Page:American Journal of Sociology Volume 2.djvu/432
41 8 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY
evangelistic work consisted fundamentally in the gathering of a few devoted followers who should be so imbued with his own spirit as to become at once the instructors and the nucleus of a new society. The audacity of Jesus in assuming that a group of such men had within it the possibility of indefinite expansion is equaled only by the superb optimism that saw possibilities of infinite good in humanity. In both lay his philosophy of the growth of the new social order. If his teaching had been less human and humanity less capable of moral rebirth he would have been but one of the motley crew of Christs who have so often appeared only to delude and destroy.
There is disappointment in store for the man who looks to Jesus for specific teachings as to reform. He was singularly unconcerned with those specific injunctions with which the system of Moses teems. There was no lack of vices within the Roman Empire not yet feeling the weakly revivifying touch of poverty and philosophy against which he might have thun- dered, to say nothing of those larger questions that might be expected to engage the attention of a developing society. Yet with none of these did he concern himself. The gospel was to be no new collection of moral precepts to be forced upon a world already surfeited with good advice, but a power that should make towards righteousness. The process of the new birth of the Jewish and heathen world was not to be that of a new subjection to law, be it never so inspired, but that of a growth that showed itself through such institutions as the process of evolution might show necessary. The symbol of the new society was not to be that of stones, graven though they might be by the hand of God, but the seed which, planted in the field, grows, one knows not how, and in proper season produces the blade, and the ear, and the full corn in the ear. 1
some tradition, the attitude of Jesus : " I must fulfill all the ends of my mission in this country."