The actual performance of a good deed adds to the happiness both of the doer and of those for whom it is done. The memory of a good deed excites love and gratitude, renews man’s belief in his kind, and inspires others to go and do likewise. It is an incentive to them to live purely, act uprightly, and deal justly with their fellow- men.
The source of good deeds is self-sacrifice. That was a noble act of the Swiss patriot who, when his countrymen were unable to break through the solid phalanx of Austrian spearmen, rushed upon the spears, gathered as many as he could in his arms and lunged them into his breast, thus creating a gap through which the Swiss could enter and win the day.
He knew that he was rushing to certain death; but he considered his own life of little moment if he could only show the way to victory and strike a blow for his country.
Nobility is not the prerogative of men. Grace Darling set an example of heroism in well-doing which has never been surpassed. The steamer Forfarshire, while on its voyage from Hull to Dundee, struck on a rock and snapped in two.
The fore-part of the vessel, containing nine persons, remained fast. Half a mile away there was a light-house, occupied by an old man, his wife and a daughter, Grace.
Seeing the men on the wreck, Grace Darling entreated her father to let down a boat, but he declared that on account of the boisterousness of the sea it would be certain death. Yet he let down the boat, and Grace Darling was the first to enter it. The chances of rescue were small indeed.
Nevertheless they toiled on, and by great care and vigilance made their way to the wreck amid the breakers, and succeeded in rescuing all the survivors.
It is terrible to reflect on...