[Footnote 6: This chapter is intended to refer to what may be regarded as normal conditions. In some cases the recent rise in wages has been excessive. The present position is chaotic, and the ill-advised manner in which the 12-1/2 per cent. advance was made has added to labour troubles and will cause great difficulty in the future.]
Children of men! the Unseen
Power, whose eye
For ever doth accompany mankind,
Hath looked on no religion scornfully
That man did ever find.
This is not the place to discuss the merits or demerits of any theological views or of any system of Church government, but the question of the influence of religion on the life of the State and the way in which and conditions under which it can be rightly exercised cannot be overlooked. There is no doubt whatever that religious influence might be a most potent and useful factor in Reconstruction, using the word in the broadest sense. There are some branches of work in which no other known influence can effect what is required. Leaving aside for the moment the fact that there are needs of humanity which religion alone can satisfy, and looking only to social improvement, the power of religion has been proved again and again, especially in dealing with the cases that seem most difficult and almost hopeless. In India, for example, there are certain debased tribes which are habitually criminal, and have, in fact, by tradition devoted themselves to the commission of crime. The only agency which has been able to effect a reclamation and improvement of these tribes is the Salvation Army, which, by general consent, even of those who have no sympathy with its particular religious views, has achieved wonderful results. There is no doubt, too, that some of the worst parts of certain seaports in our own country have been vastly improved by the same agency. This has been done by a definite appeal made on religious grounds, and those who have made it have been inspired by religious motives. It required, however, a body which had peculiar methods of its own to do it. The basis of the action, also, of such organisations as the Church Army and the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Christian Associations is definitely religious, and the vigorous and successful way in which their work has been carried on by such associations is due mainly to the influence of religion. It would be well for our present purpose to treat the question from a position, whether real or assumed, of absolute detachment from any particular religious belief, and from any special religious community. Looked at even from such a detached position, it appears that the first condition required to enable religious influence to be effectively exercised is to secure religious peace. It is impossible to deny that