R. A. (Robert Afton) Holland.

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brothers' keepers."

But if we regard society at large we see that groups of men are
differenced no less than individuals ; and the fundamental harmonies
of the home lead us to expect that these differences will be permanent.
As it is, the nation consists not only of citizens and families, but also
of classes. These are shaped and bound together by a cominon
history, by common traditions, interests, duties ; and they represent
permanent types of service. Philosophers who have framed ideal
commonwealths have recognized that the coexistence of distinct
classes is necessary for the general well-being. Early rulers stereo-
typed them and fenced them round with impassible barriers, though
it is a lesson of hope that in the oldest and most permanent Empire
in the world free passage from class to class has always been
allowed. Going back then to the image of the body, we can truly
say that as the nation is one body, so, on this larger scale, the
different classes are members of it. That which holds good of the
whole Chuixh, holds good of the Christian nation : all the body ftly
framed and knit together^ through that which every joint sujh-
plieth^ accordijig to the working in dtie measure of each several
part^ makcth the increase of the body u?ito the building' up of
itself in love.

Here then again as Christians we are bound to seek for the



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greatest human efficiency of each class as of each man : to seek that
each class shall fulfill its office under conditions which are favorable
not only to life but to good life. In the Christian state every group of
workers ought to be able to take a recognized and honorable place
in the whole body. So the social aspect of work will bring to all
work equal dignity.

It has been said that states grow rich only by labor, even as
character is rightly shaped by it. The statement is true in the
material sense if we take account of the past no less than of the
present ; of intellectual, moral and spiritual labor no less than of
manual labor. But the workman becomes less and less able to claim
any result as his own according as society becomes more and more
complex. All work depends on fellowship and serves to support it.
If we look to the essential relations of things, the material reward of
work is tile provision that it may be done : the end of work is the
general welfare. The true wealth of states is men and not mer-
chandise. The true function of government is to watch over the
growth of good citizens. Material wealth exists for the development
of man not man for the acquisition of property. This principle has
in fact hitherto ruled our social legislation, which has been influenced
more by moral than by economic considerations. Our legislation
has been, in other words, essentially if unconsciously Christian ; and
now our aim as believers in the Divine life of the nation must be to
secure, as far as possible, that our national inheritance shall be made
fruitful as it is distributed in many parts throughout the people, and
that each worker shall be able to thank God for the joy of his own
task and the share which he has in the common life. To this end
we shall not seek to equalize material riches but to hallow large
means by the sense of large responsibility : not to palliate the effects
of poverty but to remove the causes of it : not to dispense with
strenuous and even painful effort but to provide that labor in every
form may be made the discipline of noble character.

If we look around we must confess that we have hardly faced the
problem ^vhich is thus set before us. We have just emerged from
an industrial revolution. Old ties have been renioved. The new
ties have not yet been shaped. The spirit of individualisin is still
invoked to justify boundless self-assertion ; and even self-interest is
insufficient to restrain ruinous competition. Such anarchy can only
last for a brief space. Already we welcome on every side generous
if impatient efforts to establish among us a social order more con-
formable to the facts of Divine sonship and human brotherhood.
Nor need we be disheartened if discontent increases at the time when
there is a growling desire to remove the evils by which it is aroused.
Edvacation cannot but stir new wants by awakening new capacities ;
and if these take a material form at first, it is becavise we have not
shown that the highest and most satisfying pleasures are independent
of great possessions.



What then shall we do as ministers of Christ — this is the question
which we have to ask — to hasten the advent of the better order ?
How shall we in the exercise of our office prepare the ready accept-
ance of new duties answering to the new conditions of capital and
labor, of owners, employers and artisans ?

The first and the most obvious answer is that we shall use our unique
power for promoting mutual understanding between different classes.
We touch, as I have said, each extreme in the social scale. We
have the opportunity of knowing directly with what disastrous issues
words, motives, feelings, are misinterpreted on this side and that.
Our greatest industrial danger lies in the want of mutual confidence
between employers and employed. Confidence is of slow growth.
It comes most surely through equal intercourse. This in some
forms we can further. We are above the suspicion of partisaniship.
We can encourage the fullest expression of opinion from the advo-
cates of rival causes. We can sometimes invite an interchange of
conflicting views.

But it is through fellowship in the highest v\^ork that we learn best
how much those have in common who seem to be most widely
separated by circumstances. And after thirty-five years I look with
growing trust for the formation of little bands of Christian workers
in every Diocese or even in every Rural Deanery united for comimon
service — ' ' brethren and sisters of the common hope " — taken from
every class, who by fellowship in aim and labor and devotion shall
bring together many hearts.

