A. M. HILLS, D. D., LL. D
To the sacred memory of Charles G. Finney, at whose feet we sat and whose voice we heard, Sabbath after Sabbath, during the four formative years of our college course and the equal of whom as an effective ambassador for Christ, after studying preachers for more than half a century, we are free to say we never saw either in America or Europe; and to those who have heard, or may yet hear, the call of God to preach the same soul-winning gospel with the power of the Spirit, sent down from heaven, this treatise on preaching is respectfully dedicated by
PART TWO--PASTORAL THEOLOGY
THE CALL TO THE MINISTRY AND THE PREACHER'S SPIRITUAL LIFE
THE PREACHER'S PRAYER LIFE
THE MINISTER IN HIS STUDY
THE MINISTER'S HEALTH
THE PASTOR IN THE PULPIT
THE PREACHER'S VOICE
THE PREACHER AND THE YOUNG
THE PREACHER AS AN EVANGELIST
THE MINISTER AND REVIVALS
REVIVALS AND AFTER REVIVALS
THE PREACHER'S RELATION TO THE SUNDAY SCHOOL AND THE YOUNG
THE MINISTER IN PASTORAL WORK
SOCIAL LIFE AND HOME LIFE
THE PREACHER AND THE OUTSIDE PUBLIC
HOW PREACHERS ARE SPOILED IN THE MAKING
HOW PREACHERS ARE SPOILED IN THE MAKING (CONTINUED)
DEALING WITH SEEKERS
[This ends this chapter presently; and continues on with book two chapter 14]
PARTS OF THE SERMON
By A. M. Hills
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[pages 100-106 missing]
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Dr. John A. Kern in his noble "Lectures on Homiletics" writes: "Had I occasion to revise all my old sermons, I should wish to give attention chiefly to their conclusions. Here the defects seem to be the gravest, the missed opportunities most numerous. And I have almost always found the sermon handed me for criticism to be similarly defective. Now if, in the act of delivering the sermon, a more forcible conclusion than the one prepared be suggested, make use of it unhesitatingly. Hold yourself free to modify, or even dismiss altogether, what you have already in hand. But have a conclusion; and let it be premeditated. It should be the freest part of the whole sermon; but for this very reason it must be carefully prepared" (Page 344).
Such words from such a master of the art of preaching ought to make a profound impression on anyone young in the ministry, or on anyone who expects to enter it. Let no one, however gifted by nature, be so conceited as to think that he needs no teaching, no instruction, no suggestions from anybody. Exactly the opposite is true. The more gifts God has conferred upon a person, the more important it is that those faculties should be trained, lest the noble treasures should be partially wasted by misuse.
There are manifest reasons why very gifted men often fail of great efficiency and large usefulness in the pulpit. It is quite possible that one reason may be a failure of these truly talented preachers to grip the consciences and move the wills of their audiences by the conclusion of their sermons.
We may say, here, the great thought of the final appeal may be anticipated and partially distributed along through the different parts of the entire sermon and then be summarized at the end with accumulated power.
A young preacher preached in London to as vast congregation on "The Great Day of Atonement." A trained and thoughtful mind listened to him, and thirty years afterward wrote: "I distinctly remember carrying away the ineraseable impression of power that could not be explained, and refused to be measured, power shown in lucid statement, vivid picturing, pungent appeal and red-hot earnestness. . . . The Levitical sacrifices were as real as though offered but yesterday, and their meaning as clear and indisputable as the shining of the August sun; and yet the center of interest was not in the Jewish offerings, but in the needs of the soul. And besides them, the preacher saw nothing except Christ as God's sure remedy for sin. Not for a moment did he lose the grip of his hearer, or forget the listening soul and the present God." What a virile preacher young Spurgeon must have been to make such an impression upon a cultured auditor. And we may be sure at the end he hurled a veritable thunderbolt of truth at the hearts of his audience.
All this is wise sacred oratory. It is dealing with an audience as if you had a passion for their souls, and you were preaching to them as you will wish you had when you come to stand before them at the bar of God.
There are many kinds of appeal that can be made in perfect harmony with the text.
1. One could preach from any one of a multitude of texts about the mercy or mercies of God, as for example: (1) "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions" (Psalm 51:1). (2) "Who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies" (Psalm 103: 4). There is a multitude of such texts. After preaching a sermon from one of them, then do as St. Paul did: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:3).
2. One can preach about the awful perils of breaking the law of God, and the sure judgments that will follow unless they are cancelled and covered by the atoning blood. After this great subject has been set forth, then a conclusion can be made as St. Paul did, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men" (2 Cor. 5:11). And what a persuasive appeal it would be -- one that would appall the heart of a guilty Felix, and make his knees smite together.
That is what the great Jonathan Edwards did when he preached on "Sinners in the hands of an angry God!" and made his conclusions so vivid that his hearers grasped the seats and threw their arms around the pillars that supported the gallery of the church lest they should slip into hell! No wonder a spiritual awakening was started that swept over the English speaking world.
3. You can preach on the goodness of God and there is super-abounding material for such a sermon. You can preach till your hearers will think, "O that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" Then appeal to them as Paul did: "Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance, but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his works . . . -- wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that worketh evil" (Rom. 2:4-9, R.V.).
It is perfectly evident that St. Paul knew how to draw a legitimate conclusion, or make an appropriate appeal vitally related to the subject of discourse. In them all, there was manifest a passion for souls and an unswerving purpose, either to build up saints in the likeness of Christ, or to rescue sinners from a yawning hell.
We may all take lessons from this master preacher. He seemed never to forget what he was in the pulpit for, and what was the great end of his profession. When the Prince of apostles and preachers addressed sinners it was, "Behold now is the acceptable time." "I beseech you as in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God!" When he preached to Christians he held up "Christ in you the hope of glory; whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." The conversion of sinners! the sanctification of believers! The two themes never neglected or forgotten.
We are just now passing through a period when too often contemptible infidels are occupying the chairs in the theological "cemeteries," and are training young preachers to believe in nothing but a monkey ancestry. And so we have a multitude of pulpiteers in our churches who believe in nothing to speak of. They do not believe either in the personality of God or the devil; either in sin, sinners, or salvation. They take the crown of deity from the brow of Christ and reduce Him to the level of a deluded half-insane bastard, denying His miracles, His atonement, His resurrection and ascension. They scout morals as a passing fashion. Their chief employment is to play the part of a pulpit dude and fawn upon Mr. and Mrs. Money-bags and their charming daughters, for the thrift that follows fawning.Their object of worship, like that of the Orientals, is their monkey-ancestry, whom they greatly resemble. "Ye hypocrites, how can ye escape the damnation of hell!" "Whose damnation is just!"
