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his continual assertion that the nation is a moral organism and has a life of its own, with certain necessary institutions and characteristics working towards certain ends. Being an organism, its processes are necessary as in all organic bodies. Hence social science is possible, and hence also there is no occasion for or justification of the empiricism that so marks its history. If society is an organism, social science consists in finding out the laws of the organism and their methods and ends-a process the reverse of arbitrarily shaping society so as to get rid of certain evils and to secure certain good results. If society is a moral organism, its aim is righteousness and its action will be in freedom. His main thesis is that the nation is such a moral organism, that it transcends physical conditions, and finds the constituents of its life in freedom and law and in the conscious fulfillment of a vocation. He carries this thought through more than four hundred pages, with much apparent repetition but always with some advance of the argument, which is chiefly illustrated in the laws and institutions of the United States, but is abundantly reenforced by quotations from literature and history. The constant refrain from first to last is that the nation is not constituted in the necessary process of the physical world, but in the order of a moral world; the ties of the nation are the ties of humanity, and the life of the individual in the two is one life, and it is moral. Moral action is conditioned on freedom, which is the law or essence of the nation. He makes the analogy between the life of the individual and of the nation exact and imperative, but each working out its destiny in mutual dependence and along the same lines.
This theory is a repudiation of all social compact and police theories of government as something to be shaped by chance or apparent need. The outcome of such a line of thought, as we might suppose, is in the loftiest heights of religion, the nation is divine; its vocation is righteousness; it lives in freedom; its laws are moral, and are like those over the individual; it exists in God. In short, Dr. Mulford, by a scientific examination and in the actual process of our own institutions and in the confirming testimony of the great thinkers, reaches the same conception of the nation as that of the Puritans. They leaped, or rather flew, to the height of their truth on the wings of spiritual sight; he reaches it by an examination of humanity and by an elaboration of details of ten as dry as the statute-book itself. He reaches it also by an exhaustive study of the nation in its antagonisms, as against the idea of confederacy and the empire and other arbitrary or tyrannical conceptions. He finds
himself carried by his argument beyond the limits usually set about politics, even to the very throne of God, from which he does not hold back, but draws nigh and lays down the allegiance of the nation where it receives its life,- in no rhetorical or sentimental way, but with full logical necessity. The book closes in a strain matching at once the loftiest visions of the Apocalypse and the profoundest feeling of the country as it emerged from the war of sacrifice, finding each to be in accord with the other and one equally to be realized with the other.
It presents a conception of the nation never before so fully wrought out: it is a work done once and finally; its definitions of the nation cannot be varied more than the definitions of geometry; all future treatment of social science will be upon the foundations laid by him and along the lines which he pursued. He made that clear and logical connection between the social life of humanity and the kingdom of God which has always been felt to exist but which had not been put into scientific form. He showed that Christianity is the order of the world and that its laws are the laws of society,- truths long well understood and often asserted, but not before wrought into the details of a theory of social science. It is a book that could not have been written at an earlier period; it was inevitable that it should have been written when it was. Dr. Mulford simply transcribed the evolution—or rather, revelation-of society as he beheld it. The ideal of the nation had been unfolded on this continent; the war for the Union was the seal of its divineness. It was given to him to see this ideal and to connect it with the life of humanity as revealed in the Christ. He had that endowment of profound thought and mental grasp, that patience in research, that divisive glance which separated the real from the unreal, that rare gift of accurately detecting law, that moral sense which made him responsive to the moral and the divine, that sure conviction that God is not absent from the world but is a living order within it, and that loftiness of nature which kept the great facts of human society before him as vital and moving realities; these qualities fitted and enabled him to fulfill the task set him by Providence.
