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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 48

Service For The Festival Of Humanity

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Service For The Festival Of Humanity.

The Invocation.

A Prayer.

Great Power, whom we here acknowledge as the Highest, Humanity, whose children and servants we are; from whom we derive everything, and to whom we are bound to render everything; may we all seek to know thee better that we may love and serve thee better; and to this end may our affections become more pure, true, and deep, our thought larger and more vigorous, our action firmer and more energetic, that so, according to our measure, in our generation, we may hasten the time when thou shalt, visibly to all, take to thee thy great power and reign; when all kindreds and nations, all the members of the human family now so torn by discord, shall, by the power of the unity of thy Past, place themselves under thy guidance, the living under the government of the dead, and bound together by mutual understanding and affection, each take their due part in the work of human advancement, in peaceful union moving forwards through the coming ages to a more and more perfect state, to thy glory and the common welfare of the countless page 6 generations of men and man's dependents who shall in succession possess this thy beautiful Planet, the Earth, which is thy home.

In communion with thee, in communion with thy Past, and with thy Future, may we keep this great aim ever in our sight, to strengthen and ennoble our whole life and work.—Amen.

Holy and Glorious Humanity, on this thy High Day, at the beginning of a new year, we are met in praise, in prayer, in thanksgiving, to celebrate thy coming, in the fulness of time, for the visible perfecting of thy as yet unseen work.

Priest. We bow before thee in thankfulness;

People. AS children of thy Past.

Priest. We adore thee in hope;

People. AS thy ministers and stewards for the Future.

Priest. We would commune with thee humbly in prayer;

People. As thy servants in the Present.

All. May our worship, as our lives, grow more and more worthy of thy great name.

The Sermon.

A passage from some poet, most frequently from one of the poets in the Positivist Library.

Concluding Prayer.

Praising thee, Holy Humanity, as is most meet, for all the blessings which thy past has accumulated for us; for the rich treasures of knowledge, beauty, and wisdom which it has handed down; for its long roll of great exemplars, our cloud of witnesses, which ministers comfort, support, and guidance in our need; lastly, as we are here more especially bound to do, for the full liberty to speak and act which page 7 we enjoy; we pray that we may not be found unworthy of such benefits, but that, day by day, in all humility and singleness of purpose, with all boldness, and yet tenderness for others, we may magnify thee, and attain for ourselves, and help others to attain, the great blessings which only communion with thee can give: Union, Unity, Continuity.—Amen.

The Faith of Humanity, the Hope of Humanity, the Love of Humanity, bring you comfort and teach you sympathy, give you peace in yourselves, and peace with others now and for ever.—Amen.

Note.—We read the Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, so strongly recommended by our founder, as the most universally received manual of devotion and of a holy life; but it may be wise here, in order to avoid ambiguity or any doubt as to our use of it, to say that, in using it, we substitute Humanity for God; the social type for the personal type of Jesus; our own inward growth in goodness for outward reward; the innate benevolent instincts for grace; our selfish instincts for nature. So used, its lessons of devotion and humility, of intimate communion with the type we adore, of unceasing moral culture, of self-denying service, of the service not of ourselves but of others, are not the less available because they are clothed in the language of an older faith, and sanctioned by the experience of many generations of faithful and devout men.