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Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what is heaven for ? - ROBERT BROWNING

Too low they build who build beneath the stars.- YOUNG.

A prayer, in its simplest definition, is simply a wish turned heavenward. - PHILLIPS BROOKs.

From the lowest depth there is a path to the loftiest height. - CARLYLE.

Our only greatness is that we aspire.- JEAN INGELOW.

Did you ever hear of a man who had striven all his life faithfully and singly towards an object, and in no measure

obtained it ? If a man constantly aspires, is he not elevated ? Did ever a man try heroism, magnanimity, truth,

sincerity, and find that there was no advantage in them that it was a vain endeavor ? - THOREAU.

“The mission of genius on earth: to uplift, Purify and redeem by its own gracious gift The world, in spite of the world's dull endeavor To drag down and degrade and oppose it forever. The mission of genius: to watch and to wait, To renew, to redeem, and to regenerate."

Whoever is satisfied with what he does, has reached his culminating point-he will progress no more. Man's destiny is to be not dissatisfied, but forever unsatisfied. - F. W. ROBERTSON

“Endeavor to be first in thy calling, whatever it may be ; neither let anyone go before thee in well doing."

"HE is gone, then! The good old man is gone. We shall never see his snowy locks again, nor his placid countenance, nor his old horse and gig jogging by. Peter Cooper is dead!" Parton says that these words of a neighbor expressed the feelings of all the people of New York, City and State. Flags were placed at half-mast from the Hudson to the Great Lakes, and from the St. Lawrence to the Alleghanies. Why was such honor paid on that April day in eighteen hundred and eighty-three to a plain citizen born ninety-two years before ?

His father was a hatter in New York in Peter's earliest youth, and the boy learned to make good beaver hats of skins bought of John Jacob Astor. Peter persuaded his father to let him learn a trade in New York.

"Have you any room for an apprentice ?" he asked of a carriage-maker. “ Do you know anything about the business?" "No, sir." "Have you been brought up to work ?" "Yes, sir." "If I take you, will you stay and work out your time ? " Peter promised, and for four years he worked hard for twenty-five dollars a year and his board. He made a machine for mortising hubs, which proved very profitable to his employer. Having been denied the ordinary school privileges of children, he tried to find some evening-school in which he could obtain help in his studies while working at his trade by day. There were no such schools then, but the young man said to himself : "If ever I prosper in business so as to acquire more property than I need, I will try to found an institution in the city of New York, wherein apprentice boys and young mechanics shall have d chance to get knowledge in the evening."

The War of 1812 spoiled the carriage business just as he finished his apprenticeship, but soon there was a sharp demand for cloth and for machinery for its manufacture. Peter invented a machine for cutting the nap on cloth, and could not make enough to supply the demand. He married Sarah Bedel, who proved to him throughout life a jewel of great price.

Peace followed; foreign goods poured in, and the demand for Peter's machines ceased. He next tried cabinet-making, but was not successful. He bought a grocery-store and was prospering a year later, when an old friend said: " I have been building a glue factory for my son; but I don't think that either he or I can make it pay. But you are the very man to do it." "I'll go and see it," said Mr. Cooper. The price was two thousand dollars. Peter Cooper had just that amount. He knew nothing of making glue, and only understood that the American article was almost worthless compared with that imported from Russia. But he made the business yield him thirty thousand dollars a year, acting for twenty years without clerk, bookkeeper, salesman, or agent. When his men came to work at seven, they always found the fires burning, lighted by the master's hand. He gave close personal attention to the boiling of his glue all the forenoon; at noon he started around the city to sell glue and isinglass; and in the evening he posted books and read to his wife and children.

In 1828 he bought three thousand acres of land in Baltimore for one hundred and five thousand dollars. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was then building; but on account of the many curves made necessary to avoid points of rocks, the expense was so greatly increased that the stockholders talked of abandoning the project, as it was not believed that a locomotive could run on so crooked a road. Mr. Cooper urged them not to give it up, and built a locomotive which was a success, thus saving the company from bankruptcy.

