Now let us ask ourselves what might have been the course of religious history during the last twenty years if Dr. Randall Davidson, instead of contenting himself with composing clerical quarrels, had used his high office to control the Church and to steer it in the direction of greater spiritual realism.
Suppose, for example, that after presiding over a conference of warring Churchmen, he had turned to one of the champions of a party, and had said to him, in the manner of a true spiritual father, “I have something to ask of you. What was the first command of our Risen Lord to the apostle Simon Peter?” He would have been obliged to answer, “Feed My lambs.” “And the second command?” And he would have been obliged to say, “Feed My sheep.” “And the third command?” And again he would have been obliged to say, “Feed My sheep.” Then, what had they all said if the Primate had turned to both sides and admonished them in these words, “My brothers in Christ, I think there would now be no disputation among you if instead of concerning yourselves with the traditions of men you had rather given yourselves entirely to obeying the commandment of our Risen Lord”?
But the question would remain, With what food is the flock to be fed?
Is it possible to give an answer to this question which will not open again the floodgates of controversy? If that is so, then those of us who acknowledge the moral law had better abandon Christianity altogether, and set ourselves to construct a new and unifying gospel of ethics from the works of the moralists. For the world is torn asunder by strife, and contention is the opportunity of the wolves. Humanity has begun to apprehend this truth. It has begun to find out that disarmament is practical wisdom; and now it is beginning to wonder whether counsels of perfection may not serve its domestic interests with a higher efficiency than the compromises effected by unprincipled politicians. It is in the mood to listen to a teacher who speaks with authority; but in no mood to listen to a war of words.
If religion cannot speak with one voice in the world, it had better adjourn, like the plenipotentiaries of Sinn Fein and the representatives of the British Government, to a secret session. It must come to an understanding with itself, an agreement as to what it means, before mankind will recover interest in its existence.
The fashion of this
world passes away, and it is with what is
abiding that I would fain concern myself.—GOETHE.
The breadth of my
life is not measured by the multitude of my
pursuits, nor the space I take up amongst other men; but by the
fulness of the whole life which I know as mine.—F.H. BRADLEY.
We are but at the
very beginning of the knowledge and control of
our minds; but with that beginning an immense hope is dawning on
the world.—“THE TIMES.”