Help Those Women
If the womanhood of America had been no better than its manhood, the devil would have had the country fenced in long ago.—Billy Sunday.
'HE average American is somewhat of a sentimentalist.
"Home, Sweet Home," is an American song. No
people, except possibly the Irish, respond more readily to the note of "Mother" than the Americans. No other nation honors womanhood so greatly. We are really a chivalrous people.
In this respect, as in so many others, Sunday is true to type. His sermons abound with passages which express the best American sentiment toward womanhood. It is good for succeeding generations that such words as the following should be uttered in the ears of tens and hundreds of thousands of young people, and reprinted in scores and hundreds of newspapers.
The story of Moses is one of the most beautiful and fascinating in all the world. It takes a hold on us and never for an instant does it lose its interest, for it is so graphically told that once heard it is never forgotten.
I have often imagined the anxiety with which that child was born, for he came into the world with the sentence of death hanging over him, for Pharaoh had decreed that the male children should die. The mother defied even the command of the king and determined that the child should live, and right from the beginning the battle of right against might was fought at the cradle.
Moses' mother was a slave. She had to work in the brickyards or labor in the field, but God was on her side and she won, as the mother always wins with God on her
side. Before going to work she had to choose some hiding place for her child, and she put his little sister, Miriam, on guard while she kept herself from being seen by the soldiers of Pharaoh, who were seeking everywhere to murder the Jewish male children. For three months she kept him hidden, possibly finding a new hiding place every few days. It is hard to imagine anything more difficult than to hide a healthy, growing baby, and he was hidden for three months. Now he was grown larger and more full of life and a more secure hiding place had to be found, and I can imagine this mother giving up her rest and sleep to prepare an ark for the saving of her child.
I believe the plan must have been formulated in heaven. I have often thought God must have been as much interested in that work as was the mother of Moses, for you can't make me believe that an event so important as that, and so far-reaching in its results, ever happened by luck or chance. Possibly God whispered the plan to the mother when she went to him in prayer and in her grief because she was afraid the sword of Pharaoh would murder her child. And how carefully the material out of which the ark was made had to be selected! I think every twig was carefully scrutinized in order that nothing poor might get into its composition, and the weaving of that ark, the mother's heart, her soul, her prayers, her tears, were interwoven.
Oh, if you mothers would exercise as much care over the company your children keep, over the books they read and the places they go, there would not be so many girls feeding the red-light district, nor so many boys growing up to lead criminal lives. And with what thanksgiving she must have poured out her heart when at last the work was done and the ark was ready to carry its precious cargo, more precious than if it was to hold the crown jewels of Egypt. And I can imagine the last night that baby was in the home. Probably some of you can remember when the last night came when baby was alive; you can remember the last night the coffin stayed, and the next day the pall-bearers and the hearse came. The others may have slept soundly, but there was no sleep for you, and I can imagine there was no sleep for Moses' mother.
"There are whips and tops and pieces of string
And shoes that no little feet ever wear;
There are bits of ribbon and broken wings
And tresses of golden hair.
'There are dainty jackets that never are worn
There are toys and models of ships;
There are books and pictures all faded and torn
And marked by finger tips
Of dimpled hands that have fallen to dust—
Yet we strive to think that the Lord is just.
"Yet a feeling of bitterness fills our soul;
Sometimes we try to pray,
That the Reaper has spared so many flowers
And taken ours away.
And we sometimes doubt if the Lord can know
How our riven hearts did love them so
"But we think of our dear ones dead,
Our children who never grow old,
And how they are waiting and watching for us
In the city with streets of gold;
And how they are safe through all the years
From sickness and want and war.
We thank the great God, with falling tears,
For the things in the cabinet drawer."
A Mother's Watchfulness
Others in the house might have slept, but not a moment could she spare of the precious time allotted her with her little one, and all through the night she must have prayed that God would shield and protect her baby and bless the work she had done and the step she was about to take.
Some people often say to me: "I wonder what the angels
do; how they employ their time?" I think I know what some of them did that night. You can bet they were not out to some bridge-whist party. They guarded that house so carefully that not a soldier of old Pharaoh ever crossed the threshold. They saw to it that not one of them harmed that baby.
