THE DEVIL GOES A-FISHIN'
 
 
 
 

Ever go a-fishin'? So have I. Let me tell you a fishin' story or two.

During a campaign some years ago in Albert Lea, Minn., we went rabbit-hunting on our rest day. Driving across the lake that was frozen, we noticed at the far side a large opening where hundreds of fish had come for air. They were so numerous that with their mouths open they looked like a bed of tulips. Some of the party became so excited they would put their fingers in the mouths of the big fellows and pull them out, while one ran to the farmhouse near by, purchased some sacks, and borrowed a shovel. Having hip boots on, he jumped into the shallow water and began to scoop the fish out. We loaded three sacks with the biggest bullheads, put them on the running board of our car, and went hunting. When we returned late that night, they had frozen solid. We kicked them loose, dumped them into washtubs in the basement, and the following morning went down to behold every fish alive and swimming around. That night at the close of the meeting we invited the pastors and the executive committee to come over to the parsonage for a fishing party and everyone went home with a splendid mess of fish.

The other day eighteen ships came into our harbor at Long Beach, Calif., with over two thousand barracuda and fifty yellow-tails but it took a lad on our pier to hook a sea bass of three hundred seventy-five pounds. Just before leaving home sixteen of us chartered a boat and went deep sea fishing. I never was on the Pacific when it was more rough. All but two were sick. But we brought home a hundred sixty-nine barracuda, each as long as your arm.

I wonder if our Lord ever listened to fishin' stories.

"I will make you to become fishers of men" (Mark 1:17), said Jesus on one occasion. In Luke 5:10 it is recorded that "Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men."

Jesus must have loved the fishermen. He spent much of his time with them. He used their life task as an illustration, to make a great application. In 1924, with a party of fifty-one Christian people, we visited Galilee. At sunset we formed a large circle with our boats some distance from shore and there we conducted our vesper service, singing together, "O Galilee, Blue Galilee, where Jesus loved so much to be." Early the following morning many in the party got up to see the fishermen come in with their catch. We had fish for the noon meal, just as in the days of our Lord.

You know the devil goes a-fishin', too. When men go fishing they like to get the big ones: strange to say the devil likes to get the little ones. He would rather catch a boy or girl than a man or woman. I wonder if you happen to know that of every hundred dollars that the Roman Catholic Church spends, eighty dollars is spent on youth while but twenty dollars is spent on adults. In Protestantism we have reversed the figures, and only twenty dollars of every one hundred is spent in an effort to reach boys and girls and win them to Christ. A wise fisherman carries a large variety of bait. The devil is a wise fisherman. I am going to mention some of the bait he uses when he goes a-fishin'.

BAD READING
 

One of the godliest men I have ever known recently passed away in Florida, dying of a broken heart because his son became the publisher of vicious and salacious literature that usually is found on the low shelves of the newsstand where it will attract the youngsters passing by. Detective stories of the early day had nothing on the defective stories of our day. Much of this that pollutes the minds of men is found on the top shelves of the libraries. At the close of a great service one night I found a father seated in the corner, his elbows on his knees, his head in his hands, sobbing. Putting my arm about him, I asked, "What's wrong?"

"Your message," he replied.

I had preached on "The Carnival of Death, or the Modern Dance, and Other Amusements." I do not average once a year for that sermon, for more reasons than one. It takes four hours and fifteen minutes to
deliver it, and I would rather pass it by. Again, when I am through I feel somewhat nauseated, for to tell the truth, it is like taking the lid off a garbage can. But by popular request that night I had brought the message. I said to this man, "What about my message? Don't you believe it is true?"

"That's just what makes me feel this way; I know it's true, and to think that I have to bring up two lovely daughters in a world as polluted as this makes me sense my responsibility more than ever before. And, frankly, I fear the future."

