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A Medley Of Philosophy, Facts, And Fun

( Originally Published 1909 )

PHILOSOPHY furnishes to us the rules by which we do the best possible thing, in the best possible way, at the best possible time. The man who knows just what to do, and when to do, and then how to do the best thing to be done, is a philosopher ! Of course, that sort of a fellow would feel lonesome in a crowd. That was a description of a philosopher.

And then when we come to think about facts, they are the most tremendous, far-reaching things in all the world. A fact is a very different thing from a theory. Now, in my younger days I had my theories, and championed my theories, and was ready to die by them. Really, when I was twenty-one years of age I was very intelligent. I looked upon Daniel Webster as an idiot; and if Solomon had come along I would have put him in the asylum. But I am just getting old enough now to see what a fool I was. Why, a fellow oughtn't to be allowed to go about by himself until he is thirty years old; a WOMAN, Never.

I have been a young fool, I am free to admit that; I have been a middle-aged fool, and I am sorry about that, and I am praying so earnestly now that the Lord will just keep me from being an old fool. You see that is the last wag of the hammer. You take an old widower, for instance. I was sitting in a car some time ago, and an old widower walked in. I suppose he was eighty years old, his nose and chin nearly met. He took a seat near me and began to brag of his health. He said he hadn't felt better in forty years, and he said, " They tease me about marrying again, and I don't know but that I will." I suspect the old rascal had rubbed every joint of his limbs with Wizard Oil before he could get out of bed that morning.

I am growing older; I am a sort of patriarch now, I have had my silver wed-ding, and that was a big time at our house. That was the night they got the swallow-tail coat on me, and they laughed at me. I told them I had never had one on before, and I got that on mostly behind. I shook hands with myself seven times that night. That was a big occasion. I have grandchildren playing about my home, and the time has come with me, if ever, when I ought to begin to stay by the facts. Theories furnish the basis for a young fellow to operate upon. But wisdom and age stay by the facts. I used to love to sit down and read articles on agriculture, but I wouldn't give ten cents a dozen for them to-day. Now I love to walk with a good old farmer through his magnificent, growing crops, look at his fat cattle, hogs, and horses, and see his full granaries and cribs. There is something charming about that to me.

I do not want a preacher now, to stand up and talk theology and ecclesiasticism to me. I always did despise theology and botany, but I do love religion and flowers. There is something about them that is fragrant and wholesome. I do not want a doctor now, to talk hygiene, anatomy, and physiology to me. Let him take me out to the cemetery, and show me what he has done. It is the practical fellow ; it is the fellow who has done something. That is my style of man.

I have reached the point in my life now, where I wouldn't give one well-substantiated fact for all the theories in this world.

I can argue down a fellow's theories, and clean up his rhetoric, but when I meet a fact, I go to sitting up with it, and my children will have to sit up with it after I am gone. You can't get over a fact, nor around it, nor under it, nor through it. You have to pitch your tent and camp when you meet a fact; and the biggest fool in the United States, and that is saying a heap, is the fellow who will stand up and argue against a fact. Of course, most of you fellows will not do it, but I am speaking to those who will.

I was talking out West, some time ago, and I said : " Prosperity has come again. The clearing-house receipts, the railroad earnings, the marts of trade, and the wheels of commerce roll higher than at any time in the history of America. Prosperity has come again ! " A good old Silver Loon, in the audience, stood up and said, " It hain't hit me yit," and I said, " Neighbor, it's mighty hard to hit nothing."

He was a fellow who would argue against a fact. And if you Free-silver men, who listen to me now, if you will look back a few years ago, and see how you were tearing your shirts, and talking yourselves hoarse on Free silver, if you don't feel like a fool, now, you don't feel natural, that's all.

I may stop long enough here to illustrate what I mean by theories and facts; for in-stance, in the church world, we Methodists and Baptists differ on our theories of baptism. The Methodist theory is to pour the water on the kid when it is little, and the Baptist theory is to wait 'till he is about grown, and then souse him clear under. Those are the two theories, practically stated. Let us go behind these theories and look at some facts. I know a fellow who was baptised in infancy by a Methodist preacher, and he poured the water on him. He grew up, joined the Methodist church, and he is one of the best men to-day that I have ever seen. I know another fellow who professed conversion after he was grown, joined the Baptist church, and the Baptist preacher immersed him. That same fellow is one of the best men who walk the American continent.

I know another fellow who was baptised in infancy by a Methodist preacher, who poured the water on him. He grew up and joined the Methodist church, and he is in the penitentiary now, serving out his sentence. I know another fellow who professed conversion after he was grown, joined the Baptist church, and the Baptist preacher immersed him clear under; they hung him! Absolutely hung him.

I never ask a fellow what church he be-longs to; I ask him, are you a good husband to your wife, a good father to your children, and a good citizen in your community; do you pay your debts, tell the truth, and live right? If he says, "Yes," I say, " Give me your hand." If he says " No," I say, " Fix for my foot." I give one of them the right-hand of fellowship, and the other the right-hand of footship. I think that is the best practical settlement of the whole question.

Fun is the next best thing to religion. The best thing in this old sin-cursed earth is good old-fashioned Bible religion. Of course, you people here know nothing about it, but there is such a thing in the world as good old-fashioned religion. But we are relegating that to the rear. Theosophy, Occult-ism, Christian Science, and Spiritualism are catching people by the thousand, and you good people are following after these things. The devil will get the most of you, but thank God, he won't get much. That is one consolation. Christian Science starts out with a monumental lie : " No such thing as pain!" I know that's a lie, for I have sat up with it all night. " If you have the tooth-ache, and will get the thought that you haven't got it, and will hold the thought, then you haven't got it." I suppose then, that if a married man gets the thought that he has no wife and holds the thought, then he is an old bachelor? I suspect some of you wish you were. Like the fellow who said, when he first married, he just felt all the time like he wanted to eat his wife up, but he said, in about a week, " I lost my appetite."

