The Civil Clash of Social and Industrial Ideals -- By: Burnett T. Stafford

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 072:286 (Apr 1915)
Article: The Civil Clash of Social and Industrial Ideals
Author: Burnett T. Stafford


The Civil Clash of Social and Industrial Ideals

Burnett T. Stafford

There are two ideals of the social and the industrial life. One had a definite beginning and statement in the Mosaic legislation. This is the way it reads: “Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thou hast to do.” There were no limitations to its application; against it bills of exceptions have been filed in abundance, and all have been argued down and out by experience. Every member of the social body is commanded to be a producer of wealth, so as to secure the end of the common enrichment. The intelligent workers have been always the civilizers and builders. “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings,” both to suggest and direct.

The Hebrews accepted this constructive principle, and by it were transformed from a disorganized desert tribe into a nation of workers, skilled in agriculture and the industrial arts. In the higher reaches of thought and emotion, the steady work of cultivation produced a wealth of spiritual power, which has steadily enlarged its circle of influence by fertilizing the root ideas of all moral endeavor. The Hebrew youth was taught a trade, so that he could earn his bread and butter. He was taught that it was honorable, that by filling a productive and constructive place in the social body, he became a capitalist.

and therefore the possessor of power. His mental growth and physical nourishment were not neglected. One time the college at Jerusalem needed an instructor in one of the higher studies: he was called from his charcoal burning. A noted graduate of Tarsus University and the great theological school of his people made tents for a living, when planting in Roman society the great principles of the religious faith of his fathers. Two everyday needs were made prominent in Hebrew education: (1) one should earn his own living; (2) some contribution should be made to the general good.

The other industrial ideal was that held and lived by the pagan world, generally. It is conspicuous in the social traditions and literatures of Athens and Rome, because at these points it concentrated and found fullest expression. The normal condition of the individual was held to be that of industrial idleness, but with large consumption, the latter especially, because the standard of successful living was to eat, drink, and be merry. The average Athenian would gabble all day long in the market place, seated on a wine cask or a grape box from Palestine. Some new thing he would both discuss, and curse by his gods; the doing of a day’s work of honest production was beneath him. He held strenuously to his ideal that rags and starvation were more honorable than productive toil. A ...

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