[Letter] 1898 April 21, Grinnell, Iowa [to] Comrade


[Letter] 1898 April 21, Grinnell, Iowa [to] Comrade


Common good--Religious aspects.
Harris, Thomas Lake, 1823-1906. Second book of fragments.


Herron writes to Markham about the role of the individual's personality in terms of universal harmony and common good.


Herron, George Davis, 1862-1925


Edwin Markham Archive, Horrmann Library




Wagner College, Staten Island, NY


Please contact the Horrmann Library at Wagner College for rights to use this digital image.










Grinnell, Iowa, April 21, 1898.
My comrade:-
It was good to receive your greeting. Your words are full of the fellowship of your spirit. I thank you, and ask you to thank your Japanese friend on my behalf for the “Second Book of Fragments.” I shall keep it sacredly according to the request. There is one friend of the fellowship with whom I would to share the book. If it could be done at my expense, I should be happy. Is not your whole question summed up and answered in the saying of Jesus that whosoever saveth his life shall lose it and whosoever loseth his life shall find it? Is it not again answered in the prayer, “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in the truth.” To me, the making of one’s own personality the end is the universal anarchy and evil from whence comes all the evil institutions and customs of the world. The man who takes this attitude, even in the highest terms of culture and religion becomes a destroyer and a devil, for he makes [handwritten: men his prey as] the universe his [handwritten: prowling field] prey. In the end, he utterly destroys his own personality as well. For a true personality consists only in relations. The real person is one who has invested his life in the universal good, who has lost himself in the universal harmony, so that he thus becomes one with God, and man, and nature and all that is really good. Personality is achieved only in the sacrifice of service, except the grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone. Except the individual life be wholly sacrificed for the common good, it wastes and loses itself. The life of the individual is a function of the common life. It is saved and developed only through fulfilling its functions. You will thus see what I mean: that there is no such a thing as personality except through the consecration of the individual to the service of the common good; that the only possible interest one can have in his own personality, is that of making himself the fullest and holiest servant of the common life. He exhausts the possibilities of self giving. He sanctifies himself in order that his brothers may be sanctified. Service must be the motive of personal development, and at the same time service is the only developer of personality.
With most affectionate greetings,
Faithfully yours,
George D. Herron
Professor Edwin Markham,
Tompkins School,
Oakland, Cal.

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Herron, George Davis, 1862-1925 , “[Letter] 1898 April 21, Grinnell, Iowa [to] Comrade,” Edwin Markham Digital Archive, accessed July 18, 2024, https://markham.omeka.net/items/show/596.