I repeat it, Christian Science catches them by the thousand, but they are mostly women. Anything will catch a woman. If you are a Christian Scientist that is no sign that you are not good; but your trouble is above your eyes. There is one consolation in being a Christian Scientist; if you ever get in the water over your head you need not be scared, for your head will swim all right. Just lift your handkerchief for a sail, and you will come in with the first favourable breeze. And Spiritualism is catching them by the thousand. Like the spiritualist orator, who had his great crowd before him, and who was carrying them by storm. Directly he said, " Now, ladies and gentlemen, I announce the most marvellous phenomenon in the spiritual world. When you live and dwell in spiritualism, every-thing becomes real, and you can handle a ghost like you can handle a man." At that time a little, red-haired, squint-eyed man down in the audience said " Amen." The orator said, " Ladies and gentlemen, there is a witness to this wonderful phenomenon. Come right up here and bear testimony." The fellow came up to the stand. " Now," said the orator, " give them the facts on this proposition." " What is your proposition? " " That when you live and dwell in spiritualism, everything becomes real, and you can handle a ghost just like you can handle a man." " Oh, the devil," said the man, " I thought you said a GOAT."

Whenever you tackle spiritualism, there is a goat in there, and he is after you, too. You can all run after new tricks and new isms, if you care to ; but here is one fellow that's going to stay by the God of his fathers, and the church of his mother. I am not going to run after your new tricks, I won't do it. And I repeat it, the best thing on earth is good old-fashioned Bible reli- <> gion; and just as we drift away from that, we are drifting downward, and hellward.

Anybody with a heart in him loves fun. A man who does not love fun is abnormal. He isn't all right; there is a part of him missing.

Josh Billings, Mark Twain, Bill Nye, they are benefactors of the world. We have realised long ago that Job told an universal truth when he said, " Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward." Every human heart in this world is loaded, and every laugh of your life is a leverage under a burden, lifting it up and giving you a moment of surcease and rest. We need to laugh more.

Anybody with a soul loves to laugh. That is one reason why I despise " sassiety," so called; the most heartless creature in God's world is a full-fledged society woman. I have met a few of them, been introduced to them, and they would push out a little, old, straight-kid-gloved hand at me, and I would shake the thing, and I would just as soon shake the tail of a dead fish. No heart, no life, and no warmth. A society woman looks upon the introduction of a baby in the home as a nuisance, and a big family of children as a thing to be despised. I keep telling you when God Almighty gives a man a good wife and ten or fifteen children, He has done a heap for that fellow. When the devil gives him a society woman and a poodle dog, he just threw off on him.

I repeat it, anybody with a heart loves fun, but these foolish, flippant, society people :—if I had married a society woman and gone home some day and didn't see her around, I wouldn't ask, " Where is my wife? " I would just ask, " Where is it? " Frill and flounce and dance. I have no objection to dancing for some people. I rather advocate it. If I had a daughter that wore a number four hat and a number seven shoe, I would send her to a dancing school, and train the big end of the thing. But if I had a bright, sweet, intelligent girl, I would as deliberately take her up in my arms and toss her into perdition as I would pick her up and project her into the average ballroom life of this country.

Fun, nothing like it in all the world ! That is one reason why I like the Irish. They are full of fun, and I thank God that I have a streak of Irish blood in me, and I thank God that there isn't any more than there is. Pat will get fun out of anything. Some temperance people were talking on the street. Pat came up and said, " Gintlemen, ye kin talk agin likker and abuse likker, but it's the best eyesight medicine I iver seed and tried yit. There's me brother Moike, born blind, and niver seed a thing; he jist drank whiskey a week, and the divel may, kill me, if he didn't see snakes all over the house. And nothin' iver helped his eyesight but whiskey." There is many a poor fellow in America treating his eyes with it. I suspect this country uses more eyesight medicine, of that kind, than almost any country in the world.

You can't cure them from drinking, either. They won't be cured. They won't take the medicine. Like the old darkey that went to a doctor. He said, " I have come to you about my mule; he is sick, and is going to die, it looks like, and I can't get another. Doctor, can't you give me something for my mule? " The doctor said, " Yes, I'll help you, Uncle, in your trouble; here is some calomel. Go home and put this calomel in a big cane joint, and put the joint in the mule's mouth, and blow. He will take it up, and I think it will help him." " Yes, Boss, I'se gwine follow your directions." He went home, and the next day he sent for the doctor. The doctor came and the old darkey was piled up in bed, nearly dead. The doctor said, " I thought it was your mule that was sick, and here you are in bed." " Hit shorely was de mule, doctor, but hit's me now." " What's the matter with you? " " Hit was dat calomel, doctor." " You fool, I told you to give it to the mule." " Well, I did try to, doctor, but you see hit was disser way, dat ar mule blowed fust."

Whenever you go to treating an American for drinking, he will blow first on you every time.

Fun, nothing like it in all the world. Pat loved fun in any stage in life. The doctor had just told him that he would pass away before night. He was very low, and after the doctor left, he called his faithful wife to the side of his bed, and said, " Bridget, I want you to make me a promise. I want you upon your soul never to go back on that promise." She said, " What is it? " " I want you to promise me that when I am dead, you will see, with your own eyes, that I am buried right under the Jewish Synagogue." Bridget said, " You are losing your mind, now." " My mind was never better," said Pat. " Well," she said, " what on earth do you want to be buried under a Jewish Synagogue for? " " Begorry, that's the last place that the devil would ever look for an Irishman."

Fat people like fun. Fat people are the best-natured people in the world if you will feed them. Like the big, fat, old sister, who sat down in the dentist's chair, filled it up and run it over. The dentist looked at her and said, " You seem to be cheerful, madam." " I was always cheerful, and I like folks who are cheerful, whether they are chairfull, or not."