I do not write for these. It would be useless waste of ink. But, to the many souls still left in the ministry who do desire to win souls, we say, "Study the masters, and see how they concluded their sermons."
Here is the conclusion of Spurgeon's sermon on James 4:34: "The thought of death will be one of two things to us; it will be a ghost to haunt us if we remain out of Christ, unreconciled to God and unrenewed in heart. To godless and Christless persons, death will be the king of terrors in prospect and in reality. Ungodly men cannot think of being called away. This morning they feel very uncomfortable while I am treating upon this troublesome subject. I hope they will not soon recover their composure, but will remain uncomfortable till they yield to divine love, and trust in the living Savior. Death is an awful thing to those who have their all in this world. If they could but live here forever, they would be at peace; but it cannot be so. God will not give men an immortality in this life, to spend in disregarding Him. They must die. They may put Christ far from them, but they cannot put death far from them; they may avoid the cross, but they cannot avoid the grave.
"The ungodly may frown upon death because death frowns upon him. Death is the skeleton in his closet; it is the spectre at the foot of his bed; it is the canker of his fairest joy. I would not like to be in such a position. Count me down all the red gold that could buy this round world, yet would I not accept it if I must live in fear of death.
"But death will become another thing to you if you are renewed in heart. To a Christian it is an angel beckoning him onward and upward. It were not worth while to live on earth if this life were not to be crowned by death; I mean by leaving this world to go unto the Father. We are not of those who voyage the sea of this life for the sake of it. We ask not forever to sail over this rough ocean; we long for land. It is our delight to think of the port ahead; our joy to see the snow-white cliffs of our heavenly Albion. We do not desire to live here always. Why should we? Banished from God, liable to sin, subject to temptation, vexed with infirmities, struggling with corruptions. O Lord, what wait we for?
"Believers have everything to gain by dying. 'To die is gain.' We shall lose nothing which will be a loss to us. If one should take from us a jewel, but should give us another a thousand times its value, we should not regret the exchange. We lose this life, let it be such a jewel as you like, but we win the life to come, which is infinitely more precious. Beloved, instead of fearing death, we would be willing rather to depart and be with Christ which is far better. Why should we be unwilling to be glorified? Our departing day is our marriage day. Oh! that the bells would ring it in! It is our homecoming from the school where we have been in training here below. Why are the minutes so slow, the years so long? Let the holidays, the holy days, come soon, when we shall be at home in the Father's house. It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but it very soon will appear, and it will be no mere appearing -- it will be real joy and lasting pleasure, solid, substantial, eternal, like the God who has prepared it for us from of old. It is a blessed thing to be able to go through the world thanking God for this life, but blessing Him yet more that it will land us at His right hand. Death is thus stripped of all dread; the curse is turned into a blessing. At the thought of it I feel ready to join in that rough but sweet verse:
'Since Jesus is mine, I'll not fear undressing,
But gladly put off these garments of day;
To die in the Lord is a covenant blessing
Since Jesus to glory through death led the way.'
"God grant us so to live and die that we may live to die no more, for Christ's sake. Amen."
Spurgeon knew how to close a sermon.
Here is an ending of one of Torrey's sermons. "One night in Chicago, in the Pacific Garden Mission, there came in a poor fellow, a complete physical and moral wreck. He had been in a railroad accident and was a total cripple, helpless on both feet, dragging himself along on crutches. For fourteen years he had been a victim of whisky and alcohol in all its forms, and of opium as well. He was an opium fiend, and an alcoholic fiend. My friend, Colonel Clark, spoke to him and told him the gospel of Jesus Christ, but he refused to believe. But on LaSalle Street, one of our busiest commercial streets, next day Colonel Clark saw this same man dragging himself along on his crutches, and as he got to the entrance of an alleyway Colonel Clark drew him into the alley and said to him, "My friend, Jesus has power to save you," and after talking to him a while, there and then the man got down as best he could on his crutches beside the strong man of God, and put his trust in Jesus Christ. And when that man came out of that alley, he came out a child of God and he is today a preacher of the gospel.
"Thank God for a gospel that can save anybody. You cannot find me a man in all London that Jesus Christ has not power to save if he will only believe on Him. Put your confidence in Him. Will you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ tonight?"
This latter is an appeal by illustration. It was the favorite method of Moody, and the same can be said of Brother Torrey. These men are masters of the art of winning souls, and their methods are by no means to be under-rated or despised. Illustrations from life may be so used as to quicken the imagination, stir the feelings and move the will to holy choice, which is the desired end.
Even Jesus had a conclusion to His sermon on the mount which was skilfully designed to bring men to repentance and life. Just here is where multitudes of ministers utterly fail.
THE MINISTER IN HIS STUDY
"When thou comest, . . . bring the books, but especially the parchments" (2 Tim. 4:13).
St. Paul was now an old man, "ready to be offered up." "The time of his departure was at hand." He was in his prison at Rome. Any day he might be ordered out to his execution. But his precious life might be spared a few months longer. If so, he wanted Mark and Timothy to be with him. "And when thou comest, . . . bring the books, but especially the parchments." It seems, then, that even this inspired apostle, though the best educated man of his day, regarded books and parchments as essential to his highest usefulness and noblest ministry. In the same spirit he wrote to his beloved Timothy to "give attendance to reading, . . . to doctrine" (1 Timothy 4:13).
The closet of prayer has been called the minister's holy of holies; and his study "the holy place," where his mind is trained to keep even step with his Spirit-filled heart. Here he learns the mind of God, gets his messages from on high, has revealed to him the great truths that bring guidance and salvation to his people. "Here the beaten oil is prepared that will send forth a sweet savor in the courts of the Lord." Here indeed he equips himself with the weapons of holy warfare, with which to conquer the powers of darkness and win victories for King Immanuel.
Admitting that the spiritual preparation of the heart by prayer is ever first, yet the training of the mind is vastly important. Here the warrior gets his orders, the ambassador gets his terms, the messenger get his message, the fighter gets his sword. Yea, in the study the slinger gets the missiles with which to down the mailed giants who mock at God and deride His truth and oppose His cause and people.
I. Persistent and perpetual study is absolutely essential to ministerial success. Not even much secret communion with God can alter this fact. Indeed, the neglect of study will in time destroy the relish for secret devotion. The two must be wedded, and cannot be divorced. God puts no premium, either on indolence or ignorance, and He will not let spirituality thrive at the expense of knowledge. Hence, prayer and study must go hand in hand. He who accepts a call to the ministry, therefore, should understand that by that act he dedicates himself to a lifelong studentship, without a college vacation. Death alone can give the graduating diploma.
