The Secret of Life & Success | Elbert Hubbard Audio Books

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Now, on to today’s reading, which has been edited an adapted from the work of Elbert Hubbard, collected in the book The American Bible by Alice Hubbard, published in 1911.


Ideas are born; they have their infancy, their youth — their time of stress and struggle — they succeed, they grow senile, they nod, they sleep, they die; they are buried and remain in their graves for ages. And then they come again in the garb of youth, to slaughter and slay — and inspire and liberate. And this death and resurrection goes on forever.

In Time, there is nothing either new or old: there is only the rising and the falling of the Infinite Tide. Each one of us starts from a single cell, this seized upon by another, and out of the Eternal comes a particle of the Divine Energy that makes these cells its home. Growth follows, cell is added to cell, and there develops a man or woman — a person whose body, two-thirds water, can be emptied by a single dagger-thrust and the spirit given back to its Maker in a moment.

No word of choice had we in the selection of our father and mother; no voice in the choosing of environment. Brought into life without our consent, and pushed out of it against our will — battling, striving, hoping, cursing, waiting, loving, praying; torn by passion, checked by fear, reaching for friendship, longing for sympathy, hungering for love, clutching for something, my heart goes out to all of you, because I cannot conceive of any being greater, nobler, more heroic, more tenderly loving, loyal, unselfish, and enduring than you are.

All the love I know is human love. All the forgiveness I know is human forgiveness. All the sympathy I know is human sympathy. And thus I address myself to my fellow citizens — to you — and you I would serve. The fact that you are a human being brings you near to me. It is the bond that unites us.

I understand you because you are a part of myself. You may like me, or not — it makes no difference. If ever you need my help I am with you. Often we can help each other most by leaving each other alone; at other times, we need the hand- grasp and the word of cheer. I am only a man — a mere man — but in times of loneliness think of me as one who loves his kind.

What your condition is in life will not prejudice me either for or against you. What you have done or not done will not weigh in the scale. If you have been wise and prudent I congratulate you, unless you are unable to forget how wise and good you are — then I pity you.

If you have stumbled and fallen and been mired in the mud, and have failed to be a friend to yourself, then you of all people need friendship, and I am your friend. I am the friend of convicts, insane people, and fools — successful and unsuccessful, college-bred and illiterate. You all belong to my church. I could not exclude you if I would — for if I should shut you out, I would then close the door upon myself and be a prisoner indeed.

The spirit of friendship that flows through me, and of which I am a part, is your portion, too. The human race is one, and we trace to a common Divine ancestry. I offer you no reward for being loyal to me, and surely I do not threaten you with pain, penalty, and dire disaster if you are indifferent to me.

You cannot win me by praise, promises, or adulation. You cannot shut my heart toward you, even though you deny and revile me. Only the good can reach me, and no thought of love you send me can be lost or mis-sent. All the kindness you feel for me should be given those nearest you, and it shall all be passed to your credit, for you yourself are the record of your thoughts, and no error can occur in the count.



The Living Hour