing 
love of luxury led the rich to seek increased sources 
of revenue by grinding the faces of the poor. The 


exactions of the Church grew more burdensome every 
year. The tithes were extended to cover every pos- 
sible source of income. A steady rise in prices and 
a consequent diminution in the value of money served 
to intensify the sense of poverty. A series of bad 
harvests added to the sufferings of the peasants. 
Time after time insurrections had been organized 
by the Bundshuh, as the Peasants' league was called. 
None of them however had proved successful, and 
they had always been suppressed without difficulty. 
The Reformation with its attack upon the Church 
and its proclamation of religious liberty gave the 
peasants a new hope and added fuel to the flames. 
Some of the more radical reformers like Miinzer 
openly espoused the cause of the peasants and carried 
the fiery cross of rebellion throughout the southern 
part of Germany. At length in 1524 the great insur- 
rection broke out. The demands of the peasants, 
which were incorporated in twelve Articles, seem to 
us to-day extremely moderate. They were couched 
in religious phraseology and supported by arguments 
drawn from the Scriptures. The peasants commenced 
by claiming in the first article the right to elect their 
own pastors and religious teachers. They made no 
objection to the payment of the greater tithes, but 
they argued that the lesser tithes were unscriptural 
and rested merely on human authority. They de- 
manded the restitution of the privilege enjoyed by 
their forefathers of hunting in the common woods 
and fishing in the rivers. They protested against every 
form of slavery as being contrary to the teaching 
of the New Testament and demanded exemption 
from all servile services. They asked also for a reduc- 
tion of rent and the abolition of the death duties exacted 
by the landlord. 


The programme of the peasants offered Luther a 
great opportunity. Their fate was very largely in 
his hands. He was one of the determining factors 
in the situation. The issue of the revolt was in no 
small degree settled by his decision. There can be 
little doubt that at heart Luther was largely in sym- 
pathy with the peasants. He came himself of peasant 
stock and knew from bitter experience the wrongs by 
which they were oppressed. In his earlier writings 
he had lashed out bravely against the misgovernment 
of the princes and the luxury of the rich. At the 
first appearance of the peasants* programme, he 
adopted a neutral attitude towards the two contending 
parties, distributing praise and blame with impartial 
hand. He expressed approval of most of the pea- 
sants' demands and urged the nobles to remove the 
grievances. At the same time he warned the peasants 
that a resort to violence would be fatal to their claims. 
It seems quite clear that he was anxious to secure 
a compromise, which might ameliorate the lot of 
the peasants without injuring the nobles. 

When the peasants, unable to secure a bloodless 
revolution, resorted to the sword, Luther abandoned 
the position of neutrality, flung himself wildly into 
the fray and put himself forward as the champion 
of the nobles. His pamphlet Against the murderous 
thieving hordes of peasants is a disgrace (there is no 
other word for it) to literature, to say nothing of 
religion. Luther dipped his pen in venom and openly 
incited the nobles to butchery. *' A prince can now,'* 
he wrote, '' better merit heaven with bloodshed than 
with prayer." A perfect orgy of slaughter followed. 
No less than a hundred thousand peasants, on the 
lowest computation, were slain with the sword. The 


agricultural districts of Southern Germany became 
little better than a wilderness. 

Many attempts have been made to extenuate 
the action of Luther. The moderate programme 
of the twelve articles, it is urged, was only a blind. 
The real aims of the Bundshuh stopped very little 
short of Socialism. Moreover the success of the 
peasants would have meant revolution, and for that 
Luther was not prepared. Luther knew too that 
the success of the Reformation would be imperilled 
if it were associated with the movement. He would 
have inevitably lost the support of the German princes 
and nobles upon whose help he relied in his struggle 
with the Pope. The risk was too great. Luther 
had really no alternative but to sacrifice the peasants 
in the interests of the Reformation. 

Arguments such as these would have justified 
Luther in adopting a policy of neutrality, but they 
do not justify his vindictive onslaught upon the 
peasants ; least of all do they afford ground for his 
enunciation of the barbarous doctrine '' Killing No 
Murder.'' Luther's pamphlet, as Dr. Lindsay says, 
*' all extenuating circumstances being taken into 
account, must ever remain an ineffaceable stain on 
his noble life and career." 

Luther's action left an indelible mark upon his 
own character, upon the constitution of the Lutheran 
Church, and upon the German nation. There can 
be little doubt that Luther's own social sympathies 
were dulled and blunted by his partisan conduct. 
He had violated the principle of political neutarlity 
which lay at the very base of his religious conceptions. 
He had taken sides with the nobles against the people. 
There was no escaping from the position. As time 
went on, his sentiments became less and less demo- 


cratic. No one, who had not lost his finer instincts, 
could ever have written the notorious letter which 
Luther composed later on, in conjunction with Melanch- 
thon and Spalatin, to remove the scruples of a Saxon 
noble in regard to the burdens his tenants bore, in 
which he gives utterance to the astounding state- 
ment, ** The ass will have blows and the people will 
be ruled by force/' The effect upon the constitution 
of the Lutheran Church was equally detrimental. 
It was thrown more and more into the hands of the 
princes. As Professor Pollard says, " The movement 
from 1521 to 1525 had been national, and Luther 
had been its hero : from the position of national hero, 
he now sank to be the prophet of a sect and a sect 
which depended for its existence upon the support 
of poUtical powers. Melanchthon admitted that the 
decrees of the Lutheran Church were mere platonic 
conclusions without the support of the princes, and 
Luther suddenly abandoned his views on the free- 
dom of conscience and the independence of the Church.'' 
But most disastrous of all was the effect produced 
upon the German nation. The peasants were alien- 
ated from Protestantism and relapsed, some back 
into Roman Catholicism but the majority into unbelief. 
The cause of Social Reform was handicapped, and 
it took centuries before it recovered from the blow 
which Luther dealt it. " To the end of the eighteenth 
century the German peasantry remained the most 
miserable in Europe. Serfdom lingered there longer 
than in any other civilized country save Russia, and 
the mass of the people were effectively shut out from 
the sphere of political action." The anti-Christian 
character of modern Socialism in Germany is one of 
the fruits of Luther's policy. 

Little need be said with regard to Luther's atti- 


tude upon other social questions. Reference, however, 
should be made to his hostility towards the methods 
of the new Commerce. In one of his works he pro- 
tests against the doctrine that a merchant '' must 
buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest,'' 
and insists that the only justifiable rule is '' I may 
sell my wares as dearly as I ought, or as is right and 
just.*' '' Selling shall not be a work which stands 
freely in your power, without all law and measure, 
as though you were a god, who is bound to no one : 
but because your selling is a work which you do to 
your neighbour, it shall be conducted with such law 
and conscience that you may do it without harm and 
injury to your neighbour.'* Luther suggested that 
the magistrates should appoint a commission to estab- 
lish just and fair prices, though he adds that he thought 
there was very little prospect of such a plan being 
carried out. 

Luther's most vehement denunciations, however, 
are reserved for the great trading societies and bankers, 
such as the Fuggers, who in the fifteenth and six- 
teenth centuries amassed huge fortunes by financial 
and commercial operations. The lending and bor- 
rowing of money at interest were anathema to Luther. 
His indignation against the Monopolists is almost as 
violent as his attack upon the peasants. " These 
people are not worthy of being called men or dwelling 
among people. It would be right for the magistracy 
to take from such all that they have and drive them 
from the land." In one of his extant letters written 
at a time of famine when an attempt was being made 
by the nobles to make a corner in wheat, Luther 
makes an urgent appeal to the Elector John Frederic 
to pass a law ''to prevent the nobles from trading in 
corn and thereby practising usury in such a shameless 


manner." But it was not merely the abuses con- 
nected with commerce that Luther hated : he dis- 
liked the thing itself. " It were more godly/' he says 
in his Address to the Nobility, '' to encourage agri- 
culture and lessen commerce/' '' Germany would 
be better off/' he writes elsewhere, " if she spent less 
of her gold in buying cloth from England and spice 
from Spain." 

It would not be far from the truth to say that 
Luther's social ideal was an improved Feudal System. 
He was anxious that Germany should return to the 
old simple agricultural life. The commercial spirit 
was an unmitigated disaster in his eyes. The fact 
is of course that Luther was essentially conservative 
in all his instincts, and his innate Conservatism is 
never more apparent than in his attitude to social 
questions. He began his public career by opening 
the floodgates of reform, and then, frightened at the 
results, spent the rest of his life in the vain attempt 
to build a dam to stem the torrent. 

B. The Social Teaching of Calvin. 

When we pass from Germany to Switzerland, 
we find ourselves in a completely different atmo- 
sphere. Switzerland was a federation of a number of 
free and independent republics. Each of the great 
city-states was autonomous and responsible for the 
conduct of its own government. The social problem 
was much less acute than in Germany. The peasants 
had already won their freedom, and many of the 
evils which were so rampant in other countries had 
been mitigated if not entirely removed. Calvin, there- 
fore, when he came to Geneva, stood at a great advan- 
tage in comparison with Luther. Luther's stage 


was a large empire with many complex political forces 
confronting him at every turn. He could only hope 
to succeed by winning over the most potent elements 
to his side. Calvin's stage, on the other hand, was a 
moderate sized city, the population of which is estimated 
at 12,000. As long as he was able to dominate the city, 
there was little fear of outside interference. Luther's 
only way of safety was to keep the Reformation clear 
of politics, and to avoid the social problem as far as 
possible. Calvin could only hope to make his influ- 
ence felt by incarnating his ideal of reform in the 
institutions of his city. And even if he had wished 
to follow Luther's example and avoid interference in 
political and social questions, it would have been 
quite impossible for him to do it at Geneva. Geneva 
had always been in theory at any rate a theocracy. 
Its bishop was nominally its king, though his power 
was limited by the Vicedom or civil overlord (who 
was always a member of the House of Savoy), and 
the assembly of the citizens. As a matter of fact, the 
bishop was the creature and nominee of the Duke of 
Savoy, who by using him as his instrument strove 
with more or less success to impose his will upon the 
people of Geneva. " Duke and bishop," as a chronicler 
says, '' like Herod and Pilate stood united against 
the city." In 1530 Geneva emancipated itself from 
the *' two-headed tyranny " which sought to destroy 
its liberties. In regaining its political freedom it won 
religious freedom as well, and six years later, in 1536, 
the city publicly proclaimed its acceptance of the 
Reformation. Within two months of this event Cal- 
vin obeyed the summons of Farel, and essayed the 
high task of making Geneva a City of God, a real theo- 
cracy which should be a model to the world. 

We are not so much concerned with the details 


of Calvin's work in Geneva as with the underlying 
principles upon which it was based, and with those 
mainly only in so far as they bear upon the social 
question. The leading principles of Calvin's regime 
may be stated thus : (i) Religion, though essentially 
personal, must work itself out in the social and polit- 
ical life of the people. Germany under the guidance 
of Luther might adopt a new faith, and leave its old 
system of government and its social order intact and 
unaltered. But Geneva under the leadership of Cal- 
vin could not be content with that. The reform of 
religion must be followed by a reform of morals and 
a reform of civic life. Christianity must dominate 
the body politic as well as the individuals of which 
the state is composed. It must be woven into the 
very warp of the fabric of society. (2) The Chris- 
tianization of the state can only be produced by the 
establishment of a theocracy. The establishment of 
a theocracy means the recognition of the law of God 
as the supreme standard and basis of the civic life. 
The function of the government is to devise means 
by which this ideal can be attained. The particular 
form of government, according to the teaching of 
Calvin, is immaterial. A theocratic state may be 
ruled by a monarchy — an aristocracy — or a demo- 
cracy. Each has its advantages and its disadvan- 
tages. " Monarchy easily degenerates into despotism, 
aristocracy into oligarchy or the faction of the few, 
democracy into mobocracy and sedition." Calvin's 
own preference is for a democracy tempered by a 
mixture of aristocracy. The main thing, however, is 
not the form of government, but the energy with 
which the government devotes itself to the ideal. 
(3) The law of God which constitutes the ideal, is 
found revealed in the Scriptures. The Bible, which 


to Luther was mainly the textbook of doctrine, and 
the source of theology, contained for Calvin a revela- 
tion not only of the polity of the Church, but of the 
main principles of social well-being as well. A theo- 
cracy therefore meant a state founded and built up 
upon the teaching of Scripture, or in other words, the 
application of the truths of the Bible to civic and 
political life. Herein perhaps lies the greatest con- 
tribution which Calvin made to Social Reform. In 
claiming that the Bible was a textbook of sociology 
as well as religion, he took up a position which was 
destined to produce revolutionary results in the future, 
(4) How, then, is a theocracy to be established ? It 
can only really be achieved when Church and State 
unite together for its accomplishment. Church and 
state, according to Calvin, are related to one another, 
as body to soul. As Dr. Fairbairn puts it, " Without 
the State there would be no medium for the Church 
to work in, no body for the soul to animate ; without 
the Church there could be no law higher than expedi- 
ency to govern the State, no ideal of thought and 
conduct, no soul to animate the body. Both Church 
and State, therefore, were necessary to the good order- 
ing of society, and each was explained by the same 
idea.** (5) The State so constituted and established 
possessed supreme power over the individual, and 
the individual had no rights against the state. This 
naturally followed from the obvious fact that there 
could be no appeal against the law of God. Under 
the inspiration of Calvin the city of Geneva drew up 
an elaborate code, which regulated life in all its aspects 
down to the most minute details. No variation was 
tolerated, and all infractions of the law were severely 
punished. The regime of Calvin insisted upon the 
principle that the individual is bound to sacrifice his 


own particular whims and fancies, when these clash 
with the general interests, for the sake of the com- 
munity as a whole. But if the individual lost in some 
respects, he gained in others. If he was bound to 
sacrifice his private liberty to the well-being of the 
State, on the other hand, it must be remembered that 
the State made itself responsible for his well-being too. 
Calvin laid it down, as one of the rules of government, 
that it was the duty of the State to provide useful 
employment for every man that could work ; and 
what is more, he introduced new industries (e.g. cloth 
and weaving) into the city in order to enable it to 
perform its obligations. 

Such are the leading ideas which underlie Calvin's 
attempt to create a perfect city. The success of an 
enterprise conducted upon such principles as these 
depends upon two conditions. The leaders of the 
movement must possess sufficient enlightenment and 
insight to enable them to interpret aright the will of 
God in the matter of social welfare, and their inter- 
pretation must be so clear and self-evident that it 
wins for itself universal approval. And then the 
Church and the State must be practically co-extensive 
as they were in Geneva, in order to make it possible 
for the Church to impose its laws upon the people. 
In other words, Calvin^s scheme is only capable of 
practical realization in a society saturated with the 
Christian spirit and wholly devoted to the Christian 

In the case of Geneva these two conditions were 
largely fulfilled, and consequently Calvin's work be- 
came one of the most splendid social experiments 
known to history In an age when most of the great 
European nations were hurrying in the wake of Machia- 
velli to the worst form of despotism they had ever 


known, the little city of Geneva stood out before the 
world as the home of freedom, and afforded a welcome 
asylum to hosts of refugees who had been exiled from 
other countries on account of their love of civil and 
religious liberty. And out of Geneva there issued a 
stream of influence which enabled most of these nations 
eventually to destroy the despotism they seemed at 
the time so bent upon establishing. As Mark Pattison 
says : " it was the Calvinistic discipline that reformed 
Scotland, emancipated Holland, attained a brief but 
brilliant reign in England, and maintained a struggle 
of sixty years against the royal authority in France.*' 

A word must be said with regard to the social 
effects produced by Calvinism in Scotland and Holland. 

We are not concerned with the dramatic episodes 
which make the career of John Knox one of the most 
thrilling narratives in modern history. We have only 
to deal with the social principles which he enunciated 
or exemplified in his conduct of affairs. The aim of 
Knox was to establish in Scotland a replica of the 
regime of Calvin at Geneva. It would have been a 
gigantic undertaking under any circumstances. Cal- 
vin's scheme had only been tried on a small stage. 
Whether it could be applied to a large country with 
a scattered population like Scotland, remained to be 
proved. Calvin's success had been largely due to the 
influence of his personality. The whole of Geneva 
was constantly under his eye. His touch can be seen 
in almost every action of the magistrates. Knox 
could not hope to dominate Scotland in the same way. 
He could not be everywhere at the same time. His 
influence would necessarily have to be exerted at a 
distance. But in addition to the difficulties created 
by geography, Knox had constantly to contend against 
the permanent opposition of the Queen and the Court, 


who tried to thwart his work in every possible way. 
But if the different conditions, under which Knox had 
to work, prevented him from attaining Calvin's success, 
they helped at any rate to broaden and deepen the 
social and political influence of the movement. In 
the first place the ecclesiastical machinery had to be 
enlarged and elaborated to suit the conditions of 
Scotland. This in itself was a liberal education, for it 
taught the Scotch the principles of representative 
government ; and the principles first learned in the 
government of the Church were afterwards applied to 
the government of the country. In the second place, 
the opposition of Queen Mary gave a more independent 
and democratic tone to the Church, and this new spirit 
gradually infused itself into the blood of the people. 
The answer which Knox gave to the Queen when she 
asked him whether subjects, having power, might 
resist their princes — " If their princes exceed their 
bounds. Madam, and do against that wherefore they 
should be obeyed, it is no doubt but they may be 
resisted even by power *' — struck a new note in the 
history of the Reformation, and cancelled all the regu- 
lations of the confessions (Knox's own included), which 
insisted on the divine right of kings and the duty of 
passive obedience. 

In his Book of Discipline, drawn up in 1560, Knox 
propounded a splendid programme of social reform. 
The scheme proposed that the Church, in addition to 
the maintenance of public worship, should in every 
parish provide {a) that all unable to earn a living 
should be supported out of the public funds ; (b) that 
all able to work should be compelled to do so ; (c) that 
every child should be afforded an opportunity of edu- 
cation ; (d) that every youth of promise should have 
an open way to the universities through a system of 


high schools. The scheme was not completely carried 
owing to lack of funds. The endowments upon which 
Knox had relied were in the confusion that followed 
the establishment of the Reformation sequestrated 
for the most part from the Church, either by the Crown 
or the nobles, and nothing was left for social experi- 
ments. Still, though the scheme was quite unattain- 
able at the time, Knox bequeathed it to the nation as 
a great social ideal ; and it is very largely to that 
ideal that Scotland owes the great educational advan- 
tages which it possesses to-day. 

The limitations of space preclude anything more 
than the briefest reference to the magnificent struggle 
for liberty which the Reformation inspired in the 
Netherlands. The most noteworthy characteristic 
about the movement in the Netherlands is that through- 
out it was a people^s battle. There was no strong 
inspiring religious personality like Luther or Calvin 
to stir the blood of the nation and rouse the people to 
enthusiasm. The only great name is that of William 
of Orange, and it was in the political sphere and on 
the battlefield that his strength was most manifest. 
The significant point for us is that the spirit of the 
Reformation enabled a subject race to maintain a 
stubborn resistance for twenty-five years against the 
flower of the Spanish army, and finally to win inde- 
pendence and liberty. Every weapon which the In- 
quisition possessed was tried in vain. Nothing could 
quench the indomitable courage of the Dutch. With 
intrepid faith they faced the most ghastly forms of 
torture and martyrdom that the diabolical ingenuity 
of their persecutors could devise. The Spanish General 
Alva confessed just before his recall that nothing but 
the complete extermination of the Protestants would 
restore the Netherlands to the Catholic faith. The 

C.C. A A 


only hope of success was to raze to the ground every 
city that could not be garrisoned with Spanish soldiers. 
That, however, was impossible, for the Dutch had 
become masters of the sea ; and when at last in sheer 
desperation they cut the dykes and flooded their ter- 
ritories rather than submit, the Spaniards were forced 
to evacuate the country and a Dutch Republic was 
established. Thus the Netherlands, thanks to the 
Reformation, were the first country in Europe to win 
civil and religious liberty. 

Our examination of the facts has shown us how 
the social influence of the Reformation increased as 
the new stream of religious truth gathered strength 
and volume. Luther commenced by being neutral 
on social questions, but was driven by circumstances 
to link the movement with the forces of reaction. 
Calvin, however, turned the Reformation into a new 
channel, and definitely made social reform part of the 
Christian programme. As Troeltsch says, *' It is not 
till Calvin that we can speak of Christian social reform 
and social construction, in so far as we mean the con- 
scious work of Christian society.*' From Switzerland 
Calvin's new ideal passed into Scotland and Holland, 
and finally found embodiment in English Puritanism. 


The Indirect Effects of the Reformation 

Now that we have examined the direct effects of 
the Reformation in certain typical countries, we are 
in a better position for estimating the more general 
and indirect results of the movement on social progress. 
The most potent influences exerted by an event in 
history very often do not reveal themselves to its con- 


temporaries. The men who live near the times often 
fail to appreciate the full scope and significance of the 
truths which have been proclaimed, or the forces which 
have been set in motion. The harvest produced from 
the seed sown by Luther and Calvin must have far 
exceeded the expectations of the sowers themselves. 
The Reformation is the greatest event in modern times, 
not because of its achievements in the sixteenth cen- 
tury, but because the new truths which it inculcated 
have been working themselves out in history ever 
since, sometimes in a way little anticipated by the 
Reformers. '* The value of the Reformation,'* to 
quote the words of Professor Gwatkin, " is not so 
much in what it did as in what it made possible.*' 

(a) The Reformation introduced a new ideal of life. 
According to the teaching of the pre-Reformation 
Church, the highest life could only be attained in the 
monastery, by men and women who had cut themselves 
off from ordinary society, and abjured the common 
pleasures and duties of the family and civic life. The 
mediaeval idea of piety consists in flight from the 
present evil world. '* The model saint of the Roman 
Church," to quote the words of Schaff, ** is the monk 
separated from the enjoyments and duties of society, 
and anticipating the angelic life in heaven, where 
they neither marry nor are given in marriage." This 
monastic conception is based upon a dualistic view of 
the universe. The two worlds — the natural and 
spiritual — stand over against each other in radical 
antagonism. The soul of man is poised between them, 
and they are so related to him that, as Thomas Aquinas 
says, ** The nearer he inclines to the one, the further 
he departs from the other." It was only by renouncing 
the pleasures of earth that men could attain the beati- 
tude of heaven. The only safe rule of life was a 


rigid asceticism which meant the repression of all 
the natural instincts and the cultivation of the anti- 
social spirit. Nothing in the history of the human 
race has ever been so fatal to social progress as the 
monastic ideal. When that ideal was at its highest 
point of success, it meant the withdrawal of the world^s 
choicest and purest souls from all active interest in 
the common life. The management of secular affairs 
was left to those who had not sufficient character or 
enthusiasm to adopt the loftiest mode of life. If 
monasticism could have secured for itself universal 
adoption, it would have necessarily involved the suicide 
of the human race. And when monasticism fell from 
this high place and degenerated, as it often did, into 
corruption, it became more anti-social still, since it 
encouraged evil practices and vices which inevitably 
entail the disintegration of society. 

It was, perhaps, the greatest achievement of 
Luther and the Reformers that they were able to lay 
the axe at the root of the monastic theory of life and 
destroy its very foundations. They attacked the 
fundamental dualism on which monasticism was based. 
They denied that the true life was only attainable in 
the seclusion of the cloister. They asserted that the 
man who cut himself off from social relationships lived 
a maimed and artificial life. The highest graces and 
virtues of the Christian life could only be acquired 
through social intercourse in the home and the state. 
Far from being prejudicial to the spiritual interests, 
marriage and business and politics afforded men a 
sacred opportunity of consecrating their talents to the 
noblest ends. No better expression of the sentiments 
of the Reformers could probably be found than the 
well-known and of t-quoted words in Browning's ''Rabbi 
ben Ezra"— 


" Let us not always say 

Spite of this flesh to-day 
I strove, gained ground, made way upon the whole ; 

As the bird wings and sings 

Let us say ' All good things 
Are ours; nor soul helps flesh more now 

Than flesh helps soul.' " 

" Ein Christenmensch/' said Luther, *' ein froh- 
licher Mensch sein muss.'' '' You may enjoy every 
pleasure in the world which is not sinful in itself.*' 
*' Nature has made gold and silver, and everything 
that is fair and beautiful, attractive.*' '' The Lord 
God made the good Rhine wine for us to drink.** In 
all probability the words which Heine ascribes to 

" Who does not love wine, wife, and song 
Remains a fool his whole hfe long," 

are not authentic, but they represent his views. The 
teaching of Luther completely revolutionized the con- 
ception of the Christian life. It was through Luther, 
as Goethe so finely put it, *' that we have the courage 
to stand with firm feet upon God*s earth, and have 
become conscious again of our divinely-endowed human 

(b) As a result of the introduction of the new 
ethical ideal, the Reformation gave a new sanctity to 
home life and the family relationship. The mediaeval 
Church, by insisting upon the necessity of cehbacy for 
the attainment of the saintly character, had cast a 
slur upon marriage and all that marriage involved. 
At the best it was regarded as a necessary evil, to be 
permitted to those who were not endowed with the 
purest virtues and could not therefore aspire to the 
life of saintliness. Here again the mediaeval theory 


displayed its anti-social tendency. Family life is the 
foundation upon which society is constructed, and 
must be so, unless we adopt the plan propounded by 
Plato in the Republic. To attack the family, as the 
mediaeval Church did, by its doctrine of celibacy, 
and to treat as secular and pagan the most tender 
and precious human relationship, is to deny the possi- 
bility of creating a Christian state altogether, since the 
ideal state cannot be built up on a rotten foundation. 
The Reformers, by consecrating and ennobling the home 
and the family (and modern Christian home life is 
altogether the creation of the Reformation) regener- 
ated the social system at its springs and sources. As 
Dr. Marshall says in his book on Economics^ '' Indi- 
vidualism governed by the temper of the Reformed 
religion intensified family life, making it deeper and 
purer and holier than it had ever been before. . . . 
The family affections of those races which have adopted 
the Reformed religion are the richest and fullest of 
earthly feelings ; there never has been before any 
material of texture at once so strong and fine with 
which to build up a noble fabric of social life." No 
nation can ever rise above the level of its family life. 
By raising the standard of the home life of the people, 
the Reformation made one of its most notable contri- 
butions to the social progress of the race. 

(c) A further result of the abandonment of the 
monastic ideal is found in the sanctification of the 
commercial and civic activities of man. The mediaeval 
Church frowned upon trade and commerce, and at- 
tached small value to the duties and responsibilities 
of citizenship. Everything of this kind belonged to 
the secular life, and was a hindrance to the develop- 
ment of the soul. The Reformers removed the ban, 
and taught mankind that commerce and citizenship 


alike afforded opportunities for the exercise of Chris- 
tian virtue. As Sohm puts it, *' Now for the first 
time is seen the full value of the State, of a civic calling 
and of civic freedom. . . . The State appears no 
longer as a work of the devil, a work of sin or injustice. 
The State like the family is a divine institution. . . . 
Look at the whole round of political life, at labour in 
agriculture and commerce, in handicraft and trade, 
in science and art, in obedience and command : the 
labour of manservant and maid, the judge, the soldier, 
the official and the prince ; look where you will, all 
this labour, performed as a calling ordered by God, 
is the service of God which is well pleasing to Him. 
The whole world has become holy, and all that was 
profane in it is done away. The world with all its 
duties is changed into the vineyard of the Lord, into 
a temple of God in which we are to worship Him in 
spirit and in truth.'* 

(d) From this conception of the sacredness of life 
on all its sides and in all its relationships, there fol- 
lowed as a natural consequence the conviction that 
there was a social ideal ordained by God to be worked 
out in human society. The Kingdom of Heaven, in 
other words, was not merely a great ecclesiastical 
system, or some catastrophic event which was to come 
to pass at the end of time ; it was a spiritual force 
which is present here and now, working in the world, 
leavening society, purifying commerce, ennobling art, 
ameliorating the conditions of life, striving towards the 
creation of an ideal society where the will of God would 
be perfectly carried out. Monasticism abandoned the 
world as hopeless, and left it to its doom ; the 
Reformers — Calvin in particular — set themselves to 
transform the world according to the pattern which 
they had seen on the Mount of Vision. 


(e) The Reformation also enhanced the value and 
meaning of personality, MediaevaHsm regarded the 
individual man as part of a great machine. The State, 
the Empire, and the Church were everything. The 
units did not count. The individual did not matter. 
Tennyson's description of Nature is also a description 
of the mediaeval spirit. 

" So careful of the type she seems. 
So careless of the single life." 

The new religious teaching of Luther and Calvin in 
different ways impressed upon the world the import- 
ance of the individual, (i) Both Reformers laid down, 
as one of the primary axioms of faith, the principle 
that all men stand on the same footing in the sight 
of God. A sacerdotal system always encourages class 
distinctions. The priest alone can enter into the 
Holy of Holies. The common man must stand in the 
outer courts of the Temple and has no right of access 
to the presence of God. The Reformers demolished 
the sacerdotal position, and taught the poorest peasant 
that he was as dear to God as priest or prince. There 
was only one way that led to life, and along that road 
all alike must travel if they would enter into the King- 
dom. (2) In addition to this common axiom, the 
doctrine of; predestination, as it was enunciated by 
Calvin, introduced a new element which emphasized 
personality in a still more striking way. As Troeltsch 
says in a recent article in the Hibbert Journal, '' The 
idea of personality in Calvinism stands out in quite a 
different manner than does that idea in Lutheranism. 
No humble devotion of self to God and charitable 
devotion of self to one's neighbour, but the strongest 
personal value, the high sense of having a divine mis- 
sion in the world, a grace-given preference over thous- 


ands and an immeasurable responsibility, are what 
engross the soul of man who, in the complete solitude 
of his inner self, experiences and succeeds in working 
out the grace which is his title to election. . . . Cal- 
vinism possesses a valuation of the personality of the 
elect which reminds us throughout of Kant, while 
Luther remained much more within the circle of the 

The influence of this new discovery of the value 
of personality upon social progress can scarcely be 
exaggerated. Man stood once more with head erect 
upon the earth. He realized again the dignity of his 
manhood and the worth of his soul, the inherent rights 
which he possessed, and the grave responsibilities 
which rested upon him. It was this new conception 
of personality that supplied the motive power for the 
regeneration of the world. 

We must guard ourselves, however, against one 
very common mistake. The Reformation was, in 
Westcott's phrase, ** the affirmation of individuality.*' 
But individuality must not be confounded with Indi- 
vidualism in its modern connotation. The theory 
implied in the term Individuahsm was almost entirely 
unknown at the time of the Reformation. 

(/) The Reformation also undoubtedly helped to 
foster the sense of intellectual liberty. Guizot has said 
" that the Reformation was a vast effort made by the 
human race to secure its freedom : it was a newborn 
desire to think and judge freely and independently of 
ideas and opinions, which till then Europe received or 
considered itself bound to receive from the hands of 
antiquity. It was a great endeavour to emancipate 
the human reason and to call things by their right 
names. It was an Insurrection of the human mind 
against the absolute power of the spiritual order.** 


If this statement of Guizot had been intended to refer 
to the actual results produced in the lifetime of the 
Reformers, it would not be wholly true. The Re- 
formers, of course, broke away from the authority of 
tradition, but they always substituted a new form of 
authority in its place, and they claimed for their new 
authority the most absolute obedience and allegiance. 
Toleration beyond a certain point was an idea quite 
foreign to their creed. The Anabaptists were most 
cruelly persecuted, and Servetus was put to death, 
because they differed from the traditional authority 
in a different way from Luther and Calvin, and re- 
fused to accept the new standard which had been set 
up in its place. There is a sense in which it is true 
to say that at first there was no more freedom of 
thought in Protestantism than in Roman Catholicism. 
Neither system willingly permitted any considerable 
variation from the accepted faith. Luther was as 
anxious as the Pope ''to wring the neck of reason and 
strangle the beast." But when we pass from the 
immediate to the ultimate effects of the Reformation, 
the truth of Guizot's words becomes unquestionable. 
Freedom of thought may not be the child of the Re- 
formers, but it is one of their lineal descendants. The 
action of the Reformers was a revolt against the con- 
stituted ecclesiastical authority, which had exercised 
an unchallenged sway over the minds of men for more 
than a thousand years. The success of their revolt 
made other revolts possible, and even encouraged 
them. Hosts of men who followed Luther in his 
attack on Rome ceased to be his disciples when it came 
to constructive work. They helped him to pull down 
the old house, but they did not care to live with him 
in the new house which he built to take its place : 
they preferred to build one of their own. The Re- 


formation, therefore, inevitably and much to the 
regret of the first Reformers, produced variety and 
diversity of thought, which in the long run naturally 
resulted in the introduction of toleration. 

(g) The Reformation also kindled afresh the fire 
of political and social liberty. Here again the effects 
of the movement were at first disappointing. There 
can be no doubt that in weakening the power of the 
Pope it strengthened for the moment the hands of 
the monarchs of Europe, and increased their despot- 
ism. Henry VIH, for instance, became a much worse 
tyrant after he had supplanted the Pope as head 
of the English Church. Luther gave to the doctrine 
of passive obedience an unction which it had not pos- 
sessed for ages. But we should be taking very short 
views of history if we refused to recognize that after 
the first few years of its existence, the course of the 
movement turned into quite a different channel and 
completely reversed its first effects. If in its child- 
hood the Reformation raised Henry VIII to a higher 
pinnacle of power than any English king had possessed 
for generations, in its full manhood it sent King Charles 
to the scaffold for infringing the liberties of his sub- 
jects. The lever by which it finally lifted Europe out 
of despotism was its doctrine of the '' priesthood of 
all believers.'' '' All Christians," said Luther, *' are 
truly of the spiritual estate, and there is no difference 
among them save of office alone.*' If this principle 
is logically and consistently carried out, it abolishes 
all distinctions within the pale of the Church. Laymen 
and clergy stand on a similar footing, and have equal 
rights. Every Christian has the privilege and duty 
of sharing in the government and administration of 
the Church. The sons of the Reformation learned 
the meaning of citizenship first of all in the Church, 


and having learned the value of freedom there, could 
be content with nothing less in civic and national 
affairs. The Church was the school in which the 
modern world was taught the privilege of liberty and 
the art of government. '* Religious liberty/' as Schaff 
puts it, *' is the mother of civil liberty. The universal 
priesthood of Christians leads legitimately to the uni- 
versal kingship of free, self-governing citizens, whether 
under a monarchy or under a republic." 

(A) From what has been said, it is easy to perceive 
how the Reformation fostered the spirit of democracy. 
As M. Borgeaud says in words which have already 
been quoted, '' Modern democracy is the child of the 
Reformation, not of the Reformers.'' The full signi- 
ficance of the doctrine of the universal priesthood of 
believers was not realized at once. Luther, as Troel- 
tsch remarks, *' shrank from putting this principle 
into effect." Even in the Church constitution of Cal- 
vinism, it was not allowed full play. The English 
Independents were the first to grasp the real meaning 
and logical consequences of the new idea, and to trans- 
late it into a Church polity. They were the first to 
see that if the doctrine of the universal priesthood was 
to be fully carried out, all authority in Church matters 
must be vested in the whole body of Church members. 

Robert Browne, the founder of Independency, as 
Dexter says, '* had no idea of being a democrat or 
that he was teaching democracy. His conception of 
Church government, it is clear, was of the absolute 
monarchy of Christ over His Church. But then he 
conceived of Christ the king as reigning through as 
many regents as there are individual subjects of His 
kingdom." And when he reached this point he had, 
though probably perfectly unconsciously, laid the 
foundations of a spiritual democracy. From the 


Church the democratic idea passed slowly and almost 
imperceptibly into the state. Even Robert Browne 
himself seems to have felt that the rules which he 
formulated for the government of the Church ought 
mutatis mutandis to be applied to civil affairs. In his 
treatise A Booke concerning True Christians, after 
describing the regulations of Church government, he 
adds the significant words, " We give these definitions 
so generall that they may be applied also to the civill 
state.'* Sixty-six years after this book of Browne's 
was published, in the year 1648, the English Indepen- 
dents presented to Parliament a manifesto entitled 
'* An Agreement of the People of England'' which 
demanded the establishment of a complete democracy. 
Among the principles which are laid down in this re- 
markable document are the following : The recognition 
of the sovereignty of the people ; the supreme power 
to be vested in a single legislative assembly ; biennial 
parliaments ; the equitable and proportionate distri- 
bution of seats ; the extension of the franchise to all 
citizens of full age except hired servants and those in 
receipt of relief ; the toleration of all forms of Chris- 
tianity ; the Churches to be freed from state inter- 
ference and control ; the limitation of the powers of 
Parliament by fundamental laws embodied in the 
constitution, especially with regard to the civil liberties 
guaranteed to citizens. Such was the political ideal 
of the Independents at the commencement of the 
Commonwealth. It is the logical consequence of 
Luther's doctrine of Universal Priesthood transferred 
to the sphere of civic life. 

And it was not only in England that the Puritans 
laid the foundations of modern democracy. The 
Pilgrim Fathers carried the same great ideal across the 
Atlantic to America. At the end of their memorable 


voyage, before they disembarked from the Mayflower, 
they drew up an Agreement or Covenant, which con- 
stitutes the charter of rehgious and civil Uberty in 
America. Well has it been said that ** In the cabin of 
the Mayflower humanity recovered its rights and in- 
stituted government on the basis of * equal laws ' for 
' the general good.' " 

Thus did the Christian Church nobly avenge the 
wrong which had been done to it by the State in the 
early ages. In ancient times the Roman Empire gave 
to the Church an organization and a constitution which 
crippled its freedom and destroyed its spirituality. 
In modern times the Church, rejuvenated and purified 
by the Reformation, gave to the nations of Europe 
principles of government which enabled them to regain 
their liberty and organize democracy. 

{i) The Reformation revolutionized the conception 
of Christian charity. Charity in mediaeval times was 
cultivated not so much for the welfare of the recipient 
as for the benefit of the donor. When a man gave 
money to a beggar, it was not so much with a view of 
helping him in his necessity as of performing a meritori- 
ous act which would secure his own salvation. As 
Innocent III put it, '' Alms purify, alms deliver, alms 
redeem, alms protect, alms make perfect, alms save.'' 
The result was that charity became indiscriminate, and 
tended to encourage rather than to diminish poverty. 
A host of professional mendicants haunted every city 
and fattened on the rich man's dread of purgatory. 
Of course, theoretically, according to the teaching of 
the Church, the giver of alms was required to investi- 
gate the deserts of the recipient, and one of the most 
distinguished Paris theologians went so far as to lay 
it down " that to give to one who has no need is not 
only not a merit, but even a demerit." But in spite of 


this, there is no vestige of doubt that the mediaeval 
doctrine of almsgiving demoralized a large section of 
the community. The monasteries by their bountiful 
largesses seem to have aggravated the evil. '* The 
monks/' so we are told in a eulogy of the system 
written by an anonymous writer in the year 1591, 
** made hospitals and lodgings within their own houses, 
wherein they kept a number of impotent persons with 
all necessaries for them, besides the great alms which 
they gave daily at their gates to every one that came 
for it. Yea, no wayfaring person could depart without 
a night's lodging, meat, drink and money, it not being 
demanded from whence he or she came and whither 
he would go.'' The policy of the Reformers may be 
illustrated by two quotations from Luther : (i) Luther 
insists that mendicancy must be put down. *' Begging 
is to be rigidly prohibited : all who are not old or 
weak shall work. No beggars shall be permitted to 
stay who do not belong to the parish." (2) The needs 
of the deserving poor ought to be met out of the com- 
mon chest of the people. " Each town should provide 
for its own poor people. . . . Poor householders who 
have honourably laboured at their craft or in agriculture 
ought to be given loans from the public chest ; and 
this aid shall be given to them without return if they 
are unable to restore it." The first great English Poor 
Law, which was passed in 1536, practically embodied 
these two principles of Luther. The giving of doles 
was prohibited. " No person shall make any common 
dole or shall give any ready money in alms to beggars." 
Local authorities are required to *' succour, find and 
keep " all the impotent poor belonging to their district. 
The necessary means were to be obtained by the col- 
lection of alms in church and at public festivals. It 
was soon discovered that the Church collections did 


not suffice for the purpose. Various Acts were there- 
fore passed authorizing the local officials to bring 
pressure to bear upon those who were reluctant to 
give, and finally in 1572, since the voluntary method 
does not appear to have worked well, the justices were 
empowered to make a direct assessment, and overseers 
of the poor were appointed to take charge of the whole 
business. The Reformation thus introduced three 
important changes into the mediaeval system of Poor 
Relief : (i) It insisted upon the classification of pau- 
pers ; (2) it transferred the responsibility from the 
Church to the State ; (3) it laid down the principle 
that the community, as a community, was in duty 
bound to relieve the necessities of the deserving poor. 
(/) The Reformation gave a great stimulus to edu- 
cation. Calvin has been called " the father of popular 
education and the inventor of free schools '* ; but this 
is an honour which he must share with Luther and 
Zwingli, and indeed with all the Reformers. In 1524 
Luther wrote an address to the mayors and aldermen of 
German cities on the condition of education, in which he 
attacked the inefficiency of the existing system, asserting 
that the German schools were '' a hell and a purgatory 
in which with much flogging children learned nothing,'* 
and urged the necessity of reform. ** So much money 
is spent year after year for arms, roads, dams, and 
innumerable similar objects, why should not as much 
be spent for the education of poor youth ?'' He even 
went so far as to advocate compulsory education. '' I 
maintain that the civil authorities are under obligation 
to compel people to send their children to school.'* 
We have already seen how John Knox advocated a 
complete system of education for Scotland which 
aimed at securing [a) that every child should be pro- 
vided with the opportunity of attending school ; 


(b) that every youth of promise should be afforded the 
chance by a graduated system of higher schools of 
going up to the university. In England, too, great ad- 
vances were made. Cranmer drew up a scheme for 
founding schools in every diocese from the funds of 
the monasteries. Unfortunately the spoils of the 
monasteries were appropriated by other hands, and 
it was left to private charity to provide the funds. 
Henry VIII founded ten grammar schools, Edward 
VI twenty-seven, Mary and Elizabeth thirty between 
them. In addition to these benefactions, much was 
done by private charity. '' In all, two hundred and 
fifty higher or grammar schools were founded under 
the immediate impulse of the Reformation." In the 
reign of Henry VIII, too, the apprenticeship system 
was established in England. The apprentice laws 
enacted that all children between the age of five and 
thirteen who were found begging or idle were to be 
bound as apprentices to some handicraft. These laws 
were binding upon master and servant alike. No 
master could refuse to receive an apprentice, and no 
youth could refuse to accept the position found for 

(k) The Reformation played an important part in 
the development of the middle classes, which is one of 
the most noteworthy features of this period of history. 
In the Middle Ages there was no intermediate rank of 
any importance between the nobles and the tillers of 
the soil, though the latter were divided into several 
grades. The general social theory that prevailed (and 
it was supported by the teaching of the Church) held 
that a man was born into his predestined rank and 
ought not to aspire to a higher status. The growth 
of commerce completely overthrew this view of life 
by placing a new lever in the hands of the trading 
c.c. B B 


classes, which enabled them by the acquisition of wealth 
to raise themselves into a position which challenged 
the social supremacy of the feudal lords. The Reform- 
ation, by its emphasis on the value of personality 
and by its insistence that it was the duty of every 
man to make the fullest use of his capacities, fostered 
the new spirit ; and by the system of education which 
it advocated and to a certain extent succeeded in 
establishing, it gave men the power of breaking their 
" birth's invidious bar," and rising to the position 
which their ability fitted them to fill. There can be 
little doubt that it was the middle classes who reaped 
the immediate benefit from the Reformation. From 
their ranks the most stalwart supporters of the move- 
ment were drawn. This fact naturally reacted upon 
the constitution of the Churches themselves. Bishop 
Creighton has admitted in the case of the Church of 
England that '' the changes made at the time of the 
Reformation were too exclusively made in the interest 
of the prosperous middle class,'' and his words are 
more or less true of most of the Reformed Churches. 
(/) A brief reference must be made to some of the 
socialistic theories to which the age of the Reformation 
gave birth. These, of course, did not emanate from 
the ranks of the orthodox Reformers, but arose either 
in connexion with some of the sporadic radical sects, 
or amongst the litterati of the schools. Little is known 
of the schemes of Jan Mathys and Jan of Leyden, 
except that they rested on a communistic basis. The 
social teaching of Miinzer and the Anabaptists has 
come down to us in a vague and indefinite shape, but 
we know that it advocated a very extreme method of 
reform. The proposals put forward by Eberlin in 
1521 have, however, been transmitted in clearer form. 
To quote the description of the scheme given by Pro- 


fessor Pollard in the Cambridge Modern History, '* Its 
pervading principle was that of popular election : each 
village was to choose a gentleman as its magistrate : 
two hundred chief places were to elect a knight for 
their bailiff : each ten bailiwicks were to be organized 
under a city and each ten cities under a duke or a 
prince. One of the princes was to be elected king, and 
he, like every subordinate officer, was to be guided by 
an elected council. In this scheme town was through- 
out subordinated to country. . . . Agriculture was 
pronounced the noblest means of existence. Capitalist 
organizations were abolished. . . . Only articles of 
real utility were to be manufactured, and every form 
of luxury was to be suppressed." 

