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BY ALFORD BROWN PENNIMAN.
All rights reserved.
ANDOVER THEOL. SERINARY
JULIA TAFT BAYNE. *
Who fitly can declare
The glory and the value to mankind
Above the bustle of the busy plain,
Above the want, and sorrow, and doubt, and sin,
Itself toward heaven; in these deep silences,
Bathe and be clean! Cares drift like mists away.
With God's enduring patience! Linger here
When through light leaves the west wind whispering goes,
When summer's breath the warm pine filters through,
When tempests strike and shine against these sides,
When terrible in its inaccessible snows,
You who would learn the secret of the hills,
God give you grace to know it, and to hold it true!
* Composed at a tent door on Hoosac Mountain, opposite Greylock, while waiting at evening for her husband and sons to return from the trout brooks.
Most of these sermons were delivered between January and June of eighteen hundred and ninety-seven. They first appeared in a weekly publication called “A Greylock Pulpit." It seems fitting to give a few reasons which led to their publication.
Surrounded with machinery for what is known as "Institutional church work," I desired to make emphatic the inspiration which belongs to the living Word. Having already in use a sufficiently elaborate order of worship, multiplied organizations, a parish house with gymnasium and amusement rooms, a young men's literary society, all splendid channels for energy; the pulpit as a herald may speak to the indifferent life of the community and induce interest by means of the impersonal page. In the half-hour or more given to the sermon, there is much condensation, which is not in vain, if opportunity for review be given the people from week to week.
I saw a further reason in the good chance to revive old friendships. One who has changed his residence, the old homestead for the college, the college for the world, one church, town or country for another, whatever his gain, must keenly feel the loss of separation. Perhaps my sermons may prove a long, rough pole, by which I shall still save drowning friendships.
Please note that the series was not christened " The," but "A Greylock Pulpit." The title was given me by Greylock Mountain itself. The base begins beneath my study and the mountain rises to a height of four thousand feet of beauty and strength. On a clear day at least four states, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and perhaps Connecticut can be seen from this summit. Greylock is Berkshire's Mount Zion. If "mountaineers are always freemen," mountain preachers ought to be free preachers. This Taconic mountain has been the object of much contention among geologists. However, their polemic was of the last decade. Theological strife is happily passing, and the church of to-day has earnestly begun to study sociology. Greylock has lately been made a type by geologists. The churches of our valley are slowly conforming to a higher ideal. Again Greylock is a deposit, not the result of volcanic action like the lower and opposite Hoosac range. The Greylock message therefore is that our social changes ought to be educational and gradual rather than fierce and revolutionary.
Please stand a moment on this mountain top. Yonder is Stockbridge, the exile home of Jonathan Edwards and the birthplace of his distinguished pupil, James H. Fairchild, who truly says, "We must go on converting men." Over there is a plain log, but it had Mark Hopkins on one end, and Garfield on the other. Personality is almost every
thing. Down there is Lenox, and an old tree called the "Elm Queen," beneath whose graceful branches rested a hero, late in the fifties, before slavery demanded that his summer rest should be broken, or taken nearer to the heat of battle. That hero is Henry Ward Beecher. Another reformer came from Lenox, Charles A. Parkhurst, who once encouraged the timid servants of the Lord by saying, "Oh, the power of bird-shot, when the Lord holds the muzzle." You will not forget on this height, how missions extended from a group of boys under a haystack to lands beyond the sea. To the southeast is Cummington, and the wild roadway of doubt over which young Bryant saw the immortal flight of a water-fowl. We boast of Hawthorne and Holmes and Longfellow. You have read Munger's "Freedom of Faith" and "Appeal to Life." Their foundations were laid there at North Adams, where Washington Gladden lived. What shall I more say? Time would fail me to speak of Bascom, Pratt and Coyle, of General Stark the hero of Bennington, of those who literally "moved mountains " by the Hoosac Tunnel and moved the oceans with telegraphic cables, and of our gigantic industries. Let us not forget Dr. Todd and old Dr. Humphrey who no doubt "subdued kingdoms" and "stopped the mouths of lions."
The portraits in this book are designed to make the thought vivid, by adding faces to quotation pages. The pictures are of men who mark not only a high range of progress in the religious thought of America, but they are of persons who belongs logically to the same great fellowship. They stand for grand stages in a grander worldmovement. They had birth or training in this range of mountains, extending from St. Lawrence to the sea. New York state can, at this late day, afford to forgive Berkshire County her exaltation that Mr. Finney was arraigned for heresy on the New York side of the county line.
Remember that Old Greylock was the American Indian's first refuge, when pursued as a Philistine, by the people of a promised land. Across these ragged ledges at night the fugitive slave sped northward, when vested valley and church interests afforded him less aid in his flight to Canada. Greylock still stands for ethics. Divine and human; Divine, since its summit is cool and cloud-capped; human, because its long, strong arms are underneath the busy population at its base. The aim of this pulpit is to develop a true "social conscience," to make the church a peace-maker, and to emphasize brotherhood instead of competition.
If we were living up to our privilege, no irreverence could be suggested by mingling the Hebrew style and Greylock spirit: "Oh, Adams, that bringeth good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain. Oh, Berkshire, that bringeth good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid, say unto the people of America, behold your God."
Adams, Mass., June 28, 1898.
ALFORD BROWN PENNIMAN.