DR. D. S. CAIRNS, in his Christianity in the Modern World, in the line of a very able discussion says : "The crying need of our own age in the industrial sphere is the deepening and diffusion of the sense of the Common Good." This sentence holds in itself a whole gospel of industrial reconstruction, of social regeneration. The supreme task of a Christian civilization is to secure the enthronement in human thought of the spirit of brother-hood rather than of dissension, of the cooperative rather than the competitive motive.
"The new social order demands a new type of man. The old motives of personal gain must give place to motives of collective enrichment. The ambition to get on must be lost in the nobler ideal to help on. Instead of competition there must be cooperation. Private advancement is to have as its substitute the desire to render public service. In the coming time the individual will realize collective responsibility and will bear his part of the obligation of contributing of his strength to the support of the weak." This ideal is one obviously far from present realization. The industrial world to-day is divided into hostile camps, and is conducted under policies which develop much class hatred. So of the social world. Between its various classes there yawn at present unbridged chasms of distinction and of caste.
But in the light of all history nothing can be clearer than that the wounds of society cannot be healed, that the interests of humanity can never be best served, by the continuance of the warring industrial and social policies which now so largely prevail. These policies must be uprooted and displaced before any vision of millennial peace and prosperity can have realization.
Do existing facts give any assurance of the new Christian age, the glory of which has filled the vision of our prophets? Or is the vision itself only an iridescent and deceitful dream ? We must not be misled by the rhetoric of a groundless optimism. The problems of humanity are enormous, pressing, and grave beyond measurement. The great problems which confront our present-day Christianity are not simply those which arise from the social, industrial, and civic conditions of civilization. These in themselves are both momentous and baffling. But the supreme problems of the present day are world-problems, and these in the very near future will accentuate themselves in a measure that could not have been dreamed of even as late as the closing years of the last century.
The peoples of the Orient, which to Western civilizations, until very recently, have seemed as in a sleep, are now fully awaking. Their aeonic sleep is broken. Their waking is ominous for all mankind. They are now in social and political ferment. Japan has already asserted herself as one of the most alert, inventive, and progressive forces in a world-civilization. China is breaking with all the precedents of her immovable past.
For the shaping of her new ideals she is inviting the constructive aid of Western Christian education, science, and government. What is true of China is but typical of what is going on among the vast populations of the East. The interests of merchandise and the swiftness and perfection of modern transportation are binding us in ever-closer relations to all these peoples. Only a little time since, and the world's foremost statesmen were declaring that the Orient and the Occident were separated from each other by chasms which could never be bridged. The chasms have already been bridged. The interests of Orient and Occident are vitally and increasingly intermingling. They can never more be put asunder.
The Western civilizations have undertaken to erect some fences against the invasion of Oriental populations. There may be both a measure of wisdom and justification in such attempts. But it is not necessary to characterize their ultimate futility. The Oriental peoples will touch us to the vitals. They will adopt both our learning and our methods. They will become our competitors, perhaps overwhelmingly so, in the mercantile and industrial markets of the world. As by an unalterable edict of Almightiness, the East and the West must henceforth live together either in a spirit of large and cooperative service for mankind, or else in a spirit of mutual and racial hostility destructive of the world's peace, prosperity, and righteousness, an attitude which would mean an indefinite postponement of all the brighter hopes of humanity. Which shall it be?
But to get Christianly closer to the whole question, the new relations call for an entire transformation of our racial feelings. The spirit of race-alienations, of caste-feeling and separation, has been one of the things most rife in human history. If we are to deal with this historic situation in a sense that shall be fully Christian, then these racial lines of separation must be demolished. In Saint Paul's ideal Christian community he saw Greek and Jew, Barbarian, Scythian, bond and free blended in the dignities and fellowships of a common citizenship. If Saint Paul could so far forget his national and inherited prejudices as to indorse this view of a Christian democracy, then his vision for us is one for immensely larger application. Our contacts must be with the entire geographical world, and with all of its diverse races. But if all these peoples are the children of God, all the subjects of a divine redemption in Jesus Christ, then we must relate ourselves to them all in the spirit of the common kinship of God's family. Are we, the heirs of a Christian civilization, the bearers of the Christian name, large enough, Christlike enough, to enter loyally into these constructions?
In the foregoing reflections, there has been at least suggested something of the largeness and complexity of world-problems, problems not merely impending, but before which the Christian world even now stands face to face. Is Christianity itself large enough, divine enough, to deal successfully, adequately with the incomprehensible difficulties of these world-conditions? Whatever answer such a question may elicit, it is not amiss to take a passing refuge in a mere negative reflection. Civilization is old enough to have tried out many experiments. It has always been burdened with ills, crippled by limitations, and has incurred many disastrous failures. In all its history there has never been wanting a philosophy, a theory of government, or some kind of panacea which has been offered as a cure-all for its ills.
All experiments with such remedies have been tried, and have failed. None of them, nor all of them together, have proven equal to producing an ideal civilization. Christianity, upon the other hand, wherever tried, has never failed. It has been tested by innumerable individuals, and has been proven fully equal to their deepest moral and spiritual needs, both in the toils of life and in the pains of death. It has been largely tested in many provinces of human society, and always only with exalting and ennobling results yielded in just the measure in which its conditions have been fairly tried. In all the world to-day there is no sane adherent of Christianity who does not believe in its entire sufficiency, if its principles may be fairly accepted, to meet the social and moral needs of all mankind. It would seem, then, just now, while the world, like a ship preciously freighted and full-sailed, is crowding toward some new coast, that Christianity is the only pilot which may be confidently trusted to take charge of its destiny.
Casting our eyes about the horizon what signs may we discern of the promise and progress of Christian supremacy?
The world of capital carries in itself both the most promising and resisting conditions of moral progress.
