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pense be made thee; but when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and thou shalt be blessed, for they cannot recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just." Such was our Saviour's injunction how do we obey it? Something might perhaps be conceded for the sake of hospitality and the claims of society, but not at the expense of the still more sacred claims of charity.
In my second chapter, when treating of Pride, I declared it to be inseparably connected and identified with selfishness. So far as regards pride, this is correct, since it is undoubtedly, however diversified, an exhibition of the selfish principle. Selfishness has, nevertheless, another character separate from pride, which, to make the distinction between the two more clear, we will call Self-indulgenCE, not dependent in any way upon the operation of the intellectual faculties, but based entirely upon the appropriation of objects which gratify the senses, and in which, except it be to enhance that gratification, neither sympathy, nor participation on the part of others, is requisite: in this it differs materially from pride, which invariably demands the co-operation of others to render its gratification complete.
It were needless to observe, that this exhibition of the selfish principle is not less opposed to the operation of the benevolent affections than pride
under its worst aspect. It is also the earliest to unfold itself in the infant breast, long before a spark of the pride and vanity with which it is afterwards often united, is awakened. Its first symptoms, easily detected, ought to be arrested without loss of time; because, if not suffered to gain strength through indulgence, the propensity will not be found unconquerable. It is, in fact, no very difficult task to teach youth the practice of self-denial; but the lesson ought to commence as early as the dawnings of that propensity which requires its counteracting influence.
Self-denial may even be rendered a medium of pure and ennobling gratification to a child, if its reward be made as immediate as possible; for, in childhood, delay necessarily lessens the salutary effect of either rewards or punishments. If any sensual gratification has been relinquished in favour of another individual, the child induced to forego such enjoyment will easily be led to feel and comprehend the higher pleasures of the benefactor, and may, as occasion offers, be recompensed for the sacrifice he has made by some enjoyment of a more intellectual character, and so by degrees to confer happiness and benefits on others will come to be regarded as the greatest happiness to himself.
In the furtherance of this desirable object, it will be necessary to guard against two sources of evil, either of which would pollute the pure stream of benevolence; I allude, in the first place, to that
speculative liberality, which calculates, before performing a generous action, upon reaping a twofold reward, venturing a sprat to catch a herring, as the homely English proverb expresses it, and so perverting generosity into expectancy. The other stumbling-block in the way is the danger of generosity swelling into ostentation: this will infallibly be the result of over much praise. The child, accustomed to be applauded for his beneficence, may grow up into the hero of a newspaper paragraph, but will be lamentably deficient in that truly Christian spirit, which delights to do good in secret, without any view to notoriety. “He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity," is an injunction too often disregarded at the present day.
I have known those who have attempted to drill young persons into habits of self-denial, by continually thwarting their wishes, without any shew of reason or justice. Such attempts invariably fail, as they ought to do. To relinquish pleasure voluntarily, in order to fulfil some imperative duty, or to ensure the pleasure of others, is quite a different thing from suffering deprivation merely in obedience to despotic caprice.
By awakening his sympathy, even a child, fond of gratifying his palate, may be led to give up the very food placed before him, to the beggar who solicits his charity; and few better modes of teaching benevolence and self-denial practically, can be resorted to; and the application to charitable purposes, of the little hoard of pocket-money, which
children, whose parents are not in affluent circumstances, are accustomed to lay by, will follow, as a matter of course.
Upon the same principle, an agreeable visit, or promised excursion, may be given up cheerfully, when the duty of attending, instead, upon a sick relative, or neighbour, is made intelligible to the heart of youth. The virtue of self-denial ought also to be inculcated touching matters generally esteemed unimportant, but, in reality, tending to the formation of character, as well as affecting much our social comfort. If it be a Christian duty to promote as much as in us lies the welfare and enjoyment of our fellow-creatures, so is it, in an equal degree, incumbent upon us to abstain from annoying them. This latter duty is, however, very imperfectly fulfilled. Children who have never been taught to make their wishes and inclinations subordinate to the wishes and inclinations of others, who have, in short, been reared in uncorrected selfishness, will necessarily betray, by their actions, a total disregard of the feelings and opinions of persons from whom they do not apprehend chastisement. Of this we are often made sensible, when we encounter any of these undisciplined youngsters at inns, boarding-houses, or other places of public resort. Noise and racket, slamming of doors, clattering of feet, whistling and shouting, and various other tokens of boisterous enjoyment, give intimation of their proximity. That the exuberance of youthful spirits should find
vent in noise, is natural enough, and, to a certain extent, desirable, as affording evidence of health and happiness; but the excess of it ought to be checked, both on account of its encouraging selfindulgence, and its being a social grievance. Children should be taught to temper their mirth according to place and circumstance, and never to find gratification in that which may torment and incommode others. What disorder, what cause of strife and bickering would this simple process prevent? for it cannot be denied, that all trespassers upon individual comfort, be they juvenile, or adult, are guilty of bringing into active operation much evil, which else would have remained dormant.
The attention of the parent, if properly vigilant, will find innumerable opportunities wherein to exercise the self-denying powers of the child. The lesson is a plain and direct one; it is, in fact, neither more nor less than the inculcation, upon all occasions, in trifles, as well as in affairs of moment, of the golden rule of Christianity: "All things that ye would men should do unto you, do ye also unto them." A rule, which, if faithfully obeyed, would, in itself, suffice for social comfort and security. Then, indeed, "nations might burn their codes, and lawyers their statute books." It is by teaching our children, as it were, morally to transmute place and circumstances with those around them, that we alone can hope to awaken their sympathies, and so to fulfil this gracious and comprehensive law.