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reverence, is that collection of individuals comprehended under the name of the State. Everything which is worshipped by him is worshipped by reason of, and in proportion to, its service to the commonwealth. The conceptions of Church and State are not two conceptions, but one; the life of politics is identified with the life of piety. The good citizen and the good man are synonymous terms. There is no difference between treason and sacrilege, no separation between sin and crime. The man who violates the law of his country has violated thereby the divine law, and his expiation to the law of his country is accepted as an expiation to the law of heaven. And because the Roman reverenced the State, he reverenced also the family; here again emerges his resemblance to the Jew. Every family was viewed as a state in miniature, an image or simulacrum of that great commonwealth of which it was a part, and whose laws it was bound to mirror. The word piety, which receives its origin from him, means originally the affection of a son for a father, the devotion of a member to the head of a family. The derivation is significant. It shows that in the mind of the Roman the idea not only of religion but of morality was inseparable from the State, inseparable from the relation of the subordinate to the superior. And it is highly significant of this fact that the word “patriotism,” which is also derived from him, means by etymology the love of country viewed as a family and a home. It was because the Roman and the Jew reverenced equally the origin and the climax of things, that they each found a place in their system both for the family and for the nation. The family represented the small beginning, the stream out of which the nation rose; the nation represented the family completed, the perfect development of the individual household.
But if Rome had one aspect turned towards Judea, she had another side turned towards the natural opposite of Judea — Greece. From Greece Rome borrowed wholesale. She conquered Greece by arms, but she allowed Greece to conquer her by peace. She took the Hellenic gods into her Pantheon and bowed down before them. She changed their names, indeed; she called Zeus Jupiter, and Poseidon Neptune, and Ares Mars, and Athene Minerva. Along with their names she changed also much of their garments; she stripped them of their beautiful and poetic dress, and clothed them in commonplace and prosaic attire. But when all was said and done, they were still the old gods; they were reduced in personality, but they preserved their original function. Now, this is one of the heterogenous things in the Roman system. We should have expected that a religion which started from the basis of morality and reverenced the abstraction of law, would have lifted up its eyes to an abstract and invisible Lawgiver. This was what Judea did, and
in this Judea was consistent. But Rome was content to be inconsistent. What she wanted was union —a principle of co-operation amongst the nations, of which she herself would be the centre. To secure this she was willing to pay any price—to sacrifice logic, consistency, symmetry. If the stones of other temples were content to be incorporated in her Pantheon, she on her part was willing to receive them without perfect cement. Accordingly, she took the gods of Greece as they were—the personifications of the forces of a world existing in a state of struggle. It was for a state of struggle that she wanted them. Her problem was not how to reach a higher life, but how to make the best of this life. She did not desire the minds of her citizens to be centred on the things above; she wished them to be fixed on the things below. She desired that they should reverence the empire itself, that their religion should be bounded by the length and the breadth, the height and the depth of its possibilities. She sought the aid of no gods with any other end than this. If they did not minister to the needs of the empire, there was no other need to which she wished them to minister. Her very morality was a utilitarian morality. Lofty as it was in its aspirings, and severe as it was in its requirements, it was, still, ever contemplated as a means and not an end. If the Roman was to be courageous, it was because he belonged to a military nation. If he was to be just, it was because he was only one member of a vast empire where vastness could not be preserved without the perfect adjustment of all its parts. The empire itself was the real object of his reverence, and nothing else was reverenced except in so far as it ministered to this. In incorporating the gods of Greece, he was mainly influenced by the fact that the gods of Greece were no transcendental product. He was attracted by their earthliness. He was impelled to receive them, because he saw that they did not set up a high standard, did not profess to represent perfection. He perceived that their worship would not lift the national mind out of its nationality, would not draw it away from the contemplation of mundane things, specially from the contemplation of imperial interests. Himself of an unpoetic nature, and more prone to reverence the strong than the beautiful, he was willing to recognise these forms of æsthetic beauty, provided they would consent to favour the growth of his power.
But here there arises a third aspect of the Roman religion, and one in which it differs essentially from cither of the two foregoing. I have said that the main end of Roman morality was the service of the empire. In this service, however, there was demanded, when occasion required, a readiness for the sacrifice of life which can nowhere else be found out of India. Materialistic and utilitarian as is the Roman genius, there is blended with it an element which originally had its source in that which is the reverse of materialism and the opposite of utilitarian
—the element of Buddhism. Living, as he does, for this world in its most external aspect and its most mundane interests, the Roman, in the earlier stages of his history, is prepared, in the defence of these interests, to exhibit a sacrifice which is purely unworldly, and a self-surrender which is distinctly spiritual. One has only to read the pages of his opening story in order to be impressed with the fact that, from whatever source it has come, there has entered into his religion a breath of Indian worship. Mythical as in most of its parts that early story is, its very mythology reveals the presence and the influence of this thought of self-abnegation. Again and again we are confronted by the spectacle of a man sacrificing himself for his country, offering up his own life to appease that wrath of the gods which is supposed to have brought calamity upon the fortunes of his native land. Such stories would not be told if the ideal of heroism which they teach did not exist in the national mind. The very word religion, which is a word derived from Rome, implies in its most probable etymology that a man's primary duty is self-sacrifice. It signifies a binding back, a re
1 The etymology I refer to is that which derives it from religare. See Augustin, De Civitate Dei, x. 3, edit. of Benedictines, Paris, 1838; and Lactantius, Insti. Div., iv. 28. Cicero, however, derives it from religere (Nat. Deor., ii. 28).