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There are duties that we owe to God, to Jesus Christ, to ourselves, and to our fellow men, and those duties we call our responsibility. There's no place in the great universe where one can hide himself away from God. It matters not which way we go, we'll be confronted with duty. David, the sweet singer of Israel, caught a glimpse of the greatness of God relative to responsibility and wrote in the 139th Psalm as follows: "Wither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou are there. If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost pasts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee."
Our Brother's Keeper...
There's no such thing as a person's living entirely to himself. Each day we're creating and setting in motion influences that radiate from our lives in ever-widening circles and ever-deepening channels. The Bible declares that no man liveth to himself and no man dieth to himself. When the Lord asked Cain about his brother, Cain indignantly asked, "Am I my brother's keeper?" If a person could be afflicted with the dreadful disease of leprosy and it not be contagios or infectious, there would be no need for rules of quarantine; but since it is transmittable, the Board of Health has ruled that people thus affliced be placed by themselve, that the community may be safeguarded. If a man's acts affected only himself and didn't put in jeopardy the morals of others, possibly he would have been allowed to go on in sin without restraint; but as sin is contagious, and the acts of a man have their influence upon those with whom he associates, the Lord has seen fit to make certain laws and to place certain obligations and responsibilities upon man relative to his associations with the world, the state, and the individual. There are two streams issuing from our lives each day---one of life, the other of death. Ulyssus the great philosopher in writing upon power of influence, of himself declared, "I am a part of all I ever met."
The Old Man's Regret...
An aged father who had lived in sin all his life attended a revival and, after listening to a sermon upon the "Problems of Life and Death<" went out to the public altar of prayer and asked that he be further instructed. He wanted to know how he and his family could get saved, so that they could go back over life and undo the wrong that had been done. He seemed to be surprised and bewildered when told that the past was gone forever, and that he couldn't compel his family to accept Christ, because each individual is responsible for his own acts. The old man wept, for he had led his family upon the wrong road. He repented, was forgiven by the Lord for his sins, and went home. He told his boys they must quit the wrong and do the right; but they only laughed, and went on as before. The old man, fully awakened to the responsibilities incumbent upon a parent concerning his children, plead with his family; but all in vain. He said, "If I only had my life to live over again, I would do differently;" but it was too late. The aged father died without seeing his family saved. Responsibility unfolds itself slowly, as does education along other lines; but when once understood, its demands are irrevocable.
A Sudden Awakening...
The writer some years ago held a revival in the city of Pittsburgh, PA. The Lord was in the meeting in a wonderful way, and deep conviction rested upon the congregation, and souls were being saved at nearly every service. One night about two o'clock, the parents in a certain home heard their twelve-year-old boy sobbing and crying as though his little heart would break. Hurriedly they arose and inquired the meaning of his crying. Thinking that perhaps he was dreaming, or had the ear-ache or some other childish ailment, they forcibly raised him up in bed. In answer to their questions, and between sobs, he said, "If what Mr. Anderson said last night is true, I have sinned against Jesus, my best friend. He told us last night that the One we needed most of all at death we should make our friend in life. O papa pray for me! Mama, pray for me!" and the little boy covered his face and wept aloud. The father and mother were unsaved, hence could not pray a prayer of faith for their troubled boy.
The next night, when an invitation was given at the close of the preaching service, the father of the boy who cried was the first one to present himself at the altar of prayer. After he repented, believed, and was saved, he related to us the foregoing incident. He said that that was the turning-point in his life. Never before had he realized the responsibilities resting upon him as a husband and father; and he promised the Lord that from that day on he would keep in a position where he could offer a prayer of faith, even if called upon at midnight, not only for his own child, but for any person in need. That man today is an able minister, and looks backward to that midnight event as the beginning of a new day---when the real duties of life suddenly were opened before his mind and heart. I pity the boy and gitl who never heard their father or mother pray. Parents, could you offer a prayer of faith today for your child if he were wounded and dying? If not, why not?
A Soldier's Testimony...
