The Spiritual and Working Church" continued...
"To work with God, and for God, then, should be the great and consecrated aim of every church; to make its associative life contribute to the accomplishing somewhat of the divine purpose ; to lend its aid to redeeming the world from its sins, its wrongs, and its wretchedness ; to reforming the age and the community from its special evils, and unjust thoughts and institutions ; to advancing its spiritual elevation and moral purification. In short, every church should work for the coming of the kingdom of heaven, the reign of justice and unselfish love, of freedom and peace, and holiness and brotherhood.
Jesus organized no formal church. He was too earnestly intent upon quickening the dead souls around him into life, and awakening them to a vital consciousness of God, to have time or thought of outward forms and organizations. He trusted to the power of influence, and left his life in the world to take form in obedience to special needs. And it has done so. But these forms have been, and continually will be, broken up and reformed by the floods of the spirit; which continually, as in Jesus, sets men free from the bondage of the ritual and technical, into the liberty of the spiritual and universal religion.
We bear the name Christian, partly because we' are in the direct line of descent from those who first bore it; partly because it represents to us, in its connection with Jesus, that form of the religious idea and spirit which we feel to be the highest and,. truest. But we use it not as if it were the name of a sect, but as synonymous with religious, in the broadest sense of that word.
A Christian church is one which has received the idea and the spirit of Jesus, and which offers its glad consecration to fulfilling the work which was dear to his heart. And what was that idea? It was the Fatherhood of an encompassing and indwelling God ; the Sonship and Brotherhood of Man. And what was that spirit ? It was the spirit of consecrated service, which came " not to be ministered unto, but to minister," to "do the Father's work while it was day." And what was that work ? " He hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; to heal the broken-hearted ; to proclaim deliverance to the captive ; and recovery of sight to the blind ; to set at liberty them that are bruised."