R. A. (Robert Afton) Holland.

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there can be in the United States no rational terror of anarchy or
revolution. As to strikes, local insurrections, interruptions of
trade, and that class of calamities, they are quite as likely to be
forestalled by a frank confession and reform of the injustices
that provoke them, as by reiterated assurances that everything


is as it should be, that workingmen had better make up their
minds that nature intended them for inferiority and subjection,
and that nothing is really the matter. One is ■ the way of
"prophets of unrest," if you please; the other is the way of
prophets of God.

We may glory in our civilization because it is glorious, or we
may glory in it because it is ours. It is urged that in any civili-
zation competition is a necessity, and that inequality is an un-
avoidable result of competition. Competition limited by justice
and honor has been without doubt a civilizer. Competition un-
scrupulous, greedy, heedless of common rights as growing out of
the common gifts of God and the provisions of nature, and so
creating innumerable injustices, leads by a sure course to barbar-
ism. That it has done so over and over again in the communi-
ties of East and West can be shown, and has been shown, by his-
tory. So Christianity is a necessity of civilization. Christianity
is another name for justice and love. Its motive power is right-
eousness. The motive power of sheer competition is self-aggrand-
izement. To bring these into harmony is the practical problem
of Christendom.

It may be said that the complaining class are to have no
hearing and no relief from the rich and privileged, because the
complainants are as well off as their predecessors in the same
grade. They would be as well off but for their brains; for
books, newspapers, and reading and debating clubs ; and for the
general stir of thought and awakening of ideas in civilized
nations. Factory hands, hod-carriers, workers in mines, stokers,
and seamstresses are not to blame for living in the nineteenth
century. This " unrest " is born of the very social state which
our competition and public schools and Declaration of Indepen-
dence have brought about. You cannot boast of " enlighten-
ment," and scold at the working classes for opening their eyes,
in the same breath.

Some smooth eulogist of our social order may be sup]30sed
to have the conditions of his life so altered by circumstances,
due in no manner to his own conduct or character, that he is an
average specimen of the working class now under consideration.
He is dependent on manual labor for a living, he is unemployed


and unknown, and his pocket is empty. He has a wife and
children. With that sole equipment, "a pair of stout hands,"
which so many well-fed and well-clad students of the social
problem consider an abundant outfit for happiness, he seeks
employment. The first effect of the competitive system is that
lie finds about him men eager and anxious in the same pursuit,
and before he gets a place he sees the scanty clothes of a hungry
family wearing out, he has walked the streets of a city or of a
factory town facing the humiliation of beggary, has persuaded
some tradesmen to trust him in small sums for bread, and has
made vague promises to the owner of the tenement where he is
lodged. When he finally finds a job, with this load of debt
upon him, he discovers that between stern necessity and a keen
employer who believes that "business is business," his independ-
ence has gone into the bargain with his time and strength. Not
only must he spend ten hours every day at his task, but all the
terms of that task are subject to arbitrary dictation. In every
particular of demand he must yield silently, bearing rudeness,
exaction, and bad temper, or he must lose his situation. If he is
required to take his pay in merchandise on which " the com-
pany " or the owner makes a profit, he must do it without com-
plaint. If wages are kept back, he has in most cases no remedy,
for in competition or in court what chance has the "hired man "
against the millionaire ? If there is a flaw in the thing made, or
if measure or time is alleged to come short, the statement of the
agent or employer against the workman must be accepted with-
out appeal. If work on Sunday or in extra hours is demanded,
it will go hard with him if he refuses. If it is directly or indi-
rectly intimated to him that, in the exercise of the privilege of a
" free citizen " he is expected to vote for the party or interest of
the owner, he must do it in spite of his convictions. If he is in a
straitened lot, where nothing can be accumulated; where, in
sickness, he must forego medicine and a physician or run in debt
for them ; where every mental invigoration or refreshment is cut
off, every taste for the beautiful is denied, thirst for knowledge is
despised, education of children i? made impossible, and life is in
every way narrowed, depressed, aod cramped ; and if his wife or
child is driven to the workshop, to be there overworked, under-


paid, taxed for thread, made answerable for losses, insulted, or
turned off on account of a diminution of profits, redress is out of
tiie question, and any allusion to it is dangerous. At every point
where plenty of ready money would make living easy, he is taxed
or cheated, because " the destruction of the poor is his poverty."

