are theirs as men, and not as Jews; that the same individuals,
if Christians, would have developed the same qualities of head
and heart. This is possibly true. Certainly the contrary can
not be demonstrated, but it can be established as highly prob-
able. If two sets of individuals live in the same climate, enjoy
like surroundings and are subject to the same laws, and one
set follows one hygienic system and the other set another, we
naturally judge the merits of the respective systems by the re-
sults. Yet this is far short of demonstration, for perhaps, with-
out any system, the one set may have remained healthy as a
class and the other grown sickly. The Jews have not enjoyed
equal advantages under the law or in the schools, and yet they
have, as a class, outstripped their neighbors. This fact is phe-
nomenal and may not be explained by the theory of chance.
If chance operates consistently for two thousand years, it rises
to the dignity of a law. There is but one explanation, and that
is the spiritual, domestic and physical life of the Jews.
The practice of their religion, the observance of their tradi-
tional customs, their oriental devotion to their parents, their ex-
clusiveness, their pure and comparatively unmixed blood, are
the basis of their greatness. Who would endanger the structure
by undermining the foundation must crave the infamy of that
wild youth who fired the temple of Ephesus that his name might
be ever remembered. I have frequently insisted that the Jews
have less to fear from the bigotry of others than they have
from their own indifference. The world has come to recog-
nize them as indestructible. Their destiny lies with themselves.
The opportunity afforded them by the civilization and liberality
of the nineteenth century surpasses all those enjoyed since they
had a kingdom and a king. In most of the enlightened nations
of the world, and notably in England, France and the United
States, they have found a new Jerusalem. The future is theirs
THE JEWS IN AMERICA. 313
to be great or pass away from the earth forever. What will
they do with it? Will it come to pass when the traveler from
New Zealand stands on London bridge and muses over the ruins
of St. Paul's that he will also seek in dusty tombs for the his-
tory of the last of the Jews, or will he marvel then as we marvel
now, that this one people of all others, and the only one, should
survive pyramids and temples, coliseums and catacombs, des-
potism and constitutions â€” and remain ever vigorous and young,
as indestructible as the ocean by which they are so fitly sym-
THE SUCCESSFUL LIFE.
A Commencement Address Delivered Before the Graduating
Class of the University of Texas, June 14, 1899.
In the physical sciences the outposts of one generation are
points of departure for the next. Not so in the philosophy
which deals with man's morals and happiness. There is scarce-
ly a proper rule of human conduct which is not to be found in
ancient writings, sacred or profane. The restatement of them in
later days has consisted simply of giving new words to old
The precepts of wisdom so early pronounced in the history
of man have since been accessible to him as an inexhaustible
storehouse of wealth. Their intrinsic merit has been invested
with the charm of epigrammatic expression, and in proverbs
the highest truths have been given universal currency. Unfor-
tunately the treasures thus ready to our hands are not gen-
erally enjoyed. The great majority of men fail to profit from
either precept or experience. Of the rest, by far the greater
number learn only from what befalls themselves and die before
their education is half completed. The remaining few grasp
ihe lessons taught by others, and to these we attribute the gift
The commonplace, more than the extraordinary mind, re-
quires counsel, but seeks it less eagerly and is benefited less
thereby. So the weak plant requires more nourishment than
the strong, but is slower to send out roots in quest of or to
utilize it when found.
Lessons of truth are like the countless seeds which plants
yield in their efforts at reproduction. An Insignificant number
germinate, and of these how few escape destruction before the
bud develops into blossom, the blossom into fruit and the fruit
into seed again. It Is only under favorable conditions that the
THE SUCCESSFUL LIFE. 315
germ, hov/ever perfect in itself, will sprout and grow. If the
soil be barren, the climate hostile or the planting unseasonable,
there will be "none, or bitter fruit." The plainest truths ever
uttered even by inspired lips will not find lodgment and growth
in minds that are sterile, abnormal or distracted.
When the triumphs of war inflame the mind, the philosophy
of peace speaks to unlistening ears. Power silences reason,
and the Itist for conflict breaks the barriers of righteousness.
