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LIBERALITY is a feeling of benevolence towards our fellow-creatures. We speak as favourably of them as possible, and we endeavour to think of them charitably. All this is consistent with correctness of judgment, with independence, and with the exercise of justice. For if, in any case, we conceive a man to be worthy and honest, who is evidently unprincipled, we are not liberal, but credulous. There are three ways in which human merit may be estimated : — by comparing one person with another; by judging the conduct of men in reference to human laws and customs; and by estimating the actions of human beings by the requirements of the Almighty. By the last, all men must be condemned. If, then, we are necessarily faulty, and yet are tolerably well pleased with ourselves, let us, for the sake of consistency and justice, cherish a favourable opinion of others. If we discover that some men are worse than we are, let us pity rather than despise them. Let us not encourage hatred or revenge, otherwise we shall show that, although our fellow-creatures have deviated from the path of propriety, we have made ourselves equally faulty by fostering these hateful dispositions. Is it reasonable that the opposition

to evil should be maintained by evil? And yet it is too frequently the case. This, however, would seem to show that the object of the complainant, in many instances, is not so much an interest for the welfare of others as an inclination to hunt after impropriety for the sake of gratifying censoriousness.

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In the pursuit of philosophy, truth should be the principal object, not envy or ambition. In political matters, patriotism should be the guide, not party spirit and rancorous opposition. In religion, we should be stimulated by the principle of promoting "peace on earth, and good-will towards men." This is the character which was connected with Christianity by the Divine Founder: he did not introduce bigotry and cruelty. In the pursuit of wealth, we should be neither unfair nor monopolising; but we should endeavour to procure a comfortable maintenance, and allow others to do the same. If we practise these things we shall be liberal; if not, we shall merit the character of selfish and bigoted persons.

When a low principle of private interest influences the actions of a man, he is usually displeased with his own possessions, and he generally envies the advantages of others. Dr. Jeremy Taylor observes of this envious disposition: "It eats the flesh, and dries up the marrow, and makes hollow eyes, lean cheeks, and a pale face." But a liberal feeling produces contentment, good health, and cheerfulness.

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A bigoted man will be obstinately attached to his own system, and he will be prejudiced against

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the opinions of others. Bigotry occasions stiffness, obstinacy, uncharitableness, falsehood, malice, and cruelty. With such a train of evils, nothing that is lovely or of good report, natural that every one should condemn it? man will sometimes reject it in his theory, while he will support it in his practice. No person countenances bigotry in an opponent; and yet, in his violent exclamations against the belief and conduct of another, he may exhibit the effects of bigotry in himself. It is as if every one hated a grey or a black eye, and yet most men possessed it; but as every person could only behold the defect of another, so he would ridicule what he saw, without considering that he himself possessed a similar blemish.

Ill-will and harshness arise from a discord of opinions ;

" 'Tis with our judgments as our watches; none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own."

However, we should remember that a variation is
unavoidable, and this should occasion a feeling of
liberality. If one man differs from another, and
thinks himself justifiable in so doing, why should
he condemn another for differing from him? The
strongest degree of confidence is no proof of our
correctness; for many have been exceedingly posi-
tive, and greatly mistaken. Locke observes,
"Crooked things are as stiff and inflexible as
straight; and men may be as positive in error as
in truth."


Obstinacy implies a stiff and unreasonable main


tenance of an opinion. Prejudice is a premature or hasty conclusion on a disputable matter. may proceed from a bad heart; but they frequently arise from ignorance. Some men are habitual bigots and persecutors; and if they had not one subject on which they might gratify their spleen, they would find another. Reccaredus, a king of the Wisigoths, in the sixth century, was an opposer of Christianity; but he became a believer in the orthodox faith, and then he cruelly persecuted the Jews. The object and not the disposition was changed. Persons of this kind profess a love of virtue; but their minds are so much perverted, that innocence and excellence are made the principal objects of disapproval. They dislike virtue, because it gives them no food for their depraved appetite of scandal; and they detest merit, because it eclipses their own twinkling lustre. A citizen of Athens, who had voted for the banishment of Aristides, confessed that he had done so because of the high character which that worthy man had obtained in the city. A feeling of rivalry or envy has sometimes grown up from emulation. The latter is meritorious, but the former is injurious. Dr. Beattie observes, that "nothing gives a more favourable opinion of a man's candour and temper, than to live on good terms with those whom he considers as his antagonists in the career of honour." Emulation endeavours to go onward; but envy endeavours to keep his opponent back. The learned Abelard composed an ingenious work on the Trinity, and explained many intricacies which had puzzled others; but this, instead of

procuring for him the esteem of his countrymen, induced many, who had been less skilful, to oppose him most virulently, so that he narrowly escaped with his life. Our Saviour accused the Jews of persecuting him for performing good works.

We are required by every principle of reason and religion to discountenance the influence of illwill and jealousy. We must not approve a thing because we possess it, nor undervalue it because it is possessed by another. We may exert ourselves for the purpose of acquiring learning, wealth, and honour; but we must always act justly and liberally.

If we look into the history of the world, we shall discover both the prevalence and the unreasonableness of bigotry. This fiendish principle, like an ill-omened bird, has spread its wings and fluttered about in the night. In Europe, during the ignorance of the middle ages, bigotry burst forth in a lurid flame, making the darkness of that period visible. But, on every occasion, as the light of knowledge advances, this imp of darkness is eclipsed. In philosophy, prejudice and bigotry cruelly persecuted the eminent Galileo. When this learned and ingenious man was nearly seventy years of age, and was worthy to have been crowned with laurels for his astronomical discoveries, he was obliged, on his bended knees, in the presence of a junto of cardinals, to deny the truth of his opinions, otherwise he would have been burnt as a heretic. Error, vice, and ambition, make men dread the least glimmer of truth, lest its rays, shining into one window of

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