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Hidden from the Prudent The 7th William Penn Lecture, May 8, 1921   By: (1880-1941)

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The William Penn Lectures


[Illustration: Paul Jones' signature.]

1921 Walter H. Jenkins, Printer Philadelphia


This is the seventh of the series of lectures known as the William Penn Lectures . They are supported by the Young Friends' Movement of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, which was organized on Fifth month 13th, 1916, at Race Street Meeting House, in Philadelphia, for the purpose of closer fellowship; for the strengthening of such association and the interchange of experience, of loyalty to the ideals of the Society of Friends; and for the preparation by such common ideals for more effective work through the Society of Friends for the growth of the Kingdom of God on earth.

The name of William Penn has been chosen because he was a great Adventurer, who in fellowship with his friends started in his youth on the holy experiment of endeavoring "to live out the laws of Christ in every thought and word and deed," that these might become the laws and habits of the State.

Paul Jones, Secretary of The Fellowship of Reconciliation, delivered this seventh lecture on "Hidden from the Prudent" at Race Street Meeting House, on Fifth month 8th, 1921.

Philadelphia, 1921.

Hidden From the Prudent

In the latter part of January, 1915, I visited for the first time the Ute Indian Reservation in the northeastern part of Utah and drove with the missionary to Ouray, where the older Indians were gathered for the monthly issue of rations by the Government. That evening in the log store, with some fifty or sixty Indians gathered around the stove on boxes or seated on the counters under the flickering light of the lanterns hanging from the roof, we spoke of God's love for men.

The next morning we found one of our church families in a log hut, gathered about a letter which they had just received from their boy who was at a Government School in California. When we had read the letter, the father of the family, Albert Cesspouch, a man of about forty five, blind from trachoma, which affects so many of the Indians, stood up and drawing his blanket around him held up his hand to signify that he was going to speak.

With the natural dignity of the Indian, he commenced to talk in the Ute tongue, his daughter Rosita interpreting for him. First he thanked us for the words we had spoken the night before and then went on to speak of something which had been on his mind since the previous summer. It seems that there had been a flag raising at the agency headquarters, and moving pictures had been taken of the Indians as they reverenced the flag. He had been thinking about it during those months. "It means," he said, "that they want to take our young men away to fight. It is not right. The young men should not fight." Then putting his hand in his pocket he drew out a little silver cross that had been given him some years before when he had been confirmed, and holding it up as if his sightless eyes could see it he said, "That's good. That means that men should not fight, but live as brothers."

We explained to him that he had misunderstood the significance of the flag raising, but who shall say that that Indian, uncultured, poverty stricken, diseased and ignorant by all our civilized standards, had not come nearer to an understanding of the heart of the Christian gospel than the majority of his sophisticated white brothers?

Perhaps, after all, Christ's message is a simpler thing than we have supposed. One can go into a theological library today and find stacks and stacks of volumes on religion, ethics, theology, casuistry, exegesis, philosophy, the Bible, ecclesiastical history, mysticism, apologetics, metaphysics and a dozen other subjects, all designed to illuminate, define and expound the realities that Jesus taught; but somehow they seem worthless when we note the clear grasp of the inner truth that the simple Indian had achieved without their help. We have tended to conceive of truth as something to be studied and apprehended intellectually rather than something to be lived... Continue reading book >>

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