Infomotions, Inc.The War and Unity Being Lectures Delivered At The Local Lectures Summer Meeting Of The University Of Cambridge, 1918 / Higgins, Emily Mayer



Author: Higgins, Emily Mayer
Title: The War and Unity Being Lectures Delivered At The Local Lectures Summer Meeting Of The University Of Cambridge, 1918
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): unity; church; christ; christian
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Title: The War and Unity
       Being Lectures Delivered At The Local Lectures Summer
       Meeting Of The University Of Cambridge, 1918

Author: Various

Editor: David Herbert Somerset Cranage

Release Date: July 25, 2006 [EBook #18905]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

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THE WAR AND UNITY


CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS

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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


THE WAR AND UNITY

BEING LECTURES DELIVERED AT THE
LOCAL LECTURES SUMMER MEETING OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, 1918

EDITED BY THE REV.
D. H. S. CRANAGE, LITT.D.
KING'S COLLEGE

CAMBRIDGE
AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS
1919




PREFACE


For some time past the Local Examinations and Lectures Syndicate have
arranged a Summer Meeting in Cambridge every other year in connexion
with the Local Lectures. The scheme of study has always included a
number of theological lectures, and at the last two meetings an attempt
has been made to deal with some of the religious and moral problems
suggested by the War. In 1916 a course of lectures was delivered, and
afterwards published by the University Press, on _The Elements of Pain
and Conflict in Human Life_. In 1918 the Syndicate decided to arrange a
course on Unity. It was at first suggested that the lectures should be
confined to the subject of Christian Reunion, but it was finally
arranged to deal not only with Unity between Christian Denominations,
but with Unity between Classes, Unity in the Empire, and Unity between
Nations.

Many of those who attended expressed a strong wish that the lectures
should be published, and the Lecturers and the Syndicate have cordially
agreed to their request. The central idea of the course is undeniably
vital at the present time, and the book is now issued in the hope that
it may be of some help in the period of "reconstruction."

                                        D. H. S. CRANAGE,
                              Secretary of the Cambridge University
                                         Local Lectures.
_November 1918._




CONTENTS


UNITY BETWEEN CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS

I. A GENERAL VIEW                                 PAGE 1

By the Reverend V. H. Stanton, D.D.,
Fellow of Trinity College, Regius Professor
of Divinity.

II. THE CHURCH IN THE FURNACE                         25

By the Reverend Eric Milner-White, M.A.,
D.S.O., Fellow and Dean of King's College,
late Chaplain to the Forces.

III. THE PROBLEM OF THE ENGLISH FREE CHURCHES         51

By the Reverend W. B. Selbie, M.A. (Oxford
and Cambridge), Hon. D.D. (Glasgow), Principal
of Mansfield College, Oxford.

IV. THE SCOTTISH PROBLEM                              72

By the Very Reverend James Cooper, D.D.
(Aberdeen), Hon. Litt.D. (Dublin), Hon.
D.C.L. (Durham), V.D., Professor of Ecclesiastical
History in the University of Glasgow,
ex-Moderator of the Church of Scotland.


UNITY BETWEEN CLASSES

I. By the Right Reverend F. T. Woods, D.D.,
Trinity College, Lord Bishop of Peterborough          89

II. By the Right Honourable J. R. Clynes, M.P.,
Minister of Food                                     115


UNITY IN THE EMPIRE

By F. J. Chamberlain, C.B.E., Assistant
General Secretary of the Young Men's Christian
Association                                          137


UNITY BETWEEN NATIONS

By the Reverend J. H. B. Masterman, M.A.,
St John's College, Rector of St Mary-le-Bow
Church, Canon of Coventry, late Professor of
History in the University of Birmingham              151




UNITY BETWEEN CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS




I. A GENERAL VIEW

By the Rev. V. H. STANTON, D.D.


The governing idea of this early morning course, which at the present as
at former Summer Meetings is devoted to a subject connected with
religious belief, is this year the power that Christianity has, or is
fitted to have, to unite Christian denominations with one another, and
also to unite races and nations, and different portions of that
commonwealth of nations which we call the British Empire, and different
classes within our own nation. A moment's reflection will shew that the
question of unity between denominations of Christians derives special
significance from being placed in connexion with all those other cases
in regard to which the promotion of unity is to be considered. If it
belongs to the genius of Christianity to be a uniting power, it is above
all in the sphere of professed and organised Christianity, where
Christians are grouped together _as_ Christians, that its influence in
producing union should be shewn. If it fails in this here, what hope, it
may well be asked, can there be that it should be effective, when its
principles and motives cannot be applied with the same directness and
force? In the very assumption, then, which underlies this whole course
of lectures, that Christianity can unite men, we have a special reason
for considering our relations to one another as members of Christian
bodies, with regard to this matter of unity.

But we are also all of us aware that the divisions among Christians are
often severely commented on by those who refuse to make any definite
profession of the Christian Religion, and are given by them sometimes as
a ground of their own position of aloofness. It is true that strictures
passed on the Christian Religion and its professors for failures in
this, as well as in other respects, frequently shew little discernment,
and are more or less unjust. So far as they are made to reflect on
Christianity itself, allowance is not made for the nature of the human
material upon which and with which the Christian Faith and Divine Grace
have to work. And when Christians of the present day are treated as if
they were to blame for them, sufficient account is not taken of the long
and complex history, and the working of motives, partly good as well as
bad, through which Christendom has been brought to its present divided
condition. Still we cannot afford to disregard the hindrance to the
progress of the Christian Faith and Christian Life among men created by
the existing divisions among Christians. Harm is caused by them in
another way of which we may be, perhaps, less conscious. They bring loss
to ourselves individually within the denominations to which we severally
belong. We should gain incalculably from the strengthening of our faith
through a wider fellowship with those who share it, the greater volume
of evidence for the reality of spiritual things which would thus be
brought before us; and from the enrichment of our spiritual knowledge
and life through closer acquaintance with a variety of types of
Christian character and experience; and not least from that moral
training which is to be obtained through common action, in proportion to
the effort that has to be made in order to understand the point of view
of others, and the suppression of mere egoism that is involved.

These are strong reasons for aiming at Christian unity. But further
there comes to all of us at this time a powerful incentive to reflection
on the subject, and to such endeavours to further it as we can make, in
the signs of a movement towards it, the greater prominence which the
subject has assumed in the thought of Christians, the evidence of more
fervent aspirations after it, the clearer recognition of the injury
caused by divisions. I remember that some 40 or more years ago, one of
the most eminent and justly esteemed preachers of the day defended the
existence of many denominations among Christians on the ground that
through their competition a larger amount of work for the advance of the
kingdom of God is accomplished. We are not so much in love with
competition and its effects in any sphere now. And it should always have
been perceived that, whatever its rightful place in the economic sphere
might be, it had none in the promotion of purely moral and spiritual
ends. The preacher to whom I have alluded did not stand alone in his
view, though perhaps it was not often so frankly expressed. But at least
acquiescence in the existence of separated bodies of Christians, as a
thing inevitable, was commoner than it is now.

In the new attitude to this question of the duty of unity that has
appeared amongst us there lies an opportunity which we must beware of
neglecting. It is a movement of the Spirit to which it behoves us to
respond energetically, or it will subside. Shakespeare had no doubt a
different kind of human enterprises mainly in view when he wrote:


     There is a tide in the affairs of men,
     Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
     Omitted, all the voyage of their life
     Is bound in shallows and in miseries.


But this observation is broadly true of all human progress. An advance
of some kind in the relations of men to one another, or the remedying of
some abuse, begins to be urged here and there, and for a time those who
urge it are but little listened to. Then almost suddenly (as it seems)
the minds of many, one hardly knows why, become occupied with it. If in
the generation when that happens desire leads to concentrated effort,
the good of which men have been granted the vision in their minds and
souls will be attained. Otherwise interest in it will pass away, and the
hope of securing it, at least for a long time, will be lost.

Before we attempt to consider any of the problems presented by the
actual state of Christendom in connexion with the subject now before us,
let us go back in thought to the position of believers in Jesus Christ
of the first generation, when His own brief earthly life had ended. They
form a fellowship bound together by faith in their common Lord, by the
confident hopes with which that faith has inspired them, and the new
view of life and its duties which they have acquired. Soon indeed
instances occur in which the bonds between different members of the body
become strained, owing especially to differences of origin and character
in the elements of which it was composed. We have an example at a very
early point in the narrative of the book of _Acts_ in the
dissatisfaction felt by believers from among Hellenistic Jews, who were
visiting, or had again taken up their abode at, Jerusalem, because a
fair share of the alms was not assigned to their poor by the Palestinian
believers, who had the advantage of being more permanently established
in the city, and were probably the majority. But the chiefs among the
brethren, the Apostles, take wise measures to remove the grievance and
prevent a breach.

A few years later a far more serious difference arises. Jewish believers
in Jesus had continued to observe the Mosaic Law. When converts from
among the Gentiles began to come in the question presented itself, "Is
observance of that Law to be required of them?" Only on condition that
it was would many among the Jewish believers associate with them. In
their eyes still all men who did not conform to the chief precepts of
this Law were unclean. It is possible that there were Jews of liberal
tendencies, men who had long lived among Gentiles, to whom this
difficulty may have seemed capable of settlement by some compromise. But
in the case of most Jews, not merely in Palestine, but probably also in
the Jewish settlements scattered through the Graeco-Roman world,
religious scruples, ingrained through the instruction they had received
and the habits they had formed from child-hood, were deeply offended by
the very notion of joining in common meals with Gentiles, unless they
had fulfilled the same conditions as full proselytes to Judaism, the
so-called "proselytes of righteousness." On behalf, however, of Gentiles
who had adopted the Faith of Christ, it was felt that the demand for the
fulfilment of this condition of fellowship must be resisted at once and
to the uttermost. So St Paul held. To concede it would have caused
intolerable interference with Gentile liberty, and hindrance to the
progress of the preaching of the Gospel and its acceptance in the world.
And further--upon this consideration St Paul insisted above all--the
requirement that Gentiles should keep the Jewish Law might be taken to
imply, and would certainly encourage, an entirely mistaken view of what
was morally and spiritually of chief importance; it would put the
emphasis wrongly in regard to that which was essential in order that man
might be in a right relation to God and in the way of salvation.

But the point in the history of this early controversy to which I desire
in connexion with our present subject to draw attention is the fact that
it is not suggested from any side that Jewish Christians and Gentile
Christians should form two separate bodies that would exist side by side
in the many cities where both classes were to be found, keeping to their
respective spheres, endeavouring to behave amicably to one another,
"agreeing to differ" as the saying is. This would have been the plan, we
may (I think) suppose, which would have seemed the best to that worldly
wisdom, which is so often seen to be folly when long and broad views of
history are taken. And we can imagine that not a few of the
ecclesiastical leaders of recent centuries might have proposed it, if
they had been there to do so. For never, perhaps, have there been more
natural reasons for separation than might have been found in those
national and racial differences, and in those incompatibilities due to
previous training and associations between Christians of Jewish and
Gentile origin. Yet it is assumed all through that they _must_ combine.
And St Paul is not only sure himself that to this end Jewish prejudices
must be overcome, but he is able to persuade the elder Apostles of this,
as also James who presided over the believers at Jerusalem, though they
had been slower than he to perceive what vital principles were at stake.
Believers of both classes must join in the Christian Agapae, or
love-feasts, and must partake of the same Eucharist, because the many
are one loaf[1], one body. They must grasp, and give practical effect
to, the principle that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor
free, neither male nor female, for all are one in Christ Jesus[2]."

For that society, or organism, into which Jewish and Gentile believers
were alike brought, a name was found; it was that of _Ecclesia,_
translated _Church_. It will be worth our while to spend a few moments
on the use of this name and its significance. We find mention in the New
Testament of "the Church" and of "Churches." What is the relation
between the singular term and the plural historically, and what did the
distinction import? The sublime passages concerning the Church as the
Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ occur in the Epp. to the
Colossians and Ephesians[3], which are not among the early Pauline
Epistles. Nevertheless in comparatively early Epistles, the authorship
of which by St Paul himself is rarely disputed, there are expressions
which seem plainly to shew that he thought of the Church as a single
body to which all who had been baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ
belonged. In the Epp. to the Galatians and 1 Corinthians[4] he refers
to the fact that he persecuted the "Church of God," and his persecution
was not confined to believers in Jerusalem or even in Judaea, but
extended to adjacent regions. He might have spoken of "the Churches of
Syria," as he does elsewhere (using the plural) of those of Judaea,
Galatia, Asia, Macedonia[5]. But he prefers to speak of the Church, and
he describes it as "the Church of God." The impiety of his action thus
appeared in its true light. He had not merely attacked certain local
associations, but that sacred body--"the Church of God." Again, it is
evident that he is thinking of a society embracing believers everywhere
when he writes to the Corinthians concerning different forms of
ministry, "God placed some in the Church, first Apostles, secondarily
prophets" and so forth[6]. Again, when he bids the Corinthians, "Give no
occasion of stumbling, either to Jews or to Greeks, or to the Church of
God[7]," or asks them whether they "despise the Church of God[8],"
although it was their conduct to brethren among whom they lived that was
especially in question, it is evident that, as in the case of his own
action as a persecutor, the gravity of the fault can in his view only be
truly measured when it is realised that each individual Church is a
representative of the Church Universal. This representative character of
local Churches also appears in the expression common in his Epistles,
the "Church in" such and such a place.

The usage of St Paul's Epistles does not, therefore, encourage the idea
that the application of the term _ecclesia_ to particular associations
preceded its application to the whole body, but the contrary, and
plainly it expressed for him from the first a most sublime conception. I
may add that there is no reason to suppose that the use of the term
originated with him. We find it in the Gospel according to St Matthew,
the Epistle of St James and the Apocalypse of St John, writings which
shew no trace of his influence.

There is no passage of the New Testament from which it is possible to
infer clearly the idea which underlay its application to believers in
Jesus Christ. But when it is considered how full of the Old Testament
the minds of the first generation of Christians were, it must appear to
be in every way most probable that the word _ecclesia_ suggested itself
because it is the one most frequently employed in the Greek translation
of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) to render the Hebrew word
k[macron a]h[macron a]l, the chief term used for the assembly of Israel
in the presence of God, gathered together in such a manner and for such
purposes as forced them to realise their distinctive existence as a
people, and their peculiar relation to God. The believers in Jesus now
formed the _ecclesia_ of God, the true Israel, which in one sense was a
continuation of the old and yet had taken its place. This was the view
put forward by Dr Hort in his lectures on the Christian Ecclesia[9], and
it is at the present time widely, I believe I may say generally, held. I
may mention that the eminent German Church historians, A. Harnack[10]
and Sohm[11], give it without hesitation as the true one.

Among the Jews the thought of the people in its relation to God was
associated with great assemblies in the courts and precincts of the
temple at Jerusalem, which altogether overshadowed any expression of
their covenant relation to God as a people which they could find in
their synagogue-worship, however greatly they valued the bonds with one
another which were strengthened, and the spiritual help which they
obtained, through their synagogues. But Christians had no single,
central meeting-place for their common worship at which their ideal
unity was embodied. It was, therefore, all the more natural that the
exalted name which described that unity should be transferred to the
communities in different places which shared the life, the privileges,
and the responsibilities of the whole, and in many ways stood to those
who composed them severally for the whole. The divisions between these
communities were local only. They arose from the limitations to
intercourse and common action which distance imposed. Or, in cases where
the Church in some Christian's house is referred to, they were due to
the necessity, or the great convenience, of meeting in small numbers,
owing to the want of buildings for Christian worship, or the hostility
of the surrounding population. Moreover these local bodies were not
suffered to forget the ties which bound them all together. Those in the
Greek-speaking world were required to send alms to the Churches in
Judaea. Again an individual Church was not free to disregard the judgment
of the rest. After St Paul has reasoned with the Corinthians on the
subject of a practice which he deemed inexpedient, he clinches the
matter by declaring, "we have no such custom neither the Churches of
God[12]." Lastly, the Apostles, and preeminently St Paul, through their
mission which, if not world-wide, at least extended over large
districts, and the care of the Churches which they exercised, and the
authority which they claimed in the name of Christ, and which was
conceded to them, were a unifying power.

Thus the plural "the Churches" has in important respects a different
connotation in the New Testament from that which it has in modern times.
In the Apostolic Age the distinction between the Church and the Churches
is connected only with the different degrees to which a common life
could be realised according to geographical proximity. By a division of
this nature the idea of One Universal Church was not compromised. The
local body of Christians in point of fact rightly regarded itself as
representative of the whole body. The Christians in that place were the
Church so far as it extended there.

The preservation of unity within the Church of each place where it was
imperilled by rivalries and jealousies and misunderstandings, such as
are too apt to shew themselves when men are in close contact with one
another, and of unity between the Churches of regions remote from one
another, in which case the sense of it is likely to be weak through want
of knowledge and consequently of sympathy--these appear as twin-aims
severally pursued in the manner that each required. Not indeed that it
is implied that everything is to be sacrificed to unity. But it is
demanded that the most strenuous endeavours shall be made to maintain
it, and it appears to be assumed that without any breach of it, loyalty
to every other great principle, room for the rightful exercise of every
individual gift, recognition of every aspect of Divine truth the
perception of which may be granted to one or other member of the body,
can be secured, if Christians cultivate right dispositions of mutual
affection and respect.

There is one more point in regard to the idea of the Church in the New
Testament as to which we must not suffer ourselves to be misled, or
confused, by later conceptions and our modern habits of thought. We have
become accustomed to a distinction between the Church Visible and the
Church Invisible which makes of them two different entities. According
to this, one man who is a member of the Church Visible may at the same
time, if he is a truly spiritual person, even while here on earth belong
to the Church Invisible; but another who has a place in the Church
Visible has none and it may be never will have one in the Church
Invisible. This conception, though it had appeared here and there before
the 16th century, first obtained wide vogue then under the influence of
the Protestant Reformation.

It arose through a very natural reaction from the mechanical view of
membership in the Church, its conditions and privileges, which had grown
up in the Middle Ages. But it does not correspond to the ideas of the
Apostolic Age. According to these there is but one Church, the same as
to its true being on earth as it is in heaven, one Body of Christ,
composed of believers in Him who had been taken to their rest and of
those still in this world. In the earlier part of the Apostolic Age the
great majority were in fact still in this world. The Body was chiefly a
Visible Body. It had many imperfections. Some of its members might even
have no true part in it at all and require removal. But Christ Himself
"sanctifies and cleanses it that He may present it"--that very same
Church--"to Himself a glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle or any
such thing, but holy and without blemish[13]."

Now while one can understand the point of view from which in later times
so deep a line of demarcation has been drawn between the Visible and the
Invisible Church as to make of them two entirely separate things, and
although to many it may still seem hard to do without this distinction,
or in the existing condition of the nominally Christian world to employ
that primitive conception of the Church even as, so to speak, a working
hypothesis, I would ask whether the primitive conception is not a nobler
and sounder one. Surely it places the ideal in its right relation to the
actual. The full realisation of the ideal no doubt belongs only to
another world; yet if we believe in it as an ideal we must seek to
actualise it here. There is something unwholesome in acknowledging any
ideal which we do not strive so far as we can to actualise. And plainly
participation in the same grace, and the spiritual ties arising
therefrom, ought to find expression in an outer life of fellowship, of
intercourse and common action, and such common organisation as for human
beings in this world these require. No doubt it is always too possible
that the outward may hinder the perception of the inward. But if we can
guard successfully against this danger, the inward and spiritual will
become all the more potent by having the external form through which to
work; while the outward, if it is too sharply dissevered in thought from
the inward, loses its value and even becomes injurious.

Again, a view of the Church is more wholesome which does not encourage
us to classify its members in a manner only possible to the Allseeing
God; to draw a line between true believers and others, and to determine
(it may be) on which side of the line different ones are by their having
had spiritual experiences similar to our own, and having learned to use
the same religious language that we do; but which on the contrary leads
us to think of all as under the Heavenly Father's care, and subject to
the influences of the Holy Spirit, and placed in that Body of Christ
where, although the spiritual life in them is as yet of very various
degrees of strength, and their knowledge of things Divine in many cases
small, all may and are intended to advance to maturity in Christ.

It is necessary that the relation of the idea of the Church upon which I
have been dwelling to her subsequent history for centuries should be
clearly apprehended. Its hold on the minds of Christians preceded the
very beginnings of organisation in the Christian communities, and it
would probably be no exaggeration to say that it governed the whole
evolution of that organisation for many centuries. Particular offices
were doubtless instituted and men appointed to them with specific
reference to needs which were making themselves felt. But all the while
that idea of the Church's unity and of her holiness was present in their
thoughts. And certainly as soon as it becomes necessary to insist upon
the duty of loyalty to those who had been duly appointed to office, and
directly or indirectly to defend the institutions themselves, appeal is
made to the idea, as notably by the two chief Christians in the
Sub-Apostolic Age, Clement of Rome and Ignatius.

It is in itself evidence of a common spirit and common tendencies that
broadly speaking the same form of constitution in the local Christian
communities, though not introduced everywhere with quite equal rapidity,
was so nearly everywhere almost on the confines of the Apostolic Age,
and that soon it was everywhere. Ere long, with this form of government
as a basis, plans were adopted expressly for the purpose of uniting the
local Churches on terms of equality among themselves, especially in
combating error. And at length in the name still of the Church's unity
there came, however much we may regret it, the centralisation of Western
Christendom in the See of Rome.

All these measures of organisation, from the earliest to the latest of
them, were means to an end; and we shall regard them differently. But we
ought not any of us to regard means, however they may commend themselves
to us, and however sacred and dear their associations may be, in the
same way as we do the end. There must always be the question, which will
present itself in a different light to different minds, whether
particular means, even though men may have been led by the Holy Spirit
to employ them, were intended for all time. Moreover there are points in
regard to the earliest history of Church organisation which remain
obscure, in spite of all the labour that has been expended in
investigating them: for instance the exact relation of different
ministries, of the functions of different officers, to one another, the
exact moment when the orders of ministers which proved to be permanent
appeared in this or that important Church, the part which any of the
immediate disciples of Christ had in their establishment, the ideas
which at first were held as to the dependence of the rites of the Church
for their validity upon being performed by a lawful ministry. Upon
these matters, or some of them, it is possible for honest and competent
inquirers to hold different opinions. But no such doubt hangs over that
End which was also the Beginning, of the Church's life, that conception
of what she is, or ought to be, as the society of those who confess the
Name of Jesus Christ, and who are His Body. I insist upon this because I
think that amid discussions on the origin of the Christian Ministry, the
significance of that more fundamental question, namely, the right
conception of the Christian Church, is apt to be too much lost sight of.
About this, though men still do not, they ought to be able to agree, and
it should be our common inspiration, both impelling us and guiding us in
seeking our goal.

We need it to impel us. The obstacles to the reunion of Christendom at
the present day are such that a motive which can be found is required to
induce and sustain action in seeking it, whenever and wherever the
opportunity for doing so presents itself; such a motive is to be found
in a deep conviction of the sacredness of this object, so that our eyes
maybe kept fixed upon it even when there appears to be no opening
through which an advance toward it can be made, and there is nothing to
be done save to wait and watch and pray. But in order also that the
result of any efforts that are made may be satisfactory, it is necessary
that our minds should be under the guidance of a great and true idea,
and that we should not simply be animated with the desire of meeting
immediate needs. These are the reasons which I think justify me for
having detained you so long over the consideration of the fundamental
conception of the Church which is rooted in the Christian Faith itself
as it first appeared and spread in the world.

I will now, however, before concluding make a few remarks on one part of
the complicated problem of reunion facing us to-day. The part of it on
which I desire to speak is the relations between the Church of England,
and the Churches in communion with her in various parts of the British
Empire and in the United States, on the one hand, and on the other
English Nonconformists, the Presbyterians of Scotland, and all
English-speaking Christians allied to or resembling these. It will, I
think, be generally felt that this is a part of the subject which for
more than one reason specially invites our attention. There are, indeed,
some, both clergy and laity, of the Church of England, though they are
but a very small number in comparison with its members as a whole, whose
interest in the subject of the reunion of Christendom is mainly shewn in
the desire to obtain recognition for the Church of England, as a portion
of the Church Catholic, from the great Church of the West. But in view
of the attitude maintained by that Church there appears to be no
prospect of this and nothing to be gained by attempts at negotiation.
Endeavours to establish intercommunion with the Churches of Eastern
Christendom may be made with more hope of success. Indeed there is
reason to think that in the years to come the Church of England may be
in a specially favourable position for getting into touch with these
Churches and assisting them to recover from the effects of the War, and
to make progress; and Englishmen generally would, I am sure, rejoice
that she should undertake such work. But the question of the duty to one
another of all those bodies of English Christians which I have
specified comes nearer home and should press upon our minds and hearts
more strongly. It is a practical one in every English town and every
country parish, and almost everywhere throughout the world where the
English language is spoken. Moreover, even the most loyal members of the
Church of England, in spite of the points of principle on which they are
divided from those other English Christians, resemble them more closely
in many respects in their modes of thought, even on religion, than they
do the members of other portions of the ancient Catholic Church from
which they have become separated. And in addition to the distinctly
religious reasons for considering the possibility of drawing more
closely together and even ultimately uniting in one communion these
different denominations of British Christians, there is a patriotic
motive for doing so. Fuller religious sympathy, more cooperation,
between the members of these different denominations could not fail to
strengthen greatly the bonds between different classes amongst us, and
to increase the coherency of the whole nation and empire.

It would be unwise, if in proposing steps towards reunion, difficulties
and dangers connected with them were ignored; and I believe it to be my
duty frankly to refer to some which suggest themselves to one looking
from a Churchman's point of view. There are two chief barriers to the
union of members of the Church of England and English Nonconformists
that must be mentioned.

(1) That which I will refer to first is the connexion of the Church of
England with the State.