The noblest social dream of the period is to be 
found in Sir Thomas More's Utopia. More touches 
on most of the great social problems which were be- 
ginning to demand the attention of the world, e.g. 
the punishment of crime, labour, education, the free- 
dom of conscience. His attack upon the existing 
system is most stringent. He regards it as nothing 
more or less than '* a conspiracy of the rich against the 
poor.*' *' The rich devise every means by which they 
may in the first place secure to themselves what they 
have amassed by wrong, and then take to their own 
use and profit at the lowest possible price the work 
and labour of the poor '* ; and as a consequence the 
peasant is doomed to ** a life so wretched that even a 
beast's hfe seems preferable.'* In contrast to the 
prevailing system, Utopia was organized in the in- 
terest of the poor. The object of its labour legislation 
was the welfare of the labourer. Goods were possessed 
in common, and labour was compulsory upon all. 
The hours of work were made light, that opportunity 
might be provided for the culture of the mind. The 


aim of the criminal code was ** nothing else but the 
destruction of vice and the saving of men.'* Freedom 
of conscience was allowed to all, since the people of 
Utopia were '' persuaded that it is not in a man's 
power to believe what he list." 

Leaving out of account its fantastic details, there 
can be no doubt that Utopia gave to the modern world 
a new social vision which has been the inspiration of 
social reformers in every generation. 

(m) It is impossible to close this essay without 
making some allusion to the losses which were entailed 
in the Reformation period. Great as were the gains 
to social progress, there are at any rate two losses to 
be put to the other side of the account. Neither of 
these is due to the Reformers, though each was more 
or less affected by their teaching. In the first place, 
the world lost the dream, which had filled the imagina- 
tion of the Middle Ages, of a united humanity, living 
under one Church and one form of government. In 
place of the dream of unity, we find the principle of 
nationalism. The watchword of the Reformation age 
was decentralization. The centrifugal forces were 
encouraged at the expense of the centripetal. As a 
result there grew up the spirit of national rivalry which 
has been responsible for most of the devastating wars 
in modern times, and which to-day seems to be more 
potent than ever. Secondly, the Reformation period 
is responsible for the discovery of commercial methods 
and financial operations, which have led to the des- 
potism of capital. Luther, as we have seen, protested 
against these methods with his usual vehemence, 
but he was *' a voice crying in the wilderness," to 
which the world paid no heed. And where Luther 
bound, Calvin loosed, though it is only fair to add that 
Calvin restricted the liberty of receiving interest to 


genuine transactions where lender and borrower both 
gained some advantage. The fact however remains 
that the introduction of commerce and the increased 
importance that thereby became attached to capital, 
complicated the social problem and introduced new 
difficulties in the realization of the social ideal. 


The Evangelical Revival and Philanthropy 

By Rev. THOMAS CUMING HALL, D.D., Professor of 
Christian Ethics in Union Theological Seminary, 
New York. 
Author of " The Social Meaning of Modern Religious 

Movements in England. 1900." 


Introduction — Organized Religion as a Social Force — The Evangelical Revival 
as a Dramatic Climax — The Movement not a Theological One — 
Interest and Importance of this Non-Theological Character. 

I. The Causes of the Spiritual Deadness : Exhaustion of the Nation by- 

Religious Differences, the Attitude of the Political Leaders, e.g. 
Horace Walpole. 

II. The Character of the New Impulse to the Spiritual Forces of England : 

Intense Activity — Individualism corrected by the Doctrine of Free 
Grace, its Motive of Charity, its Contribution to Intelligent Philan- 

III. The Philanthropy of the Evangelical Leaders — Education — Popular 

Preaching — Discontent of the Working Classes — A Democratic 
Basis — The Pronounced Attitude towards Slavery — The Condemna- 
tion of Slavery as Immoral — Slavery at Home. 

IV. The Influence of the Evangelicals within the Establishment on Legis- 

lation — ^The Records of Remedial Legislation from 1800 onward — 
The Obstacles to Reform. 

V. The Internationalism of Foreign Missions — Missionary Societies — 

The Influence of the Moravian Missions — The Real Interest of the 
Movement Evangelical and not Theologically Dogmatic. 

VI. The Criticism of the Later Phases of Evangelical Philanthropy — Charles 

Dickens — Its Weakness not Shallow Hypocrisy, but its Unscientific, 
Sentimental Character. 

VII. The Aftermath of the Evangelical Revival in Radicalism — Robert 

Owen — James and John Stuart Mill — The Contribution of the Evan- 
gelical Movement to Peaceful Political Organization and Agitation. 

VIII. The Evangelical Inspirations in the Broad Church Party — ^Maurice, 

Kingsley and Carlyle as Children of the Evangelical Revival — 
" Christian Socialists " — The New Philanthropy, Educational, Socially 

IX. The Evangelical Movement as a Second Reformation — The Defects 

of the Early Reformation on the Social and Philanthropic Side — 
The Social Demand and the Social Awakening — The Catholic Reaction 
also Social and Philanthropic. 

X. The Gift of the Evangelical Revival to the English-speaking World — 

The New Kingdom- Purpose — Education — Prison-Reform — Training 
for Philanthropy — The Resemblance of the Salvation Army to the 
Evangelical Movement — Christian Life as a Life of Redemptive Ser- 


The Evangelical Revival and 

It is no longer necessary in really informed circles 
to argue concerning the tremendous social force 
organized religion has been in all ages. Every great 
advance in human life has been marked by great 
religious changes. However gradual and steady may 
seem the advance of the race that advance becomes, 
generally, dramatic in some crucial strain, and the 
old and new forces face each other in strongly marked 
contrast. This is as true in the history of religious 
as in that of political phenomena. 

Such a dramatic climax seemed reached when 
Wesley at last began outside the Church to proclaim 
the new religious life which those within the Church 
refused even to consider. At the same time, no doubt, 
many forces were making ready for the great spiritual- 
social movement which we now call the Evangelical 

The movement was quite patently not a theological 

one. Even those of us who think of ourselves as the 

children of the Evangelical awakening, and rejoice 

in its history and its splendid record, can hardly with 



truthfulness claim that it has largely advanced theo- 
logical science, or made any notable contribution 
to theological-philosophical thought. Only indirectly 
did it even quicken men's interest in fundamental 
religious speculation. In point of fact, with all their 
marked limitations, the English Deists are far more 
intellectually important than any of the theologians 
of the Evangelical movement until we come to Frederick 
Denison Maurice — whom early Evangelical theology 
would have disowned. 

This non-theological character is both interesting 
and important. The result of the main line of interest 
being elsewhere was that many theological traditions 
were taken over uncritically, and that many move- 
ments directly connected with the revival of religious 
life have not been properly recognized as outcomes 
of the awakening. Thus no account of the philan- 
thropy of the Evangelical movement can pass over 
the labours of religious pastors whose theologies are 
widely separated from each other. Wesley and White- 
field were bitter theological opponents, but the warmest 
friends in the rehgious awakening. Some one is said 
to have asked Whitefield if he expected to see Wesley 
in Heaven. *' I fear not/' he is reported to have 
replied, '* John Wesley will be so near the throne we 
will hardly get a peep at him.'* The philanthropy 
which so marks the awakening is linked alike to Evan- 
gelical Broad Churchism and to the new Evangelical 
Unitariarism, and unites movements which are theo- 
logically widely apart. 

The spiritual deadness that was so marked a 
characteristic of the period of Whig ascendency can, 
without difficulty, be accounted for in many ways. 

Among the most striking causes was the exhaus- 
tion of the nation by the fierce religious differences 

And philanthropy 379 

with their attendant wars and revolutions which 
had at last culminated in the great Whig victory. 
Nothing seemed so necessary for the national life as 
quiet and rest. The more ardent souls on both sides 
had suffered fearfully, and the struggles represented 
almost the elimination of zeal and fervour by death 
and exile, and this was the case on both the Protest- 
ant and Roman Catholic sides. Men were now 
utterly weary of the long demoralizing and expensive 
struggle. The one virtue that seemed needed was 
that of '' moderation '' and the one really patriotic 
attitude was '' tolerance.'' Then again a new indus- 
trial class was emerging which distinctly and with 
some reason distrusted both the Tory parson and 
the non-conforming theologian. At the same time 
this class had had no time itself to find spiritual leader- 
ship. The attitude of Robert Owen is not infrequent 
in that class. But in thus rebelling against the existing 
religious conventions a very large class in the com- 
munity was left without any religious inspiration or 
guidance, and its thoughts and feelings were little 
known to the religious leaders, whether of the Estab- 
lishment or of Nonconformity. 

Nor was the least cause of the spiritual deadness 
the attitude of the political leaders on the Whig side. 
They deliberately sought to suppress all religious 
excitement and enthusiasm. The very term enthusi- 
asm was abhorrent to all the Whig writers and preachers. 

Among the most effective of the political leaders 
of that day was Horace Walpole. He was excep- 
tionably able and calm, and was the cynical dispenser 
of all Church patronage, not, indeed, in the interests 
of any religious definition, but in the avowed interest 
of religious lukewarmness. For him a chief claim to 
preferment was efficiency in management, and ability 


to suppress every sign of real interest in any subject 
more exciting than the rotation of crops. Nor was 
he wholly to blame for this from his point of view. 
For him the Church was a useful and indispensable 
tool of Government, and the Government needed 
peace. At the same time it can be easily seen that 
this attitude was not well calculated to encourage 
active religious life. Not that all religious life had 
by any means gone. There were not a few devout 
and earnest Tory Churchmen, but they had been 
so greatly discredited by their attitude toward the 
throne that they had no real influence with the urban 
Whig population. Walpole played fast and loose 
equally with Nonconformity and with Toryism. He 
did it, no doubt, in good faith because he saw the 
dangers of renewed religious strife. Thus the great 
urban trading class that grew up and produced the 
revolution of 1688 and made Whig ascendency seem 
the normal condition of affairs for three generations 
was in great danger of entirely neglecting the things 
of the spirit, and of sinking into luxuriant profligacy 
on the one hand, or of miserable economic dependency 
on the other. 

It was at this time that the spiritual forces of 
England gained a new impulse, and that a new char- 
acter was stamped upon the face of Enghsh reHgious 
life. The economic conditions did not make for 
profound theological reflection. The quietism of the 
Moravian teachers, who did so much for Methodism, 
never gained a real foothold in the official thinking of 
Evangelicalism. The mysticism of Law was instinct- 
ively a rock of offence to Wesley. The day belonged 
to men of action rather than to men of thought, and 
the main characteristic of the Evangelical movement 
in its early days was its intense activity. Only in 


the later stages do we find any great intellectual 

The monastic distortion of the message of Jesus 
into a message of almost selfish consideration for one's 
own personal salvation has ever been a danger in times 
of renewed spiritual interest. Thus even at first 
the Wesleys started out to '* save their souls.'* It 
is so easy for us all to forget that Jesus said that he 
who sought to save his life would lose it. And all 
the experience of religious history abundantly justi- 
fies the paradox. The '' philanthropy '* of this scho- 
lastic type of religious thinking, whose chief interest 
is thus fundamentally selfish, has nearly always been, 
in the main, corrupting and evil. Nor is this hard to 
understand. Even granting that all motives are 
mixed, yet the works of this so-called *' charity " 
have been done so largely with a view to the interest 
of the *' philanthropist's " soul, that the interests 
of the receiver have been overlooked, and injudicious 
loveless help is well-nigh worse than none. From this 
corruption the Evangelical movement was happily 
saved by the doctrine of free grace. The Moravians 
taught the Wesleys, and they again taught England 
that God's love was free and could not be bought by 
either works or repentance, but that all could have 
that forgiving love who really sought it. For the 
Evangelical religious movement as a social force it 
was of the gravest moment that at the very start 
works of mercy and redemption should be thought 
of as the outflow of intelligent divine love implanted 
in men's hearts, and not as a means by which a man 
may save his own soul. Hence these works must 
be really redemptive of the life of those helped, and 
to be redemptive must be both intelligent and far- 


The '* charity '' of the middle ages, even in the 
hands of devoted friars and godly women, was per- 
vaded by the subtle selfishness that it was a " virtue '* 
per se to give, and that indiscriminate alms-giving 
made for eternal salvation even if the effects here 
on earth were doubtful enough. The English Refor- 
mation had never really been thorough and radical 
upon this conception of God's free grace, and hence 
it stands out as one of the weightiest contributions 
to our modern efforts at redeeming human life that 
the Evangelical movement taught men whole-heartedly 
and unselfishly to seek others' welfare, simply because 
God had unselfishly sought our welfare and we were 
His children. 

We may then date modern and intelligent philan- 
thropy from the time when giving ceased to be a virtue 
unless it really uplifted human life, and when the really 
religious life was thought of as primarily redemptive 
service. Thus the whole religious energy squandered 
or nearly so in saving one's own soul, was set free to 
really save the world Jesus died for. It is true that 
the conception was often clouded, and that to this 
day charity is still thought of as a passport to Heaven, 
but this is the fault of inherited errors from the 
paganized past. 

The first work the Evangelical leaders took upon 
them was that of education. Wesley was not a great 
success as the head of a school, but he flung himself 
into the cause of education with the zeal and intensity 
of purpose that stamped the movement, even though 
otherwise so generally unintellectual. The Methodist 
classroom was the mental training ground for the 
new and exceedingly ignorant converts. It was expec- 
ted that all who came should learn to read, and pathe- 
tic pictures are drawn of aged miners and weary old 


women painfully spelling out the texts of scripture 
that had come to mean so much for them. The 
church became a school, and the school the portal 
to the church. The aristocratic Tory establishment, 
for even under Whig leadership it remained Tory at 
heart, was content to leave the agricultural community 
densely ignorant ; and the grave disadvantages of this 
ignorance were not very patent so long as Tory leader- 
ship of a relatively competent character was at hand 
to lead and govern. It is often forgotten that when 
England had — say — three millions of people, as in 
the time of Queen Elizabeth ; and while these millions 
were in direct and almost intimate daily contact 
with the land-owning lords, the patriarchal system 
worked fairly well. So long as the Tory party in 
Church and State led men in substantial sympathy 
with their ideals and views of life they were strong 
and relatively competent. The strain came with the 
rise of the urban and trading classes, with other 
ideals and greatly changed views of life. Noncon- 
formity was strongly intrenched in these classes, but 
as cities grew neither the Tory Church nor Noncon- 
formity was equal to the task of effective leadership. 
There grew up in England the industrial army, unor- 
ganized, leaderless, ignorant and often almost indes- 
cribably vicious, wholly irresponsible, without rights 
and without property. This ignorance it was the 
task of the Evangelical revival to face, and the efforts 
of the leaders to dispel this darkness gave, at last, 
to England that school system which with all its 
faults has done such noble service to the new manhood. 
It is noteworthy that just as it was Luther, Ger- 
many's most distinguished doctor, who gave himself 
eagerly to the work of the most primary and element- 
ary education among the lowly in Saxony ; so it 


was Wesley, England's most learned Oxford fellow, 
who set for himself the work of organizing primary 
education, giving better schoolbooks to the teachers, 
and plans for teaching the most ignorant of England's 

This eagerness to teach awoke an eagerness to 
learn, and new publishing houses sprang up to meet 
the growing demand for books, tracts and newspapers. 
Men like Ingham gave up hours upon hours to teach 
English spelling to thousands of little children all over 
England. They adapted their preaching to the simple 
and the ignorant, but without sacrifice of dignity 
or fitness. Dr. Samuel Johnson, whose Tory and 
Churchly tastes made him impartial as a critic, says 
of Methodist success in preaching '' Sir, it is owing 
to their expressing themselves in a plain and familiar 
manner, which is the only way to do good to the 
common people, and which clergymen of genius and 
learning ought to do from a principle of duty, when 
it is suited to their congregations.*' 1 

Thorold Rogers thinks that the increasing pros- 
perity of the labouring class gave the Wesleys their 
opportunity for religious advance, as a part of his 
general theory that only in times of general economic 
advance can any social progress be made.^ However 
this may be it seems surely easy to show that the 
relative condition of the labouring classes as compared 
with the comfort of the middle classes was lower 
than in the seventeenth century, and while the 
Evangelical movement touched the working classes, 
it was very largely a movement of all classes, although 
the expression of that movement differed according 

1 Boswell's Life of Dr. Johnson. Malone's ed., pp. 126-127. 
* Thorold Rogers, The Economic Interpretation of History. 
London, 1889, p. SS. 


to the economic and intellectual level. It would 
surely be safer to say that increasing material welfare 
and higher standards of living among some classes 
made the discontent among the submerged very acute 
and real. Education enabled this discontent to express 
itself, and the political reforms that reached a climax 
in the Reform Bill would have been unthinkable but 
for the fundamental educational work of the early 
Evangelical movement. 

The philanthropy of the movement was also, 
happily, upon a very real democratic basis, as demo- 
cracy was then understood. Of course there was 
no thought of complete removal of class lines, such 
as found its theoretical expression in France in 1792. 
But before God all men were thought of as equals. 
Wesley was autocratic, but he was never aristocratic. 
One may read Wesley wellnigh from beginning to 
end and scarcely discover the economic level of those 
among whom he worked. They were all for him 
*' souls." In the Evangelical movement within the 
Establishment the same relative democracy is apparent. 
It was therefore socially '' taboo." To be even tainted 
with Evangelicalism was, in the early years certainly, 
to be socially suspicious. It meant knowing *' queer 
people " and going '' out of one's sphere in life," as 
the romance literature of the period abundantly shows 

What this meant for real philanthropy is not 
easily overestimated. It is of far more importance 
to teach men how they may make economic oppor- 
tunity by juster laws than to be " generous " and 
sentimentally '* kind " to them as permanent economic 
inferiors. The democracy early flung itself upon 
the task of self-help, and it was not only enabled to 
do this, but inspired to do so by the religious move- 
c.c. c c 


ment. The power to organize and agitate, to hold 
meetings in the open air, to gain political power by 
demonstrations was largely gained in the conventicle, 
the class-meeting, the dissenting circle, the chapel, 
the street-preaching and the religious demonstrations 
that have been part of the movement into our own 
day (The Salvation Army). It is hardly too much to 
say that the Evangelical revival taught the world's 
democracy how most effectively to become audible. 
This side of the movement has a long and interesting 
history going back to Wickliffe and his Lollard monks, 
and from them to their teachers the Waldensian lay 
preachers. But the full flower of the movement 
only bloomed in the fullness of time when the English 
democracy was moved and moulded by Wesley and 
Whitefield, by Ingham and John Nelson. It is, as 
we have said, quite unhistorical to limit the reUgious 
awakening to any one class in the nation. Sooner 
or later all classes felt the effects, for the High Church 
movement is one phase of the larger religious revalua- 
tion of life. At the same time the classes that were 
most profited by the religious up-lift were the lower 
middle and working classes. As these entered upon 
their political heritage they were trained for its posses- 
sion by their religious leaders. To-day the working 
man is being trained, not only by actual participation 
in politics, but also by Trades Unions, by the Socialist 
group or the political coterie. At that time such oppor- 
tunities were wellnigh wholly lacking. The confis- 
cation of the yeomen's land, and the rotten borough- 
representation system left some of England's most 
stalwart elements politically helpless, and in their 
ignorance dumb and despised. It is useless to dis- 
pute as to whether with the economic changes this 
class would have found a substitute for the religious 


organization had it been lacking. The fact is that 
the rehgious organization did not prove lacking and 
that the high level of the English working man to-day 
is largely the result of the training so many got within 
the various religious groups to which this movement 
gave rise. 

One of the most striking effects of the new phil- 
anthropy was the pronounced attitude toward slavery. 
The abolition of this horror is one of the great achieve- 
ments of the EvangeHcal revival. Against slavery 
the Quakers and the Freewill Baptists almost alone 
have a fairly clear record of consistent protest. There 
have never been lacking individuals who protested 
in the name of Jesus against all forms of slavery. 
But organized Christianity has in all ages done but 
little directly for its abolition. Slavery died out in 
Europe because serfdom was cheaper, and the supply 
of slave-labour both limited and highly unsatisfactory. 
The monasteries were almost the last ones in Europe 
to give up slavery and serfdom. It was so easy to 
ask, *' Who will do the menial tasks if all are free ? '* 

The rising humanitarianism of the Evangelical 
revival revolted against slavery, and Wesley pro- 
tested against it as fundamentally wrong. Whitefield 
did the same, but with less consistency, for he accepted 
money to buy slaves, in the hope however that they 
might be won to Christ and their souls thus saved ! 
After Wesley there arose a noble band of men led by 
Wilberforce and Clarkson, who amid hate, scorn and 
ridicule fought for the new-found conscience, and 
awakened all England to hear the clanking of chains 
and to heed the dying groans of a quarter of a million 
negroes flung overboard on the middle passage. The 
long struggle was begun and carried through by 
Christian enthusiasm. It is vain to say it was merely 


an economic transition. The slavery was in the 
colonies, and was confessedly exceedingly profit- 
able. It was far away, and yet England paid an 
enormous sum to the planters for the freed negro, 
and ran great risks in her firm and constantly increasing 
hostility to the whole slave trade. The long struggle, 
whose last echoes are . now dying out in the Congo, 
forms one of the most hopeful and inspiring chapters 
in the struggle for freedom. The very attitude of 
England in her policing the sea in the unselfish demand 
for freedom for the black man as for the white is a 
noble fruit of an awakened sense of human brotherhood. 
The things we are used to never seem to us strik- 
ingly immoral. That some of our brethren should be 
permanently condemned to hew wood and draw 
water, while others live on the labours of the econo- 
mically less fortunate in relative idleness, seemed 
to the Tory Churchman and the average Noncon- 
forming Whig, whether Presbyterian or Independent, 
to belong to the course of nature. Was not Ham 
cursed by God for all the ages, and are not some 
men born to work and others to be fed by the sweat 
of their brother's brow ? It needed the tremendous 
shaking of the whole conventional fabric of the reli- 
gious life before it could even dawn on such minds 
that they were living in a really immoral social order, 
in which slavery was breeding parasitism. It startled 
such men to be told that the very holding of slaves 
was fundamentally immoral, that it was bad alike 
for slaveholder and the slave, and that if a man would 
not work, neither should he eat. Of course unbelief 
within and without the Church said the abolition of 
slavery was impossible, an impracticable dream, a 
Utopian ideal ; or that it was an ordained thing that 
some should build houses and not inhabit them, and 


that others should eat without working. Rehgious 
enthusiasm forced aboHtion upon the ruHng class, 
and England then forced it upon the world. In all 
the history of philanthropy this struggle is perhaps 
the most dramatic and the most instructive, as the 
evil against which it was directed was the most openly 
shameful and brutal. 

But slavery at home was almost as real a fact 
as it was abroad. Little children were sold from the 
poorhouses to the factories of the North, and women 
and children were being forced into a cruel wage- 
slavery, whose horrors have been told again and again. 
Here one of the first and noblest voices raised in 
protest was not, alas, that of a Christian, in the accepted 
sense of the word, but that of Robert Owen. He 
was the product of the great moral awakening, and 
his Utopian dreaming was of a brotherhood of man- 
kind thoroughly religious in character, while he dis- 
owned the adjective. The really effective attempts, 
however, to mitigate the worst horrors of this wage- 
slavery, were made by Shaftesbury, and the sup- 
port he received was from the sons and daughters of 
the Evangelical revival. 

The Methodists were as a class unrepresented in 
Parliament. But happily the class-meeting, the 
social habit, the coteries had entered the Establish- 
ment. Within the Establishment had sprung up 
an ecclesia in ecclesid and under the leadership of 
Wilberforce nothing is heard of for a generation but 
reform after reform. The Thorntons, Howard and 
many others were the leaders along political lines. 
How directly this party owed its origin to the des- 
pised Methodists is seen, for instance, in Sidney Smith's 
cheap sneer when he classes the Methodists, Arminian 
and Calvinistic, and the Evangelicals within the Estab- 


lishment, and writes, '* We shall use the general term 
Methodists, and distinguish these three classes of 
fanatics, not troubling ourselves to point out the 
fine shades and nicer discriminations of lunacy." ^ 
And again when he says, '' the Methodists have formed 
a powerful party in the House of Commons." As, 
in point of fact, those we think of as forming Metho- 
dism were almost without the franchise at this time, 
the actual political work fell upon the leaders of the 
Evangelical party within the EstabHshment. While 
this was the case, it is also true that such men as 
Wilberforce, Grant, Parry and the Thorntons would 
have been quite powerless without the tremendous 
and increasing pressure of the public opinion formed 
in the chapel and meeting-house. The poorer sort 
of '' Methodists " could be sneered out of court, but 
Wilberforce and Hannah More could not be thus 
dealt with, and they had the enthusiastic support 
of the chapel and conventicle. In the heats of 
these contests for reform was born an actual working 
*' brotherhood " whose end is not yet. The full 
economic significance of the term not even the most 
dogmatic dreamer should venture to describe in detail. 
There was thus formed the '' Nonconformist conscience " 
whose troublesome activities have had to be taken 
into account by many an English Ministry since. 

Indeed it is most interesting to take the accounts 
of Parliament from 1800 onward, and to trace the 
origin of the mass of remedial legislation that begins 
now to appear upon the records, and which prepared 
the way for the great series of Reform Bills (1832 on- 
ward), which have given England its modern demo- 
cracy. In rapid succession we see linked with 
the Evangelical leaders movements for reform of 
^ Sydney Smith, Works, vol. i., p. 96. 


prisons (Howard) and for new and more efficient Poor 
Laws. At this time England begins to build really 
helpful asylums, to found hospitals and to revise the 
penal code. Jewish disabilities become the theme for 
agitation, and the conscience of great land-owners is 
appealed to by the wretched condition, of the cottages 
of the agricultural labourer. When, in fact, one con- 
trasts the rapid succession of almost revolutionary 
legislation, and follows the unceasing agitation for 
social amelioration of this period with — for instance — 
the period between Queen Anne's death (1714) and the 
fall of Walpole (1742) it is hardly too much to say that 
England entered at this time, and under the direct 
leadership of men trained by the Evangelical religious 
movement, upon a new social order. True it is that 
it was only the dawn of a better day. True it is also 
that much of the legislation of the time was sentimental 
and quite superficial. It was rather impulsive than 
the outcome of fixed social theory. The old selfish 
pseudo-individualism was not nominally abandoned, 
but its dogmatism was ignored, and English common- 
sense entered upon her social responsibilities. This 
was done not very intelligently, nor with any very clear 
grasp of underlying principles, indeed, the very religi- 
ous, inspirational character of the movement rather 
damped fundamental reflexion, but none the less Eng- 
land took her stand and will surely never go back. 
There is no space at the writer's command to do more 
than mention a few of the direct results of this political 
activity on the part of the '' Methodist Party," as 
Sydney Smith called it. In 1787, Minchin led the first 
successful attack on the bloody penal laws. In 1791 
Gray took the part of imprisoned debtors, and had 
behind him the full support of the Evangelicals. They 
about the same time defeated a movement against the 


Toleration Act. Wilber force soon compelled the ap- 
pointment of a Parliamentary Commission on Children's 
Employment, and exposed the awful abuses, which are 
now only paralleled, to the shame of humanity, in Japan 
and the United States, where no proper enforcement of 
even the existing laws can be counted upon. In 1802 
and 1809 bills were passed restricting child labour, 
although very inadequately. In 1825, Sir John C. 
Hobhouse carried his bill granting a partial holiday for 
children on the Saturday. In 1833 ^^ night work for 
boys and girls under eighteen in spinning and weaving 
mills was stopped, and from this to the present day 
the conscience of England has been steadily at work 
trying to soften the rigours of the competitive industrial 
situation. The Factory Acts of 1844 ^^^ 1845 in their 
many imperfections are still landmarks for all social 
reformers ever since, and are the direct outcome of 
Lord Shaftesbury's leadership of the Evangelical Party. 
The co-operation of the Trades Unions was sought and 
gained, and the whole legislation was still farther 
advanced and unified in 1874. 

All this had to be accompHshed in the face of Tory 
dogmatism on the God-given '' rights " of invested 
wrongs, and political economy dogmatism on the 
advantages of '* governing as little as possible " and 
the rights of free contract. As though there were any 
freedom or any possibility of freedom of contract be- 
tween starving men, women and children and the owners 
of the productive machinery of society ! It was not 
because the Evangelical Party really saw the fallacy of 
the dogmatic political economy of that day, but because 
it was the party of conscience and sentiment that it won 
the battle. 

But no democracy can stand on a purely national 
basis. The type of Evangelical democracy was, as we 


have seen, not a worked out theory of social recon- 
struction, but a burning longing for the salvation of 
all men as *' brothers in Christ.'* It would be a great 
shame if the Christian Church yielded to International 
Socialism the leadership which historically she may 
claim in the world-wide assertion of a great human 
brotherhood. And the claim of Christianity in the 
modern world to this international character is due to 
the Evangelical Revival. 

The old Missionary Society, *' For the Propagation 
of the Gospel in Foreign Parts," founded in 1702, had 
had special reference to the American colonies. But 
only when the *' consecrated cobbler,'' William Carey, in 
1792 founded the Baptist Missionary Society, and 
himself went to India did organized Christianity start 
upon the modern conquest of the world, and really pro- 
claim the international character of Christianity. This 
international character attached itself to the whole 
Evangelical philanthropy. The London Missionary 
Society was founded in 1795, the Scottish Church 
Society in 1796, the Church Missionary Society in 1799, 
the London Jews' Society in 1808, the General Bap- 
tist Missionary Society in 1813, and in the same year 
the Wesleyan Missionary Society. The same spirit 
prompted the founding of the Bible Society in 1804. 
These Societies were, of course, primarily for spreading 
the Gospel, as that was variously formulated in the 
different parties of the great movement. But true to 
the traditions of the various branches at home the 
missionary activity was humanitarian in the best sense 
of the term. The splendid common-sense of the move- 
ment is seen in the records of Livingstone's travels. 
And in the early missionary movement, schools and 
works of relief, the wants of the body as well as of the 
soul, came within the range of Evangelical sympathy. 


The fierce hostility of the forces that were simply inter- 
ested in the commercial exploitation had, of course, 
to be encountered. The cheap sneer that the rum and 
the missionary went together is made in the face of the 
fact that the rum was going whether the missionary 
went or not, and that the rum without the missionary 
would have been simply unmitigated hell. 

The influence of the Moravian Missions upon the 
Evangelical efforts is a still inadequately written 
chapter. It was in many ways a most fortunate cir- 
cumstance that the early leaders of the Evangelical 
movement were well acquainted with Moravian methods, 
by which men were trained in trades and useful arts 
for their work as missionaries. To build houses, and 
make wheels, to be able to repair simple machinery and 
to understand the processes of husbandry ; these 
things were as important in the early stages of mission- 
ary work as the literary culture which too often is the 
sole equipment. The early zeal of Evangelical Mis- 
sions was wisely guided by Moravian experience, and 
the practical philanthropic character has, happily, 
never been lost. 

In a certain sense the movement was dogmatic, and 
even narrowly dogmatic. That is to say, a somewhat 
rough-and-ready dogmatic ground-work in theology 
was assumed to be the teaching of the Bible and was, 
rather unreflectingly, accepted by nearly all. At the 
same time, as at home so on the mission field a certain 
quite refreshing freedom marks the early leaders. The 
real interest of the movement was Evangelical and not 
theologically dogmatic. The real heart of the great 
missionary uprising whose climax has not yet been 
reached was its loving and religious humanitarianism. 
Its aim was practical, its ambition was the world-wide 
proclamation of loving brotherhood as a religious 


experience, and the redemption of the sons of God from 
the chains of sin, disease, ignorance and misery. This 
rehgious experience had given reaHty to the work at 
home, and now the work in foreign lands had a soften- 
ing and elevating influence in turn upon the Churches 
at home. The missionaries told of hospitals and schools 
they founded for the natives of far-off lands, and pity 
and compassion were the springs for moving to ever- 
wider generosity. 

The later phases of Evangelical philanthropy have 
been held up to a good deal of ridicule and scorn by the 
writers of the last generation. Particularly Charles 
Dickens has gained the public ear for much that is 
unsympathetic and really untrue description. Not 
that there were not just such men as he describes, or 
that not just such folly as he portrays was not perpe- 
trated. But such caricature does not really represent 
the movement. Dickens was in many ways the herald 
of the new democracy in literature, and it is a great 
pity that he did not see the connexion between the 
new feeling for the lowly at home and abroad in the 
simple and often unreflecting dogmatic piety of the 
Evangehcal following. When, for instance, George 
Eliot has touched the movement she has done her work 
with far more accuracy and insight. The weakness 
was not so much the shallow hypocrisy which follows 
in the wake of all really successful movements. The 
real weakness of the philanthropy was its sentimental, 
unscientific character. This was again the result of 
several circumstances. The historic situation had a 
good deal to do with it. The French Revolution had 
frightened men in England. They dreaded all the 
social doctrines preached in its name. There was no 
ear in England for any thorough-going scheme of 
social reform. To the Evangelical worker the indi- 


vidual heart was the one source of weakness, the influ- 
ence of environment and social system upon the indi- 
vidual heart was generally largely forgotten. The 
whole tone of the day was individualistic in its theory. 
Salvation was a scheme for the individual to accept or 
reject. Along this line the scientific political economy 
was on all fours with the Evangelical Party. The 
perplexing questions of poverty, of intemperance, of 
immorality, and of crime were far too much simple 
questions of individual decision. This gave to the 
philanthropy a certain character of censoriousness, and 
a certain narrowness which made it often disagreeable 
to loose unthinking good nature. Again the Methodists 
and Evangelicals of all shades linked their philanthropy 
with a number of catchwords of religious experience 
and theology, some true, some one-sided to the verge 
of untruth, some wholly untrue. Against all this there 
was a strong reaction as really religious in character, 
although beyond the pale of the Church, as the move- 
ment within. 

The Evangelical Revival was so largely ethical, 
it was so distinctively and characteristically social 
that no picture that leaves out the aftermath in Radical- 
ism and its new-found temper is complete. Robert 
Owen was painfully ignorant of the religious move- 
ment of his day. Nearly all he protested against was 
equally foreign to the best minds of liis own generation, 
and he lost both influence and the steadying effect of 
companionship by cutting himself off from the religious 
life of his own time. At the same time he, too, is a 
product of the great social-ethical revival that has not 
run its course yet. His dreams were unscientific and 
strangely wooden and impracticable. What was best 
and most lasting in him was his faith in man and the 
moral order of the world. This faith survived all dis- 


appointments, and gives to Robert Owen's life a really 
supreme value. When he comes before the throne 
the things he tried to do for the least of God's little ones 
will surely be reckoned as if done for Christ (Matt. xxv. 

Exactly the same rebound from a false and shallow 
formulation of Christianity marks the attitude of two 
profoundly religious men, the two Mills. They also 
are children of the new social-ethical valuation of life. 
Of the two, John Stuart Mill is the finer and more 
fruitful expression of this negative side of the move- 
ment. To him religion was conscience and service, 
and he lived out his religion. It was, indeed, painfully 
deficient in some of the elements that give strength 
and power to intellectually weaker men and women. 
But John Stuart Mill represents the longing, which the 
unreflecting Evangelicalism never met, for a self-con- 
sistent religious view of the world. And in rejecting 
the only view of the world that the Evangelicalism of 
the day had to offer, James Mill turned from all Chris- 
tianity which he identified and taught his son to identify 
with the religion of Jesus. 

It may seem a strange judgment to many, but the 
present writer cherishes the profound conviction that 
the life philosophy of John Stuart Mill suffered from 
exactly the same limitations and narrowness that mark 
the dogmatic religious thought of his day. When 
under other influences (Comte, Coleridge and Mrs. 
Taylor) he broke away from his early faith it was too 
late for him to wholly reconstruct his system, which 
therefore remains a building he has himself reduced to 
ruins. But his interests were ethical and social. He 
too longed for a really solid foundation upon which 
to build the new social order. His late essay, however, 
on *' Socialism " represents little more than the revolt 


against his own past dogmatic individualism, and gives 
but little promise of any really helpful reconstruction. 
Yet in him is as plainly seen as in any of the Evangel- 
icals the almost fierce discontent with the plane on 
which men were living, and there burns in him the 
fire of an almost revolutionary spirit. 

This essentially practical social character of the 
Evangelical movement saved England in a time of 
fearful industrial dislocation. All the elements for a 
bloody and demoralizing struggle for power between 
the proletariat and the privileged classes were seem- 
ingly just as present in England as in France. But 
when the time came education and sympathy had 
stirred men to place their hope, not so much in revol- 
ution and in violence as in writing, speaking and 

Thorold Rogers says, no doubt with justice, of 
the English working-man of this period, " The remark- 
able fact in the history and sentiments of the English 
working-man is that he is neither socialist nor anarchist. 
He believes, and rightly believes, that in the distribu- 
tion of the reward of labour his share is less than it 
might be, than it ought to be, and that some means 
should be discovered by which the unequal balance 
should be rectified.'* ^ But he gives no such place as 
the present writer is inclined to give to the hope 
inspired by the success of organization and agitation 
as learnt in the religious groups that sprang up 
during the Evangelical movement. 

The scope of this movement as it moulded modern 
philanthropy extended to all classes in England, and 
to the Evangelical inspirations the so-called Broad 
Church Party owed their life and vigour. It is, of 
course, only of the philanthropic side that we are called 

^ Work and WageSy New York Ed. (undated), p. 490- 


to speak. But the whole modern philanthropic move- 
ment in England and America has a peculiar character 
and a special spirit separating it from similar continental 
efforts. This character is due, without question, to 
the religious inspiration from which these movements 
sprang. It may be freely granted that some of the 
special limitations have their root in this same histori- 
cal development. But whether one is in agreement or 
disagreement with the organizing conceptions at the 
basis of English and American philanthropy, the 
historical facts ought not to be ignored. It is one of 
the great weaknesses of Karl Marx's otherwise invalu- 
able survey of this industrial revolution in English life 
that he is colour-blind to religion, and apparently 
very ignorant of some of the most absorbing passions 
of that day. 

To attempt to understand the modern movement to 
promote social justice, and to leave out the work of 
Frederick Denison Maurice or Charles Kingsley or 
even Thomas Carlyle is so unscientific as to be absurd. 
And these men were directly and demonstrably children 
of the Evangelical Revival. 

The philanthropy of the early Evangelical leaders 
was largely under the influence of a somewhat 
narrow view of life. It is quite remarkable, indeed, 
how untouched many of the most powerful leaders 
were by great currents of thought sweeping over the 
continental peoples. This was in part the result of the 
insular character of all English civilization, in part 
because England's commercial primacy was so undis- 
puted that she was little inclined to consider the ques- 
tion as to whether others were in advance in thought. 
And as in the time of the French Revolution of 1793, so 
just before 1848, there was great danger of a wayward 
untrained democracy entering upon a really religion- 


less movement for farther emancipation. Liberalism 
again ran the danger of being identified not only with 
hostility to the Church but with antagonism to all 
religion. In literature Byron and Shelley voice the 
feelings of many of that day, and even the Evangelical 
Party in Parliament came under suspicion of being 
really reactionary. What has so often happened in 
history now took place, and the party once scorned as 
Radical and dangerous was now petted as the conserver 
of institutions wickedly attacked. A new class of 
working-man was rising whose Radicalism was a sub- 
stitute for religious enthusiasm of the dogmatic type. 

