Excerpts from

The World Beautiful
by Lillian Whiting

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Written by the well-known author of A Study of the Life and Poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, The Florence of Landor and many other outstanding works.

In this timeless classic, first published in 1894, Lillian Whiting gives practical help to men and women everywhere in the greatest of all arts, the art of living. This priceless guide will teach you:


Rev. Dr. JOHN CLIFFORD M.A.— "I wish to express my sincere and hearty thanks for the book entitled " The World Beautiful.'' It is a delight and an inspiration to make its acquaintance, . . . No one can read it without pleasure, or linger over its pellucid sentences without advantage."

FRANCES E. WILLARD— "Set forth in language so pure and elevated that no right-minded person can fail to find a genuine attraction on every page."

Rev. Dr. CHARLES A. BERRY. — In reading "The World Beautiful'' I have derived more than pleasure, for I have been quietly translated from the world of worry which surround so many of us into the New Earth, which Christ has made possible for His people. This is a noble book, which, while it rebukes the follies and sins of our topsy-turvy society, fills the reader with desires after the heavenly life."

Excerpts from:


"The Fairest enchants me,
The Mighty commands me,
Saying, 'Stand in thy place
Up and Eastward turn thy Face,
So thou attend the enriching fate
Which none can stay, and none accelerate."


The Duty of Happiness

AFTER all, it rests with ourselves as to whether we shall live in a World Beautiful. It depends little on external scenery, little on those circumstances outside our personal control. Like the kingdom of heaven, it is not a locality, but a condition. It is a spiritual state, and depends on our degree of receptivity to the influence of the Holy Spirit. We have all of us met persons whose very presence is a benediction; who harmonise and tranquillise those about them, and with whom we feel on a higher and serener plane. The world is distinctively the better for these benignant spirits; but such lives are not only to be enjoyed, not only to be recognised and appreciated, but to be lived as well. As the poet has it:

"Be thou the true man thou dost seek!"

If one admires the patience, gentleness, sweetness, and unfailing energy of another; if he or she finds themselves renewed and invigorated and inspired by such contact,—why do they themselves not so live that they may bring the same renewal and inspiration to others?  The responsibility is on each and all of us to live on the ideal plane; to realise in outward action, in every deed and word, those qualities which we recognise as pertaining to the higher life.  For it is these that produce the spiritual. And to live this  higher life is to live in happiness, even in holiness. It is the life of peace and love and joy; it is the life of larger sympathies, and, as a result, of larger interests. The more liberal the sympathy, the more is the interest of life extended; and the more extended one's  range of interests, the more does one multiply the means and resources of happiness.

There has been of late a new form of philanthropic work which is known by the general name of  "college settlements." It is simply for one individual, or several, to go into the poorer quarters of a city, and live as a neighbour to the ignorant, the defective, the very poor, or the degraded. It is less a mission than it is a ministry,—the natural and informal  ministry of right-doing. It is to found a home  which shall be a standing object-lesson in better ways of living; which shall illustrate the beauty of order, of cleanliness, of gentle ways, of generous thoughtfulness, of friendly sympathy.

The men and women who are doing this do not keep a house of correction, or a house of refuge, or an asylum of any kind. They keep a home. They do not go out into the highways and the byways to preach or to teach, ostensibly, but they endeavour so to order their lives as to give constantly the indirect teaching of example. Perhaps it is no exaggeration to say that to a greater or less degree they show forth the beauty of holiness. There is a two-fold blessing in such living as this,—it blesses him who gives and him who takes,—and perhaps of all forms of humanitarian work it is the one best calculated to effect good results.

But if the larger number of people wait to make some specific change in life before endeavouring to realise their higher ideals in conduct, if a change of location and general rearrangement and readjustment of method and detail must precede the better living, then will it be more than likely to be indefinitely postponed.

Why, indeed, should not the principle of the college settlement be carried into living under the usual surroundings? Why not fill one's usual place in life, do one's usual work, —meet the customary duties, pleasures, courtesies, only meeting them from new motives, and inspiring the duties with higher purposes? It is not only the poor, the ignorant, or even the degraded, who need to have good done them; who need the sunniness of hope, the sweetness of content, the renewal of courage, the unfaltering devotion to heroism.

People are not necessarily rich in happiness or in hope, because they live in more or less luxury of the material comforts and privileges of life. There is just as much need of the ministry of higher ideals to the comfortable as to the uncomfortable, to the intelligent as to the ignorant, to those who are reaching forward after truth and progress as to those who are receding from them.

There is a vast amount of enthusiasm in the world over helping the unfortunate and defected and degraded classes, and so far as this zeal is genuine and discreet it is to be commended; but the righteous as well as the sinner, the moral as well as the immoral, the refined as well as the rude, are not altogether unworthy some degree of both private and public consideration.

Unfailing thoughtfulness of others in all those trifles that make up daily contact in daily life, sweetness of spirit, the exhilaration of gladness and of joy, and that exaltation of feeling which is the inevitable result of mental peace and loving  thought,—these make up the World Beautiful, in which each one may live as in an atmosphere always attending their presence.

