The moral organization of humanity as a whole (1899).
The New Testament on Church and State
The question of the relation of church to state, or of a Christian state.--An important indication in the New Testament (the story of the centurion Cornelius).
The specific mysterious pledges of a higher life, or the kingdom of God, which are received in the sacraments of the church, do not depend in their origin and essence upon the human will. Nevertheless, this higher life, as divinely human, cannot be satisfied with our passive participation alone. Its process requires a conscious and voluntary cooperation of human soul with supreme Spirit. Although positive forces for this cooperation proceed at the very beginning from the grace of God (inattentiveness to this truth gives birth to the pernicious errors of semi-Pelagianism), they are assimilated by the human will, which is formally distinguished from the divine will. They manifest in the form of its specific actions (a forgetfulness of this second truth, just as important as the first, was expressed in Christology by the Monothelite heresy, and in moral teaching by Quietism). (42)
Specifically human actions or behavior in conformity with the grace of God (and called forth by its anticipatory influence) must evidently express the normal relation of a person to God, to people, and to one's own material nature, corresponding to the three general bases of morality: piety, pity, and shame. The first concentrated, active expression of religious sentiment, or piety, its work, is principally prayer; pity has just such work in alms; and the work of shame--is abstinence, or fasting. (43) The beginning and the development of a new life of grace in a human being are conditioned by these three works. This is depicted with astonishing clarity and simplicity in the holy narrative about the pious centurion Cornelius, who "gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always." And further, as he himself relates: "Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God'" (here follows the command to call for Simon, called Peter, who possessed the words of salvation--Acts of the Apostles 10[:2, 30-31]). If the hidden anticipatory action of the grace of God, not rejected by Cornelius, induced him to works of human good and upheld him in these works--in prayer, alms, and fasting--then these works themselves, as directly indicated here, called forth new manifest actions of the grace of God. What is more, it is remarkable that just as the appearance of a heavenly angel was only an extraordinary means for observance of an established way of piety--calling for an earthly messenger of God, an earthly mediator of supreme truth and life--so, too, precisely following Peter's preaching at the house of Cornelius an unusual and abundant pouring out of the gifts of the Holy Spirit upon the new catechumens did not make superfluous for them the usual, so to speak, organic method of the specifically mystical beginning of a life of grace--through baptism (ibid, the end of the chapter [Acts 10:47-48]).
Even more remarkable in this typical narrative is that which is not in it. Neither the angel of God nor the apostle Peter, the messenger of the peace of Christ, nor the voice of the Holy Spirit himself suddenly revealed in the ones converted, told the centurion of the Italian cohort that which was, according to the latest notions about Christianity, the most important and urgently necessary thing for this Roman warrior. They did not tell him that in becoming a Christian he must first of all cast away his weapons and without fail renounce military service. There is neither word nor allusion about this ostensibly indispensable condition of Christianity in the whole story, even though the point is precisely about a representative of the army. Renunciation of military service does not at all enter into the New Testament concept of what is required of a secular warrior in order that he become a citizen enjoying full rights in the kingdom of God.
Apart from the conditions that were already being fulfilled by the centurion Cornelius--namely, prayer, alms, and fasting--he has also to "call for Simon, whose surname is Peter ... who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved" [Acts 10:5-6; 11:22].
When Peter came, Cornelius said to him, "Now, therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things that commanded you by God" [10:33]. But in this all that God commands the apostle to communicate to the Roman warrior for his salvation, there is nothing about military service:
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ--He is Lord of all--that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins." While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. [10:34-14]
We have dwelt on the story of the centurion Cornelius not specifically in order to return to the particular question of military service (44) but because we find here a clear indication for a resolution of the general question about the relation between church and state, Christianity and Empire, the kingdom of God and the worldly kingdom or what is the same thing, the question of a Christian state. If the centurion Cornelius, having fully become a Christian, remained a warrior, and yet could not be divided into two persons alien and not connected to one another, then it is clear that he became a Christian warrior. A collection of such warriors forms a Christian army, but an army is both the extreme expression and the first real basis of statehood. Consequently, if there can be a Christian army, then by the same token and even all the more there can be a Christian state. Resolution of the question by historical Christianity precisely in this sense is a fact beyond doubt. Only the question of the intrinsic foundations of this fact are subject to discourse.
Morality, Law, and the Coercive State
The moral necessity of the state.--Elucidations with respect to Christianity.
When the centurion Cornelius was a pagan, the sentiment of pity that compelled him to "give alms generously" [Acts 10:2] also certainly induced him to protect the weak from any injuries and to force violent aggressors to obey the laws. He knew that law, just as every human utility, is only a relative good and is subject to abuses. Perhaps he had also heard of the revolting abuse of lawful power that the procurator Pontius had tolerated, having sentenced to death a virtuous Rabbi from Nazareth under the influence of the envious and spiteful priesthood of Jerusalem. As a righteous man, Cornelius knew that abusus non tollit usum [abuse does not preclude use] and did not draw a conclusion to a general rule from exceptional cases. A genuine Roman (judging by name), he recognized with noble pride his own part in the general calling of the world's ruling city:
... to rule the nations with thy sway, To spare the humbled, and to tame in war the proud. (45)
This was not an abstract conviction for him. In Palestine, where his cohort was stationed, Roman arms alone checked, if only for a time, fierce internecine wars, dynastic and partisan, which were accompanied by primitive massacres. It was only under protection of that same Roman power that Edomite and Arabic clans around the neighborhood began to emerge little by little from the condition of continual wars and crude barbarism.
So then, Cornelius did not retreat from truth when he respected his service and considered the state and its principal organ, the army, a force necessary for the common good. Having become a Christian, should he have changed his judgment? Within him was revealed a new, higher, and purely spiritual life, but did this really abolish the evil outside of him? The pity by which his military service was justified--related precisely to those who were suffering from outer evil, which remained as it was. Or, perhaps, the higher life that had been revealed within him, while not abolishing outer evil, should [it] have abolished inner good--the same pity or charity that was "a memorial before God" [Acts 10:4] (see above), and replaced it with indifference to the sufferings of others? Such indifference, or soullessness, is the distinctive characteristic of a stone--a lower and not a higher degree of existence. Or, while not renouncing pity, a Christian perhaps also receives, together with new life, special power to conquer any external evil, not resisting it by force--a power to conquer it by spontaneous moral action alone, or by a miracle of grace? The supposition is remarkably unfounded, and possible only with a complete incomprehension both of the essence of grace and of its moral conditions. We know that Christ on earth himself met up with such a human milieu in which his grace could not create miracles "because of their unbelief [Mark 6:6]. We know that in the very best milieu--in the milieu of his apostles--he found "the son of perdition" [John 17:12]. We also know, finally, that of the two thieves on the cross only one repented. It is uncertain whether he would have yielded to divine power in other circumstances, but it is entirely certain that his comrade turned out to be inaccessible even in circumstances such as these [Luke 23:39-43].
Those who affirm that any evildoer can at once be turned to good and restrained from crime by direct action of the inner power of grace alone do not at all fathom what it is they are talking about. If it is a matter of the inward, purely spiritual power of good, then it is distinctive by the fact that in this, its quality, it acts not as a mechanical, motive force, fatally producing outward changes in fact, but acts only under condition of its inward adoption by the other, the one upon whom it acts. Consequently, the result of action is never predetermined here by the good will of the one who acts but depends finally on the characteristic of the other side's reaction (a truth that the example of Judas Iscariot should, it would seem, make clear even for the blind).
The power of Christ's grace was acting upon people who were sinful according to the infirmity of the flesh and not according to the firmness of evil will. It acted upon people who were not resting in their sins but who were suffering from them and felt need of a physician. Christ even said about these suffering ones, ready for healing, that they will enter the kingdom of heaven before the self-satisfied righteous. Because of this, they were at enmity against him and reproached him for condescending communication with publicans and harlots. Even his enemies could not find cause to accuse him of indulging bloodthirsty murderers, impious blasphemers, shameless corruptors, and all kind of criminals by occupation, enemies of human society. Did he leave them in peace? And why should he have occupied himself with them, when there existed Jewish and Roman authorities that were intended precisely for standing up to evil by coercion equal to the task.
According to the spirit of the gospel (as well as according to its letter), we must not turn to the authorities for coercion in defense of ourselves against personal and property offenses. We must not drag into court and into prison persons who strike us or take our fur coats from us. With all our soul we must forgive an offender for those offenses that he inflicts upon us and not show him any resistance for our own selves. This is clear and simple. It is also clear that we must not give ourselves over to evil sentiment, even against an offender of our neighbors--we must also forgive him in our soul and not cease seeing in him the same kind of person as we are. What practical obligation does the moral principle impose upon us in this case? Can this obligation be specifically identical in the face of an offense to ourselves and to another? To allow an offense against my own self means to sacrifice myself, and this is a deed of self-sacrifice. To allow an offense to others means to sacrifice others, and this now can in no way be called self-sacrifice. Moral obligation to others, psychologically founded upon pity, must not in practice give rights to violent men and evildoers alone. Peaceful and weak people also have a right to our active pity, or help. Since we cannot continually and sufficiently help all the offended in the capacity of solitary persons, then we are obligated to do this in the capacity of the collective human being, that is, through the state. Political organization is a naturally human good, as necessary for our life as our physical organism is. Christianity, giving us a higher good, the spiritual one, does not remove from us lower, natural goods, and does not pull out from under our feet the ladder on which we stand.
