William Porcher Dubose

Last week we were fortunate enough to have a visit from (Mockingbird favorite) Fitz Allison, […]

John Zahl / 2.22.11

Last week we were fortunate enough to have a visit from (Mockingbird favorite) Fitz Allison, the retired twelfth Episcopal bishop of South Carolina.  He was invited to speak to the book club at my church about William Porcher Dubose (1836-1918), a man whose writings in large part enabled Fitz to think through the matters he discussed in the fantastic book The Cruelty of Heresy.  He quoted a letter written by Dubose to his first wife Annie toward the end of the Civil War (in which he fought and served as a chaplain):

“I have just commenced today our reading of the Old Testament.  I will have to skip all the intervening chapters and begin afresh at the lesson for the day.  You must read by the lessons and also keep in mind during the week the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel. It will be sweet to know that we are reading and thinking together.  My traveling etc. threw me a little off my balance and I am just recovering again.  How is it that we will so often stray away from God when it is so sweet to be near Him and so full of discomfort and wretchedness to be far from Him?  If our hope rested on our own faithfulness how miserable we’d be!  But blessed be God, it rests upon His faithfulness and not ours.  Is not God’s patience and forbearance a mystery!  I am almost tempted sometimes to feel that it is useless to try Him again.  I have been so often faithless to my most sacred vows.  Then I feel I cannot live without Him and I always find Him more ready to receive me.  Oh how I wish I could be more consistent and steadfast.  The hymn beginning ‘Jesus my strength, my hope’ is a very sweet one to me.”  

You can hear the whole talk here: Fitz Allison on William Porcher Dubose 2/16/2011