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not called upon to make great sacrifices, or to confer great benefits. But to the attentive mind there is ever open a wide field for benevolent action; hardly a day passes away, that there has not been some claim laid upon our sympathy, or some occasion in which, by the sacrifice of ease, of vanity, or of temper, we may not add something to the comfort and happiness of those around us. The importance of attending to little things cannot be too early or too forcibly impressed upon the youthful mind. It is to little courtesies and little kindnesses that we are indebted for almost all we know of domestic love and peace; and it is in the performance of these duties, that the mind becomes so disciplined, as to be able, on all occasions, to act promptly from right feelings. It is consistent with the goodness of our Heavenly Father, that in the exercise of benevolence, there is found a rich reward of peace and happiness. How much, therefore, do those lose who put off for great occasions the exercise of this virtue.
The relation of a simple incident will show, that peace and happiness to ourselves and others are often the result of attention to little things. A young
friend of the writer called one cold day to visit a sick man, in the suburbs of the city; no very benevolent feeling actuated her to make the visit; she was cold, and wished to warm at a fire, and having heard something of the situation of this man and his family, wished to see how it was with them. After listening to the sad history of their sorrows, feelings of pity were awakened, and standing by the bedside of the poor man, the father of the family, she saw that a few words of kindness would do more for the suffering parent than alms gifts.
She was a child, and knew not, (so she thought,) how to hand the cup of consolation; but the word was upon her trembling lip, and as the eye of the agonized father rested with longing earnestness upon his soon to be fatherless children, she attended to the benevolent feelings of the moment, and feebly uttered, "God will be a father to the fatherless." "Never," said she, "shall I forget the impressions of the time, or the change on the countenance of the dying man; hope and joy had from these few words sprang up within him. He blessed me, and I felt that the blessing descended upon me." Had
the feelings of benevolence which prompted to the act been suppressed, the opportunity and the blessing would have been lost for ever.
And so it may daily be with us; a kind word may be spoken, or a harsh one suppressed; a cross look may give way to a cheerful one, and benevolence, or attention to the feelings of others, be alike the act, the motive, and, with peace, the rich reward.
FENELON, ARCHBISHOP OF CAMBRAY.
THE following anecdotes are related of this great and good man.
The diocese of Cambray was often the scene of war, and experienced the cruel ravages of retreating and conquering armies. But an extraordinary respect was paid to Fenelon by the invaders of France. The English, the Germans, and the Dutch, rivalled the inhabitants of Cambray in their veneration for him. All distinctions of religion or sect, all feelings of hatred and jealousy that divided the nations, seemed to disappear in the presence of Fenelon. Military escorts were offered him, for his personal security; but these he declined, and travelled the countries desolated by war, to visit his flock, trusting in the protection of God. In these visits his way was marked by alms and
benefactions. While he was among them, the people seemed to enjoy peace in the midst of war. He brought together into his palace the wretched inhabitants of the country, whom the war had driven from their homes, and took care of them, and fed them at his own table. Observing, one day, that one of these peasants ate nothing, he asked the reason of his abstinence. "Alas, my lord," said the poor man, "in making my escape from my cottage, I had not time to bring off my cow, which was the support of my family. The enemy will drive her away, and I shall never find another so good." Fenelon, availing himself of his privilege of safe conduct, immediately set out accompanied by a servant, and drove the cow back himself to the peasant.
Another instance of his tenderness to the poor, is thus related of him. A literary man, whose library was destroyed by fire, has been deservedly admired for saying, "I should have profited but little by my books, if they had not taught me how to bear the loss of them." The remark of Fenelon, who lost his in a similar way, is still more simple and touching. “I would much rather they were burnt than the cottage of a poor peasant."