When the air balloon was first discovered, some one flippantly asked Dr. Franklin what was the use of it. The doctor answered this question by asking another: What is the use of a new-born infant? It may become a man.
Thousands of men breathe, move, and live; pass off the stage of life and are heard of no more. Why? They did not a particle of good in the world; and none were blest by them, none could point to them as the instrument of their redemption; not a line they wrote, not a word they spoke, could be recalled, and so they perishedtheir light went out in darkness, and they were not remembered more than the insects of yesterday. Will you thus live and die, O man immortal? Live for something.
Nothing in this world is so good as usefulness. It binds your fellow-creatures to you, and you to them; it tends to the improvement of your own character; and it gives you a real importance in society, much beyond what any artificial station can bestow.
How often do we sigh for opportunities of doing good, whilst we neglect the openings of Providence in little things, which would frequently lead to the accomplishment of most important usefulness! Dr. Johnson used to say, He who waits to do a great deal of good at once will never do any. Good is done by degrees. However small in proportion the benefits which follow individual attempts to do good, a great deal may thus be accomplished by perseverance, even in the midst of discouragements and disappointments.