from a mixture of madness.? Seneca, De Tranquillitate Animi, 15 ? ?There is no great genius without a tincture of madness.?

Kant: ?So act as to treat humanity, whether in thine own person or in that of any other, in every case as an end, and never as a means only.? If there is a divine element in every man, then we have no right to use a human being merely for our own pleasure or profit. In receiving him we receive Christ and in receiving Christ we receive him who sent Christ

( <401040>Matthew 10:40). Christ is the vine and all men are his natural branches, cutting themselves off only when they refuse to bear fruit and condemning themselves to the burning only because they destroy, so far as they can destroy, God?s image in them, all that makes them worth preserving ( <431501>John 15:1-6). Cicero: ?Homo mortalis deus.? This possession of natural likeness to God, or personality, involves boundless possibilities of good or ill and it constitutes the natural foundation of the love for man, which is required of us by the law. Indeed it constitutes the reason why Christ should die. Man was worth redeeming. The woman, whose ring slipped from her finger and fell into the heap of mud in the gutter, bared her white arm and thrust her hand into the slimy mass until she found her ring. But she would not have done this if the ring had not contained a costly diamond. The lost piece of money, the lost sheep and the lost son were worth effort to seek and to save (Luke 15). But, on the other hand, it is folly when man, made in the image of God, ?blinds himself with clay.? The man on shipboard, who playfully tossed up the diamond ring, which contained his whole fortune, at last to his distress tossed it overboard. There is a ?merchandise of souls ( <661813>Revelation 18:13) and we must not juggle with them.

Christ?s death for man, by showing the worth of humanity, has recreated ethics. ?Plato defended infanticide as under certain circumstances permissible. Aristotle viewed slavery as founded in the nature of things. The reason assigned was the essential inferiority of nature on the part of the enslaved.? But the divine image in man makes these barbarities no longer possible to us. Christ sometimes hooked upon men with anger, but he never looked upon them with contempt. He taught the woman, he blessed the child, he cleansed the leper, and he raised the dead. His own death revealed the infinite worth of the meanest human soul and taught us to count all men as brethren for whose salvation we may well lay down our lives. George Washington answered the salute of his slave. Abraham Lincoln took off his hat to a Negro who gave him his blessing as he entered Richmond; but a lady who had been brought up under the old regime looked from a window upon the scene with unspeakable horror. Robert Burns, walking with a nobleman in Edinburgh, met an old towns-

<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment