This mortal probation is a brief period-just a short span, linking the eternity of the past with the eternity of the future. Yet it was to be a period of tremendous importance. It is, in fact, the most vital period of our entire eternal existence. In this mortal state we come face to face with innumerable temptations and pressures. Sometimes we come in contact with advocates of wrongdoing, disobedience, and sin. Lucifer is going about tempting those who can be tempted to see if he can lead them astray.
When a teacher of the future comes to point out to the youth of America how the highest rewards of intellect and devotion can be gained, he may say to them, not by subtlety and intrigue; not by wire pulling and demagoguery; not by the arts of popularity; not by skill and shiftiness in following expediency; but by being firm in devotion to the principles of manhood and the application of morals and the courage of righteousness in the public life of our country; by being a man without guile and without fear, without selfishness, and with devotion to duty, devotion to his country.
I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy on the recovery of my freedom, and, perhaps, the establishment of my fame. But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober melancholy was spread over my mind, by the idea that I had taken an everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion, and that whatsoever might be the future date of my History, the life of the historian must be short and precarious.