Any other cause is sure defeat and deserved ruin. To trust in natural ability, or wit or readiness of utterance, or imaginary genius, to the neglect of study and scholarship, is to play the fool and invite the shame and failure that are sure to follow. The Holy Spirit simply will not sanction mental indolence, and endorse the needless ignorance of a minister who, in this age of schools and books and opportunities, is too lazy to use the abundant means of self-culture.
Hence, it will be seen that spirituality and intellectuality, or piety and culture are not necessarily opposed to each other. They ought to be and may be inseparably united. Indeed, in the highest degree they must be united. They were in Moses and Daniel, in St. Paul and St. Augustine, in Melanchthon and Luther, in Sir Isaac Newton and Jonathan Edwards, in John Wesley and John Fletcher, in Daniel Steele and Bishop Foster, and in many another modern saint. The real princes in the kingdom of God, the giants in His Church that leave their shaping hand on the ages that come after them, have two invariable characteristics--great intellectuality and profound piety. Their studentship nurtures their graces into greatness.
Dr. W. T. Hogg writes, "Baxter was one of the holiest of men, yet he was an indefatigable student, a profound scholar, a voluminous writer. He bequeathed to the Church a larger amount of theological literature, as the product of his own labor, than any other English divine. His early education was neglected, and he never received a collegiate training; yet he was one of the most studious and learned of men, as well as one of the holiest divines. He became versed in the pagan theologies and philosophies; he acquainted himself with the speculations of the early fathers; he mastered the scholastic literature of the middle ages, and successfully applied his mind to the conquest of the most subtle metaphysics. Yet in all his study and literary work, his ministerial duties were not neglected, and his spirituality suffered no declension. On the other hand, his literary pursuits ministered to his advancement in holiness and to his ministerial efficiency. And so will it be with every minister who pursues his studies with the right aim and in the right spirit" ("Pastoral Theology," pages 293, 294).
If highly educated ministers are not spiritual (and many are not), it is their own fault, and not the fault of their scholarship. It is their carnal pride of learning, or neglect of prayer, or the rejection of the baptism with the Holy Spirit and sanctification.
We have mentioned Baxter. We think of William Carey, the English cobbler, who probably never darkened a college door in England. He was for the most part self-educated, after having acquired the rudiments of the common school. He worked as a shoemaker until he was twenty-eight years old; preached on Sunday for ten pounds a year; but read, read, read! studied, studied, studied, studied! He was called "a miserable enthusiast" by the chairman of a convention of ministers for suggesting as a subject for discussion, "Is it not our duty to evangelize the heathen nations?" He was the subject of ridicule by the educated clergy of his day, but he persevered. In his thirty-third year he landed in India, November 7, 1793, the first modern English missionary! But he became "the most learned scholar and Bible translator of all the missionaries of Christian history." He labored on eleven grammars, and the translation of the Bible into thirty-six languages of India, and became a prince among the scholars of the ages. When complimented about it in his old age he said, "There is nothing remarkable in it; it has only required perseverance. I have no genius, but I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything."
Then there was Charles Spurgeon, who had an academy course but never went to college. Yet few, if any, English clergymen ever sent more material to the press, or were so much read, or so often quoted. No other man of Christian history ever preached to so many people on one spot of ground as he. But his own private study was his only university, and his professors were the books he read.
It was so with Charles G. Finney, who also never went to college. But he was an incessant student, first of law books, then of the Bible and theology. He read and read, and wrote and wrote, pouring out a golden stream of Christian truth through the religious press for many, many years, and many books and a theology that will live long after him. And with it all he became "the prince of evangelists," the most successful soul-winner of the ages, and a mighty man of faith and prayer.
Every minister owes it to himself to be just such a student as these four we have named. They had the same charge to keep that we have, the same God to glorify, the same responsibility to discharge, the same commission to fulfill. "They magnified their office and made it honorable." They made a noble career for themselves. Why should not we?
Moreover, we owe just such faithful studentship to Him who honored us with our sacred calling. When still only a cobbler pleading for missions to which the ministry and the churches were then dead, William Carey wrote, "A Christian minister is a person who, in a peculiar sense, is not his own; he is the servant of God, and therefore ought to be wholly devoted to Him. By entering on that sacred office he solemnly undertakes to be always engaged as much as possible in the Lord's work, and not to choose his own pleasure, or employment, or pursue the ministry as a something that is to subserve his own ends or interests or as a kind of life-work. He engages to go where God pleases, and to do or endure what He sees fit to command or call him to in the exercise of his function. He virtually bids farewell to his friends, pleasures, and comforts, and stands in readiness to endure the greatest sufferings in the work of his Lord and Master. It is inconsistent for ministers to please themselves with thoughts of a numerous auditory, cordial friends, a civilized country, legal protection, affluence, splendor, or even a competency."
Such a conception of the ministry as that would naturally make any man a student and, if God willed necessary, a missionary. In the early days of Methodism there was a young preacher of gifts who yet did not grow as he ought to have done, nor greatly honor God by bearing much fruit for his Lord. John Wesley was deeply concerned about it and wrote him as follows, "Your talent for preaching does not increase; it is about the same as it was seven years ago; it is lively, but not deep; there is little variety; there is no compass of thought. Reading alone can supply this, with daily meditation and prayer.
"You wrong yourself greatly by omitting this. You can never be a deep preacher without it, any more than you can be a thorough Christian. Oh, begin! Fix on some part of every day for private exercises. You may acquire the taste which you have not. What is tedious first will afterward be pleasant. Whether you like it or not, read and pray daily. It is for your life; there is no other way, else you will be a trifler all your days, and a petty, superficial preacher. Do justice to your own soul; give it time and means to grow; do not starve yourself any longer" (Quoted by Hogg, pages 295, 296).
But there is another evil effect of unstudiousness in a minister which Wesley did not name. It not only starves him, but starves his flock--starves the souls of the church to which he ministers. Jesus' charge to Peter was, "Feed my lambs." "Shepherd my sheep." "Feed my sheep." An unstudious pastor can not long "feed the flock of God" satisfactorily. They want fresh "bread from heaven," and all he is able to give is stale and musty bread, the left-over fragments of other days. A congregation can easily detect when the study is neglected. And, sooner or later, if they are a spiritually self-respecting people, they will resent pastoral indolence, and clamor for a change. If they do not care, then they are all sick from the same disease, struck through and through with spiritual death. This is, oftener than ministers realize, the cause of short pastorates--the frugal diet that unstudious preachers set before their people. Sometimes the people are literally hungering for the bread of life, and the little man who rattles around in the pulpit, but is conspicuous at tea tables and dinner parties, does not know it!