Like the kingdom of heaven, the World Beautiful is within; and it is not only a privilege, but an absolute duty, so to live that we are always in its atmosphere. Happiness, like health, is the normal state; and when this is not felt, the cause should be looked for, just as in illness the causes should be scrutinised and removed.

Live in the sweet, sunny atmosphere of serenity and light and exaltation,—in that love and loveliness that creates the World Beautiful.

Nectar and Ambrosia

Nectar and Ambrosia should not be regarded as refreshment sacred only to festive occasions, but as human nature's daily food. It is the natural sustenance of life, not a luxury for an occasional holiday. It is the initial business and purpose of life to be happy; and, lest the moralist should object to this as a frivolous proposition, it may be added that it is that true happiness synonymous with holiness which is meant,—the quality of happiness that manifests itself in abounding energy and good-will, that radiates exhilaration and enthusiasm. This state should be regarded as the normal condition of life; and when one is below it, they should inquire into the reason, and see if it is not a result of causes which can be removed or changed.

No one has any more right to go about unhappy than they have to go about ill-bred. They owe it to themselves, to their friends, to society and the community in general, to live up to their best spiritual possibilities, not only now and then, once or twice a year, or once in a season, but every day and every hour. The aim of spiritual perfection is one that should never be lost from view.

For this state of positive exhilaration and enjoyment, whose results are abounding energy and radiant good-will, no price is too great to pay. Emerson truly says that life is an ecstasy, and nothing less is really living. And to achieve this state requires new elements all the time. It may not always require change of location; material change is of little importance compared to that mental variety which is the secret of advancing life. To lay hold on new ideas, to climb to new spiritual heights, is the change which is growth and development, and which brings one into touch with new atmospheres.

To go about moping, depressed, blue, out of spirits in general, is to exist but not to live. It is the condition of a mollusc and unworthy a human being. Worry is a state of spiritual corrosion. A trouble either can be remedied, or it cannot. If it can be, then set about it; if it cannot be, dismiss it from consciousness, or bear it so bravely that it may become transfigured to a blessing.

A great deal of life is lost in getting ready, as is commonly believed, to live. To scorn delights and live laborious days; to bind one's self to an unceasing and unchanging routine, as Ixion to his wheel, for the sake of amassing money that some time, in a dim and abstract future, one may begin to live,—is simply to attempt building a superstructure without a foundation. Life stretches on like an endless chain, whose initial links we know not, nor yet those to come. But that we are each day the sum of all that we ever have been is a truth as undeniable as any of exact mathematics. We cannot skip a single link. One act, one mood, predetermines another.

Man is his own star; and the soul that can
Render an honest and a perfect man,
Commands all light, all influence, all fate;
Nothing to him falls early or too late.
Our acts our angels are, for good or ill,
Our fatal shadows that walk by us still.

(Epilogue to Beaumont and Fletcher's Honest Man's Fortunes.)

Now, happiness produces happiness. Enjoyment may be cultivated, and is, after all, largely a condition of habit. Precisely the same circumstances will yield delight to one and discontent to another, and no process of culture is so admirable as that which fosters the habitual mood of sunny enjoyment.

No price is too great to pay for the mood of inspiration. Draw out the money in the bank, if need be, and invest it in travel, change, books, social life; so shall its value return to you a thousandfold.

It will yield an interest on a richer investment than that of bank accounts; and not only interest, but interest compounded innumerable times and at an accelerated ratio. Acquire the habit of expecting success, of believing in happiness. Nothing succeeds like success; nothing makes happiness like happiness.

"The aim—at least in this way alone can I look at human life—is not to make rich and successful, but noble and enlightened men," says Bishop Spaulding. "Hence the final thought in all work is that we work not to have more, but to be more; not for higher place, but for greater worth; not for fame, but for knowledge. In a word, the final thought is that we labour to upbuild the being which we are, and not merely to build round our real self with marble and gold and precious stones. This is but the Christian teaching which has transformed the world. The end is infinite, the aim must be the highest. Not to know this, not to hear the heavenly invitation, is to be shut off from communion with the best, is to be cut off from the source of growth, is to be given over to modes of thought which fatally lead to mediocrity and vulgarity of life."

This plane of living is that on which alone true work is done.

And the nectar and ambrosia are offered us daily. We have only to recognise and receive, life is the result of a process of selection; and he only is the true artist who chooses the finer elements and out of them creates his World Beautiful.


..... The Duty of Happiness
......Nectar and Ambrosia
......Believe in the Wings
......The Vision and the Splendour
......The Enlargement of Relations
......Friends Discovered, Not Made
......A Psychological Problem
......The Supreme Luxury of Life

......Our Communion with the Unseen
......Exclusiveness and Inclusiveness...
......Through Scorning Nothing
......The Woman of the World
......The Potency of Charm
......Fine Souls and Fine

......Vice and Advice
.   ..One's Own Way

   ...Writing in Sympathetic Ink

.   ..Success as a Fine Art

.   ..A Common Experience

.   ..Intimations and Promptings

   ...Through Struggle to Achievement

.   ..A Question of the Day

.   ..The Law of Overcoming

.   ..In Newness of Life

.   ..The Heavenly Vision

.   ..The Worry Habit


"The World Beautiful" by Lillian Whiting

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