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the stranger, the enemy. “Love your enemies," he said, “that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven." Those who were closest to him during life caught that lesson and gave it forth again to all who would listen, as the distinguishing mark of the Gospel message: “Religion pure and - undefiled before God the Father is this, to visit the widow and the orphan, and to keep one's self unspotted from this world.” “If we love not our brethren, whom we have seen, how can we love God whom we have not seen ?” “If any man say I love God and hateth his brother, he is a liar."
What did it all mean? What but this, that as we must be religious before being Christian, so we must love man before we can love God! Who will venture to affirm such a principle ? Who will dare lay down that a man offering his gift' at the altar and remembering that his brother has something against him, should leave there his gift before the altar and go and be reconciled with his brother, and then come and offer his gift? Who will dare say that? Who, indeed, but the Lord Christ? And upon his lips the words are found. O Man! force your way into the Federal Treasury, with its locks of brass and its bars of triple steel; storm a modern fortress, with its mines and entrenchments and monster guns; defy and overcome the very laws of nature if you can; but never suppose that the love of God can be driven into a heart where the love of man does not dwell. O Priest! preach the need of intellectual training and the observance of external forms; but remember that he who loves his neighbor is not far from the kingdom of heaven and not altogether unlike Christ, God's ideal of a man. The heart and centre of religion is the heart and centre of humanity, love. And God is love. Man can resemble God only when his life is a life of love.
A wondrous picture of such a life do we receive from Christ! When shall time dim the beauty of the scenes he stamped so deeply on the memory of the human race !—The Good Shepherd traversing hill and dale in search of the lost sheep and carrying it home in his arms; the Good Samaritan, going to the helpless traveler that Priest and Levite had passed by, binding the wounds of the unfortunate and caring for him at the inn; the Father of the Prodigal Son, receiving back again the reckless boy whose health and youth and fortune had been wasted in the ways of sin, welcoming him home with a father's 'loving kiss, killing for him the fatted calf, robing him in splendid vestments, and circling his finger with the ring of peace and joy.
When shall the human heart cease to thrill at the echo of the words Christ spoke to those who listened for his revelation of the ideal! “Blessed are the poor!” “Unto these least !” “ As one that serveth!” “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” “Receive ye the Kingdom of God as a little child.”
Have we forgotten-can we ever forget—the story of the Magdalen and of those who spurned her ?—the men who pointed the finger of scorn as she passed through the market place; the women who swept by with a rustle of skirts, then as now loathing the sin and the sinner! Ah! the grace and the tenderness and the love of him who went to this creature, and made of her a glorious saint of God! And then, the thing he did and the words he said when, at another day, they set him up as judge face to face with a woman taken in adultery! Bring back to mind the pardon he gave the penitent thief in the hour when his own body was shattered and his soul wrung with torture! See his face shine as he is kissed by the traitor Judas! Hear him whisper a prayer for his executioners. In truth, it is but one long, uninterrupted lesson of love for man that we learn from the whole story of his goings out and his comings in; his healings and his cleansings; his comfortings and his pardonings. O Christ! if thou art indeed he who is to come, and thy name is indeed Mes. siah, len truly art thou the strangest king that ever reignedand hardest to dethrone. Thou dost save others; thyself thou not save From thee we learn that to live and die lo other is al vs nobler than to live and die for self. To do 1 gs Tor me to do hard things; to do them for the worse a melnest u manity,--this is the burden of thy words any example Service u remitting and unto death,this is m easure o bleness. This then, is God's ideal ofyth Te b etween and in
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so sta contrast to that of of A m , Isaac, Jacob, and their contemporaries, leave us, if not puzzled and dismayed, at least convinced that such men could not easily have assimilated Christian ideals. Their conception of duty toward neighbor and wife and brother and fellow-townsmen, and especially their view of the attitude to be adopted toward stranger and enemy, indicate the great development that had to precede their acceptance of the standard of Christ. As we go along through the centuries we see, like occasional gleams of light, the intimations that this growth is taking place. The days of the Philistine wars give place to the sympathetic relations of the captivity and the restoration; the savage necessities of the early settlements to the high ideals prevailing in the schools of the prophets. Ruth and Tobias and Elias and Eleazar appear like the glimmering rays that precede the dawn. As the whims of the wandering tribes fade into oblivion, we have the noble conceptions of Job and the Psalms and the last chapters of Isaias. The road was a long one and hard to travel; many fell by the wayside during the march, and not a few forgot the new lessons soon after learning them. Selfishness and sensuality worked against the leaven wherewith God was leavening the mass. But in the end the leaven prevailed. When the time was ripe, and the people ready, the heart of the Jew was made into the heart of the Christian, and the zealots of the law became the vessels of election of Christ.
