Beauty, harmony, and affection are the natural laws of the moral world. There is no despair where there has been no disobedience. Christus Salvator stands out before the world in majesty and power. Virtue is enthroned in a universe which is beneficent.
The dream of Fellowship. The Church is the great social body. We can never live our best life in the world, and stand outside the Church. There is something vital in personal contact, and in social affiliation. It strengthens the best and otherwise most complete work. The Christian Church is a body of allies, whose work is the upbuilding of the kingdom of God. We do not realize how great a bond this is. We have our own church centre, our own denomination, our own local interests. But by and by a great occasion arises—a revival which sweeps the country, a reunion of two long-divided parties, an Ecumenical Council, a Chinese persecution—and suddenly there arises before the mind’s eye a glimpse of that Church which girdles the world, whose emissaries are in every country, whose voices speak in every tongue. We perceive that everywhere are
hills and spacious plains
Besprent from shore to shore with steeple-towers,
And spires whose silent finger points to heaven.”
Says Wordsworth also:
not of a perishable home,
Who thus could build.”
Many an ideal state has been thought out, in which fellowship should be the root of social progress. But in what state is the proffered fellowship like that of the communion of saints? Each has his share of work and dreams; each has his endowment of talent and of opportunity; each has his aspirations and supreme hope. The joys of one are the joys of all. The sorrows of one are the sorrows of all. The triumphs of one are the triumphs of all. The World-burden is the task set to be removed. The World-upbuilding in love, joy, peace, and truth is the final endeavor. This community of interest is the strongest coalition the world has yet known.
There are those who say, I prefer to worship by myself! One might as well say, I prefer to fight in battle by myself! There is a time for personal worship, and there is a time for social worship. Alone, the heart meets God. Alone, its prayers for individual needs and longings are offered up. Alone, it asks for blessings on the individual life and work. But the personal life is only a fragmentary part of the life universal. Above the ages rings an Over-song of praise. From shrines and cathedrals, from chapels, churches, tents, and caves, there arises, day after day, this incense of united prayer, from a vast and heaven-uplifted throng! Each of us would say, Canopied under world-skies, I, too, would join this chorus of adoring love!