When sixty years old he found that he had seven hundred thousand dollars above the capital in his various enterprises. Evening-schools had by that time been established in every ward; and he was in doubt what to do until he heard of the Polytechnic School of Paris, when his plan was formed at once. Cooper Union was built as a free gift to the city, on the site of his old grocery-store, at a cost of seven hundred thousand dollars, and has since been endowed by Mr. Cooper until his total benefaction amounts to two million dollars. When the doors were opened, two thousand young people applied for admission; and since that day, many thousand have been fitted therein for lives of usefulness. Well might a State mourn the loss of such a man !

The story of Peter Cooper's life is only another illustration of the value of an ideal and of the necessity of enthusiasm to accomplish it. No aspiration is too high; the very grandeur of it is a promise of strength for its fulfillment.

“When will they come?" asked a thousand voices again and again, as the people waited outside St. Andrew's Church, to see if the spirit of the Covenanter still lived in Scotland. The government had asserted jurisdiction over the Scottish clergy, which the latter could not conscientiously yield. “ They will not come," was the confident reply of those who had no faith in the power of principle, or that 18th day of May, 1843.

Within, the house had been called to order in the presence of the royal commissioner. The prayer was followed by silence. Moderator Welsh, "his pure and glowing spirit shining through his fragile body like a lamp through a vase of alabaster," protested against the attempt at jurisdiction, laid his protest upon the table, bowed to the commissioner, and walked towards the door. Those who would follow must abandon their charges and incomes, to become poor and houseless. The aged Chalmers, with "massive frame and lion port," follows, and then another and another until all the noblest of Scotland's clergy have left the church, four hundred ministers and as many elders. Four thousand voices unite with theirs in singing:

"God is our refuge and our strength, In straits a present aid ; Therefore, although the earth remove, We will not be afraid."

"Our yearnings," says Beecher, "are homesicknesses for heaven. Our sighings are sighings for God, just as children cry themselves asleep away from home, and sob in their slumber, not knowing that they sob for their parents. The soul's inarticulate moanings are the
affections yearning for the Infinite, and having no one to tell them what it is that ails them."

An old legend tells of a king and a queen who had a fair son. Twelve fairies brought each a blessing, such as wisdom, beauty, strength, the last bearing the gift o’ discontent. The king was angry with the twelfth fairy, and drove her away. The prince grew with great promise, but manifested no disposition to develop his talents. There was no energy, no eagerness, no ambition in his work.

Tradition says that when Solomon received the gift of an emerald vase from the queen of Sheba, he filled it with an elixir which he only knew how to prepare, one drop of which would prolong life indefinitely. A dying criminal begged for a drop of the precious fluid, but Solomon refused to prolong a wicked life. When good men asked for it, they were refused, or failed to obtain it when promised, as the king would forget or prefer not to open the vase to get but a single drop. When at last the king became ill, and bade his servants bring the vase, he found that the contents had all evaporated. So it is often with our hope, our faith, our ambition, our aspiration.

"Ere yet we yearn for what is out of our reach," says Bulwer, "we are still in the cradle. When, wearied out with our yearnings, desire again falls asleep, we are on the death-bed."

Every star in heaven, it is said, is discontented and insatiable. Gravitation and chemistry cannot content them. Ever they woo and court the eye of every be holder. Every man who comes into the world they seek to fascinate and possess, to pass into his mind, for they desire to republish themselves in a more delicate world than that they occupy. It is not enough that they are Jove, Mars, Orion, and the North Star, in the gravitating firmament: they would have such poets as Newton, Herschel, and Laplace, that they may re-exist and reap-.
pear in the finer world of rational souls, and fill that realm with their fame.

Cardinal Farnese discovered the great genuis Michael Angelo walking alone amid the ruins of the Colosseum. Expressing his surprise at finding him so occupied, the modest artist replied, "I go to school that I may continue to learn."

