ページの画像
PDF
ePub
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The Lion and the Mouse;

A FABLE. A LION was once going to war; he “Why do you grumble at this pretty had buckled on his sword, and gathered little fellow ? See how graceful his movehis forces, and, with the monkey and the ments are, and how cheerful is his counbear supporting his long robe behind, he tenance ! Remember that everything was proudly marching over the plain at has its use, and nothing is more useful the head of his army. As he was pro- than that which makes us cheerful, proceeding, it chanced that his majesty en- vided it is innocent. Even we warriors countered a mouse, dancing merrily over have need of cheerful excitement, for by the ground. The king paused, and ob- this means we are better fitted to disserved the little dancer with a grim charge our solemn duties. Let us not smile of satisfaction. At this the bear despise, then, even such sports, and grumbled, and the monkey sneered, for amusements, and trifles, as come in our his majesty being in a warlike humor, way, provided always that they are as they thought it meet that everybody else harmless as the frisks and frolics of should be so too; but they were both this little dancing-master of the meadow; speedily silenced by the lion, who spoke and provided, too, that we never neglect as follows:

business for pleasure.'

Merry's Life and Adventures. ferent now from what I once did. The

change is in you, not in me. I am the CHAPTER X.

same poor Paul Raymond, as before.

You are something better than before A conversation about wealth and poverty.People this accident happened. to be respected according to their character, not

Merry. How am I better? I think I according to their circumstances.

am worse: I have been guilty of fully, As Paul Raymond was one of the and, though thoughtlessly, of crime; I best friends I ever had, it is my desire have been disgraced before the whole to make

my reader well acquainted with village ; my poor arm broken; I am sick him. He was tall, thin, and bent over, and emaciated; and after all this, you his figure seeming to indicate great tell me that I am better than before. humility; his face was meagre and ex- R. And I tell you the truth, boy. ceedingly pale; his hair black as jet, You have suffered, it is certain ; but and hanging in long, thin curls down his that suffering has been like medicine to neck. His eye was very large, and of a your mind and heart. You were well in deep blue.

body, you were full of health and spirits, The whole aspect of my friend was but there was disease within. Your marked with a childlike gentleness and heart was full of selfishness and pride; timidity, though his high forehead and you felt that you could take care of prominent Roman nose bespoke a manly yourself

, and you cared not for the symintellect. A worldly person, judging pathy of others. You have now learnt only by outward form and a first sight, a good lesson ; that pride has been humhad passed him by with indifference; but bled, and you see your dependence upon one who looks upon mankind as beings others. You see how poor

and paltry of soul and mind, would have been pride is; and how vain is that indeattracted by his appearance. It was so pendence, which leads us to think only in some degree with myself, for when I of self, and to be regardless of the feel. first saw poor Paul, as he was called in ings of our fellow-men. You are more the village, I scarcely noticed him. And humble than before, and therefore I say for years after, I saw nothing of par- you are better than before. ticular interest in his person : but now M. Then you think humility is a that I was on a sick bed, and had oppor- good thing ? tunity, as well as occasion, to observe R. Certainly, and pride a bad thing. him closer, he seemed to me very inter. God looks down upon the humble man esting, both in looks and manner. with approbation and favor, and he sends

It was one morning after he had been to the humble man peace and consolaputting my room in order, and, taking tion which the world cannot give or take his book, had sat down by my bedside, away. God looks down upon the proud that I mentioned to Paul the change of man as a fool, a creature as silly as the feeling I had undergone in respect to moth that buzzes in the flame of the himself. “I cannot but wonder," said I, lamp, only to perish in his folly. “how different you seem to me now,

from M. But this is very different from the what you used to do, Mr. Raymond." • view generally taken by mankind. The

Raymond. Call me Paul, boy, call me rich, the haughty, those who are sucPaul! said he. We are friends now, cessful in life, who know no sickness and mister is always a mischief-maker or misfortune, and who are seldom or between friends. You say I seem dif- never visited by sorrow—these are those

[ocr errors]

who are esteemed happy by the world we shall pity them, as in fact poor,

and at large. The proud are envied and destitute, and miserable in all that conthe humble are despised. You would stitutes real goodness, real wealthreverse this, and regard the humble as good heart. the happy, and the high and haughty as It is for this reason that the Bible-a the miserable.

