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in perfection. Looking on the human side, what
are we taught? That Jesus was the type of
the race. In Him was revealed what the race
was intended to be, and what it will be when
Creation is complete. The Church has thought



The Goal of the Creation. 165

so much of the Divine Christ that it has not
grasped the full and glorious significance of the
human Christ. He is the goal toward which
humanity is tending. He is the crowning race.
He was the Divine plan for each individual.
What He was humanity is to be. In Him what
is seen? A Being with the animal in sub-
servience to the spiritual ; a Being who had all
knowledge, and the wealth of the universe,
whose supreme ideal was the service of humanity.
A harlot went to draw water ; the Son of Man
sat by her side and told her of the living water.
A poor woman crept up behind to touch His
coat, and His sympathy healed her. He was in
the wilderness where there were many people
without food, and He fed them, although He
would not work a miracle to feed Himself. He
was lied about, persecuted, followed from town
to town, but He never spoke an unkind or an
ungenerous word. He was the friend of pub-
licans and sinners — their friend to uplift, not
the companion of their sins. He never thought
or planned for self. When He found that men
were thinking too much of Him He told them
that it was time for Him to go away. He never
had an enemy, and never resented an insult. He
never turned from people because they were
poor or disagreeable. He laid Himself down,
and said in effect, " Walk over Me toward the
Father's house and the Father's love." He
died to save men who did not understand and



166 The Goal of the Creation.

would not appreciate. " He went about doing
good." This Man, who could command the
universe, and yet who used all his [powers to
benefit and uplift humanity, is the goal of the
Creation. He is the One toward whom all
things tend; in Him is revealed the perfect
race. No more inheritance of vice, disease,
crime ; no more the trail of the serpent staining
the generations and leaving marks of sin and
shame on the bodily organism. The brute
inheritance eliminated; the physical universe
with her myriads of forces now unknown wait-
ing to do the bidding of man, and all living not
to be ministered unto, but to minister — that is
what the Master tells us is coming, not in some
far-away heaven, but on this earth, among men
who will look up into the same great and wide
sky into which we look.

There is yet a loftier altitude. Our Master
just before His death prayed for His disciples
" that they may all be one, as thou, Father, art
in Me, and I in Thee, that they may also be one
in us." That hints at the ethical union of the
human and the Divine. Some day, instead of
Csesars, Charlemagnes, Napoleons ravaging the
earth like wild beasts ; instead of tyrants, simply
because they are strong, binding chains on the
weak which will make them miserable for ever ;
instead of invention pushed to the utmost to
discover means for destroying life; instead of
monopolies, planned to make the rich richer and



The Goal of the Creation. 167

the poor poorer ; instead of classes, pride, and a
thousand things that separate and make hostile
those who should be brethren, all men will be
one, even as the Father and the Son are one. O
wondrous ideal ! O glorious consummation !
O greatly to be envied people to whom shall be
given the joy of living in that crowning day !
But for more than that our Saviour prayed —
"That they may also be one in us": humanity
distinct and individual, yet all its members
united in perfect love, so that their harmony
can be imaged in no way so well as by the
relation of Jesus to His Father. And then, in
addition, " one with God " — not " absorbed or
lost in God," as the Buddhists would say, but
one in spirit with each other, one in spirit with
the Infinite and Eternal. The Master's prayers
were prophecies. That crowning race will some
time walk earth's hills and vales in the fellow-
ship of perfect love, in the bond of perfect
peace. In the flesh we may not see that golden
age, but some day, looking from the heavenly
heights, we shall behold no more a groaning,
but a glorified Creation, and realise what Tenny-
son meant when he sang of

One far-off Divine event

To which the whole Creation moves,

and what the Apostle intended to teach by
" the stature of the fulness of Christ."



XL

THE COMING CHURCH.



XL

THE COMING CHUKCH.

" And having turned I saw seven golden candlesticks ; and in
"the midst of the candlesticks one like unto the Son of Man."

Eevelation i. 12, 13.