This connexion is not, I think, such a hindrance to religious sympathy
as it was, but it would be untrue to say that it is none. And there is
of course the danger that if disestablishment became a political
question, and especially if it involved the deflection of endowments
which have long been used, and on the whole well-used, for the
maintenance and furtherance of religion to secular objects, feeling
between the majority of Churchmen and those who in consequence of their
views in the matter became opposed to them might be seriously
embittered. Yet there is good ground for hoping that the question of the
relations of Church and State and all matters connected therewith will
in the years that are coming be faced in a calmer spirit, and with truer
insight into important principles, than too often they have been in the
past. It should certainly be easier for those who approach them from
different sides to understand one another. Particular grievances
connected with inequality of treatment by the State have been removed;
while a broad principle for which Nonconformists stand in common has
come to be more clearly asserted, through their attaching increasingly
less significance to the grounds on which different bodies amongst them
were formed, as indicated in the names by which they have been severally
known, and banding themselves together as the "Free Churches." But in
the Church of England also in recent years there has been a growing
sense of the need of freedom. It is better realised than at one time
that in no circumstances could the Church rightly be regarded as a mere
department of the State, or even as the most important aspect of the
life of the State. However complete the harmony between Church and State
might be, the Church ought to have a corporate life of her own. She
requires such independence as may enable her to be herself, to do her
own work, to act according to the laws of her own being. This is
necessary even that she may discharge adequately her own function in the
nation.

It is not part of my duty now to inquire in what respects the Church of
England lacks this freedom, or whether such readjustments in her
connexion with the State can be expected as would secure it to her,
implying as the making of them would that, although she does not now
include among her members more than half the nation, she is still for an
indefinitely long time to continue to be the official representative of
religion in the nation. But I would urge that when these points are
discussed the question should also be considered whether, in a nation
the great majority in which profess to be Christian, the State ought not
to make profession of the Christian religion, which involves its
establishment in some form, and whether there are not substantial
benefits especially of an educative kind to be derived therefrom for the
nation at large; and if so how this can in existing circumstances be
suitably done. It should be remembered that in many cases the
forefathers of those who are now separated from the National Church did
not hold that a connexion between Church and State under any form was
wrong; but on the contrary their idea of a true and complete national
life included one. I think it is well to recall the view in this matter
of men of another time. It is desirable that we should make our
consideration of the whole subject of Church and State as broad as we
can, and that we should strive not to be carried away into accepting
some solution which at the moment seems the easiest, when with a little
patience some better and truer one might be found possible.

(2) The other barrier to which I have referred is the claim of the
Church of England to a continuity of faith and life with the faith and
life of the Church Universal from the beginning, maintained in the first
place through a Ministry the members of which have in due succession
received their commission by means of the Historic Episcopate, and,
secondly, through the acknowledgment of certain early and widely
accepted creeds. This continuity was reasserted when the Church of
England started on her new career at the Reformation, though at the same
time the necessity was then strongly insisted on of testing the purity
and soundness of the Church's faith and forms of worship by Holy
Scripture. These guarantees and means of continuity are valued in very
different degrees by different sections of opinion in the Church of
England, and some who attach comparatively little importance to matters
of organisation would attach great importance to the formularies of
belief. But there can be no doubt that any steps which appeared
seriously to compromise the preservation of the great features of the
Church of England in either of these respects would cause deep
disturbance among her members. On the other hand, it will be readily
understood by all who can appreciate the changes that in our own and
recent generations have come in men's view of Nature and of Mind, and in
the interpretation of historical evidence, that definitions of belief
framed in the past may not in every point express accurately the beliefs
of all who nevertheless with full conviction own Jesus Christ as Lord.
It is obvious, I think, that, if the Christian Church is to endure,
there must be on the part of her members essential loyalty to the faith
out of which she sprang, and which has inspired her throughout the ages
to this day. But it is an anxious problem for the Church of England at
the present time--and it is likely to become so likewise, if it is not
yet, for all portions of the Church in which ancient standards of
belief, or those framed in the 16th century, or later, hold an
authoritative place--to decide wherein essential loyalty to "the faith
once delivered" consists.

It may seem at first sight that when the Church of England has serious
questions to grapple with affecting her internal unity, and especially
affecting that unity in variety which to some considerable degree she
represents and which is the most valuable kind of unity, attempts to
join with other Christians outside her borders in considering a basis of
union with them are unwise at least at the moment, as tending to
increase the complexity and the difficulties of the position within, and
as therefore to be deprecated in the interests of unity itself. I do not
think so, but believe that assistance may thus be obtained in reaching a
satisfactory settlement even of internal difficulties.

For, in the first place, there has of late been among members of the
Church of England a change of temper which should be a preparation for
considering her relations with those separated from her in a wiser and
more liberal spirit than has before been possible. Those Churchmen who
would insist most strongly on the necessity of preserving the Church's
ancient order do not usually maintain the attitude to dissent of the
Anglican High and Dry School, which was still common in the middle of
the 19th century. The work which Nonconformist bodies have done for the
spiritual and moral life of England, and the immense debt which we all
owe to them on that account, are thankfully admitted. No one indeed can
do otherwise than admit it thankfully who has eyes to see, and the sense
of justice and generosity of mind to acknowledge what he sees. And the
inference must be that, although the belief may be held as firmly as
ever that the Spirit of God inspired that Order which so early took
shape in the Church, and that He worked through it and continues to do
so, yet that also, when men have failed rightly to use the appointed
means, He has found other ways of working. This view, when it has had
its due influence upon thought, can hardly fail to affect profoundly the
measures proposed for healing the divisions which have arisen.

Then, again, on the other side--the side of those separated from the
Church of England--there is more appreciation of the point of view of
Churchmen in respect to their links with the past and their idea of
Catholicity. This is due partly to a broader interest in the life of the
Church in former ages and the heroic and saintly characters which they
produced than since the Reformation has been common among those English
Christians, who are, in a special sense, children of the Reformation;
partly, perhaps, to a growing doubt, as views of Christian truth have
become larger, whether after all a single doctrine or opinion, or
reverence for the teaching of one man, can make a satisfactory basis for
the permanent grouping of Christians. At the same time in regard to
fundamental Christian belief, the meaning which the revelation of God in
Christ has for them, they are and are conscious of being at one with the
Church.

Striking evidence of these new tendencies of thought on both sides is to
be seen in the movement originated by the Protestant Episcopal Church of
the United States for a World-Conference on Faith and Order, and in the
manner in which the proposal for such a Conference has been received in
England, and the steps already taken in preparation for it. A body of
representatives of the Church of England and of the Free Churches has
been appointed, and a Committee of this body has already published
suggestions for a basis of union. These have still, I understand, to
come before the general body of English representatives, and it is
intended (I believe) that the proposals of the Committee, after being
examined and possibly amended and supplemented by the larger body,
should, with any proposals that may be made from similar joint-bodies in
the United States and in the British Dominions, be considered by a body
of representatives from the whole of this vast area. Any conclusions
which are thus reached must then lie, so to speak, before all the
denominations concerned. Opportunity must be given for their being
widely studied and explained and reflected upon, and if need be
criticized. For the Church of Christ is, or ought to be, in a true sense
a democratic society, a society in which, subject to its governing
principles, the spiritual consciousness of all the faithful should make
itself felt.

For the end of such a process as this we must wait a considerable time.
Meanwhile there are obvious ways in which the cause of unity may be
promoted; viz. through seeking for a larger amount of intercourse with
the members of other denominations than our own; for more joint study of
religious questions and frank interchange of views, and more cooperation
in various forms of moral and social endeavour. The way would thus be,
we may hope, prepared for fuller intercommunion, and it may be for
corporate reunion.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] 1 Cor. x. 17, R.V. mg.

[2] Gal. iii. 28

[3] Col. i. 18, 24; Eph. i. 22, v. 23 ff.

[4] Gal. i. 13; 1 Cor. xv. 9.

[5] 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 19; 2 Cor. viii. 1; Gal. i. 2, 22.

[6] 1 Cor. xii. 28.

[7] 1 Cor. x. 32.

[8] 1 Cor. xi. 22.

[9] _The Christian Ecclesia_, pp. 3 ff.

[10] _Die Mission u. Ausbreitung d. Christentums_, p. 292.

[11] _Kirchenrecht_, 1. pp. 16 ff.

[12] 1 Cor. xi. 16.

[13] Ephes. v. 26, 27.




UNITY BETWEEN CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS




II. THE CHURCH IN THE FURNACE

By the Rev. E. MILNER-WHITE, M.A., D.S.O.


At last we have begun to see the absolute necessity of Unity in Christ,
of religious reunion, for the sake of both Christianity and the world.

For several years devout Christians in England have been growing more
and more uneasy about their acquiescence in religious division. The
reading of the Gospels, and especially the eighteenth chapter of St
John, where He prays on the threshold of His agony that His disciples
may be one, even as He and the Father are one, has become nothing less
than a torment to those who have any real passion for the doing of God's
will, or who are humbled by the tremendous love of our Lord Jesus
Christ, for each and for all. Thus far have we gone from the clear mind
of Christ; thus far have we ruined His plans for the health and
happiness of the world; thus far have we failed to imitate or display
the love, the humility, the self-sacrifice, that walked to Calvary: He
bade us be _one_, and to _love_; we, the disciples, have chosen to hate
and be many.

English Christianity alone is split into hundreds of denominations. The
fact is its own grim condemnation. We had lost even the sense that
division mattered. It is quite ridiculous to pretend that nothing is
wrong with the religious ideas or state of a race, which produces
hundreds of bodies, big and small, to worship Him who only asked that
His worshippers should be ONE. Denomination itself has become a word of
shame which we shall not be able to use much longer. It brings up at
once the thought of something partial, little, far less than the Body
for which Christ died; and a host of yet more horrid pictures of old
squabbles and present rivalries, of contempt and bitterness and
controversy. It does not suggest one _Christian_ idea at all.

These uneasy thoughts even before the war were brought home by the
practical results of disunion as worked out inevitably in the colonies
and mission field. The language is not too strong that labels them
monstrous. Here was the flower of our Christian devotion going forth to
heathen wilds, meeting by God's grace with wide success; and
establishing our little local denominations firmly in the nations,
tribes, and islands of Asia, Africa, and Australasia; rendering it hard
for a native Christian who moves from his home to get elsewhere the
accustomed ministries and means of grace vital to his young faith;
planting seeds of future quarrel at the very birth of new tribes into
the Prince of Peace. In the Dominions, with their thin and widely
scattered populations, other phenomena, equally deplorable, are
manifest--five churches in places where one suffices, appalling waste of
effort and money, and even ugly competition for adherents.

In England we hardly saw these things. The population was large enough
and indifferent enough to God to provide room for the activities of all.
The indifference indeed seemed to be growing. We did not stop to think
whether disgust at continuous controversy had not done much to cause
that indifference--how far our divisions simply manufactured scepticism
as to there being any religious truth--whether the obvious lovelessness
of such conditions was likely to recommend the religion of Love--whether
this disparate chaos was likely to be a field in which the Lord, who
designed and founded one brotherhood of believers, could work or give
His grace to the uttermost. No, the Christianity of our Christians has
tended to be a thin individual thing, with interests scarcely extended
beyond its own local congregation, which is bad enough; or still worse,
in our towns, content to wander from congregation to congregation,
owning no discipline or loyalty at all.

And yet in the same breath as we say, "I believe in God," we also say,
most of us, "I believe one Catholick and Apostolick Church." It is a
crowning mercy that we do say it; that we do bear witness so outright to
the state of sin in which we dwell; the clause does keep the mind of
Christ and our own duty before us, of establishing as the first, perhaps
the only hope of this sin-stained, war-stained earth, the brotherhood of
believers which shall be one.

Then came the war, and in many ways the war, which has in every
direction cleared vision, and both deepened and simplified thought, has
brought home to every Christian both the disaster of disunion, and the
imperative need of attempting unity.

You will expect me to give some account of the reaction of the chaplains
and the Church in France to this conviction. Perhaps I should make clear
my own position. Folk probably term me an "advanced High Churchman." I
should call myself "a Catholic"--an English Catholic, if you like--, at
any rate, one who cannot fairly be accused of ignorance of the details
and depths of our divisions; nor of underestimating their real
importance.

The priests who went out as Chaplains to the Forces had an experience
somewhat similar to that of colonial or missionary priests--they
exercised their ministry under totally new conditions, and in a new
atmosphere. So did the Roman Catholics, Nonconformists, and
Presbyterians, but of course I do not speak for them in what follows.
But all the Church of England padres--high, low, broad--tell exactly the
same tale of their experience; between them there has been no division;
they have worked together in perfect harmony and keenness, largely
appropriating each other's methods. In a word, they have discovered how
false and artificial is the partisan atmosphere of home religion; and
when they return, will find it hard to tolerate any continuance of it.

The Church of England is as a matter of fact divided roughly into three
sections, by no means corresponding to the "high, low, and broad," of
the church journals. Most Church of England men scarcely know what these
terms mean. No, it consists of a devoted inmost section, regular
churchgoers and communicants--and you will pardon me for thinking them
the best instructed, the freest, and the sturdiest Christians in the
world. They are of course in a minority, but they are actually numerous
enough to occupy the time and care of our whole ministry, which is far
below reasonable strength. Then comes a large fringe, who come to Church
occasionally, or even regularly, in the evening; who make little or no
use of the Sacraments, or of the more intimate devotions and
instructions provided: they are well disposed; but are not consciously
prepared to make _sacrifices_ for their faith; and indeed are somewhat
ignorant of its contents and demands. Then thirdly, there is a yet
vaster multitude, baptised, married, and buried, perhaps by the Church,
and therefore counting themselves Church of England, but who come but
rarely within the orbit of Church life and teaching; and who, not to
mince words, are semi-pagan. Only _semi_-pagan because the ethics,
morals and traditions of England are Christian; and these people,
knowing little of Jesus Christ, and understanding less, and not
consciously moved by Him, yet not infrequently rise to heights of love
and sacrifice which would adorn the life of a saint.

The mass of our parishioners in France, then, was not made up of the
inner circle--we were lucky if we found three or four in a unit--but of
the ill-instructed fringe, and the totally ignorant multitudes. The
horror and boredom of war, the personal insecurity, the difficulty of
understanding the ways of God, made all friendly to the parson with whom
hitherto they had never come into contact; and caused large numbers to
think things out, and to hunger for an understanding of God. Religion
became a common topic of discussion. The padres found themselves in a
larger world, where old labels and divisions simply had no meaning; and
where the first necessity and work was to preach Christ and teach the
meaning of the Faith. They felt also, very quickly, that this interest
in ultimate things did not mean that men became friendly to organised
religion in any form. On the contrary, their hostility and distrust
toward all religious bodies were marked. The chaplains had that common
and dreadful experience of foreign missionaries, of feeling themselves
alone, closed round by thick dark walls of unsympathy and worse. They
longed for the help and support of any genuine friend of Christ,
whatever body he belonged to. I was called upon to preach the National
Mission in a peculiarly hostile and irresponsive camp of motor lorry
drivers, who much resented the use of "their" Y.M.C.A. hut for such
religious purposes. A Wesleyan minister had charge of it, and got far
more of their blunt language than I the visitor did; but he worked
undismayed and unreservedly for all he was worth, for the National
Mission and for me. The alliance was natural, real, inevitable. He and
I, and some five or six men of that camp, were clearly on one side, and
the rest of it on the other, of an exceeding broad gulf. With this as a
daily experience, a man's values changed rapidly; and it became quite
obvious that, even to begin to fight the battle of Christianity in the
modern world, Christians must be united.

This assurance was reinforced by the quite extraordinary scandal that
the mere fact of religious disunion caused both to officers and men. It
was the big, obvious "damper" on the very threshold of
Christianity--"see how these Christians hate one another." Officers
would throw the taunt up again and again in the Mess, and the men lying
down to talk themselves to sleep in their comfortless barns would begin
to talk about religion with at heart a wistful longing to understand it
and know its help and power. At once, someone would bring up the picture
of squabbling denominations, and the wistfulness and hope would be slain
by scorn. Next day and every day, the glaring scandal would be laid
before the chaplain; who had little enough to answer. Of course, it is
quite false to suppose that the existence and continuance of division
are due to the clergy. Our English schisms have been caused at least as
much by over-eager laymen as by over-eager clergy; and I think if it
were left to the clergy alone the process of reuniting would be very
rapid. In our Division, for instance, the three Nonconformist Chaplains
to the Forces and I used to talk over the whole question; one was an
orthodox Wesleyan, another a Primitive, and the other a United
Methodist; and they did not hesitate to say that Methodist reunion had
taken place more than ten years ago if it had been left to the ministers
alone. But the average Englishman naturally blames the official
representatives of religion, their ministries, for the obvious and open
disgrace of division in the religion of love; he is ignorant of the
excuses that history, and the real importance of the matters in dispute,
afford; he only sees the evil fact; and it is quite enough by itself to
excuse his closer association with so harsh a contradiction of the first
principle of Christ and Christianity.

Then again in France, one came up violently against the sheer nuisance
and waste of division. Imagine upon a Friday every C.O. and adjutant
(and adjutants are always over-worked) of every unit approached by three
Chaplains--Church of England, Roman Catholic, and Nonconformist; and
requested to make different arrangements at different times for
different fractions of his command to attend divine service on the
Sunday. This in the midst of modern war, where organisation for war
purposes is complex and laborious enough. The mere typing and
circulating of these arrangements at Brigade and Divisional H.Q. mean in
sum total a vast expenditure of paper and labour. The chaplains, who, I
hope, are at least gentlemen, feel considerable shame at being the
guiltless authors of these confusions. And the effect is so deplorable.
Just when the nation is one, just when each military unit seeks to
promote, for mere military efficiency, the _esprit de corps_ of its
oneness, the religion of the one Christ enters as a thing which almost
flaunts fissure. Or again, think of the mere waste of pastoral
efficiency involved in this fact. Each infantry brigade consists roughly
of four battalions, and three or four somewhat smaller units (R.A.M.C,
M.G.C., etc.). For these there are four chaplains, normally two Church
of England (who have 80 per cent. of the men under their care), one
Roman Catholic and one Presbyterian or Nonconformist. The two latter
have to do the best they can each to get round all these scattered units
to provide for small handfuls of men in each. Each of the Church of
England chaplains has to arrange for a whole half brigade. How much more
efficiently and thoroughly, with how much less needless labour, had the
work been done, if an one Church could have set one chaplain to live
each with one battalion, and be responsible as well for one smaller
unit. That had made it easy for a chaplain to know his flock intimately;
now it is next to impossible.

But above and beyond these misfortunes, which after all are details,
must be ranked the big thoughts and truths which have swum into the
sight and experience of everybody. The first is this. Granted that the
Church like the world was surprised by the sudden outbreak of war, and
therefore could not stop it; yet that she should have no voice at all
even to denounce the unrighteousness and barbarities into which the
world plunges deeper every day does strike men as wrong. The Church
cannot speak because she is not one; even suppose all England be
actually one national Church, if it is only national, it will go the way
of the nation, and certainly cannot speak to other nations. For the
Church ever to acquire a world-voice in the cause of love and right
means that reunion and our desires for it must not stop short at home
reunion. Here the witness of Roman Catholicism to the necessity of
international Christianity is vital to the ideal of a reunited
Christendom. Men, far removed from his obedience, did look wistfully to
the Pope, conceding that he alone could speak such a word to the world
in the name of Christ; wide and deep has been the disappointment that it
was not spoken. Here again it is not the Pope, nor Roman Catholicism,
that is to blame, but the whole divided state of Christendom which
paralyses the action of each communion, even the strongest and most
widespread.

I will mention only one other of these big truths--there are many of
them--that have come home to every man; where again Christian division
is the first and fatal obstacle in the way. This time it affects all the
looking forward to the end of the war, and the new world of peace. It is
unthinkable but that the new world must be one of brotherhood, not of
enmity; of love, not of hatred. Otherwise every drop of blood that has
been shed, every tear that has fallen, every death that has been died,
will be so much utter waste. That is the one most intolerably dark
thought in the days of darkness. There is a new policy open to the world
which it has never yet tried, to work toward _the Dominance of Love_.
Every conceivable form of selfishness has in turn dominated the affairs
of nations and men; never yet has love been seriously tried. But there
will be no chance of International Friendship, Brotherhood, Love, if the
Church, the fellowship of Christians, who are after all set in the world
by their own confession, to live by love, to be the exemplars and hot
centre of love, cannot conspicuously shew forth love. How can the
nations be friends before Christians be brothers? We have only to act
according to our creed; and our creed does not only believe in
brotherhood, but in the continual help of God Himself in our efforts to
realise it. The influence upon the world even of a persevering _attempt_
to achieve a united Christendom would surely be decisive. Therefore the
reunion of Christendom becomes now the imperious vocation of every
Christian, the one preventive of our agony and loss going to waste, the
one hope of a loveless world, the clear next objective of the Church of
the living God.

Before returning to the idea of the Dominance of Love, and a
consideration of first steps towards it, let us go back to France, and
watch the relations of the various communions there one to another after
four years of war.

It is new and rather hard to describe. The first few months, when the
Chaplains to the Forces of the various denominations arrived with their
inherited home suspicions one of another, presented many difficulties
that might have increased ill-feeling. An army regulation which allows
the Church of England chaplain only to minister to Church of England
men, and the Roman Catholic to Roman Catholic men, etc., reduced the
chances of such conflict; and at the same time, the vastness and
urgency of the work the chaplains had to do swallowed up all other
thoughts. As a writer in _The Church in the Furnace_ said, "We have
heard with mingled irritation and amusement that good folk at home have
been exercised because an undue proportion of men of this party or that
have been sent out; the question out here is not 'To what party does he
belong?' but 'Is he capable by character and life of influencing men for
good, and winning them for God and His Church?'" Again, the extremely
free use of the Prayer Book and of any and every sort of devotion, at
any and every hour of day and night, has broken up all prejudiced
rigidity of use. Methods that did not help were dropped; methods that
helped men were welcome, from whatever source they came.

So arose a great harmony, a harmony of energy and experiment; and
although in religious matters the Roman Catholics retained their
aloofness, the drawing together of other denominations, as represented
by their clergy, has been constant and perfectly natural and
unsuspicious. United services have not been common; each denomination
has confined itself loyally to its own men; what the statements in the
Lower House of Convocation meant to the effect that the amount of
intercommunion going on at the Front would shock members of that house,
no chaplain has any idea. But the new, fresh, and delightful thing is,
the absolute lack of feeling between, say, the Catholic Anglican and the
Congregationalist. There are numerous occasions on which they must or
can work together; on which they must or can do jobs for one another;
and it has been decisively proved that the existing demarcation and
rivalry in England is a false and needless thing; and that working
together can be a real, unselfconscious and wholly profitable matter.
Our English airs are poisoned by past history and old social cleavage:
in France, the past is forgotten, and social barriers do not exist. It
is a matter of atmosphere, and there it is clear and bracing. Nobody
sacrifices conviction or principle, but they love one another.

I do not say there may not be individual misunderstandings and frictions
now and then, but they are miraculously few. The normal temper is shewn
by the numerous meetings for conference and devotion by the various
chaplains. These are more easy to effect at the bases than in the line;
but they take place everywhere. Typical is the conduct of a small base
on the sea, where the eight chaplains or so meet regularly for devotion,
and each is entrusted with a section of the proceedings each time. For
instance, the American Episcopalian takes the Thanksgiving, the
Presbyterian the Confession, the Wesleyan the Intercession, each of the
others has found from the same chapter of, say, St Mark's Gospel, some
"seed-thought" upon which he is allowed to dilate for four minutes.
There is no constraint or self-consciousness in this gathering. Each is
perfectly happy, and so is the whole.

It is not surprising that out of such an atmosphere and among such
practices a powerful passion for unity has arisen, based on something
far stronger than sentiment, and having in it some of the fire of
revelation. It has not been sought; it has come; it has grown: nobody
expected it. It came, naturally and delightfully. The fifth year of war
will assuredly see some definite policy or action towards greater unity
proceeding from France. The quiet, unhasty, resolved manner in which
the Chaplains to the Forces in France are moving is in striking contrast
to the hasty proposals and hasty actions threatening on the less
prepared soil at home. Indeed in this last sentence I have touched upon
the two actual terrors which the Church in France feels. FIRST, that
hasty and purely _sectional_ action on unimaginative and traditional
lines by the home-clergy will give the old party-feeling a new bitter
lease of life, and by ruining unnecessarily the unity of the Church of
England will destroy the hopes that are so fair of yet wider reunion.
And SECOND, that the local outlook of the lay-folk--in our villages
especially perhaps--and local lines of cleavage, not having been
subjected to the experience and discipline of France, will have the
opposite effect, prevent things moving as fast as they ought, and throw
away the fairest chance of buying up opportunity that ever was given to
the Church of Christ. To these opposite dangers, I shall recur.

The Dominance of Love in the world! Let us see and absorb that big
vision first, and its pathetic urgency: its summons to each body of
Christians, and to every individual member of Christ. Acknowledge its
NECESSITY for the world, and therefore its _immediate_ necessity for the
Church of the God of Love.

And next, before considering practical steps, let us recall certain
postulates and axioms, which in any attempt to realise so magnificent a
vision must always be borne in mind, lest, in our human frailty and
selfwill, we head straight for new misunderstandings and disasters[14].

1. The importance of unity is so great, and division has been found so
calamitous, and the words of Christ are so definite on the subject, that
I think all would admit now that _Division is only to be prolonged for
causes that are backed by divine command_. The larger Christian bodies
are separated by convictions of great importance; but a severe and
honest self-examination will probably lessen the number of differences
which can justify the responsibility of so disastrous a thing as
separation, and then we can set afoot conferences to deal with what
remain. Human temperament, upbringing, tradition, human haste and pride
have much to do with the birth, stabilising and continuance of division.
A rare self-abnegation in our ecclesiastical history was the partial
suicide of the Non-juring schism, and it has never been repeated; there
were many great saints among the Nonjurors. If they could not take the
oath of allegiance to William III, and therefore could not remain in the
Church of England, the best of them recognised that their individual
difficulty would not excuse them if they perpetuated themselves as a
Church. In any junction of existing divisions, differing customs and
methods of worship and organisation can be and should be safeguarded.
That would only make the more for the health of the one Body. But,
division itself is only to be prolonged for causes that are, or seem to
be by conscience, backed by divine command, and the first step in all
work for reunion will be the isolating of these causes from lesser
things, and their careful and prayerful reconsideration.

A grand example of such process, of course, has been the Conference of
the leaders of our English denominations, at the inspiration of the
American Committee of Faith and Order, which during 1917 faced the
question of Episcopacy. The findings of its "second interim report" are
nothing less than a landmark in Church History. You remember that
roughly it was this: that any corporate reunion can only come in the
acceptance of the historical Episcopate; but that the conception and use
of Episcopacy in the Church has been a limited one: there are many ways
of regarding and using bishops besides the monarchical or "prelatical"
way exemplified by the Church of England. This is a first proof that
when truths, keenly felt and seemingly rival, are discussed in
Conference spirit, the angularities that offend disappear; and wider,
bigger truth comes into the possession of all. It will be so more and
more. By faith we can already see that the labour of understanding unto
reunion is bound to be an immense _creative_ period in the Church of
God.