With the appearance of Christianity, with the proclamation of the kingdom of God, did the animal, plant, and mineral kingdoms really disappear for us? If they are not abolished, then why must the naturally human kingdom embodied in political organization be abolished? Is it not just as necessary in the historical process as these others are in the cosmic process? We cannot stop being animals, but must ostensibly stop being citizens! Is it possible to think up a more glaring absurdity?
From the fact that the goal of Christ's coming to earth could not consist in creating a kingdom from this world, or a state--already created long ago--does a negative attitude by him to the state really follow? The gospel is not concerned with the outward means of protecting humanity from the crudely destructive actions of evil forces. It would be possible to conclude something from that fact only in the event that the gospel had appeared before the foundation of the state, in a lawless, extrajudicial, and anarchic society. Why give anew in the gospel the civic juridical statutes of social intercourse, which many centuries earlier had already been given in the Pentateuch? If Christ did not want to reject them, he could only confirm them, which is what he did. "One jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law . I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" [Matt 5:17-18]. (46)
Grace and truth, which had become manifest in Christ, ostensibly abolished the law. When, however, did this occur, when precisely? When Judas betrayed his teacher, when Ananias and Sapphira deceived the apostles [Acts 5:1-3], when deacon Nicholas introduced sexual laxity under the pretext of brotherhood [Rev. 2:6, 15], or when a Christian of Corinth indulged in incest [1 Cor. 5:1]? Or when the Spirit wrote through the New Testament prophet to the churches and said to one of its primates as follows: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead" (Rev. 3:1); and to another as follows: "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth" (15-16).
If grace and truth, from their first appearance and up to this day, have neither taken possession of everyone nor even of the greater part of Christian humanity, then it is desirable to know: In what manner and by whom has the law been abolished? Could the law have been abolished by grace in those who hold neither to the law nor to grace? Is it not clear that for them, that is, for the majority of humanity, the law until its fulfillment, according to Christ's word, must remain in its proper force, precisely as the outer boundary of their freedom? In order to actually be such a boundary, the law must have sufficient coercive power, that is, must be embodied in the state organization with its courts, police, and armies. Insofar as Christianity did not abolish the law, it could not abolish the state either. But from this rational and necessary fact--the nonabolition of the state as an outward force--it does not at all follow that the inward relation of people to this force, and through this the very character of its activity as well--in general as well as in the particulars--has remained without any change. Chemical elements have not been abolished in plant and animal bodies but have received in them new particulars, and the whole science of "Organic Chemistry" exists not in vain. There is a similar foundation as well for a Christian politics. A Christian state, if only it does not remain an empty name, must have distinct differences from a pagan state, although both of them, as states, have an identical basis and a common task.
The State as Organized Pity
The state as collectively organized pity.--Vladimir Monomakh and Dante.--Explanations.
"A peasant goes out to till the fields, a Polovets falls upon him, kills him, steals his horse; a multitude of Polovtsy then comes out against a village, kills all the peasants, sets fire to the houses, takes the women into captivity, while the princes are at this time occupied with their own internecine strife." (47) In order not to be confined to sentimental words alone, pity for these peasants had to proceed to the organization of a firm and united state authority, sufficient for the defense of peasants against princely internecine strife and Polovtsian raids.
When, in another country, the greatest of its poets exclaimed with a profound grief, which he demonstrated not only in words:
Ahi, serva Italia di dolore ostello, Nave sanza nocchiero in gran tempesta. (48)
The same pity directly motivated him to call for a supreme bearer of state authority from beyond the Alps, someone to establish social order, a strong defender against continuous and intolerable small-minded violence. Both this pity for the actual calamities of Italy, which is declared in so many places in the Divine Comedy, and the appeal for a fully empowered state as a necessary means of salvation, took the form of a precisely thought out conviction in Dante in the book On Monarchy [De Monarchia].
The calamities of life without a state or with a weak state, which called forth the pity of Vladimir Monomakh and Dante, are abolished or restricted only by a strong state, but with its disappearance they would without fail only arise again. Purely moral motivations, inwardly restraining people from mutual extermination, were manifestly insufficient in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Perhaps such motivations have developed and strengthened in the present (a debatable question), but to speak of them now as having become fully sufficient in themselves is laughable. If residents of Italian cities do not display their partisan enmity in hourly slaughter, then it is more than clear that for this they are indebted only to the coercive system of the state, with its army and police. With respect to Russia--not speaking now of princely internecine strife and people taking the law into their hands--no doubt more of the primitive foreign elements submitted rather than degenerated as the Muscovite kingdom and the Russian empire gradually and with so much difficulty drove them back further and further to the boundaries of the country. If on the Caucasian, Turkestan, or Siberian borders the lance and the bayonet--God help us--disappeared or weakened, the true essence of these excellent institutions would immediately become comprehensible to any moralist. (49)
Just as the church is collectively organized piety, so the state is collectively organized pity. Therefore, affirming that Christian religion in essence denies the state means affirming that this religion in essence denies pity. In actual fact, the gospel not only insists upon the morally obligatory significance of pity, or humaneness, but resolutely confirms the view, already expressed in the Old Testament, that without humaneness there cannot be true piety either: "I desire mercy and not sacrifice" [Matt. 9:13; also Matt 12:7 and Hos. 6:6].
If one is to acknowledge pity in principle, then it is also now logically necessary to allow the historical organization of social forces and affairs that removes pity from the status of a powerless or tightly restricted sentiment and gives to it reality, wide application, and development. If I stand on the point of view of pity, then I cannot deny the institution thanks to which it is possible to have pity in practice, that is, to give help and protection to tens and hundreds of millions of people, in place of tens and hundreds of individuals at most.
The definition of the state (with respect to its moral significance) as organized pity can be denied only through misunderstanding. It is necessary for us to consider some such misunderstandings before proceeding to the concept of a Christian state.
Objection against the Definition of a Normal State
Analysis of the general objection against the definition of a normal state.
The harsh and often cruel character of the state is pointed to as evidently contradicting its definition as organized pity. In this case, necessary and expedient severity from useless and arbitrary cruelty are not distinguished. Meanwhile, the first does not contradict pity, and the second, as an abuse, contradicts the very meaning of the state. Consequently, neither the one nor the other says anything against the definition of the state (a normal state, of course) as organized pity. The alleged contradiction here is founded upon the following superficial apparency. It is as if someone pointed to the meaningless cruelty of an unsuccessful surgical operation, but then, incidentally, also to the suffering of a patient in a successful operation as an evident contradiction to the concept of surgery, in the sense of a beneficent art that helps people in certain bodily sufferings. It is more than evident that such representatives of state authority as, for example, Ivan IV ["Ivan the Terrible"] testify just as little against the humane basis of the state as bad surgeons do against the benevolence of surgery itself. I realize that educated readers have a right to feel insulted at the reminder of such an elementary thing, but if they are familiar with recent trends of thought in Russia, then they will not consider me the originator of an insult.
Even in its most normal manifestations, the state inevitably tends to be pitiless. While pitying peaceful people, which it defends against rapacious men of violence, it must treat the latter pitilessly. Such one-sided pity does not correspond with the moral ideal. This is indisputable but again says nothing against our definition of the state, for first pity, even if one-sided, is nevertheless pity and not something else. Second, the state, even a normal one, is in no way an expression of a moral ideal attained, but only one of the major organizations necessary for attainment of this ideal. Once attained, the ideal condition of humanity, or the kingdom of God realized, is evidently incompatible with the state, but it is also incompatible with pity. Who will it be possible to pity when everything will once again be "very good" [Gen. 1:31]? As long as there are those to be pitied, there are those to be defended, and the moral requirement for an expediently and large-scaled organized system of such a defense, that is, the moral significance of the state, remains in force. The pitilessness of the state to those from whom or against whom it has to defend peaceful society is a fact without doubt. Is this pitilessness really something unconditionally fateful, and is it really something invariable even as a fact? Is it not a historical fact that the attitude of the state to its enemies progresses precisely in the sense of less cruelty and, consequently, greater pity?
First, whole families and clans were tortured and put to death (as is done even now in China). Then each one began to answer for oneself, and moreover, the very character of responsibility changed. Criminals stopped being tortured solely for the sake of torture. Finally, the positive task of rendering moral help to them was now also set. What are the conditions upon which such changes are ultimately founded? The state restricts or abolishes the death penalty, repeals torture and corporal punishment, concerns itself with improvement of prisons and places of exile. When it does so, is it not clear that in pitying and defending the peaceful people suffering from crimes it begins to extend its pity to the opposing side as well--to the criminals themselves? Consequently, pointing to one-sided pity now begins to lose force in fact. It is precisely only thanks to the state that the organization of pity stops being one-sided. For even now the popular multitude in its attitude to societal enemies is still in the majority of cases guided by the old, pitiless maxims: for a dog, a dog's death; suffering serves a thief right; let this serve as a warning to others. (50) Such maxims are losing their practical force precisely thanks to the state, which is more free of one-sidedness in this matter in relation to the one and to the other. While authoritatively restraining the vengeful instincts of the multitude, which is ready to tear apart the criminal, the state at the same time will never renounce the obligation of humaneness--to oppose crimes. That is something those strange moralists would like, for they in fact pity only the offenders, the violent, the rapacious, with complete indifference to their victims. Now here is real one-sided pity! (51)
Analysis of juridical misunderstandings.