It is an unequal contest between swords and syllogisms. The
fairest breeze evokes no music from a harp with broken or dis-
Therefore, every occasion of solemnity or joy is seized by
the teacher to impart an appropriate lesson to minds made im-
pressionable by the event celebrated. ''A word fitly spoken is
like apples of gold in pictures of silver."
Thus impressed, I come not to interest the old by reminis-
cences of the past, or the middle aged by discourse on the pres-
ent, but to bear a message to the young whose eyes and hopes
are set upon the future.
The college final is life's commencement. For the young
men and young women who have finished their school studies
to-day a new career begins. They stand at the edge of a forest
into which they are about to plunge. As they proceed with wis-
dom or folly so shall they be happy or miserable. If they have
any conception of the solemnity of this hour, what I shall say
will not be commonplace to them, however it seems to others.
The modest guide post which cannot claim a glance from the
experienced traveler, deeply interests him who is a stranger to
Young women and young men ! Do not consider your school-
ing as completed. The end of college days is the beginning
of a new education, in which the study of man in the practical
affairs of life makes up the entire curriculum. Do not look
upon the world as holding the prizes for which you must seek.
Success in life depends, not upon what youth finds in the world,
but upon what he brings to it. And what is that success, to
achieve which you have studied here and are content to toil
3l6 LEO N. LEVI MEMORIAL VOLUME.
hereafter? Nothing is more important to consider, for if you
proceed blindly or erroneously you will realize too late in bit-
terness and sorrow the truths which the experience of others
makes so plain to those who have the wit to learn.
Success is not synonymous with riches, or power, or fame.
It may embrace one or more, or all of these, but who sets either,
or all, as his goal, will grow heartweary in the quest and be
heartsick even when the end sought is attained. Let me not
be misunderstood as preaching a gospel of poverty, servility or
indifference. On the contrary, I hold riches, power and fame
in high esteem as ornaments and utilities of life. They are aids
to success, but must not be confounded with it.
The most appalling evil which pervades society is the dis-
position to make riches the one great object of effort and sacri-
fice. Frorh the earliest times sages have pointed out the folly,
the misery and the sinfulness of this disposition. The uniform
testimony of those who have thus devoted their lives is against
it, and yet men and women, generation after generation, with
apparently incurable fatuity, pay any price for mere wealth.
Health, peace, contentment, domestic happiness, reputation, aye
even honor, are all thrown into the scale to make the weight
demanded for riches, which, when acquired, cannot repurchase
what has been paid for them, or secure other goods to take their
If Robinson Crusoe on his lonely isle had exhausted his
strength, undermined his health and denied himself recreation
in order to build more habitations than he required, his folly
would have been patent; but how few can see that beyond a
certain point riches are as useless in the busy haunts of men
as superfluous habitations would have been to the famous cast-
away. Wealth is desirable enough as a means, but to make it
the end of existence is the supremest folly. A strong arm is
also desirable, but to make it abnormally so involves waste of
time and effort, besides impairment of the general vigor.
So uniform and universal is the proof that great wealth is
an unworthy and disappointing end that few are willing to pro-
claim the acquisition thereof as their life purpose. But many
THE SUCCESSFUL LIFE. 317
delude themselves and strive to delude others by the avowal
that wealth is sought as a "stepping-stone to higher things."
Of these the most prominent are power and fame â€” the twin
vanities which lure men from the paths of virtue and happi-
ness. Power weighs heavily enough upon him who by reason
of his fitness has it imposed upon him, it overwhelms him who
is vainglorious enough to seek it. A wise king once said that
^'whoever knew the weight of a sceptre would not stoop to pick
it up, though he saw it lying on the ground."
And why should men seek fame when history so clearly
proves that the only fame worth having ever eludes those who
pursue it and flies to those whose deeds are prompted by duty
I hold it true that whoever deserves the good opinion of his
fellowmen desires it. In praise he recognizes the sanction of
his life by those who are influenced or affected thereby. But
such a man does not shape his course to catch the popular
breeze, or fancy himself great because he has attained an ephe-
meral celebrity or won public office. He does not forsake the
paths of peace, and the pleasures of home save when duty calls.
