There is Good in All. Let us show our faith in it. When the lazy whine of the mendicant jars on your ears, think of his unaided, unschooled childhood; think that his lean cheeks never knew the baby-roundness of content that ours have worn; that his eye knew no youth of fire—no manhood of expectancy. Pity, help, teach him. When you see the trader, without any pride of vocation, seeking how he can best cheat you, and degrade himself, glance into the room behind his shop and see there his pale wife and his thin children, and think how cheerfully he meets that circle in the only hour he has out of the twenty-four. Pity his narrowness of mind; his want of reliance upon the God of Good; but remember there have been Greshams, and Heriots, and Whittingtons; and remember, too, that in our happy land there are thousands of almshouses, built by the men of trade alone. And when you are discontented with the great, and murmur, repiningly, of Marvel in his garret, or Milton in his hiding-place, turn in justice to the Good among the great. Read how John of Lancaster loved Chaucer and sheltered Wicliff. There have been Burkes as well as Walpoles. Russell remembered Banim’s widow, and Peel forgot not Haydn.
Once more: believe that in every class there is Good; in every man, Good. That in the highest and most tempted, as well as in the lowest, there is often a higher nobility than of rank. Pericles and Alexander had great, but different virtues, and although the refinement of the one may have resulted in effeminacy, and the hardihood of the other in brutality, we ought to pause ere we condemn where we should all have fallen.
Look only for the Good. It will make you welcome everywhere, and everywhere it will make you an instrument to good. The lantern of Diogenes is a poor guide when compared with the Light God hath set in the heavens; a Light which shines into the solitary cottage and the squalid alley, where the children of many vices are hourly exchanging deeds of kindness; a Light shining into the rooms of dingy warehousemen and thrifty clerks, whose hard labour and hoarded coins are for wife and child and friend; shining into prison and workhouse, where sin and sorrow glimmer with sad eyes through rusty bars into distant homes and mourning hearths; shining through heavy curtains, and round sumptuous tables, where the heart throbs audibly through velvet mantle and silken vest, and where eye meets eye with affection and sympathy; shining everywhere upon God’s creatures, and with its broad beams lighting up a virtue wherever it falls, and telling the proud, the wronged, the merciless, or the despairing, that there is “Good in All.”
WE are told to look through nature
Upward unto Nature’s God;
We are told there is a scripture
Written on the meanest sod;
That the simplest flower created
Is a key to hidden things;
But, immortal over nature,
Mind, the lord of nature, springs!