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Oct 6 1826
From: Bradford Academy, [Bradford, Massachusetts, U.S.A.]


Every emotion that arises in the mind owes its characteristic to some exciting cause and every sensation we partake of is produced by causes and events; all of which have a bearing to some particular point. Causes of one kind of emotion cannot produce emotions of a different kind. At the recital of deeds of heroism and magnanimity, the rise and fall of empires, the triumph of martyrs expiring in flames, the sound of the distant rolling thunder, excite in us emotions of sublimity, but not one sensation of love.

Paint to the imagination everything that is frightful, the flashing of the glaring lightning, the sweeping tornado, or the dreadful eruptions of Aetna or Vesuvius, and you will excite emotions of fear from which the soul will shrink back with horror, but you never can frighten into existence one pulsation of undissembled affection. Nor will the theoretical and practical display of all the moral virtues effect this.

Let a man go forth into the world, without one feeling of kindness in his heart, let him make the most splendid display of talents; let him try by the force of reasoning, by the clearest exhibition of justice, honour and integrity, and see if he can draw forth one expression of love, from the many thousands with whom he may meet. And why not? The reason is obvious. It is because all his good deeds flow from a cold, selfish unfeeling heart. He has never manifested any regard for the good of others, and all he does, is received with an equal degree of coldness.

But on the other hand, let a person go forth into the world, bearing in his heart the seeds of kindness; we see it in his actions, we read it in his countenance, we hear it in the accents of his voice, he bears good will towards all and this excites corresponding feelings in others. Nor can we suppress them. Every eye that beholds him, sparkles with love, and every heart flows with affection. It is this that dispels the gloom that hangs heavy on the countenance of many a dejected youth, and buoys up his spirits to new and untried exertions. It is this that spreads joy and gladness in the social circle, and helps to train the mind, for purer joys, and more enduring felicity.

C. McQuesten [Calvin]

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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.

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