Monday, August 30, 2010

this side the mouldering grave...

It was a mission of Bernard Whitman (from whom we heard yesterday) to broaden Unitarianism's appeal beyond its fairly affluent base. Some of that is apparent in this continuation of his "Excuses for Neglecting Public Worship Examined"...(not, of course, that he is speaking flame throwing radicalism)

"The other class who make this excuse (of not having proper church-going clothes), are those whom misfortune has reduced from more affluent circumstances. They are indeed deserving of christian sympathy. But, my friends, because infinite wisdom has deprived you of one favor, will you deprive yourselves of greater blessings ? Will you let an unsubmissive spirit detain you from the sanctuary for the afflicted ? The church is the only place this side the mouldering grave, where the rich and the poor, the learned and ignorant are taught to forget the momentary distinctions of birth and rank and station and fortune, and to realize their dependence on that all wise Governor, who makes one to differ from another, and who is still the Father of all his family. Here is offered to your acceptance that good portion which can never be taken away. Here you may obtain those spiritual treasures which cannot be corrupted or consumed. Here you may acquire that heavenly love which casts out all fear of man. Here you may secure a title to an inheritance, uncorrupted and undefiled and unfading. Here you are offered an adequate remedy for all your temporal afflictions. And because you have lost some of those things which perish with the using, will you refuse imperishable riches ? O forsake not this last resort of disappointed hope. Reject not the invaluable legacy of your risen Saviour. Ever imitate his uniform custom of visiting your Father's house on each returning sabbath. Any apparel which does not attract attention or excite observation, either by its meanness or splendor, is proper for the house of God. And I presume there are none in our religious society who are unable to obtain such raiment consequently this is not a satisfactory excuse for either class."


No comments: