Page:My Religion.djvu/251

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to its requirements, but by appealing to the con science of each individual; and the existence of this law is considered as an exceptional attribute of the Hebrew people. That the Hebrews should have been willing to obey only what they recognized by spiritual perception as the incontestable truth direct from God is considered a remarkable national trait. But it appears that the natural and normal state of civilized men is to obey what to their own knowl edge is decreed by despicable officials and enforced by the co-operation of armed police.

The distinctive trait of civilized man is to obey what the majority of men regard as iniquitous, con trary to conscience. I seek in vain in civilized society as it exists to-day for any clearly formulated moral bases of life. There are none. No percep tion of their necessity exists. On the contrary, we find the extraordinary conviction that they are superfluous; that religion is nothing more than a few words about God and a future life, and a few ceremonies very useful for the salvation of the soul according to some, and good for nothing according to others; but that life happens of itself and has no need of any fundamental rule, and that we have only to do what we are told to do.

The two substantial sources of faith, the doctrine that governs life, and the explanation of the mean ing of life, are regarded as of very unequal value. The first is considered as of very little importance, and as having no relation to faith whatever; the second, as the explanation of a bygone state of