Paths To Power - Power From Above
( Originally Published 1905 )
"And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." Genesis xi. I-9.
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now, when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilean? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born ? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine." The Acts ii. I-13.
HERE are two scenes in the history of the human soul which is evermore repeating its own deepest experiences. The distance between man and God, the earth of man's life and the heaven of God's unclouded presence, man's actual ignorance and feverish care and God's perfect knowledge and calm power this space has always challenged every human faculty, and so the mind of man has taxed its powers to bridge the immense void. The picture given to us by this ancient page, the building of the Tower of Babel, is only one intimation of that perpetual effort which man has made to work up from the earth into the presence of the divine in heaven. There has always been something pathetic and dramatic, if not entirely heroic, about these labors of man or Titan, to invade the dwelling-place of the infinite and assert the rightfulness of man's presence there. It has seemed very sublime to him to peer into the secrets of the absolute from the height of some Babel-tower, or, Prometheus-like, to steal from the hand of infinite wisdom its secret.
These brilliant enterprises appeal especially to our out-reaching and self-asserting time. The poem of Prometheus is to the twentieth century what it is, in all its reminiscent music and fresh significance, be-cause our own time, so recently gifted by treasures and forces of nature, feels that it has the right to the precincts and secret of infinite being. This it believes because it has learned to love them so, and there is no distance between man and God which human nature may not span in some mighty effort to reach Him. One has only to study the geography of the human soul in its present condition, and mark the history which it is making for itself by obeying its own aspirations and yearnings, to understand how inevitably our age finds a heroic quality in that legend from far away. And so the Plain of Shinar may lie here or there in the Orient; Babel may have been the capital of the Babylonian Empire or that of some other land; fragments which attest the vulgar magnificence of a city covering a hundred square miles may have their fascinating tale to tell, or they all may be silent as to the existence of a tower which reached toward heaven; nevertheless, wherever a human soul lives, and whenever that soul is unwon to its divine destiny by that Spirit which spoke out of heaven to earth at Pentecost, Babels will arise upon every realm of its life, and there will be that confusion of tongues. It is the consequence of devotion to an inadequate and uncommanding ideal.
It is this fact which furnishes a most suggestive contrast, as we pass to the second picture. Separated as this event is from the first by thousands of years, nowhere else save at Pentecost, do we see just why the whole history of Babel-building is the history of the most sadly brilliant failure with which man has ever been concerned. In no other light than the light of Pentecost, moreover, can we understand the preexisting spiritual condition that poverty of soul which promises to honest but mistaken effort nothing but defeat. That condition of soul is described in the words of the old story of Babel-building, "Let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." Fear rules all minds unruled from above. In those moments when man has missed the truth that all his real life is to be lived from above downward before it may manifest itself as worthy life from beneath upward, when he sees not that the secrets of his earth are to be revealed out of the heavens above him then he has been afraid of the great, broad world in which he finds himself. Lost to an ideal which commands him, he fears to lose himself. He has nothing greater than himself to live with and for and upon, and he is affrighted at being separated from his kind, even if all other men be as deficient as he. This is the centripetal force which is now gathering the weak into crowded cities; the opposite is the centrifugal force which moves the strong into the suburbs and large country. Humanity without supreme ideas and sentiments which make the world a precious opportunity for their realization humanity uninvested by that life which is larger and diviner than its own, unwon by that mystery which over arches its knowledge with the conceptions and aims that include its world, is indeed a pitiful orphan, and is sure to become a panic-stricken exile. Nothing does he dread so much as solitude. "I will not leave you orphaned," says its true master, whoever he may be. It is not strange that, in such moments of spiritual dissonance, when the soul of man knows nothing of the harmony of the universe, when each man and his earth hear nothing but their own ambitious melody, he should seek to rally himself and bind the children of his hope about something that should at least point heavenward. He must have something to lean up against. He builds a tower of Babel.
