CRAYON AND CHARACTER
Truth Made Clear Through Eye and Ear or Ten-Minute Talks With Colored Chalks
MEIGS PUBLISHING COMPANY INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA
1913 First Reprint 1918
Any earnest Christian who is capable of addressing an audience or a Sunday school class, can, by the aid of this book, give a helpful chalk talk. The book has been designed to meet a growing need of this important phase of teaching.
Any parent, with this book in the home, can use it not only to teach the boy or the girl a simple method of drawing, but may implant in the life of the child the good seed of the Tree of Life.
In the preparation of these talks, "Life" has been the keyword. The thought permeates both the text and the style of illustration used. It is also a feature of the arrangement of each talk whereby a "developing" or "living" picture holds the attention of the listeners through two "scenes" or "steps" of unfolding.
Many of the time-honored symbols will not be found in these pages. The Anchor as the emblem of Hope, and the Crown as the type of Victory or Kingship have given place to symbols and types from nature and from the every-day life of common folks.
Many a smile has been introduced. And why not? We proclaim the Gospel as the Good News, the message of joy and gladness. The New Testament, with its glad tidings of great joy, is one continuous song. Always, however, it has been the aim to lead the thoughts of the listener to Him whose Light we are to reflect among men.
The title of each chalk talk appears twice in the index, in order to provide a wide range of subjects from which to select an appropriate lesson for each occasion.
In his years of experience as a newspaper writer and illustrator, the author has endeavored to cultivate the art of saying as much as possible in a few words and drawn lines. In this book (and in your chalk talk work) the same thought applies. As a Sunday school superintendent and a teacher, the author hopes that many may not be afraid to undertake the use of chalk after studying the easy method here described. As a means of enlarging your usefulness as a teacher of the Eternal Truth, the book, we believe, contains much that will help and encourage.
Fort Wayne, Indiana.
There are too many books published which are GOOD for two things only:
FIRST—They are good sellers, possibly "Best Sellers."
SECOND—They are good at keeping people out of bed till midnight—because they make such "mighty interestin' reading."
Such books may make their authors famous and their publishers rich, but if that is all they are good for, we would not care to sell, much less to publish, them.
The book which the reader holds is put out, not because it is bound to be a good seller nor because it is interesting, but because of its power to HELP Christian work and workers, and of its own ability to give instruction in righteousness to its readers, old and young; to sow seed thoughts of truth in human minds and hearts.
And who will it help?
All Christian platform workers in general and the Sunday School Superintendent in particular.
The Superintendent, especially on all "Special Days."
The Pastor, especially in the prayer meeting where any kind of help, so it is help, will be welcomed by most pastors.
It will be useful to all because of its wealth of material and illustration for expressive and impressive little, big, ten-minute talks, whenever opportunity offers.
We commend the book with all earnestness, to these various classes of people, and will insist that no father or mother will ever be the poorer, but the richer, who will part with the price and get in exchange for it a copy of this book, as a birthday or Christmas gift to a son or daughter between ten and twenty years of age. It will help parents in the uncertain and difficult problem of rearing their children in a way that will make them and keep them a joy in the home, rather than a heartache, a heart break, and the saddest kind of a bereavement, which is too often the case. Surely a dollar spent which may help avert this, is worth far more than a hundred cents lying unused in a bank.
There are sixty-two picture outlines in the book, and with every picture a ten-minute talk, with chalk illustration, which recites and impresses, now, a great and noble deed of a truly noble man; now a kindly act with a double blessing in it; again, a warning to those who unknowingly set foot upon the devil's ground and find it a miry or slimy pit; or, it may be a lesson from one of the world's great poets or historians, for the author has evidently been a reader of great books with a mind to recall many lessons learned therefrom.
Page. INTRODUCTION: The Plan of the Book .......................... 7 The Value of Chalk Talks ...................... 7 The Two-Scene Method .......................... 8 Chalk Work on Paper ........................... 8 Materials Are Cheap ........................... 8 Important to Beginners ........................ 8
EQUIPMENT AND MATERIALS: The Drawing Board ............................. 10 The Drawing Paper ............................. 10 The Chalk ..................................... 12
PREPARING TO GIVE THE CHALK TALK: The Method Explained .......................... 12 Outlining the Right Picture ................... 13 Not an Artist, But a Teacher .................. 14 Finishing Part of the Drawing in Advance ...... 14 The Value of Individuality .................... 14 International or Graded Lessons ............... 14 Talks for Special Days ........................ 14 Talk vs. Chalk ................................ 16 Strive Only for Good .......................... 16 Recording Your Talks .......................... 16 A Word to Parents ............................. 16 A Final Word to Pastors ....................... 18
INDEX: Talks for Special Days ........................ 205 Subject Index ................................. 207
His pictured morals mend the mind And through the eye correct the heart.
—GARRICK, on Hogarth.
~~The Plan of the Book.~~
In the preparation of this book the author has had two great plans in mind:
To prepare a work which will enable any person, who can speak to a class or an audience, to give a helpful, inspiring illustrated talk; to place in the hands of parents everywhere a book to enable them to teach the children a simple, fascinating method of drawing and, at the same time make the great truths of life a part of their every-day learning.
Clear instructions are given as to the method of doing these two things. Then come sixty-two complete talks of special appropriateness for Christian teaching. If you are included in the following classes of workers, the book should be of special value to you:
(a) Speakers who earnestly want to give illustrated talks, but who feel that they "can't draw a straight line."
(b) Those who are experienced in chalk talk work and are seeking new material.
(c) Teachers of the Uniform Lessons.
(d) Teachers of Graded Lessons.
(e) Sunday school superintendents, for platform work.
(f) Pastors, for use in prayer meetings and many other services of the church.
(g) Temperance workers. In this department of work this book is especially worthy of consideration.
(h) Those who need suggestions to help them work out their own addresses.
(i) Parents for giving instruction in the home. It is a great truth that such teaching is far more effective than any which the church or the schools may provide.
~~The Value of Chalk Talks.~~
Scientists tell us that nothing which completely occupies the mind for any length of time is ever forgotten.
This, then, is the reason that the chalk talk method of teaching is so lastingly impressive. People forget everything else while watching a speaker draw a picture. And if they do that, they can never completely forget the words of the speaker or the picture he draws. A baby that doesn't know one letter from another can understand some pictures as well as you can. Try him once and see. And if he lives to be a hundred years of age, he will receive more lasting impressions from pictures than from what he reads. Your audience, therefore, may be depended upon to be "right with you" from the beginning.
~~The Two-Scene Method.~~
Added to this feature of securing strict attention, we find in this book another help in the same direction: Every talk is given in two "scenes" or steps. The speaker draws part of the picture, while he speaks, and then, at a little later period, adds the lines to complete the drawing and bring the scene to a climax. In each talk, the upper picture is the first scene, and the lower picture is the second scene, or completed drawing.
~~Chalk Work on Paper.~~
The book is planned to encourage the use of sheets of book- or news-paper instead of the blackboard. Paper is used by all leading workers with chalk. To discard the blackboard is to take a forward step. However, if you are "wedded" to the use of the blackboard and can handle it effectively, you will find all but a small number of these illustrations adapted to your method.
~~Materials Are Cheap.~~
Probably your school or church is already supplied with the necessary apparatus to do all the work as planned in this book. However, for any who may need to provide for himself a drawing board and easel, instructions for making them are here given. It is only necessary, then, to procure drawing paper and chalk. These are cheap in price and easy to get. You are urged, therefore, to proceed with the use of drawing paper as here instructed, and to lay aside the blackboard for the more advanced method.
~~Important to Beginners.~~
Each drawing in the book, as already stated, is given in two "scenes," in order to show you how your drawing will look when it is partly finished (first scene), and how it will look when it is completed (second scene).
If you are at all "bashful" about taking up the work, let us make this suggestion: In the seclusion of your home or elsewhere, draw the first scene of your talk completely. Thus you will have plenty of time to make it to suit you, with no one to look on and fluster or confuse you. Then cover up the completed work, by placing another sheet of paper over it. When you appear before the audience to give your talk, give your spoken introduction and lead up to the first scene. At this point, remove the cover paper and expose your drawing. Proceed with your talk until you reach the climax in the second scene, at which time you give the picture the final lines with your crayon. Many will find this an easy, satisfactory way to give these talks—indeed many of the illustrations in the book are most effective if given in this way. Experience, however, brings greater confidence, and many will prefer to do most of their drawing in sight of the audience.
Devote yourself to a thorough understanding of essentials, and you will be pleased at the ease with which the field opens. The encouraging words of your associates and the echoes of the good you are doing will strengthen your confidence.
~~Equipment and Materials.~~
The necessary equipment and materials for the work include the drawing board, the drawing paper and the chalk (or lecture crayons).
