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Title: Education and the Higher Life
Author: Spalding, J. L.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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THINGS OF THE MIND. 12mo. $1.00.




SONGS: CHIEFLY FROM THE GERMAN. 16mo, gilt top. $1.25.





J. L. Spalding

Bishop of Peoria

    The business of education is not, as I think, to perfect the learner
    in any of the sciences, but to give his mind that freedom and
    disposition, and those habits, which may enable him to attain every
    part of knowledge himself.--LOCKE







A. D. 1890.


      CHAPTER                                  PAGE

   I. IDEALS                                          7

  II. EXERCISE OF MIND                               30

 III. THE LOVE OF EXCELLENCE                         51


   V. SELF-CULTURE                                   92

  VI. GROWTH AND DUTY                               117

 VII. RIGHT HUMAN LIFE                              144

VIII. UNIVERSITY EDUCATION                          172




                                A noble aim,
    Faithfully kept, is as a noble deed.


To few men does life bring a brighter day than that which places the
crown upon their scholastic labors, and bids them go forth from the
halls of the Alma Mater to the great world's battlefield. There is a
freshness in these early triumphs which, like the bloom and fragrance of
the flower, is quickly lost, never to be found again even by those for
whom Fortune reserves her most choice gifts. Fame, though hymned by
myriad tongues, is not so sweet as the delight we drink from the
tear-dimmed eyes of our mothers and sisters, in the sacred hours when we
can yet claim as our own the love of higher things, the faith and hope
which make this mortal life immortal, and fill a moment with a wealth of
memories which lasts through years. The highest joy is serious, and in
the midst of supreme delight there comes to the soul a stillness which
permits it to rise to the serene sphere where truth is most gladly heard
and most easily perceived; and in such exaltation, the young see that
life is not what they take it to be. They think it long; it is short.
They think it happy; it is full of cares and sorrows. This two-fold
illusion widens the horizon of life and tinges it with gold. It gives to
youth its charm and makes of it a blessed time to which we ever turn
regretful eyes. But I am wrong to call illusion that which in truth is
but an omen of the divine possibilities of man's nature. To the young,
life is not mean or short, because the blessed freedom of youth may make
it noble and immortal. The young stand upon the threshold of the world.
Of the many careers which are open to human activity, they will choose
one; and their fortunes will be various, even though their merits should
be equal. But if position, fame, and wealth are often denied to the most
persistent efforts and the best ability, it is consoling to know they
are not the highest; and as they are not the end of life, they should
not be made its aim. An aim, nevertheless, we must have, if we hope to
live to good purpose. All men, in fact, whether or not they know it,
have an ideal, base or lofty, which molds character and shapes destiny.
Whether it be pleasure or gain or renown or knowledge, or several of
these, or something else, we all associate life with some end, or ends,
the attainment of which seems to us most desirable.

This ideal, that which in our inmost souls we love and desire, which we
lay to heart and live by, is at once the truest expression of our nature
and the most potent agency in developing its powers. Now, in youth we
form the ideals which we labor to body forth in our lives. What in these
growing days we yearn for with all our being, is heaped upon us in old
age. All important, therefore, is the choice of an ideal; for this more
than rules or precepts will determine what we are to become. The love of
the best is twin-born with the soul. What is the best? What is the
worthiest life-aim? It must be something which is within the reach of
every one, as Nature's best gifts--air and sunshine and water--belong to
all. What only the few can attain, cannot be life's real end or the
highest good. The best is not far removed from any one of us, but is
alike near to the poor and the rich, to the learned and the ignorant, to
the shepherd and the king, and only the best can give to the soul
repose and contentment. What then is the true life-ideal? Recalling to
mind the thoughts and theories of many men, I can find nothing better
than this, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God." "Love not pleasure," says
Carlyle, "love God. This is the everlasting Yea, wherein all
contradiction is solved; wherein whoso walks and works, it is well with

To the high and aspiring heart of youth, fame, honor, glory, appeal with
such irresistible power, and appear clad in forms so beautiful, that at
a time of life when all of us are unreal in our sentiments and crude in
our opinions, they are often mistaken for the best. But fame is good
only in so far as it gives power for good. For the rest, it is nominal.
They who have deserved it care not for it. A great soul is above all
praise and dispraise of men, which are ever given ignorantly and without
fine discernment. The popular breath, even when winnowed by the winds of
centuries, is hardly pure.

And then fame cannot be the good of which I speak, for only a very few
can even hope for it. To nearly all, the gifts which make it possible
are denied; and to others, the opportunities. Many, indeed, love and win
notoriety, but such as they need not detain us here. A lower race of
youth, in whom the blood is warmer than the soul, think pleasure life's
best gift, and are content to let occasion die, while they revel in the
elysium of the senses. But to make pleasure an end is to thwart one's
purpose, for joy is good only when it comes unbidden. The pleasure we
seek begins already to pall. It is good, indeed, if it come as
refreshment to the weary, solace to the heavy-hearted, and rest to the
careworn; but if sought for its own sake, it is "the honey of poison
flowers and all the measureless ill." Only the young, or the depraved,
can believe that to live for pleasure is not to be foreordained to
misery. Whoso loves God or freedom or growth of mind or strength of
heart, feels that pleasure is his foe.

    "A king of feasts and flowers, and wine and revel,
    And love and mirth, was never King of glory."

Of money, as the end or ideal of life, it should not be necessary to
speak. As a fine contempt for life, a willingness to throw it away in
defence of any just cause or noble opinion, is one of the privileges of
youth, so the generous heart of the young holds cheap the material
comforts which money procures. To be young is to be free, to be able to
live anywhere on land or sea, in the midst of deserts or among strange
people; is to be able to fit the mind and body to all circumstance, and
to rise almost above Nature's iron law. He who is impelled by this high
and heavenly spirit will dream of flying and not of hobbling through
life on golden crutches. Let the feeble and the old put their trust in
money; but where there is strength and youth, the soul should be our

And yet the very law and movement of our whole social life seem to point
to riches as the chief good.

    "What is that which I should turn to, lighting upon days like these?
    Every door is barred with gold, and opens but to golden keys."

Money is the god in whom we put our trust, to whom instinctively we pay
homage. We believe that the rich are fortunate, are happy, that the best
of life has been given to them. We have faith in the power of money, in
its sovereign efficacy to save us not only from beggary, from sneers and
insults, but we believe that it can transform us, and take away the
poverty of mind, the narrowness of heart, the dullness of imagination,
which make us weak, hard, and common. Even our hatred of the rich is but
another form of the worship of money. The poor think they are wretched,
because they think money the chief good; and if they are right, then is
it a holy work to strive to overthrow society as it is now constituted.
Buckle and Strauss find fault with the Christian religion because it
does not inculcate the love of money. But in this, faith and reason are
in harmony. Wealth is not the best, and to make it the end of life is
idolatry, and as Saint Paul declares, the root of evil. Man is more than
money, as the workman is more than his tools. The soul craves quite
other nourishment than that which the whole material universe can
supply. Man's chief good lies in the infinite world of thought and
righteousness. Fame and wealth and pleasure are good when they are born
of high thinking and right living, when they lead to purer faith and
love; but if they are sought as ends and loved for themselves, they
blight and corrupt. The value of culture is great, and the ideal it
presents points in the right direction in bidding us build up the being
which we are. But since man is not the highest, he may not rest in
himself, and culture therefore is a means rather than an end. If we make
it the chief aim of life, it degenerates into a principle of exclusion,
destroys sympathy, and terminates in a sort of self-worship.

What remains, then, but the ideal which I have proposed?--"Seek ye first
the Kingdom of God." Unless the light of Heaven fall along our way,
thick darkness gathers about us, and in the end, whatever our success
may have been, we fail, and are without God and without hope. So long
as any seriousness is left, religion is man's first and deepest concern;
to be indifferent is to be dull or depraved, and doubt is disease.
Difficulties assuredly there are, underlying not only faith, but all
systems of knowledge. How am I certain that I know anything? is a
question, debated in all past time, debatable in all future time; but we
are none the less certain that we know. The mind is governed by laws
which neither science nor philosophy can change, and while theories and
systems rise and pass away, the eternal problems present themselves ever
anew clothed in the eternal mystery. But little discernment is needed to
enable us to perceive how poor and symbolic are the thoughts of the
multitude. Half in pity, half in contempt, we rise to higher regions
only to discover that wherever we may be there also are the laws and the
limitations of our being; and that in whatsoever sanctuaries we may take
refuge, we are still of the crowd. We cannot grasp the Infinite;
language cannot express even what we know of the Divine Being, and hence
there remains a background of darkness, where it is possible to adore,
or to mock. But religion dispels more mystery than it involves. With it,
there is twilight in the world; without it, night. We are in the world
to act, not to doubt. Leaving quibbles to those who can find no better
use for life, the wise, with firm faith in God and man, strive to make
themselves worthy to do brave and righteous work. Distrust is the last
wisdom a great heart learns; and noble natures feel that the generous
view is, in the end, the true view. For them life means good; they find
strength and joy in this wholesome and cheerful faith, and if they are
in error, it can never be known, for if death end all, with it knowledge
ceases. Perceiving this, they strive to gain spiritual insight, they
look to God; toward him they turn the current of their thought and love;
the unseen world of truth and beauty becomes their home; and while
matter flows on and breaks and remakes itself to break again, they dwell
in the presence of the Eternal, and become co-workers with the Infinite
Power which makes goodness good, and justice right. They love knowledge,
because God knows all things; they love beauty, because he is its
source; they love the soul, because it brings man into conscious
communion with him and his universe. If their ideal is poetical, they
catch in the finer spirit of truth which the poet breathes, the
fragrance of the breath of God; if it is scientific, they discover in
the laws of Nature the harmony of his attributes; if it is political and
social, they trace the principles of justice and liberty to him; if it
is philanthropic, they understand that love which is the basis, aim,
and end of life is also God.

The root of their being is in him, and the illusory world of the senses
cannot dim their vision of the real world which is eternal. By
self-analysis the mind is sublimated until it becomes a shadow in a
shadowy universe; and the criticism of the reason drives us to doubt and
inaction, from which we are redeemed by our necessary faith in our own
freedom, in our power to act, and in the duty of acting in obedience to
higher law. Knowledge comes of doing. Never to act is never to know. The
world of which we are conscious is the world against which we throw
ourselves by the power of the will; hence life is chiefly conduct, and
its ideal is not merely religious, but moral. The duty of obedience to
our better self determines the purpose and end of action, for the better
self is under the impulse of God. Whether we look without or within, we
find things are as they should not be; and there awakens the desire,
nay, the demand that they be made other and better. The actual is a
mockery unless it may be looked upon as the means of a higher state. If
all things come forth only to perish and again come forth as they were
before; if life is a monster which destroys itself that it may again be
born, again to destroy itself,--were it not better that the tragedy
should cease? For many centuries men have been struggling for richer and
happier life; and yet when we behold the sins, the miseries, the wrongs,
the sorrows, of which the world is full, we are tempted to think that
progress means failure. The multitude are still condemned to toil from
youth to age to provide the food by which life is kept in the body;
immortal spirits are still driven by hard necessity to fix their
thoughts upon matter from which they with much labor dig forth what
nourishes the animal. Like the savage, we still tremble before the
pitiless might of Nature. Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, untimely
frosts, destroy in a moment what with long and painful effort has been
provided. Pestilence still stalks through the earth to slay and make
desolate. Each day a hundred thousand human beings die; and how many of
these perish as the victims of sins of ignorance, of selfishness, of

To-day, as of old, it would seem man's worst enemy is man. What hordes
still wander through Asia and Africa, seeking opportunity for murder and
rapine; what multitudes are still hunted like beasts, caught and sold
into slavery. In Europe millions of men stand, arms in hand, waiting for
the slaughter. They still believe, because they were born on different
sides of a river and speak different languages, that they are natural
enemies, made to destroy one another. And in our own country, what other
sufferings and wrongs,--greed, sensuality, injustice, deceit,--make us
enemies one of another! There is a general struggle in which each one
strives to get the most, heedless of the misery of others. We trade upon
the weaknesses, the vices, and the follies of our fellow-men; and every
attempt at reform is met by an army of upholders of abuse. When we
consider the murders, the suicides, the divorces, the adulteries, the
prostitutions, the brawls, the drunkenness, the dishonesties, the
political and official corruptions, of which our life is full, it is
difficult to have complacent thoughts of ourselves. Consider, too, our
prisons, our insane asylums, our poor-houses; the multitudes of old men
and women, who having worn out strength and health in toil which barely
gave them food and raiment, are thrust aside, no longer now fit to be
bought and sold; the countless young people, who have, as we say, been
educated, but who have not been taught the principles and habits which
lead to honorable living; the thousands in our great cities who are
driven into surroundings which pervert and undermine character. And
worse still, the good, instead of uniting to labor for a better state
of things, misunderstand and thwart one another. They divide into
parties, are jealous and contentious, and waste their time and exhaust
their strength in foolish and futile controversies. They are not anxious
that good be done, nor asking nor caring by whom; but they seek credit
for themselves, and while they seem to be laboring for the general
welfare, are striving rather to satisfy their own selfish vanity.

But the knowledge of all this does not discourage him who, guided by the
light of true ideals, labors to make reason and the will of God prevail.
If things are bad he knows they have been worse. Never before have the
faith and culture which make us human, which make us strong and wise,
been the possession of so large a portion of the race. Religion and
civilization have diffused themselves, from little centres--from Athens
and Jerusalem and Rome--until people after people, whole continents,
have been brought under their influence. And in our day this diffusion
is so rapid that it spreads farther in a decade than formerly in
centuries. For ages, mountains and rivers and oceans were barriers
behind which tribes and nations entrenched themselves against the human
foe. But we have tunneled the mountains; we have bridged the rivers; we
have tamed the oceans. We hitch steam and electricity to our wagons,
and in a few days make the circuit of the globe. All lands, all seas,
are open to us. The race is getting acquainted with itself. We make a
comparative study of all literatures, of all religions, of all
philosophies, of all political systems. We find some soul of goodness in
whatever struggles and yearnings have tried man's heart. As the products
of every clime are carried everywhere, like gifts from other worlds, so
the highest science and the purest religion are communicated and taught
throughout the earth: and as a result, national prejudices and
antagonisms are beginning to disappear; wars are becoming less frequent
and less cruel; established wrongs are yielding to the pressure of
opinion; privileged classes are losing their hold upon the imagination;
and opportunity offers itself to ever-increasing numbers.

Now, in all this, what do we perceive but the purpose of God, urging
mankind to wider and nobler life? History is his many-chambered school.
Here he has taught this lesson, and there another, still leading his
children out of the darkness of sin and ignorance toward the light of
righteousness and love, until his kingdom come, until his will be done
on earth as it is in heaven. To believe in God and in this divine
education, and to make co-operation with his providential guidance of
the race a life-aim is to have an ideal which is not only the highest,
but which also blends all other true ideals into harmony. And the lovers
of culture should be the first to perceive that intellectual good is
empty, illusory, unless there be added to it the good of the heart, the
good of conscience. To live for the cultivation of one's mind, is, after
all, to live for one's self, and therefore out of harmony with the
eternal law which makes it impossible for us to find ourselves except in
what is not ourselves. "It is the capital fault of all cultivated men,"
says Goethe, "that they devote their whole energies to the carrying out
of a mere idea, and seldom or never to the realization of practical
good." Whatever may be said in praise of culture, of its power to make
its possessor at home in the world of the best thought, the purest
sentiment, the highest achievements of the race; of the freedom, the
mildness, the reasonableness of the temper it begets; of its aim at
completeness and perfection,--it is nevertheless true, that if it be
sought apart from faith in God and devotion to man, its tendency is to
produce an artificial and unsympathetic character. The primal impulse of
our nature is to action; and unless we can make our thought a kind of
deed, it seems to be vain and unreal; and unless the harmonious
development of all the endowments which make the beauty and dignity of
human life, give us new strength and will to work with God for the good
of men, sadness and a sense of failure fall upon us. To have a
cultivated mind, to be able to see things on many sides, to have wide
sympathy and the power of generous appreciation,--is most desirable, and
without something of all this, not only is our life narrow and
uninteresting, but our energy is turned in wrong directions, and our
very religion is in danger of losing its catholicity.

Culture, then, is necessary. We need it as a corrective of the tendency
to seek the good of life in what is external, as a means of helping us
to overcome our vulgar self-complacency, our satisfaction with low aims
and cheap accomplishments, our belief in the sovereign potency of
machines and measures. We need it to make our lives less unlovely, less
hard, less material; to help us to understand the idolatry of the
worship of steam and electricity, the utter insufficiency of the ideals
of industrialism. But if culture is to become a mighty transforming
influence it must be wedded to religious faith, without which, while it
widens the intellectual view, it weakens the will to act. To take us out
of ourselves and to urge us on to labor with God that we may leave the
world better because we have lived, religion alone has power. It gives
new vigor to the cultivated mind; it takes away the exclusive and
fastidious temper which a purely intellectual habit tends to produce; it
enlarges sympathy; it teaches reverence; it nourishes faith, inspires
hope, exalts the imagination, and keeps alive the fire of love. To lead
a noble, a beautiful, and a useful life, we should accept and follow the
ideals both of religion and of culture. In the midst of the
transformations of many kinds which are taking place in the civilized
world, neither the uneducated nor the irreligious mind can be of help.
Large and tolerant views are necessary; but not less so is the
enthusiasm, the earnestness, the charity of Christian faith. They who
are to be leaders in the great movements upon which we have entered,
must both know and believe. They must understand the age, must
sympathize with whatever is true and beneficent in its aspirations, must
hail with thankfulness whatever help science, and art, and culture can
bring; but they must also know and feel that man is of the race of God,
and that his real and true life is in the unseen, infinite, and eternal
world of thought and love, with which the actual world of the senses
must be brought into ever-increasing harmony. Liberty and equality are
good, wealth is good, and with them we can do much, but not all that
needs to be done. The spirit of Christ is not merely the spirit of
liberty and equality; it is more essentially the spirit of love, of
sympathy, of goodness; and this spirit must breathe upon our social life
until it becomes as different from what it is as is fragrant spring from
cheerless winter. Sympathy must become universal; not merely as a
sentiment prompting to deeds of helpfulness and mercy, but as the
informing principle of society until it attains such perfectness that
whatever is loss or gain for one, shall be felt as loss or gain for all.
The narrow, exclusive self must lose itself in wider aims, in generous
deeds, in the comprehensive love of God and man. The good must no longer
thwart one another; the weak must be protected; the wicked must be
surrounded by influences which make for righteousness; and the forces of
Nature itself must more and more be brought under man's control.
Pestilence and famine must no longer bring death and desolation; men
must no longer drink impure water and adulterated liquors, no longer
must they breathe the poisonous air of badly constructed houses;
dwellings which are now made warm in winter, must be made cool in
summer; miasmatic swamps must be drained; saloons, which stand like
painted harlots to lure men to sin and death, must be closed. Women
must have the same rights and privileges as men; children must no longer
be made the victims of mammon and offered in sacrifice in his temple,
the factory; ignorance, which is the most fruitful cause of misery, must
give place to knowledge; war must be condemned as public murder, and our
present system of industrial competition must be considered worse than
war; the social organization, which makes the few rich, and dooms the
many to the slavery of poorly paid toil, must cease to exist; and if the
political state is responsible for this cruelty, it must find a remedy,
or be overthrown; society must be made to rest upon justice and love,
without which it is but organized wrong. These principles must so
thoroughly pervade our public life that it can no more be the interest
of any one to wrong his fellow, to grow rich at the cost of the poverty
and misery of another. Life must be prolonged both by removing many of
the physical causes of death, and by making men more rational and
religious, more willing and able to deny themselves those indulgences
which are but a kind of slow suicide.

Never before have questions so vast, so complex, so pregnant with
meaning, so fraught with the promise of good, presented themselves; and
it can hardly be vanity or conceit which prompts us to believe that in
this mighty movement toward a social life in harmony with our idea of
God and with the aspirations of the soul, America is the divinely
appointed leader. But if this faith is not to be a mere delusion, it
must become for the best among us the impulse to strong and persevering
effort. Not by millionaires and not by politicians shall this salvation
be wrought; but by men who to pure religion add the best intellectual
culture. The American youth must learn patience; he must acquire that
serene confidence in the power of labor, which makes workers willing to
wait. He must not, like a foolish child, rush forward to pluck the fruit
before it is ripe, lest this be his epitaph: The promise of his early
life was great, his performance insignificant.

Do not our young men lack noble ambition? Are they not satisfied with
low aims? To be a legislator; to be a governor; to be talked about; to
live in a marble house,--seems to them a thing to be desired. Unhappy
youths from whom the power and goodness of life are hidden, who,
standing in the presence of the unseen, infinite world of truth and
beauty, can only dream some aldermanic nightmare. They thrust themselves
into the noisy crowd, and are thrown into contact with disenchanting
experience at a time of life when the mind and heart should draw
nourishment and wisdom from communion with God and with great thoughts.
Amid the universal clatter of tongues, and in the overflowing ceaseless
stream of newspaper gossip, the soul is bewildered and stifled. In a
blatant land, the young should learn to be silent. The noblest minds are
fashioned in secrecy, through long travail like,--

    "Wines that, Heaven knows where,
    Have sucked the fire of some forgotten sun
    And kept it thro' a hundred years of gloom
    Yet glowing in a heart of ruby."

Is it not worth the labor and expectation of a life-time to be able to
do, even once, the right thing excellently well? The eager passion for
display, the desire to speak and act in the eyes of the world, is
boyish. Will is concentration, and a great purpose works in secrecy. Oh,
the goodness and the seriousness of life, the illimitable reach of
achievement, which it opens to the young who have a great heart and
noble aims! With them is God's almighty power and love, and his very
presence is hidden from them by a film only. From this little islet they
look out upon infinite worlds; heaven bends over them, and earth bears
them up as though it would have them fly. How is it possible to remain
inferior when we believe in God and know that this age is the right
moment for all high and holy work? The yearning for guidance has never
been so great. We have reached heights where the brain swims, and
thoughts are confused, and it is held to be questionable whether we are
to turn backward or to move onward to the land of promise; whether we
are to be overwhelmed by the material world which we have so
marvelously transformed, or with the aid of the secrets we have
learned, are to rise Godward to a purer and fairer life of knowledge,
justice, and love.

Is the material progress of the nineteenth century a cradle or a grave?
Are we to continue to dig and delve and peer into matter until God and
the soul fade from our view and we become like the things we work in? To
put such questions to the multitude were idle. There is here no affair
of votes and majorities. Human nature has not changed, and now, as in
the past, crowds follow leaders. What the best minds and the most
energetic characters believe and teach and put in practice, the millions
will come to accept. The doubt is whether the leaders will be
worthy,--the real permanent leaders, for the noisy apparent leaders can
never be so. And here we touch the core of the problem which Americans
have to solve. No other people has such numbers who are ready to thrust
themselves forward as leaders, no other has so few who are really able
to lead. In mitigation of this fact, it may be said with truth, that
nowhere else is it so difficult to lead; for nowhere else does force
rule so little. Every one has opinions; the whole nation is awakened;
thousands are able to discuss any subject with plausibility; and to be
simply keen-witted and versatile is to be of the crowd. We need men
whose intellectual view embraces the history of the race, who are
familiar with all literature, who have studied all social movements, who
are acquainted with the development of philosophic thought, who are not
blinded by physical miracles and industrial wonders, but know how to
appreciate all truth, all beauty, all goodness. And to this wide culture
they must join the earnestness, the confidence, the charity, and the
purity of motive which Christian faith inspires. We need scholars who
are saints, and saints who are scholars. We need men of genius who live
for God and their country; men of action who seek for light in the
company of those who know; men of religion who understand that God
reveals himself in science, and works in Nature as in the soul of man,
for the good of those who love him. Let us know the right moment, and
let us know that it comes for those alone who are prepared.



     O heavens! how awful is the might of souls
     And what they do within themselves while yet
     The yoke of earth is new to them, the world
     Nothing but a wild field where they were sown.


Learning is acquaintance with what others have felt, thought, and done;
knowledge is the result of what we ourselves have felt, thought, and
done. Hence a man knows best what he has taught himself; what personal
contact with God, with man, and with Nature has made his own. The
important thing, then, is not so much to know the thoughts and loves of
others, as to be able ourselves to think truly, and to love nobly. The
aim should be to rouse, strengthen, and illumine the mind rather than to
store it with learning; and the great educational problem has been, and
is, how to give to the soul purity of intention, to the conscience
steadfastness, and to the mind force, pliability, and openness to light;
or in other words, how to bring philosophy and religion to the aid of
the will so that the better self shall prevail and each generation
introduce its successor to a higher plane of life.

To this end the efforts of all teachers have, with more or less
consciousness, tended; and in this direction too, along winding ways and
with periods of arrest or partial return, the race of man has for ages
been moving; and he who aspires to gain a place in the van of the mighty
army on its heavenward march,--

    "And draw new furrows 'neath the healthy morn
    And plant the great Hereafter in this Now,"--

may be rash, but his spirit is not ignoble. To him it may not be given
"to fan and winnow from the coming step of Time the chaff of custom;"
but if he persevere he may confidently hope that his thought and love
shall at length rise to fairer and more enduring worlds. He weds himself
to things of light, seeks aids to true life within, learns to live with
the noble dead, and with the great souls of the present who have uttered
the truth whereby they live, in a way more intimate and higher than that
granted to those who are with them day by day; for minds are not
separated by time and space, but by quality of thought. But to be able
to love this life, and with all one's heart to seek this close communion
with God, with noble souls, and with Nature is not easy, and it may be
that it is impossible for those who are not drawn to it by irresistible
instincts. For the intellect, at least, attractions are proportional to
destiny; and the art of intellectual life is not most surely learned by
those whom circumstances favor, but by those whom will impels onward to
exercise of mind; whom neither daily wants, nor animal appetites, nor
hope of gain, nor low ambition, nor sneers of worldlings, nor prayers of
friends, nor aught else can turn from the pursuit of wisdom; who, with
ceaseless labor and with patient thought, eat their way in silence, like
caterpillars, to the light, become their own companions, walk uplifted
by their own thoughts, and by slow and imperceptible processes are
transformed and grow to be the embodiment of the truth and beauty which
they see and love.

The overmastering love of mental exercise, of the good of the intellect,
is probably never found in formal and prosaic minds; or if so, its first
awakening is in the early years when to think is to feel, when the soul,
fresh from God, comes trailing clouds of glory, and the sun and moon and
stars, and the hills and flowing waters seem but made to crown with joy
hearts that love. It is in these dewy dawns that the image of beauty is
imprinted on the soul and the sense of mystery awakens. We move about
and become a part of all we see, grow akin to stones and leaves and
birds, and to all young and happy things. We lose ourselves in life
which is poured round us like an unending sea; are natural, healthful,
alive to all we see and touch; have no misgivings, but walk as though
the eternal God held us by the hand. These are the fair spring days when
we suck honey that shall nourish us in the winters of which we do not
dream; when sunsets interfuse themselves with all our being until we are
dyed in the many-tinted glory; when the miracle of the changing year is
the soul's fair seed-time; when lying in the grass, the head resting in
clasped hands, while soft white clouds float lazily through azure skies,
and the birds warble, and the waters murmur, and the flowers breathe
fragrance, we feel a kind of unconscious consciousness of a universal
life in Nature. The very rocks seem to be listening to what the leaves
whisper; and through the silent eternities we almost see the dead
becoming the living, the living the dead, until both grow to be one, and
whatever is, is life.

