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Title: Unfinished Rainbows: And Other Essays
Author: Anderson, George Wood
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Unfinished Rainbows: And Other Essays" ***

                          UNFINISHED RAINBOWS
                           And Other Essays

                         GEORGE WOOD ANDERSON

                  [Illustration: Abingdon Press logo]

                          THE ABINGDON PRESS
                  NEW YORK                 CINCINNATI

                          Copyright, 1922, by
                         GEORGE WOOD ANDERSON

                Printed in the United States of America


                I. Unfinished Rainbows                  5
               II. Gathering Sunsets                   12
              III. Beyond the Curtained Clouds         19
               IV. Tilling the Sky                     26
                V. Unquarried Statues                  33
               VI. The Ages to Come                    40
              VII. The Unlocked Door of Truth          47
             VIII. Weaving Sunbeams                    54
               IX. The Pathway of a Noble Purpose      61
                X. Swords for Moral Battles            68
               XI. Spiced Wine                         75
              XII. The Fever of Health                 82
             XIII. The Wisdom of the Unlearned         89
              XIV. The Strength of Weakness            96
               XV. Crumbling Palaces                  103
              XVI. The Echo of Life’s Unsung Songs    110
             XVII. Modern Judases                     117
            XVIII. The Adjustable Universe            125
              XIX. Seeing Love                        132
               XX. The Dignity of Labor               139
              XXI. Above the Commonplace of Sin       146
             XXII. The Investment of a Life           154
            XXIII. Thought Planting                   161
             XXIV. The Rosary of Tears                168
              XXV. The Hearthstone of the Heart       175
             XXVI. The Unoared Sea                    182


                          UNFINISHED RAINBOWS

The rainbow was only a fragment of an arch because the needed sunshine
was withheld. Had the sunlight been permitted to permeate all the
atmosphere with its golden glow, the arch would have spanned the entire

This is the reason why, in hours of sorrow, we do not grasp the
fullness of God’s promise; we permit the denser clouds of doubt and
faithlessness to keep the light of God from shining through our griefs;
or, with a little faith, we get a gleam of light that gives us but a
tiny fragment of the bow.

While all the operations of this natural world are tokens of God’s
unfailing thoughtfulness in keeping his covenant with man, a great
event has made the rainbow peculiarly the embodiment of that thought.
Looking from the narrow window of the wave-tossed ark, upon the
silent grandeur of a world slowly arising from the waters of an
universal flood, Noah beheld the rainbow and rejoiced in the blest
assurance, that, while the things of man are subject to the ravages
of time and destruction of contending elements, the things of God
are always stable and secure. The most permanent products of man’s
hand and mind are soon swept away, but the things of God endure, and
continue faithful, in working out their appointed courses. Through
storm or calm, events march with steady, unceasing tread, knowing
that God’s roads are never worn, and God’s bridges never tremble and
fall. Above the placid, mysterious world, calmly emerging from the
muddy, wreck-strewn waters, was the peaceful, radiant bow, smiling
in confidence upon him and his companions. The world had changed,
but the rainbow was just as it had always been, stately, serene,
and unaffrighted. The crumbling, flood-torn earth had not weakened
its foundations, the drenching rains had not faded its colors, the
hurrying, wind-swept clouds could not disturb it. Though it were made
out of hurrying light and drifting mist it would not be swayed or moved
even a little. Under its archway walked the guarding angels of God.
Over the waters came the clear voice once heard in Eden, uttering the
promise, “And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the
earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: and I will remember my

That is a sweeping promise that is literally fulfilled in nature. All
clouds carry rainbows. Most of them are never seen by us because we
lack the necessary keenness of vision, or the proper point of view
to behold their woven colors; many are only partially seen because
something intervenes and prevents a perfect intersection of heavenly
sunlight with our earth-born mists; many are within the vision of
all observing men; but, whether we see it or not, for every cloud
there is a scarf of red and orange and yellow and green and blue and
scarlet and purple. So, in spiritual matters, we find that for every
sorrow there are beautiful assurances of God’s presence and unwavering
covenant-keeping power. If we do not see them it is not God’s fault,
for the light of his faithfulness transfixes every cloud that arises
above his earth-born children.

There are the clouds of bereavement. The Death Angel defied your
love-locked doors and bolted windows. Heeding neither your cry nor
your pleadings, he entered your home and pushed aside the doctor and
attending nurses and friends, and touching the heart of your loved
one, stilled it to sleep. Your grief was such that you did not see how
you could live. The home seemed empty and strangely silent. The entire
pathway seemed shrouded in the somber shadows of your grief. Life was
a desolation. But you did not give up in despair. There was a bow in
the cloud. An arch of seven brilliant hues reached from one horizon
to another horizon, and you knew that the One in whom you had placed
your trust had proven true. He had not forgotten you. Looking at the
rainbow, the token of his covenant, you read in its mingled colors the
words of the Lord Jesus, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever
liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” In your sorrow you found
that the bow of God’s promises never trembles.

You were facing financial disaster. All your investments had proven
bad. You had been misled by false counsel. The savings of years had
been swept away by one fell swoop of disaster, and with them had gone
all the fond plans for the future of your family and loved ones. Your
head reeled as you felt the earth giving way beneath you; you were
about to close your eyes in despair, when suddenly, in the darkest
part of the overshadowing cloud, you saw the rainbow. God had not
forgotten you. Amid the whirl and destruction of things his promises
never trembled. Its gleaming colors told you that you were not alone,
and spelled such a message of hope and inspiration to your soul, that
you smiled in the face of adversity. Here was the promise, “There is no
want to them that fear Him.” You had never seen the beauty of those
words before. You felt the thrill of a new life and the confidence that
you once placed in riches, you now centered upon God.

There were the dark clouds of misplaced friendship. You were confident
that the one in whom you were placing your trust was worthy, but
through that friendship you were betrayed, and misrepresented, and
made the object of scorn and criticism. No cloud is darker than that,
no sorrow is harder to bear, and yet you did not lose confidence in
man. Above the feathered edges of the cloud was the rainbow of God’s
promise, and you knew that if even father and mother forsook you, the
Lord would take you up. The rainbow, as the symbol of God’s promise,
said: “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

But some one says, “I have never been able to grasp the _fullness_ of
these promises. Amid life’s clouds I cannot see the presence of the
Almighty.” That is not God’s fault, but because one hinders the coming
of the light. If you do not permit the Spirit of God to shine upon
your sorrow with its golden light, the ministration of the rainbow
to your sorrow-smitten soul will never be complete. The comforts
of God are known only by those who are willing to receive his holy
ministrations. The rainbow is never finished for the one who refuses
to receive Christ fully and completely into his life. He is the Light
of the world, and his presence always brings the promises of the
Father to their fullest possible earthly revelation and application.
His revelations are always complete and as comforting as they are
beautiful. His clear light of goodness has always been making battle
against the darkness of sin’s mists and fogs. He is never satisfied
until his love has intercepted every overshadowing cloud so that when
you behold the streaming banners of the bow, that always follows and
never precedes a storm, you may know that you, through him, have
already gotten the victory. Light triumphs. The overshadowing cloud is
pierced. Instead of somberness there is beauty.

The earthly rainbows will never be complete. Here we behold at best
only a segment of a perfect circle. We have but a one-world view and
therefore can behold but half the rainbow. In heaven we shall see the
completed circle, as John beheld it in his vision and exclaimed, with
rapturous delight, “There was a rainbow round about the throne.” So
glorious is the light of the great, white throne, and the face, and the
raiment of Him that sat upon it, that to angelic vision it is nestled
in the center of a perfectly rounded bow of brilliant hue.

The rainbow can never be destroyed, for the light of Christ can never
fade. Ever about the throne of God, in perfect circle, shall gleam the
steady, colored token of God’s faithfulness through all time and all
eternity. The multitude of white-robed ones that worship before the
throne are those who have come out “of great tribulation,” they are
those who have “overcome through the blood of the Lamb,” therefore it
is fitting that the one choicest treasure saved from the natural world
in which they fought their battles, and won their victories, should be
the rainbow, the richly colored symbol of God’s faithfulness and mercy.
What emotions thrill our souls in this world when we look upon the
rainbow! What memories shall sweep through our souls when we behold the
rainbow that is ever round about the great white throne of God!


                           GATHERING SUNSETS

The sunset is the sheaf of the day’s activities, wherein are bound all
the roses and poppies and fruits and grains of the passing hours, for
the experiences of life are constantly coming to full harvest. Weary
with toil and worn with watching, we do not see the riches of to-day;
or, stirred by some new ambition, our eyes become so fixed upon the
future, that to-day’s golden grain is trampled under foot and lost.
Instead of facing the morrow’s morn, rich with garnered treasures,
we greet it with empty hands. We are not householders seeking
strong-walled dwellings and broad, extending acres, but are careless,
nomadic folk, wandering aimlessly from day to day, as gypsies wander
from town to town. Having all things within our grasp, we possess
nothing. When touched by the hand of Death, and taken out of life, the
world is no more disturbed than by the bursting of a bubble on the
ocean wave.

Sunsets are sheaves, and the brilliancy of their coloring is God’s
way of calling our attention to their value. The waving of so many
golden and scarlet banners, by a myriad of unseen hands, should awaken
the most careless soul to the consciousness that something mighty is
transpiring. Such banners and pageantry passing through our streets
would awaken the entire city to wonderment and concern. For what king
are the banners waving? For what worthy cause are all these ensigns
thrown upon the wind? What victory is celebrated here? Yet the sunsets
pass unheeded, and the golden sheaf of another day is trampled under
careless feet, and left to mildew and decay.

The art of gathering sunsets, the grasping of each day’s experiences
with firm and constant hold, is one to covet. Days are not something to
“pass through.” Each day is like unto an acre of land, through which
one may hurry, as in a train, without thought of right or ownership; or
unto an acre of land which he holds in perpetual ownership, adding that
much to his estate, and increasing his income through all the days that
follow. Rather, it is a sheaf of grain, supplying food and affording
strength for an ever-increasing work which he may throw away, or keep
for future use. Sunset time is harvest time, and the evening hour is
the one in which to fill full the granaries and treasure chests for
days unborn. Sunsets should be bound with the golden cords of memory
and kept forever.

The pathway of life grows brightest for those who have wasted fewest
of their yesterdays. Hours well spent and safely garnered never lose
the brightness of their sunshine. It always glows in the sparkle of
the eye, in the brightness of a winning smile, in the warm atmosphere
of helpfulness with which they are surrounded. Hours spent in sin and
dissipation have no luster to cast upon the afterdays, but goodness
is always luminous. Hours of right-living may be likened to blazing
suns that never cease to glow. The ability to retain their brightness
means an ever-increasing splendor of life. It is this that the inspired
writer must have had in mind when he wrote that the pathway of the just
is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

The secret of perfection along any line of endeavor is the gathering
in and retaining the good, at the same time sorting out and
permanently eliminating that which is bad. It is a work of patience
and progression. It requires the fruitage of many days, the garnered
glories of many sunsets, to endow one with the riches of genius; and
not one single day should be lost. The lapidist, whose magic touch
changes pebbles into glittering jewels to adorn the neck of beauty; the
sculptor, whose mallet-stroke is so accurate that rough, ill-shapen
stones become forms of grace to inspire the generations; the
artist, whose brush quickens the common dust and clay into marvelous
paintings of unfading color and undying sentiment; the botanist, whose
carefulness transforms barren waysides into gardens, and the desert
places into banqueting halls; the metallurgist, whose powerful hand
takes the knotted lumps of ore and fashions them into the bronze doors
of a great cathedral--all these represent that priceless frugality that
will not permit a sunset to escape. Their first crude efforts were
sheaves of rich experiences, which they garnered and stored away in the
treasure chests of memory. They had the bright light of their first
sunsets to add to the morning light of their second endeavors. They
continued to store the brightness of the passing experiences. Day by
day the light grew brighter, until at last there came the perfect day,
when the whole world stood amazed at the perfection of their handiwork.
The loss of one sunset would have faded the light and dimmed the glory
of their final achievement. All perfect art is but gathered sunsets.

This law holds in the matter of spiritual perfection. God does much for
us at conversion, when, through faith in him, we are changed by his
grace into new men and new women. It is like a lost planet finding its
central sun, and resuming its accustomed place, and finding light, and
warmth, and life, and joy again. Wonderful indeed is the power of God
as manifested in the conversion of any individual, but conversion is
not perfection. Perfection is something that the inspired writer urges
us “to go unto.” “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your
faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and
to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness
brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”

Do not permit the colors of triumph to fade from your first day’s sky.
Hold on to that sunset. Each day will furnish its added beam of light.
Faith, hope, and love, and all the Christian graces will become more
beautiful for you, to you, and in you. The pathway will become brighter
and brighter. Life will have fewer shadows because the light falls upon
you from so many angles and becomes more perfectly diffused. To-morrow
can have no hindering uncertainties, for the light of the past
experiences illumines the future. There is light for every darkened
corner, and one may rejoice that all things are working together for
good, because we do love God. Gathered sunsets make life’s trail ablaze
with light.

Let no to-day become yesterday, except in the calendar, as we reckon
time. Each day must become part of us as we live in an ever-present
now. The same alphabet we learned in childhood is ours to-day. Because
we did not forget it with the setting of the sun, it served us to-day
as we spell out, in polysyllables, a newly discovered truth. The
alphabet did not fade with the death of the day we learned it, so that
it is now part of our lives. As we cannot think apart from the words
we learned long ago; and as we cannot calculate, save as we use the
first-learned characters from one to ten; so, in the developing of the
soul, we must not lose one single hour of prayer or inspiration of a
noble purpose.

Both building and growing are alike in this--they are processes of
“adding to.” Brick added to brick and timber added to timber means a
stately building. Cell added to cell means growth of body and increase
in stature. But handling brick is not enough, they must be placed with
a purpose and kept firmly fixed in the place desired. The brick of
yesterday must be where it can have added to it the brick of to-day.
Physical growth depends upon the keeping the cells of yesterday for a
foundation upon which to build the cells of to-day. Christian living is
similar. We build a character and grow a soul but the process is the
same, with both character and soul. We gain by adding to. Therefore
we must not permit any of our sunsets to fade away. All that we have
gained through prayer and Christian service must be held to brighten
each new morn. The spiritual victory over temptation, the answer to
our intercessory prayers, the moment of spiritual illumination as we
read the Bible, all these are priceless experiences upon which to add
the newer conquests of to-day. We must not permit the disease of sin
to sap our vitality and destroy the growth of yesterday. We must guard
our spiritual health that we may grow. This is what Christ meant when
he said: “Men ought always to pray.” The culture of the soul is an
eternal process. Days must not pass; they must remain as part of our
own selves.


                      BEYOND THE CURTAINED CLOUDS

One of the rarest treasures of the May time is the richness and purity
of the sky. The winter wraps the heavens in robes of somber hue as
though in mourning for the summer dead; but at the coming of the first
white cloud, and sound of first lark’s song, the sky seems to melt in
tenderness, and assume the softest, richest hue of blue. As far as the
eye can reach there is nothing but blue--soft, rich, warm, tender,
melting, soul-entrancing blue. Blue, as clear as an unshadowed midland
lake. Blue as a translucent sapphire without a flaw to disturb its
gleaming surface. A great arch of caressing tenderness through which
the white-flecked clouds ride in state, as they sail majestically from
one port of mystery to another port of mystery. Among the richest
treasures of the spring must be mentioned the deepening of the blue and
the hanging of the snow-white curtains of the clouds.

But life’s horizon is ever draped with rich folds of white and blue,
that hang like silken curtains, to hide, with tantalizing secrecy,
the mysteries that lie beyond. Day by day the curtains hide their
treasure-chests of mystery, tempting us to strike tents and journey
toward them. With the eagerness with which little children watch the
unwrapping of a Christmas package we watch the moving of these clouds,
trusting that each new shifting of the curtains will make the coveted
revelation, but as we journey on they still evade us.

Conservative people, ones who never startle themselves or their friends
by doing anything new, not that they are averse to doing anything new
but simply because they are not mentally capable of entertaining new
ideas, say that the mysteries that lie behind the curtained clouds are
childish fancies and youth’s illusions; and that energy expended in
reaching the buried treasure at the rainbow’s end were as fruitful an
enterprise. Those of us who have endeavored to solve these mysteries
know better, for we have found that the curtained clouds that hide, are
the ones that, like banners, guide us to the things we really need.

Man must not be unmindful of the ministry of mystery. Over against
everything enigmatic God has given man an insatiable desire to find
out the hidden meaning. Yielding to that divinely implanted impulse
develops powers that otherwise would atrophy. Behold the benefits
of these endeavors as they lifted the human race out of stagnation
and taught it the way of progress. Tented in the low swamplands,
eating roots and bark, man saw these curtains that suggested to his
hunger-pinched body the thought of a banqueting-hall where he might
feed. His quest never brought him to the ladened tables of his desire,
but as he journeyed he found grain and fruits and nuts and berries,
substantial food for a full twelvemonth. Dwelling amid the sick and
dying, man saw the moving of the curtains that God hangs along our
sky-line, and felt that, somewhere, beyond their folds, must exist
a spring, whose living waters would not only heal the sick but give
the drinker perpetual youth. The spring was never found, but as man
journeyed westward in the quest he found a land whose liberties and
institutions crowd a century of blessings into every decade. Toiling
with small recompense, like some dull beast of burden, man saw the
clouds that suggested a palace of ease and luxury. He failed to find
the palace of his dreams, but on the way he discovered labor-saving
machinery that has made his labor a delight, and given to every laborer
a home surpassing in comforts the baron’s stately castle.

Because of the ministry of mystery he has been able to discover
the depth and values of his own soul. In his effort to reach the
curtained clouds man has had to rally his forces, and, to meet
arising exigencies, he has been compelled to draw upon the resources
of his nature, until he startled himself with his newly discovered
possibilities and powers. He trained his body to wrestle against
physical odds; he trained his mind to master the handicaps of
ignorance; he found the glittering sword of courage with which to
destroy defeating fear; he learned the value of faith and hope with
which to enrich the soul when disaster would impoverish. Without the
effort aroused by the cloudy curtains of mystery, he could not have
found himself, and perfected his work of invention, art and letters.

The cloud curtains are also the temple curtains beyond which men are
ever seeking God. As the pillared cloud led Israel victoriously through
troubled waters and desert sands, so the mysteries of life and death,
and the natural world in which we live, have led the human mind to
religious contemplation. Man found himself entangled in the maze of
sin, helplessly confused amid the ways that wound about, and crossed,
and led to still more hopeless entanglements. Despair pointed to the
narrow, tangled ways and said, “There is nothing better.” Looking
upward, the distant clouds spoke of a larger world and greater freedom,
and beckoned man to try again. By faith he was saved. To a thoughtful,
reverent man, all nature reveals and conceals the One who brought it
into existence. An awakened soul will never be satisfied until he finds
God. He longs to see the Hand that parts the curtains and hurls the
lightnings. He yearns to see the Face whose smile fills the sky with
sunlight, and transfigures the cloudy curtains, until they become the
portals of the heavenly temple. While mystery is not the mother of
religion, it is, and ever has been, an important part of the Christian
faith. “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing,” says King Solomon.
He might have added, “It is the glory of man to search until he find

It was from behind the curtained clouds that God spoke, introducing
Jesus as the world’s Redeemer, saying, “This is my beloved Son, hear
ye him.” It was an overhanging canopy of cloud that curtained the
disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration, and it was in this curtained
tabernacle that they beheld the glory of their Lord. To hide the shame
of those who crucified His Son, God hung a curtain of cloud about the
sun, enveloping Calvary in the shades of night. It was a curtain of
cloud that hid the ascending Lord from the sight of the wondering,
astonished, fear-filled disciples. It was from amid their soft drapery
that the angels spoke of his coming again, and it is upon the clouds
that the Son of man shall come in his glory to judge the nations. From
the glory of the Patmos vision, John exclaimed, “Behold he cometh
with clouds; and every eye shall see him!” To the very end Christ is
surrounded with the curtained clouds of mystery. “And I looked, and
behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud One sat like unto the Son of
man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth, and the
earth was reaped.”

Mystery has a large part in the Christian faith, not to discourage, but
to encourage the prayerful, aspiring souls of men. The drapery of cloud
hangs all about, not to defeat, but to challenge. It is no illusion
like a great desert distance filled with the blue of emptiness, that
strews the sands with the bones of those whom it deceives, but is as
real as the curtains of the ancient tabernacle that held the symbol of
Jehovah’s presence. Life’s mysteries are often most tantalizing; its
problems artfully made difficult of solution; but always within their
depths is God.

To-day, for our development, it is the glory of God to conceal a
matter, but it is the promise that some day we shall see, not through
the mists darkly, but face to face with God. Some day we shall
pass beyond the cloudy portals, and the vision of God and our own
immortality shall lie before our enraptured vision. The puzzle of life
shall there find perfect solution. The equation in which life is now
the unknown quantity shall find its answer. In that cloudless land we
shall know even as we are known. The shadows of death are the last
shadow the soul of the righteous shall ever see. Until that glad day
comes, let us fit ourselves, through prayer and goodness, to receive
such revelations of the mystery of godliness as God may care to reveal
as he parts the curtains of our life’s horizon, knowing that we journey
to a perfect, unclouded day.


                            TILLING THE SKY

Man, that must till the soil for the building of his body, must also
till the sky for the growing of his soul. This was the thought of a
little woman among the Ozarks, who had given a long and beautiful life
in training her people of the hills. It was Commencement Day in the
college she had founded. Gathered about her were the young men and
young women from the humble homes of those rugged hills. They were now
leaving her sheltering care to “commence” life. She was such a tiny
bit of woman, but through the lens of tears in those students’ eyes,
she was greater and more stately than any queen. Her eyes gleamed with
a love-lighted moisture, her lips trembled with great emotions as she
rose to offer her last words of counsel. She knew that very soon they
would be beyond the reach of her voice, and her desire was to write
just one more message upon the pages of their memories, a message that
should never be erased. Breathlessly we awaited her words, which were
these: “My children, whatever you do, or wherever you go, this one task
I place before you. Continue your study of astronomy, for there is
nothing that so uplifts and widens one’s life as a study of the sky.”