.book more full of virtue than mankind R. Yes, and this is nearly the truth. generally think-tells us that “whom Health is given us for good; but, strange the Lord loveth, he chasteneth.” In to say, men seem to turn it to bad ac- other words, God sends sorrow and miscount. A person who has always good fortune upon men in real kindness. He health, is usually unfeeling: he sneers takes away health, but he gives gentleat those who are feeble, and laughs ness and humility of soul, as a compenthose to scorn who cannot eat and drink sation; he takes

away worldly wealih and work as well as he does. He is houses, lands, and merchandises—but he therefore deficient in one of the greatest gives charity, good will, kindness, and of blessings, a kind and tender heart, a sympathy, in their stead.

He takes heart that feels for the misfortunes and away external and earthly riches, and sorrows of others, and that always is gives in exchange spiritual riches, of seeking to soften them.

infinitely greater price. He takes away Riches are given for good, but these dollars and cents, which only pass in too are abused. The rich man is likely this world, and are wholly uncurrent in to have very little regard for the poor; another, and gives coin that bears upon he is apt almost to feel that the poor are it an image and superscription, which not human: at all events, he knows and not only makes it available in time, but cares little about them. He estimates in eternity. men by their wealth : if a man is rich, M. Most people think very differently he respects him; if poor, he despises from you, on these matters: they seem him. Thus wealth begets in its posses- to imagine that the rich are not only the sor a gross stupidity of mind; it blinds happiest

, but the wisest and best part of a man to the most useful pleasures and mankind. important truths. It makes a man igno- R. Shallow people may think so, rant of his real duty and his true happi- but wise men do not. Our Savior

appealed to the poor, not to the rich. M. You think then that health and Poverty, not wealth, was the soil in wealth are misfortunes.

which he sowed the seeds of truth; and R. Certainly not, if rightly used: he knew all things. History justifies they are blessings in the hands of the Christ's judgment of human life, for all, virtuous, and some such there are. But or nearly all great improvements in in too many cases, mankind abuse them. society have been begun and carried on The fortunate are very apt to be vicious; by the poor. For almost all useful inthose who go on in an unchanging tide ventions; for almost all that is beautiful of success, at last fancy that they may in poetry, and music, and painting, and indulge their pride and their passions sculpture, and architecture; for almost with impunity. Such persons have all that has contributed to diffuse truth hard hearts; and though the world, and knowledge and liberty among manjudging of the outside only, call them kind-we are indebted to those who fortunate, and envy them--still, if we have been born and nursed in poverty. look within and see their real character, If you were lo strike out of existence

ness.

all that the poor have created, and leave never gives away anything, who is only what the rich have created, you greedily seeking all the time to increase would make this world one vast scene his possessions, is almost sure, in a few of desolation, vice, and tyranny.

years, to accumulate large stores. Such Look around, and remark, who are a man may be very stupid in intellect, the people that are tilling the soil and and yet successful in getting rich. producing the comforts and luxuries of Riches are no proof of wisdom, but life? The poor, and not the rich. Who, they are generally evidence of selfishare paying the taxes and supporting the ness. government? The poor, for they pay, A man, by cultivating any passion, in proportion to their property, much increases it. An avaricious man, inmore than the rich.

Who are

the dulging his avarice, grows more and supporters of religion? The poor, for more so. He not only becomes more it is by their prayers, and sacrifices, greedy, but less regardful of the rights, and efforts, that it is propagated, not feelings, and interests of his fellow-men. only at home, but in foreign lands. No Thus, as a man increases in riches, he Christian Mission, no Bible Society, usually becomes vicious and depraved. no Society for the dist tion of Tracts, His vices may not be open-he may not was ever begun and carried on and sup- break the laws of the land, but he breaks ported by the rich.

the laws of conscience, and of God. The simple truth is, that, as the poor There is hardly a spectacle more revoltare the producers of all the substantial ing to the eye of virtue, then the bosom comforts of life, of food, raiment, houses, of the rich and avaricious man.