The strenuous life is lived by him with courage when it is im-
posed by duty, but he does not seek it for its vain rewards. He
distinguishes wisely between the patriot in arms and the soldier
Only by ascertaining the true mission of life, devoting every
energy to its fulfilment and subordinating thereto all meaner
things, is happiness attainable, and happiness is success.
The true mission of a woman is to be wife and mother; of
a man to be husband and father. In that proposition is con-
tained all of the rights and duties of both sexes, and the key
to human happiness. It is the law of animated nature, the pre-
cept of philosophy, the command of religion.
The uplifting of woman from the ignominious station to
which she was assigned in ancient and darker ages; her induc-
tion into the fields of science, literature and art; her participa-
tion in the conduct of bread-winning industries, have not re-
lieved her of the obligations or shorn her of the privileges
3l8 LEO N. LEVI MEMORIAL VOLUME.
which hallow and crown her. Woman is no longer regarded as
man's slave, plaything or divinity. From these conditions she
has been freed by the broadening civilization of these later
days. But her emancipation must not be misunderstood or mis-
applied. She affronts her own dignity by any imitation of the
habits and conduct peculiar to man, for in that she confesses
the superiority against which she so earnestly protests. In the
highest development of her own faculties along natural lines
lies her mission of honor, usefulness and happiness. Though
her increasing strength of mind and body enables her to enter
fields that her predecessors never trod; though she shine in the
learned professions and win laurels in book-making, painting
and sculpture, yet remains she a woman glorified alike by the
limitations and the privileges of her sex. If she pursues any
calling or career which disqualifies her from her real mission,
she subordinates the hig^her to the lower purposes of life and
makes that the end which should be only the means.
The devotees of art are wont to prate of art for art's sake,
as if it were some deity to be worshiped in preference to others
that are recognized. I confess I have never appreciated this
doctrine, if it may be so designated, and it has always struck
me as a weak and vain atterapt to escape those obligations to
God and society which rest alike upon the peasant and the poet,
the hewer of wood and the sculptor.
So, too, we hear occasionally of women who set up art,
science, literature, or even philanthropic work, to be worshiped
and who set aside all considerations of family as impediments
to success. I pity all such women. Though they sutler their
minds to deal with problems only of vast, universal or infin-
ite importance, though they toy with unfathomable mysteries
and fancy that with rhetorical flashes they can make clear the
darkness which the steady light of wisdom cannot penetrate,
they miss the greatest of all lessons and lose the greatest of
life's compensations. The abnormal aspirations of such a woman
have blinded her to the light of love and made her deaf to the
music of infant voices. They have shrunk her soul to the nar-
rowness of her own purposes and left no room for God's.
THE SUCCESSFUL LIFE. 319
There is no education too high for a woman. There is no
equipment, physical, mental or moral, too great for the office
of wife and mother, and if she qualifies herself to be self-sup-
porting she will the more highly esteem relations into which
she is not forced by her helplessness. What I plead for in the
training of woman is fitness for her career as a woman â€” not
fitness merely to compete with men.
What I have said in regard to the gentler sex is the opin-
ion of most women and all men. The same reasoning upon
which that opinion is based applies with equal force to man.
Lord Bacon stands almost alone among great thinkers in
his opinion that marriage is an impediment to greatness, and
his statement that the greatest deeds have been performed by
men who had not charged themselves with wives and children,
he fails to support with examples or authority.
Lucretius holds that the civilization of mankind resulted
from marriage and the family relation, and Horace regarded
the contempt into which home and family had fallen as the
fountain-head of all the ills that fell on Rome. Juvenal's famous
invective was not against marriage, but against the corrupt
women of his time.