Once while holding a meeting in Philadelphia, PA., I visited a veteran of the Civil War. He was very sick in body and much troubled in mind. The cause of his mental suffering was this: During one of the bloodiest battles of the civil war, in 1864, he was hurring across the battlefield, which was covered with dead horses and wonded men. He felt some one pull at his sword and, looking downward, beheld the face of a dying boy. A bullet had pierced his lung and he was slowly bleeding to death. The blue-eyed boy, scarcely eighteen years of age, weakly cried out, "O stranger! pray for me, I have a Christian mother away up north, and, if here, she could pray for me. won't you please pray, pray, p-r-a-y?" His voice grew weaker, but once again he tried to induce the stranger to pray; but his head dropped upon his breast---and he was dead. The aged soldier wept as he related the story, and again and again declared, "The world would I have gladly given in that hour, if I could have prayed for that wounded boy---but, I had never prayed for myself."
The old soldier's experience left an indelible impression upon my mind, which was made still more plain when my own boy was called to service in this recent World War. I thought: Suppose that he were lying wounded in "no man's land." Above him the mighty shell bursting, and liquid fire and deadly gases rolling like sea-billows on every side. Suppose that he should grasp the sword of a passing stranger, and with a dying effort say, "O stranger! pray for me. I have a father away in the States, and if he were here he could pray for me," but having no one to pray for him, and being too weak to exercise living faith alone, he should die on the fields of Flanders---and pass the great divide---without God!
Responsibilities relative to the real issues of life were awakened too late in the heart of the Rich Man mentioned in the Scriptures; for it states that in hell he became awakened, not only to his personal needs and loss, but also of the danger to those whom he left behind. Abraham informed him of the sad fact that his work upon earth was at an end, that he'd become an evangelist too late.
To a greater degree, perhaps, than we've supposed, we're our brother's keeper. Obligations and duties are laid upon each of us that can't be shirked with impunity. Upon the day of judgment the loose ends of all the influences we've set in motion during life will be gathered together, and the sum total will decide our destiny---our eternity.
Caught in a Blizzard...
The storm had been raging three days and nights, and the wind had piled the snow in great, high drifts. The weather was cold, the thermometer stood at twenty below zero. The man had been cought away from home by the storm, and wouldn't have ventured out into such a wilderness of snow had it not been for his loved ones at home. He started, but soon became chilled. He stumbled and fell, but responsibilities of home impelled him to try to reach those who might be in need. He became so cold that he could no longer feel the weather's chilling effects. When his nerves refused to record the danger any longer, he realized he was freezing to death. He could move only with difficulty. At times he was about to give up the battle and lay down and die, but his thought of home buoyed up his weakened body. In making a mighty struggle, he stumbled and fell to the ground. He couldn't arise. Suddenly he felt something moving, and glancing around discovered that he'd fallen over a man who, like himself, was struggling for life. That inherent principle of duty immediatly prompted him to action, and he began rubbing the freezing man with his own cold, stiff arms. The more he rubbed, the better he felt. Soon he was able to get upon his knees. He rubbed and slapped the man until he too began to move more and wonder what was happening. Soon they both were standing upon their feet. The journey began, and together they reached home, and were safe. It was that God given sense of responsibility in action that saved the lives of both men. The yielding to the conviction that we're our brother's keeper will always bring with it double blessings.
The Leper's Request...
The story's told of a man who, when traveling upon horseback to a distant place, was compelled, by way of route, to pass a colony of lepers. When they saw him coming, they raised their hands, as law advised, and cried, "Unclean! unclean!" The traveler halted, and inquired how they were, and if they had enough to eat. One of the unfortunates asked for bread. The traveler stated that he'd only enough for his journey. The leper said he'd not tasted bread for many days. So the traveler gave him all he had. The leper asked for water; but the traveler said he had not drunk since morning, and beside he had only enough for his journey. The leper said he'd not tasted water for days. Touched by privations of such a serious character, the traveler gave him the last cup of water in his canteen. At that moment there appeared another person, with a smiling face, and over whose head was a halo of glory. The stranger was the world's best friend---Jesus Christ.
"Not what we keep, but what we share;
The gift without the giver is bare.
He who gives alms to the poor feeds three,
Himself, his hungering neighbor, and ME."
The doctrine of the great Fatherhood of God, is an empty philisophy unless it comprehends the Brotherhood of Man. He who knows his Lord's will and does it not, shall be beaten with many stripes. Responsibilities neglected will lead to shame and everlasting contempt.



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