Relations of the Past, to the Present.
DELIVERED BEFORE THE
Ancient & Honorable Artillery Company,
BY THOMAS M. CLARK,
ASSISTANT MINISTER OF TRINITY CHURCH, BOSTON.
PUBLISHED BY REQUEST OF THE COMPANY.
"The ancient and honorable."—ISAIAH ix. 15.
THE subject, upon which I purpose to address you, is suggested by the title of the venerable association whose anniversary we celebrate, "Ancient and Honorable." There are but few commemorative occasions in use amongst us, which have so much of the genuine hoar of antiquity as that in which we are now engaged. It is not often that we can say, when we meet together in this new and restless land, thus and thus has it been done for hundreds of years. Generation after generation has appeared upon the stage of action and passed away, and still, with the same formalities, this "Ancient and Honorable Company" have assembled on this first Monday in June to elect their officers, and have come up to the house of prayer to bow themselves before the God of battles.
I doubt if there can any where be found a collection of sermons running back through such a series of years and fitted to excite so many interesting associations, as that which you possess of the Discourses preached on this time-hallowed day. What a [3/4] contrast between the fair, white page, the well-cut type, and the modern style of thought and arrangement, which distinguish the pamphlets that you have lately given to the world, and the dingy hue, the blurred print the strange orthography, the quaint illustrations, the involved and almost numberless divisions of topics, which characterize the "Artillery Election Sermons" that your fathers issued. And what changes have we seen, since the early teachers of religion summoned this Company to be prompt and valorous in resisting the attacks of "bloody salvages," by whom they were surrounded: the war-whoop has died away and the Indian sleeps with his fathers: "the little one has become a thousand," and the provincial town of Boston has grown into the great capital of an independent commonwealth: remote as it is from the centre of the mighty confederacy of nations which has sprung into being on this western continent, and with no natural stream to open a communication with the interior, it has woven an iron web whose lighter filaments bring to us instantaneous information from the banks of the Missouri and the orange groves of Florida, and upon the heavier bands come pouring into our ware-houses, hour by hour, all the various wealth of the great valley of the Mississippi. The water of a lake, which two hundred years ago, slumbered amid primeval forests beyond the very borders of civilization, now runs under the pavement of our streets and penetrates to our very bed-chambers and wreaths itself fantastically in the air to adorn our parks and gardens. The Church in the wilderness has become a Jerusalem, a mother of cities, whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to worship before the altar of the Lord. Great truths [4/5] are uttered here, which have shaken the thrones of kings and revolutionized society.
At such a time and on such an occasion as the present, it would seem appropriate to consider the relations of the present to the past, and see how the past bears upon the present; endeavoring to reconcile a true conservatism with a true spirit of progress, and showing why and how far that which is "ancient" is to be esteemed as "honorable." Whatever doctrine or practice is of long established repute should be examined with reverence: whatever is new should be investigated with candor. It is unwise rashly to set aside that which for ages has been received as truth: it is equally unwise to assume that the depths of wisdom have all been sounded. "While Philosophy goes on from step to step in the march of her discoveries," says the sagacious Robert Hall, "it seems as if her grandest result was the conviction how much remains undiscovered; and while nations in a ruder state of science have been ready to repose on their ignorance and error, or to confound familiarity with knowledge, the most enlightened of men have always been the first to perceive and acknowledge the remaining obscurity which hung around them; just as, in the night, the farther a light extends, the wider the surrounding sphere of darkness appears." Addressing you, then, as citizens as well as soldiers, as those to whom we look for the formation of public opinion, as well as for the protection of public institutions, I would propose the question, what is necessary, in order to the exercise of an effective and salutary influence upon the age in which we live?
