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human fellowship is ordained unto benign and mani. fold ministries; wit and wisdom, cheerfulness and inirth, frolic and lightness of heart, sweet temper and buoyant spirits, graceful speech and generous thought, should characterize the manners of mankind. We seek friends to be cheered, not criticised; we need sympathy, not potions of vinegar and wormwood. We come to the pure and the good to have our own views of goodness and purity freshened and vitalized; that our drooping fainting spirits may be quickened and inspired. We want the hearty words and kindling sentiments accompanied by the vibrating tones which tell of real worth and real communion with virtue and holiness ; not the hollow utterances of formalism, nor the discordant croakings which attest the ravages of spiritual dyspepsia. What we desire in society is, human beings with flesh and blood, mind and heart; with weaknesses and faults and yearnings ; with sadness and glee, hope and buoyancy; with virtues and vices, the good and the bad inextricably involved. We desire bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh; partners in our want and woe, brothers in our high calling and destiny. This is what we desire; not perpendicular lines and sharp angles, mathematical figures, cold unrealities, or spectral apparitions. A man's best virtues must strike deep root in silence and solitude ; but the tender shoot, the budding foliage, the expanding flower, the ripening fruit, must
THE POWER OF SYMPATHY.
be nursed and vivified by the open air, the frequent dews, the early and latter rains, of social intercourse. The hearty pressure of a friendly hand, the kindly glance of a gentle eye, the soft and thrilling tone of a pleasant voice, have oftentimes power to nerve the soul about to sink into the yawning abyss of despair, for another struggle, perhaps for a victorious one, with fate. Who has not, in some lonely and critical hour of his existence, about to faint and perish beneath the crushing load of pain and trouble, seen what gracious power, what majestic strength, there is in human sympathy?
A prime and irrevocable law of our nature is that man cannot enjoy the unshared possession of any good. The moment he attempts exclusive selfish appropriation of it, its virtue departs; it ceases to be a benefit. As riches increase, they that shall be fed will also increase; and if the owner deny their claim, either his wealth will vanish from him, or its power to cheer and animate him will depart. Countless illustrations of the truth of the proposition might be derived from every department of our activity ; I however, propose to confine my vindication to the statement of the provinces of intellectual and inoral culture ; for it is upon obedience to this law that these will mainly depend. If your reading and observation furnish you with a new fact; if by laborious
; study you have gained insight into a new truth, if
your eye has been gladdened by the vision of an unusually magnificent sunset, and your heart has responded to the gladness, if your soul has come into a more profound acquaintance with beauty and goodness, these, one and all, are to be communicated to your fellows, or they will cease to be a part of you. No man can either accumulate the knowledge of the phenomena and principles of science, or even become fully conscious of the richest revelations of his intuitional nature, who is content to lock these treasures with
his own brain, and bosom. Truth, sentiment, beauty, all that the mind or heart can receive, may become ours upon the one indispensable condition of reproducing and communicating it. The refusal to put your thought into words and tell it to your neighbor will not only involve the loss of the thought itself, but probably in due time of the power by which thought is produced. Let a man cheerfully render what he has received ; let him teach what himself has been taught; let him interpret perceptions and reflections, that others may be instructed and helped ; and his education progresses; maturity of view as well as clearness of insight, balance of statement, and steadfastness of conviction shall hereby be gained. No man can be loyal to the deepest and noblest sentiments, affections and principles of his nature, unless he attempt to embody and set them forth in speech or writing for the service of his kind. It is upon these
truths that the value and glory of the literary profession are based; and these at the same time enforce the duty of conversation and ensure its reward. We instinctively act upon the assumption that speech doubles the gains and halves the losses of experience. The stricken heart soothes its own bitterness by the recital of its woe; and the cheerful spirit adds to the treasure of its happiness as it pours the welcome tale into the ear of a sympathetic auditor. The ethereal substances of which intellections are made will elude or defy us unless they are fixed in the gyves of language; and yet when they are thus fastened, unless we give them the liberty of the world, and share the dower which they have conferred upon us with our friends and neighbors, the royal captives will disdain our lordship; and with angry and yet sorrowful aspect will vanish into thin air and leave not a trace behind. Thoughts in the mind of the thinker often lie diffused and invisible like solids dissolved in the vessels of the chemist; the electric power of definite utterance, like the mysterious force of crystallization, erects the unseen substance of the thought into visible and permanent shape.
The vocalized thought, ready and obedient as a vassal, serves our purpose of enriching others, and at the same time adding to our own stores. “There is,” says Solomon, " that scattereth and yet increaseth ;” and of such processes this is one.
inevitable tendency and conclusion of purposeful conversation is to generate, classify, and define thinking; to give fullness, accuracy, and simplicity of expression, and if used in a truly humane spirit, to nurse and develop the sweetest sympathies and most benign attributes of our nature.
Conversation constitutes one of the most important yet one of the most neglected branches of education; and at the same time, one of the most valuable and available means of usefulness. No one of us may possess the learning of Scaliger, or the epigrammatic force of Selden, or the grace and erudition of Ménage, or the overflowing fullness of Johnson, or the metaphysical acumen and boundless stores of Mackintosh, or the ceaseless wit and well-nigh unparalleled common sense of Sydney Smith; yet few are so barren or tongue-tied by nature that they may not yield amusement, instruction and delight to their companions. It is true that the highest style of conversation pre-supposes the largest range of faculties, culture, and experience; but while there can be but few great talkers, almost all have it in their power by cultivating selfacquaintance, honest endeavor and kind disposition, to minister in friendly converse to the well-being of others. The best and most beautiful service of this kind we have a right to exact from women. Their peculiar constitution, she greater delicacy of their sensibilities, their refinement and reach of sympathy, their