The Question and Answer section for Self Reliance and Other Essays is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
It sounds like Emerson is saying that charity is an act of penance. People give charity not in order to help people but to assuage their own guilt
Emerson says that the honest man is needed at all times and in all places.
Emerson is trying to extoll the virtue of individual thought amidst the stagnant and rotting atmosphere of conformity. He wants individual's to stand up and be counted. While the herd follows the path of least resistance, it is the individual that...