Sunday, November 29, 2009


It is the First Sunday in Advent and my mind is on...perfection.  Advent is, of course, about waiting and looking forward and upward.  During the weeks of Advent, I have decided to excerpt the twelve sermons that make up William Ellery Channing's "The Perfect Life."  Gathered by William Henry Channing from his uncle's manuscripts, these sermons, in the words of WHC  "are precisely what they claim to be—a Minister's pulpit addresses to his own Congregation. They are neither Lectures for the learned, nor Essays for a literary circle, nor Papers for a critical Journal. Still less do they form a Theological Treatise. But they are Calls to the People to " come up higher." In them great truths are presented in the most popular form, and brought home to the common heart. "Written for delivery, week by week, during the last few years of Channing's life, it was manifestly his purpose to adapt his lessons to the apprehension of his simplest hearers. He would have all to share in the bright prospects, which had shone before him in hours of solitary thought and devout communion. And knowing that he was often charged with yielding to the charms of an ideal exaltation, which secluded him from the work-day world, he wished by cordial hospitality to make the humblest his peers. Thus reverent friendliness pervades the tenor of these appeals. And grave sincerity inspires their style."

The Biblical Epigraphs preceeding the sermons:

As for God, His way is perfect. God is my strength and power : and He maketh my way perfect.—2 Samuel xxii. 31, 33.

Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.—Psalm xxxvii. 37.

I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt Thou come unto me ? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.— Psalm ci. 2.

I have seen an end of all perfection: but Thy commandment is exceeding broad.—Psalm cxix. 96.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.—Matthew V. 48.

Perfect in one.-—John xvii. 23.

Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection.—Heb. vi. 1.

This also we wish, even your perfection. Be perfect.—2 Cor. xiii. 9, 11.

May the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory, by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect.— 1 Peter V. 10.


1 comment:

David G. Markham said...

My favorite epigraph is from Matthew "May you be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect."

I am reading some Chogyam Trungpa who says that the warrior is the one who can face himself. He has the courage to look into his own heart. The warrior knows that he/she is not perfect, but aspires and struggles to attain oneness with God who is perfect.

It is quite a paradox to realize that it is in acknowledging one's own imperfection that one becomes perfect.

I can't wait to read what WEC has to say.

Thank you,

David Markham