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The Journal of Religion 

Volume II MARCH 1922 Number 2 


The University of Chicago 

This article contains the substance of an address given to the students in the 
University of Chicago. 

After considering briefly ritual, mysticism, and the individualistic experience of 
redemption as aspects of refigion without large influence on social reconstruction, the 
writer sets the function of faith as a stirring challenge to easy acquiescence, and indi- 
cates the moral power given by a belief that moral effort has a cosmic reinforcement. 
Such faith is an important factor in heartening men for social and economic recon- 

Religion is also an expression of the deeper unity and spirit of a community. It 
seeks a juster society. As the group enlarges, ideals of justice grow broader. In spite 
of much provincialism there are in modem religion forces making for a more just 
and harmonious social order. 

The hour calls clearly for the statesman, the engineer, 
and the economist. Is it a time for priest or prophet ? The 
demand for science and skill gains in assurance as the war 
crisis recedes, and questions of trade, industry, finance, and 
lowered vitality of peoples press upon us. The need of religion 
in the task of securing a better world-order is not proclaimed 
with the same assurance, at least among the intellectual 
classes. There is, indeed, a serious question which sometimes 
finds expression: Has religion met its responsibiUties ? Has 
it done what, in view of its claims upon human allegiance, 
it might reasonably have been expected to do toward prevent- 
ing the catastrophe which has come upon the world ? 

For religion is no newcomer; it was perhaps here in some 
degree in the Old Stone Age. Dolmens and pyramids testify 



to the power of ancient beliefs. For more than two thousand 
years the visions and warnings of the prophets of Israel have 
summoned man to a better social order, and the teachings of 
Gautama have called to ways of righteousness and peace. For 
sixteen centuries Christianity has been at least the nominally 
accepted creed of Europe. Why then have these faiths, and in 
particular why has Christianity, as the prevalent creed of 
Europe, no better credentials to present before the world's bar 
of public opinion today ? 

Some answer, "Christianity has not as yet been tried, 
or if Christianity has been tried, it is not the original, simple 
religion of love to God and man which the carpenter of Naza- 
reth taught and lived; it is not the religion of mystic faith 
and of membership in a community of true believers which 
the tent-maker of Tarsus brought from Asia into Europe when 
he announced the advent of a social order in which there 
should be neither Greek nor Jew, barbarian, Scj^ian, bond or 
free, but all members one of another." The Christianity that 
has dominated Europe, these defenders of religion would say, 
has been rather the heir of imperial Rome than of that kingdom 
of God which Isaiah saw and Jesus proclaimed. Its dogmas 
have spoken the language of Greek metaphysics more often 
than that of the hiunble and contrite heart. 

Another defender of religion points out that it would be 
poor psychology to expect from religion a complete control 
over human life, even though the religion were itself ever so 
pure in the breasts of its sincere followers. For religion is 
not the only power at work in hmnan life. It is fimdamentally 
contrary to certain other strong and ever active tendencies 
and interests of mankind. Religion bids man reverence a law 
and power above him, but the gods have given to man not 
only the sense of justice and reverence, as Plato teUs us, but 
also self-assertion and the lust for power. The forces devel- 
oped and selected in the struggle for existence have indeed 
touched man's heart with sympathy, but they have also made 


him keen to grasp and to hold. The extraordinary range of 
communication, of credit, of resources in earth, ocean, and 
sky, which modem science and invention have brought into 
man's ken have but intensified the zeal as they have enlarged 
the field of these primeval passions. The voice of religion, 
even when it has sounded clear and true, has fallen on ears in 
which the voices of this world are calling in ever louder tones 
and richer harmonies. Small wonder that, whatever the 
nominal adherence of men to outward forms, few listen to 
the voice of a Master who bids the faithful leave aU and follow 
him. And especially today, when the cathedral no longer 
dominates the city, when in fact office buildings, banks, shops, 
and factories have practically banished the church spire from 
the centers of power, when the church feels itself fortunate 
if, instead of the two days or one day in the week which it 
once controlled, it can now claim an hour from golf or business 
interests or studies, when the wheels of many industries and of 
transportation stay not even for this one hour, it is surely 
asking much of religion to expect it to prevent a war. If it 
can scarcely interfere with a golf game, can it be expected to 
halt a battleship or an army ? 

