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this. The petition in the Lord's Prayer—“Thy kingdom o: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’—has become the cry of a political movement. It is continually on the lips of Christian Socialists: it constitutes their principal scriptural ‘proof.” The Dean of Ely, whose “Democratic Creed’ rivals the Creed commonly called that of St. Athanasius in obscurity while surpassing it in length, makes this political sense of that prayer an article of faith. The forty-second article of the Christian Democrat's Creed runs thus:–
‘We believe, finally, that Christ's whole earthly life is a direct command to His Church to spend a large part of her time and energy in fighting against all circumstances and conditions of living which foster disease and hinder health, in delivering people from evil environment and fatal heredity: that, in fact, the whole secular history of the Church should be an endeavour to realize in act the daily petition of her dominical prayer, “Father Thy kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on Earth.”””
The history of Trusty Tomkins and the reign of the Saints is a warning from the past against mixing religion with politics; and no one can forget that, a few months ago, opposition to Mr. Gladstone's Home Rule Bill was denounced in a clerical manifesto as a breach of the doctrine of the Incarnation. This last travesty of religion did not, we are well aware, emanate from the Christian Socialists. But it illustrates a danger from which, we feel assured, that the more moderate of the Social Unionists recoil with abhorrence. For this reason we deprecate an interpretation of the Lord's Prayer which, whether tenable or not, is fraught with peril to the religious life of this country. Of the primary meaning of the words there can be little question. It is determined by the two crucial expressions, “Thy kingdom’ and ‘in heaven, as well as by the general tenor of the New Testament, and the direct testimony of specific passages. “My kingdom is not of this world, were our Saviour's words to Pilate. “The kingdom of God is within you,' He said to the Pharisees.
Throughout the arguments of the Christian Socialists there runs a confusion as to the right sphere within which Christian principles ought to be applied. That the Church and not the State is that sphere is sufficiently manifest to the reflective student of the New Testament; but this is too crude a formula. Church and State are intertwined so closely, not alone in the history of nations, but in the normal procedure of the citizen's personal life, that an allotment of spheres from outside is
impossible. As a Christian every man is bound to practise a law of limitless forgiveness: as a citizen he is bound “at the commandment of the magistrate to wear weapons, and serve in the wars.' That is a familiar instance of a contradiction which is ubiquitous and inveterate. To apply the name, the authority, and the sanctions of Christianity to acts which are purely civic is to create confusion, and to open the door to evils destructive alike of the liberty of the State and the purity of the Church. This is not unrecognized within the ranks of the Christian Social Union. Professor Sanday, a Vice-President of the Oxford Branch, has raised against such application a timely protest, in which he anticipates the main argument of Mr. Kidd's ‘Social Evolution.’
“Society existed before Christianity, and apart from it, and it has been developed hitherto upon lines which are not specifically Christian. It is, I suppose, coming to be recognized that the great dominant force in the process which has made Society what it is is Evolution, in the shape of the survival of the fittest, and the adaptation of the organism to its surroundings. This is no doubt a law of the vast Providential ordering of things; it is an expression of the one great Sovereign Will, which in its sleepless care watches alike over the meanest and the greatest of the creatures it has made. But it does not come within the range of those Divine activities which are specially revealed to us by Christianity. . . . If I may speak my own thought, it is that Christianity stands over against Evolution as its one main corrective. . . .
‘The question then is, how we are to apply this to Society and to movements for its reform. Society itself, as I have already said, seems to rest upon a basis of evolution. Here, too, Christianity has supplied a corrective; but a corrective is a different thing from a foundation. Christianity has come in to mitigate the fierceness of the struggle for existence; but the struggle has gone on all through Christian times, and is going on still. If we look at the fundamental causes why things are as they are, these causes are to be traced rather to the inherent impulse given to the course of the world by its Creator than to that further supplemental and redemptive impulse given to it by the Incarnation.’”
Professor Sanday proceeds to strengthen his argument by adducing the unquestionable acquiescence of our Lord and His Apostles in the social and political arrangements of their generation, and the general attitude of non-interference maintained towards society by the Primitive Church, and conspicuously illustrated in connection with the institution of slavery. He concludes by briefly discussing ‘the part which the Church and
* “Two Present-Day Questions, p. 58. C 2 clergy
clergy should bear in social movements.’ He decides against
a brother-professor of Cambridge, Dr. Stanton.
