Joseph McKee.

Responsibility as applied to the professions and callings of daily life. A sermon preached ... in ... Newark, N.J. ... [also a sermon from The American National Preacher v. 30. an address to the young online

. (page 4 of 7)
Online LibraryJoseph McKeeResponsibility as applied to the professions and callings of daily life. A sermon preached ... in ... Newark, N.J. ... [also a sermon from The American National Preacher v. 30. an address to the young → online text (page 4 of 7)
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and fill the habitations of man with plenty and gladness.

Though every man is a teacher to his neighbor, yet it is not the
man that wields the thunderbolts of Sinai as a terrorist, that makes
the profoundest and widest impressions. It is by the exhibition of
a pure Christlike love for man, and for his spiritual interests. It
is by the right culture and reform of our own moral and intellec-
tual natures, by the undimmed beauty of our lives, by infusing
into the thoughts of others aspirations after goodness and heaven,
by scattering around us the seeds of truth and right doing, in the
humble, lowly and reverent trust, the good Husbandman and
Shepherd of Israel will enable us to gather in our sheaves to the
harvests of celestial blessedness with songs of praise and ever-
lasting gladness. This is the kind of teaching that will go down
the deepest into the human heart, and evolve from the most
abandoned materials of humanity, thoughts, desires and hopes,
clothed with celestial beauty. This is the resurrection voice that
will start up earthly and stupid slumbering souls with the vital
forces of the Christian life burning and glowing within.

What is it that has changed the moral aspect of the Christian
world during the last 1800 years ? Not simply the great sacrifice
on Calvary. But the words of surpassing power uttered on the
Mount of Olives — by the banks of the Jordan — by the sea side —
•in the streets of Jerusalem — by the well of Samaria — at the table
of the Pharisee — beneath the sycamore tree at Jericho, and in
that sad hour that preceded the scenes of Gethsemane. It is the
mysterious energy of these words that has wrought such changes
in the moral aspect of the world, and wherever they have been re-


peated, whether on the banks of the Tiber, or of the Thames —
of the Hudson or the Ganges, they have become centres of re-
finement and human progress, and wherever they have been
believed in and obeyed, they have excited a new life, even the life
of God in the soul. And to cherish these thoughts in our inmost
hearts, and to express them truly and lovingly in our actions is
the grand mission of our lives. Wherefore let us see to it, that our
lives are on the side of right, and goodness, and humanity. It
will not do for us to cheer on, and to strengthen by our example
and our influence, some weak brother in the direction of a bad
habit, or of a wrong way of life, and when he falls a victim in
the struggle, to seat ourselves down, and like the old prophet in
the bitterness of unavailing regret over the man we have deceived,
to say, " Alas / my Brother^ And if we are vain, showy, irre-
verent, unworshipful, lovers of pleasure more than we are lovers
of God — liasting after this world's honors as our chief good, we
will have our imitators — the diligent disciples of the same school
of fashion, or frivolousness, or pleasure, to which we belong. So,
too, if we are humane, gentle, spiritual, earnestly, and thoughtfully
seeking after the kingdom of God, and its righteousness — if our
piety be the free, unstudied outgoings of our hearts — zealous, with-
out being fanatical — reverential, without being superstitious —
earnest and constant, without hypocrisy, and guileless, we must
from the law of influences we have thus far endeavored to illus-
trate, make vice abashed in our presence, and the profane, and
the abandoned, though we utter not a word, feel, nay, even
mourn the loss of virtue, for there is in true goodness, an awful-
ness and severity of beauty, which claims even the homage of a
lost archangel. This power of Moral Influences, is a talent en-
trusted to us all. It is this that makes every man his brother's
keeper — every man the guardian and fashioner of his neighbor's
life and manners to a certain extent, and by the right or wrong
use of which, we are instrumental in introducing the kingdom of
light and life, or the kingdom of darkness and death — spreading
around us circles of ever widening, and ever onward influences
for good or for bad — dropping into some soul thoughts that will
send it upward and heavenward, or cause it to gravitate down-
wards, and still downwards into abysses of self-shame and moral

And now in conclusion, I would say to Young Men — to all who
are beginning life's mystic march — you who are to be the ex-
ample and the guides of the generation that is to follow you — tell
me, if the doctrine I have attempted to unfold be true — and no man
can disprove it — are there not grave and weighty responsibilities
resting on you to be virtuous, upright, sober, right-living, and right-
doing men ? The youth of any community express the moral state
of that community, for intelligence, virtue and goodness. If the
heads of families in a community, love order, virtue, piety, and


peace themselves, the youth of the community, generally, will

express it by the sobriety of their lives — by their respect for the
civil and religious institutions of the land, and above all, by their
love of goodness.

Kow, whatever the cast and character of the youth may be,
that are to rise up, when you have ])assed oif from the scene of
action, depends mainly on you. You are to be their instructors,
their guides, their moral and religious keepers. Your piety or
want of piety ; your love of right and goodness, or love of self ;
your sober-mindedness, or your love of irreverent mirth, will
multiply and enlarge itself, and give their moral expression, to the
youth that are to come after you. It rests with you to say what
it will be — whether it will be the expression of moral beauty, or of d
moral uo-liness. That this must be so from the nature of the social .
relations is most plain. I will suppose a case for illustration's sake.
Suppose a young man is a gambler, a dram drinker, or a
swearer. Do not suppose these terms are below the dignity of
the Pulpit ? Whatever concerns the moral welfare of the youth
of a community, that most legitimately belongs to the Preacher,
and it is his right to speak — be silent who may. He is not to be
a mere man-pleaser, but to warn, rebuke, exhort, instruct, and
win to virtue and to God, as God giveth him grace and power.

Well, who made that young man a gambler, a swearer, a
drunkard, or an immoral man ? Most assuredly his guilt is the
result of imitation and companionship. He learned to gamble,
and swear, and drink, and be immoral, just as you learned your
trades and professions,. /rom ot/iers — others who taught him, and
learned him, and cheered him on, by their example, their sneers
at virtue, and piety, and soberness ; their irreverence for the Sab-
bath, for the Scriptures, for the Church, They are just what
their models and teachers have made them. Oh ! better, if a man
has by his influence, his example, or his sneers against virtue and
religion — better, I say, for that man, if he knows of any man
made a gambler, or an intemperate man — made so by his influ-
ence or example, better for him to travel, though it were to the
ends of the earth, upon his bare feet, and beseech him to be a
new man in Christ Jesus, than to meet that man's face in eternity
— a dark soul-ruin, the workmanship of his hands. , ,;,:

Well, indeed, did Paul say to Timothy, " Be thou an example
of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit,
in faith, in purity."

And equally earnest and emphatic are the words of Peter,
" Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims ab-
stain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul, having your
conversation honest among the Gentiles ; that whereas they speak
against you as evil doers, they may by your good works which
they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation." Even
so may it be. Amen.





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Online LibraryJoseph McKeeResponsibility as applied to the professions and callings of daily life. A sermon preached ... in ... Newark, N.J. ... [also a sermon from The American National Preacher v. 30. an address to the young → online text (page 4 of 7)