Search Our Site

The “get rich quick” philosophy permeates today’s society. Few of us are willing to work hard and pursue a steady course toward the things we want in life. We hasten to lay hold on some seeable pleasure or opportunity fleeting as it may be, rather than wait for those things with substance and real endurance. Before me is a drawing of two large horns and under them is the caption, “If you wish to come out of the big end of the horn, you must go in at the little end.” A man of small stature is shown squeezing in at the mouthpiece, which does not look too difficult, for that part is larger than the neck of the instrument. There is where the real difficulty lies, squeezing through the neck into the gradual swell of the horn, which grows larger and larger till you finally reach the big end.  There is a ladder named “education” by which the man has climbed to reach the elevated horn. This of course represents the essential training by which we enter into the business of life.  The neck of the horn is marked “experience,” and this represents the difficult part and period through which every business of life is to pass.  The big end of the horn is marked “success,” and this is the end reached when the finished man comes out. The man is shown coming out the large end, much larger than he was when he entered the small. He went in on a small scale, he came through the difficult neck of experience, and he comes out successful and fully developed. According to the capacity and then size of the horn, his caliber has adapted him to the business of life.  A second horn is shown, a big man is going in at the big end but he comes out the small end, shriveled, battered and dilapidated. He wanted to go into life hurriedly, without experience or training for his calling. He gets his experience too late, or, at the wrong end of the horn, and he comes out nobody or nothing. This man proves a failure from which he never recovers.  You see my dear young reader; the horn represents the natural course of development. We are born by nature into the little end of existence. We have to lie in the cradle before we can crawl, and crawl before we can walk, babble before we can talk. The adult comes from a baby and thus he grows physically through the horn of life from the little to the big end.  The same is true of our intellectual development, as we learn our alphabet before we can spell, spell before we can read and write and master grammar and arithmetic before rhetoric and logic.  What is true of the physical and mental is true of the moral and spiritual. We do not get to be angels all at once. However pure and holy a child’s conception of right and wrong, his knowledge and experience are negative rather than positive. It is only through a gradual course of development that truth and righteousness are vitally comprehended or applied. The Christian himself is born a babe in Christ and at first he must feed on milk instead of meat, grow in grace and knowledge and come up by life-long culture to the stature of manhood in Christ. Paul himself did not claim the perfection of development at any time in his life, though he boasted of justifying perfection in Christ at all times; and, forgetting always the things behind him, he ever pressed for the prize of God’s high calling in Christ. It was only at the end of life that he exalted that he had “finished his course.” Take for instance a preacher. How often a seminary student sails out of his classroom like an eagle and lights on the steeple of some big rich church, only to fail to get down to humbler and still humbler work, until he dies perhaps unknown to his own denomination. He goes in at the big end and comes out the little end of his pastoral horn. How different with that young man who feels his call of God to preach, takes up his Bible, begins to study, rolls up his sleeves as it were, goes into the backwoods, if necessary and learns wisdom and experience with the people of God, among all classes and under all conditions. How many of them have come up to eminence and greatness through slow degree, made by their own efforts and experiences under God; and who have left behind them a work and a name immortal for time and eternity. Look around and see the mighty men and women in all the businesses and professions of life. Nine times out of ten they went into the little end of the horn and come out the big end. Our great writers, merchants, lawyers, doctors, preachers, editors and teachers, all of them, more or less, came from poverty and obscurity, from country or backwoods places; and by the dint of toil, tears, sweat and experience have risen to position and honor. So of our inventors and discoverers, our scientists and philosophers, the Edisons, the Morses, the Franklins, the Spurgeons, the Booths, the Talmages - and a host of others - they all came up, more or less, from nothing and nobody in the world.  Young man, young woman, many of you have been promoted to a higher grade and you can hardly wait for that diploma next year or the next. Some of you have gotten yours this year and you wonder what life holds from now on. Do not be in too big a hurry for the future. Commence little and low, go straight and slow, and be sure to lay a good foundation before you build your house. Do not seek to avoid the little neck of experience. Tribulation worketh patience and experience hope; and such a hope through such a development will bring you to the big end of the horn and not make you ashamed. It takes time to make a man or a business. A mushroom will grow up overnight, but a cornstalk will only reach a big and ripened ear through careful, progressive, cumulative, solid development to the maturity. It is through the cramped neck of experience, through squeezing yourself through by dint and persistent effort that you will discover your strong and weak points of character, and develop the faculties necessary to lead you to success. Some of you will be parents in a short time. Never cultivate in your sons and daughters the belief that they, by virtue of their birth, education, position in society or wealth, are exempt from the necessity of an apprenticeship in the first principles of any business. Too many parents do not want to see their offspring struggling through the “neck of experience” in life’s horn. They refuse to allow their promising child to snuggle with old “Hard Times.” They want to come to his rescue with money or whatever is available, and avoid a struggle. Such parents are indulgent. The child should be allowed to fight its battles whenever and wherever they are able to do so. It will strengthen them. Love your children, certainly, but you ought not to let that so direct you in your conduct or manifestations toward them as to obscure that divine fiat, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” or to lead them to believe that they should or can go through life on “flowery beds of ease.” Impress upon them the fact that there are no “royal roads” to wealth, honor or worthy fame except as every individual digs it out and builds it for himself as he passes over it. In every home where there are children there should be this motto hanging on the wall for a constant reminder to all, “Every Man Is The Architect Of His Own Future.” It should be impressed upon the mind of a child that anything the parents give them is but a lever for their use, and unless they are prepared by strength and knowledge to use it, it will be like a brawny laborer’s heavy crowbar in the hands of a young and delicate child, a dangerous plaything. I would that all the young might know that the majority of the illustrious people the world has ever known, grew great in the neck of experience, and with whatever blast the big end of the horn may have heralded them to the world, the force and power of that blast was energized and concentrated in the little neck of experience. These eminent personages have left their “footprint” in the sands of time for your benefit. They all went in at the little end of the horn. Do not despise the day of small beginnings. Be patient in your training under old “Hard Times.” He will treat you roughly at times but he will strengthen every muscle and faculty. He is a prince of trainers. Win your laurels before you wear them, and do not be in too much haste. The worst phase of “young America’s” character is impatience. Ella Wheeler has truthfully said:

