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It was written by the pen of inspiration concerning one of the world's heroes that "he had an excellent spirit in him." The printer blundered with his type and made the record of his life to read that "Daniel had an excellent spine' in him." This was not a correct translation, but, unquestionably, a statement of fact—a fact of supreme importance. His biography reveals his unbending devotion to the highest ideal. When this famous young man went away from home to college in a distant land, he fixed his goal and, in face of temporary defeat and bitterest opposition, “he purposed in his heart" to be true to that ideal even at the cost of life itself. Duty was the emphatic word in his vocabulary, and he would not defile its
purity with heathen custom or his own cowardice. His ideal was his salvation. Its sanctity was the temple in which he worshipped. It occupied the throne of his life, and he was ever its obedient subject. He hearkened to its voice when desire and flesh cried out against him. It was a circuitous pathway to this ideal of life, and cut through cloudland, and forest, and darkness, but the light never faded away, and the highest place in the realm was for the weary traveller's reward. A noble purpose is life's guarding, guiding angel. It alone can take a man through a lion's den and lock their crimson jaws. In one hand it holds safety, and in the other success. Daniel was king at last because his ideal was king at first. A high ideal is the lever under human life, and means the elevation of character. He who is satisfied with his first effort, or his first step, or his first attainment, never reaches eminence. A righteous dissatisfaction is essential to future achievement. A deeper longing precedes every bolder attempt. Look higher if you would live higher. An ideal is not something which is always hanging in the distant horizon like a rainbow toward which the child runs with open hand to grasp it only to find it always the same distance
away. The hilltop was no nearer to it than the valley, and the climb was of no avail. It is the greatest reality of life, and every hilltop brings us nearer to its possession. One bright summer morning the old iron horse was slowly but courageously pushing his way up through the wild mountains of the Pacific coast. Suddenly the travellers shouted in a chorus of delight: "There's Shasta! There's Shasta!" and the king of mountains on the western continent raised his royal head above the hills and the lower peaks and above the scattered, fleecy clouds and swung his sparkling sceptre over the kingdoms at his feet. The untrained eye looked through that clear air and carried the message to the waiting mind that the famous mountain was distant about ten miles, but the skilled vision of the conductor startled the company by declaring that it was more than one hundred and fifty miles away. He said: "You will be permitted to behold its glory all the day. Have patience and a nearer view will be given you." It was at the setting of the sun when the train halted at the base of that kingliest of mountains, and we beheld it in all its glory. It is a winding, climbing, dangerous journey, but the day is filled with inspiration from the
sight of the ideal, and at the sunset hour there will. be perfect vision, and rest, and satisfaction, and reward.
Ideals are not creations of the brain or the desire; they are real. They are not things manufactured by us; they are discovered. The great musicians did not make their music; they found it. The great artists did not make their pictures; they revealed them. Edison did not make electricity; he discovered its methods. It was not made of his ideals; it, rather, made his ideals. Music is, art is, beauty is, righteousness is, and the one man has come nearer to them than the other, and he talks about them to his fellow men, and, oftentimes, in an unknown tongue. The great truths and ideals of life exist and are the great realities of life, before some man has entered into a closer fellowship with them than other men. Watt, and Faraday, and Newton saw but dimly at first, but their vision proved to be a reality. To talk about the ideal is not to dream. It depends upon the power and persistency of vision. The imagination is the world's greatest explorer. It has been the forerunner of every Columbus. Shakespeare, and Wordsworth, and Tennyson, and Isaiah, and all their company of nobility simply
drew aside the veil from realities. They attempted to make us see what they saw. The small man is the one who only sees the present and considers policy and expediency, but the great man is he who sees the fundamental and eternal principles and knows by sight and acquaintance, honesty, and truth, and righteousness, and all their blood-relatives. This marks the difference between men and machines; between the artist and the automaton; between drudgery and inspiration. All men are stamped with the impress of their ideals. All their efforts are controlled by its power. In every department of life it is the supreme reality; oftentimes unrecognized or considered the possession of a dreamer, but never dropping its sceptre. The ideal of the business man is the mightiest factor in his life; not always sharply defined, but always doing its work. The home is beautified, not so much by drapery or furniture, as by the artistic hand of the ideal. This is the only salvation for most men from a life of drudgery, and disappointment, and despair. Ideals are heavenly messengers; they are the wings of the lark to save the songster from the perils of the lowlands. Aspiration places bright garments upon poverty, and