Like the big, old, fat sister, who came in-to the train, when it stopped at a station ; she looked like a Muscovy duck. She waltzed up and down the aisle; every seat was taken, and the thing got to be painful. Directly Pat arose on the scene and said, " Gintlemen, begorry, I will be one of any two of ye who will git up and give the lady a seat."

Fun, nothing like it. " Now, we are to get a ' medley,' " as the old woman said. Medley means mixture, and we will mix it in due proportions, not asking any of you to agree with me on any proposition. When a majority of this country agrees with me I am going to change my views. I know that I am wrong then. If a fellow will agree with the majority of people, and stick with them until he dies, if he don't go to hell it will be because the shebang burned out before he got there. That is no joke.

I never ask a crowd to agree with me; I just ask them, " Did you understand me? " I make everything so plain that if a fellow don't understand me, he is all right anyhow, because God has made especial provision for idiots and children. You will get in with that bunch.

Now I want to say that every phase of American life seems to have turned its back upon the great facts of God's world, and is chasing false theories around in every phase of life. You step into the political world, and a man ought never to mention politics without an apology. It isn't politics now, it is just plain ticks. Just something to hang on and fill up. You may catch all your old politicians and run them into a great plate-glass place, and shut them up, and the devil will come along in the morning and peep in on them, and walk off shaking his head. He will say, " That is ahead of anything I have got. I have nothing that will keep up with that bunch."

I really believe there is where the biggest difference is. You take the two last national campaigns; they were projected and run on false theories. The Republican Party came along one day and told us that the maintenance of our honor, and the perpetuity of our institutions, depended upon the single gold standard. Bryan came along and told the dear people that the monumental crime of 1873 was to demonetise silver, and precipitate a panic in our country, and that there would never be prosperity until we got the free and unlimited coinage of silver, at sixteen to one; and both of them were lying like a trotting dog. But I say to you, in the fear of God, that the peace and prosperity in this country do not depend upon the single gold standard, nor the free and unlimited coinage of silver, but they depend alone upon the honesty, integrity, uprightness, sobriety, and industry of this great American people, and nothing else that the sun shines upon.

I am sorry for the Democrats; you need a guardian. Amid the wild debauchery and crimes of the Republican Party, the Democrats to-day stand back without a leader, and without an issue.. My, my, I am sorry for them ! I think they ought to join the Christian Scientists. The only man who ever led you to victory since the war between the States, and carried you to victory twice, has never changed his policies or principles one iota from start to finish; you turn your back on him, and kick him and curse him from Maine to California, and then take after another fellow who has lead you to inglorious defeat twice, and you are still whooping for him. I don't understand it. And you stole the last plank the old Populists had in their platform and left them sitting on the ground. They aint had anything since.

Oh ! When the Democratic Party, which is the people's party of this country, when you throw every rotten Populist plank out of your platform, and get back on a Jeffersonian and Old Hickory Jackson platform, and stay there, you will sweep this country for Democracy, and hold your own; but you will never do it until then.

I am sorry for you. You need sympathy.

And I don't want to make any of you old politicians mad, because we can't fight. I wouldn't fight you at all. I am like the 'possum felt toward the skunk. He said he wasn't afraid of the skunk, but he knew if he " fit " it he couldn't go home to his family.

The greatest enemy to American life today, and the very influence that is going to destroy our free institutions, is the dirty old demagogues of America, in the politics of the country. I have a thousand times more fear of them than I have of every other influence that is preying upon the liberties of America. Old demagogues. Old demijohns. Why, if they were all to die to-night, and the devil were to peep through his keyhole and see them coming, he would shut up shop. Why, if the whole gang got into hell together in a bunch, they would call a caucus, knock the devil in the head, elect their own devil, and run the place to suit themselves.

You don't have any trouble understanding me, do you?

Again; you step into the church world, and it is all agog and awry there. The most painful fact to my mind and heart is the loose grip that the church has upon the God of the universe. How sad that phase is to me ! We have been clamouring for fifty years for an educated ministry, and we have got it to-day, and the church is deader than it ever has been in its history. Half of the literary preachers in this town are A.B.'s, Ph.D.'s, D.D.'s, LL.D.'s, and A.S.S.'s. And when you find a fellow with a whole alphabet on him, you can turn him out. Half of them will read a sermon from a manuscript, and I would rather a fellow would pull a pistol on me than a manuscript. What does a preacher want with a manuscript?

Every year down in my town we have our tabernacle meetings. We invite the best preachers on this continent, and they come. One year I invited the pastor of a great church in Cincinnati, and he came, and he spoke on Sunday morning. He pulled out a forty-page manuscript and stood there and read the gospel for a whole hour, and those good country people never saw it done before, and when they adjourned for dinner they got under the trees and talked about the proceedings. They said, " What do you think of that letter from Cincinnati? " And I never see a fellow pull his manuscript now that I don't wonder where that letter is from.

Now what I want is a fellow with sense enough and religion enough to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ with a warm heart and an honest mind to a lost and ruined world; and I never saw a fellow in my life who was converted under a read sermon; and if I had been I wouldn't tell it. I would hate to admit that I was that soft a fellow to have been converted that way.

Then you dear old brethren in the church, you are not doing your duty. You will pack your preacher in an icebox and cuss all the year because he don't sweat. He can't get up a sweat. It's too cold. I am sorry for the preachers. They are doing the best they can with the gang they've got. You dear old deacons and stewards, you just sit around there and don't give him the proper encouragement. When you wake up, and get up, the seats of your pants look like the map of the United States. Just trusting in the Lord all the time ! It reminds me of the two old negro preachers coming down the road, one to help the other in a protracted meeting. Presently Brother Green said, " Brother Chauncy, I will tell how I is dese latter days; I have got so now dat I don't do anything; I jus' trust in de Lord all de time, laying down on dem promises." Brother Chauncy said, " I'll tell you how I is; I does de bes' I kin fer myself fust, den I lays down on de Lord, and trusts in dem promises." About that time a mad bull came down the road with mud on his horn and business in his eyes, and he was making for the two darkies. One took to the woods on this side of the road, and the other took to the woods on that side. About a mile up the road the old negroes came together again in the road, both puffing and blowing. Brother Chauncy said, " Look heah, Brother Green, you 'lowed you didn't do nuffin' fo yo'self, but dat you trusts in de Lord al-ways, but I noticed dat when dat animal come down de road, you took to your heels jes lak I did. How you gwine to 'splain dat in your theology? " Brother Chauncy re-plied, " Brother Green, I'se gwine tell you how dat is. I don't think dar was any ob dem wild animals loose when de Lord made dem promises."

