The Investment of Influence
A Study of Social Sympathy and Service
Newell Dwight Hillis
Author of "A Man's Value to Society," "Foretokens of Immortality," Etc.
NEW YORK CHICAGO TORONTO
Fleming H. Revell Company
LONDON AND EDINBURGH
By Fleming H. Revell Company.
New York: 158 Fifth Avenue Chicago: 125 North Wabash Ave. Toronto: 25 Richmond Street, W. London: 21 Paternoster Square Edinburgh: 100 Princes Street
Many years have now passed since we first met. During all this time you have been an unfailing guide and helper. Your friendship has doubled life's joys and halved its sorrows. You have strengthened me where I was weak and weakened me where I was too strong. You have borne my burdens and lent me strength to bear my own.
Because I have learned from you in example, what I here teach in precept, I dedicate this book
—whether toiling in field or forum, in home or market place,
TO YOU—MY FRIEND
The glory of our fathers was their emphasis of the principle of self-care and self-culture. Finding that he who first made the most of himself was best fitted to make something of others, the teachers of yesterday unceasingly plied men with motives of personal responsibility. Influenced by the former generation, our age has organized the principle of individualism into its home, its school, its market-place and forum. By reason of the increase in gold, books, travel and personal luxuries, some now feel that selfness is beginning to degenerate into selfishness. The time, therefore, seems to have fully come when the principle of self-care should receive its complement through the principle of care for others. These chapters assert the debt of wealth to poverty, the debt of wisdom to ignorance, the debt of strength to weakness. If "A Man's Value to Society" affirms the duty of self-culture and character, these studies emphasize the law of social sympathy and social service.
Newell Dwight Hillis.
I Influence, and the Atmosphere Man Carries
II Life's Great Hearts, and the Helpfulness of the Higher Manhood
III The Investment of Talent and Its Return
IV Vicarious Lives as Instruments of Social Progress
V Genius, and the Debt of Strength
VI The Time Element in Individual Character and Social Growth
VII The Supremacy of Heart Over Brain
VIII Renown Through Self-Renunciation
IX The Gentleness of True Gianthood
X The Thunder of Silent Fidelity: a Study of the Influence of Little Things
XI Influence, and the Strategic Element in Opportunity
XII Influence, and the Principle of Reaction in Life and Character
XIII The Love that Perfects Life
XIV Hope's Harvest, and the Far-off Interest of Tears
INFLUENCE, AND THE ATMOSPHERE MAN CARRIES.
"I do not believe the world is dying for new ideas. A teacher has a high place amongst us, but someone is wanted here and abroad far more than a teacher. It is power we need, power that shall help us to solve our practical problems, power that shall help us to realize a high, individual, spiritual life, power that shall make us daring enough to act out all we have seen in vision, all we have learnt in principle from Jesus Christ."—Charles A. Berry.
"And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also. Then went Saul to Ramah, and he said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold they be at Naioth. And Saul went thither, and the Spirit of God came on him also and he prophesied. Wherefore man said: Is Saul also among the prophets?"—I. Samuel, xix, 20-21.
INFLUENCE, AND THE ATMOSPHERE MAN CARRIES.
Nature's forces carry their atmosphere. The sun gushes forth light unquenchable; coals throw off heat; violets are larger in influence than bulb; pomegranates and spices crowd the house with sweet odors. Man also has his atmosphere. He is a force-bearer and a force-producer. He journeys forward, exhaling influences. Scientists speak of the magnetic circle. Artists express the same idea by the halo of light emanating from the divine head. Business men understand this principle, those skilled in promoting great enterprises bring the men to be impressed into a room and create an atmosphere around them. In measuring Kossuth's influence over the multitudes that thronged and pressed upon him the historian said: "We must first reckon with the orator's physical bulk and then carry the measuring-line about his atmosphere."
Thinking of the evil emanating from a bad man, Bunyan made Apollyon's nostrils emit flames. Edward Everett insists that Daniel Webster's eyes during his greatest speech literally emitted sparks. Had we tests fine enough we would doubtless find each man's personality the center of outreaching influences. He himself may be utterly unconscious of this exhalation of moral forces, as he is of the contagion of disease from his body. But if light is in him he shines; if darkness rules he shades, if his heart glows with love he warms; if frozen with selfishness he chills; if corrupt he poisons; if pure-hearted he cleanses. We watch with wonder the apparent flight of the sun through space, glowing upon dead planets, shortening winter and bringing summer, with birds, leaves and fruits. But that is not half so wonderful as the passage of a human heart, glowing and sparkling with ten thousand effects, as it moves through life. The soul, like the sun, has its atmosphere, and is over against its fellows, for light, warmth and transformation.
All great writers have had their incident of the atmosphere their hero carried. Centuries ago King Saul sent his officers to arrest a seer who had publicly indicted the tyrant for outbreaking sins. When the soldier entered the prophet's presence he was so profoundly affected by the majesty of his character that he forgot the commission and his lord's command, asking rather to become the good man's protector. Likewise with the second group of soldiers—coming to arrest, they remained to befriend. Then the King's anger was exceedingly hot against him who had become a conscience for the throne. Rushing forth from his palace, like an angry lion from his lair, the King sought the place where this man of God was teaching the people. But, lo! when the King entered the brave man's presence his courage, fidelity and integrity overcame Saul and conquered him unto confession of his wickedness. Just here we may remember that stout-hearted Pilate, with a legion of mailed soldiers to protect him, trembled and quaked before his silent prisoner. And King Agrippa on his throne was afraid, when Paul lifting his chains, fronted him with words of righteousness and judgment. Carlyle says that in 1848, during the riot in Paris, the mob swept down a street blazing with cannon, killed the soldiers, spiked the guns, only to be stopped a few blocks beyond by an old, white-haired man who uncovered and signaled for silence. Then the leader of the mob said: "Citizens, it is De la Eure. Sixty years of pure life is about to address you!" A true man's presence transformed a mob that cannon could not conquer.
Montaigne's illustration of atmosphere was Julius Caesar. When the great Roman was still a youth, he was captured by pirates and chained to the oars as a galley-slave; but Caesar told stories, sang songs, declaimed with endless good humor. Chains bound Caesar to the oars, and his words bound the pirates to himself. That night he supped with the captain. The second day his knowledge of currents, coasts and the route of treasure-ships made him first mate; then he won the sailors over, put the captain in irons, and ruled the ship like a king; soon after, he sailed the ship as a prize into a Roman port. If this incident is credible, a youth who in four days can talk the chains off his wrists, talk himself into the captaincy, talk a pirate ship into his own hands as booty, is not to be accounted for by his eloquent words. His speech was but a tithe of his power, and wrought its spell only when personality had first created a sympathetic atmosphere. Only a fraction of a great man's character can manifest itself in speech; for the character is inexpressibly finer and larger than his words. The narrative of Washington's exploits is the smallest part of his work. Sheer weight of personality alone can account for him. Happy the man of moral energy all compact, whose mere presence, like that of Samuel, the seer, restrains others, softens and transforms them. This is a thing to be written on a man's tomb: "His presence made bad men good."
This mysterious bundle of forces called man, moving through society, exhaling blessings or blightings, gets its meaning from the capacity of others to receive its influences. Man is not so wonderful in his power to mold other lives, as in his readiness to be molded. Steel to hold, he is wax to take. The Daguerrean plate and the Aeolian harp do but meagerly interpret his receptivity. Therefore, some philosophers think character is but the sum total of those many-shaped influences called climate, food, friends, books, industries. As a lump of clay is lifted to the wheel by the potter's hand, and under gentle pressure takes on the lines of a beautiful cup or vase, so man sets forth a mere mass of mind; soon, under the gentle touch of love, hope, ambition, he stands forth in the aspect of a Cromwell, a Milton or a Lincoln.
Standing at the center of the universe, a thousand forces come rushing in to report themselves to the sensitive soul-center. There is a nerve in man that runs out to every room and realm in the universe. Only a tithe of the world's truth and beauty finds access to the lion or lark; they look out as one in castle tower whose only window is a slit in the rock. But man dwells in a glass dome; to him the world lies open on every side. Every fact and force outside has a desk inside man where it makes up its reports. The ear reports all sounds and songs; the eye all sights and scenes; the reason all arguments, judgment each "ought" and "ought not," the religious faculty reports messages coming from a foreign clime.
Man's mechanism stands at the center of the universe with telegraph-lines extending in every direction. It is a marvelous pilgrimage he is making through life while myriad influences stream in upon him. It is no small thing to carry such a mind for three-score years under the glory of the heavens, through the glory of the earth, midst the majesty of the summer and the sanctity of the winter, while all things animate and inanimate rush in through open windows. For one thus sensitively constituted every moment trembles with possibilities; every hour is big with destiny. The neglected blow cannot afterward be struck on the cold iron; once the stamp is given to the soft metal it cannot be effaced. Well did Ruskin say; "Take your vase of Venice glass out of the furnace and strew chaff over it in its transparent heat, and recover that to its clearness and rubied glory when the north wind has blown upon it; but do not think to strew chaff over the child fresh from God's presence and to bring the heavenly colors back to him—at least in this world." We are accountable to God for our influence; this it is "that gives us pause."
