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The truth is that his whole soul is absorbed in the one devouring passion-money-getting. For this he sacrifices all the better affections of his nature ; he hardens his heart against all the claims of relationship, friendship, and love, and he lives an isolated being in the midst of his fellows, bound to this earth by no other tie than that iron chain of avarice which corrodes his whole soul, and rivets him night and day to his beloved treasures.
(3rd argument: effects on others.) But, to say no more of the wretched condition of the miser's mind, we may consider the injury he does to society. He withdraws large sums of money from circulation. This is of itself a great evil. Money, like knowledge, does no good till it is spread. It is as injurious to the best interests of mankind to accumulate and hoard riches, as it would be if every discoverer of a principle, or inventor of a machine, were to keep the secret in his own breast, and not reveal it to the world. Nothing can be clearer than that, in such a state of things, it would be impossible for civilisation to advance, or for any improvement to take place in the social condition of the world.
(Causes.) This vice, fortunately for society, is of comparatively rare occurrence. It is seldom found in youth, and not very often in the middle period of life, but is almost wholly confined to old age. It may be difficult to explain why it should be so. Perhaps this passion attacks those who have outlived all their other affections, and is the last evidence of that “necessity to love” which would appear to be an essential part of man's nature. Sometimes it may be the offspring of a laudable economy, which is allowed to degenerate into parsimony, and which at length ends in that terrible condition we have endeavoured to describe in the earlier part of this paper.
(Conclusion.) Surely, then, no one can, without shuddering, contemplate the possibility of being brought into such a state. The very term miser” implies misery. “Nemo miser felix.” It is impossible for a miser to be happy; and as happiness is our being's end and aim, every one must see that it would be the height of folly to endeavour to obtain it by such
Let us desire wealth not for selfish, but for benevolent, purposes
to do good to others; and if we have it, let us put it to its proper use, but never fall into the wicked absurdity of imagining that the possession of hoarded riches will add one iota to our real welfare.
The following sketches may be of assistance to the writer in his first attempts at composition in general subjects.
I. ON ANGER.
Introduction. 1. Human passions
enumeratebenevolent and malevolent. To which class does anger belong? 2. Origin of anger -temperament - habits, &c.
. Describe degrees of anger. 3. General opinion -- passions to be controlled. 4. Effects on ourselves, weakness of intellect -- mad
ness ; on others, injustice — bodily injury, &c. 5. All excess must be wrong (explain).
- bad ex
6. Mortification - humiliation - scandal
ample. 7. Virtue consists in control, not in extinction, of
feeling. 8. Conclusion.
II. ON IDLENESS. Introduction. Activity a universal principle—even in inanimate objects (explain). 1. We must do something; if not right, wrong. Action
must be directed. 2. Causes of idleness. Want of steadiness of charac
ter ; neglect of the cultivation of the mind in
youth, &c. 3. Results of idleness. Positive ignorance, or imper
fect knowledge, a smattering (go into particulars). 4. Contrast. Show the difference between an idle
and an occupied man. 5. Analogy. Iron will corrode, stagnant water will
putrefy, &c. 6. Do the indolent perform their duties ? 7. Is it possible for the idle to make a reputation ? 8. Conclusion. What inference is to be drawn?
III. ON FALSEHOOD. Introduction. A natural antipathy between the true and false. 1. Various forms of falsehood cheating — fraud
the lie- equivocation - prevarication (explain). 2. Falsehood held in universal detestation by the good. 3. The false are base, mean, dishonourable ; the truth
ful, open, candid, frank, &c. 4. No trust or reliance can be placed, either in word
or deed, in the false.
5. Motive for falsehood - always bad; to gratify
selfishness — to conceal faults, &c. 6. Avoid beginnings — exaggerations—white lies, &c. 7. Does harm both to ourselves and others ; bad ex
ample; makes others distrustful, &c. 8. Conclusion. Motives for avoiding falsehood, &c.
IV. ON PRIDE.
Introduction. Vices frequently the excess of proper feelings. Prodigality springs from liberality; avarice from economy, &c. 1. In what pride consists, and whence its origin. 2. Arguments against it. Its injustice — it refuses
to recognise the merit of others. 3. It destroys sympathy ; removes us from intercourse.
The proud solitary. 4. Universally disliked; when absent, the jest of
society. 5. The proud cannot be happy — pride engenders a
thousand miseries in the heart. 6. The source of many vices (enumerate). 7. Pride incompatible with improvement. 8. Conclusion. Self-confidence desirable - but carry
it not to excess -do justice both to yourselves and others.
V. ON CONTENTMENT.
Introduction. Difference between the happy and the unhappy depends much on self- the feelings to be cherished to make ourselves happy.
1. Why contentment is such a blessing. 2. It removes envy, jealousy, malice, &c. all tor
menting passions. 3. Not annoyed by reverses ; adapts itself easily to
changes of fortune. 4. Contrast. Condition of the discontented. 5. Describe the feelings consequent upon contentment. 6. All the wealth and power of this world insufficient
to satisfy (therefore ?). 7. “ Not he who has most, but he who desires least, is
happy." 8. Conclusion. Motives for contentment.
VI. ON AFFECTATION.
Introduction. Many failings which interfere with the improvement of character enumerate). 1. What is affectation? its origin, its various forms,
and at what period of life is it most frequently
found ? 2. Arguments against. It is dishonest - imposture
a species of falsehood. 3. It is unwise and ridiculous it never succeeds. 4. Contrast it with truthful simplicity. 5. Unnatural and artificial. 6. Leads to positive falsehood - the beginning of a
7. Troublesome and difficult to support a false cha
racter. 8. Conclusion. Be what you would seem.