From the Religious Press

To some of us there is only one thing more disagreeable than a dreary pessimism; and that is a fallacious optimism, —an optimism which because it wears a shoe imagines that the earth is carpeted with leather, which puts the telescope to its blind eye when it is aware of any hostile fact on the horizon, which fortifies itself by reading only such papers and attending to only such facts as it knows will confirm it in the opinion which it chooses to maintain. For such optimism as ignores the facts, some other name than optimism ought to be discovered. Better the pessimism which recognizes them, and, when they are ugly, tries to abolish them, than the optimism which is complacent with their ugliness, and goes on smiling blandly while things are being done that call for righteous indignation and severe rebuke. The religious optimist, whose faith in God means tolerance of the devil, is not a useful citizen nor an entrancing spectacle.

Nevertheless, it behooves us, if we can, to maintain a cheerful heart in the midst of public calamities and personal misfortunes that threaten to rob us of that beautiful and enviable possession. Without being regardless of the rights of private sorrow of of the tragical significance of particular national affairs, we may cultivate a cheerful heart in many warrantable ways. A stoical indifference is not to be desired. The sentiment of Michel Angelo,

"While such things better to be mere stone," is not the ideal one for any modern citizen. Better to be sensitive to the stroke of public tragedy and private grief, and yet reach out after those things that will help us to bear up cheerfully under the burden, however heavy it may be.

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October 5, 1899

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