I recently came upon this poem by Edgar Albert Guest.
Edgar Guest worked for the Detroit Free Press newspaper for over six decades. He wrote thousands of poems. Edgar Guest died in 1959.
Sermons We See
I'd rather see a sermon than to hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear;
Fine council is confusing, but example's always clear;
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it if you'll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true;
But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do.
For I might misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.
When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles and a strong man stays behind
Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me,
To become as big and thoughtful as I know that I can be.
And all the travelers can witness that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells you, but the one who shows the way.
One good man teaches many, men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language which to everyone is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,
I'd rather see a sermon than to hear one, any day.
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