A recent American law writer of high ability, after deep re-
search, concludes that "Marriage is a relation divinely instituted
for the mutual comfort, well-being and happiness of both man
and woman, for the proper nurture and maintenance of offspring
and for the education in turn of the whole human race;" and
again, that "in the family, rather than individualism, we find
the incentive to accumulation, and in the home the primary school
of the virtues, private and public." "Marriage," says Sir James
Mcintosh, "is the fit nursery of the commonwealth." History
abundantly proves that the civilization of a nation can be meas-
ured by the home life of its people. The home gives effective-
ness to religion, tone to social life, stability to government and
nourishment to the arts. It engenders worship of God, devotion
to country, love for our fellow-men and the self-uplifting to
higher and better things not otherwise obtainable.
Nomads never progress far in civilization. They have no
320 LEO N. LEVI MEMORIAL VOLUME.
homes in the true sense of that term. The downfall of Greece
and Rome in ancient times, and of France in the last century,
was due, in each instance, to a misconception or disregard of
the home life.
You young men are rich in health, youth, energy, courage,
intelligence, education and ambition. Perhaps you think with
such wares you may aspire to some great destiny in which the
home or family plays none, or an incidental part. If so, I would
suggest that the consensus of opinion for many centuries upon
a question of the kind under consideration is disregarded only
by a temerity which shades into folly. Moreover, among the
matured men within your acquaintance are many who in their
youth possessed the same equipment in which you now rejoice.
They had their wares; observe what disposition they made
thereof and the results. If you study their lives with half the
zeal and intelligence you have bestowed upon your books, you
will learn lessons of priceless value.
You will learn how true it is that the wastefulness of youth
makes the want of later years, and that this applies equally to
riches, health and mental force.
You will learn that the intemperate habits which are laughed
at as the permissible follies of youth, even when discontinued
before they become fixed, yet leave in wasted vitality and a
debased moral sense their enduring mementoes.
You will learn that youth with its energy and courage, be
they never so great, steadily recedes before the conquering ad-
vance of Time, and that the pleasures which were mistaken
for happiness mockingly desert their old victims to seek the
You will learn that he who chased the flying form of fame
fell panting in the race dishevelled, bruised and spent, while to
the misery of failure were added the jeers of the amused on-
You will learn that he who made riches his one objective
point, either failed to attain it ; or worse still, made the difficult
ascent only by throwing away, in whole or part, health, peace,
THE SUCCESSFUL LIFE. 321
friends, self-esteem and the joys of domestic life. You will
learn that he lost the grain of life for its golden husk.
You will learn that the boasted freedom of him who hath
not wife or children is so hateful to the possessor that he will
counsel all his friends to that sweet bondage, the avoidance of
which was his undoing.
You will learn further that though a man has achieved every-
thing else for which he strove, but has failed in the home and
family life, he has not found happiness ; that if he has succeeded
in the home life, the pain of failure in this or that endeavor
soon gave way to his enduring joys.
If reflection convinces you that the true mission of man is
to be husband and father; to establish cmd maintain a perfect
home and to be the competent head of a worthy family, you
will have a market for your wares â€” a definite goal for your am-
bition â€” a purpose to attain which you can and should begin
work at once. Do not underestimate the task.
You must determine at no distant date where you will es-
tablish yourself. In making your decision, keep in view your
future home and family life. Do not be content because you are
a young man, with a location unsuitable for such a home life
as you aspire to. Study the climate, the healthfulness, the beauty
and productiveness of the region, and the moral and intellectual
tone of its people. Examine the county records and the court
dockets. If you find that the people are not home-owners and
that the dockets are crowded with divorce suits, go elsewhere.
Having located, address yourself seriously to whatever call-
ing you have chosen. Make yourself master of it, and pursue
it with industry and fidelity. Returns will soon follow proper
effort. Then will come great dangers. The first successes are
apt to make youth think that the future struggles will be light.
He too often becomes intoxicated thereby and not only loses
the fruit of victory, but relaxes his vigilance and wastes his
reserve forces. Thus the untrained captain, unmindful of the
long strong line of battle which lies ahead, fancies that he has
touted the enemy by driving back a few skirmishers.
