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portunity of contradicting in your turn, to pay off the supposed affront.
“ Answer not the folly of flattery according to itself, but turn to it a deaf ear, and a disgusted heart; for he that flattereth his neighbour, spreadeth a net for his feet. Flattery cherishes pride, self-love, and self-ignorance.
66 But answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit;' that is, answer him so as to refute him on his own false principles, lest his being left without an answer, should lead him to suppose that his folly is unanswerable, and so confirm him in his mistake. Answer him, if he fancies himself right when he is clearly in the wrong, if possible to prevent him from deluding others.' 13
I remember hearing a sermon read, in which the laws of speech were thus laid down, by which our conversation should be governed.
6. The law of prudence. This condemns idleness and folly ; for no one has a right to talk nonsense. It condemns, also, all that is impertinent and unsuited to the place, the company, and the season. A wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment.' A word fitly spoken, O how good is it! It is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. All foolish talking and jesting' are forbidden by the apostle, while he enjoins, Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how to answer every man.'
The law of purity. This forbids all ribaldry, and not only every thing that is grossly offensive, but all indecent allusions and insinuations, however artfully veiled.
" The law of veracity.--This condemns every thing spoken with a view to deceive, or spoken so as to occasion deception, which may be done by a confusion of circumstances; by an omission of circumstances; by an addition of circumstances. "Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another.'”
“ The law of kindness. This condemns all calumny and tale-bearing, the circulation of whatever may be injurious to the reputation of another. This requires that, if you must speak another's faults, you do it without aggravation; and that you do it, not with pleasure, but with pain; and that, if you censure, you do it as a judge would pass a sentence on his son. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.'
« The law of utility. This requires that we should not scandalize another by any thing in our speech ; but contribute to his benefit, by rendering our discourse instructive, or reproving, or consolatory. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good, to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.'
• The law of piety.--This requires that we should never take God's name in vain, never speak lightly of his word or worship, never charge him foolishly, never murmur under any
of his dispensations. It requires that we extol his perfections and recommend his service.”
The following remark is worth preserving and noticing. "A cause which has a strong tendency to destroy religious seriousness, and which almost always prevents its formation and growth in young minds, is levity in conversation upon subjects connected with religion.” “Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among you ? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.”
From the same. Some people are very fond of affecting a rude coarseness of manners, and despise politeness among friends, as though it were inconsistent with freedom and sincerity. I have often heard both Mr. and Mrs. Sutton speak of the desirableness of cultivating politeness in every family; not the foolish, unmeaning ceremony of the world, but a gentle, obliging demeanour towards all around us. In that family neither children nor servants were accustomed to treat each other with rudeness, any more than the parents with disrespect. “Politeness," said Mr. Sutton, “ is not affection, but it is one of the outworks of it; like a wall or a hedge round a garden, which preserves it from being intrenched upon or trampled down." True po
liteness is benevolence in trifles. Some people are naturally polite, and others naturally churlish, or rather selfish, for selfishness is the great enemy to politeness, as well as to generosity; and many persons, even in polished life, who make loud professions of benevolence and attachment to their friends, are yet too selfish to deny themselves some trifling gratification, though at the expense and inconvenience of a whole party. On the other hand, some, even among the rustic classes of society, discover much native politeness.
One mark of true politeness is, that it never seeks to obtrude itself on the notice of those whom it accommodates ; but rather conceals than displays the personal sacrifice at which it promotes their pleasure. - It is noiseless in conferring a kindness, and is never known to recall the attention of others to it; but seems to forget, or rather actually forgets, acts of kindness, which are no strange things, but perfectly habitual to it.
Another branch of genuine politeness is, not to bring forward a subjeet of conversation which is not understood by the party in general, by which they cannot be really benefited, or in which they cannot harmoniously unite.
Another feature is, that true politeness, without compromising any thing that duty or fidelity requires to be brought forward, observes proper times and seasons for saying and doing things. Every thing is beautiful in its season, nothing is beautiful out of it; " As vinegar to
nitre, so is he that singeth songs to him that is of a heavy heart.” So is he that rudely reminds the fallen of past greatness; that treats a superior with insolence; an inferior with contempt; an equal with unkindness; that ostentatiously overburdens gratitude, by heaping upon it favours that it is unable to repay ; or that pains the generous and delicate mind, by compelling it to decline giving that which it is unable to bestow.
Politeness may even be regarded as a Christian virtue; our Lord and his apostles both practised and inculcated it; we are repeatedly admonished to be kind, patient.gentle to all men, pitiful and courteous. Among other instances that might be given, the epistle of Paul to Philemon discovers, in every sentence, the very essence of politeness. I remember hearing an excellent minister say, that he had no doubt but that St. Paul was truly a gentleman as well as an apostle. The whole character of the Saviour presents us a living and perfect model.
“My dear Redeemer and my Lord,