These were not the words of a mere dreamer, but of a very practical
woman, and were words of wisdom uttered to young men and young women
who were practical students, yearning to make their lives count. These
students were trained observers who would travel that they might see
things as they are; they were scholars who would study in order to make
discoveries. They were to enter the strain and struggle of competition.
They were to match their brawn and brain against honest rivalry and
unscrupulous dishonesty. They were not entering paradise, yet, amid
it all, the one who yearned most for their unmeasured success and
honor, urged them to cast their plowshare deep into the wide expanse of
overarching blue, whose owner is God, but whose harvests belong to the

The little woman was very practical, for a man must not permit the
narrowing influences of earthly endeavor to cramp and destroy the soul.
This is the tendency of most of our daily duties, even those of the
most fascinating and absorbing scientific character. A man may follow
the footsteps of Luther Burbank and devote his life to the study of
plants, and through his magic touch, may bring beauty of form and
richness of flavor to bud and blossom, vegetable and fruit, and yet
the very fascination of the work may bind him into a narrow world of
just buds and blossoms, vegetables and fruits. He may, like Edison or
Steinmetz, choose the fairyland of electricity; or, like Madame Curé,
enter the enchanted realm of radio-activity; or, like Morse and Bell
and Davenport, become wizards in the world of invention, and find a
joy that is as perilous as it is unutterable. Any realm of nature or
invention, absorbs and fascinates as clover blossoms claim the bee.
He who studies will find that a lifetime is too short to fathom the
unmeasured depths of an atom or explore the mysteries of one drop of

But the very fascination of these things is their peril, for the
tendency of any line of endeavor is to narrow and to restrict one’s
life. One need not yield to this tendency, but the chances are that
he will. Darwin reports spending several delightful years studying
fish-worms, but while engaged in this absorbing task he lost all
taste for music. Ericsson had a similar experience. Planning, with
steel armor, to remake the navies of the world, he refused his soul
all sound of blended tones, endeavoring to feed his whole nature on
armor plate. It was not until Ole Bull, against Ericsson’s desire,
entered his factory, and began playing his violin, that the great
inventor became a weeping, willing captive, kneeling at the shrine of
music, tearfully confessing that he had then found that which he had
lost, and for which his soul had been craving. When a man, through the
microscope, begins a life study of the infinitesimal, he is apt to get
his own ego into the field of vision and magnify himself. On the other
hand, considering only his own achievements in art or architecture,
one is apt to exaggerate his own importance saying, “Is not this great
Babylon, which I have builded?” However, when he begins to study the
stars and comprehend something of the vastness of the plan upon which
God has made the heaven and the earth, he will see his own littleness
and exclaim with the psalmist, “When I consider thy heavens, the work
of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what
is man?”

No earth-made ceiling is high enough for a growing brain. Each
individual must have a God-made sky in which to lift his head and think
the thoughts of the Almighty. The earthly thing upon which we set our
affection and which we think so essential may mean the wreck and ruin
of the soul. It is easy to neglect the brain, and direct all one’s
energies toward gaining earthly possessions, not for the opportunities
afforded for benevolence, but that one may dress in style and enjoy a
social life, not knowing that it is far better to be a great thinker
than to be the best dressed man in Paris. Poverty may be infinitely
better than wealth when the individual has a familiar sky above his
head and a good book in his hand. How insignificant are earth’s
greatest obstacles compared with the immensities of stellar space!
Nothing can hinder the man who is accustomed to measure the distances
between stars. With his eyes on the distant suns, poverty becomes a
mole-hill; poor health, but a breath of mist; and success is within
easy reach. It is good for one to till the sky until he learns the
vastness of his Creator’s thoughts.

One of the richest harvests garnered from the sky is a revelation of
the accuracy with which God works. The stars do not dwell in a land of
“Hit and Miss,” and eclipses are not accidental happenings. No ship
cuts the waves of the sea with half the accuracy as star and planet
move in their appointed courses. There are no swervings nor deviations
from the plan of God, so that an astronomer can calculate the exact
second when a comet will return from its long journey through unseen
realms; as well as foretell the conjunction of planets a thousand years
from now. God has appointed an exact second for the rising of the sun,
and another exact second for its setting, and man knows what both of
them are a thousand years before the day arrives. Then let us till
the sky until we learn that He who planned the high-arched blue, and
marked orbits for stars and planets, is also the Designer of our own
lives, and has set for us a divine purpose somewhat like the vastness
of the sky. Yielding ourselves to God as the heavenly constellations
yield themselves to their controlling powers, each one has a greater
life to live, and a more sublime destiny to attain, than his fondest
dreams. How foolish it is to till the soil for money, and miss the very
essence of life, by failing to utilize the sky that yields such tender
ministries with so little effort!

It is well to look upward and learn a lesson of patience, for the open
sky teaches that the plans of God are not worked out in a day. The
journey from star-dust to harvest-ladened planet peopled by a happy
family of contented men, requires many millions of years, yet, from the
beginning it was in the mind of God. He has never altered his plan,
but with divine accuracy the work has passed from stage to stage of
development with perfect progression. With such an example, we must
learn patience and not become discouraged when we cannot see the end
from the beginning. A child can make a shelf full of mud pies in one
summer’s afternoon, and they will last no longer than the first rain.
Hasty work means wasted effort. Life that endures must be planned of
God, fulfilled with astronomical accuracy, and most patiently developed.

How wonderful the brain that is molded after something of the vastness
of the open sky, and how thrilling to walk and till the fields of
heavenly blue! We were meant for those heights. It does not require
a very great elevation in the pure atmosphere of a Western State to
push back the horizon forty and fifty miles. This planet is not the
objective of life. It is only the hilltop where God has placed us for a
little while that we may catch a vision as wide as the universe and as
high as his own White Throne.


                          UNQUARRIED STATUES

Michael Angelo, with his statues of David and Moses, proved that
Phidias and Praxiteles had not exhausted the marvelous possibilities
of the art of sculpture. Rodin, with his “Thinker,” has shown,
while Phidias and Praxiteles demonstrated the possibility of giving
immortality to the unsurpassed beauty of Grecian form, and while
Michael Angelo revealed the power of expressing grace, as in David,
and commanding leadership, as in Moses, that the achievements of these
two schools of art were the Pillars of Hercules, not marking the limit
of art, but the open gateway to uncharted seas and undiscovered realms
in the art of reshaping marble. There is not a lofty sentiment of the
soul, a struggling aspiration toward goodness, or form of idealism
that cannot be made to live in marble, and exert undying influence.
There is more than “an angel in the block of marble.” There are all the
hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, laughter and tears, longings and
aspirations, desires and despairs; there is all that is manly, noble,
and heroic, lying in any block of marble awaiting the coming of the
liberating chisel. What inspiration to the young artist of to-day, and
what joy to all lovers of the beautiful! The depths of earth are stored
with a wealth of unquarried statues.

The progress of civilization is ofttimes hindered because youth, in
thinking of statues, consider the pedestals upon which they rest rather
than the depth from which they were quarried. They very often do not
care to begin life at the right place. Because they covet praise, and
enjoy the warm, congenial atmosphere of appreciation, they shun the
depths, hours of loneliness, the unrequited toil of preparation, and
the laborious efforts of beginning. Modeling clay is an important part
of the achievement; but getting the proper marble is one of the first

The experience of Michael Angelo is common to all men of real
achievement: he found that the market place does not offer marble
blocks of sufficient size for him to work out his divine conception.
Hucksters and makers of money in the market place seldom understand
ambitious youth that asks for larger blocks than they are capable
of handling. Their idea of a great thought is an ornament for the
mantelpiece. But men of achievement will not be daunted. Locking
his studio, Angelo went to superintend the breaking of blocks in
the mountain of Carrara, and when the sluggish-minded people of the
mountains refused to do his bidding, he opened new quarries in Seravez.
Before he could carve his statue he knew that he must quarry a block of
marble sufficiently large. He knew also that the block of marble could
be had for the digging. He found what he needed but did not exhaust the
treasury. The world still has the material, richer than that which made
Angelo and Rodin famous, awaiting the youth of ambition to undertake
great things, and the willingness, at any cost, to superintend the
breaking of the marble blocks from the buried storehouses.

The pleasure of nature is to store her raw material in seemingly
inaccessible strongholds. She does not willingly yield them to men
lacking vision and great conceptions. If they were of easy access,
common men would crush them to make roads for donkeys to tramp over.
Nature’s treasures are too valuable for ignorance to destroy, so she
locks them in secret depths or inaccessible heights, awaiting the
coming of the man of genius. If only a man yields himself to the divine
leadings, and catches a vision of a statue like Moses, or a façade
for the Church of San Lorenzo, or for a mausoleum for the Medici,
no mountainside is too steep to chisel a roadway through the jagged
rocks, no morass so yielding but that a solid highway may be erected,
no water so troubled but that boats may safely transport the precious
marble. He will not depend upon hirelings nor lean upon borrowed
strength. The dream of beauty must be wrought in marble, the unquarried
statue must be lifted from obscurity and made to live in some public
place, therefore he will personally attend to the breaking of the

It is not an easy matter to live out a divine idea and make it a thing
tangible and real for a critical world to examine and criticize and
afterwards love and venerate. Sluggards and lovers of ease cannot do
it. To them an unquarried statue is only a stone. For centuries no one
has given it any attention; why should they? They would rather have
something to eat and drink. A cushioned chair is far more comfortable
to sit on, and a potato is much more substantial food. What they want
is something to eat, and a place in which to lounge, and because they
do not see the value of great ideas they can never be forgotten when
dead, for they were never known while living.

He lives who forgets to live and concentrates all his powers in
bringing to light the vision of his beauty-loving soul. It may be
the beauty of art or the beauty of worthy living; it may be the
beauty of perfect workmanship in shop or factory, or the beauty of a
wholesome influence flowing from noble character; it may be loveliness
of sympathetic serving, or the beauty of aggressive battle for
righteousness; it may take any one of many forms of exalted thinking
and endeavor, yet its realization comes only when one eats, and drinks,
and bends every energy, not for the sake of living, but for the
realization of that which is more than living.

How lamentable for a human life to end and find at the final judgment
that all its days were of less value to the world than that of a coral
polyp! How wonderful for one to be made out of dust, and after a while
to crumble back into dust, and yet, refusing to grovel in the dust,
leave the world richer, and better, and more beautiful, so that people
of another age will breathe his name in reverence as they behold that
which he hath wrought. Professor Finsen, the inventor of the “light
cure,” was an invalid for many years, yet he labored like a slave, in
the severest self-denial, to bring his invention, without compensation,
to the service of the world’s sick and suffering. He had but one dread
and that was the regret of dying, and leaving his little five-year-old
boy without any memory of his father. He desired to live long enough
to impress his face and life upon the memory of his son, that, in the
after years, the growing man would never forget the one who toiled so
earnestly for him. He did not want to be forgotten. How little did he
dream of the immortality that was his! He found an unquarried statue
in the sunbeam where others had overlooked it. Through ceaseless toil
he brought it within the vision of the world and gained a name that
countless ages will not forget.

How wonderful to be the son of such a man! And though the image of the
father’s face be blotted from the memory, the statue that he carved
will help and heal the generations. How wonderful to be the son of such
a man, but how much more wonderful it is to be the man himself! To
fight with optimistic heart against the ravages of disease, to overcome
the natural yearnings of a father’s heart, to endure the most slavish
toil without thought or hope of compensation, to be a sick man fighting
for others who were sick; a dying man making battle against disease
that others may not taste of death!

This is the joy unspeakable, to know that life is not in vain, but
everlastingly worth while. The visions shall not fade as summer clouds
at twilight time, but shall live in that which is as imperishable as
marble. Each one can say with deep resolve: “Men shall behold the
beauty of my soul by beholding the beauty of my daily life. Since
words are blossoms, I shall, with gracious speech, show my friends how
choice a garden I have planted in my heart. Since every blossom bears
a seed I shall take pleasure in planting them within the hearts of
others, that the beauty of my life may live in them. Out of the marble
block that it has been mine to break from its hiding place, I shall
carve the image I have treasured so long within my heart.” To do this
is to find a joy unspeakable. Life is not useless, but gloriously worth
while. Eating, and drinking, and toiling for that which is far more
than life, one can never die.


                           THE AGES TO COME

No matter how earnestly we may love our life-calling, and rejoice in
our chosen field of activity, there are hours when the easiest task
becomes irksome and its daily repetition seems unbearable. However
healthy the soul and robust the moral nature, a constant onslaught of
sorrow may wound like a poisoned dart, filling the soul with painful
forebodings. Beholding the transitoriness of life, and the apparent
frailty and uncertainty of those things upon which we place our
heaviest dependence, we become depressed, and feel that nothing is
permanent and that life’s products are but empty shadows. These are
common experiences, and their frequent repetition does not lessen their
depressive power. Coming upon us to-day they are just as hurtful as
when they challenged us for the first time.

That we may overcome these disagreeable tendencies, and live a life
victorious, Paul revealed the secret of his own achievements. To him
work never became drudgery, sorrow never festered or left a feverish
wound, while even the most commonplace incident was of the deepest
significance because he had learned to acquire and maintain a deep
perspective that placed each moment of time in the white light of
eternity. He believed that we are not created for the hour but for the
centuries, and that we must work not so much for the present hour as
for the years that are yet to be. The one purpose of every word and
deed, to Paul, was to “show the ages to come the exceeding riches of
God’s grace.”

As the prolific and luxuriant vegetation of the carboniferous age
bordered the lakes with ferns, the rivers with reeds, and the hillsides
and valleys with gigantic trees of grotesque form, that, in the ages to
come, man might have the exhaustless coalbeds to protect him from the
cold; as the coral polyps, buried beneath the waves, love and labor and
die, generation after generation, until a coral island lifts its head
to receive the kisses of the passing waves and extend the arms of a
protecting harbor, that, in the ages to come, the storm-tossed mariners
may find safe shelter against the stormy wind and wave; so you and I
are to love, and labor, and die, not for ourselves, but that the ages
to come, through our goodness and fidelity, may behold the riches of
God’s grace.

This does not mean that we are to so bury the present in the future
that our lives shall consist of nothing save vague dreams and
idle contemplations. It means the opposite. We are to magnify the
present and give it increasing value by crowding it with an eternal
significance. We are not to drop to-day into the silent ocean of the
future and see it fade from sight, but into to-day we are to crowd
to-morrow and all the other to-morrows that shall follow. Instead of
losing the drop of water in Niagara we are to crowd all the dash and
splendor and power of Niagara into the single drop of water; instead
of losing the dew in the ocean, we crowd the ocean into the dewdrop;
instead of burying the present into the future, we gather all eternity
and crowd it into a single lifetime, so that every second of time
becomes as precious as a thousand years of eternity, and the smallest
task we have to perform becomes as sacred as the songs of the angels.

When one possesses this conception of life that crowds a vast eternity
within the compass of a single individual life, no toil can ever become
drudgery. Every deed has divine significance. The most ordinary task
will be performed carefully, knowing that it must stand the scrutiny
and criticisms of the passing centuries. We labor then with the various
elements of life, as the artists of Venice toil with their priceless
mosaics, willing to spend a lifetime of painstaking endeavor in
forming a single feature of a saint, knowing that long after they
themselves have ceased to toil the wisdom of untold centuries shall
review their efforts to either praise or blame. Hitherto we have
despised the commonplace things that fell to our hands, while we
busied ourselves searching for some great thing worthy of our effort,
with the result that nothing has been accomplished; now we find, that
that only is truly great which is commonplace. Divine opportunities
are everywhere. In the low-browed man upon the street we see the
possibility of an ennobled and redeemed humanity. In the waif, crying
from hunger, we see the center of world-wide and eternal destinies.
Words are winged messengers, so we learn to study them with care, and
speak them with the precision with which a musician strikes his chords.
Divine destinies are depending upon the perfection with which we toil,
adding a charm to every endeavor that never fades with weariness. There
can be no drudgery to him who has a perspective eternity long.

This conception of life which Paul gives us will carry us unharmed
through all the misfortunes of life. It is impossible for us to escape
sorrow. By rigid economy we may save our money only to have it stolen
by a deceitful friend; we may build a home, only to find it purchased
and occupied by another; loved ones, more precious than our own lives,
have been lured from our side by the hand of death. These hours are
naturally dark and of tortuous length, and if it were not for the fact
that we have learned to think in terms of eternity, we would die of a
broken heart. But we do not die; we pass through them with triumphant
tread. The soul sobs but does not bleed; the heart hurts but does
not break. We are not living for this world alone; our horizon has
been widened because we have been lifted to a higher level; we can
now see two worlds; our faith sweeps onward as far as God can think.
The earthly home for which we planned and toiled has passed into the
hands of another, but we rejoice in the knowledge that we have a home,
not made with toiling, blistered hands of earth, but one eternal in
the heavens. Our loved ones no longer greet us at the table or occupy
their accustomed places in the family circle, but we have not lost them
forever. They have simply passed from time into eternity, and because
we also are the children of eternity, they are still our own, and we
shall see them once again. Thank God for the transforming power that
comes into every human life when, by divine aid, one crowds eternal
significance into his days, and works, not for himself, but for “the
ages to come.”

Paul’s view of life enables us to find perfect satisfaction in working
with the frailties of time in building that which is immortal in
character and service. Possessed with such a purpose, the spider’s
web becomes a cable, dust becomes slabs of marble, and seconds
becomes decades. There is nothing more fragile than a word, spoken in
stammering weakness, but with a trembling desire to be of service,
yet out of one word fitly spoken may be created an influence that
sweeps heaven and earth. A faltering word of Christian testimony was
spoken by a godly man made weak by an unconquerable embarrassment,
but his utterance proved mighty. Lodging in the heart of Charles
Spurgeon, it started him on his wonderful career that is yet shaking
all Christendom. The smile of the face is far more delicate than
the frailest blossom that opens its soft petals in obedience to the
caressing influence of the sun, for its existence is but for the
fraction of a second; yet one kindly, love-illumined look has been the
force that has lifted multitudes of mortals out of despondency and
uselessness, and made them the creators of mighty moral and religious
forces. It was a smile that saved John G. Wooley for the cause of
temperance. A smile, and a word, and the gift of a handkerchief were
all that Frances E. Willard used to redeem one of the most notorious
characters of Chicago, and make her one of God’s ministers of light
among the fallen.

When one learns to live with the light of eternity flooding his pathway
there is not an event in life so small and insignificant that he
cannot employ it to create, and afterward use it, to sustain eternal
influences. There is joy now in living for Christ, but let us live,
not for that joy alone, but that, in the ages to come, we may show the
exceeding riches of God’s grace. Let them, through us, behold what the
grace of God can do to save, to keep, to empower, and to make immortal
such sin-smitten ones as we have been. This is the secret for making
toil pleasant, sorrows helpless, and the humblest effort an enterprise
of such character as crowds earth with richer meaning, and fills the
heavens with new-found joys. Show them that the greatest of all known
forces is a Christ-filled life.


                      THE UNLOCKED DOOR OF TRUTH

History has proven that the power of the “All Highest” War Lord is
as weak as a baby’s arm compared with the power of the humblest
individual who has entered into and taken possession of some great
truth. A thousand lords and ladies were gathered within the Babylonian
palace which was ablaze with light and filled with music. All hail to
King Belshazzar! His praises were upon every lip. All honor to the
royal family that had lifted the hanging gardens above the low-lying
plains, who had swung gates of bronze and planned the mightiest city
in the world. Every lip praised and every heart feared the power of
the daring king. But when the finger of God wrote a message of fire
upon the palace walls it was no longer Belshazzar who was ruler. The
fate of king and lord and ladies was in the hand of Daniel. He alone
of that great throng had seen and entered into the truth of temperance
and self-control. Such was the sustaining power of that possessed
truth that when the man-made king trembled, and a nation crumbled into
oblivion, he alone stood unmoved and triumphant amid the wreck and

Before the throne of ecclesiastical autocracy the rulers of the nations
bowed in weakness and everlasting shame. The autocracy of superstition
is the most merciless and deadly known, but when the power of Rome was
at the zenith of her unscrupulous reign, Martin Luther, a common man
with uncommon sense, discovered and entered into the great truth that
“the just shall live by faith.” Entering into that truth, he found a
power before which the claims of the Pope became insignificant, and by
his boldness, brought religious liberty to the people, thus gaining
universal love and immortality.

Mary was Queen of England, and with that overzeal of religious bigotry,
was ruling with unquestioned power and severity. Hugh Latimer was only
a humble preacher, one of the least of the queen’s subjects, living
among the poor, but beside him, Queen Mary sinks into everlasting
contempt. The robes of fire wrapped his body in their golden folds,
hiding him forever from the sight of man, but the world has not
forgotten him. His dust knows no burial place, but because he lived in
the sheltering tabernacle of a great truth he will live forever in the
hearts of those who love religious tolerance, while the dust of Mary
crumbles in the gruesome vault at Westminster Abbey, with no lip to
sing her praises to the passing generations. Royal or ecclesiastical
power is nothing compared with the enduring authority of a common man
who has found, and entered into, and wholly and completely lives a
great eternal truth of God.

Truth incarnate in human life is almighty, but truth in the abstract is
as helpless as is the dust of the Egyptian highways, which witnessed
the world’s mightiest pageants, but which are unable to tell the
story of mighty armies, royal cavalcades, and kingly processions that
once tramped upon them. Truth has always existed. However conceited
a religious leader may be, no one ever dared to presume himself
the creator of a truth. Long before the world had settled upon its
foundations, and the constellations of stars, like chandeliers, swayed
and swung their pendants of light, all truth beat and throbbed within
the heart of the Almighty. Throughout the beauty of verdant slope,
crested wave, and starlit sky, these words of encouragement have ever
rung: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The
truths of civilization have been in existence since creation, yet in
every century heathenism has flourished. The truth about human freedom
has always been, yet Rameses sat upon a throne and drove the Hebrews
to their task, beating their backs with knotted thongs and murdering
their children; the barons lived in palatial palaces fed in luxury,
while serfs toiled for harvests which they could never gather, and
starving, dared not plead for a morsel of the food their toil provided;
the Sultan of Turkey reveled in orgies, flagrant and disgusting, while
humble Armenians were torn asunder, their bleeding bodies fed to swine,
their wives and children tortured beyond belief, while no civilized
nation dared lift its hand in protest. Truth, in itself, is not
omnipotent. To be of value, truth must be entered into and possessed.

