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    How long shall we sit in our porticoes practising idle and musty virtues, which any work would make impertinent?  As if one were to begin the day with long-suffering, and hire a man to hoe his potatoes; and in the afternoon go forth to practise Christian meekness and charity with goodness aforethought!  Consider the China pride and stagnant self-complacency of mankind.  This generation inclines a little to congratulate itself on being the last of an illustrious line; and in Boston and London and Paris and Rome, thinking of its long descent, it speaks of its progress in art and science and literature with satisfaction.  There are the Records of the Philosophical Societies, and the public Eulogies of Great Men! It is the good Adam contemplating his own virtue.  "Yes, we have done great deeds, and sung divine songs, which shall never die" -- that is, as long as we can remember them.  The learned societies and great men of Assyria -- where are they?  What youthful philosophers and experimentalists we are!  There is not one of my readers who has yet lived a whole human life.  These may be but the spring months in the life of the race.  If we have had the seven-years' itch, we have not seen the seventeen-year locust yet in Concord.  We are acquainted with a mere pellicle of the globe on which we live.  Most have not delved six feet beneath the surface, nor leaped as many above it.  We know not where we are.  Beside, we are sound asleep nearly half our time.  Yet we esteem ourselves wise, and have an established order on the surface.  Truly, we are deep thinkers, we are ambitious spirits!  As I stand over the insect crawling amid the pine needles on the forest floor, and endeavoring to conceal itself from my sight, and ask myself why it will cherish those humble thoughts, and bide its head from me who might, perhaps, be its benefactor, and impart to its race some cheering information, I am reminded of the greater Benefactor and Intelligence that stands over me the human insect.
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