In so far as this world is governed by a selfish and unscrupulous spirit, it is a world most discouraging to Christian hopes, most heartless in its injustices, most despotic in its power for evil. But, on the other hand, it does not admit of denial that the capitalistic world of the present is increasingly impelled by a spirit of philanthropy. I do not undertake here to discuss pro or con the moral quality of the processes by which given capitalists may have acquired their phenomenal fortunes. Not that this question is not in itself one of very intrinsic importance. My purpose now, however, is simply and briefly to review some general features in the world of present-day philanthropy.
And, first, it may be truthfully said, that in the matter of money for humane causes, the entire past has never produced a period which for magnificent giving has anywhere nearly approached the present time. In the year last closed, 1913, the aggregate large gifts by citizens of the United States amounted to more than $3 o2; 000,000. In this splendid aggregate no gift for less than $10,000 is included. If we could command all the gifts under sums of $10,000 each, these would also make a noble aggregate. Last year there was given outright to American colleges alone the sum of $32,550,000. It is of interest to note that throughout the country there are not less than 5,397 institutions of a purely benevolent character, representing combined costs in property and endowments of hundreds of millions of dollars. These institutions are' devoted to the care of unfortunate and orphaned children, of indigent adults, of the blind and deaf, and for purposes of hospitals and dispensaries.
We can little measure the significance of amounts running up into these high figures. They tell an eloquent story. They stand not only for an unmeasured amount of good, of humane service achieved, but they give evidence of a growing conviction among men favored with large capital of personal responsibility for its moral uses. More than this, they tell the story of a genuine pleasure often experienced by men of wealth in bestowing benefactions that meet public needs. For our present purpose it matters little who the particular donors may be. The consecration of so large sums of private money to public and philanthropic uses represents a pervasive and growing disposition on the part of capital to make itself a servant of the common good. So far as capital is concerned, this example goes far toward lifting the donor into a special moral class. At any rate, it secures for him an approvable distinction as compared with the capitalist who selfishly gathers, hoards, and invests his wealth without reference to the claims upon him of humanity.
The feature of chief significance is that the call for service, a Christian call, which is so distinctively and increasingly voiced in this age, is being heard and heeded at the seats of capital. This is of great import. This is a capitalistic age. Capital is a chief power in all the great enterprises. It builds our cities, our railroads, our steamships, and supports all productive industries. Its investments are making all natural forces tributary to our material civilization, harnessing the very Niagaras for its uses. It is but little wonder that the age has been drunken with the very power of capital. But the wielders of this great power must not be drunken men. They of all men need to be men of sobriety, of self-control, of conscientiousness, fused through and through with a sense of high responsibility. They need to be men of vision, sun-crowned men.
Just recognition should be gratefully given for such measure of capital as has been consecrated to the common good. The story of such consecration furnishes one of the most inspiring chapters in the moral history of the race. But thus far only the outer fringes on the royal robe of capital have been touched for distinctively benevolent and moral ends. In overwhelming proportion capital has thus far sought its investment in material and selfish schemes. I seek neither to displace nor to underestimate both the legitimacy and the necessity of large investments of capital in purely business enterprises. Such enterprises rightfully absorb the great body of capitalistic investments. Business in itself may be just as legitimate, just as much a divine calling, as the preaching of the gospel. Indeed, what we need to remember, what the business man may not forget, is that the business man is just as morally responsible for the use of his powers as is the minister of the gospel. No implication is to be made against either the investment of human skill and energy or of capital in legitimate business. But investments are made for profits. And when profits exceed all demands of private business, and of private needs, then in such surplus there is a fund which should be sacredly devoted to moral and philanthropic purposes.
There is a voice in the age, a spirit stirring its very atmospheres, which is calling upon capital in general to lift its motives to higher levels, to make great new moral departures. The world needs a generation of capitalists who will be dominated by the conviction that they are simply stewards for the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and that it is their chief obligation to bring their gains as endowments for the moral uses of this kingdom. It is only under such a motive that wealth can come to its real nobility.
As much as we may admire the skill and power of one who forces nature to lay its treasures in his hand, we can see nothing admirable in the selfish and sordid uses by this same man of such treasures. The capitalistic motive which prompts to the gaining of wealth only that it may increase the personal power of its possessor, only that it may feed his greeds, gratify his pride, minister to his luxuries, and swell his selfish aggrandizement is not admirable. On a just moral scale there are few beings less approvable, though he clothe himself in purple and fine linen and fare sumptuously every day, than the man who is the selfish and sordid monopolizer of wealth. On the other hand, there is no nobler type of man than he who, having wealth, has acquired both the art and the delight of so using it as to make it in the highest sense a ministry of moral service.
And why should not wealth find its highest satisfactions in responding to the bugle call of the age for such moral service? By the courtesy of Professor George A. Coe, of Union Theological Seminary, I am in possession of the following typical and highly suggestive facts. I present these facts in Professor Coe's own language as follows :
In the spring of 1911 Norman Thomas, of our graduating class, was elected by the faculty to our traveling Fellowship, which provides for two years of foreign study. The Fellowship is awarded each year to the man who has stood highest in the graduating class during his whole three years' course. Mr. Thomas was easily first. He is indeed a man of extraordinary ability, such ability as would bring him success, say, in a professorship. But he declined the Fellowship on the ground that he desired to engage in work among the Italian immigrants in New York city. He is now a supervisor of the Italian churches on the East Side for the Presbyterian Home Mission Board.
In 1912 we elected similarly Mr. Kenneth Miller; but he declined the Fellowship on the ground that he desired to enter the work among the immigrants in this country. We then turned to the next man in the class of 1912, Mr. Joel Hayden. After some consideration, Mr. Hayden also declined, and on the same ground. Thereupon, the Presbyterian Home Missionary Society sent both these men abroad for one year to study certain of the European peoples, from whom immigrants are now coming. Miller worked in Bohemia, and Hayden worked in Poland. After a year both of them could speak and preach in the language of the country. Miller is now in New York city, in the employ of the Presbyterian Home Mission Board, as an assistant in the, Bohemian work; and Hayden is in Baltimore in similar work among the Poles.
