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An After-the-Lesson Visit With the Author

The marker stands at the Entrance Gate of Life and writes "Poor Fool" on the brow of the wise man and "Poor Sinner" on the brow of the saint.

The supreme mystery of the universe is life! We come here without our consent, from whence we know not! We go away without our consent, whither, we know not!

We are eternally trying to solve this great riddle of "LIFE," and, for what purpose and to what end?

That we are placed on this earth for a definite reason there can be no doubt by any thinker. May it not be possible that the power which placed us here will know what to do with us when we pass on beyond the Great Divide?

Would it not be a good plan to give the Creator who placed us here on earth, credit for having enough intelligence to know what to do with us after we pass on; or, should we assume the intelligence and the ability to control the future life in our own way? May it not be possible that we can co-operate with the Creator very intelligently by assuming to control our conduct on this earth to the end that we may be decent to one another and do all the good we can in all the ways we can during this life, leaving the hereafter to one who probably knows, better than we, what is best for us?

THE artist has told a powerful story in the picture at the top of this page.

From birth until death the mind is always reaching out for that which it does not possess.

The little child, playing with its toys on the floor, sees another child with a different sort of toy and immediately tries to lay hands on that toy.

The female child (grown tall) believes the other woman's clothes more becoming than her own and sets out to duplicate them.

The male child (grown tall) sees another man with a bigger collection of railroads or banks or merchandise and says to himself: "How fortunate! How fortunate! How can I separate him from his belongings?"

F. W. Woolworth, the Five and Ten Cent Store king, stood on Fifth Avenue in New York City and gazed upward at the tall Metropolitan Building and said: "How wonderful! I will build one much taller." The crowning achievement of his life was measured by the Woolworth Building. That building stands as a temporary symbol of man's nature to excel the handiwork of other men. A MONUMENT TO THE VANITY OF MAN, WITH BUT LITTLE ELSE TO JUSTIFY ITS EXISTENCE!

· · · · · · · ·

The little ragged newsboy on the street stands, with wide-open mouth, and envies the business man as he alights from his automobile at the curb and starts into his office. "How happy I would be," the newsboy says to himself, "if I owned a Lizzie." And, the business man seated at his desk inside, thinks how happy he would be if he could add another million dollars to his already overswollen bank roll.

The grass is always sweeter on the other side of the fence, says the jackass, as he stretches his neck in the attempt to get to it.

Turn a crowd of boys into an apple orchard and they will pass by the nice mellow apples on the ground. The red, juicy ones hanging dangerously high in the top of the tree look much more tempting, and up the tree they will go.

The married man takes a sheepish glance at the daintily dressed ladies on the street and thinks how fortunate he would be if his wife were as pretty as they. Perhaps she is much prettier, but he misses that beauty because-well, because "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." Most divorce cases grow out of man's tendency to climb the fence into the other fellow's pastures.

· · · · · · · ·

Happiness is always just around the bend; always in sight but just out of reach. Life is never complete, no matter what we have or how much of it we possess. One thing calls for something else to go with it.

Milady buys a pretty hat. She must have a gown to match it. That calls for new shoes and hose and gloves, and other accessories that run into a big bill far beyond her husband's means.

Man longs for a home-just a plain little house setting off in the edge of the woods. He builds it, but it is not complete; he must have shrubbery and flowers and landscaping to go with it. Still it is not complete; he must have a beautiful fence around it, with a graveled driveway.

That calls for a motor car and a garage in which to house it.

All these little touches have been added, but to no avail! The place is now too small. He must have a house with more rooms. The Ford Coupe must be replaced by a Cadillac sedan, so there will be room for company in the cross country tours.

On and on the story goes, ad infinitum! · · · · · · · ·

The young man receives a salary sufficient to keep him and his family fairly comfortable. Then comes a promotion and an advance in salary of a thousand dollars a year. Does he lay the extra thousand dollars away in the savings account and continue living as before? He does nothing of the sort. Immediately he must trade the old car in for a new one. A porch must be added to the house. The wife needs a new wardrobe. The table must be set with better food and more of it. (Pity his poor, groaning stomach.) At the end of the year is he better off with the increase? He is nothing of the sort! The more he gets the more he wants, and the rule applies to the man with millions the same as to the man with but a few thousands.

