Mary Greene Chandler was a nineteenth-century author, who married the son of Unitarian leader Henry Ware in 1862. Although associated with Unitarianism, her thoughts here on character express biblical truths that all believers would do well to heed.
This selection is taken from her 1854 book, The Elements of Character, which likely had an influence on U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. In the following passage, she argues that even though some use manners as a cover for ungodly character, the righteous will inevitably reflect their character through appropriate social graces.
There is so much undeniable hypocrisy in the high-bred courtesy of polished society, that among many religious persons there has come to be an indifference, nay, almost an opposition, to Manners that savor of elegance or courtliness. If, however, Christian charity reign within, rudeness or indifference cannot reign without. One may as well look for a healthy physical frame under a skin revolting from disease, as for a healthy moral frame under Manners rude and discourteous; for Manners indicate the moral temperament quite as accurately as the physical temperament is revealed by the complexion… The best Manners possible are the simple bringing down of the perfect law of charity into the most external ultimates of social life.