Life and Conduct
by J. Cameron Lees
LIFE AND CONDUCT
J. CAMERON LEES, D.D., LL.D.,
Toronto: William Briggs, Wesley Buildings. Montreal: C. W. Coates.
Halifax: S. F. Huestis. 1896.
Entered, according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year
one thousand eight hundred and ninety-six, by WILLIAM BRIGGS, at the
Department of Agriculture.
SUCCESS IN LIFE.
This book has been selected from the Guild Series for young
people, published in Scotland, and reprinted in Canada by permission.
The wise counsels and practical suggestions with which this book
abounds make it eminently suitable for the Epworth League Reading
Course. We commend it to all young people who are desirous to form
their character on the Christian model and to carry religious principle
into the practical affairs of common life.
Some of the chapters will furnish material for interesting
programmes in the Literary Department.
This hand-book has been written at the request of the Christian Life
and Work Committee of the Church of Scotland as one of a series of
volumes which it is at present issuing for the use of Young Men's
Guilds and Bible Classes.
The object of the writer has been to show how the principles of
religion may be applied to the conduct of young men, and in the
practice of everyday life. In doing this he has endeavored to keep
steadily in view the fact that the book is designed chiefly as a manual
of instruction, and can only present the outlines of a somewhat wide
subject. His language has been necessarily simple, and he has been
often obliged to put his statements in an abbreviated form.
Most of the contents of this book have been drawn from a long and
somewhat varied experience of life; but the author has also availed
himself of the writings of others who have written books for the
special benefit of young men. He has appended a list of works which he
has consulted, and has endeavored to acknowledge his indebtedness for
any help in the way of argument or illustration that they have afforded
It will be a great gratification to him to learn that the book has
been in any way useful to the young men, of whose position, duties, and
temptations he has thought much when writing it; and he sends it forth
with the earnest prayer that the Spirit of God may bless his endeavors
to be of service to those whose interests he, in common with his
brethren in the ministry, regards as of paramount importance.
28th June, 1892.
LIFE AND CONDUCT.
CHAPTER I. CHARACTER.
Everything in the practical conduct of life depends upon character.
What is character? What do we mean by it? As when we say such a man
is a bad character, or a good character, or when we use the words, I
don't like the character of that man.
By character we mean what a man really is, at the back of all his
actions and his reputation and the opinion the world has of him, in the
very depth of his being, in the sight of God, to whom all hearts are
open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid.
It is said of Burns, the poet, that walking along the streets of
Edinburgh with a fashionable acquaintance, he saw a poorly-dressed
peasant, whom he rushed up to and greeted as a familiar friend. His
companion expressed his surprise that he could lower himself by
speaking to one in so rustic a garb. Fool! said the poet, with
flashing eye; it was not the dress, the peasant's bonnet and hodden
gray, I spoke to, but the man withinthe man who beneath that bonnet
has a head, and beneath that hodden gray a heart, better than a
thousand such as yours. What the poet termed the man within, what
the Scripture calls the hidden man of the heart, is characterthe
thing a man really is. Now, there are five things to be remembered
I. Character is a growth.As the man without grows, so the man
within grows alsogrows day by day either in beauty or in deformity.
We are becoming, as the days and years pass on, what we shall be in our
future earthly life, what we shall be when that life is ended. No one
becomes what he is at once, whether what he is be good or bad. You may
have seen in the winter-time an icicle forming under the eaves of a
house. It grows, one drop at a time, until it is more than a foot long.
If the water is clear, the icicle remains clear and sparkles in the
sun; but if the water is muddy, the icicle looks dirty and its beauty
is spoiled. So our characters are formed; one little thought or feeling
at a time adds its influence. If these thoughts and feelings are pure
and right, the character will be lovely and will sparkle with light;
but if they are impure and evil, the character will be wretched and
Fairy tales tell us of palaces built up in a night by unseen hands,
but those tales are not half so wonderful as what is going on in each
of us. Day and night, summer and winter, a building is going up within
us, behind the outer screen of our lives. The storeys of it are being
silently fashioned: virtue is being added to faith, and to virtue is
being added knowledge, and to knowledge is being added brotherly
kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity; or meanness is being added
to selfishness, and greed to meanness, and impurity, malice and hatred
become courses in the building. A wretched hovel, a poor, mean, squalid
structure, is rising within us; and when the screen of our outward life
is taken from us, this is what we shall be.
II. Character is independent of reputation and circumstances.A man
may be held in very high esteem by the world, and yet may be a very
miserable creature so far as his character is concerned. The rich man
of the parable was well off and probably much thought of, but God
called him a fool. Here is a man who is greatly esteemed by the public;
he is regarded in every way as admirable. Follow him home, and you find
him in his family a mean and sordid soul. There you have the real man.
We cannot always judge a man by what he has, or by what he appears to
us; for what he is may be something very different. These uniforms,
said the Duke of Wellington, are great illusions. Strip them off, and
many a pretty fellow would be a coward; when in them he passes muster
with the rest. We must not confound the uniform with the man: we are
often too ready to do so. To a certain extent we can form an
idea what a man is from the outside. The horny hand tells of the life
of labor; the deep-set brow tells of the thinker. In other words we
have a right to judge a man by his habitation. If the fences are broken
down, the paths are unkept, the flower-beds full of weeds, we may be
pretty sure the inhabitants are idle, thriftless, perhaps intemperate.
So a clear eye, a firm step, an open countenance, tell of a pure, good
soul within. For example, a man of cold exterior or of formal manner
may often have a warm heart under it all; a man of rough manners may
have kindly feelings that he cannot express. We are often long in the
company of men before we really know them, and then the discovery of
what they are comes on us by surprise.
III. Character cannot be always hidden.There are those who seem to
think that they can have one set of principles for themselves and
another for the outward world; that they can be in their heart one
thing and in society another; that they can have one character and
another reputation. They may be proud, but they can so hide their pride
as to have the reputation of being humble; they can lie, but still have
the reputation of always speaking the truth; they can be impure, and
yet have the reputation of being virtuous. But sooner or later what
they really are generally becomes manifest. Reputation and character
come to be one. That which they would keep secret cannot be concealed.
The mask which men would wear slips aside and discloses the face
beneath it. (1) Time reveals character. As the years pass along, a man
generally gets to be known for what he is. For example, if a man is a
coward and enlists in the army, he may swagger about and look like a
real soldier, but a time will come when the spirit of the man will show
itself, and he will be set down at his real value. Or a young man in an
office may act dishonestly and go on perhaps for long doing so, and
thinking he is carefully concealing his frauds, but, when least
expected, discovery takes place, and ruin and disgrace follow. (2)
Sorrow reveals character. Nothing more truly shows what a man is than
his bearing under the sorrows of life. When the flag is wrapped around
the flag-staff on a calm day, when no breath of wind is moving, we
cannot read the device that is upon it, but when the storm unfurls the
flag, we can read it plainly enough. In the same way when the troubles
of life beat upon men we can read clearly what they are. Again, when we
go along the road on a summer day we often cannot see the houses that
are concealed by the foliage of the trees; but in winter-time, when the
trees are bare and leafless, we know what kind of houses are there,
whether they are squalid cottages or grand mansions. So in the
winter-time of life, when the leaves are blown away, men come out and
we know what kind of character they have been building up behind the
screen of their life. (3) If time and sorrow do not reveal character,
eternity will. We will appear then, not as we seem, but as we are.
Christ is to be our judge. Consider what a striking thing it is in the
life of Christ that His searching glance seemed to go right to the
heart, to the hidden motive, to the man within. He knew what was in
man. A poor woman passed by Him as He sat in the temple. She was
poverty-stricken in her garb, and she stole up to the contribution-box
and dropped in her offering. Christ's glance went right beyond her
outward appearance, and beyond her small and almost imperceptible
offering, to the motive and character. She hath given more than they
all. All sorts of people were around Him: Pharisees, with their
phylacteries; Scribes, with their sceptical notions; Samaritans, with
their vaunted traditions: but He always went right beyond the outward
show. The Samaritan was good and kind, though he got no credit for
piety; the Pharisee was corrupt and self-seeking, though he got no
credit for piety; the Publican was a child of God, though no one would
speak to him. Christ reversed the judgment of men on those people whom
they thought they knew so well, but did not know at all. So it shall be
at the last; we shall be judged by what we are.
IV. Character alone endures.What a man has he leaves behind him;
what a man is he carries with him. It is related that when Alexander
the Great was dying he commanded that his hands should be left outside
his shroud, that all men might see that, though conqueror of the world
he could take nothing away with him. Before Saladin the Great uttered
his last sigh he called the herald who had carried his banner before
him in all his battles, and commanded him to fasten to the top of the
spear a shroud in which he was to be buried, and to proclaim, This is
all that remains to Saladin the Great of all his glory. So men have
felt in all ages that death strips them, and that they take nothing
with them of what they have gained. But what we are ourselves we take
with us. All that time has made us, for good or evil, goes with us. We
can lay up treasures in ourselves that neither moth nor rust can
corrupt, and which thieves cannot steal away. The splendid treasures
of memory, the treasures of disciplined powers, of enlarged capacities,
of a pure and loving heart, all are treasures which a man can carry in
him and with him into that other world.
We are but farmers of ourselves, yet may,
If we can stock ourselves and thrive, uplay
Much good treasure for the great rent-day.DONNE.
All the jewels and gold a man can collect he drops from his hand
when he dies, but every good action he has done is rooted into his soul
and can never leave him.Buddhist saying.
V. The highest character a man can have is the Christian
Character.(1) Christ is the giver of a noble character. It is
possible to be united to Christ as the branch is united to the tree;
and when we are so, His life passes into ours: a change in character
comes to us; we are renewed in the inward man, old things pass away,
and all things become new. In the life of St. Paul we have a striking
instance how coming to Christ effects a change in character. He became
a different man from what he was; he received a new inward life; a
transfiguring change passed over the entire character; the life he
lived in the flesh became a life of faith in the Son of God; and his
experience has been the experience of many. The source of the highest
and noblest character is Christ. (2) Christ is also the standard
of a noble character; the true ideal of manhood is found in Him: the
stature of the fulness of Christ. Take the following illustration: In
Holland we travel with Dutch money, in France with French money, in
Germany with German money. The standard of the coinage varies with
every state we go into. In Britain there is one standard of coinage; we
may get some corrupted money or some light coin, but the standard of
coinage is the same. The standard for the Christian is the same
throughout the years and in all places: the one perpetual standard of
the life of Christ. The best men are those who come the nearest to it.
Those who come nearest to it are those who will do best in the
practical conduct of life.
CHAPTER II. SUCCESS IN LIFE.
We often hear the word success used. The great wish that most have
in beginning life is that they may be successful. One man constantly
asks another the question regarding a third, How has he succeeded?
What is success in life? It may perhaps be defined in this way: It
is to obtain the greatest amount of happiness possible to us in this
There are two things to be borne in mind in estimating what success
I. Lives which according to some are successful must in the highest
sense be pronounced failures.The idea of many is that success
consists in the gaining of a livelihood, or competency, or wealth; but
a man may gain these things who yet cannot be said to have succeeded.
If he gets wealth at the expense of health, or if he gets it by means
of trickery and dishonest practices, he can hardly be said to have
succeeded. He does not get real happiness with it. If a man gains the
whole world and loses his own soul, he cannot be said to have
succeeded. True success in life is when a fair share of the world's
good does not cost either physical or intellectual or moral well-being.
II. Lives which according to some are failures must in the highest
sense be pronounced successful.The life of our blessed Lord, from one
point of view, was a failure. It was passed in poverty, it closed in
darkness. We see Him crowned with thorns, buffeted, spit upon; yet
never was Christ so successful as when He hung upon the cross. He had
finished the work given Him to do. He saw of the travail of His soul
and was satisfied.
Milton completed his Paradise Lost and a bookseller only gave
him fifteen pounds for it, yet he cannot be said to have failed.
Speak, History, who are life's victors? unroll thy long
annals and say,
Are they those whom the world calls victors, who won
the success of the day,
The martyrs or Nero? The Spartans who fell at
Or the Persians or Xerxes? His judges or Socrates?
Pilate or Christ?
What may seem defeat to some may be in the truest sense success.
There are certain things which directly tend to success in life:
The first is Industry.There can be no success without working hard
for it. There is no getting on without labor. We live in times of great
competition, and if a man does not work, and work hard, he is soon
jostled aside and falls into the rear. It is true now as in the days of
Solomon that the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
(a) There are some who think they can dispense with hard work
because they possess great natural talents and abilitythat cleverness
or genius can be a substitute for diligence. Here the old fable of the
hare and the tortoise applies. They both started to run a race. The
hare, trusting to her natural gift of fleetness, turned aside and took
a sleep; the tortoise plodded on and won the prize. Constant and
well-sustained labor carries one through, where cleverness apart from
this fails. History tells us that the greatest genius is most diligent
in the cultivation of its powers. The cleverest men have been of great
industry and unflinching perseverance. No truly eminent man was ever
other than an industrious man.
(b) There are some who think that success is in the main a
matter of what they call luck, the product of circumstances over
which they have little or no control. If circumstances are favorable
they need not work; if they are unfavorable they need not work. So far
from man being the creature of circumstances he should rather be termed
the architect of circumstances. From the same materials one man builds
palaces and another hovels. Bricks and mortar are mortar and bricks
till the architect makes something out of them. In the same way, out of
the same circumstances one man rears a stately edifice, while another,
idle and incompetent, lives for ever amid ruins. Circumstances rarely
conquer a strong man; he conquers them. He
Breaks his birth's invidious bar
And grasps the skirts of happy chance,
And breasts the blows of circumstance,
And grapples with his evil star.TENNYSON.
Against all sorts of opposing obstacles the great workers of the
world fought their way to triumph. Milton wrote Paradise Lost in
blindness and poverty. Luther, before he could establish the
Reformation, had to encounter the prestige of a thousand years, the
united power of an imperious hierarchy and the ban of the German
Empire. Linnaeus, studying botany, was so poor as to be obliged to mend
his shoes with folded paper and often to beg his meals of his friends.
Columbus, the discoverer of America, had to besiege and importune in
turn the states of Genoa, Portugal, Venice, France, England, and Spain,
before he could get the control of three small vessels and 120 men.
Hugh Miller, who became one of the first geological writers of his
time, was apprenticed to a stonemason, and while working in the quarry,
had already begun to study the stratum of red sandstone lying below one
of red clay. George Stephenson, the inventor of the locomotive engine,
was a common collier working in the mines. James Watt, the inventor of
the steam-engine, was a poor sickly child not strong enough to go to
school. John Calvin, who gave a theology to the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries, which has not yet been outgrown, was tortured
with disease all his days. When were circumstances favorable to any
great or good attempt, except as they were compelled by determination
and industry to become favorable?
(c) Even if circumstances seem in every way favorable,
industry is necessary to success. Though we be born, as the saying is,
with a silver spoon in our mouth, we cannot afford to dispense with
work. Unless we are hard-working, life will become a weariness to us.
Work keeps life full and happy; it drives all diseased fancies out of
the mind; it gives balance and regularity to all movements of the soul.
If then we expect to succeed in life we must make up our mind to
work hard. We must not let it be our notion of a fine lady or gentleman
to do nothing. The idle life is a miserable life; it is bound to be so.
God has promised many a blessing to industry; He has promised none to
indolence. God himself works, and He wants His children to work.
The second thing that tends directly to success in life is a
distinct Aim.A man may run very hard in a race, the perspiration
may stream from his brow and every muscle be strained, but if he is not
running in a right direction, if he is running away from the goal, all
his activity will not help him. So, industrious habits are not
sufficient, unless we have a distinct idea of what we are aiming at.
The world is full of purposeless people, and such people come to
nothing. Those who have succeeded best have chosen their line and stuck
One great aim, like a guiding-star above,
Which tasked strength, wisdom, stateliness, to lift
Their manhood to the height that takes the prize.
(a) The choice of a trade or profession is of enormous
importance in settling our aim in life. Men often fail from having
adopted a calling for which they are entirely unfitted. The round man
in the square hole is a pitiful spectacle. It is difficult to lay down
any special rule in regard to the choice of a profession or business.
Some are obliged to take whatever opportunity offers, and others have
to begin work at too early an age to permit them to form a true idea of
what they are best fitted for, and are obliged to follow the wishes of
others rather than their own. This only we can say, that so far as we
have a choice we should adopt the calling that is most congenial to us
and suits our inclinations. Grasp the handle of your being was the
direction given by a wise counsellor to one who sought advice as to
what calling he should follow. Everyone has certain aptitudes, and as
far as he is able should keep them in view. There is often a distinct
indication at a very early period of life for what we are best fitted.
The tastes of the boy foreshadow the occupations of the man.
Ferguson's clock carved out of wood and supplied with rudest mechanism;
Faraday's tiny electric machine made from a common bottle; Claude
Lorraine's pictures in flour and charcoal on the walls of the bakers'
shops; Canova's modelling of small images in clay; Chantrey's carving
of his school-master's head in a bit of pine wood,were all
indications clear and strong of the future man.
(b) Whatever you resolve upon, keep to it. One thing I do,
is a great rule to follow. It is much better to do one thing well than
many things indifferently. It may be well to have many strings to our
bow, but it is better to have a bow and string that will every time
send the arrow to the target. A rolling stone gathers no moss. He that
is everything by turns and nothing long comes to nothing in the end.
If thou canst plan a noble deed
And never flag till it succeed,
Though in the strife thy heart should bleed,
Whatever obstacles contend,
Thine hour will come, go on, thou soul!
Thou'lt win the prize, thou'lt reach the goal.
(c) The higher our purpose is, the greater our attainment is
likely to be. The nobler our ideal, the nobler our success. It seems
paradoxical to say it, but it is true, that no one ever reached a goal
without starting from it; no one ever won a victory without beginning
the battle with it; no one ever succeeded in any work without first
finishing it in his own mind.
Pitch thy behavior low, thy projects high,
So shalt thou humble and magnanimous be.
Sink not in spirit; who aimeth at the sky
Shoots higher much than he who means a tree.
When we go forward to life we should make up our mind what we intend
to make of life. Make up your mind after prayer to God, and work for
The third essential to success in life is Moral Character, in
its various elements of honesty, truthfulness, steadiness, temperance.
Honesty is the best policy is one of those worldly maxims that
express the experience of mankind. A small leak will sink a great ship.
One bad string in a harp will turn its music into discord. Any flaw in
moral character will sooner or later bring disaster. The most hopeless
wrecks that toss on the broken waters of society are men who have
failed from want of moral character. There are thousands of such from
whom much was expected but from whom nothing came. It is told of a
distinguished professor at Cambridge that he kept photographs of his
students. He divided them into two lots. One he called his basket of
adled eggs: they were the portraits of men who had failed, who had come
to nothing though they promised much. What brought most of them to
grief was want of character, of moral backbone. Some of thema good
many of themwent to drink, others to love of pleasure, others to the
bad in other ways. Good principle counts for more than can be
expressed; it is essential. Many things may hinder a man from getting
onslowness, idleness, want of ability, trifling, want of interest in
his vocation. Many of these faults may be borne with long by others,
and may be battled with earnestly by ourselves; but a flaw in character
is deadly. To be unsteady, dishonest, or untruthful is fatal. Before
God and man an unfaithful servant is worthless. We may have other
qualifications that go to command success, such as those we have
noticed,industry and a distinct aim,but want of principle will
render them useless. Slow and sure often go together. The slow train is
often the safest to travel by, but woe be to it and to us if we do not
keep upon the rails.
