Ourselves Book I

Ourselves Book I


Book I. Self-Knowledge


Charlotte M. Mason

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“How beauteous mankind is!”—The Tempest.

I believe young readers make it a rule never to read a preface; but will they kindly read this particular preface; as I have something to say which is intended for them, and not for their elders?

Now that I am an old woman, I recollect very vividly two facts about the time when I was in my ‘teens.’ I felt that to have arrived at this dignity at all was an advance in life which meant added responsibility, and I sincerely wanted to know what I ought to do and be. I did not ask counsel of my parents or elders (perhaps young people seldom do), but I liked to pick up any hints from books which should help me to understand myself. I remember especially a volume of maxims from the classics which I used to ponder over. Æsop’s Fables, La Rochefoucauld’s maxims, even Lord Chesterfield’s Letters to his Son, were studied on my own initiative, though I do not wish to pass them all on to the reader. But I wanted something more, some notion of myself as [p I:vi] a whole, that I might know what was possible to me; and this I never succeeded in getting.

Another feeling I recollect very well. I was teased and depressed at odd moments by a great sense of unworthiness, not so much for any particular reason, as because I was a poor thing, and there was not much in me. I suppose this feeling arose out of another—a sense of greatness of mind and heart which, somehow, I could not get hold of and show in my life. These two feelings caused me to live at cross-purposes with the people about me; in my heart, that is, for, outwardly, things went smoothly enough. If my friends liked me and made much of me, I thought they were deceiving themselves, and did not know what a poor thing I was; while, if they found fault with me, I fell back upon the goodness and worth that I felt in some way belonged to me, and was cross from the sense that I was treated unjustly.

I believe that these two, or rather three, feelings are common to all thoughtful boys and girls in their teens. They all feel that life is a great and serious matter; and that they, themselves, are responsible persons, with an important part to play. They want to know the rules of the game, and they pick up hints, often enough misleading hints, here and there. They think, even the most conceited of them, that they are poor things after all; but also they know that somewhere within them there is greatness of mind and goodness of heart—quite a mine of wealth, if they could only produce it!

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These three feelings are dependable guides. We are poor things, we have great possibilities, and we are dreadfully in need of guidance.

It is a comfort that we are not alone in our feelings. This baffling nature of ours, which we cannot understand, is, after all, human nature, and what we want to see is a sort of panorama of human nature, with its heights and hollows, its hopes and its risks. Such a panorama should help us to realise that our dreams of greatness fall short of the truth, that each of us has indeed a great and beautiful person within him, only waiting to be produced to the world; but that this beauteous person has many enemies, also within.

This little book is offered to the reader in the hope that it will help him to liberate the beautiful self which is himself; and also to see that everyone has a beautiful self waiting to be let out. St George and the dragon is a fable which each of us is called to enact.

Ambleside, March 1905.

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To Teachers

It will be evident to the student of Ethics that this little volume is based upon intuitive morality as sanctioned by the authority of Revelation. A somewhat arbitrary use has been made of certain terms—‘demon,’ for example—when such use appeared to lend itself to clearness or force in putting the case.

It seems to the Author advisable that classes should, as far as possible, be left to read this little book by themselves, by way of preparation for a written reproduction, for example, or for an essay in which characters in History or Fiction are drawn upon to illustrate the text.

If the young students are let alone, they will probably invite discussion upon points that seem difficult to them; but it appears to the writer that attempts to point the moral might as well be avoided.

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Book I.—Self-Knowledge

“Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,

These three alone lead life to sovereign power.”





The Riches of Mansoul.—“Do ye not like fair londes?” says King Alfred; and he answers himself: “Why should I not like fair londes? They are the fairest part of God’s creation.” And of all the fair lands which God has made, there is no country more fair than the Kingdom of Mansoul.

The soil is, almost everywhere, very fertile, and where it is cultivated there are meadows, corn-fields, and orchards with all manner of fruit. There are, too, wild nooks, with rippling streams bordered by forget-me-nots and king-cups, places where the birds nest and sing. There are hazel copses where you may gather nuts, and there are forests with mighty trees. There are wildernesses, too, marshy and unlovely, [p I:2] but these only wait for good and industrious hands to reclaim them and make them as fertile as the rest of the country. Deep under the surface lie beds of fuel to be had for the working, so that in that land there need never be a cold hearth-stone. There are many other mines, too, where diligent workers find, not only useful and necessary metals like copper and iron, but also silver and gold and very precious stones. When the workers are weary they may rest, for there are trees for shade and shelter, and pleasant playfields. And you may hear the laughter of the children, and see them at their sports.

Its Rivers and Cities.—There are rivers, broad and deep, good to bathe in and to swim in, and also good to bear the ships which carry those things produced by Mansoul to other countries far and near. Upon these rivers, too, sail the ships of many lands, bringing passengers and goods. There are busy cities in Mansoul; and these, also, are pleasant places; because, though there are factories where men work and make all manner of things for home use or to be sent abroad, there are also fair and beautiful buildings, palaces of delight, where are gathered the treasures of Mansoul,—galleries of precious and beautiful pictures painted by the great artists of all countries, statues of the heroes that are had in reverence there, halls with organs of noble tone which can roar like the thunder and babble like a child, and all manner of musical instruments. To these halls great musicians come and play wonderful things that they have made; the people of Mansoul listen, and great thoughts swell in them, and everyone feels as if he could get up and go and be a hero.

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Its Books and Playgrounds.—There are libraries, too—such libraries! containing every book of delight that ever was written. When anybody sits down to read, the author who made the book comes and leans over his shoulder and talks to him. I forgot to say that in the picture-galleries the old painters do the same thing; they come and say what they meant by it all.

There is no city in Mansoul so built up but there is plenty of space for parks and cricket-grounds, playing-fields and places where people meet and are merry, dance and sing. Nobody need be poor in Mansoul; and if anybody is poor, neglected, and stunted, it is for a reason which we shall consider by and by.

Its Churches and its Delectable Mountains.—The best treasures of the country are kept in the fairest of its buildings, in its churches, which are always open, so that people may go in and out many times a day to talk with God, and He comes and speaks with them. But, indeed, He walks about everywhere in the land, in the workshops, in the picture-galleries, and in the fields; people consult Him about everything, little things and great, and He advises about them all.

Much remains to be said about Mansoul, but I think I have left out the chief thing—the ‘Delectable Mountains,’ where people go that they may breathe mountain air, gather the lovely mountain flowers, and brace their limbs and their lungs with the toilsome delight of climbing. From the top, they get a view that makes them solemnly glad; they see a good deal of Mansoul, and they see the borders of the land that is very far off. They see a good deal of [p I:4] Mansoul, but they cannot see it all, for a curious thing is, that no map has been made of the country, because a great deal of it is yet unexplored, and men have not discovered its boundaries. This is exciting and delightful to the people, because, though here and there Mansoul is touched by another such country as itself, there are everywhere reaches which no man has seen, regions of country which may be rich and beautiful.

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The Government to Blame.—You are thinking, I daresay, what a rich and beautiful country Mansoul must be! But, like most other lands, it is subject to many perils. Unlike most other lands, however, Mansoul has means of escape from the perils that threaten it from time to time. In other countries, we hear the government blamed if poor people have not bread, and if rich people are annoyed by the crowing of a cock. This is usually great nonsense, but it is not nonsense to blame the government of Mansoul for the evils that occur in that country, for it has large power to prevent those evils. How the country is governed you shall hear later. Meantime, learn something of the perils which may overtake poor Mansoul and all that are in it.

Peril of Sloth.—Perhaps the most common evil is a sort of epidemic of sloth that spreads over the whole country. The scavengers sit with heavy eyes and folded arms, and let refuse and filth accumulate in the streets. The farmers and their labourers say, ‘What’s the good?’ and fail to go out with the plough or to sow the seed. Fruit drops from the trees and rots because no one cares to pick it up. [p I:6] The ships lie idle in the harbours because nobody wants anything from abroad. The librarians let their books be buried in dust and devoured by insects, and neglect their duty of gathering more. The pictures grow dim and tattered for want of care; and nobody in the whole country thinks it worth while to do anything at all.

Sometimes the people still care to play; but play without work becomes dull after a time, and soon comes to a stop. And so the people, whatever be their business in Mansoul, sit or lounge about with dull eyes, folded arms, and hanging heads.

Peril of Fire.—Another risk that Mansoul runs is that of great conflagrations. Sometimes an incendiary will land at one of its ports from some foreign country, perhaps with the express purpose of setting fire to what is best in Mansoul; but perhaps a man sets fire to things by accident because he does not know how inflammable they are. The fire once begun, the wind carries the flames over many miles of country; noble buildings, precious works of art, farmsteads with stacks of corn, everything is consumed, and ruin follows the track of the fire. Sometimes these fires arise in Mansoul itself. I have told you that the country has great beds of underlying fuel. Here and there inflammable gases break out on the surface, and a spark, dropped in the region of these gases, is sufficient to cause a wide conflagration. But Mansoul ought to be as careful as people in Switzerland are when a hot wind called the Föhn blows, and orders are issued that everyone is to put out his fires and lights.

Perils of Plague, Flood, and Famine.—Sometimes there is a visitation of the plague, because [p I:7] dwelling-houses, streets, and out-buildings are not kept clean and wholesome, and the drains are allowed to get into disorder.

Sometimes the springs swell in the hills, the rivers overflow, and there is a flood; but this is not always a misfortune in the end, because much that is rotten and unclean is swept away, and lands washed by a flood are very fertile afterwards.

Again, it may happen that the crops fail, though the land has been diligently tilled and good seed sown. But neighbouring States are kind, and help Mansoul in these distressful times; and the crops of the following year are generally abundant.

Peril of Discord.—Another cause of occasional misery in Mansoul is that a spirit of discord breaks out now and then among the members of the community, and becomes sometimes so violent as to lead to a devastating civil war. The servants and workmen will not obey the masters, and the masters will not consider their servants, and are at feud among themselves; one member of the ministry chooses to attend to the work of some other member; all useful employments are neglected, and the people are a prey to envy and discontent.

I might tell you of some other causes of misery in Mansoul, but shall mention only one more, which is by far the worst that ever overtakes the State.

Peril of Darkness.—Lovely and smiling as the country is when it is well ordered, mists at times emanate from it, chilling, soaking mists, dense and black; not a ray of the sun can penetrate these mists, no light, no warmth; there is no seeing of one’s way; so that the people say, ‘There is no sun,’ and some of the more foolish add, ‘There never was a sun [p I:8] in heaven, and there never will be.’ When they cannot see the sun, of course they cannot see each other, and blunder against one another in the darkness. You will say that many lands, especially low lands, are subject to blinding mists, but nowhere can they be so thick and heavy, and nowhere do they lie so long, as in the Kingdom of Mansoul. One quite exceptional thing about these mists is, that they also are largely under control of the government, especially of the Prime Minister. How this can be so I cannot fully explain here, but you will understand later.

Because all these things can happen to Mansoul, we must not run away with the idea that it is an unhappy country. On the contrary, it is radiant and lovely, busy and gay, full of many interests and of joyous life,—so long as the government attends to its duties.

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Each of us a Kingdom of Mansoul.—I just give up attempting to talk about Mansoul in parables. I daresay you have already found it difficult to make everything fit; but, never mind; what you do not understand now you may understand some day, or you may see a meaning better and truer than that which is intended. Every human being, child or man, is a Kingdom of Mansoul; and to be born a human being is like coming into a very great estate; so much in the way of goodness, greatness, heroism, wisdom, and knowledge, is possible to us all. Therefore I have said that no one has discovered the boundaries of the Kingdom of Mansoul; for nobody knows how much is possible to any one person. Many persons go through life without recognising this. They have no notion of how much they can do and feel, know and be; and so their lives turn out poor, narrow, and disappointing.

It is, indeed, true that Mansoul is like a great and rich country, with a more or less powerful and harmonious government; because there is a part of ourselves whose business it is to manage and make the best of the rest of ourselves, and that part of ourselves we shall call the Government.

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Officers of State.—There are many Officers of State, each with his distinct work to do in the economy of this Kingdom of Mansoul; and, if each does his own work and if all work together, Mansoul is happy and prosperous. I will give a list of a few of the great Officers of State, and later we shall consider what each has to do. To begin with the lowest, there are the Esquires of the Body, commonly called the Appetites; then come the Lords of the Exchequer, known as the Desires; the Lords of the Treasury, that is, the Affections; then the Foreign Secretary, that is, the Intellect, with his colleagues, My Lord Chief Explorer (Imagination) and My Lord President of the Arts (the Ӕsthetic Sense); the Lord Attorney-General, that is, the Reason; the Lords of the House of Heart: the Lord Chief Justice, that is, the Conscience; the Prime Minister, that is, the Will. There are various other Officers of State, whom we cannot name now, but these are the principal. Beyond and above all these is the King; for you remember that Mansoul is a Kingdom.

The Four Chambers.—These various Ministers we may conceive as sitting each in the House with the ordering of whose affairs he is concerned. These Houses are, the House of Body, the House of Mind, the House of Heart, and the House of Soul.

You must not understand that all these are different parts of a person; but that they are different powers which every person has, and which every person must exercise, in order to make the most of that great inheritance which he is born to as a human being.

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The Work of the Appetites.—We will first consider the Esquires of the Body; not that they are the chief Officers of State, but in Mansoul, as in the world, a great deal depends upon the least important people; and the Esquires of the Body have it very much in their power to make all go right or all go wrong in Mansoul.

Their work is very necessary for the well-being of the State. They build up the Body, and they see to it that there shall be new Mansouls to take the place of the old when these shall pass away. If each would attend to his own business and nothing else, all would go well; but there is a great deal of rivalry in the government, and every member tries to make the Prime Minister believe that the happiness of Mansoul depends upon him. If any one of these gets things altogether into his hands, all is in disorder.

How Hunger Behaves.Esquire Hunger is the first of the appetites that comes to our notice. He is [p I:12] a most useful fellow. If he do not come down to breakfast in the morning, a poor meal is eaten, and neither work nor play goes well in Mansoul that day. If, for weeks together, Hunger do not sit down to table, thin fingers and hollow cheeks will show you what a good servant has left his post. He is easily slighted. If people say, ‘I hate’ bread and milk, or eggs, or mutton, or what not, and think about it and think about it, Hunger is disgusted and goes. But if they sit down to their meals without thinking about what they eat, and think of something more interesting, Hunger helps them through, bit by bit, until their plates are emptied, and new material has been taken in to build up their bodies. Hunger is not at all fond of dainties. He likes things plain and nice; and directly a person begins to feed upon dainties, like pastry, rich cake, too many sweets, Hunger goes; or rather, he changes his character and becomes Gluttony.

Hunger a Servant, Gluttony a Ruler.—It is as Gluttony that he tries to get the ear of the Prime Minister, saying, ‘Leave it all to me, and I will make Mansoul happy. He shall want nothing but what I can give him.’ Then begins a fine time. As long as Hunger was his servant, Mansoul thought nothing about his meals till the time for them came, and then he ate them with a good appetite. But Gluttony behaves differently. Gluttony leads his victim to the confectioner’s windows and makes him think how nice this or that would taste: all his pocket-money goes in tarts, sweets, and toffee. He thinks at breakfast what pudding he should like for dinner, and asks for it as a favour. Indeed, he is always begging for bits of cake, and spoonfuls of jam, [p I:13] and extra chocolates. He does not think much about his lessons, because he has a penny in his pocket and is considering what is the nicest thing he can buy for it; or, if he is older, perhaps he has a pound, but his thought is still the same, and Gluttony gets it all. The greedy person turns away from wholesome meals, and does not care for work or play, because Gluttony has got the ear of the Prime Minister, and almost every thought of Mansoul turns one way—‘What shall I eat?’ he says. Gluttony begins with the little boy and goes with him all through life, only that, instead of caring for chocolate creams when he is a man, he cares for great dinners two hours long.

How Gluttony affects the Body.—But, you will say, if Hunger builds up the body, surely Gluttony must do so a great deal faster. It is true that sometimes the greedy person becomes fat, but it is muscle and not fat which makes the body strong and useful. Gluttony does not make muscle, and does cause horrid illnesses.

How to avoid Greediness.—The way to keep this enemy out of Mansoul is to stick to the rules which Hunger lays down. The chief of them is—Never think of your meals till they come, and, while you are eating, talk and think of something more amusing than your food. As for nice things, of course we all want nice things now and then; but let us eat what is given to us of the chocolate or fruit at table, and not think any more about it. Sweets or fruits are seldom served at school, we know, and when at school it is quite fair for a boy to allow himself to spend a certain part of his pocket-money in this way, not only for himself, but that he may have something to give away. But the boy who spends the whole, or [p I:14] the greater part, of his week’s money on things to eat, or who is always begging for hampers from home, is a poor fellow, the victim of Gluttony. The best plan is to want to spend your money upon something else—some sort of collection, perhaps; or to save up to buy a present or a fishing-rod or anything worth having. Gluttony lets you alone when you cease to think of him and his good things.

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Thirst likes Cold Water.—Another most serviceable Esquire of the Body is Thirst. How serviceable he is you will understand when you remember that by far the greater part of a man’s weight is made up of water. This water is always wasting away in one way or another, and the business of Thirst is to make up for the loss. Thirst is a simple fellow; the beverage he likes best is pure cold water; and, indeed, he is quite right, for, when you come to think of it, there is only one thing to drink in the world, though we drink it mixed with many things. Sometimes the mixing is done by nature, as in milk or grapes; sometimes by man, as in tea or coffee. Some of these mixed drinks are wholesome, because they contain food as well as drink, and by far the most wholesome of these is milk.

But Thirst himself does not care for or need anything in the water he drinks. He likes it best clear and cold, and if we lived in hot Eastern countries we should know how delicious cold water is. All little children like water, but bigger boys and girls sometimes like various things, such as lemon juice, in their water to give it a flavour. Though there is no [p I:16] harm in this, it is rather a pity, because they lose their taste for water itself.

Drunkenness craves for Alcohol.—You would think that so simple and useful an Esquire of the Body could never be a source of danger to Mansoul. But Thirst also gets the ear of the Prime Minister; he also says, ‘Leave Mansoul to me, and he shall never more want anything in the world but what I can give him.’ This saying of his is quite true, only, instead of calling him Thirst any longer, we must call him Drunkenness; and once Drunkenness has a man in his grip, that man wants nothing but drink, drink, from morning till night.

The chairs and tables out of his house, his children’s bread, their mother’s clothes, all go to buy drink. The man’s time, health, and strength are spent in drink: he becomes homeless and friendless, sick and outcast, for the sake of drink. But he does not crave for home or friends; all he wants is more drink and more drink. By far the greater part of the sin, misery, and poverty in the world is caused by Drunkenness.

Why People Abstain.—As you know very well, it is not pure water that causes Drunkenness. Men long ago discovered how to prepare a substance called alcohol, and this it is that ruins thousands of men and women. Many good men and women, and children, too, make a solemn vow that they will never taste ale or wine or other strong drink, unless a doctor order it by way of medicine. They do this, not only for fear that they should themselves become drunkards—though indeed there is no knowing who may fall into that terrible temptation, or at what period of life such a fall may come,—but because every little [p I:17] good deed helps to stop the evil in the world by setting a good example to somebody; and perhaps there is never a good example set but someone follows it, though the person who set the example may never know.

This is one reason why it is well to keep one’s taste for cold water, and to know how delicious it is.

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Restlessness makes the Body Strong.—I hardly know by what names to call the two Esquires of the Body whom I am now to introduce to you, but both are good body-servants. Perhaps Restlessness and Rest will do as well as any. You have noticed that a baby is seldom quite still when he is wide awake: he is kicking his legs about, or playing with his fingers or toes, or crawling, or clutching or throwing something down or picking it up, or laughing, or crowing, or crying. Little boys and girls, too, cannot bear to sit still long at lessons. They want to run into the garden and see what their pet frog is doing. When lessons are over a good romp is delightful, or a race, or a good deal of tumbling about head-over-heels. Later, people want to play cricket or football, or to ride bicycles, or climb mountains. They think they do all these things just because it is fun; but, really, good Esquire Restless will not let them alone, but gives them an uneasy feeling if they are not pretty often doing something which is rather hard to do and rather tiring. He is playing the part of a faithful body-servant. He is helping to make Mansoul a strong and wiry body, able to swim and [p I:19] ride, to jump and run; able to walk far and to hit true and to do every service that the Prime Minister may require. In fact, the business of Restlessness is to strengthen and harden the muscles which Hunger feeds.

But Restlessness may be a Hard Master.—Restlessness, from being a good servant, might become a hard master; indeed, he sometimes does become so, and people do things that are too hard for them in the way of rowing or climbing, running or jumping. Worse still, the Dæmon of Restlessness possesses them, and they cannot settle to any kind of work or play because they always want to be doing something else. This is a very unfortunate state to get into, because it is only by going on doing one thing steadily that we learn to do it well, whether it be cricket or algebra; so it is well to be on the watch for the moment when Restlessness, the good servant, turns into Restlessness, the unquiet Dæmon who drives us about from post to pillar, and will not give us firm standing ground anywhere in life.

Rest, a Good Servant.—In a general way, his fellow-servant and brother, Rest, steps in with, ‘It is my turn now,’ and the tired person is glad to sit down and be quiet for a little, or lie on his face with a book, or, best of all, go to sleep soundly at night and wake up refreshed and ready for anything. Thus the muscles take such turns of work and rest as help them to grow and become strong.

Sloth, a Tyrant.—I daresay you are glad to hear of an Esquire of the Body who is not followed by a black shadow threatening Mansoul with ruin; but, alas! we cannot be let off. Rest, too, has his Dæmon, whose name is Sloth. ‘A little more sleep, a little [p I:20] more slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep,’ is the petition with which he besieges the Prime Minister. Once Sloth is ruler in Mansoul, the person cannot wake up in the morning, dawdles over his dressing, comes down late for breakfast, hates a walk, can’t bear games, dawdles over his preparation, does not want to make boats or whistles, or collect stamps, drops in all his lessons, is in the Third form when he ought to be in the Sixth, saunters about the corners of the playing-field with his hands in his pockets, never does anything for anybody, not because he is unkind or ill-natured, but because he will not take the trouble.

Poor fellow! he does not know that he is falling daily more and more under the power of a hard master. The less he exerts himself, the less he is able to exert himself, because the muscles, which Restlessness keeps firm and in good order, Sloth relaxes and weakens until it becomes a labour to raise the hand to the head or to drag one foot after another. People used to be very much afraid of Sloth and to call him one of the Seven Deadly Sins, but somehow he is less thought about now; perhaps because we find so many things to do that we cannot bear to be slothful. Still, if your friends call you idle about play or work, or, worse, indolent, or, worse still, lazy, pull yourself together without loss of time, for be sure the Dæmon, Sloth, is upon you, and once you get into his clutches you are in as bad a case, and your life is as much in danger of being ruined, as if Gluttony or Drunkenness had got hold of you. But take courage, the escape is easy: Restlessness is on the alert to save you from Sloth in the beginning. Up and be doing, whether at work or play.

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How to Rule the Appetites.—We have seen how each of the Appetites—Hunger, Thirst, Restlessness, Rest—is a good body-servant, and how the work of each is to build up and refresh the body. We have seen, too, how a life may be ruined by each of these so innocent-seeming appetites if it be allowed to get the mastery. To save ourselves from this fate, we must eat, drink, sleep, at regular times, and then not allow ourselves to think of taking our ease, of dainty things to eat, of nice things to drink, in the intervals. We should always have something worth while to think about, that we may not let our minds dwell upon unworthy matters.

Each Appetite has its Time.—There is another Appetite which is subject to the same rules as those we have considered. It has its time like eating and sleeping, but its time is not until people are married. Just as eating, drinking, and sleeping are designed to help to make us strong, healthy, and beautiful bodies, so this other Appetite is meant to secure that people shall have children, so that there will always be people in the world, young people growing up as old people pass away. This Appetite is connected with a certain [p I:22] part of the body; and I should not speak about it now, only that one of the great duties we have in the world is to keep this part of the body pure. It is just like that tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil planted in the Garden of Eden.

Uncleanness.—You remember that Adam and Eve were not to take thereof, or they should surely die; and then, you remember how the tempter came and told Eve that they should not die if they took of it, but should be like gods, knowing good and evil. Well, just in the same way, I fear, you may find tempters who will do their best to make you know about things you ought not to know about, to talk about and read about and do things you ought not to talk about, or read about, or do. I daresay they will tell you these things are quite right, that you would not have such parts of your body and such feelings about them unless you were meant to think and do these things. Now it will help you to know that this is the sin of Uncleanness, the most deadly and loathsome of all sins, the sin that all nice men and women hate and shrink from more than from any other.

Purity.—The opposite virtue is called Purity, and Christ has said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” That does not mean, I think, ‘shall see God’ when they die, but ‘shall see’ Him with the eye of their soul, about them and beside them, and shall know, whenever temptation comes through this Appetite—‘Thou, God, seest me.’ That thought will come home to them, so that they will not be able to make themselves unclean by even a thought or a word. They will turn away their eyes from beholding evil; they will not allow themselves to read, or hear, or say a word that should cause impure thoughts.

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Glorify God in your Bodies.—Thus they will glorify God in their bodies. Every boy or girl who realises this is a hero in the sight of God, is fighting a good fight, and is making the world better. When the pure marry, their children will be blessed, for they will be good, healthy, and happy, because they have pure parents. Remember that God puts before each of us in this matter the choice between good and evil, obedience and disobedience, which he put before Adam and Eve. They sinned, and death entered into the world. And so surely as you allow yourself in this sin of Uncleanness, even to think a thought which you could not go straight and tell your mother, death begins in you, death of body and soul. Fight the good fight, and do not let yourself, like our first parents, be the victim of unholy curiosity.

The Appetites our Servants, not our Masters.—Let each of the Appetites, so necessary to our bodies, be our servant and not our master, and remember, above all things, that sin and slavery to any Appetite begin in our thoughts. It is our thoughts that we must rule, and the way to rule them is very simple. We just have to think of something else when an evil thought comes, something really interesting and nice, with a prayer in our hearts to God to help us to do so.

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The Esquires of the Body have in turn their attendants, their pages, let us call them; very useful persons in their way, but, like the Esquires, they require looking after—in the first place, to see that they do their work, in the next, to secure that they do not become tyrants. For even they, servants of servants as they are, aim, if they are indulged, at the sole rule and subjection of Mansoul. People sometimes call these pages feelings, but we will call them sensations, because it is through the five senses that they do their work.

Taste, Agreeable and Useful.—The sensation of Taste, one of these, is not only usually agreeable, but is most useful. When food tastes unpleasant, that is often a sign that it is not wholesome. Taste is an excellent servant, and people who know how to keep him in order find simple foods, such as milk and bread and butter, delicious.

But, Pampered, becomes our Master.—But people who pamper Taste make themselves his servants. They say they do not like porridge; they do not like mutton, potatoes, eggs. They want things with strong flavours to please their Taste; the older they grow [p I:25] the more difficult it will be to gratify them, so that at last it will take a French cook to think of things quite nice enough for their dinners. The best rule is not to allow oneself in daintiness about food, but to eat what is set before one; indeed, a wise person is rather glad when something is served which he does not exactly like, or when he has to take disagreeable medicine, because this gives him an opportunity to keep Taste in his proper place, that of a servant and not of a master. It is a good plan not to talk about our likes or dislikes, not even to know which kind of jam we like best.

‘Smell’ is Lazy.Smell is another of these pages, really a very good fellow, and I do not know that he tries much for mastery in Mansoul, unless as the ally of Taste. When he goes about sniffing savoury dishes and making Taste wish for them, he is very objectionable; excepting for that he is harmless enough, but he has a fault which is bad in a servant. He is lazy. As his work is very important, this lazy habit must be dealt with.

Should give Mansoul much Pleasure.—He might be the means of giving Mansoul a great deal of pleasure, because there are many faint, delightful odours in the world, like the odour of a box-hedge, of lime-trees in flower, of bog-myrtle, which he might carry, and thus add to the pleasure of life. But that is not his only use.

Should serve on the Board of Health.—He should be quick to detect when there is the least impurity in the air, when a room is close, when a drain is out of order, when there is any unpleasant, unwholesome odour about, however slight; because all odours are really atoms floating in the air, which, [p I:26] by breathing, we take into our bodies. As we breathe all day long and all night long, and only take food three or four times a day, it is perhaps more injurious to health to breathe evil odours than to eat food which is not quite fit, though both are bad. But there are people in whom Smell has become so inactive, that they will lean over an open drain without perceiving any bad smell. By and by we hear they are laid up with a fever, and nobody thinks of reproaching that lazy servant, Smell, who has been the cause of the whole mischief.

Practice in catching Odours.—It is a good rule to practise oneself in catching every sweet and delightful fragrance, and in learning to tell, with one’s eyes shut, the leaves of various trees, various flowers, food-stuffs, materials for clothing, all by their odours. In this way Smell would be kept in good working order, and should be able to detect, when he goes into a room, whether the air is fresh or fusty.

Touch, most Pervasive.—There are five of these Pages classed together under the name of The Five Senses, but the three we have now to speak of are not so much pages to Esquires of the Body, as body-servants themselves. Touch is a most pervasive fellow. He is all over the body at once, and there are only one or two places, like the nails and the teeth, where he is not. He collects a great deal of useful information. It is he who discovers whether things be hard or soft, hot or cold, rough or smooth, whether they pierce or scratch, or prick or burn.

Most Useful.—You see at once how useful his work is, for without Touch one might accidentally put one’s finger in the fire and not know it was burning. [p I:27] Knives might cut, pins prick, frost bite, and fire burn, and we should be none the wiser, though our bodies might be receiving deadly injury. Some people have an exceedingly delicate sense of touch, especially in the finger-tips, and this enables them to work at making such delicate things as watch-springs and very fine lace.