This method of ridding himself of his fear of the life problem a problem which is as broad as man's universe is very human. It wrote a tragic history before Jesus was born. The last great gift of pagan Rome to the world was a Caesar, her characteristic man, the man up through whose personality and power Roman thought and feeling climbed, as in a tower, toward the infinite, until, in that desperate but blind effort to bridge the distance between the human and the Divine, it called Caesar "God." Apotheosis was the logical result in man's minds of an effort at civilization unfed by the Highest. It could end in nothing else than making a man into a god, and it was, in this way, through its very failure, a testimony to the fact that God must speak in and through the Incarnation. History shows man adoring either an apotheosis or an incarnation. Babel, with its failure to unify humanity around a visible and man-conceived institution, was the hint that somewhere in God's universe man would come to God, or rather, God would come to man in a Pentecost. Humanity could be unified, not by any self-coercion or external resolve which embodies itself in an institution, but by the power of the Spirit. This is the glad significance of Pentecost, that here at length a disorganized and self dividing humanity comes to be reorganized and for ever spiritualized into a divine unity.
The labor of the human soul in all its moments of paganism is to build an institution from the earth up toward heaven; the gift of Christianity was the revelation of a Person who was to make humanity His perpetual institution God in Christ, in Whom God came from heaven down to earth in the Incarnation.
The desire of the men of Shinar to "make a name, lest they might be scattered," is also the ancient expression of that fearsome egotism which is at root always godless. It is self-consciousness when it passes into egotism. Egotism is atheism. On the other hand, the meeting of those Galileans in the upper room on the day of Pentecost was a triumph of God consciousness passing into aspiring adoration —the result of the worship of that incarnate Self-sacrifice Who had promised that there would come into the world a new Spirit, namely "The Spirit of comfort and of truth." At Babel there is furnished for all philosophies of human nature and all schemes of society, the strongest testimony to the fact that conscious uniformity is the foe of that unconscious unity which operates as the unseen but regnant pattern weaving all facts and forces and men into that divine tapestry called civilization. At Pentecost, while many languages were spoken by many tongues, "they were all of one accord in one place." This profound harmony of Pentecost was wrought of many melodies and came out of many instruments which were thrilled by a common hope or hushed into melodiousness by a common awe. At Babel, all the instruments were similar, but there was no harmonizing and compelling theme worthy to overmaster and include all, and so each player ultimately persisted with his own tune. Babel could furnish only a sad picture of uniformity in a desperate effort to preserve itself. God has always been careless of uniformity; His Holy Spirit is always creative of that which is most precious and fundamental unity.
(a) The Infinite Wisdom has depended upon the might of those ideas which make their servants citizens of the universe, and keep them from the invasions of loneliness wherever they are, ideas which are the threads of power holding all things in harmony; and these alone create and maintain among the innumerable minds of earth an unvexed and full chorded unity. (b) The Infinite Love has always relied upon sentiments as deep as the feelings of Jehovah and as far-reaching as is His grace, to run from heart to heart, and so to bind, over unmeasured distances, the sons of earth that the whole world and every realm of life shall be the place of His glory. (c) The Infinite Will has calculated upon universal laws which are the laws of love, as the lines along which His purpose travels, so to win men's wills into obedience of them, that, wherever men are, however separated in this world or in another world, the one imperial concern of the glory of God and the good of man shall bind them forever.
To realize this vision and governance of God in the life of man is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Wherever men have recognized this down coming of God's life manward, and responded to it, there has been an upper room in which humanity has found a central abiding aspiration and law, and there has been Pentecost. But it comes after Calvary where self dies on the altar of sacrifice.