Now we say, without risk of contradiction, that an experience
like this, brought over from the realm of imagination into reality,
would be likely to darken by a good deal the bright pictures
presented to us of the American paradise. The number of our
human brothers who are in this pitiable plight, in every northern
and western State, is not small, and in some sections must be
reckoned by thousands. Apart from all material suffering, it
is inevitable that a class spirit should be engendered, with its
estranging and embittering ingredients. The manners become
servile manners. Noblesse oblige amounts to nothing, because the
superior power, being commercial and mercenary, is not noblesse.
The friction is the more unhealthy as it becomes manifest that
the distinction is not one of moral dignity, birth, or even breed-
ing, but of cunning or chance. It is therefore anti-republican and
anti-Christian. The purpose of the present writing is not to
prove what disasters this false relation is preparing in the body
politic, but what obligation it lays upon the Church. To a large
extent it is denounced by the letter as well as by the spirit of the
law of the Church's life. There we find such items as these:
" Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your
fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth, and the cries of
them which have reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord
of Sabaoth. Your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of
them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it
were fire." " Do not ye after their works, for they bind heavy
burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoul-
ders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their
fingers." Will the prophets who so prophesy to-day have their
sepulchres built and garnished by this generation ?

Little is said here about measures or methods. The Church
has little to say of them which has not been said from the
beginning. These will appear as they are wanted when there are
faith and wisdom and will to order and to regulate them. The

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The Incarnation

A Revelation of Human Duties.





Lord Bishop of Durha?n.






The following papers have appeared, or will shortly appear,
in the Publications of the Union. They may be had from the Sec-
retary at ten cents each : Subscription, one dollar per annum.


The Church of the World.

Rev. R. A. Holland, S.T.D.
The Church's Duty in Relation
TO the Sacredxess of Prop-
Rev. Prof. Cunninghani, D.D.
Social Problems and the

Rt.Rev. F.D. Huntington, S.T.D.
The Incarnation a Revelation
OF Human Duties.

Rt. Rev. B. F. Westcott, D.D.
The Social Teaching of the
Early Fathers. (Two views.)
Rights and Duties.

Joseph Mazzini.
An Address before Harvard

Rev. W. S. Rainsford, D.D.


The Railroad Strike of 1894,

Prof. W. J. Ashley, M.A.

An Interpretation of the

Social Movements of our


Prof. Henry C. Adams, Ph.D.

Arbitration and Conciliation.

Rev. W. D. P. Bliss.

The Slums of Great Cities and

Their Problems.

Rev. P. W. Sprague.
Political Economy and Prac-
tical Life.
Rev. Prof. V/. Cunningham, D.D.
The Housing of the Working

Rev. P. W. Sprague.
A Bibliography for Students.
An Eight-Hour Day'.
American Trades Unions.

These Publications are issued under the auspices and with the
general approval of the Executive Committee ; but no responsibility
is assumed by the Union for the particular views of individual
'— ''ei-f-. It is intended to provide for the expression of divergent


