Excerpt of Father Divine’s Remarks made at 1887-1889 Madison Avenue, New York City, N.Y. July 11, 1939
Remarks by Archbishop William H. Francis.
The Reaction Will Give Blessings
When you get this Love in your heart, when it is once established in reality in your heart from the depths of your soul, to you, God, the reaction of such a real conviction will give desirable blessings such as you may be seeking whensoever you concentrate in that direction. Can you not see the mystery?
Then I say, it is a privilege to know, by reiteration you produce and bring into outer expression and into conscious consideration and realization that which you are reiterating:
“I feel mighty happy when I love the Lord!”
Then you feel happy when you love everybody, for it puts a ban on discord and puts a ban on prejudice, it puts a ban on every expression that would motivate the act of violence or any destructive enactment within yourself. It cause the Christ within to express and be resurrected, that you might know definitely, Christ is Risen!
You do not know Christ is risen, only theoretically, until He has risen within you. But when He has risen within you, you can say for sure, “I know that my redeemer liveth for he liveth in my soul.”
I need not say more. I had arisen merely especially to say, we have visiting friends with us and as usual we are pleased to have any stranger or visitor, regardless to your religious affiliation, regardless to your political or social affiliation. The Spirit of my presence in these, my true and faithful, is endeavoring to be, and it is really hospitable, hence you can be entertained at all times.
Now I would like to say, we also have the special honor this morning or this afternoon, whichever, of having the Archbishop Francis with us and one of his staff in the priesthood. We appreciate their presence and always do. We hope that he will have something to say as he usually does. I am sure he will if he cares to, because he knows we are accustomed to allowing everybody to speak according to the dictates of their own conscience without criticism.
If any others would like to speak, they are welcome to speak as well as he, but I am sure we all would be pleased to hear from the Archbishop Francis this afternoon. I thank you. I thank you. I thank you.
Directly after Father finished speaking, Archbishop Francis arose from his seat at the Banquet Table and spoke, his remarks being in part as follows:
Peace Father! Peace, angels, and Peace, all Children and Friends! You could have gone around the world many times and you never would have heard such a wonderful sermon as you heard from Father this afternoon. You are especially privileged in hearing these constantly.
What Father has spoken about the expression of His Children in happiness and the expression that they give forth to what is within, is very true, as all of His Sayings are. If you knew how I, as a public speaker, as a bishop, as a teacher, have to face congregations sometimes that seem to be of the living dead – I might just as well be talking to tombstones sometimes! I get up in the high pulpit and look over the people’s heads and they are motionless. They have been motionless all the time and their faces are motionless most of the time and they have none of that which Father has said—the Christ that is risen within you that is the hope of glory. That is what all of you Children have found, thanks to Father!
So, of all of the pleasures and privileges that we have, the greatest is in coming here to catch some of Your Spirit, hoping that we can take it away with us to the dark comers of the earth among the people who have not yet heard of Father Divine the way that they should have heard.
I want to assure you, after the many years of close friendship with Father and the Movement, there is nobody escapes my presence without knowing of Father Divine. It is a privilege to be able to tell of this Movement, which is an exponent, the only real exponent of Peace! Peace, you know, is not the state of not being at war. That is a wrong interpretation altogether. We have Peace societies all over the world that do not know what Peace means. They have not a ghost of an idea what Peace means! Peace comes from the Greek word——it means a wholeness of soul. It means a complete happiness. It means having the God within you, the hope of glory. It means what Father in your lives and what you are showing as a reflection of what Father has shown to you.
This last week-end has been one of greater happiness to me than most week-ends. I am always happy. I live a very happy life, as a rule. I am very thankful ofthe many things I have and of the things I do not have. I was happy in taking Father Victor and Father Boniface to the Promised Land. We went up on Saturday. I had business nearby, very important business, but the most important, of course, was really visiting the Promised Land. The other business was an excuse—the reason was the visit.
I came down today from the mountains, a long, long way from here. I love Philadelphia but I love my mountains too. And I’ve gained much inspiration, I must say, from FATHER’S teachings. I knew Him Personally, I knew Him as few knew Him, I’ve known many of His followers, and I must say it has cast bouquets of the most beautiful flowers in my path, because I’ve seen what the world has gone through, what its coming to and let us all hew to the line in memory, first of all, of Jesus of Nazareth, and His great worker, Father Divine.
