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Here we discover the
result of kindness. If these truly good men had pursued a different course—if they had treated that unfortunate man with harshness—if they had refused to sign his certificate-how different would have been the consequences.
His energies would have been crushed, hope would have deserted him, and, perchance, like multitudes before him, he would have fallen into intemperance and vice, and ended his days in prison. His family would have become the prey of gaunt poverty, his children would have been neglected, to grow up in ignorance and crime; while his wife, if not driven to licentiousness by absolute want, would have gone down to the grave,
others of her sex before her, broken-hearted. But kindness changed such fearful gleamings of horror, into a bright morning of joy. The fallen man was cheeredhis hopes were revived—a path was open by which to retrieve himself—his generous
creditors, whom he had treated so unkindly, took the last obstacle out of his path to prosperity again-and not only this, they gave him means to keep his family in comfort, while he was collecting his energies for another effort in life. Poor fellow! well might his tongue refuse to do its office, and his eyes gush with tears of repentance and subdued feeling.
The melting influence of kindness beams out of the following incident, which beautifully illustrates the object of this chapter. About a century since, a comic author employed an actor, “celebrated for mimicry," to visit the celebrated Dr. Woodward, of England, for the pur. pose of gaining a knowledge of his manner, person and awkward delivery. The object was, to create laughter by having the actor mimic the doctor, on the stage. To accomplish this, the actor, in the dress of a countryman,, waited upon the doctor, declaring that his wife was sorely afflicted with diseases, and amazed him by stating that she was borne down with an oppressive burthen of accumulated pains of the most opposite nature. After having gained the knowledge he wished, the actor awkwardly offered a guinea to the doctor as a fee. up thy money, poor fellow," cried the doctor, “put up thy money. Thou hast need of all thy cash and all thy patience too, with such a bundle of diseases tied to thy back.” The actor returned to the author, and gave such a correct and ludicrous imitation of the doctor, that his employer absolutely screamed with delight. But it appears that the kindness of the doctor had a very different effect from what the author anticipated; for the mimic petrified him, by declaring, in the voice of warm and subdued
feeling, " that he would sooner die than prostitute his talents to the rendering such genuine humanity a public laughing-stock."* Had the doctor treated him harshly and unkindly, it would undoubtedly have given the mimic unbounded satisfaction to cover him with ridicule. But to imitate the man who had used him with such tender kindness, for the purpose of ministering to the laughs of an unthinking rabble, was beyond his power-his feelings would not permit him-he was completely overcome by the commisseration of the doctor.
In the light of these facts, every person must perceive the efficacy and power of the divine principle, overcome evil with good”—and must admit, that as God has given it to us, and the Saviour made it the leading precept of his system, as well as the guide of his holy life, so, we should not only write it with indelible remembrance upon our hearts, but we should also act according to its dictates and direction. Towards all who come within the reach of our influence, it should be exercised. If used rightly, it will be found a key which will open the hearts of all around us, giving us a place in their affections. It will disarm anger of its
*I am indebted for this fact, to the Penny Magazine, volume i, p. 208.
power, hatred of its sting, enmity of its opposition, and sarcasm of its malice. It will make the communion of husband and wife more tender-it will secure the obedience of children it will make the ties of friendship strong-it will turn enmity into tender feeling-it will minister to the widow and orphan in the pitiless storms of winter-and it will look to the comfort of the dumb beasts who serve us, saving them from cruelty, and insuring them good treatment. All this it will do, if practiced. And' need it be said, that it is the duty of every person to be guided in action, by the Christian law, overcome evil with good ?"
KINDNESS AND INSANITY.
“ Such is the power of mighty love."-DRYDEN.
“ Mightier far
There is still another scene in human life, where the law of kindness is producing the most extraordinary results—results which are contrary to all former experience. I mean, those unfortunate beings whose light of reason becomes quenched in madness, and the mode by which they are now generally governed. It has hitherto been universally believed, that insane persons must be governed by violence, and that such a mode is the only manner in which they can be managed. Hence, in the past history of insanity, we find it one account of chains, rags, filth and harshness—while the violent and refractory have been subjected to severe corporeal punishment, in order to subdue