How little is known of what is in the bosom of those around us! We might explain many a coldness could we look into the heart concealed from us; we should often pity where we hate, love when we curl the lip with scorn and indignation. To judge without reserve of any human action is a culpable temerity, of all our sins the most unfeeling and frequent.
How a common sorrow or calamity spans the widest social differences and welds all, the rich and poor, in one common bond of sympathy, which, begetting charity and all her train, softens the hardest heart and banishes the sturdiest feeling of superiority! Over the lifeless body of the departed, enemies and friend can weep together, and, burying strife and differences with their common loss, feel a kinship which unites them, and which all humanity shares.
Don’t be exacting.—An exacting temper is one against which to guard both one’s heart and the nature of those who are under our control and influence. To give and to allow, to suffer and to bear, are the graces more to the purpose of a noble life than cold, exacting selfishness, which must have, let who will go without, which will not yield, let who will break. It is a disastrous quality wherewith to go through the world; for it receives as much pain as it inflicts, and creates the discomfort it deprecates.
Verily, good works constitute a refreshing stream in this world, wherever they are found flowing. It is a pity that they are too often like oriental torrents, “waters that fail” in times of greatest need. When we meet the stream actually flowing and refreshing the land, we trace it upward, in order to discover the fountain whence it springs. Threading our way upward, guided by the river, we have found at length the placid lake from which the river runs. Behind all genuine good works and above them, love will, sooner or later, certainly be found. It is never good alone; uniformly, in fact, and necessarily in the nature of things, we find the two constituents existing as a complex whole, “love and good works,” the fountain and the flowing stream.
Never give up old friends for new ones. Make new ones if you like, and when you have learned that you can trust them, love them if you will, but remember the old ones still. Do not forget they have been merry with you in time of pleasure, and when sorrow came to you they sorrowed also. No matter if they have gone down in social scale and you up; no matter if poverty and misfortune have come to them while prosperity came to you; are they any less true for that? Are not their hearts as warm and tender if they do beat beneath homespun instead of velvet? Yes, kind reader, they are as true, loving and tender; don’t forget old friends.