A few years later, when I met him in a distant State, he said the girls had grown up and married seemingly good men and he now hoped they would be happy. Some years passed and I met him again and, speaking of one of his girls, he said the man she married became interested in the philosophies of men. He began to read Nietzsche and others, spending much of his time in the library at the university. His reading affected his thinking, his living, his view of life, and one day when this man's daughter reached home and went to hang up her cloak in the clothespress, there he hung, a suicide, and she had to face that ghastly sight, a victim of "rotten" reading, a bait the devil uses when he goes a-fishin'. Col. 2:8 reads, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

FEMININE FADS
 

Another bit of bait, I choose to call feminine fads. Our fashions have become so foolish of late that in a recent speech at Boston, Cardinal O'Connell, of the Roman Catholic Church, flayed the modern trend in women's dress. The paper reported as follows: " 'I don't care what the excuse is, whether it is beach fashions or any other type of fashions, there is no excuse for fashions of this type,' the prelate told one thousand women, members of Catholic clubs at a convention. 'Don't imitate the foolish fashions. They all started on the stage or in the street; create your own fashions along sane and modest lines.' " Good for you, Cardinal. Now if you will follow up your recent remarks by urging the Catholic churches to stop operating carnivals on Sundays you will make a further contribution to old-fashioned social sanity. These carnivals are conducted in many places, featuring gambling devices. It is sad to see a church organization encourage gambling, but it is tragic indeed when it profanes the Lord's Day in so doing. Feminine fads—painted cheeks, plucked eyebrows, red lips, etc! I have nothing against paint, but let us leave it on barns and bridges; I don't think it belongs on God's creation. We may have reached the time in human history when a woman's place is no longer in the home, but I can't quite make myself believe that she has found her place in a man's trousers. There is a constant parade going by my California home headed for the beach, and nine of ten who appear disgraceful are women. Read page 43 of my book entitled The Carnival of Death and see what Elsie Robinson, feature story writer for Hearst newspapers, has to say about the foolish women who follow the fads of our day. You may pick up your newspapers daily and read of numerous attacks upon women. Invariably the attacker is branded as a moron. Don't you believe it! They are just every-day, ordinary men, whose pent-up passions broke over the dam and someone had to be a victim. A man without Christ in his life is a man without a monitor, and his sinful nature can be tempted and tested just so much. Some of our court officers are advocating the punishing of girls for contributing to the delinquency of boys, saying these girls know that by the use of flamboyant sex attractions men will make special effort to pursue them. If a man determines to give vent to his feelings and meets two young women in a lonely secluded spot and one is modestly attired while the other is not, I know which one he will choose, and I beg of you parents to dress your children up so they will never tempt a man nor provoke an attack. Remember, it's bait the devil uses when he goes a-fishin'.

 
THE MOVIES
 

Then there is curiosity, and what a bait that has become in these days! That's where the movies come in. Here they come, a happy crowd on the way home from school. As they pass the moving-picture show they pause to read the display cards of the movies, such as "One Grand Love Fest," "No Man Could Resist," "Too Hot to Handle," "Rich Man, Poor Girl," "It's Love I'm After," etc. "Oh, boy," says one, "I'd like to see that; I'll bet its rich and racy! I'd just like to satisfy my curiosity!" Adds another, "If you go, I'll go with you." And if the devil can't attract us with one of these sensational films, he will try an educational one; and if that will not work, an inspirational one such as "Ben Hur," "The Ten Commandments," "The King of Kings," "The Sign of the Cross," or some religious subject, and when these youngsters bite on this bait it has the same effect it had upon the lad who, after seeing his first moving picture show, went home saying, "Gee, Mother, if you ever went to the movies once you never would want to go to prayer-meeting again." Sheriff Traeger, of Los Angeles, Calif., is the author of the statement that "Los Angeles County jail is crowded with boys who have learned crime in the movies, which have become a menace to the morals of our country." This is not the statement of a pastor, evangelist, or professional reformer, but a sheriff. To me it is sad to think that every week last year sixty million people paid their dimes, quarters, and half dollars to see what the movies had to offer. While this is only sixty per cent of the average during boom years, it is pretty evident that Americans not only must be amused but they have the money to pay for it. I agree with Doctor William Evans, who said:
 
    The goal of religion and education is to produce character. The goal of movie entertainment is to produce thrills. Its activities produce the desire to acquire things, to get ahead, to be smart, dazzling, a big shot. Put yourself in your child's place and look at things through his eyes. At home, in school, and in church your child sees one set of values upheld as the secret of a desirable life. At the movies he sees another and altogether different set presented with all the glamour and strong emotional stimulus. Two results are possible. He will either be confused and vacillate between one set of values and the other or he will choose the one and scrap the other.

Where is there a situation fraught with more serious consequences to the world and the human race than this? Our American films are known the world over for their obscenity, and the world around is protesting. We are bringing up a generation of young people that will be as depraved in taste and morals as the pagans in ancient Rome.

