Whatever party you belong to, and whatever your views on public questions, you will never make a profound mistake as long as you keep your civic ideals high and pure. Believe in the mission of the American people. Have faith in our destiny. Never question that this Republic is God’s handiwork, and that it will surely do His will throughout the earth.
Understand that we are not living for to-day alone. Keep in mind the future—the tasks, opportunities, and rewards of which for the American people will make our large performances of to-day seem like mere suggestions. Strive to make yourself worthy of this Nation of your ideals.
And of all your ideals, let the Nation itself be the noblest. Fear not lest you pitch your thought too high for American realities and possibilities. No single mind can scale the heights the American people will finally conquer. No single imagination can compass the American people’s combined activity, power, and righteousness even at this present moment.
We have defects and deficiencies; fear not, they will be remedied and supplied. We have perplexities and problems; fear not, they will be untangled and solved. We have burdens, foreign and domestic; fear not, we will bear them to the place appointed, and, at the hands of the Master who gave us those burdens to carry, receive the reward for the well-doing of our work, and, strengthened by our labor, go on to heavier and nobler tasks which He will have ready and waiting for us.
For this Nation of ours is here for a purpose. He did not give us our liberty for nothing, or our location or our physical resources, or any element of our material, intellectual, or spiritual power. No, the Father of Lights has thus highly endowed us that we may do the very things which are at our hands to-day, and those other and greater things which will follow. It is for us Americans to solve the problems that confront us now, and the still harder and deeper ones that we do not yet behold; and we will solve them, never doubt. Live up to this ideal of your Nation’s place and purpose in the world, young man. Be an American.
THE WORLD AND THE YOUNG MAN
There has been much counseling of the young man respecting the world. But what of counseling the world respecting the young man? Do not men and women riper in years and richer in experience need to have their attention called to the young man and the potentialities of him. He faces the world with vigor, courage, and faith—this stout-hearted, hopeful young fellow with To-morrow and all its possibilities coiled up in his brain and heart.
The young man is the future incarnate. His soul is the abiding-place of uplifting ideals, and the world—that vast collective individuality to which you and I belong—too often dispels those sensitive enthusiasms by its neglect or disapproval. Do we not find in our daily speech a certain cynicism toward youth? Does not our skeptic wisdom paste the label “illusions” over the word “ideals” written on the young man’s brow? Is there not a refusal to recognize young manhood’s force until it compels recognition by sheer mastery?