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The Power of Kindness
B. Carradine
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TOPIC and SUBTOPIC: Kindness, Its Conquering Power Needed.

TITLE: The Power of Kindness

When the writer was a pastor in New Orleans, one of his stewards had a long, protracted sickness and finally died. His loss was generally regretted. The funeral was large, and floral offerings many and beautiful.

But one of the most touching things took place the night of the stewards death.

The wife, bereaved and lonely, sat at a window opening upon a street, when her attention was called to the sobbing and crying of a boy out in the darkness. It was the voice of a lad who was the lamplighter for that part of the city.

For months as he passed at nightfall on his rounds, Mr. M, the steward, always had a pleasant and kind word for a child that no one else seemed to care for or remember. So now in grateful remembrance, each evening the lad would stop to ask how the invalid was. And this night he suddenly saw the black crape on the door, when, leaning against a lamp post but in the gloom, he burst into tears.

What a pity we could not get men like Mr. M elected chief superintendents of our churches, presidents of our theological colleges; and the little lamplighter to be a professor in one of our Bible Training Institutes.

Surely if it was the love of God for us that has bound us to him in ties indissoluble and eternal, pulled us away from sin to righteousness, and from disobedience to godliness and well-doing; ought we not to try the effect of Christian love on enemies as well as friends, and see if it will not work as happily and blessedly in the melting of stony hearts and the redemption of human lives.

If we ask a man the secret of his devoted love to his mother, he might answer she is the best woman on earth. But all of us know that she is not; and that oftentimes she is not a bit smart, nor socially or intellectually attractive. Even when she is gifted and as good as any other woman, back of the reason of the sons attachment is found her affection for him. She loved him and took care of him, nursed him in sickness, watched over him in helpless infancy, saved him from many a whipping from father and teacher, was a sympathetic listener to all his sorrows, trials and failures, believed in him when others doubted, and clung to him when others cast the prodigal off.

These countless manifestations of devotion aside from every natural affection, has bound the child to the parent, and causes him to say she is the best woman in the world.

Let the reader try to account for the strong friendship he bears some very ordinary, unattractive individual. Or some uncle or aunt whom they knew in boyhood. Or some favorite sister now in heaven. And in every instance the secret will be found in their tenderness, affection, considerateness and repeated acts of kindness toward the party himself.

Dickens speaks of the poor London waif saying with his dying breath about one who had befriended him: He wos werry good to me. While the child to whom Bella Wilfur had been kind said in his feverish ramblings before death, A kiss for the boofer lady.

It looks to the writer as if God conquered individuals and is going to subdue the world itself by persistent kindness. But many professing to have His Spirit seem to be on another line altogether in their life, home, social circle, church or denominational work. They are on the track or road of persistent unkindness.

Somehow no one seems to be in an ardor of gratitude and love over them when living; no one seems broken-hearted when they are dying; no one is heard crying out in the dark under the street lamp; no one buries their face in their hands and sheds scalding tears over the news of the death in the paper; and no one seems to miss or regret them when they are gone.

Alas for it. They did not learn the great lesson that God taught us from the skies. They failed to see the marvellous power of Christ over men. They utterly overlooked the beautiful character he drew of the Good Samaritan who had a way of lifting up and helping wounded men whom he found by the roadside. They became instead by constant unkindness, brother to the invisible and unmentioned man who wounded the traveler found by the Good Samaritan.

The greatest tamer of human brutes was Captain Pillsbury of England. He did it by a persevering kindness.

At a certain prison a most hopeless case was sent him. For months he could see no alteration. Finally the man, after four attempts to escape, broke his ankle in the last effort. Captain Pillsbury, always gentle and quiet, had the white-faced, suffering but silent victim brought to his own pleasant, breeze-swept room, and laid on his spotless white bed. If he had been a gentleman of rank, he could not have been treated with greater tenderness and care. But a dark scowl on the brow and silent, thankless lips were all that the noble-hearted manager of the prison received.

As the captain, after having, through physician, nurse, as well as himself, done all that could be done for the sufferer, turned to leave the room for the discharge of other duties in a distant part of the building, he observed an expression of pain on the prisoners face. Glancing quickly towards the injured foot he saw that the nurse had not placed it in the best position for comfort. Stopping at once and retracing his steps, he took one of his own white pillows, and with the tenderness and gentleness of a mother, placed the poor broken limb in perfect ease on its soft, downy resting place.

As the captain turned to the door to leave, there was a sudden burst of tears from the bed, and glancing around he saw the prisoner with one hand stretched out to him, and another covering his face streaming with tears, while he said with choking accents: "Forgive me, Captain, you shall have no more trouble with me after this."

He was conquered by a steadfast kindness.

Alas for the cutting and slashing; for the criticizing and faultfinding; for the judging and slandering, going on among those who are in the family of God, and even claim the possession of Perfect Love. What advancement can we hope for, and what results are certain to come if this be the spirit and conduct of Gods children.

Gladly would we see a spiritual university, so to speak, spring up and absorb the others, as Christ's kingdom is to permeate and fill all other kingdoms; this university being run on the line of persistent kindness. A man like Mr. M could be president, the little lamplighter a Dean of Theology, and all of us might enroll as students.

Living Illustrations By B. Carradine.

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