The confusion of the earlier Babel is no more far-sounding or pathetic than is the confusion of our latest Babel. When souls are in chaos, tongues are strange. Babel is soul-panic. Every Babel begins with an undiscerning cry for uniformity and ends in hopeless confusion; Pentecost begins in superficial confusion and ends in fundamental unity. Uniformity is a thing incidental. Unity is essential and reaches down to the elemental currents of power and hope; it calls upon the resources of unfailing wisdom. Every political, social, and ecclesiastical scheme for uniformity, and every effort at consolidating humanity around an ideal lower than God's plans as revealed in Christ, has ended in mental and spiritual dispersion. And that is the only dispersion to be feared by mankind. No nation has ever been able to exist for long which has not fed its ideal life and its aspirations from heaven downward, instead of building its poor aspiration into some useless magnificence that is heavily projected from the earth upward. At Babel, a race huddles together about its self-constituted ideal; at Pentecost, a race is sent everywhither, expelled from any possible aggregation of self esteem and self consumption by a Pentecostal flame, an idealism greater than its dream a unifying divine vision. It is everything in a going age to go with something that permanently exalts and upbuilds.
Out from that plain of Shinar probably came Abraham, "the father of them that believe." He belonged to the region where life's inspirations came to man's heart out of the heavens of the ideal, and Abraham's idealism is described in the words, "He went, not knowing whither he went." A mighty certainty throbbed at the heart of all his uncertainty. He was the most practical man of his age, because he was its greatest transcendentalist. He had known trouble with a narrow man. He believed there was room elsewhere for the true liberal that he was. He was the initiator of that westward-looking movement which at last reaches the Oriental Cipango of Columbus' dream only by going west. It was the dependence which this man placed upon those upper and infinite realms from which he drew the apparently careless sublimity of a stern purpose whose voice he obeyed, that led Christ to say of him, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; he saw it and was glad." Any true faith in the ideal, however limited or crude, involves Christianity. Abraham's anti-Babel obedience of the divine above him was the soul of that celestial eloquence whose ultimate utterance on earth was the Divine Incarnation.
When at length Pentecost came to remain in a serene perpetual light of all days, it is not strange that it should contrast so strongly with that other and special day when self-confident humanity was both ambitious and rebellious at Babel. There was the deification of work, and work unillumined from on high; at Pentecost was the glorification and vindication of musing and receptive and loyal thought. Waiting is more in demand in a universe where God is at work than is even the most industrious doing. Prayer is the promise of progress. Civilization has found its most practical resources in the idealities above the grime and dust in which it toils. The city of God comes down from out of heaven. The pattern seen on the Mount must dominate the structure of the tabernacle. Great is work, but work alone is Babel. Greater is the open soul, receiving at Pentecost the inspirations and ideals by which the work of man on earth shall appear as something worth doing and be something more than noisy laboriousness, where, indeed, it shall be the bringing down out of the sky of truth and love, the city of God, that complete and glorious civilization which shall last forever. Wherever mere work rules, and men's bodies and souls are unfed by a revelation of what man is in God's thought, there is an individualizing influence which makes human speech become variant and which tears society into tatters. I may say the same thing that my brother says in his own language, and yet be separated from him by infinite distances; I may say nothing that he says, and what I say may be said in another tongue, but, if our hearts are under the sway of one Spirit of Holiness, we understand each other. A noble thing can be uttered by a Hottentot to an Icelander or a sage in the cloister. In heaven we shall sing, because music is the universal language.
The doing at Babel and the praying at the day of Pentecost are, one, the separative and wearisome influence without a grand ideal; and the other, the inspiring, unifying influence of life with a worthy ideal. Let us never be afraid that men will lose their personalities by the unifying power of Christianity. It is only our disease of individualism that we can lose. The ideal and motive of Christianity are so comprehensive, and each strikes every man's heart at so great a depth, that every human being, under its influence, has an apprehension of the meaning of his own life that insures its development and an appreciation of the value of every other man's life and makes his slightest and truest accent understood.
The leaders of the race have always had this dream of unity. It is a sentiment and yearning as old as the first poet and as young as that era whose singer prayed for
"That common wave of thought and joy Lifting mankind again."