The last essential to success in life is Religious Hopefulness.(a) Our industry, our purpose, our principles may be all they
ought to be, yet the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to
the strong. But when we find the race going from us and the battle
going against us, if we have trust in God and the hopefulness that
comes from religion, we will find heart to try again: we will not be
utterly cast down. Christian faith keeps men in good heart amid many
discouragements. (b) Even if a man or woman become rich or
clever and have life pleasant around them, they cannot feel at the
close of life that they have succeeded if the future is dark before
them. When Cardinal Wolsey, who had been the favorite of the king and
had long held the government of England in his hand, fell from power,
he said, If I had served my God as truly as I served my king He would
not have forsaken me in my gray hairs. The world is a poor comforter
at the last. No man or woman has become successful until their
essential happiness is placed beyond the reach of all outward
fluctuation and change. Faith in Christ, the faith that penetrates the
future and brings down from heaven a bright and blessed hopefulness,
which casts its illumination over the present scene and reveals the
grand object of existence, is essential to true success.
We cannot sum up the teachings of this chapter better than in the
words of a poem of which we should try to catch the spirit: they
express the very philosophy of success in life:
Courage, brother! do not stumble,
Though thy path be dark as night;
There's a star to guide the humble;
Trust in God, and do the right.
Let the road be rough and dreary,
And its end far out of sight,
Foot it bravely! strong or weary,
Trust in God, and do the right.
Perish policy and cunning,
Perish all that fears the light!
Whether losing, whether winning,
Trust in God, and do the right.
Trust no party, sect, or faction;
Trust no leaders in the fight;
But in every word and action
Trust in God, and do the right.
Trust no lovely forms of passion,
Fiends may look like angels bright:
Trust no custom, school, or fashion
Trust in God, and do the right.
Simple rule, and safest guiding,
Inward peace and inward might,
Star upon our path abiding,
Trust in God, and do the right.
Some will hate thee, some will love thee,
Some will flatter, some will slight:
Cease from man, and look above thee,
Trust in God, and do the right.
That is the way to succeed in life.
CHAPTER III. PERSONAL INFLUENCE.
We are all of us in close relations to one another. We are bound
together in numberless ways. As members of the same family, as members
of the same community, as members of the same Churchwe are bound so
closely together that what any one of us does is certain to tell upon
others. It is out of this close connection with others that influence
comes. Just as one man in a crowd sends by his movements a certain
impulse throughout the whole, just as the stone thrown into a pond
causes waves that move far away from where the stone fell and that
reach in faint ripples to the distant shore, so our very existence
exercises influence beyond our knowledge and beyond our calculation.
Influence is of two kinds, Direct and IndirectConscious and
Unconscious,The first is influence we deliberately put forth, as when
we meet a man and argue with him, as when the orator addresses the
multitude, or the politician seeks to gain their suffrages. The second
is the influence which radiates from us, whether we will it or not, as
fire burning warms a room, or icebergs floating down from the frozen
north change the temperature where they come. There is a passage in
Scripture where both kinds of influence are illustrated. Iron
sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. As
in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man. The first
part of the proverb refers to direct influence: as iron sharpeneth
iron, so one man applying to another his powers of persuasion, his
motives in the shape of money or some other inducement, moulds,
fashions, sharpens him to his liking. As in water face answereth to
face: this is the silent influence which we have on others. There is
no conscious exercise of power, there is no deliberate putting forth of
strength, there is no noise as of iron against iron; but as our shadow
is silently reflected in the still water, so our life and character
silently reflect themselves in others, and other hearts answer to the
feelings that sway our own.
I. Direct or conscious influence.In regard to this everyone must
choose his own line of action. Everyone has his own special gift, and
everyone has his own special opportunities. There are, however, certain
lines of direct influence that may be indicated, and which lie open to
(a) Keeping others in the right path. We constantly meet with
people who are evidently taking a wrong road; it is our duty to try and
show them the right one, and to persuade them to walk in it. We see men
taking up with evil habits, evil companions, or evil opinions; we are
bound to remonstrate with them and endeavor to warn them timeously.
This of course needs to be wisely done, and after prayer to God to
guide us rightly; but we ought to do it. A word spoken in due season
how good is it. Such a word has often been blessed and made effectual,
and we should not shrink from speaking it. The right time for speaking
it should be chosen, but it should not be left by us unsaid. When Paley
the great moralist was a student at Cambridge he wasted his time in
idleness and frivolity, and was the butt of his fellow-students. One of
them, however, took courage to remonstrate with him, and did so with
good effect. One morning he came to his bedside and said to him
earnestly, Paley, I have not been able to sleep for thinking about
you. I have been thinking what a fool you are! I have the means of
dissipation, and could afford to be idle; you are poor and cannot
afford it. I could do nothing probably even if I were to try; you are
capable of doing anything. I have lain awake all night thinking about
your folly, and I have now come solemnly to warn you. Indeed, if you
persist in your indolence and go on in this way, I must renounce your
society altogether. The words took effect. Paley became a changed man,
and his after success sprang from his friend's warning. This incident
illustrates what may be the influence in this form of one man upon
(b) Bearing testimony against evil. This is another line of
direct influence open to all. It is a precept of the book of Leviticus,
If a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness,
whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he
shall bear his iniquity. If he does not give evidence against evil,
even to his own hurt he sins. We are bound to protest against
wrongdoing in any form; and our protest, if distinct and well directed,
always tends to good. To be silent in certain circumstances makes us
the accomplice of sin; to speak out frees us from responsibility. To be
the dumb auditor of a shameful story, or to listen silently to the
relation of a deed of wickedness, and not be honest and resolute in
expressing our disgust and disapproval is to condone what no good man
should condone. The outspoken testimony against evil is incumbent on
all Christian men.
(c) Taking part in Christian and benevolent work. There are
many ways, it is evident, in which we may do so individually.
The greatest works that have been done have been done by the ones. No
learned society discovered America, but one man, Columbus. No
parliament saved English liberties, but one man, Pym. No confederate
nations rescued Scotland from her political and ecclesiastical enemies,
but one man, Knox. By one man, Howard, our prisons were purified. By
one woman, Miss Nightingale, our disgraceful nursing system was
reformed. By one Clarkson the reproach of slavery was taken away. God
in all ages has blessed individual effort, and if we are strong enough
to take up any special line of benevolent and Christian work that seems
open to us we should not shrink from it. We should be on the lookout
for it. But many from their circumstances are not able to do so, and
such can find their best opportunity by combining their own effort
with the efforts of others. There are many agencies at work in
every community for the helping of man, and they afford to all the
opportunity of wisely using their power of influence. This is true
especially of the Christian Church. It has been defined as a society
for doing good in the world. In many ways it carries on work for the
benefit of others. In every Christian congregation there ought to be
some work in which each of its members, however few his talents may be,
can engage; and in lending a helping hand each of them may do something
directly towards making society sweeter and better.
II. Indirect or unconscious influence.There is an imperceptible
personal atmosphere which surrounds every man, an invisible belt of
magnetism which he bears with him wherever he goes. It invests him,
and others quickly detect its presence. Take some of its simplest
(a) Think of the influence of a look. When Christ
stood in the courtyard of the palace of the High Priest over against
His weak and erring disciple, whom He heard denying Him with oaths, it
is said, The Lord looked upon Peter. No more than that, and it
reached right down into his heart. It touched him as nothing else could
have touched him. He went out and wept bitterly. It was said of Keble
the poet that his face was like that of an illuminated clock, beaming
with the radiance of his poetry and wisdom; and it is written of one
of the most spiritually-minded of Scotchmen, Erskine of Linlathen, that
his looks were better than a thousand homilies. There was something
in the very expression of his countenance that spoke to men of an inner
life and of a spiritual dwelling in God.
(b) Think of the influence of a smile: the smile of
welcome when we call at a friend's house; the smile of recognition when
we meet him in the street; the smile of pleasure which the speaker sees
in his audience; the smile of satisfaction in one to whom we have done
an act of kindness. By the very expression of the countenance we can
influence others, make their life more pleasant or more painful. There
are those who by the sweetness of their demeanor are in a household
like fragrant flowers. They are like the sweet ointment of spikenard
which the woman poured upon Christthe sweet perfume of it filled the
(c) Think of the influence of sympathy. There are some
natures that are gifted with a blessed power to bring consolation to
men. It is not that they are glib of tongue or facile of speech, but
somehow the very pressure of their hand is grateful to the saddened
heart. The simple and kindly action, of which we think nothing, may
tell powerfully on others, and unclose fountains of feeling deep down
in the heart.
(d) Think of the influence of example: the simple
doing of what is right, though we say nothing about it; the upright
life of a father or mother in a household; the steady conduct of a
soldier in his company; the stainless character of a workman among his
comrades, or a boy in his school. It is bound to tell. Example, says
Dr. Smiles, is one of the most potent instructors, though it teaches
without a tongue. It is the practical school of mankind working by
action, which is always more forcible than words. Precept may point to
us the way, but it is a silent continuous example conveyed to us by
habits, and living with us in fact, that carries us along. Good advice
has its weight, but without the accompaniment of a good example it is
of comparatively small influence, and it will be found that the common
saying of 'Do as I say, not as I do' is usually reversed in the actual
experience of life. Goodness makes good. As a man who trims his garden
in a straight row and makes it beautiful will induce in time all his
neighbors to follow him, or at least to be ashamed of their ragged and
ill-kept plots in contrast with his own, so is it that the upright,
good life of a sincere Christian man will silently tell upon others.
These are some illustrations of the power of influence unconsciously
exercised, and the whole subject teaches us (1) Our responsibility. If
we are ready to ask, Am I my brother's keeper? the answer is, you
cannot help being so. It is as easy to evade the law of gravitation as
the law of responsibility. A man was lately prosecuted for having
waited on his customers in clothes he had worn when attending his
children during an infectious complaint. It was proved that he had sown
broadcast germs of the disease. It would have been no justification for
him to say, What has anyone to do with the clothes I wear? It is my own
business. He was a member of the community. His action was silently but
surely dealing out death to others. He was punished, and justly
punished. We cannot live without influencing others. We say perhaps
that we mean well, or at least we mean to do no one any harm, but is
our influence harmless? It is going from us in forms as subtle as the
germs of an infectious disease.
Say not, It matters not to me,
My brother's weal is his behoof,
For in this wondrous human web,
If your life's warp, his life is woof.
Woven together are the threads,
And you and he are in one loom,
For good or ill, for glad or sad,
Your lives must share one common doom.
Then let the daily shuttle glide,
Wound full of threads of kindly care,
That life's increasing length may be
Not only strongly wrought, but fair.
So from the stuff of each new day
The loving hand of Time shall make
Garments of joy and peace for all,
And human hearts shall cease to ache.
M. J. SAVAGE.
(2) The power all have to do good. There are some who think they can
only serve God and man in a direct and premeditated way, by taking up
some branch of Christian work and devoting themselves to it; and if
they have no gift in any special direction, they think they are outside
of the vineyard altogether. But it is not so. The sphere of quiet and
unassuming Christian life is open to all. It is impossible to measure
the extent of our influence. Its
Echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow for ever and for ever.
Like those of the Alpine horn in the solitudes of the mountains,
long after the voice that caused them has ceased, they reverberate far
and wide. No man lives to himself. He could not do so if he would. (3)
The secret of good influence is to be influenced for good ourselves.
Our lamp must be first lit if it is to shine, and we must ourselves be
personally influenced by coming to the great source of spiritual power.
If Christ is in a man, then, wherever he may be, there will radiate
from him influences that can only be for good. Out of the life that is
in him will flow rivers of living water.
Thou must be true thyself
If thou the truth wouldst teach.
Thy soul must overflow if thou
Another soul wouldst reach.
It needs the overflowing heart
To give the lips full speech.
Think truly, and thy thought
Shall the world's famine feed.
Speak truly, and thy word
Shall be a fruitful seed.
Live truly, and thy life shall be
A great and noble creed.
CHAPTER IV. FRIENDS.
By friends we mean those whom we admit to the inner circle of our
acquaintance.All of us know many people. We are bound to do so; to
meet with men of all classes, sects, beliefs, opinions. But with most
of us there are a few persons who stand to us in a different relation
from the rest. We are intimate with them. We take pleasure in their
company; we tell them our thoughts: we speak to them of things we would
not speak of to others; we confide in them, and in joy and in sorrow it
is to them we go. It is of this inner circle, and of those we ought to
admit to it, that we have now to speak.
Friendship has been regarded in all ages as one of the most
important relationships of life.Cicero, who dedicates an essay to it
says that it is the only thing on the importance of which mankind are
agreed. It has been defined by Addison, the great English writer, as
a strong habitual inclination in two persons to promote the good and
happiness of each other. It has been termed by another the golden
thread that ties the hearts of the world. A faithful friend has been
called the medicine of life. Ambrose, one of the Christian Fathers,
says, It is the solace of this life to have one to whom you can open
your heart, and tell your secrets; to win to yourself a faithful man,
who will rejoice with you in sunshine, and weep in showers. It is easy
and common to say, 'I am wholly thine,' but to find it true is as
rare. And Jeremy Taylor, the great preacher, calls friendship the
ease of our passions, the discharge of our oppressions, the sanctuary
to our calamities, the counsellor of our doubts, the charity of our
minds, the emission of our thoughts, the exercise and improvement of
what we meditate. The great preachers, philosophers and poets of all
time have dwelt on the importance and sweetness of friendship. The
In Memoriam of Tennyson is a glorification of this relationship.
The highest of all examples of friendship is to be found in
Christ.His behaviour in this beautiful relationship is the very
mirror in which all true friendship must see and mirror itself.  In
His life we see the blessings of companionship in good. He loved
Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. He had intimate friends in His
group of disciples. Peter and James and John stood to Him in this
relation. They were taken by Him into scenes which the rest of the
disciples did not behold. They knew a friendship with Him unenjoyed by
the others. And of that inner circle there was one to whom the soul of
Jesus clung with peculiar tendernessthe beloved disciple. Human
friendship has been consecrated for us all by this example of Christ.
He offers himself to every one of us as a friend: Ye are my
friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.
There are two things which specially show the importance of
(a) It is regarded by others as a test of our character. The worth of a man will always be rated by his companions. The
proverbs of all nations show this. A man is known by the company he
keeps. Like draws to like. Birds of a feather flock together. If
our companions are worthless, the verdict of society regarding us will
be that we are worthless ourselves. This verdict may not in all cases
be true, but the probability is that it will be true. If we are
admitted to the friendship of men of honor, integrity and principle,
people will come to believe in us. We would not, they will feel, be
admitted into that society unless we were in sympathy with those who
compose it. If we wish, therefore, that a good opinion should be formed
regarding us by others, we need to be especially careful as to those
with whom we associate closely and whom we admit to intimate
(b) Friends have a special power in moulding our character. George Herbert's saying is true, Keep good company, and you shall be
of their number. It is difficult, on the other hand, to be much with
the silly and foolish without being silly and foolish also. It is the
common explanation of a young man's ruin that he got among bad
companions. We may go into a certain society confident that we will
hold our own, and that we can come out of it as we go in; but, as a
general rule, we will find ourselves mistaken. The man of the strongest
individuality comes sooner or later to be affected by those with whom
he is intimate. There is a subtle influence from them telling upon him
that he cannot resist. He will inevitably be moulded by it. Here also
the proverbs of the world point the lesson. He who goes with the
lame, says the Latin proverb, will begin to limp. He who herds with
the wolves, says the Spanish, will learn to howl. Iron sharpeneth
iron, says the scriptural proverb, so a man sharpeneth the
countenance of his friend. The rapidity of moral deterioration in an
evil companionship is its most startling feature. It is appalling to
see how soon an evil companionship will transform a young man, morally
pure, of clean and wholesome life, into an unclean, befouled, trifling
good-for-nothing. Lightning scarcely does its work of destruction
quicker, or with more fell purpose.
It is difficult to give precise rules in regard to the formation of
friendship. A man that hath friends, says Solomon, must show himself
friendly. The man of a generous and sympathetic nature will have many
friends, and will attract to himself companions of his own character. A
few suggestions, however, founded on practical experience, may be
offered for our guidance.
I. We should be (a) slow to make friendships, and (b)
slow to break them when made.(a) It is in the nature of some
to take up with people very readily. Some young men are like fish that
rise readily to a gaudy and many-colored fly. If they see anything that
attracts them in another they admit him at once to their confidence. It
should not be so. Among the reported and traditional sayings of Christ,
there is one that is full of wisdom: Be good money changers. As a
money changer rings the coin on his counter to test it, so we should
test men well before we make them our friends. There should be a narrow
wicket leading into the inner circle of our social life at which we
should make them stand for examination before they are admitted. An old
proverb says, Before you make a friend, eat a peck of salt with him.
We should try before we trust; and as we should be careful whom we
receive, we should be equally careful whom we part with. Thine own
friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not. With some, very little
severs the bond of friendship. They are always changing their
companions. They are Hail fellow, well met, with one to-day, and cold
and distant to-morrow. Inconstancy in friendship is a bad sign. It
generally arises from readiness to admit to intimacy without sufficient
examination. The friendship that is quickly cemented is easily
dissolved. Fidelity is the very essence of true friendship; and, once
broken, it cannot be easily renewed. Quarrels between friends are the
bitterest and the most lasting. Broken friendship may be soldered, but
never made sound.
Alas! they had been friends in youth,
But whispering tongues can poison truth.
* * * *
They parted, ne'er to meet again,
But never either found another
To free the hollow heart from paining.
They stood aloof, the scars remaining,
Like cliffs which had been rent asunder;
A dreary sea now flows between.
Shakespeare gives this rule for friendship in his own wonderful way.
It could not be better stated
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hooks of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade.
II. We should refuse friendship with those whose standard of right
is below our own.Anything in a man or woman that indicates low moral
tone, or want of principle, should debar them at once from our
friendship. It is not easy to say in so many words what want of
principle is, but we all know what is meant by it. It corresponds to a
constitutional defect in the physical system. A person may have
ailments, but that is different from a weak and broken constitution. So
a person may have faults and failings, but a want of principle is more
serious. It is a radical defect which should prevent friendship. A
small thing often shows us whether a person wants principle. The single
claw of a bird of prey tells us its nature. According to the familiar
saying, We don't need to eat a leg of mutton to know whether it is
tainted; a mouthful is sufficient. So a single expression may tell us
whether there is a want of moral principle. A word showing us that a
person thinks lightly of honesty, of purity in man, of virtue in woman,
should be sufficient to make us keep him at a distance. We may be civil
to him, try to do him good, and lead him to better things, but he is
not one to make our friend. Cowper the poet says:
I would not enter on my list of friends,
Though graced with polished manners and fine sense,
Yet wanting sensibility, the man
Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.
We may think it a small thing to set the foot upon a worm, but to do
so needlessly and wantonly indicates a hard and cruel nature, and a man
with such a nature is not a safe friend.
