Momentarily considered, then, the saint may waste his tenderness and be the dupe and victim ofhis charitable fever, but the general function of his charity in social evolution is vital and essential.

If things are ever to move upward, some one must be ready to take the first step, and assume therisk of it. No one who is not willing to try charity, to try non-resistance as the saint is alwayswilling, can tell whether these methods will or will not succeed. When they do succeed, they arefar more powerfully successful than force or worldly prudence. Force destroys enemies; and thebest that can be said of prudence is that it keeps what we already have in safety. But nonresistance,when successful, turns enemies into friends; and charity regenerates its objects. Thesesaintly methods are, as I said, creative energies; and genuine saints find in the elevated excitementwith which their faith endows them an authority and impressiveness which makes them irresistiblein situations where men of shallower nature cannot get on at all without the use of worldlyprudence. This practical proof that worldly wisdom may be safely transcended is the saint's magicgift to mankind.[215] Not only does his vision of a better world console us for the generallyprevailing prose and barrenness; but even when on the whole we have to confess him ill adapted,he makes some converts, and the environment . He is an effectiveferment of goodness, a slow transmuter of the earthly into a more heavenly order.

We lived to see that chief and all his  of Christ. And there is perhaps notan island in these southern seas, amongst all those won for Christ, where similar acts of heroism onthe part of converts cannot be recited." John G. Paton, Missionary to the New Hebrides, AnAutobiography, second part, London, 1890, p. 243.

In this respect the Utopian dreams of social justice in which many contemporary socialists andanarchists indulge are, in spite of their impracticability and non-adaptation to presentenvironmental conditions, analogous to the saint's belief in an existent kingdom of heaven. Theyhelp to break the edge of the general reign of hardness and are slow leavens of a better order.