The Coming Faith and.... The Coming Social order
BY Clara M. Codd
Published in 1918
The Coming Faith
The Coming Social Order
The Message of the Hour
IN HIS NAME
The Great Captain of our Salvation and to my Fellow-men
of the Night?
The Watchman said: The morning cometh and also the night:
if ye will enquire, enquire yes: return, come.
He answered and said unto them,......Ye can discern the face of the sky: but can ye not discern the signs of the times.
Not one of us, in these extraordinary days, but vaguely feels the immensity of the moment, the tremendous import of the hour. Everywhere, in every direction, change succeeds change; shock after shock follows each other in our moral and mental world, more cataclysmic in effect, more perilous to our unthinking security, than the cyclonic devastation of the raging world war. An age of an old established order of things is closing its account, a world of of accustomed procedure and opinion is tottering to its fall, and we stand breathless, shaken, wondering what new order shall arise therefrom, and at times dimly sensing that beneath the advancing evolutionary tide a Rock of Ages stands upon which again and again the bewildered soul of Humanity finds new refuge and fresh faith.
This hour, this dread and wonderful hour, how shall we understand it? The vague intuition of its mighty meaning and purpose is expressed in the universal sentiment: "It will never be the same world after the war as it was before". But to clear that dim perception it is necessary to grasp certain principles of Life and Purpose.
One thing is axiomatic and self-evident. The rapid changes, the widening conceptions, are part of a great evolutionary plan, and have occurred on a smaller scale in previous epochs. They are the inevitable concomitant of change, the hallmark of the transition period which accompanies the death-hour of an era, marking the fact that Humanity, on its great Life-journey, is a "day's march nearer home". Evolution to be truly comprehended must be viewed from two sides, two aspects of Life which are inseparable, and yet distinct in manifestation and method, Life and Form, or as Science would put it with narrower connotations- Force and Matter.
Life and Purpose are everywhere and at all times one. Fundamentally there is but one Life, one Purpose, behind all the multitudinous, ever-changing, infinitely diverse Forms in which it is clothed and expressed. And the great quality of the Life-side in evolution is that it is ever pressing forwards, gently, irresistibly, unceasingly, towards fuller, completer, manifestation and expression. And because of that ceaseless pressure, the great"urge" of Bergsons' Intuitionalism, the forms, material or immaterial in which Life clothes itself, give way when they can no longer embody or express it sufficiently, and disappear. They give way because the Form-side in Nature follows an opposite law, coming into being, rising to maturity and then crystallising into age, at, which stage, the ever-increasing Life forces become "cribbed, cabined and confined", and so must burst asunder to re-create afresh. Thus death means in every case increase of life and birth into a higher, nobler form.
Life is one, Form is manifold; Life ever increases, Form continually passes, appears and disappears under the pressure of the ever-advancing tide of Life of which it is the ever-changing embodiment or expression. Life strives always towards the Ideal, its temporary embodiment is what we call the real. And the ultimate purpose of Evolution is to make of the two one, gradually drawing together these which seem poles asunder, until one day the real shall perfectly express the ideal, and heaven be born upon earth, His Will being done upon "earth" as it is always done in "heaven".
So often we mourn the passing of a beloved embodiment, cling with desperate insistence to an outworn mode of thought, not realising that all things must pass, whether of the outer or inner life, and that the life which thus expressed itself is now finding nobler, truer embodiment.
"The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
---and God fulfills Himself in many ways".
Never more than at this moment was it necessary to grasp this great principle, for with it we may clear the confusion of the moment, and trace the outlines of the future. It operates in every sphere of our being. Our bodies pass that we may live anew; old formulas of life and living grow meaningless beneath the advancing tide of Life; civilisations crumble so that a new social order may arise on fairer, true foundations, eras grow old and die that the world may grow young again in a new "Day" of God. "Behold! I make all things new", cries the immortal Spirit of Life, "for the former things are passed away".
The Coming Faith
On all hands we see this universal principle of the passing of form in operation in every department of our common life. It we look too casually, too superficially, we shall but see the universal disintegration, the surface breaking asunder. In this hour, of all hours, it behooves us to look deeper still, not at that which passes, but for that which comes. Standing momentarily as spectators on the shores of Time, let us not look only at the wave breaking at our feet, but raise our eyes to that which follows on behind, upon whose advancing crest rides the Spirit of the Future, He who shall take command when the world staggers purified from the reek and horror of war. Well for us if the leaders of the nation in both its material and spiritual life, can take true cognisance of that which is being writ this day. Again, as two thousand years ago, the Heart of the World cries to them: "Ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" For on that discernment depends the direction of the tide, the final salvation of the people everywhere. So tragically true for all time is it that without vision the people must perish.
What then is happening at this moment in our inner world, the world of man's deepest experience and most intense realisation? Looking only upon the surface we might unthinkingly agree with the Bishop of Salisbury when he says: "There has been revealed to us the terrible and painful fact that a great many are giving up public worship, and that a large proportion of the people of England pay little attention to religion at all".
You and I do not need the Bishop to tell us this. Throughout the length and breath of England many a church stands practically empty; the Church as an organised form of religion has lost its hold on the vast body of the people. The indictment pours in on every side. How often do we see articles in the daily press all dealing with the question of why the Church has failed us in the hour of our most supreme need. That something is wrong is clearly felt by many of the clergy themselves, for the Archbishops have appointed five committees of inquiry to consider what reforms in the Church are needed and what the nature of the reforms should be. "It is terribly true", writes the Rev. Dr. Selbie, late President of the National Free Church Council and Principal of Mansfiedl College , Oxford, "that God has given the Church the greatest opportunity it ever had, and that so far it has been neglected".
Why? Because in the crystallisation caused by the passage of the centuries,the Church has made, and is making, the old, old mistake, of clinging to the letter which killeth, instead of going forward with the advancing spirit of Life which ever giveth life. Narrow, if sincere, formalism, hidebound dogmatism has hampered the Christian Church, and it was left for an unofficial body like the Y.M.C.A. to make good in some small measure her omissions and defalcations. I shall never forget how on the outbreak of war the Sunday Observance Society placarded London with huge posters pointing out that the evils of war had fallen upon us because of our non-observance of the Sabbath; nor how a country parson preached upon the theme of the rains at the front impeding our advance being a "judgment" upon us for digging allotments on Sundays! Truly, as Dr. Selbie says, "though the future of religion is as sure as the hills, Christianity in its present form may possibly not survive".
Dogmatism spells death in any sphere of life. For what is a true dogma, properly understood. A symbol, an indication, of a great spiritual truth which can never be wholly expressed in words , nor even in idea. It is a finger-post indicating where on the wings of intuition we may rise to the contemplation of an eternal verity, and if we take it otherwise we destroy its meaning and purpose.
It is interesting to observe in the evolution of the Christian Church the way in the which the "seat of authority" has shifted more than once. In the first early years the body of its members grouped themselves round various teachers, each looking to his leader as the final authority; then, as the movement consolidated in the might of her traditions, authority became vested in the Church. With the coming of the Protestant Reformation, authority was shifted, for a large part of the Christian community, from the Church to the Scriptures, the anarchy of individual interpretation thereupon replacing the despotism of Rome.
Yet once again, some half a century ago, the seat of authority began to be undermined. With the coming of the "Higher Criticism", the birth of the Science of Comparative mythology and Religion, the seeming assaults of the tremendous scientific advance made during the Victorian Age, the letter of the law as revealed in Scripture received shock after shock; yet once again, the spirit in man, searching for the certainty his soul demands, was forced to look deeper still.
And wonderfully is the answer being given in these our days. For a further wonderful truth is emerging in man's consciousness from the wreckage of the past: this, that the final authority in the religious life rests in the depth of the human heart, in those splendid hidden depths which the illuminated, the spiritual giants, of every age and of every faith, touch, and thereby reach the Divinity within and without. For to reach the God within us, the "hidden man of the heart in that which is incorruptible" of St. Peter, the spirit, the pneuma , of St. Paul's triune classification, is to become one with the Divine Life, the Divine Purpose, operating everywhere, the great "Oversoul" into which, unknowingly as yet, the spirit in man labours to be born.