2. Our second axiom sounds discouraging. Just this--that unity is,
humanly speaking, impossible. Reunion means great changes of heart in
great communions of men, and we all know how hard it is to effect change
of heart even in the individual. We must not think that no price will
have to be paid for so good a result, both by whole communions, and by
the members composing them; and that the whole force of inherited
prejudice, past history, and present wilfulness, ignorance, and sincere
conviction will not arise in opposition. The difficulty even of
approaching Rome illustrates vividly our task. The Unity of Christendom
is a meaningless expression without that vast international Church,
without her rich stores of devotion and experience, without her
unbending witness to the first things of faith, worship and
self-sacrifice. Here the "impossibility" is open and honest, but I do
not know that the difficulties will be greater than those, less obvious
as yet, between other denominations. Yet with God all things are
possible. This is only the MIRACLE which He has set the faith of modern
Christians to perform.

3. Thirdly then, our rule must be, to hasten slowly. We are not dealing
with matters susceptible of mere arrangement, but with _convictions_,
which have deep roots in history, and cling passionately round the
individual. Convictions can only be modified or changed gradually, by
love and deeper spiritual learning. Bully or outrage a conviction, and
you double its strength. That is why argument seldom does aught but
harm. Argument is an attack upon another man's convictions, or
semi-convictions, and inevitably fails to do anything but stiffen them.
Inevitably therefore will hasty action by individuals or sections, for
instance in the Church of England, for which other sections are not
ready, throw these into suspicion and opposition. I speak of my own
Communion and say deliberately, that if at the moment, either an
individual, or a section--any section--of it goes galloping off, be its
zeal and hope never so pure and splendid, on private roads, the whole
desire for unity, and therefore the cause of unity, will be gravely
damaged.

For the whole Church of England--I think that can be truly said--has now
an unutterable desire for the joy of Unity; it is, further, convinced
that action must be taken; but it is by no means convinced that certain
actions--to take a concrete example, free interchange of pulpits with
Nonconformists--are as yet either helpful or right. If one part adopt
such a policy, hostilely and sectionally, it will simply throw others
into convinced opposition and retard the whole desire for decades.
Questions of deepest implication cannot be settled in haste. Before
approaching at all, we must find the right methods of approach. Quite
rightly, the American "World Conference for the consideration of
questions touching Faith and Order," paid, from the start, the utmost,
an uniquely scientific, attention to right method; their patience has
been lightning-swift in result. It did not even go so far as to say, "We
will confer, that is the right method"; it said, "We will learn how to
confer." It was a new and by no means easy exercise, but it has been
learned, and the English Conference mentioned above, "the landmark,"
arose by its inspiration and worked by its methods.

A wrong method of approach is equally well illustrated by the gathering
of Evangelical clergy at Cheltenham[15] early in the Spring. They
discussed to some purpose, and at the end of a few days had drawn out a
series of some dozen articles of principle and action. Some were
unexceptionable, others went beyond what either the Bishops or other
sections of the Church are yet ready to do. Such sectional action simply
heads for disaster and vexation. And it is so foolish, so great and
difficult an end being in view. Why should any _sections_ of the Church
meet or deal at all on this matter, except to put their views humbly at
the disposal of their brethren in the Church? This matter concerns the
_whole_ Church; any action is futile which does not carry the whole
Church with it, and the whole Church is keen and anxious enough over the
problem to be able to agree upon methods and policies which combine
depth, wisdom, patience, and order. We have seen how titanic the labour
is; impatience will help nothing; here if anywhere is needed the love
that is patient, and ready for the travail of waiting and praying.

The cry of generous souls of course is "Something must be _done_." Of
course it must; but let anybody consider what sheer miracles of changed
convictions on Unity have been "done" within ten, and even five years.
Better than any such immediate action which would certainly cause
division, is the enlarging of the scope and sphere of this miracle, so
that the friendly conditions of France are naturally reproduced in
England.

With these precautions, then, let us see what can be done with universal
consent.

(_a_) The first thing is to turn the intellectual opinion that Christian
division is wrong, and unity necessary, into a general passion. That is
to say, we want to develop among us the _motive of love_. We all talk
about love glibly, and about brotherhood and a new world, with very
little sense of what these terms involve in the individual life. I am
sure that we hardly know yet what love means nor what it exacts, nor
guess into how many provinces of ordinary life it can and ought to
operate; how many heritages of past history it must be allowed to wipe
out, how many preconceived notions it must dissipate; into how many
social, commercial, municipal, political relations it must begin to
permeate. It was for this reason that an article which I wrote when in
billets near Arras for the _Church Quarterly Review_ suggested a new
National Mission of Love in the Church of England. For the space of a
month or more the one subject dealt with by preachers and teachers
throughout the Communion would be Love, in all its bearings, and with
special reference to religious differences and their healing. I believe
that this would be a splendid way of making the passion for new love and
wider brotherhood general, an act of pure religion of highest importance
both to our Christianity and national life, and sure of blessing by God.
It would assure our Nonconformist brothers that we mean business, and
mean it deeply. Perhaps they would follow suit in their own
congregations.

It is the more important, because there is a danger of the leaders and
clergy of communions rushing ahead of the rank and file. Naturally they
see the vast issues most clearly; the congregation sees more easily its
own needs and habits of worship, and inclines to shut out of mind the
needs and interests of the Church as a whole. A National Mission of
Love, dealing with all history, the larger duties of the present, and
future hopes, would help to correct this, and give a single mind to the
whole body.

(_b_) Then, in order that the Church of England may go forward as one
whole, without the risk of sectional exasperation, it does seem to me an
urgent necessity that--I do hope it is not a presumptuous
suggestion--the Archbishops appoint a Council of Unity; to thrash out
the whole subject, and decide on definite steps of action, both within
and without the Church.

My vision sees it thus. A small Council of, say, five Bishops, and a
dozen other members. These dozen to be nominated, not elected, and to
consist of the leading and trusted men of each "party" with at least
two of our greatest scholars. It must be small, so that it may truly
"confer"--not drop into controversy--and meet regularly. It should issue
definite advice and suggestion, all of which would be unanimous, upon
which the whole Church could act, and act immediately. I am sure that
the amount of unanimity would be surprising, and the advice bold.
Perhaps the Archbishops and Bishops in accepting and issuing such
reports would require them to be read in every pulpit in the land, so
that the whole Communion understand what is going on, and each
congregation be spurred to do its part in its own locality.

The mere appointment of such a Council would be a notable step towards
unity and place the whole matter on, so to speak, a scientific footing.
The Church of England would then be wisely and consistently ordered to
the one end, and be thinking and acting as itself an unity; the danger
of sectional action would be reduced to a minimum, and the mutual
confidence of the sections be assured. Indeed it would be a hard blow to
the bad party licence too common hitherto amongst us. Further, the
Nonconformist communions would have a definite organ to approach on all
subjects making for friendliness, cooperation, and conference, and
sufficient certainty that the Church of England desired the peace of
Jerusalem very earnestly indeed.

(_c_) There are a number of issues on which all communions could begin
at once to work together. There is a real chance of abolishing war, and
establishing a more or less universal peace. The idea of the League of
Nations gains ground. Bishop Gore is already summoning the support and
labour of the Church to it. Here serious united effort of all Christian
bodies, of Europe and America, is obviously fitting and might be
decisive.

There are the hundred social problems confronting us. The very working
together upon these would be as valuable as the large amount of work
that so easily might be done.

Education! Word of lamentable memories. The present Bill, which all
Christian bodies have urged on, left in despair the vital question of
religious teaching until the Churches can agree upon it among
themselves. With all the lessons of the war, both to the appalling need
of such teaching, and of the necessity of bigger thinking, can they not
do it now? Here is a critical field for cooperation and
self-suppression. Only let the younger men be put to the task. The elder
will be the first to admit that long controversy and deepening
opposition have unfitted them for sincere agreement. The younger men are
fresh, and start with an eagerness to find the way out.

(_d_) Cooperation in these great matters will not only promote unity,
but display already the men of Christ as one before the world. But it is
not enough. How about cooperation in directly religious work and
worship? "The visible unity of the Body of Christ is not adequately
expressed in the cooperation for moral influence and social service,
though such cooperation might with advantage be carried much further
than it is at present; it could only be fully realised through community
of worship, faith and order, including common participation in the
Lord's Supper[16]."

Here let us once more and finally insist that the all-important thing is
the development of the desire for Unity even in the most local, or
uneducated, or out-of-the-way congregations. Most of the clergy now are
revolutionaries for better, bigger things; but, frankly, we fear the lay
people who hate change, and desire things to remain as they are--in
church and out of it. That is why I should so like my imagined Council
to set going my imagined National Mission of Love. But much can be done
besides. Those who seek unity will be labouring fruitfully for it, if
they simply devote themselves to developing social and Christian
friendship between Churchmen and Nonconformists in town and village.
There might well be an enormous growth of meetings, both of clergy and
laity of different denominations, for conference, devotion, even
retreat. We want more than one "Swanwick." Can we not go further, and
draw together by experimenting with each other's devotions or
organisations of proved value? For instance, I wonder if it is
suggesting too much, to suggest that if Nonconformists appropriated with
vigour our Christian year, they would be sharers with us of a devotional
joy and help, which would certainly promote spiritual sympathy. In the
same way, the Church of England has been crying out for some method of
using the spiritual gifts of her laymen in church. Why not borrow
notions from those who know how to do it?

These are but scrappy examples of ways by which right spirit can be
developed within the single communion, or between separated bodies. The
_right spirit_ won, the whole battle is won.

Naturally there are many who desire already to go much further and
faster. Intercommunion, our goal, is of course impossible at this stage
owing to seriously differing convictions on faith and order; and the
plain fact that it would cause more cleavage than it healed. But how
about interchange of pulpits? The Evangelicals at Cheltenham demanded
this as a regular practice. The rest of the Church feels strongly that
the time for this has not arrived yet; that haphazard invitations by
individual vicars to ministers of convictions widely different are
undesirable. The time has come for conference, but not yet for any
facile overpassing of the facts and reasons for historical separations.
Nor do we want to run the risks of indiscipline and disorderliness
resulting from such individual action. The Church of England can only be
of help to the cause of unity where she acts as a whole. Matters such as
interchange of pulpits should be tackled by our suggested Council of
Unity. A suggestion in the _Challenge_ of July 19 might well be
favourably considered by it. There are Nonconformists of acknowledged
eminence, learning, and inspiration, from whose books the Church of
England already has received much. We should all be glad to receive
likewise from their lips. If a selected number were officially invited
by the Church to prophesy in our midst, an immense and religiously
fruitful step would have been taken, in perfect order. The plan might
well be reciprocal.

The same leading article proposed that ministers of other denominations
should be asked by such congregations as wished, to come and explain to
them frankly their standpoints of doctrine and order. I am sure that all
communions might be, and now should be, more brave in explaining
themselves to each other. The gain in preventing misunderstanding and
destroying suspicion and unfriendliness would be great, and I can see no
loss anywhere about such a proceeding.

Have you read the story of the Woolwich Crusade, published by the
S.P.C.K. (1_s._ 3_d._)? The Crusade movement and method is a new thing.
Its idea is not that of a mission--to increase or improve the membership
of a particular denomination, but to bring God and the meaning of Christ
into the life and problems of to-day. It is doing the same sort of work
which chaplains in France do, among the munitioners, artisans, and
labour world at home. Perhaps our Nonconformist brethren could join us
here. The difficulties would, I think, merely be those of organisation.

Thanks to the College system, and to the Student Christian movement,
Churchmen and Nonconformists are as friendly in this University as they
are in France; and joint devotion is usual. We have a great
responsibility here amid the young and the enthusiastic, and good
feeling is both easier to achieve, and more widespread in result, at a
University than anywhere else. Well, we are awake to our chances, and
will do our best.

(_e_) This leaves but one more subject to touch on: the old, hard,
question of Church order, and the orders of ministry. But all looks in
the best sense hopeful here, very hopeful, since the striking report
signed by the thirteen members of the sub-committee appointed by the
Archbishops' Committee, and by representatives of the English Free
Churches' Commissions. Let me quote it.


     Looking as frankly and as widely as possible at the whole
     situation, we desire with a due sense of responsibility to submit
     for the serious consideration of all the parts of a divided
     Christendom what seem to us the necessary conditions of any
     possibility of reunion: That continuity with the historic
     Episcopate should be effectively preserved. That, in order that the
     rights and responsibilities of the whole Christian community in the
     government of the Church may be adequately recognised, the
     Episcopate should reassume a constitutional form both as regards
     the method of the election of the Bishop as by clergy and people,
     and the method of government after election.... The acceptance of
     the fact of Episcopacy and not any theory as to its character
     should be all that is asked for.... It would no doubt be necessary
     before any arrangement for corporate reunion could be made to
     discuss the exact functions which it may be agreed to recognise as
     belonging to the Episcopate, but we think this can be left to the
     future.

     The acceptance of Episcopacy on these terms should not involve any
     Christian community in the necessity of disowning its past, but
     should enable all to maintain the continuity of their witness and
     influence as heirs and trustees of types of Christian thought,
     life, and order, not only of value to themselves, but of value to
     the Church as a whole....


It would be difficult to imagine a wiser, braver, or happier statement
than this in the whole history of the Church. A landmark indeed! The
Chaplains to the Forces in France almost shouted for joy. At one stroke,
the first and greatest incompatibility of conviction has been cleared
out of the way. Perhaps that is too strong--or prophetic--a way of
putting it. Let us say rather, that at least the question of Episcopacy
and Church order has been raised to a new plane, where all can discuss
it, and think it out, not only peaceably, but with good hope of new
wealth of conception and polity pouring into the old, rigid, bitter,
rival views of church government. In France I corresponded with a
Wesleyan chaplain on the subject of orders and ordination. He wrote a
careful letter affirming the historic Nonconformist position about
ministry. But, he ended, it would all be changed, if re-ordination could
be presented and accepted as a great outward "Sacrament of Love" which
reunited us. That is more than the Church of England has ever asked, for
she regards ordination as a Sacrament of Order merely, not of Spiritual
Love. But let us gladly put the higher value upon it. And the day will
surely come, unless goodhearted Christians settle down to accept the
intolerable burden of permanent separation in communion and worship,
when this Sacrament of Love be celebrated, and the Church of England
ordains the Free Church ministry, and the Free Churches commission us,
to work each and all in the flocks that have been made one Fold.

FOOTNOTES:

[14] In the paragraphs which follow, I owe much to the Bishop of
Zanzibar's _The Fulness of Christ_, perhaps the deepest and ablest of
all the numerous Anglican books on Reunion.

[15] It is fair to state that after this lecture was delivered, I
received a note from one who had been at Cheltenham, saying that my
references to it gave an inaccurate impression; and that the findings
were only "an expression of opinion." To those, however, who read the
published account of the meeting, whether in the _Record_ or _Guardian_,
much more seemed to be intended.

[16] Quoted from the Second Interim Report of the Archbishops' Committee
and the representatives of the Free Church Commissions.




UNITY BETWEEN CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS




III. THE PROBLEM OF THE ENGLISH FREE CHURCHES

By the Rev. W. B. SELBIE, M.A., D.D.


While I think that what I say may be fairly taken to represent the
general mind of these churches it must be understood that I do not in
any way commit them but speak only for myself. I propose first to recall
the circumstances which gave rise to these churches and the conditions
which still operate in maintaining them as separate Christian bodies,
and then to give some account of the various movements towards reunion
in which they have taken part. The Baptists and Congregationalists you
will remember arose at a time when membership in the Anglican Church was
a formal and perfunctory thing. It was open to every parishioner and
meant very little in the way of Christian life or witness. The first
Nonconformists stood for the principle that membership in Christian
churches should be confined to genuinely Christian people, and in order
to secure this they formed separated churches, on the New Testament
model, of those who were able to give effective witness of their
Christian calling. That such churches should be self-governed followed
almost as a matter of course. Their meeting in the name of Christ
secured His presence among them and the guidance of His spirit in their
doings. But it is always important to remember that their essential
characteristic is not either democracy in church government or dissent
from the Establishment, but the positive witness to purity of membership
and to the sole headship of Jesus Christ just described. The Wesleyan
Church, the parent of the whole great Methodist movement, arose at the
end of the 18th century from somewhat similar reasons. There was never
anything schismatic in the spirit of John Wesley, but when he found that
the rigour and stiffness of Anglicanism made a free spiritual witness
almost impossible, he was driven, like the Nonconformists of the
Elizabethan times, to set up separate churches. While it is quite true
that the great principle for which English Nonconformity has stood is
now almost universally accepted, and that what may be called the
negative witness of the Free Churches is much less necessary than it
used to be, there is still room for their positive contribution to the
religious life of the country, for their witness to freedom,
spirituality, and the rights of the people in the Church. For a long
time, no doubt, they did rejoice in the dissidence of their dissent, and
they suffered, and still suffer, to some degree, from a Pharisaic
feeling of superiority to those whom they regard as bound by tradition
and State rule. The great majority among them, however, have long since
come to feel that they have more in common with one another and with
many in the Anglican Church than they have been hitherto prepared to
admit, and that existence in isolation from the rest of Christendom is
neither good for them nor helpful to the cause of Christ and His
Kingdom. This feeling first took definite shape about the year 1890 in
connexion with what are now known as the Grindelwald Conferences. For
three successive years informal parties of clergy and ministers were
arranged by Sir Henry Lunn, at Grindelwald and Lucerne, with the object
of getting representatives of the different churches together in order
to exchange views on the subject of union, and to create an atmosphere
of mutual knowledge, sympathy, and friendliness. Although no practical
steps directly followed them, these conferences undoubtedly did good by
removing misunderstandings and paving a way for further intercourse. To
many of the Free Churchmen who attended them they seem to have suggested
for the first time the evils of our unhappy divisions, and they
certainly created a desire for better relations. It became obvious that
one of the necessary first steps in this direction would be the setting
up of a closer cooperation among the Free Churches themselves, and of
breaking down the denominational isolation in which they too often
lived. Further conferences were held in England at Manchester, Bradford,
London and other centres, the ultimate issue of which was the foundation
of the National Federation of the Evangelical Free Churches under the
guidance of the Rev. Hugh Price Hughes, Dr Berry of Wolverhampton, Dr
Mackennal of Bowdon, and Dr Munro Gibson of London, along with laymen
like Sir Percy Bunting and Mr George Cadbury. The aim of the Federation
was to bring all the evangelical Nonconformist churches into closer
association in order that they might in various localities take
concerted action on questions affecting their common faith and interests
and the social, moral, and religious welfare of the community. Since
that time the work of the Federation has gradually covered the whole
country through local councils working on a Free Church parish system,
and engaging in various forms of social and evangelistic effort. The
representative central council has become a powerful instrument for
furthering the cause of the Free Churches and for bringing their
influence to bear on social and political matters. It must be freely
admitted that this council has sometimes gone further in political
action than some of the churches have been altogether prepared for. From
the first, so representative a Nonconformist as the late Dr Dale of
Birmingham stood aloof from it, on the ground that it tended to divert
the energy of the churches from the proper channels and to involve them
too deeply in political controversy. In this action he was supported by
many of the more conservative elements in the churches themselves,
particularly as the circumstances of the time compelled the council to
engage in a good deal of political agitation. In spite of this, however,
there is no doubt that the Free Church Council movement as a whole has
had the effect its first promoters intended and desired, and has brought
all the Free Churches into much closer relations with one another, and
has established them in a position of mutual understanding and sympathy.
Its chief weakness has been that it has depended for support on
individual churches rather than on the denominations they represented.
It is the consciousness of this which has led the way to a later
movement in the direction of still closer federation. The lead has been
taken by the Rev. J. H. Shakespeare, who, as President of the Free
Church Council in 1916, propounded an elaborate scheme for the
federation of the Free Church denominations. In his first presidential
address under the title "The Free Churches at the Cross-roads" he put
forward an unanswerable case for the union of the whole of the Free
Churches of England. He pointed to the fact that for many years past
these churches have suffered a serious decline in the number of their
members and of their Sunday school scholars and teachers; and he found
one of the chief causes of this in their excessive denominationalism,
which led to over-lapping and rivalry. He pleaded that the old sectarian
distinctions had now ceased to represent vital issues, and to appeal to
the best elements both in the churches and in the nation outside; and he
urged that the maintenance of these distinctions now tended to destroy
the collective witness of the Free Churches and involved an immense
waste of men, money and energy. For the sake of efficiency, as well as
in order to maintain a proper Christian comity, he argued that it was
absolutely necessary to put an end to this condition of things. As long
as the Free Churches were thus divided, they could not expect either to
do their own work well or to exercise their proper influence in the life
of the nation. There is no doubt that this estimate of the situation
represented a growing feeling among those who were best acquainted with
the facts. But it is probable that Mr Shakespeare under-estimated the
strength of the conservative spirit in many of the Free Churches. And
there is no doubt that a considerable educational process will have to
be gone through before his proposals take practical shape. This process,
however, has already begun and has made considerable way. Mr
Shakespeare's challenge led almost immediately to the formation of a
large conference of representatives appointed by the Free Church
Council along with the Baptist, Congregational, Presbyterian, Primitive
Methodist, Independent Methodist, Wesleyan Methodist, Wesleyan Reform,
United Methodist, Moravian, Countess of Huntingdon, and Disciples of
Christ Churches. This Conference first met at Mansfield College, Oxford,
in September, 1916, and later at the Leys School, Cambridge, in 1917,
and again in London in the early part of this year. It appointed
Committees on Faith, Constitution, Evangelization and the Ministry, all
of which have held many meetings in addition to those of the whole
Conference. The Committee on Faith was able to frame a declaratory
statement on doctrine which was afterwards unanimously adopted as
follows:


                                     I

     There is One Living and True God, Who is revealed to us as Father,
     Son and Holy Spirit; Him alone we worship and adore.


                                    II

     We believe that God so loved the world as to give His Son to be the
     Revealer of the Father and the Redeemer of mankind; that the Son of
     God, for us men and for our salvation, became man in Jesus Christ,
     Who, having lived on earth the perfect human life, died for our
     sins, rose again from the dead, and now is exalted Lord over all;
     and that the Holy Spirit, Who witnesses to us of Christ, makes the
     salvation which is in Him to be effective in our hearts and lives.


                                    III

     We acknowledge that all men are sinful, and unable to deliver
     themselves from either the guilt or power of their sin; but we have
     received and rejoice in the Gospel of the grace of the Holy God,
     wherein all who truly turn from sin are freely forgiven through
     faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and are called and enabled, through
     the Spirit dwelling and working within them, to live in fellowship
     with God and for His service; and in this new life, which is to be
     nurtured by the right use of the means of grace, we are to grow,
     daily dying unto sin and living unto Him Who in His mercy has
     redeemed us.


                                   IV

     We believe that the Catholic or Universal Church is the whole
     company of the redeemed in heaven and on earth, and we recognise as
     belonging to this holy fellowship all who are united to God through
     faith in Christ.

     The Church on earth--which is One through the Apostolic Gospel and
     through the living union of all its true members with its one Head,
     even Christ, and which is Holy through the indwelling Holy Spirit
     Who sanctifies the Body and its members--is ordained to be the
     visible Body of Christ, to worship God through Him, to promote the
     fellowship of His people and the ends of His Kingdom, and to go
     into all the world and proclaim His Gospel for the salvation of men
     and the brotherhood of all mankind. Of this visible Church, and
     every branch thereof, the only Head is the Lord Jesus Christ; and
     in its faith, order, discipline and duty, it must be free to obey
     Him alone as it interprets His holy will.


                                    V

     We receive, as given by the Lord to His Church on earth, the Holy
     Scriptures, the Sacraments of the Gospel, and the Christian
     Ministry.

     The Scriptures, delivered through men moved by the Holy Ghost,
     record and interpret the revelation of redemption, and contain the
     sure Word of God concerning our salvation and all things necessary
     thereto. Of this we are convinced by the witness of the Holy Spirit
     in the hearts of men to and with the Word; and this Spirit, thus
     speaking from the Scriptures to believers and to the Church, is the
     supreme Authority by which all opinions in religion are finally to
     be judged.

     The Sacraments--Baptism and the Lord's Supper--are instituted by
     Christ, Who is Himself certainly and really present in His own
     ordinances (though not bodily in the elements thereof), and are
     signs and seals of His Gospel not to be separated therefrom. They
     confirm the promises and gifts of salvation, and, when rightly used
     by believers with faith and prayer, are, through the operation of
     the Holy Spirit, true means of grace.

     The Ministry is an office within the Church--not a sacerdotal
     order--instituted for the preaching of the Word, the ministration
     of the Sacraments and the care of souls. It is a vocation from God,
     upon which therefore no one is qualified to enter save through the
     call of the Holy Spirit in the heart; and this inward call is to be
     authenticated by the call of the Church, which is followed by
     ordination to the work of the Ministry in the name of the Church.
     While thus maintaining the Ministry as an office, we do not limit
     the ministries of the New Testament to those who are thus ordained,
     but affirm the priesthood of all believers and the obligation
     resting upon them to fulfil their vocation according to the gift
     bestowed upon them by the Holy Spirit.


                                   VI

     We affirm the sovereign authority of our Lord Jesus Christ over
     every department of human life, and we hold that individuals and
     peoples are responsible to Him in their several spheres and are
     bound to render Him obedience and to seek always the furtherance of
     His Kingdom upon earth, not, however, in any way constraining
     belief, imposing religious disabilities, or denying the rights of
     conscience.


                                  VII

     In the assurance, given us in the Gospel, of the love of God our
     Father to each of us and to all men, and in the faith that Jesus
     Christ, Who died, overcame death and has passed into the heavens,
     the first-fruits of them that sleep, we are made confident of the
     hope of Immortality, and trust to God our souls and the souls of
     the departed. We believe that the whole world must stand before the
     final Judgment of the Lord Jesus Christ. And, with glad and solemn
     hearts, we look for the consummation and bliss of the life
     everlasting, wherein the people of God, freed for ever from sorrow
     and from sin, shall serve Him and see His face in the perfected
     communion of all saints in the Church triumphant.


