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we know that no holocaust can unself the soul, and that the deathless privileges of friendship and of kinship and of the beauty of nature can be interrupted, but never destroyed.
To what a worn commonplace family affection had faded before the war came to menace and thus reveal! Throughout all this land has not every household that possessed a boy treated him with a new sympathy, a real, if often awkward, tenderness? With the threat of loss always over our heads, we are learning how much we love. How beneficent a privilege the mere fact of an unbroken family circle appears, now that yonder by the hearth a shrouded form of mystery sits listening to our careless chat!
As the smallest home humdrum becomes sacred because of the brave homesickness of our boys, so the views from our windows-a wind-blown tree, the sifting of snow, the twitter of a sparrow suddenly speak to us in a language to which we had never before listened with such understanding; for we know that the men of the trenches have found undreamed-of heartening in the mere line of hills, in the mere recurrence of sunrise and of noon. How gratefully, how gayly, they write of larks and of violets, the soldier-poets, tortured with carnage! No one could read the descriptions by the anonymous young French artist who wrote Lettres d'un Soldat, with their vistas of French landscape sketched in words that could have come only to a painter's pen, and not ever afterwards regard the mere daybreak, so divinely usual, with new reverence. Sunshine and starshine, the grace of a tree etched black against a winter sky we see these now with new eyes of thankfulness, while they used to be too commonplace for our comforting.
Another lesson from the trenches the constant presence of death in our
their every second on earth is numbered, see every instant's experience in fresh focus. Alan Seeger's practice 'to live as if one were saying good-bye to life' - implies such an appreciation of the normal as was never before so accurate, so exquisite, so deeply joyous. In the vast deprivation of to-day we take inventory of our resources, and stand amazed at riches. Is not the present enhancing of daily existence, so that it dares to be frankly sacred, an argument for the true worth of death as a constant, accepted presence to dignify every hour?
This new spiritual valuation of daily existence is still vague, but struggling toward clearness, toward continuity, toward community effort. We long to dignify our daily work by devotion to some cause; we long to know ourselves in line with them, our dead. Always in healthy revulsion at the wastage of their lives, we keep searching, searching for those ultimate standards that shall harmonize their apparent loss with their actual usefulness. We, the obscure, sorrowing fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers of young soldiers killed, we, the mourners all over the world, want to feel that our lives are moving in tune with theirs. And this need for better ordering of our everyday life intensifies our scrutiny of their dying. What is the force so mysterious, so coercive, which commanded them to die? What is the force so mysterious, so coercive, which commands us to live as they would have us live? The New Death is asking with an intensity and a universality never known before. Where are our dead? Is there a God? The need of direction for our energy, and of a standard of valuation, profoundly affects the two most important characteristics of the
New Death, its essentially practical acceptance of immortality, its essentially practical approach to God.
Both the bereaved and the young men dead view survival under several different aspects. Created out of a yearning for the physical privileges that are so abruptly denied, there is apparent in the writings of both a wistful half-belief in an actual return to earthly scenes. Have we noticed, in self-examination, that the world-wide devastation of to-day has already destroyed our old instinctive shudder at the supernatural? What living man can do to living man has proyed so much more horrible than what ghost or devil might do, that gruesomeness has been transferred from the supernatural to the physical. Both in literature and in life the supernatural as such fails to frighten us. How could we be sorry to have them return to us -the vivid, beautiful boys we loved? Would not any occult assurance of their possible presence be welcome? We have, of course, no sure confidence that they thus return, but at least we have no physical shrinking from the possibility. The New Death conceives an interrelated universe in which spirits still in the flesh and spirits freed from it may both be associated in some mystic effort toward the future. Certainly the idea of this comradeship is to-day familiar to every soldier, as powerful as it is inarticulate.
Persistence through coöperation, constantly renewed, is a forceful element in the conceptions of survival characteristic of the present-day examination of death. How many fighting men there are to-day whose biography might be compressed into the two words, 'Carry on!' The dedication implicit in the phrase effects a sequence, a survival, in ideal and in effort, that annuls any individual death. The conduct that should be the first instinct of
every survivor is compressed into that courage cry, 'Carry on.' It is the soldier's answer in action to the enigma of death, and it is the innermost expression of his love for those who are gone. That no one who has died for a great cause is ever wasted; that the only right expression of grief is a fresh selfdedication to the cause that the loved one loved, is an attitude toward loss that may well pass from the army of warriors to that greater army of civilians. The New Death is characterized by this new grief, reverently joyous in its consecrated energy, and indicative of that needed adaptation of living to dying which shall liberate us from the old paralysis of bereavement.