A further set of facts that will interest you concerns the enthusiasm for foreign missions that now prevails among our students, and has prevailed, I think, for years. In one of our recent years, I think it was 1911, twenty-five per cent of a large graduating class was already pledged for foreign mission work before graduation day came. Every year we send a large delegation, generally of strong men, into mission work. In fact, I am not seldom embarrassed in my efforts to get men into religious education work in this country by discovering that the strong man upon whom I have fixed my mind had decided to go into the foreign field. An amusing evidence of this interest occurred last year. Some of the students complained that the foreign work was talked about so much that the home work didn't get its due!
A still further item of the same kind concerns the rural work. Several of our men I should say half a dozen have been engaged already in the rural survey work during vacation. Some of them have now entered permanently upon one or another form of rural work as a life calling; and there is so much interest in this problem that there is every reason to expect that a good many of our men will tackle this, which is perhaps the hardest of all our problems.
In addition to the foregoing, there has come to my attention almost at the time of this writing, the case of a young preacher, himself a theological graduate, highly cultured, able, exceptionally attractive in his personality, who asks of his superintendent that he may be sent to one of the weakest mission churches in New York city.
What do these instances indicate? This: these young men have been dwelling in sensitive moral atmospheres. They have caught a vision of the age. They have heard Christ's call to service. Their hearts have already been touched with the joy of sacrifice. In the splendid light of their inspirations they have been able to translate into their own convictions, choices, and affections the seemingly most difficult tasks, as at once the most divine, the most attractive, and the most rewarding.
These young men are disciples from the schools of our modern prophets. They are the knightly spirits of a new age. In character, in culture, in social attractiveness they are the peers of the most favored sons of wealth. Their moral purposes and consecrations are inspired by the loftiest motives. Their moral insight has not misled them. They are making no mistake in their choices. Providence is thrusting them into the vanguard of great moral movements. Is there any reason why the ranks of wealth should not hear the same call of the age, be stirred by the same moral enthusiasms, and bring their tremendous reinforcements to the same work? The man of wealth holds in his hands great potentialities of service. It were for such a man a tragic missing of the highest nobility and joy of life if he were so obsessed by the demon of greed, avarice, and selfishness as to be shut away from fellowship with the knightly guild of men who have learned that life's divinest rewards rest alone with those who have most entered the secret of Christlike service.
The ideal minister must be socially refined, mentally cultured, spiritually inspirational, but he is expected by all, and justly so, to be a ministering servant to the needs of the humblest and the poorest in his parish. The ideal physician must be learned and skilled in his profession, yet it is one of the very ideals of his profession that he must as fully and as conscientiously devote his skill to the care of the sick in the homes of the poor, or even among convicts in prison, as in the homes of privilege. The ideal teacher must be both learned, skillful and gifted, yet the teacher must give of his or her best for the service of all. The teacher who would slight or neglect the most mentally backward or stupidest child in the school would be justly counted unworthy a place in the teaching profession. These are a few illustrations of callings, and many Others could be added, which in themselves demand the highest type of character, yet the incumbents of which are expected to give themselves to a life of altruistic service.
Why should not the capitalist who employs a thousand men consider these as his providential opportunity, a special call to him for Christlike service? Is there any reason why a man wielding the power of wealth should feel free to excuse himself from rendering to his age the full moral service implicit in that wealth? Measured in the clear light of most sane and sensitive judgment, the rich man who fails to render such service, by the very fact of such failure assigns himself a most unenviable moral rank. The darkness of his failure is in inverse ratio to the greatness of his neglected opportunity. Is there any reason why, because a man is wealthy, he should excuse himself from the fellowship of consecrations demanded by the highest social and moral enthusiasms of the age? Too many rich men have tried to live selfishly, only to discover too late that their selfishness has been utterly unrewarding. Too many such have given themselves to the revel of luxury, only to awaken in paralysis and helplessness to the discovery that the bread and wine of their pleasure have turned to ashes and bitterness. The man of utterly selfish wealth, though he be not physically intemperate, is likely to awaken to the fact that the dream of his avarice has brought him no better reward than the labors of Sisyphus.
Dickens's Christmas story of Scrooge is psychologically true to life. He began early to worship a golden idol. The noble aspirations of his youth fell off one by one. until the master-passion, gain, had engrossed him. Into his features were set hard and rigid lines, and upon his face grew the signs of care and avarice. He lived to a hard, grasping, and merciless old age. He was rich. His "name was good upon 'change for anything he chose to put his hand to." But he was oblivious both of the joys and sorrows of others. For him the cheery season of Christmas had no charm. He considered that for his clerk to take a Christmas holiday was like "picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December."
"If I could work my will," he said, indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding; and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should."
His old age was loveless, lonely, and joyless. He was a miser, neither giving to the world, nor receiving from it, any ministry of blessedness. There is many a man, rich and loveless, who can never be called back from the bondage of his greed unless by some ghostly miracle, as in the case of Scrooge.
This subject cannot be justly discussed without large emphasis of the many princely examples which the age furnishes of chivalrous use of wealth. The consecration of wealth to the common good will be one of the great passions begotten by the new age. The good of, the love of, the joy of giving private wealth for philanthropic ends will in increasing measure substitute and exorcise grosser and selfish motives in the uses of capital. Happily for the age, happily for the auspices of the Kingdom, signs multiply that a new moral knight-hood is being increasingly recruited from the sons of wealth. My faith is that one of the chief distinguishing marks of the twentieth century will be in the new and vast consecrations of wealth for the reinforcements of Christ's kingdom. A new spirit is coming into the world's thinking, a new light is resting upon human needs and obligations, new ideals are making resistless appeal to the rich and strong for service. In response to the new spirit, the new light, the new ideals, wealth will find its sphere of service and of satisfaction as never before.
