Zitate von William Ellery Channing

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William Ellery Channing

Geburtstag: 7. April 1780
Todesdatum: 2. Oktober 1842

William Ellery Channing war ein US-amerikanischer Geistlicher und Schriftsteller. Er wurde bekannt als der „Apostel des Unitarismus“. Channing war für seine leidenschaftlichen Predigten und öffentlichen Reden bekannt. Er verkörperte die liberale Theologie seiner Zeit. Channings religiöse Einstellungen und Gedanken prägten den Transzendentalismus in New England, obwohl er dieser Bewegung nicht angehörte.

Zitate William Ellery Channing

„Great minds are to make others great. Their superiority is to be used not to break the multitude to intellectual vassalage, not to establish over them a spiritual tyranny, but to rouse them from lethargy, and to aid them to judge for themselves.“

—  William Ellery Channing

"Lectures On The Elevation Of The Labouring Portion Of The Community: Lecture II", in The Works of William Ellery Channing, D.D. (1844) Vol. III, p. 81
Kontext: Undoubtedly some men are more gifted than others, and are marked out for more studious lives. But the work of such men is not to do others' thinking for them, but to help them to think more vigorously and effectually. Great minds are to make others great. Their superiority is to be used not to break the multitude to intellectual vassalage, not to establish over them a spiritual tyranny, but to rouse them from lethargy, and to aid them to judge for themselves. The light and life which spring up in one soul are to be spread far and wide. Of all treasons against humanity, there is no one worse than his, who employs great intellectual force to keep down the intellect of his less-favoured brother.

„I affirm, and would maintain, that true religion consists in proposing, as our great end, a growing likeness to the Supreme Being. Its noblest influence consists in making us more and more partakers of the Divinity.“

—  William Ellery Channing

"Likeness to God", an address in Providence, Rhode Island (1828) http://www.americanunitarian.org/likeness.htm
Kontext: I affirm, and would maintain, that true religion consists in proposing, as our great end, a growing likeness to the Supreme Being. Its noblest influence consists in making us more and more partakers of the Divinity. For this it is to be preached. Religious instruction should aim chiefly to turn men's aspirations and efforts to that perfection of the soul, which constitutes it a bright image of God. Such is the topic now to be discussed; and I implore Him, whose glory I seek, to aid me in unfolding and enforcing it with simplicity and clearness, with a calm and pure zeal, and with unfeigned charity.

„I have insisted on our own activity as essential to our progress; but we were not made to live or advance alone. Society is as needful to us as air or food.“

—  William Ellery Channing

"Self-Culture", an address in Boston (September 1838) http://www.americanunitarian.org/selfculture.htm
Kontext: I have insisted on our own activity as essential to our progress; but we were not made to live or advance alone. Society is as needful to us as air or food. A child doomed to utter loneliness, growing up without sight or sound of human beings, would not put forth equal power with many brutes; and a man, never brought into contact with minds superior to his own, will probably run one and the same dull round of thought and action to the end of llfe.
It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds, and these invaluable means of communication are in the reach of all. In the best books great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours. God be thanked for books. They are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages. Books are true levelers. They give to all, who will faithfully use them, the society, the spiritual presence, of the best and greatest of our race.

„No such right of man in man can exist. A human being cannot be justly owned.“

—  William Ellery Channing

A Human Being Cannot Be Justly Owned (1835)
Kontext: The slave-holder claims the slave as his Property. The very idea of a slave is, that he belongs to another, that he is bound to live and labor for another, to be another’s instrument, and to make another’s will his habitual law, however adverse to his own. Another owns him, and, of course, has a right to his time and strength, a right to the fruits of his labor, a right to task him without his consent, and to determine the kind and duration of his toil, a right to confine him to any bounds, a right to extort the required work by stripes, a right, in a word, to use him as a tool, without contract, against his will, and in denial of his right to dispose of himself, or to use his power for his own good. “A slave,” says the Louisiana code, “is in the power of the master to whom he belongs. The master may sell him, dispose of his person, his industry, his labor; he can do nothing, possess nothing, nor acquire any thing, but which must belong to his master.” “Slaves shall be deemed, taken, reputed, and adjudged,” say the South-Carolina laws, “to be chattels personal in the hands of their masters, and possessions to all intents and purposes whatsoever.” Such is slavery, a claim to man as property. Now this claim of property in a human being is altogether false, groundless. No such right of man in man can exist. A human being cannot be justly owned. To hold and treat him as property is to inflict a great wrong, to incur the guilt of oppression.

„We need not war to awaken human energy. There is at least equal scope for courage and magnanimity in blessing, as in destroying mankind.“

—  William Ellery Channing

War (1816)
Kontext: We need not war to awaken human energy. There is at least equal scope for courage and magnanimity in blessing, as in destroying mankind. The condition of the human race offers inexhaustible objects for enterprise, and fortitude, and magnanimity. In relieving the countless wants and sorrows of the world, in exploring unknown regions, in carrying the arts and virtues of civilization to unimproved communities, in extending the bounds of knowledge, in diffusing the spirit of freedom, and especially in spreading the light and influence of Christianity, how much may be dared, how much endured!

