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the bosom of the Father, or whether He speaks to men, through His Body, which is the Church. Consequently, , infallibility is assured to the Church,
Thus all the characteristics of the society are characteristics of the Individual Christ. In this Body, each of its members must participate more or less in the prerogatives of the whole; each faithful must bear in him the marks of Christ. He must be one, holy, catholic, apostolic, and infallible, through the unity, sanctity, universality, apostolicity, and infallibility of Jesus Christ manifest in him.
I have already shewn that the mark of man's high calling is to emphasize his own personality, to liberate himselfthat which is really himself—from all bonds, and constitute his individuality in the face of all men, and in the face of God, but without opposing it to other personalities, or ignoring the personality of God. By this distinguishing of himself, man becomes one, by so doing without invading the rights of others he becomes catholic; in this universal unity he continues the apostolic mission of Christ, which consists in reproducing the ideal in himself, as enjoined by his Master, “Be ye perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect," and thus becoming himself holy, and inspiring others with a love of the same perfection. And he will be infallible in all that comes under the determination of his judgment, not infallible in contradicting the determinations of others, but in his positive convictions and logical conclusions.
Thus, every one of the faithful is an individual irradiation of the Christ, as the Church is the collective manifestation of Him. Each man, though distinct from Christ, is nevertheless Christ. There is a multitude of members, and all, by that reciprocal communion, all—whether living
or dead, all, whether of the past, the present; and indeed all who will be in the future, are but one.
Such is the sublime mystery of love, which makes of One many, and of many One, the radiant image of the ineffable mystery of God in His essence, manifesting Himself in all His creatures by the Word, which is the expression of Himself.
If the Word were only God, the uncreate, He could not be the mediator between the creature and God. If He were only man, He could not link all men into an indissoluble whole. But that union of the finite and the infinite, of the created and the uncreate, present everywhere, in heaven and in earth, binds the Church triumphant and the Church militant into one common life, which is none other than the life of Christ; such is the doctrine of the communion of saints.
That common union of an innumerable multitude of personalities in one life has its figure and its symbol in the visible world. What, in fact, is this universe but variety contained in an all-comprehending unity? The distinction of individualities subsists in a permanent manner.
There is no confusion between the mineral, the vegetable, and the animal, and reciprocally each species is distinct; and so is each variety of plants and animals distinct from all other species and varieties.
The nature, the form, and the properties of each remain invariable. Moreover, the individuality of each being of the same nature remains completely distinct. No two leaves are exactly alike, one rose is not to be confounded with another rose; each gnat and each eagle is distinguishable from each other gnat and eagle. And yet in the midst of all this permanence of individualities there is indivisible unity. The entire universe is but one body, and has but
one life. The same substance composes the minerals, the plants, and the animals. The beauty and order of creation consists in the emphasizing of separate individualities and their unification in a mighty whole.
“Nothing useless is, or low,
Each thing in its place is best ;
Strengthens and supports the rest."
So is it in the spiritual world. The work of each individuality is the distinguishing of itself from every other individuality and from God, and yet maintaining the union of all individualities in one body through Christ.
But in the physical life all is limited; a being occupying one place by that fact excludes all others; a being containing in itself a given quantity of matter excludes all others from the possession of the same matter. In the spiritual world the inverse is true; through an intimate and profound communion all partake in what belongs to one. We all partake in the fulness of Christ, and in the abundance of one another. This is solidarity and reversibility. None live apart from the common life of Christ, who is “ all in all;” none act but through Him, none think apart from His thought, none love but with His love; life, action, thought, and love are seized on and produced according to the form of the personality of each, that they may be poured forth upon others; this is the doctrine of the communion of saints.
“ As we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” Christ is "the head over all things to the Church, which is His Body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.”] “For, as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased Him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again, the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more, those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary; and those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need; but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked; that there should be no schism in the body ; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one menı ber suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the Body of Christ, and members in particular.”? 1 Eph. i. 22, 23.
1 Longfellow : The Builders.
2 Rom. xii. 4, 5.
I pass now to the organization of the social Christ-the Church. Organization there must be, or there would be no society.
The ideally best form of government is that in which organization and function combine to secure, in the highest degree, the well-being and happiness of the individual citizen. Man being a social animal, government of some sort is necessary. For man has rights which others are constantly disposed to infringe, and the infringement of rights is the dissolution of society.
For the preservation of the bond, government is required. In itself, all human government is an evil, but it is a necessary evil. As to organization, that is the best in which the sovereign power is vested in the aggregate of the community, each citizen having a share in the making, and a share in the application, of the laws. It has taken Europe many centuries of bitter experience to learn this, and all Europe has not learned it yet.
Now the Church was the first corporate body to set an example of a representative government, and it is no matter of surprise that despotism should have hated the sight, and have forced on the Church an alteration of her constitution. To that alteration of her constitution we must attribute the evils which accrued to religion in the Middle Ages, and from which it is not clear at the present day.
Whenever government is in the hands of a section of the community, it will be used to promote the interests of that section, and to the detriment of outsiders. When the supreme power is monopolized by one, as in despotism; by a few, as in aristocracies; or by the many, as in existing democracies; separate interests are created for the one, the few, or the many, and are brought into opposition with the interests of the whole.