Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/96

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ligion should be either first established or afterward preserved and maintained in that estate. For it is this that contains and holds together all human society and is its main prop and stay." Hegel expressed the same idea when he asserted that "the idea of God forms the general foundation of a people." Herbart calls attention to the pedagogical and disciplinary value of religion in the early stages of man's development, since it teaches him to subordinate present desires to future welfare, to look to the remote results of his conduct, and to sacrifice momentary pleasures here to permanent advantages hereafter.

But the ordinary experiences of life, especially in a cold climate, are quite as effective in inculcating thrift and enforcing the first elementary principle of domestic and political economy—that a man can not eat his pudding and keep it too. Stress of hunger emphasizes the necessity of laying up stores of provisions against time of need, and teaches foresight and forehand more directly and more forcibly than any hypothetical relation of man to the gods could do.

Originally the tie of religion must have been identical with the tie of relationship, and the brotherhood of belief coextensive with the brotherhood of blood, since all members of the same family or tribe would naturally adore the same domestic or tribal deities. Without this acceptance of the tribal theology and traditions by every individual of the tribe, the public peace would be constantly disturbed and the very existence of primitive society imperiled.

With the lapse of time and the increase of intelligence, however, vague wonder and ignorant worship would give place in more thoughtful minds to obstinate questionings, blank misgivings, and stubborn skepticisms, leading logically and inevitably to open schisms, and resulting in the formation of new communities of faith, crystallizing around the nucleus of a vital religious conviction. It was then proved, what all later history confirms, that spiritual affinities have a stronger cohesive attraction than natural affinities, and that, in every case of tension, the latter are sure to yield and be rent asunder.

Even the founder of Christianity, who professed to proclaim a gospel of peace on earth and good will to man, foresaw and did not hesitate to declare that this sundering of the closest consanguineous connections and division of families into hostile factions would be the necessary consequence of his teachings. He spoke of his doctrines as a sword destined to sever the nearest ties of natural affection and affinity, setting the son at variance against the father, and the daughter against the mother, and converting the members of a man's household into his bitterest foes.

The center of cohesive attraction, which binds the new com-