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Words and Deeds

The origin of speech is one of the great disputed questions of the scientists, but need not much disturb those who are anxious only to say true words or do good deeds. But there has always been a danger lest words should become a substitute for deeds, and that words might be made to stand for that which is not.

We have words enough, precepts enough; we want deeds, practice, life. Confucius, Buddha, Moses, Jesus—all the great, wise souls—left moral principles enough to regenerate mankind, but the followers of the great teachers enlarge upon the virtues and the precepts of their masters, whilst they disobey them. We draw near with our lips while our hearts are far from them.

We expect to see God without purity of heart. We find an inferior God because our lives are ignoble. We think to inherit the earth by force or fraud, and miss the joy because we do not know how to be meek.

One year of obedience to the precepts of Jesus, one year of the rule of His kingdom within the hearts of those who name His name, would so transform our world that a new era would dawn and a new world of uplifted humanity would rejoice together in a common endeavor to bless each other, the strife of self-sacrifice being substituted for the struggle for existence.

When we think of the energy now wasted on vanity, frivolity, war and general selfishness, and see what might be done if that energy could be turned into channels of use and beauty and goodness, and when we think of the multitude of words daily spoken and written, we long to see all this energy used for purposes of beneficence. This can be accomplished by each one of us doing every hour the first clear duty lying nearest, and thus by adding good deeds to good words fulfill in some degree the law of Christ, that words should not be substituted for deeds.

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