"More than once," said Peter Force to George W. Greene the historian, "did I hesitate between a barrel of flour and a rare book; but the book always got the upper hand. Whenever I found a little more money in my purse than I absolutely needed, I published a volume of historical tracts." Although not a rich man, he accumulated a library of 22,529 bound volumes and some 40,000 pamphlets, most of them of historical value.; so much so that Mr. A. P. Spofford, Librarian of Congress, persuaded that body to purchase the collection for $100,000. Mr. Force also wrote the "American Archives," perhaps the greatest treasury extant of our early history.

“Certainly it is a glorious fever, that desire to know," says Bulwer. "And there are few sights in the moral world more sublime than that which many a garret might afford, if Asmodeus would bare the roofs to our survey, viz., a brave, patient, earnest human being toiling his own arduous way, athwart the iron walls of penury, into the magnificent Infinite, which is luminous with starry souls."

"If I held Truth captive in my hand," said Malebranche, " I should open my hand and let it fly, in order that I might again pursue and capture it."

"Our sense of details, our fatal habits of reasoning, paralyze us," said Heraclitus; "we need the impulse of the pure ideal."

When the barber Ambroise Pare saw a surgical operation performed with great skill, he aspired to become a surgeon, that he might relieve suffering humanity. His


whole-souled study and careful practice led him to revolutionize the art. He found it the custom to sear gun shot wounds with red-hot irons to stop the bleeding, and then dress them with boiling oil. Amputation was performed with a red-hot knife, and anaesthetics were unknown. Pare discarded the boiling oil, the red-hot knife and irons; used emollient applications instead, and stopped bleeding by means of ligatures above the wounds. The learned doctors ridiculed the man who was ignorant of Latin, but the French soldiers said "Let Pare go with us, and we will march against any enemy and endure any fatigues."

Who has not noticed the power of love in an awkward, crabbed, shiftless, lazy man ? He becomes gentle, chaste in language, enthusiastic, energetic. Love brings out the poetry in him. It is only an idea, a sentiment, and yet what magic it has wrought. Nothing we can see has touched the man, yet he is entirely transformed. So a high ambition completely transforms a human being, making him despise ease and sloth, welcome toil and hardship, and shake even kingdoms to gratify his master passion. Mere ambition has impelled many a man to a life of eminence and usefulness; its higher manifestation, aspiration, has led him beyond the stars. If the aim be right, the life in its details cannot be far wrong.

Your heart must inspire what your hands execute, or the work will be poorly done. The hand cannot reach higher than does the heart.

"I, too, am a painter," said Correggio when he first looked at Raphael's Saint Cecilia. Demosthenes was so fired by the eloquence of Calistratus that he then and there resolved to be an orator, although apparently he had not the slightest qualification for such a career. His voice was weak, indistinct, and squeaky, and he had a feeble constitution.

When the temperance crusade began in Ohio, in 1874, it stirred the very depths of the soul of Frances E. Willard, the first woman ever elected president of a college. She resigned her large salary and advocated the temperance cause with her whole heart and soul. She and her mother soon became reduced to the verge of absolute want. One day she received an offer of the presidency of the Normal Institution of New York city, with a yearly salary of $2500.00, and another offer of the presidency of the Chicago W. C. T. U., a position entailing poverty and hardship. She chose the latter. For ten years, she worked in the cars, averaged one lecture a day, answered yearly some 20,000 letters, and traveled nearly 2000 miles a month. Inuring these ten years she also wrote several books, and hundreds of pamphlets, tracts, and newspaper letters. An earnest aspiration is her incentive, "shrewd system, stern concentration, peace, and good cheer," her methods.

John Ruskin has given away most of his fortune in his efforts to teach English artisans what is beautiful. Aspiration like that of Miss Willard or Ruskin brings blessing to its possessor and those about him. The cold ambition of Louis XIII. cost France a million lives during his reign of nearly seventy-two years, while in one third of that period Napoleon's insatiate love of power caused the loss of five million lives in Europe.

