Puslapio vaizdai

Club in Brooklyn, New York. Rev. Alexander Kent was elected first president of the club in Washington, District of Columbia.1 This is by no means a complete list of the ministers in this country who have joined this movement as the only hope of society, and indeed of the Christian Church. We believe that for every one who has joined these societies a hundred others are in sympathy with Socialistic principles, and many of the latter, if not members, are equally outspoken in their convictions. Rev. Heber Newton, Rev. James Huntington, Rev. Mr. Wendte, Rev. Morrison I. Swift, Rev. W. J. Hopkins, Rev. D. V. Bowen, Rev. O. P. Gifford, Rev. H. C. Vrooman, Rev. W. D. P. Bliss, Rev. Francis E. Marsten, Rev. H. J. Stern, are among the preachers and writers who are exerting a powerful influence in favor of Socialism. They represent all denominations, and among them are editors, lecturers, and writers of national reputation. Rev. Leighton Williams, Rev. Walter Renschenbusch, and Rev. J. E. Raymond, of New York, publish a paper called For the Right in the interest of Christian Socialism.2

It is not unlikely that our theological seminaries, which are giving increased attention to social questions, and where the new ethics can receive the fullest and fairest consideration, are likely to become centres of Socialistic influence. Rev. Dr. Graham Taylor of the Hartford Seminary says, "I suppose that in the broad meaning of the terms, Nationalism and Christianity are synonymous." He suggested the probable formation of a class in Christian Socialism. In another divinity school a Nationalist club was formed. Andover and other theological seminaries are establishing chairs of Christian Sociology.

The recent establishment of a congregation in connection with his church in Boston, effected by Rev. W. D. P. Bliss, for the "study of social problems and the application of the principles of Socialism," is but the indication of a widespread feeling in many churches. There are ministers and

1 The names of these clergymen and an account of the various Nationalist clubs may be found in the "Nationalist Magazine." 2 "Springfield Daily Union," November, 1891.

laymen everywhere who, weary and well-nigh hopeless on account of the antagonism between the present order of society and the Christianity of Christ, hail this movement as the harbinger of better days. One of these exclaims in view of its progress and the certainty of its triumph: "In a month I shall be seventy, and my first wish was that I might have been born a hundred years latter. . . . I have never felt so much like saying, 'Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all the people.""

When such writers as Washington Gladden, Edward Everett Hale, Lyman Abbott, and other leaders of the American pulpit and of American thought, declare that the Socialist's diagnosis of the disease which now afflicts society is the correct one, and avow their adherence to many of the remedial measures proposed by Socialism, it is easy to see the drift of public opinion and to forecast the result.

These writers are not necessarily Socialists. Dr. Gladden rejects Socialism "as a positive programme for the reconstruction of society." Nevertheless, most of the remedial measures he advocates are heartily approved by the great body of Socialists to-day, and it is difficult to see how the reform which he demands can take place without adopting the Socialistic programme. Dr. Abbott is president of a Christian Socialist society in Brooklyn; he is also editor of the Christian Union, which is doing a grand work in disseminating the principles of Socialism.

Let it not be supposed that the names already given of ministers of religion who are more or less favorable to the claims of Socialism exhaust the list. Probably threefourths of all Christian ministers in the country are in sympathy with the demands of working men.

Nor are ministers alone or chiefly interested; cultured and influential laymen, lawyers, judges, professors, teachers, physicians, editors, bankers, merchants, and philanthropists are more and more attracted to Socialism, while in the Nationalist clubs are found large numbers of ladies of culture and refinement. Helen Campbell and Mary A. Livermore, beside many other women whom the people

delight to honor, are moved by an earnest purpose to realize the new ethics in the social organization. Can any intelligent person doubt, when the spirit of the gospel thus moves upon the face of the waters and says "Let there be light," that there will be light ?

The new conception of ethics has found even larger expression in other countries than in our own. In France and Germany, and especially in England, it is revolutionizing the science. Mr. Webb gives a list of prominent Christian ministers who have written approvingly of Socialism. He says, "It is indeed beginning to be suspected by not a few earnest Christians that the future of Christianity in England is very largely bound up with Socialism and democracy. Unless Christianity can once more become the accepted faith of the masses, its influence must inevitably undergo a serious popular decline, and it is already certain that the masses will accept no anti-Socialist faith."1

Christianity among the masses has already undergone a serious decline. The ethical principle has been so outraged in the social organization that forbearance ceases to be a virtue. The new ethics demand a reconstruction of society on a fraternal basis. Philanthropy is not fraternity; neither is charity nor any other principle measured by percentage.

Slavery, serfdom, and vassalage were tolerable because the victims believed oppression was natural, right, and Christian. The wage-slaves now believe their oppression to be wrong and anti-Christian, and they are right. Ethics and Christianity will be triumphant. Socialism will come.

1 "Socialism in England: " Publications of the American Economic Association, April, 1889, p. 38.



"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."- PHIL. iv. 8.

We have now traced the most remarkable social movement of our time known as Socialism from its Genesis to its Revelation; the former is its origin and history, the latter its outlook and prophecy.

We have seen in studying its causes how social forces, political, educational, industrial and ethical, have all developed under individualism along converging lines until they have met in the grand central truth of human solidarity. The expression of this truth is Socialism; a system in perfect harmony with the spirit and precepts of Christianity.

We have examined the main postulates of Socialism and find that they present a true bill of indictment against the evils of the present order which is generally admitted, and a true theory of social reorganization which is generally and rapidly gaining adherents. We have also critically examined the nature of the Socialistic state, and found it to rest upon the soundest philosophy and the most approved principles of social utility and justice. We have seen the inadequacy of the remedies, or various half-way measures of social reform, proposed by individualists, such as profit sharing, etc. We next considered the many and great advantages of Socialism over the present order, attention being especially called to the saving of the present enormous waste.

The objections generally urged against Socialism have been considered in order, and most of them found to have

little if any foundation, and finally under "The Revelation and Outlook of Socialism" we noticed the rapid spread of the new movement, its numerical growth, political gains, industrial progress, and lastly the powerful support it is receiving from educational forces and the new ethics.

The few remaining pages will be devoted to some suggestions as to the mode of introducing Socialism and the proper attitude to maintain toward social reform.

I. Socialism ought to be introduced gradually.

"It is an advantage of co-operation, not a drawback, that it cannot advance further than the minds and morals of the people engaged in it, no faster than honest and competent men and women can be found to manage its concerns."- Laveleye.

There is no royal road no Socialism. The path of all great reforms has been long and crooked. The land of promise was only one day by rail from Egypt, yet forty years of wandering were required to reach it, but it was none the less certain.

Socialism will come by instalments; and this is the way it should come, without prejudice to any interests and without wrong to any individual. Feudalism gave way gradually to the wage system; so the wage system should gradually be replaced by Socialism. Feudalism itself was gradually superinduced upon allodialism. "The process by which the machinery of government became feudalized, though rapid, was gradual."1

Doubtless many vestiges of capitalism would survive under Socialism, as certain customs and institutions of feudalism still exist under the present order. The law of real property is feudal in its main lines, so also are its most general terms in their original meaning. The English nobility is but a survival of the upper caste of feudalistic society.

This gradual and partial change under Socialism is in every way desirable. Society would in no way be disturbed, no one would be wronged or even inconvenienced, and

1 "Encyclopædia Britannica," title "Feudalism."

« AnkstesnisTęsti »