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David Lubin.

Let there be light; the story of a workingmen's club, its search for the causes of poverty and social inequality, its discussions and its plan for the amelioration of existing evils online

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the nobler life which should follow obedience to the New
Faith. In this I have perfect confidence; but I fear the
future, — I fear myself, I fear that I am too feeble, too



502 Let There Be Light

weak, and I fear that my weakness may prevent me
from living up to the standard which our Faith has set
before me. How, then, may my fear be removed ?

I therefore ask your prayers in ray behalf. Pray for
me and with me, O my friends; pray that I may be saved
from my greatest enemy, that I may be saved from
myself. O God, help me to pray.

" The prayers I make will Iheu be sweet indeed
If Thou the Spirit give by which I pray :
My unassisted heart is barren claj-,
Which of its native self can nothing feed;
Of good and pious works Thou art the seed,
Which quickens only where Thou say 'st it may ;
Unless Thou show to us Thine own true way.
No one can find it ; Father ! Thoia must lead.
Do Thou, then, breathe these thoughts into my mind."

The Believers then knelt in silent prayer.

Douglas. — I, too, my friends, ask your prayers ; not
for myself alone, btit for my people, the people of my
race and colour. After I had received the Faith, I
made haste to impart it to my friends, to the coloured
people I knew. I expected that our Faith would be
joyfully accepted by them ; that in its acceptance they
would see a way toward spiritual light and true emanci-
pation, but I was doomed to bitter disappointment.

As well attempt to reason with tombstones in a
cemetery as to reason with them. Oh, how deep is the
gloom in which their souls are entombed ! It is like
the valley of dry bones spoken of in Ezekiel. I fear
that the prison of ignorance in which they are immured
is an impenetrable stronghold. Within this prison
they are held in bondage and slavery, and there seems
no escape, — no release.

Cohe?i. — Say not so, my friend and brother; there



The Peace of God 503

shall, indeed, be an escape and a release. The Church
Universal shall cause a voice to resound, and they,
hearing it, shall struggle manfully for freedom, and the
shackles and bandages shall fall from them, and they
shall be free.

Wmslozv. — Fellow-Believers : We have been told by
previous speakers that there is difficult}^ in making
converts ; but why restrict our primary efforts to this
direction ?

The essential difference between other religious sys-
tems and ours lies in this: — that while the others
mainly follow the ''Laissez-faire,''' or "Let-alone"
policy, our faith directs that we strive with all our
power to right wrong in every department of social life.

With this end in view, I wish to recall to your
minds the remarks made by the revered founder of our
Faith. He submitted a plan for the organisation of the
people and for the appointment of some twenty-six
committees.

It appears to me that, primarily, all our energies
should be exerted in this direction. Practical results
would command the respectful attention of the people,
and would largely remove the difficulties of making
converts. When once in successful operation, and on a
sufficiently large scale, these committees may become
the most potent factors for amelioration that the world
has ever had.

Something of this kind was attempted by the Plebeians
of Rome, in the form of a Tribune of the People. This
office was, however, performed very imperfectly. To-
day we have a much better form of tribuneship in the
newspapers and magazines; but these are incomparably
inferior in value as a factor in amelioration to what the
voice of the people would be in the form proposed.



504 Let There Be Light

Especially would such committees be effective were
their labours actuated by the highest religious motives.

Some persons are of opinion that amelioration may
come through legal enactments. To some extent this
is true; but a power greater than laws on statute books
is that of thoroughly aroused public opinion. Public
opinion that is governed by system, by moderation, by
wisdom, by equit}' and by utility can find ample scope
for real achievement, all on the lines laid down for us
by our Faith.

And is there not room for this work ? Let me touch
upon an instance in my own sphere of experience. I
am a commercial traveller in the drug business. I
have occasion, at times, to go over, with druggists,
prescriptions by physicians. Many of these prescrip-
tions are so poorly written that they can be read only
with great difficulty. Yet some of them call for drugs
which, if they vary in the least, produce a compound
entirely different from that prescribed. Need I tell you
that, in this respect, the physician who fails to write
plainly is guilty of gross and sometimes criminal care-
lessness ?

Public opinion aroused on this subject, backed up by
evidence of the committees, would soon prevent this
evil.

