The Call of the Twentieth Century
David Starr Jordan

E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Marvin A. Hodges, and Project
Gutenbert Distributed Proofreaders


An Address to Young Men


Chancellor of Leland Stanford Junior University


To Vernon Lyman Kellogg

live that
your afterself--
the man you ought
to be--may in his time
be possible and actual. Far
away in the twenties, the thirties
of the Twentieth Century, he is awaiting
his turn. His body, his brain, his soul are in
your boyish hands. He cannot help himself. What will
you leave for him? Will it be a brain unspoiled by lust or
dissipation, a mind trained to think and act, a nervous system
true as a dial in its response to the truth about you? Will you,
boy of the Twentieth Century, let him come as a man among men
in his time, or will you throw away his inheritance before
he has had the chance to touch it? Will you let him come,
taking your place, gaining through your experiences,
hallowed through your joys, building on them his
own, or will you fling his hope away,
decreeing, wanton-like, that the man
you might have been shall never

The new century has come upon us with a rush of energy that no century has
shown before. Let us stand aside for a moment that we may see what kind of
a century it is to be, what is the work it has to do, and what manner of
men it will demand to do it.

In most regards one century is like another. Just as men are men, so times
are times. In the Twentieth Century there will be the same joys, the same
sorrows, the same marrying and giving in marriage, the same round of work
and play, of wisdom and duty, of folly and distress which other centuries
have seen. Just as each individual man has the same organs, the same
passions, the same functions as all others, so it is with all the
centuries. But we know men not by their likenesses, which are many, but by
differences in emphasis, by individual traits which are slight and subtle,
but all-important in determining our likes and dislikes, our friendships,
loves, and hates. So with the centuries; we remember those which are past
not by the mass of common traits in history and development, but by the few
events or thoughts unnoticed at the time, but which stand out like mountain
peaks raised "above oblivion's sea," when the times are all gathered in and
the century begins to blend with the "infinite azure of the past." Not wars
and conquests mark a century. The hosts grow small in the vanishing
perspective, "the captains and the kings depart," but the thoughts of men,
their attitude toward their environment, their struggles toward
duty,--these are the things which endure.

Compared with the centuries that are past, the Twentieth Century in its
broad outlines will be like the rest. It will be selfish, generous,
careless, devoted, fatuous, efficient. But three of its traits must stand
out above all others, each raised to a higher degree than any other century
has known. The Twentieth Century above all others will be _strenuous,
complex_, and _democratic_. Strenuous the century must be, of
course. This we can all see, and we have to thank the young man of the
Twentieth Century who gave us the watchword of "the strenuous life," and
who has raised the apt phrase to the dignity of a national purpose. Our
century has a host of things to do, bold things, noble things, tedious
things, difficult things, enduring things. It has only a hundred years to
do them in, and two of these years are gone already. We must be up and
bestir ourselves. If we are called to help in this work, there is no time
for an idle minute. Idle men and idle women no doubt will cumber our way,
for there are many who have never heard of the work to do, many who will
never know that there has been a new century. These the century will pass
by with the gentle tolerance she shows to clams and squirrels, but on those
of us she calls to her service she will lay heavy burdens of duty. "The
color of life is red." Already the fad of the drooping spirit, the
end-of-the-century pose, has given way to the rush of the strenuous life,
to the feeling that struggle brings its own reward. The men who are doing
ask no favor at the end. Life is repaid by the joy of living it.

As the century is strenuous so will it be complex. The applications of
science have made the great world small, while every part of it has grown
insistent. As the earth has shrunk to come within our grasp, so has our own
world expanded to receive it. "My mind to me a kingdom is," and to this
kingdom all the other kingdoms of the earth now send their embassadors. The
complexity of life is shown by the extension of the necessity of choice.
Each of us has to render a decision, to say yes or no a hundred times when
our grandfathers were called upon a single time. We must say yes or no to
our neighbors' theories or plans or desires, and whoever has lived or lives
or may yet live in any land or on any island of the sea has become our
neighbor. Through modern civilization we are coming into our inheritance,
and this heirloom includes the best that any man has done or thought since
history and literature and art began. It includes, too, all the arts and
inventions by which any men of any time have separated truth from error. Of
one blood are all the people of the earth, and whatsoever is done to the
least of these little ones in some degree comes to me. We suffer from the
miasma of the Indian jungles; we starve with the savages of the harvestless
islands; we grow weak with the abused peasants of the Russian steppes, who
leave us the legacy of their grippe. The great volcano which buries far off
cities at its foot casts its pitying dust over us. It is said that through
the bonds of commerce, common trade, and common need, there is growing up
the fund of a great "bank of human kindness," no genuine draft on which is
ever left dishonored. Whoever is in need of help the world over, by that
token has a claim on us.

In our material life we draw our resources from every land. Clothing,
spices, fruits, toys, household furniture,--we lay contributions on the
whole world for the most frugal meal, for the humblest dwelling. We need
the best work of every nation and every nation asks our best of us. The day
of home-brewed ale, of home-made bread, and home-spun clothing is already
past with us. Better than we can do, our neighbors send us, and we must
send our own best in return. With home-made garments also pass away
inherited politics and hereditary religion, with all the support of caste
and with all its barriers. We must work all this out for ourselves; we must
make our own place in society; we must frame our own creeds; we must live
our own religion; for no longer can one man's religion be taken
unquestionably by any other. As the world has been unified, so is the
individual unit exalted. With all this, the simplicity of life is passing
away. Our front doors are wide open as the trains go by. The caravan
traverses our front yard. We speak to millions, millions speak to us; and
we must cultivate the social tact, the gentleness, the adroitness, the
firmness necessary to carry out our own designs without thwarting those of
others. Time no longer flows on evenly. We must count our moments, so much
for ourselves, so much for the world we serve and which serves us in
return. We must be swift and accurate in the part we play in a drama so
mighty, so strenuous, and so complex.

More than any of the others, the Twentieth Century will be democratic. The
greatest discovery of the Nineteenth Century was that of the reality of
external things. That of the Twentieth Century will be this axiom in social
geometry: "A straight line is the shortest distance between two points." If
something needs doing, do it; the more plainly, directly, honestly, the

The earlier centuries cared little for the life of a man. Hence they failed
to discriminate. In masses and mobs they needed kings and rulers but could
not choose them. Hence the device of selecting as ruler the elder son of
the last ruler, whatever his nature might be. A child, a lunatic, a
monster, a sage,--it was all the same to these unheeding centuries. The
people could not follow those they understood or who understood them. They
must trust all to the blind chance of heredity. Tyrant or figurehead, the
mob, which from its own indifference creates the pomp of royalty, threw up
its caps for the king, and blindly died for him in his courage or in his
folly with the same unquestioning loyalty. In like manner did the mob
fashion lords and princes, each in its own image. Not the man who would do
or think or help, but the eldest son of a former lord was chosen for its
homage. The result of it all was that no use was made of the forces of
nature, for those who might have learned to control them were hunted to
their death. The men who could think and act for themselves were in no
position to give their actions leverage.

