[A19] Way Stations on the Way to Perdition (The Small Catechism)

“Christ speaks of the course of life through this world as a way: the broad way and the narrow way. With special emphasis do the inspired writers speak of those who live in violation of the Sixth Commandment as followers of a way, a wicked way. In the second chapter of Proverbs we read these words of warning concerning the strange woman, who has forsaken the guide of her youth and forgotten the covenant of her God: ‘Her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.’

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19. Way Stations On The Road To Perdition

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” — Exod. 20:14.

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit, indeed, is willing, but the flesh is weak.” — St. Matt. 26:41.

In our first discussion of the Sixth Commandment I dealt with the evil of unchastity itself. In language as plain as my sense of propriety would permit, I endeavored to set forth the nature and results of this great sin. Of one thing I am confident; no exaggeration was used. If the words of those whose work has led them to make a special study of social evils may be taken without discount, and I see no reason for discounting them, it would be difficult to exaggerate either the extent or the hideousness of this evil.

I continue this morning with the Sixth Commandment, but my aim is to present a treatment which will be of the nature of a preventative. I consider that prevention, in every respect, is better than cure.

Years ago many of the districts of our southern country, and of Central America, were veritable plague spots. Malaria was constantly in the air. Yellow fever and other epidemics were liable to break out at any time in virulent form. But experts were put to work. They drained the swamps; they cleaned up the cities; they introduced methods of sanitation. The causes of ill-health were removed; and today these districts, many of them at least, are as healthful as those found elsewhere. There is not one where health conditions are not immeasurably better than they were before. This is, incomparably, the better way of fighting disease.

This principle applies to the subject in hand. Unchastity is a noisome disease and highly infectious. We must combat the disease itself. We must do all we can to stay its ravages. But even where it is cured it is bound to leave some scars. It is a hundredfold better to prevent it: to drain the filthy lowlands, to destroy the reeking cesspools, to clarify the moral atmosphere. How may this be done? By a process of moral sanitation: by abolishing, as far as possible, the causes which produce the evil; by removing the temptations; by making our people acquainted with the dangers besetting them; by getting our young people into a more healthful atmosphere; by fortifying them with the grace of God.

It is probable that some of you will not agree with all I have to say this morning, at least not till you have had time to think it over carefully. Starting from the same premises, we may not all be able to arrive at once at the same conclusion. Inclination has a good deal to do with our processes of thinking. But, whether you all agree with me or not, I must speak my mind. I must tell you the way I see things in the light of general experience, and especially in the light of God’s Word, which is the best of all commentaries on human experience. If I did not do this, I should be, in the language of this holy Book, a dumb dog. On the Judgment day you would have the right to charge me with having failed to do my duty, and your condemnation, if it came to that, would, in part, be laid at my door. However, if I faithfully warn and people do not heed, the fault is theirs, not mine. Even if you do not at first agree with all I say, do not too lightly cast it aside. It is the part of wisdom to weigh the evidence. But bear in mind that where the Word of God speaks, the weighing has already been done. God has done it Himself. We may endeavor to ascertain the reason for the decisions rendered; but from them there is no appeal. They are absolutely final.

You recall that Christ speaks of the course of life through this world as a way: the broad way and the narrow way. With special emphasis do the inspired writers speak of those who live in violation of the Sixth Commandment as followers of a way, a wicked way. In the second chapter of Proverbs we read these words of warning concerning the strange woman, who has forsaken the guide of her youth and forgotten the covenant of her God: “Her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.” Again, in the seventh chapter we read: “Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend unto the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart incline unto her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded; yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.”

With words like these in mind, I shall speak today of some of the Way Stations on the Road to Perdition.

A way station, bear in mind! is a point which serves as a kind of recruiting place, on the main line of travel. There are many such places on the path to perdition. Of some of these, which have to do especially with the violation of the Sixth Commandment, I shall treat this morning.

Evil Companions

I have spoken in my former address of some of the grosser violations of the Sixth Commandment in which people become entangled. I hope those words were not especially needed by us, save as a general warning, sufficing to keep us on our guard. Today, in speaking of those things which contribute to the breaking of this commandment, I shall not dwell on the vile saloon, the dive, the wine room, or kindred things. These so clearly bear the trade mark of hell that young people and others who have been reared in the atmosphere of the Sunday school and Church ought not need any special warning against them. There are, however, other sources of temptation which are not so clearly recognized as evils, or at least not as such evils as they often prove to be. Here is where we probably most need our warnings.