A Revelation of Human Duties.'^

Before I enter on the discussion of the special subject which I
propose to suggest for your consideration, I must offer you mv
cordial thanks for the care and thought which, with one or two
exceptions, you have bestowed on the questions which I proposed to
you. The replies which you have returned combine to give a vivid
and minute view of the circumstances and the problems of the
Diocese which it would not have been possible to obtain in any
other way ; and the knowledge which I have thus gained will serve
to encourage and to guide me in whatever work I may hereafter be
allowed to do. On future occasions, if the opportunity is given me,
I hope to deal at length with some of the points which have been
brought into prominence ; but I should not do justice to my feeling
if I did not now acknowledge with deep thankfulness the abundant
proofs which I have received of the continued devotion and zeal of
our clergy and lay- workers, and of the spirit of sympathy and
fellowship by which their labors are supported. I do not wish to
dwell to-day on external signs of local or general progress in our
Church, or even on fundamental questions of ecclesiastical organiza-
tion and politics. I wish rather at this season of most solemn
reckoning to fix your attention and my own on the central point of
our Faith, and to ask — in order that we may all ponder the thought
in the presence of God — whether the fact of the Incarnation finds
adequate expression in our opinions and in our conduct. The
Incarnation, in proportion as we give a distinct meaning to the
truth, must become to us a revelation of human duties, and it is in
this light I invite you to regard it.

In approaching this overwhelming subject, I shall endeavor to
fulfill a plan which I had already formed when I was called here,
and which has been, as you know, present to my mind throughout
my work in Durham. In the Diocesan Conference a year ago I
touched upon the obligation which is laid upon the National Church,
the spiritual organ of the Nation, to deal with the questions of com-
mon life in the light of the Christian Faith. I endeavored to show
then that we have in the fact of the Incarnation, which it is our duty

By the kind permission of the author and publishers this charge is here reprinted from
the Bishop of Durham's work entitled "The Incarnation and Common Life." New York.
Macmillan & Co. 1S93.

to proclaim, a motive adequate to stir us to resolute action, and
strength adequate to support us in the face of difficulties apparently
insuperable : that the vision of the patience of God is able to bring
back confidence when we are disheartened by disappointments and
delays : that as Christians, as Churchmen, we must strive unre-
servedly, clergy and laity alike, to make the Gospel the rvile of our
whole life in society and in the state, keeping before us the ideal of
the one corporate life in Christ of which we have been made par-
takers : that we are bound not only to believe that " Jesus is Lord "
but to confess Him before men : that it is the characteristic office of
the clergy to present principles in the light of fresh experience, and
of the laity to embody them with practical wisdom.

I wish now to pursue these thoughts a little further, I wish to
point out, in the hope that some here present will pursue the different
lines of reflection into the details of ordinary work, that the Incai'na-
tion of the Word of God becomes to us, as we meditate on the fact,
a growing revelation of duties personal, social, national : that it is
able by its all-pervading influence to mould to noblest ends the
character of men and classes and peoples : that the interpretation of
it in its beai-ings upon conduct with all that it brings of obliga-
tion and encouragement, is committed to us as ministers of the
English Church with unique solemnity. For while we gladly
recognize the services which other Communions render to the cause
of righteousness, their labours cannot lessen our responsibility.
They cannot, I repeat, lessen our responsibility, but they will, I
trust, more and more help us to meet it.

The meaning of the Incarnation, the central event in the life of
the world, the central truth in the experience of men, in which the
seen and the unseen, the temporal and the eternal, the finite and
the infinite, are brought together, is not obvious at once. , The
treasures of wisdom which the Incarnation includes will not be
exhausted till humanity has reached its consummation. God sent
forth His Son when the fullness of the time was come ; and, from
that date onward, the belief in the Word Incarnate has been a factor
in human development, growing in power through further knowl-
edge of life. For Christianity is not a speculation or a theory. It
is historical in its preparation, in its essence, in its realization : the
record and the interpretation of man's experience. The revelation
which it brings is in life and of life. The Faith, in which it is
embodied and through which it acts, grows as humanity grows.
Each age is bound to study afresh the central fact and to trace the
broarlening stream of its consequences. Each age has its special
problems for which the Gospel has a special message. Men cannot
recall the past and live by it. Nor again can they separate them-
selves from the past. What our fathers did makes our work possi-
ble and in part determines it. Under this aspect the work of each

generation is disclosed by their circumstances, and we cannot
mistake our own. We are required to prove our Faith in the wider
fields of social life. The currency of the general conception of
evolution enables us to understand much in the course of religious
movements which was obscure before, and to foresee more clearly
coming changes. Christianity, even when it is most individualistic,
must affect society, though it may be silently. But now, in
England, social questions are definitely raised as never before, and
they tend to become paramount. As this age has been an age of
physical science so the next is likely to be an age of social science.

