William Niccolls Sloan.

Social regeneration the work of Christianity online

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Rev. W. N. SLOAN, PH.D.




19 C2 I


Copyright, 1902, by the Trustees of
The Presbyterian Board of PubHcation and Sabbath-
School Work


From my study window I have a distant \icw
of " The Gate of the Mountain," through which
the Missouri River pours its perennial flood in
its mad rush to reach the sea. Mere it passes
through a spur of the Rockies, which reach
out an arm as if the purpose had been to stop its
flow or turn its channel in its destined course.
The mountains on either side crowd its waters
into a narrow channel which, in the hidden his-
tory of past ages, forced open a gate for passage
through what would have seemed to human judg-
ment an impassable barrier. But the gate has
been opened, the great mountain arm with its
sinews of rock has been cut in two, while the
waters from the mountain streams and melting
snows of our great National Park (the wonder-
land of the world) flow through, laughing at the
volcanic forces which thought to stop their flow.

What seem to human judgment impassable
barriers have been flung across the passageway
of social progress, in its effort to reach the haven
of rest and quiet from the disturbances which


ferment social conditions, and seem to say,
" Hitherto shalt thou come, but no farther."

How long it will take to overcome the diffi-
culties which stand in the way of social destiny
is a secret of the Almighty, but the forces which
wear away the rocks of opposition to universal
good have their source in the mountain heights
of Omnipotence, with whom *' a day is as a
thousand years, and a thousand years as one
day." That which ought to be will be. All
periods of time are transitional, though they
may be fraught with uncertainty and anxiety;
yet a reasonable faith believes all transitions but
steps toward moral regeneration.

Some characterize the dawn of the twentieth
century as a period of skepticism. If so, surely
it is marked by an earnestness and seriousness
that manifest honest endeavor after the truth.
Inquiry and thought are more and more being
centered in Jesus Christ. He is the Star wise
men are still following. He is solving problems
before which science and politics stand dumb.
He is the Supreme Court of appeal. Theories
which will not stand the testing of his truth
cannot hope for extended recognition.

It is the purpose of this little volume to show
how in Christ and his teaching we have a solu-
tion of the vexed questions that trouble social


science. In the earnest study of this subject I
have devoted for several years the time that
could be spared from my direct ministerial

I give in the following pages a summar)- of my
reading and reflection on this great social (jues-
tion, which seems to grow in interest ever\' }'ear.
My conclusions have been forced upon me by a
study of the fruits of Christianity as seen in the
personal experiences of all classes and condi-
tions of society which, in my ministerial life, I
have been called to share. The book has not
been written with a view of instructing profes-
sors and teachers in universities and colleges.

I have endeavored to be practical rather than
philosophical ; to be comprehended by the ordi-
nary reader, and to present Christianity as some-
thing not ideal simply, but as practical and most
helpful for this present life we now live, as well
as to keep alive the blessed hope of a heaven
beyond the grave.

Believing that Christianity is, first of all, a
life, and, secondarily, a systtJii, emphasis has
been placed on the fruits rather than the doc-
trines as revealed in Christ and the New Testa-
ment. It is my firm conviction that the hopes
of human progress, especially in the sphere of
social concjitjons, must depend on the increase


and extension of Christianity if such hopes are
ever to be realized. If the words written in
these pages shall be honored by my Master, so
as to contribute something toward the redemp-
tion of society and the direction of thought to
the Saviour of mankind, I shall feel satisfied
with the divine approval, whatever may be the
verdict of the reader.

W. N. Sloan.
Helena, Montana, March 5, 1902.




Socialism an old subject — No satisfactory solution reached
— Social problems have engaged the greatest minds —
The avarice of man uncontrolled — Dr. Newman Hall's
statement — Classification of methods : ( I ) External ;
(2) Spiritual ; (3) External and spiritual combined —
The last, the method of Christianity, with special empha-
sis on the spiritual


Statement of the Social Problems

Social Edens and golden ages of the past — Plato's " Re-
public " — Cicero's "Commonwealth" — Sir Thomas
More's " Utopia ' ' — Present day social ideas — Modern so-
cialism begins the latter part of the eighteenth century —
Social unrest and democratic institutions — Modern so-
cialism revolulionar)- — Friction centers in capital and
labor — Production of the many the prufit of the few —
The social problems under six divisions — Remedial
agencies complex — Mostly materialistic — Henry George
and his remedy — Philanthropy too materialistic —
Two motives: (i) To make environment better;