A less crude misunderstanding concerning our concept of the state presents itself from the position of jurist-philosophers who see in the state the embodiment of law as an unconditionally independent principle, separate from morality in general and from motives of mercy in particular. The actual distinction between law and morality was indicated by us earlier. (52) It does not abolish the bond between them but, on the contrary, is conditional precisely on this bond. In order that separation and opposition be set in place of this distinction, it is necessary to find the unconditional principle that at bottom ultimately determines any legal relation, as such, somewhere outside the moral domain and as far away as possible from it.
Such an amoral and even antimoral principle for law appears first of all in force or might: Macht geht vor Recht ["might makes right"]. The fact that legal relations follow in historical order those based on violence is just as doubtless as the fact that in the history of our planet organic life appeared after and on the basis of inorganic processes. From this, of course, it does not follow that the specific principle of organic forms, as such, is inorganic matter. The play of natural forces in humanity is only the material of legal relations, and in no way their principle, otherwise what would be the distinction between law and lawlessness? Law is the restriction of might, but the point is in precisely what restricts force. In like manner, morality, too, can be defined as evil being overcome, from which it does not follow that the principle of morality is evil.
If we replace the concept of force, taken from the physical domain, with the more human concept of freedom, we will not advance any further in the definition of law. That individual freedom lies at the most profound basis of all legal relations is doubtless, but is it really an unconditional principle of law? (53) This is impossible for two reasons: first, because it is in reality not unconditional, and second, because it is not at all a determining principle of law. On the first point I mean to say not that human freedom is never unconditional but only that it does not have this character in the domain of actual relations, in which and for which law exists. Let's assume that someone living on earth in the flesh actually possesses unconditional freedom, that is, that one can be the sole act of one's will, independently of any external conditions and intermediate necessary processes, accomplish everything that one wants. It is clear that such a human being would stand outside the domain of legal relations. If one's unconditionally free will were enlisted on the side of evil, no one else's action would be able to restrain it, it would be inaccessible for the law and authority, and if it were enlisted on the side of good, then it would make superfluous any authority and any law.
Now then, because unconditional freedom belongs completely to another sphere of relations, there is nothing to say here about law: It is concerned only with restricted and conditional freedom, but it is desirable to know precisely what kind of restrictions or conditions have a legal character. The freedom of one is restricted by the freedom of another. However, not every such restriction expresses law. If the freedom of human beings is to be restricted by the freedom of neighbors who would freely twist their head off or keep them on chains at their discretion, then this is not at all called law, and in any case such a restriction of freedom does not represent any specific features of legal principle, as such. These features must be sought not in the fact of some restriction of freedom, but in the uniform and universal character of the restriction. If the freedom of one is restricted in an equal manner to the freedom of another, or if the free activity of each is due to a boundary common for all, only then does the restriction of freedom obtain a legal character.
Therefore the principle of law is freedom within the boundaries of equality, or conditional upon equality and, consequently, a conditional freedom. Even equality, which determines freedom, is not unconditionally an independent principle for law. According to its essential feature, apart from the requirement of equality, a legal norm necessarily also satisfies the requirement of justice. These two concepts although related are, however, far from being identical to each other. When the Egyptian pharaoh issued a law ordering all Hebrew newborns to be put to death [Ex. 1:22], the injustice of this law, of course, consisted not in the inequality of attitudes to Hebrew and to Egyptian infants alone. Even if Pharaoh had later ordered not just Hebrew, but all newborns in general to be put to death, then although this new law would satisfy the requirement of equality, no one would however resolve to call it just. (54) Justice is not simple equality, but equality in fulfillment of that which is due. A just debtor is not one who equally renounces repayment to all creditors but one who uniformly pays his or her debt. A just father is not, of course, one who is identically indifferent to all his children, but one who shows them all identical love.
This means that there is unjust equality and just equality, and law is determined by the latter, that is, finally by justice. This concept now takes us directly into the moral domain. Here, as we know, each virtue is not a separate cell, but all of them--justice among that number as well--are different modifications of the single or, more precisely, of the triune principle that determines our proper relation to everything. What is more, because justice belongs to the domain of moral mutual relations of human beings with those similar to them, it is only a modification of the basic proper motive of such relations, namely of pity: justice is pity, uniformly applied. (55)
Therefore insofar as law is defined by justice, it is at its essence bound to the moral domain. All definitions of law that try to separate it from morality do not get at the essence of the matter. So--apart from the indicated ones--what does the famous definition (Jhering's) mean, according to which "law is protected or safeguarded interest"? (56) There is no doubt whatsoever that law defends interests; however, not all interests. Which ones precisely? Evidently, only just interests, or, in other words, it defends any interest to the extent of its justice. What is understood here by justice? To say that a just interest is an interest safeguarded by law would evidently mean falling into the crudest logical circle, which it would be possible to avoid only if one were to understand justice here also in its essence, that is, in the moral sense. This does not prevent acknowledging in the moral principle itself different degrees and spheres of action from the position of the inevitable conditions of its existence; that is, discernment of extrinsic, formal, or properly juridical justice from intrinsic, essential, or purely moral justice, in which connection the supreme and final standard of right and wrong remains one and the same principle--the moral one.
A possible clash between extrinsic and intrinsic justice in particular cases in itself says nothing against their homogeneity, since there can also be no less a clash with realization of the simplest and most basic moral motivation, for example, when pity requires of me that I save two who are drowning. Without having a possibility to pull both out, I must choose one or the other. If the fact of a clash between two motivations of pity does not prove that pity itself is a principle that contradicts itself, then cases of a difficult choice between complex applications of law and morality in a narrow sense can be just as unconvincing in their essential and irreducible opposition to unity. Just as unconvincing is also the fact that concepts about justice and morality change historically. This would mean something if rights and laws remained unchanged, but they vary even more according to place and time. So then, what now? Concepts about justice change, rights and laws change, but one thing remains unchanged: the requirement that rights and laws be just. Consequently, independently of any extrinsic conditions, the intrinsic conditionality of law remains morality. In order to avoid this conclusion, it is necessary to go too far: to the country seen by the pilgrim women of Ostrovsky, where lawful requests to Mahmut of Turkey and Mahmut of Persia had to begin with the appeal: "Judge me, unjust judge." (57)
Jhering's definition varies in a range within a formula according to which law is the delimitation of interests in distinction from morality as evaluations of interests. (58) That law delimits interests--is just as doubtless as the fact that it defends them. This fact in itself still gives no concept about the law's essence, for interests are also delimited on foundations that do not have a juridical character at all and, consequently, the definition is too broad. So, if robbers in the woods leave travelers with their life after attacking them and taking for themselves only property, then this, doubtless, will be a delimitation of interests. Here it is possible to see something in common with law really only in the sense that any violence is an expression of law, namely of the fist, or the law of force. In a serious sense, law is defined not by the facts of a delimitation of interests but by the common and constant norm of such a delimitation. In order to have a legal character, a delimitation of interests must be correct, normal, or just. In distinguishing a normal delimitation of interests from an abnormal delimitation of interests, and referring only the former to law, we evidently make an evaluation of them, and consequently, the alleged opposition between law and morality falls on its own. When we find some laws to be unjust and strive for their legal repeal, then, without leaving the juridical domain, we first of all occupy ourselves with evaluation of an existing delimitation and not, however, with just any practicable delimitation of interests. In its own time that delimitation, too, was conditional on an evaluation, only on another one, with which we are now not in agreement.
Therefore, if morality is defined as evaluation of interests, then law in essence enters into morality. The fact that the standard of evaluation for law and for morality (in a narrow sense) is not one and the same does not contradict this at all. This very distinction, that is the necessity to allow a domain of juridical relations outside the domain of purely moral relations, has not just any kind of foundation but again a moral one, namely in the requirement that the higher, final good be realized without any outward coercion and, consequently, with a certain range of choice between good and evil. Or, expressed paradoxically, higher morality requires a certain freedom for immorality too. This is realized by law, which obligates an individual will only to the minimal good necessary for community and its safeguarding--in the interests of true moral, that is, free, perfection--from senseless and pernicious experiments in coerced righteousness and forcible holiness. (59)
Thus if the state is an objective, complex arrangement of law, then it is precisely thereby inevitably included in the moral, that is, proper, organization of humanity, which is obligatory for good will.
The State as Both Conservative and Progressive Organization
Over and above the general conservative task of every state: to preserve the bases of community, without which humanity could not exist--a Christian state has yet a progressive task: to improve the conditions of this existence, assisting the free development of all human forces, which must become bearers of the coming kingdom of God.--Explanations.
