Copyright
Robert Flint.

Socialism online

. (page 36 of 38)
Online LibraryRobert FlintSocialism → online text (page 36 of 38)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


are social questions, and the measure of their im-



490 SOCIALISM

portaiice is the extent to which they affect the
condition and character of society.

The man who fancies that the Church ought to
have nothing to do with poHtics, cannot have thought
much on tlie subject. The Church has to do with
the Bible, and the Bible is a very political book.
The history recorded in Samuel, Kings, and
Chronicles may be called " sacred history," but it is
in the main as much political history as that nar-
rated by Herodotus, Tacitus, or Froude. The
prophets preached politics so very largely that no
man can expound what they uttered and apply it
without preaching politics also. To lecture through
the Epistle of James without trenching on the
sphere of politics one would require to be not merely
adroit but dishonest. It is true that Christ's king-
dom " is not of this world," but also true that
Christ is " prince of the kings of the earth," and
consequently that all political rulers and political
assemblies are as much bound to obey His will as
ecclesiastical leaders and ecclesiastical councils.
Political morality is conformity in certain relations
to the divine law which the Church has been
instituted to make known and to get honoured in
all relations. The Church has, therefore, very much
to do with politics. She has to do with it in so far
as politics may be moral or immoral, Christian or
anti-Christian ; in so far as there is national duty or
national sin, national piety or national impiety.

The Church, however, has not to do with politics
in the same way in which the State has. It is not
her province to deal with political measures in them-



SOCIALISM AND RELIGION 491

selves. The clergy must not thrust themselves into
the business of politicians. They are only entitled
to watch how the activity of the politician is related
to the law of Christ, to inculcate the " righteousness
that exalts a people," and to denounce "the sin
which is the reproach of nations." But that they
are bound to do ; and they may render great service to
society by faithfully doing it. There would be less
political immorality were political sins more certain
of being rebuked. If, when murder was stalking
through the south and west of Ireland, the clergy of
Britain had generally proclaimed as pointedly the
obliofatoriness of the commandment " Thou shalt not
kill " as one of them, Professor Wace, did, politicians
of all kinds would soon have had their eyes opened
to see that they could not hope to make capital out
of crime, and Britain would not have been bur-
dened with nearly so heavy a load of blood -guiltiness.
It is a great misfortune for a people when it has no
prophets of the old Hebrew stamp to arouse its
conscience by confronting it with the divine law.

The Church is bound to do her utmost to make
the State moral and Christian. This requires her
to maintain her own independence ; to take no part
in questions of merely party politics ; to keep free
if possible from the very suspicion of political parti-
sanship ; and to confine her efforts, when acting
within the political sphere, to endeavouring to
get the law of her Lord honoured and obeyed in
national and public life. She must be subject or
bound to no party, but rise above all parties, in order
that she may be able to instruct, correct, and rebuke



492 SOCIALISM

them all with disinterestedness and effectiveness.
When she fully realises this necessity, and acts
accordingly, her political influence, far from being
lessened, will be greatly increased. It is only when
she throws off all political bondage, keeps herself
free from the contamination of what is base and
corrupt in pohtical life, and stands forth as instituted
and commissioned by God to declare His saving
truth and righteous will to all men without respect
of persons, that she can with the necessary authority
and weight condemn all sacrifice of truth to expe-
diency ; of morality to success ; and of the welfare of
a nation, or the advancement of Christianity, or the
good of mankind, to the advantage of a party, or the
triumph of a sect, or the mean ends of individuals or
classes. Only then will she fully exert the immense
power with which she has been entrusted for the
healing of the nations, for the regeneration and re-
novation of society. And then, too, the world will
be forced to recognise its indebtedness to her ; to
acknowledge that she has received manifold gifts for
men which are indispensable to the welfare of society ;
that she can render to the State far greater advan-
tages than the State can confer upon her ; that she
can bring to bear upon the hostile parties in a com-
munity a moderating, elevating, and harmonising
influence peculiar to herself; that she can touch
deeper springs of feeling and of conviction than any
merely secular power can reach, and thereby do
more to purify public life ; and, in a word, that her
mission is so wonderfully adapted to meet human
wants that it must indeed be divine.



SOCIALISM AND RELIGION 493

SUPPLEMENTARY NOTE.— THE CHURCH'S CALL TO
STUDY SOCIAL QUESTIONS.