Equally guilty — yes, more so — are the vast hordes
of unscrupulous knaves who adulterate food, and thus
enrich themselves at the expense of the means and the
health of the people. And what of those knaves who
knowingly provide the public with poisonous foods,
who deceive in prices, weights and measures, or who
liv^e by sweating the wages of labour ?

The wrongs of the sailor, — do they not deserve atten-
tion and redress ? A slave at sea, and food for the



The Peace of God



505



crimp on land, he lives and labours, like the characters
of Dante, in the region of the unblessed.

What strange crime has the infant committed that it
should be made to suffer through lack of food and
through insufficient covering ? And around us, every-
where, is there any lack of misery and injustice to be
remedied ? The people boast of their freedom, of their
sovereign right to rule; but who in reality are the
real rulers ? The real sovereigns, — are they not the
bosses ?

And so we might continue in an almost endless re-
capitulation of error and wrong, until by the mere
headings we had formed a bulky catalogue of them.
Can we wonder, then, that poverty and crime flourish
when the evils which exist are permitted to continue
without hindrance ?

If we are, indeed, to be the pioneers of a new era, the
pioneers of amelioration, the pioneers of the Church
Universal, then let us, as true soldiers, buckle on the
armour and unsheath the sword. I,et us fight the good
fight with all our power, with all our might and with
all our soul, and we may rest assured that God will
establish our work.





CHAPTER LIX



STEADFAST !



Moore. — I should like to hear from Brother Fisher.

Fisher, — Dearlj' Beloved Fellow-Believers : As we all
know, it is the custom of our chairman to review what
has been said. I will therefore proceed in accordance
with that custom.

While I am strongly inclined to favour the views of
Brother Winslow, I am at the same time prompted to
present some difficulties in the way: difficulties which
I hope can be overcome.

That the labours of the committees would tend to-
ward practical amelioration there can be no doubt.
But when ? Only, as Brother Winslow has told us,
when " actuated by the highest religious motives."
And in this opinion I agree with him ; for organisation
not thus actuated would serve to no good purpose, —
on the contrary, it would probably tend to increase
existing evils.

How, then, will it be possible for us to secure the
right kind of membership on the proposed committees,
unless from among our own organisation ? Shall we
strive to obtain members from among adherents of the
prevailing churches ? Would such persons be willing
to engage in this work under our banner when they

506



Steadfast ! 507

abstain from doing so under their own ? Are they not
likely to refuse our request ? I think so, and for two
reasons : first, because they may be opposed to our
cause ; second, because they seem to be opposed to the
kind of work we have outlined.

Shall we ask them to aid in any effort to do away with
boss- rule ? Are they not likely to reply, as they so often
do, that Christ did not command such work ? I think
they will so repl3^ and most likely they will quote Scrip-
ture to sustain their view. " Render to Caesar the
things that are Caesar's," is their wall of excuse, behind
which they permit themselves the liberty of inaction.

It is true that we might argue with them. We could
show that while Caesar in Christ's time was one man, a
man in whom was centred all political authority, on
the other hand, in our day and in this country, the
sovereignty, the right to rule, is vested in the American
people. We could thus show them that the American
people are now the Caesars, that each citizen is a Caesar.
And if each citizen is a Caesar, must not each render
to the other that which he should ? Do we then
" render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's " ? By
refraining from the initiative work, from the caucus,
do we not take away the rule from the rightful Caesar ?
Do we not thus indirectly turn it over to the bosses ?

Judging from the past, however, I am inclined to
think that they will pay no attention to any argument
that may be offered on this subject. Or, as a final ex-
cuse, they will be likely to say that Church and State
are, in this country, separate institutions, and that it is
best to keep- them such.

While it is true that the best interests of the people
may be conserved by non-interference of the Church in
matters of government, yet it is likewise true that the



5o8 Let There Be Light

interests of the people could be largely served by a
church which would act as director, adviser, umpire
and guide in the initiative work of citizenship. This
work can be done without interference with actual
government; and by thus doing it we can " render to
Caesar the things that are Caesar's."