Just trusting in the Lord. You hear me. Whenever we put our faith into practice, whenever we do like we believe, it is just a question of time until we will win the world to God. You can do it. You can't substitute rhetoric and logic and belles-lettres and beautiful sermons for the Power from On High. And some pastors are leading the way wrong by preaching occultism, social-ism, and a thousand other isms.

I was at a big Chautauqua a year or more ago, and I was to lecture in the afternoon, and their purpose was to go from the sublime to the ridiculous, so they put up a great D.D.—dudle digger—to speak in the morning. You know what a dudle digger is? He is a fellow nearly out of a job. And that old D.D.; his lecture was on sociology. My, what a lecture ! Learned? He told us all the ologies, biology, geology, and zoology, and how he did capture that crowd. This was his peroration : " Now, ladies and gentlemen, in view of these facts of biology and geology and sociology, the man that believes that God created this world just six thou-sand years ago, and that on the finishing day of creation he picked up a little piece of mud and blew on it and a living perfect man walked off and stumbled over an apple and fell in a barrel of whiskey and is reeling off to hell,—a man who will believe that now will believe anything. Why, rather I believe that the world has existed for mil-lions of years, and God created man away down among the lower animals and he has come up higher and higher and higher, and some day he will reach the stature of a full man." He bowed himself off the platform, and the people whooped and hollered. He walked down, took my arm, and walked off with me, and I said, " Hello, Bud, you dug up more snakes to-day than you can kill the balance of your life. It is a sin and a shame for a minister of God to dig up snakes and throw them on the crowd, for you can easily unsettle the beliefs of the weak these days, but it is mighty hard to settle them back again." " Well," he said, " Jones, I think there is less harm in the promulgation of truth than in the suppression of truth." " Yes, but," I said, " you don't know but that everything you stated was a lie. Now," said I, " will you, the next time you deliver your great sermon on sociology, will you slip in a parenthesis for me? " He promised that he would, and then I said, " Tell the people I heard your lecture and that I didn't like it. I don't like a joke on God; and tell your neighbors that I didn't know the modus operandi of creation, whether God on the finishing day picked up a piece of mud and blew upon it and a living, perfect man walked away and stumbled over an apple and fell into a barrel of whiskey and then into hell; I don't know what that means; but I do know, for I was right on the spot when the thing happened, that the Good God did come down to Cartersville, Ga., nearly thirty years ago and picked up the dirtiest piece of mud in the town, called Sam Jones, and blew upon it, and a living man for God and right has been walking forth from that day to this." And I believe the breath of the Almighty is omnipotent !

But to hurry through. The finest girl is the young lady who makes her mother her sweetheart, and who loves her mother more than she does all this world. I know what I am talking about. I married a Kentucky girl, and thank God, she was a " mammy girl." I never saw such devotion in my life as I have witnessed on the part of my good wife toward her sweet old mother. The last many years of her life she came from her Kentucky country home and spent the win-ter with us. And oh, such devotion ! I was preaching in a great camp-meeting in Baltimore, and got a telegram from my wife at Cartersville, saying, " I take the train this morning for mother's home, she is quite ill, I will keep you posted." By wire the messages came every day, and the fourth day she wired, " Come, I don't think mother can live." I took the first train, and when r got off at Eminence, and got into the buggy and drove to the country home, I jumped out of the buggy, and wife met me on the front porch, and I scarcely recognised her. I never saw such a change in human looks. She threw her arms about me and said, " Mother is gone, but she did want to see you and talk with you so bad." It was nearly six months before I dared hope that my wife would ever get over the stroke caused by the death of her mother, who was eighty-six years of age, and wife was nearly fifty-one. You give me the girl that will stay by her mammy; and boys, when you find that sort of a girl, you drive your ducks up to that market and sell them. And if you can not sell them give them away, that's the thing to do right there. The girl that will stay by her mammy is worth her weight in gold.

Again ! The finest boy is the boy, twenty-one years old, who can stand on the threshold of manhood, and look back to his cradle and say, " Thank God, from the cradle to manhood, I have never put a cruel foot on the heart of my sweet mother, a single time." That's the finest young man you have got. Boys, hear me ! I step into the inner circle of my home, with its secrets of life, and tell you this : I would sit by the mother of my two boys, when they were off at school,—and that is the most dangerous period with American boys. I would get home from a long trip, and after supper, and the evening prayers, and the girls retired, wife and I alone, she would pull down the letters she had gotten from her boys, and read me one and another and another, with interludes of what I thought of this letter and of the next, and so on. That night she talked so long and late, she melted my whole nature. I said, " I am going to watch and wait, and catch the last word that this mother says to-night." And that night, just before she closed her eyes in sleep, she turned her face toward me and said, " Husband, do you reckon it goes well with my boys to-night? My precious boys! " When her heavy breathing told me that she had gone to sleep, I said, " I am going to watch and catch the first words of this mother in the morning." And the morning came with the light peering through the blinds; she opened her eyes, and turned her face and said, " Husband, I dreamed all night about my boys, I wonder if it goes well with my boys." Can a boy run over a heart like that and make a man? You can't do it. God has got it fixed so that you can't.