This triumphant proclamation the inherent Divinity of man is the key-note of the new Theology, which at the same time is the oldest Theology in the world, and this truth will be the cornerstone of the Coming Faith. A new conception of God, and of Man, is arising in human consciousness. A witty Frenchman once said: "In the beginning God created man in His own image, and man has been returning Him that compliment ever since". Ever does our conception of Deity rise with our growth, and there has never at any time been such a person as an Atheist, for all men believe in something greater and more beautiful than they have yet known, and when a man says: "I do not believe in God", what he really means is: "I do not believe in your conception of Him".
In savage states God is thought of with fear and trembling, a being who personifies the dread, mysterious unconquerable forces of Nature around man; in a further stage of growth He takes on the character of a tribal god , one who is the presiding genius of the tribe, who is pleased when the enemies of the tribe are slaughtered, commanding that they be smitten hip and thigh. And it would seem that in these days of modern civilisation some nations have not yet risen above the conception of God as a tribal deity.
This was the conception of the early Jewish scriptures which are embodied in our own. After the Babylonian captivity, a higher note, learnt of the wisdom of Chaldea, replaced it, the Great God, the "One without a second" of the East, Who was the Father indeed of all that lived. Yet still was He thought of as apart, or without His universe, an extra-cosmic god for the generality of mankind.
In these great days a still greater, more wonderful conception of Him arises; God, as the Father of us all, not as alone out with His universe, but moving mysteriously within it , utterly immanent as well as transcendent, His immortal purpose fulfilling itself ever through the hearts and minds of men who at the same time are eternally the sons of the Most High. "Some call it Evolution, and others call it God".
Most of all does He reveal Himself in the heart of Man, so that he who would God must serve Him in man "We accustomed ourselves", writes Mr.Francis John Moore, "(is it not true to say that we were taught?) to see the best in the natural man , through the dark shadow of the worst, and to believe that the false was true, and the true false? But the war has taught us that we were wrong, and we know now that the last thing ('original' if you will) in human nature is goodness and not evil".
From that sublime perception springs the new thought of God, voiced, amongst a thousand others, by H.G.Wells. Again the Spirit of Life, in the youth-time of a New Day, cries aloud to the hearts of men, who yet in their present weakness are cooperators and re-builders with Him, "God is a Youth, God is Courage, God is Personality". He is the unseen King of a Republic as wide as Humanity, the Head of a Brotherhood of life in which men in measure, according to their growth,have held in common the undying capacity to see into that Future, otherwise called the region of ideals, which ever seek realisation upon earth, "the hope of our future glory".
There are three main factors in the constitution of every religious system: Scripture, ceremonial, doctrine. And there are three ways of understanding them, as well set forth by an ancient Father of the Christian Church, St. Clement of Alexandria. To the unlettered, untutored man, of small understanding and scant leisure for thought, they must needs be taken literally, and even so they are of use and benefit to mankind. But to the educated and thoughtful the conviction dawns that scriptural story and church dogma have a deeper significance; that the truer meaning is reached when they are taken as allegory and symbol, and at that stage stand the majority of civilised men today. The last and truest way, understood by the saint and sage, is the way of mystical interpretation, and this is the highest and nearest way of all.
The higher the way of understanding, the nearer the approach to unity. With the growth of the Science of Comparative Mythology and Religion men begin to glimpse the unity of inspiration which lies behind the great religions of the world and time. They began to distinguish between Religion and religious systems. For there is a difference. Systems vary, and of necessity, for they come at different times in the world's history, to different races under different conditions: but the Reality to which they seek to lead us is everywhere and at all times One. The great saints and mystics of every age have transcended the bounds of creed, even though their stumbling efforts to describe in words the ineffable, the indescribable, the Name that never can be named, are clothed in the familiar terminology of the faith of their upbringing. Once a man has risen to these heights he discovers Reality and finds it to be everywhere One. Henceforth to him, the illuminated, a system is a secondary consideration. The house immortal in the heavens is built, and the system which provided the scaffolding is done with. How should he desire to know about God, the way to Him, when in terms of deepest human experience He has become one with the great Reality, the "One without a second" of the Upanishads. "All the Vedas (inspired scripture) are as useful to the enlightened Brahmana as tanks of water would be in a place all covered with water", says the Gita of Hinduism "The mystics all come from one country and speak the same language", said Blake, the seer. That "knowledge of God" is the supreme and final experience in the growth of man upwards, but the ways thereto are as many as the souls of men.
Comparison alone convinces us of the underlying unity of the great world-faiths, if we seek essentials, and as Mr. Wells truly says, "the essentials of religion can be written on a postcard". Again, upon essentials we are very well agreed.
It is the undue emphasis upon unessentials which have torn men asunder. The "Golden Rule" of Christendom: "Do unto others as ye would they should do unto you", is paralleled by the Buddha's saying: "Hatred ceaseth never by hatred, hatred ceased only by love".
Again, on the side of ceremonial, the ritualistic unity is very marked. In the great Buddhist temple at Buddha Gya, on the spot where the Buddha is said to have attained the supreme initiation of Buddha-hood, sits a gigantic gilt figure of the Teacher before which the faithful burn little candles, other flowers and jewels. Around smaller side-chapels enshrine other figures, some of them clothed in bits of silk and satin that remind one irresistibly of Catholic Brittany. In a little church in Paris built on the spot where hundreds lost their lives in the burning of a great bazaar stands a large gilt figure of the Virgin Mother of God. Gazing at the massive golden image of the Buddha at Buddha Gya, before which countless pilgrims placed flower and jewel and light, the thoughts of the writer flew back in memory to a day in Paris when she watched the offerings and prayers of Christian devotees being poured out before another such golden symbol of God's love and man's trust therein. How many of us too who have watched the figure of a god taken from the temple in procession round a Hindu village, have remembered a similar festivity in a Breton hamlet.
And doctrine, dogma, what are they, but symbols of spiritual truths too great to be expressed in words , or even to be intellectually apprehended, except very partially and dimly - for these things are "spiritually discerned". To take them literally, as complete expressions, destroys their purpose and utility. Not long ago, a sad but beautiful little book came out entitled "An Englishman's Farewell to his Church". Let me tell you", says the writer, "what things men no longer believe". And he cites amongst others, the doctrine of the Virgin Birth, the Fall of Man and the complementary dogma of the Atonement.
If taken literally verily they are no longer believed. But these great dogmas are glyphs as ancient as the world, and common to every faith. The great doctrine of the Trinity, which Mr. Wells so quarrels with, and which nearly every world-faith has embodied, is an attempt to express in formula a self-evident fact in Nature. Even on the material or Form-side of nature we cannot escape triplicity, for what material form is there that is not bounded by three-dimensional space, giving all forms length, and breadth and heights? Again, in the realms of psychology and metaphysics the same triune quality appears, the poles of the "pairs of opposites" and the relationship between. Shall we not say that as man is made in the image and likeness of God, his threefold activity of thought, emotion, action, of which one is neither "afore or after the other", is framed to finally express the Ideal, Wisdom, Love and Power, and thereby to bring down upon earth the quality of God.
The story of the Virgin Birth contains an occult truth intertwined with the life-stories of various religious Leaders. It refers to the Cosmic Christ, God made manifest in a universe, to the pre-evolutionary stage when the Root of Matter or Form held in solution, in quiescence, the Virgin Sea of matter as yet unproductive, was just breathed upon by the positive, male, side, the "Will to live" the Eternal Purpose, "the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters", whereby the inherent qualities were thrown out of equilibrium and differentiation, evolution, set in.
Interwoven with the foregoing is the story of man the microcosm, the universe in miniature. He "fell" when the Divinity and Eternity within him first entered the great cycle of generation, and clothing himself in soul (St. Paul's psyche ) and body, was at first blinded by his conditions, held prisoner, "cribbed, cabined and confined". Life after life in the school of life's experience, the Son of God in him (St.Paul's pneuma ) learns slowly to express himself therein, and thereby verily redeems, transfigures and exalts the soul and body wherein shall one day dwell the "Perfect Man" of man's dreaming and God's intending. Thus we are saved ultimately by the God within as well as without, that Higher Self, the Christ in us, which is the hope of our future glory. His is the final at-onement (not atonement) when no longer conscious of duality - the war in his members of aspiring Spirit and, as yet, unredeemed matter - he becomes "One, not by the conversion of the Godhead (in him) into flesh, but by taking of the manhood into God".
