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AIM OF LIFE.
THAT life is long which answers life's great end. — YOUNG.
Live well; how long or short permit to heaven. - MILTON. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. — ECCLESIASTES.
Life is a mission. Every other definition of life is false, and leads all who accept it astray. Religion, science, philosophy, though still at variance upon many points, all agree in this, that every existence is an aim. — MAZZINI.
Love not pleasure; love God. This is the Everlasting Yea wherein all contradiction is solved; wherein whoso walks and works, it is well with him. - CARLYLE.
IT is the high distinction of man that he is
capable of living with an aim, that is, with a purpose which, reaching through all his life, unifies it, and gives it directness and force. An aim in life is impossible to creatures that have not reason. It would be impossible to man if he were an automaton, if he were not a rational, free personality, having duty and a destiny. There is, then, a singular abdication
of his real dignity by the man whose life is without purpose; and there is no more serious and important matter for the young to consider than just this one of life's aim. It is important because it intimately concerns success, and, still more, because it concerns the formation and development of character.
I wish you to think of this whole subject with a new seriousness and force. Life is tremendous in its possibilities. More than half the battle for true success is won in beginning right. I do not ask now, what is your aim in life? That question we shall mutually consider a little later. Let us first think about the general question.
The aim of life includes both an object or end toward which the life moves, and a purpose which impels to that end. By this phrase I now mean the supreme object and the ruling purpose of life. One may have many minor and subordinate aims; he can have but one supreme aim, and from this supreme aim all the others take their real character. Our aim in life is that object or end which draws to itself our highest thought and aspiration and endeavor; and it is that purpose which, consciously or unconsciously, makes the strong mid-current in the stream of our activity that ever moves onward, however many may be the
eddies and transient back-currents that perplex the stream's margin. The aim of life is that which creates life's tendency, and supremely determines conduct.
The real aim of life, let me remind you, is not always the apparent aim; for men are often self-deceived as to their chief end, and often others are deceived by them. But conduct, in the long run, must be consistent with our ruling purpose, for it is this which qualifies and directs conduct. What you are supremely living for determines the course you are taking year in and year out. For example, there are two main directions either of which your life may pursue: one is toward the good; the other is toward the evil. A stone thrown from the hand goes up or down; it never keeps a horizontal line. Gravitation pulls it toward the earth; the moment it leaves the hand gravitation begins to overcome the upward propulsion and at last is completely victorious. The track of the stone is a curve the farther end of which rests on the ground. In the realm of the moral life there are only two tendencies and directions, upward and downward, - the gravitation toward the evil, and the attraction or propulsion toward the good. You can find in God's universe no neutral course for a moral being. There may