Admire Something. (Lecture. October 1894.)
My young friend, tell me what you admire and I will tell you what you are. Man naturally prefers the good and beautiful. If this were not so, the world would move backward, not forward. The world grows better and more beautiful every day. You are poor, you wear very plain clothes, you live in a hut, a shanty; you toil with your hands during the long hours of long days. In an hour of leisure you have few papers, magazines, books and companions. You long for something that as yet seems to be invisible, and in your longing you find yourself impatient and unhappy- you ask if you must always remain in this condition. The philosopher of today says no. The whole world is ready to pay homage for your asking, ready to admit you into paradise.
The poets seek admission at your cottage; a Longfellow, a Whittier, a Tennyson, will hasten to your side if you are willing to open the window of your soul. No man is compelled to dwell in solitude. The storehouses of art and poetry are at your disposal. Cease thinking of those surroundings that are visible to the physical eye, and in humble admiration accept the best gifts of heaven.
Permit your soul to live in a mansion made beautiful by the pictures God has given you. Live with the great and good of all ages. It is the mind, the heart, the soul, that lives, that enjoys, that hopes, that prays, that gives thanks, that bears burdens for the sake of hastening the coming of the kingdom of love.
The flower, the growing grain, the rippling brook, the awful cataract, the mighty ocean, the song of the thrust, the merry laugh of the child, the grand march of humanity and infinite love of the Master all plead for your tender recognition.
You are not asked to live in a hut, you are not asked to feed on husks, you are not asked to clothe your soul in rags, you are not asked to associate with the inhabitants of the Inferno. You are offered the World Beautiful. Cease your murmuring and accept the Promised Land.