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Aspiration emerges from mere desire when the wish is for the ennoblement of character and not for material gain.

When the clog of selfishness lifts before at vision of nobleness, it reveals the permanent and transient, the gold and the dross.

After the pursuance of many objects, after the striving for material possessions, the futility and emptiness of it all breaks upon us at the moment when its acquirement should bring solace.

Possibilities of happiness by other means than the possession, in abundance, of material things, rarely appeal to the individual—such power does the trend of the world’s way exercise upon the pliant members of all communities. Apart from the differences of association, whether the degree be high or low, the stream carries with it the unawakened. If any escape, it is those of simple mind.

Many have moments of lofty thoughts, but the stir of life continually submerges these things, and the exercise which would give them life and form is forgotten. Reaction questions as to whether they are within the bounds of reason.

Cold selfishness would shut out the warmth of true sentiment—yet such is the susceptibility of man that it will creep in at oddest moments, and leave a longing unfulfilled. Hero worship first lifts us from the rut and awakens us to the capabilities within us.

We stand afar off and gaze in rapture at the beauty of character portrayed, and invest it with life. Imitation rouses our latent power and the commonplace is uplifted by the stimulus and surge of our thought. Thoughts spring forth like beautiful melodies, and only ignorance of self belies the capabilities of fulfillment in life. Action follows thought, and through this channel we express that which dominates us.

Rise and be doing—increase the power of aspiration—uplift it from the mire of vain desire, and know that thoughts are things. By the cultivation of steadfast purpose thou shalt rise from the weakness of self. Undo the cringing hold of gross opinion, and walk as one who knows thy object in life—as the master of thy mind and servant of thy noble thoughts.

In what then consists the opposition between the pursuit of natural and the pursuit of spiritual good?—the desire of physical supplies, and the aspiration after the kingdom of God? It lies in this:—He who seeks after “what he shall eat and what he shall drink” is one whose chief conscious aim is to get such things. He who seeks first “the kingdom of God" is one whose chief conscious aim is not to get them unworthily.

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John D. MacDonald

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