Happily the Evangelical movement had never been 
sufficiently theological to give the party a basis apart 
from the religious activities in which its life expressed 
itself. Hence it happened that its impulses and deeper 
inspirations were not confined to any one organized 

To-day the modern philanthropy of the English- 
speaking world is most markedly under the influence 
of the work done by a small body of men, who set out 
to link again Christianity with social justice, and who 
resolved, because they were Christian and had found in 
Jesus Christ access to the Father, to understand the 
point of view of the new working man in his Radicalism, 
and to make him, if possible, understand the teachings 
of Jesus Christ. Almost to invite obloquy Frederick 
Denison Maurice and Charles Kingsley together 
with a group of earnest men called themselves *' Chris- 
tian Socialists.'* In point of fact, they had only the 
very vaguest conceptions of the things in which a 
modern Marxian Socialist is interested. It was 
not by the introduction of collective ownership of the 
productive machinery that these men expected to 
save society. They expected simply to substitute 


loving co-operation for hate-breeding competition, and 
they were full of dreams and plans by which to accom- 
plish their end. These men were broad enough to see 
that there was a religious element in the enthusiastic 
Radicalism of the men to whom John Stuart Mill was a 
new gospel. They wished to link that enthusiasm to 
really religious life expressing itself in social activity. 
One of the dreary happenings in Germany has been the 
almost complete divorce between the State Church and 
the leaders of Germany's growing democracy. And not 
only the State Church but the organized religious 
intelligence is in danger of becoming unreal and un- 
fruitful because out of touch with the hungers and 
thirsts of the great multitude, coming slowly to self- 

In both these directions the Evangelical movement, 
had it been a dogmatic scheme, or given rise to a new 
theological organization, might have failed as completely 
as pietistic Lutheranism to bridge the gap. It was hap- 
pily so largely a movement of social philanthropy that 
there was vitality and religious energy enough to raise 
up a new set of religious interpreters to carry on on other 
lines the work of Wilberforce, Shaftesbury, Howard and 
the older reformers. 

No one can at present fairly judge of the work done, 
for instance, in the Working-men's College in Great 
Ormond Street. But when men write the splendid 
history of a generation learning at the feet of Tennyson, 
Carlyle, Kingsley, Robertson of Brighton and Thomas 
Hughes, they will come upon the secrets of so many 
quiet, bloodless revolutions in English life, reaching 
ever after a larger social justice, and finding in religious 
inspiration guidance and comfort. 

It is worthy of note that this new philanthropy 
began, as Luther's and Wesley's philanthropy began, by 

C.C. D D 


attempting to teach the simplest elements to the sim- 
plest people. In Little Ormond Yard the Rev. M. 
Short and Maurice began a work with men and half- 
grown boys in which the teachers, perhaps, learnt quite 
as valuable things as they taught. The friendship be- 
tween Walter Cooper and Gerald Massey, and the organ- 
ization of the *' Working-men's Association " gave 
Maurice his chance to " Christianize Sociahsm," and 
socialize Christianity. Working-men's colleges were 
established at Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Salford, 
Ancoats, Sheffield, Halifax, Wolverhampton, Glasgow, 
Birkenhead and Ayr.^ The leaders of the movement 
attached no importance to political changes that were 
not the expression of a new life and a new motive. 

Probably no two prophets have done more in their 
several ways for social religious philanthropy than 
Carlyle and Ruskin. Our scholastic Protestantism has 
so vastly over-emphasized Greek metaphysics that it is 
in danger of forgetting that Amos, Hosea and Isaiah 
wrote in the highest poetical art forms of their day, and 
that their philanthropy was of the thorough-going 
type that seeks to deal with the fundamental underlying 

The concrete results in philanthropy were many 
and important. The whole co-operative movement 
was the indirect outcome of the definite attempts of 
this little group. The whole settlement movement, 
based on Toynbee Hall, has its inspirations from the 
same source. The summer school, and University 
Extension, and the distinct attempt of Morris to add 
beauty to humble life, all found their inspirations in 
the same movement. 

It was also among these men that the fundamental 
questions of effective philanthropy were definitely 
^ Life of Maurice, vol. ii p. 379. 


raised. They taught men to seek the causes of human 
misery in human greed and injustice. These men began 
the war that has not ceased yet for a social justice that 
will make alms-giving unnecessary. The question of 
rent, of proper housing of the poor, of sanitation in town 
and country ; and the deeper questions yet of the rela- 
tions of man to man as men and brethren ; these were 
the questions most fully and earnestly pressed home by 
these new religious agitators. That their forms were 
not conventionally theological is true to the original 
character and spirit of the Evangelical Revival. But 
one has only to glance at the pages of Ruskin and Car- 
lyle, to say nothing about Charles Kingsley and Maurice, 
to see whence they drew their deeper inspirations and 
whose spiritual children they really were. The very 
phrases of the Evangelical leaders are constantly on 
their lips, and the deep religious spirit pervading their 
social hope and philanthropic dream is born of that great 
second Reformation which began with Wesley. 

For it is not too much to say that the Evangelical 
movement was a second Reformation. The early Reform- 
ation was very early so buried in scholastic and dog- 
matic disputes that its social and philanthropic side 
became a mere side issue. With Luther, with Calvin, 
Butzer and others the movement was ethical, political 
and social. All the elements for a new Christian social 
order might almost be gathered from Luther {Letter 
to the Protestant Princes) or Butzer [De Regno Christi). 
But political events made any approach to a really 
thoroughly Christian Reformation impossible. Nor 
would the social order outlined in the works of the 
Reformers have really met the new economic needs of 
the coming society. At the same time the tragic thing 
was the loss of social interest in the second-growth 
scholastic Protestantism. The Evangelical Revival was 


a distinct return to the practical and social-ethical 
spirit of the earlier men. It is all too often forgotten 
by some who, like the writer, are conservative Presby- 
terians, that Calvin started out to found a really new 
social order. That he started on wrong lines we may 
freely acknowledge. That his state was, in fact, a new 
papacy with a loosely formulated theory of the two 
swords and a spiritual primacy for the Church need not 
be called in question. The important thing is that the 
Christianizing of the social order was his main interest. 

In the scholastic and dogmatic disputes of the post- 
Reformation period either the social interest was lost, 
or it identified itself with some political issue, and so 
ceased to be thoroughly Christian in spirit. Then came 
the Evangelical Revival. Its social interest was still 
undefined, and often confused and sentimental, but it 
was the main issue, and its services to England and 
America have been of the most permanent importance 
because it has given us back again the dream of God's 
Kingdom realized on earth among men. 

The weakness of pre-Evangelical Protestantism 
was that it all too often surrendered to Rome the ambi- 
tion to control the world. Rome has never given up 
her ambition, but it has, alas, become corrupted and 
scholastic. And yet this assertion of world-wide ambi- 
tion and central social interest has been her strength. 
Protestantism was too content with a narrow and event- 
ually uninspiring individualism. We are saved by our 
division from mere Churchly ambitions. But in God's 
providence we are once more challenged by the Evangel- 
ical Revival to convert the social order to rebaptize 
the fundamental motives of men's lives, and to regener- 
ate the whole fabric of men's ambitions. The political 
schemes under which this dream will be realized must be 
left to economic empiricism. The Church forces must 


furnish, however, both the formulated demand for a 
state of society which will be fit to be called God's King- 
dom on earth, and the inspirations that will compel 
men to realize the dream at all and any sacrifices 

This social demand and this social awakening are 
the direct outcome of the blessedly non-theological but 
thoroughly religious awakening of the eighteenth 

As the Reformation in Europe called out a Roman 
Catholic reaction, so the Evangelical Reformation awoke 
the slumbering Catholic elements in English society 
and the Established Church. There has always been a 
strong Catholic feeling in the Establishment, even when 
it was most anti-papal. This movement also partakes 
of the social and philanthropic character that marks 
the orginal awakening. Gladstone and Newman both 
connect the Tractarian Movement with the Evangelical 
awakening, and both in England and in the United 
States one of the marked characteristics of the move- 
ment has been its social note and its energetic philan- 

For thorough-going Protestantism this social inter- 
est may seem both too aristocratic and too political to 
be of the highest usefulness in an age that rightly turns 
more and more to democracy and more and more dis- 
putes the right of the religious teacher to dictate the 
political forms under which the new social order shall 
emerge. At the same time, the interesting thing is 
that the High Church reaction cannot escape the *' Zeit- 
geist,'' and moves forward toward the New Heaven and 
the New Earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 

The Evangelical Revival has given the new Kingdom- 
Purpose to the English-speaking world. And the 
main thing is this Purpose. He that willeth to do the 


will of the Father shall know of the political doctrine 
under the regular forms of human knowledge, and to 
this work of the transformation of the main purpose of 
all human society at home and abroad an Evangelical 
Protestantism is now setting its hand ; and having put 
its hand to the plough it cannot look back. 

Experience is chastening as well as quickening 
and directing its activities. Education must become 
broader, freer, and yet more Christian than it ever has 
been. Under what forms we can preserve both our 
Protestant freedom of conscience, and yet hand down 
to each child the priceless heritage of a religious past 
is a question the writer does not feel called to enter 
upon. But it must be pointed out that the earliest 
philanthropy flung itself energetically upon the giving 
to the child its intellectual inheritance as fully as was 
then possible. We will not be true to our Evangelical 
traditions if we do not seek to give, in the light of far 
more exacting demands, to every child the fullest equip- 
ment for meeting life's questions that the age can 

Again, we cannot be content with prison-reform. 
We must ask deeper questions about the whole life 
history and underlying causes of criminality. Our 
philanthropy must be scientific in a way it was not 
possible for even an expert like Howard to be scientific. 
But our penology must not only be scientific, in the 
deepest sense, but in the best sense of the word really 
religious. At this point again the undogmatic untheo- 
logical tradition should come to our aid. Behind Howard 
were the united forces of the various bodies of Pro- 
testant dissent. It is in such activities rather than in 
any form of sound words that Protestantism can find 
her highest and most lasting unity. The recognition 
of this fact has made, for instance, the Young Men's 


Christian Association one of the most splendid monu- 
ments to the real spirit of the Evangelical Revival, 
its broad catholicity and its non-theological attitude 
being especially characteristic of the Evangelical 

In the same way the Sunday school is a child of the 
religious humanitarianism of the Evangelical reforma- 
tion. To be true to the spirit of the Evangelical move- 
ment the Sunday school must be kept effective, and to 
do this needs very constant care and attention. If we 
recognize the relatively unreflective character of the 
religious awakening we must also be alive to the danger 
that it cease to minister to quickened intelligence. 
This lack of an intellectual ministry is the reproach that 
was brought against Evangelical zeal, and even count- 
ing in the Broad Churchmen, it still remains true that 
much of the activity was emotional, and sometimes 
lacked the effectiveness a more scientific and consistent 
philanthropy would have possessed. 

So that to be really true to the best traditions of 
the movement we must bring to the task of aiding men 
in the consecration of the redemptive life an increas- 
ing scientific spirit, and the effectiveness of trained 
intelligence. Not the least service the Evangelical 
philanthropic movement has rendered the community 
has been the establishment of training schools, homes 
for deaconesses, scientific hospitals, schools for the 
blind, and other forms of philanthropy demanding and 
supplying high technical training. 

To-day the Salvation Army represents much of the 
spirit of the old Evangelical movement. Indeed, it 
incorporates with its enthusiasm and devotion some- 
thing also of the weakness of that movement. It is 
not, indeed, theological, but like the Evangelical begin- 
nings the theology it has is somewhat crude and scholas- 


tic. Its main interest is the redemptive life, but like 
the early Methodist movement it has great faith in cen- 
tralized power, and has the high organization of a 
Roman Catholic order. Where it reveals most clearly 
its parentage is in its tremendous emphasis upon the 
social expression of the Christian life. At this point it 
revives the finest feature of the older movement. 
Moreover, in its nominal policy of non-interference with 
the Church connexions of its members it again has 
marked similarity with early bodies of Evangelicals, 
who never left in many instances the churches, or were 
only forced unwillingly out of them. Then, again, 
the distinctly non-sacramentarian character of the 
new organization reminds us of how unsacramentarian 
pure Evangelicahsm has ever been. 

This hasty review of the movement in connexion 
with philanthropy will, the writer hopes, reveal the really 
great source of Evangelical life and vigour. It was 
primarily a social-philanthropic movement on a deeply 
religious basis, with the Christian life as a hfe of redemp- 
tive service prominently in the foreground. It was a 
Protestant reformation of Protestant Scholasticism, and 
a very effective return to the reUgious activities as the 
real test of true discipleship. Its work has not yet been 
completed. The tremendous ethical revival that is a 
distinguishing mark of our own day may be directly 
connected historically with the great blessing that came, 
to English-speaking lands particularly, in the great 
Evangelical Revival with its manifold philanthropy. 

Christianity and the French Revolution 


Author of "The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Era/' 


Introduction — ^Two Tendencies ia Human History, The Claim for Liberty and 
the Demand for Order and Justice — These -Tendencies in Religion — 
Connexion of Christian Belief and Movements on Behalf of Liberty. 

I. The Character of the French Revolution — An Emancipating Movement 

not Essentially Irreligious — Voltaire not Atheist, but Opposed to 
Roman Church — Rousseau's Misconception of Christianity in the 
Social Contract, and More Favourable Attitude in the Savoyard 
Vicar — ^The Sentiment for Social Reform. 

II. The Collapse of Organized Christianity in France — ^The Power and 

Wealth of the Roman Catholic Church, the Curse of Favouritism, 
Poverty of the Cures, their Influence as Ardent Reformers — The 
Church Morally and Intellectually Bankrupt — The Strength of the 
Reform Movement in the Church — The Attitude of the Populace 
not Anti-Christian — The Legislation of the National Assembly — 
The Right of Religious Liberty — The Outbreak of Passion and Mob- 
Violence — The Confiscation of the Lands of the Church — ^The Re- 
nunciation of the Obligation to Support the Clergy — The Dissolu- 
tion of the Monastic Orders — The Civil Constitution of the Clergy — 
The Invasion of the Domain of Faith Fatal — Aggravation of the 
Crisis by the Papacy and its Supporters — Fanaticism Kindled by 
Fanaticism — Anti-Religious Fury. 

III. The Reaction and the Restoration of the Roman Catholic Church — 

The Failure of Protestantism to win the Adhesion of Frenchmen 
— The * Constitutional ' Church — ^The Concordat of Napoleon with 
the Pope — The Subsequent Recovery of her old Position by the 
Church — ^The Power of the Church used in Repressing Democracy 
and Promoting Autocracy — ^The Separation of Church and State. 

IV. The Contrast between France and England in the Relation of Religion 

to Democracy — ^The secure Place of the National Church in the Hearts 
of Englishmen, the Influence of the Wesleyan Revival, the Close Con- 
nection between Evangelical Religion and Philanthropy — ^The New 
Impulse towards Democracy manifested in Ways on the whole 
Friendly to Religion — Cartwright's Plea for Popular Government 
on a religious basis, the People's Charter of 1838 — Tom Paine's 
Influence Short-lived — The Failure of Physical Force Chartism — 
The Service of Maurice and Kingsley — No Divorce in our Island 
between Religion and Reforming Movements — Affinity of the Prin- 
ciples of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity with the Christian Social 
Ideal — The Christian Church and Democracy Allies, not Foes. 


Christianity and the French Revolution 

In the history of the human race there are observable 
two outstanding tendencies, that which makes for the 
freedom of the unit or individual, and that which 
produces orderly cohesion of the mass. These ten- 
dencies are in constant action. Except in the most 
lethargic races, the individual always has some free 
play for his energies ; and in the times of wildest 
licence the principle of order speedily begins to re- 
assert itself, if only in the form of the blackmail of a 
powerful baron or the despotism of a triumphant 
faction. The fundamental problem of political life is 
the harmonizing of the claim of the individual for 
liberty with the imperious demand of the community 
for order and justice. 

What is true of social life may also be affirmed of 
the life of the race on its reHgious side. So soon as 
religion begins the difficult task of organization, it 
meets the same insoluble problem. If religion were 
limited to the communion of the individual with his 
Maker, the difficulty would not exist ; but the devout 
soul cannot, and must not, remain alone on the moun- 
tain top ; he must come down to the plain and seek 
to influence mankind for good. Then it is that the 
temptation besets him to seek to control men from 
without, instead of awakening a new life within them 



and to build up the Kingdom of God with earthly 
materials. Despite the solemn warnings of Christ, a 
new Tower of Babel is begun, in the fond hope that 
men may scale the heavens with labour of hands and 
feet. A time comes when the toilers realize the futility 
of their enterprise, and demolish the lordly fabric ; 
but before long there arises a generation reckless of 
the lessons of the past which strives again to build 
the spiritual kingdom with clay. The processes of 
construction and demolition have often been repeated ; 
and it is scarcely too much to say that the history of 
Christianity on its political side has been that of the 
construction of elaborate systems and their removal 
or overthrow when they have proved to be a 
hindrance both to the spiritual life and to the welfare 
of mankind. 

We have no space in which to point out the close 
connexion which has existed between vital Christian 
belief and movements on behalf of liberty. It is true 
there have been long periods when the Church has relied 
on, or has wielded, the secular power ; and the results of 
such union have sooner or later always been disastrous. 
From the time when the Emperor Constantine allied 
the Church to the Roman State down to the time when 
Napoleon estimated the value of the papal alliance as 
equal to 200,000 soldiers, both political and spiritual 
liberty have suffered untold harm from so unnatural a 
coalition. At these retrograde periods the organiza- 
tion of the Church comes to be everything, and the 
spirit of the Gospels is apt to be stifled beneath armour. 
But any one who ponders on their message to man's 
inner life must see that such a state of things is essen- 
tially unchristian. Christianity, indeed, is no more to 
be blamed for their misdeeds than is the English Con- 
stitution for the cruelties of Henry VIII or the per- 


sonal rule of Charles I. On the other hand, whenever 
the truth has been set forth by fearless souls like 
Wycliffe, Huss, and Luther, it has helped to further 
political as well as spiritual freedom. Not until the 
merely State Reformation of Henry VHI's days had 
deepened into the doctrinal and moral Reformation 
of the following reigns did England realize the meaning 
of the verse, *' Where the spirit of the Lord is, there 
is liberty/' The Puritans set up an ideal of national 
life far higher, purer and juster than had been seen 
since the evil days when the Christian Church linked 
itself to the decaying body of the Roman Empire. 
The saints blundered, it is true, and rendered their 
sway irksome beyond measure to the average man. 
That was to be expected. Nevertheless they had sown 
seed which bore a bounteous harvest in New England, 
and which served, even in Old England, to thwart the 
Romanizing efforts of James II. Who shall say how 
far the Revolution of 1688 and the Declaration of 
American Independence in 1776 were due to the 
dauntless spirit of the older Puritans ? 

It is, however with later developments than these 
that we are here mainly concerned. Though we shall 
close with a brief consideration of English political 
life, we may now turn our attention to the land where 
problems of the State have been worked out with un- 
equalled intensity. France has well been called the 
political laboratory of Europe. The ardour of the 
national temperament has invested her annals with 
peculiar interest. Above all, it was the period of the 
great French Revolution which determined the rela- 
tions of Christianity to the secular power in a great 
part of the Continent. 

The French Revolution of the years 1789-1799 is 
not to be looked on as a series of violent outbreaks. 


but rather as an emancipating movement which was 
marred by acts of exceptional folly and needless 
cruelty. It had its origin in a natural impulse of man 
to shake off serious evils and outworn usages, but it 
resulted also from new ideas which clashed with the 
existing order of things in Church and State. We are 
concerned here solely with those ideas which caused 
a revolt against the authority of the Roman Catho- 
lic Church, and with the influences at work which 
fatally weakened the defence. 

It has often been stated that the Revolution was 
due mainly to the infidel writings of Voltaire, Rous- 
seau, and the '* Encyclopaedists." It should be re- 
membered, however, that Voltaire and Rousseau were 
far from being atheists, and that they made no or- 
ganized attack on Christian doctrine. They were 
deists, and they declaimed bitterly against atheism as 
monstrous and incredible. Voltaire's philosophy was 
derived almost entirely from Locke and Bolingbroke. 
There is little of serious argument against the funda- 
mentals of Christianity in Voltaire's works ; but there 
is plenty of invective and satire at the expense of the 
superstitions then prevalent. He contributed nothing 
that was original to the thought of his time ; but 
mankind owes much to a man who clearly summarized 
the criticism of his age and directed it vigorously 
against an effete and arrogant organism. Protestants 
must be grateful to the man who manfully protested 
against the infamous wrongs wreaked by the Roman 
Church on the pastor Calas on the strength of an incred- 
ible and unproven charge. When religion becomes an 
ally of despotism it earns the scorn of the humane ; and 
the widespread revolt against its dogmas in eighteenth 
century France was due to a perception of the falsity 
of its position and the hypocrisy of many of its pro- 


fessors. Voltaire summed up his aims in the motto, 
'* Ecrasez I'lnfame " ; the phrase appHed, not to Chris- 
tianity, but to the Roman Church. Finally, it is 
noteworthy that the arguments which he drew from 
English sources were quite harmless in the land of 
their birth — a proof that religion which is vital and 
consistent need not fear the assaults of critics like the 
sage of Ferney. 

The same remark is in some respects applicable 
to the writings of Rousseau. His political specula- 
tions would have had little vogue in a land where civic 
freedom was a reality. In the France of Louis XV, 
where monarchy was at once absolute and contempt- 
ible, and the structure of society lopsided and rotten, 
it was dangerous as well as fallacious to portray the 
construction of a perfect polity as an infallibly easy 
task. Without dwelling on the political sophisms 
that are attractively strewn in the reader's path in 
the Social Contract (1762), we may notice the author's 
attitude towards Christianity. 

He claims, firstly, that as Jesus came to establish 
a kingdom which is not of this world. His followers 
must necessarily own a divided allegiance and thereby 
break the unity of the State. '' Whatever destroys 
social unity (Rousseau declares) is good for nothing." 
Admitting the sublime excellence of the precepts of 
Christ, he yet insists that they will not make His fol- 
lowers good citizens because their interests will not be 
in this world. Again, he says : '' Christianity preaches 
only servitude and dependence. Its spirit is too 
favourable to tyranny for the latter not to profit by it 
always. True Christians are made to be slaves." He 
then denies that Christians can be brave, good soldiers. ^ 

It is clear that Rousseau took only the narrowest 
^ Social Contract, Bk. iv, chap. 8. 


view of Christianity and of its history. Ignoring the 
many precepts which prescribe to Christians their 
duties in this Hfe, and enjoin on them the formation 
of a loving brotherhood wherein love of God would 
inspire them with a passion for the service of man, the 
Genevese thinker pictures the Christian as a weak, 
colourless creature whose gaze is ever on the skies, 
who neglects the present and grovels to every tyrant 
and can therefore never help in the formation of a free 
community. In a word, he brands Christians with 
the defect of '' other-worldliness,*' and uses terms of 
opprobrium towards them which the gifted lady novelist 
who coined that term would warmly have reprobated. 
In truth, this last chapter of the Social Contract 
teems with mistakes and inconsistencies. In one 
sentence he admits the wide difference between the 
Christianity of the Gospels and Roman Catholicism ; 
but elsewhere his charges seem to apply solely to that 
communion; as when he accuses those absent-minded 
recluses of capturing the organization of the Roman 
Empire and setting up '' the most violent despotism in 
the world." Apparently he felt no sense of incongruity 
in bringing this charge of unworldliness against the 
system which at any rate counted the greatest number 
of adherents of Christianity, and whose defects sprang 
mainly from the effort to dominate and absorb the 
civil power. His few casual references to Protestants 
also betray astonishing ignorance. He seems not to 
have heard of the Dutch " Beggars," of Cromwell's 
Ironsides, still less of the founding of New England by 
the Pilgrim Fathers on the basis of that Christian 
compact signed in the cabin of the Mayflower which 
provided a solid basis for a stable and beneficent polity. 
He names Cromwell only to class him with Catiline 
as an ambitious hypocrite 1 


It would scarcely be necessary to refer to this 
singular tissue of falsehoods and blunders, did it not 
figure in a work which the French revolutionists 
accepted as the new evangel. Deluded by the falla- 
cious ease of his descriptions, and inspired by the 
ardour for liberty which undoubtedly fired him, their 
most determined leaders made it their chief aim after 
the overthrow of the French monarchy to rear the 
new society on the hues of the Social Contract. This 
was the source of the anti-religious zeal of the years 
1793-1794. Rousseau*s sketch of a social religion, 
which every one must profess, explains Robespierre's 
effort during his brief dictatorship to enforce the 
worship of the Supreme Being, if need be by the 

Rousseau's attitude towards Christianity in his 
'* Savoyard Vicar " is far more favourable. He portrays 
that gentle idealist as adoring the Gospels and reverenc- 
ing Christ as more than human. ''If the life and 
death of Socrates were those of a sage, the life and 
death of Jesus are those of a God.'' And again — *' I 
believe all religions to be good so long as men serve 
God fittingly in them." Before the Vicar became a 
reverent theist, he had celebrated mass with levity ; 
now his new creed of love to God and love to man 
caused him to, celebrate it with reverence as became 
an unfathomable mystery. Such were the teachings 
of this charming story which powerfully affected mul- 
titudes of priests and laymen, and led them to strive 
in 1789 for the christianizing of the Chtirch. It is 
here that Rousseau's influence was most beneficent. 
The fervour of ''The Savoyard Vicar" was an effective 
answer to the cold dogmatism of the philosophic 
atheists, and it infused zeal and energy into the cures, 
who thenceforth strove, not only for the righting of 

c.c, E E 


their own grievous wrongs, but also for the uplifting 
of the poor and oppressed around them. Sentiment 
played a perilously large part in the course of the 
French Revolution ; but its best expression was in 
the widely felt desire to redress the glaring inequalities 
of French social life. It was this desire (largely, but 
by no means solely, prompted by Christian motives) 
which welled forth in the ^a Ira song of 1790 — a song 
not to be confused with the ferocious Ca Ira of the 
Terror : — 

Le peuple en ce jour sans cesse r^pete 

Ah ! ^a ira ! Qa ira ! Qa ira ! 
Suivant les maximes de I'Evangile 

(Ah ! Qa ira ! Qa ira ! Q^ ira) 
Du l^gislateur tout s'accomplira, 
Celui qui s'eleve on I'abaissera, 
" Et qui s'abaisse, on I'elevera." 

We have looked ahead in order to catch a glimpse 
of some of the results of Rousseau's teachings so far 
as they concern us here. But we must now retrace 
our steps in order to notice the causes of the helpless 
collapse of organized Christianity in France. It re- 
sulted not merely from the ardour of the attacks of 
Voltaire, Rousseau, and the '' Encyclopaedists," but 
also from the utter weakness of the defenders. 

The triumph of Roman Catholicism in France 
seemed to be complete in the year 1685, when Louis 
XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes and sought to compel 
the conversion of all Protestants within his kingdom. 
It is estimated that about a quarter of a million of the 
best citizens of France then fled from her borders. 
Besides '' dragonnading '' the remainder, Louis ad- 
mitted the control of the Pope over the discipline and 
clergy of the Church of France to an extent never 
known before. The spirit of inquiry was checked by 


the Papal Bull, *' Unigenitus '* (1713), which secured 
the triumph of the Jesuits over the Jansenists, the 
more philosophic party in the Church ; and there- 
after the clergy sank into a state of mental torpor. The 
wealth of the Church increased, until, at the beginning 
of the Revolution, it amounted, according to an official 
estimate, to four milHards of francs (£160,000,000). 
Its lands, comprising about one-fifth of all France, 
produced a yearly income of about ;f 4,000, 000. The 
annual value of its tithes has been computed by M. 
Debidour at 80,000,000 or 90,000,000 francs (^^3, 200,000 
or £3,600,000).^ By ancient custom these revenues 
were almost entirely exempt from taxation by the 

This vast wealth would not have been the object 
of envy, had its proceeds been fairly distributed ; but 
the curse of favnnritism had eaten deep into the life 
of the Church. The richest gifts were apportioned to 
the scions of nobles ; and some were kept, whenever 
possible, in the hands of one family — the case of the 
de Rohans at Strasburg being notorious. That see 
had long descended from the bishop to his nephew ; 
and there thus grew up an establishment which would 
have moved the wonder of the early Christians. The 
Bishop of Strasburg resided in his episcopal palace at 
Saveme with the pomp of a sovereign prince. He 
could entertain two hundred guests as well as their 
servants. The meals were long and luxurious, dishes 
of solid silver adding splendour to the repast. ^ The 
Archbishop of Narbonne had an income of ;f 40,000 a 
year. The recently published Memoirs of the Com- 
tesse de Boigne show the manner of his life. A fort- 
night spent at Narbonne in alternate years sufficed 

^ Debidour, L'j£glise et I'j^tat en France (1789-1870), p. 21. 
2 Taine, Ancien Regime, i, pp. 187-8. 


for the discharge of his archiepiscopal duties ; and for 
six weeks every year he presided over the provincial 
Estates at MontpeUier. He passed the rest of his time 
at his country estate amidst society remarkable, even 
in the reign of Louis XV, for its high living and loose , 
thinking. The mother of the countess was once warned 
by a grand vicaire not to show her conjugal affection ; 
** it is the one kind of love which is not tolerated here/' 
At the hunt, the Archbishop was noted for the vigour 
of his language. When the exemplary Bishop of 
MontpeUier was expected to be present, his host would 
say to the company, '' By the way, gentlemen, no 
swearing to-day " ; but he was the first to fling all 
restraint to the winds. 

Scandals like these were exceptional ; but they 
were noised abroad through France, and gave point to 
the complaints as to the wealth and insolence of the 
higher clergy. It was well known that the ii6 bishops 
of the Church of France received stipends which 
averaged from £7,000 to ;£io,ooo a year apiece ; and 
in many cases this sum was largely increased by plural- 
ities and sinecures. Meanwhile, at the other end of 
the scale, many of the parish priests were in a miserable 
condition. Goldsmith's vicar. 

" passing rich on forty pounds a year," 

would have been envied by very many French parish 
priests [cur is), many of whom received barely half 
and some few only a quarter of that sum — generally in 
the shape of tithes which they had to extract from 
peasants as poor as themselves. Injustice often 
sharpened the edge of poverty. These miserable 
stipends were sometimes paid by vicars and ahhis 
commendataires, who never visited the parishes which 
they farmed out at this beggarly rate to the real 


workers. The evils of absenteeism, which had eaten 
the heart out of FeudaHsm, bade fair to strangle 
religion in many parts of France. 

What wonder, then, that the parish priests be- 
came ardent reformers. Themselves the victims of 
injustice in the Church, they were in close contact 
with those who were borne to the ground by the burden 
of unjust taxes, the exactions of absentee landlords, 
and all the apparatus of a moribund Feudalism. 

It was the pamphlet of a priest, the Abbe Sieyes, 
which gave point to the demands of the people for 
full representation in the forthcoming States General 
of France (May 1789). He opened his brochure with 
the incisive questions and answers : *' What is the 
Third Estate [Commons] ? — Everything.'* " What 
has it been hitherto ? — Nothing." '' What does it 
intend to be ? — Something." Among other pamphlets 
issued by priests we may notice that by the bold Abbe 
Gregoire, *' Letters to the Cures," which helped to 
organize their opposition to the privileged hierarchy 
and to send up a majority of reforming deputies to the 
Estate of the Clergy ; and these, joining the Commons 
of France in the first month of the Revolution, gave 
to that movement an impact which was resistless. 

That suggestive thinker, de Tocqueville, has pointed 
out that in the Revolution all parts of the old fabric 
of government were subjected to simultaneous assaults 
which nowhere could be withstood. An outworn 
Feudalism was attacked by agrarian reformers ; the 
absurdities and iniquities of taxation were denounced 
by the unprivileged classes ; the absolute monarchy 
was assailed by all who wished to see reforms carried 
by the nation itself ; while the Church, the chief sup- 
port of the throne, had to bear the blows of many of 
her own sons and of thinkers outside who saw in her 


the personification of superstition and intolerance. 
In its hour of need the Church of France had virtually 
no defenders. Obscurantism had done its deadening 
work. Learning had left her cloisters, and was now 
enrolled in the service of her critics. A retort more 
effective than clerical casuistry was the gag ; but the 
wit of Voltaire and the persistent ingenuity of Diderot 
and d'Alembert triumphed over repression, with the 
result that the courtiers and many of the higher clergy 
were fain to join in the laugh at their own expense. 

Thus, both in a moral and intellectual sense the 
Church of France was a bankrupt institution. It 
might have been reformed betimes had its chiefs shown 
enough of energy, initiative, and self-sacrificing zeal ; 
but the lack of these qualities (strangely paralleled 
by the conduct of Louis XVI and his Ministers in May- 
June 1789) precipitated the crisis : so that the full 
fury of the revolutionary storm burst on an edifice 
quite unprepared to withstand it. More than half of 
the deputies of the Clergy joined the Third Estate as 
soon as it took the defiant step of declaring itself to 
be The National Assembly of France (June 17, 1789). 
The adhesion of the clerical reformers was one of the 
decisive events that determined the triumph of demo- 
cracy over the wavering but in the main reactionary 
tendencies of the King and Court. 

The cahiers, or instructions for the guidance of the 
deputies of the clergy, show the strength of the reform 
movement that was sweeping through the Church. 
Nearly all the cahiers insisted on drastic [changes 
which would make France a limited monarchy, with 
Ministers responsible to the States General, taxes 
voted solely by that body, liberty of the individual, 
together with admissibility to all offices in the State, 
and the abolition of feudal and other abuses. A 


majority of the clerical deputies also decided to abro- 
gate the odious privilege by which the funds of the 
Clergy were almost entirely exempt from taxation. 
In vain did the higher ecclesiastics struggle against 
the new passion for freedom and equality. They 
were condemned by their own past, and sank help- 
lessly into the stream which was to bear reactionaries 
and reformers to unimaginable lengths. 

For the present the attitude of the populace, even 
at Paris, was by no means anti-Christian. After the 
capture of the Bastille (July 14, 1789) the Parisians 
confided the Revolution to the guarding care of the 
patron saint of the capital, Ste. Genevieve, and marched 
with votive and thankofferings to her shrine. But 
the Church as an institution was soon to feel the force 
of the new levelling tide. Almost the first destructive 
work of the National Assembly was the abolition of 
tithes in an ill-considered decree hastily passed during 
the memorable sitting of August 4, 1789. On that 
same occasion (well called '' the St. Bartholomew of 
privileges ") two cures proposed the strengthening of 
the law against plurality of benefices in the Church. 
Gregoire, whose inflexible firmness and love of justice 
made him the leader of the cures, proposed the abolition 
of annates, a revenue received by the Pope from 
vacant benefices. Other clerical privileges, local and 
personal, were sacrificed by their holders amidst scenes 
of great enthusiasm. On the motion of the Archbishop 
of Paris the sitting ended with the chanting of the 
Te Deum in the royal chapel at Versailles. Despite 
many faults of detail, the legislation of that memorable 
night deserves a tribute of praise for its generosity and 
thoroughness. The decrees were hastily worded, and 
that relating to tithes pressed unfairly on the cures ; 
but in the main the enactments of August 4 have 


pointed the way in which the Democratic Church of 
the future must work. Unfortunately they came too 
late. France, then in the throes of the first Jacquerie, 
looked on the sacrifices offered by nobles and clergy 
as the jettison of superfluous cargo in order to save the 
sinking ship of class privilege. Therefore, legislation 
which would perhaps have saved the Church had it 
proceeded in the ordinary way from her own Courts 
(as Talleyrand had desired it should), merely whetted 
the appetite of her enemies. 

As summer waned to autumn, the Assembly threw 
itself with GalHc ardour into the somewhat profitless 
task of framing a declaration of '' The Rights of Man.'* 
That which related to rehgious liberty claims a passing 
notice. It was with the utmost reluctance that the 
clerics of the Assembly admitted the idea of freedom 
of worship. Since the year 1787 Protestants had 
been tolerated, a concession due to the growing en- 
lightenment of the times and the kindliness of Louis 
XVI. But freedom from persecution was one thing, 
and liberty of worship was another. Eagerly did the 
clergy now seek to maintain the ascendency of their 
Church on the plea that it was a guarantee of order. 
Mirabeau — the free-thinking, free-living noble of Pro- 
vence who united in his person the vices of the old 
regime, the intelligence of the Voltaireans and the 
magnetism of genius — thrilled the Assembly by pro- 
testing against this claim of dominance. 

" They speak to you incessantly of a dominant religion ! * Domin- 
ant,' gentlemen ? I do not understand this word, and I need it to 
be defined to me. Is it an oppressing worship that is meant ? Is 
it the worship of the prince ? But the prince has not the right to 
dominate over consciences. Is it the worship of the greater num- 
ber ? But worship is an opinion. Now opinions are not formed by 
the result of votes. Your thought is your own — it is independent. 


Nothing ought to dominate over justice ; nothing is dominant 
except individual right." 

There spoke the most inspiring thinker and the greatest 
political genius of the early part of the Revolution. 
His words bear the stamp of the Reformation. Pro- 
testant he was not; he had drunk of the spirit of 
liberty at the fountain of Voltaire, but the plea just 
quoted contains the essence of Protestantism. 

An able champion of the long-persecuted Huguenots 
stood forth in the Assembly and preluded his speech 
by the words, " I am the representative of a great 
people." It was Rabaud-St. Etienne, eloquent son 
of the long-persecuted pastor of Nimes. Coming from 
that centre of religious freedom, where the light of 
the Gospel had not been quenched by a century of 
oppression, he stood forth to plead, not only for his co- 
religionists, but even for the despised Jews, in words 
whose force was doubled by his well-known courage 
and consistency. 

" He who attacks the Uberty of others deserves to live in slavery. 
A worship is a dogma ; a dogma holds to opinion ; opinion to 
liberty. Instructed by the long and bloody experience of the past, 
it is time, at length, to break down the barriers which separate man 
from man, Frenchman from Frenchman." 

Nevertheless the force of tradition and the instinct of 
solidarity, always so strong among the Latin peoples, 
carried the Assembly only half-way along the road 
leading to religious freedom. This clause of the 
Rights of Man as finally passed, ran as follows : *' No 
one ought to be molested for his opinions, even religious 
opinions, provided that their manifestation does not 
disturb the public order established by law.'* 

The supremacy of the Church was, alas, to be over- 
thrown, not in the sphere of reason, but on the lower 
levels of passion and mob violence. There is the great 


misfortune of the reforming movement of 1789. Hun- 
ger, jealousy, and perhaps the intrigues of the Duke 
of Orleans, stirred up the Parisian populace to the 
orgies of October 5, 6, which led to the overthrow of the 
Court at Versailles, the virtual capture of the King 
and Queen and their transference to Paris. Five 
days after the march of the maenads, which Carlyle 
has depicted with epic grandeur, there began the 
assault on the prerogatives of the Church, which ended 
the time of fraternal good-will, and heralded the dark 
days of hatred, schism and civil war. It was while 
the Assembly still sat at Versailles in expectation of 
its forthcoming removal to Paris, that the confiscation 
of Church property was proposed by that enigmatical 
figure, Talleyrand, Bishop of Autun. 

The eldest son of the noble house of Talleyrand- 
Perigord, he had been disinherited and sent into the 
Church owing to an accident in early life which, in the 
eyes of his parents, unfitted him for success in the 
army or at Court. His subtle mind absorbed so much 
of the clerical training as to fit him for a life of diplo- 
macy and intrigue ; the rest he rejected with quiet 
scorn. Yet this gay young Voltairean, who mounted 
so lightly up the ladder of preferment, had a keen 
sense of what was due to the spirit of the age. He 
had vainly sought in 1782 to press forward reforms in 
the Church which would have strengthened the Church 
and abated the hostility to her. Now, when the storm 
had burst, and bankruptcy threatened the Common- 
wealth, he improved on a belated offer of certain clerics 
that some of the Church lands should form the security 
for an urgently needed national loan, by proposing 
(October 11) that the landed property of the Church 
should revert to the State. For this sweeping pro- 
posal he pleaded with great skill, urging the extreme 


needs of the State, the wealth of the Church, its all 
but complete exemption from taxation for a long term 
of years, above all, the right of the nation to control 
any corporation existing within it. This last conten- 
tion could be supported by historical proof. The 
Kings of France (as of England) had controlled and 
suppressed religious bodies and orders of monks, and 
Louis XV had banished the Jesuits. But now, for the 
reasons stated above, the assault was more determined. 
Hatred of the Church, jealousy of its enormous powers, 
zeal for Rousseau's doctrine of the absolute supremacy 
of the will of the nation, all told against the clerical 
claims. The sacrifices offered by the more generous 
clerics were not regarded. Democracy, now triumph- 
ant over the old absolutism, was determined to 
subject to its will the chief imperium in imperio, the 

The defence, though not strong or able, was pas- 
sionate. The Abbe Maury, the cleverest of the clerical 
champions, pleaded against the policy of confiscation 
as a blow to the Church and to all property ; he re- 
butted the Socialist pleadings, that what the community 
had once conferred it could at will recall, and he pro- 
tested against the indignities to which religion would 
be exposed. A new turn was given to the discussion 
two days later, when the most practical statesman of 
the day, Mirabeau, moved, first, that the property of 
the Church should belong to the nation provided that 
the latter supported the clergy ; second, that no parish 
priest should receive less than 1,200 francs (£48) with 
lodging. This was an open bid for the support of the 
parish priests in the Assembly ; but, to do them justice, 
they seem to have been little influenced by it. They 
had for the most part taken sides on this question ; 
and some of them continued to scout the proposal, 


even though it promised comfort in place of penury 
to very many of their class. On the other hand, most 
of them supported the motion, chiefly, it would seem, 
on the ground of the harm done to rehgion by the 
luxury of the higher clergy. Thus the Abbe Gouttes 
said that the scandals in their ranks had extended to 
all priests the contempt due to some individual eccles- 
iastics. Others again boldly supported the doctrine 
of the sovereignty of the nation over all corporate 
bodies — a claim pushed to its logical conclusion by the 
impetuous young Garat, who declared that the State 
had the right, if need be, to aboUsh Christian worship 
in favour of a more *' moral '' religion. 

The great lawyer, Thouret, brought the debate 
back to practicality by insisting that the property of 
ancient and wealthy corporations must rest on prin- 
ciples different from that of individuals, for corpora- 
tions existed only by virtue of law ; and what law 
created or guaranteed, could be reformed or trans- 
formed by law. Still more to the point was the speech 
of that sage counsellor, Malouet, who, while main- 
taining the imprescriptible rights of the nation over 
all property, claimed that the National Assembly had 
no mandate to deal with this great question, and that 
grievous harm would befall the cause of liberty if it 
were linked with a spoliating and exasperating edict. 
He also proposed that the question be referred to a 
special commission to report on the steps necessary for 
reducing the property of the Church to what was 
needful for the adequate support of religious worship 
and the relief of the poor. 

Unfortunately the removal of the Assembly to 
Paris, the disorders there, and the passionate opposi- 
tion of the higher clergy to every proposal on this 
question, served to defeat all efforts at compromise. 


Finally, after long wranglings on the subject, Mirabeau 
carried his proposals, with the merely verbal change 
that the property of the Church was " at the disposal 
of the nation." A demonstration of the mob outside 
the Hall of the Assembly (near the north wing of the 
Tuilleries) may have decided some waverers to vote 
with the popular party : and the decree was carried 
by 568 votes against 346. More than 200 members 
were absent, and forty did not vote (November 2, 1789). 

