Puslapio vaizdai

long while. They are simply the completed syllogism from premises laboriously laid in German theology and philosophy. Or, in another form, they are the ruined ethic of their wrecked dynamic.

The practical outcome of this spiritual vandalism is startling. His Imperial Majesty, the Kaiser, stands guilty of the most hideous crimes ever perpetrated by a ruler. Under the divine right of kings the doings of the Army, the Navy, the Chancellery, the Foreign Office, or the diplomatic service are the volitions of the one who wears the crown. Yet with a trail littered with the débris of wanton death and cruelty; with outraged women on every roadside whither German troops passed; with starved children dying like flies over half of Europe and Asia; with the seas dotted from horizon to horizon with human flotsam and jetsam; with helpless infancy and decrepit age alike blown to bits in quiet Kentish towns and Yorkshire summer resorts; with the lecherous Turks let loose to wallow in lust and blood among the Armenians; with captured British officers buried alive in Mesopotamia; with the entire diplomatic corps of the Empire prostituted into bacteria-distributors; with civilian captives reduced to degraded slavery; with every outrage that science could invent consecrated by sanctimonious phraseology—well, with a roster of ghastly and cowardly crimes probably more in number and blacker in hue than those of all the Roman Cæsars combined, there has not been found one single preacher or prelate in the whole of the German Empire to stand up and rebuke this bloodsodden Kaiser in the name of the God of Righteousness.

There was a time when preachers were of a different breed. In the middle of the fourth century the Roman Emperor, in a fit of anger, locked the

doors of an amphitheatre and sent his soldiers in to slay the people. For three hours the slaughter went on, and seven thousand defenseless men, women, and children were butchered. Then Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, wrote a stinging letter to Theodosius. Later, the Emperor determined to go to Church in royal state. Ambrose met him at the outer porch and raised his hand in denial. 'You may not enter,' he said, in tones of thunder. "This is no place for such as you, unless you come in deepest shame and sorrow. Go back to your palace! Your hands drip with blood! Repent! Repent! and then come; but not now.'

Surely the sequence is as inevitable as the law of cause and effect could make it: the Kaiser is what he is because the preachers are what they are; and the preachers are what they are because the professors of theology and philosophy and biblical exegesis sold themselves to the Kaiser to tear the truth and righteousness of God out of their system of thought and leave nothing but a vacant throne in heaven and earth subject to the claim of His Imperial Majesty. It is the most damnable circle of atheistic conspiracy that the ages have known. Nevertheless, the preachers of America, who had all the facts on their library shelves and in current periodic literature, never uttered an indictment loud enough to cause the male members of their churches to foozle a drive in their Sunday morning foursome at the Country Club.

Sometimes one is forced to question whether the ministry has ever really studied the life of Jesus of Nazareth. So much preaching reminds one of Chantry's criticism of a certain portrait painter who 'painted a head and left out all the brains and all the bones.' Sermons, far too often, recall to their hearers the pictures of Christ in the European galleries rather than the de

lineation in the four Gospels; there are pathos and patience, resignation and refinement, meekness and mildness, an inexpressibly sad gentleness and a wistful, passionless yearning for affection; but the bolder features of the conqueror are washed out. No one would ever think of using the caption, "Ye call me Master and Lord,' either above the homily or below the picture. Put any well-known portrait of Christ beside one of Cromwell, and Christ looks too much like a petted plaything ever to be the conqueror of the world; and yet, in the elements which make up courageous manhood Cromwell is a shadow compared with Christ.

Jesus was born in an age when reformers were obnoxious and in a land where prophets were unwelcome. In the matter of encrusted stolidity and conservatism other races are mercurial beside the Jews of the first century. The sacred books were closed; revelation was all reminiscence; 'the prophets are dead' the people themselves passed the judgment. Jesus arose, saying, 'Moses said... but I say unto you.' It was as if some untrained laborer from Tompkins Corners were to proclaim, 'Yes, the Magna Charta, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the Supreme Court, and Congress may all agree upon that point, but I tell you they are wrong and I am right.' Probably not even a Hearst paper would give space to his words. It was a daring thing when George Fox and William Penn refused to doff their hats in church; but that was baby play by the side of Christ's insurgency when he called the Pharisees whited sepulchres and whipped the money-changers out of the sacrosanct temple. To tell the venerated leaders of his nation that they were 'vipers,' and 'tenfold the children of hell,' and that it would be 'well if a millstone were hanged about

their neck and they were cast into the midst of the sea,' was not a diplomatic approach to approved thought, and likely to make the speaker's life easy and safe. Then to tell a Samaritan woman that Jerusalem, with its templecrowned crest, was no more to God than any common swamp, and that the Father found the real worshiper wherever the soul was sincere and the heart simple, was a statement that seemed to cut all the sacred privilege right out of the ancient Hebrew religion and throw it to the dogs in the gutter.

