For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,…
These words of Goethe, repeated by Carlyle in the happiest and most auspicious moment of his life, ought to be in the heart and on the lips of every earnest man and woman. Half the energy of the world is wasted in vain regrets or in paralysing despair. The world needs, more than anything else, a continual reinforcement of its faith in the noblest things and in its own future. Its mistakes are of small account so long as it is true to high aims and firm in the conviction that they can be realised. The moment of waning faith and fading hope is also, and preeminently, the moment of despair. A glance beneath the surface of any decaying civilisation in the past always discovers an expiring belief in progress; a glance beneath the surface of any advancing and triumphant civilisation always discerns a high, aspiring hope which believes that all things are possible to those that strive. Pessimism, the religion of despair, once generally accepted would paralyse the race. Half the world is weary, faint-hearted, overborne by calamity and sorrow; it needs, most of all, courage, cheer, and the contagious hope that goes from strong men like an atmosphere. There is a surplusage of truth in the world; men know what they ought to do well enough, but they lack the power to do it. What they need above all things is impulse; instruction is to be found on all sides, but power is not so common. Christ started with the conception of a sick and weary world, and He lived and taught that men might be comforted and healed. Strong, buoyant natures forget too often the hourly need of a world that is still sick and weary; the cry of the children does not shadow often enough the sunshine in which they live. The first, the most imperative, duty of every earnest man and women is to be strong, in order that strength may go from them through every channel of expression and activity. Make yourselves rich in hope, in order that you may have the supreme happiness of giving to the poor. There are men and women in every community who have a tonic quality in them, whose very presence inspires hope and reinforces faith. They carry in their faces a revelation of the strength which comes with a strong healthy grasp upon life, and a clear, far-sighted outlook upon its experiences and vicissitudes. They say, with the force of personal example and influence, "We bid you hope." Is this your message to the men about you?
Parallel VersesKJV: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,