This I Believe

Blake, Harry J.


  • Harry Blake describes a conversation with his sons in which they discuss the need for faith, hope, and charity to attain a succesful and happy life.
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And now, This I Believe, the living philosophies of thoughtful men and women, presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. A personal philosophy need not be elaborate to be useful. Harry J. Blake is a wool merchant, president of Blake and Company of Boston, and past president of that city’s Chamber of Commerce.
One evening last summer, I was sitting in our garden with my wife and our two sons. The boys were home on leave for a weekend. It was to be the last one for a long time for the older boy, 24, a
junior lieutenant in the Navy. The younger one, 20, a private in the Army, had come home from Fort Dix to say goodbye to his brother. We were happily reminiscing about their boyhood and about family matters of one kind and another. But there was a bit of serious atmosphere, too, in our intimate little group.
I had spent my lifetime in business in Boston, was approaching my 65th birthday, and the boys were asking me some questions about the qualities in life that seemed, to me, to be the most important. I thought for a moment, and suddenly I realized that the three great virtues—faith, hope, and charity—were the root of everything worthwhile; that from them sprung everything that was good, and nothing that was evil; and that they represented the conscientious discharge of our obligations to our
creator and to society, as well as worldly or material success.
My sons assured me that they were well aware of these homily and simple facts. They suggested, however, that I amplify a bit from the standpoint of their application in the practical way, to the qualities or characteristics that would make for the successful pursuit of one’s business career, as well as for happiness in life.
We agreed, of course, that the greatest quality of faith above everything else was one’s belief in God. Faith certainly is the wellspring from which flows one’s loyalty to his country, his home, and his friends. Initiative and imagination are byproducts of faith, and integrity and confidence are, of
course, its fundamentals. Hope supplies determination and courage—the will to win, the urge for accomplishment; and aggressiveness, which furnishes its modus power. Then the sweet hand of charity—kindness, unselfishness, humility and sympathy—the most colorful, and as St. Paul himself has said, the greatest of them all.
We agreed that the mighty of the Earth, or the humblest of men, could attain their goal in life with satisfaction and success by going along with these three ageless virtues and their offspring; that they were, in a way, the foundation stones of the great arch of life through which we passed when we were born; that if we should mislay some of them along the way, we could search and find them again; and
that their endless resources were certainly available to all of us, providing we were willing to make use of them and take advantage of them.
And so, as we ended our evening’s talk in that darkening garden, we agreed that faith and hope and charity—virtues as old as the rising and setting of the sun, the ebb and flow of the sea, or the everlasting hills—are as modern as the astounding discoveries of chemistry and science, and as timely, in our day, as they were centuries ago; that these distinguished virtues of such complete and utter simplicity, were the true wonder workers of mankind. This I believe.
That was a leading merchant of Boston, Massachusetts named Harry J. Blake, who lives his beliefs by active support, not only of his community’s commercial affairs, but of such enterprises as hospitals, schools and summer camps for boys and girls.