For as long as I can remember I’ve heard and known this quote:
“The greatest want of the world is the want of men–men who will not be bought or sold,
men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as
true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.”
Education, page 57
But I’d never looked it up and read it in its context. But I did today…and this is what I found out.
This quote is located in an area where she is talking about the lives of great men…most notably Joseph and Daniel…and how they by their wisdom, justice, purity, benevolence, and self-sacrifice proved themselves true to the principles of their early training, true to Him whose representatives they were. Faithfully and steadfastly they yielded themselves to God and with their whole hearts sought to accomplish His purpose.
God wants to accomplish the same in our lives today. The story of Joseph and Daniel is an illustration of what He will do for those who yield themselves to Him and with the whole heart seek to accomplish His purpose. Our gifts are not our own, but are but lent treasures that belong to God and it should be our resolve to put them to the highest use. We each have a work to do for the honor of God and the uplifting of humanity.
But the following paragraph is what really impressed me:
But such a character is not the result of accident; it is not due to special favors or endowments of Providence.
A noble character is the result of self-discipline, of the subjection of the lower to the higher nature–the surrender of self for the service of love to God and man.
Such a character…a character that cannot be bought or sold, a character that will stand for the right though the heaven’s fall, a character that is as true to duty as the compass is to pointing north, a character that does not fear to call sin by its right name…is not the result of accident but of self-discipline…of self-denial…of surrender…of service.
Our choices determine our character.