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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

The Crying Need of the Church To-day

The Crying Need of the Church To-day

is the prophet who can supply the religious interpretation of history, and point the way to a new social order which will make possible a fuller and nobler development of human life—the prophet who will unsparingly condemn the contemporary evils which degrade our civilisation, and which, if not removed, will ultimately destroy it. Nations and civilisations, in order to endure, must adapt themselves to the developing needs of human life in the same manner that individuals must secure harmonious adaptation to their environment in order that they may live. The failure to secure this harmonious adjustment is responsible for the universal anarchy and chaos which we see in the religious, social, and political life of man to-day; and the Church must accept its fair share of the blame. How is it that there is no anarchy or chaos in the lower animal kingdom? Each race persists so long as circumstances permit. Content to live under natural laws, it satisfies its natural page 6 wants, and stops at that. I The human sub-kingdom, ever since the dawn of civilisation and the evolution of the idea of morality, shows one civilisation after another disappearing in anarchy and chaos. Why? Man, the unsatisfied animal, makes artificial by-laws which in-fringe natural law—result, chaos! This has happened over and over again. "Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, where are they?" All history tells: "Where nations towered that were not just, Lo! the skulking wild fox scratches in a little heap of dust."

One great lesson we mortals have to learn is that the social and political life of man is under the governance of Divine and universal law quite as much as is the physical world in which we live. The reign of law is now pretty generally recognised in the physical world, and also in the other portions of the great animal kingdom to which man belongs. It is also recognised to some extent in the spiritual world. But in man's relation to his mother earth, and in his relations to his brother man, most people speak and act as if the Great Creator and Law-giver had overlooked that portion of His great domain; that He had forgotten or neglected to make provision for the needs of mankind living in a civilised society! They seem to think that unless man were able to evolve out of his fertile imagination all sorts of artificial laws and regulations for the guidance of society, the result would be universal chaos. Quite the contrary is the case. Most of the ills which afflict human society spring out of man-made laws which conflict with natural laws and justice. What we have to do is not to make laws, but to discover the natural laws which God hath made, and then to bring our human institutions into harmony with those natural laws. Human society, to endure, must be based on justice, and it is well that it should be so. However powerful and apparently successful, society is on its way to anarchy and chaos if it supports injustice. I know of no stronger argument than this for belief in the Divine.

But, more than this, justice is the only possible basis for the development of the Divine side of man's nature. Love is