Every truth has a door. To ignorance the door is barred and bolted.
To thoughtlessness, the door remains unseen. Only to the eye trained
with prayer, faith in God, and love for man, is given the vision of
these bright portals, and the possession of the key by which he can
unlock the door and enter into and enjoy the truth, which the world
has long known by heart, but which had never enveloped, sheltered,
and controlled their lives. If he has the courage to use the key and
open the door and enter in, he shall not only feel the saving power of
God, but he shall leave an open way through which all men may pass to
greater power. If he refuses to unlock the door, and, like the learned
ones of whom Christ spoke, carries away the key, entering not in
themselves and hindering those who would enter, he becomes an exile,
without home through time and eternity.

That we may more clearly comprehend this truth let us consider a
chapter of American history. Hayne had finished his classic and
convincing speech. With gracious charm he had proclaimed the doctrine
of union without liberty, a nation of free people, half slave. The rapt
attention and tribute of silent applause from the audience told how
critical the situation had become. Opposed to him was Daniel Webster,
America’s favorite child of genius, whose face was as classic as a
Greek god’s, and whose commanding bearing won battles like a general.
He was a scholar of the strong New England type, searching for the
key to unlock the truth that the nation needed, and make it of easy
access to the people. He saw that there could be no union without
universal freedom. Hour after hour he proclaimed the truth, making the
mightiest speech the nation had ever heard, swaying his audience back
to the realm of clear thinking. Finally, with one sentence, “Union
and liberty, now and forever, one and inseparable,” he revealed to an
awakened nation that he had found the key that would unlock the door of
truth that the hour needed. But in his hour of triumph, dazzled by the
possibility of becoming President, he refused to use the key. To gain
the solid South he uttered his fateful speech for compromise. The North
held its breath in expectancy while New England sobbed like one bereft
of his favorite child. He who had the key refused to enter in himself
and hindered those who would have entered.

But New England had another son of genius who, on the eventful night
that Webster, with trembling fingers, tried, and failed, to pick up the
key that he had thrown away, left Faneuil Hall with blazing, burning
thoughts. He too had found the way, but was unknown and untried. Again
he was in Faneuil Hall sitting beside James Russell Lowell, listening
to the mad mouthings of men, who, for the money involved, were
endeavoring to rechristen Wrong and call it Right. He had waited weary
weeks, but now he was unable to keep back his flaming indignation.
Rising, he began to speak. On the very platform where Webster had
fallen he began to plead the right of human liberty. New England was
thrilled with hope. Here at last was a man who not only saw the truth
but was determined to enter into it. With the confidence of a prophet
he used the key, unlocked the door and showed a nation the way it ought
to go.

Truth must become incarnate in man and man must be incarnate in truth.
Every Christian man will testify to this. In childhood you committed
scripture which had little meaning to your childish mind. It was not
until in the after years when sorrow came, and grief blinded the eye,
and pain wounded the heart, that the clear, sweet voice of memory began
to repeat these verses, and what had been meaningless in childhood
became great, wholesome, sheltering, protecting truths, in which you
found all the consolations of God.

It is a wonderful hour when the soul enters into and takes possession
of God’s great truth, becomes the master of all its stored up power,
and begins to use it in the service of love. It is a wonderful
experience and need never be delayed, for the door is easy to find.
Years ago earth was blessed by the coming of One who worked hard at
the carpenter trade, and in the school of toil and prayer, found the
way that scholars had overlooked. Standing before kings and earthly
potentates he said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” His spirit
is the way for men to live, the door through which they pass into all
truth, the life of fullest spiritual development. Christ is the open
way to every truth. Through him men attain the proper point of view,
and, learning to obey the Father as did he, begin to live the life


                           WEAVING SUNBEAMS

Nature is always busy weaving sunbeams, and not one of them, like a
knotted thread, is cast from her loom. The waves cast their crystal
spray upon the sands to waste away, but not so with the sun as he
lavishly casts his beams broadcast o’er the earth. Not one of them
goes upon a fruitless errand, and not one of them fails to reach its
intended goal. It is not that the sun is wise in directing its energy,
but because the earth is ready to utilize, with untiring fidelity, the
gift of sunlight.

How abundantly the sunbeams come! The arched sky is an upturned basket,
out of which God is pouring his wealth of sunlight upon a thirsty,
needy planet. These rays of light fall everywhere, because they are
needed everywhere. Upon arctic snow and desert sand and undiscovered
ocean waves they fall as readily as upon the forests of Brittany or
the vineyards of France. They place their gleaming coronets upon the
crystal brows of the Alps. They dance and flash their jewels, as they
hold carnival in the Northern Lights. Even after the sun is set they
peer at us through the parted clouds and leap at us from their hiding
places in the moon. They fall in the most inaccessible places, yet
none of them are ever wasted. As the parched earth drinks raindrops,
so the old world absorbs sunbeams. Swifter and more powerful than
the leaping waters of a cataract are they poured upon the earth--a
Niagara, world-wide and sun-high, with never-ceasing floods of light
that bathe each portion of the globe. They are not piled in heaps; they
do not swish and whirl, cutting a gorge through solid rock, or form a
whirlpool to menace humanity, but the earth absorbs them all, however
rapidly they come, and places them in her mysterious loom. Here, in
the depths, beyond our sight, the sunbeams are woven into invisible
cords that hold the needles of all the compasses to the north that
no traveler need be lost in the forest, and no ship perish in the
sea. Here, in the depths, the sunbeams are woven into mighty cables
of electric power that man picks up with the fingers of the dynamo
and compels to lift his burdens, pull his trains, propel his ships,
and serve him in a thousand ways. Here, in the depths, is woven that
mysterious power that carries the wireless message through the rocks of
the mountains and the channels of the sea, and wraps the earth in a
diaphanous garb that makes the wireless telephone a possibility.

The world we see is but woven sunbeams. The forests of oak are the
sunbeams of yesterday, wrought into gnarled and knotted fingers to
grasp the sunbeams of to-day and wind them on a myriad unseen shuttles.
Soon they shall appear woven in the texture of notched leaf and carved
chalice of the acorn’s cup. The sunbeams falling upon the tangled
branches of the hillside vineyard, are woven into buds, and leaves,
and clinging tendrils, and afterward into the rich cluster of luscious
grapes. The sunbeams fall upon the buried seed and are woven into an
emerald lever with which the clod is lifted, into sturdy leaves that
are chemical laboratories where crude sap is changed into milk, into
heads of golden wheat with which to feed a thoughtless, hungry world.
Sunbeams are woven into corn and oats, into apples and peaches, into
nuts and berries. Falling along the railroad grade, they are woven into
violets; falling in the swamps, they are woven into buttercups; falling
in the thicket, they are woven into the silken folds of the wild-rose

As nature weaves the sunbeam and not the shadow so man ought to develop
his power of utilizing happiness and joy. The sunshine of life ought
not to be thrown away like confetti and ribbon papers on a gala day.
Thoughtlessly our youths and maidens dance and sing in giddy, senseless
manner, throwing away sunbeams as though their lives were only bits of
colored glass through which the light of joy and happiness should pass.
Having no looms with which to weave their sunbeams into that which
would adorn their souls with garments of ever-growing life, they soon
become old and haggard, lifeless and dead, a burned-out planet like
the moon, unable to appreciate the sunlight that never fails to fall.
Much of the difference between men is due to the ability of one and
the inability of the other to make the passing joys of life become a
permanent, abiding element of his life.

There is no life without sufficient sunlight to weave a gracious
personality. Wholesomeness of character is not the result of partiality
on God’s part, neither is hideous irritability of disposition
occasioned by God’s neglect of one of his children. The difference
between wholesomeness and unwholesomeness of character is that of the
right and wrong use of the blessings which God bestows upon all alike.
He who casts his sunbeams away will find old age desert and lifeless,
while he who weaves them all into a pleasing personality, will always
experience the joy of a more abundant life. A smile is softer than a
silken fiber and wears far longer. Its colors never fade, nor pass out
of style. Woven into a robe of genuine cheerfulness the soul possesses
rich adornment. These are the individuals whom children love, men seek
to honor, and all the world respects. A king’s robe is commonplace
compared with the attractive vesture of a healthy, cheerful disposition
which anyone may weave out of sunbeams, with which God crowds even the
most secluded, humble lives.

This occupation is also the secret of sound and vigorous influence.
All men possess the power of influence, but even when one has the best
intentions he may wield a harmful, baleful influence because of an
irritable and complaining disposition. A petulant temper and irascible
disposition are the thunder that curds much of the milk of human
kindness, and an application of alum will not tend to sweeten the curd.
With a sharp tongue one may be driven to hard labor, but the wounds
he carries in his heart will prevent him from performing a perfect
task. Scolding and fault-finding have driven multitudes into iniquity.
It is difficult to drive bees, but one can lure them any distance
with a field of blooming clover. By forgetting to weave sunbeams into
wholesome character one not only loses the joy of being cheerful but
fails in one of the supreme objectives of life--that of wielding
intelligently a helpful, healthy, and enduring influence.

The secret of achievement may also be described as weaving sunbeams.
In a victorious life the blessings of God take permanent place in the
work of hand and brain. Such a life is a loom which receives only
that he may produce, the quality of the production depending upon
the care and patience with which he works, indifference producing
mediocrity, carefulness leading to perfection. What the world calls
genius is simply the mastery of the gracious art of weaving sunbeams
into polished sentences, enduring thoughts, embroidered tapestry,
living poem, inspiring painting, and graceful statue. The way out
of mediocrity is to weave one’s personal blessings into world-wide

Here also is found the way to overcome life’s obstacles. A frown
never wins a battle. It was a singing army that crossed the sea and
helped win the World War. Amid the dangers, hardships, and privations
our soldiers gathered sunbeams, and with a cheerfulness never before
witnessed upon a field of battle did their full part. Trenches,
barbed-wire entanglement, and treacherous pitfall are nothing to one
who weaves his sunbeams into song. Thus all difficulties fade away and

These statements are only another way of saying that one should weave
God into every fiber of life. The sun is always emblematic of the
Father, and he who weaves sunbeams will know and love God. This is no
idle saying, nor a bit of rhetoric, but a soul-saving truth. It is the
sun that banishes the shadows; it is God who enables us to overcome
our temptations, pain and sorrow. The more we utilize his revelations
the brighter the pathway, until at last we shall stand in his presence
and have no more need of the sun, for we have him. “They shall hunger
no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them,
nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall
feed them, and shall lead them into living fountains of waters: and God
shall wipe all tears from their eyes.” Weaving sunbeams in a world of
shadows, we prepare ourselves for the unshadowed land where God is the
everlasting Light. There, without sin or suffering, we shall know God.


                    THE PATHWAY OF A NOBLE PURPOSE

As the sleepless eye thirsts for the dawn, and the troubled child
hungers for the sound of its mother’s voice, so each growing soul
seeks a coveted goal the attaining of which, to him, means success.
As boys, to be boys, must dream their dreams of strife and conflict
upon a battle’s front, and girls, to be girls, must dream their milder
dreams of love, so coming maturity demands of each aspiring soul that
he linger long upon the visions of strife that lead to success. It is
well to seek for great things, for each success that enters the golden
portals of our lives brings many chariots filled with golden gifts.
Returning to his home, the Roman victor was honored with a triumph in
which, on golden plate and velvet spread, the trophies and spoils of
conquest were displayed. In this way the ambitious Roman youth learned
that success is always attended by a great procession of rich rewards.
The one who conquers feels more than the soul-thrill of victory. Like
Samson, he finds the unexpected reward of a carcass filled with honey
awaiting his hungry lips.

While success is worthy of one’s best efforts, and all men hunger for
it, very few, indeed, have ever reached that happy goal. They failed
because they refused to follow the pathway of a noble purpose. They
believed that success was altogether a matter of outward form. Seeing
the conqueror riding in triumphant procession, they thought that the
applause arose, not because he had conquered, but because he wore
a helmet and a shield. Hurrying to an emporium, they too purchased
helmets and shields and strutted forth to win a world’s applause.
Foolish souls! The public eye is keen and penetrating and always
apprehends the truth. If the people greet a king with shouts, it is not
because they see a gleaming crown, but because they recognize a royal
soul beneath the crown. If the multitude cheer a warrior, it is not
because he bears a standard, but because, in courageous conflict, he
won a battle for the people. Spain greeted the discoverer of America,
not because of the grain and fruit he brought, but because he had
braved the dangers of a dark unknown, and blazed a pathway through
untracked wastes.

History repeats the story of a weird Scythian custom. When the head
of a house died his family would adorn his corpse in finest raiment,
place it in a chariot, and, amid shouts and hosannas, draw it to the
homes of former friends. Coming to each dwelling place, the corpse
would be greeted with pomp and splendor. For the final home-coming the
steps would be carpeted with silken shawl and choice embroidery, while
lighted chandeliers flashed welcome to the dead and sunken eyes. Within
the doorway the crowned corpse was placed at the head of a banqueting
table at which his gay companions sat and made merry, eating and
drinking in his honor. Thus many days were spent in honoring the dead
before the body was laid away in the tomb. To us it was a most gruesome
custom, but each Scythian youth struggled to possess a home of his own,
that some day he might be carried as a crowned corpse through the city
streets, and finally, be seated in honor at his own banqueting board.

This ancient custom was the outgrowth of a mistaken view of life still
prevailing in many quarters, for the crowned corpse is seen to-day in
many public gatherings. What else is the man who seeks office for the
selfish purpose and pleasure of holding office? In youth he saw the
governor’s chair or Senate seat, and found that every chord of his
nature was awakened and longed to reach that goal. He determined that
this vision of his soul should be transcribed from the pages of his
imagination to the pages of his nation’s history. Two pathways opened.
The one of a noble purpose, saying, “Seek office, that you may render
needed service to your fellow countrymen.” The pathway of selfishness
opened its portals saying, “Seek office for the sake of gain.” Seeing
that trickery and deceit promised the easier way to gain his end,
he started with leaps and bounds. He cast lots with dishonesty and
dissipation. He became a perjurer, a liar, and a thief. He sold himself
to an unworthy cause, at last the coveted crown was his. To-day he sits
at the head of the table, not a great ruler, but a crowned corpse. In
his struggle for power he lost all that constitutes real living.

What else is the man who seeks wealth for the sole sake of having
money? For years he has lived the life of a slave, denying himself
beauty, music, books, devotions, and benevolence, until, at last,
his name appears in Bradstreet marked “AA,” and the world greets him
as a king. Who is he? A crowned corpse. When he began his career two
pathways opened. The one of a noble purpose saying, “Make money for the
sake of doing good.” The other way, the way of selfishness, saying,
“Make money to satisfy your own desires.” He chose the latter way. He
has his robe and crown, and is seated amid light and applause, but he
is not capable of appreciating its meaning. Long ago he died to honor,
and truth, and love, and generous impulse. He knows not the meaning of

Among the crowned corpses should also be mentioned those who follow
society for society’s sake. Through imitation they have destroyed
personality. They have smothered their souls under the weight of their
self-adornment. In their wild search for physical pleasure all the
radiant, sparkling glory of a cultured spirituality has faded into the
pallor of death. They are richly robed, they ride in state, receive the
plaudits of their followers, sit at table spread with gold and silver
plate, but they are now dead to all the higher things of life and are
unable to appreciate the empty honors they receive.

The secret of successful living is to follow the pathway of a noble
purpose. At first the path may seem a long and arduous one, but it
is the only way that has booths in which to rest the weary feet and
crowns for living souls to wear. It is in this pathway that one
learns the secret of the Christ life, for as he journeys on the way
to nobility a voice is ever whispering in his ears: “Life consists in
living unselfishly. Seek power only that you may have strength to serve
those who are weak. Gain wealth only that you may be able to multiply
your usefulness.” The road of a noble purpose leads to a throne, not
one for the dead body, but a throne for the living soul. Here too
is applause, not such as the Scythian dead received but such as was
accorded the Roman conqueror. What a thrill follows noble endeavor!
What a joy to come to old age having fought battles for those who were
too weak to fight for themselves, and brought victory where otherwise
his people would have suffered defeat and death!

The world honors those who honor it. The ruler who has followed the
pathway of a noble purpose is always honored by his people. Before him
is spread the banquet of a nation’s reverence and homage. The man who,
in getting money, has kept his hands clean from dishonesty, made just
returns for all labor he required, and has kept his heart tender toward
his fellow man, is honored by everyone. Men delight to fill his days
with happiness, as honeysuckle loves to fill the air with sweetness.
When the world discovers a woman whose desire for society is not to
satisfy her vanity, or fill a shallow soul with selfish pleasures, but
her desire is to scatter jewels of love and gems of inspiration to make
rich and beautiful the lives of the common folk, it crowns her in the
temple of its heart and calls her an angel sent of God.

The days of autocratic power are ended, but the hands of the people
are busy building thrones and weaving crowns of gold. So long as there
is a love for nobility in the human heart men and women of nobility
will be placed in power. Life consisteth not in the abundance of the
_things_ which a man possesseth but in following the pathway of a noble


                       SWORDS FOR MORAL BATTLES

The best weapons with which to fight moral battles have already been
forged, sharpened, and polished, waiting to be unsheathed for conflict.
There are some things that the ingenuity of man cannot improve. Man’s
genius may perfect the locomotive to give swiftness to his feet; it may
magnify his voice until his whispers are heard a thousand miles away;
it may perfect machinery giving speed and accuracy to his busy fingers;
it may print his speech and multiply his audience a millionfold; it
may open new fields of endeavor, thus increasing the circle of his
influence; it may do many things to break down barriers, and increase
usefulness; but all the genius and skill of man can never devise nor
contribute to any life a better or keener weapon with which to fight
moral battles than belonged to us the eventful morning we left the old
homeplace and mother’s presence, to begin, among strangers, our first
conquest with the world.

As a royal exile David was facing a grave crisis. The relentless enemy
was pressing hard, and he possessed no means of defense. Leaving his
hiding place, he hurried into the presence of Ahimelech and asked for
a spear or a sword. As Ahimelech was a priest, and not a warrior, he
was about to dismiss the young man empty-handed when, suddenly, he
remembered. Wrapped in cloth, hanging behind the high priest’s robe,
was an old sword, the very one that this young man had one time taken
from the stiffening fingers of a dying giant, whom he had slain on the
eventful morning of his first great conflict. Slowly and carefully the
old man took the gleaming blade from its resting place, unwrapped it
with reverent touch, explaining that it was all that he had to offer.
David was instantly filled with delight. His eyes gleamed with fire,
his heart and soul were thrilled with memories of that bright morning,
when, filled with the ardor of youth, he had run down the mountainside
to make conquest with the giant. This was that giant’s sword! The very
one that he had wrenched from the stiffening fingers of the vanquished
foe. Reaching forward he grasped it in his strong right hand saying:
“There is none like that; give it me.” There may have been and probably
were better and more beautiful swords in the world; keener steel may
have been forged into swords for the generals and kings of other lands,
but for David there was none other quite so efficient as the one with
which he had gained his first victory.

There are no newly discovered weapons with which to fight the moral
battles of to-day. As David was aroused from the shrinking spirit of a
fugitive to become a conquering king, by being given the weapon of his
former battle, so each man must make requisition upon the past. Behold
the weapons which hang in the sacred temple of our souls awaiting the
grasp of a courageous hand.

There is the sword of our childhood dreams. Let memory make you a
little child again with brother and sister about the hearthstone on
a winter’s evening, and let your heart glow with good cheer. Or let
the sunshine of summer fall across your way until you are a child
once more, running with bare feet through the winding ways of the
meadow, chasing moths and butterflies, or wading the stream back of
the old schoolhouse, your heart as carefree as the rippling waters.
Let the dull monotonous hum and soothing influences of those happy
days of wonderment come back to your heart until your eyes half close
and you begin redreaming your youthful dreams. Blessed dreams, that
cause the muscles of your face to relax, while laughter comes to the
lips, and compels you to forget the blistering ways you have trodden
since those sun-bright days. Dream your dreams of tenderness and
confidence, for the tendency of the city is to harden the heart and
dull the sympathies. Then will you have a worthy weapon with which to
make battle. You need your old-time faith in God and confidence in
man, your former optimistic view of life that gave brightness to every
future fancy; your trustfulness in mother’s love and father’s counsel;
the belief that divine power was working for your success because your
heart was pure; let these memories and fond dreams come to you once
again. You need them. Without the dreams of life the arm has little
strength and the will but little power. Let them come back, bringing
smiles for your face, and wreaths for your brow, and heaps of gold
for your coffers. Youthful dreams must never fade from the gallery of
memory if men would achieve. Lay hold upon them with all your power,
knowing that while manhood’s wisdom is valuable, it is not half so
effectual in fighting life’s battles as are the warm dreams of youth.
With the sword of a worthy dream a man can defeat any adversary, scale
any rampart, take any stronghold. Youth’s dreams were never intended to
be lost. They are stored away in the most sacred part of your nature.
Plead for their return, and finding them, exclaim with David, “There is
none like that; give it me.”

There is the sword of your old-time enthusiasm and resolution. There
was a time when you believed yourself the possessor of a divine quality
that would compel your brightest dream to come true. With age you are
becoming more prosaic. You are not so confident and self-assertive.
You excuse your shortcomings by asserting that you are becoming
“more conservative,” forgetful that conservatism is very often only
a refined name for dry rot or petrification. No man can win a fight
with merely the weapons of conservatism. What you need is the old-time
enthusiasm with which you announced your determination to leave home,
the enthusiasm with which you packed the old trunk, and that fired your
soul as you drove away from the old homestead, and made you determined
to win fame and fortune at any cost. Time instead of deadening should
kindle the fires of enthusiasm. You are living in the greatest hour
of history. You are better equipped and environed and protected than
the people of any generation. The quest was never so valuable; the
rewards for noble endeavor never more abounding. There is no reason for
any man giving up to indifference or despair. Take up your old-time
enthusiasm until your heart burns with power that quickens the step and
strengthens the arm. Lay hold of this conquering sword with which you
have slain many a giant and cry with the spirit of a true conqueror,
“There is none like that; give it me.”