It is impossible in this essay to enter into the 
question of abstract right which is here at stake. ^ 
The determining factors in the situation were, (i) the 
great wealth and undoubted unpopularity of the 
Church of France ; (2) the urgent needs of the State ; 
(3) the vogue enjoyed by Rousseau's doctrine of the 
sovereignty of the general will ; (4) the utter collapse 
of the old regime, amidst the ruins of which the re- 
formers turned against the institution which was most 
wealthy and powerless. 

The results of their action were incalculably great. 
During the debates the clergy once more offered to 
guarantee a loan that would meet the most pressing 
needs of the State ; and the scorn with which this 
was waved aside in favour of confiscation aroused a 
widespread feeUng of bitterness. That feeling widened 
and deepened when the obligation to support the 
clergy was renounced by the later revolutionary 
governments. It is futile to seek to deny that that 

^ See Fleury, Institution au Droit ecclesiastique ; D. Maillane, 
Histoire apologHique du Comite ecclesiastique de VAssemUee nationale ; 
Buchez and Roux, Archives Parlementaires ; E. de Pressens^, The 
Church and the French Revolution (Eng. trans., 1869) ; W. M. Sloane, 
The French Revolution and Religious Reform; A. Galton, Church 
and State in France (London, 1907), and Religious Reform (New York, 


obligation existed, and was intended to be binding for 
all time. Mirabeau's decree bound together closely, 
and not merely for that generation, the question of 
confiscation of the Church lands with that of the 
support of the clergy. Indeed, the Jansenist, Camus, 
protested against the coupling of these two questions 
on the ground that the award of State'pay was insulting 
to the Church. One can therefore picture the indig- 
nation which prevailed when, in the year 1793, even 
the '' constitutional '* priests were left unsalaried. 

Finally the financiers of the young Commonwealth, 
acting as if the Church lands were an inexhaustible 
asset, proceeded (despite the warnings of Mirabeau) 
to throw on the market issue after issue of paper notes 
on the security of the new *' Domaines nationaux '' ; 
and the successive falls in value of these notes brought 
about an unsettlement of prices which potently con- 
tributed to the general debacle in 1 792-1 793. 

The dissolution of the monastic orders was decided 
on in February 1790, at least in principle ; but the exe- 
cution of the decree was deferred. In its full rigour 
it was not carried out until September 1792. There 
is little question that these Orders had outlived their 
period of usefulness. The mendicant friars were 
notoriously lazy ; many monasteries were hotbeds of 
vice, and the zeal of the monks for learning and edu- 
cation had declined. The report of a commission of 
bishops on monasteries in 1768 condemned their many 
abuses ; and Louis XV consequently abolished very 
many Houses. The nation was now more severe than 
the old monarchy, and except in the neighbourhood 
of well conducted Houses little regret was felt for their 
abolition. In some cases, however, especially in the 
south and west, the closing of the monasteries caused 
serious rioting. In the south it rekindled the old 


animosities between Catholics and Protestants and led 
to civil strifes. 

Far more significant for the future of democracy 
was the decree entitled The Civil Constitution of the 
Clergy (July 12, 1790). In one sense it was the out- 
come of Mirabeau's decree of November 2, 1789, 
which had the effect of making the clergy the salaried 
servants of the State. The Church being subordinate 
to the civil power, a logic-loving people might be 
expected to regulate Church affairs. This was what 
the Assembly attempted to do, in accordance with 
the proposals of its Ecclesiastical Committee. In 
that committee of thirty there were ten clerics, and 
the Gallican, as opposed to the papal, or Roman, 
feeling was strong. In accordance with its recom- 
mendations, the Assembly proceeded to draft a bill 
which'would curb'^the powers of the Church. Appealing 
from the decrees of the Councils of the Church to primi- 
tive customs, they sought to break up the hierarchy, 
subject the Church to local authorities in matters of 
discipline, and sensibly weaken its connexion with 
the Pope. Their aims may be termed ultra-Gallican, 
or Jansenist ; but unquestionably Rousseau's theory 
of the absolute sovereignty of the nation lay at the 
root of this memorable decree. 

Stated briefly, it abolished all existing boundaries 
of bishoprics and reduced them to conformity with 
those laid down in the new Departmental System. 
A bishopric was merely a Department considered 
ecclesiastically. No Frenchman, cleric or layman, 
might thenceforth recognize the authority of bishops 
or metropolitans outside France — a clause aimed 
against papal control. Further, bishops and priests 
were thenceforth to be elected by all voters in their 
dioceses or parishes, Protestants and Jews being 


allowed to vote. The pay of the clergy was also 
reduced ; the stipends of the bishops ranged from 
£800 to ;f48o. Cures were to receive from ;^25o to £48 ; 
they were obliged to reside in their several areas, and 
were under the surveillance of the civil authorities. 
Finally, the bishops, when elected, were forbidden to 
apply to the Pope for '* canonical investiture," but 
were charged merely to report their election to him 
as the visible Head of the Church. This clause, it 
will be seen, violated the principles of Apostolical 
Succession and of Catholic unity which had been 
observed since the time of the Concordat agreed on at 
Bologna with Leo X. At once two parties formed 
themselves on these vital issues. On the one side 
was the Jansenist minority in the Church, backed 
up by all the non-Catholic elements of the nation : 
on the other were the Catholics and Ultramontanes 
who pleaded vehemently against the schism that must 
result in the Church and the indignities of the position 
into which her bishops and priests would be thrust. 
As the Bishop of Treguier exclaimed, with Breton 
vigour, '' Religion is annihilated : its ministers are 
reduced to the sad condition of clerks appointed by 

The rigour of this decree is to be deplored, where 
it trenched on the domain of faith. While cutting at 
the root of the abuses of the old clerical system — its 
sinecures, pluralities, and shameless inequalities of 
stipend — the new Act crushed a venerable organism 
into a new mould, degraded its priests to the level of 
nominees of discordant majorities — a thing far different 
from that of election by the faithful in the primitive 
Church — and severed the bishops, and through them 
the priests, from the blessings which were believed 
to flow from the successor of St, Peter. In inter- 


fering with matters of dogma, the Revolution entered 
into an ahen sphere ; and when early in 1791 its 
devotees sought to compel all the members of the 
National Assembly to take the civic oath (which 
implied obedience to the new decree) it abandoned 
its true quest, Liberty. 

The mistake was fatal. The majority of the clergy 
refused the oath, declaring that conscience forbade 
them infringing their allegiance to the See of St. Peter. 
In the main it was the pliable, who, following the lead 
of Talleyrand, obeyed the behests of the Assembly. 
The recusants or " orthodox,'' numbering many who 
had hitherto been outwardly careless, carried with 
them the majority of the faithful, except in the case 
of the large towns ; and when, later on, the Assembly 
deposed orthodox bishops and priests, armed force 
was often needed to instal their '' constitutional " 
successors. These generally officiated to empty 
churches, especially in the country districts, while 
the faithful followed the orthodox priests into woods 
and wastes in order to receive the rites of the Church 
free from all taint of schism. 

And yet, while we condemn the meddlesomeness 
and intolerance of the reformers, we must accuse the 
Papacy and its supporters of aggravating the crisis. 
A Pope wiser than Pius VI would have let it be known 
exactly where the Civil Constitution of the Clergy was 
incompatible with the discipline of his Church. Far 
from that, he declaimed against the Revolution and 
all its dealings with the Church. As early as March 
1790 he had declared against the establishment of 
religious liberty, the abolition of clerical privileges 
and monastic orders, and the confiscation of Church 
property. 1 This declaration strengthened the efforts 

^ D^bidour, op. cit, p. 86. 
C.c. F F 


of the reactionaries in France, and led the reformers 
to take steps for the effective muzzling of a pronoimced 
enemy. After the passing of the above named Act 
the Pope's opposition gradually hardened ; his re- 
proaches stiffened the attitude of Louis XVI towards 
the Revolution and rendered the schism between 
** orthodox " and '' constitutional '* priests irremedi- 
able. Thus on both sides there were faults. If the 
reformers in their eagerness went beyond the limits 
within which the civil power can prudently act in 
the spiritual sphere, yet the Roman hierarchy embit- 
tered the strife. Some amount of friction there was 
certain to be between the proud and wealthy Church 
of the ancien regime and the levellers who accepted 
the Social Contract of Rousseau as their gospel; 
but the events recounted above precipitated an inter- 
necine conflict which with brief intervals has gone on 
to this day, and has involved other lands besides 

The situation now became rapidly worse. Fan- 
aticism kindled fanaticism. The old feud of Catholics 
and Protestants flared up again at Nimes, Montauban, 
and in the dells of the Cevennes ; la Vendee, the 
wooded district to the south of Brittany, began 
to mutter against the godless Assembly at Paris ; 
and though civil war did not burst forth there 
until the King had been deposed and the Republic 
haled away recruits, its seeds were sown by the bale- 
ful decree of July 1790. Further, it is known that 
the King's decision to flee to the Austrians was formed 
early in 1791 ; his conscience, once very dull in matters 
of religion, was awakened by the attempts to coerce 
the orthodox priests and by the remonstrances that 
came from Rome. He declared that he had rather 
rule in Metz than be King of France on those terms. 


Thus on all sides there accumulated proofs of the 
error of those who now sought to requite oppression 
by oppression, to force religion into their new political 
system, and in the name of the sovereignty of the 
general will, to fetter conscience. Other causes, of 
a financial and political nature, concurred to foil 
the hopes of the men of 1789. But the importance 
of the topic here considered has been recognized by 
all historians. 

It is needless to describe the sequel. The anti- 
religious fury of Danton and Marat, the avowed 
atheism of Fouche and Hebert, the orgies of the 
Goddess of Reason, the overthrow of the atheistical 
faction by the deist Robespierre and his farcical attempt 
to instal the worship of the Supreme Being by a 
decree of the Convention — all this bears witness to 
the violence of the reaction against the old creed and 
discipline. The fervour of these men is undoubted ; 
but it soon burnt itself out. Then, after the fall 
of Robespierre (July 1794), there came a time of 
disillusionment and despair. The resolve of the Jaco- 
bin minority to win its way forcefully to the social 
millennium had awakened a feeling of regret for the 
monarchy and the Roman Catholic creed. Reaction set 
in. It was checked by Bonaparte and those acting with 
him in 1795 and 1797 ; but on his return from Egypt 
in 1799 everything was uncertain. With the help of the 
army and malcontents in the Government he gained 
control of affairs (November 1799) and there ensued 
the period of the Consulate (1799-1804) which gave 
way to the Napoleonic Empire. 

It soon appeared that the popular General would 
declare against the Jacobins (or extreme Republicans) 
iand the quasi-philosophic sect of Theophilanthropists 
who in 1797-1799 had gained a following in the chief 


towns. Great, however, was the astonishment when 
soon after the Battle of Marengo, he opened negotia- 
tions with the Pope for a renewal of the relations 
that had been broken off since the year 1793. Omit- 
ting all notice of the very complex negotiations of 
the years 1800-1802, we may inquire what were the 
motives which led the young warrior to frame his 
famous Concordat, or treaty with the Pope. Firstly, 
he was the son of a pious mother and was reared 
among the superstitious seafaring folk of Corsica. 
Though in later years he shared the free-thinking 
tendencies of his father and of the French Jacobins, 
yet he soon shook himself free from his passing pas- 
sion for Rousseau, a process hastened by the sight 
of the fortitude with which French orthodox priests 
went to the guillotine or suffered the long pangs of 
exile for their faith. Further, it was clear by the year 
1800 that the heart of France yearned after the old 
creed and cared little for Theophilanthropy or even 
for Protestantism. In fact the failure of Protestants 
at that time to gain the adhesion of Frenchmen is 
one of the puzzles of the period. The main question 
seemed to be between Atheism and Catholicism ; and 
now that the steel of the Reign of Terror had shorn 
away the excrescences from the Catholic Church, 
she stood forth more attractive as a victim than she 
had been in the days of wealth and pride. 

But which branch of the Church should he adopt ? 
The *' constitutionals " were installed in office where- 
ever religious service could be carried on ; and, though 
banned by the Papacy, they had by this time gained 
the allegiance of very many Frenchmen. The '' Con- 
stitutional '* Church stood for French nationality, 
the institutions of the Republic and independence of 
thought. Many of its clergy had married, thereby 


associating themselves with the Hfe of the people. 
A ruler whose aims were disinterested and purely 
patriotic would therefore certainly have strengthened 
the national Church and rejected all thought of com- 
promise with the Papacy. 

Bonaparte's aims were far different. He saw 
that the constitutional Church would never be recog- 
nized by the Papacy and by other Catholic Powers. 
He disliked the Liberalism of many of the " Consti- 
tutional '' bishops, led by that champion of the ideas 
of 1789, Gregoire. The aims of the First Consul 
were more than merely French. In the words of M. 
Aulard — '' His plan was to dominate men's con- 
sciences through the Pope, and to realize through 
the Papacy his imperial dreams, his vision of univer- 
sal empire." That he would withdraw the Pope's 
support from the Comtede Provence (''Louis XVIII ") 
also counted for something ; as did also the con- 
sideration that orthodox Brittany and la Vendee 
would never be pacified until Rome and the orthodox 
clergy discountenanced revolt. 

Such were the motives, purely political, which 
led to the so-called restoration of religion in France. 
As a matter of fact it had never ceased to exist ; for 
except for a brief period in the Terror, the '' Constitu- 
tional " priests and Protestant pastors had continued 
to officiate, though often under grave difficulties. But 
the religion which now was acknowledged was dis- 
tinctly Roman, to an extent never known in the days 
of the old Galilean Church. 

Briefly stated, the Concordat agreed on in 1802 
between Bonaparte and the new Pope, Pius VII, 
was as follows : — The French Government now recog- 
nized that the Roman Catholic faith was held by the 
great majority of Frenchmen. Liberty of public 


worship was accorded to the Church. The number 
of bishoprics was lessened. All existing bishops were 
required to resign their sees, whereupon the First 
Consul nominated their successors. The Church gave 
up all claim to her lands confiscated during the Revo- 
lution, as also to the collection of tithes. But, 
while surrendering vast wealth, the Church ended 
the schism that had existed since 1790, secured State 
recognition (though liberty of conscience was insisted 
on by Bonaparte) and bound itself more closely than 
ever to the Roman See. 

Disputes soon arose as to the appointment of the 
new bishops, especially as thirty-five of the old "ortho- 
dox " bishops refused to resign and formed a '' wee 
kirk,*' which persisted till the year 1893. But in 
the main Bonaparte had his way. During the critical 
years of his career, 1 802-1 807, he gained the support 
of the clergy in France and of the Roman Curia in 
Europe. As Emperor at the height of his power, 
he came into sharp collision with the Pope, annexed 
Rome, took Pius VII prisoner, had him brought to 
Fontainebleau, and talked of making Paris the centre 
of Christendom. Yet, though he inveighed against 
the Papacy, and called the Concordat a blunder, he 
knew full well that but for it he could scarcely have 
become Emperor. It was the power of the disciplined 
clergy which helped to bring France submissively 
to his feet. 

Thus, in its struggle with the Revolution, the 
Church of Rome seemed to have conquered. She 
came to terms with a ruler, who, like her, sought to 
curb and suppress the principles of 1789 ; and, at 
the cost of great material sacrifices, she regained some- 
thing like her old position in France. The overthrow 
of Napoleon and the advent of Louis XVIII improved 


her position. Tithes were restored to her ; and in 
the reign of Charles X (i 824-1 830) the Jesuits became 
once more a power in the State. It was by their 
advice and intrigues, and those of a secret religious 
body called the Congregation, that that obstinate ruler 
was led to the reactionary courses which ended in 
the July Revolution of 1830. 

Once again, during the Presidency of Prince Louis 
Napoleon in 1848-1852, the power of the Church in 
repressing democracy and promoting autocracy was 
to be witnessed ; and it is well-known that the events 
of 1870 in France were not unconnected with the 
desperate efforts then put forth at Rome by the 
Ultramontanes on behalf of the absolute supremacy 
of the Papacy. In the political sphere the Jesuit 
intrigues of 1870 suffered an ignominious defeat ; 
but the dogma of papal infalhbihty bound the faith- 
ful more than ever to the chair of St. Peter. The 
following years witnessed a renewal of the struggle 
between the civil and religious power in many parts 
of the Continent ; and the persistent campaign waged 
by French Liberals against clericalism shows how 
deeply the study of their history has convinced them 
of the danger of the papal claims. The results of the 
first French Revolution were fatally compromised 
when Bonaparte signed his Concordat with the Pope ; 
and it is not surprising that the champions of the 
Third Republic have annulled that reactionary compact 
and have urged on the separation of Church and State 
in France. Their union has produced constant fric- 
tion ; and it is the belief of many earnest Catholics 
that their Church will not lose by the separation. 

The relations of religion to democracy at the time 
of the French Revolution offer a curious contrast 


to those which are noticeable in the life of England 
at the same period. The following reasons for that 
contrast may be suggested. In the first place the 
National Church in England had held a secure place 
in the hearts of Englishmen ever since the time of the 
glorious Revolution of 1688 ; and though the eighteenth 
century witnessed a decline in her activity and an alarm- 
ing increase in the stipends and sinecures enjoyed by 
the higher clergy, still these abuses were slight com- 
pared with those of the Church of France. Further, 
the Wesleyan revival then began powerfully to influence 
the Established Church for good ; and the work of 
many devoted preachers brought home to the people 
a vital knowledge of evangelical truth. Further, 
the names of Clarkson, Wilberforce, and John Howard 
will remind the reader of the close connexion between 
evangelical religion and philanthropy in our land. 
Thus, whereas in France the philanthropic move- 
ment was mainly the work of Voltaire and the philo- 
sophers, in England it was an offshoot of reviving 
religious zeal. 

It is also worthy of note that the new impulse 
towards democracy which marked the years 1770- 
1780 manifested itself in ways that were on the whole 
friendly to religion. Apart from the evanescent 
Wilkes episode, we may say that the reform move- 
ment is traceable to three sources in the year 1776. 
That year witnessed the American Declaration of 
Independence, which in many ways was a manifest- 
ation of the old Puritan spirit. Then also there 
appeared Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, which 
traced out the path of economic reform soon to be 
trodden by Pitt ; and then also was published Major 
Cartwright's pamphlet. Take Your Choice, which 
pointed the way to a drastic reform of Parliament — 


a question that was to occupy the attention of English 
Radicals for more than a century. Cartwright founded 
his plea for popular government on a religious basis. 
'' The principles of politics (he wrote) are the prin- 
ciples of reason, moraUty and religion." '' Scripture 
is the ultimate criterion both in public and private 
conduct." All that a statesman needs is " a know- 
ledge of a few of the plain maxims of the law of nature, 
and the clearest doctrines of Christianity." '' The 
title to liberty is the immediate gift of God and is 
not derived from mouldy parchments." He demanded 
that the constitution of our land should be made as 
simple as possible so that it might be taught to chil- 
dren along with the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Com- 
mandments. He further asserted that the right to 
a vote was a God-given right. 

Such were Cartwright' s main principles. He never 
entered Parliament, as he scorned to use the means 
then used for the gaining of votes : but his long and 
strenuous advocacy of reform (he lived on to the year 
1824) gave consistency and dignity to the popular 
movement. It is curious to notice that the People's 
Charter of 1838 differed only in one item (that of 
the abolition of the property qualification of mem- 
bers) from the programme drawn up by Cartwright 
in 1776. We can hardly over-estimate the gain to 
the cause of constitutional freedom resulting from 
the practicality, religious tone, and in a sense the 
conservatism of Cartwright's scheme. Instead of calling 
Britons to the task of framing society anew on the 
illusory basis of a compact in which every one was 
free and equal ; instead of setting up that dangerous 
abstraction, '' the general will," as the universal 
arbiter or dictator, Cartwright summoned his country- 
men to a task which was attainable on the well worn 


lines of the national life. His teachings were for- 
gotten in 1 792-1 795 amidst the passions excited by 
the French Jacobins ; but ultimately the clubs founded 
by Cartwright and his coadjutors carried on the torch 
of freedom through the war-wasted space of the 
Napoleonic supremacy and handed it on to the younger 
men who, not long after Waterloo, initiated the second 
and more successful struggle for reform. 

The influence of Tom Paine during the height of 
the French Revolution was considerable ; and many 
of the political clubs then founded were imbued with 
the anti-Christian spirit then prevalent in France. 
But owing partly to the coercive measures adopted 
by Pitt (who sternly opposed reform in those times 
of excitement) and still more to the disappointing 
results of the French Revolution, the mania for imitat- 
ing the Jacobins of Paris died down. After 1815, 
as has been noted, the reform agitation, in the main, 
went on the lines laid down by Cartwright and the 
earlier Radicals. 

Once again, in the spring of 1848, imitation of 
French revolutionary methods led English Radicals 
on to dangerous ground ; but the collapse of the 
great Chartist demonstration on Kennington Com- 
mon once more showed that Englishmen were shy of 
departing from constitutional ways of urging their 
demands. After the failure of Physical Force Chartism 
Maurice and Kingsley did good service by pointing 
to the many self-help agencies — Trade Unions, Co- 
operative Societies and Friendly Societies — whereby 
workmen could better their position and prepare 
themselves for wider political privileges in the future. 

Thus, in our island there has never been that 
divorce between religion and reforming movements 
which was so pronounced in pre-revolutionary France. 


Our political problems have been easier than those 
which beset that land in the years 1789, 1815, 1830 
and 1848 ; but it is highly probable that Great Britain 
owes much to the absence of a dominant and luxurious 
hierarchy, and still more to the simplicity of organiza- 
tion and the insistence on the essentials of Chrisf s 
teaching which have characterized the communions 
professing the Evangehcal faith. A survey of the 
past seems to warrant the belief that the Church of 
Christ, so long as she carries out faithfully the spirit 
of her Founder, need not fear the attacks of unbe- 
lievers, still less the shocks now and again given by 
advancing democracy. Christianity has lost ground 
only when Christians have put their trust in institu- 
tions, wealth, or prestige, and have lost touch with 
suffering humanity. But the Church Universal has 
recovered that ground when, either by the warnings 
of her sons or the attacks of her enemies, she has been 
brought back to the first principles of her faith. Thus 
even the mistakes of Christian organizations in the 
past and the blunders committed by the assailants, 
which are alike so marked and so appalling in their 
results, seem to afford ground for hope that the nations 
of to-day, in their search after a higher state of social 
welfare, will win their way nearer to the heart of 
Christ's teaching. 

Certain it is that that teaching makes powerfully 
for the principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. 
So long as the Early Church kept to the spirit of the 
Gospel, it formed a genuine democracy. Only when 
that fraternal communion borrowed from the organiza- 
tion of the Roman Empire did it gradually crystallize 
into an oppressive hierarchy. Subsequently, in the 
ninth and tenth centuries, the Church was crushed into 
the mould of Feudalism, and, later still, into that of the 


Absolute Monarchy. As has been shown above, it Wcis 
against these aUen and intrusive elements — these 
governmental cuirasses donned for protection but soon 
found to be painfully constrictive — that the new 
democratic impulse made war, whether at the time of 
Wycliffe and Huss, or at that of the Anabaptists, or 
in the more secular movement headed by Rousseau. 
The best minds in the Church of France in 1780-1790 
urgently desired drastic reforms ; and the cures, who 
did the real work of the Church, almost to a man wel- 
comed the Revolution as the harbinger of better days. 
At first the democratic attack was solely against the 
temporalities and the organization of the Church ; 
and, had it stopped there and not invaded the realm of 
dogma, the results would have been wholly for good. 
By attacking the consciences of the faithful, the Revo- 
lutionists opened up long vistas of strife, persecution 
and reaction. But it cannot be too clearly understood 
that in this, the fiercest and most baleful struggle 
between Christianity and democracy, the assault was 
limited at first solely to the outworks and adjuncts of 
the Church of France. There it won a notable tri- 
umph, which tended to clarify the life of that overfed 
organism. The attack failed against the inner citadel 
of belief. The lesson of that success and of that failure 
is of infinite value alike to the Church Universal and 
to Democracy. For it shows by what means the former 
may become the potent ally of the latter ; while 
political reformers ought for all time to realize the all- 
important truth, that their power ends where the 
domain of conscience begins. 


The Social Influence of Christianity as 
Illustrated by Modern Foreign Missions 


Author of " Christian Missions and Social Progress*' 


Introduction — Recognition of the influence of the Foreign Missionary Enter- 
prise in promoting Social Betterment — ^The Changed Attitude of the 
Individual Convert to his Social Environment — The Timely Ministry 
of Missions to the Needs of a Community in the process of transition — 
Missions as accelerated Social Evolution — A new Environment of 
Transforming Influences. 

1. Changes in Personal Character which accompany Conversion, and their 

Social Significance in Mission Fields. 

2. Reformed Habits in the Individual and their Helpful Influence in non- 

Christian Society. 

3. The Reconstruction of Family Life and its Attendant Blessings to Society. 

4. Transformations which pertain to the Larger Sphere of Commercial Life, 

and affect Long-Established Social Institutions and Customs. 

5. The Moulding Potver of Missions upon National Development. 

6. The Economic and Commercial Value of Missions. 

7. The Social Significance of Reformed Standards of Religious Faith and 


Conclusion — ^The outstanding Need of the World — Religion and Christianity — 
The Dependence of Social Phenomena on Religious Influences. 

The Social Influence of Christianity as 
Illustrated by Modern Foreign 
Missions ' 

The influence of the foreign missionary enterprise in 
promoting social betterment is now claiming glad 
recognition from the Church. It may surely be 
counted, as is true of every phase of mission success, 
one of the happy signs of divine favour to the modern 
Church, yielding fresh evidence of the presence of 
power, and of the unfailing adaptation of the Gospel 
to minister in helpfulness to all the ages, and to all 
the races of mankind. This manifest uplift of the 
Gospel among alien races has now become capable of 
demonstration in both its evangelical and ethical 
aspects to an extent which supports and reinforces 
our faith in the constructive social mission of Christi- 
anity both at home and abroad. 

The individual convert to Christ's religion in mission 
fields is awakened not only to a new conception of 
his personal relations to the Deity, but becomes con- 
scious of a changed attitude toward his social environ- 
ment. Duties which hitherto hardly appealed to him, 

^ The writer has drawn upon his larger work, Christian Missions 
and Social Progress, for some of the material which has been in- 
corporated in the subject matter of the present essay. 



now arrest his attention ; his awakened conscience 
responds to the call of obligations which he has formerly 
regarded — if indeed he has been at all sensitive to their 
appeal — with profound indifference ; habits which 
have never been called in question soon fall under 
suspicion ; traditional customs which affect the wel- 
fare and happiness of others, or have a depressing 
effect upon social standards, are viewed in a new light, 
and are challenged with new insight and courage, 
wherever they are morally open to objection. The 
whole environment of life, with its code of social ethics, 
and its conventional ideals, becomes subject to scru- 
tiny, and is tested by principles which have hitherto 
been only partially, if at all, operative as binding upon 
the conscience. 

A similar, though somewhat differentiated, mani- 
festation of the social power of missions may be dis- 
covered in their timely ministry to the needs of a 
community in the process of transition from a lower 
to a higher status. This is illustrated by the fact that 
the missionary enterprise as now conducted is an 
educational force of stimulating energy. The mission 
school, and numerous higher institutions of learning, 
work a quickening intellectual transformation, and 
generate new mental activities which banish for ever 
the old inertia of brooding ignorance. It has become 
already an essential feature of the missionary pro- 
paganda that the call of the awakened mind should 
receive due attention, and the literary output of 
modern missions now ministers with fine discernment 
to the instruction and culture of the mind and the 
heart. Along industrial lines, also, much has been done, 
in combination with lessons of spiritual inspiration 
and moral guidance. A large philanthropic purpose 
has developed into noble efforts at rescue and ministry 


to those who need the outstretched hand of love and 
skill and charitable devotion. This benevolent service 
of missions proves itself a further incitement to humane 
efforts on the part of enlightened native communities. 
It becomes also an important part of the missionary 
programme to provide through its educational agencies, 
and as the result of its moral training, the class of men 
whose discernment and capacity are especially needed 
in times of social and national transition. It will be 
seen that an entirely new outlook is given to life in its 
mutual relationships, and that fruitful ideals are fur- 
nished, which give direction and incentive to social 
progress in formative periods. 

Christian missions represent, therefore, what may 
be designated in unscientific language as accelerated 
social evolution, or evolution under the pressure of an 
urgent force which has been introduced by a process 
of involution. They grapple at close quarters with 
a social status which, in the light of moral standards, 
may be regarded as in a measure chaotic, *' without 
form, and void.'' They have to contend alone at first, 
and perhaps for several generations, with primitive 
conditions, the confused result of the age-long struggles 
of humanity. The spirit of order and moral regenera- 
tion has never brooded over that vast social abysm. 
It has never touched with its reconstructive power 
the elements heaped together in such strange confusion. 
Christian missions enter this socially disorganized 
environment, with its varying aspects of degeneracy, 
ranging from the higher civilization of the Orient, 
which is by no means free from objectionable features, 
to the savagery of barbarous races, and, in most cases 
without the aid of any legal enactments, engage in a 
moral struggle with certain old traditions and imme- 
morial customs, which have long had their sway as 
c.c. G G 


regnant forces in society. They deal with a religious 
consciousness hardly as yet touched by the spiritual 
teachings of Christ, so that the splendid task of a 
matured Christian experience as represented in mis- 
sions is to take by the hand this childhood of the heart 
and mind, and, by the aid of the rich and effective 
resources of our modern civilization, put it to school 
— leading it by the shortest path into the largeness 
of vision and the ripeness of culture, which have come 
to us all too slowly and painfully. What we have 
sown in tears backward races are now beginning to 
reap in joy. In many foreign fields missions must 
face conditions which are so complex, so subtle, so 
elaborately intertwined with the structure of society, 
so solidified by age, and so impregnably buttressed by 
the public sentiment of the people, that all attempts 
at change or modification seem hopeless, and yet slowly 
and surely the transformation comes. It is effected 
through the secret and majestic power of moral guid- 
ance and social transformation which seems to inhere 
in that Gospel which Christian missions teach. 

As Christianity advances from heart to heart in 
this and other lands, it extends from home to home, 
and involves almost unconsciously a large and generous 
new environment of influences which works for the 
reformation and gradual discrediting of the old stolid 
wrongs of society. It produces in foreign communities 
a slow, almost unrecognized, yet steadily aggressive 
change in public opinion. It awakens new and mili- 
tant questions about stagnant evils. It disturbs and 
proceeds to sift out and disintegrate objectionable 
customs. It stimulates moral aspirations, and quickens 
a wistful longing for a higher and better state of 
society. Christianity has been building better than 
it knew in establishing its missions in the heart of 



these ancient social systems. The sociological awaken- 
ing in Christendom is not more impressive than the 
hitherto almost ^unnoticed achievements of missions 
abroad in the same general direction, in securing the 
enfranchisement of human rights, the introduction 
of new social ideals, and the overthrow of traditional 

In illustration of the above general statements, 
attention may be directed more particularly to the 
following aspects of the subject : 

1. The personal character of Christian converts, 
by virtue of its influence and example, becomes a 
ministry which contributes to the welfare andjmoral 
cleansing of society. 

2. The transformation of individual habits in 
Christian communities works a gradual change for 
the better in the larger collective life. 

3. The family relationship soon responds to the 
influence of this salutary change in its individual 
members, and the whole economy of domestic living 
is thus affected. 

4. The larger realm of communal or tribal life 
is also permeated by forceful moral influences which 
work a profound change in its spirit and practice. 
Social institutions and customs wider in their scope, 
and more invincible in their sway, respond in their 
turn, and revolutionary changes come about, as the 
result of the more or less aggressive infusion of Christian 

5. The national development is in time affected, 
and changes which may be classed as political and 
judicial in character, with sometimes an international 
significance, are introduced into the evolution of back- 
ward races. 

6. Commercial relationships are found to be not 


altogether outside the sphere of missionary influence, 
and new opportunities, as well as new facilities having 
a manifest social import, frequently follow the advent 
of missions. 

7. The evangelical uplift of the religious life in 
a non-Christian environment is generally found to be 
of incisive social significance, and produces many and 
great changes for the better in the practical, everyday 
routine of life. 

The whole missionary propaganda in its larger 
aspects becomes thus an individual, and eventually 
a racial preparation for service, not only in the inter- 
ests of the evangelistic expansion of the Kingdom of 
Christ, but for the purification and higher welfare of 
the immediate social environment. 

A more detailed consideration of these various 
specific statements, and the presentation of a few 
typical illustrations, drawn from actual experience, 
will reveal more clearly the practical outcome of the 
social evangel among backward races. 

Changes in Personal Character which accompany Con- 
version, and their Social Significance in Mission 

I. It is the special function of the Gospel to trans- 
form individual lives, but a group of transformed 
individuals forms at once the nucleus of a changed 
society. One man, for example, becomes temperate, 
moral, honest, truthful, industrious, and exemplary 
in an all-round sense ; if then he is multiplied by ten, 
or a hundred, or possibly by a thousand, we have a 
social transformation which is revolutionary in its 
power. A mighty force, working perhaps silently 
and unobtrusively, is put into action throughout 
society. It works like some great law of nature, which 


accomplishes its mission without creating any violent 
disturbance in its environment. A spirit hitherto 
unknown begins to assert itself, and to commend 
things that are lovely and of good report, sending out 
an impalpable influence, which seems to be able in 
some mysterious way gradually to transform into its 
own likeness the whole social system in which it moves. 

It is not to be inferred that the individual character 
which is developed in a non-Christian atmosphere is 
in every instance alike defiled, or lacking in those 
commendable traits which command respect and 
admiration. As a rule, however, the character which 
comes to its maturity out of touch with the Christ 
life, unconscious of the sacrificial love revealed in the 
Cross, and separated from the restraints and incite- 
ments of Christian morality, is always in some, and 
often in many, respects tainted and marred. In its 
primitive savagery it is usually dominated by degrading 
superstitions, and has not as yet been touched by even 
the initial forces of those moral monitions which are 
from above. Something new, incisive, and radical, 
like the spiritual energy of the Gospel, must enter 
the social system, and work with a transforming 
power — a power which is sufficient to arouse ambition, 
to quicken discernment, and to formulate ideals — 
or heathen society will remain for ever helpless, and 
fixed in its primitive moral trend, with possibly a 
certain veneering of spurious civilization, which will 
only serve to conceal some of its latent tendencies. 

The reconstruction of the character through the 
illuminating instructions and the sacred persuasions 
of the Gospel is indeed the first task of missions, and 
the wealth of evidence which the foreign fields yield 
to illustrate and confirm missionary success in this 
particular is in a high degree effective and convincing. 


There are shining examples of men and women in high 
stations, whose personal character as Christian con- 
verts has developed into a social, and even a national, 
asset of wide influence and high value. Khama, the 
South African Chief, with his temperance principles 
and moral stability, exercising a forceful influence 
throughout all his realm, is a conspicuous illustration. 
The same may be said of Daudi Kasagama, the King 
of Toro, the royal evangelist, who has sent his thanks 
to the Church Missionary Society for the Gospel which 
their missionaries have brought to his people, and 
who interests himself in evangelistic tours throughout 
his realm, distributing the bread of life, and building 
churches. In the same section of Africa is Apolo 
Kagwa, the Christian statesman of Uganda. In India 
we find such representative examples as Sir Harnam 
Singh and his excellent wife, devoted to the spiritual 
and social welfare of the large environment throughout 
which their influence extends. The Pundita Ramabai 
is proving herself the social benefactor of distressed 
and needy multitudes of her own sex. The late Kali 
Charan Banurji was a social force, as well as an exem- 
plar of sane and wise statesmanship, and the late Ken- 
kichi Kataoka of Japan may be described in the same 
words. These are but types of many *' saints in Caesar's 
household," whose social sympathies and personal 
influence claim our respect and admiration. 

There are multitudes, we may safely say many 
thousands, in mission fields, who are serving in evangel- 
istic and educational circles with devotion and great 
usefulness, whose social helpfulness has in it the religious 
stimulus and the moral beauty of the Gospel itself. 
Every mission field could furnish an honour roll of 
such names. They abound in India, China, and 
Japan ; they have multiplied also in other fields. 


Numbers of them have won the martyr's crown as the 
reward of their constancy and loyalty, and have thus 
left an inspiring memory in the communities which 
knew them. In some of the most unUkely regions of 
the earth the record of these devoted native workers 
along the lines of Gospel reformation is especially noble 
and inspiriting. The Ufe work of Pao, whose service 
in the Loyalty Islands has been commemorated by a 
monument erected by the foreign and native communi- 
ties of Lifu, where he laboured, is already one of the 
classic stories of mission history. The South Sea 
natives who have co-operated in the evangelism of 
New Guinea, to them a field of foreign service, of peril, 
and much sacrifice, have exhibited a spirit of consecra- 
tion, and accomplished a work for the social redemp- 
tion of its savage people, the results of which have 
brought a permanent change in the outlook of the 
entire island. Had we time to visit the scattered isles 
of the Pacific, we should find whole communities 
presided over spiritually by devoted converts, whose 
personal influence has worked mightily for the rehgious 
and social uplift of those who a generation or more 
ago were in the depths of savagery. 

We cannot dwell longer upon this special aspect 
of our theme, but what we desire particularly to note 
here is that personal character of the quality which 
missions produce, through the transforming power of 
Christianity, is a social asset, the value of which cannot 
be gainsaid. Through a God-possessed individuality 
larger and more general influences may be expected. 
The Gospel, like a seed planted within, grows outward. 
It does not touch social life with any permanent and 
saving power, except by way of secret fructification 
in the soil of the individual heart. A regenerate man 
becomes a new and living force in unregenerate society. 


A Christian community, even though small and obscure, 
is a renewed section or moiety of society. Both are 
as leaven in the mass, with a mysterious capacity for 
permeating the whole. This has been declared by 
an accomplished writer to be the distinctive mark and 
method of Christ's religion. 

Individual character, moreover, is the point where 
responsibility secures its hold, where public spirit 
may be effectively cultivated, where what may be 
called the social conscience may be awakened. The 
inspiration of the individual for the benefit of the mass 
is the first secret of social progress, just as, on the 
other hand, the demoralization and paralysis of the 
individual work in the end the ruin of society as a 
whole. The enlargement of the intellectual resources 
of any single member of society, and the cultivation 
of his mental powers, such as the development of the 
faculties of discrimination, judgment, intellectual per- 
ception, forethought, discretion, prudence, facility in 
adjusting means to an end, all add to his value as a 
factor in social life, and are equivalent to a substantial 
contribution to the well-being of society. The economic 
regeneration of an idle, shiftless, demoralized, unpro- 
ductive, and especially of a destructive, individuality, 
into an industrious, productive, and peaceable char- 
acter, is equivalent to the addition of so much live 
capital to the working force of the community. Thus 
the awakening in a man of a new capacity for the 
appreciation of moral principles, the establishment 
within him of a new basis for fidelity, loyalty, firmness, 
stability, and singleness of purpose, in harmony with 
higher spiritual standards, become an increment accru- 
ing to the moral forces of society, which has in it the 
promise and potency of a nobler domestic, social, and 
civic life. Herein is the making of better homes, 


purer domestic relations, a higher and finer social 
temper, a sounder and truer type of citizenship. The 
refinement wrought in rude or gross natures by Christi- 
anity, the moral stamina and the serious purpose 
imparted to timid, listless, stolid, or self-centred char- 
acters, add an important contribution to social 

" Tis in the advance of individual minds 
That the slow crowd should ground their expectations 
Eventually to follow." 

The character of a people is, after all, the only sure 
foundation upon which any substantial hope of improve- 
ment can be based. ReHgious character in the indivi- 
dual is the good soil out of which alone the higher social 
virtues can spring. 

Reformed Habits in the Individual, and their Helpful 
Influence in non-Christian Society. 

2. We are familiar in our own environment of 
Christendom with the battle waged by the moral 
forces of Christianity with the great evils of society. 
The same struggle is well known in mission fields, 
where Christian efforts at reform have to contend with 
deeply entrenched habits, in an atmosphere of indivi- 
dual degeneracy, which while it increases the difficulty 
of success, at the same time gives additional lustre to 
the victory. Christian converts in mission fields are 
thoroughly instructed as to the duty of temperance, 
and they are almost without exception of one mind on 
the subject, and, with possibly rare exceptions, they 
are everywhere total abstainers. The perilous snare 
of the opium pipe appeals to them in vain, as also the 
insidious lure of gambling. The struggle with tempta- 
tions to immorality may be severe, and in certain 
environments sometimes disappointing, but vice is 


never condoned, and the moral standards of Christi- 
anity are honoured, and usually admirably exemplified. 
In many mission stations temperance societies, anti- 
opium leagues, and White Ribbon Associations have 
been formed, while reformed gamblers are found here 
and there on the Church rolls. The drift of heathen 
despair toward suicide is checked ; the shiftless and 
wasteful idleness which is characteristic of so many 
savage communities, or the passion for war and plunder 
which possesses untamed natures, gives way under 
mission discipline and culture to aspirations after the 
security and good order of peaceful relations, and the 
rewards of honest toil. The native African has learned 
the very alphabet of industry and frugality from 
Christian missions. Such institutions as that of the 
United Free Church of Scotland at Lovedale, South 
Africa, not only guide young men and young women 
into paths of spiritual light, but transform the life 
that now is into a happy and useful career by teaching 
some industrial art which makes them of value to the 
world, and gives them the privileges and joys of self- 
supporting service. No one in the home Churches 
can realize, and the missionaries themselves hardly 
appreciate, the immense social changes in the direction 
of orderly and useful living which have been inaugurated 
in hundreds of African communities. '* The kraal- 
going missionary has made the kirk-going people,*' 
is the quaint epigram which describes the result of 
the early efforts of the United Presbyterians in Kaff- 
raria. This is not, however, the whole truth, since 
that same missionary has transformed the warrior 
into the modern ploughman, and put useful tools into 
idle hands. Industrial missions, and also industrial 
features in the curriculum of missionary training, are 
no longer an experiment in many African fields . Ploughs, 


which, in the dramatic language of a native admirer, 
are said to ''do the work of ten wives," have broken 
furrows of civilization in African society. Self-sup- 
porting industry has brought a new consciousness of 

The social value of the personal virtues needs no 
elaborate vindication. Habits of duplicity, untruth- 
fulness, and dishonesty form a social incubus which 
missions have happily lifted to an extent which may 
well command our attention. It does not invalidate 
the force of this statement to find, so far as our ability 
to demonstrate it is concerned, that it is less convincing 
than we could wish. Christian living is largely influ- 
enced by environment, and high-toned character, even 
under the culture of Christian influences, is in a true 
sense a growth rather than a ready-made product. It 
is surely beyond question that Christianity once hon- 
estly received and appropriated by the spiritual nature 
works for the quickening and nourishing of those 
personal virtues which the Word of God both com- 
mends and commands. It must not be forgotten, 
however, that in so doing, especially in mission fields, 
the Gospel code must contend with a combination of 
dominant heredity, adverse environment, and over- 
mastering temptation, which adds immensely to the 
difficulty of moral renovation. It requires more Christi- 
anity to the square inch of personal character — if the 
expression is allowable — to produce a given amount 
of moral stamina where a thoroughly demoralized 
heathen personality is to be made over, than where a 
naturally high-toned and responsive character is to 
be brought into deeper accord with a moral code 
already perhaps instinctively revered, and in large 
measure observed. 

