صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

race of mankind, and you will find merit in every kind is allowed only to those who are in particular districts or sets of company ; but, sinee men can have little pleasure in these faculties which denominate them persons of distinction, let them give up such an empty pursuit, and think nothing essential to happiness but what is in their own power; the capacity of reflecting with pleasure on their own artions, however they are interpreted.

It is so evident a truth, that it is only in our own bosoms we are to search for any thing to make us happy, that it is, methinks, a disgrace to our nature to talk of taking our measures from thence only, as a matter of fortitude. When all is well there, the vicissitudes and distinctions of life are the mere scenes of a drama'; and he will never act his part well, who has his thoughts more fixed upon the applause of the audience than the design of his part.

The life of a man who acts with a steady integrity, without valuing the interpretation of his actions, has but one uniform regular path to move in, where he cannot meet opposition, or fear ambuscade. On the other side, the least deviation from the rules of honour introduces a train of numberless evils, and involves him in inexplicable mazes. He that has entered into guilt has bid adieu to rest; and every criminal has his share of the misery expressed so emphatically in the tragedian,

Macbeth shall sleep no more !

It was with detestation of any other grand-eur but the calm command of his own passions, that the excellent Mr. Cowley cries out with so much justice :

If e'er ambition did my fancy cheat
With any thought so mean as to be great,
Continue, heaven, still from me to remove
The humble blessings of that life I love !


From the “Family Book." It is a very common mistake for wicked men to say, “ Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?” Even good people often fail in eircumspection here, and speak as if they thought words were of very little consequence. But our Lord has taught us, that, “ for every idle word that men speak, they must give an account thereof, in the day of judgment;" and the apostle James speaks of the government of the tongue as one of the highest and most difficult points of Christian attainment, and an indispensable mark of the sincerity of our Christian profession, “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body." "If any man seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, that man's religion is vain."

There is great danger of sinning with the tongue, because the depravity of our own hearts inclines us to it. “The heart is deceitful above

all things, and desperately wicked ;” and “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."

There is danger of sinning, because it is so very easy to do so. Some sins require time, preparation, exertion; and while all this is going on, a better thought may come in and check the mischief; but the instant an improper thought or feeling enters the mind, what can be so easy as for the doors of the mouth to fly open, and give it utterance ? Hence the too frequent apology, “I am sorry I said it-I meant no harm-it was but a hasty word-I spoke without a thought.” “ Not quite," Mr. Sutton would have said, “for speaking is but thinking aloud ; but the fact is, we should think twice before we speak once."

We are in danger also from the frequency of speech; that which we do but seldom, we are more apt to weigh well, and take pains to do properly, but we are obliged to speak many times every day of our lives, and it is a great wonder if we do not often speak amiss. To avoid this, it is wise not to speak without real occasion, for in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin. “God has given us two ears and but one tongue, as if to intimate that we should be twice as ready to hearken as to speak.” “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak.” “ Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” “Seest thou a man hasty in his words, there is more hope of a fool

than of him." "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise, and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." The following are excellent maxims of wisdom in this particular: “ There are times when we may and ought to say nothing, and there are times when we may and ought to say something; but there will never be a time when we should say all things." " We must never say any thing but the truth, nor must we say the truth at all times.” “One often repents of saying too much, but seldom of saying too little.” “Better say nothing than nothing to the purpose." "Great talkers discharge too thick to take good aim.” “ To one you find full of questions it is better to make no answer at all.” “ Praise no man liberally before his face, nor censure any man severely behind his back." “ Say nothing to any one in a fury, for that is like putting to sea in a storm.” “In times of joy and grief, set a special guard upon the tongue, for then you are most in danger of speaking imprudently.” “Words spoken in meekness and wisdom, not from an angry spirit, are most searching to him to whom they are addressed, and most comfortable to him that speaks them."

“ Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him ; answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” This paradox has been well explained, thus :

io The fool is one who does not make a proper

use of his reason. When he speaks in the folly of passion, answer him not with like folly, but give a soft answer, which turned away wrath.'

• Answer not the folly of mere talkativeness with similar folly. Perpetual prating about nothing may often be put down by a dead silence. Answer not the folly of unreasonableness, false argument, or prejudice, by like folly ; but prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.'

* Answer not the folly of profaneness by folly like his own, but by marked silence, or welltimed reproof. (The Rev. John Howe, walking in the park, met two gentlemen, who, in eager discourse, repeatedly uttered the awful word * damn,' to each other. Mr. Howe took off his hat, and, with much solemnity, said, “Gentlemen, I pray God to save you both.' A word spoken in season how good is it.')

5 Answer not the folly of mulignity with like folly. There is that which speaketh like the piercings of a sword; but the tongue of the wise is as a healing medicine. In the mouth of the foolish there is a rod of pride, but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.'

" Answer not the folly of peevishness according to its folly, but pity, forbear, and forgive; and

"The tear that is wiped with a little address,

May be follow'd, perhaps, with a smile.' “ Answer not the folly of captiousness with similar folly. Be not displeased when you are contradicted ; above all, do not wait for an op

« السابقةمتابعة »