Without attempting to estimate how much of truth there 
may be in these two answers, I shall assume for the present 
purpose that there is still in the world such a thing as religion, 
and shall ask whether there is work for it to do. I do not pro- 
pose to consider at all its truth or error; I simply assume it 
as one of the present facts and forces in the world, along with 
certain other facts and forces of human nature. As such, we 
may consider what it fundamentally signifies, and what part 
it has to play in securing a better world-order. 

In view of certain types of religious appeal, it seems neces- 
sary to notice two or three aspects or types of religion — ^wide- 
spread, significant for certain purposes or at certain times — 
which do not appear to offer great promise for the matter in 


First, ritual. Ritual is perhaps the oldest aspect of reli- 
gion; certainly it is very early. It was a force in the New 
Stone Age. It is no less effective in Buddhism, Judaism, 
Mohammedanism, and Christianity. It impresses upon the 
young the traditions of the past; it brings a sense of mystery 
and solemnity; it enhances and elevates emotion. But ritual 
as such, and the piety which finds chief expression in ritual, 
has little to say when the great need is of reconstructing society. 
Of ritual, certainly there was no lack in 1914. The orthodox 
Greek of Russia and the Balkan states was unsurpassed in 
his devotion to ritual. The Mohammedan's call to prayer 
sounded daily. Catholic and Lutheran showed no intermis- 
sion of mass, sacrament, or prayer. These might then sym- 
bolize, as they have symbolized through the ages, the deeper 
significance of certain great experiences of human life. They 
console the dying and the sorrowful. They do not seem to 
meet the particular need which we now contemplate. 

Nor is it the mystical type of personal religion which offers 
promise. The essence of this mystical type is its withdrawal 
from the clashing antagonisms and fierce passions of this world 
to find calm and peace in the eternal. To individuals it may 
bring relief. But society cannot withdraw into the mystic 

Nor is what is frequently called the "old-fashioned gospel" 
the kind of religion to which the world may look for any impor- 
tant contribution toward society's present need. Some per- 
sons who are perhaps fearful lest religion should interfere with 
their methods of conducting business and industry and take 
an uncomfortably active part in the world of affairs are fre- 
quently heard to clamor for a return to this type of religion. 
It does not meddle; it takes no stand on social, political, or 
economic questions; its concern is with saving the soul. The 
old-fashioned gospel is usually assumed to emphasize three 
things: first, a story of certain historic events of nineteen 
centuries ago; second, certain dogmas interpreting these events 


in terms of metaphysical conceptions; third, certain emotional 
experiences undergone by the individual under the influence of 
these events and dogmas. I do not wish to speak slightingly 
of what this type of religion may have done for individuals. 
It has, no doubt, played its part in the making of individual 
character. My grandfather preached it. I have read num- 
bers of his sermons. I do not think anyone could discover 
from them whether they were prepared and preached in Ver- 
mont or Judea, in the seventeenth century or the nineteenth. 
They dealt with the timeless and placeless themes of sin, 
atonement, conversion, and the future hfe, with no reference 
to any social, political, or economic fact. The personal reli- 
gion which interpreted its experience in those terms had little 
direct bearing on behavior in pubHc hfe. In the days before 
and during our Civil War, men of equal piety and of equally 
sincere and devout personal religion were on opposite sides 
of the question of slavery. In this last Great War, the same 
was doubtless true. The man who was very generally charged 
with being more than any other one man responsible for the 
final decision was rather notably faithful in his religious 
observance. It is then something more than the so-called old- 
fashioned religion, or personal religion, that is needed. 

But religion has had another side. It has not only appealed 
to the individual soul; it has sought to transform society. It 
was nothing less than a new social, pohtical, and economic 
order which the prophets of Israel heralded; it was a social 
revolution which Jesus proclaimed in his Sermon on the Mount. 
It is this social aspect of religion which must assert itself at 
the present time if it is to contribute to a better world-order. 

There is, however, one great attitude of individual and social 
religion alike which has a fundamental place. That is the 
bold assertion of faith. The equihbrium between faith and 
knowledge is difficult to preserve. The Middle Ages, we say, 
were ages of faith. There was then too httle of knowledge, 
too httle regard for science. At present we have a vast 


increase in scientific knowledge. We know more of human 
nature through our psychology and biology, we know more 
of history, more of economic, political, and social facts; and 
no one can say that we know too much. But there is such 
a thing as being so overwhelmed by the multitude of facts as 
to be bhnd to their profounder implications and timid in our 
dealings with them. We are assured, for example, that man 
has always been pugnacious and violent in the assertion of his 
interests; therefore wars can never cease. We are told that 
races are different and therefore that there can be no conamon 
ground except on the assumption of fixed superiority and 
inferiority. We are told that the economic tendency of 
capitalism is to produce in far greater measure than civilized 
countries can consume, and therefore that the irresistible and 
inevitable result is and must be the exploitation of backward 
peoples and the oppression of the weak. We are told that the 
will to power is so fundamental a part of human nature that 
when it is organized into political states or economic corpora- 
tions nothing can successfully restrain or oppose it. The race 
for power is bound to go on, even though it crush civilization 
and all that humanity holds dear in its progress. We are told 
that the struggle for existence is so fundamental a process that 
we neither can nor ought to interfere with its course. 

