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God is something the other side of death. The Kingdom of God simply meant, with Jesus Christ, human society purified of all its evil, the parts of it inspired by great religious ideas and bound together by the ties of brotherhood. That is, if I could conceive that all the members of this congregation had adopted absolutely the ideas of Jesus Christ and were living in the instant thought of God as their Father; were living according to his laws, physical, mental and spiritual, and were living in their relation to each other as the members of many families do, Jesus Christ would say, then, the Kingdom of God that I wished and dreamed of and spoke of is here to-day-right here and now.
The future thought of it is simply the expansion of it to include more and more, until at last it is coterminous with the limits of the universe itself. "The Kingdom of God," says Paul, " is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." Now, where there is any anger there is no Kingdom of God; where there is injustice the Kingdom of God has not come; where there is antagonism in society the Kingdom of God is not there; where the Kingdom of God is, there is righteousness in act and joy in life, a peaceful relation between the members of that society. The Kingdom of God, then, is no vision or dream; but when a man says, "I will live as God wants a man to live, and I will treat every man as if he were my brother and share my goods with him, and comfort him, and take comfort from him," there the Kingdom of God is on earth as it was meant to be. Sometimes it is called the Church; the Church is simply a realization of the Kingdom of God—a little realization of it. The Church is a family. Whether the term Kingdom of God or Church is used, it is all the same thing, it is the ecclesia.
Such a conception as this must determine the idea of this Church in its relation to the world. Nothing less
than a world could satisfy it. If there were one of you here who thought you could be happy in another world if there were a single person left in the depths of the nethermost hell, I should be sorry for you. You have not penetrated to the thought of Jesus Christ, yet. You must possess the world with your love and hope. You must believe that the infinite love of God and the persistent love of man will yet reach into the bottom. of every social hell on earth, and every hell that may be in any other part of the universe, and empty it.
So I read the mind of God and so I preach. I believe the love of God will yet recall every one and make him happy somewhere in this universe, and nothing less than that satisfies my conception of the love of God. So I work, and expect to work, and when the seventy years of my life here are through, I ask for no harp and no crown so long as there is any social hell on any planet, where I can carry such experience as I have had here. We must have Christian influences and laws; we must show ideas through the laws; we must compel men to come in. A woman once said: "You have made it so that no one can eat a Thanksgiving dinner in peace if there is any one who has not been provided for," and I was thankful that my words had reached so far. Never be content while another is unhappy. Never be happy while another is miserable. Let these ideas enter into the minds of all men, until at last men shall not fall, but shall be raised up.
When a community has great possessing ideas, that lifts every one that is in it. If this town should be filled with a great passion for justice, it would shame every one who is unjust. It would compel every one to accept the grand passion of the town in the direction of justice. Preventive medicine now takes this line. It does not simply seek to cure one person of small-pox, but vaccinates a community, so that no one
need die of small-pox. It does not now simply seek to take one little child out of the poisonous breath of diphtheria or scarlet fever, but through sanitary and hygienic measures, it possesses the world for health. We may not seek a scheme of salvation from hell for an individual soul, but a great preventive thought to keep men from falling; and a great restorative measure to bring masses back, so that, as in the Adam or in the natural fleshly man, all died; in the Christequally true-all must be made alive.
This, then, is the thought which I have as to the mission of the Son of Man. It is on this thought that this Church has been builded, and every sermon has been preached. It will be the constant, insistent thought which I shall present. Nothing less than a whole world to be brought within the kingdom of God; and it is the duty of every individual as soon as he has entered into the light to become a missionary of the new faith of preventive christianity; formative christianity rather than reformatory; preventive rather than remedial.. So, that when we touch the individual, it shall be helpful to all.
If it be in the power of a word of mine to lift you up at all, it would not be to have you only enjoy life, but to make you strong and active that the comfort wherewith you have been comforted of God, might also be the possession of sorrowful souls.