Most of us know of some one in our immediate circle of friends and acquaintances who, though he may not be classed as among the intellectually brilliant or socially prominent, or as possessed of a superabundance of the world's riches, commands the sincere respect of all. Why? Because he is probably a man whose prime object in life is to be right in his every dealing with his fellow men,—to think calmly, speak gently, and act kindly; to make honesty not a matter of mere policy, but of Principle; so-called "white lies" and the oft-excused "extenuating circumstances" finding no sympathy from him.

Such an individual is possessed of what is termed a good character. He is striving daily to perfect it. He does not have to tell anybody what he is trying to do. Probably he is too busy trying to do right to care about playing the role of the self-righteous Pharisee. His life tells the story much more vividly than could words. He has recognized to some extent the demands of Principle, and what to others seems to be an unusual virtue or an uncommon gift of self-control is but the constant operation of this basic law and order in his consciousness, guiding and governing every thought and action according to the pattern which has been shown him. No man has a monopoly of this fundamental truth, but all can make use of it if they will.

Every right-minded person has the desire to arrive some day at the perfect stature of manhood. Few succeed in reaching this point, however, because the vast majority look upon human shortcomings and weaknesses as a necessary part of man's existence and therefore powerful; hence, if mortals do not go down under their defects, they endeavor to shape the course of their lives in the straight and narrow way by fighting these weaknesses with the human will. It is plain that that which is real cannot be destroyed or overcome. Therefore, so long as people believe that evil is real and powerful, their efforts to overcome it will be rewarded, at best, with only temporary success. Sheer force of human will may, for a time, suppress the conditions, but this method is neither more nor less than error pittted against error, constituting a house divided against itself, which cannot stand. It is plain that if human will is the cause of mental and moral defects, it cannot heal those defects. The remedy must be sought in another direction.

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June 1, 1912

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