A great estate is a great disadvantage to those who do not know hot to use it, for nothing is more common than to see wealthy persons live scandalously and miserably; riches do them no service in order to virtue and happiness; it is precept and principle, not an estate, that makes a man good for something.
I cannot teach you the ten principles of service. But a little child and a thief can show you what they are. From the child you can learn three things: He is merry for no particular reason; never for a moment is he idle; when he needs something, he demands it vigorously. The thief can instruct you in seven things: He does his service by night; if he does not finish what he has set out to do, in one night, he devotes the next night to it; he and those who work with him love one another; he risks his life for small gains; what he takes has so little value for him that he gives it up for a very small coin; he endures blows and hardship, and it matters nothing to him; he likes his trade and would not exchange it for any other.
That poverty which is not the daughter of the spirit is but the mother of shame and reproach; it is a disreputation that drowns all the other good parts that are in man; it is a disposition to all kind of evil; it is a man’s greatest foe.
Foremost among the barriers to equality is the system which ignores the mother’s service to Society in making a home and rearing children. The mother is still the uncharted servant of the future, who receives from her husband, at his discretion, a share in his wages.
Instinct gave place temporarily to a system of habits, each one of which became contingent, their convergence of which became contingent, their convergence towards the preservation of society being alone necessary, and this necessity bringing back instinct with it. The necessity of the whole, felt behind the contingency of the parts, is what we call moral obligation in general - it being understood that the parts are contingent in the eyes of society only; to the individual, into whom society inculcates its habits, the part is as necessary as the whole.
The full-grown modern human being who seeks but refuge finds instead boredom and mental dissolution, unless he can be, even in his withdrawal, creative. He can find the quality of happiness in the strain and travail only of achievement and growth. And he is conscious of touching the highest pinnacle of fulfillment which his life-urges demand when his is consumed in the service of an idea, in the conquest of the goal pursued.
When you have overcome one temptation, you must be ready to enter the lists with another. As distrust, in some sense, is the mother of safety, so security is the gate of danger. A man had need to fear this most of all, that he fears not at all.
Man cannot live by bread alone. The making of money, the accumulation of material power, is not all there is to living. Life is something more than these, and the man who misses this truth misses the greatest joy and satisfaction that can come into his life - service for others.
The domestic relations precede, and in our present existence are worth more than all our other social ties. They give the first throb to the heart, and unseal the deep fountains of its love. Home is the chief school of human virtue. Its responsibilities, joys, sorrows, smiles, tears, hopes, and solicitudes form the chief interest of human life.
It is better to give love. Hatred is a low and degrading emotion and is so poisonous that no man is strong enough to use it safely. The hatred we think we are directing against some person or thing or system has a devilish way of turning back upon us. When we seek revenge we administer slow poison to ourselves. When we administer affection it is astonishing what magical results we obtain.
The vital force in business life is the honest desire to serve. Business, it is said, is the science of service. He profits most who serves best. At the very bottom of the wish to render service must be honesty of purpose, and, as I go along through life, I see more and more that honesty in word, thought, and work means success. It spells a life worth living and in business clean success.