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WiLUAM B. Cairns 

Professor of English 

UNivERsnY OF Wisconsin-Madison 



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THE 



ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 



MARY G. CHANDLER. 



" An exclusively iutellectaal education leads, by a very obvious process, to 
hard-heartedness and" the contempt of all moral influences. An exclusively 
moral education tends to fatuity by the over-excitement of the sensibilities. 
An exclusively religious education ends in insanity, if it do not take a di- 
rectly opposite course and lead to atheism." — Edinbuboh Review. 



BOSTON: 

PUBLISHED BY OTIS CLAPP, 
No. 28 School Stbebt. 

1855. 



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CONTENTS, 



Charaoteb. 

The Humah Trinitt, 

Thoituht, 
Imagination* 

Affectiow. 

COWYERSATJOW, 

Mann e 113, 

COMPANJOKSHIP. 



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tontlonAllj^ tD KQk T&tJ^» vbat virtue £iTe9 ttmo what Tiztqe ii ; thA tVfrKrd 
t&ther than tbe eezTice^ tbo feUdly rather than %bjb Hfe, tbs dowiy^ l^t mfltej) 
imUieF than ttw bride.'' — - T^ T. Stchee. 

^'^His practice was <)f m in ore dlThie extncti&n} drawn from the yfzttd at 
Qdd^ and wrought op hj tbi^ lu^timAe of hie Spirit ; tb«r«ftm. In the beitd 
of oil hii "riitnea I ^hoU set ih&t wh^ch wis this heod and ipmij; of tbioni flU^ hJi 
ChrlBtlajiity ; for tbt? ulotut!' Is t1\e true ro^al blood 4:bat rutts th.rou£h the whole 
body of TirtQSf and efery pnt«tid<^T to tb«t glorious famHy, who baa iw tlnctuiv 
Off kf ta &n impoisto]-. This is that loiup fonptqJn which baptiavth till the g;eQr 
tJo TirtuFK th&t AO hnmcirtalltfi tbf? nameA df the old philD^opjiicr^ ; bo^m tbej 
*tt ngenemtsedi and take a. new nEim» and n4turf<, Dui^ up in ibe wlJcleirTveafl. 
cf jjAtim^ and dipjied in thid hying ^prin^^ thoj am plan tod axiii fioiirltib In tbft 
paimdiac of llod By CbrlAtiaDlty I hitend that universal hahJi of grttce whlah 
Lp wmogbt in a loul by tbo rcgftiiera^iJii Spirit of Ood^ whereby ths whole 
cFToture II resided up in^ thd Dlrfne will i%bd l4>ve, and nJi itd actions diActed 
to the obodi(moo tmd glflrj of its MnkEr;* —Msaoras o? Col. HffTCHUf&ow, BT 



The weakness and helplessness of humanityi 

in relation to tlie fortunes of this life, have been 
a favorite theme with philosophers and teachers 
ever since the world began ; and every term ex- 
pressive of all that is uncertain, insubatantiaJj 
and unstable has been exhausted in describing 
the feebleness of man's power to retain in pos* 
session the good things of this life, or even life 



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8 THE ELEMENTS OF CHABACTER. 

itself. However firmly .the hand, of man may 
seem to grasp power, reputation, or wealth ; how- 
ever numerous may be the band of diildren or 
friends that surrounds him, he has no certainty 
that he may not die friendless and a pauper. In 
fact, the most brilliant success in life seems 
sometimes to be permitted only that it may 
make the darkness of succeeding reverses the 
more profound. - . 

Weak and helpless as we may be in the affairs 
of this life, there is, however, one thing ov«r 
whioh w:e have entire control. Riches may take 
to themselves wings, though honest industry exert 
its best efforts to acquire and retain them; power 
is taken away from hands that seek to use it 
only for the good' of those they govern; reputa- 
tion may become tarnished, though virtue be 
without spot; health may vanish, though its 
laws, so far ?is we understand them, be strictly 
obeyed ; but there is one thing left which mis- 
fortune cannot touch, which God is ever seeking 
to aid us in building up, and over which he 
permits us to hold absolute control; arid this 
is Character. For this, and for this alone, we 
are entirely responsible. We may fail in all 
else, let our endeavors be earnest and patient 
as they may; but all other failures touch us 
only in our external lives. If we have used 
our best endeavors to attain success in the pur^ 
suit of temporal objects, we are not responsible 

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CHABACTBS. 9 

though we fiiU. But if we do not succeed i^ 
attaining true health and wealth and power of 
Chai^cter, the tesponsibility is all our own ; and 
tiie consequences of our failure are not bounded 
by the shores of time, but stretch onward through 
the limitless regions of eternity. If we strive for 
this, success is certain, for the Lord works with 
us to will and to do. li we dd not strive, it were 
better for us that we had never been bom. 

Character is all we can take with us wlien we 
leave tiiis world. Fortune,- learning, reputation, 
power, must all be left behind us in the region of 
material things ; but Character, the spiritual sub- 
stance of our beings abides with us for ever. Ac- 
cording as the possessions of this world have 
aided in building up Character, — forming it to 
Hhe divine or to the infernal image, -— they have 
been cursings or blessings to the soul. 

Before we can understand hcfw Character is to 
be built up, we must come to a distinct faith in 
its reality ; we must learn to feel that it is more 
real than anything eke that we possess ; for surely 
that which is eternal is more real than that which 
is merely temporal; it may, indeed, be doubted 
whether that which is merely temporal has any 
just claim to be called real. 

Many persons xK)»found reputation with Char- 
acter, and believe themselves to be striving for 
the reality of the one, when the fantasy of the 
other alone stimulates their desires. Reputation 

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10 THE ELEMBNTS OF CHABACTEB. 

is the opinion entertained of us by our ieUow- 
beings, while Character is that which we really 
are. When we labor to gain reputation, we are 
not even taking the first step toward the acquisi- 
tion of Character, but only putting on coverings 
over that which is, and protecting it against im- 
proveitient. As well may we strive to be virtu- 
ous by thinking of the rewaord of heaven, as to 
build up our Charactew by thinking of the opin- 
ions of men. The "cases are precisely parallel. 
In each we are thinking of the pay as something 
apart from the work, while, in faxxt, tiie only pay 
we can have inheres in. the doing of the work. 
Virtue is its own reward, because its perform- 
ance creates the kingdom of heaven within us, 
and we cannot attain to virtue until we strive 
aft«r it for its own sake. 

A wisely trained Character never stops to ask, 
What will society think of me if I do this thing, 
or if I leave it undone ? The questions by which 
it tests the quality of an action are, whether it is 
just, and wise, and fitting, when judged by the 
eternal laws of right ; and in accordance with this 
judgment will its manifestations ever be made. 
If the mind acquires the liabit of deliberately 
asking and answering these questions in ]:^ard 
to common affairs, it acqUipes, by degrees, dis- 
tinct opinions in relation to life, forming a regu- 
lar system, in accordance with which the Char- 
acter is shaped and built up ; and unless this be 

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CHABi.CT£B» 11 

done, the Character cannot become consistent 
'and harmonious. It is never too late tb begin to 
do this ; but the earli^ in life it is done, the 
more readily the Character^ can be .conformed to 
the standard of right which is thus established. 
Every year added to life ere this is attempted, is 
an added impediment to its performance; and 
until it is accomplished, thore is no safety for the 
Charaiter^ for eaclr year is adding additional 
force to careless or evil habits of thought and 
aife^tion, and consequently of external life* 

It is not going too far to say, that Character is 
the only permament possession we can have. It 
is in fact our spiritual body. AJl other atental- 
possessions are to the spiritu^ body oply what 
clothing is to the natural body, — something put 
on and taken off as circumstances vary. Char- 
acter changes from year to year as we cultivate 
or neglect it, and so dogs^he natural body ; but 
ttiese changes of the bddy are something very 
different froni the.changes of our garments. 

There is a transient and a permanent side to 
all . our mental attributes. Take, for instance, 
manners, ^hich are the most external of them all. 
So far as we habituate ourselves to courtesy 
and good-breeding becsmse we shall stand better 
with the world if we are polite than if we are 
rude, we are cultivating a merely external habit, 
which we shall be likely to throw off as often as 
we think it safe to go without it, as we should 

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12 THE ELBMBNTS OF CHABACTEB. 

an uncomfortably fitting dress ; and our manners 
do not belong to our Characters any^more than 
our coats belong to our persons. This is the 
transient side of manners. If, on the contrdry, 
we are polite fiom an inward conviction that 
politeness is one of the forms of love to the 
neighbor, and because we believe that iii being 
polite we are performing a duty tiiat our neighbor 
has a right to claim from us, and because polite- 
ness is §. trait that we love for its own inherent 
beauty, our manners belong to the substance of 
our Charqxjter, — they are not its garment, but its 
sMn; and this is the permanent side of manners. 
Such manners "will be ours in death, and after- 
wards, no less than in life. 

In the same way, ev^ry personal accomplish- 
ment and every mental acquisition has ita tran- 
sient and its permanent side. So far as we cul- 
tivate them to enrich and to ennoble our natures, 
to enlarge and to elevate our understandings, to 
become wiser, better, and more useful to our fel- 
low-beings, we are cultivating oiir Characters, — 
the spiritual essence of our being; but these very 
same ac<q[uisitions, when sought from motives 
wholly selfish and worldly, are not only as tran- 
sient as the clothes we wear, but often as useless 
as the ornaments of a fashionable costume. ' The 
Character wiU be poor and famished and cold, 
however great the variety of such clothing or 
ornament we may put on. 

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CHABACTEB. 1$ 

When the mind has learned to appreciate 
the difference between reputation and Character^ 
between the seeming and the being, it must 
next decide, if it would build up a worthy Char^ 
acteTj what it desires this should be ; for to 
build a Character requires a plan, no less than to 
build a houae. A deep and broad foundation of 
sound opinions, believed in with the whole hearty 
can alone insure safety to the superstructiue, 
Where such a foundation is not laid, the Char- 
acter will possess no architectural unity, — will 
have no consistency. Its emotions will be swayed 
by the impulses of the moment, instead of being 
governed by principles of life. There is ffo thing 
reliable in such a Character, for it perpetually 
cojitradicts itself. Its powers, instead of acting 
togetherj like well-trained soldiersj will be ever 
jostling each other, like a disorderly mob. 

The zeal for special reforms in morality that 
so strongly characterizes the present agCj what* 
ever may be its utility or its necessity, may not 
be without an evil eflTect upon the training of 
Character as a whole* The intense effort after 
reform in certain particular direct ions causes 
many to forget or to overlook altogether the fact 
that one virtue is not enough to make a moral 
being. It cannot be doubted that the present 
surpasses all former ages in its eagerness to put 
down several of the most prominent vices to 
which man is subject; but it may be well to 

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14 THE ELEMENTS OF CHABACTER. 

pause and calmly examine whether a larger 
{HTomise is not sometimes uttered by the zeal so 
actively at wolrk in society, than will probably be 
made good by its results. 

Nothing can be worthy' the name of Reform 
that is not based pn the Christian religion, — that 
does not acknowledge the laws of eternal truth 
and justice, — that does not find its life in Chris- 
tian charity, and its light in Christian truth.. 
The tendency of reform at the present day is too 
often to separate itself firom religion ; for religion 
cannot work fast enough to satisfy its haste; can- 
not, at the ^nd of each year, count the steps it 
has advanced in arithmetical numbers. Th^ re- 
former asks not always for general growth and 
advancement ^in Christian Character; but de^ 
mands special evidenced, startling results, tan- 
gible proofs. These things all have their value, 
and the persons who strive for them doubtless 
have their reward; but if the kingdom of heaven 
and its righteousness were first sought, the good 
things «o fiercely advocfited and labored after by 
special reformers would be added unto them, as 
naturally as flowers and fruits, and the wealth of 
harvest, are added to the light and Warmth of the 
advancing year. 

Persons who devote themselves to one fecial 
branch of reform are apt to lose the power of ap- 
preciating any virtue save that one which they 
have\selected as their own, and which they seem 

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CHARACTEE* 15 

to love, not so much because it ia a virtue as be- 
cause it is their wtue* They soon lose all moral 
perspective, and resemble^ him who holds some 
one object so dosely before his eyes that he can 
see nothing else, and cannot see that correctly, 
while he insists that nothing else exists worthy 
of being seen. 

There is ever an effort going on in the mind of 
man to find some substitute for that universal 
obedience to the laws of faith and charity which 
the Scriptures demand ; and this temptation 
adapts itself specially to every different class of 
believers* Thus the Jew, if the higher requisi- 
tions of the Law oppress himj thinks to secure 
himself from its penalties by the exactness of his ' 
ritual observances/ The unfaithful Romanist 
hopes to atone for a life of sin by devoting his 
property to the Church, or to charity, when he 
dies. The Lutheran and the Calvinist, when 
false to the call of duty, think to be forgiven their 
neglect of the laws of charity by reason of the 
liveliness of their faith* So the modern reformer 
sometimes seems to suppose himself at liberty to 
neglect the cure of any of the vices that he loves, 
because he fancies that he may take the king- 
dom of heaven by violence through his devotion 
to the destruction of some special vice which he 
abhors. Thus temperance is at times preached 
by men so intemperate in their zeal, that they 
are unwilling to make public addresses on the 






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16 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

Sabbath, because on that day they are tram- 
melled by the constraint of decency, which 
prevents - them from' entering ' freely into the 
gross and disgusting details in which they de- 
light We have the emancipation of negroes 
sometimes preached by men fast bound in fet- 
ters of malignity and spiritual pride. We have 
the destruction of the ruling influence of the 
clergy inculcated by men dogmatic as Spanish 
Inquisitors. We are taught that the doctrine .of 
the inspiration of the Scriptures is a mere fig- 
ment, by those who are firmly convinced that 
their own inspiration is perfect and unfailing; 
The result of all this is the development of Char- 
acters as deformed as are the bodies of victims to 
hydrocephalus or goitre ; while, in painful contrast 
to such victims, these morally distorted patients 
bear abou:t their deformities in the most conspic- 
uous manner, as if they were rare beauties. So 
pagan nations, when they embody their ideas of 
superhuman attributes, often construct figures 
having several heads or hands, or enormously 
enlarge some particular member of the frame, 
fancying that they thus express ideas of wisdonj 
or power more perfectly than they could by 
forming a figure whose parts should all present a 
symmetrical development. 

It is not that reformers over-estimate the evil of 
any of the vices against which they contend ; for 
in the abstract that is impossible ; but that they 

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CHABACTEH* 17 

underHSstimate the evil of all other vices in rela- 
tion to that one against which they arm them- 
selves. The tree of evil has many branches, and 
the trimming aw^ay one of them may only make 
the rest grow more vigorously. There can be no 
thorough progress in reform until the evil of the 
whole tree is perceived and acknowledged, aRd 
the whole strength is turned to digging it up by 
the roots. 

If a man devote himself actively to the reform 
of some special vice, while he at the same time 
^hows^ himself indifferent to other vices in hirn- 
self or in his neighbors, it is evident that his 
.virtue is only one of seeming- We are told that 
he who is guilty of breaking one commandment 
is guilty of all ; because if we disregard any one 
commandment of the Lord habitually, persisting 
in the pteferenee of our own will to his, it is evi- 
.dent we, have no true reverence for hinij or that 
we act in conformity to his coramandments in 
other points only because in them our wiU hap- 
pens not to run counter to his ; and this is no 
obedience at aU. 

K we find men leaving no stone unturned in 
promoting the cause of temperajtice, who do not 
hesitate to cheat and slander their neighbors, 
temperance is no virtue in them ; but is the result 
.of love of wealth, or of property, or of reputation, 
or of the having no desire for strong drink ; be- 
cause if a man abstain from inteinperance out of 
3 

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18 THB ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

love to God^ he will abstain from cheating and 
slandering out of loye to the neighbor, " He 
that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, 
how can he love God whom he hath not seen ? " 

So, too, 8l%very is an enormous evil, und it is 
very easy for one who dwells in the free States 
to cover with opprobrium those who hold slaves; 
but if the Abolitionist indulges in a violence of 
invective that compels one to fear that his heart 
is burning with hatred towards his Southern 
brothers, he stands quite as low in the moral 
scale as a crwe^ slaveholder, and possibly lower 
than a kind one. ^ 

The intemperate, and oftep malignant, vio^ 
lence with which men preach, and'lead on cru- 
sades, against special vices, proves them ignorant 
of, or indifferent to, the s%nlficance of virtue as 
a whole. It does not enter into their hearts to 
conceive of the beauty of that, growth in grace 
which results in the cor^plete statu)re of a man, 
— that is, of an angel. In their haste to pro- 
duce great growth in some particular diree^ 
tion, they overlook the fact, that in precise pro- 
portion to such growth inust be the dwarfing of 
the other mettibtnrs. of the soul. Man was created 
in the image and likeiless of God ; and he be- 
comes truly a man only so far as, through the 
grace of God, his whole being voluntarily as- 
sumes that resemblance to the All-perfect lor. 
-which he was designed. So long as he makes no 

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effort to become regenerate, after he has arrived at 
an age to be at liberty to choose between good 
and evil, he tarns himself more and more away 
from Grod, and becomes less and less like hhn* 
While in this state, he may possess many seem- 
ing virtues, may enjoy an untarnished reputation, 
may win the love of many Mends ; but is none 
the less the hollow image of that which should 
be the substance of ia nian. He is following only 
the devices of his own heart, ^ — seeking only the 
good things o£ this world ; and there is no virtue 
in anything that he does, though he may seem to 
devote aU th^t he has, or all that he isj to pur- 
poses of charity or reform. Man begins to be 
truly virtuous,— to be truly a man, only when, 
relying on the strength of the Lord to sustain his 
endeavors, he begins to avoid sin because it is 
abhorrent to God; and to fulfil the command- 
ments because they are the words of God. 
Then only he begins to form himself into the 
symmetrical figure of a man ; and to become 
perfect after the mantier in which the Heavenly 
Father is perfect 

The virtues all lock into each other. They 
cannot stand alone. Like the stones of an 
arch, no one of them can be wanting without 
making alt the rest insecure. That Character 
alone is trustworthy in which each virtue takes 
its relative position, and all are held in place and 
confirmed by the keystone of a living faith in 

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20 THE ELBMSHTS OF OHAJUlCTEB. 

the great centrfd fact, that th^re is a Ood of in- 
finite goodness and truth, whose commandments 
are the laws of life in this world And the world 
to come. 

We cannot religiously obey one command- 
ment unless we desire to obey all; because in 
order to obey one religiously we must obey it 
from reverence to the divine authority whence it 
emanates : and when ^uch reverence is aroused in 
the h^art, it sends the current of spiritual life to 
every member of -the spiritual frame, permeating 
the whole, being, and suffering no disease to re- 
main upon the soul. He, therefore, who devotes 
himself to some one object of jeform, enters upon 
an undertaJdng involving one of the most subtle 
temptations by which man is ever assailed. 
Spiritual pride will lie in wait for him every mo- 
ment, telling him how clean he is compared with 
those against whose vices he is cont^nding4 and 
unless, he is very strong in Christian humility, he 
will soon learn this oft-repeated lesson, and will 
go about the wcwld with the spirit of the Phari- 
see's prayer ever in his heart, — " God, I thank 
the^ that I am not as other men, intemperate, a 
dov^iokler, a contemner of the rights of the 
weak. I am not, like many men, contented with 
fulfilling the common, every-day. duties of life. 
They are too small for me. I seek to do great 
.things ; and to show my devotion to thee by 
going armed with all the power the law allows. 

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*OHARAOTBR. 21 

to put down vice by force, and drive it from the 
face of the earth.'* ' 

There IS a class of men who aidsume to be, and 
are received by many as, philanthropists, who 
appear to delight in detecttng and publishing to 
the world the vices of their fellow-beings. They 
seem to love to hate:; and to find, in viKfying the 
reputations 6i those to whom they are opposed^ 
a pleasure that can be compared t6 nothing 
human ; but taiher tb the joy of a vulture as he 
gloats over, and rends in pieces, his carrion prey. 
While reading or listening to the raging denun- 
ciations of such persons, one is painfully re- 
minded of the spirit that a few generations ago 
armed itself with the fagot and the axe in order 
to destroy those who held opinions in opposition 
to the dominant power. T?he axe and the fdgot 
have disappeared; but, alas for human nature! 
the spirit that delighted in their use has liot 
whoUy parsed away; the flame and sword it 
uses now are those of malignity and hatred; it 
does not scorch nor wound the body, but only 
bums and slays the reputations of those whom it 
assails. Forgetting that the Lord has declared, 
" Judgment is mine,*' it hesitates btft Ettlfe to pass 
its condemnations upon those who differ from 
itself; and if Christian commandments are urged 
against it, it passes them by with a sneei, or 
openly sets them aside as too narrow and imper- 
fect for the present age. 

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22 THE ELEMBHTS OV OHABACTEB. 

While shrinking firom the dangers that lie in 
wait for those who devote themselves to on^ idea 
in morality or reform, we should beware of fedl- 
ing into the opposite extreme of indifference, on 
these same points ; and should be sure to give 
them their full shaxe of consideration. The ultra 
conservatism, ths^t holds fast to existing customs 
and organizations merely because they are old,^or 
from the love of conservation, is quite as fatuous 
as the rsUlicalism that would destroy the old 
merely because it is old, or from the love of de- 
struction. He whose conscience knows lio higher 
sanction or restraint than the Statute-Book, is 
not enough of a Christian to be a good citizen ; 
while he who does not respect the Statute-Book 
as the palladium of his country, is not a citizen 
worthy the name of Christian. While striving 
to remain unbiased' by the clamor of party, or 
the violence of individuals, we should with equal 
care avoid the opposite error of looking with ap- 
proval, or even with indifference, upon usages or 
institutions whose only claim to our forbearance 
lies in laws or popular .opinions whose deformity 
should be discovered, and whose power should 
melt awTsiy beneath the lig^t and waripth of a 
Christian sun. 

True religious life consists in doing the will of 
God every moment of our lives. His will must 
bear upon u^ everjrwhere and at all times. Where 
the mind is absorbed in some one object of re- 

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form, this constant devotion to duty is almost, if 
not quitCj impossible. The mind becomes so 
warped in one direction, that it loses the habit^ 
and almost loses the power, of turning in any 
other. Hence we rarely hear the word dutp from 
the lips of the reformer. He constantly descants 
upon rights or wrongs^ while duties seem forgot- , 
ten. Thus we hear perpetually of the rights or* 
of the wrongs of man or of woman, of the citi- 
zen or of the criminal, and of the slave ; but the 
duties of these clas&es seem to have passed out 
of sight. Now it is only when all shall fulfil 
their several duties that the rights of all can be 
respected ; and if peace on earth and good- will 
towards men are ever to reign, it must be when 
piety and charity shall go hand in hand, — when 
the human race shall unite as one to fulfil its 
duties towards God and towards each other. 

Violence of every kind springs from a desire 
to do one's own wilt Egotism is the sure ac- 
companiment of wrath. TJie love of Grod never 
constrained any man to vilify his brother. He 
who is bent on the perfonnance of duty, ^ho 
desires simply to do the will of Godj is firm as a 
rock, but never violent. He prays, with the 
poetj — 

*^ Let not tbis weak, unknowing band 
F^snme thy bolfea to throw, 
Atid deal djunnation round the land. 
On e&ch I jadg^ thy foe.'' 

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24 THE ELEMENTS OF CHABACTEB. 

He remembers that judgment bdongs to Gro4; 
and that the Lord taught us to pray, " Forgive 
our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass 
against us " ; and surely none can hurl denuncia- 
tion upon a fellow-sinner if from his heart he 
offer that prayer. 

Possibly the ground may be taken, that we 
should forgive our own personal enemies, but not 
the enemies of the Lord, against whom the re- 
former diriects his wrath. But is the arm of the 
Lord shorteAed that he cannot avenge his own 
wrongs ? and who among mortals is so pure or 
80 Strong that he may dare to say^ the Lord has 
need of him for a champion ? 

It is deemed just that a soldier should suffer 
severe punishment if he act without orders, talk- 
ing upon himself the authority of a compianding 
officer. How, much more is he worthy of con- 
demnation who puts hiinself .in place of God, 
and, under pretence of doing him service, pre- 
sumes to transgress his explicit commands. 

We are prone to fancy that, wheij we are fond 
of* talking abot^t any object, we are fond of the 
object itself; but this by no means follows of 
course; We may delight in talking about phi- 
lanthropy while our hearts are burning with 
haired, or about temperance while intoxicated 
with passion, or about abolitionism while we 
have no respect for the liberty of those around 
us, and no comprehension of that liberty where- 
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CHARACTER. 3BQ 

m 

with Christ makes his children free ; and all this 
because we are working from the blind impulses 
of an unrege Derate spirit. When the spirit be- 
comes regenerate, — taught of God, — it per- 
ceives the unity of virtue, and can never again 
regard it as a dismembered fragment Then it 
knows, that to do wrong that good may come of 
it is striving to cast out Satan by Beelzebub, — 
an effort that must surely faih Then it feels that 
evil is really overcome only by good. How dif- 
ferent will be the reformatory zeal of this state of 
the spirit from ttiat which preceded it. For- 
merly, no sooner was the subject of reform men- 
tioned, than the neck stiffened and the head 
tossed itself backward vnth the excitement ol 
pride and combativenessj while the tongue poured 
forth whatever phrases anger might suggest. 
Now, how different is the attitude and expres- 
don, as with words of gentleness and love it 
strives to draw others to perceive the beauty of 
purity and justiee* Formerly, the whole effort 
of the mind was to compel others to come into 
agreement with itself j now, it strives to win 
them into harmony with God. Once, it believed 
that indignation could be righteous ; nowj it 
knows that anger and heavenly-mindedncBS dwell 
far apart ; and, if tliey approach each other, one 
must perish. 

If we would train Character into genuine good- 
11668, we should observe whether evil in ouiaelves 

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26 THE ELEMENTS OP CHARACTER. 

or others offends us because it is contrary to our 
own ideas, or because it is opposed to the will 
of God. If the former be the case, we shall find 
ourselves angry ; if the latter, we shall be sor- 
rowful. No one can be angry from love to God. 
Anger is in its very nature egotistic and selfish, 
and Jias in it nothing of holiness. Penitence for 
sin is ever meek and humble, and so is regret for 
the sins of others. The moment we find our- 
selves angry, either for our own sins or for 
the sins of others, we may be sure there is 
something wrong in our state, and we should 
stop at once to analyze our feelings, and find 
where the trouble lies. If we do this ^ conscien- 
tiously, we shall be sure to find some selfish or 
worldly passion at the root of the matter. We 
shall find that something ^Ise than love to God 
excited our indignation. 

K we find ourselves indulging, habitually and 
with satisfaction, in any one sin, we may be sure 
that we have not true hatred for any sin ; for sin 
is hateful because it is contrary to the infinite 
wisdom and goodness of God. K we abhor it 
for this reason, we shall abhor all sin ; and if we 
find ourselves hating some sins and loving others, 
we may be sure that we hate those which are re- 
pugnant to our own tastes, and love those which 
are in conformity with them. Thus our measure 
of sin is in ourselves, and not in God ; and we 
are putting ourselves in place of God, — wor- 

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i 



CHARACTER* Sf 

shipping the idol self, instead of our Father in 
heaven. 

The Lord was very explicit in his teachings 
regarding the necessiiy of the denial of self; but 
this is the last thing in which we are willing to 
obey him. We profess to be willing and ea^r 
to do a great deal oi" good ; but when conseience 
tells us that wc rangt do the will of God every 
moment of our lives, wc turn away vnih a fior- 
Towful countenance ; for there are many things 
in which we wish to follow our own wills with- 
out stopping to con^^ult the wOl of God, and we 
wish to believe that w^e can do tliia and yet be 
quite virtuous enough to insure salvation* While 
the natural man is strong within us, we arc ever 
striving to serve God and mammon; but when 
the spiritual man Is born, we are willing to give 
up all elise and follow the Lord. Theiij we feel 
that we cannot be tndy virtuousj because we are 
in some points very scrupulous, wliile in others 
we are very in di fibre nt ; for we perceive that 
goodness is the harmonious development of the 
whole Character into accordance with the will of 
God. 

So long as we labor for ourselves , we shall be at' 
best only special reformersj and cultivators of spe- 
cial virtues ; but when we are ready to deny our- 
selves, and to do the will of God, all sin will be- 
come abhorrent to us, and we shall grow in grace 
daily nntO we become perfected in that symmet- 

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5 



28 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

rical form of man, which is the image and like- 
ness of God ; and every faculty of the heart and 
of the head will then be baptized into the name 
of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy 
Spirit 



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THE HUMAN TRINITY. 



" It Lb this trloltj of man — for maa ta t^e image of hk (kid, In whom 
U th« esseatLal t!rkiltj — UDdec whieh bh whQle chazacter mmA be stodfed-^' 



Man being created in the image and Ukeneas 
of Grod, we must of necessity find in him a 
finite organization corresponding with the infi- 
nite organisation of the Creator. In the Infinite 
Divine Trinity there are the Divine Goodness 
or Love, the Divine Truth or Wisdom, and the 
Divine Operation or the manifestation of the 
other two in and upon the universe ; in other 
words J tJie Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. " In 
the human J finite trinity, we have,<;orresponding 
with these, AflFection, Understanding, and Use, 
or external life. Divinity being the embodiment 
of infinite order, Its parts act in a sequence of 
absolute perfection ; that is, absolute love by 
means of absolute wisdom exhibits itself in ab- 
solute use* Speaking with exactness, the word 
sequence is out of place in this connection, be* 

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30 THE ELEMENTS. OF CHARACTER. 

cause with the Divinity love, wisdon^ and oper- 
ation are simultaneous ; but he has separated 
them in his ultimate manifestations, and we are 
obliged to separate thefn in our analysis, in order 
that they may in any degree come within the 
compass of human comprehension/ 

Man in his jmmeval innocence was a genuine 
image and likeness of the All-perfect Divinity ; 
perfect after the same manner, but on a lower 
plane. There was then no antagonism between 
the creature and the Creator; and the finite 
naturally and joyfully obeyed the infinite; for 
in obedience to the will of the Heavenly Father 
it found sustenance for the soul as manifestly 
as in meat and drink for the body. The prog- 
ress of time saw the creature ttirn firom the love 
of God to the love of self, from seeking the 
truth of Sod to seeking out its own vain ima^- 
nations, and from performing the orderly uses 
of a life of charity to all the disorderly indulgen- 
ces of selfish passion. Instead of worshipping, 
the living God, man now invented idols repre- 
senting his owii evil passions, and bowed before 
them in adoring admiration; for the attributes 
wherewith he clothed them were fitting forces to 
stimulate his progress along the pathway he had 
chosen, where life was made hideous by the 
lowering shadows of rapine and murder. 

The first Church, represented by Adam and 
Eve, is the general type of every Church tiiat has 

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TH£ HUMAN TBINITT. 31 

followed ity tod of every nnregenerate individual 
in those Chmches. Instead of looking to God 
as the source of all wisdom, there is ever the de- 
sire to eat of, or*make otlr own, the fruit of the 
tree of knowledge, tliSit we may know of (ywr^ 
selves good ^09 evil ; and that we may do of 
ourselves what seeAis to us right; jand instead of 
penitence for sin and an endeavor after reforma- 
tion, there is U striving to conceal our tinfaithful- 
ness. The covering assumed by those who, in 
Scripture, stand as the parents of mankind, is 
the perpetual type of the subterfuges we all in- 
vent to hide our disobedience from our God, 
from our neighbors, nay, even from ourselves. 
The primal image and likeness of God has be- 
come so defaced, distorted, and broken, that it is 
often hard to find a remnant still testifying to its 
divine origin. Let us rise up from among these 
shattered fragments, and contemplate for a while 
the means of bringing the poor, fallen human 
nature into harmony with the divine ; — let us 
develop, if we can, a system that may aid us in 
training our faculties, so that the Affections shall 
be pure, the Understanding wise, and Life the 
harmonious exponent of both. 

In the attempt to restore our being to its origi- 
nal symmetry, the intellectual part of the nature 
must not be cultivated at the expense of the 
affectional, nor should the affectional be suffered 
to run riot with the intellectual. Love must be 

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32 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

wise, and wisdom must be affectionate, or life 
will fail of its end. Extiernal morality has no re- 
liable foundation unless it be built on morality 
of thought and affectiorl. Apart from these, it is 
either the result of a happy organization that de- 
mands no disorderly indulgence^ or 'it is the fig- 
leaf gEirment of deceit, put 'on by those who 
strive to seem rather than to be. 

In the just training of Character, if we first 
learn to understand the capacities and relations 
of Affection, Thought, and Life, and look within 
our own natures until we learn to comprehend 
how everything pertaining to our being belongs 
to one. of these departments, we shall better ap- 
preciate the difficulties to be overcome before we 
shall be willing to make everything that we do 
the honest outbirth of everything that we are. 
Pretence and hypocrisy, subterfuge and falsehood, 
will then disappear, and life will become the ad- 
equate expression of symmetrical Character. 

Th^ intellectual part of our being may be bet- 
ter understood if divided into two departments, 
viz. Thought and Imagination, — the subjective 
and the objective. Thought can be lifted up 
into the Affections, and made manifest in Life, 
only through the medium of the Imagination. 
Thought is at first a pure abstraction, a subjec- 
tive idea, — something entirely within the mind, 
and having no relation to conduct, — a seed 
sown but not germinated ; and while it remains 

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THB HUMAN TRnOTT. 33 

thus it has no influence upon the Aifections. If, 
however, it germinate, the next step in its exist- 
ence is to become an objective idea ; and now it 
has lost its abstract quality and become an im- 
age. In its first state it is neither agreeable nor 
disagreeable to the mind, but so soon as it takes 
a distinctive form it becomes either pleasing or 
displeasing, and is either cast away and forgot- 
ten, or retained and expanded by the Affections, 
whose office it is to cause Thought to become a 
vital reality, ready to show itself in the externeJ 
life «o soon as a fitting occasion calls for its 
manifestation. 

Thought is like water. Sometimes it glides 
over the mind as over a bed of rock, neither 
softening nor fertilizing ; but when it is made a 
possible reality by the Imagination, and a vital 
reality by the Afleetions, it is now like a stream, 
flowing through rich farms and gardens, fertiliz- 
ing wherever it comes ; and, again, like Water- 
falls, furnishing power to set ideas in motion, 
that shall give nutriment and warmth to the 
souls of millions. 

The Lord, when he would condense religion 
into its narrowest <5ompass, commands us to love 
the Heavenly Father with the whole heart and 
soul and mind and strength. Can this signify 
anything else thati that Affection, Imagination, 
and Thought, in their whole strength, or brought 
. down into the ultimates of life, must be conse- 
3 

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34 THE ELEMENTS OP CHARACTER. 

crated to the Divine Creator of them all ? So St. 
Paul, xrhen he would sum up the whole Christian 
system in a single phrase, exclaims : '^ Faith, 
Hope, Charity. The greatest of these is Chari- 
ty." Faith here expresses the religion of Thought, 
Hope the religion of the Imagination, and Charr 
ity the religion of the Affections, which is great- 
est of all because it is the vitalization of the 
other two. 

Every act that we voluntarily perform, whether 
good or evil, first entered the mind as an abstract 
Thought ; it was then shaped by the Imagina- 
tion untU it became a definite idea ; next, it was 
claimed as a child by the Affections ^ and lastly, 
it vv-as by the Affections made to come out into 
a Ufteof love or an abuse of hate. 

Many thoughts die in the mind without pass- 
ing through all these stages. We sometimes 
hear a sermon that fiUs our Thoughts as we 
listen, and yet we forget it a;ll as we turn away 
from the church door ; for it went no deeper than 
our Thought^. At another time, what we hear 
goes with us to our homes, haunts us through 
the week, and perhaps is made a standard 
whereby to measure the virtues or the vices of 
our neighbors ; possibly even we try ourselves by 
its rule, and our consciences are roused to^pierce 
us with the shai-p pang of remorse. All this, 
however, brings no change over our lives. Here 
Thought has passed into Imagination, has be- 

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THE HUMAN TRINITY. 35 

come a reality to the mind ; but as yet the Affec- 
tions do i^ot warm towards it, and so it dies in 
the second stage of existence. Yet again we 
listen to the voice of the preacher, and his words 
abide in the soul untU they quicken our Affec- 
tions, and as we muse the fire burns. Then 
are our eyes 'lightened to perceive how all that 
we have heard may become realized in life ; and, 
warmed by the heavenly flanle that has de- 
scended upon our altar, our souls kindle with 
charity, and we go forth to realize the hope that 
is within lis in works of angelic use. 

This process of the mind is not confined to the 
religious part of our being. It goes on perpetu- 
ally in our intellectual, no less than our moral 
nature. Our success in using whatever we learn 
in every department, the wisdom or the folly of 
everything we do, whether relating to intellectual, 
to religious, or to practical life, depends on the 
faithfulness with which we apply these three 
powers to whatever is presented to them. 

