Mary Lyon's earnings were small, as we have seen, but her habits were simple. She cared for her resources so well that when the seminary was opened she donated to it one thousand two hundred dollars she had saved. At her death she left to a missionary society over two thousand dollars.
Her plan and purpose were simplicity itself. She recognized a great social need—a girl's seminary.
Every thought and effort of her life moved in a straight line toward supplying that need.
Out of ridiculously small earnings she saved and gave much to the cause of education.
She honored the country girl, and expressed her belief in these words : "Influence exerted upon country girls will always be felt." Mary Lyon died in 1849, and yet she still lives—to the everlasting honor and glory of a country girl's possibilities.
On her monument are these words : "There is nothing in the universe I fear but that I shall not know my duty, or shall fail to do it." Now this woman was at once a builder of fortune and a dispenser of it. The fortune she built was a true one, for it answers the ultimate test in that it persists in sending for ward into time the force that inspired it.
One will observe that money, as a personal reward to have and to hold, did not influence her ; and yet, much was added unto her. Again, one will observe that singleness of pur pose made it comparatively easy for her to open up the road she had elected to travel. And yet, again, one will observe that when the mind is deeply intent on true fortune build ing, the strength of the divine source flows into it with astonishing abundance.
Hence it is a right and reasonable conclu sion that fortune building for selfish ends be sets a man with many hardships which scourge him unkindly, while fortune building that says, even in the lowest, gentlest whisper : Come unto me and I will give you help, is a veritable journey toward the east.
The determination to become wealthy is no sin, and poverty is no virtue; indeed, want and poverty are often a crime, for they disclose the soul to be incapable of commanding its own. But riches held in defiance of the love which tells us: Freely ye have received, freely give, are a veritable millstone. And from the
millstone comes the killing weight of great possessions.
No man in his effort to fit himself for life can afford to overlook the essential duty of stewardship over the things of the earth, for fitness in life comes primarily from resting at a center.
Back of all fitness is a belief in the security of the universe. We must believe that all is well with it; that all is going better with it; that we are secure, safe and sound in our places; that the universal life and power are back of us just as a reservoir of water is back of the faucet in the kitchen sink.
This tends to make us cheerful. Being cheerful is investing in health ; for health is the absence of friction, and cheerfulness oils all the wheels in the machinery of life.
We must learn to know our own body as an engineer learns to know the engine he runs. We must learn to teach it to take in all the air the lung spaces call for; to feed it that it may run smoothly—not to be put to bed in pain; to keep clean, without and within. Then we shall have at our service a machine that adapts itself marvelously to our needs.
To what needs? To the needs of the creative spirit, for it is that which commands the body and bids it carry out the constructive behest of spirit and of mind.
How does the spirit create? By work.
Work lets the real man out, and, as it lets him out, it shows the world how fit he is. Hence, work is the one and only great bless ing, for it makes a man tell the truth about himself.
To be equal to the task of fortune-building, let us feel secure in the universe in which we live; let this security make us cheerful. Let this cheerfulness spread about, that others may realize it and partake of its spirit. Let us study the body and learn how to run it to its maximum, remembering that all power within us is spiritual power; that all work is its visible symbol; and that the force alive for all time is the only hostage a man may yield to fortune.