If we search through mission fields we shall find new 


standards of truthfulness identified with Christian 
character, and this is true also as regards honest dealing. 
The following statement in one of the annual reports 
of a prominent mission in China indicates a representa- 
tive aspect of Christian influence in the direction of 
moral reform : ''A heathen man was asked whether 
he saw any good points about the Christians. ' Yes/ 
he replied, * there are three things I am bound to 
admire : (i) there is no need to watch our crops around 
their village ; (2) they neither sow, sell, nor swallow 
opium ; (3) they cause little trouble in paying their 
taxes.* *' Here is rare and downright honesty toward 
their neighbours accredited to Chinese Christians, and, 
what is more remarkable, toward their government. 
There is much unanimity in the testimony of mission- 
aries as to the sincerity of native Christians, and their 
moral steadfastness. The message of Christianity 
everywhere in mission fields includes a programme of 
social righteousness, and that many sinful natures 
and disorderly lives are transformed is a result which 
those best acquainted with the facts will unhesitatingly 
corroborate. One of the most brilliant moral qualities 
that can' pertain to a man in Asiatic countries, giving 
him a distinction as rare as it is wonderful, is to be 
known as absolutely truthful and honest. The badge 
of simple truthfulness is by general consent the '' Vic- 
toria Cross '' of morals in the Orient. It becomes a 
social boon everywhere to be able to trust others, to 
feel confident that treachery, duplicity, and deception 
need not be feared, but rather that a sense of honour, 
a respect for obligation, and a devotion to every loyal 
claim, are assured. 

In other respects, as for example the cultivation of 
the physical virtues of cleanHness and neatness, Christi- 
anity has inaugurated socially valuable changes wher- 


ever it has entered. It is almost invariably the case 
that converts mend their ways by banishing unclean- 
ness both from their persons and their surroundings. 
There is hardly a mission field where the Christians 
cannot at once be distinguished from the heathen by 
the attractiveness and wholesomeness of their personal 
appearance. There seems to be a happy magic in 
Christianity to cleanse both within and without. 

The Reconstruction of Family Life and its Attendant 
Blessings to Society. 

3. The story of transformed homes, of elevated 
and purified family life, and of the hallowing of all 
domestic relationships, is one of the most precious 
chapters in missionary history, and, we may add, repre- 
sents also one of the most helpful influences which can 
be consecrated to the promotion of social betterment. 
In the effort to hallow and purify family life we stir 
the secret yearnings of fatherhood and motherhood ; 
we enter the precincts of the home, and take childhood 
by the hand ; we restore to its place of power and win- 
someness in the domestic circle the ministry of woman- 
hood ; and at the same time we strike at some of the 
most despicable evils and desolating wrongs of our 
fallen world. If parental training can be made loving, 
faithful, conscientious, and helpful, if womanhood can 
be redeemed and crowned, if childhood can be guided 
in tenderness and wisdom, if the home can be made a 
place where virtue dwells, and moral goodness is nour- 
ished, we can conceive of no more effective combina- 
tion of invigorating influences for the rehabilitation 
of fallen society. 

If we inquire what missions have done to regenerate 
the family, to purify its moral and disciplinary forces, 
and to make it a nursery of refined social idealism, we 


discover a record of ennobling influence which is indis- 
putable. Woman, as the central figure of the home, 
has been crowned with a dignity which is distinctively 
Christian, and in the home life of Christian communities 
has been delivered from the humiliation and suffering 
incidental to those great historic curses of Oriental 
society, polygamy, concubinage, and easy divorce. 
Child marriage has been either wholly abolished, or 
brought within more reasonable limitations, while the 
social miseries of Oriental widowhood have been 
greatly mitigated. Much has been accomplished to- 
ward the release of woman from those conditions of 
enforced seclusion and minimum privilege which 
traditional custom in the Orient has imposed upon her, 
and all this has been effected not, let it be noted, with 
indiscreet precipitancy, but with wise caution and 
sobriety. Family training and discipline have been 
improved and chastened, and domestic life in its 
practical, everyday aspects has been made more 
refined. It is noticeable that a spirit of tenderness 
has been cultivated in many communities toward help- 
less children, securing their protection, and guarantee- 
ing to them an affectionate guardianship, saving them, 
in some instances, from cruel neglect, or heartless 
destruction, in places where no organized societies 
have been instituted specially to watch over their 

The education of woman is a notable aspect of mission 
influence. The missionary school for girls has been an 
innovation which was at first received with amazement, 
as well as with a certain measure of amused incredulity, 
throughout the Oriental and heathen world. The 
response has been a surprise, and has become a gratify- 
ing social benediction to Oriental society, being now 
recognized as such by those who at first regarded it 


with disfavour. The touch of educated womanhood 
has given an added charm and value to the home life 
of the Orient, and has stimulated a spirit of reform 
toward all that concerns the status of woman in 
Oriental society. The attitude of the Oriental world 
outside of Christian circles has been wonderfully 
changed in its temper and aspirations concerning the 
lot of woman and her social position and privileges. 
A cultured womanhood in India, in China, in Japan, 
and elsewhere, is claiming its place under Christian 
auspices, and is enriching the home life of those coun- 
tries, and extending its influence throughout society, 
as the result of missionary insistence upon the rights 
and privileges which properly belong to womankind. 
The traditional evils which have afflicted the 
domestic life of heathenism have winced under the 
quiet rebuke of the Christian rule of morals. A 
vigorous reform has won its way amid the domestic 
laxity which prevailed even in some of the most 
advanced nations of the Orient. Christianity has 
been resolutely unwilling to compromise with the 
darling sins of the Oriental household, and, while 
governing its protest by tactful and wise self-restraint, 
it has nevertheless insisted on the sacredness of family 
relationships, and on the inflexible code of the Word 
of God in its application to domestic life. There are 
to-day multitudes of homes in Asia and Africa, and 
in the Islands of the Sea, where sanctified affection, 
conscientious fidelity, loving discipline, and refined 
companionship, trace their entrance to missionary 

Transformations which pertain to the Larger Sphere 
of Communal Life, and affect Long-Established 
Social Institutions and Customs. 
4. The uplifting influence of missions is not only 


domestic ; it is tribal, and extends to the communal 
]ife of the people, and in time works revolutionary 
changes in the tone and trend of social development. 
Radical transformations in this larger realm of public 
life and traditional custom cannot be accomplished 
with strident haste and violent aggressiveness, but 
must be brought about slowly, yet no less surely, after 
the usual manner of great social changes. A new 
spirit, almost imperceptibly at first, manifests itself 
in society ; public opinion changes ; old customs, 
time-honoured, but none the less objectionable, are 
modified or abandoned. A better and finer code of 
propriety is instituted ; sweeter ideals gradually win 
their way ; a process of refinement goes on in sen- 
sitive souls ; more gracious desires, higher ambitions, 
and nobler aims, gladden and dominate the spiritual 
natures of men and women. The higher life begins 
to claim the attention of the thoughtful ; the tribal 
heart begins to be agitated with aspirations after 
improvement, and to fix its desires upon the goals of 
culture. Opinions and customs which are in them- 
selves worthy are conserved and accentuated ; con- 
ditions and indulgences that are evil, and ought to 
be abandoned, begin to wane, and to feel the blight 
of contempt and shame. Evils that have been domi- 
nant for centuries, and have darkened the lives of 
unknown millions, are, by common consent, put under 
a ban, and are slowly eradicated, although in many 
instances they make a desperate fight for life. Less 
than a generation ago cruelty reigned in Uganda, 
with the sanction both of its prevailing religion and 
of immemorial customs. Human victims to the evil 
spirits were numbered by the thousand and punish- 
ment by mutilation and torture seemed to be the 
pastime of those in authority. Bishop Tucker relates 


that at the death of Suna, the father of Mtesa, more 
than two thousand human beings were slaughtered, 
in accordance with a ghastly custom of unknown 
antiquity. Christian missions entered Uganda, and 
when the death summons came to Mtesa himself, 
not a single human life was sacrificed. 

The pitiful condition of the low caste population 
of India claims the attention and enlists the ministry 
of the missionary, and a new phase of philanthropy 
and humane civilization enters into Indian history. 
It is attracting the notice of intelligent and thoughtful 
men in the higher castes, who frankly acknowledge 
that the sympathetic friend, and almost the only 
efficient helper of the depressed classes in India is the 
missionary. A few words may be quoted from a 
recent report of the Travancore Census, issued by 
order of the Maharaja, and penned by the Census 
Commissioner, a distinguished Hindu of the Brahman 
caste. He writes : " But for these missionaries these 
humble orders of Hindu society will forever remain 
unraised. Their material condition, I dare say, will 
have improved with the increased wages, improved 
labour market, better laws, and more generous treat- 
ment from an enlightened Government like ours ; 
but to the Christian missionaries belongs the credit 
of having gone to their humble homes, and awakened 
them to a sense of a better earthly existence. TMs 
action of the missionaries was not a mere improve- 
ment upon ancient history, a kind of polishing and 
refining of an existing model, but an entirely original 
idea, conceived and carried out with commendable 
zeal, and oftentimes in the teeth of opposition and 
persecution. I do not refer to the emancipation of 
the slave, or the amelioration of the labourer's con- 
dition ; for these always existed more or less in our 

C.C, H H 


past humane governments. But the heroism of raising 
the low from the slough of degradation and debase- 
ment was an element of civilization unknown to ancient 
India." The same remarkable change is found as 
the result of the Dutch Missions in Celebes, where 
Bishop Brent discovered a splendid object lesson in 
the reformation and civilization of a degraded horde 
of savages, through missionary influence. '' In Mina- 
hassa,*' he writes, '* a hundred years ago the natives 
were headhunting savages ; to-day it would be difficult 
to find anywhere a more orderly and self-respecting 

So, we might run through the list of barbaric and 
bestial customs, and illustrate the magical power of 
mission influence in transforming primitive tribal 
life. A Christian cannibal, we will venture to say, 
cannot be found in Asia or Africa, or amid the old- 
time savagery of the island world. Christianity every- 
where has insisted upon the sacredness of human life, 
and has implanted in the hearts of its followers refined 
instincts, which are sure to turn with disgust from 
the orgies of a cannibal feast. Similar statements 
might be made concerning the taste for inhuman 
sports, or the cruel folly of human sacrifices. Even 
within a generation, ghastly orgies once so well-known 
in that bloody inferno — the hinterland of the African 
West Coast — have disappeared, and its official shambles 
are now in ruins. The shocking ordeals of superstitious 
heathenism have been, with rare exceptions, banished. 
The brutal and cruel punishments of prisoners have 
been mitigated by a more humane code of penal 
administration. With the entrance of the missionary 
has been awakened also a new recognition of duty 
toward the sick, the decrepit, and those enfeebled by 
age, with other helpless and dependent members 


of society, whom it was customary, according to the 
heathen code, either to neglect, or put to death, as 
worthless and burdensome to society. We may visit 
under mission administration homes for the orphans, 
and asylums for the lepers, and here and there refuges 
where tender ministrations are given to the insane, 
the blind, and the deaf and dumb. 

Social changes still more revolutionary in character, 
and of wider scope, can also be clearly traced to mission 
influence. No one can reasonably doubt that to 
missions belongs the credit of initiating the crusade 
against footbinding in China, the culmination of 
which has been the formation of an influential anti- 
footbinding society, conducted under the direction 
of philanthropic foreign residents, supported by intel- 
ligent and progressive Chinese, and eventually issuing 
in an imperial edict, forbidding and banishing the 
custom. As long ago as 1870, the mission schools for 
girls began to contend for unbound feet, and various 
educational organizations and societies, largely under 
missionary auspices, have steadily and successfully 
maintained a determined attitude of antagonism toward 
this foolish and cruel fashion. 

Again, in the anti-opium crusade missions have 
led the van, and have interested themselves, on moral 
and philanthropic grounds, in working for the banish- 
ment of this social curse. Now all China is aroused, 
and the crusade has been fortified by imperial orders, 
aimed at the effective prohibition of the opium habit 
throughout the empire. In May, 1906, twelve hun- 
dred missionaries affixed their signatures to a memorial 
on the subject of opium, which, in the August following, 
was presented to the Imperial Government by the 
venerable Viceroy of Nanking. In September of 
that year the Emperor issued the edict which directs 


that the opium traffic shall cease within ten years, 
and the wording of the document is strikingly similar 
to the phraseology of the memorial. 

The services of missions in the overthrow of the 
slave trade, and the abolition of slavery, in large 
sections of the world, have hardly received the atten- 
tion they deserve. It is within a decade that slavery 
was officially ostracized among the Barotsi, and also 
in Uganda, and in both instances the revolutionary 
reform has been traceable to mission influences. The 
attitude of missions toward caste, to which reference 
has just been made, affords another illustration. 
One of the most inflexible and overmastering social 
tyrannies which the world has ever known, it is not 
to be expected that changes will be wrought, except 
by a long and slow process of disintegration. The 
overthrow of caste by any violent or arbitrary methods 
seems impossible ; yet everywhere the missionary 
has proved himself to be the friend and liberator of 
the Pariah, and especially in Southern India have 
low caste people had opened to them a career of 
advancement, and a hope of social betterment, which 
represent a practical reversal of the immemorial tra- 
ditions cherished by the higher classes, many of whom 
would regard even a sneer as too flattering an atten- 
tion to a despised Pariah. This process has as yet 
touched Indian society only in spots, but it may prove 
to be the beginning of a social change which will 
eventually develop into revolutionary proportions. 

The educational campaign of missions has been 
a direct ministry to the higher nature of backward 
races, having aroused dormant powers of develop- 
ment, quickened the aptitude for progress, given a 
finer tone to life, and created a new atmosphere, in 
which society as a whole develops with an upward, 


aspiring trend. Educational cravings have already 
become a passion in the awakened nations of the East. 
The whole higher life of society has been touched by 
the stimulus given to industrial training by organiza- 
tions for social improvement. The ministry of whole- 
some and instructive literature, including Bible trans- 
lation, has been of inestimable value to races who 
were hardly acquainted with modern knowledge before 
the coming of the missionary. The service of medical 
missions is one of the most romantic chapters in the 
history of human philanthropy. The mitigation of 
the ancient brutalities of war, and the turning of the 
hearts of Christian communities toward the recogni- 
tion of the higher blessings of a peaceable and law- 
abiding social order, may all be traced, in large measure, 
to the power of the missionary evangel. 

The Moulding Power of Missions upon National 

5. Have missions a quickening and formative 
influence upon national life and character? The 
question opens a large and fruitful subject for dis- 
cussion and research. It may be treated both from 
an academic or historical point of view, and from the 
standpoint of practical apologetics. We can readily 
believe that God maintains a sovereign control over 
the historic development of nations in modern as 
well as in ancient times. The Hebrew historians 
described with realistic diction the controlling sove- 
reignty of God among the nations, and in forms of 
speech which made clear their vivid recognition of 
the direct agency of an overruling Providence. The 
modern historian, however devout his mood, may 
not, perhaps, use Biblical formulae, being influenced 
by the dominant idea of theistic evolution now so 


regnant in the philosophy and science of our times ; 
but this does not necessarily indicate any deliberate 
intention on his part to ignore or to banish the idea of 
God's sovereignty, and His supreme guidance of the 
contemporary life of nations. He simply brings his 
trend of thought, together with his literary style and 
terminology, into conformity with prevalent philoso- 
phical theories of the mode and order of divine activi- 
ties as related to historical progress. A new view 
of the divine methods of working requires new forms 
of expression, which, while giving prominence to second- 
ary causes and evolutionary processes, do not rule 
out the First Cause, or make the existence of a supreme 
intelligence any less essential in a true philosophy of 

Christian missions, in their broad and multiform 
results, doubtless have a part to play in the history 
of our times, corresponding closely to that training 
of Old Testament ritual and discipline which can be 
so plainly traced in the calling and governance of 
the Jewish nation. History is, in fact, repeating 
itself. The Old Testament dispensation as a school 
of national life finds, in a measure, its counterpart 
in the activities of modern missions among existing 
nations. Our own Christendom is in a large sense 
mission fruitage, and now Christianity, true to its 
Founder's purpose, is becoming the teacher of all 
nations, in very much the same sense that the ancient 
dispensation was the schoolmaster for the preparation 
of a single elect nation for its place in history. The 
Bible is full of the national life, not only of the Hebrews, 
but of contemporary peoples ; and if a modern Bible 
of mission history could be written by inspired dis- 
cernment we should surely discover the same almighty 
sovereign purpose working for the accomplishment 


of its high designs in the training and destiny of 
modern nations. The ulterior object of missions, 
although not the original or chief incentive to their 
prosecution, is to prepare men and women to be 
better members of human society, and more helpful 
participants in the social and national development 
of the generation to which they belong — it being 
understood that the most effective method of accom- 
plishing this is to bring them as individuals into right 
relations to God and His law. The attainment of 
this object implies a steady advance toward a higher 
national life, and a fuller preparedness of the people 
to be clothed upon with the fresh, new garments of a 
cultured civilization. 

The future of nations is therefore in a very real 
sense marked out and determined by the reception 
they give to missionary agencies, and the ascendency 
which Christian ideals attain in their individual and 
social development. The '* principle of projected 
efficiency,*' so emphasized by Mr. Benjamin Kidd, 
is an excellent formula for the larger utility and help- 
ful tendency of missions in social and national evolu- 
tion. That projected potency which works for the 
future building up of nations is embodied in missionary 
activities. To any one pessimistically inclined, who 
has some knowledge of Oriental nations, it may seem 
to be a practically hopeless undertaking to lead them 
to appreciate and strive after the finer ideals of Chris- 
tian cultivation. It is just in this connexion that the 
lessons of history are pertinent and incontrovertible. 
Teutonic culture and Anglo-Saxon civilization — let 
us not forget it — have developed from the fierce tem- 
per and barbaric social code of the earlier races of 
Northern Europe. Thus, along this road of slow 
and painful advance, nations now exemplifying the 


highest social refinement of the age have already 
walked, and others will in due time follow in their 
footsteps. The Japan, the Korea, the China, and 
the India of to-day, as compared with the status of 
those same nations a generation or two ago, are exam- 
ples of an Oriental Christendom in the making. Faith 
based not only on the promises of God, but upon visible 
historical precedent, may rest assured of this, but 
there must be patience while the " increasing purpose " 
of the centuries is being realized. 

Questions which are identified with the national 
life of a people pertain to such matters as the form 
of government, the establishment and enjoyment of 
civil rights and privileges, the conduct of politics, 
the enactments of legislation, and their administra- 
tion as law, the personnel of public service, the adjust- 
ment of international relationships, and the defence 
of the State. In connexion with such questions the 
influence of Christianity need not be revolutionary 
in order to be helpful. It may exercise a transforming 
and guiding power which will lead a nation by easy 
stages of progress out of comparative barbarism into 
the heritage of modern culture. In many respects 
Eastern nations left to themselves in isolation, depend- 
ent upon their own resources, had reached, probably, 
their natural limit in the progress toward a higher 
civilization. If there was to be further advance, 
some outside help was seemingly essential. This 
might come as a gift from without, or, as in the case 
of Japan, it might be largely self-sought, and assimi- 
lated with an intelligent recognition of its value. It 
need not necessarily denationalize them, but should 
rather shape their further development in harmony 
with national characteristics. 

In this connexion the influence of Christian mis- 


sions has been both timely, and, to a remarkable 
degree, adapted to this higher ministry. The unique 
part which each nation has to play in human history, 
and the special contribution of service which it is to 
render in the interests of world civilization, will lose 
none of their distinctive features through the entrance 
of the leaven of a common Christianity. In this age 
of the world, nations can no longer remain isolated, 
or live a separate, exclusive life, out of touch with the 
rest of mankind. International relationships are al- 
ready world-embracing. Missions, therefore, in so 
far as they contribute to the moulding of the national 
life of peoples whose historic development seems to 
have been hitherto arrested, are a factor in shaping 
and furthering the world's international amenities. 
It is by no means a matter of indifference to Christen- 
dom what kind of a nation Japan is to be ; it is, in 
fact, a question of absorbing interest and deep moment. 
China is already an important factor in the sphere 
of international politics. The whole East is stirred 
with a new life, and points of contact with the out- 
side world are fast multiplying. The service which 
missions have thus far rendered among these different 
peoples in preparing them for creditable entrance 
into these wider relationships is of higher value than 
is generally recognized. 

The missionary programme not alone in its evan- 
gelistic and ethical impact, but in its broader educa- 
tional discipline, in its literary culture, its uplifting 
character, and its more intelligent outlook upon his- 
tory and practical politics, gives a certain tone and 
direction to national life and progress. It trains 
better men for government service, and thus has an 
influence in the improvement of administrative methods. 
Out of six Moslem incumbents recently appointed 


to high positions in the Punjab Government, it is 
significant that five of them were educated at the 
Forman Christian College of the American Presby- 
terian Mission at Lahore. It aids in the adoption of 
wiser and better laws, and in the reformation, and, 
where needed, the humanizing of the judicial pro- 
ceedings. As nations or tribes become enlightened 
they begin to appreciate the true meaning and value 
of liberty, to cherish more intelligent ideals of patriot- 
ism, to form new conceptions of the dignity and 
responsibility of national life, and to play their part 
with honour, when occasion requires, in international 
affairs. Loftier standards of public service, and more 
intelligent recognition of the import and value of 
international and interracial relationships take their 
place in a growing civic consciousness. This influence 
of missions upon national life may not be so apparent 
to an outside observer as other results more easily 
discerned, but it is real, and to one who can obtain 
a comparative historical view of the growth of the 
body politic it will soon discover itself. It requires 
a discerning historic insight for us to trace the lines 
of Christian influence in the development of the nations 
of Christendom, but no one doubts that Christendom 
as a whole, in its national as well as social outcome, 
has been in certain important respects the product 
of Christianity. 

The awakening of China, the progress of Japan, 
the development of Korea, the evolution of a new 
India, the establishment of constitutional government 
in Turkey, can never be historically treated without 
giving a large meed of credit to missions. '' The awak- 
ening of China,'* remarked Tuan Fang while on his 
recent visit to America, '' may be traced in no small 
measure to the hands of the missionaries. They have 


borne the light of Western civiUzation to every nook 
and corner of the Empire." A single glance at the 
literature of the new era in China, issued under mis- 
sionary auspices, reveals the instructive and forceful 
bearing of the literary campaign of missions upon 
the rapidly changing tendencies of national life. 
China has been put to school to study the encyclo- 
paedia of modern knowledge, and learn the secrets 
of the historic growth and development of Christen- 
dom from the literature which missionaries have 
provided. After the Renaissance came the Refor- 
mation ; will history repeat itself in the Far East ? 

The Economic and Commercial Value of Missions. 

6. It is a fair question to ask whether commerce 
is in any sense historically indebted to missions ? 
The debt of missions to commerce, however, need not 
be minimized. The earliest Christian missions fol- 
lowed the great trade routes of the world, and since 
the age of steam and electricity missionaries have 
looked to commerce as their means of transport, and 
as affording them many alleviations in their exile 
from home. Whatever evils and sins may be justly 
charged to commerce, they are not essentially identi- 
fied with it, and its nobler spirit, as well as its more 
honourable methods, may be regarded as both favour- 
able and serviceable to the work of the missionary. 
On the other hand, it can be easily demonstrated 
that missions have proved helpful to commerce by 
broadening the world's markets, swelling the ranks 
of both the consumer and the producer, and enlarging 
the range of both supply and demand. It is not too 
much to say that the increasing opportunities of inter- 
national commerce are due in part to the cooperation 
of missions by reason of their influence in removing 


hindrances to an entrance among native races, and in 
promoting to some extent an interchange of outgoing 
and incoming commodities. 

Progressive native races invite commerce, and 
offer ever enlarging scope to its activities. Educa- 
tion gives an inquiring outward vision to provincial 
minds, and calls for the best the world can bring to 
it of the material facilities and industrial achieve- 
ments of the higher civilizations. The services of the 
missionary as a pioneer explorer, and a promoter of 
industrial advance, have been useful to commerce. 
The merchant often reaps a harvest in trade where 
the missionary has previously sown the seeds of ethical 
and social transformation. In this general sense the 
making of a broader and finer national life is the guar- 
antee of enlarged commercial intercourse ; while, 
on the other hand, commercial wealth and prosperity 
without moral stamina and political integrity will 
inevitably work for the downfall of a nation. A study 
of the growth of trade in the countries of the Far 
East will show that it has generally been contempora- 
neous with missionary progress, which has manifestly 
had a part to play — not often conspicuous, indeed, 
but no less real — ^in its promotion and development. 
The ethical influence of missions has been helpful to 
commerce by its insistence upon high moral standards, 
by its training in matters of good faith and moral 
rectitude, by its suggestions, at least among mission 
constituencies, of improved financial methods, and 
by a measure of indirect stimulus to trade with the 
outer world, while at the same time creating a demand 
for the conveniences and facilities of modern civilization. 

The missionary convert is recognized as the advo- 
cate and exemplar of new standards of business honesty. 
Integrity is acknowledged as a Christian obligation. 


A new code of market-day morals has been introduced, 
and incitements to frugality and provident habits 
have been one of the practical lessons of the missionary 
to his native friends and followers. In many fields 
he has been instrumental in establishing Savings 
Banks, and in initiating Provident Funds, with a 
view to rescuing converts from the temptations and 
dangers of debt. Livingstone's " open path for com- 
merce ** in Africa has produced phenomenal changes 
in the economic development of a large section of 
that vast continent, and almost everywhere among 
savage races missionary pioneering has resulted in 
an open door for trade with the outer world. Mission 
outposts among dangerous and savage tribes have 
marked the line which separates safety from peril to 
the trader, and have differentiated the sphere of trade 
from the regions of rapine and barbarity. The im- 
mense possibilities of commerce in the Far East give 
a special significance to the acknowledged influence 
of missions in stimulating trade intercourse with 
hitherto closed regions in that part of the world. 
Missionaries have, moreover, been instrumental in 
many fields in the development of neglected resources 
of the soil, and in introducing improved facilities, 
both agricultural and industrial. Mackay in his 
busy workshop in Uganda was the pioneer of the 
present ** Uganda Company, Limited," and a similar 
statement may be made of missionary initiative in 
the '* Papuan Industries, Limited," and other indus- 
trial ventures in mission fields. A close study of the 
political and commercial value of missions will award 
them a far more prominent place in the activities of the 
modern world than we have been accustomed to 
assign to them. It behoves Christendom to give 
attention to this fact. Expansion as an imperial 


policy should not be along military lines alone, nor 
should it be inspired exclusively by political and 
economic designs ; much less should it be with a view 
merely to commercial exploitation. Christian mer- 
chants and men of affairs may justly regard missions 
as an ally of commerce, and an agency of high value 
in the promotion of mutually advantageous trade 

The Social Significance of Reformed Standards of 
Religious Faith and Practice. 

7. Is the social life of non-Christian races uplifted 
and made more salutary by an evangelical reform- 
ation of religious faith and practice ? In answering 
this question we should not ignore or minimize all 
that is socially valuable and morally commendable 
in the ethical incitements and restraints of non-Christian 
faiths. In several respects we may find their influence 
to be worthy of respect and conservation. It is safe 
to say, however, that every admirable and morally 
wholesome tendency of the social code of ethnic faiths 
is likewise endorsed and nourished by the influence 
of Christianity ; while in this connexion it may be 
well also to recognize the fact that there are certain 
social features more or less condoned and upheld in 
Western nations which are not traceable to Christian 
instincts and tastes, and which missionary teachers 
have no desire to introduce and perpetuate elsewhere. 

Interesting subjects for discussion are suggested 
in this connexion by such questions as the following : 
What social effects of value may be expected from a 
more spiritual conception of religion than is usual 
amid the formalities of ethnic faiths ? What results 
of an elevating character may a community hope for 
which has succeeded in breaking with idolatry ? 


What general progress may come from the overthrow 
of superstition ? What pubUc benefits may result 
from a more intimate association of a pure morality 
with devout heart religion ? What measure of social 
uplift may be secured by a high order of religious leader- 
ship ? What beneficial effects may be expected to 
accompany the establishment of religious liberty, 
and the suppression of the persecuting spirit ? And, 
finally, what happy results may accrue in the social 
life of the home and the community from a faithful 
and cheerful observance of one day in seven as a 
Sabbath of rest and religious culture ? 

The perils of formalism are recognized by all stu- 
dents of the religious progress of the race, and no one 
can doubt that it detracts seriously from the social 
value of religion. It deadens the moral perceptions 
of the individual member of society, so that his example 
to others, who quickly detect externalism, becomes 
profitless, if not wholly inoperative, and the incentive 
which attaches to sincerity and heart fervour is either 
wanting, or leads in the wrong direction. '* If, there- 
fore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great 
is that darkness ! *' is the scriptural monition in all 
such cases. The Gospel quickens the spiritual per- 
ceptions, and guides men into a more adequate com- 
prehension of what religion should mean to humanity. 
It gives a joyous and hopeful outlook to Hfe, guides 
the conscience aright, resists the tendencies of pessi- 
mism, opens the door of usefulness, and restores, as 
it were, a character to manhood which is of public 
value. Is it not plain that the character of a spiritual 
Christian is a valuable asset of society, his example 
a power for good, his kindness of heart a benediction, 
his missionary zeal a leaven in the social lump, and 
his life itself an evangel ? . 


The decline of idolatry assuredly opens another 
vista of social advance. The waning of the worship 
of idols lifts a national and racial peril, which tends 
irresistibly in the direction of degeneracy, and, if 
persiste'd in, must result in moral captivity, sorrow, 
and demoralization. The idolatrous world of to-day 
is no exception to this law of social deterioration, 
which has worked inexorably through all ages, and 
will continue so to do as long as man clings to the 
worship of what is beneath him in the scale of creation, 
thus humihating his manhood, and forfeiting his 
standing in the ranks of God's nobler creatures. The 
dominance of idolatry works in many ways to the 
detriment of society. It is costly, and involves an 
enormous economic waste, without adequate or help- 
ful return. It imposes needless suffering upon multi- 
tudes through their vain dependence upon the assumed 
healing power of a graven image. In seasons of pes- 
tilence and calamity the thoughts of whole communi- 
ties are turned toward the dumb, unresponsive idols, 
believing them to have the power of intervention and 
relief. It becomes, therefore, a beneficent ministry, 
as well as an imperative duty, for Christian missions 
to endeavour, with all kindness and tact, yet with 
loving firmness, to discredit idolatry and to lead 
men to the more rational worship of the true God. 
Testimony from every section of the mission world 
indicates that the reign of the idol is waning, and 
that men are becoming manlier, and women nobler, 
because of the passing of its deadly sway. 

Superstition, like idolatry, is a social incubus, and 
for similar reasons. It involves the same tendency 
to useless expense, amounting to scores of millions 
annually. It implies the same vain struggles, the 
same blind gropings, the same debasing fears, the 


same cruel devices, and the same misguided efforts 
to meet the problems, anxieties, and emergencies of 
life, with only wasteful and worthless remedial expe- 
dients. There is no more pitiful and depressing 
spectacle than to witness the impotent appeals and 
the futile sacrifices — many of them costly and horri- 
fying — to which the deluded victims of superstition 
resort, in order to escape impending perils, and to 
secure deliverance from present calamities. The spec- 
tral throng of demons seems to haunt the imagination 
of the victim of superstitious delusions. The wiles 
of sorcery, and the often cruel decrees of masters of 
the Black Arts, not only are regarded as law to be 
implicitly obeyed, but they represent, as a rule, the 
last hope of despairing souls. To the fraudulent, 
haphazard diagnosis and quack treatment of these 
wizards of sin many of the most important and vital 
interests of life are submitted. Can any one doubt 
that these besetments of superstition involve an 
incalculable social injury wherever they hold sway, 
and that their debasing power where the best interests 
of society are concerned is literally beyond estimate ? 
The witch-doctor may assume almost any role of 
criminal attack upon society which his puerile ignorance 
or knavish design may suggest. The attempt to pre- 
vent or cure disease by superstitious means deprives 
a community of the advantage of sane and scientific 
ministrations. In the same misguided fashion false 
and ruinous judgments are pronounced concerning 
the secrets of success and prosperity, when the real 
credit should be accorded to commendable diligence, 
faithfulness, and capacity. It follows, therefore, that 
the man who by the proper use of means has achieved 
success becomes at once an object of unjust suspicion, 
and malicious evil is quickly plotted against him, on 
CO. I I 


the ground that it is only by the aid of the spirits that 
he has been able to surpass others. He is thus sum- 
marily condemned as an enemy of society, in league 
with demons, so that disaster, and perhaps death, 
are considered but his rightful deserts. 

In every mission field — we may say it without 
hesitation — the break with superstition is constantly 
growing more pronounced and uncompromising. In 
many places — even amid the darkest African environ- 
ment — we may read of souls set free, and enabled to 
effect a final breach with the dismal and enslaving 
past, culminating often in the burning of charms, the 
destruction of fetiches, and the stout-hearted, resolute 
casting out of the whole brood of unseemly errors. 
Men and women breathe more freely, and life is bright- 
ened with new hopes, while in thousands of communi- 
ties the dread visit of the witch-doctor has been 
exchanged for the gentle evangel of the messenger 
of Christ. The distressing terrors of superstitious 
fears give place to the calm trustfulness, the cheering 
assurance, and the orderly peacefulness of a Christian 
community. The whole spirit and atmosphere of 
society can thus be transformed by the freedom and 
joy of an abiding hope in Christ. Communities 
hitherto demon-ridden may sit clothed and in their 
right mind, under the protecting care of the all-loving 
and all-powerful God, who becomes their *' refuge 
and strength, a very present help in trouble." 

It is also an essential feature of the missionary 
programme to bring about in every community those 
wholesome social results which follow the association 
of morality with religion. Missionary instruction, 
whether religious or educational, may be regarded 
in all its bearings upon moral standards as unreservedly 
committed to the advocacy and defence of the moral 


code. That this struggle toward the goal of morality 
as inseparably identified with religion is producing 
hopeful results in mission lands cannot be doubted. 
Testimony to this effect is to be found in the Report 
of the recent " South African Commission on Native 
Affairs.'* The Commission was appointed in 1903, 
and its Report was published in 1905, under the title 
of '* The Natives of South Africa," followed in 1909 
by a supplemental volume, entitled " The South 
African Natives.'* In the Report of 1905 the influence 
and necessity of religion as an incentive to good morals 
is strongly advocated, and it is stated that *' the 
weight of evidence is in favour of the improved morality 
of the Christian section of the population,'' while it is 
further asserted that " there appears to be in the native 
mind no inherent incapacity to apprehend the truths 
of Christian teaching, or to adopt Christian morals 
as a standard." Christianity is declared to be one 
great element for the civilization of the natives, and 
the Commission is of the opinion that regular moral 
and religious instruction should be given in all native 
schools. It can be clearly demonstrated from the 
criminal records of native society in South Africa 
that only an infinitesimal percentage of those who 
are connected with Christian Churches is convicted 
of crime. It was stated in a recent Church Council 
that the proportion in Natal was only four per cent., 
and, according to the testimony of Mr. H. H. Pritchard, 
Public Prosecutor of Boksburg, out of 13,000 natives 
convicted there of offences against the law, ranging 
from being without passes to the crime of murder, 
only four were in the membership of one or other 
of the native Churches. 

The supplemental volume of 1909 contains (page 
229) this important testimony : ** One thing is clear. 


The results achieved by the missionaries of the various 
Churches show that by reUgious and moral training 
and education adapted to his needs and capacities, 
the native can be fitted to fill a place of great useful- 
ness in the community. He can be raised to higher 
levels of living. He can be disciplined in habits 
of independence and self-control. But the work of 
the missionaries needs general recognition and sup- 

So also moraUty in India, China, and Japan is 
being recognized as a necessity in a true and wholesome 
life. There is much ethical discontent at present in 
Japan. The standards of Christian morality are 
attracting thoughtful attention, and exacting in some 
instances the most respectful and even reverent 
admiration from the leaders of national thought. It 
is being frankly acknowledged among Japanese patriots 
that the morals of Christianity are needed in Japan 
as well as elsewhere. Exemplary religious leader- 
ship is also a public benefit which missionary success 
brings to society. Pastor Hsi's name is fragrant in 
the Churches of Christendom wherever his biography, 
by Mrs. Howard Taylor, has been read. He repre- 
sents hundreds among Chinese Christians of like 
character and devotion. Dr. Neesima has been hon- 
oured and loved in the West almost as much as in 
his own country, and a throng of noble Japanese 
pastors, philanthropists, and educators have followed 
in his steps. Dr. Imad-ud-Din — preacher, scholar, and 
author — of India, and a long list of men of devout 
character and sterling worth, as well as of sincerely 
pious women, whose lives have been a power in all 
sections of the country, give added lustre to the 
Christian leadership of the Indian Churches. The 
Rev. Boon Boon-Itt, whose recent decease is so deeply 


lamented, was a '' crown of rejoicing*' in Siam. Pao, 
the " Apostle of Lifu," one of the Loyalty Islands, 
may be justly regarded as an evangelist of heroic 
type. The native preachers and teachers in New 
Guinea, gathered largely from among the converts 
of the South Sea Islands, have been men and women 
of courageous spirit and lofty faith. Bishop Crowther 
may be counted as a typical man of God amid the 
African darkness. Numerous pastors, teachers, and 
evangelists, of fine record in other African mission 
fields, including Madagascar, might be named in this 
list of worthy religious leaders. There have been 
many native women, also, who have served in various 
missions as teachers, visitors, and Bible-women, with 
signal credit to the Christian name. 

The promotion of religious liberty is another 
ennobUng social result of the missionary propaganda. 
The persecuting spirit has long been a relentless foe 
to the social peace and happiness of mankind. Untold 
misery has been inflicted upon human society through 
the workings of religious tyranny, which has proved 
itself one of the most subtle and resistless instruments 
of injustice and cruelty that, in various ways, and 
under different auspices, has tortured the race. It 
is only by slow and painful struggles that religious 
freedom has been attained in certain favoured por- 
tions of the earth. Even the lessons of a generous 
tolerance in religious opinion and practice have been 
learned by many with more or less reluctance, and in 
some instances only after bitter conflicts, bringing 
in their train much distress and suffering. 

In connexion with the entrance and work of the 
missionary, and no doubt, in a measure, in response 
to his influence and the beneficent trend of his enter- 
prise, a great and marvellous change has come about 


in the attitude of many foreign states toward religious 
liberty. Credit should be given, however, in this 
connexion, and that generously, to the political 
influence of Western power, as embodied either in 
their colonial administration, or in their treaty pro- 
visions, which has secured immunity from reUgious 
persecution on the part of Asiatic or African states. 
This is well, and a cause for thanksgiving, but its 
effectiveness after all depends largely upon the courage 
and energy with which these public guarantees are 
guarded by the foreign powers. It may be noted 
with gratitude, however, that in India, Burma, Uganda, 
and elsewhere under British rule, as well as in almost 
all the Native Feudatory States of India, and in Siam, 
under her enlightened ruler, there is recognized free- 
dom of conscience. This is also notably true in Japan, 
since the voluntary withdrawal, in 1873, of the Edicts 
against Christianity, and the promulgation of the 
Constitution in 1889, with its famous Twenty-eighth 
Article granting full religious liberty. It should 
never be forgotten that to Verbeck, an American 
missionary of the Reformed Church, as much as to 
any other one man, the establishment of religious 
liberty in Japan is due. Not that this fact is for- 
mally and officially on record in Japanese history, 
but rather that it may be credited to him as the result 
of his unofficial influence and steady advocacy of the 
principle of religious liberty, during the entire period 
of his contact with the Japanese authorities in the 
formative era which shaped to such a momentous 
extent the future of the empire. The Japanese them- 
selves are now discovering that at the time of their 
great national transformation Verbeck was an inspira- 
tion, a guide, and a prophet, in one of the most stren- 
uous periods of their history. On the day of his funeral 


a remark of a Christian Japanese layman was over- 
heard, to the effect that : ''To this man alone we 
Japanese are indebted for the religious liberty we 
enjoy to-day/* 

The benign provision of the Sabbath as a day of 
rest and religious privilege has been carefully guarded 
and conserved by missions. The " Japan Sabbath 
Alliance/' constituted in 1902, is creating a public 
interest in behalf of a becoming respect for Sunday. 
In India, also, there are organizations whose object 
is to safeguard the Sabbath as a sacred rather than a 
secular day. The " Lord's Day Union " of Calcutta, 
and the " Lord's Day Observance Committee " of 
Madras, are examples. Thus, in various mission 
fields, in spite of difficulties and hindrances, the Lord's 
Day is honoured in native Christian communities, 
and the social as well as the religious life of converts 
has become in this respect exemplary and creditable. 
Only one who has lived amid the turmoil, confusion, 
and noisy business activity of the non-Christian 
Sabbath, can fully appreciate the quiet dignity, the 
peaceful calm, and the charming social uplift which 
the introduction of the Christian Sabbath, with its 
privileges and the hallowing power of its sanctity, 
brings into a community where it is gladly and cheer- 
fully observed. 

We may say in conclusion that the outstanding 
need of the world just now is the exaltation of religion 
to its proper place, as the controlling and guiding 
force in the entire life of man — individual, social, 
national, and international. We would not hesitate 
to add also, as a suitable and even necessary corollary 
of this attitude toward religion, the recognition of 
Christianity as a divinely appointed and supremely 
efficacious ministry to the higher nature of man, em- 


bodying the noblest rule of righteousness for the 
practical guidance of his life, with Christ Himself as 
its central figure, combining in His exalted personality 
the supreme fact of an Incarnation, and the com- 
passionate mission of a Saviour. 

The study of social phenomena, especially in their 
ethical relationships, without due attention to a 
supernatural revelation, or rather without taking 
into consideration religious influences from a higher 
source than man's immediate environment, is like 
the study of plant life without reference to the sun, 
or the investigation of astronomical and meteorological 
phenomena while ignoring the solar system. Some 
light, no doubt, may be obtained, but it will be only 
dim, partial, and inadequate, as compared with the 
clearer vision which a more inclusive survey will 
give. The basic moralities, and the uplifting spiritual 
tendencies, of a truly helpful social code will be found 
in the last analysis to be given from above, rather 
than evolved from beneath. 


