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Scorn is the offal of pride, and an awfully disguisting propensity. It courts the displeasure, and draws (!o:n the wrath of those who are the special objects of its notice, with no power to control them, as Franklin did the forked lightning. It repudiates the homely adage, It is better to have the good, than the ill-will of a dog. Scorn violates courtesy, is pharisaical, antirepublican, and renders disgusting aristocracy more repulsive. Upon its unfortunate possessors it exerts an influence, not unlike that of the devils that were cast out of Mary Magdalene, and is harder to get rid of No wounds are more obstinate to cure, than those inflicted by this fiery serpent. The finger of scorn makes more havoc of feeling, than the arrow of Abaris, the Scythian priest, did of the body, which is said to have carried destruction into the ranks of the enemies of the Scythians, but spared some, to tell the sad fate of the rest. Scorn rouses all the bitter feelings of the scorned, and converts them into the most implacable enemies. No time will obliterate the look of disdain, the contemptuous airs of the scornful; a striking evidence in favor of the doctrine, that all are born free and equal. Scorners are somewhat of a paradox-by raising themselves above their fellows, in their own conceit, they sink themselves below every body, in the opinion of others. None are more prone to imbibe this offal of pride, than those who are raised suddenly from poverty to wealth ; the last, of all others, who should exercise it. The man who perpetrated the following saying,
must have had such a scorner in view. Put a beggar on horseback and he will ride to the devil.
A great fault on this point is too prevalent among some parents. They make scorners of their children, by teaching them to scorn the children of others, who are less wealthy. Children may be properly taught to shun the company, as associates, of children that are vicious, because they are so, but to treat them kindly, and not to scorn any. If this lesson was taught to children, and they were made to understand, that all children are as good by nature as they ; and that poor children, who behave properly, are entitled to the same respect as the rich; it would do much towards reducing the number of scorners. Teach them that worth not wealth, makes the man; and teach them, that religion has no distinction of rank.
The selfish heart deserves the pain it feels.—Thompson.
SELF is the Sahara of the human heart, where all the nobler powers of the soul are deeply buried in the scorching sand of avarice, on which we may pour showers of human wo and kindness, without producing the least appearance of sympathy or gratitude. The blighting Sirocco of indifference sweeps over the desert mind, increases the powers of absorption, and destroys all that is cheering, amiable, and lovely.
Man was created a social being ; benevolent, sym
pathetic, kind, affectionate; quick to feel, and prompt to alleviate the miseries of his fellow man. Selfishness is one of the foul blots imprinted on human nature by Lucifer, and should be hurled back to Pandemonium, from whence it came. It dwells only in little minds, and pinches them, as a dandy-boot does the foot, covering them with excrescences, painful as corns and chilblains. The man, who is a slave to self, could look calmly on the wreck of nature, and the crush of worlds, if it would add one item to his wealth. Haggard poverty he spurns from his door ; the favors of fortune he receives, as obligations paid. He is tormented with envy, withered with covetousness, and pained with jealousy. Like Franklin's boy, he grasps at more than he can hold, cries because he cannot carry all, and would be an Atlas if he could. His soul is shrivelled like Pharaoh's lean kine, without the power of devouring; his benevolence is always confined with the gout of contraction, his charity is always hid behind the clouds of suspicion, the whole man becomes comparatively, the aurelia of a minnow, with more room in a barrel of water, than a porpoise has in the Atlantic ocean. If his benevolence inadvertently passes the circumference of a half dime, he is in as much agony as a lost child, and involuntarily calls for the bellman. He renders himself miserable, knows nothing of the sweets of social enjoyment, incurs the scorn and contempt of those around him; and is worse than a blank in community. Self has often baffled, and always cripples the powers of religion. Like the leprosy, it requires a miracle to cure it, and then is hard to stay cured. The mournful obsequies of death cannot shame it. So powerfully does this all-absorbing propensity operate
upon some persons, that they are lost to all propriety and decency, in language and action on this subject, and openly avow their desires, and manifest their joys and regrets, when circumstances occur to forward or frustrate their selfish wishes. I have heard heirs wish the “old man” or “old woman” dead, that they might come in possession of an estate, showing, that the base passion of selfishness had banished all natural affection, and left their hearts fit receptacles for the filth and scum of selfishness. I have seen heirs thrown into an ecstacy of delight, on the death of a kind and indulgent but wealthy father, proving clearly, they placed a greater estimate on his money, than on him. They could scarcely wait to have his cold form laid in the grave, and shed a crocodile tear over it, for appearance sake; before they urged the examination of his will-nay, I have known one instance, where the will was opened before the body was put in the coffin. Many may think human nature is not so depravedit is true—and more—there have been instances of men purloining wills in presence of a corpse, and substituting forged ones in their places.
Frederick, the Great, was one of these selfish, narrow-minded brutes. In the midst of a furious battle, his nephew, hereditary Prince of Prussia, was shot by his side, when he exclaimed with apparent delight, Ah! the Prince of Prussia is killed—let his equipage be saved. I knew a good man, whose wife was so immured in self, that when he died, the first exclamation she uttered after he expired, was, “Poor dear husband, you have gone, and ha’n’t finished my milk-room.” Get behind me,
thou Lucifer !
It is recorded in Mythology, that Jove directed an equal quantity of pleasure and pain, to be put in the cup of human life. Complaints were soon made by sundry individuals, that some of their neighbors drank all the pleasure, and left them nothing but the dregs of pain. To silence this continual murmuring, Jove ordered Mercury to place upon each a pair of invisible Spectacles, with false lens, that should make pain assume the appearance of pleasure, and to the devotees of pleasure, happiness would look like misery.
Unfortunately for the human race, this fable seems to be reduced to a fatal reality. It is a correct delineation of the natural heart, and I am inclined to think the devil invented these Spectacles, and first put them on Mother Eve. We here see the origin of the remark, Man is the only animal that can laugh and cry, and the only one that deserves to be laughed at and cried for.
Youth are prone to view every thing through these deceptive glasses, and too often look through them during life; for we see many adults who use them continually.
They wear these Spectacles, who indulge a restless disposition, making themselves unhappy, when surrounded by all the necessaries of life ; who twist and turn, and are every thing by turns and nothing long ; tortured by imaginary wants, leaving a sure business, because its gains are slow, and, rushing into the whirlpool of hazardous undertakings, are suddenly ruined.
They wear them, who indulge in idleness, dissipation, and crime. They wear them, who follow fickle