Look in among the assembled members of a 
school, of any grade from primary to collegiate, 
and you will see one set of pupils with stolid 
faces conning their tasks, as if they were indeed 
tasks in the hardest sense of the term, and then 
reciting them word for word, in a monotonous 
tone, as if their voices came from automata, and 
not from living throats. These are they who 
study only with their Thoughts, and whose Im- 

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36 THE ELEMENTS OP CHARACTER. 

aginations and Affections are untouched by 
all that passes through their minds. Scattered 
among the preceding another class may be found, 
with quickly glancing eyes, who seem all alive to 
everything they study, who recite with earnest 
tones, and whose faces are bright with expres- 
sion. Here the Imagination is at work, and 
everything the mind seizes upon stands there at 
once a living picture. These are the brilliant 
scholars, who carry off all the prizes, and win all 
admiration. There is still a third class, of a 
calmer aspect. Its members may not shine so 
brightly, but there is more warmth in their rays. 
They will not learn so much nor so rapidly as 
those of the second class, but their whole being is 
permeated by what they know. They are con- 
stantly studying the relations of the things that 
they learn to each other and to life ; and are en- 
deavoring to form themselves in accordance with 
the rationality they thus acquire ; for their Affec- 
tions have fastened themselves upon it, and it is 
therefore becoming a part of their being. 

When these three classes of pupils become 
men and women, and go forth into the various 
walks of life, the first, if they attempt any handi- 
craft, are the botchers and bunglers, who bring 
little more than their hands to anything that they 
do ; and who, therefore, do nothing well. They 
are the dead weights of society, that must be 
helped through life by their more active neigh- 

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THE HUMAN TRINITY. 37 

bors. If they are scholars, they are collectors of 
facts, which they pile up in their memories as a 
miser heaps his gold, for no end but the pleasure 
of heaping. They make physicians without 
resource, lawyers without discernment, preach- 
ers who dole out divinity in its baldest and 
heaviest forms. 

Those of the second class are always better in 
theory than in practice ; for with them zeal ever 
runs before knowledge. They will delight in 
telling how a thing should be done, but will find 
it very difficult to do it themselves. A black- 
smith of this class will tell with great exactness 
how a horse should be shod, but if trusted to 
perform that office, ten to one the poor anhnal 
will go limping from his hands. So a carpenter 
of the same class will be full of plans and fancies 
that he will wish to carry out for the benefit of 
his employers ; but his work, when completed, 
though perhaps elegant and ornamental, will 
probably be inappropriate in appearance, and not 
adapted to the use for which it was intended. 
From this class come inventors of machines that 
are never heard of after they get into the patent- 
office, schemers and speculators ¥rtiose plans end 
in ruin, boon companions, brilliant talkers, spark- 
ling orators, elegant and ornate poets who sing 
blithely for their own day and generation, preach- 
ers and statesmen who are ever led away by 
Utopian and millennial dreams ; in short, men 

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38 THE ELEMENTS OP CHARACTER. 

who may shine while they live, but are seldom 
remembered when they die. 

The third class are men of mark, in whatever 
walk of life they are found ; — men to be relied 
upon for whatever they may undertake. They 
are men who can produce in Life what their 
Understandings know and imagine ; or, rather, 
who know how to select from their stores of 
Thought and Imagination whatever may be 
realized in -Life. If they are mechanics, their 
work is the best of its kind, and precisely adapt- 
ed to the use for which it was intended ; if they 
are machinists, their inventions ar^ those that 
ameliorate the condition of society ; if merchants 
or speculators, they do not run after bubbles; 
if devoted to intellectual pursuits, they are di- 
vines whose thoughts thrill the souls of men for 
centuries, founders of new schools of philosophy, 
lawgivers and statesmen who are remembered 
with gratitude as the fathers of nations, poets 
whose words are destined to live so long as the 
language in which they write is spoken, — nay, 
who shall cause their language to be studied 
ages after all who spoke it have passed from the 
face of the earth. 

The women who belong to these several classes 
are characterized in like manner, though th6ir 
more retired lives prevent them from displaying 
their traits so conspicuously. Those of the first 
class are dress-makers whose work never fits, mil- 

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THE HUMAN TRINITY. 39 

liners whose bonnets look as if they were not 
intended for the wearers, servants who do nothing 
rightly unless the eye of their mistress is npon 
them, teachers whose pupils are taught as if they 
were beings withqiit life or reason ; and in their 
highest relations as wives and mothers, they are 
those with whom nothing goes as it should, 
whose daily lives are but a succession of mis- 
takes and catastrophes, whose husbands never 
find a comfortable home to which they may re- 
turn for repose after a day of toil, whose children 
are " dragged up, not brought up." 

In the second class are servants who have a 
quick perception of what is to be done, and who 
make all that is directly apparent to the eye look 
well, but a closer observation shows many an 
unswept corner and neglected duty ; dress-makers 
and milliners whose work is ornamental, tasteful, 
and breaming, though the ornamentation is apt 
to be too great for the value of the material, and 
the w6rk will now and then come in pieces for 
lack of being thoroughly finished ; teacherd who 
infuse brightness and quickness into their schol- 
ars, but whose instructions are more showy than 
solid. In their housekeeping they understand 
" putting the best foot foremost," and making a 
great deal of. ornament where there may be but 
little of anything else ; but they lack the prac- 
tical skill that makes a housekeeper successful 
in the essentials that constitute comfort. They 

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40 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

will seek to make their children accomplished 
ladies and gentlemen, who will be agreeable in 
society, rather than well-trained men and women, 
capable of meeting the duties and emergencies 
of life. 

The third class of women are the reliable ones, 
wherever they may be found. They do every- 
thing they attempt well, because there is a sense 
of fitness and propriety in them which is dis- 
turbed by things badly done, and which gives 
them aii almost intuitive faith, that, if a thing is 
worth doing at all, it is worth doing well. They 
are not eyeservants, but faithful in all things. 
Thoroughness pervades whatever they do, in all 
departments of life. They are not satisfied with 
making a dress or a bonnet that is becoming, un- 
less it is well finished and appropriate. They 
are the thorough teachers who are willing to 
have their schools examined every day in the year, 
who seek to know the capacities of their pupils, 
and to educate them accordingly. They are the 
mothers whose children are obedient and trained 
for the uses of life no less than for its pleasures ; 
the wives whose husbands are happy in their 
homes if they are capable of being happy any- 
where. 

"When we contemplate these three classes of 
human beings, we perceive that only one of 
them can be said to lead successful lives. Two 
daises, and both of them painfully numerous, 



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THE fiUMAN TRINITY. 41 

fail. The question rises to the mind with fearful 
solemnity, were they created for this end, — cre- 
ated to fail ? Can we for a single moment be- 
lieve that a Father of infinite justice and mercy 
ever created one individiial among his children, 
an accountable being, neither insane nor idiotic, 
and yet so imperfect that he must fail ? Surely it 
were blasphemy to hold such an act possible. 
Infinitely varipus are the works of his hand in 
the forms of humanity, as in every other depart- 
ment of the universe, but even so manifold are 
the varieties and degrees of service which he pre- 
pares for every one to do. There is a place and 
a use for every one, and whoever fails of finding 
a place and a use fails, not because he was cre- 
ated incompetent, but because he refuses to 
cultivate the powers wherewith he is endowed. 
Indolence and selfishness, the moth and rust of 
Character, are corroding and devouring the deli- 
cate organization of the internal man, which can 
retain the wholeness and brightness of its powers 
only by constant use. We are weak and useless, 
not because we were created to be so, but be- 
cause we do not listen to the voice of conscience 
when it tells us to serve the Lord with all our 
strength, in the very place where we now are, 
and at the very time that now is. It is not be- 
cause the power of growth is not in them that 
our talents do not multiply, but because we fold 
them in a napkin of indifference, and bury then^ 

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42 THE ELEIIIEKTS OF CHARACTER. 

in the earth of our lower nature. Understand- 
ing and Affection are within us all, and if they 
do not develop into a life of use, into a Char- 
acter that will fit us for heaven, — and this is 
what we should always keep before our minds as 
the only genuine success, — it is because we have 
not striven as we might and ought.. 

Understanding and Affection are within us aU, 
differing not in kind, but only in degree ; and they 
are constantly at work, involuntarily if we do ngt 
voluntarily, assume their <5ontrol. In the little 
child they work as involuntarily as the heart 
beats and tiie lungs respfre ; biit so soon as the 
:^hild is old enougli to begin to know the differ- 
snce between right and wrong, the action of 
these powers should begin to be voluntary ; 
should begin to be under the guidance of con- 
science. 

Some persons call these powers into volun- 
tary action from motives of mere worldly wis- 
dom. Every one does so who places some ob- 
ject before himselfj and cultivates his powers 
with a special view to attain perfection therein. 
The pickpocket, the gambler, the housebreaker, 
must do it before they can attain skill in their 
depravity. The worldling does it who follows 
an honorable profession with all his heart and 
soul and mind and strength, seeking only such 
rewards as Mammon bestows upon his vota- 
ries. Whether all these are to be successful in 

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THE HUMAN TRINITY. 43 

attaining the rewards they seek, is a matter of 
entire uncertainty; for Providence permits or 
withholds worldly success in a way that we can- 
not anticipate, nor but imperfectly understand. 
We may bear the heavy yoke of Mammon until 
it wear into the very marrow of our bones, and yet 
gain nothing but poverty and disgrace. They, 
however, who by a voluntary action of the powers 
endeavor to become perfected in the stature of 
Christian men and women, — who seek first the 
kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, using 
all things of this world only as rounds of that 
ladder whose summit is in the heavens, even 
while its base rests upon the cartli, — are sure of 
the reward they seek; and the yoke that they 
bear will grow more light and easy with each 
revolving year. 

There are many persons who seem to belong 
by turns to each of the three great classes that 
have been described. These exercise their powers 
involuntarily. They cannot be depended upon, 
for they are not balanced Characters. If they 
happen to like what they are doing, or happen to 
feel in the mood of doing it, they will do it Well ; 
otherwise, they do not care how badly their work 
is performed, if it only can be got through with. 
They have ^lot waked to the consciousness that 
we have . no right to do anything badly, because 
whenever we do so we imjMir our own faculties, 
and thereby diminish our powers of usefulness ; 

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44 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

while, if the act concern any one beside our- 
selves, — as almost all acts do,: — we are wrong- 
ing our neighbor. 

Many persons are. so fortunate, women espe- 
cially almost always so, as to have enough em- 
ployment placed before them by the circumstan- 
ces of their position, without any effort of choice 
on their part, to occupy their time, and to train 
their faculties. Those who are not thus set to 
work by circumstance should b^ governed in the 
selection of their employment by their own in- 
clination and talent^. What we love to do we 
can iearn to do well, and our work will then be 
agreeable to us. Many persons are governed 
in the choice of employment for themselves or 
for their children more by a consideration for 
what is honorable in the eyes of the world than 
by talent or taste. Thence it often results that 
persons fail ever to fulfil the duties they have 
chosen in a way to be satisfactory tp any one 
beside themselves, perhaps not even to them- 
selves. K they have sufficient force of Character 
to do well in spite of not doing what they like, 
they are still never so happy as they would have 
been had inclination been consulted. Where the 
heart is really in the employment, work is hot a 
burden, but a natural and pleasant exercise of 
the powers ; and it becomes comparatively easy 
to serve the Lord with 'all the strength. 

Those who are not constrained to work^ should 

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TBE HUMAN TKINITT. 45 

remember that a life of idleness cannot be a life 
of innocence ; for the idle cannot serve the Lord. 
A life that does not cultivate one's own capaci- 
ties, and aid either in supplying the wants or cul- 
tivating, the capacities of some one beside self, is 
no preparation for heaven ; for the heavenly life 
is one of perpetual advance, because of untiring, 
use. 

There is no station in life where there is not a 
constant demand for the exercise of charity. We 
cannot be in company an hour with ?iny person 
without some such demand presenting itself to 
us. The daily intercourse of life places it con- 
stantly in our power to make some person more 
or less happy than he now is, and accordingly 
as we may choose between these two modes 
of action we are fulfilling or setting aside the 
law of charity. 

No class of human beings b^ara a more heavy 
weight of responsibility than that which is placed 
beyond the necessity of effort ; and there is none 
whose position has a stronger tendency to blind 
it to the calls of duty. Although every gift be- 
stowed upon us by Providence, whether of mind, 
body, or estate, is but another talent, for the em- 
ployment of wjhich we must be one day called to 
account, yet these added talents too often ex- 
cite in us a feeling of superiority which induces 
us to demand that others should minister to us, 
and causes us to forget that he who would be 

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46 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

greatesit must be so by doing more and greater 
services than others, and not by receiving them. 

Persons whose position places them beyond 
the need of effort, would do well to select some 
special study or employment to occupy and de- 
velop their mental life, and save them from the 
ihanity, ennui, and selfishness that are sure to 
follow in the footsteps of idleness. Poverty of 
mind is rendered all the more prominent and dis- 
gusting if accompanied by external wealth ; and 
to such a mind wealth is but a means to folly, if 
to nothing worse. 

Neither wealth nor poverty, neither strength 
nor weakness, neither genius nor the want of 
it, neither ten talents nor one, can excuse any 
human being from training his faculties in a way 
to develop them to the utmost, and forming 
them into a symmetrical whole, the type of a 
true humanity. 



In the following essays it may seem to the 
reader that there is contradiction in treating each 
power of the mind as though its perfect training 
resulted in the upbuilding of a perfect Character' ; 
but the union between these capacities is so inti- 
mate that one cannot be rightly trained unless all 
the others are trained at the same time. We 
cannot think wisely unless we imagine truly, 

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THE HUMAN TRINITY. 47 

and love rightly, as well as warmly. We cannot 
love rightly unless we think justly, and imagine 
purely ; nor can we imagine purely unless we 
love that which is pure. We cannot do all this 
unless we live out what we think, imagine, and 
love ; for the inner life always acts narrowly and 
superficially unless it be widened and deepened 
by an efficient external life. What we do must 
follow closely in the footsteps of what we know, 
if we would arrive at breadth and depth of knowl- 
edge. So fast as we put in practice what we 
know, we shall be able to receive more knowl- 
edge. We are told by the Lord that our knowl- 
edge of truth shall be enlarged in proportion as 
we are obedient to the Divine will. " K any man 
will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine." 
The Divine attributes act simultaneously and 
equally always and everywhere, while the triune 
manifestation is a merciful adaptation of these 
attributes to the comprehension of fallen human- 
ity. " Were humanity truly regenerate, the action 
of its capacities would be simultaneous and homo- 
geneous. Even in its present state these capa- 
cities are so interlaced that one cannot act strong- 
ly without inducing some action in the others ; 
just as in the physical frame the brain, the heart, 
and the lungs can no one of them act unless all 
act in some degree; while in perfect health all 
act in the fulness of perfect harmony, no one or- 
gan rendering itself prominent by being more 

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48 THE ELEMENTS OP CHABACTER. 

full of vitality and activity than another. Dis- 
ease alone renders us conscious of the action of 
any one vital organ, and our moral diseases 
having destroyed the harmonious action of our 
moral powers, thereby Trendering it impossible 
for us to appreciate the Divinity in the full har- 
mony of unity, we have been mercifully permitted 
to attain to such knowledge as is possible to us 
through manifestations of the Divine attributes in 
trinity. In proportion as our faculties are trained 
to act in harmony we shall become unconscious 
of their separate functions ; and in the same pro- 
portion we shall become capable of looking upon 
the Divinity in the majesty of personal unity, 
rather than in the separation of the trinity. 



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THOUetHT. 



" It is tlM grahdeor of all tealh w^cli can oocopy a^reiy hS^h place In^iiiman 
intorasts, tiiat it is nerer abiolateiy rtorei to the meanest (tf miikls : it ^dsls 
•temally by way of germ or latent principle in the lowest as in the highest, 
needing to be dereloped, but neyer to be planted." *^I>i Qunrcxt. . 



Many p6rsops. seem txi suppose that the power 
of Thought, or at least the power of thinking to 
any purpose^ is a- natural gift, possessed by few, 
and unattainable by the many. This idea is a 
very petbicious error, for one of the traits by 
which the human being is distinguished from the 
brute is the ppssessibji of this power; and the 
progress that every, human b^ing may make in 
learning to think well has no limit but the uni- 
versal one of finite capacity. ^ 

The distinction made between thoughtful and 
thoughtless persons is^ commonly one of intellect 
alone ; it should be quite as much one of moral- 
ity. Considered intellectually, a thoughtless per- 
son cannot be successful in any but the very 
Idwest walks of life. He brings nothiilg but ' is 
4 

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50 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER 

hands to what he does. If these bet sti-ong, he 
may dig, perhaps, as well as another man, but he 
can never jnake a good farmer ; he may use the 
axe or the hammer to good purpose, but he can 
never becotne a master-workman. If ha attempt 
anything more or higher than what his hands 
can do under the guidance of jahother's brain, his 
effort is sure to be followed' by confusion and 
failure. Viewing a thoughtless person in a moral 
light, hetiannot be religious, he cannot be virtu? 
ous, and, unless by accidpnt, he cannot even be 
externally moral. He may, perhaps, perceive 
that the grosser forms of wickedness are to be 
avoided, but he can have no -comprehension of 
the danger involved in the little vices of every- 
day life; and c5annot understand how every oi^ 
of these vices, small as it may seem, contains 
within itself the germ of some one of those great 
and shocking sins forbidden i^ the cotnmand- 
ments. He will, therefore, without compunction, 
go on committing these small sins until-the habit 
of evil becomes so fixed, that, if he does not end 
by committing great ones, it is more frequently 
from lack of temptation than firom any worthier 
reason. ^ 

The thoughtless person can never be depended 
upon for anything. We never know where to 
find him, or what he will dp in any particular 
position or relation of life. All we can antici- 
pate of him is, that he will probably do some- 
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THOUGHT. 51 

thing b^d, or silly, or improper; accordingly as the 
act may'ljear upon morality, sense, or manners. 

Before going further, let it be understood that 
a thoughtless person is not one without Thought. 
A human being without Thought is an impossi- 
biRty. Most, if not all^ idiots think.- It is the 
lack of coherency, purpose, and effort in Thought 
that induces the habit of mind commonly known 
as thoughtlessness. Without Thought, Imagina- 
tion, and Aflfection, one could riot be a liuman 
being. .Mankind differ frojn each other, not in 
kind, but in degree. It is the lov^ degree of ac- 
tivity in eithet of these great divisions of the 
human mind that causes one to aeem thought- 
less, unimaginative, or without affection. The 
end of all training should be to develop each one 
of these facilities so that it shall co-operate with 
the others, and all as fully as possible. A j^st 
balance of power is the first requisite, and con- 
stant increase of it the second; just as in the 
physical frame we ask, first, for just proportion, 
and, as the product of this, for strength. 

It is often said that no kind of sense is so rare 
as commt>n sense; and this is iiue, simply be- 
cause common sense is attainable by all far more, 
and is a natural gift far less, than roost other 
traits of character. Common sense is the appli- 
cation of Thought to common things, and it 
is rare because most persons "will not exercise 
Thought about common things. If some im- 

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52 TAB ELEHEirrS OF CHARACTCR. 

portant aflair oocurs, people lay then to think^ 
but to vety little purpose; because, not having 
exercised their powers Qif small things, their 
powers lack the development necessary for great 
on^s. Hence, thoughtless people, when forced to 
act in an affair of importance, blunder through it 
with no more chance of doing as they should, 
than one would have of hinting a small or distant 
mark at a shooting-match, if previous practice 
had uot given the power of hitting objects that 
are large and near. 

The thoughtless person perpetually acts and 
speaks as if it were o£ no consequence what is 
said or done. If any one venture to suggest a 
different mode of speech or action, the reply is 
pretty sure to be, " Q, it is of no <;onsequence ! " 
As if an immortal being, to .whom a few short 
years of probation had been given, the use pr 
abuse of which must give character to an eter- 
nity to come, could do or say what would have 
no consequence ! Let any one bring distinctly 
before himself the great truth that we stand ever 
in the presence^ of the Almighty, stewards of his 
bounty, children of his Ipve, iand could it be pos- 
sible for him to believe that it is of no .conse- 
quence how that love is returned, and how that 
bounty is used ? Ev6ry wprd, every act of our 
lives, is either a use or an abuse of his bounty, a 
showing forth either of our love for or our indif- 
ference to him. Therefore, every word and act 

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THOUGHT- 58 

has a cQDsequence, ended not with the hour or 
day, but stretching forward into eternity. Let 
this truth be admitted to the mind, and who 
could dare to be thoughtless. Who wouM riot 
wish to return the infinite love poured out upon 
usy by consecrating all that we ha:ve and all that 
we are to the service of the Infinite Father? 
When this consecration takes place, all pure 
aspirations fill the heart, while the mind is ever 
thinking wliat is the best way in which the will 
of the Lord may be done. Thoughtlessness has 
no longer an abiding-place, for the mind now 
perceives that it must be about its Father's busi- 
ness, and Thpught becomes a delightful and in- 
vigorating exercise, instead of the wearisome 
effort it seemed before. 

K the mind hold to its* integrity, without re- 
lapsing into its former state of blind indifference 
to its high vocation, the cultivation of the power 
of Thought will go on steadily and surely, and 
the mind will become constantly more and more 
clarified from all folly and silliness. 

When a person brings everything habitually to 
the standard of right and wrong, he gradually 
learns to judge wisely of whatever subject he 
may hold under consideration, provided he does 
not seek for that standard in his own mind, but 
in the mind of the Lord, as he has given it to us 
in the Wprd of eternal life. When this stand- 
ard is sought only in the human mind, nothing 

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54 THE ELEMENTS OF. CHARACTER. 

is fixed or permanent, and discord abounds iii so- 
ciety much as it would if the length and breadth 
of the fingers of each individual were ta be sub- 
stituted for the standard inch and foot of the 
nation ; but if the Bible be honestly and humbly 
received as the standard by;, which to judg^ of 
right and wrongs mankind would ever abide in 
brotherly love and harmonious union. The ele- 
ment of discord is not in God's work, but in the 
mind of man ; and m^ becomes truly wise and 
capable of concord only^ so far as, forgetting the 
' device^ of his own underst^,nding, he becomes a 
recipient of the truth that descends to him firom 
on high. 

It may be objected that the Bible has b^en 
the fruitful source of contention and war; and 
some may suppose it cannot therefore be a stand- 
ard of union to the world; but it should be re- 
membered, tl?at, when it has become a cause of 
dissension, it has been by the. pervasion of man, 
who has separated doctrine from life, — has put 
asunder that which God joined. No. contention 
has ever risen^ in the world regarding religious 
life, but many and terrible ones regarding re- 
ligious doctrine separated firom life; and it is 
perfectly apparent, that, had those who were en- 
gaged in them looked to religious life with the 
same earnestness they did toward doctrine, all 
these dissensions must have ceased. Christian 
life is, as it were, a building, of which faith is the 

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TSOUGHT, 55 

foundation. The foundation is subservient to 
the superstrueture, anjj should be strong and 
well laid;/ but has no value excepting as it is the 
support of a worthy, btdlding. The Lord is very 
explicit in aU his teachings on the subject of life, 
and it is* h«M(dly possible that any oUe could 
faithfully study his words, and then exalt abstract 
doctrine into the place that belongs of right to 
Christian life, . ' > 

Whoever studies the direct teachings of the 
LcMrd, recorded by the Evangelists, and makes 
them the rules erf his Thoughts, must necessarily 
be wise. Everything connected with daily life, 
if his mind be really permeated with these teach- 
ings, takes its proper place beforp him. He sees 
what has a transient, and what a permanent 
value, — what is merely temporal, and what eter- 
nal ; and so learns to appreciate the relative value 
of all things. Everything that occurs becomes 
a subject for his thoughts to work upon, and 
while working in heavenly Ught his mind grows 
in .wisdom day by day. Thi& action of Thought 
will not be confined to events as they occur 
around him, but whatever is read, all the events 
of the past, all art and sdence, are brought under 
the same analysis. The thoughtless person reads 
merely for tiie amusement of the moment, re- 
members little of what he reads, and that little 
to no purpose^ A fact is, to such a man, a mere 
fact standing by itself, and having no relation to 

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56 THE ELEMENTS OF CHABACTEB. 

anything else. Howerer much he may read, the 
thoughtless man can never be instructed. He is 
of those who, seeing, perceive not, and who, 
hearing, do not understand. The thoughtful 
person, on the contrary, reads everything with a 
purpose. His mind works upon what he reads, 
and he is instructed and made intelligent, even 
though he may see only with the light of this 
world. His intelligence will, however, be very 
different and very inferior in degree to that of the 
man who looks at objects iii the light of heaven. 
He will measure things by an uncertaiin, varying 
standard, and will appreciate things only accord- 
ing to their tenpipbrgLl value. He will, therefore, 
never become truly wise. With those whose 
minds are nurtured by the words of the Lord, 
everything is judged by the standard of eternal 
truth. Whatever is learned is digested by the 
thoughts, and so the powers of the mind are 
strengthened and enlarged. Thus the mind be- 
comes constantly more and more wise. The 
merely intellectual man has the desire to become 
wise, but his eye is not single, and therefore his 
mind is obscured by many clouds,-^ the dark ex- 
halations of worldliness. When «. man fixes his 
eye upon the Lord he is filled with light, and 
sees with a clearness of vision such as can be 
gained from no other source. 

The cultivation of Thought lies at the root of 
all intellectuality, while it elevates and enlarges 

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THOUGHT. 57 

the sphere of the Affections. Affection is above 
Thought, but it is sustained and invigorated by- 
its influence. Thought being the foundation 
upon which Affectidn is built, the strength, per- . 
manence and reliability of Affection must depend 
on the solidity and. justice of the underlying 
Thought. 

The mind may be stored with the most varied 
and extensive knowledge, and yet be neither im- 
proved nor adorned thereby. . Robert Hall once 
remarked of an acquaintance, that he had piled 
such an amount of learning upon his brain, it 
could not move under the weight. It is little 
matter whether the amount of learning be large 
or small ; tiie brain is only encumbered by it, un- 
less it has taten it into its o^^ texture, and made 
it by Thought a part of itself. Some p^sons 
love facts as a miser loves gold, merely because 
they are possessions; but without any desire to 
make use of them. A fact or thought is just as 
valuaUe in itself as a piece of money. , Gold and 
silver are neither food,, nor raiment, nor shelter ; 
but we value them because through their means 
we can obtain all these. So facts and thoughts 
are neither rationality, nor wisdom, nor virtue, 
and their value lies in their being mediums 
whereby we may obtain them all. 

Undigested learning is as useless and oppres- 
sive as undigested food ; and as in the dyspeptic 
patient the appetite for food often grows with the 

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, 58 THE ELEMENTS OF GHABAQTEB. 

inability to digest it, so in the unthinking patient 
an overweening desire to know often accom- 
panies the inability to know to any purpose. 
Thought is to the brain what gastric juice is to 
the stomach,— a solvent to reduce whatever is re- 
ceived to a condition in which all iJiat is whole- 
some and nutritive may be appropriated, and that 
alone. To learn merely for the sake of learn- 
ing, is li||e eating merely for the taste of the 
food. The mind will wax fat and unwieldy, like 
the bofly of^ the gormand. The- stomach is to 
the frame what memory is to the mind ; and it 
is as unwise to cultivate the memory at the ex- 
pense of the mind, as it would be to enlarge the 
jcapacity of the stomach by eating more food 
than the wants of the frame require, or food of a 
quality that it could not appropriate. To learn 
in order to become wise makes the mind active 
and powerful, like the body of one who is tena- 
perate and judicious in meat and drink. ' Learn- 
ing is healthfully digested by the mind when it 
reflects upon what is learned, classifies and 
arranges facts and circumstances, considers the 
relations of one to another, and places what is 
taken into the mind at different times, in relation 
to the same subjects under their apprx)priate 
heads, so that the various stores are not hetero- 
geneously- piled up, but laid away in order, and 
may be referred to with ease when wanted. If a. 
person's daily employments are such as demand 

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TH0I7GHT. 59 

a constant exercise of the thoughts, all the leisure 
should not be devoted to reading, but a part re- 
served for reflecting upon and arranging in the ^ 
mind what is relad. The manner of reading ^S 
much more important than the quantity. To 
hurry through maay books, retaining only a con- 
fused knowledge of their contents, is but a poor 
exercise of the brain ; it is far better to read with 
care a few well-selected volumes. 

There^is a strong tendency towards superficial 
culture at the present day^ which is the Natural 
resuit of the immense amount of bo6ks and peri- 
odicals constantly pouring from th'e press, and 
tempting readers to dip a little into almost 
everything, and to study nothing. Much is said . 
of the pernicious consequences arising from lec- 
tures and periodicals, as though a short account 
of anything must of necessity be a superficial 
one ; but this is far from the truth. * A quarto 
volume on one theme may be entirely super- 
ficial, while a lecture or review-article on the 
same theme may contain the whole gist of the 
matter. Prolixity is oftener superficial than brev- 
ity. Books are superficial if they relate only to 
the outside of a subject, — if they describe only 
its husk ; and ttie reverse, if they give its k^neL 
Many an able review-article contains the kernel 
of a whole volume, and if the pleased Reader of 
the review goes to the book itself, expecting to 
enjoy that in a degree proportionate to its sizes 

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■f 



60 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER* 

be will often find he has got nothing but a (fry 
husk for his pains. 

. Those who have little time for books, but who 
^sh really to know many ^hings, can accomplish 
a great deal by being careful to hunt for meats 
rather than for shells and husks; for though the 
outsides of things make, a great «how, and can 
be displayed by the pedant to great advantage 
before those who are superficial as^ himself, they 
contain no healthful nutriment for the mind. 
Take,.for instance, thfe study of botany. Let a 
person master the whole vocabulary of the sci- 
ence, and know the anraligement of its classifica- 
tions so well that he can turn at once to the de- 
scription of any plant be may find. Let him do 
this until, like King Solomon, he knows every 
plant by name, from the " hyssop on the wall to 
the cedar of Lebanon ". ; but if at the same time he 
knows nothing more about them than the name, 
his knowledge of botany is entirely superficial, 
though he may have spent a vast deal of time 
and labor in its acquisition. "Let another person 
have studied the physiology o/ plants till he has 
learned all that has yet been discovered of their 
curious and beautiful structure, — 'till he appre- 
ciates as far as mortals may the Divine wisdom, 
that even in the formation of a blade of grass 
transcends not only all that man with all his 
pride of science and mechanical skill can per- 
form, but gofes far— we cannot even guess how 

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THOUGHT. 61 

far — beyond all that human intellect can com- 
prehend ; and still more if the mind of this stu- 
dent be lifted upward in adoration as he learns, 
he is the true botanist, though he may have 
studied far less, if we count by time, than his 
superficial brother. 

So it is with all the sciences. The kernel is 
what nourishes the mind, — the knowledge of 
what God has credited, and not the mere power 
of repeating the classifications and vocabularies 
that man has invented to describe these* crea- 
tions: not that these also have not an eminent 
use; but still it is one that should always be 
esteemed secondary in all our studies. 

So, too, it is with history. One may have all 
the important dates, name^, and facts of the 
world's history at the^ tongue's end, and yet be 
Hone the wiser ; for such* knowledge is but the 
surface of history. To know history well, is to 
have so arranged its facts in the mind that it 
may be contemplated as a continuous exhibition 
of Good's providence. It is to study the succes- 
sion of events, not as separate units, but as links 
of one vast chain, on every one of which is in- 
scfibed a phrase discoursing of the progress of 
the human race, and showing the growth of man 
in the complex, from infancy to adolescence. 
Further than that we can hardly venture to be- 
lieve the race has yet advanced. Thus studied, 
history is the noblest of all sciences, since it 

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62 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

treats of the highest of God's creations ; but 
studied as a mere cpngeries of facts, all sciences 
are alike Worthless ; and fi^om the modsings of 
the mere antiquarian to the dredgings of the 
student of the shelly coverings of the Mollusca, 
all end in naught. 

When a person's employment is one that does 
not require; a constant exercise of the thoughts, 
there is the greater need of a constant supply of 
nutritious food for the mind, that it may be 
growing all the time by reflection, and thus be 
saved from falling into a morbid' state, such as 
too often results from long confinement to an 
occuf)ation demanding little exertion of its pow- 
ers. The farmer at his jplough, the mechanic at 
his bench,* the seamstress at her needle, and a 
^st of others, too oftefi suffer the thoughts to 
wander into realms of morbid egotism and dis- 
:pontent, when, if they would turn them upon 
moral or intellectual themes, they might be grow- 
ing wiser and better ev^ry day. 

It mwy b^ objected, that those who are obliged 
to Work hard througff the whole week cannot, on 
the Sabbath, take enough intellectual food to last 
them for Thought during the week.* Every per- 
son can, if he will, find time for a clia.pter in the 
Bibles very day,t,nd therein lies wisdom, <that all 
humanity combined can never exhaust, and which 
ever opens richer stores the more it is wrought 
upon. Then the human race are everywhere 

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THOUGHT. 63 

around us, and every individual is a volume to be 
read. We are vexed, and perhaps tormented, by ^ 
the vices or foibles of those with whom we are 
thrown in contact. Let us not stop in vexation, 
but study our own hearts, and see if there is not 
some kindred vice or foible in ourselves that per- 
haps troubles our friends ^jiiite as much as this 
disturbs us ; for it is often the case that our own 
vices, when we meet them in others, are precise- 
ly those which irritate us most; and we are 
almost always more irritable through our vices 
than through bur virtues. Again, we find per- 
sons exciting our admiration through their vir- 
tues. Let us not stop in cold admiration, but 
reflect how' we ihay engraft similar virtues upon 
our own souls. It is deep and earnest Thought 
alone that can teach us to know ourselves, aiwi 
without this knowledge we are-in 'constant dan- 
ger of cherishing repulsive vices such as we 
should abhor in others,' and of neglecting the 
culture of virtues such as in others^ we esteem 
indispensable. Society at large, too, is'*around 
us, and domestic circlee, with all' their comple* 
relations, theur jarring discords, or their heavenly 
harmonies ; and all are full of food for 'Jhought. * 
The true and thfe false, the right and the wrong, 
are everywhere, and the highest wisdom is to be 
able to distinguish one fr6m the other. He who 
has spent his whole life in intellectual pursuits 
may, in -this greatest wisdom, — the only wisdom 

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64 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTEB. 

that belongs to. eternity equally with time,— 
l^e the veriest fool; while he who has patiently 
and prayerfully and obediently studied no book 
but the Bible may be so taught of God that he 
shall possess all that 'man while on earth can 
possess of this highest wisdom. 

It is beautifi^lly said by Williaijci von Huna- 
boldt, that " exactly those joyful truths which 
are thp most needful to man — the holiest and 
the- greatest — -lie open to the. simplest, plsunest 
mind ; nay^ are not unfrequently better, and even 
more entirely grasped by such a one, than by 
him whosei greater Joiowledge more dissipate* 
his thoughts. These truths, too, have this pecu- 
liarity, that although they want no profound re- 
search te glttain to them, but rather make their 
own way in the mind, there is always something 
new to bfe found ia thenr,' because they are in 
themselves inexhaustible and endless." 

While *the Bible is left tons, while human be- 
ings surround us, while our own souls are to be 
cleansed, renewed, and saved, we miserably de- 
ceive ourselves if w€ think we lack, material for 
Thought. We are thihkiu g perpetually ,^ whether 
we wUl or no, and let lis lopk to it that we think 
•to some good purpose. Hpw much Thought is 
worse than wasted in planning how wealth, 
which too often profiteth not, may be acquired, 
while the true riches that the Lord is ever offer- 
ing for our acceptance are forgotten 1 How^often 

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THOtTGHT. 65 

are the Thoughts poisoned with envying the 
lands of one's neighbor, while one's own soul id 
lying an uncultivated waste. . How often is the 
mind cankered with vexation at the intellectual 
achievements of an old schoolmate, whom in 
school days we never deemed wiser than our- 
selves, when all that has wrought the^ present 
difference between us is, that he thought and 
strove while we dreamied and loitered. 

In its purely religious action. Thought is the 
fountain of that Faith which forms the base of 
St Paul's trinity o^ the primal elements of Char- 
acter, — the fouadation upon wtiich hope and 
charity are to b^ elevated. How important, then, 
is it that the foundation should be wisely laid! 
Many^j)ers6ns tliink much in relation to religious 
subjects from the love of metaphysical reasoning; 
while their lives are not influenced by the doc- 
trines they profess. This is an abuse jof Thought, 
and one of its fruits is bigotry. The more 
strongly a man confirms himself in any doctrine 
that he does not apply to life, the more elevated 
he becomes in his own estimation, — the more 
puffed up with spiritual pride, — the more full of 
contempt and hatred towards those who disagree 
with him. With such persons, purity of life is as 
nothing compared with faith in a certain set of 
dogmas. There are some who think mu6h of 
the vices of life, but always in relation to their 
neighbors^ and thereby engender that form of 
6 

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6Q THB ELEMENTS O? CHABACTJ^B. 

bigotry called misanthropy. Both these classes 
misuse the faculty^ of Thought, making it sub- 
serve the purpose, of contempt and hatred and 
debasing narcow-mindedness, instead of minis- 
tering to Christian love, that hopeth all things of 
its brother, and judges as it would be judged. 

