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accordance with Christ's law of service unless
what he is giving to the community in illuminar
tion, in warmth, in houses, in some advantage of
diffused wealth, is worth at least as much as the
world is giving to him in what he terms profits.
If he is using his skill to make profitable to the
world the world's otherwise useless stock of coal
or oil or lumber, he is an honest man. If he is
using his skill to get as much of it as he can for
himself, and to give as little as he can to the com-
munity, he is a dishonest man.

The third man takes from another man's pocket
without giving any equivalent. This he may do
in either one of three ways, — by violence, then
he is a robber ; by stealth, then he is a thief ; or
by gambling. That is, he may make this bargain
with another man : We will play a game of chance ;
if you win you shall have my dollar, and give me
nothing for it ; if I win I shall have your dollar,
and give you nothing for it. The gambler is not
a robber, for he does not take his neighbor's wealth
by force. He is not always a thief, for he does
not always take it by stealth. But he takes from
his neighbor without giving him an equivalent,
and that is dishonest. He may do this with cards,
with roulette, with stocks, with grain, or with
pork. The method of his gambling makes no
difference in the morality of the transaction. The
desire to get something for nothing is a dishonest
desire ; the endeavor to get from another what he


possesses, without giving him an equivalent there-
for, is an endeavor to do a dishonest thing. No
transaction is honest, according to the standard of
Christ's law of service, which is not, in the object
and intent of it, beneficial to both parties.

Public sentiment in America forbids gambling
with cards ; public law forbids roulette, and has
suppressed the lottery. But gambling in stocks
and grain the law permits, and public sentiment
practically sanctions. I do not condemn all the
transactions of the stock and produce exchanges.
On the contrary, these exchanges appear to me
indispensable to the nation's prosperity. I do not
condemn all dealings in futures. Every man who
subscribes to a paper, sending in his subscription
price at the beginning of the year, deals in a
future, for he buys what does not exist when he
makes the purchase. I do not condemn all op-
tions. An option, as the preparation for a hona
fide business transaction, is as legitimate as it is
common. When a man pays a steamship com-
pany ten per cent, of the passage-money to retain
a state-room for him until the summer, and agrees
to forfeit the ten per cent, if he does not take the
room, he is buying an option. But options which
are, as many of them are, gambling operations, —
a mere bet on the future value of imaginary prop-
erty, — are essentially vicious, because they are en-
deavors to get something for nothing ; and this
endeavor is not made less dishonest because both
parties to the transaction are possessed by the


same dishonest desire. A dealing in futures, such
as Senator Washburn ^ describes in the following-
terms, can be justified by no ethical principle, in
no court of conscience. In such a transaction
there is no desire on the part of either person
involved to render a service, either to the other
party or to the community : —

'' A sells a million bushels of wheat, if you please, to
B, to be delivered next October. A does not own a
bushel of wheat, never has had a bushel, and does not
expect to have ; and B, who has made the jDurchase,
never expects that A will deliver the wheat to him at
the time specified in the contract : but on the expiration
of the contract the two gentlemen make a settlement on
the basis of the price that wheat may bear at the time
specified. There is no ownership of property ; there is
no change of property ; there is no legitimate transac-
tion. It is simply a bet on the part of the two opera-
tors as to what the price of wheat shall be at the time
designated. So that this, as in the case of 'options,'
simply becomes a wager as to tlie price of property at a
given time in the future, and finally resolves itself into
a bet, and nothing more."

