That seems a strange notion for a grown-up man to get into his head, doesn’t it? And yet, boys and girls, I run across some young people even here in America that think if they let Christ into their hearts it will make them sort of “wishy-washy” and “goody-goody,” and not strong and rugged people.
It is true that to be a Christian does take some of the fight out of a person, but it is the quarrelsome kind of fighting that has neither beauty nor strength in it which it takes out of one. But when you come to read history you will find that some of our bravest soldiers were Christians. John Havelock, a British general who fought in India for the sake of his country, was called “The Christian Warrior.” Sir Oliver Cromwell, who had to lead an army in England against the king, who was ill-treating the people, had a body of soldiers under him who were Christians, and they were such good soldiers and so hard to defeat that they were called “Cromwell’s Ironsides.” Sometimes just before battle these soldiers used to sing hymns and then pray on the battlefields. And because they were Christians it made better and braver soldiers of them.
And so the truest kind of courage that any boy or girl can have is the kind that Christ gives. Paul tells all of us Christians to be “good soldiers.” The Bible takes the wrong kind of fight out of you and puts the right kind of fight into you, the fight for noble things.
All the vessels on the oceans can be divided into two classes: steamships and sailing vessels. The sailing vessels, as you know, set their broad white sails like wings to catch the favouring winds, and then they go scudding across the seas like birds to their distant harbours. But when there is no wind these vessels must sometimes lie becalmed, and do not move for days or sometimes weeks. The steamships, on the other hand, do not depend upon the wind to drive them ahead. Their power comes from great engines away down in the heart of the vessel. Even if the wind blows right in the face of the ship, it only makes the boiler-fires burn faster and brighter, and she plunges ahead in spite of wind or tide.
Boys and girls also can be divided into two classes, like ships. Some depend upon other boys and girls to make them go; others have the “go” in themselves. These people with the “go” in themselves we call “go-ahead” sort of people. They are the boys and girls who become leaders. The others are followers.
What the world most needs is these “go-ahead” people. There are plenty of people who go like a sailing vessel when there is something from the outside to send them along. I heard a man say the other day that another man was like “a chip in a pan of milk;” that is, he went only where he was pushed.
If you want to have “go” in yourselves, try to think things out for yourselves. Don’t do things just because somebody else does them. Don’t wear things just because somebody else wears them. Don’t say things just because somebody else says them. Paul says that people who are blown about by every wind do not amount to much. I am sure of this, at least, that I should rather be a steamship than a sailing vessel, that only goes when a wind blows.