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that thou wilt comfort them in any trial which may come upon them.
Be near to any, we beseech of thee, who are sitting in darkness, and in great trouble. May the Lord be their counsellor. And graut that there may be for them, not day and night, but perpetual day; for where thou art no darkness can dwell. Where thou art there can be no weakness. Where thou art is peace which the world never gives, and which the world cannot take away.
Grant, we beseech of thee, that if there come up any trouble, sudden, great, and hard to be borne, they may be strengthened in their emergencies, not to forsake their faith in their Saviour.
Be near to the sick; and be near to those who watch with them, in all the alternations of day and night, with fear. Wilt thou strengthen them day by day; and may their trust in God never fail them.
We pray that thou wilt be with those who are perplexed in busiBe with those whom care rests upon heavily.
We pray that thou wilt be with the Israel of God everywhere. Wilt thou be in the hearts of all thy people continually immovable.
We pray that thou wilt bless the churches that are this day assembled in this city, and in the great city near us, and throughout all our land. We rejoice that there are so many, and that there is so much power in them. If there be such error of thought and teaching as diminishes the power in any, we pray that by thy Spirit they may be guided into a more perfect knowledge of thy truth. Bless even the fragments of truth everywhere, so that whether Christ be preached of contention or in earnest, he may still be made known to man, and blessed to the salvation of their souls.
We pray for those who labor for the promotion of intelligence. We pray for those who are installed in places of great influence. We pray for all presidents of colleges, for all professors, and for all teachers of academies and common schools. We pray for those who write books, and for those who are editing papers, and sending them forth as leaves of the tree of knowledge throughout this land. May they be guided by the inspiration of God.
We pray that thou wilt grant that intelligence may not disjoin itself from virtue, but that knowledge may lead to that righteousness which shall make men perfect before thee.
We beseech of thee that thy kingdom may come, not alone in this favored land, but in all lands. We pray for peace. We pray that those evils from which discontent and discord have sprung may be abated. O Lord, we pray that nations may learn war no more, and that they may cease to live in their animal nature. Grant that men may no longer be as lions, and eagles, and beasts of destruction: make the power of men to reside in their goodness of heart and in their intelligence and virtue. So may the day of ignorance and superstition and violence pass away, and cruelties cease to exist upon the earth. And grant that that great and glorious day may speedily come when Christ shall take to himself his power, and rule over the earth as he rules in the heaven. Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly. And to thy name shall be the praise, Fainer, Son, and Spirit. Amen.
"Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man the truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another."-Eph. iv., 25.
Deceit is the sign of inferiority. It runs toward animal conditions of life. It is the sign of weakness. In the order of nature, that which cannot be done by discretion nor by strength, animals do by craft, by deceit; and in the lower stages of human development deceit is common: and under such circumstances it does not take on, either to them or to us, the heinousness of guilt to the degree that it does after men have been civilized.
In other words, we tolerate, in the lower stage of moral development, things which become intolerable in the higher stage of moral development. We see in the old patriarchs instances of cunning and deceit which would absolutely ruin the reputation of men in our times who were of a corresponding rank in life. They were blemishes; but the gravity of the offense is tempered in our judgment by the circumstances, by the small knowledge, by the few helps which surrounded those men.
propose, to-night, to speak some wholesome words on a subject which once was considered worthy of a good deal of instruction, and some practice-namely, the subject of truthspeaking.
To speak every man truth with his neighbor" is a duty and doctrine of Christianity. Lying is in terms forbidden.
SUNDAY EVENING, May 17, 1874. LESSON: Prov. ti., 1-22. HYMNS (Plymouth Col. lection): Nos. 102, 513, 657.
"Lie not one to another, since ye have put off the old man with his deeds," as well as, "Speak every man the truth with his neighbor," is express and explicit.
No man can be a truth-speaker in the sense of the New Testament teaching unless he has fully made up his mind to the intention of telling the truth-and that, not sometimes, but always. When a man is determined to be a truthspeaker, and to reflect, as far as he reflects anything, things as they are, between man and man, then it is not always possible for him to tell the truth; because it requires a great deal of knowledge to tell the truth, and it requires no inconsiderable amount of practice. It is an education both to know what is true, and to know how far to speak, and how far to be silent. For, telling the truth is not random talking. It is an administration which requires an understanding and interpreting moral sense, and no inconsiderable amount of practice and skill in the affairs of life. He who discerns things aright, and knows times and seasons, and the fitness of matters, and speaks invariably the simplicity of truth, has well nigh completed his warfare with himself, and with the world, and may be counted, as James says, "a perfect man," because he bridles his tongue.
No man can be a truth-speaker who does not love the truth; to whom truth is not as to a musician's ear chords are; with whose nature it does not harmonize. It is impossible for men to speak the truth occasionally with any considerable degree of success unless they speak it habitually, for the love of it; unless they love it, as is expressed elsewhere, "in the inward parts."
The habit of speaking the truth implies a whole cast of life. I have said that it belongs to an ideal manhood. More than that, it will symmetrize the man around a divine centre. For, as soon as a man has made up his mind always to speak the thing that is true, he will not speak near as much as otherwise he would be apt to. "In the multitude of words, there wanteth not sin," we are told; and there is a great deal too much talking in this world, considering what stuff it is made up of. Men who catch what they hear easily-too easily; men who hear everything that is said about every
body, and who go to and fro among their fellows-such men, if they love the truth, and mean to speak it, will become very cautious as to how they repeat things or say things that they do not know to be true. A restraining influence will be exercised upon their tongue, making it circumspect, wise of discourse, and accurate of statement.
Not only will the determination to speak the truth make men cautious, often leading them to take refuge in silence, but it will naturally tend to make them reflective. It induces men to study things which come to the mind in the nature of cause and effect. Is it best? Is it kind? Would it do good? Silence is usually safe. Speech is not always safe.
He who means to speak the truth knowing that it may wound, that it may injure, and becomes thoughtful of the result, studying the relation of cause to effect, is a truthspeaker.
But more than that, since he who speaks the truth must needs speak of himself and of his own affairs continually, if he has entered into covenant with his own soul that he will speak that which is true if he speaks at all, that determination, foregoing and habitual, will have a great influence in keeping his thoughts of life such that he will dare to speak the truth.
Men do things in privacy which they never would think of doing in public. Men do things away from home that you could not persuade them to do at home. When out from under the inspection of their fellows, men live much more loosely (they think more largely, but I think more loosely,) than they do at other times; and if a man is to speak the truth, he cannot well afford to be other than an honorable, straightforward, right-meaning, fair, man; so that the determination of a man to speak the truth very soon begins to have a reactionary influence upon him.
Let any man begin life with the conceit that he is a man of force, and that he can use truth as an instrument, parrying with it, piercing with it, defending himself with it, handling it as a skillful man would handle cards, playing them as he pleases, and the reactionary influence upon his disposition is to the last degree mischievous. On the other hand, let a