If a person has ambition to engage in any enterprise, he desires to succeed in his undertaking. It is generally right that he should prosper in all that is truly good and great; and the fact that success is attainable by continued effort, we have all verified so many times in our pursuit of different objects, that we feel sure we can accomplish almost any purpose if we with patient perseverance bend all our energies in the right direction. If there is much to be gained, we may make apparently slow progress; but if we apply ourselves closely, and do not let little things discourage us we shall eventually succeed. There are always plenty of little things in the way of the accomplishment of any good or great thing. These must be gotten out of the way; and if, in our first attempt, we fail to win the prize, we must make another effort, varying the manner of our labor as circumstances shall suggest.
It takes only a little at a time to accomplish a great deal if we work long enough. Perhaps most of you have read of the little girl whose mother was presented with a ton of coal by a charitable neighbor. She took her little fire-shovel, and began to take up the coal, a shovel full at a time, and carry it to the cellar. A friend, who was passing by, said to the child, “Do you expect to get all that coal in with that little shovel?” “Yes, sir,” said the little girl, dipping her shovel again into the heap, “I’ll do it if I work long enough.” She possessed the right spirit.
The true spirit of success is not to look at obstacles, but to keep the eye on the many ways in which to surmount them. This may be illustrated by the incident of the little factory girl who had one of her fingers so badly mangled in the machinery that she was obliged to have it cut off. Looking at the wounded hand, she said, ”That is my thimble finger; but I must learn to sew with my left hand.” She did not think of her loss, but of what she still possessed with which to work.
We may prosper in the several schemes in which it is lawful for Christians to take part, but if we fail to win the strife for eternal life, we shall have lived in vain. To make life a success, the glory of God must be the ruling motive to actuate us in all the walks of life. If we do really glorify Him in our lives, success will surely crown our efforts---everlasting life will be our reward.
Another instance of perseverance, against apparently insurmountable difficulties, is given in an anecdote, not generally known out of Russia, connected with a church spire of St. Petersburg, which place is remarkable for its spires. The loftiest is the church of St. Peter and St. Paul.
The spire, which is properly represented in an engraving as fading away almost into a point in the sky, is in reality terminated by a globe of considerable dimensions, on which an angel stands supporting a large cross. This angel fell into disrepair; and some suspicions were entertained that he designed visiting, uninvoked, the surface of the earth. The affair caused some uneasiness, and the government at length became greatly perplexed. To raise a scaffolding to such a height would cost more money than all the angels of this description were worth; and in meditating fruitlessly on these circumstances, without being able resolved how to act, a considerable time was suffered to elapse.
Among the crowd of gazers below, who, daily turned their eyes and their thoughts toward the angel, was a mujik called Telouchkine. This man was a roofer of houses (a slater, as he would be called in countries where slates are used, and his speculations by degrees assumed a more practical character than the idle wonders and conjectures of the rest of the crowd. The spire was entirely covered with sheets of gilded copper, and presented to the eye a surface as smooth as if it had been one mass of burnished gold. But Telouchkine knew that the sheets of copper were not even uniformly closed upon each other; and, above all, that there were large nails used to fasten them, which projected from the side of the spire.
Having meditated upon these circumstances till his mind was made up, the mujik went to the government and offered to repair the angel without scaffolding, and without assistance, on condition of being reasonably paid for his time expended in the labor. The offer was accepted; for it was made in Russia, and by a Russian.
On the day fixed for the adventure, Telouchkine, provided with nothing more than a coil of ropes, ascended the spire in the interior to the last window. Here he looked down at the concourse of people below, and up at the glittering “needle.” As it is called, tapering far above his head. But his heart did not fail him, and stepping gravely out upon the window, he set about his task.
He cut a portion of the cord in the form of two large stirrups, with a loop at each end. The upper loops he fastened upon two of the projecting nails above his head, and placed his feet in the other. Then digging the fingers of one hand into the interstices of the sheets of copper, he raised up one of the stirrups with the other hand, so as to make it catch a nail higher up. The same operation he performed on behalf of the other leg, and so on alternately. And thus he climbed, nail by nail, step by step, and stirrup by stirrup, till his starting point was undistinguished from the golden surface, and the spire had dwindled in his embrace till he could clasp it all around.
But Telouchkine was not dismayed. He was prepared for the difficulty, and the means by which he essayed to surmount it exhibited the same astonishing simplicity as the rest of the feat.
Suspending himself in his stirrups, he girded the needle with a cord, the end of which he fastened around his waist; and, so supported, he leaned gradually back, till the soles of his feet were planted against the spire. In this position, he threw, by a strong effort, a coil of cord over the ball; and so coolly and accurately was the aim taken, that at the first trial it fell in the required direction, and he saw the end hang down on the opposite side.
To draw himself into this original position, to fasten the cord firmly around the globe, and with the assistance of his auxiliary to climb to the summit, were now easy portions of his task; and in a few moments more Telouchkine stood by the side of the angel, and listened to the shout that burst like sudden thunder from the concourse below, yet came to his ear only like a faint and hollow murmur.
The cord, which he had opportunity of fastening properly, enabled him to descend with comparative facility; and the next day he carried up with him a ladder of ropes, by means of which he found it easy to effect the necessary repairs.
This person must have put forth all the energies of his being to accomplish what he did. If we will strive as hard for the society of good angels as he did to reach the artificial one, we shall be sure of our society and a place in the new earth.
The golden sun shone Brightly down the world
Soft shadows gathered on The twilight track The day Is gone, with all our sighs and tears
We can not call one moment back.
Ah, soul, what loss is Thine! Awake now!
Let not the moments slip unheeded by;
For just such moments Make the golden hours
That bring us nearer eternity.