Write it down then as a fact not to be challenged, that a minister must first of all be a real preacher. Horace Greeley, one of America's greatest editors, once said to Dr. Theodore L. Cuyler, one of her greatest preachers, "Mr. B---- is a pretty man, a very pretty man; but he does not study, and no man can ever have permanent power in this country unless he studies." A power with the people seven days in the week and fifty-two weeks in the year, and ten years in succession, does not come without sweat of brain and intense mental application. Superficiality and repetitions and platitudes and goody-goody exclamations, always indications of weakness, can only be avoided by the incessant reading and study which make a full mind.
An empty-headed, pretty, dapper little fox may be a social success for a season; a lodge-joining, wire-pulling, joking mixer may go on for a while without brains or sense; but it takes a real man with trained mind and heart to gather and hold for a generation a congregation of men by the preaching of "Christ and him crucified." There must be a freshness and diversity and vigor and breadth of treatment, and a many-sided variety of thought to avoid monotony and the perpetual riding of fads and hobbies, which can only come by constant mental application. How a minister could do it, week after week, and year after year before the same audience, was to John Bright, the great statesman of England "a perfect mystery." But it must be done, or the minister becomes an acknowledged failure.
II. To do all this reading and study there must be a systematic use of time. One of the best lessons learned in college is the ordering of life. Such a time to rise in the morning, devotions, breakfast, study, Latin, Greek, mathematics, play, mid-day meal, exercise, and so forth. System, system, and "a miser of the minutes." A few years of this changes an ignorant youth into a college graduate. After graduation multitudes throw away this excellent habit; but those who succeed and achieve greatness keep it up through life. There should be a schedule to which a man aims. Of course there may be unexpected interruptions to any plan; but these are the exceptions. The plan should be followed as nearly as possible like following the time table by the conductor of a passenger train.
A student studies most successfully when he applies his mind to any given subject at the same time each day. So will it be with a minister who has system about his work. Men greatly differ in mental and physical characteristics. Each man must learn for himself how to run the most successfully his own machine.
Charles Read, the famous English novelist, thought that a lump of shoemaker's wax that stuck a man to his chair six hours a day was the highest kind of genius. Dr. W. T. Hogg says this, "As a general rule the pastor should spend about five hours a day in his study during five days in the week. And if he be an industrious man he should set apart either his Mondays or his Saturdays for mental and bodily rest. By scrupulously observing one day in seven as a day of rest, he will gain time rather than lose it, and will better preserve his health and strength."
Dr. Murphy advises the following order of pastoral work, allowing the pastor in his study from eight o'clock till two, with a recess of one hour; one hour of devotion before breakfast; five hours of study; two hours and a half of visiting; and in the evening one hour and a half for reading and correspondence--ten hours a day for these various duties of the office. (Hogg, "Pastoral Theology," page 303).
Dr. R. W. Dale of Birmingham, England, had to "harden his heart" and during the morning hours close his study obdurately against intrusion as he grew older. Phillips Brooks tells us "his hours were regular in the later years." Dr. R. S. Storrs of Brooklyn, New York, kept his study hours in the morning "as impregnable as Gibraltar." His ministry lasted over a half century and fifty-four years of it over one church. That meant study and ability and wise behavior.
Chalmers' plan was to give nine to one to his study; one to four-thirty for recreation; four-thirty to six for dinner; six to eight for visiting; eight to eleven for letters and for literature.
Dr. Theodore L. Cuyler: "Study your Bible and other good books in the morning, the door plates of your people in the afternoon." Whatever order you may determine upon, remember, "In the morning--solitude" (Pythagoras).
Dr. Pattison in Pastoral Theology writes, "The morning for study; the afternoon for visiting; the evening for services and home."
Dr. Hogg adds: "But studying late at night should be conscientiously avoided by every minister of the gospel" (page 303). To which I say "Amen and amen." An excited brain unfits a man for sleep, ruins his nerves, breaks down his health and shortens his life.
Dr. Albert Barnes wrote his noble commentaries on the Bible before breakfast, beginning at five a. m. But he went to bed as a man should, and got a good night's rest, and lived to a ripe old age.
How much nobler to be such a minister, a student and a worker, leaving after you some monument of your life, than to be a disgrace to your profession, a ministerial lounger and idler, chatting, laughing, gossiping your life away, and turning over to your Lord at last the unused talent, a barren life! in the place of "much fruit," "nothing but leaves!"
What He Shall Study: 2 Timothy 2: 15, 16, R. V., "Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed handling aright the word of truth, but shun profane babblings."
The great apostle was writing a pastoral epistle to his dearest and most promising young preacher. Four points are prominent in the few words we have quoted:
1. Study God's Word.
2. Get God's approbation in the use you make of it.
3. Expound it correctly in your preaching.
4. Shun the profane babblings of false teachers.
This is the life-long work of a minister compressed into four lines.
What then shall a minister occupy his mind with in his study?
I. We say, without the slightest mental reservation: The minister's chief study should be the Word of God, the Holy Bible. This is the preacher's Book of all books: his authoritative text Book on divine law, on holy living, on the needs of man; his only guide to salvation; his text book in theology; his fountain of truth for preaching. In short, it is the one inspired Book to live by, and to die by, the infallible guide to heaven.
II. There are many ways to study the Bible:
1. There is the old-fashioned way of reading it through by course, again and again.
2. You can study it with the aid of commentaries by books.
3. You can study it by words and phrases, with the help of a concordance.
4. You can study it doctrinally, by the aid of systematic theologies. As God's nature and attributes; the deity of Christ; the trinity; the atonement; justification; sanctification; inspiration of Scripture, etc. It would be well to unite the first method with any or all the others. A continual, daily reading of the Bible by course is most profitable, whatever other method you may be pursuing. Thus your mental being will be filled, saturated with the language, thought and spirit of the Book. It will become the very atmosphere of your life. "The minister who has laid hold, as a living fact, of this one thought of the pre-eminent importance of being deeply imbued, both with the letter and the Spirit of the Word of God, is already mighty for his work. Look at the Bible. The pastor has to do with it at every point of his work. He must come to it in everything he undertakes. He is nothing without it. It is all in all to him in his office. It is more to him than any--than all--other books that were ever penned. The Bible contains his credentials as an ambassador of Jesus Christ. It is the message which he is appointed to reiterate with all fervor to his fellow-men. It is the treasury from which he can ever draw the riches of divine truth. It is the Urim and Thummim to which he has constant access, and from which he can learn the mind of Jehovah with all clearness. It is the audience chamber where he will be received into the presence of the Lord and hear words of more than earthly wisdom. It is the armory from which he can be clothed with the panoply of salvation. It is the sword of the Spirit before which no enemy can possibly stand. It is his book of instructions wherein the great duties of his office are clearly defined. The chief rules of his sacred art are here. There is nothing which it is essential for him to know but is revealed here, either in express terms, or in inferences which are easily studied out. It is a mine of sacred wealth for the clergyman, the abundance of which he can never exhaust. The deeper he goes, the richer and more unbounded will its treasures appear" (Dr. Thomas Murphy, "Pastoral Theology," pp. 112-113).