He who has never had these visions; has never heard these airy voices;
has never seemed about to catch a glimpse of the inner heart of being,
pulsing beneath the veil of visible things; has never felt that he
himself is a spirit looking blindly on a universe, which if his eyes
could but see and his ears hear, would be revealed as the very heaven of
the infinite God,--must forever lack something of the freshness, of the
eager delight, with which a poetic mind contemplates the world and
follows whither the divine intimations point. This early intercourse
with Nature nourishes the soul, deepens the intellect, exalts the
imagination, and fills the memory with fair and noble forms and images
which abide with us, and as years pass on, gain in softness and purity
what they may lose in distinctness of outline and color. This is the
source of intellectual wealth, of tranquil moods, of patience in the
midst of opposition, of confidence in the fruitfulness of labor and the
transforming power of time. Here is given the material which must be
molded into form; the rude blocks which must be cut and dressed and
fitted together until they become a spiritual temple wherein the soul
may rest at one with God and Nature, and with its own thought and love.
To run, to jump, to ride, to swim, to skate, to sit in the shade of
trees by flowing water, to watch reapers at their work, to look on
orchards blossoming, to dream in the silence that lies amid the hills,
to feel the solemn loneliness of deep woods, to follow cattle as they
crop the sweet-scented clover,--to learn to know, as one knows a
mother's face, every change that comes over the heavens from the dewy
freshness of early dawn to the restful calm of evening, from the
overpowering mystery of the starlit sky to the tender human look with
which the moon smiles upon the earth,--all this is education of a higher
and altogether more real kind than it is possible to receive within the
walls of a school; and lacking this, nothing shall have power to develop
the faculties of the soul in symmetry and completeness. Hence a
philosopher has said there are ten thousand chances to one that genius,
talent, and virtue shall issue from a farmhouse rather than from a
palace. The daily intercourse with Nature in childhood and youth
intertwines with noble and enduring objects the passions which form the
mind and heart of man, whereas those who are shut out from such
communion are necessarily thrown into contact with what is mean and
vulgar; and since our early years, whatever our surroundings may have
been, seem to us sweet and fair because life itself is then a
clear-flowing fountain, they cannot help blending the memory of that
innocent and happy time with thoughts of base and mechanical objects,
or, it may be, of low and ignoble associates.

He is fortunate who, during the first ten years of his life, escapes the
confinement and repression of school, and lives at home in the country
amid the fields and the woods, day by day growing familiar with the look
on Nature's face, with all her moods, with every common object, with
living things in the air and the water and on the earth; who sees the
corn sprout, and watches it grow week after week until the yellow
harvest waves in the sunlight; who looks with unawed eye on rising
thunder-clouds and shouts with glee amid the lightning's play; who
learns to know that whatever he looks upon is thereby humanized, and to
feel that he is part of all he sees and loves. He will carry with him to
the study of the intellectual and spiritual world of men's thoughts shut
up in books, a strength of mind, a depth and freshness of heart which
only those can own who have drunk at Nature's deep flowing fountain, and
come up to life's training-course wet with her dews and with the
fragrance of her flowers on their breath. In the eyes of the old Greeks,
who first made education a science, the scholar was an idler,--one who
had leisure to look about him, to stroll amid the olive groves, to let
his eye rest upon the purple hills or the blue sea studded with green
isles, to listen to the brooks and the nightingales, to read the lesson
the fair earth teaches more than that imprinted on parchment; and the
school must still preserve something of this freedom from constraint,
must encourage the play of body and of mind, the delight natural to the
young in the exercise of strength of whatever kind, and thus as far as
possible lighten the labor and drudgery of elementary studies with
thoughts of liberty, of beauty, and of excellence. Let the boy feel how
good it is to be alive though life meant only the narrow world and the
mere surfaces of things with which alone it is possible for him to be
acquainted; and then when we ask him to believe that in high thinking
and in noble acting he will find a life infinitely more worthy, his
eager soul will be inflamed with a desire for knowledge and virtue, and
bearing in his heart the strength and wealth of imagination gained from
his early experience, his thoughts will turn to great and good men. Dim
visions of mighty conquerors, of poets at whose song the woods and waves
grow calm, of orators whose words with storm-like force, whatever way
they take, sweep with them the wills of men,--will rise before his mind.
His young fancy will endow them with preternatural qualities; and he
will yearn to draw near, to mingle with them and to catch the secret of
their divine power. The germ of the godlike within his bosom bursts and
springs. What they were, why may not he also become? What bars are
thrown athwart his path, what obstacles hem his way, which, whoever in
any age has excelled, has not had to break down and surmount? Here the
wise teacher comes to cheer him, to tell him his faith is not wrong, his
hope not without promise of attainment if he but trust himself, and bend
his whole mind to the task; that whatever goal within the scope of human
power, the will sets to itself, it may reach.

In order to develop, strengthen, and confirm this high mood, this noble
temper, let him by all means be made acquainted with the language and
genius of Greece. Here he will be introduced to a world of thought and
sentiment almost as fresh, as fair and many-sided as Nature
herself,--the fragrant blossoming in myriad hues and forms of the life
and mind of the most richly endowed portion of the human race. Not only
are the Greeks the most highly-gifted of all people, but in this
classical age they have also this special charm and power,--that the
keenest intellectual faculties are in them united with the feelings,
hopes, and fancies of a noble and great-hearted youth. Even Socrates and
Plato talk like high-souled boys who can see the world only in the light
of ideals, for whom what the mind beholds and the heart loves is alone
real. How healthfully they look on life, with what delight they breathe
the air! What fine contempt have they not of death, thinking no fortune
so good as that which comes to the hero who dies in a worthy cause!
There is Athens, already the world's university; but no books, no
libraries, no lecture-halls, only great teachers who walk about followed
by a crowd of youths eager to drink in their words. Here is the
Acropolis, with its snow-white temples and propylæum, fair and chaste as
though they had been built in heaven and gently lowered to this Attic
mound by the hands of angels. There in the Parthenon are the sculptures
of Phidias, and yonder in the temple of the Dioscuri, the paintings of
Polygnotus,--ideal beauty bodied forth to lure the souls of men to
unseen and eternal worlds. If they turn to the east, the isles of the
Ægean look up to them like virgins who welcome happy lovers; to the
west, Mount Pentelicus, from whose heart the architectural glory of the
city has been carved, bids them think what patience will enable man's
genius to accomplish; and to the north, Hymettus, fragrant with the
breath of a thousand herbs and musical with the hum of bees, stoops with
gentle undulations to their feet. They live in the air; their temples
are open to the sunlight; their theatres are uncovered to the heavens;
and whithersoever they move, they are surrounded by what is fair, noble,
and inspiring. This free and happy life in the company of great
teachers becomes the stimulus to the keenest exercise of mind. They are
as eager to see things in a true light as they are quick to sympathize
with whatever is heroic or beautiful; and all their talk is of truth and
justice, the good, the fair, the excellent, of philosophy, religion,
poetry, and art, and of whatever else seems favorable to human life and
to the development of ideal manhood. Of the merely useful they have the
scorn of young and inexperienced minds; and Hippocrates proclaims
himself ready to give Protagoras, not only whatever he himself
possesses, but also the property of his friends, if he will but teach
him wisdom. Superior knowledge was to them of all things the most
admirable and the most to be desired. What noble thoughts have they not
concerning education? "An intelligent man," says Plato, "will prize
those studies which result in his soul getting soberness, righteousness,
and wisdom, and will less value the others." The culture of the mind is
made a kind of religion, in the spreading of which the personal
influence of the teacher is not less active than the truths he sets
forth. Bonds of affection bind the disciple to the master whose words
have for him the sacredness of wisdom and the charm of genius, power to
confirm the will, and warmth and color whereby the imagination is

This secret of making knowledge attractive, of clothing truth in chaste
and beautiful language, of associating it with whatever is fair and
noble in Nature, and of relating it to life and conduct, which is part
of the genius of Greece, still lives in her literature; and to read the
words of her poets, orators, and philosophers is to feel the presence of
a high and active spirit, is to breathe in an intellectual atmosphere of
light and liberty, is of itself enlargement and cultivation of mind.
Hence, in the realms of thought, the Greeks are the civilizers and
emancipators of the world; and whoever thinks, is to some extent their
debtor. The music of their eloquence and poetry can never grow silent;
the forms of beauty their genius has created can never perish, and never
cease to win the admiration and love of noble minds and gentle hearts,
or to be the inspiration, generation after generation, to high thoughts
and heroic moods. So long as glory, beauty, freedom, light, and gladness
shall seem good and fair, so long will the finer spirits of the world
feel the attraction and the charm of Greece, and know the sweet surprise
which thrilled the heart of Keats when first he read Homer:--

    "Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
    When a new planet swims into his ken,
    Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
    He stared at the Pacific, and all his men
    Looked at each other with a wild surmise,
    Silent, upon a peak in Darien."

In a less degree, Roman literature, which is the offspring of Greek
culture, has value as an intellectual stimulus and discipline. Here also
the youthful mind is brought into the presence of a great and noble
people, who, if they have less genius and a duller sense of beauty than
the Greeks, excel them in steadiness of purpose, in dignity of
character, in reverence for law and religion, and above all in the art
of governing.

The educational value of the classics does not lie so much in the Greek
and Latin languages as in the type of mind, the sense of proportion and
beauty, the heroic temper, the philosophic mood, the keen relish for
high enterprise, and the joyful love of life which they make known to
us. The world to which they introduce us is so remote that the
pre-occupations and vulgarities of the present, by which we all are
hemmed and warped, fall away from us; and it is at the same time so real
and of such absorbing interest that we are caught up in spirit and
carried to the Attic Plain and the hills of Latium. They are useful, not
because they teach us anything that may not be learned and learned more
accurately from modern books, but because they move the mind, fire the
heart, ennoble and refine the imagination in a way which nothing else
has power to do. They are sources of inspiration; they first roused the
modern mind to activity; and the potency of their influence can never
cease to be felt by those whose aptitudes lead them to the love of
intellectual perfection, who delight in the free play of the mind, who
are attracted by what is symmetrical, who have the instinct for beauty,
who swim in a current of ideas as naturally as birds fly in the air.
They appeal to the mind as a whole, stimulate all its faculties, awaken
a many-sided sympathy both with Nature and with the world of men. They
widen our view of life, bring forth in us the consciousness of our
kinship with the human race, and of the application to ourselves,
however common and uninspiring our surroundings may be, of the best
thoughts and noblest deeds which have ever sprung from the brain and
heart of man. They help to make one, again to quote Plato, "A lover, not
of a part of wisdom, but of the whole; who has a taste for every sort of
knowledge, and is curious to learn and is never satisfied; who has
magnificence of mind, and is a spectator of all time and all existence;
who is harmoniously constituted, of a well-proportioned and gracious
mind, whose own nature will move spontaneously toward the true being of
everything; who has a good memory, and is quick to learn, noble,
gracious, the friend of truth, justice, courage, temperance." The ideal
presented is that of complete harmonious culture, the aim of which is
not to make an artisan, a physician, a merchant, a lawyer, but a man
alive in all his faculties, touching the world at many points, for whom
all knowledge is desirable, all beauty lovable, and for whom fine
bearing and noble acting are indispensable.

It is needless to point out in what, or why, the Greeks failed, since
here there is question only of intellectual life, and in this they did
not fail. Nor is there any thought, in what has here been said, of
depreciating the worth of the study of science, without a certain
knowledge of which no one, in this age, can in any true sense, be called
educated. Whoever, indeed, learns a language properly, acquires
scientific knowledge; and the Greeks are not only the masters in poetry
and eloquence, they are also the guides to the right use of reason and
to scientific method, and the teachers of mathematics, logic, and
physics. He who pursues culture, in the Greek spirit, who desires to see
things as they are, to know the best that has been thought and done by
men, will fear nothing so much as the exclusion of any truth, and he
will be anxious to acquaint himself not only with the method, but as
far as possible with the facts, of physical science. Still he perceives
that however great the value of natural knowledge may be, it is, as an
instrument of culture, inferior to literature. We are educated by what
calls forth in us love and admiration, by what creates the exalted mood
and the steadfast purpose. In bowing with reverence to what is above us,
we are uplifted. When we are moved, we are more alive; we are stronger,
tenderer, nobler. Now to look upon Nature with the detective eye of the
man of science is to be cold and unsympathetic; to learn by methodic
experiment is to gain knowledge, which, since it is only remotely or
indirectly related to life, is but little interesting. Such knowledge is
a fragment, and a fragment extremely difficult to fit into the temple
built by thought and love, by hope and imagination; and hence when we
have learned a great deal about chemical elements, geologic epochs,
correlation of forces, and sidereal spaces, we are rather astonished
than enlightened. We are brought into the presence of a world which is
not that of the senses, nor yet that which faith, hope, and love
forebode; and the bearing it may have upon human life is of more
interest to us than the facts made known. We are, indeed, curious to
know whatever may, with any certainty, be told us of atoms and
biogenesis; but our real concern is to learn what significance such
truth may have in its relation to questions of God and the soul.

There is doubtless a disciplinary value in the study of physical
science. It trains the mind to habits of patient attention, of careful
observation, teaches the danger of hasty generalization, and diminishes
intellectual conceit; but these results may also be obtained by other
means. The aim of education is not simply to develop this or the other
faculty, however indispensable, nor yet to make one thoroughly
conversant with a particular order of facts, but the aim is to bring
about a conscious participation in the life of the race, to evoke all
the powers of man, so that his whole being shall be quickened and made
responsive to the touch of things seen and unseen; and the study of
science is less adapted to the attainment of this end than the study of
human letters. The scientific temper draws to specialties; and
specialists are narrow, are incomplete. They, each in his own line, do
good work, and are the chief agents for the increase of natural
knowledge, and are, we may grant, leaders in every kind of improvement;
but like the operatives who provide our comforts and luxuries, they are
themselves warped and crippled by what they do. The habit of looking at
a single order of facts, coldly and always from the same point of view,
takes from the mind flexibility, weakens the imagination, and puts
fetters on the soul; and hence though it is important that there be
specialists, the kind of education by which they are formed, while it is
suited to make a geologist, a chemist, a mathematician, or a botanist,
is not suited to call forth the free and harmonious play of all man's
powers. We do not live on facts alone, much less on facts of a single
kind. Religion and poetry, love, hope, and imagination are as essential
to our well-being as science. Human life is knowledge, is faith, is
conduct, is beauty, is manners; it unfolds itself in many directions and
shoots its roots into infinitude; and for the general purposes of
education, science is learned to best advantage when it is embodied in
literature, and its methods and results, rather than the details of its
work, are presented to us. Whatever it is able to do, to improve the
mind, to widen the range of thought, to give true notions of the
workings of Nature,--it will do for whoever learns accurately its
general conceptions and results; and these cannot remain unknown to him
whose aim is culture, for such an one is, as Plato says, "A lover not of
a part of wisdom, but of the whole, and has a taste for every sort of
knowledge, and is curious to learn, and is never satisfied; and though
he will not know medicine like a physician, or the heavens like an
astronomer, or the vegetable kingdom like a botanist, his mind will play
over all these realms with freedom, and he will know how to relate the
principles and facts of all the sciences to our sense for beauty, for
conduct, for life and religion in a way which a mere specialist can
never find." And his view will not only be wider and less impeded, it
will also be deeper than that of the man of science; for he who sees but
one order of things sees only their surfaces, just as he who sees but
one thing sees nothing at all.

It would be a mistake to imagine that the ideal here commended, means
superficial accomplishments, an excessive love of style and the
ornaments of poetry and eloquence, or preoccupation in favor of aught
external or frivolous. It is the very opposite of dilettantism, and if
it mean anything, means thoroughness, and a thoroughness which can come
only of untiring labor carried on through many years; for time and
intercourse with men and varied experience are indispensable elements.
It is like the ideal of religion which makes the saint think himself a
sinner; it is as exacting as the miser's thought which makes millions
seem to be beggary; like the artist's vision, like the poet's dream, it
allures and yet forbids hope of attainment. The seeker after wisdom
must have a high purpose, a strong soul, and the purest love of truth.
He cannot live in the senses alone, nor in the mind, nor in the heart
alone, but the spiritual being, which is himself, yearns for whatever is
good, whatever is true, whatever is fair, and so he finds himself akin
to the infinite God and to all that he has made. When his thought is
carried out to atoms weaving the garment which is our body, and molding
the world we see and touch; when he beholds motion lighting, warming,
thrilling the universe,--he is filled with intellectual joy, but at the
same time he perceives that all this is but a phase of truth; that God
and the boundless facts are infinitely more than drilled atomics
marshaled rank on rank until they form the countless hosts of the
heavens. When the men of science have labeled the elements, and put
tickets upon all natural compounds, and with complacency declare that
this is the whole truth, he looks on the flowers around him and the
blooming children, on the stars above his head, on the sun slow wheeling
down the western horizon, on the moon climbing some eastern hill, and
his inmost soul is glad because he feels the thrill of the infinite,
living Spirit, and forebodes to what fair countries we are bound.

And when they proclaim the wonders science has wrought,--increase of
physical enjoyment and social comfort; the yoking of lightning and steam
to make them work for man; the providing of more abundant food; the
building of more wholesome dwellings; the lengthening of life; temporal
benefits of every kind,--he joins with those who utter praise, but knows
that infinitely more than all this goes to the making of man's life. So
he turns his mind in many directions, and while he looks on the truth in
science, does not grow blind to the truth in religion; while he knows
the value of what is practically useful, understands also the priceless
worth of what is noble and beautiful, and his acquaintance with many
kinds of thought, with many shades of opinion confirms him, as Joubert
says, in the acceptance of the best.



     Why is this glorious creature to be found One only in ten thousand?
     what one is, Why may not millions be? what bars are thrown By
     Nature in the way of such a hope?


He teaches to good purpose who inspires the love of excellence, and who
sends his pupils forth from the school's narrow walls with such desire
for self-improvement that the whole world becomes to them a
God-appointed university. And why shall not every youth hope to enter
the narrow circle of those for whom to live, is to think, who behold
"the bright countenance of truth in the quiet and still air of
delightful studies." An enlightened mind is like a fair and pleasant
friend who comes to cheer us in every hour of loneliness and gloom; it
is like noble birth which admits to all best company; it is like wealth
which surrounds us with whatever is rarest and most precious; it is like
virtue which lives in an atmosphere of light and serenity, and is itself
enough for itself. Whatever our labors, our cares, our disappointments,
a free and open mind, by holding us in communion with the highest and
the fairest, will fill the soul with strength and joy. The artist, day
by day, year in and year out, hangs over his work, and finds enough
delight in the beauty he creates; and shall not the friend of the soul
be glad in striving ceaselessly to make his knowledge and his love less
unlike the knowledge and the love of God? Seldom is opportunity of
victory offered to great captains, the orator rarely finds fit theme and
audience, hardly shall the hero meet with occasions worthy of the
sacrifice of life; but he who labors to shape his mind to the heavenly
forms of truth and beauty beholds them ever present and appealing. Life
without thought and love is worthless; and to the best men and women
belong only those who cultivate with earnestness and perseverance their
spiritual faculties, who strive daily to know more, to love more, to be
more beautiful. They are the chosen ones, and all others, even though
they sit on thrones, are but the crowd.

Without a free and open mind there is no high and glad human life. You
may as well point to the savage drowsing in his tent, or to cattle
knee-deep in clover, and bid me think them high, as to ask me to admire
where I can behold neither intelligence nor love. All that we possess is
qualified by what we are. Gold makes not the miser rich, nor its lack a
true man poor; and he who has gained insight into the fair truth that he
is a part of all he sees and loves, is richer than kings, and lives like
a god in his universe. Possibilities for us are measured by the kind of
work in which we put our hearts. If a man's thoughts are wholly busy
with carpentering do not expect him to become anything else than a
carpenter; but if his aim is to build up his own being, to make his mind
luminous, his heart tender and pure, his will steadfast, who but God
shall fix a limit beyond which he may not hope to go. Education, indeed,
cannot confer organic power; but it alone gives us the faculty to
perceive how infinitely wonderful and fair are man's endowments, how
boundless his inheritance, how full of deathless hope is that to which
he may aspire. Religion, philosophy, poetry, science,--all bring us into
the presence of an ideal of ceaseless growth toward an all-perfect
Infinite, dimly discerned and unapproachable, but which fascinates the
soul and haunts the imagination with its deep mystery, until what we
long for becomes more real than all that we possess, and yearning is our
highest happiness. Ah! who would throw a veil over the vision on which
young eyes rest when young hearts feel that ideal things alone are real?
Who would rob them of this divine principle of progress which makes
growth the best of life?

                        "Many are our joys
    In youth; but oh, what happiness to live
    When every hour brings palpable access
    Of knowledge, when all knowledge is delight!"

In all ages, we know those made wise by experience, which teaches us to
expect little, whether of ourselves or others, have made the thoughts
and hopes of youth a jest, even as men have made religion a jest, having
nothing to offer us in compensation for its loss, but witticisms and
despair. This is the fatal fault of life, that when we have obtained
what is good,--as wealth, position, wife, and friends,--we lose all hope
of the best, and with our mockery discourage those who have ideal aims;
who, remembering how the soul felt in life's dawn, retain a sense of
God's presence in the world, to whom with growing faculties they aspire,
feeling that whatsoever point they reach, they still have something to
pursue. This is the principle of the diviner mind in all high and heroic
natures; this is the spring-head of deeds that make laws, of "thoughts
that enrich the blood of the world;" this is the power which gives to
resolve the force of destiny, and clothes the soul with the heavenliest
strength and beauty when it stands single and alone, of men abandoned
and almost of God.

There is little danger that too many shall ever hearken to the
invitation from the fair worlds to which all souls belong, and where
alone they can be luminous and free. For centuries, now, what
innumerable voices have pleaded with men to make themselves worthy of
heaven; while they have moved on heedless of the heaven that lies about
us here, placing their hopes and aims in material and perishable
elements, athirst neither for truth, nor beauty, nor aught that is
divinely good! They sleep, they wake, they eat, they drink; they tread
the beaten path with ceaseless iteration, and so they die. If one come
appealing for culture of intellect, not because they who know, are
stronger than the ignorant and make them their servants, but because an
open, free, and flexible mind is good and fair, better than birth,
position, and wealth, they turn away as though he trifled with their
common-sense. Life, they say, is not for knowledge, but knowledge for
life; and they neither truly know, nor live. And if here and there some
nobler soul stand forth, he degrades himself to an aspirant to fame,
forgetting truth and love.

    Enough there are on earth who reap and sow,
    Enough who give their lives to common gain,
    Enough who toil with spade and axe and plane,
    Enough who sail the seas where rude winds blow;
    Enough who make their life unmeaning show,
    Enough who plead in courts, who physic pain;
    Enough who follow in the lover's train,
    And taste of wedded hearts the bliss and woe.

    A few at least may love the poet's song,
    May walk with him, their visionary guide,
    Far from the crowd, nor do the world a wrong;
    Or on his wings through deep blue skies may glide
    And float, by light transfused, like clouds along
    Above the earth and over oceans wide.

With unresting, wearing thought and labor we are striving to make earth
more habitable. We drag forth from its inner parts whatever treasures
are hidden there; with steam's mighty force we mold brute matter into
every fair and serviceable form; we build great cities, we spread the
fabric of our trade; the engine's iron heart goes throbbing through
tunneled mountains and over storm-swept seas to bear us and our wealth
to all regions of the globe; we talk to one another from city to city,
and from continent to continent along ocean's oozy depths the lightning
flashes our words, spreading beneath our eyes each morning the whole
world's gossip,--but in the midst of this miraculous transformation, we
ourselves remain small, hard, and narrow, without great thoughts or
great loves or immortal hopes. We are a crowd where the highest and the
best lose individuality, and are swept along as though democracy were a
tyranny of the average man under which superiority of whatever kind is
criminal. Our population increases, our cities grow, our roads are
lengthened, our machinery is made more perfect, the number of our
schools is multiplied, our newspapers are read in ever-widening circles,
the spirit of humanity and of freedom breathes through our life; but the
individual remains common-place and uninteresting. He lacks
intelligence, has no perception of what is excellent, no faith in
ideals, no reverence for genius, no belief in any highest sort of man
who has not shown his worth in winning wealth, position, or notoriety.
We have a thousand poets and no poetry, a thousand orators and no
eloquence, a thousand philosophers and no philosophy. Every city points
to its successful men who have millions, but are themselves poor and
unintelligent; to its writers who, having sold their talent to
newspapers and magazines, sink to the level of those they address,
dealing only with what is of momentary interest, or if the question be
deep, they move on the surface, lest the many-eyed crowd lose sight of
them. The preacher gets an audience and pay on condition that he stoop
to the gossip which centres around new theories, startling events, and
mechanical schemes for the improvement of the country. If to get money
be the end of writing and preaching, then must we seek to please the
multitude who are willing to pay those who entertain and amuse them.
Will not our friends, even, conceive a mean opinion of our ability, if
we fail to gain public recognition?

So we make ourselves "motleys to the view, and sell cheap what is most
dear." We must, perforce, show the endowment which can be brought to
perfection only if it be permitted to grow in secrecy and solitude. The
worst foe of excellence is the desire to appear; for when once we have
made men talk of us, we seem to be doing nothing if they are silent, and
thus the love of notoriety becomes the bane of true work and right
living. To be one of a crowd is not to be at all; and if we are resolved
to put our thoughts and acts to the test of reason, and to live for what
is permanently true and great, we must consent, like the best of all
ages, to be lonely in the world. All life, except the life of thought
and love, is dull and superficial. The young love for a while, and are
happy; a few think; and for the rest existence is but the treadmill of
monotonous sensation. There are but few, who, through work and
knowledge, through faith and hope and love, seek to escape from the
narrowness and misery of life to the summits of thought where the soul
breathes a purer air, and whence is seen the fairer world the multitude
forebodes. There are but few whose life is

    "Effort and expectation and desire,
    And something evermore about to be;"

but few who understand how much the destiny of Man hangs upon single
persons; but few who feel that what they love and teach, millions must
know and love.

    "A people is but the attempt of many
    To rise to the completer life of one;
    And those who live as models for the mass
    Are singly of more value than them all."

Only the noblest souls awaken within us divine aspirations. They are the
music, the poetry, which warms and illumines whole generations; they are
the few who, born with rich endowments, by ceaseless labor develop their
powers until they become capable of work which, were it not for them,
could not be done at all. History is the biography of aristocrats, of
the chosen ones with whom all improvement originates, who found States,
establish civilizations, create literatures, and teach wisdom. They work
not for themselves; for in spite of human selfishness and the personal
aims of the ambitious, the poet, the scholar, and the statesman bless
the world. They lead us through happy isles; they clothe our thoughts
and hopes with beauty and with strength; they dissipate the general
gloom; they widen the sphere of life; they bring the multitude beneath
the sway of law.

Now, here in America, once for all, whatever the thoughtless may
imagine, we have lost faith in the worth of artificial distinctions.
Indeed plausible arguments may be found to prove that the kind of man
democracy tends to form, has no reverence for distinctions of whatever
kind, and is without ideals, and that as he is envious of men made by
money, so he looks with the contempt of unenlightened common-sense upon
those whom character and intellect raise above him. This is not truth.
The higher you lift the mass, the more will they acknowledge and
appreciate worth, the clearer will they see that what makes man human,
beautiful, and beneficent is conduct and intelligence; and so increasing
enlightenment will turn thought and admiration from position and wealth,
from the pomp and show of life to what makes a man's self, his
character, his mind, his manners even,--for the source of manners lies
within us. In a society like ours, the chosen ones, the best, the models
of life, and the leaders of thought will be distinguished from the crowd
not by accident or circumstance, but by inner strength and beauty, by
finer knowledge, by purer love, by a deeper faith in God, by a more
steadfast trust that it must, and shall be, well with a world which God
makes and rules, and which to the fairest mind is fairest, and to the
holiest soul most sacred.

