The chief end of man, -- to define it anew, and cite the witness of the ages, may seem an audacious attempt, likely to issue in failure or in commonplace. By the scholar this work must often be judged as crude, to the churchman it will sometimes seem mischievous, and to the man of science it may appear to lack solidity of demonstration. But its essential purpose is to utter afresh, though it be with stammering tongue, the message with which the universe has answered the soul of man whenever he listened most closely and obeyed most faithfully.
It is the assurance that Fidelity, Truth-seeking, Courage, and Love are the rightful lords of human life, and its sufficient guides and interpreters. It is the knowledge that as man is true to his best self he finds the universe his friend.
That message the seeing eye reads in the face of earth, and the listening ear hears it in the song of the morning stars. The will finds it as answer to its loyal endeavor. The heart wins it through rapture and through anguish. It is our dearest inheritance, it is our most arduous achievement. It is the sword with which each man must conquer his destiny. It is the smile with which Beatrice welcomes her lover to Paradise.