Such gambling as this is more pernicious than
gambling with cards or at the roulette table, be-

1 For the facts respecting- stock gambling- here stated, I ana
indebted to the speecli of Hon. W. D. Washburn, of Minnesota,
in the United States Senate, July 11 and 23, 1802, on Options
and Futures. His definition of options is as follows : ' ' They
(options) do not contemplate the delivery or receiving- of property,
and I do not suppose that there is an instance on record Avhere
aijy property passed ; but it is simply a bet on what the value of
that property may be at a given time in the future."


cause it affects great classes in the community who
have no part in the transaction. Senator Wash-
burn has shown that, while the average acreage in
wheat from 1885 to 1891 was almost exactly the
same as from 1880 to 1884, and while population
was steadily increasing, so that the demand for
food products was growing and the supply of food
products was stationary, nevertheless the price of
wheat fell between 1880 and 1895 from one dollar
and forty-five cents to ninety-five cents a bushel.
And he gives abundant authority for the belief that
this was due to fictitious sales of imaginary wheat
in New York and Chicago. In 1892 the " Chicago
Tribune" said editorially: "The situation has
shaped itself to this extent, that, if Western
Europe wants wheat for the next four months,
there is no place except the Atlantic coast of the
United States where it can be obtained." But
the influences of the Chicago " bear ring " broke
down the price of wheat in the United States and
carried the market price throughout the world down
with it. The real sales in these great produce ex-
changes are apparently insignificant as compared
with the fictitious ones. In New York on a single
day six thousand bushels of wheat were sold for
actual delivery, and forty-four million bushels of
imaginary wheat for future delivery in gambling
transactions. Senator Washburn gives it as his
opinion that at least ninety-five per cent, of the
sales in the Chicago Board of Trade are sales of a
fictitious character, " where no property is actually


owned ; no property sold or delivered, or expected
to be delivered, but simply wagers or bets as to
what that property may be worth at a designated
time in the future." It does not come within the
province of this chapter to consider the question
whether the law proposed in Congress for putting
an end to these gambling transactions was consti-
tutional, or, if constitutional, was judicious. It is
enough to point out their essentially immoral char-
acter, their violation of Christ's law of service, the
corrupt desire that is the inspiration of them, — to
get something for nothing, — the commercial in-
jury they inflict upon the country in affecting the
values of honest owners and producers, and the
moral injuries they inflict upon the country by
exciting in young men an eager and passionate
haste to get rich. There is only one honest way
to get rich, — the production of wealth by honest
industry. ^

All gambling transactions, however cloaked and
disguised, are revealed when brought to the touch-
stone of Christ's law of service, namely, we come
into the world naked ; we have nothing ; we must
not take from life without adding something to it ;
we must contribute to the world at least as much
as we receive from it ; we ought to be ambitious to
contribute more, to leave the world wiser, richer,

^ See also, on this general subject, J. P. Quinn, " Fools of For-
tune," part iii. eh. ii. ; G. H. Stutfield, "Modern Gambling- and
Gambling Laws." Nineteenth Century., vol. xxvi. p. 840, November,
1889; and W. E. Bear, "Market Gambling," Contemporary Re-
view, vol. Ixv. p. 781, June, 1894.


nobler, because we have lived in it. Labor is
honorable, service is honorable ; to live without
labor, without serving, is dishonorable.

There are a variety of ways in which men add to
the world's wealth, — that is, to its life, physical,
intellectual, moral. In the natural order, the first
thinof is to g;et out of the earth what the earth con-
tains for the service of man. This is the work
of the agriculturist, the miner, the lumberman.
These men are making available to the community
the reservoired resources of the globe. But one
cannot advantageously eat raw wheat, nor live in
trees, nor use iron in the ore for tools, nor com-
fortably wear the skins of animals. The wheat
must be turned into bread, the trees builded into
houses, the iron fashioned into tools, the wool spun
and woven into garments. Thus the second thing
is to turn what the earth gives us into forms use-
ful for our service. This is mechanic art. In one
region there is plenty of food, in another none ; in
one forests, in another timberless plains and val-
leys ; in one the iron mine, in another the mill-
stream or the coal which furnishes power for the
factory. The food must be transported from the
Western prairie to the Eastern city, the timber
from the Michigan forest to the Illinois farm, the
iron or the copper from the shores of Lake Su-
perior to the furnaces of Pennsylvania. Thus
comes into play the third great service to the com-
munity, transportation. China and India suffer
great famines unknown in America, chiefly be-


