After summarizing the vices of mankind in the biting satire of the voyage to the Houyhnhnms, Dean Swift concludes by saying: "My reconcilement to the Yahoo kind in general might not be so difficult, if they would be content with those vices and follies only which nature hath entitled them to. I am not in the least provoked at the sight of a lawyer, a pickpocket, a colonel, a fool, a lord, a gamester, a politician, a whoremonger, a physician, an evidence, a suborner, an attorney, a traitor, or the like; this is all according to the due course of things: but when I behold a lump of deformity and diseases both in body and in mind smitten with pride, it immediately breaks all the measures of my patience; neither shall I ever be able to comprehend how such an animal and such a vice could tally together."
Dombey and Son, by Dickens, is a powerful study of the lasting and devastating effects of pride. Dombey's whole interest centers in his business firm. When Paul is born he changes the name of the firm to Dombey and Son, and his fierce and colossal pride invites the natural enemy of pride—adversity. This is the theme of Dickens to show how terrible pride is, and yet how low all its powers can be laid.
The birth of Paul, which made possible Dombey and Son, was to Dombey more than a compensation for the mother who died as the child began to live. But, driven too rapidly at school by the impatient father, Paul sickens and dies. Then the father, lured by the bait of wealth, marries a woman who is very beautiful, but as proud as himself. His humiliation of her leads to her humiliation of him by running off with his chief clerk; and when Dombey's love-starved
daughter, looked upon with scorn because she cannot command the love of others, attempts to console the dishonored father, he strikes her down in his fury. She flees the house, leaving Dombey alone.
Then comes the final calamity—Dombey and Son fails. We see the ruined and desolate man sitting alone in the house which on the morrow he must leave. In that powerful passage Dickens describes the desolate and lonely man going about from room to room on the last night with a candle in his hand. At length he goes up to the little room where the little bed had been and there throws himself down on the floor and lets his tears flow as they will; and yet he is still a proud man who, if a kind hand could have been stretched out or a kind face could have looked in, would have risen up and turned away and gone down to his cell.
The way to companionship, fellowship, and happiness is the path of humility.
Some of the proudest families in the country are, in the North, descendants of Jamaica rum merchants, owners of slave ships, and, in the South, descendants of ticket-of-leave convicts from Old Bailey in London. Upon such a platform as this does pride exhibit its Punch-and-Judy show!
Sir Thomas Overbury once remarked, "The man who has nothing to boast of but his ancestors is like a potato—the only good belonging to him is underground."—Sunday School Chronicle.
A highbrow is a man who is educated above his intelligence, and tells you things you already know in language that you cannot understand.—The Watchman-Examiner.
Up in the mountains of North Carolina, lived a farmer who had a poor farm with thin soil, where he worked hard, but was barely able to make a living for himself, wife and son. The son, however, was a remarkably bright boy, and easily surpassed all the other boys in the district school. One day, the father said to the mother, "Our son is a natural born scholar, and if he is only a poor farmer's son, he shall have as good an education as a millionaire's son." The father and mother economized and raked and scraped and got enough together to send the boy off to college. The boy did well at college, and every little while sent a letter home, telling how well he was doing in his classes. "Mother, these letters are all right," said the father. "They do cheer my old heart, but letters are not enough. My heart is lonely for the boy and I must see him. I cannot wait. I must see him!" Loading up his old farm wagon that afternoon, he got up before sunrise next morning and started for the college town. It was a long, tedious journey, but it did not seem long to the farmer, for he was going to see his boy! Every hour of his dreary journey, as he drew near the college town, his heart grew lighter and happier. "In a little while now, I'll see my boy. Won't he be surprised! Won't he be glad!" As he drove up the hill towards the college, who should he see coming down the sidewalk but his boy with two gay young college companions. "There he comes! There he comes!" said the old man. He jumped off the wagon and ran to meet his son, who had not seen him. "My son," he cried. His son was surprised, but was not glad. He was ashamed of his father in his plain old homespun clothes before his gay college companions. "There must be some mistake, sir," he said. "I am not your son; you are not my father. I do not know you. There must be some mistake, sir!" He might as well have driven a dagger into his father's heart. I am told that the father went home with a broken heart to die.—R. A. Torrey.
"But" is a little word, but my, what a big word it is! Some years ago, when Chief Justice Charles E. Hughes of the United States Supreme Court was the United States delegate to the Pan-American conference at Havana, an interpreter was whispering into Mr. Hughes' ear the flowery introduction by a local orator. Mr. Hughes stopped his aide, saying, "Don't bother about interpreting anything until he says `but.' Give me everything after that."—Buffalo Evening News.
A little boy came running to his mother, shouting, "Mother, I am nine feet high!" His mother said, "Don't talk such nonsense." He answered, "I really am nine feet high." She said, "What makes you think so?" "Because I measured myself." "How did you measure yourself?" "I took off my shoe and measured myself with that. It is just the same size as my foot, and I really am nine feet." "Oh, I understand now." said his mother, "but, Sonny, your measure was not the right one. You may be nine feet high measured by your shoe, but you are not that tall measured by a twelve-inch ruler." The Bible says that people, "measuring themselves by themselves ... are not wise."—Sunday School Times.
Spiritual pride is a great hindrance to spiritual growth. When the saintly James Harvey was a young curate, he frequently talked with a wise old plowman named Clayton. One day the subject under discussion was this: "What is the greatest impediment to spiritual growth and happiness?" The curate said: "Surely to renounce our sinful self." "No," said the plowman, "the greatest difficulty is to renounce our righteous self."—Sunday School Times.