There is the sword of your childhood faith in God. As you have grown
older you have acquainted yourself with many theories and tried many
dogmas strange and fanciful, but none of them have had sufficient
strength and keenness to win your battle. You have been compelled to
throw them aside, and now, in the crisis, you are compelled to face the
enemy of your soul without means of defense. Then take up the sword of
your childhood faith in God that filled your younger years with beauty,
that warmed your enthusiasm, and made you fight single-handed while an
army trembled. Kneel once more as you knelt at your mother’s knee; look
up with an open face toward your Father in heaven; cherish his words
and keep his commandments; and from this hour no man can defeat you.
In the outstretched hand of your Christian mother is the sword of your
old-time faith in God. May you have the wisdom of David when he saw the
sword in the hands of the priest and exclaim with all the earnestness
of your repentant soul, “There is none like that; give it me.”

There is no modern improvement in making swords for moral battles.
Man’s progress in the sciences is not because he has improved but
because he has employed the laws of nature, laws that have coexisted
with the world. The telephone, telegraph, and incandescent are not the
result of man inventing electricity. Science wins all her conquests by
using old swords but perfect ones, because they come from the hand of
God. We need no new religions, cults, or creeds. Being man-made they
have no excellence of steel or temper. The emphasis must be placed, not
upon the theory, but upon the moral laws which are just as vital to
the spiritual life as natural laws are to the development of science.
These laws are perfect. The Ten Commandments are incomparable. Not one
of them is unnecessary but each one vital to triumphant living. Add to
these the new commandment of Christ that we are to love the Lord our
God with all our mind and heart and soul and strength and our neighbors
as ourselves, and we have an arsenal with which to conquer all the
powers of earth and hell.

The world is weary following the ways of men. Righteousness alone
exalteth a nation. “Back to God!” is the war-cry. “There is none like
that; give it me.”


                              SPICED WINE

In his Songs Solomon referred to a beautiful Oriental custom. The
bride and bridegroom drank from the same cup, that they might show the
assembled guests their willingness to henceforth share all the cups of
life, whether sweet or bitter. To add to the joy of the wedding banquet
the cup from which the wedded ones were to drink would be passed first
to the others who were seated with them. As it passed from hand to hand
each guest would drop into the ruby wine a gift of fragrant spice,
expressing thus the earnest wish that every bitter cup of life might
be brightened and sweetened with the spices of good friendship. From
the first moment of wedded life their loved ones wished that they taste
of nothing save joy and happiness. In his great poem Solomon somewhat
alters the ancient custom and represents the bride performing this
service of spicing the wine for the husband, as much as to say, “I
would render unto thee only the sweetest, the purest, and the best that
earth can hold.”

One of the greatest needs of to-day is a spirit of willingness to
spice the sour wines which others are daily compelled to drink. There
are few greater services to render both God and man than to proffer the
cup of spiced wine.

The church as the Bride of Christ should offer to him no service that
is not sweet and aromatic with the spices of sincerity and love. This
is the only way the world will ever be taken for Jesus Christ. The
church must offer something better, more pleasing, and more wholesome
than the wines that this world has to offer. It is the tendency to give
to God the drainings from life’s vintage. We often spend the week in
pursuit of selfish pleasures, drinking the sweetest wines and giving
them freely to our chosen companions, and then, in hours of worship,
give to God the cheaper, sourer wines, making religious worship
unwholesome, acrid, bitter, and nauseous.

Unless we do away with our acrimonious methods and make our services to
God more aromatic and pleasant, the church is going to lose all hold
upon her boys and girls. As a child’s growing body requires sugar, so
his awakened spiritual powers need that which is sweetened with the
spices of gladness and whole-heartedness.

This is the only way by which the church shall get and retain its grip
on men of affairs. All week long these individuals have been tasting
the acid and the bitterness of earthly struggle and competitive
ambition. Sunday morning comes and they are tired, and nervous, and
all worn out. What they need is a cup of spices, each bit of spice
a gift of love. They need to have their minds taken away from the
bitterness and acidity of life and given something that is fragrant
and stimulating, something that will revive and strengthen them for
future activity. This is the purpose of the church. It is to gather
from all quarters of the earth all things that are good, wholesome, and
attractive, and press them, as a gift of love, to the lips of every
worshiper. It is to crowd each service with inspiring song, short
helpful prayers, warm-worded greetings, and enthusiastic handshaking,
until the silver chalice brims with gladness. Bring all your spices
into the house of God and offer to Christ a pleasing gift. There is no
telling how much good you can do. Look into the face of your Creator
whenever you enter his temple and pray with an earnest heart: “O Lord,
I would this day cause thee to drink spiced wine.”

This should not only be the attitude of the church toward its Lord, but
it should certainly be the spirit with which it daily faces the world.
As we confront each individual we should be able to say: “I would
cause thee, my brother, my sister, to drink spiced wine.” We should
go through life so prepared with the spices of good cheer that the
moment we found one with a cup of bitterness we could remove all its
disagreeableness before it is pressed to their parched lips. We should
carry spices for their cups, and not pepper for the eyes, or salt with
which to rub the sores of our enemies. Spices so sweeten the cup that
men forget their hatred and find themselves glad that we are here.

Give them the spices of a good disposition. Our dispositions are not
unalterable gifts thrust upon us at birth, but are largely a matter of
cultivation. If we associate with that which is sour and crabbed, our
dispositions will, of necessity, assume the same nature. If we live
a life of goodness, we will most naturally have a sweet disposition.
The difference between peaches and pickles is far more than a matter
of spelling. Peaches are not pickles, because they absorb the sunlight
and the sweetness of the soil, until even their tartness is delicious
to the taste. Pickles are not peaches because they absorb only those
things which suggest and harmonize with salt and vinegar. We never
think of pickles without thinking about vinegar. Their difference is
in the choice of elements used in building tissues. The same thing is
true with us. We make our dispositions, and because we do, we should be
lovers of the aromatic spices with which God has crowded the world.
O that those who profess to love God would cease shaking pepper into
others’ lives, and begin to put sweet spices of a good disposition into
cups already too bitter with the gall of sorrow and disappointment.

Give them the spices of a cheerful conversation. No good comes
from burning the mind of the world with the acid of criticism, or
distressing their lacerated hearts with the story of our personal
discomforts. Give spices. Instead of telling how the rheumatism made
the joints creak on their hinges, tell the story of how once you
were able to leap over the fences and how you swung from the topmost
branch of the old apple tree. Instead of telling about the horrors of
insomnia, and how little you slept that past week, and how miserably
the morning hours wore away, tell about the red bird that sang under
your window and awakened a thousand memories of your childhood, tell
how you noticed the fresh air of the morning awakened symphonies among
the dew-laden leaves. It is so much nicer to be a candle that gives
light than a smoky chimney that belches soot and cinders. The world
always appreciates its bearers of good news. Happy conversation is
within the reach of every one. No matter how blind we may be to the
blessings of to-day, memory holds a box of spices within easy reach,
and we can fill our words with a sweetness that will cast an undying

It is not difficult to be cheerful when we remember that we meet only
two classes of people, no matter how far we travel, or how long we
live. The one class consists of those who are making failure of life.
Each word we speak brings to them either the bitterness of wormwood or
the good cheer of wild honey. The opportunity to give encouragement
to the downcast comes every day. Tired, worn, and jaded, they meet us
upon every street corner and press against us at every assembly. O that
they might rejoice as they taste the spices we are placing in their
wine! The other class of people whom we are meeting are those who are
making success of life, and who are very often the most neglected.
Because they receive worldly honor we think them extremely happy, not
recognizing their loneliness. The world never hesitates to press its
sponge of vinegar and gall to the lips of those who are serving it.

Several years ago there was a large gathering in Calvary Church,
New York City, to pay tribute to Dr. Edward Washburn. Phillips
Brooks, Bishop Potter, and many other men of distinction met in that
magnificent service and offered words of praise to the goodness,
courage, clear thinking, untainted love and unselfish devotion of that
mighty man. After all had ended their words of praise a little woman,
dressed in black, who had been the companion of Dr. Washburn for so
many years of married life, slowly arose to address the audience. Amid
an intense silence she repeated over and over again these words: “O, if
you men loved Edward so, why did you never tell him?” What a revelation
of heart-hunger! Long years of bitterness when all might have been
relieved with just a little spice, that is readily found and easily

Bring on the spices! Let us be more affectionate one toward another.
The eldest son of a large family was kneeling at his mother’s deathbed
saying, “You have been such a good mother.” The dying woman opened her
eyes and faintly whispered, “You never said so before, John, you never
said that before.” Let this be our motto as we meet all men: “I would
cause you to drink spiced wine.”


                          THE FEVER OF HEALTH

One of man’s richest possessions is the feeling of restlessness and
discontent that ever pushes onward seeking something new. It is the
secret of discovery. Beholding the sunset, like a thousand camp fires
flashing their beams upon the crimson and purple curtained tents of
ever-encamping angels, man determined to enter into and share their
quiet place of rest and luxury. Hastening forward, he easily found the
hills that yester-night formed the mystic camping ground, but nowhere
would a torn leaf or trampled grass-blade betray a single footprint;
while, looking farther westward than he had traveled, he saw the
same crimson-and-purple tents stretched upon other hilltops bathed
with sunset’s golden light. Month followed month while man continued
journeying westward in fruitless quest for peace, but in his effort to
reach the cherished goal he discovered new lakes and rivers, hills and
valleys, plains and forests, until a mighty continent lay ready for his
children’s children to build cities rivaling in power and splendor the
mystic camps of sunset’s unseen hosts.

Restlessness and dissatisfaction are the secret of invention. Satisfied
with their condition, China, India, and Africa yield no inventions.
Their people carry water in flasks of skin, travel upon weary-footed
beasts of burden, and bequeath their children nothing but tradition.
Such once was all the world until some individuals of courage and
determination caught the fever of health. Dissatisfied and restless,
man became weary of carrying water and would not rest until he had
perfected the Holly Engine that presses a cup of cool water to every
thirsty lip within the city. Tired of slow travel, he compelled the
locomotive to give fleetness to his feet, and the telephone to give
rapid transit to his voice. Restless because the singer’s voice must
fade in silence, man built the phonograph to give the human voice, the
frailest of all man’s possessions, everlasting life. Dissatisfaction
with things as they are gives invention her rich achievements.

Art follows only in the footsteps of restlessness. Every painting
and tapestry hanging on palace wall, every anthem that thrills the
templed throngs, and every melody that wafts its sweet cadence upon the
trembling, vibrant air, exists because some sensitive soul refused to
know contentment until he had given perfect expression to the beauty
that dwelt within his soul.

Only through the contagion of the divine fever can there be any reform.
It was only when the restless soul of John Howard began to express its
contempt for the foul floors and vitiated air of England’s jails and
aroused the slumbering conscience of an indifferent people that the
cruel prison systems of the world were changed. Reform in England’s
colonial policy that made possible the unity of Canada and the founding
of our own government came only when men began to chafe and grow
restless under unjust treatment, and finally found expression in the
burning, blazing, nervous eloquence of Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty,
or give me death!”

Because men were satisfied with things as they were, the city slums
became deeper, fouler depths of misery entombing thousands of human
beings in inexcusable death-traps, robbing parents of hope and
childhood of its lawful inheritance of health and goodness. These
things continued until one poor lad grew divinely restless. A little
immigrant boy of poetic temperament and lofty aspirations, by the name
of Jacob Riis, cried out in protest against the injustice of foul
air and darkened homes. Restless himself, he made the city restless,
until New York transformed her tenements, purified her slums, and
reformed her government until she became one of the cleanest cities
of the world--in many ways a worthy example for the cities of the Old
World to follow. The restlessness of Livingstone redeemed Africa.
The restlessness of Morris saved China. The restlessness of Thoburn
is working miracles in India. When men found it impossible to sit at
ease while their brothers were in chains slavery disappeared. Because
men became weary with drunkenness and tired listening to the pathetic
pleading of drunkards’ wives and children, an aroused nation closed the
open saloons and placed a ban upon the sale of alcoholic drink. Men are
now becoming tired of war. They believe that the world has drunk its
fill of human blood. The hour for world-wide disarmament has come, and
rulers must be made to think before sacrificing their people’s lives.

Here also we find the secret of mental development. So long as the
human mind is satisfied with tradition it cannot grow; but let it
once become uneasy under the deadening power of superstition, its
very restlessness will make the mountains unlock their secrets, the
plants yield tribute of health-creating medicines, the clouds unbosom
their mystery, and even the starlight becomes a pencil of gold to
write upon the tablet of the sky the marvelous story of man’s growing
intellectual power.

No one of God’s gifts is to be valued more than this feeling of
unrest that he inspires within the heart, making us dissatisfied with
ourselves and our surroundings, and forcing us forward to become
skillful in discovery, art, invention, reform, and intellectuality.

But the beneficent influence of health’s fever does not end here, for
it is also the secret of spiritual development. We have all experienced
these seasons of holy manifestation. Our friends said that we had the
fidgets; the physician diagnosed our case as one of nervousness; we
insisted that we had the blues; but all were wrong. The restlessness
was a sign of health. We were not satisfied with ourselves but longed
for nobility. The dust-made body was refusing to grovel in the dust.
The spiritual life was beginning to assert itself through these tissues
of flesh. The chrysalis had lost its desire to crawl along the ground,
for new life within claimed its right to rise upon joyous wing and
cleave the sunlit air. It was not a thing to be despised, to mar and
gnaw the budding leaf, but something to be admired and loved of man,
something sylphlike to sip from chalices of gold and silver, porphyry
and lapis-lazuli. The old man of sin was dying, and through the power
of Christ a new man was coming into life; from now on he can never be
satisfied with things as they were.

One of the hopes of the world’s salvation is the fact that sin never
satisfies the soul. Its promises are never fulfilled. Its obligations
are never met at maturity. Men become restless in their sin, and
through their restlessness are being led to God. Here alone can
satisfaction be found, for only Christ supplies the soul with what
it needs for the journey set before it. He offers guidance, saying,
“I am the way.” Following him no soul has ever been lost amid the
bewildering maze of sin. He offers sustaining power saying, “I am the
bread of life” and “I am the water of life.” The dusty ashes of sin no
longer choke, but for the hunger there is life-giving bread, and for
the parched lip there is water. He gives illumination, saying, “I am
the light,” and the terrors of darkness and the dangers of the night
flee away. He offers an open way, saying, “I am the door,” and through
him one passes out of the cramped prison house of past sins into
untrammeled, unmeasured freedom. He offers immortality, saying, “I am
the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were
dead, yet shall he live.” The deadening power of sin loses its hold,
and one tastes the unspeakable joy of living a life that is life indeed.

Then be not confounded by the feeling of restlessness that ever creeps
upon the healthy soul. What a tragedy our lives would be had we been
satisfied with our first achievements! How terribly pathetic it is to
become satisfied with ourselves now, while we are so far short of what
we might be, and so lamentably short of what God meant our lives to be!
Curb not the spirit of restlessness as though it were a fever of death.
It is health’s fever. It is the call of the soul for its Creator who
longs to lead us into better things.

To-morrow will be a beautiful day because to-day is so restless.


                      THE WISDOM OF THE UNLEARNED

The pathway of true brotherly love is bordered with deformed social
conditions which must be faced and remedied. Entering the temple at the
hour of prayer, Peter and John had their pious meditations interrupted
by the appealing cry of a crippled beggar, who was crouching helplessly
at the temple door. His haggard face, his wistful eye, his bony,
outstretched hand, pleaded so passionately that the singing of the
Levites was drowned and the temple call to prayer unheeded. The eyes
of Peter and the beggar met, and Christlike spirituality stood face
to face with the practical aspect of the world’s need. Instantly
the great-hearted, impetuous Peter took notice of the helpless man,
whose wan face began to brighten with hope. Taking him by the right
hand, Peter said: “Silver and gold have I none. I cannot meet the
requirements that you ask, knowing that it is not money that you need,
so much as health and strength, with which to earn a livelihood for
yourself and for your loved ones. Silver and gold have I none; but
such as I have, give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth
rise up and walk.” The cripple did not have time to waver, nor to
debate, for the warm handclasp and the strong arm of the enthusiastic
servant of Christ was lifting him to his feet and teaching him how to
leap, and run, and sing the praises of God. Peter and John felt that
they could not enter the temple to pray until they had proven their
right to worship by practically meeting whatever part of the world-wide
social needs chanced, at that moment, to confront them.

But their benevolence was misinterpreted by those who should have been
the most appreciative. Overzealous religionists, who usually mistake
the form for the spirit of worship, had the two benefactors arrested,
accused of violating their law concerning the observance of the Sabbath
day. After a night spent upon the cold, damp stones of the inner
prison, the two disciples were brought before the learned magistrate to
explain their conduct.

There is nothing more interesting than these unfriendly scholarly
investigations of religious phenomena, conducted for the purpose of
securing a rational psychological explanation. The high priests, the
scribes, the rulers of city and province were seated in state, when
the two humble followers of the Social Christ, with common garb, and
net-calloused hands, stood at the judgment bar and heard the question:
“By what power have ye done this?” A more modern phraseology of the
question would be, “State to the Court what is the psychological
explanation of this purported miracle?”

It was a critical moment to these judges, for scholarship, with much
ado, was studying and analyzing ignorance. But the Peter of Pentecost
was not to be dismayed. He knew that the service of Christ is not
formal but practical, and that his conduct in curing a lame beggar was
more important to God than the observing of a thousand man-made forms
and ceremonies. He knew from his former experience that ignorance need
have no fear of the scoffer’s sneer, or the scholar’s questioning, when
once the heart has been fully consecrated to the service of God. With
confidence they faced the inquirers saying, frankly: “The power is not
ours. This miracle was performed through the power of Christ, which
you, in your learning, threw aside, and which we, in the simplicity of
our untutored hearts, have accepted as the gift of God.” The power of
Pentecost was with the preacher again, and the judges were filled with
fear and wonderment. Against their most earnest desires they liberated
the men, wondering why they, as learned men, should be influenced by
men of such untrained intellects.

While Christianity has always waged warfare against ignorance in all
forms, and has been the leader in founding schools and colleges, the
fact remains that many of our greatest achievements have been wrought
by untrained men. God often takes the weak things of this world to
confound the mighty.

When an unorganized and badly scattered people needed a wise ruler, God
passed by the palace doors and over the seats of learning that, in the
open fields, he might crown David, a shepherd lad. When Jerusalem was
a ruined city, overgrown with weed and briar, God ignored commanding
generals and ruling monarchs, to honor Nehemiah, whose conquering
courage rebuilt the city. When mad with power and wild excesses of sin,
a mighty nation needed restraint, God stepped over the royal houses as
though they were playthings upon the nursery floor, and lifted Daniel,
an exile, to become the condemning conscience for them who had slain
their consciences, and to become a radiant hope for those who were
enslaved and had lost all courage. When the time had fully come for
the kingdom of Christ to be preached to the cultured and aristocratic,
he chose these two men of the fisher-craft, who, though ignorant
and unlearned, made the scholars and statesmen dumb with wonderment,
while the crowned power of the age was humiliated, unable to cope
successfully against the growing faith.

Christianity, while not encouraging ignorance, recognizes what
the world often overlooks, that learning, in itself, has woeful
limitations. When rightly employed, mental training multiplies one’s
powers and talents, as the circling moon gives strength and swiftness
to the rising tides; but misapplied book-learning has little value.
In the crises of life the general information gleaned from books
counts for but very little. The knowledge that water, when reduced in
temperature to thirty degrees or less, freezes, so that a dangerous
river is changed into a solid highway over which one can walk in
safety, is of small value to a man who is drowning in the summer time,
and very few drowning men would call for a thermometer to take the
temperature of the water in which they were sinking. Standing beneath
a falling wall, no man is going to begin to calculate the specific
gravity of the falling elements or estimate the force of impact upon
his head. All learning is good, and nothing in the line of information
should be ignored, for, along the more or less narrow line of its own
application, each truth is of inestimable value. Each added truth that
one learns pulls up the tent stakes of the horizon and widens the
world just so much, but no man can save himself with learning alone.
Success depends, not upon scholarship, but upon a spotless love for God
and a boundless love for man. Herein is the wisdom of life, and the
weakest man or woman may possess it. All men may not become learned,
but all men may become great and enthusiastic lovers of their fellow
man. The little child that bends its arms in fervent hugs to show the
measure of its affection; the struggling youth that stops to help a
wounded companion; the widow, fighting against poverty in the tenement;
the old man, patiently looking for the coming day--all these may
possess the secret of royal living.

The world will be saved, not by the scholar, as a scholar, but by the
loving heart; not by platitude, but by kindly deeds. Goodness is such
an easy thing to acquire, that it is within the reach of all. A little
London newsboy was seen to daily follow an unknown man for many blocks.
When asked by an observer why he did so he responded, “When he buys a
paper from me, he always smiles, and calls me his boy. He is the only
one who ever called me that, and I just love to see him.” Here was
a life brightened and perhaps redeemed because a busy man of wealth
took time to say what any one of us is able to say each day. When
King Humbert would have lost his nation he saved it, not by scholarly
exhortations or startling state papers, but by visiting the hospitals
of Naples and ministering with genuine affection a plague-smitten
people. It was a task of love that the weakest person might be able to
perform, but it saved a nation for a king.

The world will be saved. Righteousness shall ultimately prevail. The
kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Christ. There
are no failures in God’s mighty plans. We may vary in our beliefs,
and differ greatly as to the process by which he shall accomplish his
wise designs, but this is true: when this world is brought ultimately
to the feet of Christ, it will have been accomplished not by prayer
alone but by work and prayer, not by the scholar as a scholar but by
the men, learned or unlearned, who have discovered the compelling and
transforming power of a boundless, undying love.


                       THE STRENGTH OF WEAKNESS

An old man was once opening the treasury of his experience to enrich
the young people of Corinth. Youth ever needs such a benefactor, for
life’s most difficult problem is to definitely determine upon which
element or elements of life the emphasis should be placed. Like a
river, life has so many contributing streams of large volume that it is
difficult to decide unto which one we are most indebted for our power.
There is only one way to ascertain this fact, and that is to trace the
current of life-power to its source and stand, with reverent feet, at
its utmost gurgling spring. But this task is hard and is fraught with
danger. What youth, standing at the joining of the currents, can tell
to a certainty which is the real current and which the contributing
stream of influence? Among the most pathetic incidents of history are
those portraying some of our richest and most favored sons of genius
mistaking a contributing element of life for life itself and spending
their days within the narrow winding ways of mediocrity. Youth needs
the open treasury of the past, therefore it is a rare privilege to
have Paul thus open the treasure chest of his varied and triumphant
experiences and tell us what is the secret source of life’s richest
endowment. Looking over a life of many years, covering an intense and
diversified experience, enriched with mental and spiritual training,
he declared to the young people of Corinth that the source of personal
power is weakness.