Here and now, if ever anywhere at any time, there is need of men, there
is appeal to what is godlike in man, calling upon us to rise above our
prosperities, our politics, our mechanical aims and implements, and to
turn the courage, energy, and practical sense which have wrought with
miraculous power in developing the material resources of America, to the
cultivation of our spiritual faculties. We alone of the great modern
nations are without classical writers of our own, without a national
literature. The thought and love of this people, its philosophy, poetry,
and art lies yet in the bud; and our tens of thousands of books, even
the better sort, must perish to enrich the soil that nourishes a life of
heavenly promise. Hitherto we have been sad imitators of the English,
but not the best the English have done will satisfy America. Their
language indeed will remain ours, and their men of genius, above all
their poets, will enrich our minds with great thoughts nobly expressed.
But a literature is a national growth; it is the expression of a
people's life and character, the more or less perfect utterance of what
it loves, aims at, believes in, hopes for; it has the qualities and the
defects of the national spirit; it bears the marks of the thousand
influences that help to make that spirit what it is,--and English
literature cannot be American literature, for the simple reason that
Americans are not Englishmen, any more than they are Germans or
Frenchmen. We must be ourselves in our thinking and writing, as in our
living, or be insignificant, for it is a man's life that gives meaning
to his thought; and to write as a disciple is to write in an inferior
way, since the mind at its best is illumined by truth itself and not
taught by the words of another. It is not to be believed that this
great, intelligent, yearning American world will content itself with the
trick and mannerism of foreign accent and style, or that those who build
on any other than the broad foundation of our own national life shall be
accepted as teachers and guides. There is, of course, no method known to
man by which a great author may be formed; no science which teaches how
a literature may be created. The men who have written what the world
will not permit to die have written generally without any clear
knowledge of the worth of their work, just as great discoverers and
inventors seem to stumble on what they seek; nevertheless one may hope
by right endeavor to make himself capable of uttering true thoughts so
that they shall become intelligible and attractive to others; he may
educate himself to know and love the best that has been spoken and
written by men of genius, and so become a power to lift the aims and
enlarge the views of his fellow-men. If many strive in this way to
unfold their gifts and to cultivate their faculties, their influence
will finally pervade the life and thought of thousands, and it may be of
the whole people.

I do not at all forget Aristotle's saying that "life is practice and not
theory;" that men are born to do and suffer, and not to dream and weave
systems; that conduct and not culture is the basis of character and the
source of strength; that a knowledge of Nature is of vastly more
importance to our material comfort and progress than philosophy, poetry,
and art. This is not to be called in question; but in this country and
age it seems hardly necessary that it be emphasized, for what is the
whole world insisting upon but the necessity of scientific instruction,
the importance of practical education, the cultivation of the
money-getting faculty and habit, and the futility of philosophy, poetry,
and art? Who is there that denies the worth of what is useful? Where is
there one who does not approve and encourage whatever brings increase of
wealth? Are we not all ready to applaud projects which give promise of
providing more abundant food, better clothing, and more healthful
surrounding for the poor? Does not our national genius seem to lie
altogether in the line of what is practically useful? Is it not our
boast and our great achievement that we have in a single century made
the wilderness of a vast continent habitable, have so ploughed and
drained and planted and built that it can now easily maintain hundreds
of millions in gluttonous plenty? Is not our whole social and political
organization of a kind which fits us to deal with questions and affairs
that concern our temporal and material welfare? What innumerable
individuals among us are congressmen, legislators, supervisors, bank and
school directors, presidents of boards and companies, committee-men,
councilmen, heads of lodges and societies, lawyers, professors,
teachers, editors, colonels, generals, judges, party-leaders, so that
the sovereign people seems to have life and being only in its titled
representatives! What does this universal reign of title and office mean
but the practical education which responsibility gives? If from the
midst of this paradise of utility, materialism, and business, a voice is
raised to plead for culture, for intelligence, for beauty, for
philosophy, poetry, and art, why need any one take alarm? While human
nature remains what it is, can there be danger that the many will be
drawn away from what appeals to the senses, to what the soul loves and
yearns for? If the Almighty God does not win the multitude to the love
of righteousness and wisdom, how shall the words of man prevail?

It is a mistake to oppose use to beauty, the serviceable to the
excellent, since they belong together. Beauty is the blossom that makes
the fruit-tree fair and fragrant. Life means more than meat and drink,
house and clothing. To live is also to admire, to love, to lose one's
self in the contemplation of the splendor with which Nature is clothed.
Human life is the marriage of souls with things of light. Its basis,
aim, and end is love, and love makes its object beautiful. Man may not
even consent to eat, except with decency and grace; he must have light
and flowers and the rippling music of kindly speech, that as far as
possible he may forget that his act is merely animal and useful. He will
lose sight of the fact that clothing is intended for protection and
comfort, rather than not dress to make himself beautiful. To speak
merely to be understood, and not to speak also with ease and elegance,
is not to be a gentleman. How easily words find the way to the heart
when uttered in melodious cadence by the lips of the fair and young.
Home is the centre and seat of whatever is most useful to us; and yet to
think of home is to think of spring-time and flowers, of the songs of
birds and flowing waters, of the voices of children, of floating clouds
and sunsets that linger as though heaven were loath to bid adieu to
earth. The warmth, the color, and the light of their boyish days still
glow in the hearts and imagination of noble men, and redeem the busy
trafficking world of their daily life from utter vulgarity. What hues
has not God painted on the air, the water, the fruit, and the grain that
are the very substance and nutriment of our bodies? Beauty is nobly
useful. It illumines the mind, raises the imagination, and warms the
heart. It is not an added quality, but grows from the inner nature of
things; it is the thought of God working outward. Only from drunken eyes
can you with paint and tinsel hide inward deformity. The beauty of hills
and waves, of flowers and clouds, of children at play, of reapers at
work, of heroes in battle, of poets inspired, of saints rapt in
adoration,--rises from central depths of being, and is concealed from
frivolous minds. Even in the presence of death, the hallowing spirit of
beauty is felt. The full-ripe fruit that gently falls in the quiet air
of long summer days, the yellow sheaves glinting in the rays of
autumn's sun, the leaf which the kiss of the hoar frost has made
blood-red and loosened from the parent stem,--are images of death but
they suggest only calm and pleasant thoughts. The Bedouin, who, sitting
amid the ruins of Ephesus, thinks but of his goats and pigs, heedless of
Diana's temple, Alexander's glory, and the words of Saint Paul, is the
type of those who place the useful above the excellent and the fair; and
as men who in their boards of trade buy and sell cattle and corn, dream
not of green fields and of grain turning to gold in the sun of June, so
we all, in the business and worry of life, lose sight of beauty which
makes the heart glad and keeps it young.

The mind of man is the earthly home of beauty, and if any real thing
were fair as the tender thought of imaginative youth, heaven were not
far. All we love is but our thought of what only thought makes known and
makes beautiful, and for what we know love's thought may be the essence
of all things.

    Fairer than waters where soft moonlight lies,
    Than flowers that slumber on the breast of Spring,
    Than leafy trees in June when glad birds sing,
    Than a cool summer dawn, than sunset skies;

    Than love, gleaming through Beauty's deep blue eyes,
    Than laughing child, than orchards blossoming;
    Than girls whose voices make the woodland ring,
    Than ruby lips that utter sweet replies,--

    Fairer than these, than all that may be seen,
    Is the poetic mind, which sheds the light
    Of heaven on earthly things, as Night's young Queen
    Forth-looking from some jagged mountain height
    Clothes the whole earth with her soft silvery sheen
    And makes the beauty whereof eyes have sight.

Nature is neither sad nor joyful. We but see in her the reflection of
our own minds. Gay scenes depress the melancholy, and gloomy prospects
have not the power to rob the happy of their contentment. The spring may
fill us with fresh and fragrant thoughts, or may but remind us of all
the hopes and joys we have lost; and autumn will speak to one of decay
and death, to another of sleep and rest, after toil, to prepare for a
new and brighter awakening. All the glory of dawn and sunset is but
etheric waves thrilling the vapory air and impinging on the optic nerve;
but behind it all is the magician who sees and knows, who thinks and
loves. "It is the mind that makes the body rich." Thoughts take shape
and coloring from souls through which they pass; and a free and open
mind looks upon the world in the mood in which a fair woman beholds
herself in a mirror. The world is his as much as the face is hers. If we
could live in the fairest spot of earth, and in the company of those who
are dear, the source of our happiness would still be our own thought and
love; and if they are great and noble, we cannot be miserable however
meanly surrounded. What is reality but a state of soul, finite in man,
infinite in God? Theory underlies fact, and to the divine mind all
things are godlike and beautiful. The chemical elements are as sweet and
pure in the buried corpse as in the blooming body of youth; and it is
defective intellect, the warp of ignorance and sin, which hides from
human eyes the perfect beauty of the world.

            "Earth's crammed with heaven,
    And every common bush afire with God;
    But only he who sees, takes off his shoes."

What we all need is not so much greater knowledge, as a luminous and
symmetrical mind which, whatsoever way it turn, shall reflect the things
that are, not in isolation and abstraction, but in the living unity and
harmony wherein they have their being.

The worth of religion is infinite, the value of conduct is paramount;
but he who lacks intellectual culture, whatever else he may be, is
narrow, awkward, unintelligent. The mirror of his soul is dim, the
motions of his spirit are sluggish, and the divine image which is
himself is blurred.

But let no one imagine that this life of the soul in the mind is easy;
for it is only less difficult than the life of the soul in God. To
learn many things; to master this or that science; to have skill in law
or medicine; to acquaint one's self with the facts of history, with the
opinions of philosophers or the teachings of theologians,--is
comparatively not a difficult task; and there are hundreds who are
learned, who are skillful, who are able, who have acuteness and depth and
information, for one who has an open, free, and flexible mind,--which is
alive and active in many directions, touching the world of God and
Nature at many points, and beholding truth and beauty from many sides;
which is serious, sober, and reasonable, but also fresh, gentle, and
sympathetic; which enters with equal ease into the philosopher's
thought, the poet's vision, and the ecstasy of the saint; which excludes
no truth, is indifferent to no beauty, refuses homage to no goodness.
The ideal of culture indeed, like that of religion, like that of art,
lies beyond our reach, since the truth and beauty which lure us on, and
flee the farther the longer we pursue, are nothing less than the eternal
and infinite God.

And culture, if it is not to end in mere frivolity and gloss, must be
pursued, like religion and art, with earnestness and reverence. If the
spirit in which we work is not deep and holy, we may become accomplished
but we shall not gain wisdom, power, and love. The beginner seeks to
convert his belief into knowledge; but the trained thinker knows that
knowledge ends in belief, since beyond our little islets of intellectual
vision, lies the boundless, fathomless expanse of unknown worlds where
faith and hope alone can be our guides. Once individual man was
insignificant; but now the earth itself is become so,--a mere dot in
infinite space, where, for a moment, men wriggle like animalcules in a
drop of water. And if at times a flash of light suddenly gleam athwart
the mind, and it seem as though we were about to get a glimpse into the
inner heart of being, the brightness quickly dies, and only the surfaces
of things remain visible. Oh, the unimaginable length of ages when on
the earth there was no living thing! then life's ugly, slimy beginnings;
then the conscious soul's fitful dream stretching forth to endless time
and space; then the final sleep in abysmal night with its one star of
hope twinkling before the all-hidden throne of God, in the shadow of
whose too great light faith kneels and waits!

Why shall he whose mind is free, symmetrical, and open, be tempted to
vain glory, to frivolous boasting? Shall not life be more solemn and
sacred to him than to another? Shall he indulge scorn for any being whom
God has made, for any thought which has strengthened and consoled the
human heart? Shall he not perceive, more clearly than others, that the
unseen Power by whom all things are, is akin to thought and love, and
that they alone bring help to man who make him feel that faith and hope
mean good, and are fountains of larger and more enduring life? The
highest mind, like the purest heart, is a witness of the soul and of



     But try, I urge,--the trying shall suffice: The aim, if reached or
     not, makes great the life.


The mass of mankind, if we pass the whole race in review, are sunk in
gross ignorance; and even in civilized nations, where education is free,
the multitude have but a rude acquaintance with the elements of
knowledge. Their ability to read and write hardly serves intellectual
and moral ends; and such learning as they possess seems only to weaken
their power to admire and love what is best in life and thought.

If we turn to the more cultivated, whose numbers even in the most
enlightened countries are not great, we find but here and there an
individual who has anything better than a sort of mechanical cleverness.
Students, it has been said, on leaving college, quickly divide into two
classes,--those who have learned nothing, and those who have forgotten
everything. In the professions, the lawyer tends to become an advocate,
the physician an empiric, the theologian a dogmatist; and these are but
instances of a general falling away from ideals. The student of physical
science is subdued to what he works in; the man of letters loses depth
and earnestness; and the teacher, whose business it is to rouse and
illumine souls, shrivels until he becomes merely a repeater of facts and
doctrines in which there is no life, no power to exalt the imagination
or to give tone to the intellect. The teacher cannot create talent, and
his best work lies in stimulating and directing energy and impulse; but
this he seldom strives to do or to make himself capable of doing; and
hence pupils very generally leave school as men quit a prison, with a
sense of emancipation, and with a desire to forget both the place and
the kind of life there encouraged. A talent is like seed-corn,--it bears
within itself the power to break the confining walls and to spring
upward to light, if only it be sown in proper soil, where the rain and
the sunshine fall; but this is a truth which those who make education a
business are slow to accept. They repress; they overawe; they are
dictatorial; they prescribe rules and methods for minds which can gain
strength and wisdom only by following the bent given by their
endowments,--and thus the young, who are most easily discouraged in
things which concern their highest gifts, lose heart, turn away from
ideals, and abandon the pursuit of excellence. The nobler the mind, the
greater the danger of its being wrongly dealt with. We seldom find a man
whose thinking has helped to form opinion and to create literature, who,
if he care to say what he feels, will not declare that his scholastic
training was bad. Milton, Gray, Dryden, Wordsworth, Byron, Cowley,
Addison, Gibbon, Locke, Shelley, and Cowper had no love for the schools
to which they were sent; Swift and Goldsmith received no college honors;
and Pope, Thomson, Burns, and Shakespeare had little or nothing to do
with institutions of learning. A man educates himself; and the best work
teachers can do, is to inspire the love of mental exercise and a living
faith in the power of labor to develop faculty, and to open worlds of
use and delight which are infinite, and which each individual must
rediscover for himself. It is the educator's business to cherish the
aspirations of the young, to inspire them with confidence in themselves,
and to make them feel and understand that no labor can be too great or
too long, if its result be cultivation and enlightenment of mind. For
them ideals are real; their life is as yet wrapped in the bud; and to
encourage them to believe that if they are but true to themselves, the
flower and the fruit will be fair and health-bringing, is to open for
them the fountain of hope and noble endeavor.

What men have done, men can still do. Nay, shall we not rather believe
that the best is yet to be done? The peoples whom we call ancient were
but rude beginners. We are the true ancients, the inheritors of all the
wisdom and all the heroism of the past. We stand in a wider world, and
move forward with more conscious purpose along more open ways. Of the
past we see but the summits, illumined by the rays of genius and glory.
Could we look upon the plains where the multitudes lie in darkness,
wearing the triple chain of servitude, ignorance, and want, we should
understand how fair and beneficent our own age is. Enthusiasm for the
past cannot inspire the best intellectual work. The heart turns to the
past; but the mind looks to the future, and is forever untwisting the
cords which bind us to the things that pleased a childlike fancy. To
grow is to outgrow; and whatever of the past survives, survives, as the
very word implies, because it is still living and applicable here and
now. Let not the young believe that the age of the heroic and godlike is
gone. Good and the means of good are not harder to reconcile to-day than
they were a hundred or a thousand years ago, and they who have a heart
may now, as the best have done in the past, wring even from despair the
courage on which victory loves to smile. If we are weak and inferior the
fault lies in ourselves, not in the age. We are the age; and if we but
will and work, opportunities are offered us to become and to perform
whatever may crown and glorify a human soul. The time for doing best
things, like eternity, is ever present. Let but the man stand forth, and
he will find and do his work.

We are too near our own age to discern its true glory, which shall best
appear from the vantage-ground of another century; but surely we can
feel that it throbs with life, with immortal yearnings, with
ever-growing desire to give to all men higher thoughts and purer loves.
Society, the State, the Church, the individual, are striving with
conscious purpose to make life moral and intelligent. We have become
more humane than men have ever been, and accept more fully the duty and
the task of extending the domain of justice, of goodness, and of truth.
The aim of our civilization is not merely to instruct the ignorant, but
to make ignorance impossible; not merely to feed the hungry, but to do
away with famine; not merely to visit the captive, but to make captivity
the means of his regeneration. Already the chains of the slave have
been broken, and the earth has become the home of God's free children.
Disease has been tracked to its secret hiding-places, and barriers have
been built against pestilence and contagion. War has become less
frequent and less barbarous; persecution for opinion and belief has
become rare; man's inhumanity to woman, which is the deepest stain upon
the history of the race, has yielded to the influence of religion and
knowledge; and with ever-increasing force the truth is borne in upon
those who think and observe, that the fate of the rich and high-placed
cannot be separated from that of the poor and lowly. While we earnestly
strive to control and repress every kind of moral evil, we feel that
society itself is responsible for sin and crime, and that social and
political conditions and constitutions must change, until the weak and
the heavy-laden are protected from the heartlessness of the strong and
fortunate. Not only must those who labor with their hands have larger
opportunities than hitherto have ever been given them, but in the whole
social life of man there must be more justice, more love, more
tenderness, more of the spirit of Christ, than hitherto has ever been
found there.

What marvelous, intellectual work are we not doing? What admirable
expression of the highest truth do we not find in the best writers of
our age! It is not all pure gold; but whether we take a religious, a
moral, or an intellectual point of view, we may not affirm of the
literature of any age or country that it is perfect. When man clothes in
words what he thinks and loves, what he knows and believes, his work
bears the marks of his defects not less than those of his qualities.
Nay, if we turn to the Bible itself, how much do we not find there which
we either fail to comprehend or are unable to apply! Has not the mind of
Christendom been trained and illumined by the literatures of Greece and
Rome, which in moral purity, in elevation of sentiment, in breadth and
depth of thought, in the knowledge of the laws of Nature, in scientific
accuracy, in sympathy and tenderness, are altogether inferior to the
best writings of our own day? It is a mistake to suppose that this is a
material age in which the love of religion, of poetry, of art, of
excellence of whatever kind, is dead. The love of what is best has never
at any time been alive save in the hearts of the chosen few; and in such
souls it burns now with as sweet and steady a glow as when Plato spoke,
and the blessed Saviour uttered words of divine wisdom. Here and now, in
and around us, there is the heavenly presence of budding life, of
widening vision, of "new thoughts urgent as the growth of wings." Let
us turn the white forehead of hope to the fair time, and deem no labor
great by which we shall become less unfit to do the work of God and man.

    "Nay, never falter; no great deed is done
    By falterers who ask for certainty.
    No good is certain but the steadfast mind,
    The undivided will to seek the good:
    'T is that compels the elements and wrings
    A human music from the indifferent air.
    The greatest gift the hero leaves his race
    Is to have been a hero. Say we fail!
    We feed the high tradition of the world
    And leave our spirit in our children's breasts."

But to enter upon such a course of life with well-founded hope of
success, we must be reverent and devout. The thrill of awe is, as Goethe
says, the best thing humanity has. We must understand and feel that the
visible is but the shadow of the invisible, that the soul has its roots
in God, whose kingdom is within us. We must perceive that what we know,
believe, admire, love, and yearn for makes our real life; that we are
worth what we _are_, and not what we possess and use. We must be lovers
of perfection, as the divine Saviour bids us become,--"Be ye perfect,
even as your Father in heaven is perfect." We must be conscious of the
immortal spirit which is ourself, and walk in the company of God and of
just men made perfect, striving after light and purity and strength,
which are of the soul. We must love the inward, the true, and the
eternal rather than the outward and transitory. We must believe that in
very truth we are akin to God, that God is in us, and we in him, and
consequently that it is our first duty to follow after perfection,
completeness of life, in thought, in love, and in conduct. As it is good
to know, so is it good to be strong, to be patient, to be humble, to be
helpful; so is it good to do right, though the deed should be our only

But we are beset by all manner of temptations to turn aside from a high
and noble way of living. The line of least resistance for us is the
common highway of money-getters and place-winners; and the moment a man
gives evidence of ability, the whole world urges him to put it to
immediate use. Our public opinion identifies the good with the useful,
all else is visionary and unreal. The average man controls us not only
in politics, but in religion, in art, and in literature. To turn away
from material good in order to gain spiritual and intellectual benefit
is held to be evidence of a feeble or perverted understanding. If a man
is eloquent, let him become a lawyer, a politician, or a preacher; if he
have a talent for science, let him become a physician, a practical
chemist, or a civil engineer; if he have skill in writing, let him
become a journalist or a contributor to magazines. No one asks himself,
What shall I do to gain wisdom, strength, virtue, completeness of life;
but the universal question is, How shall I make a living, get money,
position, notoriety? In our hearts we should rather have the riches of a
Rothschild than the mind of Plato, the imagination of Shakespeare, or
the soul of Saint Theresa. We believe the best is outside of us, that
the aids to the most desirable kind of life are to be found in material
and mechanical things. We talk with pride of our numbers, our
institutions, our machines; we love the display and noise of life, are
eager to mingle in crowds, to live in great cities, and to listen to
exaggerated and declamatory speech. The soberness of wisdom, the
humility of religion, the plainness of worth, are unattractive and
unrecognized. We rush after material things, like hunters after game;
and in the excitement of the chase our pulse grows quick, and our vision
confused. We have lost the art of patient work and expectation. We are
no more capable of living in our work, of making it the means of our
growth and happiness. What we do, must be quickly done, must have
immediate results. Our success in solving the political and social
problems has spoiled us. When we hear of a man who has been prosperous
for years, whom no misfortune has sobered and softened, we expect him to
be narrow and supercilious; and in the same way, a prosperous people are
exposed to the danger of becoming self-complacent and superficial. We
exaggerate the importance of our own achievements and think that which
we have accomplished is the best; whereas the wise hold what they have
done in slight esteem, and think only of becoming themselves nobler and
wiser. Instead of boasting of our civilization, because we have
industrial and commercial prosperity, wealth and liberty, churches,
schools, and newspapers, we ought to ask ourselves whether civilization
does not imply something more and higher than this,--what kind of soul
lives and loves and thinks in this environment? Instead of trying to
persuade ourselves that we are the greatest and most enlightened people,
would it not be worth while to ask ourselves, in a dispassionate temper,
whether our best men and women are the most intellectual, the most
interesting, and the most Christian men and women to be found in the
world? Do they not lack repose, distinction, a sense for complete and
harmonious living? Must we not still look to Europe for our best
religious and philosophic thought, our best poetry, painting, music,
and architecture? "Let the passion for America," says Emerson, "cast out
the passion for Europe." This is desirable, but numbers and wealth will
not bring it about. While the best is said and done in Europe, the
better sort of Americans will look thither,--just as Europe looks to us
for corn and cotton, or mechanical appliances. We have done much, and
much that it was well to do. We have, as Matthew Arnold says, solved the
political and social problems better than any other people, though we
ourselves perceive that the solution is by no means final. The
conditions of our life are favorable to the many. It is easier for a man
to assert himself here, than it is or has ever been elsewhere. A little
sense, a little energy, is all that any one needs to make himself
independent and comfortable; and because success of this kind is so easy
it threatens to absorb our whole life. They alone seem to be living
worthily who are doing practical work, who are developing the natural
wealth of the country, starting new enterprises and inventing new
machines. The political problems which interest us are financial;
schools are maintained and fostered because they protect and strengthen
our institutions; religious beliefs are tolerated and encouraged because
they are aids to morality,--and morality means sobriety, honesty,
industry, which lead to thrift. Then there is an idea that religion is a
conservative power, useful as a bulwark against the assaults of
anti-social fanatics. Philosophy, poetry, and art are not considered
seriously, because they are not seen to bear any clear relation to our
institutions and temporal well-being. Opinion rules the wide world over;
and in the face of this strong public opinion which lays stress chiefly
upon external things,--the environment, the machinery of life,--and not
upon spiritual and intellectual qualities, it is not easy to love
knowledge and virtue for themselves, for the strength and beauty they
give to the soul, for their power to build up the being which is a man's
very self. It is rare that men have faith in what but few believe in;
they are gregarious, and need the encouragement that comes of having
aims and hopes of which the millions approve.

The predominance of the average man, of which our public opinion is the
result, puts other obstacles in the way of culture. It makes us
self-complacent, easily satisfied with what we perform. A representative
man will become a lawyer, a soldier, a merchant, a legislator, an
author, in turns, as occasion offers, and he has no doubt of his
sufficiency; because average work is all that is expected of any one. To
be able to do anything fairly well seems to us a more desirable
accomplishment than to be able to do some one thing better than anybody
else. But this is a view which only those may take who live in an
imperfectly developed society. As men become more cultivated, they more
and more want only the best; and the noblest natures feel the desire to
do their best, not with their actual power, but with the skill which
forty or fifty years of discipline and effort might give them. They are
laborious; they are patient; they persevere in one direction; they
believe that if they but continue to observe, to think, to read, to
compare, and to express in plain words what they know, their power of
seeing and of uttering will continue to grow. The charm of increasing
faculty in an infinite world sways and controls them. They never know
enough; they are never able to say well enough what they know; and so
they grow old still learning many things. They work in a spirit wholly
different from that of the common man, who if he get through with what
he has in hand is satisfied. They have an artist's sense of perfection;
and like Virgil would burn the works which if they once escape their own
hands, the world will never permit to perish.

It is hard to resist when many invite to utterance; and with us whoever
has ability is urged to put himself forward, and consequently to
dissipate in crude performances energies which if employed in
self-culture might make of him a philosopher, a poet, or a man of
science. As it is easier to act than to think, the multitude of course
will be only talkers, writers, and performers; but a great and civilized
people must have at least a few men who take rank with the profound
thinkers and finished scholars of the world. No lover of America can
help thinking it undesirable that any one should be able to say of us
with truth, what Locke has said, "The Americans are not all born with
worse understandings than the Europeans, though we see none of them have
such reaches in the arts and sciences." It is our aim to create the
highest civilization; but the highest civilization is favorable to the
highest life, which implies and requires more than the possession of
material things. Conduct is necessary, knowledge is necessary, beauty is
necessary, manners are necessary, and a civilized people must develop
life in all these directions, and as far as such a thing is possible,
harmoniously. Whoever excels in conduct, or in knowledge, or in a sense
for the beautiful, or in manners, helps to raise the standard of
living,--helps to give worth, dignity, charm, and refinement to life. It
is hard to take interest in a people who have no profound thinkers, no
great artists, no accomplished scholars, for only such men can lift a
people above the provincial spirit, and bring them into conscious
relationship with former ages and the wide world. The rule of the people
looks to something higher than opportunity for every man to have food
and a home; to something more than putting a church, a school, and a
newspaper at every man's door. Saints and heroes, philosophers and
poets, are a people's glory. They give us nobler loves, higher thoughts,
diviner aims. They show us how like a god man may become; and political
and social institutions which make saints and heroes, philosophers and
poets, impossible, can have but inferior value. And there is some
radical wrong where the noblest manhood and womanhood are not
appreciated and reverenced. Not to recognize genuine worth is the mark
of a superficial and vulgar character. The servile spirit has no
conception of the heroic nature; and they who measure life by material
standards, do not perceive the infinite which is in man and which makes
him godlike. A few only in any age or nation love the best, follow after
ideal aims; but when these few are wanting, all life becomes
common-place, and the millions pass from the cradle to the grave and
leave no lasting impression upon the world.

