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 6 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 6 of 7)
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She loses the luxury of the inspirations of Nature and Grace.

Another element is Benevolence. Benevolence is be7ie volens, wishing
well to every creature. It is that feeling of our nature that prompts us
to do good to others. It the sentiment that creates philanthropists — the
Howards, Wilberforces, Caroline Fry's, the Miss Dixes, and the Florence
Nightingales of the world. It was the most conspicuous trait in our
Lord's character. It is among the noblest virtues of Christianity. In
some persons it developes itself into divine proportions. Victor Hugo,

in the Miserahles, represents the good Bishop of D as standing in

his garden wrapped in thought, as he contemplated a most ungainly
spider, and occasionally exclaiming, "Poor thing, it is not your fault."
These words demonstrate the dominant mood of the Bishop's life. They
let you into its most secret workings. They stamp him a guileless Sa-
maritan — heart, hand, voice ; the whole man is consecrated to deeds of
glorious humanheartedness. But if in a man it is a grandly-ennobling
trait, in a woman it is divine. It lifts her into the realm of ministering
angels. Look at her as sister, daughter, wife, mother. How she blesses
the household with her noiseless, loving kindness. She is a daily bene-
diction of gladness to every one of its members.

And this is, indeed, what I would have every young lady of these
classes, if I could. Beauty is good ; learning is good ; youth is good.
But it is only when combined with the womanly virtues I am now speak-
ing of, that youth, beauty or learning possess the power of attracting and
pleasing for any length of time. Without it, learning is pedantry ; beauty
repulsive, and youth wants its magnetism.

Faith is another element. Faith in what? In that which is spiritual,
invisible and everlasting. Faith in God. Without this, life is, at best,
a doubtful possession. Its joys and sorrows are about equal. But faith
in God, and life eternal as the ultimate of one's being, gives to it an
unearthly grandeur. And, indeed, the sorrows of life as well as its joys
are all lessons for this end. They are designed to aid us in this, as one
of the highest of all our spiritual faculties. The old Romans were so
conscious of its value and culture, that they dedicated a temple to Fides.
It is Fides — faith,. between you and us, that constitutes the bond of school-
room happiness. It is Fides — faith binds together the individuals of the
State, and constitutes what we call society. Without it schools, families,
States, Society, would be impossible. It is the cohesion that keeps so-
ciety together. It is the affinity that binds the angels to each other, and
all to God in profound love and obedience. And now, when your

affections are blossoming out into young womanhood, is the rightful
period for its culture,

God, ray dear yonng ladies, is all around us. The trees are His thoughts
materialized. The flowers are His smiles. The earth and the heavens
are His illuminated missals. But it is only the believing soul knows this,
and can say, '•'■My Father made them alV Without this, the outward
world is but a dumb panorama offerees, called Laws of Nature^ and the
inner world a joyless realm. Now is the time, by habit and choice, for
you to make this faith strong and active. Trust in God ; cultivate this
trust. It is better than knowledge ; better than tongues ; tongues shall
cease ; knowledge shall vanish away. But faith abideth. It must abide.
Go where we may, in the infinite and the unknown, the stronger, the
purer, and the more abiding our faith in God, the stronger, purer, and
more lasting our happiness.

I ask of you, then, the culture of a reverential, benevolent and trustful
spirit. I ask this of you not only for your own, but for your country's
sake. Its institutions are based on the virtue and intelligence of its peo-
ple; and you can do much towards the stability of these, its "coignesof
vantage." Much, do I say ; you can do very much. Your words and wishes
ought to be to your brothers as inspirations, and to your country as voices
of wisdom and true patriotism. To whom are the grandest revolutions
iu the history of nations to be traced? By whom did ancient Rome re-
gain her liberties ? By whom was the tyranny of the aristocratic De-
cemviri ended? How did the Plebeans acquire the Consulate? By
Roman women — intelligent women. And when the Volscians came
thundering to the gates of Rome, demanding its surrender, who saved
the city ? It was Veturia and Volumnia, and a procession of Roman
girls. Montesquieu never uttered truer words than these: Upon the
virtue of the women the safety of the State depends. Indeed, as Cicero
has well said, all the higher and purer of our social affections are inclu-
ded in the love of our country. Cari sunt parentes^ carl liberi, propin-
qui^ familiar es: sed omnes omnium caritates jmtria una comp>lexa est.

