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it suggests that these two departments of life are hostile. When we find great scientists, like Newton, Peirce, Agassiz, reverencing divine truth, and religious men, like Kingsley, Jacobi, and Schleiermacher studying science, we discover how much higher this union can carry one than either pursuit by itself.
I once heard a speaker announce as her opinion that whereas hitherto religion had been thought to be the love of God, henceforth religion would be the love of man. In this one-sided statement it was assumed that the two were foreign and opposed, instead of being mutually helpful and necessary to each other. This speaker was as narrow in her theory as the theologians who make the love of God without the love of man the only duty. The two loves are not to be divided. You can possess no divine love without human love, no human love apart from divine. Reformers should understand that no stable reform is accomplished by going from one extreme to the other. The pendulum will always swing back again to the other side. The son of a stiff conservative will probably be a radical reformer, and the daughter of this radical reformer will very likely join the Roman Catholic Church. That is apt to be the result of ultraism.
One moral misalliance is the attempt in religion to marry the letter which killeth and the spirit which giveth life. Christianity is a spiritual religion. Its worship is universal; not at Gerizim, .
nor Jerusalem, but everywhere, so that it be in spirit and truth. Neither Jesus nor his apostles instituted any fixed forms or any fixed creed. They left men's minds free to think out, each for himself, his opinions; and they left the Church free to find such forms as should suit it, and be useful. But even in Paul's time many Christians regretted losing the magnificent Jewish worship, and longed for some great and solemn ceremonies. So, by degrees, came in the pomps of Catholicism. And even in the Protestant Church there is a constant tendency to make forms of worship essential, — ends instead of means. Baptism, the Lord's Supper, the quiet of the Lord's Day, the worship of the church, - these are all good and useful when they bring us near to God and inspire us with love for him. When we baptize little children it is a good thing, if we do it as a sign of the tenderness of God to these little ones, and to suggest that we must be innocent as they are to enter the kingdom of heaven. But if we think it is somehow necessary for their salvation, or that they are safer for being baptized, then we marry God's sublime truth to a low superstition. It is a good thing to come together in memory of Christ, and to take bread and wine together, if we do it to remind ourselves that the highest communion is that of faith and love. If we sit together in heavenly places, so that earthly distinctions may disappear, and we become an army of the living God, communing with all the good in all
lands and times, – that elevates us and purifies us. But if we suppose that there is any superior sacredness in the bread and wine in themselves, or any virtue in the mere act of partaking them, then we marry the love of our Master to an outworn paganism. Let us go forward, and not backward; forward into deeper life, into a nobler religion, into larger freedom, into manlier piety, forgetting the things behind and reaching out to the things before. In pagan lands people wear amulets on their breast, and trust to them for safety. Let us beware lest we make such amulets out of
Christian sacraments or out of any Christian beliefs.
Another moral misalliance is of the love of God with the fear of God. All Christians admit and believe that true religion consists in the love of God. But many also think that men ought to be brought to God by terror. So they represent the Almighty as full of wrath, and describe him as angry, jealous, and ready to seize an occasion to plunge his children into a fiery torment. But we cannot hold in our mind these two conceptions, God of love and a God of wrath. Such notions cannot be married. One must give way to the other. While we love God we cannot be afraid of him ; while we are afraid of him we cannot love him. It is right to be afraid, but not of God. Be afraid of yourself, be afraid of sin, be afraid of the consequences of sin, here and hereafter, but never be afraid of God.
Again, we unite the cedar and the thistle whenever we confound moral distinctions in conduct and life, whenever we attempt to justify wrong or excuse it, whenever we marry high principles and low conduct. Then we confuse and debase our lives. I sometimes think it better not to have a lofty standard, 'than to have it and be false to it. The sin against the Holy Ghost is to defy and resist the truth which we have clearly seen.
Beware, of these moral misalliances. Do not allow yourselves, having adopted principles of duty and right, to be faithless to them. Do not consent to be drawn down to a lower plane of conduct. Keep to your standard. In our State House, among the battle-flags which hang in its lower hall, flags torn and smoked and burnt on many a bloody field, flags which no one can look at without a sense of pity and pride, there is one staff from which its banner was wholly torn away, and which stands there a naked pole. It was carried into the blazing tumult of Fort Wagner on that memorable night when the colored soldiers from Massachusetts received their baptism of blood, and lifted their whole race out of contempt to the level of men. The bearer of the flag was wounded and fell, but crawled out of the fray, hugging his staff to his breast, saying, “It did not touch the ground !” Let us cling to our standard of right; cling to whatever remains of it; cling to the smallest shred of duty; be faithful in the least, as this hero was faithful.
· Be not weary
Let not our standard of duty ever touch the ground. It is so easy to give up our principles; so hard to stand by them. It is so hard to remember the dreams of our youth, so hard to fight the good fight, day by day, year by year. But we lose all if we willingly yield anything, or if we yield at the last. What avails it to have stood by the flag through the roar of a long battle, if we surrender at the end ? Let the cedar stand alone, firm and tall, on its mountain height, and condescend to no base alliance with low, false, sinful evil.
Hold fast, therefore, the confidence and the rejoicing of hope, firm unto the end. of well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” The Roman poet said: "Do not, then, yield to evil, but rather go on more bravely in the midst of evil.” What is good becomes better when we have to fight for it; truth is nobler and dearer which is earned by toil and sacrifice. “ Count it all joy,” says the Apostle, “that ye fall into divers temptations” and trials. Out of these comes a deeper experience, a manlier patience, a surer hope, a more intense conviction. For God loves those whom he chastens, and it is a sign of his confidence in us when he lays burdens on us. These burdens are the means by which we gain new strength, power, success.