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, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them : for this is the law and the prophets." — Matthew 7 : 12. THE millennium would be near at hand' says Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, "when lawyers would take what they would give and doctors give what they would take." This is a concrete expression of the text: All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them; for this is the law and the prophets. Jesus states the sum and substance of the second table of the law, the essential teaching of the prophets of the old covenant and the new. This one sentence is the gist of ethics, a handy manual of morality, a principle more convenient than a pocket cyclopedia or vest-pocket dictionary of duties. It is the true treaty of reciprocity to be ratified by the senate of man's judgment and conscience and executed by his will. It is a greater triumph in diplomacy than that of any statesman or party ; as much greater as mind than matter ; as conduct, character, and spirit than coffee, sugar and spices. But though it looks fair and square, some say it is visionary and impracticable. "Does it mean?" one says, "that I am to give the drone and drunkard money for their own real injury, the criminal freedom to commit crime, the wilful child liberty to spoil himself?" Certainly not. The Master presupposes that the desires are good. It is a matter of need and help, not whim and wish. Some such excuse may be given as a pretext to quiet an awakening conscience, but our real difficulty lies on another side. Our selfish human nature insists on rights, rather than delights, in du-
544 AMERICAN BAPTIST PULPIT. ties. It is pleasanter to live in one hemisphere of truth and forget the other one. We seem so much nearer to ourselves than other people do. Then the histor}^ of human progress shows that this emphasis is natural. The battle for ages has been for man's rights. We justly honor the barons of England who forced the hand of the tyrant John to sign the Magna Charta. It declares and insures rights; it marks an epoch in the history of freedom. Our Declaration of Independence marks another triumph. Thus through the centuries heroes have, with sturdy blows, been breaking human shackles. It is well that we revere the names of our Washingtons and Hancocks, Adamses, and Jeffersons ; that our government carefully preserves, in a secure vault, the faded original Declaration of amaranthine glory ; that Philadelphia honors herself in honoring the fathers by cherishing the old hall, a cradle of liberty, and the bell that sounded forth the birth of the daughter of freedom. A visit to the spot or picture of the scene stirs loyal blood and quickens patriotic fervor. This document declares our rights to be inalienable. They are protected by constitutions, by written and unwritten law. The motto of one of our great commonwealths announces: ^^Our liberties we prize, our rights we will maintain." It has been the spirit of the age. Equally great triumphs have been won in the religious world. Witness the history of the reformation in Switzerland, Germany, England, and Scotland. Immortal are the names of Huss and Luther, Wyclif, and Knox. What a glorious record of our own denomination in this mighty march, bloody battle and signal victories of truth ! The rivers and the commons, the jails and the whipping posts of Europe, Virginia, and ^ew England tell the story of the cost of victory. But soul-liberty, freedom of conscious is worth it. These results are the logical and true outcome of Jesus Christ's doctrines of the worth of man and the right of personality. But this is not the whole of his teaching. We are in danger of making
a one-sided, unbalanced development. Normal individualism is apt to degenerate into abnormal selfism. There is need to emphasize the other side, altruism, otherism. This is the more import-
EECIPEOCITY. 545 ant, tLe primary, basal truth. The spirit of love, service, self-sacrifice shows the essential nature of the religion of him who came not to get, but to give, not to be served, but to serve, not to claim rights, but to yield them, even to give his life for the lost. The Great Teacher would have us emphasize love more than liberty, interdependence rather than independence. The reason such glorious successes have been achieved for human liberty, without the loss of the greater truth, is that the struggle has not been all selfish. The declarations insist on other's rights also; the Cromwells have fought for God's glory; our Fathers sought first God's kingdom. They thus escaped a French reign of terror. The N^ational Assembly of France in 1789 did not heed Gregoire's warning, as he counseled: "Write at the head of the Declaration the name of God or you establish rights without duties, which is but another thing for proclaiming force to be supreme." The result was natural and necessary. We think readily enough of our rights and the other man's duties. But have we, have I all the rights and they or you all the duties? This is an unnatural and unjust monopoly. We recognize the application of the principle to our neighbor's relations to us ; how about our relations to our neighbor ? George McDonald forcibly teaches this lesson in the words of the Uncle to Wilfred Cumbermed: "Don't always be thinking of your rights. There are people who consider themselves very grand because they can't bear to be interfered with. They think themselves lovers of justice when it is only justice to themselves they care about. The true lover of justice is one who would rather die a slave than interfere with the rights of others. To wrong another is the most troublesome thing in the world. Injustice to
you is not an awful thing like injustice in you." So it is that one is harmed worse in harming others than in others harming him. It is not what you owe me, but what I owe you ; not my dignity, but your deserts ; not my rights and. your duties, but your rights and my duties that claim my chief attention. Tolstoi gives a forcible translation of the text, when he says : "The least complicated and shortest rule of morals that I know of is this :
546 AMERICAN BAPTIST PULPIT. Get others to work for you as little as possible and work yourself as much as possible for them; make the fewest calls upon the services of your neighbors, and render them the maximum number of services yourself." Jesus teaches us to see the other man's side, which is so easily overlooked. And then he adds generosity to justice, love to equality. For the text does not say we are to do what others have done, but what we would have them do, i. e., not after they do it, but before. We are to give before we take; to go our half of the way first, to give the help of neighbor, friend, and brother before asking for it; to prize the other man's liberties and maintain the other man's rights before our own. This is the Christian principle, though like the Beatitudes, it cuts across the grain of worldly impulses and ambitions. Acknowledging then this duty, let us notice some practical applications. Why is it that those who say Christianity is not practical fail to read and practice this precept? It suits one's needs too well to suit his tastes. Even Bunyan, the apostle of grace, says: "The heart of religion is the practical part." Our Master accepts the challenge of the world: "What workest thou?" He taught and lived a working religion. Let us follow in his steps. "Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?" Loving, ye will obey. How great is the little word "do." Jesus does not say dream about and theorize, but do. Yes, "it is our theory and desire" ; is it our purpose and practice ?