Gentle as is the atmosphere about us, it presses with a weight of fourteen pounds to the square inch. No infant's hand feels its weight; no leaf of aspen or wing of bird detects this heavy pressure, for the fluid air presses equally in all directions. Just so gentle, yet powerful, is the moral atmosphere of a good man as it presses upon and shapes his kind. He who hath made man in his own image hath endowed him with this forceful presence. Ten-talent men, eminent in knowledge and refinement, eminent in art and wealth, do, indeed, illustrate this. Proof also comes from obscurity, as pearls from homely oyster shells. Working among the poor of London, an English author searched out the life-career of an apple woman. Her history makes the story of kings and queens contemptible. Events had appointed her to poverty, hunger, cold and two rooms in a tenement. But there were three orphan boys sleeping in an ash-box whose lot was harder. She dedicated her heart and life to the little waifs. During two and forty years she mothered and reared some twenty orphans—gave them home and bed and food; taught them all she knew; helped some to obtain a scant knowledge of the trades; helped others off to Canada and America. The author says she had misshapen features, but that an exquisite smile was on the dead face. It must have been so. She "had a beautiful soul," as Emerson said of Longfellow. Poverty disfigured the apple woman's garret, and want made it wretched, nevertheless, God's most beautiful angels hovered over it. Her life was a blossom event in London's history. Social reform has felt her influence. Like a broken vase the perfume of her being will sweeten literature and society a thousand years after we are gone.
The Greek poet says men knew when the goddess came to Thebes because of the blessings she left in her track. Her footprints were not in the sea, soon obliterated, nor in the snow, quickly melting, but in fields and forests. This unseen friend, passing by the tree blackened by a thunderbolt, stayed her step; lo! the woodbine sprang up and covered the tree's nakedness. She lingered by the stagnant pool—the pool became a flowing spring. She rested upon a fallen log—from decay and death came moss, the snowdrop and the anemone. At the crossing of the brook were her footprints; not in mud downward, but in violets that sprang up in her pathway. O beautiful prophecy! literally fulfilled 2,000 years afterward in the life of the London apple woman, whose atmosphere sweetened bitter hearts and made evil into good.
Wealth and eminent position witness not less powerfully the transforming influence of exalted characters. "My lords," said Salisbury, "the reforms of this century have been chiefly due to the presence here of one man—Lord Shaftesbury. The genius of his life was expressed when last he addressed you. He said: 'When I feel age creeping upon me I am deeply grieved, for I cannot bear to go away and leave the world with so much misery in it.'" So long as Shaftesbury lived, England beheld a standing rebuke of all wrong and injustice. How many iniquities shriveled up in his presence! This man, representing the noblest ancestry, wealth and culture, wrought numberless reforms. He became a voice for the poor and weak. He gave his life to reform acts and corn laws; he emancipated the enslaved boys and girls toiling in mines and factories; he exposed and made impossible the horrors of that inferno in which chimney-sweeps live; he founded twoscore industrial, ragged and trade schools; he established shelters for the homeless poor; when Parliament closed its sessions at midnight Lord Shaftesbury went forth to search out poor prodigals sleeping under Waterloo or Blackfriars bridge, and often in a single night brought a score to his shelter. When the funeral cortege passed through Pall Mall and Trafalgar square on its way to Westminster Abbey, the streets for a mile and a half were packed with innumerable thousands. The costermongers lifted a large banner on which were inscribed these words: "I was sick and in prison and ye visited me." The boys from the ragged schools lifted these words; "I was hungry and naked and ye fed me." All England felt the force of that colossal character. To-day at that central point in Piccadilly where the highways meet and thronging multitudes go surging by, the English people have erected the statue of Shaftesbury—the fitting motto therefor; "The reforms of this century have been chiefly due to the presence and influence of Shaftesbury." If our generation is indeed held back from injustice and anarchy and bloodshed, it will be because Shaftesbury the peer, and Samuel, the seer, are duplicated in the lives of our great men, who stand forth to plead the cause of the poor and weak.
But man's atmosphere is equally potent to blight and to shrivel. Not time, but man, is the great destroyer. History is full of the ruins of cities and empires. "Innumerable Paradises have come and gone; Adams and Eves many," happy one day, have been "miserable exiles" the next; and always because some satanic ambition or passion or person entering has cast baneful shadow o'er the scene. Men talk of the scythe of time and the tooth of time. But, said the art historian: "Time is scytheless and toothless; it is we who gnaw like the worm; we who smite like the scythe. Fancy what treasures would be ours to-day if the delicate statues and temples of the Greeks, if the broad roads and massy walls of the Romans, if the noble architecture, castles and towns of the Middle Ages had not been ground to dust by blind rage of man. It is man that is the consumer; he is moth and mildew and flame." All the galleries and temples and libraries and cities have been destroyed by his baneful presence. Thrice armies have made an arsenal of the Acropolis; ground the precious marbles to powder, and mixed their dust with his ashes. It was man's ax and hammer that dashed down the carved work of cathedrals and turned the treasure cities into battle-fields, and opened galleries to the mold of sea winds. Disobedience to law has made cities a heap and walled cities ruins. Man is the pestilence that walketh in darkness. Man is the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
When Mephistopheles appears in human form his presence falls upon homes like the black pall of the consuming plague, that robes cities for death. The classic writer tells of an Indian princess sent as a present to Alexander the Great. She was lovely as the dawn; yet what especially distinguished her was a certain rich perfume in her breath; richer than a garden of Persian roses. A sage physician discovered her terrible secret. This lovely woman had been reared upon poisons from infancy until she herself was the deadliest poison known. When a handful of sweet flowers was given to her, her bosom scorched and shriveled the petals; when the rich perfume of her breath went among a swarm of insects, a score fell dead about her. A pet humming-bird entering her atmosphere, shuddered, hung for a moment in the air, then dropped in its final agony. Her love was poison; her embrace death. This tale has held a place in literature because it stands for men of evil all compact, whose presence has consumed integrities and exhaled iniquities. Happily the forces that bless are always more numerous and more potent than those that blight. Cast a bushel of chaff and one grain of wheat into the soil and nature will destroy all the chaff but cause the one grain of wheat to usher in rich harvests.
As a force-producer, man's primary influence is voluntary in nature. This is the capacity of purposely bringing all the soul's powers to bear upon society. It is the foundation of all instruction. The parent influences the child this way or that. The artist-master plies his pupil. The brave general or discoverer inspires and stimulates his men by multiform motives. The charioteer holds the reins, guides his steeds, restrains or lifts the scourge. Similarly man holds the reins of influence over man, and is himself in turn guided. So friend shapes and molds friend. This is what gives its meaning to conversation, oratory, journalism, reforms. Each man stands at the center of a great network of voluntary influence for good. Through words, bearing and gesture, he sends out his energies. Oftentimes a single speech has effected great reforms. Oft one man's act has deflected the stream of the centuries. Full oft a single word has been like a switch that turns a train from the route running toward the frozen North, to a track leading into the tropic South.
Not seldom has a youth been turned from the way of integrity by the influence of a single friend. Endowed as man is, the weight of his being effects the most astonishing results. Witness Stratton's conversation with the drunken bookbinder whom we know as John B. Gough, the apostle of temperance. Witness Moffat's words that changed David Livingstone, the weaver, into David Livingstone, the savior of Africa. Witness Garibaldi's words fashioning the Italian mob into the conquering army. Witness Garrison and Beecher and Phillips and John Bright. Rivers, winds, forces of fire and steam are impotent compared to those energies of mind and heart, that make men equal to transforming whole communities and even nations. Who can estimate the soul's conscious power? Who can measure the light and heat of last summer? Who can gather up the rays of the stars? Who can bring together the odors of last year's orchards? There are no mathematics for computing the influence of man's voluntary thought, affection and aspiration upon his fellows.
Man has also an unpurposed influence. Power goes forth without his distinct volition. Like all centers of energy, the soul does its best work automatically. The sun does not think of lifting the mist from the ocean, yet the vapor moves skyward. Often man is ignorant of what he accomplishes upon his fellows, but the results are the same. He is surcharged with energy. Accomplishing much by plan, he does more through unconscious weight of personality. In wonder-words we are told the apostle purposely wrought deeds of mercy upon the poor. Yet through his shadow falling on the weak and sick as he passed by, he unconsciously wrought health and hope in men. In like manner it is said that while Jesus Christ was seeking to comfort the comfortless, involuntarily virtue went out of him to strengthen one who did but touch the hem of his garment. Character works with or without consent. The selfish man fills his office with a malign atmosphere; his very presence chills like a cold, clammy day. Suspicious people fill all the circle in which they live with envy and jealousy. Moody men distribute gloom and depression; hopelessness drains off high spirits as cold iron draws the heat from the hand. Domineering men provoke rebellion and breed endless irritations.
Great hearts there are also among men; they carry a volume of manhood; their presence is sunshine, their coming changes our climate; they oil the bearings of life; their shadow always falls behind them; they make right living easy. Blessed are the happiness-makers!—they represent the best forces in civilization. They are to the heart and home what the honeysuckle is to the door over which it clings. These embodied gospels interpret Christianity. Jenny Lind explains a sheet of printed music—and a royal Christian heart explains, and is more than a creed. Little wonder, when Christianity is incarnated in a mother, that the youth worships her as though she were an angel. Someone has likened a church full of people to a box of unlighted candles; latent light is there; if they were only kindled and set burning they would be lights indeed. What God asks for is luminous Christians and living gospels.
