Confessions of Faith from “Life Hymnal” (1904)

I read two very interesting faith statements — I dare not call them anything else; they had no formal denominational standing — and have typed them below. These are prescribed in one of the Sunday school services in The Life Hymnal: A Book of Song and Service for the Sunday School by Stanford Mitchell and Emma Talbot Mitchell in 1904.

This hymnal was on the list of books available as a Google download I published earlier. I swear I’ve seen a fragment of this before, but I cannot say where, or even if it was on a website, in print or in correspondence from or about an elderly Universalist. (I used to get a lot of correspondence like that, mostly clippings given for my use and safekeeping.)

The last possibility opens other thoughts. For those here who’ve been around long enough to have known very elderly Universalists — many now dead — whose childhoods might have been impacted by this book, we have here a bridge . . . .

Except for some of the war imagery — recall this predates the First World War — I don’t quibble with the theology. Indeed, I think a number of readers will find it quite stirring.

from pages xxxiii and xxxiv

Confession of Faith

I believe in God, the Father Almighty; in Jesus Christ the Redeemer; in the Holy Spirit, the Inspirer; in the brotherhood of man, the certainty of retribution, the redemption from sin, the resurrection from death, and in the ultimate perfection and happiness of all mankind.

(Or this may take the place of the Confession of Faith.)

Superintendent. — What give a special character to your Christian Faith.
School. — Its Universality. I believe in God as the universal Father; in the Christ as a universal Saviour; and in the Holy Spirit as the Divine and conquering Energy through which all evil will at last be overcome, and God be all in all.
Superintendent. — Believing, then, that all evil can be overcome, what ought to be the fixed purpose of your soul?
School. — To be a worker together with God toward do great a good, with all my heart, and will all my soul, and with all my mind. To loyally follow that Son of God who has declared everlasting war upon ignorance, disease, sin, death, and all that makes man miserable. To fight against all evil, in myself and in others; to take the side of the oppressed against the oppressors; to stand for righteousness, and never give up; to do justly, and love mercy and walk humbly before God.

Author: Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

3 thoughts on “Confessions of Faith from “Life Hymnal” (1904)”

  1. Ahhhh…. I hear echos amid some of the words of the most elderly members of the church I once served in rural Ohio. Their eldest elder, now in her late 90’s, is probably one of the last living Universalists to have witnessed the great Universalist revivalist Sarah Stoner. I can picture Sarah using this catechism with her youngest charges.

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