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North End should have only a Copp's Hill Burying Ground.
His attitude, to speak directly, would, I apprehend, be one of commendation for all the beautiful and glad things which our recognition of our community, our vital partnership, has brought into being, and of insistence that that recognition of community should go on to its conclusion,-in the effacement of unsightly spots from the city's domain, the widening of streets, the provision of parks, the diffusion of knowledge, the setting up everywhere of creations of art, so that human spirits, wherever born into the world, might open their eyes upon something of that loveliness with which God has filled it; and, that all this might be, Jinsistence that the people itself should assume the administration of—I will not undertake to say what—other public matters, as it already has of education and the postal service.
I decline at this point to discuss the practicability of this. I am content, not even pointing out to what extent Birmingham
and Glasgow have found it practicable, to say that Christians are not bound by considerations of practicability. We profess to have embraced an ideal, and that ideal demands that we increasingly conform to it, not only in our individual lives, but also in our social life. That ideal, I do not hesitate to express my conviction, is intolerant of the cut-throat scramble which we apotheo. size as “the refining process of competition;" it knows nothing of that “deep ethical purpose ” which the prevailing social economy hears “ rolling, like solemn music, through all the strain and stress of the struggle for existence.” As it is set forth in the unworldly words of Jesus which on other Friday noons we have considered, you will agree, it does not contemplate rivalry, competition anywhere, but everywhere love, the preferring of others to ourselves, the seeking of opportunities, not for success, but for self-sacrifice. It knows of struggle and stress, but of a different sort; not of men against men, but of men as a race, their cause one, their destiny one, fighting together the wars of humanity, but ministering to each other, helpfully and tenderly, along the marches and on every stricken field. This may not be practicable; it may not be good social economy, but as sure as God lives, it is Christianity! It is what the footsore, sighing Christ, as He walks to-day through the joyless alleys where men stifle, where women bear deformities for children,
—this is what He looks for, and prays the Father to hasten; this is what, in the slow process of the centuries, He is bringing about. If we don't want it to be brought about, we ought in honesty to abjure Him and His teachings, and like the Gadarenes, beseech Him to depart out of our coasts. If we don't think a society built on the principles announced by Christ desirable or feasible, very well. Only let us remember that we have no right to reject Christ as a Master, Guide and Teacher, nay: as what He claims to be, a King,—and yet keep Him as the object of what we are pleased to call our devotions.
That we may not do. Neither have we any right to talk of the Kingdom of Heaven as a far-off æsthetic fancy, or as a goodly
place in another world into which saints and children too fragile for earth are gathered, when Christ talked of it as a social order which it was His mission to establish on earth.
Jesus Christ was not the originator of a doctrine. He was not the author of a plan for the salvation of souls out of the world. He was not a personage of beautiful character who may become to pious individuals the object of a tender sentiment. Jesus Christ is a King. He did not compose a volume of valuable morality; He wrote never a line, save one in the sand. He founded a Kingdom. He began His career with a formal statement concerning the nature of that Kingdom. He told many parables beginning “ The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto” this and that. He taught His disciples, and us, to pray for the coming of the Kingdom. He was tried for claiming to be a King. He affirmed before His judges that such He was. The inscription on His cross proclaimed Him a King, and the cross itself is the eternal symbol of the Law of Love, the Law of Sacrifice, which He, having perfectly fulfilled, commends to us as the rule of His Kingdom. 11
Christianity is not an individual matter. Jesus was not primarily a teacher of individual morality, neither did He know any. thing of individual salvation. He was a Revealer of Social Ethics. His commands are not maxims of individual conduct; they are statements of great social truths. He did not spend His time telling men how they might save each his soul. He carried in His heart the vision of a redeemed and saved society, a universal Christian State, and every word He uttered, and every act He did, was in an effort to have that State, that Kingdom, realized in fact upon earth.
We cannot doubt that since He laid its foundation, the Kingdom has been slowly rising into view. But we cannot affirm that we have yet seen it in anything like its completion, nor that we have as yet any but the faintest notion of what it will be. We call our civilization“ Christian” only in virtue of the promise which it gives of passing into the as yet almost undiscovered thing–Chris