Let Us Ask Ourselves Earnestly if We Are Guilty of Wearing It.
THE LESSON—That the world honors and respects an honest man, one who does not fear the opinion of those about him.
We recall the words of Jesus, who, in His Sermon on the Mount, warned his hearers to "beware of false prophets which come to you in sheeps' clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves," and we reflect how applicable are the words in modern times. Everywhere, one must beware the snares and deceit of the servants of Satan, who, with pleasing outward appearance, entrap their victims. It is a delight and a satisfaction, then, to find real truth and sincerity in the earth, and it is to be found if we but look for it.
"It is said that when a thief wants to rob a house, he tries to find the home of an honest man. Why? Because he thinks that the honest man, who never takes advantage of his fellowmen, will be least apt to suspect that anyone will take advantage of him.
"But the same truth holds good when one honest man seeks to deal with another honest man. A true man, when he comes to us with any plan of work or investment may be relied upon to say just what he thinks and believes. He is dependable. It is a pleasure and a satisfaction, when we are listening to the words of another person, to know that that other person is speaking the truth. But not everyone is to be depended upon in this way. There is another kind of man who tells you something in apparent sincerity, but when he calls upon the next person he may tell the story in an entirely different way. Why? Because he believes that the second person will be better pleased with the revised version.
"How often do we find an attractive face which gains our entire confidence, a face, pleasant to see and agreeable in every way. [Draw face, completing Fig. 82.] And then, how often are we pained and shocked and disappointed when something happens which allows us to look into the real character of the person and we find that his real self is anything but agreeable and worthy of confidence. [Draw lines to complete Fig. 83.] Such a discovery, however, should not cause us to lose faith in our brothers. Truth, character, and a splendid degree of manhood abound everywhere.
"Boys and girls, begin now the formation of habits which will make you strong, honest, worthy men and women. Sometimes you see a man who is fiery, cross, ill-tempered and surly. Again you will find one who is fawning, over-polite, subservient and altogether wearisome because, in trying to make himself agreeable he becomes a bore and a nuisance. Both of these kinds of men have failed to reach the right goal of manhood. We must have backbone, firmness and stamina, but we must be willing to bend sometimes or we are apt to get some pretty hard bumps when we hold our heads too high. Remember that you can't please everybody. Sometimes it is best to say 'Yes' when people ask you to do certain things, and sometimes a flat-footed 'No' is the thing. Remember that if you agree with everybody who expresses an opinion, you have the respect of nobody. Think for yourself, but think carefully. If you choose to grovel at the feet of those about you, you must expect to get stepped on and run over. Above all, cultivate a habit of being so straightforward and above-board that no one will ever doubt your sincerity. Don't wear a mask of sincerity when the real character is less honorable. To do this is to cheat yourself more than anyone else, for the deception is ofttimes but thinly veiled.
"In his early life, in the year 1844, Lord Beaconsfield, said, in an address before the Literary and Scientific Institution of London: 'A man can be what he pleases. Every one of you can be what he desires to be. I have resolved to hold a certain position, and if I live I will.' It is not known to what position Benjamin Disraeli referred, but he attained to the highest position possible to any man in England, notwithstanding that his status as a Jew was a strong barrier against his progress. On his deathbed he said, 'Nothing can resist a will which will stake even existence for its fulfillment.'
"That is determination. Such determination will make any man what he wants to be. It will enable every one of us to reach his highest ideal. And may that ideal be to shun the dishonest and seek the honest life in its every element."
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