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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 1, 1878)
iBKFMOT OF J.LEJ)GKS ON GUAR
' '(jliiiiiiclcr is a product (if slow bill oer.
lain growth. Words, notions and look
constitute wlint wo call cluirnctcr. But as
the same elements, differently arranged
make up the sparkling diamond and the
dull coal in the grate, so the same el
emchts may form choraolcrs wholly differ
I'ht. Character is the waxen tablet upon
which every word, notion and thought
leaves its impression.
All these have an influence for good or
evil upon character. What then is the
effect of a pledge? Does it tend to enno
ble and strengthen or to debnsc and weak
The will is the great factor in character.
If then the will is subordinate to circum
stances, we cannot affirm Hint any charac
ter Is good or evil, that any notion is rignl
or wrong, Both alike are the result of
necessity which knows no right, no wrong.
Hut however logical may he the doctrine
of necessity wo are nil conscious of the
ability to do or not to do. Then there is
within us, as a throned monarch, that
which we call will. Ah the soldier is
strengthened by every victory and weak
ened by detent, so the will by every trl
umph grows stronger and loses ils firm
ness by defeat. So a pledge, when kept,
tends to strengthen diameter, while if
broken it weakens it.
But the possibility of defeat ought not
to restrain us from the contest. If none
entered the lists hut those whose success
is sure the race would soon be abandoned.
There is a time to consider, a time to
determine and a time to act. Coinmuni
ties and states in their calmer moods lay
down certain general principles, curtain
pledges which are to control them in
times 61 excitement and commotion. So
in the individual there are times when he
sues more clearly the path of' duty, and
feels more keenly the Impulses for the
good, the noble, and then is the time
to lay down the controlling principles, A
the tmiffiia charta of character.
It may he said thai pledges are Inconven-
ient and troublesome; that when we pass
the boundaries of our unlive land we find
customs different from ours, and then
pledges would be a restraint. But a
pledge should never be taken except in i
matters where some principle is involved.
And when one has fully determined that if
any cusiom or habit is wrong, lie ought to
shun it alike at home and abroad. If we i
should go to China we need not become .
addicted to cpiuin. If we should visit i
France we need not become lecherous. 4,
And so if business or pleasure should
call us to Germany we need not indulge
their national vice beer drinking. And
that character which indulges a vice f
merely for the sake of fashion is scarcely
worth the saving. But doo. not. a pledge U
destroy freedom? Yes. So does filial (
affection destroy the freedom to do vio
lence to an aged parent. Why should we it
prize so highly that freedom which ren
ders our own destruction probable?
I cannot, conceive of a true ehnraotei
without pledges either expressed or iin
plied. The whole social system is noth-
lug but a series of pledges. Pledges are I
the foundation of all government, nation-
al, local and individual. '
So not only are pledges beneficial to
character, but. true character cannot exist
without them. As the mariner has cor
taiu fixed points and lines on his chart, mo
each individual should lay down cardinal
points and fixed principles of life. All
men of true character are pledged to sup.
port the true, the noble, tho good, and to
shun and oppose the false and the base.
The work of a well regulated literary so
ciety is scarcely second to the regular
studies of the college, currjoulum. If in
the class-room mathematics furnishes the
granite foundation, Latin the marble col.
urnus, and Greek the rich entablature, it
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