Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

those days. When these slaves were sold, one of thern, a very aged man, was bought by a painter who resided in Athens, named Parrhasius. And what do you suppose the painter did with this poor old man? O, humanity, blush while it is related! He carried him to his house, and there put him to death by the most lingering and cruel torture, that he might copy upon his canvass the dreadful suffering depicted on his countenance! Imagine the venerable man, with silvery locks and wrinkled forehead, bending beneath the cares and toils of half a century; and see his hard hearted master striving to torment him to the utmost of his skill; and to wring from him the most heart-rending expressions of countenance, as though there were not suffering enough in the world already. And all this that he may be enabled more accurately to represent human suffering in a picture he is about to paint! O man-unjust and cruel man-thou art the greatest enemy to the happiness of thy race !

My young readers, no doubt, would abhor such a man, and detest his cruelty; and

they would all shrink from the thought of ever being guilty of such a crime. But you must remember that those men who occasion so much suffering in the world were once innocent children. Then it was, undoubtedly, that they formed the habit of injustice, and first began to practise it. Perhaps it was by tormenting animals, or by unjustly getting away the playthings of a younger brother or sister. They forgot that "he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much.” How often do we see children who play the tyrant as effectually as did Pharaoh or Parrhasius, though on a much smaller scale ! Like them, they seem to take delight in tormenting others, and inflicting wrongs upon them. Nor do they hesitate to take advantage of the ignorance and calamities of their playmates. Such children are not uncommon; and they are always a terror to all younger than themselves. Do you think it strange if they make unjust and cruel men? They are certainly in the way of becoming such.

Will you not endeavor, then, my young friends, always to act with justice towards

your playmates? Remember the example of our Saviour, who was just in all his ways, and who is termed “the Holy One and the Just." Remember that God is always displeased with injustice, whether in men or children. Remember, also, that by acting justly and honorably, you will not only secure the love of God, but the love of men. No one loves an unjust man. He is feared and shunned by all, and no one will trust him.

Neither does any one desire to deal with him, for he would not hesitate to take advantage of the ignorance of others, and thus impose upon them. What would you think of a judge, who, in the face of plain facts, should decide a case directly opposite to what was proved to be true, and which he knew to be right? You would say that such a man had no love of justice, and deserved to be hurled from his seat in court.

But what do you think of the individual-man, woman, or child—who will constantly take advantage of the ignorance or weakness of otherswho does not hesitate to cheat his neighbor of his property or reputation, providing he

can do it without being discovered? Is he not guilty of as gross injustice as the judge; and does he not deserve as strong condemnation ?

Another reason why you should be just is, that by so doing you will make yourself happy. The right path-the path of duty -is always the pleasantest path in the end, however it may appear at the first view; and by walking in this path, you will have a quiet conscience, which is reward enough to satisfy any one.

There is another subject, intimately connected with this, to which I wish to direct your attention before I close this chapter. You are perhaps surrounded by those who have no regard for justice, and who will sometimes injure you; and the question arises, How shall I receive these injuries? Your natural heart would say, "If any one strikes you, strike him back again; if he slanders you, go directly and slander him; if he cheats you, cheat him also." But is this the way to receive an injury? Let those who like it act by it; but there is a "more excellent way," which I trust

you will all prefer to follow. It is this, “Resist not evil.” It is the rule which our Saviour adopted, in all his intercourse with men. It is comprised in his command to Peter to forgive a man "seventy times seven," rather than return an injury.

If others treat you unjustly, you will not be likely to better yourself any by resisting their injury. Better, far better, to forgive it; for by so doing you remain innocent, and enjoy the approbation of your consciences. Remember the example of our Redeemer, who, when he was reviled, reviled not again. "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted; yet he opened not his mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth." Beautiful example of forgiveness! Never was man more unjustly treated, yet never was there exhibited such meekness, forbearance and gentleness. The dying martyr Stephen, also, set a rare and beautiful example of forgiveness, when he spent his last breath in prayer for his murderers.

Whoever is unwilling to forgive the in

« AnteriorContinuar »