When a people really means to do something, it must resort to democracy. It
must value men as men, not as functions of a chain of conventionalities.
"America," says Emerson, "means opportunity;" opportunity for work,
opportunity for training, opportunity for influence. Democracy exalts the
individual. It realizes that of all the treasures of the nation, the talent
of its individual men is the most important. It realizes that its first
duty is to waste none of this. It cannot afford to leave its Miltons mute
and inglorious nor to let its village Hampdens waste their strength on
petty obstacles while it has great tasks for them to accomplish. In a
democracy, when work is to be done men rise to do it. No matter what the
origin of our Washingtons and Lincolns, our Grants and our Shermans, our
Clevelands or our Roosevelts, our Eliots, our Hadleys, or our Remsens, we
know that they are being made ready for every crisis which may need their
hand, for every work we would have them carry through. To give each man the
training he deserves is to bring the right man face to face with his own
opportunity. The straight line is the shortest distance between two points
in life as in geometry. For the work of a nation we may not call on Lord
This or Earl That, whose ancestors have lain on velvet for a thousand
years; we want the man who can do the work, who can face the dragon, or
carry the message to Garcia. A man whose nerves are not relaxed by
centuries of luxury will serve us best. Give him a fair chance to try; give
us a fair chance to try him. This is the meaning of democracy; not fuss and
feathers, pomp and gold lace, but accomplishment.

Democracy does not mean equality--just the reverse of this, it means
individual responsibility, equality before the law, of course--equality of
opportunity, but no other equality save that won by faithful service. That
social system which bids men rise must also let them fall if they cannot
maintain themselves. To choose the right man means the dismissal of the
wrong. The weak, the incompetent, the untrained, the dissipated find no
growing welcome in the century which is coming. It will have no place for
unskilled laborers. A bucket of water and a basket of coal will do all that
the unskilled laborer can do if we have skilled men to direct them. The
unskilled laborer is no product of democracy. He exists in spite of
democracy. The children of the republic are entitled to something better. A
generous education, a well-directed education, should be the birthright of
each one of them. Democracy may even intensify natural inequalities. The
man who cannot say no to cheap and vulgar temptations falls all the lower
in the degree to which he is a free agent. In competition with men alert,
loyal, trained and creative, the dullard is condemned to a lifetime of hard
labor, through no direct fault of his own. Keep the capable man down and
you may level the incapable one up. But this the Twentieth Century will not
do. This democracy will not do; this it is not now doing, and this it never
will attempt. The social condition which would give all men equal reward,
equal enjoyment, equal responsibility, may be a condition to dream of. It
may be Utopia; it is not democracy. Sir Henry Maine describes the process
of civilization as the "movement from status to contract." This is the
movement from mass to man, from subservience to individualism, from
tradition to democracy, from pomp and circumstance of non-essentials to the
method of achievement.

Owen Wister in "The Virginian" says: "All America is divided into two
classes,--the quality and the equality. The latter will always recognize
the former when mistaken for it. Both will be with us until our women bear
nothing but kings. It was through the Declaration of Independence that we
Americans acknowledged the _eternal inequality_ of man. For by it we
abolished a cut-and-dried aristocracy. We had seen little men artificially
held up in high places, and great men artificially held down in low places,
and our own justice-loving hearts abhorred this violence to human nature.
Therefore we decreed that every man should, thenceforth have equal liberty
to find his own level. By this very decree we acknowledged and gave freedom
to true aristocracy, saying, 'Let the best man win, whoever he is.' Let the
best man win! That is America's word. That is true democracy. And true
democracy and true aristocracy are one and the same thing. If anybody
cannot see this, so much the worse for his eyesight."

_Paucis vivat humanum genus_: "for the few the race should live,"--this
is the discarded motto of another age. The few live for the many.
The clean and strong enrich the life of all with their wisdom, with their
conquests. It is to bring about the larger equalities of opportunity, or
purpose, that we exalt the talents of the few.

This has not always been clear, even the history of the Republic. My own
great grandfather, John Elderkin Waldo, said at Tolland, Connecticut, more
than a century ago: "Times are hard with us in New England. They will never
be any better until each farm laborer in Connecticut is willing to work all
day for a sheep's head and pluck," just as they used to do before the red
schoolhouses on the hills began to preach their doctrines of sedition and
equality. There could never be good times again, so he thought, till the
many again lived for the few.

It is in the saving of the few who serve the many that the progress of
civilization lies. In the march of the common man, and in the influence of
the man uncommon who rises freely from the ranks, we have all of history
that counts.

In a picture gallery at Brussels there is a painting by Wiertz, most
cynical of artists, representing the man of the Future and the things of
the Past. A naturalist holds in his right hand a magnifying glass, and in
the other a handful of Napoleon and his marshals, guns, and
battle-flags,--tiny objects swelling with meaningless glory. He examines
these intensely, while a child at his side looks on in open-eyed wonder.
She cannot understand what a grown man can find in these curious trifles
that he should take the trouble to study them.

This painting is a parable designed to show Napoleon's real place in
history. It was painted within a dozen miles of the field of Waterloo, and
not many years after the noise of its cannon had died away. It shows the
point of view of the man of the future. Save in the degradation of France,
through the impoverishment of its life-blood, there is little in human
civilization to recall the disastrous incident of Napoleon's existence.

_Paucis vivat humanum genus_: "the many live for the few." This shall
be true no longer. The earth belongs to him who can use it and the only
force which lasts is that which is used to make men free.

"Triumphant America," says George Horace Lorimer, "certainly does not mean
each and every one of our seventy-eight millions. For instance, it does not
include the admitted idiots and lunatics, the registered paupers and
parasites, the caged criminals, the six million illiterates. In a sense, it
includes the twenty-five to thirty million children, for they exert a
tremendous influence upon the grown people. But in no sense does it include
the whittlers on dry-goods boxes, the bar-room loafers, the fellows that
listen all day long for the whistle to blow, those who are the first to be
mentioned whenever there is talk of cutting down the force. It does not
include those of our statesmen who spend their time in promoting corrupt
jobs, or in hunting places for lazy heelers. It does not include the
doctors who reach their high-water mark for professional knowledge on the
day they graduate, or the lawyers who lie and cheat and procure injustice
for the sake of fees.

"Most of these--even the idiots and criminals--do a little something
towards progress. This world is so happily ordered that it is impossible
for one man to do much harm or to avoid doing some good; and one of the
greatest forces for good is the power of a bad example. Still it is not our
bad examples that make us get on and earn us these smothers of flowery

"Some of us are tall and others short, some straight and others crooked,
some strong, others feeble; some of us run, others walk, others snail it.
But all, all have their feet upon the same level of the common earth. And
America's worst enemy is he--or she--who by word or look encourages another
to think otherwise. Head as high as you please; but feet always upon the
common ground, never upon anybody's shoulders or neck, even though he be
weak or willing."