III. There should be equality in friendship.Equality of station,
of circumstances, of position. It does not do to lay down a hard and
fast line as to this. For instance, in a young men's guild men of all
stations and social conditions meet on an equality. They are a
brotherhood bound together by ties of a very close description. To them
this rule does not apply. Among members of such an association, a young
man may always fitly find a friend. It is friendships formed outside
such a circle, and in general society, that we have in view; and, in
regard to such society, we are probably not far wrong in saying that we
do well to choose our intimate friends from those who are neither much
above us nor beneath us. If a man is poor, and chooses as a friend one
who is rich, the chances are either that he becomes a toady and a mere
hanger-on, or that he is made to feel his inferiority. Young men in
this way have been led into expenses which they could not afford, and
into society that did them harm, and into debts sometimes that they
could not pay. Making friends of those beneath us is often equally a
mistake. We come to look upon them with patronizing affability. It is
well enough to talk of our humble friends, but they are too often like
poor relations. We accept their services, and think that a mere 'thank
you,' a nod, a beck, or a smile is sufficient recompense.  Either
to become a toady or a patron is destructive of true friendship. We
should be able to meet on the same platform, and join hands as
brothers, having the same feelings, the same wants, the same
aspirations. We should be courteous to the man above us, and civil to
the man beneath us; but if we value our independence and manhood we
will not try to make a friend of either.
IV. We should not make a friend of one who is without reverence for
what we deem sacred and have been taught to deem sacred.The want of
reverence for that which is above us is one of the most serious
defects in man or woman. We should be as slow to admit one to our
friendship who has this defect as we would be if we knew he had entered
into a church and stolen the vessels of the sanctuary. We should
consort only with those who honor the sacred name we bear, and treat it
with reverence. We should especially beware of admitting to intimacy
the sceptic and infidel. There are those who have drifted away from the
faith of Christ, and to whom God and eternity are mere names. Such are
deserving of our most profound pity and sorrow, and we should do all in
our power to lead them back to the Father's house from which they have
wandered. But we should never make them our friends. We cannot dwell in
an ill-ventilated and ill-drained house without running the risk of
having our own constitution lowered. We cannot associate in close
companionship with the infidel and the sceptic without endangering our
own spiritual life. Doubt is as catching as disease. Take my word for
it, said the great Sir Robert Peel, who was a close observer of men,
it is not prudent, as a rule, to trust yourself to any man who tells
you he does not believe in God, and in a future life after death. We
should choose our friends from those who have chosen the better part,
and day by day we shall feel the benefit of their companionship in
making us stronger and better.
These are some plain rules drawn from long experience of life which
may be helpful to some. We may conclude by quoting the noble lines of
Tennyson in which he draws the picture of his friend, Arthur Hallam,
and the inspiration he drew from him:
Thy converse drew us with delight,
The men of rathe and riper years:
The feeble soul, a haunt of fears,
Forgot his weakness in thy sight.
On thee the loyal-hearted hung,
The proud was half disarm'd of pride,
Nor cared the serpent at thy side
To flicker with his double tongue.
The stern were mild when thou wert by,
The flippant put himself to school
And heard thee, and the brazen fool
Was soften'd, and he knew not why;
While I, thy nearest, sat apart,
And felt thy triumph was as mine;
And loved them more, that they were thine,
The graceful tact, the Christian art;
Nor mine the sweetness or the skill,
But mine the love that will not tire,
And, born of love, the vague desire
That spurs an imitative will.
Happy are those whose friends in some degree approach the character
 Stalker's Imago Christi.
 Hain Friswell, The Gentle Life.
CHAPTER V. MONEY.
Money has been defined as the measure and standard of value, and
the medium of exchange. It represents everything that may be
purchased. He who possesses money has potentially in his possession
everything that can be bought with money. Money is thus power. It seems
to have in itself all earthly possibilities.
There are three things which should be borne in mind in regard to
I. Money itself is neither good nor bad.It is simply force. It is
like the lightning or the sunlight: it withers or nourishes; it smites
or does other bidding; it devastates or fertilizes, according as it is
used by us. Whether money is good or bad depends on whether it is
sought for in right or wrong ways, used wisely or unwisely, squandered
where it does harm, or bestowed where it does good. (a) That it
may be a power for good is evident to all. It enables men to benefit
their fellow-creatures; it gives a man independence; it procures him
comforts he could not otherwise have obtained. It is, as it has well
been termed, the lever by which the race has been lifted from
barbarism to civilization. So long as the race could do nothing but
barely live, man was little more than an animal who hunted and fought
for his prey. When the race began to think and plan and save for
tomorrow, it specially began to be human. There is not a single feature
of our civilization to-day that has not sprung out of money, and that
does not depend on money for its continuance. (b) That money
may be a power for evil is equally evident. Much of the crime and sin
and sorrow of the world spring from its misuse. The love of money, as
Scripture says, is a root of all evil. In the haste to be rich men
too often lose their very manhood. Money, it is often said, does
wonders, but the most wonderful thing that it does is to metalize the
II. Money and our relation to it is a test of characterThe making
and the using of it is an education. If we know how one gets and spends
money, we know what a man is. So many are the bearings of money upon
the lives and characters of mankind, that an insight which would search
out the life of a man in his pecuniary relations would penetrate into
almost every cranny of his nature. He who, like St. Paul, has learnt
how to want and how to abound, has a great knowledge; for if we take
account of all the virtues with which money is mixed uphonesty,
justice, generosity, charity, frugality, forethought, self-sacrifice,
and their correlative vicesit is a knowledge which goes to cover the
length and breadth of humanity, and a right measure and manner in
getting, saving, spending, taking, lending, borrowing and bequeathing
would almost argue a perfect man.  Nearly all the virtues and all
the vices are connected with money. Its acquisition and its
distribution are almost certain indications of what we are morally.
III. There are some things that are better than money, and that
cannot be purchased with itThese are indeed the best things. All that
can be bought money possesses actually or potentially, but there are
some things that cannot be bought. Love, friendship, nobleness of soul,
genius, cannot be purchased. We must estimate rightly the power of
money. It is great, but it may be exaggerated, (a) Honesty
is better than money. If a man gains money at the expense of honesty
and integrity, he pays too great a price. He is like a savage who
barters jewels for a string of beads. (b) Home is better
than money. If a man, struggling and striving to be rich, has no time
for the joys of family and the rich blessings that circle round the
fireside, if he knows nothing of the charm of love and the pleasures
that spring from the affections, he pays too great a pricea costly
house and luxurious furnishings are no substitute for love in the
home. (c) Culture is better than money. If a man grows
up in ignorance and vulgarity, shut out from the world of art,
literature and science, and all that refines and elevates the minda
rude, uncultured boorhe pays too great a price for any money he may
scrape together. (d) Humanity is better than money. The
rich man who leaves Lazarus untended at his gates, who builds about him
walls so thick that no cry from the suffering world ever penetrates
them, who becomes mean and stingy, close-fisted and selfish, pays too
great a price. Of such a man it is said in Scripture that in hell he
lifted up his eyes. Surely he made a bad bargain, (e)
Spirituality is better than money. He who has made an idol of his
wealth, who in gaining it has lost his soul, who has allowed money to
come between him and God, has paid too great a price for it. He has
well been depicted by John Bunyan as the man with the muck-rake
gathering straws, whilst he does not see the golden crown that is held
above him. Christ tells us God regards such a man as a fool.
There are certain rules of conduct which may be laid down, drawn
both from Scripture and experience, in regard to money.
1. We are especially to remember our stewardship.Money is a
trust committed to us, for which we are to give account unto God. We
are answerable to Him for the use we make of it. If we have amassed
wealth, from God has come the power that enabled us to do so. All we
have is Hisnot our own. To each of us shall be addressed the words,
Give an account of thy stewardship, for thou mayest be no longer
steward. If we remember this great truth we shall be rightly guided,
both in regard to the accumulation and the distribution of money. We
shall not inordinately desire it, for we shall feel that with its
increase comes new responsibility; and we shall be careful how we spend
it, for the question will ever be present to our minds, What would the
great Master, to whom we have to give account, wish us to do with it?
Those who have most wisely used their money are the men who have
realized most intensely the thought of their stewardship. In the Life
of Mr. Moore, the successful merchant, by Smiles, this is most
admirably shown. He amassed, by industry and by enterprise, great
wealth; he lived a noble and benevolent life; he was honored by all men
for his character and his generosity. But at the root and foundation of
his life was the thought that all he had was a trust committed to him
2. We should do good as we go.There are those who allow
that they should do good with their money, but they defer carrying out
their intention till they have accumulated something that they think
considerable. If they ever become rich, then they will do great things.
The folly of this is apparent, (a) They lose the happiness which
the humblest may daily reap from small deeds of kindness; and (b
) they lose the power which will enable them to do anything if the great
opportunity they desire comes. Doing good, it has been well said, is
a faculty, like any other, that becomes weak and atrophied, palsied for
lack of use. You might as well stop practising on the piano, under the
impression that in a year or two you will find time to give a month to
it. In the meantime, you will get out of practice and lose the power.
Keep your hand and your pocket open, or they will grow together, so
that nothing short of death's finger can unloose them.  However
little money we may have, we should use a portion of it in doing good.
The two mites of the widow were in the eye of Christ a beautiful
offering. Giving should always go with getting. Mere getting injures
us, but giving brings to us a blessing. Gold, says holy George
Herbert, thou mayest safely touch; but if it stick it wounds thee to
the quick. George Moore, to whom we have referred, wrote yearly in his
diary the words of wisdom
What I saved I lost,
What I spent I had,
What I gave I have.
What proportion of our money we should give every one must determine
for himself, but we are not safe spiritually unless we cultivate the
habit of generosity. The Lord loveth a cheerful giver. There are
many, it has been satirically said, who would be Good Samaritans
without the oil and the two pence. All of us, however humble our
station, are bound to give as God hath prospered us for the help of
man and the cause of Christ; and the discharge of the obligation will
become to us one of the greatest pleasures in life.
3. We should cultivate thrift.Thrift is just forethought.
It is reasonable prudence in regard to money. It provides for the
rainy day. If poverty be our lot, we must bear it bravely; but there
is no special blessing in poverty. It is often misery unspeakable. It
is often brought upon us by our self-indulgence, extravagance and
recklessness. We are to use every means in our power to guard against
it. The words of the poet Burns are full of common-sense:
To catch Dame Fortune's golden smile,
Assiduous wait upon her,
And gather gear by every wile
That's justified by honor;
Not for to hide it in a hedge,
Nor for a train attendant,
But for the glorious privilege
Of being independent.
The squalor and wretchedness which often fall upon people come from
their not having exercised a little thought in the use of their money.
A little self-denial would have saved them, and those depending on
them, from many sorrows. A saving habit is good. It is coarse thinking
to confound spending with generosity, or saving with meanness. The man
who puts by a little week by week or year by year, against possible
contingencies is wise. However small may be our salary and limited our
income, we should try and save part of it. Every young man should be a
member of a savings bank, or a benefit club, by means of which he can
make provision for the future. The honest endeavor to make such
provision is in itself an education.
4. We should earnestly endeavor to avoid debt.Debt means
slavery. It is loss of independence. It is misery. He (says a Spanish
proverb) that complains of sound sleep, let him borrow the debtor's
pillow. Every shilling that we spend beyond our income means an
addition to a burden that may crush us to the ground. Pay as you go,
is a good rule. Keep a regular account of what you spend, is another.
Before you buy anything, think whether you can afford it, is a third.
But whatever rule we follow in regard to our expenditure, let us see
that it does not exceed our income. The words of Horace Greeley, a
great American writer and politician who had a large experience of
life, are not too strong: Hunger, cold, rags, hard work, contempt,
suspicion, unjust reproach, are disagreeable, but debt is infinitely
worse than them all. Never run into debt! Avoid pecuniary obligation as
you would pestilence or famine. If you have but fifty cents and can get
no more a week, buy a peck of corn, parch it, and live on it, rather
than owe any man a dollar.
5. We should resolutely set our face against gambling.Gambling is one of the curses of our time. It is the endeavor to get
money by dispensing with labor, to make it without honestly working for
it. It entails widespread ruin and degradation. Its consequences are
often of the most appalling character. When the gambling spirit is once
aroused, like drunkenness, it becomes an overpowering appetite, which
the victim becomes almost powerless to resist. Gambling is in itself
evil, apart from its deadly effects. (a) It proposes to confer
gain without merit, and to reward those who do not deserve a reward, (
b) It proposes to benefit us while injuring our neighbor. Benefit
received, says Herbert Spencer in his Sociology, referring to
gambling, does not imply effort put forth; but the happiness of the
winner involves the misery of the loser. This kind of action is
therefore essentially anti-social, sears the sympathies, cultivates a
hard egoism, and produces general deterioration of character and
conduct. The young should specially guard against this vice, which has
been a rock upon which many a promising life has made disastrous
 Sir Henry Taylor, Notes from Life.
 Life Questions, by M. J. Savage.
CHAPTER VI. TIME.
Time, it is said, is money. So it is, without doubt. But to the
young man or young woman who is striving to make the most of himself or
herself time is more than money, it is character and usefulness. They
become great and good just as they learn how to make the best use of
their time. On the right employment of it depends what we are to be
now, and what we are to be hereafter, We all complain, says the great
Roman philosopher Seneca, of the shortness of time, and yet we have
more than we know what to do with. Our lives are spent either in doing
nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing
that we ought to do. We are always complaining that our days are few,
and acting as though there would be no end of them.
In regard to the right use of timehow to make the most of it and
to get the most out of itthere are certain things that we should bear
in mind and keep in constant remembrance. We may arrange them for
convenience under four heads: Economy, System, Punctuality and
I. Economy.We all know what economy is. In regard to money, in
connection with which the word is chiefly used, it is keeping strict
watch over our expenditure, and not spending a penny without good
reason. According to the oft-quoted proverb, Take care of the pence
and the pounds will take care of themselves. Economy, in regard to
time, is to watch over the minutes, hours and days, and the years will
take care of themselves. It is, to let every moment of time be well
employed; to let every hour of the day as it passes be turned to use;
to let none be spent in idleness or folly. It is a good advice that of
Think nought a trifle though it small appears,
Sands make the mountain, moments make the years,
And trifles life.
In the mint, where money is coined, when the visitor reaches the
room where the gold coins are cast, it is said that the floor is a
network of wooden bars to catch all the particles of the falling metal.
When the day's work is done, the floor is removed and the golden dust
is swept up to be melted again. In the same way we should economize
time: gather up its golden dust, let none of its moments be lost. Be
careful of its spare minutes, and a wealth of culture will be the
result. It is said of a European cathedral that when the architect came
to insert the stained-glass windows he was one window short. An
apprentice in the factory where the windows were made came forward and
said that he thought he could make a window from the bits of glass cast
aside. He went to work, collected the fragments, put them together, and
produced a window said to be the finest of all. In the same way men
have made much out of the bits of time that have been, so to speak,
broken from the edges of a busy life.
Many illustrations might be given from history of what men have been
able to do by a wise economy of time. Sir Humphry Davy established a
laboratory in the attic of his house, and when his ordinary day's work
was done began a course of scientific studies that continued throughout
his memorable life. Cobbett learned grammar when a soldier, sitting on
the edge of his bed. Lincoln, the famous president of America, acquired
arithmetic during the winter evenings, mastered grammar by catching up
his book at odd moments when he was keeping a shop, and studied law
when following the business of a surveyor. Douglas Jerrold, during his
apprenticeship, arose with the dawn of day to study his Latin grammar,
and read Shakespeare and other works before his daily labor began at
the printing office. At night, when his day's work was done, he added
over two hours more to his studies. At seventeen years of age he had so
mastered Shakespeare that when anyone quoted a line from the poet he
could give from memory that which came next. While walking to and from
his office Henry Kirke White acquired a knowledge of Greek. A German
physician, while visiting his patients, contrived to commit to memory
the Iliad of Homer. Hugh Miller, while working as a stonemason,
studied geology in his off hours. Elihu Burritt, the learned
blacksmith, gained a mastery of eighteen languages and twenty-two
dialects by using the odds and ends of time at his disposal. Franklin's
hours of study were stolen from the time his companions devoted to
their meals and to sleep. Many similar instances might be added to
show what may be done by economising time and strictly looking after
those spare minutes which many throw away. The great rule is, never to
be unemployed, and to find relief in turning from one occupation to
another, due allowance of course being made for recreation and for
rest. The wise man economises time as he economises money.
II. System.It is wonderful how much work can be got through in a
day if we go by ruleif we map out our time, divide it off and take up
one thing regularly after another. To drift through our work, or to
rush through it in helter skelter fashion, ends in comparatively
little being done. One thing at a time will always perform a better
day's work than doing two or three things at a time. By following this
rule one person will do more in a day than another does in a week.
Marshal thy notions, said old Thomas Fuller, into a handsome method.
One will carry twice as much weight trussed and packed as when it lies
untoward, flapping and hanging about his shoulders. Fixed rules are
the greatest possible help to the worker. They give steadiness to his
labor, and they enable him to go through it with comparative ease. Many
a man would have been saved from ruin if he had appreciated the value
of method in his affairs. In the peasant's cottage or the artisan's
workshop, in the chemist's laboratory or the shipbuilder's yard, the
two primary rules must be, For every one his duty, and, For
everything its place.
It is a wise thing to begin the day by taking a survey in thought of
the work we have to get through, and thus to divide it, giving to each
hour its own share. The shortest way to do many things is to do one
thing at a time. Albert Barnes was a distinguished American theologian
who wrote a valuable commentary on the Bible amid the work of a large
parish. He accomplished this by systematic arrangement of his time. He
divided his day into parts. He devoted each part to some duty. He
rigidly adhered to this arrangement, and in this way was able to
overtake an amount of work that was truly wonderful. In the life of
Anthony Trollope, the great novelist, we are told that he kept
resolutely close to a rule he laid down for himself. He wrote so many
pages a day of so many lines each. He overtook an immense amount of
work in the year. He published many books, and he made a great deal of
money. The great English lawyer Sir Edward Coke divided his time
according to the well-known couplet
Six hours in sleep, in law's grave study six,
Four spend in prayer, the rest on nature fix.
Sir William Jones, the famous Oriental scholar, altered this rule to
Seven hours to law, to soothing slumber seven,
Ten to the world allot, and all to Heaven.
Benjamin Franklin's system of working is given in his Life. Each
day was carefully portioned off. His daily programme was the following:
Morning. ) Rise, wash, and address the
5 ) Almighty Father; contrive
[Question, What good 6 ) the day's business and take
shall I do this day?] 7 ) the resolution of the day;
) prosecute the present study,
to ) Work
12 ) Read or look over accounts and
Noon. to ) dine.
Afternoon, to ) Work
6 ) Put things in their place;
Evening to ) supper; music or diversion or
[Question, What good 9 ) conversation; examination of
have I done to-day?] ) the day.
Night to ) Sleep.