The Touch of the Blind.—Blind people learn to find out through their finger-tips what their eyes no longer tell them. They learn even the faces of their friends by touch, and can tell whether they are well or ill, glad or sorry. You hear it sometimes said that a person has a nice touch in playing the piano, and it would really seem as if his finger-tips felt not only the keys of the instrument, but the music they are producing.

A Kind ‘Touch.’—Some people, again, mothers especially, have so kind a touch that their hands seem to smooth away our troubles. But this sort of touch is only learned by loving. You remember Shakespeare thought that poor little Prince Arthur had it; certainly many loving children have comforting hands.

Practice in Touch.—Those persons whose senses are the most keen and delicate are the most alive and get most interest out of life; so it is worth while to practise our senses; to shut our eyes, for example, and learn the feel of different sorts of material, different sorts of wood, metal, leaves of trees, different sorts of hair and fur—in fact, whatever one comes across.

Touch tries for Mastery over Mansoul.—It will surprise you to hear that Touch, simple and useful servant as he is, like the rest, watches for mastery over Mansoul. Have you ever found it [p I:28] hard to attend to lessons or other work because you have had a prick or a sting or a cut, which, as you, say, ‘hurts’? When people let themselves think about these little things which can’t be helped, they have no thoughts left for what is worth while; thus one of the least of the powers in their lives becomes master of all the rest. You remember the story of the Spartan boy and the fox? It is not necessary that we should be Spartans, because, if anything painful can be helped, it is right and necessary that we should speak about it, or do something to take away the cause of the pain.

Good to have Little Things to put up with.—But, on the other hand, I think we should be rather glad to have little things to put up with now and then—a scratch, a mustard poultice, or a vest that pricks—just that we may get into the way of not letting ourselves think about such matters. There is an instance of a man who was obliged to have his leg cut off, before Sir James Simpson had made the blessed discovery of the use of chloroform. This man was determined that he would not think about the pain, and he succeeded in so keeping his mind occupied with other things, that he was not aware of the operation. This would be too much for most of us, but we might all try to bear the prick of a pin, or even the sting of a wasp, without making a fuss.

Sight brings half our Joy.—The two senses that we have still to speak of are ministers of delight to Mansoul, and I do not know that they have any serious faults as servants, excepting those of laziness and inattention. Sight brings us half our joy. The faces of our friends, gay sunshine, flowers and green grass, and the flickering of the leaves, pretty clothes [p I:29] and little treasures and pictures, mountains and rivers, and the great sea—where would our joy in all these be if we could not see them? Kind friends might read to us, certainly, but it would not be the same thing always as to have our own book and read it in the apple-tree, or in the corner of the window seat. Let us pity the blind. But there are other people to be pitied, almost as much as they.

Eyes and No-Eyes.—Do you know how Eyes and No-Eyes went out for a walk? No-Eyes found it dull, and said there was nothing to see; but Eyes saw a hundred interesting things, and brought home his handkerchief full of treasures. The people I know are all either ‘Eyes’ or ‘No-Eyes.’ Do you wish to know which class you fall into? Let me ask you two or three questions. If you can answer them we shall call you, Eyes. If you cannot, why, learn to answer these and a thousand questions like them. Describe, from memory, one picture in your mother’s drawing-room without leaving out a detail. Name a tree (not shrub) which has green leaf-buds? Do you know any birds with white feathers in their tails? If you do not know things such as these, set to work. The world is a great treasure-house full of things to be seen, and each new thing one sees is a new delight.

Hearing a Source of Joy.—There is a great deal of joy, again, to be had out of listening—joy which many people miss because Hearing is, in their case, an idle servant who does not attend to his business.

Have you ever been in the fields on a spring day, and heard nothing at all but your own voice and the voices of your companions, and then, perhaps, suddenly you have become silent, and you find a concert going on of which you had not heard a note? At first [p I:30] you hear the voices of the birds; then, by degrees, you perceive high voices, low voices, and middle voices, small notes and great notes, and you begin to wish you knew who sang each of the songs you can distinguish.

The more we Listen, the more we Hear.—Then, as you listen more, you hear more. The chirp of the grasshoppers becomes so noisy that you wonder you can hear yourself speak for it; then the bees have it all to themselves in your hearing; then you hear the hum or the trumpet of smaller insects, and perhaps the tinkle and gurgle of a stream. The quiet place is full of many sounds, and you ask yourself how you could have been there without hearing them. That just shows you how Hearing may sleep at his post. Keep him awake and alive; make him try to hear and know some new sound every day without any help from sight. It is rather a good plan to listen with shut eyes.

Some Nice Sounds.—Have you ever heard the beech-leaves fall one by one in the autumn? That is a very nice sound. Have you heard the tap, tap of the woodpecker, or have you heard a thrush breaking snail-shells on a stone? Of course you can tell the difference between one horse and a pair by sound. Can you tell one kind of carriage from another, or a grocer’s cart from a carriage? Do you know the footfall of everybody in the house? Do you know the sound of every bell in the house? Do you listen to people’s voices, and can you tell by the intonation whether the people are sad or glad, pleased or displeased?

Music, the Great Joy we owe to Hearing.—Hearing should tell us a great many interesting things, [p I:31] but the great and perfect joy which we owe to him is Music. Many great men have put their beautiful thoughts, not into books, or pictures, or buildings, but into musical score, to be sung with the voice or played on instruments, and so full are these musical compositions of the minds of their makers, that people who care for music can always tell who has composed the music they hear, even if they have never heard the particular movement before. Thus, in a manner, the composer speaks to them, and they are perfectly happy in listening to what he has to say. Quite little children can sometimes get a good deal of this power; indeed, I knew a boy of three years old who knew when his mother was playing ‘Wagner,’ for example. She played to him a great deal, and he listened. Some people have more power in this way than others, but we might all have far more than we possess if we listened.

How to get the Hearing Ear.—Use every chance you get of hearing music (I do not mean only tunes, though these are very nice), and ask whose music has been played, and, by degrees, you will find out that one composer has one sort of thing to say to you, and another speaks other things; these messages of the musicians cannot be put into words, so there is no way of hearing them if we do not train our ear to listen. A great help towards learning to hear music is to know the notes, to be able to tell with one’s eyes shut any note or chord that is struck on the piano or sung with the voice. This is as entertaining as a puzzle, and if we find that we are rather dull of hearing at first we need not be discouraged. The hearing ear comes, like good batting, with much practice; and the time will come when in a whole [p I:32] chorus of birds you will be able to distinguish between the different voices, and say which is the thrush, which is the blackbird, which the white-throat, which the black-cap, which the wren, which the chaffinch. Think how happy the person must be for whom every bird’s note is the voice of a friend whom he knows!

[p I:33]





‘Ourselves,’ a Vast Country not yet Explored.—When we think of our bodies and of the wonderful powers they possess, we say, under our breath, “Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty.” Now, let us consider that still more wonderful Self which we cannot see and touch as we can our bodies, but which thinks and loves and prays to God; which is happy or sad, good or not good. This inner self is, as we have said, like a vast country much of which is not yet explored, or like a great house, built as a maze, in which you cannot find your way about. People usually talk of ‘Ourselves’ as made up of Body, Mind, Heart, and Soul; and we will do the same, because it is a convenient way to describe us. It is more convenient to say, ‘The sun rises at six and sets at nine,’ than to say, ‘As the earth turns round daily before the sun, that part of the earth on which we live first gets within sight of the sun about six o’clock in the morning in March.’ ‘The sun rises and sets’ is a better way of describing [p I:34] this, not only because it is easier to say, but because it is what we all appear to see and to know. In the same way, everybody appears to know about his own heart and soul and mind; though, perhaps, the truth is that there is no division into parts, but that the whole of each of us has many different powers and does many different things at different times.

Self-control, Self-knowledge, Self-reverence.—It would even seem as if we had two inside selves, one which wishes to do a wrong or unwise thing, and another which says, ‘You must not.’ And one of the great things we have to learn in life is how, where, and when to use this power, which we call Self-control. Before we can have true Self-control we must know a good deal about ourselves, that is, we must get Self-knowledge. Many persons think themselves quite different from everybody else, which is a mistake. Self-knowledge teaches that what is true of everybody else is true of us also; and when we come to know how wonderful are the powers and how immense are the possibilities of Mansoul, we are filled, not with pride, but with Self-reverence, which includes reverence and pity for the meanest and most debased, because each of these is also a great Mansoul, though it may be a Mansoul neglected, ruined, or decayed. The government of Mansoul is, as we know, the chief business of man; and we will go on to consider the Members of the Government.

[p I:35]



Introduces Mansoul to Delightful Realms.—To begin with my Lord Intellect: he is the Foreign Secretary, because he conducts affairs and establishes relations with many foreign kingdoms. Through him Mansoul obtains the freedom of rich provinces and mighty states.

Science, a Vast and Joyous Region.Science is one of these provinces. Here, the stars are measured, the ocean sounded, and the wind made the servant of man; here, every flower that blooms reveals the secret of its growth, and every grain of sand recounts its history. This is a vast and joyous realm; for the people who walk therein are always discovering new things, and each new thing is a delight, because the things are not a medley, but each is a part of the great whole. So immense is the realm of Science that one of the wisest and greatest travellers therein, who had discovered many things, said, when he was an old man, that he was only like a little child playing with pebbles on the beach. Do you, too, wish to walk in the pleasant ways of Science? My Lord Intellect will give you the necessary introductions, and do everything to make your progress easy.

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Imagination cheers the Traveller here.—I should have mentioned that Intellect’s colleague, my Lord Imagination, Chief Explorer (you recollect him?), usually journeys with travellers in the ways of Science, and cheers them by opening up fresh and delightful vistas before their eyes.

History, a Pleasant Place.History is another glorious domain to which my Lord Intellect holds the key, and sends forth Imagination by way of courier and companion to the zealous traveller. Of all the pleasant places in the world of mind, I do not know that any are more delightful than those in the domain of History. Have you ever looked through a kinetoscope? Many figures are there, living and moving, dancing, walking in procession, whatever they happened to be doing at the time the picture was taken. History is a little like that, only much more interesting, because in these curious living photographs the figures are very small and rather dim, and most attentive gazing cannot make them clearer; now, History shows you its personages, clothed as they were clothed, moving, looking, speaking, as they looked, moved, and spoke, engaged in serious matters or in pleasures; and, the longer you look at any one person, the more clearly he stands out, until at last he may become more real to you than the people who live in your own home.

The Shows of History.—Think of all the centuries and of every country full of a great procession of living, moving people. Think of the little byways of history where you see curious things that bring you very near to the people concerned, like that letter from a little boy in Egypt, some four thousand years ago, in which he tells his father that he won’t be [p I:37] good or do his lessons unless his father takes him to the great festival that is coming on. Even little boys in Egypt four thousand years ago were not, it appears, all good. Here we see Alcibiades going about the streets of Athens, handsome, witty, and winning, reckless and haughty, and so far without principle that not even Socrates could make him good. Or we see the King, Henry VIII., walking arm-in-arm with Sir Thomas More in his garden at Chelsea, and his dear daughter Margaret hovering round and bringing her father sugar-plums when the King had gone.

We are making History.—We see, too, the working people, the smith at his forge, the ploughman in the field, the maypole on the village green, with the boys and girls dancing round it. Once Intellect admits us into the realms of History, we live in a great and stirring world, full of entertainment and sometimes of regret; and at last we begin to understand that we, too, are making History, and that we are all part of the whole; that the people who went before us were all very like ourselves, or else we should not be able to understand them. If some of them were worse than we, and in some things their times were worse than ours, yet we make acquaintance with many who were noble and great, and our hearts beat with a desire to be like them. That helps us to understand our own times. We see that we, too, live in a great age and a great country, in which there is plenty of room for heroes; and if these should be heroes in a quiet way, whom the world never hears of, that does not make much real difference. No one was ever the least heroic or good but an immense number of people were the better for it; indeed, it [p I:38] has been said that the whole world is the better for every dutiful life, and will be so until the end of time.

We cannot be at Home in History without Imagination.—But we must read History and think about it to understand how these things can be; and we owe a great debt of gratitude to the historians, of whom Herodotus has been called the ‘father,’ who called in Imagination to picture for them the men and events of the past (about which they had read and searched diligently), so that everything seemed to take place again before their eyes, and they were able to write of it for us. But their seeing and writing is not of much use to us unless, in our case, Lord Intellect invites Imagination to go forth with him, and we think of things and figure them to ourselves, until at last they are real and alive to us.

Mathematics, a Mountainous Land.—Another realm open to Intellect has an uninviting name, and travelling therein is difficult, what with steep faces of rock to climb and deep ravines to cross. The Principality of Mathematics is a mountainous land, but the air is very fine and health-giving, though some people find it too rare for their breathing. It differs from most mountainous countries in this, that you cannot lose your way, and that every step taken is on firm ground. People who seek their work or play in this principality find themselves braced by effort and satisfied with truth. Intellect now and then calls for the aid of Imagination as he travels here, but not often. My Lord Attorney-General Reason is his chosen comrade.

Philosophy explores Mansoul.—Another domain which opens interesting prospects to Intellect [p I:39] is that of fair Philosophy, a domain with which we are a little acquainted already, for it is that of Mansoul, with its mountain heights, its dark forests, its unexplored regions. Philosophy offers fascinating and delightful travelling, and the wayfarer here learns many lessons of life; but he does not find the same firm foothold as he whose way leads him through the Principality of Mathematics. Still, certainty is not the best thing in the world. To search, to endeavour, and to feel our way to a foothold from point to point is also exhilarating; and every step that is gained is a resting-place and a house of ease for Mansoul.

Literature, a very Rich and Glorious Kingdom.—Perhaps the least difficult of approach, and certainly one of the most joyous and satisfying of all those realms in which Intellect is invited to travel, is the very rich and glorious Kingdom of Literature. Intellect cannot walk here without Imagination, and, also, he does well to have, at his other side, that colleague of his, whom we will call the Beauty Sense. It is a great thing to be accustomed to good society, and, when Intellect walks abroad in this fair kingdom, he becomes intimate with the best of all ages and all countries. Poets and novelists paint pictures for him, while Imagination clears his eyes so that he is able to see those pictures: they fill the world, too, with deeply interesting and delightful people who live out their lives before his eyes. He has a multitude of acquaintances and some friends who tell him all their secrets. He knows Miranda and the melancholy Jaques and the terrible Lady Macbeth; Fenella and that Fair Maid of Perth, and a great many people, no two alike, live in his thoughts.

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How to recognise Literature.—Observe, there is a poor place close at hand, where pictures are painted for you and where people are introduced; but you cannot see the pictures with your eyes shut, and the people do not live and act in your thoughts; there is as much difference between this region outside and that within the Kingdom of Literature as there is between a panorama and the real, beautiful country it is intended to portray. It is a horrible waste of time to wander about in this outside region, yet many people spend a large part of their lives there, and never once get within sight of the beauties and delights within the Kingdom of Literature.

There is another test, besides the two of scenes that you see and people that you know, which distinguishes Literature from the barren land on its borders; and if he is to apply this test, Intellect must keep his Beauty Sense always by his side. Read over, and see if you find a difference of flavour, shall I say, between the two passages that follow. Try if the first gives you a sense of delight in the words alone, without any thought of the meaning of them, if the very words seem to sing to you;—

“That time of year thou mayst in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare, ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.”

Now read the next passage;—

“Household Deities!

Then only shall be happiness on earth

When man shall feel your sacred power and love

Your tranquil joys.”

[p I:41] Can you perceive that, though the second passage is true, thoughtful, and well expressed, it just misses a certain charm in the wording which makes words go home to our heart with living power? If you cannot see any difference in value between these two passages, perhaps you will do so some day. The thing is, to keep your eye upon words and wait to feel their force and beauty; and, when words are so fit that no other words can be put in their places, so few that none can be left out without spoiling the sense, and so fresh and musical that they delight you, then you may be sure that you are reading Literature, whether in prose or poetry. A great deal of delightful literature can be recognised only by this test.

Our Beauty Sense.—There is another region open to Intellect, of very great beauty and delight. He must needs have Imagination with him to travel there, but still more must he have that companion of the nice ear and eye, who enabled him to recognise music and beauty in words and their arrangement. The Æsthetic Sense, in truth, holds the key of this palace of delights. There are few joys in life greater and more constant than our joy in Beauty, though it is almost impossible to put into words what Beauty consists in; colour, form, proportion, harmony—these are some of its elements. Words give some idea of these things, and therefore some idea of Beauty, and that is why it is only through our Beauty Sense that we can take full pleasure in Literature.

Beauty in Nature.—But Beauty is everywhere—in white clouds against the blue, in the gray bole of the beech, the play of a kitten, the lovely flight [p I:42] and beautiful colouring of birds, in the hills and the valleys and the streams, in the wind-flower and the blossom of the broom. What we call Nature is all Beauty and delight, and the person who watches Nature closely and knows her well, like the poet Wordsworth, for example, has his Beauty Sense always active, always bringing him joy.

We cannot get away from Beauty, and we delight in it most perhaps in the faces and forms of many little children and of some grown-up people.

The Palace of Art.—We take pleasure, too, in the arrangement and colouring of a nice room, of a nice dress, in the cover of a book, in the iron fittings of a door, when these are what is called artistic. This brings us to another world of beauty created for us by those whose Beauty Sense enables them not only to see and take joy in all the Beauty there is, but whose souls become so filled with the Beauty they gather through eye and ear that they produce for us new forms of Beauty—in picture, statue, glorious cathedral, in delicate ornament, in fugue, sonata, simple melody. When we think for a moment, how we must admire the goodness of God in placing us in a world so exceedingly full of Beauty—whether it be of what we call Nature or of what we call Art—and in giving us that sense of Beauty which enables us to see and hear, and to be as it were suffused with pleasure at a single beautiful effect brought to our ear or our eye.

The Hall of Simulation.—But, like all the good gifts we have received, this too is capable of neglect and misuse. It is not enough that there should be a Beauty World always within reach; we must see to it that our Beauty Sense is on the alert and kept [p I:43] quick to discern. We may easily be all our lives like that man of whom the poet says:—

“A primrose by the river’s brim

A yellow primrose was to him,

Was that, and nothing more”

—that is, he missed the subtle sense of Beauty which lay, not so much in the primrose nor in the river, but, rather, in the fact of the primrose growing just there. Our great danger is that, as there is a barren country reaching up to the very borders of the Kingdom of Literature, so too is there a dull and dreary Hall of Simulation which we may enter and believe it to be the Palace of Art. Here people are busy painting, carving, modelling, and what not; the very sun labours here with his photographs, and he is as good an artist as the rest, and better, for the notion in this Hall is that the object of Art is to make things exactly like life. So the so-called artists labour away to get the colour and form of the things they see, and to paint these on canvas or shape them in marble or model them in wax (flowers), and all the time they miss, because they do not see, that subtle presence which we call Beauty in the objects they paint and mould. Many persons allow themselves to be deceived in this matter, and go through life without ever entering the Palace of Art, and perceiving but little of the Beauty of Nature. We all have need to be trained to see, and to have our eyes opened before we can take in the joy that is meant for us in this beautiful life.

The Intellectual Life.—I cannot tell you more now of the delightful and illimitable sources of pleasure open to Intellect and his colleagues; but, if you realise at all what has been said, you will be surprised [p I:44] to know that many people live within narrow bounds, and rarely step into either of the great worlds we have been considering. The happiness of the intellectual life comes of knowing and thinking, imagining and perceiving; or rather, comes of the range of things which we know and think about, imagine and perceive. Everybody’s mind is occupied in these ways about something or other, but many people know and think about small matters. It is quite well to think of these for a little while, but they think about them always, and have no room for the great thoughts which great things bring to us.

Thus, a boy’s head may be so full of his stamp collection or of the next cricket match that there is no room in it for bigger things. The stamps and the cricket are all right, but it is not all right by any means to miss the opportunities of great interests that come to us and pass unnoticed, while we think only of these small matters. Not only so: boys and girls may be so full of marks and places, prizes and scholarships, that they never see that their studies are meant to unlock the door for them into this or that region of intellectual joy and interest. School and college over, their books are shut for ever. When they become men and women, they still live among narrow interests, with hardly an outlook upon the wide world, past or present. This is to be the slaves of knowledge and not its joyful masters. Let it be said of us as it was of a late Bishop of London, “His was the rare gift of mastering knowledge as his splendid servant, not being himself mastered by it as its weary slave.”

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Inertia will not let us begin.—Like the Body, the Mind, too, has his Dæmons. The two which beset Intellect are, first, a sort of sloth or inertia which makes us unwilling to begin to think of anything but the small matters of everyday life. If we will only begin, Intellect bestirs himself, strong and eager for his work:—

“Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;

What you can do, or dream you can, begin it;

Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!

Only engage, and then the mind grows heated;

Begin it, and the work will be completed.”

Marlowe’s Faust.

We are delighted, and time flies; yet the next time we come to the same fence, Intellect jibs and we have to spur him to the leap; then all goes well. It is well to bear this in mind, because if we give way Intellect will again pull up before a little difficulty.

Habit goes always over the same Ground.—The other Dæmon of Intellect is Habit. Now Habit, as you know, is, whether for body or mind, a good servant and a bad master. It is when he is allowed to play the bad master and override Intellect that he spoils and narrows life. Under Habit, Intellect [p I:46] cannot be said to be slothful; he goes briskly enough, but he goes over the same ground, day after day, year in, year out. The course may be a good one and it may be quite necessary to follow it. The mistake is to keep always on the same beaten track. It may be the mechanical round of lessons, without a thought of what it is all about. It may be housekeeping, business, hunting, shooting, dress—things well enough in their way; but to confine Intellect to them is like harnessing a race-horse to a coster’s barrow.

We may not stay in one Field of Thought.—Nor is it only the affairs and interests of daily life which deprive the Mind of its proper range of interests and occupations. It is possible for a person to go into any one of the great fields of thought we have considered, and to stay there with steady work and constant delight until he becomes incapable of finding his way into any other of these great fields. The greatest man of science of our age had this misfortune. He lost himself, so to speak, in Science, and in the end he could not read poetry, look at pictures, could not even think upon God, because he could not turn his mind out of the course he had exercised it in all his life. The people who lived when, perhaps, the greatest things were done, the greatest pictures painted, the greatest buildings raised, the greatest discoveries made, were very particular on this point. The same man was an architect and a painter, a sculptor and a poet, and a master of much knowledge besides; and all that he did, he did well; all that he knew was part of his daily thought and enjoyment.

Vasari, his biographer, says of Leonardo da Vinci, the great painter:—“Possessed of a divine and marvellous intellect, and being an excellent geometrician, [p I:47] he not only worked at sculpture, … but also prepared many architectural plans of buildings, and he was the first, though so young, to propose to utilise the Arno to make a canal from Pisa to Florence. He made designs for mills and other engines to go by water, and as painting was to be his profession, he studied drawing from life.”

A Magnanimous Mind.—It is a mistake, perhaps, to think that, to do one thing well, we must just do and think about that and nothing else all the time. It is our business to know all we can and to spend a part of our lives in increasing our knowledge of Nature and Art, of Literature and Man, of the Past and the Present. That is one way in which we become greater persons, and the more a person is, the better he will do whatever piece of special work falls to his share. Let us have, like Leonardo, a spirit ‘invariably royal and magnanimous.’

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Living Pictures.—My Lord Chief Explorer, Imagination, deserves a more complete introduction than the by-the-way mention he has had as a colleague of Intellect. He is an amazing personage, with power to produce, as we have seen, a procession of living pictures in every region open to Intellect. Great artists, whether they be poets or painters, builders or musicians, have the power of expressing and showing to the rest of us some part, anyway, of the wonderful visions Imagination has revealed to them. But the reason why we enjoy their pictures, their poems, or their tales, is because Imagination does the same sort of thing for all of us, if in a less degree. We all have pictures and poems made for us on the inner curtains of our minds. Little children try to express their visions in their games: they play at events, and often in a very odd way, because they know so little that they make a jumble of facts, call a cow a hyæna, and expect to meet a lion and a tiger in every bit of spinney.

The Cultivated Imagination.—The more we know, the more ordered and the more rich should Imagination become in us. Have you read Feats [p I:49] on the Fjord? Miss Martineau, who wrote the book, never visited Norway, but no one could describe the life on the fjords more vividly than she has done; that is because her Imagination was at home in distant lands, as no doubt it was also in past ages. Have you thought how Sir Walter Scott must have lived, in Imagination, in the different times and scenes he gives us in his books? No wonder people called him a ‘Wizard.’ In order to have a richly-stored picture-gallery of the Imagination we must read much, and, as the French say, figure to ourselves, as we go on, that which we read.

Imagination must not make Pictures of Self.—Imagination, minister as it should be to the joy and breadth of life, has, alas! its two besetting Dæmons—Self and Sin. There is no one who does not imagine. You are a Princess with golden hair and blue eyes and a long, long train to your silken robe, and the Prince comes, and after great feats of valour which make the world wonder, he kneels before you and asks you to be his bride:—

“Little Ellie in her smile

Chooses—‘I will have a lover,

Riding on a steed of steeds:

He shall love me without guile,

And to him I will discover

The swan’s nest among the reeds.’”

Or you are Prince Valorous himself, and you subdue the Paynim and conquer many lands, and the King places you at his right hand in war and at the feast. These are pretty dreams, and there is not much harm in them, except that, while one dreams, one forgets to do, and life is made up altogether of doing and not at all of dreaming. It is very nice to dream, [p I:50] when people have been finding fault with us, that we shall do wonderful and beautiful things—nurse the sick and build palaces for the poor and make gardens of delight for the mother or father who finds fault with us—and to think how everybody will admire us for all our beauty and goodness and cleverness, especially those people who have laughed at us; to think, too, how kind we shall be to them and what presents we shall make them, and how sorry they will be that they have not always been polite and kind!

I do not think it is lawful to set Imagination to build us pleasure-houses in this way. In the first place, as I said before, while we are dreaming we are letting all our chances of doing slip by us. In the next place, when we have dreamed ourselves into being some high and mighty personage, ever so good and great, we are very easily affronted; and Imagination leaves off his building tasks to throw stones at our friends. Imagination tells us that ‘Mother’ does not understand us, does not know half what great persons we are; that ‘Father’ is not kind, that Lucy or Edward is more noticed than we are, that lessons are hateful, that going for a walk is a bother, that seeing people is a nuisance, that any book but a story-book is dull; and, by degrees, other people find us just what we, in our imagination, have pictured them.

Our best friends have to own that we are dull and disagreeable, peevish and resentful; they say there is no pleasing us, they complain that there is no getting us to join in games or to take any interest in plans. They say we do not try to be pleasant with, or helpful to, anybody. The little ones say we are cross, and do not woo us to play with them, and the big ones think us grumpy [p I:51] and let us alone. It is very provoking, because we know that all the time we have beautiful thoughts about what we shall do for every one of them, and the least they can do is to be kind meantime!

How to Exorcise the Dæmon.—But the others are right, and we are wrong. Just ask yourself, who is the chief person in all the pretty pictures you make, in all the plans you form? If you have to confess that you, yourself, are, why, Imagination has just been making pleasure-houses for Self instead of collecting pictures of the great rich world. See about it, in the future, and set this glorious servant to work in his rightful calling. Then you will be a delight to your friends, because you will have much to tell, and will be interested about many things. You will not trouble them or yourself with that peevish, exacting, grudging Self, a tyrant in any home. In fact, you will find so much that is delightful to think about that you will hardly have a moment in which to think about yourself. Turn Self out the moment he intrudes upon any picture of the Imagination. A good plan is to take your Self by the shoulders, look him full in the face and laugh at him for a ridiculous fellow. This is what is called having ‘the saving grace of humour,’ and people who have it do not make themselves absurd by putting on airs and graces. It is nearly, though not quite, as good when your home people laugh at you and tease you. Learn from their laughing and bear their teasing with good humour.

Living Pictures of Sin.—The second Dæmon of Imagination is Sin. Have you ever heard people say, ‘There seems to be quite an epidemic of burglaries’ or ‘of murders’? They are quite right. [p I:52] There is an epidemic of these things. They are catching in a curious way. People read of a crime in the newspapers, they allow their Imagination to dwell upon all the details; the whole thing becomes a living picture which they cannot get rid of, and the end is that they attempt the same sort of crime themselves. That is why it is unwise for anyone to read newspaper accounts of those sorts of things, for even if you are not tempted to do the wickedness, the horrid picture of it remains, once you have allowed your Imagination to paint it for you.

Unclean Imaginings.—There is one kind of sins that we must be especially careful not to take impressions of; once we do so they will haunt us all our lives. These are sins of uncleanness. If people talk of such sins, do not listen; go away and do something. If you come across the mention of such sins in your reading—of the classics, of poetry, of history—learn, as it were, to shut the eyes of your Imagination, or your thoughts will become defiled. Never knowingly read anything or listen to anything which could suggest unclean imaginations. I once visited a young woman who was dying, a nice, good, married woman, and she told me this awful thing. She said her dying bed was made miserable and she could not say her prayers because horrible imaginations of uncleanness came to her. She said she never had thought of such things; but, I suppose, she must have allowed herself to think such thoughts at some time, perhaps many years before, and had forgotten it: but the evil spirit took this dreadful opportunity to remind her of them. Shun all such talk, all such readings, and all such imaginations, more than you would shun the plague.

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Living Pictures of Horrors.—It is not of the nature of sin, but it is very foolish to allow Imagination to make living pictures of horrors, dreadful accidents, falls down precipices, ghosts, and what not. Once make a picture, and there it is, and it may show itself at any moment to torment.

I hear someone whose nature inclines her to such terrors say, ‘But how can I help it?’ That is really a foolish question about any of the evils we may fall into. Of course we can help them, and to do so is the battle of life. In this particular case the help lies in hurrying away from the thought to think of something else.

If such terrors come at night, when you cannot do anything or read anything, you can always think of something else. The last story-book you have read, for instance,—go over the tale in your thoughts.