The prophecy has gone forth, the nurture is in the atmosphere, and the signs are multiplying that already we have entered upon an age which is to be morally resplendent, and not among the least of forces contributing to its glory will be the ministry of consecrated wealth.
The deeper moral significance of the labor movement has been much obscured by objectionable features which have been superficial to the movement itself. Labor has fundamentally organized itself for the purpose, first, of protection against the unjust encroachments of selfish capital, and, second, for the purpose of mutual aid and benevolence among its own members. Nothing could be more legitimate, nothing more approvable in itself, than each of these purposes. Labor has suffered from the frequent misfortune of unworthy leadership. It has often lacked in discernment of the better courses to be pursued. Its history has been too often characterized by sporadical outbreaks of mob rule and violence in which outlawry and the spirit of ruthless assassination have played a conspicuous role.
These occasional and quite exceptional phenomena have created in the thoughtful public mind a wide prejudice against the spirit of organized labor. By so much labor has suffered a serious injustice at the hands of its own representatives. If, however, we inquire more closely into underlying causes, it must appear that labor cannot be justly charged with greater criminality than capital itself. It is altogether probable that if capital had always dealt equitably, there would never have arisen the labor organization. There would have been no necessity for it.
That capital and labor to-day are pitted against each other in alien camps is not without deep causes. The recriminations of labor against capital, however bitter, are, in the last analysis, only the practices by labor of lessons taught by capital itself. Capital has shown itself hard, grasping, conscienceless, despotic. Labor, helpless in its presence, has been forced in innumerable instances to the wall. Capital has too often exacted from the weak the largest service for the smallest wage. Without regard to brotherhood, rights, the comforts, the health, or even the lives of workers, capital has often ground the poor under the heel of merciless power. It is in a spirit thus begotten that labor has turned upon capital. It is simply, in its bad moods, striking as it has itself been struck. In the above paragraph I am speaking especially of the demerits of capital. But labor has too often earned for itself the severest censure. When well paid and well treated it has often given slip-shod work, careless and unprofitable service, and has done the least work possible for the largest wages that could be gotten. Labor, in the highest interests of the worker, should be performed in a loyal spirit. A man's sphere of labor is his training school of character. The man who works in the spirit of a time server, who seeks only the day's wage regardless as to whether he has rendered an equivalent value, is living the life of a cheat, is so lending himself to processes of essential dishonesty as to make it impossible for him under such motives to develop an intrinsically noble and trustworthy character. Labor, however humble in itself, if loyally and dutifully performed, is a service in the interests of righteousness.
In the moral merits of the conflict capital has no advantage over labor. Capital is better liveried, better fed, is more self-sufficient, and wears externally a better polish; but its spirit has been just as bitter and relent-less as that of labor. On the other hand, the moral advantages, as inhering in the causes of the conflict, are with labor. Capital for the most part has waged a selfish warfare. Labor may have been selfish, but, on the whole, it has fought for its rights. In any event, mingled with its selfishness has been a large spirit of altruism. Its scheme, however imperfectly realized, and however limited of application, has been one of a labor brotherhood, and its spirit one of mutual help-fulness.
Organized labor has never en masse committed itself to any atheistic policy. While it has been distrustful of the Church because of the judgment, whether true or false, that the Church is too much dominated by capitalistic influence, it has, as a rule, borne itself in reverential attitude toward Jesus Christ. Organized labor fails of many things greatly to be desired, but at its heart it carries ideals which illuminated and widened would mark it as having close kinship with the kingdom of heaven. In a day of more equitable industrial conditions, of more pronounced brotherhood, a day sure to come, the laboring world will be subjects of that kingdom whose Lord was once the Carpenter of Nazareth.
A prophetic word, a word which carries in itself great promise and potency for the future, is "cooperation." Capitalism, at least capitalism in its present exaggerated form, is but a passing phase in civilization. There are most potent reasons why it should be doomed. In its present concentrated form, and with its accelerating aggressiveness, it stands as a menace to the very life of the republic. With mailed front, and with a rapacity that brooks no checks, its recent leading has been straight in the direction of plutocracy. With new shibboleths and under new forms it threatens the displacement of democratic equality by a capitalistic feudalism.
The proposition comes too late in history for such a regression in civilization. Plutocracy, when reduced to its last term, is a foe to human liberty, inimical to democracy, and can be accorded no place under the standards of highest Christian enlightenment. Its aggressions have awakened the deepest animosities of the present age. Only the blind can fail to see this. The greatest menace of our present civilization is that which arises from the warfare between the oligarchy of wealth and the discontented democracy of production. This is a war-fare which, if its causes are not removed, threatens the very upheaval of society, only on a more terrific and bloody scale, as in the French Revolution.
In these days the feeling is rapidly growing that the present order is not, and cannot be, a finality. The conviction is gaining with capitalists, as well as with all others, that in the very fundamental conditions of business there should be provision, and under limits which cannot be finally violated by either capitalistic or laboristic aggression, for a more equitable distribution of opportunities among men. In the present situation both capital and organized labor are resting in false, unjust, and most injurious assumptions. Capital insists that it has an absolute right to administer its resources as it will. This is a wholesale begging of a great moral question. Most of the factors which capital monopolizes spring from natural resources. God, the common Father of all men, is the author of all natural wealth. His children alike have their inalienable rights in such wealth. In the Hebrew theocracy it was fundamental that the land, the source of common support, the real source of all wealth, belonged to the people. And that this common right of use might never be annulled, it was provided that once in so often there should be a redistribution of land.
