Not retrogressive, but progressive—not enervating, but energizing—not ephemeral, but substantial—not from bad to worse, but from the imperfect to the consummate, are the characteristics by which are so prominently distinguished the tidal waves of the world’s progress today.
Activity and achievement came with creation, and constitute an inflexible, irrepealable law of the universe. In stir and push we have light and life, but in idleness, and superstitious clinging to fossilized ideas and bygones, we have demoralization, decay and death.
Fortunately for the world, and agreeably with infinite design, man plods his way in harmony with the law alluded to. Not all men, but the great masses of them, wherever “The true light shineth,” especially when accompanied by rays and helps from one of the noblest and grandest of confraternities our world has known, “The Independent Order of Odd-Fellows.” When the huge planet which we call our world had been tossed into being from the furnace fires of Omnipotence, and the maternal lullaby began to gather force on hill top and in valley, the discovery was naturally enough made that association and co-operation were preferable to isolation and unrelieved dependence; and from that hour forward, this principle has been interwoven into the very framework of human society. The purpose has been the elevation and improvement of mankind. For, though the first product was pronounced “good,” it quickly degenerated; and there came an emphasized demand for reform.
Human isolation is an unnatural condition. It antagonizes the highest and best interests of the world. Its influence is never beneficent, but always and necessarily harmful. If the truest well being of the universe, and the supremest glory of Jehovah could have been attained by conditions of solitude, it is not impossible that the good All-Father would have given to every man a continent, and so have made him monarch of all he surveyed.
Physically regarded, there is no limit to Omnipotent power. A continent, and even a world, was therefore within the pale of divine possibilities. Jehovah, however, is not only great, but he is the Greatness of Goodness. High and holy ends were to be accomplished, and happy purposes to be secured, by means of human instrumentalities, and be jointly shared by Creator and creature.
Among the earliest of Deific utterances, therefore, we have this: “It is not good that man should be alone.” I concede that, primarily, the companionship of woman is here intended. But the declaration is not only good in this, but equally so in other regards. A lifetime of solitude with no incentives to action—nothing to draw out, exercise and expand the latent powers of the soul—no interchange of thought—no clashing of opinion—no towering resolves to stimulate—no difficulties to surmount! What imagination so fertile that it could picture a more hateful or intolerable Hades than would be such a condition of affairs?