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The Dæmon of Exclusiveness.—The Beauty Sense adds so much to the joy of life that it is not easy to see what danger attends it. But, perhaps, Exclusiveness is the Dæmon that waits on a too keen sense of the joy of Beauty, whether in music, painting, one’s own surroundings, or even in natural scenery. Exclusiveness gets the ear of the Prime Minister and convinces him that the joys of Beauty are so full and satisfying that nothing else is necessary to complete the happiness of life. In vain does Intellect invite to new fields of research; in vain does good and necessary work present itself; in vain are duties clamorous. The person who is given up to the intoxication of Beauty conceives that Beauty and Goodness are one and the same thing, and that Duty is no more than seeking one’s own pleasure in the ways one best likes. People, too, become excluded.

We may not Choose our Lives.—Instead of accepting the relations, friends, and neighbours that God sends us in the course of our lives, the devotee of Beauty chooses for himself, and cares to know only those people whose views of life are the same as [p I:55] his own. So with regard to places, he cannot tolerate for a moment things which are unsightly and unlovely, so he does not go where working people and poor people have to live. In the end, he misses the happiness to which the Beauty Sense was meant to minister. For happiness comes of effort, service, wide interests, and, last and least, of enjoyment; and when people put enjoyment, even of beautiful things, in the first place (and indeed in place of all else), they miss the very thing they seek, and become enfeebled in body and fretful and discontented in temper.

A Paradise of Pleasure.—But we need not let fear of evil keep us out of that paradise of pleasure which the Beauty Sense is meant to open for us all. Of two things we must take heed. In the first place, we must not let any better-than-my-neighbour notions get into our heads; and in the next, we must make it our business, as much as in us lies, to bring Beauty to places where it is not. Bearing these two cautions in mind, the Dæmon of Exclusiveness need have no terror for us.

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Reason, an Advocate.—I have spoken of my Lord Chief Attorney-General, Reason, as a mere colleague of Intellect; but, indeed, he is a person of great importance in the government of Mansoul—so much so, that he not infrequently gets the entire government into his hands. Reason is a personage of admirable powers and of independent character. If you should ever hear a great lawyer advocating a cause in court, bringing forward one argument after another to prove his point, with masterly clearness, until he brings his hearers to what seems an inevitable conclusion (until the other side pleads), you will have some idea of how Reason behaves. Have you ever watched yourself think? It seems as if another person, a K.C. of your own, were bringing forward point after point until you cannot help coming to one conclusion. Do you remember Prospero in Shakespeare’s tale of The Tempest? You know how he neglected his duties as ruler, and how his brother, intending to take his life, was the means of his exile, with his child Miranda, on a desolate island.

How we Reason.—I suppose this is the sort of thing his Reason said to him: “The thinking part [p I:57] of man is the most important part of him. It is better to live with thinkers than with everyday people. The greatest thinkers are to be found in books, not in my court. Everyday people can manage the affairs of everyday people. My brother Antonio can govern for me quite as well as I could do it myself, but he cannot read for me and think for me, and give his time to the bettering of his mind for me. These things a man must do for himself. Then there is my child; I should like her also to grow up a thinker. To that end I must prepare myself further to teach her. It is quite evident, considering all these things, that I must give up affairs and devote myself to my books.”

Now, it is not that Prospero said all this to himself, but that his Reason said it to him and for him. Every argument is true, though it is not the whole truth; and Prospero’s Reason would not have taken this line with him, only that he was already a student and a lover of books, and Reason usually begins with a notion which is already in a person’s head.

Let us hear what Antonio’s Reason would say to him: “The way my brother, the Duke, neglects his affairs is shameful; the state is going to ruin; everybody does what he likes. He expects me to act for him, but people know I am not the Duke, so I have no power. If he were to die, the dukedom would be mine, and I should do my best to bring things into order again. How his neglected subjects would bless me! Even to tamper with his life would hardly be a crime, because the sufferings of one would be for the good of all. Things get worse and worse every day. It must be done. There is no one to act in this matter but myself. I will do it.” Antonio’s Reason no doubt hastened thus to supply him with [p I:58] arguments to support the ambitious notion he had already secretly entertained.

The Good Man’s Reason.—The good man’s Reason makes speed to supply him with incontrovertible arguments for the good deed his good heart would incline him to. Thus Howard, the philanthropist, no doubt was convinced by many reasons that the arduous task he set himself was a quite simple, straightforward course. He saw the inside of one prison by chance, and the thought of its horrors worked upon him. Reason would say:—“People do not know that such things take place; someone must tell them. Whoever discovers this shame to the world must first investigate thoroughly. It will not do to speak upon a knowledge of one or two prisons. When the evil is fully known and talked about, and brought before Parliament, no doubt it will be redressed, new laws will be made, and prisoners will be treated like human beings instead of being kept in the state of filth, misery, sickness, and vice in which I find them. Why should not I be the man? The idea has first come to me: that may be my call. I am very delicate, it is true, but a man cannot die better than in doing his duty. I am under a great sorrow, but that sets me free from home ties; and I have money enough for the costs. I will do it. I will give up my life to the task.”

Thus, doubtless, this good man’s Reason argued for him. But if divine compassion had not put this notion of pity into his heart, you will see how very easily Reason could have adopted an opposite line of argument and brought him to the conclusion that this was not an affair for a single man to undertake, but was a matter for the governments of countries.

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Reason’s Part in Good Works and Great Inventions.—Every great work of benevolence for the sick and the helpless, the sorrowful and the ignorant, is the outcome of a chain of arguments which some man’s Reason has furnished to him; and his Reason has taken this line because in each case a notion of pity has first come to the man. Every great work, every invention has been reasoned out. Have you ever seen in a museum the trunk of a tree hollowed out by burning, which early man has used for a canoe? It was an immense piece of reasoning, quite as intelligent as that by which Marconi arrived at his great discovery, that led the man, who had never seen a boat of any sort, to work out for himself this means of crossing the waters. You see, he had nothing to go upon: his was the first idea. Where and how he got it we shall consider presently; but his Reason worked the whole thing out for him.

What is Meant by Common Sense.—Most of the simple things we do every day, like cleaning our teeth and brushing our hair, behaving at table, and so on, were reasoned out in the first place—we do not in the least know by whom—and people no longer reason about them, but accept them by what is called Common Sense; that is to say, everybody, or nearly everybody, agrees that certain ways of doing certain things are the best ways. Every now and then a reformer appears who reasons out the old things afresh and comes to a different conclusion, perhaps a right one, perhaps a wrong one. For example, most people’s Common Sense decides that we should wear boots or shoes; but a reformer arises and proves by a long chain of arguments that it is [p I:60] better to wear sandals; another will say and prove that it is better to go with bare feet; then people have to think again and to use their Reason about things they believed were long ago settled.

Everything we use has been Thought out by Someone.—It is very interesting to look about one in a room or in a street and try to recover for ourselves the chain of reasoning of the man who first made a chair, or a key, or a barrow. Things become much more to us when we remind ourselves that somebody has thought each thing out; and this sort of thinking-out is very delightful. You know this yourself. You say, ‘Oh, I have thought of such a good plan; something uncle said put it into my head, and then the whole plan came out quite clear, one step after another.’ It may be a plan for a new game, or for building a ship, or for getting plenty of house-room for poor people in towns; but, whatever the notion is, it is joyful and exciting to be quite still and listen, as it were, while Reason does his work and turns out the whole scheme complete before your mind.

It is no wonder many people think that there is nothing greater, in heaven or earth, than human Reason—more surprising in its workings, more searching in its conclusions!

You recollect that revolutionary France deified Reason—set up temples where the Goddess of Reason was worshipped; and the French nation believed that no man was called to do anything but what his own Reason commanded, and that whatever a man’s Reason dictated, that he was bound to do. You remember, too, that things, fearful as a nightmare, were done under this reign of Reason, [p I:61] which is known in history as the Reign of Terror, though everything that was done was justified by the Reason of the men who did it. There is no longer an acknowledged reign of Reason, but many thoughtful and good people believe that there is no higher authority; that to act according to his own Reason is the best that can be expected of any man.

Good and Sensible Persons come to Opposite Conclusions.—It is quite true that good laws, benevolent enterprises, great inventions, are the outcome of Reason; but you will often be surprised when you hear good people talk and try to convince others of those things of which their own Reason has convinced them. On questions of war and peace and politics, of religion, of education, of public works, of clothing, of food, in fact, upon any and every point, you will find it possible that the Reason of equally good and equally intelligent people will bring them to quite opposite conclusions. That is the cause of all the controversy in the world. People think that they can convince each other by the arguments which their own Reason has accepted. So they could, if the other side were not already convinced by arguments exactly opposite; and upon which side a man is convinced, usually depends upon his own will:—

“He who complies against his will,

He’s of the same opinion still”;

because we must remember that Reason is each man’s own particular servant, and plays on his side, as it were, and convinces him of that which he is inclined to believe.

Reason is not Infallible.—You know it is said that the Pope is infallible—that is, that he cannot be mistaken, and that every decision he makes must be [p I:62] a right decision. This is what many people claim for Reason—that it is infallible. But you see at once that if two equally intelligent and equally good persons are intensely convinced by their Reason of two things exactly opposite to one another—as, for example, on the one side that a certain war is the duty of a nation, and, on the other, that this same war is a crime—Reason in both these good men cannot be infallible: one or the other, if not both, must be mistaken. Therefore, seeing that all men, who are not idiots or insane, are endowed with this same power of reasoning, we may conclude that Reason is not infallible, and that certain and fixed conclusions need not be right conclusions, but that all depends upon the notion from which the reasoning begins.

Anarchists.—We have all been saddened by the fact that there are certain men and women in the world who believe it to be their one duty to take the life of some royal person or ruler. These people are called anarchists. Though we all shrink with horror from their crimes, it is not difficult to see the chain of reasoning by which it comes about that they are doing that which is right in their own eyes, however wrong it may be in ours. The word anarchist means without rule; and the object of anarchists is to abolish national rule and government, whether of kingdom or republic. Why? you ask. Because, they say, every man is endowed with Reason; therefore, every man is able to rule himself; therefore, no man should have a ruler placed over him. You see, by this example, how an error of thought may lead to the most terror-striking crimes.

Reason in Mathematics.—Never are the operations of Reason more delightful and more perfect [p I:63] than in mathematics. Here men do not begin to reason with a notion which causes them to lean to this side or to that. By degrees, absolute truth unfolds itself. We are so made that truth, absolute and certain truth, is a perfect joy to us; and that is the joy that mathematics afford. Also, there is great joy in standing by, as it were, and watching our own thought work out an intricate problem. There is on record a case of a mathematician who had gone to bed perplexed by a problem, with pencil and paper beside him. He slept, as he believed, soundly all through the night; but, behold, beside him when he awoke, was the problem worked out in the clearest way. He must have done it in his sleep.

Reason must be used to Good Purpose.—There are few things that prove the amazing greatness and power of man so much as this gift of Reason; but, like all gifts, this, of Reason, is also a trust to be used to true purpose, but not to be followed as an infallible guide. We may reason about things worthy and about things unworthy. An ill-tempered person goes through a long train of reasoning to prove to himself that he has been injured and has a right to be cross; so does the burglar, to carry out his designs; so does a mischievous and spiteful boy, to play a practical joke. Reason is so absolutely the servant of each of us that we may use him to what ends we please, noble or ignoble, great or small. Remembering that we have a great gift, let us use it in thinking out great matters; and then, some day, the opportunity to think out some great service for the world will be put in our way. The chance of doing nearly always comes when we are ready for it.

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Reason works out a Notion received by the Will, and does not begin it.—“The kettle began it,” Dickens says in one of his Christmas tales. Now, the point to be borne in mind is, that Reason does not begin it. Reason goes on with it, and Reason brings it to an end, but Reason does not begin. The beginning, that which sets Reason in motion, is almost always a notion admitted by the Prime Minister, Will. Once admitted, Reason seizes on the notion and runs it through his mill, and it comes out at the end of his processes a finished product. This, you will see, shifts the responsibility of our conclusions from Reason, who works them out, all the way back to Will, who takes in the first notion.

If Will is persuaded to let in a notion because it is an old one, or because it is a new one; because a man he respects thinks so-and-so, or because a man he dislikes thinks the other thing; because it is for his interest to think thus and thus, or because it is for his pleasure, or because it shows him to be a clever fellow, in advance of the rest of the world, to have such a notion; if, for any of these causes or for a hundred others, good or bad, Will is induced to admit a notion, he may tell in advance what his Reason will prove to him: because the business of Reason is rather to prove for us that what we think is right, than to bring us to conclusions which are right in themselves.

You see, therefore, that Reason has no right to speak the last word on most subjects; because to speak the first word does not rest with him, and the last word follows the lead of the first. Your arrival at a right destination does not depend upon your choice of a good road, or upon your journeying at a good pace, but entirely upon your starting in the right direction.

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Why there are Different Schools of Philosophy.—Thinking of these things, and knowing that men cannot help trusting to Reason as one trusts to a skilful and learned advocate, you will not be surprised to know that philosophers, good and earnest men, have proved, conclusively to themselves, that there is no God. Others prove that there is nothing in man that you cannot see or investigate with instruments; in other words, they think that there is nothing but matter in the universe, and that there is no spirit either of God or man. This is less surprising, though perhaps not really so true as the conclusion which another school of philosophers has worked out; these have been able to prove to themselves that there are no chairs nor tables, no trees, no people; but that what we think we see is really the thought of these things conceived in our minds.

Practice in Reasoning.—Perhaps we shall best use this wonderful power of reasoning, commonly called our Reason, by giving it plenty of work to do, by asking ourselves what is the cause of this and that; why do people and animals do certain things. Reason which is not worked grows sluggish; and there are persons who never wonder nor ask themselves questions about anything they see.

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(Part I.)

Mind must be Fed.—We consider the Lords of the Exchequer, the Desires, after the Intellect, because their office is to do for Mind pretty much what the Appetites do for Body. It is as necessary that Mind should be fed, should grow and should produce, as that these things should happen to Body; and, just as Body would never take the trouble to feed itself if it never became hungry, so Mind would not take in what it needs, if it, also, had not certain Desires to satisfy. These gather the funds, as it were, for Mind, so we may amuse ourselves by calling them the Lords of the Exchequer.

The Desire of Approbation.—Have you ever watched a baby with his bricks? When he has managed to set one on end, he turns round to his mother for a smile. The little creature is not happy unless his mother or nurse approve of him. When he crawls up to the window, climbs up by the chair-leg, says ‘Mam-mam, dad-dad,’ he wants a smile for all these things, and if his nurse looks grave and says ‘Naughty!’ the little face will fall and tears gather. No one has taught Baby to care that his friends should be pleased with him; it is born in him and is just a part of him as a human being, a little Mansoul.

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This Desire of Approbation helps him later to conquer a sum, to climb a hill, to bring home a good report from school; and all the time he is bringing grist to the mill, knowledge to the mind, because the people whose Approbation is worth having care that we should learn and know, conquer our idleness and get habits of steady work, so that our minds may be duly nourished every day as are our bodies.

The Dæmon of Vanity.—This lawful and useful Desire of Approbation has his Dæmons; one of these is known as Vanity. We cannot live and be happy without Approbation, but some boys and girls, men and women, choose to have the approval of the worthless and silly rather than of the wise and good. Some boys would rather talk and show off in a way to make the stable-yard laugh, than work and play in a way to win the approval of their betters. People can be vain and can show off about almost anything—their rich relations, the parties they go to, their clothes, their pocket-knife, their cleverness. But when people show off, like a peacock spreading his tail, it is always in order that somebody whose good opinion is not worth having may think the better of them. Nice boys and girls, nice men and women, think well of us just for doing our best; we know that, and do not think of showing off before them. He is stupid who wants nobody’s approval; he is vain who wants the approval of the unworthy.

Fame and Infamy.—Another danger is that a person may allow the desire of approval so to get possession of him that he thinks of nothing else. All his actions, good or bad, come to be done to win notice from other people. He would rather you spoke ill of him than that you did not speak of him [p I:68] at all. It is believed that robberies, murders, assassinations, take place at times for the mere sake of infamy, just as deeds of heroism may take place for the sake of fame. Both infamy and fame mean being talked and thought about by a large number of people, and if anyone should allow his natural Desire of Approbation so to possess him that he is always wondering what people will think of him and say of him, he loses that which is far more precious than the respect of others—self-respect, which one can only have when the desires, motives, powers of Mansoul are duly balanced.

The Desire of Excelling.—Another Desire which serves to feed the mind is that of Excelling. If we are learning to skate, we have no peace till we skate as well as a boy we know who learned last winter; then we want to outdo him; then, to skate as well as another better skater; then, to outdo him; and so on, and when we go to bed at night we dream of the day when we shall skate better than anyone in the neighbourhood; nay, we think how glorious it would be to be the very best skater in the whole world. It would seem as if some animals, horses anyway, have this Desire. Do you not know how another horse, in advance, puts yours on his mettle? It is as good as a prick of the spur to quicken his pace. And that is just what this Desire of Excelling does for us; it spurs us on to effort when we are lazy. If another boy read, we choose to read more. If he work at his lessons, we work more; and so, one way or another, the Mind is sustained by the food it needs.

Prizes and Places.—Emulation, or the Desire to Excel, has, like the Desire of Approbation, two [p I:69] Dæmons. One is, that people get so much taken up with the Desire of being ahead of some others that they have no time to think of anything else; they do not care two pins about what they learn, it does not interest them; they only want the marks, or prize, the place in class, or what not; and so it happens that his Mind is sometimes so starved by the boy who comes out first that it never afterwards recovers its appetite. History, Literature, Science, cease to interest and cease to be pursued. The whole object of life in such an one is to get ahead of somebody else. In this way Emulation, which was given to us, we may believe, for the nourishment of our Minds and the development of our Bodies, defeats its own ends, and is satisfied only to excel.

Excelling in Things Unworthy.—We may go wrong if we are unduly emulous about things that are right and good in themselves; but also, Emulation, like many another subordinate, may grasp at the whole rule of Mansoul through things unlawful and unworthy. In the old days of hard drinking, the excellence that men desired was, to excel in their power of drinking large quantities of wine at a sitting; to be a ‘three-bottle man’ was a distinction.

Distinctions as little worthy as this are still sought by boys and girls, men and women. We should each do well to think the matter over and see whether we are giving up our lives to the Desire of Excelling in an unworthy pursuit.

The Desire of Wealth.—The Desire of Wealth is another Desire that everybody has, more or less, and that does useful work in making us eager to acquire things useful and necessary for our lives, whether for our Bodies or our Minds. This same Desire [p I:70] moves a small boy to collect pocket-knives, buttons, string and marbles, and moves one rich man to get together a precious collection of great pictures, and another to become a millionaire, though he may not care to spend his money.

Dæmon of Selfishness.—As before, two Dæmons wait upon this natural Desire; one is the Dæmon of Selfishness: once a boy or man allows himself to be so far possessed by the Desire of getting and keeping, whether it be postage stamps or pictures, ornaments or money, that he thinks of nothing else—that this, of getting and keeping, becomes the ruling Desire of his life—why, he simply cannot part with that which has become his treasure; he cannot be generous, and his mind is so preoccupied that he has no time to be kind. His heart is set upon possessions for himself, and he becomes a selfish person. When the Desire of wealth fills the whole of life it becomes Avarice. The person who is always grasping after more wealth is avaricious; and he may come to such a pass that he cannot part with any of his wealth, even for his own bodily needs; such a man is a miser. On the other hand, he who takes pains to acquire as a part of his life, and not the chief part, may get for himself the means of being generous and helpful to other people.

Worthless Wealth.—Another risk is, that one may set oneself to acquire things of no real worth. In a charming French story a noble pair are introduced who spend their lives in hasty journeys. Now they rush off to Palermo—now, to Moscow—again, to Tokio; and what do you suppose for? Because they hear that in this country or that there is a match-box to be found of a kind they have not already got in their collection—a match-box covered with blue paper, or [p I:71] with brown or yellow—a match-box three inches long or two and a quarter. They do not stop to ask what the distinction of the ugly little box may be, but it differs a little from the rest; so, at any cost of time and trouble, they hasten to possess it. The novelist is laughing at the craze people have for collections of any sort, worthy or unworthy; and this craze comes of the natural Desire of possessions implanted in Mansoul. But it rests with us that our possessions shall be worthy. Let us begin soon to collect a good library of books that we shall always value, of photographs of the works of the great masters; even of postage stamps, if we take the trouble to interest ourselves in the stamps—ask ourselves, for example, why the present German stamps bear the figure of Germania. No collection which has not an interest for the mind is worth possessing. Take this rule, and when you grow up you will not think that silver plate, for instance, is worth owning for its own sake, but for its antiquity, its associations, or for the beauty of its designs.

The Desire of Power.—Another Desire which stirs in all human breasts is the Desire of Power. All the children in the nursery have this Desire more or less, but the one who has the most of it rules the rest. They play his games, run his errands, let him lord it over them all day long. The people who love power most, get power; but if they are good-natured and kind, helpful and generous, clever and merry, they use their power to keep the rest happy, interested, and amused. Power is a good thing when it gives us many chances of serving; it is a bad thing when all we care about is to rule.

Ambition, the Desire for power, is not quite the [p I:72] same thing as Emulation, the Desire to excel. The emulous boy is content to be first; the ambitious boy wishes to lead the rest. I think the ambitious boy is of more use in the world than the emulous, because, if he wants to lead others, he must make himself worthy to take the lead. He must be best, whether he be captain of the school or of the cricket eleven. But let him remember that ‘pride comes before a fall.’ If he let himself be lifted up because he leads, let him beware! Others care to follow the lead of the dutiful and devoted, but not that of the proud and self-satisfied. The Desire for power, as each of the other Desires, may ruin a life that it is allowed to master. Once man or boy thinks of nothing but taking the lead, he will cease to care whether it be for worthy or unworthy objects. He will as soon head his fellows in riot and disorder as in noble effort in a good cause. Many lives have suffered shipwreck upon the rock of Ambition.

‘Managing’ People.—There is also a special danger attending the love of power—a danger to others rather than to ourselves. If we are bent upon taking the lead, we do not allow others fair play or a fair chance. We cheat our fellows out of a part of their lives, out of that fair share of power which belongs to them. We grow strong at their expense, and they wax feeble in proportion as we wax great. Few characters are more ignoble than those who are always trying to manage others, always manœuvring to get power into their own hands. The best way of watching against this evil is to wait always until we have ‘greatness thrust upon us.’ Let us not take the lead, but wait until it is given to us, and then let us lead for the advancement and help of others rather than for our own.

[p I:73]



(Part II.)

The Desire of Society.—Another Desire common to all people is the Desire to be together. We all want company, neighbours, friends, acquaintances. Little children love to play with other little children in the street; you see half a dozen little creatures of two years old or so toddling about together, talking their baby talk, and taking much pleasure in one another. The great joy of going to school is to be with other boys and girls of about the same age and standing. Young men have their clubs, men and women have parties; men of little or no education will hang about together, if they seldom speak, and people of certain savage nations will sit in silent circles by the hour. The same reason is at work in them all; all have the Desire of Society. We want to see each other’s faces, to hear each other’s voices, to give pleasure to, and receive pleasure from, each other.

We learn from Society.—In this way we learn, for most people have things to say that it is good to hear; and we should have something to produce from our own stores that will interest others—something [p I:74] we have seen or heard, read or thought. When our late beloved Queen was a young girl, many interesting people were introduced to her that she might talk with them—great travellers, men of science, inventors, soldiers, sailors. She had already read and thought about the subject each was interested in, so she was able to converse with them with pleasure and profit both to herself and to them. If you know something of botany, a botanist will care to talk to you about his subject; something of history, a historian will do the same. If you know nothing of his subject, you may be in company with the greatest poet or adventurer or painter, and be able to talk only about the weather. This is well understood among royal and other great people, who, it is said, get most of their knowledge at first hand. They learn about recent discoveries in astronomy from the astronomer who is engaged upon them, about evolution from such an one as Darwin, and so on. We are sometimes inclined to envy the great their opportunities for first-hand information; but let us remember that to profit by the talk of even the most able persons implies a twofold preparation which princes and their like acquire at a cost of diligent labour that would surprise most young people. They bring two things as their share of the talk—cultivated and intelligent minds, and a pretty thorough knowledge of a great range of subjects. With the same equipment we, too, should make the most of our opportunities of talk, and it seems to me that people always get what they are really ready for. I am not sure that this is a rule of God’s providence, but, so far as I can find out, it holds good. Anyway, it is worth while to be ready for the best in conversation as in other things, and then this natural [p I:75] Desire will do its devoir in collecting sustenance for the mind.

But it is not only from the best and ablest we may learn. I have seen ill-bred people in a room, and even at table, who had nothing to say because they did not think their neighbour worth talking to, whereas, if they could only get speech with So-and-so, whom they watch from a distance, how their words would flow! This is not only unmannerly and unkind, but is foolish, and a source of loss to themselves. Perhaps there is no one who has not some bit of knowledge or experience, or who has not had some thought, all his own. A good story is told of Sir Walter Scott, how he was travelling from London to Edinburgh by the stage-coach, and sharing the box-seat with him was a man who would not talk. He tried the weather, crops, politics, books, every subject he could think of—and we may be sure they were many. At last, in despair, he turned round with, “Well, what can you talk about, sir?” “Bent leather,” said the man; and, added Sir Walter, “we had one of the most interesting conversations I remember.” Everybody has his ‘bent leather’ to talk about, if we have the gift to get at it.

Dangers attending the Love of Society.—Two dangers attend the love of society: one belongs especially, as I said before, to the vain person who will, at all costs, be flattered, and therefore chooses his friends among those who are inferior to himself and who will make believe to look up to him and make much of him.

The other danger attending the love of society is that which belongs to each of our natural desires. It is that this craving should take possession of our whole [p I:76] lives, and get the mastery over Mansoul. ‘There is no harm in it,’ says the woman at the cottage door, gossiping with her neighbour; so says the girl, who chances on her friends in the morning, plays tennis in the afternoon, and goes out in the evening—is, in fact, all day chattering here and there, with nothing to show for it. There are those who are so busy running hither and thither, seeing and being seen, talking and being talked to, that they are the veriest beggars as regards their own thoughts and resources. This is a sort of shipwreck of life which people do not lament over as they do when a man drinks or falls into some other flagrant vice; but the shipwreck is perhaps just as complete, though not so unpleasant to the person’s friends.

Society, a Banquet at which all Provide.—Society, if it be only a chat between two or three acquaintances, is a banquet to which each of the company must bring something. Young people often find this trying, because they feel they have nothing to say unless to one or two people with whom they are intimate. Let them take comfort; intelligent listening is a very good viand for this table, and, what is more, a viand to everybody’s taste. There are more people who can talk than who can listen. I daresay you have been amused in watching groups of talkers to notice that everyone is talking at once and nobody listening. To listen with all one’s mind is an act of delicate courtesy which draws their best out of even dull people.

People of little culture can talk only to their own set or to their own particular ‘chums.’ ‘Horsey’ men have nothing to say except to ‘horsey’ men; ‘doggy’ boys except to ‘doggy’ boys; school-boys [p I:77] to school-boys; school-girls to school-girls; soldiers to soldiers, and sailors to sailors. This is natural enough, for, says the proverb, ‘birds of a feather flock together’; but it is not wise, for it is choosing to live in our own particular paddock instead of taking our share in the interests of the great world.

The Desire of Knowledge.—I have left till last the Desire which truly is to the Mind as Hunger is to the Body, that is, the Desire of Knowledge. Everybody wants to know, but some people wish to know things worthy, and others, things unworthy. The Desire of unworthy knowledge is commonly called Curiosity. ‘Where did you buy it?’ ‘How much did it cost?’ ‘What did she say?’ ‘Who was there?’ ‘Why are they not on good terms?’ and so on, are the sort of questions that Curiosity asks. It seems harmless enough to satisfy oneself with scraps of news about this notable person and the other, a murderer or a millionaire, a statesman or a soldier, a great lady or a dancing-girl—Curiosity is agape for news about any or all of them. Curiosity is eager, too, to know and to tell the latest news about wireless telegraphy, motor cars, and what not. The real, and not spurious, Desire for knowledge would lead a person from the marvels of wireless telegraphy to some serious study of electricity; but Curiosity is satisfied to know something about a matter, and not really to know it.

Curiosity and the Desire of Knowledge.—Just as sweets and tarts satisfy Hunger, while they do very little to sustain life, so Curiosity satisfies the mind with the tit-bits it gathers, and the person who allows himself to be curious has no Desire for real knowledge. This is a pitiable misfortune, because [p I:78] every human being has a natural Desire to explore those realms open to intellect of which I have already spoken. Upon the knowledge of these great matters—History, Literature, Nature, Science, Art—the Mind feeds and grows. It assimilates such knowledge as the body assimilates food, and the person becomes what is called magnanimous, that is, a person of great mind, wide interests, incapable of occupying himself much about petty, personal matters. What a pity to lose sight of such a possibility for the sake of miserable scraps of information about persons and things that have little connection with one another and little connection with ourselves!

Emulation and the Love of Knowledge.—The love of Knowledge, the noblest of our Desires, is in danger of being pushed out and deprived of its due share in the ordering of Mansoul if any one of the other Desires I have named gets the upper hand. This is especially the case when Emulation takes the place of the love of Knowledge. People employ themselves about Knowledge, about Mathematics, Poetry, History, in a feverish, eager way, not at all for the love of these things, but for the sake of prize or place, some reward bestowed on Emulation. But Knowledge has her own prizes, and these she reserves for her lovers. It is only in so far as Knowledge is dear to us and delights us for herself that she yields us lifelong joy and contentment. He who delights in her, not for the sake of showing off, and not for the sake of excelling others, but just because she is so worthy to be loved, cannot be unhappy. He says, ‘My mind to me a kingdom is’—and, however unsatisfactory things are in his outer life, he retires into that kingdom and is entertained and delighted by the [p I:79] curious, beautiful, and wonderful things he has stored within.