That is the last place in the world that we would naturally look for
strength, for we have always been taught that weakness is the absence
of strength. To be enduring we believed that we should possess the
rigidity and firmness of the rocks, forgetful that long after the
red stone walls of Kenilworth have tottered into complete ruin the
fragile ivy, planted by unknown hands, will still live to cover the
rough, broken heap of weather-beaten stones with the graceful folds of
its swaying branches. We have believed that stability depended upon
rigid strength, not realizing that, in nature, the strong are the most
fragile, while the weak are the most enduring.

The source of triumphant living is not the adamantine will that refuses
to bend or budge, but is the will that yields itself to higher power.
Only when one finds that a feeling of weakness is creeping over him,
and realizes that, in his own strength alone, he is inadequate for the
task, does he possess true conquering power. One of the best hours
of a man’s life is when, through sickness, toil, or persecution, he
feels his physical powers giving way, and his soul rises to claim
the occasion for God and his humanity. Knowing that while he himself
is weak, the needed power is within easy reach, a man is strong. In
such a crisis, to become self-confident is to be like the hunted
partridge which, seeking escape, confidently enters the trap set for
his destruction. Strength comes when, overwhelmed with a sense of
unutterable weakness, one flings himself at the feet of Christ, and
prays as did the sinking disciple, “Lord, save me.”

How very true this is in the hours of our severe temptation! No man
ever sought refuge from temptation in self-confidence who, in the
strain of battle, did not find his fortress crumbling into dust, while
he himself suffered humiliating defeat. Simon Peter learned this truth.
Strong and boastful in his self-assertiveness, he stood amid the
gathering shadows of the world’s darkest and most tragic night, and
smiled as one who gladly greets the dawning of his wedding day. He was
confident, beyond question, that he was equal to any emergency that
might arise. It was easy for him to boast and proclaim loudly what he
would do. Beholding the same fast-deepening shadows, Christ fell to
his knees in prayer, and with broken voice and heavy, blood-stained
sweat, pleaded for his Father to remove this cup of suffering. Christ,
the everlasting Conqueror, prays for escape from trial, while Peter,
filled with self-assurance, bids the coming of the worst with defiant
spirit, saying, “Though all men should forsake the Master, yet will not
I.” He boasted bravely that he was ready to die for Christ. There was a
marked contrast between the ways these two met the same struggle, but
the whole world knows the outcome. In the presence of trial Peter’s
strength was scattered like heaps of withered autumn leaves. When he
was strong then was he weak. Without the passing of the cup Christ
walked forth strong enough to win a world from sin, while Peter sank
in shame. But when, a few hours later, we find the defeated disciple,
all alone, in midnight darkness, weeping like a little child over his
weakness, we rejoice, for we know now that Pentecost has found its
preacher, and the world has found a mighty champion for God.

Temptation is a terrible thing. It is a band of armed brigands,
storming the citadel of the soul to carry away everything that is of
value. To yield is to have the soul ransacked and burned as though by
fire. To face it confidently in one’s own strength is gravest folly.
There is only one possibility of victory. In that hour of peril, when
eternal destinies are at stake, let one feel his own weakness, and fall
helplessly at the feet of Christ, and call with all the earnestness and
pathos of his frightened soul, “Lord, save, or I perish!” and victory
shall fill his heart with joy and crown his brow with the light of

This truth is applicable to all our sorrows. There have been hours when
we thought best to meet our sorrows and disappointments with the spirit
of a stoic. With clinched fists, tight-pressed lips, and dry eyes, we
stood, proud of our strength, defying sorrow by bidding it to do its
worst. We insisted that we were not weak like others, and that we would
boldly bear our own burdens. But the end was defeat and uncontrollable
grief. The burden was so much heavier and the grief was so much more
bitter than we had ever expected, that we were crushed and overcome.
Meanwhile at our side stood one frail and weak, whose bloodshot eyes
spoke of countless nights of grief and anxiety, but whose calm face and
steady voice assured us that she had gained a wonderful victory, and,
in spite of tempest, had inner calm and rest. How came the victory to
the frail? Because she was frail and knew that she was frail. As headed
wheat saves its life by bowing passively to the stroking of the violent
winds, so she bowed low at the touch of sorrow. She yielded herself
to the will of God. As Mary and Martha, in their hour of sorrow and
puzzling questions, forgot everything and fell weeping at the feet of
their Lord, so this woman poured out her prayer of utter helplessness
to God, saying, “Save, Lord, or I perish,” and in her weakness she
became strong. The strength that is needed to meet sorrow comes, not
from self-control, but abandonment to God; not from dry eyes, but from

How true this is of our ministries to our brother man! It is not an
easy matter for one to enter the Holy of holies of another’s grief
and sorrow, and minister unto them as a true high priest. Before
the growing work of the church, as it is beginning to live up to
its conceptions of Christian social service, many of our strongest
Christians are becoming faint of heart; in its growing work of
evangelism they become paralyzed with fright; because they cannot see
how they can approach and minister to those whom they do not know.
They tremble, not knowing that their very weakness is their source of
strength. Rash boldness and overconfidence are not part of the true
Christian’s equipment. With such a spirit no one should dare to enter
the sacred inclosure of another’s grief. It is only when one refuses
to trust in human strength or wisdom, and, possessed of a spirit
of humility, goes forward in the name of Christ, that he can work
successfully for God. You may feel called upon to do works of charity.
If so, go forth in weakness. Instead of polished speech upon the lip,
let there be a teardrop in the eye. The hungry soul will understand and
rejoice that you have come. In the hour of some one’s sorrow, you may
be able to give only a tender, silent handclasp; but be not dismayed.
The mourning one will fully understand and thank God that he sent
you unto him. You may be sent to lead some sinful soul to Christ. In
weakness your words may fail, leaving you nothing to offer save a look
of love. That is enough. Each sinful one will understand, and through
the light of your loving look will find a pathway back to God. Only
when we are weak are we strong in the service of Christ.


                           CRUMBLING PALACES

The crumbling of our palaces does not necessarily mean loss, especially
if they be the grotesque ones built in untutored childhood, or
those planned in moments of unguarded enthusiasm, or given form by
impractical impulse, or intended for selfish or sinful pleasure. We
have never tried to live in the blockhouses built upon the nursery
floor, neither do we mold our lives according to childhood fancies.
There can be no progress without the compelling power of a well-guided
enthusiasm, but overwrought enthusiasm is an uncontrollable power
bringing moral, physical, and financial disaster. The ability to yield
promptly to righteous impulse is akin to genius, but the impulses of
an untrained soul are the frenzied switchmen who ditch and wreck the
train that should have the right of way. When self-interest means the
developing of brain and talents to establish a worthy character and
beneficent influence, making one a constructive force in the community,
it is not to be despised; but when self-interest becomes selfishness,
the building of a fortified castle in which one lives at the expense
of others, then is the soul smitten with leprosy, and the home becomes
a pest-house, not a palace. A place of sin is never a shelter, but a
death-trap, its elegance of architecture and furnishings making it all
the more dangerous. There are many palaces unfit for habitation. To
permit them to decay and crumble into nothingness is greatest gain, for
to live unworthily is not to live at all.

On the other hand there is a neglect that means a helpless, hopeless
poverty from which no influence or friendship can bring deliverance.
When once these palaces are permitted to crumble we become homeless
outcasts, begging from a world that begrudges us its crumbs. Therefore
one must consider, not only the beginning, but the upkeep of life.

There is the palace of Character that needs guarding. The beginning
of the Christian life is only “the beginning.” Here is the peril of
our present and very popular conception of church membership. A man
often feels that all that is necessary for his soul’s salvation is
to go through the soulless process of uniting with some religious
organization, and it matters not which one he may chance to choose.
“Joining the church” is looked upon as taking out a spiritual life
insurance, without any thought of paying premiums through the passing
years. Having his name duly inscribed upon the records of some
church gives a man confidence with which to face death, and the
coming judgment, not realizing that the Church Record will perish
in the flames of the last day; and that men are judged by comparing
the records which God has kept with the record that each man writes
upon the pages of his own body, mind, and soul. Preachers have bigger
business at the Judgment than carrying their Church Records and
appearing as counsel for the members of their flocks. They must appear
at the Judgment and answer for themselves.

Christian living is righteous living, being right with God and
right with man, in all the dealings of daily life. It is not, like
vaccination, completed in one short operation, but, like breathing, an
activity that includes every second of one’s earthly existence. It is
not moving into a furnished apartment which you can secure by making
certain payments, but the building of the palace of Character. Stone
by stone, the great structure is erected, its foundation resting upon
the solid rock, its walls built with God’s plumb line, its turrets and
battlements lifted high to receive the blessings of the sky. It is not
built in a day, but requires the unceasing toil of all our days, else
it will crumble into hopeless ruin.

Character is not firmly established this side the grave. There are
no character insurance societies. Right living on the part of youth
may soon give one a reputation of worth, but after many years of
faithful living have resulted in a palace, admired of men, one misdeed
may become a conflagration that will reduce it to ashes; one single
misspent day may cause the strongest palace to crumble and decay. The
ruins of Kenilworth are beautiful because covered with English ivy; for
the ruined walls of Character there is no ivy of sympathy to beautify,
but the bleak and barren wreckage stands in ghastly hideousness to
proclaim to all the world the story of the misspent day. Both youth and
age alike must guard the palace of Character against decay.

There is the palace of Benevolence that needs guarding. In childhood
we learned the difference between the cold hovel of Selfishness and
the great palace of Benevolence, with its windows ablaze with light
to guide our footsteps, and its hearthstone aglow with welcoming
warmth. How we feared and shunned the selfish soul, not for the lack
of gifts, but because, with the clear vision of childhood, we beheld
the deformity of his crabbed soul! How we loved the dweller of the
palace, not for his gifts, but for the beauty of his smile, the soft
light of friendship in his eyes, the joy-creating atmosphere in which
he moved. Then and there we decided to mold our lives after the plans
of that good man, and be benevolent individuals; not spendthrifts,
but possessed of rich, red blood, and sympathetic hearts ever open to
the beauties and needs of life. But we soon learn that the palace of
Benevolence cannot be built with one deed of benevolence, no matter
how large and generous it may be. The gift of some great public
institution, however worthy and serviceable to the people, is not
enough to mark a man as one who dwells in the palace of Benevolence.
That coveted abode is built, not by gift or gifts, but by the generous
spirit with which we daily and hourly meet the world. Benevolence
is not a gift, nor series of gifts, but the wholesome, generous
spirit which we manifest toward men. With such a spirit one builds a
beautiful palace in which to dwell, but one that is very easily marred
and destroyed. One selfish desire, once hardening the heart against
another’s need, one greedy, grasping longing or desire, and the palace
beautiful crumbles into dust; and they who once rejoiced at our coming
will turn away with the contempt with which all men greet unworthiness.

There also is the palace of Prayer. No earthly dwelling is so beautiful
as that which one builds for his soul through communion with God.
Always situated upon the lofty heights, above the lowlands of sin and
dusty ways of worldliness, it lifts its towers and pinnacles into a
cloudless sky. The view is clear and unobstructed, so that one sees the
affairs of life in their true relations to the great world of which
they are a part. The struggles of their fellow men are in clear sight
and therefore observed with sympathetic, understanding heart. The sky
is close, and when the sun is set the stars peer through the shadowy
canopy, and smile. The atmosphere is fresh and pure, made fragrant with
the breath of heaven, and he who breathes it feels a power divine.
Nothing is more beautiful than the palace of Prayer.

Nevertheless, the palace may crumble and become a hopeless heap of
dust. Where once stood a vision of spirituality one can see nothing but
that which is of the earth earthy. A hidden sin within the heart, that
slyly steals away one’s love for God; a subtle spirit of worldliness,
that deadens the soul until it ceases to respond to things divine; a
gnawing doubt that, like the white ants of India, honeycomb the timbers
of the bravest, strongest souls--all these cause the crumbling of the

The palaces of the soul, however well established, require a watchful
eye and careful guarding. The powers of evil are destroying elements
that beat and pound upon the shelters of the soul with destructive
fury. But even then, a well-built palace need not crumble. He who
has the Carpenter of Nazareth as his daily Companion may build for
eternity. Keeping the sayings of the Master means that the house is
firmly fixed upon a strong foundation and that all its timbers are
strongly knit together; so that when the floods come and the winds blow
and beat upon it; when a legion of devils encamp about and lay siege
upon the soul; when fires sweep, and earthquakes work their devastation
to this planet, these palaces, not made with hands, and not constructed
from earthly material, the palaces of Character, Benevolence, and
Communion with God, shall not be moved. They shall shelter us here and
be eternal in the heavens.


                    THE ECHO OF LIFE’S UNSUNG SONGS

We are familiar with the echo of life’s unfinished songs. The
unfinished songs of confidence, sung by the martyrs as they stood upon
the yellow sands of the Coliseum, looking upward beyond the soft blue
of the Italian sky to heights hitherto unseen, have never ceased to
vibrate through the centuries. The unfinished songs of sacrifice and
patriotism which were sung by our soldiers and sailors who perished in
the world-wide war are still echoing in the music of every wave that
laves the shores of every sea. We are all familiar with the lingering
music of life’s unfinished songs, but it is well for us to consider
also the echo of the songs that have never found expression in word or

Each soul is a minstrel whether he wills it or no, for God has
fashioned a harp for every heart. There is a tradition that above the
head of David’s couch there hung his favorite harp. The mountain winds
coming through the midnight silence would stir its strings, awaken the
sleeping lover of song, and bid him weave words of love to fit the
wind-wrought music. Thus were the Psalms created. To each individual
God has intrusted a priceless harp, tight drawn with silver chords of
love, and sensitive to every touch of passing wind and falling sunbeam.
So delicate are these heart-strings that every event of life awakens
the dormant music and fills the soul with harmonies divine. Behold how
sensitive they are.

The day has been dull and gloomy and you have not cared to go abroad.
After a while you become reminiscent. As though led by an unseen
hand you enter a quiet, unused room and lift the lid of a quaint,
old-fashioned chest. You know not why your followed impulses led you
there, but you are glad that you obeyed the leading, for there, resting
quietly amid fragrant lavender, is a treasured gift that came from a
mother’s hand. It has been lying there for many years, untouched and
unseen, but how beautiful its faded colors, how lovely its wrinkled
folds placed there by the hands so long since turned to dust! and how,
out of the dim mists of the past, it brings the soft colors and clear
outlines of a dear, sweet face! There are tears in your eyes, but more
and better than that, there is music in your soul. Every string of your
heart is vibrant with melody.

One morning you were ill and did not care to go to the office. You were
indisposed just enough to enjoy the rich luxury of being waited upon,
when, suddenly and unexpectedly, your eyes rested upon an old-fashioned
picture that strangely and wondrously stirred your heart. For years it
had been hanging there with its treasured memories, but you had been
too busy to notice it. How charming its exquisite beauty as it greeted
you from out its odd, old-styled frame. Its colors, mellowed with the
passing years, carried you back triumphantly to the sun-bright days of
the long ago, and the soul was stirred with music that charmed, and
soothed, and inspired.

The harp-strings of the heart are very sensitive. A finger-print or
tear-stain upon the leaves of the old family Bible, the frail petals
of a faded blossom, the sight of a tiny yellow garment or baby shoe, a
package of letters tied with ribbon, or a scrap of paper scrawled by
unskilled childish fingers, just little things that no one else admires
or notices, is all that is required to start the music ringing in our

To this music the soul always responds with a song. This is true even
when one’s musical education has been neglected. The ear may not be
able to distinguish one note from another, or discern the difference
between “Old Hundred” and “The Star-Spangled Banner”; the individual
may know nothing about harmony, time, or measure, when listening to
the music that others have given to the world, but his own soul can
always sing its own melodies. There is no note so high in the scale
that the soul cannot reach it. I have heard the English lark lift
its silver notes until they melted into sunshine and fell in great
billows of joy upon the listening earth. Every soul can sing like that.
As above the couch of David hung the harp awaiting the touch of the
passing winds, so each heart is a stringed harp awaiting the touch
of some common event to awaken music and set the soul to singing its

However beautiful these songs, they never pass the threshold of the
lips. Their sweetness surpasses the power of expression. That must
have been the reason why Mendelssohn wept so bitterly at times. With
all his marvelous power in weaving tones he could not give expression
to the rapturous melodies which were surging through his soul. This
also explains why Michael Angelo so often gave way to the dreariest
despondency. Though he try never so hard, he could not express upon
canvas or in marble form the heavenly symphonies that were thrilling
his soul. The reason that Lord Tennyson stood for such long periods
upon the cliffs, overlooking the sea, not hearing the call of an
approaching friend, was that his soul was searching through earth and
sea and sky, for words with which to express the songs his soul was
ever singing.

The deepest and most valuable emotions of life are always
inexpressible. How useless is human speech in the presence of the
deep feelings of awe and reverence! I stood with a friend upon one of
the great heights of the Catskills. He was a genial man, and the day
had been filled with merriment. Rounding a curve, we came suddenly to
the edge of a great cliff overlooking the Hudson valley. At our feet
were many miles of forest trees mantling the hills and valleys with
the brilliant coloring of Autumn foliage. We could count a score of
villages nestled peacefully among the meadows and fields of ripened
grain. The Hudson River rolled its silver length in the distance,
while, far, far beyond us, draped in blue, we saw the hills and
mountains of another State. Beholding what, in many respects, was the
most soul-entrancing revelation of nature’s glory I had ever witnessed,
neither of us spoke. The moments slipped by with slippered feet and the
mid-afternoon became evening, before either of us broke the silence.
It is sacrilegious for one to undertake to express the holy sentiments
of awe and reverence in the clumsy garb of human speech. This is true
of all deep feeling. Standing in the presence of a bereaved friend,
shallow souls can chatter idle phrases, but deep, healing, tender
sympathy is expressed in the silence of a handclasp and unspoken word.
Looking into the deep, expressive eyes of one whom we love, our lips
are silent and only the tear-filled eye tells of the song the soul is
singing. Have you ever been able to tell your mother how much you loved
her? The real songs of the soul are of necessity the unsung songs.

These songs are the real songs, for the soul life is the real life.
They may never be heard by others, but you hear them, and their words
never die. They echo through the years. There is never a moment of
thoughtful meditation, never a season of seclusion; never a period of
sickness when the things of the world are shut out and one is left
alone with the things of the soul; never a season of disappointment, or
sorrow, or bereavement, or heartache, but that the hour is made blessed
and hallowed with the memory of these songs, and lo, while one listens,
all earth and heaven become vibrant with music and one is charmed and
soothed with the echo of life’s unsung songs. While exiled upon the
lonely heights of Patmos John heard a song that thrilled the heaven of
heavens, but none save the multitude before the throne could learn the
song. That is easily understood. It was not a song blending the varied
experiences of earth together into one mighty outburst of love; it was
the soul weaving all the unsung songs which no one on earth had ever
heard or could ever understand into one great symphony with which to
praise the God of its salvation. Life’s unsung songs shall never cease
to live in earth and heaven. Their echoes are our comfort here, our joy


                            MODERN JUDASES

The story of Judas casts a dark shadow through the sunlight of twenty
centuries. His deed was more than a betrayal of friendship. Lady
Macbeth, coming from the chamber of death into the candlelight and
beholding her lily-white hands stained ruby red with the blood of
murdered friendship, and fearing to wash them, lest the ocean’s flood
should tell to every rock-bound coast the blushing secret of her guilt,
was not half so bad as Judas. This deed was more than the betrayal of
friendship; it was the dark hand of villainy, reaching from behind
the dark curtains of selfishness, that with the keen blade of greed
he might pierce the unprotected breast of innocence. It was a tragedy
that, with each decade’s growth in love, becomes more atrocious in the
eyes of men.

Named after Judas Maccabæus, one of the most illustrious characters
of Jewish history, good enough and gifted enough to be chosen as a
disciple, and possessing such integrity of character that he was chosen
treasurer of the group, Judas began his public career auspiciously.
For three years he had been associated with Christ in the most
intimate manner. He had entered cities and passed through country
places, preaching and performing miracles, until returning with radiant
face he said with the other disciples, “Even the devils are subject
unto us.” Having been lifted out of his old self, he rejoiced in the
delights of noble living. Within a few weeks he would have been able
to stand with Peter at Pentecost and take his place among the world’s
beloved immortals. Then came the awakening. He had followed Christ
through the fragrant fields of the Beatitudes and under the clear
sky of the Sermon on the Mount; he had seen Christ, at the sacrifice
of rest and comfort, change barren lives into beauty, as the sun
adorns barren branches with clustered fruit; and now, as his life was
approaching the crisis, Judas could see where the road was leading,
and he became frightened. He saw that the end of the Christ-journey
was not toward worldly triumph, but toward sorrow, not to a palace,
but a bleak mountainside, not toward a throne, but a cross; and he
began to think of himself. “What shall I do?” Like one facing a panic
he stood petrified with terror. Seeing the investment of three long
years trembling in the balance, he did not think it businesslike to
follow Christ any further. His love for money so blinded his eyes
that he could not see the moral grandeur of Christ’s program. Angered
and disappointed, he deserted his post, sought the seclusion of the
night-time shadows to complete his plans. Well does the inspired writer
add, “And it was night.” Of course it was night; dark, starless,
moonless night, for he had allowed his love for money to eclipse the
Light of Life.

From then on there was only one light attractive to Judas, and that
was the luring light of avarice and greed. Seeking for it, he found
it. Like the red fires of hell it burst into flaming stream from
the high priest’s windows, where Arrogance and Lust for Power were
plotting against the innocent. Rushing toward it, out of breath, his
hands clutching his garments, his brow wet with perspiration, his eyes
staring madly with greed for gold, he demanded: “What will you give
me?” Shrewd and crafty, these unscrupulous leaders of men knew that the
language of love and friendship could not be understood by this grasper
of gain; so they used the only language he could now understand and
wanted to hear--the language of the market place; and “they promised
him money.”