Concerning this movie blight, Mr. M. Limardo recently said:
 
    In the form which man is now using the moving picture, it is very rare that one hour of constructive good is experienced in them. Nearly everything in it is evil— DETESTABLE. From the inciting titles of the film through the entire plot, where a bandit becomes the hero, an adulteress the heroine, where conjugal infidelity is supremely rewarded, or the leader of a cabaret is presented as triumphant, it is evil.

When the moving picture might be a school for purity and morality, it is a spur for vice and passion. When it could inspire youth by means of noble and elevated sentiments, what it is doing is to drag youth into all kinds of perdition. In the movies criminals are forged, thieves are developed, and bandits are moulded. There rapes are hatched, adulteries are incubated, and unwary virginity is ruined. The home, which ought to count on the moving picture as its strongest ally, comes to know that it is its most dangerous enemy. It can be said, parodying a thinker that, virtue never finds itself in such an evil place as when it finds itself in the semi darkness of the movies.

Don't ask me for a frank opinion. I may give it. 1 live but thirty miles from Hollywood and you can smell it where I live in Long Beach. The dirtiest, vilest, filthiest, low-living, licentious characters who ever perverted society are some of those tied up with the moving-picture business. Have you ever read the diaries of some of these stars? Some are so rotten that even some newspapers that feature the sensational had to leave parts out. They call them "stars." They are "fallen stars," and God pity the youth of America who look to the fallen stars of Hollywood for an inspiration. My younger brother used to teach in a military school where many of the sons of the stars are sent after their homes have been broken up. Their mothers and dads are married again, then divorced and remarried, then divorced and remarried again. The child goes with his new mother, and when she breaks up, he goes with his new daddy, who remarries and breaks up, and the child goes with his new mother. On visiting day the mothers and dads come to visit their sons and it's quite a lineup. One youngster may have four or five mothers and as many daddies come to see him during the course of the day. When Christmas comes, the boy has to write a chain letter in order to get them all in on the greeting. The average marriage in Hollywood lasts four years, eight months, fourteen days, nineteen hours, and fifty-five minutes. This figure is based on thirty-five movie land marriages, all of which ended in separation or divorce. That's a great bunch to be the heroes and heroines of America's youth. It grieves my heart to see their pictures in the rooms of sons and daughters in Christian homes. No stream will ever rise any higher than its source. Don't take my word for it. Here's an article that appeared in a Western paper written by one of the feature story writers:

ALL RELATED BY MARRIAGE, DIVORCE
 

 Feeling facetious this morning, so I sharpened a pencil and tried to prove all Hollywoodites are related—by romance. Really, we're just one big family. For example, take Gloria Swanson as a starting point.

First she married Wallace Beery, now the mate of Rita Gilman; next she married Herb Somborn, who later wedded a non-professional; then she married and divorced Henri di la Falaise, the present consort of Constance Bennett, whose first husband was Chester Moorehead and whose second mate was Philip Plant, the present husband of a society girl. Connie is the daughter of Adrienne Morrison—now Mrs. Eric Pinker—and the Richard Bennett whose second divorce made headlines, and the sister of both Barbara Bennett who married Morton Downey, and Joan Bennett, who after divorcing John Fox was engaged to John Considine, the present husband of Carmen Pantages, but later was married and divorced from Gene Markey, the one-time fiancĂ©e of Gloria Swanson, whose fourth hush band, Michael Farmer, had previously been engaged to the late Marilyn Miller, the ex-wife of the late Jack Pickford (who was once wed to the late Olive Thomas) whose sister, Mary divorced Owen Moore, who later married Katherine Perry, in order to wed Douglas Fairbanks, the present husband of Lady Ashley and the ex-mate of Beth Sully (now Mrs. Jack Whiting) whose son, Douglas Jr., once married to Joan Crawford, the present Mrs. Franchot Tone, is now reported to be romancing with Marlene Dietrich, who formerly romanced with Joseph von Sternberg.

I haven't worked out the more remote connections yet, but you get the idea. Seems to me Hollywood invitations ought to include the kiddies—they might like to see their papas.