Another form of influence continues after death, and may be called unconscious immortality or conserved social energy. Personality is organized into instruments, tools, books, institutions. Over these forms of activity death and years have no power for destroying. The swift steamboat and the flying train tell us that Watt and Stephenson are still toiling for men. Every foreign cablegram reminds us that Cyrus Field has just returned home. The merchant who organizes a great business sends down to the generations his personality, prudence, wisdom and executive skill. The names of inventors may now be on moldering tombstones, but their busy fingers are still weaving warm textures for the world's poor. The gardener of Hampton court, who, in old age, wished to do yet one more helpful deed, and planted with elms and oaks the roadway leading to the historic house, still lives in those columnar trees, and all the long summer through distributes comfort and refreshment. Every man who opens up a roadway into the wilderness; every engineer throwing a bridge over icy rivers for weary travelers; every builder rearing abodes of peace, happiness and refinement for his generation; every smith forging honest plates that hold great ships in time of storm, every patriot that redeems his land with blood; every martyr forgotten and dying in his dungeon that freedom might never perish; every teacher and discoverer who has gone into lands of fever and miasma to carry liberty, intelligence and religion to the ignorant, still walks among men, working for society and is unconsciously immortal.
This is fame. Life hath no holier ambition. Some there are who, denied opportunity, have sought out those ambitious to learn, and, educating them, have sent their own personality out through artists, jurists or authors they have trained. Herein is the test of the greatness of editor or statesman or merchant. He has so incarnated his ideas or methods in his helpers that, while his body is one, his spirit has many-shaped forms; so that his journal, or institution, or party feels no jar nor shock in his death, but moves quietly forward because he is still here living and working in those into whom his spirit is incarnated. Death ends the single life, but our multiplied life in others survives.
The supreme example of atmosphere and influence is Jesus Christ. His was a force mightier than intellect. Wherever he moved a light ne'er seen on land nor sea shone on man. It was more than eminent beauty or supreme genius. His scepter was not through cunning of brain or craft of hand; reality was his throne. "Therefore," said Charles Lamb, "if Shakespeare should enter the room we should rise and greet him uncovered, but kneeling meet the Nazarene." His gift cannot be bought nor commanded; but his secret and charm may be ours. Acceptance, obedience, companionship with him—these are the keys of power. The legend is, that so long as the Grecian hero touched the ground, he was strong; and measureless the influence of him who ever dwells in Christ's atmosphere. Man grows like those he loves. If great men come in groups, there is always a greater man in the midst of the company from whom they borrowed eminence—Socrates and his disciples; Cromwell and his friends; Coleridge and his company; Emerson and the Boston group; high over all the twelve disciples and the Name above every name. Perchance, in vision-hour, over against the man you are he will show you the man he would fain have you become; thereby comes greatness. For value is not in iron, but in the pattern that molds it; beauty is not in the pigments, but in the ideal that blends them; strength is not in the stone or marble, but in the plan of architect; greatness is not in wisdom, nor wealth, nor skill, but in the divine Christ who works up these raw materials of character. Forevermore the secret of eminence is the secret of the Messiah.
LIFE'S GREAT HEARTS, AND THE HELPFULNESS OF THE HIGHER MANHOOD.
"Heaven doth with us as we with torches do, Not light them for themselves, for if our virtues Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touched But to fine issues, nor Nature never lends The smallest scruple of her excellence, But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines Herself the glory of a creditor— Both thanks and use."—Measure for Measure.
"A man was born, not for prosperity, but to suffer for the benefit of others, like the noble rock maple, which, all round our villages, bleeds for the service of man."—Emerson.
"Everything cries out to us that we must renounce. Thou must go without, go without! That is the everlasting song which every hour, all our life through, hoarsely sings to us: Die, and come to life; for so long as this is not accomplished thou art but a troubled guest upon an earth of gloom."—Goethe.
LIFE'S GREAT HEARTS, AND THE HELPFULNESS OF THE HIGHER MANHOOD.
The oases in the Arabian desert lie under the lee of long ridges of rock. The high cliffs extending from north to south are barriers against the drifting sand. Standing on the rocky summit the seer Isaiah beheld a sea whose yellow waves stretched to the very horizon. By day the winds were still, for the pitiless Asiatic sun made the desert a furnace whose air rose upward. But when night falls the wind rises. Then the sand begins to drift. Soon every object lies buried under yellow flakes. Anon, sandstorms arise. Then the sole hope for man is to fall upon his face; the sky rains bullets. Then appears the ministry of the rocks. They stay the drifting sand. To the yellow sea they say: "Thus far, but no farther." Desolation is held back. Soon the land under the lee of the rocks becomes rich. It is fed by springs that seep out of the cliffs. It becomes a veritable oasis with figs and olives and vineyards and aromatic shrubs. Here dwell the sheik and his flocks. Hither come the caravans seeking refreshment. In all the Orient no spot so beautiful as the oasis under the shadow of the rocks. Long centuries ago, while Isaiah rejoiced under the beneficent ministry of these cliffs, his thoughts went out from dead rocks to living men. In his vision he saw good men as Great Hearts, to whom crowded close the weak and ignorant, seeking protection. Sheltered thereby barren lives were nourished into bounty and beauty. With leaping heart and streaming eyes he cried out; "O, what a desert is life but for the ministry of the higher manhood! To what shall I liken a good man? A man shall be as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land; a shelter in the time of storm!"
Optimists always, we believe God's world is a good world. Joy is more than sorrow; happiness outweighs misery; the reasons for living are more numerous than the reasons against it. But let the candid mind confess that life hath aspects very desert-like. Today prosperity grows like a fruitful tree; to-morrow adversity's hot winds wither every leaf. God plants companion, child, or friend in the life-garden; but death blasts the tree under which the soul finds shelter; then begins the desert pilgrimage. Soon comes loss of health; then the wealth of Croesus availeth not for refreshing sleep, and the wisdom of Solomon is vanity and vexation of spirit. The common people, too, know blight and blast; their life is full of mortal toil and strife, its fruitage grief and pain. Temptations and evil purposes are the chief blights. When the fiery passion hath passed the soul is like a city swept by a conflagration. Each night we go before the judgment seat. Reason hears the case; memory gives evidence; conscience convicts, each faculty goes to the left; self-respect pushes us out of paradise into the desert; and the angels of our better nature guard the gates with flaming swords.
A journey among men is like a journey through some land after the cyclone has made the village a heap and the harvest fields a waste. An outlook upon the generations reminds us of a highway along which the retreating army has passed, leaving abandoned guns and silent cannon with men dead and dying. Travelers from tropical Mexico describe ruined cities and lovely villages away from which civilized men journey, leaving temples and terraced gardens to moss and ivy. The deserted valleys are rich in tropic fruits and the climate soft and gentle. Yet Aztecs left the garden to journey northward into the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico. Often for the soul paradise is not before, but behind.
Shakespeare condenses all this in "King Lear." Avarice closes the palace doors against the white-haired King. Greed pushes him into the night to wander o'er the wasted moor, an exiled king, uncrowned and uncared for. In such hours garden becomes desert. This is the drama of man's life. The soul thirsts for sympathy. It hungers for love. Baffled and broken it seeks a great heart. For the pilgrim multitudes Moses was the shadow on a great rock in a weary land. For poor, hunted David, Jonathan was a covert in time of storm. Savonarola, Luther, Cromwell sheltered perishing multitudes. Solitary in the midst of the vale in which death will soon dig a grave for each of us stands the immortal Christ, "the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."
That Infinite Being who hath made man in his own image hath endowed the soul with full power to transform the desert into an oasis. The soul carries wondrous implements. It is given to reason to carry fertility where ignorance and fear and superstition have wrought desolation. It is given to inventive skill to search out wellsprings and smite rocks into living water. It is given to affection to hive sweetness like honeycombs. It is given to wit and imagination to produce perpetual joy and gladness. It is given to love in the person of a Duff, a Judson, and a Xavier to transform dark continents. Great is the power of love! "No abandoned boy in the city, no red man in the mountains, no negro in Africa can resist its sweet solicitude. It undermines like a wave, it rends like an earthquake, it melts like a fire, it inspires like music, it binds like a chain, it detains like a good story, it cheers like a sunbeam." No other power is immeasurable. For things have only partial influence over living men. Forests, fields, skies, tools, occupations, industries—these all stop in the outer court of the soul. It is given to affection alone to enter the sacred inner precincts. But once the good man comes his power is irresistible. Witness Arnold among the schoolboys at Rugby. Witness Garibaldi and his peasant soldiers. Witness the Scottish chief and his devoted clan. Witness artist pupils inflamed by their masters. What a noble group is that headed by Horace Mann, Garrison, Phillips and Lincoln! General Booth belongs to a like group. What a ministry of mercy and fertility and protection have these great hearts wrought! Great hearts become a shelter in time of storm.