So in this strenuous and complex age, this age of "fierce democracy," what
have we to do, and with what manner of men shall we work? Young men of the
Twentieth Century, will your times find place for you? There is plenty to
do in every direction. That is plain enough. All the pages in this little
book, or in a very large one, would be filled by a mere enumeration. In
agriculture a whole great empire is yet to be won in the arid west, and the
west that is not arid and the east that was never so must be turned into
one vast market-garden. The Twentieth Century will treat a farm as a
friend, and it will yield rich returns for such friendship. In the
Twentieth Century vast regions will be fitted to civilization, not by
imperialism, which blasts, but by permeation, which reclaims.

The table-lands of Mexico, the plains of Manchuria, the Pampas of
Argentine, the moors of Northern Japan, all these regions in our own
temperate zone offer a welcome to the Anglo-Saxon farmer. The great tropics
are less hopeful, but they have never had a fair trial. The northern
nations have tried to exploit them in haste, and then to get away, never to
stay with them and work patiently to find out their best. Some day the
possibilities of the Torrid Zone may come to us as a great discovery.

There is need of men in forestry; for we must win back the trees we have
slain with such ruthless hand. The lumberman of the future will pick ripe
trees and save the rest as carefully as the herdsman selects his stock. In
engineering, in mining, in invention, there are endless possibilities.
Every man who masters what is already known in any one branch of applied
science, makes his own fortune. He who can add a little, save a little, do
something better or something cheaper, makes the fortune of a hundred
others. "There is always room for a man of force, and he makes room for

Andrew Carnegie once said that the foundation of his fortune lay in the
employment of trained chemists, while other men made steel by rule of
thumb. Trained chemists made better steel, just a little. They devised ways
to make it cheaper, just a little, and they found means to utilize the
slag. All this means hundreds of millions of dollars, if done on a large
enough scale.

There is no limit to the demands of engineering. A million waterfalls dash
down the slopes of the Sierras. The patient sun has hauled the water up
from the sea and spread it in snow over the mountains. The same sun will
melt the snow, and as the water falls back to the sea it will yield again
the force it cost to bring it to its heights. Thus sunshine and falling
water can be transmuted into power. This power already lights the cities of
California, and some day it may be changed into the heat which moves a
thousand factories. All these are the problems of the Electrical Engineer.
Equally rich are the opportunities in other forms of engineering. There is
no need to be in haste, perhaps, but the Twentieth Century is eager in its
quest for gold. The mother lode runs along the foothills from Bering
Straits to Cape Horn. From end to end of the continent the Twentieth
Century will bring this gold to light, and carry it all away. The Mining
Engineer who knows the mountains best finds his fortune ready to his hand.
Civil Engineers, Steam Engineers, Naval Engineers, whoever knows how to
manage things or men, even Social Engineers, Labor Engineers, all find an
eager welcome. There are never too many of those who know how; but the day
of the rule of thumb has long since past. The Engineer of to-day must
create, not imitate. And to him who can create, this last century we call
the Twentieth is yet part of the first day of Creation.

In commerce the field is always open for young men. The world's trade is
barely yet begun. We hear people whining over the spread of the commercial
spirit, but what they mean is not the spirit of commerce. It is persistence
of provincial selfishness, a spirit which has been with us since the fall
of Adam, and which the centuries of whitening sails has as yet not
eradicated. The spirit of fair commerce is a noble spirit. Through commerce
the world is unified. Through commerce grows tolerance, and through
tolerance, peace and solidarity. Commerce is world-wide barter, each nation
giving what it can best produce for what is best among others. Freedom
breeds commerce as commerce demands freedom. Only free men can buy and
sell; for without selling no man nor nation has means to buy. When China is
a nation, her people will be no longer a "yellow peril." It is poverty,
slavery, misery, which makes men dangerous. In the words of "Joss
Chinchingoss," the Kipling of Singapore, we have only to give the Chinaman

"The chance at home that he makes for himself elsewhere,
And the star of the Jelly-fish nation mid others shall shine as fair."

Since the day, twenty-three years ago, on which I first passed through the
Golden Gate of California, I have seen the steady increase of the shipping
which enters that channel. There are ten vessels to-day passing in and out
to one in 1880. Another twenty-five years will see a hundred times as many.
We have discovered the Orient, and even more, the Orient has discovered us.
We may not rule it by force of arms; for that counts nothing in trade or
civilization. Commerce follows the flag only when the flag flies on
merchant ships. It has no interest in following the flag to see a fight.
Commerce follows fair play and mutual service. Through the centuries of war
men have only played at commerce. The Twentieth Century will take it
seriously, and it will call for men to do its work. It will call more
loudly than war has ever done, but it will ask its men not to die bravely,
but to live wisely, and above all truthfully to watch their accounts.

The Twentieth Century will find room for pure science as well as for
applied science and ingenious invention. Each Helmholtz of the future will
give rise to a thousand Edisons. Exact knowledge must precede any form of
applications. The reward of pure science will be, in the future as in the
past, of its own kind, not fame nor money, but the joy of finding truth. To
this joy no favor of fortune can add. The student of nature in all the ages
has taken the vow of poverty. To him money, his own or others, means only
the power to do more or better work.

The Twentieth Century will have its share in literature and art. Most of
the books it will print will not be literature, for idle books are written
for idle people, and many idle people are left over from less insistent
times. The books sold by the hundred thousands to men and women not trained
to make time count, will be forgotten before the century is half over. The
books it saves will be books of its own kind, plain, straightforward,
clear-cut, marked by that "fanaticism for veracity" which means everything
else that is good in the intellectual and moral development of man. The
literature of form is giving way already to the literature of power. We
care less and less for the surprises and scintillations of clever fellows;
we care more and more for the real thoughts of real men. We find that the
deepest thoughts can be expressed in the simplest language. "A straight
line is the shortest distance between two points" in literature as well as
in mechanics. "In simplicity is strength," as Watt said of machinery, and
it is true in art as well as in mechanics.

In medicine, the field of action is growing infinitely broader, now that
its training is securely based on science, and the divining rod no longer
stands first among its implements of precision. Not long ago, it is said, a
young medical student in New York committed suicide, leaving behind this
touching sentence: "I die because there is room for no more doctors." And
this just now, when for the first time it is worth while to be a doctor.
Room for no more doctors, no doubt, of the kind to which he belonged--men
who know nothing and care nothing for science and its methods, who choose
the medical school which will turn them loose most quickly and cheaply, who
have no feeling for their patients, and whose prescriptions are given with
no more conscience than goes into the fabrication of an electric belt or
the compounding of a patent medicine. Room for no more doctors whose
highest conception is to look wise, take his chances, and pocket the fee.
Room for no more doctors just now, when the knowledge of human anatomy and
physiology has shown the way to a thousand uses of preventive surgery. Room
for no more doctors, when the knowledge of the microbes and their germs has
given the hope of successful warfare against all contagious diseases; room
for no more doctors, when antiseptics and anaesthetics have proved their
value in a thousand pain-saving ways. Room for no more doctors now, when
the doctor must be an honest man, with a sound knowledge of the human body
and a mastery of the methods of the sciences on which this knowledge
depends. Room for no more doctors of the incompetent class, because the
wiser times demand a better service.

