Tuesday, June 15, 2010

bright and happy day...

This fascinating speech from Rev. George Hosmer was spoken at the 10th Anniversary celebration of the American Unitarian Association and printed in "The Boston Observer and Religious Intelligencer" (1835)

"The condition of our religious community is peculiar, and so is our position, as Unitarians, among other denominations. There are many dark spots on the aspect of these times. On the one hand, scepticism, impatience of religious restraint, a spirit of reckless innovation, and on the other, exclusion, bigotry and narrow-mindedness. All these elements are alive — all active — all in motion, and by their discordant action, are thrown into a state like that of the primeval chaos. No wonder, that under such circumstances, men should he discouraged. No wonder that black and portentous clouds should rest upon the horizon of our hopes. Many are almost in despair at this view of the times. The aged despondingly exclaim, that the former days were better than these.

But, said Mr H. is this all ? Is there nothing to encourage ? I firmly believe that there is. There is a strong under current which is at work for the best results. Fifty or sixty years ago, to he sure, old towns were united in one society under one minister. They all went to the house of God in company. But was there not something to deplore in that state of things ? Were not the churches drowsy ? Was there not a prevailing spiritual apathy ? It cannot he denied that there was. The Revolution came and broke up this old form. Since then we have been changing. We are now in a transition state. Where it will terminate, God only knows. We are now called on to discuss great questions; not merely on minor points of faith, hut the momentous question, is Christianity true ? Many deny it. Some make it a laughing stock and a scorn. We should then all unite, in support of our common religion. But alas, we are cut up into fragments. Our community is divided. We are in the same state as our country would have been in had the North and South divided on topics of local interest in our great struggle for Independence. We are called upon by our position to mediate between these extremes. Liberty, Holiness, Love, these are our great principles. By these we must exert a healing influence and unite the conflicting portions of society. Let us then, gird ourselves with the whole armor of God, for this great work. Let us come to it with the spirit of Christ, and we shall behold the dawn of a bright and happy day."


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