Connected to the whole

Brief excerpt from the opening paragraph of a sermon given by Rev. Jacob Flint here in Cohasset, Mass., on 19 October 1823:

“Nature has formed an infinite number of systems, which are parts only of the great whole, connected by a chain which can never be broken without injury to the parts and disorder to the whole…. Being connected, the parts are so constructed that … they are mutually dependent on each other for their support, general utility, beauty, and order. This is true of what is called the natural world, as well as of the moral.”

The text he chose for this sermon was Romans 12:5, “So we being many are one body in Christ, & every one members one of another.” Two months later, Flint precipitated a split in the Cohasset congregation by preaching a sermon in which he attacked the doctrine of the Trinity. I can’t help but wonder if he wrote the October sermon having already observed the beginnings of a split in the congregation, and hoping to persuade people that they were still part of a unity; then by December, he gave up preaching unity and went on attack.

Regardless of the historical background, I find the above passage to be still relevant. It is reminiscent of what 20th century theologian Bernard Loomer called the interdependent Web of Life.