ist as a State ? If there really be any per- we are speaking of its social or political son who

maintains this I cannot argue with obligations can only mean that part of him. His proper place is in a lunatic the nation wbich is empowered to speak asylum, and the only person called on to and act on behalf of the rest. It is discuss this question with him would be briefly, as it has been well defined to be, his medical attendant, unless, indeed, that " the sovereign body having supreme person wisely avoided the subject for fear power.” This sovereignty may be lodged of dangerously irritating his too-easily-ex- either in one person, as in some countries, citable patient.

or in a number of persons, as in others. I am, however, taken to task by others It may be, for instance, the Czar in Rusof my critics on quite an opposite ground. sia, the Sultan in Turkey, or Queen, Of course—these say—the State cannot Lords, and Commons in England. But in literally obey all the precepts in the Ser- all these forms, and in whatever form it can mon on the Mount ; but neither can the exist, it is always a trustee. It is entrusted, individual. Those precepts can be obeyed that is to say, with certain rights, interests, by the individual in the spirit only, and privileges, and possessions of the citizens not in the letter. Why may not the State of the country which it rules, to be maindo the same ? So that after all this ut- tained and administered for their benefit. terance of yours is only“ a truism dressed The essential idea of a State therefore alup as a paraodx.” • You have been led ways is that of sovereignty held on trust away by your love of epigram. “ What for the common weal ; and to this trust, you really meant is only what every one for the sake of wbich it exists, it is moralknows and every one admits." Well

, it ly bound to be unfailingly faithful. is at any rate some comfort to be accused It is clear, therefore, that a State, in only of a piece of folly instead of a piece order that it may be a faithful trustee, is of wickedness. Dressing up a truism as bound-first : to preserve its own exista paradox is not a very wise proceeding, ence ; and secondly : to resist, restrain, but at least it is neither“ horrible” nor and even, if needs be, to destroy whatever " atheistic." I regret, however, that I and whomsoever assails its authority or atcannot thus escape from the charge of sin- tacks the interests committed to its charge. fulness on the plea of silliness. I shall Self-preservation, therefore, and the prespresently have a word to say as to the na- ervation of all that is entrusted to it are ture and extent of individual obedience to the moral obligations of every

State. the Sermon on the Mount. But as regards Now, is this idea of protection of interobedience to it on the part of the State, I ests, of maintenance of rights, and of remust confess to a firm belief that neither sistance to all assaults on these, the idea in the spirit nor in the letter can the entire of the Sermon on the Mount ? Distinctly of that sermon be carried out by the State, it is not. The idea, the spirit, of that and that whenever it attempts to do this discourse is the diametrically opposite one it is tending to its own destruction. Now, of sacrifice of rights, surrender of interas this, and not the question of literal ests and non-resistance to assaults on these. obedience, is really the one at issue, let us 'It is, in a word, from beginning to end the consider it a little more closely, and let us idea of self-sacrifice as opposed to that of begin by defining our terms.

self-preservation. Is it not clear, thereWhat is A STATE ? Speaking loosely fore, that the State, if it is to be true to this term is often used as the equivalent its own idea, if it is not to abdicate or of a Nation, and as signifying the entire betray its trust, cannot carry out, in spirit population of any given country. This, however, cannot be its meaning when we fact, there never has been and never will be speak of the State as being bound to do, such a nation. Under overy conceivable form or refrain from doing, this or that ; inas- of government--from absolute Despotism to much as unless the entire population of a

absolute Democracy-one part of the nation

smaller or larger-has always governed the country.consisted of sane and unanimous other part. When men talk of the Government adults it cannot be said to do, or to be under a Democracy being “only the Commitobliged to, anything.* The State when

The State when tee of the Nation, they really mean the com.

mittee of the majority of the nation, and as * Only on this.condition can there be what so such, as truly the trustee for the minoritymany persons are talking about so glibly just were it only a minority of one-as any despot 10.6–.a self-governing .nation." In point of is for the millions whom he rales.

even, the directly antagonistic idea of the versy between my assailants and myself Sermon on the Mount? Nay, is it not would thus have ended at its birth could true that under analogous circumstances, they have only understood the principle namely, when acting as a trustee for the here laid down. They would in that case rights and interests of others—the precepts have seen that it is preposterous, in the of the Sermon on the Mount do not apply strictest sense of the word, for a man to and were not intended to apply to the pri- ask how he is to obey a law before he bas vate individual ? Take the case of A. B., asked and answered the question whether who is trustee or guardian for C. D. and he is called on to obey it at all. They E. F. Is he morally justified in giving would accordingly have set themselves, as away or in allowing any one to take away I have done, first to defining what a State their possessions? Assuredly he is not.