„I implore Him, whose glory I seek, to aid me in unfolding and enforcing it with simplicity and clearness, with a calm and pure zeal, and with unfeigned charity.“

—  William Ellery Channing

"Likeness to God", an address in Providence, Rhode Island (1828) http://www.americanunitarian.org/likeness.htm
Kontext: I affirm, and would maintain, that true religion consists in proposing, as our great end, a growing likeness to the Supreme Being. Its noblest influence consists in making us more and more partakers of the Divinity. For this it is to be preached. Religious instruction should aim chiefly to turn men's aspirations and efforts to that perfection of the soul, which constitutes it a bright image of God. Such is the topic now to be discussed; and I implore Him, whose glory I seek, to aid me in unfolding and enforcing it with simplicity and clearness, with a calm and pure zeal, and with unfeigned charity.

„No judgment can be just or wise, but that which is built on the conviction of the paramount worth and importance of duty.“

—  William Ellery Channing

Slavery (1835)
Kontext: No judgment can be just or wise, but that which is built on the conviction of the paramount worth and importance of duty. This is the fundamental truth, the supreme law of reason; and the mind which does not start from this, in its inquiries into human affairs, is doomed to great, perhaps fatal error. The right is the supreme good, and includes all other goods. In seeking and adhering to it, we secure our true and only happiness. All prosperity, not founded on it, is built on sand.

„We do, then, with all earnestness, though without reproaching our brethren, protest against the irrational and unscriptural doctrine of the Trinity.“

—  William Ellery Channing

"Unitarian Christianity", an address to The First Independent Church of Baltimore (5 May 1819)
Kontext: We do, then, with all earnestness, though without reproaching our brethren, protest against the irrational and unscriptural doctrine of the Trinity. "To us," as to the Apostle and the primitive Christians, "there is one God, even the Father." With Jesus, we worship the Father, as the only living and true God. We are astonished, that any man can read the New Testament, and avoid the conviction, that the Father alone is God.

„I see the marks of God in the heavens and the earth, but how much more in a liberal intellect, in magnanimity, in unconquerable rectitude, in a philanthropy which forgives every wrong, and which never despairs of the cause of Christ and human virtue.“

—  William Ellery Channing

"Likeness to God", an address in Providence, Rhode Island (1828)
Kontext: I see the marks of God in the heavens and the earth, but how much more in a liberal intellect, in magnanimity, in unconquerable rectitude, in a philanthropy which forgives every wrong, and which never despairs of the cause of Christ and human virtue. I do and I must reverence human nature... I thank God that my own lot is bound up with that of the human race.

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„There are times when the assertion of great principles is the best service a man can render society.“

—  William Ellery Channing

Slavery (1835)
Kontext: There are times when the assertion of great principles is the best service a man can render society. The present is a moment of bewildering excitement, when men's minds are stormed and darkened by strong passions and fierce conflicts; and also a moment of absorbing worldliness, when the moral law is made to bow to expediency, and its high and strict requirements are denied, or dismissed as metaphysical abstractions or impracticable theories. At such a season, to utter great principles without passion, and in the spirit of unfeigned and universal good-will, and to engrave them deeply and durably on men's minds, is to do more for the world, than to open mines of wealth, or to frame the most successful schemes of policy.

„No state of mind, not even positive suffering, is more painful than the want of interesting objects. The vacant soul preys on itself, and often rushes with impatience from the security which demands no effort, to the brink of peril.“

—  William Ellery Channing

War (1816)
Kontext: One of the great springs of war may be found in a very strong and general propensity of human nature, in the love of excitement, of emotion, of strong interest; a propensity which gives a charm to those bold and hazardous enterprises which call forth all the energies of our nature. No state of mind, not even positive suffering, is more painful than the want of interesting objects. The vacant soul preys on itself, and often rushes with impatience from the security which demands no effort, to the brink of peril.

„In truth, moral evil, if unresisted and habitual, may so blight and lay waste these capacities, that the image of God in man may seem to be wholly destroyed.“

—  William Ellery Channing

"Likeness to God", an address in Providence, Rhode Island (1828)
Kontext: I begin with observing, what all indeed will understand, that the likeness to God, of which I propose to speak, belongs to man's higher or spiritual nature. It has its foundation in the original and essential capacities of the mind. In proportion as these are unfolded by right and vigorous exertion, it is extended and brightened. In proportion as these lie dormant, it is obscured. In proportion as they are perverted and overpowered by the appetites and passions, it is blotted out. In truth, moral evil, if unresisted and habitual, may so blight and lay waste these capacities, that the image of God in man may seem to be wholly destroyed.

„The path to perfection is difficult to men in every lot; there is no royal road for rich or poor. But difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage.“

—  William Ellery Channing

"Self-Culture", an address in Boston (September 1838)
Kontext: The path to perfection is difficult to men in every lot; there is no royal road for rich or poor. But difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict. And how much has it already overcome! Under what burdens of oppression has it made its way for ages What mountains of difficulty has it cleared! And with all this experience, shall we say that the progress of the mass of men is to be despaired of; that the chains of bodily necessity are too strong and ponderous to be broken by the mind; that servile, unimproving drudgery is the unalterable condition of the multitude of the human race?

