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EMPEROR AND GALILEAN

thistle and it assents: "If you then really want to anoint me your king, settle down in my shade!"

The theocratic origins of states and their religions arc discernible on many pages of ancient history. Secretly and openly as well, thinkers and holy men felt a Utopian longing for a time when hu- man society would do what is right and good of its own accord, though they had long since realized that the highest political ideals come to grief because the human horde is always naturally virtuous only when it is not less than naturally virtuous. It lies in the nature of Utopia never to come true; and yet it is precisely the fact that it cannot be realized which gives it tremendous power. It is always a yonder and never a here. It can never be reached, and still it leads us on, lighting the way and begetting history like the pillar of fire into which Jahwe changed Himself so that He might go before His people in the days of their tribulation.

Accordingly the theocratic Utopia embodies a permanently valu- able truth: that earthly things are not in themselves ends, and that the highest nobility of mankind would consist in free submission to His will Who is the boundary and realm of all things. Insight into the dignity of this obedience to the unwritten but nevertheless universally evident law was by no means absent from the antique world. It was Plato's opinion that a state having not a god but some mere mortal as its ruler could not be saved from disaster and misery. It was nec- essary, he said, to appoint the immortal being in ourselves custodian of public as well as of private life. And Aristotle maintained that where this rule of the law-from-within prevails, God and reason are enthroned in sovereignty, and that those who desire that a man shall rule introduce the beast into political life. All the great poets and thinkers from Heraclitus, /Eschylus and Sophocles to the moralists of the Roman Imperial time are filled with a deep yearning that the common weal be fashioned according to the law of the godhead which is knowable to all men because it has been written in their hearts. Yet their pioneer efforts their veiled or open theocratic ideas prove only that the history which was being made roundabout them, a his- tory that consisted in constant progression from a new political form to a new crisis, could not be reconciled with theory. Men sensed and knew what is right, but what they did and what they suffered were


ROMAN