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Which Is The Liberal Man?
by [?]

[Footnote 1: Those particulars the writer heard stated personally as a part of the experience of one of the most devoted ministers of Ohio.]

On the other hand, George Lennox, the lawyer, had by his talents and efficiency placed himself at the head of his profession, and was realizing an income which brought all the comforts and elegances of life within his reach. He was a member of the Christian church in the place where he lived, irreproachable in life and conduct. From natural generosity of disposition, seconded by principle, he was a liberal contributor to all religious and benevolent enterprises, and was often quoted and referred to as an example in good works. Surrounded by an affectionate and growing family, with ample means for providing in the best manner both for their physical and mental development, he justly regarded himself as a happy man, and was well satisfied with the world he lived in.

Now, there is nothing more trying to the Christianity or the philosophy which teaches the vanity of riches than a few hours’ domestication in a family where wealth is employed, not for purposes of ostentation, but for the perfecting of home comfort and the gratification of refined intellectual tastes; and as Mr. Stanton leaned back, slippered and gowned, in one of the easiest of chairs, and began to look over periodicals and valuable new books from which he had long been excluded, he might be forgiven for giving a half sigh to the reflection that he could never be a rich man. “Have you read this review?” said his companion, handing him one of the leading periodicals of the day across the table.

“I seldom see reviews,” said Mr. Stanton, taking it.

“You lose a great deal,” replied the other, “if you have not seen those by this author–altogether the ablest series of literary efforts in our time. You clerical gentlemen ought not to sacrifice your literary tastes entirely to your professional cares. A moderate attention to current literature liberalizes the mind, and gives influence that you could not otherwise acquire.”

“Literary taste is an expensive thing to a minister,” said Mr. Stanton, smiling: “for the mind, as well as the body, we must forego all luxuries, and confine ourselves simply to necessaries.”

“I would always indulge myself with books and periodicals, even if I had to scrimp elsewhere,” said Mr. Lennox; and he spoke of scrimping with all the serious good faith with which people of two or three thousand a year usually speak of these matters.

Mr. Stanton smiled, and waived the subject, wondering mentally where his friend would find an elsewhere to scrimp, if he had the management of his concerns. The conversation gradually flowed back to college days and scenes, and the friends amused themselves with tracing the history of their various classmates.

“And so Alsop is in the Senate,” said Mr. Stanton. “Strange! We did not at all expect it of him. But do you know any thing of George Bush?”

“O, yes,” replied the other; “he went into mercantile life, and the last I heard he had turned a speculation worth thirty thousand–a shrewd fellow. I always knew he would make his way in the world.”

“But what has become of Langdon?”

“O, he is doing well; he is professor of languages in —- College, and I hear he has lately issued a Latin Grammar that promises to have quite a run.”

“And Smithson?”

“Smithson has an office at Washington, and was there living in great style the last time I saw him.”

It may be questioned whether the minister sank to sleep that night, amid the many comfortable provisions of his friend’s guest chamber, without rebuking in his heart a certain rising of regret that he had turned his back on all the honors, and distinctions, and comforts which lay around the path of others, who had not, in the opening of the race, half the advantages of himself. “See,” said the insidious voice–“what have you gained? See your early friends surrounded by riches and comfort, while you are pinched and harassed by poverty. Have they not, many of them, as good a hope of heaven as you have, and all this besides? Could you not have lived easier, and been a good man after all?” The reflection was only silenced by remembering that the only Being who ever had the perfect power of choosing his worldly condition, chose, of his own accord, a poverty deeper than that of any of his servants. Had Christ consented to be rich, what check could there have been to the desire of it among his followers? But he chose to stoop so low that none could be lower; and that in extremest want none could ever say, “I am poorer than was my Savior and God.”