The practical turn of mind which finds expression in our commercial and
industrial achievements, makes itself felt also in our intellectual
activity, and those among us who have knowledge and power of utterance
are expected, almost required, to throw themselves into the breakers of
controversy, to discuss the hundred political, social, religious,
financial, sanitary, and educational problems which are ever waiting to
be solved. Let them enter the lists, let them take sides, let them
strive to see clear in an atmosphere of smoke and fog; and not to do
this is, in the estimation of the many, to be a dreamer, a dilettante, a
thinker to no purpose. But this is precisely what those who seek to
cultivate themselves, who seek to learn and communicate the best that is
known, ought not to do. They should live in a serene air, in a world of
tranquility and peace, where the soul is not troubled by contention,
where the view is not perturbed by passion. They should have leisure,
which is the original meaning of school and scholar; for the mind, like
the soul, is refreshed and strengthened by quiet meditation. Its
improvement is slow, is imperceptible often; its training is the result
of delicate methods which require patience and perseverance, faith in
ideals, and a constant looking to the all-perfect Infinite; and to throw
it into the noise and confusion of the busy excited world of practical
affairs is to stunt and warp its growth. We do not hitch a race-horse to
the plough, nor should we ask the best intellects to do the common work
of which every man is capable. They render the best service, when living
in communion with the highest and most cultivated minds of the past and
present, they learn and teach the way of looking and thinking, of
behaving and doing, which has been followed by the greatest and noblest
of the race. Political and social questions are forever changing; views
which commend themselves to-day will in a few years seem absurd;
measures which are thought to be of vital importance will grow to be
inapplicable. To talk and write about such things is well,--may help to
prevent stagnation and corruption in public life; but they exercise
altogether a higher office, who live in the presence of what is
permanently true and good and beautiful, who believe in ideal aims and
ends and prevent the masses from losing sight of what constitutes man's
real worth. They do what they alone can do, whereas the practical and
the useful may be any one's work. They may not, of course, isolate
themselves; on the contrary they must live closer than other men not
only to God and Nature, but also to the past and present history of
their country and of mankind. They study the movements of the age, but
they study them in a philosophic and not in a partisan spirit. They seek
to know, not what is popular, but what is right and good; and they often
see clearly where the view of others is uncertain and confused.
Encouragements and rewards are not necessary for them, for they are
drawn to the knowledge and love of the best by irresistible attractions,
and the more they learn and love the more beneficent and joy-giving does
their life become. Their aims and ends are in harmony with the highest
reason and the highest faith. The world they live in abides; and if they
are neglected or forgotten now, they can wait, for truth and goodness
and beauty can never lose their power or their charm.

    "The worthiest poets have remained uncrowned
    Till death has bleached their foreheads to the bone."



                  There is
    One great society alone on earth
    The noble Living and the noble Dead.


The passion for truth and for the culture which makes its possession
possible is not rightly felt by the heart of boy or of youth; it is the
man's passion, and its power over him is most irresistibly asserted when
outward restraint has been removed, when escaping from the control of
parents and teachers he is left to himself to shape his course and seek
his own ends. When his companions have finished their studies he feels
that his own are now properly only about to begin; when they are
dreaming of liberty and pleasure, of wealth and success, of the world
and its honors, his mind is haunted by the mystery of God and Nature, by
visions of dimly discerned truth and beauty which he must follow
whithersoever they lead; and already he perceives that wisdom comes to
those alone who toil and cease not from labor, who suffer and are
patient. Hitherto he has learned the lessons given him by teachers
appointed by others; henceforth he is himself to choose his instructors.
As once, half-unconscious, he played in the smile or frown of Nature,
and drank knowledge with delight, so now in the world of man's thought,
hope, and love, he is, with deliberate purpose, to seek what is good for
the nourishment of his soul. Happy is he, for nearly all men toil and
suffer that they may live; but he is also to have time to labor, to make
life intelligent and fair. He must know not only what the blind atoms
are doing, but what saints, sages, and heroes have loved, thought, and
done. He will still keep close to Nature who, though she utters myriad
sounds, never speaks a human word; but he will also lend his ear to the
voice of wisdom which lies asleep in books, and to sympathetic minds
whispers from other worlds whatever high or holy truth has consecrated
the life of man. His guiding thought must be how to make the work by
which he maintains himself in the world subserve moral and intellectual
ends; for his aim is not merely or chiefly to have goods, but to be wise
and good, and therefore to build up within himself the power of conduct
and the power of intelligence which makes man human, and distinguishes
him from whatever else on earth has life.

It is our indolence and frivolity that make routine duties, however
distracting or importunate, incompatible with the serious application
which the work of self-culture demands; but we are by nature indolent
and frivolous, and only education can make us earnest and laborious.
None but a cultivated mind can understand that if the whole human race
could be turned loose, to eat and drink and play like thoughtless
children, life would become meaningless; that a paradise in which work
should not be necessary would become wearisome. The progress of the race
is the result of effort, physical, religious, moral, and intellectual;
and the advance of individuals is proportional to their exertion. Nature
herself pushes the young to bodily exercise; but though activity is for
them a kind of necessity, only the discipline of habit will lead them to
prefer labor to idleness; and they will not even use their senses
properly unless they are taught to look and to listen,--just as they are
taught to walk and to ride. The habit of manual labor, as it is directly
related to the animal existence to which man is prone, and supplies the
physical wants whose urgency is most keenly felt, is acquired with least
difficulty, and it prepares the way for moral and intellectual life; but
it especially favors the life which has regard to temporal ends and
conduces to comfort and well-being. They whose instrument is the brain
rarely aim at anything higher than wealth and position; and if they
become rich and prominent, they remain narrow and uninteresting. They
talk of progress, of new inventions and discoveries, and they neglect to
improve themselves; they boast of the greatness of their country, while
their real world is one of vulgar thought and desire; they take interest
in what seems to concern the general welfare, but fail to make
themselves centres of light and love. What is worse they have the
conceit of wisdom,--they lack reverence; they are impatient, and must
have at once what they seek. But the better among us see the
insufficiency of the popular aims, and begin to yearn for something
other than a life of politics, newspapers, and financial enterprise.
They desire to know and love the best that is known, and they are
willing to be poor and obscure, if they may but gain entrance into this
higher world. "I shall ever consider myself," says Descartes, "more
obliged to those who leave me to my leisure, than I should to any who
might offer me the most honorable employments." This is the thought of
every true student and lover of wisdom; for he feels that whatever a
man's occupation may be, his business is to improve his mind and to form
his character. He desires not to be known and appreciated, but to know
and appreciate; not to _have_ more, but to _be_ more; not to have
friends, but to be the friend of man,--which he is when he is the lover
of truth. He turns from vulgar pleasures as he turns from pain, because
both pleasure and pain in fastening the soul to the body deprive it of
freedom and hinder the play of the mind.

    He loves the best with single heart
    And without thought what gifts it bring.

Unless one have deep faith in the good of culture he will easily become
discouraged in the work which is here urged upon him. He must be drawn
to the love of intellectual excellence by an attraction such as a poet
feels in the presence of beauty; he must believe in it as a miser
believes in gold; he must seek it as a lover seeks the beloved. Our
wants determine our pleasures, and they who have no intellectual
cravings feel not the need of exercise of mind. They are born and remain
inferior. They are content with the world which seems to be real,
forgetting the higher one, which alone is real; they are not urged to
the intellectual life by irresistible instincts. They are discouraged by
difficulties, thwarted by obstacles which lie in the path of all who
strive to move forward and to gain higher planes. It is not possible to
advance except along the road of toil, of struggle, and of suffering.
We cannot emerge even from childish ignorance and weakness without
experiencing a sense of loss. Mental work in the beginning and for a
long time is weariness, is little better than drudgery. We labor, and
there seems to be no gain; we study and there seems to be no increase of
knowledge or power; and if we persevere, we are led by faith and hope,
not by any clear perception of the result of persistent application.
Genius itself is not exempt from this law. Poets and artists work with
an intensity unknown to others, and are distinguished by their faith in
the power of labor. The consummate musician must practice for hours, day
by day, year in and year out. The brain is the most delicate and the
finest of instruments, and it is vain to imagine that anything else than
ceaseless, patient effort will enable us to use it with perfect skill;
indeed, it is only after long study that we become capable of
understanding what the perfection of the intellect is, that we become
capable of discerning what is excellent, beautiful, and true in style
and thought.

Discouragement and weariness will, again and again, suggest doubts
concerning the wisdom of this ceaseless effort to improve one's self.
Why persist in the pursuit of what can never be completely attained?
Why toil to gain what the mass of men neither admire nor love? Why wear
out life in a course of action which leads neither to wealth nor honors?
Why turn away from pleasures which lie near us to follow after ideal
things? These are questions which force themselves upon us; and it
requires faith and courage not to be shaken by this sophistry. Visions
of ideal life float before young eyes, and if to be attracted by what is
high and fair were enough, it were not difficult to be saint, sage, or
hero; but when we perceive that the way to the best is the road of toil
and drudgery, that we must labor long and accomplish little, wander far
and doubt our progress, must suffer much and feel misgivings whether it
is not in vain,--then only the noblest and the bravest still push
forward in obedience to inward law. The ideal of culture appeals to them
with irresistible force. They consent to lack wealth, and the approval
of friends and the world's applause; they are willing to turn away when
fair hands hold out the cup of pleasure, when bright eyes and smiling
lips woo to indulgence. If, you ask, How long? They answer, Until we
die! They are lovers of wisdom and do not trust to hope of temporal
reward. Their aim is light and purity of mind and heart; these they
would not barter for comfort and position. As saints, while doing the
common work of men, walk uplifted to worlds invisible, so they, amid the
noise and distractions of life still hear the appealing voice of truth;
and as parted lovers dream only of the hour when they shall meet again,
so these chosen spirits, in the midst of whatever cares and labors, turn
to the time when thought shall people their solitude as with the
presence of angels. They hear heavenly voices asking, Why stay ye on the
earth, unless to grow? Vanity, frivolity, and fickleness die within
them; and they grow to be humble and courageous, disinterested and
laborious, strong and persevering. The cultivation of their higher
nature becomes the law of their life; and the sense of duty, "stern
daughter of the voice of God," which of all motives that sway the heart,
best stands the test of reason, becomes their guide and support. Thus
culture, which looks to the Infinite and All-wise as to its ideal, rests
upon the basis of morality and religion.

To think is difficult, and they who wish to grow in power of thought
must hoard their strength. Excess, of whatever kind, is a waste of
intellectual force. The weakness of men of genius has impoverished the
world. Sensual indulgence diminishes spiritual insight; it perverts
reason, and deadens love; it enfeebles the physical man, and weakens the
organs of sense, which are the avenues of the soul. The higher self is
developed harmoniously only when it springs from a healthful body. It is
the lack of moral balance which makes genius akin to madness. Nothing is
so sane as reason, and great minds fall from truth only when they fail
in the strength which comes of righteous conduct.

Let the lover of wisdom then strive to live in a healthy body that his
senses may report truly of the universe in which he dwells. But this is
not easy; for mental labor exhausts, and if the vital forces are still
further diminished by dissipation, disease and premature decay of the
intellectual faculties will be the result. The ideal of culture embraces
the whole man, physical, moral, religious, and intellectual; and the
loss of health or morality or faith cannot but impede the harmonious
development of the mind itself. Passion is the foe of reason, and may
easily become strong enough to extinguish its light. He who wishes to
educate himself must learn to resist the desires of his lower nature,
which if indulged deaden sensibility, weaken the will, take from the
imagination its freshness, and from the heart the power of loving. The
task he has set himself is arduous, and he cannot have too much energy,
too much warmth of soul, too much capacity for labor. Let him not waste,
like a mere animal, the strength which was given him that he might
learn to know and love infinite truth and beauty. The dwelling with
one's self and with thoughts of what is true and high, which is an
essential condition of mental growth, is impossible when the sanctuary
of the soul is filled with unclean images. Intellectual honesty, the
disinterested love of truth, without which no progress can be made, will
hardly be found in those who are the slaves of unworthy passions. The
more religious a man is, the more does he believe in the worth and
sacredness of truth, and the more willing does he become to throw all
his energies with persevering diligence into the work of
self-improvement. They who fail to see in the universe an all-wise,
all-holy, and all-powerful Being, from whom are all things and to whom
all things turn, easily come to doubt whether it holds anything of true
worth. History teaches this, and it requires little reflection to
perceive that it must be so. Of the Solitary, Wordsworth says,--

                      "But in despite
    Of all this outside bravery, within
    He neither felt encouragement nor hope;
    For moral dignity and strength of mind
    Were wanting, and simplicity of life
    And reverence for himself; and, last and best,
    Confiding thoughts, through love and fear of Him
    Before whose sight the troubles of this world
    Are vain."

The corrupt and the ignorant easily learn to feel contempt, but the
scholar is reverent. He moves in the midst of infinite worlds, and knows
that the least is part of the whole.

Now, how shall he who is resolved to educate himself set about his work?
What advice shall be given him? What rules shall be made for him that he
may not waste time and energy? He who yearns for the cultivation of mind
which makes wisdom possible must work his way to the light. All
intellectual men strive to educate themselves, but each one strives in a
different way. They all aim at insight rather than information, at the
perfect use of their faculties rather than learning. The power to see
things as they are, is what they want; and therefore they look, observe,
examine, compare, analyze, meditate, read, and write. And they keep
doing this day by day; and the longer they work, the more attractive
their work grows to be. Descartes, who is a typical lover of the
intellectual life, looked upon himself simply as a thinking being, and
gave all his thought to the cultivation of his higher faculties in the
hope that he might finally discover some truth which would bring
blessings to men. He had no thought of literary fame, published little,
and sedulously avoided whatever might bring him into notoriety. "Those,"
he says, "who wish to know how to speak of everything and to acquire a
reputation for learning, will succeed most easily if they content
themselves with the semblance of truth, which may readily be found." The
love of truth is the mark of the real student. What is, is; it is man's
business to know it. He is the foe of pretense; sham for him means
shame. He will have sound knowledge; he will do his work well; whether
men shall applaud or reward him for it, is a foreign consideration. He
obeys an inward law, and the praise of those who cannot understand him
sounds to him like mockery. True thought, like right conduct, is its own
reward. To see truth and to love it is enough,--is more than to have the
worship of the world. The important thing is to be a man, to have a
serious purpose, to be in earnest, to yearn for what is good and holy;
and without this the culture of the intellect will not avail.

We must build upon the broad foundation of man's life, and not upon any
special faculty. The merely literary man is often the most pitiful of
men,--able, it may be, to do little else than complain that his merits
are not recognized. Let it not be imagined then that the lover of
wisdom, the follower of intellectual good, should propose to himself a
literary career. He may of course be or become a man of letters, but
this is incidental to his life-purpose, which is to develop within
himself the power of knowing and loving. He will learn to think rightly
and to act well, first of all; for he knows that a man's writing cannot
be worth more than he himself is worth. He is a seeker after truth and
perfection; and understanding at the price of what countless labors
these may be hoped for, he is slow to imagine that words of his may be
of help to others.

Observation, reading, and writing are the chief means by which thought
is stimulated, the mind developed, and the intellect cultivated. The
habit of looking and the habit of thinking are closely related. A man
thinks as he sees; and for a mind like Shakespeare's, for instance,
observation is almost the only thing that is necessary for its
development. The boundless world breaks in upon him with creative force.
His sympathy is universal, and therefore so is his interest. He sees the
like in the unlike, the differences in things which are similar. Every
little bird and every little flower are known to him. He contemplates
Falstaff and Poor Tom with as much interest as though they were Hamlet
and King Lear. In all original minds the power of observation is great.
It is the chief source of our earliest knowledge, of that which touches
us most nearly and most deeply colors the imagination. When the boy is
wandering through fields, sitting in the shade of trees, or lying on the
banks of murmuring streams, he is not only learning more delightful
things than books will ever teach him, but he is also acquiring the
habit of attention, of looking at what he sees, which nowhere else can
be gotten in so natural and pleasant a way. Hence the best minds have
either been born in the country or have passed there some of their early
years. Unless we have first learned to look with the eye, we shall never
learn to look with the mind. They who walk unmoved beneath the starlit
heavens, or by the ever-moving ocean, or amid the silent mountains; who
do not find, like Wordsworth, that the meanest flower that blows gives
thoughts which often lie too deep for tears, will not derive great help
from the world of books. But in the world of books the intellectual must
also make themselves at home and live, must thence draw nourishment,
light, wisdom, strength, for there as nowhere else the mind of man has
stamped its image; and there the thoughts of the master spirits still
breathe, still glow with truth and beauty. The best books are powers

    "Forever to be hallowed; only less,
    For what we are and what we may become,
    Than Nature's self, which is the breath of God,
    Or his pure Word, by miracle revealed."

But it is as difficult to know books as to know men. There are but few
men who can be of intellectual service to us; and there are but few
books which stimulate and nourish the mind. The best books are, as
Milton says, "the precious life-blood of a master spirit;" and it is
absurd to suppose that they will reveal their secret to every chance
comer, to every heedless reader. As it takes a hero to know a hero, so
only an awakened mind can love and understand the great thinkers. The
reading of the ignorant is chiefly a mechanical proceeding; and, indeed,
for men in general reading is little better than waste of time. Their
reading, like their conversation, leaves them what they were, or worse.
The mass of printed matter has no greater value from an intellectual
point of view at least than the wide ever-flowing stream of talk; and
for the multitude it is all the same whether they gossip and complain,
or read and nod. However much they read, they remain unintelligent; what
knowledge they gain is fragmentary, unreal; they learn merely enough to
talk about what they do not understand. We may of course read for
entertainment, as we may talk for entertainment; but this is merely a
recreation of the mind, which is good only because it rests and prepares
us for work. The wise read books to be enlightened, uplifted, and
inspired. Their reading is a labor in which every faculty of the mind
is awake and active. They are attentive; they weigh, compare, judge.
They re-create within their own minds the images produced by the author;
they seek to enter into his inmost thought; they admire each well-turned
phrase, each happy epithet; they walk with him, and make themselves at
home in the wonderland which his genius has called into being; past
centuries rise before them, and they almost forget that they did not
hear Plato discourse in the Academy, or stroll with Horace along the
Sacred Way. As they are brought thus intimately into the company of the
noblest minds, they think as they thought, feel as they felt, and so are
enlightened and inspired. They drink the spirit of the mighty dead, and
gradually come to live in a higher and richer world. The best in life
and literature is seen to be such only by those who have made themselves
worthy of the heavenly vision; and once we have learned to love the few
real books of the world, or rather what in these few is eternally true
and beautiful, we breathe the atmosphere of the intellectual life. What
is frivolous, or false, or vulgar can no longer please us; having seen
and loved what is high we may not sink to the lower.

Knowledge may be useful, and yet have little power to nourish, train,
and enlarge the mind, and it is its disciplinary and educational value
which we are here considering. Medicine for a physician, law for an
attorney, theology for a clergyman, is the most useful knowledge; but
they are not therefore the best means of intellectual culture. Natural
science, though it is most useful, ministering as it does in a thousand
ways and with ever-increasing efficacy to our wants and comforts, has
but an inferior educational power. Acquaintance with the uniform
co-existences and sequences of phenomena is not a mental tonic. Such
knowledge not only leaves us unmoved,--it has a tendency even to fetter
the free play of the mind and to chill the imagination. It unweaves the
rainbow, and leaves us the dead chemical elements. The information we
have gained is practical, but it does not exalt the soul or render us
more keenly alive to the divine beauty which rests on Nature's face. It
does not enable us, as does the knowledge of literature and history, to
participate in the conscious life of the race. It makes no appeal to our
nobler human instincts. There is no book on natural science, nor can
there ever be one, which may take a place among the few immortal works
which men never cease to read and love. Physical science has its own
domain, and its study will continue to enrich the world, to make
specialists of a hundred kinds; but it never can take the place of
literature and history as a means of culture; and as an educational
force its value is greatest when it is studied not experimentally, but
as literature,--though of course, every cultivated man should be
familiar with the inductive method, and should receive consequently a
certain scientific training.

History, in bringing us into the presence of the greatest men and in
showing us their mightiest achievements, rouses our whole being. It sets
the mind aglow, awakens enthusiasm, and fires the imagination. It makes
us feel how blessed a thing it is "to scorn delights and live laborious
days;" how divine to perish in bringing truth and holiness to men. We
commingle with the makers of the world; we hear them speak and see them
act; we catch the spirit of their lofty purpose, their high courage,
their noble eloquence. When we drink deeply of the wisdom which history
teaches, we come to understand that truth and justice, heroism and
religion, which are the virtues of the greatest men, may be ours as
easily as theirs; that opportunity for true men is ever present, and
that the task set for each one of us is as sacred and important as any
which has ever been entrusted to the human mind and will. Our thought
is widened, our hearts are strengthened, and we come to feel that it
shall be well for others that we too have lived. When we have learned to
be at home with lofty and generous natures, the heroic mood becomes
natural to us.

There are of course but few histories which have this tonic effect upon
the mind and the will, but with these the lover of culture should make
himself familiar. Each one must find the book he needs; and though he
should find no help in a volume which time and the consent of the
learned have consecrated, let him not be discouraged, but continue to
seek and to read until he meet with the author who fills his soul with
joy and opens to his wondering eyes visions of new worlds. To love any
great book so that we read it--or at least those portions of it which
especially appeal to us--many times, and always with new pleasure (as a
mother never wearies of looking upon her child), until the thought and
style of the author become almost our own, is to learn the secret of
self-education; for he who understands and loves one great book is sure
to find his way to the love and knowledge of other works of genius. He
will not read chiefly to gain information, but he will read for
exaltation of spirit, for enlightenment, for strength of soul, for the
help which springs from contact with generous and awakened minds. He
will mark his favorite passages and refer to them often, as one loves to
revisit places where he has been happy; and these very pencil-marks will
become dear to him as tokens of truth revealed, of wisdom gained, of joy
bestowed. The best reading is that which most profoundly stimulates
thought, which brings our own minds into active, conscious communion
with the mind of the author; and hence the best poetry is the most
efficacious and the most delightful aid to mental improvement.

Poetry is, as Aristotle says, the most philosophic of all writing. It is
also the writing which is most instinct with passion, with life. It
springs from intense thought and feeling, and bears within itself the
power to call forth thought and feeling. It is thought transfused with
the glow of emotion, and consequently thought made beautiful,
attractive, contagious. It is, to quote Wordsworth, "the breath and
finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the impassioned expression which is
in the countenance of all science." The poet has more enthusiasm and
tenderness than other men, a more sensitive soul, a more comprehensive
mind. His wider sympathy gives him greater insight; and his power to see
absent things as though they were present enables him to bring the
distant and the past before our eyes, to make them live again in a new
and immortal world; he stimulates the whole mind and appeals to every
faculty of the soul. The greatest philosophers are, like Plato, poets
too; and unless the historian is also a poet, there is no inspiration,
no life in what he writes. It is as superficial and vulgar to sneer at
poetry as to sneer at religion; and they alone are mockers who have eyes
but for some counterfeit. To be able to read a true poet is not a gift
of Nature; it is a faculty to be acquired. He creates, as Wordsworth
says, the taste by which he is appreciated. To imagine we may read him
as we read a frivolous novel is absurd; it may well happen we shall see
no truth or beauty in him until patient study has made it plain. It
often takes the world a hundred years or more to recognize a great poet;
and a knowledge of his worth can be had by the student only at the price
of patient labor. Wordsworth will attract scarcely any one at the first
glance; the great number of readers will soon weary of him and throw him
aside; but those who learn to understand him find in his writings
treasures above all price. There are but a few great poems in the
literatures of the different nations, but he who wishes to have a
cultivated mind must, at the cost of whatever time and labor, make
himself familiar with them; for there alone are found the best thoughts
clothed in fittest words; there alone are rightly portrayed the noblest
characters; there alone is the world of men and things transfigured by
the imagination and illumined by the pure light of the mind. True poets
help us to see, they teach us to admire, they lift our thoughts, they
appeal to our higher nature; they give us nobler loves, more exalted
aims, more spiritual purposes; they make us feel that to live for money
or place is to lead a narrow and a slavish life; and to men around whom
the fetters of material and hardening cares are growing, they cry and
bid them--

                                     "Look abroad
    And see to what fair countries they are bound."

But even the greatest poets have weaknesses, and are great only by
comparison. There is not one who however he may enchant and strengthen,
does not also disappoint us. The perfect poet the future will bring; and
to his coming we shall look with more eager expectation than if we
foresaw man dowered with wings. The elevation we forebode is of the
soul, not of the body. Progress we have already made. It is no longer
possible for a true poet to sing of sensual delights; the man he creates
is now no more the slave "of low ambition or distempered love." His
theme is rather--

    "No other than the heart of man
    As found among the best of those who live,
    Not unexalted by religious faith,
    Nor uninformed by books, good books, though few,
    In Nature's presence."

Writing is as great an aid to the cultivation of the mind as reading. It
is indeed indispensable, and the accuracy of thought and expression of
which Bacon speaks, is but one of its good results. "By writing," says
Saint Augustine, "I have learned many things which nothing else had
taught me." There is, of course, no question here of writing for
publication. To do this no one should be urged. The farther we are from
all thought of readers, the nearer are we to truth; and once an author
has published, a sort of madness comes over him, and he seems to be
doing nothing unless he continue to publish. The truly intellectual man
leads an interior life; he dwells habitually in the presence of God, of
Nature, and of his own soul; he swims in a current of ideas, looks out
upon a world of truth and beauty; he would rather gain some new vision
of the eternal reality than to have a mountain of gold or the suffrages
of a whole people. The great hindrance is lack of the power of
prolonged attention, of sustained thought; and this the habit of
serious writing gives. But the habit itself is difficult to acquire. At
first in attempting to write we are discouraged to find how crude, how
unreal, how little within our control our knowledge is; and it will
often happen that we shall simply hold the pen in idleness, either
because we find nothing to write, or because the proper way to express
what we think eludes our efforts. When this happens day after day, the
temptation will come to abandon our purpose, and to seek easier and less
effective means of developing mental strength, or else we shall write
carelessly and without thought, which is even a greater evil than not to
write at all. In the writing of which I am thinking there is no question
of style, of what critics and readers will say; all that is asked is
that we apply our minds to things as they appear to us, and put in plain
words what we see. Thus our style will become the expression of our
thought and life. It will be the outgrowth of a natural method, and
consequently will have genuine worth. What is written in this way should
be preserved, not that others may see it, but that we ourselves by
comparing our earlier with our later essays may be encouraged by the
evidence of improvement. It is not necessary to make choice of a
subject,--whatever interests us is a fit theme; and if nothing should
happen specially to interest us, by writing we shall gain interest in
many things.

The method here proposed requires serious application, perseverance,
diligence: it is difficult; but they who have the courage to continue to
write, undeterred by difficulties, will gain more than they hope for.
They will grow in strength, in accuracy, in pliancy, in openness of
mind; they will become capable of profound and just views, and will
gradually rise to worlds of truth and beauty of which the common man
does not dream. And it will frequently happen that there will be
permanent value in what is written not to please the crowd or to flatter
a capricious public opinion, or to win gold or applause, but simply in
the presence of God and one's own soul to bear witness to truth. As the
painter takes pallet and brush, the musician his instrument, each to
perfect himself in his art, so he who desires to learn how to think
should take the pen, and day by day write something of the truth and
love, the hope and faith, which make him a living man.



     Why stay we on the earth unless to grow?


What life is in itself we do not know, any more than we know what matter
is in itself; but we know something of the properties of matter, and we
also have some knowledge of the laws of life. Here it is sufficient to
call attention to the law of growth, through which the living receive
the power of self-development,--of bringing their endowments into act,
of building up the being which they are. Whatever living thing is strong
or beautiful has been made so by growth, since life begins in darkness
and impotence. To grow is to be fresh and joyous. Hence the spring is
the glad time; for the earth itself then seems to renew its youth, and
enter on a fairer life. The growing grass, the budding leaves, the
sprouting corn, coming as with unheard shout from regions of the dead,
fill us with happy thoughts, because in them we behold the vigor of
life, bringing promise of higher things.

Nature herself seems to rejoice in this vital energy; for the insects
hum, the birds sing, the lambs skip, and the very brooks give forth a
merry sound. Growth leads us through Wonderland. It touches the germs
lying in darkness, and the myriad forms of life spring to view; the
mists are lifted from the valleys, and flowers bloom and shed fragrance
through the air. Only the growing--those who each moment are becoming
something more than they were--feel the worth and joyousness of life.
Upon the youth nothing palls, for he is himself day by day rising into
higher and wider worlds. To grow is to have faith, hope, courage.

