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About The independent. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1902-1907 | View Entire Issue (June 25, 1903)
June 25. 1903. THE NEBRASKA INDEPENDENT
Th9 Religion of Humanity
Cincinnati, June 21. "The Religion
of Humanity." This was the subject
of the sermon of Herbert S. Bigelow,
at the Vine Street , Congregational
"Inasmuch as ye have done it
unto one of the least of these my
brethren, ye have done it unto
me." Jesus. .
"He's true to God who's true to
man." James Russell Lowell.
These words of the Hebrew preacher
and the American poet carry the same
message, said Mr. Bigelow.
What is the distinctive service
which Jesus has rendered the world
His fame cannot rest upon the pro
foundness' or originality of his
thought He was essentially a Jew.
j-frj. ill . f Ik
HERBERT S. BIGELOW.
The most quotable things he said had
been said in substance by the proph
ets before him. In what respect did
be differ most from the teachers of
tis time? Read the story of his life
with the question in mind and the
answer will be plain. He is unique
because of the emphasis which he
placed upon the humanities as con-
s trasted with the forms and doctrines
' of religion.
Do w love our fellowmen? Do we
.Wish them all well? Have we uni
versal good .will? Are we willing to
fght for their rights? Do we make
their wrongs our own? Are we friends
of the stranger, of the naked, of the
Bick, and the prisoners? Is our heart
with the emancipators? Do we feel
it to be the supreme mission to preach
the pospel to the poor; to preach the
gospel of justice and hope for the
poor; to heal the broken-hearted; to
preach deliverance to the captives;
and liberty for the bruised and op
pressed children of toil?
That is enough. That is religion.
That is the badge of discipleship. To
reduce the. elaborate doctrines of the
ology to tjiat simple formula of good
will to man, and to exalt deeds of lov
... ing kindness above the worship of the
temple, that is the service which Jesus
rendered the world.
To the people of his time he said:
""You who worship tne letter without
the spirit; you wLo have embalmed
truth in the tombs of deserted tem
ples; you who have divorced religion
from life; you poor, fettered, formal
souls, break the yoke of the past, de
clare your independence of dogma
and creed, come out from the shadows
- of authority, stand up like men in
the majesty of your own souls, know
that wherever reason is respected,
wherever freedom is courageously as
serted, wherever human needs are
Wherever through the ages arise
The alters of self-sacrifice
Where love its arms has opened wide
Or man for man has calmly died,
there is religion pure and undefiled.
there is One greater than the tem
ple." A week day spent in honest, earn
est work is holier than the Sabbath
of the Pharisee. The fittest place, to
worship is at the altar of human need.
No man is saved until he becomes a
savior. A redeemed soul is one that
is inspired with aspirations for the
I was standing on a street corner
waiting for a car. Beside me were
two young men. .There came along a
squatty little man, with red face and
large stomach. He wore the collar of
some religious order. On his" vest
there was displayed a gold cross. The
two young men looked at the wheezy
cleric, then looked -at each other-and
laughed. Why did they laugh? .. .
I suppose they were struck with the
incongruity between that stomach and
These young men got their car. "All
about , the awful accident!' cried a
newsboy. They bought a paper. They
looked over the same page and read.
Two men had been working in a
boiler. One wa3 white and the other
colored. The white man had a fam
ily and the colored man was single.
Some one, forgetting that the men
were there, opened a valve which sent
a rush of scalding water Into the
boiler. Both men sprang for the lad
der. "Go first" You're married," cried
the colored man. The white man es
caped. His black comrade perished.
The two young men, after reading
the story, looked at each other. They
aid not laugh this time. They were
sobered. They were moved by that
sublime sacrifice. Neither would they
have laughed at the , cleric, if they
could have felt that he would have
given his life, or even sacrificed a
dinner, now and then, for the sake of
truth and humanity.
In the city of Cleveland, last win
ter, a man was taken to the pest house
and died of , smallpox. This man's
neighbor was very poor. But not so
poor as the widow. So the neighbor
made a home for her and tried to com
fort her in her sorrow. In a few weeks
the widow died in child-birth.
The neighbor and hl3 wife called on
the director of charities. They told
their story honestly as investigation
proved. They did not ask the direc
tor to help them to any charity. They
merely wanted to save the body of.the
widow from a paupers grave. -They
could not pay for a grave. But they
wanted to arrange to buy it on the
i: stallment plan.
They not only did this, but they
adopted the baby. What are the li
braries and universities or our mil
lionaires compared to the benefactions
of these heroic poor who bury the
dead and feed the helpless out of their
. To many it would seem strange to
speak of the sacrifice of the black man
in the boiler as an act of worship.
When we speak of religion we think
of stained glass windows, and elo
quent sermons, and gold crosses and
catechisms. We -do not think of the
poverty which shares Its crust with
widows and orphans. Ah, how suffer
ing humanity ought to love those
heavenly words: Inasmuch as ye have
done it unto one of the least of these.
The religion of humanity! Would
you know what it is; what it hopes
for and what enthusiasms it kindles
in the hearts of men? Listen, then,
to these words of the revolutionists
who died in the streets of'Paris:
"Citizens, do you picture to your
selves the future? The streets of the
cities flooded with light the green
branches upon the thresholds, the na
tions sisters, men just? the old men
blessing the children, the past loving
the present, thinkers in. full liberty,
believers in full equality, for religion
the heavens, God priests direct, human
conscience become the altar, no mor3
hatred, the fraternity of the workshop
and the school, for reward and pen
alty notoriety to all, labor for all,
law, over all peace, no more blood
shed, no more war, mothers happy."
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Has Perpetrated Him Upon the ;Worll
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In the annals of the last ten days
has been recorded a cold-blooded as-r
sassination. The king and, queen of
Servia, together with, , a part of their
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King Alexander and, Queen Draga
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tributed by socialists, July .23, 1901.
Keep within a thousand word3 if-possible.
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