« PreviousContinue »
The thoughts are the most constant actions of a man, and therefore most of the man is in them. We are not always reading, or hearing, or praying, or working ; but we are always thinking. And, therefore, it doth especially concern us to see that this constant breath of the soul be sweet, and that this constant stream be pure and run in the right channel.--136.
A WRANGLING, contentious zeal is as destructive of true holy zeal as a fever is of natural heat and life.—Guide to Heaven, 136.
Holy families are the chief seminaries of Christ's Church on earth. Though learning be found in schools, godliness is oftener received from the education of careful parents.—162.
In all lawful orders, gestures, and manner of behaviour in God's worship affect not to differ from the rest; but conform yourself to the use of the church which you join with; for in a church singularity is a discord.—191.
& WISE man bath his foibles as well as a fool. But the difference between them is, that the foibles of the one are known to bimself, and concealed from the world; the foibles of the other are known to the world, and concealed from himselt. -Mason. Self Knowledge, 29. (1817)
“A man cau never rightly know himself unless he examines into his knowledge of other things.” We must consider, then, the knowledge we have, and whether we do not set too high a price upon it, and too great a value upon ourselves on the account of it; of what real use it is to us, and what effect it hath upon us; whether it does not make us too stiff, unsociable, and assuming; testy and supercilious, and ready to despise others for their supposed ignorance. If so, our knowledge, be it what it will, dues us more harm than good. We were better without it: ignorance itself would not render us so ridiculous. Such a temper, with all our knowledge, shows that we know not ourselves.—53.
The speech of a modest man giveth lustre to truth, and the diffidence of his words absolveth bis error. As a veil addeth to beauty, so are his virtues set off by the shade which his modesty casteth upon them.-Dodsley. Economy of Human Life, 114.
TERRIFY not thy soul with vain fears, neither let thy heart sink within thee from the phantoms of imagination. Froin fear proceedeth misfortune; but he that hopeth, helpeth himself.-154.
Do nothing in a passion. Why wilt thou put to sea in the violence of a storm ?-157.
When virtue and modesty enlighten her charms, the lustre of a beautiful woman is brighter than the stars of heaven, and the influence of her power it is in vain to resist. Shut not thy bosom to the tenderness of love; the purity of its flame shall ennoble thy heart, and soften it to receive the fairest impressions.-159.
Take unto thyself a wife, and obey the ordinance of God; take unto thyself a wife, and become a faithful member of society. But examine with care, and fix not suddenly: on thy present choice depends thy future happiness. If much of her time is destroyed in dress and adornments; if she is enamoured with her own beauty, and delighteth in her own praise; if she laugheth much, and talketh loud; if her foot abideth not in her father's house, and her eyes with boldness rove on the faces of men; though her beauty were as the sun in the firmament of heaven, turn thy face from her charms, turn thy feet from her paths, and suffer not thy soul to be ensnared by the allure. ments of imagination. But when thou findest sensibility of heart joined with softness of manners, an accomplished mind with a form agreeable to thy fancy, take her home to thy house; she is worthy to be thy friend, thy companion in life, the wife of thy bosom.—164.
The fool is obstinate and doubteth not; he knoweth all things but his own ignorance. The pride of emptiness is an abomination; and to talk much is the foolishness of folly. The fool boasteth attainments in things that are of no worth; but where it is a shame to be iguorant, there he hath no understanding.--169.
