By Rev. Henry J. Williams, Rector of Kinross, N.B.
“No flocks that range the valley free,
To slaughter I condemn
Taught by the Power that pities me, I learn to pity them.”
In the midst of a Society inexperienced in the pleasure of a natural and simple diet, and living amongst those largely interested and involved in the maintenance of our national shambles, it seems well to us that we should protest in the name of human history and of science, against the assumed theory that the flesh and blood of living creatures are necessary to our health or joy.
Thus at the risk of being considered “heretical” or “revolutionary,” we invite adherence to our Order as a small instalment to the great toil of the Human Race as it stretches itself out to the attainment of a golden age, a new earth and a new heaven.
The more faithfully we turn to the earth in its immediate products as to a well-spread table containing all things pleasant to the eye and to the taste, and good for food, the more we may reasonably hope its empire and dominion will be ours.
If we fear to meet ridicule or opposition and discouragement, and especially in quarters where we might most expect help, let us call to mind that the movement against alcohol and strong drink endured the same treatment in a past generation. But now we have lived to see the cause of Temperance and Abstinence win a great and unassailable position in the Church, and in the practice and teaching of the medical profession.
Our Order in its comprehensiveness, would enlist all who in the difference of their gifts, have learnt by the sweet persuasion of that “Great Pity which pities them, to pity even the flocks which range our valleys,” or who desire to hasten the Hope of wise men and prophets in every age.
We claim for this Order the special sanction of religion, and maintain that the spirit of the Gospel, so far from being antagonistic to the first divinely-given law of man’s physical being, is wholly in our favour.
In this age the Church is sending out Bands and Guilds of devoted men and women, who, in the Name of the Great Son of Man, seek to raise the fallen and to grapple with the evils which have fastened so cruelly upon our human life. We venture to believe that if the great human family would sustain itself on man’s primal food, it would conduce to a greater general well-being, and would clear our battle-field from some of those foes which are not necessary even to our imperfect conditions of life, and which greatly overtax the strength and resources of those, whose fight is for life with holiness and for life with happiness.
We must not forget, in our anxiety to do well unto our own Race, that there are creatures set beneath us for whom we are responsible before God in the matter of happiness and comfort, whenever we withdraw them from their state of nature, to bring them up under altered conditions. We cannot make an unjust or unnecessary use of our authority over such lives without incurring grave responsibilities.
There are other voices than those of Humanity which startle the world as it sits down every day to its daily sacrifice of sentient life. Science tells us of the disease which may be hidden upon our table. The newspapers tell us that, active as inspectors may be, yet tons of meat unfit for food get into the markets.
We do not dare to condemn any one in the use of that which his conscience allows; yet we would say let us seek not only what is lawful, buy that which is best. If we are reminded of that which in the times of man’s ignorance, God winked at and permitted, we reply, go higher up to the source, and there see what was the law of life, when, the Catholic Church believes, man was at his highest, not his lowest state.
Any act of self-denial, which is the fruit of an honest and good heart, will be sure to bring its own proper reward. And what to some may seem hard and impossible at a distance, will become pleasant and delightful both to heart and taste, when we being the old way of living.
If we should gain but few hearers, and our mission prove a thankless one, it will be of personal comfort to some, to feel that they have done what they can to hush the long, long agony of the creature-creation as in one common heritage of pain it groans and travails together, waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God in an Age which shall be Golden, because love, peace and happiness shall reign.
Transcribed from The Herald of the Golden Age, Vol.1, No.1 by Samantha Calvert