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the human race. The mentally and bodily defective were no aid to the movement of State mechanism. Rome said, “Let them be taken out of the way." She not only said it, but up to her power she did it. She laboured by every means to suppress incompetents. She had not found the secret of suppressing their incompetency; the shortest and easiest method she knew was to annihilate them. She sought to lay the axe to the root of the tree. She recommended infanticide in cases of deformity, desertion of infants in cases of hopeless destitution. She exposed the life of the slave to the sword of the gladiator. She inculcated as a doctrine of moral heroism the practice of suicide when any life was too hard to bear. She left unprovided those forms of mental alienation which, because they are not seen on the surface and not recognised in the first stage of development, were allowed to escape the remedy of infanticide.
These blots on the Roman constitution are popularly regarded as a sign of the low religious life to which the old world had sunk, a sign of how little power the religion of the empire really possessed to influence the lives of its members. And yet a moment's reflection should convince us that this is not the legitimate conclusion. It certainly proves that the religion of the empire was a form of faith very defective in theory and very inadequate in scope; but it does not prove that it was a form
of faith which had lost its practical influence. The conclusion is exactly the contrary. It was not by a fall from its religious principle that Rome became neglectful of the maimed masses of society; it was precisely by the carrying out of its religious principle. Rome neglected the maimed bodies in the State because her principle of religion taught her to regard these as no part of the State. She was never more religious than in the cold eye she turned towards the halt and the blind. It was no impulse of impiety which prompted her to pass these by on the other side, which induced her to seek for their elimination and extermination. It would hardly be too much to say that in her neglect, and even in her seeming cruelty, she acted under the impulse of religion, under the impulse of that faith which she had made her own. Her ideal was empire; her worship was the reverence of empire; her religion was the service of empire. To her the good citizen and the pious devotee were one. The religious duty of every man was to support those influences which made for the welfare of the State; it was equally his duty to discourage and to suppress those influences which impeded the welfare of the State. In his efforts to eliminate hindrances, in his attempts to extinguish incompetents, in his measures to repress the multiplication of those noxious or useless growths which interfered with the life of the collective body, he might well on his principles believe that he was doing piety good service. The error of Rome must be sought, not in her unfaithfulness to lier religious ideal, but in the defectiveness of that ideal itself. The object of her reverence was not being but force, not existence but energy, not thought but action. She valued everything for what it could do, measured everything by its dynamical result. She had no place in her Pantheon for that which had no arithmetical significance. She rated every man by what he could bring, valued every man by the amount of strength he could add to the republic. If he could bring nothing-if, instead of contributing to the State, he required the State to contribute to him—he was there and then regarded as a blot on the political constitution, and a hindrance which ought to be got rid of.
The effect of this appeared in the sequel. Rome ended by reverencing an incarnation or embodiment of that political power which had always in the abstract been the object of her adoration; she ultimately worshipped her own emperor. Let us understand the significance of this act: it has been often misunderstood, and it has frequently been misinterpreted. In books written with a view to show the downward tendency of Paganism, it has been often said that the heathen world reached the lowest depth of its abasement in the Roman deification of the human. There is a famous antithetical sentence which has expressed the thought thus: “The living God became man at the time when a living man was worshipped as God.” And yet nothing is more certain than the fact that the antithesis between the religion of Christ and the religion of Rome does not lie here. So far is the deification of the human from being the last stage of a downward development, there is no stage of religious development which is not founded upon this article. I have already exhibited the principle that not only the root but the very presupposition of all religion is the belief in incarnation, the belief that the human is in the image of the divine. Without this presupposition the only alternative is agnosticism, and agnosticism without end. If the divine be different in essence from the human, there is no possible communion in any world between the human and the divine. It speaks volumes for tlie discernment of Judaism that, although by nature prone to emphasise to the uttermost the distance between God and man, it asserted from the very foundation that man was made in the image of God. In recognising in man the stamp of divinity, Rome was in strictest alliance with the whole development of religion.
But the point of divergence lay in her ideal of man himself. It is not too much to say that, in conferring divine honours upon her emperor, Rome erred not by deifying man too much but by deifying him too little. Her doctrine of incarnation, instead
of going too far, did not go far enough. Her error consisted in putting the crown of divinity on only a part of humanity, and in leaving uncanonised the other part. When Rome put the divine crown upon the head of her emperor, she deified the incarnation of power. She selected from all the attributes of humanity this one attribute, and impressed it with the stamp of divinity. She said that the one element in man worthy to be reverenced and fit to be consecrated was his capacity to put in motion the physical forces of the universe. She deified him in his power to move masses, in his ability to wield the sword, in his strength to construct empires, in his force to exact and maintain obedience. She recognised, in short, the incarnation of humanity in so far as humanity was capable of becoming a State-power. The defect of this ideal was its narrowness. It lay, not as some think, in the presumption of the creature, but in the creature failing to aspire sufficiently high. It did not exalt a large enough number of the elements of man. In crowning his capacity for the exercise of physical power, it left in the background other and more glorious capacities. It forgot to note that there were attributes in the human spirit which exhibited a divine strength precisely in their incapacity to exercise physical power. It omitted to observe that there is a force which consists not in doing but in bearing, a strength which lies not in