Twain taught by laughter
4-25-10

The great lessons Mark Twain taught by laughter were dwelt upon by Dr. Ernest V. Claypool of the First Methodist church in his sermon on "The Serious Mark Twain," last evening. He paid high tribute to the great humorist which he said was not one he would put for his son to follow in all of its details but was "one of personal independence, his own, the upspringing of his own personality," and one whose touch never left a stain. "his life might be clothed as he was in death," said he, "fittingly in white, the white symbolical of purity of intention and desire for righteousness. His life was a serious giving out in the form of laughter of the highest ideals and standards, of his understanding of human nature for the guidance of others."

Dr. Claypool stated at the outset that he had no right to undertake to give anything of the life of the man whom his audience might have known personally, and had no right to draw lessons from books since the latter effort would be egotism.. Neither had he any right, he held, as a minister to present anything in such a way as to hide Jesus Christ. "But he lives of individual men may contain messages of help and from the life of Mark Twain may taught the gospel of Jesus Christ."

"Why do men laugh? Most men laugh from joy, the joy of life and the joy of love. We old bald headed, gray whiskered, stoop shouldered men forget to laugh because we forget how to have joy in living. Shame on us when we get so old, so mean, so crabidd, so un-Christian as to forget how to laugh for laughter is the expression of joy and love."

He held that Jesus laughed as well as wept, else the little children would never have run to Him, and he pictured Him in His youth laughing and playing with other children. The speaker then proceeded to analysis of the sources of laughter. Some laughter, he said, was caused by surprise, some by incongruity, which might be spiritual and mental as well as physical. A laughter that seems not to spring from any of these causes but is really from the first is that caused by accidents to other people. We laugh not at the accident to them but that the accident was not to us. Then there was the laughter comparable to the crackling of thorns under a pot, the laughter of folks, but this empty laughter was not of the true humorist.

The humorist must be a seer. "We would all be laughing if we could see what Mark Twain saw when he walked the streets here. We don't look in human souls." Brothers and husbands and wives are often strangers to each other. The true humorist sees beyond the surface and presents even ourselves and we laugh at these as well as our neighbors. The true humorist is a philosopher and sees not only the things as they are but as they ought to be. He sees the

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