It was the capitalistic violation of this law, a violation which led to the oppression of the poor, which in-spired the prophets to utter their fierce philippics of denunciation against the luxurious rich. Precisely the same conditions, only on a vastly exaggerated scale, which drew from the prophets their fiery condemnations, exist in the capitalistic world of to-day. At its heart the boasted absolute ownership of capital is an atheism. What becomes of God's right and of the rights of all God's children in God's own world?
On the other hand, labor, especially as expressed in the theories of Socialism, makes the hugely false claim to being the producer of all values. In its widest and most legitimate application, it comes near being true that labor is the developer of all mercantile values. But in its more limited application, as defined by the representatives of organized labor, it is very far from true that labor is the exclusive producer of values. Brain has entered fully as largely as brawn into the development of mercantile values. The inventor who multiplies the working power of man a hundredfold has by his single invention indefinitely multiplied the possibilities of labor. Is he not a producer? And is he not entitled to special reward for his benefaction?
Then, as an essential factor in production is capital itself. Capital, as directed by somebody, furnishes the appliances and the methods without which the hands of a thousand laborers would be empty and useless. Surely, capital, however owned, is a prime necessity to production. The theory, then, that "labor" is the sole producer of values is fundamentally and viciously wrong. Before capital and labor can meet together on the planes of harmony it is an absolute necessity that both shall abandon their false fortifications.
It may be frankly admitted that the conditions of reconciliation between the two forces are not yet fully developed. This is not strange. All good things do not come with cyclonic speed. The most valuable adjustments governing human relations are evolutionary in their development. But, given the premises of God and the world, of divine Sonship and the growing sense of human brotherhood, and there is no room for despair as to the ultimate advent of right human adjustments.
The highest ideals now in sight would seem to call for a common basis of interest between capital and labor in their mutual products. This ideal can be realized only under some philosophy of cooperation. A cooperative atmosphere is one favorable to brotherhood. It welds sentiment and effort in a common interest. It is this spirit which holds together and makes effective the great corporations. In them cooperation has shown its power to develop the most gigantic industries known to history. The objection to this kind of cooperation is that it is of the class order. While it deals with interests which affect the common welfare, it subsidizes for its own ends all the productive agencies; it finally turns the revenues earned, however immense, into the pockets of the few. The great masses are practically shut away from the benefits of such cooperation. The imperative need is for the creation of cooperative methods broad enough to include all producers.
The present history of cooperative developments is not without great significance and promise. This movement has more largely characterized England, and the nations of Europe than the United States. In the United Kingdom of Great Britain the cooperative movement includes about 3,000,000 people. Its retail stores sell annually $400,000,000 of goods, while $130,000,000 of goods are created in its manufacturing establishments.' The governing rule of this union is that profits earned shall be equitably divided between capitalist, workers, and purchasers. "Germany in 1908 had 24,652 co-operative societies, with 3,658,437 members. Denmark, with a population of only 2,500,000, had about 1,200 retail stores, with 200,000 members, and has developed productive cooperation as no other country has. Basle, with 125,000 inhabitants, had 28,000 cooperative buyers. Since 1908 these figures have grown very much."1 This cooperative movement is rapidly spreading in France and, indeed, throughout Europe.
The principle is so far established as to be beyond experimental stages. Its capacity for the widest application to world-business may in many and largely important features still await development. But of the essential justice and sanity of the principle there seems little room for doubt. Indeed, many important applications of the cooperative principle have long had practical approval. Our public highways, school systems, gas and waterworks, the postal systems, are illustrative of a common service for the benefit of which the people cheerfully cooperate in the payment of taxes. The number of public-service appliances which might serve common interests and be cooperatively supported by the community seems susceptible of great enlargement.
It is evident that wherever this principle may be adopted in the business world it will prove unifying and not competitive; it will draw men together in common interests. It will awaken in all the spirit of a common partnership. It will create around itself an atmosphere of fidelity, of industry and thrift. Its very ideals will put to shame the spirit of shirking and of time-serving qualities which are now a pervasive blight in the laboring world. Above all, it is a principle in sublime harmony with the ideals of Jesus Christ. In its ampleness there is room for the rich and the poor to meet together in the genuine feeling that the Lord is the Maker of them all. Let the animosities which now prevail between capital and labor be once removed, and the largest door for the realization of the divine brotherhood of man is wide open. Happily, the signs multiply that the moral education of the age is setting in this direction.
Kindred to the spirit of cooperation which must wed capital and labor in the bonds of common interests, and of not less significance, is the spirit of federation which is to-day leaguing the Protestant denominations into the unity of a common Christian mission. We have seen how signally this spirit is asserting itself in the interrelations of the great missionary boards. One of the most signal services of missions to the home churches is the enforcement upon the attention of these churches of the supreme importance of Christian unity. The missionary workers scattered among the wide, dense, and darkened paganisms are filled with a heart-hunger for brotherly fellowship. Their very sense of isolation prompts them to support each other in the work and purposes for which they stand in common. A sense of the vast and overwhelming needs of the world, of their own insufficiency in the presence of these needs, forces upon these workers both the fitness and necessity of entering into a holy leagueship with all who in the midst of pagan cults are truly seeking to exalt the name of Christ. In presence of countless heathen whose supreme need is to know Jesus Christ, there comes to these workers a sense of the essential pettiness of the differing views which too often and too long, in the homeland, have separated the denominations.
Not in the modern ages has there been witnessed so noble an expression in the interests of Christian unity as that given in the recent World's Missionary Conference at Edinburgh. In this Conference was brought together a great interdenominational body with the single purpose of devising cooperative methods for Christianizing the heathen world. The conference was composed of exceptionally able and experienced men who in a very inclusive way represented the entire mission work of the Christian world. The great emphasis put upon the necessity of cooperative Christian effort was such as powerfully to impress all that the present is no time for the wasting of Christian energies in fruit-less theological and ecclesiastical controversies.