The bond of law with morality yields the possibility of speaking as well about a Christian state. It would be unjust to maintain that before Christianity the state was deprived of a moral basis. It is not necessary to mention the kingdoms of Judea and Israel, upon which the prophets directly placed moral norms and then reproached for their nonfulfillment. Even in the pagan world, it is sufficient to recall the figure of the Athenian king Theseus, who at danger to life freed his fellow citizens from cannibalistic tribute to Crete, in order to acknowledge here as well the fundamental moral motive of the state, namely pity, which requires active help to the offended and the suffering.
This means that the difference between the Christian and the pagan state is not in their natural basis but in other respects. From a Christian point of view, the state is only a part in the organization of the collective human being--a part conditional on another, higher part--on the church, from which it receives its consecration and final significance. It serves in an indirect manner within its secular domain and its means the absolute goal that the church sets directly--the preparation of humanity and all the earth for the kingdom of God. Hence, the two major tasks of the state--conservative and progressive: to preserve the bases of community, without which humanity could not exist, and after that to improve the conditions of this existence. It cooperates toward the free development of all human forces, which must become the bearers of a future perfected condition and without which, consequently, the kingdom of God could not be realized in humanity. It is clear that, just as without the conservative activity of the state humanity would disintegrate and there would be no one left to enter into the fullness of life, so, too, without its progressive activity humanity would always remain at one stage of the historical process, would never attain the capacity to finally receive or reject the kingdom of God, and consequently there would be no reason for people to live.
In paganism, the conservative task of the state prevailed exclusively. Although it contributed to historical progress, this was only in spite of its will and its awareness. A higher goal of activity was not placed by statesmen themselves. Not having yet heard "the gospel of the kingdom," there was no goal for them. Therefore, progress itself, although it differed here formally from the gradual perfection of nature's kingdoms, did not have however at essence a purely human character. It is unworthy of human beings to move involuntarily toward a goal invisible to them. Great pagan monarchies are beautifully represented in the word of God in the guise of powerful and outlandish beasts, which quickly appear and just as quickly disappear [Dan. 7:17; Rev. 17:12]. The natural, terrestrial human being does not have final significance, and neither can the state created by such a human being--its collective embodiment--have this significance. But this pagan state, being in essence conditional and transient, affirmed itself as absolute. The pagans began with the deification of individual bodies (astral, plant, animal, and especially human) in a multitude of all sorts of gods, and ended with the deification of a collective body--the state (the cult of monarchs in eastern despotisms, the apotheosis of Roman caesars).
The error of pagans does not consist in the fact that they acknowledged a positive significance for the state, but only in the fact that they considered that it had this significance on behalf of itself. This was a manifest untruth. Both the individual and the collective body of the human being do not have life on behalf of themselves but receive it from the spirit living within them, which is demonstrated vividly by the decomposition both of individual and collective bodies. A perfect body is one in which the Spirit of God lives. Therefore, Christianity requires from us not that we deny or restrict the absoluteness of the state, but that we fully acknowledge the principle that can give to the state the actual fullness of its significance--its moral solidarity with the matter of the kingdom of God on earth, with the intrinsic subordination of all worldly goals to the one Spirit of Christ.
Mutually Beneficial Relations of Church and State
The normal relation between church and state.--From the Christian (divinely human) point of view both the independent activity of human beings and their total devotion to the deity are identically necessary. Combination of both positions is possible only through the clear distinction of two domains of life (religious and political) and of two direct motives (piety and pity)--corresponding to the difference of the most proximate objects of action, with unity as the final goal.--Pernicious consequences of the disconnection and of the mutual usurpations of church and state.--The Christian rule for social progress consists in this: that the state constrain as little as possible the interior moral world of human beings, leaving it to the free spiritual activity of the church, and at the same time that it secure[s] as faithfully and as broadly as possible the exterior conditions for a dignified existence and for the perfection of people.
The question about the relation of church to state that arose with the appearance of Christianity obtains definitive resolution in principle from this point of view. The church, as we know, is a divinely human organization, morally determined by piety. According to the very essence of this motive, the divine principle prevails resolutely over the human principle in the church. The first is predominantly active and the second predominantly passive in the bond connecting them: so it must evidently be in a direct correlation of human will with supreme principle. Active manifestation of this will, required by the deity itself, is possible only in the secular domain, which is collectively represented by the state. This domain had reality prior to the revelation of the divine principle and is beyond any direct dependence upon it. A Christian state is bound to the deity. Just as the church, it too, in a certain sense, is a divinely human organization, but now with prevalence of the human principle, which is possible only because this state has a realization of the divine principle not in itself, but before itself--in the Church, so that the Deity gives here, in the state, complete free range to the human principle, and to its nonclerical service to the higher goal.
From the moral point of view, the independent action of human beings and their unconditional subordination to deity, as such, are both identically necessary. Resolution of this antinomy, the combination of both positions, is possible only through a distinction of life's two spheres (religious and political) and its two direct motives (piety and pity)--corresponding to the distinction of the most proximate object of action with the unity of a final goal. A pious attitude toward the (perfect) deity requires pity toward people. A Christian church requires a Christian state. Here, as everywhere else as well, disconnection instead of distinction leads to confusion, and confusion leads to discord and ruin. Complete separation of church from state forces a church to do one of two things. Either the church renounces any active service to the good and gives itself up to quietism and indifference, which is contrary to the spirit of Christ, or the church itself, in the person of its own representatives of power, lays hold of the real instruments of secular action. (60) In having zeal to actively prepare the world for the coming of the kingdom of God, but not having any methods for realization of its spiritual activity in its disconnection and alienation from the state, it interferes in all earthly matters. For all the doubtless purity and loftiness of its original goal, it more and more forgets about the goal in its concern about means. If such confusion were allowed to become firmly established then the church would lose the very foundation of its existence.
This disconnection turns out to be no less pernicious for the other side as well. Separated from the church, the state does one of two things. Either it renounces spiritual interests entirely, loses its higher consecration and dignity, and right after losing its moral respect, it also loses the material submissiveness of its subjects; or the state makes up its mind to take this concern wholly into its own hands. While realizing the importance of spiritual interests in human life, the state does not have, in the face of its own alienation from the church, a competent and independent channel, at the disposal of which it could place higher care about the spiritual good of its subjects, or educate nations to the kingdom of God. For this it would consequently have to confer upon itself ex officio higher spiritual authority, which would be a mad and pernicious usurpation, recalling the "man of lawlessness" of the last days [2 Thess. 2:3]. (61) It is clear that the state, in forgetting its filial position relative to the church, would be coming forward in its own name, and not in the name of the Father.
So, the normal relation between church and state consists in the fact that the state acknowledges the higher spiritual authority belonging to the universal Church, which designates the general direction of the good will of humanity and the final goal of its historical activity. And the church places at the disposal of the state full power for the correspondence of legal secular interests with this higher will, and for the conformity of political relations and matters with the requirements of this final goal. This is in order that the church not have any coercive power, and the coercive power of the state not have any contact with the domain of religion.
The state is the intermediate social sphere between the church on the one hand and material society on the other. The unconditional goals of the religious moral order, set by the church and represented by it, could not have been and cannot be realized in the given human material without the formal mediation of lawful state power (in its secular sphere of action). This state power restrains the forces of evil within certain relative boundaries until the time that all human wills come into maturity for the decisive choice between absolute good and unconditional evil. The direct and fundamental motive of such restraint is pity, by which all the progress of law and of the state is also determined. This is progress not of principle but of application. The sphere of coercive state action at once both retreats before individual freedom and at the same time goes forward with its help in social calamities. The rule of true progress consists in the state constraining as little as possible the interior moral life of the human being, placing at his or her disposal the free spiritual action of the church, and at the same time as faithfully and as widely as possible ensuring the exterior conditions for a worthy existence and the perfection of people.
A state that would want to teach true theology and sound philosophy to its subjects by virtue of its own authority, while allowing them to remain illiterate, to be slaughtered on the highways, or to die of hunger or of disease, would lose its reason for existence. The voice of a true church would be able to say to such a state:
Concern for the spiritual salvation of these people is entrusted to me, and from you it is required only to pity their everyday burdens and infirmities. It is said that man does not live by bread alone, but it is not said that he will live without any bread. Pity is obligatory for all, and for me as well. Therefore, if you do not want to be the collective organ of my pity, if you do not want to give to me, through a legal division of labor between us, the moral possibility to give myself over entirely to the matter of piety, I will have to take up the work of pity myself, as in ancient times, when you, the state, did not yet call itself Christian. I myself will become concerned that there be no hunger and excessive work, no contempt for the suffering, satisfaction for the offended, and correction for the offenders. But won't all people then say: Why do we need a state that does not pity us, when we have a church, which pitied not only our souls, but also our bodies?
A Christian state worthy of this name is one that acts, without interfering in clerical matters, and within the boundaries of its means, in the royal spirit of Christ, who pitied those who hungered and those who suffered, who taught the ignorant, who forcibly curbed abuses (driving out the money-changers), but who was gracious to Samaritans and Gentiles, and who forbade his disciples to resort to force against unbelievers.