"The words of Scripture are the words of God, and are therefore suited in the highest degree to awaken the consciences of men. He who quotes them readily and freely in his public discourses is generally considered by his hearers as speaking with authority from God, and besides this a divine unction and power peculiarly attends truly scriptural preaching." "The liveliest preachers," says Dr. J. W. Alexander, "are those who are most familiar with the Bible without note or comment, and we frequently find them among men who have had no education better than that of the common school. It was this which gave such animation to the vivid books and discourses of the Puritans."
"You will find," says Bishop Simpson, "that men the most eminent for usefulness, have been the closest students of the divine Word. Some of them knew but little else. Out of the Bible and his own experience Bunyan drew the wonderful story of the 'Pilgrim's Progress,' which has probably a hundred readers, where the most eloquent sermons that the greatest inspired orator ever uttered has but one. The secret is, he used God's Word more than his own" ("Hogg's Pastoral Theology," pp. 308-309).
"Melanchthon, one of the most learned, as well as one of the most holy and spiritual divines of the Reformation period, and one of its greatest theologians, recommended as the first requisite to the study of theology, a familiarity with the text of the sacred Scriptures, and in order to this that they should be read daily, both morning and evening."
Martin Luther said, "The Bible is the only book, to which all the books in the world are but waste paper." Daniel Webster, our immortal statesman and expounder of the Constitution, wrote, "The older I grow and the more I read the Holy Scriptures, the more reverence I have for them, and the more convinced I am that they are not only the best guide for the conduct of this life, but the foundation of all our hope respecting a future state of existence."
John Milton, England's great poet and statesman wrote, "There are no songs comparable to the songs of Zion, no orations equal to those of the prophets, and no politics like those which the Scriptures teach."
Canon Farrar, the eloquent chaplain of queen Victoria, wrote, "Its words speak to the ear and heart as no other music will, even after wild and sinful lives, for in the Holy Scriptures you find the secrets of eternal life, and 'they are they that testify' of Jesus Christ."
Chauncey M. Depew, the famous lawyer, U. S. senator, and railroad president, said in a speech before the Nineteenth Century Club of New York, "There is no liberty that lasts in the world, and there is no government which has liberty in it that lasts, that does not recognize the Bible. I say now that the Christian faith of my mother is good enough for me."
Sir Matthew Hale, Chief Justice of England, said, "There is no book like the Bible, for excellent learning, wisdom and use."
Edmund Burke, one of England's immortal statesmen, said, "I have read the Bible morning, noon and night, and am a happier and better man for such reading."
Now if this one Book makes such an impression upon the kings and princes of the earth, in all walks of life, surely it is worth while for the ministry to study it with a prayerful interest and teachable spirit so long as they live. It is peculiarly the preacher's book because, as someone has written, "This Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of the sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword, and the Christian's charter. Here heaven is opened, and the gates of hell disclosed, Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it frequently, regularly, thoughtfully, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a river of pleasure, a paradise of glory. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and condemns all who make light of, or trifle with its sacred contents."
The famous Dr. Wilfred T. Grenfell, an Oxford man, says, "A thorough knowledge of the Bible is a better education than a full university course without it."
THE MINISTER'S HEALTH
Beloved, I pray that in all things thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth (3 John 2, R. V.). The aged apostle was concerned about his beloved convert's health of body, as well as health of soul. God has a sanctifying blessing that provides for "spirit, soul, and body"making all holy. Holiness means wholeness, health. We have called attention to the minister's spiritual nature, and to his mind. Now we would consider the importance and conditions of his health.
I. Christianity does not neglect the body; for "it is the temple of the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 6:19). Piety is not a synonym for invalidism. We have a call to "be perfect," and it means vastly more than many suppose. The body is the home of the soul; and man is wondrously influenced by his dwelling place. We are not shut up to the dreary alternative of being a puny saint, or a robust sinner, a lean wise man or a fat fool. A call to preach is a call to be at our best in the whole range of our being, a standing illustration of what the religion of Christ can make of a man whom God indwells.
We are to represent Christ to a sick and dying humanity, struck through and through with diseases which sin has occasioned. Who can picture Christ as an invalid? His perfect health suggested hope and healing in every invalid's chamber, and so should we. Thus the preacher's body, as well as his soul, is a factor of success in all his ministrations.
Dr. Kern writes: "Ten thousand sermons every Sunday are made feeble by feeble nerves, or heavy by heavy limbs, or repellant by acidity of the stomach. Ten thousand are sweetened and vivified by the pure tone of physical vitality in the preacher. Health is that physical state in which all the organs harmoniously perform their functions. Above all else it is nervous energy, to be prodigal of which is suicidal. Health is painlessness and vitality. We want enough of it not simply to keep us off the sick list, but to make it a joy to live," and to make us an inspiration and an invigoration to others.
What servants God had in the olden days! Moses, inured by forty years of toil in the desert, and called at eighty to shepherd the people of God forty years in the wilderness and bear their chidings and complaints and sins, and at 120 years still a giant warrior for God, "with eye undimmed and natural force unabated!" And there was Samuel, guiding the destinies of a nation from boyhood to ripe old age, carrying the burden of their backslidings and sins on his mind and heart through all the years. And what shall we say of Elijah and Jeremiah and Danielheroes allincarnations of piety and endurance, who could carry colossal burdens of state, and outlive kings and dynasties and empires.
Jesus might have chosen a dozen soft-palmed, lily-fingered sons of priests to be His board of apostles. But, no! He went down to the sea and called some brawny-muscled, horny handed fishermen, used to pulling the oars in the teeth of the storms on Gennesaret. The work of planting the kingdom of God in that first century was too stern a task for soft-handed gentlemen. It was broad-chested, deep-voiced men that Jesus wanted, who could face a stormy Jerusalem mob of ten thousand men and win three thousand or five thousand converts for Christ. It took strength of mind and heart and lungs to win the battles of the Lord in those strenuous times, and then, as always, God had His picked men.
We think of St. Paul as a weak, sickly man. Doubtless he was small like Sir Isaac Newton and John Wesley; and he had "a thorn in the flesh," blear eyes, or whatever it was; but that he was a delicate invalid there is overwhelming evidence against it. Invalids could not say what he said of himself or endure what he endured. "Are they ministers of Christ? I am more: in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews, five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often; in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches." This was vastly more than any invalid could endure, and he still had enough vitality left to trudge along the long Appian Way to Rome with fire in his eye and conquest in his soul, and make himself such a terror to evil doers that the devil had to kill him to get rid of his all-conquering personality.