The real spirit of Christianity, the Christianity of Christ, the spirit of its teaching, consecration, and sacrifice, is nowhere more perfectly exemplified than among missionary workers. A concerted and supreme call of these workers is a summons to the home churches to forget their differences and to unite their forces for the salvation of the world.
The spirit of federation is working like a leaven among the home mission boards of our own country. Less than three years ago the Home Missions Council inaugurated the "Neglected Fields Survey." Just recently under the united auspices of the home boards a series of two-days conferences, to which were invited all the home mission leaders in every State visited, were held in the two Dakotas, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and Colorado. In these conferences two points were sought, namely, first : "To give State leaders an insight into the large relations and latest developments of the tasks in which they share; and, second, to press home the absolute importance of attacking the home mission problem in the spirit and by the methods of close interdenominational cooperation." The prompt and hearty response given at all these conferences to the latter proposition was such as to give evidence that in all these States the "old era of church competition is passing away."
The new spirit of federation is one of largest prophecy for Christianity. It is bringing to the churches them-selves a quickening revelation of their vital and essential unity. It is greatly emphasizing the lesson that for the common tasks of Christian work denominational differences need not stand in the way of cooperative effort. It is not clear that the obliteration of denominational lines would best serve the interests of Christianity. It is increasingly clear that denominations as such may be so imbued with the larger mission of the Kingdom, so possessed and inspired with the love of Christ, as to prompt them to work together in a sublime unity for the redemption of the world. It is the spirit of such a unity which more than ever before is moving upon the heart of the modem Church. The demand in many fields for efficient administration of Christian work, economic necessities, such division of effort as promises most effective results with least waste of power -these, and many kindred considerations, are all pro-motive of a cooperative purpose and effort in Christian service. Instead of moving out on divergent lines of sectarianism, the federative spirit is turning the faces of the denominations in common toward Christ, and in this vision they are increasingly discovering that the work which he would have done is one which makes an equal call upon all alike. In this spirit Protestantism is finding its true self, is discovering that larger unity and broader catholicity in the strength and coordinations of which it will move out upon new and enlarged missions of moral conquest.
In a previous chapter there has been presented some survey of modern missions. But the significance of missions in their relation to the present and immediate future progress of Christ's kingdom in the earth is an immeasurable quantity. Proceeding from missions, as from a creative source, innumerable and unassessable beneficent influences are moving to the very heart of heathen society. No one can measure the indirect moral values resulting from the spiritual truth as both preached and illustrated in this great work. In Dr. W. F. Oldham's admirable lecture on the "Pros and Cons of Missions" he says:
The purer tenets of Christianity, its sublime ethical codes, its high spiritual vision, its teaching of justice and mercy, and its inculcation of the spirit of brotherhood and a fine philanthropy toward all the distressed and sorrow-smitten in life have forcibly impressed the faiths it confronts in all lands; and every one of them has taken on a purer ethical character and is sounding a deeper religious note because of Christianity's presence. The very first effect is to exorcise the cruelties and grosser forms of lust and impurity, that through human weakness have become mixed with the teachings of the ethnic faith. A thousand immoralities and cruelties have fled from the public life of India and China, and are fleeing from the dark stretches of Africa, smitten by the invisible sword, by the aroused human spirit, awakened among all the people by the hearing of the higher law. . . . There is a positive cleansing of public opinion and an openly promulgated code of conduct hitherto unknown a new valuation of man as man and of woman as a partner of man, his sharer in life's burdens and, with him, the crown of creation, and a new softness and tenderness of feeling thrown around childhood. In a word, both in the public mind and in the homes of the people the presence of the Christian missionary and all that he stands for brings new ideas into the social order and a new atmosphere into the home.
Christian missions present the boldest, the most comprehensive, progressive, and prophetic moral program now operative in the world's history. No living seer can forecast the fruits to be realized from this program even while the present century is yet young.
On the summit of the Andes, and on a line marking the boundary between Chile and Argentina, stands a colossal statue of Christ, and upon its pedestal are carved the words : "Sooner shall these mountains crumble into dust than that Chileans and Argentines break the peace, which at the feet of Christ, the Redeemer, they have sworn to maintain."
On August 28, 1913, there was dedicated, in the presence of a most distinguished company representing the great nations of the earth, one of the finest public buildings in the world the "PALACE OF PEACE at THE HAGUE." Ten years earlier, Mr. Andrew Carnegie contributed for the establishment of this building $1,500,000. Toward its final completion and embellishment nearly all the nations of Europe have made signal contributions. This building is dedicated as the home for the "Permanent Court of Arbitration for the Adjustment of International Disputes."
The heroic statue of the Prince of Peace, standing high above the Andes, and the superb "Palace of Peace" at The Hague, are two significant symbols of great international movements in the interests of peace which more and more are commanding the thought of the modern world. Doubtless a prominent factor in enforcing this conception upon the world's thought is the inordinate and oppressive costliness of modern national armaments. The cost of an "armed neutrality" is so great as to threaten the bankruptcy of nations.
Treasure by the billions treasure which ought to find investment in sources of common prosperity, treasure adequate to endow all the universities, technical and art schools required by civilization, treasure ample to maintain all the eleemosynary institutions, hospitals, asylums for the blind and unfortunate, homes for the aged and indigent all this, by systems of national taxation, is being extorted from the sources of legitimate production, from the hands of toilers, for the purpose of maintaining the vastly unproductive, wasteful, destructive, and what some day will be sure to be ranked as barbarous, systems of world militarism.
The burdens thus imposed are felt by all nations to be increasingly intolerable. Thus there is forced upon the judgment of sane rulers, and upon the collective thought of mankind, the unescapable necessity of bringing the nations together in such a compact of peace as will rid the world of the exhaustive and ruinous taxation of the present war-footing.