I will start with the subject of evil companions. Evil companionship is the starting-point of the downward path for many a young man and woman. And not infrequently there is no intention of departing from the path of decency. Evil companions are among the devil’s best recruiting-agents.

Companions have a great influence for either good or ill. If they are pure-minded, aspiring, active in good works, their influence for good is great and far-reaching. If they are evil-minded, smutty in conversation, and full of evil suggestion in demeanor as well, their influence is just as great for evil. St. Paul lifts to the dignity of Divine authority a saying that had long been a proverb among the observant Greeks: “Evil company doth corrupt good manners.” One can not remain long in a smithy without becoming black, nor handle hot iron without getting one’s fingers burned. Just as impossible is it to become a companion of persons of impure minds and unclean lips without becoming smudged. Nor is the blackening process slow: the poison acts quickly.

It takes years of work and painstaking care to bring a tree to the fruit-bearing age; but it may be destroyed in a few moments. So the life and character of sons and daughters, for the up building of which parents may have worked hard and prayed long, and to the cultivation of which the young people themselves may have given much time and energy, may be quickly ruined. But, in spite of what is at stake — despite the warnings and pleadings of parents and others, how often do young people seem to gravitate toward the most coarse-grained, flippant, and irreverent companions they can find. Do the young people not know what they are doing? Do they not know the dangers to which they are subjecting themselves? Do they not realize that they are thus giving a revelation of their own real, inner character? If coarseness, vulgarity, and lack of devoutness attract people, is it not an unmistakable evidence that, despite all their training and opportunities, there is a streak of coarseness and vulgarity in their own makeup? And if they have any regard at all for themselves, any hope for their future, is not this in itself a trumpet call for them to be all the more on their guard, to watch and pray?

With the greatest care and deliberation we should choose our companions. We exercise precaution in selecting our clothes. We have laws the object of which is to protect our bodies, our physical health. Into what glaring contrast does this throw our frequent carelessness with respect to the contagion which threatens our characters, our souls. We are careful to root out of our gardens and flower-beds the weeds which hinder the growth of our plants. Especially do we try to keep down all poisonous growths that might injure man or beast. But the person whose presence poisons the moral atmosphere and scatters the seeds of moral and spiritual contagion everywhere is often welcomed, especially if there are present some of the attractions of physical beauty, wealth or education.

How often do young men seek the company of perfectly strange young women on the streets and elsewhere; and, to their shame be it said! young women not infrequently court such approaches. Such companionship never promises anything good. Young people may possibly come out of such escapades with their characters unsullied by taint of actual impurity, but the elements of danger are there. Such a step may be thoughtlessly taken without a conscious thought of impurity, but the fact that a young person is guilty of such conduct shows thereby not only lack of good breeding, but reveals the further fact that there is a weak spot in their character which needs most careful watching to prevent it from going to worse things. No young man who is habitually guilty of such conduct has real respect for the woman he seeks to meet in this way, and usually his intentions are evil. No young woman who allows such approaches or en courages them, has due regard for her own virtue or reputation. This is playing with fire, and the natural result is to get one’s fingers burned.

One of the accompanying evils resulting from keeping bad company is the unrestrained, improper speech which often passes between such companions. The boldness and indelicacy of speech of many young people in our day is a matter of frequent remark. Not only is there much flippant reference to things sacred, but uncouthness and vulgarity is everywhere in evidence and constantly furthered by evil companionship. Of all this the Word of God says: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth… Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient” (Eph. 4:29; 5:4). A pure heart and a filthy tongue cannot belong to the same person.

We often wonder what has come over some of our young people. Once they were interested in Sunday-school and Church services; they read their Bibles and said their prayers. After a while we begin to notice that these things have become dis tasteful to them. They are always seeking for excuses to keep from taking part in these sacred services. The trouble is that their hearts have become polluted, either by unbelief or some kind of impurity. There is great likelihood that evil associations had much to do with it. Young people, if you have made mistakes, do not go on with them. We want to help you. God wants to help you. Turn away from evil companions. “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not” (Prov. 1:10). “Flee also youthful lusts” (2 Tim. 2:22).

It is said that if, during the summer months a canary is hung in its cage outside the house where the sparrows, with their noisy chatter, largely congregate, the sweetest songster will cease to sing before the summer is over and do nothing but chirp, much like a sparrow. The lesson, I am sure, you cannot fail to grasp. If we associate with scoffers and those who delight to retail vile stuff, we shall lose our singing and praying voice, because we shall have lost our faith and purity of heart.