What is true in medicine applies also to the profession of law. The
pettifogger must give place to the jurist. The law is not a device for
getting around the statutes. It is the science and art of equity. The
lawyers of the future will not be mere pleaders before juries. They will
save their clients from need of judge or jury. In every civilized nation
the lawyers must be the law-givers. The sword has given place to the green
bag. The demands of the Twentieth Century will be that the statutes
coincide with equity. This condition educated lawyers can bring about. To
know equity is to be its defender.

In politics the demand for serious service must grow. As we have to do with
wise and clean men, statesmen, instead of vote-manipulators, we shall feel
more and more the need for them. We shall demand not only men who can lead
in action, but men who can prevent unwise action. Often the policy which
seems most attractive to the majority is full of danger for the future. We
need men who can face popular opinion, and, if need be, to face it down.
The best citizen is one not afraid to cast his vote away by voting with the

As we look at it in the rough, the political outlook of democracy often
seems discouraging. A great, rich, busy nation cannot stop to see who grabs
its pennies. We are plundered by the rich, we are robbed by the poor, and
trusts and unions play the tyrant over both. But all these evils are
temporary. The men that have solved greater problems in the past will not
be balked by these. Whatever is won for the cause of equity and decency is
never lost again. "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," and in this
Twentieth Century there are always plenty who are awake. One by one
political reforms take their place on our statute books, and each one comes
to stay.

In all this, the journalist of the future may find an honorable place. He
will learn to temper enterprise with justice, audacity with fidelity,
omniscience with truthfulness. When he does this he will become a natural
leader of men because he will be their real servant. To mould public
opinion, to furnish a truthful picture of the times from day to day, either
of these ideals in journalism gives ample room for the play of the highest
manly energy.

The need of the teacher will not grow less as the century goes on. The
history of the future is written in the schools of to-day, and the reform
which gives us better schools is the greatest of reforms. It is said that
the teacher's noblest work is to lead the child to his inheritance. This is
the inheritance he would win; the truth that men have tested in the past,
and the means by which they were led to know that it was truth. "Free
should the scholar be--free and brave," and to such as these the Twentieth
Century will bring the reward of the scholar.

The Twentieth Century will need its preachers and leaders in religion. Some
say, idly, that religion is losing her hold in these strenuous days. But
she is not. She is simply changing her grip. The religion of this century
will be more practical, more real. It will deal with the days of the week
as well as with the Sabbath. It will be as patent in the marts of trade as
in the walls of a cathedral, for a man's religion is his working hypothesis
of life, not of life in some future world, but of life right here to-day,
the only day we have in which to build a life. It will not look backward
exclusively to "a dead fact stranded on the shore of the oblivious years,"
nor will its rewards be found alone in the life to come. The world of to-
day will not be a "vale of tears" through which sinful men are to walk
unhappily toward final reward. It will be a world of light and color and
joy, a world in which each of us may have a noble though a humble
part,--the work of the "holy life of action." It will find religion in love
and wisdom and virtue, not in bloodless asceticism, philosophical
disputation, the maintenance of withered creeds, the cultivation of
fruitless emotion, or the recrudescence of forms from which the life has
gone out. It is possible, Thoreau tells us, for us to "walk in hallowed
cathedrals," and this in our every-day lives of profession or trade. It is
the loyalty to duty, the love of God through the love of men, which may
transform the workshop to a cathedral, and the life of to-day may be divine
none the less because it is strenuous and complex. It may be all the more
so because it is democratic, even the Sabbath and its duties being no
longer exalted above the other holy days.

What sort of men does the century need for all this work it has to do? We
may be sure that it will choose its own, and those who cannot serve it will
be cast aside unpityingly. Those it can use it will pay generously, each
after its kind, some with money, some with fame, some with the sense of
power, some with the joy of service. Some will work hard in spite of vast
wealth, some only after taking the vow of poverty.

Those not needed you can find any day. They lean against lamp-posts in
platoons, they crowd the saloons, they stand about railway stations all day
long to see trains go by. They dally on the lounges of fashionable clubs.
They may be had tied in bundles by the employers of menial labor. Their
women work at the wash-tubs, and crowd the sweat shops of great cities; or,
idle rich, they may dawdle in the various ways in which men and women
dispose of time, yielding nothing in return for it. You, whom the century
wants, belong to none of these classes. Yours must be the spirit of the
times, strenuous, complex, democratic.

A young man is a mighty reservoir of unused power. "Give me health and a
day and I will put the pomp of emperors to shame." If I save my strength
and make the most of it, there is scarcely a limit to what I may do. The
right kind of men using their strength rightly, far outrun their own
ambitions, not as to wealth and fame and position, but as to actual
accomplishment. "I never dreamed that I should do so much," is the frequent
saying of a successful man; for all men are ready to help him who throws
his whole soul into the service.

Men of training the century must demand. It is impossible to drop into
greatness. "There is always room at the top." so the Chicago merchant said
to his son, "but the elevator is not running." You must walk up the stairs
on your own feet. It is as easy to do great things as small, if you only
know how. The only way to learn to do great things is to do small things
well, patiently, loyally. If your ambitions run high, it will take a long
time in preparation. There is no hurry. No wise man begrudges any of the
time spent in the preparation for life, so long as it is actually making

"Profligacy," says Emerson, "consists not in spending, but in spending off
the line of your career. The crime which bankrupts men and nations is that
of turning aside from one's main purpose to serve a job here and there."

The value of the college training of to-day cannot be too strongly
emphasized. You cannot save time nor money by omitting it, whatever the
profession on which you enter. The college is becoming a part of life. For
a long time the American college was swayed by the traditions of the
English aristocracy. Its purpose was to certify to a man's personal
culture. The young man was sent to college that he might be a member of a
gentler caste. His degree was his badge that in his youth he had done the
proper thing for a gentleman to do. It attested not that he was wise or
good or competent to serve, but that he was bred a gentleman among

So long as the title of academic bachelor had this significance, the man of
action passed it by. It had no meaning to him, and the fine edge of
accuracy in thought and perception, which only the college can give, was
wanting in his work. The college education did not seem to disclose the
secret of power, and the man of affairs would have none of it.

