Finally, we come to the chief among the goals, which is life itself. In fact, life is the super-goal. We study manual arts, science, and language that we may achieve the goals of integrity, imagination, aspiration, and serenity, and these qualities we weave into the fabric of life. Upon the spiritual qualities we weave into it, depend the texture and pattern of this fabric and the generating and developing of these qualities and the weaving of them into this fabric—this we call life. When we look upon a person who is well-conditioned and whose life is well-ordered, in body, in mind, and in spirit, we know, at once, that he possesses integrity, initiative, a sense of responsibility, reverence, and other high qualities that compose the person as we see him. We do not reflect upon what he knows of history, of geography, or of music, for we are taking note of an exemplification of life. Indeed, the presence or absence of these qualities determines the character of the person’s life. Hence it is that life is the supreme goal of endeavor. Life is a composite and the crown-piece of all the qualities toward which we strive by means of arithmetic and grammar—in short, of all our activities both in school and out.
One of our mistakes is that we confuse life and lifetime, and construe life to mean the span of life. In this conception the unit of measurement is so large that our concept of life evaporates into a vague generalization. Life is too specific, too definite for that. The quality of life may better be measured and tested in one-hour periods of duration. When the clock strikes nine, we know that in just sixty minutes it will strike ten. In the space of those sixty minutes we may find a cross-section of life. In a single hour we may experience a thousand sensations, arrive at a thousand judgments, and make a thousand responses to things about us. In that hour we may experience joy, sorrow, love, hate, envy, malice, sympathy, kindliness, courage, cowardice, pettiness, magnanimity, egoism, altruism, cruelty, mercy—a list, in fact, that reaches on almost interminably. If we only had a spiritual cyclometer attached to us, when the clock strikes ten we should have an interesting moment in noting the record. Only in some such way may each one of us gain a true notion of what his own life is. The one-hour period is quite long enough for a determination of the spiritual attitude and disposition of the individual.
It is no small matter to achieve life, big, full, round, abounding, pulsating life; but it is certainly well worth striving for. Some one has defined sin as the distance between what one is and what he might have been; and this distance measures his decline from the sphere of life to which he had right and title. For life is a sphere, seeing that it extends in all directions. Its limits are conterminous