The more we study human nature out of our- 
selves, and in the light of the Understanding, the 
less we love it ; but the reverse takes place when 
we study ouf own hearts at the same time that 
we study the characters of our fellow-beings, and 
both in the light of Christian truth. We cannot 
hate our fellow-beings wJiile we perceive that we 
, are all of one family, — while we feel our own 
weakness and sinfulness ; and we cannot despair 
of human nature while we believe, that Infinite 
Wisdom has become its Redeemer and Saviour. 
. If Thought be strongly turned towards religious 
subjects the mind must necessarily form, to itself 
many doctrines which will be its true creed, 
whatever external foraa of church creed it may 
avow, or even if it disavow all creeds. At. the 
present day, it is not uncommon to hear creeds 
spoken of with contempt, as the effete remains of 
a past^e ; and the remark is often made, that it 
is of no. consequence what a man believes if he 
do but lead a good life. The religious opinions 
we hold constitute the morality of our internal 
life ; and it is difficult to understand how inter- 
nal morality can be of no consequence, while ex- 

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THOUGJ^T. 67 

ternal morality is of so muclL It would seem 
that e:?Lternal morality is but a mask, unless it 
truly represent the internal morality. Still it is 
not surprising that many superficial^ observers 
should be found ready to express their aversion 
to creeds, when we consider the abuses into 
which Churches and Grovernments have rushed 
in their efforts to lestablish and maintain their 
favorite dogmas ; ojr when we observe how the 
bigoted supporters of creeds become blinded to 
every other <;ojasideration, and learn to look upon 
life as of little importance when compared with 
doctrine. , It was probably in contemplation of 
such bigotry that the Apostle, exclaims, " Show 
me thy faith without, works, and I will show thee 
my faith by my works." This saying is often 
quoted in defence of the idea that faith is of no 
consequence compared with works ; but this is 
no logical deduction from the text. " I will show 
thee my faith by my works," expresses no dis- 
regard or undervaluing of faith, but asserts the 
great truth that faith becomes a living reality 
only when it forms itself into works. The qual- 
ity of works depends, not on the works them- 
selves, but upon the faith that inspires them. 
For instance, three men of equal wealth may 
each give the same sum of money to some char- 
ity. Externally the act is the same in each in4i- 
vidual,.yet the common sense of the very same 
persons who a few moments before may have 

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68 THE ELEMilNTS OP CHARACTEB. 

asserted that faith is nothing, and works every- 
thing, does not hesitate to estimate it in a totally 
different manner. One of the donors has made 
up his mind that ease is the only good. He has 
taught himself to believe that it is wise to avoi(J 
all trouble, and to give rather than make the 
effort of resisting importunity J and he gives be- 
' cause he carries this belief into effect. -Another 
is an ambitious rnan, who believes that power 
and the good opinion of society are the best 
among good things ; and he gives to obtain the 
praise of men and the influence in society which 
follows praise. The third believes that the' first 
good of life is making others happy, and with 
systematic benevolence exatnines^ every claim 
upon his bounty, and, if he finds it worthy, never 
dismisses it unsatisfied. It was the faith within 
the act that gave this distinctive quality to the 
three donations. The first put his faith in ease, 
the second in the opinion of the world, and. the 
third in doing good to the neighbor; and the 
common sense of the community judges the ac- . 
tions accordingly. All the actions of life range 
themselves under one or other of the three heads 
represented by these gifts ; namely, the love of self, 
or ease ; the love of the world, or ambition ; and 
the love of the neighbor, or true charity. Every 
man is probably governed in turn by each of 
these loves ; but in every man one of them takes 
the lead and dominates over the other two; and 

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THOUGHT. 69 

just in proportion as he gives himself up to the 
dominion of one of these loves, and rejects the 
sway of the otherst he leads a consistent life. 
Society may assert that life is everything, and 
faith nothing, w,hen it. talks abstractly ; biit its 
common ♦sense* ever shows more wisdom by 
transferring the^ quality of the motive to the act, 
as often as it finds any clew to the knowledge of 
motive. Of course, society makes many- blunders 
in these judgments, because it reads th^ heart 
of man very imperfectly.; but the nature of man 
leads him constantly 'to attempt penetrating the 
heart before forming his opinion of an action. 
. Thare is no need of restricting the word creed to 
the forms of facith adopted by particular churches. 
Whatever a man believes is his creed, and every 
man has a creed, however much he maybe op- 
posed to forms of faith ; and this creed is the rule 
of his life, however strongly he may assert, apd 
however implicitly believe, that faith is of no im- 
portance. Take, for instance, a man who devotes 
his whole energies to the pursuit of riches from a 
conviction that they are the greatest good this . 
world affords. If he have large caution, he will 
take care not to break the laws of the land ; but 
everything short of that he will do to attain his 
loved object. Perhaps he has large love of appro- 
bation ; he will then be a little more cautions, 
and. will do nothing that can injure his reputation 
as a gentlemanj at least unless he believes that 

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70 THB ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

what he does will not be known in society. Per- 
haps, however, he has neither of these restrain- 
ing traits, and is of a violent disposition ; he will 
then be ready to rob or murder, if such means 
seem to promise to give him his desires. Shall 
we say this man has- no creed, when*his faith 
in the value of riches impels him to devote body 
and soul to the acquisition of gain ? Does not 
his creed run thus : " I believe in gold as the one 
great good, and for this will I sacrifice all else 
that I possess." And does not his life and death 
devotion to this creed put to shame the feeble 
efforts of many of us who believe that we devote 
ourselves to more worthy ends ? 

So it is with those who employ themselves ex- 
clusively in the attainment of intellectual wealth. 
Faith that this is the one great good incites them 
to unwearied labor, — causes them to forget food, 
sleep, friends, everything, in order that they may 
acquire abundant store of learning ; and all be- 
cau&e they have taken as their creed, " I believe 
that learning is better than all beside, and for 
this will I labor day and night.^ 

So it is with the ambitious man. Who labors 
more devotedly than he ; ever keeping his creed 
in mind, " I believe that power and reputation 
are above all other possessions, and to gain tbem 
I will sacrifice time, labor, truth,. and justice." 

So it is with every man and every woman the 
World over. The slothful even— those who seem 

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THOUGHT. 71 

impelled to nothing — refrain from effort because 
they put their faith in idleness as the one thing 
above all others desirable. 

Mankind are possessed of Understanding no 
less than Affection; and by this, their inherent 
nature, they are compelled to believe no less than 
to love. It is vain to talk of cultivating the 
Affections that charity may be perfected in hu- 
manity, and at the same time omit all care of 
the faith. The mind will and must believe so 
long as it continues to think ; and it is as unsafe 
to leave it without cultivation as to abandon the 
heart to the instruction of chance. The question 
is not, Shall we or shall we not adopt a creed ? 
for however strongly we may resist, we cannot 
refrain from holding t)DC ; but, What creed shall 
we adopt ? Accordingly as we, answer this ques- 
tion so will the measure of our wisdom be both 
here and hereafter. 

The human race may, in this respect, be di- 
vided into three classes, — iliose who adopt 
good creeds, those who adopt evil creeds, and 
those who, too indolent or too heedless distinctly 
to adopt any rule of life, spend their days in 
vacillating between the two; but the latter, 
by reason of the greater tendency to sin than to 
hoKness inherent with the human race, incline, 
year by year, more and more decidedly towards 
the evil. 

It is imjpossible that any person should lead 

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72 THE ELEMENTS OK CHARACTER. 

a consistent life unless a creed be adopted* and 
steadfastly acted upon ; because unless one holds 
distinct opinions in relation to life and duty, one 
is drawn hither and thither by impulse and pas- 
sion, as the mind's mood varies from time to 
time, so that the words and actions of to-day 
will be often in direct opposition to those which 
were yesterday, or which will be to-morrow. 

In order to lead a life worthy an immortal be- 
ing, a child of God, the first step to be taken is 
to come to a distinct understanding of what one 
wishes to be and to do. The biographies of 
those who have distinguished themselves in the 
world, either for goodness or for greatness, fre- 
quently show that in early life they adopted cer- 
tain modes and directions of effort, and have at- 
tained to eminence by steadily persevering in one 
direction. Among the papers of these persons, 
written rules have been found which they have 
laid down for themselves as creeds, and in har- 
mony with which they have built iip their Char- 
acters ; stnd herein lies the secret of their success. 

The living in accordance with such creeds will 
not insure" greatness or distinguished reputation, 
because, after all our efforts, no one can be sure 
of worldly arid external success. Events which 
it was impossible to provide for, or even to fore- 
see, will often confound the best preparations of 
humanity, because the providence of God over- 
rules all the events of life, according to the eter- 

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THOUGHT. 73 

nal dictates of infinite wisdom and mercy, —a 
wisdom that knows when it is best for us to suo* 
ceed and when to fail in our wishes and en- 
deavors, and a mercy which, looking to our eter- 
nal welfare, sometimes makes us sorrowful here 
that we may: the more rejoice hereafter. 

Perhaps the <3ause which most frequently pre- 
vents the adoption of a creed is the failing to 
recognize the seriousness of life in this world* 
Few persons can be found so senseless or so 
reqkless as not to recognize the seriousness of 
death. Probably few could look upon the solemn 
still&ess of the lifeless humati countenance with- 
out a feeling of awe at the thought that erelong 
their day too must come when the beating of the 
busy heart shall cease, atid the now quick blood 
shall stay its course, — when the hand shall lose 
its cunning and the brain its power. Such im- 
pressions are too often transitory, passing away 
with the object tha.t awoke them, because per- 
sons do not stop to consider why it is that solem- 
nity and awe pervade the presence of death. K 
they did, they would feel that this solemnity was 
reflected upon life, and life would become to 
them serious as death. Both would be serious, 
but neither sorrowful ; for then death would lose 
its terror and would be looked forward to simply 
as the beginiung of eternal life. The solenmity 
of life lies in the fact tihfat it is a preparation for 
eternity ; and the solenmity of death in the fact 

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74 THE ELEMENTS OF CIIARAOTKK. 

that the preparation is over and the eternity be^ 
gun. In all this there is no cause of sadness, but 
infinite, cause, for thoughtful seriousness, / 

When the true solemnity of life is compre- 
hended, and the Character is moulded in accord- 
ance with the ideas that in consequence possess 
the soul, a ^owth of the whole nature is in- 
duced that prevents all the repulsive character- 
istics of old age. Too often old age is utterly 
disagreeable through the indulgence of ill-temper, 
fir^tfulness, and selfish indifierence to the wishes 
and pleasures of the young.^ Such traits of Char- 
acter could never possess us if the true import 
of life "were comprehended, and the Character 
formed in harmony with its teachings. A' Char- 
acter that grows in grace daily, must become 
more and niore beautiful and attractive with ad- 
vancing years. Each day, as it finds it better 
fitted for heaven, must find it less sullied by the 
imperfections of earth. 

We sometimes see persons discontented and 
peevish because they are old, — because they 
feel that they must soon pass away fironi th^ 
earth. Could this; be, if they believed that life 
on earth was only a preparation for an eternal 
life in heaven ? Could they shrink with aver- 
sion at the thought of death, if they believed 
it to be the portal of heaven? The follies and 
the vices, the weariness cuid the sadness, the dis- 
content and the moroseness of life, all spring 

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THOUGHT. 75 

from tne ijiant of a just conception of its rela- 
tions and its vallie, such as can be attained only 
by calm, deliberate reflection, out'of which wise 
opinions evolve, and are gradually shaped into a 
creed such as forms the bone and muscle of a 
wise and noble Character. 

Evil is ever the result of the abuse of some 
good; for nothing was created eviL The nar^ 
row creeds of various <5hurches, by which men'& 
soul^L have heen unworthily bound, have sprung 
froni the falsification of the fact that man re- 
quires faith in^feruth that he may be able to 
lead a life of goodness. Had the makers of 
these creeds gone directly to the Bible for their 
materials, Instead of looking into their own 
minds, — had they been content to accept the 
Ten Commandments given to the Jewish, or the 
Two given io the Christian Church, much mis- 
chief might have been avoided; but, not satis- 
fied with the ,simplicity and directness of God's 
Word, they built up creeds from their own 
minds, not as guides to a holy life, but as chains 
to compel the minds of other men into harmony 
with their own. Just in proportion to the energy 
with which they strove to impress themselves 
upon the people through these creeds was their 
indifference to that life of holiness which should 
be the end of all creeds. 

The centuries that have passed since the Chris- 
tian dispensatioii was proclaimed have many of 

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76 THE ELEMENTS OF CUAKACTER. 

them been darkened even to blackness by insane 
endeavors to write/ creeds of man's devising, in 
letters of fire and blood, upon the nations.' The 
day f(X[ such deeds has passed away from most 
lands calling themselves Christian; and now 
men are inclining to rush into the opposite ex- 
treme, and to mistake licentiousness in belief for 
liberty of conscience. Such an extreme natu- 
rally follows the opposite one that preceded it; 
but out of the anarchy of faith that now pre- 
vails the providence of God will siirely, in his 
own good time, lift up his children into the liberty 
wherewith those who obey him are made free. 
Then will it be understood that the truth is not a 
chain to bind the soul, but a shining light illumi- 
nating all the dark places of the earth, and pour*^ 
ing into every soul that worthily receives it a 
living warmth, that shall clothe the whole being 
with the beautiful garments of heavenly charity. 
Then shall it be se0n that all true creeds are con- 
tained within the two commandments of the Son 
of God. Thou shalt Jove the Lord with all thy 
heart and soul and mind and strength; and thy 
neighbor as thyself. 



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IMAGINATION. 



** Im.i|^tifttioii nU«8 the woi^Id.*' — Napolkit. 

" Imagination ia the mediatrix, the nurse, the< momer of all tlie several parts 
of oar spiritual organism. Wittiout her, all our ideas stagnate, all our cou- 
eeptioni irtther, all oar peroeptioos become rough and sensoal." — f iuohtbm- 



Imagination is, that power of the mind by 
which it forms pictiures or images within itself. 
Thought is but a shapeless, lifeless entity, until 
Imagination moulds it into form. We cannot 
bring what we know out into life un^til Imagina- 
tion presents it to the Affections as a possible 
reality. Thought is an uncreative power, and 
gives form to nothing. Imagination is a more 
positive power, and can impart form to every- 
thing in thought. Thought acts subjectively, 
while Imagination is more objective in its opera- 
tions. Thought is, by itself, a pure abstraction : 
passing into the Imagination it becomes a pos- 
sible reality, and in the Affections a vital reality. 
The Affections cannot love dr hate anything 
while it is a mere thought; but when it be- 

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78 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

comes an image, -it is at once an object either of 
attraction or repulsion. Thought, therefore, can 
be lifted up into the .Affections, and then be made 
manifest in life, only through the medium of the 
Imagination. 

It has been remarked by a celebrated writer, 
that all great discoverers, inventors, and mathema- 
ticians have been largely endowed with Imagina- 
tion. It might with equal truth have been added, 
that all successful persons ih every department 
of life are endowed with an Imagination com- 
mensurate in power with that of the other facul- 
ties. To the mechanic in bis shop, no less than 
to the student in his cell, is it requisite that he 
should be able to form a distinct image in his 
mind of whatever he wishes to perform. So the 
teacher, the preacher, and the parent Jabor in 
vain unless there is clearly imaged in their minds 
the end to be attained, by education and disci- 
pline. It is idle to seek for means to accomplish -^^ 
anything until ther^ is a distinct image in the 
mind of the thing that is to be done. If there 
be such a thing as an " airy nothing," it ite a 
thought before Imagination has given it a ** lo- 
cal habitation and a name.'^ When Shakespeare 
said it was the office of the poet to carry on this 
transformation, he announced one of those great 
general facts which are equally true of every 
other human being. It is in degree, and not in 
kind, that one man differs from another. In this, 

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IMAGINATION. 79 

the poet is but the type of what every human 
being must be, if he would be anything better 
than a dead weight in society, incapable of suc- 
cess in any department of life^ 

Let no one fold his hands supinely, and say, I 
have no Imagination ; arid therefore, if this doc- 
trine be true, my life must be a fjailure. You 
may possibly have but one talent while your 
neighbor has ten, but you are just as responsible 
for the cultivation and enlargement of your en- 
dowment as your neighbor for his. Had the 
parable been reversed, and had he who was en- 
dowed with five talents hidden them in the earth 
while he who had one doubled his lord's money, 
the condemnation and the acceptance would like- 
wise have been reversed. Unless a man be so 
far idiotic that he is riot an accountable being, 
we blaspheme the goodness of God, if w^e say 
there is nothinghe is capable of doing well. 

The action of the Imagination niay be best 
illustrated by example. . Previous to the days of 
Columbus, many sea-captains believed that there 
was a Western Continent ; but their belief, was 
a cold faith, existing only in Thought When 
the ardent mind of Columbus received the same 
belief. Imagination speedily fomied it into a re- 
ality of such distinctness that faith changed to 
hope, and then Affection brooded upon it until 
his whole being was absorbed by the' determina- 
tion that he would be. the discoverer of this un- 

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80 JHB ELEMENTS OF CHARACTEE. 

known world. The image of this land was a 
pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of flame by 
night, leading him onward in spite of every dis- 
couragement and disaf>pointment. Others might 
lose their courage, or die of weariness by the 
way ; but his was that deathle^ enthusiasm that 
knows neither despair nor doubt. To 1;his in- 
tense Lna^nation the world owes a new contL- 
nent, and it is to such Imaginations that it ow^s 
almost^ if not quite, all the great discoveries and 
inventions that have ever been made. There aire 
those who love to believe that such things are in 
the main H^e result of accident ; but it is only^to 
the thoughtful and the imaginative that accident 
speaks. To the dull and the indifferent it is 
utterly dumb. ' . 

What is life but one long chain of accidents^ if 
by accident we understand all that falls out witht 
out pur owft intention or volition. We cannot 
control these accidents. > There i» a power above 
circumstance and accident that controls them, 
as gravitation controls the motions of material 
things. We can only turn thehi at our will, and 
make use of them, As the machinist turns the 
power of gravitation to serve his purposes. 

Quick-witted persons are those who have the 
power of rapidly seeing the relations of things 
in every-day life, — whose Thoughts grasp, and 
whose Imaginations shape with dexterous rapid- 
ity, the little accidents of the hour, and turn tijem 

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IMAGINATION. 81 

to advcuitage. Persons of resource are thoae who 
have a deeper Thought, a more earnest Imagina- 
tion; and who can therefore lay hold of great 
principles, and unusual circumstances,, with a 
power adequate to meet great emergencies, and 
to make use of great opportunities. K we tram- 
ple sluggishness and indifference under our feet, 
if we do with a will whatever we undertake, de- 
termining to do it as well as we possibly can, we 
shall become quick-witted in small works, and 
full of resource in large undertaking's. 

The Imagination is often talked of as if it 
were a useless part of our being, which should be 
put down and discouraged as much as possible ; 
as if the Greater had endowed us with a power 
we did not need. So imaginative persons are 
spoken of with contempt, and here there is more 
justice ; for, in common parlance, to be imagiha- 
tive means to have the Imagination developed 
out of all proportion with the other powers.^ 
This is perhaps quite as bad as to have an in- 
sufficiency* What we should desire is a balance of 
powers. Imagination should not run away with 
Thought and Affection, but neither shonld it lag 
behind them. All must act harmoniously and 
equally in a symmetrioaUy developed Character. 
They are like the three legs of a tripod; and if 
either is longer or shorter than the others, or, 
worse still, if no two are alike in length, the tri- 
pod must be an awkward and useless piece of 
6 

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82 THK 9LE1C£KTS OF CHABACTEK. 

lumber, instead of the graceful and useful article 
for which it was intended. 

Whatever is to be done, from the discovery of 
a continent to the; making of a shoe or a loaf, 
can be done well only by a person of Imagina* 
tion. Go to a shoemaker and tell him exactly 
what you wish for a shoe, and it is your Imagi- 
nation that gives you the j>ower of tellirig him so 
that he can understand your wishes. "]^very one 
can think, i^ I want a pair of shoes," but one 
must have Imagination to know _ what kind of 
shoe one wants, and a clear, distinct Imagination 
to be able to describe it intelligibiyio anotlier; 
Suppose you . have this^ and have told the shoe- 
maker what you desire, Now^ whether the man 
seiids home to you a pair of misfits, <^uite differ- 
ent from those you ordered, or a pdir just such as 
you want, depends in no^ small degree on his 
powers of Imagination. Any ifnan can think 
enough to fasten materials together in the form 
of a shoe, and to make them vary in size acccMrd- 
ing to a regular gradation of nlimbers ; but .this 
is all he can do Unless he exercises his Imagina- 
tion. Unless the image of a shoe, as ybu hold it 
in your Imagination, was^ transferred distinctly to 
the Imagination of the other, you will look in 
vain to find it translated into a material reality. 
So it is with your cook. She cannot make a 
nice loaf of bread, or prepare a dinner properly, 
by merely thinking as she works. The idea of a 

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IMA€»NATION. 88 " 

light loaf or of a well^Jooked dinner must be 
distinctly in her mind^ o^ you will eat with a 
disappointed palate. 

It is needless to multiply example^ here. We 
have but to look around us and see them every:* 
where. 

Works of Imagination, of-ck)urse, come in for 
th^ir share of opproteium from those who, instead 
of striving to regenerate all the universal char- 
aoteristics of humanity, would x;ut off and cast 
from it those traits with which they; least sympa* 
thize. In spite of thdr opposition,^the mountain 
of fiction grows higher a^id higher every .day, 
and the multitude throng its pathways to gath- 
er that food for the Imagination that is rarely 
given it in otiier compositions. Let the mqralist 
talk and v/Ate against this as he may, it will be 
of no u9e,^for the mass of human minds will 
never take an interest in any book that does 
not address itself to the Imagination* From the 
beginning of the world until now^ no teacher and 
no writer was ever popular unless he addressed 
himself, in part at least, to the Imagination of 
the world. x 

When the Father df History read his nine 
books before the Greeks, at the Olympic Games, 
and the pepj^ hung hour after hour and day 
after day upon his words, it was not merely be- 
cause b6 glorified their victories that they listened 
with delight, but because he told the story vnth 

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84 THE ELEMKNT8 O^ CflABACtEB. 

such vividness that every hearer beheld the^n- 
g<>ings of the tale pictured in his own Imagina- 
tion. It was no dull recital of dry facts, th^ mere 
bone and muscle of History, that he offered them, 
but the living story, the warm blood pulsating 
through it, all, and every nerve instinct with life. 
In our own day, if the histcurian would forget the 
8o-cfdled dignity of History,, which is but another 
name for lifelessness, and, after having filled his 
mind with a dear, bright image of what he 
would i?elate, would present his «tory vividly to 
the Imagination bf the reader, we should have 
no more complaints of the dulness .of History* 
Who evet found Irving or Prescott dull ? and yet 
they are accurate and faithful as the most stately 
and oracular. The carping xjritic may sneer at 
them because they are. not philosophical and pro-, 
found ; but to have been read with delight by 
thousands who would never, have resiched a 
second "chapter had they^ been other than they 
are, may well satisfy tbeir^ ambition, and make 
them careless of the opinion of the critic Such 
writers belong to the Republic of letters, not to 
the literary OU^archy which insists that books 
should be vinritten according to certain conven- 
tional rules which have been manufactured in 
the closet, instead of looking ^t the Wants of the 
human mind, and then addressing themselves to 
those wants. 

The class of minds that crave instruction for 

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IMAGINATION. 85 

its own sake must always be very small ; and it 
is this class alone that will read books in spite 
of their lack of imgiginative power. Authors have 
no right to complain that their wise books lie 
unread by the multitude, if they persist in over- 
looking the nature of the human mind, and ad- 
dressing themselves to what they think it ought 
to be instead of what it really is. They expatiate 
admiringly upon the simplicity and vividness of 
the style of Herodotus, and upon the classic taste 
of the Athenian public in appreciating him ; and 
then, forgetting thalt the public of our own day 
are quick to admire the same traits, turn to their 
desks and write their histories as unlike as pos- 
sible to him ^whom they have been praising. 

The same repulsive want of Imagination too 
often characterizes Theology and Metaphysics, 
and prevents mankind from receiving the instruc- 
tion from works on these topics that they need. 
In the early days of man's history. Religion and 
Philosophy addressed themselves to the Imagina- 
tion, and then the people listened to their teach- 
ings; but gradually these heaven-born teachers 
turned more and more away from Imagination 
and towards Thought, — lost themselves in ab- 
stractions, dried up, withered, and changed into 
Theology and Metaphysics ; and then the people 
turned wearily away from their words ; and were 
they to blame ? They wanted bread, and only 
stones were given to them. 

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86 THE ELEMENTS OP CHARACTER. 

The multitude would not have followed the 
Lord, and listened with admiring wonder to his 
instructions, had they not been addressed to the 
Imagination. Infinite Wisdom clothed itself in 
parables, that the people might be instructed^ jand 
the people thronged to hear. . The truths of Phi- 
losophy and Religion are of an interest more 
universal to humanity than the truths of all 
other science, for the first is to know one's self, 
and the second to know one's God ; and yet the 
majority of teachers cover them with such a 
body of technicalities and abstractions, that it is 
vain for ^the mass of mankind to endeavor to 
penetrate to the soul within. 

K the clergy of the Protestant Church would 
spend more strength in illustrating the Infinite 
Wisdom contained in the parables of the Lord, 
and less in amplifying the abstractions of St. 
Paul, they would gather around them bands of 
listeners far more nun^erous and more devout 
than those that now attend their ministrations. 
It was one of the grand mistakes of that Church, 
at its first separation from the Romish, tliat, in its 
terror of the worship of material images, it passed 
into the opposite extreme of the worship of ab- 
stractions. Thisis one reason why Protestantism 
has made no advance in Europe since the death of 
the first Reformers, and why there is so little vital 
religion among the races by whom it was adopted. 

Much has been done of late to render the 



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IMAGINATION. .87 * 

natural sciences familiar and attractive to the * 
popular mind, by lectures and books that bring 
them within the comprehension of all : and it 
is to be hoped, that, beginning thus with the 
material parts of the universe, mankind may be 
gradually led from matter to mind, from science 
to religion. The forms of external things are 
easily reproduced in the mind as images, and 
this is why natural science addresses itself more 
readily to the mind than any other branch of 
learning. When men learn to look within, and 
perceive that the things of the mind are as genu- 
ine realities as the objects of the external world, 
Philosophy will become attractive ; and when 
the preacher warms Theology into Religion by 
abandoning the technicalities of abstractions for 
the living realities of piety towards Qod and 
charity towards the neighbor, he will rejoice in 
a listening audience. 

The amount and the quality of that which we 
call originality, creative power, or genius, is en- 
tirely dependent upon the activity, force, and in- 
tegrity of the Imagination. Talent belongs to 
Thought, and works only with facts and ideas 
as others have done before. It may be skilful, 
sensible, and faithful, but it, can walk only in the 
old, beaten tracks. It can classify and arrange, 
but it can never discover or invent. Talent can 
understand and admire the mechanical powers ; 
Grenius puts them in harness, and makes them 

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88 THE ELEMENTS OF OHABACTER. 

traverse land and sea to do his bidding. Talent 
loves to gaze on the fair forms of nature, and 
depicts-them upon canvas with skill and truth, 
neither adding to nor subtracting from its model 
Genius seizes upon the hints that nature gives, 
and, without being false to her, makes use only 
of that which helps to make up the beautiful, the 
sublime, or the terrible ; showing the power that 
is within nature rather than nature herself. Tal- 
ent sees life as it is, and so describes it, if it 
ventures into the domain of literature. Genius 
sees life as it is capable of being, and hence 
comes poetry and romance, depicting heroes and 
heroines, monsters and fiends, types rather than 
representatives of the human race. Talent per- 
ceivfes only the actualities of things. Genius their 
possibitities. Talent is content with things as 
they are, while Genius is ever striving to bring 
out latent capacities in whatever it deals with. 
If true to its higher impulses. Genius is ever 
striving to come nearer "-the first good, first per- 
fect, and first fair " ; if false, it degrades and de- 
forms everything it touches. 

Mankind differ from each other in degree, but 
not in kind. By his power of thinking, a man 
has talent ; by his power of imagining, genius. 
Quick-wittedness is genius in its lowest form, — 
genius applied to material life in its daily on- 
goings. The power for resource in emergencies 
is genius in a higher form. Invention — the 

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IMAGINATION. 8D 

putting together with an adequate purpose two 
things or ideas that never went together before — 
is genius in another form. 

Admitting that men differ from each other, not 
in kind, but in degree, the question arises, Are all 
men capable of an equal degree of development ? 
This may best be answered by comparison. All 
men are alike in the general conformation of 
their bodies ; all have the same number of physi- 
cal organs, designed for the same purposes. The 
relative power of these organs is, however, very 
different in different individuals. One has a fine 
muscular frame, and delights iu exercises of phys- 
ical strength, while effort of the brain is a weari- 
ness to him. Another has a finely developed 
brain, and delights in intellectual labor, w:hile 
his strength of muscle is hardly sufficient for the 
absolute needs of life. One has the digestion of 
an ostrich, while another lives only by painful ab- 
stinence ; and so on with indefinite variety. We 
know that much may be done by well-directed 
effort to Qvercome the weaknesses and imperfec- 
tions of the body ; but still there is a limit to this, 
and all men cannot be strong and healthy alike. 
So it is with ihe powers of the mind. All men 
have the same number of powers, — this consti- 
tutes their humanity ; but the relative force of 
their development varies in each individual. We 
know that a determined will works wonders in 
overcoming the defects of the body, and it can 

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90 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

do more in OYercoming the defects of the mind, 
because the spiritual body of man is far more 
docile and flexible to the will than the natural 
body; but there must be limitations here like- 
wise : still, progress is eternal, and no man can 
tell beforehand of how much he is capable. 

In cultivating the powers of the mind, the first 
step is to admit distinctly to one's self the fact of 
human responsibility ; to feel that we are stew- 
ards to whom the Lord has intrusted certain tal- 
ents, and that we are responsible to him for the 
use we make of them. Indolence will perhaps 
tell us that we are of very little consequence, 
and that it is not worth while for us to trouble 
ourselves about developing our understandings ; 
that it is vanity in us to suppose that we can 
be of much use in the world ; that we have 
but little leisure, and may as well arhuse our- 
selves with books and society; for we need recre- 
ation, wearied as we are with the ccures of life. 
Let us answer each of these excuses by itself ; 
and first, we are of so little consequence. If the 
tempter take this form to slacken your efforts, 
tell him you are one of God's children, and 
therefore, by your birthright, of eternal conse- 
quence; that he who is faithful in the least 
things thereby proves his capacity for being faith- 
ful in much, and that, by showing your willing- 
ness to serve the Lord in the small things of life, 
you are fitting yourself for serving him in large 

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IMAGINATION. 91 

things, if aot in this world, yet in the world to 
come. Moreover, is not every one of the highest 
consequence to himself; and. is not the least of 
human beings as much interested to save his 
own soul as the greatest? Then,^ as to use in 
this world, you are responsible to the fullest ex- 
tent of your abilities for the influence you exert 
in your sphere, as entirely as is the greatest of 
human beings in his. No one is so small that he 
brings no influence to bear upon the social circle ; 
no one so insignificant that he does not exert, an 
influence, even by the expression of his counte- 
nance, though he may. speak no word. Where 
can we fijid a circle that is not shadowed, as by 
a cloud, if one countenance appears within it 
darkened by suUenness, ill-humor, or discontent ? 
Where one that is not warmed and cheered, as 
by a sunbeam, if one enters it whose features 
glow with good-humor, contentment, and satis- 
faction? Then does not the command to love 
our neighbor make us even responsible for the 
expressions our faces wear? In relation to the 
plea for recreation and amusement, it can readily 
be shown how these may be made subservient to 
a true and high cultivation of the understanding. 
While few are slow to admit our accountabil- 
ity in all that relates to the cultivation of the 
Affections, many seem to suppose that in what 
relates to the Understanding we may, without 
wrong, follow our own inclinations. This opin- 

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92 THE ELEMENTS OF CHABACTEB. 

ion comes from a false estimate of the nature 
and uses of the Understanding. K considered 
as a mere receptacle for Latin and Greek, Mathe- 
matics and Metaphysics, Science and Litera- 
ture, we may, without moral turpitude or virtue, 
abstractly considered, follow our own inclina- 
tions ; but the Understanding will €dl the time be 
growing either stronger or weaker, wiser or more 
foolish, whether we study them or whether we let 
them alone* This action of the Understanding 
cannot go on witiiout influencing the Affections. 
The one is as much the gift of God as the other, 
and each alik^ demands a healthful nutriment. 
An Understanding whose attributes are igno- 
rance and folly can never promote a healthful 
growth of the Affections. 

It has been already said that the Understand- 
ing of a great majority of human beings can 
be reached only through its imaginative side. 
Every one who is accustomed to children knows 
that this V is universally true of them. Tell a 
child an abstract truth, and it falls dead upon his 
ear; but illustrate the same truth in a little story, 
and he is quick to estimate its justice. This 
continues true of most persons during their 
whole lives, so that it is vain to attempt touch- 
ing their minds in any other way than by pre- 
senting them with some image illustrating the 
truth inculcated. Those who are capable of re- 
ceiving an abstract truth without such an image 

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niAOIKATION. it 

are fifequently so from the fact that, the moment 
such a Iruth is presented to their Understanding, 
their Imagination i& prompt to furnish the corre- 
sponding image. Unless this is done either by the 
speaker or the listener, the tniih is apt to be only 
a useless piece of lumber stored away in the 
thoughts. The whole secret of the fascinating 
power of the novelist lies in his telling us of all 
that is most interesting to humanity, and pre- 
senting everything to the mind in images. 

Most persons have so many duties to perform, 
that they have little time for volthitary employ- 
ment, and then they want recreation, which, if 
they read, they say they can gain only through 
works of Imagination. There is nothing to ob- 
ject to in this, if such works be well selected and 
read wisely. There are many bad ways of read- 
ing novels; but there are two to be especially 
avoided : firstly, vitiating the Affections by read- 
ing impure novels ; and secondly, weakening the 
powers of the Understanding by glcmcing through 
novels merely for the sake of the story. To 
read novels of doubtful or bad morality is as 
likely to corrupt the Affections as to associate 
with low and wicked companions* There is an 
abundant supply of pure and noble compositions 
of this sort en which the Imagination may feed 
without fear. If it morbidly craves the licentious 
pictures that cohie from the pen of such writers 
as Ainsworth or George Sand, its longings should 

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94 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

be resisted as steadfastly as those which incline 
us to the gaming-table or other scenes of licen^ 
tious indulgence. On the other hand, the dan- 
ger to the Understanding from skimming novels 
is far too much overlooked. It is not recreation, 
but dissipation, not a renewal, but a destruction, 
of the powers to read in this way. K you would 
be benefited by what you read, learn to read 
critically. Look at the characters, and see if they 
be natural and well drawn ; observe the morality, 
and see if it be true or false ; examine the style, 
and see if it ^Se good or bad, graceful or awk- 
ward, distinct or vague. Novel-writing is one of 
the fine arts, and by looking upon it as such, you 
may cultivate your taste and discrimination to an 
extent you little dream of. 

Imagination is the marriage of Thought and 
Affection, and the Fine Arts are its first-born 
children, and represent humanity in all its phases 
more fully and truly than any other department 
of art or science. What we know as the useful 
arts, which are born of man's love for physical 
ease and pleasure, are of comparatively modern 
date ; but history goes not back to the time when 
the mind of metn first took delight in fashion- 
ing and admiring the products of the fine arts. 
Many suppose them God-given and coeval with 
the birth of man. Music, painting, sculpture, 
poetry, and romance are the five departments-*' 
of the fine arts. When these are studied and 

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IMAGINATION. 95 

loved merely lor amusement, they are of little or 
no use; if they are made vehicles for filling the 
mind with impure and evil images, they are 
shocking abuses ; but if they subserve pure and 
holy purposes, elevating the soul towards all that 
is beautiful and good, they are true Apostles of 
the Word. Their ministrations are almost, if 
not quite, universal It would be hard to find, a 
human being whose soill is not stirred by one or 
other of them. 

Comparatively few persons have it in their 
power to enjoy the delight and the. refining infih- 
ence that are derived from the highest exhibitions 
of skill in those departments of the fine arts that 
address themselves to the eye and the ear ; but 
poetry and romance, the most intellectual and 
the most varied of them all, are accessible to 
every one. As those blessings that are far off 
and difficult to be' attained are usually those 
which are most highly prized, we often find per- 
sons sighing for the culture to be obtained from 
music, painting, and sculpture, and pverlooking 
or undervaluing the higher culture to be derived 
from poetry and romance. The best gifts 6f 
Heaven are always those which are most uni- 
versal. Let any one read the plays of Shake- 
speare, the poems of Miltoiif, and the novels of 
Scott carefully and critically as he would study 
"•^ gallery of pictures, and he will find his taste 
refined and elevated as much as it could be by a 

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S6 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

visit to the Vatican. The genius of these au- 
thors is to the fall as high and noble and original 
as that of Raphael, Angelo, or Titian. The 
means of culture are not far-fetched and dear- 
bought. They lie around us everywhere, and to 
make use of them is a luxurious recreation of the 
mind. What mother, wearied and worn by the 
cares of maternity, what laborer, exhausted with 
toil, what student, faint with striving for fame, 
but would be refreshed and renewed for the war- 
fare of life by forgetting it all for a little while in 
the realms- of the ideal world? 

