Imágenes de páginas

weighs more than the entire globe. We are of the opinion of the sages. We believe the greatest things are great but in the proportion of divinity they contain.


"Although genius always commands admiration,' says Smiles, character most secures respect. The former is more the product of brain-power, the latter of heartpower; and in the long run it is the heart that rules in life. Men of genius stand to society in the relation of its intellect, as men of character of its conscience; and while the former are admired, the latter are followed. Commonplace though it may appear, this doing of one's duty embodies the highest ideal of life and character. There may be nothing heroic about it; but the common lot of men is not heroic. And though the

[ocr errors]

abiding sense of duty upholds man in his highest attitudes, it also equally sustains him in the transaction of the ordinary affairs of every-day existence. The most influential of all the virtues are those which are the most in request for daily use. They wear the best and last the longest. We can always better understand and appreciate a man's real character by the manner in which he conducts himself toward those who are the most nearly related to him, and by his transaction of the seemingly commonplace details of daily duty, than by his public exhibition of himself as an author, an orator, or a statesman. Intellectual culture has no

necessary relation to purity or excellence of character.

"On the contrary, a condition of comparative poverty is compatible with character in its highest form. A man may possess only his industry, his frugality, his integrity, and yet stand high in the rank of true manhood.

"Character is property. It is the noblest of possessions. It is an estate in the general good-will and respect of men; and they who invest in it-though they may not become rich in this world's goods—will find their reward in esteem and reputation fairly and honorably won. Without principles, a man is like a ship without rudder or compass, left to drift hither and thither with every wind that blows."

What a contrast is afforded by the lives of Bacon and More. Bacon sought office with as much desire as More avoided it; Bacon used as much solicitation to obtain it as More endured to accept it, and each, when in it, was equally true to his character. More was simple, as Bacon was ostentatious. More was as incorruptible as Bacon was venal. More spent his private fortune in office, and Bacon spent the wages of corruption there. Both left office poor in worldly goods; but while More was rich in honor and good deeds, Bacon was poor in everything; poor in the mammon for which he bartered his integrity; poor in the gawd for which he sacrificed his peace; poor in the presence of

the worthless; covered with shame in the midst of the people; trusting his fame to posterity, of which posterity is only able to say, that the wisest of men was adviser to the silliest of kings, yet that such a king had a sort of majesty when morally compared with the official director of his conscience. Both More and Bacon served each a great purpose for the world. More illustrated the beauty of holiness; Bacon expounded the infinitude of science. Bacon became the prophet of intellect; More, the martyr of conscience. The one pours over our understandings the light of knowledge; but the other inflames our hearts with the love of virtue.

All have read of the proud Egyptian king who ordered a colossal staircase built in his new palace, and was chagrined to find that he required a ladder to climb from one step to the next. A king's legs are as short as those of a beggar. So, too, a prince's ability to enjoy the pleasures of life is no greater than that of a pauper.

[ocr errors]

All that is valuable in this world is to be had for nothing. Genius, beauty, health, piety, love, are not bought and sold. The richest man on earth would vainly offer a fortune to be qualified to write a verse like Milton, or to compose a melody like Mozart. You may summon all the physicians, but they cannot procure for you the sweet, healthful sleep which the tired laborer gets

without price. Let no man, then, call himself a proprietor. He owns but the breath as it traverses his lips and the idea as it flits across his mind; and of that breath he may be deprived by the sting of a bee, and that idea, perhaps, truly belongs to another.' "We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;

In feelings, not in figures on a dial.

[ocr errors]

We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives

Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best; And he whose heart beats quickest lives the longest."



I have gout, asthma, and seven other maladies, but am otherwise very well.-SIDNEY SMITH.

The inborn geniality of some people amounts to genius.-WHIPPLE.

This one sits shivering in fortune's smile,
Taking his joy with bated, doubtful breath;
This other, gnawed by hunger, all the while
Laughs in the teeth of death.


There is no real life but cheerful life.-ADDISON.

Next to the virtue, the fun in this world is what we can least spare.-AGNES STRICKLAND.

Joy in one's work is the consummate tool.-PHILLIPS BROOKS.

Joy is the mainspring in the whole

Of endless Nature s calm rotation.
Joy moves the dazzling wheels that roll
In the great timepiece of Creation.


"He is as stiff as a poker," said a friend of a man who could never be coaxed or

[ocr errors]

tempted to smile. "Stiff as a poker,' exclaimed another, "why he would set an example to a poker."

Even Christians are not celebrated for entering into the joy of their Lord.

We are told that "Pascal would not

« AnteriorContinuar »