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ever an age or a philosophy so grossly and disgustingly materialistic? If the moral virtues and the precepts of the Christian religion are thus to be ignored in social progress, let us go back to paganism and listen to Stilpon, who, when asked by Demetrius if he had lost anything in the plundering of Megara, replied, "Nothing at all, for I carry all my effects about me;" "meaning his justice, probity, temperance, and wisdom." 1 All progress not measured by these virtues is progress backwards.

A false idea of civilization is another ally of Plutus. Burke declared that civilization depended upon two principles, "The spirit of a gentleman, and the spirit of religion." Our day declares that civilization depends on steam, electricity, and other physical forces successfully applied to the development of material resources, with religion and education as secondary considerations. Burke was right. We protest against any conception of civilization that would exclude Washington and Franklin, William of Orange, the Pilgrim Fathers, Shakespeare, Milton, Erasmus, Luther, Paul, Socrates, or Jesus Christ from its fold. Inventions, machinery, and money are the last and lowest factors, if not a positive hindrance in civilization; while education, humanity, and religion are of supreme importance.

Everywhere the corrupting influence of wealth is manifest in the increase of luxury. No one denies its deadly effect upon society. All agree with Panin that "our virtues spring from our needs, our vices from our luxuries." Abolish luxury and we abolish poverty as well as vice. There are people who justify luxury on the ground that it furnishes employment for the poor; the same principle would make bonfires of dwelling-houses. Waste and want are wicked. Use the money spent in luxury in building houses for the homeless, which would also give employment to the poor and a better conscience to the builders.

Private luxury already menaces the republic. Livy said, "Avarice and luxury have been the ruin of every great state." Historians, philosophers, moralists, and

1 "Rollin's History," Book XVI. Sec. 7.

statesmen all agree that luxury leads to national decay and death. We had better dwell in the rude and humble homes of our fathers than in palaces with marble walls, frescoed ceilings, inlaid floors, and doors of costly wood hung on golden hinges. Will this passion for luxury abate under the capitalistic system? Never so long as effect follows cause, or men reap as they sow. Gibbon's "Rome" contains this passage, pregnant with truth, "It might perhaps be more conducive to the virtue as well as happiness of mankind if all possessed the necessaries and none the superfluities of life. But in the present imperfect condition of society, luxury, though it may proceed from vice or folly, seems to be the only means that can correct the unequal distribution of property." 1 Here, then, is the hard, relentless, terrible fact, luxury sure to destroy the republic but necessary under the present régime. Can an honest man believe this and oppose a wise, conservative, Christian Socialism?

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The Christian Church ought to espouse the cause of

"Civilization without Christianity is veneered brutality." - DR. WILLIAM M. TAYLOR.

"The Christian moralist is therefore bound to admonish the Christian employer that the wage-system, when it rests on competition as its sole basis, is anti-Christian." - DR. WASHINGTON GLADDEN.

We have seen in the last chapter that Christian ministers of all denominations are lending a listening ear to the claims of Socialism, and large numbers have already openly avowed themselves in its favor.

All representatives of the church agree in one thing, namely, that Christianity alone can solve the social question, and should at once set itself to the task.

Now, the social question is like an aching tooth, sensitive and painful on the surface, but the ache is at the roots, and when insupportable extraction becomes necessary. The roots of the social question are capital, contract, and

1 Gibbon's "Rome," Chap. II. p. 67.

competition individual and free. Any attempt to solve the social question and leave untouched these diseased prongs of its canine teeth is only to continue the religious quackery that has alienated the masses from the church and mocked the Christianity of Christ. Christ and his disciples, the first Christian Socialists, laid down the fundamental assumptions of constructive Socialism, and warned mankind to flee from the evils that have ripened on the tree of capitalism as from the wrath to come. These assumptions of Socialism are brotherly love, social justice, industrial and political equality, and civil liberty. The first two indeed are generic and philosophically equivalent. These are the basal principles of all sound political economy. They must regulate all production, distribution, exchange, and consumption of economic goods.