Another factor of enormous importance has been contributed to the evolution of our religious consciousness by Science. In these days we see approaching the fulfillment of the saintly Professor Henry Drummond's prophecy that the salvation of religion would come through science. How near they draw, those ancient enemies, science and religion, in this day of approaching unity. And yet it is not astonishing that the old breach should find healing, for the way of Science and the way of Religion are but two different methods of approach to the same supreme Reality. Science is unflagging in the search for Truth, and her way is the way of the mind with its methods of observation, comparison, investigation. Religion seeks also Reality ,but her way is the way of the heart, rising upon the wings of aspiration and intuition; and we are reminded of George Sand's words: "The mind seeks but it is the heart which finds". In these days science is bringing about the rationalisation of religion, but it is at the same time becoming itself spiritualised.
Note the change in the outlook of science now to the dead materialism of its purview is the Victorian age. Then it would have nothing to do with other-wordliness, even denied sometimes that anything otherwise than the visible body of things could exist. But now, how vastly different! Science has begun to deal very seriously with other-worldliness. Year by year the veil between known and unknown, visible and invisible, grows thinner. Voices are heard, footfalls from the Beyond, and science no longer condemns and scoffs. It is itself reaching the borderland of the unseen, led there in the first instance by the sublimity and truth of it own intuitive deductions.
Once Religion alone dogmatised over the soul; now science is beginning to replace pious hope and belief by knowledge. A London doctor, Dr.Kilner, has succeeded in perfecting an apparatus whereby a small part of the as yet invisible psychic (psyche - soul) self, permeating and radiating from, the grosser physical counterpart may be viewed by the normal physical eye; and a Frenchman, Dr. Baraduc of Paris, has achieved the same end with a photographic plate of superior delicacy. Perhaps the discovery of the X-Rays, the coming of wireless telegraphy, paved the way for the coming Great Adventure of science into the hidden realms of Nature. That such is its future mission, Sir Oliver Lodge has declared to us himself, and no unprejudiced man doubts it. "The beginning of the proof", he writes, "is telepathy - i.e., a connection between mind and mind through unknown and apparently immaterial channels. .... Admittedly only a minority of scientific men are willing to declare that a new class of facts needs investigation and is apparently a prelude to a whole new region of knowledge inaccessible by exclusively material methods".
A minority as yet, but led by such names as Wallace, Crookes, Lodge, Lombroso, the coming age will see the union of science and religion, will witness the rending of the veil between life and death. And then it will be seen that there is no death, but only a doorway between life and life in fuller, more radiant measure. Nothing is dead, anywhere in the whole wide universe. Not even is there such a thing as "dead matter"; inorganic as well as organic matter lives, as Professor Bose's experiments have shown. "Why! there is no death", cries the little boy hero of Maeterlinck's play "The Blue Bird". No death, but only a change of state, for the universe is seen more and more to be eternally alive in every atom of its being, to be indeed, in Sir Oliver Lodge's memorable and splendid words, "the ever-growing garment of a transcendent God". The greatest Teacher known to man proclaimed a great prophecy, "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death". The coming era will conquer the King of Terrors.
What then is the message of the hour to Christendom? Nay, not alone to Christendom, but to men of every faith under the sun. The people have moved towards a world fraternity, through as yet they have not carried their governments with them. The coming age which will arise from the reeking ruins of war will tolerate nothing short of unity. The opened eyes of men will see that beyond all creeds, all statements of faith, all systems, lies the bigger, truer thing of an indestructible human brotherhood, a splendid eternity of life and purpose moving through, and binding us all together, for ever. To doubt that is to deny God. A new and splendid life with all the virility and strength of youth is beginning to stir in the hearts of men, to arise as a young man from sleep, to shake off as a giant the shackles of the lesser things than himself. Let us do away with Fear, it has no place in the coming Day of God. To fear is to deny eternally the Lord of Righteousness and Love. "Perfect love casteth out fear". We have drawn nearer together these days of anguish and pain untold; and drawing nearer to each other have discovered God. That was always the way if we had but known it. Jerusalem! Jerusalem! if thou hadst but known the things which belonged unto thy peace But they were hid from thine eyes until the fire of pain unsealed true vision.
Towards this hour the very outer development of the world has been tending. For the first time in human history, the round world is linked into one. Railways, steamships, telegraphs, newspapers, have brought the uttermost ends of the earth into juxtaposition. Now is possible a world-faith, a world-policy, a world-consciousness.
What will the new faith be? How moulded, and how inspired? As yet its outlines only are faintly adumbrated. But from that adumbration three truths stand startlingly distinct.
One is that its final test will be life, not doctrine. In the words of Mr. Francis John Moore --"For a new faith there most certainly will be; a faith whose final test will be neither the letter of Scripture nor ecclesiastical tradition, but the experience of common life... Not that there are no "convinced" Catholics and Protestants, Neo-Catholics, Nonconformists, and what-not, who will remain what they always were; there are many of them; but the general tendency is in the direction of simplicity. In other words, Christianity is conceived of as a spirit and a life rather than a creed, though specific belief holds its right and necessary place. Men of all creeds have been thrown together in strange and common experiences, and in them have learnt that beneath all the different forms of faith there is a common faith and spirit that binds them all together, and that life lived on the high level of the Christ, and governed by His Spirit, is of greater importance than the forms by which their devotion to Him is expressed. And a Christian life is understood. Belief may be correct or not correct, truth or superstition, according to the intellectual equipment and training of the subject; but nobody questions the truth of a Christ-like life. It is Christian, and it is true, and the coming age will demand no other sign".
Says the Rev. Dr. Selbie again: - "I hear men talking vaguely of Christian unity. Now, I tell you that unity will not be brought about by schemes or tricks. It will only be brought about by Christian men working passionately for one common end - the salvation of men's souls and men's lives".
In these words Dr. Selbie voices another aspect of the future faith : its sphere of action will be our common life, and it will bring to that world such a virility and high purpose as shall transform and transfigure the domains of politics and social reform. And such a coming Joseph Mazzini, warrior and saint, foresaw , foretold."Religion and politics are inseparable. Without religion, political science can only create despotism and anarchy", for "the root of every religion , "says he, "is a definition of life and its mission".
This new youthfulness and vigour reflects itself upon the great figure of Christianity's Leader and Redeemer. Of Him also a newer thought is beginning to arise. No longer as some pale saint, an an eternally suffering and patient God-man is He envisaged, but as One Who is man indeed with us, Keeper of the common heart, Teacher of the common mind, Leader of the common endeavour. The "first-born amongst the many brethren" is become the Elder Brother of the Race, Captain and Leader in this day of men's salvation.
To quote Dr. Selbie again:- "Show men how Christianity appeals to the latent heroism in them all. Make it a great adventure". With that sense of pathos yet of answering exultant understanding do the lines of a nameless Australian solder, slain at Gallipoli, strike us. They were found in his lifeless body.
"Jesus, Whose lot with us was cast,
Who saw it out from first to last;
Patient and fearless, tender, true,
Carpenter, vagabond,felon, Jew -
Whose humorous eye took in each phase
Of full rich life the world displays;
Yet evermore kept full in view
The far-off goal it leads us to:
Who, as your hour neared, did not fail -
The World's fate trembling in the scale -
With your halfhearted band to dine,
And speak across the bread and wine;
Then went out firm to face the end,
Alone, without a single friend;
Who felt as your last words confessed -
Wrung from a proud unflinching breast
By hours of dull, ignoble pain.
Your whole life's fight was fought in vain,
Would I could win sand keep and feel
That heart of love, that spirit of steel,
I would not to Thy bosom fly
To shirk off till the storms go by;
.................Set me straight
At some vile job I fear and hate;
Some sickening round of long endeavour,
No light, no rest, no outlet ever;
All at a pace that must not slack,
Tho' heart would burst and sinews crack;
Fog in one's eye, the brain aswim,
A weigh like lead in every limb
And a raw pit that hurts like hell
Where the light breath once rose and fell;
Do you but keep me, hope or none,
Cheery and staunch till all is done,
And at the last gasp quick to lend
One effort more to serve a friend.
