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FOUR SERMONS BY THEODORE PARKER.
"Serves best the Father he who most serves man,
OOKNER OF WHITE STREET.
gJbbrtss of % Clerks.
JOSEPH A. DUGDALE, Hamorton, Cheater Co., Pa.
The Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting Op Progressive Friends convened in the Longwood meeting-house, in Chester County, on First-day, the 30th of Fifth month, 1858, at 10 o'clock, A. M. The crowd of people was so great as to fill the house to its utmost capacity, throng every place of access, and overflow the adjoining yard.
Oliver Johnson briefly congratulated the Meeting upon the auspicious circumstances under which it had convened, upon the freedom of its platform, and its exemption from the bondage of creed and ecclesiastical authority. He expressed the hope that, however widely those present might differ from one another on minor matters, they would all see eye to eye in regard to fundamental principles, and that the Meeting might be characterized at once by great boldness in the utterance of truth, by a kind and fraternal spirit in all its discussions, and by that deep religious earnestness which comes of faith in God as the Father of the whole human race, and in his purposes of love to all his children.
Henrietta W. Johnson then read the Call of the Meeting, as follows:
The Sixth Yearly Meeting Of The Progressive Friends Of PennsylVania will convene at Longwood (near Hamorton), Chester County, on Firstday, the 30th of Fifth month, 1858, at 10 o'clock, A. M., and continue its sessions probably, for three or four successive days.
The principles and aims of this Religious Society have been so often set forth, that little need be said upon the subject in this connection. Suffice it to say, that it is our desire to secure the advantages of mutual cooperation and associated effort in the development of the religious life, without trenching, in the smallest degree, upon individual freedom of opinion and action; that we are diligently striving to free ourselves, more and more, from the fetters of superstition, the tyranny of priestcraft, and the bondage of creeds and forms, and to assume the prerogatives of a divinely inspired manhood; that in our assemblies, avoiding "doubtful disputations " and wordy " strifes of doctrine," it is our aim to cultivate the spirit of love and good-will, to aid one another in the search for truth, to testify, from time to
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time, as occasion may require, against every form of organized wrong and popular wickedness, to apply the principles of justice and morality so impressively taught and exemplified hy Jesus of Nazareth to every institution, custom and law of men, however sanctioned by authority or made venerable by time.
The friends of Truth, Purity and Progress, however named or nameless, are cordially invited to aid us by their presence and cooperation.
Oliver Johnson, John Agnew,
Henrietta W. Johnson, Eusebius Barnard,
Joseph A. Dugdale, Philena Heald,
William Barnard, Anna R. Cox,
Isaac Mendenhall, Priscilla Gawthrop,
James C. Jackson, Peter Wilson,
Josiah Wilson, Henry M. Smith,
Amelia Jackson, Agnes Sanders,
Allen Agnew, John G. Jackson,
Thomas Whitson, Mary P. Wilson,
Thomas Garrett, Enoch P. Wickersham,
James W. Gawthrop, Samuel Pennock,
Susanna P. Chambers, Dinah Mendenhall,
Mary H. Entriken, Eliza Agnew,
Ruth Dugdale, Lydia Price,
Joseph A. Dugdale remarked, that Progressive Friends have no system of dogmatic theology, and no sacred books which they receive as authority, but that they accept what is good and true, wherever found. He then read the following appropriate and impressive passages from the Hindoo Vedas, from the works of Confucius, the Zend Avesta of the Persians, the Koran, and the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.
FROM THE VEDAS OF THE HINDOOS.
There is one living and true God; everlasting, without parts or passion; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things.
The vulgar look for their gods in water; the ignorant think they reside in wood, bricks, and stones; men of more extended knowledge seek them in celestial orbs; but wise men worship the Universal Soul.
There is nothing desirable except the science of God. Out of this there is no tranquillity and no freedom.
The sacrifice of a thousand horses has been put in the balance with one true word, and the one true word weighed down the thousand sacrifices.
No virtue surpasses that of veracity. It is by truth alone that men attain to the highest mansions of bliss. Men faithless to the truth, however much they may seek supreme happiness, will not obtain it, even though they offer a thousand sacrifices. There are two roads which conduct to perfect virtue; to be true, and to do no evil to any creature.
FROM THE WORKS OF CONFUCIUS.
The firmament is the most glorious work produced by the Great First Cause.
What is called reason is properly an attribute of Tien, the Supreme God. The light which he communicates to men is a participation of this reason. What is called reason in Tien is virtue in man, and when reduced to practice is called justice.
To think that we have virtue, is to have very little of it. Wisdom consists in being very humble, as if we were incapable of any thing, yet ardent, as if we could do all.
When thou art in the secret places of thy house, do not say, none sees me, for there is an Intelligent Spirit who seeth all. The Supreme pierces into the recesses of the heart, as light penetrates into a dark room. We must endeavor to be in harmony with his light, like a musical instrument perfectly attuned.
Mankind, overwhelmed with afflictions, seem to doubt of Providence, but when the hour of executing His decrees shall come, none can resist Him. He will then show that when He punished he was just and good, and that He was never actuated by vengeance or hatred.
How vast is the power of spirits! An ocean of invisible Intelligences surround us everywhere. If you look for them, you cannot see them. If you listen, you cannot hear them. Identified with the substance of all things, they cannot be separated from it.
He who knows right principles is not equal to him who loves them.
FROM THE ZEND AVESTA OF THE PERSIANS.
Treat old age with reverence and tenderness.
To refuse hospitality, and not succor the poor, are sins.
The heavens are a point from the pen of God's perfection. The world is a bud from the bower of His beauty. The sun is a spark from the light of His wisdom, and the sky is a bubble on the sea of His power. His beauty is free from a spot of sin, hidden in a thick veil of darkness. He made mirrors of the atoms of the world, and threw the reflection from His own face on every atom.
FROM THE KORAN.
One hour of equity is better than seventy years of devotion.
God hath commanded that ye worship no one beside Him.
God is the light of the heavens and the earth. His wisdom is a light on the wall, in which burns a lamp covered with glass; the glass shines like a star; the lamp is lit with the oil of a blessed tree—no eastern, no western oil—it burns for whoever seeks light.
FROM THE JEWISH SCRIPTURES. .
Learn to do well. Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed; judge the fatherless; plead for the widow.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek: he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.