Assuredly he is not really is, and then to considering whether So long as he continues to be their trustee -being what it is—the Sermon on the he is morally bound to maintain and de- Mount in its entirety was ever intended to fend these against all comers. He may apply to it. In that case I should not allow the taking away of his own cloak have been deluged, as I have been, with and his own coat, but he has no right to letters informing me that a Christian State allow the taking away of theirs. He may “ is nothing but a collection of Christian bestow all his own goods to feed the poor, individuals, and therefore bound, as but he has no right thus to bestow their each of its individual members is, to obey goods, simply because they are theirs and all the precepts of Christ. Such reasoners not his. Quite apart, therefore, from the might in that case have seen that a State question, yet to be considered, as to how is something else and something more than the individual is required by the Sermon a collection of individuals, and that a on the Mount to deal with his own rights Christian State, whatever that may mean and possessions, it is clear that it gives him (and that is a very large question) though no directions as to how he is to deal with bound by all those precepts of Christ the rights and possessions of others. Or, which may be addressed to it as a State, in other words, whatever interpretation we is not therefore bound to obey all those may give to the teachings of that discourse, which are addressed to its members in their application is exclusively to the indi- their several and diverse relations and vidual acting solely on his own behalf, and capacities. They would then perhaps have not to the individual, nor to any collection seen that a State is not morally justified of individuals, acting on behalf of others. in refusing to resist or prevent invasionIn short, the sum of the whole matter is i.e. to wage defensive war–because it that the laws in this sermon are, like all would thereby be betraying to destruction positive laws, to be applied with due re- the lives and properties of its subjects ; gard to the circumstances and conditions that it is not morally justified in expending to which they relate, and that laws ad- all its revenues in pure benevolence bedressed to men in one capacity are not to cause it would thereby be applying those be taken as addressed even to the same revenues to purposes for which they were persons in some other and entirely differ- not intrusted to it ; that it would not be ent capacity. If they are so taken, the morally justified in forgiving out of mere result will always be confusion, and often compassion all or any of its criminals, bemischief.

as Hooker tells cause it would thereby be weakening or us, “ in men operations, some natural, even destroying those sanctions of order some rational, some supernatural, some and of law which it is its duty to

o maintain politic, some finally ecclesiastical, which, and to enforce. In all these respects if we measure not each by his own proper and they might be largely multiplied-the law, there will be in our understanding and State, if it were to act in the spirit of the judgment of them confusion.” “No Sermon on the Mount, would be failing to doubt if men had been willing to learn discharge functions which are given it, as how many laws their actions in this life we believe, of God Himself, who, we are subject unto, and what the true force Christians hold, has

ordained the powof each law is, all these controversies ers that be," and so would be breaking a might have died the very day they were law which God assuredly has given it in brought forth.”

the vain attempt at obeying laws which I cannot help thinking that this contro- Christ has never given it. I venture,

There are,

" but even

therefore, not only to repeat but to enlarge possibility in his case as there is in the upon my first “ odious" and

immoral case of the State. The individual may, if utterance, and to affirm not only that the he think it his duty to do so, not only State cannot but that it ought not to carry " suffer the loss of all things,' out in all its relations-either in the letter of life itself, in obedience to what he beor in the spirit—all the precepts in the lieves to be the law of Cbrist. But I adSermon on the Mount, inasmuch as these mit that if the individual is to continue to were not, all of them, addressed to it by exist, literal obedience to all the laws of Him who


Christ is possible for him only on one conWhen we have seen, however, that a dition, viz., that the State does not literChristian State is bound only by those ally obey them all ; for, if it did, any one precepts of Christ which are addressed to might terminate his existence at any moit as such, does it therefore follow that it inent with impunity. The State, however, is freed from all moral obligations whatso- acting, and rightly acting, as we have seen, ever, or that its morality is something on the opposite principle to his, protects different in its nature from that of the in- his life and property without his leave. dividual ! Nothing of the kind. The By the help of an army of soldiers and an State is bound by precisely the same array of policemen, it prevents foreign armorality that binds the individual ; for mies from confiscating his property, burmorality is not a duty of positive, but of glars from robbing him, assassins from natural, obligation and is binding therefore killing him. It is not lawful in this counon all men under all possible circumstances. try, for instance, to assassinate or even to The State may not, any more than the in- assault a Quaker. The individual citizen dividual may, act immorally in the dis- lives, therefore, his life of literal non-recharge of its trust. As he may not lie sistance and universal forgiveness only benor steal for his wards, so neither may the cause the State will resist on his behalf, State. It may not, for instance, in the and will not forgive-a fact which was interests of its citizens, plunder the prop- doubtless as clearly present to the mind of erty of other States, or lie to them, or our Lord and of His hearers as it is to take unfair advantage of them in any way.