I. And our first answer is, we must have an accurate knowledge of the past, and a distinct view of the [5/6] true uses of history. "That which hath been, it is that which shall be:" the same premises, under the same circumstances, always lead to the same conclusions. We learn from the past, of any given opinion or practice, "whereunto it will grow." The "time-hushed plains" of the old world, now "the graves of buried empires,"—the monumental relics of ancient grandeur,—speak to us, with the impressive solemnity of a voice from the dead, lessons of earnest warning, which statesmen and people would do well to heed. It should be your vocation, with whom the destinies of the republic are supposed to be so dear, to form the inarticulate whisperings of history into a speech and a language. It is your duty to tell the heedless multitude of the dangers upon which they madly rush, and show them the stranded wrecks that betray the hidden quick-sand. It is in itself of little importance to know that on such a year the cornerstone of a mighty empire was laid, and that in such a year the stately fabric fell; but, to understand the philosophy of its growth and of its destruction, and to bring this knowledge to bear upon existing institutions,—to kindle a fire for the illumination of the present with the fragments of the past,—is to do the world an excellent service. It is a just remark, that "not one man in ten thousand is as wise, as the facts he knows, or might know, would make him." Facts must be analyzed, reduced to their elements, melted in the crucible of burning thought, before they can be understood. Let history be thus treated, and it lives again, in the only sense in which it is desirable that it ever should live. It lives as a monitor to be heeded, and not as a guide to be followed. The fallen shaft is re-placed upon its pedestal, not to be worshipped as an idol; but that we may decipher the [6/7] epitaph which the finger of time has written upon the old marble. The blunders of the theorist are corrected by nothing so infallibly as by the severe lessons of history. The argument which is drawn from accumulated facts is not easily resisted. Now every age has its dreamers, and this would matter little if they only reserved their fond fancies for their own peculiar admiration; but, when they seriously undertake to re-mould society and call upon us to pull down stone walls and inhabit "the airy fabric of a vision," there should be some to bid them pause. It is better to live in a cottage of clay than in a palace of gossamer. The true should never be sacrificed to the beautiful: the clear sun-light does the world more service than the gold and vermilion hues of gorgeous cloud-land. The wounds inflicted upon society are not the less fatal, because it is smitten with a gilded scimetar. The poison, whose aroma is sweetest, is most to be dreaded. It is not the icy wind, from which we shrink, that bears the seeds of pestilence upon its wings; but the soft gale, that seems to kiss the forehead which it gently fans. If it were not for the stern lessons of experience, we might hail with rapture that accelerated progress, which history teaches will only hurl us into the abyss.
And yet the past informs us that changes are to be expected, radical revolutions in public sentiment. Certain doctrines, once universally received are now as universally exploded: the same fate undoubtedly awaits many popular opinions of the present day. In no one respect has the change been more marked than in the substitution of the law of reason for the law of force. The time was, when the baron chose for his residence the almost inaccessible summit of some jagged rock, upon whose base the ocean wasted its perpetual rage: [7/8] with infinite toil stones and timbers were dragged to the giddy height, and there, with wife, and child, and retainer, he made his home. Glistening shields, and spears fantastically interwoven, and the rent banners of a routed foe, were the adornments of the banquet hall; the music of the feast was the stirring battle song; the wakeful sentinel kept watch in the lonely tower while the household slept; the raised draw-bridge excluded all unseasonable visitors; and every thing indicated that society was ruled by the law of might.
The business of great men was warfare; the vocation of inferiors to find them supplies. In respect of all this, how complete has been the change! There will never be another domestic castle erected, with its towers, and keeps, and donjons, and moats, while the world stands. Every poor man's house has become a castle, before which law stands sentinel. And yet they reason most absurdly who say that the time has already come when society may afford to dispense with all appeal to force, and disband that military organization in which this principle is embodied. Law, the civil law, supposes of necessity a power behind it, capable of enforcing its enactments when defied; and, within a little month, what a practical commentary have we had, in a neighboring city, in demonstration of this doctrine. It is indeed a mournful crisis, as we shall all allow, when law and order can be sustained only at the cannon's mouth, and still more sad is it, when the innocent fall with the guilty, the blood of women and children mingling with that of the wild invader of the public peace; but who can tell to what extent the hand of the incendiary and the robber and the murderer might have carried the work of desolation and death, had there [8/9] been no military force in reserve, to stay the insane ravage.
We build no domestic castles now, because we rely upon the law to protect us; and the law relies in all ordinary cases upon the good sense and intelligence of the community for its support; but, in emergencies, it must appeal to the community as it is organized for the defence of law, and it is the fact that you are known to be thus organized, with the sword and the cannon at your command, which awes turbulent spirits, and causes the need of your military services to be so infrequent. Let the fancies of some of our reformers take effect, and the magistrate not only sheathe the sword but bury it out of his reach, and then let it be known to all the world, that we are at the mercy of the world, and if the men of this 19th century be not made of different materials from any who ever lived before, a twelve-month would not pass, before we should hear such a coronach wailing in our streets, as would make the old stories of Indian invasion sound tame and spiritless.