And when, for so I sometimes dream,
I've swum the dark - the silent stream -
So colt it takes the breath away -
That parts the dead world from the day,
And see upon the further strand
The lazy, listless angels stand;
And, with their frank and fearless eyes,
The comrades whom I most did prize;
Then clear, unburdened, careless, cool,
I'll saunter down from the grim pool
And join my friends. Then you'll come by
The Captain of our Company,
Call me out, look me up and down,
And pass me thro' without a frown,
With half a smile, but never a word;
And so - I shall have met my Lord".
This new and splendid life rushing up from the hidden depths of the human heart, this will towards life, towards the "final beatitude and fulfillment". of Emerson, is the "power in a man which makes for righteousness" of Matthew Arnold , and its increasing and blessed purpose we a last are learning how to trust. A witty reviewer of Mr. Well's book, "God, the Invisible King", remarks: "'God's in his heaven', wrote Browning, 'all's right with the world'. 'God's in us' says Mr.Wells, 'all's right with mankind'". And the future is with Mr.Wells, for that is the third great lineament of the coming faith which is becoming visible through the darkness.
It will proclaim unhesitatingly the essential Divinity of man. If a word may be momentarily coined, it will commonise heaven and thereby uplift earth .It will be an age of "aye! aye!" in contradistinction to the nays of the past, the great era of affirmation, so great an age of "doing" that we shall forget the "do nots" of a dead world which was afraid of men. The souls of men laid bare in this hour of trial and crucifixion have shown us the hero, the saint, the god awaiting evocation within us all. Thereby have we learnt to look ever forwards to the Ideal, the coming of which into the real is the whole purpose of evolution. WE gaze with throbbing heart at the portrait in the illustrated papers of the Manchester gaol-bird who won in death the Victoria Cross. That man of ours, whose kinship no one of us now will dare deny, is a type of the future. What fitting requiem could we whisper for him so well as Coventry Patmore's beautiful words:-
"Far, ah! who can express
How full of bonds and simpleness is God,
How narrow is He,
And how the wide, waste field of possibility Is only trod,
Straight to His homestead in the human heart".
COMING SOCIAL ORDER
The advance of the new era is showing in as equally marked fashion in the outer world of men's obligations and relationships to each other as in the inner world of the religious consciousness. The one is indeed the outcome of the other, for to draw nearer to reality within is also to perceive it more clearly without. And to understand its significance to the world at large we cannot do better than take as a guide in clear thinking Joseph Mazzini, the most spiritual reformer who ever lived, and who possessed the understanding and vision of spiritual genius. Although he lived and died more than half a century ago, he foresaw the present hour and read its meaning with wonderful precision and accuracy.
To Mazzini the world was the incarnation a divine idea of perfectibility, to be gradually realised through the labour of all God's creatures. "The progressive evolution of the thought of God", said he, "of which our world is the visible manifestation, is unceasingly continuous. The chain cannot be broken or interrupted". He taught - a self-evident truth taught also by many of the ancients - that the life of the world advances through great cycles or eras, each one demonstrating for all time hereafter some "further word of truth". In this way the total sum of humanity's great Days shall spell out the Word of God for man. Every age as it comes formulates a great overshadowing thought, which is only verified in the sphere of action when the advancing human intellect is already absorbed in the thought of its successor. Thus "the hypothesis of the middle ages is the principle of the present day: the idea of the middle ages is now a recognised admitted law. Does anyone now deny liberty and equality in principle? . The most illiberal monarch asserts that he is the protector of the rights and liberties of his subjects against the anarchy of factions. The question is, in the sphere of principles, decided. The only struggle is as to its application. The dispute no longer regards the law itself, but its interpretation".
The great principle which this past two thousands years of the Christian Era has been occupied in making clear to men is the principle of individual liberty, the sacred, inviolable right of men to their own souls and bodies. All through the passing epoch the urge of Nature has been in that direction. Hence the increasing sense of personal awareness, of the value and rights of the individual.
This of necessity engendered strife. One becomes most clearly conscious of selfhood, when pitted against others. The growing consciousness of individuality meant the ever-increasing strike for its recognition, the struggle against one autocracy, oppression, tyranny after another. During this era, human consciousness learnt no longer to tolerate the holding of slaves and serifs. A man's body became, theoretically at any rate, his own possession. This was paralleled by the strife for religious liberty, the coming of free-thought, thereby proclaiming for ever the right of a man to his own soul and mind.
"The first epoch of Christianity", writes Mazzini, "was to constitute individual man as he was destined to be, free, sacred, inviolable. And this mission is accomplished through the French Revolution, which was the political translation of the Protestant Revolution... The declaration of the rights of man is the supreme and ultimate formula of the French Revolution....Ruins there were without end; but in the midst of these ruins and negations one immense affirmation stood erect; the creature of God, ready to act, radiant in power and will; the ecce home, repeated after eighteen centuries of struggle and suffering, not by the voice of the martyr, but from the altar raised by the Revolution to victory - right, the faith of individuality, rooted in the world for ever.".
The next step was clearly evidence. Having gained the consciousness of individual liberty and value, men, as yet perhaps more aware of rights than responsibilities through the struggle to obtain their recognition, next began to discover that other individuals suffered under similar disabilities to themselves, groaned under the same wrongs and oppressions, and so they learnt to band themselves together, fighting the same battle for larger rights, the rights of a class, a trade. Learning in the strike, the lockout to submerge himself in the interests of his fellow-workmen , a man grew into a larger consciousness, the consciousness of his particular department of the world's work, the class consciousness we once heard so much about. And again this larger self-consciousness was achieved through the same means, by strife, by combat, by the assertion of rights in the face of opposing interests.
Despite its sometime crudity, apparent selfishness, oftimes pathetic narrowness of vision, labour "unrest" is fundamentally the cry of the human soul against the tyranny of machinery and materialism, against the inertia of the collective atmosphere of unthinking people; again, here as everywhere ,the fight of life against matter, its titanic struggle towards freedom, expansion and light. When shall we learn that the soul of humanity is a living thing, and that its life is more than meat and its body than raiment? Here, in our world of social organisation , equally as in the religious world, are the words of the Greatest Reformer who ever lived eternally true, that "the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath". Here, too, we have made the old mistake of clinging to the letter, to the encasements of life, rather than life itself, and so that great, unheeded, advancing urge has swept us away now in a world catastrophe unparalleled in history.
"Since this terrible war", people have said to me more than once, "I cannot believe in God ". Ah! never have I believed so passionately in Him, and in the Love and Justice which are Himself, as during these past four years of horror and struggle unprecedented. Faith is shaken because the little world of comfortable routine, of small personal joys and sorrows, of every-day achievements set about with the fences of what "everybody thinks" and what "nobody does" has been rudely broken into by the eruption of tremendous realities long denied! We shudder because the sleeping volcano, the hidden fires of submerged human misery and wrong, upon which we all dwelt in a false and fancied - utterly selfish- security, have at last burst into the open with flame and smoke and sound unimaginable. On the great picture stage of the war we see horror upon horror played before our eyes, ay, and thanks God! heroism upon heroism. The heroism of the commonality is the outstanding glory of the hour. But what we see played upon the stage of the world-war, was played subterraneously in those times of peace which were no peace, but only hideous wrong and chaos heading straight for disaster.
What shall be said of a civilisation" which knew no higher law than personal profit and gain, which treated men as "things" worshipping the false gods of money, place and power? We shudder at the tales of outraged womanhood of murdered childhood in Belgium and Serbia. But what of the trampled womanliness, the slow-dying child-life, of our crowded cities, our tenement houses, and sweated workers' dens? Yet we cannot build them houses which can be homes because of the price of land and the rise in the rates. Now, we make great show of "Baby Weeks", and profess great concern in the question of infant mortality. In Germany, they say, the bringing-up by the State of illegitimate children, the question of plural marriages are being discussed. Something in all this grips one tight at the heart with shame and pain. It is not as cannon fodder that we seek to save the children of the nation, but to save life itself, that life may grow truly in every member of the corporate family called a nation, and that we may exalt and render everywhere possible the things which are eternally dear and true; strong fatherhood, happy motherhood, the laughter of joyous childhood, the glory of a home.