Men have all sorts of panaceas for the diseases which prevent the unity and produce the disintegration of the human family. In the contrasting darkness and light of these two scenes, I think any one can see that oftentimes the cure has not been offered, because the philosophers have missed the true diagnosis of the disease. Babel-building is very satisfactory to our pride, and Babel-building dies hard, and even grandly. It certainly did not vanish away from man's mind and hope when the confusion on the plain of Shinar came. Many of our modern efforts for man are only splendid repetitions of the old experiment. The Greek AEschylus has made the greatest of Greek tragedies sympathetic with our love of man's enterprise at forcing his way to the infinite. We are yet singing the praise of that audacious protestant, Prometheus, as if he were a half divine Luther or a Titanic William the Silent. Shelley's age of political revolution sang again the old story with the improvisings of its own bard. Our age, more wedded to evolution, has held that Science will exalt and bind men, and that, by discovery and up-built towers of achieved victories over nature's secrets, we may rally forever the else-separated sections of humanity into one. Science, democracy, and certain ideals of progress how often has each been called the Prometheus of our era! And the sad truth is that each one of these, unless it be fired at the heart by some Pentecost where God comes to man, is only Prometheus at last without the divine secret, and with a divided humanity as vulture-torn as he at the base of Caucasus. Still we sing:
"Ah, Prometheus! heaven-scaling!
I. There is a passionate, altruistic, not to say Christian, spirit of Science, of which I do not now speak, when I say that the spirit of Science which has not known Pentecost is a defeated Prometheus, or a builder of Babel. Like Shelley's Prometheus, rather than the Titan of AEschylus, it has lived in an age perplexed with many ideals an age revolutionary by descent while it has come upon the idea of evolution an age that is yearning for some kind of deliverance. It has visions of salvation so numerous as to almost make it despair in confusion. It has, like the Titan, no conviction that it needs salvation from itself —from its imprisoning egoism, its own passionate self-seeking, its haughty and self-satisfied ideals, its unrighteous, unworshiping rebelliousness against an order that strains it to altruistic effort, purity, and truth, to which it is disloyal. It makes our age an age of faithless haste, for it does not believe. "He that believeth shall not make haste." It does not rest on the fact that eternal order is sure to succeed even through suffering. It is unquiet and in revolt. Our age has looked to such a power as Science as its Prometheus, its redeemer, for it has conceived that its disease is ignorance alone. But ignorance is not its serious malady, else a Prometheus who robs Zeus of his intellectual method, his secret, might deliver the race. Its malady, productive of ignorance and care and pain, is unrighteousness. Mankind does not need a Promethean champion of humanity as humanity is, but rather a personal revelation of God, whose influence will first regenerate man and then champion man while he strives to be what he ought to be.
This other and divine Prometheus must come, instead of a Titanic man; and up to the hour when man is seeking to be what he knows he ought to be, all science, all discovery of nature's powers waiting to serve him, all mastery of the forces that are set to be his ministers, is a magnificent gift which man can-not take, save to his ruin. They do help him to build, and up toward the skies. But, building with them, he knows not yet the awful distance between the finite and the infinite. It is a moral distance, and so, a mental distance. Man, with all his science, must learn to work on the understanding that it is a less distance for the infinite to come, as God comes in Christ, from the infinite to the finite, than it is for the finite to travel or build to the infinite. The possession of the most helpful forces often betray us, and we build Babel. All at last is confusion, in spite of the power spent to exalt and bind men together. It is a bond that does not touch men at their life-centers, and so it fails. An effort at unnecessary uniformity has slain necessary unity. Small ideas of what is to be have bred the small-mindedness that ends in individualism and conceited distrust, one mind of another. Prometheus is only the superb anarchist, in spite of his humane aspiration to enfranchise man. Every fact that comes from our modern Promethean secret getting, if it has not been grasped by the hand of that altruism which loves man because God has revealed man's true life and destiny in Christ, is a peril. It divides rather than unites. It makes even genius lonely, and none can understand the other. It exalts the intellectualism of the individual, and makes society an anarchic collection of lawless atoms. Not a new impulse of the brain, only a new heart of love makes a great man safe with mankind. If he were possible, a free man in Prometheus is still out of harmony with the universe; a "free man in Christ Jesus" is in league with the secret of eternity; in him all of time's secrets are given over to the treasury of man.
