xi A SYNTHETIC PHILOSOPHY OF LIVING 415
either of these interpretations of life pushed to the extreme of its own logic. But, as we proceed with a really searching analysis, we discover that at its best the ethics of self-denial become the basis of a noble philosophy of action. The will to conquer may be transformed into the will to conquer self. The mighty motive of self-assertion may be bent to the purpose of the good of society instead of being the slave of the exploiter of society. The ethics of self-assertion and those of self-abasement may find a higher unity in altruism where men realize themselves in the service of others.
Here it dawns upon us, that by its very nature Christianity represents this synthesis of the best of the will to denial united in an unselfish purpose to serve all human life. There never has been such a combination of glorious self-assertion and of marvellous self-abasement as we find in the life, ministry and death of Jesus. He gave the active all the glory of the passive and enriched the passive with all the kindling quality of the active. In Him the East and the West met in the wonder of a wedlock where the deepest meaning of the life of each was nobly conserved. He is the supreme challenge of men of thought; and the supreme inspiration to men of action. He reveals anew the wonder of a wise passiveness ; and shows forth the power of action which has the insight of a brooding and passive spirit at its heart. That creative altruism which is the very genius of the life of Jesus is the reconciliation and the synthesis of every productive element in the philosophy of self-assertion and the philosophy of self-abasement.
Nietzsche has gone so far as to criticize Jesus as the preacher of a ' slave morality ', but, as Streeter has pointed out, it is really Nietzsche's own morality that should bear this name ; for it represents the slave's