Unionism. At present the infatuation obscures the peril. Even the leaders of “Labour’ seem to the entranced vision of their clerical admirers to be imbued with the Christian spirit, in spite of their abstinence from the recognized evidences of Christianity, and, to do them justice, their frank contempt for their flatterers. Mr. Tom Mann, who was recently credited with the intention of taking orders, bluntly declares that ‘parsons, clergymen, and ministers are, for the most part, a feeble folk,' who are “undoubtedly at a serious discount as advisers.’" This distinguished agitator extends his contempt from the preachers to their Gospel, and his words are worth noting, in spite of their crude folly, because they assist towards an understanding of that essential Christianity of the new Unionism, of which we hear so much. The following sentence gives the measure alike of the tolerance and of the orthodoxy of a representative Labour leader:—
“A million times over is the same story told—personal salvation by faith in Christ. It seems to me it would be a truly religious act if all such (Sc. preachers) received a severe castigation for wasting 80 much time trying to assuage the sorrows primarily brought about by a vicious industrial system, instead of boldly tackling that industrial system itself.'f
Mr. Llewelyn Davies, a singularly impartial observer, wrote in 1885 that “Socialists are for the most part persons alienated from Christianity,’ which ‘many of them regard with bitter hatred as being identified in history with the privileges of the rich.'; His words are equally true in 1894.
Mr. Gore, like Professor Sanday, is conscious of the serious breach with the New Testament which is involved in accepting the State (i.e. non-Christian society) as the sphere within which the principles of Christianity ought directly to control conduct. No one could affirm more forcibly the important truth that Christ proposed the ‘laws’ of His ‘kingdom’ to men not as men but as disciples; but no sooner does he pass from the statement of principles to suggestions for their practical application than he forgets his own argument, and refers the Christian to Parliament and County Councils. Yet he himself has declared that “real social reform will proceed not by the method of majorities, but from small groups of sanctified men.'
Mr. Gore, however, does not altogether trust to victories at the polls. He would “concentrate Christian influence” by ‘re-organizing definite Christian centres of moral opinion, where Christ's principles are simply acted upon.' But this assumes that the application of those principles is clearly seen. Therefore, a ‘new Christian casuistry’ must be provided. This suggestion strikes us as so singular that we must let Mr. Gore speak for himself:—
* “Vox Clamantium, p. 293. f Ibid. p. 300. ; ‘Social Questions, p. 236. ‘re-organizing * “Social Doctrine of the Sermon on the Mount, p. 14. a manual
“The new casuistry will be a formulating in detail of Christian moral duty with a view to seeing, not how little a Christian need do in order to remain in Church communion, but how a Christian ought to act. It will need combined labour of experienced men, who are before all things Christians, in the different walks of life. I think it would be possible, perhaps for the Christian Social Union, to form small circles of representative men in each district, where special occupations prevail, or within the area of special professions, to draw up a statement of what is wrong in current practice, and of the principles on which Christians ought to act. A central body would meanwhile be formulating with adequate knowledge the general maxims of Christian living. I do not see why ten years' work should not give us a new Christian casuistry; that is, a general and applied statement of Christian moral principles. To what better work could the Christian Social Union devote itself? When it was done by private means, it might come under more official sanction.
“So far as we have our Christian code now, or are on our way to get it, we shall league ourselves together to observe it. I do desire that the Christian Social Union shall become a widely ramifying league, through all classes, of persons anxious before all else to prove to themselves, and so to others, that they really own Jesus Christ as their moral Master. They would, therefore, be bound to protect one another in cases where loyalty to principle means loss of work. And masters and men anxious to serve Jesus Christ would be drawn together.’”
No objection can be taken to individuals allying themselves in any union which has legitimate objects and adopts legitimate methods. Christians are certainly free to combine in furtherance of Christian living, or to decide together on a particular attitude towards any complicated question which appears too intricate for one man to solve alone. Our objection rather lies against Mr. Gore's conception of Christian ethics. To us the supreme distinction of the Gospel seems to be that it illuminates and strengthens the moral perceptions of individuals, and refrains from propounding an elaborate casuistry of conduct which shall relieve the individual from the dignifying, if difficult, task of forming his own judgment on the manifold and complex issues of life. To us the proposal to formulate such