The Moral Task of Economic Life and the Alienation of Material Life from It
The special moral task of economic life--to be collectively organized abstinence from evil carnal boundlessness, with the goal of converting material nature--individual and general--into the free form of human spirit.--The existing alienation of economic life from its task and historical explanation of this fact.
The fundamental moral motive of piety, which determines our proper relation to the absolute principle, is organized in the church. The other moral basis of pity, which determines our proper relation to neighbors, is organized in the state. Similar to these, our fundamental moral relation to lower nature (our own as well as outer nature) is organized objectively and collectively in the third common sphere of humanity's life--in society as economic union, or in zemstvo. (62)
The moral obligation of abstinence, which in fact rests upon the feeling of shame inherent in human nature, is the true principle of humanity's economic life, as well as of the social organization corresponding to it with respect to its own special task. The economic task of a state that acts according to the motive of pity consists in forcibly ensuring for each a certain minimal degree of material prosperity as a necessary condition for a worthy human existence. With this, the economic question is being resolved correctly, but only in one respect--in the domain of inter-human relations. For economic activity, as such, the human relation to material nature has essential significance. Because the unconditional character of the moral principle and the fullness of moral order require without fail that this relation also be brought into the norm of the good, or perfection, then humanity must be morally organized not only in the domains of church and state, but also and especially in the domain of economic relations. Just as between church and state, so, too, among all three spheres of collective moral organization there must be unity without confusion and distinction without separation.
What form must the good assume in a materially economic society as such? It goes without saying that moral philosophy can indicate only the formative principle and the final goal of this society, what it should be. This principle is abstinence from evil carnal boundlessness, and this goal is the conversion of material mature--our own nature and outer nature--into the free form of human spirit, not restricting it from without but unconditionally complementing its inner and outer existence.
However, what is there in common among such ideas and economic activity? The principle of such activity is the boundless multiplication of demands, and its goal is an equivalent multiplication of things satisfying these demands. The commonality, of course, is between shame and shamelessness, between spiritualization of bodies and materialization of souls, between resurrection of the flesh and death of the spirit. This commonality is only negative, but what of it? The negation of a moral norm in fact does not abolish, but only underscores its inner significance. There are no reasonable grounds to suppose a ready-made correspondence to the ideal in the economic domain that we do not find in the empirical reality of church and state.
There is no doubt a certain contradiction between the feeling of shame and ordinary stock exchange operations. However, this is no greater (and sooner less) than between piety in the spirit of Christ and the politics of the medieval church. There is a discrepancy between the principle of abstinence and monetary speculation, again not greater but sooner less than, between the morally legal principle of the state and the institution of lettres de cachet. (63) Just as the entire significance of religion and of the church is settled for some by hierarchical ambition and the people's superstitiousness, while others in the political world perceive only the tyranny of rulers and a stupid submissiveness of the multitude, it is possible on the grounds of what has happened and what is happening to see in the entire economic domain only a field of self-interest and greed. Such views exist, but they only express either a reluctance or an incapacity to understand the essential meaning of the subjects.
The following direction is more serious. In giving up the requirement for ideal perfection in human relations as unjust, one must, however, require of these relations two properties in order that moral worth and significance be acknowledged in them: (1) that their assumed moral principle would not be completely alien to them but would become manifest in them, even if in imperfect form; and (2) that in their historical development they would be brought closer to the norm, or become more perfect. However, it is precisely economic life, if it is understood as a certain organization of material relations, that does not thoroughly satisfy these two indispensable requirements. With all the possible abuses in the ecclesiastical domain, it is not possible to seriously deny that the moral principle of piety is inherent in the church. It is not possible to deny, for example, that temples of God in general are created by this sentiment of piety and that a majority of people who gather for services are moved by it. It is not possible to deny, too, that in some if not in all respects ecclesiastical life is improving and that a multitude of old abuses has now become impossible. In like manner, no just person will begin to deny that in state institutions--courts, police, schools, hospitals, and so forth--there is an inherent moral goal: to protect people from offense and suffering and to assist in their welfare, and that the means for attaining this goal by the state are gradually being perfected in the sense of greater altruism. Where in the economic domain is there any institution in which the virtue of abstinence would be made objective and that would serve the spiritualization of material nature? The moral principle, which should determine our material life and transform our external environment, does not have any kind of reality at all in the economic environment and, consequently, there is nothing here to improve.
From our point of view, however, this perfect alienation of economic life from its proper moral task, indisputable in fact, has a satisfactory explanation. The moral organization of humanity, in principle defined in Christianity, could not be equally realized in all its parts. A certain historical sequence emerged from the very essence of the matter. The religious task, the organization of piety in the church, had to appear first, at the forefront--not only as a major and basic matter but also in a certain sense as the most simple, the least conditional from the human perspective. In fact, the bond of human beings with the unconditional principle revealed to them as the highest one cannot be determined by anything else. It rests on its own foundation--on that which is given. The second task of moral organization--the task of a Christian state--apart from its own motive of collective pity, is conditioned by a yet higher, religious principle, which frees this secular pity from the restrictions that it had in the pagan state. We see that the political task of historical Christianity, more complex and conditional than the ecclesiastical task, appears after it.
While there was an epoch in the Middle Ages when the church had already assumed stable organic forms, the Christian state represented the same condition of an apparent nonexistence in which Christian economy finds itself today. Does the fist-law of the Middle Ages really correspond to the moral norm of the state more than contemporary banks and stock exchanges do to the moral norm of economic relations? Practical realization of the latter, naturally, appears after all the rest, since this domain is the furthest boundary for the moral principle and its proper organization. That is to say, the arrangement of the moral bond between human beings and material nature is not simple but especially conditioned, first, by the normal religious situation of humanity as arranged together in the church, and second, by normal inter-human, or altruistic, relations organized in the state. It is no wonder, therefore, that the true economic task, which some socialists of the first half of the nineteenth century only approached gropingly, and from which contemporary socialists are as far as their opponents, has not as yet received a stable and definite expression even in the theoretical consciousness. (64)
Even with the indeterminacy of this final practical task, the change in moral sentiments that predominated in the history of the Christian world now already recommends with sufficient clarity three major epochs. The epoch of piety with the prevalent striving to the "divine," with indifference and distrust of the human principle, with enmity and fear toward the natural principle. This first epoch, with all its tenacity and duration, carried within itself however a seed of destruction. The one-sided exclusive piety of the Middle Ages contradicted the fullness of Christian truth according to the spirit, for this truth was confessed as the absolute norm according to the letter. When this contradiction found its direct and extreme expression in the inhumanity and pitilessness of "pious" religious persecutions, a reaction began, first of high-principled humanism, and after that also of practical pity and humaneness. This movement of humane morality, which characterizes the second epoch of Christian history--from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century inclusive--began in this last century to pass into a third epoch. At this time two preliminary truths appeared in the living consciousness of people: first, that an actual realization of humaneness must seize on the domain of material life, and second, that the norm of material life is abstinence. This truth was already clear to the philosophical schools of antiquity, but for common sense it is even now more a glimmering at dawn than a lighting of the way. This glimmering doubtlessly began in the nineteenth century in such phenomena as the ascetic morality of the fashionable [idealist] philosopher [Arthur] Schopenhauer, the advance of vegetarianism, the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism, poorly understood but taken precisely from the ascetic aspect, the success of The Kreutzer Sonata [by Leo Tolstoy], the fear of good people, lest the preaching of abstinence lead to a sudden discontinuation of the human race, and so forth. (65)
Economism and asceticism: here are two orders of ideas and phenomena, seemingly perfectly alien to one another, which in the nineteenth century were--in a perfectly superficial and crude manner--drawn together in Malthusianism. Their intrinsic and essential connection consists in the human being's positive obligation--approved by us--to save material nature from the necessity of decay and death, and to prepare it for universal corporeal resurrection.
Spiritualizing Humanity's Economic Life
The moral significance of the law of conservation of energy.--The expediency of collectively organized abstinence is conditional upon the successes of the collective organizations of pity and piety.--The unity of the three tasks.
According to current concepts, the goal of economic activity is the increase of wealth. The goal of wealth itself--if only one does not begin from the point of view of a "miserly knight"--is the possession of the fullness of physical existence. (66) This fullness no doubt depends on the relation of human beings to material nature. Two paths lie ahead of us here. Either we exploit earthly nature selfishly or cultivate it with love. (67) The first path has already been explored, leaving indirect benefits for human intellectual development and external culture, but the major goal cannot be attained by it. Nature is superficially inferior to the human being, allowing the appearance of supremacy over it. Imaginary treasures procured by violence do not bring happiness; they scatter, like burnt coal. Human beings cannot ensure their material welfare, that is, first of all heal their physical life and give it immortality by way of exploiting earthly forces extrinsically, and they cannot intrinsically possess nature without knowing its true essence. However, thanks to their reason and conscience they already know the moral conditions that are found within their own power, conditions that can place them in a proper relation to nature.