All social reforms begin with some great heart. Much now is being said of the destitution in the poorer districts of great cities. Dante saw a second hell deeper than hell itself. Each great modern city hath its inferno. Here dwell costermongers, rag-pickers and street-cleaners; here the sweater hath his haunts. Huge rookeries and tenements, whose every brick exudes filth, teem with miserable folk. Each room has one or more families, from the second cellar at the bottom to the garret at the top. No greensward, no park, no blade of grass. Whole districts are as bare of beauty as an enlarged ash-heap. Here children are "spawned, not born, and die like flies." Here men and women grow bitter. Here anarchy grows rank. And to such a district in one great city has gone a man of the finest scholarship and the highest position, to become the friend of the poor. With him is his bosom friend, having wealth and culture, with pictures, marbles and curios. Every afternoon they invite several hundred poor women to spend an hour in the conservatory among the flowers. Every evening with stereopticon they take a thousand boys or men upon a journey to Italy or Egypt or Japan. The kindergartens, public schools and art exhibits cause these women and children to forget for a time their misery. One hour daily is redeemed from sorrow to joy by beautiful things and kindly surroundings. Love and sympathy have sheltered them from life's fierce heat. Bitter lives are slowly being sweetened. Springs are being opened in the desert. These great hearts have become "the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."
The Russian reformer, novelist and philanthropist, had an experience that profoundly influenced his career. Famine had wrought great suffering in Russia. One day the good poet passed a beggar on the street corner. Stretching out gaunt hands, with blue lips and watery eyes, the miserable creature asked an alms. Quickly the author felt for a copper. He turned his pockets inside out. He was without purse or ring or any gift. Then the kind man took the beggar's hand in both of his and said: "Do not be angry with me, brother, I have nothing with me!" The gaunt face lighted up; the man lifted his bloodshot eyes; his blue lips parted in a smile. "But you called me brother—that was a great gift." Returning an hour later he found the smile he had kindled still lingered on the beggar's face. His body had been cold; kindness had made his heart warm. The good man was as a covert in time of storm. History and experience exhibit now and then a man as unyielding as rock in friendships. Years ago a gifted youth began his literary career. Wealth, travel, friends, all good gifts were his. One day a friend handed him a telegram containing news of his father's death. Then the mother faded away. The youth was alone in the world. In that hour evil companions gathered around him. They spoiled him of his fresh innocency. They taught the delicate boy to listen to salacity without blushing. Soon coarse quips and rude jests ceased to shock him. He thought to "see life" by seeing the wrecks of manhood and womanhood. But does one study architecture by visiting hovels and squalid cabins? Is not studying architecture seeing the finest mansions and galleries and cathedrals? So to see life is to see manhood at its best and womanhood when carried up to culture and beauty.
Wasting his fortune this youth wasted also his friendships. One man loved him for his father's sake. For several years every Saturday night witnessed this man of oak and rock going from den to den looking for his old friend's boy. One day he wrote the youth a letter telling him, whether or not he found him, so long as he lived he would be looking for him every Saturday night in hope of redeeming him again to integrity. What nothing else could do love did. Kindness wrought its miracle. Clasping hands the man and boy climbed back again to the heights. At first the integrity was at best a poor, sickly plant. But his friend was a refuge in time of storm. A good man became the shadow of a great rock in life's weary land.
Our age is specially interested in the relation of happiness to the street, the market and counting-room. We have not yet acknowledged the responsibility of strength. Not always have our giant minds confessed the debt of power to weakness; the debt of wisdom to ignorance; the debt of wealth to poverty; the debt of holiness to iniquity. Jesus Christ was the first to incarnate this principle. By so much as the parent is wiser than the babe for building a protecting shield for happiness and well-being, by that much is the mother indebted to her babe. Why is one man more successful than another in the street's fierce conflict? Because he has more resources; is prudent, thrifty, quick to seize upon opportunity, sagacious, keen of judgment. All these qualities are birth-gifts. The ancestral foothills slope upward toward the mountain-minded. And what do these distinguished mental qualities involve?
Recognizing the responsibility of men of leisure and wealth, John Ruskin said: "Shall one by breadth and sweep of sight gather some branch of the commerce of the country into one great cobweb of which he is himself to be the master spider, making every thread vibrate with the points of his claws, and commanding every avenue with the facets of his eyes?" Shall the industrial or political giant say: "Here is the power in my hand; weakness owes me a debt? Build a mound here for me to be throned upon. Come, weave tapestries for my feet that I may tread in silk and purple; dance before me that I may be glad, and sing sweetly to me that I may slumber. So shall I live in joy and die in honor." Rather than such an honorable death, it were better that the day perish wherein such strength was born. Rather let the great mind become also the great heart, and stretch out his scepter over the heads of the common people that stoop to its waving. "Let me help you subdue the obstacle that baffled our fathers, and put away the plagues that consume our children. Let us together water these dry places; plow these desert moons; carry this food to those who are in hunger; carry this light to those who are in darkness; carry this life to those who are in death."
Superiority is to make erring men unerring and slow minds swift. Then, indeed, comes the better day—pray God it be not far off—when strength uses its wealth as the net of the sacred fisher to gather souls of men out of the deep.
In overplus of strength we have the measure of a man's greatness. Soul-power is resource for finding and feeding the hidden springs of life and thought in others. Not all have the same capacity. The Lord of the vineyard still sends into the white fields ten-talent men, two-talent men and one-talent men. Each hath his own task, and each must grasp the handle of his own being. Genius is widely distributed. Not many Platos—only one, and then a thousand lesser minds look up to him and learn to think. Not many Dantes—one, and a thousand poets tune their lyres to his and catch its notes. Not many Raphaels—one, and a thousand aspiring artists look up to him and are lifted by the look. Not many royal hearts—great magazines of kindness. Few are great in heart-power, effulging all sweet and generous qualities. Happy the community blessed with, a few great hearts and a few great minds. One such will civilize a whole community.
Classic literature charmed our childhood with the story of an Arabian sheik. He dwelt in an oasis near the edge of the desert. Wealth was his, with flocks and herds and wedges of gold. One night sleep forsook his couch. Yet the gurgle of falling water was in his ear. The odors of the vineyard were in his nostril; and to-morrow his servants would begin to gather the abundant harvest. Ten miles away ran the track of the caravan where his herdsmen had found a traveler dead from the fierce heat of the desert. Yonder the desert and a dying traveler; here an oasis with living water. Then the sheik arose; he bade his servants fill two leathern water-bottles and bring a basket full of figs and grapes. The next day a caravan came to a booth protecting two water-bottles sunk in the sand. Beside them were bunches of fruit. On a roll were these words: "While God gives me life each day shall a man be—as springs of water in a desert place." This beautiful story interprets for us the ministry of the higher manhood, as the great heart becomes the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
This law of human helpfulness asks each man to carry himself so as to bless and not blight men, to make and not mar them. Besides the great ends of attaining character here and immortality hereafter, we are bound to so administer our talents as to make right living easy and smooth for others. Happy is he whose soul automatically oils all the machinery of the home, the market and the street. And this ambition to be universally helpful must not be a transient and occasional one—here and there an hour's friendship, a passing hint of sympathy, a transient gleam of kindness. Heart helpfulness is to enter into the fundamental conceptions of our living. With vigilant care man is to expel every element that vexes or irritates or chafes just as the husbandman expels nettles and poison ivy from fruitful gardens.
For nothing is so easily wrecked as the soul. As mechanisms go up toward complexity, delicacy increases. The fragile vase is ruined by a single tap. A chance blow destroys the statue. A bit of sand ruins the delicate mechanism. But the soul is even more sensitive to injury. It is marred by a word or a look. Men are responsible for the ruin they work unthinkingly! To-day the engine drops a spark behind it. To-morrow that engine is a thousand miles away. Yet the spark left behind is now a column of fire mowing down the forests. And that devastating column belongs not to another, but to that engine that hath journeyed far. Thus the evil man does lives after him. The condemnation of life is that a man hath carried friction and stirred up malign elements and sowed fiery discords, so that the gods track him by the swath of destruction he hath cut through life. The praise of life is that a man hath exhaled bounty and stimulus and joy and gladness wherever he journeys. To-day noble examples and ten thousand precepts unite in urging every one to become a great heart. Every individual must bring together his little group of pilgrim friends, companions, employes, using whatever he has of wisdom and skill for guiding those who follow him on their desert march. For happiness is through helpfulness. Every morning let us build a booth to shelter someone from life's fierce heat. Every noon let us dig some life-spring for thirsty lips. Every night let us be food for the hungry and shelter for the cold and naked. The law of the higher manhood asks man to be a great heart, the shadow of a rock in a weary land.
THE INVESTMENT OF TALENT AND ITS RETURN.
"The universal blunder of this world is in thinking that there are certain persons put into the world to govern and certain others to obey. Everybody is in this world to govern and everybody to obey. There are no benefactors and no beneficiaries in distinct classes. Every man is at once both benefactor and beneficiary. Every good deed you do you ought to thank your fellowman for giving you an opportunity to do; and they ought to be thankful to you for doing it."—Phillips Brooks.
"Pity is love and something more; love at its utmost."—T. T. Munger, "Freedom of Faith."