St. John was old when he was banished
to the Isle of Patmos. That spot is one of
the most picturesque on the earth. It was
probably in the evening, after work in the
mines, that the old man came out into the
light and glory of the day. Around were violet
waters touched with splendour from the setting
sun ; close at hand were barren rocks ; far away
were purple mountains ; above was the clear
and tender sky. Very likely from meditating
he fell asleep and began to dream. In that
dream came revelations and a voice. He saw
the churches which had been founded in Asia,
-some true to their faith, others lukewarm and
needing to do their first works over again.
Those churches were like seven golden lamp-
stands in the midst of thick darkness. As he
dreamed a voice spoke, a presence appeared,
and he heard these words : " I am the first and
the last, and the Living One ; and I was dead,
and behold, I am alive for evermore, and I have



172 The Coming Church.

the keys of death and of Hades." In his dream
St. John beheld the living Christ in the midst
of the churches, and that vision suggests our
theme.

The origin of the Church as an institution is
wrapped in obscurity. The New Testament
gives few hints concerning it. When it began
to be recognised as a society, who composed it,
what was to be the exact sphere of its opera-
tions, is not stated in the New Testament. It
is a growth, an organism rather than a mechan-
ism. An organism has the principle of life in
itself and grows from within ; a mechanism is a
product of something outside itself, and once
completed can never change. Life always or-
ganises for itself a body. The Church is the
body which the Divine life in humanity has
organised. The only rule ever given by our
Lord for its government is this : " A new com-
mandment I give unto you, that ye love one
another, even as I have loved you." The
Church is neither like a state, nor like the
denominations of modern times ; it is rather
like a tree. The Master touched His disciples
with His life, and that through them touched
others, and thus the Church grew. That life
is love, and wherever the Church goes love to
God and man goes. As for officers, creeds, and
methods, those constantly change, as a tree
adapts itself to the seasons of the year. How
the complicated machinery of modern denomi-



The CoiiixG Chuech. 173

nations came into existence it is hard to tell.
There was nothing like it in Apostolic times.
The Church then was the company of those
who believed in Jesus as the Christ ; who came
together on stated occasions to study His truth
and to help in the advancement of His king-
dom. Whether the modern Church is a growth
from that as a seed, or a mechanism which has
been built around it as we build barriers around
trees, is a question about which there is differ-
ence of opinion. One thing, however, is beyond
doubt. The Church in the nineteenth century
can be like that in the first only as a full-grown
man is like an infant. The Church will never
be what it was when the Master was on earth,
and it ought not to be. Growth necessitates
change and adjustment to new environment.
That of to-day is no more like the Apostolic
Church than the nineteenth century is like the
first. Thought, institutions, habits of life,
knowledge of the universe, have changed, and
the Church with them. The Master was a uni-
versal man, and yet a Jew ; and if He were to
come again He would be a universal man, and
yet a citizen of some state, and His thought
and utterances would show the influence of His
surroundings. While it is not to be expected
that the Church will be the same in the present
or the future as in the past, it is to be expected
that it will in all times preserve its essential
nature.



174 The Coming Chtjuch.

Thus are we led to a study of some of the
characteristics of the coming Church as pro-
phesied in the teachings of our Lord.

The coming Church will recognise the presence
and sovereignty of the Holy Ghost. Jesus spoke
not to an organisation, but to individuals when
He said, " I have yet many things to say unto
you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit
when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He shall
guide you into all the truth." * The mission of
Christ was not completed when He died. Other
things were to be done and other truth was to
be revealed. The Spirit of God operating
through individuals is the means by which the
work of Christ is to be continued. Does He
speak only through the Church in official ways ?
Then the voice of the Pope is the voice of God,
for he represents the largest organisation. Does
the Spirit always speak through the councils of
the Church? Then the Council of Constance
was right, and John Huss was wrong and deserved
his fate. Is the voice of the majority always
the voice of God? Then the Pilgrims were
schismatics who insulted Providence when they
left the Old World for the New ; then the Church
at Northampton was right when it dismissed
Jonathan Edwards to poverty and solitude.
No! the Spirit speaks to every soul, and His
utterance to one man whose heart is pure and
will obedient is more worthy of attention than
* John xvi. 12, 13.