The common, vulgar misuse of novel-reading 
by the silly, the empty-headed, and the corrupt, 
should not blind us to its benefits. There are 
those who in music, painting, and sculpture 
find only nutriment for sensuality and impurity. 
Shall we, therefore, deny to all, and banish from 
ihe world, the refining ministrations of beauty in 
form and color and sweet sounds ? As justly 
may we wage war upon the way-side flowers 
because the childrenu are now and then tardy at 
school for stopping to gather them. The Crea- 
tor coujd never have strown beauty broadcast 
upon the face of the earth if it had no use. The 
very abundance of this nutriment offered to our 
love of beauty is evidence of its value ; the very 
fact that we can abuse this love so fearfully is 
proof of its capacity for elevated usefulness. 

Beading good works of Imagination in the 

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IMAGINATION. 97 

thoughtful way that has been described will be 
very likely to rouse an action in the mind that 
will make it crave something more solid ; and all 
should learn, if possible, to love instructive books. 
The brain that is overtasked by muscular labor — 
for the nervous energy of the brain is exhausted 
by physical effort as well as by mental — is the 
only one that is excusable for refreshing itself 
only with images from the ideal world. There 
are Sabbaths of rest to all sometimes, when 
opportunity may be found to gain something of 
a more nutritious quality; .when through biog- 
raphy we may learn to know some good and 
great character tha* will ever after stand in the 
mind an image of excellence to cheer us on our 
way, and make us feel with joy that there is 
power in us to do likewise; or perhaps some 
book of science that will enlarge our ideas of 
the wisdom and goodness of the Creator of us 
alL It should ever be remembered, that those 
whose minds are empty of images of goodne^ 
and truth ate, almost of necessity, constantly be- 
coming more and more full of images of evil 
and falsehood. Jealousy, envy, discontent, and 
love of scandal, are among the earliest prod- 
ucts of an idle, empty mind. We are not, 
however, dependent upon books for the means 
of cultivating the Imagination. There is a 
training of this power within itself, a moral- 
ity of. Imagination, that daily life compels us 
7 

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98 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

to observe if we would be practical, moral be- 
ings. 

The first requisites in a healthy, well-developed 
Imagination are truth and distinctness. To those 
who deem Imagination but another name for fic- 
tion and falsehood, it may seem a contradiction 
in tarms to talk of a true Imagination : but it is 
not soi Works of fiction charm us always in 
proportion as they seem true, and it is the 
morbid Imagination only that delights in false- 
hood. We sometimes see persons who, without 
apparent intention of falsehood, seem incapable 
of speaking the truth. If they relate a circum- 
stance that has passed under their own observa- 
tion, or describe anything that they have seen, 
they add here and diminish there, distort this and 
give a new color to that, in such a manner that 
the hearer receives an impression of nothing as 
it really is* If there seem to be no malicious 
or evil design in all this, such persons are com- 
monly called very imaginative; they should be 
called persons of unregulated, unprincipled Im- 
aginations. They do not bring Imagination 
under the sway of conscience, and their power 
of appreciating the truth will grow less and less 
-until Imagination be6omes a living lie. 

Visionary persons form another class of those 
who do not regulate Imagination by the laws 
of Him who is truth itself. With these. Imagi- 
nation is as false in relation to that which is to 

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IMAOINATION. 99 

come, as with the last described in relation to 
that which has already been. In their plans of 
life they reason from fancy instead of from fact, 
and their Imaginations are filled with fantastic 
visions of things impossible, instead of the clear, 
bright images of that which may rationally be 
expected to come to pass. Such persons are per- 
petaally wasting their powers by trying to do so 
many things that they can do nothing well, or 
by striving to do some one thing that is impos- 
sible ; thus rendering themselves comparatively 
useless in society, and often even mischievous. 
To avoid this error, it is needful to go back per- 
petually to Thought in order to obtain a solid 
foundation for Imagination to build upon. As 
Imagination passes to and fro between Thought 
and Affection, it must remember that it is a 
messenger from one^ to the other, and must not 
invent tales on the way, and so deceive Affection 
into acts of folly. The facts of the message 
must be precisely such as Thought gave them, 
while their costume may be such as Imagination 
vrould have it. Thus the Affections will be 
roused to action in proportion as the eloquence of 
the Imagination is more or less intense. When 
it speaks in " words that bum," if it speak from , 
itself, it will rouse the Affections to wild fanat- 
icism ; but if it "speak from Thought it will wa- 
ken enthusiasm in the heart, such as shall bear 
it steadfastly onward in the path of duty, " with- 
out haste and without rest.'* 

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100 THE ELEMENTS OP CHABACTEtt. 

Distinctness of Imagination may be cultivated 
by carefully observing things we wish to remem- 
ber, and then calling up their forms before the 
mind's eye, and endeavoring to describe them 
just as they are, in words, by writing, or by draw- 
ing ; and then re-examining- to see where we have 
erred, and correcting our mistakes. If this be 
done from a genuine love of truth, the Imagina- 
tion will soon become accurate and trustworthy. 
In reading, strive to bring what is read before 
the mind's eye, and so impress it upon the mem- 
ory in images. This process quickens the power 
of memory, and enables it to retain much more 
than it otherwise could. If the writer be imagi- 
native, it is easily done ; but if not, we must strive 
to make up for his deficiencies by our own ef- 
forts. In reading history and travels, constant 
reference to maps and pictures fixes facts upon 
the memory simply by transferring them to the 
Imagination. Memory is not a faculty by itself. 
What we only think about, we remember feebly ; 
what we image in our minds, we remember much 
more strongly ; what we love, we never forget 
while we continue to love it. 

In cultivating the Imagination, we must be 
sure to allow Thought to go with it hand in hand; 
remembering that the two together make up the 
Understanding. We must be careful to search 
conscientiously for true thoughts before allowing 
Imagination to shape them into forms. In order 

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IMAGINATION. 101 

to find the truth, we must love it for its own sake, 
and must seek it with straightforward earnest- 
ness, because we believe it needful to the build- 
ing up of Character. If we .seek it from any less 
worthy motive, our sight will become morbid, we 
shall lose the power of knowing it when it is 
found, and shall be liable to mistake for it some 
miserable falsehood. If we allow Imagination too 
much liberty, zeal will run before knowledge; if 
we allow it too little, knowledge will run before 
zeal. In the former case we shall be liable to 
fanaticism ; in the latter, to sluggishness. . In 4;he 
former case we shall be ready to undertake to do 
anything that attracts us, whether we know how 
to do it or not; in the latter, we shall not be will- 
ing to try to do what we might. The lack of 
Affection prevents us from desiring to do a thing, 
the lack of Imagination makes us think we can- 
not do a thing, the lack of Thought of course 
makes it impossible to do a thing ; for we cannot 
do a thing till we know that it is to be done. 

In our religion, Thought gives us faith, Im- 
agination gives us hope, and Affection gives us 
charity.. Religion does not become a personal 
matter to us until it takes the form of hope. 
While it is simply a thing of thought, it is cold, 
barren faith, and we care nothing for it } but 
when Imagination touches it, faith is changed to 
hope, and we begin to perceive that religion is 
a thing to be desired in our own persons. Re- 

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102 THE ELEMENTS OP CHARACTER. 

ligions fear, too, is the child of Imagination. 
Devils believe and tremble, because they hate 
goodness. Angels believe and hope, because 
they love it. 

Every one has within his mind an imaginary 
heaven, within and around which all cherished 
images arrange themselves, according as they are 
more or less dear. We should search our minds, 
and learn what are the attributes of our heaven, if 
we would know whether we are tending towards 
1^ true heaven that is prepared for those who 
order their lives aright. We shall, if we do this, 
be sure to find that there are certain images rising 
very often in our minds, into which our thoughts 
seem to crystallize when distmrbed by no inter- 
ruption from without ; and these images make up 
all that we believe of heaven; they are the king- 
dom of heaven within us. We may, with our 
lips, acknowledge faith in a pure heaven wherein 
dwelleth righteousness y but unless bur ideas fall 
habitually into forms of purity, there is no genu- 
ine faith in such a heavenly kingdom. We truly 
believe only in what we love. We may learn 
from book^ and from instructors a great deal 
about the science of goodness, and may talk of 
such knowledge until we fancy that we should 
be happy in a heaven where goodness reigned tri- 
umphant ; and *yet we may be entirely deceived, 
in this fancy, and our hearts may all .the while 
be fixed on things so entirely apart from the true 

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IMAGINATION. JL03 

heaven, that nothing could make us more miser- 
able than the being forced to dwell within its 
^tes. If we would test the quality of our faith, 
we must watch the images and pictures that rise 
habitually before our mind's eye in our hours of 
reverie; for they faithfully represent the secret 
affections of the heart. If these images are 
forms of purity and goodness, it is Well with us ; 
the kingdom of heaven is truly there ; but if they 
represent only forms of things that belong to this 
world, if dress and equipage and social distinct 
tion haunt our longings, if visions of pride, vain- 
glory, and luxury are ever prompt to rise, — 
visions that belong only to the love of sdf and 
of the world, — visions that do not beckon us on- 
ward to the performance of duty, but only entice 
us with the allurements of sensuality and self- 
indulgence ; or still worse, if discontent, envy, 
and malice darken the temple of Imagination 
with their scowls, the kingdom of heaven is far 
from us as the antipodes. This imaginary heaven 
that selfishness and worldliness have built up 
within us is in truth but an emanation from hell. 
We may talk of heaven, and observe its outward 
forms all our lives while harboring this demoni- 
acal crew within ; and we shall grow ever harder 
and colder with intolerance and bigotry under 
their influence ; nor can we ever have that joy in 
heavenly hope that belongs to those whose hearts 
cleave to all that is pure and true, and whose 

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104 THB ELEMENTS OF CHABACTEB. 

Bouls are therefore filled with the imagery of 
virtue. 

We cannot expect, in this life, to attain to a 
state pf regeneration so entire, that no images of 
evil shall ever come to our souls ; but we may 
hope to becpme so fiar advanced that we shall not 
welcome and entertain them when they come; 
but shall recognize them at once as often as they 
appear, and drive them from us. This much, 
however, we cannot do with our own strength, 
for that is weakness; but if we strive, looking 
ever to the Lord, whose strength is freely given 
to all who devoutly ask his aid, we shall be 
armed as with the flaming sword of cherubim, 
turning every way to guard the tree of life. 



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AFFECTION. 



« LoTtt is the Life of Man." — Swzdkhbobo. 

**Wllk the heart man beUeteth imtozi^teoaiiMM.>*^ar. ItkVL. 



The Affections are the most interior of all the 
attributes of n^an, — they are in fact his sjnrit- 
ual life. The acquisitions of the Understanding 
truly appertain to man only when the Affections 
have set their seal upon them. We may store 
our memories with knowledge and wisdom gath- 
ered from every source, but until they are grasped 
by the Affections they do not belong to us; for 
till then they do not become part and parcel of 
ourselves. So long as we merely know a thing, 
we make no use of it. The facts of knowledge, 
as they lie in the Understanding, may exhibit a 
rank growth of thoughts and images ; but though 
flowers may adorn them, they will all perish bar- 
renly ; while, if the warmth of the Affections is 
thrown upon them, the rich clusters of firuit 
speedily appear ; not only affor(]ing present de- 

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106 THE ELEMENTS OF CHABACTEB. 

light, but promising to be the parents of numer- 
ous offspring yet to come. 

The Affections cannot be analyzed and com- 
prehended with the same kind of distinctness 
with which we comprehend Thought and Imagi- 
nation ; because that which belongs to the Un- 
derstanding can be expressed or described in 
words, and in that form be passed from one to 
another ; while the Affections exist only in foftns 
of emotion that cannot be distinctly translated 
into words. A glance of the eye or a touch of 
the hand often transfers an emotion from one 
mind to another with a facility and clearness of 
which words are incapable. There are no things 
we believe so completely as those which we feel 
to be true, yet there are none about which we 
reason so imperfectly. 

The motive-power in man is Affection. What 
he loves he wills, and what he wills he performs. 
Our Character is the complex of all that we love. 
We often think we love traits of Character that 
we cannot possess; but we deceive ourselves. 
All that we truly love we strive to attain, and all 
that we strive after rightly we do attain. The 
cause of self-deception on this point is, that we 
think we love a certain trait of Character when 
we only love its reward ; or that we hate other 
traits when we only hate their punishment 

The passionate man perceives that his ungov- 
erned temper causes him trouble, and occasions 

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AFFECTION. 107 

him to commit acts of injustice, and to say 
things for which he is afterwards ashamed ; and 
he exclaims, "I wish I coold acquire self-con- 
trol ; but alas ! a hasty temper is natural to me, 
and I cannot overcome it." Tell such a man 
that he is just what he loves to be, and he will 
deny it without hesitation ; and yet the love of 
combating and of overcoming by force are the "^^ 

darling loves of his heart; and when he fancies 
that he is wishing to overcome these propensities, 
he is thinking only of the worldly injury his tem- 
per may occasion him, and not of the hatefulness 
of anger in itself. So soon as we begin to hate -^ 

anger for its own sake, we begin to put it away ; 
but while we only hate the bad consequences of 
anger, we cleave to its indulgence. So it is with 
indolence. We know, perhaps, that we are in- 
dolent, and we perceive that this vice stands in 
the way of our attaining to many things that 
we desire, and we believe that we wish to be- 
come diligent, when we are steadfastly loving a 
life of indolence^ and wishing not for diligence, 
but for its rewards. What we suppose to be 
dislike of indolence is only dislike of the conse- 
quences that indolence brings in its train. So 
the drunkard sometimes goes to his grave cheat- 
ing himself with the idea that the lust of the 
flesh binds and enslaves him ; and that he really 
loves the virtue of temperance, while in truth he 
is loving sensual indulgence with all his heart. 

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108 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

Possibly temperance reformers might be more 
successful in reclaiming sucl^ slaves from their 
sin if they would talk less of the punishments 
the drunkard brings upon himself in the shape of 
poverty, and disease, and shame, and enlarge 
more upon the moral degradation to his own 
soul which he fastens upon himself both for this 
life and the life to come. 

We are all of us perpetually liable to gross 
self-deception by thus transferring in fancy our 
love or our hate for the consequences of vices or 
yirtues to the vices or virtues themselves. K we 
made this transfer in fact, we should at once set 
about gaining the one and putting away the 
other ; but so long as we believe that sin dwells 
within us without our consent and approval, we 
become daily more and rtiore the servants of sin. 

We not unfrequently see a very poor family 
having an intense desire for educq^tion, and their 
poverty, instead of putting its acquisition put of 
their reach, seems only to stimulate their ardor 
of pursuit. One half of their time will perhaps 
be spent in the most arduous labor in order to 
procure the means of obtaining the aid of books 
and teachers to enrich the other half ; and no 
self-denial in dress or physical indulgence seems 
painful when weighed against the pleasure of in- 
creasing the means of education. Here is genu- 
ine love of learning, and the result of its efforts 
will prove the truth of the old adage, " Where 

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AFFECTION. 109 

there is a will there is a way." This family is 
acting out its life's love understandingly and 
with fixed purpose. 

Perhaps in the very next house to this is an- 
other family of not nearly so small property. 
They too profess great love of and desire for 
education ; but there is no corresponding effort. 
They must dress with a certain degree of gentil- 
ity, and they must not make an effort to earn 
money by any means that would seem to lower 
their standing in society ; and, moreover, they are 
indolent, and the effort ihat the denial of phys- 
ical indulgences requires seems insupportable to 
them. The parents of this family will often be 
heard lamenting that their children cannot have 
an education ; and if one should venture to indi- 
cate the possibility of their obtaining one for 
themselves as their neighbors are doing, they will 
reply that their children have not strength to 
struggle along in that way, or that they are too 
proud to get an education in a way that would 
seem to place them in point of social rank below 
any of their fellow-students. This family are 
acting out their life's love just as thoroughly, 
though not so understandingly, as the other. 
They do not desire education from krve for it, 
but because it would give them a certain stand- 
ing in society, and not having the means of in- 
dulging vanity in this direction, they turn to dress 
and idleness, as easier signs of what is vulgarly 

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110 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

called gentility. Still these persons would Jeem 
you unjust and unkind if you told them they 
were living in ignorance because they had no 
true love for education ; and they would hardly 
deem you sane should you tell them that the 
Character of every human being is the sum and 
continent and expression of all that he best loves. 

We cannot truly loye anything that we do not 
understand, — anything that has not a distinct 
existence in our thoughts and imaginations ; and 
all of Character that we love and cart clearly im- 
age to ourselves we can bring out into life. The 
Affections are the children of the Will, and if the 
Will be determined and steadfast, there is no 
limit but the finiteness of humanity to the prog- 
ress in whatever is undertaken. When we love 
ardently, all effort seems light compared with the 
good we expect to derive from the possession of 
that w hich we love. If we become weary and 
faint by the way, it is because we lack intensity 
of love. 

In reading the lives of distinguished men, we 
find that, in the pursuit of whatever has raised 
them above the mass of men, they knew no 
discouragement, acknowledged no impossibility. 
We read of travellers who, to satisfy a burning 
curiosity for discovery, passed through peril and 
fatigue that it is fearful for us even to think of; 
and yet they, so intense was their love for what 
they sought, encountered all with a determination 

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AFPECTiaN. Ill 

that made suffering and danger indifierent, nay, 
almost acceptable to them. So the inventor 
labors, year after year, through poverty and priva- 
tion, compensated for all by the anticipation of 
the satisfaction that will be his when his darling 
object is attained. So the student, the philan- 
thropist, the statesman, labors in like manner, 
lighted by thought, cheered by imagination, 
warmed by love. Needful as may be the light 
and the cheer, it is the warmth only that can 
give life. We may know and imagine, and yet 
perform; nothing ; but when love is wakened, per- 
formance becomes a necessity of our being ; and 
every sacrifice of momentary pleasure we make 
in order to obtain the fruition of our desires is 
not only without pain, but it is sweet as self-' 
denial to a lover, if perchance he may give pleas- 
ure thereby to the object of his passion. It is the 
merest self-delusion for any one to sit still and 
say, " I love this or I love that trait of Character ; 
but it is not in my power io gain it" They who 
love do not sit still and lament. Love is ever up 
and doing and striving. They who sit still and 
lament, love the indulgence of their own indo- 
lence better than aught else, and what they love 
they attain. 

It is of course impossible that all should be 
come distinguished by the efforts they may make 
in life ; and this is not what we should aim at in 
the training of Character. To be distinguished 

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112 THE ELEMENTS OP CHABACTEB. 

implies something comparative, — implies, if we 
aim after Kecoming so, that we seek to be 
superior to others. This is not an aim that can 
be admitted in Christian training. Character 
is something between us and our God, and 
every thought we admit that savors of rivahry 
or emulation in our efforts degrades them, and 
takes from them the sanctity that can alone in- 
sure success. The moment that finds us saying, 
" I am glad that I am better than my neighbor," 
or even, " I desire to be better than I wish to see 
him," that moment finds us destitute of a true 
conception of Christian charity. We cannot 
attain to a healthy growth of Character until, 
smitten by the beauty of excellence, we wwship 
its perfection in our Lord and Saviour, and, with 
hearts fixed on him, strive, trusting in his aid, to 
be perfect even as he is perfect. In this effort we 
must shut out from our hearts every emotion 
that cannot be admitted into our prayers to him 
for light and strength. Are we sorrowful that 
our neighbor is gaining upon the way faster than 
ourselves, let us remember that this emotion is 
virtually a prayer that his strength jnay be les- 
sened for our sake ; and let us change it as quick- 
ly as we can to a more earnest longing after our 
own growth, without comparing ourselves with 
any human being. Elation, if we think we have 
passed another in the race, is a vice of the same 
character as envy at another for surpassing us. 

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AFFECTION. 118 

Such envy and such elation are children of that 
pride of heart that shuts the door on all brotherly 
love. It is that vice by which Cain fell, and so 
far as we admit it into our bosoms we volunta- 
rily become the children of Cain. 

The Lord tells us to seek first the kingdom of 
heaven and its righteousness, and that all other 
good things shall be added unto us. We cannot 
suppose he meant by this that the reward of 
virtue was to be found in houses and lands, or 
worldly wealth of any kind, although he enu- 
merated these things in the promise; for we 
know that these are, perhaps, as often possessed 
in abundance by the basest of men as by the most 
virtuous. How, then, are we to understand this 
promise ? To seek the kingdom of heaven and 
its righteousness is to serve the Lord with all the 
heart, and soul, and mind, and strength ; and the 
rewards appropriate to such service surely can- 
not be counted in silver and gold. These may 
adorn the happiness that virtue gives; but they 
cannot constitute it. He who labors simply for 
the love of wealth is content if he obtain the re- 
ward he seeks ; but he who labors to obtain the 
fully developed character of a man, — the image 
and likeness of God, — if he attain nothing be- 
yond wealth, would feel such reward to be only a 
mockery of his desires. Such labor lifts us above 
the happiness external possessions can give, and 
bestows upon us a wealth that the world cannot 
8 

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114 THE ELEMENTS OF CHABACTER. 

take away. He who wishes to serve God ac- 
ceptably cultivates all his capacities to the best 
of his ability, in order to increase his power of 
leading a useful life, and is therefore constantly 
adding to himself possessions that can never 
leave him; — rational and spiritual possessions 
which, in relation to our Jnternal life, correspond 
to ,\^orldiy possessions in relation to our external 
life, and were therefore signified in the parabolic 
language of, the Lord. 

When the philosopher of old lost the library 
he had been all his life long collecting, he ex- 
claimed, " My books have done me little service 
if they have not taught me to live happily with- 
out them." He had made their contents his own 
by diligent study, and no power could take this 
from him, and they had made him wise by their 
instructions^ so that he could possess his soul in 
patience under external losses of any kind. The 
man who studies books, though he may not own 
a volume, makes them his own far more com- 
pletely than the bibliomaniac who spends a for- 
tune in filling his library with choice editions 
of works life is not long, enough to read. So 
"it is with works of art. He who can most 
truly appreciate them is he who really owns 
them. One man will fill his house with pic- 
tures and statues and all beautiful works of 
surt, because the possession of such things gives 
^ distinction in society. He collects them, not be- 

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AFFECTION. 115 

cause he loves art, but because he loves himself ; 
and values them precisely in proportion to the 
sums of money they have cost him. Those 
among his visitors who love art for its own sake, 
and have learned to appreciate such things justly, 
have a pleasure incomparably more interior and 
profound in gazing upon them than he who re- 
joices in having paid large sums of money for 
them ; and surely no one of such visitors would 
exchange hia power of appreciation for the other's 
external possession of them. Who, then, is the 
true owner, if not he who feels most delight in 
contemplating them, and who has the most deli- 
cate perception of all their shades of beauty ? 

In the highest of all enjoyments of the eye, 
that which we derive from the contemplation of 
external nature, the man whose soul is most 
deeply thrilled by its beauty, whose heart rises in 
worship as he gazes upon the mountains in their 
calm sublimity, and remembers how the Lord 
frequented such heights for prayer, and who 
wanders beneath the shadows of the woods, feel- 
ing that " the groves were God's first temples," — 
this man surely has the kingdoms of the earth in 
closer possession than he who holds thousands 
of acres in fee. 

Whatever possession^ we can name, whether .^ 
external or internal, whether of the heart, the 
head, or the hand, it is love by which we iafuly 
hold them. Nothing is ours that we do not lovc,^ 

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116 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

and through love we obtain possession of ail that 
our hearts crave. 
w,^ The lovcj howeverj that is so strong to obtain, 
must be no superficial sentiment, but an inward 
passion of the heart* So long as we live in 
thought and imagination we are very apt to mis- 
take mere sentimf^nt for love ; but the difference 
will show itself so soon . as we begin to act. 
Sentiment is soon wearied by labor and difficulty 
in its pursuit of mental attainment, soon dis- 
gusted by squalor or offended by ingratitude in 
its attempts at benevolence, soon discouraged by 
the hardness of its own heart when it endeavors 
to acquire self-control, or to gain such virtues as 
seem in the abstract lovely arid delightful. In 
short, sentiment wants a royal road to whatever 
it strives to reach. Love, on the contrary, is too 
much in earnest to be dismayed by any impedi- 
ment. It will not stop half-way and make ex- 
cuses for its short-comings. It rests not in its 
course until it has gained what it seeks; and 
then it rests not lojig, for all true love " grows by 
what it feeds on/' and every height of excellence 
we reach does but enlarge the field of vision 
and show us new countries to be won. 

Admitting love to be, indeed, this intense and 
all-pcr\^adijig power, and the very life of our 
souls, the importance of training ourselves to 
love only that which is pure and true at once be- 
comes manifest. The heights of heaven are not 

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AFFECTION. 117 

fieurther from the depths of hell than are the re- 
sults that come to us if we seek the pure and the 
true from those which inevitably occur when the 
choice falls upon the impure and the false. Let 
no one think to dwell in safety because he haa 
not deliberately said to hirilself, " I choose the 
impure and the false " ; for if the pure and the 
true be not deliberately and voluntarily choseuj 
the heart out of its own inherent selfishness and 
worldliness will unconsciously sink graduallyj 
but surely, into the imjjure and the false. There 
is no half-way resting-place for humanity be- 
tween good and evil. We are always sinking, 
unless we are rising ; going backward, unless 
we are pressing forward. 

Much is said of the truth and purity of child- 
hood, and they are very beautiful, for the angels 
that care for children do continually behold the 
fcice of the Heavenly Father, — do stand perpetu- 
aUy within the sphere of absolute truth and pu- 
rity. But soon the child slips the leading-strings 
of its guardian spirit, and comes into his own 
liberty ; and now, unless it freely chooses to fol- 
low with willing and constant step in the same 
path wherein it has thus fax been led, it will 
wander from side to side, increasing at each 
turning the distance that separates it from the 
way of life, until at last it may wander so far 
that it loses the desire, and even the memory, 
which might lead it to return. Vicious propen- 

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118 THE ELEMENTS OP CHARACTER. 

sities will perhaps begin to show themselves; 
and in the hardened and shameless youth it will 
be hard to recognize any trace of the innocence 
of infancy. But perhaps, instead of viciousness, 
carelessness is developed, and youth is bright- 
ened by gayety, amiability, and ready generosity. 
Occasional derelictions from truth and honor 
find ready apologists among friends, because the 
boy or the girl is so "good-hearted"; but a 
closer inspection readily shows that the goodness 
of heart is very superficial, that the left hand is 
often unjust while the right is generous, that a 
lie is no offence to the conscience, if it be a 
good-natured one, and, in short, that very littiie 
dependence can be placed on the uprightness 
that has no firmer base than good-heartedness. 
Young persons of this sort are sometimes led 
away to commit some act so base that their 
eyes are opened to the dangers that beset the 
path in which they are travelling, and in sorrow 
and dismay they turn to seek the way of inno- 
cence whence they had wandered. Too often, 
howev^, the carelessness of youth passes into 
the indifference of adult life and the callousness 
of old age. What can be more revolting than 
an old age cold, hard, and selfish ? Yet this is 
the natural and almost unavoidable result of a 
youth that does not fix its heart in unwavering 
love upon truth and purity, — whose aspirations 
are not for those things which cannot grow old, 

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AFFECTION. 119 

and which the world can neither give nor take 
away. A heart filled with love for excellence 
can never grow old ; for it will go on increasing 
in all that is lovely and gracious so long as it 
lives ; and where there is perpetual growth of the 
faculties there can be no decay. We grow rfd, 
not by wear, but by rust ; and we can never be- 
come the prey of rust while our faculties are 
kept bright by the power and the exercise of 
earnest love. The fleshly body must grow old 
and die, for it is of the earth, earthy ; but it is 
by our own weakness and indolence if our spir- 
itual body ever gathers a wrinkle on its brow. 
When the fleshly body drops from us, what must 
be our shame and our despair if we rise in a 
spiritual body deformed with evil passions, or 
corrupt with the leprosy of sin. Too many, 
alas! spend all their energies in feeding and 
clothing and sheltering the natural body, leav- 
ing the spiritual body hungry and naked and 
cold. We sometimes hear wonder expressed 
that a mind thus starved has become super- 
annuated and doating, while the body still carries 
on its functions with vigor; but had the body 
been treated with a similar neglect, it would have 
long before returned to the dust. The growth 
of the spiritual body should be continuous from 
the cradle through eternity^ and seldom can 
any other reason than our own neglect be as- 
signed for its disease or decay. The bread of 

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120 THE ELEMENTS OF CHABACTER. 

life is perpetually offered for its support, and if it 
refuses to eat, its death is on its own head. 

Infants who pass into the spiritual world be- 
fore they are touched by a taint of earth are, 
probably, through the absence of all evil in those 
who are suffered to approach them, trained into 
a purity of Affection that jSUs their whole being 
with its genial warmth, descending, or raying 
out, into all the imaginations of the soul and all 
the thoughts of the mind. Thus they serve Grod 
in the order which the Saviour commanded, with 
6,11 the heart, and soul, and mind. They, how- 
ever, who remain long on earth, almost without 
exception, have the order of their nature so re- 
versed, that their powers must be converted to 
the right, in the order of St. Paul, ascending from 
the lowest to the highest ; or, which is the same 
thing, passing from the outmost to the inmost. 
The lowest and most external part of the being 
must be made obedient to the laws of Divine 
Order, and on this as a foundation must the 
higher and internal nature be built up, until it 
forms a sanctuary ; and upon its altar shall fire 
from heaven descend so often as a gift is offered. 

The practice of external vice, just in propor- 
tion to its grossness, incapacitates us for per- 
ceiving what is true or loving what is good. 
By vice is not meant crime such as exposes us 
to punishment by the law of the land, but sins 
against the laws of God, that bring their own 

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AFEVCTION. 121 

punishment with them, by defacing the image 
of God in the soul. There is always need of 
searching the heart to find if we have committed 
crimes against-the soul ; for ihe laws of the land 
deal only with the excessive derelictions frpm 
right which we cannot ignorantly commit We 
may, however, go on unconsciously in the com- 
mission 6f great sins until our hearts became 
hardened against all emotions of heavenly affec- 
tion, and ova eyes blinded so that we cannot 
distinguish the difference between, darkness and 
light. If we. would avoid this fearful condition, 
we must often go to the Gospels, and place the 
words of the Lord, in their various teachings, 
especially as they come to us frona the Mount, as 
it were in judgment over against us, and, reading 
veyse by verse, fathom the depths of our hearts, 
and confess whether we are guilty or no. Would 
we escape such guilt, we must . study these in* 
struptions again and agahr, until, as Moses com- 
manded of the laws of the elder Scripture, " they 
bhall be with us when we sit in our homes, or 
walk by the way, or lie dowh,- or rise up. And 
we shall bind them for a sign upon our hands, 
and they shall be as firpntlets betwefen our eyes.. 
And we shs^l write them upon the posts of our 
houses, and upon our gates*" , 

When we place the words of the Lord in 
judgment over against us^ and feel compelled to 
acknowledge our unfaithfulness to their require? 

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^;^- 



122 TfiS ELEMBNT8 OF OHABACTER. 

ments, there is danger of onf falling into despair 
through the conscionsness that is thus forced 
upon us of our want of love for JJie law of the 
Lord. The indulgence 'of. our own wills is so 
sweet to us, that we cannot see how it is possible 
that the yoke of the Lord can ever become easy 
to our stiffened necks. We feel as though an 
obedience that did not spring from true love 
could not be^ called obedience, n^y, was almost a 
sin ; for it seems to savor of hypocrisy. In this 
state of mind, our only refuge is in that faith 
which St. Paul tells us "is the substance -of 
things hoped f6r, the evidence of things unseen^' ; 
and then, unless this faith be s^ong enough to 
make us obey, though not from love, yet from a 
simple belief that at any rate obedience is better 
than disobedience, our state is wretched indeed. 
Our rationality tells ui that obedience is naught 
unless we love to obey, but an inward conviction 
of the soul — may we not call it the voice of God ? 
— entireats us, raying, " This do, and thou sbalt 
live." If, in the ardor of our faith, we can forget 
our rationality, and cry, ''^ Lord, I believe; help 
thou mine unbelief" ; a ml If we force ourselves to 
do that which we are Commanded, though at first 
it may appear to us an act purely external and 
dead, we shall soon find, that, if planted in dark- 
ness, it is still a living seed, and the Lord will 
water it till it shall spring into a ^owth of beau- 
ty that our hearts will cleave to with delight. 

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AFFECJION 123 . 

. The firat obedience of the aoul that has entered 
upon the way of regeneration is hardly less ig- 
norant than that of the 4ittle child who obeys his 
parent without comprehending the use or propri- 
ety of his commands ; and, like that of the little 
child, it consists in abstaining from doing that 
which is wrong, rather . than in doing" that 
which is right. As the child grows older, he pan 
look back upon those commands and uqderstand 
l^em ; and then he is ^ed with gratitude and 
love towards his parent for putting them upon 
him, So he who seeks to love the Lord must 
obey first, and understand afterward,— must 
keep the commandments ere he can kpow the 
doctrincd, — ^^must abstain from doing wrong be- 
fore the Lord can implant in his heart the love 
of doing right. 

In the first stages of regenerating life we think 
we love the Lor^ although we know that we do 
not love our felfow-beings a^ Iwe ought ; and we 
cannot comprehend the truth, that he who does 
liot love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot 
love the Lord, whom he has not seen ; and we 
think it is mtuch easier to be pious tpwards God 
than to be charitable towards men. If oursfaith 
is strong enough to inducfe;-us to obey the ex- 
ternal commandment of doing, as we would be 
done by, the affection of true brotheriy love by 
degrees grows up within us, we know not how, 
for the ft|Hrit of God has breathed upon us when 

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124 THE ELEMENTS OF CHABACTEB. 

we were not aware ; and then we perceive how 
imperfect was the love we bore to the Lord, 
when we had not learned to feel that the attri- 
bute which awakens true love for him is the per* 
feet love he bears towards each one of us, ieuid 
that we can appreciate this love only so far as 
we imitate it by feeling willing to" do all the good 
we can to pvery neighbor, without distinction of 
person, after the manner in which he causes the 
sun to shine and the rain to fall alike upoii the 
evil and upon the good. 

To live thus in charity with all men id not to 
do external actsrof benevolence indiscriminately 
to all, without respect of person. There is a 
conmion, but erroneous, idea in the world, that 
simply to give is charity. To live what many 
esteem a life of. charity, that is, a life of indis- 
criminate giving, is often to pay a bounty upon 
idleness and improvidence, and io furnish the 
means of vicious indu%ence. While remember- 
ing the command to give to those who ask. We 
must not forget the fwrohibition against casting 
pearls before swine. To give good things to 
those we liave reason to suppose will abuse 
them is as wrong as to withhold our gifts from 
those who would use Ihem. To give ignorantly, 
when \^e know not th^ value of the claim upon 
• our benevolence, is at best but a negative virtue, 
and we should bear in mind that everything we 
bestow upon the unworthy is so much abridged 
from our means oT aiding the worthy. 

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AFFECTION. 125 

, Many persons seem to suppose that charity 
consists entirely in alms-giving, while this is only 
its lowest form. Kind deeds and kind words 
are as truly works of charity as pecuniary gifts, 
and we do not le^d lives of parity unless we are 
as ready with those in the home circle and in our 
social relations as with these among the poor. 
God shows his love to his children by providing 
them with sustenance for the body, for the intel- 
lect, and for the affections, and if we would re- 
semble him, we must show pur love to the neigh- 
bor by being always ready to minister to the 
wants of thosc^ around us, in whatever form they 
mayari9e. o 

We are told to give even as we receive, smd 
we are also told that we are sjbewards of the 
Lord ; that is, that .all our gifts are held in trust 
from him ; and we must use them in such a way 
that at his coming he may find his own with 
Usury. True charity never impoverishes. In 
j>utward possessions it would be hard to find a 
man who has made himself pwr by acts of 
benevolence, for a just and wise benevolence is 
almost sure to be accompanied by an orderly de- 
velopment of .the factdties such as in our country 
makes prosperity almost certain. In intellectual 
attainments most persons are familiar with the 
IJeiet, that there is no way by which we can so 
tiiorooghly confirm and make clear in om^ own 
minds anything ^fit we know, as by imparting 

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126 THE ELEMENTS OF <3HABACT£R. 

it to another. In all that relates to the affectional 
part of onr being, none can donbt that we grow 
by giving. The more we love, the more we find 
that is lovely ; and it is only in ^propo^tioli as w;e 
love, that we can learn to comprehend that God 
is infinitely powerful by reason of his infinite 
love. If we -would make our one^ talent two, ot 
our five talents ten, the best way to da it is by 
giving 0>f all that we have to those who are 
poorer than ourselves. 

