Source: Memory Book: Rev. James Minton Pullman, D.D.
Source type: book
Document type: public address
Document title: “Address”
Author(s): Powers, Levi M. (address); anonymous (book)
Publisher: Nichols Press
Publisher location: Lynn, Massachusetts
Year of publication: 1904
Pagination: 59-67 (excerpt below includes only pages 60-63)
|Powers, Levi M. “Address.” Memory Book: Rev. James Minton Pullman, D.D. Lynn: Nichols Press, 1904: pp. 59-67.|
|James Minton Pullman (public addresses); McKinley assassination (religious response); anarchism (religious response).|
|James A. Garfield; Benjamin Harrison; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; James Minton Pullman; George Washington.|
Address given on 13 December 1903, Albion, NY.
From page 59: By Rev. Levi M. Powers.
Dr. Pullman was one of the first
to see the wider meanings of our faith. His whole life in fact was largely given
in helping our church to understand its faith. He believed, and wanted all to
understand, that Universalism is a religion for this world as well as for the
next, that it is adequate to every crisis in the individual life and every problem
in the world. How ably he made this appear at the General Convention held in
Buffalo two years ago. William  McKinley
had just been killed and the assassin was still alive. The whole city, the whole
nation in fact, was under a cloud.
Here seemed an evil out of which no good could come, and then and there Dr. Pullman said “Here in this very city where I speak, the evil hand of anarchy struck what was meant to be a deadly blow at the very heart of our precious and costly social good. And for a few hours after the President of the United States was shot, it seemed to us in our bewilderment of grief and terror and rage that evil was fatally stronger than good and had triumphed. But was it so? No: our social structure, founded in essential righteousness, did not even stagger at that blow. It stood like a rock; not a stone of its foundations was displaced. Not for a day, nor an hour, were the necessary functions of our government interrupted. The whole nation trembled indeed, but it was with great indignation, not with weakness. The stroke of evil was a failure. The heart of the nation beat stronger and fuller after it than before it. If you shoot out the main spring of a watch, that watch will stop, but the whole life of the American nation is not coiled in the brains of any one citizen, however eminent and beloved—it has 70,000,000 separate lives! The  assassination of the President showed, not the triumph but the futility of evil.
“But you say, evil killed the man, and therefore did have some triumph. All men must die, and what is so universal can not, under God, be of itself an evil. Most men die ingloriously in their beds. But that shot gave William McKinley an opportunity to die nobly, and he so nobly took it that it has multiplied his life a millionfold here on the earth! and it translated him to the uplands of the universe where he walks with Washington and Lincoln and Garfield and Harrison and the rest, and serves the interests of the universe in higher ways than the highest ways on earth. But still, you say, that evil shot triumphed in the sorrow which it wrought. I doubt that. Of all the influence which God brings to bear upon man in this life, none is more refining and ennobling than a noble sorrow.
“We shall cure anarchy in the only way in which it can ever be cured. We shall not fight the battles of cosmos with the weapons of chaos, not tyrannize free speech under pretenses of protecting liberty. But we shall strictly restrain those in whom anarchism has become a mental and moral disease, educate the ignorance in which that disease now takes root,  and reform the abuses that sow the seed. Education and religion are the only permanent cures for anarchism.
“No man, loyal to God and believing in His success, can ever be an anarchist. He will antagonize bad government with reason and not with the knife.
“Next week the assassin of William McKinley will die at the hands of the law. What beyond this ought to be his fate? What do the moral interests of the Universe demand? That he be kept in everlasting worthlessness, in chains and torments, an eternal blot, the evil that is in him made to live forever, or that he be awakened from his night-mare dream of anarchy, purged as by fire, changed to cleanliness and sanity, converted to order, trained to obedience and set to atone for the harm he has done?”