~~The Drawing Board.~~
Probably your school has a reversible blackboard mounted on an easel, like that shown in Fig. 1. If so, you will find it amply sufficient for your use. The two or three little holes made by the thumb tacks, to attach your drawing paper to the board, at the top, will not injure it in the least. If you haven't such a board, it would be well to procure one, as it can be used for many purposes. The writer has often used a board of this kind in giving chalk talks. The publishers of this book will be glad to give full information as to size and price of such a board.
Another convenient and cheap equipment is an ordinary square board, Fig. 2. If you take six boards, each 45 inches long, 7 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick, and attach them to two cleats at the back, you will have a good, serviceable drawing board which can be hung against the wall with screw hooks and screw eyes; or, it can be set on an easel or other convenient holder. It is only necessary that the board be smooth and the wood be well-seasoned soft pine or bass wood to keep it from warping. If screws are used to fasten the boards to the cleats, screw them through from the back, leaving the front perfectly smooth. Be sure that the screws aren't too long. It would be well to stain the board brown or some other dark color.
A combination drawing board and easel is shown in Fig. 3, a back view of which is given. Take six boards of well-seasoned soft pine, 45 inches long, 8 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. For the rear legs, use two pieces 5 feet and 8 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. A wire should be attached to each rear leg to avoid spreading. Fig. 4 shows this board and easel in use.
~~The Drawing Paper.~~
The most inexpensive paper for chalk talk work is the kind on which newspapers are printed. It may be purchased from printing houses, paper dealers or newspaper offices. A cheap quality of book-paper is also good, and may be bought from printing houses and paper dealers. Ordinary light-colored, light-weight manila paper, such as is used for wrapping, is very satisfactory; it may be procured from paper dealers, or, if you want but a small quantity, probably any merchant would be glad to supply you. The lines which you intend to place on it may be worth infinitely more than the goods he plans to wrap in it.
The writer is accustomed to using chalk made by the American Crayon Company, which can be had at any time from the publishers of this book, and, doubtless, from other publishers. Ask for "lecture crayons." A complete price list, together with samples of colors, will be furnished on request. For general work it is well to have on hand a half dozen sticks of black and a stick each of green, brown, red, yellow, orange and blue. The lecture crayons come in two sizes, one measuring one inch square and three inches long; the other is one-half inch square and three inches in length. If you choose the larger size, the sticks can, when advisable, be cut to the smaller size.
PREPARING TO GIVE THE TALK
The instructions here given are for the beginner. Others will follow their accustomed methods. In our introduction we make the claim that any earnest Christian worker, who is capable of addressing an audience or a Sunday school class can, by the aid of this book, give a helpful chalk talk.
Your response may be, "But, I can't draw." Listen! The following instructions will teach you how to do the work without a technical or practical knowledge of drawing. Let us take up the matter step by step. When you understand the process, it will be "as easy as falling off a log," and it won't jolt you half as much.
~~The Method Explained.~~
THE FIRST STEP—Before the time comes to give your talk, attach half a dozen sheets of your drawing paper to your drawing board, making a smooth drawing surface. It is well to use thumb tacks for this purpose. Open the book to page 26, for we will prepare to give the chalk talk entitled "The Two Faces." The upper picture. Fig. 7, shows the picture partly finished; the lower picture, Fig. 8, shows how the picture will look when completed. You will note that the lower picture is cut up into squares measuring one-fourth of an inch each way.
THE SECOND STEP—By the use of a yardstick and lead pencil, draw pencil lines on the large sheets of drawing paper, so as to separate the drawing paper into the same number of squares as there are on the picture in the book. Your paper is much larger than the page of the book; therefore the squares on your drawing paper must be made much larger than the squares in the book. It is easy to calculate the size of the squares you should draw on the paper. Measure the width of the paper in inches and divide by sixteen (the number of squares across the picture in the book), and this will give you the figure representing the size of the squares you are to draw on the paper. If your drawing paper is thirty-two inches wide, your squares will measure two inches each way.
THE THIRD STEP—Select one of the squares in Fig. 8 as a starting point, and then find the corresponding square on your drawing paper. Having done this, draw a pencil line on your drawing paper, which will cross your enlarged squares in just the same places that the line crosses the small squares in the book. Continue the process until both faces have been outlined on your paper in the enlarged form. Then, with a piece of soft rubber, erase all of the straight pencil lines which form the squares, and the remaining outlines of the two faces will stand out clear and distinct. Already you will have found that you are more of an artist than you thought you were! This sheet of paper, with its dim pencil outlines of the picture, is now ready to be brought before your audience. You must, however, be sure of one thing: the pencil outlines must be just plain enough for you to see them without difficulty, but they must be dimmed with the eraser to such an extent that your audience cannot see them. Thus you have before you a complete outline of the picture you are to draw, and, as you speak, you merely trace over these dim pencil outlines with your chalk. Isn't it simple?
THE FOURTH STEP—All of the preparations up to this time have been done in the quietude of your own room. You are now ready to place your drawing board before your audience. After a smile of greeting you begin your talk. "Let us," you say, "talk for a little while about our thoughts," and then you proceed until you reach the reference to the sour-faced man. "Here, for instance," you continue, "is a man with a face something like this:" and you begin your drawing, starting anywhere you choose. Take your time, and when you have finished the sour face, the audience will show its appreciation with a heartily responsive smile. This completes Fig. 7. Proceed then with the talk until you reach the reference to the man with the sunny face. "Here comes a man who looks something like this:" Draw the second face, and you will have completed Fig. 8 and reached the climax of the drawing. As you make the application of the lesson, you will feel that your effort has already repaid you for the work you have undertaken, and each succeeding attempt will make the work easier until it becomes a pleasing habit.
In Fig. 5 and Fig. 6 are shown a section of each of the faces of the talk just referred to. Here they are enlarged four times. A-A shows the preliminary pencil lines forming the one-inch squares, B-B indicates the pencil outlines of the faces, and C-C illustrates the tracing of the pencil lines with the chalk. In this instance black chalk only is required.
~~Outlining the Right Picture.~~
In some of the talks in the book, the dotted squares cover the upper picture; in others, they are drawn over the lower picture. In either case, the one containing the squares is the one to be outlined on your drawing paper.
~~Not an Artist, But a Teacher.~~
There should be no hesitation on your part to trace with chalk the pencil lines which you have placed on your drawing paper. Remember, always, that you are posing as a humble teacher of God's Word and not as an artist. Your pencil outline holds the same relation to your chalk talk that the minister's notes hold to his sermon. Both are prepared in advance to enable the speaker to best present his message. Do not try to conceal your method. There is nothing about it of which you need be ashamed.
~~Finishing Part of the Drawing in Advance.~~
Now that the process has been explained in detail, a thorough understanding of the suggestion under the heading, "Important to Beginners," seems most essential as a still easier way to do the work. Finishing part of the work in advance still leaves the speaker something to do, and the audience will always be interested in finding out what that "something" is to be.
~~The Value of Individuality.~~
It is well for the beginner to cultivate an individual style of speaking. Substitute your own methods of expression in place of the language of the book. The more you do it, the larger will be the feeling that the message is a personal one from you to your hearers. Whenever you can do so, substitute a "home" illustration for the one in the book. As you become more accustomed to the work you will doubtless use pictures and subjects entirely outside of the book. Remember that any outline picture may be enlarged after the method here shown. Cut your picture into squares with drawn lines, and enlarge it in the same manner. Many Bible scenes may be shown in this way.
~~International or Graded Lessons.~~
The book has been provided with two indexes. One directs you to fitting talks for special days. The other serves as a guide to talks and illustrations suitable to the application of any lesson. Determine the central thought of the lesson and consult the Subject Index. It will help you choose a talk appropriate for the day. The talk may need a little revision to enable you to give it the proper application, but the main thought will be readily apparent.
~~Talks for Special Days.~~
The index for suitable talks for special days includes some which are not yet generally observed but which are of growing importance. Introducing some of these into your school or church as novelties, they may become as permanent as Easter, Children's Day, Rally Day and others.
~~Talk vs. Chalk.~~
No matter how little preparation you may need for your talk, remember that the words you speak are of greatest importance. It is to your words that you must give careful study, or your audience may lose the force of your thought while centering their attention upon the developing picture.
Never apologize for the appearance of your drawing or of your ability as an artist. Strive to present truth only. Truth needs no apology.
Do not draw in a sketchy manner. Determine on the place to begin your drawing and then use a continuous, easy line, without lifting the chalk from the paper, except when necessary to start in a new place.
~~Strive Only for Good.~~
The design of this book has been to present brief, impressive talks which hold attention for from ten to twelve minutes. It is advisable never to speak longer than this, especially when children form a part of your audience and are the special object of your words. If you cease speaking just when the audience wants to hear more, you will always be assured of a hearing the next time. If you leave one single wholesome thought with your audience you will have accomplished the greatest good.
Avoid mannerisms. Cultivate an easy style of speaking and working. Don't become discouraged if everything doesn't go to suit you. Your audience is not a critical but a sympathetic one. All are striving to do the Master's work, and the field you have undertaken will bring you the interest and the kindliest co-operation of all who are working with but one great object in view.