Even where our companions are of the right kind, let us remember our human limitations. We all need to be constantly on our guard. Eternal vigilance is the price of our blessings, both so far as getting and keeping them is concerned. If we are God’s children at all, there is some willingness for the things of the Spirit in our spirits, but the flesh is weak. Familiarity does not only eventually breed contempt; but, in the meanwhile, it often prepares the way for other, and still worse, evils. We need, indeed, to watch and pray.

Books and Reading

With the subject of books and reading I might have continued under the former topic, for they furnish only another form of companionship, but the uniqueness and universality of these companions is my warrant for giving them special attention.

The subject of books and reading is to most people a fascinating one. We might spend an hour or more in a profitable discussion of this topic alone. But we have time this morning for little more than a word of warning against bad books.

Good books ought to be in much greater demand. They are among the greatest and most accessible of teachers; among the best and most inspiring of companions. Men and women have testified that the reading of a single unpretentious volume in their early years gave direction and purpose to the whole of their after lives. What an opportunity we are missing if we do not love good reading. But, unfortunately, it is just as possible for one to read himself to death, morally and spiritually, in a very short time. One of the great and devout English ministers of a former generation tells us that while a student at college a companion gave him a book in which he read for only a few moments, but that in those few moments he imbibed a poison which was a source of bitterness and regret to him all the remainder of his life. The thoughts given him, the pictures which impressed themselves on his mind, in that brief period of time haunted him like foul dancing spectres till his dying day. Had he been a less pure-minded lad, and not so well fortified in the truth, he might have been attracted and destroyed by this filth, as is the case with so many thousands of men and women, young and old.

You have doubtless heard the old story of the man of letters in India, who went into his library to get a book. As he took it down from the shelf he felt a sudden sharp pain in one of his fingers, which he took to be the prick of a pin or needle. Soon, however, his finger began to swell, then his arm, and soon his whole body. He had been bitten by one of the many poisonous serpents with which the country abounds and which infest even the houses. And death soon ensued. There are many poisonous serpents hidden between the pages of attractive books and magazines. They instill into the minds of their readers, especially the young, doubts about sacred and divine things. They give perverted views of life. A large class of literature today speaks disparagingly of marriage, and flip pantly of breaking marriage vows. They describe in attractive colors the story of illicit relationships. They paint virtue, especially that which has to do with the relation of men and women, as an old-fashioned dream, long out of date. From these dis gusting recitals of lust and crime the young should be safeguarded as we would protect them from the attacks of a mad dog.

Young people, you who are old enough to know something of the dangers of which we speak, you who are beginning to realize something of the value of a good character, and the peace of mind and joy of heart that go with it, I appeal to you: avoid bad books and impure reading of every kind. It scathes and scorches the soul. It puts a blight upon the life, so that it will be hard for it ever to put forth the buds or bear the fruits of purity. Never look into a book which is known to be impure. Steel yourself against all prurient curiosity. Make up your mind that you will stop reading anything as soon as you recognize that it has a tendency to debase. Never drag your mind, that noble gift of God, by virtue of which you are so closely akin to Him, through the filth; and in this way make it a fit instrument and powerful for dragging your body likewise into the mire.

I have known of men, middle-aged men, who became so infatuated with the silly impossibilities of fiction that they neglected their business, and did nothing but read this debilitating stuff all day long and day after day. It is bad enough for people to bankrupt themselves financially in this way. But the consequences are still worse when people thus bankrupt themselves morally and spiritually. Excessive reading of fiction is likely to have this result even when it is not vicious in its teaching. It produces a form of mental intoxication and makes people irresponsible. It makes them dissatisfied with the everyday duties of the everyday life. And to live in a world of unrealities has a tendency to bring about a state of moral flabbiness. How much worse, then, will it be if the mind is burdened with a mass of fiction which is positively poisonous, because impure!

In the window of a bookstore in Cologne there was formerly a picture bearing the title: “A Bad Book.” It represented a young girl sitting at a table, eagerly reading a book. Behind her, looking over her shoulder, and smiling with fiendish delight, stood the devil, rejoicing that his work was being done so easily and effectively.