Let me then urge upon you the love of home and its duties. Be its
light and its ornament. Father, mother, brothers, sisters, your truest,
best, and most abiding friends, next to God, are there. Be each of you
"the morning liglit and the evening star" of your families. Let the
brightness of your smiles gladden all the household.

"We are on the verge of a new epoch of our lives. Before we meet
again, this year will have completed its appointed round. It will be
with the years of the past. And to say truth, the New Year seems to
advance soberly ; perhaps I might say frowningly. What it has in the
deep hidings of Providence for us, for our land and for the world, none


can tell. Almost all nations mark Ihe outgoing of the Old, and the in-
coming of the New Year, with observances of one kind or other. Some
of them are noisy, some of tliem foolish, and some of them serious. The
ancient Britons put out their fires on tlie last day of the year, and kin-
dled them the next day from the fires of the sacred altars. The Mahom-
medans have a strange but impressive tradition, that in the highest heav-
ens there stands a lotus tree, having on it as many names as there are of
people in the world. And on each leaf of that tree, the name of some
man, or woman, or child. Now on a certain Night, an angel shakes that
tree, and the leaves having the names of all who shall die that year,
shrivel up, wither, and drop off. It is, indeed, a tradition, a fable, but
it is a most impressive fable. The Mahommedans observe that' night
with great seriousness.

AVe believe in no such tree. But we do believe in the Lamb's Book
of Life. May our names be written on its leaves ; and for this end, let
us all, scholars and teachers, cultivate a reverent, benevolent, and trust-
ful spirit, as mental and spiritual habits.



My Dear Young Friends :

Deeply sensible of the great kindness which prompted your
spontaneous offering to the memory of the lamented dead, I have longed
to make some adequate resjjonse. But the impossibility of seeing each
of you fermnally^ and the inadequacy of words, even in a personal inter-
view, to express the gratitude I shall always cherish, has suggested to me
the idea of printing, for your private use, Mr. McKee's last Lecture to
the First Class, on the closing day of school, the third of last July.

Last things are precious, however ordinary or trivial in themselves.
Therefore I believe it will be as gratifying to you to receive, as to me to
offer, in a jDerraanent form, this memento of your last day at school ; this
last relic of the living mind and heart of one whose memory you honor,
and wish to perpetuate, as that of a cultivated scholar, a sincere Christ-
ian, and an earnest and devoted teacher and friend of the young.

On the receipt of your favor, I forwarded my grateful acknowledge-
ments through your Committee ; but owing to the inconvenience of sub-
mitting one communication to the address of so many, it has been sug-
gested that the letter of the Committee, with my response subjoined,
should accompany this address, either as preface or appendix. I there-
fore cheerfully add them, hoping those few leaves may be to us all a
memory-mark of pleasant days, in which our mutual labor, as teachers
and scholars, was cheered by his living presence in our midst as our
Mentor and guide. Labor and Duty still remain to us below. Fruition
above is his ; and the illusions of Youth and Hope for the Future are
yet yours. For me, also remain the sad joys of memory and retrospec-
tion. These, with mental occupation, and resignation to the will of God,
must be my solace.

May I beg you each to accept a copy of the ])est photographic impres-
sion I have been able to secure (though still very unsatisfactory) of that
dear familiar face — so rayonnante witli mind, and thought, and genial
feeling, that even marked irregularities of feature could not destroy, to
us, its pleasant and attractive beauty.


If any aijology be needed for the unfinislied character of this address,
considered merely as a literary essay, I shall best make it by saying to
you, that its clear and truthful thoughts are diamonds in the rough ; that
it was written in great haste and in much physical exhaustion, during
the last week of school, and was never amended or transcribed— the
original manuscript wliich was read to you being so illegible that the
prmter could not decipher it, until after my transcription for his use. I
have not dared the sacrilege of changing even a misplaced word, or some
inelegant vernacular expressions which his correct and refined taste
would never have tolerated had it been written for any other use than
that of a common familiar address, such as you were often accustomed to

It was the last manuscript he ever wrote, except a short funeral address
delivered the day before he was attacked by mortal sickness. That was
the preparation for his own burial ; and as I have often read and re-read
it since that time, its solemn words seem almost prophetic of the coming
event, which was even then casting its awful shadow before.

