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grained; bent on sordid ends, and seeking them by sordid


The masses that have been the less successful in this selfish competition are becoming uneasily conscious of their inferiority. But they fall back into the old error that the strong may compel the service of the weak. They have discovered that ten are stronger than one, and that by combination the many can compel the action of the few. They are lifting their solid mass to take from the individual the open career which by the conflicts of centuries he has won, and to enslave him again to society. They proclaim that rights belong to society, to the individual only duties that he is the creature and tool of society. They proclaim the old error (exposed by Jesus) that man exists for his institutions. But however excellent the sentiments embodied in institutions, if they are constituted on the error that man exists for his institutions, they only bring back the old oppression in a new form. The re-organization thus proposed by the socialists among the labor-reformers is the old tyranny in a new form, and the worst form in which it has ever appeared. It is the organization of mediocrity, the lifting of inferiority to rule by the power of mere mass; it restrains genius, ability, and industry from gaining more than imbecility, mediocrity, and indolence; it closes the career to talent; it makes human progress impossible.

The evil itself, and the greater evil of these methods of attempting to right it, can be met only by Christianity. Under the Christian law of service individual liberty and rights are respected; a career is open to talent; the strongest stimulus to individual enterprise and development exists; all that has been won by the struggles of modern times is retained. Yet every right is acknowledged to have its correlative duty; the individual is followed in his acquisition by the Christian law of service; he accepts the obligation to choose and prosecute his business, and to use all that he attains by it, to render service to man. Higher ideals of life are created; men live for higher ends, and seek better

things. The coarse and vulgarizing influence of the greed of gain abates, and, instead, " sweetness and light" pervade society. The tendency to inequality is arrested, and society advances towards equality, because all are engaged in productive, and therefore legitimate, business, and prosecute it as stewards of God's grace and for the service of man; and equality is ultimately realized, so far as the diversities of talent, and of diligence and skill in the use of talent and opportunity, permit. The evils growing in our civilization can be removed only by obedience to the Christian law of service. The progress of society is possible only so far as the individual members of society become freely conformed to the spirit and law of Christ.1

III. It remains to Determine the Dividing Line between Selfishness and Christian Benevolence.

1. Worldly business is not necessarily worldliness. Money is not an evil, but a good, indispensable in every enterprise, Christian or unchristian; and it is every man's duty to strive to acquire it. It is not money, but the love of money, which Paul says is a root of all evil. It is not proof of covetousness that a man is diligent in business, rising early and working late and working hard; nor that he is frugal, and eats the bread of carefulness; nor that his business absorbs his thoughts, his interest, and his energy; nor that he rejoices in success and is grieved at failure; nor that he is successful, and rapidly accumulating property. Because forecast, diligence, concentration, and energy are essential to success in all undertakings. Thoughtlessness, negligence, indolence cannot succeed; and on them Christianity pronounces no blessing. Besides, a man's business is his lifework; and if it is worthy to be his life-work, it is worthy of the concentration on it of his thoughts, his interest, and

1 The terrible history of Communism in Paris confirms the views here presented. Dr. Maudsley advances the opinion, and maintains it at considerable length, that the existing greed of gain is a cause of insanity, and also is causing a physical degeneracy of the race. Physiology and Pathology of the Mind, pp. 205, 206.

his energy. A man's business is like a warfare; and he feels an interest like that of a general in planning his campaigns and marshalling his forces, and similar joy in victory and sorrow in defeat. All these are characteristics of efficiency in business, not of covetousness.

Covetousness is not merely, as commonly defined, au excessive desire of acquisition. The difference between covetousness and Christian justice and benevolence is not of degree, but of kind.

Covetousness is the desire of gain for selfish ends, and not for its uses in the service of man. If a man is doing business simply to make money, he is covetous.

When Jesus says: "Take heed and beware of covetousness," he uses a Greek word, which literally means, a grasping for more. And this is a peculiarity of covetousness; it is a desire for more, rather than a desire for much; a desire to be richer, rather than a desire to be rich. A rich man who has riches already and a poor man who never expects to be rich may be equally covetous, grasping for more. This is the wolf in the breast, always ravening and always hungry; the fire in the soul, to which every acquisition is fuel, making it burn more fiercely.