The sight of maimed young manhood in hospitable and scarlet tie gives us pitiful pause, yet how many of us have watched the dwarfed and stunted manhood of the army of modern industrialism, the poisoned bodies, the shockingly short average of years of life amongst the numerous dangerous trades, with equal pain?
And the heroism that lifts our hearts, how often has it shone all unwatched in the long annals of the poor. I remember a charwoman of my acquaintance whose husband was repeatedly unemployed, and who supported a large family by charring during the day, and washing at night; I remember a dear old fragile lady, now gone to her rest, whose laboured years included uncounted nights when she never slept at all, but worked on through till another day came again, and in my memory rises too a woman dying of cancer in the breast who could not stop, or find time to go into hospital, because there were the children to be fed and clothed until death called her, and afterwards by only God knows whom.
"The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small", says Goethe. The Love and Justice of God, which is incarnate in life and in the nature of things, and which shall one day rise triumphant from the last battle and redeem humanity for evermore, has risen tremendously in thunder and flame and smoke, striving to break asunder a civilisation which denied Love and was founded upon the virtual repudiation of human kinship and brotherhood.
The passing era put property before life - even in the common-law of England today offenses against property are often more heavily punished than offenses against human life - success before happiness, intellect before heart, and is therefore going down in the inevitable nemesis, which follows upon denial of the Law of Life which may not be broken.
Hence the great unrest, the swaying, surging bursting tide of life upon whose sporadic surface manifestations men used to sit and discourse learnedly, one straw after another grasped at and labeled economic, political, social reform, when all the time the trouble lay neither in one department of life nor did its panacea in any one reform, but in the rooted misconception of life which prevail through human ignorance , and all the false trappings which hide us from the great naked realities thereof. The growth of class consciousness provoked the strife of the preceding years, and so fierce has grown the struggle between different sections of the population, including in these later days a whole sex, that the hearts of men were torn with the effort to discern the way out, wondering if at last that way would be found by the fiery road of revolution. And yet the way was clear all the time if only we could have seen it.
What can bind opposing interests into one, what further ideal transcend the boundaries of both? The tragedy of war has shown us. It has made us see that behind all party interests, all claim of class or trade, lies an ideal to which all alike are subservient, the interest of the nation as a whole. Ah! you say, that we knew before. Never! Look back at the four long years of war. Before that great day of August 1914, what was the nation and the Empire to most of us then? Something we rarely thought of, certainly not anything towards which we organised daily life. Now, how vastly different! Under the pressure of a common danger, a common necessity, we have learnt to subordinate private ends for the common good, to turn divergent energies into a mighty stream of common endeavour, and thereby we have created the most wonderful war-machine the world has ever seen. The nationalisation of industries, of the necessities of life, have gone on apace. Changes have taken place which four short years ago Utopian dreamers would have imagined possible perhaps in the space of four hundred years. We have learnt what can be done by the will of a people united in one single purpose, we have discovered how much better is intelligent cooperation to wasteful competition ,and lastly, the greatest fact of all, how utterly interdependent is each one of us, each trade, each class, upon the other.
The "man in the street" - who was he, what was he, to most of us before the war? Someone we thought not too much about, whose health, happiness, well-being was his own concern and not ours. Now we have found out how eternally in fact we are all very much our "brother's keeper". What of the placards that used to adorn our walls in the days of that great generous and voluntary effort which made Britain's name for ever, appeals addressed to the man in the street? They said "Your King and Country need you". We began to find out that the ordinary, commonplace man stood between disaster and ourselves, that upon his courage, fitness, and unselfish patriotism rested the safety and the honour of us all. So now we see that he is fed and clothed and amused, that the pressure of anxiety for wife and child is taken from his shoulders. Great ladies pet him, newspaper heroics proclaim him, nothing is too good for him. Was it not always so in reality? And did it need a great war to make us see the bond of brotherhood which binds us altogether, and to realise that if any one member of the national family goes in misery , privation, ignorance, the life of the whole is poisoned, that individual health and happiness and freedom are national assets? We called on his patriotism who owned personally not one single square yard of British land, nay, more, who had to pay heavy rent for the privilege of living thereon; we hoped for bodily vigour from him who had passed an ill-nourished childhood and youth in roaring factories, darkened mine, and dingy office; we trembled for the moral safety of many of the men whose amusement had hitherto perforce been found in the streets and public-house, and yet what good came out of Nazareth, what beauty and what strength! May we never forget after the war. May we never forget!
If we can pour out millions a day to compass death in national defence, we can go on pouring out millions a week at least to foster life and all its glorious humanities.; If we can put down private profiteering because of national necessity, we can go on putting it down that the nation itself may grow joyous and fair.
Nobly and truly spoke the "Weekly Dispatch" of Jan. 21st, 1917: -"If, in two years, such a vast organism can not only be conceived and born, but achieve and enjoy the strength of manhood, think of what we could do in twenty years if we applied ourselves not to preparing people for war but in repairing war for people". From the wreckage of the conflict, in the chaos and the ruin, must arise new things - new institutions, new laws, new ideas.
War is a disaster unparalleled in awfulness, but - the poet found beauty in a thunderstorm- this war, the worst, the most horrible of all, has shown at least how divergent views may be blent for one purpose, how conflicting ideals may be merged in one hope, how warring policies may find in each other elements of truth and reason.
We stand on the threshold of the dawn of a new life. The night that has blackened the world is passing, and in the east is the promise of another day.
As great a tragedy as the war itself would be a reversal to the old antagonisms, the old misunderstandings, the old heresies. You see none of this on the film (The Battle of the Somme official cinematograph). You see a miracle of effort created by the first real unity Britain has ever known. In that unity science and commerce, capital and work, brain and muscle, statesmanship and steel, invention and industry, became as one. They made in two years the greatest War Machine history ever knew. What a Peace Machine could we make did we, when we were not in personal peril, realise that the State has always enemies to fight! Poverty is a Prussian, want is a wanton,hunger is a Hun.
"How shall we build the New England"?
Thus in four bitter years of war have we grown nationally conscious , as we never were before, and all the nations of the earth have learnt that they are every one of them family parties, bound together by an eternal community of interests and needs which may not , cannot be, denied without disaster to the whole.
The growth from national to international consciousness is but a step, already adumbrated in the growing perceptions of men; and that is the great ideal of the coming era, the further "word of truth" which that happier age will assimilate and apply. As Mazzini puts it: "Collective Humanity" as against the "Individualism" of the past, with its consequent principle of active cooperation, as against the competition of the past. "Humanity" says he, "is one sole body, as members of that body we are bound to labour for its advance, and to organise both the family and the country towards that aim".
The Unity of Humanity, the spirit of cooperation between its different parts, these are the great ideals of thought and work, which will dominate the coming age. Politically they will work out in the forming of great Federation. And the first of these will be what has hitherto been called the "British Empire" though, as General Smuts rightly says, the man who will give us the proper name for it will do us all great service. For it is not an Empire in the ordinary accepted meaning of the term. It is not an Empire such as was the great Empire of Rome, such as the hegemony that Germany sought to establish, an empire held by the sword, by economic subjection and political slavery. It is the firest confederation of free nations that the world has ever seen, and the bond that holds them together,so invisible and yet so strong, is the true bond of united endeavour, of a common idealism and a common purpose. And in that coming mighty federation of free people two partners must find their place - Ireland and India. The Isle of Saints shall become the heart and centre of a new spiritual impulse. The days of her ancient curse are lifted, and the spiritual quality of her people will flower in many a prophet, poet, seer, for the dawning civilisation of the future.