Reason reveals to them that every real phenomenon and relation in the world is subject to the inviolable law of the conservation of energy. Carnal inclinations strive to bind the soul with the surface of nature, with material things and processes, and to convert the intrinsic, potential infinity of a human being into the extrinsic evil boundlessness of passions and lusts. Conscience, even in its fundamental elementary form--shame--judges this way as unworthy, and reason shows that it is pernicious and why it is pernicious. The more the soul is wasted extrinsically, on the surface of things, the less it has left of intrinsic free force to penetrate to the essence of nature and to take possession of it. It is clear that human beings can truly spiritualize nature or arouse and raise within it intrinsic life only from an abundance of their own spirituality. It is equally clear that a proper spiritualization of human beings can be perfected only at the expense of their extrinsic, outwardly directed mental powers and aspirations. The powers and aspirations of the soul must be absorbed inwardly, and through this increase in its intensity and reinforced in itself, the mighty and spiritualized essence of human beings will now be correlated not with the material surface of nature but with its intrinsic essence.
What is required is not a human renunciation of outward action upon nature and of civilized labor at all but only a shift of life's goals and of the human will's center of gravity. The majority of people passionately strives after extrinsic objects as goals, and they bind their intrinsic sense of psychic strength and will to these goals and expend this strength and will upon them. These extrinsic objects must entirely become only means and instruments. The intrinsic strength that is gathered and concentrated into the self must be applied as a mighty lever to lift the weight of material existence, which overwhelms both the scattered soul of the human being and the shattered soul of nature.
The normal principle of economic activity is economy, the saving, the collecting of psychical strength through the conversion of one kind of mental energy (extrinsic, or extensive) into another kind (intrinsic, or intensive). A human being either squanders his or her sensual soul or gathers it together. In the first case, one does not attain anything either for oneself or for nature; in the second, one heals and saves oneself and it. Organization, in its most common definition, is the coordination of many means and instruments of a lower order for the attainment of a single common goal of a higher order. Therefore, the principle of economic activity that has predominated up to now--the indefinite multiplication of extrinsic and private demands and the acknowledgment of extrinsic means for their satisfaction as independent goals--is a principle of disorganization, of social decomposition. The principle of moral philosophy, however--the gathering together or absorbing of all extrinsic material goals into the single intrinsic and psychic goal of full reunification of the human essence with the natural essence--is a principle of organization and universal restoration.
It must be remembered that this is the third task in the common matter of the moral organization of humanity and that actual resolution of this third task is conditional on the first two. The methods of personal asceticism can be normal and expedient only under condition of a pious attitude to God and pity toward people; otherwise, the model of the ascetic would turn out to be the devil. So it is, too, with the collective arrangement of humanity's material life, according to the principle of gathering intrinsic strength and abstaining from extrinsic demands. This collective arrangement can be rightly and successfully realized not with isolated actors of the economic sphere in itself but only under condition of acknowledging an absolute goal--the kingdom of God, represented by the church--and with the help of the right means of state organization. Neither the individual nor the collective human being can properly arrange its material, or natural, life if it does not realize the moral norm in its relations, both religious and inter-human.
The moral organization of humanity, or its regeneration into divine humanity, is an indivisible triune task. Its absolute goal is set by the church as organized piety, which collectively takes divine action. Its formal means and instruments are given by the purely human, free principle of just pity or sympathy and collectively organized in the state. Only the final substratum or the material of the divinely human organism is found in the domain of economic life, determined by the principle of abstinence.
Priestly, Royal, and Prophetic Offices
Individual representatives of the moral organization of humanity.--The three supreme offices--priestly, royal, prophetic.--Their distinctive attributes and mutual dependence.
The individual principle is in essence inseparable from the social, or collective, aspect in the moral organization of humanity. Humanity is being perfected, or is being morally organized in different spheres of its existence, not otherwise than through the activity of individual bearers of supreme moral principles. Unity, the fullness and the right course of general moral progress, depends on the concordant action of these leading or "representative" persons. A normal bond between church and state would find an essential condition and a vivid, real expression for itself in the constant harmony of their supreme representatives, the high priest and king. What is more, the full power of the latter would be consecrated by the authority of the former, and the former would realize his authoritative will not otherwise than through the sovereignty of the latter. The high priest of the church is the direct bearer of the divine principle, the representative of spiritual fatherhood, preeminently a father; in the face of any temptation to abuse his authority, to turn it into coercive power, he should remember the words of the gospel, that the Father judges no one but has left all judgment to the Son because he is the son of man [see John 5:26-27]. In his turn, the Christian sovereign is preeminently a son of the church; against the temptation to raise his supreme worldly power to the degree of the higher spiritual authority and to allow it into any interference in the matter of faith and conscience whatsoever, he should remember that even the King of Heaven does only the will of the Father.
Yet the authority of high priest and state power are both indissolubly bound with extrinsic privileges, subject to temptations that are much too powerful, and the inevitable rivalries, usurpations, and misunderstandings among them evidently cannot finally be left for resolution to one of the interested sides. Any extrinsic obligatory restrictions are in principle, or ideally, incompatible with the supreme dignity of the high priest's authority and the king's power. A purely moral control on the part of the free forces of the nation and society is not only possible for them but desirable to the highest degree.
There existed in ancient Israel a third supreme office--the prophetic. Abolished in Christianity by rights, in fact it exited the stage of history, only stepping back onto it in exceptional cases--for the most part in distorted forms. All the anomalies of medieval and modern history arise from here. A restoration of the prophetic office is not a matter for the human will, but to recall its purely moral significance is very timely in our day and appropriate at the end of a moral philosophy.
Just as the high priest of the church is the summit of piety, and the Christian sovereign the summit of mercy and truth, so the true prophet is the summit of shame and conscience. Within this intrinsic essence of the prophetic office consists the foundation of its extrinsic features as well. The true prophet is a public figure, unconditionally independent, fearing nothing extrinsic and submitting to nothing extrinsic. Side by side with the bearers of unconditional authority and unconditional power there must be bearers of unconditional freedom in society. Such freedom cannot belong to the multitude, cannot be an attribute of democracy. Moral freedom, of course, is desirable for everyone, just as supreme power and authority are, perhaps, also desirable for everyone, but here desire is not enough. Supreme power and authority are given by the grace of God, but human beings must themselves merit real freedom through intrinsic exploit. The right of freedom is founded upon the very essence of a human being and must be ensured from without by the state. The degree of realization of this right is precisely something that wholly depends on intrinsic conditions, on the degree of moral consciousness attained. A real bearer of full freedom, both intrinsic and extrinsic, can only be one who is not bound internally by any externality, who in the final analysis knows no other standard of judgments and actions besides a good will and a pure conscience.
Just as every high priest is only the summit of the large and complex estate of the clergy, through which he is bound to the full laity, and further, just as royal power also realizes its calling in the nation only through a complex system of civil and military offices with their individual bearers, so, too, free actors of the higher ideal conduct it into the life of the community through a multitude of more or less full participants of their aspirations. The simplest difference of the three offices consists in the fact that the priestly office is mainly a deeply pious devotion to the true traditions of the past, the royal office--a faithful understanding of the true requirements of the present, and the prophetic office--faith in a true image of the future. The difference of a prophet from an idle daydreamer is in the fact that the flowers and fruits of an ideal future do not hang in the air of the prophet's personal imagination, but are held by the manifest stem of present societal requirements and the mysterious roots of religious tradition. In this also is the bond of the prophetic office with the priestly and the royal offices.
* The Justification of the Good: An Essay on Moral Philosophy, trans. Natalie Duddington (London: Constable, 1918), pt. 3, chap. 10, 409-69.
(1) Ed. note: Soloviev had already discussed the perfection of humanity as a historical process (in a Hegelian sense, broadly speaking) in the context of morality as unconditional principle in chapter 2 of part 2. The most proximate origins of that discussion as well as of this chapter appear in an article titled "The Moral Norm of Society" [Nravstvennaia norma obshchestvennosti, 1894].
(2) Ed. note: A biblical basis for this reasoning might be found in Ephesians 3:19; 4:13; and Colossians 3:14.
(3) Ed. note: Soloviev had earlier discussed the individual and society in chapter 1 of part 3. His reasoning seems to resonate with the premise of Thomas Hobbes in his introduction to Leviathan (1651): "For by art is created that great LEVIATHAN called a COMMONWEALTH, or STATE (in Latin, CIVITAS), which is but an artificial man, though of greater stature and strength than the natural, for whose protection and defence it was intended; and in which the sovereignty is an artificial soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body." Interestingly, Hobbes also asserted in chapter 15 of that work that "Morall Philosophy is nothing else but the Science of what is Good ... the true doctrine of the Lawes of Nature is the true Morall philosophie." Soloviev took issue with Hobbes and his presuppositions both directly and indirectly a number of times in various other essays. He found Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) to be more inspirational on such matters. Spinoza's influence on Soloviev can be seen in the latter's admission that the Jewish philosopher was "my first love in the sphere of philosophy." See Enemies from the East? V. S. Soloviev on Paganism, Asian Civilizations, and Islam, ed. and trans. Vladimir Wozniuk (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2007), 219-20. Spinoza's "concept of the state as an individual" is suggested in different ways in both his Ethics and his Tractatus Politicus. See Justin Steinberg, "Spinoza's Political Philosophy," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Spring 2009 Edition, ed. Edward N. Zalta, http://plato.stanford.edu/ archives/spr2009/entries/spinoza-political/ and Amy M. Schmitter, "17th and 18th Century Theories of Emotions," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Winter 2010 Edition, ed. Edward N. Zalta, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2010/entries/ emotions-17th18th/.