Turn to that truer and higher spirit of Science the Holy Spirit spirit of wholeness and health, spirit of holiness. It does not sing with the Titan, as he looks at the sun:
"I laugh at your power and his who sent you here
It has become more reverent, as it has ascended from the deeps of the earth along the route of the charmed spirit of man. It has made its Darwin one of the humblest of the noblest; it gives us the picture of Tyndal refusing to go with the Babel builders of negations while he waits for truth, and it leaves us the portrait of Huxley as he declines to follow the materialist; it has taught his lips to speak in hushed awe of Jesus and the immanent God. It has unconsciously adopted Christ's dream of the unity of man, a unity not to be realized by man's o'er-leaping ambition and his Babel-towers, not to be made a fact because all men speak one language, but to be made real, because everywhere the deep and elemental currents running through human nature Godward shall all of them sing one music of the infinite sea from which they came and to which they go. This Science has a conscience. It now insists that it has some-thing to do with ethics. It cannot be persuaded, like Prometheus, to refuse to acknowledge the existence of moral evil in the world, but, more like that band of disciples after Pentecost, it finds an aching world on its hands to be relieved. The new spirit has come. We find the many languaged race of men understanding itself and its future, when it beholds an Agassiz saying and living what he says, "I have not time to make money," and more, when an inventor, whose machine takes the work from thousands of men, is devoting himself to their higher employment, and most of all, when the cause of social reform commands the genius of Alfred Russell Wallace. Nothing confuses the utterances of men when all are swept by a sub-lime revelation, like Christ's, that the world belongs to God and must be His. Stuart Mills' is an awful statement, that so little, if at all, has invention added to the comfort or well-being of mankind; and its rigor of meaning must continue until, at Pentecost, where even God's power comes to be the power of His love, man learns the altruism of the redemption of himself from selfishness and pride. As long as we do not have Pentecost, every new invention is Babel-building. It is the exalter of the fiction of progress. It only enables the strong to oppress the weak. It confuses humanity.
This Holy Spirit of Science has its vision of universai government; under its influence generations learn :
"To sit, self-governed, in the fiery prime
This very conception of the unity of law throughout the universe that refreshing revival of the true doctrine of the Holy Spirit everywhere--has made a Pentecost for our modern thought. The revelation that tears and worlds are molded by one power working through one law is a loftier fact around which to rally a divided race's thinkers and workers than any Babel of human achievement. The beneficent usň to which the gains of Science may be put is the guarantee for their beauty and desirableness, and what that use is may he learned at Pentecost alone. How each mind understands the other mind in that fundamental language of man, as he brings his precious burdens of discovery in, if at that hour there burns within him the enthusiasm of that band of fishermen who at Pentecost held the secret of the whole world's advance. Here was at last a true diagnosis of the malady which afflicts man, and breaks up the true unity of the race. Sin was and is the trouble. This was revealed in the cure. The remedy offered for unrighteousness showed that loveless disloyalty was the disease. A new world dawned. Christ had won man to God and holiness. These men at Pentecost conceived of taking that idea and ideal forth to unify the humanity which had been redeemed. It is the one glorious vision which makes Science the handmaiden of the Lord and an angel of civilization. If I were to describe in one word the transformation of Science in our day from that pagan, selfish, conceited air which has so often offended truth, to that reverent, humanity-loving, and nobler manner in which she now moves, I would say that the day of Pentecost had fully come. Revelations of the infinite in nature, like God's revelation of the infinite self in Jesus, have taken their place in man's thought, and, instead of audaciously building up out of man's wisdom brilliant systems of philosophy stretching from earth up to heaven, man listens for the whispers of the Life of all life. By its half-conscious reception of Christ's ideal of man and his future, Science has received the Holy Ghost.