cause they are not equipped with great railroad
corporations to carry supj)lies from the regions
where food is abundant to the regions which are
famine-stricken. When these supplies are brought
to the communities who need them, there must
be individuals to carry this work of distribution
further. These are called middlemen. It is pop-
ular in certain quarters to condemn the middle-
men, but they are essential to public well-being.
As modern water-works gather the water into
reservoirs, send it by means of great mains
throughout the city, from which again it is dis-
tributed in smaller and still smaller pipes until
it reaches the rooms in the private houses, where
it can be drawai by opening a faucet, so commerce
takes nature's supplies, carries them to great
centres of population, where retail trade takes
them up, distributing them to individual house-
holds. The middleman is the faucet without
which the water would never be available in the
home. We have, however, other needs than ma-
terial ones. Men will sicken, there must be
skilled physicians ; men wdll not understand their
right relations to one another, there must be law-
yers to counsel them ; there are criminals, and
there must be governors, soldiers, policemen, to
protect. There must be teachers to instruct,
preachers and poets to inspire, artists and authors
and musicians to minister to the gestlietic and
literary taste. There will be homes, and there
must be wives and mothers who are not turning


the spinning-vvheel, nor driving the loom, nor
plowing the field, nor adding to the material
wealth by their industry, but who are adding to
spiritual wealth by their patience, their fidelity,
their love. All these are adding to the world's
wealth. None of these are honestly fulfilling their
place in life unless they are adding to the world's
wealth. The true wife lives that she may make
home happier and better. The preacher ministers
in the pulpit that he may elevate and enrich the
moral culture of the community ; the artist and
the musician, that he may serve man through the
subtle ministries of art and music ; the soldier and
the statesman, that he may protect the community
while all this work is going on ; the lawyer, that
he may direct the will of the community in right
channels, and make it strong for righteousness ;
and the tradesman, the merchant, the manufac-
turer, the farmer, that he may both create and
distribute equably that material wealth on the
production and equable distribution of which the
moral well-being of the community depends. In
all this work hand and brain must cooperate.
Labor is not all' hand-labor. An American humor-
ist has said with great truth, " In the sweat of
thy brow shalt thou eat bread, but some men
sweat outside and some men inside." The brain
has need of the hand, and the hand of the brain.
Both are entitled to their share of the world's
products, but this one fundamental truth remains :
the world has just so much as we put into it ; no


more. If we do not by our consecrated use of
hand or head or heart, by our personal activity or
our wise direction of the activity of others, by our
serving or our suffering, endeavor to add to the
world's wealth — material, intellectual, or spir-
itual — at least as much as we have taken out of
it, we belong in the category of the beggars, the
thieves, and the gamblers.

The first principle, then, is respect for labor,
and respect for each other's labor ; respect by the
man who works with his brain for the man who
works with his hand, and respect by the man
who works with his hand for the man who works
with his brain, — mutual respect. When we have
thoroughly learned this one fundamental prin-
ciple, that to destroy is not honorable and to pro-
duce is, that the glory of the nation lies in its
production, that the glory of life lies in adding to
the wealth of life, — its material, its intellectual,
its spiritual wealth, — we shall have learned one
great underlying lesson. Until we have learned
this, all other learning is in vain, for this is the
foundation. The greatest of all is the servant of
all. We believe this in the church : the minister
is the servant of the congregation. We believe it
in politics : the President is the servant of the
people. We shall not get to the Christian basis
of industry until we come to recognize in industry
also that there is no such thing as independence,
and that the greatest and the richest and the
strongest is great only as he is the servant of the
weak and the poor.

Christ's standard of values.

Christ furnishes his standard of values in the
question, " Is not the life more than meat, and the
body than raiment?" To that question there can
be but one answer. The life is more than meat,
and the body is more than raiment. Things are
made for men, not men for things ; success is to be
measured by the development of character, not by
the accumulations of wealth.

