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MORALS.
177
society at largo is promoted by a universal ob­servance of the moral law.
as we use it. For instance, lie who is careful always to do what his conscience commands, finds the power of temptation over him to lie weaker. He who strives always to he just, and never to de­fraud any one of the least thing, either in play or in earnest, will find a very strong opposition in his mind to doing any injustice ; while he who only occasionally allows himself to lie, or cheat, will find that his opposition to lying and dishonesty is gradually growing weaker, and it is well if he do not in the end become a confirmed thief and liar.
"And it is, moreover, to he remembered, that both of these last rules have an effect upon each other. The more we are in the habit of reflecting upon the righl and the wrong of our actions, the stronger will be our inclination to do right ; and the more scrupu­lously we do right, the more easily shall we be able to distinguish between right and wrong.
" Once more. I have alluded to the fact that conscience is a source of pleasure and of pain. It is so in a greater or less degree, in proportion as we use it.
" The oftener we do good actions, the greater happiness we re­ceive from doing them. Do you not observe how liappy kind and benevolent persons always are I Do you not ohserve that persons who seldom do a good action, do it almost without pleasure, while really kind and benevolent people seem to derive constant enjoyment from making others happy ? And if there is so much happiness to be derived from doing good, we ought to be grateful that God has placed us in a world in which there is so much good to be done, and in which every one, poor as well as rich, young as well as old, may enjoy this happiness almost as much as he pleases.
" And, on the contrary, the oftener men disobey their consciences, the less pain do they suffer from doing wrong. When boys first lie, or use had words, they feel guilty, and very unhappy ; but if they are so wicked as to form the habit of doing thus, they soon do it without pain, and sometimes even become proud of it. This is the case with stealing, or any other wickedness."
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