"The great idea that the Bible is the history of mankind's deliverance from all tyranny, outward as well as inward, of the Jews, as the one free constitutional people among a world of slaves and tyrants, of their ruin, as the righteous fruit of a voluntary return to despotism; of the New Testament, as the good news that freedom, brotherhood, equality, once confided only to Judea and to Greece, and dimly seen even there, was henceforth to be the right of all mankind, the law of all society—who was there to tell me that? Who is there now to go forth and tell it to the millions who have suffered and doubted and despaired like me, and turn the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come? Again I ask—who will go forth and preach that gospel and save his native land?"—Charles Kingsley, "Alton Locke."
THE INVESTMENT OF TALENT AND ITS RETURN.
In all ages man has been stimulated to sowing by the certainty of reaping. Tomorrow's sheaves and shoutings support to-day's tearful sowing. Certainty of victory wins battles before they are fought. Armed with confidence patriots have beaten down stone castles with naked fists. Uncertainty makes the heart sick, takes nerve out of arm and tension out of thought. The mere rumor of war along the border-lines of nations destroys enterprise and industry. Men will not plow if warhorses are to trample down the ripe grain. Men will not build if the enemy are to warm hands over blazing rafters. Why should the husbandman plant vines if others are to wrest away his fruit? The individual and the race need the stimulus of hope and a rational basis of security that nothing shall cut the connection between the causes sown and the effects to be reaped. Therefore, the divine word: "Send forth thy gift and talent, and nature and providence shall invest it securely and give the talent back with interest and increase."
What a promise for civilization was that of Christ: "Give and it shall be given unto you!" Let the husbandman give his seed to the furrows; soon the furrows will give back big bundles into the sower's arms. Let the vintner give the sweat of his brow to the vines; soon the vines will give back the rich purple floods. Give thy thought, O husbandman! to the wild rice; soon nature will give back the rice plump wheat. Give thyself, O inventor! to the raw ores, and nature will give thee the forceful tools. Give thyself, O reformer! to the desert world; soon the world-desert will be given back a world-garden. Give sparingly to nature, and sparingly shalt thou receive again. Give bountifully, and bounty shall be given back. Give scant thought and drag but one plank to the stream, and thou shalt receive only a narrow bridge across the brook. Give abundant thought to wires and cables and buttresses, and nature will give the bridge across the Firth of Forth. Give God thy one talent and, investing it, he returns ten. Give the cup of cold water and thou shalt have rivers of water of life. Share thy crust and thy cloak, and thou shall have banquet and robe and house of many mansions. This is the pledge of nature and God: "Give, and good measure pressed down and shaken together, shalt thou receive of celestial reapers." The history of progress is the history of Christ's challenge and man's response.
Christianity deals in universal. Its principles are not local nor racial nor temporary. They are meridian lines taking in all forces, men and movements. Nature, too, saith: "Give and it shall be given unto you." The sun gives heat to the forests, and afterward the burning coal and tree give heat back to the heavens; the arctics give icebergs and frigid streams for cooling the fierce tropics, and the tropics give back the warm Gulf Stream. The soil in the spring gives its treasures to the growing tree, and in the autumn the tree gives its leaves to make the soil richer and deeper. Personal also is this principle. Give thy body food and thy body will give thee mental strength. Give thy blow to the ax, and the ax will return the fallen tree, with strong tools for thy arm. Give thy brain sleep and rest and thy brain will give thy thought nimbleness. Give thy mind to rocks, and the rock pages will give thee wealth of wisdom. Give thy thought to the fire and water, and they will give thee an engine stronger than tamed lions. Give thy scrutiny to the thunderbolt leaping from the east to the west, and the lightnings shall give themselves back to thee as noiseless and gentle and obedient as the sunlight. Give thy mind to books and libraries, and the literature and lore of the ages will give thee the wisdom of sage and seer. Let some hero give his love and self-sacrificing service to the poor in prisons, and society will give him in return, monuments and grateful memory. Give thy obedience to conscience, and God, whom conscience serves, will give Himself to thee.
Being a natural principle, this law is also spiritual. Standing by his mother's knee each child hears the story of the echo. The boy visiting in the mountains, when he called aloud found that he was mocked by a hidden stranger boy. The insult made him very angry. So he shouted back insults and epithets. But each of these bad words was returned to him from the rocks above. With bitter tears the child returned to his mother, who sent him back to give the hidden stranger kind words and affectionate greetings. Lo! the stranger now echoed back his kindliness. Thus society echoes back each temperament and each career. Evermore man receives what he first gives to nature and society and God.
History is rich in interpretation of this principle. In every age man has received from society what he has given to society. This continent lay waiting for ages for the seed of civilization. At length the sower went forth to sow. Landing in midwinter upon a bleak coast, the fathers gave themselves to cutting roads, draining swamps, subduing grasses, rearing villages, until all the land was sown with the good seed of liberty and Christian civilization. Afterward, when tyranny threatened liberty, these worthies in defending their institutions gave life itself. Dying, they bequeathed their treasures to after generations. At length an enemy, darkling, lifted weapons for destroying. Would these who had received institutions nourished with blood, give life-blood in return? The uprising of 1861 is the answer. Then the people rose as one man, the plow stood in the furrow, the hammer fell from the hand, workroom and college hall were alike deserted—a half-million men laid down their lives upon many a battle-field. Similarly, the honor given to Washington during these last few days tells us that the patriot who gives shall receive. From the day when the young Virginian entered the Indian forests with Braddock to the day when he lay dying at Mount Vernon the patriot gave his health, his wealth, his time, his life, a living sacrifice through eight and forty years. Now every year the people, rising up early and sitting up late, rehearse to their children the story of his life and work. Having given himself, honor shall he receive through all the ages.
To Abraham Lincoln also came the word: "Give and thou shall receive!" Sitting in the White House the President proclaimed equal rights to black and white. Then, with shouts of joy, three million slaves entered the temple of liberty. But they bore the emancipator upon their shoulders and enshrined him forever in the temple of fame, where he who gave bountifully shall receive bountiful honor through all the ages. There, too, in the far-off past stands an uplifted cross. Flinging wide his arms this crowned sufferer sought to lift the world back to his Father's side. In life he gave his testimony against hypocrisy, Phariseeism and cruelty. For years he gave himself to the publican, the sinner, the prodigal, the poor in mind or heart, and so came at length to his pitiless execution. But, having given himself in abandon of love, the world straightway gave itself in return. Every one of his twelve disciples determined to achieve a violent death for the Christ who gave himself for them. Paul was beheaded in Rome. John was tortured in Patmos. Andrew and James were crucified in Asia. The rest were mobbed, or stoned, or tortured to death. And as years sped on man kept giving. Multitudes went forth, burning for him in the tropics, freezing for him in the arctics; threading for him the forest paths, braving for him the swamps, that they might serve his little ones. He gave himself for the world, and the world, in a passion of love, will yet give itself back to him.
Recently the officials of the commonwealth of Massachusetts and the noblest citizens of Boston assembled for celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of George Peabody. For a like purpose the citizens of London came together in banquet hall. Now, the banker had long been dead. Nor did he leave children to keep his name before the public. How shall we account for two continents giving him such praise and fame? George Peabody received from his fellows, because he first gave to his fellows. To his genius for accumulation he added the genius of distribution. His large gifts to Harvard and Yale, to Salem and Peabody, made to science and art as well as to philanthropy and religion, secured perpetual remembrance. When the public credit of the State of Maryland was endangered, he negotiated $8,000,000 in London and gave his entire commission of $200,000 back to the State. He who gave $3,500,000 for founding schools and colleges in the South for black and white, could not but receive honor and praise. Therefore the eulogies pronounced by the legislators in Annapolis. As a banker in London he was disturbed by the sorrows of the poor, and for months gave himself to an investigation of the tenement-house system, developing the Peabody Tenements, to which he gave $2,500,000, and helped 20,000 people to remove from dens into buildings that were light and sweet and wholesome. Therefore when he died in London the English nation that had received from him gave to him, and, for the first time in history, the gates of Westminster Abbey were thrown open for the funeral services of a foreigner. Therefore, the Prime Minister of England selected the swiftest frigate in the English navy for carrying his body back to his native land. His generosity radiated in every direction, not in trickling rivulets, but in copious streams. Bountifully he gave to men; therefore, through innumerable orations, sermons, editorials and toasts, men vied with each other in giving praise and honor back to Peabody, the benefactor of the people.
