« PreviousContinue »
what we can or ought to gather from this view, to give as light and to guide us for the present and the future. Things are in a strange mix to-day. Temporal powers and rulers, as rotten and corrupt as the veriest shot-rubbish of perdition, are everywhere presuming to make laws and regulations for the moral and spiritual guidance of their so-called subjects, and ecclesiastics of all grades, Elijah Dowie, the foul bird, to Mother Eddy, the tarnished female, to Pius X, the unblemished and historic and truly representative and authoritative vicegerent of Jesus Christ, the Son of God—all are seeking not merely to be the moral and spiritual guides of mankind, by moral suasion and the grace of God, but planning how they can best command the physical actions, the financial income, the domestic relationships of mankind and get themselves called and decorated as princes and rulers among the nations. And all this, spite of the fact that Jesus said to His disciples, "The rulers of this world exercise authority and dominate mankind, but it shall not be thus among you. Whoever is greatest among you, let him be servant," and so still become greater.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have just as much respect for such ecclesiastics, of the princely and dominating variety as I have for such actual princes, kings and rulers, that is, I have nothing but contempt for their false pretensions, on both sides, and nothing but the sweetest and humblest reverence and regard for their right and lawful claims on both sides; but how can we make this plain? Only, I think, by an appeal to common sense, common philosophy, to the Scriptures, and to universal history.
It is the plainest of common sense that a corrupt ruler has no business to make laws concerning purity; that a dishonest ruler, president, prince or king has no right whatever to make or attempt to execute any laws that insist upon honesty—a thief is no fit ruler for thieves. In the same line of common sense, it is also true that a rascally ecclesiastic cannot teach or inspire the principles of religion which oppose any and all forms of rascality, and as far as I can see here is where the division of authority among men has always begun and will continue till the end of time. The fighting, able man, has of old been crowned as the king-man, and his feHows have agreed to obey him in all matters pertaining to armies or to warfare. So, on the other hand, in all ages of the race there have been men especially given to meditation, to moral reflection, and even willing to sacrifice any^ to
'^Qse • ° a**&fn their own ideals of duty toward God and man, and ^rOjy^.JT1 3~lf sg-es of the human race have been looked up to as ^eaje_3 JMeiers oftfieir fellows in the lines oi duty, oi charity, of tfte/j i* conduct, of what we call morals and religion, and such i&f-Q been called variously, seers, having a peculiar insight
fj . "e so-called mysteries of religion—that is, really and simply studied and consecrated their lives to the work, they have deeper and learned more and so were able to speak more ear'y and so have been called seers, prophets, and prophet-poets, Sometimes Buddahs, incarnations of diety, hypostatic revelations and imparta.tions of divine light and wisdom, that is the law of knowledge, or an understanding of the laws of things, even of the laws relating to God in His relations to men. The sayings of such wise and choice and fine and exalted souls have been preserved in the traditions of all nations and races of men, time out of mind; and in the more advanced races and ages of civilization these sayings, or the words of the morally and spiritually gifted have been called revelations from God, from heaven, from the moral center and soul of things, and have been held as inspired words, the very breathings of the gods or of the Almighty, having entered into them for the moral and spiritual guidance of the race.
Prophetic or spiritual insight has not in all cases been associated with superior or supreme greatness of intellectual gifts, but where so associated the moral guides of men, the spiritual directors of men, the religious teachers of men, as in the old days have been called great and gifted souls, the major prophets, as Isaiah; and when their sense of justice has seemed equivalent to the mental faculty, they have been recognized as fit persons to make moral laws and rules of conduct for their fellow men, as in the case of Moses; and of Solon, among the Greeks. In such cases the seer or moral guide, has also been the judge, the temporal ruler: so in the earlier ages of all races, as far as can be traced, there have arisen men of corresponding wisdom and justice who have been both temporal and spiritual rulers. Such souls are at the bottom of every theocratic government; such was the earlier form of the Hebrew Theocracy and so in our own puritan humbuggery.
But as civilization advances, as in the earliest stages of it again, these greater, and the greatest warriors, called, as Alexander the Great, Frederick the Great, etc., being men of corresponding intellectual gifts and not merely of physical powers, and founders of kindred, peoples, nations, etc., have now and again, also been lawgivers, would be, moral guides and fathers of their people; and these, in hundreds of cases have come in conflict now and again with the religious leaders; the prophets and teachers—sometimes have helped and sometimes have hindered the same. But true greatness has ever been honored on this earth, except, as the masses have for the time being, sunk into unfaith, immorality and sin—they have crucified or burnt their prophets and saviors, and have sent their ablest generals into exile and shame. In truth, all pretended government of the people and for the people has ever dwindled into government of the mediocre or the petty till disgust and revolution have followed.
At the heart of things, however, the power to rule, as king, has been based upon the power to fight as warrior; and the power to teach and guide and give moral laws, has been based upon the supposed inner power of sight and purity of purpose and of life, either innate or God-given and inspired. Always the functions of temporal power have been based upon the presumed and actual power to fight, to rule, to subdue, to punish; and always the ecclesiastical power and right to teach lias been based upon the supposed and presumed insight, or actual and superior power of purity and of reason.