Though this is a self-evident proposition, it is
practically denied, and has been from the begin-
ning of history. The old political economy, if it
did not openly deny, certainly entirely ignored it ;
declared itself concerned simply with wealth, and
with men simply as wealth-producers. " Political
economy," says John Stuart Mill,^ " considers man-
kind as occupied solely in acquiring and consuming
wealth." It is true that he denies that man is ever
solely so occupied ; but political economy, accord-
ing to him, regards man only in the aspect of a pro-
ducer of wealth ; and yet it is supposed that it is po-
litical economy which teaches the relations between

2 J. S. Mill, Essays on Some Unsettled Questions in Political
Economy. Essay v. p. 137, ff.


labor and capital. Its standard of values is wholly
material : it formerly regarded that the best system
which accumulated wealth the most rapidly ; it can
hardly even now be said to have proceeded any
farther to a more spiritual conception than to add
that the best system will also distribute wealth the
most equably. The effect of industrial methods on
the individual man it does not consider ; whether
it is making him wiser and better, nobler and
happier, it does not inquire, — certainly did not in-
quire. It is only within recent years that economic
reformers have affirmed that political economy,
in considering the science of wealth, must consider
it as related to the development and maintenance
of society, must deal with man as an intellectual
and moral being, — must, in a word, be ethical.^

The practical standard of American life is more
in harmony with the old than with the new 23oliti-
cal economy. He who has made a fortune we
regard successful ; he who has lost a fortune we
say has failed. The common answer to the ques-
tion, what is a man worth, is given in dollars and
cents. Not only commercial but intellectual under-
takings are measured by the money standard. The
newspaper which can affirm that it has the largest
circulation, and the greatest amount of advertising,
publishes these facts as the evidence of its success.

1 F. A. Walker, The Wages System ; J. B. Clark, Philosophy of
Wealth ; R. T. Ely, Elements of Pol. Econ. ; Professor Ingrahani,
Encyc. Brit.^ art. " Pol. Econ." See, also, writings of Laveleye,
Wagner, and Gide.


Whether it is promoting the moral and intellectual
life of its subscribers, whether its advertisements
are of things which aid or hinder that life, are
questions scarcely considered. Colleges and uni-
versities are often popularly measured in the same
way. Wiiat is the college endowment ? How large
are its buildings ? How much money has it in its
treasury ? Balliol College, in England, limits the
number of its students, and takes only " honor
men." Is there any analogous college in America ?
If so, I have never heard of it. Even churches are
measured by this material standard. Are its pews
all rented ? Does it pay a good price to its minis-
ter ? What does its music cost ? What is the
wealth represented in the pews upon its centre aisle ?
Even ministers talk with one another of a " oood
place," meaning thereby, not a place where the great-
est good can be done, but where the greatest social
and material advantages can be enjoyed. States-
men and journalists measure the nation by the same
method. Mr. Blaine told the Americans a few
years ago that the wealth of America had increased
from fourteen thousand millions to forty-four thou-
sand millions, and this statement was given as the
evidence of the nation's prosperity. Andrew Car-
negie, in "Triumphant Democracy," ^ gives in suc-

1 Triumphant Democracy: Sixty Years' March of the Republic,
revised edition, based on the census of 1890, by Andrew Carnegie.
In oO years, from 1860 to 1890, the increase has been : —
In population, 99.2 per cent., 31,44;j,321 to 62,622,250.
In value of land, fences, and buildings, 97.29 per cent., from
$6,645,045,007 (est.) to $13, 11 0,08 1,884.


cessive chapters, as chief among the evidences of
democracy's triumph, its growth in wealth, — its
increase in thirty years, 1860-1890, of nearly 100
per cent, in land, fences, and buildings ; of 123 per
cent, in farm implements and machinery ; of 122
per cent, in live stock : its increase in the products
of manufactures from a little less than two thou-
sand millions to a little less than nine thousand
millions ; of the assets of its railroads from a little
less than two thousand millions to a little over ten
thousand millions. He teU us that the United
States has produced one third of the gold output
of the whole world, and that in ten years the United
States has built on an average sixteen thousand
miles of railroad each year (enough to go two
thirds around the globe). We are told that private
capital, without any proclamation, has built in a
single year more miles of railroad than Russia is
proposing to build in its famous railroad from the
Siberian frontier to the Pacific coast. These facts

