Sunday, October 20, 2019

Society. Family. Church.

"Open an acorn: in it we find the oak in all its parts,—root, trunk, branches. Look into the home: in it we shall find the state, the church, the army, the industrial organization. As the oak is germinant in the acorn, so society is germinant in the family. Historically, the family is the first organization; biologically it is the origin of all other organizations. Abraham builds an altar, and his wife and children and servants gather about it for the evening sacrifice: the family is the first church. The herds and flocks are driven daily to their feeding grounds by his sons and servants: the family is the first labor organization. He counsels, guides, directs, controls the children and servants; the power of life and death is in his hands: the family is the first government. The brother is carried off in a raid by robber bands. Abraham arms and organizes his servants, pursues the robber bands, conquers and disperses them, and recovers the captive: the family is the first army. Moreover, it is out of the family that society grows. As the cell duplicates itself, and by reduplication the living organism grows, so the family duplicates itself, and by the reduplication of the family the social organism grows. The children of the family come to manhood, and marry the children of other families. Blood unites them; the necessities of warfare, offensive and defensive, unite them; and so the tribe comes into existence. For the united action of this tribe some rule, some authority is necessary; thus tribal, state, national government comes into existence. These families find it for their mutual advantage to engage in separate industries, and exchange the product of their labor: thus barter end trade and the whole industrial organization come into existence. These families thus united by marriage into one tribe, cemented by war in one army, bound together by the necessity of united action in one government, cooperating in one varied industry, find in themselves a common faith and common aspirations, in a word, a common religion, and so the church comes into existence."

- Lyman Abbott
The Atlantic, September 1903

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