As society in all times has become more crowded and complex and as th powers of native genius, either for war or superior moral insight, and reason have declined, men have everywhere resorted to artificial means to evolve, to educate and set apart persons for either sphere, as we now—or used to—educate apprentices to do good mechanical work—in all lines,—or as we now educate men to become lawyers, doctors, journalists, detectives, etc., to the end of the chapter; to this end, and to these ends are all our colleges, secular and religious, founded and sustained; that is, to find out by education and examination, who and what men are gifted of God to teach, or to rule and these sum up the great and commanding spheres of human ability and human ambition.
In all complex stages of advanced civilization, these two spheres of human greatness and leadership have ever been more or less in conflict, as we have said, and have never been generally and clearly defined. As far as can be gathered from monumental records and from hints in the scriptures of the nations, Hebrew and other, the oldest Asiatic and Egyptian monarchies built up as we A, CHURCH AND STATE. 367
^Qty atT^' 00 ^ selected, ablest warriors of the several races Sgain became hereditary, in several lines of leadership, PfVejj, PoraJ power always claimed and had direction of such 'Setf °o<i as existed in those early nations. Among the uncivilO,- there were tribal chiefs, and nearly always some seer
gj ^^cine man who chanted the lays of superior wisdom, but ^ ys in a general way, subject to said chiefs of clans. Thus, as we can gather, in all the ancient civilized and uncivilized taces there was a temporal power other than a priestly power and superior to whatever priestly or ecclesiastical power might have existed.
The same general arrangement may be said to have existed among the Greeks, Romans, and other old world nations that existed contemporaneously with the earliest theocratic nations of the Hebrews and synonymously throughout their whole and variously modified forms of government.
With the supernatural call and direction of the Hebrew, Abraham, there was taken up the vocation, the revelation, the inspiration supposed to have been lost in Eden, and the moral renovation of the race was to go on henceforth—that is, the making of man into the image of the gods, at last, the god-man, under the leadership of the Abrahamic branch of the Hebrew brotherhood. This was the beginning of the theocracy of the Hebrew people, which went on under the nomadic patriarchalism of the Abrahamic descendants, through the families and events known to Hebrew history, as in the Hebrew scriptures: the patriarch being alike father, ruler and priest among his people and his voice being to his family and descendants as the voice of God.
This theocratic and patriarchal method or form of government and moral direction went on till the break up of the family of Jacob, the enslavement of the Hebrew people—plainly to prepare them for other and more complex forms of civilization—after which enslavement came the Mosaic direction of affairs, and under this we find these spheres of Church and State divided and supplemented; that is, Moses was law-giver and ruler, and he, it seems, organized a priesthood, under his brother Aaron to minister to and direct the morals of the people according to his inspired laws—also he appointed judges to interpret the laws; all this, as I take it, having been imbibed during his sojourn in Egypt, and at the same time, so impressed upon his great soul of justice that to him it seemed, and actually was in his peculiar evolution of the system, a revelation from God who always works by means as well as by mountains and miracles.
Still we have in the Mosaic economy, the same grades or spheres of influence and direction or authority, as existed in Egypt. The temporal ruler was chief, and the priesthood, and the lawyers or judges were under said temporal power.
Then, as priests and judges became corrupt, as they always have become, in time, the good God inspired the hearts of earnest men whom we have called prophets, from Samuel to MaJachi, rising up early in the morning and inspiring them in their dreams, in the silent watches of the night, and these men of God as we call them, even yet, became superior to temporal rulers, to priests and to lawyers, proclaiming their utterances with the sublime assurance of "thus saith the Lord, God Almighty." But the people, alike unable and unwilling to accept the direction of God's holiest and inspired teachers of truth and justice, clamored for a king, and so came the kings into the theocracy of Israel: but from that hour to the coming of Jesus Christ, no king was allowed to touch or direct the altar of worship: and above all, no king would dare to dream of directing God's prophets as to what, or how, or when they should teach. In a word, in the supernatural economy of Israel, king and priest were in final subject to the utterance of the prophets of God: the natural, subject to the supernatural. Into this great mixture of civilization, among his own people, and all peoples of the then known world, Jesus came; "a prophet, yea. I say unto you, and more than prophet—the very Son of God;" an eternal priest, and by virtue of His Godhead, a King of Kings. But the priests of Israel and the temporal powers of Rome, then in charge of Israel, both questioned and criticised Him until they laid false charges against Him, captured and crucified Him, and dreamed that they were doing God's service.
Not, however, till He had gathered His disciples about Him, had taught them His sublime doctrines of God and righteousness, and had promised them the gifts of the Holy Spirit of God. From this point, all modern civilization takes its rise, its divisions, its unities, its truths and falsehoods; but if we follow the spirit of the Master, we shall not go far astray. Follow Him we must if we would teach men, and follow Him we must if we would rule men, or die in disgrace and shame.