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of the fabled Oriental mountain, to draw out all the bolts and clamps of the human bark and sink it in the deep sea.
Their bonds of good fellowship are like the long tentacles of the octopus that clasp to crush to wither. College life, alas! is full of instances.
We fall into our outward vocations sometimes by accident, sometimes by free-will, sometimes by foreordination. They must be well fulfilled. But out of sight and within these outer enclosures lies the great regulative force of the whole eternal enterprise.
Here comes the question, what is it all for? “Is life worth living?” When a man of corrupting influence and employment justified himself to Johnson by saying, “I must live;” “Sir," was the reply, “I do not see the least necessity for it.” Of too many a life one may ask, as he looks back upon its history : “What did it signify ?” A bubble broken on the great ocean; a sound made and lost in the forest; a mirage of the desert; or a discordant voice drowned in the chorus of the creation, - such is the meaning of any aimless life, or of any life wrapped up or centered in itself. He that is bent on such an ignoble career, why should he have been endowed with the treasures of the past and equipped with the careful training of the schools ? Let him vanish; and vanish he will. For all these lower aims the preparation is too great for the outcome. And there are times when wealth is seen to be cheap and reputation but an uncertain breath. Indeed the
moral comes to us quite fresh. The frost that lately nipped our summer buds was mild in comparison with the blight that had just befallen great fortunes. Millionaires went over, some from houses of luxury to the criminals cell, and dragging good men in their fall. Then came a frost too on some high political hopes; and we are ready to see that wise and fortunate was the gallant soldier (Sherman), content to rest on the well-earned glory of his proper sphere, and refusing to take his ticket in the national lottery.
It is needless to count up in detail the unworthy aims in life. They include all that are selfish or merely self-centered. Whatever may be a man's talents, acquirements, or relationships, there is in him then no largeness of heart. A capacious intellect wholly absorbed in personal schemes, a varied learning held only for private enjoyment or public display, magnetic attractions drawing only to enchain - no matter how spacious the web if but a spider sits at the center.
• That man may last but never lives,
There is but one ultimate and highest purpose, the service of God and all righteousness; one highest motive, the apostolic “charity” or twofold love, without which the man of angelic tongue and superhuman knowledge is but sounding brass, and works of seeming beneficence profit nothing. It is the purpose of good will, or rather of good willing — benevolence and beneficence conjoined. To this all training, culture, acquisition, influence, owe eternal obligation. The calling in life is doubtless the primary channel through which it shall go forth. But it will exude through the hard rind of a vocation and spread its savor abroad. And no sphere is too narrow to hold a large-hearted
Such elevation of purpose is confined to no calling. Its bright examples are everywhere. Perhaps the cleri. cal profession and evangelistic work naturally yield the largest supply. But there has been many a missionary who has lived at home, and many a minister of mercy who was never ordained. There have been men of wealth, too many, thank God! to be reckoned up, who have held and used their wealth as stewards of God, not waiting for death to unlock their hold; jurists like Hale, Marshall, and Jay, devoted to the maintenance of all that is right and true and good; brilliant advocates like Erskine, consecrated to the public weal; philanthropists like Wilberforce, born to luxury and temptation, offering all on the altar of self-sacrifice; teachers like Arnold, who have broken over the limitations of technical work to form and build noble characters in young men ; statesmen of whom America has had some and England now has one, who, with whatever of mistake, will command men's lasting admiration for the lofty integrity of their aim. These, no doubt, are bright particular stars. But there are, thank God! a great company of men like-minded in places less conspicuous; and they dignify our common life and elevate our common lot, transfusing this daily round of duty with the perennial glow of their warm hearts.
“ As the ample moon
Yes, it is the elevation of our purpose that makes and saves the worth of human life. Otherwise believe the bitter wail of the old Lydian monarch: “Count no man happy till he is dead." How often the vista as seen from the end is to that from the beginning as through the telescope reversed. How often there is a latent satire in the funeral pomp of earthly greatness. The glitter of Solomon's obsequies barely antedated the loud complaint of “heavy burdens.” It certainly was a grand sight when the iron car rolled through London conveying the Iron Duke's remains to the vaults of St. Paul's to sleep by the side of Nelson, but it no longer drew, as once it might, the hearts of the whole British people. It was a more dazzling scene when the great catafalque bore the form of a greater warrior than he to its resting place under the dome of the Invalides beneath that marvelous drapery of storied banners and flashing record of victories. But those banners, did they rustle, would breathe the endless sigh of oppressed nations, and the inscriptions, did they break silence, would utter the wail of slaughtered myriads. A stranger and more weird spectacle it was three years ago in July when a small steamer was making her way down the Nile from the Theban plain to Cairo, and all along the banks as she passed, the poor Copts and Fellahin hailed her with firing of muskets, wild gesticulations, and frantic cries; for by some strange intuition they knew that she bore from the tombs of the Pharaohs the shriveled remains of some eight ancient queens and ten monarchs, mostly older than the Exodus — among them Thotmes the great conqueror, Seti the great warrior builder, and Rameses the supposed great oppressor. In the midst of that unprecedented cargo of dead royalty, as if in irony, in the coffin and around the mummy of the forgotten Amen-hotep lay the blue larkspur, the yellow safflower, and the white lotus with its pink-tipped sepals, all as bright of hue as when they were culled thirty-five hundred years ago, as if to say reprovingly from amid this mummied magnificence: