Universalist Quote of the Day #94

“It is astonishing how barren the Christian creeds are of any expression of faith in Man–the highest organism in the visible creation. We believe that man is created in the image of God, and is able to know and do his will. Man is not a worm, a slave, a wreck, but a developing being who began low down, and is on his way up. He is not a ruin, but a mine, full of yet undeveloped riches. His career is not one of restoration simply, but of growth. He is a being of sublime capacities–God’s fellow-worker, co-operator and agent, through whom the divine purposes are wrought on earth. God made the world, but he did not finish it–he set man at that task. God furnishes the forces, the arena, and the constant inspiration; man does the work, and in doing it he develops the one thing that God does not create–character. Man’s conquest of himself is exhibited in the development of his language and literature, his laws and government, his morality and humaneness, his organization of society. As Martineau says: ‘The human commonwealth, with its hierarchy of mutual service, its army of tamed passions, its invisible guard of ideal restraints, its traditions of heroism, its hopes of greatness, its sympathy of the moral life of the world, is the highest product of the providence of God, and the most impressive witness to the possibilities of man.’

And exactly in parity with man’s conquest of himself has been his conquest of nature. He has changed the surface of the earth, and built his homes, temples, and highways everywhere; tamed its fruits and animals to his purposes, moulded its matter to his desires, and trained its forces to his will–making great nature both his trusted master and his willing servant. On this subject I need say no more, since there stands today, almost within sound of my voice, an exhibition, gathered from all quarters of the earth, of man’s conquest over nature–a great and shining witness to the splendor of his material achievement. Greater than all that he has done, is the modern man himself, with his growing eagerness to serve humanity, his worship of moral ideals, his visions of the perfected man, his contempt of death, his assurance of a larger career in worlds to come. The new creed of the world, whether written or not–the source of the stir and power of modern life–is faith in man.”

–Rev. James Pullman, “The Contribution of Universalism to the World’s Faith,” The Columbian Congress of the Universalist Church. Boston and Chicago: Universalist Publishing House, 1894: 342-343


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Filed under Liberal Religious History, Universalism

One response to “Universalist Quote of the Day #94

  1. Pingback: The Rise of Universalist Humanism « Transient and Permanent

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