restricted access Anti-Sabbath Convention, The Melodeon, Boston, March 24, 1848
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30 Anti-Sabbath Convention, 1848 speak out, and it will find a response. It may not be in superstitious language of the Quaker, or that of any other sect. I feel myself to be one of you in the advocacy of great principles. Let me urge you by all that is glorious in these principles to be faithful to them. Do not seek to build up a demure piety, but a true, useful, practical life. I wish there were more extempore speech among you. Then men who work with their own hands, and labor from day to day shall pour out the gushings of their hearts upon you. If the ministry were stripped of its peculiarity and special support, there would be many preachers for one, a greater enlargement of heart in all. Brethren—hearken to the Spirit. He dwelleth with you, though you know it not. It is he that talketh with you by the way. Are not the aspirations for truth, a proof that we have a present God with us? Proceedings of the Regular Autumnal Convention of the Unitarian Christians: Held in the City of Philadelphia, October 20th, 1846 (Philadelphia: Richard Beresford, 1846), 54–57 1. As the convention resumed on its third and final day, local Unitarian minister William Henry Furness (1802–96) stated that an “accredited delegate from the Society of Friends was present” and he moved that LM be given a seat and allowed to speak if she desired, a motion that was unanimously approved (Proceedings, 51; see also Faulkner, 122–23; Bacon, 130). At Mott’s funeral in 1880, Furness delivered an oration later published as God and Immortality: A Discourse in Memory of Lucretia Mott (Philadelphia: Office of the Journal, 1891). 2. Frederic Henry Hedge (1805–90), then a Unitarian minister in North Cambridge, Massachusetts, and later professor at the Harvard Divinity School, had stated, “Bring Christianity into immediate contact with the business world, with actual life; make it a part of nature and reality” (Proceedings, 54). 3. James Freeman Clarke (1810–88), Boston Unitarian minister, said, “We must not cut off ourselves from the life of the Church by willfully rejecting venerable and expressive phraseology, simply because it is in use among those from whom we differ” (Proceedings, 52). 4. Noah Worcester (1758–1837), a New England Congregational minister, edited the Christian Disciple (later the Christian Examiner), which had been founded by William Ellery Channing. 5. Boston Unitarian clergyman Francis Parkman (1788–1852), the son of real estate magnate Samuel Parkman (1751–1824), presided over the convention (Proceedings, 5). 6. Joseph Tuckerman (1778–1840), a Boston Unitarian minister, dedicated his ministry to aiding the poor. Anti-Sabbath Convention, The Melodeon, Boston, March 24, 1848 [Morning Session] I have little to add to what has been already said upon this subject. Much that I could not have spoken so well, has been said for me by others. I am glad to be here, to have an opportunity of hearing the discussions, and also to give countenance to this important movement for the progress of the religious world. Anti-Sabbath Convention, 1848 31 The distinction has been clearly and ably drawn, between mere forms and rituals of the Church, and practical goodness; between the consecration of man, and the consecration of days, the dedication of the Church, and the dedication of our lives to God. But might we not go further, and shew that we are not to rely so much upon books, even upon the Bible itself, as upon the higher revelation within us? The time is come, and especially in New England it is come, that man should judge of his own self what is right, and that he should seek authority less from the Scriptures . It is well, however, inasmuch as the faith of a large part of the professors of Christianity rests upon this book, to shew that certain also of their own teachers bear witness to the truth we advocate. It seemed to me that the views of the last speaker went further to sanctify the book, than his own principles would justify. I thought the same of the remarks of Theodore Parker, made yesterday, with regard to the day, and wished to allude to it in his presence, but there was no opportunity. There seemed to be a little confusion , when he spoke of not hallowing the day, and yet considered it essential that there should be this religious observance.1 Does not such an admission lead...