~~Recording Your Talks.~~
It is suggested that each talk, as you give it, be so marked in the book as to indicate the time and place of its use, so you will avoid possible repetition before the same audience months or years later.
~~A Word to Parents.~~
The same general principles of procedure as those here given are suggested as the best method of using this book in the home. For the very little children, the parent will find it well to enlarge the outlines upon paper and tell the stories in such a way as can be understood best, but for the boys or girls who are in the younger grades at school the book describes a method of drawing which will delight and instruct them. Of course, the parent will have to teach the method to the children, as they will be incapable of understanding it from the printed description. With this instruction will come the unfolding of the stories of the book and their application. A child, when he sees a picture of a face or a house or any other object, wants to know all about it—whose it is, what it is or what it is for. This is true especially if it be a picture which he is asked to draw for himself or which he sees drawn. This enables the parent to give into expectant and waiting ears the great truths of Christ as expressed in pictures which the child understands.
It is best, we believe; in instructing those who are old enough to do the drawing themselves or watch the parent do it, to select paper of such a size as can be used on a desk or table. Ordinary letter-size unruled tablet paper is convenient to get and easily handled. Let the child square off the page, under the parent's directions, and then let him do his part in tracing the picture from the book. Doubtless, some of the enlarged pictures will be "fearfully and wonderfully made," but it is a start in a splendid direction—a start which may have its ending in the happiness for which every parent longs and which cannot come unless the children begin in childhood to become the companions of their parents—companions who cannot be separated in later years by distance or the disturbances of the earthly life.
~~A Final Word to Ministers.~~
Do not forget that there is no earthly or heavenly reason why a minister should not have a blackboard or an easel on the pulpit platform or in the prayer meeting room to help him keep his audiences awake while he tries to drive truth home to heart and mind. It is every preacher's duty to be interesting, and if this book and the blackboard, or the equipment for chalk talk work, will help him to be so, then it is his plain duty to buy the book and secure the chalk and easel and "get busy" being interesting!
And there is one more thing: Don't forget you can do it—if you try!
And now, with these general instructions and observations, the book is commended to the use of all who have the love of Christ in their hearts and who, as faithful workers, may wish to add one more working tool to those they have used so well.
THE TWO FACES —Our Thoughts. —Optimism.
"As a Man Thinketh in His Heart, So Is He"—A Lesson in Character Building.
THE LESSON—That our thoughts determine the kind of life we live, and often proclaim character in the face.
If the teacher succeeds in impressing upon the pupil the great need to "guard well thy thoughts," for "our thoughts are heard in heaven," he will have accomplished a work of immeasurable good in the life of the child or youth who is the fortunate object of such interest.
"Let us think a while about our thoughts. Do you know it is a fact that a man, seated quietly in an easy chair on his front porch on a summer evening, may be sinning against God and man? Yes, it's true, for, as he sits there in the silence, he can hate another man with a bitter hatred; he can plan to rob him or burn his house or slander him or even take his life. And the worst of it all is that if he allows such thoughts to rent a room in his head it may not be long before his evil designs have become awful deeds.
"Not many boys or girls think such terrible things, but thoughts of this kind are only the little bad thoughts allowed to grow year after year in the head and in the heart. And do you know, also, that if you allow these little bad thoughts to live in your head and heart for a while, they get so bold and 'sassy' that they insist on taking possession of the best room of your head and the parlor of your heart and defy you to put them out? The only thing to do is to throw them out the very first time they come in.
"Let us take a walk down-street and mix with the crowd. Every person whom we see is thinking about something, even though he doesn't say a word, and we believe, as we look into the faces we meet, that we can tell just what kind of thoughts some of them have. Here, for instance, is a man with a face something like this: [Draw the sour face, completing the first step, Fig. 7.] He looks grouchy; perhaps he is vicious, and we avoid brushing against him. Perhaps he has lost money in a business deal; perhaps he wanted a political position and didn't get it; perhaps a supposed friend has proven untrue; perhaps his disappointment, whatever it is, has made him sour and crabbed. But he passes on, and we meet other faces. Here comes a man who looks something like this: [Draw the happy face, completing Fig. 8.] He doesn't look as if he had a care in all the world, does he? And yet we may find that he, too, has lost money in a business transaction that was full of promise—that he, also, has failed to win a political race; that he has been mistreated by a supposed friend. And yet, through it all, he has never lost sight of the sunshine. He has learned many a valuable lesson from each of his disappointments, and perhaps he has had a good many more of them than the other fellow ever knew.
"Now, what has made the difference in these two men? Their thoughts have made the difference. The grouch has, for years, entertained grouchy thoughts. The sunshiny man has cultivated the habit of seeing the bright side of things. That's all there is to it.
"How about you, boys? And you, girls? What kind of thoughts do you think? I said, you remember, that if bad thoughts get into your head and heart, they stick there defiantly. But, listen! If you let good thoughts into your head and heart, they, too, will settle down and make their home with you and your happiness is assured.
"Don't get into the habit of growling because the street car is two minutes late. Thank your lucky stars that there is a street car to come at all!
"Learn to be happy. A smiling face is welcome everywhere. People scamper away from a scowling countenance, especially if the owner of it insists upon telling his woes and troubles.
"Remember that happiness depends not upon how many burdens we worry about, but upon how many blessings we are glad about—it depends not upon what we have, but upon what we enjoy. God says, 'Let the wicked forsake his ways and the unrighteous man his thoughts'—that is, his unrighteous thoughts. Why? Because God knows that vulgar thoughts make vulgar men, and evil thoughts make evil men. So boys, make a practice of chasing them out of your heads as you would drive a snake out of your bedroom."
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS —Christmas —The Needy
It Is Well to Remember the Poor at Christmas, but it is Infinitely Better to Be a True Friend Every Day.
THE LESSON—That the true Christmas spirit is that which causes us to remember the needy always, whether their need be for the necessities of life or for the love of a real friend.
Too many of us are inclined to shower our gifts and our good wishes upon the needy at the glad Christmas season, and then neglect this great field of service throughout another twelve-month period.
"As we go out upon the street today everybody seems to be happy and full of laughter and good cheer. People who usually pass us by without speaking at all or who merely nod without as much as a smile, act today as if they knew us very well; they smile real widely and say 'Merry Christmas!' just as heartily as they know how, and we respond to the greeting with a 'Same to you!' with an inner feeling of friendliness that somehow surprises us. It is a time when nearly every heart is warmed, and we find our greatest joy in seeing how happy we can make other folks. In every home where children are to be found—and there the Christmas spirit is the merriest—we see the stocking all hung in a row, and we are just as anxious to fill them as the owners are to have them filled. [Draw the three stockings, completing Fig. 9.]
"Here they are. And when Susie and Johnnie and little Bob come scrambling downstairs on Christmas morning their eyes sparkle with delight and our hearts warm with Christmas gladness as we join in their merriment.
"But there are other homes. And other stockings—stockings not so warm, not so good—stockings that are darned and patched and worn like this. [With broad side of black crayon change the stockings of Fig. 9 to resemble those of Fig. 10.] In the atmosphere of Christmas joy in our own comfortable homes, do we sometimes over-look the boys and girls in the poorer homes who won't have much of a Christmas unless we fill these poor, patched little stockings with gifts to show that someone cares? I don't believe there is a boy or a girl here who is selfish enough to refuse to do such a little thing to bring a glad Christmas into a poor home. All we need is to be told where to go and what to do. [Doubtless you will have planned a way for the children to give remembrances to the poor; this may be presented in a word at this time, reserving the details for the close.]
"'At Christmastide the open hand Scatters its bounties o'er sea and land; And none are left to grieve alone, For Love is Heaven and claims its own.'
"Truly, the Christmas spirit is upon us today. But stop—! Will it vanish tomorrow? Will we forget to be kind to those about us next week, next month, next summer? Will we forget that these same little worn, patched stockings are there in the same needy homes, and that the boys and girls may need our friendship and help more when it is summer than they do now when so many willing hands are extended to help them?
"I hope we shall not forget. Let us remember that the best gifts, ofttimes, are not those which we can see and touch. The truest gifts are those of love and companionship and service—the same fellowship which Jesus gave to the poor when he was among men. It seems as if His heart always went out to those in need, and He helped them, not with gifts which fade and wear out and are soon cast aside, but with words and deeds which told them that He would be a true friend even to the end of the world. 'Christianity,' says Henry Drummond, 'wants nothing so much as sunny people, and the old are hungering more for love than for bread. The Oil of Joy is very cheap, and if you can help the poor with the Garment of Praise, it will be better than blankets." Dr. Henry D. Chapin expresses the same thought when he says, 'The cry of the ages is more for fraternity than for charity. If one exists, the other will follow, or, better still, will not be needed.'
"Says J. R. Miller, 'Wanting to have a friend is altogether different from wanting to be a friend. The former is mere natural human craving. The latter is the life of Christ in the soul.'
