Making a life
From the introduction:
It is not what a man does which exalts him, but what he would do.
Let anyone set his heart to do what is right, and ere long his brow is stamped with all that goes to make up the heroic expression.
No man can live half a life when he has genuinely learned that it is a half-life. The other half, the higher half, must haunt him.
In " sartor resartus." no human being and no society composed of human beings ever did, or ever will, come to much unless their conduct was guided and governed by the love of some ethical ideal.
It was written by the pen of inspiration concerning one of the world s heroes that " he had an excellent spirit in him." The printer blundered with his type and made the record of his life to read /; that " Daniel had an excellent spine in him
This was not a correct translation, but, unquestionably, a statement of fact a fact of supreme importance. His biography reveals his unbending devotion to the highest ideal. When this famous young man went away from home to college in a distant land, he fixed his goal and, in face of temporary defeat and bitterest opposition, "he purposed in his heart " to be true to that ideal even at the cost of life itself. Duty was the emphatic word in his vocabulary, and he would not defile its purity with heathen custom or his own cowardice.
His ideal was his salvation. Its sanctity was the temple in which he worshipped. It occupied the throne of his life, and he was ever its obedient subject. He hearkened to its voice when desire and flesh cried out against him. It was a circuitous pathway to this ideal of life and cut through cloudland, and forest, and darkness, but the light never faded away, and the highest place in the realm was for the weary traveller s reward. A noble purpose is life s guarding, guiding angel. It alone can take a man through a lion s den and lock their crimson jaws.
On one hand, it holds safety, and on the other success. Daniel was king at last because his ideal was king at first. A high ideal is the lever under human life and means the elevation of character. He who is satisfied with his first effort, or his first step, or his first attainment, never reaches.
A righteous dissatisfaction is essential to future achievement. A deeper longing precedes every bolder attempt. Look higher if you would live higher. An ideal is not something that is always hanging in the distant horizon like a rainbow toward which the child runs with an open hand to grasp it only to find it always the same distance
The hilltop was no nearer to it than the valley, and the climb was of no avail. It is the great est reality of life, and every hilltop brings us nearer to its possession. One bright summer morning the old iron horse was slowly but courageously pushing his way up through the wild mountains of the Pacific coast. Suddenly the travellers shouted in a chorus of delight:
"There s Shasta! There s Shasta! " and the king of mountains on the western continent raised his royal head above the hills and the lower peaks and above the scattered, fleecy clouds and swung his sparkling sceptre over the kingdoms at his feet. The untrained eye looked through that clear air and carried the message to the waiting mind that the famous mountain was distant about ten miles, but the skilled vision of; the conductor startled the company by declaring - that it was more than one hundred and fifty miles away. He said: " You will be permitted to behold its glory all the day.
Life s ideal ll
Ii life s purpose 4 1
Iii life s progress 62
Iv life s mystery 9 2
V life s influence 118
Vi life s waste 144
Vii life slaw 174
Fear's pain 200
Ix life s environment 222
Life s memory 247
Xi life s conscience 276
Xii life s destiny 300
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