Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,

These three alone lead life to sovereign power."—Tennyson

1. Words of the Great Teacher.—Mark the words of the Great Teacher: "If thy right hand or foot cause thee to fall, cut it off and cast it from thee. If thy right eye cause thee to fall, pluck it out. It is better for thee to enter into life maimed and halt, than having two eyes to be cast into hell-fire, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."

2. A Melancholy Fact.—It is a melancholy fact in human experience, that the noblest gifts which men possess are constantly prostituted to other purposes than those for which they are designed. The most valuable and useful organs of the body are those which are capable of the greatest dishonor, abuse, and corruption. What a snare the wonderful organism of the eye may become, when used to read corrupt books, or to look upon licentious pictures, or vulgar theater scenes, or when used to meet the fascinating gaze of the harlot! What an instrument for depraving the whole man may be found in the matchless powers of the brain, the hand, the mouth, or the tongue! What potent instruments may these become in accomplishing the ruin of the whole being, for time and eternity!

3. Abstinence.—Some can testify with thankfulness that they never knew the sins of gambling, drunkenness, fornication, or adultery. In all these cases abstinence has been, and continues to be, liberty. Restraint is the noblest freedom. No man can affirm that self-denial ever injured him; on the contrary, self-restraint has been liberty, strength and blessing. Solemnly ask young men to remember this when temptation and passion strive as a floodtide to move them from the anchorage and peace of self-restraint. Beware of the deceitful stream of temporary gratification, whose eddying current drifts towards license, shame, disease and death. Remember how quickly moral power declines, how rapidly the edge of the fatal maelstrom is reached, how near the vortex, how terrible the penalty, how fearful the sentence of everlasting punishment!

4. Frank Discussion.—The time has arrived for a full and frank discussion of those things which affect the personal purity. Thousands are suffering to-day from various weaknesses, the causes of which they have never learned. Manly vigor is not increasing with that rapidity which a Christian age demands. Means of dissipation are on the increase. It is high time, therefore, that every lover of the race should call a halt, and inquire into the condition of things. Excessive modesty on this subject is not virtue. Timidity in presenting unpleasant but important truths has permitted untold damage in every age.

5. Man Is a Careless Being.—He is very much inclined to sinful things. He more often does that which is wrong than that which is right, because it is easier, and, for the moment, perhaps, more satisfying to the flesh. The Creator is often blamed for man's weaknesses and inconsistencies. This is wrong. God did not intend that we should be mere machines, but free moral agents. We are privileged to choose between good and evil. Hence, if we perseveringly choose the latter, and make a miserable failure of life, we should blame only ourselves.

6. The Pulpit.—Would that every pulpit in the land might join hands with the medical profession and cry out with no uncertain sound against the mighty evils herein stigmatized! It would work a revolution for which coming society could never cease to be grateful.

7. Strive to Attain a Higher Life.—Strive to attain unto a higher and better life. Beware of all excesses, of whatever nature, and guard your personal purity with sacred determination. Let every aspiration be upward, and be strong in every good, resolution. Seek the light, for in light there is life, while in darkness there is decay and death.