where it belongs, under its feet.
It was to such a pulpit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
went two centuries ago on every great political question, and sat at its feet.
Why the time was when the government and the House of Representatives in this very colony, requested the clergymen to assemble on a great political crisis in the city of Boston
, and tell them what to do. “Political preaching,” forsooth!
Then the pulpit was broad enough to cover the whole intellectual and moral life of the people.
It went exactly as far as conscience goes, and therefore it lived.
That is what you have done here, nothing more.
The ordinary pulpit is completely described by the angry parishioner who told John Pierpont
that he was “employed to preach Unitarianism, not Temperance.”
Our idea of a pulpit is, that wherever a moral purpose dictates earnest words to make our neighbor a better man and better citizen, to clear the clogged channels of life, to lift it to a higher level or form it on a better model, there is a pulpit.
Such a pulpit as this is perfectly consistent with the most Orthodox creed.
It may have baptism and the sacrament; it may have seven sacraments, if it chooses.
This desk has nothing to do with ecclesiasticism.
It is a mere accidental adjunct of Sunday.
It is only something which the mind of Protestantism seized upon as the most convenient instrumentality, and it showed essential good sense in seizing it. The newspaper cannot rebuke its customer; the writer of a book wants it to sell; the man who devotes himself to preaching knows that he has a family growing up about him, and is naturally tempted to preach pleasant things, and not true things, for he cannot afford to starve.
It is no fault of his. You cannot starve; and you have no right to ask of him what you cannot do. But if you say, “Welcome any man to this pulpit who has a new idea ”