Young people, you who are the hope of the future, in Church and State, beware! If you read filth, your life will be filthy. Evil literature, especially a literature which is evil in the sense of the Sixth Commandment, weakens the mind, and destroys the will. There is no more pitiable, no more miserable creature to be found anywhere than the one who still has some vision of better things, a certain weak desire for them, but no will that God can use for cooperation with man for his rehabilitation. Young men and women, fill your minds with ragtime literature, conceived and written in the spirit of lasciviousness, and you prepare the way to become easy victims to the wiles of the first real tempter who comes your way.

Dress

Surely the teacher of morals, the one who is to point out the dangers that beset our people in the way of social impurity, cannot fail to mention the subject of dress. The field of fashion furnishes a sphere in which the devil is especially busy. It is one of the instrumentalities through which he is gathering many victims for the downward path.

Dress, much more than many people think, has always been a problem which had to do with morals. It was sin and shame which introduced the question of dress. Mother Eve and Father Adam fell into sin, but even when sin came they did not lose all their modesty. With the blush of shame which the sense of personal delicacy brought to their cheeks came the first desire for a covering for their bodies. In the course of the passing centuries many have lost much of this delicacy of feeling. Now one of the burning moral problems with which we have to deal is that of dress or, rather, in many instances, undress. Today the idea of dress, with many, is not that of a covering. With clothes abbreviated at both the top and the bottom, the idea with some seems to be to get back, as near as possible, to the original fig-leaf style of dress.

We often hear it said, especially by the women: We might as well be dead as out of style. All we have to say is that if people cannot be happy unless they are following the fashions set by the demi monde of Paris, London and New York, they might just as well be dead for all the real good they will ever do in the world. It used to be said, with considerable cynicism but more than a grain of truth, that we imported our fashions from London, while London imported them from Paris, and Paris got them from hell.

Someone may say, Oh, it is to be expected that preachers will denounce fashionable dress. Not necessarily so. Most of us like to see people, men as well as women, well dressed. But it should always be the decorous garb of becoming modesty. That present fashions are largely not modest is the testimony of many who are not preachers. The chairman of the Chicago Vice Commission said some time ago that the prevailing fashions, which accentuate woman’s form, has made women bolder, and increased the number of those who are careless of their morals. About the same time a woman well known in American public life, Mrs. John A. Logan, said of woman’s dress that it was not only “hideous, but viciously indecent; an outrage upon the modesty of womanhood, the sorry sign of sorry times… I think the exhibition is demoralizing. When I say demoralizing I use the word in a broad, serious sense. Anything which diminishes the modesty of women is a bad thing for the human race. And the fashions of today diminish, if they do not sometimes utterly destroy, the modesty of woman.” These are the words, not of preachers, who are often thought to be unnecessarily narrow in their views, but of level-headed, thoughtful men and women of the world.

The styles have somewhat changed since the above words were written, but not appreciably for the better. Even the heathen Chinaman has his taunt for the fashionable American woman’s dress. He says the Chinese women wear clothes to hide their forms, but the American women wear theirs to reveal them. To this he might have added that many of them are taking off their clothes to reveal their forms or using material which serves the same purpose. Our sensible women do not yield to these extremes, but the tendency is everywhere operative; for the nearer many can approximate these styles the better they seem to like it.

Women of the Church, do you realize what all this means? Some say that it means that women have become or are in the process of becoming emancipated; that they are being freed from the fetters of ancient conventionalities; that such emancipation from the proper conventionalities of dress is innocent because “to the pure all things are pure.” I will tell you what it means. This striving for the nude in art, in literature, in dress has a meaning. It means that modesty is fast becoming a lost virtue; that the finest edge of pure womanhood is being lost. It means that the whole social body has become vitiated by moral poisons, which are still further corrupting the blood of the people and hastening the process of decay. It means, at least to those who are able to read the message written large on every page of history, that we are facing a historically demonstrated portent of coming disaster.

We should like to have time to make a plea for the emancipation of woman from the tyranny of fashion, to express the hope that the time shall come when individuality will be allowed to assert itself and woman will be adorned in modest but beautiful simplicity. The chief concern, however, is that they do not allow themselves to be gradually and insensibly robbed of the crowning virtue of their womanhood — their modesty. Women, you may question my opinions if you will; I can assure you that they are not different from those of many others, both men and women; but one thing you are obligated to do, and that is to listen to the words of the Master. He says, through the mouth of the holy Apostle: “I will therefore that women adorn themselves in modest apparel” (I Tim. 2:9).

