It taught them not to understand a man if he were witty; to misunderstand him if he were eloquent; to yawn or stare if he chanced to elevate his voice, or presumed to ruffle the placidity of the social calm by addressing his fellow-creatures with teeth unparted. Excellence was never to be recognised, but only disparaged with a look: an opinion or a sentiment, and the nonchalant was lost for ever.
You will strain at a gnat in the way of trustfulness and confidence, however fairly won and well deserved; but you will swallow a whole caravan of camels, if they be laden with unworthy doubts and mean suspicions. Is this well, think you, or likely to elevate the character of the governors or the governed, among you? "The answer is invariably the same: 'There's freedom of opinion here, you know.
Of one thing only can we feel secure namely, that the loyal and punctual discharge of all the obligations arising out of existing social relations will best hallow, beautify, and elevate those relations, if they are destined to be permanent; and will best prepare a peaceful and beneficent advent for their successors, if, like so much that in its day seemed eternal, they too are doomed to pass away.
The finest things among them were the dialogues in the style of villagers, with oaths and bad French, to elevate the mental faculties of the peasants. By a new law, the hawking of pamphlets would be in the hands of the prefects; and they had just crammed Proudhon into St. Pélagie gigantic triumph! The trees of liberty were generally torn down. Chavignolles obeyed orders.
It is easy to specify the individual objects of admiration in these grand scenes; but it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, astonishment, and devotion, which fill and elevate the mind. April 19th. Leaving Socego, during the two first days, we retraced our steps.
"How fortunate am I," said Florence, one day, "that my choice fell on one who thinks as you do! How your words elevate and exalt me! yet once I never dreamt of asking your creed on these questions. It is in sorrow or sickness that we learn why Faith was given as a soother to man Faith, which is Hope with a holier name hope that knows neither deceit nor death.
His very talk, which used to be so homely, began now to be tinselled with big swelling words of vanity imported from the army. I need hardly say these bombastical phrases did not elevate his general dialect: they lay fearfully distinct upon the surface, "like lumps of marl upon a barren soil, encumbering the ground they could not fertilize."
To win the favour of that noblest of mistresses, Science; to take authoritative possession, in her name, of the whole domain of humanity; to open new pathways to commerce; to elevate and enlarge the human intellect, and to multiply indefinitely the sum of human enjoyments; to bring the inhabitants of the earth into closer and more friendly communication, so that, after some yet unimagined inventions and discoveries, and after the lapse of many years, which in the sight of the Omnipotent are but as one day, the human race may form one pacific family, instead of being broken up, as are the most enlightened of peoples now, into warring tribes of internecine savages, prating of the advancement of civilization while coveting each other's possessions, intriguing against each other's interests, and thoroughly in earnest when cutting each other's throats; this is truly to be the pioneers of a possible civilization, compared to which our present culture may seem but a poor barbarism.
"'Pygmalion loved his Galatea, was in the song they sung at my first wedding," said Alfred; "I once fell in love with a beautiful statue, which awoke to life in my arms; but the kindred soul, which is a gift from heaven, the angel who can feel and sympathize with and elevate us, I have not found and won till now.
We are to put ourselves on a level with them, as we must do "in selling that we have" for their benefit in other words, in employing our powers and resources to elevate their character, condition, and prospects. This our Savior did; and if we refuse to enter into sympathy and cooperation with him, how can we be his followers? Apply this test to the slaveholder.