Imagens das páginas

omened and hateful, and he who has won a great victory ought to bewail his triumph with bitter lamentations, which is also the precept and practice of Asoka, the royal disciple of Buddha. In the case of India, the exaltation of the contemplative life, and of the escape from reality, appears to have gained ground the further she got from her Aryan origin. The old Vedic hymns are full of joy in contact with the forces of nature, and even the joy of human battle. Of their two Epics, one is the story of Rama, a sort of Indian Hercules, who goes about quelling the demon enemies of mankind, and the other, a diffuse and shadowy Iliad, centres round a tribal war between the Pandavas and the Kurus. Even the much later Brahminic addition, the Bhagavad Gita, upholds an ideal of unselfish activity in preference to passive inaction. But the general tendency, and especially of Buddhism, is to drift away from the world, to make gentleness and submission the chief virtues to be sought after.

It will perhaps be asked how the Japanese managed partially to adopt Buddhism and yet retain their national spirit. The case is a remarkable one, and will be found to substantiate our previous conclusions. For Japan was careful only to admit Buddhism after extracting its poison. Her original faith was Shinto, in which religion and patriotism were practically identified, and the Japanese would only let in Buddhism after safeguarding the national spirit, by making the two religions enter into alliance. This was the limit of their toleration, not to persecute on religious grounds, but to safeguard patriotism at all costs. Thus the Christians were allowed to make headway until they were suspected of disloyalty, and

then they were massacred. One of the first steps in the national revival was to resuscitate and establish Shinto, in order to strengthen patriotism and loyalty to the Imperial Dynasty.

It is only natural that the Orient should have its points of sympathy with Western materialism. Both are destructive of free will, and such cults as have exercised most influence in Europe reduce God to a vast shadow, as in the case of Brahminism, or leave Him out of account, as in the Confucian Analects. Immortality is either not to be expected, or not to be desired. Hence we find that the other Eastern creeds enjoy a larger tolerance at the hands of materialists, than Christ or Christianity. The view which regards life as an illusion or a nightmare, acts as a reinforcement to that which treats it as a function of matter, though as regards Western Europe the former is the more modern of the two. We are here concerned not with the multiplicity of beliefs that baffles the scholar, but with the vague and generalized impression of the East that has exercised its influence over Western thought; for we shall find it a rule of well-nigh universal application, that foreign systems of philosophy shed most of their details in the course of the journey, and the fate which has overtaken such near neighbours as Rousseau, Comte and Nietzsche, is not likely to spare Indian and Chinese sages.

There is one other aspect of the subject to be considered. Hitherto, in talking of love for our country, we have taken no account of a possible conflict of allegiances. Was George Washington a patriot? And if George Washington, why not Robert Emmet? And if Robert Emmet,

why not the leaders of the Spa Fields Riot? What is the country of a Hungarian, or a Jew, or a Hindu, or an Irishman? Such problems are not to be solved by the application of any formula. They involve spiritual issues of the utmost nicety, and in every case the soul must needs stand and make her choice alone. The first duty is to find out where the domain of love ends, and that of intellectual abstraction begins. Let us suppose the choice to be put before an Irishman. He must inquire, "Can I look upon myself as a free citizen of the empire? Can I feel pride in her past, joy in her achievements, shame in her dishonour? Can I reverence Shakespeare as my countryman and George as my King? Laying aside all thought of self, and standing alone as a soul before God, dare I vow to give her my love?" If the answer is "No," he is a coward who would live as the member of a conquered race. If "Yes," it need not detract one jot from his love for Ireland. Is the crown of empire less glorious because one of her jewels is an emerald? Shall we be jealous because her songs and her legends and her faith bring something to the common stock, that not all the nations of the world could replace?

He must be dull of soul who thinks to foster the welfare of the whole, by crushing out all that is best in the parts. Rather will the true statesman cherish and intensify the distinctive features of every province and every hamlet. What profit is it to have conquered Hindustan if it is only to turn the Hindus into cockneys? We should be like the thief who tried to melt down a bronze statue. To quicken and not to crush should be the end of empire-builders, and it is only by a gradation of local

patriotisms that the soul can rise to a world-wide


Our history closes upon the same note as it commences. In early times the problem was how to weld a number of personal and sectional loyalties into an English patriotism, in the most restricted sense. Since that period England has grown into Great Britain, and Great Britain into the British Empire. Those narrow and uncompromising patriots, who think that by extending her bounds England must necessarily lose her personality, might just as logically have opposed the Union of the Heptarchy under Egbert, or that of England and Scotland under Anne. That there is a real danger is not to be denied. We have the case of Rome, who in conquering all her neighbours vanquished herself, and became a provincial city in a Byzantine despotism. The solution of the problem on an even vaster scale has been reserved for England. We have had one fearful lesson in the results of treating our fellow-citizens as tributaries, and in recent years we have seen how the waters of the five oceans cannot quench love.

For not in gold and not in armaments lies Britain's salvation, but in the love of her children. The key of history is forged of no baser metal, and the sacred influence which binds heart to heart, and unites the living with the dead, is but a portion of that which quickens and glorifies the universe-divine and eternal Love.



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