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the one adequate safeguard of Jewish national life through ages of exile and oppression. For a time it broadened out, in Amos and Isaiah, into an assertion of the Divine purpose in the history, not of Israel only, but of the nations around. In the growing isolation of the post-exilic life of the nation it becomes narrowed into an assertion of the exclusive vocation of the Jewish nation. The noble protest of the book of Jonah on behalf of a wider interpretation of the purpose of God finds little echo in the Apocalyptic literature in which so much of the Catholic spirit of the great prophets is lost.
The Jewish national instinct, become self-conscious in its contest with the first of the great world-empires, outlasted the repressive efforts of the last and greatest, and has held together a nation deprived of every bond of union but the bond of a common religion and a common hope. Any study of the meaning of nationality must begin with the one nation of the ancient world that remains a nation still.
The nation in later times whose history most nearly resembles that of the Jewish people is the Greek. Dean Church has drawn attention, in his sermons on the Influence of Christianity on National Character, to the effect of a common creed and a common hope in keeping alive the instinct of national life among the Greek people.
“What saved Greek nationality was its Christianity.
It is wonderful that even with it Greek society should have resisted the decomposing forces that were continually at work around it and in it; but without its religion it must have perished. This was the spring of that obstinate tenacious national life which persisted in living on though all things conspired for its extinction; which refused to die under corruption or anarchy, under the Crusader's sword or under the Moslem scimitar."
The disintegration of the last of the great worldEmpires was due in part to the influence of Christianity. "Differences of thought and character, which were in abeyance under the Roman rule, began to show themselves again in the modes in which Christianity was apprehended and applied." The settlement of Teutonic tribes within the Empire in the centuries that followed seemed likely to lead to the rise of a group of nations out of the ruin of the Empire in the west. But the imperative need of unity in view of fresh barbarian inroads of Avars, Saracens, Magyars, raised first the Frankish and then the Saxon royal house to the imperial throne, and gave a religious basis to their imperial claims. Only in the lands more sheltered from barbarian attack-in Ireland, England, France—was a national consciousness able to develop. Ireland, remote from the controversies of Western Europe, developed in the sixth century a form of Christian thought and organization that, whatever may have been its weaknesses, was at least distinctively
national. Till the storm of Norse invasions broke over Ireland at the end of the eighth century, the Irish Church was, both in learning and in missionary enthusiasm, the pioneer of European progress. In England also the Christian Church was, partly through the instinct of independence infused into it by the northern missionaries, the ally of the national spirit. That Hildebrand hoped to use William the Norman as an agent for denationalizing the English Church is very clear, but the wise policy of William, the struggles of Thomas of Canterbury against Angevin despotism, and the alliance of the Church with the nobles in their efforts to curb the power of John, all tended to keep the English Church in close contact with national life. The Ultramontanism of the fifteenth century came too late to counteract the vast service that the English Church had done in giving a definitely religious sanction to the national aspirations of the English people.
France has passed through a harder and less successful struggle in its efforts to retain a Gallican Church that might give religious expression to its national life. The ultimate victory of Ultramontanism has left French national aspirations without the religious consecration to which the French character is peculiarly fitted to respond.
The Western Church after the time of Gregory the Great looked with growing disapproval on the efforts of the peoples of Europe to assert their national inde
pendence. In Germany and Italy, where the contest of the papacy with the national spirit was waged with most success, the great allies of the papacy were the religious orders; its great opponents, the bishops. The Church reform movement that centred in the work of Hildebrand, though in part an effort to prevent the secularization of the Church, was also in part a monastic attack on the tendency of the episcopate to identify itself with the awakening national instinct of the peoples of Western Europe. From that time the struggle of the papacy against the national spirit never ceased. "Herein lay the great contradiction of the mediaeval Church, that which produced its monstrous corruptions. It thought that it could exist without distinct nations, that its calling was to overthrow the nations. Therefore the great virtues which nations foster, distinct individual conscience, sense of personal responsibility, veracity, loyalty, were undermined by it; therefore it called good evil and evil good; therefore it mimicked the nations while it was trampling upon them; therefore it became more bloodthirsty than any nation had ever been1."
The Council of Constance marks the beginning of the last effort to reconcile the system of the mediaeval Church with the recognition of the developing ideas of nationality. Yet the Council declared war on the Hussites of Bohemia, whose movement was largely 1 F. D. Maurice, Social Morality, p. 180.
national, as the Pope had declared war on the Albigenses two centuries before. And in the end the attempt to restore the Conciliar authority of the episcopate failed, and the age of Councils is followed by the age of Concordats. At the Council of Trent the Pope withstood all the efforts of Cardinal Pole and others to secure the system of voting by nations that had been adopted at Constance.
The subjugation of the episcopate to the papacy was disastrous in its consequence, for it obliged the national religious aspirations of the peoples of Europe to fall back on the support of the secular sovereign. Marsiglio of Padua prepares the way for the age of Machiavelli and of Luther. Machiavelli is as distinctively the expression of the mind of the Italian Renaissance as Luther is of the German Reformation. Machiavelli, the apostle of efficiency, desired to establish national life on an explicitly non-religious basis; while Luther appealed to the secular princes as the religious leaders of a national Church. The union of the Lutheran tendencies of Cranmer with the Machiavellian policy of Cromwell gave its distinctive character to the early stage of the English Reformation. And even in Spain Philip rather than the Pope was the real head of the Church.
The inevitable reaction followed. The idea of a state-regulated religion is followed by the idea of a religion-regulated state; and Calvinist, Covenanter,