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straint of the individual life. Each man is viewed as a victim bound to an altar of sacrifice. His being is offered up not really to the gods but to the State; the office of the gods is simply to approve and to reward. The man is at all times called upon to regard himself as a possible sacrifice to his country's good, as one who may at any moment be required to become an expiation for some national sin. It is highly significant that when a great Christian teacher wanted to exhibit Christianity as an atonement of the one for the guilt of the many, be embodied his view in an epistle to the Romans. He could not have sent it to a better quarter, nor to a quarter more likely to appreciate it. The Jew had no adequate sense of what was required from the individual man; he offered animal sacrifices for the wellbeing of the theocratic kingdom. The Roman in this respect saw deeper. He saw that if a kingdom of heaven was to be reached on earth, it must be reached through the surrender of each for all, through the willingness of every individual to give himself up for the whole. This was not Jewish, but it was Indian. It was a practical manifestation of Buddhism with the old intensity but with a new motive. It was no longer a sacrifice for the sake of death; its aim was the conservation and intensification of the national life. Yet it sought its end by the old means—the Buddhist means. It called upon the individual to surrender at the outset all individual desires, to give up
his own personality, to resign his own interests. It called upon him to view himself only as one member of a vast body, and a member which ought to be amputated if the wants of the body required it. It incorporated with Western civilisation a breath of the Eastern day, and united to the activity of Europe the passive sacrificialness of Asia.
Nor in this wondrous Pantheon which thus sought to collect the varied thoughts of men, was there altogether wanting a place for Parsism. It is the last form of thought which we should have expected to have had a place there. Parsism started originally from exactly the opposite basis. The earliest vision of Rome was a vision of unity; the earliest vision of Persia was a vision of duality. Rome from the outset beheld the prospect of a world gathered around one centre; Persia began by seeing the impossibility of a common centre. One would have thought that a form of faith which saw in this world an empire divided between two, could never have been incorporated in a creed which proclaimed an empire governed by one only. Yet in the creed of Rome there is found such an incorporation. It comes out with great prominence in its doctrine of good and evil geniuses in the belief that families and individuals may be advanced or retarded by the patronage or by the opposition of some spiritual power. Just as in the Persian hierarchy there were angels that fought for Ormuzd and angels that strove for Ahriman, so in the popular mythology of Rome there were spirits which aided the life and there were spirits which impeded its progress. The medieval doctrine of guardian angels on the one hand and of besetting demons on the other, has its parentage in classic and pagan soil; it is a survival of that Roman culture in the midst of which Western Christianity has its cradle. That Rome took it from Persia I do not believe; but she took it from a phase of human nature which Persia made her own. She adopted it through her eclectic tendency to give a place to everything, to find room in her constitution for all forms of man. Nor was there wanting an element in her nature which made even this phase of faith in some sense congenial. Rome from the outset felt that her mission was conquest, that the unity to which she aspired could only be purchased by struggle. It was not wholly inappropriate that the struggle which she experienced in politics should be accepted also in the realm of spirit, and that the battle between strength and weakness should be accompanied by the strife between the powers of good and evil.
I have given these illustrations merely as specimens, as representative instances of that great principle on which the Roman constitution acted. That principle was one of incorporative union. The message of Rome to the religious world was essentially a message of peace. It sought to put an end to all clashings by allowing room for the co-existence of contrary tendencies, whether these tendencies belonged to the world of politics or to the sphere of religion. As in the world of politics it gave permission to the existence of empires within the empire, in the sphere of religion it gave permission to the existence of faiths within the faith. The one great faith of Rome was the belief in her own destiny, the maintaining and enlarging of herself. She was willing to incorporate within her temple every shrine that would favour such an end. The bond of unity which she sought between the different religions of men was the bond of a common devotion to the political interests of the empire. Hers is the earliest attempt to reach an evangelical alliance in the etymological sense of that expression, — to promulgate a message which shall furnish a meeting - place for the messages of other faiths. This is the true significance of the Roman religion, the secret of its protracted stability, and the cause of its long success. Yet it has not been ultimately successful; its attempt at union has eventually proved a failure. With the destruction of Rome's political fabric, the shrines incorporated within her temple have again been severed. The unity of faith which she has sought to secure has melted as utterly as the unity of empire which she actually established, and the fall of the one has been contemporaneous with the fall of the other. The question is, Why? What is the reason that the earliest attempt at religious union, based as it was on such a broad foundation, and conducted on such a princely scale, has proved in the long-run so entirely abortive? Why is it that an effort so persistently planned, and for a time so brilliantly achieved, has left behind it even fewer traces of its influence than those which survive of the effort at political unity ? The answer to a question so suggestive and so practical demands the consideration of a separate chapter.