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The Beloved Community

The Beloved Community

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Published by glennpease
JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, D.D.


The whole family in heaven and earth." — Eph. 3: 15.
We, who arc many, are one body." — Rom, 12: 5.
"Fellow-citizens with the saints." — Eph. 2:19
JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, D.D.


The whole family in heaven and earth." — Eph. 3: 15.
We, who arc many, are one body." — Rom, 12: 5.
"Fellow-citizens with the saints." — Eph. 2:19

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 03, 2013
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THE BELOVED COMMUITYJOSEPH FORT EWTO, D.D.The whole family in heaven and earth." — Eph. 3: 15.We, who arc many, are one body." — Rom, 12: 5."Fellow-citizens with the saints." — Eph. 2:19IF we judge a man by the depth of his insight,the daring of his devotion, and the impressof his life upon the race, St. Paul was one of the greatest men the world has known. Fragileof frame, vivid of mind, and creative of faith, hisunquenchable passion was only equalled by theprofundity of his thought. The secret of his lifelay in two discoveries, the greatest ever made, thediscovery of God and the discovery of mankind — the Love of God and the unity of humanity.These two truths, made luminous in the life of Jesus, became the master lights of all his seeingand the basis of his philosophy of history. Inlabor always, in perils oft, and with " the care of all the churches," he left no lengthy treatise, butonly letters written swiftly, like the poems of Bums, mingling practical exhortation with spirit-ual exposition. But when his flashing insightsare brought together into a glow-point, they forma grand and far-reaching vision.7172 THE MERCY OF HELLThere have been many expositors of St. Paul,some of them among ,the noblest thinkers of thechurch, but in our time the man who more thanall others revealed the depth and sweep of hisvision was not a theologian. For some of us cer-tain sayings of the Apostle bring back a dear andhonored teacher, who was one of the few greatthinkers the ew World has known, Josiah Royce — the sturdy figure, the dome-like forehead, thestarry eyes, and the voice that haunts us still. He
 
united the genius of one of the most advancingand catholic of thinkers with the simplicity andspontaneity of a child. Kindness was the spiritof his life. His service to the truth was a humbledevotion, and he was equally devoted to his philos-ophy and to his friends. He was a saint amongphilosophers, most lovable and himian, and wasnever more happy than when telling a story to agroup of children — his favorite being "TheHunting of the Snark." His last act before leav-ing for Oxford was to go into the park that " hemight say good-by to his friends, the little birds,who had sung their songs to a stranger from overthe sea." For his pupils the memory of him islike music, and the validity of his vision was at-tested by the purity of his character not less thanby his heroic fortitude in those last dark days.Such was the thinker who, standing midway be-tween Hegel and James, brought his insight to theservice of faith, setting the vision of St. Paul inTHE BELOVED COMMUITY T3the vast frame of modem thought. His teach-ing, on its religious side, was all summed up inhis vision of the Beloved Community and his Gos-pel of Loyalty to its faith and fellowship. Firsthe studied the teachings of Jesus in the parablesand in the sermons by the sea, finding its essenceto be Love. But love, as Jesus taught it andlived it, was no pale, passive negation — far fromit ! Instead, it is active, resolute, heroic, " as pos-itive and strenuous as it is humane," not only purebut purifying, not jam but a subtle and vividpower which men find it as hard to define as toresist. Jesus founded no church, as we use theword, but a fellowship of loving hearts to extendthe Kingdom of Heaven which cometh not withobservation, whose members were to be evangelistsof good-will, teaching love to all men, each begin-ning with his neighbor. But this plan, etched andleft unfinished in the words of Jesus, left unsolvedmany problems as to how it is to be worked out inrespect of great social issues.
 
Manifestly, a design so vast, so profound, andso simple withal, needed a great mind to grasp it,and it found that mind in St. Paul. What did St.Paul do, what could he do, more than repeat thetruth of the Master? Did he add anything toChristianity, alter it, as some insist, changing itinto something unlike what the Master taught, if not alien to it? ot so. Here the insight of Royce went fathoms deeper than the critics of St,74 THE MERCY OP HELLPaul. So far from changing Christianity, St.Paul, by his creative insight and experience, addedto the truth which Jesus taught, the truth of whatJesus was, and is, and ever shall be, made known.in the revelation of His death and the reality of His living presence. To his mind — to his heart — a revelation has been made. There is a Be-loved Community established, a community of memory, of service, of hope, of interpretation.Its indwelling spirit is concrete and loving. It isthe Body of Christ. The risen Lord dwells in it,and is its life. It is as much a person as He waswhen He walked the earth. Men must love thatcommimity; let its spirit, through their love, be-come their own. They must be one in Him andwith Him, and with His community — hence theage-long, ceaseless evangel to win men to this fel-lowship.Of course, so bare a sketch of the vision of St.Paul, as interpreted by Royce, gives little hint of its variegated richness and splendor. His doctrineof Interpretation is alone worthy of long ponder-ing, as is his defense, one by one, of almost everytruth of essential evangelical Christianity. TheBeloved Community, as Royce saw it, is not anyorganized church, but the invisible fellowship of loyal souls all the world over, past, present and tocome. The actuating spirit of this community isChrist, as St. Paul understood Him, in whom thewhole body is compact and knit together; and by

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