Modern Scientific and Philosophical Thought 
Regarding Human Society 

By henry JONES, M.A., LL.D., Professor of Moral 
Philosophy in the University of Glasgow. 


I. Much Confusion of Thought exists regarding the Value of Scientific or 

Philosophic Theories of Human Society, but some things stand out clear 
amidst the Confusion : (i) It is too soon to speak of a science or philoso- 
phy of Human Sciences ; (2) Practice must precede Theory ; yet 
(3) Moral and Social Sciences are not helpless ; (4) Society progresses 
by Reflexion ; (5) such Reflexion is not exclusively philosophical ; (6) 
Difference between " ordinary " " scientific " and " philosophic " 
consciousness is over-accentuated ; (7) Philosophy and Ordinary 
Reflexion are rooted on the same general Experience ; (8) The Contri- 
bution of Philosophical Thought needs to be valued more accurately. 

II. The Contrast between Scientific and Philosophical Thought regarding 

Human Society and Christian Thought is Injurious to Both, for (i) 
Authoritative Rehgious Truth cannot suffer from examination ; 
(2) Intellect and Emotion must not be divorced in the field of Social 
Science : and (3) Christianity is wronged in being distinguished from the 
purpose of science and philosophy or denied the use of their methods, 
results and spirit. 

III. Christianity is not identical with any Special Theory of Social and 

Political Life, and our conceptions of Citizenship are due to Greece and 
Rome, and not to the Hebrews. 

IV. While too much value cannot be attributed to the Ideals of Christianity 

they are practical hypotheses that gain as well as give meaning in 
being applied, (i) The splendour of the Christian ideals lies in the great- 
ness of their promise ; but (2) the hfe that reveals it must be experi- 
enced and (3) the significance of the conception native to Christianity 
has been only slowly discerned by poets and philosophers. {4) The 
same service is being done by science and philosophy in regard to 
human society. (5) Hence the Christian Ideals must be placed in 
the context of the ordinary world. 

V. Philosophy appears when some form of civilization has grown old. (i) Its 

primary function is to be a witness to the unity of the world, and the 
wholeness of life, (2) To-day the task of scientific and philosophic 
thought is to teach the implication of man in mankind, of mankind in 
man, and of nature in both. (3) In endeavouring to substitute one 
metaphor for another, that of society as an organism for society as a 
machine, it is not only recognizing a principle, but seeking to follow 
out its consequences. (4) It insists that rights can be claimed only 
on the ground of the performance of duties, for bankruptcy lies in 
the way of claiming the one and neglecting the other. {5) The attempt 
might be made to gain rights without accepting duties, but this is not 
likely, for the acquisition of power generally teaches the use of it, 
and the Christian ideals will right themselves after every trial, provided 
they are trusted. 


Modern Scientific and Philosophical Thought 
Regarding Human Society 

There is much confusion of opinion regarding the 
value of scientific or philosophic theories of Human 
Society. We do not know with any precision what to 
expect from them in the way of practical guidance. 
We are divided between mistrust of abstract theorizing 
and our clear consciousness of the efficacy of systematic 
thought in other provinces. We can hardly maintain 
that ignorance of social laws brings no risks, or deny 
that mere empiricism in politics, which finds the right 
way by exhausting the possibilities of error, is a very 
expensive method. On the other hand we are not 
prepared to take the advice of Plato and make our 
philosophers kings — if we could find them — or our kings 
philosophers. We do not know how either to accept 
or to reject the pretensions of the political theorist, 
nor what value to set upon his contributions. And I 
am not sure that we do not sometimes accept what 
we should reject, and reject what we should lay to 

But there are one or two things which stand out 
clear amidst the confusion. 

In the first place, it is too soon to speak of a science 



or philosophy of human society. It has not come as 
yet. There is no theory which commands or has a 
claim to general acceptance. " Principles taken upon 
trust, conclusions tamely deduced from them, want 
of coherence in the parts and of evidence in the 
whole " — the well-known plaint of David Hume, applies 
in this province. Not that human society is devoid of 
its own essential structure and functions. There are 
conditions without which it could not arise, or main- 
tain itself. Human Society is the expression, and, by 
far the fullest expression, of human nature, and is as 
much subject to laws. But our accounts of them differ. 
There are many theories of the origin and nature of 
human society and, at best, only one of them is correct. 
Political philosophy at present is very much in the 
condition of the science of biology before Darwin. Its 
votaries are accumulating data ; there is much observ- 
ation of social phenomena and we are rich in " Re- 
ports." But the architectonic principles that shall 
give systematic coherence to these data, and set free 
their significance, have not emerged. Our reflexions 
upon social phenomena are tentative, hypothetical 
and sporadic. The sciolists have all the confidence. 
Men who have some sense of the severity of the scientific 
or of the negative dynamism of the philosophic method 
have only hope. They find the path of systematic 
thought much^obstructed in this region. It is not easy 
to be dispassionate, or to strike the personal equation 
in social matters. Human society is very complex; 
it comprises the premisses and all the conclusions of 
man's interaction with his fellows and with his natural 
environment. It is the expression of endlessly numer- 
ous and diverse passions and warring purposes ; and 
all of these are in constant process of change. It is 
never the same at different epochs ; history repeats 


itself, but never accurately. The changes in the 
structure of society are all organic, for it is a living 
thing : and all organic changes travel through and 
modify the whole structure. 

In the second place, there is a very real sense in 
which practice must precede theory. The meaning 
of an action is never clear nor full till after it is done : 
we must see how it interacts with its context and await 
the issue. Hegel, who did not want speculative bold- 
ness and who has done more towards social philosophy 
than any other writer except Plato and Aristotle, warns 
the philosopher away from the didactic method. 
Philosophy comes too late to say how the world* 'ought 
to go." The fact must come before the theory : stars 
and planets before astronomy : the moral and social 
world before moral and social philosophy. *' Philo- 
sophy gathers up the meaning of a civilization which 
is growing old : it comes out, like the owl of Minerva, 
in the evening twilight.'' 

But if the moral and social sciences can never be 
predictive in the way in which natural science can fore- 
tell the tides, it does not follow that they are helpless. 
Society changes because it is permanent. It is ** immor- 
tal through generation,'* to use the phrase of Plato. 
''There is an immortal principle in the mortal crea- 
ture." There are conditions without which no society 
can come to be or prosper ; and we are not ignorant of 
all of them. The vast experimentation of human 
history has not been void of results. 

Tradition is continuous and cumulative, and society 
progresses, were it only in the poor sense that it is be- 
coming more complex and that both its evils and good 
are on a larger scale. This takes place through re- 
flexion, by which the lessons of the past are extracted, 
and it is the special business of philosophy to reflect 


— to turn the mind inwards or backwards upon its 
own operations and results. 

But it is an error to attribute such reflexion ex- 
clusively to philosophy : just as it is to think that babes 
and sucklings are wise because they are babes and suck- 
hngs. Philosophy suffers detriment from being dis- 
tinguished too abruptly from ordinary experience. 
When the philosopher is about to speak, men are apt 
to strike an attitude, not always reverential. He is 
supposed to lack the experience of ordinary men, as 
if he did not feel when pinched, or ginger were not hot 
in his mouth ; and he is supposed also to be more in- 
different to the teachings of experience. Does he not 
employ a peculiar method of his own, moving to his 
results along an d priori road ; and does he not delight 
in abstractions ? He is very well-meaning and estim- 
able, in his own transcendental way, but is he not a 
somewhat poor judge of the shadows of the cave and 
an unpractical guide in the business of living ? The 
man of the world turns a deaf ear to the theorist, 
quite unconscious that in rejecting the theories of his 
contemporaries he is the victim of the theories of their 
predecessors. But Naaman, the practical politician, 
never does listen to Elisha the prophet. " Are not 
Abana and Pharphar better than all the waters of 
Israel ? May I not wash in them, and be clean ? *' 

How far the theorist is himself responsible for the 
impression he has made I do not know. The philo- 
sopher is certainly a charlatan if he puts on airs ; for 
no one should know better how vast is the ocean and 
how small is his boat. But the difference between ** the 
ordinary,'' " the scientific '' and " the philosophic 
consciousness " has been over-accentuated. After all 
there is only one way of knowing. All minds 
have the same essential structure and perform, more 


or less successfully, the same functions. There is no 
difference between thinking and thinking, except in 
persistence and thoroughness. No one neglects facts 
— not even the philosopher : and no one takes them as 
they stand — not even the most sturdy member of the 
common-sense school. There is no d priori method, 
for there is no thinking without premisses ; and even 
abstractions are extracted from '* facts *' and from 
nowhere else. The philosopher is the brother of the 
ordinary man ; and even the latter cannot get at '' facts " 
without considerable thinking ; for, unfortunately, facts 
are not ** given " unless they are ** taken '' ; and if their 
meaning is in them, it has to be apprehended. 

Furthermore, both philosophy and ordinary re- 
flexion at any period have their roots in the same general 
experience. We are all alike the vehicles of traditional 
conceptions and social customs. Society forms us, 
and its beliefs and habits enter into the very constitu- 
tion of our minds, long before we can react upon them 
in the way of criticism. So that, in truth, it is society 
which criticizes itself in us, producing us for that end 
that its wisdom may ripen through the spirits which it 
educates. The philosopher differs from his neighbours 
only in that his reaction is more deliberate and purposive. 
So far from deriving pre-eminence from his singularity, 
it can come only by his entering more fully into the 
common traditions. To become the teacher of his 
times he must learn from his times, and be their fore- 
most pupil. He will be the more effective critic and 
reformer, the more ardent his discipleship. I should be 
inclined to estimate the value of a philosophic theory 
by its affinity to the general thought of its time, 
although sometimes it has to wait a little for recog- 
nition, especially if, like Carlyle's Sartor, it appears in 
a strange garb. It is a strong presupposition in favour 


of a philosophic theory that it is in essential accord 
with the spirit of the period in which it flourishes. 

There is no better indication of the value of 
Modern Idealism, for instance, than that it cannot 
pride itself upon its uniqueness. The main conceptions 
it would demonstrate and apply find expression in the 
music of our great poets ; they inspire much of our 
religious teaching, and they are even working blindly 
in the practical efforts of our social reformers and 
statesmen. The theory of Hegel differs from that of 
Locke and Hume not more than the poetry of Goethe 
or Wordsworth from that of Pope and Swift, or the 
social and political life of our day from that of the age 
of Fielding. And it differs in the same way. The 
world is too intensely practical a place not to make use 
of great thoughts : and is not much interested in the 
garb of him who utters them. 

If this affinity between philosophical and all other 
thinking were more clearly recognized its contribu- 
tions would be valued more accurately. We should 
listen first to the reflexions which carry our own best 
thoughts just a stage further. We should be less con- 
fident of the value'of reforms which involve violent de- 
partures from our present ways of life. We should 
discover, once more, that the true prophet comes not 
to destroy but to fulfil. The stars in their courses fight 
for him, because he has made out the paths they were 
travelling upon ; and he hitches his projects to the best 
tendencies of his time. 

Amongst the contrasts which most call for examin- 
ation in these days is that between scientific or 
philosophic thought regarding human society, and 
what is called Christian thought. The contrast is 
generally drawn in favour of the latter ; but I think 
it misleading and mischievous. It injures both, and 


the latter most of all. The authority of Christianity 
is pledged to unripe and unsound causes, and it is 
implicated in social projects for which it cannot be 
held responsible. 

The contrast runs somewhat as follows. 

1. The premisses of scientific and philosophic 
thought when it deals with human society are regarded, 
quite justly, as at once the results of, and open to, in- 
quiry : those of Christian thought are, unwisely in my 
opinion, attributed to a different origin and endowed 
with a different authority. They are supposed to be 
ultimate starting points rather than results, and to 
await application rather than verification. 

2. Scientific or philosophic thought is supposed to 
be guided by a cold and abstract logic. It moves in 
the domain of the mere intellect. But Christian 
thought draws its material and its inspiration from 
the emotional and volitional depths of human nature. 
The experience it strives to interpret is more rich. It 
accepts the nuances of human life amongst its pre- 
misses. It is sensitive to the chromatic colours on the 
limiting edges of human destiny, and catches the subtle 
suggestions which, like the rays of the sun when not 
yet above the horizon, shoot upwards from the region 
where the finite dips down into the infinite. But 
Philosophy rejects what it cannot define. It forgets 
that there are ways to truth besides ratiocination ; 
that the heart has its language as well as the head ; 
and that its language is as much richer as is that of an 
ancient literature saturated with associations than a 
crabbed, commercial Volapuk. 

3. It is only the language which comes from the 
heart that can reach the heart. It alone can change 
men and reform the world : for every true change 
is a change of heart. But science and philosophy 

c.c. KK 


convict without convincing, and enlighten without 
illuminating. They throw a cold and unimpassioned 
light over the affairs of men. They help to reveal 
things as they are ; but they kindle no revolt against 
the wrongs of the world, and awaken no resolve to 
combat them. Reason may be the source of truth, but 
it is not the fount of desire. It may bring forth ideas, 
but it fashions no ideals. It is only a spectator in the 
market-place, and takes no part in the buying and 

Now, I am not prepared to say that these contrasts 
are altogether false : I do not think that any pure 
falsehoods go about amongst mankind. It is certain 
that the most mischievous falsehoods are half-truths. 

I. I do not deny, for instance, that the Christian 
religion furnishes truths which are authoritative ; that 
they are adopted without examination and supposed 
to need no verification. But they are authoritative 
only because they are believed to be true. Hence they 
cannot suffer from examination : and if they could be 
proved they would not be less secure. The mathe- 
matician has his intuitions, he anticipates results ; 
but he never dreams that his intuitions are injured by 
demonstration, which is the discovery of the implicit 
premisses on which they rested. '' Christian thought '* 
cannot gain by repudiating the methods of science 
and the searching criticisms of philosophy on social 
matters : least of all in an age which has become as 
impatient of dogmatism in religion as it is of despotism 
in politics. Wherever convictions are being formed 
the individual judgment claims a vote ; and the period 
of dictation is closed. '* Who knows not that Truth 
is strong, next to the Almighty : she needs no policies 
nor stratagems, nor licensings to make her victorious. 
These are the shifts and the defences that error uses 


against her power. Give her but room, and do not 
bind her when she sleeps.*' I wonder when the Chris- 
tian Church will listen to Milton, and trust her cause 
enough to put it quite frankly in the context of 
human history. For my part I think it can hold 
its own. I should as soon buttress mathematics or 
chemistry by calling it Christian Mathematics or Chris- 
tian Chemistry, as cite Christianity in favour of my own 
social or political convictions, and speak of ** Christian 
Socialism,'* or " Christian Social Science.'* I do not 
need the adjective if I am sufficiently convinced that 
my principles are true ; and if I am to convince my 
opponent I must first of all try to meet him on ground 
that is open and common, and after granting him the 
choice of weapons. 

2. It is also just possible to study human society 
without regard to the passions and volitions from which 
it emanates ; and with as little purpose of reforming it as 
the astronomer has of changing the course of the planets. 
We can always have abstract thoughts and narrow 
ends. A statistician may find nothing in human 
society but things to add, subtract, and strike averages, 
and a political economist nothing but the production, 
distribution and consumption of wealth. Both men 
are most useful, so long as they do not take the parti- 
cular aspect of social life which interests them for the 
complex whole of multitudinous facets, with which it 
sparkles in ever changing colours. 

But even the statistician and the economist do 
not indulge in pure intellectualism, nor fail to convert 
their thoughts into volitions. The avenue between 
thought and practice is always open, and no one can 
close it. Men act from their beliefs, however much 
they may betray their creeds. Ideas are at once the 
products and the grounds of volition. They 'come 


from purpose, and pass into purposes, as naturally as 
buds burst into flowers. The intellect is never 
" mere,'* or " pure '* ; and the charge of '' Intellectual- 
lism " is only an indication of shallow psychology, 
and men make it only against opponents whose argu- 
ments they cannot meet. Man's spirit is no loose com- 
pound of intellectual and volitional and passionate ele- 
ments, acting separately. One might as well suspect the 
brain of working when the heart is dead as maintain that 
the intellect speculates while the will and passions sleep. 
Not even the most abstract truth is sought without being 
desired or attained without the due degree of emotion. 
The desire for truth, for mere truth, is a desire for the 
good, and not seldom for that precise kind of good 
which men most need. It is the pressure of the felt 
need which directs the will to its intellectual research 
and gives it purpose. They also serve who only stand 
and think. And when, by much thinking upon human 
society a philosophy or science of its structure and 
laws emerges, our practical statesmanship will surely 
be a little less blind, its paths a little less tortuous, and 
its results a little less costly. Invention will follow 
discovery, and the regulation of human affairs will fol- 
low the comprehension of them, as surely — and with no 
less vast an advantage — as in the domain of natural 

It is peculiarly inept and mal-d-propos to decry 
intellectualism, or to appeal to the emotions against 
the intelligence, in the field of social science. Passion 
is apt to be too unbridled in this sphere, and to exercise 
all too successfully its own destructive methods of 
shutting out the wide world and shutting in the mind 
amongst narrow issues and one-sided views. Passion is 
never wise except when it is based upon reflexion ; it is 
always foolish when it is opposed to the intelligence. 


It " can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth." 
No political philosopher known to me has lacked passion 
for improving the world. He is doing the duty next 
to hand, only it happens that his duty is to try to think 
with all the power he can command ; for he believes 
that if men are to walk more securely it must be in a 
better light. It was deep love for the State and a 
strong desire to see it based upon foundations that 
endure which led Plato to conceive his ideal republic, 
" on the pattern of the state which is in heaven." It 
never dawned upon Aristotle, any more than upon 
Kant, that there can be truths which are not practical. 
It was his heart-weariness of the anarchy of the Civil 
War which led Hobbes to write his Leviathan, and 
it was his eminently practical interests which both 
inspired and limited the speculations of Locke regarding 
Civil Government. Spinoza strove to contemplate all 
things sub specie ceternitatis, but he desired a better life 
for mankind as ardently as Rousseau, even although 
he did not tip his thoughts with the fire which kindles 
revolutions. And can any one discover cold Intel- 
lectualism in Burke, or Bentham, or Carlyle, or Mill, 
or Green, the latest of the great exponents of the nature 
of human society ? 

It is a wrong to scientific men and philosophers 
to charge them with lack of passion in their dealings 
with human society; although they have striven to 
prevent their own private passions from mingling 
amongst their premisses, setting an example we should 
try to follow. That they have neglected the play of 
human passion in human history is a charge which 
cannot be substantiated. Least of all can the social 
philosopher who deals with Western Civilization refuse 
to admit amongst its premisses the vast emotional 
power of the eternal verities of the Christian religion. 


Any science or philosophy which did that would stand 
convicted of flagrant abstractness. 

The wrong to Christianity that comes from dis- 
tinguishing it from the dehberate reflexion and high 
trust in truth which animates science and philosophy, or 
from denying to it the use of their methods, results, 
and spirit, is still deeper. To withdraw its doctrines 
from their scrutiny is not to establish their authority 
but to render them suspect, and at the same time it 
throws the door open for any false prophet to prophesy 
in its name. 

The contrast between Christian and scientific or 
philosophic thought is entirely unjustifiable. If Chris- 
tianity is true it is scientifically and philosophically 
true. There is no such thing as '' Christian thought,** 
any more than there is Mohammedan, or Buddhist, 
or Parsee thought ; though fortunately there is much 
rational thought from Christian premisses. Nor is 
there " Christian Science,** except that which is neither 
Christianity nor Science. Least of all is there a 
Christian theory of human society, which more deserves 
the name of " Christian Socialism ** than '' Christian 
Individualism.** Its characteristic doctrines, such as 
the doctrine of the Fatherhood of God, and the brother- 
hood of man, and of Love as the fulfilment of the law 
express the ultimate conditions of both social and 
individual welfare. 

But it is a grave wrong to identify Christianity 
with any special theory of social and political life. The 
Christian religion is interested primarily in individual 
character, that is, in the direct relation of man*s most 
sacred inner life to his God. No doubt the light of 
religion once kindled within will cast its rays upon the 
whole region of man*s activities. Its supreme prin- 
ciples are destined, I believe, to inform and to inspire 


and to sanctify the secular states of the world, so that 
they shall be merely secular no more. " In that day 
shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness 
unto the Lord ; and the pots in the Lord's house shall 
be like the bowls upon the altar. Yea every pot in 
Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the 
Lord of hosts.'* But it by no means follows that 
these principles can express themselves, or make 
themselves good, in only one form of social or industrial 
organization ; or that when they rule the world there 
shall be property no more, or ' masters ' no more, and 
' men * no more. A living principle can take many 
forms in the course of its evolution. The Christianity 
which can reform the world must retain its 
universality ; and we had better not bind it down to 
our own political creed, or make it responsible for 
our social specifics and nostrums. Its business lies 
amongst motives. It concentrates its forces upon the 
citadel. Secure of the heart it is secure of the whole 
domain of man's nature and actions. Looking to its 
founder, and to his immediate disciples, I find in 
their teachings the minimum of social theory, and in 
their example the minimum of direct interest in social 
and political questions. Jesus of Nazareth refused to 
be entangled in questions of rights of property. '* Man, 
who made me a judge, or a divider, over you? " Nor 
would he assist the patriot, if patriot he was, to decide 
whether tribute should or should not be given to Csesar. 
There is as little political theory in His teachings as 
there is biology or astronomy ; and Christian teachers 
should be wary, after the sharp lessons of the past, of 
extracting specific doctrines, socialistic or other, from 
a teacher who was content to let loose upon the world 
great principles and to let them work amongst the mass 
of motives and institutions, even as the leaven works. 


Stung with the evils of our industrial civilization and 
its all too evidently tragical wrongs many good men 
would overturn its institutions and advocate methods 
of revolution. I should say to them that this cannot 
be done, in the name of Christianity ; any more than 
can the defence of them come from Christianity. 
Christianity is silent as to the forms of social and politi- 
cal life. Its hope, and its task, lies neither in over- 
turning nor in maintaining the relations which connect 
men in society, but in moralizing them. The method 
of overturn (or of defence, for that matter) is much 
more simple : it is always easier to deal with the outer 
husk than with the inner life. But such a method is 
not radical enough for Christianity. Its business is to 
change the heart. The main relations which now 
divide man from man, and link man to man in dividing 
them, giving to each his own station and duties, are 
probably essential to society. In any case they can be 
adequately changed only from within. The ordinary 
daily connexions by which man is bound to man in 
his business, in public works, in offices, in all avocations 
are capable of being touched to higher issues by the 
Christian ideal. The workshops can become schools of 
virtue, makers and not destroyers of men. Masters 
may come to care for their men, even as they care for 
their machines ; and men for their masters even as 
they care for wage and short hours. Social relations are 
meant to be moral relations, and to be interpreted first 
as duties, and as rights only as a secondary consequence. 
And Christianity, it seems to me, is a witness to this 
cardinal fact. Silent about social machinery, leaving 
that to be invented little by Uttle from age to age, it 
inspires men with principles too great to be bound to 
any fixed and final social or political form. It would 
not be difficult to show, I believe, that for many cen- 


turies together its primary task and best influence 
consisted in liberating man from the world, and teaching 
him the worth of individuality ; buying his spiritual 
freedom at a great price. But it was not disqualified 
thereby, when civilization was ripe to receive the 
lessons, from teaching mankind the opposite aspect 
of the same truth, namely that spiritual life consists 
not in freedom from the world, but in freedom in a 
world saturated with a spiritual meaning. Christi- 
anity has helped to destroy empires ; for it was no 
doubt responsible in great part for the decline and 
fall of Rome, detaching from its service men capable 
of generous aims and contemning all secular interests. 
It is destined yet to help to build empires on a surer 
foundation, and to come to a truer sense of its own 
significance in doing so. But it was never a political 
or social theory. Indeed, at no period in their history 
have the Hebrew people differed from other Eastern 
nations in the crudeness of their social and political 
conceptions. We owe our conceptions of citizenship 
to Greece and Rome, not less conspicuously than we 
owe the inspiration of personal religion to the Hebrews. 
And if I confess readily that the personal religion which 
is adequate to the Christian idea must ultimately ex- 
press itself in the free institutions of moralized states, 
I must insist on the other hand that without the testi- 
mony to the value of such institutions which came 
from other peoples than the Hebrews, personal religion 
was impossible. If perfect citizens imply a perfect 
state : a perfect state no less implies perfect citizens ; 
and state and citizen move towards perfection pari 

I cannot give priority to either, for neither can attain 
its best except through the other. And having been 
freed from the narrow conception of history which 


made only selected bits of it sacred, and from the dis- 
tressing view of a God who was a Father to one Child 
amongst the nations, and a Step-father to all the others 
on His hearth, I am not able to fall back upon a less 
generous creed. Christianity cannot gain by isolation, 
nor does the preeminence of its religious and moral 
revelation rest upon the impotence or worthlessness 
of a social environment which was not of its crea- 

'' The Christian ideal,'' it is said, '' and the influences 
of Christian thought and faith have elevated and pene- 
trated scientific and philosophic thought respecting hu- 
man society, and scientific and philosophic thought can 
concur with, encourage and strengthen the aspira- 
tions and activities of the Christian Church/' This 
is quite true. That the dynamic power which moves 
the world lies concentrated in ideals is a truth which 
neither individuals nor nations can lay too much to 
heart. And the religious ideal is the most potent of 
them all ; for in it is concentrated all the others. The 
object of religion, whom we call God, stands at all times 
for the best conception we can form of a perfection 
that is in no wise limited. The exercise of religion is 
life in direct relation to this perfection : life in God, 
through God, for God. In this light and context, regarded 
suh specie ceternitatis, ideas and desires are placed in their 
true perspective. We come to see what is great and 
what is little, what is well worth doing and better let 
alone. So that the religious ideal is the dominant lord 
of a good life. It is impossible to attribute too much 
value to the ideals of Christianity. 

But ideals do not come out upon the world in full 
potency, as Minerva sprang from the head of Jove. 
They are practical hypotheses that gain as well as give 
meaning in being applied. To know what the Christian 


principle of love means we must live the life of love. 
It is in doing the will of God that man learns the doc- 
trine. If at every step in its advance human society 
must be guided by the ideals of the Founder of Christi- 
anity, these ideals themselves in order to acquire their 
meaning need the expanding forms of secular civiliza- 
tion. We confess only a part of the truth if we speak 
of these ideals as " penetrating and elevating scientific 
and philosophic thought respecting human society." 
Such a statement implies that the ideals have stood 
fixed in their perfection from the first, and that science 
and philosophy can only concur and substantiate 
them. No ideals have such fixity, and philosophy can 
have no dogmatic kernel. If Christian truth is to rank 
first for philosophy, philosophy must discover its prim- 
acy from its truth. Philosophy may find that in 
*' Him '* all things consist, but it cannot presume it. 
The world has already rejected the formula of Credo 
ut intelligam, in favour of the formula of intellec- 
tual freedom, Intelligo ut credam. Philosophy must 
treat Christianity, even in its ideals, as part of the warp 
and woof of human history, and subject it in all ways 
to the laws of its development. And those whose faith 
in Christianity is full and without flaw will welcome 
the inquiry. There is no testimony better worth 
obtaining than that of the impartial witness, except 
that of the unwilling witness. 

The splendour of the Christian ideals lies in the 
greatness of their promise. The conception of the 
Fatherhood of God is meant, I believe, to emancipate 
nature from the bonds of mere naturaHsm. There 
are explosive utterances in the New Testament 
which are prophetic of the complete dominion of 
spirit over nature. " Seek ye first the Kingdom of 
God and his righteousness, and all these things 


shall be added unto you " : for there is no rift, 
or inconsequence between the moral order and the 
natural. " If thou canst believe, all things are possible 
to him that believeth." '' All things are yours for ye 
are Christ's.'* " Be ye of good cheer for I have over- 
come the world.*' " We know that all things work 
together for good to them that love God." '* For the 
earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the mani- 
festation of the sons of God." " If God be for us, who 
can be against us?" asks St. Paul, and the question 
leads to the magnificent challenge of all the powers, 
and the confidence that in all these things we are 
*' more than conquerors." The spirit of Christianity 
at its highest is inconsistent with the view that the 
victory of spirit is to be partial, and that " Nature " 
can remain an exception to the benevolent purposes 
of a benevolent will which can neither fail nor falter. 
But the deeper meanings of such utterances are lost 
to the world till it has experienced the life that reveals 
it. A little child may understand in his way that 
the Lord is his shepherd, and that he shall not want ; 
but his understanding of it is not what it can be, if he 
can say it after a long life during which he has often 
strayed in the wilderness, known the pathos of sins 
forgiven, become saturated with the sense of his weak- 
ness and ill-desert, and lonely after many bereave- 
ments. In a similar way the free enterprise of science 
and philosophy has been necessary to lift the veil of 
naturalism from the face of nature. For the deists of 
the eighteenth century it was "a brass eight-day clock 
set going long ago," with its author looking at it and not 
interfering, except at times miraculously to move the 
hands : for Arnold, and how many more, in our own 
day, it is a monstrous mechanism indifferent to the 
moral fate of man, never curbing its pride *' to give his 


virtues room *' : to Professor Huxley it was a Macrocosm 
pitted against the Mikrocosm, not even indifferent, but 
biased against the good, encouraging with its rewards 
of food and drink and Hfe and pleasure, the greedy maw 
and the brute powers which win the battle in '* the 
struggle for existence," and by no means the qualities 
of meekness and lowliness, and patience and loving- 
kindness. To meet such views, to make good the 
Christian conception of a dominion of love which is 
universal and knows no shallows or shores, we require 
the poet and philosopher; so that to Goethe nature 
might be the transparent vesture of divinity ; to Carlyle 
the region of the Natural super-natural; to Words- 
worth a world interfused with a Presence 

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns . . . 

A motion and a spirit that impels 

All thinking things, all objects of all thought. 

If the conception is native to Christianity from the 
first, the labour of many ages has been needed to bring 
forth the poets and philosophers who could discern its 
significance. Nor is the truth made out yet. It is 
still a vision to the poet and a hypothesis — the sanest 
he knows — for the philosopher. The principle of the 
spirituality of nature is meant to be like the ocean 
*' whose waters cover the sea " ; but the tide is not yet 
full, and the waters have not as yet crept up the 
creeks. Spirit, says Wordsworth, 

Knows no insulated spot,. ^ . 

No chasm, no solitude, but 

From link to link 
It circulates, the soul of all the world. 

There are Christians who cannot say this, for fear of 
Pantheism. They know no better way of leaving room 
for man than by excluding God. And science has to 


come in to support the visions of the poet, the hope of 
rehgious faith and the anticipations of the philosopher. 
It is coming in : it is experiencing, not the untruth, but 
the insufficiency of its mechanical categories ; and in 
its own slow, patient spirit, indurated by its habit of 
meeting hard facts face to face, it is pointing to the 
need of the conception of final ends, aware of the rela- 
tion of nature to mind, and materialistic no more. 

It is the same service that is being slowly done by 
science and philosophy in regard to human society. 
I have no doubt that the single principle of Christian 
Love is adequate to the needs of man, whether as indi- 
vidual, or as forming with his fellows the multiform 
social institutions which are the fullest exposition of his 
nature. But it needs experience, and reflexion upon 
experience to lead out its contents. Nothing is truly 
learnt except by experiencing it. The thought must 
become a will, and the will a deed. To seek to learn 
morality by rote, a religion by means of doctrine and 
nothing more, is as futile as to try to learn carpentry 
without handling tools. Our real knowledge coincides 
with our real life. Indeed, moral and religious princi- 
ples may become trite and stale if they are much talked 
about before experience comes to give their meaning 
reality. There are people from whose tongues moral 
saws and religious maxims come all too trippingly, 
souls made dull of hearing with talk that makes the 
things of the Spirit cheap, who will hardly feel the 
power of truths made trite. This is what makes the 
times of religious revival, and the use of the methods 
of revival so doubtful, or at least, so mixed, in their 
influence. They aim at the emotions, and sometimes 
exhaust them on emptiness. There are spirits which 
will hardly bear bud and leaf any more ; for the flame of 
emotion has passed over them and they stand seared, like 


trees after a forest fire. This is also what makes the oral 
teaching of morality and religion in schools so difficult 
and even so dangerous an enterprise. Spiritual ideals 
must be the immediate prelude to, nay must straight- 
way pass into action. It is not enough that fine senti- 
ments should be engendered, for we are not mere 
spectators at a play. The doctrine cannot be divorced 
from the doing, nor the life of the Church from that of 
the world. 

Once more, we thus arrive at the need of placing 
the Christian ideals frankly in the context of the ordin- 
ary world, claiming for them no privilege, or aloofness, 
using no stratagems, but trusting to the power of their 
truth. Science and philosophy must be left absolutely 
free to inquire, and the world must be given ample 
scope to test by actual experience the value of its 
practical ideals. It must exhaust their abstract 
aspects one by one, be stung by the falsehood of half- 
truths, and driven from one imperfect rendering after 
another of the Good it seeks, defining its visions as it 
gains a less distant view of its goal. One form of civiliz- 
ation after another has to be tried ; social institutions 
must be set up and pulled down again in endless series ; 
the tribal community must become the civic state, and 
the civic state a nation and an empire, and nations and 
empires must be bound together more and more intim- 
ately in mutual dependence and usefulness. Status 
must pass into contract, and contract into a unity of 
spirit deeper than any contract. The rule of one must 
become the rule of the few, and the rule of the few the 
rule of the many and of all ; until there is attained 
the service which is perfect freedom and the freedom 
which is loyal obedience. And the spirit which ani- 
mates the successive social forms must change step by 
step with the forms themselves, for it cannot live except 


in the body which it has itself built up little by little 
from its environment. Indeed, the military state 
implies the military spirit in its members ; and the 
industrial state is the index, nay, the natural and inevit- 
able expression, of minds set first upon material good. 
A socialist state, even were it to be brought forth with 
all the ideal perfection of machinery that enthusiasts 
could desire, would be for citizens prone to assert their 
'' rights " rather than to recognize their '' duties," 
only a more powerful and destructive weapon for indi- 
vidualism. Ideals can live only in the medium of their 
own atmosphere. 

I have already said that philosophy appears when 
some form of civilization has grown old. Ages of 
reflexion are not, as a rule, times of great enterprise. 
We are spurred into thinking, the psychologists tell 
us, when we discover that appearances are false, that 
we have been harbouring illusions and contradictions. 
We reflect when we find ourselves in trouble. Old 
traditions have turned out false, old formulae in politi- 
cal and religious life have become inadequate. We 
are not at peace, our life is divided against itself, and 
we know not why. It is at such times that philosophy 
finds its supreme function — and with it, always, poetry 
if they are both at their best. By its reflexion it 
accentuates the contradictions which irk and pain the 
ordinary consciousness, it knows not why. It discovers 
the seat of the disease. 

He took the suffering human race. 
He read each wound, each weakness clear. 
And struck his finger on the place, 
And said : Thou ailest here, and here ! 

Sometimes, though by no means always, it discovers 
the truth which underlies, or rather which is implicitly 


present in the contradicting elements and points out 
the remedy as well as the disease. 

The primary function of philosophy is to be a 
witness to the unity of the world and the wholeness of 
life. But the task it first performs in exercising its 
function is that of criticism. It exposes the inade- 
quacy of the principles which the working world has 
adopted, it knows not whence, nor why. It traces 
back its unrest, its doubts and its bewilderment to 
these ideal causes ; for in the world of human action 
there are no causes except ideals. It shows, in the last 
resort, that human ills, social and individual, come 
from man's ignorance of himself. For ages together 
abstract and misleading conceptions of the nature of 
the individual and of society have been entertained, 
and have ruled men all the more despotically because 
they had not thought about them. Individuality 
seemed to mean independence ; personality to rest on 
exclusion and to have uniqueness and particularity as 
its essence ; freedom to be isolation and detachment ; 
society to be an artificial convention that limited indi- 
viduality and hindered freedom ; and social functions 
to be merely negative and regulative and therefore to 
be reduced to a minimum. Led by such conceptions, 
for the world always follows them, we find a nation 
striving to cast away its customs and traditions. It 
would be without social conventions, a '' Nation of 
Sanscullotes '' '* free ", beginning the world over again 
at the ** Year One." But the attainment of such 
freedom is found to be somehow the attainment of 
what was not wanted after all. A great price has been 
paid for a false good. Then reflexion, aided by cir- 
cumstance, philosophy taught by the world (and by no 
means always wearing the philosopher's garb) comes 
in to explain. We have Lessing and Goethe, Kant 

CO. L L 


and Hegel at war with the ancient duahsms, which 
set man against the world, nature against Spirit, the 
citizen against the State and the State against Society. 
An exclusive personality is found to be empty ; nega- 
tive freedom to be mere impotence, for one can do 
nothing against the world, but with it. Society is 
bound not to be artificial, or alien ; not a limit nor a 
hindrance to the individual, but the very stuff of the 
individuality of its citizens. Bentham yields to Mill 
and Mill to Carlyle (whom we have not done with), 
and Green. Little by little philosophy, aided by the 
poets, is teaching the implication of man in mankind, 
of mankind in man, and of nature in both. 

This, I conceive, is the task on which at the present 
day the scientific and philosophic thought regarding 
human society is engaged. It is making good gradually, 
painfully and against much resistance, the practical 
validity of this conception of the mutual implication 
of man with mankind. It is helping men, not so much 
by constructing plans of an ideal society as by indicat- 
ing the causes of the unrest of our present practical 
social life. It takes up social life as it finds it, and is 
endeavouring to bring into explicit view its implicit 
better thoughts — "helping Nature,'* as wise physicians 
do, to medicate its own evils. 

It finds men aware, as they never were before, of 
their need of one another. They know that Society 
is like a machine, whose parts are necessary, and must 
fit into one another. Labour knows that it needs 
Capital, and Capital that it needs Labour. But, as a 
machine works under the law of stress and strain, every 
wheel turning round by friction against its neighbours 
which turn in the opposite direction, so do Labour and 
Capital, each fortifying itself within itself by means of 
unions and combinations, strive with much friction and 


mutual loss against the other. Philosophy points to a 
better conception, and indicates that the stress and 
strain of a machine might conceivably pass into organic 
co-operation. We have states in need of each other, 
not one of them wilhng to be shut out of the world's 
mart, but fully aware that to prosper it must trade in 
the open market. Yet they would fain sell and not 
buy, seeking their own good by hindering others, 
and restoring the methods of mechanism ! Philosophy 
tries to point out that such projects have to reckon with 
the nature of things, and that the nature of things 
prescribes the better method of organic unity, a com- 
munity of enterprise and participation in a good which 
is greater for each because it is common to all. 

There is a sense in which the service of scientific 
and philosophic thought is humble enough. It is in a 
manner of speaking only endeavouring to substitute 
one metaphor for another — that of society as an 
organism for society as a machine. It is bearing 
witness only to a hoary truth ; for who does not con- 
fess that every real good is a common good, and 
selfishness but stupidity, not meant to prosper. 

But it is one thing to recognize a principle and an- 
other to follow out its consequences. There is nothing 
in all mathematics except the addition of one to one, 
or the subtraction of one from one. The crudest 
mathematician can do no less nor the greatest more ; 
and yet they differ. So is it with regard to the ideal 
aims of human society. It is one thing to admit 
their abstract truth, and another to trace their way of 
operation and to increase their power within the actual 
structure of human society as it stands at this hour ; 
and to make men see that the individualism which 
is the assertion of a self that is exclusive, and industrial- 
ism which is the pursuit of a good that we are unwilling 


to be a common good, is neither good theory nor 
successful practice. 

We are slow to realize that the individuars own 
substance is social, and that if in any way he thrusts 
society from him, he is '^ tearing his own vitals/' 
Our recognition of this truth is blind, as of a man who 
holds a treasure in his hands and is not aware of its 
worth. It is plain enough to the seller of goods that 
if he is to prosper he must persuade his fellows of his 
use to them. Does he not advertise to the whole world 
that he is seeking their good, selling them the best 
goods at the lowest prices ? The rewards of society 
are evidently intended to pay for services. Let the 
individual but supply its needs, perform in the niche of 
his station the services it wants, and he will find, on 
the whole, that society will ask and pay him for a larger 
service. Even as things are, the world insists somewhat 
punctiliously that the man who performs his duties 
well will get his rights. 

But plain as this truth is — plain as that one plus one 
makes two — it is difficult to follow it in its application. 
And in consequence we see men on all hands claiming 
their rights on quite other grounds than the perform- 
ance of their duties. I do not find myself compelled 
to admit that the change from the military to the 
industrial organization is merely the substitution of an 
'' Age of Greed " for an '' Age of Violence." But there 
is much truth in the view that for whole classes of 
men '' the defence of personal rights in an indifferent 
or hostile world is the first canon of duty. Till this 
canon is satisfied, all else must be deferred. The moral 
type which emerges, approved and enticing, is one in 
which integrity is at least nominally honoured, and 
justice is not nominally ignored, but in which alertness 
and prudence, energy and practical judgment, point the 


way to victory, while mercy, humility, indifference to 
personal gain, exercised otherwise than as an indul- 
gence supplementary to the serious business of life, 
spell social failure and breed contempt.'' ^ 

Our very remedies too often imply that we are still 
in the toils of the fallacy that our own good can come 
only by the assertion of it against the good of others. 
To do good to others it is held we must renounce our 
own ; our own and that of others being incompatible ! 
" What if the times were ripe for the sacrifice of in- 
dividual rights to a wider good?" asks the Socialist. 
" Now that democracy is for the first time coming to 
its own, does it not whisper in our ear a new possibility 
— a social organization in which equality of opportunity 
shall be created by the deliberate surrender of private 
privilege." 2 

** Not so ! " protest Science and philosophy, if I 
comprehend their meaning. The social and the indi- 
vidual good, not being incompatible, the individual is 
asked to give up nothing worth holding. It is not 
negation but dedication which the times demand ; 
not the overturn of institutions by '' a democracy come 
to its own," but the better interpretation of their ideal 
meaning and the transformation of them from within. 

