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THE BLESSINGS AND DUTY OF PRACTICING THE
LAW OF KINDNESS,
“ Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase !)
The angel wrote and vanish’d. The next night
In whatever manifestation of its influence, the exercise of kindness may be considered, it will always confer upon the individual who directs it and the individual upon whom it is brought to bear, a rich blessing. Genuine
kindness never carries blight and ruin with it, like the tornado; it always goes forth like the light and heat of the sun, bearing peace, joy and sympathy to all whom it reaches. And when it returns to him who has exerted it, the rewards which earthly things can form, are given him or if he is not in a situation to require assistance from those who have felt the gentle dew of his affection, his soul is filled with the calm and steady but ecstatic thought that others have been made happy by his actions. He can well appreciate the language of Lathrop
Beneficence, regardless of herself, —
A mine, an empire, of sublime delight.” The history of life furnishes not a single i)lustration of the law of kindness, but proves the sacred declaration, “cast thy corn upon moist ground, and after many days thou shalt find it."* For, as certain as corn will yield its increase to the sower, so certain is it that kindness flows back upon its worshipper with an hundred-fold of pure felicity. Well was it said by Hannah More
" And he, whose wakeful tenderness removes
*Translation by Girard-Biblical Institutes, p. 147.
It is the fact breathing in this poetry, which accounts for the simple but comprehensive answer which the good Oberlin returned as a reply to a question put to him by a visitor ; " Ia ich bin glucklich,' (Yes, I am happy.)"'*. His incessant labors, in the humblest circumstances and with the greatest obstacles, for the good of his people, yielded him an abundant reward in their very exercise. Nor can any person doubt but that the venerable Franklin received the most exquisite pleasure, when, in reply to a letter from the celebrated George Whitefield to whom he had rendered a kindness, he wrote as follows: " As to the kindness you mention, I wish it could have been of more service to you. But if it had, the only thanks I should desire is, that you would be equally ready to serve any other that may need your assistance, and so let good offices go round; for mankind are all of a fami. ly."| Those who become acquainted with the noble pleasure of administering kindness to others, find a tie which binds them to life, even if there was scarcely any other attraction to render it desirable. To this effect, Rogers in his poem on “Italy," relates an incident which he received from a Piedmontese nobleman, who, weary of life, determined to commit suicide.
* See Dr. Epp's Phrenological Essays, p. 53. + Vol. ii. of Franklin's Works in No. 93 of the Family Li brary, p. 110.
"I was weary of life, and after a day, such as few have known and none would wish to remember, was hurrying along the street to the river, when I felt a sudden check. I turned and beheld a little boy, who had caught the skirt of my cloak in his anxiety to solicit my notice. His look and manner were irresistible. Not less so was the lesson he had learnt.• There are six of us, and we are dying for want of food. Why should I not, said I to myself, relieve this wretched family? I have the means, and it will not detain me many minutes. But what if it does ? The scene of misery he conducted me to, I can not describe. I threw them my purse ; and their burst of gratitude over
It filled my eyes—it went as a cordial to my heart. I will call again to-morrow, I cried. Fool that I was to think of leaving a world where such pleasure was to be had, and so cheaply !"
The individual who is kind to his fellow-beings, does not pursue kindness without an overflowing reward-for he thereby deposites a treasure, which, at some period in his earthly career, will develope itself as the result of his benevolence. Witness the touching fact which follows: “ An aged man, named Bonvouloir, appeared before the sixth chamber, (Paris,) charged with the crime' of mendicity. While answer
ing the usual questions of the President, a young man, accompanied by his wife, advanced towards the bar, and, turning his eyes upon Bonvouloir, wept aloud. The name of this individual, as it afterward appeared, is Bouvet, whipmaker; and we feel pleasure in recording it, in connection with an act which ennobles human nature. President.-- Why do you weep ?' Bouvet.—Sir, I know that poor old man; I know him as one knows a father, for he was a father lo me! It was he who took care of my infancy; it was he who brought me up; and to see him thus reduced in his old age! My wife and I have come to beg of you, gentlemen, to have the goodness to give him up to our care. We will treat him kindly, Mr. President; we will do for him, in his helplessness, what he did for me in mine.' The young wife of Bouvet, (shedding tears.)-Oh! yes, Mr. President, we will take care of poor Mr. Bonvouloir, who was so good to my husband when he was but a little, destitute child. Do, Sir, let us have bim-pray, gentlemen, don't refuse us !' During these affecting supplications, it is impossible to describe the joy, the admiration, the ineffable expression of delight, that beamed on the face of that aged man, who found a triumph where he had only dared to hope for pity. The audience, the judges themselves, evinced deep emotion, and