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[37] that took possession of some people. They got the idea that there was a sort of performance indulged in. And people would gather on the outside of the building and creep up and peek in at the windows.

One Monday morning, after there had been a service, one of these curious and timid ones met one of our people. ‘What sort of a play did you have last night?’ he inquired. ‘Play?’ said our good Deacon Coolidge. ‘Play! Oh, yes, I think it was the play of “The forty Thieves,” for I saw about that number looking in at the windows.’

I want to remind you, friends, of the priceless inheritance you possess in the faith for which this church stands,—a faith that has done more in the last century and in these last fifty years to vindicate the ways of God to man than any other; a faith to which all the Christian churches are indebted for the broadening and sweetening of their faiths until it would shock the sense of justice to hear in any Protestant church the old doctrine of divine vengeance preached, that frightful nightmare that held human souls in the bondage of fear, and drove sensitive men and women into despair, and even to insanity —the thought that God had ordained and foreordained that the greater portion of mankind should be doomed to a hell of literal fire and brimstone forever and ever. What a change has been wrought since the earlier years of our church, when that hydra-headed dragon was very much in evidence. Yes, in the time of my earlier ministry it had not ceased to seek whom it might devour. And didn't we put up a good fight in those earlier years against such horrible thoughts about God? And didn't we enjoy it, too, as much as the Rough Riders enjoyed the battle of San Juan Hill, when it is said the leader called out to the soldiers as they were going into battle, ‘Give them hell, boys!’ We didn't say that; it was the other fellows who said that. We said, ‘We're going to knock hell out of you,’ and we proceeded to do it.

Be glad and rejoice that you belong to a church that

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