These conclusions wovdd indeed tend to paralyze action if 
unrelieved by any other considerations. They remind us of 
the logic by which slavery was proved essential to civilization, 
aristocracy essential to secure government, child labor neces- 
sary in order to make industry profitable. But aside from the 
question as to whether the logic is rigorous, there is a funda- 
mental challenge to the premises which religion has always 
dared. Over against facts which can be demonstrated and 
measured, it has asserted possibilities in man and in the uni- 
verse which cannot be completely demonstrated. It has 
believed in soul and God. Granted that science as such can 
recognize no soul and find no God; consider even, if you 


please, that soul and God are audacious fictions, or at least 
that they are unprovable postulates; religion maintains, 
nevertheless, that there is such a reality as moral freedom, 
moral responsibility, moral courage, and moral worth in man, 
and that the universe is not merely and exclusively mechanism. 
In other words, religion maintains that there is, in the moral 
meaning of that word, a soul in man, and that the imiverse 
is in some sense kin to spirit. Staking itself upon this beUef, 
religion has moved forward to great enterprises. It has 
attempted to lift individuals, races, and peoples from degrada- 
tion and barbarism, in the faith that they have souls. It has 
joined hands with democracy in bold defiance to plain hard 
"fact." It has asserted that before the bar of God, that is to 
say in their claims to fair treatment and fair opportunity, all 
souls are equal. There, says Plato, men are stripped of all 
distinctions of wealth and rank, and stand face to face, naked 
soul with naked soul. More audacious still, in its doctrine of 
immortality, religion has ascribed to the soul a worth tran- 
scending the boimds of time. 

At the present time, is anything more needed than faith 
in the moral possibiUties and worth of hirnian nature ? Not 
that we are to shut our eyes to what biology, psychology, and 
social science have taught and are still to teach. But all 
these teachings are simply tools with which we build our 
house. For themselves they build no houses; they foimd no 
families; they save no souls; neither do they save societies. 
Granted that no fundamental and permanent reform in our 
economic conditions or our international relations can take 
place in neglect or defiance of the forces of human nature, 
nevertheless we shall woefully fail to meet the crucial situation 
of the present moment, if we ignore the power of spirit to 
achieve, to create, to build more stately mansions, to take 
wider and more generous interests. 

Religion has also asserted faith in God. What does this 
mean in moral terms ? Is it not essentially the same thing as 


applied to the universe which beUef in the soul means as 
applied to man ? Certain it is that it is very difficult, if not 
impossible, to demonstrate any power not ourselves that makes 
for righteousness. Some minds are indeed so repelled by 
what they find in the universe about them that they can see 
in it no encouragement to look for more than a transient day 
for man and all his values. Man is the outcome, says Russell, 
of "an alien and an inhuman world," alone amid hostile forces, 

powerless before the blind hurry of the universe from vanity to vanity. 
.... That man is the product of causes which have no prevision of the 
end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, 
his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations 
of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, 
can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors 
of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday bright- 
ness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death 
of the solar system, and that the whole temple of man's achievement 
must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins — all 
these things if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, 
that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within 
the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding 
despair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built. 

Like Job, who holds fast to his integrity in the face of a seem- 
ingly immoral, or at least unmoral, power; like Prometheus, 
who defies the Zeus that has fastened him to the rock for 
brmging the divine fire to mortals, Mr. Russell finds the object 
of the free man's worship, not in the cosmos without, but in the 
ideal of goodness which man may set up from within. 

