that the laying on of hands, or the consent of a brotherhood of peculiar devotion, could so set apart one individual as to make him more capable of certain functions, or more entitled to instruct.
You, it seems to me, are the first who have boldly faced the ultimate consequences of that principle.
Congregationalism blossoms in its “bright, consummate flower” here.
I feel a peculiar interest in this principle.
The first man, if you will allow me to go back for a moment,--the first man who bore my name this side of the ocean, said to his church at Watertown
, when they proceeded to induct him to office because of his calling in England
, “If they would have him stand minister by that calling which he received from the prelates in England
, he would leave them.”
When, a year later, Governor Winthrop
went to Watertown
to settle certain dissensions there, the church said to him, “If you come as a magistrate you have no business here; if you come with authority from the court we have no business with you; if you come as friends from a neighbor church you are welcome.”
That was a fair representation of the original spirit of New England
When you initiated your church, you remembered it. Down to the present moment it has grown and unfolded, until at last you stand here with a platform which recognizes nothing but moral purpose; which ignores sex, race, profession; which goes down to the central root of the pulpit,--a moral purpose,--and says, practically, Whoever can help us in that is welcome here.
The second element that distinguishes you is, no creed.
You have remembered another great philosophical principle, that men never can unite on metaphysics.
The human machine cannot beat time in unison with a million of others.
Charles V., when he endeavored to crowd Europe
into one creed, and resigned, tried, you remember, to make a dozen watches beat time together,