Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/34

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The three centuries which followed the death of Simon Kepha had no conception of a sovereign in the cathedra Petri. The young Church, one and the same in East and West, believed that the throne of the world is in Heaven. Only quite gradually, in response to the demand that springs from the nature of earthly things, did it con- cern itself with the reflection of that heavenly throne established in the city consecrated by the life blood of the greatest witnesses to Jesus, and long since almost sacrosanct as the centre of the Roman world kingdom. The old Rome was transformed into a new Rome. But the Christian spring was fed also from the soil it had conquered. During the time between Nero and Constantine, the Church rook on a form which had necessarily to lead to Papal monarchy. Those were centuries of vigorous growth in the midst of deterioration. They may be compared to an irregular landscape lying under swift moving clouds which cast their reflection on a harvest scene but also upon the new seedlings hardly yet visible above the furrows which the harrow has smoothed over.

Such great political questions as authority, polity and the order of die community, ancient peoples pondered deeply because they had ex- perienced the importance of these things in their own personal lives. Tasks and ways of performing them come in cycles. This truth Plato had realized and expressed in his myth of the great wheel of cosmic necessity. Nevertheless, history up to the time of Christ does show that although moral ideas fell back again and again into the realm of natural brute force and instinct, there was a continuous strong move- ment toward purified thinking despite the fact that reality seemed so different from the ideal. At bottom the questions were: shall it be might or right, polis or cosmopolis (state or humanity) ? In answer- ing both the objective was ultimately to free the highest of values, the value of religion, from its entanglement in the mqan purposes o political, military and humanitarian action. In East and West the mighty struggle between political forms seems like a push onward to the solution which the Church (catholic in this respect also) found