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of the mighty West; and everywhere exhibiting the robust character and doing the manly work for which the old college has made its world-wide mark. If there was one utterly worthless graduate throughout that region, I failed to see or to hear of him. It was good to take such men by the hand, to receive their warm greeting, and learn their fair record. Dartmouth College, young gentlemen, looks well from three thousand miles away.
You now go forth to join the great scattered host. Go, then, illuminated with the light of God. Go with the open heart, the open eye, the open hand. Go with the firm principle, the clear vision, the broad and resolute Christian manhood. Carry light and strength wherever you go, and never darkness and weakness. Be you, every one of you, that pure “light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” So will you do, if you but turn your faces ever towards Christ, the great Sun of Righteousness, source of all light and warmth, with the earnest prayer :
“ Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead, thou me on.”
THE VALUE OF CHARACTER.
BACCALAUREATE SERMON, JUNE 22, 1890.
Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile ! -JOHN 1:47. .
A NOBLE commendation from the highest source.
“An Israelite indeed,” says the Master. For, says Paul,“ they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” Here is the true Israelite, described in words nearly three thousand years old : “ Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill ? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved” (Psalm xv). In modern phrase, a man of whole heart who does God's will, loves truth lives uprightly, honors the good, recoils from the wicked, refrains from hard speech and hard dealing, can neither be bought nor sold, and stands for the right, cost what it will ; the man of stainless honor and spotless integrity, of devout spirit, benignant life, and guileless heart. Such were the qualities which the Saviour saw
and welcomed in Nathanael. It was a commendation of character. My theme this morning is
THE VALUE OF CHARACTER. I mean character in the highest sense. As the Greek zapaztúp was the clear stamp on the coin or the clean-cut carving on the seal, so let us here understand those decided and decisive qualities that make moral worth and life, the deep traits that mark the authentic seal and the ringing gold of a true manhood; character firmly founded on principle — Christian principle. A man of character in this sense is a man of settled convictions, firm purposes, fixed adhesion to the right, kindly feeling, ready sympathies, helpful spirit, and courteous ways, the Christian chevalier.
I. Character prompts to action — perennial action. There are, indeed, other springs of intense activity. But they fail in adversity and wither in disappointment. They walk and work by sight. And when sight fails the work dies too. The baffled gold hunter grows reckless, the broken speculator desperate, and the long-defeated politician dies disgusted. The greatest emperor of a memorable century entombed his last frustrations and vexations in the Convent of Yuste, performing his own funeral rites in advance of his death ; and the boundless activity of the great emperor of this century passed almost into mental stagnation on his prison island. Sooner or later the illusory springs of action are seen to be illusions — an iridescent bubble burst; as when the great Richelieu bade a broken-hearted farewell to his gallery of art, or Mahmoud of Persia, after thirty years of conquest, on one day ordered his gold and jewels to be brought before him, and wept at the thought that he should see them no more; on the next day feasted his eyes on his army, his elephants, his camels and his chariots, burst into tears, and returned in gloom to his palace to die.
In the character embedded in true and vital principle, the energies strike deeper root, and neither die nor wither. “Trust in the Lord and do good” will be a maxim as effective for thousands of years to come as for the three thousand years past. It is the motto for the man who can toil at the substructure as well as the superstructure, in sight or out, with or without speedy result, in victory or seeming defeat. The character infused especially by the gospel — how it can rouse a race from lethargy, or raise the individual from his worst to his best! It domesticates the wandering Sioux, exchanges the Zulu kraal for a home, gives industries, arts, and laws to the Hawaiian and the Cherokee. It can transform the cultivated idler into a toiler. The world is full of such trophies, oftener indeed in humble than in public life, and in all lands.
Here is a woman on an island in mid-ocean, chieftainess in a low and sensual race. To eat, drink, and carouse, to swim in the surf and bask on the beach, had been the height of her ambition. But a divine message spoken by an American messenger touches her heart, and fills her soul with an aim, a purpose, and a life. She becomes a veritable “mother in Israel.” She presides even with grace in a hospitable home. She helps the helpers of her degraded race. Down in
the awful crater of Kilauea she sets at naught all the fears and warnings of her people and friends, and defies the fabled terrors of the great goddess Pele in her throne of power, and rounds out a long and noble life with a peaceful death.
Contemporary for forty years with this regenerated savage Kapiolani was a young Englishman, endowed with wealth, accomplishments, and social rank. He was a graduate from Cambridge, where, as he testifies, the fellows, his teachers, did their best “to make and keep me idle. Why in the world,' said they, 'should a young man of your fortune trouble himself with fagging ?'” And so from the university he plunged into parliament and the giddiest whirl of fashion. He belonged to five clubs, gambled with Fox and Sheridan, sang for the Prince of Wales, “ fished and hunted with Pitt, and danced at Almack's till five in the morning." It was the promise of a career dashy and dazzling, but flashy and futile. But a change came; it came from the leaven of another and a noble character. The company of a devout and scholarly friend in a continental tour wrought in him at twenty-five a revolution that for half a century transformed his whole system of thought and action. “That he should rise,” says a biographer, “to be one of the most laborious and eminent benefactors of mankind was beyond the divination of any human sagacity.” The Christian reconstruction of his inmost character did it all. That was the power that inspired William Wilberforce to a life of devoted diligence and unconquerable philanthropy