This man, the founder of our Christian religion, with hands calloused from the use of tools, stood up before the sternest and most exclusive of religions, bedded into the proudest and stiffest of social organisms, and said, 'I will sweep it all away and give in its place a universal faith, without temple or objective sacrifice, the binding force in a republic of souls, in which any penitent may be holier than a mitred priest and the poorest waif mightier than a sceptred king.'

Did this prophet know what he was doing? No one better! From the beginning he saw the end — shame and pain and death - yet he never shortened his lash or softened the sting of his tongue. He set his face steadfastly, marched forward with eyes unafraid, and finally flung himself upon the munitions of his enemies in a great abandon of passion. Members of the Sanhedrim rage and strike him; he treats Herod with incommunicable contempt; he tells Pilate that all of his fancied prefectorial power is only a myth, a name; then on to the ghastliest death that man could suffer, an end which a trifling compromise might easily have avoided. All alone he struck the pride of his people roughly in the face, cut the underpinning from beneath the popular philosophy, grappled with the superstitions which were choking the life

out of humanity, fought relentlessly the smug complacencies and the organized hypocrisies of his race, championed the poor and outcast, interpreted the misunderstood, healed the crippled and broken, protected the weak and set a check upon the cynical power of the strong, flouted the law of the Jews and the wisdom of the Greeks and the junkerism of the Romans. Calumny and hatred could not make him pause, cajolery and flattery could not make him swerve; with never a thought of himself, never a care for consequences, never a momentary eclipse of self-confidence, he went grimly forward with his work. No one has ever outranked him in manhood, heroism, fortitude.

Of course, it may be said that this is only one aspect of Jesus. Let that be granted. Jesus had a habit of occasionally appearing in another form.' The only point to be settled is this: that when he was in the presence of hypocrisy or cruelty or injustice or power set to an evil purpose, he was terrible in his sternness; confronted with anything which destroyed human rights, the benignant smile died from his face and the cloud of an awful anger gathered on his brow and the lightnings of holy resentment flashed from his eyes. That is why some of his followers came to speak of 'the wrath of the Lamb.' An unconscious corroboration is found in the account of the subsequent trial of Peter and John before the rulers in Jerusalem. Recovered from the confusion into which they were thrown by the death of their Master, they began to preach. Where? Right in the very arena where the tragedy had been played out a few weeks before. They took the lion by the throat while its fangs and claws were still wet with blood. Arrested, they were brought before the council. What council? The very same which had done their Master to death and

which could kill them also - Annas, the High Priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander- the legalized gang which had violated moral, ceremonial, and statute law in committing a quasilegal murder. Instead of cringing, fawning, apologizing, Peter and John crashed right into the court, calling its judges red-handed blunderers and butchers. Then, the record says, 'When they saw the boldness of Peter and John. they took notice of them that they had been with Jesus.' It was not a mere recollection of previous physical proximity, but an identification of spirit: the fearlessness, the straightforwardness, the disregard of consequences, the imperiousness, of the two apostles were exactly like the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth.

Long-established habit, gained in times of peace, may have caused the preachers of the Gospel to persist in thinking of Christ mainly as the healer, the comforter, the sympathizer. Yet even that article of faith, in its practical form, has been taken out of their hands by a lay organization - the Red Cross. Of the Christ of the metaphysical creeds and the Christ of ecclesiastical polity there is no record in the gospels to fall back upon. The uncomfortable query which is being asked of the ministry concerning its prophetic function during the thirty-two months from August, 1914, to April, 1917, is: 'Do you think that Jesus of Nazareth would have been neutral in word and thought while Germany was raping Belgium, distributing typhus germs through Siberia, instigating and guiding Turkey in the slaughter of the Armenians, tearing up treaties and rending international law, assassinating Edith Cavell and Captain Fryatt, shielding its soldiers during the Piave fighting with the bodies of Italian women, sinking hospital ships, and acting generally on all the highways of

the world like a carefully organized band of demented fiends? Do you think he would have remained placidly silent, absorbed in multitudinous schemes of ecclesiastical procedure? If not, then why were you so scrupulously neutral, so benignly dumb?'

It is the prevailing belief among nonsectarian scholars that Christ's chief concern was to found the Kingdom of God—or the Republic of Souls — on earth, he himself being the first citizen or the elder brother. As the first citizen, he becomes the example for all later citizens. Surely, then, the very men whose exclusive vocation it is to continue building that kingdom in this generation would be the clearest interpreters of events which were overthrowing the work accomplished so laboriously during the preceding sixty generations. Let it be conceded, once for all, that there were some men who spoke to their own congregations in accents which seemed like echoes from Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Jerusalem; let it be admitted that here and there a voice rang out from the pulpit in tones of indignation, rebuke, anguish, and pity. But it is still true, granting all the exceptions claimed, that those voices did not blend into a commanding unison which swept throughout America and stirred the soul of the nation to action. The vastest of the world's tragedies came and the Church was not its interpreter.