" In Cmlo quies,'''' was his favorite motto, and dare we repine because
the weary soul rests — nay, better still, rejoices and exults in tireless ac-
tion ? May the ministry of the Blessed Spirits, emancixjated, who go
forth on errands of mercy, be ours^ while we a little longer wait ; going
often like Mary to the sepulchre to weep there, and repeat our " requi-
escat in pace'''' over that sacred dust.

Accept, my dear young friends, my cordial thanks, with grateful aflfec-
tion ; and believe me ever

Devotedly Yours,

E. D. W. McKEE.

Newark, February 2d, 1864,


Dear Mrs. McKee :

The Puijils of your beloved husband, from the affection
they cherish toward his memory, have united to place a monument over
his grave. For this end we would bring to-day to yourself the sum
which we have collected, as the heartfelt offering of us all. For this
pm-pose we have deposited in the Savings Bank of this city, through Mr.
Peter S. Dm-yee, subject to your direction, the sum of four hundred and
sixty-six dollars.

The design and style of the monument we cannot of course assume,
and therefore would leave that in your own hands.

"We trust, our Dear Teacher, that you will accept our gift and apply it
to this puqjose. The sad loss which came so bitterly to you, brought
sorrow to many hearts. There were ties of affection snapped by the
hand of death, whose number may have carried surprise to your heart,
mingled with a sad pleasure. But our love we trust Mr. McKee himself
knew, and it will therefore be but a feeble manifestation of our feeling
as we offer this tribute of our friendship. We know it will not honor
him, but it will be to us a satisfaction and a joy. Such may it be to you.
The cold marl)le will but faintly exj^ress the warmth of our love to the
Friend who guided us so faithfully through the paths of earthly wisdom,
striving always to point us to the fear of the Lord, as its highest end.

But it may serve to win from the stranger " the passing tribute of a
sigh, " as it speaks of one who lived for Christ, and likt his Master made
this world iettei' Ijy his presence and teaching.

And it will mark the spot where sleeps the dust of him whose counsels
will never be forgotten, and whose prayers will, we trust, l^e answered in
our lives here and hereafter.

With our warmest sympathy and love, we are yours affectionately.

Committee representing One Hundred and Two of Mr. McKee's Pupils.

Newark, Dec. 18th, 1863.

My Dear Young Friends—

Beloved Pupils : In my lieart of hearts I embrace you all.
I cannot frame in words, or in any customary form of thanks, an ex-
pression of what I feel and what I would fain say to you each and all,
on the receipt last Saturday evening, through the kindness of Mr.
Duryee, of your tender and generous tribute to the cherished memory of
my beloved dead.

Did propriety admit, I would gladly be silent^ and trust the quick in-
stincts of your young and generous hearts to imagine all I feel on the
receipt of this new token of your sympathetic kmdness, and to believe
that from the depths of a full and grateful heart I thank you all. But
it must not be so. I must speak for him whose earthly lips are sealed.
You, my dear girls, appreciated him, for you learned from his daily teach-
ings and example the depth, sensibility and warmth of his noble and
generous nature ; and none can better comprehend than yourselves how
his whole heart would have melted into tenderness and grtititude could
he have known of this touching testimonial of your heartfelt love and

And does he not ? It is perhaps wrong and unwise to indulge
one's self, as I often do, in thinking over all the possibilities of our
future Ijeing, in the vaiu attempt to conjecture the where and the how
of the present existence of that dear departed one who was only last year
living and toiling in our midst ; for we l:now., that the " dead icho die in
the Lord are Messed ;^'' that '■'• they rest from tJieir lahors, and their works
do follow them.'''' His citizenship was in Heaven, even while he yet lived
and labored with "us on the earth.