The Committee on Constitution recommended a definite union of the Free
Church denominations on the basis of a federation which should express
their essential unity, promote evangelization, maintain their liberties
and take action where authorised in all matters affecting the interests,
duties, rights, and privileges of the federating churches, and to enter
into communion and united action where possible with other branches of
the church of Christ throughout the world. It is proposed that the
federation shall work through a council consisting of about 200
representatives of the denominations in order to carry out their will.
The Committee on Evangelization and the Ministry also suggested certain
practical measures necessary for cooperation in these important branches
of service. The scheme has been carefully thought out and elaborated,
but at the same time is not too cumbrous for action, and if it can be
carried out there is no doubt that it would secure the ends aimed at. In
many ways the doctrinal declaration is the most important part of it,
and shews a sufficient general agreement on essentials to ensure
harmonious working. The fate of it lies of course with the different
denominations concerned. By this time most of them have had an
opportunity of considering it and, generally speaking, it has met with a
favourable reception. The Baptists, Congregationalists, and United
Methodists have declared their willingness to proceed to closer union on
this basis. But the Presbyterians and Wesleyan Methodists have referred
it back for further consideration. Rightly and naturally both of these
denominations are more concerned for the moment with measures for union
within their own borders. The Presbyterians are looking to a reunion of
the Established and Free Churches in Scotland, while a great scheme for
the reunion of all the Methodist bodies is before the Wesleyan
Conference. If this can be carried out it should not prejudice but
rather be in favour of any scheme for wider Free Church Union.

Nothing that has been done so far among the Free Churches is likely in
any way to hinder the fulfilment of the desire which is now widely felt
on all sides for better relations with the Anglican Church. It can
easily be understood from the difficulties that have already emerged in
the way of closer union among the Free Churches how much more difficult
is the prospect of union with Anglicanism. There is no doubt that
denominational feeling is still very strong among the rank and file of
the churches. In spite of the changes which have taken place in emphasis
and conditions in modern church thought, each denomination realises that
it stands for something positive and is anxious to give its positive
witness in the best possible way. It has therefore been an essential of
reunion that any scheme proposed shall not interfere with the autonomy
of any individual denomination and shall allow full scope for its
genius. It is equally necessary that this should be preserved in any
scheme contemplated for reunion with Anglicanism. The Free Churches are
not disposed to bate anything of their freedom or to sink their identity
in any national church. If, however, any scheme can be devised which
will preserve their individuality and give them scope for their special
witness and at the same time avoid the dissensions and divisions which
have so marred their relations with Anglicanism in the past it is likely
to meet with a very warm welcome. The war has brought home to all
thinking men in the churches the imperative need that there is for
closer union and for a more united testimony. And they are conscious
that if they are to face the increasing difficulties of the future all
the churches must be able to stand together, to cooperate in Christian
service, and to speak with one voice.

It is therefore regarded by them as a welcome sign of the times that
there should be a world-wide desire for Christian reunion, and that this
should have begun to take practical shape just before the outbreak of
the war. The movement was initiated by the Protestant Episcopal Church
of America supported by practically all the churches in that country. It
first took shape in proposals for a world-wide conference on Faith and
Order with a view of promoting the visible unity of the body of Christ.
But for the war this conference would have been held already, but under
existing circumstances the work has had to be confined to preparations
for it on both sides of the Atlantic. In this country the work has been
mainly done by a joint Conference, consisting of representatives of the
Committee appointed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and of
commissions appointed by the various Free Churches, in order to promote
the Faith and Order movement. This Conference has held repeated meetings
in the historic Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster and elsewhere, and has
published two interim reports "Towards Christian Unity" which are of the
utmost importance. These reports represent the work of a sub-committee
but have received the general sanction of the whole Conference. The
first report contains the following statement of agreement on matters of
faith, which is "offered not as a creed for subscription, or as
committing in any way the churches thus represented, but as indicating a
large measure of substantial agreement and also as affording material
for further investigation and consideration":


                A STATEMENT OF AGREEMENT ON MATTERS OF FAITH


     We, who belong to different Christian Communions and are engaged in
     the discussion of questions of Faith and Order, desire to affirm
     our agreement upon certain foundation truths as the basis of a
     spiritual and rational creed and life for all mankind. We express
     them as follows:

     (1) As Christians we believe that, while there is some knowledge of
     God to be found among all races of men and some measure of divine
     grace and help is present to all, a unique, progressive and
     redemptive revelation of Himself was given by God to the Hebrew
     people through the agency of inspired prophets, "in many parts and
     in many manners," and that this revelation reaches its culmination
     and completeness in One Who is more than a prophet, Who is the
     Incarnate Son of God, our Saviour and our Lord, Jesus Christ.

     (2) This distinctive revelation, accepted as the word of God, is
     the basis of the life of the Christian Church and is intended to be
     the formative influence upon the mind and character of the
     individual believer.

     (3) This word of God is contained in the Old and New Testaments and
     constitutes the permanent spiritual value of the Bible.

     (4) The root and centre of this revelation, as intellectually
     interpreted, consists in a positive and highly distinctive doctrine
     of God--His nature, character and will. From this doctrine of God
     follows a certain sequence of doctrines concerning creation, human
     nature and destiny, sin, individual and racial, redemption through
     the incarnation of the Son of God and His atoning death and
     resurrection, the mission and operation of the Holy Spirit, the
     Holy Trinity, the Church, the last things, and Christian life and
     duty, individual and social: all these cohere with and follow from
     this doctrine of God.

     (5) Since Christianity offers an historical revelation of God, the
     coherence and sequence of Christian doctrine involve a necessary
     synthesis of idea and fact such as is presented to us in the New
     Testament and in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds: and these Creeds
     both in their statements of historical fact and in their statements
     of doctrine affirm essential elements of the Christian faith as
     contained in Scripture, which the Church could never abandon
     without abandoning its basis in the word of God.

     (6) We hold that there is no contradiction between the acceptance
     of the miracles recited in the Creeds and the acceptance of the
     principle of order in nature as assumed in scientific enquiry, and
     we hold equally that the acceptance of miracles is not forbidden by
     the historical evidence candidly and impartially investigated by
     critical methods.


This was followed by a statement of agreement on matters relating to
order as follows:


     With thankfulness to the Head of the Church for the spirit of unity
     He has shed abroad in our hearts we go on to express our common
     conviction on the following matters:

     (1) That it is the purpose of our Lord that believers in Him should
     be, as in the beginning they were, one visible society--His body
     with many members--which in every age and place should maintain the
     communion of saints in the unity of the Spirit and should be
     capable of a common witness and a common activity.

     (2) That our Lord ordained, in addition to the preaching of His
     Gospel, the Sacraments of Baptism and of the Lord's Supper, as not
     only declaratory symbols, but also effective channels of His grace
     and gifts for the salvation and sanctification of men, and that
     these Sacraments being essentially social ordinances were intended
     to affirm the obligation of corporate fellowship as well as
     individual confession of Him.

     (3) That our Lord, in addition to the bestowal of the Holy Spirit
     in a variety of gifts and graces upon the whole Church, also
     conferred upon it by the self-same Spirit a Ministry of manifold
     gifts and functions, to maintain the unity and continuity of its
     witness and work.


In subsequent discussions a very considerable advance was made on the
positions here laid down. It was felt that if ever reunion was to become
a reality the question of order must be frankly faced, and the following
statements were put forth for the consideration of the churches
concerned, not as a final solution, but as the necessary basis for
discussion in framing a practical scheme:


     1. That continuity with the historic Episcopate should be
     effectively preserved.

     2. That in order that the rights and responsibilities of the whole
     Christian community in the government of the Church may be
     adequately recognised, the Episcopate should re-assume a
     constitutional form, both as regards the method of the election of
     the bishop as by clergy and people, and the method of government
     after election. It is perhaps necessary that we should call to mind
     that such was the primitive ideal and practice of Episcopacy and it
     so remains in many Episcopal communions to-day.

     3. That acceptance of the fact of Episcopacy and not any theory as
     to its character should be all that is asked for. We think that
     this may be the more easily taken for granted as the acceptance of
     any such theory is not now required of ministers of the Church of
     England. It would no doubt be necessary before any arrangement for
     corporate reunion could be made to discuss the exact functions
     which it may be agreed to recognise as belonging to the Episcopate,
     but we think this can be left to the future.


The first point to note in regard to the work of this Conference is the
remarkable unanimity achieved in regard to Christian doctrine. While
there is no intention of binding any of the parties to the _ipsissima
verba_ of any doctrinal declaration, but rather every desire to allow
for varieties of expression, it is now perfectly clear that there is
among all the churches concerned a substantial agreement on the main and
essential matters of the Christian faith. This supplies the most real
and hopeful basis for the vital union of churches thus minded, and makes
their continued separation and antagonism intolerable. The more closely
this aspect of the situation is explored the more clearly does it lead
to the conclusion that those who are so largely one in aim, intention,
and desire should find some genuine and practical expression of their
unity. The question of church order is more difficult; but here again
much has happened of late to justify a reconsideration of the position
on both sides. On the one hand recent investigations into early church
history have shewn that no one form of church government can claim
exclusive scriptural or Apostolic authority. Under the guidance of the
Spirit of God the Church has in the past adapted herself and her
organization to the needs of the times in order the better to do the
work of the Kingdom. Men are coming now to see that the test of a true
Church is not conformity to type but effectiveness in fulfilling the
will of her Lord, and that therefore organization need not be of a
single uniform type. So we find denominations like the Baptists and
Congregationalists setting up superintendents (overseers, Bishops) over
their churches because the needs of the time demand such supervision.
And on the other hand we find Anglicans inclining to exchange prelacy
for a more modest and elective form of episcopacy. In this respect the
two extremes are drawing together to an extent which would have been
incredible twenty years ago, and, given good will, it should be possible
to find even here a real _modus vivendi_.

The same may be said with regard to other movements which have been
recently set on foot in the direction of a better common understanding
between Anglicans and Free Churchmen. It is recognised that one of the
greatest obstacles is still the so-called religious education
controversy. Both sides are becoming a little ashamed of their attitude
to this question in the past. They realise that the true interests of
education have been gravely imperilled by making it a bone of contention
among the churches, and they are beginning to look at the whole matter
afresh from the point of view of the good of the child rather than from
that of their denominational interests. Some important conferences have
been held at Lambeth in the course of which the Bishop of Oxford has put
forth a scheme for relegating the conduct of religious teaching in the
elementary schools to interdenominational committees elected _ad hoc_.
This scheme is still under discussion and at the moment is not regarded
very favourably by extremists on either side, but it is all to the good
that the matter should have been raised in so friendly and conciliatory
a spirit and, whenever the time is ripe, it may be hoped that the way
to agreement will be more open than it has ever been yet.

Further the rise and rapid growth of the Life and Liberty movement
within the Established Church is something like a portent and one that
Nonconformists cannot but regard with the deepest interest and sympathy.
They may perhaps be forgiven if they see in it an attempt to win from
within the Church just those privileges and liberties for the sake of
which their ancestors came out many years ago. With a great price they
bought this freedom and they rejoice in this new movement as a real
vindication of the cause for which they have so long contended and as
representing a body of opinion within the establishment the existence of
which, whatever may be its immediate result, is sure to make a common
understanding in the future more attainable. They may have serious
doubts whether the aims of the movement are ever to be obtained without
the Disestablishment of the Church, but for all that they wish it well
and rejoice in the spirit to which it points.

One more sign of the times may be mentioned. During the last 18 months
yet another Conference has been set on foot, this time between
Nonconformists and Evangelical Anglicans, and has come very near to a
common understanding on such vital matters as intercommunion and
interchange of pulpits. It is recognised that there can be no real
Christian unity without such interchange, and the fact that a growing
number of Anglican clergy are prepared to discuss the question and that
there is no real difficulty on the Nonconformist side is again a ground
of hope. It should be understood however that on the Nonconformist side
there is no desire for universal and indiscriminate facilities in the
directions indicated. They do not want a kind of general post among the
pulpits of the land, nor do they ask that their people should desert
their own ordinances for those of the Established Church. Their people
indeed have no such desire. They love the simplicity and homeliness of
their own communion services and would not exchange them if they could.
But they do feel that to be debarred from communicating when there is no
church of their own order available is a real hardship, and they know
that nothing would make for comity among the churches so surely as an
occasional interchange of pulpits. They recognise that it would all have
to be carried out in due order and under conditions, and as long as the
conditions cast no reflexion on their orders, or on the Christian
standing of their members, they would loyally accept them. Under
exceptional circumstances and given due authorization on both sides, it
might be possible to do openly what is often now done in a more or less
clandestine way. There is a growing body of opinion on both sides which
would be favourable to such a course and it is certain that more will be
heard of it after the war.

This leads up to another consideration which our ecclesiastical
authorities would do well to bear in mind. For a long time past younger
men and women in all the churches have been accustomed to meet together
in the various Fellowships and the Student movement. They have learnt to
work and pray together, to know one another's mind and to realise their
fundamental oneness of spirit and aim. It must be remembered that these
are the men and women in whose hands the future of the churches, humanly
speaking, lies, and they will not tolerate an indefinite prospect of
sectarian division and strife. While loyal to their own denominations
they have seen a wider and more glorious vision, and they are already
prepared for very definite steps in the direction of closer relations.
The new and better spirit which they represent is spreading rapidly
among the rank and file in the churches, and has been strongly
reinforced by experiences at the front. There, under the rude stress of
war, denominational exclusiveness has frankly broken down and attempts
to maintain it have excited universal resentment and disgust. There is
no doubt that after the war there will be a strong public opinion in
favour of better relations among the churches, and no church or section
of a church that clings to the old exclusiveness will be able to retain
any hold upon the people. In this case at least it may be assumed that
for once _vox populi_ is _vox dei_.

There is indeed every reason to believe that opinion outside the
churches is more ripe for action than within them. On both sides there
is need for something like an educational campaign on the subject of
reunion and of the duty of Christians in regard to it. Difficulties have
to be faced of a very serious kind. On the Nonconformist side there are
still many who feel very keenly the burden of the disabilities from
which they have suffered, and to some extent still suffer. They know
that in some country districts Nonconformists are subjected to petty
social persecutions, and that their boys or girls who wish to become
elementary school teachers are handicapped from the outset. Many of them
have been brought up on bitter memories, and their inherited hostility
to the State establishment of religion does not incline them to any
_rapprochement_ with its representatives. It is well that these facts
should be faced, for they shew the need there is for the Free Churches
to educate their own people.

To all this we have to add the _vis inertiae_ which operates in all the
churches alike. Many of them are entirely satisfied with things as they
are, and are only anxious that we should let well alone. There is too
among certain of the denominations a self-satisfaction amounting almost
to Pharisaism. They are very busy with their own work and devoted to
their denominational interests, and, so long as these can be maintained,
they do not see the use of agitations for reunion. They do not believe
that they have anything to gain from it and therefore they let it alone.

The same spirit shews itself too on the Anglican side and there becomes
a serious obstacle to any advance. There are those who regard the Church
of England, as by law established, as the only possible Church for
England, and they cannot imagine why any people should want to change
its present position. Dissenters they say are outsiders and schismatics,
and must be left to go their own way. They should be thankful for the
toleration which has been extended to them and not abuse it by asking
for more. For all this kind of thing there is only one remedy, and that
is a wider vision, and for this all Christians of good will should
strenuously work and pray. It should surely be obvious that we can no
longer treat any church or denomination as an end in itself. All alike
exist for the great end of the Kingdom of God and are to be judged by
their efficiency in promoting that end among men. So no system of church
order can be regarded as of divine right in itself but only so far as
it becomes a channel of the Spirit of God and mediates His gifts to
men. All the churches as we know them to-day have grown up in
controversy and represent a long process of development and adaptation.
If we are to test them it should not be by the more or less artificial
standards of any one age in their history, but rather by the spirit, and
temper, and intentions of their Lord and Master Jesus Christ. When this
is done, the differences between them fall into their proper proportions
in view of the failure which is common to them all. On these terms too
will the old antagonisms become a generous rivalry in good works and
each church be ready to seek the welfare of others in the common
interests of the Kingdom which they all serve.

So far we have dealt largely with the past and with the various
movements in the direction of unity which have been set on foot. It now
remains to say something of the motives which inspire and the principles
which underlie them. First and foremost is the fact that it is the will
of our Lord that His people should be one. This does not mean surely any
mere uniformity of organization but unity of spirit, heart, and will. We
seek this chiefly because it is a right thing. Anything short of it is
evil. The Christian faith rests ultimately on the Fatherhood of God and
the brotherhood of man, and these can only be made real when all
Christians accept them and make them the ground and basis of their
relations with one another. Here we need to appeal to the conscience of
the churches and challenge them to put the first things first and learn
in the love of the brethren the love and service of God and His Church.
Then we are bound to recognise in the next place that this unity is the
prime condition of successful work and witness. The tasks awaiting the
churches in the immediate future are gigantic and only as they stand
together and learn to speak and act as one have they any chance of
accomplishing them. They have to evangelize the world, and for this they
will need above all things a common faith, a common witness, and a
common sacrifice. They have to leaven society with the aims and
principles of Jesus Christ, to bring His spirit to bear on all social,
political, commercial, and industrial undertakings, and for this too
they will need the united weight of all their influence and the passion
of a great common crusade. The devil is a great master of strategy and
knows that if he can keep our forces divided there is nothing in them
that need be feared. We must therefore close up our ranks and present a
united front, not merely as a measure of self-preservation but in order
to do well the work that has been committed to us. This will involve
some real self-sacrifice on the part of us all, but it is the way the
Master went and His followers must not shrink from it. If we but keep
our eyes fixed on the great vision of the Kingdom which He opened before
us, we shall not faint but go forward steadfastly and together until the
kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of God and of His Christ.




UNITY BETWEEN CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS




IV. THE SCOTTISH PROBLEM

By the Very Rev. JAMES COOPER, D.D., Litt.D., D.C.L., V.D.


The very appearance of this subject on the programme of the CAMBRIDGE
SUMMER MEETING, and still more the fact that it has been entrusted to
ministers of different Christian denominations--one of them, too, from
across the Border--are signs of a remarkable change that has come
over--we may say--the _whole Christian people_ of Great Britain.

Our island was, till not so long ago, emphatically a land of different,
and diverging "churches" and "denominations," unashamed of their
separation; nay, boasting their exclusiveness, or their dissidence,
commemorating with pride their secessions and disruptions. And even when
they began to see something of the evils such tempers and such acts had
brought in their train--the wastefulness of them, in regard alike to
money, to men's toil, and gifts given by God for the use of the whole
Church but confined in their exercise to some small section;--the injury
to character, the multiform self-righteousness engendered by our
schisms, the breaches of Christian justice and charity;--the treatment
of that whole Mediaeval Period to which we owe so much, as if it had
been one dark age of heathen blindness;--and, again, the hindrances to
Christian work at home and especially abroad,--when uneasiness over
these results began to shew itself, the recognition of the evil
expressed itself at first in ways hardly indicative of any depth of
penitence, or conducive to any practical measures for the healing of the
wrong. We had in one quarter "Evangelical Alliances," which put a new
stigma on huge portions of the Church of God, yet left those who took
part in their meetings contented in their own divisions. In other
quarters--probably in both the established Churches of our island--there
was a tendency (and more) to look down on Dissenters as such, to ignore
even their reasonable grievances, to ask more from them than either Holy
Scripture or early tradition could warrant, and to disparage unions that
were possible and urgent as likely to put new difficulties in the way of
that further and perfect union of all who believe in Christ which alone
He has promised, and for which alone He tells us that He prays.

I should be the very last to deprecate either prayer or effort to
advance this perfect end. It ought to be the ultimate aim of all of us,
since it is Christ's. We must do nothing to hinder it: we must do all
that may be lawful for us to promote it. But it should be pointed out to
such as look exclusively towards the East and Rome, first, that a juster
view of those great Churches--great gain as it is--affords little excuse
for ignoring the Churches of the Reformation, and for leaving the large
numbers of devout Christians in the lesser sects without either the hope
or the means of supplying defects which are now, for the most part,
rather inherited than chosen; second, that the divisions and
"variations" among all who in East or West, in England or in Scotland,
in the 11th or the 16th century, felt themselves bound to repudiate the
Papal Supremacy, have supplied, and still supply, the Papacy with a
chief weapon against all of us alike, and in favour of those extreme
pretensions which have been a chief cause of, and remain a chief
obstacle to reunion; and third, that nothing is more likely to bring
about that kinder attitude toward the East and us which we desiderate on
the part of Rome than a large and generous measure here and in America
of "Home Reunion"--effected, of course (as it can only be effected), on
the basis of the Catholic Creeds, a worship in the beauty of holiness,
and the Apostolic Ministry.

Anyhow, this is what we are finding in Scotland. Scotland, I know, is
but a little bit of the world: its largest churches small in comparison
with those of England and the United States, not to speak of the vast
communions of Rome and of the East. But the experience even of a small
part may intimate what may be looked for in much larger sections of what
after all is essentially the same body. For the Church, the Body of
Christ, in all lands and in all ages is one in spite of its divisions.
Christ is not divided. It is "subjective unity" not "objective" which in
the Church on earth is at present, through our sins, "suspended." Well,
in Scotland; where, let me remind you, the confession of Christ alike as
"King of the Nations" and "King in Zion," and of the visible Church as
His Kingdom on earth, was never laid aside, either in the National
Church or in the churches which separated from it (we laid aside much
that we should have done well to keep, but we stuck manfully to this);
we have had within recent times quite a number of incorporating unions;
including two of considerable note--the union in 1847 which brought
together in the "United Presbyterian Church" the two main sections of
our 18th century "Seceders," and the union of 1900 of the United
Presbyterians with the great mass of the "Free Church" of 1843--the
union that has given us the "United Free Church." I doubt if to either
of these unions the hope of a future Catholic Reunion contributed, at
the time, much or anything. I know there were some in the Church of
Scotland who fancied, and alleged, that the union of 1900 was
"engineered" with no friendly purpose towards us. But what has been the
outcome? Both of these unions:--partial in themselves--have tended, in
the result, very materially to de-Calvinize (if I may coin the word) the
general Presbyterianism of Scotland, and break down narrow prejudices,
to widen the outlook and enlarge the sympathies of those who took part
in them. The second, and greater of these unions, that of 1900
(suspected then, as I have said), proved, within eight short years, to
be the very thing to pave the way for the opening, between the Church of
Scotland and the United Free Church, of those official negotiations for
an incorporating union which promise now to give us ere long a Church of
Scotland, not complete, indeed--not embracing even all the Presbyterians
of Scotland, and greatly needing the Scottish Episcopalians--but still a
Church which will include an immense preponderance of the Scottish
people; which will be able to cover the whole country with not
inadequate organizations; which will be freer also than it is at present
to enter into further unions; which will remain--what it has ever
been--both national and orthodox; and will continue, I believe, to go on
rapidly resuming many of those touching, reverent, and churchly usages
which in the heats of the 16th and 17th centuries it unwisely threw away
or, less excusably, gave up in the coldness of the 18th. We have still
some beautiful old usages, as well as enviable liberties and powers. And
even in the 18th century we kept the Faith against Arian and Socinian
heresy: even then, our sacramental teaching could be high: even then,
the doctrine and the practice alike of the Established Church and the
Seceders were clear and strong on the derivation of the Ministry from
Christ, and the Apostolical succession of our ministers, and yours,
through presbyters.

For myself, I suggested in 1907, when it was proposed in our General
Assembly to open these negotiations, that we should attempt a larger
duty, and approach all the reformed Churches in Scotland. I was
over-ruled. It was held wiser "in the meantime" (they gave me this much)
to "confine our invitation" to the United Free Church.

The Scottish Episcopal Church appeared to be of this mind also; and
those in her and among us who have long looked wistfully towards our
union with her and with the Church of England are already finding that
our present effort (limited as it is) is proving not an obstacle, as
some of us feared, but a powerful impetus towards the larger effort. The
union seems likely to clear away hindrances to an extent we never
dreamed of. It is opening up the wider prospect among an increasing
number not in the Church of Scotland only, but emphatically also in the
United Free Church. On all hands it is "recognised" in Scotland that the
official "limitation of the Union horizon is only temporary":--I quote
from the _Annual Report_ for this year of the Scottish Church Society:


     No one is content to accept the contemplated union, should it be
     accomplished, as exhaustive. We all wait for a fuller manifestation
     of the Grace of God. At this season of Pentecost we dream our
     dreams and see our visions of that great and notable day when all
     who name the One Name shall be one.


The witness of the Scottish Church Society may seem to some one-sided:
here is a witness from the other side, of a date more recent than last
May; from a pamphlet just issued by the venerable Dr William Mair, the
first and most persevering of the advocates of our present enterprise.
His words impress me as very touching in their transparent honesty:


     It is thirteen years (he writes) since I first spoke out in the
     form of a pamphlet. No man stood with me. Hard things were said of
     me. I believed it to be the will of the HEAD of the Church, the
     LORD JESUS CHRIST, that there should be union of His Church in
     Scotland, and primarily that its two great Churches should be one.
     I have never for a single moment doubted that His will would be
     fulfilled, or that it was the duty of these Churches to set
     themselves, under His guidance, with resolute purpose to work out
     its fulfilment.


Observe his "primarily": he quite recognises (I have his authority for
saying so) the further obligation. And no wonder: he is clear as to the
one great and supreme motive that should inspire all efforts for Church
Reunion--faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the obedience of faith
which the true confession of His Deity involves.

The will of the Lord in regard to the visible unity of His whole Church
is plain: "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I
must lead; and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one flock,
one Shepherd." No doubt there is a difference between a fold ([Greek:
anle]) and a flock ([Greek: poimne]), between the racial unity of the
Jewish Dispensation and the Catholic and international character
impressed from the beginning on the Christian Church. But a flock is as
visible as a fold is. We can see the one moving along the road under the
shepherd's guidance just as distinctly as we see the other gleaming
white on the hillside, or raising its turf-capped walls above the level
of the moor. We can see, of course, if the walls of a fold are broken
down; but we can see also whether a flock is united, whether it is
moving forward as one mass, or is broken up and scattered. Such
separations might be well enough if the different little companies were
all going quietly on in one way; though even then their breaking up
would argue on the one hand a portentous failure in that recognition of
the shepherd's voice and the obedience to him which is due to his loving
care, and on the other hand a strange lack of that gregariousness which
is an instinct in the healthy sheep. But what if the sheep are seen
running hither and thither in different directions: if they are found
labouring to explain the inadvisability--nay, the impossibility--of
their ever coming into line; if we see them instead crossing each
other's path, starting from each other, jostling and butting one
another, continually getting into situations provocative of fights and
injuries?

