« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
4. You esteem it a dreadful thing to be obliged to live with persons who are passionate and quarrelsome. You undoubiedly judge right; it is like living in a house that is on fire. Dismiss therefore, as soon as may be, all angry and wrathful thoughts. They canker the mind, and dispose it to the worst temper in the world, — that of fixed malice and revenge. Never ruminate upon past injuries and provocations. Anger may steal into the heart of a wise man, but rests only in the bosom of fools. The apostle's precept is, “let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” The Pythagoreans, Es a sect of heathen philosophers, are said to have practised it literally; who, if at any time in a passion they had broken out into abusive language, before sunset, gave each other their hands, and with them a discharge from all injuries, and so parted friends. Above all things, be sure to set a guard on the tongue, while the angry fit is upon you. In anger, as well as in a fever, it is good to have the tongue kept smooth and clean.
5. Whoever has been much con versant with the world, must have often met with silly, trifling, and unreasonable people, who will talk forever about nothing. How far preferable is solitude 40 to such society! There are silly, triling, and unreasonable thoughts, as well as persons; such are always about, and, if care be not taken, they will get into the mind we know not how, and seize and possess it before we are aware. There is little difference whether we spend the time in sleep, or in these waking dreams. They ought to be dismissed, because they keep out better company.
6. There is something particularly tiresome in your projectors and castle-builders, who will detain you for hours with relations of their probable and improbable schemes. One should never be at home to this sort of visitants.90 Give your porter, therefore, directions to be in a more special manner upon his guard against all wild and extravagant thoughts, all vain and fantastical imaginations. It is unknown how much time is wasted by many persons in these airy and chimerical47 schemes, while they neglect their duty to God and man, and even their own worldly interest; thus losing the substance by grasping at the shadow,94 and dream. ing themselves princes, till they awake beggars.
7. There is one sort of guests who are no strangers to the mind of man. . These are gloomy and melancholy thoughts. There are times and seasons when, to some, everything appears dismal and disconsolate, though they know not why. A black cloud hangs hovering over their minds, which, when it falls in showers through their eyes, is dispersed, and all is serene again. This is often purely mechanical, and owing either to some fault
in the bodily constitution, 40 or some accidental disorder in the animal frame. It comes on in a dark month, a thick sky, and an east wind. Constant employment and a cheerful friend are two excellent remedies. Certainhowever, it is, that, whatever means can be devised, they should instantly and incessantly be used to drive away such dreary and desponding imaginations.
8. It is needless to say that we should repel all impure thoughts; because, if we possess a fair character, and frequentál good company, it is to be hoped they will not have the assurance to knock at our door. Lastly — with abhorrence reject immediately all profane and blas'phemous thoughts. When the body is disordered, the mind will be so too; and thoughts will arise in it of which no account can be given. But let those who aru thus afflicted know, for their comfort, the bare thoughts will not be imputed to them for sins, while they do not cherish and encourage them, but, on the contrary, exert all their endeavors to expel and banish them ; which, with prayers and help from above, will not fail of success in the end.
9. These, then, are the thoughts against which you should carefully guard : such as are peevish and discontented, anxious and fearful, passionate and quarrelsome, silly and trifling, vain and fantastical, gloomy and melancholy, impure, profane, and blasphemous. A formidable band! to whose importunity, more or less, every one is subject. Reason, aided by the grace of God, must watch diligently at the gate, either to bar their entrance, or drive them away forthwith when entered, not only as impertinent, but mis'chievous intruders, that will otherwise forever destroy the peace and quiet of the family.
10. The best method, after all, perhaps, is to contrive matters so as always to be preëngaged when they come; engaged with better company; and then there will be no room for them. For, other kinds of thoughts there are, to which, when they stand at the door and knock, the porter should open immediately; which
you should let in and receive, retain and improve, to your soul's · health and happiness.
.. 11. The grand secret in this, as in many other cases, is employment. . An empty house is everybody's property. All the vagrants about the country will take up their quarters in it. Always, therefore, have something to do, and you will always have something to think about. God has placed every person in some station ; and every station has a set of duties belonging to it. Did we not forgets or neglect these, evil thoughts would sue41 for adinission in vain. Indeed, they would not come near our dwell. ing, any more than idle, vain, profligate people would think of visiting and teasing a man who labored constantly for his daily brcad.
12. And let no one imagine, as too many are apt to do, that it is a matter of indifference what thoughts he entertains in his heart, since the reason of things concurs with the testimony of Scripture, to assure us that “the thought of foolishness," when allowed by us, “is itself sin.” Therefore, in the excellent words of an excellent poet,
“ Guard well thy thoughts — our thoughts are heard in heaven.” “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.”
XXXI. — SELECT PASSAGES IN VERSE.
1.- ULYSSES ’141 Dog. – Anon.
2. — FEIGNED COURAGE. — Miss Lamb.
To fix the fate of Cressy or Poictierger
3. — BEAUTY. — Gay.
4.— THE PLEASURES OF MEMORY. – Rogers. Hail, Memory, hail! In thy exhaustless mine, From age to age, unnumbered treasures shine! Thought, and her shadowy brood, thy call obey, And Place and Time are subject to thy sway! Thy pleasures most we feel when most alone, The only pleasures we can call our own. Lighter than air, Hope's summer-visions die, If but a fleeting cloud obscure the sky; If but a beam of sober Reason play, Lo! Fancy's fairy frost-work melts away. But can the wiles of Art, the grasp of Power, Snatch the rich relics of a well-spent hour ? These, when the trembling spirit wings her flight, Pour round her path a stream of living light, And gild those pure and perfect realms of rest, Where Virtue triumphs, and her sons are blessed. 48
5. – AMBITION. – Byron. He who ascends to mountain-topg27 shall find
The loftiest peaks most wrapt in clouds and snow : He who surpasses or subdues mankind
Must look down on the hate of those below. Though high above the sun of glory glow,
And far beneath the earth and ocean spread, Round him are icy rocks, and loudly blow
Contending tempestg100 on his naked head; And thus reward the toils which to those summits led.
6. — DEFIANCE. — Young.
7.- AFFECTIONATE REMEMBRANCE. — Wordsworth.
She dwelt among the untrodden ways beside the springs of Dovo,
XVI - ON COMPRESSION IN SPEECH AND WRITING.
1. Talk to the point, and stop when you have reached it. Ti facut some possess of making one idea cover a quire of priper is not good for much. Be comprehensive in all you say aud write. To fill a volume upon nothing is a credit to nobody. There are nen wbo get one idea into their heads, and but one, and they make the most of it. You can see it, and almost feel it, when103 in their prosence.91 On all occasions it is produced, till it is worn as thın as charity.
2. They remind us of a plunderbuss discharged at a hummingbird. You hear a tromendous noise, see a volume of smoke, but you look in vain for the effects. The bird is scattered to atoms. Just so with che ideä. It is enveloped in a cloud, and lost amid the rumblings of words and flourishes. Short letters, sermons, speeches, and paragraphs, are favorites with us. Commend us to the young man who wrote to his father, “Dear sir, I am going to be married ; ” and also to the old gentleman, who replied, “ Dear son, do it.” Suci are the men for action; they do more than they say.
3. Eloquence, we are persuaded, will never flourish in any country where the public taste is infantile enough to measure the value of a speech by the hours it occupies, and to exalt copiousness and fertility to the absolute disregard of conciseness. The efficacy and value of compression can scarcely be overrated. The common air, we beat aside with our breath, compressed, has