THEN will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
St Hilarion (Troitsky) explains below that trying to replace the Christian foundations of a society with myriad secular regulations and ‘rights’ simply will not work.
LAW touches the external aspect and by-passes the essence of man.
A society created on a legal basis can never merge people into unity. Unity is destroyed through self-love and egoism, for law does not destroy egoism.
On the contrary, law only affirms it, guarding it from an encroachment on the part of the egoism of others.
The purpose of a state based on law consists of creating, as far as possible, such an order in which the egoism of each member can find satisfaction for itself without violating the interests of others.
The only path to the creation of such an order can be to place a certain limitation on the egoism of individual members.
In this we have the unsolvable contradiction of law: it affirms egoism, yet it imposes limitations upon it.
Therefore, a society formed on a legal basis always carries within itself the seeds of its own decay, for it guards egoism which constantly corrodes all unity.
The fate of the tower of Babylon is the fate of legal society.
In such a society there must frequently occur a “confusion of tongues” when people stop understanding each other even though they speak the same language.
Legal order often gives place to terrible disorder.
The Christian society – the Church – is in direct contrast to such a legal, purely temporal society. “But when He distributed the tongues of fire, He called all to unity.”
Christ did not create the Church as a means of guarding human egoism, but as a means of its complete destruction.
The basis of Church unity does not consist of legal principles, which guard personal egoism, but love, which is the opposite of personal egoism.
In His parting conversation, Christ said to His disciples: “A new commandment I give unto you. That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35).
It is this “new beginning” of Church unity which creates an organic unity rather than a mechanical unification of internally divided persons.
New Hieromartyr St Hilarion (Troitsky), “Christianity or the Church?” (at Scribd).
St Hilarion died in 1929, aged 43, in prison at the hands of the Communists. I take his remarks, however, to apply to any big-government, over-regulated bureaucracy, be it leftist, rightist, or centrist.
WHEN the Most High came down he confused the tongues, divided the nations; but when he parted the tongues of fire, he called all to unity, and with one voice we glorify the all-holy Spirit.
GIVE swift and stable comfort to your servants, Jesu, in the despondency of our spirits; do not part from our souls in troubles, do not be far from our minds in perils, but ever anticipate us.
Be near us, be near, you who are everywhere; as you are also always with your Apostles, so unite yourself, O compassionate, with those who long for you, that united to you we may hymn and glorify your All-holy Spirit.
At Matins on the Feast of Pentecost. Translation from Anastasis.