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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 205 pages of information about Wit, Humor, Reason, Rhetoric, Prose, Poetry and Story Woven into Eight Popular Lectures.

  “Pulpit and press with tongue and pen,
  Set to new music this message to men: 
  Let the great work of destruction begin,
  And rid our loved land of this shelter to sin. 
  As before the sun’s brightness, the darkness must fly,
  So by power of the ballot the rum curse must die,
  Then cover the earth as the wide waves the sea,
  With the sound of the axe at the root of the tree!”

VIII

IF I COULD LIVE LIFE OVER.

Now and then I hear an old man or an old woman say, “Even if I could I would not live life over.”  Well, I own I would, provided I could begin the journey with the knowledge I now have of what it means to live.

While mistakes have been many there are some things I would not change.  I would be brought up in the country as I was.  I would play over the same blue-grass carpet, along the same turnpike aisle, swing on the branches of the same old trees and listen to the concert chorus of the same song birds.

Indeed I sympathize with the boy who exchanges the music of birds, melody of streams, lowing of herds, driving of teams, diamond dew on bending blade, morning sun and evening shade, with all other sweet associations of country life for a lodging room in a city, where church doors and home doors are closed against him in the evening hours of the week, and all evil places wide open for his ruin.  It has been well said:  “The street fair of evil associations in our large cities begins with the night shadows and grows with the darkness.”  I dare say if I could draw aside the veil that will shut in the night scenes of this city, the revelation would make some godly fathers tremble for their boys, and pious mothers long to gather their children about them when the sun goes down, as moor birds gather their helpless young when hawks are screaming in the sky.

All hail to the Young Men’s Christian Association, with its open doors for young men in the evening hours!  All hail to its gymnasium, its swimming pool, basketball and other sports that develop strength and furnish entertainment!  Away with the idea that all the pleasures of the world belong to the devil.

A distinguished divine was brought up in New England by a staid old aunt, who never let him go anywhere except to church, Sunday school and prayer meeting.  When quite a lad she let him go to New York City to visit a cousin.  That cousin took him to see Barnum’s circus.  It was his first circus, and the wild animals, the bareback riding, trapeze performance, clowns and chariot races bewildered the country boy.  Next morning he wrote his aunt, saying:  “Dear Aunt, if you’ll go to one circus you’ll never go to another prayer meeting as long as you live.”  But he did go to prayer meeting and became a grand good man.  There are many innocent springs of pleasure, where youth can drink and not be harmed.

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