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envy, pride, selfishness, irritability, suspicion, emulathese feelings, more or fewer of which go to constitute an uncharitable temper of greater or less malignity, all and each render us ready to believe or quick to imagine evil of another. Where the temper is a compound of most of these feelings, the prejudices which arise in the mind are not easily corrected, for the obvious reason that the possessor does not wish to part with them. He thinketh evil of his neighbor, because he loves so to do. He rejoiceth in iniquity, because perhaps he imagines that his own worth will rise in the community, in proportion as that of another is depreciated. He vaunteth himself, and is puffed up, because his neighbor, who once stood high in public estimation, is put down by his sagacity in detecting his unworthiness. Such a mind seizes with avidity upon the slightest appearance of error in opinion, temper or conduct, which he may perceive, or hear imputed to another; and upon this narrow ground rests the conclusion, that the man is a heretic, a pestilent fellow, a foe to truth, order or religion. A person of such a spirit will find enough to feed his prejudices, in the very best of our imperfect race. If there be in us a disposition to think evil of others, whatever be their characters, we shall at once espy some defect, on which we may fasten a censure. Malevolence has a keen and piercing eye. She allows no error to escape. She even penetrates to the very sources of action, and discovers bad motives where the conduct itself is irreproachable. But I trust that this worst sort of uncharitable temper is not very


If, however, either of the abovenamed feelings be

dominant, the temper will, in effect, be uncharitable, and continually give rise to prejudice. The resentful and irritable man probably no sooner takes offence, than he conceives an ill opinion of him who gave it, however unintentionally. The envious man too readily believes whatever may be derogatory to the character of another, who enjoys a reputation he himself cannot attain. Nor can the proud, the emulous or anywise selfish, regard without prejudice his successful competitor for wealth, for office or any worldly good.

Another source of prejudice, and the most prolific, is ignorance, or a partial education. We often think ill of the opinions, because we do not understand them; and of the conduct of others because we know nothing of their motives, or of the object proposed to be attained, or of the circumstances of difficulty, under which they have been compelled to act. For example, we may have been educated in the doctrines of a particular sect, and have grown up thinking that they are essentials of the true system; or we have from our youth heard certain political principles inculcated, until we have come to suppose them to be the basis of good government, and all social order. So soon therefore as we hear any different opinions expressed on either subject, we at once conclude that they are false, if not dangerous, and forthwith go about to oppose them with our might. Whereas if we would take pains to examine, and consider well the reasons on which those opinions rest, and the relations in which they stand to other opinions, held by the same persons, we might discover that the whole constituted a system of religion, or politics, comprising more truth than that in which we were

educated. In the same way, as it respects the actions and general manners of some, we are too apt to decide hastily and positively, referring them to our own notions of propriety as an unerring standard, though we accepted these notions from other persons without examination. We, who have been taught to esteem one day above another, do not look complacently upon those, whom we see acting as if they regarded every day alike. And persons, who believe they may eat all things, do regard with something like contempt others who will eat only herbs, (the injunction of the apostle notwithstanding,) although they may never have heard one of the reasons why animal food should be rejected, or why some kinds of meat have been preferred to others. Many instances might be mentioned of this sort of prejudice; but almost every one at the present day is well enough acquainted with it, not to need any further illustrations. It is hazardous to conclude that the principles of men are thoroughly bad, and their feelings devoid of delicacy or kindness, excepting where the grossness of the one, and the wickedness of the other, are too obvious to be explained in consistency with right intentions. There are few persons so totally destitute of goodness as to justify, from their fellow sinners, a general, unreserved, unequivocal censure. And as there may be something valuable to be learned from almost every individual, however humble may be his occupation and confined his understanding, so there probably is in most persons some estimable quality, which, if we were not blinded by prejudice, might be discerned; and which, if we would take the trouble to transplant it into our own hearts, would mend our feelings and im

prove our conduct. So long as education shall be conducted as it has been, the candid mind will not give implicit confidence to its early impressions. So long as the process of instruction shall be an authoritative dictation of supposed truth, rather than the guidance of the young intellect in judging of its own perceptions, so long will it behoove those who would know whereof they affirm, and be able to give a reason for the faith that is in them, to reconsider carefully the principles which were instilled, and the notions which they imbibed during the years of confiding infancy and early youth.

Another very common source of prejudice is caprice. We not unfrequently take up unfavorable opinions without knowing why, without being able to justify them by even a show of reason; perhaps without being able to account for them at all; or if we can trace them to their origin, it proves to be so unworthy, or so frivolous, that we are ashamed to acknowledge it either to others or ourselves. Sometimes a violent antipathy is excited against particular bodies of men, towns and even nations, because some individuals belonging to them are known to be vicious; or because some of their customs seem to us absurd or pernicious. Oftentimes a whole sect is denounced, merely because we dislike their dress or some of their trifling peculiarities; or because we may have reason to doubt the sincerity of some of their adherents. And, not unfrequently, we decide, that in this or that person there can be no goodness, because the expression of his face is bad.

Thus susceptible of prejudice is the human mind. Great, therefore, is the need, that we be continually on our guard against it. To incite us to weigh carefully

our own opinions, before we venture to act confidently upon them, let us consider a few more of the effects of prejudice when indulged.

When the object of indulged prejudice is a particular set of opinions, a theory, or a science, the effect of it necessarily must be to throw a veil over truth. We may be strongly prepossessed in favor of a system, or bitterly opposed to it, and in either case shall be incapable of judging correctly, or of taking that calm view of the subject, without which our perceptions cannot be distinct, nor the results of our examination worthy of our confidence. If we have become bigoted to sentiments, which we adopted without due consideration if we have received them from those, for whom we justly entertain a high respect if they are confirmed by habit and endeared associations, we press them closely to our hearts. Whether true or false, we hold them sacred. If attacked, we defend them with our might. The same associations and feelings prompt us to reject instantly all other sentiments, which are opposed to our own, although they may rest on the firmest ground, or be defended by unanswerable reasoning. Thus are we in danger of becoming the zealous champions of error, while we suppose ourselves to be engaged only for the truth. Thus may we be made the veriest tools of a sect or party, while we thank God that he has given us the liberty to reason, judge and act, independently of all but himself; and may be led to boast even that we are doing him service, while we are 'killing the prophets, and stoning them that are sent unto us.' To the malign influence of prejudice, we must ascribe the crucifixion of Jesus Christ by the Jewish nation, and

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