Thursday, November 3, 2016

Another Old Theology Quarterly

Now on ebay


Andrew Martin said...

Took some time recently to peruse this. It seems at be the inside spread of a four-page folder; is that correct?

Whittier's poem (though of a sentimental style not to my personal taste) seems to be adapted here to develop an argument against either predestination or eternal torment (or both; I'm not quite sure).

Elsewhere I was able to locate the remaining verses of the poem:

"And whether by His ordaining to us cometh good or ill,
Joy or pain, or light or shadow, we must fear and love Him still."
"Oh, I fear Him!" said the daughter, "and I try to love Him, too;
But I wish He were kind and gentle—kind and loving as you."

The minister groaned in spirit, as the tremulous lips of pain,
And wide, wet eyes, uplifted, questioned his own in vain.
Bowing his head he pondered the words of his little one.
Had he erred in his life-long teachings, and wrong to his Master done?
To what grim and dreadful idol had he lent the holiest name?
Did his own heart, loving and human, the God of his worship shame?
And lo! from the bloom and greenness, from the tender skies above,
And the face of his little daughter, he read a lesson of love.

No more as the cloudy terror of Sinai's mount of law,
But as Christ in the Syrian lilies the vision of God he saw.
And as when, in the clefts of Horeb, of old was His presence known,
The dread, ineffable glory was infinite goodness alone.
Thereafter his hearers noted in his prayers a tenderer strain,
And never the message of hatred burned on his lips again.
And the scoffing tongue was prayerful, and the blinded eyes found sight.
And hearts, as flint aforetime, grew soft in His warmth and light.

With Whittier's Quaker background, I'm uncertain exactly what his original purpose was in writing the poem - maybe simply to encourage his readers to seek for the love of God, rather than to fear the wrath of God? Once that principle is established, the details could largely take care of themselves. In any case, it must have appealed to Russell enough for him to append it to the tract.

Thanks for displaying this document.

Andrew Martin said...

An additional thought: did anyone else note a similarity between the paragraph at the upper left of the tract:

“I believe it is the rigidity of these teachings that makes atheists and infidels and skeptics – makes Christians unhappy and brings their gray hairs down in sorrow to the grave – a lost child, a lost soul!”

and the end of the second paragraph of George Storrs' Second Sermon:

"And I solemnly believe, this doctrine [of eternal torment] has kept more away from God, and driven them into infidelity, than any other doctrine that was ever promulgated. I am solemnly convinced that it has done more to destroy men than all other errors put together."

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

From Separate Identity v 1

Storrs was arrested as a “rioter and a babbler,” “a common railer and brawler,” “an idle and disorderly person,” the sheriff hauling him off his knees while praying in a church. He was prosecuted twice; the convictions were overturned on appeal. During his Abolitionist period, Storrs and the poet John Greenleaf Whittier became close friends. Whittier referred to Storrs as “our beloved brother.” This explains in part why Russell used Whittier’s poems.

Andrew Martin said...

I had forgotten that detail - thanks for reminding me. I commented during the meeting last month about Storrs and his anti-slavery background - I would welcome seeing more attention being given to that in WT histories.

The amount of detail you and Mr. Schulz have uncovered in your work is incredible - and on multiple occasions, I have found it some of it to be unbelievably helpful to others, as well. Friends continue to be amazed at learning some of the "back story", and they respond with appreciation.

Thanks again for all your efforts.