Man never reaches heights above his habitual thought. It is not enough now and then to mount on wings of ecstasy into the infinite. We must habitually dwell there. The great man is he who abides easily on heights to which others rise occasionally and with difficulty. Don't let the maxims of a low prudence daily dinned into your ears lower the tone of your high ambition or check your aspiration. Hope lifts us step by step up the mysterious ladder, the top of which no eye hath ever seen. Though we do not find what hope promised, yet we are stronger for the climbing, and we get a broader outlook upon life which repays the effort. Indeed, if we do not follow where hope beckons, we gradually slide down the ladder in despair. Strive ever to be at the top of your condition. A high standard is absolutely necessary.

“Show me a contented slave," says Burke, "and I will show you a degraded man."

About 350 B. C., according to a Roman apologue, the haruspices declared that an earthquake chasm in the forum could be filled only by casting into it that which upheld the greatness of Rome. Forth from the bewildered throng rode Marcus Curtius, clad in complete armor, and said that a brave soldier was one of the most indispensable pillars of the glory of his native land.

" O Rome! O country best beloved !

Thou land in which I first drew breath!

I render back the life thou gav'st, to rescue thee from death!

Then spurring on his gallant steed, a last and brief farewell he said,

And leapt within the gaping gulf, which closed above his head."

“If I had read the life of Napoleon when I was a boy," said a great man, “my own life might have been very different. It would have filled me with an ambition to make the most of myself."

A man cannot aspire if he looks down. God has not created us with aspirations and longings for heights to which we cannot climb. Live upward. The unattained still beckons us towards the summit of life's mountains, into the atmosphere where great souls live and breathe and have their being. Even hope is but a promise. of the possibility of its own fulfillment. Life should be lived in earnest. It is no idle game, no farce to amuse and be forgotten. It is a stern reality, fuller of duties than the sky of stars you cannot have too much, of that yearning which we call aspiration, for, even though you do not attain your ideal, the efforts you make will bring nothing but blessing; while he who
fails of attaining mere worldly goals is too often eaten up with the canker-worm of disappointed ambition. To all will come a time when the love of glory will be seen. to be but a splendid delusion, riches empty, rank vain, power dependent, and all outward advantages without inward peace a mere mockery of wretchedness. The wisest men have taken care to uproot selfish ambition from their breasts. Shakespeare considered it so near a vice as to need extenuating circumstances to make it a virtue.

Avoid the content of the Asiatic on the one hand, who ploughs with a stick like that used by his ancestors thousands of years ago, and is satisfied with the crooked furrows ; and on the other hand, do not be deluded with ambition beyond your power of reasonable attainment or tortured by wishes totally disproportioned to your capacity of fulfillment. You may, indeed, confidently hope to become eminent in usefulness or power, but only as you build upon a broad foundation of self-culture; while, as a rule, specialists in ambition as in science are apt to become narrow and one-sided.

Darwin was very fond of music and poetry when young, but, after devoting his life to science, he was surprised to find Shakespeare tedious. He said that if he were to live his life again, he would read poetry and hear music every day, so as not to lose the power of appreciating such things.

"Every life," says Julia Ward Howe, “ has its actual blanks which the ideal must fill up, or which else remain bare and profitless forever."

“A man may aspire," says Beecher, “ and yet be quite content until it is time to rise; and both flying and resting are but parts of one contentment."

The ideal is the continual image that is cast upon the brain; and these images are as various as the stars, and, like them, differ one from another in magnitude. It is the quality of the aspiration that determines the true success or failure of a life. A man may aspire to be the best billiard-player, the best jockey, the best coachman, the best wardroom politician, the best gambler, or the most cunning cheat. He may rise to be eminent in his calling; but, compared with other men, his greatest height will be below the level of the failure of him who chooses an honest profession. No jugglery of thought, no gorgeousness of trappings can make the low high- the dishonest honest -the vile pure. As is a man's ideal or aspiration, so shall his life be.

Some aspire to dress better than their neighbors, and live in finer houses, and drive better teams. How many women are as frivolous as the Empress Anne of Russia, who assembled the geniuses of her empire to build a palace of snow! "But," says Disraeli, "the youth who does not look up will look down, and the spirit that does not soar is destined perhaps to grovel."