Such associations, growing out of our own circumstances and
needs and aspirations, not artificial imitations of brotherhoods framed
to meet the conditions of earlier times, would, I believe, interpret
the Faith with a new power and reveal believers to themselves.
They belong no less to a highly developed than to a primitive form
of Christian society. They belong especially to periods of great
change, and bring satisfaction to the spirit of sacrifice and the spirit
of devotion which these tend to awaken. If the leader arise among
us, followers w"ill not be wanting.

Everything seems to be ready for the new beginning. Mean-
while we shall use — or endeavor to use — every opportunity which is
offered to us in ordinary life for learning the feelings and aims of
employers and employed, and for bringing both classes together on
the ground of the common Faith.

Free and habitual intercourse between them, both personally and
through their accredited representatives, will prepare the way for a
satisfactory and lasting settlement of the relative claims of capital and
labor on the profits of industry. It is needless to speculate on
the form which it is likely to take. But already a great change
has taken place in the provision of capital for industrial enter-
prises, wliich, since it brings special dangers and opportunities,
requires to be noticed. The largest businesses are more and more



19

falling into the hands of Joint Stock Companies. It is said that
these already engross one-third of the commerce of England. In
this sense very many of us are capitalists, not as lenders of money
merely, but as partners in some industrial undertaking, sharing its
fortunes and responsibilities, though we are not directly engaged in it.

The position is one which calls for serious consideration. A
divided responsibility is in all cases dijfticult to discharge, but in this
case the responsibility is so widely spread that it is practically for-
gotten. Shares in great companies are regarded simply as invest-
ments (like loans) without any duties of proprietorship. The
whole business, with its complicated human relationships, tends
to become a profit-making machine. The discussions at the
Annual Meetings turn mainly upon the dividend. Expenditure
which is not directly remunerative is viewed with suspicion or
disfavor.

Here, then, it rests with us to apprehend ourselves and to enforce,
as far as we are able, a juster view of the obligations of shareholders.
We can feel the temptation, and we can feel the opportunity. The
share in a business, small as it may be, carries with it not only
responsibility for the capital as property but also responsibility for
the administration of it. The holder is both a trustee in regard to
the sum which the shares represent, and an agent in regard to the
end for which it is employed. It is his duty to satisfy himself that
his money will be put to a good use, and so made to contribute to
ends which are materially and morally desirable. He is bound,
that is, to consider both the object of the enterprise to which he
contributes and the manner in which it is conducted : to consider, in
other words, the character and the conditions of the work, and
even the more remote results which it may produce. The amount
of the dividend, irrespective of the way in which it is earned, cannot
justify his choice of the investment. He is required, as one who
knows that he has received all for the common good, not only to
offer duly of that which he receives, but also to be assvired in his
own mind that what he has is rightly employed.

The influence of a single shareholder may be slight, but even one
who supports the Directoi^ate in endeavoring to improve the con-
ditions of labor and give those who serve an interest in the pros-
perity which they help to create, will direct attention to a principle
and call out sympathetic support. A wide propi-ietorship ought to
secure steady and generous consideration for workmen, and provide
in due time for those larger forms of co-operation in which many see
the best hope for the future.

On the other hand, the common indifference of shareholders to
the conduct of that which is their own business, if only it is
financially successful, and their personal ignorance of the work by
which they profit, gives plausibility to the popular charge that the
capitalist uses the artisan for his own gain.



20

These considerations are, I repeat, of great and far-reaching
importance ; and we need to weigh them both for the guidance of
our own action and for the wise counselhng of those who seek our
advice.

It may be urged that I am pleading to a large extent for a senti-
ment : that the Directorates of our greatest Companies are alive to
their duties, and that skilled labor is able to maintain its own cause
successfully. Yet sentiment has a dominant effect on life and
character ; and it makes a difference whether a result is obtained by
conflict or by concert. There are also larger possibilities in the
administration of great Companies to which I have pointed as
deserving attention ; and there is even among skilled artisans a
proportion of partially unemployed whose case is peculiarly sad.
But at the same time I readily admit that the most pressing social
difficulty now lies in the condition of irregular and unskilled
laborers. To thein we naturally turn our thoughts chiefly, for they
most need help. They have suffered most acutely from the indus-
trial revolution. They have the least capacity for combination, and
the least opportunity for combining. They seem to be as yet
tmable to rise to a higher standard of life by their own efforts.
They do not even aspire to it. Education has not stirred in them
a generous discontent. They suffer in moral force from labor
which is uncertain and unnaturally protracted, and the value of
their labor is seriously lessened. As far as I can yet judge, they
require some extended legislative protection, and, I will venture to
add, some legislative coercion. Thei'e are classes which are still
children, and in their case the Government must not shrink from
discipline. It cannot rightly leave uncorrected and unrestrained
masses of men whose low type of life spreads corruption. It treats
attempted suicide as a crime : it ought to treat " the slow suicide of
idleness " as a crime no less.

