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"Beware the pine-tree's withered branch!
This was the peasant's last good-night:
At break of day, as heavenward
A traveler, by the faithful hound,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
There in the twilight cold and gray,
- HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
VI. THE DISCIPLINE OF DIFFICULTIES
I. An acorn is not an oak tree when it is sprouted. It must go through long summers and fierce winters; it has to endure all that frost, and snow, and thunder, and storm, and side-striking winds can bring, before it is a full-grown oak. These are rough teachers; but rugged schoolmasters make rugged pupils. So a man is not a man when he is created; he is only begun. His manhood must come
with years. A man who goes through life prosperous, and comes to his grave without a wrinkle, is not half a man. 2. In time of war, whom does the general select for some hazardous enterprise? He looks over the men, and chooses the soldier who he knows will not flinch at danger, but will go bravely through whatever is allotted to him. He calls. him that he may receive his orders; the officer, blushing with pleasure to be thus chosen, hastens away to execute them. Difficulties are God's errands; and, when we are sent upon them, we should esteem it a proof of God's confidence, and prize it accordingly.
3. The traveler who goes round the world prepares himself to pass through all latitudes and to meet all changes. So a man must be prepared to take life as it comes to mount the hill when the hill swells, and to go down the hill when the hill lowers; to walk the plain when it stretches before him, and to ford the river when it rolls over the plain.
- HENRY WARD BEECHER.
I. One of the most common excuses which young men make for not trying to improve their talents, is, that they are poor, and have no means of acquiring an education, and no rich or influential friends to assist them in life.
2. Young man! you need no assistance. It would hinder rather than facilitate your progress. If you have the will and resolution which you ought to possess, and that manly self-reliance which is indispensable to success in every department of life, you have all the assistance you need. With these you may overcome every obstacle, and
attain to eminence in any position which you may be called to fill.
3. Let any young man select from his acquaintance a number of the most prominent men of any profession men who are distinguished for talents, or public usefulness, -and he will find that they are all, with scarcely an exception, men who began the world without a dollar. Look into the public councils of the nation; and who are they that take the lead in all its controlling interests? They are men who began the world with nothing, and have made their own fortunes.
4. The rule is almost universal. It pervades our courts, both State and Federal, from the highest to the lowest. It is true of all the professions. It is so now; it has ever been so since we became a nation; and it will be so while our present institutions continue. And the history of the prominent men of this country is but a repetition of the history of the most distinguished men of all other countries.
5. A young man must be thrown upon his own resources, in order to bring out his capabilities. The struggle which is to result in eminence is too arduous, and must be continued too long, to be encountered and maintained voluntarily. It must be a struggle, as it were, for life itself. He who has a fortune to fall back upon will soon slacken his efforts, and finally retire from the contest.
6. It is, therefore, a question, whether it is desirable that a parent should leave his son any property at all, if he desires him to rise to eminence in any department of life. Said an eminent jurist to a young man of fortune, who wished to enter upon the study of the law, “You will have a large fortune, and I am sorry for it, as it will be the means of spoiling a good lawyer."
This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
And thought: "Had I a sword of keener steel-
Then came the king's son, wounded, sore bestead,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle shout
And saved a great cause that heroic day.
-EDWARD ROWLAND SILL.
1. The venerable Past - is past;
'Tis dark, and shines not in the ray :
Why should we sit where ivies creep,
Mid crumbling ruin's mossy hoar?
2. Why should we see with dead men's eyes,
When the beauteous Now, the divine To BE,
3. Abraham saw no brighter stars
Than those which burn for thee and me.
They were such sounds as Shakespeare heard,
4. Great Plato saw the vernal year
Send forth its tender flowers and shoots,
5. We will not dwell amid the graves, Nor in dim twilights sit alone, To gaze at moldered architraves,
Or plinths and columns overthrown;