The fault of the age is a mad endeavor
To leap to heights that were made to climb;
By a burst of strength, or a thought that is clever;
We plan to outwit and forestall time.

We scorn to wait for the things worth having;
We want high noon at the day’s dim dawn;
We find no pleasure in toiling and saving,
As our forefathers did in the good times gone.

To covet the prize, yet shrink from the winning-
To thirst for glory, yet fear the fight-
Why, what can it lead to at last but sinning
To mental languor and moral blight?

Better the old slow way of striving
And counting small gains when the year is done,
Than to waste our forces all in contriving,
And to grasp for pleasures we have not won.

 Saul of Tarsus worshipped the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and carried His spotless moral character, His matchless words of wisdom, His towering philosophy and His condescending kindness and sympathy ever before his mind, his heart bursting with the experimental consciousness of the fact that he possessed a truth, the knowledge of which would give every man that attained it not only joy and peace for time, but make him happy, the son of a King throughout eternity. With such an example and such a consciousness, is it any wonder that the proud Pharisee Saul became the humble Apostle Paul, the mighty soldier of the cross? Alexander the Great was a great warrior but he tried to enter the big end of the horn and escape the “school of hard knocks.” He wanted the world on a platter and he wanted it quick. He died of a disgraceful disease at the age of 33 in Babylon. Not so with Paul, who, when he came to die, recognized that he was just ready to enter into his glory and standing, as it were, upon the very apex of time, looked back over the track and viewed himself in the neck of experience. He saw the bloody lash with which he had been scourged, the cruel stocks in which he had been fastened, the angry sea upon which he had been wrecked, the stones with which he had been beaten, the chains with which he had been bound, the dungeons in which he had been cast, his perils before persecuting Gentile courts and his dangers amidst hostile Jewish brethren. Yet, amidst it all, he had come out victorious. Is it any wonder he said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”? Then turning his face in the other direction, God let him see his reward, an eternal “crown of righteousness.” Alexander wore his crown about 15 to 17 years. What was all that as compared to Paul’s deathless and eternal honors? May God direct and guide us to enter aright “Life’s horn” and bring us out like Paul in the end!