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The Rev. John Gunn The Rev. John Gunn
The 20th Century produced many outstanding writers. One whose literary accomplishment stands as a living monument is the pastor, newspaper columnist and author, John R. Gunn (1877-1956). On a wide variety of subjects he left us an abundance of messages that warm the soul and touch the heart.

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Negative and Positive Virtues

September 13, 2010

What do you mean when speaking of someone you say, "He is a good man." Do you mean simply that he does not do any of those things that a good man is supposed not to do? That he doesn't swear, that he doesn't drink, doesn't gamble?

Columist John R. Gunn writes that, "Negative virtues alone do not make one a good man. Negative virtues must be combined with positive virtues."

Good, in the largest sense, includes whatever is fine, straightforward, clean, brave, manly. "The best men I know", said Theodore Roosevelt, "are good at their business, fearless and stalwart, hated and feared by all that is wicked and depraved; incapable of submitting to wrongdoing and equally incapable of being anything but tender to the weak and helpless."

When it is said that we should seek after goodness above all else, this does not mean that all other rightful ambitions are to be crushed or abandoned, but it does mean they are to be kept in subordination to the supreme aim of every true life; to do what is right in the sight of God.

We talk about greatness; there's greatness of learning, the greatness of political influence, the greatness of material power, but high above other forms of greatness is the greatness of goodness.

Do you want to do something great? Do something good and that will be great.

Carlisle, the essayist and historian said, "It is great to make one nook of God's creation more fruitful, more worthy of God. To make some human heart wise, manlier, happier. We find our supreme example of greatness in Jesus Christ who in love and compassion, went about doing good, healing the sick, helping the poor, speaking words of comfort to the sorrowful and downcast.


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