Sunday, 5 February 2012

Sanguinary words from the past...

Rev T Hincks, at his Induction at Upper Chapel, Sheffield. January 1852 said

“I have always felt…we must have the general cooperation of the members; that we must have members not merely nominally connected with us, but engage them doing something connected…With every man standing upon his own private judgement, and claiming the liberty to carry out his own ideas in his own peculiar way, it is difficult to get harmony amongst us for common work, so terribly independent we are. If we could merge our own individual peculiarities for the sake of forming one compact body that shall work for the common good, we should remove one of the greatest difficulties that we now have to attend with. If we are to work as a Christian body, we must, on points not of vital consequence, lay aside some of our individuality. We must rise higher for the sake of common good, and for the peace, and harmony and power of the church, we must fall in with the rest, and contribute what gifts we have to the work of the whole. The right of Private Judgement was a glorious thing in its place, but now it becomes almost a nuisance amongst us, so much does it interfere with other members and the common good…I wish that our church should become a church professing Gospel Christianity rather than theologies – a church whose all-sufficient creed is the Christ of the Gospels, and its test of discipleship harmony with the life and spirit of the Great Master- that it should be a church of Free Thought, unfettered by formularities – a church in which the doubter whose affections and aspirations are yet Christian, but whose understanding is troubled with speculative difficulties, may find shelter and nourishment for his religious nature, and not be met with an anathema; that it should be a church of Catholic sympathies – a church ready to welcome the True and Good, wherever found, rejoicing to discover points of union between itself and the great Christian commonwealth; and lastly that it be a church of Good Works – a church not content to remain unmoved amongst prevailing sin – a church not practically repudiating the example of the good Samaritan – a church…which grows and spreads amongst us, a church whose members feel the duty which membership lays upon them and shall be willing to contribute their gifts and talents to increase its power and efficiency; in one word a church which shall nourish. A church which shall nourish well the religious life of all its members – that shall welcome all earnest free thinkers…a church that shall be devoted by its constitution to teaching the gospel to the poor and carrying the influence of holy religious to the afflicted and outcast. That is my conception of a church ought to be that dares call itself Christian.”

The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, 22 January 1852.

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