"At no better time than today can we choose to plant again the seed of true friendship in our hearts. Let us cultivate it and nurture it until it blooms forth into friendship for everyone who may be helped by the love of Christ through us."
THE KEY TO FAILURE —Temperance Day —Appetite
Strong Drink Opens the Gate to Destruction and Bars the Way to Success.
THE LESSON—That strong drink robs its victims of the ability to solve the problems of life.
This temperance lesson deals with the curse of strong drink in especial reference to its connection with the material success of the individual. Specific opinions of several well-known representative men are quoted.
"Nearly every man carries in his pocket a bunch of keys. [Write the word 'Key,' completing Fig. 11.] When a professional man, for instance, reaches his office in the morning, he may unlock his office door with one key; with another key he may unlock his desk; with another he may unlock a drawer in the desk; and then, having opened his safe, he may use still another key to unlock his strong box. At night he may look carefully to see that each of these things is again carefully locked before he goes home. And so, we see, keys are for two purposes—to unlock and to lock.
"Most keys are made of metal and are in our own keeping and subject to our own will, but there is another key of which I shall speak, which goes before many a man, working entirely independent of him. And as it goes, it locks the doors which he wishes to enter, and it unlocks many another door which he does not want to enter and forces him to go through it. I will draw the picture of this key. [Starting at the final stroke of the letter Y, continue the line, and ending with the letters W-H-I-S. Then add the lines to complete Fig. 12.]
"Let us see for a moment what this key does. It locks the door to health and opens the door to disease. Sir Andrew Clark, one of England's greatest physicians, says: 'I am speaking solemnly and carefully in the presence of truth, and I will tell you that I am considerably within the mark when I say to you that, going the round of my hospital wards today, seven out of every ten owed their ill-health to strong drink.'
"And again: This key bars and locks the way to good positions, where men may earn the money needed to keep themselves and their families provided with the necessities of life. Many of the great corporations are refusing to hire men who drink. Whiskey has locked the door to opportunity for them. The Pennsylvania Railroad Company, operating one of the greatest systems in the world, has issued a statement to the men who run the trains on its lines which includes these words: 'Taking one drink of intoxicating liquor is like running passed the red light. It is unsafe. The possible line between safety and danger in the use of alcoholic drink is dangerously unstable. Safety lies back of total abstinence. The normal man has no legitimate use for alcohol as a beverage, and he has no right to render himself abnormal by its use when lives are dependent upon his efficiency. None but normal men should run railway trains. The traveling public has unqualified right to demand and expect none less safe.' This statement deals, not with the moral side, but with the fact that a man who drinks unfits himself for any position of responsibility, especially if entrusted with human life.
"This key also locks and bars the way to a life of purity and honor. Says the chaplain of the Ohio penitentiary, Dr. Starr: "The records show that 1,250 persons have been received into this institution during eighteen months; of these, 930 acknowledged themselves to have been intemperate.' And the Massachusetts Bureau of Labor adds the statement that of 27,000 crimes committed in that state, eight out of every ten were due to intemperate habits, or occurred while the criminal was under the influence of liquor.
"We need not go further to show that this key is truly the key to failure—failure in the attempt to attain to anything pure, right and honorable.
"No one knows this better than the manufacturer of strong drink. 'The handwriting is on the wall,' says T.M. Gilmore, president of the Model License League. 'Our trade today is on trial before the bar of public sentiment, and unless it can be successfully defended before that bar, I want to see it go down forever.'
"In no better way can we help to bring this victorious end than by lending our every influence to cause the world to turn to the true Christian life, for then follows 'love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned.' Paul does not say, 'Shun that which is evil;' he says abhor it. May this ever be our attitude toward this giant evil."
A BUSY LIFE —Pluck and Luck —Industry
A Plucky American Boy Whom the Whole World Delights to Honor.
THE LESSON—That pluck and perseverance and a "Try—Try—Again" Spirit can laugh at obstacles and change them into stepping stones.
The following talk may suggest to many of the younger hearers the secret of the true greatness of Benjamin Franklin, who is considered by many our foremost American.
"Some people trust to luck to carry them through the world. Like Dickens' Micawber, they're 'always waiting for something to turn up.' I have heard of a man who was so pleased at finding a big horseshoe that he placed it over his bedroom door. The next morning, as he closed the door, he jarred the horseshoe from its place and it fell and struck him such a blow on the head that he was in the hospital for a week. Such results as this are likely to come when we depend upon luck. Let us remember that luck never figures in God's calculations.
"I have seen people looking for something like this in their front yards. [Quickly draw the outlines of the four-leaf clover in black, and fill in the outlines with broad sweeps of green. With black, trace the veins lightly, and then put in the letters to spell 'Luck.' This completes Fig. 13.] What is it? Yes, a four-leaf clover. And when I saw them looking for it, I thought that they could have been doing a great deal more good by pulling the weeds in their back yards.
"But today we shall talk about a boy who never depended upon luck at all. This boy had a pair of sharp eyes, and whenever he saw anything to do, he did it. His name was Benjamin Franklin. Did you ever hear of him? Yes, I thought so. This boy worked for his older brother in a printing office in Boston, but the brother used to flog him and treat him roughly. Benjamin knew that they could never get along well together, so he went away to Philadelphia.
"In this great city he saw many things which other boys before him had not seen. He saw that the printing art had wonderful possibilities in it; he studied and worked hard to improve the business, and today all of the printers call him the father of the art of printing. He saw that he ought to know other languages besides English, and so he became a master of French, Italian and Latin—and luck' hadn't a thing to do with it! He saw on every hand many chances to help other people. This prompted him to organize the first police force and the first fire company in the United Colonies; he organized a military company; he paved the streets of Philadelphia and taught the people how to keep them clean; he founded a hospital; he invented the first practical stove; he accepted many public positions in his earlier years, including that of member of the general assembly of the colonies, deputy postmaster of Philadelphia and commissioner to treat with the Indians.
"He saw that the common people should have a better chance to get an education, and so he published for many years Poor Richard's Almanac, which provided them with much that they should have known; he founded the first circulating library, helped to establish the University of Pennsylvania, and brought into existence the American Philosophical Society.
"He saw the lightning, just as millions before him had done; but, unlike the others, he believed the brilliant display was the evidence of a great and unseen power—electricity. By the use of his now famous kite and key he proved it to be so, and for a time he was the only man in the world who knew what lightning really is.
"He saw at the time of the impending Revolutionary war the need of someone to go to England to intercede in the interests of the colonies; and so, when the choice fell upon him, he did not shirk the responsibility.
"He saw many later duties which caused him to become a member of the Continental Congress which made George Washington the commander-in-chief of the Colonial army; he helped to write the Declaration of Independence; he was a commissioner of peace to confer with the British General Howe; he was a member of the commission to seek the aid of France; he was America's first postmaster general.
"Did Benjamin Franklin depend upon luck? Never! His was, rather, a five-leaf clover, like this: [Quickly add the fifth leaf to the drawing, and insert the letter P, completing Fig. 14.] 'Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do,' says the Bible, 'do it with thy might.' I believe Benjamin Franklin fulfilled this command; and we can do it ourselves, if we will. He never stopped to 'knock on wood' to prevent bad luck! He had better sense. And I hope we have, too."
THE KEG and the BUCKET —Temperance Day —Purity
A Temperance Talk Devoted to the Teaching of the Principles of Purity of Life.
THE LESSON—That water as a beverage stands for purity and blessing, while spirituous liquors are always an emblem of impurity and blight.
The chalk talk here outlined contains in its illustration an interesting transformation which always commands close attention. The truth it presents cannot fail to leave an impression. It may be well to vary the application of the temperance thought to suit your local conditions.
"I am going to outline for you a picture of an object which is everywhere recognized by good people as a symbol of defiance of the law, a suggestion of immorality, of poverty, depravity and death. [Draw beer keg, completing Fig. 15.] In plain words, it is a beer keg, and its close companions are the whiskey barrel, the wine cask and the demijohn! It well represents the liquor traffic as a whole—that terrible curse which holds in its grip so many men and boys, whose lives might be bright, happy and successful but for its blighting, fatal grasp.
"No right-thinking man has a good word for the business which makes good men into brutes, transforms honorable citizens into murderers, and brings many a prosperous family to rags and misery. The saloon-keeper himself has no good word for the business; he merely defends it because it makes for him a good living with little work on his part. Ofttimes he will not drink a drop himself or allow any of his employes to touch liquor. He is in the business for the money he can get out of it, not caring how much poverty and penury others get. With a low idea of his duty toward his fellow-beings, he argues that as long as men and boys will drink the deadly stuff which he sells, he as well as anyone else, has a right to profit by their weakness and degradation.
"'Oh,' says Shakespeare, 'that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains!'