‘Marks’ and Knowledge.—Many boys and girls take pleasure in going to school, not for the sake of what they learn there, but for the sake of the marks which give them places above certain of their classmates. They should understand that marks and places and the power to pass examinations is all they get. As Mr Ruskin has said, “They cram to pass, and not to know; they do pass; and they don’t know.” Knowledge, as an abiding joy, comes only to those who love her for her own sake, and not to those who use her to get on in school or in life.

All Persons have Powers of Mind.—There is much more to be said about the House of Mind, but perhaps this is enough to go on with for the present. Probably you are aware, in hearing of Intellect, Imagination, the Beauty Sense, the Desires, and the rest, of a feeling of wondering interest and surprise to recognise that all these things are a part of you, your very self. Still more interesting and surprising it is to know that these amazing powers and possibilities belong, more or less, to every little urchin we meet in the street. I say, more or less, because the greater the powers and qualities of mind possessed by our parents, grandparents, and far-removed ancestors, the greater will our own probably, but by no means certainly, be. But, excepting in the sad case of idiots, there never was a child born into the world, of civilised or of savage parents, who did not come gifted with all these great possibilities in some degree. What a reason have we here for doing whatever in us lies towards giving every person in the world the chance of being [p I:80] all that he came into the world provided and intended to be!

The Ordering of our Thoughts.—We need not carry this little bit of knowledge about ourselves like a pack on our back. Once one knows a thing, it comes to mind when it is wanted, and is not a burden to think of all the time. You are not always thinking, ‘If I put my finger in the fire, it will be burnt,’ but you know that is the case, and so do not do a foolish thing. In the same way, if you know the effect of caring for marks only, you endeavour to throw your mind and interest into your work for its own sake; so, far from being a burden, this knowledge will at once make work become delight. A king’s palace is no more trouble to him than a labourer’s cottage, to him, though the king knows of all the treasures his palace contains, and how they are to be safeguarded, used, and enjoyed; but the needful arrangements are made, and all goes on without further thought on his part. So with us in this matter of ordering our thoughts, for that is all it comes to. To know that we must order our thoughts; that we can do so; and how and when to interfere with the career of these same thoughts, is not the whole, but, I believe, it is half, the battle.

[p I:81]






The Lords of the House.—As Mansoul comes into the world with Rulers in his House of Mind, which are also powers of delight, so does he come with Rulers in his House of Heart, whose office is to bring him happiness; and, as no one was ever happy by himself, to cause him to bring happiness to others. The two great Lords and high officials of the House of Heart are Love and Justice.

Love.—Love, like a king, has his Lords in Waiting—Pity, Benevolence, Sympathy, Kindness, Generosity, Gratitude, Courage, Loyalty, Humility, Gladness. Have you ever thrown a stone into the water and watched the circles about it spread? As a matter of fact, they spread to the very shores of the pond or lake or sea into which you have thrown the stone; more, they affect the land on the further side. But those distant circles become so faint that they are imperceptible, while those nearest the point where you have thrown in the stone are clearly marked. So it is with our Love. It is as if, in the first place, [p I:82] our home were the stone thrown in to move our being; and from that central point the circle of our love widens until it embraces all men. No one, excepting our Lord Jesus Christ, ever knew how much he could love, or how much he could do for Love’s sake; but the soldier who goes into the thick of the fight to rescue his comrade, at the risk of his own life; the mother who watches her sick child, and would give her life many times over to save it from suffering; the nurse who spends herself, body and soul, in ministering to the sick,—these know just a little of how much love there is in the human heart.

Counterfeit Loves—Self-Love.—There are many counterfeit loves going about ready to take possession of the House of our Heart and to expel the lawful lord. We know what it is to be exacting, selfish, jealous, with those dearest to us, even with our own mothers, and we call it love. So it is; but it is Self-love, the poorest and lowest form of Love; but a Love which is lawful and necessary, or we should not take care of our own lives, property, or interests at all. We cannot do without Self-love, or we should become a burden and trouble to other people; but the person who loves himself only, looks only, or chiefly, after his own interests, pleasures and profits, is branded by the world as a selfish person. His mind is so full of his own feelings and affairs that he has little time to think about those of other persons. He gives little love, and he deserves to get as little; but the sad thing is, that perhaps he has a mother or sister, a wife or a friend, who pours great love out upon him and suffers at his hands. It is a comfort that the one who loves, in such a case, and not he who takes the [p I:83] love and makes no return, is really the happier; for it is they who love, rather than they who are beloved, who live every day in the kingdom of God. There is a kind of selfishness not so easily found out as that of the person who is always looking after his own interests and pleasures, that is, the selfishness of the person who is continually making claims on those who love him. He wants their time, their thoughts, all their attention, their company; and is irritable, offended, jealous, if he does not get the attention and affection he demands. He thinks it is because he loves this or that friend so dearly, but it is, in truth, because he loves himself that neither mother nor friend can give him all the love and consideration he seems to himself to deserve.

Philandering.—There is another counterfeit of Love whose satisfaction lies in kissing, caressing, touching, being always with the person beloved at the moment. I say, at the moment, because, though these expressions may belong, in their right measure and at their right time, to true Love, they do not in themselves constitute Love or necessarily belong to it, and some people go through life philandering, now with one person, now with another, in the indulgence of this spurious, rather animal affection, which is not sustained by any of the signs of true Love.

Love is a pearl of price which every heart holds; but, as many people pass counterfeits upon themselves and upon their friends, it is well that we should know how to recognise the jewel when we see it, and above all when we feel, or think we feel it.

Love delights in the Goodness of Another.—Love delights in the person who is beloved. Now it is natural to us to delight in that which is good; the [p I:84] hearts of the most savage and degraded have many times been conquered in this way. They have seen lives of goodness, unselfishness, and beauty lived before them from day to day; they have watched such lives with delight because ‘’tis their nature to,’ and at last they have given their heart’s love and reverence to the person whose goodness has been their joy. It is not merely that that person has been good to them; perhaps they have never had a word or look all to themselves, but they have watched, pondered, and loved. Some day, perhaps, we shall know the history of the soldier heroes, the missionary heroes, the saints, who have done good just because they were good. Now, we know only a few here and there,—St Francis of Assisi, Elizabeth Fry, General Gordon; but, whenever we learn that people have been raised out of degradation, in countries savage or civilised, we may be sure that it is because someone has lived a blessed life before their eyes. Therefore, I say that Love delights before all things in the goodness of the person beloved, and would not, for any price, make his friend less loving to all, less dutiful, less serviceable. To influence his friend towards unworthy ways would seem to Love like burning his own house about his head.

Seeks the Happiness of his Friend.—Again, Love seeks the happiness of the beloved, and shrinks from causing uneasiness to his friend by fretful or sullen tempers, jealousy or mistrust.

Seeks to be Worthy.—Love seeks to be worthy of his friend; and as the goodness of his friend is his delight, so he will himself grow in goodness for the pleasure of his friend.

Desires to Serve.—Once more, Love desires to [p I:85] give and serve; the gifts and the service vary with the age and standing of the friends; the child will bring the gift of obedience, the parent may have to offer the service of rebuke, but the thought of service is always present to Love. “Love not in word, neither in tongue,” says the Apostle, “but in deed and in truth”; that is, perhaps, “Do not rest content with the mere expression of love, whether in word or caress, but show your love in service and in confidence”; for the love that does not trust is either misplaced or unworthy. Love has other signs, no doubt, but these are true of all true love, whether between parent and child, friend and friend, married lovers, or between those who labour for the degraded and distressed and those for whom they labour. Let us notice the word degradation: it is literally to step from, to step down, and it is really a word of hope, for if it is possible to step down, it is also possible to step up again. All the great possibilities of Love are in every human heart, and to touch the spring, one must give Love.

Aversion.—But in every Mansoul, our own and all others, there are the opposed possibilities, what we have called the dæmons of the qualities. We are all capable of warmth, liking, friendliness, love; and we are all capable of coldness, dislike, aversion, hatred. Punch’s old joke, “’E’s a stranger; let’s ’eave ’arf a brick at ’im,” gives us the key to a great deal of our coldness and aversion. It is commonly because we do not know people that we dislike them; and the way to get over such dislike is to think about the person disliked, to try to realise him from his own point of view; thus we shall find much in him that awakens friendly feelings. Hatred is an unusual feeling, and [p I:86] generally arises from the resentment of injuries. Let us remember that the one petition in the Lord’s Prayer to which a condition is attached is, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.” We have it not in us in our own strength to forgive. It is only in the Love and the presence of God that we can forgive injuries, and when we forgive, we love.

That we may understand the particular manifestations of Love, we will consider the blessed presences whom we have called his Lords in Waiting.

[p I:87]



Knights and Ladies of Pity.—Have you seen a baby stroke the face of his nurse to cure her pain, or fondle his kitten and say ‘Poor!’ after treading on its tail? That is because there is a little well of Pity in every baby’s heart. To be sure, baby will pull the kitten’s tail to see what will happen, but that is only because he wants to know. Convince him of hurt, and he is sad and says ‘Poor!’ A little girl will come home and cry by herself about a strange dog she has seen beaten; Pity wells up into her eyes, and tears. I know a little girl who never could stand the story of Joseph in the pit. Little boys are sometimes too dignified to cry, but they will run away from a ‘sorry’ story or a ‘sorry’ sight because they know what would happen if they stayed. When people are older, they have too much self-control to cry; but, when they see suffering, sorrow and pain, they too have a pain in their hearts, the pain of Pity. The work of Pity in our hearts seems to be to stir us up to help those who suffer. Many tender hearts have been and are so consumed with Pity that they give up their whole lives to the comfort and help of sufferers. You know the story of that Knight of Pity, [p I:88] Father Damien, who gave up all that was pleasant in this life that he might take the comfort of God to the poor souls on that leper-island in the Pacific; or, of that Mr Peck, ‘the loneliest man in His Majesty’s dominions,’ who left his family that he might witness of the warm love of God to the Arctic dwellers of Greenland. Indeed, if one thinks long and much about any sufferers, until their distress becomes real to us, we have a sick pain at our hearts until we can give them help. It is because they have in this way taken thought of suffering that the noble army of martyrs, thousands and thousands of them all over the world, give up everything in life that they may serve the suffering. Sometimes such a Knight or Lady of Pity will work and watch day and night for one sufferer, and sometimes many will share the pitiful heart. Sometimes strangers, and sometimes one’s own father or mother, sister or child, will require and will get the service of a lifetime. Many, very many, suffer in this happy yet sorrowful world; but, thank God, many also pity.

Idle Pity.—I have said that help is the office of Pity; but there are people who like to enjoy the luxury of Pity without taking the real pain and trouble of helping. They say, ‘How sad!’ and will even shed tears over a sorrowful tale, but will not exert themselves to do anything to help the sufferer. Indeed, on the whole, they would rather pity imaginary people who need no help, and it gives them pleasure to cry over a sad tale in a book or play. The tears of such people, who are rather pleased with themselves because they think they have ‘feeling hearts’ are like the water of certain springs in the limestone which have the property of coating soft substances [p I:89] with stone. Every movement of pity which does not lead to an effort to help goes to form a heart of stone. There are none so difficult to move to help as those who allow themselves the luxury of idle pity.

Self-Pity.—There is another class of persons in whom Pity is strong and ever-active; but all their pity is given to one object, and neither sorrow, pain, nor any other distress outside of that object has power to move them. These are the people who pity themselves. Any cause of pity is sufficient and all-absorbing. They are sorry for themselves because they have a headache, because they have a toothache, or because they have not golden hair; because they are lovely and unnoticed, or because they are lanky and unlovely; because they have to get up early, or because breakfast is not to their mind; because brother or sister has some pleasure which they have not, or because someone whose notice they crave does not speak to them, or, speaking, says, ‘Make haste,’ or ‘Sit straight,’ or some other form of ‘Bo to a goose!’ Such things are not to be borne, and the self-pitiful creature goes about all day with sullen countenance. As he or she grows older you hear of many injuries from friends, much neglect, much want of love, and, above all, want of comprehension, because the person who pities himself is never ‘understood’ by others. Even if he is a tolerably strong person he may become a hypochondriac, with a pain here, and a sensation there, which he will detail to his doctor by the hour. The doctor is sorry for his unhappy patient, and knows that he suffers from a worse malady than he himself imagines; but he has no drugs for Self-pity, though he may give bottles of coloured water and bread pills to humour his patient. You are inclined to laugh at [p I:90] what seems to be a morbid, that is, diseased, state of mind; but, indeed, the Dæmon of Pity, Self-pity, is an insidious foe. Many people, apparently strong and good, have been induced by him to give up their whole lives to brooding over some real or fancied injury. No tenant of the heart has alienated more friends or done more to banish the joys of life.

Our Defences.—Our defence is twofold. In the first place, we must never let our minds dwell upon any pain or bodily infirmity; we may be sick and pained in our bodies, but it rests with ourselves to be well and joyous in our minds; and, indeed, many great sufferers are the very hearth of their homes, so cheerful and comforting are they. Still more careful must we be never to go over in our minds for an instant any chance, hasty, or even intended word or look that might offend us. A spot no bigger than a halfpenny may blot out the sun of our friends’ love and kindness, of the whole happiness of life, and shut us up in a cold and gloomy cell of shivering discontent. Never let us reflect upon small annoyances, and we shall be able to bear great ones sweetly. Never let us think over our small pains, and our great pains will be easily endurable.

The other and surer way of guarding ourselves from this evil possession is to think about others. Be quick to discern their pains and sufferings, and be ready to bring help. We cannot be absorbed in thinking of two things at the same time and if our minds are occupied with others, far and near, at home and abroad, we shall have neither time nor inclination to be sorry for ourselves.

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“Reform the World, or bear with it.”—It is usual to speak as if Benevolence meant nothing more than the giving of money or other help to persons in distress; but it is possible to give a great deal of such help without being benevolent, and to be benevolent without giving much material help. To be benevolent is to have goodwill towards all men. The wise emperor, Marcus Aurelius, described the lowest form of Benevolence when he said, “Men are born to be serviceable to one another; therefore either reform the world, or bear with it!” The very least we can do for the world is to bear with it; the world, in this case, being the people in it who are, for any reason, disagreeable to us. But Benevolence makes us able, not only to bear with the people who annoy us and irritate us, but to give them sincere and hearty liking. Perhaps there is nobody whom we should not be able to love if we really knew him, because all persons are born with the beautiful qualities of mind and heart we have spoken of, in a greater or less degree; and though the beauty of a person’s nature may be like a gem buried under a dust-heap, it is always possible to remove the dust and recover the gem. A debased criminal has, possibly, a wife who loves him—not [p I:92] because she loves his baseness, but because she sees the possibilities of beauty in him.

His Faults are not the Whole of a Person.—The benevolent perceive that obvious and unpleasant faults are no more compared with the whole human being than his spots are compared with the sun; so they have no difficulty in bearing with faults, or, what is better, trying to correct them; and at the same time giving just the same hearty liking or love to the person as if those faults were not present. This is the sort of Benevolence that parents show to their children, that brothers and sisters show to one another, that is due from friend to friend, from neighbour to neighbour, and, in a gradually widening circle, to all the people we come in contact with, or whose works and ways are brought before us. Benevolence does not use strong language about the joiner when he comes across a door that will not shut or a window that will not open. He knows that the joiner is at bottom a fine fellow, who has probably not been put in the way of making the best of himself, and so is content with slipshod work. Therefore the gaping door and immovable window stir Benevolence up to bring better thoughts before people generally, so that other joiners may turn out better work.

The Affairs of Goodwill.—You will observe that Benevolence is by no means a lazy Lord of the Bosom. He can put up with things done amiss, and with manners that displease him, but he cannot possibly let the people alone who behave amiss. He likes them too well to endure that they should spoil themselves by this or the other failing. He cannot endure either that people should grow up in ignorance, or that there should be sickness or suffering or friendlessness in [p I:93] the world; therefore his hands and heart are always busy with some labour of help.

Benevolence thus has many functions, but wherever his countenance turns he presents the same aspect. Benevolence is always gracious, simple, pleasant and accessible, because he so heartily likes all men and women, boys and girls. He is indefatigable too, because, with so many friends who have so many needs, there is much for him to do; but all that he does gives him pleasure, so it is easy for him to smile as he goes.

The Foes of Goodwill.—What a blessed world we should have if the spring of Benevolence had free play in every human heart! But a whole troop of dæmons obstruct every movement of this beneficent Lord. There is Fastidiousness, which finds offence in all ways which are not exactly our own ways. There is Exigeance, on the watch to resent slight or trespass, however small or unintentional. Censoriousness is at hand to blame without thought of improving. Selfishness is ready to occupy the whole field of the heart, so that no corner of space is left for all those concerns of other people with which Benevolence is engaged. Slothfulness is there to simulate Goodwill with that easy Good-nature which takes matters pleasantly so long as it is not required to take trouble about anything. Tolerance is that form of Good-nature which is as easy with regard to other people’s opinions as Good-nature is with regard to their actions. To tolerate, or bear with, the principles and opinions which rule the lives of others is the part of Indifference and not of Good-will. Candour, fair-mindedness to other people’s thoughts, is what Benevolence offers.

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The Peace of Goodwill.—Benevolence has so many functions that we can only notice a few of them; but it is well we should know that it means at least an active and general Goodwill. When we realise this, the angelic message—“Peace on earth and Goodwill towards men of Goodwill”—will carry some meaning for us.

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Sympathy with One, a Key to All.—Sympathy is a Lord of the Bosom who is rather unfairly treated. He is made to adopt a sentimental character and go about the world wiping tears and soothing distresses; and this is supposed to be the whole of his work. But Sympathy is comprehension; and he reaps harvests of joy for himself, though occasionally he must sorrow. For to understand one human being so completely that you feel his feelings and think his thoughts is really like gaining possession of a new world; it is gaining the power of living in another’s life. It is as if the heart got room to expand, and one began to understand the large life of the angels of God. Occasionally we have an almost perfect sympathy with one person, and we allow it to become exclusive; we know that one to the exclusion of all others; but that is turning to selfish uses a gift meant for the general good. Each trait we know in one person should be to us as a key wherewith to open the natures of others. If we find that it is possible to wound one person with a word, beat one person with a look, let that knowledge make us tender and delicate in our dealings with all people; for how do we know [p I:96] how much power we have to hurt? If we know one person who grows pale at a lofty thought, whose tears come at the telling of a heroic action, let us learn, from that, that these are the thoughts and actions which have power to move us all; therefore, we must give freely of our best, without the supercilious notion that So-and-so would not understand. If music, poetry, art, give us joy, let us not hesitate to present these joys to others; for, indeed, those others are all made in all points like as we are, though with a different experience. The orator whose Sympathy is awake appeals to the generosity, delicacy, courage, loyalty of a mixed mob of people; and he never appeals in vain. His Sympathy, his comprehension, has discerned all these riches of the heart in the unpromising crowd before him; and, like Ariel released from his tree prison, a beautiful human being leaps out of many a human prison at the touch of this key.

A Lever to Raise.—Sympathy is an eye to discern, a lever to raise, an arm to sustain. The service to the world that has been done by the great thinkers—the poets and the artists—and by the great doers—the heroes—is, that they have put out feelers, as it were, for our Sympathy. A picture or poem, or the story of a noble deed, ‘finds’ us, we say. We, too, think that thought or live in that action, and, immediately, we are elevated and sustained. This is the sympathy we owe to our fellows, near and far off. If we have anything good to give, let us give it, knowing with certainty that they will respond. If we fail to give this Sympathy, if we regard the people about us as thinking small, unworthy thoughts, doing mean, unworthy actions, and incapable of better things, we reap our reward. We are really, though we are not [p I:97] aware of it, giving Sympathy to all that is base in others, and thus strengthening and increasing their baseness: at the same time we are shutting ourselves into habits of hard and narrow thinking and living.

Virtue goes out of us.—This greater office of Sympathy, this power to see, to elevate and to sustain, must not be lost sight of when it is the sorrow, anxiety, or suffering of another which calls it forth. We must see the calamity as the sufferer sees it, feel it as he feels it, if in less degree; we must suffer, also, or we have nothing to give. It was said of our Lord that ‘virtue went out of Him’ when He healed; and it is only as virtue—that is, our manhood, our strength, our life—goes out of us, that we have power to help and heal.

A Spurious Sympathy.—There is a spurious sympathy which is very popular with those who give and those who take; indeed, it is a bid for popularity. The sympathiser sees, but does not see deep enough. He sees that the egotism of the sufferer may be comforted in much the same way as an unwise nurse will comfort a child who has knocked his head against the table. ‘Naughty table!’ says nurse, and whips the table. Just so does the would-be sympathiser reproach the cause of suffering and enfeeble the sufferer by weak pity, leading him to pity himself. Self-pity is perhaps the last misfortune that can fall upon any man; and it is a degradation of sympathy when it goes to make the sufferer aware of himself, and not to raise him out of himself. The hardness which attempts to brace him without sharing his suffering is hardly worse than this spurious sympathy; and it does less harm, because the false ring of it is more easily discerned.

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Tact.—‘Tact’ is almost another form of the word sympathy; both words employ the sense of touch to figure our perception of one another. Tact perceives where a word will grate, where a gesture would irritate, where words of sympathy are obtrusive, where a smile and a kindly look are better than a spoken word. Tact is commonly the result of good breeding; but the truest tact is an expression of sympathy which perceives what is going on in another mind. Perhaps, to Tact belong the lesser things of Sympathy, the active interest of co-operation in the pursuits and hobbies of the people we live with, the passive interest of a ready ear. An attentive and deferential listener performs some of the highest offices of Sympathy; he raises and sustains the person to whom he listens, increases the self-respect of him who has done something, or seen something, or suffered something, which he wishes to tell. This is true service, because we all, ‘even the youngest,’ think too little of ourselves; and for that reason have not the courage of that which is possible to us.

Dæmons attending this Lord of Virtue.—We cannot detail all the offices of Sympathy, but must consider a few of the Dæmons attending this Lord of Virtue. Chief of these, and entirely fatal, is the self-occupation born of egotism. He whose eye is fixed upon himself, his rights and his needs, his desires and his requirements, his powers or his weaknesses, his successes or his failures, his worth or his unworthiness, has no more room for sympathy within him than a full goblet has for wine. The passive manifestation of egotism is Indifference; among its active forms are credulous and solicitous Vanity, Dislike, Antipathy.

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“That best portion of a good man’s life,

His little, nameless, unremembered acts

Of kindness and of love.”


It is interesting that a great poet should place little forgotten acts of kindness first in order of merit in the acts of a good man’s life. Kindness, also, is a born Lord of the Bosom: I have known a little person, not old enough to talk, draw forward a chair and pat it for the visitor to sit down; the untutored savage has impulses of kindness.

Kindness makes Life Pleasant for Others.—The law of Kindness is universal. One would think at first sight that Pity, Benevolence, Sympathy, should cover the whole field; and that, with these present, the office of Kindness is but a sinecure in the House of Heart. But there is a curious principle in human nature, best described perhaps as vis inertiæ, which makes even the benevolent, pitiful, and sympathetic person slow to do the little everyday things about which Kindness concerns himself. The office of Kindness is simply to make everyday life pleasant and comfortable to others, whether the others be our pets which we feed and attend to, our dog which we [p I:100] play with and take for a scamper, our horse which we not only feed and care for, but cheer and encourage with friendly hand and friendly word, or our family and neighbours, rich and poor, who offer a large field for our Kindness. The kind person is described by various epithets: he is called courteous or thoughtful, obliging or considerate, according as he shows his kindness by refraining or speaking, by his manner, his regard, his words, his acts.

The Kindness of Courtesy.—We English people are rather ready to think that it does not much matter how we behave, so long as our hearts are all right; and some of us miss our chance of doing the Kindness of Courtesy, and adopt a hail-fellow-well-met manner, which is a little painful and repellent, and therefore a little unkind. We miss, too, the courtesies of gesture; it is good in a German or Danish town to see one errand-boy raise his hat to another, or school-boy to school-boy, or porter to laundress, without any sense of awkwardness; but in these matters we have got into a national bad habit. In this field, perhaps, the rich and the poor meet together, because there is not in either an unconscious struggle after social status which does not belong to them, and so both can afford to be simple, considerate, gracious, and courteous to all who come in their way.

Simplicity.—Simplicity is the special quality of Kindness; people can be kind only when all their thoughts are given to the person or creature they are kind to, and when there is no backward glance to see how the matter affects self. A great deal has been said and written about Kindness, about slippers and footstools, and gifts of flowers, and much besides. There is even a movement to make children [p I:101] kind by counting up how many kind things they do in the course of each day; but that spoils all; the essence of acts of Kindness is that they should be unremembered. Of course, we never mention a kindness we have done, whether to the person concerned or to other people; but chiefly let us beware that we do not say to ourselves, ‘I have done this and that for So-and-so, and now see how he serves me!’ or think that, if we receive a kindness, we can blot it out, so to say, by conferring a favour. Worse still is the notion that having been kind to another gives us a right to expect great things from that other, and to be ungracious and disagreeable if the claims we set up do not seem to be recognised. But these pitfalls are escaped when Kindness is simple and we do not even know that we are being kind; it is not only our gifts to the poor that are covered by our Lord’s precept, “Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth.”

Everyone wants to be kind:—

“Man is dear to man! the poorest poor

Long for some moments in a weary life,

When they can know and feel that they have been

Themselves, the fathers and the dealers-out

Of some small blessings; have been kind to such

As needed kindness.”


Kindness in Construction.—But the greatest, sweetest, most generous kindness is perhaps that of which we take least thought; I mean kindness in construction. There are always two ways of understanding other people’s words, acts, and motives; and human nature is so contradictory that both ways may be equally right; the difference is in the construction [p I:102] we put upon other people’s thoughts. If we think kindly of another’s thoughts—think, for example, that an ungentle action or word may arise from a little clumsiness and not from lack of kindness of heart—we shall probably be right and be no more than fair to the person concerned. But, supposing we are wrong, our kind construction will have a double effect. It will, quicker than any reproof, convict our neighbour of his unkindness, and it will stir up in him the pleasant feelings for which we have already given him credit. Of all the causes of unhappiness, perhaps few bring about more distress in the world than the habit, which even good people allow themselves in, of putting an ungentle construction upon the ways and words of the people they live with. This habit has another bad effect, especially upon young people, who are greatly influenced by the opinion of their fellows. They think So-and-so will laugh at them for doing a certain obliging action, so they refrain from following the good impulses of a good heart. Kindness which is simple thinks none of these things, nor does it put evil constructions upon the thoughts that others may think in the given circumstances. “Be ye kind one to another” is not an easy precept, but—

“All worldly joys go less

To the one joy of doing kindnesses.”


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Generous Impulses common to all the World.—At first sight it seems as if Generosity were not a Lord in every bosom, but ruled only the noblest hearts; but this is not the fact. When all England goes mad with joy because little Mafeking is relieved, when everybody forgets private cares, schemes, worries, annoyances, even hunger and cold and bodily need, being warmed and fed, as it were, by a public joy, or softened and made tender by a public sorrow, it is because all are stirred by what is called a generous impulse, an impulse which causes them, if only for a moment, to live outside of their own lives. I once heard a generous lecture, upon a great poet, given to a crowded audience of some thousands of people of very varying culture and condition. It was interesting to listen to the remarks that were passing as we made our way out of the crowd. One man said, with a choke in his voice, “Why, why, that man could do anything with us, lead us on any crusade he liked!” and he was right. This is the history of the generous movements that have stirred the world, the Crusades, the Anti-Slavery War in America; a thought has [p I:104] been dropped which has stirred some generous impulse common to all the world. The nature of Generosity is to bring forth, to give, always at the cost of personal suffering or deprivation, little or great. There is no generosity in giving what we shall never miss and do not want; this is mere good-nature, and is not even kindness, unless it springs out of a real thought about another person’s needs.

Large Trustfulness.—Generosity at its highest level, and with a certain added tincture, becomes Enthusiasm, but of that we shall speak later. We may understand the nature of this ruler of men better if we consider that what Magnanimity is to the things of the mind, Generosity is to the things of the heart. Large and warm thoughts of life and of our relations with one another find place in the generous man. He is incapable of wholesale and bitter condemnation of classes or countries, parties or creeds. He is impatient of the cheap wit whose jokes are at the expense of the character for probity of some whole class of people, plumbers or plasterers or candlestick makers. He is equally impatient of the worldly wisdom which goes through life expecting to be defrauded here and cheated there; and he finds that, on the whole, it is he who possesses the wisdom of this world; for, by dint of fair and generous dealing, he may pass through a long life with hardly a record to show of the iniquity and cheating ways of his fellow-creatures. But then, if he has only sixpence to spend, he spends it in a liberal and trustful way. It is a certain large trustfulness in his dealings, rather than the largeness of his gifts, or the freedom of his outlay, that marks the generous man.

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Generosity is Costly, but also Remunerative.—In like manner, in his commerce with his friends and neighbours, he harbours no grudges; that is, he is not on the watch that others should give him what he thinks his due of observance, consideration, service, or what not. He allows others to be the arbiters of their own conduct in all such matters; and those others respond, for the most part, to the trust reposed in them. This is not the easy attitude of mind which permits everything, because a want of self-respect creates a thirst for popularity. The generous man will have friends of widely different types, because he is able to give large entertainment to men of many minds, and to meet them upon many points. His interests are wide, his interpretations are liberal; and wherever his interest goes, it goes with a latent glow, ready to break forth in the heat of action upon occasion.

Generosity is costly, because it is always disbursing, be it the contents of the heart or of the purse; but it is also remunerative, for it has been said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.” Generosity is also a saving grace; for the generous man escapes a thousand small perplexities, worries, and annoys; he walks serene in a large room. There are so many great things to care about that he has no mind and no time for the small frettings of life; his concerns are indeed great, for what concerns man concerns him. But because his is a concern of the heart, warm and glowing, it is duly distributed. There are the equatorial and the polar regions of his care, neither of them quite unwarmed. He does not affect to love other countries as he loves his own, or his neighbour’s children as his own family.