A higher ideal came from Germany,--that of erudition. The German scholar
knows some one thing thoroughly. He may be rude or uncultured, he may not
know how to use his knowledge, but whatever this knowledge is, it is sound
and genuine. Thoroughness of knowledge gives the scholar self-respect; it
makes possible a broad horizon and clear perspective. From these sources,
English and German, the American University is developing its own essential
idea,--that of personal effectiveness. The American University of to-day
seeks neither culture nor erudition as its final end. It values both as
means to greater ends. It looks forward to work in life. Its triumphs in
these regards the century will see clearly. It will value culture and
treasure erudition, but it will use both as helps toward doing things. It
will find its inspiration in the needs of the world as it is, and it is
through such effort that the world that is to be shall be made a reality. A
great work demands full preparation. It takes larger provision for a cruise
to the Cape of Good Hope than for a trip to the Isle of Dogs. For this
reason the century will ask its men to take a college education.

It will ask much more than that,--a college education where the work is
done in earnest, students and teachers realizing its serious value, and
besides all this, it will demand the best special training which its best
universities can give. For the Twentieth Century will not be satisfied with
the universities of the fifteenth or seventeenth centuries. It will create
its own, and the young man who does the century's work will be a product of
its university system. Of this we may be sure, the training for strenuous
life is not in academic idleness. The development of living ideals is not
in an atmosphere of cynicism. The blase, lukewarm, fin-de-siecle young man
of the clubs will not represent university culture, nor, on the other hand,
will culture be dominated by a cheap utilitarianism.

"You will hear every day around you," said Emerson to the divinity students
of Harvard, "the maxims of a low prudence. You will hear that your first
duty is to get land and money, place and fame. 'What is this truth you
seek? What is this beauty?' men will ask in derision. If, nevertheless, God
have called any of you to explain truth and beauty, be bold, be firm, be
true. When you shall say, 'As others do, so will I; I renounce, I am sorry
for it--my early visions; I must eat the good of the land, and let learning
and romantic speculations go until some more favorable season,' then dies
the man in you; then once more perish the buds of art and poetry and
science, as they have died already in a hundred thousand men. The hour of
that choice is the crisis in your history."

The age will demand steady headed men, men whose feet stand on the ground,
men who can see things as they really are, and act accordingly. "The
resolute facing of the world as it is, with all the garments of
make-believe thrown off,"--this, according to Huxley, is the sole cure for
the evils which beset men and nations. The only philosophy of life is that
derived from its science. We know right from wrong because the destruction
is plain in human experience. Right action brings abundance of life. Wrong
action brings narrowness, decay, and degeneration. A man must have
principles of life above all questions of the mere opportunities of to-day,
but these principles are themselves derived from experience. They belong to
the higher opportunism, the consideration of what is best in the long run.
The man who is controlled by an arbitrary system without reference to
conditions, is ineffective. He becomes a crank, a fanatic, a man whose aims
are out of all proportion to results. This is because he is dealing with an
imaginary world, not with the world as it is. We may admire the valiant
knight who displays a noble chivalry in fighting wind-mills, but we do not
call on a wind-mill warrior when we have some plain, real work to
accomplish. All progress, large or small, is the resultant of many forces.
We cannot single out any one of these as of dominant value, and ignore or
despise the others. In moving through the solar system, the earth is
falling toward the sun as well as flying away from it. In human society,
egoism is coexistent with altruism, competition with co-operation, mutual
struggle with mutual aid. Each is as old as the other and each as
important; for the one could not exist without the other. Not in air-built
Utopias, but in flesh and blood, wood and stone and iron, will the movement
of humanity find its realization.

Don't count on gambling as a means of success. Gambling rests on the desire
to get something for nothing. So does burglary and larceny. "The love of
money is the root of all evil." This was said long ago, and it is not
exactly what the wise man meant. He was speaking of unearned money. Money
is power, and to save up power is thrift. On thrift civilization is
builded. The root of all evil is the desire to get money without earning
it. To get something for nothing demoralizes all effort. The man who gets a
windfall spends his days watching the wind. The man who wins in a lottery
buys more lottery tickets. Whoever receives bad money, soon throws good
money after bad. He will throw that of others when his own is gone. No firm
or corporation is rich enough to afford to keep gamblers as clerks.

The age will demand men of good taste who care for the best they know.
Vulgarity is satisfaction with mean things. That is vulgar which is poor of
its kind. There is a kind of music called rag-time,--vulgar music, with
catchy tunes--catchy to those who do not know nor care for things better.
There are men satisfied with rag-time music, with rag-time theatres, with
rag-time politics, rag-time knowledge, rag-time religion. "It was my duty
to have loved the highest." The highest of one man may be low for another,
but no one can afford to look downward for his enjoyments. The corrosion of
vulgarity spreads everywhere. Its poison enters every home. The billboards
of our cities bear evidence to it; our newspapers reek with it, our story
books are filled with it; we cannot keep it out of our churches or our
colleges. The man who succeeds must shun, vulgarity. To be satisfied with
poor things in one line will tarnish his ideals in the direction of his
best efforts. One great source of failure in life is satisfaction with mean
things. It is easier to be almost right than to be right. It is less trying
to wish than to do. There are many things that glitter as well as gold and
which can be had more cheaply. Illusion is always in the market and can be
had on easy terms. Realities do not lie on the bargain counters. Happiness
is based on reality. It must be earned before we can come into its
possession. Happiness is not a state. It is the accompaniment of action. It
comes from the exercise of natural functions, from doing, thinking,
planning, fighting, overcoming, loving. It is positive and strengthening.
It is the signal "all is well," passed from one nerve cell to another. It
does not burn out as it glows. It makes room for more happiness. Loving,
too, is a positive word. It is related to happiness as an impulse to
action. The love that does not work itself out in helping acts as mere
torture of the mind. The primal impulse of vice and sin is a short cut to
happiness. It promises pleasure without earning it. And this pleasure is
always an illusion. Its final legacy is weakness and pain. Pain is not a
punishment, but a warning of harm done to the body. The unearned pleasures
provoke this warning. They leave a "dark brown taste in the mouth." Their
recollection is "different in the morning." Such pleasures, Robert Burns
who had tried many of them says, are "like poppies spread," or "like the
snow-falls on the river." But it is not true that they pass and leave no
trace. Their touch is blasting. But true happiness leaves no reaction. To
do strengthens a man for more doing; to love makes room for more loving.

The second power of vulgarity is obscenity, and this vice is like the
pestilence. All inane vulgarity tends to become obscene. From obscenity
rather than drink comes the helplessness of the ordinary tramp.

Another form of vulgarity is profanity. The habit of swearing is not a mark
of manliness. It is the sign of a dull, coarse, unrefined nature, a lack of
verbal initiative. Sometimes, perhaps, profanity seems picturesque and
effective. I have known it so in Arizona once or twice, in old Mexico and
perhaps in Wyoming, but never in the home, or the street, or the ordinary
affairs of life. It is not that blasphemy is offensive to God. He is used
to it, perhaps, for he has met it under many conditions. But it is
offensive to man, insulting to the atmosphere, and destructive of him who
uses it. Profanity and bluster are not signs of courage. The bravest men
are quiet of speech and modest in demeanor.