A prominent Hollywood producer recently cried out, "Stay as far away as you can from Hollywood; it's a madhouse." And yet a lot of foolish mothers wish they could rear their child to be a Shirley Temple. If you knew what I know, you'd never envy Shirley; you'd extend to her your sympathy. A few years ago one of these outstanding movie stars was buried from a Christian church. The pastor conducting the service said he was one of the purest of the pure. Then God help the rest of them, especially when they have to wrap some of their bodies in cellophane. If I could borrow the strong language of the street, I'd like to say, "Hell will freeze over before I'll ever lay a thin dime on their counters to have them filler their rot through my brain." Excuse me, but I get hot under the collar when I get to talking about Hollywood, and there isn't anything that grieves me more than to see parents substituting movie stars for Biblical characters in setting an example for the younger generation. No wonder Bishop Stewart, of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, cried out, "It is your generation which lost its faith in God and gave up family prayer and taught your children to sneer at the church." My mother reared four boys near the Cicero section of Chicago, surrounded with dens of iniquity, saloons, gambling joints, and hell holes of every kind. They all grew to manhood clean. She taught us to keep our brains clear and our blood clean and then pointed us to the Lamb of God, whose power made it possible. Our heroes were characters of the Old Testament and New, and, towering like the rock of Gibraltar above them all, was the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. Had she spent her time in church on Sunday and the movies on Monday we might never have been influenced toward the right. I heartily agree with a statement from a young man of twenty-one, a college junior, in which he says concerning the movies:

There is no more saddening sight than a young man or woman passing through the door of a theater which announces in letters a foot high some such legend as: "Big Love Scene"; "A Beautiful Blonde Woman in His Life— Could He Resist?"; "All of Me"; "Girls for Sale"; "Nudity in Gold"; "Back into Nature with Venus." If they were to visit a hospital for contagious diseases, they would have to put on sterilized gowns and masks. But better a thousand times to fall a prey to smallpox or typhoid fever than to be inoculated with the germ of the Hollywood type of love-life, which is nothing but a bestial service of lust, camouflaged by fine dresses and glamorous music. The thought of the millions that have their minds and hearts poisoned every week by these shows, is enough to make one realize the existence of a personal devil, even if the Bible said nothing about it.

Notice how coolly he analyzes the effects of the movies. He continues:

A highly charged sex movie puts many girls in an emotional state that weakens, let us say, resistance. I took a girl friend of mine to a racy sex picture. It had the usual lingerie scenes, complications, etc. That night when I took her home, she was, in the vernacular, quite warm. . . . Nine times out of ten with intelligent interpretation the girl's emotional state can be regulated and used to what may be either advantage or disadvantage.

How would you like to have some man plan to break down the will of your daughter by carefully choosing the movie he takes her to see?

Everything in the world today is corrupted—art, literature, music, and advertising. They can't run a picture of an automobile tire in an ad without sticking some bathing beauties on it to catch the eye. Everything is corrupted. Because of that fact, from the moment one opens his eyes in the morning until he closes them late at night, he is compelled to filter through his brain so much rot and slush that when eight o'clock at night comes you would think he would like to get out and look up into God's starlit heaven, breathe in a bit of fresh air and think God's thoughts, instead of rushing off to the movies, throwing hard-earned cash away, and by so doing say, "I haven't had enough filth filtered through my brain; run the worst that Hollywood has to offer through on top of the rest before I go to sleep!" Young people, if you forget everything else I say, may God help you to remember this every time you pass a moving-picture show. That's bait the devil uses when he goes a-fishin'.

GAMBLING
 

Easy-money. Did you ever know a time in the history of the world when there was such a gambling craze on as we have today? Everyone is out trying to make a little easy money. While I was getting shaved in the barber shop in America's richest little oil town recently, a young man came in, looked at some sort of a punch card on the counter, and sighed as he said, "All of the fifty centers are gone, only the dollars ones are left." In came another and the same thing happened. In came a woman, angry bet cause she was too late to get a fifty-cent chance. One man in the barber shop turned to another and said, "I've punched out a dollar chance every day of my life for the last three years, and I've never won a dime." People want to take a chance—chance on the punch-board, chance on the game, chance on the races, a chance on anything, just so it's a chance to make some easy money. One New York newspaper frequently publishes the photo of some man or woman with a big smile; friends have gathered around to congratulate him as the winner of the sweepstakes. If they would take pictures of the multiplied thousands of children denied the necessities of life because their fathers or mothers had spent so much at gambling, they might reverse the tide in America. I saw a large family come into a desert restaurant some time ago and the father was very careful in limiting each one to sandwiches, but when he paid his bill, he put almost a dollar's worth of nickels in a slot machine trying to win a quarter.