Labor refuges and labor colonies, both at home and abroad, may
be of good service. The experiments in Holland and Germany
give warnings and encouragements. But we have yet much to
learn. We have to determine particularly the right limits of public
and private efforts, of coercive discipline and personal influence,
and without advocating at present any special solution of the
problem, I plead that we should seriously study it. England
brought the problem upon us, and England must solve it. For us
Durham is our school. And it will be possible, I trust, to form
groups of laymen, who will patiently study its lessons: who will
inquire and consult and teach : who will ascertain the number and
the descent and the distribution of the skilled and vmskilled : who
will determine the extent and the causes of the rapid shifting of the
population in some places : who will investigate in detail the causes
of the pauperism which exists in the Diocese : who will trace for us
in the history of the last fifty years the great lines of improvement



21

along which we can move further with the confidence of faith.

I fully recognize the difficulties of bringing class to class in
harmonious fellowship, and above all of finding a worthy place in
the social body for the lowest class : but here the Gospel sustains us.
For the most desolate Christ died. They, too, are part of the
world which God loved. That devotion to the common good
through which alone men as men can be bound together in widest
and closest communion is necessarily included in the Christian
Faith. And what we look for, work for, pray for, as believers, is
a nation where class shall be bound to class by the fullest participa-
tion in the treasures of the one life : where the members of each
group of workers shall find in their work the development of their
character and the consecration of their powers ; where the highest
ambition of men shall be to be leaders of their own class, so using
their special powers without waste and following the common
traditions to nobler issues : where each citizen shall know, and be
strengthened by the knowledge, that he labors not for himself only,
nor for his family, nor for his country, but for God.

Such a nation, " framed and fitly I'oined together by that which
every joint supplieth," rising out of the past, new at once and yet
old, would rightly embody the social spirit of Christ and prepare
the Advent of the Kingdom of God.

Is it not worth working for.^* And will not the splendid vision,
as we work, cheer us and lead us forward?

III.

We must carry our thoughts of the body and the members yet
farther. Man, we believe, was broken into men that in every
variety of relation he might work out his separate powers before all
were summed up in the Christ. As the nation is a whole made up
of classes, so the race is a whole made up of nations. This concep-
tion is at last coining into prominence in the fullness of time. The
unity of the race offers the same problems, the same difficulties, the
same hopes as the unity of the nation, though on a vaster scale.
We can see that the several nations, in virtue of their character,
their circumstances, their history, contribute towards the complete-
ness of humanity. The glory of a nation, like the glory of a citizen
or of a class, lies not in supremacy but in service. A nation is great
when it fulfills its office, and enables other nations to fulfill theirs.
There is need of the same self-repressive, and yet self-ennobling,
devotion among peoples as among men for their highest develop-
ment. Here also there are those who seem unable to aspire towards
a worthy ideal of human life : those whose energies appear to be
exhausted in self-aggrandisement. But wherever we look the
promise rises before us : /, if I be lifted up from the earthy will
draw all men unto Me.

We must then as Christians, as believers in this great unity of life,
strive that other nations, no less than our own, may be enabled to



22

gain their full development and co-operate with us for the widest
good. As Churchmen we pray for this blessing in the Litany in
comprehensive words, which bring out each aspect of its fulfillment,
when we beseech the Lord that He will be pleased " to give to all
nations unity, peace, and concord," unity, that they may severally
command for use without internal distraction all the forces entrusted
to their care ; peace, that they may be free from the disasters of
foreign conflict ; concord, that they may combine together in gen-
erous endeavors to extend the general well-being of men. The
petition in its completeness is, as far as I know, unique ; and it is
illustrated by a question in the service for the Consecration of
Bishops. For while the Candidate for the Priesthood is asked
whether he will "maintain and set forwai-d . . . quietness, peace,
and love among all Christian people," he who is to be consecrated
Bishop, seeing that in virtue of his office he must take a wider view
of things and bear a heavier responsibility, is required to " maintain
and set forward . . . quietness, love, and peace among all men."

In obedience to this charge I ask you now therefore to consider
the question of international peace which, if in its accomplishment
it concerns a distant future, is a seaixhing test of the scope and
vitality of our own faith. If we believe the Gospel to be what it
claims to be, the fellowship of nations is included in its promised
victories. The final issue may be remote, but the belief that
universal peace lies in the counsel of God for mankind will influence
our present conduct. In this respect the language of the prophets
and of the Apocalypse expresses the truth which is involved in the
Incarnation. And now at length we can see, in a long retrospect,
that in spite of checks and delays the whole movement of life is
towards a federation of civilized nations, preparatory to the civiliza-
tion and federation of all.