„Likeness to God is the supreme gift.“

—  William Ellery Channing

"Likeness to God", an address in Providence, Rhode Island (1828)
Kontext: Likeness to God is the supreme gift. He can communicate nothing so precious, glorious, blessed, as himself. To hold intellectual and moral affinity with the Supreme Being, to partake his spirit, to be his children by derivations of kindred excellence, to bear a growing conformity to the perfection which we adore, this is a felicity which obscures and annihilates all other good.
It is only in proportion to this likeness, that we can enjoy either God or the universe.

„He who cannot see a brother, a child of God, a man possessing all the rights of humanity, under a skin darker than his own, wants the vision of a Christian. He worships the Outward. The spirit is not yet revealed to him.“

—  William Ellery Channing

Slavery (1835)
Kontext: He who cannot see a brother, a child of God, a man possessing all the rights of humanity, under a skin darker than his own, wants the vision of a Christian. He worships the Outward. The spirit is not yet revealed to him. To look unmoved on the degradation and wrongs of a fellow-creature, because burned by a fiercer sun, proves us strangers to justice and love, in those universal forms which characterize Christianity.

„Of all treasons against humanity, there is no one worse than his, who employs great intellectual force to keep down the intellect of his less-favoured brother.“

—  William Ellery Channing

"Lectures On The Elevation Of The Labouring Portion Of The Community: Lecture II", in The Works of William Ellery Channing, D.D. (1844) Vol. III, p. 81
Kontext: Undoubtedly some men are more gifted than others, and are marked out for more studious lives. But the work of such men is not to do others' thinking for them, but to help them to think more vigorously and effectually. Great minds are to make others great. Their superiority is to be used not to break the multitude to intellectual vassalage, not to establish over them a spiritual tyranny, but to rouse them from lethargy, and to aid them to judge for themselves. The light and life which spring up in one soul are to be spread far and wide. Of all treasons against humanity, there is no one worse than his, who employs great intellectual force to keep down the intellect of his less-favoured brother.

„I begin with observing, what all indeed will understand, that the likeness to God, of which I propose to speak, belongs to man's higher or spiritual nature. It has its foundation in the original and essential capacities of the mind. In proportion as these are unfolded by right and vigorous exertion, it is extended and brightened. In proportion as these lie dormant, it is obscured.“

—  William Ellery Channing

"Likeness to God", an address in Providence, Rhode Island (1828)
Kontext: I begin with observing, what all indeed will understand, that the likeness to God, of which I propose to speak, belongs to man's higher or spiritual nature. It has its foundation in the original and essential capacities of the mind. In proportion as these are unfolded by right and vigorous exertion, it is extended and brightened. In proportion as these lie dormant, it is obscured. In proportion as they are perverted and overpowered by the appetites and passions, it is blotted out. In truth, moral evil, if unresisted and habitual, may so blight and lay waste these capacities, that the image of God in man may seem to be wholly destroyed.

„I call that mind free, which jealously guards its intellectual rights and powers, which calls no man master, which does not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith, which opens itself to light whencesoever it may come, which receives new truth as an angel from heaven.
I call that mind free, which sets no bounds to its love, which is not imprisoned in itself or in a sect, which recognises in all human beings the image of God and the rights of his children, which delights in virtue and sympathizes with suffering wherever they are seen, which conquers pride, anger, and sloth, and offers itself up a willing victim to the cause of mankind.“

—  William Ellery Channing

Spiritual Freedom http://www.americanunitarian.org/spiritualfreedom.htm (1830)
Kontext: I call that mind free, which masters the senses, which protects itself against animal appetites, which contemns pleasure and pain in comparison to its own energy, which penetrates beneath the body and recognises its own reality and greatness, which passes life, not in asking what it shall eat or drink, but in hungering, thirsting, and seeking after righteousness.
I call that mind free, which escapes the bondage of matter, which, instead of stopping at the material universe and making it a prison wall, passes beyond it to its Author, and finds in the radiant signatures which everywhere bears of the Infinite Spirit, helps to its own spiritual enlightenment.
I call that mind free, which jealously guards its intellectual rights and powers, which calls no man master, which does not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith, which opens itself to light whencesoever it may come, which receives new truth as an angel from heaven.
I call that mind free, which sets no bounds to its love, which is not imprisoned in itself or in a sect, which recognises in all human beings the image of God and the rights of his children, which delights in virtue and sympathizes with suffering wherever they are seen, which conquers pride, anger, and sloth, and offers itself up a willing victim to the cause of mankind.

„War is to be ranked among the most dreadful calamities which fall on a guilty world; and, what deserves consideration, it tends to multiply and perpetuate itself without end.“

—  William Ellery Channing

War (1816)
Kontext: War is to be ranked among the most dreadful calamities which fall on a guilty world; and, what deserves consideration, it tends to multiply and perpetuate itself without end. It feeds and grows on the blood which it sheds. The passions, from which it springs, gain strength and fury from indulgence.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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