GETTI G THE MOST OUT OF LIFE. Harley Jackson. Text. — i Tim.

4:8: "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." "Resolved to live with all my might while I do live." — Jonathan Edwards. "Jest do your best, an' praise er blame, That f oilers, that counts jest the same. I've allers noticed great success Is mixed with troubles, more or less, An' it's the man who does his best That gets more kicks than all the rest." To get the most out of life here and hereafter, one must equip himself with the forces which God has put within his reach. There are forces external and internal, and, in order to get the most out of life, we must be able to meet these face to face and use them for ourselves and others. I want to mention four external influences which shape and mold the life and character of every one of us. Day by day, as we push on toward the higher things, these forces, though silent as the law of gravity, are having their influence upon us. The first I want to mention is work. There is a great unwritten law of life that the path to manhood 337

338 THE I DIA A PULPIT is the path of toil. Culture of every kind is always the outcome of effort, never of ease. The unused muscles decay, eyes that are kept in perpetual darkness in time lose their power to see. The sentence pronounced on the first human pair, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,'' has more of reward in it than penalty. If the first draught of the cup was bitter, there was honey at the bottom. On physical grounds, the value of labor is universally admitted. The gospel of health which is being so loudly proclaimed to-day is to all intents and purposes the gospel of exercise. To do something is the exhortation of all medical men ; if you have nothing to do, invent something. Dig in the garden, wash dishes, scrub, go for a long walk in the country — even though you hate these things, do them for your own sake. Idleness has been the curse of every generation ; it is the curse of thousands of young men to-day, who are drifting into the mire of moral corruption just because they have nothing to do. Their business is to kill time; they have no other. The gospel of work was never more needed than to-day. Great races do not spring out of luxury and idleness. The scented groves of indolence are fatal to the development of the noblest manhood. Do something. The second one is books. The books we read and have in our home are helping to shape and mold the character of our boys and girls. Of all companions, books are the most delightful. They talk to you just when you want to be talked to, and at no other time. They never bore you with their chatter when you are

THE I DIA A PULPIT 339 anxious to be quiet ; never force their vews upon you when you are not in the humor to listen ; never air their fads in your hearing when you want to meditate on your own. o other friends are so obliging or accommodating. You may neglect them for months, and they do not resent it. You may disagree with them, and they talk to you just as placidly as before. You may shut them up without a moment's warning, and they never get angry. They are always ready to be taken on a long journey and equally ready to stay at home. They accommodate themselves to your mood in the most extraordinary manner, but are always most revealing, most communicative, when you are most sympathetic. In these days, books are not a luxury, they being a necessity. We have a feeling that we could not live without them, that to be shut out from their companionship would be a burden too intolerable to be borne. There is no hunger so painful as brainhunger ; no loneliness so utter and depressing as to be shut up in a room without books. That books act and react upon the character is now universally admitted. Perhaps there is no other influence so potest, so pervasive, so subtle, so abiding. We read a book in childhood, and an impression is made that remains with us to the last day of our life. We can not escape it. To fall in love with a good book is one of the greatest events that can befall us. It is to have a new influence pouring itself into our life, a new teacher to inspire and refine us, a new friend to be by our side always, who, when life grows narrow and

340 THE I DIA A PULPIT weary, will take us into a broader, calmer, higher world. Except a living man, there is nothing more wonderful than a book. A message to us from the dead, from human souls whom we never saw, who lived, perhaps, thousands of miles away, and yet those little sheets of paper speak to us, amuse or comfort us, and open their hearts to us as brothers. "I love my books! they are companions dear; Sterling in worth, in friendship most sincere; Here talk I with the wise in ages gone, And with the nobly gifted in our own." " The third influence with which we come in contact is the selection of friends and companions. It is a very dangerous, yet important, one. A man is not only known by the company he keeps, but he is to a large extent molded by its influence. Character takes color from its surroundings. We absorb the elements in which we move, and weave them into the fiber and texture of our moral and spiritual life. We grow like the people with whom we have most to do. "He who lives among wolves will learn to bark," says a Spanish proverb. It is possible sometimes to tell the districts from which people come. It is not simply that "their speech betrayeth them ;" the distinguishing characteristic lies deeper. Their secret is divulged by manner, by deportment, by the moral quality of their conversation, by a certain untranslatable tone and color of thought and speech. In the time of Christ, the saying had grown almost into a proverb, "Can any good thing come out of