It is enough that we are assured of this ; yet we cannot feel it wrong
sometimes to wish — nay even to fray., that novj and there., where he rejoices
with joy unspeakable, he may be permitted to know how his memory
is cherished as the dearest recollection of the fast and the sweetest
solace of my future life, and to send back sometimes over the deep gulf
of separation, which divides that land from ours., a tender and pitying
recollection towards us who remain. Oh ! that he might hear you say in
the letter which accompanies this free-will offering of your affectionate
hearts — " It will marh the s^iot ichere sleeps the dust of him whose counsels
will never he forgotten., and ichose prayers tcill, we trust, he answered in our
lives here and hereafter. " You all remember how often it was the burden
of his simple and sincere prayer at our morning devotions, that when we,
your teachers, in the order of Nature should have gone the way of all the
earth, the youth who daily assemble in these rooms for instruction may
grow ui> a generation wiser, better, and more accomi)lished in all the
virtues, proi^rieties and graces of the Christian life than their teachers are.

Behold ! in the spirit which prompted this oflfering to his memory as a
Chiistiau teacher, the fulfillment of his oft-repeated prayer.

With what tender sadness — yet with what solemn joy — will your steps,
like mine, in the pleasant spring-time, seek that '■'■cool quiet nooh on the
banls of the running stream'''' — and that cold monumental marble, will it
not be to us instinct with life and feeling and fondest memories ? like
the stone which Jacob reared when he awoke, and was afraid^ and said
" how dreadful is this 2)lace ;'''' and yet it had been a Bethel to his soul,
where with unsealed spiiitual vision, he had seen the angels of God
ascending and descending.

Again, my dear young friends, from the bottom of my heart I thank
you. More even than by your generous oflferuig for his tomb is my saa
heart rejoiced by the truthful and unbiassed testimony you bear to his
useful Chi-istian life, when you say " Ee lived for Christ, and like his
Master made the icorld letter l>y his j^resence and his teaching. "

Permit me to say to you here, what I would say to myself also : Let
not our lament for the loved and the lost end only in the idle expression
of sentimental regret.

The inspii-ation of that life and example should rather give us strength
and courage for earnest Christian worTc.

That the sacred law of Duty and active usefulness, in the several
spheres you may hereafter be called to fill, may be the chosen rule of
yoiu- future lives, is the sincere wish and earnest prayer of your

Devoted Teacher and Friend,

E. D. W. McKEE.
Newark, Dec. 24th, 18G3.




puhs^^ ^itii^tf miUuxh, mtki MtxM^,

JULY 3ci, ISeS.

There are two periods in tlie academic life of every young lady of
deeper meaning than as a general fact she realizes. The one is the day
when she enters on her studies preparatory to finishing her school-room
education : the other is the day she leaves school, emancipated from
books and lessons and academic restraints.

During her academic term she is expected to l)e docile, industrious
and womanly — improving, disciiilining and widening her moral, intel-
lectual and emotional self, according to the great laws of Right, and
Duty, and Truth, fundamental and obligatory over us all.

If she obey these laws, the result is x>rogress, self-respect and a high
estimate of her character by her teachers and classmates. If she neglect
or disobey them, she does not stand simply where she commenced the
year. She retrogrades, she stunts, she dwarfs herself, morally and every
way. Nor is that all. She stunts and dwarfs others. The tendency is
socially to make others like herself. Hence when the young stranger
enters the class-room for the fu'st time, the question naturally sjirings to
the lips of the teachers, " WhMt will this young lady he during her school-
life .?"

And the other question springs equally to the lips, as her teacher j)arts
with her when she closes her school-room duties — What is ^he influence
of this young woman to he upon society as a woman ?

Now, while I trust your stations in after life will rank high ; still, I
hope most earnestly, if God gives you all length of days, you will be


women of large influence — and that for good. I recollect being struck
with the remark of an excellent and good man, " Ood said he has sent us
into this world for grand ends^ Assviredly He has ; and one of those
ends is, to grow good and to do good.

Our ranh in the world is of unutterably less importance than our influ-
ence in it. It is not a woman's jDOsition in society that lives. That dies
with the woman. The adventitious accidents of birth, wealth, and the
like, made it. But her influence lives. It multiplies itself, and is
worked up for good or ill in the texture of human society, long after she
is dead. Every day's school-room experience illustrates the philosophy
of tliis truth.