Had He intended that His heavenSimilarly in all its dealings with its own ly kingdom should replace the eartbly subjects it must be scrupulously and equal- kingdom of which He and they were citily just to all, for “ he that ruleth over men zens, doubtless His laws would have been must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” suited to such a condition of things. As There is therefore unquestionably both an it was, however, He was giving laws, not international and an intranational morality. to the State, but to His Church, and thereBut this, as I have said, is a natural and fore did not ignore the fact that, though not a distinctively Christian obligation. it was not to be a kingdom of this world, Morality and justice were not created, nor yet that it was to exist in this world, and, even revealed, by Christ ; they existed, therefore, within those conditions of order and were known to exist, before the giving and security which, as we have seen, it is of the Sermon on the Mount, and would the moral duty of every State to secure for have continued to exist had that discourse all its subjects. never been spoken, or had He who spoke There still remains however the question it nevor appeared among men.

how far, within these limits of possibility,

it is the duty of the individual literally to II. It is not strictly germane to this ar- carry out all the precepts of the Sermon ticle, which deals only with the functions on the Mount. To treat this question and duties of the State, to consider the fully would require something more than question of individual obedience to the a few lines in a magazine article, nor indeed precepts of the Sermon on the Mount. is it necessary to treat of it, for those who But as that question has been so largely know anything of Christian literature. raised in this discussion, it may be as well For those however who, like some of my to say a few words upon it here.

critics, seem to think that they have raised It has been alleged that it is impossible this question for the first time, it may for the individual to obey those precepts suffice to say that the answer to it obviousJiterally. I confess that I do not see this. ly lies in the answer to another question, Strictly speaking, there is no absolute im- namely whether our Lord intended that


these precepts of His should be obeyed in them that they ought not to do_namely
their letter. If He did then we Christians obeying them in the mere letter and there-
are certainly bound so to obey them at any by evading the far higher and harder duty
cost to ourselves. But bas He required of obeying them in the spirit.
this ! Are we not, on the contrary, told Of course it is easy for infidels to sneer
that all Divine commands are to be taken, at such an interpretation of the Sermon on
not in their letter but in their spirit ? Are the Mount and to tell us, as I have no
we not told that it is the " letter that doubt they will some of them tell me, that
kills," and that it is the spirit that gives we Christians are always explaining away
life” * to the precept! In other words, our Master's teaching. He, however,
are we not told that in all His laws He is who has tried to obey these or any other
giving us principles and not precepts mere- laws in the spirit rather than in the letter,
ly-principles which are to precepts what and who knows therefore how" quick and
the living seed is to the external shell en- sharp and piercing” laws so treated at
closing it, which must be broken away or once become, need trouble himself but
die in order that the living thing within it little about sucb taunts. Their only effect
may take root and grow and bear fruit; on him should be to set him upon thinking
principles, which just because they are how far he may haşe allowed bimself to
not mere dry and literal commands—touch regard his Master's law only as something
our lives not at one point of contact only impossible to fulfil in the letter, and so to
but all through and all along, and which forget that for that very reason it was all
for that very reason are- -not easier but, the more his duty to discover how to obey
far harder to obey than literal commands. their spiritual teaching.
How completely this is so, may be seen
by examining, in this point of view, one III. To return however to the subject
or two only of the precepts in the Sermon of this article which is—The State-not
on the Mount. We might, for instance, the individual-in relation to the precepts
literally obey the command to go two of Christ. We have yet to consider how
miles with him who required us to go with far the State is justified in enforcing these
him one, and then at the end of the sec- upon its subjects. Of such an attempt I
ond refuse to go any further on the ground have said that it would result in the estab-
that this was all the command required of lishing of an intolerable tyranny. This is
us ; or 'we might turn the right cheek to obvious if we remember that the laws of
him who smote us on the left, and then Christ, without that motive for obedience
after this literal compliance, smite in our to them which Christ supplies, would be a
turn the smiter ; or we might literally give burden too heavy for human nature to
to him who asked our alms the smallest bear. His great law as we have seen is
coin of the realm, and only when so that of self-sacrifice entire and absolute,
asked, and in so doing we should all the even to the giving up of life itself when
while be violating the spirit of each of He demands it. Now self-sacrifice, being
those commands which enjoin, not an ex- opposed to the natural instinct of self-
actly measured amount of submission to preservation, can only become possible by
authority, of non-resistance and of benev- the help of some strong deep passion which
olence, but the readiness to show any overmasters this natural instinct. That
amount of each of these as occasion may passion in Christ's kingdom is love. Love
demand and as all the circumstances of which never reckons up rights nor insists
the case viewed with regard to all our on privileges nor even talks of duty : love
other duties and obligations might require. whose dearest right is the right to serve,
In short it is possible for us to kill each whose most precious privilege is the priv-
one of these precepts by observing it only ilege of suffering, nay if need be of dying,
in the letter and not in the spirit. Those for the loved one.

