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Little Kindnesses

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The occasion on which any of us can perform great acts of kindness tbr our fellowmen are rare ; they couie but seldom in a lifeiioje, and in eouie live they never come at all. God may not have blessed us either with the means or the ppportunity of conferring costly or unusual benefactions upon others. But tliere is scaroely any life o liumble or so barren of opportuoity as to be wholly deprived of the blessednefs of scattering along its pathway the lesser kindnesses of Christiau charity, and the lesser sympathies, courtesies and interchanges of our coinmon huniauity. These, indeed, may be said to make up the stapje of human existence. Insignificant in themselves when taken separately, they amount in the aggregate to the sum and substance of that higher, happier life which it is the privilege and the duty of every good man to live. They are the very indices of character. It is not in the few extraordinary achievements of life that we are to find the sure test of wbat the man is, but in those innumerable little ictions that mark his daily intercourse with men, and in fact conttitute his life-work. Character is the final outcome of all that man does and says and feeln, be t much or little, be the actions, words and thoughts, creat or small. (Jhar acter is the rich and beautiful fabric woven in the loom of lifo by the gatheriDg and the mingling and the blending of its ten thousand constituent threads and fiiliiigs. However small its constituent thrcads, character itt-elf is never small, never unimportant Not unfrequently a large part of the happiness of life both thehappinesa we enjoy and the happiness we coiumunicate to others- deper.ds upon the attention we give to these little things. A mau may affect to despise them, he may habitually ignore or neglect thetn, but be does it at ïannite loss. He does it at the cost of making himself ineffably odious and repulsivo to his aspociates- to tho members of his own houKehold, and to society generally. He thiuks himself too much exalted- too sublime an einhediment of ogotism and eltiahness to care for others, or aim to make them happy. He has no place in his heart for little deods of kindness, little acts of love. He prefers to rule by authority rather than ,.;„ v nv Ha becomes an autocrat AJ W 1 11 UV 1U Vl AW ISW""- - - - 10 business, a tyrant in tho family, a misinthropist in all his habita and feehngi". We have known some Christian people ind even a few ministers of the Gospel whose character shines the brightest at a Jistance. It will not bear close inspection. It goes to pioees under the microscope of daily familiarity. It is the opposite of the sharactcr of Jesus Christ, whose disciples loved IIiui most as they carne to know Him well and lean upon his bosom. We often wonder hnw Christ, who knows them intimately, can btar with them at all, so unkind is their spirit, so unlovely their intercourse with those around them. Many a poor child of sorrow, many a lone suflering woman, has been so repelled and crushed under these rude, unfeeling rebuflfs, on the part of those who profesa to be par excellmct the disciples of Christ and praoticers of the golden rule, that in utter revulsión and disgust they have cried out : "If such be Christianity, and huch be the character entitled to Heaven, I never wish to go tbere." The little kindnesses which make up so large a part of a good man's lifeare of two classei', words and deeds. Our Savior has illuRtratcd, and foreyer vindicated the essential eïcellence of little deeds in His eulogium on the offering oï tbc poor widow's "two niites," the ving of a "cup of cold water," in tho name of a disciple and the breakiüg of the precious "alabaster box" by Mary of Bethany. And hegave us the principie on which this high conimendation of little deeds turns when Ho says, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful in that which is much." "Let lier alone, she hath done what he could. " The little is a true an index of the heart and test of the character as the great. The little contaiiiM as true an element of obedience and virtue as the great. The little in thü eoonomy of lile is as much needed as the great- is, indeed, far oftener needed smd is as essenlial to lts welfare. As a genBral rule the little must precede and prepare the way tbr the great. The great Rood deed is but the suin or the result of ten ihou.sand little onea that have gone before and rendered it possible. No man steps into renplendent virtue by accident ; no man is likely to accomplish good on a grand scale who has not accustomed himself to do good on a stnall scale ; no man wil I wake up in Heaven and find hiniself fatuous there for beneficence and charity who has ignored all the little kindnesses of life here. But the little word of sympathy and love is as indispensable to the wellgoing machinery of life, as its little deeds. This is in fact the essential oil that lubricates all the wheels. "A word fitly spoken," saya Sol oraon, "is like apples of gold in picture af silver." When we consider that our words oí' daily life are far more numeruus than our deeds, that words themsclves are often deeds on which the fate of meu and nations hangs, and that words fitly or unfitly spoken have much to do in the uiaking or marring of the happiness of every human life, can we wonder that our Savior, speakinp of the lat judgmcnt, should say : "By thy words thou shalt be justiBed, and by thy words thou shalt be condeiuned?" If the law of kindness does not regúlate our speech it will not be likely to reign over our actions. It a man wil! not do jood w"hen it U so easy, and costa him so little, as the Bpeaking of a kind, gentle, courteous word to tbose around liim, what guaranty is there tor his deeds? Well uiay Paul say : "Let your speech be al; ways with grace seasoned with aalt." What can be more inoongruous than a bitter, malignant, fault-finding tungue in the mouth of tr profesHing Christian? Yet this is an anomaly to be met with every day, even in church circles. On the other hand, how beautiful and blessed is that Óhristian life whose ceaseless flow of speech ia regulated by the law of love, and the purpose to do good with a kind word for everybody, and a voice of gontle courtesy that wins respect even from the erring and the wicked. He who wins by jove bas fought the best battle, and gained the greatest conquests. Wordsworth bas rightly estiinated the value of life's Útiles- "That best portion o( a good man' life Ui iitilu namele8 iinremembered acu or kiudueee and ol luvt:."