« IndietroContinua »
GREAT CHAPTERS FROM THE GREATEST BOOK.
The Bible contains the noblest lessons of human striving that are to be found in any literature.
It is a storehouse of most varied experience.
It records the blindness, ignorance, follies, sins, with which, age after age, the sons of men contend; and it shows how all these are triumphed over by the noble soul.
It shows what heroism and courage and strength and patience and love are possible to men and women, and so makes us feel there is still a great deal in our own natures that we have not yet brought out, or used in the service of the world.
And it does more. It goes deeper. It is inspired. It is a revelation. It does not rest superficially upon the material or visible. It plants itself firmly in that which lies in and about and beneath. It goes to the source of life! And leads us thither!
It is proposed, in a course of short articles, to call attention to the teaching contained in some of the great chapters of this greatest of books.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THINGS.
The Poem of Creation. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good : and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and
let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was 80. And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear : and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas : and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth put forth grass, herb yielding seed, and fruit - tree bearing fruit after its kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth : and it was so.
And the earth brought forth grass, that creepeth upon the earth. And herb yielding seed after its kind, and God created man in his own image, in tree bearing fruit, wherein is the seed the image of God created he him; male thereof, after its kind: and God saw and female created he them. And God that it was good.
And there was blessed them: and God said unto them, evening and there was morning, a third Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish day.
the earth, and subdue it; and have And God said, Let there be lights in dominion over the fish of the sea, and the firmament of the heaven to divide over the fowl of the air, and over every the day from the night; and let them living thing that moveth upon the be for signs, and for seasons and for earth. And God said, Behold I have days and years : and let them be for given you every herb yielding seed, lights in the firmament of the heaven which is upon the face of all the earth, to give light upon the earth : and it and every tree, in which is the fruit of
And God made the two great a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be lights; the greater light to rule the for meat: and to every beast of the day, and the lesser light to rule the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and night: he made the stars also. And to every thing that creepeth upon the God set them in the firmament of the earth, wherein there is life, I have given heaven to give light upon the earth and every green herb for meat: and it was to rule over the day and over the night,
And God saw everything that he and to divide the light from the dark- had made, and, behold, it was very ness : and God saw that it was good. good. And there was evening and And there was evening and there was there was morning, the sixth day. morning, a fourth day.
And the heaven and the earth were And God said, Let the waters bring finished, and all the host of them. And forth abundantly the moving creature on the seventh day God finished his that hath life, and let fowl fly above work which he had made; and he the earth in the open firmament of rested on the seventh day from all his heaven. And God created the great work which he had made. And God sea-monsters, and every living creature blessed the seventh day, and hallowed that moveth, which the waters brought it: because that in it he rested from all forth abundantly, after their kinds, his work which God had created and and every winged fowl after its kind : made. and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, This first chapter in the first book of the and multiply, and fill the waters in the Bible contains the poem of creation. seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. It is a hymn of praise, giving us a moving And there was evening and there was picture of many marvellous scenes. morning, a fifth day.
It stirs the heart and quickens the imAnd God said, Let the earth bring agination by the simplicity, strength, and forth the living creature after its kind, vividness of its conceptions, and by the cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of sense it gives us of the dignity and majesty the earth after its kind : and it was so. of creation. And God made the beast of the earth The detail is crude, and without scientific after its kind, and the cattle after their accuracy; but it was never intended to have kind, and every thing that creepeth that. It would be ridiculous for us to critiupon the ground after its kind: and cise it as an explanation of creation. It is God saw that it was good.
a hymn,-a grand, deep song of adoration. And God said, Let us make man in One cannot read it without feeling the our image, after our likeness : and let emotions of worship. them have dominion over the fish of "In the beginning, God.” the sea, and over the fowl of the air, That which makes this chapter so impresand over the cattle, and over all the sive, gives it its sense of profound dignity, earth, and over every creeping thing that which thrills us as we read it, is not
the individual steps of the great plan, nor
OUR CHURCHES. the right or wrong order of their progress, nor the beauty of the poetic scenes, nor any CHURCH OF THE MESSIAH, LOUISof the flowing figures of the opening days,
VILLE, KY.* but the sublime, simple confidence with which the writer sees at the back of all
BY JOHN H. HEYWOOD. these things, there, at the beginning, the one Eternal Being,-God.
The Unitarian Church of Louisville was We are led back to the void before the
formed by a few clear-minded men and earth was, when darkness overspread the
women, to whom the principles of “Liberal nothingness of space. Yet even there the Christianity”— such the unity and spirit of God is brooding upon the deep. fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of And while yet there was no sound, no light, man, the spiritual leadership of Jesus no stir. He moves upon the face of the Christ, the reasonableness of religion, the waters! There is mystery; but within it
final triumph of good over evil, and the unis God.
broken continuity of life—were inestimably There is the vast expanse of dim and
dear. únknown time; yet, over and above and
Rev. E. E. Hale, in his delightful volume, behind, there is his steadying hand; his
the memoir of Rev. James Freeman eye, piercing the gloom; his voice, com
Clarke, the second pastor of the church, manding the elements; his will, creating the
writes as follows: "Mr. Clarke found a world.
small Unitarian society, which had built a "In the beginning, God.”
neat, well-proportioned church. The society Our knowledge of God's methods of cre
had been organized by a few earnest Unitaation is certainly much greater to-day than rians, mostly from New England. Services that possessed by the author of Genesis ; had been beld for several years in different but we experience the same succession of places, generally in the schoolhouse of Mr. evening and morning; we look up into the
Francis E. Goddard, a man of wide attainsame spaceless heaven. We only under
ments and an able teacher. stand a little more of the surrounding mys
“John Pierpont, Bernard Whitman, and tery. We see that the divine creation which
Charles Briggs were among the preachers was “in the beginning" is also now, that it who, in short visits to Louisville, had internever ceases; and so the "story of creation”
ested the worshippers. The church had repeats itself for each one of us within our
been dedicated on the 27th of May, 1832. own borizons.
On that occasion Dr. Francis Parkman and We see that the great Creator not only James Walker - afterward president of creates, but that he supplies the material of Harvard College—took part in the sercreation, and calls us to enter into his joy vices.” by also creating, not only in the physical The church has had five pastors : Rev. field, but in the higher world of heart and Messrs. George Chapman, James Freeman mind, of character and soul. He supplies Clarke, John H. Heywood, C. J. K. Jones, us with an infinite stream of creative im- and J. B. Green. plements (passions, desires, ideals) out of On the 24th of June, 1832, Rev. George which to create our own paradise of sweet- Chapman, of Boston, who had been invited ness, holiness, and love.
to become pastor, preached his first sermon. We can create with the same powers that He was a man of finely cultivated mind and created the universe.
earnest religious spirit, and very attractive In the beginning, God, and now. His in personal qualities. His ministry was spirit still brooding upon the silent deep, winning and effective, rich in thought, and filling the fountains at the source of creation of marked spiritual power; but it was very
brief, continuing only a year, when failing with perpetual springs of life, so that we
health compelled him to resign his charge. need never thirst. We, too, can join with all the ages in this
*Condensed for the Unitarian from the History great poem of creation.
of Louisville, Ky.