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A bad example makes mischief, and one voluptuary makes many. ". The best way,” the ancient philosopher says, retire, and associate only with those that may be the better for us and we for them. The benefit is mutual, for while we teach we learn."
Only wise and prudent men can be TRUE FRIENDS; others are questionable companions.
A firm and gentle friendship soothes our cares, dispels our sorrows, counsels us in all extremities; and even soothes our pillow on the bed of death. But we are not to number our friends by the visits that are made us, nor to confound the decencies of ceremony and commerce with the offices of UNITED
No. The difficulty rests in the CHOICE and the DISTINCTION. To have a friend, let him be virtuous, of a sound head and a good heart; for vice is contagious. Friendship cemented by a common LOVE of GOODNESS is always reliable. He that is a friend to himself is a friend to mankind.
Friendship admits of no reserves. As much deliberation as you please before the tie; but no doubting or jealousies afterwards. Suspicion breeds deceit. To make a man faithful let him understand that he has your entire confidence.
A friendship of interest cannot last longer than the interest itself; thus it is that a man in prosperity is so much courted; but no sooner does he come down in the world, than the tide is changed, when no one will go near him. Temporary friends will never stand the test; they forsake you for fear of loss. It is not friendship, but negotiation, that has an eye to advantages. Wise and prudent men can alone be friends; others are but companions.
The felicities of mankind are strengthened by the counsels of the good!
THE LATE MR. BUCKLE.
We cannot be the choosers of everything that we may fancy, but of our friends and associates we may; and we can adapt ourselves to the ways and doings of the wise and good. This is the mode of making “ MORTALITY IMMORTAL.”
The knowledge of these facts ought to impress upon the mind of parents the duty—their bounden duty—to be careful of the early associates of their children ; for as a pestiferous air may endanger the best constitution, so may a place of bad repute and example undermine the innocence of youth, and endanger even the man of experience advanced in years.
Writing upon this subject, the thoughts of Pamphilius wandered to an incident of yesterday.
Poor B- -! Many a time, my son, have you stood, your little hand clasped in his, and your greedy ears all attention to his soft, kind words of encouragement, when he told you of his early struggles in life ; of the victory of perseverance and industry ; of his introduction to the pioneer of civilization, whom he termed his great master, the immortal engineer, James Watt; of the happy days he spent with him as manager of the Soho Engine Works at Stafford; of his superintending the voyage of George IV. to Dublin in the first steam mail packet between England and Ireland, called the Lightning, and that the same year they changed its name to the Royal Sovereign ; and how great was your astonishment when he added that the same boat and engines are still employed on the Thames as a Woolwich tug-boat, under the name of the Monkey.
Yes, my boy, Mr. Buckle is gone! Another man of genius -- the contemporary of Watt, Stephenson, and others, whose exertions in the various walks of science made the early part of this century so distinguished, and earned an imperishable reputation for the country that gave them birth. Mr. Buckle, says the Era, in its brief sketch of departed genius, raised himself from comparative obscurity to be the friend
and companion of the first men of the age, was the inventor of an equalizing motion for preventing the unequal action of steam-engines; was the builder of the first locomotive ever made—the identical engine which opened the line from Liverpool to Manchester when Mr. Huskisson was unfortunately killed, and when the first men in the kingdom were present to witness the experiment. Mr. Buckle is also celebrated for having constructed the first of those lofty manufacturing chimneys built inside without scaffolding, now so common, but then looked upon as little less than the work of a madman. That lofty flue, erected at Birmingham, and laughed at and ridiculed as “ Buckle's Folly,” after thirty years' exposure to the battle of wind and storm, and, worse than all, at the time, to man's contempt, stands as firm and useful as when first erected.
In 1851, after Joseph Hume, M.P., had overturned the old company of moniers, Sir John Herschell sent for him to take charge of the Coining Department in the Mint, which office he continued to hold till his death, and in which establishment he expired, leaving behind him a fresh chapter in the lives of eminent men who rose from comparative obscurity to influence and greatness.
To return to pay a mark of respect to the memory of that dear friend—to bid a last farewell to departed genius–Pamphilius seated himself upon a Kensal Green omnibus, on which there happened to be one of the guardians of the peace—a respectable-looking policeman. To divert his thoughts from the gloomy current by which they were swayed, he addressed his companion by asking him if vice was on the increase or decrease -if a policeman's life had become a sinecure?
“Sinecure! Oh no, Sir! The wickedness of Human Nature!" added the policeman, philosophically.
" Is Human Nature so wicked, then ?”
“ If you but saw," said he, with a satisfied air, " the wickedness that I see, you would blush for human nature. Human nature is bad!” added the quasi-philosopher, casting reflections on the Giver of all Good.
“Stop, stop!” said Pamphilius, “the nature that you speak of is not the nature he received from the hand of his Maker.
“ A wicked nature, Sir. Born in wickedness."
6 Is it not we who are wicked, who look at nature through an opaque glass ?”
“ I daresay I am bad enough; but we are all born in sin.”
" If I,” answered Pamphilius, “were a preacher instead of what your Human Nature would call a very, very wicked man, I might enlarge upon the sinfulness of human nature. But this I can tell you, there is divinity in us all! Have you a
No, Sir," said the policeman, brightening up,“ but I have a nice little daughter."
66 She knows the difference between right and wrong?"
“She is a very good girl, Sir, and never does anything but what she is told."
" Associates with the children in your neighbourhood ?”
“ No, Sir; her mother is very strict. She goes to school, and when the school is over she returns home, works with her mother, reads to her, and they go out for walks together. Indeed, my wife calls her her little companion; a blessing sent by God to comfort her.”
" No wicked Human Nature, eh? Not born in sin like the little sufferers that are dragged to the police-station for trying to earn an honest penny by cleaning shoes, or buffeted for giving a longing look at a baker's window?"
“ She's a very good little girl, Sir.” “ Thrice happy child," said Pamphilius, musingly, " to have
STORY OF THE NETTLE.
such a mother. Know, then, that the RIGHT that she knew from a child is the divinity that is innate in man; the wicked nature that you speak of is the result of the moral pestilence that has vitiated and corrupted the purity of the heart. Bad culture, evil communication, and bad habits have blighted the purity of the soul. Blame not Heaven, nor be too harsh with Human Nature, more especially with those poor boys who, nurtured in crime, know nothing but criminality. They pay the penalty of the crimes of their parents; they are the inheritors of curses instead of blessings. If you had a son,
such a wife as yours could mould him even as she has shaped the mind of your daughter. But, oh! the fatal blight! evil communication ! parental neglect ! Your human nature is the offspring of darkness, reared without the benign influence of the sunshine of the heart. My human nature is man's divinity, reared and influenced by the rays of paternal care, and developed from childhood by the beams of maternal affection.”
Very pretty, Sir," said the policeman, drily. " When you meet," continued Pamphilius, “suffering, degraded human nature, be not too harsh, Sir; a kind word may awaken the divinity that slumbers within, and bring forth one bright spark from the innate goodness of the heart.”
" A kind word does cheer the heart; I know that,” said the policeman.
“Well, practise kindness, Sir. A kind word has changed the whole current of a life. The world blames the ragged urchin, and the unfortunate homeless; and they are of the world. Did you ever read the story of the ó Nettle ?'”
“No, Sir; I think not.”