(4) Ed. note: Soloviev had earlier discussed pietas erga parentes and the filial relationship as the original basis of the religious principle in morality. See chapter 4 of part 1.
(5) Ed. note: "Forefathers": dziady, Latin letters in the original. It seems likely that Soloviev had in mind the complex, poetic drama "Dziady" (1828/32) by the Polish national poet Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855), whom he held in high esteem. At about the same time that Soloviev wrote the preface for the second edition of Justification of the Good, he also gave a speech in honor of the 100th anniversary of Mickiewicz's birth. See V. S. Soloviev, "Mickiewicz," in The Heart of Reality: Essays on Beauty, Love, and Ethics by V. S. Soloviev, ed. and trans. Vladimir Wozniuk (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003), 171-78.
(6) Tegner's Fritiof, trans. Ia. K. Grot. [Ed. note: Instead of translating the Russian in Soloviev's text or using Duddington's rendition, I have borrowed English lines from what may be the most coherent translation-in-verse of Esaias Tegner's saga, published under the title Fridthjof's Saga: A Norse Romance, trans. Thomas and Martha Holcomb, 2nd ed. (Chicago: S. Griggs, 1888), 2.13. The sense ofthe penultimate line might also be conveyed by "We from the hills, O Thorsten, the waters will behold."]
(7) The prayer for granting eternal memory to the departed forms an important part of the funeral and the requiem services in the Orthodox Church [Ed. Duddington's note].
(8) Ed. note: "Eternal idea": a suggestion of Plato's perfect forms of things, the significance of which Soloviev discussed elsewhere. See, for example, V. S. Soloviev, "Beauty in Nature"  in The Heart of Reality, 34-41.
(9) Ed. note: "Under the aspect of eternity": the Latin phrase sub specie aeternitatis is associated with Baruch Spinoza. See Steven Nadler, "Baruch Spinoza," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fall 2012 Edition, ed. Edward N. Zalta, http://plato. stanford.edu/archives/fall2012/entries/spinoza/.
(10) I cannot expand on the most proximate circumstances of this bond, and on other questions that relate here, without crossing over into the sphere of metaphysics and mystical aesthetics. However the general necessity of resurrection as the fullness of spiritual-corporeal being is clear enough from the point of view of unconditional moral principle and of the reality of the moral order. [Ed. note: Soloviev had earlier discussed the reality of the moral order in history in chapter 3 of part 2.]
(11) Ed. note: For an in-depth discussion of "spiritual corporeality," see V. S. Soloviev, "The Meaning of Love," in The Heart of Reality, 128-33.
(12) See above, the second chapter [chap. 2 of pt. 1], "The Ascetic Principle in Morality."
(13) Ed. note: The several allusions seem to rely on Pauline images, as in Ephesians 5:32, as well as Hosea 3:1; John 3:29; and Revelation 21:2.
(14) Ed. note: This appears to be a reference to Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Ia q. 1 a. 8 ad 2.
(15) Ed. note: The concept of theosis or deification--by grace but not by nature--is central to traditional Christian anthropology and soteriology and remains such in the Christian East. (See, e.g., Athanasius, DeIncarnatione, 54.) Since Soloviev had just referenced Thomas Aquinas, he may particularly have had in mind Summa Theologica I-II q. 112 a. 1: "For it is as necessary that God alone should deify, bestowing a partaking of the Divine Nature by a participated likeness...." The New Testament basis of the doctrine can be found, e.g., in 2 Peter 1:3-1 and John 10:34-36.
(16) The late Professor of Philosophy P. D. Yurkevitch related to me that a young scholar, son of an evangelical pastor in Moscow who was present once at a marriage in a Russian church, was struck by the fact that in a sacred anthem bridal crowns are compared to the crowns of martyrs. This profoundly thoughtful view so touched his soul that it called forth a complete revolution, ending with the young philologist giving up secular learning and the university chair destined for him and, to the distress of his relatives, going into a monastery. This was the well-known Father Clement Sederholm, about whom an excellent characterization and biography were afterward provided by the late K. N. Leontiev. (See K. N. Leontiev, Father Clement Sederholm [Moscow, 1882].)
(17) Ed. note: Soloviev had discussed childbearing and procreation in more detail in chapter 1 of part 2.
(18) Ed. note: The subject of pity was introduced in chapters 1 and 3 of part 1 (The Primary Data of Morality; Pity and Altruism) as one of the three moral relations or attitudes of a human being to things below and above, the others being piety, or reverence, and shame, which originated as sexual modesty. It may be possible to understand Soloviev's return to pity as a frame of reference here toward the end of the book in part as a response to assertions made by Hobbes in "Of Human Nature" (1650) chapter 9:10:
Pity is imagination or fiction of future calamity to ourselves, proceeding from the sense of another man's calamity. But when it lighteth on such as we think have not deserved the same, the compassion is greater, because then there appeareth more probability that the same may happen to us: for, the evil that happeneth to an innocent man, may happen to every man. But when we see a man suffer for great crimes, which we cannot easily think will fall upon ourselves, the pity is the less. And therefore men are apt to pity those whom they love: for, whom they love, they think worthy of good, and therefore not worthy of calamity. Thence it is also, that men pity the vices of some persons at the first sight only, out of love to their aspect. The contrary of pity is hardness of heart, proceeding either from slowness of imagination, or some extreme great opinion of their own exemption from the like calamity, or from hatred of all or most men.
Soloviev's discussion of pity also suggests aspects of Spinoza's discussion of the subject as found in part 3 of his Ethics, "On the Origin and Nature of the Affects." See Michael LeBuffe, "Spinoza's Psychological Theory," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fall 2010 Edition, ed. Edward N. Zalta, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2010/entries/spinoza-psychological/.
(19) Ed. note: "Kingdom of God": For Soloviev, this concept encapsulated the central Gospel message. See V. S. Soloviev, "On Counterfeits" , in Freedom, Faith, and Dogma: Essays by V. S. Soloviev on Christiainity and Judaism, ed. and trans. Vladimir Wozniuk (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008), 150.
(20) Ed. note: This may carry an allusion to Revelation 1:18.
(21) Ed. note: This "counterfeit" existence would seem to invert the sense of what Soloviev proclaimed earlier in another place. See, for example, "On Counterfeits," in Freedom, Faith, and Dogma, 147-57.
(22) Ed. note: Soloviev engaged in meaningful wordplay in the preceding sentences: The Russian word for "finished," pokoncheno, suggests "dead" somewhat more clearly than its English equivalent. Both "religion" and "relic" have their counterparts in Russian as well (religiia, relikviia). But the juxtaposition of "conservatism" and "preserves" in English does not quite capture the Russian: konservatizm, konservy. Moreover, the wordplay between "fruits of the spirit" and "propagates" does not come through at all, for "fruits" are plody and what is translated here as "propagates" is plodit in Russian.
(23) Ed. note: Wordplay again: "tradition" and "faithful"--in Russian predanie and predannogo--may also subtly suggest something much more sinister, for the verbal infinitive predat' means "to betray."
(24) Ed. note: Soloviev had earlier discussed moral progress as corresponding to social progress in chapter 2 of part 3.
(25) Ed. note: This element of family-nation was introduced in discussion of the individual and society in chapter 1 of part 3.
(26) The intrinsic bond and contrast between the Babylonian tower-building of the pagans and the Zion assembly of the apostles, as violation and restoration of the norm, are clearly indicated in Church anthems sung at Pentecost.
(27) Ed. note: The word here translated as "participating," prichasten, also clearly suggests "communion"--prichastie in Russian.
(28) Ed. note: In an 1883 letter, Soloviev criticized Russian nationalists for ignoring the indispensable theological foundation needed for any clear understanding of nationalism, wryly adding that in this case "'patriot' rhymes with 'idiot.'" See Politics, Law, and Morality: Essays by V. S. Soloviev, ed. and trans. Vladimir Wozniuk (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 303.
(29) Ed. note: Soloviev had just discussed war's significance in the context of modern European international relations in the previous chapter (chap. 9, pt. 3).
(30) Ed. note: Zemstvo: the form of local government organization in Russia's countryside. From the time of its inception, about three years after Tsar Alexander II abolished serfdom in 1864, the zemstvo was responsible for public services and infrastructure, such as the building of schools, hospitals, and roads. Soloviev had raised the three interlocking issues of church, state, and economy together much earlier in context of Russia's treatment of the Jews. See V. S. Soloviev, "The Jews and the Christian Question" , in Freedom, Faith, and Dogma, 77-82.
(31) Ed. note: "Dust": prakh, this Russian word for dust also means "ashes." The combination of that word with the emphasis on "soil" could be understood as suggesting Saint Paul's Letter to the Hebrews: "Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned" (Heb. 6:7-8 NIV).