It is then of vital importance that we, as ministers of the
Church, should approach social problems from a Christian point of
sight. If we believe in the Fall and the Redemption and the
Mission of the Spirit, the belief, so far as the belief is realized, must
affect our judgments, our actions, our hopes. And we must vindi-
cate our belief in deed ; for as Christians we hold, and all experience
goes to confirm ovu* conviction, that we are not set on eaith to con-
template passively an evolution ^vrought out about us and in us, but
to be soldiers on a battle-field, charged to prepare and hasten the
coming of the Lord. Further knowledge of the conditions by which
our action is limited does not lessen the claims of duty but tends
to guide us to more fruitful endeavors. A vivid perception of a
purpose surely fulfilled according to our observation does not deprive
us of childly trust in Him Who works before our eyes. The
observed facts of evolution do not dispense with the thought of God.
Xay rather, they postulate His action — to speak in the language
of men — as the simplest hypothesis to explain, or more truly to
describe intelligibly, the progress which they represent. But at the
same time they suggest that something has impeded and marred the
course of the progress which they establish. There is, when we
regard events on a large scale, a growing order : that is a witness —
to speak again in the language of men — to the wisdom and love
of a Sovereign Will. There is, when we look for the moment
■without us and vs^ithin us, an unceasing conflict : that is the witness
to man's self-assertion. Fixing our thoughts upon humanity, we
see with increasing clearness, when we contemplate our powers, our
aspirations, our failures, an ideal towards which we are made to
strain ; and experience shows that by ourselves we cannot reach it.
None the less we persist in our effort ; and the Gospel comes to
encourage and to sustain us.

But that we may find and use the power of the Gospel, we must
realize it in its whole essence and scope. We are not Theists.
Our commission is not simply to call on men to believe in God, but
to believe in God manifested in the flesh. By the Incarnation God
is revealed to us as " the Father," so as to give validity to our human
conceptions of His perfection. By the Incarnation He enters

through His Son into the world of Nature and deHvers us from the
tyranny of materiahsm. By the Incarnation He makes known to
us the spiritual basis of life in virtue of which man in the fullness of
his nature is shown to be capable of fellowship with God.

But while the Incarnation "brings all heaven before our eyes,"
it guards us from a dreamy mysticism. It hallows labor and our
scene of labor. It claims the fullest offering of personal service.
It embraces all men in the range of its greatest hope, and not only
those who have reached a particular stage of culture. It enables us
to reverence with a sublime faith, which experience has amply
justified, men as men ; for we believe that Christ is the Saviozir of
the world (St. John iv. 42) : that it is the will of God that all jn en
be saved and come to the knovjledge of the truth (i Tim. ii. 4) :
that it was His good -pleasure to reco7icile through Christ all
things unto Himself having 9nade peace through the blood of
His cross, whether the things on the earth or the things in the
heavens (Col. i. 20).

All men and all being therefore come within the range of the
Christian's hope; and our most frequent prayer — Thy kingdom
co7ne — reminds us that the Lord presents earth as the scene of our
consummation. As His ambassadors we need to assert His claim
to be Creator and Heir of the universe (Heb. i. 2). The apostolic
portraiture of the Master, as He went about doing good, and heali^ig
all that were oppressed of the devil (Acts x. 38), must be the pat-
tern of the disciples' labors. To us also, when we are lost in vain
speculations on the mysteries of the Divine working, the words come :
Why stand ye gazing up into heaven? (Acts i. 11).