The following remarks of the author on this subject have already
appeared in print. They are reprinted here because of their close
connection with the concluding portion of the chapter.

" The call of the Church to study social questions is not a new
one, except so far in form. In substance it is as old as the
Church itself. The teaching of Christ and of the Apostles was
the setting forth of a Gospel intimately related to the society in
which it appeared, and vitally affecting the whole future of the
society which was to be. The Church may find in the study of
the New Testament the same sort of guidance for its social activity
as an individual minister may find in it for the right performance
of his pulpit or pastoral duty.

" Just as in the New Testament there are the all-comprehensive
and inexhaustibly fruitful germs of a perfect doctrine of the
ministry of the Word, and of the pastoral care, so are there of a
perfect doctrine of the social mission of the Church. Indeed, the
Sermon on the Mount alone contains far more of light fitted to
dispel social darkness, and far more of the saving virtue which
society needs, than any individual mind can ever fully apprehend,
or than the Church universal has yet apprehended.

" If the call of which I have to speak were not thus old as well
as new ; if it were not a call inherent in the very nature of the
Gospel, and implied in the very end of the existence of a Church
on earth ; if it summoned the ministers of the Word away from
the work which Christ had assigned to them ; if it required them
to discard their divinely-inspired text-book, it could hardly be a
true one, and ministers might well doubt if it could be incumbent
on them to listen to it. But it is no such call. For, although it
be one which summons us to reflect on what is required of us in
the circumstances of the present hour — one which is repeated to
us by God's providence daily in events happening around us and
pressing themselves on our attention — it is also one which comes
down to us through the ages from Him who lived and suffered and
died in Palestine centuries ago, in order that, as God was in Him,
and He in God, all men might be one in Him.



494 SOCIAIJSM

" The call is so distinct that the Church has never been entirely
deaf to it. Originating as it did in the love of Christ to mankind?
it necessarily brought with it into the woild a new ideal of social
duty ; and it has never ceased to endeavoui-, more or less faithfully,
to i-elieve the misery and to redress the wrongs under which it
found society suffering. In the early Christian centuries, in the
time of the fall of the Roman Empire and the formation of the
mediaival world, in the so-called " ages of faith," and the ejioch of
the foundation of modern States, and in all periods since, the
Church has had a social mission varying with the characteristics
and wants of each time, and may fairly claim to have largely
contributed to the solutions which the social problems of the times
received. And a zeal guided by prudence, a wise activity in the
social spheie, has never done the Church anything but good.
When the Church has kept itself to itself, when it has shut itself
up in its own theological schools, divided itself into sects mainly
interested in opposing one another, and confined its work within
congregational and parochial limits ; in a word, when it has
cultivated an exclusive and narrow spirit, then it has been pro-
portionately unfaithful, disputatious, and barren ; its theology has
been lifeless and unprogressive, its ministry of the Word sapless
and inefiective, and the types of piety and of character which it
has produced have been poor and unattractive. In the measure in
which the Church is a power for good on earth will it prove a
power which draws men to heaven.

" The call of the Church to study social questions has its chief
ground or reason in this, that the influence of the Church, if brought
rightly and fully to bear on society, must be incalculably beneficial
to it. There is no power in the world which can do so much for
society as the Church, if pure, united and zealous, if animated with
the mind of Christ, and endowed with the graces of the spirit.

" The State can, of course, do for society what the Church cannot
do, and has no right even to try to do ; but it cannot do for society
more than, or even as much as, the Church may do, and should
do. The power of the State, just because the more external and
superficial, may seem the greater, but is really the lesser. Spiritual
force is mightier than material force. Rule over the affections of
the heart is far more decisive and wide-reaching than rule over the
actions of the body.



SOCIALISM AND RELIGION 495

" The Church, if it does not destroy its own influence by un-
reasonableness, selfishness, contentiousness, departure from the
truth as it is in Christ, and conformity to the world, will naturally,
and in the long run inevitably, rule society and rule the State ;
and that for the simple reason that it ought to rule them— ought
to bring them into subjection to those principles of religion and
of morality on which their life and welfare are dependent.

" Of course, if the Church be untrue to itself, unfaithful to its
Lord, it will do harm in society just in proportion to the good
which it might and ought to do. The corruption of the best is the

worst.

" In the truths which it was instituted to inculcate, the Church
has inexhaustible resources for the benefiting of society, which
ought to be wisely and devotedly used.

