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man of the street, of the mill, of the workshop, of the field, has come to us, is ever coming to our modern world in God's own way.
But how are we receiving it, you and I, this social Gospel, this vision of Christ the social Emancipator?
When, on the one hand, we consider the ideal of His Church, “the splendid having and royal hope,” the zeal for souls, the sympathy for bodily needs, which are the individual fruits of a single love, exhibited in the one blessed life of Jesus, to be reflected in His Church, as witnessing for Him, as representing Him in this present world, as occupied with His work of setting up the Kingdom of God under and amidst the natural everyday conditions of human life; and on the other, when we consider the Babel life of our great cities, that black cloud of pauperism brooding over the richest of the countries of the earth, of drunkenness, with all its foul brood of folly and sensuality and crime, of social revolt, of the almost standing feud of Capital and Labour, of endemic misery and avoidable disease, of all the countless ills which make up the terrible inheritance of ancestral error, of our social heredity and of our social environment-when we think of these things, what a sorry compromise, what a miserable evasion, what a vast conspiracy to be blind does not even the best side of our Christian civilisation seem in England to-day? Or, again, when in the ethical realm of life-values we consider the office of the Church of Christ in regard to the greatest of her social duties, the formation and building up of human character and the provision of the civic securities of character in a candid, enlightened, vigorous Public
Conscience, when we compare the ideal citizen of the kingdom, as revealed in the Sermon on the Mount, as set forth for us in the Apostolic writings, and in its measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, thinking first of all of whatsoever things are lovely, pure, just, noble, and of good report, with the actual result as seen, I will not say, in the exceptional saintly characters of Christendom, but as seen in the unit of citizen life, as we know him to-day, not only in Russia or in France, but in our own England—the downmost man, in city or in field, the unemployable man of the street, the dullest-witted labourer of the village, the product of the rudest, homeliest life of the people—I ask you, putting these two types side by side, who is not conscious of the depth of contrast?
Many of you are familiar, no doubt, with Jean François Millet's picture of the “Man with the Hoe.” Some of you, perhaps, may know the fine interpretation of that picture by a modern Californian poet.
“ Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
Through this dread shape the suffering ages look ;
Perfidious wrongs, immedicable woes ?” My friends, I ask you to place this picture of the twentieth-century poet beside that of his fourteenthcentury brother, concerning whom I have been speaking to you to-day, and to regard both of them in the light of the judgment of that Master “Who standeth at the right hand of the Poor,” and how does the protest of either and of each of them appeal to your conscience to-day, to the public Christian conscience of to-day?
Is not the protest also a prophecy? “Then shall the King say, “Depart from Me, ye cursed : for I was an hungered and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty and ye gave Me no drink: I was a stranger and ye took Me not in: naked and ye clothed Me not : I was sick and ye visited Me not: I was in prison and ye came not unto Me: .. . Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye did it not unto Me.'”
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS TO
NOTE 1, p. 67. THERE is, no doubt, a wide distinction between the point of view which regards the teaching of Jesus as possessing in itself a quality and a character which inevitably suggest a social Gospel, such as our modern world especially needs to hear, and the point of view which pictures the actual personality of Jesus Himself as of a definitely demagogic character, and claims for Him on this account a new loyalty from the democratic forces of to-day as the Poor Man's Champion, the Best of Socialists, the Ideal Leader of Working-men. Nevertheless, I think it may be useful to quote one or two representative passages from not unimportant modern critics to show how far in this direction -perhaps in an inevitable reaction from a too metaphysical Christology-this conception of the human Christ has been carried.
“ The prophets of Israel,” writes Renan, the first probably of modern biographers of Jesus to emphasise this view of the person and office of Jesus Christ, “are fiery publicists of the description we should now call socialists or anarchists. They are fanatical in their demands for social justice, and proclaim aloud that, if the world is not just, nor capable of becoming just, it were better it were destroyed—a most false and yet most fecund mode of viewing the matter; for, like all desperate doctrines, as, for instance, Russian Nihilism at the present day, it produces heroism and a great awakening of human forces. The founders of Christianity, the direct continuers of the prophets, conclude by
an incessant invocation of the end of the world, and, strange to say, they really do change it” (Histoire du Peuple Israel). .
“ Jesus was in one view an anarchist, for He had no idea of civil government. That government seemed to Him purely and simply an abuse. . . . Every magistrate appeared to Him a natural enemy of the people of God. . . . A great social revolution in which rank will be overturned, in which all authority in this world will be humiliated, was His dream. ... Pure ebionism—that is, the doctrine that the poor (ebionim) alone shall be saved, that the reign of the poor is approaching—was therefore the doctrine of Jesus. . . . He pardoned the rich man, but only when the rich man, in consequence of some prejudice, was disliked by society. . . . Jesus returned to Galilee, having completely lost his Jewish faith, and filled with revolutionary ardour. . . . His conception of the world was socialist, with a Galilean colouring. . . . At times we should take Him for a democratic leader desiring only the triumph of the poor and the disinherited. . . . No revolution is effected without some harshness. If Luther or the actors in the French Revolution had been compelled to observe the rules of politeness, neither the Reformation nor the Revolution would have taken place. Let us congratulate ourselves in like manner that Jesus encountered no law which punished the invectives He uttered against one class of citizens” (Vie de Jesus).
On the title-page of his book Der radikale deutsche Socialismus und die christiche Geselschaft, Rudolf Lodt, a distinguished German scholar, placed these words : “Whosoever would understand the social question and wishes to aid in solving it must have on his right hand the works of political economy, on his left those of scientific socialism, and before him must keep open the New Testament." A chapter on “The Social Doctrines of the New Testament” he sums up in these words : “With the exception of its atheism . . . the theory of Socialism cannot be opposed from the point of view of the Gospel. Its principles not only conform to the tests of the New Testament, but