Society, always sensitive to generosity, is equally sensitive to selfishness. He who treats his fellows as so many clusters to be squeezed into his cup, who spoils the world for self aggrandizement, finds at last that he has burglarized his own soul. Here is a man who says: "Come right, come wrong, I will get gain." Loving ease, he lashes himself to unceasing toil by day and night. Needing rest on Sunday, he denies himself respite and scourges his jaded body and brain into new activities. Every thought is a thread to be woven into a golden net. He lifts his life to strike as miners lift their picks. He swings his body as harvesters their scythes. He will make himself an augur for boring, a chisel for drilling, a muck-rake for scratching, if only he may get gain. He will sweat and swelter and burn in the tropics until malaria has made his face as yellow as gold, if thereby he can fill his purse, and for a like end he will shiver and ache in the arctics. He will deny his ear music, he will deny his mind culture, he will deny his heart friendship that he may coin concerts and social delights into cash. At length the shortness of breath startles him; the stoppage of blood alarms him. Then he retires to receive—what? To receive from nature that which he has given to nature. Once he denied his ear melody, and now taste in return denies him pleasure. Once he denied his mind books, and now books refuse to give him comfort. Once he denied himself friendship, and now men refuse him their love. Having received nothing from him, the great world has no investment to return to him. Such a life, entering the harbor of old age, is like unto a bestormed ship with empty coal bins, whose crew fed the furnace, first with the cargo and then with the furniture, and reached the harbor, having made the ship a burned-cut shell. God buries the souls of many men long years before their bodies are carried to the graveyard.
This principle tells us why nature and society are so prodigal with treasures to some men and so niggardly to others. What a different thing a forest is to different men! He who gives the ax receives a mast. He who gives taste receives a picture. He who gives imagination receives a poem. He who gives faith hears the "goings of God in the tree-tops." The charcoal-burner fronts an oak for finding out how many cords of wood are in it, as the Goths of old fronted peerless temples for estimating how many huts they could quarry from the stately pile. But an artist curses the woodsman for making the tree food for ax and saw. It has become to him as sacred as the cathedral within which he bares his head. It is a temple where birds praise God. It is a harp with endless music for the summer winds. It fills his eye with beauty and his ear with rustling melodies.
For the poet that selfsame oak is enshrined in a thousand noble associations. It sings for him like a hymn; it shines like a vision; it suggests ships, storms and ocean battles; the spear of Launcelot, the forests of Arden; old baronial halls mellow with lights falling on oaken floors; King Arthur's banqueting chamber. To the scientist's thought the oak is a vital mechanism. By day and by night, the long summer through, it lifts tons of moisture and forces it into the wide-spreading branches, but without the rattle of huge engines. With what uproar and clang of iron hammers would stones be crushed that are dissolved noiselessly by the rootlets and recomposed in stems and boughs! What a vast laboratory is here, every root and leaf an expert chemist!
For other multitudes the earth has become only a huge stable; its fruit fodder; its granaries ricks, out of which men-cattle feed. These estimate a man's value according as he has lifted his ax upon tall trees and ravaged all the loveliness of creation; whose curse is the Nebuchadnezzar curse, giving to nature the tongue and hand, and receiving from nature grass; who are doomed to love the corn they grind, to hear only the roar of the whirlwind and the crash of the hail, never "the still small voice;" who see what is written in lamp-black and lightning; who think the clouds are for rain, and know not that they are chariots, thrones and celestial highways; that the sunset means something else than sleep, and the morning suggests something other than work. All these give nature only thought for food, and food only shall they receive from nature, until all their deeds are plowed down in dust. Give forth thy gift, young men and maidens, and according as thou givest thou shalt receive fruit, or picture, or poem, or temple, or ladder let down from heaven, or angel aspirations going up.
Conscience also receives its gifts and makes a return. Give thy body obedience and it will return happiness and health. Give overdrafts and excesses and it will return sleepless nights and suffering days. Man's sins are seeds, his sufferings harvests. Every action is embryonic, and according as it is right or wrong will ripen into sweet fruits of pleasure or poison fruits of pain. Some seeds hold two germs; and vice and penalty are wrapped up under one covering. Sins are self-registering and penalties are automatic. The brain keeps a double set of books, and at last visits its punishments. Conscience does not wait for society to ferret out iniquity, but daily executes judgment. Policemen may slumber and the judge may nod, but the nerves are always active, memory never sleeps, conscience is never off duty. The recoil of the gun bruises black the shoulder of him who holds it, and sin is a weapon that kills at both ends.
In the olden days, when the poisoner was in every palace, the Doge of Venice offered a reward for a crystal goblet that would break the moment a poison touched it. Perhaps the idea was suggested to the Prince because his soul already fulfilled the thought, for one drop of sin always shatters the cup of joy and wastes life's precious wine. How do events interpret this principle! One day Louis, King of France, was riding in the forest near his gorgeous and guilty palace of Versailles. He met a peasant carrying a coffin. "What did the man die of?" asked the King. "Of hunger," answered the peasant. But the sound of the hunt was in the King's ear, and he forgot the cry of want. Soon the day came when the King stood before the guillotine, and with mute appeals for mercy fronted a mob silent as statues, unyielding as stone, grimly waiting to dip the ends of their pikes in regal blood. He gave cold looks; he received cold steel.
Marie Antoinette, riding to Notre Dame for her bridal, bade her soldiers command all beggars, cripples and ragged people to leave the line of the procession. The Queen could not endure for a brief moment the sight of those miserable ones doomed to unceasing squalor and poverty. What she gave others she received herself, for soon, bound in an executioner's cart, she was riding toward the place of execution midst crowds who gazed upon her with hearts as cold as ice and hard as granite. When Foulon was asked how the starving populace was to live he answered: "Let them eat grass." Afterward, Carlyle says, the mob, maddened with rage, "caught him in the streets of Paris, hanged him, stuck his head upon a pike, filled his mouth with grass, amid shouts as of Tophet from a grass-eating people." What kings and princes gave they received. This is the voice of nature and conscience: "Behold, sin crouches at the door!"
This divine principle also explains man's attitude toward his fellows. The proverb says man makes his own world. Each sees what is in himself, not what is outside. The jaundiced eye yellows all it beholds. The chameleon takes its color from the bark on which it clings. Man gives his color to what his thought is fastened upon. The pessimist's darkness makes all things dingy. The youth disappointed with his European trip said he was a fool for going. He was, for the reason that he was a fool before he started. He saw nothing without, because he had no vision within. He gave no sight, he received no vision. An artist sees in each Madonna that which compels a rude mob to uncover in prayer, but the savage perceives only a colored canvas. Recently a foreign traveler, writing of his impressions of our city, described it to his fellows as a veritable hades. But his fellow countryman, in a similar volume, recorded his impressions of our art, architecture and interest in education. Each saw that for which he looked.
This principle explains man's attitude toward his God. God governs rocks by force, animals by fear, savage man by force and fear, true men by hope and love. Man can take God at whatsoever level he pleases. He who by beastliness turns his body into a log will be held by gravity in one spot like a log. He who lives on a level with the animals will receive fear and law and lightnings. He who approaches God through laws of light and heat and electricity will find the world-throne occupied by an infinite Agassiz. Some approach God through physical senses. They behold his storms sinking ships, his tornadoes mowing down forests. These find him a huge Hercules; yet the Judge who seems cruel to the wicked criminal may seem the embodiment of gentleness and kindness to his obedient children. Man determines what God shall be to him. Each paints his own picture of Deity. Macbeth sees him with forked lightnings without and volcanic fires within. The pure in heart see him as the face of all-clasping Love. Give him thy heart and he will give thee love, effulgent love, like the affection of mother or lover or friend, only dearer than either. Give him thy ways, and he will overarch life's path as the heavens overarch the flowers, filling them with heat by day and yielding cooling dews by night. Give him but a flickering aspiration and he will give thee balm for the bruised reed and flame for the smoking flax. Give him the publican's prayer and he will give thee mercy like the wideness of the sea. Give his little ones but a cup of cold water and he will give thee to drink of the water of the river of life and bring thee to the banquet hall in the house of many mansions.
 Mod. Ptrs., Vol. 5, Chap. 1. The Earth—Veil Star papers: A Walk Among Trees.
VICARIOUS LIVES AS INSTRUMENTS OF SOCIAL PROGRESS.
"Only he that uses shall even so much as keep. Unemployed strength steadily diminishes. The sluggard's arm grows soft and flabby. So, even in this lowest sphere, the law is inexorable. Having is using. Not using is losing. Idleness is paralysis. New triumphs must only dictate new struggles. If it be Alexander of Macedon, the Orontes must suggest the Euphrates, and the Euphrates the Indus. Always it must be on and on. One night of rioting in Babylon may arrest the conquering march. Genius is essentially athletic, resolute, aggressive, persistent. Possession is grip, that tightens more and more. Ceasing to gain, we begin to lose. Ceasing to advance, we begin to retrograde. Brief was the interval between Roman conquest of Barbarians, and Barbarian conquest of Rome. Blessed is the man who keeps out of the hospital and holds his place in the ranks. Blessed the man, the last twang of whose bow-string is as sharp as any that went before, sending its arrow as surely to the mark."—Roswell W. Hitchcock.
VICARIOUS LIVES AS INSTRUMENTS OF SOCIAL PROGRESS.
The eleventh chapter of Hebrews has been called the picture-gallery of heroes. These patriots and martyrs who won our first battles for liberty and religion made nobleness epidemic. Oft stoned and mobbed in the cities they founded and loved, they fled into exile, where they wandered in deserts and mountains and caves and slept in the holes of the earth. Falling at last in the wilderness, it may be said that no man knoweth their sepulcher and none their names. But joyfully let us confess that the institutions most eminent and excellent in our day represent the very principles for which these martyrs died and, dying, conquered. For those heroes were the first to dare earth's despots. They won the first victory over every form of vice and sin. They wove the first threads of the flag of liberty and made it indeed the banner of the morning, for they dyed it crimson in their heart's-blood. In all the history of freedom there is no chapter comparable for a moment to the glorious achievements of these men of oak and rock. Their deeds shine on the pages of history like stars blazing in the night and their achievements have long been celebrated in song and story. "The angels of martyrdom and victory," says Mazzini, "are brothers; both extend protecting wings over the cradle of the future life."
