“I hope that the religion of the future will devote itself wholly to the Service of Man. It can do so without departing from the Christian ideal and Christian ethics. It need only drop all that is silly and disputable, and ‘mattering not neither here nor there,’ of Christian theology—a theology virtually absent from the direct teaching of Christ—and all of Judaistic literature or prescriptions not made immortal in their application by unassailable truth and by the confirmation of science. An excellent remedy for the nonsense which still clings about religion may be found in two books: Cotter Monson’s ‘Service of Man,’ which was published as long ago as 1887, and has since been re-issued by the Rationalist Press Association in its well-known sixpenny series, and J. Allanson Picton’s ‘Man and the Bible.’ Similarly, those who wish to acquire a sane view of the relations between man and God would do well to read Winwood Reade’s ’Martyrdom of Man.’”
Sir Harry in fact clears the ground for God very ably, and then makes a well-meaning gesture in the vacant space. There is no help nor strength in his gesture unless God is there. Without God, the “Service of Man” is no better than a hobby or a sentimentality or an hypocrisy in the undisciplined prison of the mortal life.
CHAPTER THE FIFTH
THE INVISIBLE KING
1. Modern religion A political religion
The conception of a young and energetic God, an Invisible Prince growing in strength and wisdom, who calls men and women to his service and who gives salvation from self and mortality only through self-abandonment to his service, necessarily involves a demand for a complete revision and fresh orientation of the life of the convert.