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us.

We approach a subject so dignified, with all the hesitancy and distrust inexperience would beget: for we stand on no elevation in Life, where we can gather, in one glance, the various motions of struggling, ambitious men,-nor do we hold in our hands any divining rod, by which to foresee the tortuous progress of the various passions in the human character: but we would be one to watch the flash of feeling,—to catch the ardor of action, to admire the bold changes mind is ever making in the great strife of Life, as we find them exhibited around and about

We would read lessons in gray locks and in furrowed cheeks,in upright forms and manly action. Homilies on Moral and Religious abstractions we find in no books of ours : sermonizing aside, let us look into the vast soul, where the great machinery of Life is in motion, note its laws and operations.

Character, like a great plan, is continually unfolding. Victory, conquest, come not of determination, single-handed : plans are to be nurtured and matured, enthusiasm to be raised, pleasure to be forsworn, life regarded as nothing. So with Mind. One disclosure follows another, each dependent on the preceding, but generally ascribable for its peculiarity to the nature of the circumstances in which the individual is thrown. We many of us hold strange, and, at best, but vague

notions respecting our own character: imagining it is of a composition too etherial for handling or training, we let it follow up the growth of the body, expecting any corporeal advantage to prove also a mental blessing. Looking only to the outward man, we seem to forget at times that there is in our possession any secret influence on our condition, which we denominate Character. And thus we go on, hoodwinked as we are, bending and stooping to circumstances, of which, inherent dignity at least, should have made us complete masters. We literally sell ourselves for whatever price exigences, and even common customs, may esteem our

20

VOL. X.

value. More the children of fortuitous occurrences, than a noble determination of our own, we infinitely prefer to wear the captive's chains to guiding, as victor, the triumphal procession. This state of self-degradation is more the result of indolent habit, than of self-reliance, and a habit, too, that often neutralizes all the recoiling power of after reflection.

We propose, for a brief space, to draw out to notice a few of the grand resources on which the foundation of a perfect character is dependent.

Need we appeal to the self-reliance of every mind as the first and the last law of self-preservation ? The world admires, reveres examples of this kind : the man who can provide for his own name and fortune, can lead a nation. Men want no half-minded, fearful, dodging characters at their head: they well know they have already too many of these, and clamor for a change, a something on which to rest their sinking hopes, or turn their eyes in admiration. 'Tis the way of the world, envious and detracting as it professedly is, to respect something out of its reach, and yet, so completely in its midst, that the recognition of the object only deepens the spell and electrifies the power.

The commonest examples are illustrative of our point. A man rushes into a thousand imminent dangers, about which the multitude would only exhibit a raving of indecision, to save the life of a fellow. Shouts, maddening applause, greet his successful exit,-human nature seems thrilled with delight. You ask, what is the worth of applause from a multitude, whose courage and self-dependence entitle them to nothing more than pity ; but will you dash aside the flow of generous gratitude, even though it come not from the source most desirable ? Are the better feelings of humanity worthless because they wear not the guise our fancy might prescribe ? Glad should we ever be to catch the first faint lispings of a grateful heart, and when that feeling is too intense for the confinement of language, and tumultuous applause bears it along like the wind, wretched, indeed, is the man that does not for the moment double his

very

existence. If the world's opinion weigh any thing, it weighs every thing. On so important a trait as self-reliance, that opinion is well enough known. Then, whoever would make his fortune in this world, must first show it his value of power and resources. But, beyond this view, there lies another far more elevated—the influence of this power on the individual character. It was always our belief, that we thought more of ourselves, than the world thought of us, and this, too, because we craved rather our individual opinion than that of the world. With others it may not be so : but generally, if our own ideas are to be of any worth, they had better become so now. This is, to a specified degree, the trait in question,

the bringing out an idea that you stand on something, when you trust yourself to your own opinions. We hate, we pity the pendulum being, whose determinations contract or dilate with the change of his feelings, whose actions vacillate with the seconds. We hate, for that man is ruining the hopes of others, by indecisive movements : we pity, for he is a character that must limp on the crutches of charity all the way

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