It is evident that a scheme of life like this could not suit
everyone. It is given as an illustration of the value of adhering to
method in our work. Order, the poet Pope says, is Heaven's first
law, and time well ordered means generally work well and thoroughly
III. Punctuality.This means keeping strictly as to time by any
engagement we make either with ourselves or with others. If we resolve
to do anything at a certain time, we should do it neither before nor
after that time. It is better to be before than after. But it is best
to be at the very minute. If we enter into an engagement with others
for a certain time, we should be precise in keeping it. In a letter
from a celebrated merchant, Buxton, to his son, he says, Be punctual;
I do not mean merely being in time for lectures, but mean that spirit
out of which punctuality grows, that love of accuracy and precision
which mark the efficient man. The habit of being punctual extends to
everythingmeeting friends, paying debts, going to church, reaching
and leaving place of business, keeping promises, retiring at night and
rising in the morning. We may lay down a system or method of work for
ourselves, but it will be of little service unless we keep carefully to
it, beginning and leaving off at the appointed moment. If the work of
one hour is postponed to another, it will encroach on the time allotted
to some other duty, if it do not remain altogether undone, and thus the
whole business of the day is thrown into disorder. If a man loses half
an hour by rising late in the morning, he is apt to spend the rest of
the day seeking after it. Sir Walter Scott was not only methodical in
his work, he was exceedingly punctual, always beginning his allotted
task at the appointed moment. When a regiment, he wrote, is under
march, the rear is often thrown into confusion because the front does
not move steadily and without interruption. It is the same thing in
business. If that which is first in hand be not instantly despatched,
other things accumulate betimes, till affairs begin to press all at
once, and no brain can stand the confusion. We should steadily
cultivate the habit of punctuality. We can cultivate it until it
becomes with us a second nature, and we do everything, as the saying
is, by clockwork. In rising in the morning and going to bed, in
taking up different kinds of work, in keeping appointments with others,
we should strive to be to the minute. The unpunctual man is a
nuisance to society. He wastes his own time, and he wastes the time of
others; as Principal Tulloch well says, Men who have real work of
their own would rather do anything than do business with him. 
IV. Promptitude.By this we mean acting at the present momentall
that is opposed to procrastination, putting off to another time, to a
convenient season which probably never comesall that is opposed
also to what is called loitering or dawdling. There is an old Latin
proverb, Bis dat qui cito dat,he gives twice who gives
quickly. The same thing may be said of work, He works twice who works
quickly. In work, of course, the first requirement is that it should
be well done; but this does not hinder quickness and despatch. There
are those who, when they have anything to do, seem to go round it and
round it, instead of attacking it at once and getting it out of the
way; and when they do begin it they do so in a listless and
half-hearted fashion. There are those who look at their work, according
to the simile of Sidney Smith, like men who stand shivering on the bank
instead of at once taking the plunge. In order, he says, to do
anything that is worth doing in this world, we must not stand shivering
on the bank thinking of the cold and the danger, but jump in and
scramble through as well as we can. It will not do to be perpetually
calculating and adjusting nice chances; it did all very well before the
Flood, when a man could consult his friends upon an intended
publication for a hundred and fifty years, and then live to see its
success for six or seven centuries afterwards, but at present a man
doubts, and waits, and hesitates, and consults his brother, and his
uncle, and his first cousin, and his particular friends, till one day
he finds that he is sixty-five years of age, that he has lost so much
time in consulting first cousins and particular friends that he has no
time to follow their advice. This is good sense, though humorously
put. Promptitude is a quality that should be assiduously cultivated.
Like punctuality, it becomes a most valuable habit. Procrastination,
it is said, is the thief of time, and hell is paved with good
intentions. These proverbs are full of wisdom. When we hear people
saying, They are going to be this thing or that thing; they intend
to look to this or to that; they will by and by do this or that, we
may be sure there is a weakness in their character. Such people never
come to much. The best way is not to speak about doing a thing,
but to do it, and to do it at once.
To these thoughts on the use of time we may fitly add the great
words of Scripture, So teach us to number our days that we may apply
our hearts unto wisdom, Ps. xc. 12. Redeeming the time, because the
days are evil, Ephes. v. 16. We transform time into eternity by using
 These illustrations are given by Mr. Davenport Adams.
 Beginning Life.
CHAPTER VII. COURAGE.
We all know what is meant by courage, though it is not easy to
define it. It is the determination to hold our own, to face danger
without flinching, to go straight on our way against opposing forces,
neither turning to the right hand nor the left.
It is a quality admirable in the eyes of all men, savage and
civilized, Christian and non-Christianas admirable as cowardice, the
opposite quality, is detestable. The brave man is the hero of the
savage. Bravery, or, as the Scriptures term it, virtue, is a
great requisite in a Christian. If it is not the first, it is the
second characteristic of a Christian life. Add, says St. Paul, to
your faith virtue, that is to say, courage.
It is the very glory of youth to be courageous.The sneak and the
coward are the abhorrence of youth. It is youth which climbs the
imminent deadly breach and faces the deadly hail of battle, which
defies the tyranny of custom and the hatred of the world. One may have
compassion for age, which is naturally timid and sees fears in the way,
but youth which is cowardly is contemptible.
There are two kinds of couragethe one of a lower, the other of a
higher type. (a) The first, the lower kind of courage, is that
which has its root and foundation in our physical nature. It is
constitutional; there is little or no merit in it. Some men are born to
know no fearmen of strong nerve, of iron constitution, and powerful
physique. Such men laugh at danger and scorn opposition. Theirs is the
courage of the lion or the bull-dog, and there is no virtue about it.
They cannot help being what they are. (b) But there is another
kind of courage which is not so much physical as moral. It has
its foundation not in man's bodily constitution so much as in his
higher nature. It draws its power from the invisible. Are you not
afraid, was a question put by a young and boastful officer to his
companion whose face was blanched and pale, as they stood together amid
the thickly falling shot of a battle-field. I am afraid, he
replied, and if you were half as afraid as I am, you would run. In
his case there was little physical courage, but there was the higher
courage drawn from a sense of duty which made him stand firm as a rock.
When our Lord knelt in His mysterious anguish in Gethsemane, His whole
physical nature seemed broken down, His sweat was as it were great
drops of blood falling down to the ground. Suffer, He said, this
cup to pass from me; and His strength came from the invisible. Not my
will, He cried, but thine be done. With that sublime trust in God
strengthening Him, He shrank not back for a moment; He took the cup and
drained it to the dregs. This is the highest form of courage that there
is. The weakest women have displayed it in face of appalling dangers.
It is the courage of the martyr, the patriot, the reformer. There is a
glory and beauty in it before which all men bow.
There are three chief forms which this moral courage takes in
First, there is the courage of our opinions.Many people,
perhaps the majority, do not have opinions. They have simply notions,
impressions, sentiments, prejudices, which they have imbibed from
others. They may be said to be like looking-glasses, which have a
shadow of whatever stands before them. So long as they are in company
with a positive person who believes something, they have an opinion.
When he goes the shadow on the looking-glass goes also. They are like
the sand on the seashorethe last person who comes the way makes a
track and the next wave washes it away and leaves the sand ready for
another impression. How many are there who, when any important question
comes up, have no opinion about it, until they read their paper or hear
what other people are saying. There is no sort of courage more needed
than the courage to form an opinion and keep by it when we have formed
it. There is no more contemptible form of cowardice than to do a thing
merely because others do it. The grand words of President Garfield of
the United States are worthy of remembrance: I do not think what
others may say or think about me, but there is one man's opinion about
me which I very much value, that is the opinion of James Garfield;
others I need not think about. I can get away from them, but I have to
be with him all the time. He is with me when I rise up and when I lie
down, when I go out and when I come in. It makes a great difference
whether he thinks well of me or not. To this noble utterance we may
add the words of the poet Russell Lowell:
They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scoffing, and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think.
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three.
Second, there is the courage of resistance.This is the
chief form courage should take in the young. They are surrounded on
every side by strong temptationstemptations addressed to their lower
nature, to vanity, to indolence, to scepticism, to impurity, to
drunkenness. There is many a young man beset by temptation who has in
reality to fight far harder if he will maintain his integrity than any
soldier belonging to an army making its way through an enemy's country.
He does not know when an ambush may be sprung upon him, or from what
side the attack may come. In an old tower on the Continent they show
you, graven again and again on the stones of one of the dungeons, the
word Resist. It is said that a Protestant woman was kept in that
hideous place for forty years, and during all that time her employment
was in graving with a piece of iron, for anyone who might come after
her, that word. It is a word that needs to be engraven on every young
man's and young woman's heart. It represents the highest form of
courage which to them is possiblethe power to say No to every form
Third, there is the courage of endurance.This is really the
noblest form of courage. There is no excitement in it; nothing to be
won by it. It is simply to bear without flinching. In the buried city
of Herculaneum, near Vesuvius, now uncovered, after the guide has shown
the visitor the wonders of the place he takes him to the gate and
points out the stone box where were found, buried in ashes, the rusted
remains of the helmet and cuirass of the Roman sentinel. When the black
cloud rose from the mountain, and the hot ashes fell around him, and
the people rushed out at the gate, he stood there immovable, because it
was his duty, and died in his place, suffocated by the sulphury air. It
was a grand instance of courage, but it is seen again and again
equalled in common life. In men and women stricken down by fell
disease; in those on whom adverse circumstances close like the walls of
an iron chamber; in people for whom there was no possible escape, who
could only bear, but who stood up firm and erect in their weakness,
whose cross, instead of crushing them to the earth, seemed only to lift
them up. We are told that Robert Hall, the great preacher, suffered
much from disease. He was forced often to throw himself down and writhe
on the ground in paroxysms of pain. From these he would rise with a
smile, saying, I suffered much, but I did not cry out, did I? did I
These are the chief forms of moral courage in ordinary life. We have
now to point out what are the sources of such courage.
The first source of courage is convictionthe feeling that we are
in the right, the testimony of a good conscience. Nothing can make a
man brave without that. Thrice is he armed, we are told, who hath
his quarrel just, and he is more than trebly armed who knows in his
heart that it is just. If we go over the roll of the strongest and
bravest men the world has seen we will find that at the root of their
courage there lay this fact of conviction. They believed,
therefore they spake, therefore they fought, therefore they bled and
died. The man of strong conviction is the strong man all the world
over. If a man wants that, he will be but a feeble character, a poor
weakling to the end of the chapter. Shakespeare says that conscience
makes cowards of us all; but it does something else when it makes us
fear evilit lifts us above all other fear. So it raised Peter, who
had shortly before denied his Master, to such courage that he could say
before his judges, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken
unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the
things which we have seen and heard. It has enabled men and women to
endure a martyr's death when one word, which they would not speak,
might have saved them.
The second source of courage is faith.We use the word in the
Christian sense of trust in God. When a man feels that God is with him
he can stand up against all the powers of earth and hell. If God be
for us, who can be against us? The heroes of the past, who subdued
kingdoms and wrought righteousness, have all been men of faith. Recall
Hebrews xi., the Covenanters, the Ironsides of Cromwell, the Huguenots,
Luther, Knox. Their faith may not have been so enlightened as it might
have been had their knowledge been wider. Their religious creeds may
have contained propositions that are no longer accepted, but they were
strong because of their undoubted faith in God. When His presence is an
abiding presence with us and in us, our
Strength is as the strength of ten,
Because our hearts are pure.
He who fears God will know no other fear.
The third source of courage is sympathy.A man who has God with him
will be brave if he stand alone, but he will be greatly helped if he is
in company with others like himself and knows that he has the sympathy
of good men. You remember St. Paul on his journey to Rome reaching a
little village about thirty miles from the great city. The look-out for
him was very depressing. He had appealed to Caesar, but what likelihood
was there of his obtaining justice in Caesar's capital. He might be
thrown to the lions, or made to fight for his life in the Coliseum, a
spectacle to the Roman multitude. Then it was that a few Roman
Christians who had heard of his approach came out to meet him, and, it
is said, he thanked God and took courage. Such was the power of
sympathy. If we would be encouraged we will seek it. If we would
encourage others we will give it.
We will only say in closing this chapter that its subject is most
truly illustrated by the life of our Lord himself. The mediaeval
conception of Christ was that He exhibited only the passive virtues of
meekness, patience, and submission to wrong. From the gospels we form a
different idea. He vanquished the devil in the wilderness; He faced
human opposition boldly and without fear; He denounced the hypocrisy of
the Pharisees, and encountered their rage and violence. He went calmly
along His appointed path, neither turning to the right hand nor to the
left. Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, could not deter Him from doing His
Father's work. Amid a tumultuous tempest of ill-will He moved straight
forward, foreseeing His death, setting His face toward Jerusalem,
knowing all that awaited Him there. He went through Gethsemane to
Calvary with the step of a conqueror. Never was He more truly a king
than on the cross, and the grandest crown ever worn was the crown of
thorns. In Him we have the highest example of courage, as of all other
CHAPTER VIII. HEALTH.
Health means soundness of body and of mind; the keeping of our
physical system in such a condition that it is able to do its work
easily, without disturbance, and without pain; the exercise of the mind
so as not to harm the body. There are certain preliminary
considerations that we should bear in mind in connection with this
I. The close connection between body and mind.They are both
related to each other in some mysterious way. So close is the
connection that the one cannot be affected without the other. The
well-being of the one depends on the well-being of the other. The power
which the mind has over the body and the body over the mind has been
well and tersely described by a writer of our time. Man, he says, is
one, however compound. Fire his conscience, and he blushes; check his
circulation, and he thinks tardily or not at all; impair his
secretions, and the moral sense is dulled, discolored, or depraved, his
aspirations flag, his hope and love both reel; impair them still more,
and he becomes a brute. A cup of wine degrades his moral nature below
that of the swine. Again, a violent emotion of pity or horror makes him
vomit; a lancet will restore him from delirium to clear thought;
excessive thought will waste his energy; excess of muscular exercise
will deaden thought; an emotion will double the strength of his
muscles; and at last, a prick of a needle or a grain of mineral will in
an instant lay to rest forever his body and its unity.  When we
consider the close connection between mind and body, and how the state
of the one affects the other, we see how important it is that both
should work together in that harmonious action which is health, and how
carefully we should guard against anything by which that harmonious
action may be interrupted.
II. Bodily health is almost essential to success in life.It is not
absolutely essential, but it is almost essential. (a)
Physical health is not everything. Give a man, it has been said, a
good deep chest and a stomach of which he never knew the existence, and
he must succeed in any practical career. This has been said by a great
authority, Professor Huxley, but it is only partially true, for many
worthless people fulfil these conditions. They are, as Carlyle calls
them, only animated patent digesters. (b) Great things also
have been done in the world by men whose health has been feeble. Calvin
was a man of sickly body; Pascal was an invalid at eighteen; Pope was
weak and deformed; William of Orange, a martyr to asthma; Hall, the
famous preacher, suffered great paroxysms of pain; Milton was blind;
Nelson, little and lame; St. Paul in bodily presence was weak. On the
other hand, some of these men might have done more if their health had
been better. Health is a splendid possession in the battle of life. The
men of great physical vitality, as a rule, achieve most; other things
being equal, their success in life is sure. Everything shows that the
greatness of great men is almost as much a bodily affair as a mental
one. It has been computed that the average length of life of the most
eminent philosophers, naturalists, artists, jurists, physicians,
musical composers, scholars and authors, including poets, is sixty-five
years. This shows that the most successful men on the whole have had
good bodies and been blessed with great vitality.
III. The care of the body is a religious duty.(a) It is so
because our spiritual feelings are largely dependent upon the state of
our health. Certain conditions of body undeniably occasion, irritate
and inflame those appetites and inclinations which it is one great end
of Christianity to repress and regulate. The spirit has sometimes to
maintain a terrible struggle against the flesh. Intemperance is largely
the result of bad feeding. It is easier for a camel to pass through
the eye of a needle, than for a dyspeptic person to be gentle, meek,
long-suffering. Dark views of God often come from the state of the
body. It would largely lift up the moral and spiritual condition of men
if their surroundings were such as tended to keep them in health. To
improve men's dwellings, to give them healthy homes, pure air to
breathe, and pure water to drink, would tend to help them morally and
spiritually, (b) God requires of us a certain amount of service
by and through our bodies. We cannot perform the work if we destroy the
machines by which the work is to be done. (c) Scripture
especially calls us to make the body the object of our reverent care.
Your bodies are members of Christ. The body is for the Lord, and the
Lord for the body. Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which
is in you, which ye have of God. If any man defile the temple of God,
him will God destroy. Yield your members as instruments of
righteousness unto God. Sin is not to reign in your mortal body.
Glorify God in your body. We are to present our bodies a living
sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service.
(d) The body is a part of that humanity which Christ by His
incarnation took, redeemed, sanctified and glorified. (e)
Our Lord's miracles were nearly all performed on the human body, for
its relief, cure, and restoration to life.
IV. To a certain extent our health is in our own hands.Not
altogether, for some are constitutionally defective, and subject to
infirmities with which they are born, and which they have perhaps
inherited. But a vast amount of disease is preventable, and comes from
causes over which we have direct control. It is reckoned that a
hundred thousand persons die annually in England of preventable
diseasesfrom disobedience to the laws of health, which are God's
laws, and the transgression of which, wilfully, is sin. Beyond all
doubt a vast amount of sickness comes from bad living, from
intemperance in eating and drinking, from breathing bad air, from
inhabiting ill-constructed houses. It is possible to live in accordance
with the laws of health so that life may be comparatively free from
disease and from pain. If Providence denies health, the want of it must
be patiently endured. If we have inherited weakness, we must make the
most of the strength we have. But if we lack health through our own
fault we are guilty of shameful sin.
To discuss fully the subject and laws of health would require a
whole treatise, and would be beyond the scope of this text-book. There
are, however, some outstanding conditions for the preservation of
health which are plain to everyone, and which may be summed up in the
three words Temperance, Exercise, and Rest. These have been well termed
the three great physicians, whose prescriptions are painless and cost
1. Temperance.Man needs a certain amount of food to sustain
him, but if that amount be increased beyond the proper quantity it is
dangerous to health. It overtasks the power of digestion and is
injurious. We need therefore to be constantly on our guard as to what
we eat and drink lest we run into excess. Every one must study his own
constitution, find out its need, and suit the supply of food to its
wants. According to the old proverb, We should eat to live, not live
to eat. It is a great matter for health when we are able to strike the
proper medium and neither eat nor drink too much nor too little. To lay
down rules on this subject for the individual is impossible. One man's
food is another man's poison. A man must determine from his own
experience what he ought to take, and how much, as well as what he
ought to avoid. The word intemperance is generally employed as applying
to the abuse of strong drinks. On this subject much has been written,
some advocating total abstinence and others judicious and moderate use.
Into this region of controversy we cannot enter. The evils of drinking
habits, as they are called, are plain to all. They are a terrible curse
to society, and a terrible danger to the individual. They have ruined
many a promising career. For many, perhaps we may say for most, entire
abstinence is their only safety. He who finds that he can do his work
well by drinking only water will be wise if he drinks nothing else.
That will never harm him, though other liquids may. We must judge for
ourselves, but Temperance in all things is a rule binding on every
Christian man. We cannot have health unless we strictly and constantly
2. Exercise.This is as necessary to health as food. Only
by exercisephysical exercisecan we maintain our muscles, organs and
nervous system in proper vigor; only by exercise can we equalise the
circulation and distribute the blood evenly over every part of the
body; only by exercise can we take a cheerful and wholesome view of
life, for exercise assists the digestion, and a good digestion is a
sovereign antidote to low spirits; only by exercise can the brain be
strengthened to perform the labor demanded of it.  No sensible man
will try to do without it. If any man does so he will pay the penalty.