The boy who has become able to do what a while ago was impossible to
him, easily believes that nothing is impossible; and as his powers
unfold, his self-confidence is nourished; he exults in the consciousness
of increasing strength, and cannot in any way be made to understand the
doubts and faint-heartedness of men who have ceased to grow. Each hour
he puts off some impotence, and why shall he not have faith in his
destiny, and feel that he shall yet grow to be poet, orator, hero, or
what you will that is great and noble? And as he delights in life, we
take delight in him.

In the same way a young race of people possesses a magic charm. Homer's
heroes are barbarians; but they are inspiring, because they belong to a
growing race, and we see in them the budding promise of the day when
Alexander's sword shall conquer the world; when Plato shall teach the
philosophy which all men who think must know; and when Pericles shall
bid the arts blossom in a perfection which is the despair of succeeding
generations. And so in the Middle Ages there is barbarism enough, with
its lawlessness and ignorance; but there is also faith, courage,
strength, which tell of youth, and point to a time of mature faculty and
high achievement. There is the rich purple dawn which shall grow into
the full day of our modern life.

Here in this New World we are the new people, in whose growth what
highest hopes, what heavenly promises lie! All the nations which are
moving forward, are moving in directions in which we have gone before
them,--to larger political and religious liberty; to wider and more
general education; to the destroying of privilege and the
disestablishment of churches; to the recognition of the equal rights not
only of all men, but of all men and women.

We also lead the way in the revolution which has been set in motion by
the application of science to mechanical purposes, one of the results
of which is seen in the industrial and commercial miracles of the
present century. It is our vigorous growth which makes us the most
interesting and attractive of the modern peoples. For whether men love
us, or whether they hate us, they find it impossible to ignore us,
unless they wish to argue themselves unknown; and the millions who yearn
for freedom and opportunity turn first of all to us.

But observant minds, however much they may love America, however great
their faith in popular government may be, cannot contemplate our actual
condition without a sense of disquietude; for there are aspects of our
social evolution which sadden and depress even the most patriotic and
loyal hearts. It would seem, for instance, that with us, while the
multitude are made comfortable and keen-witted, the individual remains
common-place and weak; so that on all sides people are beginning to ask
themselves what is the good of all this money and machinery if the race
of godlike men is to die out, or indeed if the result is not to be some
nobler and better sort of man than the one with whom we have all along
been familiar. Is not the yearning for divine men inborn? In the heroic
ages such men were worshiped as gods, and one of the calamities of
times of degeneracy is the dying out of faith in the worth of true
manhood caused by the disappearance of superior men. Such men alone are
memorable, and give to history its inspiring and educating power. The
ruins of Athens and Rome, the cathedrals and castles of Europe, uplift
and strengthen the heart, because they bid us reflect what thoughts and
hopes were theirs who thus could build.

How quickly kings and peasants, millionaires and paupers, become a
common, undistinguished crowd! But the hero, the poet, the saint, defy
the ages and remain luminous and separate like stars. They--

    "Waged contention with their time's decay,
    And of the past are all that cannot pass away."

The soul, which makes man immortal, has alone the power to make him
beneficent and beautiful.

But in this highest kind of man, in whom soul--that is, faith, hope,
love, courage, intellect--is supreme, we Americans, who are on the crest
of the topmost waves of the stream of tendency, are not rich. We have
our popular heroes; but so has every petty people, every tribe its
heroes. The dithyrambic prose in which it is the fashion to celebrate
our conspicuous men has a hollow sound, very like cant. A marvelous
development of wealth and numbers has taken place in America; but what
American--poet, philosopher, scientist, warrior, ruler, saint--is there
who can take his place with the foremost men of all this world? The
American people seem still to be somewhat in the position of our new
millionaires: their fortune is above them, overshadows, and oppresses
them. They live in fine houses, and have common thoughts; they have
costly libraries, and cheap culture; and their rich clothing poorly
hides their coarse breeding. Nor does the tendency seem to be toward a
nobler type of manhood.

The leaders of the Revolution, the framers of the Federal Constitution,
the men who contended for State-rights, and still more those who led in
the great struggle for human rights were of stronger and nobler mold
than the politicians who now crowd the halls of Congress. The promise of
a literature which a generation ago budded forth in New England was, it
appears, delusive. What a sad book is not that recently issued from the
press on the poets of America! It is the chapter on snakes in Ireland
which we have all read,--there are none. And are not our literary men
whom it is possible to admire and love either dead or old enough to die?

All this, however, need not be cause for discouragement, if in the
generations which are springing up around us, and which are soon to
enter upon the scene of active life, we could discover the boundless
confidence, the high courage, the noble sentiments, which make the
faults of youth more attractive than the formal virtues of a maturer
age. But youth seems about to disappear from our life, to leave only
children and men. For a true youth the age of chivalry has not passed,
nor has the age of faith, nor the age of poetry, nor the age of aught
that is godlike and ideal. To our young men, however, high thoughts and
heroic sentiments are what they are to a railroad president or a bank
cashier,--mere nonsense. Life for them is wholly prosaic and without
illusions. They transform ideas into interests, faith into a
speculation, and love into a financial transaction. They have no vague
yearnings for what cannot be; hardly have they any passions. They are
cold and calculating. They deny themselves, and do not believe in
self-denial; they are active, and do not love labor; they are energetic,
and have no enthusiasm; they approach life with the hard, mechanical
thoughts with which a scientist studies matter. Their one idea is
success, and success for them is money. Money means power, it means
leisure, it means self-indulgence, it means display; it means, in a
word, the thousand comforts and luxuries which, in their opinion,
constitute the good of life.

In aristocratic societies the young have had a passion for distinction.
They have held it to be an excellent thing to belong to a noble family,
to occupy an elevated position, to wear the glittering badges of birth
and of office. In ages of religious faith they have been smitten with
the love of divine ideals; they have yearned for God, and given all the
strength of their hearts to make his will prevail. But to our youth
distinction of birth is fictitious, and God is problematic; and so they
are left face to face with material aims and ends; and of such aims and
ends money is the universal equivalent.

Now, it could not ever occur to me to think of denying that the basis of
human life, individual and social, is material. Matter is part of our
nature; we are bedded in it, and by it are nourished. It is the
instrument we must use even when we think and love, when we hope and
pray. Upon this foundation our spiritual being is built; upon this
foundation our social welfare rests.

Concern for material interests is one of the chief causes of human
progress; since nothing else so stimulates to effort, and effort is the
law of growth. The savage who has no conception of money, but is
satisfied with what Nature provides, remains forever a savage. Habits
of industry, of order, of punctuality, of economy and thrift, are, to a
great extent, the result of our money-getting propensities. Our material
wants are more urgent, more irresistible; they press more constantly
upon us than any other; and those whom they fail to rouse to exertion
are, as a rule, hopelessly given over to indolence and sloth. In the
stimulus of these lower needs, then, is found the impulse which drives
men to labor; and without labor welfare is not possible.

    The poor must work, if they would drink and eat;
      The weak must work, if they in strength would grow;
      The ignorant must work, if they would know;
    The sad must work, if they sweet joy would meet.

    The strong must work, if they would shun defeat;
      The rich must work, if they would flee from woe;
      The proud must work, if they would upward go;
    The brave must work, if they would not retreat.

    So for all men the law of work is plain;
      It gives them food, strength, knowledge, vict'ry, peace;
    It makes joy possible, and lessens pain;
      From passion's lawless power it wins release,
    Confirms the heart, and widens reason's reign,
      Makes men like God, whose work can never cease.

Whatever enables man to overcome his inborn love of ease is, in so far,
the source of good. Now, money represents what more than anything else
has this stimulating power. It is the equivalent of what we eat and
drink, of the homes we live in, of the comforts with which we surround
ourselves, of the independence which makes us free to go here or there,
to do this or that,--to spend the winter where orange blossoms perfume
the soft air, and the summer where ocean breezes quicken the pulse of
life. It unlocks for us the treasury of the world, opens to our gaze
whatever is sublime or beautiful; introduces us to the master-minds who
live in their works; it leads us where orators declaim, and singers
thrill the soul with ecstasy. Nay, more, with it we build churches,
endow schools, and provide hospitals and asylums for the weak and
helpless. It is, indeed, like a god of this nether world, holding
dominion over many spheres of life and receiving the heart-worship of

Yet, if we make money and its equivalents a life-purpose--the aim and
end of our earthly hopes--our service becomes idolatry, and a blight
falls upon the nobler self. Money is the equivalent of what is
venal,--of all that may be bought or sold; but the best, the godlike,
the distinctively human, cannot be bought or sold. A rich man can buy a
wife, but not a woman's love; he can buy books, but not an appreciative
mind; he can buy a pew, but not a pure conscience; he can buy men's
votes and flattery, but not their respect. The money-world is visible,
material, mechanical, external; the world of the soul, of the better
self, is invisible, spiritual, vital. God's kingdom is within. What we
have is not what we are; and the all-important thing is to be, and not
to have. Our possessions belong to us only in a mechanical way. The
poet's soul owns the stars and the moonlit heavens, the mountains and
rivers, the flowers and the birds, more truly than a millionaire owns
his bonds. What I know is mine, and what I love is mine; and as my
knowledge widens and my love deepens, my life is enlarged and
intensified. But, since all human knowledge is imperfect and narrow, the
soul stretches forth the tendrils of faith and hope. Looking upon
shadows, we believe in realities; possessing what is vain and empty, we
trust to the future to bring what is full and complete.

All noble literature and life has its origin in regions where the mind
sees but darkly; where faith is more potent than knowledge; where hope
is larger than possession, and love mightier than sensation. The soul is
dwarfed whenever it clings to what is palpable and plain, fixed and
bounded. Its home is in worlds which cannot be measured and weighed. It
has infinite hopes, and longings, and fears; lives in the conflux of
immensities; bathes on shores where waves of boundless yearning break.
Borne on the wings of time, it still feels that only what is eternal is
real,--that what death can destroy is even now but a shadow. To it all
outward things are formal, and what is less than God is hardly aught. In
this mysterious, super-sensible world all true ideals originate, and such
ideals are to human life as rain and sunshine to the corn by which it is

What hope for the future is there, then, when the young have no
enthusiasm, no heavenly illusions, no divine aspirations, no faith that
man may become godlike, more than poets have ever imagined, or
philosophers dreamed?--when money, and what money buys, is the highest
they know, and therefore the highest they are able to love?--when even
the ambitious among them set out with the deliberate purpose of becoming
the beggars of men's votes; of winning an office the chief worth of
which, in their eyes, lies in its emoluments?--when even the glorious
and far-sounding voice of fame for them means only the gabble and cackle
of notoriety?

The only example which I can call to mind of an historic people whose
ideals are altogether material and mechanical, is that of China. Are we,
then, destined to become a sort of Chinese Empire, with three hundred
millions of human beings, and not a divine man or woman?

Is what Carlyle says is hitherto our sole achievement--the bringing into
existence of an almost incredible number of bores--is this to be the
final outcome of our national life? Is the commonest man the only type
which in a democratic society will in the end survive? Does universal
equality mean universal inferiority? Are republican institutions fatal
to noble personality? Are the people as little friendly to men of moral
and intellectual superiority as they are to men of great wealth! Is
their dislike of the millionaires but a symptom of their aversion to
all who in any way are distinguished from the crowd? And is this the
explanation of the blight which falls upon the imagination and the
hearts of the young?

Ah! surely, we who have faith in human nature, who believe in freedom
and in popular government, can never doubt what answer must be given to
all these questions. A society which inevitably represses what is
highest in the best sort of men is an evil society. A civilization which
destroys faith in genius, in heroism, in sanctity, is the forerunner of
barbarism. Individuality is man's noblest triumph over fate, his most
heavenly assertion of the freedom of the soul; and a world in which
individuality is made impossible is a slavish world. There man dwindles,
becomes one of a multitude, the impersonal product of a general law;
and all his godlike strength and beauty are lost. Is not one true poet
more precious than a whole generation of millionaires; one philosopher
of more worth than ten thousand members of Congress; one man who sees
and loves God dearer than an army of able editors?

The greater our control of Nature becomes, the more its treasures are
explored and utilized, the greater the need of strong personality to
counteract the fatal force of matter. Just as men in tropical countries
are overwhelmed and dwarfed by Nature's rich profusion, so in this age,
in which industry and science have produced resources far beyond the
power of unassisted Nature, only strong characters, marked
individualities, can resist the influence of wealth and machinery, which
tend to make man of less importance than that which he eats and
wears,--to make him subordinate to the tools he uses.

From many sides personality, which is the fountain-head of worth,
genius, and power, is menaced. The spirit of the time would deny that
God is a Person, and holds man's personality in slight esteem, as not
rooted in the soul, but in aggregated atoms. The whole social network,
in whose meshes we are all caught, cripples and paralyzes individuality.
We must belong to a party, to a society, to a ring, to a clique, and
deliver up our living thought to these soulless entities. Or, if we
remain aloof from such affiliation, we must have no honest conviction,
no fixed principles, but fit our words to business and professional
interests, and conform to the exigencies of the prevailing whim. The
minister is hired to preach not what he believes, but what the people
wish to hear; the congressman is elected to vote not in the light of his
own mind, but in obedience to the dictates of those who send him; the
newspaper circulates not because it is filled with words of truth and
wisdom, but because it panders to the pruriency and prejudice of its
patrons; and a book is popular in inverse ratio to its individuality and
worth. Our National Library is filled with books which have copyright,
but no other right, human or divine, to exist at all; and when one of us
does succeed in asserting his personality, he usually only makes himself
odd and ridiculous. He rushes into polygamous Mormonism, or buffoon
revivalism, or shallow-minded atheism; nay, he will even become an
anarchist, because a few men have too much money and too little soul.
What we need is neither the absence of individuality nor a morbid
individuality, but high and strong personalities.

If our country is to be great and forever memorable, something quite
other than wealth and numbers will make it so. Were there but question
of countless millions of dollars and people, then indeed the victory
would already have been gained. If we are to serve the highest interests
of mankind, and to mark an advance in human history, we must do more
than establish universal suffrage, and teach every child to read and
write. As true criticism deals only with men of genius or of the best
talent, and takes no serious notice of mechanical writers and
book-makers, so true history loses sight of nations whose only
distinction lies in their riches and populousness.

The noblest and most gifted men and women are alone supremely
interesting and abidingly memorable. We have already reached a point
where we perceive the unreality of the importance which the chronicles
have sought to give to mere kings and captains. If the king was a hero,
we love him; but if he was a sot or a coward, his jeweled crown and
purple robes leave him as unconsidered by us as the beggar in his rags.
Whatever influence, favorable or unfavorable, democracy may exert to
make easy or difficult the advent of the noblest kind of man, an age in
which the people think and rule will strip from all sham greatness its
trappings and tinsel. The parade hero and windy orator will be gazed at
and applauded, but they are all the while transparent and contemptible.
The scientific spirit, too, which now prevails, is the foe of all
pretense; it looks at things in their naked reality, is concerned to get
a view of the fact as it is, without a care whether it be a beautiful or
an ugly, a sweet or a bitter truth. The fact is what it is, and nothing
can be gained by believing it to be what it is not.

This is a most wise and human way of looking at things, if men will only
not forget that the mind sees farther than the eye, that the heart feels
deeper than the hand; and that where knowledge fails, faith is left;
where possession is denied, hope remains. The young must enter upon
their life-work with the conviction that only what is real is true,
good, and beautiful; and that the unreal is altogether futile and vain.

Now, the most real thing for every man, if he is a man, is his own soul.
His thought, his love, his faith, his hope, are but his soul thinking,
loving, believing, hoping. His joy and misery are but his soul glad or
sad. Hence, so far as we are able to see or argue, the essence of
reality is spiritual; and since the soul is conscious that it is not the
supreme reality, but is dependent, illumined by a truth higher than
itself, nourished by a love larger than its own, it has a dim vision of
the Infinite Being as essentially real and essentially spiritual. A
living faith in this infinite spiritual reality is the fountain-head not
only of religion, but of noble life. All wavering here is a symptom of
psychic paralysis. When the infinite reality becomes questionable, then
all things become material and vile. The world becomes a world of sight
and sound, of taste and touch. The soul is poured through the senses and
dissipated; the current of life stagnates, and grows fetid in sloughs
and marshes. Minds for whom God is the Unknowable have no faith in
knowledge at all, except as the equivalent of weight and measure, of
taste and touch and smell.

Now, if all that may be known and desired is reduced to this material
expression, how dull and beggarly does not life become,--mere atomic
integration and disintegration, the poor human pneumatic-machine purring
along the dusty road of matter, bound and helpless and soulless as a
clanking engine! No high life, in individuals or nations, is to be hoped
for, unless it is enrooted in the infinite spiritual reality,--in God.
It is forever indubitable that the highest is not material, and no
argument is therefore needed to show that when spiritual ideals lose
their power of attraction, life sinks to lower beds.

Sight is the noblest sense, and the starlit sky is the most sublime
object we can behold. But what do we in reality see there? Only a kind
of large tent, dimly lighted with gas jets. This is the noblest thing
the noblest sense reveals. But let the soul appear, and the tent flies
into invisible shreds; the heavens break open from abyss to abyss, still
widening into limitless expanse, until imagination reels. The gas jets
grow into suns, blazing since innumerable ages with unendurable light,
and binding whole planetary systems into harmony and life. So infinitely
does the soul transcend the senses! The world it lives in is boundless,
eternal, sublime. This is its home; this the sphere in which it grows,
and awakens to consciousness of kinship with God. This is the
fathomless, shoreless abyss of being wherein it is plunged, from which
it draws its life, its yearning for the absolute, its undying hope, its
love of the best, its craving for immortality, its instinct for eternal
things. To condemn it to work merely for money, for position, for
applause, for pleasure, is to degrade it to the condition of a slave. It
is as though we should take some supreme poet or hero and bid him break
stones or grind corn,--he who has the faculty to give to truth its
divinest form, and to lift the hearts of nations to the love of heavenly

Whatever our lot on earth may be--whether we toil with the hand, with
the brain, or with the heart--we may not bind the soul to any slavish
service. Let us do our work like men,--till the soil, build homes,
refine brute matter, be learned in law, in medicine, in theology; but
let us never chain our souls to what they work in. No earthly work can
lay claim to the whole life of man; for every man is born for God, for
the Universe, and may not narrow his mind. We must have some practical
thing to do in the world,--some way of living which will place us in
harmony with the requirements and needs of earthly life; and what this
daily business of ours shall be, each one, in view of his endowments and
surroundings, must decide for himself.

It is well to bear in mind that every kind of life has its advantages,
except an immoral life. Whatever we make of ourselves, then,--whether
farmers, mechanics, lawyers, doctors, or priests,--let us above all
things first have a care that we are men; and if we are to be men, our
special business work must form only a part of our life-work. The
aim--at least in this way alone can I look at human life--is not to make
rich and successful bankers, merchants, farmers, lawyers, and doctors,
but to make noble and enlightened men. Hence the final thought in all
work is that we work not to have more, but to be more; not for higher
place, but for greater worth; not for fame, but for knowledge. In a
word, the final thought is that we labor to upbuild the being which we
are, and not merely to build round our real self with marble and gold
and precious stones. This is but the Christian teaching which has
transformed the world; which declares that it is the business of slaves
even, of beggars and outcasts, to work first of all for God and the
soul. The end is infinite, the aim must be the highest. Not to know
this, not to hear the heavenly invitation, is to be shut out from
communion with the best; is to be cut off from the source of growth; is
to be given over to modes of thought which fatally lead to mediocrity
and vulgarity of life.

    To live for common ends is to be common.
    The highest faith makes still the highest man;
    For we grow like the things our souls believe,
    And rise or sink as we aim high or low.
    No mirror shows such likeness of the face
    As faith we live by of the heart and mind.
    We are in very truth that which we love;
    And love, like noblest deeds, is born of faith.
    The lover and the hero reason not,
    But they believe in what they love and do.
    All else is accident,--this is the soul
    Of life, and lifts the whole man to itself,
    Like a key-note, which, running through all sounds,
    Upbears them all in perfect harmony.

We cannot set a limit to the knowledge and love of man, because they
spring from God, and move forever toward him who is without limit. That
we have been made capable of this ceaseless approach to an infinite
ideal is the radical fact in our nature. Through this we are human;
through this we are immortal; through this we are lifted above matter,
look through the rippling stream of time on the calm ocean of eternity,
and beyond the utmost bounds of space, see simple being,--life and
thought and love, deathless, imageless, absolute. This ideal creates the
law of duty, for it makes the distinction between right and wrong. Hence
the first duty of man is to make himself like God, through knowledge
ever-widening, through love ever-deepening, through life ever-growing.

So only can we serve God, so only can we love him. To be content with
ignorance is infidelity to his infinite truth. To rest in a lesser love
is to deny the boundless charity which holds the heavens together and
makes them beautiful, which to every creature gives its fellow, which
for the young bird makes the nest, for the child the mother's breast,
and in the heart of man sows the seed of faith and hope and heavenly

Ceaseless growth toward God,--this is the ideal, this is the law of
human life, proposed and sanctioned alike by Religion, Philosophy, and
Poetry. _Dulcissima vita sentire in dies se fieri meliorem._

    Upward to move along a Godward way,
      Where love and knowledge still increase,
    And clouds and darkness yield to growing day,
      Is more than wealth or fame or peace.

    No other blessing shall I ever ask.
      This is the best that life can give;
    This only is the soul's immortal task
      For which 't is worth the pain to live.

It is man's chief blessedness that there lie in his nature infinite
possibilities of growth. The growth of animals comes quickly to an end,
and when they cease to grow they cease to be joyful; but man, whose
bodily development even is slow, is capable of rising to wider knowledge
and purer love through unending ages. Hence even when he is old,--if he
has lived for what is great and exalted,--his mind is clear, his heart
is tender, and his soul is glad. Only those races are noble, only those
individuals are worthy, who yield without reserve to the power of this
impulse to ceaseless progress. Behold how the race from which we have
sprung--the Aryan--breaks forth into ever new developments of strength
and beauty in Greece, in Italy, in France, in England, in Germany, in
America; creating literature, philosophy, science, art; receiving
Christian truth, and through its aid rising to diviner heights of
wisdom, power, freedom, love, and knowledge.

And so there are individuals--and they are born to teach and to
rule--for whom to live is to grow; who, forgetting what they have been,
and what they are, think ever only of becoming more and more. Their
education is never finished; their development is never complete; their
work is never done. From victories won they look to other battlefields;
from every height of knowledge they peer into the widening nescience;
from all achievements and possessions they turn away toward the
unapproachable Infinite, to whom they are drawn. Walking in the shadow
of the too great light of God, they are illumined, and they are
darkened. This makes Newton think his knowledge ignorance; this makes
Saint Paul think his heroic virtue naught. Oh, blessed men, who make us
feel that we are of the race of God; who measure and weigh the heavens;
who love with boundless love; who toil and are patient; who teach us
that workers can wait! They are in love with life; they yearn for fuller
life. Life is good, and the highest life is God; and wherever man grows
in knowledge, wisdom, and strength, in faith, hope, and love, he walks
in the way of heaven.

To you, young gentlemen, who are about to quit these halls, to continue
amid other surroundings the work of education which here has but begun,
what words shall I more directly speak? If hitherto you have wrought to
any purpose, you will go forth into the world filled with resolute will
and noble enthusiasm to labor even unto the end in building up the being
which is yourself, that you may unceasingly approach the type of perfect
manhood. This deep-glowing fervor of enthusiasm for what is highest and
best is worth more to you, and to any man, than all that may be learned
in colleges. If ambition is akin to pride, and therefore to folly, it is
none the less a mighty spur to noble action; and where it is not found
in youth, budding and blossoming like the leaves and flowers in spring,
what promise is there of the ripe fruit which nourishes life? The love
of excellence bears us up on the swift wing and plumes of high desire,--

    Without which whosoe'er consumes his days,
    Leaveth such vestige of himself on earth
    As smoke in air or foam upon the wave.

Do not place before your eyes the standard of vulgar success. Do not
say, I will study, labor, exercise myself, that I may become able to get
wealth or office, for to this kind of work the necessities of life and
the tendency of the age will drive you; whereas, if you hope to be true
and high, it is your business to hold yourselves above the spirit of the
age. It is our worst misfortune that we have no ideals. Our very
religion, it would seem, is not able to give us a living faith in the
reality of ideals; for we are no longer wholly convinced that souls live
in the atmosphere of God as truly as lungs breathe the air of earth. We
find it difficult even to think of striving for what is eternal,
all-holy, and perfect, so unreal, so delusive do such thoughts seem.

Who will understand that to be is better than to have, and that in truth
a man is worth only what he is? Who will believe that the kingdom of
this world, not less than the kingdom of Heaven, lies within? Who, even
in thinking of the worth of a pious and righteous life, is not swayed by
some sort of honesty-best-policy principle? We love knowledge because we
think it is power; and virtue, because we are told as a rule it
succeeds. Ah! do you love knowledge for itself?--for it is good, it is
godlike to know. Do you love virtue for its own sake?--for it is
eternally and absolutely right to be virtuous. Instead of giving your
thoughts and desires to wealth and position, learn to know how little of
such things a true and wise man needs; for the secret of a happy life
does not lie in the means and opportunities of indulging our weaknesses,
but in knowing how to be content with what is reasonable, that time and
strength may remain for the cultivation of our nobler nature. Ask God to
inspire you with some great thought, some abiding love of what is
excellent, which may fill you with gladness and courage, and in the
midst of the labors, the trials, and the disappointments of life, keep
you still strong and serene.



    What do we gather hence but firmer faith
    That every gift of noble origin
    Is breathed upon by Hope's perpetual breath;
    That virtue and the faculties within
    Are vital, and that riches are akin
    To fear, to change, to cowardice, and death?


What is so delightful as spring weather? To it, whatever mystery life
can make plain, it reveals. There is universal utterance. Water leaps
from its winding sheet of snow; the streams spring out to wander till
they find their source; the corn sprouts to receive the sun's warm kiss;
the buds unfold, the blossoms send forth fragrance, the heavens weep for
joy; the birds sing, the children shout, and the fuller pulse of life
gives, even to the old, fresh thoughts and young desires. Now, what is
all this but a symbol of the soul, which feels the urgency of God
calling upon it to make itself alive in him and in his universe of truth
and beauty?

But the season of growth is also the time of blight. A hundred germs
perish for one that ripens into wholesome fruit; a hundred young lives
suffer physical or moral ruin for one that develops into some likeness
of true manhood. And upon what slight causes success or failure seems to

As a mere word, a glance, will bring the blood to a maiden's cheek, so
may it sow the germ of moral death in the heart of youth. How helpless
and ignorant the young are in their seeming strength and smartness: how
self-sufficient in their unwisdom, how little amenable to reason, how
slow to perceive true ideals. What patient, persevering effort is
required to form character, and what a little thing will poison life in
its source! How easy it is to see and understand what is coarse and
evil, how difficult to appreciate what is pure and excellent. How
quickly a boy learns to find pleasure in what is animal or brutal; but
what infinite pains must be taken before he is won to the love of truth
and goodness. Caricature delights him, and he has no eyes for the chaste
beauty of perfect art. The story of an outlaw fills him with enthusiasm,
and the heroic struggles of godlike souls are for him meaningless. He
gazes with envious awe upon some vulgar rich man, and finds a
philosopher, or a saint, only queer. He studies because he has been sent
to school, where ignorance will expose him to ridicule and humiliation,
and possibly too, because he is told that knowledge will help him to win
money and influence. However great his proficiency, he is in truth but a
barbarian, without wisdom, without reverence, without gentleness. He has
been brought only in a vague way into communion with the conscious life
of the race; he has no true conception of the dignity of souls, no sense
of the beauty of modest and unselfish action. He mistakes rudeness for
strength, boastfulness for ability, disrespect for independence,
profanity for manliness, brutality for courage.

