“The world once thought that Christianity was a failure. When they saw Christ hung upon the cross, even the apostles thought their Master was defeated. But, while his enemies were rejoicing that the dangerous doctrines should disturb their peace no more, Christianity was gathering new powers for the conflict; and the very hour they sought to exterminate it from the world became the hour of its firm establishment and victory. From that dark and awful scene of crucifixion, it went forth to its conquest with an impulse which no earthly power could stay, and before which kings should bow, and sin and wrong should flee away; forseeing which, the dying Saviour could say, ‘It is finished.’ And every martyr to the cause has added new force in carrying out the great result. Hence Whittier justly said, ‘In the economy of God no effort put forth for the right cause fails of its effects. Through discords of sin and sorrow, pain and wrong, it rises, a deathless melody, to blend with the great harmony of a reconciled universe.”
–Rev. John G. Bartholomew
“I believe, then, in God, my father. I feel in my heart that I have access to and communion with him, as Abraham and David did. Let us endeavor to walk with him as our friend, step by step in our way of life. Let us feel, that like a good, wise father, he appreciates and loves good acts, and rewards them. He requires us to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly; and may our hearts be set to obey him. As I could joyfully live with the best man I ever heard of, or with one who should combine all the best qualities of all the best men who ever lived,–Plato, Socrates, Moses, John, Paul, Fenelon, Howard, Ballou, Boyden, and Lincoln,–a just, patient, humble society, whose wisdom and patience would be so great as not to overbear me, but rather to bear me up, so could I joyfully live with him. I believe in his divine Son, my Saviour, through whom I better know and love the Father, and am greatly helped and cheered in all the hopes and efforts for good.”
–Rev. E. Fisher
“‘The larger hope’ is the staff on which men lean in hard times. It may be influentional in making life brighter under ordinary conditions; it must of necessity be the stay of man when the heart is bowed under any serious grief, or death invades the household. The touch of affliction–who has not seen it in the mute appeal of tear-stained eyes, in the clinging grasp of a tremulous hand, and in that silence so charged with mingled doubt and hope? I have seen persons racked by grief, yet firm through faith, watching the death of the dearest hope, yet seeing in the promising future some compensation; touching the lips of love as they lay in the jewelled casket, yet seeing as by vision that promised state where they retain all that is lovely, and wait like guardian watchers: and when I have seen this, I have blessed that faith whose keynote is the motto, ‘He doeth all things well.'”
–Rev. W.S. Vail
Let’s face it: no matter how hard you try, some students stubbornly refuse to learn what you teach them in class. Or, more to the point, they manage to learn things that you didn’t teach them. Two recent examples from a course on sacred sites:
a) a student declared in his paper that Catholics worship the Virgin Merry (apparently a fun person to have around)
b) a student declared in her paper that the rounded shape of the synagogue was clearly meant to evoke the pregnant belly of Mary, with Jesus in her womb
And they think we need to cut funding for education, especially the humanities, at a time like this? This post is mainly meant to highlight two amusing recent student misunderstandings, but it does also beg the question of how we expect to develop a respectful and harmonious multicultural society when regular people are ignorant of some very basic facts about their neighbors. . .
“Through many of these years, marked by varied experiences, I have been a believer in the doctrines as held by our beloved Church.
It has ever been my great desire to live these doctrines in all life’s varied relations, so as to commend them to the earnest consideration and acceptance of mankind, believing in their great helpfulness in making mankind better and happier. As the years move on, and I reach the border-line which divides the future from the present, I value and cherish our faith more and more; and as I have lived in its blessedness, its peace, and sunshine, found it the one thing needful at all times, I am confident I shall find it the same to the end of mortal being, preparing the soul for its peaceful exit from time, filling it with joyful expectancy of a glorious life of immortality for all God’s children.”
–Mrs. C. Porter
“Hell is an evidence, therefore, of God’s interest in the welfare of his children. Every smart of pain, every burning remorse, is a message direct from the Father, saying, ‘My child, you are doing wrong to yourself and to others by your sinful courses, you are imperilling the welfare of many with your own; you must “break off your sins by righteousness;” you must come up out of your degradation, however deep it may be, and go on your way to heaven.’ Hence we say, love is inexorable, and will have its own.
Universalists alone have grasped the significant fact that justice is the offspring of love, that righteous retribution is applied under the direction of love for the recovery of the lost. Hell, to our apprehension, is salutary discipline, just as severe, and just as protracted as may be necessary to recall the sinner to himself, and awaken the penitent resolve to return to return in submission to his Father.”
–Rev. S. Goodenough
“Christ will still remain the most perfect spiritual example of man’s nature, permanently uplifted above the horizon of history until obscured by the greater light of some more august personality. And, till such personality appears, there is no danger of the decay and supersedure of the ministry and church, for want of a field and of ideas, with the certainty of a harvest of increasing good to mankind. Though all formulated creeds be driven to radical changes, the nature of man and the universal ideas of Christ remain. From these creeds a vaster growth and power will spring, and the ministry and church will take a still more beneficent, inevitable, and commanding part in educating and edifying the mental and moral life of the world.”
–Rev. Richmond Fisk