There is a constant and mutual attraction and repulsion of moral forces
going on in all schools — invisible, it is true, as the forces presiding over
chemical phenomena, but equally as definite and energetic — moulding
and shaping your thoughts, and it may be the destiny of many here and
hereafter. One idler makes another idler. One sarcastic or affected
youth makes another sarcastic and afiected. One disorderly scholar
makes another disorderly scholar. And conversely, one orderly and in-
dustrious scholar makes another.

Each, somehow or other, will make her own moral like. It is this
which invests character — all character — with such serious significance.

Now, it is a bitter thought to live for no grand end. It is a bitter
thought to rank as a painted 2»iP2^et in the great human family. But it
is a bitterer thought still to act and do so, as to mar the moral loveli-
ness of another.

The bitterness of wormwood is, to a sensitive mind, nothing to the
bitterness of the feeling which comisels one to say " / have lived uselessly.
I have lived — but not iciselyy You are indeed too young to know anything
of the bitterness springing out of misimproved time. The romance of
Youth and Ilojoe is so joyous, you cannot suppose such an experience
ever possible in your case. You say, I have learned the lessons assigned
me as well as I could. I have done all I wished. Indeed, I have done
all that I ought reasonably to be expected to have done ; or as I have
sometimes heard school girls colloquially phrase it — as well as the rest of
the girls.

But, young ladies, (and I address myself now chiefly to the Fii'st Class,)
I hope you do not hold any low or unworthy views of your duties as
scholars and learners. Let me tlien ask you, what ought to be expected
of you ? What ought you to aim at yourselves — especially those of you
about to be emancipated from school-room duty ? I take it you have all
reached that period of young womanhood when you can feel seriously

your relations both to the busy world around you, and to the sphitual
world above you. Hoio will you live ? For what will you live ? How
and in what dii-ection are your endeavors to be put forth ? None of you,
I trust, are to turn out Miss Flora MacFlimseys. The foundation of true
scholarshii) you have laid, will I hope forbid that. Let me then say to
you, what I think your chief aim, your highest asiju-ation, should be. It is
all shut up in that one word ^iseful. The grandest and most practical
lesson man or woman can learii in this world is to be useful. It was one
of the characteristics of the noisiest and purest beings that has ever ap-
peared in om" world. He went about doing good. And it is really won-
derful how early this feeling — this wish — developes itself in a happUy
constituted child. I love to hear a child say, mamma may I help you ?
Shall I bring you this ? This thoughtfulness for another on whom she
sees the cares and responsibilities of the house rest, is exceedingly beau-
tiful in a child towards anybody, but especially towards father and
mother. It is a natural desire, it is an instinct ; and in children it should
be encouraged and nurtured into a Jtahit, and grow with their growth.
Use ! Use ! Use ! It is the end of study, of action, of life. Well done
good and faithful servant, is pronounced of use — the right use of
talents, or time, or rank. It is the capital on which we begin The Life
Beyond. All of good and peace and blessedness hereafter, is but the
outgrowth of use here, taking that word in its highest and widest sense.
During yom- regular attendance as scholars, your duties were sijecific
and limited. They were prescribed to you daily. They were assigned
you as disciplinary and preparatory efforts, fitting you for the future that
is before you. They were designed to call out your powers of patient
and continuous attention, and to accustom you to diligent and docile

But now your time is to be your own. You are to be mistresses of
yom'selves. What are you going to do ? What are you going to set
yourselves about ? Life is seiious. Woman's lot is on you ; and you
must prepare yourselves for woman's duties.

It is a woman's nature you arc to strive to adorn by womanly virtues
and accomplishments. What are those virtues and accomplishments ?
I will endeavor to answer this briefly ; and

First. I say they are domestic; emphatically so. The old Greeks
sculptured on the tombs of the women who had distinguished them-
selves for virtue and industry, an owl, a muzzle, and a j^air of reins ; thus
signifying that a woman's best qualities are watchfulness, silence, and
l)recision in guiding her domestic affairs. This was regarded as her
rightful sphere of action till the middle of the fifteenth century. Since


then she has had her full share in all the social and intellectual improve-
ments of the age.

And in our own day, we find distinguished women as doctors, minis-
ters and public speakers, and filling oflBces of trust and power heretofore
held by the stronger sex.

Now I cannot but confess I thmk all such attempts to enter public life

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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 6 of 7)