Now, whether rightly or wrongly, religion has never 
acquiesced in the doctrine that the imiverse is absolutely 
immoral, naked power. The protest to the Everlasting No 
has not limited its range to man's own soul. It has asserted a 
confidence that somehow there are moral forces in the universe. 
If we distinguish as Huxley has done so keenly between cosmic 
process and ethical process, religion has nevertheless believed 


that man's moral nature, his soul if you please, no less than his 
body with its passions and appetites, is rooted in the nature 
of things. Sometimes in its story of beginnings, according to 
which God created man in his own image; sometimes by 
carrying over into the Unseen the attributes of fatherhood, of 
love, of justice; sometimes in the subtler interpretations of 
nature with which an Emerson surveys the laws of compensa- 
tion or a Wordsworth finds duty in the most ancient heavens — 
in all these the fundamental religious aspiration and faith are 
uttered that there are possibilities not yet completely observed 
and demonstrated, which are, did we but know them, on the 
side of good; that there are resources not yet exploited upon 
which we may count for the completion of the house we have 
begun to build. 

A faith of this sort may have a very vital and important 
part in a better world-order. We are told that one of the 
greatest obstacles to the resumption of normal production and 
trade in many regions of Europe is despair of the future. There 
is indeed enough to justify despair if we consider, not merely 
what has been, but the resources which we are told science 
can bring to bear in the next war. What use in accumu- 
lating treasures to be destroyed? What use ui bearing and 
rearing children to be food for cannon, to be drowned under 
the sea, to be dashed headlong from the clouds, to be choked 
and poisoned by gases? There is ground enough for suspi- 
cions and jealousies, for fears and discouragement. If the 
world is not to yield to these suspicions and fears two things 
seem to be equally necessary. One is the determination to 
take all practical means to avoid these threatening evils; the 
other is a willingness to take some risks in the great adventure 
of a better world-order. The good faith of France or Germany 
or Russia or Japan is not a matter of demonstration any 
more than Heaven or a better moral order has ever been a 


matter of demonstration. It has always been largely an 
adventure of faith. 

In the third place, religion has meant a faith in the possi- 
bility of change, of regeneration, of new birth, for men and 
society. In the past, this has often, though not always, been 
conceived as a miraculous event. By some of philosophic 
temper it has been conceived as due to a larger perspective, 
a vision of the great values which quenches the fiercer divisive 
passions. No one has expressed this latter conception more 
profoundly than Spinoza. Men are jealous and envious and 
hostUe because they have such limited and partial views of 
what is good. Each sees but a little way, and conceives that 
his own gain is his neighbor's loss, and that his neighbor's gain 
is his loss. A larger vision would enlighten us. If we but 
looked at the world and at life, not with the narrow vision of 
the present moment, but from the point of view of eternity, we 
should see these divisions between us fall away. All are but 
parts of a larger whole. In the presence of this vision of 
ourselves as parts of a moral universe that we caU God, our 
passions grow calm. 

What Spinoza attributed to knowledge, others have assigned 
to love. Lusts of the flesh master us, and the law proves 
weak to deliver us. But the love of God has power to subdue 
human passions. In the presence of this supreme reality, 
this supreme worth of pure, unselfish love, the harder, fiercer 
appetites and interests soften. Various works of kindness and 
helpfulness which practically all religions have made a part 
of their program have been an expression of this conception. 
No doubt charity has often been mixed with feelings of class 
or with conceptions of merit. No doubt it has sometimes been 
used as a veil to cover up the deeper-seated diseases of society 
which call for justice. None the less, he was a great philoso- 
pher of values, as well as apostle of rehgion, who set love above 
knowledge, above visions, above all else in its enduring worth — 
"but the greatest of these is love." 


Faith in the possibility of regenerating society, not by 
miracle, but by the great and profound agencies of larger 
vision of life's true values and of love to mankind, has a 
place in a better world-order. Without this our inventions, 
our statistics, our economic science, and even our world- 
conferences for limitation of armaments will fall short of their 
objectives. When the nations have calmed their passions. 
General Diaz told us in public address, arms will drop from 
their hands. I do not think we need to wait until they drop 
entirely of themselves; by mutual consent we may agree to 
lay aside at least a percentage of our guns and warships, and 
this very act will in itself help to calm the passions. Neverthe- 
less, it will make a great difference whether we believe that as 
things have been, so they must always continue to be, or 
whether we have faith that human nature can improve, that 
nations as well as individuals may have a change of heart. 

