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this power is very seldom in it I would try to verify; and it is not your old Philip, but your young Alexander, who conquers the world. remember no grand invention, no peerless reform in life or religion, no noble enterprise, no superb stroke of any sort, that was not started from a spark in our youth and early manhood. Once well past that line, and you can dream of Canaan; but the chances are you will stop at Haran, so this putting off any great and good adventure from your earlier to your later age is like waiting for low water before you launch your ship. If we want to make our dream of a nobler and wider life of any sort come true, we must push on while the fresh strong powers are in us, which are more than half the battle. The whole wealth of real enterprise belongs to our youth and earlier manhood. It is then that we get our chance of rising from a collective mediocrity into some sort of distinct nobility. We may be ever so sincere after this, as far as we can go; but we shall go only to Haran. Yes, and we may have a splendid vision, as when this man saw Hermon and Sharon and the sea in his mind's eye as he sat in his chair ; and a noble and good intention, as when he started for the mountains, and halted on the plain ; but just this is what will befall us also if we are not true to this holy law of our life.
This is my first thought; and my second must take the form of a plea to those who do strike out to do grand and good things in this world, and do not halt, but march right on, and then nourish a certain contempt for those who still lag behind. The chances are, it is because they begin too late, that they end too soon; and it is no small matter that they begin at all. For myself, I can only blame them when, with the vision of a nobler life haunting the heart, they tell me that Haran is good enough for anybody, and we need none of us look for anything better. If they know all the while, as this man knew, that the land of promise still lies beyond the line at which they have halted, and will say so frankly, though they may go only the one day's march, I can still bare my head in reverence before such men.
I know what it is to leave these Edessas of our life, and what it costs; how the old homes and altars still have the pull on you, and the shadows of the palm-trees, and the well at which you have drunk so long, and what loving arms twine about you to hold you back from even the one day's march. So, when I hear those blamed who stop short still of where I think they ought to be, I want to say, have you any idea of what it has cost them to go as far as that, and whether it was possible for them to go any farther? And then, is it not a good thing anyhow to take those who belong to them the one day's march and, setting their faces toward the great fair land of promise, leave God to see to it, that this which may be
more than an impulse in the man who has to halt, may grow again to a great inspiration in the son of his spirit and life who goes right on?
And this, I think, is what we may count on in every honest endeavor after a wider and better life. So I like the suggestion that the way the eagle got his wings, and went soaring up towards the sun, grew out of the impulse to soar. That the wings did not precede the desire to fly, but the desire to fly preceded the wings. Something within the creature whispered : Get
up there into the blue heavens ; don't be content to crawl down in the marsh. Out with you !” And so, somehow, through what would seem to us to be an eternity of trying-so long it was between the first of the kind that felt the impulse, and the one that really did the thingdone it was at last, in despite of the very law of gravitation, as well as by it; and there he was, as I have seen him, soaring over the blue summits, screaming out his delight, and spreading his pinions twelve feet, they say, from tip to tip.
I like the suggestion, because it is so true to the life we also have to live-trying and failing ; setting out for Canaan, and stopping at Haran; intending great things, and doing little things, many of us, after all. I tell you again, the good intention goes to pave the way to Heaven, if it be an honest and true intention. There is a pin-feather of the eagle's wing started somewhere in our starting--a soaring which goes far beyond our stopping. We may only get to the edge of the slough, but those who come after us will soar far up toward the sun.
So let me end with a word of cheer. The Moslem says: God loved Abdallah so well that He would not let him attain to that he most deeply desired.” And Coleridge says: “I am like the ostrich: I cannot fly, yet I have wings that give me the feeling of flight. I am only a bird of the earth, but still a bird." And Robertson, of Brighton, says: “Man's true destiny is to be not dissatisfied, but forever unsatisfied."
And you may set out even in your youth, therefore, with this high purpose in you I have tried to touch. You will make your way to a good place, to a wider and more gracious life ; do a great day's work ; rise above all mediocrity into a distinct nobility; find some day that, though you have done your best, you have fallen far below your dream, and the Canaan of your heart's desire lies still in the far distance. All great and grand things lie in the heart of our strivings.
T. DE WITT TALMAGE (1832-1902)
THE TRUMPET BLAST OF THE PULPIT
RUMPET BLASTS” is the title given to one of the works of
selections from Talmage's sermons, and it is one which seems
well fitting to their character. In popularity as an extemporaneous pulpit orator and lecturer Talmage has had few superiors in this country. He was very eloquent in his way; a way marked by an unstinted fluency in words and abundant duplication in the expression of thoughts. His popularity is shown in the wide circulation of his sermons, which for over thirty years were printed weekly in many hundreds of newspapers, so that his preaching reached an immense audience. After holding various Dutch Reformed pastorates, he became pastor of a Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn in 1869, and in 1894 transferred his scene of labor to Washington.
THE UPPER FORCES IN AMERICAN HISTORY [From Talmage's very numerous sermons, we select a passage in which he eloquently points out how the divine energies appear to have wrought for good in American history, raising up men and moulding events for the best results in the development of the United States.]
As it cost England many regiments and two millions of dollars a year to keep safely a troublesome captivę at St. Helena, so the King of Assyria sent out a whole army to capture one minister of religion—the God-fearing prophet Elisha. During the night the army of the Assyrians surrounded the village of Dothan, where the prophet was staying, and at early daybreak his man-servant rushed in, exclaiming, “What shall we do? A whole army has come to destroy you! We must die! Alas, we must die!” But Elisha was not frightened, for he looked up and saw that the mountains all around were full of supernatural forces, and he knew that though there might be 50,000 Assyrians against him, there were 100,000 angels for him. In answer to the prophet's prayer in behalf of his