IN A LABORATORY.
Is there one whom difficulties dishearten—who bends to the storm? He will do little. Is there one who will conquer? That kind of man never fails.
The Roman actor wore a mask (persona). When an actor was hissed by the audience he was obliged to take off his mask and show himself.
It is not different in these later times. The real man, owner of mind and body does the same thing. When he speaks his voice sounds through the mask of his face (persona, hence personality) ; and when he is called upon to make an accounting of his deeds the look of his face is stripped away and he stands re vealed.
Now and again, a great artist (Michael Angelo and Arnold Bocklin, among them) has attempted to portray in a mask the record of the individual whose voice sounds through it. But the hand of man is not cunning enough to equal the intensity of expression that shifts like a shadow over the human face. Watch it in anger, hatred, slyness, untruth and suspicion and one will realize that no mask ever fash ioned by the hand of man can equal in intensity of expression the mask of the human face.
Here is the story of a man who changed his mask, at the suggestion of a friend who peered behind the mask he was wearing and saw a nobler look not yet shadowed forth.
Many a man works hard at dishonest em ployment. The skill that produces a counter feit twenty dollar bill so near to perfection that it deceives even the teller at the bank, could be turned to proper use.
The counterfeiter and the burglar think. They often think so hard that it takes the most intense thought of other men to catch them.
Why does a man turn his thought to a swindling or dishonest employment? There are two reasons.
The first is, he feels impelled to do some thing. That is human nature. And no one will deny that some burglars and counterfeiters have shown themselves equal to wonderful strategy and skill. Now, strategy and skill are evidence of the activity of the man back of mind and body.
The second reason is that the moral vision is out of focus. Such a man does not see
things in right relation. He misunderstands a few important matters. He fails to perceive that the energy in a man is divine energy ; that divine energy should be put to a lofty use; that divine energy put to a divine use makes a man divine.
The will is that power in a man that per mits him to understand life or to misunder stand it—as he chooses.
Now, let us suppose that a nation, say the United States of America, should say some day: The greatest asset we possess is men and women. Some of our men and women have brains that do not serve our country. But they have brains. That is the important thing.
Hence, it will be to our advantage to establish a commission that will study these people and their impulses, and turn their energy to good ends.
If we could apply this principle, we should discover that evil is good turned the wrong way. And that is all there is to evil, and to the devil, and all other things of the world Of darkness. They are goodness headed in the wrong direction.
You have heard the word alchemist. Leave off the first syllable and you have the word chemist.
The suggestions of the two words are quite different. The alchemist was one who spent his life attempting to transmute copper and other cheap metals into gold. The chemist spends his life learning the truths of nature for the good of mankind.
There was once a man who turned his mind to both these pursuits. This man wore a wig, and the wig helped him to get alchemy out of his head. Then he became a chemist.
This man's name was Johann Friedrich Bottger. He was born in 1682. About that time William Penn was making a land trade with the Indians under an elm tree that grew beside the Delaware river.
When Bottger was twelve years old he went to work for an apothecary in Berlin. When he had any spare time he used it in laboratory experiments. All his experiments had one object—to make gold out of other metals. That was energy.