Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

We now come to Christianity, which, at its origin and long
state and Chris- afterwards, was opposed  by the might of the
ian religion at first.   empire. an(jj as far as christ and the apostles
were concerned, was never conceived of as needing the as-
sistance of the state for its maintenance or propagation.
Being built upon two simple rites, one of which is merely an
expression of faith in a divine Redeemer, having thrown off
all that was national or exclusive in Judaism, and bringing
precious promises and supports to the soul of man, it was
capable of spreading on every side, of attaining to the rank
of a universal religion, if only tolerated, or even not rooted
out by persecution. Its peculiar truths were few in number,
and yet of such breadth and vastness that speculation in dif-
ferent conditions of human thought could reduce them to no
one philosophical form ; hence, as we have said already, con-
flicting opinions arose, causing divisions in the Christian body
between the orthodox and the heterodox. Its principles of
association also were in the times of the apostles exceed-
ingly simple; all Christians were felt to be one in Christ,
yet, by a free development, it had grown, before it was toler-
ated in the Roman empire, into a religion with orders of clergy
and the beginnings of an outward union between different parts
of the world. As questions of church order, like questions
of doctrine, could be variously apprehended, here again,there
was room for discussion ; but in the early ages these were in
the background, the tendency was towards outward unity
under one head, only that as one body of churches separated
on dogmatic or other grounds from another, this outward
unity was dissolved. Thus, the Greek, Latin, Nestorian,
and other churches arose, and in the Latin the power of the
bishop of Rome became predominant. The Reformation
brought on other separations in the west, and the question
of church order now became an important one, some con-
tending that a definite form of church government is taught
in the New Testament, others that additions not inconsistent
with the best interests of religion can be made in each land.
Thus, among protestants several kinds of church government