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ft Political Notes

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- - - - - Brotherhood : The…


Brotherhood The Real Bond. I THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT IN REAL LIFE. A goodly number foregathered at the Treve- thick Hall at the last meeting of the Merthyr Theosophieal Centre, when Mr. Loftus Hare, Director in studies in Religion and Philosophy to the Theosophieal Society, delivered an in- forming and interesting lecture on The Ethics of the Sermon on the Mount." Mr. T. F. Harvey, who presided, stated that they met to listen to a lecture on what many might think an old and time-worn subject, as the Sermon on the Mount undoubtedly was, but its call rang true for us to-day, and he knew that if the sub- ject appeared threadbare from the standpoint of further thought and discussion, their lecturer was qualified to make clear its meanings and to vitalise and re-present its message. A MANIFESTO. Mr. Loftus Hare stated that he would ask them at the outset, if they could, to forget for the moment the place of their meeting, the age and nationality they belonged to, the religion they professed, the individual outlook upon many questions that separated them. He would have them come to the consideration of his subject with clear vision and calm, unbiassed judgments. Ethics, as they well knew, was the science that sought to guide the conduct of men in their relations to each other and in the or- dinary affairs of life. It was right to point out that the Sermon on the Mount contained much more than ethics. It had in it much thought that was mystical, the adumbrations of many a system of philosophy, many passages of high il- luminating spiritual values. Looked at from the purely ethical aspect it was a manifesto, a clarion cry, a perpetual challenge to the soul and spirit in man. It was given out at a time when, after age-long struggles along the evolu- tionary path, the Christ thought that humanity had need of it. The world had grown in much, but it had never yet grown to the full height of the glorious ideal presented by this most won- derful sermon, which, though described by Mat- thew as the Sermon on the Mount, appeared from Luke's account to be a Sermon on the Plain. Behind the ethical there was always the metaphysical idea, the glowing concept, vision or thought from whose height proceeded the illu- mination that lit up for man the desert wastes of thought and feeling. Socrates had likened himself in his day to a gadfly goading to duty a noble horse that typified the citizenship of Athens. So, too, the noble call of the Sermon on the Mount, which regarded man as man purely and in no other relation, was a reminder, a challenge, and oftentimes a reproach to the lives of men when lived on the lower levels. It raised the level of humanity's ideal conceptions. THE OLD LAW AND THE NEW. I The old Mosaic law had formulated Thou shalt commit no murder." At the ethical stage to which our humanity had then grown this direct prohibition seemed all that was required. Nor was it then enacted for the first time. In the British Museum was to be found a pillar of basalt, having engraved upon it the old retalia- tory prohibitions which formed such a feature of the old Mosaic laws. This rock with its hard as flint regulations, enforcing the iron rule, showed that the inscriptions bore the date 2200 B.C., and was reared when Khammurabi ruled over Babylon. The Christian ethic went much further than the Mosaic. Instead of saying "Thou shall do no murder," it said "Thou shalt not be angry," thereby attacking all that made murder possible in the very roots of the mind. Instead of stating Thou shalt not commit adultery," it attacked and forbade all lust in the heart and mind of which the out- ward adult cry was the open and visible sign. The old law said Thou shall swear, thou shalt take an oath." But the command of Christ went higher and made the larger demand, Let your speech be yea, yea, or nay, nay." The use that was still made of oaths in courts of justice and in formal matters of procedure in ceremonies and in business, showed that two standards of Truth were current in modern as in ancient society, the less true to be used on ordinary occasions, and the more true on other and more studied and formal occasions. All this was wrong, and it showed the little advance that had been made. THE GOLDEN RULE. I The three illustrations he had given summed up in large measure the ideal advance which Jesus sought to make by the introduction of his Golden Rule in contradistinction to the Iron Rule of the Mosaic and earlier dispensations of laws. When Jesus blessed the poor, he rrfeant the propertyless," not primarily be it noted those who were indigent, those who were in rags, not even those who were homeless, but those who, whatever they had or had not, re- flected that spirit of selflessness which was summed up in Paul's wonderful sermon on true charity. Some advance had undoubtedly been made by the world along the line of the Christian ethics of the Sermon on the Mount, but until all Christians, and the Churches represented by Christians, made the re-valuations of life, of true duty and pure conduct that the Sermon called for in the life of each individual, they must find themselves for ever in the grip of war and strife, of social dislocation, and of all those evils which threatened our common humanity, not to speak of Brotherhood. The age of iron was on its last trial and would pass, and by long struggle, through much groaning of spirit, through much toil and self-sacrifice the Golden Age would dawn when man should at last be free and the only bond be that of Brotherhood. Many interesting questions were asked of the Lecturer and were answered, and Mr. Loftus was warmly thanked for his able address.


IEx-Merthyr Worker I