Tapestry of Faith: What Moves Us: A Unitarian Universalist Theology Program for Adults

Handout 2: Likeness to God

Part of What Moves Us

From "Likeness to God," a Discourse at the Ordination of the Rev. F.A. Farley, Providence, Rhode Island, 1828, found in William Ellery Channing: Selected Writings, David Robinson, ed. (New York: Paulist Press, 1985).

In proportion as we approach and resemble the mind of God, we are brought into harmony with the creation; for, in that proportion, we possess the principles from which the universe sprung; we carry without ourselves the perfections, of which is beauty, magnificence, order, benevolent adaptations, and boundless purposes, and the results and manifestations. God unfolds himself in his works to a kindred mind. It is possible, that the brevity of these hints may expose to the charge of mysticism, what seems to me the calmest and clearest truth. I think, however, that every reflecting man will feel, that likeness to God must be a principle of sympathy or accordance with his creation; for the creation is a birth and shining forth of the Divine Mind, a work through which his spirit breathes. In proportion as we receive this spirit, we possess within ourselves the explanation of what we see. We discern more and more of God in every thing, from the frail flower to the everlasting stars. Even in evil, that dark cloud which hangs over creation, we discern rays of light and hope, and gradually come to see, in suffering and temptation, proofs and instruments of the sublimest purposes of Wisdom and Love.