Washington Gladden

American pastor (1836-1918)

Washington Gladden (February 11, 1836July 2, 1918) was a leading American Congregational church pastor and early leader of the Social Gospel movement. He was a leading member of the Progressive Movement, serving for two years as a member of the Columbus and campaigning against Boss Tweed as acting editor of the New York Independent. Gladden was probably the first leading U.S. religious figure to support unionization of the workforce; he also opposed racial segregation. He was a prolific writer, with 40 books to his credit, as well as a number of hymns.

"A little while," and the load
Shall drop at the pilgrim's feet,
Where the steep and thorny road
Doth merge in the golden street.

Quotes edit

  • I only wish to have the principle recognized that no man liveth to himself; that no man's business is his business alone; that all business is stewardship; that there is no law of life but Christ's law; that the main question for every man is not how much he can get, but how much he can give.
    • The New Idolatry (1905), p. 242

The Nation and the Kingdom (1909) edit

  • The establishment and maintenance of sound and fair social conditions; so that there should be no oppression nor injustice, but a square deal for everybody; so that the strong should not be permitted to prey upon the weak; so that the law of helpfulness should prevail, instead of the law of ravine ... such sound and fair social conditions would bring to the community in which they were established and maintained, unexampled, and marvelous prosperity; and this prosperity and peace and happiness would promptly advertise themselves and set up an irresistible attraction. Such a society as this would be a magnet that would draw to itself, all the children of men. They would all want to be in it.
    • pp. 4-5
  • We have never yet had upon the earth a society representing on any large scale, the principles of the teaching of Jesus. We have had many societies, whose main reliance was on military force; many societies resting upon slavery or serfdom; many societies founded on feudal distinctions of ruling and serving classes; many societies whose regulative principle was competition, or a struggle for advantage and mastery; but we have never yet seen a society which rested upon the law of brotherhood and the principle of service.
    • p. 7
  • The gospel has been very imperfectly heard by any one to whom it has brought no other tidings than that of personal salvation. For in truth the individual is saved only when he is put into right relations to the community in which he lives, and the establishment of these right relations among men is the very work that Christ came to do. The individual gospel and the social gospel are therefore vitally related, inseparably bound together no more come to the man apart from the community, than life can come to the branch when it is separated from the vine.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) edit

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
  • Every one of us may know what is the ruling purpose of his life; and he who knows that his ruling purpose is to trust and follow Christ knows that he is a Christian.
    • P. 17.
  • The wayfaring man, Christ Jesus, has helped many and many a tired traveler home with burdens quite as heavy as yours. Often and often He goes up and down this thoroughfare of life in search of just such overladen pilgrims; and His voice is sounding forth above all the babble of the busy tongues and the clatter of the busy wheels, saying, — "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
    • P. 98.
  • O Master, let me walk with Thee
    In lowly paths of service free;
    Tell me Thy secret; help me bear
    The strain of toil, the fret of care.
    • P. 124.
  • The substance of all realities is in this religion of Jesus Christ; but it can be real only to those who will do His will.
    • P. 135.
  • The one injurious and fatal fact of our present church work is the barrier between the churches and the poorest classes. The first thing for us to do is to demolish this barrier. The impression is abroad among the poor that they are not wanted in the churches. This impression is either correct or incorrect. If it is correct, then there is no missionary work, for us who are pastors, half so urgent as the conversion of our congregations to Christianity. If it is incorrect, we are still guilty before God in that we have allowed such an impression to go abroad; and we are bound to address ourselves, at once and with all diligence, to the business of convincing the poor people that they are wanted, and will be made welcome in the churches.
    • P. 146.
  • No, there are no long stages of preparation through which you must pass; all things are now ready; there is nothing to hinder you from becoming a Christian this very hour. And, if any of you have been trying to make yourself better until you are weary and discouraged in the work, all you have to do is to put it into stronger hands.
    • P. 152.
  • You are not so good a Christian when you are neglecting a plain duty as when you are performing it. And joining the church is a plain duty for all who mean to be Christians.
    • P. 155.
  • If you were good enough, there would be no need of confessing Christ at all. It is just because you are not good enough, that Christ says to you, "Follow me." He came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. It is not the perfect people whom He wants in His church, but those who have a deep sense of their own imperfection, and who believe that His strength is made perfect in weakness.
    • P. 155.
  • "A little while," and the load
    Shall drop at the pilgrim's feet,
    Where the steep and thorny road
    Doth merge in the golden street.
    • P. 300.
  • Will you tell Him frankly, that you cannot carry your load, and that you need help? Will you suffer Him to help you in His own way, and be glad and thankful if He will only take you under His care, and direct the whole course of your life for you?
    • P. 594.

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