Page images
PDF
EPUB

fatigue, want of rest, contracted disease, and premature death—and perhaps a ruined estate, often follow.

Those who support rank, are no less happy-both classes violate the laws of nature, which impose a penalty, whenever disregarded. Nor do men of great talents bask in the sunshine of happiness. If in public life, they are a mark for the jealous, the envious, the slanderer; who are constantly plotting their ruin, and embittering the cup of life. If they are in retirement, they are restless, or are racking their brain with mental exertion, and know nothing of the sweet repose enjoyed by the day laborer. The good old prayer“Give me neither poverty nor riches,” with contentment, contains the true secret of temporal happiness. Poverty consists in being destitute of the necessariesnot the luxuries of life. All who have health can acquire these by industry—the sick may be made comfortable by a proper application. If the above propositions are true, it follows that happiness, the chief pursuit of man, is not enhanced by riches, rank, or great talents; and that to level the inequalities produced by them, would not produce as great a reform in society, as many imagine, and that these sources of happiness are more imaginary, than real. Artificial wants and false pride, indulgence in idleness and vice -a discontented disposition, and a longing after the flesh pots, are the real sources of misery-not the deprivation of riches, rank, or talent.

JEALOUSY.

Thou fiend, what bus'ness hast thou here on earth,
Dissension breeder, from thy very birth?
I cannot guess thine errand to the world-
By thee is nature topsy-turvy hurld.-Pindar.

JEALOUSY affects the human mind, much after the same manner, that the ague does the body; and has often been cured by the same medicine--arsenic. Like the Bohon Upas, it poisons the atmosphere around it, and endangers all who approach it—with this difference—it often becomes so virulent, that it destroys its own citadel. Treason, murder, and suicide; march under its dark banner. Like Nero, it delights in human gore; like the plagues of Egypt, it penetrates the abodes of the rich and poor, the public functionary and private citizen. It has invaded all classes, from the humble peasant in the hovel, to the pompous king on the throne. Its paroxysms have been seen in the juvenile nursery, in the primary school, in the convivial party, in the giddy dance, in the private circle, and by the domestic fireside. It has plucked roses from the damsel's cheek, driven the young man to desperation, embittered the joys of a faithful wife, and administered, to the fond husband, the potion of poison. It is an enemy to human happiness, the father of crime, the hot bed of fell revenge, the prime mover of dissensions, the soul of anarchy, the fuel of party spirit, the instigator of revolution, the bane of public good, the incubus of religion, the parent of wars, and an earthquake in the body politic-setting nations in commotion, sometimes sinking them in the dark abyss of

irrecoverable ruin. It has been justly remarked by a close observer of human nature, that “Jealousy, of all the passions, is that which exacts the hardest service, and pays the bitterest wages.” Let all who desire peace of mind—the respect of those around them, and the welfare of our race; banish this fell monster from their hearts for ever.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

6 The nature of mankind is such, To see and judge of the affairs of others, Much better than their own.Terence.

PERHAPS no precept of the immaculate Redeemer is oftener violated, than the command, not to assume the high station of judge. Well did the poet of Carthage, who penned the above lines, understand human nature—the same yesterday, to-day, and to the end of time. The disposition, and what is worse, the cultivation and active operation of the disposition, to improperly meddle with the business of others, and to weigh all their supposed motives and actions in a false balance-often purposely using false weights and the mirror of misconstruction, has been a moral disease, preying on the vitals of society, from time immemorial. Even religion, the best remedy for the malady, has not proved a specific. Busy bodies, meddlers, tattlers, the jealous, the envious, the revengeful, the inquisitive -those who have the bump of curiosity large-all make a desperate plunge to dip their spoons in the soup dish of their neighbors, uninvited, and without

ceremony, decency, or courtesy. True, they sometimes get badly scalded—but being destitute of the bumps of self respect and caution, they repeat their efforts, exhibiting less discretion than the monkey, that was made drunk, and fell in the fire, and could never again be induced to taste alcohol, or go near a fire. Knaves try to help themselves, by pretending to help others. Great ingenuity, industry, and perseverance are manifested in the modes of attack. False sympathy, flattery, a tender concern for your interest, bare-faced impudence and hypocrisy, make their attacks in frontwhilst slander, falsehood, dark inuendoes, and damning praise, assail the rear. Pliny says, that Julius Cæsar blamed so ingeniously, that his censures were mistaken for praise. Many, at the present day, praise only to reproach. As has been observed by an eminent writer,

They use envenomed praise, which, by a side blow, exposes, in the person they commend, such faults, as they dare not, in any other way, lay open." Deeply is the poison of calumny infused in this way—the venom of a coward, and the cunning of a knave combined.

The great misfortune, arising from a disposition to judge others, and meddle with their affairs, consists, in its being void of genuine philanthropy. Rare instances may occur, when a person intrudes himself upon another for good—but such intrusions are, “ like angels' visits, few and far between." It is of the contrary, and by far more numerous class, that I speakmen and women, who look at others through a smoked glass—that they may avoid the brightness of the good qualities, and discover more clearly the bad—who first perform the office of the green fly, that other flies may prey upon the putridity they produce—scavengers of

reputation, who gather the faults, blemishes, and infirmities of their neighbors into a Pandora box—and there pamper them, like a turtle for a holiday dinner until they are inflated to an enormous size; they are then thrown into the market, and astonish every beholder.

Devils blush, and angels weep over such a disposition as this. It is a canker worm in the body politic-the incubus of religion—the destroyer of reputationthe bane of peace in society—the murderer of innocence—a foul blot upon human nature-a curse in community, and a disgrace to our species.

Its baleful influence is felt, its demoniac effects are experienced, in all the walks of life. In the political arena—within the pale of the church, and in the domestic circle-its miasma is infused. The able statesmen—the profound jurist, the eloquent advocate, the pulpit orator, the investigating philosopher, the skilful physician, the judicious merchant, the industrious mechanic, the honest farmer, the day laborer, the humblest peasant, the child in the nursery; have all experienced the scorpion lashes of this imp of Satan. Nay, more-female character, basking in the sunshine of innocence, has often been withered, blighted, ruined; by its chilling breath.

Let each reader examine, and see if this propensity, so deeply rooted in human nature, is exercising an inAuence over his or her mind. If so, banish it from your bosom, as you would a deadly viper. Let its enormity be held up to children, by parents and teachers, that they may learn to dread, despise, and avoid it. Teach them charity, forbearance, forgiveness; and all the virtues that adorn our race. Tcach them to

« PreviousContinue »