The Natural Theology Of Social Science -- By: John Basoom

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 026:103 (Jul 1869)
Article: The Natural Theology Of Social Science
Author: John Basoom

The Natural Theology Of Social Science

Rev. John Basoom

No. VI.

Credit And Consumption

It is impossible to construct society without the cement of faith, or industrial society without the form of faith known as credit. As long as parties are mutually and perfectly distrustful, fearful of each other, they can only guard themselves one against the other with ceaseless anxiety. Every effort goes to establish a barrier against injury, to cut off access by wall or ditch, or to make ready for the approach of an enemy by arms offensive and defensive. Slavery, which rests on violence, must remain a state of conflict, of patient watching on either hand to inflict or to evade wrong, unless, the deep-seated injury overlooked and forgotten, mutual trust comes to unite the parties, with faithful service on the one side, and kindness on the other.

Thieves who band together are compelled to establish, in place of that broader morality which they have thrown off, a narrower code of honor, which they strenuously enforce among themselves, finding in it a new hold for faith. Barbaric society differs from civilized society in the restricted

circle to which this trust extends, and its limited force even here; in the many fears and superstitions which seemingly spring up on purpose to replace the restrictions of morality. Treachery and the fear of it are most thoroughly destructive to all social ties, the most ruinous of all social vices, and, therefore, all men in the sphere in which they have recognized the obligation to faithfulness, have branded the opposite fault as the most opprobrious of sins, as deserving the severest punishment, the most universal scorn. Even the slave, unless the victim of extreme cruelty, is not suffered to be faithless to his master without peculiar censure. No term conveys more general, more unsparing reproach than that of traitor.

The establishment of faith between individuals, gives the family; between families, the tribe; between tribes, the nation; between nations, the breadth and amenities of modern civilization. In no one respect is the uniform progress of the world more distinct and discernible than in this constant growth of confidence, till the natural and presumed relation of man to man and of nation to nation is now one of amity and trust, one of recognized obligation, which a conviction, rooted in every conscience and as broad as the civilized world, enforces.

The transition to this state from that in which a stranger, hostis, and an enemy were one in language and in thought, has been greatly aided by commerce. Commerce demands faith and leads to faith. So strong is this connection that it has given rise...

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