It is a furniture, roads, vehicles, ships, and machine, which grinds in its relentless merchandises, so are they the cultivators wheels the limbs, the bowels, the nerves, of those spiritual staples which make up the hearts of such among his fellow-men the social wealth of the world—religion, as fall within his grasp. He is a kind knowledge, charity, sympathy, virtue, of moral cannibal, who feasts and grows patriotism, liberty, and truth. Destroy fat, not on the bodies of his species, but the poor, and you destroy not only the on their peace and happiness. source of worldly wealth, but of that M. You are severe. mental, spiritual, and social wealth, R. But I hope not unjust : remember which are far higher and better. that Christ forgave the thief on the

M. You think, then, that the poor are cross, but declared that it was easier for not only the wisest, but the best part of a camel to pass through the eye of a mankind.

needle, than for a rich man to enter the R. Certainly; but do not misunder.. kingdom of heaven. He knew by what stand me. I do not say all rich men means men generally grow rich; he are bad, or that all poor ones are good. knew the effect of riches on the heart; There are rich men who are good, wise, and, as a class, he denounces the rich, as kind, and virtuous and those who are in the view of Heaven among the least so, deserve great praise, for, as a class, favored of mankind. They have their the rich are otherwise; and the reasons good things in this world, but a fearful are plain. In the first place, most men penalty is attached to the abuse of these who become rich, do so by being su- good things—an abuse which is but too premely selfish. They keep what they tempting and too common. get, and get what they can.

But the only evil of wealth lies not in who has no generosity, who seldom or the danger which it threatens to the future

A man

welfare of the soul; it is very apt to and riches, when once obtained, tend destroy or prevent some of the sweetest to corrupt and degrade the heart, and pleasures of this life.' Humility is the stultify the mind. While, therefore, wé source of more true happiness than admit that a rich man may be wise and wealth. A rich man may possess hu- virtuous, still, as a class, the rich are the mility, though he is more likely to be least to be respected and trusted. We proud; poverty, disappointment, sorrow, are borne out in this view by the reand misfortune, are the great producers markable words of Jesus Christ, and by of humility: and it often happens that the testimony of history. The rich, God, in taking away wealth and worldly therefore, are to be shunned and feared, prosperity, and giving humility in re- till we know, by positive proof, that they turn, greatly increases a person's true are worthy of our confidence and esteem, wealth and genuine peace. It is thus by the possession of virtue and wisdom. that he often deals with those he loves. On the contrary, if man is poor, we He thinks that a man may well afford have reason to believe that he is humble, to part with his wealth, if he parts with and if humble, that he is virtuous. I pride at the same time, and obtains hu- know that this is not the way that the mility as a reward; and surely he world usually judge, but I know that it knows what is best for us.

is true. If you wish to find sympathy Nor is peace of mind the only effect for sorrow or misfortune; or if you of humility. It not only wakes up the wish to find those who will make sacriheart of man to many kindly exercises fices to alleviate your distress, you of charity to his fellow-men, but it clears must go to those who know sorrow his mind and his intellect, so that it and are acquainted with grief. You * is brighter and stronger. Pride dims, must go to those who are in the humble dulls, and cheats the mind; the judg- walks of life, and have learnt humilityment of a proud man is seldom good. an estimate of ourselves which makes Not only does pride beget ineanness of us regard others as our equals, and soul, but meanness of intellect. Great- which renders us willing to do to them ness of mind, as well as of soul, is as we would have them do to us. No usually associated with humility. For man can feel the sorrow of others, unthis reason it is, that you find among less he has suffered himself. the poor, who are usually humble, more

'Tis the poor man alone, true greatness of both mind and heart,

When he hears the poor's moan, than among the rich; and it is thus that

Of his morsel a morsel will give." we see the fact explained, which I have before stated, that for almost all the M. You seem to think, then, that great religious, benevolent, and social men are to be judged according to their progress of the world, we are indebted character, and not by their circumstances. to the wisdom, charity, disinterestedness, R. Just so: you have stated the case and patriotism of the poor.

exactly. When the Bible says that God M. Is it then a sin to be rich, or a looketh on the heart, it means to affirm, virtue to be poor?

that the wisest and best of beings pays R. Certainly not: there is no virtue no respect to riches or poverty. In or vice in either poverty or wealth. All choosing his friends, he does not conI

say is this, the usual means taken to sider what sort of a house a man lives get riches are supreme selfishness or in, or how he is dressed; he looks to craft, or uncommon want of principle; his heart, to his real character: and, be

« 前へ次へ »