Nor can we expect the other churches to aid us in
efforts toward amelioration of the social condition. I
am inclined to think they would refuse if they were
asked. They would most likely say that they are now
doing whatever they can to relieve distress and poverty.
But are alms-giving and church-going the end of Christ-
ianity ? So it would seem; and in this respect we can-
not fail to see the great difference between Christian
ministers and Christ. There has been perhaps no time
in the history of the world when there were more
church-going and more alms-giving than among the
Jews in the time of Christ ; but Christ opposed that
narrow system, and showed by His work that He was a
worker, a doer, a social leveller, a social up-builder and
a social reformer.

Can that system be properly denominated charitable,
uplifting, civilising, which limits its efforts to relieving
the beggar, and which ignores the palpable and evident
causes that generate beggars ? If weighed in the
balance which Christ provided, would not the Christian
churches be found wanting ?

These, then, are some of the difficulties in the way
of beginning our labours by an attempt at organisation
at this time. To overcome these difficulties, I would
suggest that we begin our primary labours by speaking
to the people in public assemblies, and thus inform
them of the character and the scope of the work before
us. This method will no doubt be more effectual in



Steadfast ! 509

gaining converts than the method we have pursued up
to this time. As soon as we have gained over a suffi-
cient number of converts we can then begin the prac-
tical work in social amelioration. We shall then be
more certain of successful results than by any earlier
attempt at amelioration.

But while the informing of the people is an import-
ant branch of our work, it is by no means the most
important. Our attention should be directed to a work
which is of equal importance, and more imperatively
necessary at this time, and that is the education of our-
selves and of the converts who come to us. The prin-
cipal aim of the Church Universal is the awakening of
spiritual consciousness. But what conception can we
have of spiritual consciousness unless we are taken out
of the darkness which ignorance casts about the soul ?
As yet, we but discern the shining light of knowledge
afar off. How can we hope to bring others close to the
light when we are ourselves so far from it ?

We should therefore so perfect our organisation as to
provide that systematic instruction which, when ob-
tained, shall enable us to see the more clearly and to
comprehend the more certainly. We must, for the
time being, become pupils, in order that presently we
may become teachers. It is true that the founders of
other religions, as a rule, had no need of becoming
pupils; but then those others were sages and prophets,
while we are but ordinary workingmen.

The remarks of Sister Eldridge remind me of another
marked difference between us and the pioneers of other
religious systems. All other systems portraj^ their in-
itiators as saints ; whereas we of the Church Universal
are but ordinary, every-day men and women. Not be-
ing saints, we have — each of us — to struggle, first of



5IO Let There Be Light

all, with ourselves. We see the high ideal as a bright
and shilling light above us, and our constant aim must
be to approach closer to that ideal. This vi^ill be pro-
gress, this will be development.

We should not overlook the fact that, in our striving,
we must necessarily be hindered by the reactionary in-
clinations and tendencies which, to a great extent, have
been ingrained in us by our mode of thought and action
prior to our reception of the Faith, Only through
education and constant struggle with ourselves can we
hope to modify this reactionary trend ; this we should
ever have in mind.

While ours seems to be a humble beginning, it need
not follow that our labour will be in vain, or without
ultimate results of good. On the contrary, I believe
most firmly that if we but prove steadfast in our Faith,
and work zealously for its realisation, it will in the end
accomplish even more than we now believe possible.

Observe : — The twenty-six volumes of the Encyclo-
paedia Britannica are supposed to contain a summary of
all the great men and all great human achievements
from the beginning of the historic era to the present
time. If we excluded from these books the articles
irrelevant to the actual up-building of civilisation, we
could probably reduce them in number to one half
Yet these comparatively few up-builders among the
many thousand millions of human beings have, through
their priceless labour, lifted savage men and women up
to the level of our present comparatively high state of
civilisation.

If this was a possible achievement for the few, —
for the few who were, in the main, compelled to
perform their heroic tasks amid great trials and hin-
drances, — how much greater and grander will not the



Steadfast ! 511

achievement be when the many, the millions, enter
the field of noble endeavour !

When once this task shall have been accomplished, —
the awakening of the many, of the millions, — it will
probably be possible to fill twenty-six more volumes
with the recital of greater, grander achievements per-
formed in one hundred years than had been previously
realised in four thousand.