In The American Lutheran this article recently appeared:

A NATION OF GAMBLERS
 

The gambling spirit seems to be in the air, as witness the recent efforts to enlist the United States government in the institution of a national lottery similar to the Irish Sweepstakes and the decision of the Chicago city council in legalizing and licensing "handbooks," that is to say, gambling houses which serve as brokers for bets on horse races. Slot-machines and pin-ball games are found everywhere. The so- called "numbers" racket became a local scandal in New York. "Jack-pots" are formed in countless business offices in connection with local baseball and football games. The common poker and crap games flourish everywhere. Bridge and golf seem unattractive to many unless there is a little side bet to offer stimulation. We are rapidly turning into a nation of gamblers.

Churches are bringing the fair name of Christ into disrepute when they aid and abet in the maintenance of an evil because the proceeds of their gambling institutions go to a "worthy cause." Such churches are not only dragging the good name of the kingdom of Christ through the dust, but they are effectively preventing the development of the spirit of stewardship among their members. A church that must resort to gambling in order to exist, deserves to die. When an institution that claims to be the champion of righteousness stoops to unrighteousness in order to eke out an existence, it forfeits its influence and its very right of existence. Worst of all, it makes itself inaccessible to God's blessing and to the approaches of the Spirit of God.

The business men of Tampa, Fla., rose up en masse recently to request the cleaning up of gambling machines that were diverting no less than twenty thousand dollars a week from the legitimate channels of business, and yet agitation for a government lottery never stops. The strongest argument of the lottery lobby is that since the public is willing, even eager, to give money to various lottery schemes anyway, the government may as well go into the business. Thus the issue simmers down to this: Has the United States reached the point of financial and moral decadence where a government lottery would be the natural recourse of desperate bureaucracy? The country has grown away from catch-as-catch-can financing. It is not yet necessary for it to return to sponging on gamblers for its funds. I am a member of my younger brother's church. He was called upon recently and asked if the name of his church could be used as sponsor for a carnival to be held in the vicinity. He was offered five hundred dollars for this privilege and when it was denied the agent went away saying, "I've met a preacher that must be cuckoo to turn down easy money like that." They could well afford to pay five hundred dollars for they might take in five thousand from the "suckers" that bite on this bait the devil uses when he goes a-fishin'.

CIGARETTES
 

I know of no slavery that is worse than the habit of cigarette smoking. It would take more of the grace of God to deliver a man from that than it does the demon of drink or any other sensual sin, and if a woman gets the habit, God pity her—she will have it four times worse than a man. He will light up when he finishes his meal, but she will have one as she sits down to read the menu, another after she has ordered. She will smoke while she eats, smoke another when she's through, and sometimes light up one after she has paid her bill. I have known of men breaking the cigarette habit, but I have yet to hear of a woman who could do so. I recently made a transcontinental trip on a railroad that advertises "No Smoke—Air Conditioning," and I was in smoke from Los Angeles to Chicago. Of nineteen in the parlor car, all of whom were smoking, five were men and fourteen were women and they smoked four or five cigarettes to every one that the men smoked. A woman with a cigarette in her hand is not only disgusting to decent men but has become disgusting to members of her own sex. I say little about her in my preaching, for God has a way of dealing with fools and we evangelists need not bother. It may interest you to know that sixty-two per cent of all babies born of cigarette-smoking mothers are born dead or die in the first twelve months of their lives. A young woman came to me recently saying, "Tell me, is there any power on earth that can deliver me from this habit? I use three or four packs a day."

