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Puritan tried to substitute the despotism of the saints for the despotism of the King. Only in Scotland did this reaction prove successful. There the General Assembly became the real governing body, and the Church gained the strongly national character that it has never since lost. Elsewhere a century of religious wars led on to the general weariness of national and religious enthusiasm that marked the Age of Reason.
The Eastern Church has never accepted the Latin conception of Catholic uniformity. Repudiating the claims of Rome to Latinize her life, she has been able, through the system of Patriarchates, to foster the national life of the peoples whom she has won for the Christian faith. "As the new races in the East were converted, each was allowed to have the divine offices in the vernacular, and each to have its own independent administration, recognizing only the tie of gratitude that bound it in reverence to Constantinople, whose primacy was of honour, not of supremacy1."
In Russia, in Greece, in Roumania and the other Balkan states, the policy of the Eastern Church has enabled the instinct of nationality to find a religious sanction. Undoubtedly this has brought with it the danger of the undue subordination of the Church to political influences, and in Russia especially the abolition of the Patriarchate of Moscow in 1823 has led to a condition not unlike the condition of the English Church 1 See Allen, Christian Institutions, ch. x.
under Henry VIII. But in Russia, and among the new nations of Eastern Europe, the Eastern Church has yet a part to play worthy of the greatness of its historic past.
The reawakening of the national idea that began with the French Revolution1, and has been so marked a characteristic of the Europe of the last century, was the outcome of those ideas of the sovereignty of the people of which Rousseau was the popular exponent, though the origin of them lies much further back in mediaeval scholastic thought. For the sovereignty of the people, if it means anything else than the tyranny of a mere numerical majority-and in Rousseau's conception of it, it never meant that-implies some general mind and will that gives organic character to the state. And this general mind and will is exactly what we mean when we speak of any body of men as a nation. Hence the demand of nations for the right of self-expression— their right to be themselves—becomes a dominant fact in the European history of the nineteenth century. The idea that a state is only in a condition of stable equilibrium when its boundaries coincide with those of a nation, though often hard to apply in practice, may be said to be now almost a commonplace of political thought2.
1 The French Revolution, though it began as the expression of an universal brotherhood, gained its real force from the idea of the "Republic, one and indivisible."
2 See note at end of chapter.
But it is a noteworthy fact that the national spirit has not during the past century been linked with religion. Mazzini alone among the great champions of nationality tried to give a religious character to his crusade for Italian independence. The patriotism of Koskiusko, Kossuth, Cavour, Bismarck, though not without the glamour of romance, is not lightened by the steady gleam of religious consecration. And, indeed, the student of modern history can hardly fail to feel that the old sin-the failure to recognize that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men—has brought with it a measure of the old penalty—“let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given to him." Divorced from religion, the spirit of nationality becomes aggressive, intolerant, brutal. It asks for the privileges of power without its responsibilities. It forgets that moral worth is the only guarantee for national greatness.
"To me it seems," says Bishop Creighton," that the differentiation of nations is part of that continuous revelation of God's purpose which is contained in history." The history of the progress of mankind has been the history of the development of two intermediate forms of organized life-the family and the nationbetween the individual and the race. The familywith its wider extension in the clan or tribe-belongs to an early stage of civilized life, and has a religious significance so profound that it is probably true to say
that Christianity, in fighting for the true ideal of family life, is fighting for what is vital to its own existence.
But what of the nation? The first fact to be noted is, that the nation-making force, as it appears in history, is an ethical force. From the first it makes a claim on human character, to which particular peoples or races are often unable to respond. "The nationstate," says Professor Bosanquet, "as an ethical idea is, then, a faith or a purpose-we might say a mission, were not the word too narrow and too aggressive.... The modern nation is a history and a religion rather than a clear-cut idea. Its power as an idea-force is not known till it is tried1."
For not only does a nation live by the subordination of the individual to the collective good, and of the present to the future-it also exists for an ethical purpose. It claims the right to be, not in virtue of the mere blind instinct of survival, but in virtue of some contribution that it deems itself called to make to the cause of humanity. Some sense of vocation, some dimly heard divine call, lies at the heart of every national life. A people that lacks this, lacks the necessary incentive to survival in the midst of contending groups. In the long run, the religious nations will tend to absorb the non-religious nations. Fundamentally, therefore, a nation exists not to get but to give to keep alive in the world some particular type 1 Bosanquet, Philosophical Theory of the State, p. 321.
of human character or thought. The right of a nation to independence depends on the truth that the life of humanity is enriched through the diversity of national character. For as the Catholic man, which is Christ, is being fulfilled through the diverse gifts that the one Spirit gives to diverse men; so to nations, as to men, the one Spirit divideth severally as He will.
“The claim of a nation to independence "—but how far does the moral obligation to recognize that claim extend? Are there not infant nations that must be trained before they can be set free; and old nations that must be protected, if need be even from themselves? We cannot now accept as a final test the old law that a nation has the right to be independent only if it can show itself strong enough to guard its freedom. Yet the test involves a true principle-the principle that a nation must prove its right to be free at the judgment-bar of humanity by the amount of the sacrifice that it is prepared to make for its freedom. For that sacrifice is the measure of the national consciousness of a divine call, a purpose of God in history that it should be itself. Where a people gives manifest evidence that it intends to use its freedom for purposes of injury to others, or for the oppression of the minority within its borders, that people must be educated in the true meaning of national life, often through the bitter discipline of oppression or exile. For nations need education not less than individuals,