Sometimes it has happened that the brave deed of a single patriot has rallied wavering hosts, flashed the lightning through the centuries, and kindled whole nations into a holy enthusiasm. The opposing legions of soldiers and inquisitors went down before the heroism of the early church as darkness flees before the advancing sunshine. Society admires the scholar, but man loves the hero. Wisdom shines, but bravery inspires and lifts. Though centuries have passed, these noble deeds still nourish man's bravery and endurance. It was not given to these leaders to enter into the fruits of their labors. Vicariously they died. With a few exceptions, their very names remain unknown. But let us hasten to confess that their vicarious suffering stayed the onset of despotism and achieved our liberty. They ransomed us from serfdom and bought our liberty with a great price. Compared to those, our bravest deeds do seem but brambles to the oaks at whose feet they grow.
Having made much of the principles of the solidarity of society, science is now engaged in emphasizing the principle of vicarious service and suffering. The consecrated blood of yesterday is seen to be the social and spiritual capital of to-day. Indeed, the civil, intellectual and religious freedom and hope of our age are only the moral courage and suffering of past ages, reappearing under new and resplendent forms. The social vines that shelter us, the civic bough whose clusters feed us, all spring out of ancient graves. The red currents of sacrifice and the tides of the heart have nourished these social growths and made their blossoms crimson and brilliant. Nor could these treasures have been gained otherwise. Nature grants no free favors. Every wise law, institution and custom must be paid for with corresponding treasure. Thought itself takes toll from the brain. To be loved is good, indeed; but love must be paid for with toil, endurance, sacrifice—fuel that feeds love's flame.
Generous giving to-day is a great joy; but it is made possible only by years of thrift and economy. The wine costs the clusters. The linen costs the flax. The furniture costs the forests. The heat in the house costs the coal in the cellar. Wealth costs much toil and sweat by day. Wisdom costs much study and long vigils by night. Leadership costs instant and untiring pains and service. Character costs the long, fierce conflict with vice and sin. When Keats, walking in the rose garden, saw the ground under the bushes all covered with pink petals, he exclaimed; "Next year the roses should be very red!" When Aeneas tore the bough from the myrtle tree, Virgil says the tree exuded blood. But this is only a poet's way of saying that civilization is a tree that is nourished, not by rain and snow, but by the tears and blood of the patriots and prophets of yesterday.
Fortunately, in manifold ways, nature and life witness to the universality of vicarious service and suffering. Indeed, the very basis of the doctrine of evolution is the fact that the life of the higher rests upon the death of the lower. The astronomers tell us that the sun ripens our harvests by burning itself up. Each golden sheaf, each orange bough, each bunch of figs, costs the sun thousands of tons of carbon. Geike, the geologist, shows us that the valleys grow rich and deep with soil through the mountains, growing bare and being denuded of their treasure. Beholding the valleys of France and the plains of Italy all gilded with corn and fragrant with deep grass, where the violets and buttercups wave and toss in the summer wind, travelers often forget that the beauty of the plains was bought, at a great price, by the bareness of the mountains. For these mountains are in reality vast compost heaps, nature's stores of powerful stimulants. Daily the heat swells the flakes of granite; daily the frost splits them; daily the rains dissolve the crushed stone into an impalpable dust; daily the floods sweep the rich mineral foods down into the starving valleys. Thus the glory of the mountains is not alone their majesty of endurance, but also their patient, passionate beneficence as they pour forth all their treasures to feed richness to the pastures, to wreathe with beauty each distant vale and glen, to nourish all waving harvest fields. This death of the mineral is the life of the vegetable.
If now we descend from the mountains to explore the secrets of the sea, Maury and Guyot show us the isles where palm trees wave and man builds his homes and cities midst rich tropic fruits. There scientists find that the coral islands were reared above the waves by myriads of living creatures that died vicariously that man might live. And everywhere nature exhibits the same sacrificial principle. Our treasures of coal mean that vast forests have risen and fallen again for our factories and furnaces. Nobody is richer until somebody is poorer. Evermore the vicarious exchange is going on. The rock decays and feeds the moss and lichen. The moss decays to feed the shrub. The shrub perishes that the tree may have food and growth. The leaves of the tree fall that its boughs may blossom and bear fruit. The seeds ripen to serve the birds singing in all the boughs. The fruit falls to be food for man. The harvests lend man strength for his commerce, his government, his culture and conscience. The lower dies vicariously that the higher may live. Thus nature achieves her gifts only through vast expenditures.
It is said that each of the new guns for the navy costs $100,000. But the gun survives only a hundred explosions, so that every shot costs $1,000. Tyndall tells us that each drop of water sheathes electric power sufficient to charge 100,000 Leyden jars and blow the Houses of Parliament to atoms. Farraday amazes us by his statement of the energy required to embroider a violet or produce a strawberry. To untwist the sunbeam and extract the rich strawberry red, to refine the sugar, and mix its flavor, represents heat sufficient to run an engine from Liverpool to London or from Chicago to Detroit. But because nature does her work noiselessly we must not forget that each of her gifts also involves tremendous expenditure.
This law of vicarious service holds equally in the intellectual world. The author buys his poem or song with his life-blood. While traveling north from London midst a heavy snow-storm, Lord Bacon descended from his coach to stuff a fowl with snow to determine whether or not ice would preserve flesh. With his life the philosopher purchased for us the principle that does so much to preserve our fruits and foods through the summer's heat and lend us happiness and comfort. And Pascal, whose thoughts are the seeds that have sown many a mental life with harvests, bought his splendid ideas by burning up his brain. The professors who guided and loved him knew that the boy would soon be gone, just as those who light a candle in the evening know that the light, burning fast, will soon flicker out in the deep socket. One of our scientists foretells the time when, by the higher mathematics, it will be possible to compute how many brain cells must be torn down to earn a given sum of money; how much vital force each Sir William Jones must give in exchange for one of his forty languages and dialects; what percentage of the original vital force will be consumed in experiencing each new pleasure, or surmounting each new pain; how much nerve treasure it takes to conquer each temptation or endure each self-sacrifice. Too often society forgets that the song, law or reform has cost the health and life of the giver. Tradition says that, through much study, the Iliad cost Homer his eyes. There is strange meaning in the fact that Dante's face was plowed deep with study and suffering and written all over with the literature of sorrow.
To gain his vision of the hills of Paradise, Milton lost his vision of earth's beauteous sights and scenes. In explanation of the early death of Raphael and Burns, Keats and Shelley, it has been said that few great men who are poor have lived to see forty. They bought their greatness with life itself. A few short years ago there lived in a western state a boy who came up to his young manhood with a great, deep passion for the plants and shrubs. While other boys loved the din and bustle of the city, or lingered long in the library, or turned eager feet toward the forum, this youth plunged into the fields and forests, and with a lover's passion for his noble mistress gave himself to roots and seeds and flowers. While he was still a child he would tell on what day in March the first violet bloomed; when the first snowdrop came, and, going back through his years, could tell the very day in spring when the first robin sang near his window. Soon the boy's collection of plants appealed to the wonder of scholars. A little later students from foreign countries began to send him strange flowers from Japan and seeds from India. One midnight while he was lingering o'er his books, suddenly the white page before him was as red with his life-blood as the rose that lay beside his hand. And when, after two years in Colorado, friends bore his body up the side of the mountains he so dearly loved, no scholar in all our land left so full a collection and exposition of the flowers of that distant state as did this dying boy. His study and wisdom made all to be his debtors. But he bought his wisdom with thirty years of health and happiness. We are rich only because the young scholar, with his glorious future, for our sakes made himself poor.
Our social treasure also is the result of vicarious service and suffering. Sailing along the New England coasts, one man's craft strikes a rock and goes to the bottom. But where his boat sank there the state lifts a danger signal, and henceforth, avoiding that rock, whole fleets are saved. One traveler makes his way through the forest and is lost. Afterward other pilgrims avoid that way. Experimenting with the strange root or acid or chemical, the scholar is poisoned and dies. Taught by his agonies, others learn to avoid that danger.
Only a few centuries ago the liberty of thought was unknown. All lips were padlocked. The public criticism of a baron meant the confiscation of the peasant's land; the criticism of the pope meant the dungeon; the criticism of the king meant death. Now all are free to think for themselves, to sift all knowledge and public teachings, to cast away the chaff and to save the precious wheat. But to buy this freedom blood has flowed like rivers and tears have been too cheap to count.
To achieve these two principles, called liberty of thought and liberty of speech, some four thousand battles have been fought. In exchange, therefore, for one of these principles of freedom and happiness, society has paid—not cash down, but blood down; vital treasure for staining two thousand battle-fields. To-day the serf has entered into citizenship and the slave into freedom, but the pathway along which the slave and serf have moved has been over chasms filled with the bodies of patriots and hills that have been leveled by heroes' hands. Why are the travelers through the forests dry and warm midst falling rains? Why are sailors upon all seas comfortable under their rubber coats? Warm are they and dry midst all storms, because for twenty years Goodyear, the discoverer of India rubber, was cold and wet and hungry, and at last, broken-hearted, died midst poverty.
