What I should like to see would be a particular and individual profession of the Beatitudes. I should like to see congregations stand up, face to the East, do anything, I mean, that marks this profession out as something essential and personal, and so recite the Beatitudes. There might be a great sifting, but it would bring home the reality of the Christian demand to the heart and conscience of the world. After all, that’s our ideal, isn’t it?—the City of God. If we all concentrated on this ideal, realising that the morality of Christ is essential, I don’t think there would be much bother taken, outside professional circles, about points of doctrine.
Then, writes the interviewer, arose the question of fervour. “Can the City of God be established without some powerful impulse of the human heart? Can it ever be established, for example, by the detached and self satisfied intellectual priggishness of the subsidised sixpenny review, or by the mere violence of the Labour extremist’s oratory? Must there not be something akin to the evangelical enthusiasm of the last century, something of a revivalist nature? And yet have we not outgrown anything of the kind?
“To Canon Temple the answer presents itself in this way: Rarer than Christian charity is Christian faith. The supreme realism is yet to come, namely, the realisation of Christ as a living Person, the realisation that He truly meant what He said, the realisation that what He said is of paramount importance in all the affairs of human life. When mankind becomes consciously aware of the Christian faith as a supreme truth, then there will be a realistic effort to establish the City of God. The first step, then, is for the Church to make itself something transcendently different from the materialistic world. It must truly mean what it says when it asserts the morality of Christ. Blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers. The fervour is not to be born of an individual fear of hell or an individual anxiety for celestial safety, but of an utterly unselfish enthusiasm for the welfare of the world.”