THE CHRISTIAN QUOTATION OF THE DAY
Christ, our Light
Friday, July 30, 2004
Commemoration of William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833

It seems to be an opinion pretty generally prevalent, that kindness and sweetness of temper; sympathizing, benevolent, and generous affections; attention to what in the world’s estimation are the domestic, relative, and social duties; and, above all, a life of general activity and usefulness, may well be allowed, in our imperfect state, to make up for the defect of what, in strict propriety of speech, is termed religion.
Many indeed will unreservedly declare, and more will hint the opinion, that “the difference between the qualities above-mentioned and religion, is rather a verbal or logical, than a real and essential difference; for in truth, what are they but religion in substance if not in name? Is it not the great end of religion, and in particular the glory of Christianity, to extinguish the malignant passions; to curb the violence, to control the appetites, and to smooth the asperities of man; to make us compassionate, and kind, and forgiving one to another; to make us good husbands, good fathers, good friends, and to render us active and useful in the discharge of the relative social and civil duties? We do not deny that, in the general mass of society, and particularly in the lower orders, such conduct and tempers cannot be diffused and maintained by any other medium than that of religion. But if the end be effected, surely it is only unnecessary refinement to dispute about the means. It is even to forget your own principles; and to refuse its just place to solid practical virtue, while you assign too high a value to speculative opinions.”
Thus a fatal distinction is admitted between morality and religion: a great and desperate error, of which it is the more necessary to take notice; because many who would condemn, as too strong, the language in which this opinion is sometimes openly avowed, are yet more or less tinctured with the notion itself.
... William Wilberforce (1759-1833), A Practical View, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1829, p. 197-198 (see the book; see also Gal. 5:22-23; Eccl. 7:29; Acts 2:40; Rom. 3:10; 2 Tim. 2:24-25; more at Duty, Error, Generosity, Kindness, Morality, Religion, Social, Virtue, World)

 
Compilation Copyright, 1996-2019, by Robert McAnally Adams,
        Curator, Christian Quotation of the Day,
        with Robert Douglas, principal contributor
Logo image Copyright 1996 by Shay Barsabe, of “Simple GIFs”, by kind permission.
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Last updated: 04/18/16

 

 



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