Think of Luther, whose words were half battles, who trod the field of his age like a mailed giant, the sound of whose footfall was heard in Rome, and made popes tremble! No invalid was he. The magnetic influence of his masterful life is still marching on like an army with banners.
Think of Wesley who, after a life of incredible activity and achievement, could write in his journal on his eighty-first birthday that he feels "no such thing as weariness either in traveling or preaching, and that he is able to write sermons as readily as he ever could, and ascribing it in part to his having had so little pain in his life, and having never lost a night's sleep, sick or well, on land or sea, since he was born!" We have already observed that Wesley was below medium size, about five feet, five inches in height; but he had physique enough and voice enough to preach to ten, twenty, even thirty thousand people in the open field, and make them hear. Certainly this is not the task of an invalid.
Fifty-six years ago Henry Ward Beecher, lecturing to the theological students of Yale, said to us, "Who are the men that move the crowdmen after the pattern of Whitefield, what are they? They are almost always men of large physical development, men of strong digestive powers, and whose lungs have great aerating capacity. They are men of great vitality and recuperative force. They are catapults, before whom men go down." Beecher himself was a splendid illustration of what he said to us, and showed the value of perfect, vigorous health. Phillips Brooks and Dr. Richard Storrs, and Talmage, Dr. Joseph Parker of London, and Dwight L. Moodyall coritemporaries of Beecher, were of this class of menfull of radiant health and glowing with vital power and magnetic force. Professor Drummond thought Moody was the greatest human he had ever known.
II. Notice why there is such an intimate connection between good health and ministerial success.
1. The draft on the physical forces of a pulpit orator are greater than most people can realize. I well remember that the most effective preacher in New Haven, when we were in Yale Seminary, could never sleep Sunday night after the strain of his Sunday services. How exhausting this work is, only the initiated can know. Irish Pat, digging in the street, thought "he would like to be a bishop and have a jewel of a job." Pat little realized that the bishop would use up more nervous force making one speech than he would use digging a whole day. Genuine health is a great aid to pulpit oratory, if the preacher expects to have a long ministry, and not be a nervous wreck.
John Angell James, a very worthy English preacher of a past generation, addressing a body of students, named three qualifications for ministerial success, viz., "brains, bowels, and bellows." The brains, by diligent study, and the help of God, could get a message. Bowels (formerly supposed to be the seat of the emotions) would give to the intellectual effort sympathy, pathos and tenderness, without which preaching would not succeed. Bellowslung powerwould produce power of voice and endurance, so supremely important, if one is to be an effective orator.
2. Also, in pastoral workcalling on the sick, praying with the dying, comforting the bereaved and heartbroken, pointing the convicted and the despairing to the only Savior who can save and healhow important it is to carry about in your own person an example of the health and rest, and peace and joy of a great salvation. The holy touch of the pastor's sympathy and love will interpret Christ to them as nothing else will, and, in going, he will leave behind him the consciousness of the divine presence. But he will find that it will tax the strength of the strongest to thus shepherd the flock of God. Yet that is the minister's appointed task and "of all men, he has most need to be strong and cheerful, for on him alone, under God, many a sad life will depend for its brightness, and many a weary heart for its blessedness."
3. The sedentary life of the preacher makes health peculiarly essential. He must necessarily spend much time in confinement, studying and writing; and it all tends to exhaust the physical resources. They must somehow be recuperated, or a breakdown awaits in the near future.
This is especially true of young preachers. One morning a Yale professor told our class that the records of the theological graduates of Yale Seminary, from its beginning, had just been published. They disclosed two striking facts. First, that young ministers for the first few years of their professional life had a larger death rate than the average of men, and larger than any other profession. Second, that after the first few years of ministry were passed successfully, they had a smaller death rate, and a larger prospect of longevity than any other class of men. "The insurance statistics of England and America show practically the same. The clergy stand at the head of the list, and liquor dealers at the bottom" ("Pattison's Pastoral Theology," page 9). Theological students, therefore, and all young clergymen should form correct habits of living and pay special attention to health.
III. How shall this be done?
1. Do the most of the intellectual work in the morning, when the body is rested and the mind is most vigorous, as we have already suggested. Pattison tersely puts it, "Rise, eat, drink, work and sleep as other men do." Erasmus, the greatest scholar of the Reformation, wrote, "Never work at night; it dulls the brain and hurts the health." Here is where multitudes of clergymen sin grievously. They let the golden hours of the morning be frittered away on trifles, and then work late at night when they ought to be asleep, to make up for lost time. Finally, with excited nerves and congested brain and exhausted body, they try to sleep, but obtain only restless, fitful, unsatisfying slumber. Then some resort to opiates to force sleep, a most dangerous expedient. In this direction lies early breakdown, and premature physical collapse.
We know of a minister who once was in the forefront of his profession. But he would carry about with him a sack of the strongest coffee that money could buy, and make for himself cups of coffee as strong as coffee could be made, to keep him awake by the excitement of it while he wrote. In other words he was nightly drunk on coffee, just as others are drunk on liquor. Now for years he has been in an insane asylum, paying the penalty of sinning against his body. No one can defraud nature without paying the price.
2. The preacher must be careful to exercise. It is absolutely essential to health. Just as our youth in the public schools have a recess in the forenoon and in the afternoon for a brief recreation, so the professional man can have Indian clubs and dumbbells, or rubbers to stretch in his study or office to give him a brief relaxation, change and rest. Then God has given humanity Sunday for a day of rest. But Sunday is the minister's hardest day; he should take Monday for his day of recreation instead.
Furthermore, there is the ministerial vacation which our churches more and more recognize as wise and reasonable. This too should be carefully used to increase the stock of reserved vitality, to be drawn upon only in some unexpected time of need. "Husband your vitality," says Pattison, "for the chief thing that has to be done. This is a grace at times exceedingly difficult to practice; yet it is one main secret of continuance."
3. We must eat and drink to live. But it is a very different thing, to live to eat and drink. That is a crime against both body and soul. It is a trite saying that "multitudes dig their graves with their teeth." It would be more truthful to say, "By overeating they prepare the corpses to fill them." We are not to eat or drink merely to tickle a nerve, or gratify a craving. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31).
It is hard to make either a good preacher or a saint out of a dyspeptic. That physical ailment induces morbidness and spiritual depression and clouds the faith. How can a preacher preach a comforting, uplifting, joy-giving, hope-inspiring sermon while the demon of dyspepsia is growling in his stomach? Napoleon said that armies fought on their stomachs, and Cobbett declared that "the seat of civilization is the stomach." Only God can know how much the success of a minister depends upon this central organ. If he does not watch over it with religious care, it will ring the death-knell of his ministry. I am not a doctor of medicine, but fifty-six years in the ministry have taught me some invaluable lessons which I will impart to the future ministers free of charge.
