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THE CHRIST OF EXPERIENCE.
A volume of religious and social essays has lately been published by the Kev. William T. Herridge. D.D., minister of St. Andrew's Church, Ottawa ("The Orbit of Life"; Fleming H. Kevell Company, 2s. 6d. net). The book .tbounds in common-sense, and Is full at the same time of religious and ethical suggestion. The most modern reader could not say that Or. Herridge was behind the time; but, unlike so many men of wide sympathy and wide contemporary reading, he has managed to steer clear of that fog-belt of religious and moral confusion wherein so many writers of to-day lose their way. "Right and wrong," he is sure, "are not to be heaped together In indiscriminate confusion." There Is, he maintains, "a right way of being "worldly','' and those honorable successes which are truly worth having depend upon "a well-trained and athletic resolution." These three sentences give, we think, a key to the secular side of the book. It is with the religious side that we propose to deal in the present article.
In an interesting paper upon the Resurrection, which he calls "an Master study." the following passage occurs: "Christ views resurrection not as a mere physical process, but rather as a moral achievement, and His own Resurrection Is the most unique and memorable instance of it If any one proposes to make a successful assault upon the belief of Christendom, he must not be content simply to storm the outposts of historical testimony, uor maintain a guerilla warfare of scientific nescience. He must attack the very citadel and stronghold which is Christ's own character." Dr. Herridge speaks profoundly, and cannot but set his readers thinking. No denial of the possibility of miracle, however dog
matic, even though it bore the imprimatur of an accredited spokesman representing the conclusions of a Council composed of the most renowned scientists of Europe, can explain away this sentence of Christ: "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
The first generation of Christians plainly put absolute faith in these words, and all through the ages there have never been wanting men and women of every denomination who have witnessed to their truth. Some of these have made a great mark in the world, have been the true "world-shapers"; but for the most part they have been very ordinary people. The declarations of these latter upon the subject would fill many books, and perhaps If they were written, and the educated people of to-day were condemned to read them, they should cry out with St Paul that "not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called"; but no experience can be put aside as without Importance because it is common, and consequently witnessed to by persons without literary judgment, power of clear expression, or that concomitance of small perceptions too fine for analysis which we call "taste." Nor Is their evidence impaired by the fact that the experience they enjoy seems sometimes altogether to obsess them. They believe It, In contradiction to the whole tone of our Lord's teaching, to be the most Important part of the Christian revelation, and they deny the Christianity of all those who can boast of no such consolation. The matter has nothing to do with the resurrection of the flesh. The men who first believed and repeated the promise were agreed that even though they had known Christ "after the flesh," whether before or after His resurrection, they now knew Him—In that sense—no more. The benefit promised was spiritual; the benefit alleged to have been received was spiritual also.
St. Paul's experience of this divine companionship is typical. When he was tried for his life, he tells us. "no man stood with me. . . . Nothwithstanding the Lord stood with me." What did he mean? He clearly does not allude to another incident like that on the road to Damascus. No vision and no supernatural occurrence is even hinted at He does not suggest that his answers at the time of his examination were prompted by Christ. He does not say that he saw Him. He makes an assertion, which he takes it for granted his readers will understand, to the effect that the fearful mental and moral strain through which he had lately gone was made bearable, In spite of the desertion of his friends, by the presence of Christ. When we consider these things, we do, as Dr. Herrldge says, storm the outposts of historical testimony to no purpose. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that since the storming of these outposts, since the breaking of swords between materialists and spiritualists, a generation of Christians has arisen among whom such experiences as Paul described are rare. Most of us. especially if we belong to those who have to think for their living, have small hope of ever receiving any such divinely authoritative continuation of our faith. It is impossible, In considering the matter of the spiritual resurrection of our Lord, to shirk this fact. "If one does not take the trouble to exercise that noble rationality which searches into the depths of things, though he may have no Innate vlctousness, the mere slumber of thought Is sure to degrade him." Dr. Herrldge's condemnation of the man who can think and will not Is perhaps too
sweeping. Yet it is in the main just. It is useless to deceive ourselves by words. To do so is to remain upon the surface of things. When we talk of the support men derive from a high ideal, we do not mean what Paul meant. There can be no doubt that men are upheld In moments of storm and stress by dwelling on an ideal. But St Paul was always an idealist— a man with hopes and aims outside the region ruled by reason. He bad ideals long before he became a Christian. Yet he certainly thought his experience was new. Again, there can be no doubt that an ideal pointed by a splendid recollection may concentrate Itself into something which, in the vague language of poetry, might be alluded to as a person. But the passage in which St. Paul's words occur is not poetry at all; it Is a plain record of sad facts. His work has not been succeeding, his friends have left him, his converts have turned away, nothing is left but the hope of better things after death. He is in no exultant mood. He draws no word-picture to Impress upon his friends the glorious atmosphere of a higher Ideal than the world before knew, for the sake of which it Is conceivable such a one as Paul might have worked and agonized "in Jeopardy every hour," though he himself asserts that he would not have done it. Again, the book we have imagined which might be written by simple people would contain, we suppose, very little poetry indeed,—prosaic, sometimes perhaps sordid, accounts of illnesses, deaths, perplexities, anxieties, which the writers were convinced they did not witness or endure alone.
