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XVI. unreasonable unselfishness.

When some eloquent clergyman preaches a sermon on unselfishness so powerful and searching that, as his hearers say, “It goes right down into every pew,” the melancholy fact remains that the person it hits is apt to be just the person who needs it least, and who would be more benefited by a moral discourse tending in just the other direction. Or when the lecturer on Ethical Culture handles the same theme in an equally ardent manner, rebaptizing the old-fashioned virtue under the modern name of “altruism,” the effect is very often just the same. Saint or scientist, the result is likely to be this, that the comfortable sinner, who has been conveniently selfish all his life, sheds the exhortation as easily as a duck's back disposes of the water; while all the duty of “unselfishness,” or “altruism,” as we may please to call it, continues to be done, as heretofore, by the quiet, uncomplaining personage in some other part of the pew. He or she — more frequently she --is the only one whom the arrow of exhortation has really reached; and while every sinner of the

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