1. Marry a girl who is as good at cooking as at praying; who can superintend the kitchen as wisely as the prayermeeting; who has religion and conscience and sense enough not to prepare stuff to pamper abnormal appetites, but to prepare wholesome food to keep you and your family well. Blessed is the minister who has such a helpmate. He ought to thank God for her every day.
2. You must learn how to run your own machine. What is one man's meat is another man's poison. Your stomach will faithfully send you a warning protest whenever you eat any thing that is not good for you. After one or two such kindly warnings, let that particular article of food severely alone. People talk about "condiments" and "relishes" and "appetizers" and "spiced pickles" and the like. I hate the sight and names of them all. They should all be labeled "stomach destroyers!" Cultivate a simple diet and "plain living and high thinking" and proper exercise and you will never lack for appetite. I have practiced what I am writing for threescore years, and now at the age of eighty, I have an excellent stomach and such an appetite that I scarcely know what to do with it. I am compelled to keep it in check continually, and I have not had a headache that I can remember in twenty-five years.
Dr. R. W. Dale, lecturing to students at Yale, thought he would like to add to the Ten Commandments of Moses, two more: (1) "Eat enough," (2) "Sleep enough." Dr. Pattison would add, (3) "Chew enough." I would suggest (4) "Do not eat too much." To a man with a healthy appetite that is the real peril.
4. As to the amount of sleep necessary, that depends upon the individual. John Wesley said, "Six hours of sleep for a man; seven for a woman; eight for a fool." By long self-study and experiment, I have found that I belong to the fool class and need eight hours, and from observation I have further learned that my class is very, very large. I am persuaded that a multitude of worthy ministers have shortened their lives by aping Wesley. Only a very few can be at their best on six hours of sleep.
5. Fifty-seven years ago I read a book written by Dr. Dio Lewis, who was proprietor of a water cure establishment in Boston. In it he told us that the healthiest way to bathe was to take a hand bath in cold water every morning, and then rub yourself vigorously with a crash towel. I began at once, though it was in cold weather, and with manifest benefit. I have kept it up all these years, and took such a bath this morning. I have such freshness and vigor that strangers guess me to be sixty. I think this, under God, is one of the causes of my unusual preservation. I will add deep breathing as another cause.
6. It is indispensable to good health to keep the liver and eliminating organs active to carry off the poison and waste of the system. It is not uncommon for men of sedentary habits to neglect themselves in this respect, and greatly lessen the number of their days.
7. A newly elected General Superintendent of ours a few years ago died from the poison of a neglected tooth. I sat on the platform last Sunday with two notable preachers. One of them fell helpless on the floor last summer from the poison of teeth and tonsils, and other toxic poison of his system, which nearly ended his life. The other preacher told us that he had not lived but one day in eight months without severe pain, largely from similar causes. These may seem to be trifles to many; but trifles often kill people, and then they are not trifles, but momentous realities.
8. "Lay aside all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." The minister is supposed to be a man peculiarly dedicated to the service of God. What right has such a man to destroy by an abnormal, deleterious habit, his body, the temple of the Holy Spirit?
Probably one hundred thousand ministers in the United States are using tobacco. Yet scientific testimony of the medical profession assures us that the use of tobacco produces nervousness or nervous debility, dyspepsia, disease of the lungs, smokers' sore throat, injuring the voice, the tobacco heart, tobacco blindness, paralysis and smoker's cancer. Tobacco poisons the blood and affects injuriously every particle of the body. In San Francisco one hundred ninety-five cases of leprosy were reported, traceable to cigarettes manufactured by Chinese lepers.
Nobody using tobacco seems to be able to escape this awful scourge. Think of such men as the Emperor Frederick and General U. S. Grant, and Senator Ben Hill, "Georgia's greatest son," all dying within a short time, snatched from life and usefulness by a premature death of horror from a cancer in the mouth. So also died William Ives Buddington, D. D., of Brooklyn, N. Y. Tobacco also killed the great statesman, judge Kelly of Philadelphia, and Schuyler Colfax, vice president of the United States, and Grant's great friend, Senator Matt Carpenter of Wisconsin, who was so eloquent that he was called the Daniel Webster of the West. Someone asked, "What ails Matt Carpenter?" The laconic reply of a physician was, "Oh, he is dying of twenty cigars a day."
The great Charles Spurgeon was an inveterate tobacco user, a smoker. One evening the noble, Spirit-filled Dr. George Pentecost preached in Spurgeon's pulpit, and dared to suggest that it would be well for preachers to give up tobacco for the glory of God. Spurgeon was indignant and after Pentecost's sermon, rose and made light of it, and slapped his coat tails and said, "I am going home and smoke a good cigar for the glory of God." What a fool the devil made of that great man. In process of time the doctors told him he must stop smoking or die. He wouldn't stop and did die fifteen or twenty years before his time. And that foolish remark was caught up by the devil, printed on slips of paper and circulated by the million in the saloons and tobacco shops of the world. Eternity may reveal that that one insane remark did more harm and damned more souls than all that were ever saved by his preaching in all his life. The devil is desperately wicked, but certainly he is no fool. He can down a big preacher and hold a carnival of rejoicing over it in the bottomless pit.
God calls ministers to be safe examples and moral teachers to their generation. Yet many of them are practicing a vice that is sacrificing their Christian influence and leading the youth around them to their ruin. You say you see no harm in the use of tobacco. Tut! You are a suborned witness. Your lust has clouded your judgment, and stupefied your reason and drugged your conscience till you do not want to see, and are wilfully blind to your moral shame. I have seen ignorant sinners, scores and scores of them, after my preaching, come to the altar, and pull out of their pockets their pouches and plugs of tobacco and pipes and give them to me, and then find God. What made them do it? I had not mentioned tobacco in my preaching. What or who had convicted them of the sin of using it? It was the Holy Spirit, and he would convict you too if you did not make yourself deaf to his voice.
Abraham Lincoln, in his immortal speeches against the evils of slavery used to deliver his argument and then say, "Gentlemen, in this great question between right and wrong, between justice and injustice, between liberty and oppression, there is no other side." So I say, the testimony of science and human experience is overwhelmingly against the use of tobacco as an unmitigated evil, a foul blot on Christian civilization, and a curse to the race. Ministers, there is no other side. And when you follow this habit and defend this vice in this enlightened age, you make yourselves a moral stench in the nostrils of thoughtful people, and a holy God. The harm you are doing and the souls you are damning only the judgment can reveal.