The fault of the book is that of style, and may be simply indicated as lack of clearness. This does not reach to the thought, but has its origin in excessive pondering and so of penetrating farther and farther into the abstract forms of the subject, and also in some mannerisms caught from the Germans and reenforced by personal peculiarities. In dignity, majesty, and massiveness of expression, in occasional eloquence, it cannot well be sur
passed. It is, with all its abstractness and farawayness, still a most near and vital book, and bears as much trace of feeling and devotion as of thought. One lays it down querying whether one has been reading a book of politics or of theology, but with a dawning suspicion that they may possibly be one. This was exactly Dr. Mulford's position. The nation is divine; theology is realized in organized humanity; the laws and methods of each are the same and run indistinguishably into each other. Thus he says: "The morality of a people, and so also its politics, will always correspond to its actual theology, and will be but the sequence of that."
The influence of this book has been great but peculiar. It can hardly be said to be popular. Dr. Mulford had so great confidence in his thought, and such respect for the intelligence of the people, that he fancied its publication would influence the fall elections; but its effect upon the masses was about that of the Beati tudes upon a mob,- the exact truth needed, but not quite in moral range. It is a book for the leaders, and not for the rank and file. No one who legislates, or writes on political science, or speaks on social subjects can afford to pass it by; and one should hesitate long before one allows one's self to conceive of human society as having any other basis or end than that here indicated, for the book simply presents the life of the nation as included within Christianity. So ably is this done, and so firmly is political life linked to the work of the Christ, that there could be no better book of Evidences than this. The skeptic who doubts Christianity when looked at directly cannot fail to see in this picture of national life, which he cannot doubt, the full lineaments of essential Christianity. In a secondary way the influence of the book has been marked. Many statesmen have pondered its great truths and baptized their principles afresh in its divine spirit. The abler editors have caught its meaning and now interpret the nation under its conception. Its under tone may be heard in presidential messages and in the forms of legislation. It reënforces social reformers and guides them along safe and winning lines. It has helped to create a popular sentiment against those conceptions of society which are based on the hard analogies of physical science. But its chief office is to link the necessary life of the nation to the processes of Christianity, or to establish the identity of political action with Christian faith, or, in simpler words still, it presents the kingdom of God as coming in the order of human society.
This book was the product of long and wide study and much brooding and rewriting. Dr.
Mulford fulfilled the Horatian maxim, and kept his work till the "ninth year" before giving it to the world. He was not insensible to the ambition of an author; still the book came from him like the message of a prophet, and almost as if without will of his own.
In 1880 Dr. Mulford removed to Cambridge, where he became a lecturer on theology in the Episcopal School. No other position was ever offered him in the ecclesiastical world, and the recognition of a theological degree was carefully withheld; for it must be stated that he early fell under that suspicion of “unsoundness" which blasts so much of fresh and independent thought in this country. Why this suspicion should have fastened on him, it is hard to tell, unless it was occasioned by a disposition to ask questions within theological precincts a habit which is never unobserved nor forgiven. It may also have been due to his undisguised sympathy with Maurice, who had come into prominence through the Jelf controversy and awakened an interest if not a following in this country while Mulford was in college. That this suspicion followed him even to the last with its mild but real defamation, shutting off all but a grudging and half-hearted recognition, illustrates the degree of intelligence and charity which still mark our theological world. One may deny the multiplication table with impunity, but if one intimates that eternal may not be synonymous with everlasting, he is a heretic though he have all the graces of St. John; and when this suspicion once fastens on a man, musk is not so diffusive and persistent. While Dr. Mulford was conscious of the fact that he was suspected where he ought to have been understood, he seldom spoke of it, and was the farthest from courting such a reputation or meeting it in a bravado way; he was not keyed to such a spirit. He was no comeouter; the whole cast of his mind was profoundly conservative; there was in him nothing of the iconoclast; he was to the last fiber constructive. One searches in vain along his pages for denials except for the sake of definition; his sense of human society and of personal relation to it was such as to hold him off from eccentric thought and conduct; he was nearly devoid of those qualities which usually belong to heretics, yet he bore most unjustly that imputation. His appeal from it was not to the right of private opinion or merely to intelligence and reason, but to the consensus of the centuries. Hence at the close of "The Republic of God "he prints the Nicene creed, as though he would say, "See, I have said nothing new, but only this"; and most significantly he adds the two dates, "A. D. 381-1881."
