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HENRY AUSTIN
English poet
(fl. 1613)

This is Thanksgiving day. Its observance ought to be in the best sense religious. And it might be well to this end to review the feelings and emotions with which we approach it. Much of our thankfulness may be purely selfish. There are some with whom things have gone well this year. The family circle has remained unbroken. No wasting sickness has come into the home. Prosperity has left its blessings. The table is laden with plenty. There is meat in the larder and grain in the storehouse. Because of these things they imagine they are grateful; but such gratitude is of the essence of selfishness. It is dependent upon exterior conditions. It finds its basis in circumstances. It draws its inspiration from clear skies and smooth sailing, and hence it is fitful and evanescent as the alternations of sunlight and shadow. If these conditions of personal comfort and prosperity are in themselves the ground of thankfulness, where in the hour of adversity shall we find occasion for rejoicing? The record of the past has its graver side. There have been pain and losses and disappointments and bereavements and heartaches. Where in these things is there reason and ground for gratitude? . . . [J]ust here is the point of stumbling with many an earnest soul. We find in the bitter chill of adversity the true test of our gratitude. And that is true gratitude which, triumphing over conditions merely physical and external, finds its ground of thankfulness in God Himself. It is independent of circumstances. It goes beneath the surface of life, whether sad or joyous, and
      - [Thanksgiving Day]


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