" Was it not instituted, for example, to spread through society
the conviction that the supreme ruler of society is God over all ;
that the Prince of the kings of the earth is the Lord Christ Jesus ;
that the pei-fect law of God as revealed in Christ ought to underlie
all the laws which monarchs and parliaments make ; and that
whatever law contradicts His law is one to be got rid of as soon
as possible, and brought into consistency with His eternal sta-
tutes ?

"Well, what other real security has society for its freedom
than just that conviction ? What other sure defence against the
tyranny of kings or parliaments, of majorities or mobs ? I know
of none. The only way for a people to be free is to have a firm
faith in God's sovereignty, in Christ's headship, over the nations ;
a firm faith that in all things it is right to obey God rather than
man ; that the true and supreme law of a people cannot be the
will of a man, or of a body of men, or of the majority of men, or
of those who happen for the time to have physical force on their
side, but only the will of God, the law at once of righteousness
and of liberty.

" The God in Whom the Christian Church believes, moreover,
is not only God over all, but God the Father of all ; God Wlio loves
all with an equal and impartial love, and Whose love, in seeking
the love of all men and the good of all men, seeks also that they
should love one another and promote each other's good. The
Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of men are truths which



496 SOCIALISM

the Church is bound to endeavour fully to impress on the mind
and heart of society ; and obviously the welfare of society depends
on the success with which this is effected.

" Further, the Churcli has been instituted to commend to the
consciences of mankind the claims of a moral law, comprehensive
and perfect so far as its principles are concerned ; a law which
does justice to the rights and requirements both of the individual
and of society, and therefore is free from the faults alike of indi-
vidualism and of socialism ; one which lays the foundations of a
rightly constituted family life and of just and beneficent govern-
ment ; and which over-looks not even the least of those virtues on
which the economic welfare of a community and of its members
so much depends. And to give life and force to the injunctions
of this law, so that they may be no mere verbal precepts, but full
of divine fire and efiicacy, they are connected with the greatest
and most impressive facts, — the mercies of God, the work and
example of Christ, and the aid and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

" Does the Church commend this law in all its breadth, and by
all the motives which enforce it, as wisely, earnestly, and effect-
ively as it might ? I fear not altogether ; and yet there is great
need that it should ; for, if not, there is no other body, no other
society, that will. Take even those humble yet most essential
virtues to which I have just referred under the name of economic
— those personal qualities which make a man's labour more valu-
able both to himself and others than it would otherwise be, and
which further ensure that whatever his wages may be they will
not be foolishly or unworthily spent. Are they not apt to be
overlooked in our teaching, although they were certainly not over-
looked in that of the Apostles? Yet who will do them justice if
ministers of the Gospel do not ? Will it be socialist orators like
those in Hyde Park or Glasgow Green, or gentlemen in quest of
workmen's votes to help them into Parliament, or otherwise to
raise them to prominence and power ? I trow not ; they will will-
ingly leave that task to the clergy ; and I think the clergy had
better do it, and as lovingly, yet as faithfully, as they can. Politi-
cal economists, indeed, may show, and have abundantly shown,
the economic importance of the virtues referred to both as regards
individuals and societies ; but that, although all that political
economists can relevantly do, is not enough ; while Christian



SOCIALISM AND RELIGION 497

ministers can bring to the enforcement even of these virtues far
higher and more effective considerations.

" I hasten to add that the Church of Christ has been set up to
show forth to mankind a kingdom of God which is both in
heaven and on earth. Among multitudes of SociaHsts there is a
quite special hatred against faith in a heavenly kingdom. It is
the opium, they say, by which the peoples have been cast into
sleep, and prevented from asserting and taking possession of their
rights. Exclaims one of them — ' When a heaven hereafter is
recognised as a big lie, men will attempt to establish heaven here.'
Thousands of them have uttered the same thought in other words.
Oh, strange and sad delusion ! If a heaven hereafter be a big lie,
what reason can we have to expect that there will ever be a
heaven here ? A merely earthly paradise can only be a fool's
paradise. Earth is all covered with darkness when not seen in
the light of a heaven above it. The preachers of past days, per-
haps, erred by laying almost exclusive stress on the kingdom of
God in heaven. The preachers of the present day may err by
laying too exclusive stress on the coming of the kingdom of God
on earth, and so leading some to believe that the secularist
Socialists may be right, and that there may be no other heaven
than one which men can make for themselves here.

