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Christian Manliness-put to the Proof in Public Life.

Christian Manliness-put to the Proof in Public Life.

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When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and
take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into
a mountain himself alone. — John vi, 15.

When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and
take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into
a mountain himself alone. — John vi, 15.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 09, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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CHRISTIA MALIESS-PUT TO THE PROOF I PUBLIC LIFE. BY JOH RHEY THOMPSO D.D. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. — John vi, 15. I AM to speak to you to-night of Manhood in Public Life. In this country, with our popular methods of political action, with the very air itself instinct with the spirit of democracy, under our elastic forms of social and political action, every citizen, at some time or other in the course of his life, must expect to be called to the performance of some public duties. In fact, every time we cast a ballot we have entered public life. The casting of a ballot, under a political system such as ours, is not a private act ; it is an act that has a certain and more or less intimate relation to the common weal, and our ballot stands for our opinion as to the right policies or the right men required for the duties of the time. Every man who is worthily a holder and exerciser of the right of suffrage is by so much a public man, being bound to think not only of his personal welfare and protection, but of the security and happiness of all who are joined with him in this political society. We have in this country, happily, no hereditary ruling class, no established Church, no privileged office-holding class, and I wish I could As Put to the Protyf in Public Life. 37 say no chartered monopolies, but, alas ! I fannot ; and such are the conditions of public life, such is the nature of our political institutions, that their gifts, their honors, their emoluments, their powers
are open to all who are pleased to strive for them. It is the duty, therefore, of every citizen of a repre- sentative republic to prepare himself, as far as in him lies, to respond to such calls as may be made on him by his fellow-citizens, so that he may serve the State with capacity, fidelity, and honor. It is the more necessary to say these things because one of the dangers of the day is the lurking belief that between high character, and especially high charac- ter in the religious sense, and political or public life there is necessary incompatibility. So far as this opinion still obtains it is a dangerous opinion. I am quite sure that it largely obtained in the com- munity in which I grew up, and especially among the religious portion of the community. To such an extent did it prevail that, while it was thought that a man might be a lawyer and get to heaven, it was almost universally believed that a man could not be a politician and get to heaven. It was thought necessary, in order to attain any eminence in religious character, that one should separate him- self from the profession of the law, and certainly from any kind of active participation in public af- fairs. Such teaching has not been confined to pro- vincial villages. The eminent Dr. Dewey, deliver- ing some profound lectures before the Lowell Insti- tute, made a digression to call upon some eminent 38 Christian Manliness, member of the legal profession to rescue his profes- sion from the unjust reproaches that had fallen upon it as being unfriendly to the development of high character. All this is a part of the luggage that Protestant- ism brought with it when it moved out from Rome ; for we did not escape whole — we brought out with
us a good many things that belonged to the Egyp- tians. We brought with us — and we have not yet fully escaped its thralldom — the mediaeval ecclesias- tical idea that life is to be divided into two parts, one called secular and the other religious ; a distinc- tion nowhere recognized in the ew Testament, and entirely foreign to the whole spirit of the life, and teachings of Jesus Christ. The attempt to make one day religious and another secular, to make one building sacred and another secular, to make one act holy and another secular, is a part and par- cel of that system of mediasvalism from which we have not wholly escaped. There can be no secular days to a truly religious man, for the consecration of any day depends upon the consecration of the man, and wherever there is present the ruling divine Spirit, all days are religious, all buildings are conse- crated, all acts are noble. There must, therefore, come to men more and more this great truth of life, that, so far from there being any incompatibility between high character and political action, Christ meant to develop and perfect the type of char- acter to which he calls us, I the world, and not out of the world. As Put to the Proof in Public Life. 39 If additional justification be needed for the topic of the evening, it may be found in the undeniable and discouraging fact that on the part of many edu- cated, refined, and virtuous persons in the commu- nity there is a startling indifference to, sometimes an almost criminal neglect of, their civic duties. Those of you who have at any recent period attended any political conventions must have been surprised, first at the men who were there, and next at the men who were not there. If ever you have made a study of how these cities are governed, and most

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