This practical principle is not only operative, but, personal. It is not a glittering generality, but a pointed personality. The Master's truths fit like tailor-made coats, for he knows the measure of our nature and needs. As indicated above, he speaks not to your neighbor, but to yourself ; no, to myself. Each one is prone to think himself an exception, and the only exception to the laws of health, business, society, to all moral requirements. "All men think all men mortal but themselves." Our system of religion and social astronomy is Ptolemaic. The world circles around me. As each I claims to be a centre, confuBion results. It is the chaos of selfishness. All must make pe-
RECIPKOCITT. 547 ciiliar allowances for me. But the Saviour says we should do likewise for them. If each were an exception, where would be the rule? Then this practical personal principle is universal in its scope. *^A11 things'^ and ^'whatsoever ye would"' are the Masters words. Some things are easy and pleasant in our line, according to our strong habit or favorite virtue, but others ? "All things," says Jesus. Thoughts come within its range. We wish others t-o think honestly, even charitable, of us ; we beg that they be — "To our faults a little blind. To our virtues ever kind. Let us give them the same confidence and kindness. We do not desire to be judged by our worst selves, by the accidental or apparent. We deny that others have the authority or ability to judge us. They cannot have either the perfect and universal
standard or sufficient knowledge of facts or motives. Do we? Can we? Many are judged as misers who are self-sacrificing philanthropists like Ian Maclaren's Samuel Dodson. Some are called cold and selfish who are reserved and retiring. If we are misjudged by others, may not others be by us? Let us put ourselves in their place and give them the benefit of the doubt. Others lack charity so much. Do we ? Said the Quaker to his wife : ''^All the world is a little queer save me and thee, and sometimes I think thou art a little queer.*' Dr. Hamlick, of A^ienna, tells of having asked Schumann how he got on with Wagner. '^'Xot at all,*' he replied; ^Tie talks at such a rate I can't get a word in edgeways." Shortly after this Dr. Hamlick met Wagner and put a similar question to liim about Schumann. "I can't get on with him at all," replied Wagner : '"he just looks at me with a vacant stare, and never says a word." "0 wad some power the giftie gie us to see oursel as ithers see us," and see others as we wish them to see us, ever with love's eyes. Tor love is not blind; love only can see. We need this truth in the church. The Scotchman needed it who, when asked of the prosperity of his kirk, said (to give the English) : "'We're getting
548 AMERICAN BAPTIST PULPIT. on pretty well now in peace and harmony. We have turned out all but myself and Jane, but sometimes I have grave doubts of Jane's orthodoxy .'' How of us Baptists? Yes, brothers and sisters, it requires much of the spirit of Christ to allow others full liberty to think and believe for themselves and to respect them for it. LelE us rise in practice to this high plane with Eoger Williams. It is our duty as well as our doctrine. Eobert J. Burdette tells of loving our neighbor so well that we would have him look with our eyes and think with our mind, and adds : "I love him so, his ways I'd fix
In trade, religion, politics; His thoughts, his deeds, his aim'S, in fine, I'd shape to harmonize with mine. Ah, would he let me love him so. How smoothly all our plans would go ; In everything beneath the sun I and my neighbor would be one. But oftimes, when I sit with him And note his humor, sweet or grim, With disappointed heart I see My neighbor is in love with me. "Judge not one another, but judge this rather that no one put a stumbling-block in his brother's way.'' "A little watchfulness over ourselves," Epictitus long ago said, "will save a great deal of watchfulness over others." Our speech is also to be regulated by this rule, its motive, manner, and matter. The result is golden speech and golden silence in the parlor and at the sewing circle, in the office and at the lounging place. The jargon of hasty, harsh, hard words, of gossip, slander, backbiting, as well as other lying and profanity, would give place to the sweet symphony of peace, kindness, helpfulness, and love. What a happy picture of heaven, "where this strife of tongues hath ceased." Only then can angel harps and seraph songs be heard. This principle is the secret of good manners. Planted in the heart, it bears sweeter and more abundant fruit than all the books
