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the more perhaps are we disposed to join in this welcome of the gravest of our poets to honest, genial mirth, the natural expres. sion of happy hearts, which throws down the barriers of reserve and coldness, that too often estrange us from each other, and draws forth kindly and joyous feelings, to gild with the heart's own sunshine those hours of social communion, where we may lay aside for a time life's many cares, and forget that selfish or gloomy passions ever separate man from his brother man!

Before leaving the subject of love of moral excellence, we must point out its importance in preserving the young from the low and unworthy attachments which wreck the happiness of so many lives. The habit of contemplating moral beauty, of loving it, of paying reverence to it under every form, will make it impossible to feel any strong attachment where this feeling finds no place, - love and respect become inseparably united; and where this union exists, there is little to dread. The mother who beholds this result of moral training she has given, may fearlessly trust her son amid the dangers and temptations of the world. He may be led astray in the flush of youthful passion; but, the momentary intoxication over, he will loathe the error that blinded him. He may join folly's wild crew for a while, but he will choose his friend and his wife for those qualities of heart and mind without which love or friendship would be impossible to him. And fearlessly also may she see her daughter join in those pleasures which are the natural bent of youth's joyous spirits, and enter into that society where evil and good must ever be mixed together, and where, although more sheltered than her brothers from the coarser temptations of vice, she must be exposed to influences scarcely less destructive of real purity and integrity of soul ;

“ A thousand liveried angels lackey her,

Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt.”

and

Accustomed to love whatsoever things are true, just, pure, lovely, she will instinctively shrink from the false, the corrupt, and the morally hideous. Such a mind may pity and mourn over the weak and the wicked, but it will cling only to the noble and the true. False friendship and false love, marriage but one degree better than prostitution, frivolous idleness but one degree less hurtful than vice, these things are alien to her nature ; she is in no danger from their seductions.

It may be added, that, were this tone of mind more common, society would speedily assume a higher character. When women shall give their admiration to the noble and the good; when their contempt shall be reserved for low morals, low ambition, and frivolous coxcombry, rather than for awkward manners or an ill-chosen dress ; when it shall be found that to forfeit their esteem is to forfeit their love, then men may feel themselves more strongly impelled to restrain vices which no law can reach, and seek to win by true worth and manly exertion hearts that would disdain a meaner homage.

17

CHAPTER VII.

BENEVOLENCE.

а

We use this term to denote not only that general desire for the good of mankind which it is usually employed to signify, but also the source whence spring the social affections. It is the prevalence of the latter over the desire for private gratification which constitutes benevolence, and we approach it in proportion as we enlarge the sphere of our sympathies and extend them to objects less and less connected with our own private happiness. He who cares more for his family than himself is certainly not a selfish man ; but if he cares exclusively for his own family, he cannot be called a benevolent one. That praise is due only to him who, whilst feeling the tenderest love for the small circle around his own hearth, carries his sympathies into the wider sphere of social life, - whose heart throbs at the voice of human weal or woe, whencesoever it may come, and whose hand stays not in the labor of doing good till it has reached the limits of its power. We cannot better describe the character of the benevolent man than in the beautiful language of Hume:-“ To his parents he endears himself by his pious attachment and duteous care still more than by the connections of nature. His children never feel his authority but when employed for their advantage. With him the ties of love are consolidated by beneficence and friendship. The ties of friendship approach, in a fond observance of each obliging office, to those of love and inclination. His domestics and dependants have in him a sure resource, and no longer dread the power of Fortune, but so far as she exercises it over him. From him the hungry receive food, the naked clothing, the ignorant and slothful, skill and industry. Like the sun, an inferior minister of Providence, he cheers, invigorates, and sustains the surrounding world.

"If confined to private life, the sphere of his activity is narrower; but his influence is all benign and gentle. If exalted into a higher station, mankind and posterity reap the fruit of his

labors." *

This picture of the benevolent man, drawn by the sceptical philosopher, might be taken as a practical illustration of the Apostle's + description of charity or love. There is scarce a virtue which man can exercise towards his brother man not included in that description ; - patience, kindness, sympathy, modesty, good temper, just appreciation of the claims of others, kind interpretation of their motives, joy in their uprightness and sorrow over their errors, trust and hope in their virtue, and endurance of their failings. And to all these it is added that, without charity, — eloquence, foresight, knowledge, faith, the most unlimited bounty, the most daring zeal, are nothing worth. There is yet a higher distinction attributed by the Apostle to this virtue. We are expressly told that it will endure after the dissolution of our present constitution, and that it will still, in another world, find objects and scope for its exercise. When the dim and imperfect knowledge afforded us here is effaced in the full daylight of truth, when faith is merged in certainty, and hope is lost in the realization of bliss, love will remain unchanged, except in its degree, and will still be exercised in other worlds, and amongst other beings.

The Christian religion is expressly founded on the principle of love,

love to God and love to man; the latter being required as a test of the former. “If thou love not thy brother whom thou hast seen, how shalt thou love God, whom thou hast not seen ?” It is strange and painful to observe how this prin. ciple, so earnestly and so constantly insisted upon, is more neg. lected in practice than any other. We should at least expect, in a society calling itself Christian, that charity would be regarded as the first of virtues ; but far from it. Mere alms-giving usurps the name, and in its true and wide sense we find almost

Essay on Benevolence, Part II.

ti Cor. xiii.

every other qualification exalted above it; the slightest difference of opinion on points of which no one professes infallible knowledge, seeming to justify the violation of all its precepts.

As justice is the foundation on which society rests, so benev. olence or love may be regarded as the cement that binds together its several parts, drawing them closer and closer as they ascend from the general relations of country and profession to the sacred ties of domestic life. Whatever importance we may attach, and justly so, to self-interest as a general bond of union between man and man, it is certain that society could not long exist without the more special one of affection. No calculation of interest could supply the place of its spontaneous and unwearied zeal. Accordingly, wherever we find family ties weak. ened, and the dissocial stronger than the social passions, society hangs loosely together, and only waits some external pressure to fall asunder. This was the state of many of the old Eu. ropean nations at the breaking out of the French Revolution. Corruption of manners had loosened every family tie, loyalty was worn out by oppression, and class was arrayed against class in deadly feud. The rapid fall of the old systems, at the first touch of the republican armies, sufficiently proved that they had ceased to contain any principles of vitality.

It would lead us far beyond our limits to follow out so vast a subject as the cultivation and influence of the affections. We can only point out the practical evils arising from deficiency of benevolence in the present state of society, and offer a few remarks on the special affections of love and friendship, of which a correct appreciation is so important to woman's character and happiness.

Adam Smith refers the origin of all our social affections to what he terms habitual sympathy. Whether this be correct or no, it is at least certain that sympathy is so intimately connected with benevolence, that we cannot imagine the one without the other, and in every manifestation of affection, from simple kindness to ardent passion, sympathy enters as an essential and unfailing element. Sympathy is the strong and indissoluble tie which binds us to our kind, as to beings of a common

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