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By FRANCIS GREENWOOD PEABODY

Plummer Professor of Christian
Morals in Harvard University

Jesus Christ and the Christian Character

AN EXAMINATION OF THE TEACHING OF
JESUS IN ITS RELATION TO SOME OF THE
MORAL PROBLEMS OF PERSONAL LIFE

Cloth, i2mo, $1.50 net

Jesus Christ and the Social Question

AN EXAMINATION OF THE TEACHING OF
JESUS IN ITS RELATION TO SOME PROB-
LEMS OF MODERN SOCIAL LIFE

Cloth, I2mo,



The Religion of an Educated Man

RELIGION AS EDUCATION CHRIST'S MES-
SAGE TO THE SCHOLAR KNOWLEDGE
AND SERVICE

Cloth, i2mo, $1.00 net



THE APPROACH TO THE
SOCIAL QUESTION



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

NEW YORK BOSTON CHICAGO
DALLAS SAN FRANCISCO

MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED

LONDON BOMBAY CALCUTTA
MELBOURNE

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.

TORONTO



APPROACH TO THE
SOCIAL QUESTION .



AN INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF
SOCIAL ETHICS



BY

FRANCIS GREENWOOD PEABODY

A/

PLUMMER PROFESSOR OF CHRISTIAN MORALS IN
HARVARD UNIVERSITY



f|orfc

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
1912

All right* rtttrvtd




COPYRIGHT, 1909,
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.



Set up and electrotyped. Published November, 1909. Reprinted
December, 1909 ; May, 1912.



J. 8. Gushing Co. Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.



TO A. T. W.

WHOM DOES THE MASTER CHOOSE TO BE HIS FRIEND?

WHOM DOES HE TRUST HIS WANDERING FLOCK TO TEND?

NOT HIM WHOSE CREED IS LONGEST, OR WHOSE PRAISE

ECHOES THE CERTITUDES OF OTHER DAYS ;

BUT THE TRAINED LEADER IN THE WORLD'S FIERCE STRIFE,

WHOSE FAITH IS SERVICE AND WHOSE WORSHIP LIFE ;

WHOSE LAVISH HEART SERVES WITH FAR-SEEING EYES,

WHOSE TRUTH IS MERCY, AND WHOSE PITY WISE ;

TO WHOM POSSESSIONS MAKE AN OPEN DOOR

TO SAVE THE CITY AND TO SERVE THE POOR ;

WHOSE MONUMENTS OF UNRECORDED GOOD

ESCAPE THE PRAISES OF THE MULTITUDE.

THE DWELLERS IN THE CITY'S WILDERNESS

FEEL THE STRONG TOUCH OF HIS FIRM GENTLENESS,

AND THEIR HEARTS OPEN TO THE MASTER-KEY

OF HIS ALL-COMPREHENDING CHARITY.

ACROSS THE AGES SPEAKS THE SON OF MAN:

" FOR SUCH GOD'S KINGDOM WAITS SINCE TIME BEGAN ;

THIS, WHICH YE DO SO SELF-EFFACINGLY

UNTO THESE LEAST, YE DO IT UNTO ME."



THE SUBSTANCE OF THIS VOLUME

WAS GIVEN AS THE

EARLE LECTURES

AT THE
PACIFIC THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

IN
1907



CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

PAGE

PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL QUESTION i

CHAPTER II
SOCIAL SCIENCE, SOCIOLOGY, AND THE SOCIAL QUESTION . 28

CHAPTER III
ECONOMICS AND THE SOCIAL QUESTION . . 53

CHAPTER IV
ETHICS AND THE SOCIAL QUESTION 96

CHAPTER V
ETHICAL IDEALISM AND THE SOCIAL QUESTION . . .136

CHAPTER VI
RELIGION AND THE SOCIAL QUESTION 165

INDEX 205



vfl



THE APPROACH TO THE
SOCIAL QUESTION



PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL QUESTION

AT the end of his brilliant book on the philoso-
phy of society J Professor Stein remarks that as
the fifteenth century had for its task the renaissance
of art, and the sixteenth century the reformation
of religion, and the seventeenth century the de-
velopment of science, and the eighteenth century
the promotion of democracy, so the task of the
twentieth century is to be the reformation and re-
construction of the social world. " A new renais-
sance," he says, "must break upon the modern
world, a deliverance from the gloom of pessimism
which is the symptom of an overworked and weary
period ; a transformation of the instincts of social
evolution into rational laws ; a quickening of the
glad and confident service of the social world, as it
is and as it is to be." Such a prophecy may well
appear too restricted to cover the infinitely varied