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Fallacious Notions that restrain Generosity.—I have spoken of the generous man; but, indeed, this Lord of the Bosom is present in all of us, ready with the offer of large and warm living. But certain fallacious notions and small propensities are apt to keep him shut in narrow limits, unless some happy word or occasion let him loose. When this happens to the whole community, we become alarmed and fear that we are all going mad; but really it is that we have suddenly burst into large living without the restraints proper to an accustomed way of life.

‘Let every man mind his own business’ is one of the fallacies that come to a person with a sense of obligation, and of limitation to his own business only. The man not only shuts out the generous cares of a wider life, but he is consumed by the cares of his condition in all their petty details. Yet we must each mind our own business, or we are unworthy members of society, and throw so much of the world’s work as is our own proper share upon the shoulders of other people. The secret is, to mind our business strenuously within its proper hours, whether these hours are ruled for us, or we rule them for ourselves. But the hours of work over, let us think it trespass so much as to turn our thoughts in that direction, and let us throw all our interest into outer and wider channels. That which seems to us our business in life, even that incessant business of being the mother of a family, will be far better done if we rule ourselves in this matter, because we shall be better, broader persons; and the more there is of a person, the more work will be done.

‘Every man for himself, and Heaven for us all,’ is another fallacy that shuts up lives in narrow rooms. [p I:107] Man is not for himself, and to get out of ourselves and into the wide current of human life, of all sorts and conditions, is our wisdom and should be our care.

Another miserable and unspoken fallacy is—‘Every person that I have dealings with is worse than myself.’ This is startling, put into words; but why else should we suppose that this person means to slight us and the other to offend us, when we have no such intentions with regard to them; that we shall be cheated here and defrauded there, when we ourselves would not willingly cheat and defraud? It is generous to trust, to trust freely, to trust our tradespeople and our servants, our friends and neighbours, those in authority over us and those subordinate to us.

Be noble! and the nobleness that lies

In other men, sleeping, but never dead—

Will rise in majesty to meet thine own!”


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The Gladness of a Grateful Heart.—No other Lord of the Heart should do more to guide us into joyous and happy living than Gratitude. How good and glad it is to be grateful! The joy is not merely that we have received a favour or a little kindness which speaks of goodwill and love, but that a beautiful thing has come out of some other person’s beautiful heart for us; and joy in that other’s beauty of character gives more delight than any gain or pleasure which can come to us from favours. We lose this joy often enough because we are too self-absorbed to be aware of kindness, or are too self-complacent to think any kindness more than our desert. Young people are apt to take the abounding, overflowing kindnesses of their parents as matters of course; and so they come to miss the double joy they might have in a touch, a word, a look, a little arrangement for their pleasure, a thousand things over and above, so to speak, the love that is due from parent to child. A kindness is like a flower that has bloomed upon you unawares, and to be on the watch for such flowers adds very [p I:109] much to our joy in other people, as well as to the happy sense of being loved and cared for. You go into a shop, and the shopkeeper who knows you (I am not speaking of big stores) adds a pleasant something to your purchase which sends you cheerily on your way—some little kindness of look or word, some inquiry that shows his interest in you and yours, perhaps no more than a genial smile, but you have got into pleasant human relations with him because he has given you a kindness. There are two courses open to the receiver of this small kindness. One is to feel himself such an important person that it is to the interest of shopkeepers and the like to show him attention. The other is to go away with the springing gladness of a grateful heart, knowing that he takes with him more than he has bought.

A Grateful Heart makes a Full Return.—Life would be dull and bare of flowers if we were not continually getting more than we can pay for either by money or our own good offices; but a grateful heart makes a full return, because it rejoices not only in the gift but in the giver. Formal thanks are proper enough on occasions, but there are other ways of expressing gratitude, which, indeed, is like love and a fire, and cannot be hid. A glance, a smile, a word of appreciation and recognition straight from the heart, will fill the person who has done us a kindness with pleasure. But let us avoid all expressions of thanks which are not simple and sincere—simple in that we are really thinking of the kindness of the other person and not of ourselves; and sincere, in that we do not say a word more than we feel, or make believe to value a gift for its own sake when it is really not of value to us.

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The Reproach of Ingratitude.—There is an ancient story of a city which decided that ingratitude was the blackest of crimes. The people of the city were practical, and set up a bell in an open but desolate spot to be rung by any who should experience ingratitude. Time passed by and the bell was forgotten, perhaps because people were on the watch against this offence. But one day the bell rang out, and the whole city rushed to see who had a complaint to make of an ungrateful fellow-citizen. An ass had caught the rope with his foot, and as he moved about in search of the miserable herbage that grew on the spot, the bell pealed out. At first people laughed; but when they looked at the poor ass and found him a wretched object, almost too feeble to stand, they looked at one another and said, “Whose ass is this?” Inquiry produced the owner, who was forced to confess that his ass, having served him well for many years, became at last too old for his work, so he turned the poor creature out to live as it could. The people decided that the ass had acted according to law in ringing the bell; and the mean man paid the penalty, which included the good keeping of the ass, with what grace he could. To make use of other people, to serve ourselves of them, is the sin of ingratitude. The grateful man has a good memory and a quick eye to see where those who have served need service in their turn. Especially does he cherish the memory of those who have served him in childhood and in youth, and he watches for opportunities to serve them.

Gratitude spreads his feast of joy and thanksgiving for gifts that come to him without any special thought of him on the part of the giver, who indeed may himself have gone from the world hundreds of years [p I:111] ago. Thus he says his grace for a delightful or helpful book, for a great picture, for a glorious day, for the face of a little child, for happy work, for pleasant places. According to the saying of Jeremy Taylor, he is quick to “taste the deliciousness of his employment.” He is thankful for all the good that comes to him. The poor soul who believes that life yields him nothing beyond his deserts, that it would be, in fact, impossible to give him more than he pays for, whether in coin or merit, is to be pitied for all the joy he loses, as well as blamed for the pain and irritation his progress through life must cause. “Yea, a joyful and a pleasant thing it is to be thankful!”

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We all have Courage.—The word courage comes to us from the time when Norman French was the language of the court and when chivalry was the law of noble living. The Normans perceived that Courage was of the heart, as the word shows; Courage was the whole of character to a man; he who had not Courage, had no quality of manliness. We talk about it less in these days, but Courage is still a great Lord in the House of Heart, having his dwelling by right in every Mansoul, and, indeed, in even timid beasts.

The Courage of Attack.—The sheep has the Courage of Attack for the sake of her lamb; the bird will sit on her eggs in the face of that monster, man. A blue-tit once thought proper to nest in a letter-box; of course people went to see the sight, and the courage with which the little creature hissed at the gigantic intruders was very curious and admirable. The toddling child has courage to protect his pets. Many a tender mother has had the courage of an awful death to save her baby. If we would but believe it, we have all courage to face any calamity, any enemy, any death. But Courage, like the other [p I:113] Lords of our Life, is attended by his Dæmons, Fear, Cowardice, Pusillanimity, Nervousness.

The Courage of Endurance.—Fear, with his kin, Panic and Anxiety, is on the watch for those moments when Courage sleeps, lulled by security. When we consider the splendid valour that men of all sorts show in battle, we begin to see how universal Courage is; in our country it is those who choose that enlist in the army; but the Courage shown by men drawn by conscription is not less than that of our own army. Also, how possible it is for every man to be gripped by shameful Fear, and to act upon the panic born of Fear, is shown by the fact that a whole company, heretofore held as brave as the rest, has been known more than once to turn tail and fly before the enemy.

The Courage of Serenity.—Few of us are likely to be tried in a field of battle; but the battle-field has an advantage over the thousand battles we each have to fight in our lives, because the sympathy of numbers carries men forward. The Courage required to lose a leg at home through a fall or an injury on the cricket field is, perhaps, greater than that displayed by the soldier on the field; and the form of Courage which meets pain and misfortune with calm endurance is needed by us all. No one escapes the call for Fortitude, if it be only in the dentist’s chair. It is well to be sure of ourselves, to know for certain that we have Courage for everything that may come, not because we are more plucky than others, but because all persons are born with this Lord and Captain of the Heart. Assured of our Courage, we must not let this courage sleep and allow ourselves to be betrayed into panic by a carriage accident or a wasp or a rat. It is [p I:114] unseemly, unbecoming, for any of us, even the youngest, to lose our presence of mind when we are hurt or in danger. We not only lose the chance of being of use to others, but we make ourselves a burden and a spectacle. Anxious fuss in the small emergencies of life, such as travelling, household mischances, pressure of work, is a form of panic fear, the fear that all may not go well, or that something may be forgotten and left undone. Let us possess ourselves and say: ‘What does it matter? All undue concern about things and arrangements is unworthy of us.’ It is only persons that matter; and the best thing we can do is to see that one person keeps a serene mind in unusual or fretting circumstances; then we shall be sure that one person is ready to be of use.

The Courage of our Affairs.—The form of fear that is inclined to fret and worry and become agitated under any slight stress of circumstances, darkens into anxiety in the face of some success we are striving after, some calamity that we fear. Anxiety obtains more sympathy than other forms of fear, because the person who is anxious suffers much, and the cause for anxiety is often sadly real. But we do ourselves injustice by being anxious. We have been sent into life fortified, some more so, some less, with a Courage which should enable us to take the present without any fearful looking forward. And, indeed, we do so, the feeblest of us, when we are kept fully employed by immediate things. That is how mothers and wives can go through months of the nursing of their nearest and dearest with cheerful countenance. They tell you they dare not look forward, and that they live from hour to hour, and so they are able to bring happiness and even gaiety into the sick-room, though a sorrowful [p I:115] end is before them. If this noble Courage is possible in the face of coming grief, it is also possible, if we would believe it, in the face of lesser matters—coming examinations, coming losses, coming distresses of every kind, even that worst distress, when those dear to us fail us and fall away from godly living. “Let not your heart be anxious” (R.V.) is the command of Christ. The command presupposes the power of obedience, and it is for this that heavy things are spoken of the ‘fearful and the unbelieving.’

The Courage of our Opinions.—Besides the Courage of Attack, the Courage of Endurance, the Courage of Serenity, and the Courage of our Affairs, there are lesser forms of Courage which as truly belong to the courageous heart. There is the Courage of our opinions. By opinions I do not mean the loosely taken up catchwords of the moment, those things which ‘everybody says,’ and with which it is rather agreeable than otherwise to startle our less advanced friends; but those few opinions founded upon knowledge and principle which we really possess.

It is worth while to examine ourselves as to what our opinions are as to the questions discussed in conversation or otherwise. We may find that we have no distinct opinion. If so, let us not take up with the first that offers, but think, inquire, read, consider both sides, and then be ready with a gentle, clear, well-grounded expression of opinion, when someone remarks, for example: ‘I think missionaries are a mistake!’ ‘The religions people have are those best suited to their natures’; or, ‘It is no use thinking about the multitude, it is the few who have intellect or art who are worth caring for’; and so on. We often allow other people’s opinions to pass without [p I:116] protest, because we believe that they have been carefully thought out; but it is surprising how a word of simple conviction will arrest people who express the most outrageous opinions. At any rate this form of Courage is due from us.

The Courage of Frankness.—The Courage of Frankness is very charming. A certain degree of reticence is due to ourselves and to others: the person who pours out all his affairs indiscriminately is a bore; but, on the other hand, he who shows undue caution, discretion, distrust, is of a fearful and unbelieving spirit, and fails in the characters of the noble heart. Our motive is our best guide to the right mean in this matter. If we reserve our matters because we are unwilling to bore our friends with trivial things, it is well; but if we reserve them because we distrust the sympathy or the fairness, the kindness or the comprehension of the people we live amongst, we make a failure in Courage.

The Courage of Reproof.—Many other forms of Courage will occur to each of us; we can only mention one or two more. The Courage of Reproof is to be exercised with delicacy and gentleness, but there can be no faithful friendship between equals in age without this Courage; the just and gentle reproofs given by the young to the young are perhaps more convincing and converting than the more natural and usual reproofs of elders.

The Courage of Confession.—To name one more form of Courage, the Courage of open, frank Confession of that which we have done amiss or left undone, in the small matters of daily life, to the person concerned, is very strengthening; but I am not sure that the habit of confessing feelings and [p I:117] thoughts always arises from Courage. Acts and omissions are safer ground.

The Courage of our Capacity.—Then there is what we may call the Courage of our Capacity—the courage which assures us that we can do the particular work which comes in our way, and will not lend an ear to the craven fear which reminds us of failures in the past and unfitness in the present. It is intellectual Courage, too, which enables us to grapple with tasks of the mind with a sense of adequacy. Intellectual panic is responsible for many failures; for our failure to understand an argument, to follow an experiment, and very largely for our insular failure to speak and comprehend the vocables of foreign tongues. Intellectual panic is responsible, too, for the catchwords we pass as our opinions. We fear it is not in us to form an opinion worth the holding and worth the giving forth.

The Courage of Opportunity.—The Courage of Opportunity, of which Shakespeare says,—

“There is a tide in the affairs of men,

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune,”

is also connected with the Courage of Capacity, and is to be distinguished from the gambling spirit of Foolhardiness, which is ready to seek and try all hazards. One note of difference is perhaps that Courage is ready for that which comes, while Foolhardiness goes a-seeking. Courage waits for guidance,—

Holding as Creed,

That Circumstance, a sacred oracle,

Speaks with the voice of God to faithful souls.

[p I:118]



Loyalty of Youth.—Loyalty is the hall-mark of character; but that is a misguiding simile, for it is good to know that Loyalty is not a mark stamped upon us, but a Lord of the Bosom born within us. At different periods of history, or at different periods of life, people give the rule of their lives to one or another of these Powers of Heart. The age of Chivalry was the age of Loyalty; and youth ought to be especially the age of Chivalry and of Loyalty in each life. But perhaps this is not a loyal age. Our tendency is to believe that to think for ourselves and to serve ourselves in the way of advancement or pleasure is our chief business in life. We think that the world was made for us, and not we for the world, and that we are called upon to rule and not to serve. But such thoughts come to us only in our worst moods. Loyalty, whose note is service, asserts itself. We know that we are not our own, and that according to the Loyalty within us do we fulfil ourselves.

Our Loyalties prepared for us.—We are ready enough to give whimsical Loyalty to some poet or actor, soldier or priest, at whose feet we would gladly lay our service; but in this, as in the rest of our lives, [p I:119] we are not free to choose. Our Loyalties are all prepared for us, or come to us with our duties, and our choice is between being loyal or disloyal. In this regard, it is a happy thing for the nation which has a sovereign, a visible object-lesson in Loyalty, to be loyally loved and served for the sake of his office.

Loyalty to our King.—One of the best lessons history has to teach us is in the examples it holds of splendid loyalty and service, including unbounded honour and reverence to the person of the sovereign, and devotion of life and substance, children and followers, to his cause. Sir Henry Lee, in Woodstock, is an exquisite example of this fine Loyalty. As we read, we grudge that it should be spent on so little worthy a monarch; but in the end, let us remember, the knight gained more than the king by this Loyalty, for it is better to be than to receive. Our late beloved Queen commanded all our Loyalty, because she herself knew and lived for the Loyalty and service she owed to her people; and in that way she raised us to a higher level of living.

Loyalty due to our Own.—After our King, our country claims our Loyalty. Let us not make a mistake. Benevolence is due to the whole world, Loyalty is due to our own; and however greatly we may value or become attached to alien kings or alien countries, the debt of Loyalty is due, not to them, but to our own. Invidious comparisons, depreciating the land of our birth in favour of some land of our choice, whose laws and rulers, ways and weather, we may prefer, is of the nature of disloyalty.

Public Opinion responsible for Anarchy.—We older people are saddened, shocked, and greatly [p I:120] humbled by the fall of one ruler after another at the hands of the persons who call themselves anarchists. We are humbled and ashamed because we know that this manner of crime, which has no exact parallel in the history of the past, arises, in truth, from a failure in the spirit of Loyalty in what is called public opinion. Therefore, the repeated crimes which shock us are brought home to us all, for we all help to form public opinion. There are always in every country men and women in whom the general wrong thinking about our duties to one another come, as it were, to a head and break out in crime; but it is from public opinion that these people get their original notions. We are told to speak no evil of the ruler of our people, and, if we allow ourselves to speak evil, others will take up our evil speech and turn it into criminal act. If we fret against rule others will rise against rulers, and kings everywhere will live in terror of the assault of the regicide. The way we are bound to one another and affect one another all over the world is a very solemn thought; but that we can help the whole world by keeping hold of our own Loyalty should be a cause of joy.

Loyalty to Country.—I am not sure but that people lose in moral fibre when they become voluntary exiles from their own country. Every tie that we are born to is necessary to our completion. Loyalty to country, Patriotism, is a noble passion. Revolutions come about when the character of a sovereign is such that right-thinking people can no longer be loyal to king and country; when unjust laws, undue taxes, the oppression of the poor, make men’s hearts sore for their fatherland. Loyalty to country demands honour, service, and personal devotion. [p I:121] The honour due to our country requires some intelligent knowledge of her history, laws, and institutions; of her great men and her people; of her weaknesses and her strength; and is not to be confounded with the ignorant and impertinent attitude of the Englishman or the Chinese who believes that to be born an Englishman or a Chinese puts him on a higher level than the people of all other countries; that his own country and his own government are right in all circumstances, and other countries and other governments always wrong. But, on the other hand, still more to be guarded against, is the caitiff spirit of him who holds his own country and his own government always in the wrong and always the worse, and exalts other nations unduly for the sake of depreciating his own.

The Service of Loyalty.—Our service to our country in these days may not mean more than that we should take a living interest in the questions that occupy the government and the social problems that occupy thinkers; and that, if we are not called upon to serve the country in general, in Parliament, for example, we should give time, labour, and means to advance whatever local administration we are connected with. Perhaps this kind of Loyalty has never been more nobly displayed than it is at the present time. Nor do we fail when our country claims our personal devotion. Recent events seem to show that every Briton, of the lesser and the greater Britain, is ready for the honour of laying down his life for his country.

Loyalty to a Chief.—Perhaps the Loyalty in which we fall short, as compared with the Middle Ages, is that Loyalty which every man and woman [p I:122] owes to a chief. Again, Scott gives us the perfect expression in Torquil of the Oak—the Highland foster-father, who sacrificed himself and his nine stalwart sons to shield the honour of the young chief whom he knew to be a confessed coward. The whole incident, told, as it is, with reserve and sympathy, offers one of the strongest situations in literature. But Loyalty in this kind lives amongst us still. Few subalterns in either service would allow themselves to discuss without reserve the action or character of their chief; and as for the men, they still accept it that—“Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why; theirs but to do and die”; and, given that they do die because “someone has blundered,” one supreme moment of unquestioning Loyalty to king, country, and commander is, probably, worth fifty years at the dead level of daily living; that is, supposing that the purpose of this life is our education for a fuller. It is told of certain elegant young diplomats, who serve their several chiefs as private secretaries, that one, more superb than the rest, grumbled because his chief summoned him by ringing a bell; but another, who had learned the secret of ‘dignified obedience and proud submission,’ asserted that, if his chief asked him to clean his shoes, he would do it of course. Instances of splendid Loyalty to the heads of family, party, cause, house, school, or what not, abound on every hand.

Loyalty to Personal Ties.—Loyalty to personal ties, relationships, friendships, dependents, is a due recognised by most people. We all know that these ties, whether they come by nature, as relationships, or by choice, as friendships and the lesser friendly relations,—servants, for example,—must be loyally [p I:123] entertained. We know that the character and conduct of our friend is sacred from adverse criticism even in our private thoughts; that what we think and have to say of censure must be said to him and him only; that our time, our society, our sympathy and our service are at his disposal, so far as we can determine. Not only so, but we know that he should have the best of us, our deepest thoughts, our highest aspirations, so far as we are able to give these forth. This last is freely acknowledged in friendships of election; but in the natural friendships of relationship, which surround most of us, we are sometimes chary of our best, and give only our commonplace, surface thoughts; and to our dependents, those on a lower educational level than ourselves, we are apt to talk down, as we suppose, to that level. We are wrong here; our best is due in varying degrees to maintain all those relationships, natural, elected, or casual, which make up the sweetness and interest of our lives.

A Constant Mind.—Steadfastness is, of course, of the essence of all Loyalties. A man of sixty, who said he had always had his boots from the same bootmaker since he first wore boots, gives us a hint of the sort of Loyalty we owe all round. We miss a great deal of the grace of life by running hither and thither to serve ourselves of the best, so we think, in friends, acquaintances, religions, tradesmen, servants, preachers, prophets. Perhaps there is always more of the best to be had in sticking to that we have got than in looking out continually for a new shop for every sort of ware. The strength, grace, and dignity of a constant mind is the ingathering of Loyalty.

It is objected that some relations are impossible [p I:124] and insupportable; that a servant is lazy, a tradesman dishonest, a friend unworthy, a relative aggravating.

Some relations are not of our seeking and are for life; and that which must be continued, should be continued with Loyalty; but it is best, perhaps, to give up a chief or a dependent, for example, to whom we cannot any longer be loyal. But let the breach be with simplicity and dignity. Let us not indulge in previous gossiping and grumbling; and we should recognise that Loyalty forbids small personal resentment of offences to our amour propre. Many lives are shipwrecked upon this rock. In wronging our friends by a failure in Loyalty, we injure ourselves far more.

Thoroughness.—The same principles of Loyalty apply to Loyalty to our work and to any cause we have taken up. Thoroughness and unstinted effort belong to this manner of Loyalty; and, therefore, we have at times to figure as unamiable persons because we are unable to throw ourselves into every new cause that is brought before us. We can but do what we are able for; and Loyalty to that which we are doing will often forbid efforts in new directions.

Loyalty to our Principles.—A personal loyalty of a high order is that which we owe to our principles. At first, it is those principles upon which we are brought up to which our faithfulness is due; but, by and by, as character develops, convictions grow upon us which come to be bound up with our being. These, not catchwords caught up here and there from the newspapers or from common talk, are our principles—possessions that we have worked out with labour of thought and, perhaps, pain of feeling. He is true to himself who is true to these; and no other [p I:125] Loyalty is to be expected of him who is not true to himself. Perhaps highest amongst these principles is our religion—not our faith in God; that is another matter—but that form of religion which to us is the expression of such faith. A safe rule is, that Loyalty forbids our dallying with other forms and other ideas, lest we should cease to hold religious convictions of any sort, and become open to change and eager for the excitement of novelty.

The habit of unworthy and petty criticism of the clergy or the services to which we are accustomed is apt to end in this unstable habit; Loyalty forbids this manner of petty gossip, as it also forbids the habit of running hither and thither in search of novelties.

Tempers alien to Loyalty.—The Dæmons which labour for the destruction of Loyalty are, perhaps, Self-interest, Self-conceit, and Self-importance. Self-interest would lead us to better ourselves at the expense of any bond. Self-conceit keeps us in a ferment of small resentments which puts allegiance out of court; and Self-importance is unable to give the first place to another in things small or great, in affairs of country, parish, or home. These enemies be about us, but Loyalty is within us, strong and steadfast, and asking only to be recognised that he may put the alien to flight.

[p I:126]



Pride of Life.—The Apostle points out three causes of offence in men—the lust of the flesh, that is, the desire to satisfy the cravings of what we call ‘human nature’; the lust of the eye, which makes the pursuit of the delight of beauty, not a part, but the whole of life; and, the pride of life. Of the three, perhaps, the last is the most deadly, because it is the most deceitful. People born in, and brought up upon, principles of self-control and self-restraint are on the watch against the lusts of the flesh. The lust of the eye does not make too fascinating an appeal to all of us; but who can be aware of the approaches of the pride of life? Still, Pride, mighty as he is, and manifold as are his forms, is but the Dæmon, the more or less subject Dæmon, of a mightier power than himself.

Humility is Born in us all.—Humility is born in us all, a Lord of the Bosom, gracious and beautiful, strong to subdue. That is why our Lord told the Jews that except they should humble themselves and become as a little child they could not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, the state where humble souls have their dwelling. We think of little children [p I:127] as being innocent and simple rather than humble; and it is only by examining this quality of children that we shall find out what Humility is in the divine thought. We have but two types of Humility to guide us—Christ, for ‘He humbled Himself,’ and little children, for He pronounced them humble. An old writer who has pondered on this matter says that, as there is only one Sanctification and one Redemption, so also there is only one Humility.

Humility travestied.—But no grace of heart is so travestied in our thoughts as this of Humility. We call cowardice Humility. We say—‘Oh, I can’t bear pain, I am not as strong as you are’; ‘I can’t undertake this and that, I have not the ability that others have’; ‘I am not one of your clever fellows, there is no use in my going in for reading’; ‘Oh, I’m not good enough, I could not teach a class in the Sunday School,’ or, ‘care for the things of the spiritual life.’ Again, what we call Humility is often a form of Hypocrisy. ‘Oh! I wish I were as capable as you,’ we say, ‘or as good,’ or ‘as clever,’ priding ourselves secretly on the very unfitness which seems to put us somehow, we hardly know how, out of the common run of people. The person who is loud in his protestations of Humility is commonly hugging himself upon compensations we do not know of, and which, to his own thinking, rank him before us after all.

This sort of thing has brought Humility into disrepute. People take these self-deceivers at their word, and believe that they are humble; so, while they acknowledge Humility to be a Christian grace, it is a grace little esteemed and rarely coveted. This error of conception opens the gate for Pride, who comes riding [p I:128] full tilt to take possession. We prefer to be proud, openly proud of some advantage in our circumstances or our parentage, proud of our prejudices, proud of an angry or resentful temper, proud of our easy-going ways, proud of idleness, carelessness, recklessness; nay, the very murderer is a proud man, proud of the skill with which he can elude suspicion or destroy his victim. “Thank God, I have always kept myself to myself,” said a small London housekeeper who did not “hold with neighbouring.” There is hardly a failing, a fault or a crime which men have not felt to be a distinction, a thing to be proud of. We can do few things simply, that is, without being aware that it is we who are doing them, and taking importance to ourselves for the fact.

Humility one with Simplicity.—Many who are sound of mind in other respects arrive at incipient megalomania, through a continual magnification of self. Their affairs, their dogs, their pictures, their opinions, their calling, their good works, their teaching, their religious convictions, fill the whole field of vision; and that, because they are theirs rather than for the sake of the things themselves. This pride of life is so insidious and importunate, the necessity of exalting self presses upon us so unceasingly, so spoils all our relations of friendship and neighbourliness by resentful tempers and exigeant demands, that we are fain to cry, “Oh, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me?” when, for a moment we face facts. But we need not despair, even about our hateful Pride. He is but an encroacher, an usurper; the Lord of the Heart whom he displaces is Humility; and a true conception of this true Lord, who is within us, is as the shepherd’s stone against [p I:129] the giant. For it is not Humility to think ill of ourselves; that is faint-hearted when it is not false. Humility is perhaps one with Simplicity, and does not allow us to think of ourselves at all, ill or well. That is why a child is humble. The thought of self does not come to him at all; when it does, he falls from his child estate and becomes what we call self-conscious. In that wonderful first lesson of the Garden of Eden, the Fall consisted in our first parents becoming aware of themselves; and that is how we all fall—when we become aware.

It is good to be humble. Humble people are gay and good. They do not go about with a black dog on their shoulder or a thunder-cloud on their brow. We are all born humble. Humility sits within us all, waiting for pride to be silent that he may speak and be heard. What must we do to get rid of pride and give place to Humility?

The Way of Humility.—In the first place, we must not try to be humble. That is all make-believe, and a bad sort of pride. We do not wish to become like Uriah Heep, and that is what comes of trying to be humble. The thing is, not to think of ourselves at all, for if we only think how bad we are, we are playing at Uriah Heep. There are many ways of getting away from the thought of ourselves; the love and knowledge of birds and flowers, of clouds and stones, of all that nature has to show us; pictures, books, people, anything outside of us, will help us to escape from the tyrant who attacks our hearts. One rather good plan is, when we are talking or writing to our friends, not to talk or write about ‘thou and I.’ There are so many interesting things in the world to discuss that it is a waste of time to talk about ourselves. All the [p I:130] same, it is well to be up to the ways of those tiresome selves, and that is why you are invited to read these chapters. It is very well, too, to know that Humility, who takes no thought of himself, is really at home in each of us:—

“If that in sight of God is great

Which counts itself for small,

We by that law humility

The chiefest grace must call;

Which being such, not knows itself

To be a grace at all.”


[p I:131]



“It is a seemly fashion to be glad.”

“The merry heart goes all the day.”

Gladness enough in the World for all.—Yorkshire people say their bread is ‘sad’ when it is heavy, does not rise. It is just so with ourselves. We are like a ‘sad’ loaf when we are heavy—do not rise to the sunshine, to the voices of our friends, to interesting sights, to kindness, love, or any good thing. When we do rise to these things, when our hearts smile because a ray of sunshine creeps in through the window, because a bird sings, because a splash of sunlight falls on the trunk of a dark tree, because we have seen a little child’s face—why, then we are glad. Carlyle, whom we do not think of as a very happy man, used to say that no one need be unhappy who could see a spring day or the face of a little child. Indeed, there is Gladness enough in the world for us all; or, to speak more exactly, there is a fountain of Gladness in everybody’s heart only waiting to be unstopped. Grown-up people sometimes say that they envy little children when they hear the Gladness bubbling out of their hearts in laughter, just as it bubbles out of the [p I:132] birds in song; but there is no room for regret; it is simply a case of a choked spring: remove the rubbish, and Gladness will flow out of the weary heart as freely as out of the child’s.