I have never known a boy nor a girl who loved and honored a mother that they did not come to the highest destiny of human beings : I have never known a girl or a boy yet to turn a back on a good mother, and trample her heart under their feet, that didn't come to grief. God help you, young man, to stay by your mother. She is the best friend you will ever have. I am going to throw this little picture out; take it home with you, boys, young ladies; it is not poetry, nor is it a dream.

One calm, bright, sweet, sunshiny day, an angel stole out of heaven, and came down to this old world, and roamed field and forest, city and hamlet; and just as the sun went down he plumed his wings and said : " Now my visit is out, and I must go back to the world of light, but before I go I must gather some mementos of my visit here "; and he looked over into a beautiful flower garden and said, " How lovely and fragrant these flowers are," and he plucked the rarest roses, and made a bouquet, and said, " I see nothing more beautiful and fragrant than these; I will take them with me." But he looked a little further and there saw a little bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked babe, smiling up into its mother's face, and he said, " Oh, that baby's smile is prettier than this bouquet; I will take that, too." Then he looked just beyond the cradle, and there was a mother's love pouring out like the gush of a river, to-ward the cradle and the baby, and he said, " Oh, that mother's love is the prettiest thing I have seen on earth; I will carry that, too !" With the three treasures he winged his way to the pearly gates, and lit just on the outside, and said, " Before I go in I will ex-amine my mementos," and he looked at the flowers, and they had withered; he looked at the baby's smile, and it had faded away; he looked at the mother's love, and there it was in all its pristine beauty and fragrance. He threw aside the withered flowers and the faded smile, and winged his way through the gates and led all the hosts of heaven to gether and said, " Here is the only thing I found on earth that would keep its fragrance all the way to heaven, —A Mother's Love."


Frank Stanton, the Georgia poet, says:
"This old world we're living in
Is mighty hard to beat;
You get a thorn with every rose,
But ain't the roses sweet?"

THIS is a great world in which you and I live, brother. There may be larger worlds, and grander and better worlds than this; but this is a great world. Its mountains are God's thoughts piled up; its prairies God's thoughts spread out; its rivers God's thoughts in motion; its flowers God's thoughts in bloom ; its harvests God's thoughts in bread ; its dew drops God's thoughts in pearls; and, wherever we look about us, every object smiles back upon us, and says, " I am but the gift of a gracious Father to his wayward children."

This is not only a great world, but the people in this world are very badly spoiled people. Nothing pleases them. There is nothing the world today reminds me so much of as a big family of spoiled children. See that old banker, president of a ten million dollar bank? At three o'clock in the after-noon he steps into his landau and drives off down the street. He stops in front of a beautiful candy and fruit store, and orders some of the rarest candies and fruits for his home. By and by, sitting in his palatial home, he sees the delivery wagon driving up, and he turns to his children, and says, " Children, if you will go to the pantry, I expect you will find something to your liking. I have ordered you some nice things." Only two of the children walk out of the room. Directly one of them comes back with candy in one hand and fruit in the other and says, " Papa, what do you get this old stuff for? Nobody wants it." That kid needs killing. But see that old country brother drive into town with his wagon, with chickens and eggs to barter for the necessities of his home. When he is about through trading, there is still about ten cents due him, and he returns to the merchant and says, " Wrap me up a pound of that red stick candy." The candy goes in with the other bundles. He drives up in front of his home, and when he gets near the house, a half dozen little tow-headed children run out and say, " Papa, what did you bring us? " . He unwraps the bundle of candy, and gives each little fellow a stick. They go out under a shade tree, sit down on the greensward, look at each other, and say, " We've got the best papa in this world. Just look what he has brought us." Those children ought to grow up, and multiply and replenish the earth. They are grateful.

We have reached a point in this country where we are satisfied with nothing. A man who gets a million wants another million. If he gets ten millions then he wants to be as rich as Rockefeller. And then he wants the whole world fenced in and fixed up for him. What if a man is as rich as Rockefeller? What is that compared with the State of New York. And suppose a man owned the whole State of New York, what is that compared with the balance of America? And suppose one man owned the whole United States, what is that compared with the balance of the world? And suppose a man owned this whole world? Why, you could put two such worlds in your pocket, and go out to the dog star and stay all night, and you wouldn't have enough to pay your hotel bill. This whole thing is comparative. The more we get of anything the more we want. Out in Utah a man wants every woman in the country for a wife. Some men can't get along with one, and I never could understand how they could get along with two, much less four, or a dozen. The more you get the more you want.

But happiness in this life is found in abstinence. Happiness in this life is found in absolute temperance, in everything. Happy is the man that don't want much. Happy is the man who is blessed with but little. Every man wants but little here below, and he don't want that very long. I am very well pleased with this world ! It is really the best world in which I have ever lived. And this world is a thousand times better to me than I have been to it; I have no kick or complaint. I don't kick any way. I am like the fellow that got both legs cut off by the train. They gathered around, and began condoling with him. He looked up and said, " Gentlemen, I am not kicking."

I not only have a thousand great blessings to be thankful for, but I have a great many things, in a negative sense, to be thankful for. I thank God I am not bow-legged. The hardest thing in the world to do is to marry off a bow-legged man. The town girl won't have him because she can't sit in his lap. The country girl won't have him because he can't keep off the grass. I am glad I was not born bow-legged. I am glad I am not cross-eyed. Two cross-eyed fellows met one another round the corner, and they had a head-end collision. One bounced back and said, " Why don't you look where you are going? " The other said, " Why don't you go where you are looking? " I thank God I have never licked anybody; that I never stole anything; that I never committed a crime for which I was arrested; and yet, other men, perhaps, as good as myself, in temptation, have done those things. And when we sit down and think over not only the blessings we have received, but the many things the grace of God has kept us out of, we ought to go through this world with a smile of gratitude on our faces, at every step.

