There are three sorts of people in the world, who may be characterized in the monosyllable above. First, there are those who take for their motto – Live – live regardless of others – live if others die – live for one’s self, and to one’s self. Such persons care for nobody but themselves – they think of nobody else. They have got on in the world, it may be without much aid from others, and others must bet on as they can, or stick by the way – it is all one to them – it is none of their business; they are not their brother’s keeper. These are supremely selfish men.
There is another class of men among us whose motto is – live and let live. They are glad to see their neighbor prosper; but it must be without their help. – Their first and great enquiry is, who will show us any good? How will this affect my interest? Shall I gain any thing by it? If such men are quite sure that any thing they may do for another will return ultimately to their own benefit, they will cheerfully lend a helping hand. And in some cases they will even help a friend in need, if persuaded that it will no way operate to their own disadvantage and inconvenience. Otherwise they are as deaf as dead men to all who approach them. They are simply selfish men.
There is yet a third class of men, whose motto is – live and help others to live. They are not inattentive to their own affairs and to their own interests; but they seek not their own exclusively. They are not merely willing to let others live around them, but are willing to help others live, and even to subject themselves to the inconvenience and trouble in order to do this. And all this they will do without first stopping to ask – shall I get my reward? If I lend a dollar, shall I get two in return? They are men who act either form the impulses of a kind and generous dispositions, or men whose principles of action have been derived from the teachings and examples of him “who went about doing good,” who sought not his own but the things which were another’s – who was never unmindful to do good and communicate as he had opportunity. These are truly benevolent men.
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