At dawn the mother must have kissed him good-bye, placed him in the ark and hid hiTM among the reeds and rushes, and with an aching heart and tear-dimmed eyes turned back again to the field and back to the brickyards to labor and wait to see what God would do. She had done her prayerful best, and when you have done that you can bank on God to give the needed help. If we only believed that with God all things are possible no matter how improbable, what unexpected answers the Lord would give to our prayers! She knew God would help her some way, but I don't think she ever dreamed that God would help her by sending Pharaoh's daughter to care for the child. It was no harder for God to send the princess than it was to get the mother to prepare the ark. What was impossible from her standpoint was easy for God.
Pharaoh's daughter came down to the water to bathe, and the ark was discovered, just as God wanted it to be, and one of her maids was sent to fetch it. You often wonder what the angels are doing. I think some of the angels herded the crocodiles on the other side of the Nile to keep them from finding Moses and eating him up. You can bank on it, all heaven was interested to see that not one hair of that baby's head was injured. There weren't devils enough in hell to pull one hair out of its head. The ark was brought and with feminine curiosity the daughter of Pharaoh had to look into it to see what was there, and when they removed the cover, there was lying a strong, healthy baby boy, kicking up his heels and sucking his thumbs, as probably most of us did when we were boys, and probably as you did when you were a girl. The baby looks up and weeps, and those tears blotted out all that was against it and gave it a chance for its life. I don't know, but I think an angel stood there and pinched it to make it cry, for it cried at the right time. Just as God plans. God always does things at the right time. Give God a chance; he may be a little slow at times, but he will always get around in time.
The tears of that baby were the jewels with which Israel was ransomed from Egyptian bondage. The princess had a woman's heart and when a woman's heart and a baby's tears meet, something happens that gives the devil cold feet. Perhaps the princess had a baby that had died, and the sight of Moses may have torn the wound open and made it bleed afresh. But she had a woman's heart, and that made her forget she was the daughter of Pharaoh and she was determined to give protection to that baby. Faithful Miriam (the Lord be praised for Miriam) saw the heart of the princess reflected in her face. Miriam had studied faces so much that she could read the princess' heart as plainly as if written in an open book, and she said to her: "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?" and the princess said, "Go."
I see her little feet and legs fly as she runs down the hot, dusty road, and her mother must have seen her coming a mile away, and she ran to meet her own baby put back in her arms. And she was being paid Egyptian gold to take care of her own baby. See how the Lord does things? "Now you take this child and nurse it for me and I will pay you your wages." It was a joke on Pharaoh's daughter, paying Moses' mother for doing what she wanted to do more than anything else—nurse her own baby.
How quickly the mother was paid for these long hours of anxiety and alarm and grief, and if the angels know what is going on what a hilarious time there must have been in heaven when they saw Moses and Miriam back at home, under the protection of the daughter of Pharaoh. I imagine she dropped on her knees and poured out her heart to God, who had helped her so gloriously. She must have said: "Well, Lord, I knew you would help me. I knew you would take care of my baby when I made the ark and put him in it and put it in the water, but I never dreamed that you would put him back into my arms to take care of, so I would not have to work and slave in the field and make brick and be tortured almost to death for fear that the soldiers of Pharaoh would find my baby and kill him. I never thought you would soften the stony heart of Pharaoh and make him pay me for what I would rather do than anything else in this world." I expect to meet Moses' mother in heaven, and I am going to ask her how much old Pharaoh had to pay her for that job. I think that's one of the best jokes, that old sinner having to pay the mother to take care of her own baby. But I tell you, if you give God a chance, he will fill your heart to overflowing. Just give him a chance.
A Mother's Bravery
This mother had remarkable pluck. Everything was against her but she would not give up. Her heart never failed. She made as brave a fight as any man ever made at the sound of the cannon or the roar of musketry.
"The bravest battle that was ever fought,
Shall I tell you where and when?
On the maps of the world you'll find it not—
'Twas fought by the mothers of men.
"Nay, not with cannon or battle shot,
With sword or noble pen,
Nay, not with the eloquent word or thought,
From the mouths of wonderful men.
"But deep in the walled-up woman's heart—
Of women that would not yield.
But, bravely, silently bore their part—
Lo, there is the battle-field.