And to add to his misfortune, he is blind to his own weakness and
ignorance. A sneer or a jest is his reply to the voice of wisdom, as
with a light heart he walks in the road to ruin; and thus it happens
that for one who becomes a true and noble man, a hundred go astray or
sink into an unintelligent and vulgar kind of life. This fact is
concealed from the eyes of the young, from the eyes of the multitude,
indeed. As we hide the dead in the earth that we may quickly forget our
loss, so society buries from sight and thought those who fail. Their
number is so great that the oblivion which soon overwhelms them is
needful to save even the brave from discouragement. Of a hundred college
boys the lives of twenty-five will be ruined by dissipation, by sensual
indulgence; twenty-five others will be wrecked by unhappy marriages,
foolish financial schemes, dishonesty and indolence; of the remaining
fifty, forty, let us say, will manage to get on without loss of
respectability, while the ten (who are still left) will win a sort of
notoriety by getting rich or by getting elected to office. Of the
hundred will one become a saint, a philosopher, a poet, a statesman, or
even a man of superior ability in natural knowledge or literature? And
if this estimate is rightly made they all fail; and the emergence of a
high and noble mind is so improbable that it may almost be looked upon,
like the birth of a genius, as an accident, so impossible is it, with
our limited view, to bring such cases within the domain of law. These
hundred college boys have been taken from a thousand youths. The nine
hundred have remained outside the doors which open into the halls of
culture, away from the special influences which thought and ingenuity
have created to develop and perfect man's endowments. As they are less
favored, we demand less of them, and are content to have them reinforce
the unenlightened army of laborers and money-getters. But when we come
among those to whom leisure and opportunity are given that they may
learn to think truly and to act nobly, and find that they fail in this,
as nearly all of them do fail, we are disappointed and saddened. The
thoughtless imagine that those who provide food and shelter do the most
important work; but such work is the most important only where there is
no intellectual, moral, or religious life. That is most necessary which
nourishes the highest faculty, and wherever civilization exists,
enlightened minds and great characters are indispensable. The animal and
the savage, without much difficulty, find what satisfies appetite; but
God appoints that only living souls shall provide what keeps souls
alive. Now this soul-life, which manifests itself in thought, in
conduct, in hope, faith, and love, makes us human and lifts us above
every other kind of earthly existence. It is our distinctive attribute,
the godlike side of our being, which, under penalty of sinking to lower
worlds, we must bring out and cultivate. The plant is alive. By its own
energy it springs from darkness, it grows, it waves its green leaves
beneath the blue heavens; but it is blind, deaf and dumb, senseless,
dead to the world of sight and sound, of taste and smell. The animal too
is alive, and in a higher way: for all the glories of Nature are painted
upon its eye; all sounds strike upon its ear; it moves about and has all
the sensations of physical pleasure of which man is capable; but it is
without thought, without sense of right and wrong, without imagination,
without hope and faith. It is plain then that human life, in its highest
sense, is life of the soul,--a life of thought and love, of faith and
hope, of imagination and desire; and men are high or low as they partake
more or less of this true life. By this standard, and by no other,
reason requires that we form an estimate of human worth. To be a king,
to have money, to live in splendor, to meet with approval from few or
many,--is accidental, is something which may happen to an ignorant, a
heartless, a depraved, a vulgar man. The most vicious and brutal of men
have, again and again, held the most exalted positions, and as a rule
cringing and lying, trickery and robbery, or speculation and gambling,
have been and are the means by which great fortunes are acquired.
Position, then, and money are distinguishable from worth; and they may
be and often are found where the life of thought and love, of faith and
hope, of imagination and desire, is almost wholly wanting. Now, it is
this life--the only true human life--which education should bring forth
and strengthen; and the failure to lead this life, of those who pass
through our institutions of learning, is a subject of deep concern for
all who observe and reflect; for among them we look for the leaders who
shall cause wisdom and goodness to prevail over ignorance and appetite.
If those who receive the best nurture and care remain on the low plains
of a hardly more than animal existence, what hope is there that the
multitude shall rise to nobler ways of living?

There is question here of the most vital interests; and if we discover
the causes of the evil, a remedy may be found. These causes of failure
lie partly in our environment and partly within ourselves. In the home,
in which we receive the first and the most enduring impressions, true
views and noble aims are frequently wanting; and thus false and low
estimates of life are formed at a time when what we learn sinks into the
very substance of the mind, and colors and shapes all our future seeing
and loving. This primal experience accompanies us, and hangs about us
like a mist to shut out the view of fairer worlds. Enthusiasm for
intellectual and moral excellence is never roused, because our young
souls were not made magnetic by the words and deeds of those whom we
looked up to as gods. Fortunate is he who bears with him into the
life-struggle pure memories of a happy home. When I think of the bees I
have seen coming back to the hive, honey-laden, in the golden light of
setting suns, when I was a boy at home, a feeling comes over me as
though I had lived in paradise and been driven forth into a bleak
world. When one is young, and one's father and mother are full of health
and joy; when the roses are blooming and the brooks are laughing to
themselves from simple gladness, and the floating clouds and the silent
stars seem to have human thoughts,--what more could we ask of God but to
know that all this is eternal, and is from him?

In such a mood, how easy it is to turn the childlike soul to the world
of spiritual and immortal things. With what efficacy then a mother's
soft voice teaches us that we were born upon this earth for no other
purpose than to know truth, to love goodness, to do right, that so,
having made ourselves godlike, we may forever be with God. And if these
high lessons blend in our thought with memories which make home a type
of heaven, how shall they not through life be a spur to noble endeavor
to accomplish the task thus set us? When great-hearted, high-souled boys
go forth to college from homes of intelligence and love, then is there
well-founded hope that they shall grow to be wise and helpful men, who
know and teach truth, who see and create beauty, who do and make others
do what becomes a man. Of hardly less importance is the neighborhood in
which our early years are passed, and next to the companionship of the
home fireside, a boy's best neighbor is Nature. Well for him shall it
be, if, like colts and calves, and all happy young things, he is
permitted to breath the wholesome air of woods and fields, to drink from
flowing streams, to lie in the shade of trees on the green sward, or to
stand alone beneath the silent starlit heavens until the thought and
feeling of the infinite and eternal sink deep into his soul, and make it
impossible that he should ever look upon the universe of time and space,
or the universe of duty's law within his breast, in a shallow or
irreverent spirit. Little shall be said to him, and little shall he
speak, and to the unobservant he shall seem dull; but he is Nature's
nursling, and she paints her colors on his brain and infuses her
strength into his heart. She hardens him and teaches him patience; she
shows him real things, fills him with the love of truth, and makes him
understand that sham is shame.

His progress may be slow; but he will persevere, he will have faith in
the power of labor and of time, and when in after years we shall look
about for a man with some Diogenes' lantern, there are a thousand
chances to one that when we find him we shall find him country-born, not
city-bred. Too soon is the town-boy made self-conscious; he is
precocious; all the tricks and devices of civilization are known to
him; all artifices and contrivances he sees in shop-windows; the street,
the theatre, the newspaper are the rivals of the home, and they quickly
teach him irreverence and disobedience. He loses innocence, experience
of evil gives him flippant views. He becomes wise in his own conceit;
having eyes only for the surfaces of things, he easily persuades himself
that he knows all. Of such a youth how shall any college make an
enlightened, a noble, and a reverent man? But the home and the
neighborhood are not our whole environment. As we are immersed in an
atmospheric ocean, so do we swim in the current of our national life. To
praise this life is easy. We all see and feel how vigorous it is, how
confident, how eager. Here is a world of busy men and women, active in
many directions. They found States, they build cities, they create
wealth, they discuss all problems, they try all experiments, they hurry
on to new tasks, and think they have done nothing while aught remains to

They live in the midst of the excitement of ever-recurring elections, of
speculation, of financial schemes and commercial enterprises. It is an
unrestful, feverish, practical life, in which all the strong natures are
thinking of doing something, of gaining something,--a life in the
market-place, where high thought and noble conduct are all but
impossible, where the effort to make one's self a man, instead of
striving to get so many thousands of money, would seem ridiculous. It is
a life of inventions and manufactures, of getting and spending, in which
we bring forth and consume in a single century what it has taken Nature
many thousand years to hoard. Our aim is to have more rather than to be
more; our ideal is that of material progress; our praise is given to
those who invent and discover the means of augmenting wealth. Liberty is
opportunity to get rich; education is the development of the
money-getting faculty. Our national life may, of course, be looked at
from many sides, but the general drift of opinion and effort is in the
direction here pointed out. Nine tenths of our thought and energy are
given to material interests, and these interests represent nine tenths
of our achievements. This may be true of men in general, it may be true
also that material progress is a condition of moral and intellectual
growth; but none the less is it true that right human life is a life of
thought and love, of hope and faith, of imagination and desire.
Consequently in a well-ordered society, the chief aim--nine tenths of
all effort, let us say--will have for its object the creation of
enlightened and loving men and women, whom faith and hope shall make
strong, whom imagination shall refresh, and the desire of perfection
shall keep active. The aims which the ideals of democracy suggest are
not wholly or chiefly material. We strive, indeed, to create a social
condition in which comfort and plenty shall be within the reach of all;
but the better among us understand that this is but an inferior part of
our work, and they take no delight whatever in our great fortunes and
great cities. If democracy is the best government, it follows that it is
the kind of government which is most favorable to virtue, intelligence,
and religion. It is faint praise to say that in America there is more
enterprise, more wealth, than elsewhere. What we should strive to make
ourselves able to say, is, that there is here a more truly human life,
more public and private honesty, purity, sympathy, and helpfulness; more
love of knowledge, more perfect openness to light, greater desire to
learn, and greater willingness to accept truth than is to be found
elsewhere. It should be our endeavor to create a world of which it may
be said, there life is more pleasant, beauty more highly prized,
goodness held in greater reverence, the sense of honor finer, the
recognition of talent and worth completer than elsewhere.

Wealth and population should be considered merely as means, which, if we
ourselves do not sink beneath our fortune, we shall use to help us to
develop on a vast scale, a nobler, freer, and fairer life than hitherto
has ever existed. We Americans have a great capacity for seeing things
as they are. A thousand shams and glittering vanities have gone down
before our straight-looking eyes; and because such things fail to
impress us, we seem to be irreverent. We must look more steadfastly,
deeper still, until we clearly perceive and understand that to live for
money is to lead a false and vulgar life, to rest with complacency in
mere numbers is to have a superficial and unreal mind. To form a right
judgment of a people, as of individuals, we must consider what they are;
not what they have, except in so far as their possessions are the result
of work which at once forms and reveals character. And we must know that
work is good only in as much as it helps to make life human,--that is,
intelligent, moral and religious. And what we have the right to demand
of those to whom we give a higher education is, that they shall body
forth these principles in their lives and become leaders in the task of
spreading them among the multitude. We demand, first of all, that they
become men whose hearts are pure and loving, whose minds are open and
enlightened, whose motives are benevolent and generous, whose purposes
are high and religious; and if they are such men, it shall matter
little to what special pursuits they turn, for whatever their
occupation, honor, truth, and intelligence shall go with them, bearing,
like mercy, a blessing for those who give and a blessing for those who
receive. The spirit in which they work shall be more than what they do,
as they themselves shall be more than what they accomplish.

A right spirit transforms the whole man, and the first and highest aim
of the educator should be to impart a new heart, a new purpose, which
shall bring into play forces that may oppose and overcome those faults
of the young of which I have spoken, and which, if not corrected, lead
to failure.

And here we come to the causes of ill success which lie within
ourselves. We have our individual qualities and defects, and we have
also the qualities and defects of the people whence we are sprung, and
of the time-spirit into which we are born. It is the aim of education,
as it is the aim of religion, to lift us above the spirit of the age;
but in attempting to do this, they who lose sight of what is true and
beneficent in that spirit, commit a serious blunder. A national spirit,
too, is a narrow, and often a harsh and selfish spirit; but when culture
and religion strive to make us citizens of the world and universally
benevolent, a care must be had that we retain what is strong and noble
in the character we inherit from our ancestors.

The lover of intellectual excellence, however, is little inclined to
dwell with complacency either upon his own qualities, or upon the
greatness of his country or his age. The untaught optimism which leads
the crowd to exaggerate the worth of whatever they in any way identify
with themselves, he looks upon with suspicion, if not with aversion.
Self-complacency is pleasant; but truth alone is good, and they who
think least are best content with themselves and with their world. He
who seeks to improve his mind, neither boasts of his age and country,
nor rails at them; but tries to understand them as he tries to know
himself. The important knowledge here is of obstacles and defects; for
when these are removed, to advance is easy. The first lesson which we
must learn is that in the work of mental culture, time and patience are
necessary elements. The young, who are eager and restless, find it
difficult to work with patience and perseverance, especially when the
reward of labor is remote, and in the excitement and hurry of American
life, such work often seems to be impossible. But by this kind of work
alone can true culture be acquired. It is this Buffoon means when he
calls genius a great capacity for taking pains. When Albert Dürer said,
"Sir, it cannot be better done;" he simply meant that he had bestowed
infinite pains upon his work. Now, they who are in a hurry cannot take
pains; and they who work for money will take pains only in so far as it
is profitable to do so. We must live in our work and love it for its own
sake. To do work we love makes us happy, makes us free, and according to
its kind educates us; and whatever its kind, it will at least teach us
the sovereign virtue of patience, and give us something of the spirit of
the old masters who in dingy shops ceased not from labor, and kept their
cheerful serenity to the end, though the outcome was only the most
perfect fiddle, or a deathless head. But they themselves had the souls
of artists, and were honest men, who in their work found joy and
freedom, and therefore what they did remains as a source of delight and
inspiration. If we find it impossible to put our hearts into our work
and consequently impossible to take infinite pains with it, then this is
work for which we were not born. The impatient cannot love the labor by
which the mind is cultivated, because impatience implies a sense of
restraint, a lack of freedom. They are restless, easily grow weary or
despondent, find fault with themselves and their task, and either throw
off the yoke or bear it in a spirit of disappointment and bitterness.
As they fail to make themselves strong and serene, their work bears the
marks of haste and feebleness, for work reveals character; it is the
likeness of the doer, as style shows the man. Then the young are blinded
by the glitter and glare of life, by the splendors of position and
wealth; they are drawn to what is external; they would be here and
there; they love the unchartered liberty of chance desires, and are
easily brought to look upon the task of self-improvement as a slavish
work. They would have done with study that they may be free, may enter
into what they suppose to be a fair and rich heritage. They cannot
understand that so long as they are narrow, sensual, and unenlightened,
the possession of a world could not make them high or happy. They do not
know that to have liberty, without the power of using it for worthy
ends, is a curse not a blessing. They imagine that experience of the
world's ways and wickedness will make them wise, whereas it will make
them depraved.

How can they realize that the good of life consists in being, and not in
having? that we are worth what our knowledge, love, admiration, hope,
faith, and desire make us worth? They will not perceive that happiness
and unhappiness are conditions of soul, and consequently that the wise,
the loving, and the strong, whatever their outward fortune, are happy,
while the ignorant, the heartless, and the weak are miserable. To know
ourselves, we should seek to discover the kind of life our influence
tends to create. Consider the kind of world college boys make for
themselves, the things they admire, the companions they find pleasant,
the subjects in which they take interest, the books that delight
them,--and one great cause of the failure of education will be made
plain; for though they are sent to school to be taught by professors,
their influence upon one another is paramount. Instead of helping one
another to see that their real business is to educate themselves, they
persuade one another that life is given for common ends and vulgar
pleasures. Hence they look with envy upon their companions who are the
sons of rich men, as they have not lived long enough to learn that the
fate of four fifths of the sons of rich men in this country, is moral
and physical ruin. If such is the public opinion of the world in which
they live; and if even strong men are feeble in the presence of public
opinion,--how shall we find fault with them for not being attracted by
the ideals of intellectual and moral excellence. For the trained mind
even to think is difficult, and for them independent thought is almost
impossible. They do not know the little less than creative power of
right education, or that as we are changed by action, we are
transformed by thought. What patient labor may do to exalt and refine
the mental faculties, until we become capable of entering into the life
of every age and every people, has not been shown to them; and hence
they are not inspired by the high hope of dwelling, in very truth, with
all the noble and heroic souls who have passed through this world and
left record of themselves. We bid the youth learn many things which he
cannot but find both useless and uninteresting. And yet unless we
discover the secret of winning him to the love of study, the educational
value of what he learns is lost; for what leaves him unmoved, leaves him
unimproved. His information and accomplishments are comparatively
unimportant. What he himself is, and what his real self gives us grounds
for hoping he shall become, is the true concern. To be able to translate
Æschylus or Plato is not a great thing; but it is a great thing to have
the Greek's sense of what is fair, noble and intellectual. To be able to
solve a complex mathematical problem may be unimportant; but to have the
mental habit of accurate, close, patient thinking is important. It is
easy to forget one's Greek or the higher mathematics; but an
intellectual or a moral habit is not easily lost.

He who has right habits will go farther and rise higher than he who has
only brilliant attainments. It is an error, and a very common one, to
suppose that education is merely, or chiefly, a mental process, and
consequently that the best school is that in which the various kinds of
knowledge are best taught. Our whole being, physical, intellectual, and
moral, is subject to the law of education. We may educate the eye, the
ear, the hand, the foot; and each member of the body may be trained in
many ways. The eye of the microscopist has received a training different
from that of the painter; the sculptor's hand has been taught a cunning
unlike that of the surgeon; the voice of the orator is developed in one
way, that of the singer in another. And so the faculties of the mind may
be drawn forth, and each one in various ways. The powers of observation,
of reflection, of intuition, of imagination, are all educable. One of
the most important and most difficult lessons to learn is that of
attention. We know only what we are conscious of, and we are conscious
only of that to which we give heed. If we but hold the mind to any
subject with perseverance, it will deliver its secret. The little
knowledge we have is often vague and unreal, because we are heedless,
because we have never taught ourselves to dwell in conscious communion
with the objects of thought. The trained eye sees innumerable beauties
which are hidden from others, and so the mind which is taught to look
right sees truths the uneducated can never know. We may be taught to
judge as well as to look. Indeed, once we have learned to see things as
they are, correct opinions and judgments naturally follow. All faculty
is the result of education. Poets, orators, philosophers, and saints
bring not their gifts into the world with them; but by looking and
thinking, doing and striving, they rise from the poor elements of
half-conscious life to the clear vision of truth and beauty. Natural
endowments are not equal; but the chief cause of inequality lies in the
unequal efforts which men make to develop their endowments. The lack of
imagination in the multitude makes their life dull, uninteresting, and
material, and it is assumed that we are born with, or without,
imagination, and that there is no remedy for this misery. And those who
admit that imagination is subject to the law of development, frequently
hold that it should be repressed rather than strengthened. Doubtless the
imagination can be cultivated, just as the eye or the ear, the judgment
or the reason, can be cultivated; and since imagination, like faith,
hope, and love, helps us to live in higher and fairer worlds, an
educator is false to his calling when he leaves it unimproved. The
classics, and especially poetry, are the great means of intellectual
culture, because more than anything else they have power to exalt and
ennoble the imagination. To suppose that this faculty is one which only
poets and artists need, is to take a shallow and partial view. The
historian, the student of Nature, the statesman, the minister of
religion, the teacher, the mechanic even, if they are to do good work,
must possess imagination, which is at once an intellectual, a moral, and
a religious faculty. It is the mother and mistress of faith, hope, and
love. It is the source of great thoughts, of high aspirations, and of
heavenly dreams. Without it the illimitable starlit expanse loses its
sublimity, oceans and mountains their awfulness and majesty, flowers
their beauty, home its sacred charm, youth its halo, and the grave its
solemn mystery.

Those powers within us which are directly related to conduct, the
impulses to self-preservation, and to the propagation of the race, are
subject to the law of education, not less than our physical and
intellectual endowments. And the importance of dealing rightly with
these powers is readily perceived if we reflect that conduct is the
greater part of human life, which is a life of thought and love, of hope
and faith, of imagination and desire.

As we can educate the faculties of thought and imagination, so can we
develop the power to love, to hope, to believe, and to desire. When
there is question of the intellect, teachers seek to impart information
rather than to strengthen the mind, and when there is question of the
moral nature, they have recourse to precepts and maxims instead of
striving to confirm the will and to direct impulse. It is generally
held, in fact, that will is a gift, not a growth, and the same view is
taken of all our moral dispositions. We are supposed to receive from
Nature a warm or a cold heart, a hopeful or a despondent temper, a
believing or a skeptical turn of mind, a spiritual or a sensual bent.
Now as I have already admitted, endowments are unlike; but what has this
to do with the drift of the argument? Minds, though by nature unequal,
may all be educated; and so wills may be educated, and so that which
makes us capable of faith, hope, and desire, may be drawn forth,
strengthened, and refined. Emerson, whose thought is predominantly
spiritual, takes a low and material view of the moral faculties,
confusing strength of will with health. "Courage," he says, "is the
degree of circulation of the blood in the arteries.... When one has a
plus of health, all difficulties vanish before it." But will is a moral
rather than a constitutional power; and in so far as it is moral, it
may be cultivated and directed to noble aims and ends. And if the
teacher perform this work with fine knowledge and tact, he becomes an
educator; for upon the will, more than upon the intellectual faculties,
success or failure depends. Whatever we are able to will, we are able to
learn to do; and the best service we can render another is to rouse and
confirm within him the will to live and to work, that he may make
himself a complete man, that thus he may become a benefactor of men and
a co-worker with God. The rational will, which is the educated will,
should give impulse and guidance to all our thinking, loving, and doing.
It should control appetite; it should nourish faith and hope; it should
lead us on through the illusory world of sensual delights, through the
hardly less illusory world of wealth and power, still bidding us look
and see that the world to which the conscious self really belongs, is
infinite and eternal, and that to seek to rest in aught else is to
apostatize from reason and conscience. Thus it would awaken in us a
divine discontent, a sacred unrest, which might urge us on through the
darkness of appetite and the unwholesome air of avarice and ambition,
whispering to us that our life-work is to know truth, to love beauty, to
do righteousness. To none is the education of the will so necessary as
to the lovers of intellectual excellence, for they who live in the world
of ideas are easily content to let the world of deeds take care of
itself. As the astronomer sees the earth lost like a grain of sand in
infinite space, so to the wide and deep view of one who is familiar with
the course of human thought and action, what any man, what the whole
race of man, may do, can seem but insignificant. From the vanity and
noise of actors who fret and storm for their brief hour, and then pass
forever from life's stage, he flies to ideal worlds where truth never
changes, where beauty never grows old, and lives more richly blest than
lovers in Tempe or the dales of Arcady. And then the habit of looking at
things from many sides leads to doubt, hesitation, and inaction. While
the wise deliberate, the young and inexperienced have won or lost the
battle. Thus the purely intellectual life tends to weaken faith, hope,
and desire, which are the sources whence conduct springs, the drying up
of which leaves us amid barren wastes, where high thinking, if it be not
impossible, brings neither strength nor joy; for the secret of strength
and joy lies in doing and not in thinking. It is a law of our nature
that conduct brings the most certain and the most permanent
satisfaction, and hence whatever our ideals, the pursuit should be
inspired by the sense of duty.

    "Stern law-giver! yet thou dost wear
    The Godhead's most benignant grace;
    Nor know we anything so fair
    As is the smile upon thy face.
    Flowers laugh before thee on their beds
    And fragrance in thy footing treads."

Then only do we move with certain step when we hear God's voice bidding
us go forward, as he commands the starry host to fly onward, and all
living things to spring upward to light and warmth. When we understand
that he has made progress the law of life, we learn to feel that not to
grow is not to live. Then our view is enlarged; we become lovers of
perfection; we cherish every gift, and in many ways we strive to
cultivate the many powers which go to the making of a man. They all are
from him, and from him is the effort by which they are improved. We were
born to make ourselves alive in him and in his universe, and like the
setter in the field, we stretch eye and ear and nose to catch whatever
message may be borne to us from his boundless game park. We observe,
reflect, compare; we read best books; we listen to whoever speaks what
he knows and feels to be truth. We take delight in whatever in Nature is
sublime or beautiful, and fresh thoughts and innocent hearts make us
glad. Wherever an atom thrills, there too is God, and in him we feel the
thrill and are at home. Our faith grows pure; our hope is confirmed; and
our love and sympathy identify us with an ever-widening sphere of life
beyond us. The exclusive self passes into the larger movement of the
social and religious world around us, which, as we now realize, is also
within us, giving aims and motives to our love and self-devotion. We
understand that what hurts another can never help us, and that our
private good must tend to become a general blessing. Thus we find and
love ourselves in the intellectual, moral, and religious life of the
race, which is a type and symbol of the infinite life of God, the omen
and promise of the soul's survival. As we become conscious of ourselves
only through communion with what is not ourselves, so we truly live only
when we live for God and the world he creates,--losing life that we may
find it; dying, like seed-corn, that we may rise to a new and richer
life. Not what gratifies our selfish or sensual nature will help us to
lead this right human life; but that which illumines and deepens thought
and love, which gives to faith a boundless scope, to hope an everlasting
foundation, to desire the infinite beauty which, though unseen, is felt,
like memory of music fled. The unseen world ceases to be a future
world; and is recognized as the very world in which we now think and
love, and so intellectual and moral life passes into the sphere of
religion. We no longer pursue ideals which forever elude us, but we
become partakers of the divine life; for in giving ourselves to the
Eternal and Infinite we find God in our souls. The ideal is made real;
God is with us, and through faith, hope, and love we are one with him,
and all is well. Henceforth in seeking to know more, to become more, we
are animated by a divine spirit. Now we may grow old, still learning
many things, still smitten with the love of beauty, still finding
delight in fresh thoughts and innocent pleasures, and it may be that we
shall be found to be teachers of wisdom and of holiness. Then, indeed,
shall we be happy, for it is better to teach truth than to win battles.
A war-hero supposes a barbarous condition of the race, and when all
shall be civilized, they who know and love the most shall be held to be
the greatest and the best.



As they who look on the ocean think of its vastness; of the many shores
in many climes visited by its waves to ply "their priest-like task of
clean ablution;" of cities and empires that rose beside its waters,
flourished, decayed, and became a memory; of others that shall rise and
also pass away, while the moving element remains,--so we to-day
beholding ancient Faith, laying, in the New World, the cornerstone of an
institution which better than anything else symbolizes the aim and
tendency of modern life, find ourselves dwelling in thought upon what
has been and what will be.

On the one hand rises the venerable form of that religion whose voice
re-echoed in the hearts of Abraham, Moses, David, and Isaiah; whose
lips, when the Saviour spoke, uttered diviner truth and thrilled the
hearts of men with purer love, living with them in deserts and
catacombs, leading them along bloodstained ways to victory and peace,
until at length the Church gleamed forth from amid the parting
storm-clouds and shone like a mountain-built city bathed in sunlight. On
the other stands the Genius of the Republic, the embodied spirit of the
sovereign people, who, accepting as literal truth the Christian
principles that God is a Father, and men brothers and therefore equal,
strive to take from political society the blindness and fatality of
natural law, and to endow it with the divine and human attributes of
justice, mercy, and intelligence. From the very beginning our American
history is full of religious zeal, of high courage and strong endeavor.
When Columbus, saddened by the frivolousness or the perfidy of courts,
but unshaken in his purpose, walked the streets of the Spanish capital,
lonely and forsaken, the children, as he passed along, would point to
their foreheads and smile, for was not his mind unhinged, and did he not
believe the world was round and on the other side men walked like flies
upon a ceiling? But a woman's heart understood that his folly was of the
kind which is the wisdom of God, and with her help he set sail, not
timidly or doubting like the Portuguese who for fifty years hugged the
African coast, advancing and then receding, but facing the awful and
untraveled ocean with a heart stronger than its storm-swept billows, he
steered due west. In his journal, day after day, he wrote these simple
but sublime words, "That day he sailed westward, which was his course."
And still, as hope rose and fell, as misgivings and terrors seized on
his men, as the compass varied in inexplicable ways as though they were
entering regions where the very laws of Nature change, the soul of the
great admiral stood firm and each evening he wrote again the self-same
words, "that day he sailed westward which was his course," until at
length seeing what he foresaw, he gave to Christendom another world and
enlarged the boundaries and scope of earthly life. What hearts had not
the men who in New England, in Virginia, in Maryland, and elsewhere,
settled in little bands on the edge of vast and unexplored regions,
covered by interminable forests, where savages lay in wait, athirst for
blood. We hear without surprise that wise and prudent men looked upon
the early attempts to take possession of America as not less wild and
visionary than the legendary exploits of Amadis de Gaul; but what
Utopian dreamer, what poet soaring in the high regions of his fancy,
could have imagined two centuries and a half ago the beauty, the power,
the free and majestic sweep of the stream of human life which has poured
across this continent? Who could have dared to hope that the religious
exiles who sought here a home for the Christian conscience were a seed,
the least of all, which was destined to grow into a tree whose boughs
should shelter the land, and bring refreshment to the weary and
heavy-laden from every part of the earth?

