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the World's Parliament of Religions at the Columbian Exposition, and to participate in the twenty-sixth annual meeting of the Free Religious Association, held in connection with the Parliament on September 20. The Parliament itself was the concrete historical realization of a dream of his own, declared in his own words twenty-one years before at the annual meeting of the Free Religious Association in 1872,- words which constitute one of the most remarkable prophecies ever uttered.

"Some of us here," wrote Potter, in the report of the executive committee on that occasion, "may live to see the day when there shall be a World's Convention, in London, or perhaps in Boston, or San Francisco, of representatives from all the great religions of the globe,- coming together in a spirit of mutual respect, confidence, and amity, for common conference on what may be for the best good of all; not to make a common creed by patching articles together from their respective faiths in which they might find themselves in agreement, but, emancipated from bondage to creed and sect, to join hands in a common effort to help mankind to higher truth and nobler living. It may be that the work of this Association will culminate in such a World's Convention a peace convention of the religions. For that grasp of hands across the dividing line of opinion, with mutual respect for the natural rights of opinion, in a common effort to get truth and to do good, is the Free Religious Association."

Such a vision as this, which at the time was regarded as the outburst of an exaggerated and extrav


agant enthusiasm, was in truth a flash of religious genius. Seldom, if ever, has a prognostication of the future been so solidly grounded in the nature of things, or a piercing glance into the secret of a faroff evolution been so amply warranted and verified by the subsequent fact. Was there not a rare poetic beauty and fitness in the conjunction of circumstances that permitted the prophet to behold the fulfilment of his own prophecy,- nay, more, to be a part of it, and to drink the delight of helping to usher in the new epoch of Universal Religion which he had so glowingly foretold and labored for so long? There is cause for gratitude to all who loved him that he should have been allowed to taste this supreme satisfaction before he died.

For the end was near. He left Chicago for New Bedford, September 24, and began in Horticultural Hall, Boston, October 22, that noble course of Sunday lectures which was the summing up of all he had won of wisdom in his beautiful life and the grand consummation of his life-work. This course he completed in Boston on December 10, occupying a room meanwhile at "The Otis," 41 Mount Vernon Street

a room that it pleased him at the time to know was situated directly over the room in which his old friend the writer was born. He repeated these lectures one by one in Worcester between November 12 and December 17, when, after preaching in the forenoon for the last time to his beloved society in New Bedford, he went in the afternoon from New Bedford to Worcester, and delivered there once more the closing lecture of his Horticultural Hall

course in the evening. That splendid discourse was his swan-song, his last word in public, the fit and beautiful ending of his faithful ministry.

On Thursday, December 21, he had the crowning happiness of performing the marriage service for his only son. His cup was full. His work was done. Late on that evening, while passing through the streets of Boston alone, the releasing summons came suddenly and without warning. Apparently he grew dizzy, and sat down to rest himself on the doorstep of No. 6 Province Court. Here he was found unconscious by passersby. Notice was given to the police, who carefully removed him to the station, where, without recovering his consciousness, he died about midnight. Identified by some papers in his pocket, he was at last delivered to his friends, borne to New Bedford, and buried, on December 26, from the noble old stone church which he had always loved and to which he had devoted the best years of his life. A great audience, comprising all the best elements of the community and filling the large auditorium, assembled in awed silence to express the universal sorrow for his death and the universal reverence for his rare personal worth the universal appreciation of the power of his thought as a preacher, the nobility of his character as a man, the beneficence of his influence as a citizen, and the incalculable good which had come to the city of his adoption through the radiance of his life and the strength, beauty, and saintliness of his soul. Such feelings and thoughts were in the minds of all, and were uttered by his two old friends who had been

summoned to speak the last words of love, grief, and hope over his lifeless form. This was laid in the earth beside that of the gentle and devoted wife who had left him fourteen years before, and whose premature departure had been the one great sorrow of his life. Thus William James Potter was gathered to his fathers, honored and loved by all.

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There is little in this record of an outwardly uneventful life to dazzle the imagination, challenge the applause, or even attract the eyes of the general public. But it is such lives that make the world worth living in. Not so much by what he did, or even by what he said, as by what he was, Potter has left an indelible impress upon the community that knew him best. He was not a great master or manager of affairs, but commanded universal respect for the soundness of his judgment and the weight of his influence. He was not a great thinker or originator of ideas, but knew how to make the best ideas of his age tell for the purification of character and of society. There was a singular moderation in his mental action which, while it hindered him from becoming a discoverer or beating out new paths of thought, qualified him admirably for the most important function of a free preacher in a free community persuasion. Bold and sincere in a rare degree, he knew how to carry his people with him and keep their sympathies, yet without stooping to conciliate their prejudices or to withhold any part of

the message he felt bound to deliver. Preeminently a reformer and innovator in religion, the calmness of his temperament, no less than the tenderness of his spirit, preserved him from arousing opposition by pressing the logic of reform beyond the willingness or ability of his hearers to follow it. Probably he owed this balance of courage and caution, this tempering of the demands of logic by the claims of sympathy, to his Quaker ancestry and early environment. But, whatever its origin, his temperamental moderation both in action and in thought saved him from that grim remorselessness in pursuing a principle to its last results which makes at once the strength of the speculative pioneer and the weakness of the practical reformer. He always stopped a little short of the extreme logic of the case. There was nothing in this that savored of concession or compromise; it was a characteristic rooted deeply in the essential quality of Potter's mind, and lay at the bottom of his success as a preacher; it made him dear to those whom he so gently led to higher levels of religious thought, because, although they felt that he did not. go too far or get out of their reach, they could also feel that he was uncompromisingly true both to himself and to them. The preacher's success is founded upon the people's belief in his sincerity, but no less upon their sympathy with the substance of what he preaches; and the very slowness with which Potter's intellect, logical as it was, moved to the remoter and subtler implications of his own thought, was a limitation which proved to be a positive power in his preaching and gave him a stronger hold upon his

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