The very economical necessities of civilization are thus become the stern schoolmaster to force the nations toward a compact of peace. Certain it is that a most phenomenal interest in the world's peace has become awakened in modern thought. In the last fifteen years considerably more than one hundred and fifty arbitration treaties have been made effective in the settlement of disputes as between nations. Peace societies in large numbers have been organized throughout Christendom.
The Hague Court of Arbitration for the adjustment of international disputes, now participated in by forty-two nations, has become an established institution. Under its auspices there have already been assembled two great International Congresses, which, in the discussion of fundamental principles, have reached large agreements in the direction of general peace as between nations. It is planned that a Third International Congress shall meet at The Hague in the near future.
"An International Peace Plan" as promulgated by President Wilson of the United States, up to October 11, 1913, had received the acceptance of twenty-nine countries, with the probability that the signatures of many other nations would be added to the list.
There is now in process, on both sides of the ocean, an enthusiastic celebration of a completed century of peace between the two great Anglo-Saxon nations England and America. Thus :
"Two Empires by the sea,
The entire trend of international law, defining and guaranteeing the mutual rights of nations, is in the direction of universal and permanent peace. Modern conditions are rapidly bringing to realization the fact that the whole world is bound together by the ties of common mercantile, educational, and industrial interests. War is a relentless foe to these interests. The only philosophy which fits the needs of the growing modern world is that of brotherhood, and not of alienation and strife.
Thus there has come into modern world thought, like the lift of a tidal wave, the recognized and imperative need for the inauguration of a reign of peace, not only as between nations, but as preparatory everywhere for the realization of a real brotherhood among men. This movement will be a growing leaven in the world's convictions. It can be classed only as a movement of the Kingdom. It is a movement which will minister largely to the fulfillment of that prophecy of peace on earth and good will among men which uttered itself in the angelic song above the birth scene of Him who came into the world as the "PRINCE OF PEACE."
If it is true, as is often said, that the philosophy of to-day will rule the faith of to-morrow, then, in the philosophical thinking of the present there are not a few auspicious promises for a regal spiritual future. In philosophy there is a marked reaction from the materialism of a generation ago. In present philosophical thought may inhere a large preparation for the incoming of a new spiritual era.
That recent philosophy has given large room in its discussions to, and that its own positions have been much influenced by, the spiritual claims of religion, cannot be denied. William James would hardly be claimed as an advocate of the orthodox Christian faith, but his pragmatic philosophy gives large justification to the claims of religious experience. One can hardly read Dr. Fairbairn's great work, The Philosophy of The Christian Religion, without concluding that he has not only given a masterful philosophical setting to the phenomena of Christianity, but that he has as well given to Christianity a most indubitable place as a divine and spiritual religion. Borden P. Bowne, while yet a very young man, came conspicuously to notice by his brilliant refutation of a materialistic philosophy. He holds secure historic rank with the great philosophers of the age. He was a foremost expounder of a theistic and spiritual view of the universe. Personally he found rest of mind and heart nowhere as in his faith in Jesus Christ.
Among living philosophers Rudolf Eucken easily holds a first rank. He has searched history and the human soul with a profound insight. His philosophy is an insistence upon the rightful supremacy of the spiritual in the universe. The loftiest life, indeed the only true life, of man must come from the normal development of his spiritual nature. If Eucken had committed him-self more definitely to the Christian view of life, this, from a distinctive Christian standpoint, would have been more satisfactory. But his philosophy at center is not inharmonious with Christianity. No more withering exposure of the insufficiency and unworthiness of the materialistic life, no more brilliant summons to find the higher life through spiritual emancipations, can be heard than voice themselves in Eucken's philosophy. In the world's thought it may be that such as Fairbairn, Bowne, and Eucken are the philosophical fore-runners of a near-coming and transforming spiritual age.
When we predict that Christianity is to become the universal and final religion, we must remember two facts: first, the continuous growth of the spiritual education of the race; second, the divine adaptiveness of Christianity to the growing knowledge and needs of mankind. The Christianity of to-day does not mean any literal conformity to a dogmatic code of morals as announced either in the second or the fifteenth century, or indeed at any time in the past, The principles announced by Jesus Christ are continually expanding themselves in adaptation to the world's new knowledge and necessitated thinking. Christian thought is continuously enriching itself by its appropriation and assimilation of new discoveries of truth.
The nations and the ages have all and always been in possession of valuable truths, of ideas and moral ideals which did not originate in Palestine in the days of Christ. The infinite Spirit of Truth has touched the heart and the intellect of men in all ages and in all races. It is the glory of Christianity, indeed one of the most convincing tests of its divinity, that it vitally appropriates all true spiritual ideals, that it constantly enriches its own thought by the absorption into itself of all truth-values.
Mr. Charles Henry Dickinson has recently published a brilliant and thought-provoking book, The Christian Reconstruction of Modern Life, in which he emphasizes the great indebtedness of modern civilization to Hellenic thought. In this discussion he luminously sets forth a large field of fact and truth. I prefer, however, to think of the Spirit of Christianity as the primal inspiration of the race. When Christianity appropriates, as it has done, the best ideals in the Hellenic and Roman civilizations, I think of it as simply taking over and putting its imprint upon that which is by divine right its own. And this process will indefinitely continue. The Spirit of Truth is abroad in the world, and is still taking of the things of Christ and showing them unto men. Christianity has as yet by no means been fully translated into human thought.
In just the measure in which the Spirit of Christianity shall dominate the heart and conduct of society, in that measure will a spiritual philosophy dominate human thinking. Christianity is God's supreme appeal to the deepest and most inalienable instincts of human nature. But this appeal is primarily made neither to man's sensuous nor to his intellectual nature. An entire age may take a swing toward materialism, may seek to find its completest satisfactions in physical enjoyment, in the pleasures of sense; or, in a mood which deifies the intellect, may seek its supreme good in realms explored solely by the rational faculties. But Christianity makes its supreme quest and yields its highest benefits in neither of these realms. It teaches that man's sensual nature is something to be held under authority as a bond-servant, and it no more reveals itself to the pride of intellect than do the beauties of a sunrise to a blind Samson.