That slow process of growth showed how incapable gross, sensual minds must ever be of appreciating the teachings of Christ; and the same impossibility holds now among us. Never can a selfish soul be the proper raw material of a Christian. The religion of Jesus Christ will strike root only in a heart harrowed by self-denial, worked over by the slow, painful attempts to dig up and loosen the hard soil of the natural man. The higher the type to which a soul belongs, the fitter it is to receive and to develop the seed of the Gospel message. He who would be a Christian must be no slave of food and drink; must be the master of sensual passion; must be energetic and vigilant, and industrious and brave; must be weeded free of the root of all evil, the love of money. As the man begins to be Christlike, the ape and the tiger must die; the wild beasts that prowl about within him must be tamed, if need be, even with fire. The neophyte must learn that though all creatures are for man's enjoyment, yet the temperate use of them is a precept of the moral law. He must go through an education similar to that by which the race is taught the necessity of sternly prohibiting the coarser forms of self-indulgence, of basing the highest social institutions upon the restraint of primal appetites. The wild excesses of the youth in the first mad Aling of freedom must settle down into the graver carriage and saner speech of the mature man, ere he will be trusted by his fellows; something similar must take place before the heart can become the fit dwellingplace of God. Taken all in all then, it seems we can truly say that the interval between animal standards and human laws is hardly so great as that which separates the Christian from the pagan.
Which of us shall deny that much growth is necessary for each of us before we can in very truth be Christians; that we are still children in selfishness and savages in cruelty? As we review the incidents of each day's history, we must remember that we are both largely responsible for and largely affected by our surroundings; that we are not aliens to the society in the midst of which we live; that we bear our inevitable share in the burden of its every crime. Hence rightly does a sense of shame sweep over us when we read the crimes listed in our daily press; when we visit the homes of our city poor; when we listen to tales of cynical harshness and maddening extravagance, too frequent and too well authenticated to be ignored or disbelieved.
God's ideal of a man—the selfless Christ! How strange and far away from it are we; and how clear this is in the moments when our better nature is deeply stirred. The head of the nation is shot down by an assassin and expires with a prayer on his lips; the fire demon leaps forth in a crowded theatre and, while men are hurrying to the rescue, five hundred die-an awful holocaust; an excursion steamer, with its freight of singing children and light-hearted parents, meets with a sudden mishap, and a thousand perish miserably under the very eyes of the mother city out of whose womb they all came forth. These things shock us; and for the moment we act like Christians. Great pity chokes a man; the tears well up; the human heart asserts itself in the worst of us. We go so far as, for a moment, to suspend our business, to devote our goods recklessly, to forego opportunities of gain, to risk our very lives. For one divine instant we sound the note of charity; the music of Christ's love re-echoes in our souls as the Chicago dead are cared for and the Slocum victims are carried by. It is good for us thus to be moved, even though at such dreadful cost. It tells us what we could be, what we ought to be. It will remain a help to us all our lives, even though, after a day or two, the lesson seems to be forgotten. We shall do well to recall it, to multiply the moments which make us feel as we felt then, to extend something of the same spirit into the smaller and more frequent events of life; for just as truly as a surrender to our brutal instincts is a checking of Christianity's progress, so surely, to be pitiful, sympathetic, kindly, is to bring the spirit of Christ among men, and to strengthen his presence in souls. To turn away from an inviting opportunity for evil-doing, to relinquish the chance of sinful pleasure, to resist a seductive temptation, though with a pain at the heart and a groan on the lips; and to do all this because we are unwilling to hurt neighbor, race, enemy, any fellow-creature, born or unborn-this is to become for the moment, and in some little measure, like unto Christ's ideal of a man.
Yes; the love of mankind is a preparation, a necessary preparation for Christianity. It is a sentiment which measures by its development all growth of the soul; which, in its increasing purity, reveals every advance from the selfish passion of youth to the matchless sacrifice of a mother's love; which registered the progress of the Israelites from the beginning to the end of sacred history; which has marked all the stages of man's evolution from sin to sanctity, from savagery to civilization. It is a sentiment which must, at least in some degree, always be present in order that a soul may obtain even the first weak grasp of Christianity; and must grow strong and deep before any real and hearty assimilation of Christ's spirit can take place.
What would the prevalence of such love among us not imply! At its coming dishonesty and corruption would disappear, and unjust trials and unfair legislation as well; the systematic and legal oppression of the poor would cease,-so too, the crime of the betrayer who purchases a moment's pleasure at the cost of another's soul, and the selfishness that degrades marriage into a mere means of sensual satisfaction. At