II. What a magnificent word is Democracy! and to what fascinating paths have men been drawn, leading up to a height of aspiration that its dreams may be realized! Poetry and eloquence and heroism and a passion for achievement have marshaled the in-numerable throng to build this tower to heaven. It is at once a rallying-place and a memorial. In our own land, raw recruits from every other land have joined the multitude, and no one has failed to hear amidst the shout a penetrative note of daring, a presumption, which tends to grow atheistic, as even all organized or unorganized discontent comes to be. Much of our passion for democracy is not a noble content to live and work and die for the realization of a divine ideal revealed in those Pentecostal hours of history when God invests humanity with His own presence and plan, but it is self enamoured discontent with any government above our egotistic, heaven-scaling Prometheus.
A great American has said, "Democracy means not 'I'm as good as you are,' but it means `You're as good as I am.' " Surely we cannot avoid the fact that the first is individualism, conceited, arrogant, and dividing "I'm as good as you are." It is the outcome in separate minds of a general public egoism. It proposes to be the government; it never dreams that self-government is the result of being first divinely governed. It emphasizes liberty and is silent about law. It is too thoroughly employed with itself to reflect that liberty is the child of law and that only truth can make men free. "I'm as good as you are" this is Babel building on the plain of Shinar. It writes each man's particular name on one vitrified brick, as if some day humanity, consolidated and wild eyed, must not, as God's servant, tear it all down. It is ultimately against man's civil government, as it is from the first against God's government. When every man, in the great community of men, shouts "I'm as good as you are!" then, indeed, is the confusion of tongues. The more it works at uniformity, the more despairful grows the hope of unity. At last, nobody understands anybody else. Each man has formed a society of one member. Our noisome day is the witness of all the disorganization, mutual misunderstanding, and cynical distrust of a democratically inclined race, whose democracy begins and ends in Babel-eloquence, saying "I'm as good as you are."
But there is another spirit of democracy the Holy Spirit, the spirit of wholeness and health the spirit of holiness, the spirit which is Christ's own life. We accept Mr. Lowell's word, in this sense, when he says, "Christ was the first true democrat that ever breathed." Then we have moved from the chatter of the plain of Shinar to the eloquence of Pentecost, from Babel to that glorious upper room.
Christ makes a revelation of God in man, as God makes the revelation of Himself in Christ. It is this revelation which, with tongues of fire, says, not "I'm as good as you are," but "You're as good as I am." Christ's valuation of the other man, His saving of all men, of every grade, by His own sacrificial life and its issue, His creation of indubitable equality of men before His cross on Calvary these are the bases of triumphal democracy. Above them all, His Spirit, the spirit of help for others, the soul of altruism, the over-flowing care and love for all men because they are God's children, all this passion that grows divine in Him and through Him, as it worships God and is loyal to God's government that is the energy that cries out, "You're as good as I am!" This is a gift to social dynamics from Pentecost. No Babel of misunderstanding, no centrifugal force is here. I care not whence they come, careless as they may be of all superficial uniformity, those who surrender to this Holy Spirit have genuine unity, and each man hears the other in the tongue wherein he was born. "I'm as good as you are" is the democracy that leads all social enterprise to Hell; "You're as good as I am" is the democracy which leads every effort of civilization to Heaven.
III. Consider some of our ideals of human progress. We do not ask Prometheus to rob God of His secret; we need men so inspirited by the Holy One that they are willing to listen, as that secret of good government is spoken by the carpenter's son.