And India? For what eternal ends did Britain alone of all nations succeed in "conquering" India? Only to add a jewel to her crown of Empire, to increase her wealth and field of commerce? She gave to that stricken land unity and peace, one language of communication, one great ideal of nationality, and now when her work nears completion, she will welcome on equal terms the great nation who once lay stricken at her feet, she will cement a great bond of comradeship that will bring untold beauty and power to the future."East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet", writes Mr. Kipling, for once not truly. Whilst in the outer world of business, government, organisation, the West has been conqueror of the East this past one hundred years, in the inner world of men's thoughts and imaginings the East has been slowly permeating the West. Initiations by Professor Max Muller, a host of translations of the sacred literature and great poetry of the East continues to flood the book-markets of the West, bringing with it the inevitable influence of its magnificent spirituality. For the East is nearer heaven than the West. The artificial separation of matters secular and religious does not exist there as here. The religious consciousness of the East is difficult for the Westerner to understand. Its atmosphere being so much an integral part of daily life, it seems elusive, inarticulate. The sense of intimate relationship between the Divine Order and human affairs is so full that, as I heard a missionary once complain, there is no "sense of sin". Hence there is also consequently less attitude of blame.
The gift of her spiritual outlook upon daily life is what the East is bringing the West, and on her side the West has brought the East her special power for material organisation and advancement. The junction o the two through the medium of the English language and influence will mould the civilisation of the future..
The gift of opportunity comes to nations as to men, and inexorable yet beneficent Nature weighs them continually in her balances of Fate. Such a moment came to Britain when Germany trampled on the rights and dignity of Belgium and attacked France. Had she chosen present ease instead of certain trial, immediate expediency in place of right, she would have gone down the pathway of the future dishonoured, broken, lost. But, thank God, she chose otherwise, and so to the greatness of her, her future is secure. How many times have we heard that Britain entered this war for selfish reasons, that secret diplomacy, secret treaties, jugglings with the balance of power, were the influences which brought her in, and with which she wages it? That which governs the mind of Governments the plain man may not know, but this is clear to all, that the national itself sprung to arms with an enthusiasm no Government could resist in the defence of weakness unjustly attacked, in fulfillment of a plighted word. The heart of the nation was sound in principle, and so the gods have given her the torch-light of the Future when she shall have arise purged and purified by pain.
For that is the real meaning of the war, in this great testing time of the nations upon earth. It is the final working out upon the earth of the strife between two contrary principles, one which has dominated the past and is already doomed, and one which seeks expression in the future and spreads the wings of victory abroad. Making all allowance for certain virtues and excellencies in the nation itself, it is yet clear that the war party in Germany has become the concrete expression of the reactionary forces in evolution - that blind will to power which sees no rights outside its own, no excellence in any "kultur" alien to its own; that intense individualism, grown national, which is so hideously selfish that it has grown blind, insensitive, ambitious, unable to see, to understand, to tolerate; full of that deadly pride and want of humour, which is the result of the worship of power without compassion, of intellect devoid of heart. The Allied nations hold in their hands the banner of a greater, truer ideal; the Spirit of Righteousness that upholds the small as well as the great, the Spirit of Strength that scorns to abuse its power in the exploitation of weaker people , weaker things; that knows itself most strong in that supreme control of power which men call gentleness, the real might that shall inherit the earth, but which can arise as a very Scourge of God when cruelty and oppression walk the earth. It is the Spirit of Christ against the Spirit of Antichrist, in this the true Armageddon of the world.
The outcome of Germany's defeat will be the federalisation of the world. Already we hear whispers of a coming United States of Europe, and it will follow upon the first League of Nations, the coming Federation of the Anglo-Saxon race. Quite truly, as Mr. Wells says, this is the war that will end war, and those who give life now, give it that that future may come true, dying in very truth that generations yet unborn may live.
In social and economic fields this same spirit of the future is working and will work enormous and fundamental changes. It would have been said a few years ago that the ancient enemies Labour and Capital could never meet. Yet the National Alliance of Employers and Employed has sprung into being, and there is a manifest change of heart and will in many great employers of labour today. The old idea of land, or a business being the jealously preserved private property of an owner or employer is losing ground The thought is rapidly growing that the landholder, the employer, is a steward for the State, and he is learning to regard his employees not as machines but men, with needs of soul and body beyond their monetary value to their employer. Whilst professional Socialism has been thinking in blinkers, real Socialism, because it is the keynote of the future, has come, and is coming to stay. It is clear to the commonsense of very unprejudiced person, that what is necessary to the common life of all should be in the hands of all through their recognised administrators, the State. It is a monstrous obliquity of vision which can countenance the power of any individual to "hold up", or "corner", or control the price of any necessity of life. Hence, I make now a prophecy with absolute certainty and conviction; in the next hundred years or so we shall see the nationalisation of the land, and of every industry necessary to human life. Startling as that thought may be to some, it would be well that we address ourselves to its consideration, for no power on earth can long delay it. None may fight against God, and to say God wills it is only another way of saying that Evolution is leading us that way. It will one day be as hideously immoral to personally own the necessities of men's lives and their means of production as it now is to own their souls and bodies. The "wage-slave" is only one remove from the serf. In the brotherhood of a nation men should not need to barter life for bread. In more ways than one our ruling and possessing classes are beginning to understand this. The growth of the spirit of love which is the true spirit of life is moving them to it.
Another movement looms greatly in the future - the movement for prison reform, in which field of work Captain Arthur St. John, true gentleman and saint , has done such devoted service. How fast the tide of life is flowing from the days when the prisoner was looked on as a hideous alien to ourselves, tortured and degrade without compunction. Only a short hundred years ago men and women were hung for sheep-stealing and shoplifting in England. It almost seemed as if the savagery of English Law was framed mostly to protect the possessions of those who had from those who had not. And there is still one law for the poor and one for the rich, and whist to strike physically is to come within its arm, to abuse the power of position or superior mentality to get the better of a brother-man is still allowed by the generality of the public conscience and law. There is dishonour in using "influence" to gain private advantage from public offices and funds, and a prospective Member of Parliament may fool an electorate with promises never hereafter redeemed.
It was once my inestimable privilege, in the old, old days of the fight for Women's Suffrage, to spend a month as one of His Majesty's prisoners in Holloway Gaol, and that month lives in my heart for ever and ever. I recall the faces of my fellow-prisoners, not one of which looked wicked, but only tired and stupefied. I remember the deeds for which some of them were incarcerated, the prisoner who brought round the daily sewing, for instance. Four months for pawning, in desperation, the shirts for which she was paid but sweated remuneration, that her children might have food. I remember how she told me that after her sentence all communication with the outside world ceased, and how hear heart ached to know what had happened to the children whom she supposed the neighbours would take care of until her return. And the cheery fellow-prisoner who helped me on with my first prison garments, and told me in whispers that she was in for five months or "nabbing a ticker, dearie,and I shouldn't 'ave done it only I was boozed at the time".
And I remember, too, the awful gloom, the soulless cast-iron system which magnified petty breaches of custom or discipline into heinous sins, the dreary round of monotonous tasks, the perpetual silence, the awful cruelty of solitary confinements on those who had no inner life of thought and dreams; the utter lack of human sympathy or light, save here and there in a wardress with a soul above the system; the chapel every day, the sermons from one or other of the two chaplains, one of which always came back to his bête-noir, the "dragon of drink", and the other, a better preacher, infinitely more saddening, for the condescending familiarity of his tone. Would the Christ, I wonder, ah! would He, ask human beings to strip their souls naked for his professional services as a doctor directs recruits to strip for medical examination?
But here, as in other fields, the rising tide is leading us. All the world knows now of the work of Judge Lindsey of Denvers City, of the woman Governor of Sing Sing prison. The new age will know no more prisons, no more workhouses (sometimes costing the ratepayer nine shillings per week per pauper, which might well be given as pension instead). It will earn to deal with crime as with disease, and the nurses of sick and twisted souls will be the best amongst us and not the roughest. They will lead, not drive and coerce, lead by virtue of love and courage, by being an ideal, not preaching it.
There is only one way by which the soul of man can rise, by love of something higher than himself. To the older in soul amongst us, those whose "days" of life in the continually turning wheel of birth and death have been more frequent, this may be found in the world of thought and idealism. To the younger, the "little ones" of a nation's family, it can grow real, a living power, only as it becomes embodied in some personality near and dear. Hence the tremendous faculty for hero-worship which inspires youth, that great natural force for good so often wasted and left to be led astray.
