صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[blocks in formation]

man.

regard to truth, there can be no safe society between man and

And it is an injury to the speaker; for, besides the disgrace which it brings upon him, it occasions so much baseness of mind, that he can scarcely tell truth, or avoid lying, even when he has no color of necessity for it; and, in time, he comes to such a pass, that as other people can not believe he speaks truth, so he himself scarcely knows when he tells a falsehood.

2. As you must be careful not to lie, so you must avoid coming near it. You must not equivocate,' nor speak any thing positively for which you have no authority but report, or con jecture, or opinion. Let your words be few, especially when your superiors or strāngers are present, lest you betray your own weakness, and rob yourselves of the opportunity which you might otherwise have had, to gain knowledge, wisdom, and experience, by hearing those whom you silence by your impertinent talking.

3. Be not too earnest, loud, or violent in your conversation. Silence your oppo'nent with reason, not with noise. Be careful not to interrupt another when he is speaking; hear him out, and you will understand him the better, and be able to give him the better answer. Consider before you speak, especially when the business is of moment; weigh the sense of what

you mean to utter, and the expressions you intend to use, that they may be significant, pertinent, and inoffensive. Inconsiderate persons do not think till they speak; or they speak, and then think.

4. Some men excel in husbandry, some in gardening, some in mathematics. In conversation, learn, as near as you can, where the skill or excellence of any person lies; put him upon talking on that subject, observe what he says, keep it in your memory, or commit it to writing. By this means, you will glean the worth and knowledge of everybody you converse with ; and at an easy rate acquire what may be of use to you on many occasions.

E quiv'o cáte, to use expressions or words which may be understood in two ways, so that a lie is actually told under the appearance of truth. - Im per' ti nent, not relating to the subject ; rude ; intrusive ; meddling with what does not belong to us.--8 Op po' nent, one with whom we differ.— * Sig nif' i cant, full of meaning.-- * Pêr' ti nent, appropriate to the case ; fitted to the end.-- Hůs' band ry, the business of cultivating the earth, raising cattle, and the management of the dairy.

5. When you are in company with light, vain, impertinent persons, let the observing of their failings make you the more cautious, both in your conversation with them and in your general behavior, that you may avoid their ěrrors. If any one, whom you do not know to be a person of truth, sobriety, and weight, relates strange stories, be not too ready to believe or report them; and yět (unless he is one of your family acquaintances) be not too forward to contradict him. If the occasion requires you to declare your opinion, do it modestly and gently, not bluntly nor coarsely; by this means you will avoid giving offense, or being abused for too much credulity.

6. If a man, whose integrity' you do not very well know, make you great and extraordinary professions, do not give much credit to him. Probably you will find that he aims at something besides kindness to you, and that when he has served his turn, or been disappointed, his regard for you will grow cool. Beware, also, of him who flatters you, and commends you to your face, or to one who he thinks will tell you of it; most probably he has either deceived and abused you, or means to do

Remember the fable of the fox commending the singing of the crow, who had something in her mouth which the fox wanted.

7. Be careful that you do not commend yourselves. It is a sign that your reputation is small and sinking, if your own tongue must praise you; and it is fulsome and unpleasing to others to hear such commendations. Speak well of the absent whenever you have a suitable opportunity. Never speak ill of them, or of anybody, unless you are sure they deserve it, and unless it is necessary for their amendment, or for the safety and benefit of others. Avoid, in your ordinary communications, not only oaths, but all imprecations and earnest protestations. Forbear scoffing and jesting at the condition or natural defects of any person. Such offenses leave a deep impression; and they often cost a man dear.

8. Be very careful that you give no reproachful, menacing,“ or

SO.

1 In tégʻri ty, uprightness ; the highest degree of honesty.-- Extraordinary (eks trår' di na ry), uncommon ; remarkable.- Fůl' some, disgusting; grossly unpleasant.—Men' a cing, threatening.

THE DEFORMED CHILD.

79

spiteful words to any person. Good words make friends; bad words make eLemies. It is great prudence to gain as many friends as we honestly can, especially when it may be done at so easy a rate as a good word; and it is great folly to make an enemy by ill words, which are of no advantage to the party who uses them.

When faults are committed, they may, and by a superior they must, be reproved; but let it be done without reproach or bitterness : otherwise it will lose its due end and use, and, instead of reforming the offense, it will exasperate the offender, and lay the reprover justly open to reproof.

9. If a person be passionate, and give you ill language, rather pity him than be moved to anger. You will find that silence, or věry gentle words, are the most ex'quisite' revenge for reproaches; they will either cure the distemper in the angry man, and make him sorry for his passion, or they will be a severe reproof and punishment to him. But, at any rate, they will preserve your innocence, give you the deserved reputation of wisdom and moderation, and keep up the serenity and composure of your mind. Passion and

anger

make a man unfit for every thing that becomes him as a man or as a Christian.

