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him out to-morrow.' - What has he done?' is the divine question which searches men, and transpierces every false reputation. A fop may sit in any chair of the world, nor be distinguished for his hour from Homer and Washington ; but there need never be any doubt concerning the respective ability of human beings. Pretension may sit still, but cannot act. Pretension never feigned an act of real greatness. Pretension never wrote an Iliad, nor drove back Xerxes, nor christianized the world, nor abolished slavery.
As much virtue as there is, so much appears ; as much goodness as there is, so much reverence it commands. All the devils respect virtue. The high, the generous, the self-devoted sect will always instruct and command mankind. Never was a sincere word utterly lost. Never a magnanimity fell to the ground, but there is some heart to greet and accept it unexpectedly. A man passes for that he is worth. What he is engraves itself on his face, on his form, on his fortunes, in letters of light. Concealment avails him nothing ; boasting nothing. There is confession in the glances of our eyes ; in our smiles ; in salutations ; and the grasp of hands. His sin bedaubs him, mars all his good impression. Men know not why they do not trust him ; but they do not trust him. His vice glasses his eye, cuts lines of mean expression in his cheek, pinches the nose,
sets the mark of the beast on the back of the head, and writes O fool! fool! on the forehead of a king. If you
would not be known to do any thing, never do it. A man may play the fool in the drists of a desert, but every grain of sand shall seem to see. He may be a solitary eater, but he cannot keep his foolish counsel. A broken complexion, a swinish look, ungenerous acts, and the want of due knowledge, - all blab. Can a cook, a Chiffinch, an Iachimo be mistaken for Zeno or Paul ? Confucius exclaimed, 6. How can
be concealed ! How can a man be concealed ! »
On the other hand, the hero fears not, that, if he withhold the avowal of a just and brave act, it will go unwitnessed and unloved. One knows it, — him
and is pledged by it to sweetness of peace, and to nobleness of aim, which will prove in the end a better proclamation of it than the relating of the incident. Virtue is the adherence in action to the nature of things, and the nature of things makes it prevalent. It consists in a perpetual substitution of being for seeming, and with sublime propriety God is described as saying, I AM.
The lesson which these observations convey is, Be, and not seem. Let us acquiesce. Let us take our bloated nothingness out of the path of the divine circuits. Let us unlearn our wisdom of the world. Let us lie low in the Lord's power, and learn that truth alone makes rich and great.
If you visit your friend, why need you apologize for not having visited him, and waste his time and deface your own act ? Visit him now. Let him feel that the highest love has come to see him, in thee, its lowest organ. Or why need you torment yourself and friend by secret self-reproaches that you have not assisted him or complimented him with gifts and salutations heretofore ? Be a gift and a benediction. Shine with real light, and not with the borrowed reflection of gifts. Common men are apologies for men ; they bow the head, excuse themselves with prolix reasons, and accumulate appearances, because the substance is not.
We are full of these superstitions of sense, the worship of magnitude. We call the poet inactive, because he is not a president, a merchant, or a por
We adore an institution, and do not see that it is founded on a thought which we have. But real action is in silent moments. The epochs of our life are not in the visible facts of our choice of a calling, our marriage, our acquisition of an office, and the like, but in a silent thought by the way-side as we walk ; in a thought which revises our entire manner of life, and says, -Thus hast thou done, but it were better thus.' And all our after years, like menials, serve and wait on this, and, according to their ability, execute its will. This revisal or correction is a constant force, which, as a tendency, reaches through our lifetime. The object of the man, the aim of these moments, is to make daylight shine through him, to suffer the law to traverse his whole being without obstruction, so that, on what point soever of his doing your eye falls, it shall report truly of his character, whether it be his diet, his house, his religious forms, his society, his mirth, his vote, his opposition. Now he is not homogeneous, but heterogeneous, and the ray does not traverse ; there are no thorough lights : but the eye of the beholder is puzzled, detecting many unlike tendencies, and a life not yet at one.
Why should we make it a point with our false modesty to disparage that man we are, and that form of being assigned to us ? A good man is contented. I love and honor Epaminondas, but I do not wish to be Epaminondas. I hold it more just to love the world of this hour, than the world of his hour. Nor can you,
if I am true, excite me to the least uneasiness by saying, “He acted, and thou sittest still.' I see action to be good, when the need is, and sitting still to be also good. Epaminondas, if he was the man I take him for, would have sat still with joy and peace,
if his lot had been mine. Heaven is large, and affords space for all modes of love and fortitude. Why should we be busybodies and superserviceable ? Action and inaction are alike to the true. One piece of the tree is cut for a weathercock, and one for the sleeper of a bridge ; the virtue of the wood is apparent in both.
I desire not to disgrace the soul. The fact that I am here certainly shows me that the soul had need of an organ here. Shall I not assume the post ? Shall I skulk and dodge and duck with my unseasonable apologies and vain modesty, and imagine my being here impertinent ? less pertinent than Epaminondas or Homer being there ? and that the soul did not know its own needs ? Besides, without any reasoning on the matter, I have no discontent. The good soul nourishes me, and unlocks new magazines of power and enjoyment to me every day. I will not meanly decline the immensity of good, because I have heard that it has come to others in another shape.
Besides, why should we be cowed by the name of Action ? 'T is a trick of the senses,
We know that the ancestor of every action is a thought. The poor mind does not seem to itself to be any thing, unless it have an outside badge,
some Gentoo diet, or Quaker coat, or Calvinistic prayer-meeting, or philanthropic society, or a great donation, or a high office, or, any how, some wild contrasting action to testify that it is somewhat. The rich mind lies in the sun and sleeps, and is Nature. To think is to act.
Let us, if we must have great actions, make our