"Whenever we hear of a state of lawlessness and anarchy in a city or a nation, we can rightly conclude that the government of that city or that nation has lost control of its people. When a man becomes a drunkard and does things which he never thought of doing before, we can rightly conclude that his brain has failed to govern him and that it has been deposed by the forces of base appetite. He has lost control of himself. That is why a drinking man cannot in these days secure a good position with the large corporations, railroads, manufactories and the immense commercial institutions. The great employers of men have learned that they cannot trust men who, as Shakespeare says, have 'put an enemy into their mouths to steal away their brains.' Brains are in demand everywhere—brains and steady nerves.
"So, wherever we look, we see young men learning that the way of the saloon is the way of failure. If they can only be halted in their way and be made to look for a moment upon another symbol—a symbol of purity and true service—they might be saved from the bitter path into which they are stepping. [Revise drawing by adding the bail and the lettering, completing Fig. 16. If time will allow of the singing of a verse of 'The Old Oaken Bucket,' the innovation will prove a pleasing touch.]
"Perhaps the warnings against liquor have become commonplace to you. Perhaps you feel that you do not need to be told the story of the great curse. But if the warning comes echoing back to you in the time of temptation you will bless the hearing of it, for it may mean everything to you and your loved ones and the generations to come.
"It is the Master who said, 'And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily, I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.' But what may one lose when he puts the drunkard's glass to the lips of a young man?
"Hear the voice of Solomon: 'The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty, and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.' 'Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.'
"If Jesus held up to us a cup of cold water as the emblem of purity, let us never bring dishonor upon one of earth's greatest blessings.
"'Traverse the desert, and then ye can tell What treasures exist in the cold, deep well; Sink in despair on the red, parched earth, And then ye may reckon what water is worth.'"
TURN OVER A NEW LEAF —New Year's Day —Gladness
The Psalmist Truly Says that "A Merry Heart Maketh a Cheerful Countenance."
THE LESSON—That the wearing of a gloomy countenance is unpardonable and that "the smile that won't come off" is the kind that ought to come on.
Laughter is catching. The following chalk talk will capture an audience and bring genuine smiles as nothing else, perhaps, in this book. It has been prepared for that purpose. While it is arranged here as especially appropriate for the beginning of the new year, it may be used with varying applications on many other occasions.
"There is a good deal of consolation in the words of Cowper, who truly declares that
"'The path of sorrow, and that path alone, Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown.'
"Nevertheless, most of us ask for as little real sorrow as possible while we are treading the pathway that leads to eternal peace.
[It is advisable to begin the drawing of Fig. 17 at this point, and continue the talk as the picture develops. It is suggested that the eyes be drawn first, then the mouth and nose, and, finally, the outer portions. It adds to the effect, too, to stop drawing at this point, allowing the people to study carefully the dull, gloomy expression of the face. Then, as if to put on the finishing touches, draw the lines of the forehead. These, of course, are the lines of the nose and mouth of the reversed face, but the audience will not suspect the 'trick' until it is revealed.]
"And yet, to judge from the way some of us act and look, it would seem that we rather enjoy a protracted case of the miseries! Some folks begin to fret as soon as they are out of bed in the morning; the early day brings its worries and cares, the noontide and the afternoon are filled with problems, and night finds them all fagged out and longing to take rest in sleep so as to get into condition to repeat the round of sorrows and cares which they are preparing for themselves for the next day. Little jealousies, petty rivalries, senseless envyings and useless fears bring wrinkles of care, which are very unbecoming; and, before we are aware of it, the years have overtaken us, and we advertise our inner selves by this outward kind of sign. [Display Fig. 17 complete. This finishes the drawing of both scenes or figures, since the second part is merely an inverting of Fig. 17.]
"But, friends, you know, and I know, that all this—or most of it—is all foolishness. We know that 'as a man thinketh in his heart so is he.' If he thinks gloomy things, he will be a gloomy man. If he thinks glad things, he will be a happy man. So, let us consider this matter now at the beginning of the new year. Strange to say, smiling is a serious thing! It affects our influence, it means much to the happiness of those about us, it has a direct connection with the state of our health, and, therefore, with our material prosperity. It is true, of course, that we are bound to have our little annoyances and our depressing sorrows as we go through life; but, surely, we can avoid most of the troubles which keep us unhappy if we will but lift our thoughts above ourselves and employ our time in seeking to comfort and brighten the lives of those about us. Happiness is largely a habit, and we can do no better than to 'get the habit" and let others catch it from us.
"Let us learn the truth that peace of mind is health to the body, and that it is worth more than we ever imagine. Joy is essential to the truly Christlike life. When the angel proclaimed to the shepherds, 'Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people,' you and I were included, and we have not accepted that message of great joy, and Christ abides not in us if we do not reflect the sunlight which has come from above.
"And so I am going to ask that we join together today in 'turning over a new leaf.' What do I mean? Simply this: To meet our troubles fairly and squarely, grasp them firmly and then completely overturn them; when lo! we shall find their threatenings, their warnings and their fearful aspects shall have faded away, and brightness and peace shall have taken their place. [At the beginning of this paragraph grasp the drawing at the bottom, tear it loose from the top, and hold it up before the audience, inverted, as in Fig. 18.]
"Truly, 'a merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.' May yours remain so throughout the new year and ever after."
TRUE SUCCESS —Lincoln's Birthday —Discouragement
It is Exemplified by the Life of Abraham Lincoln—Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones.
THE LESSON—That the very things which are obstacles in the way of many should be their stepping stones to the higher life.
The life of Abraham Lincoln is so fraught with good lessons that it is difficult to select that which is of the greatest inspiration to the young. The illustration here given, however, points the way to true success as illustrated by the story of Lincoln's life.
"Every one of us is anxious to be a success. [Draw the word 'Success' in red, and the rays of light in orange.]
"But many of us are discouraged and disheartened by seeing before us so many big 'ifs' in the way that we give up trying to gain the height toward which our eyes were once lifted. [Draw the wall, with the rocks obstructing the way; put in the letters 'I' and 'F,' and indicate the pathway. Your drawing will now resemble Fig. 19.]
"Some of us may say, 'IF I had not been born in such an obscure place or in such an obscure family, I might have been a great success.'
"Another might say, 'IF my father had only had the means to give me a lift at the right time, I might have been a great success.'
"Another might say, 'IF I had only had the chance to go to school when I was a boy, I might have obtained the education necessary to make me a great success.'
"One other might say, 'IF I could only work out my plans without meeting with the discouraging opposition of those who ought to help me and co-operate with me, I might be a great success.'
"Still another might say, 'IF I had only had the opportunities that other men have had, I might have been a great success.'
"And so we might stand and look with discouraged hearts at the 'ifs' before us and stop dead still.
"Well, now, let us look into this a little. Let us search the Scriptures and find a word of comfort. But search as we may, we find the word 'Success' there only once. Why only once? Probably because the Bible has a much bigger and better word, and that word is 'Life.' 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,' says the Master; and again, 'I am the Resurrection and the Life.' This wonderful word was often on His lips. To Him, success was life. To live was all that earth could desire. To live was to see in these stones—[Indicate the stones in the drawing]—not stumbling-blocks but stepping-stones to success. [Add the letters 'L' and 'E,' completing the word 'Life.'] When you and I see the true life, then will all our 'ifs' depart.
"Abraham Lincoln was one who saw these stones before him. How did he look upon them?
"The obscurity of his birth was no 'if' to him—it was the foundation of his noble character.
"The poverty of his early years was no 'if' to him—it was the thing which caused him to appreciate every blessing of after life.
"The denial of his means to an education when a boy was no 'if' to him—it caused his maturer mind to hunger after learning, even in his later years.
"The bitter opposition which he met throughout his tempestuous political career was no 'if' to him—it softened his nature and drew him nearer to the God of love in whom he placed his trust.
"No one should envy him his opportunities, for he made every one of them himself, just as you or I may do.
"It would seem to me, as I look at the life of this great man, that the secret of his success lay in his determination to make every stumbling block a stepping stone. In order to do it, he held steadfastly to the hand of God, when, it seemed, all other friends had failed. It was then that he said, 'I do the best I know—the very best I can—and I mean to keep right on doing so until the end.'
"God has not yet given us wings to fly with, but He has given us feet to climb with, and if we use them for all they are worth, we can climb near enough to heaven's gate to step right in when the summons come.
"Boys and girls, men and women, the opportunity for success—for Life—is given to each one of us, just as truly as it was given to Abraham Lincoln. We could not have taken his place. Perhaps he could not have taken yours or mine. It is for each of us to work out his own success, just as he did."
THE FRUITS OF RICHES —Humility —Wealth
If the Love of Gold Controls the Life Naught but Poverty of Soul Can Result.
THE LESSON—That while wealth, honestly earned, may be a blessing, the life devoted to the getting of riches cannot hope for true happiness.
The Scriptures do not condemn the possession of riches, but they do have some strong things to say against the wrongful attainment of wealth and the harmful use of money. The talk here presented is designed to impress this thought. In outlining the drawing be sure to place the lettering exactly as shown in the design.