Is this the kind of picture which the Lord Jesus has drawn of His Flock,
His Church as He wishes, and intends, that it should be: is this what He
promises that it shall be?

Christ made His Church one at the beginning: the rulers He set over it
"were all with one accord in one place"; "the multitude of them that
believed were of one heart and of one soul." And when the Gentiles had
been brought in, what care did the Apostles take lest the new departure
should cause a separation along a line made obsolete by the Cross of
Christ; and with what adoring admiration does St Paul gaze at the
delightful spectacle of Jew and Gentile made one new man in Christ
Jesus--"where," he cries, "there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision
and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman, but Christ is
all, and in all."

In matters of rank and race and colour all our denominations retain this
Apostolic Catholicity. How inconsistent to maintain it there, and
repudiate it when we come to such differences as mostly separate us!
These are differences far more of temper than of creed, or even of
worship or government. We say, sometimes, that we are "one in spirit":
not so; it is just in spirit that we have been divided. In creed and
organisation both, and in temper as well, the Church of Apostolic times
was visibly one. "See how these Christians love one another" was the
comment of the heathen onlooker. This state of things continued for a
long time. Gibbon enumerates the Church's "unity and discipline," which
go together, as among the "secondary causes" of that wonderful spread of
the Gospel in the first three centuries.

The revived, broadened, and more candid study, alike of the New
Testament and of Church History throughout its entire course, is one of
the ways in which the Good Shepherd has been leading us to see alike the
disobedience of our divisions, and the small foundation there is for
many of the points over which we have been fighting.

Happily too, we do not now need to argue in favour of visible and
organic unity. "The once popular apologies for separation which asserted
the sufficiency of 'spiritual' union, and the stimulating virtues of
rivalry and competition, have become obsolete."

More happily still, we have learned practically to appreciate the
difference between our Saviour's gentle I must lead ([Greek: dei me
agagein]) and our forefathers' various attempts to produce "uniformity"
by driving. The reproach of that sinful blunder is one that none of our
greater Churches--Roman, Anglican, Presbyterian, or Puritan--can cast in
another's teeth. Each of us committed it in our day of triumph. "What
fruit had we then in those things whereof we are now ashamed?" The
memory--one-sided, and carefully cultivated--of what each suffered in
its turn of adversity has hitherto been a potent agency for keeping us
apart. To-day those memories are fading. I was much struck by a remark I
heard last spring from the Bishop of Southwark, that one reason why we
are more ready nowadays to contemplate reunion is just that we belong to
a generation to whom those miserable doings are far-off things outside
alike our experience and our expectation.

In other ways also we discern leadings of Our Saviour to the same end.

Through Whitefield and the Wesleys, and the Evangelical Revival, He
re-awakened the peoples of England and America to a keen sense of the
need for personal religion. Where these powerful agencies had the
defects of their qualities, in their failure to appreciate aright His
gracious ordinances of Church and Ministry and Sacrament, He rectified
the balance by giving us in due course the Oxford Movement, whose force
is not "spent," but diffused through all our "denominations." Let us be
just to the Oxford Movement: without it, humanly speaking, we should not
have been here to-day. If it had its own narrownesses, it revived the
very studies which, while they have revealed the inadequacy of certain
of its postulates, have also brought clear into the view of all of us
the Divine goal which now gleams glorious in front of us--the goal of
the great Apostle--"the building up of the Body of Christ: till we all
attain unto the unity of the Faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of
God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the
fulness of Christ."

A Scotsman may be excused for referring to the debt which the leaders of
the Oxford Movement--Dr Pusey in particular was always ready to admit
it--owed to Sir Walter Scott, particularly in re-awakening a more
sympathetic interest in the Mediaeval Church. If Sir Walter's countrymen
were slower to follow him in this matter, they are doing so now in
unexpected quarters. We are full to-day of the American alliance: may I
remind you that Sir Walter Scott was the first British man of letters to
hail the early promise of American literature by his cordial welcome to
its representative, Washington Irving? Scott was a devoted subject of
the British Monarchy; but he saw, and he insisted on, the duty of Great
Britain to cultivate a warm friendship with the United States.

In the same direction we have been led in days more recent by the large
development, in all our denominations, of two main branches of Christian
work. I refer to Missionary enterprise abroad and Social service at
home. Our ecclesiastical divisions are a serious handicap to both. In a
matter more vital still, that of the Religious--the Christian--Education
in our Schools and Colleges, our divisions have sometimes proved
well-nigh fatal. The one remedy is that we make up our differences and
come together.

And now this War, so dreadful in itself, is helping powerfully, and in
many ways, to the same end. It is bringing us together at home, and
making us acquainted with, and appreciative of, each other in a thousand
forms of united service. It has spread before our eyes the magnificent
and inspiring spectacles of Colonial loyalty, of one military command
over the Allied Forces, of the cordial and enthusiastic support of a
fully-reconciled America. Shall "the children of this world be wiser
than the children of light"? Shall the Church neglect the lesson read to
her by the statesmen and the warriors? Then, again, the cause for which
we are in arms is--most happily--not denominational. The present War is
not in the least like those hateful, if necessary, struggles which
historians have entitled "The Wars of Religion": but it is, on the part
of the Entente, essentially and fundamentally Christian--more profoundly
so than the Crusades themselves. That is why it is bringing us so
markedly together. And, if this is its effect at home and in America,
much more is it producing the same result among our chaplains and our
Christian workers at the Front. They are finding, on the one hand, the
limitations, or faults, of every one of our stereotyped methods of work
and forms of worship; they are seeing on the other hand among each other
excellencies where they only saw defects. They are brought together in
admiring comradeship, which resents the shackles restrictive of its
play. Let me read to you a passage from a letter I received a fortnight
since from an eminent Anglican chaplain now serving with our troops in
France:


     I see (he says) in this great war all the excrescences--the
     non-essentials which up till now have masqueraded and misled so
     many religious and non-religious men--drop off in the light of
     great realities; and I have seen in the eyes of all true lovers of
     our LORD, chaplains and laity, a wistful longing to unite, and
     mobilize our spiritual forces now dissipated and ineffective
     through disunion. What we look for more and more is a man, so
     filled with the SPIRIT of GOD--so free from ambition, covetousness,
     denominationalism, with a big heart and deep love, to make a plunge
     and start. We may be able to start out here, if we have the
     good-will of our leaders at home.


I think I may safely assure my correspondent that he has the good-will
of all the living leaders of all our denominations? May I write and tell
him so from this present meeting? [Yes....] I think I shall remind him
further of those words of the Angel of the Lord to Gideon when he
threshed his wheat in the wine-press with a vigour suggestive of his
wish to have the Midianites beneath his flail--"Go in this thy might,
and thou shalt save Israel" from their marauding hands.

At home, then, as well as at the Front, the will is present with us; and
where there is "the will" there is pretty sure to be "the way."

"The way" (I believe for my part) is substantially that laid down by the
Pan-Anglican Conference of 1866, in the "Lambeth Quadrilateral." Its
four points were:

I. The Holy Scriptures.

II. The Nicene Creed.

III. The Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper ministered with the
unfailing use of the Words of Institution.

IV. The Historic Episcopate.

It is fifty-two years since these terms were put forth. Have they ever
been formally brought before the "denominations" for whom presumably
they were intended? Were they even once commended to the nearest of
these Churches by a deputation urging their consideration? I doubt it.

Yet the first three of these four conditions are already accepted by
nearly all the English Nonconformists; and certainly by all the
Presbyterian Churches, as fully as they are in the Church of England.
The Presbyterian Church of England has set the Nicene Creed on the
fore-front of its new Confession. Every word of the Nicene Creed (as the
late Principal Denney pointed out) is in the Confession of Faith of all
the Scottish Presbyterians. The Church of Scotland repeats it at its
solemn "Assembly Communion" in St Giles'. Its crucial term, the
Homoousion, is in the Articles now sent down to Presbyteries with the
view of their transmission next May to the United Free Church.

In regard to the Sacramental services our _Directory_ is quite express
in ordering the use in Baptism and the Eucharist of the Words of
Institution. I never heard of a case in Scotland where they were not
used: we should condemn their omission should it anywhere occur.

Undoubtedly the Fourth Article would have, till lately, presented
difficulties; but, then, those difficulties were in great measure
cleared away by the admission of the Lambeth Conference of 1908 that in
the case of proposals for union, say of the Church of Scotland with the
Anglican Church, reaching the stage of official action, an approach
might be made along the line of the "Precedents of 1610." I had a recent
opportunity of stating, in an Address[17] I gave at King's College,
London, what these Precedents of 1610 were; how they included the
unanimous vote of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in
favour of the restoration of diocesan bishops acting in conjunction with
her graduated series of Church Courts; how we thereupon received from
the Church of England an Episcopate which then, and ever since, she has
accounted valid, though neither the Scots bishops she then consecrated,
nor the clergy of Scotland as a body, were required to be re-ordained;
and how the combined system thus introduced among us gave us by far the
most brilliant and fruitful period in our ecclesiastical annals; and how
Learning, Piety, Art and Church extension flourished among us, as they
have never done since. The system would in all probability have endured
to the present day but for the arbitrary interferences--often with very
good intentions, and for ends in themselves desirable--of our Stuart
kings. A later restoration of Episcopal Church government under Charles
II lacked the ecclesiastical authority which that of 1610 possessed, and
was still more hopelessly discredited by its association with the
persecution of the Covenanting remnant; but even under these
disadvantages it was yielding not inconsiderable benefits to the
religious life of Scotland. Under it our Gaelic-speaking highlanders
first received the entire Bible in their native tongue; the Episcopate
was adorned by the piety of Leighton and the wisdom of Patrick Scougal;
while Henry Scougal in his _Life of God in the Soul of Man_ produced a
religious classic of enduring value.

The reference by the Lambeth Conference of 1908 was meant as the opening
of a door, and I understand there was some soreness among its supporters
that more notice of it was not taken in Scotland. But it was never sent
to Scotland: it was never communicated to the General Assembly. Our
Scottish newspapers tell us very little of what goes on in England; and
it must be admitted that too often, on both sides of the Tweed, things
have appeared in the press not calculated to heal differences or make
for peace. Sarcasm may be very clever: it is sometimes useful: it is
rarely helpful to good feeling, or to the amendment either of him who
utters it or of him against whom it is directed. The putting forth of
the finger and speaking vanity are among the things which Isaiah
declares they must put away who desire to be called the restorers of the
breach, the repairers of paths to dwell in.

Now you have taken in England a further step. The _Second Interim
Report_ of the Archbishops' Sub-Committee in "Connexion with the
proposed World Conference on Faith and Order" is not, I presume, a
document of the "official" character of a Resolution of a Lambeth
Conference. It is nevertheless a paper of enormous significance and
hopefulness, not alone as attested by the signatures it bears, but also
on account of the exposition which it gives of the fourth point in the
Lambeth Quadrilateral--its own condition "that continuity with the
Historic Episcopate should be effectively preserved."

This _Report_ is, however, exclusively for England; while my concern
to-day is with the kindred question of union between the Anglican Church
and the Scottish Presbyterian Churches. The day I trust is not far
distant when we shall see a similar document issued over signatures from
both sides of the Tweed. Need I say that when this comes to be drawn up,
we of the North (like Bailie Nicol Jarvie with his business
correspondents in London) "will hold no communications with you but on
a footing of absolute equality." In none of the branches into which it
is now divided--Presbyterian or Episcopalian--does the Church of
Scotland forget that it is an ancient national Church which never
admitted subjection to its greater sister of the South. We may have too
good "a conceit of ourselves," but we shall at least, like the worthy
bailie, be true and friendly. And indeed we--or some of us--were already
moving towards something of the kind. The _Second Interim Report_--it
bears the title "Towards Christian Unity"--is dated, I observe, March
1918. In Scotland, so early as the 29th of January, there was held at
Aberdeen (historically the most natural place for such a purpose, for it
was the city of the "Aberdeen Doctors" and their eirenic efforts) a
conference--modest, unofficial, tentative--yet truly representative of
the Church of Scotland, of the United Free Church, and of the Scottish
Episcopal Church, which drew up, and has issued, a _Memorandum_[18]
suggesting a basis for reunion in Scotland, very much on the lines of
the Precedents of 1610, but suggesting such arrangements during a period
of transition as shall secure that respect is paid to the conscientious
convictions to be found on both sides. We shall not repeat the blunders
of 1637 which ruined the happy settlement of 1610.

We have in view a method which shall neither deprive Scottish Episcopal
congregations of the services they love, nor attempt to force a
Prayer-Book on Presbyterian congregations till they wish it for
themselves. We shall do nothing either to discredit or disparage our
existing Presbyterian orders; we shall be no less careful not to obtrude
on the Episcopal minority the services of a ministry they deem
defective; which shall arrange that in the course of a generation the
ministry of both communions shall be acceptable to all, while in the
meanwhile it will be possible for both to work together. Alike in
England and in Ireland this Memorandum, where it has been seen, has been
favourably received. In Scotland it--and doubtless other plans--will
probably be discussed in the coming winter by many a gathering similar
to that which drew it up; and thus we shall be ready, by the time our
union with the United Free Church is completed, to go on together to
this further task.

By that time you in England will have made some progress towards the
healing of your divisions. The wider settlement of ours would be greatly
facilitated by an overt encouragement from you. England is "the
predominant partner" in our happily united Empire: it is the Church of
England that should take the initiative in a scheme for a United Church
for the United Empire. She should take that initiative in Scotland.

Could there be a more appropriate occasion for proposing conference with
a view to it at Edinburgh, than the day which sees the happy
accomplishment of our present Scottish effort? Might not the Church of
England, the Church of Ireland, and the Scottish Episcopal Church (all
of which have given tokens of a sympathetic interest in our union
negotiations) unite to send deputations for the purpose to our first
reunited General Assembly? Such deputations would not go away empty. And
they would carry with them what would help not only the Cause of Christ
throughout the ever-widening Empire He has given to our hands, but the
fulfilment of His blessed will that all His people should be one.
Auspice Spiritu Sancto. Amen.

FOOTNOTES:

[17] This Address, along with another delivered in St Paul's, has been
published by Mr Robert Scott, of Paternoster Row, under the title
_Reunion, a Voice from Scotland_.

[18] Printed in _Reunion, a Voice from Scotland_, pp. 101-107.




UNITY BETWEEN CLASSES




I

By the Right Rev. F. T. WOODS, D.D.


INTRODUCTION

He would be a dull man who did not respond to such a theme as the one
with which I have been entrusted.

Before the war, in spite of much enlightenment of the social conscience,
unity between classes was still far to seek. Indeed, the contemplation
of the state of English society in those early months of 1914 was
perhaps more calculated to drive the social reformer into pessimism than
anything which has happened since. The rich were hunting for fresh
pleasures, the poor were hunting for better conditions. The tendencies
which were dragging these classes apart seemed stronger than those which
were bringing them together. Then came the war, and it has done much to
convert a forlorn hope into a bright prospect. This has happened not
merely, or even mainly, owing to the fact that men of all classes are
fighting side by side in the trenches, but rather owing to the fact that
the war has cleared our minds, has exposed the real dangers of
civilisation, and has placarded before the world, in terms which cannot
be mistaken, the things which are most worth living for.

I propose to ask your attention to my subject under three heads. First I
shall say something of the basis of class distinction, then I shall put
before you some attempts which have been made at social unity, and in
closing I shall try to estimate the hope of the present situation.


I

THE BASIS OF CLASS DISTINCTION

Birth and Property have been during most of human history the chief
points on which class distinction has turned. Behind them both, I fear
it must be confessed, there is that which lies at the root of all
civilisation, namely force. I presume that the first class distinction
was between the group of people who could command and the group who had
to obey. The second group no doubt consisted in most cases of conquered
enemies who were turned into slaves. They were outsiders, the men of a
lower level.

But the master group, if I may so call it, would have its descendants,
who by virtue of family relationships would seek to keep their position.
This, I conclude, is the fountain head of that stream of blue blood
which has played so large a part in class distinction. It is not
difficult to make out a strong case for it from the point of view of
human evolution. The processes of primitive warfare may have led to the
survival of the fittest or the selection of the best. At a time when the
sense of social responsibility was limited in the extreme, it may have
been a good thing that the management of men should have rested mainly
in the hands of those who by natural endowments and force of character
came to the top. It is unnecessary to dwell at length on the immense
influence both in our own country and elsewhere which this blood
distinction of class has exercised. It is writ large in the history of
the word "gentleman," both in the English word and its Latin ancestor.
The Latin word "generosus," always the equivalent of "gentleman" in
English-Latin documents, signifies a person of good family. It was used
no doubt in this sense by the Rev. John Ball, the strike leader, as we
should call him in modern terms, of the 14th century, in the lines which
formed a kind of battlecry of the rebels:


     When Adam delved and Eve span,
     Who was then the gentleman?


A writer of a century later, William Harrison, says: "Gentlemen be those
whom their race and blood or at least their virtues do make noble and
known."

But the distinction is older than this. According to Professor Freeman
it goes back well nigh to the Conquest. Not indeed the distinction of
blood, for that is much older, but the formation of a separate class of
gentlemen. It has been maintained however by some writers that this is
rather antedating the process, and that the real distinction in English
life up to the 14th century was between the nobiles, the tenants in
chivalry, a very large class which included all between Earls and
Franklins; and the ignobiles, i.e. the villeins, the ordinary citizens
and burgesses. The widely prevalent notion that a gentleman was a person
who had a right to wear coat armour is apparently of recent growth, and
is possibly not unconnected with the not unnatural desire of the
herald's office to magnify its work.

It is evident that noble blood in those days was no more a guarantee of
good character than it is in this, for, according to one of the writers
on the subject, the premier gentleman of England in the early days of
the 15th century was one who had served at Agincourt, but whose
subsequent exploits were not perhaps the best advertisement for gentle
birth. According to the public records he was charged at the
Staffordshire Assizes with house-breaking, wounding with intent to kill,
and procuring the murder of one Thomas Page, who was cut to pieces while
on his knees begging for his life[19].

The first gentleman, commemorated by that name on an existing monument,
is John Daundelion who died in 1445.

In the 14th and 15th centuries the chief occupation of gentlemen was
fighting; but later on, when law and order were more firmly established,
the younger sons of good families began to enter industrial life as
apprentices in the towns, and there began to grow up a new aristocracy
of trade. To William Harrison, the writer to whom I have already
referred, merchants are still citizens, but he adds: "They often change
estate with gentlemen as gentlemen do with them by mutual conversion of
the one into the other."

Since those days the name has very properly come to be connected less
with blue blood than--if I may coin the phrase--with blue behaviour. In
1714, Steele lays it down in the _Tatler_ that the appellation of
gentleman is never to be fixed to a man's circumstances but to his
behaviour in them. And in this connexion we may recall the old story of
the Monarch, said by some to be James II, who replied to a lady
petitioning him to make her son a gentleman: "I could make him a noble,
but God Almighty could not make him a gentleman."

Before we leave the class distinctions based mainly on birth and blood,
it is well to remark that in England they have never counted for so much
as elsewhere. It is true of course that the nobility and gentry have
been a separate class, but they have been constantly recruited from
below. Distinction in war or capability in peace was the qualification
of scores of men upon whom the highest social rank was bestowed in reign
after reign in our English history. Moreover, birth distinction has
never been recognised in law, in spite of the fact that the manipulation
of laws has not always been free from bias. The well known words of
Macaulay are worth quoting in this connexion:


     There was a strong hereditary aristocracy: but it was of all
     hereditary aristocracies the least insolent and exclusive. It had
     none of the invidious character of a caste. It was constantly
     receiving members from the people, and constantly sending down
     members to mingle with the people. Any gentleman might become a
     peer, the younger son of a peer was but a gentleman. Grandsons of
     peers yielded precedence to newly made knights.


The dignity of knighthood was not beyond the reach of any man who could
by diligence and thrift realise a good estate, or who could attract
notice by his valour in battle.


     ... Good blood was indeed held in high respect: but between good
     blood and the privileges of peerage there was, most fortunately for
     our country, no necessary connection.... There was therefore here
     no line like that which in some other countries divides the
     patrician from the plebeian. The yeoman was not inclined to murmur
     at dignities to which his own children might rise. The grandee was
     not inclined to insult a class into which his own children must
     descend.... Thus our democracy was, from an early period, the most
     aristocratic, and our aristocracy the most democratic in the world;
     a peculiarity which has lasted down to the present day, and which
     has produced many important moral and political effects[20].


If blood counted for much in distinctions of class, property counted for
more. The original distinction between the "haves" and the "have nots"
has persisted throughout history and is with us to-day.

In the ancient village, no doubt, the distinction was of the simplest.
On the one hand was the man who by force or by his own energy became
possessed of more cattle and more sheep than his fellows; on the other
hand was the man who, in default of such property, was ready and willing
to give his services to the bigger man, whether for wages, or as a
condition of living in the village and sharing in the rights of the
village fields and pastures. Here presumably we have the origin of that
institution of Landlordism which still looms so large in our social
life. In the early days it was probably more a matter of cattle than of
land. The possessor of cattle in the village would hire out a certain
number of them to a poorer neighbour, who would have the right to feed
them on the common land. Thus, even in primitive times, a class
distinction based on property began to grow up.

Early in history there was found in most villages a chief man who had
the largest share of the land. Below him there would be three or four
landowners of moderate importance and property. At the end of the scale
were the ordinary labourers and villagers, among whom the rest of the
village lands were divided as a rule on fairly equal terms.

Closely allied to this of course was the organisation of the village
from the point of view of military service. Parallel to this more
peaceful organisation of society was the elaborate Feudal System, by
which, from the King downwards, lands were held in virtue of an
obligation on the part of each class to the one above it to produce men
for the wars in due proportion of numbers and equipment.

From this point of view property in land meant also property in men,
labourers in peace and soldiers in war.

As time went on the class distinctions of birth and property began more
and more to coincide. It was Dr Johnson who made the remark that "the
English merchant is a new species of gentleman."

The form of property which was always held to be in closest connexion
with gentle blood was land. This has been so in a pre-eminent degree
since our English Revolution at the end of the 17th century. From that
time onwards the smaller landowners, yeomen and squires with small
holdings, begin to disappear and the landed gentry become practically
supreme. Political power in a large measure rested with them, and the
result was that numbers of men who had made money in trade were eager to
use it in the purchase of land, for this meant the purchase of social
and political influence.

It was no doubt this craze for the possession of land which led to the
process of enclosing the common lands of the village, a process on which
no true Englishman can look back in these days without shame and sorrow.
It is no doubt arguable that from an economic point of view the
productive power of the land was increased, that agriculture was more
efficiently and scientifically managed by the comparatively few big men
than it would have been by the many small men who were displaced. None
the less the price was too high, for it meant a still further
accentuation of class distinction. It meant the further enrichment of
the big man, and the further impoverishment of the small man. And
between the two there grew up a class of farmers, separate from the
labourers, whose outlook on the whole did not make for those relations
of neighbourliness and even kinship which had been among the fine
characteristics of the ancient village.

Nor is this the end of the story, for the distinction between the
"haves" and the "have nots" was still further accentuated, and the two
classes driven still further apart, by the far-reaching Industrial
Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th century.

The alienation between the farmer and the labourer was exactly
paralleled by the alienation which gradually crept in between the
manufacturer and the workers. The growth of the factory system was
indeed so rapid that only the keenest foresight could have provided
against these evils. The same may be said of the amazing development of
the towns, particularly in Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire,
which quickly gathered round the new hives of industry. Unfortunately
that foresight was lacking. On the one hand the science of town-planning
had hardly been born, on the other hand a lightning accumulation of
large fortunes turned the heads of the commercial magnates, dehumanised
industry, and broke up the fellowship which in older and simpler days
had obtained between the employer and his men.

It is a charge which we frequently bring against the enemy in these
days, a charge only too well founded, that they are expert in everything
except understanding human nature. The same may be said of those who
were concerned in the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. The
growing wealth of the country which should have united masters and men
in a truer comradeship, and a richer life, achieved results which were
precisely the opposite. It developed a greed of cash which we have not
yet shaken off, and money was accumulated in the pockets of men who had
had neither aptitude nor training in the art of spending it. The workers
were reduced to a state not far removed from a salaried slavery, and the
difference between the "haves" and the "have nots" was perhaps more
acute than at any other time in our history. The causes of this were
many and complex. Not the least of them was the fact that the masters of
industry were captured by a false theory of economics according to which
the fund which was available for the remuneration of labour could not at
any given time be greater or less than it was. Human agency could not
increase its volume, it could only vary its distribution. And further,
as every man has the right to sell his labour for what he can obtain for
it, any interference between the recipients was held to be unjust.

"That theory," as Mr Hammond has told us, "became supreme in economics,
and the whole movement for trade-union organisation had to fight its way
against this solid superstition[21]."

The doctrine of free labour achieved a wonderful popularity; but then,
as the writer I have just quoted reminds us: "Free labour had not Adam
Smith's meaning: it meant the freedom of the employer to take what
labour he wanted, at the price he chose and under the conditions he
thought proper[22]."

More and more therefore the employers and the workers drifted apart, and
the supreme misfortune was that the one power which might have drawn
them together was itself in a state of semi-paralysis in regard to the
corporate responsibility of the community. That power was religion.
There were times, as I shall endeavour to point out later, when
Christianity was able to produce an atmosphere of comradeship stronger
than the differences of class. But to the very great loss of both
country and Church this was not one of them.

At the moment when the corporate message of the Church was needed, it
was looking the other way, and concentrating its thought on the
individual. The Reformation was in large measure a revolt from the
imperial to the personal conception of religion. I do not deny that this
revolt was necessary and beneficial. But the reaction from the corporate
aspect of Christianity went too far. When this reaction was further
reinforced by the Puritan movement, which with all its strength and its
fine austerity fastened its attention on the minutiae of personal
conduct, and left the community as such almost out of sight, it is not
surprising to find that religion at the end of the 18th, and through a
large part of the 19th century, failed to produce just that sense of
brotherhood which would have mitigated the whole situation and prevented
much of the practical paganism which I have described.