And all history confirms this attitude of Christianity as one of divine wisdom. Man in his deepest being is far more a spirit than an animal, far more a divinity than simply a logician. It is to the divine and worshipful in man that Christianity makes its final appeal. Every historical experiment with a purely sensual philosophy has only led its age to a Circe's banquet. Wherever intellectualism has been substituted for a spiritual religion the result has been dearth and barrenness to the common soul. Man is too fundamentally a spiritual being ever to find complete or final satisfactions in realms either distinctively material or mental. How-ever diverted from the spiritual an age may be temporarily, such condition cannot indefinitely continue. In sheer revolt against the husks and hunger of its starved life, the human soul will in time assert its quest for fellowships and satisfactions which are spiritual.
Christianity has already displaced great paganisms, has purged civilization of many evils. But it is still in its buoyant youth. While its philosophy was never so luminously known nor so widely accepted, as to-day, yet its larger mission of conquest is in the future. It will increasingly clothe itself with knowledge, with light, and with power, until it shall have won for itself the spiritual supremacy of the race.
Any adequate view of present moral world movements must give due space to the temperance reform. No scourge has more fearfully ravaged human welfare than the evils of intemperance. There can be no ideal civilization in which the liquor traffic shall coexist. It is from first to last, and in all its phases, a foe to society. There is worldwide and rapidly growing conviction that this traffic is an evil which must be dealt with and resisted by a union of all good forces. Every civilized nation in the world is moving, in one form or another, against the traffic in strong drink either to restrict its power or to abolish it altogether.
In the American republic, nine States have adopted constitutional prohibition both of the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquor thus outlawing the traffic. The proposition of constitutional amendments embodying the same ends is in process of submission to popular vote in several other States. More than forty million of the peoples of the republic are living in territory which under local option has been voted as "dry."
In the State of Kentucky, which has been relatively one of the leading producers of whisky, there is a popular uprising which not only promises overwhelmingly to prohibit the sale of liquors, but which threatens to put all the distilleries out of commission. The forces of temperance in general were never so effective, and never so united as now. They have found their working unity not so much by a merging of theories as by the facing of a common foe. A great reinforcement to temperance movements is the growing conviction in the medical profession that alcohol has little or no value even as a medicine. The literature of temperance education was never so voluminous nor so scientifically convincing as now. A systematic campaign is being efficiently conducted in connection with large sections of public-school instruction. There is a growing coalescence of all good forces, which with more than the power of an oath-bound crusade is working toward the sure destruction of the traffic in drink.
In the United States as a whole the liquor interests are in retreat. They have seen the handwriting of doom upon their very banqueting walls. An infallible indication of the decreasing confidence and the panicky feeling of the promoters of the traffic in the stability and security of their cause would seem to be evidenced in the market quotations of their stocks and bonds. The stocks of the distilleries and brewing combinations have declined by the amount of fifty per cent in the last three years. The Distillers' Securities Corporation, a corporation supposed to have much the same representative relation to the distilling interests as the American Tobacco Company to the general tobacco industry, has put forth a large fundamental issue of five per cent bonds. At the present writing these bonds are quoted around sixty-four cents on a dollar. Surely, not a very optimistic price for a bond underlying so great vested interests!
The strength and growth of certain great moral institutions merit more than a passing notice. The Sunday school, devoted to the biblical education and Christian training of the young, represents a movement of most commanding significance. The total number of teachers and scholars enrolled in the Protestant Sunday schools of the world is nearly, or quite, 29,000,000. The Sunday school enrollment in the Methodist Episcopal Church alone is 4,227,698; and if the same rate of increase as has resulted in the last three years should continue unbroken, there would be an enrollment of more than 10,000,000 in the year 1926.
The Young Men's Christian Association is widely established throughout the world. There were at the last report 9,105 of these Associations distributed over the globe. These Associations employ 3,853 paid secretaries and other officials at an annual cost of $13,196,809. In their various biblical, religious, and physical educational departments they are rendering an inestimable service. The world's Young Women's Christian Association, working in the interests largely of young women, is kindred in mission to the Young Men's Christian Association work. Affiliated with this movement are now eighteen distinct national associations, all of them moving into enlarging usefulness.
The Salvation Army of the world and the Volunteers of America represent a movement of religious activity and usefulness, mostly among the poor, which it is impossible to put into statistical measurement, and which in the exhibition of Christian devotion and service transcends all praise.
Christian societies of various kinds, inclusive of the great Bible and tract societies of the world, all devoted to high Christian ends, are too numerous for specific mention. They all have a mission and place in the world-program of the Kingdom.
I have attempted in this chapter to indicate a few, only a few, of the working factors operative in the constructive moral program of present-day Christianity. In this program appear large retrieving forces. The collective Church is giving great study to the correction of mistakes, to revision of its methods and policies. In the spirit of prophetic outlook it is girding itself with mightier unities, with larger knowledge, with more reliance on prayer, with deeper consecrations, and with profounder purpose for its world-tasks. In the present conditions there is not only large promise that it will regain its lost ground, but that with quickened pace it will move forward to new and superlative victories.
Man is to-day not only traversing continents and oceans at express speed, but he is in command of electric and instant knowledge of all current human movements throughout the world. The processes of world-education are now rapid and pervasive as never before. The public conscience was never so sensitive as now to moral issues. Christianity never had so many working allies in the field. "The secular press is preaching righteousness, the editors and the authors are teaching the principles of Christ's kingdom, the politicians are putting them into their platforms."' Why should there not be such a rising of Christian interest that a nation shall be born in a day ?
In the meantime the world's humanity, in the light of all its history, has no hope save in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
( Originally Published 1914 )
The Inworking God
Divineness Of Man
The Abiding Church
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