There are signs that Pentecost has fully come. The spirit of Christ, unhurt on that Calvary of greed upon which He has been so often crucified by ecclesiastic and politician, has left a spirit of truth which has come into our political economy. That Pentecostal spirit is taking the things of His and showing them unto us. Christian ideas and ideals of society are being reconsecrated to missionary effort in the upper room of thought and hope. As these conceptions reappear, we know how much of our vaunted progress has been only Babel-building, and that such principles as have most ministered to man's self-confidence under the form of economic orthodoxy, cannot form a tower about which to unify the race or create a Prometheus to redeem humanity. The undisturbed genius of our wealth-producing era has been half-worshiped as our Prometheus. It is a true Prometheus, in this sense, that it has robbed God. It has not, however, obtained the divine secret. Our age has declined to let its heart be fired with the altruism of Pentecost, and great has been our confusion of tongues. Statesmanship now knows that we must rid ourselves of Babel and substitute Christ and Calvary for Prometheus and Caucasus. Our Christian scholarship realizes that Babel and Pentecost are opposed forever, and that, in the light of Pentecost, we must welcome inquiry as to the righteousness of our regnant industrial system. Have we not forgot-ten that the abiding wealth of the world has foundations in the golden rule and not in the iron rule? Have we not so adored man's ability to make a memorial of his genius in material wealth, up-piled in the form of capital, rather than justly distributed among men, that man, on whose life Pentecost puts a divine value, has been stunted while the tower gleamed skyward? Has not even Christian scholar-ship been unable to account for our confusion of tongues, and have we not halted beneath the shadow which that lofty, earth foundationed progress has cast upon legislatures, city councils, courts, and juries? Let us not forget that the cloven tongues of Pentecost are yet in the air, and must be reckoned with by our civilization. Let not Christian scholarship be dazzled by Babel. It hears much of the value of machinery and the exquisite music of mechanism. It is invited to look into the crowded cash-books, and wonder at the fortunes which have come forth in a day. It is asked, "Did ever fabric like this come from the mills of any other century? Did ever economic philosophy dream that profits like these could accumulate so rapidly? Can the genius of discovery go beyond the results of our whirling steel? Even Christianity how it pays! How could we ever expect to keep men employed at such a wage, if they did not expect, instead of homes on earth, each to get a home in heaven?" "Go to," says this spirit of evil in the garments of good, "we will build a mission for our workmen! "
Our Prometheus vaunts himself unseemly, even when in his leisure he sits with his loved Asia devoted to arts and ideals, hearing nothing from above him. At last it wearies. The soul wants a word from above itself. Pentecost placed that word on human lips. "Whatsoever ye would have others to do unto you, do ye even so unto them." Let us pause. The Christian idea of God's valuation of a man has at last been taken by what are called the dangerous classes, and we are asked, "What quality of man does all this progress bring forth? What tissue of heart-cord, what hardness of righteous conviction, what whiteness of sentiment, what strength of purpose, what purity of heart?" Of course, the reply is, "Just now that is unwise and agitating questioning. So soon as the labor-problem is settled we mean to look into that, but that is impracticable now." Ah, dear victim of sophistry, the Pentecostal truth as to the value of man is at last out into the fields of our political economy; it has been caught up by the loafer and striker, and is being flung into the air by the mob, and you must leave your ledgers to welcome a truth so long delayed. No modern cannon can shoot this idea down, although the mob be slain at your door. The spirit of comfort always is the spirit of truth.
It is ours, my brothers, to prove that this idea, tossed into the air by the lawless, does not belong to them. We must tell them that it means law and not anarchy. But who are we? We have too little known them. The communist will not listen to me, for I have been quiet too long; but the sunlight I have kept back so long, now flaming forth, only shows him a weapon gleaming at his side. He sees nothing else but that. The religion which avows that man is the greatest factor in the equation of this world must insist on the fullest agitation as to the adequacy of the principle of our economy. And the problem of labor and capital will be settled only when we shall gladly see the golden rule victorious through Christ's perpetual presence in the Holy Spirit.
Let our Babel towers go, if they must. Every effort to get to heaven by building up from earth may fail. Only God revealed from above, earth transformed by heaven, will truly "hearten the chorus" of sincere men.
Come, then, unto our whole life and enter in, O Holy Spirit! Save us from our separating individual-ism. Quicken our sense of brotherhood. Inform and inspire from above. Send us out as apostles who shall preserve the unity of thy workers and carry on the work of God through man.