1 Stein, " Die soziale Frage im Lichte der Philosophic," 1897,
s. 773. The abbreviated ed., 1903, omits the passage.

B I



2 THE APPROACH TO THE SOCIAL QUESTION

life of the twentieth century. Other problems are
pressing besides that of social redemption. The
interests and aims of human society are too com-
plex to be reduced to a single formula. Art, if not
so creative as in the fifteenth century, seems likely
to receive fresh appreciation ; religion, if not so
authoritative as in the sixteenth century, is at
least more widely applied; democracy, if not so
buoyantly trusted as in the eighteenth century,
must be redeemed by more democracy. The com-
ing century is perhaps quite as likely to be re-
membered for its appropriation and application of
inherited ideals, as for its exclusive concern for a
newly discovered aim.

Yet, even if one may hesitate to prophesy about
a century, he can hardly be mistaken as to his own
generation and time. The foreground of immedi-
ate interest is unquestionably held by the needs
and problems of the social world. Never before
were so many people concerned with the amelio-
ration of social conditions and the realization of
social dreams. The most conspicuous and disturb-
ing fact of contemporary life is its social unrest.
No institution of society the family, the state,
or the church is so fixed in stability or in sanctity
as to be safe from radical transformation. The
growth of the great industry, with its combinations
of capital and its organizations of labor, the un-
precedented accumulation of wealth in the hands
of the few, and the equally unprecedented increase
of power in the hands of the many, these, and



PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL QUESTION 3

many other signs of the time, point to new social
adjustments, and awaken a new social spirit. It
is the age of the Social Question ; and those who
have embarked on enterprises of social service and
social reformation feel beneath their little ventures
the sustaining movement of the main current of
the time. Art, if it is to flourish, must concern it-
self with the problems of the common life and con-
tribute to the happiness and solace of the masses
of men ; religion, if it is to control modern life,
must add to its ministry to the single soul the
redemption of the social world; and democracy,
having won its political victory, has now before it
a further conflict with feudalism, paternalism, and
privilege entrenched in their industrial strongholds.
The ideals of other ages aesthetic, religious, and
political find themselves reproduced and com-
prehended in the new ideal of a better world which
marks the age of the Social Question.

It is inevitable that the first response to this new
ideal should be that of action, experiment, and re-
lief. Here are social evils to be uprooted, social
maladies to be cured, social wrongs to be righted,
and the heart ' of the time leaps to meet this
demand with quickly summoned resources of com-
passion, indignation, sympathy, and hope. Here,
at the same time, is the best of opportunities for
the precipitate, emotional, or self-confident coun-
sellor; for heat to be substituted for light, and
sentiment for science. The man with a panacea
for social ills is sure of a welcome. " If my plan



4 THE APPROACH TO THE SOCIAL QUESTION

is not satisfactory," said one such reformer, " what
is yours ? " as though any self-respecting citizen
must carry about his person a scheme of social
redemption. Social surgery is to the impatient
practitioner more tempting than the slow processes
of social prevention and social hygiene. " When
I am in doubt," a young physician is reported to
have said, " I generally operate for appendicitis."
Modern social life, however, is too intricate an or-
ganism to provide good clinical material for care-
less experimentation. Antecedent to wise social
practice there is needed a better social diagnosis.
Before the Social Question can be answered, it
must be understood. Before social diseases can
be exterminated, social pathology must discover
the nature and causes of epidemic distress.

There is, no doubt, a risk in academic neutrality
and moral timidity, and bold experiment maybe more
profitable than cautious inaction ; yet, the more
one realizes the dimensions and complexity of the
Social Question, the more he becomes impressed
with the necessity of a well-considered plan of
attack. A frontal charge on social ills may be
like the charge at Balaclava, magnificent, but not
war. Modern battles are, for the most part, de-
termined, not on the field, but in the studies of
the General Staff. Indeed, the Social Question is
so varied and so recurrent, that a complete answer
to it may be as unattainable as the complete ex-
tirpation of physical disease. The Social Ques-
tion is not so much a problem to be solved as a



PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL QUESTION 5

campaign to be organized and directed, a process
to be interpreted, accelerated, and checked. It is
as fluid and changeful, and often as turbid and
violent, as a rushing stream. It is a contemporary
expression of social evolution, perpetually varying
in form as the current of thought is swept through
the channel of time. To look for a solution of the
Social Question is, therefore, to expect a hurrying
stream to stand still or to run dry. An answer to
the Social Question is like an answer to life. It
assumes that life is a fixed fact, when it is in
reality a fact in motion. The meaning of life
shifts with its moving desires. The problem of
childhood is not the problem of manhood. To
read the riddle of life one must run as he reads.
To catch the present moment one must catch it on
the wing. It is the same with the Social Question.
"When any one brings forward a solution," one
of the most observant of American students once
remarked, "I move to adjourn." The approach to
the Social Question is like the approach to the
North Pole. A prudent explorer does not expect
to arrive by a dash ; he plans relay-parties, some
of which must support the one which may succeed.
Many ways of approach must be tried that one may
be found. " Only a world-history," a distinguished
German teacher has said, "can answer a world-
problem." l

At such a time then, what is it which the Social
Question most imperatively needs? It needs, as

1 Ziegler, "Die soziale Frage cine ethische Frage," 1891, s. 7.



6 THE APPROACH TO THE SOCIAL QUESTION

always, fresh accessions of zeal and warmer co-
operation of sympathy ; but it needs still more a
new quality of sanity, wisdom, patience, and in-
sight ; the steadying and directing of social action
by general principles or laws. In other words, the
Social Question is waiting for a philosophy. In
Mr. Lowes Dickinson's " Modern Symposium "
one of the disputants gives his estimate of the
American character : " The future for them is the
kingdom of elevators, telephones, motor cars, and
flying machines. . . . The principle of the uni-
verse is Acceleration. . . . We do not know
whence we come, or whither we go, and what is
more important, we do not care ; what we do know
is that we are moving faster than any one ever
movedpDefore." What isjihus described as Ameri-
canism may be affirmed of much social reform.
It does not know whither it is moving, but it is
moving very fast. Precisely as the commercial
world is tempted by the doctrine : " Get rich,
quick ! " so the social world is tempted by the
corresponding doctrine : " Do good, quick ! " and
the fruits of this doctrine are zeal without knowl-
edge, generosity without discrimination, discontent
without discernment. Acceleration becomes a sub-
stitute for reflection ; precipitancy supplants effi-
ciency ; and the worst recreancy to duty is to stop
and think. It seems a good time, then, to pause
and reconsider the nature of the problem which
underlies the facts of social agitation and discon-
tent. The force which they carry is like a high-



PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL QUESTION 7

power electric current, which must either be in-
sulated or work disaster. Social stability, like the
City of God, must have foundations. Social navi-
gation needs a chart of the course. Much social
teaching shows the channel by the wrecks of
ventures which have missed it. " Do you know
all the rocks in this harbor ? " asks the captain.
" Every one," answers the pilot, and as the vessel
at that moment strikes, he adds : " There is one of
them now."

It may be objected that to interrupt social action
by the reconsideration of social theory is to retreat
from the task of the present age to an earlier world
of social speculations and dreams ; that the days
of social theorizing are past and the day of social
service has arrived. It must be remembered, how-
ever, that theory and practice are not alternatives
from which one has to choose. The theorist is not
the run-away from action, or the stay-at-home in
a moral war. Theory, in its Greek signification, is
the beholding of things as they are. The theorist
is the spectator at the game of life, who sees its
parts in their proportions and relations. He has
detachment and horizon ; the details of his prob-
lem take their place in a general view. " He
sees things steadily and sees them whole." The
theorist is like the commander who stands apart
from the fighting, but directs the battle and fore-
sees its end. The army accomplishes what the
theorist has planned. Has not this detached view
of things its place in the Social Question ? Doers



8 THE APPROACH TO THE SOCIAL QUESTION

there are in plenty, but where are the seers ?
Sympathy, sacrifice, loyalty, compassion, all these
are freely dedicated ; but where are the antecedent
qualities of sanity, grasp, and insight ? However
imperfectly these gifts may be attained, are they
not worth the seeking ? May not social enthusiasm
march with firmer step if social philosophy has
cleared the way ?

These considerations appear to justify one in
turning briefly from the fascinating occupation of
solving the Social Question to the more modest task
of understanding the Social Question. What kind
of question is this which thus confronts the modern
world ? Is it possible to stand back from its details
and survey it as a whole ? May not a very large
and complex question be easily mistaken for a
small and easy one ? Where, among the philoso-
phies which interpret human life, shall one find
an open door into the nature of the Social Ques-
tion ? Is there such a door, or must one grope his
way in the dark ? What common character unites
these infinitely varied forms of social service and
desire ? What has the Social Question to gain
from philosophy ; and what has philosophy to give
to the Social Question ?

