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who have drawn their inspiration from physical science, the freedom of the will has been analysed into a causal sequence of motives, which again have obtained their explanation in the organism and environment. The opponents of this materialistic tendency have insisted on a direct consciousness of self-caused action. So long as the battle is waged on these grounds it may go on for ever. Neither antagonist has the means of refuting the other. But now it is possible to approach the problem by a different way. A true interpretation of nature reveals a moral Governor whose will is supreme. In every department and nook of the world, in one way or another, His law is obeyed. What that law is will be most clearly seen on a reconsideration of the great Christian precept. Christ said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Hitherto we have too exclusively regarded that as an injunction to the strong to protect the weak; and if space permitted, it would be interesting to trace the causes which have led to that one-sided interpretation. But there is another and no less important side of the great commandment—viz., that it is the duty of the weak to give place to the strong. The Darwinian law of natural selection has brought that truth home to us with a force which it could not have before. All through the development of the lower sentient world, progress has been achieved by the weak giving place to the strong. In no other way than through a struggle of contending interests could that selection be made; but to the lower sentient world, the struggle, such as it is, for we must guard against the misleading associations of the term, is mitigated by the unconsciousness of the actors. There, the individual, not yet a person, but more akin to a material thing, has no worth in himself, but lives only for the species; and the struggle by which he maintains himself for a while and then finally disappears, has nothing in it morally offensive. But it is different when man appears on the scene. Through long ages of semi-conscious development, he indeed continues under the régime of the same law that operates in the lower sentient world. But a time comes,-it dates, in fact, from the advent of the Christian idea,—when to man is presented the choice of Hercules, either to follow his lower nature and continue under the law of the inferior world, or, by conscious surrender of himself to the will of the Supreme, to rise to the glorious freedom of the sons of God. Well was it spoken by the First-Born, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. This is the first and great commandment.”
Only when man has with full consciousness identified himself with the ethical principle of the universe, does he rise to the dignity of a person, and attain to freedom and all its rights. Only the Christ-born man, only the man who with absolute sincerity of soul can say, “Not my will, but Thine be done,” only that man is free. Caprice is not freedom—it is slavery. Self-will is not freedom-it is the law of the brute world; and, terrible to think, it brings the man who exercises it under the terrible lot of the brute world, with a consciousness therein from which the brute world is mercifully saved. There begins the real struggle.
Therein consists the fall of That state is the true hell. It is the conscious spirit deliberately choosing alienation from God.
Just from such refusal to achieve true freedom by voluntarily yielding place to the stronger in this high meaning of the term, have arisen all the miseries of human society. Carlyle's saying, “ Might is right,” is the cosmic aspect of the Christian precept. I do not mean, nor did Carlyle when at his best mean, the might of inherited title-deeds, or of well-filled money bags, or even of strong muscles and sinews, but the God-given might of the Spirit. How grandly the different lines of thought converge! Hegel, with
his great thought that the history of the world is the development of the idea of freedom; Carlyle, with his gospel that might is right; Darwin, with his wonderful powers of observation, tracing the cosmic discipline of self-sacrifice through natural selection,--all converge on one point, and find their culmination in the Christian ethic. And the principle we have reached of the duty of the weak to give place to the strong, is applicable all round with the richest practical results. The feeble heir of title-deeds and rank needs to ponder it; and never was there more need to preach it than in this democratic age, when every one thinks himself as good as his neighbour, because each man has a vote. In education in the widest sense, in politics, in religion, in every sphere of human interest and endeavour, it is the gospel for the time, and that just because it is the true gospel of freedom.
Perhaps a less forcible but more acceptable way of stating the same truth will be to say, that it is the duty of the less fit to yield place to the more fit. When the less fit so yields place to the more fit, we have obtained, in each particular concern of life, the survival of the fittest, without any struggle whatever. But here, once more, I am liable to misconception. I do not mean that the less fit is voluntarily to efface itself. People imagine that the survival of the fittest must necessarily imply the annihilation of the less fit. But this is not so in the moral plane of being. The superiority of the moral plane to the lower planes of development largely consists in the fact that the weak and helpless have a function, aye, and a noble one, in the world, as we shall shortly make plain. But they, as likewise the strongest, must function in the spirit of meekness. The weak, numerically strong in voting power, are apt to ignore the duty of meekness. In these days there is danger of the curs of humanity exterminating the St Bernard dogs. This principle stands in need of further illustration.
In the training of children, a beginning must be made by exacting unquestioning obedience. But obedience may be brought about in different ways. A foolish parent may gratify her own weakness by at first pampering every whim of her child, until the right relation is reversed, and the child rules the mother. In such a case, if the child is to be saved, the first thing to be done is for some prudent person to convince the child that there is nothing for it but to obey. Inexorable firmness must be practised towards the child by the parents or their substitute; otherwise the time may be allowed to