Friday, January 19, 2018

The true seminary

  The following piece explains why God wants us to be personally involved with the downtrodden. He explains how it brings alive our noble appreciations as well as our moral disgusts.
Working with the downtrodden is the schoolhouse of Christianity, where we broaden our understanding of God, of justice and of mercy, and how it deeply changes us and helps us understand the plans and purposes of God.

  "In every heart God has implanted moral admirations and disgusts, they may lie dormant perhaps, until some occasion comes, but they are ready to waken into power, and do homage to the noble and spurn the base.

These natural sentiments you will exercise when you associate personally with the poor and the downcast, and in exercising these sentiments, you may confirm, by offering to them examples for judgment, or examples of patient suffering that touch the springs of pity, or of selfishness and cruelty that gnaws the heart with honest indignation, or of heroic faithfulness that flings across the soul a breeze of resolution, of saintly love that diffuses the very atmosphere of heaven.

  By bringing this various world of the poor and downtrodden into your world, you deliver yourself from the imprisonment of merely personal interests and you enlarge your ethical field of view, you begin to fully understand justice and introduce your sentiments of right and wrong to a whole new scope of meaning.

  The effect of this wider experience is incalculably great. It opens 'fresh continents' of character to mental survey, and throwing the human tones upon the ear in language unheard before, it startles the observer with the sigh of pity and the vow of justice and the prayer of sorrow, in a dialect other than vernacular, it acts upon the judgments of conscience like foreign travel upon those of perception; and imparts a quickness of insight and breadth of view which are unattainable within a narrow circle, and which, by the very presence within the memory of a thousand other scenes of beauty, bathes the home-landscape in the light of new endearment and appreciation.  Abridged James Martineau. 

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