In order to answer these questions, it is neces-
sary to recall, in the most general and preliminary
way, first, the meaning and scope of the Social
Question, and, secondly, the purpose and method
of philosophy.

The Social Question, in its most elementary



PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL QUESTION 9

form, is approached when one becomes aware
among the problems of conduct that he is not
alone, but a person among other persons, a mem-
ber of the social order, a part of a social whole.
Self-realization, as the philosophers would say,
must then be sought, not apart from others, but in
relation to others. The problems of life which
had seemed personal become social problems. The
ethics of self-development become social ethics.

When one enumerates the various sciences which
propose to interpret human life, there present them-
selves, in the first place, a series which appear to
deal with the individual as though he were alone.
Physiology examines the individual as body ; logic,
the individual as mind ; psychology, the correlation
of mind and body in the individual ; ethics, the
duty of the person ; metaphysics, the ideals of the
person. All these inquiries seem to detach the
person from the mass, as though he occupied a
little universe of his own. Robinson Crusoe, in
the solitude of his island, had at his command,
it would seem, not only the leisure but also the
material for composing a learned treatise on any
one of these sciences. He had as companions his
body, his mind, and his conscience ; and many a
busy author might sigh for so admirable an oppor-
tunity to compile without interruption his text-book
on logic, or psychology, or ethics, if only he might
hope that the footprint on the sand were that of
a friendly publisher.

Is this apparent detachment of the individual,



IO THE APPROACH TO THE SOCIAL QUESTION

however, real ? On the contrary, such a person,
thus completely detached from other persons, does
not in fact exist. One may theoretically abstract
the problems of his body, or mind, or will, from the
world of other people and contemplate them as
isolated facts ; but in reality one does not and can-
not thus live. The universe of the isolated self is
an imaginary universe. By the very conditions of
human infancy one is born, not alone, but into
a community of three : his parents and himself.
Nor does he live alone, but in a group, a village, a
clan, a town, a university, a nation. The name he
bears indicates his descent, his race, his social
tradition. Man is a social animal. " Never in
human history, except in sporadic instances, have
completely segregated lives been found. Man be-
longs to the herding animals." * Robinson Crusoe
may appear to himself completely alone, and his
solitude creates for him the pathos of his fate.
But what makes him able to endure this solitude ?
It is the recollection of the social order to which
he belongs, and the hope of restoration to the
social world. Though alone, he is a social being.
His body is a product of social heredity ; his mind
is stocked with memories of his country and home ;
his hopes bind him to the social order; the foot-
print on the sand is the symbol of a social world.

Thus the Social Question invades even those
sciences which appear to be concerned with the

1 Schmoller, " Grundriss der allgemeinen Volkswirtschaftslehre,"
1900, erster Teil, s. 7.



PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL QUESTION II

single life. Physiology may study the body of the
individual, but that body is the product of ages
of social history, and becomes the symbol of the
social heredity and environment from which it has
sprung. Logic may concern itself with the order
of one's own thought, but that order of thought is
the product of centuries of intellectual develop-
ment, of which the individual mind is a witness
and expression. Metaphysics may concern itself
with personal ideals, but these personal problems
are inextricably involved in the larger unity of a
social idealism, and open into a doctrine, not of
the soul of the person alone, but of the soul of
the world. All problems of human life are parts
of the Social Question. "The ego and the alter
are thus born together. . . . Both ego and alter
are thus essentially social ; each is a socius." J "A
separate individual is an abstraction unknown to
experience." 2 The Social Question is, in a word,
the outer margin of the question of personal experi-
ence : " Set, as I inevitably am, within the social
order, how shall my own life be realized, amplified,
sustained, and serviceable therein ? "

The testimony of the loftiest minds in the his-
tory of human thought confirms this general state-
ment of the Social Question. The adjustment of
the person to the social order was, for example,
the central theme of Greek philosophy. Plato's