"The Bible has a good deal to say about rich people and poor people. Solomon, it seems, thought it best to be neither poor nor rich, for he wrote, 'Give me neither poverty nor riches," and I believe that this sentiment would be that of most of us. At any rate, the richer he got, the farther he went from God. But we must have money—enough to meet the needs of our lives. We need it for the buying of our food, our clothing, our homes, our books and in a thousand other ways. But I hope that none of us will ever reach the point where the governing principle in our lives will be to get money for money's sake.
"Money-madness seems to be the dominant characteristic of many people. They appear to think that wealth will gain for them all that may be desired to make life happy. We might illustrate the thought by saying that they sow or plant their money and hope that it will bring forth a fruitage of the blessings for which they long. [Draw the bag of money, the earth line, the stalk of the plant and the outline of the foliage, all with black.] And what do the possessors of riches expect as a harvest in return for the sowing of their wealth? First, let us put down Pleasure. [Put in the word Pleasure, using red for the lettering.] And they expect to be leaders in smart society, so we will add to the list Social Prestige. [Add Social Prestige.] They expect their associates to be impressed with the evidence of luxury in their palatial homes and in all they have and do. So we will add Luxury to the list. [Add Luxury.] And through it all they think they will possess that degree of satisfaction and contentment which we call comfort, so we will add this to the list. [Add Comfort.] And, finally, let us add a word to indicate that element which the wealthy sometimes possess in a worldly sense, representing their ability to direct the happiness or unhappiness of those who are less fortunate in their possession of worldly goods. That word is Power. [Add Power, completing Fig. 21.]
"Here, then, is the picture of the result as longed for by the possessors of riches, whose lives are devoted to the attainment of things of this world alone.
"But, alas, how often are bright hopes shattered! 'He that maketh haste to be rich,' says Solomon, 'shall not be innocent.' A glance at the daily paper tells us how true it is that when the love of money takes possession of the heart, pleasure is driven out. How often, too, does the aspiring social leader find himself outrivalled in the foolish race, and social prestige vanishes. And with such experiences as these, the home of wealth loses the longed-for luxury, comfort and worldly power. And what has come to take the place of these which were only dreams? [With the broad side of the black crayon fill in solidly the portions of the foliage area, leaving only the word Sorrow. Add the words, "The love of money is the root of all evil," completing Fig. 22, which shows the root and the trunk of a tree that looks more like the tree of death than "The Tree of Life."]
"Such is too often the result of the love of money, which, as Paul tells us, 'is the root of all evil.' But, happily, there is another side to the matter. Many of the wealthy of the earth have blessed and are blessing mankind and in return are themselves blessed. In harmony with the thought, Dr. Van Dyke says: I do not mean to say that the possession of much money is always a real barrier to real wealth of mind and heart. Nor would I maintain that all the poor of this world are rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom. And if some of the rich of this world (through the grace of Him with whom all things are possible) are also modest in their minds and ready to be pleased with unbought pleasures, they simply share in the best things which are provided for all.'
"None of us may ever be rich in earthly possessions, but even the strife after the money necessary for our actual needs may shut out our vision of the things of greater value. Let us always hold fast to that which is good, remembering always that a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.
"Let us put out of our lives all envy, all jealousy, all desire for the artificial, and learn the lessons of humility, patience, confidence and good cheer which are all about us if we but turn our faces and our hearts toward them."
THE CHRIST-CHILD —Christmas —Giving
A Lesson From the Story of the Shepherds and the Wise Men.
THE LESSON—That the Light that was shed when the Christ-Child came to earth now brightens the farthest corners of the world.
Nothing is more beautiful and impressive than the story of the Christ-Child. It cannot be repeated too often, and it is essential at Christmas time.
"Let us hear once more the wonderful story of the shepherds who played such a large part in the first Christmas. [Read Luke 2:8-18. When you reach the words, 'Let us now go even unto Bethlehem,' draw the lines representing the city, using brown crayon. On completing the reading of verse 18, continue the narrative by reading Matthew 2:1-2 and 2:9-11. When you reach the words, 'the star which they saw in the east went before them and stood over where the young child was,' draw the star, with its rays, in orange, completing Fig. 23. This ends the reading.]
"I wish we could picture to ourselves the scene in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. We are told that there was such an immense crowd there that Joseph and Mary could find no shelter in the inn, but we should know that this does not mean a hotel, for they had nothing of this kind in Bethlehem. Indeed, it would not have been required, because all that the thousands of visitors needed was the permission to sleep on the floor on their own mats which they brought with them. This is the custom even today. It was a sacred duty of every Jew to give shelter to his countrymen who were on a journey, so, instead of an inn, the real meaning is that there was no room for them in any house in Bethlehem. It is probable that the stable in which they sought refuge was a rough cave, such as are to be found in that neighborhood now. So, let us note at the beginning that Jesus, the Savior, was born amidst the most humble surroundings, and also that when the angels came to announce His birth, they did not choose to tell the good news first to the rich and the powerful, but brought the wonderful story to the humble shepherds who watched their flocks by night on the hillside. But it was not to stop there. No, God wanted the world to know that the kingdom of love which came with the birth of Jesus was for the high and the lowly alike. So, by the brilliant star He guided the wise men from the east to worship Him and place at His feet the precious jewels and costly gifts, which show that they were men of great wealth and wisdom.
"So, we see, the coming of Jesus was to bring a blessing to all men. It was to be a kingdom of love which would include the whole wide world, 'for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'
"Let us remember that God 'gave' His Son to the world—it was the first and greatest Christmas Gift. We can never repay Him for this marvelous expression of His love. All we can do is to endeavor every day of our lives to do good and thus give as best we can of the blessings which have come from Him.
"At Christmas time we seem to have no difficulty in showing kindness to those about us. The earth is filled with His spirit, so that in millions of churches and homes throughout the world today we find a reflection of the star of Bethlehem in the countless shining candles and glittering electric lights which adorn the Christmas trees. [Draw candle flames and rays in orange. Draw tree in green, and use brown to fill in the trunk and the foundation. This completes Fig. 24.]
"Yes, everywhere that we see the sparkling candles or little electric lights, let us think of them as reflecting the light of the star of Bethlehem, to guide us to Him, just as the wise men were guided to that humble manger-cradle in Bethlehem. Many there are, we know, who make merry at Christmas, while shutting Jesus out of their lives. They know not the blessing of the warmth of Christian love which He brought into the world, which is for them, if they will only accept it.
"But let us look at our own lives and see if we are reflecting the true spirit of Christmas. Some one has said that true Christmas giving is true Christmas living—living not merely at Christmas time in fellowship with all, but throughout the year, with no difference in days excepting that with their succession we may grow more and more humble and faithful—more like Him."
SEEDTIME AND HARVEST —Sowing —Reaping
"Whatsoever a Man Soweth, That Shall He Also Reap."
THE LESSON—That the happiness or the unhappiness of middle life and old age are the result of the thoughts and deeds of early life.
The teacher who can help the little children to avoid the entertainment of wrong thoughts and the teacher who can eliminate from the minds of the youth the belief that the "sowing of wild oats" is a harmless—perhaps necessary—touch of life, may feel that he has accomplished much. The teaching carries with it the necessity of supplanting wrong thoughts with right ones.
"Some of the great declarations of the Scriptures have become so familiar to us that we speak the words and lose much of their significance. One great truth which seems to have lost its power with many is that verse in the letter of Paul to the Galatians, in which he says, 'Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.'
"What does Paul mean? He means simply this, that your life and mine, like the life of the world of nature about us, has its seedtime and its time of harvest—that if the seedtime of our early life finds us planting good thoughts, kindly deeds and loving words, the harvest of the later life will be peace and blessedness; if the seedtime of life finds us sowing evil thoughts, bad deeds and ungodly words, the harvest will be remorse, bitterness and the suffering which must come from such a sowing.
"Everybody who lives fifty years or more has two looks at life; first, a forward look, and, last, a backward look. It is wise to plan in advance for the backward look by living so that the retrospect will be gratifying and satisfying and comforting, and not of a kind to bring mourning over wasted years and lost opportunities for doing good.
"Let us consider the lesson of nature for a moment. In the springtime the farmer plants the kernels of corn shelled from ears like this. [Draw the ear of corn, making first a solid yellow background for the ear and then putting in the fine lines with brown or black.] He has every reason to believe that when the harvest time comes he will reap a crop of many hundredfold, because each kernel is expected to send up a little green shoot, like this, and each stalk is capable of bearing at least one ear of corn. [Quickly draw the ground line in brown and the corn shoot in green, completing Fig. 25.] And this shoot will grow larger and larger until the stalk is completed, and as time goes on and the harvest time comes, the corn will hang in generous ears thereon. [With broad sweeps of green, and, if you wish, a touch of brown, complete Fig. 26. This includes covering part of the ear with green to form the husk.] Note especially this fact, that the farmer, when he plants the seed, believes that God will send the summertime, when the corn will grow to its fullness, and also the autumn, when the harvest is ready. Just think what would happen if we had no summer or autumn—just the springtime. Do you not see that we would soon starve? We would plant the seed and there would be no harvest.