We rejoice indeed at the progress of the principles of peace, we pray for the time when rumors of wars shall be heard no more, and we believe that the day will come when it will be considered as absurd to settle national disputes by the sword, as it would now be for two private citizens to decide a disputed claim by appeal to force; when international law will be as accurately defined as is the code which regulates our private relations. The exigencies of the future will demand it.
This revolution, however, will not stand alone; but, like all great social changes, will be the result of an irresistible combination of circumstances. In the hand of Providence, THE INTERCHANGE OF THOUGHT, now so [9/10] rapidly and wonderfully increasing, will transform the condition of the world. It will induce a common sentiment, a common sympathy, a common interest, and a common religion. It is not the independent growth of any solitary principle, that overshadows and exterminates this or the other social evil; neither is society to be remodelled according to the sharp-lined plan of the socialist. The machinery of society adjusts itself to the life which propels it, and to the nature of the work which it proposes to do. Mere organization does not create life; but life shapes the organic forms. Let the public sentiment be cleansed of all its errors, elevated, sanctified, truly christianized, and the heart will send out its healthy blood through the whole frame-work of the body politic; and every mal-formation, every deformity, every diseased part will feel its sanative influence: vigor, beauty, symmetry and grace will be restored to the decayed and distorted system.
II. He who reads aright the history of the past and understands its true uses, will be likely to enter effectively as well as intelligently into the life of the present, without which we can exercise no salutary influence upon our own times.
He will see the utter folly of all efforts to reproduce the past. There is a law of adaptation which must be recognized by the man who would leave his impress upon society. The key must be made to fit the wards of the lock, in order to open it. There were instrumentalities and modes of operation in action a thousand years ago, which served a good purpose then, but would be worse than useless now. You may galvanize a corpse, but it has no real interior life. It can hear nothing, see nothing, do nothing.
 There was a certain sort of grace and beauty in many of the institutions of the past, which would have a ghastly look, if they were now raised from the dead. We would not, in these latter days revive the infantile condition of the world. There is no spectacle more painful than that presented by one, who has fallen into what is called the second childhood: What a contrast between the merry laugh of infancy, and the inane smile of idiotic old age! between the innocent prattle of the one, and the incoherent babbling of the other! In the child, we see the germ of a growing life—on the brow of the aged trifler, we see enstamped the awful signet of approaching death! In one case, the tottering step is to be exchanged for the firm tread of manly maturity—in the other, the trembler can only stumble into his grave!
And yet there are those, who continually cry, "Were not the former days better than these?" and vainly strive to engraft a decayed scion upon a young and lusty tree.
Now to re-create the past, in any effective way, it must be restored in all its entireness, with all its drapery about it. Its life is one: it is a unit. Mediaeval Christianity cannot be conjoined with the citizenship of the 19th century. The philosophy of the schoolmen cannot subsist with modern science. Whatever is essentially true, is of course always true; but the costume of truth, which is wove by human art, changes with the age. In the clothing with which it was invested centuries ago, it might scarcely be recognized now as truth: so different have become our perceptions and so altered is the post of observation. Once men saw monsters in an eclipse; we see monsters, where they saw the sun. Notions which our ancestors entertained, we regard as superstitions; [11/12] truths which we reverence, they would have looked upon with contempt or horror.
He who would re-produce the past, assumes that experience teaches nothing, that age brings with it no superior wisdom. And the romance, which gathers about ancient things is destroyed, in the effort to re-produce them. In building the modern structure with the fragments of the old ruin, we must brush off the moss from the hallowed stones. It is the hazy atmosphere through which the past is seen, which in a great degree, gives it its attractiveness and charm; scatter the mist, and the spell is broken. A man, clothed in knightly armor, with gorget and greave and helmet, moving through our streets with constrained air and stiffened pace, would excite ridicule, rather than admiration. The manly sports of the tournament would now be considered as both childish and cruel.
The forms of society have changed, and this indicates a change, far deeper and more radical. We have out-grown the past—and growth is always progressive, in some direction. The present has a life of its own, with which we must sympathize, if we would affect the sentiment of the age. If we would modify the movement of the times, we must keep our fellows company; it will not do to walk alone. We must avail ourselves of such instrumentalities as are furnished us by the age, if we would influence the age. Our modes of thought must be such as society can understand; we must speak the language with which men are familiar. We must lay hold of their living sympathies, enter into their actual consciousness, and comprehend their opinions before we can change their opinions. We must appreciate the real wants of the age, its peculiar dangers, and its peculiar [12/13] susceptibilities. It is folly to contend against exploded abuses; it is unmanly to blink actual falsities. "Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof;" but let the evil of the day be boldly set forth and strenuously opposed. It requires no courage to warn men against such courses as they have no temptation to follow; but it is a very different thing to throw ourselves in the path, where we are likely to be trampled on and crushed.