(2) To make man independent of environment — The
hope of the Jews and their misapprehension — The king-
dom of God within — Christianity has no ready-made
scheme — Christ a social emancipator, but not a politician 7

Inadequate Solutions

False theory of human nature and external relations — Re-
ligion thought to be a hindrance — Some religious social-
ists — Results of the sixteenth century Reformation on the
social questions — Influence of the apostolic fathers —
St. Ambrose — The Moravians and Shakers — St. Simon
and his " New Christianity " — Tinctured with panthe-
ism — Bazard and Enfantin — Fourier and his religious
views — Louis Blanc — His political methods— His
theory, chief purpose of human existence is happiness
— Proudhon, more radical in his methods — His theory
of private property — Products the medium of exchange
— Some good results from agitation of social questions
— Status of socialism in France — Schisms hinder united
action — Republican Socialistic Alliance — The Social
Revolutionary Party — Disciples of Marx — The social-
istic group — Recent political tests — Socialism in Ger-
many — Socialism most profoundly expounded and philo-
sophically stated — Three great leaders : Rodbertus, Marx,
and Lasalle — Their chief characteristics — Represent the
real socialism of to-day — Some principles of German
socialism: (l) Irreligious in its ruling temper; (2)
False views of family relations and marital vows (Rae's
definition) ; (3) Dependence on the State to do what
personal exertion only can do — To be accomplished by
revolution — Put labor on the throne — A reversal of the
divine order of things — The chariot becomes the char-



ioteer — Success of Socialistic Democracy — Willicliu
Liebknecht's statement — The present clay programme out-
lined — Bismarck's coercive laws a failure — Many just
demands — Swiss Republic an object lesson — Demand
for absolute freedom may mean too much — Bakunim
would ask no more 17


Inadequate Solutions — Continued.

Socialism in England — Leaders disappointed in its recep-
tion — Many practical efforts made under influence of
Christian motive — Christian socialism an important factor
— Robert Owen, his character, life-work, and results —
The International Workingmen's Association — Failed
to meet expectations — Christianity an unrecognized
friend — Providence working out a higher destiny for all
men — Weakness of all socialistic efforts is found in
materialistic ideas — Bread and butter will not regenerate
society — In the United States — Social problems the same,
but methods of solution differ — Aristocracy of wealth
instead of royalty — A field for experimental socialism —
Mostly failures — Political socialism — Failure of Henry
George and the nationalism of Bellamy — The Populist
Party not a success — Our republicanism does not remedy
social friction — Extreme communism and anarchism
foreign importations — The laboring class have grievances
— Large grants of land — National and municipal legisla-
tion in behalf of monopolies — Metliods adopted — Trades
unions and workingmen's associations — Their strength
difficult to estimate— The Knights of Labor — Their pur-
pose non-political — All trades organized — Strikes their
principal method — Their object negative rather than
affirmative — Protection rather than progression — Basis
of operation selfish — Their needs — A wider field and



higher object — The strike system too costly for what has
been gained — Monopohes have more political power,
though few in number — Intelligence and moral force — The
need of more efficient measures — Slavery of the intelli-
gent an impossibility — Arbitration the most commendable
remedy from the economic standpoint — Difficulties in its
adoption— Cooperation quite successful in Europe —
Limited in America — Profit sharing — Limited tests and
partial success — Much good accomplished — Hardships
of the laboring class lessened— Tendency of legislation
toward a modified form of State socialism — ^Yhat has
science done ? — Furnished no solution — Herbert Spencer
and Professor Huxley — The prophecy of a better day —
The radical sin of selfishness the source of trouble —
The altruistic spirit dominant — The spirit of the Cross
becoming more a controlling force - 23


Requirements of an Adequate Solution

Christianity defined — The Church not infallible — Has at
times retarded progress — Many errors and mistakes —
True Christianity not defined — Christ and the New
Testament the basis of all right interpretation, not the
Church — Can Christianity meet the following require-
ments? (i) An adequate solution must be such a force
as to bring about the improvement of the material, moral,
intellectual, religious and social conditions of all classes ;
(2) An adequate solution must in some way bring about
the regeneration of unregenerated wealth; (3) The
abolition of social rank and distinctions based on false
presumptions and artificial value ; (4) The organization
of society so as to prevent toil, excessively burdensome
and long, on the part of some and idleness on the part
of others; (5) an adequate solution should abolish the





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Online LibraryWilliam Niccolls SloanSocial regeneration the work of Christianity → online text (page 1 of 8)