"Every man," says Theodore Parker, "has at times in his mind the ideal of what he should be, but is not. In all men that seek to improve, it is better than the actual character. No one is so satisfied with himself that he never wishes to be wiser, better, and more holy."

What a discrepancy there is between what we are, or what we appear to be, and what we long to be.

" Men are possessed of great and divine ideas and sentiments," said Dewey, "and to paint them, sculpture them, build them in architecture, sing them in music, utter them in eloquent speech, write them in books, in essays, sermons, poems, dramas, fictions, philosophies, histories, - this is an irresistible impulse of human. Nature."

“ Ideality," says Horace Mann, "is only the avant courier of the mind; and where that in a healthy and normal state goes, I hold it to be a prophecy that realization can follow."

“Every really able man, if you talk sincerely with him," says Emerson, "'considers his work, however much admired, as far short of what it should be. What is this better, this flying ideal, but the perpetual promise of his Creator?"

“ Man can never come up to his ideal standard," says Margaret Fuller Ossoli. "It is the nature of the immortal spirit to raise that standard higher and higher as it goes from strength, to strength, still upward and onward."

"No true man can live a half life," says Phillips Brooks, " when he has genuinely learned that it is a half life. The other half, the higher half, must haunt him."

"If I live," wrote Rufus Choate in his diary in September, 1844, " all blockheads which are shaken at certain mental peculiarities shall know and feel a reasoner, a lawyer, and a man of business."

"'Tis not what a man does which exalts him," says Browning, "but what man would do."

"It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive," says George Eliot. " There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them."

“The flame of a common fire casts a shadow in the path of a kerosene light," says Emerson, “ and this in, turn casts a shadow before the electric flash. The country lad is satisfied with his surroundings until he goes to the village and sees the store, the library, the high school. This satisfies him until he goes to the city. The village lamp puts out the country light, and in turn is extinguished by Boston or New York."

Our longings are the prophecies of our destinies. Life never wholly fulfills the expectations of youthful hope. The future can never pay all that the present promises. Providence holds back part of our wages,
lest we quit work. The prophecy of immortality is written in our yearnings.

“If the certainty of future fame bore Milton rejoicing through his blindness, or cheered Galileo in his dungeon," writes Bulwer, " what stronger and holier support shall not be given to him who has loved mankind as his brothers, and devoted his labors to their cause ?-who has not sought, but relinquished, his own renown ? - who has braved the present censures of men for their future benefit, and trampled upon glory in the energy of benevolence ? Will there not be for him something more powerful than fame to comfort his sufferings and to sustain his hopes ? "

The ambition that comprehends another's welfare first, is the highest we can have. Such is the secret of Ruskin's success, and of the sway that Frances Willard holds in the hearts of every good woman in America and England.

Yet to have one's name on the lips of men is not a worthy ambition. Some fast horses and prize-fighters are better known than those who have high and noble ideals. Every one knows the merits of the leading contestants in international yacht-races, but only a few, perhaps only one, knows the merits of him or her who surrendered hope, or perhaps life itself, to save a home, or keep a son from the poorhouse, or to reform tenement and prison methods.

Of necessity the above illustrations come from the lives of those "whom the world delights to honor; but glory is rare and of secondary importance, and the lack of it implies no thought of failure in the judgment of Him who looks beneath the frame into the heart - who understands all aspiration-and who measures with honest scales the fervor which the soul expends.

“Who shall lightly say that

Fame Is nothing but an empty name,

While in that sound there is a charm

The nerves to brace, the heart to warm

As, thinking of the mighty dead,

The young from slothful couch shall start,

And vow, with lifted hands outspread,

Like them to act a noble part ?”


"I wonder if ever a song was sung,

But the singer's heart sang sweeter !

I wonder if ever a hymn was rung,

But the thought surpassed the metre !

I wonder if ever a sculptor wrought,

Till the cold stone echoed his ardent thought ?

Or if ever a painter, with light and shade,

The dream of his inmost heart portrayed ? "

DANIEL WEBSTER " It is said of Hercules, the god of force, that 'Whether he stood or walked, or sat, or whatever he did, he conquered."


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