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The Strength of the Lonely.

The Strength of the Lonely.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE

BY JAMES MARTINEAU.


John X7I. 32.

bebold the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be
scattered, every man to his own, and shall leaye me alone ;
and yet i am not alone, because the father is with me.

BY JAMES MARTINEAU.


John X7I. 32.

bebold the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be
scattered, every man to his own, and shall leaye me alone ;
and yet i am not alone, because the father is with me.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 15, 2013
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THE STREGTH OF THE LOELY. BY JAMES MARTIEAU. John X7I. 32. bebold the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leaye me alone ; and yet i am not alone, because the father is with me. The different degrees of self-reliance felt by differ- ent minds occasion some of the most marked diver- sities in the moral characters of men. There is a species of dependence upon others altogether distinct from empty-minded imitation ; implying no incapa- city of thought, no imbecility of judgment, but often connected with the best attributes of genius and the choicest fruits of cultivation. It is a tendency which has its root in the sensitive, not in the intellectual part of our nature ; and grows, not from the shallowness of the reason, but from the depth of the affections. It arises, indeed, from a disproportion between these two departments of the mind ; and would disappear, if force were either added to the understanding, or deducted from the feelings. It is the dependence of an affectionate mind, capable, it may be, of mani- festing great power, but trembling to feel itself alone; — of a mind that has a natural affinity for sympathy, and cannot endure its loss or its postpone- ment ; bat on whatever course of thought or action the faculties may launch forth, finds them insensibly THE STEEXGTII OF THE LOELY. 189 tending towards it for shelter. This temper is not to be confounded with the vulgar and selfish craving after applause, that has no test of truth and right but
 
the voice of a multitude, and will sell its conscience to buy off a frown. The feeling to which I refer, cares not for numbers or for praise ; it deprecates nothing but perfect solitude. It has but one reser- vation in its pursuit of truth and reverence for duty, that they shall not drift it away from every human support. Place near it some one approving and fra- ternal heart, and its self-respect rises at once ; it can listen unabashed to scorn ; it can stand up against a menace with dignity ; it can thrust aside resistance with energy. Lay to rest the trembling spirit of hu- manity within, and the diviner impulses of the soul will start to their supremacy. This state of mind may be illustrated by reference to its extreme opposite ; and the contrast may bring out in clearer light the strength and weaknesses of both. There are persons to be occasionally found whose minds appear to perform their operations as if they were in empty space ; who reflect, and plan, and feel in secret ; of whose processes of thought no one knows any thing more than happens to be indi- cated by the result ; who look on men and events only as instruments for the execution of their de- signs ; who are little damped by universal discour- agement, or elated by universal approbation ; and rarely modify an opinion or repent of a feeling, how- ever singular may be their position in maintaining it. If others agree with their designs, it is so much force to be reckoned in their favor ; if they disagree, it is so much resistance to be overcome. Human ties are formed, and their energies are not improved ; are 190 THE STREGTH OF THE LOELY. broken, and their energies are not weakened. In trouble, they apply themselves so promptly to the remedy, that, when you offer your sympathy, it is
 
not wanted ; they are fond of the maxim, ' a good man is satisfied from himself;' — and so truly act upon it, that the genial heart and helping hand in- stinctively shrink back from their hard complacent presence. Each of these two forms of human character has a certain species of power of its own. He who is independent of sympathy is remarkable for power over himself. In speculation, his mind operates free from all disturbing forces ; he goes apart with his subject of contemplation, surveys it with a serene eye, converses with it as an abstraction, having no concern with any living interest. His faculties obey his summons, and perform their task with vigor, paralyzed by no anxiety, ruffled by no doubt, never lingering to plead awhile for some dear old error before it go, nor pausing to take the leap to truth entirely new. In action, his volitions are executed at once ; nothing intervenes (assuming him to be a man of honest purpose) between his seeing a course of wisdom and rectitude, and his taking it ; he yields nothing to his own habits ; he waits for no man's support ; if they yield it, it will show their good sense ; if they withhold it, it is the worse for them- selves. He scorns concession either to others or to himself ; not in truth comprehending the temptation to it. The past and the human have no power over him ; he needs no gathering of strength to tear him- self away; all his roots strike at once into his own present convictions ; and whatever opposition may beat on him from the elements around, does but serve THE STREGTH OF THE LOELY. 191 to harden them to rock, and fix him there with im- mutable tenacity.

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