WORK AND EFFICIENCY.
The gods for labor give us all good things.
Not long ago considerable excitement was created by the report that Dr. William Osler had declared a man of forty to be old, and one of sixty fit only to be chloroformed.
The probability is that he never said anything of the kind, for the doctor is over forty, he is quite a busy man, and undoubtedly he is aware of the value of his work at the present moment.
A further probability is that what Dr. Osler never said will be charged against him forever and ever, time without end, in the minds of those who do not inquire.
A notion like this, once planted in the popu lar mind, is like witch grass in a garden. It persists until by strenuous effort we determine to remove it. Not only is its presence destruc tive but it occupies a place that belongs to some thing better.
The mind is exactly like a garden in this re spect. It will raise a crop of things worth growing, or it will raise witch grass. But it cannot raise both to the best advantage. Hence, mental gardening requires us to pull up the weeds of things that are not so, and to plant others worth while.
Dr. Osler is a man who says well all he has to say. Instead of letting the witch grass of "chloroform at sixty" grow in the mind, let us plant this little packet of seeds and watch. par ticularly for them to take root. When they have come to their growth they will choke out more miscellaneous weeds than a country boy could pull in a summer. The name of the seeds on the packet is The Master Word.
"Though a little one the Master Word looms large in meaning.
"It is the open sesame to every portal, the great equalizer in the world, the true philoso pher's stone which transmutes all the base metal of humanity into gold.
"The stupid man among you it will make bright, the bright man brilliant, and the brilliant student steady.
"With the magic word in your heart, all things are possible, and without it all study is vanity and vexation.
"The miracles of life are with it; the blind see by touch, the deaf hear with eyes, the dumb speak with fingers.
"To the youth it brings hope ; to the middle aged, confidence ; to the aged, repose.
"Not only has it borne the touchstone of progress, but it is the measure of success in everyday life.
"And the Master Word is WORK—a little one, as I have said, but fraught with momen tous consequences if you can but write it on the tablets of your hearts and bind it upon your foreheads." Do you read these words with enthusiasm? John Ruskin once said : "The fearful apathy that men betray toward life, its meaning and possibilities, is the one great mystery of this existence." When a man is no longer moved by truth, when it awakens no response in him, what is left for him? A man who is not touched by simple truth, as forcibly expressed as this is by Dr. Osler, is unmoved because he is no longer alive. He is really a dead man. He may still move me chanically, running around in his little ring, but the ring is growing smaller every day and he does not know it. And it will continue to grow smaller until one day he finds himself hopping on what was once the centre of his circle. Such are the men who are old at forty and useless before sixty. But they do not need to be chloroformed by the state for they are grad ually chloroforming themselves.
But to the man of determination, the Master Word is big with meaning. A specific case will show how big this meaning may be., There is in New York a man who was for many years in the restaurant business. He is now thirty-six years of age. He worked from eight a.m. to eight p.m., seven days in the week. It is immaterial what part of the restaurant business he did, but it is essential to remember that he worked twelve hours out of every twenty-four.
When this man was a boy he went to school to his thirteenth year, not graduating from the grammar grades. Then for ten years he fol lowed the sea, saw much of the world, and was encouraged by a good captain to go on with his studies, which he did as well as a boy can on board a ship. He kept his eyes open, and his life at sea became a liberal education to him. New scenes and visits to foreign countries taught him many things and gave him much to think about.