From the Religious Press

Courtesy has been well defined as "doing a kind deed in a kindly way." The last part of this definition is quite as important as the first part. It is not enough to have a kind heart and a benevolent disposition, it is not enough to give alms and to do deeds of charity. The courteous man is more than kind, he is also kindly. The rough, gruff, overbearing philanthropist, who throws out his charities to the needy as he would pitch a bone to a dog, is not a model of kindliness, however largehearted and generous he may be.

Abraham is a capital illustration of genuine courtesy in his entertainment of the angels who, unannounced and unheralded, in the garb of ordinary wayfarers, presented themselves at his tent door.

Note how courteous he is in his hospitality! The three strangers suddenly present themselves. How does he know who they are? They have not presented their credentials, nor any letters of introduction. To be sure, since they lived four thousand years ago on the plains of Mamre, they could hardly have been insurance agents or book canvassers, but how does Abraham know but that they want to interest him in their pet financial scheme of cultivating a new breed of sheep, or a distinct variety of camels on the plains? How does he know but they will present a subscription paper for a new university or library in Egypt, where letters and polite literature already flourish?

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October 26, 1899

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