War and the future: Italy, France and Britain at war eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 218 pages of information about War and the future.

Now in no sort of general popular mental activity is there so much froth and waste as in religious excitements.  This has been the case in all periods of religious revival.  The number who are rather impressed, who for a few days or weeks take to reading their Bibles or going to a new place of worship or praying or fasting or being kind and unselfish, is always enormous in relation to the people whose lives are permanently changed.  The effort needed if a contemporary is to blow off the froth, is always very considerable.

Among the froth that I would blow off is I think most of the tremendous efforts being made in England by the Anglican church to attract favourable attention to itself apropos of the war.  I came back from my visit to the Somme battlefields to find the sylvan peace of Essex invaded by a number of ladies in blue dresses adorned with large white crosses, who, regardless of the present shortage of nurses, were visiting every home in the place on some mission of invitation whose details remained obscure.  So far as I was able to elucidate this project, it was in the nature of a magic incantation; a satisfactory end of the war was to be brought about by convergent prayer and religious assiduities.  The mission was shy of dealing with me personally, although as a lapsed communicant I should have thought myself a particularly hopeful field for Anglican effort, and it came to my wife and myself merely for our permission and countenance in an appeal to our domestic servants.  My wife consulted the household; it seemed very anxious to escape from that appeal, and as I respect Christianity sufficiently to detest the identification of its services with magic processes, the mission retired—­civilly repulsed.  But the incident aroused an uneasy curiosity in my mind with regard to the general trend of Anglican teaching and Anglican activities at the present time.  The trend of my enquiries is to discover the church much more incoherent and much less religious—­in any decent sense of the word—­than I had supposed it to be.

Organisation is the life of material and the death of mental and spiritual processes.  There could be no more melancholy exemplification of this than the spectacle of the Anglican and Catholic churches at the present time, one using the tragic stresses of war mainly for pew-rent touting, and the other paralysed by its Austrian and South German political connections from any clear utterance upon the moral issues of the war.  Through the opening phases of the war the Established Church of England was inconspicuous; this is no longer the case, but it may be doubted whether the change is altogether to its advantage.  To me this is a very great disappointment.  I have always had a very high opinion of the intellectual values of the leading divines of both the Anglican and Catholic communions.  The self-styled Intelligentsia of Great Britain is all too prone to sneer at their equipment; but I do not see how any impartial person

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War and the future: Italy, France and Britain at war from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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