Such a consummation, however visionary it may seem to be,
corresponds, I say, with the course of the development both of
huinan association and of moral ideas which we can trace in the
past. As we look back, we cannot fail to notice that the social
instinct which belongs to man as man has found satisfaction from
time to time in widening circles, in the family, the tribe, the nation.
The largest sphere of fellowship still remains to be occupied, the
race. And wdien at last the different elements of society were
harmoniously combined in the city, as it was organized in the West
by the power of one life, there was a foreshadowing of this crown-
ing fellowship of nations.

In the last century two continental revolutions have marked stages
in the progess towards this largest communion of men. In the
revolution of 1789 individualism found its final expression. The
inheritance from the past was lightly swept aside. Men were
regarded as equal units, and a vage cosmopolitanism was taken to
represent the feeling of the brotherhood of mankind. In such



23

impoverishment of our powers and our endowments thei^e could be
no satisfaction ; and in 1848 there was the beginning of a prolonged
effort to secure for each people the possession of its full treasure
with a view to rendering its full sei-vice. The movement was
essentially a movement of nationalities, and modern Europe is the
result.

Now we are reaching out to yet another change, through which
the nations of Western Europe will, as I believe, be united in a
close confederation, and combine to bring all the resources which
they have gathered through their history to the service of the race.
We understand and acknowledge as never before that nations no
less than men and classes, in spite of all the disturbances of selfish
ambition, must suffer together and rejoice together : that each nation
has its unique endowment and establishes its greatness by the ful-
fillment of its mission : that each is debtor to all, alike by what it
has received and by what it owes : that the end for which we look
will then be reached when the kings of the earthy with a common
devotion, bring their glory into the city of God.

I know the difficulties which stand in the w^ay of such a con-
federation, the temptations of pride and rivalry which distract
popular feeling, the inheritence of past errors and crimes which
perplexes the policy of statesmen. But if Christendom is filled with
one desire, I cannot but believe that God will fulfill the purpose
which He inspires. The object of sincere aspiration in one genera-
tion becomes the sure possession of the next. If the thought of
international concord is welcomed, the most powerful nations will
recognize, as calm students recognize, that there is true strength and
glory in generosity ; and then, when they have put aside traditional
jealousies through the stronger sense of a common duty, we shall
see them islanded by neutral zones in untroubled security.

For Englishmen there is an object which is still nearer. Recent
experience seems to show that a general Arbitration treaty with
America is within a measurable distance. There are hopes, like
prophecies, which fulfill themselves. Such a hope as this we are
bound as Christians to cherish. We can all at least take care, that
within the range of our influence no idle or hasty or petulant word,
no ungenerous judgment shall mar it. The stable friendship of the
English-speaking peoples would go far to assure the peace of the
world.

The development of moral ideas, as I have said already, encour-
ages us, no less than the progress of society, to look for the extinction
of war. Little by little men have extended ever farther the claims
of just consideration. A stranger is no longer an enemy. We
have ceased to wish that other peoples should be like ourselves, and
we honor their differences. Wars of conquest are universally con-
demned. The decalogue is held to have a national application.
As men have been gathered in wider fellowship, sympathy has
grown to match.



24

But it is said that the discipline which comes through mihtary
service, and the sacrifices which are required for a campaign, bring
vigor to nations not unworthy of the price ; and that the sufferings
of war are preferable to the torpor of cowardly and selfish indulgence.
But torpor is not peace. Peace calls for sacrifices as great as
war, and offers fields for equal heroism. Peace demands courage
of body and soul for the accomplishment of its works and kindles
enthusiasm by the prospect of new victories. Perhaps our social
evils are still unvanquished because we have not yet approached
them with forces marshalled on a comprehensive plan, and stirred
by the adour of a common service. The very fact that the fulfill-
ment of Christian duty is described under martial images helps us to
feel that the conflict with evil offers scope for every virtue which
ennobles war. A patient analysis of the qualities which win our
admiration in the soldier proves that the horrors of active service are
not required for their development. A great modern writer has
taken the problem in an extreme form, and shown that all that per-
manently attracts us in a character like Wallenstein is essentially
Christian.

It is said again that, if we substitute arbitration for war, arbitra-
tion may miscarry. It is enough to reply that we have no security
that an appeal to arms will establish a just claim. There is indeed
no more reason to suppose that right as right will triumph in war
than in a wager of battle. Moreover in a national controversy the
question of right is rarely of easy decision. It is certainly not likely
to be decided justly by "the crude, cold, cruel arbitrament" of war.
And when once the contest is begun, our own experience will tell
us that we think more of the establishment of our own will, than of
the determination of the merits of the controversy. We pray for
victory and not for the victory of righteousness. We resolve, it may
be, to be generous if we succeed, but we must first establish our
superiority by success. Generosity in such a temper is a tribute to
self-assertion and not to justice. If justice is indeed the supreme
aim of those who engage in a national dispute, the most imperfect
tribunal, which has to give its decision in the face of the world after


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Online LibraryR. A. (Robert Afton) HollandThe church of the world → online text (page 7 of 19)