Those who stand where they can see the signs of the times must often feel themselves strangers in the midst of a new heaven and a new earth, and It is Impossible but that sometimes they should be seized with dread lest In the passing away of the old eertain ties the words of Christ may pass away too. The depression which religious changes bring to many minds is not, however, a clear medium through which to look at facts. For those who can cast this depression away the character of Christ still remains the stronghold of the doctrine of the Resurrection. The eyes of the world are turned upon the Gospels. Perhaps there was never a time when the thought of the character of Christ preoccupied the mind of Christendom as it does now. Christianity is more the test of public and private action than
ever before. Is it not possible that In the future the shaking of public faith in verbal Inspiration and In sacramental grace may be seen to be but the misread results of a revived power to grasp the reality of the Christian revelation? His Spirit Is with Christendom while Christendom recognizes the divine side of human nature, and it can still find consolation in the eternal words of the Son of Man, "Because I live, ye shall live also," Implying as they do that the inheritance of life Is consequent upon the Fatherhood of God.
THE CARELESS CHILDREN.
The general impression left upon a reader's, or at any rate on this reader's, mind after a study of Mr. Kldd's examples and deductions is that Pondo or Zulu children are in most particulars exceedingly like any other children who chance to arrive in this world with white instead of black skins. They play the same games, or. if girls, love the same dolls, as for the matter of that the old Egyptians did long ago. Indeed the doll make-believe appears to be carried further than Is common In Europe. Thus the small Kaffirs build actual huts for them in place of the Dutch houses that here are provided ready made from the toyshop. They give them stones to grind their corn, mats for sleeping, pots for cooking, and so forth. They provide them with a cattle-kraal stocked with clay oxen, goats and fowls. They marry them in a realistic manner, singing the appropriate songs. The owner of a boydoll will manufacture and pay away ten clay cattle In order to supply it with a wife or wives In the shape of properly—or Improperly—dressed fe
•"Savage Childhood." By Dudley Kidd. London: Black. 1906. 7». M. net.
male dolls, and with such married puppets a lad may play although it is beneath his dignity to amuse himself with an unwed maiden doll.
So it is with everything else. They have their parties which last all night, and their clans that play with or more generally fight other clans belonging to the next kraal or tribe. The sense of honor is very fully developed in them, and the sense of greediness still more, so much so indeed that they will stuff themselves with half-cooked and unplucked birds caught in the veld, which, did they bring them home, they fear would be taken from them and eaten by their elders. They manufacture excellent traps to catch these birds and other wild things, such as mice, which they also eat They possess an elaborate system of fagging, and a good fight with sticks, not fists, is the joy of their hearts. As at home the boys look down upon the girls, except on certain occasions, when for Instance a pair of them will share the same pempe, or bird-scaring hut, In which they play at being sweethearts, the head boy choosing the best-favored girl, or sometimes the prettiest girl
selecting her own boy. They have their vices, of which the missionaries can tell much, but of course in a work of this nature these are slurred over. Also they have their virtues, such as politeness, obedience, and family affection, although Mr. Kidd says that when the boys become adult they care no more for their mothers, being henceforth almost entirely taken up with the pleasures of life. Upon this point i may add that the author's experience does not altogether tally with my own recollection. i have known grown-up Kaffirs to be extremely fond not only of their own mothers but of all their father's other wives, though doubtless, being nearer to the animal as a race, they are apt like animals to forget those who bore and nurtured them when they no longer need their protecting care. But the parents do not forget, or even the grandparents, uncles, and other relatives; indeed the affection which they show for young people is often very beautiful and touching. i never remember hearing of such atrocities happening among natives as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children bring to light annually by the thousand in our highly civilized and Christian land, and 1 believe that the father or relation who was guilty of such deeds would be killed or at least driven out of the tribe. Often it is far otherwise. Thus i recall that during the Matabele war a native soldier was seen running away with a bundle on his back. As the chase of him went on, in his wild effort to save his life, he threw away everything he carried, his pots, his blanket, even his assegai, all except the bundle. At length he was run down, and this bundle was found to contain his sister's heavy two-year-old child.