Let one success be a step to the next and push on. Be eco-
322 LEO N. LEVI MEMORIAL VOLUME.
nomical. That home which you have in view will be humble or
stately, bare or beautiful, according to your means, and unless
you be economical your earnings will not grow and your patri-
mony will not remain.
When recruits are mustered in the officers impress upon
them the importance of caring for their health. It belongs, say
they, not to the soldier, but to his country, and it is as much the
soldier's duty to preserve it as his arms and ammunition. Your
health does not belong to you alone. It belongs also to your
country, to society, and above all, to your family. Your vital
forces will decrease from day to day according to your con-
sumption thereof. They are limited to the requirements of tem-
perate life. If your labors, your habits, or your pleasures be
abnormal, those forces will not only be prematurely exhausted,
but their quality degraded. The glow of modern life is too
often secured by burning it up. We study anatomy and physiol-
ogy in a perfunctory manner and only learn that we have stom-
achs and nerves when their derangement is accomplished.
But industry, economy and health do not complete the qual-
ifications which are required of you. Between the home and
its social and political surroundings the most intimate relations
exist. If society be debased or benighted, the moral and in-
tellectual tone of its constituents will be affected thereby. There-
fore, the uplifting and betterment of your social environment is
your right and duty.
The precious rights of life, property and liberty are guaran-
teed by our State and our country. To insure the purity and
wisdom of public laws, and the efficient and just enforcement
thereof is not less the concern of the citizen than his own
private affairs. The citizen participates alike in the glory and
disgrace, the impotence and greatness of his country. From
the individual to the nation flow the power, virtue and wisdom
it enjoys, and to the individual these are returned in the bless-
ings of order, protection and progress "as the sea returns to the
rivers in rain." These reciprocal obligations require every man
to be active for the public good in peace and war. Not active
in exploitation of the public coffers, not active to secure power
THB SUCCESSFUL UPE. 323
and glory for their own sakes, but active as patriots rendering
the service that is due simply because it is due.
In the ideal home to which every true man should aspire,
all the virtues must unite. The wife and mother must bring
the graces, the patience, the purity and the piety which make
her domestic throne a shrine; the husband and father must
bring the high qualities which distinguish the good citizen, the
patriot, and the man of righteousness and honor. Solomon
has described the woman; David the man.
In nothing is man so eloquent as in setting forth the attrac-
tive virtues of woman. As son, lover, husband or sire, he lays
at her feet the tributes of praise. But alas ! too seldom is the
tribute of words accompanied by the tribute of conduct. If we
exalt woman for her patient industry, her self-sacrificing devo-
tion, her tender ministrations and her chastity, and cast her off
for want of these, we find justification in the requirements of
family and society. Nor can the justice of this be denied. The
sternness with which we avert our faces from the unworthy
woman measures our esteem for her who is not. But this jus-
tice, if exact, is not impartial. The family and society make
no demands upon one sex which should not be asserted against
the other. They are not enforced with equal severity, it is true,
but this is due to a perversion of rights and not to a difference
between them. The man who renders himself unfit for his holy
mission as husband and father is as culpable as the woman who
does like violence to her duty as wife and mother. To set a
Jiigh standard for woman compliments her; to set a like stand-
ard for ourselves glorifies her. To make ourselves worthy oi
the virtues we require in her is the only just recognition thereof,
and the only rational basis of union. The perfect union is not
between the indulgent angel and the flattering sinner, but be-
tween two thoughtful serious persons, having in mind their
mutual obligations and resolute to fulfil them. In poetry and
romance the beauty of love is made holy; in the happy home
the hoHness of love is made beautiful. Considerations such as
these should govern in forming the marriage relation. Upon
man more than upon woman rests the responsibility for results.
324 LEO N. LEVI MEMORIAL VOLUME.
Iminemorial custom confers upon him the initiative ; nature and
training have made him the stronger. He must not stop at a
careful inventory of the contributions which will be made to the
home by her who is to preside over it; he must examine his
own. They cannot be too many or too great. Indeed, they