Even the great revival connected with the name of John Wesley brought
all its fire to bear on the conversion of the _man_, when the social
unit which was most in need of that conversion was the community. The
result of all this was that, partly owing to ignorance, partly owing to
prejudice, partly owing to the misreading of the New Testament, the
messengers of religion had no message of corporate responsibility for
nation or class. There was no one to lift aloft the torch of human
brotherhood over the dark and gloomy landscape of English life. So far
from that, the people who figured large in religion were convinced quite
honestly that the division of classes was a heaven sent order, with
which it would be impious to interfere, and further that the main
message of religion to the people at large was an authoritative
injunction to good behaviour, and patient resignation to the
circumstances in which Providence had placed them. The notion that the
organisation of Society, particularly on its industrial side, was wholly
inconsistent with the ideals of the New Testament never so much as
entered their heads, and any suggestion to this effect would have been
regarded not merely as revolutionary but sacrilegious.

I have ventured on this very rough description of class distinctions,
before our modern days, because it is through the study of our
forefathers' mistakes and a truer understanding of our forefathers'
inspirations that we may hope to create a better world in the days that
are coming.


II

ATTEMPTS AT SOCIAL UNITY

Let me ask your attention now to a few of the attempts which have been
made to create a deeper social unity.

Some of these were naturally and inevitably developed in primitive days
by the simple fact that "birds of a feather flock together."

Men engaged in pastoral pursuits gathered themselves into the tribe with
its strong blood bond. The tillage of the fields led to the existence of
the clan, with its family system and its elaborate organisation of the
land. In the same way industrial activity produced the Guild, that is
the grouping of men by crafts, a grouping which might well be revived
and encouraged on a larger scale in the rearrangements of the future.

I need not remind you how large a place was occupied by the Guilds in
English life. They were not Trade Unions in the modern sense, for they
included both masters and men in one organisation. Nor must we attribute
a modern meaning to those two phrases, masters and men, when we speak of
the ancient Guild. For in a large measure every man was his own
employer. He was a member of the league; he kept the rules; but he was
his own master. The master did not mean the manager of the workmen, but
the expert in the work. He was the master of the art in question, and
though his fellows might be journeymen or apprentices, they all belonged
to the same social class, and throughout the Guild there was a spirit of
comradeship which was consecrated by the sanctions of religion.

For it was the Guilds which were the prime movers in organising those
Miracle Plays which were the delight of the Middle Ages, and which
formed the main outlet for that dramatic instinct which used to be so
strong in England, and which paved the way for Shakespeare and the
modern stage.

The Guild was not concerned mainly with money but with work, and still
more with the skill and happiness of the worker, and its aim was to
resist inequality. It was, in the pointed words of Mr Chesterton,


     to ensure, not only that bricklaying should survive and succeed,
     but that every bricklayer should survive and succeed. It sought to
     rebuild the ruins of any bricklayer, and to give any faded
     whitewasher a new white coat. It was the whole aim of the Guilds to
     cobble their cobblers like their shoes and clout their clothiers
     with their clothes; to strengthen the weakest link, or go after the
     hundredth sheep; in short to keep the row of little shops unbroken
     like a line of battle[23].


The Guild in fact aimed at keeping each man free and happy in the
possession of his little property, whereas the Trade Union aims at
assembling into one company a large number of men who have little or no
property at all, and who seek to redress the balance by collective
action. The mediaeval Guild therefore will certainly go down to history
as one of the most gallant attempts, and for the time being one of the
most successful, to create a true comradeship among all who work, and to
keep at a distance those mere class distinctions which, though their
foundations are often so flimsy, tend to grip men as in an iron vice.

But I must not pass by another social organisation which looms very
large in the old days, and which approached social unity from a side
wholly different from those I have mentioned, namely from the military
side: I mean the Feudal System. Here there has been much
misunderstanding. Its very name seems to breathe class distinction. We
have come casually and rather carelessly to identify it with the tyranny
and oppression which exalted the few at the expense of the many. This
point of view is however a good deal less than just. It is quite true
that as worked by William the Norman and several of his successors the
system became only too often an instrument of gross injustice and crass
despotism; but at its best, and in its origin, it was based on the twin
foundations of protection on the one hand and duty on the other. I will
venture to quote a high authority in this connexion, namely Bishop
Stubbs.


     The Feudal System, with all its tyranny and all its faults and
     shortcomings, was based on the requirements of mutual help and
     service, and was maintained by the obligations of honour and
     fealty. Regular subordination, mutual obligation, social unity,
     were the pillars of the fabric. The whole state was one: the king
     represented the unity of the nation. The great barons held their
     estates from him, the minor nobles of the great barons, the gentry
     of these vassals, the poorer freemen of the gentry, the serfs
     themselves were not without rights and protectors as well as duties
     and service. Each gradation, and every man in each, owed service,
     fixed definite service, to the next above him, and expected and
     received protection and security in return. Each was bound by
     fealty to his immediate superior, and the oath of the one implies
     the pledged honour and troth of the other[24].


This system indeed was very far from perfect, but it certainly was an
attempt to bind the nation together in one social unit, to provide a
measure of protection for all, and to demand duties from all. It sought
to lay equal stress on rights and duties. In this respect--and I am
still thinking of the system at its best--it was far ahead of modern
19th century Industrialism, a system which might be described with but
little exaggeration as laying sole emphasis on rights for one class and
duties for the other.

But the supreme attempt which so far has been made to promote unity
between classes has approached the problem from a far loftier
standpoint; not industrial, nor military, but religious. And this
attempt has been on a larger scale and on firmer foundations than any of
the others, for it has sought to unite men in spite of their
differences. It has tried, that is, to get below the varieties of race
or family or occupation, and create a unity which, because it transcends
them all, may hope to last. As a fact this attempt has so far surpassed
all others, and has met with the greatest measure of success. And lest I
should be suspected of prejudice I will quote an outside witness:


     A very pregnant saying of T. H. Green was that during the whole
     development of man the command, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
     thyself" has never varied, what has varied is the answer to the
     question--Who is my neighbour?... The influence upon the
     development of civilisation of the wider conception of duty and
     responsibility to one's fellow-men which was introduced into the
     world with the spread of Christianity can hardly be overestimated.
     The extended conception of the answer to the question Who is my
     neighbour? which has resulted from the characteristic doctrines of
     the Christian religion--a conception transcending all the claims of
     family, group, state, nation, people or race and even all the
     interests comprised in any existing order of society--has been the
     most powerful evolutionary force which has ever acted on society.
     It has tended gradually to break up the absolutisms inherited from
     an older civilization and to bring into being an entirely new type
     of social efficiency[25].


Or to take another witness equally unprejudiced, who puts the same truth
more tersely still, the late Professor Lecky. "The brief record of those
three short years," referring to Christ's life, "has done more to soften
and regenerate mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and
exhortations of moralists." For a third witness we will call Mazzini.
"We owe to the Church," he declared, "the idea of the unity of the human
family and of the equality and emancipation of souls." That this is
amply borne out by the history of the Church in early days is not
difficult to prove. The unexceptionable evidence of a Pagan writer is
here very much to the point. Says Lucian of the Christians:

"Their original lawgiver had taught them that they were all brethren,
one of another.... They become incredibly alert when anything ...
affects their common interests[26]."

In the same way the ancient Christian writer Tertullian observes with
characteristic irony: "It is our care for the helpless, our practice of
lovingkindness, that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents.
Only look, they say, 'look how they love one another[27]!'" It is not
surprising that this was so when you look into the writings which form
the New Testament. Apart from the words and example of the Founder of
Christianity, few men have ever lived who were more alive to existing
social distinctions, and also to the splendour of that scheme which
transcends them all, than St Paul. In proof of this it is sufficient to
point to that immortal treatise on social unity which is commonly called
the Epistle to the Ephesians. In this the fundamental secret is seen to
consist, not in a rigid system but in a transforming spirit working
through a divine Society in which all worldly distinctions are of no
account. Slavery, for instance, was, in his view, and was actually in
process of time, to be abolished not by a stroke of the pen but by a
change of ideal. Nor is the witness lacking in writings subsequent to
the New Testament. To instance one of the earliest. In an official
letter sent by the Roman Church to the Christians in Corinth towards the
end of the first century, in a passage eulogising the latter community
this suggestive sentence occurs: "You did everything without respect of
persons."

Needless to say however, this point of view, this new spirit, only
gradually permeated the Christian Church itself, let alone the great
world outside. We are not surprised to learn that it was a point of
criticism among the opponents of the religion that among its adherents
were still found masters and slaves. An ancient writer in reply to
critics who cry out "You too have masters and slaves. Where then is your
so-called equality?" thus makes answer:


     Our sole reason for giving one another the name of brother is
     because we believe we are equals. For since all human objects are
     measured by us after the spirit and not after the body, although
     there is a diversity of condition among human bodies, yet slaves
     are not slaves to us; we deem and term them brothers after the
     spirit, and fellow-servants in religion[28].


Pointing in the same direction is the fact that the title "slave" never
occurs on a Christian tombstone.

It is plain from this, and from similar quotations which might be
multiplied, that the policy of Christianity in face of the first social
problem of the day, namely slavery, was not violently to undo the
existing bonds by which Society was held together, in the hope that some
new machinery would at once be forthcoming--a plan which has since been
adopted with dire consequences in Russia--but to evacuate the old system
of the spirit which sustained it; and to replace it with a new spirit, a
new outlook on life, which would slowly but inevitably lead to an entire
reconstruction of the social framework.

Already too, within the Church this sense of brotherhood was making
itself felt on the industrial side as well as where more directly
spiritual duties were concerned. It seems to have been recognised in
the Christian Society that every brother could claim the right of being
maintained if he were unable to work. Equally it was emphasised that the
duty of work was paramount on all who were capable of it. "For those
able to work, provide work; to those incapable of work be charitable."
This aspect of the matter finds a singular emphasis in a second century
document known as "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles," in which this
sense of industrial brotherhood finds very significant expression.
Speaking of visitors from other Churches it is directed that "if any
brother has a trade let him follow that trade and earn the bread he
eats. If he has no trade, exercise your discretion in arranging for him
to live among you as a Christian, but not in idleness. If he will not do
this, that is to say, to undertake the work which you provide for him,
he is trafficking with Christ. Beware of men like that."

On this side of its life therefore, the Church came very near to being a
vast Guild where with the highest sanction rights and duties were
intermingled in due proportion, and that true social unity established,
which while it refuses privileges bestows protection. On these
foundations the organisation was reared, which like some great Cathedral
dominated that stretch of centuries usually known as the Middle Ages. We
could all of us hold forth on its drawbacks and evils, yet its benefits
were tremendous. For one thing it created an aristocracy wholly
independent of any distinction of blood or property. Anyone might become
an Archbishop if only he had the necessary gifts. Still more anyone
might become a Saint. The charmed circle of the Church's nobility was
constantly recruited from every class, and was therefore a standing and
effectual protest against the flimsier measurements of Society and the
more ephemeral gradations of rank. Obviously this process found as great
a scope in England as elsewhere. It was the Church which was the most
potent instrument in bringing together Norman and Saxon as well as
master and slave. For, as Macaulay has said with perfect truth, it


     creates an aristocracy altogether independent of race, inverts the
     relation between the oppressor and the oppressed, and compels the
     hereditary master to kneel before the spiritual tribunal of the
     hereditary bondman.... So successfully had the Church used her
     formidable machinery that, before the Reformation came, she had
     enfranchised almost all the bondmen in the kingdom except her own,
     who, to do her justice, seem to have been very tenderly
     treated[29].


This makes it particularly deplorable that in consequence of the great
reaction in religion from the corporate to the personal, to which I have
alluded, the Church's power, as far as Britain was concerned, though so
splendidly exercised in the preceding centuries, should have been almost
non-existent just at the moment when it was most required, in the
Agricultural and Industrial Revolution of comparatively modern times.


III

THE HOPE OF THE PRESENT SITUATION

I fear that a large portion of this lecture has been taken up with the
past. But even so rough and brief a review as I have attempted is a
necessary prelude to a just estimate, both of our present position and
of our future prospects. It is often supposed, indeed, that the study of
history predisposes a man's mind to a conservative view. He studies the
slow development of institutions, or the gradual influence of movements,
and the trend of his thought works round to the very antipodes of
anything that is revolutionary or catastrophic. But there is another
side to the matter. The study of history may so expose the injustices of
the past and their intrenchments that the student reaches the conclusion
that nothing but an earthquake--an earthquake in men's ideas at the very
least--can avail to set things right; that the best thing that could
happen would be an explosion so terrible as to make it possible to break
completely with the past, and start anew on firmer principles and better
ways. After all, as a great Cambridge scholar once said, "History is the
best cordial for drooping spirits." For if on the one hand it exposes
the selfishnesses of men, on the other it displays an exhibition of
those Divine-human forces of justice and sacrifice and good will which
in the long run cannot be denied, and which encourage the brightest
hopes for the age which is upon us.

The fact is, we are in the midst of precisely such an explosion as I
have indicated. The immeasurable privilege has been given to us of being
alive at a time when, most literally, an epoch is being made.
Contemporary observers of events are not always the best judges of their
significance, yet we shall hardly be mistaken if we assert that without
doubt we stand at one of the turning points of the world's long story,
that the phrase used of another epoch-making moment is true of this one,
"Old things are passing away, all things are becoming new." For history
is presenting us in these days with a clean slate, and to the men of
this generation is given the opportunity for making a fresh start such
as in the centuries gone by has often been sought, but seldom found. We
are called to the serious and strenuous task of freeing our minds from
old preconceptions--and the hold they have over us, even at a moment
like this when the world is being shaken, is amazing--the task of
reaching a new point of view from which to see our social problems, and
of not being disobedient to the heavenly vision wheresoever it may lead
us.

That vision is Fellowship, and it is not new. Though the war is, in the
sense which I have suggested, a terrific explosion which in the midst of
ruin and chaos brings with it supreme opportunities, it is equally true
to say that it forms no more than a ghastly parenthesis in the process
of fellowship both between nations and classes which had already begun
to make great strides.

"The sense of social responsibility has been so deepened in our
civilisation that it is almost impossible that one nation should attempt
to conquer and subdue another after the manner of the ancient world."

These words sound rather ironical. They come from the last edition of
the _Encyclopaedia Britannica_. They were written about seven years ago
in perfect good faith, as a sober estimate of the forces of fellowship
which could be then discerned. Save for the ideals and ambitions of the
central Empires of Europe they were perfectly true. What the war has
done in regard to this fellowship is to expose in their hideous
nakedness the dangers which threaten it, and to which in pre-war days we
were far too blind, but also to unveil that strong passion for
neighbourliness which lies deep in the hearts of men, and an almost
fierce determination to give it truer expression in the age which is
ahead.

You will naturally ask what effect the war is likely to have on this
problem of class distinction. How far will it hinder or enhance the
social unity for which we seek?

We must of course beware of being unduly optimistic. The fact that
millions of our men are seeing with their own eyes the results which can
be achieved by naked force will not be without its effect on their
attitude when they return to their homes. If force is so necessary and
so successful on the field of battle why not equally so in the
industrial field? If nations find it necessary to face each other with
daggers drawn, it may be that classes will have to do the same.

Personally I doubt whether this argument is likely to carry much weight.
It is much more likely in my view that our men will be filled with so
deep a hatred of everything that even remotely savours of battle, that a
great tide of reaction against mere force will set in, and a great
impetus be given to those higher and more spiritual motor-powers which
during the war we have put out of court.

On the other hand it is easy to cherish a rather shallow hope as to the
continuation in the future of that unity of classes which obtains in the
trenches. Surely, it is argued, men who have stood together at the
danger point and gone over the top together at the moment of assault
will never be other than brothers in the more peaceful pursuits which
will follow. Yet it is not easy to foretell what will happen when the
tremendous restraint of military service is withdrawn, when Britain no
longer has her back to the wall, and when the overwhelming loyalty which
leaps forth at the hour of crisis falls back into its normal quiescence,
like the New Zealand geyser when its momentary eruption is over. Any
hopefulness which we may cherish for the future must rest on firmer
foundations than these.

Such a foundation, I believe, has come to light, and I must say a few
words about it as I close.

Broadly speaking it is this. The war has taught us that it is possible
to live a national family life, in which private interests are
subordinated in the main to the service of the State; and further that
this new social organisation of the nation has called forth an
unprecedented capacity in tens of thousands both of men and women, not
merely for self-denying service, but for the utmost heights of heroism
even unto death.

Men have vaguely cherished this ideal of national life before the war,
but now it has been translated into concrete fact, and the nation can
never forget the deep sense of corporate efficiency, even of corporate
joy, which has ensued from this obliteration of the old class
distinctions, this amalgamation of all and sundry in a common service.
The fact is that a new class distinction has in a measure taken the
place of the old, a distinction which has nothing to do with blood or
with money, but solely with service. The nation is graded, not in
degrees of social importance but in degrees of capacity for service. The
only superiority is one of sacrifice. And each grade takes its hat off
to the other on the equal standing ground of an all pervading
patriotism. The only social competition is not in getting but in giving.
National advantage takes the place of personal profit, and there is a
sense of neighbourliness such as Britain has not experienced for many a
long day, possibly for many a long century.

The supreme problem before us, I take it, is how to conserve this
relationship and carry it over from the day of war to the day of peace.
To do it will call for just that same spirit of sacrifice and service
which is its own most predominant characteristic.

For one thing we must be quite definitely prepared in every section of
society for a new way of life. From the economic point of view this will
mean that the rich will be less rich, and the poor will be enabled to
lead a larger life. Already the wealthy classes have been learning to
live a simple life, and to substitute the service of the country for
their own personal enjoyment. A serious call will come to them to
continue in that state of life when the war is over. In some degree at
least the pressure of the financial burden which the nation will have to
bear will compel them to do so.

To the workers too in the same way the call will come to a new and more
worthy way of life. I am thinking now of the workers at home who have
been earning unprecedented wages, and thereby in many cases are already
assaying a larger life. They will be reluctant to give this up, but only
a gradual redistribution of wealth can make it permanent. It is not of
course merely or mainly a matter of wages. The only real enlargement of
life is spiritual. It is an affair of the mind and the soul.

The more we bring a true education within reach of the workers the more
will there arise that sense of real kinship which only equality of
education can adequately guarantee.

And speaking at Cambridge one cannot refrain from remarking that the
University itself will have to submit to a considerable re-adjustment of
its life if it is to be a pioneer in this intellectual comradeship of
which I speak. A University may be a nursery of class distinction. In
some measure it certainly has been so in the past. The opportunity is
now before it to lead the way in establishing the only kind of equality
which is really worth having.

Then too there are obvious steps which can be taken without delay in a
new organisation of industry.

I am not one of those who think that the industrial problem can be
solved in five minutes or even in five years. None the less it should
not be impossible in wise ways to give the workers a true share of
responsibility, particularly in matters which concern the conditions of
their work and the remuneration of their labour.

If the sense of being driven by a taskmaster, whether it be the foreman
of the shop, or the manager of the works, could give place to a truer
co-operation in the management, and a larger measure of responsibility
for the worker, we should be well on the road to eliminating one of the
most persistent causes of just that kind of class distinction which we
want to abolish. The more men work together in a real comradeship, the
more mere social distinctions fade into the background. Is this not
written on every page of the chronicles of this war?

But the supreme factor in the situation, without which no mere
adjustment of organisation will prevail, is that new outlook on life
which can only be described as a subordination of private advantage to
the service of the country.

It is this alone which can really abolish the almost eternal class
distinctions which we have traced throughout our survey, the distinction
between the "haves" and the "have nots." For, as this spirit grows, the
"have nots" tend to disappear, and the "haves" look upon what they have
not as a selfish possession for their own enjoyment, but as a means of
service for the common weal. Property, that which is most proper to a
man, is seen to be precisely that contribution which he is capable of
making to the welfare of his fellows.

The crux, the very core of the whole problem, is to find some means by
which this new outlook can be produced, and a new motive by which men
can be constrained to turn the vision into fact.

Here will come in that power which, as I pointed out, has sometimes been
so potent and sometimes so impotent, but which, if it is allowed its
proper scope, can never fail. I mean of course religion.

If men can be brought to see that this new outlook with its
corresponding re-adjustment of social life is not merely a project of
reformers but the plan of the Most High God, the deliberate intention of
the supreme Spirit-force of the universe, the Scheme that was taught by
the Prince of men, then indeed we may hope that the class distinction of
which He spoke will at last be adopted: "Whosoever will be great among
you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest,
shall be servant of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be
ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for
many[30]."

FOOTNOTES:

[19] _Encycl. Brit._ xi. 604.

[20] Macaulay's _History of England_ (Longman's, 1885), pp. 38, 39, 40.

[21] _The Town Labourer_, p. 205.

[22] _Ibid._, p. 212.

[23] G. K. Chesterton, _Short History of England_, p. 98.

[24] Stubbs' _Lectures on Early English History_, pp. 18, 19.

[25] Benjamin Kidd, _Encycl. Brit._ vol. xxv. p. 329.

[26] Lucian quoted by Harnack, _Mission and expansion of Christianity_,
vol. I. p. 149.

[27] _Ibid._

[28] Lactantius quoted by Harnack, _Ibid._ p. 168.

[29] _History of England_ (Longman's, 1885), vol. I. p. 25.

[30] St Mark x. 43-45.




UNITY BETWEEN CLASSES




II

By the Right Hon. J. R. CLYNES, M.P.


I have not the advantage of knowing anything of the treatment of any
part of this subject by any preceding speaker. I myself intend to deal
with it from the industrial and social standpoint, for I think if we are
to seek unity amongst classes it is most important in the national
interest that unity should first be sought and secured in the industries
of the country. That there is disunity is suggested and admitted in the
terms of the subject. This disunity has grown out of conditions which
range over a few generations. I believe that these conditions grew
largely out of our ignoring the human side of industry and the general
life conditions of the masses of our workers. Our economic doctrine
ignored the human factor, and measured what was termed national progress
in terms merely of material wealth without due regard to who owned the
wealth, made mainly by the energy of the industrial population.
Religious doctrines and religious institutions were not the cause of
that unhappy situation, but they had suffered from it, until now we find
a very considerable number of the population engaged in a struggle for
life, in a struggle for the material means of existence, handicapped by
belief that their own unaided effort alone can assist them, that they
must not look for help to any other class, or to any other quarter.
Moral precepts have not the influence which they ought to have upon our
industrial relations. Workers are thrown back upon their own resources;
and in the use of those resources, during the past fifteen years
particularly, much has been revealed to us of what is now in the working
class mind. I am not suggesting that to seek a settlement of conditions
of disunity, or the trouble arising from those conditions, you must
coddle the working classes, praise them and pay them highly, and try to
keep them contented with conditions which in themselves cannot be
defended. I do not mean that at all. What I mean is that if unity
between classes in industrial and economic life is to be sought and
secured, it can be got only at a price, paid in a two-fold form; that of
giving a larger yield of the wealth of the nation to those who mainly by
their energies make that wealth, and of placing the producing classes
upon a level where they will receive a higher measure of respect, of
thanks, and regard than they previously have received from the nation as
a whole. I was asked among others some twelve months ago to share in the
investigations then made by representatives of the Government to
discover the immediate cause of the very serious unrest then displayed
in the country, and we went for a period of many weeks into the main
centres of the kingdom and brought a varied collection of witnesses
before us in order that the most reliable evidence should be obtained,
and one who favoured us with his views was the Rev. Canon Green, whom I
am going to quote because of his great experience among the working
class populations in various circumstances and over many years in
Manchester and elsewhere. This is what Canon Green writes:


     They (the working classes) do not see why their hours should be so
     long, and their wages so small, their lives so dull and colourless,
     and their opportunities of reasonable rest and recreation so few.
     Can we wonder that with growing education and intelligence the
     workers of England are beginning to contrast their lot with that of
     the rich and to ask whether so great inequalities are necessary?


There I believe you have put in the plainest and gentlest terms the
working of the working class mind as it is to-day. The country has given
them more opportunities of education. When they were less educated, or,
if I may say so, more ignorant than they are now, they were naturally
more submissive and content with conditions the cause of which they so
little understood. You cannot send the children of the poor to school,
and improve your State agencies for education, and increase the millions
annually which the country is ready to spend in teaching the masses of
the people more than they knew before, and expect those masses to remain
content with the economic and social conditions which even disturbed
their more ignorant fathers. In short, the more you educate and train
the working classes, the more naturally you bring them to the point of
revolt against conditions which are inhuman or unfair, or which cannot
be brought to square with the higher standard of education which they
may receive. I am sure when the community come to understand that it is
a natural and even a proper sense of revolt on the part of the masses of
the people they will not regret their education. Out of all this feeling
of discontent in the minds of the industrial population there has in the
last thirty odd years grown very strong organisation. The Trade Union
movement, which I mention first as a very great factor in all these
matters, is a most powerful and important factor, and the country will
have to pay greater regard to the steps which Trade Unionism may take
than the country has been disposed previously to do. The Trade Union
movement was stimulated and developed by the conditions which it was
brought into being to remedy. The Trade Union was not the growth of mere
agitation. The average Briton must be convinced that there is something
really wrong before he will try to remedy it at all, and you cannot by
lectures, and by telling the people that they have been and are being
oppressed, stir the people of this country to any resistance.
Particularly you cannot get them to pay a contribution for it. It was
because of the experience of the mass of the workers, their low wages
and long hours and the bad conditions of employment, that they organised
and used the might that comes from numbers, and paid contributions which
in the sum total now amount to many millions of pounds in the way of
reserve funds. No apology was needed for the working classes and no
defence is required for this step taken by the workers to unite
themselves in Trade Unions, and thereby secure by the unity of numbers
the power which, acting singly, it was impossible for them to exercise.
This Trade Union movement is quite alive to the division which exists
among our classes, and I am going to suggest that the movement might be
used, might be properly employed, in obtaining that unity of classes
which we are here to consider.