To understand the life of the age, the perils to which it is exposed and the good of which it is capable, we must study the age, carefully survey the circumstances which have made it what it is, note how it is affected by the discoveries of science, by the popular literature, by political forms, by secular traffic, by the customs of society, and by prevailing systems of religion. All these things work together and modify each other, in producing the great result. Now some men are always inclined to trace whatever they see about them of good or of evil to some single source:—there is one seminal principle to which all the blessings and all the curses of society can be attributed. And these are the individuals who undertake to reform the world by the power of one idea. They have found the monster, who has given birth to the whole progeny of evils; they have driven him to his covert, and with a portentous cry, they call upon the world to wait without in breathless admiration till they return from the murky den with his bloody head in their triumphant hand. All they ask of others is not to allow the monster to escape, before they have slain him. With little profit have they studied the history of the past, and poorly do they understand the philosophy of the present. Man is the creature of complicated influences, and when he [13/14] is ensnared, it is not by a single thread. His habits affect his opinions, and his opinions react upon his habits. The nature of his daily employment, the customs of the society in which he moves, the social institutions under which he lives, the character of the religion which he professes, all go to form and fix his character. Seed, soil, sunshine and shower, all have their influence upon the fruit which is brought forth. Indirect influences are often more effective than those more direct and palpable. That which seems to us trifling and hardly worthy to be noticed, sometimes induces the mightiest results. The battlements that defied the storm may be undermined by the creeping of the worm. Public sentiment has at times been revolutionized by causes, which to the careless eye have seemed to insignificant to be gravely considered. As a modern utterer of proverbs has well said—
"A wise man scorneth nothing, be it never so small or homely,
For he knoweth not the secret laws that may bind it to great effects.
A sentence hath formed a character,
And a character subdued a kingdom."
III. In entering into the life of the present, we should exercise a just discrimination in respect of all the principles and influences which we see at work around us. Some men would stereotype the past; others would stereotype the present; both are alike unwise. The elements of good and of evil co-exist in every age; and it should be the work of thinking men to disentangle the good from the evil. Now the time has been when it required little more than an honest will to do this, for the true was separated from the false by deep and well defined lines; but it is not so now. The most dangerous errors with which we have to contend are those which clothe themselves in [14/15] the garb of reform and philanthropy, and are the ingenious counterfeits of truth. Great care is now taken not to shock the moral sense of the community; the ulterior design is kept in the back-ground, and the work of destruction is called a work of re-construction. Existing institutions are to be demolished, that their site may be occupied by structures of greater beauty and utility.
And we need to exercise a careful discrimination in respect of another fact. Great truths, valuable and important in their just relations, are often so encumbered with falsities, or so separated and isolated, and are spoken under such circumstances, as to have the influence of falsehood. Many a holy cause is thus wounded in the house of its professed friends. Whenever truth passes its just boundary, it ceases to be truth. When reverence degenerates into superstition, it is no longer reverence; when reform runs into rash and heedless revolution, it is no longer reform. The spirit of true conservatism and the spirit of true progress are identically the same; for they both consist in "proving all things, and holding fast that which is good." A false conservatism is that, which anchors the ship till it rots where it lies; a false enterprise, that which sends the ship forth upon the ocean, without proper precautions against the perils it must encounter.
"Since things alter for the worse spontaneously," says Lord Bacon "if they be not altered for the better designedly, what end will there be of the evil?" But that designed alteration, which consists in excessive re-action, is not for the better. Startled by occasional manifestations of super-abundant life, with some timid spirits, the treatment suggested is that of constant and fatal depletion. The recklessness of [15/16] freedom is to be restrained by the iron rule of tyrannical authority. Lawlessness is to be cured by substituting prerogative for law. To save men from error, they must be forbidden to investigate truth. Lest the river become swollen and overflow its banks, it must be chained in perpetual ice. Lest the fire break into a conflagration, the last spark must be extinguished. The one remedy for every disorder is death.
