Continuing he said: “Some twenty years ago, you lectured in a village where there was a state normal school. It was Sunday evening. At the hotel were three young men, and to see the girls of the college, these young men went to the lecture. One was the only son of a wealthy widow. He had not seen his mother for months. She had begged him to come home, but he was sowing his wild oats and ashamed to face his mother. That evening you made an earnest appeal to young men in the name of home and mother. The arrow went to the heart of the wild young fellow. On returning to the hotel he said to his companions: ’Come up to my room, let’s have a talk.’ On entering the room he closed the door and said: ’Boys, I want to open my heart to you. I am overwhelmed with a sense of wrong-doing. I am done with the saloon, done with the gambling table, done with evil associations. I am going home to-morrow and make mother happy. Boys, let’s join hands and swear off from drink and evil habits; let’s honor our manhood and our mothers.’
“Now for the sequel that I think will rest you. That wild boy is now a wealthy man. I give you his name, though I would not have you call it in public. He is a Christian philanthropist, and has never broken his pledge. The second boy holds the highest office in the gift of this government in a western territory, and the third stands before you now, an humble minister of the gospel.”
It did rest me. I would rather have been the humble instrument in turning those three young men to a righteous life, than to wear the brightest wreath that ever encircled a stateman’s brow.
For such men as Sylvester Long, Roland A. Nichols, Robert Parker Miles and Bishop Robert McIntyre to tell me my lectures helped to shape their lives, fills my soul with joy as I face the setting sun.
Chance, the noted English engineer, built a thousand sea-lights, shore-lights and harbor-lights. When in old age he lay dying, a wild storm on the sea seemed to revive him by its association with his life-work. He said to the watchers: “Lift me up and let me see once more the ocean in a storm.”
As he looked out, the red lightning ripped open the black wardrobe of the firmament, and he saw the salted sea driven by the fury of the hurricane into great billows of foam. Sinking back upon his pillows his last words were: “Thank God, I have been a lighthouse builder, and though the light of my life is fast fading, the beams of my lighthouse are brightening the darkness of many a sailor’s night.”
When my life-work closes, and my platform experiences are ended, I would ask no better name than that of an humble lighthouse builder, who here and there from the shore-points of life’s ocean, has sent out a friendly beam, to brighten the darkness of some brother’s night.
THE DEFEAT OF THE NATION’S DRAGON.
Joseph Cook said in one of his Boston lectures: “Whenever the temperance cause has attempted to fly with one wing, whether moral suasion or legal suasion, its course has been a spiral one. It will never accomplish its mission in this world, until it strikes the air with equal vans, each wing keeping time with the other, both together winnowing the earth of the tempter and the tempted.”