"No marshaling troops, no bivouac song,
No banner to gleam and wave;
But oh, these battles they last so long—«
From babyhood to the grave."
Mothers are always brave when the safety of their children is concerned.
This incident happened out West. A mother was working in a garden and the little one was sitting under a tree in the yard playing. The mother heard the child scream; she ran, and a huge snake was wrapping its coils about the baby, and as its head swung around she leaped and grabbed it by the neck and tore it from her baby and hurled it against a tree.
Fathers often give up. The old man often goes to boozing, becomes dissipated, takes a dose of poison and commits suicide; but the mother will stand by the home and keep the little band together if she has to manicure her finger nails over a washboard to do it. If men had half as much grit as the women there would be different stories written about a good many homes. Look at her work! It is the greatest in the world; in its far-reaching importance it is transcendently above everything in the uerse—her task in molding hearts and lives and shaping character. If you want to find greatness don't go to the throne, go to the cradle; and the nearer you get to the cradle the nearer you get to greatness. Now, when Jesus wanted to give his disciples an impressive object lesson he called in a college professor, did he? Not much. He brought in a little child and said: "Except ye become as one of these, ye shall in no wise enter the kingdom of God." The work is so important that God will not trust anybody with it but a mother. The launching of a boy or a girl to live for Christ is greater work than the launching of a battleship.
Moses was a chosen vessel of the Lord and God wanted him to get the right kind of a start, so he gave him a good mother. There wasn't a college professor in all Egypt that God would trust with that baby! so he put the child back in its mother's arms. He knew the best one on earth to trust with that baby was its own mother. When God sends us great men he wants to have them get the right kind of a start. So he sees to it that they have a good mother. Most any old stick will do for a daddy. God is particular about the mothers.
Good Mothers Needed
And so the great need of this country, or any other country, is good mothers, and I believe we have more good mothers in America than any other nation on earth. If Washington's mother had been like a Happy Hooligan's mother, Washington would have been a Happy Hooligan.
Somebody has said: "God could not be everywhere, so he gave us mothers." Now there may be poetry in it, but it's true "that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world," and if every cradle was rocked by a good mother, the world would be full of good men, as sure as you breathe. If every boy and every girl today had a good mother, the saloons and disreputable houses would go out of business tomorrow.
A young man one time joined a church and the preacher asked him: "What was it I said that induced you to be a Christian?"
Said the young man: "Nothing that I ever heard you say, but it is the way my mother lived." I tell you an ounce of example outweighs forty million tons of theory and speculation. If the mothers would live as they should, we preachers would have little to do. Keep the devil out of the boys and girls and he will get out of the world. The old sinners will die off if we keep the young ones clean.
The biggest place in the world is that which is being filled by the people who are closely in touch with youth. Being a king, an emperor or a president is mighty small potatoes compared to being a mother or the teacher of children, whether in a public school or in a Sunday school, and they fill places so great that there isn't an angel in heaven that wouldn't be glad to give a bushel of diamonds to boot to come down here and take their places. Commanding an army is little more than sweeping a street or pounding an anvil compared with the training of a boy or girl. The mother of Moses did more for the world than all the kings that Egypt ever had. To teach a child to love truth and hate a lie, to love purity and hate vice, is greater than inventing a flying machine that will take you to the moon before breakfast. Unconsciously you set in motion influences that will damn or bless the old uerse and bring new worlds out of chaos and transform them for God.
God's Hall of Fame
A man sent a friend of mine some crystals and said: "One of these crystals as large as a pin point will give a distinguishable green hue to sixteen hogsheads of water." Think of it! Power enough in an atom to tincture sixteen hogsheads of water. There is power in a word or act to blight a boy and, through him, curse a community. There is power enough in a word to tincture the life of that child so that it will become a power to lift the world to Jesus Christ. The mothers will put in motion influences that will either touch heaven or hell. Talk about greatness!
Oh, you wait until you reach the mountains of eternity, then read the mothers' names in God's hall of fame, and see what they have been in this world. Wait until you see God's hall of fame; you will see women bent over the washtub.
I want to tell you women that fooling away your time hugging and kissing a poodle dog, caressing a "Spitz," drinking society brandy-mash and a cocktail, and playing cards, is mighty small business compared to molding the life of a child.
