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SUCCESS IN LIFE.
" There is a tide in the affairs of men,
There is a strong tendency in the minds of many men to envy the success of the fortunate few, and to repine at Fortune, by whose partial distribution of favours the objects of their envy are assumed to have attained to coveted hohours and rewards. We will all blame any cause sooner than our own imprudence, or neglect of the proper means, when we see ourselves outstripped in the race. Yet we own, abstractly, the good old maxims which promise health and wealth to the industrious; fortune to those who rise early and work late; an abundant harvest to the farmer who ploughs the deepest, and casts the richest seed into his furrows; and, in a word, under all its many forms, that " the hand of the diligent maketh rich." Doubtless, all the virtuous are not fortunate, nor all the vicious, unfortunate and poor. There are those who fail in life by no fault of their own, and those, also, who prosper by dishonest and unworthy means. Yet is the maxim a sound one, and confirmed by experience—“He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. He that gathereth in summer is a wise son; but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.” Nor is it less surely established by experience—“When a wicked man dieth, his expectations shall perish; and the hope of unjust men perisheth.”
It is a maxim which we can have no hesitation in setting forth as the result of experience, that success in life is equally certain in any and every career to him that uses the right means. Energy and concentration of power are of far more real practical value even than talent. It is no uncommon thing, indeed, to see the man of some considerable talent, surpassed in commercial life by one apparently greatly his inferior, from no other reason than this, that while the one devotes his whole energy and his undivided thoughts to the object of his life, the other is diverted by many irreconcileable tastes, and grudgingly gives but half his mind to the business on which depends all his worldly prospects. Yet he, too, covets success, and chides at fortune for her capricious favours, while in reality his reward has been rendered him according to his diligence.
There is sound truth in Æsop's old fable of “ Jupiter and the Waggoner,"—where a waggoner, whose wheel has got fast in the mud, is pictured by the Greek moralist as shouting to Jupiter for aid; upon which the king of the gods, looking down from his Olympian throne, bids the indolent clown cease his supplications and put his own shoulder to the wheel. In how many cases, in human life, does success really depend on our putting our own shoulder to the wheel! Success! How the heart bounds at the exulting word! Man aims at it from the moment he places his tiny foot upon the floor till he lays his head in the grave. Success is the exciting motive to all endeavour, and its crowning glory.
During the reign of superstition over Christendom, men consulted astrologers, who wrested from the “ stars in their courses” omens of success. At a later period they inquired, in the same curious spirit, of the fortune teller, or, with the aid of childish omens, sought to be their own diviners. In our brighter days,
"Man is his own star." He needs no conjurer to cast his horoscope. Courage, industry, perseverence, honesty, courtesy, faith, hope, combined with talents and upright principles, make up the moral horoscope. Some, indeed, are born great—“some achieve greatness”—all in our free country may do it; and some have greatness thrust upon them; but all have within their reach the rewards of honest industry.
For the benefit of the young, we are about to trace footprints” left by the truly wise and good “ on the sands of time”-footprints that mark the road to success.
The farmer who ploughs deepest, and commits his secd to the well manured furrow, is not certain of a harvest. He trusts to the genial ministry of Heaven—the sun, and the rain, and the dew—the good providence of God. Drought, and flood, and cold, may blight his hopes, for thus it seemeth good to the all-wise Disposer; yet success is considered so sure, as the result of these means, that no wise husbandman neglects to employ them.
Success in life is equally certain, in any and every career, to him who uses the right means.
"The child is father to the man.'