Every person has within him three planes of 
life, which constitute his being, and which, dur- 
ing the progress of regeneration, are "successively 
developed ; viz. the natural, tlie spiritual, and the 
heavenly- With those who lead an externally 
good life on the natural plane, that is, who act 
more from the impulses of a kind disposition or 
a blind obedience than firom the light of Chris- . 
tian truth, charity consists merely in' supplying 
the natural wants of the neighbor by making 
him more comfortable in his external condition?; 
and this is well, for there is little, if any, use in 
trying to improve the^ inner man while the outer 
is bowed down with waiit or squalid with im- 
purity! This is the basis of th^ higher planes of 
charity, the first in time, though lowest in degree. 
There ^re those who think lightly of this form 
of charity, befause it is lowest in degree, forget- 
ting that it is Absolutely essential as . a basis for 
everything that is higher. ^This truth may be 

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AJ^FBOTXON. 127 

illustrated by theduties of the parents of a family. 
It is .easy to perceive that the highest duty of par- 
ents is the spiritual training of their children, that 
the second is to give them an intellectual educa- 
tion, while the third and lowest is to feed and 
clothe and shelter their bodies. This duty to- 
wards the^ body, although lowest in\ degree, is 
first in time ; and ministering to the wants of the 
natural bodies of their children, that th^y may 
grow np strong and heahhy, is the first duty to be 
performed in order to insure, so far as possible, 
a trustworthy basis on which to build up their 
spiritual bodies. It should, however, be^ disf 
tinctly kept in mind, that this is only the low 
est plane of parental 4utyj and that to rise no 
higher is, as it were, to lay a solid foundation 
with labor and expense, and then leave it with 
no superstructure, a monument of folly. 

From this ^lass of charitable persons come 
those who found .institutions and lead reforms 
having in view the amelioration of the physical 
condition of the human race. In regarding this 
as the lowest class, no disreg^pect towards it is in- 
tended, for it is absolutely essential as a basis to 
the higher ; but this foundation should be recog- 
nized as such by the founder in order that he 
may adapt ifc to the superstructure, and not elab- 
orate the former at the expense of the latter. 
The parent may squander his means upon fine 
clothes aiid sumptuous fare until he has nothing 

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128 THE ELEiqBIfTS OF CHA&ACTKR. 

left for the inteUectual education of hb children; 
the state m^y build palaces for the physics^ 
comfort of its paupers and criminal^, until there 
is nothiog left in the treasury t6 construct school- 
houses and colleges for the mental training of ita^ 
virtuous children y the philanthropist may so be- 
stow his charities that the recipient will learn to 
iFeel that it is the duty of the rich to supped the 
poor, and so become a pauper when he might 
have been a useful citizen. 

With those whose brotherly love is of the sec- 
ond, or spiritual degree, charity is founded on 
the love, of right, theiove of giving to all their 
just due. Those of the first class will,- perhaps, 
deem those of the second cold, yet ja close obser-. 
vation will show that in the end more good is 
done to society through the effort^ of the latter 
than of the former^ Where the generosity i)f the 
first would reforjtn the condition of a miserable 
neighborhood, by giving the sufferers food and 
raiment and shelter^ the justice of the second 
would say all men should have the means of 
acquiring a support for themselves, and his efforts 
would be turned to providing employment, and 
encouraging a spirit of industry among the poor. 
Where the first would build almshouses and 
hospitals, the second. would build factories and 
workshops. The 4rst would lavish all that he 
had in direct gifts to the poor, and then have 
nothing more in his power to dio fo* them, while 



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AFf'ECTION. 129 

the second, by busbanding his resources at first, 
would be able presently to place them beydnd 
the lieed of aid. The first will be so generous 
to-day that it will be hard for him to be just to- 
monfotv, while the second, by doing only justice 
now, gains power to bring about the most gen- 
erous restdts hereafter. 

This second degree of charity or brbtherly love 
should not ignbte nor contemn the first, but build 
itself upon it. Justice must not fprget mercy. 
The poor must not be suffered to starve before 
work can be provided for them, or they be taught 
to do it. One Christian virtue does not destroy 
that which lies beneath it, but rises to its true 
height by standing upon it. We do not puU 
away the base of a structure because ^e wish ita 
top to be more elevated. ^ 

The third, ax heavenly degree of charity re- 
sults from love to the Lord. This is the highest 
possible form of charity, and -through its develop- 
ment man is brought into connectioii with the 
highest heavens. The first form of charity comes 
in great measure from a love of self. We obey 
its impulses becatuse of our own personal distress 
at witnessing the distress Of others; and where 
unrestrained by higher principle, these impulses 
often compel us to be unjust. toVday because we 
were over-generous yesterday. The second form 
of charity results from true brotherly love, that 
leads us to restrain impulse because principle 
9 

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ISO IHB BLBMSMTS OF CHABACTBR. 

pute it in oar power to cjo so much more for 
those who need our aid. The third form is tiie 
fruit of love to the Lord. It is warmer than the 
first and wiser than the o^cond. It develops the 
whole power of man, both rational and affec- 
tional, by leading, him to the eternal soujrce of all 
power, whence cometh down to us all capacity 
to think and to love* Quickened by love to the 
Lord, we shall perpetually feel that we are his 
stewards, and while we are filled with g^titude 
towards him, as the giver of every good thing we 
possess, we shall equally be ^ed with desire to 
give even as we have received, good measure^ 
running over, and shaken together. Then we 
shall fed, that, if we would lead lives of true 
charity, it tnust be by imitating the Lord, who 
showed forth his love towards his children, first 
by giving them the earth and all that it con- 
tained as an inheritance J secondly, by giving 
them the Word of his divine truth to teach them 
the way in which they should walk; and thirdly, 
by coming in person to show them the ife^lity of 
a divine life. Finitely imitating this infinite ex- 
ample, as we advance in the regeneration x>f our 
Affections, we shall first give of our external pos^ 
sessions from the love of giving, and firom a de^ 
sire to make ourselves )iappy by seeing others so. 
Next, we shall give from the knowledge of trutib 
that is in us, working with such wisdom, as we 
possess,, to help others to make themselves happy. 

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AFFSOTI0K. 131 

Finally, love to God will lead us to perceive that 
charity in the highest degree is the leading a 
good life ; and that he who is pure and holy and 
faithful is a living fcMrm of charity. Whil6 this 
state does not destroy, but fills ftdl the two pre- 
ceding ones, it will perhaps diminish rather than 
increase the general action of the life upon so- 
ciety, because its tendency is to increase our 
earnestness in the perfoirmance of the immediate 
dtities of life that are included in the family cir- 
cle, and in all that relates to the particular occu- 
pation of the individual. This is tlie natural re- 
sult of an interior love to the Lord : for this makes 
us feel his immediate presence in all the circum- 
stances of daily life, and so causes Us to look 
upon the duty that lies nearest as that one which 
the Lord wishes us to perform first ; and, till iiidt 
is done, prevents our seeking out duties more re- 
mote and less apparent 

In studying the material manifestations of the 
Divine Love and Wisdom, we find that the per- 
fection of each mihutest part is a type of the per- - 
fection of the great whole. So in the material 
works of man, every w^hole thing approaches per- 
fection just in the degree that its several parts 
are perfect; and it is vain to labor for great re- 
sults while we overlook minute details. So in 
life, society can never be a virtuous and happy 
whole, until each individual, in his special voca- 
tion, fulfils every duty pertaining to his station. 
If we would perform our quota of the great 

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182 THE ELBMENTS OF CHABACTEB. 

whole, we must, e^ch in his place, fulfil the 
-V; duties that lie around us ; and we must bewaie 
\ how we go out of our way in pursuit o( duty, 
unless we are confident that we are not neglect- 
ing, or perhaps trampling upon, a duty that lies 
directly in our. path. 

There is especial danger, at the present day, 
that many of us may need to be warned, like the 
scribe of old, wearied with his task-work, not to 
seek great things for ourselves. As Baruch mur- 
mured because he must again aiid again write 
out the words of Jeremiah, so we cry out wearily 
at the daily recurring duties of life, and would 
fain seek some great thing whereby to show 
forth our devotion to the truth* This is because 
our love to the Lord is not yet strong enough to 
regenerate our Affections. In proportion as this 
is accomplished, duty will become lovely to us, 
because it is what the Lord sets before us to do. 
We all know how pleasant it is to do the will of 
those whom we most love on earth, and^o would 
it be supremely delightful to us to do our duty if 
we had a similar love for our Father in Heaven. 

As the little coral insect, obeying ^the blind 
instinct of its nature, adds particle to particle, 
and builds a house for itself 'at the same time 
that it helps to construct a continent ; so we, 
obeying the voice of God, in every little duty, 
performed not grudgingly, but with the heart, 
are adding something to our eternal mansions, 
and helping to enlarge the bounds of heaven. 

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LIFE. 



*<Thoa Bhalt notxesp^ the penon of the poimr, nor honor the posda of the 
migfaly: bat in zightBoanuM ihalt thou judge thy neii^bor.'* — Liyinoui 
xlx.l6. 

<* There is bat one thfaig of which I am efiraid, and that if ftar.^ ■^'ilov- 

TAIttHl. 

" Work ! and thou Shalt blett the day, , 

Bre thy task be done ; 
^ They that work not cannot pray, * 
Cannot feel the sun. 

** Worlds thou mayst possess with health - 
And nnslombering i>owers ; 
Indosti^ alone is wealth, --. 
What we do is ours." 



Thought, Imagination, and Aifecfion, com- 
bined harmoniously, constitute a symmetrical 
Character, and they should manifest themselves 
in an extei-nal Life of corresponding symmetry. 
The External Life will always fall short of the 
internal^ because we can always imagine a de- 
gree of excellence beyond that which we have 
reached, let our efforts be earnest and active as 
they may ; and the" more we advance in Christian 
progress, the wider will t^e vista open before 'us 

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134 THE ELEMENTS OP CHABACTBR. 

of that which we may yet attain. As we ascend 
the heights of worldly knowledge, in whatever 
department, the horizon widens at every step; 
and we always' know that the horizon, distant as 
it may seem, is oidy aa imaginary limit to that 
which may be known. The shallow student, in 
the inflation of self-conceit, may fanpy that tis 
own narrow valley is the limit of the universe ; 
but the wise man knows that limitation belongs 
only to his own oi^anrzation, and not to the uni- 
verse of God. So in the training of Character, 
we may go on in our progress, not only through 
time, but through the jfneasureless periods of 
eternity, arid yet we know that we can never 
reach that perfection of development which be- 
longs to the All-perfect. 

Among the insane dreamers of ihe earth, those 
are found who. deem themselves enjoying light 
sufficient to live, lives of perfection, even in this 
dim morning twilight that lies around us on 
earth; but. it is their bat-kke vision which takes 
for noonday that which, were their eyes couched, 
would seem to them but darkness visible. He 
who fancies that he leads a perfect life, is but a 
dreamer concerning things of which he has no 
true knowledge* 

Perfection is, nevertheless, the object at which 
we should patieniiy and steadfastly aim, and the 
loftiness of the mark, unattainable though it be, 
will shed an ennobling influence oir those who 

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LIFE. 135 

strive. The mass of hnman beings aim at noth- 
ing higher than to be as virtuous as, or a yesry lit- 
tle more so than, their neighbors ; and are often 
more than contented when they think they have 
reached the low mark at which they aim. To 
compare ourselves with our fellow-beings is 
always dangerous, and leads to envyings, rival- 
ries, pride, and vainglory. In aU our aims, the 
absolute should be our only mapk. If in intel- 
lectual pursuits we strive only to know as much 
as our neighbors for the sake of decency, or to 
know more than they for the gratification of 
pride^ or for the pursuit of wealth or honor, we 
shall never reach sojiigh a point as if we studied 
without ever stopping to compare ourselves with 
any one; bift worked right on, incited simply by 
the desire of knowing all that bur capacities iind 
opportunities would enable us to acquire. Work- 
ing thus, w^e shouM go on our way rejoicing, our 
hearts embittered by no envyingSy inflated by no 
conceit. Comparing what we know with that 
whidh we do not know, wer could never become 
vain of our acquirements, for we must always 
feel that what we know i^ but the beginning of 
that which remains to be learned. 

So in Life, if we compare bur own lives with 
the lives of our neighbors, we shall be envious 
and jealous, or else self-conceited and proud ; and 
our efforts will probably soon slacken, and then 
cease; and then we shall begin to go down hill, 

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136 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

al the very moment, p^h&ps, when we are tak 
ing credit to ourselves for our rapid, or our finr 
ished ascent If, on the, other hand, we compare 
our lives with that absolute perfection which the 
Lord sets before us as our model, we shall incur 
the danger of none of these vices ; and though 
the greatness of our task may well cause us to 
"work in fear and trembling," we shall ever be 
cheered by the consciousness that "the Lord 
worketh within us both to -will and to do." 

When our characters take form in external 
Life, thought must give us discrimination. Im- 
agination must give us courage^ and Affection 
must give us earnestness; then our external 
nature will be the transparent medium through 
which the internal nature will shine, with a lustre 
undiminished by the opacity which is sure to 
dim its radiance when dulness, fearfulness, or in- 
dolence inheres wititthe external nature; for then 
it forms a husk to hide, instead of a mediuHi to 
display, the workings of ihe inner being. 

The powers that have been treated of in the 
preceding essays are sometimes found to work 
well so long as they work upon abstractions ; but 
so soon as they are required to work upon the 
daily Life, they fail of reaching so high a point 
of excellence as we think we had reason to an- 
ticipate. This results from the want of either 
discrimination, courage, or earnestness ; and the 
inker nature cannot be thoroughly trained until 

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LIFE. 137 

these faculties are so developed by its life-giving 
power, that their weakness ceases to interfere 
with its movements when it seeks to manifest 
itself ia external Life* " 

Thought can discriminate abstractions long 
before it can discriminate facts in their relations 
with .Life. It can reason lo^cally of the true 
and Hie false in the realms of the mind long be- 
fore it can tell the right from the wrong with cor- 
rectness and readiness in the daily ongoings of 
eveiits. To disoriminatte justly here, we must be 
able to dissipate the mists with which the love of 
self and the love of the world obscure the way 
in which we tread ; hiding that which we ouffht 
io love, and displaying in enlarged proportions 
the things that we do love, until reason loses all 
jusrt data, and accepts whatever passion offers as 
foundation for its judgtQcn^. Persons thus mis- 
led x)ften think they really meant to walk stead- 
fastly in the right pati>, and that they are not re- 
sponsible for having wandered into the wrong. 
They call what they have done an error of judg- 
ment, and rest content in ihe belief that their in- 
tentions wete good, and therefore they are not to 
blame. This maybe true, for ^' to err is human," 
and none but the All-wise can be sure of always 
judging rightly. StiU, when we know that we 
have done wrong through an error of judgment, 
we should carefully examine and see if we might 
not have avoided this mistake had we been more 

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138 THE ELBMBNTS OF CHABACTEB, 

careful in our ihve^tigatiqn of facts, — more con- 
dcientious ia our process of adopting our \ opin- 
ions. If we thus catechized our past errors, we 
should probably find, that, in a large proportion 
of cases, our error sprang from some cause we 
might have prevented, — from carelessness, from 
blindness caused by the desire to gratify our own 
wishes, or from indolence; in fact,^at what we 
fancied Sprang from an error of judgment only 
had a much deeper root, and drew its nourish- 
ment from undisciplined Affections. 

In training the faculty of discrimination, the 
work we nmst set before ourselves is to learn the 
relative value of principles, of persons, and of 
things ; and in order to do this^ we must look 
upon them in their relations with tinie and with 
eternity. We must learn to value and to judge 
from laws of absolute right, and not from the ex- 
pediencies of the hour. 

Protestants quote with horror the Romish nbiax- 
im, that,." for a just cause, it is lawfiil to confirm 
equivocation with an oath," yet the same prin- 
ciple lurks within their pwa bosoms, inciting 
many a well-intentioned soul to "do evil that 
good may come of it." The two maxims are 
twin sisters, and children of the father of lies. 
Perspns who think they have delicate conscien- 
ces not unfrequently tell what they call small 
lies, or, lies of expediency, in order that some 
good may come of it, which they esteem so great 

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LIFB. 139 

that it overbalan<?e8 the evil of ihe fip^sehood. 
This class of persons is veyy numerous, and of aU 
degrees, runniug from the mother who deludes 
her child into being a " good boy " by the prom- 
ise of punishment or of favor that she has no in- 
tention of bestowing, to the juror who swears to 
speak the truth, and then affirms that a guilty 
man is innocent, fancying that it is less a sin for 
him to commit perjury than for the poweis that 
be to commit what he calls oppression, injustice, 
or legal murder. This willingness to commit 
one sin, in order to prevent our neighbor &om 
committing aqother, is a form of brotherly love 
we are nowhere enjoined to practise ; it springs 
from an overweening seLWove, that believes itself 
too pure to-be contaminated by a small sin, 
while it forgets that a wilful disobedience of one 
commandment is in its essence disobedience to- 
wards the whole law. All who do evil that good 
may come of it, in any department of life, belong 
to this same class of persons. They ever look 
upon the sins of their neighbors with a sharper 
eye than they turn upon their own ; and ever 
hold themselves in readiness, bj^/* righteous in- 
dignation," intemperate zeal, and wisdom be- 
yond that which is written, to do battle for the 
Lord with weapons he has foijpbidden us to use, 
and to set. the world in order by means and 
principles in direct opposition to his laws. 

No one couCd be guilty of such sins who pos- 

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140 THE ELEtfBKTS OF CHABACTEB. 

sessed a discriminating sense of right and wrong ; 
such a sense as is derived from receiving the 
teachings of the Lord in simplicity of heart, and 
never presuming to set aside iiis commandments 
in ordier to place oiir own in their stead. His 
commands to refrain from doing evil are explicit, 
and without reserve, and he who ventures to call 
in question their universal application is sharp- 
ening a wieapon for the destruction of his own 
soul. 

The commands of the Lord are infinite prin- 
ciples, and in their natural and simple deduc- 
tions cover all the acts of Life having any moral 
bearing, from the greatest to the least; and it 
is not the wisdom, but the foolishness, of man, 
not his depth, but his shallpwness, that endeavors 
to limit their significance and their application. 
We shall find that our vain attempts to do this 
occasion almost all our eiprors of judgment. " The 
testimony of the L5rd is sure, making wise the 
simple," and he who is implicitly guided by it 
can alone walk surely; for he only has an unfail- 
ing guide in his endeavors to distinguish accu- 
rately betW^een right and wrong. 

If we learn to discriminate principles wisely, 
our nextstep is to apply a similar action of the 
thoughts to persons ; and here again it is tp the 
laws of absolute good and' evil we must look for 
light. We must learn to respect persons for 
what they are, and not for their position, their 

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LIFE. 141 

reputation, or their worldly possessions. If we 
are really aiming to train our own characters in 
accordance with the laws^ of absolute right, we 
shall be likely to respect in others the attributes 
we seek in our own persons. In all other efforts, ' 
there is too often envy and jealousy ^mong those 
who strive; but with those who seek true excel- 
lence, whether intellectual or moral, /or Us Bwn 
Sake, and not from love of the world, there, is 
always pure brotherly love ; and a perpetual der 
light is experienced in the contemplation of ex- 
cellence wherever it id found. 

In our estimate of the relative value of things, 
the same laws are called into action. If we 
would value them curight, we shall seek first: those 
which aid us in improving and educating oui 
characters, or which enlai^e our powers of use- 
falness, and be comparatiyely indifferent to things 
which are external, and contribute only to the 
pleasure of the hour. 

True discriminatioh may be defined as the 
faculty by which we justly estimate the value 
and the relations of principles, of persons, and of 
things ; and so far as we attain to it, the power 
of wise Thought is ultimated in Life. 

Courage, the buoyant child of Imagination, is 
the next faculty which we must duly cultivate, if. 
we would use the talents^ God has bestowed 
upon us to the best advantage. It is common 
to look upon courage as a natural endowment, 

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142 THE ELEHEKTd 01^ CHABACTEB. 

and few persons seem to be aware that it is a 
moral trait we are bound to cultivate. Yet 
when we consider how the want of courage 
. interferes with our powers of usefulness, we can- 
not doubt that conscience should have force to 
make brave men and women of us all. In the 
vaOious relations of life there is nothing that so 
paralyzes the powers asfear. They who are the 
subjects of fear are slaves, let their position of 
their endowments be what they may. The want 
of c6ui*age in practical life bringsr failure, casu- 
alty, and even death, in its train : intellectually, 
it robs us of half our power ; morally, it puts us 
in bondage to> our fellow-beings; and reUgiously, 
it leaves us without hope. 

Hope and fear are alike children of -the Imagi- 
nation ; but how different is their aspect ! Fear 
walks through the world with abject gait, search- 
ing constantly after something of which it may 
be afraid ; for, like all the other faculties, it per- 
petually demands food, and, if it finds it not in 
the world around, imagines it in the world within. 
Few persons, perhaps none, are fearful in every 
department of life ; but almost every one is so in 
some particular relations. Just so far as we suc- 
cumb to fear, we lose the control of our powers, ' 
and lie at the feet of circumstance instead of co- 
operating with it, and making it subserve our 
benefit. Hope, on the contrary, finds cause for 
joy everywhere, and when surrounded by gloom 

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LIFE. 143 

lees, in imagination, the dawn that niust.come - 
even after the blackest night^^and is buoytd up 
by the remembrance, that, though " sorrow may 
endure for a nighty joy cometh in the morning;^ 
Wh«re fear sees nothing but the black clouds that 
threaten coming storms, hope looks through them 
to the bow of promise. Hope is the internal 
principle of true courage. St Paul, in his beau- 
tiful description of charity, tells us that it " hopeth 
all things " ; and we may easily perceive how it 
must be so, for the external form of charity ia 
love to the neighbor, which leads us to hope all 
things for our fellow-beings; while its internal 
form, which is love to God, must lead us-^to hope 
all things for ourselves. The devils believe and 
tremble because they hate God ; the devout be* 
Heve and hope because they love him. 

Let us consider courage specially in its four 
principal relations,— physical^ intellectual, moral, 
and reUgious. 

Physical courage, — the courage of practical 
life, — though it seems the lowest form of this 
virtue, is perhaps quite as rare as .either of the 
others. Thei^e is abundance of fool-hardiness, of 
brutal rashness, indifferent to aU comseqaences, 
in the world ; but very littie of that cabxLj self- 
possessed courage that leaves to one the full u^e of , 
his faculties in the midst of danger, and allows 
bim to act wisely even when meeting deadfa face < 
to face. The only «ure foundation tSt this form 

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X44 THE ELBMEKTB OF CHABAOTEB. 

of courage is unshrinking trust in the overruling 
power of God, — a trust that shall make us feel 
his providence ever clasping its arms about us in 
all the circumstances of life, causing us everio 
bear in mind, that he who watches the fall of the 
sparrow cannot permit us to perish or to suffer 
by chance. This trust will give u& power to 
meet the prospect of death with calmness, let it 
threaten in what form it may, whether the sum- 
mons come in the crash of the shattered car, the 
bowlings of the ocean-storm, the ^ash of the 
lightning, or the quiet of our own chamber. We 
shall feel that the hand of God is in, or over, 
them all ; and when danger threatens, our facul- 
ties willrather be quickened than diminished by 
the consciousness, that, in times of emergency, if 
we look to him, he will be the more abounding 
in pouring his grace upon us to supply our need. 
Calm, self-possessed courage comes to us the 
moment we lean upon God for strength ; while 
we are rendered helpless by fear, or rash by arro- 
gance, if we look only to ourselves. 

There are those* who would feel that they 
were passing away by the will of God, if disease 
came to them with slowly .wasting hand, and 
would meet his^ wiH, coming in that form, with 
meekness and patience, perhaps with willing- 
ness; and yet, were they caUed to die by -sud- 
den casualty, would pass into eternity shrieking 
with terror. Much of this fear of sudden death 

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LIFE. 145 

is a mere physical passion, arising from a mis- 
taken idea that there must be great pain ixi a 
death by violence ; and some even, in spite of 
the direct teaching' of the Lord to the contrary, 
look upon such a death as a manifestation of the 
wrath of Grod against the individual. Yet there 
is, in fact, much less suffering in most deaths by 
casualty than by prolonged disease; while in 
many such there is probably entire freedom from 
suffering. The mercy of God, no less than hia 
power, is everywhere, and in all forms of death, 
no less than in life ; and were our love for him 
as universal as his for us, we could no more fear 
while remembering that we 8a:e in his hands, 
than the infant fears while clasped to its mother's 
breast. 

The possession of this trust in God, because 
it makes one calm in all positions and under all 
emergencies, is the surest of all safeguards against 
danger. How often,. in the shocking records of 
disaster by land and water, is the loss of life 
directly traceable to the want of that true cour- 
age that retains self-possession everywhere, and 
under all circumstances, ^ving the power to 
ward oflF threatening danger, even when it seems 
most imminent and irresistible. In pestilence^ 
the terrified are the first to fall victims to the 
scourge, while none walk so securely as those 
who posaess their souls in quietness. 

Iiitelle6tual courage, — the courage of thought, 
10 

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146 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTEB. 

—comes second in the ascending, scale. As 
physical courage gives us the ability to use our 
faculties with the same freedom in the most im- 
minent danger as we should with no alarming 
circumstance to excite us, making us as it were 
to rise above circumstance, so intellectual cour- 
age gives us the power to think with independ- 
ence, jufit as we should if we did not know the 
opinion of another human being upon the sub- 
ject which engages our thoughts. 

Persons having an humble estimate of their 
own abilities are apt to take their opinions, with- 
out reserve, from -those whom they most respect, 
without making any effort on their own part to 
judge for themselves between truth and falsehood. 
If this were right, it would take all responsibility 
in relation to matters of thought from this class 
of persons ; yet every human being must be re- 
sponsible for the opinions he holds. We cannot 
excuse ourselves by saying we took our ^opinion 
from another, and it is his fault if it be false. 
Each one must be prepared to answer for his 
own opinions, just as he must be responsible for 
his own actions. 

Persons of a combative disposition take just 
the opposite course £rom this, and adopt opin- 
ions merely because they are opposed to some 
particular person or to some class of persons. 
Such persons fancy themselves very indepAident, 
and announce their opinions witii a movement of 

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LIB^. 147 

the head, -that seems to say, "You see I am 
afraid of nobody, and dare to think for myself." 
There is, however, quite as little independence in 
adopting an opinion because somebody else does 
not think so, as in accepting it because he does. 
Incjependence of thought is thinking without any 
undue regard to the opinion of any one else, one 
way or the other, 

A third class of persons, having large love of 
approbation, is very numerous. These are un- 
willing to express any opinion in conversation 
until they have ascertained the views of the per- 
son they address ; cannot tell wha^t tl»ey think of 
a book until they know what the critics say; 
and seem to h^ve no idea of truth in itself, but 
look merely to please others by changing their 
opinions as often as they change their compan- 
ions. There are many authors of this class who, 
in writing, strive only to please the vanity of the 
reader by presenting him with a reflection of his 
own ideas ; and whose constant aim is to follow 
public opinion, instead of leading it. They do 
not care whether the ideas they promulgate are 
true or false, if they are but popular ; and if they 
fail to please, are filled with chagrin, and some- 
times have even died of despair, 
. A fourth class of persons, possessed of strong 
self-esteem, arrive at independence of thought 
through pride of intellect, and this is even rnore 
dangerous than to depend upon others for our 

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148 THE ELEMENTS OP CHARACTER. 

opinions ; for of all idolatry, there i^ none so in- 
terior and bard to overcome as the worship of 
self. K we would arrive at troth of opinion, we 
must be independent of our own passions and 
prejudices no less than of our neighbor's. There 
is but one source of truth, and whoever believes 
that he finds it elsewhere is an idolater. The 
Lord lias declared, " I am the way and the truth 
and the life " ; and it is only through him as the 
way that we can-find the truth, and we seek it 
through him when we love it because he is the 
truth, and so seek it for its own absolute beauty 
and excellence, desiring to bring it out into life. 

Look where we may along the pages of his- 
toid and the records of science, it is the devout 
men who have been the successful promulgators 
of new ideas and searchers after truth. The 
scoffer and the infidel make great boasts of their 
progress through their independence of Scrip- 
ture ; but in a little while a devput man follows 
in their footsteps ^nd proves that their deduc- 
tions are false, and that even their observations 
of facts were not to be trusted. Scoffers and 
infidels come, promising to set the world in 
order by subverting governments; but though 
they are quick to pull down,- they have no power 
to build up ; and it is only when the devout man 
comes, that the reign of anarchy and misrule 
ceases. ■ 

Common, daily life is the epitome of history. 

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LIFE. 149 

The devout man is the only one whose opinions 
are trustworthy ; and just so far as we become 
truly devout will the scales that hinder us from 
seeing the truth fall from our eyes. " If the eye 
be single," looking to the Lord alone, unbiassed 
in its gaze by^the thousand-fold passions of earth, 
"the whole body shall be full of light." 

Moral courage, the third phase of this virtue, 
is that faculty of the soul by which we "are en- 
abled to act, in all the social relations of life, 
with perfect independence of the opinions of the 
world, and governed only by the laws 6f abstract 
propriety, uprightness, and charity. It gives us 
power to say and to do whatever we conscien- 
tiously believe to be right and t;rue, without 
being influenced by the fear of man's frown or 
the hope of his favpr. This is veiy difficult, be» 
cause the customs and conventionalisms of soci- 
ety hedge us about so closely from our very 
infancy, that they constraiil us when we are un- 
conscious of it, and lead us to act and to refrain 
in a way whiph our better judgment would for- 
bid, did we consult its indications without being 
influenced by the world. 

It was a saying of a wise man, that " he who 
fears Qod can fear nothing else"; and there is 
certainly no healthy way in which we can be de- 
livered from that fear of the world which destroys 
moral courage, but the learning to fear, above all 
tilings, failing to fulfil our duty before God. If 

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150 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

we would have moral courage, we must accus- 
tom ourselves to feel that we cyre accountable to 
God, and to him only, for what we da There 
is a spurious moral as well as intellectual cour- 
age, the offspring of pride and arrogance, that 
pretends to independence in a spirit of defiance 
of the opinion of the wcMrld ; but this wiH never 
give us the power to act wisely, for wisdom is 
ever the twin sister of charity that loves the 
neighbor even while differing from him in opin- 
ion. True courage of every kind is perfectly 
self-possessed, but never defiant. A spirit of de- 
fiance springs. from envy or hate if it be honest, 
and from a consciousnes^ of inferiority if ias- 
sumed ; and is sometimes only a disguise. self- 
assumed by fear, when it seeks to be unconscious 
of itself. True moral courage restdts from the 
hope that we are acting in harmony with the 
laws of eternal wisdom. Fear of every kind is 
annihilated by a living hope that the Lord is on 
our side. 

If we would test the quality. of our moral 
courage, we must ask ourselves, is it defiant ? is 
it disdainful ? is it envious ? does it hate its 
neighbor ? or are its emotions affected in any 
way by the opinion pf the world? If we can 
answer all these questions in the negative, we 
must go a step farther, and ask if we have gained 
a state of independence of our own selfish pas- 
sions, as well as of the world ; for our most in- 

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LIFE. 151 

veterate foes, and those before whom we. cower . 
most abjectly:, are often those that dwell within 
the household of our own hearts. If the love of 
ease or of sensual indulgence rules <there, we 
need to summon our moral courage to a stern 
strife, for there is no conquest more difficult than 
over the evil a;ffections that are yooted in our 
sensual nature. Wise and good men have gone 
so far as to believe that this conquest is never 
entire in this world ; that the allurements of indo- 
lence and the gnawing of sensual cravings are 
never quieted save when the body perishes. It is, 
however, difficult to beUeve that passions exist 
in the body apart from the soul, and if not, there 
can be no absolute impossibility of conquest, 
even in thig world. If this maybe attained, it 
must be through the building up of a iarue 
moral courage, that shaU fight believing that the 
sword of the Lord is in the hand of him who 
strives, trusting in that eternal strength which is 
mighty even as we, are weak, . 

Religious courage , develops naturally in pro- 
portion as the grbvfth of moral courage becomes 
complete. Fear is nowhere so distressing as in 
our relations with our Creator. That which is 
by uaturie best becomes worst when it is per- 
verted ; and as the blessed hope to which, as 
children of God, we are all born heirs, is in its 
fulness an infinite source of joy and blessing to 
the soul, so when it is reversed and perverted into 

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152 THE ELEMENTS OF CHABACTEB. 

fear, it becomes the soulrce of unspeakable mis- 
ery, sometimes resulting in one pf the most 
wretdied forms of insanity. 

The morbid state of the mind which induces 
this distressing passion is the result of a peculiar 
form of egotism, which leads the thoughts to 
fasten upon one's own evils so entirely that the 
xnind oeases <t6 recognize, or even to remember, 
the long-suffering patience and mercy of the 
Heavenly Father. A more common, but less 
painful form of this fear is the result of vague- 
ness in one's ideas of the Divine character and 
attributes. The clear and rational views which 
Swedenborg has given of the Divine Providence 
is undoubtedly the reason why religious melan- 
choly is aln^ost never found among the members 
of the New Church. The peace in believing, 
which is almost universal among this class of 
Christians, is a subject of remark among those 
who observe them, wherever they are found; and 
this arises, not iinerely from their not looking 
upon God as an enemy and avenger who de- 
mands a perfect fulfilment of the letter of the 
law, or infinite punishment for sin, either person- 
ally or by an atoning Saviour ; but from the pos- 
session of a distinct idea, imaged in their minds, 
of the nature and the quality of the Divine Prov- 
idence. Where there is a tendency to any kind 
of fear, nothing increases it more than the want 
of a distinct idea of the thing or person feared ; 

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LIFE. . 153 

becari^e the Imagination, which is always quick 
with the timid, is ahnost, sure to create some- 
thing within the mind far more fearful than any- 
tjiing that really exists. The greatest boon man-? 
kind ever received through a brother man was 
the doctrine first pronaulgated by Swedenborg, 
that God has respect even to <5ur good inten- 
tions ; and that he casts out none who sincerely 
desire to be of his kingdom. If one distinctly be- 
lieves this doctrine there i» no rational groimd 
in the mind for fear ; because the very fact of our 
desire for salvation — provided we understand 
salvation to be a state of the mind,- and hot a 
mere position in a certaiii place, — or something 
pertaining to our iiltemal, and not to our ex- 
ternal, nature — makes it impossible that we 
should fail of attaining it. - 

If one is oppressed with religious fear, the 
way to escape from it is to use every endeavor 
to attain a clear and distinct idea of the Divine 
character, and to ^strive to bring one's self into 
harmony with it ; — to, think as little as possible 
about one's own sins, and to train the thoughts 
to dwell upon the NPivine perfections, and culti- 
vate an ardent desire to imitate them. It is 
necessary to think of one's self enough to refrain 
from the commission of external sins, and just so 
far and so fast as ^ye put away sin, the Lord 
wilLlmplentihe opposite virtue in its place, pro- 
vided we put the sin ^wsly from love to him. 

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154 THE ELEMENTS OF CHABACTEB. 

and not from any selfish or worldly motive. 
This state of active cooperation with the Lord 
is something very different from that into which 
one falls who is the subject of religious fear," and 
cannot exist in company with it The religious 
coward can only overcome his fear by remember- 
ing that God is not a tyrant who demands im- 
possibilities of his slaves, but a Father of infinite 
lov^, who would make his children eternally 
happy; and who, in order that they may become 
«o, gives tiiem every means and eveiy' aid that 
they wiU receive. He must not suffer his heart 
to sink within him by thinking of his own weak- 
ness, but must elevate it by thinking of the in^ 
finite power of hiip. who has called us to sal- 
vlition. Above all things, he must not fall into 
reveries about himself, but seek to forget self in 
the ^ctivp performance of duty. 

The performance of duty, thfe fulfilling of use, 
which, rightly understood, is the universal pana- 
cea against all the troubles and sorrows of this 
life,* is too often ^ fearful bugbear in the eyes 
of those who understand it not. This subject, 
however, brings us to the third and last topic to 
be discusse-d under the head of Life. The love 
of duty, to be effectual or real must be earnest; 
for earnestness is the certain result of living 
Affection. Through this, all our other powers 
and facidties ultimate themselves in external 
Life. , Earnestness is the exact opposite of indo- 

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LIFB. 155 

lence» It is the external motive pow«r, just as 
Affection is the internal motive power,— r-th^ 
body, of which Affection is the spuL With- 
out esurnestness, all our other powers come to 
naught, and we live in vain ; with it) our other 
endowmeats become alive, and ready to impress 
themselves upon the external world. Indolence 
is a rust, corroding and dulling all our facul- 
ties ; earnestness, a vitalizing^ force, quickening 
aiid brightening them. By earpestness, alone, 
can we climb upward in that prc^ess which, be 
gun in time, pauses not at the grave, but passing 
through the' portal of death, goes eternally on in 
the same direction which we chose for ourselves 
here, ever approaching more nearly to the Divine 
perfection, whose lifd is the unresting activity ' 
of infinite love. By indolence, we sink ever 
lower and lower, and through a continuous pro- 
cess of deterioration, grow each day more unfit 
for the heavenly life, which all but the aban- 
doned, and perhaps even they, fangy they desire, 
even when- refusing to use any of th6-mekns 
whereby it may be gained. 