And it is this passion who thus treat the laws of Christ entirely of love for God and for man which Christ mistake their meaning and purpose. They has the power of kindling in the hearts of are doing with them just what the Jews His true disciples, and thus enabling them of his day were forever doing with their to fulfil those commands of His which laws, and what He was forever telling were otherwise “hard sayings which no

man could hear.' It is the love of * 2 Cor. iii. 6.

Christ'-as the most devoted of his ser

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vants tells us—that should “constrain observed that, althongh the attempt to enus” to all sacrifice since “ we thus judge force Christian precepts by the State leads if one died for all then were all dead." to tyranny, that attempt can still never In a word it is the Christ, the loving, prove successful. It is not possible for merciful, compassionate, self-sacrificing the State really to enforce any precept of Christ within us who enables us to obey Christ. As a proof of this let us take this the Christ who speaks to us from without. very question of Christian Socialism. It is the Crucified One who bid us take Christianity, as it seems to me, is maniup his cross. It is He who gave his life festly neither Socialistic nor Communistic, for us, who bids us give our lives, if needs inasmuch as it does no require as a condibe, for Him. And thus his laws, willing- tion of membership in the Christian Soly obeyed from the heart and for his sake, ciety either the abolition of property, become, what they are described as being, which is Communism, or any form of

a perfect law of liberty.”. Now this compulsory redistribution of it, which is constraining motive is precisely that thing Socialism. It would be communistic if it which the State cannot supply. It has no

had said that no Christian sball possess power to kindle in men's hearts that con- property. It would be sucialistic if it had surning fire of divine love which burns out said that every Christian sball submit to a the selfishness of human nature. The certain redistribution of his property by State has never died for us that we should the Rulers of the Church. love its laws as Christ's true disciples love ever, neither of these things. In the imtheir Master's. Nor has it “ treasure in pulsive attempt at communism, recorded Heaven” wherewith to reward those who in the Acts of the Apostles, the right of sacrifice for it treasures upon earth. The each individual to give away or to retain State, therefore, if it is to be just, must his property as he might think fit, is disnot deinand in the name of law wbat can tinctly recognized. " Whiles it remained only be demanded or conceded in the was it not thine own ? after it was sold name of love.

was it not in thine own power ?'—this is Even those sacrifices which natural not Communism. In all its many preaffection delights to make, the State may cepts of benevolence and charity, the not dare to require. The mother for her amount and the manner of distribution by child, the wife for her husband, the sister the rich to the poor is left to the judgment for the brother, the friend for the friend and conscience of the individual : this is can make-thank God they are making not Socialism. Let us suppose, however, every day—sacrifices which no legislator the State proceeding to enforce some one might even dream of requiring. Still of these Christian precepts of benevolence, more, of course, is this true of those such, for instance, as this : Charge them greater sacrifices which, for the love of who are rich in this world that they be God and of his Christ, heroic souls have ready to give and glad to distribute ;' and made for those who are bound to them by that it does this by taking forcibly from no ties of kindred or even of race. Á the rich and distributing to the poor. Is Father Damien gives his life in noblest it not clear that the moment the State bas sacrifice for the outcast lepers of Molokai, done this it has made it impossible to obey and in so doing“ fulfils the law of Christ.” this precept? For how can a man“ give” But for the State to have seized upon him that which the State has taken from him, and compelled him to do this, on the distribute that wbich the State is ground that it was bound to enforce all distributing in his stead? And as for the the laws of Christ, would have been an gladness and the readiness in such a case, atrocious wrong and injustice. Similarly we all know what is the gladness and the with respect to all other exercises of self- readiness with which we greet the visits of denial and self-sacrifice and benevolence the rate-collector. The State would, in demanded by the laws of Christ, the State that case, have substituted for a charitable bas no right to demand these, just because gift a legal impost, and would thereby it is not our Master and Lord, and to de. have destroyed the free willingness which mand them, apart from that condition is of the very essence of all !Christian which can alone make them endurable, charity. would be to act unjustly and tyrannically.

If Socialism then mean- -what I

suppose In the next place, however, it is to be most persons would understand it to mean


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