Publication information
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Source: The Seven Cardinal Virtues
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “Courage” [chapter 2]
Author(s): Stalker, James
Publisher: American Tract Society
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: 1902
Pagination: 24-40 (excerpt below includes only pages 26-27)

Stalker, James. “Courage” [chapter 2]. The Seven Cardinal Virtues. New York: American Tract Society, 1902: pp. 24-40.
excerpt of chapter
Leon Czolgosz.
Named persons
Hercules; William McKinley; Thor.
From title page: By Rev. James Stalker, D.D.


Courage [excerpt]

     What, then, is the connection between wisdom and courage? Wisdom, as we saw in last chapter, is chiefly concerned with the object of existence; it fixes on the supreme good which we decide to pursue. And courage is the force by which the obstacles which impede this pursuit are overcome. It is a kind of indignation, which blazes out against everything which would prevent it from going where duty calls. It is the club of Hercules, or the hammer of Thor, with which we clear the path to the goal.
     It is highly important to keep this connection between wisdom and courage in view, because it enables us to distinguish between true courage and its counterfeits, of which there are many. No sailor is more resolute in facing the stormy seas than is the pirate in tracking the booty on which he has fixed his cupidity; but we do not honour the resolution of such a human shark with the name of bravery; we call it ferocity. No confessor, championing the truth in [26][27] the face of principalities and powers, is more sure of his own opinions than is many an ignoramus, who, gifted with nothing but self-conceit and a loud voice, shouts down the argument of all opponents; but we do not call such noisy stubbornness by the name of courage; we call it pig-headedness. The assassin of President McKinley took his life in his hand and must have been more certain of having to die for what he was about to do than is the leader of the most desperate forlorn hope on the field of battle; but, whatever his master motive may have been—whether it was an overweening vanity and craving for notoriety, or a maglignant [sic] hatred of capitalism and a morbid compassion for the poor—we do not count his act a brave one. It sends to the heart no thrill such as a brave act excites, but quite the reverse.



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