This is one of the darkest pictures in history, its black shadow
reaching through the centuries, but it does not hang alone in the
galleries of death. There are others still making the awful bargain of
Judas, and gladly sacrificing the innocent for the sake of financial

Behold the unscrupulous real-estate dealers who force houses of immoral
character into clean, residential sections of cities, betraying the
cause of righteousness, injuring homes, and damning the souls of
hundreds. Because immorality promises a more handsome and immediate
return for the investment they become partners in the exploiting of
sin and crime. As Judas went into the quietude of the Mount of Olives
and brought wreck and ruin, so these men insidiously lead marauding
bands of immoral workers into the best communities, well knowing that
their deed means the betrayal of youth and maiden, but refusing to give
it a thought, their attention fixed only on the increasing volume of
business. The good name of a city or community, the value of innocence,
and the sanctity of the home are nothing to these modern Judases.

Behold the employers of child labor, who, under the disguise of
charitably giving employment to the poor, are reaping revenues that
provide them with luxuries at the cost of blasted lives. Many of our
shops, stores, and factories are but presses where the life, hope,
vigor, and vision of childhood are crushed out in order to fill to the
brim the intoxicating cup of extravagance for people whose own lives
are too foul and unfit to be used as grapes in their own presses. Daily
the bright-faced boys and girls, the hope of the nation, are crowded
out of the public school into the vats. Hour by hour their lives are
pressed out until, broken in body, dwarfed in intellect, incapacitated
for works of social service, falling far short of the requirements made
upon their later years, they are thrown aside as useless pomace. The
uncontrollable spirit of greed that places money above the value of
life and happiness and goodness is the spirit of Judas.

Behold the owners of tenement houses, those breeding places of filth
and sin, where little children are compelled to live and die, or live
and curse the world. Their only memories of childhood will be those of
the crowded alley, foul hallways, and darkened corners in which they
hide in fear. The memory of a mother’s face will be vague, ever hidden
in the darkness and gloom in which she spent her days. Why do they
not have fresh air? Greed. Why do they not have fresh water to drink?
Greed. Why do their buildings not have good sanitation? Greed. Modern
Judases are they all.

Behold the men who are commercializing amusements. Men and women need
recreation, and children must have places to play. The human body
is not made of harder material than the locomotive, that requires
rest between its trips, or, growing tired, refuses to carry its load.
Therefore it is necessary to have places of recreation and exercise.
But where shall the children go? The best bathing beaches of ocean,
lake, and river bank are owned by money-making syndicates, and the
people are compelled to pay for privileges which are their own by the
right of birth and citizenship. More than this, since money is the
objective, and the people must patronize their places, having no other
places to go, they offend decency by catering to the coarse and vulgar
element of the community, thus becoming places of moral contamination
instead of places of recreation. This is also true of our theaters,
moving picture houses, and amusement parks. That which is presented is
very often so uncouth that modesty must hide her face.

The deadening influence of the modern movies, their teachings of sex
and treatment of marriage, is clearly shown in their effect upon the
actors and actresses themselves. They have enacted these parts so
often, and lived in the atmosphere where these things are discussed as
the predominating tastes of the people, that the unnatural teachings
have become their conceptions of real life until the story of their
divorces and remarriages has scandalized all decent society. Beside
the colonies of moving picture celebrities, Salt Lake City and other
Mormon strongholds seem quite tame. If the moving picture has such a
demoralizing influence over the actors and actresses, who are matured
men and women, what will be the effect upon the growing generations?
Already the atmosphere of school and playground is vitiated. The evil
effects are already manifest to every conscientious Christian social
worker. To silence the protests of a righteous guarding of the morals
of the young, the moving picture corporations have set aside large
amounts to prevent the needed legislation regulating censorship.

The work of these modern Judases does not end here, but they insist
upon the prostitution of the Sabbath day for their ungodly enterprises.
For the sake of making money they are endeavoring to lead America in
the same direction Europe has been traveling, and to the same tragic
fate. Childhood and the Christian Sabbath are being desecrated every
hour by these Judases whose one question in life is, “What will you
give me?”

It is time for an aroused citizenship to enter protest against these
evils. We cannot prevent Judas from having base desires, nor giving
his traitorous kiss, but we can compel Pilate, the officer, to render
righteous judgment. Jesus was crucified, not because Judas kissed
him, but because Pilate was a moral coward. Pilate washed his hands,
declaring himself “innocent,” but every man in the mob knew that he was
guilty. We cannot prevent Judas betraying, but we can create public
sentiment which will compel officers to reach protecting hand against
the greed of our modern Judases.


                        THE ADJUSTABLE UNIVERSE

That God should adjust a universe so that all of its forces and
energies should be at the instant disposal of those who, through
obedience to his laws, lay claim to them, should not seem strange
when we realize how perfectly we are now adjusting our mechanical and
social conditions to meet the hourly needs of the body. The water
supply of many of our large cities is pumped and propelled by what
is known as the Holly Engine. Its regulation is perfectly automatic.
Without any apparent cause, there is a constant change in the amount
of steam produced. The engineer busies himself by oiling the bearings
and polishing the shafts, but seems utterly indifferent to the pressure
of the steam as it relates itself to the varying demands of the great
city. The fact is that the engineer does not need to concern himself
with the regulating of the engine, for the people of the city regulate
it for themselves.

Whenever a faucet is opened the draft in the engine is correspondingly
opened, the fires burn brighter, the steam is increased, and the action
of the pumps instantly accelerated. The larger the quantity of water
needed, the wider the drafts, the stronger the fires, the greater the
pressure of steam, the more active the huge pumps that labor to meet
the increased demand. Quickly close the faucets, stop the outlet of
water entirely, and the pumps will become inactive. So perfect is this
adjustment that the smallest child, many miles away, may change the
speed of the engine at will. It is designed to meet the needs of every
person in the city, whether it be but a cup of water to moisten the
fevered lips of a little child or great streams with which to fight the
mighty conflagrations that threaten the life of the city.

If man, out of common ore which he digs from the hills, can build
machinery to meet the varying need of his fellow man, should it seem
such an incredible thing that God, who made the human soul, could, out
of his unlimited, unmeasured spiritual forces, arrange to instantly
meet the need of every human soul? God can and God does. The fact is
that the whole universe is so arranged. There is not a need of the soul
of man that cannot be immediately satisfied, if one puts himself in
obedient touch with the fixed spiritual laws that control the required
forces, as, for the thirsty lips, we intelligently reach out, turn the
faucet, and draw the cup of water.

It is at this point that the learned individual who loudly praises
himself upon being a practical observer of life, takes most positive
exceptions and insists that the weakness of the Church is this very
insistence upon what, to him, seems the miraculous. He has not been
able to observe that the strength of the Church is her belief in the
laws governing prayer, compliance with which instantly brings all the
Infinite resources of the sky to meet and fully satisfy the needs of
the soul. The fault is not in God’s method of procedure, but in the
narrow prejudices which the critic mistakes for the laws of logic.
Let us consider the laws governing prayer as revealed in an old-time

Her eyes red with weeping, and her face deeply drawn with sorrow, a
lonely woman was pleading with Elisha for help. Out from dark shadows,
she was journeying toward deeper gloom. She had just buried her
husband, on the morrow she must journey to the auction block where her
two sons, her only means of support, were to be sold into slavery, to
meet the debts of her dead husband. She was helpless and heart-broken
in her poverty. “What shall I do for thee? What hast thou in the
house?” asked the solicitous prophet. “Thy handmaiden hath not anything
in the house save”--and she faltered--“save a pot of ointment.” All
her furniture and cooking utensils had been sold to help meet her
financial obligations. There was only one thing left, and that was the
jar of ointment which every Jewish person kept for the anointing of the
dead. This was never disposed of. Then came the command, “Borrow empty
vessels, and borrow not a few.”

The two boys were set to work. The novelty of the situation whetted
their curiosity and ambition and it was not long until the mother
announced that there were enough vessels and that the doors and windows
should be tightly closed. Then, with trembling fingers, she opened the
little jar and began to empty its contents into the larger vessels.
Three smiling faces bent over the open mouths of the jars, when, to
their wonderment, the little jar had filled every one of the larger
ones. Now there was no need of worry. The prayer had been answered. The
sale of the oil would more than meet all the demands of the creditors.
It was wonderful, but natural.

Prayer is answered only according to the law of continuity. There were
more than a thousand ways in which God could have come to the relief of
the widow. The prophet’s touch could have filled the empty vessels to
overflowing, as once a prophet’s touch melted granite rock into crystal
streams of water; his touch could have filled the hut with abounding
wealth; common dust might have gleamed as jewels; unexpected gifts
might have been poured forth as rain; but they did not. God meets the
emergencies of life through the law of continuity. The way of increase
is always yielding what we have to the workings of higher laws. The
small cruse held the secret of the overflowing jars. Hunger comes and
God asks, “What hast thou?” and the husbandman answers, “Thy servant
hath not anything save a handful of grain.” Then comes the command,
“Take it to the well-plowed field, and pour it out.” He does so, and
the field overflows with harvest. For the vine that man plants God
gives the purple clusters; for the seed he sows God gives a loaf of
bread. Like always produces like, and in prayer is followed the law
of increase. What you have saved from what you have already owned,
determines the nature of God’s answer to your petitions. If your heart
hungers for sympathy, take the cruse of sympathy and pour it into the
empty vessel of another’s life. The world yields no sympathy to the
unsympathetic, but never fails to return with increase each expression
of tender solicitude. If you pray for comforting power to heal an
old wound, take whatever power of comfort you possess, and begin to
minister to hearts that break. You will find increase that will fill
every empty vessel of your heart, and gladness shall take the place
of sorrow. If you are praying for financial aid, consecrate whatever
strength of brain and muscle you possess to hard, clean work, and the
return will richly recompense you. If you are asking God to make you
of service to the world, pour out your life into the empty ones about
you, and your petition will be granted. This is the law of spiritual
adjustment. Along the lines of your own individuality will God prepare
you for the larger task to-morrow.

We must also remember that the increase is determined, not by divine
limitations, but by our own capacity. The command to the widow
was, “Borrow empty vessels, and borrow _not a few_.” God placed no
limitations, but, rather, gave urgent command to plan for large things.
She could have borrowed a thousand empty vessels and a thousand vessels
would have been filled. Her blessing was determined the moment she said
to the boys who were securing the jars from the excited neighbors,
“That is enough, you need not borrow more.” That moment she determined
the amount of answer her prayers would receive. The oil ceased to flow
when she had reached the limit of her preparation. What a tremendous
truth! Our growth and spiritual attainments are unlimited so far as
God is concerned. The possibility of development is unlimited so far
as this world is concerned, for empty vessels and empty hearts are
everywhere. Our growth is limited only by the breadth of our sympathies
and the scope of our interests.

Borrow empty vessels, and _borrow not a few_. What a challenge to the
church of the living God! Begin to think and plan in big terms. “_Not
a few._” These are the words of One who thinks in numbers large enough
to include all the grains of sand in all the oceans and all the stars
of the universe. Count the forest leaves and the grass-blades and
raindrops, and then ask yourself what God means when he says “_not a
few_.” May the Christ of social service show the church of to-day that
her power is limited only by her vision of her opportunity.


                              SEEING LOVE

The value of life is measured by the power of vision. The savage,
tramping the diamond beneath his feet, and clinging to tooth and claw
of the wild animals he has slain, represents a very narrow, restricted
life, for he possessed a narrow vision. Beholding fruit-bearing trees,
he saw only the crab and wild cherry of bitter taste. Looking across
the open fields, he saw only the wind-tossed, tangled grass whose
matted meshes made slow his travel. Along the wayside he saw only the
daisy, and the thorn-mass of the wild rose bush forming a convenient
place in which to hide while making observations. Because in the crab
he could not see the possibilities of the Northern Spy, and because
in the wild cherry he could not see the luscious Oxheart, his travel
lacked refreshing fruit. Because in the tangled grass he could not see
the gleaming gold of ripened grain, he had no food in time of famine.
Because the weedlike daisy did not suggest the chrysanthemum, and the
wild rose foretell the American Beauty, his pathway was commonplace.

Following the savage came those of wider vision, and soon the fields
assumed the golden vesture of the ripened harvests, the hillsides
became rich with luscious fruit, and life’s pathway was fringed with

Each individual makes his own universe, using only, out of the vastness
of God’s provision, such things as he has eyes to see. In the broad,
open, western plains, with far-extending horizon and translucent sky
bedecked with bits of light to lure the seeing soul to heights heroic,
lives one whose universe is no wider than his daily task, and whose
zenith has never ascended above his hat-crown. Careless in observation,
his universe is scarcely larger than the dug-out in which he crawls
at night to sleep. Dwelling in a dark room of the crowded tenement,
bound by the cords of sickness to a sufferer’s bed of pain, lies one
who knows nothing of the majesty of wind-swept fields, or vastness of
the star-lit sky, but whose careful observations have made a zenith
high enough to overarch the throne of God, and a horizon wide enough to
include every need of the human soul.

The richness of life depends largely upon how many of the things of
life which ordinary people call commonplace can be crowded into the
range of vision. The man possessing most of earth is not necessarily
a landowner, but he who, whether rich or poor, learns to observe and
appreciate the things about him. Christ never owned a foot of land.
Standing in the dusty highway, worn and weary by countless deeds of
sacrificial love, he exclaimed: “The foxes have holes, and the birds
of the air have nests; but the Son of man has not where to lay his
head.” He was poverty-stricken, yet, in all the history of the world,
never was one so rich as he. For him every lily held a golden casket
filled with an unmeasured wealth of inspiration. For him the birds
winged their way from heights celestial to sing their songs of divine
forethought. Each color of the sky was a prophet proclaiming the things
of God. Speaking to his disciples, men who would necessarily remain
poor and homeless, he said: “Blessed are the meek [those who are not
looking for thrones of authority and power, but who, in humble state,
learn to see the divine vision], for they own the earth.”

I know such an one. A laborer in the field, he spends his life toiling
for the one he loves, living in a rented cottage, faring on common
food, dressing in coarse-woven garments, and yet possessing untold
wealth. With blistered feet and sweat-washed brow, I have seen him
coming home, smiling with beaming tenderness, as he carefully held in
his calloused hand the frail, pink petals of the first spring beauty he
had found blooming by his way. He never owned anything in particular,
yet there was nothing in the universe that he did not possess and enjoy
with rapturous heart. He knows that the voice of God is heard, not
only in the roar of turbulent cataract, or reverberating peal of the
majestic thunder, but also in the bog and quagmire.

    “For in the mud and scum of things,
    There’s always something, something sings.”

He possesses a wealth that is indestructible. When one gazes so
intently upon a flower that he beholds it as it really is, he has
blessed the flower with immortality and his soul with an unfading
beauty. The moment he truly beholds it, God transplants it to his soul,
where it can never die, but live and bloom forever and forever.

Christ came to enrich man’s experience by the process of extending his
range of vision, teaching him that what meekness does for magnifying
his conception of the natural world, piety does for the soul’s
conception of the spiritual world. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for
they shall see God,” and afterwards adding, “God is love.” As humility
gives one possession of the earth, purity gives one vision to behold
the divine mystery of love.

One of the secrets of Christ’s triumphant place in history was this
vision of purity that enabled him to see the redeeming goodness in
the hearts of the world’s outcasts. Christ could see love, therefore,
when the pious priests were sitting with folded hands waiting for
something to transpire that was worthy of their attention, he was busy
in city street and country lane seeking to save that which was lost. He
could see love, therefore when the self-righteous churchman, through
prejudice, was blind to his neighbor’s need, he was toiling in the
service of the loving heart. Busy men and women could see nothing in
childhood, while Christ, with purity of heart, could look down upon
these little ones, and, seeing the love that bubbles up in baby hearts
to overflow in kisses, smiles, and laughter, lifted them to that high
throne where value is measured only in terms of love. The pious ones
saw the raving demoniac standing amid the desolations of the tombs, and
felt that he was too far gone to help. Looking deep within this poor
man’s heart, Christ saw his innate love for home, and never stopped
until he had brought him into subjection to his words of power, and
sent him, well and happy, to his home and family.

The zealous religionists saw only evil in the poor woman who, escaping
the rough grasp of her captors, was crouching at the feet of Christ,
fearful and ashamed to look upward. Looking into her heart he saw less
sin than love--love that was deep, and pure, and changeless, as only a
woman’s love can be; therefore, instead of killing her because of sin,
he forgave her because she loved, and then bade her go and live the
life triumphant.

Men accustomed to the scenes of crucifixion were not stirred when
one of the crucified uttered a prayer for pardon. It was a common
occurrence and put down as one of the strange expressions of
loneliness; but to Jesus it was all important. Looking into the heart
of the dying thief, Christ saw a worth-while love for that which was
good and of finer quality, therefore he astonished even those who knew
him best by lifting him out of sin and taking him with him to paradise.

Living triumphantly necessitates one possessing the vision of purity,
without which one cannot see God. Mother holds the preeminent place in
every life, because her true living has kept her vision clear, and she
sees the good that lies deep within the hearts of her children. Her son
may become an outcast in the sight of others. Filled with iniquity,
and helpless in the terrible grasp of passion, he may have lost faith
in himself and says: “There is no hope for me.” The world hears, and
readily agrees, and says that the young man is hopeless. But not the
mother. To mother there is always hope. Her boy must not be thrown
away, for he is of infinite value. She never notices his sin; she sees
only the soul that lies hidden like a jewel beneath the rubbish of his
transgressions. Seeing the love within his soul which others could not
see, because they lacked the necessary love to see, her vision became
the power that not only defies but completely changes public opinion.
Because she loves much, she redeems and saves him, and compels the
community to accept him as one who has wandered away, but has come back
to the Father’s house. Blessed are the pure in heart, for unto them
is given vision to see good in every one, and to behold their Lord in
every event of life.


                         THE DIGNITY OF LABOR

There is no liberty without toil. To enjoy the freedom of the sunshine,
the germinating seed must lift and throw aside the clod which outweighs
it a thousandfold. Before the blossom can unwrap its tinted petals in
the sunlight it must, with the warmth of its own healthy growth, melt
the wax that seals it in its winter sepulcher, and with its increasing
strength tear away the rough bud-scales and hurl them to the ground.
The oriole wings its way and fills the afternoon with song, only, after
earnest effort, it has liberated itself from the imprisoning shell.

Toil is the golden key which God gave the human race, that it might
find escape from the self-inflicted slavery of sin. “In the sweat
of thy face shalt thou eat bread” was not a curse pronounced by an
offended Deity, but Love’s whispered secret of escape from harm.
Standing amid the wreck of a sin-torn paradise, man looked through the
open archway of these six words--“In the sweat of thy face”--and saw
the possibilities of a world-wide Eden. Beholding the fruit begin to
fail, and the greensward become tangled with brush and bramble, Fear
said: “You shall die of hunger.” “In the sweat of thy face” revealed
broad acres filled with health-giving ripening grain and orchards laden
with luscious fruit. Beholding the lakes become stagnant, and the river
beds becoming dry and parched, Fear said: “You shall perish of thirst.”
“In the sweat of thy face” revealed vineyards adrip with purple wine,
and desert lands abloom with beauty because man would learn to train
the mountain streams to follow where he led. Yea, more, “In the sweat
of thy face” opened a pathway through which Hope ran to find salvation
from the deadly power of sin. Coming back, with face aglow, that bright
clad Angel bade man first to give his strength in building an altar on
which to offer heartfelt thanks to God, who had made the human hand
with which to toil and rebuild paradise.

Happy and fortunate is the man who learns to do his daily stint of work
with a cheerful heart. To him shall be the joy of understanding that
the ordinary duties of life are not burdens sent to crush him to earth,
but blessings through which he is to work out his own salvation.

Behold how man’s labors have redeemed the world from barrenness. Soft,
yielding swamps have become hard-paved streets of famous cities,
over which the unappreciative multitudes walk or ride in perfect
comfort. Where once the heated winds blew the drifting sands to-day the
gentle zephyrs fan the rich, green meadows. Where once the untrained,
tangled vines broke down the struggling tree upon which they clung,
the vineyards yield their purple clusters, and the orchards give
forth their wealth of sweet and luscious fruit. Where once the wild
weeds threw their choking pollen to the wind, the aster, rose, and
proud chrysanthemum wave upon graceful stems and toss their pretty
petals to and fro. Where once the savage stretched his tents of skins,
brown-stone mansions lift their open portals in invitation to the
weary sons of toil. By the sweat of man’s brow, by the toiling of the
multitudes, we are saved from desolation and made to dwell securely
among the gardens.

Toil saves from sickness. Without the putting forth of physical effort
all men are weaklings. To be a producer, to change the strength of
brain and muscle into that which is of value to his fellow man, is
not only necessary if he would play his part in the great social
institution of which he finds himself a part, but it is necessary
for his own mental, physical, and spiritual salvation. Grinding out
his days in unceasing industry, many a man curses his lot and wishes
earnestly for idleness, not knowing that toil is the making of a
man with strong muscles, firm flesh, large lung capacity, and good
digestion, for toil forces the blood in rapid circulation. Honest toil
is the best tonic. When asked what was the secret of his good health,
a great statesman responded, “Hard work.” Overfed, full of gout, and
ill humored, a certain man of ease requested a celebrated physician to
prescribe for him. “Live upon sixpence a day, and earn it,” was the
advice. Over one half of the invalids of the world could be almost
instantly cured, if they would concentrate their attention, and direct
all their strength, in carrying forward some worthy enterprise.
Caring for a garden is a good preventive for consumption. Labor means
exercise, exercise means health. Common toil is God’s prescription by
which we are to work out our salvation from many days of sickness and

Labor preserves us from needless sorrow. Imagine the condition of Adam
leaving Eden with all his faculties save that which would enable him to
concentrate his energies upon some worth-while task--with the power to
think and ponder over the hardships of his fallen situation; with the
marvelous power of memory to recall his faded days of gladness; with
the power of a good imagination, to paint fairer, brighter pictures
for the future, and yet without the power to organize these faculties
for action, thus having no force of character with which to achieve.
Such life would be worse than death, no matter what evils death might
bring. But through the gracious promise of the sweat-washed brow man
found surcease for sorrow in attempting to build a better garden for
himself and little ones. There is no happiness save that which results
in using one’s strength and talents in honest endeavor. Idleness breeds
discontent, worry, and fear. It adds a thousand pangs to every grief
and sorrow. The most unhappy and therefore the most unfortunate people
in the world are those who have the financial resources to sit in
idleness and nurse their grief. Better by far be the poor woman who
leaves her dead, and goes to scrub the floors of a public building, for
in her honest toil she finds a healing, comforting touch. Toil makes
one forget his grief, soothes him with a gentle hand, and permits the
grace of God to heal the wounded soul and broken heart.