Who could have thought that these fugitives from the tyrant's power
would, in little more than a century, grow like the tribes of Israel
into a people able to withstand the onslaughts of the oppressor, and to
abolish forever within their borders despotic rule? Who could have had
faith that men of different creeds, speaking various tongues, bred in
unlike social conditions, would here coalesce and co-operate for the
general purposes of free government? Above all, who could have believed
that a form of government rarely tried, even in small States, and when
tried found practicable only for brief periods, would here become so
stable, so strong, that every hamlet, every village, is self-poised and
manages its own affairs? The achievement is greater than we are able to
know; nor does it lie chiefly in the millions who coming from many lands
have here made homes and found themselves free; nor in the building of
cities, the clearing of forests, the draining of swamps, the binding of
two oceans, and the opening of lines of rapid communication in every
direction. Not to numbers or wealth do we owe our significance among
the nations; but to the fact that we have shown that respect for law is
compatible with civil and religious liberty; that a free people can
become prosperous and strong, and preserve order without king or
standing army; that the State and the Church can move in separate orbits
and still co-operate for the common welfare; that men of different races
and beliefs may live together in peace; that in spite of an abnormally
rapid increase of population and of wealth, and of the many evils thence
resulting, the prevailing tendency is to sanity of thought and
sentiment, thus plainly manifesting the vigor of our life and
institutions; that the government of the majority, where men put their
trust in God and in knowledge, is in the end the government of the good
and the wise. We have thus helped to establish confidence in human
nature; to prove that man's instincts, like the laws of Nature, are
conservative; to show that the enthusiasts who would overturn
everything, destroy everything, have no abiding place or influence in
the affairs of a free people, as volcanic and cyclonic forces are but
transitory and superficial in their action upon the earth. We have shown
in a word that under a popular government, where men are faithful and
intelligent, it is as impossible that society should become chaotic as
that the planets should dissolve into star dust.

It is difficult to realize what an advance this is on all previous views
of political life; how full it is of promise, how accordant with the
sentiments of the noblest minds in every part of the world. It gives us
the leading place among the nations which are moving along rising ways
to higher and freer life. To turn to the Catholic Church in America; all
observers remark its great development here, the rapid increase in the
number of its adherents, its growth in wealth and influence, the firm
yet gentle hand with which it brings heterogeneous populations under the
control of a common faith and discipline, the ease with which it adapts
itself to new conditions and organizes itself in every part of the
country. It is not a little thing, in spite of unfriendly public opinion
and of great and numerous obstacles, in spite of the burden which high
achievements impose and of the lack of easy and supple movement which
gathering years imply, to enter new fields, to bend one's self to
unaccustomed work, and to struggle for the right to live in the midst of
a generation heedless of the good, and mindful only of the evil which
has been associated with one's life. This is what the Catholic Church in
America has had to do, and has done with a success which recalls the
memory of the spread of Christianity through the Roman Empire. It
counts its members here by millions, while a hundred years ago it
counted them by thousands; and its priests, churches, schools, and
institutions of charity it reckons by the thousand, while then they
could be counted hardly by tens. Public opinion which was then hostile
is no longer so in the same degree. Prejudice has not indeed ceased to
exist; for where there is question of religion, of society, of politics,
even the fairest minds fail to see things as they are, and the
multitude, it may be supposed, will never become impartial; but the
tendency of our life and of the age is opposed to bigotry, and as we
lose faith in the justice and efficacy of persecution, we perceive more
clearly that true religion can neither be defended nor propagated by
violence and intolerance, by appeals to sectarian bitterness and
national hatred. By none is this more sincerely acknowledged, or more
deeply felt, than by the Catholics of the United States.

The special significance of our American Catholic history is not found
in the phases of our life which attract attention, and are a common
theme for declamation; but it lies in the fact that our example proves
that the Church can thrive where it is neither protected nor persecuted,
but is simply left to itself to manage its own affairs and to do its
work. Such an experiment had never been made when we became an
independent people, and its success is of world-wide import, because
this is the modern tendency and the position toward the Church which all
the nations will sooner or later assume; just as they all will be forced
finally to accept popular rule. The great underlying principle of
democracy,--that men are brothers and have equal rights, and that God
clothes the soul with freedom,--is a truth taught by Christ, is a truth
proclaimed by the Church; and the faith of Christians in this principle,
in spite of hesitations and misgivings, of oppositions and obstacles and
inconceivable difficulties, has finally given to it its modern vigor and
beneficent power. The spirit of love and mercy, which is the spirit of
Christ, breathes like a heavenly zephyr through the whole earth, and
under its influence the age is moved to attempt greater things than
hitherto have seemed possible. Never before has sympathy among men been
so widespread; never has the desire to come to the relief of all who
suffer pain or wrong been so general or so intelligent. To feed the
hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick, seems now comparatively
a little thing. Our purpose is to create a social condition in which
none shall lack food or clothing or shelter; following the divine
command: "O Israel, thou shalt not suffer that there be a beggar or a
pauper within thy borders." Kindness to slaves ceased to be a virtue for
us when we abolished slavery; and we look forward to the day when nor
man nor woman nor child shall work and still be condemned to a life of
misery. That great blot upon the page of history, woman's fate, has
partly been erased, and we are drawing near to the time when in the
world as in Christ there shall be made no distinction between slave and
freeman, between man and woman. If we compare modern with ancient and
medieval epochs, wars have become less frequent, and in war men have
become more humane and merciful.

Increasing knowledge of human life as it is found in the savage, in the
barbarian, and in the civilized man, fixes us more unalterably in our
belief in the worth of progress. The savage and the barbarian are
hopelessly ignorant, and therefore weak and wretched, since ignorance is
the chief source of man's misery. "My people," says the prophet, "are
destroyed for lack of knowledge." From ignorance rather than from
depravity have sprung the most appalling crimes, the most pernicious
vices. In darkness of mind men have worshiped senseless material
things, have deified every cruel and carnal passion; at the dictate of
unenlightened conscience they have oppressed, laid waste, and murdered;
for lack of knowledge they have perished in the snows of winter, been
wasted by miasmatic air, have fallen victims to famine and pestilence,
and have bowed for centuries beneath the degrading yoke of tyranny.
Science is a ministering angel. The Jesuits by bringing quinine to the
knowledge of civilized man have done more to relieve suffering than all
the builders of hospitals. Vaccine has wrought more potently than the
all-forgetful love of mothers; more than all the patriots gunpowder has
won victories over tyrants; and the printing-press is a greater teacher
than philosophers, writers, poets, schools, and universities. Like a
heavenly messenger the compass guides man whithersoever he will go,
still turning to the one fixed point, as turn the hearts of the children
of men to God. The nations intermingle and lose their jealousies and
hatreds, borne everywhere by the power of steam; and the thoughts of men
are carried by lightning round the whole earth. Commerce has become a
world-wide interchange of good offices; and while it adds to the comfort
of all, it enlarges thought and strengthens sympathy. Our greater
knowledge has enabled us to lengthen human life; to extinguish some of
the most virulent diseases; to perform surgical operations without pain;
to increase the fertility of the soil; to make pestilential regions
habitable; to illumine our cities and homes at night with the
brilliancy of day; to give to laborers better clothing and dwellings
than princes in other ages have had. It has opened to our vision the
limitless sidereal expanse, and revealed to us a heavenly glory which
transcends the imagination of inspired poets. Before this new light the
earth has dwindled away and become an atom, as the stars hide when the
great sun wheels upward from out the night. We have looked into the very
heart of the sun itself, and know of what it is made; and with the
microscope we have caught sight of the marvelous world of the
infinitesimally small, have seen what human eye had never beheld, and
have watched unseen life building up and breaking down all living
organisms. We have learned how to walk secure in the depths of ocean, to
soar in mid-air, to rush on our way unimpeded through the stony hearts
of mountains. We see the earth grow from a fire-ball to be the home of
man; we know its anatomy; we read its history; and we behold races of
animals which passed away ages before the eye of man looked forth upon
the boundless mystery and saw the shadow of the presence of the infinite
God. Better than the Greeks we know the history of Greece; than the
Romans that of Rome. Words that were never written have whispered to us
the dreams and hopes of people that perished and left no record; and the
more we have learned of the past the more clearly do we perceive how far
the present age surpasses all others in knowledge and in power.

The mighty movement by which this development has been caused, has not
slackened, but seems each day to gain new force; and the marvelous
changes, political, social, moral, intellectual, and physical, which
give character to the nineteenth century are but the prelude to a drama
which shall make all past achievements of our race appear weak and
contemptible. To imagine that our superiority is merely mechanical and
material is to fail to see things as they are. Greater individuals may
have lived than now are living, but never before has the world been
governed with so much wisdom and so much justice; and the power back of
our progress is intellectual, moral, and religious. Science is not
material. It is the product of intellect and will; and the great
founders of modern science, Copernicus, Kepler, Bacon, Descartes,
Galileo, Newton, Leibnitz, Ampère, Liebig, Fresnel, Faraday, and Mayer,
were Christians. "However paradoxical it may sound," says
DuBois-Reymond, "modern science owes its origin to Christianity."

Since the course of events is left chiefly to the direction of natural
causes, and since science enables man to bend the stars, the lightning,
the winds, and the waves to his purposes, what shall resist the onward
march of those who are armed with such power? Since life is a warfare, a
struggle, how shall the ignorant and the thoughtless survive in a
conflict in which natural knowledge has placed in the hands of the wise
forces which the angels may not wield? Since the prosperity of the
Church is left subject to human influence, shall the Son of Man find
faith on earth when he comes if the most potent instrument God has given
to man is abandoned to those who know not Christ? Why should we who
reckon it a part of the glory of the Church in the past that she labored
to civilize barbarians, to emancipate slaves, to elevate woman, to
preserve the classical writings, to foster music, painting, sculpture,
architecture, poetry, and eloquence, think it no part of her mission now
to encourage scientific research? To be Catholic is to be drawn not only
to the love of whatever is good and beautiful, but also to the love of
whatever is true; and to do the best work the Catholic Church must fit
herself to a constantly changing environment, to the character of every
people, and to the wants of each age. Has not Christ declared that
whoever is not against us is for us; and may we not therefore find
friends in all who work for worthy ends,--for liberty and knowledge, for
increase of power and love? This large sympathy, which true religion and
the best culture promote, is Catholic, and it is also American; for here
with us, I think, the whole world is for men of good-will who are not
fools. We who are the children of ancient Faith, who inherit the boon
from fathers who held it to be above all price, are saved, where there
is question of former times, from irreverent thoughts and shallow views.

    For us the long past ages have not flown;
    Like our own deeds they travel with us still;
    Reviling them, we but ourselves disown;
    We are the stream their many currents fill.
    From their rich youth our manhood has upgrown,
    And in our blood their hopes and loves yet thrill.

But if like the old, the Church can look to the past, like the young,
she can look to the future. If there are Catholics who linger regretful
amid glories that have vanished, there are also Catholics who in the
midst of their work feel a confidence which leaves no place for regret;
who well understand that the earthly environment in which the Church
lives is subject to change and decay, and that new surroundings imply
new tasks and impose new duties. The splendor of the medieval Church,
its worldly power, the pomp of its ceremonial, the glittering pageantry
in which its pontiffs and prelates vied with kings and emperors in
gorgeous display, are gone, or going; and were it given to man to recall
the past, the spirit whereby it lived would still be wanting. But it is
the mark of youthful and barbarous natures to have eyes chiefly for the
garb and circumstance of religion, to see the body only and not the
soul. At all events the course of life is onward, and enthusiasm for the
past cannot become the source of great and far reaching action. The
present alone gives opportunity; and the face of hope turns to the
future, and the wise are busy with what lies at hand, with immediate
duty, and not with schemes for bringing back the things that have passed
away. Leaving their dead with the dead, they work for life and for the

As in each individual there is a better and a worse self, so in each age
there are conflicting tendencies; but it is the part of enlightened
minds and generous hearts to see what is true, and to love what is good.
The fault-finder is hateful both in life and in literature; and it is
Iago, the most despicable of characters, whom Shakespeare makes say, "I
am nothing if not critical." A Christian of all men is without excuse
for being fretful and sour, for thinking and acting as though this were
a devil's world, and not the eternal God's, as though there were danger
lest the Almighty should not prevail. We know that God is, and therefore
that all will be well; and if it were conceivable that God is not, it
would still be the part of a true man to labor to make knowledge and
virtue prevail. The criticism of the age which gives a better
understanding of its needs is good; all other is baneful.

Opinion rules the world, and a right appreciation of the influences by
which opinion is molded is the surest guide to a knowledge of the time.
In ignorant and barbarous ages the notions and beliefs of men are crude,
and are controlled by a few, for only a few possess knowledge and
influence; and even in the age of Pericles and Augustus, the thought of
mankind means the thoughts of some dozens of men. A few vigorous minds
founded schools of opinion and style, became intellectual dictators, and
asserted their authority for centuries. As the art of printing was yet
unknown, and books were rare, the teacher was the speaker; orators held
sway over the destiny of nations; and the Christian pulpit became the
world's university. But the printing-press in giving to thought a
permanent form which is placed under the eyes of the whole world has
made the passion, the splendor, the majestic phrase of oratory seem
unreal as an actor's speech, evanescent as a singer's tones; and hence
the pulpit and the rostrum, though they still have influence, can never
again exercise the control over opinion which belonged to them when all
men had not become readers.

What is true of eloquence may be affirmed of all art. In spite of
ourselves, even the best of us find it difficult to make art a serious
business; and unless taken seriously, it is vain, loses its soul, and
falls into the hands of pretenders and sentimentalists. Once painting,
sculpture, architecture, and song were the expression of thoughts and
moods which irresistibly appealed for utterance; but with us they are a
fashion, like cosmetics and laces. Poetry, the highest of arts, has lost
its original character of song, and the poet now deals, in an
imaginative way, with problems which puzzle metaphysicians and
theologians. The causes that have robbed art of so much of its charm and
power have necessarily diminished the influence of ceremonial worship,
which is the artistic expression of the soul's faith and love, of its
hopes and yearnings. We are, indeed, still subdued by the majesty of
dimly lighted cathedrals, by solemn music, and the various symbolism of
the ritual, but we feel not the deep awe of our fathers whose knees
furrowed the pavement stones, and whose burning lips kissed them smooth;
and to blame ourselves for this would serve no purpose. To those who
find no pleasure in sweet sounds, we pipe in vain, and argument to show
that one ought to be moved by what leaves him cold, is meaningless.
Emotion is spontaneous, and adorers, like lovers, neither ask nor care
for reasons. There is in fact an element of illusion in feeling; passion
is non-rational; and when the spirit of the time is intellectual, men
are seldom devout, however religious they may be. The scientific habit
of mind is not favorable to childlike and unreasoning faith; and the new
views of the physical universe which the modern mind is forced to take,
bring us face to face with new problems in religion and morals, in
politics and society.

Whatever we may think of the past, whatever we may fear or hope for the
future, if we would make an impression on the world around us, we must
understand the thoughts, the purposes, and the methods of those with
whom we live; and we must at the same time recognize that though the
truth of religion be unchangeable, the mind of man is not so, and that
the point of view varies not only from people to people, and from age to
age, but from year to year in the growing thought of the individual and
of the world. As in travelling round the earth, time changes, and when
it is morning here, it is evening there, so with difference of latitude
and longitude, of civilization and barbarism, the opinions and manners
of men grow different. They who observe from positions widely separate
do not see the same things, or do not see them in the same light. Proof
for a peasant is not proof for a philosopher; and arguments which in one
age are held to be unanswerable, in another lose power to convince, or
become altogether meaningless. It is not to be imagined that the hearts
of Christians should again burn with the devotional enthusiasm and the
warlike ardor of the Crusaders; and just as little is it conceivable
that men should again become passionately interested in the questions
which in the fourth and fifth centuries filled the world with the noise
of theological disputation. It were mere loss of time to beat now the
waste fields of the Protestant controversy. Wiseman's book on science
and revealed religion, which fifty years ago attracted attention, lies
like a stranded ship on a deserted shore, and attempts of the kind are
held in slight esteem. The immature mind is eager to reduce faith to
knowledge; but the accomplished thinker understands that knowledge
begins and ends in faith. There is oppugnancy between belief in an
all-wise, all-good, and all-powerful God, and belief in the divine
origin of Nature, whose face is smeared with filth and blood; but we
hold that the conflicting faiths and increasing knowledge cannot add to
the difficulty. On the contrary, the higher the intelligence, the purer
Nature seems to grow. The chemical elements are as fair and sweet in the
corpse as in the living body, and the earthquake and the cyclone obey
the same laws which make the waters flow and the zephyrs breathe
perfume. It is the imagination and not the reason that is overwhelmed by
the idea of unending space and time. To the intellect, eternity is not
more mysterious than the present moment, and the distance which
separates us from the remotest stars is not more incomprehensible than a
hand's breadth. Science is the widening thought of man, working on the
hypothesis of universal intelligibility toward universal intelligence;
and religion is the soul, escaping from the labyrinth of matter to the
light and love of the Infinite; and on the heights they meet and are at

Meanwhile they who seek natural knowledge must admit that faith, hope,
and love are the everlasting foundations of human life, and that a
philosophic creed is as sterile as Platonic love; and they who uphold
religion must confess that faith which ignorance alone can keep alive
is little better than superstition. To strive to attain truth under
whatever form is to seek to know God; and yet no ideal can be true for
man, unless it can be made to minister to faith, hope, and love; for by
them we live. Let us then teach ourselves to see things as they are,
without preoccupation or misgivings lest what is should ever make it
impossible, for us to believe and hope in the better yet to be. Science
and morality need religion as much as thought and action require
emotion; and beyond the utmost reach of the human mind lie the boundless
worlds of mystery where the soul must believe and adore what it can but
dimly discern. The Copernican theory of the heavens startled believers
at first; but we have long since grown accustomed to the new view which
reveals to us a universe infinitely more glorious than aught the
ancients ever imagined. We do not rightly see either the things which
are always around us, or those which for the first time are presented to
our eyes; and when novel theories of the visible world, which in some
sense is part of our very being, profoundly alter our traditional
notions, the mind is disturbed and overclouded, and the lapse of time
alone can make plain the real bearing of the new learning upon life,
upon religion, and upon society. There can be no doubt but increase of
knowledge involves incidental evils, just as the progress of
civilization multiplies our wants; but the wise are not therefore driven
to seek help from ignorance and barbarism. Whatever the loss, all
knowledge is gain. The evils that spring from enlightenment of mind will
find their remedy in greater enlightenment. Such at least is the faith
of an age whose striking characteristic is confidence in education. Men
have ceased to care for the bliss there may be in ignorance, and those
who dread knowledge, if such there still be, are as far away from the
life of this century as the dead whose bones crumbled to dust a thousand
years ago.

The aim the best now propose to themselves is to provide not wealth or
pleasure, or better machinery or more leisure, but a higher and more
effective kind of education; and hence whatever one's preoccupation,
whether social, political, religious, or industrial, the question of
education forces itself upon his attention. Pedagogy has grown to be a
science, and chairs are founded in universities to expound the theory
and art of teaching. The learning of former times has become the
ignorance of our own; and the classical writings have ceased to be the
treasure-house of knowledge, and in consequence their educational value
has diminished.

Whoever three hundred years ago wished to acquaint himself with
philosophic, poetic, or eloquent expression of the best that was known,
was compelled to seek for it in the Greek and Latin authors; but now
Greek and Latin are accomplishments chiefly, and a classical scholar, if
unacquainted with modern science and literature, is hopelessly ignorant.
"If any one," said Hegius, the teacher of Erasmus, "wishes to learn
grammar, rhetoric, mathematics, history, or holy scripture, let him read
Greek;" and in his day this was as true as it is false and absurd in our
own. In the Middle Ages, Latin was made the groundwork of the
educational system, not on account of any special value it may have been
supposed to possess as a mental discipline, but because it was the
language of the learned, of all who spoke or wrote on questions of
religion, philosophy, literature, and science; but now, who that is able
to think dreams of burying his thought in a Greek or Roman urn? The
Germans in philosophy, the English in poetry, have surpassed the Greeks;
and French prose is not inferior in qualities of style to the ancient
classics, and in wealth of thought and knowledge so far excels them as
to preclude comparison.

The life of Greece and Rome, compared with ours, was narrow and
superficial; their ideas of Nature were crude and often grotesque; they
lacked sympathy; the Greek had no sense of sin; the Roman none of the
mercy which tempers justice. In their eyes the child was not holy, woman
was not sacred, the slave was not man. Their notion of liberty was
political and patriotic merely; the human soul, standing forth alone,
and appealing from States and emperors to the living God, was to them a
scandal. Now literature is the outgrowth of a people's life and thought,
and the nobler the life, the more enlightened the thought, the more
valuable will the expression be; and since there is greater knowledge,
wisdom, freedom, justice, mercy, goodness, power, in Christendom now
than ever existed in the pagan world, it would certainly be an anomaly
if modern literature were inferior to the classical. The ancients,
indeed, excel us in the sense for form and symmetry. There is also a
freshness in their words, a joyousness in their life, a certain heroic
temper in their thinking and acting, which give them power to engage the
emotions; and hence to deny them exceptional educational value is to
take a partial view. But even though we grant that the study of their
literatures is in certain respects the best intellectual discipline,
education, it must be admitted, means knowledge as well as training; and
thorough training is something more than refined taste. It is strength
as well, and ability to think in many directions and on many subjects.
Nothing known to men should escape the attention of the wise; for the
knowledge of the age determines what is demanded of the scholar. And
since it is our privilege to live at a time when knowledge is increasing
more rapidly even than population and wealth, we must, if we hope to
stand in the front ranks of those who know, keep pace with the onward
movement of mind. To turn away from this outburst of splendor and power;
to look back to pagan civilization or Christian barbarism,--is to love
darkness more than light. Aristotle is a great mind, but his learning is
crude and his ideas of Nature are frequently grotesque. Saint Thomas is
a powerful intellect; but his point of view in all that concerns natural
knowledge has long since vanished from sight. What poverty of learning
does not the early medieval scheme of education reveal; and when in the
twelfth century the idea of a university rises in the best minds, how
incomplete and vague it is! Amid the ruins of castles and cathedrals we
grow humble, and think ourselves inferior to men who thus could build.
But they were not as strong as we, and they led a more ignorant and a
blinder life; and so when we read of great names of the past, the mists
of illusion fill the skies, and our eyes are dimmed by the glory of
clouds tinged with the splendors of a sun that has set.

Certainly a true university will be the home both of ancient wisdom and
of new learning; it will teach the best that is known, and encourage
research; it will stimulate thought, refine taste, and awaken the love
of excellence; it will be at once a scientific institute, a school of
culture, and a training ground for the business of life; it will educate
the minds that give direction to the age; it will be a nursery of ideas,
a centre of influence. The good we do men is quickly lost, the truth we
leave them remains forever; and therefore the aim of the best education
is to enable students to see what is true, and to inspire them with the
love of all truth. Professional knowledge brings most profit to the
individual; but philosophy and literature, science and art, elevate and
refine the spirit of the whole people, and hence the university will
make culture its first aim, and its scope will widen as the thoughts and
attainments of men are enlarged and multiplied. Here if anywhere shall
be found teachers whose one passion is the love of truth, which is the
love of God and of man; who look on all things with a serene eye; who
bring to every question a calm, unbiased mind; who, where the light of
the intellect fails, walk by faith and accept the omen of hope; who
understand that to be distrustful of science is to lack culture, to
doubt the good of progress is to lack knowledge, and to question the
necessity of religion is to want wisdom; who know that in a God-made and
God-governed world it must lie in the nature of things that reason and
virtue should tend to prevail, in spite of the fact that in every age
the majority of men think foolishly and act unwisely. How divine is not
man's apprehensive endowment! When we see beauty fade, the singer lose
her charm, the performer his skill, we feel no commiseration; but when
we behold a noble mind falling to decay, we are saddened, for we cannot
believe that the godlike and immortal faculty should be subject to
death's power. It is a reflection of the light that never yet was seen
on sea or land; it is the magician who shapes and colors the universe,
as a drop of water mirrors the boundless sky. Is not this the first word
the Eternal speaks?--"Let there be light." And does not the blessed
Saviour come talking of life, of light, of truth, of joy, and peace?
Have not the Christian nations moved forward following after liberty and
knowledge? Is not our religion the worship of God in spirit and in
truth? Is not its motive Love, divine and human, and is not knowledge
Love's guide and minister?

The future prevails over the present, the unseen over what touches the
senses only in high and cultivated natures; and it is held to be the
supreme triumph of God over souls when the young, to whom the earth
seems to be heaven revealed and made palpable, turn from all the beauty
and contagious joy to seek, to serve, to love Him who is the infinite
and only real good. Yet this is what we ask of the lovers of
intellectual excellence, who work without hope of temporal reward and
without the strength of heart which is found in obeying the Divine Will;
for mental improvement is seldom urged as a religious duty, although it
is plain that to seek to know truth is to seek to know God, in whom and
through whom and by whom all things are, and whose infinite nature and
most awful power may best be seen by the largest and most enlightened
mind. Mind is Heaven's pioneer making way for faith, hope, and love, for
higher aims and nobler life; and to doubt its worth and excellence is to
deny the reasonableness of religion, since belief, if not wholly blind,
must rest on knowledge. The best culture serves spiritual and moral
ends. Its aim and purpose is to make reason prevail over sense and
appetite; to raise man not only to a perception of the harmonies of
truth, but also to the love of whatever is good and fair. Not in a
darkened mind does the white ray of heavenly light break into prismatic
glory; not through the mists of ignorance is the sweet countenance of
the divine Saviour best discerned. If some have pursued a sublime art
frivolously; have soiled a fair mind by ignoble life,--this leaves the
good of the intellect untouched. Some who have made strongest profession
of religion, who have held high and the highest places in the Church,
have been unworthy, but we do not thence infer that the tendency of
religion is to make men so. They who praise the bliss and worth of
ignorance are sophists. Stupidity is more to be dreaded than malignity;
for ignorance, and not malice, is the most fruitful cause of human
misery. Let knowledge grow, let truth prevail. Since God is God, the
universe is good, and the more we know of its laws, the plainer will the
right way become. The investigator and the thinker, the man of culture
and the man of genius, cannot free themselves from bias and limitation;
but the work they do will help me and all men.