The philosophy of it is this. In the nature of man is a radical and indestructible impulse to put forth his energies in action, to push out in every direction to his utmost capacity. A man's business is the work which he has chosen for life, in which this radical impulse must find sphere and scope. The success of any enterprise gives him joy, because it is a triumph of his skill and energy, and not necessarily because it is an acquisition of gain. But the very acquisition furnishes means for further and larger enterprise, and thus stimulates the impulse to further risk and larger undertakings. So that, however large the acquisitions, the man is still driven to strive for more, with the same forecast, frugality, and energy which have hitherto insured success; and to this the power of habit is added, impelling to continued action in the same direction.

The blame here does not rest on the impulse to enterprise; for that lies at the very root of our natures. Nor does the blame attach to the indestructibleness and insatiableness of the impulse; for these are inherent in it as a radical impulse of nature. The impulse to action, the same grasping for more, appears in Christian beneficence. Success in one Christian work stimulates to effort in another. The soul is insatiable in its zeal to do good. It is driven to new toils and new achievements. Xavier, thinking he served God by his own sufferings, when enduring severe privations and suffering, cried: "More, Lord, more." Paul counted it all joy to take the spoiling of his goods, or whatever suffering was incidental to his missionary enterprises, and was planning a mission to Spain, ever pressing on to enlarge the sphere of his Christian enterprise. A man who in the work of his life does not find his nature crying out for more, and driving him to new work, and does not find in that "fresh fields and pastures new," is enervated; so far his manhood is spent out of him. So profoundly is it true that a man is not to be ministered unto, but to minister; his blessedness is not by being indulged and receiving, but by achievement.

So far as eagerness and insatiableness in the enterprises of business are the result of the natural impulse to action they are not blameworthy. The blameworthiness is that the covetous man spends his energies for himself. He may hoard his gains, or invest them in larger enterprises, or use them to gain office or power, or spend them in ostentation and luxury. But in every case it is for self, using his superiority to insure being ministered unto, not to minister to others. Thus, working only for himself, he is like a steam-engine of a thousand horse power, driven night and day to manufacture fuel to feed its own fires.

2. The law of service is not fulfilled merely by consecrating to benevolence a part, however large, of the income. The business itself and its whole income are consecrated. Christianity teaches stewardship; we are not our own, but bought with a price; we are stewards of the manifold grace of God.

VOL. XXIX. No. 114.


In every action, investment, and expenditure we are to determine how we can best use the powers and possessions which God has intrusted to us for the establishment of his kingdom on earth.

3. The line between benevolence and selfishness is not to be drawn between what one expends on himself and his family and what he gives away. This line is not marked by outward acts. What you expend on yourself and your family need not be expended selfishly. It ought to be expended in Christian consecration and benevolence as really as what is given away.

It may be, and probably is, the use of money by which you most effectively benefit mankind. To take the lowest view possible, it is relieving society from the support of so many persons. The division of society into families is the best possible constitution of society, and insures the most rapid and abundant creation of wealth. It also is the best possible arrangement for the promotion of intelligence, culture, and piety. To create a happy home-one of the many happy homes which make a happy people, to create a well-ordered Christian home-one of the many which make a Christian people, is to render the greatest and best service to society. On the other hand, if in expenditure on yourself and your family you are seeking only your own gratification, only ostentation and display, only to have everything pleasant about you, only to be ministered unto, however lavish you may be, the very lavishness is but the outshining of selfish


4. Is a Christian justified in expending money on himself and his family beyond procuring the necessaries of life? And if so, how far may he incur expense for enjoyment and luxury, or for developing and satisfying the taste for beauty and the desires which belong to culture and refinement?

The mass of human misery is so great as to overtop all individual resources. When one thinks of himself as a debtor to all mankind, as much as in him lies, to render them service, the first impression may naturally be that he

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