Tell me, where did Moses get his faith? From his mother. Where did Moses get his backbone to say: "I won't be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter?" He got it from his mother. Where did Moses get the nerve to say, "Excuse me, please," to the pleasures of Egypt? He got it from his mother. You can bank on it he didn't inhale it from his dad. Many a boy would have turned out better if his old dad had died before the kid was born. You tell your boy to keep out of bad company. Sometimes when he walks down the street with his father he's in the worst company in town. His dad smokes, drinks and chews. Moses got it from his mother. He was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, but that didn't give him the swelled head.
When God wants to throw a world out into space, he is not concerned about it. The first mile that world takes settles its course for eternity. When God throws a child out into the world he is mighty anxious that it gets a good start. The Catholics are right when they say: "Give us the children until they are ten years old and we don't care who has them after that." The Catholics are not losing any sleep about losing men and women from their church membership. It is the only church that has ever shown us the only sensible way to reach the masses—that is, by getting hold of the children. That's the only way on God's earth that you will ever solve the problem of reaching the masses. You get the boys and girls started right, and the devil will hang a crape on his door, bank his fires, and hell will be for rent before the Fourth of July.
A friend of mine has a little girl that she was compelled to take to the hospital for an operation. They thought she would be frightened, but she said: "I don't care if mama will be there and hold my hand." They prepared her for the operation, led her into the room, put her on the table, put the cone over her face and saturated it with ether, and she said: "Now, mama, take me by the hand and hold it and I'll not be afraid." And the mother stood there and held her hand. The operation was performed, and when she regained consciousness, they said: "Bessie, weren't you afraid when they put you on the table?" She said: "No, mama stood there and held my hand. I wasn't afraid."
There is a mighty power in a mother's hand. There's more power in a woman's hand than there is in a king's scepter.
And there is a mighty power in a mother's kiss— inspiration, courage, hope, ambition, in a mother's kiss. One kiss made Benjamin West a painter, and the memory of it clung to him through life. One kiss will drive away the fear in the dark and make the little one brave. It will give strength where there is weakness.
I was in a town one day and saw a mother out with her boy, and he had great steel braces on both legs, to his hips, and when I got near enough to them I learned by their conversation that that wasn't the first time the mother had had him out for a walk. She had him out exercising him so he would get the use of his limbs. He was struggling and she smiled and said: "You are doing finely today; better than you did yesterday." And she stooped and kissed him, and the kiss of encouragement made him work all the harder, and she said: "You are doing nobly, son." And he said: "Mama, I'm going to run; look at me." And he started, and one of his toes caught on the steel brace on the other leg and he stumbled, but she caught him and kissed him, and said: "That was fine, son; how well you did it!" Now, he did it because his mother had encouraged him with a kiss. He didn't do it to show off. There is nothing that will help and inspire life like a mother's kiss.
"If we knew the baby fingers pressed against the window pane,
Would be cold and still tomorrow, never trouble us again,
Would the bright eyes of our darling catch the frown upon our brow?
"Let us gather up the sunbeams lying all around our path,
Let us keep the wheat and roses, casting out the thorns and chaff I
We shall find our sweetest comforts in the blessings of today,
With a patient hand removing all the briars from our way."
A Mother's Song
There is power in a mother's song, too. It's the best music the world has ever heard. The best music in the world is like biscuits—it's the kind mother makes. There is no brass band or pipe organ that can hold a candle to mother's song. Calve, Melba, Nordica, Eames, SchumannHeinck, they are cheap skates, compared to mother. They can't sing at all. They don't know the rudiments of the kind of music mother sings. The kind she sings gets tangled up in your heart strings. There would be a disappointment in the music of heaven to me if there were no mothers there to sing. The song of an angel or a seraph would not have much charm for me. What would you care for an angel's song if there were no mother's song?
The song of a mother is sweeter than that ever sung by minstrel or written by poet. Talk about sonnets! You ought to hear the mother sing when her babe is on her breast, when her heart is filled with emotion. Her voice may not please an artist, but it will please any one who has a heart in him. The songs that have moved the world are not the songs written by the great masters. The best music, in my judgment, is not the faultless rendition of these high-priced opera singers. There is nothing in art that can put into melody the happiness which associations and memories bring. I think when we reach heaven it will be found that some of the best songs we will sing there will be those we learned at mother's knee.
