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It is said that Beethoven when he had completed one of his grand musical compositions, was accustomed to test it on an old harpsichord, lest a more perfect instrument might flatter it or hide its defects. Many are unwilling to put the results of their labors to any such test as this, preferring to be deceived and to deceive others with outward appearances. With reference to human character it may be observed that those traits that most entitle us to the love and esteem of men, and which honor us most in the sight of God, are not always revealed on notable occasions and by extraordinary events, but manifest themselves in the quiet course of every-day life. This is the old harpsichord that tries the character on its real merits. It is one thing to appear in the midst of popular favor and worldly success, and another to carry a noble, generous and magnanimous spirit amid the worries and anxieties and trials that spring up along the path hour by hour and day by day. Ruskin has truly said that “greatness is the aggregation of minuteness.” It is the sum of little things well done that constitutes, as a whole, a really useful and noble life. It is not those who wait in idleness for some chance opportunity to distinguish themselves and do the world a great service who are likely to be the benefactors of the race, but rather those who proceed earnestly about their daily duties “doing with their might what their hands find to do.” There are but few to whom it is given to discover new continents, to do an act that frees a race from bondage, to utter thoughts that stir the heart of mankind, but it is given to each and to all to pass each day of life so well, so nobly, so truly, so faithfully, so near to God, that all life is lifted up, and all the world made better by such living and doing.—N.Y. Observer.
— May, 1886 —