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Hence every doubt-all vain alarm
DELTA. Christian Guardian,
'Tis truth divine, exhibited on earth,
Much alleviation of the sufferings of the heart may be drawn from the exercise of benevolence, provided it emanates from a principle of divine love, deeply implanted in the soul, and not the mere impulse of the feelings, which are of too fluctuating and uncertain a character to impart any salutary influence, to tranquillize thought, or to sweeten the bitter
of human sorrow. The one is like the meteor's sudden blaze, which sheds a momentary glare around, and then leaves a twofold darkness; the other is the mild and cheering light of the moon,
which sheds its softened radiance on every object, delighting, soothing, and comforting the weary traveller.
Thus to do good to our fellow-beings, from a principle of love to our Creator and Redeemer, sheds a holy balm on the lacerations of our own hearts. It suspends the agonizing action of the soul, by beguiling it of individual suffering, and has often even the salutary power to vindicate the depressed spirit from the thraldom of the absorbing passion, by employing those faculties of mind which give their poignancy to the arrows rankling in the breast. Perhaps much effort is at first required, for the spirit to resort to the source of consolation which the practice of beneficence opens to the bereaved; but a daily increasing consciousness of a useful moral existence soon becomes a lively, delightful sentiment, even though a certain degree of lassitude should succeed the fatigue of self-exertion. It is while sympathizing with the sufferings of others, and rendering them all the aid in our power, that the consideration of our own particular lot is absorbed in pity for that of
others, and a melancholy is produced more easily to be endured than the pangs which accompany our individual sorrows; for while we are led to reflect on the generations that have succeeded each other through a series of sorrows and of ills ; while we contemplate those worlds without number, where millions of beings are tasting at the same time with ourselves, either the bliss or the bitterness of existence; the intense ardour of the individual sentiment is tempered, and abstraction steals us from ourselves. To seek for happiness not by the indulgence of selfishness, but through the exercise of the soul's best feelings and most exalted principles, places us in a situation which elevates, while it soothes and calms the soul, for it appears in some measure to spiritualize the being. The providence of God may have placed us in desolate and obscure circumstances, yet beneficence may extend the effects of our existence, and bestow upon every individual one of the attributes of power—that of influencing the lot of others.
A generous being, whatever be his situation, may, by devoting himself to the principle of beneficence, create an interest in his heart, an aim for his endeavours, and a balm for the wounds of sorrow, only inferior to that derived from direct communion with his God.
It is a beautiful evidence of the beneficent love of our almighty Father, that he has constituted the human heart to feel the emotions of pity. It is a disposition in the soul of man that has in it something peculiarly sublime, inasmuch as it devotes itself to the protection of the helpless, and the aid of the suffering. Indeed, this sympathy for distress is an affection so powerful, that any attempt to resist its influence argues a degree of depravity from which we turn with loathing and disgust. There is a real and substantial comfort derived from the exercise of this sentiment, as it almost seems to form a bond of union between man and his God. A God who announces himself “a God pitiful and gracious.”
By showing pity to our suffering fellowbeings, we do indeed “ act up to his plan, and form to his the relish of our souls ;' while