RECIPROCITY. 549 of form and etiquette, for selfishness, more than ignorance, breeds
coarseness. It is more practical because it goes to the depth of man's being and reaches every nook and corner of his life. It is the motto for drawing-room and kitchen, for reading-room and hotel, for the street car and the steamer deck. Such curious conduct is often seen when supposedly well-bred people are off their guard. One does not have to be a gentleman in the smoker or when no ladies are present, thought the relieved clubman. What a contrast with Paul living out the twelfth of Eomans, following in the steps of Jesus, who kind, forbearing, gentle, is the finest, and, as the poet Decker says, "the first true gentleman that ever breathed.'^ Love supplants the selfishness of thoughtlessness and indifference with genuine politeness. Thus friendship also is glorified. For this is not the utilitarian relationship of Bacon, but the more useful, the true and beautiful fellowship of those who, like David and Jonathan, are knit together by love, not self-interest. The friend is thoughtful and tender, helpful and generous, as he expects his friends to be. He is willing to make allowances and make advances. He has an instinct for detecting the hearts that are waiting for the warm sunshine of May. Love has the genius of tactful help. It opens the buds of the best that is in us. "If you have a friend worth loving, love him and let him know you love him." This same principle dominates the family life, and makes the home sweet and beautiful. Thoughtfulness of needs and feelings replaces self-absorption and forgetfulness. It means the reform of one's own wife's husband or husband's wife; sympathy of one's own children's parents and obedience of the parent's children. What if mothers should forget or fathers fail to provide ? Strangers and enemies even reap the benign influence of the text. Sinners love those who love them and do good to those who do good to them. What is the credit? But they justify themselves in repaying evil in the same coin. But Christ says do good even to him that does you wrong, repay evil with good. Here is the originality of the Master's teaching. The text differs from similar words of three Jewish rabbis and of Isocrates and Confu-
550 AMERICAN BAPTIST PULPIT. cius in being positive, not only negative, in teaching to do good, not only refrain from wrong. But then it is universal, including all men. Aristotle teaches such treatment of friends, but Jesus alone rises to this breadth of brotherhood. So Paul acknowledged a debt to those who had injured him, yielded liberties, waived rights, sacrificed everything but his conscience to save men. In this, man's acts are God-like, for he is "kind to the unthankful and the evil." What if the Father had dealt with us according to our deserts? This truly is the principle of missions. What would we need if in India or China? The same let us give. Put yourself in his place. This law of the kingdom should prevail in all the church life. In the multiplicity of organizations you may have overlooked the Aaron and Hur Club that is pledged to pray for pastor and each member and to lend a hand wherever help is needed. Each is a committee of one to look up and lift up. Nor do they, after praying apart, argue fiercely together, like Lachlan Campbell and his pastor. Then there is the Barnabas Brotherhood, noted for largehearted sacrifice and service. Here is the sympathetic hand for the weak, the stranger, and the yoimg convert, both for the suspected Sauls and faint-hearted John Marks. Its welcome is to the church as a family, to hearts that have the Good Samaritan motto : ^^Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering yourselves lest ye also be tempted." The golden rule is the insignia of the highest Christian nobility. Humble service is the mark of true aristocracy. Christ's principle covers every relation in social and political life. Our poet-patriot, James Eussell Lowell, taught us the application to this age that boasts of the doctrines of equality and fraternity, when he said that true democracy does not mean "I am as good as you are, but you are as good as I am." "Your levelers," says Dr. Johnson, "wish to level down as far as themselves, but cannot bear leveling up to themselves." True socialism does not mean sharing the spoils, but giving others their due, not having
others divide with us by force, if need be, but our freely dividing with others.
