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ting on their clothes, such wilful helplessness excites the indignation of the right-minded.
When we contemplate the perpetually gloved hand of the fashionable lady, that hand which is deemed too delicate and too patrician to perform any ruder or more vulgar task than that of manufacturing some whimsy article, useless as fantastic, we are inclined to doubt, whether in truth it be the same noble member
upon whose wondrous mechanism Sir Charles Bell has written so eloquently; seeing that for any essential good it produces, it might almost as well have been the claw of a bird or the paw of a quadruped.
There is, methinks, something very irreconcilable with Christianity in the life-long routine of selfish gratification, and luxurious ease, pursued by the spoilt children of fortune. Indifferent to the woes of whole classes of their fellow creatures, because, forsooth, to toil and to suffer is esteemed their proper condition. Intent only on pleasureseeking, but, by a wise ordinance of Heaven, finding it not.
Contrast these galley-slaves of fashion, wearied and satiated with the frivolities and ceremonials of that artificial existence to which they are chained as fast as ever was galley-slave to the oar; contrast them, I say, with those exalted beings who, shining out like stars amid surrounding darkness, have at various periods defied and despised the allurements of wealth and rank, and devoted themselves, heart and soul, to the good of their fellow
creatures. In our own time there have been, and still are, individuals thus distinguishing themselves. Good Samaritans, healing the wounded by the way side, comforting the sick and the imprisoned, instructing the ignorant, whether in far distant lands, where the light of Christianity struggles into life amid the darkness of actual Heathenism, or in the scarcely less morally benighted population of profesedly Christian countries.
The Romish Church, with all its errors, has sent forth numbers of these true disciples of Christ, eminent for self-denying virtues and practical benevolence. Priests who have braved all the perils of war and pestilence, to carry consolation to the afflicted: high-born and accomplished women who have voluntarily performed the menial offices of hospital nurses; the very fervour of their faith, sustaining their courage, and sanctifying their deeds.
What touching reminiscences are those still preserved in Brittany of the pious and charitable Comte and Comtesse de la Garaye, who, during the term of forty years, from 1715 to 1755, devoted their lives, their fortune, and their mansion, to the unwearied practice of the most active benevolence! Dissatisfied and weary of leading the life of a man of pleasure, M. de la Garaye, finding corresponding dispositions in his wife, determined to live solely for the purpose of alleviating human misery. In order to do this the more effectually, he went to Paris, and there acquired a considerable knowledge of medicine, while his wife actually became one of the first oculists of her day. Thus prepared and qualified, they returned to their chateau of La Garaye, at Dinan, in Brittany, which they converted into a perfect and most admirably administered hospital. Fresh buildings were constructed, medical men were employed, and the work of benevolence carried on upon so extensive a scale, that it is recorded that twenty-eight pupils were at one time attending the hospital as a medical school. Mr. Trollope, to whose “Tour in Brittany” we are indebted for this interesting anecdote, informs us, that to this day, the recollection of those good deeds is the pride and delight of the inhabitants of Dinan. How poor, how hollow the celebrity of the greatest conqueror the world ever saw, compared with the halo of imperishable glory encircling the ruins of that chateau, the scene of such benevolence!
To fit man for the station which his Creator has assigned him in this world as a social being; to prepare him, as far as human means are competent to the task, for that state of everlasting happiness into which, through the merits of his Redeemer, he may hope to enter after death, is, or ought to be the aim and purpose of education. Even were the influence it exercises over our welfare limited to this mortal span, even were there no hereafter to which to direct our thoughts and aspirations, so incalculable are the benefits derived from education in this temporal state, it is impossible for us to bestow upon it too much pains or consideration.
Be our appointed term of existence long or short, it is desirable that it should be spent pleasantly and usefully to ourselves and to those with whom we are connected; in other words, that each should contribute as much as is in his power to the general stock of happiness, and add as little to the ills of life as human frailty admits of. In order to be in a condition to fulfil these important duties, we must make virtue our constant study and practice, for without the practice of virtue, it is idle to discourse of it; and we may depend upon it that if we fail in this respect, however favourable to enjoyment our worldly circumstances may be, it is impossible that happiness should be ours.
Leaving the various branches of science and learning, and the consideration of when and how they may best be pursued, to those more competent to treat of them, I have throughout the foregoing chapters kept undeviatingly to the design with which I first set out-The Education of the Heart-a section of the scheme of youthful instruction which appeared to me not sufficiently attended to. I can also confidently assert, that any hints I may have thrown out in my progress, will be found in strict conformity with the precepts contained in the Holy Scriptures, from which indeed they are derived. The necessity of making Christianity a practical and not merely a theoretical principle, I have strenuously urged. In this I am aware I only tread in the footsteps of others. Many before me have upheld the same doctrine, and with much more ability. I shall, however, be perfectly content to rank only as an humble follower and supporter of the good cause; utility having been my sole aim.
Before taking leave of my readers, I would utter a few words of warning upon a subject which, intimately connected, as I conceive it to be, with all that has preceded it, will not be misplaced here. I allude to that proneness--which although