The Coming Church. 175

the pronunciamientos of a million who take
counsel of their prejudices. The Christ pro-
mised the Spirit to individuals. At the Pente-
cost He came to individuals. When the
Apostolic band went out to conquer the earth
they retained their individuality. Paul never
understood truth as Peter did, and in many
things John differed from all. Throughout
history the Spirit has had diversity of manifes-
tation, and the kingdom of God has advanced
as those who were fitted for large revelations
received them and were loyal to them. When
the supremacy of the Spirit is recognised men
will ask one another, Are you keeping your
heart pure and loving, your mind open, your will
humble, so that God may guide you into what
He would have you believe and do in the time
and place in which you are living ? It is not
important that any should be Calvinists or anti-
Calvinists ; that they should know whether
Moses wrote the Pentateuch ; that they should
know whether the incomparable story of the
Temptation is allegorical or literal; but it is
important that all should understand so clearly
that they can never ignore it that every day they
are in the sight and under the guidance of One
who is perfectly holy, and therefore absolutely
just ; full of love, and therefore One who will lead
those who trust Him to all the truth they need
to know, all the happiness they need to have,
all the work they ought to undertake. The



176 The Coming Chuech.

sovereignty of the Holy G-host will organise
believers into unity and supplant both creeds
and machinery. Creeds will never disappear;
they are the necessary expression of belief. If
a man believes anything he can tell something
of it, and his creed will be all of his belief that
he can put into language — and he will put it
there. But he will not be anxious that his
thought to-day should be the same to-morrow ;
nor will the Christian community desire that its
collective interpretations of truth to-day should
hold to-morrow; but all, individually and collect-
ively, will strive to keep their lives so pure, so
humble, so teachable, so reverent and loving, that
when He who walked among the golden candle-
sticks speaks to them as He spoke to John they
may know that they hear the voice of God. The
coming Church will not lift to the highest place
symbols of doctrine as its standards, but will be
known among men as the Church of the Living
One, the Society whose leader is the Holy
Ghost.

The coming Church ivill be a magazine of
spiritual influences. Some branches of the
modern Church measure efficiency by meetings,
by societies and guilds, by tracts distributed, by
experiences related, by the number at social and
public services. These things are important,
but only means to an end. Machinery makes
noise, whether it does anything or not. A
factory is a poor symbol of a church ; a house-



The Coming Church. 177

hold is better. In the factory everything goes
through the same unchanging processes. In
the household father, mother, and children hold
communion, confer together, pray together, get
full of one spirit, and then go, one to his farm,
one to his merchandise, one to his music, one to
his school and his great thought on great
themes ; and the spirit of the home is with all,
and each knows that he can be most loyal to it
by being loyal to the duty committed to his
hands. Some churches make a fetish of one
service, and some of another. This or that is
declared to be " the thermometer of the church."
Others measure spiritual success by rite and
ritual, forgetting that

He prayeth best who loveth best
All things both great and small.

Still others rejoice in the crowds that flock for
entertainment to a mountebank in the pulpit or
an opera company in the choir-loft; but the
Master said, " Preach the kingdom of heaven.
. . . Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise
the dead, cast out devils." *

The work cannot all be done in one place or
way. As the Spirit will lead to diversity of
beliefs, so He will lead to diversity of operations..
The Sabbath services in the coming Church will
be held in order that all may worship, be
instructed in Divine truth, and get so full of

* Matthew x. 7, 8.

12



178 The Coming Church.

spiritual electricity that they will thrill all they
touch with the life that has thrilled them. The
work of a church is not all within its walls : it
is in every household where a mother teaches
her children ; in every counting-room where
men insist on doing business according to
Christian principles ; in every school where
children are taught that they should be Christ's
disciples ; in the silence of every heart in which
righteousness pleads against secret sin.

