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The Abominations of Modern Society eBook

Thomas De Witt Talmage
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 159 pages of information about The Abominations of Modern Society.
right.  If it be worth more, and, for the sake of getting it for less than its value, you wilfully depreciate it, you have lied. You may call it a sharp trade.  The recording angel writes it down on the ponderous tomes of eternity—­“Mr. So and So, merchant on Water street, or in Eighth street, or in State street; or Mrs. So and So, keeping house on Beacon street, or on Madison avenue, or Rittenhouse square, told one lie.”  You may consider it insignificant, because relating to an insignificant purchase.  You would despise the man who would falsify in regard to some great matter, in which the city or the whole country was concerned; but this is only a box of buttons, or a row of pins, or a case of needles.  Be not deceived.  The article purchased may be so small you can put it in your vest pocket, but the sin was bigger than the Pyramids, and the echo of the dishonor will reverberate through all the mountains of eternity.

You throw out on your counter some specimens of handkerchiefs.  Your customer asks, “Is that all silk? no cotton in it?” You answer, “It is all silk.”  Was it all silk?  If so, all right.  But was it partly cotton?  Then you have lied.  Moreover, you lost by the falsehood.  The customer, though he may live at Lynn, or Doylestown, or Poughkeepsie, will find out that you defrauded him, and next spring, when he again comes shopping, he will look at your sign and say:  “I will not try there.  That is the place where I got that handkerchief.”  So that, by that one dishonest bargain, you picked your own pocket and insulted the Almighty.

Would you dare to make an estimate of how many falsehoods in trade were yesterday told by hardware men, and clothiers, and fruit-dealers, and dry-goods establishments, and importers, and jewellers, and lumbermen, and coal-merchants, and stationers, and tobacconists?  Lies about saddles, about buckles, about ribbons, about carpets, about gloves, about coats, about shoes, about hats, about watches, about carriages, about books,—­about everything.  In the name of the Lord Almighty, I arraign commercial falsehoods as one of the greatest of abominations in city and town.

In the next place, I notice mechanical lies.  There is no class of men who administer more to the welfare of the city than artisans.  To their hand we must look for the building that shelters us, for the garments that clothe us, for the car that carries us.  They wield a widespread influence.  There is much derision of what is called “muscular Christianity;” but in the latter day of the world’s prosperity, I think that the Christian will be muscular.  We have the right to expect of those stalwart men of toil the highest possible integrity.  Many of them answer all our expectations, and stand at the front of religious and philanthropic enterprises.  But this class, like the others that I have named, has in it those who lack in the element of veracity.  They cannot all be trusted.  In times when the demand for labor is great, it is

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