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"The fact that religion is becoming increasingly significant as a means of consolation and that this point of view is so strongly emphasized, are signs of its altered position in the spiritual life. Religion was once the pillar of fire which went before the human race in its great march through history, showing it the way. Now it is fast assuming the role of the ambulance which follows in the rear and picks up the exhausted and wounded. But this too is a great work. It is however not sufficient; and when religion has disburdened herself of all her dead values, she will once more, in intimate association with ethics, rise to be a power which leads men forward."
HÖFFDING, The Philosophy of Religion.
HAVE thought it best to publish these lectures practically as they were delivered. I have to thank the Rev. J. Neville Figgis for kindly reading them through in MSS. and making several useful suggestions; but he is, of course, in no way responsible for the opinions I have expressed.
It may be well to state shortly the main idea that these lectures are intended to illustrate. It is that Churchmanship and citizenship are the natural expression of the two strongest instincts of humanity -the instinct of self-protection and the instinct of self-sacrifice; that both these instincts find their full scope only under a democratic system; and that the reconciliation of their apparently conflicting claims is to be found in the law of service that finds its fullest expression in the Incarnation.
The question is being asked all round us: Can the English Church meet the needs of the modern world, or is she destined to retreat within ever narrowing frontiers with the advance of the democratic ideal?
Has she, as many believe, lived her life and done her work, or is she, as I believe, at the threshold of a new and larger opportunity of shepherding the nation into the fold of Christ? On the answer to that question depends the future of England.
May God give us His grace that we may know the day of our visitation, lest our house be left unto us desolate.
J. HOWARD B. MASTERMAN.
THE RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE
DANIEL IV. 25.
Till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
Dr Adam Smith has called attention1 to the influence exercised over the prophets of the eighth century by the progress of Assyrian conquest. "The old envies and rancours of the border warfare of Israel with her foes, which had filled the last four centuries of her history, are replaced by a new tenderness and compassion towards the national efforts, the achievements and all the busy life of the Gentile peoples "-" As the rivalries and hatreds of individual lives are stilled in the presence of a common death, so even the factious, ferocious world of the Semites ceased to fret its anger and watch it for ever in face of the universal Assyrian fear."
The thought is appropriate, for it was in the protest of the Hebrew prophets against the inexorable march of the vast inorganic empires of the East that the instinct of nationality first becomes articulate in world-literature. 1 Adam Smith, Book of the Twelve Prophets, I. 54—5.
It was not individuals, but nations, that the imperialism of Babylon or Assyria sought to destroy. Rabshakeh's speech outside the walls of Jerusalem is a summary of the defence of inorganic imperialism against the claims of the national spirit. "Make your peace with me and come out to me; and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig-tree, and drink ye every one of the waters of his cistern; until I come and take you away to a land like your own, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards." To such arguments of material advantage the only answer lay in an appeal to the sacredness of the national idea. To the philosophy of materialism and brute force the Hebrew prophets oppose the philosophy of history.
The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men." To forget that truth is to sink back to the law of the beast. The Divine sentence on every ruler of men who ignores the Divine purpose in history is still, “Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him." So Daniel saw in vision
The giant forms of empires on their way
till after the brute empires had passed one like a son of man came near to the Ancient of Days, and the dominion over all peoples, nations and languages was given to him. The brute rule of force gives place to the moral rule of humanity brought near to God.
This consciousness of the sovereignty of God proved