We say, " Come to our churches " ; Christ's
word was, " Go, preach." " Go ! " — that is the
message for to-day, and still more for to-morrow.
Go to the people. Those millions in heathen
lands — how shall they be evangelised? " Go,
preach." Those millions in America, in Eng-
land, who, having been reared within sound of
Sabbath chimes, still believe that the Church
has no message for the poor and vicious — what
shall be done for them ? " Go, preach. . . .
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out
devils." Those thousands who are drifting into
the cheerless desolation of a Godless universe —
is there anything for them ? Go to them, not
with speculations against which their souls
rebel, but with the Living One who has said, " I
am come that ye might have life." Cathedrals,
churches, chapels, whatever they may be called,
will not cease to be erected ; but for Christians
they will be rather places for retirement in order
that spiritual strength may be gained to make



The Coming Church. 179

every household they enter, every office in which
they do business, every hospital in which they
nurse, every street in which they walk, places in
which those who toil, struggle, suffer and weep,
may catch glimpses of the One who will never
cease to bear griefs and carry sorrows.

The coming Church will realise the unity of the
Spirit. Organic unity may be neither possible
nor desirable ; spiritual unity is imperative.
Organic unity would necessitate agreement in
outward symbols ; spiritual unity can be realised
in co-operation for the service of humanity.
Why should unity of thought, expression, and
worship be sought ? Individuality means
diversity, and diversity necessitates beauty and
power. Uniformity can be realised only in the
solemn desolation of death ; but co-operation is
the condition of useful work for the kingdom of
God. Why should there be competing sects?
The Christian world contains no sadder picture
than that of small towns where money and
strength are wasted, not that souls may be
saved, and the human condition bettered, but
that sects may win proselytes. All denomina-
tions are about equally sinners in this
matter. A new church is needed, and those
already existing hold no conference, make no
mutual plans, never ask, Who can do the work
best ? but the one which happens to have the
money in hand rushes in and pre-empts the
field. Missions are needed to the heathen, and



180 The Coming Chtikch.

in too many instances there is offered to those
who know not how to distinguish, Presbyterian,
Congregational, Methodist, and Episcopalian
forms of Christianity ; and the poor heathen
make the best bargain by going to the highest
bidder. Think of rival religious societies when
poverty and crime are rising like a flood ! Think
of a Zulu trying to understand the immense
significance of the difference between immersion
and sprinkling ! Think of a Sioux Indian seek-
ing to fathom the mystery of the Historic
Episcopate ! Think of street children growing-
to be criminals, while Christian ministers are
actually wrangling over the question as to
whether Moses wrote the books that contain no
mention of his authorship ! Sects are the
product of intellectual differences. They will
exist as long as men differ, which will probably
be for ever.

But is there no basis for the co-operation
among Christians ? There is ; and it will be
realised when there is unity of the Spirit. Let
the sects keep apart as much as they choose in
the making of their theologies, but let them
come together in the service of humanity. Is a
new church needed? Why should any other
question be asked than, What will suit this,
particular field best? and why should not all
help as if it were their own? Is a mission
required? or a home for those who have no
homes ? Why should not all consider the ques-



The Coming Church. 181

tion and help according to their ability?
Nothing less than this can meet the problem of
the modem city. Not only is the need too great
for money to be wasted, but the ignorance of
the people is such that they should not be con-
fused with unessential speculations. A denomi-
national mission in Africa or in Whitechapel is
poor generalship. More and more Christians
are realising that the first thing to be done for
millions is to get them into conditions in which
intelligent convictions are possible. The time is
coming when instead of rivalry there will be
conference and co-operation in reaching the
people. If there can be a federation of States,
why not of churches ? The Time-Spirit, which
in this case is the Spirit of God, is at work
among the denominations ; and the day is not
far distant when there will be a federation of
the States of the world for the government of
the world, and of all denominations for hasten-
ing the day in which sectarianism shall
disappear and the kingdom of God prevail.

The coming Church will be the realisation of
the Christian ideal of brotherhood. Brotherhood
has always been the dreani of philosophers and
the goal of philanthropists. Most revolutions
have been attempts to hasten its coming. The
French groped for that when they adopted as
their motto, " Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."
Not change for the sake of change fires the
fuses that explode the mines in Russia.



