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A man ought to carry himself in the world, as an orangetree would if it could walk up and down in the garden, swinging perfume from every little censor it holds up to the air.- BEECHER.
The reforms of this country have been chiefly due to the presence and influence of Shaftsbury.—ON THE STATUE OF SHAFTSBURY.
It is certain that either wise bearing or ignorant courage is caught as men take diseases, one of another; therefore, let me take heed of their company. --SHAKESPEARE.
Beyond all weallh, honor, or even health is the attachment we form to noble souls because to become one with the good, generous, and true is to become in a measure good, generous, and true ourselves.
THERE is a biography in sacred history which declares that the shadow of a man had healing power. Every man carries a shadow with him which has in it health or disease, life or death, joy or sorrow, good or evil. “No man liveth unto himself.”
Man's very nature refuses isolation in life. There is no such thing as separation from the life of the world; even the darkness of the cave or the walls of a monastery are false barriers to man's secret and sacred relation to man. Life itself is a shipwreck unless Crusoe finds his man Friday whom he can influence and elevate. The island is simply a grave without the other man. Every life was intended to be the centre and source of influence, and no one can destroy that eternal design. It is a part of life. Next to blood, it is the greatest factor in human
existence and destiny, second only to the blood of Christ is his example and irresistible influence.
Every man is the fountainhead of new forces. He is the author of good or bad in human history. He is the heir of all the past, and he is one of the creators of all the future, by the tremendous force of influence over man.
It touches the individual at every point, and makes or mars character. There is no exception to this striking rule. The lowest and weakest man in the earth exerts his influence, and generations yet unborn will be lifted nearer to God or thrust further away from Him by it. This is some of the certain, but deepest, human philosophy, and one of the most vital elements in religion. Life means repetition in other lives,-grasping them with a relentless and deathless grip, moulding and fashioning them after its kind. Disposition, tendency, character, are being repeated in every life within this great circle of influence.
Two people cannot live together in intimacy without each becoming somewhat as the other. Even if it be a business relation, the years will furnish a startling illustration of this truth. Even weakness leaves influence upon strength. This seems a threadbare and worn-out statement. It has been written and spoken for all men a thousand times, and yet no one has ever fathomed its depths or really comprehended it. His vision has only swept around a small segment of the circle. Imagination is our deceiver and declares that we can influence others by what we say. The truth is rather that we influence others only by what we are. The true self is the secret of power. Hypocrisy speaks its greatest falsehood right here.
There are eyes of keener sight than those which behold the natural world. They are the eyes of the soul, and the revelators of character. Even a child sees further than the precepts which fall from the lip or the evident desire on the part of the speaker that those who hear him should think him to be better than he really is. Underneath the surface are the real sources of influence, and from thence are the impulses of life. Outward appearance is shallow and thin, and sometimes even a window. Influence comes from reality, and not sham. The external life has not wrought out the influence for good, but the real man's baseness has secured the opposite effect.
A man may never have professed Christianity, and yet is in possession of real Christ-like character,
which is the golden sceptre in the hand of a king. Time and eternity are both natural heirs of his life.
It is not a creed that makes an orthodox Christian, or a noble man. It is reality. It is what the soul of life is. It is the heart and substance of the man. What a man is, is the sun from which radiates the warmth and life for other lives, or the cold or frozen orb from which arises death and darkness for other men.
In that charming work of Mr. Ruskin, “ Ethics of the Dust,” he points out that crystals have two qualities which go to make up their value. One is their shape, and the other is their purity. The shape is determined by the crystal's surroundings, the quick or slow process of cooling, or outward pressure. “But," he says, “ it seems as if it had in itself the power of rejecting impurity if it has crystalline life enough. Here is a crystal of quartz, well shaped in its way, but it seems to have been languid and sick at heart; and some milky substance has got into it, and mixed itself up with it, all through. It makes the quartz quite yellow, if you hold it up to the light, and milky blue on the surface. Here is another, broken out of all traceable shape, but as pure as a mountain spring. I like this one best.