9. The American Magazine for March, 1928, has an article on "That Tired Feeling, and How to Get Rid of It"an interview with Dr. Harvey Kellogg of Battle Creek Sanitarium, the greatest in the world. They have treated fifty thousand people for this very ailment. The doctor tells us that few are tired through overwork. Work has nothing to do with chronic weariness, either of body or mind. It is not nervous exhaustion; it is nerve poisoning from self-intoxication of brain cells, caused by bad habits of living.
He tells us that certain foods produce too much acid in the system, acidosis. "If a person has high blood pressure or diseased kidneys he should eat sparingly of foods producing high acidity. And in passing, let me say that a nonacid diet is the best for people in middle lifeit helps to hold old age at bay. Here is a partial list of acid producing food in the order of their acid content: egg yolk, oysters, round beef free from fat, dried beef, salted codfish, chicken, turkey, entire wheat flour, oatmeal.
"Unless these (acid) poisons are rapidly removed they cause exhaustion. In order to prevent the accumulation of acids the blood and tissues are slightly alkaline. It is the function of the kidneys to remove acids and thus maintain this constant alkalinity of the blood stream. The urine of a healthy person should be slightly acid; but I have met with many of these chronically tired persons whose urine was fifty times as acid as it should be. How could they help being tired?
"Now the excess of alkali over acids in the blood is known as the alkaline reserve, and is of vital importance. When there is a normal alkaline reserve, the acid toxins are effectively neutralized; but when the reserve is diminished, we have fatigue, inefficiency, shortness of breath, and other symptoms of autointoxication. The following list of basic or alkaline foods, in the order of their alkaline content should be used freely by persons who desire to maintain a normal chemical balance, and a healthy condition of the system:
Dried Figs Cucumbers
Beans, Dried Lima Potatoes
Beans, Soy Muskmelons
Spinach Sweet Potatoes
Raisins, Dried Orange Juice
Lima Beans, Fresh Cabbage
Rutabagas Peas, Dried
Dates Milk Carrots
"We now know beyond all doubt or controversy, that in order to keep healthy and efficient, and cure that tired feeling, the alkali reserve must at all times be well maintained. Work has little to do with the tired feeling caused by low alkali reserve. Rest may in many cases even make the tired person worse by increasing poor elimination. The tired man's salvation lies in a diet.
"People who are tired because of the flood of acid toxins [poisons] always floating, always circulating in their blood vessels, get high blood pressure through the irritating effects of these poisons on the walls of the blood vessels.
"A diet in which acid-producing foods predominate and neglect of the colon are probably the two greatest causes of premature old age."
Here I put the question, "Would fasting do the tired man any good?"
"No," he replied emphatically. "People who fast are going without food as they think. They are simply living on an exclusive meat diet; namely, their own flesh. The effect of fasting is not to purify the body and blood, but the very opposite."
"But what about people who want to reduce their weight?" "They should eat good full meals like sensible people. Their diet, however, should be low in fats and carbohydrates, but at the same time rich in iron, lime and vitamins. They should eat cereals very sparingly and without sugar or cream. They should eat liberal quantities of spinach, carrots, beets, string beans, cabbage, lettuce, celery, and an abundance of fruits, especially melons. A reducing diet should consist chiefly of bulky foodstuffs that have low nutritive value.
"Lean people who desire to gain weight need the reverse of the reducing diet and often are benefited by specially fattening foods.
"Another potent cause of weariness is intestinal stasis or chronic constipation. By the use of proper foods such as dates, raisins, bulk vegetables and the like, accompanied by proper exercises, a satisfactory elimination can be maintained. "Another thing that would greatly benefit the tired man would be to learn to sit erect in his chair without a support or cushion behind his back, his abdomen drawn in, his shoulders relaxed and his chest well up. Sitting all crumpled up, compressing the vital organs all day, overloading the liver-circulation, and limiting deep breathing, are national sins. I have seen wonderful transformations worked on tired down-and-out men and women, merely by correcting their bad posture.
"Again, factories and offices and homes are often too hot and too dry, and not half ventilated. A temperature of sixty-eight degrees with a humidity of seventy has been found to be the best temperature for both mental and physical work. If this temperature is not comfortable, more clothes are needed. "For tired and nervous people a bath in water from ninety-two to ninety-five degrees, inclusive, is helpful. The water soothes the nerves and washes out the fatigue poisons. For promoting sleep it is the most restful thing known, and is better than any sleeping powder made."
Now I make no apology for making such extended use of this remarkable interview with this famous specialist on health. If my readers do not like it, they may pass it by, and go on with their weariness and aches and pains and physical debauchery, and weakness and be prematurely gathered to their fathers in middle life. But blessed is the man who brings forth fruit in old age; and of whom God says, "With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."
It is easy to tell us that Calvin, Baxter and Tholuck were invalids, and "did their work along the brink of the valley of death," that Bernard of Clairvaugh was the most influential Christian of his day, and yet with health so broken by the asceticism of self-discipline as to be "a wretched invalid all his public life," that Robert Hall "spent most of his life in heroic endurance of disease" and often preached leaning hard against the pulpit to deaden pain; that Fletcher of Madeley was a consumptive; that "Francis Asbury had headaches, toothaches, chills, fevers, and sore throats for his traveling companions;" that "Spurgeon was hardly ever well, and sometimes hobbled in agony to his pulpit." But we answer that each of these men was one in millions in will power and unconquerable determination; and if they could accomplish so much in invalidism, how much more they could have achieved in health! God wants us to yield to Him in consecration and service all our bodily powersall we have and all we are, and all we may become. That is what He called us into being for, that we may serve and glorify Him. People buy automobiles. One person looks after and cares for his. He listens to the sound of the machinery. If any part is not working right, he knows it and cares for it; and that machine will still be valuable after it has rendered a hundred thousand miles of service. Another machine is mismanaged and ruined the first five thousand miles. Ever after it is an old, worn-out machine.
It is so with human bodies. We are the glory of God's creation, "fearfully and wonderfully made"to be indwelt by God himself. Some young men drive their bodies at a killing pace by self-indulgence and are ready for the undertaker's junk heap at twenty. Others worry along and are spent and done at thirty. A few sinners manage to last till forty, and drop into a dishonored grave. But the wise live according to the God-given laws of their being. In food, in sleep, in breathing, in exercise, in all physical and mental and spiritual habits, they strive to honor and observe the laws of God. And God honors them with the blessing of health. They discard late hours. They sleep for recuperation, not for self-indulgence. They conscientiously avoid all manner of dissipation and destructive lawlessness. They eat and drink for the glory of God. Consequently He watches over them for good, and sees to it that their leaf shall not wither, that they shall bear fruit in their season, and whatsoever they do shall prosper.