182 The Coming Church.

Yaguely but deathlessly the people believe in the
brotherhood of man, and thrones, edicts, Papal
bulls, armies, cannot eradicate that belief. And
the people are right. Jesus Christ was the
world's great prophet of brotherhood. He spoke
the word of God on this subject : " One is your
Master . . . and all ye are brethren." He
gave to no subject more constant emphasis.
The goal of the Creation He uplifted when He
prayed that all might be one as He and His
Father were one. His teaching emphasized the
value of man, and made contentment in unjust
conditions for ever impossible. From the day
that cross was uplifted on Calvary until this
hour the doctrine of brotherhood has been
gaining ground. If Christ died for thieves
and harlots, who, then, need fear lest there
be no place in the Divine plan for him ?
Christ is the enemy of caste and oppression in
Church, State, and society. When Roman Im-
perialism invaded the Church He used Luther
to break its supremacy; when authority was
getting too audacious in the State He inspired
the revolutions in America and France. When
Great Britain permitted human servitude He
raised up Wilberforce ; when the same iniquity
stained the white splendour of liberty in
America He raised up a race of heroes, of whom
their time was not worthy, who preached
brotherhood until the pen of the President, who
was to be a martyr, in an ink of blood wrote,



The Coming Church. 183

"God's children must go free." The same
spirit is working in other ways. Wealth and
power forget that labour cannot be a commodity,
because labour means children of God working,
and as a consequence the best and bravest in
professor's chair, pulpit, and press are uplifting
Christ's golden rule, and declaring that whoever
ignores that goes down. All work for man is
not done in consecrated sanctuaries. Every spot
on which a human being stands holds a temple
of God. That teaching is turning the world
upside down. Never before was the doctrine of
the brotherhood of man so much emphasized.
When the Church is clothed in her garments of
beauty and glory there will be written over the
door of her house on the outside, " To Him
who hath loved us and redeemed us with His own
blood " ; and over the same door on the inside,
"All ye are brethren." When the Church has
realised her ideal her power will be multiplied.
Who can stand against a million brothers ? Ten
million brothers, constrained by the love of
Christ and moving together, could conquer the
world.

Lodges and guilds, unions and secret societies
are most of them only rude attempts to realise
what the Church will be when men enter fully
into Christ's spirit, write His name above
every name, and prove by their lives that they
accept His doctrine of the brotherhood of
man. That is the ideal toward which we



184 The Coming Church.

hasten, while we confess our faith in words
Divinely inspired :

Our Friend, our Brother, and our Lord,

What may Thy service be ?
Nor name, nor form, nor ritual word,

But simply following Thee.

"We bring no ghastly holocaust,

"We pile no graven stone ;
He serves Thee best who loveth most

His brothers and Thine own.

The closing years of the nineteenth century
are full of prophecies. It is impossible to
doubt that some new and wonderful disclosure
of spiritual life is not far distant. The veil which
separates the unseen and the seen is scarcely
more than a film. At any moment it may part,
and what is now faith become sight. Events
are hurrying with unwonted swiftness. Each
quarter of the world is taking its wisdom to all
other parts. Society and states are becoming
Christian in ideals and methods. The contest
has been long and severe, and will be for genera-
tions yet to come. Those who follow Christ are
hindered by a thousand hands ; but to-day the
Man of G-alilee and Calvary — His garments
stained with blood, on His head the many
crowns — is more than ever the Leader as
well as the Saviour of nations, institutions, in-
dividuals; and His Church is gradually but
surely coming to its true place, because more
than ever —



The Coming Church. 185

It is recognising the presence and sovereignty
of the Holy Ghost ;

Because it is thrilling individuals with His
life, and sending them everywhere, that human
sin and grief are found with the message of
pardon and peace ;

Because its members are co-operating in their
common work of extending the kingdom ;

Because it is lifting high and carrying every-
where the revelation of Fatherhood and the
reality of brotherhood.

It needs no prophetic vision to predict that
the sovereignty of the Holy Ghost ; the respon-
sibility of all who bear the Christian name for
the continuance of Christ's work ; loving co-


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