how they took their food and did their exercise, and what their objects were. Very early I knew that the only object in life was to grow. I was often false to this knowledge, in idolatries of particular objects, or impatient longings for happiness, but I have never lost sight of it, have always been controlled by it, and this first gift of thought has never been superseded by a later love.In this she spoke truth. The good and the evil which flow from this great idea of self-development she fully realized. This aim of life, originally self-chosen, was made much more clear to her mind by the study of Goethe, the great master of this school, in whose unequalled eloquence this doctrine acquires an almost irresistible beauty and charm. ‘Wholly religious, and almost Christian,’ I said, was this aim. It was religious, because it recognized something divine, infinite, imperishable in the human soul,— something divine in outward nature and providence, by which the soul is led along its appointed way. It was almost Christian in its superiority to all low, worldly, vulgar thoughts and cares; in its recognition of a high standard of duty, and a great destiny for man. In its strength, Margaret was enabled to do and bear, with patient fortitude, what would have crushed a soul not thus supported. Yet it is not the highest aim, for in all its forms, whether as personal improvement, the salvation of the soul, or ascetic religion, it has at its core a profound selfishness. Margaret's soul was too generous for any low form of selfishness. Too noble to become an Epicurean, too large-minded to become a modern ascetic, the defective nature of her rule of life, showed itself in
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