The Scriptures declare that "a soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." After considerable experience in dealing with the general public, as well as with private individuals, I have come to the conclusion that only what we gain by kindness can really be accomplished; that what cannot be accomplished by kindness cannot be accomplished at all. Only that which appears honest, sincere, and kind to our opponents, their friends and supporters, is really effectual. Honesty enables one to win and hold the confidence of those with whom he comes in contact and enhances his usefulness in the world, while dishonesty or treachery causes one to lose the confidence of his fellow-men, and while society may tolerate him to an extent, it holds him off at arm's length.

"Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." An effort which is not based upon Principle brings forth no real results; that which is not rightly done is not done at all, as time always proves. It is like a blundering effort to solve a problem, for in addition to its worthlessness is the fact that it necessitates the labor of undoing. In our effort to give a "soft answer" we must always regard the matter under consideration from the view-point of those for whose benefit the answer is made, since a word which might be acceptable to one might be a matter of irritation to another. Therefore a "soft answer" is that particular statement which, in view of existing circumstances, may lift thought and shed some light, without stirring up wrath. Otherwise silence is about the only answer that meets the demands of the situation.

September 7, 1907

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