True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 415

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415. V

The neighbour who is to be loved in a higher degree is the church, and in the highest degree the Lord's kingdom.

Since man is born destined for everlasting life, and it is the church which brings him to this, the church ought to be loved as neighbour in a higher degree. For the church's teaching is the means leading to and giving entry to everlasting life. It is the truths of its teaching which lead and the good deeds performed which give entry to it. This does not mean that the priesthood is to be loved in a higher degree, and the church because of the priesthood. It is the good and truth of the church which ought to be loved, and the priesthood for their sake. The priesthood only serves as a means, and should be honoured to the extent that it so serves.

[2] Another reason why the church is the neighbour to be loved in a higher degree, and so more than one's country, is that one's country introduces one to secular life, but the church introduces one to spiritual life, the life which distinguishes man from living purely as an animal. Moreover, secular life is temporary, having an end, and is then as if it had never been. But spiritual life, having no end, is everlasting, so that the term 'being' may be used of it, but 'not-being' of the other form of life. The difference is like that between the finite and the infinite, which are incommensurable; for what is everlasting is infinite in respect of time.

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