The man who is successful will not be a dreamer. He will have but one dream
and that will work itself out as a purpose. Dreaming wanes into
sentimentalism, and sentimentalism is fatal to action. The man of purpose
says no to all lesser calls, all minor opportunities. He does not abandon
his college education because a hundred dollar position is offered him
outside. He does not turn from one profession because there is money in
another. He has his claim staked out, and with time he will only fill in
the detail of its boundaries.

"Now that you are through college, what are you going to do?" asked a
friend of a wise young man.

"I shall study medicine," was the grave reply.

"But isn't that profession already overcrowded?" asked the friend.

"Possibly it is," said the youth, "but I purpose to study medicine all the
same. Those who are already in the profession must take their chances."

In this joke of the newspapers there is a sound philosophy. Men of purpose
never overcrowd. The crowd is around the foot of the staircase waiting for
the elevator.

The old traveller, Rafinesque, tells us that when he was a boy he read the
voyages of Captain Cook, Le Vaillant, Pallas, and Bougainville, and "my
soul was fired to be a great traveller like them, and so I became such," he
adds shortly.

If you say to yourself: "I will be a traveller, a statesman, an engineer;"
if you never unsay it; if you bend all your powers in that direction; if
you take advantage of all helps that come in your way and reject all that
do not, you will sometime reach your goal. For the world turns aside to let
any man pass who knows whither he is going.

"Why should we call ourselves men," said Mirabeau, "unless it be to succeed
in everything, everywhere. Say of nothing: 'This is beneath me,' nor feel
that anything is beyond your power, for nothing is impossible to the man
who can will."

Do not say that I am expecting too much of the effects of a firm
resolution, that I give advice which would lead to failure. For the man who
will fail will never take a resolution. Those among you whom fate has cut
out to be nobodies are the ones who will never try!

Even harmless pleasures hurt if they win you from your purpose. Lorimer's
old merchant writes to his son at Harvard: "You will meet fools enough in
the day without hunting up the main herd at night." This plain business
man's advice is worth every young man's attention.

The Twentieth Century will ask for men of instant decision, men whose
mental equipment is all in order, ready to be used on the instant. Yes and
no, right and wrong, we must have them labelled and ready to pack to go
anywhere, to do anything at any time, or to know why we refuse to do it, if
it is something we will not do. Ethelred the Unready died helpless a
thousand years ago. The unready are still with us, but the strenuous
century will grant them but short shrift.

The man of the Twentieth Century will be a hopeful man. He will love the
world and the world will love him. "There is no hope for you," Thoreau once
said, "unless this bit of sod under your feet is the sweetest for you in
the world--in any world." The effective man takes his reward as he goes
along. Nowhere is the sky so blue, the grass so green, the opportunities so
choice as now, here, to-day, the time, the place where his work must be

"To-day is your day and mine," I have said on another occasion; "the only
day we have, the day in which we play our part; what our part may signify
in the great whole we may not understand, but we are here to play it, and
now is the time. This we know: it is a part of action, not of whining. It
is a part of love, not cynicism. It is for us to express love in terms of
human helpfulness."

Whatever feeling is worthy and real will express itself in action, and the
glow that surrounds worthy action we call happiness.

He will be a loyal man, considering always the best interests of him he
serves, ready to lay down his life, if need be, for duty, ready to abandon
whatever conflicts with higher loyalty, with higher duty.

In the economic struggles of to-day, well-meaning men are making two huge
mistakes, which in time will undo whatever of good their efforts may
accomplish. One of these is the struggle against education, the effort to
limit the number of skilled laborers, and this in a free country where each
man's birthright is the development of his skill. The other is the effort
to destroy the feeling of personal loyalty on the part of the laborer. Half
the value of any man's service lies in his willingness, his devotion to the
man or the work. This old-fashioned virtue of loyalty must not be
cheapened. The man whose service is worth paying for, gives more than his
labor. He believes that what he does is right, and when anything goes wrong
he will turn in and make it right. In the long run the laborer can get no
more than he deserves, and disloyal labor is paving the way for its own
subjugation. Unwilling service is a form of slavery, and unwilling
employment is a slavery of the employer.

More than all this, the man in the Twentieth Century needs must be a man of
character. It was said of Abraham Lincoln that he was a man "too simply
great to scheme for his proper self." The man who schemes for his own
advancement soon forfeits the support of others. He may lay pipes and pull
wires, seeming for a little to succeed. "God consents, but only for a
time." Sooner or later, if he lives to meet his fate, he finds his end in
utter failure. And this failure is final: for those who have suffered will
not help him again. Even rats desert a sinking ship. To be successful a man
need take no heed for his own particular future. He will find his place in
the future of his work.

In the ordinary business of life the smart man has had his day. He gives
place to the man who can bring about results. Whatever the present menace
of trust and monopoly, the business of the future must be conducted on
large lines. The profits of the future will be the legitimate reward of
economy, organization, and boldness of conception. To this end absolute
honesty is essential to success. The merchant selling poor goods at high
prices, an article which looks as good as the real thing but is something
else, must give place to a larger system, with specialized service on a
basis of absolute truthfulness. Business of a large scale must finally
demand publicity and equity. Sooner or later even monopolies must grant
this, whether we insist on it by statute or not. It is necessary for their
own protection; for large structures cannot long stand on insecure
foundations. In the long run trade is honest; for dishonest trade cuts its
own throat.

Above all, because including all, the century will ask for men of sober
mind. The finest piece of mechanism in all the universe is the brain of man
and the mind which is its manifestation. What mind is, or how it is related
to brain cells, we cannot say, but this we know, that as the brain is, so
is the mind; whatever injury comes to the one is shown in the other. In
this complex structure, with its millions of connecting cells, we are able
to form images of the external world, truthful so far as they go, to retain
these images, to compare them, to infer relations of cause and effect, to
induce thought from sensation, and to translate thought into action. In
proportion to the exactness of these operations is the soundness, the
effectiveness of the man. The man is the mind, and everything else is
accessory. The sober man is the one who protects his brain from all that
would do it harm. Vice is our name for self-inflicted injury, and the
purpose of vice is to secure a temporary feeling of pleasure through injury
to the brain. Real happiness does not come through vice. You will know that
which is genuine because it makes room for more happiness. The pleasures of
vice are mere illusions, tricks of the nervous system, and each time these
tricks are played it is more and more difficult for the mind to tell the
truth. Such deceptions come through drunkenness and narcotism. In greater
or less degree all nerve-affecting drugs produce it; alcohol, nicotine,
caffeine, opium, cocaine, and the rest, strong or weak. Habitual use of any
of these is a physical vice. A physical vice becomes a moral vice, and all
vice leaves its record on the nervous system. To cultivate vice is to
render the actual machinery of our mind incapable of normal action.

It is the brain's business to perceive, to think, to will, to act. All
these functions taken together we call the mind. The brain is hidden in
darkness, sheltered within a box of bone. All that it knows comes to it
from the nerves of sense. All that it can do in this world is to act on the
muscles it controls through its nerves of motion. The final purpose of
knowledge is action. Our senses tell us what lies about us, that we may
move and act, and do this wisely and safely. The sense-organs are the
brain's only teachers so far as we know, the muscles are its only servants.
But there are many orders which may be issued to these servants. Out of the
many sensations, memories, imaginations, how shall the brain choose?

