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II. Influence of the Members of the Kingdom of God in Renewing the World.

§ 152. The Disciples of Christ theLightandSaltof the Earth.

Christ then points out to his disciples the regenerating influence which the qualities before described must exert when exhibited to the world. His followers are “the light of the world,” which, where it exists, cannot be hid, but must shine forth. They are to become “the salt” of mankind. As salt preserves from decay and corruption every thing to which it is applied, so Christians are to incite mankind to live according to their high destiny; are to impart freshness to humanity, and to preserve it from the corruption into which it naturally passes, by the power of their higher principle of life. The course of the human race, apart from Christianity, is always downward; all its civilization ends in barbarism. It is for Christians to preserve the spiritual life of mankind fresh and undecayed.

But if the salt lose its saltness—becomes stale and worthless—wherewith shall it be salted? Wherewith shall the Divine life be preserved in those to whom Christianity, the source of the reanimating, freshening power, has been dead? In that case, those that should stand upon the highest point of human developement will sink to the lowest; it is good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men 229Christ knew that the new element of life which, through him, was given to humanity, had power to keep it ever fresh and living; but ho knew also the impure influences to which it would be liable. These words of his declare the fate of Christianity, whenever it degenerates into dead forms and outward show. History affords the fullest and saddest commentary upon this prophetic passage.

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