24 November 2011

Giving Thanks ~ Ingersoll's 1897 Epic Sermon!

Thanks to Cynical-C for spotlighting Ingersoll's 1897 epic Thanksgiving Sermon! This is just an excerpt, my favorite parts...
"Standing here at the close of the 19th 
century -- amid the trophies of thought -- the triumphs of genius -- here under the flag of the Great Republic -- knowing something 
of the history of man -- here on this day that has been set apart for thanksgiving, I most reverently thank the good men. the good women of the past, I thank the kind fathers, the loving mothers of
 the savage days. I thank the father who spoke the first gentle 
word, the mother who first smiled upon her babe. I thank the first
 true friend. I thank the savages who hunted and fished that they 
and their babes might live. I thank those who cultivated the ground
 and changed the forests into farms -- those who built rude homes
 and watched the faces of their happy children in the glow of
 fireside flames -- those who domesticated horses, cattle and sheep
 -- those who invented wheels and looms and taught us to spin and
 weave -- those who by cultivation changed wild grasses into wheat 
and corn, changed bitter things to fruit, and worthless weeds to
 flowers, that sowed within our souls the seeds of art. I thank the 
poets of the dawn -- the tellers of legends -- the makers of myths
 -- the singers of joy and grief, of hope and love. I thank the
 artists who chiseled forms in stone and wrought with light and
 shade the face of man. I thank the philosophers, the thinkers, who
 taught us how to use our minds in the great search for truth. I
 thank the astronomers who explored the heavens, told us the secrets 
of the stars, the glories of the constellations -- the geologists 
who found the story of the world in fossil forms, in memoranda kept 
in ancient rocks, in lines written by waves, by frost and fire -- the anatomists who sought in muscle, nerve and bone for all the 
mysteries of life -- the chemists who unraveled Nature’s work that
 they might learn her art -- the physicians who have laid the hand 
of science on the brow of pain, the hand whose magic touch restores
 -- the surgeons who have defeated Nature’s self and forced her to
 preserve the lives of those she labored to destroy. I thank the discoverers of chloroform and ether, the two 
angels who give to their beloved sleep, and wrap the throbbing
 brain in the soft robes of dreams. I thank the great inventors -- those who gave us movable type and the press, by means of which
 great thoughts and all discovered facts are made immortal -- the
 inventors of engines, of the great ships, of the railways, the 
cables and telegraphs. I thank the great mechanics, the workers in
 iron and steel, in wood and stone. I thank the inventors and makers
 of the numberless things of use and luxury. I thank the industrious men, the loving mothers, the useful
 women. They are the benefactors of our race. The inventor of pins did a thousand times more good than all 
the popes and cardinals, the bishops and priests -- than all the
 clergymen and parsons, exhorters and theologians that ever lived. The inventor of matches did more for the comfort and
 convenience of mankind than all the founders of religions and the 
makers of all creeds -- than all malicious monks and selfish
 saints. [...] I thank the statesmen who have preserved the rights of man. I
 thank Paine whose genius sowed the seeds of independence in the
 hearts of ’76. I thank Jefferson whose mighty words for liberty 
have made the circuit of the globe. [...] I thank the great scientists -- those who have reached the
 foundation, the bed-rock -- who have built upon facts -- the great
 scientists, in whose presence theologians look silly and feel
 malicious [...] I thank the 
scientists one and all [...] I thank the heroes, the destroyers of prejudice and fear -- the dethroners of savage gods -- the extinguishers of hate’s
 eternal fire -- the heroes, the breakers of chains -- the founders
 of free states -- the makers of just laws -- the heroes who fought 
and fell on countless fields -- the heroes whose dungeons became
 shrines -- the heroes whose blood made scaffolds sacred -- the 
heroes, the apostles of reason, the disciples of truth, the
 soldiers of freedom -- the heroes who held high the holy torch and
 filled the world with light. With all my heart I thank them all."

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