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306 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF THEOLOGY 

into another world. We may think of God as "the guiding spirit of 
social progress, the leader in the work of human betterment, who strives 
and suffers with us in the cause of universal evolution" (p. 281). 
Another fundamental belief is the affirmation of the eternal worth of the 
human person, involving, of course, immortality, but also involving the 
conviction that the religion of human progress is a worthy end. Thus 
the belief in immortality is not a doctrine of reward in another life for 
deeds done here, but is rather the conception of an unlimited opportunity 
of personal development transcending the obstacles and disappoint- 
ments of earthly life. 

The book is a welcome addition to the growing literature which sets 
forth the religious aspects of our modern life, with its mastery of nature 
and its growing belief that the world as we know it need not be accepted 
just as it stands, but may be transformed through the co-operation of 
spiritually minded men. It is one of the merits of Professor Wright's 
discussion that while he recognizes in this aspiration of our age a kind 
of religion very different from the supernaturalism which found expres- 
sion in the mediaeval creeds and liturgies, he at the same time interprets 
it as a phase of the evolution of religion. Doubtless there is already a 
widespread attitude of welcome for precisely this type of religion. But 
there is as yet a deplorably meager provision for the social cultivation of 
a strong sense of the vitality of this kind of faith. It is to be hoped that 
Professor Wright's book will be widely read; for it is well calculated to 
arouse interest and sympathy for a religious movement of great promise. 

Gerald Birney Smith 
University of Chicago 

DISCUSSIONS OF CHRISTIAN ETHICS 1 

The Christian Life in the Modern World is the subject of the McNair 
lectures given by Professor F. G. Peabody at the University of North 
Carolina. The author recognizes that the burning questions for the 
Christian thinker of the present are not those of criticism nor of Chris- 
tian theology, but those of Christian ethics. It is charged by many that 
"all that can be substituted for an incredible theology is an impossible 
ethics." The reply made to this is that Christianity asks "the accep- 
tance, not of a teaching, but of a teacher," and that it must be "recog- 
nized as a progressive historic movement, still in the making." In a 
discussion of the family the socialistic idea that the family is to be 

1 The Christian Life in the Modem World. By Francis G. Peabody. New York: 
Macmillan, 1914. 234 pages. $1.25. 



DISCUSSIONS OF CHRISTIAN ETHICS 307 

merged into the larger unity of the state is repudiated, the importance 
of eugenics is acknowledged, the method of the rich in sending children 
to boarding-school is characterized as "a principle of deportation," and 
the true philosophy of the family is found in Jesus' teaching of the 
indissolubleness of the marriage tie. 

Taking up the subject of business and industry the author assumes 
" that humanity is to remain for the present as it is," and urges that " the 
only practical problem, therefore, is to apply the principle of competition 
to beneficent ends." This is in contrast to unethicized capitalism on the 
one hand, and socialism on the other. "The wage system in its bare 
economic form must be supplemented, if it is not to be supplanted"; 
but this leads to profit-sharing, industrial partnership, and the like, 
through the infusing of "fraternalism" into our competitive system. A 
lecture is devoted to the ethics of spending and of giving. The concep- 
tion of the state as an instrument of conquest is contrasted with the 
conception of it as a moral organism, an agent of idealism. The plan 
for a "World Conference on Faith and Order" is characterized, in the 
light of the conditions of unity proposed, as being based upon a dog- 
matic, confessional, intellectualized view of discipleship. What is 
needed is "a simplified, socialized, and spiritualized church," which is 
"but another name for the Christian life organized to serve the modern 
world." 

The lectures take account of the most recent literature on the sub- 
jects dealt with, they are written with the author's well-known felicity 
of expression and mastery of antithesis, and they bring out his point of 
view skilfully under broad, simple, and suggestive conceptions. They 
can hardly be said, however, to make a contribution additional to that 
already made in Professor Peabody's widely read and brilliant books on 
Christian ethics; and there are several questions, which He close to the 
themes taken up, that receive but slight treatment, or none at all — such, 
for example, as the bearing of industrialism and feminism on the family; 
the reciprocal relation between the individual Christian life and a pro- 
gressive reconstruction of social institutions; internationalism; and 
church federation. 

A convenient manual, "intended primarily for the use of study- 
circles, young people's classes and inquirers generally," is The Christian 
Life, 1 by Rev. R. H. Coats. It is divided into sections which adapt it 
for daily reading and weekly discussions for an eight weeks' course. 

1 The Christian Life. By R. II. Coats. Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark. 
164 pages. 6d. 



308 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF THEOLOGY 

Such studies, prepared by competent men and published in inexpensive 
form, as is true in this instance, are greatly needed, and the teaching of 
this little volume is judicious and admirable, but the material, the 
vocabulary, and the arrangement are hardly popular enough for the 
purpose in view. 

Christian Freedom is the title of the Baird lecture for 1013, 1 delivered 
by William M. MacGregor, pastor of Saint Andrew's United Free 
Church, Edinburgh. The lectures were addressed to popular audiences 
in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Their topic is "the priesthood of all 
believers." The author has developed his thought by means of a free 
exposition of the Epistle to the Galatians; at the same time he has 
drawn liberally on all the Pauline epistles and on the life of Paul. Perti- 
nent though the Epistle to the Galatians is to the author's subject, the 
reader is likely to feel that the blending of exposition and systematic 
discussion has interfered with the value of the result. But the book 
is enriched by many allusions to recent critical and theological writings, 
as well as to general literature, and many stimulating passages as to the 
meaning of Christian freedom are given. 

Eugene W. Lyman 

Graduate School of Theology 
Oberlin, Ohio 



THE THEORY OF ABSTRACT ETHICS 

In a small but thoughtful book* the author has condensed the results 
of many years of philosophical and ethical reflection and, at the same 
time, given his own new solution of a problem by which, until recently, 
he had been somewhat baffled. This result he reached in consequence 
of his perusal of a review of Juvalta's Old and New Problem of Morality 
written by Mr. Benn in Mind, January, 1915. Not a little of the thought, 
too, seems to have been evoked by the present European conflict. At 
any rate, the author's conclusions afford a basis for the British conten- 
tion that individual states should be allowed to develop in accordance 
with their own inherent tendencies rather than that they should be 
directed by some more or less benevolent despot. 

In the opening chapter, Mr. Whittaker presents his own metaphysical 
position, especially his epistemology, which is idealistic, modified in the 
direction of philosophical rationalism. He indicates his approval of 

1 Christian Freedom. By William M. MacGregor. London: Hodder & 
Stoughton, 1014. xii+427 pages. $1.50. 

2 The Theory of Abstract Ethics. By Thomas Whittaker. Cambridge: Uni- 
versity Press, 1916. viii+126 pages. 4s.6d.