BLTC Press Titles

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The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh

The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner

My object in life

by Frederic William Farrar


How can we make this difference? The answer to that question partly is, that every act of right or wrong which we perform is working to the issue, is fashioning the clay; and our whole nature is, day by day, being subdued to what it works in, like the dyer's hand. The life of a tree is not more surely influenced by every leaf of it than are our lives by our daily deeds. These daily deeds are building up our individuality. Every time we resist an evil impulse, every time we commit a known sin,' we are moulding our destiny, we are making ourselves. We know well that to resist the evil, to do the good— seeing that God's aid is ever ready for all who seek it—is always possible to us; and if when we say "I am," we wish to say it of a worthy and a noble soul, we must remember that every moral or immoral act of ours is " a seed planted in heaven or hell;" that every good thought or wicked deed we think or do this day and every day will come to us again in after life—if it

have been good, as a hovering angel with golden wings; if it have been evil, as a fury with shaken serpent and torturing scourge: not to be driven away, for it can claim to be a fragment of our very life; hateful, but summoned by our own invocation "terrible, and with a tiger's leaps."

We see, then, that the nature of our lives and characters depends to a very great extent on the choice we make, on the course we follow. And this leads me to the consideration of a law which exercises an immense influence upon our individuality—namely, the law of habit.



The law of habit is so important that, even as far back as the Greek philosophers, we find the saying, " Habit is second nature!" and the proverb is a very old one that " Man is a bundle of habits." It is a law of the universe, a law of continuity, a law which alters every living organism, and moulds every mental temperament.

Let us first notice it as a fact. It is found even in plants. Carry a sensitive plant in a carriage, and its leaves all close, and the whole plant seems to sicken with the motion; but carry it a long distance, and repeatedly, and the plant grows accustomed to the shaking, and is not affected.

Again, you must daily notice how habit affects animals. Blow a trumpet in the hearing of a horse, and it will be frightened; but let it grow accustomed to the blast, and then, as after the battle of Gravelotte, whole bands of riderless horses will be assembled by the sound.

Habit affects the body. The savage who must live by sight and scent, will find his way through the trackless waste, and will tell you whether the all but invisible speck in the distance consists of enemies or friends. Put a weak boy to work in a blacksmith's forge, and in a few years the muscles of his arm will be like iron bands.

Habit affects the mind. Professed linguists, like Cardinal Mezzofanti, acquire a new language in as many days as it takes another years to learn it. A boy like Bidder, accustomed from infancy to figures, could calculate how many seconds there are in a year in a shorter time than it took the questioner to write down the answer. Newton said of himself that he differed from others solely in the power of attention. Buffon defines Genius to be simply Patience.

More than this, habit affects the spirit. Why have some men an intuitive grasp of spiritual c

truths which are to others as music to the deaf or colour to the blind? Why does one man find his greatest joy and his deepest peace in pouring out his soul in prayer, while another cannot so much as open his lips to his Father in heaven? Why to one man is the air full of God's voices, while another finds nothing in the universe but a deadly and maddening silence? Again I say that even this is in a great degree the effect of training; in other words, it is the result of habits, and the result of habit.

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