Value of farm implements and machinery, 12:j.47 percent., from

$246,118,141 (est.) to $555,000,000.
Value of live stock on farm, 122.04 per cent., from $1,089,329,-

915 (est.) to $2,418,766,028.
Manufactures : capital invested, from $1,009,855,715 (est.) to

Value of products, $1,855,861,676 (est.) to $8,700,000,000.
Steam railroads : miles, 28,920 (est.) to $163,597.
Steam railroads: assets $1,867,248,720 (est.) to $10,278,835,-

Assessed valuation of real estate and personal property, $12,-

084,560,005 to $24,651,585,465.
It is, however, due to Mr. Carneg-ie to say that he does not pre-
sent these facts as the onlv evidence of the triumph of democracy.


— the amount of our corn crop and our cotton crop
and our manufactured products, and our railroad-
building, and the increase of our general wealth
from fourteen thousand millions to forty-four
thousand millions — are popularly regarded as the
evidence of the greatness of our nation. The tests
are material tests.

Christ repudiates all such tests. The true test
is character. The railroads, the shipping, the
banks, the gold, the corn crop, the cotton crop, are
for men. The question is, What sort of men are
we making?

But he says more than that. Political economy
defends itself in putting the material standard
first, for, it is said, we must make money before
we can spend it. The first thing to do is to attain
material prosperity. When we have once got our
money, then we may build schools and churclies,
print newspapers and books, serve the spiritual
and intellectual ends of mankind; but first get
we money. Christ says, Seek first the kingdom
of God and his righteousness, and all these things
shall be added unto you. Character comes first.

When character has been produced, when men
of integrity, of uprightness, of a truly divine na-
ture, have been developed, wealth will naturally
follow. Wealth first, man afterwards, says politi-
cal economy. Man first, wealth afterwards, says
Christ. Wealth the standard of value, says poli-
tical economy. Man the standard of value, says

1 See ch, iv., p. 124 ff.


All things in life are to be measured by this
standard, — Life more than meat, the body more
than raiment. By this we are to measure religion
and religious institutions. Not that community is
the most religious which has the most splendid
cathedrals, the most gorgeous ritual, the most
beautiful music, but that which has the best men.
It is not in Italy, with its splendid St. Peter's ; nor
in Spain and France, with their magnificent cathe-
drals, centuries in building, nations in which the
greatest proportion of illiteracy is found, — but in
Puritan New England, with its plain school-houses
and its plain meeting-houses, in which in the olden
time every man and woman and child could read,
that the greatest and the best religious life is found.

By this we are to measure government. Not
that is the best government which best governs to-
day, but that which, by the very process of gov-
ernment, is developing the best manhood for to-
morrow. It may be that Dublin is better governed
than New York, but that is not the vital question.
Compare two Irish brothers, one in Ireland, one in
the United States, and then after fifty years com-
pare the grandchildren. The government that puts
the vote into hands that do not know how to use
it, and teaches them how to use it in the using, is
the better government of the two. For govern-
ment is to be measured by the men it eventually
makes, not primarily by the advantages it immedi-
ately confers.

So all educational systems are to be measured


by no other standard than this, — the men and
women they produce. We are told that China has
a public school system older than the United
States ; that its most ancient university was estab-
lished one thousand years before the Christian
Era ; that its Imperial Academy at Pekin dates
from the days of Mahomet ; that it has been a lit-
erary nation from a period long anterior to the
birth of Christ.^ We are told that Germany has a
better public school system than the United States ;
that the system is better graded ; that the relation
of the preparatory schools to the universities is
better adjusted; that the discipline is more equably
administered ; that the standard of scholarship is
more rigorous. We are told that the American
public school system is marked by serious and even
fatal defects ; that it is lacking in moral and re-
ligious instruction ; that the schools are atheistic ;
that we must return to the old belief that educa-
tion is a function of the church, not of the state, —

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Online LibraryLyman AbbottChristianaity and social problems → online text (page 12 of 25)