Let me try to explain. A man's rights are things 
he can justly demand from some one ; that is, his rights 
against his fellows are their duties to him, and similarly 
his duties to them are their rights against him. The 
master's rights against his men are their duties to 
him ; their rights against him are his duties to them. 
Abolish duties and no rights remain. Duties and 

1 Hihhert Journal, January 1909, pp. 317, 318. A most 
excellent article. 
* Ibid, p. 324. 


rights are two names for the same things. But it makes 
the greatest difference which of the two conceptions 
we habitually employ : whether we seek our rights by 
doing our duty, or claim our rights apart from service. 
The spirit which does the latter is egoistic and unsocial, 
whatever may be the forms of government or industrial 
production which it employs ; on the other hand, 
there is hardly any social structure that the former spirit 
could not inspire to new usefulness and lift to a higher 
power. I am not contending that the external body 
does not matter, or that the spirit within is indifferent 
to the social environment without : but I am maintain- 
ing that a community whose spirit remains egoistic, 
while *' democracy " exerts its power and changes the 
machinery of the state, will have gained nothing by 
the change except more efficient weapons for a more 
universal greed. 

I do not think that is the '* Socialism '' which 
Socialists desire. But it is very much what the demos 
is taught. Compared with the emphasis laid upon 
rights and privileges in these times, whether we are 
protecting those we possess or seeking those which 
we do not, little is said of the duties. '' The sure 
growth of the working people in class-consciousness, 
and their entrance on political power, the consider- 
ation of industry, the spread of social compunction — 
all point the same way. Apparently the great changes 
that are coming will divide the future order from the 
present as widely as we are divided from the feudal 
system.*' ^ Hence, concludes the writer, " It would 
certainly do no harm to prepare ourselves, and yet 
more our children, for these probably imminent and 
drastic changes. We might well resume a somewhat 

1 Hibbert /owm«/,January, 1909, p. 319. 


discredited pursuit — the culture and training of the 
interior Ufe from a new point of view." 

There never was a time in the history of the world 
when the inner life of a people was not to some extent 
at war with its outward order, except in stagnant 
communities. But the contradiction between them 
was never so tragical or so monstrous as would exist in 
a state whose political and industrial order demanded 
of its members a clear consciousness of their own duties 
and of the rights of others, and found in them only 
the consciousness of their own rights and of the duties 
of others. Nor do I think such a ''drastic change*' is 
'' imminent " ; though I confess that many men seem 
to be more eager nowadays to live on the State than 
to live for the State. Bankruptcy lies that way, as we 
all see clearly ; hence the poorer classes object to the 
wealth of the rich, and the rich to the few shillings a 
week of pension to men and women over seventy. 
The view seems to be gaining ground that the State is 
really a charitable institution, on whose resources each 
class, and each townlet, must draw as much as it can, 
putting as many of its causes on the local rates as can- 
not be put on the imperial taxes and asking the Govern- 
ment to protect its industry ; while the Chancellor of 
the Exchequer stands alone for economy amongst the 
warring claims, like Athanasius contra mtindum. 

Of course such a condition of things cannot last ; 
neither a state nor aught else can exist in virtue merely 
of the forces of repulsion. But this does not secure the 
world against attempting it. States, like individuals, 
get into the rapids without intending to shoot the falls. 
And indubitably a Socialism which has no cry upon its 
lips except the Rights of the democracy is only assisting 
Individualism to bring about the catastrophe. And it 
is just possible that there is no way of learning the 


evils of egoism except by exhausting the possibiUties of 
it and giving universal greed universal power. 

But it is not likely. The acquisition of power 
generally teaches the use of it. What every one fears 
does not come. The vision of the evils of the greed of 
others helps us to understand our own. ** History is 
didactic.'' The world is a peripatetic school, learning 
wisdom as it goes. And I can imagine a time coming, 
and coming all the sooner for the triumphs of democracy, 
when men will learn to consider more gravely the social 
incidence of their actions. The science and philosophy 
of these modern times is certainly engaged precisely 
on making this more clear. It is socializing morals ; 
and it would moralize politics. For what other car- 
dinal doctrine has it to teach except this immanence 
of the whole in every part, and the essential implica- 
tion of every life in every other ? And it is helped 
in its task by the very consolidation of industry. The 
growth of industrial organizations, the violence of the 
shocks which threaten the stability of the whole state 
when these organizations clash, the consciousness of 
the need of the sense of responsibility within a demo- 
cracy, when all outward checks are abolished and there 
can be no restraint at all if the democracy does not 
restrain itself, — all these things will help the social 
philosopher as he insists that the State is, was, and 
always must be, based on the consciousness of duty 
rather than of rights. And I look forward to a time 
when the Church, having learnt to trust in the virtue 
of the ideals of Christianity, shall seek their authority 
in themselves, and their meaning in the expanding 
civilization of mankind. The geometrician does not 
care much who Euclid was, nor the devout soul who 
wrote the Psalm cxix. Truths for all time are inde- 
pendent of every time — spiritual truths most of all. If 


" Christian Socialism '' is to save the world, it will 
save it because the structure of society implies it. And 
I would have Christian teachers find the power of their 
ideals in the nature of things, guide the world not 
in the costume of authority but in hodden grey, and 
not implicate their Master in their temporary schemes. 
The Christian ideals will right themselves after every 
trial, provided they are trusted. The time is coming, 
I believe, when the Church will be found ''standing 
without at the sepulchre weeping " : '' They have 
taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have 
laid Him." For doubt is to be deep, and the things 
of the Spirit alone will be hearkened unto, as they bear 
witness to themselves. But if the Church will only 
cease to seek the living among the dead, it will recog- 
nize its Founder by His voice, and, turning itself, will 
say unto him, " Rabboni.** 


Aaron's Breastplate, 246 

Abailard, 282, 310 

Abortion, influence of Mediaeval 
Church against, 296 

Absolution of Sins, 315 

Acilius Glabrio, 202 

Acton, Lord, History of Freedom, 

Actresses, Roman edicts concerning, 

Acts of the Apostles, on altruism, 
160 ; on immortality, 221 note ; 
influence of Christian Church, 202 
note ; philanthropy, 158 

Address to the Nobility, Luther's, 346 

Adrian IV, 326 

Adultery, Christ's teaching, 94 

iEsthetics, 107 

Africa, Vandals invade, 275 ; foreign 
missions, 458, 483, 485 

Against Celsus: see Oiigen 

Agape : see Love Feast 

Agricultural class. In Israel, 49 ; 
period before Canonical Prophets, 
51 ; creation of landless class, 53 ; 
in eighth century, 56 ; Prophets 
assert rights of, 57 et seq. ; laws 
in time of Monarchy, 60 ; post- 
exilic period, 66 et seq. ; Law of 
Jubilee, 67, In Middle Ages, 
wages, 338 ; conditions in Ger- 
many, 340, 344, Modern, influ- 
ence of Evangelical revival upon 
conditions of, 383, 386, 391 ; evils 
of migration to cities, 18 ; Old 
Testament teaching and, 76-7 

Alans, the, 275 

Alaric, 240, 274 

Albert the Bear of Brandenburg, 278 

Albigenses, the, 303 

Alcuin, 281 

Aletta, 300 

Alexander of Hales, 317 

the Great, 125 

Alexandria, Church of. Catechetical 
School, 203 ; degeneration of,[232 ; 
foundation, 199 ; wealth and social 
influence, 203 

54- 56; phil- 


Allen, Christian Institutions, quoted, 


Almsgiving : see Charity 

Altkatholische Kirche : see Ritschl 

Altruism, Christ's teaching, 83 et 
seq. ; in the Didach^, 160, 162 note ; 
Old Testament teaching, 74 ; 
Pauline teaching, 160 ; Roman 
philosophers, 145-149 

Ambrose, St., 242 ; De Institutione 
Virgin, on women, 251 ; De Offi- 
ciis, quoted on definition of Church, 
244 ; philanthropy of, 259, 299 

American Declaration of Indepen- 
dence, 413, 440 

Amos, social ideals of, 
anthropy, 402 

Amos, denunciation 
classes, 56 note 

Anabaptists, the, 370 

Ancien Regime, Taine's, 419 

Annates, 423 

Anselm, 310 

Antonine Empero-„, _:-» 

Antoninus, Emperor, 144 

Apologetics, 203 

Apology, Justin's : see Justin 

TertuUian's : see TertuUian 

Apolo Kagwa, 454 

Apostolic Succession, 432 

Apprenticeship system, mediaeval, 369 

Aquileia, 276 

Aquinas, Thomas, 317 ; quoted, on 
kingship, 307 

Arcadius, Emperor, 241, 260 

Arianism, 288 

Aristides, 134, 169 ; Apology of, 261 

Aristocracy, Jewish, growth, 52, 54, 
56-58 ; absorption of small estates, 
53-57 ; during last period of 
Monarchy, 60 ; Isaiah's denuncia- 
tions, 56-58 ; Nehemiah's reforms, 

Aristotle, theory of State compared 
with Christian, 26 ; social ideals 
contrasted with Christian, 247- 
249 ; how regarded by Mediaeval 
Church, 282 ; practical aim of, 501 




Arnold of Brescia, 325 

Matthew, 120 

Asceticism, Christ's teaching, 97, 106 ; 
in Mediaeval Church, 320 ; in philo- 
sophy, 146 ; influence of Reforma- 
tion, 356 

Asia Minor, spread of Christianity in 
first century, 198, 199 

Associations, a result of Evangelical 
revival, 401, 402 ; mediaeval, 299, 
300, 302 ; later mediaeval, 310 ; 
Primitive Church, 228 ; growth in 
Roman Empire, 135 

Athanasius, 242 

Attila, 275, 277 

Augustine, St., quoted on civil life 
of Christians, 267 ; his philan- 
thropy, 257 ; pessimism, 287 ; 
efforts to redeem prisoners of 
war, 299 ; opinion of property, 
258, 259 ; quoted, on women, 251 

Augustus, Emperor, laws concerning 
celibacy, 214 note ; family life in 
time of, 138 ; the Games, 140 

Aulard, M., quoted, on Napoleon, 437 

Baptism, Sacrament of, institution 
of, 89 ; in Mediaeval Church, 297, 
315 ; in Primitive Church, 164 

Baptist Missionary Society, 393 

Barbarians, and Arianism, 288 ; in- 
vasion of Roman Empire, 273-278 ; 
effects of their invasion, 279 ; 
effect of Roman law upon, 280 ; 
influence of the Church upon, 278, 
284, 289, 291 

Barnabas, Epistle of, 161 note, 256 

Barotsi, 468 

Basil, St., 259 

Baur, F. C, method of his investiga- 
tions, 191 ; Church History of the 
First Three Centuries, quoted, on 
Universalism of Roman Empire, 
204, 205, 207 ; on decay of pagan- 
ism in Roman Empire, 209 ; on 
essence of Christianity, 219 

Baxter, Margery, 330 

Beatitudes, the, 100 

Bede's History of England, 'zS'j note 

Beguines, 320 

Belief, compared with Creed, 499 

Benedict, St., Rule of, 319 

Benevolence, Christ's teaching, 87 : 
see also Charity and Philan- 

Benifices, and French Revolution, 423 

Beugnot, 239 

Bible Society, 393 

Bigg's Church* s Task under the Roman 

Empire, 251 
Bishops, the, in Early Christian 

Church, 260 ; at time of French 

Revolution, ^ig et seq. 
Blind, Schools for the, 407 
Boissier's La Fin du Paganisme, 251 
Bonaparte, Napoleon : see Napoleon 
Boniface VIII, Pope, 314 
Book of Discipline, by John Knox, 

Booke concerning True Christians, A, 

by R. Browne, 365 
Boon Boon-Itt, Rev., 484 
Borgeaud's Rise of Democracy, 237,364 
Boswell's Life of Dr. Johnson, quoted, 

on Methodist preaching, 384 
Bosworth-Smith, R., 195 note 
Brace, C. Loring, Gesta Christi, 227 ; 

quoted, on Church institutions in 

Roman Empire, 229 note ; on 

slavery, 231 note 
Brent, Bishop, 466 
Bridget of Sweden, 305 
Britain, history in fifth century, 275 
Broad Church Party, and Evangelical 

revival, 398 
Brotherhood : see Fraternity 
Browne, Robert, 364, 365 
Browning, Robert, 356 
Bruce, Dr. A. B., interpretation of 

mammon of unrighteousness, 86 ; 

on parabolic teaching of Christ, 104 
Buddhism, compared with Christi- 
anity, III, 193. 195 
Bulgarians, the, 277 
Bundshuh, mediaeval, 341, 343 
Burgundians, the, 275 
Burma, Missions in, 486 
Bussell, Dr., 123 note, 136 
Butzer, 403 

Caecilia, St., 202 

Caesarism, 206, 247 

Caesarius of Aries, 299 

(^a Ira, song of 1790, quoted, 418 

Caird, Edward, Evolution of Theology, 
quoted, 130 note 

Calas, Jean, 414 

Caliphate, Western, 277 

Calvin , and education, 368 ; social 
programme contrasted with Knox's, 
351 ; contrasted with Luther, 347, 
348 ; fundamental principles of 
his work, 347 ; nature of his work 
in the Reformation, 403, 404 ; 
influence in Scotland, 351 ; his ideas 
of a theocracy, 348 



Calvinism in Scotland, 351 ; con- 
stitution of Church, 364 

Cambridge Modern History, 371 

Camus, attitude towards State pay- 
ment of Clergy, 430 

Canaan, Conquest of, 49 

Cannibalism, 466 

Canon Law, 280 

Carey, Wm., 393 

Carlyle, A. J., MedicBval Political 
Theory in the West, 253 note 

Thomas, and Evangelical Re- 
vival, 399, 402 

Carolingian Empire, 291 

Carthage, conquered by Vandals, 275 

Church of, 199 ; benevolence, 

228 ; degeneration, 232 ; growth, 

Cartwright, Major, Take your Choice, 
quoted, 440 ; principles of Govern- 
ment, 441 
Caste, Foreign Missions and, 465, 
468 ; Primitive Church and, r66 
Casuistry, Scribal, 94 
Catacombs, the, 201 note, 202 
Catechetical School in Alexandria, 

Catelaunian fields, battle of, 277 
Catherine of Siena, 305 
Cato the Elder, and slavery, 141 
Celebes, Dutch Missions in, 466 
Cehbacy, Augustus' laws, 214 note ; 
Christ's teaching, 96 ; in Mediaeval 
Church, 305, 320, 357 ; and Primi- 
tive Church, 261, 262, 266 ; women, 
Celsus, 165 ; The True Word, 199 
Characters and Events of Roman His- 
tory, by Ferrero, 134 
Charity, Christ's Teaching on, col- 
lective, 102; private, [87, loi. In 
Israel, legislation during Monarchy, 
61, 62 ; In Middle Ages, 299-302 ; 
abuses, 366 ; conception of, 366 ; 
as penance, 316 ; influence of the 
Reformation on, 367, 388 ; soci- 
eties, 302, Modern, in relation to 
Reform, 40, 41 ; Organization in 
United Kingdom, 22 et \seq.y In 
Primitive Church, 259, 260 ; effects 
in Roman Empire, 227 note, 228, 
In Roman Empire, instances of, 
137. 138 
Charles X of France, 439 

the Great, 281 

Martel, 277 

Chartists, the, 442 
Child-marriage, 462 

Children, Christ's teaching, 96, 97 ; 
exposure of, 214 ; Foreign Mission 
work, 462 ; endowed Institutions 
in Roman Empire, 137 ; labour 
legislation and EvangeUcal Re- 
vival, 392 ; Mediaeval Church work, 
297 ; Modern problems, need for 
scientific treatment, 406 ; Robert 
Owen's reforms, 389 ; in Pauline 
ethics, 172 ; United Kingdom 
Poor Law system, 21 ; influence 
of Church in Roman Empire, 250, 
Chinese Missions, influence on educa- 
tion of girls, 463 ; foot-binding, 
467 ; morality, 460, 484 ; opium 
vice, 467; national progress, 474,484 
Chivalry, mediaeval, influence of 

Christianity upon, 304 
Chlodovech (Clovis), 275 
Christian Charity in the Christian 

Church : see Uhlhorn 
Christian Institutions, Allen's, 315 
Christian Philosophy. History of, 286 
Christian Science, 502 
Christian Socialism, 113, 499; and 
Evangelical Revival, 399 ; and 
WycHf, 328 
Christian Theology of Apostolic Age, 

by Reuss, 205 note 
Christianity, (for Christ's teaching, 
see " Jesus Christ " ; for the Church 
as an organism see " Church " ; for 
Christian doctrine concerning 
marriage, slavery, etc., see those 
titles), relation to Old Testament 
religious standpoint, 5 ; modern 
apphcation, 6 seq. ; continuity 
in relation to changing conditions, 
its progressive character, 8 seq., 
39 ; relation to social and political 
reform, how far it may intervene, 
33. 502 ; its fundamental principle 
in Christ's teaching, 83, 183 ; its 
universality and impartiality, 84, 
no ; relation to modern thought 
and science (erroneous views), 496 
seq., 511 

(Periods and landmarks), early 

Gentile environment, 119-149; 
and Roman philosophers, 144-150 ; 
Jewish influences and surroundings, 
157-164 ; Pliny's description, 164 ; 
St. Paul's doctrine, 171 ; Apos- 
tolic Age, 174 et seq., 196 et seq., 
201-204 ; relation to Roman Em- 
pire, 205 seq., 227 seq., {see also 
" Church " (2)) ; relation to Greek 



philosophy, 207-209 ; the Church 
in the Empire contrasted with 
Christ's ideal, 238 ; Marcus Aure- 
Hus and Seneca, 247 ; monasticism 
not a principle of, 261 ; in Middle 
Ages, 287 seq. ; Evangelical Re- 
vival, 393 ; French Revolution, 
443 ; Rousseau's view, 416 ; mis- 
sionary enterprise — effect on 
heathen, 452, 469 

Christianity Judged by its Fruits, 
Croslegh's, 257 

Christianity and the Social Crisis, 
Rauschenbusch's, 254 note 

Chromatins, 230 

Chrysostom, Homilies quoted on 
women, 252 

Church, the (i) The Primitive (first 
three centuries), the Agape, 175- 
179 ; Apostolic Age, expansion in, 
193. 194. 196 ; Asia Minor com- 
munities, 171 ; " atheism " of , 220 ; 
baptism, 8g, 164 ; bibliography, 
227 note ; centres of influence, 197- 
200 ; charity and benevolence, 
227-229, 299 ; Constantine adopts, 
184, 199, (numerical strength) 
200 ; Corinthian community, 170- 
note ; criticism of, 184 et seq. ; 
discipline, 175, 180 ; attitude to 
the Dispersion communities, 154 ; 
guilds, 135 ; hymns, 163 ; Jeru- 
salem community, 157 ; leaders 
232, 260 ; influence in literary 
circles, 203 ; the Martyrs, 219, 221 ; 
Mass, origin of, 1 79 ; miracles, 
222 ; Palestinian community, 157 ; 
persecution 198, 199 ; post- Apos- 
tolic Age, expansion in, 198, 200, 
204 seq. ; proselytes (Jewish), 157- 
164, 197 ; proselytes in Roman 
Empire, 165-170 ; sacraments in- 
stituted, 89 ; sacrifice and divine 
service, 167 ; the State, 182 ; 
attitude to State Offices, 182 ; 
Thessalonica, 170 note ; unity of 
Church life, 177; universalism of 
Roman Empire, 204-209 ; attitude 
to war, 303 : wealth and social 
influence, 201-203 ; see also under 
separate communities; and for 
doctrine, see Christianity 

(2) Influence on Roman Empire 

(to end of fifth century), 237- 
270 {see argument, 236) ; bibli- 
ography, 267 note ; children, 
rights of, 250 ; civic ideals, 263, 
266 ; communism, 257 ; demo- 

cratic character, 260 ; equality, 
250-255 ; fraternity, 256 ; effect 
on legislation, 267 ; on liberty, 255 ; 
effect on monasticism, 261-262 ; 
moral purity, 229 ; philanthropy, 
228, 259 ; slavery, 230, 252 {see 
also s.v. Slavery) ; socialism, type 
of, 254 ; rights of women, 251-252 : 
see also references (i) " Primitive " 

(3) Mediaeval, 273-332 {see 

Argument, 272) ; effect of bar- 
barian invasions, 279 ; barbarian 
converts, 285 ; catholicity of, 291 ; 
child-life under, 296 ; chivalry, 
304 ; classical learning, 282-283 ; 
commerce, 358 ; education, 281 ; 
the guilds, 311 ; liberty, principle 
of, 306 ; Lollards, 327-332 ; mar- 
riage, 354, 357 ; missions, 278 ; 
monasticism, 318 ; papacy, rise 
of, 313 ; penal code, 297 ; peni- 
tence, doctrine of, 315 ; philan- 
thropy, 299 ; poverty, 298-302 ; 
the Reformation, 321, (pre-Refor- 
mation movements), 335-372 ; 
debt to Roman Empire 292 ; 
Scholasticism, 309 ; slavery, 298 ; 
society (theory as to social rank, 
etc.), 369 ; war, 302 ; its wealth 
attacked by Reformers, 324 ; posi- 
tion of women, 304 

(4) Modern, chaps, viii. (Refor- 
mation) ; ix. (Evangelical Revi- 
val) ; X. (French Revolution) ; 
xi. (Foreign Missions) ; xii, (Rela- 
tion to modem science and philo- 
sophy) : summary of relation to 
Social Problems, 29, 114 {see also 
specially headings, " children," 
" slavery," etc.) ; function in 
legislative sphere 36 foil. ; duties 
towards society, 25, 29 et. seq. ; 
inadequacy of machinery, 16 

Church and State, relation examined 
historically, 412 ; identified in 
Israel, 45, 52, 75 ; Christ's teach- 
ing, 91 ; Calvin's ideal, 348 ; 
mediaeval papacy, 313 ; Mar- 
siglio's view, 308 ; Puritan ideal, 
365 : see further " State " 

Church History of the First Three 
Centuries : see Baur 

Church Missionary Society, 393 

Church in the Roman Empire : see 

Church's Task under the Roman 
Empire : Bigg's, 251 



Cicero, quoted on gladiators, 125, 
139 ; on philosophy, 127 

Citizenship, ideals of, Christ's, 108- 
109 ; Christian Church 2nd- 5 th 
centuries, 263 ; Christian (in relation 
to modern state), 26 ; Greek, 125 ; 
growth in Israel, 50 ; Prophets, 
76 ; effects of Reformation, 358, 
363 ; Roman, 125 ; how far due 
to Greece, Rome, and Israel, 505 

City Life, absorption of rural popula- 
tion (its evils), 13, 18 

City-State, 125 

Civil Constitution of the Clergy, 431 

Clan system, in Israel, 48, 49 

Clarkson, T., 387 

Class distinction, in Israel, 54 ; in 
Middle Ages, 300 

Claudius, Emperor, 143 

Cleanthes, hymn of, 130 

Clemens, the Consul, 202 

Clement of Alexandria, his teaching 
regarding property, 258 ; Pae- 
dagogue quoted, on rights of 
women, 252 

of Rome, 185 ; quoted, on civil 

government, 263 ; on fraternity, 
257 ; on Christian persecution, 
198 note ; on slavery, 85 ; on 
thankofferings, 178 

Clement to James, Epistle of, 162 

Clovis, 275 

Clubs, Roman, 135 

Cohort, Tatian's, on equality of the 
sexes, 252 

Collected Essays of Sir J. Stephen 

Collectivism, Christ's teaching, 98, 

Colleges, for working men, 402 

" Colossians, Epistle to the," 173 ; on 
success of Primitive Church, 197,198 

Columban, 315 

Combinations, labour, 20 

Commerce, Church and State in rela- 
tion to, seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries, 383 ; its debt to Foreign 
Missions, 473 ; control over legisla- 
tion in modem State, 19 ; Luther's 
views, 345 ; philosophic basis, 514, 
515 ; and the Reformation, 358 

Commodus, Emperor, 213 

Common Law, 280 

Communion, Holy (Eucharist, Last 
Supper), institution of, 89 ; in 
Primitive Church, 176-178 ; con- 
ception of after third century, 179 

Communism, Christ's teaching, 257 ; 
of Primitive Church, 157-159 

Competition, dangers of, in modem 
economics, 18 

Compulsory education, Luther and 
Knox, 368 

Concordat of 1802, 436, 438 

Concubinage, 462 

Conflict of Christianity : see Uhlhom 

Congregation, and Revolution of 1830, 

Conscience, in Christian ethics, 108 ; 
in Stoicism, 129 

Constance, Council of, 322, 323 

Constantine, recognizes Christianity, 
184, 199, 412 ; legislation, 268 

Constantius, 241 

Contemporary Review, August, 1886, 
quoted, 192 

Co-operative movement, and Evan- 
gelical Revival, 402 

Corinthians, Epistles to the (Pau- 
line), on degree of influence of 
Church, 202 note ; on weapons of 
Church, 197 ; on Holy Spirit, 225 ; 
on immortality, 221 note ; on love 
of neighbour, 160 ; on Redemption, 
222 ; account of the Last Supper 
compared with the Gospels, 89 ; 
on the sum of Christian ethics, 1 70 ; 
teaching of, 170 note 

Epistles to (Clement of Rome's), 

on fraternity, 257 ; on slavery, 85 ; 
summary, 185 

Corsica, 275 

Corvee, in Israel, 52, 64 

Cosmopolitanism, its financial aspect, 


Councils, by Haddan and Stubbs, 287 

Covenant, Book of the, 54, 66 note 

Covetousness, Christ's teaching, 99 

Cranmer, educational schemes, 369 

Creighton, Bishop, 370 

Croslegh's Christianity Judged by its 
Fruits, 257 note 

Crowther, Bishop 

Crucifixion, Abolition of, 268 

Crusades, the, 303 

Cures and the French Revolution, 
attitude to Civil Constitution of 
the Clergy, 431 ; abolition of cler- 
ical privileges, 423 ; " cahiers " 
in National Assembly, 422 ; and 
rehgious liberty, 244 ; causes of 
their revolt, 420-422 ; and State- 
payment of, 427, 430 ; stipends 
before 1790, 420 

Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, 228, 



D'Alembert, and French Revolution, 

Damiani, 317 

Danton, 435 

Daudi Kasagama. King of Toro, 454 

Deaconesses, Homes for, 407 

De Aleatoribus, 178 

De Benedicta Incarnatione, 330 

D6bidour's L'&glise et I'&tat en France, 
iy8g-i8yo, quoted, on wealth of 
Church, 419 ; on attitude of 
Papacy to Revolution, 433 

*'Dc Boigne, Comtesse de, Memoires 
of, 419 

De Broglie's L'Eglise et I'Empire ro- 
main au IV ^ Sidcle on favourites 
of Emperors, 242 ; on Christian 
influence on legislation, 268 

Debtors, legislation in Israel, 62 ; 
influence of Methodists on legisla- 
tion, 1 791, 391 

Decius, Emperor, 201 note 

Defensor Pads, by Marsiglio, 307, 
309 note 

De Institutione Virgin, 251 

De Ird, (Sgweca's), quoted, on corrup- 
tion of Roman Empire, 211 ; on 
exposure of children, 215 

Deissmann, 121 note 

Deists, 378, 508 

Democracy, relation to Christian 
ideal, 7 ; influence of Evangelical 
Revival, 384 et seq. ; and the 
Church, 2nd-5th centuries, 260 ; 
and the Mediaeval [Church, 307 ; 
pre- Reformation tendencies, 324 ; 
influence of Reformation upon 
modem, 364 ; relation to religion 
in England, 1 770-1 780, 439 ; les- 
son taught by French Revolution, 

De Offlciis, Ambrose's, 244 
De Otio, Seneca's, 248 
De Regno Christi, Butzer's, 403 
De Rohan, Bishop of Strasburg, 419 
De Tocqueville, and French Revolu- 
tion, 421 
Deuteronomy, social legislation in, 60, 

61 ; quoted on duty, 74 
Dexter, 364 
Dialogues de darts omton'ftMS, quoted, 

on passion for gladiatorial shows, 

Dickens, Charles, 395 
Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, 

DidacM, the, and Baptism, 164 ; 

quoted on brotherhood, 159 ; 

quoted on discipline of Church 
communities, 175;! on commun- 
ism, 258 ; on Holy Communion, 
176; on duty to neighbour, 162 
note ; and offertory, 1 78 ; ethics 
of philanthropy, 161 
Didascalia, ethics of, 162 ; on dis- 
cipline in Primitive Church, 181 ; 
on Holy Communion thankoffer- 
ings, 179 note 
Diderot, 422 

Dill, Dr., Roman Society from Nero 
to Aurelius, quoted, on extrava- 
gance in, 214 note ; on foreign 
cults in, 216 note ; on Mithraism, 
194 note, 225 ; on moral corrup- 
tion, 210 note, 212 ; on scepticism 
in, 215 note ; on social develop- 
ment, 122 ; on wealth, 137 ; 
Roman Society in the Last Century 
of the Eastern Empire, quoted, 270 
Dio Chrysostom, 145, 146 
Diogenes Laertius, 128, 131 
Diognetus, Epistle to, conception of 

Christians, 169, 182, 266 
Discipline, in Mediaeval Church, 316 ; 

in Primitive Church, 175, 180 
Divine Institutes, 256 
Divine Origin of Christianity, 257 note 
Divine Service, meaning in New 

Testament, 168 
Divorce, Christ's teaching, 94 ; influ- 
ence of Foreign Missions, 462 ; 
among Primitive Christians, 229 ; 
in Roman Empire, 214 
Dods, Dr. M., quoted, on Islam, 195 
Dogma, History of, Hamack's, 193 
Domestic Ethics, Christ's teaching, 
93-98 ; of early Christians, 229, 
230, 266 ; of Mediaeval Church, 
305, 320 ; Pauhne teaching, 171 ; 
influence of Reformation, 357 ; in 
Roman Empire, 214 : see also 
Dominicus Loricatus, 317 
Dominion, Wyclif's doctrine of, 327 

Domitian, Emperor, 122, 212 
Domitilla, 202 

Drunkenness, causes and effects of, 
among poorer classes, 15 ; influ- 
ence of Foreign Missions upon, 457 
Dualism, Christian refutation, 27 
Duty, as correlative to " Right," 517 ; 
Christ's teaching, 83, 84, 96, 98 ; 
in Stoicism, 129 : see also Altru- 
ism," " Brotherhood," " Children, " 
" Enemy," etc. 



Eastern Empire, 276 

Eberlin, 370 

Ebionism, 154 

Ecce Homo, quoted, 183 note 

Ecclesiastcs, social ideals in, 70 

Ecclesiastical History : see Eusebius 

Economic Interpretation of History, 


Economic Problems, modem, Christ s 
teaching in relation to, 105 et seq. ; 
competition, dangers of, 18 ; in- 
fluence of the Evangelical Revival 
on, 384 et seq. ; Old Testament 
teaching, 76-77 ; teaching of the 
Reformers, 350, 352 ; in Roman 
Empire, 135 ; unemployment, 13 
et seq. 

Edmunds, John, 331 

Education, compulsory, 368 ; ele- 
mentary (inadequacy of modern 
system,) 16 ; and the Evangelical 
Revival, 382-384 ; and Foreign 
Missions, 462, 468 ; Knox's 
schemes, 352, 368 ; mediaeval 
(influence of Roman culture and 
the Church contrasted), the Refor- 
mation, influence of, 368 ; tech- 
nical (influence of Evangelical Re- 
vival upon), 406 ; Universities 
(mediaeval), 299 ; of women (Early 
Church Fathers and), 251 ; work- 
ing-men, 386, 401 

Edward VI, 369 

£glise et V Empire romain au /F»»« 
Steele, V : see De Broglie 

£glise et I'&tat en France, I' : see 

Egoism : see Individualism 

Egypt, cults, 193, 216 ; poor rate, 


Eligius of Noyon, 299 
Eliot, George, 395 
Elizabeth, Queen, 369, 383 
Emotions, the true function in life, 
500 ; dangerous to religious growth, 


Encyclopaedists, the, 414 

Endowments, beneficent, growth in 
Middle Ages, 299-300, 302 ; Primi- 
tive Church, 228 ; in Roman 
Empire, ia.d., 137 ; result of 
Reformation and, 312 

Enemies, love for, Christ's teaching, 
84, 108 

England, agricultural class (in Eliza- 
beth's reign), 383 ; Church of 
(influence of Evangelical Revival), 
391 ; French Revolution (influence 


of), 442 ; Guilds (mediaeval), 310 ; 
legislation in nineteenth century, 
390 ; philanthropic movement (in- 
fluence of Evangelical Revival), 
399 ; Reformation (influence of), 
369 ; Roman law (influence of), 281 : 
see also "Evangelical Revival," 
" Education," " Reformation," etc, 
England, History of, Bede's, 287 note 
Environment, progressive degenera- 
tion among poorer classes, 15 ; 
influence on Christian living, 459 ; 
influence on Christian thought, 


Ephesians, Epistle to the, teaching 
of, 1 71-173 ; on immanence of 
Christ, 30 ; on influence of the 
Church, 202 ; on martyr-spirit, 221 

Epictetus, Dissertations, 127 note, 
146 note ; his picture of ideal 
missionary, 145 ; definition of 
philosophy, 127 ; opinion of 
women, 138 ; how far his writings 
may be considered as a preparation 
for Christianity, 208, 210 

Epicurus, philosophy of, 127, 128 ; 
contrasted with Christianity, 247 ; 
how far a factor in the preparation 
for Christianity, 208 

Equality, in Christian ethics, 250 ; 
in Stoicism, 249 

Eschatology, 112; Stoic contrasted 
with Christian, 249 

Ethics, Aristotle's, 126 

Eucharist : see Communion, Holy 

European Morals : see Lecky 

Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, pro- 
gress of Church, 199 note, 200 ; 
social influence of Church, 203 ; 
civil government, 264 ; on Martyrs, 

Evangelical Revival, conditions prior 
to, 379 ; characteristics (earliest), 

380, 394 ; and Christian Socialism, 
399 ; Church of England, its influ- 
ence on, 440 ; modem churches, 
effect on, 405 ; a non-class move- 
ment, 384, 386 ; democratic prin- 
ciples, 385 ; description of (by 
Dickens and George Eliot), 395 ; 
and education, 382 ; ethical and 
social character, 396 ; international 
and humanitarian character, 393 ; 
influence of Moravian Missions on, 
394 ; nature of its philanthropy, 

381, 895 ; political influence, 389 ; 
and Radicalism, 396 ; compared 
with the Reformation, 403 ; con- 




Crete results ©t, 402, 407 ; influ- 
ence on modern social work, 400 ; 
and slavery, 387 ; influence on 
technical and scientific training, 
406 ; non-theological nature, 377 ; 
and the working man, 401, 402 

Exodus, on social justice, 55 \ 

Expansion of Christianity : see Har- 

Experience, its necessary relation to 
thought, 495 ; basis of all true 
understanding, 510 

Expositor's Greek Testament, Dr. 
Bruce's, 86 

Expository Times, November, 1908, 


Exposure of slaves, 143 

Ezekiel, ordinance concerning land 
tenure, 64 ; teaching on social 
ideals, 63 

Ezekiel, land tenure, 64 ; on 
egoism of the rich, 63, 64 ; descrip- 
tion of a righteous man, 63 

Ezra, administration of, 6y 

Factory Reforms, Lord Shaftesbury, 
389; influence of "Methodist 
Party," upon legislation, 392 

Fairbairn, Dr., quoted, on Church 
and State, 349 

Fall, the. Church Fathers on, 253 

Family life, Christ's teaching, 93- 
98 ; influence of Foreign Missions, 
461 ; in Israel, 50, 51, 54, 66; in- 
fluence of Monasticism upon 
(Mediaeval Church), 305, 320 ; 
Pauline teaching, 171 ; among 
Primitive Christians, 229 ; influ- 
ence of Reformation on, 357 ; 
Roman, 132 ; in Roman Empire, 


Father, the Roman, 132 

Felix, St., 264 

Fellowship, in Primitive Church, 175 

Ferrero's Characters and Events of 
Roman History, quoted, 134 

Feudal System, influence of Church 
upon, 294, 298 ; during Reforma- 
tion period, 337 

Fin du Paganisme, La, Boissier's, 251 

Finance, in modem State, 19 

Flagellants, the, 317 

Flavians, the, and Christianity, 202 

Footbinding, 467 

Force, use of, Christ's prohibition, 
108; and Mediaeval Church, 207, 

Foreign Missions, educational value, 
468 ; economic and commercial 
value, 475 ; evangehcal, 393-395 ; 
and industrial training, 458, 477 ; 
medical, 469 ; native workers and 
leaders, 455, 484 ; Purvey's plea 
for, 330 ; promotes religious 
liberty, 485 ; women's education, 
462, 467 ; social influence of, on 
heathen, character, 452 ; family 
life, 461 ; habits, 457 ; national 
developnient, 469; tribal and 
communal life, 464 

Forgiveness, Christ's teaching, 82 

Formalism, in religion, its perils, 479 

Fornication, Christ's teaching, 94 

Fouche, 435 

Foundhng hospitals, mediaeval, 296 

Foxe, quoted, on mediaeval humani- 
tarianism, 330 note 

France, leper hospitals, social condi- 
tions prior to Revolution, 415, 422 : 
see also " Gaul," " French Revolu- 
tion," " Huguenots," " Napoleon," 
and under various kings 

Franchise, Cartwright's idea of, 441 ; 
and English Independents, 365 ; 
in Roman Empire, 240 

Francis of Assisi, St., philanthropy, 

Franciscans, the, 299, 323 

Fraternity, bibliography, 257 note ; 
Christ's teaching, 83, 88, 116; the 
friars, 299, 300 ; in Mediaeval 
Church, 300, 320 ; in Mithraism, 
246 ; in Primitive Church, 158, 
166, 256 

Freedom, History of. Lord Acton's, 

Free food, in Rome; 135, in Empire, 

Free grace, doctrine of, and Mediaeval 
Church, 381 ; and Evangelical 
Revival, 381 

Freehold, in Law of Jubilee, 67 

Freeman's Norman Conquest, quoted, 
on influence of Church on war, 303 

Freewill Baptists, influence on sla- 
very, 387 

French Revolution, general causes 
of, 421 ; causes of revolt against 
the Church, 414 ; Church pro- 
perty, and National Assembly, 
426 ; Church privileges, and the 
National Assembly, 423 ; Civil 
Constitution of the Clergy, 431 ; 
" Concordat " of 1802, 436 ; 
revolt of the cures against the 



Church, reasons for, 418-421 ; 
dogma, State interference with, 
432; history, 1790-1799, 434; 
influence on England, 395, 442 ; 
monastic orders, dissolution of, 
430 ; and Napoleon, 435 ; Na- 
tional Assembly, general reform 
proposals, 422 ; " Rights of Man," 
clauses affecting religious hberty, 
424 ; Social Contract, 415 ; 
Voltaire's teaching, 414 ; lessons 
deduced from, for both the Church 
and the State, 443 
Froude, on corruption in reign of 
Commodus, 213 note 

Gaiseric, 275 

Galatians, Epistle to the 225 note 

Gambling, De Aleatoribus, quoted 
on, 178 

Games, the Roman, 139, 144 

Garat, 428 

Gaul, history of , 275-277 

General Baptist Missionary Society, 

Genesis of the Social Conscience : see 
Nash, Professor 

Geneva, mediaeval, history of its con- 
stitution, 347,'; Calvin and its Code, 

Gentiles, Christian proselytes, 154, 

George I, 378 

Ger, 50 note, 69 

Germany, its democracy, divorce 
between the Church and, 401 ; 
education, influence of Reforma- 
tion upon, 368 ; Law, influence of 
Roman law upon, 281, 340; Peas- 
ants' Revolt, 340-344 : see also 

Gesta Christi : see Brace, C. L. . 