The new age will prevent crime by removing human misery, by making room for normal healthy human instincts to grow and expand. It will release that drunkenness, prostitution, crime are best fought by light and air and happiness, and that State-supported Conservatories of Music, Theaters, Cinemas, Dancing-Halls, Gardens, are better than all the punishments and sermons in the world.
The spirit of the coming era will also work out into cooperative undertakings in many other directions- notably in the direction of housekeeping. I will venture another prophecy and say that in a hundred years' time everyone will be taking the chief meal of the day in a National Restaurant. And why not? The Englishman is fond of stating that his home is his castle, of greatly resenting any intrusion into the time-honoured customs of that castle, has a great sense of my house, my children, my wife, but in these days of the universal consideration of human rights and hours of labour, has he ever stopped to consider the position of the workingman's wife - how she embodies several trades in one, nurse and cook and laundry and charwoman; that whilst the male population can leave the scene of their labours and have at least a few minutes change with pipe and beer, either at their own fireside or in the social atmosphere of the public-house, the working day of the wife begins before anybody is up and stops only when everybody is in bed, and there is never any change or chance of holiday. Surely, if by cooperation we can lighten the burden of wife and mother, we shall learn how to do it.
To sum up, what therefore is the message of the hour to our social fabric, what the leading principles which shall govern the coming order, and which can already be seen outlined on the screen of Time?
It will bring an ever-increasing sense of human solidarity and unity. The outer differences will largely be relegated to their proper place, the secondary one, and humanity's essential unity will be recognised. Industrial and commercial development have contributed towards that end. Railways, steamships, telegraph wires, newspapers, have linked this round globe into one as never before. The steamship has made communication between the uttermost ends of the earth a matter of weeks instead of months. The after-war development of the airplane will make it days instead of weeks. "Foreign parts" will mean another planet before long, and the ideas of "foreigner" and "heathen" are bound to disappear.
There will be a greater sense of personal and national responsibility. War has taught us with startling clarity the entire interdependence of individuals, classes, nations. With the increasing sense of "otherness" the sense of "my-ness" will diminish. The belief in the divine right of property is going the same way as adherence to the divine right of kings. People are losing the old sense of "my" and developing the new sense of "our" More and more are men gaining the sense of public responsibility in the possession and administration of money, land, and goods. We are learning to think no more in terms of profit, but to think in terms of common human need and happiness.
And with the growth of the sense of responsibility the clamour for the recognition of rights will lessen , for it is but the cry of the heart of humanity against blind stupidity, conscious or unconscious aggression and exploitation. With strength comes responsibility, whether the power be physical or mental. Rights belong ever to the weak, the ignorant, the child, and the animal. The right to be helped and not to be hindered, to be loved and not cursed, to be lead and not driven, to be understood and not ignorantly looked down upon, to be guaranteed a "place in the sun" by virtue of a brother's strength whilst yet not grown enough to hold it for himself, and lastly most of all, the right to learn by being patiently and willingly allowed cooperation according to his strength with those who are better than himself.
The coming age has been called the age of woman, the age of the child, the age of the animal. It is the age of the weak thing come into his own. And yet it means such strength as never the world saw before, for the weak thing can only come into its own when there stands strength to uphold it.
One of the happiest auguries, the most striking sign, of this new spirit, is the universal adoption of animal mascots by the Allied regiments. How great a mascot this spirit of comradeship to the "little brother" of man will prove to the nations, only the gods can see. He has no voice wherewith to urge his rights, yet he has suffered more cruel exploitation, his free and beautiful life been more blindly darkened, than any son of man.
And this growing sense of "otherness" will spread, is fast spreading, to national conceptions of honour and rights too. As Mr. Wells so truly says:- "The social problem is only the international problem in retail, the international problem is only the social one in gross".
It will exalt the dignity of Labour, and by that I do not mean that the labour Party will necessarily be paramount, though by widening its boundaries and broadening its outlook it bids fair to become the National Party of the future, but that a man who does not take his full share of the collective necessity of working that all may live, will become a moral outcast. We are beginning to realise the truth of Ruskin's teaching that luxury and idleness are only possible at one end of the social scale at the cost of human blood and tears at the other, and that all the claptrap about luxury "making work" is utterly false. Output will be regulated by human necessity and men no longer crushed by the juggernaut car of profit-making under the spur of competition. With the gradual disappearance of class feeling, of "superior" and "inferior" a true artistry of work will became possible, and a sense of justice which will cause repulsive work to be proportionately highly paid, and mechanical work to be shortened in its hours of labour, that the other side of the man may have an opportunity to live. We shall realise that it does not matter what service a man performs in the nation, it only matters how he does it. "All service ranks the same with God", sang Robert Browning. The Age of the true Democracy means the Reign of Brotherhood, whose aristocracy is neither of blood nor of money, but a nobility of character and worth.
It all comes into one growing root-conception, that men are souls and are brothers. The same immortal and evergreen truths was crystallised for us in an unforgettable formula by the greatest Teacher of all: "One is your Father, and ye are all brethren", and from that the consequent Law of Life", "Do unto others as you would they should do unto you".
The Spirit of the New Era stirs within every one of us. It links us heart to heart if not necessarily brain to brain. With clarion call, a very trumpet of God, it cries to every one of us at this supreme hour to give and give, all that we have, all that we are, that the future may be built secure and fair. In the terrible sincerity of the times no man can live to himself alone, to his family, his private interests alone. He must learn to think in terms of human need, do someone service outside the ranks of his personal circle.
For it depends upon ourselves, how that newborn Day shall shape its future whilst yet plastic and weak. God will fulfill it truly, but through and by and with ourselves. Man is eternally cooperator with God, the limitation or the expression of His Will.
The outlines of that mighty Future are growing clear. With what spirit shall we address ourselves to the task? We say that brotherly love shall recreate the world, but its flame must be fed by the oil of sacrifice, made dynamic by the Remembrance of God. Brotherhoods have failed for lack of these, systems broken down because they were forgotten. What is sacrifice? Is it no the giving up the sense of personal possession and holding all power, material, mental, spiritual, as a trust for God's Humanity, wherein lies, too, the "Remembrance of God"- the Ideal.
Let us give all life over to the Future. What else is it for? Thousands have surrendered that greatest gift a man can give on the great battlefields of Europe, and thus dying have won greater life, for they will come back again to life with added power and larger opportunity to serve, having won by sacrifice the right to build the future world they died in this hour to save. Would we build with them? Then we also must give away life by the harder way of daily dying to ourselves.
Life is never so splendid as when we lose it with unfaltering courage. "Self-preservation is the law of evolution for the brute, but self-sacrifice is the law of evolution for men?.
Says Joseph Mazzini: "The soul's salvation, the progress of the individual being through the infinite, the development of the principle of life which God has placed in each of us, depends upon our activity, upon our struggles, upon the sacrifices cheerfully made, in order that the law may be fulfilled on earth. God in judging us will not ask 'What has thou done for thy soul?' but 'What has thou done for the sister souls which I have given thee?'"
And again: - "We must ascend to the conception of Humanity in order to ascertain the secret rule and law of life of the individual, of man. Hence the necessity for a general cooperation, for harmony of effort - in a word, for association, in order to fulfill the work of all".
In ancient days it was said that if there had been found but ten men of resolution and selflessness in Sodom and Gomorrah, the cities would have been saved. A hundred men of like caliber could save Britain tomorrow. It needs but the deathless virtues of Courage and Love, allied with the sanity of proven deeds, not wordy theorisms, and lit with the imagination which comes from thinking in the wide terms of humanity and not in terms of class or creed or self.
Today the words of William Blake, poet, patriot, and prophet, voice for us all the tremendous inspiration of the hour: -
"Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! Oh! clouds unfold
And bring my chariot of Fire.
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land,"
That we may hear, and hearing, spring forward to achieve!
THE MESSAGE OF THE HOUR
NEVER before, perhaps, in the history of the world, was an hour so fateful, so full of presage, as the present. Big with starting possibilities, unfolding vistas of unimagined boldness and beauty, it speaks with a very trumpet-call of eternally recreative energy to us "upon whom the ends of the world are come". For this is the "end of the world", the passing of an era in time and space. Who amongst us can doubt it? After an hour of darkest night, the rosy tints of the dawning new day are colouring the sky. And what a Day dawns! God! what a day for men!
