“Show yourselves men.” Isaiah 46:8
There is such a thing as being unmanly. There are multitudes of unmanly men in the world. Solomon may have been pessimistic. He said, “One man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.” (Eccl. 7:28) God wants every woman to be a woman and every man to be a man. Some men are more like parasites than they are like men; same are more like foxes, some are more like gnats and some are more like wolves. Saome who are trying to be men still belong to babyhood. There is a great deal of childishness among grown people. Grown people should put away their childishness. I wish that all could say as Paul said, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man I put away childish things.” Some men who are manly under some circumstances are unmanly under others. Men who are symmetrical and who are men, whatever the circumstances may be, are the men whose conduct God approves of.Give us men! Men from every rank, Fresh and free and frank; Men of thought and reading, Men of light and leading, Men of loyal breeding, Men of faith and not of faction, Give us men! I say again, Give us men!
I. It is manly to be true to one’s convictions.
Some people do not know where they stand or what they believe. Others do their thinking for them. They agree with almost everybody. Other people have convictions, but are afraid to make them known. Some fear opposition, some ridicule, and some are afraid of being boycotted. Every man ought to have convictions and ought to be courageous enough to stand by them. Luther at the Diet of Worms.
II. It is manly to conquer sinful propensities.
Some people have greater battles to fight than others have. It is easy for some to be good; it is hard for others. Some have been born and reared amid environments of sin, and crime has been bred into their very being. To overcome temptation is for them a great battle, an Austerlitz, a Gettysburg, a Waterloo. Here is a man who has had implanted within him an appetite for liquor which appetite was cultivated by his parents in his childhood. Here is a boy who has been taught by his parents to steal. He grows up to manhood amid environment of vicious society. That some people have greater sinful propensities, that some have more to overcome than others, it is useless to deny. To conquer these sinful propensities — and they can be conquered — is manly. Discover your weakness and then become master of it.
III. It is manly to overcome temptations.
They are numerous. We are surrounded by them. Satan through temptation succeeded in effecting the fall of our first parents, and he has tried in the same way to bring about the ruin of the character of every good man who has lived in the world from that day to this. No man has been exempt from temptation. Even Jesus was tempted. It is unmanly to yield to temptation; it is manly to resist and overcome. No man can overcome all temptations in his own strength. But there is One who has promised to afford assistance.
IV. It is manly to make sacrifices.
The world has always honored heroes. And the greatest heroes the world has ever seen were the self-sacrificing heroes. The men that God and humanity delight in honoring are the men who live unselfish lives. No man who does not make sacrifices can be a Christian. Jesus said, “If any man will be my disciples, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
V. It is manly to follow in business life the principles of the golden rule.
Some argue that business life and the golden rule cannot successfully be joined together. They say that the golden rule is all right in its place, but that the business man must not be expected to follow it in his business. Foolishness! Jesus Christ has designed that it shall be followed everywhere — in domestic life, in social life, in business life — everywhere. It is manly to follow it; it is unmanly to refuse. Some excuse themselves for being dishonest in business transactions by saying that “business is business.” One might reply that dishonesty is dishonesty, wherever you find it, crime is crime, devilishness is devilishness. You may conceal your dishonesty and hide your ungodly transactions and unrighteous dealings beneath the cloak of religion, but God Almighty knows, if you profess to be a Christian and are a dishonest man, then you are a hypocrite and not a saint.
VI. It is manly to accept Jesus Christ and live for God.
Even the world honors the man who is a real Christian. Ungodly people have very little confidence in the religion of the man who professes to be a Christian but does not live his religion. A man once said to me, speaking of a certain church member, “The only time he’s religious is when he’s in church.” But while ungodly people despise hypocrites they honor godly men and godly women. They may not be Christians themselves, but they know it is right that all men should be Christians, and they have respect for the one who is a Christian in deed and in truth. They know that it is manly for one to serve God. I appeal to all who hear my voice. “Show yourselves men.” Come out on the side of righteousness and truth. Give yourselves unreservedly to God, and live henceforth so as to merit His approval here on earth and a home at last in His presence in that world beyond the stars. “Show yourselves men!”Give us men! Strong and stalwart ones; Men whom highest hope inspires, Men whom purest honor fires, Men who trample self beneath them, Men who make their country wreath them As her noble sons, Worthy of their sires! Men who never shame their mothers, Men who never fail their brothers, True, however — false are others, Give us men! I say again, Give us men!
Some time ago a distinguished Frenchman died leaving a legacy of $2,000,000 to be used in experiments for the propagation of giants. The will was contested and only one-fourth of the estate will be used in carrying out the purpose of the deceased. Under the supervision of the municipality an institution, the object of which is to be the raising of giants, is to be established, with an endowment of half a million dollars. The world is to be searched for large couples and they are to be brought to France and cared for in this institution. An American professor has made the announcement that he has discovered the food by which giants may be produced. Whatever may be thought of these insane ideas it is recognized everywhere that the business of the Church of Jesus Christ is to produce men and women who are giants, not physically, but morally and spiritually.
Oh, that all of our men, and our women, too, would pursue the proper course and partake of the proper, spiritual food that the world might be peopled by a race of spiritual giants!
Rev. J. Narver Gortner, Tilden, Nebraska, 1904