Gladness springs in Sorrow and Pain.—But, you will say, how can people be glad when they have to bear sorrow, anxiety, want and pain? It is not these things that stop up our Gladness. The sorrowful and anxious wife of a dying husband, the mother of a dying child, will often make the sick-room merry with quips and cranks, a place of hearty Gladness. It is not that the mother or wife tries to seem glad for the sake of the sufferer; there is no pretending about Gladness. No one can be taken in by smiles that are put on. The fact is that love teaches the nurse to unstop the fount of Gladness in her own heart for the sake of the sufferer dear to her, and out come lots of merry words and little jokes, smiles and gaiety, things better than any medicine for the sick. In pain, too, it is not impossible to be glad. Have we not all been touched by merry sayings that have come from suffering lips? I doubt if Margaret Roper could help a smile through her tears at the merry quips her father, Sir Thomas More, made on his way to the scaffold. We commonly make a mistake about Gladness. We think of it as a sort of ice-cream or chocolate—very good when it comes, but not to be expected every day. But, “Rejoice evermore,” says the Apostle; that is, “Be glad all the time.” We laugh now and then, we smile now and then, but the fountain of Gladness within us should rise always; and so it will if it be not hindered.

Gladness is Catching.—Before we consider the Dæmons of Gladness, let us make ourselves sure of one thing. We cannot be glad by ourselves, and we [p I:133] cannot be sad, that is, heavy, by ourselves. Our gladness rejoices the people we come across, as our heaviness depresses them.

A London mother once wrote to me of how she took her little golden-haired daughter of two out for her first walk, and the little girl smiled at the policeman, and he was glad, and kissed her hand to some French laundresses working in a cellar, and they were glad, and smiled at the crossing-sweeper, and generally went on her way like a little queen dispensing smiles and gladness. A still prettier story was told by a Bible-woman in a big town who went out of doors depressed by the sordid cares and offences of her neighbours; and a small child sitting in a gutter looked up at her and smiled, and in the gladness of that little child she went gaily for the rest of the day. There is nothing so catching as Gladness, and it is good for each of us to know that we carry joy for the needs of our neighbours. But this is treasure that we give without knowing it or being any the poorer for what we have given away.

Gladness is Perennial.—Now, if we have made it clear to ourselves that there is in each of us a fountain of Gladness, not an intermittent but a perennial spring, enough and to spare for every moment of every year of the longest life, not to be checked by sorrow, pain, or poverty, but often flowing with the greater force and brightness because of these obstructions; if we are quite sure that this golden Gladness is not our own private property, but is meant to enrich the people we pass in the street, or live with in the house, or work with or play with, we shall be interested to discover why it is that people go about with a black dog on their shoulder, the cloud of gloom [p I:134] on their brow; why there are people heavy in movement, pale of countenance, dull and irresponsive. You will wish to find out why it is that children may go to a delightful party, picnic, haymaking, or what not, and carry a sullen countenance through all the fun and frolic; why young people may be taken to visit here or travel there, and the most delightful scenes might be marked with a heavy black spot in the map of their memories, because they found no gladness in them; why middle-aged people sometimes go about with sad and unsmiling countenances; why the aged sometimes find their lot all crosses and no joys.

This question of gladness or sadness has little to do with our circumstances. It is true that we should do well to heed the advice of Marcus Aurelius: “Do not let your head run upon that which is none of your own, but pick out some of the best of your circumstances, and consider how eagerly you would wish for them were they not in your possession.”

We are Sad when we are Sorry for Ourselves.—Let us get the good out of our circumstances by all means, but as a matter of fact it is not our circumstances but ourselves that choke the spring. We are sad and not glad because we are sorry for ourselves. Somebody has trodden on our toe, somebody has said the wrong word, has somehow offended our sense of self-importance, and behold! the Dæmon of self-pity digs diligently at his rubbish-heap, and casts in all manner of poor and paltry things to check the flow of our spring of Gladness. Some people are sorry for themselves by moments, some for days together, and some carry all their life long a grudge against their circumstances, or burn with resentment against their friends.

[p I:135]

Gladness a Duty.—We need only look this matter in the face to see how sad and wrong a thing it is not to be glad, and to say to ourselves, ‘I can, because I ought!’ Help comes to those who endeavour and who ask. We may have to pull ourselves up many times a day, but every time we give chase to the black dog, the easier we shall find it to be gay and good. The outward and visible sign of gladness is cheerfulness, for how can a dour face and sour speech keep company with bubbling gladness within? The inward and spiritual grace is contentment, for how can the person who is glad at heart put himself out and be dissatisfied about the little outside things of life? “Rejoice evermore, and again I say, rejoice.”

[p I:136]




We must know the Functions of Love and Justice.—We have said that two potent personages hold rule in the House of Heart—Love and Justice. The question occurs, do not the claims of the two clash? They do sometimes. Love leans to leniency, and injures where it should sustain. Justice leans to severity, and repels where it should win. Therefore it is necessary for us to think on these things and con the several parts of Love and Justice at least as carefully as we should con a Greek verb or a problem in Euclid. Indeed, these latter we can live without, but Love and Justice are inseparable from Mansoul; they are there, and we must take count of them. Not that they are as self-adjusting wheels, so to speak, which go right whether we will or no. On the contrary, these Lords of the Bosom require the continual supervision of the Prime Minister, himself ruled by the higher Power; and without such over-looking they produce tangles in the lives of men.

Everyone has Justice in his Heart.—We have already considered the ways of Love and the various offices of his Lords in Waiting. Let us now think [p I:137] upon Justice, and who they are surrounding his seat and carrying out his mandates. First let us realise our wealth. It is a great thing to know that there is not a Mansoul in the world, however mean or unconsidered, neglected, or savage, who has not Justice in his heart. A cry for fair-play will reach the most lawless mob. ‘It’s not fair,’ goes home to everybody. Different nations have different notions as to the way of it, but fair-play for himself and others is the demand of every man’s heart.

I must hurt nobody by Word or Deed.—Justice requires that we should take steady care every day to yield his rights to every person we come in contact with; that is, “to do unto others as we would that they should do unto us: to hurt nobody by word or deed”; therefore we must show gentleness to the persons of others, courtesy to their words, and deference to their opinions, because these things are due. We must be true and just in all our dealing. Veracity, fidelity, simplicity, and sincerity must therefore direct our words. Candour, appreciation, discrimination must guide our thoughts. Fair-dealing, honesty, integrity must govern our actions.

I must be Just to all other Persons.—This Justice to the persons, property, words, thoughts, and actions of others, I must show to my parents, teachers, rulers, and all who are set in authority over me and over my country, because it is their right and my duty. In the same way, I must be just to the words, thoughts, and actions of my brothers, sisters, friends, and neighbours, and all others who are my equals, in my own words, thoughts, and actions. I must be just, too, in word, thought and deed to servants, to all people who are employed by me or mine, to all who work for [p I:138] me, whether in my own home or in the world. I must be fair, that is, just, to all persons whose opinions and ways of life differ from my own, even to all who offend against the laws of God and man. It is my duty to be just in this way to the persons, the reputation, and the property of all other persons, so far as I have anything to do with them. Therefore, “I must bear no malice or hatred in my heart, must keep my hands from picking and stealing, my tongue from evil-speaking, lying, and slandering,” and “I must not covet nor desire other men’s goods, but must learn and labour truly to get mine own living and do my duty in that state of life to which it hath pleased God to call me.”

We are able to pay the Dues of Justice.—It is quite plain that to think fairly, speak truly, and act justly towards all persons at all times and on all occasions, which is our duty, is a matter requiring earnest thought and consideration—is, in fact, the study of a lifetime. We might be a little discouraged by the thought of how much is due from us to all our neighbours everywhere, if it were not that Justice is within us, ready to rule; that the Lords in waiting of his court wait upon his bidding. Candour, sincerity, simplicity, integrity, fidelity, and the rest are our servants at command, and what we have to do is to find our way about in the Circuit of Justice, to recognise the dues of others as they come before us, and behold! we have in hand always that coin of the realm of Justice wherewith to pay the dues of all our neighbours. It is a great thing to know this; to be able to walk about wealthy in the streets of our Mansoul, and to know that we have wherewith to pay our way on all hands. Many a poor soul goes [p I:139] a pauper; he has all the coinage of Justice, but does not know it, and therefore does not use it. He is blind because he fixes his eyes all the time on his own rights and other people’s duties; therefore he cannot see other people’s rights and his own duties; that is, he cannot be just.

Our own Rights.—You ask: Have we then no rights ourselves, and have other people no duties towards us? We have indeed rights, precisely the same rights as other people, and when we learn to think of ourselves as one of the rest, with just the same rights as other people and no more, to whom others owe just such duties as we owe to them and no more, we shall, as it were, get our lives in focus and see things as they are. There is a wonderful parable in the story of the man who first was blind and saw no man, and then had his eyes partially opened so that he saw men as trees walking, and at last was blessed with the full vision of other people as they are.

[p I:140]



We begin to understand this Duty.—The reader may have heard sorrowfully the story of that young German officer who fell lately in a duel on the eve of his marriage-day. It is not so long ago since in England also men thought it right to wipe out a slight offence by the death of the offender or of the offended. Now, we understand that it is not lawful to hurt anybody by deed. Masters may not beat their apprentices, mistresses their maids; in fact, we try as a nation to make all persons treat the persons of others with respect. Children, too, have gained by this truer sense of Justice to the persons of others. Their little bodies were at one time subject to many whippings, ‘pinches, nips, and bobs,’ from those in authority over them. It was thought quite wholesome for them to be fed on bread and water, or put in a dark closet when they were naughty. But now their persons receive much cherishing love, and they are rarely beaten. This is because people begin to see, and are eager to do, all that Justice requires. There still are countries where people do not see the harm of hurting others. We have read lately of a bandit in Southern Italy, who owned to having killed twenty-seven persons—not that he wanted their money or [p I:141] goods, and not that they had injured him, but because a relative of theirs had, years before, killed his brother. This man believed that his vengeance was fair-play. He had a notion of Justice, but a misguided one; and an incident like this shows how necessary it is that instruction should help us to think clearly upon the difficult question of what is fair. There are few things about which people make more mistakes.

To think fairly requires Knowledge and Consideration.—To think fairly about the personal rights of others requires a good deal of knowledge as well as judgment. But we can all arrive at some right conclusions by calling in the help of Imagination. That boy is none the less a good fellow who realises his mother’s love for the beauty of neatness; who recollects that the maids have enough to do with their regular work; that enough work makes people happy, while too much spoils their lives; and, thinking upon these things, is careful about such little matters as to wipe his feet when he comes in, to confine his messes to his own den, to avoid leaving tracks of soil, tear and damage to show where he has been, because he knows that this sort of recklessness spoils the comfort and increases the labour of other people. The young lady who thinks of the persons of others will not hurry her dressmaker for a new party frock which must be ready by such a date, if the dressmaker’s assistants have to sit up until midnight to get it done. She uses her Imagination, and sees, on the one hand, girls with pale faces and tired eyes; and, on the other, bright girls sewing with interest and pleasure at the pretty frock. Indeed, this sort of care not to [p I:142] do bodily hurt to other people should guide us in many of the affairs of life—should, for example, forbid us to buy at the cheapest shops; for most likely some class of work-people has been ‘sweated’ to produce the cheap article. A fair sense of the value of things helps us much in leading the just life.

Persons hurt in Mind suffer in Body—Gentleness.—But there are other ways of doing bodily hurt to the people we have to do with than by overworking, underfeeding, or directly misusing them. If you hurt people in mind they suffer in body, and it is for this reason that we should not push in a crowd to get the best place—should not jostle others to get the best share of what is going, even if it be a good sermon, should give place gently in walking the streets, should make room on public seats or in railway carriages for others who wish to sit. If we are ungentle in such small matters, we may not do such direct hurt to the persons of others as would make a surgeon necessary, but we produce a state of mental fret and discomfort which is really more wearing. We all know how soothing is the presence of a gentle person in a room; a person whose tone of voice and whose movements show that he has imagination, that he realises the presence of other people whose comfort he would not willingly destroy. The Dæmons at whose instigation we are unjust to the persons of others are usually Thoughtlessness, Selfishness, and Cruelty.

A Word may hurt as much as a Blow—Courtesy.—Bearing in mind how easy it is to hurt other people’s bodies through their minds, we begin to see that a word may hurt as much as a blow, that a want of courtesy may do as much harm to another [p I:143] as want of food. Once we see this, we are courteous to the words of others; we listen, we do not contradict, we try to understand; and, when other persons express their opinions, however much they may differ from those in which we have been brought up, we keep ourselves from violence in thought and word, and listen with deference where we cannot agree. Then, when we state our own notions with gentleness and modesty, we shall find that they are gently received.

We are not free to think Hard Things about Others.—We may not ‘run a-mock’ in the world! To go, head down, feet foremost, for all we are worth, and run into whatever comes in our way, may be inviting, but it does not answer. Nobody is born a Hooligan; that lordly Justice within our hearts is always down upon us for the claims of other people; and having considered the persons of these others, we awake to the fact that they, all of them, have claims upon us in regard to their character and reputation. Most of us know that we are not free to think what we like about our parents or other Heads, of our school, household, or office. Some of us do not let ourselves think disagreeable things about our brothers and sisters, servants, or other inmates of our home. There are still a few more who are careful about thoughts regarding acquaintances and outside relations; but, having got thus far, most of us feel ourselves free to think what we please about the characters of outsiders, whether it be of the man who makes our shoes, or the statesman who helps to govern us, or an acquaintance in another set.

Justice to the Characters of Others.—Justice, holding court within, ordains that we shall think fair thoughts of everybody, near or far, above or below us. [p I:144] When we are minded to think fairly, he has his group of servitors at our command, whose business it is to attend to this very matter and to come at call when they are wanted.

Candour.—Candour is at our side, and presents us with glasses of unusual power, to bring far things near and make dim things clear. Wearing these, we can see round the corner, to the other side of the question. We see that Mr Jones may be disagreeable, but that, all the same, he is trying to do his duty. That boy wore candid spectacles who (so the story goes) wrote home of his Master, “Temple is a beast, but he is a just beast.” His candid schoolmate sees that Brown is not a sneak, but a timid boy anxious to get on. Candour points out that Miss Jenkins’ annoying remark was not spiteful, but merely awkward; that even public men have a conscientious wish to do their best; that the parson probably tries to practise what he preaches; that very likely the much-abused plumber takes an interest in his work, and cares to make a good job of it; and that, even supposing the person in question has no right intention and makes no worthy effort, he is all the more to be pitied; and, if possible, helped, because in this case things must have been against him all his life. Candour shows us that a Frenchman, a German, a Russian, has qualities which John Bull would be the better for; that a Whig or a Tory, whichever it may be, has something to teach his opponent. But Candour does not take sides. He does not say to himself, ‘My family, my country, my party, my school, is pretty sure to be in the right always, and is altogether the best going,’ because he always sees that the other side, whether it be family, school, or country, may have something to say worth [p I:145] hearing. Fair-play all round is his watchword, and that makes him in the end the most staunch supporter of the side he belongs to.

Prejudice.—Opposed to Candour is Prejudice, who also hands you a pair of spectacles; but these are not clear and open to the light of day, but are rose-coloured or black, green or yellow, as the case may be. We cannot see persons as they are through these spectacles, but one person is black, another rosy as the dawn, another a sickly green or an evil yellow, according as affection, envy, hatred, or jealousy creates a prejudice in our minds, through which we cannot judge justly of the character of another. Persons cannot be candid who allow themselves to be prejudiced, either in favour of the persons they like, or against those they dislike. Indeed, dislike is itself Prejudice; and true love is quite clear-sighted and candid. There is enough beauty in the persons we love, enough right in the causes we care for, to enable us to let the light of day upon them and dispense with rose-coloured spectacles.

We shall not have our love for our country called ‘Jingoism’ if we love her with a candid love. She is great and glorious, able to bear the light of day. But what about the ‘candid friend,’ the person who sees that England is going to ruin; that we ourselves are poor things, made up on the whole of a single fault of character? England, like other countries, has need to go softly; we probably have that fault of character, we may be priggish or lazy, selfish, or what not; but where our ‘candid friend’ errs is in taking a part for the whole and magnifying one fault or weakness, so that there is nothing else to be seen. We have something to learn from him, though he is not agreeable; but, [p I:146] for ourselves, we must use the spectacles of Candour, which bring the whole landscape out in due relief.

Respect.—Candour never acts alone; on his right is that other servitor of my Lord Justice—Respect. No one can be just who does not follow the Apostolic precept, “Honour all men.” We are inclined to object that we do honour those who are worthy of honour; but that is another way of saying that we single out people here and there of whom we shall think justly; but every man and every child calls for our honour, not only because of the common brotherhood that is between us, seeing that we are all the children of one Father, but because Love and Justice, Intellect, Reason, Imagination, all the lofty rulers of Mansoul, are present, however dormant, in every man we meet. It is by honouring all men that we find out how worthy they are of honour. We may see the faults of one another in the white light of candour, but that same white light will show us that a fault, however trying, is by no means the whole person, and that there are beautiful qualities in the poorest nature to call forth our reverence. There is seldom a daily paper but reveals the unsuspected glory in some human soul. Honour begets gentleness to the persons of others, courteous attention to their words, however dull and prosy they may seem to us, and deference towards their opinions, however foolish we may think them. The person whose rash opinions are received with deference is ready to hear the other side of the question and becomes open to conviction.

Conceit.—Why do we not all honour one another? Because our vision is blinded by a graven image of ourselves. We are so taken up with thinking about ourselves that we cannot see the beauty in those [p I:147] about us, though we may be able to admire people removed from us. Conceit and self-absorption are the Dæmons which hinder us from giving that honour to all men which is their due.

Discernment.—See, now, how the servitors of Justice stand by one another! Candour, we have seen, is accompanied by Respect, and Respect is supported by Discernment. People talk about being deceived in this one and that, and we hear much of disappointed affection and of unworthy friends; but all this is quite unnecessary. In every House of Heart there stands that modest servitor of Justice whom we call Discernment. Give him free play, unhindered by Vanity or Prejudice, and he will bring you a pretty accurate report of the character of everyone with whom you come in contact. He will show you, alike, faults and virtues in another, the good and the evil. More, he will hold up his glass to your own Mansoul, and enable you to see that, though such an one has virtues as well as faults, yet the faults are of a kind that would be a snare and temptation to you, and that therefore that person is not fitted for your friendship. For lack of Discernment in character, many a person makes shipwreck of life and unites himself to another, not for goodness’ sake, but because the two have the same failings. We owe honour to all men; but Discernment steps in to help us to do Justice to ourselves, and choose for our intimacy, or service, those whose characters should be a strength to our own.

Appreciation.—Lest Discernment in his zeal should become too keen to see that which is amiss, another servitor of Justice, exquisite and delicate as Ariel, is at hand to stand or go with him. This is [p I:148] Appreciation, whose business it is to weigh and consider, duly and delicately, the merits, the fine qualities, of a person, a country, a cause, of a book or a picture. Appreciation is a delightful inmate of the House of Heart, and is continually bringing an ingathering of joy. It is so good and pleasant to notice a trait of unselfishness here, of delicacy there, of honour elsewhere; to observe and treasure the record of the beauty of perfectness in any man’s work, whether the work be a great poem or the sweeping of a room. It is a happy thing to discriminate peculiar beauties in another country and find traits of character that differ from our own in people of another nationality. Life has no greater joy-giver than Appreciation, and though this Appreciation is the due of others, and our duty towards them, we get more than we give, for there is no purer pleasure than that of seeing the good in everything, the beauty in everyone.

Depreciation.—Depreciation is the sneering Dæmon who goes about to oust this genial servitor of Justice. There are people for whom neither the weather nor their dinner, their abode nor their company, is ever quite good enough. You remark when they come down, ‘What a beautiful morning!’ They answer, ‘Yes, it is fine to-day,’ with a depreciatory reference to a day that is past. ‘What a nice woman Mrs Jones is!’ ‘Yes, if she did not wear such dreadful garments.’ ‘I enjoyed the Black Forest so much.’ ‘Oh, did you? there’s always such a lot of Germans in the hotels.’ And so goes on the depreciatory person, who moves through the world like a cuttle-fish, ready at a touch to blacken the waters about him. It is well to remember that Depreciation is Injustice. The depreciative remark may be true [p I:149] in the letter, but it is false in spirit, because it takes a part for the whole, a single defect for many excellences. Depreciation may be inspired by the monster Envy, who is perpetually going about to put stumbling-blocks in the way of Justice, and belittle the claims of others; or it may arise from Thoughtlessness, which is but a form of Self-occupation. Many of the crude and unworthy criticisms we hear of books, pictures, speeches, a song, a party, arise from the latter cause. We would not allow ourselves to depreciate if we recollected that Appreciation is one part of the Justice we owe to the characters and the works of others.

[p I:150]



Truth is not Violent.—If our thoughts are not our own, if what we think of other people is a matter of Justice or of Injustice, so also a certain manner of words is due from us to all other persons with whom we speak; and if we do not say these words we are unjust to our neighbours. If we say a false thing to another and are believed, our neighbour has a right to be angry with us; and, if he does not believe, he has a right to despise us. We have done him a hurt, not to his body perhaps, but to his mind and soul, which smart and are sore under such a hurt in much the same way as our flesh smarts and is sore after a blow. Very likely a professional ‘champion’ gets used to bruises; certainly, a person who puts himself in the way of hearing and reading what is false learns to think untruly, and must of necessity speak falsely, even if he does not intentionally tell lies. Truth is in every Mansoul, waiting upon Justice; but Truth is never violent, and there be many clamorous ones at hand to drown her voice. It rests with us to choose whom we shall hear.

[p I:151]

Botticelli’s ‘Calumny.’—There is a picture[1] in the Uffizi painted by Sandro Botticelli—in a passion of grief and righteous anger at the martyrdom of his friend and teacher, Savonarola,—wherein you see the clamorous crew who drown the words of Truth. But the figures are surprising. You expect the painter to depict these Dæmons as wrinkled hags, ugly and forbidding. We should none of us offend if sin came to us looking hateful; and Botticelli, painting from an account of a picture by the old Greek painter, Apelles, puts in the foreground a lady young and fair, with a mantle of heavenly blue over a white robe of innocence, but which reveals through slashes the black garment below. She looks composed and drops her eyes as if in regret, whilst with her right hand she drags forward, by the hair of his head, the naked and prostrate figure of Innocence. This is Calumny.

On either hand are two other beautiful maidens, clothed in fair robes, apparently dressing the hair of Calumny, in reality whispering in her ears. The one is Insidiousness, who by soft, persuasive words makes the lies of Calumny look like the Truth; and the other is Envy, fair also, for Envy of others always takes the guise of Fairness and Justice to ourselves.

Holding the left wrist of Calumny is the dark, cowled figure of Treachery, who stretches out his hand to King Midas upon his throne in order to demand a hearing. His long ears show the character of this king, for Falsehood and all her crew, Calumny, Envy, and the rest, are, in the end, but Folly. Suspicion whispers into the one and Prejudice into the [p I:152] other of the long ears of Midas, and he leans his ear now to the one and now to the other, so that their words are the only sounds that can reach him. The action of the picture takes place in a beautiful loggia, richly decorated with sculpture, for it is not in places where men work hard and live simply that Calumny and her ministers prosper. Quite in the background stands the naked Truth, pure and beautiful, averting her eyes from the evil spectacle and raising her hand to heaven, sure of a hearing there; and between her and tortured Innocence stands the dark figure of Remorse. It would be well to keep a copy of this picture before our eyes, not only for the sake of its beauty, but because it should keep us in mind of many things—that the whole brood of Falsehood, Calumny, Envy, Folly, Prejudice, Suspicion come to us in pleasant places and by insidious ways,—that they torture the innocent and drive holy Truth away by the din of many voices in our ears.

Calumny.—Truth may be driven away, but she is there; and we must keep still hearts to hear her words and obedient tongues to speak them. Calumny, we all know, is the speaking of injurious words about other people. We must keep our tongues from evil-speaking, lying, and slandering; and Wesley says that to speak evil of another when it is true is to slander, and when it is false, is to lie. Most persons are careful to cherish Truth in all they say about the people in their own homes, but how many of us are equally careful in speaking of people who live next door or in the next street? It is so easy to say that Jones is a sneak and Brown is a cad, that Mrs Jones does not feed her servants properly or that Mrs Brown over-dresses her children; that Minna cribs [p I:153] from Maria’s translation, that Harrison does not give full weight. Such things as these, about the people we have dealings with, are lightly said, often without intention; but two things have happened—our neighbour’s character has received a wound; and Truth, perhaps the most beautiful inmate of the House of Heart, has also received a hurt at our hands.

Insidiousness and Envy.—But it is not always from thoughtlessness that we let Insidiousness persuade us of the untrue thing, which, by and by, we speak. Envy is an ever-present Dæmon, ready with a calumnious word for those who excel us. If they dance better, we do not care about dancing, and they must waste a great deal of time upon it. If they dress better, it is because they spend far too much money and thought on their clothes. If they speak better, Envy calls it affectation. If they are handsomer than we, Envy says that beauty is skin-deep, and there’s not much in a handsome face if it goes with an empty head. In the Middle Ages people were afraid of Envy, and counted it one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Now, we forget that there is such a vice; and when we allow ourselves in grudging thoughts about the possessions or advantages of others, we say, ‘It’s not fair’; that is, we cover our injustice to others with a mantle of what we call justice and fairness to ourselves. But we deceive ourselves, and every sin of deceit disables us from uttering truth.

Calumnious Hearing and Calumnious Reading.—It is not only by calumnious talk that Truth is wounded. Calumnious hearing or calumnious reading may do her to death; and a simple rule will help us to discern what manner of speaking and reading is [p I:154] calumnious. Truth is never violent; and the newspaper or magazine or book, the party or the public speech, which makes strong and bitter charges against the other side, we may be sure is, for the moment, calumnious; and, if we steep ourselves in such speaking or reading, the punishment that will come upon us is that we shall become incapable of discerning Truth and shall rejoice in evil speaking.

Fanaticism.—This is what happens to people when they become fanatics. It is not that they will not believe what is said on the other side, but that they cannot; they have lost the power; and efforts to convince them are futile. A man may be a fanatic for peace or a fanatic for war, a fanatic for religion or a fanatic for atheism. In fact, it is sad that good as well as evil causes may have their fanatics, who injure what they would support by their incapacity to see more than one side of a question. A good cause may also have its martyrs; but a martyr is not a clamorous person; he suffers, but does not shout, for the cause he has at heart. It was good and refreshing, after the calumnious clamour of the press on both sides and in several countries, to come upon a book by a British officer wherein the courage and endurance of Boer and Briton alike were duly honoured, and the Boer women who followed their husbands into the trenches were spoken of with kindliness and reverence. There are few better equipments for a citizen than a mind capable of discerning the Truth, whether it lie on the side of our party or on that of our opponents. But this just mind can only be preserved by those who take heed what they hear, and how.

The Sovereign Good.—“But howsoever,” as Bacon says, “these things are thus in men’s depraved judgments [p I:155] and affections, yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making, or wooing of it; the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it; and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it; is the sovereign good of human nature.”

[p I:156]



We have not yet come to ‘telling the truth,’ because no one can tell the Truth who does not see it and know it in his heart, and who does not believe, with Sir Roger de Coverley, that “there is a great deal to be said on both sides” of most questions.

Veracity.—First among the handmaidens of Truth, that is, spoken Truth, is Veracity—the habit of letting our words express the exact fact so far as we know it. Having spoken what we believe to be the fact, let us avoid qualifications. Do not let us say, ‘At least I think so,’ ‘At least I believe so,’ ‘Perhaps it was not so,’ ‘All the girls were there, at least some of them,’ ‘We walked ten miles, at any rate six’; such qualifications imply a want of Veracity; we are self-convicted of a loose statement, and try to set ourselves right with our conscience by an excess of scrupulousness which has the effect of making our hearers doubt the Truth of what we have spoken. But what are we to do, when, having said a thing, we begin to doubt if it is true? Words once spoken must be let alone: it is useless to unsay or qualify, explain or alter, or to appeal for confirmation or denial to another person. When we think how final words are, we shall be [p I:157] careful not to rush into statements without knowledge; we shall not come in with the cry, ‘Mother! mother! there are a thousand cats in the garden.’ ‘Are there, George? Have you counted them?’ ‘Well, anyway, there’s our cat and another!’ We must be sure of our facts before we speak, and avoid speaking about matters concerning which we have only the vaguest knowledge. People are too apt to assume in conversation an intimate knowledge of matters of literature and art, for example, that they know very little about.

Scrupulosity is not Veracity.—At the same time it is well to remember that Scrupulosity is not Veracity, and that to put an end to talk by tiresome scrupulousness is not the behaviour of a truthful person. One can avoid a false assumption of knowledge without saying, ‘I do not know’; a remark inconvenient to the other person.

Another kind of Scrupulosity is very tiresome in talk. Somebody says, ‘I saw seven men in the lane,’ and the scrupulous person corrects him with, ‘Excuse me, I think it was six men and a youth.’ ‘I met Mr Jones on Tuesday,’ and the correction is, ‘I think, if you recollect, it was on Wednesday.’ ‘It has been fine all the week’: correction, ‘No, I think not; there was a shower on Thursday’; and so on, to distraction; for there are few habits which more successfully put an end to conversation than the distinctly priggish one of looking after the Veracity of other people in matters of not the smallest moment. Common politeness requires us to assume the good faith of the speaker; and, that being assumed, it is not of the least consequence whether there were ten or twelve people in the hayfield, whether a flock of [p I:158] sheep, passed on the road, numbered eighty or a hundred. Veracity requires us to speak the fact so far as we know it, to take pains not to talk about what we do not know; but it by no means requires us to keep watch over the conversation of others and correct their information by means of our own, probably even less accurate.

Exaggeration.—Another more or less casual departure from Veracity comes of the habit of Exaggeration. We have ‘a thousand things to do’: perhaps we have four; ‘everyone says so,’ which means that our friends Mrs Simpson and Mary Carter have said so, or perhaps only Mrs Simpson. Few heads of a household do not know the tiresome tyranny of—‘We always do so-and-so’: probably we have done it once. In the case of sickness, war, calamity, people are eager to make the most and the worst of what has happened, and the headlines of the newspaper showing the biggest number of casualties are most often quoted and most readily believed, though to-morrow may show how false they are. We cannot keep a delicate sense of Truth if we let ourselves listen to and carry rumours. Let us use our Common Sense to sift what we hear, and still more what we read, and wait for facts to be ascertained before we help to spread reports. Men have been ruined, the good name of a family destroyed, through the thoughtless carrying on of an idle rumour.