Why is Italy cleansed of the plagues that devastated her cities a hundred years ago? Because John Howard sailed on an infected ship from Constantinople to Venice, that he might be put into a lazaretto and find out the clew to that awful mystery of the plague and stay its power. How has it come that the merchants of our western ports send ships laden with implements for the fields and conveniences for the house into the South Sea Islands? Because such men as Patteson, the pure-hearted, gallant boy of Eton College, gave up every prospect in England to labor amid the Pacific savages and twice plunged into the waters of the coral reefs, amid sharks and devil-fish and stinging jellies, to escape the flight of poisoned arrows of which the slightest graze meant horrible death, and in that high service died by the clubs of the very savages whom he had often risked his life to save—the memory of whose life did so smite the consciences of his murderers that they laid "the young martyr in an open boat, to float away over the bright blue waves, with his hands crossed, as if in prayer, and a palm branch on his breast." And there, in the white light, he lies now, immortal forever.
And why did the representatives of five great nations come together to destroy the slave trade in Africa, and from every coast come the columns of light to journey toward the heart of the dark continent and rim all Africa around with little towns and villages that glow like lighthouses for civilization? Because one day Westminster Abbey was crowded with the great men of England, in the midst of whom stood two black men who had brought Livingstone's body from the jungles of Africa. There, in the great Abbey, faithful Susi told of the hero who, worn thin as parchment through thirty attacks of the African fever, refused Stanley's overtures, turned back toward Ulala, made his ninth attempt to discover the head-waters of the Nile and search out the secret lairs of the slave-dealers, only to die in the forest, with no white man near, no hand of sister or son to cool his fevered brow or close his glazing eyes. Faithful to the last to that which had been the great work of his life, he wrote these words with dying hand: "All I can add in my solitude is, may heaven's rich blessings come down on every one who would help to heal this open sore of the world!" Why was it that in the ten years after Livingstone's death, Africa made greater advancement than in the previous ten centuries? All the world knows that it was through the vicarious suffering of one of Scotland's noblest heroes. And why is it that Curtis says that there are three American orations that will live in history—Patrick Henry's at Williamsburg, Abraham Lincoln's at Gettysburg and Wendell Philips' at Faneuil Hall? A thousand martyrs to liberty lent eloquence to Henry's lips; the hills of Gettysburg, all billowy with our noble dead, exhaled the memories that anointed Lincoln's lips; while Lovejoy's spirit, newly martyred at Alton, poured over Wendell Phillips' nature the full tides of speech divine. Vicarious suffering explains each of these immortal scenes.
Long, too, the scroll of humble heroes whose vicarious services have exalted our common life. Recognizing this principle, Cicero built a monument to his slave, a Greek, who daily read aloud to his master, took notes of his conversation, wrote out his speeches and so lent the orator increased influence and power. Scott also makes one of his characters bestow a gift upon an aged servant. For, said the warrior, no master can ever fully recompense the nurse who cares for his children, or the maid who supplies their wants. To-day each giant of the industrial realm is compassed about with a small army of men who stand waiting to carry out his slightest behests, relieve him of details, halve his burdens, while at the same time doubling his joys and rewards. Lifted up in the sight of the entire community the great man stands on a lofty pedestal builded out of helpers and aids. And though here and now the honors and successes all go to the one giant, and his assistants are seemingly obscure and unrecognized, hereafter and there honors will be evenly distributed, and then how will the great man's position shrink and shrivel!
Here also are the parents who loved books and hungered for beauty, yet in youth were denied education and went all their life through concealing a secret hunger and ambition, but who determined that their children should never want for education. That the boy, therefore, might go to college, these parents rose up early to vex the soil and sat up late to wear their fingers thin, denying the eye beauty, denying the taste and imagination their food, denying the appetite its pleasures. And while they suffer and wane the boy in college grows wise and strong and waxing great, comes home to find the parents overwrought with service and ready to fall on death, having offered a vicarious sacrifice of love.
And here are our own ancestors. Soon our children now lying in the cradles of our state will without any forethought of theirs fall heir to this rich land with all its treasures material—houses and vineyards, factories and cities; with all its treasures mental—library and gallery, school and church, institutions and customs. But with what vicarious suffering were these treasures purchased! For us our fathers subdued the continents and the kingdoms, wrought freedom, stopped the mouths of wolves, escaped the sword of savages, turned to flight armies of enemies, subdued the forests, drained the swamps, planted vineyards, civilized savages, reared schoolhouses, builded churches, founded colleges. For four generations they dwelt in cabins, wore sheepskins and goatskins, wandered about exploring rivers and forests and mines, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, because of their love of liberty, and for the slave's sake were slain with the sword—of whom this generation is not worthy. "And these all died not having received the promise," God having reserved that for us to whom it has been given to fall heir to the splendid achievements of our Christian ancestors.
And what shall we more say, save only to mention those whose early death as well as life was vicarious? What an enigma seems the career of those cut off while yet they stand upon life's threshold! How proud they made our hearts, standing forth all clothed with beauty, health and splendid promise! What a waste of power, what a robbery of love, seemed their early death! But slowly it has dawned upon us that the footsteps that have vanished walk with us more frequently than do our nearest friends. And the sound of the voice that is still instructs us in our dreams as no living voice ever can. The invisible children and friends are the real children. Their memory is a golden cord binding us to God's throne, and drawing us upward into the kingdom of light. Absent, they enrich us as those present cannot. And so the child who smiled upon us and then went away, the son and the daughter whose talents blossomed here to bear fruit above, the sweet mother's face, the father's gentle spirit—their going it was that set open the door of heaven and made on earth a new world. These all lived vicariously for us, and vicariously they died!
No deeply reflective nature, therefore, will be surprised that the vicarious principle is manifest in the Savior of the soul. Rejecting all commercial theories, all judicial exchanges, all imputations of characters, let us recognize the universality of this principle. God is not at warfare with himself. If he uses the vicarious principle in the realm of matter he will use it in the realm of mind and heart. It is given unto parents to bear not only the weakness of the child, but also his ignorance, his sins—perhaps, at last, his very crimes. But nature counts it unsafe to permit any wrong to go unpunished. Nature finds it dangerous to allow the youth to sin against brain or nerve or digestion without visiting sharp penalties upon the offender. Fire burns, acids eat, rocks crush, steam scalds—always, always. Governments also find it unsafe to blot out all distinctions between the honest citizen and the vicious criminal. The taking no notice of sin keeps iniquity in good spirits, belittles the sanctity of law and blurs the conscience.
With God also penalties are warnings. His punishments are thorn hedges, safeguarding man from the thorns and thickets where serpents brood, and forcing his feet back into the ways of wisdom and peace. For man's integrity and happiness, therefore, conscience smites and is smiting unceasingly. Therefore, Eugene Aram dared not trust himself out under the stars at night, for these stars were eyes that blazed and blazed and would not relent. But why did not the murderer, Eugene Aram, forgive himself? When Lady Macbeth found that the water in the basin would not wash off the red spots, but would "the multitudinous seas incarnadine," why did not Macbeth and his wife forgive each other? Strange, passing strange, that Shakespeare thought volcanic fires within and forked lightning without were but the symbols of the storm that breaks upon the eternal orb of each man's soul. If David cannot forgive himself, if Peter cannot forgive Judas, who can forgive sins? "Perhaps the gods may," said Plato to Socrates. "I do not know," answered the philosopher. "I do not know that it would be safe for the gods to pardon." So the poet sends Macbeth out into the black night and the blinding storm to be thrown to the ground by forces that twist off trees and hiss among the wounded boughs and bleeding branches.
For poor Jean Valjean, weeping bitterly for his sins, while he watched the boy play with the buttercups and prayed that God would give him, the red and horny-handed criminal, to feel again as he felt when he pressed his dewy cheek against his mother's knee—for Jean Valjean is there no suffering friend, no forgiving heart? Is there no bosom where poor Magdalene can sob out her bitter confession? What if God were the soul's father! What if he too serves and suffers vicariously! What if his throne is not marble but mercy! What if nature and life do but interpret in the small this divine principle existing in the large in him who is infinite!  What if Calvary is God's eternal heartache, manifest in time! What if, sore-footed and heavy-hearted, bruised with many a fall, we should come back to the old home, from which once we fled away, gay and foolish prodigals! The time was when, as small boys and girls, with blinding tears, we groped toward the mother's bosom and sobbed out our bitter pain and sorrow with the full story of our sin. What if the form on Calvary were like the king of eternity, toiling up the hill of time, his feet bare, his locks all wet with the dew of night, while he cries: "Oh, Absalom! my son, my son, Absalom!" What if we are Absalom, and have hurt God's heart! Reason staggers. Groping, trusting, hoping, we fall blindly on the stairs that slope through darkness up to God. But, falling, we fall into the arms of Him who hath suffered vicariously for man from the foundation of the world.