« PreviousContinue »
gifts more valuable, by the delicacy with which they are conveyed. Those who most merit and need the aid of the benevolent, are usually possessed of fine feeling. The subjects of real misfortune, they are easily wounded, and dread the approach of those who carry a speaking trumpet in one hand, to proclaim the gifts they have bestowed with the other, forgetting the injunction of our blessed Redeemer, not to let one hand know the alms that are bestowed by the other.
I know some men who have refused cold bread and meat to a hungry man, yes, child and woman too, when they came famishing and alone to their doors, who never refuse to place their names very conspicuously upon paper subscriptions, especially if those subscriptions are to be published in some newspaper or printed document. They are like dorsiferous plants, that bear their seeds on their leaves, instead of in a capsule. Such men have the same claim to benevolence, as the devil has to preach religion ; the donations of the former are as offensive to Heaven, as the sermons of the latter. They may both do good, but the one, being based on selfish pride, and the other on duplicity, neither the man nor the devil, are entitled to any credit for such unhallowed acts. It is well that the recipients and hearers are usually strangers to each. I know others, whose benevolence all oozes out of their hearts in whining sympathy, and rolls off at the end of the tongue. They feel deeply for the misfortunes of others, and say to them, be ye fed, warmed, and clothed, but from their abundance, do not contribute one cent, like too many who make pretensions to piety, but produce no more fruit than a hemlock tree, that has been seared with lightning.
Pure benevolence, like the dew from heaven, lails gently on the drooping flower, not at the blaze of noon-day, but in the stillness of night. Its refreshing and reviving effects are felt, seen, and admired—not the hand that distilled it. It flows from a good heart, and looks beyond the skies for approval and reward. It never opens, but seeks to heal the wounds inflicted by misfortune—it never harrows up, but strives to calm the troubled mind. Like their Lord and Master, the truly benevolent man and woman, go about doing good for the sake of goodness. No parade—no trumpet to sound their charities—no press to chronicle their acts. The gratitude of the donee is a rich recompense to the donor-purity of motive heightens and refines the joys of each. Angels smile on such benevolence. It is 'the attribute of Deity, the moving cause of every blessing we enjoy.
BREVITY has been called the soul of wit, perhaps, because it has a short soul, floating in volatile spirits.
In his last public speech, which I heard, the celebrated Red Jacket remarked-My speeches have one good quality—THEY ARE SHORT.
Dr. Cotton Mather placed over the door of his office, BE SHORT. These two words should be placed over the speakers' chairs in our legislative halls, the benches of judges, the tables of authors, and over the clocks of some churches.
In business, punctuality and despatch make short work. Let friendly calls be short. Twice glad, in formal visits, is coming short of the mark. Let your communications to those who are busy, be short. Hold no man by the button in the street, or in the door-be short. Let your anecdotes and stories be short Let your credits, if you have any, be short. Let your speeches be short—be sure and stop when done. More noise is made in pouring a little water from a bottle, than when it is full. Let statute laws be short-then the sessions of our legislatures will be short. Let pleadings in court, instruments of writing, and opinions of judges, be short—that our books of reports may be short. If you have any bad habits, vicious practices, or bad companions, cut them short, or your happiness, reputation, and money may fall short.
Let the prayers, exhortations, and admonitions of every Christian, be humble, meek, fervent, sincere, earnest, affectionate, and short.
Let the sermons of ministers be nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and short. They may then be profitable ; because pure, simple, and short.
Let the impenitent sinner turn from his sins at once—no delay, life is uncertain and short. This night thy soul may be required-a notice dreadful and short.
Let authors be clear, concise, pointed, comprehensive, independent, and short. Pardon me for feeding you, my reader, with shorts. Graham bread is heal thy, and often made of shorts.
This picture of Shakespeare, whose body has mouldered in the tomb over two hundred years, has lost none of its strong features by modern improvements in human society. Calumny is the same blighting Sirocco, the same envenomed scorpion, the same damning miasma, as it was when his master hand delineated its dark and fiendish physiognomy. As then, its pestiferous breath pollutes with each respiration—its forked tongue is charged with the same poison-it searches all corners of the world for victims-it sacrifices the high and low, the king and the peasant, the rich and poor, the matron and maid, the living and the dead; but, cursed propensity, delights most in destroying worth, and immolating innocence. Lacon has justly remarked, “Calumny crosses oceans, scales mountains, and traverses deserts, with greater ease than the Scythian Abaris, and, like him, rides upon a poisoned arrow.” As the Samiel wind of the Arabian desert, not only produces death, but causes the most rapid decomposition of the Indy; so calumny affects fame, honour, integrity, worth, and virtue. The base, blackhearted, triple-tongued, Janus-faced, cloven-footed calumniator, like the loathsome worm, leaves his path marked with the filth of malice, and scum of falsehood,
and pollutes the fairest flowers, the choicest fruits, the most delicate plants, in the green-house of character. Living, he is a travelling pest-house-dying, impenitent, his soul is too deeply stained for hell, and should be driven to that imaginary, elementless blank, beyond the confines of all worlds, shrouded in the darkness of nonentity, there to roam alone, through the ceaseless ages of eternity, without a pain or pleasure to relieve the awful monotony of that dreadful vacuum. 0, reader, never calumniate the name of another-sooner plunge a dagger through his or her heart. So deep does the calumniator sink in the murky waters of deg radation and infamy, that, could an angel apply an Archimedean moral lever to him, with Heaven for a fulcrum, he could not, in a thousand years, raise him to the grade of a convicted felon.
Fair Charity, be thou my guest,
And be thy constant couch, my breast.-Cotton. This golden chain, that reaches from heaven to earth, is much more admired than used-more preached about than practised. It has been remarked by some writer, “Did universal charity prevail, earth would be a Heaven, and Hell a fable.” It is another name for disinterested, lofty, unadulterated love—the attribute of Deity, that moved Him to provide a city of refuge for our fallen, ruined race, when exposed to the vengeance and penalty, imposed by the holy law of God, violated by our federal head. It is placed at the head of all the Christian virtues by St. Paul, the ablest divine that ever graced a pulpit or wielded a pen. It