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men will be witty or stupid, for their agency had nothing to do with the arrangement and dowry of their faculties. The great mind which has seen fit to make one star differ from another in glory, has decided on the various differences of physical and mental qualifications which we exhibit.
But in addition to these varieties of our species, men love to sub-divide themselves into smaller classes, the marks of which are certain PECULIARITIES which are called into being by themselves. Each one hangs out a flag to attract attention to himself; he displays a peculiarity which clearly severs him from all others around him, and whether he pleases to call it his way, his habit, or his whim, he wishes it to be understood that it is his, and that he desires to be recognized by this appropriate badge. In process of time it may wear out, but he will then get another, sometimes strangely contrasted with its predecessor. The consequence of all this is, that the varieties of human beings are endless; the differences impressed on them by their Creator, multiplied by the myriads of selfformed peculiarities, produce combinations which defy every attempt to number and arrange them.
It may be said, every shepherd is perfectly acquainted with the sheep of his flock, however large it may be. Very true; but this is from an indelible and involuntary conformation, of which the animals
are not conscious. A sheep may from habit nibble in a peculiar form, or prefer some special locality of the meadow; but it shews no predilection for a mark to distinguish it from its neighbour. All oddities and eccentricities belong to him who, styling himself the lord of creation, evinces his superiority by being PECULIAR.
Some peculiarities are agreeable and make their patrons universal favorites. There is with some a peculiar tact in the art of politeness, which wins regard even on a casual acquaintance. Others are peculiarly disposed to assist their fellow-creatures in difficulties;—a class too rare! To the neglect of their own affairs they often espouse the general good; are present at all parish meetings; and are the first to scheme for the improvement of the township. Such very peculiar people are much in request, and all profess to be their friends because all may require their services. But while a character like this is peculiar, it must not look for a return for its exertions; it must find its reward in its consciousness of benevolence.
Some peculiar people create neither esteem nor dislike; they are characters in the back ground of the theatre of life, who vary the scene by their shape and colour, but draw no marked attention. We say of one, How very retiring he is! How, peculiarly he seems to avoid notice! We never hear of his charities, but then he does nobody any harm. He enjoys his garden, and his pipe, and his ramble, but he enjoys them the more for their solitariness. Well, let the man alone. While we certainly do not admire his taste for seclusion, it is at least harmless. He does indeed disprove the divine rule, that it is not good for man to be alone, but be it remembered there is no rule without an exception, and this man's peculiarity is his loneliness. It is something in this world to say of a man, he is not vicious although he may not be
Unfortunately for human happiness, the peculiarities of many persons are of an obtrusive and irritating character, calculated to make society less desirable and the path of life less smooth. It sometimes happens that an assemblage of good qualities are neutralized by one eccentricity, as a beautiful form may be deprived of its power to please by a single misshapen feature. Of such peculiarities we have a right to complain, when by general consent they are allowed to be annoying. Excessive irritability in ourselves may cause us to perceive trifles which ought to be unnoticed, and therefore if we appear to be the only party incommoded, we should bear the inconvenience patiently; but when large bodies of men are affected in the same manner, it may be concluded that the objection is well founded, and we should attempt its removal.
Those peculiarities deserve the severest reprehension which offend our moral sentiments, and shock our virtuous sensibilities. Snuff-takers and smokers of tobacco may be pardoned, although for days we are obliged to remember them by the tenacity of their fragrance, but a man who is distinguished by a perverted morality cannot be tolerated. He storms the inmost citadel of our spirits, into which we are in the habit of retiring from petty inconveniences, and drives us from our only shelter. We have all many faults, but while we lament their existence, there is every hope of reformation, and less danger of polluting others by our example. Not so with the man whose peculiarity is something vicious; the habitual prominence of his depravity renders it most dangerous to the careless observer, and most revolting to the good. It is the defect of legislation that it can apply no remedy to a thousand moral improprieties, which are often more injurious than punishable crimes. Society must blot out such deformities by the constant expression of its abhorrence of them, in whomsoever they may be discerned..
The peculiarity of using profane language will serve as an illustration of our remarks, and may be pointed out as distinguishing a large class, who are in every other respect worthy our regard. How repulsive is it, when a good thought is made to associate with an oath, and a benevolent sentiment with a curse! Yet many persons cannot converse with energy on any subject without uttering the most awful imprecations, by which their speech is deprived of every pretence to elegance, and their morality greviously wronged. The terms which, by the consent of all virtuous minds, are associated with the most sublime emotions of which the heart is capable, are torn from their hallowed receptacle by prophane hands, and scattered in our pathway. Have not we a right to complain of this desecration of our household gods, and to insist on the peculiarity being relinquished.
IF I HAD THOUGHT THOU COULD'ST HAVE DIED,
BY THE REV. CHARLES WOLFE.
Ir I had thought thou could'st have died,
I might not weep for thee;
That thou could'st mortal be;
The time would e'er be o'er,
And thou should'st smile no more !