A. Mother's Love
There is power in a mother's love. A mother's love must be like God's love. How God could ever tell the world that he loved it without a mother's help has often puzzled me. If the devils in hell ever turned pale, it was the day mother's love flamed up for the first time in a woman's heart. If the devil ever got "cold feet" it was that day, in my judgment.
You know a mother has to love her babe before it is born. Like God, she has to go into the shadows of the valley of death to bring it into the world, and she will love her child, suffer for it, and it can grow up and become vile and yet she will love it. Nothing will make her blame it, and I think, women, that one of the awful things in hell will be that there will be no mother's love there. Nothing but black, bottomless, endless, eternal hate in hell—no mother's love.
"And though he creep through the vilest caves of sin,
And crouch perhaps, with bleared and blood-ahot eyes,
Under the hangman's rope—a mother's lips
Will kiss him in his last bed of disgrace,
And love him e'en for what she hoped of him."
I thank God for what mother's love has done for the world.
Oh, there is power in a mother's trust. Surely as Moses was put in his mother's arms by the princess, so God put the babes in your arms, as a charge from him to raise and care for. Every child is put in a mother's arms as a trust from God, and she has to answer to God for the way she deals with that child. No mother on God's earth has any right to raise her children for pleasure. She has no right to send them to dancing school and haunts of sin. You have no right to do those things that will curse your children. That babe is put in your arms to train for the Lord. No mother has any more right to raise her children for pleasure than I have to pick your pockets or throw red pepper in your eyes. She has no more right to do that than a bank cashier has to rifle the vaults and take the savings of the people. One of the worst sins you can commit is to be unfaithful to your trust.
A Mother's Responsibility
"Take this child and nurse it for me." That u all the business you have with it. That is a jewel that belongs to God and he gives it to you to polish for him so he can set it in a crown. Who knows but that Judas became the godless, good-for-nothing wretch he was because he had a godless, good-for-nothing mother? Do you know? I don't. What is more to blame for the crowded prisons than mothers? Who is more to blame for the crowded disreputable houses than you are, who let your children gad the streets, with every Tom, Dick and Harry, or keep company with some little jack rabbit whose character would make a black mark on a piece of tar paper? I have talked with men in prisons who have damned their mothers to my face. Why? They blame their mothers for their being where they are.
"Take the child and nurse it for me, and I will pay you your wages." God pays in joy that is fire-proof, famine-proof and devil-proof. He will pay you, don't you worry. So get your name on God's pay-roll. "Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will pay you your wages." If you haven't been doing that, then get your name on God's pay-roll.
"Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will pay you your wages." Then your responsibility! It is so great that I don't see how any woman can fail to be a Christian and serve God. What do you think God will do if the mother fails? I stagger under it. What, if through your unfaithfulness, your boy becomes a curse and your daughter a blight? What, if through your neglect, that boy becomes a Judas when he might have been a John or Paul?
Down in Cincinnati some years ago a mother went to the zoological garden and stood leaning over the bear pit, watching the bears and dropping crumbs and peanuts to them. In her arms she held her babe, a year and three months jld. She was so interested in the bears that the baby w iggled itself out of her arms and fell into the bear pit, and she watched those huge monsters rip it to shreds. What a veritable hell it will be through all her life to know that her little one was lost through her own carelessness and neglect!
"Take this child and raise it for me, and I will pay you your wages." Will you promise and covenant with God, and with me, and with one another, that from now on you will try, with God's help, to do better than you ever have done to raise your children for God?
"I once read the story of an angel who stole out of heaven and came to this world one bright, sunshiny day; roamed through field, forest, city and hamlet, and as the sun went down plumed his wings for the return flight. The angel said: "Now that my visit is over, before I return I must gather some mementos of my trip." He looked at the beautiful flowers in the garden and said: "How lovely and fragrant," and plucked the rarest roses, made a bouquet, and said: "I see nothing more beautiful and fragrant than these flowers." The angel looked farther and saw a bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked child, and said: "That baby is prettier than the flowers; I will take that, too," and looking behind to the cradle, he saw a mother's love pouring out over her babe like a gushing spring, and the angel said: "The mother's love is the most beautiful thing I have seen! I will take that, too."