Now the extreme opposite of any error is not necessarily the stand point of truth. Two influences, most essentially diverse in their character, will sometimes produce the same result. Excessive stimulation is as likely to induce death as excessive depletion. It is no more possible to see clearly, when the full blaze of the meridian sun shines upon the eye-ball, than it is in the darkness of midnight. Whether it be heat or cold, that is carried beyond a certain degree of temperature, the effect upon animal life is the same. Society suffers alike, whether it be brought under the frozen influence of excessive conservatism, or the scorching fire of insane radicalism. Neither the one nor the other enters intelligently into the real life of the age. Here the foolish opposer of all reform stands, gazing with a sort of stupid reverence upon the past; and there, the heedless advocate of progress, looking wildly into the future; neither sees what is actually around him. They represent the negative and the positive elements of society, and whenever the battery becomes over-charged at either pole, an explosion follows. True policy requires that there should be constant communication between the one and the other, each giving and receiving a reciprocal influence; and then all goes on quietly and harmlessly. It is thus in the kingdom of nature that [16/17] the harmony of things is preserved: the icy winds from the arctic temper the equatorial heat, and the burning gales from the central zone dissolve the snows of the arctic. The life-sustaining atmosphere is but a compound of discordant gases; and the esculent which nourishes the body, in certain forms of preparation, is converted into a poison. In the contrivances of human art, the principle of counteracting influences is distinctly recognized. The greater the rapidity with which a piece of mechanism is designed to move, with so much the greater care must the balance-wheel be adjusted, which is designed to regulate, while it restrains the action of the whole. Increase of power is gained at the loss of speed: and increase of speed at the loss of power. Well would it be if these principles were more carefully remembered in the regulation and adjustment of the frame-work of society. What seem to be useless incumbrances should not be rashly removed, lest the solid wall be shaken. That which looks like superfluous ornament may conceal some necessary joint. No man, who is not qualified to construct, is fit to destroy. It is only the hand of the skilful architect that should be allowed to touch the venerable structure, even for its repair. And yet it is not well to defer necessary repair, till the old building has fallen and buried us in its ruin. If the conservator could avert the evils which he dreads at the hand of the reckless reformer, he must become a reformer himself. It is better to ride in the chariot and direct its course, than to be crushed under its wheels.
The position which some, who pride themselves upon their superior wisdom, are inclined to take, in respect of the movements of the age, does no credit to their wisdom or their virtue. They have the skill to [17/18] perceive the utter futility of certain schemes of radical reform, and attributing to others the same degree of foresight, are disposed to laugh at such efforts, and let them alone. They think that the evil will soon cure itself, and had better be left to take its natural course. Principles are set forth, which strike at the root of the accredited doctrines of civilized and christianized society, and plans are advocated which all the experience of the world shows to be visionary and impracticable. The existing order of things is to be thoroughly revolutionized: crime is to be treated as a disease—prisons are to be converted into pleasant asylums—every fort is to be at once dismantled, every ship of war to be sold for purposes of traffic, every military company to burn its banners and its musketry—all forms of labor are to be made attractive and placed upon the same level—the wealth of the community is to be cast into a common treasury—traffic as now practised is to cease—the family relation is to be dissolved and men and women to be classified like vegetables—children are to be their own masters and liberated from all restraint—the fantasies of the infidel are to take the place of God's word—and every evil that has ever visited our race is to be at once and forever annihilated by the force of a new organization. Now the absurdity of all this is obvious enough; and yet would it not be well seriously to inquire, what there is in the actual condition of things, that could ever have suggested so foolish a contrivance? Are there not real evils in the constitution of society, which are capable of a real reform? May not the masses be elevated, and none be the losers? May not education be more generally diffused, and there yet remain an educated class, with all their honors and dignities unimpaired? May not the stream be widened, [18/19] without sacrificing its depth? May not the misery of the multitude be relieved, and the happiness of none be diminished? Must the mansions of the rich be torn down, to afford material for the dwellings of the poor? May not the law of love gradually and judiciously be substituted for the law of force? May not punishment be made reformatory, without ceasing to be punishment? The man, who regards such questions as these with indifference, has no right to ridicule the empiricism of the foolish enthusiast. The charlatan may be honest, though his nostrums are not the less mischievous on this account; but, he who can see his neighbor perish without an effort to save him, is not the one who should laugh at his faith in quackery. If the wise will do nothing, they should be quiet when ignorance undertakes the work which devolves upon them. If those, who ought to control and direct the public mind, will doze in dull imbecility, they should be held responsible for the pestilent errors which infest the world. If they had fulfilled their vocation, that public voice which babbles so incoherently and wildly, might have spoken words of prudence and wisdom. "The little catechism of the rights of man is soon learned," says Burke, "and the inferences are in the passions." The inferences would not be in the passions, if this little catechism were rightly expounded, and explained; for then it would be seen that every light carries with it a correlative duty.
