Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

fill any of those offices that have a relation to him. It matters little to me whether my pupil be designed for the army, the pulpit, or the bar. To live is the profession I would teach him. When I have done with him, it is true he will be neither a soldier, a lawyer, nor a divine. Let him first be a man; Fortune may remove him from one rank to another, as she pleases, he will be always found in his place."

“First of all,” replied the boy James A. Garfield, when asked what he meant to be, “I must make myself a man; if I do not succeed in that, I can succeed in nothing.'

"Hear me, O men," cried Diogenes, in the market place at Athens; and, when a crowd collected around him, he said scornfully, “I called for men, not pigmies."!

One great need of the world to-day is for men and women who are good animals. To endure the strain of our concentrated civilization, the coming man and woman must have an excess of animal spirits. They must have a robustness of health. Mere absence of disease is not health. It is the overflowing fountain, not the one half full, that gives life and beauty to the valley below. Only he is healthy who exults in mere animal existence; whose very life is a luxury; who feels a bounding pulse throughout his body; who feels life in every limb, as dogs do when scouring over the field, or as boys do when gliding over fields of ice.

Dispense with the doctor by being temperate; the lawyer by keeping out of debt; the demagogue, by voting for honest men; and poverty, by being industrious.

Nephew,” said Sir Godfrey Kneller, the artist, to a Guinea slave trader, who entered the room where his uncle was talking with Alexander Pope, “you have the honor of seeing the two greatest men in the world.” “I don't know how great men you may be," said the Guinea man, as he looked contemptuously upon their diminutive physical proportions, “but I don't like your looks; I have often bought a much better man than either of you, all muscles and bones, for ten guineas.'

A man is never so happy as when he suffices to himself, and can walk without crutches or a guide. Said Jean Paul Richter: “I have made as much out of myself as could be made of the stuff, and no man should require more.

“The body of an athlete and the soul of a sage, wrote Voltaire to Helvetius; "these are what we require to be happy.”

Although millions are out of employment in the United States, how difficult it is to find a thorough, reliable, self-dependent, industrious man or woman, young or old, for any position, whether as a domestic servant, an office boy, a teacher, a brakeman, a conductor, an engineer, a clerk, a bookkeeper, or whatever we may want. It is almost impossible to find a really competent person in any department, and oftentimes we have to make many trials before we can get a position fairly well filled.

It is a superficial age; very few prepare for their work. Of thousands of young women trying to get.a living at typewriting, many are so ignorant, so deficient in the common rudiments even, that they spell badly, use bad grammar, and know scarcely anything of punctuation. In fact, they murder the English language. They can copy, parrot like," and that is about all.

The same superficiality is found in nearly all kinds of business. It is next to impossible to get a first-class mechanic; he has not learned his trade; he has picked it up, and botches everything he touches, spoiling good material and wasting valuable time.

In the professions, it is true, we find greater skill and faithfulness, but usually they have been developed at the expense of mental and moral breadth.

The merely professional man is narrow; worse than that, he is in a sense an artificial man, a creature of technicalities and specialties, removed alike from the broad truth of nature and from the healthy influence of human converse. In society, the most accomplished man of mere professional skill is often a nullity; he has sunk his personality in his dexterity.

powers to a

"The aim of every man,” said Humboldt, “should be to secure the highest and most harmonious development of his complete and consistent whole.'

Some men impress us as immense possibilities. They seem to have a sweep of intellect that is grand; a penetrative power that is phenomenal; they seem to know everything, to have read everything, to have seen everything. Nothing seems to escape the keenness of their vision. But somehow they are forever disappointing our expectations. They raise great hopes only to dash them. They are men of great promise, but they never pay. There is some indefinable want in their make-up.

What the world needs is a clergyman who is broader than his pulpit, who does not look upon humanity with a white neckcloth ideal, and who would give the lie to the saying that the human race is divided into three classes: men, women and ministers. Wanted, a clergyman who does not look upon his congregation from the standpoint of old theological books, and dusty, cobweb creeds, but who sees the merchant as in his store, the clerk as making sales, the lawyer pleading before the jury, the physician standing over the sick bed; in other words, who looks upon the great throbbing, stirring, pulsing, competing, scheming, ambitious, impulsive, tempted, mass of humanity as one of their number, who can live with

them, see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and experience their sensations.

The world has a standing advertisement over the door of every profession, every occupation, every calling: “Wanted-A Man."

Wanted, a lawyer, who has not become the victim of his specialty, a mere walking bundle of precedents.

Wanted, a shopkeeper who does not discuss markets wherever he goes. A man should be so much larger than his calling, so broad and symmetrical in his culture, that he would not talk shop in society, that no one would suspect how he gets his living.

Nothing is more apparent in this age of specialties than the dwarfing, crippling, mutilating influence of occupations or professions. Specialties facilitate commerce, and promote efficiency in the professions, but are often narrowing to individuals. The spirit of the age tends to doom the lawyer to a narrow life of practice, the business man to a mere money-making career.

Think of a man, the grandest of God's creations, spending his life-time standing , beside a machine for making screws. There is nothing to call out his individuality, his ingenuity, his powers of balancing, judging, deciding

He stands there year after year, until he

« PředchozíPokračovat »