We need this awakening summons to that which we may think
secular work. It has happened now and again that our hesitation
has prejudiced the popular estimate of our Faith. There is
unhappily a true sense in which the common people have not heard
us gladly. They think, however wrongly, that we are either
ignorant of their trials or indifferent to them. In the meantime,
while we have hung back, others have sought to bring expression
and fulfillment to the generous desires of our race. Their work has
been outwardly Christian in type, but they have lacked the spiritual
foundation of the Christian Faith. Where they have failed, and all
merely material reforms must fail, their ill-success has tended to
discredit our efforts. It cannot but discredit them until we make
our motive and our aim clear. This w^e can do and this we are
bound to do. For us each amelioration of man's ciixumstances is
the translation of a fragment of our Creed into action, and not the
self-shaped effort of a kindly nature. It answers, as we believe, to
the Will of God ; and the Faith which quickened the purpose is
sufficient to accomplish it. Our Perfect Exemplar exists already.
Our citizenship — the type of every social privilege and dut}^ — exists

in heaven (Phil, iii, 30). That ideal underlies, limits, transfigures,
our earthly citizenship. For us "love" is no vague impulse, but
the mature fruit of that " love of the brethren," which grows out of
the common acknowledgment by Christians of their vital union with
one Saviour (2 Pet. i. 7). The "brother" in the Epistles of St.
John, whose language has been transferred to attractive common-
places, is the fellow-Christian and not the fellow-man. The truth
which the Apostle emphasized is consequently in danger of being
forgotten. We all need to recognize more fully than we have yet
done the Divine fellowship of Christian with Christian before we
can rightly discharge our wider duties.

For we all have wider duties. The capacity for influence is
given to us, and we are charged to use it. Under three memorable
images the Lord describes the ofiice of Christians and of the
Christian Church to men at large. 7'e are, He said to His disciples
gathered round Him, the salt of the earth: Te are the light of
the world. And again, 21ie kingdom of heaven is like to leaven
which a wojjian took and hid in three measures of ?}ieal till the
whole was leavened.

Every phrase requires to be carefully weighed. In the ministry
of the Gospel there is work for the individual ; and there is work
for the society. There is a work of preservation, of enlightenment,
of transformation. Things in themselves corruptible and transitory
receive from Christians in Christ that which brings to them sound-
ness and permanence. Dark mysteries in society and nature are
illuminated for believers, who are cominissioned to spread the light
which they welcome. The unordered mass of human energies is
capable of transfiguration, and the Christian Society, so far as it is
faithful to itself, silently and slowly extends on every side its
quickening force. The Incarnation — to connect these duties with
their source — carries with it all that is requisite for the fulfillment
of the Divine counsel of creation : the power of the Resurrection,
the glory of the Ascended Christ, the life which He breathed into
His Church.

The fact, as I have already said, is slowly apprehended. The
consequences are slowly realized. Yet there is a movement towards
the divine goal. The conquests of the first three centuries — the
successive conquests of the family, the schools, the empire — typify
on the scene of the Old World the conquests which have to be won
on a much larger scale in the New World. Something has been
already done, but we have still much to learn in order that we may
do our part.

Christian ideals have not yet taken a dominant place in our higher
education ; though I believe that it is becoming more and more clear
that these alone satisfy the aspirations of the masters of ancient
Greece and bring into life the theories which they formed apart
from life.

In social action we are all tempted to acquiesce In that which Is
"lawful." We consider what we may "lawfully" do without
incurring civil penalties and not what we ought to do. But civil
law is no rule of positive duty. Its symbol Is " thou shalt not " and
not "thou shalt." And for the Inspiration of conduct we require
to consider what a quickened sense of duty prompts us to aim at,
rather than what a code forbids.

In International affairs a narrow " patriotism" often hinders us
from looking at the permanent issues of a policy suggested by
present interests or pride.

We have then, I say, much to learn. The Christian Faith covers
all life — the personal life, the life of the citizen and the life of the
man. Each least and nearest interest gains in Intensity as a wider
interest is acknowledged. As Christians therefore we are bound

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Online LibraryR. A. (Robert Afton) HollandThe church of the world → online text (page 5 of 19)