If we strive, in however dim and stumbling a fashion, to read the word of God now being written in the Book of Time, it forms itself into one root-idea, concept, ideal. That Root-ideal is Unity. Mazzini saw it as "Collective Humanity", with its consequent principle of action, cooperation as against the root-ideal of the departing era, individuality and separation, with the natural outcome thereof, competition. The past has been engaged in developing and completing the separate consciousness of the individual, class, nation. The future calls these strongly established self-hoods to conscious cooperation , manifesting once again the fundamental principle of unity, not by imposition from without , but by voluntary impulse form within.
And so the old order passes, giving place to new. On the outer plane of life, customs, systems are being weighed in the balance: on the inner, doctrines, dogmas, principles. Into the crucible of a world-war the swift-moving evolutionary forces have cast them, and from that melting-pot is arising "a new heaven and a new earth", truer, purer, nobler, more worthy a humanity growing daily nearer God.
The sense of having a mission to mankind was said by Germany to lie deep in her heart. But she mistook the growing world sense of the unity underlying all life and purpose and turned it into its dreadful travesty, uniformity, seeking to impose by force upon an unwilling world a uniform government, culture, dominance, and that the Germanic. So strongly has materialism saturated the soul of Germany that she failed to realise the two sides inseparable in evolution: Life and the multitudinous Forms in which that life expresses itself everywhere, and that the laws governing these two are fundamentally different. Life is one, indivisible, inextinguishable, and, therefore, purpose is one in reality, moving continuously towards "one, far-off, Divine Event"; but the forms in which life clothes itself, intellectual, aesthetic, physical, are eternally different the one from the other, and their value lies in their difference, the bond of union being not uniform appearance and manner, but the recognition of unity of aim and fulfillment.
Hence, in the world-conflict, the force at war are not really nations, but ideals, one which belongs to a past era and therefore doomed, and the other springing into life from the future and therefore conqueror. Individual consciousness, whether as the unit man, class, or nation, having grown strong in the struggle for freedom in the past, is now overleaping its boundaries and bringing an individual sense of unity, of "brotherly" relationship and interdependence, into a whole humanity. This again has been hastened on the outer plane by the extraordinary linking up of the round world in these modern days by means of the steamship, telegraph,newspaper, etc.
It is the spirit of the age from which no man can stand wholly aloof In the sphere of thought it means toleration: in the world of action, cooperation. No longer will the world tolerate autocracies, tyrannies of any kind. The future is against autocracies, and the tyrannies of Europe are crumbling into the dust. Liberty and Unity is its watchword; liberty to utter freedom of development and expression, for small and great alike, upon the side of Form; community of aim, purpose, feeling upon the side of Life.
Let us, therefore, in this tremendous moment, host fast the Message of the Future. Its word is clear, its meaning wonderful. That its realisation should be striven for in thought and word and deed, in all private and public relationships, is the great duty of the hour for all humanity.
The world marches unceasingly towards its final beatitude and fulfillment, and, that great World-purpose works its beautiful will through men, integral, growing parts of the World-order which unfolds Divinity Himself. He calls us at this Hour to give the utmost we can give, even to life itself. We may not evade that mighty summons, pass it by, deny it.
For on us who watch the night depends the destiny of the Day now dawning, and the future of the humanity who shall possess that day in all its strength and splendour.
So great the Hour, so tremendous, so divine, the issue!
Mr. H.Gordon Selfridge in an address on "Business Organization" stated that this country lacked that splendid thing "leadership". Alpha of the Plough writes in the Daily News on "Great Men" and the vital important of a national ability to distinguish them. "The one security of democracy", he says very truly, "is to know greatness, moral greatness, when it sees it". The question is- Where is the Man? How is it that these supreme times have produced no really great man is asked again and again in one form or another in the daily press, but the truth is that although remarkable people are with us in abundance the immensity of the times dwarfs all power by its magnitude. No ordinary greatness is big enough for the control and conduct of issues affecting for the first time in history, not nations only, but a world.
And yet the search goes on for the coming leader. In dumb, inarticulate patience, men wait his arrival. Almost it seems at times, as if a note sounded in human hearts of hope deferred. We spring forward with beating hearts at times thinking that we hear the sound of his coming, and still he has not come who is big enough for men.
The last sound came when President Wilson began to say with dignity and clarity the things which should be said, thus taking on at once and indisputably the moral leadership of the world. And yet that was not he, not wholly he!
The attitude of the world is one of expectation, a strained yearning to be delivered from the bonds of littleness and pride, a voiceless cry towards truth and justice and love, a long looking into the vistas of the invisible heavens surrounding, a longing to be led as men have always ached for leading.
True leadership is the greatest need of man, and one of the most pathetic things in the world is the way this heart-hunger of men for guidance and inspiration, leads them, in default of real heroes, to exalt the sham, and to give whole heart allegiance to unreality.
Men love a Man, and Mr. Graham Wallace is seriously perturbed for the result of this human factor on the future of Democracy. He may not understand that his ineradicable human instinct exerts such power, because in the Great Man every man sees the fulfillment of himself, the eternal possibility to which the soul of him stretches dim and yearning arms. The power of Personality is the greatest force in the world, for to the majority of men ideas and ideals only assume reality when embodied in human form. "Ideas are useless", once said the Rev. R.J.Campbell, "until personality lends them wings".
Mr.Wells clings to the belief that the religious and social stir of these times will unify mankind under the kingship of Divinity, God, the Invisible King of a worldwide system of republican states. Yes, but "God" will not be real to the majority of men unless His Truth, His Beauty, His Wonder, His Mighty Love, His all-compelling Power, are shadowed forth in a supreme and complete Personality inhuman form. A "little bit of God" lives within every one of us, eternally urging forward towards full expression through us. That is why we long to see the Man in whom that hidden Godhead has found freedom and expression. He is ourselves, the promise of the Future to all that lives.
In this hour or our deepest need, worldwide, immense, unfathomable, the cry goes up for him as never before. Who will body forth for us the unshaped yearnings after Truth and Beauty shaking all men's hearts this day? What man is great enough to guide the trembling aspirations, the newfound understandings born of pain and tears and loss irreparable? Who will call the hidden resolve of multitudes of men into flame, direct its power and energy into true channels, speak to us as a Man to men, utter for us our dearest idealisms, lead us as we ache to be led, calling upon a world to recreate a world, leading life to victory and achievement that the beloved dead may not have died in vain? When the hour strikes, it is aid, the man is there.
The Hour has struck. He comes
And so it happened that I fell into a deep sleep, and in a dream I saw the days that are coming upon earth. For the response to the cry of humanity in its agony had come as ever it has come, and will come, again and again, as the wheel of Evolution turns, until the end of Time.
One walked once more amongst men, through Whom the Face of God shone with all the glory of the Morning. The old names for Him clustered round Him, the Wonderful, the Counselor, the Mighty Lord, the Prince of Peace Men knew in His Presence that He was in very truth the Elder Brother of the Race, long passed now from the need of human experience, of human struggle, of human pain and joy in the Great School of Life, yet remembering every step of the Way that He Himself once trod in eons past, and thereby holding every heart in His. Truly the High-Priest of Humanity, "after the order of Melchisedec for ever", God's aspect of Personality to Man. And men knew that there was none other than He, that He was the Heart of every world-faith, the Leader of every cause which had befriended men.
The sick, the sad, the sinful found again healing at His Hands, the strong such joy in their strength of service, the lovers of men such inspiration in their work, as never they knew before. The Wisdom dwelt once more amongst us, and the wings of His Love enfolded the hearts of men, and His Strength brought healing to a world born out of pain afresh. Thus the Day dawned, and the Man of Men blessed the Hour of its birth.
To you I write this as a dream, but to me it is no dream but the crowning message of the hour. "Die Glöck" of the unshackled German Press writes: "Greater the longing for the world's Redeemer could never have been than our longing today for deliverance from this scourge of God!"
Even so, come! Lord Christ, Leader and Captain of men.
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