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AD MI RATION, esteem.
IN SIG NIF I CANCE, worthlessness.
THOR' OUGH LY, completely; fully.
IN TRIN' SIC AL LY, really; truly.
PIN' NA CLE, Summit; highest point.
REQ UI SITE, necessary.
GETTING THE RIGHT START.
J. G. HOLLAND.
1. THE first great lesson a young man should learn, is, that he knows nothing; and that the earlier and more thoroughly this lesson is learned, the better it will be for his peace of mind, and his success in life. A young man bred at home, and growing up in the light of parental admiration and fraternal pride, can not readily understand how it is, that every one else can be his equal in talent and acquisition. If bred in the country, he seeks the life of the town, he will very early obtain an idea of his insignificance.
2. This is a critical period in his history. The result of his reasoning will decide his fate. If, at this time, he thoroughly comprehend, and in his soul admit and accept the fact, that he knows nothing and is nothing; if he bow to the conviction that his mind and his person are but ciphers, and that whatever he is to be, and is to win, must be achieved by hard work, there is abundant hope of him.
3. If, on the contrary, a huge self-conceit still hold pos. session of him, and he straighten stiffly up to the assertion of his old and valueless self,--or, if he sink discouraged upon the threshold of a life of fierce competitions, and more manly emulations, he might as well bo a dead man.
world has no use for such a man, and he has only to retire or be trodden upon.
4. When a young man has thoroughly comprehended the fact that he knows nothing, and that, intrinsically, he is of but little value, the next thing for him to learn is that the world cares nothing for him,--that he is the subject of no man's overwhelming admiration and esteem, -that he must take care of himself.
5. If he be a stranger, he will find every man busy with his own affairs, and none to look after him. He will not be noticed until he becomes noticeable, and he will not become noticeable, until he does something to prove that he has an absolute value in society. No letter of recommendation will give him this, or ought to give him this. No family connection will give him this, except among those few who think more of blood than brains.
6. Society demands that a young man shall be somebody, not only, but that he shall prove his right to the title; and it has a right to demand this. Society will not take this matter upon trust,-at least, not for a long time; for it has been cheated too frequently. Society is not very particular what a man does, so that it prove him to be a man: then it will bow to him, and make room for him.
7. There is no surer sign of an unmanly and cowardly spirit, than a vague desire for help,--a wish to depend, to lean upon somebody, and enjoy the fruits of the industry of others. There are multitudes of young men who indulge in dreams of help from some quarter, coming in at a convenient moment, to enable them to secure the success in life which they covet. The vision haunts them of some benevolent old gentleman, with a pocket full of money, a trunk full of mortgages and stocks, and a mind remarkably appreciative of merit and genius, who will, perhaps, give or lend them
from ten to twenty thousand dollars, with which they will commence and go on swimmingly.
8. To me, one of the most disgusting sights in the world, is that of a young man with healthy blood, broad shoulders, and a hundred and fifty pounds, more or less, of good bone and muscle, standing with his hands in his pockets, longing for help. I admit that there are positions in which the most independent spirit may accept of assistance,—may, in fact, as a choice of evils, desire it; but for a man who is able to help himself, to desire the help of others in the accomplishment of his plans of life, is positive proof that he has received a most unfortunate training, or that there is a leaven of meanness in his composition, that should make him shudder.
9. When, therefore, a young man has ascertained and fully received the fact that he does not know any thing, that the world does not care any thing about him, that what he wins must be won by his own brain and brawn, and that while he holds in his own hands the means of gaining his own livelihood and the objects of his life, he can not receive assistance without compromising his self-respect and selling his freedom, he is in a fair position for beginning life. When a young man becomes aware that only by his own efforts can he rise into companionship and competition with the sharp, strong, and well-drilled minds around him, he is ready for work, and not before.
10. The next lesson is, that of patience, thoroughness of preparation, and contentment with the regular channels of business effort and enterprise. This is, perhaps, one of the most difficult to learn, of all the lessons of life. It is natural for the mind to reach out eagerly for immediate results.
11. As manhood dawns, and the young man catches in its first light the pinnacles of realized dreams, the golden domes of high possibilities, and the purpling hills of great
delights, and then looks down upon the narrow, sinuous, long, and dusty path by which others have reached them, he is apt to be disgusted with the passage, and to seek for success through broader channels, by quicker means. Beginning at the very foot of the hill, and working slowly to the top, seems a very discouraging process; and precisely at this point, have thousands of young men made shipwreck of their lives.
12. Let this be understood, then, at starting; that the patient conquest of difficulties, which rise in the regular and legitimate channels of business and enterprise, is not only essential in securing the successes which you seek, but it is essential to that preparation of your mind, requisite for the enjoyment of your successes, and for retaining them when gained. It is the general rule of Providence, the world over, and in all time, that unearned success is a curse. It is the rule of Providence, that the process of earning success, shall be the preparation for its conservation and enjoyment.
13. So, day by day, and week by week; so, month after month, and year after year, work on, and in that process gain strength and symmetry, and nerve and knowledge, that when success, patiently and bravely worked for, shall come, it may find you prepared to receive it and keep it. The development which you will get in this brave and patient labor, will prove itself, in the end, the most valuable of your successes. It will help to make a man of you. It will give you power and self-reliance. It will give you not only self-respect, but the respect of your fellows and the public.
QUESTIONS.-1. What is the first lesson a young man should learn? 2. What is the next lesson he should learn? 3. What does society demand of a young man? 4. What is a sure sign of an unmanly and cowardly spirit? 5. When is a young man in a fair position for beginning life? 6. What is a general rule of Providence?
THE MIS' TO CLE$, a celebrated Athenian statesman and military leader, was born about 514 before Christ.
Cr' MON, an illustrious Athenian general and statesman, born about the year 510, before Christ. He belonged to the aristocratic party of his time, and contributed to the banishment of Themistocles, the leader of the opposite party. He was also the political opponent of Pericles.
PER' I CLE$, an Athenian statesman, born about 495 before Christ. Ho labored to make Athens the capital of all Greece, and the seat of art and refinement.
• PLA' TO, a celebrated Greek philosopher, born in Athens about the year 429 before Christ. He was a pupil of Socrates, for note on whom, see p. 138.
THE PRESUMPTION OF YOUTH.
1. THE young people of Athens, amazed at the glory of Themistocles,' of Cimon,' of Pericles, and full of a foolish ambition, after having received some lessons from the sophists, who promised to render them very great politicians, believed themselves capable of every thing, and aspired to fill the highest places. One of them, named Glaucon, took it so strongly in his head that he had a peculiar genius for public affairs, although he was not yet twenty years of age, that no person in his family, nor among his friends, had the power to divert him from a notion so little befitting his age and capacity
2 Socrates, who liked him on account of Plato his brother, was the only one who succeeded in making him