Puslapio vaizdai

and powers develop.

The wants of the brute are station

ary. The mature and most highly developed horse has not a single want that he did not have as a colt.

Popular education has civilized and refined the masses. Their social, mental, and moral horizon has been enlarged. The moral standard is raised; a higher and truer sense of right and justice prevails. Along with this development new desires are awakened and new wants created, so that with the increase of wealth, what was deemed a luxury a hundred years ago is felt to be a necessity to-day. But while education has developed wants, the industrial system has failed to supply them pari passu, hence the social friction. One of two alternatives is necessary: either cease to educate the people, or supply the wants created by education by a more equal distribution of wealth. It is futile to attempt to stay the progress of the age, and to return to the slow and rude methods of primitive ages. We could not do it if we would, and we would not if we could. The hand of human destiny points forward rather than backward. The condition of the world, the great interests of the race, religion, government, and knowledge, all point, not backward to the beginning, but forward to the consummation of all things.

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"The proletarians have been detached from, and will return to, Christianity, when they begin to understand that it brings to them freedom and equal rights. . . By a complete misapplication of its ideas, the religion of Christ, transformed into a temporal and sacerdotal institution, has been called in as the ally of caste, despotism, and the ancient régime to sanction all social inequalities."— ÉMILE De Laveleye.

Among the causes of Socialism, and the last we shall mention, is the Decay of Religion.

Roscher, in his masterly summary of the causes of Socialism, places above all others the "general decay of religion and morality in the people." The widest survey of Christianity will show vast progress during the present century; but the gain has been largely confined to classes

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and localities. While the middle classes remain loyal, the rich and cultured and the proletariat of England and the corresponding class of wage-workers in America have become to an alarming extent alienated from religion. The distinguished author of "Contemporary Socialism says, "Religious faith, particularly among the educated and the working classes, is on the decline." 1

Roscher uses these significant and solemn words: "When every one regards wealth as a sacred trust or office coming from God, and poverty as a divine dispensation, intended to educate and develop those afflicted thereby, and considers all men as brothers and this earthly life only as a preparation for eternity, even extreme differences of property lose their irritating and demoralizing power. On the other hand, the atheist or materialist becomes only too readily a mammonist, and the poor mammonist falls only too readily into that despair which would gladly kindle a universal conflagration in order either to plunder or lose his own life." 2

Working men regard the church as mocking them. They claim that they are not treated as brothers, but rather as slaves, and religion seeks to reconcile them to their lot. The church is insincere. She has two standards the ideal and the actual. The ideal is Christian, the actual is a travesty of the teachings of Christ. For example, while the church preaches that God hath chosen the poor of this world, she deliberately chooses the rich; while she preaches that he who will not work neither shall he eat, she is continually fawning upon those who eat and do not work; while she preaches that God is no respecter of persons, she seats her congregations according to wealth; and the wine and milk of the pews, so far from being without price, are sold at a premium.

Where is the rich city church that ushers the man in vile raiment down the broad aisle? The church preaches that we should be clothed with humility rather than with outward adorning, and yet it is notorious that church-goers dress so richly that the poor man and his family cannot 1 Introductory, p. 27.

2 As quoted in " French and German Socialism" (Ely), p. 224.

by any possibility appear in church except in raiment that presents a humiliating contrast and places them at a social disadvantage. The Master asks, "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God?" 1 The church asks "How hardly shall a poor man enter into the kingdom of God?"

We are not now concerned with the truth or falsity of these charges, but simply with the fact that masses of working men believe them to be true, and suffer the deplorable consequences. That they should lose faith in a church regarded as false to the spirit of Christ will not excite our wonder; indeed, that they should be led to repudiate the church and denounce all religion is perfectly natural. Such sentiments as the following are frequently met with: "Heaven is a dream invented by robbers to distract the attention of the victims of their brigandage;" "When the laboring men understand that the heaven which they are promised hereafter is but a mirage, they will knock at the door of the wealthy robber with a musket in hand, and demand their share of the goods of this life now." "Religion, authority, and state are all carved out of the same piece of wood. To the devil with them all!" 2

Are these utterances regarded as the ravings of infidels and fanatics? Listen, then, to the indictment of conservative leaders in the churches. 66 They form an alliance with the devil of mammonism. The church has forgotten her mission" (R. T. Ely). "Let the church see to it that her mouth is not stopped by gags of gold" (Hon. Seth Lowe). "The church is shackled with Pharisees" (Simon J. McPherson, D.D.). "From all the paralyzing cant of an unfelt devotion: from all the God-defying hypocrisy of an uplifted voice and down-hanging arm: from all the miserable mummery of a grand external ritual and a selfish, unChrist-like daily life, good Lord deliver us! The only thing that Christianity wants just now is Christians" (Canon Wilberforce).

"The rich are robbers; a kind of Christianity must be

1 Mark x. 23.

2"The Labor Movement in America" (Ely), p. 243.

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effected by making gifts out of their abundance. Better all things were in common (St. Chrysostom). We could multiply similar utterances by the foremost men in the church to-day. Let us therefore be charitable towards the suffering masses who echo in despairing and disloyal tones their charges.

No piling up of charities by the church while she sanctions injustice will win back the people. Their selfrespect spurns to receive as beggars that to which they are. entitled as men. A select, cold-eyed, proxy Christianity must be put away. Dear-bought experience has taught us that the masses will never be reached by a long pole with a purse-proud, caste-adoring saint at one end, and a barrel of old clothing or a soup-house chapel at the other. Working men often hearing in their assemblies the faithlessness and hypocrisy of the church bitterly denounced, go home and rehearse these sentiments to their wives and children, and thus the seeds of irreligion are sown in a soil but too well prepared by conditions of poverty to receive them. Shall the Christian church be indifferent or silent before these charges which are becoming the creed of multitudes? Herein also lies the greatest danger to liberty.

De Tocqueville says, "That the passion for material well being has no check in a democratic community except religion, and if religion were to decline, and the pursuit of comfort undoubtedly impairs it, then liberty would perish." Nothing but the preaching and the practising of " pure and undefiled religion" can save this Republic from religious and political anarchy.

France first banished God, then plunged into social revolution. Russia, with a minimum of Christianity, has a history of Nihilism written in blood. Not until Germany substituted a speculative for an evangelistic Christianity and religion had lost its hold upon the masses, could even the burning eloquence of Lasselle arouse German laborers to organize for protection.

A purified Christianity would at the present state of social development give a powerful impulse to Socialistic ideas.

If Socialism, which is applied Christianity, is gaining rapidly in England and the United States, one reason is that these countries have held more closely to Christ and his gospel in its purity and simplicity, and the departure from these standards which capitalism threatens is more quickly resented.

We have now offered thirteen causes which, in varying degrees, have produced Socialism. Some of them may not be operative everywhere and all may not be operative anywhere. It may be seen also that the causes are not merely economical, but political, social, and moral. Socialism is a complex movement. Starting from industrial tyranny, it soon discovers that all existing social institutions are connected with, if not tributaries to, the oppression; hence, as the movement develops and formulates its principles, it leaves no phase of human life untouched.

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