IV. But, in addition to a clear understanding of the true uses of the past, a warm sympathy with the life of the present age, and the exercise of a careful discrimination in respect of its tendencies, we should have an unfaltering confidence in the truth. Truth is not exterminated, because it is for the time overborne. [19/20] There are always some, who are interested in the perpetuation of abuses, and this blinds their judgment. The interior energy of truth could never be known, were there nothing with which it had to contend. And the progress of all salutary and abiding reformation is like the advance of the rising tide, which is by successive advance and retreat, so gradual and imperceptible that you can know that it flows, only by the landmarks which one after another, are submerged. Most strikingly is this illustrated in political revolutions, where apparent defeat often secures the establishment of the very principle for which the movement was undertaken; the son of the decapitated king may succeed to the throne, but the sceptre which he grasps has changed into a withered reed.
Whatever is true, will live, in defiance of opposition. The stream, which flows from a perennial fountain, can neither be turned back, nor stayed. In time, it will burst any barrier that can be raised, and though, for a season, it flow under ground and out of sight, it flows on still.
Every true word has in it the seed of its own immortality. It may be long before it lights upon a fitting soil, and springs up to bear fruit; but such a time must come. It is a great thing to give utterance to a thought, "which the world will not willingly let die." Cities crumble, and their very site is lost; crowns are melted into household ware; the conqueror's sword may be beaten into a pruning-hook that shall reap the yellow harvest which grows upon the very field where he gathered his bloody laurels; the law of destruction rests upon everything earthly but truth, which indeed is not of the earth. The voice that uttered the lofty sentiment may have been silent for ages, the marble that covered the mouldering form [20/21] may have been worn to powder, but the spoken word still lives and still exerts its living power. It is identified with the progress of the race, it is incorporated with the life of man and shapes his destiny. Nothing is so evanescent as the speech of the frivolous, nothing is so permanent as the word of the wise.
How noble then is his vocation, whether his life be devoted to thought or action, whether he be magistrate or citizen, who identifies his own existence with the cause of truth! He is a conqueror, for he rescues precious territory from the bondage of ignorance; he is rich, for he can afford to live without riches; and he has a title of nobility, which kings can neither give nor take away.
Breaking through the meshes of pleasure, as the Hebrew sundered the strong cords of the Philistine; neither coveting nor rejecting applause, but never living for applause; scorning to sell his costly birthright for gold; looking with infinite contempt upon the mean servilities by which the demagogue crawls to the seat of power; he readily consecrates himself to the cause of truth, never doubting that this will bring with it its own reward.
GENTLEMEN OF THE ANCIENT AND HONORABLE ARTILLERY COMPANY,—I have in this discourse varied somewhat from the topics to which you have been more usually accustomed to listen on this occasion, because it seemed to me that in the course of more than two hundred years, those subjects must have been somewhat thoroughly considered. Avoiding both the extreme of burning radicalism and of frozen conservatism, either of which always provokes its opposite, I have endeavored to set before you [21/22] certain general truths, which bear upon the welfare of that community, with which for so many years, your association has been so intimately connected.
"Loitering slow the Future creepeth,
Arrow swift the Present creepeth,
And motionless forever stands the Past."
Read aright the motionless past, improve earnestly the swift present, that the loitering future, when it cometh, may come with a blessing. Live for others, and you yourselves will be infinite gainers. He has the best wages for his work, who does not work for wages. Do that which is worth doing, let the consequence be as it may. Follow in all things the law of eternal right, let it lead you whithersoever it may. There can be no true faith, where there is not the consciousness of right; and "without faith we can do nothing," nothing that requires patience, or toil, or resistance.
Remember always that there is a future, and that it is endless.
One battle we have all to fight, and the foe is not far off. Our armor we should all wear, and it may be found in the Gospel. Under one Captain we should all rally, and his name is Jesus. The summons of one trumpet we must all obey; and then, if the good fight has been fought, and we be found clothed in the armor of righteousness, and following the Captain of our salvation, its notes will be to us the signal of an eternal triumph, and of a seat at the right hand of God.