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Are Good Men Scarce?

Whether the good or the evil predopai, nates in human character has always been j a ' OXO'I question, and one whose answer j will large! j’ depend upon constitutional j temperament. The gloomy and despond* i out will y Ureys see the dark shadows of life, while the sanguine and cheerful will dwell up m, its sunshine and brightness. There are such varying standpoints, also, from which to look out upon this (told of inquiry, that it is not strange that very opposite conclusions are reached. When we contemplate all the corruption of political life, and see a nation’s honor and welfare willingly sacrificed to personal gain or ambition ; when we witness the defections in mercantile integrity, the strife of nations, the discord, enmity, and jealousy that embitter the social circle and poison domestic happiness, it is no wonder that we say with a sigh, “ Good men are indeed scarce.” On the other hand, when a sudden calamity draws forth the sjunpathies and ready aid of a whole community ; when a recital of oppression and wrong arouses general indignation ; when society rises up to protect the weak, to maintain equal rights, to redress wrong and relieve suffering ; when private life discloses the noble act of heroism, or the patient life of self-sacrifice,—then we are ready to withdraw our former statement, and to believe better things of humanity. Whether good men and women are scarce or abundant, however, depends upon the meaning we attach to the term. If by good people we mean those who have much good in them, we aro happy in believing that they constitute the large majority. But if wo mean those whose daily life and conduct is a power for good, we fear it is too true that they are but a small proportion. The difference between these two classes will be manifest to every thoughtful observer. Take any assemblage of people, and there may be found among them ranch latent good. There will be a general allegiance to purity, honesty, good order, and benevolence, and a general repugnance to injustice, corruption, disorder, and selfishness. Yet their characters will be largely formed by and dependent upon habits and circumstances. If their past education and present influences act upon them for good, they will maintain a good moral character; if temptations do not bear too heavily they will resist them ; if their benevolent impulses are called forth they will be compassionate, sympathising, helpful. If, o» the other hand, opposite influences are acting upon them, if t hey have had bad examples and are expi se.l to evil associations, they succumb to them and their characters are formed accordingly. It thus depends upon something outside of themselves whether the good that is in them be developed or crushed. They do not stand alone as an individual power ; they are not dependable. If public opinion condones an offence, its actual evil fades from their view ; if it frowns on a course that their conscience enforces, they shrink from it in dismay.

Yet among the many who thus drift up or down the stream of moral goodness, carried along by the current of circumstances, there are a few who stem the waves and face the winds, steering steadily for the port of truth and right. Their goodness is not a mere germ, waiting for the sunshine of favourable influences to start it into being; but a strong root that will grow and expand from its own in ward power, even in spite of adverse wind and weather. When storms shake the nation and threaten its honor, they stand firm for the cause of right against all specious influences. In every crisis they can be safely counted on forthesupport of ju. tice, truth, and honor. Everyone who knows them knows also where to find them, in every conflict between truth and error, justice and oppression, freedom and bonds, honour and corrnp tion, generosity and meanness, there isnoqucstion as to which side they espojse. They are not blown about by the winds of public favour or disfavour, by the breadth of temptation or the influence of associates, but stand firm upon the steadfast rock of principle. Such men are found in every walk of life, are the great pillars of the community. In the State they uphold good government, in commerce they promote integrity, in friendship they are staunch and reliable, in domestic life they are true and loyal. Of course they are liable, like others, to slips and fnl’s, mistakes and errors ; but as the needle, after many fluctuations,- only finds rest when true to the pole, so they will ever return to rest in their allegiance to truth and right.

If, then, to be a good main, is to b© thus incorruptible, firm, and powerful in goodness, we fear that it is true indeed that “ good men are scane yet their ranks may be continually increased if each one of us will only cultivate and develop tho good that now lies latent within us into the individual power and force that is its rightful heritage.—Philadelphia Ledger,

Two settlers near Borrowa were arrested on the charge of feloniously shearing the sheep of a neighbor.

Paying Double. —ln an article on the Property-Assessment Bill, the “Otago Daily Times ” recently pointed out that the capital of investment companies would really be taxed twice over. This objection was at first pooh-poohed, hut more careful consideration showed it tobe well founded; and in Committee the Government introduced a new clause to prevent such companies bearing more than their share of the public burden.—“ Post. ”

A Bold Robbery. — A most remarkable circumstance that occurred recently has been related to the “ Sydney Daily Telegraph,” which, if true, transcends in boldness and audacity anything of the kind heard of before in Sydney or elsewhere. It appears that some weeks ago a gentleman and his wife who resided in Newtown left their residence for a few days to attend « relative who was dangerously ill in Sydney. During their absence the house was entered, and the whole of the furniture cartid away in the broad daylight, without any suspicion being excited in the minds of neighbors or friends that a daring robbery was being perpetrated under their very eyes. To show the confidence with which the who’e affair wfi planned and carried out, it may be mentioned that one of the articles removed was a large handsome wardrobe, which must have taken at least-two hours to take to pieces. To add to the mystery which surrounds the whole affair, it appears that the police have been totally unable to %»4 a clue either to the missing articles or thi perpetrators of the robbery.

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Bibliographic details

Are Good Men Scarce?, Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 40, 27 December 1879

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Are Good Men Scarce? Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 40, 27 December 1879

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