The Making of a Nation eBook

Charles Foster Kent
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 125 pages of information about The Making of a Nation.

The late Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) advised a young man who desired to enter business to select the firm with which he wished to be associated, then ask that they give him work, without mentioning the subject of compensation.  Having secured this opportunity to demonstrate his ability and willingness to work, recognition would come in due time.  This advice received the approval of many prominent business men.  It concretely illustrates the fact that the first essential of success is the willingness to serve.  It also emphasizes the necessity of being ready to do the work in accordance with the employer’s wishes.  Ultimate success also requires knowledge and trained ability.  These, however, come through apprenticeship and a faithful improvement of opportunities.  The Hebrew sages, with true insight, emphasized the importance of knowledge; but they taught also that wisdom, which is not only knowledge, but the power to apply it practically in the various relations of life, was far more important.

What other qualities are essential to the highest success?  Is it very important that a man should have the right moral standards?  How do a man’s habits affect his efficiency?

Is it only the genius who is able to attain the highest success to-day in business and professional life?  Do you accept George Eliot’s definition of genius as “the capacity for unlimited work”?  To what extent does a man’s faith in God and in his fellow men determine his ability to win success?  How far are they essential to the attainment of the highest type of success?

II.

THE LIMITATIONS AND TEMPTATIONS OF JOSEPH’S EARLY LIFE.

The Hebrew sage who uttered the prayer: 

  Remove far from me falsehood and lies;
  Give me neither poverty nor riches;
  Feed me with the food that is needful for me.
    —­Prov. 30:8.

voiced a great economic as well as moral principle.  The men who are handicapped to-day in the race for success are either those who are born in homes of extreme poverty or of extreme wealth where they are unnaturally barred or shielded from the real problems and tasks of life.  Which is probably the greater handicap?  To which class did Joseph belong?

In what ways did his father show his favoritism towards Joseph?  The Hebrew word rendered in the older translations, “coat of many colors,” means literally, “long-sleeved tunic.”  This garment, like those worn by wealthy Chinese when in native costume, distinguished the rich or the nobility, who were not under the necessity of engaging in manual labor.

The dreams which Joseph told to his brothers reveal his high estimate of his own importance and were probably suggested by his father’s attitude toward him.  They were indeed a revelation of the ambitions already stirring in the young boy’s mind.  But Joseph required closer contact with real life in order to transform his ambitions into actual achievements.

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Project Gutenberg
The Making of a Nation from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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