For I was hungry, and ye gave me food; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in. . . . Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
It gives me wonder great as my content
To see you here before me. O my soul's joy! If after every tempest come such calms May the winds blow till they have waken'd death! . . . If I were now to die,
'Twere now to be most happy; for, I fear, My soul hath her content so absolute That not another comfort like to this Succeeds in unknown fate.
In a commercial country, a busy country, time becomes precious, and therefore hospitality is not so much valued. No doubt there is still room for a certain degree of it; and a man has a satisfaction in seeing his friends eating and drinking around him. But promiscuous hospitality is not the way to gain real influence. You must help some people at table before others; you must ask some people how they like their wine oftener than others. You therefore offend more people than you please.
Hospitality is one of the first Christian duties. The beast retires to its shelter, and the bird flies to its nest; but helpless man can only find refuge from his fellow creature. The greatest stranger in this world was he that came to save it. He never had an house, as if willing to see what hospitality was left remaining amongst us.