In the circle of man's evil propensities, no one, 
perhaps, is a more fruitful mother of wretched- 
ness and crime than the propensity to indolence. 
It is a common saying, that the love of money is 
the root of all evil ; but ihat TOot often runs deep- 
er, and finds its life in indolence, which incite^ 
those under its dominion to seek money through 

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156 THE elej^entS of chaitactek. 

unlawfnl means. The desire for money impels 
most men to constant effort, and there is no rea- 
son^for attributing a stronger desire to him who 
steals or defrauds than to him who labors stead- 
falstly, every day of his life, from early dawn to 
eve; yet we praise the latter, and condemn the 
former. It is not, then, the love of money that 
we condemn, but the desire to attain it by vicious 
means; and such desire results from a hatred 
for labor, which is the only legitimate means by 
which it may be gained. Money in itself is but 
dead matter, serving only as a minister to some 
end beyond; and the simple desire for it is 
neither good nor bad : the end for which it is 
desired elevates the desire itself to a virtue, or 
d^^ades it to a vice; and the means which we 
adopt for obtaining it, and the purposes ta which 
we apply it, make it either a blessing or a curse. 
Every possession, whether mc»ral, intellectual, 
or physical, is the legitimate reward of labor 
wisely and earnestly applied ; and for these re- 
wards the virtuous are content io labor without 
repining, and to them, not only the rewards, but 
the labor itself is blessed. The vicious, on the 
contrary, desire the rewards, but hate the labor 
by which they should be gained. They, there- 
fore, accordingly as they belong to different 
classes of society, simulate virtues which they do 
not possess, pretend to acquirements they have 
been too idle to gain, or strive after wealth, by 



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LIFE. 157 

any means, rather than patient industry and hon- 
est eflFort. 

It is not the vicious alone who fail to perceive 
that labor is a blessing from which a wise man 
can never fly. The curse applied to Adam, " In 
the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," has 
led many to suppose that originally the wants 
of the human race were supplied without any 
exertion of its own, — -that in the garden of Eden 
there was enjoyment without effort, possession 
without labor. Even in the pulpit, labor is sdme- 
times spojLen of as a curse pertaining only to 
life in this world, from which we shall be deliv- 
ered in the life, to come. Nothing can be farther 
from the truth. Employment is the life^ of every 
soul, from the Most High down to the least of 
his children. They only who are spiritually 
dead, or sleeping, ask for idleness. It is man 
fallen who looks on labor as a curse, not man 
walking with God in the garden of Eden; and 
to man, when he has fallen, labor is indeed a 
curse, for his soul is so perverted that he knows 
not the true nature and qualities of a blessing. 

Man, resting in thought or feeling, is at best 
a useless abstraction ; he becomes truly a man 
only when his thoughts and feelings come forth 
into life, and impress themselves on outward 
tilings. If he fail to do this, the rust of idleness 
eats into all his powers, till he becomes a useless 
cumberer of the ground; the world loses, and 

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158 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. . 

heaven gaind nothing when this mortal puts on 
immortality. Such a being is dead while he 
lives, — a moral paralytic. His capacities are as 
seed cast upon a rock where there is no earth. 

God works incessantly. His eye knows no 
closing, his hand no weariness. The universe 
was not only built by his power, but is sustained 
evei^ moment by his inflowing life. If he "were 
to turn from it for a single instant, all things 
would return to chaos. Man, created in the 
image and likeness of God, resembles him most 
nearly when the life influent from God which fills 
his soul flows forth fredy as it is given, quicken- 
ing with its powers all that comes within the in- 
fluence of his sphere. 

There is an old proverb that tells us, " Idleness 
is the devil's pillow " ; and well may it be so 
esteemed, for no head ever rested long upon it, 
but the lips of the evil spirit were at its ear, 
breathing falsehood and temptation. The in- 
dustrious man is seldom found guilty of a crime ; 
for he has no tinie to listen to the enticings of 
the wicked one, and he is content with the en- 
joyments honest efibrt affords. It is the vicious 
idler, vexed to see the fortunes of his industrious 
neighbor growing whil^ he is lounging and mur- 
muring, who robs and murders that he may get 
unlawful gain. It is the merry^ thoughtless idler 
who, to relieve the nothingness of his days, seeks 
the excitement of the wine-cup and the gaming- 

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LIFE. 159 

table. It ia the sensual idler, whose licentious 
ear is. open to the voice of the tempter as often 
as his track crosses the pathway of youth and 
innocence. 

Not only by reason of the external, palpable 
rewards which labor brings is it to be considered 
a blessing;^ but every hour of patient labor,* 
whether with the hands, or, in study, or thought, 
brings ivith it its own priceless reward, in its di- 
rect effects upon the 'Character. By it the facul- 
ties are developed, the powers strengthened, and 
the whole being brought into tt state of order ; 
provided we do all things for the glory of God. 
" But," exclaims the impatient heart, wearied 
with the cares pf daily life, " how can all this 
labor for the preservation and comfort of the 
merely mortal body, this study of things which 
belong merely to the_ material world, subserve in 
any way the glory of God ? " It is by these very 
toils, worthless and transitory as they may seem, 
that the Character is built up for eternity; and so 
to build up Character is the whole end for which 
the things of time were created. No matter how 
small the duty intrusted to our performance, by 
performing it to the best of our abilities we are 
fitting ourselves to be rulers over many things, — 
to hear the blessed proclamation, " Well done, 
good and faithful servant; enter thou into the 
joy of thy Lord." 

We are prone^ at times, to feel as though we 

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160 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

were aot placed in the right niche ; and that, if we 
were differently situated, and occupied with em- 
ployments more worthy our capacities, we should 
work with pleasure and assiduity ; but our pres- 
ent duties are so much beneath us, it seems de- 
grading to spend our time and thoughts upon 
them. Here is a radical error of judgment, for it 
is not a high or low duty that degrades or ele- 
vates man, but the performing any duty well or 
ill. It is as true as it is trite, that the honor or 
&bame lies in the mode of perfolrmance, not in the 
quality of the duty. We all, perhaps, know and 
say, and yet need to be reminded, that a bad 
president stands lower in the scale of being than 
d good town officer ;^ a wicked statesman, let 
him occupy w^hat social position he may, fills a 
lower place than a cpnscientious slave who faith- 
fully fulfils the duties of his station. 

The first Church, represented by Adam, fell be- 
cause it ceased to look to the Lord as the source 
> of all life and light, and looked only to itself for 
all things. It thus lost all conception of the 
legitimate aim of life. Seeking only the enjoy- 
ment of the present jnoment^ labor seemed a dire 
calamity ; for the eternal end of labor, that is, 
the development of the powers of the soul, so as 
best to fit it for the performance of heavenly 
uses, passed out of the knowledge of man, and 
he learned to look forward to heaven as a place 
of idle enjoyment; toiling sorrowfully through 

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LIFE. 161 

this world, in the sweat of his face, for bread that, 
when attained, gave him no true life. To eat 
bread in the sweat of the face signifies by cor- 
respondences, to receive and appropriate as good 
only that which self may call self-produced and 
self-owned ; and to turn away witl;i aversion from 
that which is heavenly. This is precisely what 
we all do when we shrink from, or despise, any 
labor which duty demands at our hands. The 
Lord places us in that posdtion in life which is 
best adapted to overcome the evil dispositions of 
our nature, and to cultivate our souls for heaven. 
Perhaps we haye capacities that would enable 
us to perform duties that would be considered 
by the world of a higher character ; but perhaps, 
on the other hand, we have vices that the Lord is 
striving to overcome by placing us in this very 
position which so frets and disgusts us. If we 
will but remember that the mercy and love of 
th6 Lord strive to bless us by fitting us for 
heaven, and not by making us eminent in the 
eyes of men, we shall probably find it much 
easier to comprehend why we are placed a^ we 
are in this world. When we torment ourselves 
by thinking of the inappropriateness of our posi- 
tion in thisi world, we are always viewing our 
position with regard to this woirld only, and 
therefore-^ all things are dark to us. When we 
look humbly to the Lord, and seek to find out 
liie eternal ends of his providence in the circum- 
11 

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162 THB ELEMENTS OF GHABACTEB. 

stances of otir lives, gradually the scales pass 
from our eyes, and at last we go in peace, seeing. 
Beside the education of our powers and facul- 
ties, employment is a blessing in helping us to 
bear the severest trials of this life. When be- 
reavement or disappointment overwhelms the 
soul with anguish, so that this worid seems only 
the dark habitation of despair ; when we cannot 
see the bow of promise in the black cloud that 
darkens otir horizon ; when We feel that we are 
without God in the world, — and there are few if 
any human beings who have, not found them- 
selves at some time in such a state, — then, as 
we hope by the grace of God ever to escape from 
this despair, we should fly idleness as we would 
fly the dagger or the poisoned cup ; and though 
grief be tugging at the heart-strings, though our 
eyes are blinded with tears, we should set our- 
selves diligently about doing something that may 
help to .make others happy, and let no duty go 
unperformed; and it will not be long ere the 
dimmed eyes shall begin to see the glow of the 
sunshine above, and the earth radiant with beau- 
ty b^ow; while, so far from being deserted of 
God, we shall feel that sorrow has brought us 
more distinctly than ever before into his pres- 
ence. 

*^ The path offsorrow, and that path alone, 
^ Leads to thi land T(4iere sorrow is unknown.** 

What are the employments of heaven we 

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' LIFE. 168 

cannot know with any particularity. Sweden- 
borg tells us that the angels are constantly per- 
forming uses ; but what these uses are we are 
ndt distinctly told. We know that they corre- 
spond in some way to the employments of earth ; 
but really to understand them probably tran- 
scends our capacities while we remain in the 
flesh. -The conscientious performance of the 
material and finite uses of this life is the only 
means by which we can prepare ourselves for the 
spiritual and et»nal uses pertaining to the heav- 
enly kingdom; uses which probably serve to 
comfort; nourish, and strengthen the soul in eter- 
nity, as on earth the corresponding uses serve the 
wants of the body. 

In the spiritual World the spiritual body is fed, 
clothed, and sheltered ih much the same way, 
to appearance, as is^ the material body in the 
natural world; but all the surroundings of the 
spirit correspond to the state 6f each individual 
being, and are the direct gift of the Lord. All 
the arts and trades of this life do not exist 
in the other, but as these arts and trades, as 
well as everything else in ttiis world, exist only 
through their correspondence with somethi4g in 
the other world, it follows that all the occupa- 
tions of this life have not sunilar, but correspond- 
ing, occupations in the other. The end of life in 
this world is to fit the soul for entering upon the 
heavenly life, and the end of life in heaven is 



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164 THB ELEME17TS OF CHARAGTEB. 

perpetual advancement in spiritual graces and 
perfections; for no angel, even in the highest 
heavens, has reached a degree of perfection so * 
high that he can go no further. The end of . 
heavenly life thus being infinite, the effort and 
employment of that life must be ceaseless. In 
speaking of ceaseless effort, it must not be under- 
stood that this resembles at all the wearying 
labor of a slave, or that there is anything oppres- 
sive or forced about its performance; for this 
could only be anticipjated with dread. Heavenly 
employment must be full of life and joy, bearing 
us upward like the wings of a skylark, a3 he 
/bathes in the sunlight of the upper ether, and 
carols forth his joy. There will undoubtedly be 
a variety, too, in heavenly employment, corre- 
sponding with pur varying ^states, and making 
tedium impossible. This may be illustrated by 
imagining what would be a perfect mode' of 
spending a day in this world. We wake in the 
morning refreshed by repose, and as -we look 
forth at the sun our spirits rejoice in the beauty 
of the wakening day, and rise toward the heav- 
enly throne in prayer and praise. We set about 
the performance of our daily duties, and Chris- 
tian charity toward those for whose happiness 
or benefit, whether physical or intellectual, we 
exert our powers, makes us faithful in whatever 
we do, that it may be done to the best of our 
ability; and our effort is lightened by the con- 

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LIFE. 165 

sciousness of duty done from pure and uptight 
motives. If we go forth for refreshment, com- 
• muniorl with nature and the God of nature fills 
our souls with peace, while the fresh air gives 
new life to the frame. When the duties of the 
day are over, and the family circle collects around 
the evening lamp, reaCding or conversation awakes 
the powers of the heart and the intellect, and 
draws more closely the bonds of the domestic 
affections. We retire for the night, and ere com- 
posing ourselves to sleep, we collect our thoughts, 
reflect upon the events, of the ^day, examining 
what we have done well or ill, and prepsire by 
wiser resolutions for future effort. We slumber, 
and the repose of all our powers renews our 
strength for the coming morrow. Through the 
whok of this twenty-four hours, employment has 
been constant. There has been labor of the 
hands, l^bor of the head, conversation, thought, 
prayer, sleep. Every part of tUe being has been 
called into exercise ; there has been no weariness 
from labor, and no idleness ; but every moment 
of this whole day has added its quota towards 
promoting the growth of the whole being ; and 
this is a heavenly day. The more perfectly we 
can make the occupations of our days thus com- 
bine for the growth of our being, the better we 
are preparing ourselves for the days of heaven. 

As the progress of the heavenly life will be in- 
finite the wwits of our spiritual natures must 

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166 THE ELEMEKTS OF GHARACTEB. 

likewise be infinite. The heavenly life must be 
a life of charity, — ■ a life in which every soul will 
strive to aid every other to the utmost ; and the 
charities of heaven must strengthen and comfort 
the soul in a manner corresponding. to the aid 
material charities effect in this worid. Let it 
constantly be borne in mind, that charities are 
duties well . performed, of whatever kind they 
may be, — as well the faithful fulfilment of an 
avocation as the aiding of a suffering fellow- 
being. Charity is but another name for duty, or 
rather duty becomes charity when we perform it 
from genuine love to the Lord and to ihe neigh- 
boi: ; and whoever leads a life of charity in this 
world is fitting himself to perform the higher 
charities that will be required of him in heaven* 
The true end and highest reward of labor is 
spiritual growth ; and such growth brings with it 
the most exalted happiness we are capable at 
attaining. This happiness is the kingdom of 
heaven within us ; and it is the certain and un- 
failing reward, or rather consequence, of a life of 
true charity. It is not difficulty by intellectual 
thought, to perceive the truth of this doctrine; 
but this is not enough.. We must elevate our 
hearts into a wisdom that\shall make us not only 
perceive, but feel and love this truth. Until we 
can do this, we do not truly believe, though we 
may think we do. If we fret and murmur ; if wa 
are impartent and unfaithful ; if, when we plainly 

r 

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LIFE. 167 

see that our duty lies in one path, we yet long to 
follow another ; if we know that we canhot leave 
our present position without dereUctioh from 
right, and yet hate or despise the place in which 
we are ; if we repine because God does hot give 
lis the earthly rewards we fancy we deserve, . 
though we well know he promises only heavenly 
ones ; if we do habitually any or €dl of these 
things, we may know that our faith is of the lip, 
and not of the heart,— that the life of charity is 
not yet begun within us. Such repinings, such 
cravings as these do not belong nor lead to the 
heavenly kingdom. 

He wha thinks wisely can never live a life of 
idleness^ and where there is excessive indolence 
of the body ihete is never healthy action of the 
mind. A life of use is a life of holiness ; and a 
life of idleness is a. life of sin. He who performs 
no social use, who makes no human b^ing hap- 
pier or better, is leading a life of utter selfishness ; 
is walking in a way that ends in spiritual death. 
In the parable of the sheep and the goats, the 
King condemns those on the left hand, not be- 
cause they have done that which was wrong, 
but beciause they have omitted doing tiiat which 
was right. 

No human being in possession of his mental 
faculties is so incompetent that he can do noth- 
ing for the benefit of those around him. One 
prostrate on a bed of sickness might seem, at - 

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168 THE ELEHEKTS QF CHAIULCTEB. 

first glance, incapable of performing any use ; 
and yet, not unfrequently, what high and holy 
lessons of patient faith^ of unwav^ing piety, are 
taught by 5uch a being, — lessons that can never 
die out from the memory of those who minister 
at the couch of suffering. When the body lied 
powerless, and the hand has lost its cunning, 
when even the tongue is palsied in death, how 
often has the eye, still faithful to the heavenly 
Master, by a glance of holy peace performed the 
last act of charity to the bereaved ones whom it 
looks upon with the eye of flesh for the last time. 
So long as life remains to us our duties are un- 
finished: God yet desires our service on earth, 
and while he desires let us not doubt our capa- 
city to serve. Even for one in the solitude of a 
prison-cell, when acts of charity become impos- 
sible, the duty of labor is not taken away. One- 
may still work for the Father in Heaven, thou^ 
sitting in darkness, ,and with manacled limbs. 
To possess the ^oulin patience, to be meek, for- 
giving, and pious, are duties amply sufl^ient to" 
tax the powers of the strongest. There is no 
room for idleness even here. 

To work is not only a duty, but e necessity of 
our nature, and when we^ fancy ourselves idle, 
we are in fact working for one whose wages is 
death. The question is never, Shall we work? 
but. For whcHu shall we work ? "Whom shall we 
choose for our master ? and our happiness here 

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LIFE. 169 

• 

and hereafter must depend on the answer We 
give to this question. We may not deliberately 
put and deliberately reply to this question in 
stated words ; but our whole lives answer it in 
one long-continued period. Those who labor 
steadfastly, with no end in view but the acquisi- 
tion of worldly, perishable advantages, answer it 
fearfully; but theirs is not a more desperate re- 
ply than comes from the idler and the slothful. 
Wherever there is activity and force there is 
hope ; for though now flowing in a wrong direc- 
tion, the stream may yet be diverted into chan- 
nels that shall lead to eternal life. Where there is 
no activity, where alLthe faculties of the soul are 
sunk in the lethargy of indifference, as well may 
one hope to find living fountains gushing forth 
into fertilising streams amid the sands of the 
African desert. The man of science tells us that 
living springs exist beneath these sands, andihat 
artesian wells might bring them to the surface ; 
anil so in the inmost nature of man, however 
degraded he may be, Swedenborg tells us there 
is a shrine that cannot be defiled, through which 
heavenly influences may come down into his life, 
and yet save him, if he will receive them ere he 
passes from this world ; but when sloth has be- 
come habitual and confirmed, there is almost as 
little room for hope that this wiU ever take place 
as that artesian tubes will ever make the Saha- 
ran desert a region of fertility. 

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170 THE ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. 

The kingdom of evil is readily attained. We 
have but to follow the allurements of the pas- 
sions, and we shall surely find it ; we have but to 
fold our hands, and it will come to us. -With the 
kingdom of eternal life it 4s tiot so. That, is a 
prize not easily won. Faithful, untiring effort, 
looking ever toward eternal ends ; a constant 
scrutiny of motives, that they ifiay be pure and 
true ; an earnest, heartfelt, <ieterinined devotion 
to the heavenly Master, to whose . seirvice^ we 
have bound ourselves by deliberate choice, can 
alone make sure for us what we seek. For a 
long time this may require labor almost painful, 
but if We persevere, our affections will gradually 
become^ at one with our faith, the heavenly life 
will became fiabitual, so as to be alniost instinc- 
tive; ^nd when the celestial kingdom is thus 
established within us, no place will be left for 
weariness, or doubt, or paiii, or fear. 



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CONYEHSATION. 



«He who sedulously attends, pointedly asks, calmly speaks, coolly answers, 
and ceases when be has no more to say, is in possession pf some of the best 
requisites of man." — Latatxk. 

' ** The <»mmon fluency of speech, in many-men. an4 m^t women, is owing 
to a scarcity of matter and a scarcity of words ; for whoeyer is master of a Ian • 
goage, and has a mind full of ideas, will be apt, In speaking, to hesitate upon 
the choice of both ; whereas, commoni^eakers haTe ^y One set of ideas, and 
one set of words to dotbe them in ; and these ^re always ready at the mouth ; 
80 people can come fiuiter out of a diurch when it is almost empty, than whien 
a crowd is at the do(t»." — Swut. 



Op all the physical powers possessed by man, 
there is none so noble as that of speech ; none 
that distinguishes him so entirely from the brute ; 
yet how few. there are who seem in any adequate 
degree to comt)rehend its power and value, or 
^y^ho ev^r pause to reflect upon the sacrilegious 
abuse to which it is often degraded. 

Language is Thought and Affection in form, 
as worka are Thought and Affection ill life. By 
language we receive the word of Divine Revela- 
tion, and by language we approach the Divioe Au- 
thor of all things in prayer. By language w^ are 

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172 THB ELEMENTS OF CHABACTEB. 

made happy in social life, through interchange of 
thought and feeling with our fellow-beings. By- 
language, man is mad^ lord of the terrestrial 
workL By language, the wisdom of past ages 
becomes an inheritance for the whole earthy in- 
stead of perishing with each possessor ; and thus 
man advances from age to age, through the ex- 
perience of the past, instead of being obliged to 
work out all the wisdom he gains by his own in- 
dividual effort. 

This is the bright and beautiful side of lan- 
guage; but on the other hand is a dark and hide- 
ous side, when language becomes the foul and 
poisonous medium through which the folly, the 
vice, and all the moral deformities of humanity, 
are spread abroad through the world, and handed, 
down through the ages. The same medium that 
serves as a vehicle for heavenly truth is the tool 
of the scoffing -infidel; it is formed into prayer 
by the saint, and into blasphemy by the sinner. 
Alternately, it serves the purest and holiest uses, 
or the vilest and most atrocious abuses; now 
formed to the sweet breathings of heavenly char- 
ity, and anon to the harsh utterances of malig- 
nant hate. 

These distinctions are wide and clear, and 
easily perceived by the most obtuse or indifferent 
observer; but these distinctly marked varieties 
pass into milder shades as they arp exhibited in 
common Conversation, and then a nicer observa- 

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OOKVEBSiLTION. 178 

tion is needful to detect the v^eties of hue that 
color language ivhen used in the every-day forms 
of society. 

The habitual use we make of language is the 
result of our own characters, and it reacts upon 
them. It likewise acts upon those who are about 
us with an unceasing power, repelling or attract- 
ing all whom we approach. Every human being 
exerts a perpetual influence on every other hu- 
man being, with an activity as universal as that 
of gravity in the materia world ; and language 
is one <)f the most efficient means of this influ- 
ence. Viewed in the light of these truths, com- 
mon Conversation becomes an object of serious 
^consideration ; and the mdde of sustaining it 
worthy of the deepest. thought and of the most 
careful watchfulness. 

Between the malignity of at fiend and the 
charity of ian angel there is a long interval of in- 
clined plane, and those who^ walk tiere may 
seem a company so mixed that they cannot be 
separated into two^ distinct bands ; but every in- 
dividual of the throng is looking toward one or 
the other extremity, and either ascending or de- 
scending in his course. Conversation is the out- 
birth of our thoughts and affections, and it shows 
their quality in the most direct manner possible. 
Actions are said to speak louder than words, and 
to the appreciation of our fellow»beings our lives 
are much truer and fuller expositions of our in- 

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174 THE ELBHSNTS OF CEULBACTEB. 

temal natures than our Conversation ; but before 
God, always, and before our own consciences if 
we really look at ourselves, the insincere words 
that deceive our fellow-beings stand unmasked, 
— the deformed exponents of the falsehood of 
the soul. We can therefore understand the char- 
acter of our neighbor better by his actions than 
.by his words ; but to understand our neighbor is 
of little importance compared .with understand'^ 
ing ourselves; and is chiefly useful because a 
comparison: of individusds aids us in comprehend- 
ing our own natures. We can understand our- 
selves by our own w'ords if we will take the 
trouble to consider them dispassionately, and an- 
alyze the thoughts and affections whence they 
spring. ^ . ' 

So little honesty is believed to etist in ordi- 
nary Conveisation, that the saying of a witty 
courtier^ that "language is tjie instrument where- 
by man conceals his thoughts," has cdmc^st parsed 
into a proverb. The question, in which direction 
is the man walking who wraps duplidty about 
himself as his constant garment, needs no an- 
swer; for all must know that the Divine Being, 
whose forin is truth, hateth a lie. 

The first element in Conversation should be 
sincerity. Not the blunt and harsh sincerity 
sometimes met with, which is made the. cloak of 
self-esteem and bitterness ; ibr that is an evil of 
tiie same nature as the malice aud hatred that 

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OONVEBSATIOK. 175 

show themselves in active, outward injury to- 
-wards the neighbor. When excited by pride or 
anger, the tongue needs a bridle no less than the 
hand ; and when the heart can utter itself truly 
only in the forms of such passions, silence is its 
only safeguard. In speaking of the follies or 
vices of others, sincerity should: be tempered by 
a Christian charity. Which, while it does not gloss 
over vice, does not dwell upon it needlessly, nor 
take a maliciouspleasureiii spreading it abroad, 
nor indulge self-complacency by dilating upon it, 
to give the idea that one is superior to such 
things. 

If such motives are allowed to have sway, a 
person soon -becomes confirmed in the iiabit of 
gossiping, — a habit that degrades alike the in- 
tellect and the heart. The soul of gdssip is a 
contemptible vanity that imagines itself, or at 
least would have others imagine. it, superior to 
aH that it finds of evil and absurdity in the char- 
acters of those whom it passes in review. A 
very little observation wiU serve to show any one 
that everybody sees his neighbors' faults, while 
very few 6pen their eyes upon their own; and 
that not unfirequentiy a person condemns with 
the utmost vehemence in others precisely the 
same follies andvices in wWeh he himself habitu- 
ally indulges. Those who study their own char- 
a(^rs witii most care, and who best -understand 
themsdives, are apt to say least of the characters 

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176 THB XLEMBNTS/OB' CH1IU.GTXS. 

of their neighbors ; they find too much to 4o 
within themselves, in -curing their own defects, to 
have time or inclination to sit in judgment upon 
the defects of others. ^ v 

It is impossible to indulge habitually in this 
vice without weakening the powers of the intel- 
lect The heart never suffers alone from the in- 
dulgence of any wrong passion. The intdlect 
and the affections ever sink as well as rise to- 
gether. Where the love of gossip becomes.a con- 
firmed habit, the mind loses its power of accu- 
rately appreciating the value of Character,^- of 
distinguishing truly. between the good and the bad. 
The power of discrimination is weakened and 
impaired, so that no confidence can be placed in 
the opinions of the mind in relation to Charac- 
ter or Life. In addition to this^'we must bear in 
mind that all the mental power we bestow in crit- 
icizing and ridiculing our fellow-beings is just so 
much taken f^om otir mental strength, which we 
might have applied to some useful intellectual 
exercise. The strength of. the mind is no more 
indefinite than that of the body. We have but a 
certain limited amount; and all that we apply to 
idle or bad purposes is just so much abstracted 
from the good and the useful. 

Sarcasm is a weapon we are almost sure to 
find constantly used by the gossip ; and whether 
it be shown in the coarse ridicule of the vulgar, 
or the keen satire of the refined, it springs evet 

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OONtEBSATION. 177 

fr:>m the same souroe, and is directed to the same 
end; as surely as, the dumsy war-club of savage 
lands was invented from the same impulse and 
wrought with tiie same intent; as the graceful 
blade of Damascus. Its source is vanity, its end 
to make self' seem great by making others seem 
little« It is a weapon that, however skilfully 
wielded, always cuts both ways, wounding far 
more deeply the hand tiiat grasps* it than the vic- 
tim it strikes. Of allthe powers of wit, sarcasm 
is the lowest. There is nothing easier than ridi- 
cule; nothing requiring a weaker head, or^a 
colder heart * v. 

The sincere lover of truth will never be found 
habitually indulging either in gossip or sarcasm ; 
for those who are addicted to these vices never 
tell a stoiy simply- as they heard it, never re- 
late a fact simply as it happened. A little is 
added here or. left out there to give the story a 
more ^itertaining turn or the ^satire a keener 
poitit As the habit grows stronger, inv^itiou 
becomes more ready and copious, till at length 
truth is covered up- and lost under<an accumu^ 
lation of fiction. 

There is a very common form of insincerity 
used by ai class of well-meaning but injudicious 
persons, who, rather than wound the feelings of 
their friends, conceal the truth from them, some- 
times by prevaripation and sometimes by posi- 
tive fiedsehood ; doing wrong, that, as they im- 
12 

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178 tHB: ELEHBHTS OF CHABACTES. 

agiae, good may come of it; as tiiough an evU 
tree could by any possibility bear good fruit. 

Another class of pei'sons converse as though 
the chief sin of Conyersation were the wounding 
the self-love of those to whom they speak, by 
expressing any diflference of opinion' from them. 
Thus they are continually temporizing, and often 
contradicting themselves, and exhibiting a cow- 
ardly meanness* of spirit, which is one of the most 
contemptible of all the varied forms of duplicity^ 

There is a common form of embarrassment re- 
sulting in a hesitation of speech, which often 
springs- from a want of genuine sincerityi The 
fepeaker is fancying what others will think of his 
remarks, instead of fixing his mind entirely on 
the subjeibt of discourse. In this divided state, 
his mind loses half its power, and he utters him- 
self in a manner satisfactory neither * to himself 
nor to his hearer^. No doubt hesitation jn spfeeeh 
sometimes arises from want of verbal skill; but 
probably a very Isirge proportion of persons suf- 
fering from this difficulty would soon cure them- 
selves if they would steadfastly speak what they 
believe to be truth, just as it rises in their minds, 
and without stopping to think what will be 
thought of their Opinions or words by those who 
listen to them. . . 

Next after truth, reverence is perhaps most 
important if we w;ould- order our Conversation 
aright Many indulge in a frivolous mode of 

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CONVERSATION. 179 

speech in regard to the most sacred subjects ^ 
which, though it may spring fron> nothing worse 
than thoughtlessness, cannot fail to exert a bane- 
ful influence on the Character, and diminish, per- 
haps destroy the little respect for things holy 
still cleaving to the heart. This.same irreverence 
shows itself in another form, in speaking of the 
cledamities suffered by others, turning that into a 
jest which is to those under^discussion cause of 
the most bitter anguish ; and though th^ speak- 
ers probably would not for any consideration 
have their words come to the ears of those 
spoken of, (they still do not hesitate to make food 
for mirth out of death or sin, poverty or misfor- 
tune, in a way little short of inhuman. The in- 
dulgence of this habit falls back upon the soul of 
the perpetrator, wounding deeply, if it does not 
kill, all the finer sensibilities ,of the nature.; dry- 
ing up the fountains of sympathy, and making 
the heart hard and callous. 

Akin to reverence, and probably springing 
from it, is purity ; which shows itself by a careful 
avoidance of everything profane, obscene, coarse, 
or in any way offending ddicacy, either in word, 
tone, or suggestion. This purity (jannot be too 
much insisted upon ; for its opposite poisons tiie 
fountains of the heart, defiling the temple which 
should be a dwelling-place for the Holy Spirit. 
Delicacy and refinement are toa often looked 
upon merely as the elegant ornaments of ppl- 

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180 THE BLBXENTS OF CHARACTER. 

ished life. They ehould, on the contrary, be 
esteemed essentials in the Christian Character* 
Everything leaning tow8urd« profanity, obscenity, 
or indelicacy is^ utterly incompatible with Chris- 
tian purity of heart. . Low attempts at wit, that 
hinge oa. vulgarity, are a common form of this 
vice; and those who indulge their propensities 
in this direction ar^ laying the foundatjion for 
general grossness of Character, such as they 
would now,' perhaps, shrink from with. horror j 
but towards which they are -none the less 
surely tending. • "^ ^ 

We are told, that "for every idle word we 
speak we shall give an account at the day of 
judgment; for by our words we^haU be justi- 
fied, and by our words we shall be condemned." 
This ha» jseemed to many a very hard saying, 
and while some* persons try to explain it away, 
others turn from it as too hard either to explain 
or to receive. When, however, we reflect on 
what words really are, we perceive that this 
heavy accountability clings to them of necessity, 
as effect to cause. Man was created the image 
and likeness of God, and when we find points 
hard of comprehension in the tjharacter- or rela- 
tions of man, we may often gain much light by 
taking a corresponding view, so far as our finite 
powers permit, of the Divine Being. 

The Scriptures are the ^ivine Word ; that is, 
tto verbal exponent of the Divine Mind; while 

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^ CONVERSATION. 181 

the world around us is the material exponent of 
the same Mind; Speech and life in humanity 
correspond to these two modes of expression of 
the Divinity. When imperfectly -understood, 
they almost of necessity seem to contradict each 
other ; but it is only then. The unity of the 
WcMrd and Works of God is becoming con- 
stantly more apparent ^s man advances in the 
knowlec^e of both. Each helps to explain the 
other, and it is only by a knowledge of both 
that the character and attributes of Ck)d can be 
justly comprehended. A little consideration will 
show thdt the speech and life of man in like 
manner combine to exhibit the character and 
qualities of the soul within, — that they harmof 
nize with each other, and that therefore of neces* 
sity by our words no less than by our works We 
must be justified oi* condemned before the All- 
seeing One. 

Many suppose, that because we, in our short- 
sighted views, are so often misled by the words 
of our fellow-beings, they are not true pictures of 
Character. We should, however, remember that 
it is not before short-sighted man that we are to 
be judged by our words, but before the onmki- 
cient Grod. To his ear our words have a very 
different significance jfrom that which they bear 
to our fellow-beings. We should recollect, that 
the falsehood which may make it impossible for 
us to "judge righteous judgment of our fellow- 
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182 THB ELEMBNTS OF CHABAOTEB. 

beings stands before the Lord only a43 a false- 
hood ; and that, in whatever form it comes, from 
the courteous white lie — as man. dares to call 
it — of polished society, to the double-dyed 
blackness of malignant hypocrisy, God sees only 
the varying shades of dissimulation ; springing, 
in whatever form, from a deep-running under- 
current of selfishness and wprldliness. We may 
be deceived into believing words are genuine 
when they are not so ; but every disingen^ous 
word uttered is, before God, the image and like- 
ness of the duplicity that reigns within. To us 
they may seem the beautiful garments that en- 
velop purity .and truth ; but to him they are the 
foul and flimsy veils that strive to conceal thtf 
soul's deformity. 

Man, in the pride of his artifice, often exults 
because he has outwitted his neighbor by his 
lying words, while all the time he has far more 
outwitted himsejf. He has degraded his own 
soul, — set upon it a foul mark that can be 
washed out only by the bitter tears of penitence, 
and yet hplds his head aloft in fancied superior- 
ity over his fellows, while before God and the 
angels he stands like Cain, with the mark of sin 
impressed upon his^ forehead. 