This book, like "The Nation," was born, as
it were, by an impulse of its own. He was no self-determining maker of books or collaborator with publishers, but finding himself with a message, he had no rest till it was spoken. The history of such a mind in its relation to the religious thought of the age is worth heeding, if we can get at it. It is now quite the custom to regard special thought or belief as a matter of pedigree; if one puts an emphasis upon his faith or shows a lack, it must be traced to some other mind, and so back to some great final name like Coleridge or Hegel or Calvin. But spiritual history cannot be so compassed; it may be self-originating. Some event in personal history, some peculiarity of mind, some obscure and remote influence may indeed cause a rift in the frame-work of belief through which it all flows out to be remolded in a form consonant with later knowledge. The origin of doubt, or denial, or question, or protest in matters of religion is often obscure and unknown even to self, and is quite as likely to spring out of depths within or from seeming accident as from what is called the spirit of the age. On my first serious interchange of thought with Dr. Mulford in 1856, I found him permeated with the influence of Maurice to a degree that suggested an absence of criticism, but I am now inclined to think that the main lines of his theology were fixed before the Jelf controversy made Maurice known here. In minds of the cast of Dr. Mulford's the reaction against Calvinism comes early and with power. Some features of his life in college are to be regarded in the light of a transition from one form of faith to another; there was a seeming indifference which was the mask of agonizing doubt. It is probable that he had mainly thought himself clear before he had opened a book of theology, and that his teachers then, as ever after, were the Bible, the masters in literature, and human life itself within and about him. But Maurice came to him like native air, the vast complement of his own immature thought, and he reveled in him without limit or criticism. He never wavered nor lessened in his almost boundless regard for Maurice, but he came to quote and name him less frequently. He may be regarded as very early ceasing to sit at the feet of his master and soon coming to walk by his side, and at last as having as long and stout a stride. Both are now beyond the reach of human comparison, and so I may say that in the last few years of his life his intellectual grasp seemed stronger and his vision clearer than that of his great teacher. He had not the saintliness of Maurice, nor did he trouble himself with such questions as subscription, which Maurice deemed important, nor did he enter upon so broad fields of study; but
he thought subjects through which Maurice only touched, staid and toiled where Maurice simply alighted. Hence the two books that he produced cannot be matched by any in Maurice's voluminous collection. It is also true that the tie was not more that of theological agreement than of sympathy with the intellectual temper and feeling of Maurice, with his general characteristics and attitude quite as much as with his specific opinions. I do not intend to convey the impression that Dr. Mulford was not responsive to the religious thought of the age. On the contrary, he was keenly alive to what is called the modern spirit in theology; but his part in it was not that of following, but leading. Follow indeed he seems to have done; but for the same reason and in the same way that he did original work in politics, so he would have done in theology had the subject come to him as freshly. Had there been no Coleridge and Thomas Erskine and Maurice and Bushnell and Robertson, Mulford would have been a theologian of the same general character as now. His work on "The Nation" shows his ability to grasp a great theme in an original way; and the close alliance he discovered between political science and Christianity would have led him to substantially the same theological conceptions. Every page of "The Republic of God" may be read between the lines of "The Nation." It is sometimes said of him that he is vague, that he has no system and no formal logic; but it would be difficult to find an author whose years from first to last are linked together in such harmony, and whose positions on all subjects are joined by so rigid and consistent a logic.