I said, "I know of but one way out; it's down and out; get down on your knees and pray God to deliver you by power divine, and be willing to go through hell for about forty-eight hours and you'll come out the victor." Oh, how that habit enslaves men and women! If the true analysis of what a cigarette contains is ever published, I believe it will rock the nation. God never made a human body to consume that poison. To become accustomed to tobacco, one's stomach must go into convulsions at least twice and sometimes three times. God made our bodies to be the tabernacles of the Holy Ghost and we ought to keep God's house in order. We have reached the place now where we find agents of the tobacco industry standing outside school doors passing out sample cigarettes. Just recently they appeared in front of the five and ten cent stores in Pasadena, passing out sample cigarettes to boys and girls. Many of these contain marijuana, and when once you become its victim, God have mercy, for under the spell of marijuana one will do things he would never think of doing otherwise. Marijuana cigarettes are made of hemp. They are sometimes called "reefers," or "goofy butts." They undermine the morale, destroy the morality, and break down the control that distinguishes man from the beast. One may awaken to discover that under its influence he has committed murder. Don't you believe all the ads you read in magazines and newspapers, and on billboards, or the testimonies you hear over the radio concerning cigarettes. That industry would perjure its soul to enslave the youth of America and enrich its own gain. A recent advertisement over the signature of a famous opera star read, "They never hurt my throat." Someone said to this famous singer, "I didn't know you smoked them." And he said, "I don't; that's why they never hurt my throat." I'm glad Lindbergh refused to pose after his famous transatlantic hop, with a cigarette in his hand, though they offered him fabulous sums to do so. Corrigan, the same, yet baseball heroes, radio and movie stars, and prominent men and women of all walks and callings of life are willing to sell their names to a giant octopus for a few paltry dollars. We need today something of the spirit that moved the heart of Robert E. Lee when he was offered twenty thousand dollars to put his name to the Louisiana lottery. He said, "I have returned to my devastated Southland with nothing in the world left hut my good name, and, gentlemen, that name is not for sale."

A recent issue of The Saturday Evening Post carried an interesting story of Schuschnigg's visit to Adolf Hitler. The writer said that for three hours Hitler just talked and talked, and the only interruption occurred when at the end of an hour and a half Schuschnigg lighted a cigarette. Hitler paused, and, pointing at him, said emphatically, "No smoking, and that goes for all the rest of you that are here. A man may drink and not disturb the man next to him but he cannot smoke and not disturb others." Perhaps there is something here that we would do well to remember, for nothing is more offensive to those who do not smoke than the smoke of those who do. I hope you young people will never put a cigarette to your lips. It's bait the devil uses when he goes a-fishin'.

PLAYING - CARDS
 

The gambler's card pack. I read an interesting story the other day written by Gene Palmer, a converted gambler. Mr. Palmer said he had never known of a family that played cards together that had a family altar in the home. I don't like the card pack because of its associations. A person is known by the company he keeps. If it's the same with a games we would shun this one. I was once asked, "Why don't you evangelists condemn parchesi and checkers like you do card playing?" Well, when gamblers go down dark alleys with parchesi boards under their arms, we will. George MacRay, one of the fastest international gamblers known, was converted and became a marvelous Christian worker. He often spoke for us at our Saturday night surprise services. He was offered enormous sums to operate games on the gambling ships anchored a few miles off the West Coast. He could point out the gadget that operated every gambling device at a carnival. On his way home from a meeting in the jail one evening, George was struck down by a car driven by some high-school boys who had had something stronger than water to drink. His skull was fractured, and he died. He was identified by a New Testament they found in his pocket. That Testament today is mine. The last time George gave his story in our meetings was at Corona, Calif. The tent was packed. For some reason George closed a little earlier than usual. Again and again in his story he would say, "Jesus is the Friend you need. If you forget everything else I say, remember that." When he concluded his story, I asked the audience if they would like to ask him any question. This one was asked, "Who is the gamblers' best friend, the policeman, the lieutenant, the mayor, or the politician higher up?" His answer was, "The best friend we gamblers ever had was the mother in the home, a member of the church, who saw no harm in card playing." I hope you will remember whenever you see the pack that it's bait the devil uses when he goes a-fishin'.

FICKLE FRIENDS
 
 

I'm thinking now of those who have no aim or objective in life- just so they're going places and doing things at the suggestion of another. They say, "An idle brain is the devil's workshop." I wonder what could be said about idle boys and girls. I spoke recently at the reformatory in Elmira, N. Y., where eighteen boys were incarcerated, then to the prisoners in the Auburn jail, where they number two thousand fifty, and I thought, "Many of you are here for many years of life because of your association with fickle friends." That's the crowd that says, "Let's go sockless and shockless. Let's be jitterbugs. Let's pick up a little easy money. Let's dare and do!" and they always come to a disastrous end. When James A. Garfield was a young man, a printed slip was given him by an aged friend, which he carefully cherished to the end of his life. It read:

Make few promises; always speak the truth; never speak ill of anyone; drink no intoxicating liquors; good character is above everything else; keep your own secrets if you have any; do not marry until your are able to support a wife. Keep yourself honest if you would be happy. When you speak to a person, look into his eyes. Make no haste to be rich if you would prosper. Spend less than you earn. Save or invest the balance. Live within your income. Save when you are young to spend when you are old. Never run into debt unless you see your way out again. Good company and good conversation are the sinews of virtue. Your character cannot be essentially injured except by your own acts. If anyone speaks evil of you, let your life be so that no one will believe him. When you retire at night, think over what you have been doing during the day. Never be idle. If your hands cannot be employed usefully attend to the cultivation of your mind.
 
