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religion human communion is non-essential, fortuitous; for the impulse to communion, so powerful in the secular field—the necessity of supplying mutual deficiencies —seems here to have no place, no one being able to be religious, any more than moral, for another. Nay, even supposing the conception of the propensity to communion to be more definitely moral in character, the need of religious communion for the good man seems to be precluded by the fact that religion has to do with God, not, as in the region of morality, with man. God and God alone is able always to satisfy the religious need. But certain as it is that religion is a personal transaction between God and man, and little as the religious community can be a substitute for communion with God Himself, God Himself and His action on the contrary pertaining to the reality of religion, still even God Himself is not rightly known and bonoured, unless in Him we recognise the Creator and Father of a vast spiritual kingdom. I am not at liberty to suppose that God is related only to me, and that His action is exhausted in this line of dealing. This would be Egoism, not religion, seeing that God would be conceived as a particularistic Being. In religion I must needs possess Him as He is, and will myself as He would possess me, i.e. regard myself in His sight as a member of a whole, not as an isolated being. I must regard Him as one who acts for the good of others, who desires by His acts to do me good, as He desires what He does to me to be of service to others. But a state of isolation has at its foundation the presumptuous desire to be the whole absolutely, without being again comprehended as a ministering and susceptible instrument in a higher whole. To this theological basis of the religious community is to be added the anthropological one, which is of importance in respect to the lower stages. We saw formerly ($ 41), that the individual personality only reaches completion through true consciousness of the race, or through love. The intrinsic connection of all spiritual spheres with the ethical is the reason why, as we saw, consciousness of the race always receives an impetus when something of high import emerges in any spiritual region. Now this holds good of religion in an eminent degree. The spirit of religion stimulates to interchange in imparting and receiving in the most powerful way, because here it is true life itself that is in question. Manifold variety of gifts and powers, since they are all intended to be actuated by religion, results in no isolating independence ar separation, but renders interchange living and fruitful. Constituted of God a member of an organism, man only answers to his reality when he makes the interests of the race his own, and is, so to speak, permeated by the spirit of the Universal. Again, the divine idea of the race is not satisfied
. when its members are merely related among themselves. This interconnection must also be realized in the most vivid way in their consciousness and volition. The union of the two is the common spirit. Only by means of a common spirit does the organism of humanity attain its true reality.
2. In its origin and continued existence religion is formative of communion. Generic consciousness must in all its stadia be united with God-consciousness. In basis and aim, religion is the most universal of all principles. For this reason every one really possessed by the spirit of religion strives after communion, to establish it where it does not exist, to join and so at least participate in reproducing or conserving it where it exists. This follows, not only from what has just been laid down, but also from the law of human development (8 41). Religion needs stimulus and organs adapted to its nature, a distinction thus arising between those who communicate and those who receive. To this is to be added diversity of gifts and generations. Whatever wealth of religious acquisition one supplies, is meant to be an invitation to the other equally to enjoy and imitate. At any rate, nothing but what is impure and obstructive to the free circulation of the divine life can prevent the individual believer from being social in religious character. Separatism is a form of religious disease. Healthy religion, however, has to guard against the opposite error of a mistaken culture of the generic consciousness, namely, against a passion for communicating out of proportion to the inner reality and vital energy of personal religion. But alongside these two faults of too little and too-much on the side of the communicative generic consciousness, are two faults on the side of reception. First, mere passive reception from others, in which case religion is rather a simple matter of memory and authority. The social spirit of religion in its true form, instead of suppressing individuality, includes it in its most energetic exercise. The other fault is exclusive reserre or obtuseness, destitute of desire to enter the circle of the religious ideas of others, and to borrow from them, and for this reason refusing communion with them. This, especially when joined with a magisterial disposition and spirit of selfsufficiency, is a self-injurious withdrawal from works and talents bestowed by God on others for our good. Of such separatism not merely individuals but communities may render themselves guilty; but the more this narrowness and selfexaltation gain ground among them, however great or however small their numbers, the more they degenerate into sects.