The power of attention fixes the mind on those sensations or impressions of
most worth, pushing the others into the background. Past impressions,
memory-pictures, linger in the brain, and these, bidden or unbidden, crowd
with the others. To know the relation of all these, to distinguish present
impressions from memories, realities from dreams,--this is mental sanity.
The sane brain performs its appointed task. The mind is clear, the will is
strong, the attention persistent, and all is well in the world. But the
machinery of the brain may fail. The mind grows confused. It mistakes
memories for realities. It loses the power of attention. A fixed idea may
take possession of it, or it may be filled by a thousand vagrant
impressions, wandering memories, in as many seconds. In this case the
response of the muscles becomes uncertain. The acts are governed not by the
demands of external conditions but by internal whims. This is a condition
of mania or mental irresponsibility. Some phase of mental unsoundness is
produced by any of the drugs which affect the nerves, whether stimulants or
narcotics. They may help to borrow from our future store of energy, but
they borrow at compound interest and never repay the loan. They give an
impression of joy, of rest, of activity, without giving the fact; one and
all, their function is to force the nervous system to lie. Each indulgence
in any of them makes it harder to tell the truth. One and all, their
supposed pleasures are followed by reactions, subjective pains as unreal as
the joys which they follow. Each of them, if used persistently, brings
incapacity, insanity, and death. With each of them use creates appetite. To
yield once it is easier to yield again. The harm of some of them is slight.
Tea, coffee, beer, claret, in moderate quantities, do but moderate harm,
but all of them are without other effect on the nerves save to work them
injury. White lies at the best are falsehoods. These are the white lies of
physiology. In regard to each of these, the young man must count the cost.
Count all the cost and be prepared to pay. The song of Ulrich von Huetten,
when he gave his life for religious freedom, is worth applying to all other
costly things. He sang:--

"'Ich habe gewagt mit Sinnen
Und trage des noch kein Reu.'"

"With open eyes have I dared it,
and cherish no regret."

For all indulgence in wine and coffee and tobacco you will have a bill to
pay. Perhaps not a heavy bill. The indulgence may be worth the while, but
if so, find out for yourself beforehand whether others have found it so. If
you dare, dare with open eyes and cherish no regrets. For regret is the
most profitless thing to cherish. There is nothing more distressing than
remorse without will. The only hope in the world is to stop, and by the
time that the inebriate comes to realize where he is, it is too late to

"There is joy in life," says Sullivan, the pugilist, "but it is known only
to the man who has a few jolts of liquor under his belt." To know this kind
of joy is to put one's self beyond the reach of all others.

The joy of the blue sky, the bright sunshine, the rushing torrent, the
songs of birds, "sweet as children's prattle is," the breath of the
meadows, the glow of effort, the beauty of poetry, the achievement of
thought, the thousand and thousand real pleasures of life, are inaccessible
to him "who has a few jolts of liquor under his belt," while the sorrows he
feels, or thinks he feels, are as unreal as his joys, and as unworthy of a
life worth living.

There was once, I am told, a man who came into his office smacking his
lips, and said to his clerk, "The world looks very different to the man who
has had a good glass of brandy and soda in the morning." "Yes," said the
clerk, "and the man looks different to the world."

And this is natural and inevitable, for the pleasure, which exists only in
the imagination, leads to action which has likewise nothing to do with the
demands of life. The mind is confused, and may be delighted with the
confusion, but the confused muscles tremble and halt. The tongue is
loosened and utters unfinished sentences; the hand is loosened and the
handwriting is shaky; the muscles of the eyes are unharnessed, and the two
eyes move independently and see double; the legs are loosened, and the
confusion of the brain shows itself in the confused walk. And if this
confusion is long continued, the mental deterioration shows itself in
external things,--the shabby hat and seedy clothing, and the gradual drop
of the man from stratum to stratum of society, till he brings up some night
in the ditch. As the world looks more and more different to him, so does he
look more and more different to the world.

A prominent lawyer of Boston once told me that the great impulse to total
abstinence came to him when a young man, from hearing his fellow lawyers
talking over their cups. The most vital secrets of their clients' business
were made public property when their tongues were loosened by wine; and
this led him to the firm resolution that nothing should go into his mouth
which would prevent him from keeping it closed unless he wanted to open it.
The time will come when the only opening for the ambitious man of
intemperate habits will be in politics. It is rapidly becoming so now.
Private employers dare not trust their business to the man who drinks. The
great corporations dare not. He is not wanted on the railroads. The
steamship lines have long since cast him off. The banks dare not use him.
He cannot keep accounts. Only the people, long-suffering and generous,
remain as his resource. For this reason municipal government is his
specialty; and while this patience of the people lasts, our cities will
breed scandals as naturally as our swamps breed malaria. Already the
business of the century recognizes the truth of all this. The bonding
companies ask, before they sign a contract, whether the official in
question uses liquor, what kind of liquor, whether he smokes, gambles, or
in other ways so conducts himself that in five years he will be less of a
man than he is now.

The great corporations ask the same questions as to all their employees.
Even these organizations called "soulless" know the value of men, and that
the vices of to-day must be reckoned at compound interest and charged
against their estimate of the young man's future. The Twentieth Century
must be temperate; for only sober men can bear the strain of its

Equally dangerous is the search for the joys of love by those who would
shirk all love's responsibilities. Just as honest love is the most powerful
influence that can enter into a man's life, so is love's counterfeit the
most disintegrating. Happiness cannot spring from the ashes of lust. Love
looks toward the future. Its glory is its altruism. To shirk responsibility
is to destroy the home. The equal marriage demands equal purity of heart,
equal chastity of intention. Open vice brings with certainty disease and
degradation. Secret lust comes to the same end, but all the more surely
because the folly of lying is added to other sources of decay. That society
is so severe in its condemnation of "the double life" is an expression of
the bitterness of its experience. The real character of a man is measured
by the truth he shows to women. His ideal of womankind is gauged by the
character of the woman he seeks.

In general, the sinner is not the man who sets out in life to be wicked.
Few men are born wicked; many are born weak. False ideas of manliness;
false conceptions of good fellowship, which false ideas of the relationship
of men and women give, wreck many a young man of otherwise good intentions.
The sinner is the man who cannot say no. The fall through vice to sin is a
matter of slow transition. One virtue after another is yielded up as the
strain on the will becomes too great. In Kipling's fable of Parenness, the
demon appears before the clerk in the Indian service, who has been too long
a good fellow among the boys. It asks him to surrender three things in
succession: his trust in man, his faith in woman, then the hopes and
ambitions of his childhood. When these are given up, as they must be in the
life of dissipation, the demon leaves him in exchange a little crust of dry
bread. Bare existence without joy or hope is all that the demon can give
when the forces of life are burned out.