I am sure I could give your sons and daughters no better advice than that. If you will shun those fickle friends your life will be spared much of their follies.

PROFANITY
 

If you ever visit California, go to the pier at Long Beach when the fishing boats come in and see their catch; it's very interesting! Then go to the pier at Redondo Beach, and watch them fish without any bait. Believe it or not, with apologies to Ripley, there are fish there that bite on an empty hook; and so it is in life. "What does the devil pay you for swearing?" asked one man of another. "The devil pay me for swearing? Why he doesn't pay me anything at all!" That's biting on an empty hook! Dr. Frank Crane once said:

The trouble with profanity is not so much that it is wicked as that it is just plain dirty. It is not so much that you shock religious people as that you disgust decent peopled that we object to it. The only place swearing fits is the saloon. Swearing means that you don't know how to talk. Your vocabulary is limited. It is a sign of ignorance. Swearing means weakness. You will notice that forceful men whose words carry weight use simple, plain words. Swearing has bad kin. It goes with ignorance, brutality, cruelty, drunkenness, licentiousness, viciousness  and anger, and you can tell a habit by the company it keeps. To abstain from swearing doesn't mean you are a sissy, It simply means you are decent. Altogether swearing is a useless, unclean, and offensive habit. Quit it!
  

THE DANCE
 

I'm sure I cannot say in the next few paragraphs what usually takes me four hours to say in my message on the modern dance. In that message I have branded the dance as a carnival of death to everything that is clean, wholesome, and eternal. I dare you to prove any statement in that book untrue. I have backed my statements with statistics, figures, and facts obtained from Roman Catholic priests, reformers, state authorities, and even nerve specialists. I am not a killjoy. I am against joy- killing things. I am not against young folks having a good time. I am for it one hundred per cent. I only want folks to count the cost of every pleasure they pursue. Multiplied thousands will testify to the fact there is but one way to joy. J-O-Y. "J" stands for Jesus, "Y" for You, with nothing between. Then you get to the place in your life where Jesus Christ is first, and place yourself  last and see that nothing comes between, you will have abiding joy. Joy is not to be found at Forty-second and Broadway, where the bright lights burn; it is the result of the right relationship established between the inner man and his God. The soul of man may be at rest though the body suffers excruciating pain when the heart is right with God. But if your heart is not right with God, all the luxuries of life and pleasures of this passing world will never give you peace. Thrilling indeed is The Life Story of a Converted Dancer by Ethel N. Barrington. For years she traveled with Schubert's light opera, appearing in "The Student Prince," "Lovely Lady," "The Desert Song," etc. She tells how she would go home to her apartment, weary and exhausted, stand at the window and look out into space, with a feeling of loneliness, with a hunger in her heart, not having found what her heart had sought for. She quit the road, opened up dancing studios in her own home town, and taught boys and girls to dance. In but a little while she noticed a change on their part. They had become bold and daring, and it sickened her. She was invited to go to church and hear the program presented by the Students League of Many Nations, in which a group of young men and young women appeared dressed in their own national costumes. They would speak and sing in their native tongue and interpret it in English. She thought costumes in a church without proper lighting effects would be ridiculous, so she went there to laugh and mock. But oh, those faces, the radiance of those countenances, the note of deep abiding joy sounded in each testimony, wrought an overwhelming conviction in her heart, and she sensed her need. She saw that they had what she was seeking for. They had found it at Calvary, with its cross and its Christ. She decided she would find it, too, and, pleading the merits of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ spilled on Calvary's rugged cross for her, she became a new creature in Christ. "Old things passed away and behold, all became new."

Today she is the loving companion of one of God's honored evangelists, and wherever her husband goes to preach she backs him up with her testimony. And when you have ceased from folly and have exercised faith  in this same Lord Jesus Christ, you will say with others who trust Him:
 

I'd rather walk with Jesus than roam the paths of sin,
I'd rather have His friendship, than earth's best honors win;
My one desire to please Him, as daily ways we trod,
And so we're walking onward, upward, bound for Heaven AND GOD.
 
 —HAROLD F. LOWDEN

 
 
 
Printed in the United States of America
1939