We have frequently been reminded of the great step taken 
by our fathers when they made the agreement of 181 7 for the 
limitation of ships of war on the Great Lakes. The men who 
made this agreement were, in one sense of the word, not 
visionaries; they were sagacious and in the best sense practical. 
None the less, they were making a bold experiment. If they 
had believed that human nature could not change for the 
better, they might well have distrusted the safety of such a 
step. They had in many ways more grounds than we for 
fear; but they took counsel of hope, and not of fear; they 
staked something on the possibiUties of regenerating human 
society and building a better house than that in which the 
world till then had lived. It was a profoundly religious 
attitude— rehgious in its vision, religious in its faith, religious 
in its purpose. If the world today could combine with its 
science and sagacity a larger measure of faith like theirs, who 
can deny that it would at least be a magnificent venture. In 
such a cause, it is better to venture much than to lose all by 
too great distrust. 


Coming at last to the more definitely social aspect of 
religion, we find this expressed in some sort of community. 
In early days this religious community was limited to the 
kinship group. Family or tribe or nation had its god; other 
families or tribes or nations had theirs. The bond which 
united the "we-group" was at the same time the means of 
dividing the " we-group " all the more sharply from the " others- 
group." Between followers of Jehovah and followers of Baal 
there must be war to extermination. "Accept Allah and 
Mohammed his Prophet, or perish by the sword." And 
when Europe portioned out its religious boundaries on the 
basis of cuius regio eius religio the religious community was 
subservient to political power. Wars of religion, as well 
as wars for glory and wars for gain, have vexed the world. 

But despite all these separatist and nationalistic limitations 
of religion, a deeper and more unifying tendency has emerged. 
It has found expression in religious communities not identical 
with political, racial, or economic groups. Communities of 
believers united by devotion to some cause, by sympathy under 
some oppression, by loyalty to some leader, have embodied 
a larger unity. Such was the little community of believers 
in Jerusalem. And underneath all divisions of today, the 
sympathy that is felt with the suffering of all lands, the deep 
desire to realize in some degree that brotherhood of man, of 
which religion has so often spoken, are the basis of a genuine, 
if as yet unorganized, spiritual kinship. 

Religion in its social aspect has stood not only for a com- 
munity, but for a just society. More than four thousand 
years ago, in ancient Egypt, justice found its place in the 
divine attributes and in the conception of a social order. 
The prophets of Israel, in their indignation at the wrongs they 
saw about them, found assurance for their moral conscious- 
ness in the justice of the coming king of the new age. In 
Greece the just society was for Plato the city whose pattern is 
laid up in Heaven. Jusiitia had her place in the Roman 


Pantheon. Two root ideas seem to have combined in reUgious 
conceptions of justice: one, springing from ancient blood and 
religious kinship, and reinforced by conceptions of the worth 
of all souls, has insisted upon protection to the orphan and the 
widow, to the poor and him that hath no helper. This idea 
appears in what today we call social justice. The other root 
springs from the soil of a supposed divine order. As the stars 
keep their appointed courses, as every part of this universe 
which the Greeks fittingly called the cosmos has its place in a 
system, so should order obtain in human affairs. "Nothing 
too much" was the motto of the Delphic temple. Arrogant 
pride and anarchy were alike abhorrent to the gods of Greece 
and of Israel. Rather, says religion, let all recognize the 
majesty of law, whose "seat is the bosom of God, whose voice 
is the harmony of the world, to whom all things do homage, 
the very least as feeling her care, the greatest as not exempted 
from her power." 

These noble conceptions were indeed twisted and perverted 
by influences derived from certain vindictive elements of 
human justice. It is, perhaps, significant that Israel's God, 
when he proclaims himself as "visiting the iniquities of the 
fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation, 
styles himself the "jealous God," not the just God. Venge- 
ance upon enemies was a natural attitude in early days. 
But Rhadamanthus, though inexorable and stern, would show 
no partiality, and it is notable that Christianity in its concep- 
tion of redemption and atonement tried to mitigate the more 
rigorous conception of imperial authority and impersonal 
order by the old personal and humane conception of the next- 
of-kin who would represent and protect his brethren. Justice 
and love were somehow to unite. 

In the task that lies before the builders of the better world, 
only large and generous conceptions of justice will serve the 
day. No adjustments of boundaries or balances that will 
not in the long run commend themselves to the conscience of 


the future, which is perhaps the nearest we can come to a 
criterion of religious justice, will accomplish the largest results. 
To establish a world-order — call it a league if you like one 
word, call it an association if you like another — in which law, 
not power, shall rule, in which each people shall be enabled to 
contribute as members to the welfare of all, in which weaker 
classes and backward peoples shall be protected from greed 
and aggression — this is a task in which the reUgious conception 
of justice should be the spirit within the wheels. 

