He who said that "the true priest and prophet today must be every inch a man and a gentleman," expressed a clear discernment of the world's forever need. Much has been written of late respecting the exemplariness and worth of the life of a noted American. In his wealth of culture, his breadth of view, his capacity for usefulness, and his devotion to the communal interest, he has won recognition as a true nobleman. But in addition to all these virtues it has been said of him by many that he was a true gentleman, that "his heart was as simple as his life and glowed with kindliness;" that "it was a large heart ... and extended its gentle warmth to all mankind." Here is a quality of greatness which, it would seem, were easily acquired, and yet though it is so simple, so entirely Christian, this association of strength with gentleness, of assertive vigor with unfailing kindliness, is all too seldom found outside of books and apart from the life of the great Nazarene.

We may have seen the fitting symbol of such a character in the giant cypress of the south, whose mighty arms are ever festooned with a haze of silvery moss. It is tremendous in its strength, and yet, clothed upon with grace, it is swayed by the pulses of the softest zephyr. Now and then a writer has framed the ideal in a character as strenuously winsome as "John Halifax, Gentleman," but men, and far too many Christian men, have made the mistake of confusing tenderness with effeminacy. The ambitious, energetic business man, who not only believes every day in doing things but proceeds to do them, may have a great deal more heart impulse than he consents to, but he schools himself to count on the effectiveness of push rather than on the might of love, and thus the gentleness to which men are called not only by the Master's mandate but by the heartache of humanity has not been given place, as it ought, in the home, the counting-room, the street, and this to professed Christianity's shame. Modern enthusiasm over "doing things" has been especially forgetful of that finer philosophy voiced in the perception of the psalmist when he said, "Thy gentleness hath made me great."

Men may have dignity of bearing and refinement of taste, they may show scrupulous consideration for every requirement of good breeding, and yet be altogether wanting in that largeness of heart which distinguishes the true cavalier, and which constantly finds expression in a golden-rule compassion. Indeed, the so-called cultured and refined are sometimes found to be joined hand in hand with sordid selfishness, the champions and supporters of a caste that is inherently selfish and cruel, indifferent to every personal merit, and capable of that contemptuous neglect of another's right which has fostered much of the world's skepticism. They have not yet learned that the spirit of the true gentleman is the spirit of love. Selfishness is the abiding fetter of just and gentle impulse, and this false self-interest is cast out in so far only as the Christ has entered in to rule conduct through a continuous right thought of man.

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January 20, 1912

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