" The great and continuous call of the Church to study social
questions arises from her having been entrusted with such powers
to act on society, to regenerate and reform, to quicken and elevate
society, as I have now indicated. The right application of them
is essential to the welfare of society ; but such application of them
supposes the most patient and careful and prayerful study, the
most intimate and living acquaintance with the Gospel on the one
hand, and the most thorough insight into the requirements of
society on the other, and, in a high degree, the knowledge and the
prudence which inform a man when and what to speak, how to
say just enough and to refrain from adding what will weaken or
wholly destroy its effect. Bishop Westcott's " Social Aspects of
Christianity," and Dr. Donald Macleod's " Christ and Society,"
are greatly more valuable than they would have been if their
authors had shown a less exquisite sense of knowing always where
to stop ; and such a sense, only attainable in due measure by
assiduous thoughtfulness, is probably even more necessary in

2 I



49S SOCIALISM

addressing congregations composed of the poor and laboui*ing
classes than those which meet in Westminster Abbey or the
Park Church.

" While there has always been a call on the Church to study
social questions, thei'e is likewise, however, a special call on the
Church of the present day to do so. For, indubitably, all over
Christendom there is a vast amount of social rest and unrest.
The conflict between labour and capital is one of chronic war, of
violent and passionate struggles, which too often produce wide-
spread waste and misery. And closely connected with it is a vast
irreligious and revolutionary movement, which sees in Christianity
its bitterest foe, and aims at destroying it along with social order
and private property. This irreligious and revolutionary move-
ment is to a considerable extent the effect of the conflict between
labour and capital, but it is to an even greater extent its cause.

" The matter standing thus, there is a most urgent call on the
Church to study how to bring all the powers of the Gospel to bear
against whatever is wrong in society, and on the stimulation and
strengthening of all that is good in it. Thoughtfulness need not
lissen or counteract zeal ; it should accompany, enlighten, and
assist zeal. If there be an urgent and strong call that the
Church in present circumstances should endeavour to act, \\ith all
the power with which God has endowed her, for the purification
and salvation of society, there must be a correspondingly urgent
and strong call for her to study how she may most fully and
effectively do so." *

* Scottish Church Society Conferences. First Series. Pp. 65-72. Edin-
burgh, 1894.



INDEX



Absolutism, the State, of antiquity,

not Socialism, 32
" Abstraction, " individualist and

socialist, 279
Abuse of power, Collectivism a great

temptation to, 241
Academic Socialists, 353
Adam Smith, 357
Aims of man, 273
America, 342, 343

American Socialism, historians of, 35
Anarchism, literature of, 39 ; and

Communism, 86
Anarchism, Democratic, 305
Aquinas, Thomas, 375
Aristocracy, the truth in the idea of,

307
Armies of industry, Carlyle on, 229
Associations, political, 322
Austria, Catholic Socialists in, 439
Author, his definition and use of word

"Socialism," 17, 21, 28

Baeey, Dr., his definition of Social-
ism, 24

Bastiat, 357

Bax, E. Belfort, on the teaching of
Christ, 96 ; on position of the work-
ing classes, 263 ; 284, 287, 352, 401,
403, 431, 462

Bebel, references to, 283, 352, 462 ;
his definition of Socialism, 24 ; his
"Die Fran," 139

Belgium, 28S

Bellamy, 462

Bellom. Maurice, 294

Benevolence, Cumberland inculcates
a theory of, 64

Bible, the, a very political book, 490

Blanc, Louis, on the duties of Govern-
ment, 34 ; on standard of wages,
125 ; 405, 414

Blanchard, J. T., on the right to
labour, 415



Blanqui's motto, Xi Dieu ni mattre,

330

Bohmert, Victor, 295

Bonar, Dr., 327

Bosanquet, his definition of Socialism,
26 ; on Economical Socialism, 333

" Bourgeois Family," the, 283

Bourgeoisie, 387 ; bourgeoisie and
peuple, 384

Bradlaugh's definition of Socialism at
St. James's Hall, 16

Britain, working men in, and Social-
ism, 44 ; dangers of Socialism in,
45 ; provoking causes of Socialism
in, 46 ; no warrant for a pessimistic
view of coming events in, 46 ;
Socialistic periodicals in, 49 et
seq. ; 288 ; possible ruin of, by
other great military and naval
Powers, or by its own people, 325 ;
Democracy of, should not be in-
dift'erent to Britain's naval and
military supremacy, 310