Gibbon, " five secondary causes " of 
growth of Christianity, 191, 220 
note ; view of Marcus Aurelius, 
242 ; on Jewish population in time 
of Augustus, 193 ; on population 
in time of Constantine, 200 

Gift of Tongues, 257 

Glabrio : see Acilius 

Gladiatorial Shows, 139, 145 ; aboli- 
tion of, 229, 262, 268 

Glover, T. R., 171 

Gnosticism, 203 

God, Christian conception of, 506-508 ; 
Christian conception in relation to 
society, 27 ; Man's relation to, 82, 
83, 88 ; Sonship of Christ, 81 

Good Samaritan, parable of, 85 * 

Gospels, the, compared on divorce, 
94-95 ; on the Sacraments, 89 ; 
on dangers of wealth, 100 

Gouttes^ Abbe, and State payment 
of clergy, 428 

Government, principles of, Aquinas, 
conception of, 307 ; Calvin's, 348 ; 
Cartwright's, 441 ; in Christ's 
teaching, 108 ; English Inde- 
pendents', 365 ; Marsiglio's, 308 ; 
relation to human development, 

Grant, Robert, 390 
Gratian, Emperor, 241 
Gray, and debtors, 391 
Greece, 140, 141 : see also Hellenism 
Green, Professor J, R., 338 
Gregoire, Abbe, Letters to the 

Cur 6s 421 ; abolition of annates, 

423. 437 
Gregory the Great, hostility to classi- 
cal culture, 283 ; Letter to 
Mellitus, quoted, on policy of 
Church, 287 ; missions, 279 

VII : see Hildebrand 

Bishop of Neocaesarea, 232 

Guardians, Poor Law (U.K.) : see 

Poor Law 
Guilds, mediaeval, 310, 312 note; in 

Roman Empire, 135 
Guizot, F. P. G., 361 
Gwatkin, Professor, quoted on the 

Reformation, 355 

Haggai, social ideals of, 69 

Hammurabi, King, 55 

Happiness, in Epicureanism, 128 

Hamack's Expansion of Christianity y 
on apologists, 191 note ; evidence 
of Catacombs, 202 note ; signs 
of degeneration in Church, 232 
note ; period of greatest expansion, 
199 note ; progress in Church, 156, 
200-203 ; Jewish population in 
Roman Empire at time of Augus- 
tus, 193 ; on Mithraism, 194, 198 ; 
on slavery and the Church, 252 ; 
Contemporary Review, August, 
1886, quoted, on Apologetics, 192 
note ; Historian' s History of the 
World, vi. on citizenship in Chris- 
tian Church, two-five centuries, 267 
note ; Princeton Review, July, 
1878, on evidence of catacombs, 
202 ; History of Dogma, on 
Mithraism, 193 

Hamam Singh, Sir, 454 



Hatch, Dr., quoted on parallels be- 
tween modem life and i a.d., 135 ; 
on moral condition of Rome in 
time of Seneca, 211 note 

Heathen, Missions to, 447-488 

Hebert, J. R., 435 

Hebrew of Pre-Christian era : see 

of Christian era : see Jew 

religion : see Judaism 

Hebrews, Epistle to the, teaching 

on brotherhood, 158 ; sacrificial 

language, 168 
Hegel, Georg, W, F., on defects of 

theoretic method, 493 
Heine, 357 
Hellenism, 126, 154 ; and Mediaeval 

thought, 282 
Henricians, the, 324 
Henry VIII, 369 
Henry of Lausanne, 324 
Heredity, cumulative degeneration 

among unemployed, 14 
Heretics, and the Mediaeval Church, 

297 : see also " Huguenots " 
Hermas, Shepherd oi, 185 
Hermes, Prefect, 230 
** Hidden Treasure," parable, 91 
Hildebrand (Gregory VII), 284; War 

of Investitures, 303 
Hildegard of Bingen, 305 
Hippolytus, Canons of, 169 note 
" Hirelings " in Israel, 61 
Hobbes, Thomas, of Malmesbury, 

practical attitude {The Levia- 
than), 501 
Hobhouse, Sir J. C, and child 

legislation, 392 
Hodgkin's Italy and Her Invaders, 

267 note 
Holy Spirit, 225 
Homilies, Chrysostom's, on women, 

Horace, 129, 136 

Hort's Christian Ecclesia, 174 note 
Hosea, philanthropy of, 54, 402 
Hospitality, in early Christian Church, 

162, 228 
Hospitallers, the, 320 
Hospitals, and Evangelical Revival, 

Hours (or Labourers), Parable of 

the, 104 
Housing and Town Planning Act, 11 
Howard, John, reforms of, 389, 391 
Hsi, Pastor, 484 
Huguenots, the, and Louis XIV, 418 ; 

and Louis XVI, 424 

Human sacrifices, influence of 

Foreign Missions against, 464, 466, 

Humanism, and Humanitarianism, 

the Christian ideal, 26 
Huns, the, 274, 275, 277 
Hus, John, 322 
Husband : see Marriage 
Huxley, Thomas, theory of natural 

law, 509 

Idealism, modern, its practical char- 
acter, 496 ; and Stoicism, 129 

Idolatry, among modern heathen, 
its decline, 480 

Ignatius of Antioch, 199, 232 ; 
Epistles, quoted on Martyr-spirit, 
221 note ; on unity of Chris- 
tians, 177 

Imad-ud-Din, Dr., 484 

Image- worshipping, mediaeval, 331 

Immanence of Christ, Pauline doc- 
trine, 30 

Immortality, doctrine of, a factor in 
the expansion of Christianity in 
Roman Empire, 215 note, 220 

Incarnation, the,. 81 

Independents, Enghsh, Church polity, 
364 ; " Manifesto " to Parliament, 


Indian, Missions, education of girls, 
463 ; and Lord's Day observance, 
487 ; among low-caste population, 
465, 468 ; native workers, 454, 
484 ; work towards religious 
liberty, 486 

Individualism, of the Barbarians, 
290 ; Calvin's conception, 350, 
360 ; not recognized by Christi- 
anity, 31 ; erroneous conceptions 
of, 361, 514, 515 ; of the Refor- 
mation, 294 ; in Roman Empire, 
i'a.d., 126; Stoicism, 131, 148 

Indulgences, papal, 315 

Industry, and Industrial Class, 
Christ's teaching, 102 ; Church and 
State in relation to (seventeenth 
and eighteenth century England), 
383, 384 ; Evangelical Revival, 
educational influence upon, 386 ; 
attitude towards religious conven- 
tion (George I's time), 379 ; and 
Primitive Church, 231 ; see also 
" Labour " 

Infanticide, Constantino's edict, 26^ ; 
and Mediaeval Church, 296 ; and 
Primitive Church, 250, 251 

Ingham, B., 384 



Innocent III, 366 

IV, 297 

Inquisition, the, 297, 353 
Inscription Orelli, 138, 139 
Institutional Church, basis of, 41 
Institutions of Mercy, in Middle Ages, 

299, 300, 302 ; and Early Christian 

Church, 228 
IntellectuaUsm, true and false, 499 

et seq. 
International relations, 

influence of 

Foreign Missions, 475 
conception, 515 

Introduction to the Eternal Gospel, by 
San Donnino, 324 

Investitures, Hildebrand's struggles, 
303 ; and French Revolution, 432 

Irenaeus, Bishop, 232, 264 

Irish Church, 3 1 5 

Isaiah, social ideals and teaching, 54, 
56, 70 ; nature of his philan- 
thropy, 402 

Isaiah quoted on dignity of 
farmer's calUng, 58 ; on social in- 
equalities, 56 ; on social condition 
of nobles, 57 ; social ideals, 70 ; 
on land grabbing, 57 ; protest 
against social decadence, 58 ; on 
slavery, 69 

Isis, worship of, 216 

Islam, compared with Christianity, 
III, 195; bibliography, 195 note 

Israel, Canaan, settlement in, 49 ; 
Captivity, 65 ; Church and State 
in, 45, 46 ; Eighth Century, 53-57 ; 
post-Exilic period, 66 ; the Judges, 
52 ; pre-Canonical Prophets, 49-5 1 ; 
Monarchy, 52, 60. 63-65 ; nomad 
life, 47, 48 ; Prophets, 56, 60, 69, 
75 ; social organization, corv6e, 64 ; 
family, 50; land tenure, 51, 56; 
legislation, 54, 60, 66, 67 ; rich and 
poor, 48, 56; 60-65 ; slavery, 51, 
55, 61, 62, 65, 68, 69 ; compared 
and contrasted with Christendom, 

Italy, democratic movements of 
twelfth century, 324 ; barbarian 
invasions, 274-277 ; Ostrogothic 
Kingdom, 275 ; Moslem invasions, 

Italy and Her Invaders, Hodgkin's, 
267 note 

Jacobins, and the French Revolution, 
435 ; influence of, in England, 442 
James, 254 
James, Epistle of, 158 

Jan of Leyden, 370 

Jansenists, Papal Bull " Unigenitus," 

419 ; and the French Revolution, 

430, 432 
Japan, mission - schools for girls, 

463 ; influence of Missions, 484, 

Japan Sabbath Alliance, 487 
Jeremiah, and the " corvee," 64 ; 

and land tenure, 64 ; and slavery, 

Jeremiah quoted on " corvee," 64 ; 

land tenure, 64 ; nomad period 

compared with post- Exile days, 

47 ; King Zedekiah and slavery, 


Jeroboam II, 53 

Jerome, St., attitude towards Roman 
Empire, 264 ; and education of 
women, 264 

Jerusalem, Conference of, 166 ; Fall 
of, 112; Primitive Christian com- 
munity, 157 

Jesuits, and the Jansenists, 419 ; 
and Louis XV, 427 ; power 1824'- 
1830, 439; and 1870,439 

Jesus Christ. His teachings, pp. 81- 
116 {see "Argument," 80); on 
aesthetic side of life, 107 ; alms- 
giving, 87, loi ; asceticism, 106, 
97 ; ordinance of Baptism, 89 ; 
Buddha compared, 1 1 1 ; children, 
97 ; the Church (foundation of), 
88 ; Church and State, 90 ; col- 
lectivism and charity, 10 1, 102 ; 
economic problems, 103-105 ; 
family, 93-97 ; Holy Spirit, 225 ; 
immanence, doctrine concerning, 
30 ; Incarnation doctrine, 8 1 ; 
industry, attitude to, 102 ; the 
Kingdom of God, 90 ; " Logos " 
doctrine, 224 ; Lord's Supper, 89 ; 
love, 83 seq. ; luxury, 105 ; as 
Jewish Messiah, 83, 85, 92 ; mar- 
riage, 94 ; mendicancy, 102 ; 
Mohammed compared, 1 1 1 ; mon- 
asticism, 96 ; His personality, its 
absoluteness the secret of success 
of Christianity, 222-225 .' political 
problems, attitude towards, 503 ; 
property as an institution, 98 ; as 
Saviour of the world, 225 ; slavery, 
103 ; social progress not catastro- 
phic, no, 114; social institutions, 
attitude towards, 93; war, no; 
wealth and poverty, 100, 86 ; 
women, 97, 94 : See further 
" Church," " Christianity," etc. 



Jews, of Christian era, distribution, 
154; proselytes, 154, 157-164; 
population in Roman Empire at 
time of Augustus, 193 ; modern 
legislation, 391 ; of pre-Christian 
era : see Israel 

Joan of Arc, 505 

Job, social ideals of, 70 

Job, picture of righteous man, 70 

Joel, social ideals of, 69 

John, St., mission in Asia Minor, 199 

John, St., Gospel of, quoted on duty 
of compassion, 28 ; on Kingdom 
of God, 92, 197 ; on Redemp- 
tion, 222 ; on Sonship of Christ, 
82 ; on trust in God, 99 ; on 
Christ's attitude to women, 97 

John, St., Epistles of, teaching of, 
183 ; quoted on main principle of 
Christianity, 223, 224 ; on social 
status of Church, 202 note 

Johnson, Dr., his testimony to 
Methodist preaching, 384 

Josiah, social reforms, 60 

Joshua, on land tenure and the 
family, 66 

Jubilee, Law of, 67 

Judaism, contributions to Christi- 
anity, 154; relation to Christi- 
anity, 5, 83, 218 ; influence of 
Christianity upon, 157-164 ; influ- 
ence on modern thought, 505 ; 
progress compared with Chris- 
tianity, 193-194 

Judges, 52 

Juhan, Emperor, testimony to Chris- 
tian philanthropy, 229, 259 

Justin Martyr, his attitude to the 
State, 264 ; Apology quoted, on 
baptism, 164 ; on his conver- 
sion, 221 ; on miracles, 222 ; on 
moral influence of Christianity, 226 
note ; on oral instruction of 
Christianity, 223 note ; on thank- 
offerings, 178 ; Dialogue with 
Trypho on spread of Christianity, 
199 ; on Platonism, 219 ; on rights 
of women, 251 

Justinian, Emperor, 276, 281 

Juvenal, views on moral corruption 
of Rome, Dr. Dill's criticism, 212 ; 
on popularity of the Games, 140 ; 
definition of philosophy, 144 ; on 
slavery, 142 

Kali Char an Banurji, social influence 
of, 454 

Kant, Immanuel, attitude to truth, 

Kautsky, Karl, 269 
Kenkichi Kataoka, 454 
Khama, 454 
King, and Kingship, Aquinas on, 

307 ; bibliography of growth in 

Middle Ages, 309 note ; in Israel, 

61 ; John Knox's conception of, 

352 ; Marsiglio's conception, 308 
Kingdom of God, Old Testament 

anticipations, 5 ; Christ's teaching, 

90, 112 
Kings, Books of, on corvee, 52 ; on 

land tenure, 5 3 
Kingsley, Charles, and Evangelical 

Revival, 399, 442 
Knox, John, Book of Discipline, 352 ; 

contrasted with Calvin, 351 ; 

quoted on kingship, 352 ; social 

programme, 351 ; social and poh- 

tical influence, 352 
Koberle, 71, 72 
Kuenen, 194 note 

Labour, and Labour Problem, Cal- 
vin's ideals of the relation of State 
to, 350 ; Christ's teaching, 103, 
105 ; in Israel (corvee), 52, 61 ; 
Knox's programme, 352 ; of 
modern society, 12 et seq. ; and 
Medieeval Church, 319; Sir Thomas 
More's conception, 371 ; Old 
Testament teaching applied to 
Christendom, 71, 76 ; in Primitive 
Church, 231 ; teaching of the 
Reformation, 358 ; Thorold Rogers 
and, 384 ; in Roman Empire i 
A.D. 214 

Lactantius, 255 ; Divine Institutes, 
quoted on brotherhood, 256 ; on 
ownership of property, 258 ; on 
Stoicism, 146 

Land, and land tenure, the Church 
as owner, Arnold of Brescia's re- 
forms 325, {see also " Property "), 
In Israel, period before Canonical 
Prophets, 49, 5 1 ; Ezekiel, 64 ; 
Isaiah's condemnation, 57 ; Jere- 
miah, 64 ; creation of landless 
class, eighth century, 53, 57 ; Law 
of Jubilee, 67 ; Micah, 58 ; post- 
ExiUc period, 67 ; Old Testament 
standards apphed to Christendom, 

Last Judgement, parable of the, 85 

Last Supper, the institution of, 89 ; 
see also Communion, Holy 



Latin Literature, decline, in Middle 
Ages, 282 

La Vendee, and the Revolution, 434 

Law, Mr,, teaching of, 380 

Law of Holiness, 60, 66 note 

Laws : see Legislation 

Lazar houses, mediaeval, 299 

Leaven^ the, parable of, 91 

Lecky's History of, European Morals 
quoted on Roman Empire, cruelty 
in, 214 note; domestic ethics in, 
214 note; immorahty, 214 note; 
scepticism, 215 ; slavery, 144, 214 
note ; on effects of Christian 
philanthropy on, 227 note ; on 
Roman character, 131 

Legislation, Christ's attitude towards 
principle of, 108, 109 ; relation 
of Christianity to, 32, 443 ; influ- 
ence of Evangehcal Revival upon, 
393 ; in Israel, 54, 60 ; Roman, 
influence of Primitive Church upon, 
259, 260, 268 ; Roman, its influ- 
ence on mediaeval law, 280 

Leo, Bishop of Rome, 277 

Leper- hospitals, mediaeval, 299, 300 ; 
and Foreign Missions, 467 

Leviticus, on duty of love, 74 ; 
"Law of Holiness," 60 ; slavery, 


Liberty, teaching of early Christian 
Church, 255 ; French Revolution 
and religious, 423 etseq.; influence of 
Foreign Missions on, 485 ; influence 
of Mediaeval Church on, 306 ; and 
Napoleon's '* Concordat," 438 ; and 
the Reformation, 361, 363 

Lightfoot's Philippians, 210 

Lindsay, Dr., quoted, 343 

Little Flower of St. Francis, quoted, 

Livy, quoted on moral corruption of 
Rome, 2 1 1 

Locke, John, 501 

Lofthouse, Professor W. F., quoted, 

"Logos," 224 
Lollards, the, influence, 324 ; social 

work, 330 
Lomt»ards, the, 276 
Lombardy, rise of the republic, 325 ; 

influence of Roman Law, 280 
London Dock Strike (1889), 20 

Jews' Society, 393 

Missionary Society, 393 

Lord's Day Observance Committee, 

Union, 487 

Louis Napoleon, Prince, 439 

XIV, and the Church, 418 

XV; 420, 430 

XVI, and the Revolution, 422, 


XVIII, 437, 438 

Love, in Christian doctrine, 507 
et seq. ; towards God, 83 ; imparti- 
ality of, 84, 108 ; expression of in 
Holy Communion, 175-179 ; Juda- 
ism compared 183 ; its relation to 
society, 27 ; Stoicism compared, 
249 ; philanthropic, 86 ; univer- 
sality, 84, 85 ; universahty, its 
function in modern society, 30, 34 

Love-Feast (Agape), 175 

Loyalty Islands, Missions in, 455 

Lucian, 199 

Luke, Gospel of St., on aesthetic 
aspect of Christianity, 107 ; and 
Christ's attitude to women, 97 ; 
the Church, influence of, 202 note ; 
on divorce, 94, 95 ; on forgiveness 
of sins, 82 ; on master and servant, 
104 ; on Christ's life taught by 
oral instruction, 223 note ; on the 
Last Supper (compared with other 
Gospels), 89 ; on peril of riches, 
86, 100, loi 

Luther, Martin, 403 ; Address to the 
Nobility quoted, 346 ; quoted on 
beggars and poor rehef, 367 ; con- 
trasted with Calvin, 347-348 ; 
attitude to commerce, 345 ; educa- 
tional reforms, 368-383 ; funda- 
mental principles, 339, 342, 343, 
346 ; attacks monasticism, 356- 
357 ; attitude towards the Pea- 
sants' Revolt, and effects on Ger- 
many and the Reformation, 342, 
343 ; and universal priesthood of 
behevers, 364 ; compared with 
WycHf, 328 

Lutheran Church, 343 

Luxury, Christ's teaching, 86, 105 ; 
in Israel, 47, 49, 57 ; in Mediaeval 
Church, 324 ; in Roman Empire 
I A.D,, 136, 214 ; in Roman Cathohc 
Church prior to French Revolution, 

Lynn, town, mediaeval guilds, 311 

Mackay, 477 

Madagascar, missions in, 485 
Malachi, social ideals, 69 
Malouet, and French Revolution, 428 
"Mammon of Unrighteousness," Dr. 
Bruce's interpretation, 86 



Manumission, 296 

Marat, 435 

Marc Aurdle, by Renan, 213 

Marcus Aurelius, 215 note; quoted 
on altruism, 148 ; social conditions 
under, 212, 213 ; and the Games, 
140 ; quoted, on philosophy, 145 ; 
how far his writings a preparation 
for Christianity, 208 

Mark, Gospel of St., on duty of 
sons to parents, 96 ; on influence 
of the Church, 202 note ; on 
divorce, 94, 95 ; on ripeness of 
time for reception of Christianity, 
204 ; " Last Supper," account 
compared with other Gospels, 89 ; 
on peril of wealth, 100 

Marriage, Christ's teaching, 94 ; and 
early Christian Church, 229, 262, 
266 ; and Mediaeval Church, 357 ; 
Pauline teaching, 171 ; in Roman 
Empire, first and second centuries, 

Marshall, Dr., quoted, 358 

MarsigHo of Padua, principles of 
hberty, 307, 309 note 

Martha's Les Moralistes sous l' Empire 
remain, 123 note 

Martin of Tours, 260 

Martyrs, the (early Christian), 219, 
221, 255 

Mary Queen of Scots, and education, 
369 ; and Knox, 352 

Marx, Karl, bhndness to EvangeUcal 
Revival, 399 

Mass, Catholic Mystery of the, com- 
pared with the Agape, 179 

Master and Servant, Christ's teach- 
ing, 103 ; in Rome (laws), 141, 

f; 143 ; relation philosophically ex- 
pressed, 517 

Mathys, Jan, 370 

Matthew, Gospel of St., on aesthetic 
aspect of Christianity, 107 ; on 
almsgiving, 87, 102 ; on bad influ- 
ence, Sy ; on Baptism, 89 ; Christ's 
attitude to children, 97 ; on 
divorce (compared with other 
Gospels), 94, 95 ; on use of force, 
92 ; on forgiveness of sins, 82 ; 
on Fall of Jerusalem, 112; para- 
bles of the Kingdom, 91, 112; 
"Last Judgment," 85 ; the Last 
Supper (compared with other Gos- 
pels), 89 ; love of neighbour, 84 ; 
master and servant, 104 ; pro- 
perty, 98 ; on sacrifice, 82, 83 ; on 
Scribes and Pharistes, 83 ; self- 

denial, 106 ; trust in God, 100 ; 
Christ's attitude to women, 97 ; 
on work, 103 

Matthews' English Works of Wyclif, 
329 note 

Maturines : see Trinitarians 

Maurice, F.D., and Evangehcal 
Revival, 399 ; influence of, 442 ; 
Working-men College, 402 

Maury, Abbe, 427 

Maxentius, 199 

MedicBval Political Theory in 'he 
West, by A. J. Carlyle, 252 note 

Medical missions, 469 

Melanchthon, P., 344 

Melito of Sardis, 263 

Mendicancy, Christ's teacMng 
(origin), 103 ; attitude of Medieval 
Church towards, 366 ; attitude of 
the Reformers towards, 367 

Mery-sur-Seine, battle of, 275 

Messiah, the, early Christian view, 
83, 85, 92 

Methodism, and education, 382 

" Methodist Party," political influ- 
ence, 389 ; remedial legislation, 
390 ; criticised as reactionary, 400 

Micah, and social conditions, 54, 56, 

Micah, quoted, on greed for pro- 
perty, 58 ; denunciation of social 
inequalities, 56, 57 

Middle Classes, influence of Evange- 
hcal Revival upon, 386 ; influence 
of Reformation upon, 369 

Military service, in Roman Empire, 
Christians' attitude towards, 266 

Mill, James, 397 

John Stuart, attitude to 

Evangelical Revival, 397 ; On 
Liberty quoted, on establish- 
ment of Church by Constantiae, 
242 ; Representative Government 
quoted, on strength of Chris- 
tianity, 219, 220 

Milton, John, quoted on Truth, 498 

Minchin, and penal laws, 391 

Minority Report (1909) : see Poor 
Law (U. K.) 

Minucius, Felix, Octavius quoted, 
on Christian brotherhood, 256 ; on 
attitude of Christians to State, 264 

Mirabeau, speech in National As- 
sembly on religious hberty (quoted) 
424 ; motion in N. A. concerning 
Church property, 427 

Miracles, as a factor in the expansion 
of Christianity, 222 



Missions, influence of Evangelical 
Revival upon, 393 ; Foreign : see 
Foreign Missions ; Moravian : see 
Moravian Missions 

Mithraism, progress and scope com- 
pared with Christianity, 193, 197 ; 
mystery of redemption contrasted 
with Christianity, 216, 225 ; soci- 
aUty of Christianity contrasted 
with, 246 

Mohammed, Buddha and Christ, 195 

Mohammed and Mohammedanism, 
195 note 

Mohammedan Empire after Hegira, 
193 ; conquests, seventh to ninth 
centuries, 276 ; rehgion : see Islam 

Mommsen's Provinces of the Roman 
Empire, on society, 122 note; on 
slavery, 141 

Monasticism, and Christ's teaching, 
96 ; in Mediaeval Church, 318-321 ; 
influence and value in mediaeval 
Europe, 318 ; influence of its 
philanthropy upon the Wesleys, 
380, 381 ; effect of the Reforma- 
tion, 355, 358 ; in Roman Church, 
fourth century 261-262 ; semi- 
monastic orders, 320 ; and slavery, 
387 ; women, 305 

Monastic Orders, dissolution of, 
during French Revolution, 430 : 
see also "^Benedict, St." ** Francis, 
St." etc. 

Money-lending : see Usury. 

Monogamy, and Old Testament 
teaching, 72 

Monopoly, Luther on, quoted, 345 

Monotheism, in Roman Empire, 208, 

Montanism, 225 [220 

Monumenta Franciscana, quoted 
on Wychf, 329 

Moravians, influence in time of George 
I, 380 ; Missions, 394 

More, Hannah, 390 

Sir Thomas, Utopia, 371 

Mornings in Florence, Ruskin's, 
quoted, 301 note 

Morris, Wm., inspirations of, relation 
to Evangelical Revival, 402 

Moslems, conquests of, seventh to 
ninth centuries, 276 

Mother, status in Israel, 50 ; Roman 
laws giving right of guardianship 
over her children, 269 

Municipal Government, relation to 
social problems, 23 

Miinzer, Peasants' Revolt, 341 ; 
social teacliing, 370 

Mustard Seed parable, 91 
Mutilation, influence of Foreign Mis- 
sions against, 464 

Naboth, 51 

Nahum, 63 note 

Napoleon Bonaparte, relations with 
the Papacy, 438 ; " Concordat," 
436 ; and the Revolution, 1759- 


Narbonne, Archbishop of, wealth, 419 

Nash, Professor, Genesis of the Social 
Conscience, on Monasticism in 
fourth century, 262 note ; on 
citizenship in Christian Church, 267 

Natal, criminal statistics 1903-09, in- 
fluence of Foreign Missions on, 483 

National Assembly of France, 1789 ; 
" Civil Constitution of the Clergy," 
432 ; abolition of clerical privi- 
leges, 423 ; cures, cahiers of, 422 ; 
Church property, confiscation of, 
and the results, 426-428 ; attack 
religious Uberty, 424 ; " The Rights 
of Man," declaration of, 424 

Nationalism, consciousness of, a 
cause of mediaeval reform move- 
ments, 322, 323 ; and a cause of 
the Reformation, 295, 314; evils 
of, as developed by the Reforma- 
tion, 372 

Natural History, Pliny's quoted on 
scepticism, 215 note 

Natural science, its methods com- 
pared with those of rehgion, 492 
et seq. ; true relation to religion and 
hfe, 510, 511 

Naturahsm, how modified by Christi- 
anity, 507 ,. 4 . :'' 

Neesima, Dr., 484 '•• ■ "4""- . • 

Neglected Factors in the Study of the 
Early Progress of Christianity : 
see Orr, the Rev. James 

Nehemiah, administration of, 67 

Nehemiah, social reforms, 69 

Nelson, John, 386 

Neo-platonism, influence of Christi- 
anity upon, 203 ; ideals, 247 

Nero, Emperor, persecution of Chris- 
tians, 198 ; social conditions under, 
120, 122, 212 

Nerva, Emperor, charitable endow- 
ments, 137 

Netherlands, the, the Reformation, 

New Guinea, evangelism of, 455, 485 



New Testament, on value of suffer- 
ing, 28 : see also " Jesus Christ " 

Nietzsche's Umwertung alter Werte, 
quoted on Christian ideals, 219 

Nonconformists, in Walpole's day, 
380 : see also Evangelical Revival 

Norman Conquest, Freeman's quoted, 

Obadiah, 63 note 

Obedience, emphasis laid by Mon- 
asticism upon, 320 

Octavius : see Minucius Felix 

Offertory, in primitive Church, 178, 

Old Age Pensions Scheme (U.K.) 
significance, 11 

Oldcastle, Sir John, 331 

Old Testament as basis for Christi- 
anity, 5 ; social conditions and 
teaching compared with, and ap- 
pUed to modern Christendom, 71- 


On Liberty, J. S. Mill's, quoted on 
early Christian Church, 242 

Opium - habit, the work of Foreign 
Missions against, 457, 467 

Origen, Against Celsus, 165 note ; on 
charge of " atheism " brought 
against Christians, 220 note ; on 
miracles, as a factor in success of 
Christianity, 222 note ; on moral 
effects of Christianity, 226 note ; 
on ripeness of time in Roman 
Empire for reception of Christi- 
anity, 205 ; on growth in wealth 
and social influence of Church, 203 

Orr, Rev. James, Neglected Factors 
in the Study of the Early Progress 
of Christianity, on ethical revival 
of Antonines, 212 ; on evidence 
of the Catacombs, 201, 202 ; on 
influence of Christianity on literary 
and cultured circles, 203 note 

Ostrogoths, kingdom of, 27$ 

Otto the Great, 277 

Ottoman Power in Europe, Freeman's, 
195 note 

Owen, Robert, 379 ; work against 
slavery, 389 ; social-ethical valua- 
tion of life, 396 

Oxburgh, mediaeval guilds, 311 

Oxford, University of, in Middle 
Ages, 300 

Padagogue, the, Clement of Alexan- 
dria's, 252 

Paine, Tom, 442 

Pantheism, relation to Christianity 
and naturahsm, 509 

Pao, 455, 485 

Papacy, the, and " Civil Constitution 
of the Clergy," 432 ; influence 
and attitude towards civil hberty 
after Hildebrand, 307 ; constitu- 
tion, 313 ; attitude during French 
Revolution, 433 ; reasons for 
growth and downfall, 314, 439; 
Hildebrand, 284 ; and monasticism 
318; Napoleon's Concordat of 
1802, 435 ; and the Reformation, 
335-372 ; struggles of 1870, 439 

Papal Bull ** Unigenitus," 419 

Papuan Industries Limited, 477 

Parabolic Teaching of Christ, Dr. 
Bruce's, 104 

Parents, Christ's teaching, 96 ; Paul- 
ine teaching, 1 72 

Paris, University of, mediaeval, 300 

Parry, 390 

Party poUtics, the Church's relation 

to, 37 

Passion (psychological) function in 
mental growth, 499 et seq. 

Patarines, influence of, 324 

Patria potestas, 132 

Patriotism, Christian ideal, 25 ; and 
early Christians, 267 

Pattison, Mark, 351 

Paul, St., teaching to the Corin- 
thians, 170; domestic ethics, 1 71-173; 
contrasted with James, 254 ; Mis- 
sionary work (basis of), 165 ; 
Missionary work (scope and pro- 
gress), 197 ; teaching to Roman 
Gentiles, 165-170; teaching in 
Roman Asia, 171 ; sacrificial lan- 
guage, 168 ; his doctrine of " ser- 
vice," 168, 169 ; teaching to 
Thessalonians, 170 note 

Paulinus of Nola, philanthropy of, 
259 ; attitude towards the State, 

Paulus, Jurisconsult, 250 

Paupers and Pauperism : see Poor, 

Pearl of Great Price parable, 91 

Peasants' Revolt, causes, 327, 340 ; 
their demands, 341 ; Luther's 
attitude, 342 

Pelagius, 258, 259 

Penal code, and Mediaeval Church, 

297 ; Minchin, 391 
Penance, system of, origin in Mediae- 
val Church, 316 



Penitence, Doctrine of, in Mediaeval 
Church, 315 

Penitentials, origin of, 313 

Pentateuch, the (Torah), 66 

" People's Charter " of 1838, 441 

Persecution, Christ's teaching, 84, 

Persecution in the Early Church : see 
Workman, Rev. H. B. 

Personahty, Christian doctrine of, 
31, 87; teaching in Primitive 
Church, 167 ; teaching of Calvin 
and Luther contrasted, 360 

Peter, Epistle of, 197 

Petronius, on philosophy, 149 ; on 
civilization of Roman masses, i 
A.D., 121 

Pfieiderer, Otto, Primitive Christi- 
anity quoted, 192 

Pharisees, the, Christ's teaching, 83 

Philanthropy, Christ's teaching, 
85,86, loi ; the DidachS, 161 ; and 
Evangehcal movement, 377 et seq. ; 
movement in France and England 
compared, 440 ; guilds (mediaeval), 
310 ; in Israel, 61, 62 ; and 
Mediaeval Church, 298 ; mediaeval 
(influence on Wesleys), 381 ; 
modern, 382 ; modern (influence of 
Evangehcal Revival on), 398 ; 
modem (need for more scientific 
methods), 405 ; in Primitive 
Church, 158, 162-3, 228-9, 259- 
260 ; and Reformation, 312, 367 ; 
in Roman Empire, 137 

Philemon, Epistle to, 202 note 

Philippians, by Lightfoot, on Stoi- 
cism, 210 

Philippians, Epistle to the, on god- 
head of Christ, 224 note 

Philosophy, post Aristotelian, 127 ; 
Eastern, 279 ; Greek, 207-209 ; 
Juvenal's definition of, 144 ; Plu- 
tarch's definition of, 144 : see also 
" Seneca," " Epicurus," etc., In 

'■ relation to Christianity, a prepara- 
tion for (post Aristotehan), 207, 
(Greek), 207, 210; limitations, 
146-149 ; sociality compared, 247- 
250 ; necessity for practical atti- 
tude, 494 ; its general relation to 
human life, chapter XII passim 
p. 491 following ; true function 

of, 513 
Pilgrim Fathers, the, 413, 416; 
influence on modern democracy, 

pity, in Stoic philosophy, 147 

Pius VI, 433 

VII, 438 

Plato and Platonism, 127 ; doctrine 
of ideas (how regarded by Mediaeval 
Church, 282 ; theory of ownership 
of property, 258 ; aim of the 
** Republic," 501 ; social ideals, 
criticised, 247 ; on permanence of 
society, 493 ; theory of state com- 
pared with Christian, 26 ; how far 
the philosophy a preparation for 
Christianity, 207, 208 : see also 
Neo- Platonism 

Pliny, benevolence of, 137, 199; 
quoted, on habits of Christians, 
163 ; Epistles quoted, on life 
in Rome, 137; Natural History 
quoted, on his scepticism, 215 

Plutarch, quoted, on Alexander the 
Great, 125 ; Cato Major on 
slavery, 141 ; De Liheris Edu- 
candis quoted, definition of philo- 
sophy, 144 ; how far his writings 
a preparation for Christianity, 208, 

PoUtical economy, philosophic basis, 


philosophy, relation to Christi- 
anity, Chapter XII, p. 491 follow- 
ing ; its present development, 492 ; 
true function of religion, 502 

science, 392 

Pollard, Professor, quoted on effects 
of Luther's action regarding Pea- 
sants' Revolt, 344 ; quoted on 
Eberiin's social principles, 371 

Polycarp, quoted on widows, 177 
note ; martyrdom, 199 

Polychrome Bible, Cheyne's, quoted, 
56, 57 

Polygamy, Israelite standards com- 
pared with Christian, 71, 72 ; in- 
fluence of Foreign Missions on, 462 

Pomponia Graecina, 202 

Poor, Poverty, Christ's teaching, 100, 
102 ; in Israel, 51, 56, 60, 67, 68 ; 
and Mediaeval Church, 299-301, 
324; and Primitive Church, 158, 
254, 258, 269 ; and the Reforma- 
tion, 367-8 ; Modern, Christian 
duty, 41 ; poor law system (U.K.) 
criticised, 21 ; widespread evil, 13 ; 
contrasted with ancient, 102 

Poor Law, influence of Evangelical 
Revival upon, 391 ; effect of Old 
AgefPension scheme, 11 ; United 
Kingdom (its value and its inade- 



quacy), 20 et seq. ; first English 

(1536), 367 

Poor Law Commission (1909), Minor- 
ity Report, considered, 21, 22 

Poor Men of Lyons, 324 

Poor, Overseers of the, first appoint- 
ment, 368 

Poor Rate, in Egypt, 135 

Pounds, the, parable, 104 

Predestination, doctrine of, Calvin's, 

" Priestly Code " of Israel, 66 note 

Prison system, influence of Evange- 
lical Revival, 391 ; Christian ideals 
109 ; modern (need for new 
scientific philanthropy) , 406 

Prisoners, Roman edicts to alleviate, 
269 ; and Foreign missions, 466 ; 
of war, and Mediaeval Church, 298, 

* 304 ; of war, and Primitive Church, 

Privileges, of Clergy, and French 
Revolution, 423 

Property, Christ's teaching, 98 ; 
communism (Early Church teach- 
ing), 257 ; in Israel, 49, 51, 53, 57, 
67 ; Mediaeval Church, 325 ; and 
Primitive Church teaching, 161, 
179 ; private ownership (Early 
Church teaching), 258; Roman 
CathoUc Church and French Revo- 
lution, 427-429 

Prophets, in Israel, social ideals of, 
56, 60, 69, 75 

Proselyte, to Christianity, 154, 165 

Protestantism, 335-373 ; in England, 
pre-Evangehcal, 404 ; in time of 
George I, 379 ; influence on 
hberty (intellectual and political), 
362-364; influence (1688), 440; 
in France, failure during Revolu- 
tion, 436 : see also ** Luther," 
" Calvin," etc. 

Provence, Comte de : see Louis 

Proverbs, social ideals of, 70 

Psalms, 74 

Psychology, true relation of intellect, 
passion, idea, 500 

Punishment : see Reward 

Puritans, the, 413 

Purvey, John,humanitarianism of, 330 

Quakers, influence on slavery, 387 

Race-hatred, Aristotle and, 124; 
Christ's teaching, 85 ; teaching of 
Primitive Church, 165 

Ramabai, the Pundita, 454 
Ramsay's Church in the Roman 
Empire, on citizenship in, 267, 
note ; on Pauline Mission, 1 98 note 
Rashdall's Universities in Middle 
Ages, quoted on hostihty to 
classical learning, 283 
RationaUsm, Christian formula, 507 
Rauschenbusch's Christianity and 
the Social Crisis, quoted on radi- 
calism in the Church, 254 note ; 
quoted, Karl Kautsky's opinion of 
Church's benevolence in Roman 
Empire, 269 
Real Presence, doctrine of, 179 
Reason, its limited function, 497-8 ; 

in Stoic philosophy, 129 
Redemption, doctrine of the, 222, 225 
Reform Bills, England, 390 
Reformation, the, definition of, as 
treated in Chapter VIII, 336 ; 
Calvin, 346 ; individualism of, 294, 
360; Knox, 351; Luther, 339- 
344 ; nationahsm of, 295, 372 ; 
the Netherlands, 353 ; first origin 
of, 314; social ideals, 359, 403; 
conditions in Christendom during, 
337> 340; Influence and effects on 
Charity, 367 ; commercial and 
civic hfe, 358, 372 ; growth of 
democracy, 364 ; education, 368 ; 
conception of ideal life, 355 ; 
family hfe, 357; guilds, 312; 
hberty (political and social), 360, 
363 ; on development of middle 
classes 369 
Rehef, Poor Law (U.K.) : see Poor 

Remonstrance, Purvey's, quoted, 330 
Renan, on civiUzation in Roman 
Empire, i a.d , 122 ; les Apdtres, 
135 ; Marc Aurdle, on reign of 
Commodus, 213 
Rendel Harris, Dr., Aaron's Breast- 
plate, quoted, on Mithraism, 246 
Representation, Thomas Aquinas, 
quoted, 307 ; English Independ- 
ents, 365 ; Marsigho's conception, 
Representative Government, J. S. 

Mill's, 219 
Responsibility, of individuals to- 
wards community, 26 ; Christ's 
teaching, 87, 106 ; ethics of in 
Primitive Church, 162, 181 
Resurrection, Doctrine of, points of 
contact with pagan mysteries, 221 



Retaliation, Christ's teaching, 108 ; 
in Laws of Israel, 55 ; Pauline 
teaching, 160 

Reuss' Christian Theology of Apos- 
tolic Age, 205 note 

Revenge, Christ's prohibition, 108 

Revivalism, its dangers, 510 

Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 

Revolution of 1830, 439 

Reward and Punishment, Christ's 
teaching, 104, 109 ; in regard to 
doctrine of Penitence of Mediaeval 
Church, 316 

Rich fool, the, parable, loi 

Rich Man and Lazarus, parable, 86, 


Rich and poor, problem of, Christ's 
teaching, 86, 100-102 ; in Israel, 
56, 60-64, 67, and Mediaeval 
Church, 300 ; modern, 1 7 

Rights, relation to duties, 516 

** Rights of Man," declaration of, 

Rise of Democracy^ M. Borgeaud's, 
quoted, on effects of the Reforma- 
tion, 337 

Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire : 
see Gibbon 

Ritschl's Altkatholische Kirche, 198, 
note, 224 

Ritter's History of Christian Philo- 
sophy, quoted, 286 

Ritual, in Israel, 66, 75 

Robespierre, 417, 435 

Rogers, Thorold, Work and Wages, 
quoted, 398 

Roman Cathohc Church in France 
(i), French Revolution, 414-438 ; 
Voltaire's attack, 414 ; Rousseau, 
416 ; power prior to Revolution, 
418 ; revolt of cur6s, 421 ; reforms 
of National Assembly, 422-3 ; 
attitude of populace (July, 1789), 
423 ; right to own property (debate 
in Assembly), 426 ; State payment 
of clergy, 427, 429 ; dissolution 
of monastic orders, 430 ; Civil 
Constitution of the Clergy, 431 ; 
Napoleon's Concordat (1802), 435, 
437 ; effects of Revolution, 438 ; 
bibhography, 429 : see also Church, 
(3), Mediaeval 

(2) power of, 1848-1852, 439 

(3) influence in 1870, 439 

Roman Empire, Barbarian invasions, 
273-278 ; benefactions and Chari- 
ties, 13s ; condition before Christi- 

anity, 1 19-123, 210, 211 ; causes 
and antecedents for conditions in 
I A.D., 123-133 ; Christian Church, 
establishment of, 184 ; Christian 
Church, factors for and against its 
expansion, 238-242 ; 205, 208, 
165, 171 ; Christians, persecution 
of, 1 98 ; commercial and social 
development, 134; culture (influ- 
ence on civiHzation), 279, 280 ; 
extent and homogeneity, 133 ; the 
Games, 139; its greatness con- 
sidered, and civiUzation's debt to, 
273 ; Law, 280 ; material pros- 
perity, 1 34 ; modern society (par- 
allels with), 134 ; moral corruption, 
210-214; population (Christian), 
200, (Jewish), 193, (heathen), 
239 ; philosophers, 144, 208 ; reh- 
gions, 215-217; slavery, 141; 
schools, 280 ; solidarity, 292, 314 ; 
sumptuary laws, 135 ; external 
universaUsm, 205 ; Western, 273, 
^ 274; position of women, 138; 
Influence and Effects of Christianity 
could it be Christianized ? 242- 

244 ; on Games, 229 ; on legisla- 
tion, 259-260, 267, 268 ; on 
philanthropy, 259 ; on reUgions, 

245 : on slavery, 253 

Roman Society from Nero to Marcus 
Aurelius : see DiU, Dr. 

Romans, Epistle to the, 182 ; quoted 
on Agape, 175 ; on Church in 
Rome, 1 98, 202 note ; Gentile 
Christian ethics of, 165-170; on 
martyr-spirit, 221 ; on love of 
neighbour, 160 ; on Redemption, 

Rome, Alaric invades, 274 ; ancient, 

131 ; city-state, 125 ; her con- 
quests, changes brought about by, 

132 ; conditions prior to Christi- 
anity, 120 ; Christians, first to 
third centuries, 198, 201, 202 ; 
conservatism, 240 ; free food, 135 ; 
Huns invade, 277 ; its rehgious 
development, 245 

Rousseau, Jean Jacques, practical 
philosophy, 501 ; attitude to 
Christianity, 415 ; Savoyard Vicar 
described, 417 ; Social Contract, 

Ruskin's Lectures on Art, quoted, 
on Lollards, 331 ; Mornings in 
Florence, quoted, on rapprochement 
of the Classes in Little Flower of 
St. Francis, 301 



Sacerdotalism, in Mediaeval Church, 
315; influence of Reformation on, 

Sacraments, the, institution of, Gos- 
pels compared, 89 ; in Primitive 
Church, 164, 175 : see also *' Bap- 
tism," " Communion, Holy," etc. 

Sacrifice, Christ's teaching, 82 ; signi- 
ficance in Primitive Church, 167, 
178 ; conception of in relation to 
Holy Communion after third cen- 
tury, 180 

Saint - Etienne, Rabaud, speech in 
National Assembly on religious 
liberty, quoted, 425 

Salian Franks, history of, 275 

Salvation, Cluistian doctrine of, its 
character and scope, 31, 82, 87 

Army, influence of Evangehcal 

Revival upon, 386, 407 

Samaritan, the Good, 85 

San Donnino, Gherarda da Borgo, 324 

Saracens, the, influence of their 
culture, 279 

Savoyard Vicar ^ the, Rousseau's, 417 

Scepticism, in Roman Empire, a 
factor in the reception of Christi- 
anity, 215-217 

Schaff, quoted on hberty, 364 ; on 
Mediaeval Church's idea of piety, 35 5 

Scholasticism, Aquinas, 307 ; An- 
selm, 309 ; and Mediaeval Univer- 
sities, 299 ; Wyclif, 327 

Schmidt, C, Social Results of Early 
Christianity, 173 note; 227 note; 
on charity towards heathen, 229 
note ; on slavery, 230 note 

Schultze, v., 193 

Science : see Natural Science 

Scotland, the Reformation, 351 ; 
educational advantages owing to 
Knox, 351, 368 

Scottish Church Society, 393 

Scribes, inferiority to Christian ideal, 
83 ; interpretation of law of di- 
vorce, 94 ; interpretation of law 
concerning support of parents, 96 

Second Advent, 1