In considering the whole question which we have set
before ourselves, ought we not also to consider that it
may be deemed an act of presumption on our part to
enter the field as pioneers of this great undertaking ?
Would it not be more suited to our present capacity, to
our present station, to follow humbly the lead of abler
and better leaders ?

To which I reply, " Yes, if there were such leaders."
But we fail to see them. There are, indeed, college pro-
fessors; but they are busy teaching the sons of wealthy
men. There are the ministers of the various churches,
but they are busy preparing and delivering sermons on
dogmas and creeds. And so, finding no one to direct
us in this work, we will venture out and ourselves seek
the road ; and when we have found it we will freely ask
our neighbours to follow us.

May God help us in our endeavour!

And now, my friends, as the night is far advanced,
we should adjourn this meeting, out of regard for our
dear sister and our dear brother, who are so soon to
leave us on their journey to Europe.

Schubert.— yiz.y the God of the Universe guard and
protect them, and cause them to return to us free from
harm ; and may they and we soon again be united, ever
steadfast in our Faith.

" Steadfast ! " was the response.



CHAPTER LX



MUCH CAUSE FOR HOPE



THE following morning I rose early in order to at-
tend to such correspondence as was necessary be-
fore our departure. I had finished dictating my letters,
and was seated at my desk, giving final attention to
one or two minor business matters, when Dorothy
entered the library.

" Are 5^ou busy, Joseph ? " she asked.

' ' Not at all. Is there something 3'ou wish me to do ?
If so we have plenty of time. It is only twenty minutes
after seven, and the carriage will not be here until nine-
thirty."

" No, I am all ready."

She paused, somewhat abruptly, and I looked up in
surprise.

" What is it, Dorothy?"

For a moment she did not repl)^ but bit her lips as
though struggling to repress some inward agitation.
" Well," she said at length, in a low voice, " I had
last night the most curious dream, one which is still
vividly before my mind, and it seems to me I should
feel more at ease if I could tell you about it. ' '

" Please do so, by all means," I observed. And I
drew a chair to my side. She seated herself.
• 512



Much Cause for Hope 513

" You know how strongly I had been affected by our
experiences of the last few months, ' ' she began ; ' ' and
when you consider my anxiety as to Uncle Harry's
condition, and the great shock caused by the news of
Ezra's death, together with the powerful effect of last
night's meeting, you can hardly wonder that all re-
sulted in a nervous condition which was perhaps largely
responsible for my dream — or vision, for I might almost
call it such.

" I dreamt," she continued, " that I was lifted to a
Supernatural Region, far beyond the clouds. There,
on a raised platform, were some men, tall and sombre
giants ; clothed in regal vesture, they stood grouped
around about one greatest man, who was seated. He
seemed the oldest and the chiefest ruler there. With
crown on head, and sceptre in hand, he gave audience
to petitioners and suppliants.

' ' And there appeared before him troops and hordes
and legions and phalanxes of men, women and child-
ren ; and they made obeisance, calling the giants gods,
and the old man who was seated they called chief God,

"And each body of suppliants among the several
troops and hordes and legions and phalanxes hated and
accused and cursed all the others ; and besought the
special favour of the giants, each suppliant for himself
and for his own troop, his own horde, his own legion or
his own phalanx ; and each sought by vehement words
and gesticulations to confound the others and to con-
demn them in the sight of the supernatural giants.
And the giants seemed pleased thereat, and they re-
garded some and favoured them, but they hated others
and drove them headlong from their presence.

** And all the people, even all the men, women and
children, petitioned and supplicated the giants; but



SH Let There Be Light

mainly did they so petition and supplicate the chief
giant, who was seated. And their principal petitions
and supplications were for good fortune and for
miraculous interpositions.

" Nevertheless, the chief giant ruled the people with
rigor, and the people feared him.

" Then, descending, I was brought to another Super-
natural Region, and the name of it was the Region of
Terror, Here also on a platform was a man, a giant,
clothed with regal authority, and his title was ' Prince
of Darkness, Devil.' And there crouched before him
yet greater troops and hordes and legions and pha-
lanxes of men, women and children, than in the upper
Supernatural Region. And the Prince of Darkness
ruled them without pity, without charity and without
equity. And when I saw all this, a convulsive shud-
dering and a tremor came over me, which filled my
mind with manifold and concrete fears.

