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respect to man, his aim is to constitute Christian society. All that he is to man, or does for him, pertains to this social aim. Thus, Christian Sociology does not, as the other departments of systematic divinity, take a partial view of Christ, but it views him in all his fulness, and all that fulness enters into Christian Sociology. Person, and life, and work, and
. doctrine, and command-all are necessary to constitute Christian society, and are, therefore, embraced in Christian Sociology. In contemplating Christian society, we contemplate, therefore, Christ in the totality of his person and influence. For this reason he is the starting-point of Christian Sociology in a sense widely different from that in which he is the startingpoint of Dogmatics and Ethics. Here we view him, not merely as teacher, nor merely as an example, but in all his relations to society. All the light that emanates from him is here concentrated into a focus, and that focus is Christian society. Then, too, Dogmatics and Ethics do not so much need the living and personal elements as Christian social science. In this we find another reason for beginning with Christ, which is not found in the other sciences with equal force.
We might, indeed, say that in Dogmatics Christ is viewed in his relation to doctrine; in Ethics he is viewed in his relation to practice ; and in Sociology, so far as he is the creator of Christian society and sustains sociological relations. But since all that Christ is and does enters into Christian Sociology, we have a right to regard Christ in his totality as the starting-point.
With great propriety, therefore, Christian Sociology
THE IDEAL CHRISTIAN SOCIOLOGY.
makes Christ the source of all that it is, just as it makes him the source of all that Christian society is. It begins with him, lives in him, and tends to him. From Christ, in Christ, to Christ—that is the whole system. Though it may never be realized, this is the ideal of Christian Sociology beautifully rounded off and complete.
Not merely in point of time does the genesis of Christian society begin with Christ. He is also its creative source, making it possible and real. Its relation to him is such that in him it lives, and moves, and has its being. Therefore, in our attempts to understand Christian society according to its new Testament ideal, we must constantly keep in view what Christ is in relation to this society, what he does to establish and to perpetuate it, and what he teaches concerning it. This, of course, includes the teaching of the apostles respecting this society, since their doctrine has its source in Christ. All this taken together will give the correct view of Christian society and of the Christian Sociology of the New Testament.
THE SOCIAL TEACHINGS AND RELATIONS OF CHRIST.
WHILE we look to the teachings of Christ for the principles of Christian Sociology, we look to his life for a practical application of those principles. The declaration of a noted infidel, that Jesus lived his doctrine, is true of his sociological teachings. In his sociality the laws of Christian sociability are seen as a living reality. Together with his disciples he forms the first Christian society, and gives the model for believers and their various social relations.
The Gospel is, evidently, not intended to give illustrations of all possible relations into which believers may enter, nor to give specific directions for behaviour in all these relations. As all life begins with a simple seed, which develops into multiplicity and variety, so the beginning of the Christian life in the world was from seed-truth, which was to expand and multiply in the spirit of man under the influence of the spirit of God. The truths of the Gospel are compressed and concentrated, with an expansive power and a creative energy.
The world was the fallow ground which had been broken up by God's preparatory work; it was ready now to receive the divine seed which Jesus sowed, whose development was to be left to after ages. The Gospel is thus a repository
of seeds and germs. True, there are flowers and
. fruits, too; but these are there for the sake of the seed they may bear or contain for future ages. The Gospel is but another illustration of the divine method of making the beginning of an important enterprise small in compass, but mighty in energy.
Sometimes the greatness of the power seems to be in proportion to the compression.
Rich as the life of Christ is in illustrating the application of his truth, the illustrations are necessarily limited both in number and in variety. As the truths taught are living seeds, so the illustrations given by Christ himself are types; they are representative of a class rather than of individuals. In these applications of the truth made by Christ himself, we find rather the working of the principles than of the details. It must, therefore, not be expected that for all Christian relations and conduct a specific example or model can be found in the life of Christ. In government and in all departments of society great changes have taken place since that time, and many new relations have been formed.
But even where no specific model is found in the Gospel for the Christian's guidance, there are leading principles and great types to direct him.
As a spiritual teacher and as the founder of a new religion, it was natural that Jesus should enter chiefly into relations which are religious. From these, as the highest relations in life, light was to be shed on all others.
Jesus was not a politician, and he gives neither specific rules in his teachings nor illustrations in his life for all the duties of the statesman ; but the principles of government and the basis of all
statesmanship are given by Christ, so that from the Gospel a system of Christian politics may be constructed. Jesus was not a business man, and hence we must not expect specific models for believers in their various business relations ; yet the essential rules for all such relations are given by Christ.
When Christ is spoken of as the believer's model of conduct, this must, of course, be taken in a general sense. The Christian is obliged to enter relations and to engage in pursuits for which he finds no specific model in the Bible. Some moral subjects are as evident to the Christian conscience as the light is to the eye; but many others come in the form of problems, the solution of which try to the utmost the conscience, The German language calls every believer a “Christ;" and the ideal presented to believers of all tongues is that they are to become like Christ. This is the absolute ideal as far as character is concerned ; but in practice we cannot in all respects imitate him. To him belongs a pre-eminence which must not be overlooked. He is sinless and divine; we are sinful and only human. He is the creator of the Christian life, and believers must ever sustain to him the relation of dependence. Jesus is more powerful than the Christian, has fewer needs, and hence is not so dependent. In his social life, therefore, he is more a giver, and less a receiver,
a than the Christian. It is thus impossible for any believer to sustain to his fellow-men the same relation which Christ sustains. As a teacher, friend, helper, and Saviour, he is pre-eminent and solitary.
While giving rules for the life of the family, so as to make it Christian, Jesus himself did not marry.