Indifference or opposition to the intellectual life is but a survival of
the general anti-educational prejudices of former ages. It is also a
kind of envy, prompting us to find fault with whatever excellence is a
reproach to our unworthiness. The disinterested love of truth is a rare
virtue, most difficult to acquire and most difficult to preserve. If
knowledge bring power and wealth, if it give fame and pleasure, it is
dear to us; but how many are able to love it for its own sake? Do not
nearly all men strive to convince themselves of the truth of those
opinions which they are interested in holding? What is true, good, or
fair is rarely at once admitted to be so; but what is practically useful
men quickly accept, because they live chiefly in the world of external
things, and care little for the spiritual realms of truth and beauty.
The ignorant do not even believe that knowledge gives power and
pleasure, and the educated, except the chosen few, value it only for the
power and pleasure it gives. As the disinterested love of truth is rare,
so is perfect sincerity. Indeed, insincerity is here the radical vice.
Good faith is essential to faith; and a sophistical mind is as immoral
and irreligious as a depraved heart. Let a man be true, seek and speak
truth, and all good things are possible; but when he persuades himself
that a lie may be useful and ought to be propagated, he becomes the
enemy of his own soul and the foe of all that makes life high and

Now, to be able to desire to see things as they are, whatever their
relations to ourselves may be, and to speak of them simply as they
appear to us, is one result of the best training of the intellect, which
in the world of thought and opinion gives us that sweet indifference
which is the rule of saints when they submit the conduct of their lives
wholly to divine guidance. Why should he whose mind is strong, and rests
on God, be disturbed? It is with opinion as with life. We cannot tell
what moment truth will overthrow the one and death the other; but
thought cannot change the nature of things. The clouds dissolve, but the
eternal heavens remain. Over the bloodiest battlefields they bend calm
and serene, and trees drink the sunlight and flowers exhale perfume. The
moonbeam kisses the crater's lip. Over buried cities the yellow harvest
waves, and all the catastrophes of endless time are present to God, who
dwells in infinite peace. He sees the universe and is not troubled, and
shall not we who are akin to him learn to look upon our little meteorite
without losing repose of mind and heart? Were it not a sweeter piety to
trust that he who made all things will know how to make all things
right; and therefore not to grow anxious lest some investigator should
find him at fault or thwart his plans? As living bodies are immersed in
an invisible substance which feeds the flame of life, so souls breathe
and think and love in the atmosphere of God, and the higher their
thought and love the more do they partake of the divine nature. Many
things, in this age of transition, are passing away; but true thoughts
and pure love are immortal, and whatever opinions as to other things a
man may hold, all know that to be human is to be intelligent and moral,
and therefore religious. A hundred years hence our present machinery may
seem to be as rude as the implements of the middle age look to us, and
our political and social organization may appear barbarous,--so rapid
has the movement of life become. But we do not envy those who shall then
be living, partly it may be because we can have but dim visions of the
greater blessings they shall enjoy, but chiefly because we feel that
after all the true worth of life lies in nothing of this kind, but in
knowing and doing, in believing and loving; and that it would not be
easier to live for truth and righteousness were electricity applied to
aerial navigation and all the heavens filled with argosies of magic
sail. It is not possible to love sincerely the best thoughts, as it is
not possible to love God when our aim is something external, or when we
believe that what is mechanical merely has power to regenerate and exalt

                    "It takes a soul
    To move a body; it takes a high-souled man
    To move the masses ... even to a cleaner sty;
    It takes the ideal to blow a hair's-breadth off
    The dust of the actual--Ah, your Fouriers failed,
    Because not poets enough to understand
    That life develops from within."

He who believes in culture must believe in God; for what but God do we
mean when we talk of loving the best thoughts and the highest beauty? No
God, no best; but at most better and worse. And how shall a man's
delight in his growing knowledge not be blighted by a hidden taint, if
he is persuaded that at the core of the universe there is only blind
unconscious force? But if he believe that God is infinite power working
for truth and love, then can he also feel that in seeking to prepare his
mind for the perception of truth and his heart for the love of what is
good and fair, he is working with God, and moves along the way in which
his omnipotent hand guides heavenly spirits and all the countless
worlds. He desires that all men should be wiser and stronger and more
loving, even though he should be doomed to remain as he is, for then
they would have power to help him. He is certain of himself, and feels
no fear nor anger when his opinions are opposed. He learns to bear what
he cannot prevent, knowing that courage and patience make tolerable
immedicable ills. He feels no self-complacency, but rather the
self-dissatisfaction which comes of the consciousness of possessing
faculties which he can but imperfectly use. And this discontent he
believes to be the infinite God stirring within the soul. As the
earthquake which swallows some island in another hemisphere disturbs not
the even tenor of our way, so the passions of men whose world is other
than his, who dwell remote from what he contemplates and loves, shake
not his tranquil mind. While they threaten and pursue, his thought moves
in spheres unknown to them. He knows how little life at the best can
give, and is not hard to console for the loss of anything. There is no
true thought which he would not gladly make his own, even though it
should be the watchword of his enemies. Since morality is practical
truth, he understands that increasing knowledge will make it at once
more evident and more attractive. Hatred between races and nations he
holds to be not less unchristian than the hatred which arms the
individual against his fellow-man. It is impossible for him to be a
scoffer; for whatever has strengthened or consoled a human soul is
sacred in his eyes; and wherever there is question of what is socially
complex, as of a religion or a civilization, there is question of many
human lives, their hopes, their joys, their strivings, their yearnings,
disappointments, agonies, and deaths; and he is able to perceive that in
the ports of levity there is no refuge for hearts that mourn. Does not
love itself, in its heaven of bliss, turn away from him who mocks? The
lover of the intellectual life knows neither contempt nor indignation,
is not elated by success or cast down by failure; money cannot make him
rich, and poverty helps to make him free. His own experience teaches him
that men in becoming wiser will become nobler and happier; and this
sweet truth has in his eyes almost the elements of a religion. With
growing knowledge his power of sympathy is enlarged; until like Saint
Francis, he can call the sun his brother and the moon his sister; can
grieve with homeless winds, and feel a kinship with the clod. The very
agonies by which his soul has been wrung open to his gaze visions of
truth which else he had never caught, and so he finds even in things
evil some touch of goodness. Praise and blame are for children, but to
him impertinent. He is tolerant of absurdity because it is so
all-pervading that he whom it fills with indignation can have no repose.
While he labors like other men to keep his place in the world, he
strives to make the work whereby he maintains himself, and those who
cling to him, serve intellectual and moral ends. He has a meek and
lowly heart, and he has also a free and illumined mind, and a soul
without fear. He knows that no gift or accomplishment is incompatible
with true religion; for has not the Church intellects as many-sided and
as high as Augustine and Chrysostom, Dante and Calderon, Descartes and
Da Vinci, De Vega and Cervantes, Bossuet and Pascal, Saint Bernard and
Gregory the Seventh, Aquinas and Michael Angelo, Mozart and Fénelon? Ah!
I behold the youthful throng, happier than we, who here, in their own
sweet country,--in this city of government and of law with its wide
streets, its open spaces, its air of freedom and of light,--undisturbed
by the soul-depressing hum of commerce and the unintellectual din of
machinery, shall hearken to the voice of wisdom and walk in the pleasant
ways of knowledge, alive, in every sense, to catch whatever message may
come to them from God's universe; who, as they are drawn to what is
higher than themselves, shall be drawn together, like planets to a sun;
whose minds, aglow with high thinking, shall taste joy and delight
fresher and purer than merriest laughter ever tells. Who has not seen,
when leaden clouds fill the sky and throw gloomy shadows on the earth,
some little meadow amid the hills, with its trees and flowers, its
grazing kine and running brook, all bathed in sunlight, and smiling as
though a mother said, Come hither, darling?

Such to my fancy is this favored spot, whose invitation is to the
fortunate few who believe that "the noblest mind the best contentment
has," and that the fairest land is that which brings forth and nurtures
the fairest souls. When youthful friends drift apart, and meet again
after years, they find they have been living not only in different
cities, but in different worlds. Those who shall come up to the
university must turn away from much the world holds dear; and while the
companions they leave behind shall linger in pleasant places or shall
get money, position, and applause, they must move on amid
ever-increasing loneliness of life and thought. Xanthippe would have had
altogether a better opinion of Socrates had he not been a philosopher,
and the best we do is often that for which our age and our friends care
the least; but they who have once tasted the delights of a cultivated
mind would not exchange them for the gifts of fortune, and to have
beheld the fair face of wisdom is to be forever her votary. Words spoken
for the masses grow obsolete; but what is fit to be heard by the chosen
few shall be true and beautiful while such minds are found on earth. In
the end, it is this little band--this intellectual aristocracy--who
move and guide the world. They see what is possible, outline projects,
and give impulse, while the people do the work. That which is strongest
in man is mind; and when a mind truly vigorous, open, supple, and
illumined reveals itself, we follow in its path of light. How it may be
I do not know; but the very brain and heart of genius throbs forever in
the words on which its spirit has breathed. Let this seed, though hidden
like the grain in mummy pits for thousands of years, but fall on proper
soil, and soon the golden harvest shall wave beneath the dome of azure
skies; let but some generous youth bend over the electric page, and lo!
all his being shall thrill and flame with new-born life and light.
Genius is a gift. But whoever keeps on doing in all earnestness
something which he need not do, and for which the world cares hardly at
all, if he have not genius, has at least one of its chief marks; and it
is, I think, an important function of a university to create an
intellectual atmosphere in which the love of excellence shall become
contagious, which whosoever breathes shall, like the Sibyl, feel the
inspiration of divine thoughts.

Sweet home! where Wisdom, like a mother, shall lead her children in
pleasant ways, and to their thoughts a touch of heaven lend! From thee
I claim for my faith and my country more blessings than I can speak,--

    Our scattered knowledges together bind;
      Our freedom consecrate to noble aims.
    To music set the visions of the mind;
      Give utterance to the truth pure faith proclaims.
    Lead where the perfect beauty lies enshrined,
      Whose sight the blood of low-born passion tames.

And now, how shall I more fittingly conclude than with the name of her
whose generous heart and enlightened mind were the impulse which has
given to what had long been hope deferred and a dreamlike vision,
existence and a dwelling-place,--Mary Gwendolen Caldwell.



=Thoughts and Theories of Life and Education=. 12mo, 235 pages, $1.00.

The bishop writes out of the fullness of his heart, and with abundant
love and charity. His works make the world wiser, happier, and better.
These "Thoughts and Theories" are couched in polished English, in
sentences terse and full of meaning; few living writers command a more
charming style.

=Education and the Higher Life=. 12mo, 210 pages, $1.00.

Bishop Spalding has struck a note which must vibrate in every heart
which loves the glory of Christianity and the progress of humanity....
The book is a stimulant, a tonic, a trumpet-call to higher things, a
beacon light for better days.--_The Catholic Union and Times_.

=Things of the Mind=. 12mo, 237 pages, $1.00.

Out of a disciplined and fertile mind he pours forth epigrammatic
sentences and suggestions in a fashion which recalls Emerson. He is
always and everywhere American, and the last chapter is at once wisely
critical and soundly laudatory of our country.--_The Sunday School
Times, Philadelphia_.

=Means and Ends of Education=. 12mo, 232 pages, $1.00.

Bishop Spalding comes nearer being an essayist in education than any
other American. He has that rarest of educational gifts,--the ability to
throw light brilliantly, and yet softly, making his paragraphs both
bright and mellow, all without "preaching," without pedantry, and
without being cranky.--_Journal of Education_, Boston.

=Opportunity, and Other Essays and Addresses=. 12mo, 228 pages, $1.00.

In this volume, as in his other books, Bishop Spalding is occupied with
the larger problems of education. In addition to the specifically
educational subjects there are themes of the widest possible interest,
to the treatment of which the ripe experience of the writer gives high

=Songs, chiefly from the German=. 16mo, gilt top, $1.25.

He has gathered the flowers from the German garden of song and
translated them, giving a literal rendering, but still preserving the
melody,--an art which was thought to have been lost with
Longfellow.--_The Chicago Record_.

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By Mrs. Elizabeth Wormeley Latimer.

_JUDEA: From Cyrus to Titus, 537 B. C.--70 A. D._ Handsomely illustrated.
8vo. $2.50.

This is a book for the people rather than for scholars, but written with
the resources of scholarship at command. Not entering into the mooted
questions of criticism, it is a well written narrative of the eventful
period it covers, presenting the story of Judea in its connection with
the general movement of the world, as well as with the career of
illustrious men.--_The Outlook_, New York.

Mrs. Latimer's Former Works.

_My Scrap Book of the French Revolution._ Illustrated. 8vo. $2.50.

_Spain in the 19th Century._ Illustrated. 8vo. $2.50.

_Italy in the 19th Century._ Illustrated. 8vo. $2.50.

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Gilt top, deckle edges, 12mo. $1.50

In this volume Miss Fisher has treated a subject of vital interest and
importance for all American lovers of literature, and she has
accomplished her task with rare feminine appreciation and sympathy, with
a clear and decisive interest, with a catholicity of judgment and a fine
sense of discrimination and proportion and with a warmth and delicacy of
treatment that transform these biographical sketches into little gems of
portraiture.--_The Commercial Advertiser_, New York.

The great value of the book lies in the fact that while Miss Fisher has
a thorough familiarity with the subjects of her essays, she writes as
she might if she were ignorant of the estimation in which they are held
by the public or by the critics. She applies discriminating reason and
sound principles of judgment to the work of the various writers, without
the slightest reference to their personal dignity or their literary
fame.--_The Book Buyer_, New York.

The whole range of notable writers are dealt with in a style at once
discriminating and attractive. The "human touch" is pleasingly apparent
throughout the book.--_The Living Age_, Boston.



12mo. $1.25.

Those who are in the habit of associating modern French writing with the
materialistic view of life and the realistic method, will find
themselves refreshed and encouraged by the vigorous protest of men like
Scherer and other French critics against the dominance of these elements
in recent years.--_The Outlook_, New York.

"A Group of French Critics" deserves a friendly welcome from everybody
who desires to know something of the best in contemporary French
letters.--_The Philadelphia Press_.

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A. C. McCLURG & CO., Publishers,


     MEMORIES. A Story of German Love. Translated from the German of MAX

     GRAZIELLA. A Story of Italian Love. Translated from the French of

     MARIE. A Story of Russian Love. From the Russian of ALEXANDER

     MADELEINE. A Story of French Love (crowned by the French Academy).
     Translated from the French of JULES SANDEAU by FRANCIS CHARLOT.

     MARIANELA. A Story of Spanish Love. Translated from the Spanish of

     COUSIN PHILLIS. A Story of English Love. By Mrs. GASKELL.

     KARINE. A Story of Swedish Love. Translated from the German of

     MARIA FELICIA. A Story of Bohemian Love. Translated from the

     Handsomely printed on fine laid paper, 16mo, gilt tops, per volume,
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     edges, $15.00; limp calf or morocco, gilt edges, $18.00.

     This series of volumes forms perhaps the choicest addition to the
     literature of the English language that has been made in recent

An attractive series of stories of love in different countries,--all
gems of literature, full of local coloring.--_Journal of Education,

The stories are attractive for their purity, sweetness, and pathos.... A
rare collection of representative national classics. _New York

A series especially to be commended for the good taste displayed in the
mechanical execution of the works. Type and paper are everything that
could be desired, and the volumes are set off with a gilt top which adds
to their general appearance of neatness.--_Herald, Rochester_.

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THE BOOK-LOVER. A Guide to the Best Reading. By JAMES BALDWIN, Ph. D.
Sixth edition, 16mo, cloth, gilt top, 201 pages. Price, $1.00.

=In half calf or half morocco=, $2.50.

Of this book, on the best in English Literature, which has already been
declared of the highest value by the testimony of the best critics in
this country, an edition of one thousand copies has just been ordered
for London, the home of English Literature,--a compliment of which its
scholarly western author may justly be proud.

We know of no work of the kind which gives so much useful information in
so small a space.--_Evening Telegram, New York_.

Sound in theory and in a practical point of view. The courses of reading
laid down are made of good books, and in general, of the
best.--_Independent, New York_.

Mr. Baldwin has written in this monograph a delightful eulogium of books
and their manifold influence, and has gained therein two classes of
readers,--the scholarly class, to which he belongs, and the receptive
class, which he has benefited.--_Evening Mail and Express, New York_.

If a man needs that the love of books be cultivated within him, such a
gem of a book as Dr. Baldwin's ought to do the work. Perfect and
inviting in all that a book ought outwardly to be, its contents are such
as to instruct the mind at the same time that they answer the taste, and
the reader who goes carefully through its two hundred pages ought not
only to love books in general better than he ever did before, but to
love them more wisely, more intelligently, more discriminatingly, and
with more profit to his own soul.--_Literary Worlds, Boston_.

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By the Hon. ISAAC N. ARNOLD. With Steel Portrait. 8vo, cloth, 471 pages.
Price, $1.50.

In half calf or half morocco, $3.50.

It is decidedly the best and most complete Life of Lincoln that has yet
appeared.--_Contemporary Review, London_.

Mr. Arnold succeeded to a singular extent in assuming the broad view and
judicious voice of posterity and exhibiting the greatest figure of our
time in its true perspective.--_The Tribune, New York_.

It is the only Life of Lincoln thus far published that is likely to
live,--the only one that has any serious pretensions to depict him with
adequate veracity, completeness, and dignity.--_The Sun, New York_.

The author knew Mr. Lincoln long and intimately, and no one was better
fitted for the task of preparing his biography. He has written with
tenderness and fidelity, with keen discrimination, and with graphic
powers of description and analysis.--_The Interior, Chicago_.

Mr. Arnold's "Life of President Lincoln" is excellent in almost every
respect.... The author has painted a graphic and life-like portrait of
the remarkable man who was called to decide on the destinies of his
country at the crisis of its fate.--_The Times, London_.

The book is particularly rich in incidents connected with the early
career of Mr. Lincoln; and it is without exception the most satisfactory
record of his life that has yet been written. Readers will also find
that in its entirety it is a work of absorbing and enduring interest
that will enchain the attention more effectually than any
novel.--_Magazine of American History, New York_.

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     Translated by MARY L. BOOTH.








     Handsomely printed from new plates, on fine laid paper, 16mo,
     cloth, with gilt tops, price per volume, $1.00.

In half calf or half morocco, per volume, $2.50.

In planning this series, the publishers have aimed at a form which
should combine an unpretentious elegance suited to the fastidious
book-lover with an inexpensiveness that must appeal to the most moderate

It is the intent to admit to the series only such tales as have for
years or for generations commended themselves not only to the fastidious
and the critical, but also to the great multitude of the refined reading
public,--tales, in short, which combine purity and classical beauty of
style with perennial popularity.

A contribution to current literature of quite unique value and interest.
They are furnished with a tasteful outfit, with just the amount of
matter one likes to find in books of this class, and are in all ways
very attractive.--_Standard, Chicago_.

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     THE ILIAD OF HOMER. Translated by ALEXANDER POPE. 2 Vols.

     Each volume is finely printed and bound; 16mo, cloth, gilt tops,
     price per volume, $1.00.

In half calf or half morocco, per volume, $2.50.

_All the volumes of this series are from a specially prepared and
corrected text, based upon a careful collation of all the more authentic

The special merit of these editions, aside from the graceful form of the
books, lies in the editor's reserve. Whenever the author has provided a
preface or notes, this apparatus is given, and thus some interesting
matter is revived, but the editor himself refrains from loading the
books with his own writing.--_The Atlantic Monthly_.

A series noted for their integral worth and typographical
beauties.--_Public Ledger, Philadelphia_.

The typography is quite faultless.--_Critic, New York_.

For this series the publishers are entitled to the gratitude of lovers
of classical English.--_School Journal, New York_.

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     BEST LETTERS OF HORACE WALPOLE. With an Introduction by ANNA B.



     BEST LETTERS OF PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY. With an Introduction by

     BEST LETTERS OF WILLIAM COWPER. With an Introduction by ANNA B.

     Handsomely printed from new plates, on fine laid paper, 16mo,
     cloth, with gilt tops, price per volume, $1.00.

In half calf or half morocco, per volume, $2.50.

Amid the great flood of ephemeral literature that pours from the press,
it is well to be recalled by such publications as the "Laurel-Crowned
Letters" to books that have won an abiding place in the classical
literature of the world.--_The Independent, New York_.

The "Laurel-Crowned Series" recommends itself to all lovers of good
literature. The selection is beyond criticism, and puts before the
reader the very best literature in most attractive and convenient form.
The size of the volumes, the good paper, the clear type and the neat
binding are certainly worthy of all praise.--_Public Opinion,

These "Laurel-Crowned" volumes are little gems in their way, and just
the books to pick up at odd times and at intervals of waiting.--_Herald,

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THE STANDARD OPERAS. Their Plots, their Music, and their Composers. By
GEORGE P. UPTON, author of "Woman in Music," etc., etc.

12mo, flexible cloth, yellow edges $1.50

The same, extra gilt, gilt edges 2.00

"Mr. Upton has performed a service that can hardly be too highly
appreciated, in collecting the plots, music, and the composers of the
standard operas, to the number of sixty-four, and bringing them together
in one perfectly arranged volume.... His work is one simply invaluable
to the general reading public. Technicalities are avoided, the aim being
to give to musically uneducated lovers of the opera a clear
understanding of the works they hear. It is description, not criticism,
and calculated to greatly increase the intelligent enjoyment of
music."--_Boston Traveller_.

"Among the multitude of handbooks which are published every year, and
are described by easy-going writers of book-notices as supplying a
long-felt want, we know of none which so completely carries out the
intention of the writer as 'The Standard Operas,' by Mr. George P.
Upton, whose object is to present to his readers a comprehensive sketch
of each of the operas contained in the modern repertory.... There are
thousands of music-loving people who will be glad to have the kind of
knowledge which Mr. Upton has collected for their benefit, and has cast
in a clear and compact form."--_R. H. Stoddard, in "Evening Mail and
Express" (New York)_.

"The summaries of the plots are so clear, logical, and well written,
that one can read them with real pleasure, which cannot be said of the
ordinary operatic synopses. But the most important circumstance is that
Mr. Upton's book is fully abreast of the times."--_The Nation (New

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THE STANDARD ORATORIOS. Their Stories, their Music, and their Composers.
A Handbook. By George P. Upton. 12mo, 335 pages, yellow edges, price,
$1.50; extra gilt, gilt edges, $2.00.

In half calf, gilt top $3.25

In half morocco, gilt edges 3.75

Music lovers are under a new obligation to Mr. Upton for this companion
to his "Standard Operas,"--two books which deserve to be placed on the
same shelf with Grove's and Riemann's musical dictionaries.--_The
Nation, New York_.

Mr. George P. Upton has followed in the lines that he laid down in his
"Standard Operas," and has produced an admirable handwork, which answers
every purpose that such a volume is designed to answer, and which is
certain to be popular now and for years to come.--_The Mail and Express,
New York_.

Like the valuable art handbooks of Mrs. Jamison, these volumes contain
a world of interesting information, indispensable to critics and art
amateurs. The volume under review is elegantly and succinctly written,
and the subjects are handled in a thoroughly comprehensive
manner.--_Public Opinion, Washington_.

The book is a masterpiece of skillful handling, charming the reader with
its pure English style, and keeping his attention always awake in an
arrangement of matter which makes each succeeding page and chapter fresh
in interest and always full of instruction, while always
entertaining.--_The Standard, Chicago_.

The author of this book has done a real service to the vast number of
people who, while they are lovers of music, have neither the leisure nor
inclination to become deeply versed in its literature.... The
information conveyed is of just the sort that the average of cultivated
people will welcome as an aid to comprehending and talking about this
species of musical composition.--_Church Magazine, Philadelphia_.

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THE STANDARD CANTATAS. Their Stories, their Music, and their Composers.
A Handbook. By GEORGE P. UPTON. 12mo, 367 pages, yellow edges, price,
$1.50; extra gilt, gilt edges, $2.00.

In half calf, gilt top            $3.25
In half morocco, gilt edges        3.75

       *       *       *       *       *

The "Standard Cantatas" forms the third volume in the uniform series
which already includes the now well known "Standard Operas" and the
"Standard Oratorios." This latest work deals with a class of musical
compositions, midway between the opera and the oratorio, which is
growing rapidly in favor both with composers and audiences.

As in the two former works, the subject is treated, so far as possible,
in an untechnical manner, so that it may satisfy the needs of musically
uneducated music lovers, and add to their enjoyment by a plain statement
of the story of the cantata and a popular analysis of its music, with
brief pertinent selections from its poetical text.

The book includes a comprehensive essay on the origin of the cantata,
and its development from rude beginnings; biographical sketches of the
composers; carefully prepared descriptions of the plots and the music;
and an appendix containing the names and dates of composition of all the
best known cantatas from the earliest times.

This series of works on popular music has steadily grown in favor since
the appearance of the first volume on the Operas. When the series is
completed, as it will be next year by a volume on the Standard
Symphonies, it will be, as the New York "Nation" has said, indispensable
to every musical library.

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Their History, their Music, and their Composers.
A Handbook. By GEORGE P. UPTON. 12mo, 321 pages, yellow edges, price
$1.50; extra gilt, gilt edges, $2.00.

In half calf, gilt top            $3.25
In half morocco, gilt edges        3.75

       *       *       *       *       *

The usefulness of this handbook cannot be doubted. Its pages are packed
full of these fascinating renderings. The accounts of each composer are
succinct and yet sufficient. The author has done a genuine service to
the world of music lovers. The comprehension of orchestral work of the
highest character is aided efficiently by this volume. The mechanical
execution of the volume is in harmony with its subject. No worthier
volume can be found to put into the hands of an amateur or a friend of
music.--_Public Opinion, Washington_.

None who have seen the previous books of Mr. Upton will need assurance
that this is as indispensable as the others to one who would listen
intelligently to that better class of music which musicians congratulate
themselves Americans are learning to appreciatively enjoy.--_Home
Journal, New York_.

There has never been, in this country at least, so thorough an attempt
to collate the facts of programme music.... As a definite helper in some
cases and as a refresher in others we believe Mr. Upton's book to have a
lasting value.... The book, in brief, shows enthusiastic and honorable
educational purpose, good taste, and sound scholarship.--_The American,

Upton's books should be read and studied by all who desire to acquaint
themselves with the facts and accomplishments in these interesting forms
of musical composition.--_The Voice, New York_.

It is written in a style that cannot fail to stimulate the reader, if
also a student of music, to strive to find for himself the underlying
meanings of the compositions of the great composers. It contains,
besides, a vast amount of information about the symphony, its evolution
and structure, with sketches of the composers, and a detailed technical
description of a few symphonic models. It meets a recognized want of all
concert goers.--_The Chautauquan_.

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_The Story of a Life._


12mo, 286 pages. Price, $1.00.

       *       *       *       *       *

This story is one of the strongest works of fiction of the present
decade. The author is a philosopher and a philanthropist. Her clear,
incisive reasoning, her large sympathies, combined with rare power of
description, enable her to give the world a story which will hold in its
thrall even the most shallow novel-reader who can appreciate good
literature.--_The Arena_, Boston.

The author pierces to the marrow of the thing that has taken hold of
her. By that thing she is verily possessed; it has made of her a
seer.... The bare, bald outline of "Die Waffen nieder!" ("Ground
Arms!"), which is all we have been able to attempt, can give but a
faint, feeble idea of its power and pathos, and none at all of the many
light and humorous touches, the well-drawn minor characters, the
thrilling episodes, the piquant glimpses of the great world of Austria
and France, which relieve the gloom of the tragic story.--_International
Journal of Ethics_.

We have here unquestionably a very remarkable work. As a plea for a
general disarmament it stands unrivaled. For a familiarity with the
details of the subject treated, for breadth of view, for logical acumen,
for dramatic effect and literary excellence, it stands unequaled by any
work written with a purpose.--_Literary Digest_.

With a powerful pen the author tells of the horrors of war; not alone
the desolation of battlefields, but the scourges of typhus and cholera
that follow in their wake, and the wretchedness, misery, and poverty
brought to countless homes. The story in itself is simple but
pathetic.... The book, which is sound and calm in its logic and
reasoning, has made a grand impression upon military circles of Europe,
and its influence is destined to extend far into the future.--_Public
Opinion_, New York.

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