3. The realized communion of those who worship God in common is called in Christian phraseology the Church. And as men collectively are no less one race in God's view than God is one, as they are destined by His will to form one organism, one kingdom of God, the life of religion being its centre, it follows that the Church by its very idea must
One God, one World, one Church ! Therewith plurality seems to be precluded, and we might be inclined to derive its existence altogether from sin, by which the universal cementing principle has been suppressed, and limits induced instead. No doubt sin does convert distinctions into antinomies and separatist forms of opposition. But in itself distinction is not schism. Even without sin a stricter concentration into one group in harmony with elective affinity is possible, the obverse of which is diminished intensity of direct communion with others, separation although not severance. In connection with natural peculiarities of individual character, expressing themselves in different types of families and nations, a great variety in the modes of combining the different elements, which religious development has to assimilate, may ensue without sin; and in the process those more nearly allied by affinity and sympathy will enter into closer association with each other. But exclusiveness with respect to any portion would imply sin ; and the numerous religious communities would always, unless sin prevented, be ready to show religious hospitality one to another. Accordingly, this plurality, if it is to remain innocent, must in turn allow itself to be regarded as the unity oî the Church in process of
realization, as stages with an inner impulse urging it on to complete unity.
4. But whether the course of development be sinful or not, each one of the religious communities, if it is not to remain at a mere subordinate stage and be evanescent in character, must have a historical starting point or founder. Supposing it impossible to adhere to the notion of each person being religious in isolation,—otherwise the individuals tending to one centre, to God, would be to each other like radii that never touch, would be connected with God and yet disconnected with each other, the question is, how a religious community, and that permanent and stable, is to be formed. Those of merely receptive character cannot be the founders of religious communion, but can only be attracted, stimulated by those whose predominant characteristic is communicativeness, and by them united together in the participation of their religious faith. Again, those endowed with capacity to communicate cannot beget a common religious spirit by conventional agreement or mere choice. This would only be conceivable if religion were a matter of artificial contrivance. But it is merely granted them through higher qualifications, -to be referred to God,--and the authority which these give, to exert an attractive, uniting influence on their own circle, whether small or great, by bodying forth their religious life; and in union around such centres or names, and in imitating and perpetuating the religious life bodied forth by them, those previously lying disconnected side by side, like dead embers, become conscious of their unity and possessed by a common spirit, religious communion being the result. In this historically cognizable centre they have found a bond of religious community and the possibility of a sense of unity. But for every definite religious communion, unity of founder is requisite. A plurality of founders would be directly fatal to communion, and out of harmony with the design of their special qualifications. Supposing these founders all to have the same primary religious impulse and faith, the existence of many would at least imply a superfluous endowment. For what is given to one is in him given for the good of all; and what might seem at first to be gained in rapid diffusion by plurality of founders, would soon prove to be a loss, as in the variety DORNER.-CHRIST. Doct. II.
of founders the respective circles would have difficulty in apprehending their unity, and be liable to error. The plurality would enfeeble the energy of the common spirit, the sense of unity. But supposing the many founders were altogether different one from another, which, after what has been said, is more probable, every one being a separate individuality, no religious community founded by them in common would possess the required unity. Such a community could only be drawn together in a more concentrated form, provided among the many leaders one were to arise uniting the diversities in himself as in a higher unity. But then he would simply be the true founder. Thus, a common religious spirit can only be awakened in a vast circle by the pre-eminence of one individual, to whom the circle feels itself attracted in spirit, he being the representative of its innermost and best nature and in possession of the good, for which an ardent need has been awakened. By his expressing and communicating this good, all have in him the common historic centre, through which they know themselves one, in which they find their common religious principles embodied objectively and in a form cognizable by all. Since, then, around men of special religious endowments, attracted and spiritually dominated by them, a Church grows up, having as the principle of its common spirit the new truth the founder had to impart, religion in its gradual course of realization among mankind may assume the form of a plurality of religious communities representing different aspects of the idea of God, but all having their historic founders,—a universal law of life clearly demonstrated by history, for even in the Christian era we have an echo of it in the founders of particular churches. But each one of the many founders, and each one of the many communities, so long as they do not yet embody the actual universal principle, only represent a section limited in space and time, and even though they are sufficient in their place, can only be regarded in a higher relation as points of transition. For the Church of God must of necessity not merely be absolutely one, but—if the realization of religion is to be perfect-be known and stand forth as one. If consequently a religious community, after the higher form has appeared and the time of its own separate existence thus expired, does