Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

CHRIST IN HISTORY.

CHAPTER I.

THE CENTRAL POWER.

The farther science advances, the more clearly is the great fact discovered that all things have their centres of life and motion, and that they belong to a single system. Acting and interacting, moving, now this way, now that, all at last tend one way. The stars revolve around their suns, and suns themselves, with attendant planets, revolve around a central orb. Unity and variety, as in a circle, with its starlike radii, the unity ever passing into variety, and the variety into unity, pervade the visible creation. Nothing is insulated, nothing irregular. One mysterious law comprehends and governs the whole. All proceed from, and gravitate to, one centre.

Not only the larger masses, suns, and constellations, gravitate thus, but the inferior parts, the minutest atoms, fibres, and crystals. All plants and animals are organized around their centres. By accretion, growth, and assimilation, they form themselves, according to a fixed law, from interior forces. The rose unfolds itself with petals and leaves, from a vital root. The dew is globed by the force of gravitation. The bubble which floats in the sunbeam, the joy of childhood, obeys the same invisible power. It is sphered like a star, and carries upon its bosom all the splendors of the rainbow. A particle of sand, the sport of every breeze, is formed on the strictest mathematical principles. Scrutinized, it will be found piled up in fair proportions, like a huge crystal, with its lines, sides, and angles. The down upon an insect's wing, scarce visible to the naked eye, grows like a forest of palms. All nature is vital and moving, even when it seems to be still as the grave.

Plants and animals have a sort of double life, a life in common with the rest, and a life in themselves, and all therefore tend in one direction. Their movement is ever from, and to, centres of action and development. The human body grows like a

. germ, is fed and developed from an interior force. It has its own centre, to which it gravitates, while gravitating with all other things, earth, sun, and stars, around a common centre.

Society also, in order to live and prosper, must have an appropriate centre. It gravitates around some vital force, being, or principle, which constitutes its life. Men may seem to be insulated as individuals, but they grow together; and not only so, but they intergrow. They are many, yet they are one, like the myriad globules of water that form the rushing stream. No two are alike, yet all are alike. They move apparently in diverse orbits, and yet they move together in a common orbit. One spiritual, allpervading force, or aggregate of forces, impels them in the same direction.

Hence they rise or fall together, move in peaceful order within the great sphere of duty, or dash tumultuously into the abyss. Strange varieties of costume, color, form, language, notions, prevail among the nations, yet “ their hearts are fashioned alike.” Their blood is the same; their reason and their affection, their hope and their fear, their origin and their end, are the

Free indeed, and thence capable, within certain limits, of virtue or of vice, of holiness or of sin, of religion or of atheism, they diverge in their choice and destiny as individuals; yet they are formed on the same model, obey the same impulses, may share the same destiny.

Those who have read history with any atten. tion know that society is always organized, if organized with any degree of permanence, around

[ocr errors]

some divine idea or force. No society can be kept together without religion; and for the simple reason that man, imperfect, — nay, more, fallen, — has his origin and his end in God. The Deity, in other words, the true, the good, the holy,

- what we fitly term “ the divine," — is our centre and life. We gravitate harmoniously only around this eternal force, at once centripetal and centrifugal, attracting us to a centre, and at the same time propelling us in beautiful order around the orbit of duty.

This characteristic of man, like the cerulean color of the ocean or atmosphere, may not indeed be visible in detached fragments, but is always obvious enough in the whole. Morally, as well as naturally, the finite lies in the infinite. God and man are bound together by mysterious ties.

For the same reason, each individual soul has its proper centre. As a divine product, a child of the infinite Spirit, it belongs to God, and finds its felicity in him. No matter if morally severed, by disturbing causes, from its absolute Source, the principle or fact remains the same. The sun and its star, the centre and its radius, wherever they may be, are made for each other. Drawn off into “the abysmal dark” by the destructive influence of sin, the soul wretchedly wanders in the void, seeking rest and finding

« ПредишнаНапред »