" And I was brought to 5'et another region of rule,
and this was called the Domain of Earthly Rule; and
the rulers here were four, and the name of the first was
Selfishness, andof the second, Avarice, and of the third,
Deceit, and of the fourth, Cruelty. And I saw that
these rulers were richly dressed and feasted ravenously,
and were the counterparts of the rulers of the two
supernatural regions, and they ruled the people with
rigour. And, observing closely, I saw that the food
of these rulers was prepared from the tears, the sweat,
the flesh and the blood of the people.

' ' All the while, I heard continually shouts of mad
laughter, cries of triumphant glee and grunts of ap-
prov^al from satisfied cunning ; but these were drowned
by furious howls of rage and disappointment, by the
heartrending sobs of sorrow and of pain.



Much Cause for Hope 515

" And when certain among the multitude began to
make clamour against the rulers, there arose one among
them who, clothed in regal vestments, held a sword
aloft, threateningly. This quieted the multitude for a
time. Again the clamour arose, and then stood up
another among the rulers, and he was clothed in sacer-
dotal vestments, and he, pointing upward and then
downward, said : ' In the name of the Two Super-
natural Regions, I command you to cease your clam-
ours.' And when the multitude heard this, they were
dumb with fear.

' ' When I saw all these things I marvelled thereat,
and out of pity I cried aloud.

" And a voice spake, and said : ' Thou doest well to
cry out of pity, for thy cry showeth thou hast a soul.'

" And I spake unto the voice, saying: ' Tell me, what
is a soul ? ' And the voice answered, saying : ' It is a
spark from the Primal and Universal Source of I,ove,
Mercy, Beauty and Righteousness.'

"And I said, * I cannot see this Source,' and I wept
because I could not see it.

' ' Then said the voice, ' Thou canst not see because
of a scale which covereth thy right eye, and because
of another scale which covereth thy left eye. Remove
these scales, and thou shalt see.'

" And I tried to remove the scales, but I could not.
And the voice said: ' Search, strive and pray for I^ight,
and the scales shall fall from thine eyes, and thou shalt
see.'

" And when I had done all this that the voice had
told me, lo! 1 did see ; for the scales had fallen from my
eyes. And "when I beheld the scales, I found an in-
scription upon them, even the following: ' Superstitions
of the Supernatural Regions.' And then I perceived



5i6 Let There Be Light

that there were no Supernatural Regions above and no
Supernatural Regions below. And I perceived and saw
all things in the world, how they had tongues, and did
speak to me, and I contemplated them and communed
with them. And they spoke to me of the Primal
and Universal Source of Love, Mercy, Beauty and
Righteousness, and then I knew that they spoke of
God.

' ' And they told me that God has no bodily likeness,
nor has He corporeal form, but He is Spirit.

" Then came I to the earthlj^ rulers, even to Selfish-
ness, to Avarice, to Deceit and to Cruelty, and I said
unto them, ' By what authority do ye rule ? '

" And they, pointing first upward and then down-
ward, said, ' Our authority to rule is given us by the
two Supernatural Regions.'

" Then said I, ' Ye surely utter lies, for there are no
Supernatural Regions.' And to the people standing
around I told all. And when the people heard,
they marvelled much thereat, and a cry arose from
among them, and they said, each to his neighbour, ' Be-
hold ! We have been kept in darkness ' ; and the people
began to strive mightily for Light. And many ten
thousand objects spoke to them, saying, ' We are the
handiwork of God; contemplate us and commune with
us, and we will teach 5'ou God's laws. And in measure
as ye perceive His laws, the Light shall enter your
souls and ye shall see. Then shall ye be free from
servitude forever.'

" And when the people had done all these things
there came forth a sweet voice, and the voice said :

" ' Let There Be Light.'

" And there was Light.

" And the Light took away the old rule from among



Much Cause for Hope 517

the people, and the people appointed unto themselves
new rulers instead. And the names of these new rulers
were Wisdom, Equity and lyove.

" Then were the people joyful, because they were in
harmony with God's laws ; and God loved them and



Online LibraryDavid LubinLet there be light; the story of a workingmen's club, its search for the causes of poverty and social inequality, its discussions and its plan for the amelioration of existing evils → online text (page 33 of 34)