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22. CHAPTER XXII. SERMONS AND WOODBOXES (continued)
"What men and women need is encouragement. Their natural resisting powers should be strengthened, not weakened. . . . Instead of always harping on a man's faults, tell him of his virtues. Try to pull him out of his rut of bad habits. Hold up to him his better self, his REAL self that can dare and do and win out! . . . The influence of a beautiful, helpful, hopeful character is contagious, and may revolutionize a whole town. . . . People radiate what is in their minds and in their hearts. If a man feels kindly and obliging, his neighbors will feel that way, too, before long. But if he scolds and scowls and criticizes--his neighbors will return scowl for scowl, and add interest! . . . When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it. When you know you will find the good--you will get that. . . . Tell your son Tom you KNOW he'll be glad to fill that woodbox--then watch him start, alert and interested!"
The minister dropped the paper and lifted his chin. In a moment he was on his feet, tramping the narrow room back and forth, back and forth. Later, some time later, he drew a long breath, and dropped himself in the chair at his desk.
"God helping me, I'll do it!" he cried softly. "I'll tell all my Toms I KNOW they'll be glad to fill that woodbox! I'll give them work to do, and I'll make them so full of the very joy of doing it that they won't have TIME to look at their neighbors' woodboxes!" And he picked up his sermon notes, tore straight through the sheets, and cast them from him, so that on one side of his chair lay "But woe unto you," and on the other, "scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" while across the smooth white paper before him his pencil fairly flew--after first drawing one black line through Matthew twenty-third; 13--14 and 23."
Thus it happened that the Rev. Paul Ford's sermon the next Sunday was a veritable bugle-call to the best that was in every man and woman and child that heard it; and its text was one of Pollyanna's shining eight hundred:
"Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, ye righteous, and shout for joy all ye that are upright in heart."
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