Brotherhood, Socialism morally
strongest in its recognition of, 381 ;
yet violates it, 386

Buckle referred to (in Encyclopsedia
Britannica by Dr. Flint), 72

Buying out proprietors of land, 222

C^sARiSM, 336, 342

Campanella, 2S3

Capital and intelligence entitled to
remuneration, 112; Marx on, 141,
144, 14S, 153, 154, 155, 164, 170,
198, 199, 372 ; and Interest, 173 ;
Mr. Lecky on, 174 ; what isit ? 156 ;
and labour dependent on each
other, 158 ; and Collectivism, 176 ;
and labour reciprocally essential,
177 : as an "historic category,"
185 ; and circulation, 186; "vari-
able,'' and "constant," 187; robs
labour — fallacy of the idea, 164 ;



500



INDEX



Adam Smith, Ricardo, and Proud-
hon mentioned in connection with,
164; Schaftle on, 166; mediajval
superstition about, 173 ; collec-
tivisation of, scope and aim of the
scheme, 231 ; its impracticability,
232; and its folly, 239, 241 ; pro-
blem of maintenance of, affected
by Collectivism, 246

Capitalist, a, must be the friend of
labour, and those who seek the good
of labour should desire increase of
capital, 158 ; the mere, a despicable
being, 179; claims of the, to re-
muneration, incontestible, 171 seq.;
method of exploitation, 190 ; work-
men's grounds of complaint against,
179 ; system of an industrial reserve
army, 198

Carlyle on State management of the
land, 228 ; and armies of industry,
229

Catchwords of parties, 289

Catholic doctrine and Socialism, 439

Catholic Socialists in Germany, 438

Cathrein, 360

Cave of Furies (ancient Athens), 394

Chalmers, Dr., his purpose in writing
" Political Economy," 280 ; 353

Chamberlain, Mr. on political reform,
42

Champion, H. H., 295

Character, importance of education
in forming, 280

Charity, 410 ; and history of Christ-
endom, 390 ; legal and otlicial, 392

Chicago martyrs, 35

Children, transfer of to the care of the
State, 286

Christ, the teaching of, neither indi-
vidualistic nor socialist, 96; and
brotherly love, &c., 388, 307, 394 ;
immeasurably the greatest reformer
and revolutionist who has ever ap-
peared on earth, 466

Christian Socialists, 434

Christianity not bound to existing
order of society, 452 ; Socialism
antagonistic to, 460 ; meant to free
men from sucli slavery as Socialism
imposes, 465

Church, the mediasval, and social
authority, 96

Church, the. 288, 289, 470 et seq. ;
and Socialism, 289, 290 ; should aim
at fulfilling her social mission
wholly in the spirit of her Lord,
481 ; her duty plain, 481 ; must not



be the Church of any class alone,
481 ; should endeavour to remove
causes of disaffection, 482 ; Dives
and Lazarus, 485 ; should do more
for solution of social and labour
problems, 486 ; should point out
duties as well as rights to the
classes, 488 ; cannot draw any
absolute distinction between social
and political questions, 4S9 ; has
not to do with politics in the same
way as the State has, 490 ; Prof.
Wace, 491 ; call of, to study social
questions (supplementary note), 493
et seq.
Claims of proprietors of land, 221
Clergy, the, 476 et seq. ; Leighton
(quoted), and " preaching up the
times," 476
Colins, an advocate of Collectivism,

i ^7

Collectivisation of capital, scope and

I aim of the scheme, 231 ; its imprac-

I ticability, 232 ; to be realised only

I by revolution — folly of such an

attempt, 234 ; J. S. Mill on, 235 ;

Archbishop Whateley on, 238 ;

means national slavery, 239 ; a

species of slavery, 241

Collectivism, Schilffle on, 61 ; the
only formidable kind of Socialism,
63 ; and Individualism contrasted,
64 et seq. ; Karl Marx founder of,
86 ; described, 87 ; and capital,
176 ; Professor J. S. Nicholson
on the proposals of, 233 ; a great
temptation to abuse of power, 241 ;
would cause a longer labour day,
244 ; would almost entirely deprive



Online LibraryRobert FlintSocialism → online text (page 36 of 38)