Well, then, we may, whilst not overlooking other helpful activities of a
large number of people in this country, seek this unity among three main
divisions of our people, viz. (_a_) in industries, (_b_) in agriculture,
and (_c_) in businesses. Given unity of interest and oneness of purpose
and aim in those three broad divisions of the nation, the rest must be
attracted and brought into harmony by mere force of example, if nothing
else, with the unity which might be secured in the three broad divisions
to which I have referred. One of the hopeful things, the significant
things, recently uttered in other quarters from which I am going to
quote, is clearly seeking this tendency to unity instead of the
different interests and classes being driven by the waste and folly of
the disuniting lines upon which so far we have persisted. I observe that
only a few days ago Lord Selborne, who is one of our principal
mouthpieces on agricultural matters, presided at a new body called into
existence within the past few weeks and to be known as the National
Agricultural Council. Now, that is not a body which will consist of
landowners, or of farmers, or of farm workers; it is a body to consist
of all three. The landowners, the farmers, and the agricultural workers
have come to recognise that they all have something in common touching
agriculture, touching the trade or industry in which they are brought
into close touch day by day. I know as a matter of fact that only a very
few years ago the Farmers' Union would not tolerate the idea of the farm
workers having a union, and the land workers looked with real dread upon
the farmers having a union, and now all three have come to the stage
when they agree to join in one Council, and, though it was admitted that
the interests of those three classes were primarily in conflict, it was
recognised that by holding meetings, by the representatives of all these
quite distinct interests frequently coming together, much good might be
done. For what? As they say, for agriculture. So, though none of them
will forfeit any rightful interest anyone of them may have in the
pursuit of a special claim, they will all recognise a higher sense of
duty, and feel there is an obligation upon them to make agriculture in
this country a greater thing not only for themselves as the three
partners, but for the mass of the community at large. And if it is
necessary to do that in the farmers' interest or the landowners'
interest, it was at least as necessary to do it in the interest of the
agricultural worker, and I put his claim first, not because he is the
sole contributor to any yield that may come from the land, but because
he is the most numerous body, and numbers in this as in other respects
may well be the determining factor; and because if he withholds his
labour there will be none of the fruit of the soil for which we look
year after year. I follow up this statement by an authoritative one from
another quarter. Lord Lee, who as we know was the Director of the Food
Production Department at the Board of Agriculture, spoke some time ago
on this aspect of the case, and said: "Take the agricultural labourer
for example. Does anyone suppose, or suggest, that he should return from
the trenches--where he has distinguished himself in a way unsurpassed by
any other class in the community--to the old miserable conditions under
which, in most parts of the country, he was under-paid, wretchedly
housed, and denied almost any pleasure in life, except such as the
public house could offer him? Those conditions were a disgrace to the
country, and I shall never be content until they are swept away for
ever. I do not say this only in the interest of the man himself; it is
necessary these conditions should go, in the best interests not merely
of the labourer but of the farmer and of agriculture." So it may be that
unity and oneness of purpose and of action will be driven upon us as one
of the bye-products of war conditions. For your simple plain
agricultural worker will come back feeling that as he has fought for the
liberties of his country he will be entitled to enjoy a little more of
it than ever before, that if the land is to be freed from designs of the
tyrant abroad it must be freed also from any wrong at home, and that he
must have a larger share in the fruits of his labour than he has enjoyed
before. My own view is that you will not on that account make the farm
worker a less efficient harvestman, but you will make him a happier
father, you will be making him a more contented citizen, and may make
him a more profitable worker than he has ever been.

Various remedies have been tried or thought of to give effect to what
are our common aspirations. One I have seen referred to frequently is
one I would like to see always avoided. It is the remedy of placing
before workmen as a necessity a greatly increased output from their
manual labour in the future; not that I am opposed to an increased
output, but I am not going to demand it as part of the bargain which
should itself be arranged and carried out, even if it did not
necessarily secure for us any greater sum total of wealth than we now
enjoy; for poor as we may have accounted ourselves we have seen in the
past few years how vastly we can spend and lend in support of any high
purpose to which the country may devote itself. Poverty can never again
be claimed by the nation as a whole whenever there is a proper and
reasonable demand for any social change or reform which may be
necessary and proper. Men are asking for a greater yield, for a greater
output, for building up our wealth higher than ever before, so as to
repair the ravages of the war, if for no other purpose. With all those
objects I agree, but we must not make them as terms to the worker in
exchange for those conditions of unity which we are asking our workers
to arrange with us. Greater output, increased efficiency, a bigger and
better return of wealth from industrial and agricultural energy, can
well come out of a better working system, a better rearrangement of
combined effort, a more extensive use of machinery, a more satisfactory
sub-division of labour, a wider employment of the personal experience
and technical skill of our industrial classes, a higher state of
administrative efficiency and management in the workshops, the creation
of a better and more humane atmosphere in the workshops. Out of all of
these things a greater yield of wealth could be produced, and it is
along those lines we must go in order not merely to convert but to
convince the workman that he is not being used as a mere tool for some
ulterior end for the benefit of some smaller class in the country. It
has been said by some that Trade Union restrictions and limitations must
go. I candidly admit there have been Trade Union regulations and
conditions which perhaps have stood in the way of some increased output,
but I am not here to apologise for Trade Union rules. Every class has
its regulations and rules. The more powerful and the more wealthy the
class the more rigid and stringent those rules have been. However, the
class which was most in need of regulations and rules, the working
class, was the first to set the example of setting them aside as a
general war measure when the country called upon the workers to take
action of that kind during 1915. We must, therefore, keep in mind the
fact that workmen are naturally suspicious. That suspicion is the growth
of the workshop system, into which I have not now the time to go, and we
must avoid causing the workman to suspect that our unity, the unity we
are seeking among classes, is a mere device for getting him to work
harder and produce greater wealth and perhaps labour even longer hours
than ever.

The first great step towards this unity is to secure the good will of
the Trade Unions. Having secured that, the next thing is to proceed upon
lines which will bring at once home to the individual workman in the
workshop some sense of responsibility with regard to the response which
he must make to the appeal which we put before him. In short, better
relations must precede any first step that could effectively be taken to
secure this greater unity, and better relations are impossible in
industry until we have given the individual workman a greater sense of
responsibility of what he is in the workshop for. Let me briefly outline
how that might be secured. It was put, I think, quite eloquently if
simply in an address to the Trade Union Congress a short time ago by the
President of the Congress, who said that the workman wanted a voice in
the daily management of the employment in which he spends his working
life, in the atmosphere and in the conditions under which he has to
work, in the hours of beginning and ending work, in the conditions of
remuneration, and even in the manners and practices of the foremen with
whom he had to be in contact. "In all these matters," said the
President, "workmen have a right to a voice--even to an equal
voice--with the management itself." I know that is a big, and to some an
extravagant claim to make, but to set it aside or ignore it is to
provoke and invite further trouble. Industry can no longer be run for
the profit which it produces, or even because of the wealth which
collective energy can make. That, indeed, was the mistake out of which,
as I said at the beginning, this disunion, and this suspicion, and this
selfishness, have grown. We have had greatly to modify our doctrines of
political economy during the course of the war, and all the things which
many teachers told us never could be done have come as natural to us
under war conditions which we could not resist, and of which we were the
creatures. Where now is the law of supply and demand? Indeed, if the law
of supply and demand were operating at this moment, there are few
workmen in the country who would not be receiving many, many pounds more
a week than they are. The workman is not paid to-day according to the
demand for his labour. A very much higher obligation decides for him
what his remuneration is to be. I have in mind, of course, the fact that
a considerable number of workers, who are employed upon munition
services and so on, are enjoying very high wages, but that is not at all
true of the masses of the industrial population, and we ought not to be
deceived by these rare instances which are quoted of men coming out of
the workshop with _L_20 or _L_30. Speaking of the industrial population
in the main, what was the outstanding economic doctrine?--the doctrine
that the demand for labour and the volume for supplying that demand
determined the remuneration. That doctrine has had to go by the board
like so many other things that could not exist under war pressure.

Then, how are we to give effect to this general workshop aspiration for
bringing the workman into closer unity with the conditions which
determine that part of his life which is the bread-winning part, for
which he has to turn out in the morning early and often return home late
in the evening? There was established some time ago what can be
described as a quite responsible committee to report upon how better
relations not only between employers and employed through their
associations, but in regard to employers and employed in the workshops,
might be established. That committee issued the report commonly known to
us now as the Whitley Report, of which I am quite sure more will be
heard in a few years. The men who had to frame that report were drawn
from the two extremes of the employers and trade unions. We had men with
very advanced views, like Mr Smillie, on the one hand, and we had quite
powerful employers of labour, like Sir Gilbert Claughton and Sir William
Carter, on the other. I had the privilege of sitting on that committee,
and for some months we laboured to frame some definite terms which might
be accepted by those who were concerned in our recommendations. I very
often hear the suggestion that people will have little of it because it
is not ideal, not grand or great enough, but we have to come down to the
earth upon these matters, and we have to recommend only what we feel is
likely to be accepted lest our labour should be wasted. We must avoid,
therefore, throwing our aims too high, and we must suggest only what
practical business men and workmen are likely seriously to consider.
Having decided to reach that conclusion, and feeling the sense of
responsibility which, opposed as so many of us were to each other, drove
us to reach a conclusion, we expressed ourselves in these terms: "We are
convinced that a permanent improvement in the relations between
employers and employed must be founded upon something other than a cash
basis. What is wanted is that the workpeople should have a greater
opportunity of participating in the discussion upon an adjustment of
those parts of industry by which they are most affected. For securing
improvement in the relations between employers and employed, it is
essential that any proposals put forward should offer to workpeople the
means of attaining improved conditions of employment and a higher
standard of comfort generally, and involve the enlistment of their
active and continuous co-operation in the promotion of industry."
Previously, the view was that the workman had nothing whatever to do
with this phase of the management of business, and that is a phrase
still very much used. We make no claim in this report that workmen
should have the right to interfere in the higher realms of business
management, in, say, finance, in the general higher details of
organisation, in the extension of works, in all those more important and
urgent matters which must come before the board of managers or the
manager himself. These are things which belong properly and exclusively
to those who have the responsibility of managing our great industries,
but in all the other things affecting the conditions of the workman, the
manner in which he is to be treated, hours, wages, conditions of
employment, relations between section and section, and working division
and working division, all those things which were regarded previously
as the private monopoly of the foreman or manager must in future become
the common concern of the workmen collectively, and they must have some
voice in how these things are to be settled. The country and its
industries, of course, may refuse to hear that voice, but really we have
to choose between reconciling workmen to a given system of industry or
finding workmen in perpetual revolt against their conditions. And it
will pay the country to concede a great deal, not only for peace in the
workshop but for a higher standard of peace generally in the whole
community. The appeal that must be made to the workman must be followed
up by asking him to receive it in a very different spirit from the
spirit sometimes shewn in certain workshops. I am not here by any means
to pour praise altogether upon the working classes, and I am conscious
of the mistakes and wrongs which have sometimes been done in their
names, and I am therefore anxious that the spirit of the workshop should
be so tempered and altered as to be fit to receive and make the best use
of the approaches which are to be made to it to participate in workshop
management upon the lines which I have indicated.

So this appeal which has been made by the Whitley committee, and which
has been followed up by some other departments of government, is put as
an appeal to the common-sense and reason of the men in the workshop, and
does not rest upon any of the many agencies which have been employed
previously in the pursuit of definite trade union ends. This spirit can
be fostered only when the masses of workmen are reached by the
consciousness that they themselves are being called upon to share in
the undertakings of which they are so important a part. The importance
of workmen has been revealed in a most startling way during the period
of the war, and the war has shewn in many trades that recurring
differences between capital and labour can be adjusted without strikes
and without lock-outs if methods are provided in the workshop which are
acceptable to both sides, and are made to operate fairly and
satisfactorily between the different interests. Think how important the
workman has become because of the war. Consider how much the workman is
now pressed and drawn into all manner of services which previously he
could either remain in or leave at his will. The war has made such a
demand upon national industrial energy that there is no service now for
which there is not a demand. Indeed, you have seen the effect in that
services in the workshop include men who previously would have been
ashamed to have had it known that they had ever soiled their hands at
any toil at all, but who have been glad to get a place in the workshop
because it was work of national importance. War experience has shewn us
how high manual service stands in the grades of service which can be
rendered for community interest. This new spirit does not appeal to
force as a means of settling differences, nor to compulsory arbitration,
nor to the authority of the State, nor to the power of organisation on
either side. It is an appeal to reason, an approach to both sides to act
in association on lines which will give freedom, self-respect, and
security to both sides, whilst enabling each of them to submit to the
other what it feels is best for the joint advancement of the trade and
those engaged in it. In short, I would like to see inside the gates of
every workshop the cultivation of the same spirit in British industry
as has been hinted at already as the first essential for the future
development of agriculture in England. Those processes of calling in the
individual workman through committees, to which I will refer briefly in
a moment, are not intended to take the place of the great organisations.
They are to be supplementary to the Trade Unions, and are not intended
to supplant them.

Trades Union leadership has changed hands to a great extent during the
past year or two, and the virtual leaders of the men are now men
themselves employed at the bench and in the mine. They are exercising
very great authority and influence over masses of their fellow workmen,
and often the authority, and decisions, and advice of executives and
leaders are set aside and the advice of the men employed in the
workshop, given to their fellow workmen as mates, is followed. So with
this change, due to conditions into which we have not time to go, there
must be recognised the need for applying new remedies in considering
this question of improving the relations between employer and employed.
It will not do now merely to have discussions between association and
association. We might improve upon that and supplement it as I have said
by having discussions direct in the workshop with the workmen
themselves, who would be brought into touch at once with persons who
were responsible for what action must be taken. So leadership having
been to some extent transferred from the Trade Union to the workshop,
the workman must be followed there and must be shewn how essential it is
to recruit his good will and his aid in improving workshop conditions,
not for the betterment of the management, but as much, if not more, for
his own betterment as a workman in the shop. This may not touch certain
industries in the country that are non-organised. Some of those trades,
much to our shame, in former years were known as sweated industries, but
even there it is found that the workers, men and women alike, are coming
gradually into the trades unions, and should they not be in the trades
unions to any great extent they are to be reached by other ways and
means which this committee has developed. It is intended to apply to
them, so as to establish the necessary machinery for better relations,
the personnel of the Trades Boards Acts, those boards which, in the
absence of trades unions, deal with the sweated conditions of thousands
of workers employed in those sweated trades. So I have no fear myself of
the non-organised trades being left altogether out of the range of the
spirit to which I have referred. In addition to the committees there is
to be in every district, it is proposed, a representative council, drawn
from the employers and employed of the particular industry, and some
scores of these councils are now being set up. In addition, there is to
be in relation to every principal industry a national council, and many
of us are now engaged in the creation of those several bodies. The
public may not hear much about them, but they are the foundation upon
which this structure of better relations is to rest, and, so far as we
can spare some small margin of our time for those duties, considerable
headway has been made in establishing these different organisations.

But I attach most importance to the workshop committees, and so I want
to pursue this idea a little further. What are those committees to be?
They would have to be free representative bodies, chosen by the men
themselves. They could be empowered to meet the management, possessed of
a sense of responsibility, to discuss in their own homely way matters
which would have to be settled between them. Indeed, we know from
experience that many of the big trade disputes in this country have
grown out of trifles, out of small nothings comparatively, which could
well have been settled inside the workshop gates by bringing master and
man together, empowered to discuss matters which both understand as
matters of personal experience. The committees when created, in this
atmosphere and spirit to which I refer, would exist not in rebellion
against the trade unions or against the trade union system, or exist as
being in revolt against the management of the works, or the employer of
labour. The committees would be vested with responsibility for
negotiations. They would be able to use the personal knowledge derived
from contact with the questions arising day by day. They would develop a
sense of independence and a sense of just dealing, so that the doctrine
of "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work" should apply not only to
the wages but to the work to be done, a thing which sometimes does not
occur. These committees could check the driving methods of some persons
in authority, and, whilst getting the best from those who are above
them, they could give the best, as I am sure they would provided the
spirit is created, from the workmen in return for the fairer treatment
they would enjoy. These committees could deal not only with manual
service and ordinary work and wage questions; they could develop a
better use of industrial capacity and technical knowledge in matters of
workshop life. But the spirit is everything, and the best desires of
equitable workshop management could find expression through those
committees if they were created. The committees would give a chance to
the many workmen who now talk a great deal about democracy to express
that democracy through the persons of the workmen themselves. I fear
there are many of our friends in the labour movement, as we term it, who
are given freely to talking of democracy without clearly understanding
all that is covered in that term. It is a term which, it is a pleasure
to see, has recently found its way not merely into the phrases of
statesmen, but into the King's speech itself. We are now speaking
commonly of all the sacrifices that are being made, of all the blood and
treasure that is being spilt, in order to have a wholesome democratic
system of world government. Well, we must begin in the workshops, for
you cannot have peace on a large scale the country over, or between
nation and nation, unless you have peace in our places of employment.
They are the starting points and there it is that your contented
millions must first be found. If they are not happy and if they are not
at ease in connexion with their national service, you cannot expect any
of those larger results for which highminded statesmen are seeking the
world over.

Upon two main lines, in my judgment, democracy will require the most
sane guidance and most sagacious advice which its leaders are capable of
giving to it. It will not do for leaders merely to say that the future
of the world must be decided, not by diplomats or thrones or Kaisers,
but by the will of peoples. The will of peoples can find enduring and
beneficial expression only when that will seeks social change by
reasonable and calculated instalments, and not by any violent act of
revolution. Peaceful voters on their way to the ballot boxes and
properly formulated principles will in the end go further than fire and
sword in the internal affairs of a nation. I say this because of the
loose talk we have heard from many labour platforms recently of
revolution and its benefits. Revolution may well be in any country the
beginning and not the end of internal troubles, often expressed in a
more painful and more violent form than ever. We need only look at our
former great partner, Russia, to find full confirmation of all I have
now implied. The red flag marches with the machine gun and the black cap
when a certain stage of physical revolt is reached. The theory of new
methods of life can only find rational application when democracy is
wisely guided in taking slow but sure steps peacefully to turn its
theories into an applied system, wherein the people of a nation and not
merely a section or a class shall find their proper place and security
for service, and find an assured existence under conditions of comfort
for themselves and advantage to the State. Democratic leaders must tell
these things to the people time after time if need be. They must repeat
them so that the masses may understand them, because the tendency in
labour has been to narrow the meaning of democracy. Democracy is not,
and ought not to be, limited to those who now constitute the industrial
population. Democracy is not a sect or a trade union club. Democracy is
wider than the confines of the manual worker. Democracy should strive to
reach the highest level of morality in doctrine and aspiration. It is
not a class formula. It is a great and elevating faith which may be
shared by all who believe in it. Democracy stands for the general
progress of mankind and means the uplifting of men, and the liberation
and unifying of nations. It does not mean the dominion of one class over
another, nor the violent wresting of position or authority by some
dramatic act of physical force, which if used would still leave a nation
in a state of unreconciled and contending factions. Democracy, again, is
a spirit whereby vast social and economic change may be effected through
a medium approaching common consent or at least by the application of
the political power of the people acting through representative
institutions and resting upon ideas which majorities accept and
understand. The spirit which has already accepted vast political changes
can be made to apply to vast economic and industrial changes. This
spirit must be cultivated by the leaders of democracy. They have now
opportunities as great as their responsibilities. The success of
parties, in the old sense of the term, is a trivial thing to the success
of the great ends to be secured. These ends will justify the use of any
constitutional means for dethroning that form of power upon which
privilege and the mere possession of wealth have rested. But democracy
must not be duped by phrases, nor be swayed by any influence which does
not lead to a lasting advance for the nation as a whole. Nor should its
leaders think that fundamental and enduring changes in our social system
can be reached by any short cut to which the great mass of the people
have not been converted. Progress will be faster in the future if
impatience and folly do not retard it.

Having said a little with regard to the position of the poorer people,
let me before I close respectfully address a few words to the richer and
more favoured in the country. Should all rich folk in the country work?
That is a very plain and I dare say it will be regarded in some places
as quite an impudent question. But really, rich people who have never
had cause in any way to earn their living have always been a danger to
the State, just as they have been the greatest instance of wicked waste
to be found in any country. There is nothing more melancholy, and even
degrading, to a country than the sight of educated people who have
nothing to do. Wealth is the fruit of service and endeavour. Work is the
only medium by which the ravages of the war can be made good. Ignorance
and idleness present a most pitiable spectacle, but the most criminal of
all sights is education and idleness combined. Finally, let me say that
whilst I have addressed myself mainly in terms of appeal to the workers,
I am not unmindful at all of the difficulties of the great employers of
labour and those covered by the phrase "our Captains of Industry." I
know that many of them work very hard under the greatest and most trying
mental pressure, and have duties and trials unknown even to the workmen,
but with those duties and trials come reliefs again unknown to the
workmen--holidays, change, and rest, and the meeting of men of their own
class whose very company is an intellectual joy, so that the worst off
your employer of labour as a human being may be he is far better off
than the average workman. Think of the housing conditions of so many
thousands, hundreds of thousands, of workmen, and how intolerable it
would be for you to live under those conditions, how discontented you
would be, how discontented the rich would be were it their fate to drag
on an existence in some of those places which are commonly described by
the term "houses." Why, the very waiting room of the employer's ordinary
office is a much more cosy and pleasant place than the homes of many of
the most industrious workers of England. I plead that the elements of
the human order should begin to pervade the relations of the workshop,
that the workman should be less of a drudge and more of a human asset
than he has been, that he should be brought into partnership in the
undertaking and in the management; that incidentally he should have a
more secure remuneration and not have to bear the penalties and ordeals
of employment as he has had alone to bear them during times of trade
depression and unemployment in previous years. The human side of the
workshop has, therefore, to be built up, and you cannot hope to build it
up upon any foundation of drudgery such as the workmen in the main have
had to live under, and, as I have said, it will pay the country to
conciliate the men on these terms. It is a high ideal, but it is
attainable. I believe it is attainable because we have seen it in
another sphere of sacrifice where it has already been secured. The war
has brought all classes together. In the trenches, at sea, and in all
theatres of danger, men of all classes are now labouring shoulder to
shoulder. There you have had a sinking of individual interests. There
you have had a common sacrifice, a common endeavour for a common cause.
Surely, as all classes have been able to unite in their sacrifice and in
their resistance of the aggression of a foreign foe, it is, I hope, not
asking too much that when they come back and take their places in
peaceful pursuits again, and become masters, workmen, managers, and
foremen in our enterprises and businesses, when they return from danger
and come back to take their places amongst us,--surely it is not too
much to hope that those who are able to unite abroad will be able to
unite for the ends of peace and joy here at home.




UNITY IN THE EMPIRE

By F. J. CHAMBERLAIN, C.B.E.


The word "unity" in relation to the Empire has a deeper meaning to-day
than it had five years ago. Then it was a watchword, a theme for
Imperial conferences and for speakers at demonstrations. The sanguine
were sure, the pessimists and that great body of Britishers of moderate
views and moderate faith regarded it as one of the things hoped for.

With dramatic suddenness the event clarified the situation, England
awoke at war. There was no time for preliminary councils. The supreme
test of the Empire had been reached. It is no exaggeration to say that
the whole world watched with eagerness for the result. It was in that
moment that the great discovery was made. The British Empire stood fast.
From that day until now, from end to end of the world has been seen an
object lesson of unity that has justified the sanguine, and been an
inspiration to the Allies. That revelation has been more inspiring
because the world is aware that it is in spite of the most sinister and
subtle campaign against it, planned and brilliantly executed by an enemy
under the cloak of friendship. I do not forget the tragic circumstances
of one small nation within the Empire. But Ireland has given more
evidence of her faithfulness to Empire on the fields of France and
Flanders than of her treachery at home, and to-day we have more reason
to count her ours than has the enemy. Examine the position in cold
blood, if you can, and you are still aware of a substantial, solid, and
effective unity running round the Empire, binding it in one as with a
girdle of scarlet and gold.

The war is not responsible for the unity; it has only discovered or
uncovered it. The storm does not establish foundations; it may reveal
them. A century of building has created the structure that the storm has
failed to destroy.

The British Empire is a successful experiment on the lines of the
longed-for League of Nations. The race contains no more diverse elements
than are found within its borders; one-third of the land surface of the
world, and one-fifth of the inhabitants, have been held together in a
living federation and have been kept until this day. Upon our generation
rests the awful and splendid responsibility of proving to a questioning
world that this unity can be made permanent, and of illustrating how a
still larger unity may be achieved.

You will forgive one or two homely pictures of our unity that cannot
fail to strike the imagination. It has been our privilege to meet
thousands of men from the Overseas Dominions. How many times have boys,
whose forefathers emigrated from England or Scotland, who were
themselves born in Australia, or on the Western plains of Canada, said,
"I have been wanting to come _home_ all my life"? These islands are the
"home" of the Empire, and there is no more wonderful word in the
language.

Or think of Botha and Smuts, within the memory almost of the youngest of
us, fighting with all their heart and mind against the Empire, and,
to-day, dominant personalities proclaiming their loyalty, and proving it
in unrivalled service.

Or picture, if you can, young India, pouring out her life-blood with
pride and ready sacrifice, in France, in Egypt, and in Mesopotamia, for
the "British Raj." The most moving scene in the history of the British
Commons was on that evening in 1915, when the princes of India stood
amidst the representatives of the people of the homelands and paid their
homage.

How much such things mean will depend on the vision of those who hear
them; but they have in them the stuff that holds the future.

This ghastly war, not of our choosing, has transferred the seats of
learning for young Britain from their peaceful sites to the battlefield.
If the object of education is the cultivation of the power of thought
and observation, the kindling of imagination, and the extension of
knowledge; then "over there" is a University set in full array, with
ghostly as well as human tutors, a curriculum without precedent, and
such a body of undergraduates as Cambridge or Oxford might covet.

It is not for nothing, as regards the Empire, that your sons, the
children of the East End, and the boys of Canada, Australasia, and South
Africa, are meeting and mingling with Gurkha and Sikh, and with each
other. They are sharing a common discipline, a common adventure, making
sacrifice together. They are seeing each other with eyes from which the
scales are falling, and knowledge and understanding are growing out of
their contact. The farthest reaches of Empire have been brought nearer
to the Empire's heart by this brotherhood in arms, and the barriers
between classes have been lowered until a man can step across them
without climbing. The distance between East and West has been
immeasurably shortened, whether we are thinking in terms of London, or
of the Empire.

In our consideration of this whole subject we are to take the Christian
standpoint. To us, the words "Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in
Heaven," on Divine lips were more than a pious wish. They were a great
intention, the expression of age-long purpose. We believe that the gains
of the centuries--the harvest of the past which is worth
conserving--have been secured by moral and spiritual conquest, rather
than by military or political achievement. There may be elements in our
present forms of unity which we may well allow to go by the board. The
things that make for permanence will abide not only with an enlightened
statesmanship, but with a growing understanding, an ever broadening
interpretation of Christian teaching about


     The Kingdom of God on earth,
     The Universal Fatherhood of God, and
     The brotherhood of man,


leading the nation to see that the knowledge of God and of His Christ is
the rightful inheritance of every son of the Empire.