In our colleges, the one ethical principle kept before the athlete by his
associates is this: Never break training rules. The pitcher who smokes a
cigarette throws away his game. The punter who spends the night at a dance
loses his one chance of making a goal. The sprinter who takes the glass of
convivial beer breaks no record. His record breaks him. Some day we shall
realize that the game of life is more than the game of foot-ball. We have
work every day more intricate than pitching curves, more strenuous than
punting the ball. We must keep in trim for it. We must hold ourselves in
repair. We must remember training rules. When this is done, we shall win
not only games and races, but the great prizes of life. Almost half the
strength of the men of America is now wasted in dissipation, gross or
petty, in drink or smoke. This strength would be saved could we remember
training rules. Through the training rules of our fathers we have come to
consider as part of our inheritance the Puritan Conscience. As the success
of our nation is built upon this conscience, so in like fashion depends
upon it the success of our daily life.

I had a friend once, a mining man of some education, who made his fortune
in bonanza days in Nevada, and who drank up what he had made with the boys
who have long since passed away. As a hopeless sot he visited the gold cure
at Los Gatos. Not finding much relief, he walked over to Palo Alto to
borrow of me his fare to San Francisco. He said that he was going to pawn
his goods for a fare to Nevada, where he meant to kill himself. Whether he
did so or not, I do not know; for ten years have gone by and I have never
heard of him again.

As he sat in my room, haggard, bloodshot, ragged, gin-flavored, a little
boy who had then never known sin, came in, and being no respecter of
persons, took him for a man and offered him his hand.

Being taken for a man, brought him back his manhood for a moment. The
visions of evil left him, and from Dickens' poem of "The Children" he
repeated almost to himself these words:--

"'I know now how Jesus could liken The Kingdom of God to a child.'"

The old scene came back to him. When the Master was teaching, the children
crowded about him, and there were those who would send them away. But the
Master said, "No, let the little children come unto me, and do not forbid
them; for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven." And again he said, "The
Kingdom of Heaven is within you." And again those whose services the Lord
of the centuries could use, he likened to little children.

And of the many ways in which this likeness can be used this is one. The
child is born with brain and nervous system adequate to its many purposes
in life, if it is suffered to grow naturally, to become what God meant it
to be. There are not many children of sin not made so by vice,
intemperance, lust, and obscenity. They are victims of their elders' folly,
of our carelessness as to their environment. Half the troubles of men of
our race come through self-inflicted injury to the nervous system. We are
tormented by the "fool-killer." If we could revert to the child's simple
purity, the free movement of its machinery of life, we should find
ourselves in a new heaven on a new earth. We could understand for ourselves
part of what the Master meant. We should know now how Jesus could liken the
Kingdom of God to a child.

All forms of subjective enjoyment, all pleasures that begin and end with
self, unrelated to external things, are insane and unwholesome, destructive
alike to rational enjoyment and to effectiveness in life. And this is true
of spurious emotions alike, whether the pious ecstasies of a half-starved
monk, the neurotic imaginings of a sentimental woman, or the riots of a
debauchee. He is the wise man who for all his life can keep mind and soul
and body clean.

"I know of no more encouraging fact," says Thoreau, "than the ability of a
man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. It is something to paint a
particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so make a few objects
beautiful. It is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere
and medium through which we look. This morally we can do."

If it were ever my fortune in speaking to young men to become eloquent,
with the only real eloquence there is, the plain speaking of a living
truth, this I would say:--

Your first duty in life is toward your after-self. So live that your
after-self--the man you ought to be--may in his time be possible and
actual. Far away in the twenties, the thirties, of the Twentieth Century he
is awaiting his turn. His body, his brain, his soul are in your boyish
hands. He cannot help himself. What will you leave for him? Will it be a
brain unspoiled by lust or dissipation, a mind trained to think and act, a
nervous system true as a dial in its response to the truth about you? Will
you, boy of the Twentieth Century, let him come as a man among men in his
time, or will you throw away his inheritance before he has had the chance
to touch it? Will you turn over to him a brain distorted, a mind diseased,
a will untrained to action, a spinal cord grown through and through with
the devil grass of that vile harvest we call wild oats? Will you let him
come, taking your place, gaining through your experiences, hallowed through
your joys, building on them his own, or will you fling his hope away,
decreeing wanton-like that the man you might have been shall never be?

This is your problem in life, the problem of more importance to you than
any or all others. How will you solve it? Will you meet it as a man or as a
fool? When you answer this, we shall know what use the Twentieth Century
can make of you.

"Death is a thing cleaner than Vice," Owen Wister tells us, and in the long
run it is more profitable.

Charles R. Brown tells us of the old physician showing the physical effects
of vice in the Museum of Pathology. "Almighty God writes a very plain
hand." This is what he said. In every failure as in every success in the
Twentieth Century, this plain hand can be plainly traced. "By their long
memories the gods are known." This is an older form of the very same great
lesson, the "goodness and severity of God."

Those who control the spiritual thought of the Twentieth Century will be
religious men. They will not be religious in the fashion of monks,
ascetics, mystic dreamers, or emotional enthusiasts. They will not be
active in debating societies, discussing the intricacies of creeds. Neither
will they be sticklers as to details in religious millinery. They will be
simple, earnest, God-fearing, because they have known the God that makes
for righteousness. Their religion of the Twentieth Century will be its
working theory of life. It will be expressed in simple terms or it may not
be expressed at all, but it will be deep graven in the heart. In wise and
helpful life it will find ample justification. It will deal with the world
as it is in the service of "the God of things as they are." It will find
this world not "a vale of tears," a sink of iniquity, but a working
paradise in which the rewards of right doing are instant and constant. It
will find indeed that "His service is perfect freedom," for all things
large or small within the reach of human effort are done in His way and in
His way only.

Whittier tells us of the story of the day in Connecticut in 1780, when the
horror of great darkness came over the land, and all men feared the dreaded
Day of Judgment had come at last.

The Legislature of Connecticut, "dim as ghosts" in the old State House,
wished to adjourn to put themselves in condition for the great assizes.
Meanwhile, Abraham Davenport, representative from Stamford rose to

"This may well be
The Day of Judgment for which the world awaits;
But be it so or not, I only know
My present duty and my Lord's command
To occupy till He come.
So at the Post where He hath set me in His Providence,
I choose for one to meet Him face to face.
Let God do His work. We will see to ours."

Then he took up a discussion of an act relating to the fisheries of alewife
and shad, speaking to men who felt them obliged to stand by their duty,
though never expecting to see shad, or alewife, or even Connecticut again.

"Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I lay me down with a will."

This was Stevenson's word. "Let God do His work; we will see to ours." And
in whatever part of God's Kingdom we men of the Twentieth Century may find
ourselves, we shall know that we are at home. For the same hand that made
the world and the ages created also the men in whose hands the final
outcome of the wayward centuries finds its place within the Kingdom of


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