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from Dr. Gottheil. He defines religion by its inferior limit, and Dr. Gottheil so defines morality. This is an easy way of getting your own case. But it is like going to Tupper instead of to Shakspere for poetry, to Buchanan instead of to Lincoln for statesmanship, to Butler instead of to Grant for military genius. Dr. Gottheil defined morality by its inferior limit. He defined it as mere outward conformity to those social regulations which society has stamped with its approval, as mere avoidance of the things which the State and social order have said must not be done, as where he told us that the moral people are in Sing Sing, for they do nothing wrong, they do not break any of the criminal laws nor any of the social regulations. Defining morality in this way, it was no wonder that he found something better. But that which he found better was itself morality, much more deserving of the name than that to which he gave the name; which some of us, I am sure, would not allow to be morality at all. It is mere legality, mere prudential selfishness; while genuine morality always carries along with it the sense of something owed to others or to a common good or to an ideal of excellence. Our dear rabbi stood before us as an opponent of morality; but he was nothing of the sort. The thing he pleaded for, the spiritual life, inward devotion to the just, the true, the right, the good, that was morality; and, though he called it by another name, the rose was just as sweet. I could have wished that every person there had come to the discussion of the evening fresh from the reading of Professor Toy's "Judaism and Christianity," because that book brings out so clearly the difference between the outwardness of the Jewish morality, its legality, its externalism, and the inwardness of Christianity, of Jesus and Paul.* You can easily recall the things I have in mind: that terrible saying of Jesus, "He that looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery in his heart"; that comparison of the outside and the inside of the platter, of
*Not that there was any sudden change; not that there were not anticipations of the inwardness of Jesus in the prophets and the Psalms.
the whitened sepulchre and the dead men's bones, and all uncleanness. It was a very interesting situation,-a Jewish rabbi standing and pleading for the Christianity of the New Testament with a Christian audience. For that was just exactly what it was. The main burden of the rabbi's speech was the main burden of the New Testament. And, when I tell him so, as I mean to do, the next time we meet at our ministers' lunch, in which he regularly joins, he will not be troubled. He will say: "That is all right. Jesus and Paul were simply Jewish reformers"; and I shall remember what I had heard him say before, that he read a part of Paul's Epistles every day, and considered the thirteenth chapter of his First Epistle to the Corinthians the most perfect utterance of the religious mind, and I shall ask him if, where that says, "Faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love," the moral thing, the love, is not made "chief of all the blessed three"?
But not only did the good rabbi's speech illustrate the habit of a great many people who first define morality by its inferior limit and then disparage it as compared with spirituality and religion, and not only did it plead for the New Testament Christianity against the externalism of the Jewish Law, but it illustrated one of the most dangerous tendencies of Christian theology; and it pleaded for a morality so subjective in its character that the outward act was made of no account whatever. This was the antinomian pit into which Luther fell, and many after him, when he said, Pecca fortiter, "Sin and sin boldly, but yet more boldly have faith and believe in Christ," and when he said that the worst imaginable sin committed in faith was better than any morality without it. Dr. Gottheil, in his passionate pleading for the sanctities of the inner life, said, "What a man does,-i.e., his morality,
- is nothing: it is what he is that tells, that decides." To which I said, and I repeat, that such a scheme of personal salvation seems to me hardly less selfish than the scheme of orthodox theology. It makes the salvation of one's own soul the paramount thing; and, whether the salvation is
from the pangs of hell or from the pangs of conscience and unsatisfied ideals, it is a selfish business. Wilberforce, always evangelical, asked Clarkson if, in his engrossment in the anti-slavery conflict, he had time to think about his soul. Clarkson said he had forgotten that he had any. And, saying that, he planted himself, I am bound to think, on the right ground, the ground that Jesus stood on when he said, "He that saveth his soul shall lose it, but he that loseth it in the good cause shall find it gloriously saved." "Look out, and not in." Time spent in analyzing motives is time that might be spent in doing something for a fellow-creature in distress. And, if there is one thing that I value George Eliot for more than for another, it is for her steady insistence that it is the effect of our actions upon others that we must always have in mind; that Arthur Donnithorne's repentance doesn't save poor Hetty Sorrel's life from ruinous mishap; that is all very well to rise by stepping-stones of our dead selves to higher things, but how about the dead selves of other men and women? Rather expensive stepping-stones for which they have to pay that we may rise!
Is there anything better than morality? Yes, indeed, if morality is mere selfish and prudential obedience to the social and the criminal law. But such morality is not worthy of the name. Devotion to spiritual ideals is better. Devotion to the happiness of others, to their well-being, to their highest good, that is the best of all. Or, if there is anything better than this, it must be something that is this and something more, the two things one, and that one thing religion. But this we shall consider further on.
Dr. Bradford, the second speaker at the Club, not in the chronological, but in the logical order, gave no such depreciatory account of morality as Dr. Gottheil. What Dr. Gottheil called morality, conformity to what is legally and conventionally prescribed, he would not call morality, I fancy. His morality was the very thing that Dr. Gottheil praised as something better than morality; namely, inward spiritual devotion to the ideals of holiness and truth and love. And,
again, he differed from the rabbi in his insistence that there is something better than this; and that it is religion,— the religion of belief and faith in God and the immortal life. This is better than morality, he contended,- though he used no such humble illustration,- even as a locomotive with steam in the boiler is better than a locomotive without steam, or as a ship with sails or steam is better than a ship without sails or steam. The locomotive without steam and the ship without sails or steam is something very handsome, very fine, very symmetrical, and all that, only it will not go. It lacks motive power. That is what morality lacks without religion. That is what religion furnishes. And how does it furnish this? By making us worth saving. If men are children of God and heirs of immortality, then we can go through fire and water for them, as we would, if we had artist-souls, for the "Venus of Milo" or the "Sistine Madonna," as a man with music in his soul would for the fifth or any other symphony of Beethoven, if there were but one score of it, and that were in imminent danger of destruction, only in a spirit as much more energetic and devoted as an immortal child of God is more than any possible creation of the artist's hand.
Now, you will certainly acquit me of the least desire to single out the opinions of a particular gentleman and scholar for your reprobation. If these opinions were peculiar to him or any individual, I should not waste a moment of your time upon them. But they are representative opinions,representative of a wide range of thought, in which Dr. Bradford has some splendid company, that of Tennyson, for example, where he sings,
"The wages of sin is death. If the wages of Virtue be dust, Would she have heart to endure for the life of the worm and the fly?"
No period of Christian history has been entirely without men to whom the moral law has seemed to rest upon the assurance of another life. Indeed, the average Christian sentiment has been that, without such assurance, "the life which
now is" would have no moral character,- virtue and vice would be indifferent qualities. "If, after the manner of · men," said Paul, "I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what doth it advantage me if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die "; and again, "If in this life only we have hope of Christ, we are of all men the most miserable." Christianity has not monopolized this way of thinking and talking. "No one," said Cicero, "without the great hope of immortality, ever offered to die for his country," though here it is quite possible and even probable that the immortality of fame is meant. But Christianity affords the most numerous and the most striking illustrations. Listen to a few out of the many taken at random and without chronological order. "There can be no morality," said Chateaubriand, "if there is no future state." "If you believe in no future life," said Luther, “I would not give a mushroom for your God. Then do as you like. For, if no God, so no devil and no hell. As with a fallen tree, it is all over when you die. Then plunge into lechery, rascality, robbery, and murder." "To deny immortality," said Sir Kenelm Digby "taketh away all morality, and changeth men into beasts by removing the ground of all difference in those things which are to govern our actions." And the great preacher Massillon said, "If we wholly perish with the body, the maxims of charity, patience, justice, honor, gratitude, and friendship, are empty words. Our own passions shall decide our duty." "If there be no future life,” said Chalmers, "the moral constitution of man is stripped of its significancy, and the Author of that constitution is stripped of his wisdom, authority, and honor." "Virtue," said Paley, "is the doing good to mankind in obedience to the will of God, and for the sake of everlasting happiness." And again, "The difference, and the only difference, between prudence and virtue is that in the one case we consider what we shall gain or lose in the present world; in the other case, what we shall gain or lose in the other."
But, surely, you will say, This way of thinking has not in