Labor is a strong tower that shields one from the onslaughts of
temptation. It is the idle hand that Satan seeks. One half of our
incarcerated criminals owe their position to the fact that they
refused to accept the protecting power of toil to keep them in the
way of righteousness. Having nothing to do, they fell in with evil
companions. Having nothing to do, they partook of questionable
amusements. Having nothing to do, they followed the evil leading of
their passions. Having nothing to do, sin and disgrace made them easy
captives. One way of salvation is to escape from temptation, and one
of the best ways to escape temptation is to be so busily occupied with
clean, honest, manly endeavor, that the devil has no access to the mind
with either spoken word or secret thought. Work out your salvation from

Labor may also contribute largely to the developing of Christian
character. There would be no backsliding in our churches if those who
profess the name of Christ would engage in his great enterprise of
saving and redeeming the world. The growing spirit of indifference,
that is paralyzing so many of our religious activities, could not be,
had men not become idlers in the Kingdom. Business men look upon the
church and say that it is weak because it has no program. This is
true. We lacked a program, not because we had no program, but because
we refused to follow the one that God gave us. The church is far from
being dead. Those who have kept true to their Divine Lord, and have
humbly, but earnestly worked his works, have been saved from all these
temptations to sin and worldliness, and their ardor to-day is brighter
than on the day they first gave their hearts to Christ.

Then let us get to work. Labor cannot save us from the penalty of sin.
Nothing save the grace of God can do that for us, but it can save us
from barren surroundings, from much of our sickness, from the deadening
influences of sorrow, from the power of many of our most dangerous
temptations, and aid us in spiritual development. Work with a good
will. Let no man laugh you out of its benefits. Say to the world,
“Yes, I am a laboring man.” Let no blush come to your cheek, unless it
be because you are not a better and more earnest workman. Labor with
the knowledge that while you are at your task you are ranked with the
mightiest and most illustrious characters of the world. Labor adds to
dignity. Hard, honest work gives self-respect. Toil saves one from the
life of a parasite, enabling him to pay his own way, at the same time
leaving the world brighter and richer because of his toil. The richest
jewel that ever adorned the brow of man is not in the King’s crown. It
is the beaded sweat that stands upon the tanned forehead of an honest
laborer. Wear it with the dignity with which a king wears his crown
of gold. In the light of God’s approving smile it will pale and make
insignificant the crown jewels of all the nations.


                     ABOVE THE COMMONPLACE OF SIN

Individuality is one of God’s ways of expressing his greatness. His
voice penetrates the centuries like the sound of silver bells, but
there is never an echo. No duplicates are ever found among the works of
God’s creative power. He gives his gifts unto the world with boundless
generosity, but through the centuries no single gift has ever found
its counterpart. Everything coming from the hand of God is original,
unique, entirely dissimilar to anything else in the realm of nature.
No two oak leaves are alike. They may be cut from the same pattern,
so that, no matter where you find them drifting in the winds, you
instantly recognize them, saying, “These are oak leaves”; yet, of all
the millions of leaves that have unfolded upon branches of the oaks of
countless ages, no two have been identical in size or form or in the
delicate tracery of the tiny veins which are as delicate as hoarfrost,
yet strong as leaden pipes.

God never duplicates. The wild rose is a simple flower, possessing
but five petals, held securely in the golden chalice of pollen-laden
stamens. Nothing could possibly be more liable of duplication than this
quaint flower of simple garb, yet of all the wild-rose blooms gathered
by lovers’ hands and pressed to maidens’ lips, of all the wild-rose
blooms that grace the old-fashioned gardens and trellis the fences
of the country roads with their picturesque, sublime simplicity, no
two are alike. God so respects the pretty things about which human
sentiment revolves that no two are cast from the same mold. Consider
the blossom that you once kissed, and pressing, stored away. It is
hidden in a secret place, intended for no eyes save your own, and
viewed only through the clear tears that memory revives. Guard it with
the tenderest care, for God will never make another blossom just like
it. He respects the tender affections of your heart that chose this
blossom from a lover’s hand to be the sweetest, fairest blossom of your

When a mother stoops and plucks a blossom from her baby’s grave, covers
it with mingled tears and kisses, and puts it away between the leaves
of the family Bible, thus binding in one cover the sweetest sentiments
of this world and the best hopes and aspirations of a better world, she
does a beautiful thing, and our heavenly Father so honors her love and
reverence for her precious dead that, though a thousand centuries come
and go, he will never make another blossom just like that.

We love all mountains because of their rugged strength and majesty,
yet no two mountains are alike, for to the mountains God has given
personality. The Rockies stand like naked giants with knotted muscles
ever ready to grapple with storms that smite their rugged sides,
rejoicing, like strong men, at the ease with which they break the
strength of their adversary, and hurl the whirlwind, like a helpless
zephyr, into the mighty chasms at their feet. The Alps are like a
procession of kings, bejeweled and berobed for coronation day. To
see the Alps is to have a holiday and have one’s soul thrilled with
boyhood’s wonderment and praise. The Catskills are a languid group of
charming country folk with whom you can sit and chat, and feel the
magic wonderment of childhood creeping through the soul, as you listen
to quaint voices repeat their myths and legends. No two mountains are
alike, for God likes versatility in heaped-up piles of rock as much as
in fluttering leaves and blooming flowers.

No two sunsets are alike. The hanging tapestries of the west may be
woven in the same looms of mist, and dyed in the same vats of scarlet,
purple, red, and orange; they may be laced with the same golden
strands of unraveled sunbeams; and their drapery may reveal the
self-same angel touch, yet no two sunsets are alike, each having its
own individuality, and living forever as a master painting to beautify
the walls of memory. Well do youth and maiden stand with clasped hands
as they face the sunset. Let them feast upon its gorgeous beauty until
their hearts are filled with light and love, for they shall never see
another sunset just like that. Returning to the valley’s old familiar
paths, where they shall walk together amid their mingled lights and
shades, they shall rejoice through many years because of the brilliancy
of that one sunset which God made for them, and for them alone.

This love for originality is seen in the play of the wild waves’ crest
whose molten silver falls into beads and necklaces and pendants of
unequaled workmanship to fill the unseen jewel caskets of the deep.

What is true of the natural world is also true of man. Consider the
variations of the human face. Reflecting upon the limited number of
features, one is amazed to think that such an infinite combination
of facial forms and expressions can be created. There are only two
eyes, two ears, one nose and one mouth, and yet out of that small
combination, behold what God hath wrought! From the soft, pink rosebud
of a baby’s smiling face, looking with wistful wonderment at a newly
found world; through all the charming sweetness of maiden’s cheek
and love-laden eyes; through all the grandeur of the hero’s chiseled
features; through the glory of motherhood smiling affectionately
upon her little brood; through manhood making battle for home and
righteousness--through all these until, at last, you behold the
unequaled beauty, majesty, grandeur, and dignity of old age, no two
countenances are alike.

The glory of God is revealed through individuality. No two persons
are alike in form or feature, gift or grace. No two minds have
exactly the same characteristics. No two souls look upon life from
identical viewpoint, so that each one varies in his conception of
events and expression of art and letters. A king wears the crown of
his predecessor, but for each brow God has fashioned the fairer crown
of individuality. Men, as God made them, are not pegs to be placed
in holes, but kings, to sit upon thrones and rule kingdoms all their
own. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee,” are the words of
Jehovah when he wished to impress Jeremiah with the infinite care with
which he had been prepared for a noble work.

To endeavor to reshape this divinely appointed life and mold it after
an earthly, man-made pattern is the height of folly, yet this is
the demand of very much of our modern social life. Society employs
a system of repression, the subduing and crushing of deep emotions,
and substituting a shallow artificiality. It curbs all naturalness
in development and demands a conformity to certain rigid molds in
which every word, gesture, thought, and impulse must be cast. Instead
of employing the art of expression, permitting the deep feelings to
find normal outlet, and allowing the salutary unfolding of individual
strength and grace, they check and curb and repress until the beauty
and normalcy of life is gone. Our present system of society custom and
usages cannot produce great character.

Failing to recognize individuality as the universal plan, many
educators mistake their function, endeavoring to mold men according
to their conceptions rather than instructing men. Instead of leading
the mind away from the narrow cloister of tradition, form, and
ceremonialism, into the open air where it can function normally,
and unfold its strength and beauty in perfect individualism, many
intellectual leaders continue the practice of pitilessly dwarfing minds
and stunting souls.

Sin also leads to the commonplace. Realizing that man’s strength lies
in developing those characteristics that mark personality, the arch
enemy of the soul is ever endeavoring to destroy them. He tempts
to sin, knowing well that there is no other agency so powerful in
destroying individuality. Sin never lifts men upward toward lofty
heights but always levels downward. It knows no royalty of character,
so it tears down thrones, casts man’s crown aside, blurs the eye,
palsies the nerve, blotches the countenance, deadens the brain, hardens
the heart, and makes its victim a member of the common herd. Sin is not
error; it is poison that stunts the growing aspirations, dwarfs the
spiritual nature, lowers spiritual vitality, and completely destroys
all the royal gifts of God that would distinguish one in character and

Therefore righteousness must be preached as never before. Only through
virtue can one lift himself above the commonplace and his individuality
reach its maximum power. Wrongdoing destroys while right living makes
possible the complete development of all the noble faculties of the
soul, permitting one to experience the fullest possible realization
of life. Men must not be repressed by the foolish processes of a
misguided social, educational, or evil custom. Righteousness must be
preached that youth may know the freedom of goodness and the joy of
righteousness. As birds greet the dawn, by rising on rapturous wing
and filling the blue with exultant song, let youth and maiden greet the
coming day with gladness as they rise above the commonplace of sin. The
Divine plan for their lives must not be marred by sin or foolishness.
The uniqueness and originality of God’s plan are the secrets of
success. The joys of righteousness are too valuable to exchange for the
misery and heartache of a wasted life.


                       THE INVESTMENT OF A LIFE

The problem of investment provides much of the romance as well as
the tragedy of life. The fascination of expending one’s energies or
possessions in legitimate undertakings holds all men spellbound,
whether it be the peasant investing in seed for the coming harvest,
the newsboy buying his bundle of papers for the evening trade, or
the merchant purchasing wares against the changing styles and fitful
customs. The investment proving good furnishes the joy and romance
of existence. The investment proving bad causes the tragedy that
shatters the brain, breaks the heart, smolders the homefires, and sends
multitudes reeling and cursing into the darkness.

All men are investors. Some of them invest their brain. Finding that
God has honored them with an intellect capable of development, they
have closely applied themselves to study and research, until the
meanest flower enlarges itself into an Eden where each petal vein
becomes a winding pathway leading to fountains of nectar that ever
sport and play amid the golden pillars and tapestry of stamen and
pollen. They study until oak trees become mighty ships, iron fashions
itself into sky-scrapers, forked lightning becomes a servant of the
humblest child, sunbeams become physicians, stars become pilots, and
the sky a playground in which the mind leaps from world to world and
wheeling constellation to wheeling constellation. Very rich indeed are
the dividends coming to him who invests his brain against the world’s
ignorance and mysteries.

All men are investors. Some men invest their bodies. They bend their
back to the burden until the blood vessels stand out upon their temples
like silken nets. They give the strength of their arms to the hammer
and drill until the flinty cliff becomes broad highways beneath their
feet. They toil until mountains become winding corridors leading to
chests of silver; valleys bloom with harvests, and frail cocoons become
silken robes. They toil, earning dividends of daily bread, a happy
home, and the consciousness that the world is better for their toil.

All men are investors. Æsthetic in temperament, some invest a love for
the beautiful. They find rhythm in swaying tree branch, harmony in the
moving of winds, music in chirp of crickets, symphonies in the carol of
birds, poetry in gleaming lights upon the water, visions of glory in
the morning and evening sky. They adorn our cities with temples, fill
our homes with immortal songs, transform white marble into immortal
shapes, and fill our galleries with visions of sunsets that never fade,
trees whose leaves are never driven by the November winds, children
who never grow up, and family circles unbroken by death. Dividends
surpassing belief belong to these true and faithful lovers of the

All men are investors. Some men invest their gift for business. They
concentrate their energies on the art of trade until gigantic ships cut
the ocean waves, steel rails join nations and continents, wire threads
bind home to home, keeping each ear within instant reach of loved one’s
voice, refrigerator cars that bring the fruit of the tropics to the
Christmas table, and means of transportation that finds a world-wide
sale for the handiwork of the humblest toiler. All honor to such men!
Nations do not coin currency for business. Business is the mint whose
products fill the coffers of the nations.

All men are investors. Some invest their heart’s affections upon things
divine. Their ears are closed to evil and they know not concerning
things that blight and blast, scorch and consume the soul. Their eyes
are closed to the suggestive, therefore evil finds no lighted pathway
to their imagination. Their hands are held firmly and will not touch
that which contaminates. Their lives are like unto that of the Lord
Jesus, and therefore they are the children of freedom. Their words drop
like the dew, each crystal drop reflecting the heavens toward which
they journey. Their smiles are like unto sunbeams upon harvest fields,
making the grain sweeter of kernel and more golden of husk. Their
voices melt with tenderness as ripe grapes drip wine. Their opinions
are permeated with charity as ripe fruit is filled with fragrance.
Their coming is like that of a messenger from a friendly king.

Each man is an investor, whether he invests his intellect for
education, his body for physical betterment, his æsthetic nature for
art, his business sagacity for prosperity, his heart for the fellowship
of God, receiving benefits and meeting his honest obligations to the
world. Honesty demands that each individual should be such an investor,
investing himself and all that he possesses, for he who refuses to do
so robs his fellow man. For such hell is a moral necessity. He who
refuses to yield himself to the plan of God must not be disappointed
when he finds himself outside of God’s plan for his happiness and

There are no safety deposit vaults for God’s gifts to man. When times
of financial panic come, frightened and panic-smitten men withdraw
their currency from circulation, store it away in a vault, thus
hastening the national disaster. Panics come when men refuse to invest.
In an hour like the present, when moral forces are facing a panic, when
organized forces for evil are using every possible unprincipled means
and method to press righteousness to the wall, no man has any right
whatever to withdraw and hide his talent. Every lover of truth, every
believer in immortality, should give the best he has, every faculty and
talent, the widest possible circulation. Invest, and invest heavily, is
the order from on high. Invest in order to restore confidence to the
people of God. Let them feel encouragement by seeing that the very best
you have is at the disposal of all mankind. Refusing to do so makes one
a miser deserving of nothing save the curse of man. Upon the wholeness
of the investment depends one’s destiny on the Day of Judgment. To the
one who, by investment, has increased his talent, God says: “Well done,
good and faithful servant, enter into joy.” To the one who refuses to
make investment of his life, he says: “Take away that which he hath.”
The Judgment hinges on the problem of investment.

That we make not fatal mistake let us remember that no talent is
properly invested unless done so with a reverent purpose. Talents may
be invested aimlessly and without results. To bring paying dividends
the investment must be backed by a life having a noble purpose. To
illustrate, if you were compelled to sum up your entire life in
one sentence, what would you be able to say of yourself? What one
predominant characteristic do you recognize as being the index of your
life? You reply, “I am a student.” Is that all you can say? You have
invested brains, are an educated man, but is that all?

Unless you have applied your intellect to successfully solving some
problem for those who, denied your blessings, are ignorant and
superstitious, your knowledge is valueless and will be buried with
you. You may be a toiler, but unless you have tugged away and lifted,
with all your might, at the world’s burdens, your strength will go
with you to the grave. If your investment of the æsthetic does not
make the world more beautiful, it is valueless. Are you successful in
business? Is that all that can be said? You may be worth many millions
of dollars, but if your gold has never gleamed in true philanthropy it
will crumble into dust with your body. You may be good, but unless your
goodness expresses itself in sacrificial service, it is worthless.

That which is enduring demands, not the investment of talents
alone, but the investment of the whole life. To give your talents
indifferently marks you, not as an investor, but as a spender, and
anyone can spend money, especially inherited money. To make an
investment demands a whole life centered upon one holy and noble
purpose, for which one spares neither toil nor sacrifice, energy nor
time, until the united efforts become permanent in the world and
forever identify your name with that noble purpose. To invest wisely
is to endow one’s name until it stands out the rich embodiment of
some worthy purpose, as the name “Dante” stands for poetry, the name
“Abraham Lincoln” stands for the emancipation of the slaves, the name
“Garibaldi” stands for liberty, the names of Peabody and Shaftesbury
stand for benevolence, and the names of Wesley and Moody stand for the
redemption of a world.


                           THOUGHT PLANTING

There is nothing more common, and seemingly insignificant, than the
planting of a garden. There are the simple upturning of the sod, the
mellowing of the soil, and the burial of a hard-shelled seed. Let a
chemist analyze the soil, and a scientist examine the seed, and they
will be unable to find anything signifying relationship between the
two. There is nothing, so far as the human eye can see, to suggest that
the combination of seed and soil would be other than the combination of
stone and stubble. But when once planted all the universe knows about
the little brown seed. The earth and the seed were made for each other,
and no sooner do they come in proper contact than the whole universe
is set in motion about and for the development of that buried germ.
There is not a cloud floating afar nor a star gleaming mildly in the
distant blue that does not exist for that tiny seed until, through the
ministration of sunbeam and moonlight, shower and baptismal dew, the
seed arises, clothed in the glory of a resurrection, to lift itself in
right royal grandeur above the clod.

No one can explain how the inanimate can thus become living tissue, but
the sun keeps warming its leaves with caresses, and the kindly winds
bring tribute from distant lands; and the guarding stars keep sending
their benign forces, and the cool hand of the darkness offers its
chalice of dew, so that the seed becomes a tree, whose nectar attracts
the bees and butterflies, and whose wide-extending branches become the
home and playground of the birds.

There is nothing seemingly more insignificant than the planting of
a garden unless it be the beginning of a good and useful life. It
is simply planting a thought in an ordinary human brain. The wise
philosopher may examine the thought and pronounce it quite commonplace;
the grammarian may test it and say that it could be constructed in a
more exact and polished manner; the physiologist may examine the brain
and pronounce the texture of its convolutions as being most ordinary.
There is nothing anywhere to indicate that the combination of that
particular thought and that particular brain could result in anything
particularly extraordinary. The possessor of the brain may feel no
different after the planting of the thought and have no presentiment
of what it shall mean to him in the years that follow. But the whole
universe knows about the thought planting. As the stars remember the
buried seed, so all the divine forces of earth and heaven are set to
work about the planted thought. Days and weeks may pass without the
world observing any appreciable results, and it may even forget the
planting. But God has not forgotten. He is remembering it, guarding it
with divine care, and the results will appear sooner than we think.

That is the reason, I believe, that Christ took the mustard seed for
the foundation of a parable. The seed is not only one of the smallest,
being so little that it can slip unnoticed from your grasp, and hide
within the crevice of a clod, mocking your solicitous search, but it
is of most rapid growth. Within a fortnight it will overshadow the
garden, and before the season is ended will tower twelve to fifteen
feet in height, its sturdy branches affording shelter, and protected
nests, for many birds. Divine thoughts within the brain are capable of
this marvelous development. The planting may be an unattractive thing
to do; the mind itself may be as unresponsive as the soil at the first
planting of the seed, but God has not forgotten his truth, and all the
universe is working for its fullest development. Soon, very soon, will
it manifest its marvelous nature by rapid growth and bloom.

Here is a little lass, living among the forests of Domremy. Day by day
she watches the soldiers of hostile powers tramping along the dusty
highways to devastate the land she loves so dearly. Her heart aches
as she sees her people languishing helplessly under the heavy yoke of
oppression. Standing with tear-filled eyes one day she hears an old man
say: “God will one day raise a deliverer for the French.” Amid the dust
arising from the tramping of an invading army a thought was planted in
the mind of a child.

Here is a little girl at Ledbury, near the Malvern Hills, sitting in
her father’s dooryard, looking at the mysterious letters of a Greek
book, whose secrets refuse to yield themselves to her inquisitive
brain. Disappointed, she buries her face in her book and weeps, only
to be found by a kind friend who picks her up and whispers in her ear:
“There, do not cry. A little girl can learn Greek if she tries.” The
world goes along as usual, not knowing that a new thought has been
planted, and that girls may learn Greek as readily as do the boys.

Here is a little boy, standing by a harpsichord, watching his father’s
fingers find the notes upon the ivory keyboard. His soul is filled with
delight as he listens to the melodies that arise. Beholding the nervous
twitch of the tiny fingers longing to earnestly and reverently touch
the music-making keys, the father bends low, and says: “Be patient,
son, and keep loving your music, for some day you will be a great

Here is a little boy drawing with charcoal upon the white walls of his
mother’s kitchen, while a precious old grandmother sits watching the
young artist. Taking him in her arms, she said, “Do not paint to rub
out, paint for eternity.” Commonplace words uttered in a commonplace
home by a very commonplace old lady.

Here is a bright-eyed little boy kneeling at his mother’s side to say
his prayers. Having finished his petitions, the Christian mother says,
encouragingly, as she strokes his head, “Only be good, my precious boy,
and God will use you to help the thousands.”

