Ambition—Vice or Virtue?

Is ambition a virtue or a vice? Of itself, it is neither. Shakespeare has Hamlet say, "There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so." If ambition unleashes vicious tendencies that would trample anyone or anything in its path, then ambition is an evil. If it is devotion to good and perseverance in its attainment, then it is a virtue.

Mad ambition, no matter how triumphant its apparent victory, is doomed to failure. True ambition, no matter how delayed its success, is destined to win. It is vital, then, that ambition be correctly directed. The Bible contains illustrations that prove this point.

Jacob, for example, thought to advance himself by cheating his brother of his birthright. Where did deceit and double-dealing lead him? Into a lone and desperate struggle. Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health (p. 569), "Every mortal at some period, here or hereafter, must grapple with and overcome the mortal belief in a power opposed to God."

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Stuart Goes with God
October 30, 1965

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