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capacity and courage for enterprise, especially benevolent enterprise. As the former qualities will lead the individual to conceive good and great purposes and desires, this will enable him to put them in execution. He will watch his opportunities, select his means, employ his energies, encounter difficulties, endure delays, and surmount opposition, with a steadiness of purpose, a promptitude of perception, a clearness of judgment, a cheerfulness of sacrifice, and a perseverance of exertion, truly astonishing to minds of an ordinary sort; which, had a tenth part of his difficulties opposed them, would have relinquished the enterprise in despair. “There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets,' is their language. Nothing but a conviction of duty, or the overruling operations of Providence, will induce a truly noble mind to relinquish or stop short of the accomplishment of its good purposes.
“But then, together with this capacity for action, there is a capability of repose. Some persons are in continual bustle : their lives are a course of purposes eagerly taken up, and ardently pursued, and perhaps quickly forgotten; or, if remembered, the recollection is not followed by permanently beneficial results, but becomes a matter of vainglorious boasting. There seems to be neither time nor disposition for reflection or for tranquil enjoyment; the accomplishment of one scheme is but the signal for taking up another; and life is passed in a continued whirl. Such persons are the subjects of a restless mental activity, but not the possessors of real greatness. The quietness of a noble mind will discover itself in its readiness to meet dangers in the way of duty; in its tranquil re
signation under suffering and affliction ; and in its noiseless manner of doing good. A noble-minded person will be humble, modest, unassuming, and charitable. These dispositions will be called into exercise by a clear perception of his own utter destitution of merit, and his entire obligation to the free and sovereign bestowment of God for whatever superiority he possesses ; by a consciousness of his numerous defects and failures; a sense of his distance from the attainment of perfection, either in purpose, feeling, or action ; and a just respect for the claims and merits of others. He will take a benevolent pleasure in their excellence and happiness, put a candid construction on their motives and conduct, and cherish a benevolent regret for their failings and sufferings. There is often greater heroism exercised in the silent endurance of domestic privations and crosses, in the meek, uncomplaining suffering of the sick chamber, in the self-denial that furnishes the means of doing good, and in the humility and modesty that conceal the donor, than in the splendid sacrifices of the patriot, or the reckless self-devotion of the warrior on the field of battle.
"Amongst the quiet features of truc nobleness of soul, we must not overlook, though they are frequently sought for in vain from great pretenders to magnanimity, the capability--the spontaneou readiness to forgive an injury, and to confess a fault. These are too often regarded with contempt, as instances of pusillanimity and want of spirit; but in reality they are the characteristics of a great mind, and should be cultivated by all who aspire after excellence. They will be best acquired by bringing the spirit into near and
constant intercourse with the perfect and Divine Pattern of forgiveness and love, the incarnate Saviour.
“ To complete a great character, or rather to give vitality to all the elements of greatness, the truly noble man must be a truly religious man. Whatever is bounded by earth and time must be comparatively mean and grovelling; and whatever is regardless of, or hostile to the nature and claims of Supreme Authority and Excellence, must be rebellious, debased, and impure. Truly to ennoble the immortal spirit of man, it is essential that it should be conversant with objects and themes commensurate with itself in dignity and duration. It must look into eternity with realizing faith. And since, whatever original or acquired advantages man may possess, as his actual condition is that of a sinner, an alien, an enemy to God, the soul must embrace that wonderful plan of mercy and reconciliation which the gospel re
must humbly and cordially receive Christ Jesus, the unspeakable gift of God; must implicitly yield itself to the guidance of the Sacred Spirit, by whose gracious influence alone, what in human nature is dark can be enlightened, what is grovelling, raised, and what is polluted, purified. The man must become a partaker of the faith that receives the kingdom of God as a little child. This will impel and enable him, in true repentance, to fall at the feet of a forgiving Father, to submit to his authority, rest in his love, and live in continual intercourse with him. When this course is established and maintained, growing dignity and excellence will adorn the spirit and character; and daily advances will be made in preparation for the
inheritance of the saints in light, of which daily anticipations will be cherished.
When one that holds communion with the skies,
That tells us whence its treasures are supplied.'” Closing with this quotation, Uncle Barnaby rose and left the room.
As I mused awhile on his sentiments and his character,
“I'll tell you what, Samuel,” said my cousin Frank, my Uncle Barnaby himself is a noble man.
“I think so, too,” was my reply, “and I wish we could be like him. We must seek such excellence from Him who gives power to those that believe to become the sons of God.”
“I CANNOT AFFORD IT."
“The thing does not admit of a question. It would be a most astonishing improvement.”
Perhaps it would; but I cannot afford it.”
My dear sir, the expense would be a mere trifle ; scarcely fifty pounds.”
Perhaps not ; or perhaps it might be five hundred. In either case, I consider it unnecessary, and I cannot afford it.”
This was the fag end of a conversation between my Uncle Barnaby and Captain Tankerville, a halfpay officer in the neighbourhood, who sometimes dropped in at the Hall. What was the improvement he had then suggested, I cannot say : he was always proposing something new.
My uncle had a fine old organ, which the captain would often advise him to exchange for a modern grand pianoforte. There was a nice little farm-house on the skirts of the estate, which the captain said spoiled the view from the drawing-room windows. He tried to persuade my uncle to pull down the house, and make a plantation of the grounds, and exchange the sheep and cows for a herd of deer, which, he observed, would present a vastly more picturesque appearance, besides affording excellent sport to my uncle and his friends. Once I heard him pressing my uncle to purchase a pair of horses