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268
FIRESIDE EDUCATION.
happiness. There is no reason, therefore, why the possessor of them should be looked upon with envy, or regarded as favored above others. In the second place, these envied possessions are no sufficient grounds for self-esteem. They are accidental gifts, implying no merit on the part of him who holds them. The true stand­ard of character is that of moral worth. One who is honest, just, and beneficent, be he rich or be he poor, is entitled to his own esteem and that of others. Riches, beauty and power are compatible with vice and meanness: they are no part of the man, and ought not to bring upon him to whom providence has given them, either honor or reproach. Let parents cultivate these views of human character and human life upon themselves and their children. Let them manifest a solicitude that their children should be good, rather than great. Let them show that they place a higher value upon obe­dience, truth, and kindness, than upon riches. Let them beware how they excite the ambition of children to outshine their companions in dress, equipage, or any other sign of good for­tune. Let them beware how they stimulate the love of display, or tolerate a haughty self-esteem. Let them duly consider that wealth, power and station are dangerous possessions.
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