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speak of public or political life. The changes have been sufficiently rung upon the poor boy's chances for a governor's chair or a seat in Congress. We have heard more than enough of " log-cabin,” “ rail-splitter," and “canal-boy” Presidents; and it is a fresh recollection, for it is but eighteen years since a native of this state, a farmer's eleven-years bound apprentice and then a maker of shoes, passed with a splendid record into the Vice-Presidency of the nation; and fresher yet, for it is less than three years, since a poor minister's son, born but seventy miles away and starting as a small trader not seventy rods away, reached the same high place.
And we have heard enough too of the "scholar in politics." He might perhaps be in better business and sometimes in better company. Doubtless he is neither to seek nor to shun it. He belongs there when the place stands candidate for the man and not the man for the place. Otherwise let him pray for the wings of a dove that he may fly away and be at rest. The greed of office, if not an apple of discord in the seeking, is too often an apple of Sodom in the eating. The brilliant Sherman refused the bait.
It is to posts of usefulness and not to spheres of ambition I would direct your minds. And here where shall I begin and where shall I end? In every direction and to every watchful eye there opens out a long clear vista of telling toil — above all, to the young man of broadly trained powers. We
take him abroad as Abraham was taken and may say to him : “Look forth
to the stars, and tell what under these wide heavens canst thou do; then go and do it.” There is not only room at the top — that was always so — but there is room all the way up. What now is wanted is not only the best things of the best man, but every man's best.
Is it practical life in its cruder forms? How the air is laden and the carth's surface upheaved with schemes of modern enterprise, calling for practical skill and executive force !
Have you the money-making gift? Never was there such a call and such chances to make money for God and man, and never such a boundless range of uses with such tangible results. And the time is fast coming, if it have not come, when no rich man's memory can be honored except as it is embalmed in some charity and when there is occasion for deathbed repentance, if he have waited for death to unlock his coffers.
Is it some form of business activity, no matter what? Now is a time when the Christian layman is coming to the very front, a Gates, a Hammond in the west, a Cooper or a Pratt in the east. And such also is the nexus of relationship in modern times that through all the and woof of a business career there may run the silver thread of thoughtful culture and the golden thread of Christian beneficence.
Is it the teacher's work to which he looks forward ? Conspicuous and abundant as has been the supply from this ancient institution, the demand has never been exhausted. There are continual inquiries for special qualities that cannot be met.
And for the reverent scholar and earnest student what vast fields of research and what a boundless range of choice lie open! The critical discussion of the sacred books themselves, pursued for a hundred years and unfinished still; the careful editing of their ancient versions, scarcely attempted; the ever-widening investigation of collateral antiquities in Egypt, Chaldea, Cyprus, Palestine, Assyria, and that old Hittite empire with its records yet unread; the rewriting of the whole world's history from newly discovered documents, monuments, and recent excavations; the analysis and comparison of the nine hundred languages of man; the great problem of the races, their affinities and their genesis; the unsolved questions of electricity and magnetism, of light and the spectrum ; the boundless range of astronomy, with its meteoric and nebular and ether hypotheses; the true geological history of our earth; the career of prehistoric man; the mooted questions of evolution, revolution, and creation; the inmost secret of life itself; the unsolved relations of mind and matter; the problems of disease and the influence of bacteria ; the grave matters of sociology and of political science, - these and a multitude of specialties are holding out their invitations, not alone to brilliant genius but to plodding industry. Meanwhile for the ardent philanthropist some new charity seems to be born with every new moon, till no man can recount the catalogue. Somewhere, if not everywhere, is the opening for every reverent thinker and every philanthropic worker.
And is it that noblest work, the Christian ministry ? The demand to-day for strong men and sound men for posts of power is far beyond the supply. Not chiefly for showy or show men. Merely brilliant men are at a growing discount as erratic and unsafe. Faithful, earnest, spiritual men are wanted more and more. And how many a man of but fair abilities, yet of the clear head and the right heart, - that is better still, - has in our day been making his deep and lasting mark for the kingdom of Christ ! I need not cite names of the living. Within a twelvemonth I passed the old mansion of one whom I remember well, a former Dartmouth graduate, whose name is found in no dictionary of biography, but who with a salary never more than three hundred dollars and a parsonage, helped a hundred young men on their way to college, fifty persons on their way to the teacher's work, and nearly five hundred into the kingdom of heaven. And a few weeks since I read the death of one who, with sight always so dim that he could with difficulty follow a winding path, recited well in college, preached well in the pulpit, wrought well in the parish, and after a life of brightness and sweetness went at the age of seventy to his reward.2 Outside of Christendom where is the region that is not inviting the Christian teacher, preacher, physician, and renovator? While horror-stricken, bloodstained Africa, where every pound of ivory exported means a human being slaughtered, opens her earth's
1 Rev. Samuel Wood, D.D., of Boscawen. 2 Rev. Guy C. Strong, Arvada, Col.
mouth that has drunk up this blood and calls for missionary help, so also do hidebound Spain, Austria, and Mexico join the cry.
The chief difficulty which the young man encounters as he looks out on his career is the embarras de richesses, the diversity and multiplicity of the paths opening before him like the corridors of some vast labyrinth, till he can scarcely guess which will first lead him to the light. But while he works and waits and watches, let him know assuredly that there is somewhere a place waiting and watching for just such a man as he. Sooner or later the two are apt to find each other. There are more "mute inglorious Miltons" and bloodless Cromwells in poetry than in prose. It is chiefly the question of the force that is in the man. For Beaconsfield was surely right when he said, “The spirit of the age is the very thing that a great man changes," and that his “success does not depend on adopting but on comprehending it.”
While most men find their opportunities, some men seem to make them. Think of Pasteur and Koch in physico-medical research, of Edison and Field in practical art. But whether making or finding, work wins. The man whose brain teems with phonographs, telephones, and the like has for his law of labor “never to look at the clock”; and the man who connected two continents with transmitted speech did it at the cost of thirteen years' struggle, two failures, fifty crossings of the ocean, and the intermediate loss of the public confidence.
e. But he did it.