The soldier's relation to the dead who have inspired him is in itself a revelation to him of his own influence upon those who shall follow him. He is no mere individual, evanescent, isolated, but is welded into an eternal whole by his responsibility toward the heroic who have preceded him and toward the heroic who shall succeed him. The continuity of an ideal annuls the ephemeral, and establishes upon earth the eternal. Volume after volume of war autobiography reveals the fighter's faith in the future, upholding him through every extremity. It is in their service to the future that young men of proved genius find comfort for their arrested course. With eyes made tragically clear, they perceive that a premature fate may have greater influence than an accomplished career. A profound intuition reveals to them that it is more divine to be a man than to be an artist, and that their deepest peril is to fail the challenge to battle; if they presume to believe themselves more valuable to the world alive than lost, they may choke at its source the wellsprings of their inspiration. they choose sacrifice, they have hope that other men may achieve the fulfill
ment they set aside; while, if they choose life, they may live barren of all achievement.
The French painter gazes from his dug-out into the distant future as he studies the far reverberations of all heroic example:
'Who shall say that the survivor, the comrade, of some fallen thinker, shall not be the inheritor of his thought? No experience can disprove this sublime intuition. The peasant's son who sees the death of some young scholar, some young artist, may he not perhaps continue the interrupted work? It may become for him the link in an evolution only for an instant suspended. Yet the crucial sacrifice for each is this: to renounce the hope of being the torch-bearer. It is a fine thing for the child, in his play, to carry the standard; but for the man, let it be enough to know that the standard will be carried, whatever befall.'
Apart from earthly immortality through heroic endeavor, what does the soldier see for himself, each single lad in the ranks, in that misty land that he knows he is entering? Searching for the answer, one is overwhelmed by the impression given by all trench records: whatever else the soldier may expect of that other side, of one thing he seems absolutely assured, measureless well-being: he is going to a place that is good, and he is going with every faculty alert for new adventure.
Almost nothing in the mass of memoirs reveals any definite shaping of that existence about to begin. Assurance takes almost no color from previous education, Catholic, Protestant, agnostic. All we can perceive is the absolute confidence of a new glad life just opening. This perception of joyous experience is implicit in that beautiful phrase of soldier slang, 'Going west.' Going west has always spelled adventure; it has connoted, too, the
inspiration of self-dependence, the fair free chance; it has implied lonely effort, lonely exploration, crowned by an unguessed felicity. Yet to-day the actual Occident is shorn of its stimulus. The earth has been over-discovered; a man may sail clear around it, and arrive at no legendary West. Wherever he goes, other men have been before him. But there is left for us all one land forever undiscovered, one unploughed sea-path for Columbus courage. The British Tommy endows death with all the romance of three thousand years when he calls it 'going west.'
The sense of triumph and delight is as clear a note in the words of the bereaved as in the expectations of those who have gone beyond. That the young and splendid cannot die, that their arrested powers must persist somewhere, is the growing conviction of all who mourn to-day. That vision which through all the ages individuals have glimpsed and have incorporated into inspired living is by universality of loss becoming the vision, no longer of the few, but of the many. The vision of the many is the material out of which the motives of progress are made. They were so beautiful that it is impossible to believe them extinct, those dead boys we long for. Perhaps they would gladly have died for this alone, to free the new world from the old world's dread of death.
Conviction of immortality as shown in the soldier-records is in the main profoundly intuitive, but so powerful and so common that one cannot believe that so many men, and these alert in every fibre, could be altogether deluded. It seems more scientific to query whether perhaps they possess truer illumination than mere intellect, unsupplemented by the subtler capacities of soul evoked by their tragic situation, could ever attain.
In so far as their marvelous inner
security has for themselves any basis in reason, it rests partly on the immortal renewal which they observe in nature. Sunrise and recurrent star and the pushing up of the indomitable flowers are arguments for human persistence, since man, too, is a part of the great earth force. Apart from the rea
toward some profound blessing and happy experience; but, as in his earthly action his individuality is gladly merged into the mass, so his conception of the after life is not personal, selfoccupied. On the other hand, the minds of mourners dwell more intently than ever in history on personal sur
soned argument of nature's exhaust-vival, on the continued existence of the less vitality, many a soldier reveals a consciousness of an indestructible immortal something within him. He would still feel this inner confidence even if all communication with external nature were denied him, if he could hear no bird-songs, see no stars. Page after page of Lettres d'un Soldat testify to the sense of eternity which is the core of his courage and his calm. Alan Seeger delights to feel himself in the play of world-forces that are eternal in energy. Rupert Brooke is comforted to be 'a pulse in the eternal mind.' One might envy these three seer-soldiers
There is, however, in the four-fold sense of survival to be studied in soldier-records, comradeship of idealism, expectation of glad adventure, the reassurance from the vitality of nature, the consciousness of something eternal at the centre of the soul, little that is definitely personal, just as there is little that suggests the old conventional doctrines either of science or of the ology. In contrast there flashes before us the warm personal hope of Donald Hankey, in his last recorded words: 'If wounded, Blighty. If killed, the Resurrection!'
As one studies the views on survival inherent in the new attitude toward death, one finds that the ideas of those who have gone and the ideas of those who survive differ. The soldier seems swept on in a great confident current
boys they have lost, as vivid, separate entities. Yet the two views, confident, the one of the general, the other of the individual, beatitude of that new existence, are equally characteristic of the nature of the New Death. The New Death is always essentially the readjustment of daily living to the new fact of universal destruction. The New Death, forced to be instantly practical, seeks not theories, but inspiration to energy. The boy about to die would find these two needs best satisfied by losing himself in the great heroic whole, caring little for individual persistence if only the aim of the universal ideal be attained, while the survivors who had lost him could not be readily comforted by so indefinite an inspiration; they would need assurance that the boy himself whom they loved was still alive beyond the veil. It is the views of survivors that will affect the future. That our dead are alive and the same whom we loved, and that they joyously continue the upward march, is the dominating faith of the New Death. There is in this creed nothing new, except the incalculable novelty that never before did so many people evolve it, each for himself, and never before did so many people practice it as the deepest inspiration of their daily conduct.
Just as the New Death conceives the spirit-world as an ever-pressing reality, requiring an incessant revaluation of our mundane occupations as we attain
new spiritual standards, so it looks at God with a new directness. A few years ago we avoided thinking about God as easily as we avoided thinking about death. That indifference is destroyed. In the words both of statesmen and of soldiers to-day, one sees a return to the first condition of true religion — humility. Only the bewilderment of agony could have made us humble enough to be reverent. Because action and conviction require a mutual reinforcement, a condition too often through ignorance of psychology neglected by religious teachers: because we can neither act heartily unless we first believe, nor believe heartily unless we also act; because full conviction is obtained solely by embodiment in action, it is the soldier, through his utter abandonment of self to service, who has to-day attained the clearest religious certainty.
The faith of fighters revealed in their memoirs is vital, unfaltering; but the expression of the same fundamental creed differs according to the individual. The religion of the soldier facing death is a denial of all the old materialism that once infected equally the educated and the uneducated. The color and shape of the faith differ in different men, but not its intensity, its confidence. Its practice is definitely Christian in its democracy, its kindness. As in all departments of life to-day our attitude and action are inextricably influenced by the attitude and action of the young dead always present to our memories, so the religion of the home army accepts the distinctly soldier elements of their creed.
The soldier regards God as the intelligence which martials the moral forces of all time, but as an intelligence, like his general's, to be trusted, rather than understood; and he regards a blind and unquestioning obedience to this direction as the individual's only possible contribution to the ultimate victory.
His religion is therefore first, absolute trust, and then, absolute submission. The immediacy of the fighter's need makes it easier for him to attain these two conditions than for us, whose incorporation of creed in conduct is not so instant a constraint; but the religion at the front and at home has the same frankly intuitive character. The new philosophy of death, born of our naked defenselessness, openly employs intuition, spiritual reassurance, half-occult perhaps, but overpowering. It is not the attributes of God that concern the New Death, but the attitude toward Him, and its practical expression both in public actions and in private.
After decades of materialism a new mysticism is being born. All of us today perceive some great force let loose upon us for our destruction or our regeneration? A Power is certainly at work - is it God or devil, for no one dares longer to call it chance? Every instinct answers, God. God and immortality have become facts for our everyday life, while before they were only words, and words avoided. The new thing about faith to-day is that it is voluntarily intuitive, and that its mysticism is not contemplative but active. This mysticism is conscious. The scientific, the materialistic attitude was a stage of growth ordained for our adolescence, but it did not indicate the maturity that we thought it did. Our intuitions of God to-day are more to be relied upon than those of earlier periods that were unaware of pitfalls. The evidence of our mature wisdom is that, having experienced the pitfalls, we have voluntarily returned to a childlike trust. We do not argue about God: we accept Him. We do not argue about survival: we accept it. Universal destruction has swept from us every other dependence. It is frankly an experiment, this new spirituality, this new adjustment, this New Death. For the