As these great ideals of social life have been interpreted in the life
of either sovereign peoples or subject peoples, so, we believe, and only
so, have bonds been forged that can be trusted to stand the strain which
time and changing condition and circumstances impose.

Unity, even the Empire itself ultimately, depends, as we believe, on a
broad-based statesmanship, carrying up the main principles of our
Government to their highest power in action, and, constantly throughout
the Empire, mediating those doctrines to the peoples concerned as they
are able to bear them, with ever-extending inspiration and encouragement
to growth and development.

Our Imperial aims are neither antagonistic to nor inconsistent with our
Christian programme. That should constitute a challenge to the Christian
Churches, and is in itself a matter for high and solemn pride. The war
has cleared the air. As stated during this period, the ideal of a
federation of nations, free, independent, and at the same time
interdependent, each working out its national destiny, each
contributing, in terms of opportunity, to the well-being of the whole,
bringing to bear on Imperial matters the heart, brain, will of the
whole, gives us a picture of a Commonwealth in advance of any
contemporary political programme, with the one conspicuous exception of
that of the United States of America, between whom and ourselves is
being established a Unity which may well be more valuable to the world
at large and to ourselves than any formal Union.

Here, as we see it, is our opportunity. The Christian forces of the
Empire have the onus of maintaining the national outlook at this high
level. Our faith, our audacity, our leadership will be needed if lesser
counsels are to have no chance of prevailing. There must be no swing of
the pendulum back to smaller views.

With the coming of Peace, the temptation to the Nation to take off its
armour, to come down from the pedestal, to revert to pre-war conditions,
to re-act in self-indulgence from the strain of war, or to let
materialism defeat idealism, will be well-nigh overwhelming. To give
way to that temptation will be to rob victory of any permanent values.
It will be a poor thing to have taught Germany her lesson, if we fail to
learn our own.

We see no hope of successful resistance of that temptation apart from
the mobilisation of the Christian forces within the Empire into an army
committed to the sacred task of making the conscience of the Nation
effectively Christian, leading the way in bringing about a closer
approximation between the politics of the State and the programme of the
Kingdom of God, and proclaiming that Kingdom at hand.

If we are agreed so far it behoves us to look for the practical
implications of the position. These islands are still the heart and home
of the Empire. This was the rock whence its younger peoples were hewn.
Our nation has produced the men and the machinery that govern our
commonwealth. The lonely places, farthest removed from us, will be
peopled largely by and through the work of children of the Old Country.
There, wherever her children go, is England.

England is a treasure house, where the very stones are eloquent. Her
history, her buildings, her national and civic life, her denominations
and movements are all of them of vital interest to her children. It is a
place of pilgrimage and remembrance. It is more. They find here the
mature growths from which their institutions have sprung. They love our
historic places, they love our crowded cities, they love our seashores
and our quiet country-side, for everywhere they go they find not only
the story of our past, but that of their own. This is their spiritual
home. Our art, our literature, our movements are parts of a common
inheritance, and it is the pride of the Motherland that her children
have never outgrown their love of the old home, their veneration for its
sanctions and restraints, and that on their own homesteads they have
reproduced in new settings and often in fresh forms so much that is
native here.

One would like to see a larger share in this priceless inheritance
offered to our peoples oversea. Think for one moment of our great
Cathedrals, unique and wonderful. They can never be reproduced. They
might be copied; but Canterbury and Westminster, Lincoln and Durham,
York and the rest would still remain all that they are to us and to
them. You cannot transplant history. In the homeland we are but trustees
of these treasures, and we ought to make them the home and centre of our
Imperial Christianity. In every one of them the priests of the Church in
the Overseas lands should not only be seen but heard. Is there no room
in Cathedral Chapters for Overseas representatives, so that in our daily
services in a new and living way we may be linked together in sacrament,
praise and prayer, and in the proclamation of Christian truth? One
Canonry for each historic building would mean more to Unity than many
resolutions at Congress. Perhaps that is as far as one ought to go in
suggestion, but there are other splendid possibilities that one would
love to discuss. No one thinking of Unity in the Empire can fail to
rejoice in the growing desire manifest among Christian Denominations for
Unity. I will not trench on another's subject beyond saying that the way
to Union is Unity, and that it would be tragic if in these momentous
days any stone was left unturned that would lead to better knowledge,
deeper understanding and sympathy between those who name the Name that
is above every name. And our people overseas have much to teach us in
this matter. Over great areas of social opportunity and service the
Catholic Church may act unitedly and must do so, if she is to enter on
offensive warfare and not stand for another generation on the defensive.
The war has made a difference here. Men, who in the conventional days of
peace rarely met, have joined hands in service. Catholic and Protestant,
Churchman and Free Churchman, have found joy in fellowship. That does
not mean that differences have disappeared, it means that, recognising
and estimating their differences, it has been possible to establish a
basis of co-operation, in knowledge, understanding, and sympathy, and to
recognise in one another the hall-mark of Christian faith and character.
Is this to be a war measure only? or is it to be one of the great gains
to be carried over into the days ahead?

One other question clamours for treatment: the problem of the
evangelisation of the Empire. Christianity must be given its chance in
every corner of the Empire. There may be divergent opinions as to the
methods to be used, but if Christianity contains in its gospel the pearl
of great price, there can be no two opinions as to the obligation that
rests on us to bring to the nations federated with us this supreme gift.
Nothing can release us from that responsibility. To postpone the
presentation of the Christian gospel for any of the time-honoured
excuses:

(1) our pre-occupation in matters of more urgent importance elsewhere,

(2) any fear of the effects of Christianity on our political or
commercial interests,

(3) the desire to live down prejudice and establish confidence,

(4) the preparation of a people's mind by education before introducing a
new religion,

--any one of these is treachery to the All-Father and to the family of
man, and a vital _praeparatio evangelica_ is being made. Let me
illustrate.

It happened in a great marquee in France. On a summer evening in 1916
the place was crowded with Indians. There was a group playing Indian
card games, there was a crowd round a gramophone with Indian records, at
the writing tables with great torment of spirit men were writing to
their homes. At the counter foods they loved were being provided.
Against one of the poles of the marquee stood a stately Indian of some
rank. He had been seen there often before. He rarely spoke but seemed
intensely interested. On this particular night the time arrived for the
closing of the tent. The little groups gradually disappeared and the
tent curtains were being replaced when the leader of the work found
himself addressed by the Indian:


     Why do you serve us in this way? You are not here by Government
     orders. You come when you like and you go when you like. There is
     only one religion on earth that would lead its servants to serve in
     this way, Christianity. I have been watching you men, and I have
     come to the conclusion that Christianity will fit the East as it
     can never fit the West. When the war is over I want you to send one
     of your men to my village. We are all Hindus, but my people will do
     what I tell them.


One of the ghastly tragedies of the war is that two great nations
nominally Christian are at each other's throats. In the world's eyes
Christian civilisation has broken down. We know better, but our
explanations will not carry far enough to correct the impression. Our
defence must be an offensive.

It is certainly within the truth to say that we have not yet seen what
Christianity can do for a community or a nation where, as I put it
before, "it is given a chance." May it not be that in the Providence of
God the first great revelation of what Christianity can do for a nation
will be seen in one of the lands that have come under the Flag, and
among a people living under less complex conditions than ourselves? If
that is a possibility we ought to see that wherever the Flag flies,
there comes, with the unfurling of the Flag, the Gospel of Christ.

This is directly in the interest of unity, and many problems that have
so far remained insoluble to our statesmen might discover the solution
in Christian leadership.

I shall be pardoned I know for suggesting that the highest purposes of
unity may be served by the extension and development throughout the
Empire of such international organisations as the Student Christian
Movement, the Y.M.C.A., the Y.W.C.A., and, used at its highest values,
the Boy Scout Movement. There are others, but these are typical. They
are established movements built up on definite principles capable of
universal application, and yet each of them able to develop its
organisation on lines that recognise national psychology and character.
Each of them may become and aims at becoming indigenous everywhere,
giving freedom of method and action and free play to the moral and
intellectual activities of the people concerned, while they have certain
essential elements that are universally characteristic of them. In
addition, they give large numbers of Christian people an opportunity of
expressing their unity in service of the right kind.

What was said about the Cathedrals is equally true of our two ancient
Universities. Mr Fisher's Education Bill may well mean more for Imperial
unity than almost any other single factor. It will mean an ever
increasing number of men to whom "Cambridge" and "Oxford" will be magic
words. If our view of culture is broad enough we shall see to it that
these two Universities become increasingly places where the children of
the Empire who are fit to graduate in them shall not lack the
opportunity of doing so. Because these ancient foundations link with the
past, because of all they may mean to the present and to the future, the
way to them should be made broad enough to admit the living stream of
Greater Britain's children, who by dint of gifts and industry have
proved their fitness to meet their peers in these delectable cities,
where the very air breathes the romance of British culture. Their right
of entry ought not to be won by the benefactions of private citizens,
though all who love knowledge are grateful enough for these, but should
be theirs by their citizenship in the Empire and their own tested
fitness.

Nothing again is more hopeful in the present situation than the manifest
desire, widely felt and expressed, that the old class-antagonisms should
never be revived. Surely this is _the_ strategic moment in which we may
make the War once more contribute to a better state of things. Our
politicians are awake to the need and are inventing every kind of
machinery for bringing Capital and Labour together in Council Chambers
as co-partners in the Commerce of the Empire. But there are sinister
forces also at work, and this machinery can only run if it is
controlled by men of resolute good will.

The War has been a great bridge-builder linking up in the fellowship of
discipline and sacrifice people between whom chasms yawned before. There
are knowledge and understanding and sympathy to-day amongst us. Yet many
of us are convinced that no purely political machinery can be made
effective in achieving so great a task as the making permanent of this
new and better condition. We need a new and abiding spirit of
conciliation, a deeper determination than political action can produce,
that things shall not relapse, that the forces of re-action shall not
triumph. The one hope of carrying over into permanence this new
understanding and appreciation lies in the nation becoming impregnated
with those spacious spiritual ideals that the Churches together
represent. Nothing is impossible to faith, and faith in God and man will
be kept astretch in the discipline that will be demanded of us all, in
the breaking down of false barriers that have grown up through the years
and the destruction of long-lived prejudices that will die hard.

The Empire itself is a unity. It is not easy for English people to
realise all that is implied here. My great name-sake urged us in this
country to "think Imperially." Another voice asks us "What do they know
of England who only England know?" but it is hard for us to think except
in terms of England. For example, I have referred to this country as the
great treasure house of the Empire's history, and to the care and
devotion shewn by our kinsmen from Overseas in their study of our
country and its institutions. All of us realise how right that is, but
ought we not to reciprocate their devotion and regard, by much more
intense interest and study of their life and the developments of their
institutions?

Our unity demands this wider culture, this reciprocity. The Motherland
must not only teach, she must be prepared to learn. She may lead, but
she must be prepared to follow. We have much to contribute, but in
Religion, in political and social ideals, and in commerce there is much
we need to receive.

If our land is the great treasure house, are not these other lands great
laboratories where we might see, if we would only look, how some of our
accepted ideas, and notions, and watchwords are tested in a larger
arena?

Are we so sure of ourselves that we are prepared to hold on to our own
experience as the final test of the truth and value of our theories? Or
are we big enough in the light of Imperial experience to revise our
judgment, to sift our theories, and to go forward carrying those which
stand the test of the wider arena, and being prepared to surrender those
which only seemed right and proper in the conventional setting of these
small islands?

In conclusion, the Empire has come to power and unity on certain great
principles. Our Imperial ideals have been evolved out of experience all
over the world, and with all kinds of people, under the guidance of
distinguished leaders of many-sided gifts. In an Empire so diverse in
its constituent parts, including peoples at varied stages of
development, it is impossible that those ideals should be everywhere
expressed at their highest power. In many places our methods of
government must be tentative, but everywhere they must be progressive,
placing upon subject peoples the burden of government as rapidly as
they are able to bear it, providing every inspiration that can call them
upwards and onwards. Our tentative methods must never be allowed to
become permanent. We may be tutors, we must never become tyrants. We may
lead, direct, even control, but we may never be content until our people
are free, self-governing, rejoicing in the liberty that enables them to
choose whole-heartedly to remain in that Commonwealth of free peoples we
call the Empire. Along this path lie permanence and closer unity. In our
Imperial destiny it is the part of those who would be the greatest to
become the servants of all.

Thank God for all who have laboured in this spirit to build our goodly
heritage.




UNITY BETWEEN NATIONS

By the Rev. J. H. B. MASTERMAN, M.A.


In the previous lectures of this course you have been considering the
problem of home reunion. My task to-day is to remind you of the fact
that beyond the reunion of the Churches at home there lies the larger
problem of the realisation of the Christian ideal of a universal
brotherhood. How can this ideal be realised in a world divided into
nations? I am going to treat the subject historically; firstly because I
find myself incapable of treating it in any other way, and secondly
because you can only build securely if you build on the foundation of
the historic past. The State may ignore the lessons of the past, the
Church can never do so.

How can we deal with the apparent antagonism between the centrifugal
force of nationality and the centripetal force of the Catholic ideal?
There are two possible answers that we cannot accept. It is possible for
religion to set itself against the development of national life, and
claim that a world-religion must find expression in a world-state. That
is the mediaeval answer.

Or it is possible for religion to become subordinate to nationality at
the cost of losing the note of Catholicity, so that the consecration of
national life may seem a nobler task than the gathering of humanity into
conscious fellowship in one great society. This is the modern answer.

With neither of these solutions can we be satisfied. The existence of
nations as units of political self-consciousness within the larger life
of humanity does, we believe, minister to the fulfilment of the purpose
of God. Whatever may be the case hereafter, the establishment of a
world-state, at the present stage in the evolution of human
institutions, would mean the impoverishment of the life of humanity. Yet
a Church that is merely national or imperial has missed the true
significance of its mission.

At the beginning of the Christian era, the greatest attempt ever made to
gather all peoples into a universal society was actually in progress.
The Roman Empire was founded on the basis of a common administrative
system, and a common law--the _jus gentium_. It needed a common
religion. The effort to supply this passes through three stages. The
earliest of these is the stage of universal toleration which was made
possible by polytheism. A second stage soon follows. The various
religions of the Empire overflow one another's frontier-lines and a
synthesis begins, leading to the Stoic idea of the universal truth
expressed in many forms. But the popular mind was unable to rise to this
high conception, and the third stage begins towards the end of the first
century in the formal adoption of the worship of the Emperor as the
religious expression of the unity of the Empire. It was the opposition
of the Christian Church that did most to bring to naught this effort to
give a religious foundation to the unity of the Empire, and the attempt
of Constantine and Theodosius to make Christianity an Imperial religion
came too late to save the Empire from disintegration.

For the unity of the Christian Church had been undermined. When
Christianity shook itself free from the shackles of Jewish nationalism,
it came under the influence of Greek thought. The theology and language
of the early Church were Greek. Even in Rome the Church was for at least
two centuries "a Greek colony." Hence the growth of Christianity was
slow in those western parts of the Empire that had not come under the
influence of Greek culture--Gaul, Britain, Spain, North Africa. Latin
Christianity found its centre in North Africa, where Roman culture had
imposed itself on the hard, cruel Carthaginian world. It is Carthage,
not Athens, that gives to Tertullian his harsh intolerance and to St
Augustine his stern determinism. So the way was prepared for what I
regard as the supreme tragedy of history--the falling apart of Eastern
and Western Christianity. Then, in the West, the unity of the Church is
broken by the conversion of the Teutonic peoples to Arianism, so that
the contest between the dying Empire in the West and the tribes pressing
on its frontiers is embittered by religious antagonism. The sword of
Clovis secured the victory of orthodoxy, but at what a cost!

When the storm subsides, there emerges the august conception of the Holy
Roman Empire. For the noblest expression of the ideal of a universal
Christian Empire, read Dante's _De Monarchia_. The history of the Holy
Roman Empire is too large a subject to enter upon. It is important to
remember that the struggles between the Popes and the Emperors that fill
so large a space of mediaeval history were not struggles between Church
and State. Western Europe was conceived of as one Christian Society--an
attempt to realise the City of God of St Augustine's great treatise--and
the question at issue was whether the Pope or the Emperor was to be
regarded as the supreme head of this great society.

The unity of Western Christendom found a crude, but real, expression in
the Crusades, and it is significant that the decline of the crusading
impulse coincides in time with the rise of national feeling in the two
western states, England and France. What was to be the attitude of the
Catholic Church towards this new national instinct? In the 14th and 15th
centuries the question becomes increasingly urgent, and the Council of
Constance may be regarded as the last sincere effort to find an answer.
The answer suggested there, to which the English Church still adheres,
was the recognition of a General Council of the Church as the supreme
spiritual authority. Such a General Council might gather the glory and
honour of the nations into the City of God, and might even, it was
hoped, restore the broken unity between East and West. How the Council
failed, how Constantinople was left to its fate, how a Papacy growing
more and more Italian in its interests brought to a head the
long-simmering revolt of the nations--all this you know. The Reformation
was, in part, a struggle of the nations to give religious expression to
their national life. The threefold bond that had held together the
Church of the West--the bond of common language, law and ceremonial--was
broken.

At the threshold of the new order stand the figures of Luther and
Machiavelli, as champions of the supremacy of the State. True, Luther
thinks of the State as a Christian society, while Machiavelli is the
father of the modern German doctrine of the non-moral character of state
action. But the Augsburg compromise, _cujus regio_, _ejus religio_, was
a frank subordination of the Church to secular authority. The Tudor
sovereigns adopted the doctrine with alacrity, and imposed on the Church
of England a subjection to secular authority from which it has not yet
been able to disentangle itself.

While Lutheranism tended to treat religion as a department of the State,
Calvinism claimed for the Church an authority that threatened the very
existence of the State. Calvinism represents the second attempt to give
practical expression to St Augustine's _Civitas Dei_, as the Holy Roman
Empire was the first. It failed, in part, because it lost its catholic
character, and became (as, for example, in Scotland) intensely national.
The disintegration of the Catholic Church in the West was helped by two
influences. The first was the return to the standards and ideals of the
Old Testament. The appeal of the reformers to Holy Scripture involved
the elevation of the Old Testament to the same level of authority as the
New. The crude nationalism of Judaism obscured the Christian idea of a
universal brotherhood--St Paul's secret hidden from the foundation of
the world, to be revealed in the fulness of time in the Christian
gospel. Even now we hardly realise how largely our ideas of religion are
derived from the imperfect moral standards of the Old Testament. The
other influence was the identification of the Papacy with the Antichrist
of the Book of Revelation--the Protestant answer to the Roman
excommunication of heretics. The idea of a common Christianity deeper
than all national antagonisms hardly existed in the Europe of the later
half of the 16th century.

Nearly a century of wars of religion was followed by seventy years of
war in which the national idea played the leading part. The
internationalism of the 18th century was a reaction against both
religion and nationality. The Napoleonic struggle, and the Romantic
revival, with its appeal to the past, re-awakened the national instinct.
In France, Spain, Russia, Prussia, and Eastern Europe, national
self-consciousness was stirred into life. In Russia and Spain, and among
the Balkan peoples, this national awakening took a definitely religious
character. But it was Italy that produced the one thinker to whom the
real significance of nationality was revealed. Mazzini recognised, more
clearly than any other political teacher of the time, how Nationalism
founded on religion might lead to the brotherhood of nations in a world
"made safe for democracy." The last century has been an epoch of
exaggerated national self-consciousness. Against the aggressive
tendencies of the greater nations, the smaller nations strove to protect
themselves. Italy, Poland, Bohemia, Serbia, Greece, strove with varying
degrees of success to achieve national self-expression. Nation strove
with nation in a series of contests, of which the present war is the
culmination.

The influence of Christianity was impotent to prevent war; though it was
able to do something to restrain its worst excesses. Where the
centrifugal force of nationality comes into opposition to the
centripetal force of the Christian ideal, it is generally the former
that wins. How is this impotence to be accounted for? Four reasons at
least maybe noted. (1) The "inwardness" of Lutheranism, combined with
the cynicism of the Machiavellian doctrine of the non-moral character of
public policy led, especially in Germany, to an entire disregard of the
principles of Christianity in the public policy of the State. Nations
did not even profess to be guided by Christian principles in their
dealings with each other. The noble declaration of Alexander I remained
a piece of "sublime nonsense" to statesmen like Metternich and
Castlereagh, and their successors. (2) The internal life of the nations
was, and is, only partially Christianised. Nations cannot regulate their
external policy on Christian principles unless those principles are
accepted as authoritative in their internal affairs. (3) The influence
of Christianity has been hindered, to a degree difficult to exaggerate,
by the unhappy divisions that, especially in England and in the United
States, have made it impossible for the Church to speak with a united
voice. (4) The idea of the Sovereignty of the State and its supreme
claim on the life of the individual, with which Dr Figgis has dealt with
illuminating insight in his _Churches in the Modern State_, has
prevented the idea of the Churches as local expressions of a universal
society from exercising the corrective influence that it ought to
exercise on the over-emphasis of State independence.

The State is only one of the various forms in which national life
expresses itself. It is the nation organised for self-protection. And
wherever self-protection becomes the supreme need, the State, like
Aaron's rod, swallows all the rest. But in many directions, the world
has become, or is becoming, international. Science and philosophy, and,
to a lesser degree, theology and art, have become the common possession
of all civilised nations. The effort to make commerce the expression of
international fellowship, with which the name of Cobden is associated,
failed, largely as the result of the German policy of high tariffs, but
its defeat is only temporary, and the commercial interdependence of
nations will reassert its influence when the present phase of
international strife is over. The function of the Church is to express
the common life and interests of nations, as the State expresses the
distinctive character of each. So the Church holds to the four universal
things--the authority of Holy Scripture; the Creeds; the two Sacraments,
and the historic episcopate. We believe that the retention of the
historic Episcopate is essential to the maintenance of the Catholic
ideal of the Church. For the bishop is the link between the local and
the universal Church; the representative and guardian of the Catholic
ideal in the life of the local community; and the representative of the
local community in the counsels of the Catholic Church. I have often
wished that at least one bishop from some other Church than our own
could be associated with the consecration of all bishops of the Anglican
Church. For by such association we should bring into clearer prominence
the fact that the historic episcopate is more than a national
institution.

So we reach the final question: What can the Churches do to promote the
unity of the nations?

An invitation was recently issued by the Archbishop of Upsala for a
conference of representatives of the Christian Churches, to reassert,
even in this day of disunion, the essential unity of the Body of Christ.
For various reasons, such a conference at the present juncture seems
impracticable, but the time may come when, side by side with a Congress
of the nations, a gathering of representatives of the Churches may be
called together to reinforce, by its witness, the idea of international
fellowship.

For a League of Churches might well prepare the way for a League of
Nations. Such a League of Churches would naturally find expression in a
permanent Advisory Council--a kind of ecclesiastical Hague tribunal.
Historical antagonisms seem to preclude the selection of Rome or
Constantinople as the place of meeting of this Council. Surely there is
no other place so suited for the purpose as Jerusalem. Here the
appointed representatives of all the Churches, living in constant
intercourse with one another, might draw together the severed parts of
the One Body, till the glory and honour of the nations find, even in the
earthly Jerusalem, their natural centre and home. Thus, and thus only,
can the spiritual foundation for a League of Nations be well and truly
laid.

Two things are involved in any such scheme for a League of Churches. No
one Church must claim a paramount position or demand submission as the
price of fellowship; and all excommunications of one Church by another
must be swept away.

Christ did not come to destroy the local loyalties that lift human life
out of selfish isolation. These loyalties only become anti-Christian
when they become exclusive. The early loyalty of primitive man to his
family or clan was deemed to involve a normal condition of antagonism to
neighbouring families or clans. Turn a page of history, and tribal
loyalty has become civic loyalty. But civic loyalty, as in the cities of
Greece or Italy or Flanders, involves intermittent hostility with
neighbouring cities. Then civic loyalty passes into national loyalty,
and again patriotism expresses itself in distrust and antipathy to other
nations. And this will also be so till we see that all these local
loyalties rest on the foundation of a deeper loyalty to the Divine
ideal of universal fellowship that found its supreme expression in the
Incarnation and its justification in the truth that God so loved the
world.

To the Christian man national life can never be an end in itself but
always a means to an end beyond itself. A nation exists to serve the
cause of humanity; by what it gives, not by what it gets, will its worth
be estimated at the judgment-bar of God.

"Whoso loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me" must
have seemed a hard saying to those to whom it was first spoken; and
"whoso loveth city or fatherland more than me is not worthy of me" may
seem a hard saying to us to-day; yet nothing less than this is involved
in our pledge of loyalty to Christ. Christian patriotism never found
more passionate expression than in St Paul's wish that he might be
anathema for the sake of his nation; yet passionately as he loved his
own people, he loved with a deeper passion the Catholic Church within
which there was neither Jew nor Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor
free. It is because the idea of the Catholic Church has become to the
majority of Christian people a matter of intellectual assent rather than
of passionate conviction that the Church seems impotent in international
affairs.

The last four centuries of European history have had as their special
characteristic the development of nations. It may be that after this war
we shall pass into a new era. The special feature of the period now
closing has been the insecurity of national life. Menaced with constant
danger, every nation has tended to develop an exaggerated
self-consciousness that was liable to become inflamed and
over-sensitive. If adequate security can be provided, by a League of
Nations, or in some other way, for the free development of the national
life of every nation, the senseless over-emphasis of nationality from
which the past has suffered will no longer hinder the growth of a true
Internationalism. I believe that the real alternative lies not between
Nationality and Internationalism but between an Internationalism
founded, like that of the 18th century, on non-Christian culture and
materialism, and an Internationalism founded on the consecration of all
the local loyalties that bind a man to family, city and nation, lifting
him through local spheres of service to the service of the whole human
race for whom Christ died. The tree whose leaves are for the healing of
the nations grows only in the City of God. The Christian forces in the
world are impotent to guide the future, because they are entangled in
the present. Yet it is in the Holy Catholic Church that the one hope for
humanity lies. It may be that that hope will never be realised; that the
Holy Catholic Church is destined to remain to the end an unachieved
ideal. But it is by unachieved ideals that men and nations live; and
what matters most for every Christian man is that he should keep the
Catholic mind and heart that reach out through home and city and country
to all mankind, and rejoice that every man has an equal place in the
impartial love of God.


CAMBRIDGE: PRINTED BY
J. B. PEACE, M.A.,
AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS





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