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ETHODIST QUARTERLY REVIEW.
Art. 1.—THE SOLIDARITY OF METHODISM.
YEARS ago, some Frenchmen, not familiar with the teachings of the Bible, supposed they had discovered a new truth in regard to the human race. Availing themselves of the facility which their language affords for coining terms to express scientific and philosophical ideas, they invented the word solidaritè, as the vehicle of their new thought. Slightly Anglicizing it, we have the word solidarity. For this word, says Trench, are indebted to the French Communists," who use it to "sig. nify a community in gain or loss, in honor or dishonor, a being (so to speak) all in the same bottom.” Trench adds, this term is “so convenient that it will be in vain to struggle against its reception among us. Webster defines it, “an entire union or consolidation of interests and responsibilities; fellowship.”
By this term is meant that individuals are not isolated personalities, independent of each other, like trees standing separately in a field, but like branches on a common stock, or buds on a common bough. The same life-sap flows through them all ; so that, if the life of the tree is attacked anywhere, -in its root, its trunk, its limbs all the buds feel it. Yet each bud has a life of its own, and develops its own stalk, leaves, blossom, fruit. Each bud and leaf is necessary to the life and growth of the tree, its breathing-places, inhaling the oxygen, and bringing this invigorating influence into the life of the tree. So
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mutual and all-pervasive are these relations between the boughs, buds, leaves and trunk, that if either fails to perform its functions, the tree will suffer. So it is with individual men in the great tree of mankind. None liveth to himself alone, or dieth to himself alone. If one suffers, all suffer. If the life of mankind becomes diseased, individual men are also affected, and whatever improves the life of the race improves the individual members of the race. Such is the common life-connection of humanity. It is a solid, a unit. As individuals, we are parts of a whole, with which we are bound in relations of mutual dependence and service. We have a common race life. This is what the term solidarity means.
This term contains no new principle; but one as old as Christianity, which long ago declared that God " made of one blood all nations of men.” The golden rule is predicated upon this great underlying race truth. So also the second great Commandment. The clearest Christian expression of this truth is in the language of St. Paul—“We are members one of another.” “ The body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body.” This truth is very prominent in Paul's epistles.
This principle is one of the broadest and most fundamental of all known truths.
I. IT SUSTAINS A VITAL RELATION TO THE HUMAN RACE. 1. The common race life is dependent upon it.
It stands opposed to artificial divisions of the human family into castes, to aristocratic exclusiveness, to slavery, war, and every thing that estranges nations and communities. It condemns all wrongs against our fellows, for an evil done to one is a wound inflicted upon the race.
The virus enters into its common life. This principle is the basis of mutual assistance. It was a profound remark of Sir Walter Scott, that if the element of sympathy should die out of the human heart, the race could not protract its existence through another generation. Philanthropy, moral and social reforms, educational movements for the masses, and all charities, have their origin in this principle. It lies at the foundation of all moral relations and duties in the social sphere. Impure acts, words, and examples taint the moral life of the race, sending their pernicious influence through large circles and for many generations.