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man makes effort to heal his bad morals; and finding on their own moral characters no sores more malignant that those which they believe might be found on the characters of their religious neighbors, they have no use for the poultice. The attitude of a person of this class is nearly that of the boy who says he can avoid pinching and striking his brothers and sisters without regard to the governor. He has no use for the governor.
On the other hand, some who are religiously inclined appear to have blunted moral perceptions, some have consciences which “stretch and bend like raveled yarn,” and a few, perhaps, fail to see how essential good morals are. I have heard, on good authority, of one, a Negro in Florida, who confessed that he had lied and that he had stolen. “But,” he added, “I kept my religion all de time.” The Christian saloon-keeper could tell an experience like that of this Negro.
How do religion and morality stand related to each other in the Bible? Do the writers and teachers of the Bible place suitable emphasis on morality?
One asked, “Which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.” In making this reply Jesus answered all the question that had been asked; but knowing the tendency of human nature, he volunteered more. As if calling attention to something that might be overlooked, he added: “Tlie second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor.” Jesus did not give one great commandment, and say on this hang all the law and the prophets. Practically, he declined to give the one great commandment alone, but having given the two, coupling them with the statement that the second is like unto the first, he added, “On these hang all the law and the prophets.”
On another, but similar, occasion, when the first and second commandments were presented together, one wishing to justify himself said, “And who is my neighbor?” Then followed the story of the Good Samaritan, told to such effect that the Jew, who had no dealings with the Samaritans, was constrained to admit that he who had shown mercy was in reality neighbor to him who had fallen among thieves. Jesus was planting a sentiment in the minds of the people about him as a man sets a strawberry-plant in some wellselected spot.
A few years later, when Paul and others had preached the gospel in Asia Minor, Greece, and Macedonia, a famine occurred in the region about Jerusalem, among people who were neither personal abettors of Paul nor kindred to those from whom relief was to come. Paul proceeded to take a collection. When the preliminary steps had been taken, a committee of persons from the various points was chosen to go up to Jerusalem with Paul to deliver the money or supplies, or both. Having arrived at Cæsarea, with rugged hills before them and warnings of personal danger to their leader sounding in their ears, one of the company says, “We took up our carriages and went up to Jerusalem.' From which we might infer that with coach-and-four they dashed into Jerusalem, surprising the people; but the meaning is different. They lifted their burdens from the ground, and with laborious efforts brought them to the relief of the suffering. The plant which Jesus set in Palestine had sent out runners which had taken root in Asia Minor, Greece, and Macedonia.
Where the gospel has since been carried the spirit of benevolence has manifested itself. During the famine a few years ago a steamer loaded with grain from far-away America found its way to the starving poor in India. This has since been followed by others sent on a like mission. In Christian lands scarcely has the bell which sounds the alarm of fire ceased to send forth its notes when the telegraph or telephone, taking up the refrain, has awakened help from neighboring cities. Throughout an extended country a famine, a fever, or an overflow which oppresses a section becomes the burden of every section.
I do not say that human sympathy does not exist, or may not be excited apart from the gospel, yet it is a coincidence worthy of note that those schemes of benevolence which bind together neighboring nations and which at times extend their beneficence to the opposite side of the world have been seen only in Christian lands. Doubtless the Red Cross, under which relief has been carried to many
thousands in various lands, is an appropriate banner.
Let these remarks, which grew out of our Savior's evident intention to bind the two great commandments together, introduce a more extended, and yet very incomplete, survey of the course of instruction given in the Bible with reference to the relation which religion and morality there sustained to each other.