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The author of this book 

Next: Section I His Task; Chapter 1 : What His Task Is

[pages 9-10]

By Dr. Henry Hopkins, President of Williams College. [See the chapter, 55, where he is pictured]


    Life grows more complex with each passing year; new correspondencies are offered, new relations are opened up, and, as a consequence new perplexities are encountered. Pre-eminently in our time a reliable guide and counsellor is God's messenger.

    The author of this book has undertaken to place before young men a statement  of the vital principles of conduct. This he has ought to do through a variety of topics, with abundant concrete illustrations, and will free quotations from famous and attractive writers. Dr. Kirtley's own thought informs each chapter, and his warm interest in and sympathy with young men breathes through every page. His method is rather that of life than of logic. The result is a unique volume. It is believed to be wholly unlike any other offered to the young men of our time. It cannot fail to be interesting and ought to be most stimulating and helpful.

    The value of such a book may be regarded from two points of view. First, of course, as related to the young man himself, to his own ideals, aspirations and aims, his own temptations, struggles and successes, his own character and destiny. But there is a broader view. The worth of such a book is to be judged also by its influence on our corporate life, by its bearing upon social pressing social questions, upon the problems of citizenship, local and national. If the book arouses young men to a consciousness of the great possibilities of life in this generation; if it awakens in any number of them "the spirit of moral adventure," and leads them on into the possession of the power of initiative in the cause of righteousness in the service of mankind, it will confer a vast public benefit. 

    The supreme need of the republic is men, intelligent enough, broad enough, and with sufficient self-forgetfulness to do their whole duty to the state; men and women fitted to inspire and control their fellows for right living. The world needs leadership, {10} wise and firm, with moral conviction in it, with patriotism and love of humanity at the heart of it. We must indeed qualify Carlyle's declaration that "the history of what man has accomplished in the world is at bottom the history of the great men who have worked here"; but we know that the individual force of certain unique men has been a most potent factor of change and progress throughout the centuries. If we are ever to own our American municipalities morally; if we are to preserve our free institutions, it must be by means of intelligent, consecrated personal force.  It must be personality, comprehending indeed, and of set purpose, turning to account the impersonal cosmic forces working in nature and society-- for all moral life, all reform, all deliverance, comes at last through a person. "When the tale of brick grows too heavy, then comes Moses." The whole drift of organized solidarity makes the quality of manhood absolute, and demand for right leadership unspeakably more pressing. President Roosevelt told the graduating class of our naval academy at Annapolis recently, in effect, the best ships, the best guns, and the most costly mechanism are utterly valueless if the men are not trained to use them to the utmost possible advantage. We may apply this with redoubled force to the whole fabric of our highly organized and magnificent civilization. God wants leaders more than He wants laws; men who their fellows can trust, more than He wants model tenement-houses, or co-operative industries, or cheap and quick transportation. We believe that as in the past such leaders will come forth, unexpected, unheralded, from the cabin, from the plough, from the college-- mighty men set free from doubt and fear and flung into the hand of Almighty God to be used at His pleasure.  It has been well said that there is no power in this lower world so mighty as a soul thus given. Authorship has no loftier calling than to summon such leaders.


Famous Men Mentioned by Mr. Kirtley: For all, see: Famous Men Mentioned in JSK Book