Friday, May 21, 2010

freedom from fear...

As much as I love the idea of self-culture, it has some dangers, the chief of which, at least for me, is its tendency to promote the idea that we should be able to completely change, order or determine our own lives.  Though the Boston Unitarians tended to emphasize submission or reliance less than their "orthodox" counterparts, it was central in their view of our walk on this earth.  This from John Emery Abbot:


When we think of our moral weakness, the strength of our passions, and the power of those sins which most easily beset us; when we reflect on our dangers from without, the obstacles that impede, and the temptations that try us; when we remember how often our best resolutions have failed, and how easily they may fail again; when we see others, whose virtue and piety once seemed most secure, sinking in the day of trial, and think how distressful the temptations to which we too may soon be called; when we then think what heaven is, and how much must be done to fit us for its attainment; the heart of the sincerest is ready to sink in fear and sadness. We feel our own insecurity and exposure, and look forward with anxiety. We feel the need of protection from above, of a strength which is not our own. And here the gospel meets us with encouragement and peace. It assures us of an aid which will ever be sufficient for us, which will sustain the weakness of nature, and give to our exertions a victory. And it calls us to rely on that merciful Being, who " remembers whereof we are made," and pities our infirmity ; who will bring us to no trial without furnishing us with strength; who beholds with joy the advances we make in virtue, and will reward us at last, not according to the perfection of our obedience, but the sincerity of our endeavors."


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