As we look upon the actual situation in the organized 
reUgions of today, it is undoubtedly with mixed feelings of 
hope and depression. Churches, synagogues, mosques, and 
temples seem helpless in many things; they do not exercise 
the influence upon statesmen, or men of affairs, or upon the 
ranks of labor which we might expect if they were less divided. 
Their hold upon the intellect of the day seems tenuous. Their 
very behefs, as embodied in the symbols now in use, seem no 
longer charged with the fulness of fervor and conviction that 
once led men gladly to die in their behalf. The great realities 
of present experience do not seem to find their most vital 
expression in the language of the pulpit, the altar, or the hymn. 
And it is not completely satisfactory to charge rehgious 
indifference to the superior attractions of golf, or the automo- 
bile, or the movies, or to the native unresponsiveness of men 
to higher and finer things. I fear that religious teachers must 
bear their share of the blame, if blame there be. It is no 
doubt an era of transition between the imagery, doctrines, and 
conceptions which served to interpret man's deeper life in 
days past, and those as yet unframed sjonbols and concep- 
tions which shall both interpret and inform the deeper Kfe 
of the future: 

But now the old is out of date; 

The new is not yet born. 

Yet, while we await the new, we may, if we are sensitive to the 
deeper life of our time, find religion in many a type of expression 


which is not tagged with an ecclesiastical label. The beloved 
community has other language than that of creeds, and other 
organs than church or synagogue. 

One of these institutions of rehgious spirit and influence 
should be the institution of education. In a notable address, 
the late President Harper spoke of the university as represent- 
ing in present-day democracy the threefold fvmction of the 
religious organization of ancient Israel. The university, he 
suggested, is today serving democracy as prophet, priest, and 
king. Similarly, are not college and university called to serve 
a genuine religious function both in our domestic economic 
and industrial order, and in the international world-order 
toward which we are being irresistibly driven ? In war time 
colleges and universities in all lands contributed to the resources 
of their governments. But all college and university men, 
I am confident, would feel it a far greater privilege to contrib- 
ute to the constructing and unifying forces of a better day. 
In ways somewhat inarticulate, they are indeed so contributing. 
The world of ideas is not, like the world of material interests, 
in its nature exclusive. Our sick are healed through the 
researches of a Pasteur and a Behrens, a Lister, an Ehrhch, 
a Noguchi. Generous rivalry in the promotion of truth 
xmites. The presence of students from all parts of the world 
sitting side by side as they now sit in all our larger universities 
is a significant and hopeful sign of the unif3dng function of 

And besides the organized agencies there is a third agency, 
in some respects the broadest channel of unifying feeling — the 
world of art and letters. Art has many functions — ^to give 
joy, to make us forget grim reality, or to enable us to appre- 
hend it more profoundly and so to appreciate its pathos, 
its tragedy, and its humor. But, as Tolstoy so forcefully 
insisted, it has for one of its functions the task of uniting men 
through common sympathies. The opportunities of the present 
day for sharing the great creations of Hterature which stir 


in us the common and uniting emotions are greater than ever 
before. It may not be in the near future that we shall expe- 

One common wave of thought and joy, 

Lifting mankind again, 

but as we are learning, through their art and literature, to 
understand the peoples of the earth better, and to sympathize 
more fully with all sorts and conditions of men everywhere 
through realistic portrayal of their daily life, or through imagi- 
native symbols of their aspirations, we surely have the media 
for a broader community of feeling, the materials for what may 
ultimately be a wider religious community than has yet been 
organized under any creed or found its unity in any ecclesiasti- 
cal assembly. 

The Kingdom of God, we have to remind ourselves, cometh 
not with observation. The filaments that bind together men 
and peoples into a freer, juster, more harmonious and helpful 
order, are subtle and often invisible. They are spun from 
many materials. Many were torn apart in the Great War. 
But the needs of men are at work in bringing divided peoples 
together. From exchanges of goods and services, from inter- 
commxmication of knowledge and ideas, from aid to suffering 
children or famine-stricken provinces, from the world of art 
and letters, new filaments are being spvm. The conference 
at Washington, so far as it brings men together and attempts a 
method of reason rather than of force, is one such uniting bond. 
If the conference had taken place in Judea, it would belong 
to sacred history. It is a test of our own reHgious insight 
that we recognize the significance of all these many expressions 
of the religious motive. It is a test of our own religious faith 
if we find opportvmities for its expression, not only in the 
recognized channels of older language and older activities, but 
also in the language and activities of our own day. And 
despite cynicism, if we are genuinely reUgious, we shall make 
our own the faith of Lincoln — the faith that right makes might.