The Theater

Another of the way stations on the road to perdition is the playhouse. It ought not to be so. It is not of necessity so. But that it is actually so, cannot be denied. Mr. W. D. Howells is not a man of puritanic bent of mind. But he declared, in one of the literary magazines of our country, a few years ago, that the modern theater is, in its general tendency, a school of immorality. He further said: “If from any pulpit vice were preached by mockeries of purity and appeals to lubricity such as are used in the theater; if lying were inculcated, and passion put above duty;… if adultery were treated as a comical affair… somehow the law would reach that pulpit, although the state professes to have no relation with the church.

“In like manner, if in any private school or college the humanities were imparted by a chair devoted to the study of those authors whose works befoul literature, the law would somehow intervene to prevent the mischief… The theater, however, is left unmolested in almost any excess; ideas are inculcated if not expressed there which are simply abominable. We all know it; we can prove it at any time; it is undeniable.”

In the Journal of our city, a few years ago, there was a lengthy article on the tendency of the modern stage. In it occur these words: “That there is a wave of immorality sweeping through the theaters of the country at our time, it is impossible any longer to doubt.” This tendency toward immorality may be more pronounced in recent times, but it is by no means anything new. In every age the theater has been in large measure of a character to debase and corrupt. The ancient heathen Plato said: “Plays rouse the passions and pervert the use of them; and of course are dangerous to morality.” Ovid advised Augustus to suppress theaters because he considered them “a grand source of corruption.” Rousseau, the French philosopher and skeptic, in his early life wrote for the stage; but in later life, when it was proposed to establish a theater in Geneva, he protested against it, declaring it to be “a school of vice.” The gifted English historian Macaulay declared the theater to be “a seminary of vice.” Edwin Booth, the bright star of the American stage, because of his knowledge of it, would not allow his daughter to become an actress. And Macready, one of England’s most gifted and noble actors, when he left the stage selected a home, it is said, far from London, so that his son might never see a theater in his youth.

My objection to the theater is not chiefly this that its object is to furnish amusement. Though it is specially liable to abuse, I believe that amusement or diversion, of the right kind and in such proportion as to be a relief to the serious and wearing business of life, has a legitimate place in life. The theater could be such an institution. It could be an educative, uplifting force. My objection to it is based on the ground that it is an institution noted not only for its lack of positive moral teaching, but is notorious as a school of positive immorality.

In opposition to what has been said it is some times urged that the theater is not wholly bad, that decent, yea, even religious, plays are presented. Yes, some men have seen the possibilities of the stage, and have tried to redeem it. Sir Henry Irving tried it in London, but his venture failed; Edwin Booth tried it in New York, but failed, and his theater was sold for a warehouse. Hannah Moore wrote good plays, full of noble sentiment, but they did not pay. Why did all these ventures fail? Because the theater, as an institution, does not stand for that which is good. An occasional play which is clean and morally uplifting gets hold of a sufficient number of play-goers to make it successful, but they are in such a fearful minority that a moral stage appears to be out of the question, no matter how successful an occasional moral play may be. As a usual thing, even Biblical events are fearfully perverted when they are staged. The story of Joseph and his brethren presents in its Biblical setting the finest example of personal purity in all literature. And it does this without leaving a suggestive thought to rankle in the heart. But as it has been presented on the stage it should have been called the story of Potiphar’s wife. The temptation scene is acted out with every suggestion of vile passion that can surge from the depths of a heart given over to lust. No pure woman can behold it without wanting to cover her face for shame. And no virile man, who has struggled for purity, can behold it without trembling lest the suggestiveness of its appeal to his baser nature should get the mastery of his reason and his will.

There is but one reason why the theater is so predominantly of this nature. It is so because the majority of those who frequent it want filth; and they get what they want. It is the only thing which will pay. With the world dollars are more than morals. The Christian people who frequent the theater are not only endangering their own souls, but by their presence are encouraging the things for which the theater preeminently stands; namely, looseness of morals and a depraved conception of life.

Young people, we know that there is something about the theater which makes an especially strong appeal to the romantic spirit of youth. Beware of its fascination. You have heard how the snake charms the bird to its death. If the theater did nothing else we should be very careful because it is apt to produce a form of mental inebriation, which gives one a distorted view of the things of life, and thus unfits one for the stern realities of this workaday world. And this is one step in the process of breaking down the moral character, a process which the teaching and the scenes of the theater are nearly all calculated speedily to advance.

