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sin with which they were charged by their Master, than among those men of God. Nor, amid all their faults, were these traits unseen in the earlier and darker times.
Abraham would not take so much as a string or a shoe latchet from the king of Sodom. David refused to drink the very water from the well of Bethlehem, when brought by his braves at the peril of their lives. Samuel went to his home to mourn over the infatuated Saul. Daniel lamented the doom he pronounced. Joseph dispelled the panic of the brethren who had sold him to slavery. Moses prayed to be blotted out, if need be, for the sin of Israel, while the clamors against “this Moses were ringing in his ears.
And there were, no doubt, others besides the psalmist to reap the blessing pronounced on him who “sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.” But when we reach the later dispensation the field is too broad for the examples. Yet at least remember how the character of our Saviour has always won the admiration of the skeptic for its surpassing dignity and beauty. So also the life of Paul will in this respect bear the severest scrutiny; yes, requires it, to show forth the full nobleness of his character. His record and his letters furnish the most striking instances of what in other men we should call high-mindedness, generosity, courtesy, and honor. He has been well described as not only the inspired apostle and zealous Christian, but as the Christian gentleman, one of God's own noblemen, alike whether he stood up in his brave manhood before Festus, the bluff governor, breaking the rudeness of flat denial by the interjected words, “ Most noble Festus,” or playfully and winningly pleaded with his dearly beloved Philemon as “ Paul the aged " for "my son Onesimus," the fugitive slave.
These traits and qualities are not something superadded to religion or engrafted on it. They are only its legitimate growth, pushing forth into all the relations and duties of life. It is the Christian life pulsating in every limb and every joint. There are not two laws, one for the greater and one for the less. The greater includes the less. In this human body the principal nerves that traverse the frame go off into branches, and these branches are divided and subdi vided into filaments, till at last you shall scarcely place a pin's point on any portion of the body's surface but it shall find some little nerve maintaining there the body's health and beauty. Just so in the healthy soul should the fine nerves of religion permeate the whole spiritual frame with life and feeling in their slender threads, till the great central love and its chief diverging graces have pushed forth their myriadfold branches into all that is amiable, high-minded, and noble.
If this be so, we see that unamiable and repulsive qualities should be viewed as defects in our religious character, It should be firmly held fast that anything really dishonorable – I say really dishonorable because there is a kind of honor sometimes seen even in college life which is but a conspiracy of wrongdoing — anything really dishonorable is something wrong; and in
such a case the blush of shame is a confession of wrong and the unblushing face is a token of hardened wrong
Men are often too little afraid to commit an unworthy, ungenerous, or trickish act and too prone to forget that the sense of meanness is a rebuke of conscience and a verdict of God. From all such things let them refrain for Christ's sake and for their own sake too. A thoroughly mean-spirited Christian is a phenomenon nowhere described in God's Word. I think he would be such a prodigy as God never made.
We also see that such a piety as we have described must be difficult of attainment, but worthy of the effort. Paul seems to speak of it as though it were to be the crown and climax of Philippian attainment. There is great difference in the natural amiableness which the Spirit of God finds in different men; but which class has most to contend with in the opening of a Christian life is not so clear. With some the danger is that they make their placid temper a substitute for spiritual piety or rest satisfied with good deeds that spring from a delicate organism, a quick sensibility, an uncalculating mind, or the love of a fair reputation rather than from the love of holiness and God. There are some minds so constituted that they are in danger of mistaking a religion of mere taste and beauty for a beautiful religion ; outward loveliness for the holiness whose fruit is loveliness. On the other hand there are those whose danger is just the opposite — that their religion never will find its way out into the things that are lovely and of good report. This is by far the commonest danger. There are often those of crabbed tempers, fretful and complaining spirits, hot-headed purposes, irritable vanity, torpid sensibilities, cold and selfish hearts, encrusted round so thick with ice and snow that the very light kindled within by God from heaven will scarcely shine through with a genial warmth. There are multitudes of others who find it easier to do occasional great things for God, as they reckon them, to be spasmodically good or rhapsodically devout, than to maintain the perennial bloom of a daily, honored, estimable, rounded piety.
But religion in its beauty will be very beautiful : when the cardinal virtues, the gentle graces and genial charities of the gospel shall be reassembled from their long dispersion like some brood of paradise clustering beneath the parent wing; when all that faith has longed for, that sin has counterfeited, and piety has mourned shall be gathered and realized; when decision and manliness and honor and energy and meekness and patience and gentleness and courtesy, like the lost gems of some heavenly diadem, shall be again united, and the fine gold shall lose its dimness.
This shall not all be this side of heaven; yet it may be or have been our lot to have known some few who were striving toward it on earth. They go “from strength to strength"; and when at length some one of them is not, for God hath taken him, we can think of him now become fair and bright, without a shock to all our recollections; we can imagine him a dweller on the heavenly hills without a fear for the blessedness of heaven.
Young Gentlemen of the Graduating Class : Your studies here are ended. Your instructors have imparted to you what training they could, and you have received it with what earnestness you would. They now stand aside, and you step out into the broader
Go forth into life's conflicts, I entreat you, as true “knights without fear or reproach," and therefore as knights of the Cross. I commend to you as the last best lesson of your college course this heavenly wisdom, this religion of Jesus Christ, and in all its finished fullness, excellent symmetry, and rounded manhood. As my closing words and the motto of your lives, in the Master's name, I enjoin upon you, and each of you, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report ; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” And may the good Lord think on you with watchful care and never-failing help !