By Henry Ward Beecher
Henry Ward Beecher was once an American Congregationalist minister, social reformer, magazine editor and orator. humans flocked to listen to his lecture excursions and preaching, during which - as well as campaigning opposed to slavery and selling women's suffrage - he embraced the idea of evolution at a time whilst many pastors have been violently against it. quantity II of Evolution and faith, released in 1885, years sooner than Beecher's loss of life, is a set of lectures during which he makes use of the insights of evolutionism to probe quite a few elements of Christian lifestyles and doctrine, together with love of God and neighbour. Beecher's robust writing unearths the air of mystery and exuberance which made him this sort of well known speaker in his day and makes this publication quite lucrative studying for historians of nineteenth-century technological know-how, faith and society.
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I should have liked to have a d o r e d even t h e i m a g e of Christ. As it was, I looked upon t h e poor, ignorant, a n d , as it seemed to me, over-worked t h r o n g t h a t were there, and saw their reverence, with intense h u m a n s y m p a t h y . I should have been glad to have mixed with t h e m , a n d to have taken the holy water, a n d to have crossed myself with it, and to have gone to the a l t a r and kissed the emblem of my Saviour, t h a t I m i g h t be joined with this g r e a t mass of palpitating, longing, needful, h u m a n creatures.
What was he to them but simply an imagined thing, framed in history for artistic purposes, with no reference whatever to their personal interest in it except as artists? Besides, this Christ of the past, that may be celebrated without impropriety but without much benefit, we may follow through all the days of the Lent, and make him most profitable to us; or we may follow him all the days through to the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the very ascension, and we will have seen nothing in the world but a kind of dramatic picture reproduced from the materials of history.
183 can say, as one says it who has gauged the deepest love, and has twined it with the most precious experiences, and clasped the ideal in thought, Our Christ. This interior and subjective Christ, I remark, secondly, must be wrought out by life-experiences. Our thoughts must live with him in all moods and experiences. As the vine, clasping the living tree, creeps along its branches, and roots itself in the crevices of the bark, and forms itself upon its shape, so in all the various relations of life our thought of Christ, following our experiences, shall fashion and form itself.