10. Never utter any profane speeches, nor make a jest of any Scripture expressions. When you pronounce the name of God or of Christ, or repeat any passages or words of Holy Scripture, do it with reverence and seriousness, and not lightly, for that is “ taking the name of God in vain." If you hear of any unseemly expressions used in religious exercises, do not publish them; endeavor to forgět them; or, if you mention them at all, let it be with pity and sorrow, not with derision or reproach.

SIR MATHEW HALE.

21. THE DEFORMED CHILD. N my school-boy days, there lived an agèd widow near the

church-yard. She had an only child. I have often observed that the delicate and the weak receive more than a common share of affection from a mother. Such a feeling was shown

IN

'Exquisite (eks' kwe zit), choice; nice, complete.- Often (8f' fn).

by this widów toward her sickly and unshapely boy. There are faces and forms which, once seen, are impressed upon our brain; and they will come, again and again, upon the tablet' of our memory in the quiet of night, and even flit around us ir. our daily walks. Many years have gone by since I first saw this boy; and his delicate form, and quiet manner, and his gentle and virtuous conduct, are often before me.

2. I shall never forgět,—in the sauciness of youth, and fancying it would give importance to my bluff outside,—swearing in bis presence. The boy was sitting in a high-backed easy-chair, reading his Bible. He turned round, as if a signal for dying had sounded in his ear, and fixed upon me his clear, gray eye: that look! it made my little heart almost choke me. I gave some foolish excuse for getting out of the cottage; and, as I met a playmate on the road, who jeered me for my blank4 countenance, I rushed past him, hid myself in an adjoining corn-field, and cried bitterly. 3. I tried to conciliate the widow's

son,
and show

my

sorrow for having so far forgotten the innocence of boyhood, as to have my Maker's name sounded in an unhăllowed manner from my lips. My spring flowers he accepted; but, when my back was turned, he flung them away. The toys and books I offered to him were put aside for his Bible. His only occupations were, the feeding of a favorite hen, which would come to his chair and look up for the crums that he would let fall, with a noiseless action, from his thin fingers, watching the pendulum and hands of the wooden clock, and reading.

4. Although I could not, at that time, fully appreciate the beauty of a mother's love, still I venerated the widow for the unobtrusive, but intensel' attention she displayed to her son. I never entered her dwelling without seeing her engaged in some kind offices toward him. If the sunbeam came through the

* Tåb' let, a little table ; something flat on which to write, paint, oi draw.-* Blúff, blustering.–3 Jeered, made a mock of; ridiculed.-*Blank, want of expression.– Con cll' i ate, to reconcile ; to gain by kindness.-—• Un hål’ lowed, unholy; impure; wicked. — Appreciate (ap pré'shåte), to ascertain the value of a thing.–Ven' er åt ed, revered; honored.--Unobtrusive (un ob tr8' siv), modest; not forward.—20 In tense', earnost; devoted.

THE DEFORMED CHILD.

81

leaves of the geraniums, placed in the window, with too strong a glare, she moved the high-backed chair with as much care as if she had been putting aside a crystal' temple. When he slept, she festooned her silk handkerchief around his place of rest. She placed the earliest violets upon her mantel-piece for him to look at; and the roughness of her own meal, and the delicacy of the child's, sufficiently displayed her sacrifices. Easy and satisfied, the widow moved about. I never saw her but once unhappy. She was then walking thoughtfully in her garden. I beheld a tear. I did not dare to intrude upon her grief, and ask her the cause of it; but I found the reason in her cottage; her boy had been spitting blood.

5. I have often envied him these endearments; for I was away from a par’ent who humored me, even when I was stubborn and unkind. My poor mother is in her grave. I have often regretted having been her pet, her favorite; for the coldness of the world makes me wretched; and, perhaps, if I had not drunl at the věry spring of a mother's affection, I might have let scorn and con'tumely: pass by me as the idle wind. Yět I have after ward asked myself, what I, a thoughtless, though not a heartless boy, should have come to, if I had not had such a comforter. I have asked myself this, felt satisfied and grateful, and wished that her spirit might watch around her child, who often met her kindnes with passion, and received her gifts as if he expected bomago from her.

6. Everybody experiences how quickly school years pass away. My father's residence was not situated in the village where I was educated; so that when I left school, I left its scenes also. After several years had passed away, accident took me again to the well-known place. The stable, into which I led my horse, was dear to me; for I had often listened to the echo that danced within it, when the bells were ringing. The face of the ·landlord was strānge; but I could not forget the in-kneed, redwhiskered hostler : he had given me a hearty thrashing as a return for a hearty jest.

Crys' tal, made of glass ; resembling glass.-— Fes tooned', arranged like a suspended wreath or garland.- Con' tu mėly, contemptuous language; haughty rudeness.—H8m' age, act of submission; respect showed by an inferior.-In-kneed, having the knees bent in ward.

« السابقةمتابعة »