The New Testament condemns the assumptions of the present order, the first of which is private capital. The New Testament tells the rich man to sell all and give to the poor. God says to him, "Thou fool." He is told to "weep and howl over the miseries" that shall come upon him. That the gospel opposes private riches cannot be denied.

Freedom of contract is the second principle. Freedom of contract between unequals is freedom for the strong to oppress the weak, which is the law of capitalism; but Christianity says, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."

The third principle of capitalism is competition. Competition is strife based on self-interest, but Christianity says, "Let nothing be done through strife." "Love seeketh not her own."

Now, what attitude should the Christian church take toward these assumptions of Socialism on the one hand. and of capitalism on the other? Shall she continue her capitalistic apologetics, or become the champion of the second great commandment, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," which is Socialism? Will the Christian minister continue to approve a system that produces private riches when the New Testament everywhere condemns them? Will he continue to justify competition, which is

strife based on self-interest or self-seeking as against another, when the New Testament condemns strife and says, "Let no man seek his own but each his neighbor's goods" "? Will he continue to uphold freedom of contract, which enables the strong to oppress the weak, which enabled Judas to betray Jesus, which has filled the world with Judases ever since, which tempts men every where to deceive, cheat, lie, steal, and kill? It is astonishing how any disciple of Christ can defend competition. A writer before us boldly says, "Competition is in itself a clean thing, . . . that to which rising up toward the cross Paul appeals in his endeavor. . . . to stir up the laggard Corinthians." 1 Shades of the Apostles! Paul himself seeking by the cruel war of competition to magnify the cross on which hung the Prince of peace!

Socialism, however, has nothing to fear from such opponents; they are too far behind either to catch up or be considered in the controversy. It is rather a church that admits and deplores the evils connected with the assumptions of capitalism, but seeks some modification of these principles, hoping thereby to get rid of the evils while preserving the system, that Socialism opposes. Were this possible, Socialism would have no reason to exist. It is the system itself that must give way to a newer and better order, as Judaism gave way to Christianity. The Judaizing Christians, however, clung tenaciously to the ancient régime; they sought to Christianize it as the church has sought to Christianize capitalism, but in vain; they only hindered the truth and ruined themselves.

The time has come when the church must take sides. She is now confronted with the well-defined constructive principles of Socialism. These principles if economic and political are also distinctively ethical and religious, hence the church cannot evade or deny them; they are brotherly love, social justice, economic and political equality, and civil liberty. The way, and the only way that gives hope of

1 Rev. James Macgregor, D.D., in "The Bibliotheca Sacra," January, 1892, pp. 37, 38.

realizing these great principles, is by the nationalization of industry, so far at least as may be necessary to secure the result.

There can be no question as to the relation of Christ to these principles on the one hand or to the evils of capitalism on the other. The National Baptist says, "If Christ should enter a modern prayer meeting, and once more utter his woes against the covetous, against the makers of corners, railroad wreckers, respectable brewers and distillers, he might possibly be endured as an unbalanced fanatic, but would probably be denounced as a Socialist." Most assuredly He would, and the denunciation might be loudest in the prayer meeting if the speculator or railroad wrecker was present or was a contributing pillar in the church. Were Christ to appear on earth, his first demand would be that the current quasi Christianity be immediately socialized. As a Socialist he is saying to his church, "Follow me." It must either obey, or another church will arise which will represent not the capitalized, hypnotized, and esoteric churches of to-day, but the religion of Jesus Christ. Let us not be understood as characterizing thus all Christian churches. We have no sympathy with any wholesale denunciation of the church from any quarter; on the contrary, we believe the Christian church was ordained of God, and is today the grandest institution in the world. We love and honor her for her magnificent charities, her loyalty to the faith, and her conservative, scholarly, and self-sacrificing ministry. She is the divinely appointed guardian of the Scriptures and of all virtue, and the conservator of all the good there is in the world.

And yet when we look about us and realize that the world which she was commanded to save and might save is still a lost world, that the multitudes stand without her gates hungry and thirsty, or if the poor enter they have only the Gospel adulterated with capitalism preached to them; when I read that "the population grows faster than the churches," and that in New York City "the

1 As quoted in "The Congregationalist," Feb. 4, 1892.

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