THE DANGERS OF PESSIMISM
T. DeWitt Talmage
Swindled, betrayed, persecuted, David, in a paroxysm of petulance and rage, thus insulted the human race. David himself falsified when he said, "All men are liars." He apologizes and says he was unusually provoked, and that he was hasty when he hurled such universal denunciation: "I said in my haste," and so on. It was in his case only a momentary triumph of pessimism. There is ever and anon, a disposition abroad to distrust everybody, and because some bank employees defraud, to distrust all bank employees; and because some police officers have taken bribes, to believe that all policemen take bribes; and because many divorce cases are in court, to believe that most, if not all, marriage relations are unhappy. There are men who seem rapidly coming to adopt this creed: All men are liars, scoundrels, thieves, libertines. When a new case of perfidy comes to the surface, these people clap their hands in glee. It gives piquancy to their breakfast if the morning newspaper makes a new exposure or reports a new arrest. They grow fat on vermin. They join the devils in hell in jubilation over recreancy and pollution. If someone arrested is proved innocent, it is to them a disappointment. They would rather believe evil than good. They are vultures, preferring a diet of carrion. They would like to be on a committee to find something wrong. They wish that as eyeglasses have been invented to improve the sight, and ear-trumpets have been invented to help the hearing, a corresponding instrument might be invented for the nose, to bring nearer a malodor.
Pessimism says of the Church, "The majority of the members are hypocrites," although it is no temporal advantage to be a member of the Church, and therefore there is no temptation to hypocrisy. Pessimism says that the influence of newspapers is wholly bad, and that they are corrupting the world; when the fact is that they are the mightiest agency for the arrest of crime ...
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