As any one who is acquainted with them will know, Kaffir children lead an extremely happy life. Their appear
ance in the world being desired and brought about under the most sane and sanitary conditions, they seem to suffer but little from ill-health. Their cheerfuiness is amazing, and unless they happen to be Christians they have no school or prospective examinations to trouble them, nor are they ever overworked in other ways. Lastly they are not called upon to shrink from the spiritual fears and shadows which are more or less inseparable from religion. Ap we understand the word. No invisible, almighty Power is waiting to punish them, should they do wrong, or ultimately to drag them to some dreadful place, although it is true that in such circumstances the tribal spirit, or itongo, may make itself disagreeable in various ways. Death and its terrors are far from them; in fact even as grown men they do not. or used not to. fear death, which it would seem they look on as a painless sleep, notwithstanding their belief in ghosts. in short, like their elders they live a life of ideal physical happiness. What has the Kaffir to fear who dwells under the shadow of the British flag? He can no longer be killed at the whim of some chief or enemy. He is not pestered by our gnawing ambitions and ever-increasing needs; his nerves and his bodily state are perfect; he has food, wives, children to his heart's desire, and he can generally win wealth, that is, cattle. if he wishes for them and chooses to work. indeed as he goes on in years the giving of his numerous daughters in marriage provides him with these automatically, and in so large a country they increase without cost or trouble to himself. Perhaps the only unhappy creatures in an average kraal are the poor old women, who being "finished" and of no further use are looked down upon and neglected by every one. and sometimes left to support themselves as best they can. All the rest rejoice from sunrise to set aud from year's end to year's end, till at length in old age they sink to sleep, baying for the most part Jacked nothing except, it may be, the delights of war. Their life is one long, animal joy, which, however much it may shock us, suits them extremely well.
That this does shock the white man there is no doubt, the missionary for certain obvious reasons, and the colonist for others, while all are perhaps unconsciously irritated by the spectacle of such complete content in a world that for most is honeycombed with sorrows. Moreover, the white man wants labor and understands very clearly that this state of affairs prevents the Kaffir from working and forces him, the superior being, to import Chinamen to do what, in South Africa, it is not in accordance with his custom or his dignity to do himself. So he declares, and by no means beneath his breath, that the Kaffir is a worthless, idle fellow. On the first point the Kaffir differs from him and the two races may be left to argue the matter out. which in the future they will doubtless do at the muzzles of guns and the points of spears, as to a small extent they have already done in the past. As to the second—and this Mr. Kldd demonstrates very well—the Kaffir is not really idle: only he objects to work »f a sort that does not interest him at all. What to him are railways and telephones and holes in the ground out of which it amuses a mad race to dig >rold? He has his own equivalents for all such things, and to procure them he will work hard enough. See him hunting for his food or raising his corn for the winter store, or building a hut for a new wife, or engaged in the labors of battle at the bidding of his chief. Then the Kaffir works as hard as any European, for he works for what he wants, not for what the white
man wants. Perhaps in time to come the white man's needs will grow desirable in his eyes also, and then doubtless he will strive for them aud become a new man, having eaten of the tree of knowledge. That must be our part, to raise his ideals to our own, :md the rest will follow.
Sir Theophilus Shepstone, who knew the natives better perhaps than any other Englishman ever has or ever will again, used to say to me that they must learn by the creation of new wants and new desires to work as we do for several generations, before we could hope really to civilize or still more to Christianize them. it seems probable that he was right. As a Buddhist would say. they are several "Rounds" behind the highly developed European.
Perhaps the most interesting portions of Mr. Kidd's book are those in which he treats of the superstitions connected with childbirth and childhood, some of which, or their counterparts, are not unknown in our own enlightened land. it appears, to take an instance, although for this we have no parallel, that among the Kaffirs women think that if they eat the flesh of porcupines their children will be very ugly. The native doctor, however, is equal to the occasion. He gives to the expectant lady porcupine to eat that has been treated with his medicine and the evil is averted. What is this but a primitive application of our novel discovery of anti-toxins? Another strange prejudice is that which the Kaffirs entertain against twins, that are held to be most unlucky, although oddly enough a twin is always expected to be clever. So pronounced is this dislike that in the old days a woman who produced twins for the second time was put to death. its origin appears to be that to produce more than one offspring at a birth like a dog or a pig is supposed to be bestial, an odd