A fellow had two neighbours. One of them was always growling. He met him one morning, and said to him, " How are you? " He replied, " Not so well to-day as yesterday; and not near as well yesterday as the day before. And if I don't die of disease pretty soon, I will starve to death." And he said he hurried away from that fellow, and went round the corner and met another neighbour, and said to him, " How are you this morning? " " Ha, ha, never better." " Is your family well? " " Ha, ha, well ! The measles struck us ten days ago, and nine of the children are down with the measles, and it would make a dog laugh to watch my wife out among the speckled children. It is the funniest thing I ever saw."

Once I got hard up and went down and sold the best suit I had to get bread, and I had my shoes half soled, and that night some fellow stole my shoes, and the next morning the snow was ten inches deep, and I got up and looked out of the window, and saw a man on a wagon with no feet, and I said, " I would rather have feet and no shoes than shoes with no feet" I {like the fellow that goes along without growling. This world is an ungrateful world. If there is anything we ought to cultivate to make this world what it ought to be, it is the spirit of gratitude. There is no more commendable spirit in this world than the spirit which thanks God and thanks his fellowmen for the many thousand kindnesses shown him along the way.

Another thing; this world is not what it ought to be, in its financial intercourse. It seems like now every fellow without scruple is after the dollar. The way to hide any deviltry in this world is to cover it over with dollars and cents, and then you can't see any wrong. When times began to tighten up in 1893 plenty of good fellows wanted me to stand for them at the bank. I stood for them. I did not know what it meant, but shucks, I know now. I will venture the assertion that I have paid out forty thou-sand dollars in the last five years, standing for fellows, and now when a fellow comes to me and wants me to stand for him, I say, " Shucks, I am lying down myself; I don't stand for anything." The biggest fool in the country is the fellow who will sign his name to another fellow's notes. You bankers don't act right. If a fellow comes to you, and wants to borrow money, you tell him if he will go and get so and so on his note, you will let him have the money. Why don't you get on the note yourself? You get the interest.

The biggest fool in the United States today is the fellow that dulls his conscience with dollars and cents. This world is in debt. The national, state, the municipal, and individual debt of this country never will be paid. They don't calculate to pay it. They pay the interest until they can not pay it longer, and then they go into bankruptcy, and reorganise; and it is an absolute impossibility for the world to pay its debts; and there ought never to have been a debt incurred. The biggest fool in this country is the man who will go on another fellow's notes. The next biggest fool is the fellow going into debt. It is our imaginary wants which keep us in debt.

Then you step into the church world; and the thing is not moving along like it ought to. We will all admit that. You can abuse the churches and laugh at the preachers, but I want to tell you I have watched the pro-cession move until I know this is true; the best men and women living on this earth, those who are really the salt of the earth, are the faithful men and women who believe the word of God and march to the tune of his grace in the church every day. Suppose you go to St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, and New York, and to every city in the Union, and turn the community over to the gang—uninterrupted, unmolested, and uninfluenced by the good people of the community. It would not be very long before these communities would go to the very bottom of anarchy and ruin. You know I thank God for every churchman in my town. There are some trifling members, but I am talking about the good members. The devil has worried me a heap about the trifling members in the church. One day I was sitting quietly at home talking to my wife. I said, " Wife, I have learned a new trick on the devil." She said, " What is it? " I said, " He has worried me almost to death. He trots out an old hypocrite and says to me, ' What do you think of him?' When he does it, I propose to trot out old Brother Loveless here in town. One of the best old men God ever made, and ask the devil what he thinks of him. And the devil will have to walk off." Whenever the devil trots out a hypocrite, you trot out a first-class man, and the devil." She said, "What is it?" I said, else at once. And if you have not got one, import one. The women are the best part of the church, but the good women spend more for Easter bonnets, and rigging every spring than they give to God throughout the year. They will dress up and rig out in all their Easter style, and go to church, take a front seat, and sing, "Must Jesus bear the cross alone, And all the world go free?

No, there's a cross for every one, And an Easter bonnet for me."

How are you going to save the world with a gang like that? You can't do it. And you, dear old brother, you will sing, "Am I a soldier of the cross ? "

You are no soldier, you are just home guards. You are like the soldier in the midst of the fight, who threw down his gun and ran. His colonel said, " What are you running for? " " Because I can't fly."

Some years ago we were holding a kind of a love feast in a city church in Atlanta, Ga. I was talking on the church as an organised force for God and right. I said, Suppose the church of God was organised like a loco-motive. A locomotive engine is like a pile of organised iron; that pile of scrap iron out there on the ground is unorganised iron. That iron, if you want to move it, you must pick it up on the trucks, roll it into a car, and hitch an engine to the car. See that organised iron. That steam gauge as its finger indicates one hundred and eighty pounds pressure. Touch the throttle and see that pile of organised iron go down the track a mile a minute, pulling its freighted tons. The church is the organised force of God. I said to the congregation, " Each of you get up and say what part of the engine of God's power you would rather be." One got up and said, " I would like to be the driving wheels of God's engine. That is the secret of her speed. They are under the cylinder where the power is locked up."

Another said, " I would like to be the cow-catcher, and run ahead, and keep the track clear."

Another said, " I would like to be the whistle, and sound the praises of God all over the land."

I said to him, " We have got too many whistles now. We don't want any more whistles. The church reminds me of a steamboat with the little engine about four feet long, and every time the whistle blows the boat stopped. When they would blow the whistle the boat could not run, and when it ran, they could not blow."

Another said, " Brother Jones, I would like to be the throttle lever, so that when God put his hand on me, things would move."