As to the amount of exercise and the kind of exercise every man must
judge for himself. Some, from their occupation, need less than others;
the outdoor laborer, for instance, than the clerk who is most of the
day at the desk. One man may take exercise best by walking, another by
riding, another by following outdoor sports. Athletics, such as
football, and cricket, are a favorite form of exercise with the young,
and if not followed to excess are most advantageous. The walk in the
open air is life to many. But boy or man can never be what they ought
to be unless they take exercise regularly and judiciously, take it not
to exhaust but to refresh and stimulate. It strengthens the nerve and
clears the brain and fits for work.
3. Rest.Man needs a certain amount of repose to sustain his
frame in full vigor. Some need more, some need less. We must find out
for ourselves what we need and take it. Lack of sleep is especially a
great waste of vitality. Here also we must exercise our judgment as to
the amount of sleep we require. One needs a great deal; another can do
with very little. Early rising, which has been much recommended, is
only good for those who go early to bed. If one is compelled to sit up
late he should sleep late in the morning. It is no virtue on the part
of anyone to get up early unless he has slept enough. That he
must do if he is to have health. A man who would be a good worker must
see to it that he is a good sleeper; and whoever, from any cause, is
regularly diminishing his sleep is destroying his life. Shakespeare has
well described the blessing of sleep when he says:
Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great Nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast.
These are but hints in connection with a great subject. A few
brief rules may be given of a general character:
1. Take exercise every day in the open air if possible, and make it
a recreation and not merely a duty.
2. Eat wholesome food, drink pure water.
3. Let your house and room be well ventilated.
4. Take time enough for sleep. Do not worry.
5. Watch yourself, but not too closely, to find out what exercise,
air, diet, etc., agrees with you. No man can be a rule for another.
6. If you consult a physician, it is better to do it before you are
unwell than later.
We close this chapter with the powerful words of Thomas Carlyle,
addressed to the students of the University of Edinburgh: Finally, I
have one advice to give you which is practically of very great
importance. You are to consider throughout much more than is done at
present, and what would have been a very great thing for me if I had
been able to consider, that health is a thing to be attended to
continually; that you are to regard it as the very highest of all
temporal things. There is no kind of achievement you could make in the
world that is equal to perfect health. What to it are nuggets or
 Frederic Harrison, Popular Science Monthly Supplement.
 Plain Living and High Thinking.
 These rules are given by J. Freeman Clarke in his work on
CHAPTER IX. EARNESTNESS.
Another word for earnestness is enthusiasm. The Scriptural
equivalent is zeal. It means putting our whole heart into whatever we
are doing. It is a sweeping, resistless energy, which carries
everything before it, like a river in full flood. Its nature is well
expressed in the saying of the old huntsman, Throw over your heart,
and your horse will soon follow.
Earnestness is not to be confounded with noise, vehemence, or
outward demonstration.It is often exceedingly quiet and
undemonstrative. Notice when the machinery of an engine is standing
still, how the steam makes a great noise as it issues from the
safety-valve, but when the vapor is turned into the cylinder and is
used in driving the engine all that thundering sound disappears. It
does not follow that there is no steam. It is going in another
direction, and doing its appropriate work. It is a great mistake to
imagine that enthusiasm and what is called fuss are identical.
The most enthusiastic men are often the quietest. No one can doubt the
enthusiasm of a man like Livingstone. He had enthusiasm for science,
for philanthropy and for religion. It was unflagging; yet not a boast,
not a murmur escaped his lips. He did the thing he meant to do, and
made no noise in doing it.
Earnestness is often regarded with suspicion and condemned.It is
the fashion with many to sneer at it. It is often alone, and then it is
not respectable. It is often in excess, and is therefore ineffective.
It is often disturbing to the sleepiness of others, and is therefore
hated by them. Our Lord was an enthusiast in the eyes of the Pharisees.
St. Paul was an enthusiast to Festus. The early Christians were
enthusiasts to the pagan world because they turned it upside down. The
martyrs and confessors of all times have been regarded as enthusiasts
by those of their own time who were not in sympathy with them. An
enthusiast is called by many a fanatic, and a fanatic in the eyes of
some is a most dangerous member of society.
All the great leaders of the world have been men in
earnest.Emerson says truly that every great and commanding movement
in the annals of the world is the triumph of enthusiasm. Our civil and
religious liberties we owe to enthusiasts for freedom. The enthusiasm
of Columbus gave us America; the enthusiasm of Knox reformed Scotland;
the enthusiasm of Wesley regenerated English religious life; the
enthusiasm of men like Garibaldi and Cavour and Mazzini has made in our
own time a new Italy. These men were all denounced in their day, cold
water was thrown on all their projects, but their burning earnestness
carried them on to triumph. The scorned enthusiast of one generation is
the hero of the next.
Earnestness is a great element in securing success in life.A
well-known writer and preacher, Dr. Arnot, tells that he once heard the
following conversation at a railway station between a farmer and the
engineer of a train: What are you waiting for so long? Have you no
water? Oh, yes, we have plenty of water, but it is not boiling. So
there may be abundance of intelligence and splendid machinery, and all
the appliances that help to success, but what is wanted is intense
boiling earnestness. We have a good illustration of the power of
earnestness in speaking. One man may say the right thing, and say it in
a pleasing and cultured manner; every phrase may be well placed, every
sentence polished, every argument in its proper place. Another man may
have no elegance of diction, his words may be unpolished, his sentences
even ungrammatical, and yet he may move a great multitude, as the
leaves of the trees are moved by the wind, through the intense
earnestness and enthusiasm by which he is possessed. We see the same
thing in Christian effort. The organization of a church may be perfect,
its resources may be large, and it may have in its service an army of
able and well-disciplined men; but without enthusiasm and burning zeal
its efforts are powerless and come to nothing. When, as at Pentecost,
the Holy Spirit descends upon a church in tongues of fire, then there
is quickening, and souls are gathered in. No man has ever had a supreme
influence over others without more or less enthusiasm in his nature.
There are three directions we may give in regard to earnestness or
1. Respect it in others.Do not join with those who regard
it as something that is not respectable. It is always preferable to
what is cold and formal. Life is better than death, and when there is
life there is energy and earnestness. Even when enthusiasm takes forms
that we cannot altogether approve of, it is worthy of respect. Next to
being Servetus who was burnt, said one, I would have been Calvin who
burnt him. That was a strong way of saying that zeal is a beautiful
thing in itself, though zeal that is not according to knowledge is
not good. We may not approve of many of the opinions and methods of
Francis Xavier, the great missionary and saint of the Roman Church, but
we cannot fail to admire his burning zeal in the cause of Christ, and
look with something like awe on his high-souled devotion to the work of
an evangelist. He was swept on by an enthusiasm that never failed, and
which carried him over obstacles that would have daunted any ordinary
man. The Puritans were denounced by many good people of their time, and
the great preacher, Dr. South, delivered a sermon against them,
entitled Enthusiasts not led by the Spirit of God. But we all know
how great the men were, and how great a work they did through the very
enthusiasm that he condemned. It is better, according to the proverb,
that the pot should boil over than not boil at all. The word
enthusiasm literally means filled, or inspired, by God, and the meaning
of the word may teach us how noble a thing enthusiasm is in itself, and
how worthy it is of admiration and respect.
2. We should cultivate it in ourselves.It is a virtue, like
all others, that can be cultivated. (a) By resolutely setting
our face against doing anything in a languid and half-hearted way. If a
thing is worth doing, it should be done with all our might. (b
) By studying the lives of great men. When we do so we catch something
of the earnestness that inspired them. This is perhaps the best result
of reading biography. We feel how noble was the enthusiasm of the
heroes of the past, and how, by means of it, they were able to do great
things, and to march on to victory. (c) By associating with
those who are in earnest. There is nothing so contagious as enthusiasm,
and when we come in contact with those who live under the impulse of
grand ideas, something of their force and power is conveyed to
ourselves. The great soul strengthens the weak soul. While the solitary
coal on the hearth will go black out, when it is heaped up with others
it springs into a blaze.
O ever earnest sun!
Unwearied in thy work,
Unhalting in thy course,
Unlingering in thy path,
Teach me thy earnest ways,
That mine may be a life of steadfast work and praise.
O ever earnest stars!
Unchanging in your light,
Unfaltering in your race,
Unswerving in your round,
Teach me your earnest ways,
That mine may be a life of steadfast work and praise.
O ever earnest flowers!
That with untiring growth
Shoot up and spread abroad
Your fragrance and your joy,
Teach me your earnest ways,
That mine may be a life of steadfast work and praise.
O ever earnest sea!
Constant in flow and ebb,
Heaving to moon and sun,
Unchanging in thy change,
Teach me thy earnest ways,
That mine may be a life of steadfast work and praise.
3. We should carry earnestness into our religious life.This
above all. There are many who tolerate earnestness in other things, but
who look upon it as dangerous in connection with religion. It is
regarded as of very questionable value, and spoken of with doubt and
suspicion. Let a man become earnest in prayer, earnest in work, or rise
in any way above the dead level in which so many are content to rest,
and he will be often spoken of in tones of pity, sneered at as a
fanatic, or denounced as an impostor. This suspicion with which
earnestness in the Church of Christ is often regarded may be accounted
for. (a) There has been a vast deal of zeal in the Church about
religion which has not been zeal for religion: about matters of ritual,
Church government, and the like. (b) Zeal has been often
expended in contentions about small points of doctrine; often about
those very points which are shrouded in mystery. (c) Zeal has
been often manifested in the interest of sect and party rather than of
Christ. (d) Zeal has often taken persecution for her ally, and
wielded among men the weapons of earthly warfare. For these reasons its
appearance in the Church is often regarded as we might regard the
erection in a town of a gunpowder magazine which, at any moment, might
produce disorder, ruin, and death.
Yet Scripture regards earnestness in religion as essential.Indifference and lukewarmness it regards as hateful (Rev. iii. 15,
16). It calls us to a solemn choice and to a lifelong service. Its
heroes are those who lived in the spirit of Brainerd's prayer, Oh,
that I were a flaming fire in the service of my God. There is an
allegory of Luther which may be quoted here. The devil, he says,
held a great anniversary, at which his emissaries were convened to
report the results of their several missions. 'I let loose the wild
beasts of the desert,' said one, 'on a caravan of Christians, and their
bones are now bleaching on the sands.' 'What of that?' said the devil;
'their souls were all saved.' 'I drove the east wind,' said another,
'against a ship freighted with Christians, and they were all drowned.'
'What of that?' said the devil; 'their souls were all saved.' 'For ten
years I tried to get a single Christian asleep,' said a third, 'and I
succeeded, and left him so.' Then the devil shouted, and the night
stars of hell sang for joy.
There are three spheres of religious life in which earnestness
should be specially shown.
1. In prayer.This is specially inculcated in the two
parables of our Lord, the unjust judge and the friend at midnight,
and in His own words, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye
shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. One, it is said,
came to Demosthenes, the great orator, and asked him to plead his
cause. He heard him without attention while he told his story without
earnestness. The man saw this, and cried out anxiously that it was all
true. Ah! said Demosthenes, I believe you now. The earnest
prayer is the prevailing prayer.
2. In sacrifice.This is in all life the test of
earnestness. The student giving up time for the acquisition of
knowledge; the merchant giving up his hours to the pursuit of business;
the explorer braving the heat of the tropics and the cold of the arctic
regions in his zeal for discovery. It is the same in religion. We must
count all things, with St. Paul, as loss, that we may win Christ, and
be found in Him.
3. In impressing others.It is out of the heart that the
mouth speaketh, and power to impress others is given only to those who
do so with a full heart, and who are consumed with a burning zeal for
the salvation of souls. These are they whom God has, in all ages,
blessed in the conversion of men.
CHAPTER X. MANNERS.
The word manners comes from the Latin manus, the hand, and
literally means the mode in which a thing is handledbehavior,
deportment. Manners may be defined as the pleasing or unpleasing
expression of our thoughts and intentions, whether in word or action.
We may say or do a thing in an agreeable or a disagreeable way.
According as we choose the one or the other, our manners may be said to
be good or bad.
Good manners are the result of two things.(a) Self-respect
and (b) consideration for the feelings of others. The man who
respects himself will be careful to say or do nothing that may seem to
others degrading or unworthy. The man who has consideration for the
feelings of others will be equally careful to do or say nothing that
may give them pain, or be offensive to them.
Good manners beautify character.It was a celebrated saying of an
old bishop, William of Wykeham, Manners maketh man. This is, however,
only partially true. Manners do not make a man any more than good
clothes make a man, but if he is made they greatly improve him.
Some have been truly excellent who have had an uncouth and unpolished
address, but that was rather to their disadvantage than otherwise.
Rough diamonds are always precious, but a diamond that is cut and
polished, while it retains its value, is much more beautiful. Civility
of speech, politeness of address, courtesy in our dealings with others,
are qualities that adorn a man, whilst rudeness, incivility, roughness
in behavior, detract greatly from his value, and injure his usefulness.
Tennyson's words are true:
Manners are not idle, but the fruit
Of noble nature and of loyal mind.
Good manners tend greatly to success in life.Coarseness and
gruffness lock doors, gentleness and refinement open them, while the
rude, boorish man is shunned by all. Take the case of a speaker
addressing a public meeting. What he says is weighty and important. His
arguments are powerful and well marshalled, but his speech is uncouth
and disagreeable. He says things that are coarse and vulgar. His bad
manner vastly takes away from the impression which he desires to make,
and which, if his manner had been different, he would have made. Again,
two young men serve in a place of business. The one is gentle in his
demeanor, meets his customers with a pleasant smile, is always polite.
The other is rough in his deportment, apparently does not care whether
those he deals with are pleased or not. The one is a favorite with
everybody; the other, who may be equally worthy as far as character is
concerned, is disliked.
Good manners often disarm opposition.People may have a prejudice
against ourselves personally, or against the cause we represent. It is
wonderful, however, how much may be done to soften them by habitual
courtesy towards them, and by studiously avoiding anything calculated
to offend them or rouse their anger. A wise man will always endeavor to
be specially civil towards any one who differs from him. It is related
that in the early days of the Abolition movement in the United States,
two men went out preaching: one, a sage old Quaker, brave and calm; the
other, a fervid young man. When the Quaker lectured, the audience were
all attention, and his arguments met with very general concurrence. But
when it came to the young man's turn, a tumult invariably ensued, and
he was pelted off the platform. Surprised by their different
receptions, the young man asked the Quaker the reason. Friend, he
said, you and I are on the same mission; we preach the same things;
how is it that while you are received so cordially, I get
nothing but abuse? I will tell thee, replied the Quaker; thee says,
'If you do so and so, you shall be punished,' and I say, 'My friends,
if you will but do so and so, you shall not be punished.' It is
not what we say, but how we say it.  In The Memorials of a Quiet
Life it is said of Augustus Hare that, on a road along which he
frequently passed, there was a workman employed in its repair who met
his gentle questions and observations with gruff answers and sour
looks. But as day after day the persevering mildness of his words and
manner still continued, the rugged features of the man gave way, and
his tone assumed a softer character. Politeness is the oiled key that
will open many a rusty lock.
Good manners may be summed up in the one word, Gentleman.That term
implies all that good-manners ought to be. The original derivation of
the word is from the Latin gentilis, belonging to a tribe or
gens; and in its first signification it applies to those of noble
descent or family; but it has come to mean something far wider, and
something which every man, however humble, may bea man of high
courtesy and refinement, to whom dishonor is hateful. What is it,
says Thackeray, to be a gentleman? It is to be honest, to be gentle,
to be generous, to be brave, to be wise, and, possessing all these
qualities, to exercise them in the most graceful outward manner. It
was said of our Lord by one of the early English poets, that he was
The first true gentleman that ever breathed.
To be a gentleman in all circumstances is the highest idea we can
form of good manners. It is what, in our intercourse with others, we
should strive to beto have high thoughts, as Sir Philip Sidney
expresses it, seated in a heart of courtesy. In Bishop Patteson's
life is given the estimate of him, as a true gentleman, by a New
Zealand native: Gentleman-gentleman thought nothing that ought to be
done too mean for him. Pig-gentleman never worked. The savage knew by
instinct that the good Bishop who came to live among them that he might
teach them to be better, who treated them with invariable courtesy and
consideration, was a true gentleman, though he had to clean his own
hut, to cook his own food, and to mend his own kettles. And he knew
also that the man who made others work for him without doing them any
good in return, who swore at them and abused them, was only a
pig-gentleman, however rich or high in station he might be.
A few advices on the subject of this chapter may be given.
1. Cultivate a pleasing manner.Any one can be civil and
polite if he sets himself to be so. Some suppose that it is unworthy of
a robust character to be gentle in demeanor, that it indicates a
certain amount of effeminacy, and that strength and gruffness go
together. We hear men spoken of sometimes approvingly as rough
diamonds. But history tells us that the noblest and strongest have
been the most tender and courteous. King Robert the Bruce was brave as
a lion, tender-hearted as a woman. Sir Walter Raleigh was every inch
a man, a brave soldier, a brilliant courtier, and yet a mirror of
courtesy. Nobody would accuse Sir Philip Sidney of having been
deficient in manliness, yet his fine manners were proverbial. It is the
courtesy of Bayard, the knight, sans peur et sans reproche,
which has immortalized him quite as much as his valor.  It is not
beneath us to study good manners. To a great extent they come naturally
from refinement of disposition and inborn delicacy of feeling. But they
may also, to a great extent, be learned and acquired. Watch, it has
wisely been said, those of excellent reputation in manners. Catch the
temper of the great masters of literaturethe nobility of Scott, the
sincerity of Thackeray, the heartiness of Dickens, the tenderness of
Macdonald, the delicacy of Tennyson, the grace of Longfellow, the
repose of Shakespeare. It is well worth while for every young man
beginning life to form a true idea of what good manners are, and to
make it his constant effort to acquire them.
2. Avoid eccentricity.Eccentricity is the deliberate
endeavor to make ourselves different from those around us. (a)
Some show it in their dress by wearing garments often of outrageous
shape and hue. (b) Some show it in their speech by striving to
say things that they think especially smart. (c) Some show it in
their actions by striking forced attitudes, and putting themselves in
grotesque positions. It all springs from love of notoriety and desire
to be thought different from their neighbors. It is the mark, as a
rule, of fops and fools, and an indication of weakness of character. It
is fundamentally inconsistent with good manners. Johnson was called
ursa major, or big bear, from the gruffness of his manner. This was
probably natural to him, but many affect a similar manner from a desire
to be eccentric. The big bears of society are odious. Johnson's own
words are applicable to such: A man has no more right to say an
uncivil thing than to act oneno more right to say a rude thing to
another than to knock him down. Those also who are ever trying to say
things which they think smart, but which are often impudent, and meant
to give annoyance, ought to receive no countenance. Sir, said one
such person in his Irish brogue to Dean Swift, I sit (set) up
for being a wit. Then, sir, said the Dean, I advise you to sit
down. Similar people should be treated in the same way.
