The naval narratives of the world teem with references to England's early seamen, Drake, Hawkins, and their kin, not only because of their fearlessness, their far-seeking, venturesome spirit, but because of the cleverness with which they handled their little caravels. The skill and daring of these "bronzed British tars" counted for much, no doubt, in their mastery of every sea, but their habit of hieing betimes to some secluded cove, there to tilt their crafts abeam long enough to scrape every barnacle from their keels,—this also had greatly to do with that fleetness of sail which contributed so largely to their achievements and fame; and today their wisdom in this regard is duly registered in the fact that the modern "greyhound" of the sea wins a furlong for every moment of her chase by being cleaned now and then to the skin.

All this illustrates the more important fact that in the realm of thought patient and planned for removal of the retarding accumulations of material belief has very definitely to do with the satisfactoriness and success of every spiritual undertaking. Pride, the love of place, self-sufficiency and wilfulness, together with every other scion of selfishness and falsity,—these are the mental accretions that must be "put away" as Paul says, before consciousness finds its true freedom for diviner flight.

The barnacles of human belief abound in the quiet seas of credulous childhood and youth, where the sky seems most fair, the breeze most favoring. They are found too in the waters of mature ease and self-complacency, and they attach themselves to the body of human thought so insidiously, and multiply with such marvelous rapidity that, ere he is aware, many a promising voyager has lost his spiritual alertness, his ability to stem opposing tides, and so become a prey to the confusing and dangerous drifts of mortal thought.

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August 21, 1909

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