And by and by a young fellow, about twenty-six years old, who was a clothing merchant in Atlanta, and one of God's noblemen, got up, and I knew when he stood up he was going to say something. A royal, splendid fellow. I suppose he was worth twenty thousand dollars. The only trouble with him was his stinginess. He was worth twenty thousand dollars, and would not give but fifteen hundred dollars a year to the church. That was all they could get out of him. And he was worth twenty thousand dollars ! The stingy rascal ! I knew he was going to say some-thing. That spring the pastor was taking up a collection, the big, old, rich fellows gave thirty and forty and fifty dollars, and he stood up and said, " I made a donation for Foreign Missions last fall, and I will give five hundred dollars this spring to help the cause." He was a good one—all excepting his stinginess. He said, " Brother Jones, let these other brethren be cow-catchers, and throttle levers, and driving wheels, and whistles. I am willing to be the black coal which is pitched into the furnace, and which is burned up, and which makes the steam to carry on the work."

We have run out of coal. You good old sisters, you kneel down and say, " Oh, Lord, send the fire," and if God would drop a coal of fire on you as big as your finger, you would say, " Ouch, I can't stand it!"

We are making war on saloons. Of course the preachers preach a temperance sermon every year, and this is about the sub-stance of it, " Brethren, wine is a mocker, and strong drink is raging." You can't run the devil out of town with a thing like that. You ought to be loaded up to the muzzle and shell the woods. The day has come for the practical Gospel sermon, and not so much theory. There is a tremendous difference between the absorption of truth, and the application of truth. A fellow has the cramp colic and is tied up in a double bow knot. By and by an old dignified doctor comes in with a can of mustard in one hand, and a dissertation on mustard in the other. He walks up to the bed, and says, " My friend, be quiet about an hour and a half, and let me read you a dissertation on mustard; this mustard grew in the State of Connecticut; it was planted about the first of June and cultivated like potatoes, and vegetables of a like character."

About that time another paroxysm hit the fellow, and he said, " Good Lord, doctor, I don't care how it grew or where; spread some on a rag and put it on me."

It is the application of the thing which does the work, not the dissertation. And it is not the dissertation on truth, but the plain, naked truth, slapped on the consciences of men, that does the work. That is what we want, and that is what the church does not want. I like to see a preacher that nobody can ride. Some of them can be ridden like the darky's old mule.. He drove into town on Saturday evening, driving his old mule to a one-horse wagon. The darkies gathered round him, and they said, " Uncle Mose, have you swapped mules again? " " Yes, and dat am de best mule I ever had. Anybody can drive dat mule. The children can drive him. You may have him if you'll ride him." They said, " Take the harness off him and we'll ride him." They took the mule out of the shafts, and took the harness off of him, and a darky jumped on the mule. But he did not stay very long. And then another, and another tried him, and met a like fate. By and by a lean, tall fellow came up wearing a number fifteen shoe. He got on the mule, and the mule turned his head this way and that way and went off down the road. When it got about six hundred yards, he turned him, and he came lagging back. He said, " Uncle Moses, in justice this mule am mine; but I am not gwine to take de mule. Dar aint no justice in it. When I got on de mule, he turned dis way, and dat way, and he seed my feet, and he thought he was in shafts; he don't know it to dis minute that I have been riding him."

They are riding you preachers, lots of times, when you think you are in shafts. When the preachers give it to you, old brethren, it don't do any good. I feel some-times like doing with the church like an old darky driving along a sandy, level road with an old buggy, to which was hitched a mule. The mule stopped. He got out and tried to lead him, and he would not go. He tried to drive him and he set back. He got out, and got a bunch of fodder, and held it in front of the mule, but he would not budge. Finally, the old darky said, " You old fool mule, you, I'll make you pull." So he piled some straw and brush under the mule, and set it on fire. The mule moved up about four feet, and stopped with the buggy over the fire, and burned it up. That is the way with a good many of you church people. You just can't do any-thing with them.

The saddest phase of our American life is that the good old-fashioned and Holy Ghost revival is played out in our country. I have not seen a Holy Ghost revival in the United States in the last five years. And you have not. We need to get back to them. I will give you an incident illustrating exactly what I mean by bringing this world where it ought to be.

It happened now just about twelve years ago. I got off the train at the Union Station in a city east of here, and four of the preachers met at the depot. They said, " Brother Jones, we meet you, and greet you in the name of our Lord. We have finished the great tabernacle which seats eight thousand people, and we have been holding a meeting there. All the churches and pas-tors have combined for ten nights, and God is with us. And, Brother Jones, God is going to give us the greatest revival you ever witnessed in all your life. I said, " I thank God for news like that." They said, " Brother Jones, we have reserved a suite of rooms in our best hotel for you, or there is a splendid private home that wants you as their guest." I said, " I will let you decide it for me." Then they said, " We will put you at the private home." I got in the carriage with two of those pastors, and we drove out about a mile from the depot in the suburbs, and stopped in front of a splendid home. They walked in with me, and met the wife and mother, and I found her to be one of God's jewels. In a few moments the daughter walked in, and I found out afterwards she was one of the sweetest Christian girls I have ever known. By and by the husband came in. He was a whole-sale dry-goods merchant, and my after-acquaintance told me there was no better, truer man in that great city. The next morning was Sunday, and this man and his wife and daughter went with me to the great tabernacle, and on Monday morning and Monday afternoon they were also there.

Monday night we were sitting at the sup-per table, and everything was nice and pleasant. All at once there was a dull thud, as though some one were falling on the soft carpet in the hall. Instantly one of the liveried servants waiting on the table shot out of the dining-room, and closed the door behind him; and I saw the light go out of the faces of those around the table. Nothing more was said until I left the table, and as I left the mother spoke up and said, " Brother Jones, excuse us, we won't go with you to the services to-night." I went up to my room and got ready, and went down to the meeting. After the meeting was over, I came back and went to bed. The next morning just as I waked up that servant came into my room to see if I needed any-thing. I looked at him, and I said, " Neighbour, what was that disturbance in the hall last night?" He said, " Brother Jones, don't you know about that? " I said, " Nothing at all." He said, "That is the poor, way-ward, wrecked, and ruined boy of this home. He came staggering in last night, and fell in the hall." He said, " Mr. Jones, I don't reckon there is a more depraved or abandoned boy in all the world than that; and he has broken his mother's heart, and the old boss rolls and tosses on his bed and groans through the night ; and that sweet young lady here never goes anywhere. She is heartbroken." And he said, " Mr. Jones, in your meetings around in this country, did you ever hear of such an afflicted family? " I said, " I have seen scores and hundreds of them." He said then, " I have prayed every day to God to save that boy."