That man should be condenmed for lying 
words all will admit, but when men converse 
idly, or without any particular thought one way 
or the other as to what they are saying, they are 

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CONVERSATION. 183 

apt to suppose that no especial moral character 
belongs to the words they utter. Such, however, 
is far from the feruth. Man is never so sincere as 
in his idle moments. His words are then the 
simple outpourings of his affections. K has been 
often said, that one can, always measure the re- 
finement of any person by watching his language 
and deportment in his moments of sportiveness. 
It is quite as easy to judge of other traits of 
Character when the mind is thrown off its guard 
at such moments. Idle words, mofe apparently 
than any other, are genuine manifestations of 
Character. It is in* them that the heart, out 
of its abundance, speaketh. The Conversation 
of a ti^e Christian is characterized in his hours 
of gayety, no lesa than at other times, by truth 
tempered with love, made clear and steadfast by, 
simplicity jL and clothed with reverence and purity. 
The trait of Conversatiou we would next con- 
sider is courtesy, — Christian courtesy. This is 
nothing more nor less than carrying out the law 
of charity; the doing as we would be done by. 
It is ta recognize the ,fipx5t that others have -a right 
to talk as well as ourselves ; and also a right to 
expect us to listen to what they say as attentive- 
ly and respectfully as we would wish them to 
listen to uia. We should not merely hold our 
fcongues when others speak, but should scrupu- 
lously attend to what they say. A person who 
affects politeness^ although he remams silent 

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184 THE ELEMENTS OF CHABAGTEB. 

while another speaks, yet does so with an air 
that plainly shows he is paying no attention to 
what is said, and is waiting with impatience for 
the moment when he can hear himself talk. 
This sort of > listening is a mere pretence put on 
by the cbnceited and overbearing when they 
wish to pass for persons of polite manners ; but 
in reality it is an insult rather than a courtesy to 
listen in this way. To listen with true courtesy, 
one should feel and show? not only a willingness, 
but a desire to know what another has to say, 
should 'foUow attentively all that he ss^ys, and 
should then reply wiib due consideration for 
what has been said. . . n 

It is a remark x)ften made, that after an argu- 
ment l^etw^en two or more persons, each indi- 
vidual is more strongly fixed in his previous 
opinion than he was before. This result is often 
consequent upon.the want of true courtesy. The 
j>arties to an argument^ absorbed in admiration 
of th^ir own. opinions, seek not to become wiser 
through discourse, which should be the end 
sought in all Conversation of an argumentative 
or discussive character, but seek only to draw at- 
tention to their own views and opinions ; until 
that which should be Conversation degenerates 
into a mere war of words, in which each party 
strives to talk down, rather than to convince, the 
other; In such wordy warfare charity has , no 
part; l)ut pride and combativeness hold entire 

9 

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CONVERSATION. < 135 

domiiiion over the soul. He who comefe'off con- 
queror may exiilt in his own power ; but he has 
overcome, not beciause reason was on: his side, 
but because his combativeness was stronger than 
that of his opponent; and /he exults in that 
which is in reality his shame. The ttioral and 
the intellectual natures suffer together in such 
coi^tests. The miiid fastens itself upon the prej- 
udices and opinions it has chanced to adopt, 
loving theih merely because they are its own, 
and seeks no longer i;o advance in the acquisi- 
tion of truth; while th^ heairt, inflated with ego- 
tisrii, has no abiding-place for charity. Let char- 
ity rule in a disqussion, and how different is the 
result. Eacji party then strives to aid thie other 
in discovering the truth, "and at the close .of the , 
Conversation each has maide some advance in 
the knowledge of truth. The ideas of both have 
become mt^re clear and rational, and their minds 
have acted with far more power, because they 
have been given exclusively to the object under 
consideration instead of being divided between 
the object and self-love. Iti the one ckse, the 
parties are like two horses harnessed together 
contrariwise, and each striving to go forward by 
pulling the other back; while in the other, they 
travel amicably and fleetly, side by side, toward 
the fountain of truth. . • 

Next after courtesy comes simplicity, which 
may be defined as forgetfulness of self. There is 

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186 THE ELEMENTS OF CHABACTEB. 

nothings more fatal to agreeable Conversation 
than thinking perpetually of one's self. Young 
persons, pn first going into society, are very apt 
to fall into the error of supposing that all eyes 
and ears are fixed upon them, to observe how 
awkwardly or how grapefully they move, and 
how well or how iU they converse. This. is Ihe 
result of a mental egotism combined with love 
of admiration, and usually produces awkward 
diffidence or absurd affectation. Too often the 
first weakness is overcome^ or covered up, most 
unwisely, by exchanging bashfulness for imperti- 
nent boldness.; whUe the vanity and self-con- 
sciousness of the second very rarely result in 
manners or Conversation either sensible or agree- 
able. To overcome these defects, wisely, re- 
quires a strong effort. They should be radically 
subdued by learning to ask one's self, " Am I 
doing what is right and proper?" instead of, 
" What will people think of me ? " It is no easy 
task to learn to- do. this habitually, because there 
is involved in it a radical change of Character. It 
is to learn to be, instead of to seem. In the first 
state, we ^ure absorbed by the idea of what we 
seem to others ; while, in the second state, we are 
occupied witji the idea of what we really are, 
without regard to the opinion of anybody, but 
guided strictly by the abstract law of right. In 
the first state, we are embarrassed by the com- 
plexity of our wishes and aims. We wish to 

I 

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OONTEBSATION. 187 

please everybody, and we stjrive to ascertain 
what will be agreeable to the various tastes of 
those with whom we converse. . Thus we have 
no constant landmark, no unvarying con^pass to 
guide us on our way ; and we are drawn hither 
arid thither, as we try now to- please one person 
and then another. Let our- wishes and aims 
but become simple, and we walk steadily and 
Burely in the light. In the complexity of our de- 
sires we were slaves ; but in their simplicity we 
become free. Complexity strives perpetually after 
reputation, and is always advajDcing either in 
the direction of servility or of arrogance, accord- 
ing^ as self-esteem or the love of adnu^ation pre- 
dominate in the mind of the individual ; and ad- 
vancing years ^d it ever deteriorating in all the 
best elements of Character. Simplicity, on the 
contrary, deals with what is, and not with what 
seetns to be, and is ever seeking growth in good- 
ness and truth V and therefore each added year 
finds it growing in all the graces of improving 
manhood or womanhood. Complexity grows 
old in mind no less than in body. Its moral 
being is scarred and wrinkled by selfishness and 
worldUness, and its intellect dried up and with- 
ered by narrow views and unworthy aims. In 
its old age there? is nothing genial or lovely, and 
in its death one could almost believe that soul 
as well as body perishes. Simplicity improves 
in nrund as it grows old in body. There are no 

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188 THB ELEMENTS OF OHABAOTEB. 

wrinkles on the brow of its snnny spirit ; there is 
no withering of its intellect Its life, in time, is 
a perpetual advance in all that is gracious and 
intelligent, — a steady ripening for eternity, — 
and its death is but a birth into a fuller and more 
perfect life. ^ 

In Conversation, complexity adapts itsdf art- 
fully to others, in order to gratify its own srffeh- 
ness. It humors the selfishness and wbiins of 
those to whom it speaks^ in order to gain con.- 
sideration jfrom them, or to make use of them in 
some way for its own advancement. 

Simplicity, on the contrary, adapts itself art- 
lessly to others, because it is full of charity; and' 
therefore desires to make others happy. Its 
words are the overflow of genial 'thought and 
kindly aiFection ; and all hearts that hold aught in 
common with it open and expand before its influ- 
ences as plants start at the touch of spring. It is 
not so much the words uttered that produce this 
effect, as the pleasant and kindly way in which 
they are saidj for this throws a grace and an 
attractive charm about the most commonplace 
objects of its Conversation. 

Intellectual brilliancy in Conversation dazzles 
and delights the imagination; but it does not 
touch the heart. Simplicity, on the contrary, 
always impresses itself upon our feelings with a 
power that is aU the more strong because we 
cannot analyze it by our intellect. We talk 

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OiPNYEBSATICmr 189 

with a person of simplieity about the common 
opcurrences of the day, and find ourselves, we 
know not why, more gentle, refined, and happy 
than we were before. We are refreshed as by 
drinking firom a pure and und^filed fountain 
of sweet waters ; refreshed ^s mere intellectual 
power cannot refresh us; refreshed as no book 
can refiresh . us. There is a harmonious complete- 
ness in the whole being of simplicity, a direct- 
ness and honesty in aU it says and does, "a 
^ace beyond the reach of art," in all its mani« 
festations more* potent, because more internal in 
its effects, than anything 6an ever be that is born 
merely of the intellect There is no affectation, 
no straining for effect in simplicity. All is natural 
and genuine with it. Its wit, is never forced, 
its wisdom is never, stilted; nor is either ever 
dragged in for m^re display. With the simple, 
Conversation is ,like a brook flowing through 
a beautiful country, and reflecting the varied 
scenes through which it pai^es in all their grace 
and beauty. 

Another important trait in Conversation is the 
correct use of words; ^nd the effort after this 
cannot fail to. exert a benefici^ influence pn the 
mental powers. In. order to speak correctly, one 
must observe with accuracy and think with just- 
ness; the endeavor to do this increases our love 
for the truth and our capacity for perceiving it. 
Much of the falsehood in the world is the result 

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190 TlCB XXEMEKTS OF CHARACtEB. 

of carelessness in observation or phmseology. 
We often hear two persons give an account of 
something they have seen or heard, and are sur- 
prised at the disbrepahcies between the two nar- 
rations. ' Probably neither person intended to 
deceive ; but both saw or heard carelessly, and so 
are incompetent to describe accurately ; and prob- 
ably, also, neither has cultivated the habit of 
speaking correctly, as that habit is not apt to be 
found united^ with carelessness of observation. 
Such persons would, perhaps, look upon this sort 
of carelessness as a venial offence ; but it is not 
so. Anything that interferes with; or diminishes 
the capacity for, pferceiving or speaking the truth 
is of importance, and should neter be passed 
^ver lightly. God is truth no less than love, and 
every variation from the truth is a^sin against 
him. 

If we find we have related any fact or de- 
scribed any object incdrrectly, it is not enough 
that we a'pologize for the error by saying " we 
thought it was so." Such an , eflror should im- 
press us as a thing to bfe repented of, and we 
should try to ascertain why and how it was that 
we fell into it, and it should put us on Our guard, 
that we may be more accurate in future. 

Inaccuracy of gjyeech often arises from a desire 
to teU a good story, resulting from the love of 
admiration -or from an ill-trained imagination. 
The speaker colors, exaggerates,, and distorts 

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comrEBSATiosr. 191 

everything he relates, carefully conceals aJ the 
facts on one side of a question, and enlarges 
upon those of the opposite side with compensat- 
ing fulness. It is no uncommon thing to see 
this carried to such an extent that it is idle to 
give credence to anything the person says ; the 
more especially as such a person very rarely 
stops with mere distortion of the facts of a story. 
As the ^abit increases, invention supplies new 
facts and details to make put all the parts de- 
sired^ till the listener finds it impossible to sepa- 
rate the true from the false, sgid the speaker is as 
unabl,e to distinguish Jiis jown inventions from 
the original facts ; for when the habit of speaks 
ing the truth is neglected, the capacity for per- 
ceiving it is gradually lost. . 

In an intellectu^ point of view, the ccwrrect 
use of words is of the utmost importance, if one 
would speak well. To attain this, it is necessary 
to have a distinct idea of the meaning of words, 
and then to endeavor to use such words as truly 
express the ideas of the mind. The use of pet 
phrases and words is entirely at war with correct- 
ness in this respect. With some persons, every- 
thing is pretty, from' Niagara Falls to the last 
new ribbon; while others find, or rather make, 
everything nice, splendid, or glorious. It would 
be esteemed an insult to the understanding pf 
any person to suppose that the same idea or 
emotion could, be aroused in his mind by the 

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192 THE ELEBCfiNTB OF CHARACTER. 

sight of the siiblimest work of nature as by a 
trifliDg article of dress ; yet if he use the same 
term to describe it in each instance, he certainly 
lays himself open to suclj an imputation. Want 
of thorough education is an inadequate excuse 
for follies of this sort, because common sense 
combined with far less knowledge than may be 
acquired in a common school is more than suf- 
ficient to enable every one to use his native 
tongue with sufficient propriety to save him from 

» being ndiculotis. ' / 

There is one specious gift which is almost sure 
to mislead those who are largely endowed vnth 
it, and that is fluency. We listen with jJain to 
one who speaks hesitatingly and with difficulty, 
and who is obliged to search Jus memory for 
words' that will correctly represent his thoughts; 
but if, when the words come, we find they really 
tell us something worth waiting for, we feel far 
less weariness than in following the unhesitating 
flow of words that are but ^npty sound. There 

« ^ is always peculiar ease and pleasure in the exer- 
cise of a natural talent, and those naturally pos- 

\y sessed of fluency must of course find it hard to 
restrain the tide of words that is perpetually flow- 
ing up to the lips ; but if they desire to converse 
i» agreeably, the effort must be made, and self- 
denial must be attained. The benefit derived by 
an over-fluent talker from self-restraint will be 
quite commensurate with the effort^ no less than 

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CONTBBSATiaN. 193 

with the added pleasure of liie listener, /or he 
will gain in the power of accurate thought every 
time that he resists the inclination to utter an 
unmeaning sentence. 

A clear and distinct utterance is another faculty 
that should ' be cultivated, for the effect of an 
otherwise interesting conversation may be seri- 
ously impaired, ajid perhaps destroyed, by a 
slovenly or indistinct articulation. Every word 
and syllable should receive its due quantity of 
sound, yet without drawling or stiffness ; while 
the voice should be so modulated as to be heard 
without -effort, and yet the opposite fault of 
speaking too loud be avoided. 

Correct pronunciation is a very desirable &c- 
compUshmeut, though somewhat difficult to at- 
tain in its details, isiuthorities are so various; but 
probably the most comprehensive rule that can 
b6 observed is, as far as possible to avoid provin- 
cialisms. A person's pronunciation can hardly 
be elegant if it reveal at once of what Stale or 
city he is a native; while freedom from local 
peculiarities is of itself a promise of good pro- 
nunciation, as it shows either that the indi- 
vidual has taken pains to weed out such peculi- 
arities, or that he has been bred among those 
who have done 90. The pronunciation of the 
best scholars in every part of our couniary is very 
similar, while the diffidence becomes more ami 
more strongly marked between the inhabitants 
13 

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19^ THE ELEMEKXS OF CELAJtiLCTBB. 

of the various States of the Union as we de- 
scend in the sccde of education. 

Finally, do not fear to be silent when you 
have nothing to say. Do not talk for the mere 
sake of talking. To sit silently and abstractedly, 
as if one were among, but not of, the company in 
which one may chance to be, is dbcourteous ; be- 
cause it impUes a fancied superiority, or an un- 
kind indifference. Good manners require that in 
company one should be alive to what is going 
ouy but this does not imply the necessity of 
always talking. There is, almost always, in a 
mixed company, some Conversation to which a 
third person may listen without intrusion ; but if 
this should not happen to be the jcase, it is far 
better to wait until something occurs that gives 
one an opportunity of talking to some rational ^ 
purpose, than to insist that one's tongue. shall 
incessantly utter articulate sounds whether the 
brain give it anything to say or no. This sort 
of purposeless talking exerts a positively injuri- 
ous influence upon the mind, by leading it iiito 
the too common error of mistaking sound for 
sense, words for ideas. 

Before quitting this important subject, there is 
a general view to be taken of it in its universal 
bearings upon Character, which places it among 
the most important branches of a wise educa- 
tion. 

The true signification of education, according 

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OOKYEttSlTIOK. 195 

to one derivation of the word, is the bringing or 
le^^ding Out of the faculties. The best educated 
person is not he who has stored up in his mem- 
ory the greatest number of facts, but he whose 
faculties have become most strengthened and 
perfected by what he has learned. 

There are several studies pursued in our schools 
and colleges, such as Greek, Latin, and Mathe- 
matics, rather because they are looked upon as a 
kind of gymnastics, whereby the meiitat faculties 
in general are educated, or-developed and invig- 
orated, than because they bring a direct practical 
benefit to life; for of the numbers who exercise 
their faculties upon them, while in the schools, 
not one in ten makes any direct use of themafter- 
wards. These studies require expensive books 
and teachers, and a greater amount of time than 
can be given by the majority of men and women ; 
and moreover they cultivate the intellect without 
doing anything for the heart. Without in any 
degree questioning or undervaluing the great and 
varied benefit derived to the mind from these 
studies in added accuracy, strength, and richness, 
there is still room for wonder that Conversation, 
both as a science and an art, has no place in our 
systems of education ; since its practice is a daily 
necessity to all, while its powfer, when wielded 
with skill, is second to none other that is brought 
to bear upon the social circlck 

Our young girls are nearly all of them taught 

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196 THS ELEMENTS OF CHABACTEB. 

music with great ^cpenditure of. money, lime, 
and labor ; but whether we look to ,tte cultiva- 
tion of ' actual talent, to the improvement of 
Character, or to accomplishment as a rheans of 
making ourselves agreeable in society, how profit- 
ably could a part of this time and labor be em- 
ployed in acquiring the power and the habit of 
accurate language, agreeable modulation, dis- 
tinct utterance, and courteous attention ; und it 
can hardly be doubted that a person who pos- 
sesses the power of conversing well finds and 
gives more pleasure in society than a person 
skilled to an equal degree in music. 

Conversation has, indeed, this advantage over 
all school studies; in order to obtain its best 
requisites no books are needed beyond such as 
are accessible to all, while its best teachers are 
the suggestions of common sense, and the con- 
scientious love of liie true and the good. Still, 
there are few persons whose efforts would not be 
crowned with a higher success if aided by the 
criticisim and tiie guidance of a competent in- 
structor. Those who are competent to self- 
instruction in this, as in all other accomplish- 
ments, are exceptional examples, and it may be 
doubted if even these might not have reached a 
higher excellence, aided by the suggestions of 
another mind. Properly cultivated. Conversation 
would have an influence in developing the whole 
being, of a kind and degree that could hardly be 

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CONYBBSATIOK. 197 

over-estimatecl. In its exercise, Thought and 
Affection have full play, while all the stores of 
Memory and the wealth of Imagination find 
ample field for display. 

Conversation is so comprehensive in its mani- 
festations and necessities, that it can reach its 
perfection only through the development of the 
whole being, moral as well as intellectual ; and 
it will constantly become more finished in pro- 
portion as this development becomes more, com* 
plete. Its universality, its hourly necessity, should 
impress us with its value ; for the mercy of the 
Lord, as it gives light and air, sunshine and 
shower, seed-time and harvest, in short, all the 
essentials of physical development to the whole 
human race, so it supplies to all the power and 
the essential means for disciplining and cultivat- 
ing the whole Character. 



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MANNERS. 



*< Tbexe if somediing higher in PoUtesMS than Ghzistlaii monlistB hat<» 
xteogniaed. In ita hett fonns^M a Idrnpile, out-going, all-perrading spirit, noM 
hat the truly religions man can show it; for it is thesaeiificeof self in the little 
habitual matters of life, ^always the best test of our principled, ^ together 
with a req^t, unaffected, for man, aa our brother under the same grand des- 
tiny." — 0. L. Braoji. 

« Mannen axe what rex or soothd, corrupt of purify, »alt or debase, bar- 
hariae or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insenwiMe operation, liln 
(hat of the air we breathe in." ^ Bubxs. - 



Manners are the most external manifestation 
by which men display their individual peculiar- 
ities of mind and heart; and unless used arti- 
ficially to conceal the true Character, they form 
a transparent medium through which it is ex- 
hibited. 

It has been sarcastically asserted, that few per- 
sons exist who can afford to be natural ; and it is 
probable that, if the hum^n race were to allow 
their manners to be perfectly natural, that is, 
were they to allow all the passions of the soul to 
display themselves without restraint in their Man- 
ners, social intercourse would become insupport- 
able. 

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MANKEBS. 199 

Among the merely worldly, the difference be- 
tween an ill-bred and a well-bred person is liiat 
the former displays his discomfort^ ill-hmnor, or 
selfishness in his Manners, while the latter con- 
ceals them all under a veil of suayity and kind- 
ness. Selfishness prompts the one to be, rude, 
and the other to be hypocritical, and each is alike 
unworthy of commendation. 

Manners are the gannents of the spirit; the ex- 
ternal clothing of the being, in which Character 
ultimates itself. If the Character be simple and 
sincere, the Manners will be at one with it ; will 
be the natural outbirth of its traits and peculiar- 
ities. If it be complex and self-seeking, the Man- 
ners will be artificial, affected, or insincere. Some 
persons make up, put on, take off, alter, or patch 
their Manners to suit times and seasons, with as* 
much facility, and as little apparent conscious- 
ness of duplicity, as if they were treating their 
clothes in like fashion. If an individual of this 
class is going to meet company with whom he 
wishes to ingratiate himself, he puts on his most 
polished Manners, as a matter of course, just as 
he puts on his best clothes ; and when he goes 
home, he puts them off again for the next impor- 
tant occasion. For home use, or for associating 
with those about whose opinion he is indifferent, 
no matter how rude the Manners, or how un- 
cared for the costume. Perhaps tiie rudeness 
may chance to come out in some overt act that 

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200 THE ELEUSM!r8 OF CHABACTEB. 

win not bear passing oyer in fdlence, and then 
tike perpetrator u^rs an '< Excuse me," that re* 
minds one of a bright ney( patch set upon an 
old, faded garment.^ Not that such, a patch is 
unworthy of respect when worn by honest pov- 
erty, and set on with a neatno^ that makes it 
almost ornamentaL This is like the ^ Excuse 
me" of a truly well-bred man^ apologizing fqwr 
an oflFence he regrets.; while the " Excuse me " 
of the habitually rude man is like the botched 
patch of the sloven or the beggaur, who wears it 
because the laws of the land forbid nakedness. 

The fine lady of this class may be polished to 
the last degree, when arrayed in silks and laces 
she glides over the rich carpets of the drawing- 
room ; and yet, with her servants, at home, she is 
"possibly less the lady than they ; or worse still, 
this fine lady, married, perhaps, to a fine gentle- 
man of a character simflar to her own, in the pri- 
vacy of domestic life carries on a civil war with 
him, in which all restmint of courtesy is set aside. 

There is so much undeniable hypocrisy in the 
high-bred courtesy of polished society, that arnon^ 
many religious persons there has come to be an 
indifiS^ence, nay, almost an opposition, to Alan- 
ners that savor of elegance or courtliness. If, 
however, Christian charity reign within, rudeness 
or indifference cannot reign ivithout. One may 
as well look for a healthy physical firaine und^ 
a skin revolting from disease, as for a healthy 

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MANNERS. 201 

moral frame under Manners rude and discourte- 
ous ; for Manners indicate the moral temperament 
quite as accurately as the physical temperament 
is revealed by the complexion. Selfishness and 
arrogance of disposition express themselves in 
indifferent, rude, or overbearing Manners ; while 
vanity and insincerity are outwardly fawning 
and sycophantic. If Christian charity reign in 
the heart, it can fitly express itself jonly jLn Man- 
ners of refinement and courtesy; and the Chris- 
tian should not be unwilling to wear such Man- 
ners in all sincerity because the worldling as- 
sumes them to serve his purposes of selfish- 
ness. Worldly wisdom ever pays Virtue the 
compliment of imitation; but that is no good 
reason why Virtue should hesitate to appear like 
herself. The best Mannars possible are the sim- 
ple bringing down of the perfect law of charity 
into the most external ultimates of social life. 
Until Character tends at all times, and in all 
places, and towards all-persons, to ultimate itself 
in Manners of thorough courtesy, it is not build- 
ing itself upon a sure founaation. The ultimates 
of all things serve as their. basis and continent; 
therefore must true charity of heart be built 
upon and contained within true charity of Man- 
ner. . 

When we are in doubt regarding the value of 
any particular trait of Character, we can gener- 
ally find the solution of our <iifficulty by working 

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iOd THE ELEMENTS OV CHABACTEB. 

out an ansi^^r to the question, How does it 
affi^ct OUT usefulness in society 1 There are three 
modes in which we express ourselves towards 
those with whom we come in contact in the 
family and social relations of lifie,— Action, Con- 
versation, and Manners. The importance of or- 
denng the £rst two of these expressions aright 
can hardly be doubted by any thinking being.; 
but that conscience has anything to do with 
Manners would probably be/][uestioned by many. 
Let us ascertain the moral bearing of Manners by 
the test just indicated. 

What effect have our Manners up<m our use- 
fulness as social beings? Conversation is in 
general the expression oiF our thoughts^ much 
more seldom do we express our affections in 
words. Manners, on the contrary, are the direct 
expression of our affections. They are to Action 
what tone is to Conversation. Many persons 
may be found who make use of falsehood in their 
Conversation, but very few who can lie in the 
tones of their voice. So, many persons can act 
hypocritically, but there are comparatively few. 
whose Manners are habitually deceitful. Our 
words and actions are more easily under our 
control than our tones and manners ; because the 
former are more the result of Thought, while ihe 
latter are almost entirely the result of Affection. 
Although few persons are distinctly aware of this 
difference, everj one is powerfully affected by it. 

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There is no physical quality more poi^rerful to 
attract or to repel than the tones of the voice ; 
and this power is all the stronger because both 
parties are usually unconscious of it, and so 
mutually act, and are acted upon, simply and 
naturally, without effort or resistance. Thus 
conversation ofl^n owes its effect less to the 
words used than to the tones in which they are 
uttered. An unpalatable truth may come with- 
out exciting any feeling of irritation or opposi- 
tion from one who speaks with a tone of voice 
expressive of the benevolent affections, and pro- 
duce much good; while the very same words, 
uttered in a tone of asperity or bitterness, may 
exasperate the hearer, and be -productive only of 
harm. It has already been said, that Manners 
bear the same relation to life that tone bears to 
conversation ; and a good life loses great portion 
of the power it might exert over those who come 
within the influence of its sphere if it ultimate it- 
self in ungracious or repulsive Manners. In the 
old English writers we often find persons char- 
acterized as Christian gentlemen or Christian 
ladies ; and courtesy seems formerly to have 
been clearly understood to be a Christian virtue. 
Our conflict with, and our escape from, the aris- 
tocracy and privileges of rank of older nations has 
caused a reaction, not only against them, but 
also against the external politeness which was 
connected witii them, and which was. and is too 

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204 THE ELEMENTS OF CHABAGTEB. 

often, though certdinly hot always, false and 
hypocritical ; and thus the growth of republican 
principles has had the effect to diminish the 
respect once entertained for good Manners, and 
the mass of our countrymen seem to look upon 
politeness as the antiquated remnant of a past 
age, which the present has outgrown as entirely as 
wigs and hoop-petticoats. It is, however, a curi- 
ous feature in the change, that at no previous 
time have the titles of gentleman and lady been 
so universally and pertinaciously assumed as at 
the presient. The rudest even -sure jesentfal at 
being' called simply men or women, while they 
unconsciously show the weakness t)f their claim 
to a higher title by denying it to those who they 
assume are no better than themselves. The 
often-repeated anecdote of the Yankee stage- 
driver wh<> asked of the Duke of Saxe- Weimar, 
" Are you the man that wants an extra coach ? " 
and, on being answered in the aflSrmative, said, 
" Then I am the genti[ema^ to drive you," is an . 
illustration of what is going on continually 
around us. A leurge proportion of the members 
of one half of ^ society stand in perpetual fear 
that those in the other half do not esteem them 
gentlemen and ladies ; and yet it seldom seems to 
occur to them to substantiate their claim to the 
coveted title by that cultivation of good Manners 
which can alone make it theirs of right. 

The artificial Manners and laws of social life 

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- HANNEB8. 205 

are so overloaded with oonventionalismB, and a 
knowledge of these is so often made a test of 
good-breeding, that much confusion of opinion 
exists regarding the requisites that constitute the 
true gentleman and lady. These titles belong to 
something real, something not dependent on the 
Jmowledge and practice of conventionalisms that 
change with every changing season, but to sub- 
stantial qualities of Character which are the 
same yesterday, to-day, and to-morrow. 

The foundation of good Manners is the sincere 
acknowledgment that we are all children of one 
^at family, all one band of brothers, each hav- 
ing a right to receive from the rest all the consid- 
eration and forbearance that can be given him 
without diminishing the portion that belongs to 
the others. The rich complain of the envy and 
jealousy of the poor, and the poor murmur be- 
cause of the arrogance and haughtiness of the 
rich ; yet if those among the two classes^ who are 
guilty of these vices were to change positions, 
they would change vices too; for arrogance in 
the possessor and envy towards the possessor of 
wealth are but differing phases of a love for 
wealth based on the love for that consideration 
in society which it gives, and not for the power 
it yields x>f added usefulness. 

The ill-bred fashionist sails haughtily into the 
shop where she obtains materials for her adorn- 
ment, and with a supercilious air purchases her 

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906 THB KEMiaiTS or CHABACTEB. 

ribboni^ and laces of a snlky gud^ who reyenges 
herself for'not being aWe to wear the costly gaods 
by treating as rudely a& she dares the customer 
who oan ; and as they look upon each other, the 
one with scorn, and the other with envious hate, 
we see in both only the very same littleness of 
feminine vanity, which in its narrow-»minded 
silliness believes that the first requisite of a lady 
is costly garments. 

It would be a great mistake to suppose that iu 
our higher society there are no good Manners, 
none that are really good in essence and purpose, 
as well as in form ; and it would be an equal 
mistake to suppose that in aU society of lower 
caste there is either a want of iarue refinement or 
an envy aiid distrust of all that is above -it ; but 
it is also true that there is a magic circle known 
as "genteel," and a perpetual antagonism pre- 
vails here between those who are within and 
those who desire admittance, but are refused ; as 
there cure literary circles where contentions and 
envyings arise between pedantic scholarship and 
assuming ignorance. 

The ill-breeding so often complained of in the 
mtercourse between the different classes of soci- 
ety, and by none more indignantly than those 
who exercise it most, results from the factitious 
value set upon the externals of life by those who 
estimate them in proportion as they give distinc- 
tion among men, ^md not as tiiey inca^ase the 

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W! 



means of faappin^etms and nsefiilness in this world, 
and so prepare us. for the nsefalness and liappi-* 
ness of the world to come. 

Those among the poor, the ignc»rant, and the 
vnlgar, whose hearts are burning with envy and 
hatred; and those among the rich, the learned, 
and the fashionable, who are rendered arrogant 
and supercilious by their possessions, are. alike 
unconscious of the true worth of the bkssings 
that excite the covetousness of the one class and 
the exultation of thp other. Each party values 
man for his possessions, and not for the use that 
he makes of them ; for what he has, and not for 
what he is. Where this is the case, mutual aver* 
sion, ultimating itself on both sides in acts of 
discourtesy, will ever keep alive a spirit of antag- 
onism among the various classes of society ; and 
this will disappear in proportion as society be- 
comes suflSciently Christianized to perceive and 
acknowledge that every human being is worthy 
of respect so far as he fulfils the duties of bis sta- 
tion; and that we cannot be discourteous even 
towards the evil and the unfaithful, without in- 
dulging feelings of pride and disdain that are 
incompatible with Christian meekness; 

In the social intercourse of equals, and in 
domestic life, ill-temper, sel6[shness, and indiffer 
enoe, which is a negative form of selfishness, arft 
the principal sources of ill-breeding. Where the 
external forms of courtesy are not observed in tiiiB 



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208 THB XLEMBHra OF CflABACTElU 

&mi]y drole, we are almost sure to find perpet- 
ually reeumng contention, and bidcering. Rude- 
ness is a constant source of irritation ; because, 
however little tbe members of a family regard 
politeness, each will have his own way of being 
rude, and each will probably be disgusted or 
angry at some portion of the ill-breeding of all 
the rest. Rudeness is always angular, and its 
sharp corners produce discomfort whenever they 
come in contact with a neighbor. Politeness pre- 
sents only polished surfaces, and not only never 
intrudes itself upon a neighbor, but is rarely ob- 
truded upon; for there is no way so effectual 
of disarming rudeness as by meeting it with 
thorough politeness ; for the rude man can fight 
only with hi& own weapons. 

Indifference of Manner exhibits a disregard for 
the comfort and pleasure of those around us, 
which, though not so obtrusive as rudeness, 
shows an egotism of disposition incompatible 
with brotherly love. If we love our neighbor as 
ourself, we cannot habitually forget his existence 
so far as to annoy him by neglecting to perform 
the Common courtesies of life towards him, or 
interfere with what he is doing by not perceiving 
that we are in his way. 

If we would bf thoroughly weU-bred, we must 
be so constantly. It is not very difficult to dis- 
tinguish in society between those whose Manners 
are assumed for the occasion and those who 

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MARNBBS. 209 

wear them habitaally;. The former are apt to 
forget themselves occasionally, or they overact 
tiieir part, cur, if they succeed in sustaining a per« 
feet elegance of deportment that is really pleas- 
ing as ah effort of art, they always want the 
grace of naturalness and simplicity which be* 
longs to the Manners of those who have made 
courtesy and refinement their own by loving 
them. ^ It is only '^en we act as we love to 
act, that our Manners are truly our own. If we 
cultivate the external forms of politeness from 
an indirect motive, that is, for the love of appro- 
bation^ or from pride of character, it'is the reward 
we love, and not the virtue ; and if we gain this 
reward, it is only extemad and perishable ; and is 
of no benefit to our character, but the reverse, tat 
it ministers only to our pride. If, on the con* 
trary, we cultivate politeness witk simplicity, be- 
cause we believe it to be a virtue, and love it for 
its own sake, we are sure of the reward of an 
added grace *^ of character, which can never be 
taken from us, because it is a part of ourselves ; 
and though we may enjoy the external rewards 
if they come, we shall not be disturbed if they do 
not ; because these wer^not the motives that in- 
duced our efforts. 

Politeness, wh«re it is loved and cultivated with 

simplicity for its ovm sake, gives a repose and 

ease of action to the moral being which may be 

compared to the comfort and satisfaction resuh- 

14 

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210 THE ELEMENTS OF OHABAOTBB. 

ing to the physical frame from habits of personal 
cleanliness. The 'moral tone is elevated and 
refined by the one, as the animal functions are 
purified and renewed by the other. 

As in civil life liberty to the whole results 
from the subjection of the evil passions of all to 
legal enactments, so in social life every individu- 
al is free and at ease in proportion as all the rest 
are subject to the laws of courtesy. Ease and 
freedom are the result of order, and it is as incor- 
rect to call rude Manners free and easy, as to call 
licentiousness liberty. No man is truly free who 
allows his sphere of life to impinge upon that of 
his neighbor. Fluids are said to move easily be- 
cause each particle is without angular projections 
that prevent it from gliding smoothly with or by 
its companions ; and in like manner the ease of 
society depends on the polish of each individual. 
If the units of society seek their own selfish in- 
dulgence, without regard to the rights of the 
neighbor, the whole must form a mass of grating 
atoms in which no one can be free, or at ease. 

Indifference, ill-temper, selfishness, envy, and 
arrogance, all positive vices, are the character- 
istics that ultimate themselves in ill-manners. 
Rudeness is, as it were, the offensive odor ex- 
haled from the corrupt fruit of an evil tree ; and 
he -^o would be a branch of the true vine must 
remember, whenever he is tempted to do a rude 
thing, that he will never yield to such temptation 

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IfANNEBS. 211 

unless there is hidden somewhere upon his branch 
fruit that should be cut off and cast into the fire. 
The Christian gentleman and lady are such 
because they love their neighbor as themselves ; 
and to be a thorough Christian without being a 
gentleman or lady is impossible.^ Wherever we 
find the rich without arrogance, and the poor 
without envy, the various members of society 
sustaining their mutual relations without sus- 
picion or pretension, the family circle free from 
rivalry, faxdt-finding, or discord, we shall find 
nothing ungentle, for there the spirit of Christian- 
ity reigns. He who is pure in heart can never be . 
vulgar in speech, and he who is meek and loving 
in spirit can never be rude in manner. 



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COMPANIONSHIP. 



*•■ 



\ 1x7 to fkvqnent the eompaiij ct joar betters : la booki and lift, that is 
tbe meet wholMome aoeiety. Learn to admire rigfatlj ; the great pleasore of 
life it that. I^ote what tbe peat men adnOred; ibfij admixed grtat thio^i: 
narrow spirits admire basely, and worship meanlj."— Thackx&^t. 

** Aooordiog to the temper and spiiit by which it is iaflnenced, prayer opeOfl 
or shnts the kii^om of life and peace on the soul of the supplicant, eleTatinc 
him either to a closer conjunction with the Lord and his angelic kingd<nn, or 
plunging him into a more 4Bplorabl» depth of Bq;»acation, by imaienlog hKi 
Into oonsodation with the lost spirits of darkness." — CLOwn. ^ 



Man was not born to live alone, and it is only 
in and through the relations of the family and 
the social circle that the better parts of his nature 
can be developed. Solitude is good occasion- 
ally, and they who fly from it entirely can hardly 
attain to any high degree of spiritual growth; 
but still in all useful solitude there must be a 
recognition of some being beside self. He who 
turns to solitude only to brood over thoughts of 
self, soon becomes a morbid egotist, and it is 
only when we study in solitude in order to make 
our social life more wise and true, that our soli- 
tary hours are blessed. 

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OOHPAinONSHIP. 218 

Man really alone is something we can hardly 
imagine. He becomes cognizable almost entirely 
through his relations with God and with his fel- 
low-men. Heathen philosophy sought to .make 
man wise by withdrawing him from the passions 
and afiections that move him when associated 
with his fellow-men, in 'order that he might de- 
vote himself to the study of abstract truth. 
Christian philosophy teaches that truth owes its 
sanctity to the Divine Love, which alone pves 
^ it Life ; and that by leading a life of love we 
acquire the power of understanding the truth. 
Philosophy is a dead abstraction until piety and 
charily fill it with the breath qf life. 

The offices of piety belong in great part to 
solitude, and ;the offices of charity to society; 
but the principle of Companionship is involved 
in both; for piety associates us with God as 
charity associates us with man. 

All Companionship involves the idea of both 
giving and receiving. In the offices of piety, in 
proportion as we give a worship that is earnest 
and heartfelt, is the warmth and clearness of ihe 
influx of heavenly love and wisdom that we 
receive. In the offices of charity, our love is 
warmed and our wisdom enlightened in propor- 
tion as we disinterestedly seek the true happiness 
of those who^ lives come within the sphere of 
our influence, guided not by blind instinct, but 
by an enlightened Christianity. Thus the qual- 

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» 



814 THS ELEMENTS OF OHARACTEB. 

ity and quantitj of what we receive from Com- 
panionship depends on the quality and quantity 
of what we give. 

There is no surer test of Character than the 
Companionship we habitually seek ; for we 
always prefer the society of tiiose who admin- 
ister to our dominant love. Some seek the soci- 
ety of their superiors, others of their equals, and 
others, again, of their inferiors ; and the members 
of each class are actuated in their choice by very 
various motives. Thus, among the first class are 
found the ambitious, who seek their superiors be- 
cause they fancy themselves elevated by the re- 
flection of the attributes they admire ; the proud, 
who fancy themselves degraded by association 
with their inferiors ; and the humble^ who seek to 
be advanced in goodness, in knowledge, or in re- 
finement through intercourse with those who 
excel. On the other hand are those who seek 
their inferiors from the vanity that demands ad- 
miration as its daily food, or the pride that feels 
itself oppressed in the presence of a superior, or 
the philanthropy that loves to give of its stores 
to those less endowed than itself. The middle 
class may be actuated in their choice by the love 
of sympathy in their pursuits, or by a kind of in- 
dolence that is disturbed by whatever differs much 
from itself. There is less purpose and vitality in 
this class than in either of the others ; but merely 
a desire to float with the surrounding cuirent, 
whithersoever it may tend. 

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COMPAKION8HIP. 215 

The constituents of society are so varied in 
quality, that it would be very difficult for any one 
to associate exclusively with a particular class ; 
and it may be doubted if we have a right to 
seek. to do so. The variety in social life is 
adapted to develop the various qualitie:^ of the 
human soul far more perfectly than thi'y coiild 
be if the different classes of humanity w^ere en- 
tirely separated in their waQks. All slvould be 
willing to give as well as to receive, anti to this 
end all should be willing, to associate in a Bpirit 
of brotherly love with their superiors or their in- 
feriors without any feeling either of servility or of 
elation. We may seek the society of our superi- 
ors in order to enrich ourselves, and that of our 
inferiors in order to give freely even as we have 
received; while with our equals we alternately 
give and receive, for no two persons are so simi- 
larly endowed but that each may gain by associ- 
ating with the other. In truth, whichever way 
the balance may incline, none ever give without 
receiving, and none can receive without giving. 