THE I DIA A PULPIT 341 azareth?" It was not a mere accident of speech, or the blundering untruth of some prejudiced Pharisee; it was a saying that had its origin in certain generally recognized facts. azareth was a notoriously evil place ; so evil, in fact, that its moral atmosphere appeared to affect all its inhabitants to a greater or less degree. There was a general assumption in the surrounding districts that it was impossible for any individual to breathe the moral atmosphere of azareth for thirty years and come out of it a good man. The assumption in the main was based on sound philosophic principles. We do as other people do, not by accident, but by design ; and we are very much pained and disappointed sometimes if we find ourselves unable to copy the example of our neighbors. Our ever-shifting world of fashion is built upon this peculiarity. However much we may applaud originality, we strongly object to singularity. We copy the manners, the style, the tone of the set in which we move. To run in the teeth of the prevailing fashion requires an amount of courage that very few people can command. The man who dares to be singular is generally regarded as a faddist or a crank, who adopts this method of earning a little cheap notoriety. Last, but not least, I want to mention religion. Matthew Arnold has defined religion as ''morality touched by emotion." Christ defined it as "love" — an emotion that takes the morality for granted, and embraces within itself all the law and the prophets. In this sense, therefore, the crown and glory of manhood is religion. There may be fullness of learning;

342 THE I DIA A PULPIT there may be perfection of grace and beauty; there may be brilliancy of intellect, maturity of judgment, charm of eloquence, and even correctness of conduct ; but if religion is lacking, the passion of love that lifts duty into delight and makes service a joy, will never be able to accomplish its purpose. The ship. is still without its rudder, the building without its top stone. Religion is like sunshine. It is not only a beautiful thing in itself, but it brings out the beauty that is in every other thing. It is the great revealer as well as the great life-giver. If a man be educated, religion makes him more useful. If he possess great riches, religion shows him how to spend it. If he is great socially, religion will make him still greater. In commerce, politics, art, literature, religion is the very breath of life, or, if I may be allowed to change the figure, it is the salt that saves from corruption. What Solomon said of "wisdom" is true of "religion." "For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. "She is more precious than rubies ; and all things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. "Length of days is in her right hand ; and in her left hand riches and honor. "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." ext, we will notice some of the internal forces

that have to do with our expression to the world, by which the world places its estimate upon us. The first I mention is truthfulness. By all means tell the truth. It matters not when or where. You

THE I DIA A PULPIT 345 will never have to go back and think up another story to straighten out the one you first told, and you will always feel good. He or she who makes a habit of lying is not getting much out of life if they have any conscience, and, to be sure, every one of us has. The second is punctuality. Be there when you promise. Don't fail. There is more time lost in this country sitting around waiting for the other fellow than there is in doing the business after he comes. Be prompt. othing counts for so much as punctuality. "Better be early and stand and wait, than a minute behind the time." The last one I wish to mention is courtesy. It is the cheapest, yet one of the most valuable assets. To be polite attracts the attention of the people more than anything I know, and 'it is due from one to another that we be courteous. "I shall not pass this way again, But far beyond earth's where and when, May I look back along the road Where on both side "good seed I sowed. "I shall never pass this way again. May wisdom guide my tongue and pen, And love be mine that so I may Plant roses all along the way.

"I shall not pass this way again. May I be courteous to men, Faithful to friends, true to God, A fragrance on the path I trod."



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