RECIPROCITY. 551 Qiiestions as to the needs and rights of the Cuban and Filipino, Chinese and Jew, Negro and Mexican are answered by this text. It is more than ''Exhibit A. in the church assets, * * * * strictly religious furniture/' as Mark Twain calls it. It obtrudes itself into business — no, it belongs there. This golden rule, rather than the yard-stick of selfishness, is the measure of human conduct. David Harum's motto for horse-trading: "Do unto the other feller the way he'd like to do unto you, and do it first/' is too common in the business world. "Business is business/' says a New Yorker, or "I'm not in business for my health/' says a Californian. But health of soul and society is above wealth; and God has rights and claims in the world's business. Jesus Christ is our Master, and we are brethren. "Ye are members one of another" is a primary truth in political economy. The anarchistic cry, "each for himself," is obsolete. Even the motto, "live and let live," changes to live and help live. The Master is leading us on by paths we may not always know to the helpfulness of fraternity, the co-operation of love. That which is called an "iridescent dream" must be fulfilled in the commercial world. This sparkling gem of the Christian creed is not a dead crystal, but a living germ to produce Christian civilization. The Master banishes from his kingdom all the hollowness of pretense and heartlessness of greed. Sharp bargainings, false promises, dishonest advertising, mean advantage of the helplessness of weakness or dependence or ignorance fall short of the golden standard. Ask not more than you earn, pay not less than is earned is Christ's teaching. Character-building of the laborer is above fortune-building of the corporation. Man-saving is more than money-saving. Besides, how can one be saved himself who does not seek to save others ? If there be trusts, they are trustees of the privilege of service. Knowledge, wealth, power, rank, opportunity mean obligation.
NoUesse oblige. Life's glory is not gained by greed of gold, but by coveting the best gift and grace — the love that serves and sacrifices. We may not always be able to exchange places, but the sympathy suggested by the Saviour's work quickens the memory of our own experience, the consciousness of our own weakness, and
552 AMERICAN" BAPTIST PULPIT. the realization of our neighbor's condition. It is a tonic to tender thoughtfulness and the power of heart pushing forth the hand to help. The working of the golden rule means the golden age. It brings harmony and happiness. Heaven's eternal law, this expression of the divine nature, is the basis of human well-being. Then it is the quickest way to get our rights — giving those of others ; and the surest guarantee of one's privileges — securing one's neighbors. Giving dues secures dues. Doing duty to others is the best way to lead others to do duty to us. Giving begets receiving. Action and reaction are equal. In general, the world uses us as we use the world. "As face answers to face in a mirror, so answereth the heart of man to man." The kind face and cheery voice at home or on the street, over the counter or in the factory enjoys like response. Frances Eidley Havergal sings the truth : "'Twill not be fruitless labor, Overcome the ill with good: Try to understand your neighbor, And you will be understood." Judge not that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again." This natural truth is the necessary law of even divine judgment. Charles Kingsley, in "Water Babies," forcefully represents this brighter side by Mrs. "Do-as you-
would-be-done-by," and the darker by "Mrs. Be-done-by-as-youdid." It is a matter of heart, of character, of eternity. Our highest ideal of manhood is no longer the mailed warrior even when battling for his rights. The man who forgives his enemy is greater than he who strikes him. Selfishness is unmanly. The engineer and hospital nurse, sacrificing even the natural right of self-preservation for lofty duty, the Howards and Livingstones, the Judsons and Patons show the glory of life's mission. Napoleon, measured by the golden rule, is very small; but his contemporary, the cobbler and missionary, Carey, and the island exile of Patmos,
RECIPROCITY. 553 John, are the truly great. Complete, noblest manhood is not seen in Julius Caesar but Jesus Christ. Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus : who, being in the form of God counted it not a thing to be grasped (at the loss of man in sin and woe) to be on an equalit}^ with God, but emptied himself (of glory and rights) * * * becoming obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross. Wherefore also God highly exalted him." (Phil. 2: 5-8. E. Y.) Self-forgetfulness and self-sacrifice was the life purpose of him who came to serve and save. ^'Wlien he was reviled he reviled not again : when he suffered he threatened not : but committed his cause to him who judges righteously.*' (Peter 2: 23). This is the secret of his supreme glory. Following him is our way of life and honor. Says Paul to the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 5: 14-15) : "We exhort jou, brethren, admonish the disorderly, encourage the fainthearted, support the weak, be longsuffering toward all. See that none render unto any one evil for evil; but alway follow after that which is good, one toward another, and toward all.'^ But who is sufficient for these things ? We frankly admit our inability and confess our sinful failure to fulfil this duty. It is possible only when we have new hearts and true love. Master, thou who art love, teach us ; thy docile pupils we would be. Following thee who went about doing good, ministering to body and to spirit we would uplift men and reveal thyself. Help us to lose our lives of sin and self and gain the abundant life of love. Forgive our self-centered, self-
impelled living: help us to be Christ-centered, love-impelled. Fill us full of thine own spirit — the Holy Spirit, that we may delight and be strong to do thy will. How manifold is thy grace, how rich thy life of love. Help us to love tliee with whole hearted love and our neighbors as ourselves. Then we can fulfill the law, ior each can say: "I have been crucified with Christ : it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me." 1. 68 FREE BOOKS http://www.scribd.com/doc/21800308/Free-Christian-Books 2. ALL WRITINGS http://www.scribd.com/glennpease/documents?page=1000
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