"Let us see how very much like this are our very own lives. We do not have a springtime and a summer and an autumn and a winter of life every year. No, we have but one of each during our lives, if we reach old age. Springtime is our childhood, summer is our young manhood and young womanhood, autumn is our middle age and winter comes when the hair is white and the footsteps faltering. The first part of a full life is the seedtime, and the latter half is the harvest-time. Some of us may think that we may, while we are young, form habits that are bad and expect to get rid of them before the harvest-time. Still others of us do not seem to find out very early in life that there is a seedtime and a harvest-time, and we realize it only after we have reached the harvest period, and then we cannot change the character of the seed we have to reap.
"But that which is true of the one who has sown the seeds of wrong in his younger years is just as true of him who has sown good seeds in his childhood and youth. There is no more comforting thought than that which comes with the assurance that God will send the rich harvest if we sow early in life the seeds of purity of living and the seeds of loving kindness.
"The wrong thoughts which try to crowd into our childhood and youth are like the weeds which threaten to destroy the good grain, and sometimes succeed. Let us watch them carefully and uproot them.
"The Christian welcomes the thought that there is to be a harvest-time. The sinner hates the thought; he would that his entire life be a seedtime; but it cannot be. The law of seedtime in life is just as firmly fixed as are the seedtime and harvest of nature. Let us learn the lesson. It means life or death to you and to me."
THE TWO FLAGS —Rally Day —War
Both of Them Inspire Us to the Best Living—An Illustration with Music.
THE LESSON—That the same spirit which brings success in war must animate the fighters against evil.
Rally Day, which is observed at the opening of the autumn activities of most schools, has become one of the greatest days of the Sunday School year. It should be made a glad occasion of reunion and resolution. This talk is unique, in that it combines music with the speaking and the drawing.
"It was fifty years ago, boys and girls, that the terrible war between the North and the South was in progress. On both sides the soldiers were bravely loyal to their cause, for the reason that each great army believed it was right; each side rallied round its flag—and loyalty was the thing most necessary. In most conflicts, as in the case of one nation fighting with another, it is only necessary to bring a war to a point where the weaker is convinced of the superior strength of its enemy. Then the war ends and the weaker is still a nation and has lost only that which was destroyed during the course of the struggle, together with that which may he demanded as concessions by the victorious army. Both nations retain their existence as before. It was not so with the struggle between the North and the South. Before this terrible war could end, it was necessary that one or the other of the fighting governments be wiped out entirely as a nation. Otherwise there could never have been any peace. This is what made the war one of the most terrible in the history of the world.
"It was a time when loyalty was demanded by both sides to the conflict, when men were summoned to rally round their flags. On the side of the North the soldiers bravely gathered in hosts of hundreds of thousands around this flag, which is now beloved throughout our reunited states (while the South was just as true and brave and sincere in the belief that they were right, in their convictions, and for which they fought).
[As you draw the United States flag, in red, white and blue, Fig. 27, have the school sing "The Red, White and Blue," or have the song sung as a solo or played by orchestra, pianist or organist. This makes a very effective feature, as some time is required to draw the flag. Be careful to construct the flag properly. To save time, use only thirteen stars.]
"Why did the boys in blue rally round this flag? It was not because of its beauty, even though we think it the handsomest flag in all the world; it was not because it was made of valuable materials. No—it was because it stood for something—for liberty, for unity. And they knew that in order to uphold the principles for which it stood they must cling together and fight manfully. Each might fight bravely by himself, but disaster would come unless they worked together and in harmony.
"We, today, are like the boys in blue in the dark days of the war. We, too, have a flag which we love dearly—the banner of the cross.
[While you draw the conquest flag, use the song "The Banner of the Cross" in the same manner as before. When completed your drawing will resemble Fig. 28. Use blue for the body of the flag and red for the cross.]
"This is the banner round which our school rallies today. We have come together once more to strengthen our army of boys and girls to fight against wrong. And our littlest fighters are the best fighters we have. Why? Because it is a warfare that never ends and the little ones have many more years in which to fight than the older ones have. And, strangest of all, the weapons most effective are kindness, love, prayer and steadfastness—these will drive away the great enemy of us all—sin. The boys in blue rallied around their flag because it represents our country, the land we love so well. We rally around this flag because it represents everything that is best here on earth and in heaven. Let us be loyal to these two beautiful banners. We cannot be true to one without being true to the other.
"Let us make this school year the best we ever knew. We can do it if we will be true to everything for which these two flags stand—the red for love, the white for purity and the blue for loyalty."
[It is suggested that the pupils be presented with small American and conquest flags as souvenirs. These are inexpensive and may be procured from Sunday school supply houses. Celluloid buttons, displaying the two flags, would be acceptable souvenirs of the day.]
THE CROSS —Salvation —Repentance
An Illustration Which Has Inspired Many to Hopefulness and Victory.
THE LESSON—That a complete surrender to Christ is the only successful way to purify a sinful life.
This illustration, in varied form, has been used by speakers for many years. It is here given, however, in a new presentation, with a hope that the revision may be helpful to others in spreading its usefulness. If paper is used, attach several thicknesses to your drawing board and provide yourself with a sharp penknife. If used as a blackboard illustration, an eraser will be needed.
"It is a good deal safer, boys, for you to walk the streets with your thumb in your mouth than with a cigarette there. The thumb can't hurt you, but the cigarette is bound to. I heard, once upon a time, of a young man who lived in a good home—maybe just as good as yours—who fell into the cigarette habit. I can't understand why a boy, when he knows what a terrible thing the cigarette habit is, will not leave the thing alone. But, like some whom you may know, this boy failed to heed the many warnings and, before he was aware of it, the deadly habit had him firmly in its grasp. I will ask one of the boys to please spell the word 'Habit' for me. [As each letter is repeated put it down on the drawing sheet. If you have previously outlined the entire picture, the location of the cross will determine the location of the letter T, in the center, as the T is later changed into a cross. Place the other four letters in proper relation to the letter T, completing Fig. 29.]
"Now, then—one day this young man awoke to the fact that he must rid himself of his terrible habit if he would amount to anything in the world. He was working in a distant city, and there, alone, how do you suppose he started in to get rid of his habit? He did it this way: He made up his mind to wipe it out gradually by cutting down the number of cigarettes which he smoked each day. So he started in. The first day he smoked two less than he did the day before—cut out some, you see. [With your penknife cut out the letter H and throw it away.] You will observe that although he cut out some of his habit, he had A BIT left. The next day he did the same thing, by cutting out two more. [Cut away the letter A.] Although he had a BIT of the habit left, he felt somewhat encouraged and declared to himself that he could cut it all out if he kept at it. But he didn't know how hard it would be to 'keep at it.' The next day he cut out a little more [Cut away the letter B], but the desire to smoke the deadly cigarette was still strong. He was inclined to give up in discouragement, for he had now found that cutting out wasn't cutting off and that he still had IT. Not until now did he feel his helplessness, for the habit was still strong upon him. He needed a friend—a friend who could help him in his earnest wish to become once more true and pure. And a friend came. It was one who knew Christ and His power to save everyone who turns to Him for help. Clearly this friend revealed to him the truth, that if he would master his habit he must master himself. Boldly he took the glad step, and, like all humble followers of Jesus, he gave himself into His loving care, to guide and to direct his life. With this step came active work for Christ, and it was then that the letter I was removed [Cut out the I] and a new vision burst on his sight, for the last remnant of his enemy faded away in the transformation of his life to Christian service. [Give the T a touch with black, converting it into a cross; then continue the drawing to complete Fig. 30. Use black for the hill and circle; outline the cross in red; use orange in broad strokes for the rays emanating from the cross.]
"This was the vision. It can come to every boy and girl. It has come to countless thousands. To this boy of whom we speak it came to save him from failure and death. No longer did the dread habit control him. The battle was won, not by his own strength, but through Christ, who strengthened him. Such strength will be yours every time you need it to help and to keep you.
"And let us think for a moment of the great service of the friend who led this young man to see the vision. Are we a friend to those who need us? 'Brethren,' says Paul, 'if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens.'
"May we ever be ready to lend a helping hand."
EASTER LILIES —Easter —Resurrection
Their Introduction into America has Spread Perfume and Beauty Everywhere.
THE LESSON—That, like the lily, Christ gave up His life that His followers should multiply in the earth.