While Dr. Mulford responded fully to the modern movement in theology, he was little affected by it as it appeared in New England. The protest made by him in Andover was total and fundamental. The strife in the always progressive theology of New England-and it was never more rapid in its onward movement than it was thirty years ago was towards reasonableness and breadth, but it was without freedom. It must first be Calvinistic and then, if possible, in some way reasonable; it must be broad and free, but always under some overshadowing doctrine of divine sovereignty; it was always paying out cable to the same old anchor and interpreting the larger swing as a voyage. Hence it did not succeed in preventing, nor later in counteracting, the Unitarian defection. It beat a path for Methodism and Universalism. It grew more and more intellectual, but it never reached the end of its argument; and so, while protesting against rationalism, it became itself a system of mere reason and formal logic with some wire-like attachments of bib
lical texts. Dr. Bushnell broke away from the orthodoxy of the day made indifferent to him by his genius and doubly indifferent by insight and breadth of vision. Dr. Mulford, though profoundly admiring Dr. Bushnell, never fell into his habit of thought. It is very significant and revealing that Bushnell, with his superb rhetoric and spiritual insight and lofty freedom, made less appeal to the young Mulford than such an author as Thomas Erskine. The reason is that in one there was a subordination of the logical sense to the imagination, while the other struck straight to the heart of the Gospel with undivertible gaze. Dr. Bushnell often suggests the suspicion that he is trying to prove what he has already, by some other process, decided to be true; his way often lies through the air, and sometimes through the clouds. But Erskine and Maurice, whatever else may be said of them, were pitiless exegetes, with very slight regard for any systems or methods or conclusions beyond what they found in the revelation of God. Mulford is often spoken of, as these men were, as vague and fanciful; but these impressions are caught from surface features of his style. His strongest quality and few men ever possessed it in a higher degree is a relentless logic; but his logic is not that of dialectics.
The modern movement in theology may be said to have two main features,- rationality and breadth; it consists with knowledge and it is larger than any system. These features are conspicuously illustrated in "The Republic of God." It begins by affirming that the consciousness of God comes into the consciousness of man through experience. Here is the appeal to life-a keynote that sounds throughout the book. The experience of the individual, the family, and the nation in the life of humanity, here is the revelation of God. This experience tends towards personality through freedom and morality, and so comes to a consciousness of God as personal and free and moral. As man becomes a person, he knows God as a person, and so comes into relations with God. Upon such a foundation -the denial and reverse of agnosticism and materialism — the author builds his fabric by a succession of statements, each one of which is the result of close reasoning, but is without its dialectic form. He is careful to show that personality does not involve limitation. The personality of man is grounded in the personality of God, and God is known through a realization of personality; as man knows himself he knows God, and so comes to a sense of freedom and morality and immortality. The most striking part of the book is that in which Dr. Mulford discusses the relations of Christianity to religion and philosophy, shocking
his readers at first by his emphatic assertion that "the revelation of and in Christ is not a religion and it is not a philosophy," - regarding it as a universal or total under which these are specifics. Christianity is not a religion, but a revelation; it is not one of ten great religions, but is God revealed in the life of humanity. It is not a cultus nor a speculative system, but is the divine order of human society. The main part of the book is devoted to the revelation by Christ,- the central thought of which is Christ's perfect oneness with the Father, and also with humanity; the latter is personal and universal; the history of Christ in death and resurrection and ascension and in the Holy Spirit is the history of humanity; the work of the Spirit in the conviction of sin and of righteousness and of judgment is the continuous revelation of God in and by Christ in the life of humanity. This is not a far-away, a future, a here-and-there and now-and-then process, but is a present, continuous, and universal process. It is here that Dr. Mulford links the revelation in Christ to that sentiment of humanity now so prevalent, making the former inclusive of the latter. His treatment of eschatological subjects is under a conception of eternity as a term of absoluteness, and not of time; the eternal world is here and now, not there and thereafter. He makes no dogmatic assertions as to destiny, but leaves such themes under the general spirit, scope, and trend of the Gospel as a redemption of the world, and so enveloped in an atmosphere of hope, but with an absolute and eternal emphasis of condemnation upon sin.