And when, slowly and clumsily, the people of America felt their way through the few facts upon which our declaration of war was based and came to the vital and essential considerations which drew us into the struggle, it was not the Church in its corporate form or forms, and not the ministry in its organized orders, which placed themselves at the service of our armies for social, moral, and spiritual guidance and guardianship, but a lay or

ganization the Young Men's Christian Association. When the Y.M.C.A. asked the people of America for thirtyfive millions of dollars for work in the camps, cantonments, and trainingstations at home, and for the huts among United States troops abroad, the response was more than fifty millions; in Dr. John R. Mott's words, a sum which 'greatly exceeds the united annual budgets of the Home and Foreign Missions boards of all the churches of America. It constitutes the largest offering to a Christian cause ever made at a given time in the history of Christianity.' Which only proves that the typical American is eager to follow any form of Christian leadership and cares not a rap whether it be lay or clerical. It is true that here and there a clergyman has temporarily dropped his parochial duties to work with the Young Men's Christian Association or the Knights of Columbus, and a few have become regimental chaplains; but it is equally true that the majority have not even sensed the unique strategy which the convulsed and confused world-conditions have made possible. There are ministers everywhere who are still busy building their denominational fences and feverishly staking their sectarian claims. Secretaries of boards and guilds are vociferously proclaiming that the normal work of the churches must not be interrupted for an instant; and that, though our form of government may be changed as if by a revolution, and the law of supply and demand in commerce may be abrogated, and the basic industries may be controlled or appropriated by the Administration after the pattern preached by advanced Socialism, and our young men by the million may be drafted into the army, thereby disrupting social and domestic life and upsetting the equilibrium of industry, and the bottom may fall out of the stock market,

yet the Church must go on its accustomed way without pause or jolt or change. Though the whole world be in the crucible and every other institution on earth be in the melting-pot, yet the Christian Church must be permitted to jog along, doing what it has always done, feeling as it has always felt, and enjoying the dignity and reverence it has always claimed.

How different is all this from the spirit of a letter recently received from a layman! He is the chief editorial writer on one of the most influential daily papers in America, a man of conservative, cautious mind and not in the habit of cutting loose on any theme.

The sunny wind is blowing here in an atmosphere of twenty-five degrees. The hills look bare and purple from the window. There are whitecaps in the harbor. Last night's rain washed the snow away, and that's all to the good, to my middle-aged way of thinking.

Here is the bent of my mind this Sunday morning: The world is getting down to brass tacks. (I wonder who invented that phrase and what its original significance was.) We are cutting out all sorts of nonessentials. Daniel Willard of the War Board has emphasized the need of eliminating non-essentials if we are to win the war, but he meant physical non-essentials. We must cut out mental and spiritual nonessentials too; and we are beginning to do it. to a surprising and encouraging degree. As a matter of fact, the trend was in that direction before the war; the tendency has long been toward a world-wide standardization, a universal merging or pooling in the interests of efficiency.

The one question now is autocracy versus democracy. Nothing else matters for the moment. Therefore our prejudices must go; we must give up old preferences; we cannot think provincially any longer. The doctrines we laboriously taught must be foregone. What difference does it make what the political economies say? What difference does it make what the party platforms of the last generation have declared? Every hidden hypocrisy is now revealed;

every contention that was based on selfishness stands exposed; every programme of personal or factional or neighborhood greed that we clothed in a disguise of wholesomeness, which almost deceived even ourselves, disappears. Autocracy or democracy there is our stark alternative.

We cared for certain foods and did not care for others. No matter; we shall eat what is set before us. We had our preferences in raiment. We shall take what we can get. "The best government is that which governs least!' But now the best government is the government which lends the most effective aid to the grand alliance against Germany. We argued the relative merits and ethics of direct and indirect taxation. Now the only question is how to raise the money we need most easily and promptly.

Old obstacles break down everywhere. Nothing is sacred now except Our Cause. Nothing can be sure of its standing in our hearts and souls except the future of human liberty. (We may go back to our prejudices by and by; there is perhaps no reason why we should not when there is time for such non-essentials.) The government has always heretofore maintained an attitude of aloofness from its thrifty citizens; it offered them nothing in the way of investments. Now its attitude toward them is one of urgent welcome; a child with twenty-five cents is free to become a creditor of the august Federal régime. Never was the government so close to its people; never, perhaps, in another sense, so far from them. But, either way, old conceptions of government are broken down. The trend is all in the direction of a weakening of tradition and form. What is the Constitution in this greatest of all crises? If it serves, we shall revere it as it is; if it does not serve, we shall amend it to suit the new duty of the new occasion. Nothing matters but the winning of the war.

We must forego our old social prejudices. We have very largely foregone them. We may like our little circle about the hearth as much as ever, and we are entitled to it; but we must not let it interfere for a moment with our larger social, national, or international obligations.

The day of the Pilgrim Fathers is over.

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