And with these three treasures the heavenly messenger winged his flight to the pearly gates, saying: "Before I go I must examine the mementos of my trip to the earth." He looked at the flowers; they had withered. He looked at the baby's smile, and it had faded. He looked at the mother's love, and it shone in all its pristine beauty. Then he threw away the withered flowers, cast aside the faded smile, and with the mother's love pressed to his breast, swept through the gates into the city, shouting that the only thing he had found that would retain its fragrance from earth to heaven was a mother's love.
"Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will pay you your wages."
When Napoleon Bonaparte was asked, "What do you regard as the greatest need of France?" he replied," Mothers, mothers, mothers." You women can make a hell of a home or a heaven of a home. Don't turn your old Gatling-gun tongue loose and rip everybody up and rip your husbands up and send them out of their homes. If I were going to investigate your piety I would ask the girl who works for you.
This talk about the land of the free is discounted when the children look like a rummage sale in a secondhand store; with uncombed hair, ripped pants, buttons off, stockings hanging down. It doesn't take the wisdom of truth to see that mother is too busy with her social duties, clubs, etc., to pay much attention to the kids.
Mothers of Great Men
The mother of Nero was a murderess, and it is no wonder that he fiddled while Rome burned. The mother of Patrick Henry was eloquent, and that is the reason why every school boy and girl knows, "Give me liberty or give me death." Coleridge's mother taught him Biblical stories from the old Dutch tile of the fireplace. In the home authority is needed today more than at any time in the history of this nation. I have met upon the arena of the conflict every form of man and beast imaginable to meet, and I am convinced that neither law nor gospel can make a nation without home authority and home example. Those two things are needed. The boy who has a wholesome home and surroundings and a judicious control included does not often find his way into the reformatory.
Susanna Wesley was the mother of nineteen children, and she held them for God. When asked how she did it she replied, "By getting hold of their hearts in their youth, and never losing my grip."
If it had not been for the expostulations of the mother of George Washington, George Washington would have become a midshipman in the British navy, and the name of that capital yonder would have been some other. John Randolph said in the House of Representatives, "If it had not been for my godly mother, I, John Randolph, would have been an infidel." Gray, who wrote the "Eiegy in a Country Churchyard," said he was one of a large family of children that had the misfortune to survive their mother. And I believe the ideal mother is the product of a civilization that rose from the manger of Bethlehem.
I am sure there is not an angel in heaven that would not be glad to come to earth and be honored with motherhood if God would grant that privilege. What a grand thing it must be, at the end of your earthly career, to look back upon a noble and godly life, knowing you did all you could to help leave this old world to God, and made your contributions in tears and in prayers and taught your offspring to be God-fearing, so that when you went you would continue to produce your noble character in your children.
I believe in blood; I believe in good blood, bad blood, honest blood, and thieving blood; in heroic blood and cowardly blood; in virtuous blood, in licentious blood, in drinking blood and in sober blood. The lips of the Hapsburgs tell of licentiousness; those of the Stuarts tell of cruelty, bigotry and sensuality, from Mary, queen of Scots, down to Charles the First and Charles the Second, James the First—who showed the world what your fool of a Scotchman can be when he is a fool—down to King James the Second.
Scotch blood stands for stubbornness. They are full of stick-to-it-iveness. I know, Mrs. Sunday is full-blooded Scotch. English blood speaks of reverence for the English. That is shown by the fact that England spent $50,000,000 recently to put a crown on George's head. Danish blood tells of love of the sea. Welsh blood tells of religious fervor and zeal for God. Jewish blood tells of love of money, from the days of Abraham down until now.
You may have read this story: Down in New York was a woman who said to her drunken son: "Let's go down to the police court and have the judge send you over to the island for a few weeks. Maybe you'll straighten up then and I can have some respect for you again." Down they went to the police court and appeared before the judge. He asked who would make the charge and the mother sprang forward with the words on her lips. Then she stopped short, turned to her son and throwing her arms about his neck cried out: "I can't! I can't! He is my son, I love him and I can't." Then she fell at his feet dead. As dearly as she had loved her drunken, bloated, loafing son she couldn't stand in judgment.