Mr. Robert E. Speer addressed a large audience last evening in Phillips Brooks House on "The Value of a Clean Record."
There is one incident in the life of Christ, said Mr. Speer, which has a distinctly modern flavor. The interview between Christ and the young man who declared that he had kept all the commandments from his youth up and wanted to know what he should do to inherit eternal life, has a peculiarly strong modern significance. Some people say that the young man was untruthful when he said he had kept all the commandments, and that he was trying to deceive Christ by hiding something else that would prevent his obtaining eternal life.
This young man may be regarded as a forerunner of some students of today, who set up intellectual difficulties in the way of faith, but who really have moral difficulties which they are attempting to hide.
The general impression of the young man who sought advice of Christ is wrong. He was neither a liar nor a fool, and we may believe that he was sincere when he said, "These things have I kept from my youth up." There is a lesson for us in this declaration of the young man, for very few men today can stand up and say the same thing. This young man had a clean record and the knowledge of how to obtain such a possession is the most valuable thing that there is.
A man with a clean record does not fear exposure; his past needs no attention, and he has no ghosts that he fears will rise. A clean record is the only secret of a strong character. A man cannot be strong when he is constantly trying to conceal something in his past. If he would be strong he must have a character with no stains. He cannot stop and discuss every moral question that arises, but he must be so set in his character that he can take only one side of a moral issue. A man with a clean record has established himself as a man of integrity; he is a man who may be depended upon. A great deal leaves the man whose record will not bear examination; he is shackled for life.
It is possible for any man to have a clean record, and to live such a life that he may say at the end of his college course, or at the end of his life. "These things have I kept from my youth up to this hour."