September 29, 1898
THE power is the greatest power in the universe. It is the power of God; for “God is love.” And being the greatest power in the universe, it is the power bequeathed to the Christian Church for the accomplishment of her mission in the world.
It is the power of love that is represented by the cross of Calvary. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son.” And the Son of God so loved the lost human family that he voluntarily descended from his throne of glory to hang as a malefactor upon the instrument of torture and death.
The channel of this power—the channel of love—is self-sacrifice. By self-sacrifice, therefore, the Christian Church is to accomplish her appointed work for mankind. In nothing is self to be exalted or ministered unto. There can be no seeking after earthly power, no grasping for worldly honor or position. The Head of the Church renounced the power, the honor and glory that he had in heaven, and sought none of these upon the earth; and so long as she is directed by her Head, the church will manifest only His spirit and character to the world.
The power of love is the opposite of the love of power. This reversal of the divine principle came about in the early history of the church, and there was a strife in the church as to which should be the greatest. And after many years of this strife, the bishop of Rome—the pope—was elevated to the seat of supreme authority and power,—the power not of love and self-sacrifice, but of authority over men, and of worldly honor. The pope became—what he has ever since continued to be—a mighty factor in politics. And when the church engages now in political strife, she is moved by the same spirit which led the church into politics in the early centuries.
As much of political power as was possessed by the dying Son of God upon the cross, as much of worldly honor and preëminence as was then his, so much and only that may properly be held and exercised by the Christian Church to-day.