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What is Good

What is Good

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY THEODORE GERALD SOARES

PROFESSOR OF HOMILETICS AND RELIGIOUS
EDUCATION IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO




"He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and
what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly,
and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy
God?"— [Micah vi: 8
BY THEODORE GERALD SOARES

PROFESSOR OF HOMILETICS AND RELIGIOUS
EDUCATION IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO




"He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and
what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly,
and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy
God?"— [Micah vi: 8

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 26, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/03/2014

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WHAT IS GOOD?BY THEODORE GERALD SOARESPROFESSOR OF HOMILETICS AD RELIGIOUSEDUCATIO I THE UIVERSITY OF CHICAGO"He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; andwhat doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly,and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thyGod?"— [Micah vi: 8JHere is the prophetic answer to the cry of hu-manity seeking after God. In sacraments men havesought to find him, and in ceremonials to pleasehim. Oppressed with the sense of the awful neces-sity of satisfying Deity, wretched humanity haseven offered its own blood for atoning sacrifice.Centuries of heathenism cry from myriad altars drip-ping human blood.Wherewith shall I come before the Lord,And bow myself before the high God?Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?The prophet Micah has the answer. o need toprove the divine inspiration of his utterance. Itsappeal is immediate to the conscience and theheart. It lifts religion out of the ceremonial intothe ethical realm, defining goodness in terms of relation between man and man, between man andGod. It condemns with its own sublime reason-ableness all sacramental and ritual religion as im-mature and unspiritual. It has been well called thegreatest saying of the Old Testament. It breathes-?J_ 94 WHAT IS GOOD?the spirit of Jesus Christ seven centuries before hecame. It is God's answer to man's need,
 
He hath showed thee, O man, what is good;And what doth the Lord require of thee,But to do justly, and to love mercy,And to walk humbly with thy God?Men are still seeking to know what is good. Webelieve that our Christianity is the good that theworld needs. A very practical question for us toconsider then is, whether our modern Christianitymeets this divine definition of religion: justice,kindness and humble fellowship with God.The demandTO DO JUSTLYwould seem so elemental and inevitable as to needlittle discussion. o one can deny the obligationof fair dealing without condemning himself. Andyet a serious embarrassment of Christianity todayis in the interpretation of honesty and fairness byits adherents. What is it to do justly? Of courseit is to tell the truth, to give fair weight and fairmeasure, not to adulterate nor misrepresent. Theserun glibly off the tongue, but in practical businessChristian men do not always find these evidentprinciples so easy of application.A lumber dealer told me that specificationsreached him every week calling for bids for secondgrade lumber. As a matter of fact third gradelumber was always used for that kind of work.He knew that his competitors bid on the basis of WHAT IS GOOD? 95third grade, although of course they were agreeingto furnish what was called for in the specifications.If he put in his bids on the basis of second gradelumber, he would never get an order. He decided tofall in with the prevailing custom. Was that to do justly? He said that it was, because he gave hiscustomer what he needed and what everybody elsewould have given him. But he did not give whathe promised.A few years ago I helped elect a man to the Leg-islature. He was an exceptional man, and we allexpected him to take a stand against every abuse.
 
He did, and we were proud of his record. But ittranspired that he accepted the customary pass sentby the railroads to members of the Legislature.Some of his supporters thought that he ought notto have done so. I had a talk with him on the mat-ter. He said that he had not at first intended toaccept the pass, regarding it as a kind of bribe. Buthe found that the companies simply regarded it asan accommodation which they were glad to furnishto those who were required to travel often on pub-lic business. The railroads asked nothing in return,except that they expected to be treated fairly. Myfriend did not doubt that there might be at timesvery questionable railroad lobbies, but he found thatthe principal work of the railroads at Springfieldwas to defend themselves from the assaults of ras-cals. A favorite method of blackmail employed bysome of our representatives is to introduce a bill,which is apparently very much in the public inter-56 WHAT IS GOOD?est, but in reality is drawn so as to cause the great-est possible annoyance to the railroads. It is neverintended that the measure shall pass. But the intro-ducer of the bill and his friends expect to be wellpaid for allowing- it to be withdrawn. My friend op-posed such measures with a good conscience — andused his pass. Was he right? There can be no doubtthat railroad passes are a great evil. Every mancould ride for two cents a mile if every passengerpaid his fare.A few years ago a train of fourteen Pullman carswent down to Springfield loaded with legislators,office holders, office seekers, political henchmen andhangers-on generally. After they had passed acountry station half way down the line, the con-ductor came into the car where a group of thestatesmen were chatting and said with a grin, "Gen-tlemen, a blamed fool just got on this train with acash ticket." ot another man had paid his fare. Aprominent magazine writer asked the other day:"Where is the line at which graft begins?"The Southern Baptists were greatly stirred afew years ago over a suit brought by a prominentminister against a Texas railroad to recover dam-ages on account of injuries which he had sustained

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