My friend Grace in Virginia, writer of Dragon's Alley, sent this to me.. Said it reminded her of me. It is a timely reminder for me. She suggested that I might work it into a blog post, and indeed that is an excellent idea!
William Ellery Channing was an American pastor who lived in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. I knew very little about him though one cannot read at any length concerning transcendentalism without encountering his name. So I did a bit of reading.
Mr. Channing was a theologian and philosopher who was affiliated with the Unitarian Church. He was a noted preacher and was a leading Unitarian theologian. There are numerous interesting articles about Channing available on the web.
One tidbit I read stated that Channing was criticized in his own time for failure to affiliate with an organized anti-slavery movement. But though a famous and widely respected pastor, except for his church, Channing was not a joiner. Much as I have done, he took the position that to commit to an organization diminished one's autonomy. Think about it. That is true.
So to the quote. William Ellery Channing is in good company when he preaches that the best and truest sermons are preached by actions rather than by words. It is said that Francis of Assisi admonished, "Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary."
The Master himself is quoted in the seventh chapter of Matthew as saying, "