I was reading a sermon by Henry Ward Beecher, one of America's finest preachers of the 19th century, and the following six posts are excerpts from this sermon directed to young men and women, but applies to me as well. I will be sharing these with my grandchildren, piece by piece over the next few months.
“One of the things I would say to the young, both men and women, is in the homely form of a proverb – “Every one should be willing to creep before he walks.” This does not seem to be a very important thing; and yet, it is of exceeding importance. There is hardly a young man that goes from his father’s house who does not want money before he earns it. He does want to walk before he can creep. There is hardly a young man that goes out into life who does not want the reputation of being smart before he is smart. There is a hardly a single circle in which you see half a dozen young men, that do not see them aping something; making believe; “putting on airs,” as the saying is. They wish to have the appearance of a bravery, a position, or something else, which they have not attained. They are not willing to creep before they walk. The very beginning of life develops a tendency in men to false appearances; to insincerity; to an estimation which is radically unmanly; to a desire to have what does not belong to them – what they have no right to claim by reason of anything that they are, or that they have been. To be without pretense; to desire to have only that which you can legitimately lay claim to, of praise, of sympathy, of reputation, of means – to have a manly pride, by which you shall be the factor of that which is in your won possession – that is thoroughly salutary. An honest manhood scorns pretense and appearances. These are the signs of unripeness, not only, but they are vicious, bad signs in a child.”
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