I said, " Keep on praying; with him."

That morning when I got up f breakfast table, the mother followed the sitting-room, and said, " Brother 'J I don't know what you have heard about is, but that disturbance last night was poor, wayward, and ruined boy. When he was seventeen years old, a better boy I ne knew. If he had a bad habit we did not know it. We sent him off to college. He came back at the end of four years, graduated in debauchery and ruin. And," she said, " he has been back a year now, and we have done everything that the heart and soul of man can do; but he has gone from bad to worse, and I expect he is the most depraved boy in all this city to-day." She said, " Just one question—in your meetings did you ever see a family so sorely afflicted? " I said, " By the hundreds." She said, " Will God save my boy?" I said, " Let us get right down on our knees, now, here together, and pray that he may." All through the prayer I could hear her fervent " Amen." When we got off our knees, she stood up in front of me, with tears that would not have stained an angel's cheek running down her face, and she said, " Oh, hear that prayer and save my poor said, .' He certainly will, in candid faith and opinion." I said, is that boy?" She said, " He is in next room now, I heard him moving " She said, " You will have to be careful, he is so resentful if you go but him." I tapped on his room door, gad a harsh, rough voice said, " Come in." I was standing before a mirror, brushing is hair, dressed, except his coat and hat. I stepped in I extended my hand and " Young man, I am the guest of this hte. My name is Sam Jones; I thought I would talk to you a little while, if you don't care." He just turned deliberately, put on his coat and hat, and, paying no attention to me, started out by me. I stepped in front of him and said, " Young man, just a minute. I have been on my knees beside that heart-broken mother of yours, down in the sitting-room, as we prayed; and now, young man, listen. Go right downstairs, put your arms around your mother's neck, and say, ` Mother, I have drank my last drop, and debauched my last night. Or else go back to the dresser, pick up that pistol, load it freshly, go downstairs, and push the muzzle against the tender temple of your sweet mother, and pull the trigger, and the angels of God will clap their hands as she falls to the floor, and thank God another angel mother is out of suffering for ever."

He turned his face towards me, and a more debauched face I never saw. He said, " What can I do?" " Surrender your life to God, and be an honour and blessing to this home." He said, " What can a poor dog like me do? " I said, " Surrender to God." He said, " Mr. Jones, I am so tired of this miserable life of mine. I see no hope or chance." I said, " God will save you, and make you an honour to this home." " Oh," he said, " will God have anything to do with a wretch like me? " I said, " Let us get on our knees and ask God about it right away." He dropped on his knees, and I said " Pray." I could hear his sobs. He arose and put his arms around my neck, and said, " Mr. Jones, tell me the truth; is there any hope for a poor dog like me? " I answered him there was. I said, " Don't go out of this room to-day." He said, " If I do not, I'll die." I said, " If you do, you will die. Stay here; I am going to the tabernacle."

I went downstairs, and said, " Mother, go upstairs; your boy is on his knees praying. He has promised me to stay in the room until I get back. You go and stay with him." She looked me in the face and said, " Oh, is God going to hear my prayer? " I said, " He certainly will." She went up those steps like a young girl. When I came back from the services, she was sitting by the lounge stroking his nervous temples with a gentle hand. I walked in and said, " Mother, you can go. I will stay with the young man." I said, " What now, young man? " He said, " Oh, Mr. Jones, nothing but prayer will do a poor miserable creature like me any good." I said, " We will kneel and pray. You pray first." He said, " God won't hear a miserable being like me pray." I said, Pray the best you can." He started in, " Oh, God, for mother's sake have mercy on me. If there is any mercy in heaven let it come to a poor, miserable, ruined dog like me." We got off our knees, and he said, " Mr. Jones, don't trifle with a poor miserable creature like me. Do you think there is any chance for me? " I said, " Of course there is." " Oh," he said, "if God will save me ! "

That night I got up from the supper table and said, " Mother, fix a cup of coffee, and I will take it up to the young man. He don't want any supper. You go on to the services, and I will bring him with me." She said, " Are you going to take care of him there? " I said, " Of course I am."

I carried the cup of coffee to him, and he was so nervous he could not take it in his hand and drink it. I poured it in the saucer and held it to his lips. I said, " Get your hat and we will go to the services." He said, " Are you going to let me go to the services?" I said, " Yes, it is the place for you." He put on his coat, took my arm, and we walked to the tabernacle. I set him about four pews from the front, and all the time I was preaching, he kept his nervous eyes on me, and when I invited the penitents forward, he came along with the others. I walked out to him to encourage him, and he was praying with all his heart. And to make a long story short the third night after that I saw that boy converted from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. It has been twelve years ago, and he has never drank a drop, and he has been a blessing to that home from that day to this, and all through. these meetings he worked with all his might with his old friends and companions. I bade them good-bye when the meeting was over. I have had many a letter from that mother and that young man. Five years had gone by, and I was back in that city for two hours between trains. I got on a street car and ran out to that home. I rang the door bell. The mother being in the hall opened the door, and when I stepped in she looked me full in the face, threw her arms around my neck and said, " Oh, excuse me, sir, but you can never know in this world what you have done for this home, and for my boy. From the day you left us to this hour he has been an angel of life and blessing in this home."

What we need to bring this world back to where it ought to be is simply enough of the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ, in every human heart, to make us true and pure and good. Then we will get the earth where it ought to be. And when we get the earth where it ought to be, it is not far from heaven. Really you can stay right where you are, when you get far enough, and God Almighty will extend the streets of the New Jerusalem, and incorporate you in heaven forever.

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