1 Baldwin, " Mental Development in the Child and Race," 3d
ed., 1906, p. 321.

8 Cooley, " Human Nature and the Social Order," 1902, p. I.



12 THE APPROACH TO THE SOCIAL QUESTION

" Republic " was based on the correspondence be-
tween the nature of an individual and the nature
of a State. What the reason, the will, and the pas-
sions were in the one, the councillors, the soldiers,
and the masses were in the other. The harmoni-
ous soul was the counterpart of the well-ordered
State. Plato, as his English editor remarks, " identi-
fies the individual and the State, ethics with poli-
tics. He thinks that most of a State which is most
like one man, and in which the citizens have the
greatest uniformity of character." 1 Aristotle's
" Politics " also, though less concerned with social
idealism, 2 is not less explicit in its social philoso-
phy. " Man is by nature a political animal. And
he, who by nature and not by mere accident is
without a State, is either above humanity, or below
it. ... The individual, when isolated, is not self-
sufficing ; and therefore he is like a part in rela-
tion to the whole. But he who is unable to live in
society, or who has no need because he is sufficient
for himself, must be either a beast or a god." 3
Thus, as one of the most eminent of English
scholars has said, " To the common consciousness
of Greece the State or the City was not an organiza-
tion but an organism. ... It was the individual

1 Jowett, Introduction to " Republic," " The Dialogues of Plato,"
1871, II, p. 150.

2 Mr. Lowell went so far as to say that : " To a mind more in-
terested in the soul of things than in the body, the little finger of
Plato is thicker than the loins of Aristotle." " Literary Essays,"
1892, IV, p. 252.

8 " Politics," tr. Jowett, 1885, 1, p. 4.



PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL QUESTION 13

on his ideal side ; his true and spiritual self ; . . .
the higher unity in which he merged his separate or
selfish self. . . '. Only through the social organ-
ism could each part, by adaptation to the others,
develop its inherent powers." 1

What Greek philosophy thus expressed in the
language of politics, Christian theology soon re-
iterated in the language of religion. The Apostle
Paul appropriated to his new faith the Greek
teaching which he had received, and pictured the
Church of Christ as a living body with its interde-
pendent parts. "The body is not one member,
but many. . . . The eye cannot say unto the hand,
I have no need of thee. . . . They are many mem-
bers, but one body. . . . Now ye are the body of
Christ and severally members thereof." 2 The indi-
vidual, in other words, finds his own vitality in his
relation to the social whole. Cut off from the
common life his own life becomes withered and
atrophied. He lives as he serves. He finds life
as he loses it. The Pauline doctrine of social
service was a Greek translation of the Hebrew
idealism which Jesus inherited and spiritualized in
his teaching of the Kingdom of God. Clothed as
this hope of Jesus necessarily was in the eschato-
logical language which alone made it intelligible
to his hearers, and colored as his own thoughts
may have been by the prevailing anticipation of
a supernatural and apocalyptic kingdom, it was

1 Butcher, " Some Aspects of the Greek Genius," 1891, p. 51.
a I Cor. xii. 12 ff.



14 THE APPROACH TO THE SOCIAL QUESTION

none the less a social ideal which hovered before
his mind, the dream of a regenerated and organic
humanity in which the scattered lives of men should
find their unity in the service of God. 1

The scope of the Social Question is thus no new
discovery. Round the problem of the individual,
like an ocean environing an island, the greatest of
spiritual teachers have seen the larger circle of
social relations and needs which the individual
is called to master and explore. Yet though this
truth of the social nature of man has never been
without its witnesses, it has received such fresh
momentum from the circumstances of modern life
as to become a practically new force in contem-
porary thought. Within the memory of persons
still living there has occurred this transition from
a philosophy bounded by the individual to a phi
losophy covering the social order. The word " Co-
operation " applied to industrial life is said to have
originated with Robert Owen as late as 1821 2 ; the
word "Sociology" was coined, it is believed, by
Comte about i839, 3 and the phrase "the Social Or-
ganism" was popularized for English readers by
Herbert Spencer in i86o. 4

!Cf. Peabody, "Christian Eschatology and Christian Ethics,"
Harvard Theological Revieiv, January, 1909.

2 "The Social Economist," August 27, 1821 : "THE SECRET is
Our: it is unrestrained COOPERATION, on the part of ALL the
members, for EVERY purpose of social life." Holyoake, "The
History of Cooperation," 1906, I, p. 40.

Cf. Ch. II, p. 46.

* Westminster Review, January, 1860, "The Social Organism."



PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL QUESTION 15

Many influences conspired to delay this transi-
tion. The Christian religion had made its original
appeal to the individual and had given a new value
to the single soul. The first discovery of Jesus
Christ, it has been said, was the discovery of per-
sonality. The shepherd sought the one sheep; the
woman swept the house for the one lost coin. No
life was so insignificant or unworthy as to forfeit
its value in the sight of God. The poor, the slave,
the stranger, the sinner, all had their part in the


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