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Speak, history! who are life's victors? Unroll thy long annals, and say,—
William W. Story ("Io Victis," Blackwood's Magazine).
The best of men
That e'er wore earth about him was a sufferer;
The good are better made by ill,
The thousands that, uncheered by praise,
Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the chords with might;
Ah! languid hand, safe in some scented glove,
Drop that bright prayer-book; catch at rock and thorn;
To other hands whose stains and scars you scorn!
Sarah M. Bryan Piatt.
Socrates ("Arete," in the Choice of Hercules in Xenophon's Memorabilia). 470400 B.C. Paraphrase by B. F. B.
It is better by a noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to the evils that we anticipate than to remain in cowardly listlessness for fear of what may happen.- Herodotus.
The heroic, disciplinary, probationary, testing phase of human experience thus particularly emphasized by Socrates and Herodotus has been recently well considered in a discourse by Dr. J. F. Clarke, text, James i., 2: "Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations":
All that man does needs to be tested. "He that is first in his own cause seemeth just, but his neighbor cometh and searcheth him." Critics may be an evil, but they are a necessary evil. Even critics themselves need to be criticised. Who shall judge the judges? There comes after them all a much more awful critic, a judge whose decisions are infallible, subject to reversal in no higher court of appeal,-time, the avenger, the great critic of all human works. Time applies to all the deeds of man the test of God's laws and the nature of things. These condemn and acquit, punish and reward, strictly according to truth. In the long run, the good and the bad are both found out. This fire tries every man's work, burns the wood, hay, and stubble, and when its flame has ceased leaves the gold, silver, and marble standing in their permanent beauty, a joy forever. All the critics in the world cannot put down a good book, and all the puffs in all the magazines and newspapers cannot give to a poor one a permanent success. You may call a bad general a Napoleon a thousand times, but the terrible day of battle comes, and the fire tries his work.
The machine which will not work may be ever so ingenious, but it is a failure. The doctor who cannot cure his patients may have graduated with the highest honors and be covered over with decorations; the lawyer who cannot gain his cases, the minister who cannot interest his hearers, the architect whose houses are cold, damp, illarranged, the painter whose pictures do not give pleasure,- all popularity, all mutual admiration, cannot save them. This is the fire which tries every man's work. Does it do what it was made to.do? that is the question. I have listened to old men talking together. They were successful men,-great lawyers, mighty merchants, worldrenowned statesmen. Of what did they speak with the most satisfaction? They loved to talk of their boyhood and youth, of their days of poverty and hard struggle. The rich man described the time when he found it hard to get a half-dollar. Daniel Webster used to tell with delight how he went out as a boy in the early, chilly morning to drive in the cows, went barefoot through the frosty grass, and warmed his poor little bare feet in the places where the cows had been lying. These men felt they then got their strength of character. At the time, these things seemed hard; but, as they look back on them, they enjoy them better than all their subsequent successes.
Perhaps, in some other world, we shall, in a like manner, look back on our hours of anguish, our long days of bereavement, loneliness, and sorrow, and feel that in those moments the seeds were planted of the greatest and noblest development of our souls. Then we learned generosity, loyalty, truth, manliness. Then we were becoming fittest to do some work for God and man. It seems hard and unintelligible now perhaps hereafter it will be all plain.- Boston Saturday Evening Gazette, July 2, 1881.
Henry W. Longfellow (The Ladder of St. Augustine).
What Three Forms of Temptation would be likely to arise and to recur" for a Season" in the Mind of a Young Man, if he were placed in the then Circumstances of Jesus?
TO GET body gratification, to get fame, to get power. Jesus may be imagined to have come to the baptism with the problem considerably well solved, that had long been depressing his tender nature: How shall the misfortunes that through human selfishness befall the Jewish people-nay, even the whole world — be remedied? Evidently, the entire community will be righted, if all the individuals thereof be righted. Next, then, how is the individual soul to be harmonized with its environment? Evidently, by making the will at one with the design of its Author. Next, then, how is attainable this at-one-ment, this faith that works by love, this fidelity to the unseen Force and Source of goodness, this holding on to the Power not ourselves that makes for righteousness? Jesus had verified Micah's answer: let one do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly, and to him that ordereth his life conduct aright shall be shown salvation from selfishness. His Ideal shall save and be saved.
In a word, objectively all depends on conduct, and subjectively all depends on spiritual condition. His observation, his experience, and his recent prolonged meditations in solitude had resulted in his hitting upon the two essentials of such spiritual condition: (1) The Method, Introspection; (2) The Secret or Means, Self-renunciation. To this condition he had attained, until there was in his person, his presence, his manner, his accents, a something full of grace and truth, a something which can best but, then, only approximately — be translated * sweet reasonableness. It needed no proclamation from the Baptist, no voice from the sky, to convince Jesus that there was
*From "epieikeia" (II. Cor. x., 1), "gentleness of Christ."