A MUSH OR A MAN—WHICH?
Man in the natural and unregenerate state is an unprincipled being. He is moved by every shadow of feeling. These shadows being cast by people, things and events without, his mental and physical activities represent but a conglomerate of other people. He is a jelly-fish, receiving for the moment the impression of any finger which pokes him. Whether he wants to be or not, he is nothing but a “mush of concession” to every passing person or circumstance. He is constantly affected from without. He lives and changes his being according to what is thrust upon him by other things. He has no principle for individual living, except that of stinging the hand which touches him.
The fate of the unprincipled jelly-fish is ever the same. His own power of initiative is so primitive that he is propelled by every current of wind or wave. Everything stands aside for even the sucker, who knows where he is going. But the jelly-fish has no destination. His one object in life is to keep from being hurt, and to this end he floats with any current. He effaces himself as much as possible to keep from being seen and eaten. And I suspect he is often indignant and tries to sting because he has succeeded in his attempt not to be noticed. But when he happens to be noticed by too large a fish he is gobbled up in a jiffy. If he escapes being eaten he is cast on the beach to lament away his feeble life in a too-ardent day.
Poor little unprincipled jelly-fish! But occasionally a jellyfish gets tired of being a more or less unwilling mush with a red pepper sting. He grows a shell to protect him, and becomes a clam. He shuts himself up with his own opinion of the selfish world outside. He loses his red pepper sting, but if you get too close to him he nips your impertinent fingers and shuts the door in your face. He has his opinion of you and he wants to be let alone.