It is difficult, as teachers of children are aware, to impart the significance of Easter to those who are too young to be acquainted with death and the hope of a resurrection. Many teachers find it best to confine the thought to the phenomena of nature as revealed in plant life and to make such applications to the spiritual as conditions seem to permit. Easter is the most precious day of the year, for without it there would be no Christmas, because Christmas is celebrated only as the birthday of Him who arose from the dead. Without it, the world would be in the darkness of despair and disappointment which possessed the disciples as they turned from the cross to resume their former occupations or to hide themselves from the taunts of their tormentors. Hence, we must make the best possible use of it. This illustration possesses no new thought; in fact, there is nothing new except as we put into it the newness of our own enthusiasm and earnestness.
"On this beautiful Easter morning I want to tell you of a lady who has done a good deal to help us enjoy this day. But for her, I believe, we would not have had any of these lovely lilies which represent the purity of the life of the risen Savior. I do not know the name of this lady. But I do know that one day she stepped from a steamer at a wharf in her home city of Philadelphia, and that she had been on a visit to the Bermuda Islands, which are six hundred miles out in the Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps you know that the Bermuda Islands are noted as the place where they raise very large onions, which are imported to the United States. An onion, you know, is a bulb. Well, this lady carried with her two bulbs. They weren't Bermuda onions, either, as they were too small for that. She took these two bulbs to a friend who was a florist and asked him to plant them. [Draw the bulb in black. Fig. 31.] This was in the year 1875. The bulbs soon sent up strong green shoots and after a while blossomed as beautifully in their strange surroundings as they would have done in their former home. [Complete the drawing of the lily stalk in green; also the lilies, using fine black lines as outlines.] To us these beautiful flowers seem like old friends, because we have known them so long, but these Easter lilies, blossoming in Philadelphia, were the first to spread their sweet perfume in this country.
"Before that time, there was a lily known as the Easter lily, but whose right name is the lilium candidum or Madonna lily. This latter name comes from the fact that in one of the paintings of the Madonna she holds one of these lilies in her hand. It, also, is pure white, and similar in form to the Easter lily of today except that it is more bell-shaped.
"During the first four years, these two bulbs in Philadelphia produced one hundred new bulbs. But what had become of the original bulbs? Ah, don't you know that when the bulb produces new bulbs the original bulb dies? Yes, when the new bulbs form at the sides of the old bulb, the one which gave them life perishes—in fact, the first bulb gives up its life that the others may live. [Draw the outer bulbs as in Fig. 32.] And while it does so, it spreads the perfume and the beauty of its flowers to delight everyone who sees them.
"From these first bulbs brought to America has come much of the beauty which is now so widespread at Easter time. The earth is full of the perfume of the Easter lily today.
"How typical is this little illustration of the Savior whose resurrection we celebrate today. While He was on the earth, the beauty of his life brightened everyone, and all that time He knew that He must give up his life that we might live.
"How typical also of our lives may this Easter lily be. What seems more lifeless than the bulb of a lily? Plant it, bury it, and lo! it is resurrected into a thing of wondrous beauty. That which seemed like its tomb has proven to be the gateway into true life. Thus our faith gives us the blessed assurance, with Paul, that 'if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.'"
THE WOUNDED TREE —Steadfastness —Constancy
It Tells the Story of Courage and Patience that Approaches the Sublime.
THE LESSON—That steadfastness in the right not only keeps the life upright but it restores the repentant one to righteousness.
Each one of us needs the quality called steadfastness—not the obstinacy which denies us the right to judge fairly every condition about us, not the bigotry which prevents us from a charitable consideration of the views of other people—but the steady adherence to positive Christian principles which keep us constant in our faith and unwavering in our hold on heavenly virtues.
"Today, we are going to talk about steadfastness. And what does it mean to be steadfast? It means that with God's love to protect us against every temptation, we shall never willingly do anything to grieve Him. A life ruled by this power may grow to be so truly in harmony with the spirit of the Master that even though the waves of trouble dash wildly against it, it will continue to stand firmly, because it knows that 'Jehovah will give grace and glory and no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.'
"We shall turn to Nature for our object lesson today. We might select the mighty oak, 'the king of the trees,' to represent the stalwart Christian life which not only withstands the storms, but which, as it strives against the winds, sends its mighty roots ever deeper into the earth; and we might choose as the type of the weak and sinful life the bay tree which does not send its roots deep into the earth and which is in danger of being torn away by every passing storm. But we shall look not at these but at two other trees which are described by Julia Ellen Rogers in her beautiful book, 'Among the Trees.' Says this author, 'There is something almost sublime in the patience and courage of plants!' Doesn't that sound strange? The idea of claiming that plants are courageous and patient! But the writer goes on to prove her words. One tree of which she writes was thrown prostrate upon the ground, crushed down by another tree which fell upon it. There it lay, with some of its roots torn loose from the earth and drying in the heat of the sun. It was left there in the forest to die. [As you speak, draw Step A of Fig. 33.] The writer tells also of a small poplar tree which grew on the sloping side of a mountain. One day, when there was a heavy landslide, the rush of boulders and earth tore the tree from its place and carried it a considerable distance down the side of the mountain. When it stopped sliding, it was left with its top downward, while its roots were lifted toward the sky. [Draw Step B of Fig. 33.] In the rush of the earth, a quantity of soil was spread over a part of the roots. If anyone had seen the tree then, he would have declared that it must surely die.
"But let us turn again to the book. The writer says, 'A tree thrown down may die of its wounds, but if it does not die it seeks to assume an erect position. As long as there is life, there is inspiration,' and, we might add, a reaching upward! Do you get the idea? Even if a tree is thrown down, wounded near to its death, it tries its best to rise, to rise again—to stand upright! This truth is shown by what these two trees did. This first one sent an entirely new tree straight up from the roots, while the old part lay on the ground dead. [Add lines to complete Step C of Fig. 34.] This second one was so determined to grow that it sent out a little sprout and started it to climb straight upward toward the sky; it developed into a strong tree. [Draw lines to complete Step D of Fig. 34; this finishes the drawing.]
"What a splendid lesson there is for us in these true stories from the forest and the mountain. Perhaps, in our weakness, we have not lived as closely to the Master as we should have done, and have become prostrated by our temptations. But there is one mighty to save. It is for us to reach upward in thought, in word and deed. Then will come the sunshine of his loving kindness to give us strength to rise toward Him. The tree, wounded and cast down, can never return to its first condition, but it does its best to rise. We, if we be prostrated by sin, can never rise to be as perfect as we would have been if we had shunned the evil thing; but in humility and service we may rise to receive the Master's 'Well done,' and we may be assured of His tender care if we do our best.
"Let us ever keep our thoughts on Him who 'is able to succor them that are tempted.'"
A FIRM FOUNDATION —Lincoln's Birthday —Fortitude
The Secret of Lincoln's Steadfastness in the Midst of Tremendous Trials.
THE LESSON—That the Bible teaching of childhood fortifies manhood.
If it is not your custom to observe Lincoln's birthday, you will find this illustration valuable for Mother's day and other occasions.
"Probably no public man in America has ever been so severely assailed, so mercilessly scourged through the public press, as was Abraham Lincoln. Yet, through it all, while thousands were dying on the field of battle, while pestilence and want stalked through the states, and while the finger of hatred and scorn was pointed at him as the man who had brought devastation and death upon the nation, he stood steadfast, with a firm, unimpassioned face, never swerving an inch from the path of right and duty. Warring factions all about him, who tried in many ways to sidetrack him, failed in every attempt. To them he said, 'Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us do our duty as we understand it.'
"In his memorable second inaugural address, he said, 'With malice toward none, with charity to all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work.'
"In those tumultuous times, he often seemed to stand almost alone, like a lighthouse away out from the rock-bound coast, lashed by the fierce waves, driven by furious winds. [Draw the lighthouse in brown and the waves in blue, completing Fig. 35.]
"But the fiercest storms never moved our human lighthouse! Nor did the light which was to finally guide the Ship of State into a safe and peaceful harbor fail to send out its clear, pure rays.
"The lighthouse which we have drawn must stand upon a firm and solid foundation to endure the force of the storm. Abraham Lincoln must have stood upon a firm and solid foundation in order to endure the fierce storms of the darkest years of the nation's history. Let us see what this foundation was made of.
"We must go away back to the early days of his life until we come, in 1816, to a little cabin in Gentryville, Indiana—a one-room log cabin with a dirt floor and with no glass in the windows. Here lived Thomas Lincoln and his wife and two children, Sarah, aged ten years, and Abraham, eight years old. They had recently come from Kentucky.
"Although Thomas Lincoln could neither read nor write, the mother taught her children to read the one book which they had, a Bible. The sweetness of the character of this gentle mother was reflected in the lives of her children. For three or four months, Abraham managed to attend the rude school of the neighborhood. He soon learned to know much of the Bible by heart. When he was ten years of age, the greatest calamity of his life occurred; his mother, always frail and delicate, passed from earth. Abraham Lincoln never recovered from the shock. The rude casket was placed in a grave near the cabin. Nine months after that sad day, Parson Elkins, whom the family had known in Kentucky, answered the repeated appeal of Abraham to come one hundred miles on horseback to preach a funeral sermon at the grave of Mrs. Lincoln.