The young man selects the girl of his choice, believing he cannot live without her. After he gets her he is not sure that he can live with her. If a man remains a bachelor he wonders why he is so stupid as to deprive himself of the joys of married life. If he marries he wonders how she happened to catch him off guard long enough to "harpoon" him.

And the god of Destiny cries out "O fool, 0 fool! You are damned if you DO and you are damned if you DON'T."

At every crossroad of Life the imps of Discontentment stand in the shadows of the background, with a grin of mockery on their faces, crying out "Take the road of your own choice! We will get you in the end!"

· · · · · · · ·

At last man becomes disillusioned and begins to learn that Happiness and Contentment are not of this world. Then begins the search for the pass-word that will open the door to him in some world of which he knows not. Surely there must be Happiness on the other side of the Great Divide. In desperation his tired, care-worn heart turns to religion for hope and encouragement.

But, his troubles are not over; they are just starting!

"Come into our tent and accept our creed," says one sect, "and you may go straight to heaven after death." Poor man hesitates, looks and listens. Then he hears the call of another brand of religion whose leader says:

"Stay out of the other camp or you'll go straight to hell! They only sprinkle water on your head, but we push you all the way under, thereby insuring you safe passage into the Land of Promise."

In the midst of sectarian claims and counterclaims Poor man becomes undecided. Not knowing whether to turn this way or that, he wonders which brand of religion offers the safest passage-way, until Hope vanishes.

"Myself when young

did eagerly frequent Doctor and Saint and heard

great argument About it and about; but

evermore Came out by the same door

where in I went."

Always seeking but never finding - thus might be described man's struggle for Happiness and Contentment. He tries one religion after another, finally joining the "Big Church" which the world has named the "Damned." His mind becomes an eternal question mark, searching hither and yon for an answer to the questions - "Whence and Whither?"

"The worldly hope men set

their Hearts upon Turns Ashes-or it prospers;

and anon, Like Snow upon the Desert's

Dusty Face Lighting a little Hour or two

is gone."

Life is an everlasting question-mark!

That which we want most is always in the embryonic distance of the future. Our power to acquire is always a decade or so behind our power to DESIRE!

And, if we catch up with the thing we want we no longer want it!

Fortunate is the young woman who learns this great truth and keeps her lover always guessing, always on the defensive lest he may lose her.

Our favorite author is a hero and a genius until we meet him in person and learn the sad truth that, after all, he is only a man. "How often must we learn this lesson? Men cease to interest us when we find their limitations. The only sin is limitation. As soon as you once come up with a man's limitations, it is all over with him."-EMERSON.

How beautiful the mountain yonder in the distance; but, the moment we draw near it we find it to be nothing but a wretched collection of rocks and dirt and trees.

Out of this truth grew the oft-repeated adage "Familiarity breeds contempt."

Beauty and Happiness and Contentment are states of mind. They can never be enjoyed except through vision of the afar. The most beautiful painting of Rembrandt becomes a mere smudge of daubed paint if we come too near it.

Destroy the Hope of unfinished dreams in man's heart and he is finished.

The moment a man ceases to cherish the vision of future achievement he is through. Nature has built man so that his greatest and only lasting Happiness is that which he feels in the pursuit of some yet unattained object. Anticipation is sweeter than realization. That which is at hand does not satisfy. The only enduring satisfaction is that which comes to the Person who keeps alive in his heart the HOPE of
future achievement. When that hope dies write FINIS across the human heart.

· · · · · · · ·

Life's greatest inconsistency is the fact that most of that which we believe is not true. Russel Conwell wrote the most popular lecture ever delivered in the English language. He called it "Acres of Diamonds." The central idea of the lecture was the statement that one need not seek opportunity in the distance; that opportunity may be found in the vicinity of one's birth. Perhaps! but, how many believe it?

Opportunity may be found wherever one really looks for it, and nowhere else! To most men the picking looks better on the other side of the fence. How futile to urge one to try out one's luck in the little home-town when it is man's nature to look for opportunity in some other locality.

Do not worry because the grass looks sweeter on the other side of the fence. Nature intended it so. Thus does she allure us and groom us for the life-long task of GROWTH THROUGH STRUGGLE.

THE highest compact we can make with our fellow is: Let there be truth between us two forevermore.



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