Universalist Quote of the Day #102

“As the telling of those we love the faults we discover in them is a painful as well as an unthankful duty, we must be excused, for the present, after we have named one more fault, the correction of which would do them great honor. Among those commendable things which were named, in approbation of our Unitarian brethren, the hearer will recollect their liberality towards those Christians who differ from them in opinions. They have been laboring with all their Christian meekness, for years, to persuade their Orthodox opposers to extend to them the right hand of Christian fellowship, and to consent to reciprocate ministerial exchanges. We have read their learned and forcible arguments in favor of this brotherly practice; and we have also read what their Orthodox opposers have urged against it; and we are fully satisfied that our Unitarian brethren have, in reality, the best of the argument. Now, if the profession of liberality, without the practice, could make these brethren rich in the righteousness of God, the angels of heaven might envy their attainments! Will they exchange desks with Universalists? By no means. What is the reason? Because in some points of doctrine we do not come exactly to their views. As to doctrine generally, they will allow that we are much nearer them than are their Orthodox brethren, whom they are constantly inviting to exchange! Now, if they, like the Orthodox, were conscientious in refusing to exchange desks with those who hold doctrines opposed to their own, then would they act according to their profession, and would be consistent with themselves. But how are they to be justified in making those pretensions to liberality, while in fact it is not real? Is this Christianity? Is this genuine honesty?

–Rev. Hosea Ballou, “Commendation and Reproof to Unitarians,” November 29, 1829.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Universalist Quote of the Day #102

  1. Although [i’m] not privy to the context and seemingly verbose content of this lengthy mid 19th century quote, certain phrases seem to gleam for me…those phrases being: “laboring with all their Christian meekness,” “orthodox opposers,” and “pretensions to liberality.”
    [i] don’t know what to think exactly. perhaps someone might help me to think about it.
    This IS my first month as a Universalist-Unitarian, so [i] hope someone hears me enough to respond on some other side of cyber space.

  2. Jesse – it’s sorta hard to know what you are asking, so a quick history lesson: in 1829, the Unitarians and Universalists were separate Christian denominations. Ballou is accusing the Unitarians of hypocrisy for wanting pulpit exchange (preachers preaching at different churches) with other denominations (who had attack and oppressed them) , and denying pulpit exchange with the Universalists.
    the usual reason given by historians for this was that of class – the Unitarians were Upper Class and the Universalists were Middle and Lower Class.
    That help?

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