There are four instances in the New Testament which show the importance attached by early followers of our Master to the duty of showing hospitality. Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, enjoins it on the whole Christian brotherhood, and in his epistles to Timothy and to Titus, when speaking of the type of Christian to be chosen as bishop of the church, he says that it must be one "given to hospitality." It is evident, too, that he deemed this an essential quality in one who would shepherd the fold of christ, for we find it joined to such requirements as these: vigilance, sobriety, good behavior, the love of good men. It is thus seen that to show hospitality was an essential mark of the advanced student of Christ Jesus' teaching in St. Paul's day, and therefore an essential mark of the true student in all days.

Since this is so, it is well for us to ask ourselves what we conceive to be the meaning of hospitality. Webster defines it as "entertainment of strangers or guests without reward, or with kind and generous liberality," and this definition is very generally accepted as adequate. But how little any word definition can express of what hospitality has meant to each of us. Thought lingers lovingly over many scenes of gentle and sweet home life in which we have shared as loved and welcome guests. Memory turns gladly to pictures of courteous, open-hearted manhood, of sweet and gracious womanhood, of happy, laughing childhood; it recalls the hours spent in stately homes where all that material wealth could procure of comfort and enjoyment was lavished upon us, — homes where all the treasures of art were open to us, where the results of intellectual work, of scientific research, of earnest literary labor, of clear, far-seeing poetic inspiration were unfolded to us; homes, too, where (though the treasures of wealth and learning seemed less prominent) we drank deep drafts of cheer and shared the daily work and duties which in their expression of sweet, simple human affection make of a house a home.

October 21, 1911

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