I hope to come back again sometime and talk to you. I don’t know, I’ve just turned ninety years of age – I hope to make a hundred, I don’t know, but it will be your prayers and your smiles and your love that will do it, if it’s possible.
Mother would like me to tell, because she knows a little about me – some of you know also a little – how I first came in touch with Father. I met a boy – I come from across the other side of the tracks – I did in those days. I`m not dropping names but I married the Vanderbilts. When I was made a Bishop I was made a Bishop by a prince, a duke, a Spanish grandee and an Archbishop and I come from that side of the tracks. I lived then in Greenwich, Connecticut, which is a town where the Rockefeller’s live, I knew them all. And a young man came to me that had difficulty—he didn’t have difficulty but his parents had the difficulty. They told me that he had met a man who he believed was either God or had the spirit of God within him, and it was a family trouble, and I proceeded to stick my hapless head into a family trouble in Greenwich, Connecticut!
To know what I was talking about I came to New York, to Harlem—Father Divine had just come from Sayville into Harlem at that time and it was there I met Father Divine – and in listening to Him and telling Him how I might come into the picture but He could come in still more, I listened to His Kindliness, I saw those beautiful Eyes of His and the Love that came out of His mouth at that time, and He gave advice to the young man. He said perhaps I could take the young man to California, it might be good for both of us for a while, and I did, and the young man went with me, the troubles were over. I had met somebody I had been looking for – One Who told the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth – and that was the beginning of a great friendship.
I could go into this but my life has been so full of incidents like this that at the present time Scribners is writing my life. It will be quite a story when it comes out. I wish, really, they would leave me alone because I have found my happiness, living with people whom I can trust, who I can love. And it was days like today as I sat at Woodmont and looked into the eyes of all of you people – it was a touch of Heaven to me. Keep it up! The Victory is yours and you may thank Father Divine and Mother Divine for all of this.
Gratitude is one of the greatest Gifts of God and if we are grateful, God will be grateful to you.
I want to thank you all, very much, and pray that my health may come up and someday I’ll come back again.
We went to Hope Farm and we were surprised and delighted at the happiness there, the orderliness, the welcome, the courtesy! It was exquisite! Then we went to stay at the hotel where friends put us up. But why should we stay in a hotel in such a different atmosphere when we could go to the Meeting at Greenkill Park? So we jumped in the little car and went down there. We saw some new faces, some old, all of them hoping and waiting that FATHER might be there in the Body. Singing, happy and beautiful it was, and we had a very happy Meeting.
On Sunday morning we went to Krum Elbow and there we found the followers not doing like most so-called Christians do – remembering the Sabbath Day to keep it holy – because Father teaches you to remember the week day to keep it holy. So many people you know pray to God on Sunday and prey on their fellowmen all week long. Father doesn’t teach anything like that, and we found a lot of the Children all busy—not pious in religion, I mean in the real sense of the word, industrious – at Krum Elbow, and there was a hearty welcome there. We did not see all of it – we saved a few things because we want more surprises later on. And so we just looked a little and went on. Then we went to the Artists’ Colony at Milton, and what a glorious thing we saw there! If there are any people here that have not been up there, I strongly advise you to go, and you have heard the Words of Father Divine: “And by their works ye shall know them.”
Go up there and you will see what Father is bringing to pass. You will realize the Kingdom of God is among men. You realize that there are Kingdoms of Peace and Serenity, which is really most impressive. And then we came back to New York to this chaos, this modern Babel, on Sunday night. My heart was a little heavy because I realize there are so many that have not touched this great Wellspring of Peace, so many, and what can be done to make them realize this Peace? They will! You and Your Movement are growing, prejudice is dispelling and the Kingdom of God is going forth!
I just whispered to Father that this summer we are going up to the Promised Land to live ourselves. So you see Father is drawing all men unto Him. So to tell you how happy I am, is carrying coals to Newcastle. If I were not happy, I would be the most ungrateful person in the world. I am happy to know Father Divine and what Father is doing. All of you remain faithful, all of you bring others like Andrew did, bringing Peter, to your Master, and your reward will be great. It must be great because the treasures that Father is opening to you are as yet untouched.
I thank You, Father! I thank you, Children.
From The New Day, July 13, 1939, pages 91-93.