Excerpt from The Diversified Ministry of an Unchanging Gospel: A Sermon Delivered at the Installation of the Rev. E. E. Hale Over the South Congregational Church, Boston
And against these customs, necessities, practices, invested in our hourly being, your vast, expensive, complex Sunday apparatus for carrying out the Christian law - temples, priesthoods, rituals is powerless; so obviously powerless, that many among them men themselves Christian in sen timent and practice declare Christianity to be a failure. But, he goes eloquently on, No more than gravitation, or the laws which govern numbers, can Christianity fail. For eighteen centuries it has been a light to humanity; not shining in the deeds of kings, nor glaring from the towers of cities, nor even always from the spires of churches, but modestly, inwardly, in humble hearts. In modern history it is a column of fire, drawing onward by its heat, even when its flame has not been visible. To believe that it can fail, is unconscious atheism. But what has failed, what has grown obsolete, is the apparatus employed to be the me dium of its life and power: that is now a lifeless mechan ism, a social conventionalism, a worldly armory. We make the week a negation of Sunday, and Sunday a cessation of the week; we divide our life into seven parts, whereof we give six to Mammon, and one to God. What he wills of us is not lip-worship, but work-worship.
Now, according to their personal Observation, men may attach different degrees of importance to such criticism, and form different estimates of the influence of such critics. A certain sort Of purblind bigotry will set them down as grace less reprobates, condemnable for not being quickened by all the routine and dulness of Christian formalism. To others it will seem an occasion, not for distrusting the Church, still less for alarm in its behalf, but for rational study of the causes, if many thinking men of general sincerity, thought fulness, and elevation of purpose, lose their sympathy with its ministrations. Conceit will find it easy to resort to its summary sentence, and call it depravity or infidelity. To candid Christians, this phenomenon of philanthropic Chris tianity, without interest in the institution by which, after all.
About the Publisher
Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com
This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.show more