Exaggeration in speech, even when it is more foolish than mischievous, is a failure in Veracity. One cannot be ‘awfully sorry’ not to go for a walk and ‘awfully glad’ to get a letter, and leave anything to say when we have lost our best friend or gained a great happiness.

[p I:159]

The Habit of Generalising.—The habit of generalising, of stating something about a whole class of persons or things which we have noticed in only one or two cases, is one to be carefully guarded against by a person who would fain be, like our King Alfred, a truth-teller. ‘All the cups are cracked,’ when one is so. ‘All the streets are up’: perhaps two are. ‘Oh, no, I can’t bear Rossetti’s pictures’: the critic has seen but one. ‘I love Schumann’s songs’: again, the critic has heard one. Let us stop generalisations of this kind before they escape our lips. They are not truthful, because they give the idea of a wider knowledge or experience than we possess; and, by the indulgence of this manner of loose statement, we incapacitate ourselves for the scientific habit of mind—accurate observation and exact record.

Of Making a Good Story.—Many persons are tempted to make a good story of a trifling incident. If a dog cock his tail at a whistle, they see enough fun in the situation to make you ‘laugh consumedly.’ All power to their elbow, as the Irishman would say. Humour, the power of seeing and describing the ludicrous side of things, is a gift that, like mercy, blesses him that gives and him that takes. It is a dangerous gift, all the same. The temptations to Irreverence, Discourtesy, even to a touch of Malice, for the embellishment of a story, are hard to be resisted; and, if these pitfalls be escaped, the incessant making of fun, perpetration of small jokes, becomes a weariness to the flesh of those who have to listen. The jocose person has need of self-restraint, or he becomes a bore; and his embellishments must be of the sort which no one is expected to believe, like the [p I:160] golden leg of Miss Kilmansegg, or his Veracity is at stake and he perils Truth to win a laugh.

The Realm of Fiction—Essential and Accidental Truth.—What shall we say of fable, poetry, romance, the whole realm of fiction? There are two sorts of Truth. What we may call accidental Truth; that is, that such and such a thing came to pass in a certain place at a certain hour on a certain day; and this is the sort of Truth we have to observe in our general talk. The other, the Truth of Art, is what we may call essential Truth; that, for example, given, such and such a character, he must needs have thought and acted in such and such a way, with such and such consequences; given, a certain aspect of nature, and the poet will receive from it such and such ideas; or, certain things of common life, as a dog with a bone, for example, will present themselves to the thinker as fables, illustrating some of the happenings of life. This sort of fiction is of enormous value to us, whether we find it in poetry or romance; it teaches us morals and manners; what to do in given circumstances; what will happen if we behave in a certain way. It shows how, what seems a little venial fault is often followed by dreadful consequences, and our eyes are opened to see that it is not little or venial, but is a deep-seated fault of character; some selfishness, shallowness, or deceitfulness upon which a man or woman makes shipwreck. We cannot learn these things except through what is called fiction, or from the bitter experience of life, from the penalties of which our writers of fiction do their best to spare us.

The Value of Fiction depends on the Worth of the Writer.—But you will see at once that the value [p I:161] of fiction as a moral teacher depends upon the wisdom, insight, and goodness of the writer; that a shallow mind will give false and shallow teaching; and, therefore, that it is only the best fiction that is lawful reading, because in no other shall we find this sort of essential Truth.

Fiction affects our Enthusiasms.—Not only are morals and manners taught, but our enthusiasms, even our religion, are kindled by fiction, whether in prose or verse. Our Lord Himself gave some of his deepest teaching in the fabulous stories known to us as parables; and, when severely literal people (who do not realise that, as we have said, Truth is of two sorts, the merely accidental and the essential, the passing and the everlasting, the Truth for to-day and the Truth for all time), would fain throw scorn upon the Bible records by telling us that the Garden of Eden and the Serpent and the Apple, the Flood, and much besides, are mere fables or allegories, we are not staggered.

Essential Truth.—The thing that matters to us in the Bible stories is their essential Truth. All godly people have known the walls of Jericho to fall before their faith and the trumpet-blast of their prayers. They have known seas of difficulty, which threatened to overwhelm them, divide to let them go forward. They have heard the voice of the Lord in the cool of the evening speaking to quiet and obedient hearts; and they know out of the experience of their own lives that by means of song and story, psalm and prophecy, the Bible reveals the ways of God with man, and all that there is in the heart of man. These are the things that matter; so they are quite ready to wait the verdict of the critics as to whether a certain [p I:162] narrative records facts that took place in a given year; whether such a book was written by one man, or by two. All this is deeply interesting, but has nothing to do with the essential, permanent Truth, the revelation of the otherwise unknown about God and about man which stamps the several books of the Bible with the divine seal.

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Malicious Lies.—Scrupulosity, rash generalisation, exaggeration, amusing representation, are, as it were, the light skirmishers which assault the defences of the fortress of Truth as chance offers; but there are also the sappers and miners who dig under its foundations, and these ask for our more serious attention. There are, as we have seen, Malice and Envy, which lead to Calumny; and of all lies none are more hateful than those told to lower another in the esteem of his friends. The law of the land steps in to save our reputation from hurt, as it does to save us from bodily harm, but many hurtful words may be lightly spoken without fear of the law against libel.

Cowardly Lies.—Cowardice, again, makes for Falsehood. We have done or said a thing that we are made ashamed of, and our first impulse is to deny it. We didn’t drop the match which caused the fire, or forget to write the note which politeness required, or say the thing which offended Mrs Foster. The lie is the refuge of the coward when he is found out in a fault. But let us rally our forces and own up; our friends love us the better, in spite of our fault, if we will only say we have done it; they like our courage [p I:164] and honour us for remembering that “all liars are an abomination unto the Lord.”

“Dare to be true. Nothing can need a lie;

A fault which needs it most grows two thereby.”

The Falsehood of Reserve.—Akin to the lie of Concealment is the habit of Reserve, which, though it does not tell a lie, fails to tell the truth. ‘Where have you been to-day?’ ‘Oh! I went for a walk in the direction of Milton.’ We have really been to the town and bought chocolate or shopped, let us say. Frank speech would have made all plain, and to be frank about our little affairs is of the nature of Truth, and is a duty we owe to the people we live with. As a matter of fact, most people know when a lie is being told them, or when something is being held back.

Boasting Lies.—Vain persons tell boasting lies; they think their friends will value them the more for what they have got or for the things they have seen or done, or for the fine people they know. Like all lying, this is foolish as well as wicked. If we gain, by boastful lies, the friendship of the foolish and the vain; that very friendship is an injury to our own character and it is only the vain and foolish that we can deceive; good and sensible people are quite up to us, and the more we boast the less they think of us.

Romancing Lies.—There are people who live so constantly in castles in Spain of their own building that they romance in their talk. They will tell you they have been here and there, have talked with this and that grand person, or perhaps that they have been kidnapped and left on a desert island, or that they are not really the children of their parents, but changelings, the sons and daughters of a duke or of a rag-picker. [p I:165] This manner of lying comes of a very dangerous habit of mind. When people cannot discern between fact and fancy, and mix the two in their talk, they are gradually losing the use of their Reason, and are qualifying themselves to end in a madhouse. We may not allow ourselves to say things of which Reason and Conscience do not approve.

Lies for Friendship’s Sake.—It is not easy to speak the truth when to do so will get a friend into trouble. ‘Did you leave the gate open?’ ‘No.’ ‘Did Tom?’ You know that Tom did, and that it is his fault that the sheep have eaten the carnations. What are you to say? No decent boy could own up another’s fault, but neither may he tell a lie to screen his friend at his own expense. But if you say, ‘Tom is my friend, I cannot tell of what he does or does not do,’ most likely no more questions will be asked. One more caution: ‘All’s fair in love and war’ is made to cover many lies. People think they must speak the truth on their own side, but a lie is good enough for their opponents. They forget that a lie is a two-edged sword, injuring those who speak more than those who hear, and that no one can wear ‘the white flower of a blameless life’ who is not known to friend and foe alike as one whose word is to be trusted.

Magna est Veritas.—Let us take courage: Truth, the handmaid of Justice, is a beautiful presence in every Mansoul, and with her are her attendant group, Veracity; Simplicity, whose part it is to secure that every spoken word means just what it appears to mean, and nothing more and nothing less: Sincerity, which secures that word of mouth tallies exactly with thought of heart, that we say exactly what [p I:166] we think: Fidelity, which makes us faithful to every promise at any cost—always excepting such promises as should never have been made; the only honourable thing that we can do is to break a promise which is wrong in itself. It is true that the Dæmons of the qualities are there also—Duplicity, with hints and innuendoes and double meanings; Deceit, trying to trip up Sincerity and pour out words of congratulation, sympathy, kindness, from the teeth outwards; Perfidiousness, which breaks through faith and makes promises of none effect. But, again, let us take courage; these are the aliens to be routed by every valiant Mansoul.

Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit.

[p I:167]



Integrity in Work—‘Ca’ Canny.’—Some time ago the newspapers brought a serious charge against the ‘British workman.’ He was said to have taken ‘Ca’ canny’ for his motto. That is to say, the man paid by the hour was pledged to do as little work as he decently could in the time. If he were a bricklayer, for example, he was limited to the laying of a certain number of bricks, perhaps half as many as might be laid in the time; and so on with other employments. This action was supposed to promote the interests of men out of work, because there would in this way be more work to go round.

Persons of understanding see that this is a fallacy. It is the man who does good and honest work, getting in as much as he can in a given time, who promotes the interests of his class; because he induces people with money to spend it in getting work well and honestly done, whether it be the building of houses or the making of shoes. The ‘ca’-canny’ workman is a hindrance and cause of loss to his employer, puts other employers out of conceit with his trade, and gives a bad name both to his class and his country; and of all the complaints that men and nations suffer [p I:168] from, there is none which it takes so long to get over as that of a bad name. The man who does less work than he can, or worse work than he can, in a given time, may make fine pretences to himself about benefiting his fellows, but he will never deceive anyone.

A Standard.—You have probably noticed the standard yard measure cut in the granite at a corner of Trafalgar Square. Should there be a dispute as to the proper length of a yard, it could be finally settled by comparison with this standard measure. Now, everyone carries a similar standard measure in his own breast—a rule by which he judges of the integrity of a workman. He knows whether the work turned out by such and such a man is whole and complete, is what we call honest work. It is by this unwritten law of integrity that every true man, who is neither grasping nor lax, tries the work that is brought to him. Though his verdict may not be spoken, he classes the work either as honest or dishonest. The honest worker he considers a person of integrity, that is, a whole man.

We are all Paid Labourers.—We may not all be bricklayers or carpenters, but in some sense we are all paid labourers, and cannot escape the binding obligation of integrity.

The schoolboy, the young man at college, receives payment in two kinds—the cost of his education and the trust reposed in him by his parents and teachers. He has also another employer, who is apt to be lax while the work is being done, but visits the worker with heavy penalties in the long run. Every person owes integrity to himself as well as to others; and it is he, himself, who will suffer most in the end for every failure to produce honest work in a given time.

[p I:169]

After the period of what we call education, whether the girl employ herself at home, or girl or boy go to work to carve out a place in the world, there are still employers to be counted with, and wages to be accounted for, though they be the unstinted and ungrudging wages given in the freedom of home life. We cannot escape the duty of integrity, however easy things may be for us. Certain obligations are due from us in return for what we receive; due from us to our parents and family, or to our employer or chief; and still more, due to ourselves and our own future—to the character we are continually making or marring. As a matter of fact, it is easier to do the definite work of school or profession than the easily evaded, indefinite work which belongs to the home daughter.

Integrity grows.—We know that an integer is a whole number; and a man of integrity is a whole man, complete and sound. Like Rome itself, such a man is not built in a day. From his youth up he has been aware of temptations to scamp, dawdle over, postpone, get out of his work—nay, even to crib his work, that is, get it done by another hand and pass it off as his own.

He has been tempted to say to himself, ‘It doesn’t matter,’ ‘Oh, that’ll do,’ ‘It’s as good as Jones’s, anyway,’ ‘He’ll never know the difference,’ ‘He won’t notice,’ ‘I don’t see the good of taking so much trouble,’ ‘This won’t count in the exam.’ (and pages of thoughtful writing are left unread). These, and a hundred other temptations to dally with his work, the man of integrity has put from him. He has said to himself, ‘I owe it to my parents’—or my teachers, or my employers—‘to do this thing as well and as [p I:170] quickly as I can; what is more, I owe it to myself.’ He buckles to, and is not to be decoyed by a lazy comrade or inviting hobby until the particular task is done.

Everything he has undertaken has helped to make him a whole man; every bit of work, Latin hexameters, quadratics, a set of bookshelves, everything he has attempted, has been an honest job. I do not say he has never shirked a job that came his way for the sake of an engrossing hobby, but he has never played ‘ca’ canny’ with his work. If he have shirked now and then, he has done it completely, and has had to own up; but the things he has done have been done honestly. That is the history of the man of integrity—who was not made in a day. ‘Oh, I could not grind like that, whatever I should get by it!’ Now, that is a mistake. The whole worker goes at his job with a will, does it completely and with pleasure, and has more leisure for his own diversions than the poor ‘ca’-canny’ creature whose jobs never get done.

It is a fine thing to look back upon even a single year in which the tasks that came to hand have been done, wholly done, in which we have kept our integrity—as son, in such small matters as exactness in messages; as pupil or student, by throwing our whole mind into our work. Even games want the whole of the player, they want Integrity.

‘Do ye Nexte Thynge.’—We are all convinced that Integrity is a fine thing. Our hearts rise within us at the name of this grace. We say to ourselves, ‘It shall be mine. I am determined that I shall be a man of integrity.’ But in the Kingdom of Mansoul, as in the bigger world, everything depends upon other things, and no one can have this fine quality [p I:171] without putting his mind, as well as his heart, into the effort of getting it.

Now, the eager soul who gives attention and zeal to his work often spoils its completeness by chasing after many things when he should be doing the next thing in order.

He has to write a theme, and looks up ‘Plassy’ in the Encyclopædia; but he finds ‘Plato’ on the way, and sets off on a course of investigation so interesting that time is up, and his theme unwritten, or scrambled through in a poor and meagre way. It is well to make up our mind that there is always a next thing to be done, whether in work or play; and that the next thing, be it ever so trifling, is the right thing; not so much for its own sake, perhaps, as because, each time we insist upon ourselves doing the next thing, we gain power in the management of that unruly filly, Inclination.

Do the Chief Thing.—But to find ‘ye nexte thynge’ is not, after all, so simple. It is often a matter of selection. There are twenty letters to write, a dozen commissions to do, a score of books you want to read, and much ordering and arranging of shelves and drawers that you would like to plunge into at once.

It has been amusingly said, “Never do to-day what you can put off till to-morrow.” The dilatory, procrastinating person rejoices over a counsel he can follow! But not so fast, friend; this easy-going rule of life means “putting first things first.” Now, the power of ordering, organising, one’s work which this implies distinguishes between a person of intelligence and the unintelligent person who lets himself be swamped by details. The latter will grind steadily through the twenty letters, say, just as they come to hand. [p I:172] He has to leave his correspondence unfinished; and the three or four letters which it was necessary to answer by return are left over for another day.

The power to distinguish what must be done at once, from what may be done, comes pretty much by habit. At first it requires attention and thought. But mind and body get into the way of doing most things; and the person, whose mind has the habit of singling out the important things and doing them first, saves much annoyance to himself and others, and has gained in Integrity.

The Habit of Finishing.—What is worth beginning is worth finishing, and what is worth doing is worth doing well. Do not let yourself begin to make a dozen things, all of them tumbling about unfinished in your box. Of course there are fifty reasons for doing the new thing; but here is another case where we must curb that filly, Inclination. It is worth while to make ourselves go on with the thing we are doing until it is finished. Even so, there is the temptation to scamp in order to get at the new thing; but let us do each bit of work as perfectly as we know how, remembering that each thing we turn out is a bit of ourselves, and we must leave it whole and complete; for this is Integrity.

The idle, the careless, and the volatile may be engaging enough as companions, but they do not turn out honest work, and are not building up for themselves integrity of character. This rests upon the foundations of diligence, attention, and perseverance. In the end, integrity makes for gaiety, because the person who is honest about his work has time to play, and is not secretly vexed by the remembrance of things left undone or ill done.

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Drifters and Dawdlers.—It is a bad thing to think that time is our own to do what we like with. We are all employed; we all have duties, and a certain share of our time must be given to those duties. It is astonishing how much time there is in a day, and how many things we can get in if we have a mind. It is also astonishing how a day, a week, or a year may slip through our fingers, and nothing done. We say we have done no harm, that we have not meant to do wrong. We have simply let ourselves drift. Boys or girls will drift through life at school, men or women through life in the world, effecting nothing, because they have not taken hold. They fail in examinations, in their professions, in the duty of providing for a family, in the duty of serving their town or their country, not because they are without brains, nor because they are vicious, but because they do not see that to use time is a duty.

They dawdle through the working day, hoping that some one will make them do the thing they ought. Now, this is a delusion. No one can make even a little child do things. If he is obedient, it is because he makes himself obey; if he is diligent, he makes himself work, and not all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can make the dawdler diligent; he himself must make himself do the thing he ought at the right time. This power of making oneself work is a fine thing. Every effort makes the next easier, and, once we mount upon that easy nag, Habit, why, it is a real satisfaction to do the day’s work in the day, and be free to enjoy the day’s leisure.

[p I:174]

Cribbing Time.—Some people dearly like to be going on with a little job of their own in the time which should have a fixed employment. The girl who is sewing has a story-book at hand. The youth tries chemical experiments when he should be ‘reading.’ The time may be used for quite a good end, but it is ‘cribbed’ from the occupation to which it belongs.

We cannot, as you will see presently, afford to have cracks in our character. Integrity forbids this sort of meanness. Every piece of work has its due time. The time which is due to an occupation belongs to that, and must not be used for any other purpose. Dick Swiveller is an amusing fellow enough as he entertains himself by poising the ruler on his chin, shooting pens at a mark, and bantering the ‘Marchioness’ during his office hours. But that is why Dick found himself where he was, and made such a poor thing of his life; he had not got it into his by no means stupid head that work and time have anything to do with each other.

Integrity in Material: Honesty.—“My duty towards my neighbour is—to keep my hands from picking and stealing”; so says the Church Catechism, and this is the common acceptation of the word honesty. We should, of course, all scorn to take what belongs to another person, and feel ourselves safe so far, anyway, as this charge goes.

Strange things come to light from time to time: we hear of a man, who has lived for sixty years; a respected and prosperous citizen, a gentleman, not only in position, but in the sense of being an honourable man; and when this man is sixty, he embezzles large sums of money, apparently for the first time. Now, people do not go down in this way the first time. [p I:175] It is the vessel with a leak that sinks; and that leak, the breach in a man’s integrity, may have existed since his boyhood without sinking him until he was in the rough sea of a great temptation.

We must be careful in our money dealings, all the more, the more we are trusted. Honest persons are scrupulous about giving a right account of change, for example.

One caution we must bear in mind: we may not spend what we have not got. Our allowance may come at the end of the month, but we must wait to lay it out until it is actually in hand. Mr Micawber was right in theory if not in practice, and who should know if not he? “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen, nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

The schoolboy who gets ‘tick’ or borrows from his schoolmates grows into the man who is behindhand with his accounts, and that means, not only an injury to the persons who have supplied him with their goods, but a grave injury to himself. He becomes so harassed and worried with the pressure of debts here and debts there, that he has no room in his mind for thoughts that are worth while. His loss of integrity is a leak which sinks his whole character.

Small Debts.—In this connection we should bear in mind the duty of promptness in paying small debts. We commonly have the money for them, but do not take the trouble to pay. A tradesman, say, has sent in a bill for eighteenpence half a dozen times, he paying the postage. The debtor will not take the pains to transmit the small amount. Again, [p I:176] a girl will let herself be asked seven times for a sum of threepence. No person of integrity allows himself in this kind of negligence. That it is troublesome and annoying to other people is not the worst of the mischief. That beautiful whole which we call integrity is marred by sins of negligence.

Bargains.—There is another failure in integrity which people do not realise to be as debasing as debt, though probably its effects are as bad; and that is the bargain-hunting in which even right-minded persons allow themselves.

It arises from an error in thought. People set out with the idea that they must get the best that is to be had at the lowest possible price; and out of this idea arise the unseemly scramble to be seen at ‘Sales’; the waste of time, temper, and health in going from shop to shop in search of the ‘cheapest and best’ article; the dishonest waste of the time of the assistants in all these shops—a waste for which, of course, the customers pay in the end: and to these is often added the fretful disappointment of a ‘Purple Jar’; a fine and showy thing is brought home which fails to bear the tests of close examination and calm judgment. The whole thing might be set right, and the ways of trade mended, by the exercise of clear judgment informed by integrity of purpose.

What we want is—not the best thing that can be had at the lowest possible price—but a thing suitable for our purpose, at a price which we can afford to pay and know to be just.

Looked at from this point of view, the whole matter is simplified; we are no longer perpetually running round, harassing ourselves and wearing out other people in the search after bargains. Every [p I:177] purchase becomes a simple, straightforward duty. We feel it to be a matter of integrity to deal with tradesmen of our own neighbourhood, so far as they can supply us. If they fail to do so, we are at liberty to go further afield; but in this case, we soon fix upon the distant tradesman who can supply our needs, and escape the snare of bargain-hunting.

There is a further risk in bargain-hunting of which we should be aware. Nothing is cheap that we do not want; and the temptation to buy a thing for which no need has yet arisen, because it is a bargain, leads to a waste of money wanted for other uses, and to the accumulation of meaningless objects in our rooms. It is worth while to remember that space is the most precious and also the most pleasing thing in a house or room; and that even a small room becomes spacious if it is not crowded with useless objects.

Our Neighbour’s Property.—Another point of integrity is care for our neighbour’s property. To love our neighbour as ourselves means that we shall be at least as careful in the use of his property as in that of our own. We all borrow books, whether from public libraries or from our friends, and it behoves us to take as much care of the books we borrow as of our own treasured possessions. We do not spot the covers by laying them in damp places, nor curl them before the fire, nor strain the binding by marking our place with some big object.

If we are walking in public gardens, we remember that it is not an easy thing to keep the grass nice in such places, and take heed not to walk on the edges. We are careful of the school property if we are at school, of the college property if at college; for these matters belong to integrity. Care in small matters [p I:178] makes us trustworthy in greater. When we come to be trusted with the property of others, whether in money or material, we are on our guard against wastefulness, carelessness, extravagance, because integrity requires that we should take care of and make the most of whatever property is put into our hands. We may not allow ourselves to waste even a stick of sealing-wax for amusement.

Borrowed Property.—The question of borrowing falls under the head of the care we owe to other people’s property. From a black-lead pencil to an umbrella, young people borrow without stint; and there is so much community of property and good fellowship among them that the free use of each other’s belongings is perhaps hardly to be objected to. One word, though, in the name of honesty! What we borrow we must return promptly, the thing being none the worse for our use of it. No degree of community of life excuses us from this duty. The friend we borrow from may take no heed of the fact that we do not return the object; but we suffer in our wholeness, our integrity, from all such lapses.

As we have seen, our work, our time, the material or property of which we have the handling, are all matters for the just and honest use of which we are accountable. We may be guilty of many lapses which no one notices, but every lapse makes an imperfection in our own character. We have less integrity after a lapse than before it; and the habit of permitting ourselves in small dishonesties, whether in the way of waste of time, slipshod work, or injured property, prepares the way for a ruinous downfall in after life. But we need fear no fall, for Integrity is with us, a part of ‘ourselves,’ and only asks of us a hearing.

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Three ‘Opinions.’—When we say, ‘I think it will be fine to-morrow,’ we express an opinion. When we say, ‘Jones is first-rate; you should hear his lectures on the Anabasis,’ again we express an opinion, though the ‘I think’ is left out. Even if we say, ‘Let us walk to Purley Woods,’ what we really mean is, ‘I think it would be pleasant to walk to Purley Woods.’ We cannot escape from thinking, however much we try; and the thought we have about person or thing is our opinion. People often say ‘I think’ when they mean ‘I wish’; for really to have an opinion about such a matter as the weather, for example, means that one has noticed weather signs and is able to judge. Therefore, when we want an opinion about the weather that is worth having, we consult the gardener, or a farmer, or sailor, for the business of these men has made them observant of weather signs.

When we say, ‘Jones is first-rate,’ it may mean that we have enjoyed the lectures of that master and like him personally; if so, our opinion is worth having; or it may only mean that we have caught up a catchword of the class. Everybody speaks well of Mr [p I:180] Jones, and we only join in the cry. This sort of opinion is quite worthless, and would shift round like a weather-cock if some ill-natured boy raised a contrary opinion about Jones, as, ‘What queer ties he wears!’ The boy who lives upon chance opinions does not look at the relative importance of those he gets hold of. Jones’s ties and Jones’s lectures are all one to him, and poor Mr Jones rises or sinks in his scales with every chance remark he hears about him.

If Mary says, ‘Let’s go to Purley Woods,’ her opinion is sincere enough. She remembers the primroses of former years, and inclination influences her thoughts. We get a real opinion, his very own, from the person who wants something; but it is not a safe opinion, because our wishes drown our judgment, and we rush headlong after the thing we want. This is the history of the youth who falls into bad ways. His opinions are subservient to his wishes, and he thinks only that which it pleases him to believe.

An Opinion worth having.—We may gather three rules, then, as to an opinion that is worth the having. We must have thought about the subject and know something about it, as a gardener does about the weather; it must be our own opinion, and not caught up as a parrot catches up its phrases; and lastly, it must be disinterested, that is, it must not be influenced by our inclination.

But, ‘Why need we have opinions at all,’ you are inclined to ask, ‘if they mean such a lot of trouble?’ Just because we are persons. Every person has many opinions, either his own, honestly thought out, or picked up from his pet newspaper, or from his favourite companion. The person who thinks out his [p I:181] opinions modestly and carefully is doing his duty as truly as if he helped to save a life. There is no more or less about duty; and it is a great part of our work in life to do our duty in our thoughts and form just opinions.

Opinions on Trial.—As you know, we have a mentor within us, about which I shall have to speak more fully later; but, once we get into the habit of bringing our thoughts before Conscience, we shall soon be able to distinguish as to the right or wrong of an opinion before we utter it.

‘Fads.’—‘But such a fuss about what one thinks is a fad, and people with fads are a nuisance’; you say, adding, ‘I hate fellows that have notions; they never let you alone.’ It is quite true, fads are tiresome; and for one of two reasons—either the person with the fad thinks too much about it, and does not trouble himself to form opinions upon a hundred other matters of equal importance; or, he has taken up his opinion without full, all-round knowledge of the subject. ‘Fads’ are tiresome, but some men seem called to be faddists, in so far as they are persons ruled by one idea, because it is laid upon them to bring about a reform.

Thus were Wilberforce and Clarkson occupied with the question of the slave-trade; Plimsoll, with that of unseaworthy vessels; Howard, with the question of prison discipline. Every great missionary, every great reformer, has his mind so largely occupied with one subject that there is little room for others. Such men as these are not faddists: they do not take extreme or one-sided views, though one subject occupies them to the exclusion of others.

But only a few of us are called to give ourselves up [p I:182] to some work of reformation; and therefore the rest of us must not allow ourselves to be occupied too much with one set of ideas. The faddist is the person who talks and thinks about one subject; but if, instead of merely talking and thinking, he devotes his life to one good end, he becomes one of the world’s workers, a reformer.

Matters upon which we must form Opinions.—We must all get opinions about our own country, about other countries, about occupations, amusements, about the books we read, the persons we hear of, the persons we meet, the pictures we see, the characters we read of, whether in fiction or history; in fact, there is nothing which passes before our minds about which it is not our business to form just and reasonable opinions. That we may be able to do this, we spend a good many years, while we are young, in getting the knowledge which should enable us to think. When we are grown-up, also, it is still necessary to spend time in getting knowledge, but few can give the chief part of the day to this labour, as we all have the chance of doing while we are young. This chance is, however, wasted upon young people who read to learn up facts towards an examination. The lectures we hear, the books we read, are of no use to us, except as they make us think.

When Numa was offered the kingship of Rome, he had thought about the subject. He said that he had no special gifts of education or birth to fit him for rule: but the Romans, too, thought, and expressed their opinion. Would he not take the crown, they asked, to save his country from misrule? That question contained an opinion which Numa had not [p I:183] considered. There were, no doubt, those who might wish to govern Rome for selfish ends; the opinion of the Romans was a just one, he would be guided by it, so he became king. Here we get a very good example of how opinion should rule us in life. We must think about things, about everything, for ourselves; think out the responsibility of judge and general, king and minister, so that, should we be suddenly asked to take any of these positions, we shall know what to answer.

Of course, we should say, as did Numa in the first place, that we have not had the experience or education to fit us for such high office; and, of course again, we shall not be asked! But it is a great thing to have realised what other people have to do and to think about; to have gone with Colonel Younghusband to Thibet, to have defended Port Arthur with General Stoessel. Thus we get opinions which are worth holding about war, patriotism, the duties of a public servant, and many other matters. What is more, we endeavour to figure to ourselves the responsibilities and purposes of parents, masters, or whatever chief is placed above us; and, when we give an opinion about their actions, it is likely to be a just one.

As for the clergyman and his teaching, it is, as in other cases, only as we care about the things of religion and think much about them, that we have the right to give opinions.

Opinions about Books.—In the same way, we must be just in what we think about books. Trashy books are not worth the trouble of thinking about, and therefore they are not worth reading; but a book that is worth reading, whether it be a novel or a [p I:184] homily, contains the best thought of the writer, and we can only get at his meaning by serious thinking.