No Companionship is wise that does not in- . 
volve the principle of growth. If the influence of 
our associates does not make us go forward, it 
will surely cause us to go backward. If we are 
not elevated by it, we shaU certainly be degraded. 
Two persons cannot associate, and either party 
remain just as he was before ; and if we would 
find in society an eledient of growth, .we must 

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216 THS ELEMENTS OF CHABACTEB. 

seek for all that is elevating in whatever circles 
we move ; for it is not confined to any particular 
circle or class, but waits everywhere for the true 
seeker. 

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the 
earth, said the Lord, teaching as never man 
taught ; and it is in proportion as we walk meekly 
with our feUow-men that our capacities become 
capable of receiving, to their fullest extent, the 
influx of goodnesa and truth that should be the 
end of social intercourse. Nothing obstructs our 
receptivity so much as that egotism of thought 
and affection which keeps self perpetually before 
the mind's eye, and to this egotism meekness is 
the direct opposite. Meekness implies forgetful- 
ness of self. There is nothing servile about it, 
but it pursues its way in pure simplicity, forget- 
ting self in its steadfast devotion to what it seeks. 
Egotism pursues its aims from love of self and of 
the world, and confides in its own strength for 
success. Meekness pursues its aims from the 
love of excellence, and confiding in the strength 
of the Lord. The first love is dim of sight, and 
^ften satisfies itself with the shadow of what it 
seeks, while its strength is too feeble to grasp the 
higher forms of excellence. The second love is 
full of light, because its eye is single ; it can be 
satisfied only with substance, and its endeavors 
know no limit, because its strength comes from 
Him who never fails nor wearies. 

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CaMPANlONftHIP. 217 

Meekness is always ready to receive of the 
excellence it seeks, through whatever medium it 
can be obtained; while egotism is perpetucdly 
hindered in its advancement by its unwillingness 
to owe it to any source out of self. 

Similar results follow in giving as in receiving. 
Meekness gives in simplicity from love to the 
neighbor, arid feels 'as great pleasure in impart* 
ing from its stores as in receiving additions to 
them, because the pleasure it imparts is reflected 
back upon itself, making all its good offices twice 
blessed. Egotism is twice cursed, as all that it 
receives and aU that it gives perpetually adds to 
its love of self; for it valued what it possesses be- 
cause it is its own, and imparts to others because 
it enjoys a feeling of superiority over the. recipi- 
ent of its possessions. Meekness builds itself up ; 
egotism puffs itself up. /Fo meekness Compan- 
ionsh^ is a perpetual source of healthful growth ; 
while to egotism it furnishes food only to supply 
the demands of a morbid enlargement, destruc- 
tive to all manly and womanly symmelry. 

Society at large, according as we walk in it in 
a spirit of meekness, or a spirit of egotism, thus 
serves to, develop and expand pur powers, or to 
narrow and degrade them more and more con- 
tinually. To the casual observer, the difference 
in the advancement of the two classes may not 
in early life be apparent. The forth-putting pre- 
tension of egotism may indeed caiise it to seem 

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218 THE ELEMENTS OF OHABACTEB. 

the more rapidly advajicing character of the two , 
but the, progress of years will widen the separa*- 
tion between their paths, till it shall be seen as 
a great gulf, of which the opposite sides have 
naugl^t in common. Advancing age will show 
th^ egotist narrow-minded and pverbearing, peev- 
ish and fault-finding ; while ie who pursues his 
even course, walking in Christian meekness with 
his fellow-men, will in old age exhibit ever- 
enlarging charity and ever-expanding wisdom, 
and his gray hairs will seem like a crown of glory. 

It may seem almost needless to $peak of the 
danger to Character that is involved in seeking 
the Companionship erf the worthless or the evil- 
disposed. " Can one handle pitch and not. be 
defiled ? " Yet tiie usages of society are so dis- 
ordered, that- the possession of wealth, family 
distinction, or personal elegance,'though accom- 
panied by ignorance, folly, o^ even dissoluteness, 
is sometimes a surer passport into what is termed 
good society, than, the best culture of mind and 
heart, where external advantages have been de- 
nied. : 

When we value mankind according id their ex- 
ternal advantages, our moral standard is as false 
as the drawing upon a Chinese plate. We have 
no true moral perspective. Our ideas of right 
and wrong are confused and imperfect,^ and in 
danger of becoming corrupt. We laugh at the 
stupidity of the poor Chinaman in his attempts 

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COMPANIONSHIP. 219 

after beauty and art, while in morals we are quite 
as stupid as he. Believing ourselves wise, we 
are fools. It is very hard to escape being unduly 
influenced by the opinions of society ; but the 
more earnestly we seek true excellence for oiir- 
> selves, the more easfly we learn to value true ex- 
cellence in othei?i3, and to overlook the opinions 
of the world. The more independent we become 
of opinion, the better will be the influence we 
exert upon society, as well as that which we re- 
ceive from it in return. 

If the influence of our Companionship with 
thpse whom we meet in general society and 
in the- daily avocations of life be important, 
far more so is that which comes to us through 
the friends whom we select from the world at 
lame as best adapted to minister to our happi- 
ness ; and in proportion as they are near and 
dear to us will their influence be strong and 
deep. 

The choice of friends is influenced by an 
equal variety of motives, and of a similar nature 
as those that lead ta the selection of the social 
circle. There is often no better foundation than 
selfishness for what -passes current in the world 
for ardent friendship. The selfish and worldly 
love from Selfish and worldly motives^ and doubt- 
less they receive their reward ; but if we would 
derive the advantages to Character that result 
firom a wise Companionship, we must select our 

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890 TH£ ELEMENTS OF CHABACTEB. 

Mends without undue regard to the opinions of 
the world, and impelled by a desire for mqral or 
intellectual advancement. Falsehood and fickle 
ness in friendship result from its being built 
upon merely selfish or .circumstantial founda- 
tions. When built upon mutual respect and 
affection, it contains no element of decay or 
change ; and they who trust to any other founda- 
tion have no right to complain if their confidence 
is abused and disappointed. 

Persons sometimes suppose themselves the 
fast friends of others, when their affection is 
merely the result of benefits received, directly or 
indirectly; and if these benefits are withheld, 
their supposed friendship is dissipated at once, or 
perhaps changed to enmity.^ Such a friendship 
is merely circumstantial, and has no just claim 
to. the name. Mere juxtaposition, the habit of 
seeing each other every day, is often, sufficient to 
produce what the parties concerned esteem friend- 
ship, and to occasion the freest interchange of 
confidence. The slightest change of circum- 
stance, a few miles of separation, an inadvertent 
offence, a trivial difference of opinion, a clashing 
of interest, are, any one of them, suffix^ient to 
bring such an intimacy to an end, and;to cast re- 
proach upon the sacred name of friendship, when 
friendship had never existed between the parties 
for a single moment. 

Gren/iiiie friendship can exist only between 

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GOMPANIONSmPi 221 

pei^sons of some elevation of moral character, and 
its strength and duration wijl be commensurate 
with the degree of this moral elevation.. Truth- 
fulness, frankness, disinterestedness, and faithful- 
ness are qualities absolutely Essential to friend- 
ship, and these must be crowned by a sympathy 
that enters into all the joys, the sorrows, and the 
interests of the friend, that delights in all his up- 
ward progress, and, when he stumbles or falls, ais 
all at times must, stretches out the helping hand, 
not condescendingly nor scornfully, but in the 
simplicity of true charity, that forgives even as it . 
wouM be forgiven, and is tender and patient even 
where it ^condemns. In such a friendship there 
is no room for rivalry, weariness, distrust, or any- 
thing subversive of confidence.. With the selfish 
and the worldly, such a connection cannot exist, 
because with them rivalries and dashing interests 
must arise ; for it is only- among the seekers after 
excellence that there is room for the gratification 
of the desires of all. Neither can it exist be- 
tween the false, for falsehood shuts the door upon 
confidence ; nor with the morally weak, the flbl- 
ish, or the idle, for they weary of each other even 
as they weary of themselves. 

Of all earthly Companionship, there is none so 
deeply fraught with weal or woe, with blessing or 
with cursings as the Companionship of married 
life. After this relationship is formed, although 
the threads still remain the same, the whole^arp 

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222 THE ELBHENTS OF CHAJE&ACTEB, 

and woof of the being are dyed with a new 
color) woven according to a new pattern. Char- 
acter is never the -same after marriage a3 before. 
There is a new impetus given by it to the pow.ors 
of thought and affection, inducing them to a dif- 
ferent activity, and deciding what tendencies. are 
henceforth to take the lead in the action of the 
mind ; whether the soul isto spread its wings for 
a higher flight than it has hitherto ventured, or to 
sit with closed pinions, content to be ot the earth, 
earthy. All ^are interested, even strangers, in 
hearing of the establishment of a, newly married 
pair in what irelates to the equipage of external 
life. Far more interesting would it be if we could 
trace the mental establishing that is going on, as 
old traits of <?haracter axe con^rmed or cast aside, 
aijjcd new ones developed or implanted. - 

This union, so sacred that it even supersedes 
that which exists between f>arent and child, should 
be entered upon ojjy from the highest and purest 
motives; atid then, /let. worldly. prosperity come 
or go as it may, this twain whom God has joined, 
n<#'by a mere formal ritual of the Church, but 
by a true, spiritual union that man cannot put 
asunder, are a heaveu unto themselves, and peace 
will ever dwell within their habitation. 

In proportion as a true marriage of the afFeC" 
tions between the pure in heart is productive of 
the highest happiness that can exist on earth, so 
every remove from it diminishes the degree of 

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ooifPANiaNSHip. 228 * 

this happiness, until it passes into the -opposite, 
sind becomes, in its most woridly and selfish 
form, a fountain o£ misery, of a quality abso- 
lutely infernal. 

Amid ihe disorder and imperfection reigning 
in the world, it is not to be supposed that a large 
proportion of marriages should be truly heavenly. 
In order to arrive at this, both parties must be of 
a higher moral standing than is often reached at 
an age when marriage is usually' entered upon ; 
but unless the <jharacter of e^ch is inclined heav- 
enward, there is no rational ground for anticipat-. 
ing happiness, except of the lowest kind. 

Many persons of a naturally amiable disposi- 
titoii eryoy what may seem a high degree of hap- 
piness, through their sympathy with each other 
in worldliness and ambition ; but such happiness 
is not of a kind that can endure the jclouds and 
tempests of life. It is nourished only by the 
good things of this world, and, if it cannot ob-- 
tain them, is converted into the greater wretch- 
edness because the being who is deafest in liie 
shares this wretchedness. - When, on the contrary, 
things heavenly are those most highly prized and 
earnestly sought, each party helpfe to sustain the 
other in all earttily privations and disappoint- 
ments ; for each is looking beyond and above the 
trials of earth, and each is in possession of a 
hope, nay, a fruition, that cannot be taken away, 
and which is dearer than all that is lost. With 

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224 THE ELEMENTS OF CHABACTEB.- 

them, to suffer together is to rob suffering of half 
its ^yeight, and almost all it» bitterness. What- 
ever earthly deprivation may befall them, the 
kingdom of heaven is ever within their souls. 

The Companionship of our felloVbeings is not 
confined to the living men and women around 
us, but comes to us, through books, from all na- 
tions and ages. Wise teachers stand ever ready^ 
to instruct us, gentle moralists to console and 
strengthen us, poets to delist us. Scarce a 
country village is so poor that there may not be 
found beneath its roofs4;he printed words of more 
great men than ever lived at any one period of 
the Earth's history. 

We are too apt to use books, as well as socie- 
ty, merely for our amusefnent ; to read the books 
that chance to fall into x)ur hands, or to associate 
- with the persbns ^we happen to meet with, and 
not stop to ask ourselves if nothing better is 
within our reach. It may not be in our power 
to associate with great living minds, but the men- 
tal wealth of the past is within the reach of alL 
We boast much that we are a reading people, 
but it may be well to inquite how intelligently 
we read. The catalogues of books borrowed from 
our public libraries show, that, where the readers 
of works of amusement are counted by hundreds, 
the readers of instructive books are numbered by 
units. In conversation, it is not uncommon to 
hear persons expressing indifference or didike to 

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COMPANIONSHIP. 226 

whole classes of books, — to hear Travels de- 
nounced as stupid, Biography as tame, and His- 
tory as heavy and dull. It does not seem to 
occ^r to the mass of minds that ^riy purpose 
beyond the amusement of the moment is to. be 
thought of in reading, or that any plan shouldrbe 
laid, or any principles adopted, in the choice of 
books to be read. 

It is undoubtedly 9. great good that nearly aU 
our people are taught to read^ but it is a small 
fraction of the community that reads to much 
good purpose. Children, so soon a3 they have 
acquired the use of the alphabet, are inundated 
with little juvenile stories, some of them good, 
but most of them siHy, and many vulgar. As 
they grow older, successions of similar works of 
fiction await them, until they arrive at adoles- 
cence, when they are fully prepared for all the 
wealth of. foUy, vulgarity, falsehood, and wicked- 
ness that is bound up within the yellow covers 
of most of the cheap novels that infest every 
highway of the nation. 

, As you are jostied through the streets of our 
populous cities, or take your seat in a crowded 
railway-car^ you ar6, perhaps, impressed with the 
general air of rudeness that pervades the scene, 
— a rudeness of a kind so new to the world, that, 
no old word suj£cing to describe it, a new name 
has been coined, and the swaggering, xareless, 
sensual-Iooking beings, reeking with the fumes of 
15 

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226 THE ELEMSNTS OF CHABACTEB. 

tobacco, that make up the masses of our moving 
population, are adequately described only by the 
word rowdy. A3 yet, no title hasl^een found for 
the female of this class, — bold, dashing,. loud- 
talking and loud-laughing, ignosrant, vain, and so 
coarse that she supposes fine clothes and assum- 
ing manners are all tbftt is necessary to elevate 
her to the rank of a lady. Perhaps you wonder 
how so numerous a race of these beings has come 
to exist; but that boy at your elbow, bending 
under the weight of his literary burden,' is a col- 
porteur for converting the nien and women of 
this " enlightened nation " to rowdyism- , Those 
books portmy just such men and women, as you 
see before you, and that is why they are wel- 
comed so warmly. A few cents will buy from 
that boy enough folly .and impurity to gorge a 
human mind for a week,. and possibly few among 
this throng often taste more wholesome intellect- 
ual food. 

It is probable that some of these persons are 
the children of intelligent and welH>red parents j 
but their fathers were engrossed in business, and 
their mothers in' family cares, and thought they 
had no time .to form the moral and intellectual 
tastes of the immortal minds committed to their 
charge. They fancied that, if they sent their 
children to good schools, and provided liberally 
for all their external wants, they had done enough. 
Ignorant nursery-maids, perhaps, tau^t them 

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COHPANIOKSmP. 22f/ 

morals and manners, while the father toiled j;o 
accumulate the means for supplying their exter- 
nal wants, and the mother hemmed ruffles and 
scalloped trimming, to make people say, " How 
sweetly those children are dressed ! " as the maid 
paraded them through the streets, teaching them 
their first lessons in vulgiir vanity. 

A child may be educated, at the best schools 
without acquiring any tj^^te for good literature. 
The way a parent treats a child in relation to its 
books has far more in^uence in this respect than 
a teacher can possibly possess. A mother, even 
if she is not an educated woman, can learn to 
read understandingly, and can teach her child to 
read in the same way. She can talk to it about 
its books, and awaken a desire in its mind to 
understand what it reads. Children are always 
curious in regard to the phenomena of nature, 
and whether this curiosity lives or dies depends 
very much on the Answers it receives to its first 
questions. K the mother cannot answer them, 
herself, she can help the child ta find an answer 
somewhere else, and she should beware how she 
deceives herself with the idea that she has not 
time to attend to the moral and intellectual 
wants of her child. She has no right to so im- 
merse all her own mind in the cares of life that 
she cannot, while attending to them, talk ration- 
ally with her children. The mothers who best 
fulfil their higher duties towards their children 

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228 THE ELEMJif>NTS OF CHARACTER. 

are quite as often found among tbose who are 
compelled to almost constant industry of the 
hands, as among those of abundant leisure. 
There is nothing in the handiwork of the house- 
keeper or the seamstress that need absorb all the 
mental attention ; and hers must be an ill-regu- 
lated mind that cannot ply the needle, or per- 
form the more active duties of the household, 
and yet listen to the child as it reads its little 
books, and converse with it about the moral les- 
sons or the intellectual instruction they conts^in. 
The mother has it in her power ta influence the 
mode in which the child makes companions of 
its books, more than any- other person ; and 
the character of its Companionship with them 
through life will generally depend in a great 
degree on the tastes and habits acquired in 
childhood. ■ ' 

Many parents, who guard their children with 
jealous care from the contamination of rude and 
vicious society among other children, allow them 
to associate with ideal companions of a very de- 
graded kind. The parent, should check the pro- 
pensity, not only to read bad books, but also to 
read idle or foolish books, by exciting the action 
of the mind towards something better. Merely 
to deny improper books is not enough. Some- 
thing must be given in place of them, or the 
craving will continue, and the child will be very 
apt to gratify its appetite in secret ^ 

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C0MPANI0K8HIPi^ 229 

Children are easily led to observe nature, ani- 
mate or inanimate, with interest, and there are 
many simple books illustrating the departments 
of natural science which mothers could make in- 
teresting to their children at. the same time that 
they instructs themselves. "^ Juvenile works on 
history abound, and through them the child ma;y 
be led, as intelligence expands, to seel^ more ex- 
tended and thorough treatises ; and the sympathy 
of the mother should be ready to help him on his 
way. It is mere self-deception in those motibers 
who deny their mental capacity, or their com- 
mand of time, to aid their children in their mental 
progress. -It is sl moral want of their own, fitr 
more than everything else, that causes them to 
shrink from this^ most important responsibility. 

Those who . have passed thfe period of child- 
hood, who have taken upon themselves the re- 
sponsibility of all that concerns their own minds, 
and who have any desire after upward progress, 
should remember that the books they love best 
are those which reflect tUeir own characteristics. 
Every one looks up to his favorite books, and the 
tone of his mind ia influenced by them in conse- 
quence. In our Companionship with our fellow- 
beings we may be governed to a great extent 
by our desire to stand well vrith the world, and 
therefore seek the society of those whom the 
world most admires rather than those we most 
enjoy. In the choice of our books thare is much 

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280 THE ELBMEKTS OF CHARACTER. 

less inflaence of this kind exerted upon xis. In 
the retirement of our homes we may daily con 
sort with the low or the wicked, as they are de- 
lineated in books, and our standing with the 
world be in no way affected, while the poison we 
imbibe will work all the more surely that it 
works secretly. They whose ideas of right and 
wrong are dependent on the judgment of the 
world may need even this poor guide, and suffer 
from the want of it ; fot in doing what the world 
does not know, and therefore cannot condemn, 
they may encounter evil and danger from which 
even the love of the world would protect them, 
if the same things were to be exposed to the 
public eye. We have no more moral right to 
read bad books than to associate with bad men, 
and it would be* well for us. in iselecting our 
books to be governed by much the same prin- 
ciples as in the selection of our associates : to 
feel that they are, in fact, companions and 
friends whose opinions cannot fail to exert a 
powerful influence up6n us, and that we cannot 
associate with them indiscriminately without 
great danger to our characters. 

The Book of books, the Word of God^ should 
occupy the first place in our estimation ; and the 
test question in regard to the value of all other 
books is, whether they draw us towards, or away 
from, the Bible. So far as they are written with 
a geatune love for goodness and trathy books in 

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COMPANIOKSHIP. 231 

every department of science and literature have 
a tendency, more or less strong, to increase our 
reverence and love for the Source of all goodness 
and truth ;, and no book can be subversive of our 
faith in the Scriptures that has not its founda- 
tion laid in falsehood. 

Nature, may tell us of a Creator, but the Bible 
alone reveals a>Father. Na:ture describes him as 
far from us, removed beyond all sympathy, be- 
fore' whose poweir we tremble, and whose, mercy 
we might strive to propitiate by sacrifices or en- 
treaties ; but from the Bible we learn that he is 
near at hand, watching every pulsation of the 
heart, listening to every aspiration that- we 
breathe ; that we walk with him so iong as we 
obey his commandments, and that, though we 
may turn from him, he -never turns from us ; that 
when we approach him in prayer, it should not 
be with fear, but with love ; and loving him with 
the knowledge that he first loved ud, we find that 
prayer, in its true form, is a Companionship, and 
that the Father rejoices over his child in propor- 
tion as the child rejoices in approaching the 
throne of mercy. 

Pure and holy influences come to us mediately 
through our Companionship with those among 
oiit fellew-beings who, have received of the over- 
flowings of the Divine Fountain of goodness and 
truth. But -when we reverently approach that 
Fountain, we receive immedfaitely, with a power 

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i32 THE ELiaiBmns of -ohabacteb. 

and ftdness that can descend upon us through no 
hnman being. 

What we receive through other mediums 
reaches only the lower and more external planes 
of our being ; but prayer brings us, if we pray 
aright, before the throne of the Most High, and 
opens those inmost chambers of the soul that re- 
main for erer closed and empty unless they are 
opened and filled by the itnmediate presence of 
the Lord. These constitute that Holy of Holies 
which is ihe inmost of every human soul. The 
World at large may enter its outer courts, chosen 
friends may minister before the altar of its sanc- 
tuary, but withinr all this there is a holier place, 
which none but the Lord can enter ;- for it is the 
seat of the vital principle of the soul, which can 
be touched and quickened by no hand but his. 

The quality of the life of the whole being de- 
pends upon the degree in which we suffer the Lord 
to dwell within our souls. EQs Companionship 
fills and vivifies everything that is below it. The 
more entirely we walk with the Lord, the more 
constant we shall be |n the performance of all our 
duties. The more entirely we open our hearts 
to his influence, the niore benefit we shall re- 
ceive, from all other influene^s. The more rever- 
ently we listen to the truth that comes directly 
from him, the more capable we shall be of find- 
ing out and appreciating the truth that comes 
indirectly. The more we open our hearts to 

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coMPANiONja^sn»« 238 

receive bis love, the more perfect will be the love 
we shall, bear towards our fellow-beings. The 
more constantly we feel that we are in his pres-- 
ence, the more perfect will be the hourly outgo- 
ings of our lives. 

Intimate Companionship with the Lbrd does 
not abstract us from the world around us, but 
fills that world with new meanings. There is 
nothing abstract in the nature of the Deity. He 
is operating perpetually upon all nature.* Grav- 
ity, organic life, instinct, human thought and 
affection, are forms of his influx manifesting it- 
self in varying relations. Wherever he comes 
there is life, and his activity knows no end. 

Let no huihan being think that he holds Com- 
panionship with the Lord, because he loves to re- 
tire apart, to pray, or to contemplate the Divine 
attributes, if, .at such times, he looks down upon 
and shuns the haunts of men. The bigot may 
do so ; and all his thoughts about things holy, all 
his prayers, only confirm him in his spiritual 
pride. Every thought of self-elevation, every 
feeling that tends towards "I am holier than 
thoii," smothers the breath of all true prayer, and 
associates us with the spirit of evil; for our 
prayers cannot be blessed to us if pride inspire 
them. Neither let any one suppose himself 
spiritual because material life or material duties 
oppress him. God made the material world as 
a school for his children ; and he will not keep us 

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S|4 THE ELfiMXNTS OF CHABACTEB. 

here a moment after we are prepared for a higher 
state. We are patting ourselves back when we 
-work impatiently, in the feelitig that the duties of 
life are beneath us. 

K we would abide with our Heavenly Father, 
we must co-operate with him perpetually. It is 
doing his will, not cdntemplaling it, that teaches 
us his attributes, and builds us up in his image 
ai^ likeness. His fields are -ever white unto the 
harvest f let us work while it is yet: day, ever 
bearing in mind that he gives us the. power to 
work, and that we can work rightly only so long 
as we live in the constant acknowledgment of 
our dependence upon Him. 



T&E END. 



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CROSBY, NICHOLS, & CO/S FtTBLICAtlONS. J 

A LIST OF BOOKS 

^EOENTLT PI^BLiaHED BY 

CROSBY, NICHOLS, & CO., 

Ill WASHINGTON STREET, BOSTON. 



A MEMOIR OF WILLIAM ELLERY CHANNJJIG, with 
Extracts firom his Correspondence and Itfanuscripts. Edited 
by his niephew, Wm. Henry Chjchniko. Comprised in three 
Yolumes, of flrom 450 to 500 pages each, aiiiform with th» best 
edition of the Works. Two verj superior portraits of Dr. 
Chann^ig appear in the yolumes ; one Brom a painting by AIl- 
Bton, the other by Oamhadella. Price $ 1.50. 
CoNTBHTS. —Part JVrsr,— Pai^atage and Birth; Boyhood; GoUsgft Life; 
Richmond : Studies and Settlement. Part Second, — Early Minify ; Spirit- 
ual Growth; The ITnitarian Controydr>y; Middle-age Ministry; European 
Journey. Part Thirds — The Ministry and Literature : Religion and Philoso- 
phy; Social Reforms; The Antislavery Moyemeat ; PoliUca; Friends; Hom« 
Life; Notes. 

IrOTICES OF THE PRESS. 

"A more interesting and instructiye biogr(q;>hical woifc we hare nerer read. 
High as was our opinion of Channing, — of his intellecmal and moral worth. — 
the perusal of this work has convinced us that we narer duly estimated him. 

His letters rereal his character more fully than bis sermons and essavs. 

In his letters he lavs his heart entirely op^n ; and no man, no matter what his 
opinions or prejudloBS, can read them without sayiiig, — * Channing was, in- 
deed, a great and good man, — one -who lived fox iha world I » »» — Chriattan 

MlB896ngBr, 7 

"Only one wha was similar in purpose and temper, — who felt like aspira- 
tions, hopes, and feith, — could at all do justice to the distinguished subject. 
The present book must, therefore, we are pore, give us Channing's character 
ia its completeness, and true harmony and proportions of parts.*' — ;Sfa/em 
Observer, 

** These memoirs of a great and good man will, we apprehend, obtain an un- 
copmonly extensive circulation, not only among the denomination of Chris- 
tians in which ho ranked himself but with all who reverence purity, of charac- 
ter, an enlarged phUanthropy, and emtnent talents, guided by virtue and piety." 
^Salem Register 

*' If we mistake not. now is the very time in God's providence when the bi- 
ography of William Ellery COianning could best make its appearance. We have 
heard that a distinguished divine, of different speculative religious views from 
Dr. Channing, has recently said. — ' Channing is greatly needed among us at 
this present moment.' Behold him here f We doubt not that the biography 
thus pieparedis to make a great impression on the age that is paasingiand that 
is yet to come."-^ Christian Register, 



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2 GBOSBT, NIGH0L15, le OO.'S PUBLICATIONS. 

MEMOIR OF MARY L. WARE, Wife of Htnrjr Ware, Jr. 

By Rev. Eowi^RD B. Hall. With a fine engraviDg on steel. 

Seventh Edition. 12mo. Price, $ 1.25. 

" A book like this is a great g^ft to the world It is a light Id the pathway of 

everr-daj life It is a judicious, affectionate record of a strong, earnest, 

consistent Christian life It is delightful to see a character so thoroughly 

religious as was Mrs. Ware's." — Buffalo Com. Advertiser, 

" Among the biographies of Christian women, eminent for their piety, their 
meek devotion to their religious profession, and their holy conduct in all the 
walks of life, this Memoir of Mrs. Ware deserves to take a high rank."— PAtf- 
adelpfUa Btuietin. 

" No one could desire, for sister, daughter, or fnend, a more instructive, pleas 
ing, or touching lesson of the quiet, unobtrusive, simide virtues of domestic life, 
than this unpretending volume, prepared by one at once so appreciative of the 
virtues of his subject, and so well qualified^ do them justice." — Boston Attaa* 

" The book is a treasure, and bdongs to the permanent riches of our ^votional 
literature." — Christian Inquirer. 

THE SICKNESS AND HEALTH OF THE PEOPLE OF 
BLEABURN. 1vol. 16mo. Price, 50 cents. 

''The story is one that no person will think of laying down, when once they 
begin to read it, until the last word of the last page has been reach^." — 
Traveler. 

THE PROPHETS AND KINGS OF THE OLD TESTA- 
MBMT. A Series^ of Sermons preached in the Chapel of 
Lincoln's Inn. Bv Rev. Frederic Dsirisoir Maurice, Chap- 
Iain of Lincoln's inn, and Professor of Divinity in King's Col- 
lege, London. Second Edition. 12mo. Price, $ IM. 

" Rich in learning and thought and practical views of life." — Christian Ob- 
server, 

" We can assure ocv leaders that the volume will be found full of instruction 

and eminently sug^estite We have followed his instructive paged with 

delight." — Christum Xxaminer. 

THE CHILD'S MATINS AND VESPERS. By a Mother. 

Comprising Meditations and Prayers for Morning and Evening, 

<S^. Second Edition. S2mo. Price, 37j^ cents. 

" A capital little book to lay on your child's taUe beside the Bible, that good 
and holy thoughts may be the first and last every day." — Ohio Inquirer. 

"The parent who wishes to keep the heart of the child pure, to form habits 
of prayer, to inspire the young mind with profitable reflectionsr and lead the 
early years into proper spiritual habits, will be greaUy assisted by this liule 
Yolume." —Christian Era. 

LECTURES TO YOUNG MEN. By Rev. William G. El- 
iot, Jr. 1 vol. 16mo. Price, 63j| cents. 

CoNTiaiTS.-- An Appeal. Self-Education. Leisure Time. Tranagtesston. 
The Ways of Wisdom. Religion. 

"'P^^VJ^^^^^ wisdom, the habits of close observation, and the fincere piety 
of Mr. Ehot, united with what we must consider an essential element in his suc- 
cess, — his sympathy with the young,— have fitted him to discharge his task 
successfully. " — Christian Examiner. 



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LECTURES TO YOUNG WOMEN. By Rev. William G. 
Eliot, Jr. 1 vol. 16mo. Price, 62^ cents. 

CoNTSNTS.— An Appeal. Home. Duties. Education. Follies. Woman's 
Mission. 

" We know of no book which we can recommend so unhesitatingly as this of 
Mr. Eliot." — Christian Examiner. 

REMINISCENCES OF THOUGHT AND FEELING. By 

the Author of " Visiting my Relations." 16mo. Price, 75 cts. 

" A verj interesting, piquant book, and every body is reading it It 

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^eart. This work shows how vahiaUe a book can be written out of the history 
of a private life." — Cincinnati paper. 

GOD WITH MEN; or, Footprints of Providential Leaders. 
By Re v> Samuel Osgood. I vol. 12ino. 

SERMONS. By Rev. A. A. Liverhori. 1 vol. ]2m6. 

HOW I BECAME A UNITARIAN, explained in a Series of 
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SERMONS IN THE ORDER OF A TWELVEMONTH. 
By Rev. N. L. Frothingham, D. D. 12mo. Price„f 1.00. 

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ydl\x&." — Neu> Covenant. 

THE MISCELLANIES OF JAMES MARTINEAU. Edited 
by Rev. Thomas Starr Kino. ISmo. Prioe, $ 1.25. 

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THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF THE FORGIVENESS 
OF SIN. By James Freeman Claii^. 16mo. Price, 50 cts. 
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ST. PAUL'S EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS; an At- 
tempt to convey their Spirit and Significance. By Rev. John 
Hamilton Thom. 12mQ. Price, 75 cents. 

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RELIGIOUS THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS. By William 
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THE STARS AND THE EARTH; OR THOUGHTS 
UPON SPACE, TIME, AND ETERNITY. Third Amer- 
ican from the Third London Edition. 18mo. Price, 25 cents. 

" It contains a vast amount of thought, clothed in a religious garb, and through- 
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SUNDAY SCHOOL AND OTHER ADDRESSES. By 
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" Mr. Gray speaks from personal knowledge, and the Addresses before us c<«- 
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DISCOURSES ON THE CHRISTIAN SPIRIT AND LIFE. 
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DISCOURSES ON THE CHRISTIAN BODY AND FORM. 

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LECTURES ON THE JEWISH SCRIPTURES AND AN- 
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HEBREW LYRICAL HISTORY ; or, Select Psalms, arranged 
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From a Letter of Rkv. Dr. Jambs Walkbb, President of Harvard College. 
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Not onlj is the literary execution such as to bring out the unequalled devotional 
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THE ECLIPSE OF FAITH; or, A Visit to a Religious Seep- 
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other 'Miscellanies." Fourth Edition. 1 vol. 12mo. Price, 
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page in the volume bears upon it the stamp of a mighty intellect." — il/6an^ 
Argtu. 

POPULAR OBJECTIONS TO UNITARIAN CHRISTI- 
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Price, 27 j[ cents. 

CoNTBNTs.— The Position of Unitarianism defined. tJnitarians not Infidels. 
Explaining the Bible and Explaining it away. Unitarianism not mere Morality. 
(Jmtarianism Evangelical Christianity. Unitarianism does not tend to Unbelief. 
Dr. Watu a Unitarian. 

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A STUDY FOR YOUNG MEN. A Sketch of Sir Thomas 
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PILGRIM CELEBRATION. An Account of the Pilgrim Cel- 
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1 vol. 8vo. Price, 60 cents. 

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fice and counting-room. — Also, Penmanship for Ladies. 



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6 CBOSBT, NICHOLS, ft 00.*S P0BLICATIONS. 

NAOMI ; or Boston Two Hundred Years Ago. A*TaIe of the 
Quaker Persecution in New England. By Eliza Bitckmik- 
STER Lki, Author of " The Life of Jean Paul." Second Edi- 
tion. 12mo. pp. 324. Price, 75 cents. 

The first edition of this popular book was exhausted within a month aAer its 
publication. 

*' Mrs. Lee has giren the public a most agreeable book. Her style is ele- 
rated and earnest. Her sentiments, of the pure and the true. The characters 
are well conceived, and are presented each in strong individuality, and with 
such apparent truthfulness as almost to leave us in doubt whether they are ' be- 
ings of the mind,' or were real men and women who bore the parts she assigns 
them in those dark tragedies that stained this < fair heritage of freedom ' in the 
early days of Massachusetts." — Worcester Palladium, 

" We have been exceedingly interested in this book, and recommend it as 
a beautiful picture of female piety and quiet heroism, set in a frame of histoiy 
and tradition, that cannot fail to please every one connected, however remotely, 
with the land of the Puritans. The accomplished author of ' The Life of Jean 
Aiul ' has produced an American novel which We should like to see foUowed by 
others illustrative of the foots and manners of the olden time." » ChrisUttn 
Inquirer, 

THE MARRIAGE OFFERING. ^Designed as a Gift to the 
Newly-married. Edited by Ret.* A. A. Liyxriiork. 16mo. 
pp. 215. Price, 62 cents. 

<' It was a happy thought that suggested such a volume. We were not awart 
before that there was so much and so various Christian literature on the sub* 
ject." — ^S^a^tian Register. 

MARTYRIA ; a Legend, wherein are contained Hon^iies, Con- 
versations, and Incidents of the Reign of Edward the Sixth. 
Written by William Bf ountford, Clerk. With an Introduc- 
tion to |he American Edition, by Rey. F. D. Huntington. 
16mo. pp. 348. Price, 75 cents. 

'*The charm of the book lies in the elevated tone of thought and moral sen- 
timent which pervades It. You feel, on closing the volume, as if leaving some 
ancient cathedral, where yoi^r soul had been mingling with ascending anthems 
and prayers. There is scarcely a page which does not contain some fine strain 
of thoueht or sentiment, over which you shut the book that you may p^tne 
and meditate. 

" We recommend the volume to our readers, with the assurance that they 
will find few works in the current literature of the day so well worth perusaL" 
— Christian Register, 

" This is really an original book. We have seen nothing for a lon^ thne 
more fresh or true. The writer has succeeded wonderfully, in taking himself 
and his readers into the heart of the age he describes. What is more, hi has 
uttered words and thoughts which stir up the deep places of the soul. Let 
those read who wish to commune with the true and unpretending martyr-spirit, 
the spread of faith and endurance, courage, self-denial, forgiveness, prayer. 

" Of all the treatises we have ever niid on marriage, we have seen none so 
good as one here called a ' Marriage Sermon*; not that we would ask any 
couple to hear it all on their marriage day, but we commend it to all who are 
married, or intend to be. The whole book is precious." -- Providence Journal. 

"There are few religious books which breathe a finer spirit than this singu- 
lar volume. The author's mind seems to have meditated deeply on the awful 
realities of life. In the thoughtful flow of his periods, and the grave, earnest 
eloquence of [Particular passages, we are sometimes rennndedof theOld EDj^h 
prose-writers. The work Is a ' curiiisiiy ' of literature, well worth an atttntive 
perusal " — Grahi.^n\^ Magnzinc. 



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