“Well might this be the cry of David’s repentant heart. He thought of a brave and honest soldier, whose wife he coveted, and in order to possess her he ordered the soldier to be placed in the most dangerous place in the battle, where he was slain. First, murder; next, adultery. Well might David’s soul cry out, ‘I thought on my ways.’ It is not likely that I am at this time speaking to anyone who would be guilty of such gross sins as here cited, but you, citizens of this fair commonwealth, nevertheless, can well afford to consider your ways toward your fellow-men, remembering that no man has come to the full stature of Christian manhood who does not love his neighbor as himself.
“Now, in conclusion. Your thinking brings results: David turned his feet unto the testimonies of the Lord. Thought, if worthy of the name, prompts a man to do something or to leave off doing something.” With strength and effectiveness the young preacher dwelt upon the latter part of the text, and closed with a warning against procrastination, declaring it senseless, dangerous, and, in many cases, cruel.
The doxology was sung and the people began to disperse, though many of those present pressed toward the chancel to congratulate the young preacher. The bishop, too, was generous in his words of praise, “The Lord thinks kindly of you, my son,” he said, warmly, “or you could not have preached that good sermon. God bless you.”
That evening and for several days afterward Tom was exultant. In his estimation no man had ever preached such a sermon in the Monastery church at the opening service, not even Bishop McLaren himself.
“Mother,” cried the lad, as he returned to the farmhouse, “don’t you think that my Carl preached better than his father?”
“I don’t know about that, my boy,” was her reply, “but I know that he preached a noble and practical sermon today. Yes,” she added, “I think it was remarkable as a first attempt.”
AN UNDREAMED OF PROMOTION
Three years have passed since Edward McLaren preached his trial sermon. One year later he graduated, and then came a surprise.
At the annual meeting of the board of trustees, the Rev. Peregrine Worth, D.D., Professor of Greek and Greek Literature, submitted his resignation. He had occupied his present chair eighteen years, but the infirmities of age were reminding him of the need of rest, and he felt that a younger man might be able to do better work. This was an unexpected action to the board, and it was thought at first that the retirement of Dr. Worth should be postponed, pending their effort to secure a suitable successor to fill the vacant place. But Dr. Worth remarked that he could not see any need for delay, as he was fully prepared to make a nomination in the matter of a successor. This, at first, startled them, and he was requested to state to whom he referred. But the venerable doctor preferred to do one thing at a time. “You must first declare the chair vacant,” he said. “When you accept my resignation I shall, if you desire, nominate a suitable man to succeed me, one who will, I feel certain, receive the unanimous vote of this Board.”