The Jericho Road
By W. Bion Adkins
Public Domain Books
Brethren, be merciful in your judgment of others.
Every temptation promptly resisted strengthens the will.
There is a sad want of thoughtful mercy among us all.
Every step we take on the ladder upwards helps to a higher.
If we are true Odd-Fellows we will put away all bitterness and malice.
Brothers, remember the moral harvest comes to all perfection; not one grain is lost.
As Odd-Fellows there are loads we can help others to carry, and thus learn sympathy.
The test of truthfulness is true dealing with ourselves when we do wrong and true dealing with the brethren when they fall.
It is a serious reflection that even our secret thoughts influence those around us.
The Brotherhood has a Father watching over it, “who is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
Man alone is responsible for the eternal condition of his soul. We make our own heaven or hell, not by the final act of life, but by life itself.
Truth supplies us with the only true and perfect standard by which to test the value of things, and so corrects the one-sided, materialistic standard of business.
If an Odd-Fellow begins right I can not tell how many tears he may wipe away, how many burdens he may lift, how many orphans he may comfort, how many outcasts he may reclaim.
Love edifies; that is, it builds up perfectly the whole man, secures an entire and harmonious and proportionate development of his nature. It does so by casting out the selfishness in man which always leads to a diseased and one-sided growth of his nature.
No two souls are endowed in an exactly similar way. And for the difference of endowment there is a reason in the Divine mind, for each soul in its generation has its appointed work to do, and is endowed with suitable grace for its performance.
We are not Odd-Fellows in the true sense unless we put away all bitterness, malice and selfishness. Common sense of mankind is quite right when it says a man’s religion is not worth much if it does not make him good. Have goodness first–out of goodness good works will come.
Every good work requires every good principle. A man with very prominent and striking characteristics will always be a perfect man. A perfect man has such harmonies that he scarcely has a characteristic. To be fruitful in every good work you must have in your heart the germs and seeds, the springs and sources of all Christian virtue.
We are all greater dupes to our weakness than to the skill of others; and the successes gained over us by the designing are usually nothing more than the prey taken from those very snares we have laid ourselves. One man falls by his ambition, another by his perfidy, a third by his avarice, and a fourth by his lust; what are these but so many nets, watched indeed by the fowler, but woven by the victim?
Sorrow is not an accident–occurring now and then–it is the very woof which is woven into the warp of life, and he who has not discerned the divine sacredness of sorrow, and the profound meaning which is concealed in pain, has yet to learn what life is. The cross manifested as the necessity of the highest life alone interprets it.
Equity–An eternal rule of right, implanted in the heart. What it asks for itself it is willing to grant to others. It not only forbids us to do wrong to the meanest of God’s creatures, but it teaches us to observe the golden rule, “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do you even so to them.” There is no greater injunction–no better rule to practice.
Don’t rely on friends–don’t rely on the name of your ancestors. Thousands have spent the prime of life in the vain hope of help from those whom they called friends, and many thousands have starved because they have rich fathers. Rely upon the good name which is made by your own exertions, and know that better than the best friend you can have is unquestionable determination, united with decision of character.
How little is known of what is in the bosom of those around us! We might explain many a coldness could we look into the heart concealed from us; we should often pity where we hate, love when we curl the lip with scorn and indignation. To judge without reserve of any human action is a culpable temerity, of all our sins the most unfeeling and frequent.
How a common sorrow or calamity spans the widest social differences and welds all, the rich and poor, in one common bond of sympathy, which, begetting charity and all her train, softens the hardest heart and banishes the sturdiest feeling of superiority! Over the lifeless body of the departed, enemies and friend can weep together, and, burying strife and differences with their common loss, feel a kinship which unites them, and which all humanity shares.
Don’t be exacting.–An exacting temper is one against which to guard both one’s heart and the nature of those who are under our control and influence. To give and to allow, to suffer and to bear, are the graces more to the purpose of a noble life than cold, exacting selfishness, which must have, let who will go without, which will not yield, let who will break. It is a disastrous quality wherewith to go through the world; for it receives as much pain as it inflicts, and creates the discomfort it deprecates.
Verily, good works constitute a refreshing stream in this world, wherever they are found flowing. It is a pity that they are too often like oriental torrents, “waters that fail” in times of greatest need. When we meet the stream actually flowing and refreshing the land, we trace it upward, in order to discover the fountain whence it springs. Threading our way upward, guided by the river, we have found at length the placid lake from which the river runs. Behind all genuine good works and above them, love will, sooner or later, certainly be found. It is never good alone; uniformly, in fact, and necessarily in the nature of things, we find the two constituents existing as a complex whole, “love and good works,” the fountain and the flowing stream.
Never give up old friends for new ones. Make new ones if you like, and when you have learned that you can trust them, love them if you will, but remember the old ones still. Do not forget they have been merry with you in time of pleasure, and when sorrow came to you they sorrowed also. No matter if they have gone down in social scale and you up; no matter if poverty and misfortune have come to them while prosperity came to you; are they any less true for that? Are not their hearts as warm and tender if they do beat beneath homespun instead of velvet? Yes, kind reader, they are as true, loving and tender; don’t forget old friends.
Young men! Let the nobleness of your mind impel you to its improvement; you are too strong to be defeated, save by yourselves. Refuse to live merely to sleep and eat. Brutes can do this; but you are men. Act the part of men. Prepare yourselves to endure toil. Resolve to rise–you have but to resolve. Nothing can hinder your success if you determine to succeed. Do not waste your time by wishing and dreaming, but go earnestly to work. Let nothing discourage you. If you have no books, borrow them; if you have no teachers, teach yourself; if your early education has been neglected, by the greater diligence repair the defect. Let not a craven heart or a love of ease rob you of the inestimable benefit of self-culture.
Have the courage to face a difficulty, lest it kick you harder than you bargained for. Difficulties, like thieves, often disappear at a glance. Have the courage to leave a convivial party at the proper hour for doing so, however great the sacrifice; and to stay away from one upon the slightest grounds for objection, however great the temptation to go. Have the courage to do without that which you do not need, however much you may admire it. Have the courage to speak your mind when it is necessary that you should do so, and hold your tongue when it is better you should be silent. Have the courage to speak to a poor friend in a seedy coat, even in the street, and when a rich one is nigh. The effort is less than many people take it to be, and the act is worthy of a king. Have the courage to admit that you have been in the wrong, and you will remove the fact in the mind of others, putting a desirable impression in the place of an unfavorable one. Have the courage to adhere to the first resolution when you can not change it for a better, and abandon it at the eleventh hour upon conviction.