Ideals of Conduct: An Exposition of Moral Attitudes

By John Dashiell Stoops | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIII
THE INNER LIFE IN ITS RELATION TO VOCATION, FAMILY, AND STATE IN PROTESTANTISM

The unyielding character of the old order which showed itself most definitely in the crucifixion drove the newer conscience in on itself. A hard and fast outer world led to the development of a hard and fast inner world. This inner world reversed the values of the ancient régime. Over against the state it set the ideal of obedience to its own organization, the church; over against the organization of property and the family it set the virtues of poverty and chastity. These virtues of obedience, poverty, and chastity were the forms of moral organization which the newer régime imposed on its world, on the world over which it had control. It took half a millennium for this newer moral tradition to build an organization strong enough to rule the world; and then for a full millennium it imposed its discipline on European civilization. Its universal formal truths, its imposing ritual, steadied the will. Its music deepened and elevated and purified the feelings. The mediæval régime with its ritual gave common attitudes of mind and therefore solidarity to a society which needed a culture to save it from anarchy. The sacraments performed the function which custom and tradition had performed in

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