The Dance

Must the dance be classed with the dangers of which we have been speaking? Unquestionably! We know that the followers of Terpsichore plead that dancing is a fine art, that it ministers to grace, that it is the poetry of motion. We are not ignorant of all this. But we know also its purely sensuous nature and that there is but a narrow step, which needs very carefully to be guarded, between the merely sensuous and the sensual.

The real charm of dancing is the mutual attraction of sex. Separate the men from the women, and dancing will soon cease. The dancing of which the Bible speaks, to which its advocates oft refer as a justification of the art, was not promiscuous. The Bible dance was an exhilarating physical exercise, indicative of great joy, performed as a service to the Lord by men only or women only. Let people dance in this way, and there will be no one to demur.

Medical men have spoken much against dancing, on the score of physical injury, especially to young women. This is worth considering. Our bodies are gifts of God, and we shall have to give an account of the way we take care of them. But we shall leave this to the physicians: our chief objection to the dance is on the score of morals.

The real character and tendency of the dance cannot long be hid from any one who will give it a little serious thought. Nor need they be special guardians or teachers of morals to be able to see it. Police Inspector Byrnes, of New York, has said that a large percentage of the women on Blackwell’s Island, a penal and corrective institution, started their downward course on the dance-floor. District Attorney Zabel, of Milwaukee, has declared that ninety per cent, of the cases of delinquent girls which came to the attention of the court started on their career of shame on the dance-floor. The more conservative defenders of the dance admit that the public dance-hall is not a safe place, all kinds of people meeting there. Not exactly all kinds: only the worst kind, and the simple ones who do not know its dangers. But why do the seducers of young women, and so many of the shameless young women, who have neither virtue nor shame to lose, hang around the dance-hall? Because they know it is one of the best places for the accomplishment of their nefarious purposes.

The pastor of a country parish recently told me that in a district with which he was acquainted there was a veritable epidemic of violations of the Sixth Commandment, with all its attendant shame and distressing circumstances. Investigation had revealed the fact that the whole trouble was trace able to the community dances, which had become the rage in that vicinity. By their fruits we judge of institutions, as we do of men and women them selves.

The tendency of the dance is shown in its development. The graceful minuet of our forefathers, so far as they were not Puritans, in which they touched finger-tips, and bowed with dignity to their partners, is no longer in favor. Instead of this dance, to which neither modesty nor grace can be denied, we have the grizzly-bear, the bunny-hug, the turkey-trot and other dances with equally suggestive names, all of which are equally proper and suggestive of the things described. It is all nothing but mad animalism. There is no more pruriency or lechery in the songs and dances of an Indian temple girl or a Japanese geisha girl, than there is in these pantomimes of lust. These performances bear the brand of bestial vulgarity. And these strong adjectives apply whether the performances are given in the annex of some cheap rum dispensary, or in the ball-room of some ultra fashionable dame.

The dance given in the home, in which only those participate who are known to each other, and where the rowdy performances with the animal names are debarred, is altogether a different thing. But I ask the young people, the Christian young people, whose desire is to do right, whether they want to be classified in the terms used by the best defenders of the dance. One of the most conservative of English papers, in a recent article defending dancing and mildly ridiculing the seriousness of those who oppose it, said: “Dancing is a rhythmical pantomime of sex, and the most haremish of pastimes.” We know you do not want to be classed with those whose clinkered souls no longer know or care for virtue. But do you want to engage, as a pastime, in what its most cultured friends call a public exhibition of sex, and which bears the ear marks and radiates the atmosphere of the harem?

Young people, it is worth much to be aware of the snares and pitfalls which beset your feet, to know the forms of the allurements by which you will be tempted to forsake the paths of virtue. But this knowledge is not enough to insure safety. You must not merely know and drive out the evil, and set your face against it. Empty souls win no battles. They must be filled with the love of the good and pure. And this means above all things else that Christ must dwell in your hearts by faith and control your affections.

By God's grace, each week LutheranLibrary.org will present a new message on the basics of the Evangelical Christian Faith. Our guide is the Small Catechism, as expounded by Traditional Pastor Robert Golladay. May this series bless and inspire you.

To request a printable copy [PDF] send an email to: editor@lutheranlibrary.org with the title of this post.

Luther's Small Catechism: Series A – The Ten Commandments

Publication Information

  • Author: “Golladay, Robert Emory”
  • Title: “The Ten Commandments”
  • Originally Published: 1915 by Lutheran Book Concern, Columbus, Ohio.
  • Lutheran Library Edition: 2019
  • Copyright: CC BY 4.0

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