We have seen these five persons putting ordinary thoughts in what
seem to be ordinary brains. These five children felt no enraptured
thrill, the ones who sowed the thoughts did not remember the day.
But all the universe of spiritual power knew about the planting, and
consequently the seeds grew. Watch the little girl among the forests of
Domremy, leaning against the trees, buried in thought, and listening
to the voices that ever speak of redeeming France. Watch the little
girl bending over her Greek book, day after day, finding the key
that unlocks the beauty of Homer and Thucydides. Watch the little
lad sitting past the midnight hour, his long curls falling in rich
folds about his face as he bends over the harpsichord awakening the
slumbering strings. Watch the little lad gathering clays of various
colors and grinding them into paint, which shall, at the touch of his
brush, awaken angels upon the canvas. Watch the little lad who learned
to pray at his mother’s knee, gathering the students of Oxford about
him to spend the evening hour in prayer. God has not forgotten the
good thoughts sown in the days gone by, and all the spiritual forces
of the heavens are working for their most complete development. Soon
the little lass of Domremy, obedient to the call of the voices, mounts
her charger and compels King Charles, the invader, to flee and give
back the government of France to her people. Soon the little girl
who studied so diligently to learn Greek will become Mrs. Elizabeth
Browning, to make the centuries happy with the music of her poems. Soon
the little lad at the harpsichord will become the mighty Mozart, whose
music lingers like the sweet fragrance of dew-wet flowers. Soon will
the little boy, drawing with charcoal, begin to paint for eternity, and
the “Angelus” and “The Man with a Hoe” begin their deathless career,
as a tribute to toil, and an eternal protest against oppression. Soon
the boy of Epworth and the youth of Oxford will become John Wesley, the
leader of the great revival which swept England at a critical period
and directed her on the right track.

No one can understand the mystery of the growing seed, or the greater
mystery of the growing thought, but each individual can have such a
love for childhood and its future that he will guard with jealous care
each word that leaves his lip, determined that in the sowing nothing
but good seed shall find lodgment in any heart. An evil thought planted
in a child’s mind grows into a ruined life and blasted character. Let
not even the idle word be an evil one for fear of the harvest. What an
incentive to become good husbandmen planting righteous thoughts in the
minds of childhood, looking forward to harvests that shall never end!


                          THE ROSARY OF TEARS

God meant man to be happy. The sweetest music of this world is clear,
ringing laughter. Beside its resonance the majestic voice of the
cataract, the rolling melody of dashing billows, the gurgling ripple of
the sun-kissed streams, the thrilling throb of the wild bird’s song,
the merry chirp of the cheerful cricket, the lyric of the wind-tossed
leaves are as nothing. Better one sudden, spontaneous outburst of
childish laughter than all the symphonies and oratorios of the long
centuries. Nothing can equal it. It comes with the spontaneity of a
geyser, rolls out upon the atmosphere like a volley of salutes, thrills
like martial music, its quick vibrations making the sunbeams tinkle
like silver bells. It is contagious, causing the facial muscles of our
friends to relax and begin to run and leap into the radiant smiles,
their vocal cords to burst into song, and the whole world becomes a
better and happier place for all mankind.

As the sunshine makes battle with shadows, so men and women should
wage warfare with everything that depresses. Children have a right
to laugh, and youth has a right to rejoice in the morning light of
life that floods the pathway with the bright and brilliant colorings
of hope. We must not be too exacting with others, neither must we
endeavor to abnormally repress our own feelings. There is a restraint
that is not culture and a self-control that is not temperance. Some
people would be far more honest in their dealings, and have better
rating in their own community, if they did not exercise such an
exacting self-control over their deep feelings of honesty, justice, and
brotherly love. There is a boundless strength in emotion, therefore
laughter and happiness are absolutely essential. Let happy hours be
golden beads, which, strung upon the silken cord of memory, will become
a rosary with which to count our prayers.

Laughter is essential, because of its relationship to tears. In the
truest sense pure tears and pure laughter are one. It requires a
raindrop to reveal the hidden beauties of the sunbeam. Beholding the
rainbow spreading its many-colored folds over the dark shoulders of
the storm cloud, we utter exclamations of gladsome surprise. How
marvelously beautiful it is! But every sunbeam would be a rainbow if
only it had its raindrop through which to pass. It requires vapor
to reveal the hidden depths and treasures of the sunbeam. Tears are
to laughter what raindrops are to sunshine. They reveal the deeper
meaning of our joys. Without them we should never appreciate or
understand the brighter moments. When we count each hour of happiness
as a golden bead, we must consider each teardrop as a crystal or
polished diamond, to gleam upon the rosary of the heart.

Sincerely pity the man who has lost the art of shedding tears, for he
has, through self-control, restricted his emotions, so as to exclude
life’s best experiences. Without a tear-moistened eye one cannot
clearly comprehend the brightness of the sky, the majesty of the
sea, the commanding splendor of the mountains, or the wealth of gold
that lies buried in every human heart. Without tears one can never
experience the rapturous joy of truest love or holiest patriotism. The
greatness of the soul is measured by the depth of its emotions, and
the extent of influence is determined by the readiness with which one
permits the deep emotions to shed their glory.

Herein is hidden a secret of triumphant power. The greatest victories
are won, not by gun and cannon, but by deep emotions expressed in
tear-dimmed eyes. Great achievements are wrought by men who can feel
keenly and deeply. Behold Garibaldi conquering a great Italian city.
A thousand soldiers, armed with rifles, and supported with heavy
artillery, stood ready to oppose him. Commanding generals, with drawn
swords, stood ready to give command to fire the moment he made his
appearance. This was the day that he had announced that he would take
the city. Hours passed and neither he nor his army came in sight.
Finally, in the afternoon, amid a cloud of dust, a carriage is seen
rapidly nearing the city. Every eye is strained to see its passenger,
when lo, above the dust, rises the stalwart form of the great Italian.
Without gun, sword, or protecting soldier, the great general who has
come to take the city, is standing erect in an open carriage, his arms
folded in peace. Each defending soldier is ready to obey command, but
no command is given. In the presence of such remarkable courage each
officer is motionless and speechless. No moment of Italian history was
more tense. Suddenly some sympathizer shouted, “Viva la Garibaldi!” and
in an instant every weapon is dropped and Garibaldi takes the city and
holds it as his own. The power to advance in the face of great odds,
with no weapon save a burning heart and tear-filled eyes, has wrought
more victories than we know.

To cry is not weakness, for tears are evidences of strong character.
We have always loved Mark Twain, enjoying his travels as much as he,
and laughing away dreary hours with his bubbling humor. But humor never
revealed the true man he really was. It was not until his daughter
died, and he sat all alone at home on Christmas day, amid the unopened
gifts, and broken hopes of life, and wrote the matchless story of her
death, that the world caught glimpse of the real Mark Twain. Beholding
her lying there so quietly, he said: “Would I call her back to life
if I could do it? I would not. If a word would do, I would beg for
strength to withhold the word. And I would have the strength; I am sure
of it. In her loss I am almost bankrupt, and my life is a bitterness,
but I am content; for she has been enriched with the most precious of
all gifts--that gift which makes all other gifts mean and poor--death.”
It required the teardrop to reveal the real character of Mark Twain.

While for our friends we would have nothing but golden hours, for
ourselves the rosary of tears is the most precious treasure we possess.
None other creates such a spirit of devotion, none other so thoroughly
prepares us for conquest; none other opens the heart to those diviner
emotions which should thrill the inner life of all. The golden beads
will become tiresome, but the crystal rosary of tears will always be
attractive. Count over its beads. There are the large, fast-falling
tears of childhood. Tell them one by one, and behold how they bring
back the holy memories and yearnings for childhood purity and childhood
faith. Hold fast those blessed beads that were once kissed away by a
mother’s lips, but still sparkle in the light of her precious love.
There too are the glittering tears of youthful ambitions, when the
heart burned with passion, the brain whirled with plans for conquest,
and the eyes were moist with tears of hope. How precious those tears
that have long since ceased to flow! But they are not lost. We still
have them on our rosary when we offer prayer, and the touching of them
revives our old-time hopes. There also are the tears of love. The
busy, all-consuming fires of worldly ambition cannot dry them away.
They gleam in the eye every time memory presents the portrait of that
precious face. How wonderful to love until the eyes blind with tears of

There too are the priceless tears of sympathy. The sight of another’s
wrong or sorrow unloosed the fountains of the deep, and your heart
responded. In order to right the wrong you gave yourself to work of
reform, and made your influence a powerful factor in the remaking of
the world. There, gleaming more beautiful than all, are the tears of
sorrow. They were shed at the side of the grave; they came into the eye
at the sight of an empty chair. How unbearable the world until relief
came in a flood of tears! Only through tears do we find the sweetest

Thus, our devotions become more helpful when we hold this rosary of
priceless treasure. These beads can be purchased of no merchant; they
cannot be blessed by any priest. They were wrought in the fires of our
suffering, and, because we trusted him, they were blessed of God. They
cannot heal the soul--only God can do that; but they help heal the soul
by quickening our memories and reviving our past experiences. Let no
one rob you of the beneficent influences of deep feelings, whether of
joy or sorrow, for we are never so much in the spirit of prayer as when
we hold in our hands the rosary of tears.


                     THE HEARTHSTONE OF THE HEART

Speaking to a young man who was about to assume the more weighty
responsibilities of religious work and living, Paul bade him stir up
the coals of genius, and build a fire of enthusiasm that would warm and
set aglow with holy zeal his every endeavor. “I put thee in remembrance
that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee.” As the housewife
stirs the living coals out of the dead ashes of the old fireplace,
and fans them until they glow with sparkling fervor, setting aflame
the newly placed faggots, making the room radiant with good cheer as
shadows dance along the walls and ice melts from the frost-screened
windowpanes, so out of the dead ashes of past enthusiasm he was to stir
up the living coals of his best gifts until they snapped, and sparkled,
and burst aflame, filling the heart with brightness, and creating an
atmosphere that would melt the ices of indifference from the windows of
his soul, and give him a clear vision of a great wide world. Yea, as
in the days of Paul, one would take a dying torch, and placing it to
his lips, pour out his breath upon it until it burst in flame, that he
might have a torch of burning fire to guide his footsteps through the
darkness of the starless midnight or to flash a message to the people
living upon the distant hilltop, or to kindle the fireplace wood until
the cold corners of the house breathed a hearty welcome to the tired
and frozen travelers, so the young man was to take the divine elements
of the soul, breathe upon them the breath of prayer and devotion, until
they blazed and burned and cast abroad their helpful influence.

Within each human heart, however covered with the smothering ashes of
sin, are God-made sparks of celestial fire that long to rise on wings
of flame and make heroic battle with oppressive darkness. There are too
many lives which, through carelessness, never burn bright, but, like
smoldering flax, slowly eat themselves away, darkening and corrupting
the very air they should illumine. When they began the Christian life
they were radiant with hope, beaming with enthusiasm, and flashing
with chivalric courage; but the spirit of worldliness choked and
smothered them, until now, like the dead hearthstone of some shell-torn
house upon the battle line, they offer to a worn-out world no hope of
hospitality. To guard against this choking of the soul, this smoldering
of genius, this reckless burning out of the priceless gifts of God,
Paul urges all young men to stir up these coals and fan them into
radiant and glowing character.

It is not the will of God that any life be formal and indifferent.
How much all forms of life, plant, and animal owe to the hidden fires
within the bosom of the planet, no scientist has been bold enough to
state; but this we know about mankind, without the inner fires of
burning thought and all-consuming zeal there is no productivity. And
no life need be cold-hearted. For the hearthstone of every heart there
are three divine qualities that should burn with all the intensity and
fervor as in the hearts of ancient seer and prophet.

There is the quality of Faith that makes God real. To many people God
seems so far away that it is an impossibility for him to be a very
important factor in their daily lives. He is a sort of good-natured
Generality, to whom they may address petitions of greater or less
degree of piety, without fear of being embarrassed by an answer. Should
it be announced with certainty that at a given time the accumulated
prayers of a twelvemonth would be answered, fifty per cent of the
people would be afraid to face the hour. Some have prayed for purity
of heart, but if there is anything in the world that they do not
want, it is purity of heart. Nothing would be more embarrassing to
carry into their haunts of enjoyment and more difficult to explain to
their companions. Others have prayed for God to accept them as living
sacrifices, yet sainthood, to them, is as shocking as yellow fever. I
once knew a man who prayed “Let justice rule supreme.” It is a pleasing
phrase and a consummation to be devoutly wished for, but had it been
answered in this particular case, the man who uttered the prayer would
have gone to the penitentiary. Few people deny the existence of a God,
but many live as though there were no God. But these are not the real
lives. The men who really live and give a homelike feeling to the world
are those who have stirred up the embers of their faith until they
burn with an all-consuming warmth that makes God a guest of honor. To
such souls God is marvelously real, and they rejoice to have him dwell
within. When faith once lays hold on the Almighty no other experience
is half so real. One needs read about it in no book, consult no priest
or preacher, nor plead with friend to lend the information, for he
knows it for himself. Sitting beside the hearthstone of a living,
flaming faith, our hands feeling the pressure of that mighty Hand that
never harms but always serves, our souls rejoice with unmeasured joy to
realize that we are in the presence of God who knows and understands,
and who not only walks the weary ways with us, but gladly dwells within.

There is the quality of hope that makes heaven real. So long as hope
burns within the heart there is no fear of winter winds, but when hope
dies the soul dies. How gladly may old age look over the world in which
it spent the four-seasoned life of toil! Here is the spring of life
where the daisies grew and the cowslips scattered gold about the feet.
Yonder the harvest fields of manhood’s power in which a bared arm of
strength gathered the treasures of the soil while right merry thoughts
centered upon a nearby cottage toward which he knelt each time he tied
a band of gold about the garnered sheaf. Yonder the carefully planted
violets grow upon a tiny mound, bright children of the sun making
battle with the cold shadows of a marble slab. Now the autumn time of
life fades into wintry quiet. The song of the brook is hushed beneath
ever-thickening ice, the trees are robbed of color, the fields are
trackless wastes of snow. The four seasons of life are growing to a
close, the last afternoon is coming to its twilight, and yet one is not
sad. The fires of hope still burn upon the hearthstone of the heart,
and fill the soul with the light of its immortal home. Heaven is not a
far-away land, vague with mystery, and dim with distance, but a place
that is real and very close. We breathe its scented air, and bathe
in its golden light while hope is burning divinely bright within our

The hope of heaven does more than offer us compensation for the
wrongs of life; it gives man an intelligent interpretation of the
things of time. Until one believes his citizenship is in heaven he
cannot intelligently perform his daily task. The painting that lacks
perspective is a daub; the hopeless life is dismal failure. Therefore,
as one prizes the best, he should stir up the gift of hope until heaven
is as real as home.

There is the quality of love that makes the world seem real. At the
fireside of a loving heart, one readily learns the true secrets of the
world in which he dwells. There is nothing so potent as love to give
vision to the soul, clearness to the eye, effective service to the
hand. Then stir up the gifts of love. Build in your heart the fires of
a quenchless affection that refuses to believe the worst, that will
never give consent that anyone has gone too far in sin for reclamation,
but ever believes that one more touch of kindness will bring the person
back to God; a love that gladly sacrifices everything of value in his
effort to redeem that which has no value; a love that knows no selfish
interest and daily seeks the welfare of another. Then will the world
cease to be hazy and fantastic, but will be as real as the ones of your
own household, who gather each evening hour about your fireside.

Let not your love for one single individual die; it robs you of too
great a joy. Warm up your hearts by allowing the fires of faith in
God, hope of heaven, and love for all men to blaze and burn in high,
exultant flames that know not how to die. Without it your life will be
as barren as the deserted house through which the winter winds pass
undisturbed. Make your life homelike by keeping bright the hearthstone
of the heart.


                            THE UNOARED SEA

Each one spends his childhood playing upon the golden sands of an
unoared sea, over which in the after years he must find his way to
shipwreck or safe harbor.

How little does childhood in its helplessness know of life! Pleased
with simple things, it greets the world with gladness, and shouts for
very joy when finding a tinted shell or bit of seaweed. With spades of
tin it undertakes to dig a hole “clear through the earth,” and smiles
in contemplation of a vision of the Chinese sky. With chains of sand it
undertakes to bind the rushing waters of the tide which granite cliff
and flinty rock cannot subdue. The child undertakes great things while
he himself is not strong enough to withstand the smallest wave, but,
leaving his unfinished task, runs homeward at the coming of the tide.
The waves roar with laughter and the spray sparkles with merriment as
they destroy the feeble efforts of his puny hands. Childhood knows
little of the unoared sea of life whose marvelous power of wave and
tide threatens to destroy all the childish and manly efforts of his

The desires of the sea may be fulfilled. With youthful enthusiasm and
unguarded courage he may make fatal venture and be lost. There are
many such of wholesome soul and worthy purpose whose most cherished
hopes and plans came to shipwreck and disaster. The seas of life are
strewn with wreckage. Yet one must not be pessimistic and forget that
the raging sea is not omnipotent. With all its wild dashing waves and
boisterous winds it is not as strong as that little lad may become. The
weakest child may yet be able to dig a pit large and deep enough to
bury all the swollen waves; and build a cable of sand strong enough to
bind securely the rising and the falling tides. Some day, over the calm
and quiet waters of a perfectly conquered sea, this tiny lad may pass
into the harbor of safety and success.

Man was not made for the sea, but the sea was made for man. Man was
created with the gift of complete dominion over all the world in which
he finds himself. Standing like a discoverer upon the shores of his
own unoared sea of life, it is his to conquer, for each individual
faces a sea newly created, whose waves have never been cut by the prow
of any boat. No two people sail the same sea. Each person faces a
life as original as it is unknown, but one that is singularly suited
to himself. Age may be enriched with much dearly bought and valuable
experiences, and be most helpful in counseling youth, but age can never
fully understand the child, or youth, who stands upon the sun-kissed
sands of the unoared sea of his own individual life. The beauty and
pathos of life is that each one must solve the problem for himself.

This does not mean that the training and counseling of youth
should be neglected. The ennobling influences of a godly home with
Christian parents; the steady, guiding hand of school and college;
the inspiration of good books and imperial thinking, as well as
the soul-strengthening forces of the church, are all of most vital
importance. They should never be omitted from any life. These are
things to which each child has an unquestioned right. All the forces
for good, of earth and sea and sky, must be centered upon the ambitious
but ofttimes thoughtless youth, that he may recognize and faithfully
employ the agencies created for his service and success.

The best that education can do is to help the individual to help
himself. Education is not a compass by which to steer his craft; it is
not the rudder that determines the course; neither is it the propelling
power that drives it through the waves against an adverse wind. God
has made especial provision for these equipments. The chart is the
inspired Word; the compass, a divinely guided conscience; the rudder, a
will surrendered fully to the will of God; while the power that propels
lies in the skillful using of two plain oars that God has placed within
his easy reach. Education is the intellectual training that enables him
to use these agencies in the most efficient manner.

Many centuries of experience and experiment have produced no
labor-saving machinery for reaching the harbor of success. If one would
make successful voyage, he must be willing to grasp the oars with his
own hands, bend his back to heavy strain, employing all his mental,
physical, and spiritual power to the task of making good. It is not a
joy ride or a pleasure trip. There is a joy unspeakable in the task,
but it comes not from without but from the consciousness within that
one is winning in a moral strife. This consciousness will be found
to be the chiefest of life’s joys. None shall excel it this side the
welcome we shall receive when safely anchored in the presence of our
God, and even then this consciousness will be the inspiration of the
heavenly song. Life must be considered not so much a pleasure as a
struggle, but a worthy struggle, that sends the blood tingling through
the veins, and builds the tissues of a noble character.

After the training in life’s fundamentals the choosing of the oars is
the most important thing. The craft in which one sails is character,
built to weather any storm on any wind-swept sea. The haven is God’s
homeland of the soul. The oars are varied, and the success or failure
of the voyage, the safety or shipwreck of character, a victorious
landing or sinking beneath the waves of obscurity, depend entirely upon
the choosing of these oars by means of which his life energies are to
be directed.

To this end all the educational influences of home and school and
college must be directed. Youth must be taught the value of an
intelligent choice of the instruments through which his powers shall
flow. He must not be led by fancy or prejudice or by the words of
dishonest men who have oars to sell. He must not choose by the color
of the paint or beauty of their decorations. He must not listen to the
honeyed words of an evil one whose sole purpose is his destruction.
Leaving the sands of childhood and starting voyage upon the unoared sea
of life is a moment in which all earth and heaven are concerned, and
therefore the choice of oar must not be left to chance or fortune. He
must know that all the proffered oars are not alike, and that false
teachers profit from the wreckage of the boats they set adrift. He must
know that a broken oar means a drifting boat, and that no drifting boat
can ride a storm-tossed sea. All the difference between heaven and hell
is in that moment of decision when he picks up his chosen oars and
begins to use them as his own.

There are two oars that never fail when once grasped by a hand that
is firm and true. The first oar is called Virtue. With this oar of
moral excellency, of pure heart and clean hands, with this oar of real
integrity of character and purity of soul, man’s energies are never
wasted as he makes battle against opposing powers. The real sinfulness
of impurity is its resultant waste of strength. Behold the wan faces,
sunken eyes, wasted energies, emaciated forms, staggering steps of
weakness, and the uncertainty and indecision of character, and one sees
the consequences of abusing the laws of purity. But virtue means more
than purity of body, it means absolute cleanliness of heart and mind
and purpose.

The second oar is Righteousness. Unrighteousness is the abuse and waste
of power. The New Testament word for sin is “missing the mark,” energy
that is wasted by not being carefully and accurately directed. To be
upright in life, free from wrong and injustice, to yield to everyone
his just dues, is to have a means for directing strength and vital
energy that never fails to bring the desired result.

Two oars--“Virtue,” rightness with God; “Righteousness,” rightness with
man--two oars that have never been known to break no matter how much a
great soul bends them in his battle with the waves. Two oars that have
never yet failed to bring the ship to harbor.

This, then, is the opportunity of the church, not to manufacture oars,
but to aid youth and maiden to choose the ones that God hath made. They
are not new inventions, but as old as God and rugged as the Hand that
made them. Firmly grasped and resolutely employed, the harbor is made
in safety, although the voyage be upon a hitherto unoared sea.

                          Transcriber’s Notes

_Underscores_ added around text that was italicized in the original.

Page 157, “robs his fellowman” changed to “robs his _fellow man_.”

Page 173, “cannot dry them alway” changed to “cannot dry them _away_.”

Page 180, “does more tnan offer” changed to “does more _than_ offer.”

Other oddities have been retained from the original printing, as it
isn’t obvious what the author intended.

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