As I am one of the back numbers, it is not inappropriate, perhaps, that I should speak of memories and associations stretching back not only to fifty years ago, to the time of the organization of this parish, but to the times and events and work before, that made possible this church.
There are two ways by which we can most thoroughly appreciate our privileges and blessings.
There may be others, but two are essential to that appreciation.
One is by being deprived of them, according to the poet's line, ‘Blessings brighten as they take their flight.’
It is a sort of paradox, perhaps, to say we sometimes live too near our friends really to know and appreciate them; when they are gone we know them better.
A mountain cannot be seen in its magnificent proportions by standing at its base.
It needs the perspective.
So our blessings often need this perspective in order that they may be more fully comprehended and appreciated when they go or are taken from us. That is one way. The other way by which we come more thoroughly to know and appreciate these blessings is by earning them, and especially if we sacrifice and perhaps suffer in the attainment.
Inherited wealth is not so thoroughly appreciated by those who come into its possession as by those who earn it by hard toil and persistent endeavor.
Now, friends, you and I and the world have come into the possession of a great inheritance, one of the richest ever bestowed upon the race.
It is the inheritance of our Universalist faith.
No one who does not read the story of how it came into existence as our organized church, can fully appreciate what a blessing it has been to the human mind and heart.
But, like all great movements