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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-này, 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 depraved— it 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
fashion, bowing, cringing, bending the knee to her, as she rolls her chariot from city to city, from city to town, and from town to country; levying taxes without reason, and collecting them without mercy. They wear them, who are inflated with pride, and endeavor to float in the upper atmosphere; assuming a scornful mien towards those who have not the same gas to render them equally ridiculous. They wear them, whose tongues run riot, and are ever saying too much. They wear them, whose fancies run away with their judgments; whose imaginations lead reason captive, and whose appetites and passions, convert the man into a brute. They wear them, who indulge any of the base propensities, to the injury of themselves or others. They wear them, who rush into the labyrinth of law rashly, and are willing to pay more to indulge a stubborn will, than for the Gospel and physic. They wear them, who wind themselves up in the cocoon of self, making an idol of money, hard dealers, oppressors of the poor, miserly, eschewing the comforts of life to hoard up wealth, dying with regret, regretted by none. They wear them, who enlist under the high floating banner of wild ambition, turn politicians, neglect their business at home, not for the sake of patriotism or country, but for the sake of the loaves and fishes, which are no longer distributed miraculously, and thousands who scramble for a whole fish and loaf, get not even a herring bone, or a single crumb from under the table. Poor fellows, they pay dear for the whistle.
Parents are often led astray by these invisible, false, deceptive Spectacles.
They wear them, who permit their children to grow up in ignorance and idleness, rambling from place to