As a fact, the books which make us think, the poems which we ponder, the lives of men which we consider, are of more use to us than volumes of good counsel. We read what boys call ‘good books,’ thinking how good they are, and how good we are to read them! Then it all goes, because the writer has put what he had to say so plainly that we have not had to think for ourselves; and it seems to be a law in the things of life and mind that we do not get anything for our own unless we work for it. It is a case of lightly come, lightly go. That is why we are told of our Lord that “without a parable spake He not unto them.” He told the people stories which they might allow to pass lightly through their minds as an interest of the moment, or which they might think upon, form opinions upon, and find in them a guide to the meaning of their lives.

Your opinions about books and other things will very likely be wrong, and you will yourself correct them by and by when you have read more, thought more, know more. Indeed, no wise person, however old, is sure of his opinions. He holds them fast, but he holds them modestly; and, should he be like Numa, convinced that the opinion of others is more sound than his own, why, he has no shame in what we call ‘changing his mind.’ “We are none of us infallible, not even the youngest!” was said by a wise and witty man, who knew that young people are apt to be cocksure—that is, to take up opinions at second hand and stick to them obstinately. The word opinion literally means ‘a thinking’; what I [p I:185] think, with modesty and hesitation, and not what I am certain-sure about.

Our Duty with regard to Opinion.—We begin to see what is our duty about opinions. In the first place, we must have ‘a thinking’ about an immense number of things. So we must read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest; must listen and consider, being sure that one of the purposes we are in the world for is, to form right opinions about all matters that come in our way.

Next, we must avoid the short road to opinions; we must not pick them up ready made at any street-corner; and next, we must learn—and this is truly difficult, a matter that takes us all our lives—to recognise a fallacy, that is, an argument which appears sound but does not bear examination. For example, ‘We are all born equal’; so we are, with equal right to the pure air, to the beauty of earth and sky, to the protection of the laws of our country, and much besides. But the sense in which men use the phrase is,—that we are all born with an equal right to the property that is in the world. That is absurd, as the very word ‘property’ shows us: property means ownership, it is the own possession of the persons who hold it. We are ashamed even of a cuckoo that appropriates the own nest of another bird. But the question of fallacies is a big one, and all we need bear in mind now is, that popular cries, whether in the school or the country, very often rest upon fallacies or false judgments. So we must look all round the notions we take up.

Next, before forming an opinion about anyone in place and power, we must try to realise and understand that person’s position and all that belongs to it. [p I:186] One more thing, when we have arrived at an opinion we must remember that it is only ‘a thinking,’ and must hold it with diffidence; but because it is our thinking, our very own property that has come to us through pondering, we must hold it firmly, unless, like Numa, we are convinced that another view is sounder than our own.

But, once again, we may not be sluggish in this matter of opinion. It is the chief part of Justice to think just thoughts about the matters that come before us, and the best and wisest men are those who have brought their minds to bear upon the largest number of subjects, and have learned to think just thoughts about them all. It is a comfort to know that Justice, that lord of the heart, is always at hand to weigh the opinions we allow ourselves to take up.

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Principles, Bad and Good.—There is a certain class of opinions of which we must take special heed. Sometimes we get them from others, sometimes we think them out for ourselves; but, in either case, we make them our own because we act upon them. These opinions rule our conduct, and they are called Principles because they are princeps, first or chief in importance of all the opinions we hold. We speak of a well-principled boy, a man of principle, a young woman of high principles; but everyone has principles—that is, everyone has a few chief and leading opinions upon which every bit of his conduct is based. The boy who is late for roll-call, cribs his translation, shirks both games and work, may not know it, but he is acting upon principle. His principles may not even have found their way into words, but, if we fish for them, they come up something in this form: ‘What’s the good of doing more than you can help?’ ‘What’s the good of hurrying a fellow? I’m not going to hustle!’ ‘It’s all rot anyway, I shall never have to talk Latin.’ These, and the like, are the principles on which his whole conduct is based. He has allowed himself in thinking the thoughts of the slothful and [p I:188] negligent until he cannot get away from them. People call him an unprincipled boy, but probably there are no unprincipled persons; he is a boy who has deliberately chosen bad principles upon which to build all his conduct.

Another fellow is punctual, prompt, and diligent in his work; he hardly knows why himself, but he has gathered, by degrees, certain principles upon which he cannot help acting. He remembers that he owes it to his parents and teachers to work; that what he owes, he ought to do; it is his duty. Again, he recognises that knowledge is delightful, and that his business while he is young is to get all he can of it. He sees, too, that his future career depends upon his present work; that he is making in the schoolroom the man that is to be. He may have heard such things as these said at home or at school, or they may have come into his head, he does not know how; but, anyway, he has taken them for his chief things, his principles, and he acts upon them always. In both cases the conduct of the boys is ruled by their principles; to account for the difference between the two we must go back to their choice of principles; and the choosing of these is a very important part of life.

How to Distinguish.—The traveller who arrives at a foreign station or port is often both amused and annoyed at the number of porters who clamour for his luggage, the number of hotel omnibuses which try to get possession of him. Just so clamorous and tiresome are the principles that are forced upon us by almost everyone we meet, by the very books and papers we read, the pictures we look at.

From the first we may detect a difference. Good principles are offered to us in an unobtrusive way, [p I:189] with little force and little urging. Bad principles are clamorous and urgent, drowning the voice of conscience by noisy talk, inviting us to go the way we are inclined and to do the thing we like.

Our Principles ‘Writ Large.’—It is an interesting fact, that, though a person’s principles of conduct are often not put into words, they are always written in characters of their own. Everyone carries his rules of conduct writ large upon his countenance, that he who runs may read. It is well to remember this, because, though we may like a boy who has slothfulness or self-indulgence, envy or malice, dishonesty, cruelty, or greed, written about his eyes and mouth, yet we like him with a difference. We are on our guard against the particular bad principle which he chooses to follow, and while we may enjoy his wit or cleverness, we do not admit him to intimacy, or allow him a voice in our own choice of principles of conduct.

‘But what are my principles?’ you say; ‘I’m sure I don’t know’; and, indeed, we need not trouble ourselves much to find out; this is a case where lookers-on see most of the game, and some of the youngest persons we know are better acquainted with our principles than we are ourselves. Our part is simply to take heed; to ask ourselves, now and then, why we are always running after Jones, for instance. Is it that he flatters us? puts false ideas of manliness, perhaps, foul ideas of pleasure, into our heads? If so, our principles are in fault. We choose a friend who will minister to what is bad in us. Do we stick to Brown because ‘he’s an honest old chap,’ and tells us straight when he thinks we are silly or lazy? Good for us if so. Do we join with other fellows in calling Smith a sneak, a cad, or a muff, when he has distinguished [p I:190] himself in some school study? If so, we must be careful; envy is perhaps the principle which chooses that no one shall be better than ourselves.

We gather our principles unconsciously; but they are our masters; and it is our business every now and then to catch one of them, look it in the face, and question ourselves as to the manner of conduct such a principle must bring forth.

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My Duty to Myself.—We know that we owe justice to our neighbour, that is, to those about us and those beneath us, and those on our own level; to our own family, our servants, the people we employ, and at whose shops we deal; and to all those whom we know as relations and friends; to a gradually widening circle of persons which comes at last to include all the world.

There remains one person to whom we owe a debt of justice, and many lives are wasted because this person is unjustly treated. The friend whom we are apt to neglect when we are dealing out justice is ourself. “My duty toward my neighbour,” says the Catechism, “is to keep my body in temperance, soberness, and chastity,”—and this, partly because, if we neglect this rule of life, we become injurious and offensive to our neighbours, and partly because we owe a first duty to that closest of all neighbours, our very self.

Some people do great things in the world—they save lives, write books, build hospitals; but the person who orders his own body properly also does a service to the world. In the first place, a good man or woman, whose body is kept under the [p I:192] threefold rule I have quoted, adorns the world, helps to make it beautiful, just by being there; and, in the next place, both evil and good are catching. One unchaste boy in a school will make many who think and speak of matters they should never allow their thoughts to touch; so a single chaste boy who puts all such talk away from him, will not listen to it or allow it, helps to make his whole school chaste. Few things are more sad than to see a beautiful body, made for health, strength, and happiness—made in the image of God—injured and destroyed by bad habits.

Temperance avoids every Excess.—Of the three rules of life by which our bodies should be ordered, perhaps temperance is least understood by young people. We think of Burne-Jones’s stately figure of Temperantia pouring pure water out of her pitcher to quench the flames, of temperance societies, and so on; and thus we come to associate temperance with abstinence from drink. That certainly is one kind of temperance; but the boy who is greedy, the girl who is slothful, are also intemperate, as you may tell by watching them walk down the street. They have not the springing step, the alert look, which belong to Temperance.

One may even be intemperate in the matter of restlessness. We may carry games, cramming for an examination, novel-reading, bridge, any interest which absorbs us, to excess; and all excess is intemperance. It means that the person who indulges in excesses has lost control over himself, so that there is some one thing he must have or must do, at whatever loss to himself or inconvenience to others. Once we are aware of this danger of intemperance, even in things innocent in themselves, why, we keep watch. We [p I:193] don’t go on to a fifth jam tart (!); we get up early; we brace ourselves with a cold bath and a vigorous walk; we use muscular movements, dumb-bells, or Indian clubs in our rooms. We are ashamed if we find ourselves running to fat and not to muscle, and knit ourselves up by means of more exercise, less lounging; we are careful, too, not to have a second or a third helping when we like the dish. By the way, that is rather a good rule. If one helping of cold mutton is enough, there is proof positive that one helping of roast lamb, let us say, is also enough. We must beware of becoming gross, because gross in body means slow of wits, dull in thought. We can all be temperate without putting ourselves under any particular course of diet, (we need not live upon apples and nuts and the like); indeed, perhaps temperance is best shown in eating temperately of that which is set before us, however nice it may be.

Soberness does not seek Excitement.—Soberness appears to mean in the first place, according to the derivation of the word, being removed from drunkenness. Never was it easier for young persons to remain sober by never tasting alcohol than it is to-day, when so many good and thoughtful people, men of affairs, people in what is called ‘society,’ drink water and not wine.

We have heard of that nation of ancient Greece, the custom of whose great men it was to give drink to their slaves, in order that their children might see how absurd and how disgusting a drunken man becomes; they did this, in order that their young people might grow up loathing drunkenness as the vice of slaves. Christian people may not cause others [p I:194] to offend; but, alas! we do not want for examples. Even children who live in towns see something of the horror of drunkenness, and they wonder at it. How can Jervis, such a nice man when he is sober, go on drinking until at last he falls, a horrid object, by the roadside? This is a question worth asking, because the whole history of drunkenness, and indeed of every vice that becomes a man’s master, hangs upon the answer.

Self-Indulgence leads to Vice.—A man begins to drink for pretty much the same reason that takes a boy to the tuck-shop. He wants to indulge himself with something agreeable, and thinks there is ‘no harm’ in a glass of beer or wine. Now, ‘no harm’ is a dangerous sign-post to follow. It points to a broad road upon which there are many gay travellers; and the going is easy, because it is downhill all the way. This is the road of self-indulgence; and whenever we have to justify anything we do to ourselves by saying, ‘There’s no harm in it,’ we may be pretty sure we are on the downward grade. Our only chance then is to struggle back by the uphill track of duty. The person who persists on the easy downgrade, amused by the song and laugh of gay comrades, and choosing to go the way that gives him no trouble, comes by and by to a parting of the ways; to the four cross-roads where the companions divide.

The Parting of the Ways.—At this point, they lose their gaiety, and hurry away by one or other cross-road with the eagerness of men engaged on a matter of life or death; so they are, on a matter of death but not of life.

They are engaged upon the gradual injuring, the slow killing, of their beautiful and noble body, that [p I:195] great gift of God to each of us; upon the soddening and weakening of the wonderful brain we use when we think and know, when we love and pray. The greatest master in the world cannot produce any but cracked and feeble tones out of an instrument whose cords are worn and injured; so, however brilliant the man who lets himself go down either of the four cross-roads of vice, he loses all the promise and power of his genius once he has injured his brain by vicious habits; for we can do no thinking or acting that is worth while without a sound brain.

The Fate of the Drunkard.—The first of these cross-roads leads to drunkenness, and the man turns into it when he passes the stage of self-indulgence; that is, when he no longer drinks because it pleases him, but drinks because he must. That is the dreadful penalty man or woman pays for self-indulgence. A craving habit is set up which very few indeed are able to resist; conscience, the help of friends, even faint and feeble prayers, appear to be of no avail. The poor wretch drinks because he is miserable; for the moment, drink makes him happy because it stimulates him. It causes a quick current of blood to flow through his brain; his thoughts are brisk and life is pleasant. But, alas! a time of depression follows immediately. The man cannot think and cannot feel, is very sorry for himself, sheds maudlin tears, cannot endure the burden of existence, and flies again to the enemy. He tells you he must drink, that it is beyond flesh and blood to endure the maddening craving that consumes him.

He drinks his health and his wealth, his friends and his profession; he is a wreck in body and mind and men wonder how he lives at all—if such [p I:196] manner of crawling about in obscure ways can be called life.

Is this a just return to God for the wonderful endowments of body and mind this man has received? Is it just to his family and neighbours to make himself a burden and an offence? Is it just to himself—that wonderful, beautiful self, with all its powers of heart, mind and soul, of which it is everyone’s first business to make the most?

What would one say of a young man who received as a birthday gift a costly repeater, and immediately opened the case and poured vitriol into the works? You would say he was a fool or a madman to destroy what cost much money to buy, much thought and delicate labour to construct. What, then, of him who destroys that far more wonderful mechanism of brain and body, by means of which he thinks, lives, and feels?

You think it would be a merciful thing to place such offenders in a madhouse with other lunatics: but God does not allow us to escape the responsibility of choosing between right and wrong, even though we always choose the wrong, and continually offend against Him, ourselves, and our neighbour.

‘En parole.’—That thought makes our responsibility for ordering our bodies very great. Just because we can, if we like, do the wrong thing, we have to be all the more on honour to choose the right. The French have a pretty expression which we use in the case of prisoners of war. The prisoner is allowed a great deal of liberty en parole, that is, if he will give his word not to try to escape. So binding is the word of a gentleman, both in France, [p I:197] England, and elsewhere, that the prisoner of war, who may be clever enough to contrive ways to get out of the most strongly guarded cell, cannot escape from his own word. He may walk about the streets, go here and there, do what he likes; but there is an invisible wall confining him which he cannot pass beyond, and this wall is no more than his word—he is en parole.

This is very much the way that God treats us in the matter of self-indulgence. The way is open to us down the Broad Road, but we are hindered by our parole. We may not have given our word out loud, but the word is only a sign, it means ‘on my honour’; and we are all on our honour to safeguard ourselves from ruin, however easy and inviting may be the way thereto.

The difficulty is, that many young people go down the Broad Road without knowing they are on it; they do not stop to think and look about them: they say, ‘It does not matter’—this little pleasure or the other—and they have lost their honour before they know it.

Excitement.—There are some other ways of becoming intoxicated besides that of strong drink. Whatever produces an unnatural flow of blood to the brain has some of the qualities of intoxication, and is sure to be followed by depression when that extra flow of blood has left the brain, impoverished. We call this sort of intoxication excitement, and it is no harm as an occasional thing; but persons may come to want excitement every day, every hour, and may mope and be dull without it; they want excitement for the same reason that the drunkard wants drink, and for the same reason, too, the more they have the more they want.

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They cannot enjoy the company of their friends without a great deal of wild laughing and talking. They want to be always with people who will ‘make them laugh,’ however unseemly the jest. They are uneasy if they cannot go to every party of pleasure within reach. They find no games sufficiently exciting unless they be games of chance; and, in the end, the gambling habit may settle upon them—a habit as ruinous, if not as disgusting, as the drink habit.

He who would keep his body in soberness must avoid all these excesses. I do not say he must never be excited, because whatever pleases or troubles us very much, excites us; but that is quite a different thing from going after excitement, being uneasy if something exciting is not happening all the time.

The Ways of the Glutton—Circe.—The other byways branching off the Broad Road lead to the quarters of Gluttony, Sloth, and Unchastity. Persons who break parole with regard to the ordering of their bodies find their way down one or other of the four. Some persons hover between the four cross-roads, now going down one, now another, and now another; but others—like the drunkard, the gourmand, the slothful person, and the unclean—choose their way and stick to it, letting themselves be lost, body and soul, in the pursuit of some lust of the body.

You remember how Circe turned the hardy seamen of Ulysses into swine. I cannot do better than quote the tale in the words of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Circe, you remember, met the wandering mariners who had been drawn into her palace by the sounds of pleasant singing. The beautiful lady of the island came forward, smiling and stretching out her hand, and bade the whole party welcome. “‘You see,’ [p I:199] she said, ‘that I know all about your troubles; and you cannot doubt that I desire to make you happy for as long a time as you may remain with me. For this purpose, my honoured guests, I have ordered a banquet to be prepared. Fish, fowl and flesh, roasted and in luscious stews, and seasoned, I trust, to all your tastes, are ready to be served up. If your appetites tell you it is dinner-time, then come with me to the festal saloon.’ At this kind invitation, the hungry mariners were quite overjoyed; and one of them … assured their hospitable hostess that any hour of the day was dinner-time with them. …

“They entered a magnificent saloon. … Each of the strangers was invited to sit down; and there they were … sitting on two-and-twenty cushioned and canopied thrones. … Then you might have seen the guests nodding, winking with one eye, and leaning from one throne to another, to communicate their satisfaction in hoarse whispers. ‘Our good hostess has made kings of us all,’ said one. ‘Ha, do you smell the feast?’ … ‘I hope,’ said another, ‘it will be mainly good substantial joints, sirloins, spare ribs, and hinder quarters, without too many kickshaws. If I thought the good lady would not take it amiss, I should call for a fat slice of fried bacon to begin with.’ But the beautiful woman clapped her hands; and immediately there entered a train of two-and-twenty serving men, bringing dishes of the richest food, all hot from the kitchen fire, and sending up such a steam that it hung like a cloud below the crystal dome of the saloon. An equal number of attendants brought great flagons of wine of various kinds, some of which sparkled as it was poured out and went bubbling down the throat. … Whatever little fault they might find [p I:200] with the dishes, they sat at dinner a prodigiously long while, and it would really have made you ashamed to see how they swilled down the liquor and gobbled up the food. They sat on golden thrones, to be sure, but they behaved like pigs in a sty. … It brings a blush to my face to reckon up, in my own mind, what mountains of meat and pudding, what gallons of wine, these two-and-twenty gormandisers ate and drank. They forgot all about their homes … and everything else except this banquet at which they wanted to keep feasting for ever. But at length they began to give over, from mere incapacity to hold any more. …

“They all left off eating, and leaned back on their thrones, with such a stupid and helpless aspect as made them ridiculous to behold. When their hostess saw this, she laughed aloud; so did her four damsels; so did the two-and-twenty serving men that bore the dishes, and their two-and-twenty followers that poured out the wine. ‘Wretches!’ cried she, ‘you have abused a lady’s hospitality; and in this princely saloon your behaviour has been suited to a hog-pen. You are already swine in everything but the human form. … Assume your proper shapes, gormandisers, and begone to the sty!’ Uttering these last words, she waved her wand, stamping her foot imperiously; each of the guests was struck aghast at beholding, instead of his comrades in human shape, one-and-twenty hogs sitting on the same number of golden thrones. … It looked so intolerably absurd to see hogs on cushioned thrones, that they made haste to wallow down upon all fours, like other swine. They tried to groan and beg for mercy, but forthwith emitted the most awful grunting and squealing that ever came out of swinish throats. … Dear me! what pendulous [p I:201] ears they had! what little red eyes, half buried in fat! and what long snouts instead of Grecian noses!”

Interests in Life.—If we wish to do justice to ‘ourselves,’ by keeping our bodies in temperance, soberness, and chastity, we must begin with our thoughts, remembering that in this matter we can be heroes, though nobody knows. Of each of us it is true, that—

“A charge to keep I have,

A God to glorify.”

And what a splendid reason we have in this for taking care of our thoughts! People say, ‘Take care of the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves’; but far more true it is, ‘Take care of the thoughts, and the acts will take care of themselves.’

If we would keep in soberness, we must work, read, and think; more—we must be thankful. There is no person’s life which would not be exceedingly interesting if he lived it fully; and he whose life is full of interests does not seek excitement, from drink or other sources.

The person who has interests gives them to everybody about him. The boy who sets up a picture post-card album sets a fashion which his school follows; and so with every interest in life—poetry, history, or any class of natural objects.

Have interests and give them to others, and you are fairly safe from the desire for excitement which leads to drunkenness. Interests, too, will shield us all from the degradation of gluttony. The child who watches his brother’s plate, and longs for what he thinks is the better helping, is a child who has nothing better to think of.

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Slothfulness.—The boy or girl who has interests is not a sluggard. Hockey, tennis, cricket, long walks, football, rowing, skating,—all these help to give him the vigorous body to which it would be a bore to lie abed or lounge about. By the way, one must not let oneself be the ‘fat boy’ in Pickwick, or anywhere else! When persons grow fat it is not always that they eat too much, though that may have something to do with it; but it is certainly because they do not take enough exercise, and therefore run to fat and not to muscle. Young men at college, boys at public schools, do not let themselves get fat; to do so would be ‘bad form.’ So, if we find this unpleasant symptom developing in ourselves, we had better consider whether slothfulness is not the cause—a horrid vice for which nobody would be content to wreck his life.

Uncleanness.—One Road to Ruin remains to be considered, the last and the worst of the four cross-roads, that which leads to the deadly sin of uncleanness. Here, too, is a sin that is committed in thought: we have done the offence when we have thought it. We know the danger of allowing ourselves to be talked to by persons of unclean mind, and the dreadful danger of imaging to ourselves things we may read. We cannot help coming across what may lead to evil imaginings; perhaps if we could there would be no battle to fight, and then we could not obey the command, “Glorify God with your bodies.” Every one of us must get the power to draw down the blinds, as it were, not to let imagination picture the unclean thing. For once imagination behaves like Peeping Tom, it becomes a fight to keep out impure thoughts. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation,” says our Lord and Master; watch, that is, look at the [p I:203] thoughts you let in, and shut the door upon intruders. Pray every day and every night with the confidence of a child speaking to his father,—“Our Father which art in Heaven, lead us not into temptation”; and then, think no more of the matter, but live all you can the beautiful, full life of body and mind, heart and soul, for which our Father has made provision.

[p I:204]



Plans.—‘I’m going to be a chimney sweep and wear a tall hat,’ says the little Frankfort child (who rarely sees tall hats excepting on chimney sweeps), ‘I’m going to be a cabby and drive a hansom,’ ‘I’m going to be a general and fight a great battle,’ ‘I’m going to be a nurse and mind a dear little baby,’ ‘I’m going to be “mother” and have little girls and boys of my own,’ say the children; and they change their minds every week, because all sorts of trades and professions interest them, and they figure to themselves how nice it would be to belong to each.

The growing boy or girl leaves all that behind as one of the ‘silly’ ways of the little ones; but, by and by, wonder begins to stir in a boy’s head as to what particular bit of the world’s work he will be called to do. It is good and pleasant to think that the work, whatever it is, will be really his, and will also be world-work upon some task that is wanted. The girl’s heart, too, reaches out wistfully: she wants a task, a bit of work for herself in the world that is [p I:205] wanted; that is the thing that both boy and girl desire. They understand the words of a great man, who said, “The thing worth living for is to be of use.” The boy knows he must go out into the world and do something definite. For a girl, too, there are many careers, as they are called, opened in these days; and, if a girl is only called to the sweet place of a home daughter, all she need ask for herself is ‘to be of use,’ and, perhaps, no calling will offer her more chances of usefulness.

Preparation.—Some boys know, at an early age, that they are being brought up for the navy, for example. For others, both boys and girls, their calling does not come until, perhaps, they have left college.

All callings have one thing in common—they are of use; and, therefore, a person may prepare for his calling years before he knows what it is. What sort of person is of use in the world? You think of the most brilliant and handsome of your friends, and say to yourself, ‘So-and-so, anyway, is a person the world could not do without’; but you may be quite wrong. The good looks, wit and cleverness, which give boy or girl the first place in school, often enough lead to a back seat in the world; because the person with these attractive qualities may be like a vessel without ballast, at the mercy of winds and waves. None need think small things of himself and of his chances of being serviceable because he is without the attractive qualities he admires in another. Everyone has immense ‘chances,’ as they are called; but the business of each is to be ready for his chance. The boy who got a medal from the Royal Humane Society for saving life, was ready for his chance; he [p I:206] had learned to swim; and, also, he had practised himself in the alert mind and generous temper which made him see the right thing to do and do it on the instant, without thought of the labour or danger of his action; without any thought, indeed, but of the struggling, sinking creature in the water.

This illustrates what I mean; boys and girls who would be ready for their chances in life must have well-trained, active bodies; alert, intelligent, and well-informed minds; and generous hearts, ready to dare and do all for any who may need their help. It is such persons as these the world wants, persons who have worked over every acre of that vast estate of theirs which we have called Mansoul; men and women ordered in nerve and trained in muscle, self-controlled and capable; with well-stored imagination, well-practised reason; loving, just, and true.

Possibilities.—There is nothing in the wide world so precious, so necessary for the world’s uses, as a boy or girl prepared on these lines for the calling that may come; and that is why I have tried to lay before you some of the great possibilities of the Kingdom of Mansoul. These possibilities belong to each of us; and the more we realise what we can be and what we can do, the more we shall labour to answer to our call when it comes. The boy who works only that he may pass, or be the head of his class, may get what he works for; but perhaps no one is of use unless he means to be of use. This is not a thing that comes to us casually, because it is the very best thing in life; and that fellow who means to have a good time, or to be first in any race, even the race for riches, [p I:207] may get the thing he aims at; but do not let him deceive himself; he does not also get the honour of being of use.

“Get leave to work

In this world!—’tis the best you get at all.


Get work! get work!

Be sure ’tis better than what you work to get.”

E. B. Browning.

The Habit of being of Use.—‘Hell is paved with good intentions’ is a dreadful saying with which we are all familiar. I suppose it means that nothing is so easy to form as a good intention, and nothing so easy to break, and that lost and ruined souls have, no doubt, formed many good intentions. Therefore we must face the fact that the intention to be of use is not enough. We must get the habit, the trick, of usefulness.

In most families there is the brother who cuts whistles and makes paper boats for the little ones, who gallops like a war-horse with Billy on his back, whom his mother trusts with messages and his father with commissions of importance; or, there is the sister to whose skirts the babies cling, who has learnt Latin enough to help her young brothers in their tasks, who can cut a garment or trim a hat for one of the maids; who writes notes for her mother and helps to nurse the baby through measles.

The ‘Neverheeds.’—The heedless members of the families—Jack, in whose pocket a note is found three days after it should have been delivered, Nellie, whose parcel comes to pieces in the post—say, ‘Oh, that sort of thing’s no trouble to Tom and Edith; they like it, you know.’ It is quite true that they like it, because [p I:208] we all like to do what we do well; but—nobody can do well what he has not had a good deal of practice in doing; and you may depend upon it that the useful members of a family have had much practice in being of use, that is, they have looked out for their chances.

Servant or Master?—Each of us has in his possession an exceedingly good servant or a very bad master, known as Habit. The heedless, listless person is a servant of habit; the useful, alert person is the master of a valuable habit. The fact is, that the things we do a good many times over leave some sort of impression in the very substance of our brain; and this impression, the more often it is repeated, makes it the easier for us to do the thing the next time. We know this well enough as it applies to skating, hockey, and the like. We say we want practice, or, are out of practice, and must get some practice; but we do not realise that, in all the affairs of our life, the same thing holds good. What we have practice in doing we can do with ease, while we bungle over that in which we have little practice.

The Law of Habit.—This is the law of habit, which holds good as much in doing kindnesses as in playing the piano. Both habits come by practice; and that is why it is so important not to miss a chance of doing the thing we mean to do well. We must not amuse ourselves with the notion that we have done something when we have only formed a good resolution. Power comes by doing and not by resolving, and it is habit that serves us, whether it be the habit of Latin verse or of carving. Also, and this is a delightful thing to remember, every time we do a thing helps to [p I:209] form the habit of doing it; and to do a thing a hundred times without missing a chance, makes the rest easy.

Our Calling.—Of this thing I am quite sure, that his calling, or, if you like to name it so, his chance, comes to the person who is ready for it. That is why the all-round preparation of body, mind, soul, and heart is necessary for the young knight who is waiting to be called. He will want every bit of himself in the royal service that is appointed him; for it is a royal service. God, who fixes the bounds of our habitation, does not leave us blundering about in search of the right thing; if He find us waiting, ready and willing, He gives us a call. It may come in the advice of a friend, or in an opening that may present itself, or in the opinion of our parents, or in some other of the quiet guidings of life that come to those who watch for them, and who are not self-willed; or it may come in a strong wish on our own part for some particular work for which we show ourselves fit.

But this, I think, we may be sure of, that his call comes as truly to a ploughman as to a peer, to a dairymaid as to a duchess. And each person, in whatever station, requires preparation for his calling; first, the general preparation of being a person ready and fit; and next, a special preparation of training and teaching for the particular work in question.

But in the first stage of our apprenticeship, the time of general preparation, while we are yet at school or college, let us remember that it rests with us to fit ourselves for our vocation. The worth of any calling depends upon its being of use; [p I:210] and no day need go by without giving us practice in usefulness.

Each one is wanted for the special bit of work he is fit for; and, of each, it is true that—

“Thou cam’st not to thy place by accident:

It is the very place God meant for thee.”

[1] Photographs of Botticelli’s ‘Calumny’ may be had from Mr G. Cole, 17 Via Torna Buoni, Florence, from 1 lira (10d.) and upwards.