MAN AND CHAPEL.
It has been my custom for years to watch the faces and general contour of people in large assemblages, as they have passed in review before me, and I have rarely seen more than two or three in a thousand persons who seemed to be fully, happily organized. In too many instances it is not hard to decipher the legible lines which tell of narrowed and imperfect organization, limitations of physical development, and of nervous and mental vigor. The fact that a large share of these privations are not, in the Creator's wisely-arranged order of things, a necessity, but the result of a more or less unfortunate " accident," should lead those who assume life's highest responsi bilities to earnest reflection and research.
To watch the groups of forms and faces in the chapels of our prisons and penitentiaries, our houses of correction, or schools of reform, is a most absorb ing study. In the higher schools for the education of our children, in our colleges and universities, the same lessons are before you. In our workshops and great manufactories, you see the same living entabla ture of character and being. Here, as everywhere, God is "no respecter of persons;" causes and results have their unvarying sequences. Anger, hate, re venge, and their kindred feelings, leave upon the muscles of the face and of the body their unmistaka ble imprint. Fear, apprehension, terror, stamp their gradations of expression in face and form. Deceit and low cunning write their sure records. Idleness, improvidence and recklessness have their peculiar insignia. Leering lasciviousness and abandoned debauchery display their patent signs of degradation. Assumed sang froid, or the most graceful amenity of manner, cannot hide the artist-work wrought out by the soul's carving upon the mobile structures of its beautiful but fragile earthly dwelling, the body. It matters not whether the hand be soiled with labor or white with idleness, whether the clothing be of the poorest or most elegant fabrics, the same habits of spiritual or physical action bring to each individual the same results. By the study of those secret forces of choice and will which chisel into indestructible forms the souls of men, deciding now and eternally individual destiny, art and medical science are led to their perfected office. Were all men able to read the living records written in form and feature, movement and bearing, the results of the heart's cherished thoughts and decisions moulding the body, illumi nating the face, or clouding its light, each line would tell them of the precise action of soul and body which produced it. This marvellous shaping power, work ing in each human life, so generally unthought of, should be the first practical study in every home.
There is no enduring worth, possessed or transmitted, but that which is wrought out by personal right thinking and acting; and this must ever determine the true standing of man, families, and nations, and their physical, intellectual, and moral elevation. Let us look upon man, a living soul, inheriting being and immortality, in likeness to his creator, God. In his dual organization his true type is not the savage, but the most perfect actual impersona tion of manhood and womanhood the world has ever known. The God-like prerogatives which dis
tinguish man so widely from all inferior creatures, are so ennobling in their normal and unververted uses, as to raise him above all other intelligences within our cognizance. With these come a wide range of unrestrained choice, a knowledge of good and evil, and a sense of justice, the power of a creator to bestow immortality, and a great motive principle impelling to a search for good and happi ness, with a scope for unlimited elevation in char acter and intelligence.
Of man as creator, bestowing upon others the gift of an intelligent, unending life, with its range of un measured possibilities for good, I shall speak more fully hereafter. The great motive principle impel ling man to effort and sacrifice to secure real good, and, through that, happiness for self and others, is the spring of all human activities. This power per verted, directed to mistaken and unworthy ends, is the source of all the misery that the members of the human family have ever experienced from each other; designed for good, its misguided exercise is only destructive.
The wide range of unrestrained choice is a trust hardly less valued than life itself, but it is in man's power to betray the trust and lose life's richest blessing; for this grand development of character and being, commenced in our temporary and uncertain school-life here, is to be finished and perfected in the real life for which we were created. The body is simply the soul's earthly palace, fitted for its tempo rary sojourn here. Furnished with elaborate apart ments, a retinue of servants and guards in constant attendance, by means of which the royal inhabitant may adjust himself with wisdom to widely-varying conditions; he is well equipped for the life of testing and warfare, which alone can develop that personal uprightness which is the crowning grace of his kingly character.
As the ruler upon his throne is at the head of gov ernment, so the soul —the real man or woman who dwells in the body — should govern and direct for good all the realm of personal being. In the plan of our Great Father, all children have the right, and may have the power, if properly begotten, so to rule and triumph over circumstances, that they may all be turned to sure and far-reaching advantage to the im mortal victor.
If the appetites and passions —ministers appointed to render useful service —become rebellious and claim pre-eminence, like insubordinate factions against gov ernment, or like children subverting the just rule of a household by their unreasoning clamor, it is the soul, seeking divine aid, which must subdue and harmonize the destructive antagonisms. Is there a grander spectacle in our universe than the man or woman thus holding this power of mastery and self-direction? It may be said that no human being has this power in its perfection in our present life, but I know that it is nobly approximated by many in every walk and station in life; and surely no victories have ever been gained upon historic battle fields, of such importance to individuals, as those which have led to true manhood and womanhood, and the bestowal of this honorable patrimony upon their children.