Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

bears fruit shall be enabled to bear more fruit. This is intended for reward. It does not sanction the narrow plea that “I have done my share.” Rather it makes one cry:

Give me something more to do." The ambition to be successful is hard to satisfy when once it gets into its work and feels the joy of it, of the virtues which make up virtue. Some are full of activity, and some are quiet. The quiet virtues are among the strongest. We hear of active and passive virtues. Speaking strictly, there are no passive virtues. The first syllable of the word determines its meaning. By active virtues are meant such as these: Courage, Liberality, Liberty; but these make no noise: Meekness, Patience, Purity would be called passive; yet these belong to the strong character. When that which resembles them is in a weak character, it is itself weakness. Humility may become servility or hypocrisy, and meekness sink to sycophancy.

Patience is not dull submission to that which cannot be avoided; but the wise adjustment of thought to conditions. Purity is not untried innocence, but the uprightness of a man who refuses to be swerved from integrity. Among the virtues which are essential to success are Industry and Generosity, that is large-mindedness; enterprise, ambition. The difference between weakness and strength are well stated by the English woman, who, at the close of the day, inquired of herself: “Have I done my Duty? Or did I sophisticate and flinch?” There is an element of daring in virtue. He who would win must venture. The daring is allied with the force at command. A general who is weak sees with fear the coming of the enemy, and plans a retreat; while he who has virtue takes counsel with his courage, and brings up his reserves. That which fosters courage and makes it forcible must have its place in the successful life. Lions do not abound in the streets of Jerusalem, but the slothful man sees them there, and fears for his life. This is foolish; for if they were there it would be for him to meet them. He should not hold his success at their will; but make each petty artery in his body “As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.

There have never been wanting men who can do brave deeds when they are called for. The men had not known themselves, and were unknown. The summons came, and they answered, and held to the reply. When the war came it was a great thing for young men, with their years before them, to lay down their life for their country; but they did it. Every man who enlisted did it, and some did not return. Those do not know the heart of a young man who would bribe him with safety or luxury. He will quickest respond to the appeal of heroism; and, not selling himself for success, will achieve it, and save his life in losing it. This was the Divine rule, and it has not been found too hard.

My knights are sworn to vows
Of utter hardihood, utter gentleness,
And loving, utter faithfulness in love,
And uttermost devotion to the King.”

It is in this way that life is lifted into service, which is its high estate. It cannot be said too often that he who would succeed must work. Thre is no substitute for industry and perseverance. The man may choose his work, but he must have it. He may do many things; but there must be one to which the rest are subordinate. Into all his doing his virtue must enter. It was said of Swift that he was a philosopher even in his jest, and of Bolingbroke that he was something of a jester even in his philosophy. The ruling purpose should be distinct.

It is of encouragement to observe that the idea of serving is becoming conspicuous in college life. Men begin to live while preparing to live, and are of use even in apprenticeship. There are many companies for discreet and economic ministries. The spirit of usefulness refuses to be pent up. Service is on every road which leads to success. Some serve with silver and gold, and some without them. Men are learning that money is not the measure of success, and has no monopoly of good deeds. One of the most creditable men whom New England has ever produced gave this fragment of autobiography: “I left this Seminary seventy-two dollars in debt; after fifty years of labour I return to it two hundred and eighty dollars in debt." In the interval he had carried life and learning into dark and dreary places, and had founded a college from whose tower the American flag floats above the Bosphorus.

We must respect the laws. Success is not fickle, and does not make sport of us. It has its standards, and will not depart from them. Prosperity is transient when it defies them. Napoleon is said to have played chess after his own whims, and no one dared to correct him when he broke the rules. But he was defeated at Waterloo, and died at St. Helena. “My Lord Cardinal,” said Anne of Austria to Richelieu, “My Lord Cardinal, God does not pay at the end of every week, but at last he pays.” We want the long and final success, which lays its laurels on the whole running of our years, and not on detached fragments of them. We have to be careful what guides we follow. There are many who are willing to lead us when they do not know the way: “I am lost; follow me," was the wild cry in the Commune, and it has been often repeated. We need not be confused or misled by the assurance,

"That leads to bewilder and dazzles to blind."

There are good leaders. They are always those who walk by the statutes and keep to the path of honour and humility. If others fail us, we can learn the road for ourselves. In many places our own judgments and our own will are the best for us. Still, let me say įt again, there is always Duty; there is always Truth, and to these we must be loyal. There is a power in the Universe strong enough to make truth-seeking safe, and good enough to make truth-telling useful.”

It may need courage to break with our past, to challenge the future, to go beyond our companions; but for this devotion success makes demand. Victor Hugo wrote that some young men mistake a weather-cock for a flag. But what is the difference? Each is raised upon a pole, and each tells which way the wind blows. The weather-cock is itself, and nothing

The flag is the country. In it are the country's honour, and the protection it gives, and the command it speaks. Success walks with the flag.

To us this stands for Deity, Country, Honour; for Truth, Liberty, Life. For us the true flag has the form of the cross, which leads in obedient service, and crowns it with eternal glory. It leads to the verge of the world and to the heights beyond. What we name success, the long and lasting success of the whole life, is the recom

more.

« PoprzedniaDalej »