(32) Ed. note: The line of reasoning in the next pages suggests religion as a feeling of absolute dependency, an idea closely associated with the German theologian and philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834). The fact that Soloviev read Schleiermacher carefully is beyond doubt, for he took issue directly with the German philosopher on another subject: the order of appearance of Plato's dialogues and the reasons for their subsequent arrangement. See V. S. Soloviev, "Plato's Life-Drama" , in Politics, Law, and Morality, 214-16.
(33) Ed. note: "Power ... help": a slight play on words, moshchi ... pomoshchi.
(34) Ed. note: See Paul's Letter to the Romans 7:19.
(35) Ed. note: The second citation seems to be imprecise, amounting to a paraphrase of John 5:30. Compare with 1 John 2:18; 4:3.
(36) Ed. note: See Paul's letter to the Hebrews, chapters 1-f
(37) The profound and important meaning of the dogmatic disputes, in which the question concerned the very essence of the Christian religion, or piety, has been indicated by me more definitively in other works. See, "The Great Dispute and Christian Politics" [Velikii spor i khristianskaia politika] (1883), "The Dogmatic Development of the Church" [Dogmaticheskoe razvitie tserkvi] (1886), "La Russie et l'Eglise Universelle" (1889). The dogmatic development of the church entered into the first part of the work. Ibid. "Russia and the Universal Church," Paris: 1889. This meaning is particularly clear in the iconoclast dispute with which the circle of dogmatic development concluded in the Christian East.
(38) Ed. note: Again, religion as a feeling of absolute dependency, suggesting Schleiermacher (see n. 32 above).
(39) Ed. note: "Superhuman": Soloviev asserted a Christian "superhuman" idea in contrast to Friedrich Nietzsche's notion of a "superman" in two essays: "Literature or Truth?"  and "The Idea of a Superman" . See Politics, Law, and Morality, 87-90 and 255-63.
(40) Ed. note: "Ding an sich": German for "thing in itself," a product of Immanuel Kant's critique of reason. Soloviev had earlier directly taken issue with Kant's system as insufficient on religion and ethics at the end of chapter 1 of part 2. However, he also found Kant's views on free will and absolute guilt to be important enough to translate from Critique of Pure Reason and add to another group of his essays. See Politics, Law, and Morality, 131.
(41) See for details [the author's essays] "The Spiritual Bases of Life" [Dukhovnye osnovy zhizni] 3rd ed. 1897 and "La Russie et l'Eglise Universelle" (last chapter).
(42) Ed. note: Soloviev wrote an encyclopedia article on seventh-century Monotheletism, which asserted the unity of the two wills, while the seventeenth-century contemplative movement of quietism sought perfection through passivity. He thought such heresies important enough to cite in other places. See, for example, "The Fate of Pushkin" , in The Heart of Reality, 156. Pelagianism (fourth century) both contradicted the doctrine of original sin and asserted that the beginning of salvation proceeded not from grace but from human free will.
(43) These three religiously moral acts are examined in detail by me in the first part of "The Spiritual Bases of Life."
(44) See above, "The Significance of War" (chap. 9 [of pt. 3]).
(45) Ed. note: Virgil, Aeneid, VI:851-53. Soloviev had collaborated with the poet A. A. Fet on a translation of the Aeneid into Russian. The quoted excerpt derives from the Latin lines: "Romane, memento (hae tibi erunt artes) pacique imponere morem, parcere subiectis et debellare superbos." I have not translated Soloviev's Russian but employed a translation from Duddington's era. See Virgil, Aeneid, trans. H. Rushton Fairclough (Cambridge, MA: Harvard/Loeb Classical Library, 1916), 566-67. Soloviev liked these words so much that he made use of them more than once. See, for example, V. S. Soloviev, "Nationality from a Moral Point of View" , in Politics, Law, and Morality, 41, 304, and 306-7.
(46) Ed. note: Soloviev has placed these verses in reverse order.
(47) From the Instruction of Vladimir Monomakh, one of the rulers of Russia in the eleventh century, to his children. [Duddington's note. Editor's addendum: The Polovtsy were also known as Cuman--a nomadic Turkic people; Vladimir Monomakh was Grand Prince (Velikii kniaz') of the Kievan Rus' (1053 to 1125). Soloviev thought that the period was important for understanding the development of many Russian religious and social views. See, for example, V. S. Soloviev, "Byzantinism and Russia" (1896), in Freedom, Faith, and Dogma, 196-97.]
(48) "Italy, slave and abode of suffering, ship without a pilot amidst terrible storms" [Ed. addendum: Dante, Divine Comedy, Purgatory VI:78. Perhaps out of modesty Soloviev refrained from quoting the rest of Dante's couplet: "non donna di province, ma bordello!" He referred to Dante and Italy's time of troubles in other places. See, for example, "Nationality from a Moral Point of View" (1895) and "On Conscientious Unbelief" (1897), in Politics, Law, and Morality, 46, 97, 310].
(49) My father had the good fortune while yet in childhood to hear eyewitness reminiscences about how armed multitudes of foreigners openly engaged in brigandage, carried whole families of Russian travelers into captivity and tortured them in various ways. At the present time this no longer happens on the Volga, but on the Amur, as is known, it happens even now, which means that the perpetual war mission of the state among us has not yet ended, and, if the virtuous centurion Cornelius had lived in our day in Russia, no moral motives could have hampered him from being a Cossack "centurion" in the Ussursky region.
(50) Ed. note: Parts of Soloviev's discussion of the relationship of morality and law here appear as revisions of his earlier work on the subject, first in his academic thesis (1880), then in an essay titled "Morality and Law" (1895). He also examined the questions again in somewhat more detail, providing virtually the same examples of retributive logic as we find here, under separate cover in "Law and Morality: Essays in Applied Ethics" . See Politics, Law, and Morality, 131-212, esp. 131, 168.
(51) See above, "The Penal Question from a Moral Point of View," chap. 9, pt. 3.
(52) See above, the chapter "Law and Morality."
(53) See above, "Morality and Justice," chap. 8, pt. 3.
(54) Ed. note: Soloviev used this precise example as part of the same argument in "Law and Morality." See Politics, Law, and Morality, 140-41.
(55) See above, "On Virtues," chap. 5, pt. 1.
(56) Ed. note: Most likely, Rudolf. von Jhering, author of Geist des romischen Rechts auf den verschiedenen Stufen seiner Entwicklung, 4 vols. (Leipzig: 1852-1865) [The Spirit of Roman Law in Various Periods of its Development]. Soloviev repeated this line of reasoning in "Law and Morality" without, however, explicitly referring to Jhering. See Politics, Law, and Morality, 142-44.
(57) Ed. note: Alexander Ostrovsky, The Storm [Groza, 1859], Act II, sc. 1. Ostrovsky (1823-1886) was one of the most productive minor Russian dramatists of the nineteenth century, known for depicting middle-class moral conflicts.
(58) Ed. note: Soloviev had earlier raised the subject of moral evaluations as part of a broader discussion of virtues in chapter 5 of part 1.
(59) See above, "Morality and Law," chap. 8, pt. 3.
(60) Ed. note: "Gives itself up to quietism and indifference": What I have translated here as "gives itself up" is a form of the Russian verb predat'sia, which indirectly suggests "betrayal." (See n. 23 above.)
(61) Ed. note: "Man of lawlessness": Soloviev referred to this New Testament epithet earlier in this chapter. See also "A Brief Tale about the Antichrist" . See Politics, Law, and Morality, 318.
(62) Ed. note: See note 30 above. Soloviev had explored aspects of the economic question from the moral point of view in chapter 7 of part 3.
(63) Ed. note: "Lettres de cachet": Seventeenth-century French royal edict regarding expulsion or exile without trial and inquest (the Huguenots).
(64) Ed. note: The insufficiency of both socialism and capitalism to deal with economic questions in a moral way was also discussed in chapter 7 of part 3. Soloviev had written on that theme much earlier, both in his thesis (1880) and from another angle somewhat later in "The Social Question in Europe" (1892). See my introduction.
(65) Ed. note: Soloviev broached the subjects of Buddhism and Hinduism briefly earlier: first, in terms of the demands of asceticism, or abstinence (including nutrition) in chapter 1 of part 1, then later along with Platonism more directly in chapter 2 of part 3, in tracing the development of moral and social consciousness. It is perhaps relevant to note that Soloviev had little sympathy for western distortions of Buddhist religion and spirituality, which he referred to in 1892 as "a charlatan attempt to suit real Buddhism to the tastes of Europe." See Politics, Law, and Morality, 316.
(66) Ed. note: "Miserly knight": skupoi rytsar', the protagonist in one of Alexander Pushkin's "little tragedies."
(67) Ed. note: This line of reasoning reprises the argument Soloviev made more forcefully in discussing economic questions with respect to material nature in chapter 7 of part 3. He had also broached it in other contexts. See my introduction.
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|Title Annotation:||p. 365-394|
|Author:||Soloviev, Vladimir S.|
|Publication:||Journal of Markets & Morality|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2013|
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