The Vision of Unity

It is indeed, a good and pleasant thing when brethren dwell together in unity. It is in full accord with the Divine ideal for humanity; it is in some degree the foretaste of heaven.

But, alas, how rare are such scenes! What do we see on every hand but discord instead of harmony, division instead of unity, strife instead of brotherhood.

It would seem, indeed, as if some heavy fate had befallen our human race---a spirit of disunion, deep seated, breeding war and disorder and all confusion. It broke out between the first pair of brothers, and the earth which drank in the blood of Abel has often been saturated since. It must have been, from the earliest times, a puzzle and a wonder to devout and thoughtful men how the human family had become so broken up, and why it was so difficult for brethren to dwell together in unity. These reflections found expression in the ancient story of the Tower of Babel which, from whatever basis in history it may be derived, gives so profound an analysis of the root cause of human discord.

Nor is the state of things better in our time. The ideal of unity in Church and State seems as far off as ever and as difficult to attain. Indeed, the supreme problem is to restore unity in a war shattered world, and it looks as if the solution of the problem would pass the wit of man to discover. There is a deep yearning in men's hearts, but at the same time a feeling almost of despair. Will it ever come? Twenty centuries have passed since the angels sang of peace on earth and goodwill to men, but man, at war with man, hears not the love song they bring. And the whole earth resounds with the din of strife, the clash of discords between sects and parties, nations and races.

Yet the vision of unity has never been lost sight of. The Hebrew prophets saw it and sang of the happy day when there would be unity in Israel and among all the nations, when Ephraim would no longer envy Judah and Judah no longer vex Ephraim, when Egypt and Assyria would be joined in a holy league with Israel, when the very beasts of the field would forget their savage nature and the whole world be wrapped in universal peace. In Christian times these aspirations took more definite shape as they gathered round the person of the exalted Christ, the head of the new humanity in whom all are made one. And it was given to the seer in Patmos to behold the vision of a redeemed universe in which 'every creature in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them' were heard joining in one perfect harmony of praise to God. Surely there is inspiration in the thought that every manifestation of unity, however partial and imperfect, is making towards this glorious consummation.

In Christ, timothy. maranatha