Source: The Quest of Happiness
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “That Happiness Is Latent in Every Form of Trouble and Suffering” [chapter 2]
Author(s): Hillis, Newell Dwight
Publisher: Macmillan Company
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: 1913
Pagination: 39-64 (excerpt below includes only pages 61-63)
|Hillis, Newell Dwight. “That Happiness Is Latent in Every Form of Trouble and Suffering” [chapter 2]. The Quest of Happiness. New York: Macmillan, 1913: pp. 39-64.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|McKinley assassination (religious interpretation); William McKinley (suffering).|
|Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; Plato.|
From title page: The Quest of Happiness: A Study of Victory over Life’s Troubles.
From title page: By Newell Dwight Hillis, Pastor of Plymouth Church, Brooklyn; Author of “The Influence of Christ in Modern Life,” “A Man’s Value to Society,” etc.
That Happiness Is Latent in Every Form of Trouble and Suffering [excerpt]
Ages ago, Plato said that suffering
was a midwife. In his “Republic,” the great Greek recognized this law when he
said that no man was fitted to rule who had not learned how to understand men
through his own sorrows. How wise a word was that! Rulers young and untaught
and pleasure-loving have generally plunged their people into wars, riots, and
revolutions. On the other hand, the great achievements for the millions through
liberty have been ushered in by kings and presidents who through personal experience
have learned sympathy with their fellows. We conclude, therefore, that trouble
comes with a divine commission; that sorrows do not riot through life; that
men are not atoms buffeted hither and thither. That accepted and rightly used,
sorrows change their nature and become joy.
This principle becomes the clearer when we think of the sudden striking down of President McKinley. In that hour many minds were confused and bewildered. Men said, “How can there be an overruling God? If One there is, why did He permit such an event? What had the great President done to deserve such  an end? How faithful was he as ruler, how true a friend! What fidelity to his home!” Men said, “It is a world of trouble, confusion, and mystery.” Plainly man was not made for happiness. Yet, now that a little time has passed, wise men see that a deeper joy and happiness were latent in the suffering and sorrow. As for Lincoln, so for McKinley—the hour of supreme good fortune was the hour of martyrdom. In his life he was admired by one political party. But suffering opened the gates of sympathy, and the South, during his dying days, opened his pages, read the president’s addresses, and came to understand his mission and message. When he died, all the shops were closed, all wheels stood still—the whole nation assembled at the same hour, to recall his dying words, to sing his best-loved hymns, to listen to his incitements unto patriotism, to swear fidelity to God, home, and native land. Through those events, as in no other way, his life, teachings, and character were stamped forever upon the children and youth of the nation. An opportunity, a degree of influence, that joy and success could not give, came through suffering and sorrow. Could the great President return, he would tell us that a man could well die a thousand deaths for one such day of commemoration. Never do the wings of God brood man so closely as in the hour when the Angel of Sor-  row comes to lend the crown of suffering and martyrdom.