3. Try to conquer shyness.This is constitutional with some,
but even when this is the case it can be overcome by taking pains. The
shy man is often awkward in manner; and, what is worse, he often gives
the impression to others of being rude, when he has no intention to be
so. There are those who, in their own family and among their own
friends, are known to be warm-hearted, kind and gentle, but who, from
this defect of which we speak, have a reputation far from enviable. Any
young man who is afflicted with it should set himself resolutely to get
the better of it.
4. We should be especially courteous to those below us in station.To servants in our house, to those in our employ, to the poor, we
should be marked in our civility. It is the very essence of
gentlemanhood that one is polite to the weak, the poor, the friendless,
the humble, the miserable, the degraded. The conduct of our Lord to
such is ever worthy of our imitation. Indeed, as it has been well
remarked, the character of men and women is perhaps better known by
the treatment of those below them than by anything else; for to them
they rarely play the hypocrite. The man who is a bully and abusive to
those weaker or less fortunate than himself, is at heart a poor
creature; though, in company of his equals, he may be affable and
polished enough. For example, Kingsley mentions regarding Sir Sydney
Smith that the love he won was because, without any conscious
intention, he treated rich and poor, his own servants, and the
noblemen, his guests, alike courteously, cheerfully, considerately,
affectionately, bearing a blessing and reaping a blessing wherever he
was. When a celebrated man returned the salute of a negro, he was
reminded that he had done what was very unfashionable. Perhaps so, he
replied, but I would not be outdone in good manners by a negro.
Good words, says holy George Herbert, are worth much, and cost
little. The same may be said of good manners.
 The Secret of Success.
 Plain Living and High Thinking.
CHAPTER XI. TEMPER.
Temper is the harmonious and well-balanced working of the different
powers of the mind. Good temper is when harmony is maintained; bad
temper when it is violated. Temper, it was said by an English bishop,
is nine-tenths of Christianity. We may think this an exaggerated
statement, but there is much to commend it. The fruit of the Spirit of
God is peace, and peace is the condition of a heart which is at
restin harmony with God and man. Peace may be taken as the Scriptural
word for temper.
Good temper is a sign that the different powers of the soul are
working in harmony.For instance, the atmosphere is well tempered when
it is neither too hot nor too cold, neither too dry nor too moist,
having neither too much electricity nor too little. Then the weather is
called fine. It is a pleasure to live. When the weather is bad, the
balance of the elements is broken, and life is disagreeable and
unpleasant. The body is well tempered when the nervous system and the
blood and the nutritive system all work in due harmony. When these
three great constituents of the body are well balanced against each
other, the result is health. The body is not well tempered in a student
who takes no exercise, and where everything goes to feed the brain; nor
in a pugilist in training, where everything goes to feed the muscles.
The result is disease. We all know the musical instrument called the
harp. All the strings are tuned into perfect harmony. If there is a
false note struck, that is a sign to the musician that there is
something wrong, and that the instrument needs to be tuned. The discord
is a symptom, that some cords are out of order. So, bad temper is a
sign that some string in our moral constitution is out of harmony and
needs to be tuned.
Good temper can be acquired.It is the result of culture. There are
two things often confounded with it(a) good nature and (b
) good humor. Good nature is something born with usan easy, contented
disposition, and a tendency to take things quietly and pleasantly. We
inherit it. There is little merit in possessing it. Good humor is the
result of pleasant surroundings and agreeable circumstances. A
good-humored man is so when everything goes right; when things go
wrong, his good humor departs and bad humor takes its place. But good
temper results from training and self-controlkeeping constant watch
over our passions and feelings, and above all being in constant harmony
with God; for he who is at peace with God is at peace with man, and
will keep the even tenor of his way.
There are various signs or forms of ill-temper that may be adverted
One form of ill-temper is irritability.We perhaps know what it is
to have a tooth where the nerve is exposed. Everything that touches it
sends a thrill of pain through us. Some people get into a moral state
corresponding to that. The least thing puts them out, vexes them,
throws them into a disagreeable frame of mind. When one gets into that
state, he should feel that there is something wrong with himsomething
is off the balance, some nerve is exposed. He had better look to it and
go off to the dentist.
Another form of ill-temper is readiness to find fault.This is a
sure sign of a screw being loose somewhere. An ill-tempered person is
always making grievances, imagining himself ill-used, discontented with
his position, dissatisfied with his circumstances. He never blames
himself for anything wrong; it is always someone else. He is like a
workman who is always excusing himself by throwing the blame on his
tools; like a bad driver who is always finding fault with his horses.
Some fretful tempers wince at every touch,
You always do too little or too much;
He shakes with cold; you stir the fire and strive
To make a blaze; that's roasting him alive.
Serve him with venison, and he chooses fish;
With sole; that's just the sort he would not wish.
Alas! his efforts double his distress,
He likes yours little, and his own still less.
Thus, always teasing others, always teased,
His only pleasure isto be displeased.
If we find ourselves getting into this state of mind, it is high
time to inquire what is wrong with us.
Another form of ill-temper is passion.Some people are very subject
to this development. They are gunpowdery, and when a small spark
touches them they fly out, and there is a blaze. It is a very unlovely
feature of a man's character, and if people in a passion could only see
themselves in a glass, their eyes flashing, their brow contracted and
their features distorted, they would feel that they have cause to be
ashamed of themselves. After having been in what is called a towering
rage, there often comes to a man the feeling expressed in the words,
I have made a great ass of myself. If we have done so, we should
resolve never to make ourselves ridiculous again.
Perhaps the worst form of ill-temper is sulkiness.This is passion
not dying out, but continuing to smoulder like the embers of a fire
where there is no flame. A sullen disposition is as bad a sign of
something being wrong as there could well be. It is like what the
doctors call suppressed gout. The disease has got driven into the
system, and has taken so firm a hold that it cannot easily be
dislodged. Better a man whose temper bubbles over and is gone, than the
man who cherishes it in his bosom and allows, not the sun of one day,
but of many days, to go down on his wrath.
A word or two is perhaps necessary, in addition to what has been
said, as to the means by which good temper is to be preserved and bad
I. We should cherish a deep and strong detestation of the evil
effects of bad temper in all its forms.(a) It has a bad
effect physically. It produces consequences injurious to health. The
man who indulges in it habitually cannot do so with impunity. Doctors
constantly warn their patients to refrain from irritating disputes, and
to avoid men and things likely to provoke their anger. (b) It
has a bad effect socially. The bad-tempered man is seldom a favorite
with society. Men eventually dislike him and shun him as a nuisance.
His family, if he has one, come to regard him with dread rather than
love. (c) It has a bad effect as regards success in life.
Everything, the proverb says, comes to him who waits. The patient
and forbearing man attains his object much sooner than the man of
passion and abuse. Such a person is continually thwarted in his plans.
People refuse to be bullied into acquiescence; and threats, which have
well been called the arguments of a coward, raise rather than disarm
opposition. (d) It has a bad effect spiritually. (1) The man of
evil temper wants the calm disposition of soul necessary to communion
with God. The glass through which he looks into the spiritual world is
clouded and gives a distorted vision. He whose soul is filled with
anger and clouded by passion cannot pray. Before he lays his gift upon
the altar, he must be reconciled to his brother. (2) Scripture is full
of warnings against evil temper: He that is soon angry dealeth
foolishly. Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious
man thou shalt not go, lest thou learn his ways and get a snare to thy
soul. An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in
transgression. Be ye angry and sin not; let not the sun go down upon
your wrath. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and
evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one
to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for
Christ's sake hath forgiven you. The example of our blessed Lord
specially teaches the same lessen. Calmly and peacefully He pursued His
divine work. When reviled he reviled not again, but committed himself
to him that judgeth righteously. Before the High Priest, Pilate and
Herod, His indignant silence was more eloquent than scorching words.
II. We should deliberately cultivate self-control.If a
railway train is going swiftly along, and the driver sees something on
the track, he applies the brake, and thus avoids collision. In regard
to temper, self-control is like the brake, and we should be ever ready
to put it on. A person can come, in time, to get a wonderful control
over his temper if he watches against it. The writer knew a young man
who was at one time of an ungovernable temper; he used to be at times
like one possessed. But by watching and resolutely putting on the
brake he grew up one of the sweetest-tempered and most lovable of men.
He fought the wild beast within him, lashed it and kept it down. A
merchant had passionately abused a Quaker, who received his outburst of
ill-temper in silence. Being afterwards ashamed of himself, he asked
the other how he was able to show such patience. Friend, replied the
Quaker, I will tell thee. I was naturally as hot and violent as thou
art. I knew that to indulge temper was sinful, and I found it was
imprudent. I observed that men in a passion always spoke loud, and I
thought if I could control my voice I should repress my passion. I have
therefore made it a rule never to allow my voice to be above a certain
key, and by a careful observance of this rule I have, by the blessing
of God, mastered my natural temper. Strong resolution can do much. If
the pot boils, says the proverb, take it off the fire. A little
care, a word swallowed, a rising sentence struck down in us by a simple
rule, may save us humiliation. By reflection, by restraint and control
a wise man can make himself an island which no floods can overwhelm. He
who is tolerant with the intolerant, mild with the fault-finders, and
free from passion with the passionate, him I indeed call a wise
III. But while an act of self-control can restore the proper temper
and balance to the mind when it is in danger, the best way is to
keep it so that it will not go off the balance. You know that if a
clock stops, we may perhaps make it go again by a shake; if it does not
keep time, we can often put the hands right; but the best way is to
keep the machinery always so well balanced and adjusted that it will
not stop or go wrong. We may watch and control the temper when it
breaks out; but the better way is to keep it so well balanced that it
will not break out. The soul that is in harmony with God, that is full
of the spirit of Christ, will ever be peaceful and serene. If
ill-temper is our besetting sin, God's grace, if we ask it, will give
us power to conquer it While we watch against it, we should pray
against it also. The beautiful words of Thomas à Kempis point out to us
the secret of the well-tempered and well-balanced mind: First keep
thyself in peace, and then thou wilt be able to bring others to peace.
If the peace of God which passeth all understanding keep our hearts
and minds, through Christ Jesus, our life will never have its serenity
disturbed by ill-temper.
 I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness for some hints in this
chapter to an interesting work on Self-Culture, by James Freeman
CHAPTER XII. RECREATION.
Recreation is another name for amusement. Both words express the
same idea. Recreation means to create over again, the building up of
the system when it is exhausted. Amusement primarily is said to be
derived from the halt which a dog makes in hunting, when he pauses to
sniff the air in order to see in which way the scent lies. Having done
this, he starts off again with redoubled speed. Both these words in
themselves suggest the place that the things which they signify should
occupy in life. They are for the refreshing of our strength, in order
to renewed effort.
Recreation is a necessary part of life.There are two great laws
under which we live: the law of work and the law of recreation. Man has
to work, and to work hard, in order to live. Work also is necessary to
happiness. He that labors, says the Italian proverb, is tempted by
one devil; he that is idle, by a thousand. The industrious life, it is
perfectly plain (as we have shown in a previous chapter), is that which
we should all follow. But recreation is as needful in its place as
work. (a) This is the teaching of nature. God has made us
capable of enjoying ourselves, just as He has made us able to think, or
talk, or work with our hands. The first sign of intelligence in the
infant is a smile. The child's nature unfolds itself in play, and as
man grows up, it develops itself in many forms. The universe also is
full of joy and gladness. The sky is blue, the sea glistens, the
flowers are strewn over the earth. We speak of the waves playing on the
shore, of the shadows playing on the mountain side. All this indicates
that there is a certain play element that rejoices in the world
around us. (b) This is the teaching of experience. Unvaried and
unbroken toil becomes a sore burden; it breaks the spirit, weakens
energy, and saddens the heart. All work and no play, according to the
proverb, makes Jack a dull boy. There are men around us working so
hard that they have no family life, no social life, no time for thought
or for culture. They are simply cogs in a great wheel that is
ceaselessly turning round and roundwearing themselves out before
their time by excess of labor. This cannot be right. There is an
interesting tradition of St. John, the disciple of our Lord, that while
amusing himself with a tame partridge he was asked by a huntsman how he
could spend his time in so unprofitable a manner. St. John replied,
Why dost thou not carry thy bow always bent? Because, answered the
huntsman, if it were always bent, I fear it would lose its spring and
become useless. Be not surprised then, replied the apostle, that I
should sometimes remit a little of my close attention of spirit to
enjoy a little recreation, that I may afterwards employ myself more
fervently in divine contemplation. It is said also of a most saintly
man, Carlo Borromeo, that while engaged with some friends in a game of
chess, the question was started, what they would do if they knew they
were to die within the hour. I would, said Borromeo, go on with my
game. He had begun it for God's glory, and in order to fit himself for
God's work, and he would finish it. These anecdotes illustrate the
truth that recreation is a necessary part of life, and may be engaged
in with the highest object.
Recreation, therefore, is not to be regarded as an evil in
itselfMen at different times have so regarded it. (a) Those
who have been termed ascetics in the Church of Rome looked upon every
form of amusement as sinful. Even to smile or laugh was a fault needing
severe penance. They were cruel to themselves, denied themselves all
earthly joy, and placed vice and pleasure in the same category. (b
) The Puritans also, in the time of the Stuarts, set their faces
strongly against games and recreation of every kind. They denounced all
public amusements, as Macaulay tells us, from masques, which were
exhibited at the mansions of the great, down to the wrestling matches
and quoiting matches on the village green. (c) In all ages
there have been good men animated by the same feeling. Life has seemed
to them so serious as to have no place in it for mirth. Even one so
saintly as Archbishop Leighton said that pleasures are like
mushroomsit is so difficult to distinguish those that are wholesome
from those that are poisonous, that it is better to abstain from them
altogether. Those views have something noble in them. They spring from
hatred of sin and from realizing intensely that
Recreation is liable to abuse.It often leads to evil. It was the
unbridled gaiety of the age, with its selfishness and sensuality, that
made the Puritans denounce amusement, though the austerity they
enforced led to dreadful consequences. Repression passed into excess.
It was as if the pent-up sewerage of a mud volcano had been suddenly
let loose. The unclean spirit forcibly driven out by the Puritans
returned with seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and the
last state of Stuart England was worst than the first. The history of
that period shows us the mistake religion makes by frowning down all
amusements as sinful. But that some may be so is equally clear. They
are so (a) when they are contrary to the express commands of the
Word of God. There are pleasures which are in themselves unlawful, and
which are condemned by the divine law. These, God's children will shun.
They are forms of wickedness which they will ever hold in abhorrence.
The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life,
with all that the words mean, though the world may regard them as
pleasures, and engage in them as amusements, are evil before God. But
not to dwell on this, which is evident, amusements are evil (b)
when they unfit for work. The end of labor, said the Greek
philosopher Aristotle, is to rest. It is equally true that the end
of rest is to labor. Pleasures that tempt us from daily duty, that
leave us listless and weary, are pernicious. Outdoor games, for
instance, ought to strengthen the physical frame, they ought to make us
healthy and strong and ready for work. But when carried to excess they
often produce the opposite result, and become positively hurtful. If
the Saturday's play unfit for the worship and rest of the Lord's day;
if an employer, as has been stated, has been obliged to dismiss his
clerks more than once because of their incapacity for work owing to
football matches, cricket matches, and sports generally, it is clear
that these have not been for their good; and the same may be said of
the effect of other forms of amusement, especially when carried to
excess. The amusements that send us back to toil with a lightened heart
and a vigorous mind are those only that we should engage in; all others
are detrimental, and should be shunned. (c) It is necessary to
say also that amusement in any form followed as the end of life becomes
specially sinful. Even the heathen moralist, Cicero, could say that he
is not worthy to be called a man who is willing to spend a single day
wholly in pleasure. How much more truly may a Christian feel that he
who liveth in pleasure is dead while he liveth. A life that is simply
play, that is simply amusement, is no life at all. It is only a
contemptible form of existence. A soul sodden with pleasure is a lost
soul. To be a mere pleasure-seeker is not the chief end of man. Nothing
grows more wearying than continuous amusement, and no one needs
amusement so much as he who is always at it. He loses the power of real
enjoyment. He has, like Esau, bartered his birthright for a mess of
pottage. He is useless to man and guilty before God.
It is not easy to lay down distinct and definite rules in regard to
recreationto set down and catalogue those amusements which it is safe
for us to follow, and those from which we should refrain. This has been
attempted, but not successfully! and the reason is evident. What may be
safe for one person may not be safe for another. If we are told that an
amusement has been held to be wrong, we are ready to reply that the
mere opinion of others is not binding upon us; and perhaps in our
contempt for views which appear to us bigoted and straitlaced, we rush
into the opposite extreme. The true guide in recreation is a Christian
spirit. He who possesses it will need no list of what are lawful and
unlawful made out for him. He will be better guided than by any
carefully compiled code of duty set before him. All, therefore, that
shall be attempted in this direction is to give a few general counsels
which may be serviceable.
1. We should exercise our own judgment as to what amusements are
helpful or the reverse. It has been said, When you are in Rome, do as
the Romans do. We would rather put the adage thus, When you are in
Rome, do not as the Romans do. There are questions which
majorities may decide for us, and there are questions which every soul
must decide for itself. That everybody goes to bull-fights in Spain
does not make bull-fighting right; neither is an amusement right
because it is popular. In this, as in other matters, we must dare
sometimes to be singular. Follow not a multitude to do evil.
2. What is one man's meat is another man's poison. We are not a law
to our neighbor, neither is our neighbor a law to us. The amusement
that we find injures us, lowers our moral and spiritual tone, and
unfits us for the serious business of life, is the thing for us to
avoid, as we avoid food which some men can take with impunity, but
which does harm to us.
3. Keep on the safe ground of certainty. Whatever is doubtful is
dangerous, and had best be left alone. If we go skating, and have a
suspicion that the ice in a certain spot is weak, that is sufficient to
make us avoid it. Possibly we might pass over it without danger, but
the thought that it may be dangerous leads us to give it a wide berth.
If you do not wish to hear the bell ring, says the proverb, keep
away from the bell rope. There is a sufficiency of amusements which
are beyond doubt safe and satisfying, without our trying those that may
be dangerous. The best recreation often comes from change of
occupation, and there is none better than the companionship of books,
the sweet solace of music, the softening influence of art, or the
contemplation of the beauties of nature, the melody of woods and winds
and waters. There are fountains of joy open on every side of us, from
which we may quaff many an invigorating draught, without drinking from
those which are often poisoned and polluted.
4. The pleasure that is more congenial than our work is to be taken
with caution. So long as a man enjoys his work more than his amusement,
the latter is for him comparatively safe. It is a relaxation and
refreshment, and he goes from it all the better for it; but if a man
likes his pleasure better than the duties to which God has called him
in the world, it is a sign that he has not realized, as he ought to
realize, the object for which life was given him.
5. For the question, What is the harm? substitute, What is the good?
The former is that which many ask in regard to amusements, and the very
asking of the question shows that they feel doubtful about them and
should avoid them. But when we ask, What is the good? it is a sign that
we are anxious to know what benefit we may derive from them, and how
far they may help us. That is the true spirit in which we should
approach our amusements, seeking out those that recruit and refresh us
mentally, morally, and physically.
Those are hints which may be found useful. Religion never was
designed, it is said, to make our pleasures less. Religion also, if
we know what it means, will ever lead us to what are true, innocent,
and elevating pleasures, and keep us from those that are false, bad in
their influence, and which leave a sting behind them. Rejoice, O
young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of
thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart and in the sight of
thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring
thee into judgment. Let those who practise the first part of that text
not forget the second.
 I am indebted for some of them to an article in The Christian
CHAPTER XIII. BOOKS.
Books have an influence on life and conduct the extent of which it
is impossible to estimate. The precepts they inculcate, the lessons
they exhibit, the ideals of life and character which they portray, root
themselves in the thoughts and imaginations of young men. They seize
them with a force which, in after years, appears scarcely possible.
These words of Principal Tulloch will not appear too strong to any one
who can look back over a long period of life. Such must ever feel that
books have had a powerful effect in making them all that they are.
There are many considerations that go to show the importance of books.
Books are the accumulated treasures of generations.They are to man
what memory is to the individual. If all the libraries in the world
were burned and all the books in the world destroyed, the past would be
little more than a blank. It would be a calamity corresponding to that
of a man losing by a stroke the memory of past years. The literature of
the world is the world's memory, the world's experience, the world's
failures. It teaches us where we came from. It tells us of the paths we
have travelled. Almost all we know of the history of this world in
which God has placed us we know from books. In books, as Carlyle
says, lie the creative Phoenix ashes of the whole pastall that men
have desired, discovered, done, felt, or imagined, lie recorded in
books, wherein whoso has learned the mystery of spelling printed
letters may find it and appropriate it.
Books open to us a society from which otherwise we would be
excluded.They introduce us into a great human company. They enable
us, however humble we may be, to hold converse with the great and good
of past ages and of the present timethe great philosophers,
philanthropists, poets, divines, travellers. We know their thoughts, we
hear their words, we clasp their hands. The chamber of the solitary
student is peopled with immortal guests. He has friends who are always
steadfast, who are never false, who are silent when he is weary, who go
forth with him to his work, who await his return. In the literature of
the world a grand society is open to all who choose to enter it.
Books are the chief food of our intellectual life.There are men
that have, indeed, done great things who have read but little. These
have had their want of mental training compensated by their powers of
observation and experience of life. But they have been for the most
part exceptional men, and it is possible they might have done better if
they had studied more. To the great majority of men books are the great
teachers, the chief ministers to self-culture. Books in a special
manner represent intellect to those who can appreciate them. We cannot
estimate in this aspect their importance. They are in regard to
self-culture what Montaigne calls the best viaticum for the journey of
life. When we think of what we owe to them, we may enter into the
feelings of Charles Lamb, who wished to ask a grace before reading
more than a grace before meat.
In regard to books, the practical questions that present themselves
are, what we should read, and how we should read. The first question
cannot be answered in any definite manner. (a) The enormous
number of books in the world forbids this. Let any one enter a library
of even moderate size, and he will feel how almost hopeless it would
be, even if it were profitable, to draw out a practicable list of what
may be advantageously chosen for reading and what may well be cast
aside. (b) Still more does the infinite variety of tastes,
circumstances: and talents, forbid the laying down of definite rules.
Reading that might be profitable for one might not be so for another.
Reading that would be pleasant to one would be to another weariness.
Every class of mind seeks naturally its own proper food, and the choice
of books must ultimately depend upon a man's own biason his natural
bent and the necessities of his life. There are, however, one or two
directions that may be given, and which may be profitable to young men.
First, We should read, as far as possible, the great books
of the world. In the kingdom of literature there are certain works
that stand by themselves and tower in their grandeur above all others.
They are referred to by Bacon, in his weighty way, when he says: Some
books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, some few to be chewed
and digested. This last class of books may be still spoken of as few.
Various lists have lately been published of the best hundred books,
according to the opinion of some of the greatest men of our time. There
is considerable agreement among the writers as to what they consider
the best books, and there is considerable difference also. It is easy
to see how those who compiled these lists have been largely influenced
in making their selection by their own peculiar tastes and fancies.
Probably there is not one of their lists which any young man would care
to follow out in its entirety. We give elsewhere the one which seems
most likely to be useful to those into whose hands this text-book may
probably come, though it is evident that many young men might
profitably leave out some of the books mentioned and substitute others.
Still one thing is clear, that it is possible to make a selection of
outstanding works in literature. After consultation with others better
informed than himself, a young man can make a list suitable to his
capacities and tastes, of books that really are great books, and
in this way he may acquire knowledge that is worth having, and which
will furnish a good and solid foundation for his intellectual culture.
It is with books of this kind that he should begin, and a few such
books thoroughly mastered will probably do him more good than all
others that he may afterwards read.
It is hardly necessary to say that there is one book that may
be termed specially great, and which all young men should make the
special subject of their study. (a) The Bible, even as a means
of intellectual culture, stands alone and above all others. In the
poorest cottages, says Carlyle, is one book wherein for several
thousands of years the spirit of man has found light and nourishment,
and an interpreting response to whatever is deepest in him. No man can
be regarded as an educated man unless he is familiar with this book. To
understand its history and position in the world is in itself a liberal
education. Those who have been indifferent to its spiritual power and
divine claims have acknowledged its great importance in regard to
self-culture. Take the Bible, says Professor Huxley, as a whole,
make the severest deductions which fair criticism can dictate for
shortcomings and for positive errors, and there still remains in this
old literature a vast residuum of moral beauty and grandeur; and then
consider the great historical fact that for three centuries this book
has been woven into the life of all that is best and noblest in English
history; that it has become the national epic of Britain, and is
familiar to noble and simple from John o' Groat's house to Land's End;
that it is written in the noblest and purest English, and abounds in
exquisite beauties of a mere literary form; and finally, that it
forbids the merest hind who never left his village to be ignorant of
the existence of other countries and other civilizations, and of a
great past, stretching back to the furthest limits of the oldest
nations of the world. By the study of what other book could children be
so much humanized? In these words we have a noble tribute to the
intellectual greatness of the Bible. (b) But it has other claims
upon us than its power to stimulate mental culture. It is inspired by
God. It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness. It is man's guide through the
perplexities of life to the glory of heaven, Wherewithal shall a young
man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.
Read then the great books of the world, and this book, the greatest
Second, Another suggestion that we may make in regard to the
use of books is that we should read from some centre or standpoint. A person takes a house in the country. This he makes the centre of
many excursions. One day he climbs the mountain, another day he walks
by winding stream, on another he sails along the shore. In this way he
explores the surrounding country by degrees, coming back each night to
the place he started from. We may do much the same thing with profit in
our excursions among books. For instance, we may take the
starting-point of our profession, and read all we can in regard
to it. A farmer should read about farming, a lawyer about law, a divine
about theology. Or we may take the starting-point of our physical
frame, and read steadily all we can as to our bodily organisation
and its laws; or we may take as our starting point the land we
dwell in, or even the locality where we live, and seek to learn all we
can regarding its history. In this way distinct lines of study are
opened up to us, and we are saved the evil of desultory reading, which
too often fills the mind only with a jumble of facts undigested and
unarranged, and therefore of but little value. The writer knew a young
minister in a Scottish manse who had among the few books in his library
the Encyclopaedia Britannica. In this work he took up distinct
courses of readinga course of biography, a course of history, a
course of geographyand in this way he acquired knowledge well
systematized, which was of great value to him in his after life. We
should endeavor, according to some such method as we have indicated, to
carry on our reading. Every man and every woman who can read at all
should adopt some definite purpose in their reading, should take
something for the main stem and trunk of their culture, whence branches
might grow out in all directions, seeking air and light for the parent
tree, which it is hoped might end in becoming something useful and
ornamental, and which at any rate all along will have had life and
growth in it. These words of Sir Arthur Helps put very tersely the
point on which we have been insisting.
Third, We should read books on the same principle as we
associate with men. We only admit to our society those whom we deem
worthy of our acquaintance, and from whose intercourse we are likely to
derive benefit. We should do the same in regards to books. There are
people who read books which, if they took to themselves bodily form and
became personified, would be kicked out of their houses. Readers often
associate in literature with what is vile and contemptible, who would
never think of associating with people possessing a similar character.
Yet the society of a weak or bad book is just as harmful to us in its
way, and should be as little tolerated by us as the society of a weak
or bad man. Indeed, between an author and a careful reader there is an
intimacy established even closer than is possible in the intercourse of
life, and evil books poison the springs of thought and feeling much
more thoroughly than an evil acquaintanceship could do. We cannot be
too strict, therefore, in applying to books the rules we follow in
regard to society, and refusing our acquaintance to those books
unworthy of it. (a) Such books may be known by reputation. We
would not associate with a man of bad reputation, neither should we
read a book of which the reputation is evil. (b) They may be
judged of also by very slight experience. Very little tells us whether
a man is worthy to be admitted to companionship, and very slight
acquaintance with a book is sufficient to tell us whether it is worth
reading. (c) But especially by beginning with those great
authors that are beyond doubt high toned, the master-spirits of all
time, we shall acquire a power of discrimination. We shall no more
care to read foul, impure, and unwholesome literature than a man
brought up in the society of honorable men would choose to cast in his
lot with thieves and blacklegs and the offscourings of society.
We have anticipated much that might be said in answer to the
question how to read, and only a few words need be written in
regard to it. (1) Read with interest. Unless a book interests us we do
not attend to it, we get no benefit whatever from it, and may as well
throw it aside. (2) Read actively, not passively, putting the book
under cross-examination as we go alongasking questions regarding it,
weighing arguments. Mere passive reading may do no more good than the
stream does to the iron pipe through which it flows. Novel-readers are
often mere passive recipients of the stories, and thus get no real
benefit from them. (3) Read according to some system or method. (4)
Read not always for relaxation, recreation, and amusement, but chiefly
to enable you to perform the duties to which God has called you in
 See Appendix.
CHAPTER XIV. FAMILY LIFE.
The words FamilyHomeHouseholdall express one idea. They imply
a relationship existing between certain individuals, a circle or sphere
separate from the mass of human beings, within which there are special
duties to be performed and a special life has to be lived. It is not
necessary to define particularly what is meant by the word Family, for
it is well understood by all of us.
Family life is peculiar to man.The lower animals have nothing in
all respects resembling it. In some particulars their mode of life
occasionally approaches it, but not in all. The birds of the air, for
instance, care tenderly for their offspring, but when these come to
maturity the relation between them and their parents comes to an end.
The family relation on the other hand lasts through life, and is only
broken by the hand of death, if even then. The family has been
instituted by God for the welfare of man. The condition in which we
come into the world requires itour training for the work of life
demands itit is specially adapted to promote the great ends of human
Family life is that which most truly leaves its mark upon us.In
the family habits are formed which make us what we are for the rest of
our life. Home influences accompany us to the very end of our journey.
Let any one ask himself what are the chief sources of his virtues, and
he will feel that a large proportion of them are derived directly or
indirectly from association with his fellow-creatures in the family.
The training of parents, the affection and influence of mothers and
sisters, powerfully and lastingly affect our intellectual and moral
nature. From a wise father we learn more than from all our teachers.
When a celebrated artist, Benjamin West, was asked What made him a
painter? his reply was, It was my mother's kiss. I should have been
an atheist, said a great American statesman, if it had not been for
one recollection, and that was the memory of the time when my departed
mother used to take my little hand in hers, and caused me on my knees
to say, 'Our Father, who art in heaven.' On the other hand, those who
have been so unfortunate as to have had an unhappy home rarely
emancipate themselves from the evil effects of their upbringing. If
they do, it is after the severest struggle. The child, it has been
said, is the father of the man, and it is in the family the child
receives his first impressions for good or for evil. The world he first
lives in is his home.
Family life supplies a great test of character.When Whitefield was
asked whether a certain person was a Christian, he replied, I do not
know. I have never seen him at home. People are often one thing in the
world and another in their own family. In the close intercourse of the
home circle they exhibit themselves in their true colors. A man who is
a good son or a good brother is generally found to be a good man. If he
is a source of evil in his own home, in his intercourse with the world
he will, sooner or later, be found wanting.
It is beyond the scope of this book to dwell at length upon the
duties incumbent on the various members of a family. It may be
sufficient to indicate generally the feelings which should animate the
young persons who belong to it. Probably most of those into whose hands
this manual will come are members of a family. What should therefore be
their conduct at home is a question that well deserves their
1. Obedience is the fundamental principle of family life.
Every family has a head, and that head must rule. Order is heaven's
first law. Where there is no obedience there can be no order in a
family. The first form of authority which is placed before the child is
that of the parent, and to the parent he has to be subject. Children,
says the apostle, obey your parents in all things, for this is well
pleasing unto the Lord. Even for those members of a family who have
grown out of the state of childhood obedience must be the rule, though
in their case it is not to be, as in the case of the child,
unquestioning obedience, but is to be founded on reason, affection and
gratitude. With them obedience takes the form of reverence, or, to use
a more familiar word, respect. The child is bound to obey his parent
without hesitation or reply; the young man who has entered into greater
liberty than the child will still respect his parents' wishes and
cherish reverence for their authority. This feeling on his part is
termed in the Scriptures Honor. Honor thy father and thy
mother is one of the Ten Commandments, and can never cease to be
included among moral and religious obligations. It is opposed to
everything like unseemly familiarity, discourtesy of treatment,
insolence in reply, or deliberate defiance. It implies respect for age
and experience, and a sense of the great sacrifices a parent has made
for his children's welfare. It is said that in our time the bonds of
parental authority are being loosened, and that young men do not regard
their parents with the deference that once was invariably shown towards
them; that they do little to smooth the path of life for them when they
grow old and weak, and are more ready to cast them on the public
charity than to contribute to their support. Such a state of things
would be shameful, if true. It would indicate a corruption of social
life at the fountain-head that must lead to serious consequences. The
family is the nursery both of the State and of the Church, and where
the purity and well-being of family life is impaired, both State and
Church are sure to suffer. There should be therefore an earnest and
prayerful endeavor upon the part of the young to cherish towards their
parents that loving sense of their superiority which is implied in the
word Honor. Let them learn first, says St. Paul (1 Tim. v. 4), to
show piety at home, and to requite their parents; for that is good and
acceptable before God. There can be no more pleasing memory for a
young man to have than this, that he has been a dutiful son; none more
bitter than this, that he has set at defiance, or neglected, those to
whom he owes so much.
2. Affection is the atmosphere that should pervade the
household. Without hearts, it has been truly said, there is no
home. A collection of roots, and trunk, and branches, and leaves, do
not make a tree; neither do a number of people dwelling together make a
home. A certain number of animal lives that are of prescribed ages,
that eat and drink together, by no means makes a family. Almost as well
might we say that it is the bricks of a house that make a home. There
may be a home in the forest or in the wilderness, and there may be a
family with all its blessings, though half its members be in other
lands or in another world. It is the gentle memories, the mutual
thought, the desire to bless, the sympathies that meet when duties are
apart, the fervor of the parents' prayers, the persuasion of filial
love, the sister's pride and the brother's benediction, that constitute
the true elements of domestic life and sanctify the dwelling. 
These beautiful words are true. It is love that makes home. The
dweller, in a distant land sends again and again his thoughts across
the sea, and reverts with fond affection to the place of his birth. It
may be a humble cottage, but to him it is ever dear because of the love
which dwelt there and united those who dwelt there by ties that
distance cannot sever. Even the prodigal in the matchless parable of
our Lord, herding with the swine and eating of their husks, was led to
a higher and a better life by the remembrance of his father's house. A
home without love is no home, any more than a body without a soul is a
man. It is only a corpse.
3. Consideration for those with whom we live in the family is
the chief form which affection takes. Each member has to remember, not
his own comfort and wants, but the comfort and wants of those with whom
he dwells. His welfare as an individual he must subordinate to the
welfare of the household. There are various forms which want of
consideration takes, and all of them are detestable. (a)
Tyranny, where the strong member of a family insists on the service of
those weaker than himself. (b) Greed, where one demands a larger
share of comfort, food, or attention than that which falls to the
others. (c) Indolence, where one refuses to take his proper part
in the maintenance of the family, spending his wages, perhaps, on his
own pleasures, and yet expecting to be provided for by the labor of the
rest. (d) Discourtesy, where, by his language and manners, he
makes the others unhappy, and, perhaps, by his outbursts of temper
fills the whole house with sadness. (e) Obstinacy, which will
have its own way, whether the way be good or not. All these forms of
selfishness are violations of the true law of family life, and render
that life impossible. In the family, more than in any other sphere,
everyone should bear the burdens of others. Everyone should seek, not
his own, but another's welfare, and the weak and feeble should receive
the attention of all.
4. Pleasantness should be the disposition which we should
specially cultivate at home. If we have to encounter things that annoy
and perhaps irritate us in the outer world, we should seek to leave the
irritation and annoyance behind when we cross the threshold of our
dwelling. Into it the roughness and bluster of the world should never
be permitted to come. It should be the place of sweetness and light,
and every member may do something to make it so. It is a bad sign when
a young man never cares to spend his evenings at homewhen he prefers
the company of others to the society of his family, and seeks his
amusement wholly beyond its circle. There is something wrong when this
is the case. I beseech you, said one addressing youth, not to turn
home into a restaurant and a sleeping bunk, spending all your leisure
somewhere else, and going home only when all other places are shut up.
A young man, it is admitted, may find his home uninviting through
causes for which he has not himself to blame. Still, even then he may
do much to change its character, and by his pleasant and cheerful
bearing may bring into it sunshine brighter than the sunshine outside.
5. The highest family life is that consecrated by Religion.
The household where God is acknowledged, from which the members go
regularly together to the house of God, within whose walls is heard the
voice of prayer and praise, is the ideal Christian family. In such a
family the father is the priest, daily offering up prayers for those
whom God has given him, at the family altar. He makes it his duty, and
regards it as his privilege to bring up his children in the nurture
and admonition of the Lord, and by personal example and teaching to
train them up as members of the household of faith. Unlike those who
leave the religious instruction of their children entirely to others,
he loves to teach them himself. A household thus pervaded by a
Christian atmosphere is a scene of sweet and tender beauty. Such a
household is well depicted by our Scottish poet, Robert Burns, in his
Cotter's Saturday Night. There we see how beautiful family life may
be in the humblest dwelling.
From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs,
That makes her lov'd abroad, rever'd at home.
 Dr. James Martineau.
CHAPTER XV. CHURCH.
The word church is derived from the Greek word Kuriakon, the
Lord's (from Kurios, the Lord), and it has various
significations. (a) Sometimes it means the whole body of
believers on earththe company of the faithful throughout the
worldthe number of the elect that have been, are, and shall be
gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse,
the body and the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.  (b
) Sometimes it is applied to a body of Christians differing from the
rest in their constitution, doctrines, and usages; as, for example, the
Church of Rome, the Greek Church, the Reformed Church. (c)
Sometimes it refers to the Christian community of a country or its
established religion, as when we speak of the Gallican Church, the
Swiss Church, the Church of England, the Church of Scotland. (d)
It is used in a still more limited sense to represent a particular
congregation of Christians who associate together and participate in
the ordinances of Christianity, with their proper pastors or ministers.
(e) It is applied also to the building in which the public
ministrations of religion are conducted, as when we speak of the church
in such a street, St. James' church, St. Peter's church, etc.
In this chapter we use the word church in the fourth sense, as
representing a particular congregation of Christians. To such a
community every young man should belong, and in connection with it he
is called to discharge certain special duties. There are four aspects
in which the life of the Church, in this sense, may be regarded.
I. It represents Christian worship.(a) Public worship seems
essential to the very existence of religion. At least, every religion
the world has seen has had its meetings for public rites and
ceremonies. Faith unsupported by sympathy, as a rule, languishes and
dies out in a community. Were our churches to be shut Sunday after
Sunday, and men never to meet together as religious beings, it would be
as though the reservoir that supplies a great city with water suddenly
ran dry. Here and there a few might draw water from their own wells,
but the general result would be appalling. (b) Public worship
also strengthens and deepens religious feeling. A man can pray alone
and praise God alone; but he is, beyond all doubt, helped when he does
so in the company of others. He is helped by the conditions of time and
place; and the presence and sympathy of his fellow-worshippers have
upon him a mighty uplifting influence. (c) Above all, public
worship is the channel through which we receive special blessings from
God. There is communion in the sanctuary between us and Him. The true
worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the
Father seeketh such to worship him. God desires our worship,
and blesses it to us. That He does so has been the experience of
Christians in all ages. They have found in the house and worship of God
a strength and power that supported and blessed their life. They have
realized that the promise of Christ is still fulfilled, Where two or
three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of
them. (Matt. xviii. 20.)
II. The Church represents Christian teaching.In the congregation
the Word of God is read and preached. (a) Preaching has always
formed part of the service of the Christian Church from the very
earliest times. In the second century Justin Martyr says: On the day
called Sunday, all who live in the cities or in the country gather into
one place, and the memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the
prophets are read as time permits; then when the reader has ceased, the
president verbally instructs and exhorts to the imitation of these good
things. This description of an early Christian service is applicable
still. Wherever the Church meets there is religious teaching. (b
) And it is the only such teaching that multitudes receive. Without it
they would be left to grope their way alone. (c) Whenever,
therefore, there has been a revival of life in the Church, great stress
has been laid upon the preaching of the Word of God, and God has
specially blessed it to the conversion of sinners and the edification
of His people.
III. The Church represents Christian fellowship.(a) It
keeps up the idea of brotherhood in the world. It brings people of
different ranks and classes together, and that under most favorable
circumstances. Whatever a man is in the world, in the Church he is made
to feel that in the eye of God he is a member of one family, having the
same weaknesses, the same sorrows, the same needs, the same destiny
before him as those around him. In the Church the rich and poor meet
together in equality before the same God, who is the Maker of them
all. (b) But especially in its worship is the Church a common
bond between believers. On one day of the week men of all
nations, kindreds, peoples and tongues, a multitude whom no man can
number, unite in spirit together. Their prayers and praises ascend in
unison to the Throne of Grace. They enter into the communion of
saints. They belong to one holy fellowship. (c) At the table of
the Lord they take their places as partakers of one lifeas one in
Christ. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of
the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion
of the body of Christ? For we being many are all partakers of that one
bread. (1 Cor. x. 16, 17.)
IV. The Church represents Christian Work.It is not merely a
society for instruction or for the cultivation of devout feelings. It
is an aggressive society. Every congregation of believers is a branch
of the great army which is warring against the kingdom of darkness.
Every individual is called upon to be a fellow-laborer with Christ,
and not merely to work out his own salvation, but to work for the
salvation of others. The motto of every true Christian Church should
be, Work for everybody, and everybody at work. Those who may be able
to do little as isolated individuals may do much by combining their
efforts with those of others. The Church gives them the power and the
We may now glance at some of the special duties incumbent upon those
who are connected with the Church, and particularly upon young men.
1. We should be regular in availing ourselves of the means of grace
which the Church affords. If it be the home of worship, of teaching, of
fellowship, and of work, it is a home from which we should not make
ourselves strangers. There is a blessing to be found there, and we are
remiss if we do not seek it. Every young man should be a regular
attendant on the ministrations of religion. He should be so (a)
for his own sake, and (b) for the sake of others. He may perhaps
have at times the feeling, I can get my worship in the fields and my
teaching from my books; I can get along without the Church. But surely
he undervalues the promised blessing to those who forsake not the
assembling of (themselves) together. Surely he undervalues the power,
and strength, and comfort, that come from association with believers.
But even if he could get on without the Church, is he not bound to
consider others? Has any man in a world like ours, where all are bound
together and are dependent on one another, any right to consider as to
whether he can get on alone? Is he not bound to consider those around
him? We must all feel that it would be a great calamity to a nation
were public worship given up, churches closed, and Sunday made a day of
recreation. But those who absent themselves from public worship are
undoubtedly using their influence in that direction. If it be right for
them to absent themselves, it must be right also for others to imitate
them, and it is easy to see how disastrous generally such imitation
Especially should every young man become a communicant at the
table of the Lord. Besides the many spiritual benefits of which the
sacrament is the channel to every devout believer, it is an ordinance
which is particularly helpful to the young. It leads them to make a
decision, and decision gives strength. From the moment they
deliberately and solemnly make their choice, there is a power imparted
to their life that it had not before. In the life of the well-known
Scotsman, Adam Black, it is said that shortly after he went up to
London he became a communicant in the Church to which he belonged. I
found, he says, this step gave a stability to my character, and
proved a defence from follies and vices, especially as a young man in
London, entirely my own master, with no one to guide or check me.
2. We should take each of us our full share in the work of our
Church. It is a poor sign of a church when all the work done is by the
minister, or by the office-bearers alone, and it is a still poorer sign
of those who belong to it. It is a sign that they have not felt the
power of that grace which ever leads the soul to put the question,
What wilt thou have me to do? There are none who cannot do something.
The writer read lately of a church in England, the grounds of which
were regularly tended and made beautiful by the young men belonging to
it. That may seem a small service, but it was something. It showed a
good spirit. If we are to get the most out of the Church, we must help
it to do its workcharitable, missionary, Sunday School, Young Men's
Guild. If the best heart and talent of young men were put into these
and other agencies, the power of the Church for good would be increased
immeasurably, and not the least of the advantage would come to the
workers themselves. Let each do his own part. There is one way, we need
scarcely say, in which we can all help the Church's work: by giving to
it as the Lord hath prospered us. Under the Old Testament
dispensation every one was under strict obligation to give a fixed
proportion of his substance for religious purposes. Surely we should
not be less liberal when the proportion is left to our own sense of
duty. Freely we have received. Let us also freely give.
3. While loyal to our own Church, we should cherish towards all
Christians feelings of charity and good-will. Many of us, probably most
of us, belong to the Church to which our parents belonged; and so long
as we feel it ministers to our spiritual benefit we should keep by it
and work with it. There is little good obtained by running from church
to church, and those who sever themselves from their early religious
associations are often anything but gainers. But while we are loyal to
our own regiment in the Christian army, and proud, so far as a
Christian may be so, of its traditions and achievements, let us ever
feel that the army itself is greater than our own regiment, and not
only cherish good-will and brotherly love towards those who fight in
that army, but be ready at all times to co-operate with them, and to
fight with them against the common enemy. It is well to be a good
churchman, it is infinitely better to be a good Christian. It is best
when one is both; for indeed he is the best Christian who is the best
churchman, and he is the best churchman who is the best Christian.
 The subject of The Church, Ministry and Sacraments is to be
fully dealt with in a Guild text-book by the Rev. Norman Macleod, D. D.
We only refer in this chapter to those phases of Church life that are
more immediately connected with Life and Conduct.
 Confession of Faith.
CHAPTER XVI. CITIZENSHIP.
Citizenship is derived from the Latin word civitas, the
state, and comprehends the duties that are binding upon us as members
of the state. The first question then that arises in considering these
is, What do we mean by the state?
The state may be defined as the larger family.The family is the
origin of the state. (a) In early times government was of the
simple kind that prevails in a family. The father was the head of the
household and ruled over his children. As these grew up and had
families of their own, they naturally looked to the aged head of the
family, listened to his counsels, and were guided by his wisdom. Hence
the first form of the state was the tribe or clan, and the first form
of government was patriarchal. The head of the family governed
the tribe. (b) On the death of the patriarch it was necessary
that a successor should be appointed. Sometimes he was the son of the
patriarch or his nearest descendant. Sometimes he was chosen by the
tribe as the strongest and bravest man and most competent to lead them
against their enemies. Often tribes combined for mutual protection.
Thus nations were formed, and the government passed from the
patriarchal to the monarchical form. The head was called the
king, which literally means the father of a people. We trace this
growth in government in the history of the Israelites. First, we have
the family of Israel in immediate relation with the patriarchs. As the
Israelites grew and multiplied, they came under the leadership of
Moses, who governed the tribes. Finally, when they settled in the land
of Canaan, they became a nation, and were governed by a king. The
kingdom was the expansion of the family. (c) In modern times
there has been a further development. Government by a king or monarch
was in the first instance despotic. It is so in some casesas
in Russia at the present day. The will of the sovereign is the law by
which the people are ruled. But just as a wise father relaxes his
control over his full-grown sons, and admits them to a share in the
government of the household with himself, so the people have in modern
times been permitted to exercise power in the state. The head of the
state remains, but the main power of government lies with the people.
This form of government is called constitutional. In Great
Britain we have a limited monarchy; the power of the sovereign
is controlled by the will of the people, who have a large share in
making the laws. In the United States of America, in France, and in
other countries, we have republics, where the voice of the
people is supreme, though at the head of the state is a president,
elected by the people, and bound to carry out their wishes.
As the state is the larger family, the duties of those who compose
it correspond with those belonging to the members of a household.
1. There is the duty of loyalty or patriotism. The first duty of the
member of a family is love of home and of those who belong to it.
However poor or humble it may be, he feels bound to it by no ordinary
ties. He defends its interests. Above all other households, he loves
his own the best. The first duty of the citizen is of the same kind. He
loves his land; his own country is dearer to him than any other on
earth. He is ready to defend it even with his life. The words of Sir
Walter Scott, as of many another poet, express this patriotic feeling:
Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land,
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned,
From wandering on a foreign strand.
Many have died for their country's sake, and in all ages this has
been thought a specially noble death. History records with affection
the names of such men as Wallace, Bruce, William Tell, and Garibaldi,
who sacrificed very much for the land they loved. And as peace has its
victories no less renowned than those of war, it has been the pride of
others to serve their country by guarding its liberties, increasing its
happiness, diminishing its evils, reforming its laws. The flag
of a country is the symbol, to those who belong to it, of their common
inheritance. Brave men will follow it through the shot and shell of
battle. Men have wrapt it round their breasts, and have dyed its folds
with their heart's blood to save it from the hands of the enemy; and
wherever it waves it calls forth feelings of loyalty and allegiance.
2. Another primary duty of citizenship is obedience to the law. Here
again we have the rule of the family extended to the state. The child
is bound to obey his parents unless they bid him do what his conscience
clearly tells him is wrong; so, a good citizen will obey the laws of
his country, unless these laws are so evidently unjust that the good of
all demands that they should be resisted. Whatever the law is, he will
endeavor to respect and obey it. If he believes it to be an unjust or
unrighteous law, he will do his best to get it amended or abolished. It
is only in an extreme case, though this opens a subject on which we
cannot enter, that he can be justified in refusing obedience. Let
every soul, says Scripture, be subject unto the higher powers. For
there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of
God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves condemnation. For
rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. . . .
Wherefore, ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for
3. It is a duty of citizenship to see that the laws are reasonable
and just. In a family, the grown-up members will use their legitimate
influence to promote the wise regulation of the household, that there
may be peace and harmony. The same desire will animate the members of
the state. (a) This is specially incumbent upon those who, like
ourselves, live under constitutional government. With us, government is
not the prerogative of the Crown, or of a few families; or of men of
rank or wealth. It is not despotic, or aristocratic, or
plutocratic, but democraticthat is to say, it is in the
hands of the people, or of those of the people to whom it has been
entrusted, and who form a large proportion of the male inhabitants of
the country; on them devolves the making of the laws by which the
country is governed. They are bound to do their best to see that these
laws are what they should beequitable and righteous, and for the
interest of the whole community. (b) This they can only do
through their representatives. We could conceive of a state so small
that each of its members could take a direct part in its government.
That is not the case with us, and the people can only exercise their
control through those they authorise to represent them. These they
elect, and in electing them are bound to see that they are men who are
worthy of the trust committed to them, who will make laws good for
every class. This applies not only to the election of members of
Parliament, but wherever the representative principle is carried out,
as in the case of councils, school boards, and other forms of local
government. Wherever a man exercises the privilege of choosing a
representative, he is bound to do so conscientiously, and with an
earnest desire to perform what is right. It is a maxim in law that what
we do by another we do ourselves. We are responsible for those whom we
choose to make our laws, and if we help to choose unworthy men we
cannot be held blameless of the consequences that may follow. (c
) As it is our duty to exercise this privilege of citizenship rightly,
we are also bound not to refrain from exercising it. We hear people say
sometimes that they have nothing to do with politics. But by keeping
altogether aloof they cannot rid themselves of their responsibility. By
abstaining they may do almost as much to further the views they
disapprove of as by taking an active part in promoting them. If there
are evils in connection with government, the best way to get rid of
them is for good men to take a part in public life, and try to bring
about a better state of things. In a free country no man can shake off
his obligations by refraining from taking part in public affairs. The
talent that is entrusted to us we are bound to use for the glory of God
and the good of man. Our political power, however small, is such a
talent, and we are responsible for its proper employment.
4. It is a duty of citizenship to take direct part in all that we
believe is for the good of the state. We say a direct part, as
distinguished from the indirect part we take in government through
representatives. A man's duty as citizen does not end with the
ballot-box, or with the election of members either to the national or
local council. A great part of the business of the nation is carried on
by the voluntary efforts of its members. There are men and women that
have no part in representative government, who yet can discharge nobly
the duties of citizenship. (a) All can take a part in forming a
healthy public opinion. This is done in all free countries in various
ways: through the press, through public meetings, and by means of the
speech and communications of everyday life. If our views are those of a
minority, we may help, by our influence, our example, the fearless
expression of our convictions, to turn the minority into a majority;
and in a democratic country the views of the majority will ultimately
prevail. (b) We can also take direct part in promoting objects
that tend to the well-being of society. Much is left by the state to
voluntary effort by its members. The state undertakes the defence of
the country by the army and navy, the relief of the poor, and the
elementary education of the people; but beyond these and other
instances of direct state action there is much left to be done by the
people themselves, and for themselves. The Volunteer movement, in which
men take part of their own free will, and which has been of so much
benefit to the country; the erection and support of hospitals,
libraries, art galleries, colleges and universities; the furnishing of
the people with amusement and recreationare illustrations of what may
be done by members of the community directly. All such efforts tend to
the welfare of the state. All its members reap benefit from them. He
who does not help and encourage them is as mean as the man who would go
to an hotel and take its entertainment, and then sneak away without
paying the reckoning. Whatever we can do to benefit society benefits
ourselves, and in throwing ourselves heart and soul into any of those
enterprises that benefit society we are discharging in a very special
way the duties of good citizenship.
It only remains to say in a word that our citizenship should be the
outcome of our religion. Without that, citizenship loses its high
position. He who fears God will honor the king, and he who renders to
God the things that are God's will render to Caesar the things that
are Caesar's. He will give to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute
is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
Religion thus becomes the strength of the state, and righteousness
exalteth a nation.
The following is the list of the best hundred books referred to in
Chapter XIII. It is by Professor Blackie, Edinburgh, author of
Self-Culture, and is given with his kind consent.
HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHY.
Wilkinson's Ancient Egyptians.
Max Von Dunche's History of the Ancient World.
History of GreeceGrote or Curtius.
History of RomeArnold or Mommsen.
Menzel's History of the Germans.
Green's History of the English People.
Life of Charlemagne.
Life of Pope Hildebrand.
Sismondi's History of the Italian Republics.
Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella.
Italy, by Professor Spalding.
Chronicles, by Froissart.
The NormansFreeman and Thierry.
Motley's Dutch Republic.
Life of Gustavus Adolphus.
The French RevolutionThiers, Carlyle, Alison.
Bourrienne's Life of Napoleon.
Wellington's Peninsular Campaign.
Southey's Life of Nelson.
The Stuart Rising of 1745, by Robert Chambers.
Carlyle's Life of Cromwell.
Foster's Statesmen of the Commonwealth.
Life of ArnoldStanley.
Life of Dr. Norman Macleod.
Life of Baron Bunsen.
Neander's Church History.
Life of Luther.
History of Scottish CovenantersDodds.
Dean Stanley's Jewish Church.
Milman's Latin Christianity.
RELIGION AND MORALS.
Socrates or Plato and Xenophon.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus' Meditations.
The Hitopadion and Dialogues of Krishna.
St. Augustine's Confessions.
Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.
POETRY AND FICTION.
The Niebelungen Lay.
The Morte D'Arthur.
GoetheFaust, Meister, and Eckermann's Conversations.
Dean Swift, Tale of a Tub and Gulliver's Travels.
Goldsmith, Vicar of Wakefield.
Andersen's Fairy Tales, Mother Bunch.
Grimm's Popular Songs and Ballads, especially
Scotch, English, Irish and German.
Ferguson's History of Architecture.
POLITICS AND POLITICAL ECONOMY.
John Stuart Mill.
Sir J. Lubbock.
SCIENCE AND PHILOLOGY.
J. G. Wood's Books on Natural History.
White's Natural History of Selbourne.
GeologyHugh Miller, Ramsey, Geikie, Ansted.
BotanyGeneral Elements of British.
Science of LanguageTrench and Farrar, Max Müller.
Taylor's Words and Places.
VOYAGES AND TRAVEL.
In every variety; especially the old collections.
LIST OF WORKS.
The following is a list of works upon topics treated in this
text-book, which have been consulted in its preparation, and which may
be useful to students:
Self-Culture, by John Stuart Blackie. Edinburgh: David
Douglas. Twentieth edition. 1892.
Plain Living and High Thinking, or Practical Self-CultureMoral,
Mental and Physical, by W. H. Davenport Adams. London: John Hogg,
Paternoster Row. 1880.
The Secret of Success, by W. H. Davenport Adams. London: John
Hogg, Paternoster Row. 1880.
The Threshold of Life, by W. H. Davenport Adams. T. Nelson
&Sons, Paternoster Row. 1876.
On the Threshold, by Theodore T. Munger. London: Ward, Lock
Beginning Life, by John Tulloch, D.D. London: Chas. Burnet
Life: a Book for Young Men, by J. Cunninghame Geikie. London:
Strahan &Co. 1870.
The Gentle Life, by J. Hain Friswell. London: Sampson Low
Self-Culture, by James Freeman Clarke. Boston: J. R. Osgood
Life Questions, by M. J. Savage. Boston: Lockwood, Brooks
Elements of Morality, for Home and School Teaching, by Mrs.
Chas. Bray. London: Longmans, Green &Co. 1863.
The Family and its Duties, by Robert Lee, D.D. London:
Longmans, Green &Co. 1863.
Christianity in its Relation to Social Life, by Rev. Stephen
J. Davis. London: Religious Tract Society.
Home Life, by Marianne Farningham. London: James Clarke &Co.
The Domestic Circle, by the Rev. John Thomson. London: Swan
Sonnenschein &Co. 1886.