Title: The World’s Parliament of Religions: an illustrated and popular story of the World’s first parliament of religions, held in Chicago in connection with the Columbian exposition of 1893 edited by Rev. John Henry Barrows
Location: Google Books Date: 1893
Today all Americans remember the tragedy and horror of September 11, 2001. We mourn for our lost sisters and brothers and for our lost innocence. This day, however, should also remind us of the need for tolerance and understanding between all nations and religions so I believe it is appropriate to feature the hopeful meeting of the representatives of the world’s religions that occurred at the Columbian Exposition of 1893.
It should be noted that the editor, John Henry Barrows, served as minister of the First Presbyterian Church of Chicago from 1886 to 1891, authored numerous books and was a highly respected man in the religious community. It is even more interesting to note that the University of Chicago Divinity School department on the study of Islam is named after Rev. Barrows.
Religion is the greatest fact of History.
This book will show that it is one of the most picturesque and interesting. These volumes are enriched with views of Eastern Temples, painted and tiled Pagodas, superb and stately Mosques, humble meeting-houses and all the beautiful forms of Christian architecture in Europe and America.
How these efforts of Man to embody his thoughts of God and of worship give a celestial gleam and glory to his struggling and sorrowing life!
The human soul, with its upward look, catching the reflection of Heaven, transfigures the sombre annals of Time.
This book records a grand event, the most important incident of the greatest of World Expositions. In preparing for it, the editor of these volumes has been brought into friendly and delightful relations with Catholic Archbishops, Greek Priests, Jewish Rabbis, disciples of the gentle Buddha and followers of the gravely-wise Confucius. Pleasant friendships have been formed with men of a score of Christian denominations. Contact with the learned minds of India has inspired a new reverence for the thought of the Orient. He has seen in imagination Milton’s
“Dusk faces, with white silken turbans wreathed.”
And, in the disciples of Zoroaster and of the Prophet of Islam, he has found the spirit of the truest human brotherhood.
It is my inspiring duty to bring before my readers a most varied and stately procession of living scholars, reformers, missionaries, moral heroes, delvers in the mines of the soul, seekers after Truth, toilers for humanity.
In this book will be found Theology, Science, Philosophy, Biography, History, Poetry, Experience, Political and Social Wisdom, Eloquence, Music, the rich lore of the head, the richer literature of the heart, Revelations from God, the story of Man’s outreachings toward the Infinite, his triumphs and partial failures, his hopes and despairs, the bewildered efforts of noble souls
“Who, groping in the darks of Thought,
Touched the Great Hand and knew it not,”
and the sublime joy of those to whom Religion was a daily walk in the light of the Eternal.
This Book will show Man seeking after God, and it will also tell the diviner story of God seeking after Man.
Striking the noble chord of universal human brotherhood, the promoters of the World’s First Parliament of Religions have evoked a starry music which will yet drown the miserable discords of earth.
This Book is the record of Man’s best thinking to-day on the greatest of themes. For the first time in all the centuries, the wonders of Art and Science and the wonders of Faith and Thought have been exhibited side by side.
The faces of living men of all Faiths, the Temples wherein they worship, the record of their highest achievements, the reasons for their deepest convictions, and the story of their earliest meeting together in loving conference, are for the first time presented in one comprehensive work.
The Western City which was deemed the home of the crudest materialism has placed a golden milestone in Man’s pathway toward the spiritual Millennium.
As some of my readers look into the pictured faces of robed and mitred ecclesiastics, earnest pulpit orators, highhearted women, grave reformers and strange-featured wise men from far Eastern lands, the scholarly representatives of Faiths which are alien to the habitual current of Western thought, and as they read these varied chapters in the wondrous history of the Soul, I am confident they will experience a widening of thought, and be glad that the Providence of God has, in the process of the suns, blessed them with truer tenderness and a broadened sympathy.
This Book will also be read in the cloisters of Japanese scholars, by the shores of the Yellow Sea, by the watercourses of India and beneath the shadows of Asiatic mountains near which rose the primal habitations of man. It is believed that the Oriental reader will discover in these volumes the source and strength of that simple faith in Divine Fatherhood and Human Brotherhood, which, embodied in an Asiatic Peasant who was the Son of God and made divinely potent through Him, is clasping the globe with bands of heavenly light.
May this record speed on the day foreseen by the English Laureate, who looked forward to the Parliament of Religions as the realization of a noble dream, the day when
“All men’s good
Is each man’s rule, and Universal Peace
Lies like a shaft of light across the land,
And like a lane of beams athwart the sea,
Thro’ all the circle of the Golden Year.”
John Henry Barrows.
Chicago, Nov. 8, 1893.