Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/365

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The Religious Basis of Social Unio7i. 355

birthright and hereditary descent. Constantine at once founds a dynasty with the approval of the Church, and the old normal custom of regicide becomes the exception. But, save in rare cases, the king becomes a recluse again, and the two arms of the public service are once again the soldier and the priest, ksJiatriya and brahman. The king, formerly revered as Divine suo jure, is now respected only as scion of a house favoured by heaven, as recognised and receiving sanction from the Pope.

9. With the Reformation there appeared an entirely new doctrine, which, expressed in various ways, has been a puzzle until quite recent times. The * Divine Right of Kings ' was not a legacy of medievalism : I cannot con- ceive any belief against which the genuine medieval mind would have protested more strongly. It is in effect a belief in the authoritative and absolute character of the modern secular State — which took its rise not only in overt rebellion against Rome, but in a less frank rejection of all moral obligations whatever on the plea of urgency and State-need. Luther and Nationalism were the joint creators of the new worldly autocracy ; Machiavelli wrote its text-book ; Locke and our constitution-mongers, down to Mill and Spencer, attempted in vain to modify its exorbitant claims. The need of a strong, even ruthless, central power was pressing: the merchant-class, real masters of the situation from that moment to the present hour, used the vanity and the popularity of kings like Louis XI., Henry VIII. or Charles V. to put an end to feudalism and instal themselves as the sole privileged order. The State became an aggregate of atoms without natural cohesion and mutually resilient : only the king united them artificially, as George V. is the only cement of his empire, indeed of the United Kingdom itself. The philosophy of government and citizenship became with Locke frankly utilitarian and contractual : human society (we saw) is always in some measure contractual, but it is to-day nothing else. We