If it were asked in what the power of this book consists, or what is its peculiarity, the answer would be that it is not marked so much by originality as by thoroughness and intensity of vision from a certain standpoint,namely, the living God. His point of view gives him his vision and scope, and his fidelity to it is his power. The book seems to be dogmatic-an appearance that passes away when it is seen that the assertions are a succession of apprehensions or sights which when taken together form a self-supporting unity. As a whole, the book is the reverse of dogmatic and is profoundly scientific, presenting a view of theology in harmony with the human mind and dealing with the problems of life in a satisfactory way. It is like a look from the sun at the solar system, which so becomes a simple and self-explaining thing - the point of view rendering needless the long and intricate calculations necessary if the view be taken from the earth. As astronomy is a simple science to one who stands in the sun, so theology is a plain matter to one who stands beside God.
The larger synthesis which Dr. Mulford ing of doctrines and texts; if outcry for a thus makes displaces smaller theories, and school or zeal for orthodoxy are the signs of vindicates itself by its simplicity and large a theologian,- then he was not one. But if reasonableness. In other words, he sees his unfolding the relation of Christianity to the subject in "the totality of its relations." When world is the real work of a theologian, he a writer does this, we do not accuse him of was one. That he possessed a glorious imdogmatism, nor ask him to prove a point; if agination; that he was awed almost into he will mount on his wings and tell us what he silence before eternal and infinite truth; that sees, we will accept his report. Still, while Dr. his thought trembled with deepest emotion Mulford appeared simply to announce his and was always ready to burst into adoring thought, his discovery of it was by a slow, ecstasy; that his sense of humanity ensphered severe, plodding process and by exact logical and colored the whole action of his mind,stages. He spoke as a seer, but he was first a these qualities serve to make him that sort of patient and careful thinker and student. His theologian now needed, and still more to be sympathy and imagination were large and needed as Christianity is applied in the reactive, but they never so gilded a sophistry demption of society and comes to its own that it dazzled his judgment. fullness. Dr. Mulford might be styled a social theologian. Theology has chiefly played about the individual; it needs no prophet to see that its field is to be humanity in a collective sense. It is henceforth to interpret the truth that "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son." Hence his work in some sense is prophetic in its nature; it provides for the questions which are now rising into the consciousness of the age and pressing to the front. It is the gravest mistake to regard him as the exponent of certain minor questions of destiny; his indifference to the current discussions of such questions was so great as to shut them out from even private conversation. Still, he allowed no inhuman theology or narrow exegesis to blur the glory and the reality of Redemption.
While "The Republic of God" is eminently a fair and correct interpretation of Christianity, we value more highly the atmosphere of the book, and find here its greatest power and originality. It is the utterance of a great mind and bears its stamp. It is lofty beyond the usual sense of the word. It is passionless as to earthly feeling, but it is keyed to the fervency of heaven. It is world-wide apart from all theological strife; it makes no recognition of parties or schools, but is taken up and possessed by the one thought of the revelation of God in and by Christ in the life of humanity. In form it has the loftiest dignity; it shows no strife or struggle of words after emphasis, but has the calm of absolute conviction. The thought runs along the borders of poetry and sentiment, and one step aside would lead into the world of prophetic ecstasy. Indeed, the scriptural key to his theological and political thought would be found in the Apocalypse, a book to him of intense reality and present meaning. His style is not at first an easy one to read; it presupposes too much in the reader; it gives the last stages only of a process of thought, and requires one's assent to the whole; it is abstract and without emphasis, but it has a charm fully realized only when his pages were read by himself. Then the rhythmic form of the sentences appeared, falling from his deep and, as it were, distant voice like the breaking of waves on a sandy beach.
I would thus, if possible, indicate the spirit in which this man wrote upon theology. If a hard dialectic; if casting down other systems and setting up one's own; if a deft dove-tail
The true field of his life and activity is in the future. As the nation unfolds its life and discloses the divine plan on which it is built, it will be seen that this young scholar traced its lines and revealed its secret. And so also as humanity moves on in fulfillment of the redemptive purpose of God, it will be seen that the same hand has traced its mighty movement,—if not with absolute correctness, yet so near that he may be counted among the prophets and teachers sent from God. His character and his work have been well set down in the lines which Whittier addressed to his memory:
Unnoted as the setting of a star
He passed; and sect and party scarcely knew
T. T. Munger.