Oh, how amiable is gratitude! especially when it has the Supreme Benefactor for its object. I have always looked upon gratitude as the most exalted principle that can actuate the heart of man. It has something noble, disinterested, and (if I may be allowed the term) generously devout. Repentance indicates our nature fallen, and prayer turns chiefly upon a regard to oneself; but the exercises of gratitude subsisted in Paradise, when there was no fault to deplore; and will be perpetuated in heaven, when “God shall be all in all." Hervey. Meditations, 2. (1816)
REMEMBER, my dear, that our feelings were not given us for our ornament, but to spur us on to right actions. Compassion, for instance, was not impressed upon the human heart only to adorn the fair face with tears, and to give an agreeable languor to the eyes ; it was designed to excite our utmost endeavours to relieve the sufferer, That sort of tenderness which makes us useless, may indeed be pitied and excused, it owing to natural imbecility ; but if it pretends to loveliness and excellence, it becomes truly contemptible. - Chapone. Letters, 37. (1816)
You must observe, my dear, that scarcely any creature is so depraved as not to be capable of kind affections in some cir. cumstances. We are all naturally benevolent, when no selfish interest interferes, and where no advantage is to be given up: we can all pity distress when it lies complaining at our feet, and confesses our superiority and happier situation ; but I have seen the sufferer himself become the object of envy and ill-will as soon as his fortitude and greatness of mind had begun to attract admiration, and to make the envious person feel the superiority of virtue above good fortune. To take sincere pleasure in the blessings and excellences of others, is a much surer work of benevolence than to pity their calamities : and you must always acknowledge yourself ungenerous and selfish, whenever you are less ready to“ rejoice with them that do rejoice,” than to "weep with that weep.”. Envy would make us miserable in heaven itself, could it be admitted there; for we must there see beings far more excellent, and consequently more happy than ourselves : and till we can rejoice in seeing virtue rewarded in proportion to its degree, we can never hope to be among the number of the blessed.-39.
In the liveliest hour of mirth, the innocent heart can dictate nothing but what is innocent: it will immediately take alarm at the apprehension of doing wrong, and stop at once in the full career of youthful sprightliness, if reminded of the neglect or transgression of any duty.-46.
In the case of real injuries, which justify and call for resentment, there is a noble and generous kind of anger, a proper and necessary part of our nature, which has nothing in it sinful or degrading. I would not wish you insensible to this; for the person who feels not an injury must be incapable of being properly affected by benefits.-64
PEEVISHNESS, though not so violent and fatal in its immediate effects, is still more unamiable than passion, and, if possible, more destructive of happiness, inasmuch as it ope. rates more continually. Those who are engaged in high and important pursuits are very little affected by small inconveniences.-65.
SULLENNESS or obstinacy is perhaps a worse fault of temper than either passion or peevishness.-67.
Truth and justice demand that we should acknowledge conviction as soon as we feel it; and not maintain an erroneous opinion, or justify a wrong conduct, merely from the false shame of confessing our past ignorance.-68.
Those who continually change their servants, and complain of perpetual ill-usage, have good reason to believe that the fault is in themselves, and that they do not know how to govern. Few indeed possess the skill to unite authority with kindness, or are capable of that steady and uniformly reasonable conduct, which alone can maintain true dignity and command a willing and attentive obedience.—81.
PARTICULAR modes and ceremonies of behaviour vary in different countries, and even in different parts of the same town; but the principles of politeness are the same in all places.-88.
Avoid all grimace and ostentation in religious duties. They are the usual cloaks of hypocrisy; at least, they show a weak and vain mind.-- Gregory. Legacy, 138.
Show your regard to religion by a distinguishing respect to all its ministers, of whatever persuasion, who do not by their lives dishonour their profession: but never allow them the direction of your consciences, lest they taint you with the narrow spirit of their party.—139.
The great art of pleasing is to appear pleased with others : suffer not then an ill-bred absence of thought, or a contemptuous sneer, ever to betray a conscious superiority of understanding, always productive of ill-nature and dislike. Pennington. Advice, 198.
1. Hard case.
EVEN the influence of religion is to be exercised with discretion .... Let not the bigot place her natural passions to the account of Christianity, or imagine she is pious when she is only passionate. Let her bear in mind that a Christian doctrine is always to be defended with a Christian spirit, and not make herself amends by the stoutness of her orthodoxy for the badness of her temper.-More. Strictures, 4. (1836)
A PROFLIGATE, who laughs at the most sacred institutions, and keeps out of the way of everything wbich comes under the appearance of formal instruction, may be disconcerted by the modest but spirited rebuke of a delicate woman, whose life adorns the doctrines which her conversation defends; but she who administers reproof with ill-breeding, defeats the effect of her remedy. On the other hand, there is a dishonest way of labouring to conciliate the favour of a whole company, though of characters and principles irreconcileably opposite. The words may be so guarded as not to shock the believer, while the ese and voice may be so accommodated as not to discourage the infidel. She who, with a balf-earnestness, trims betweem the truth and the fashion; who, while she thinks it creditable to defend the cause of religion, yet does it in a faint tone, a studied ambiguity of phrase, and a certain expression in her countenance, which proves that she is not displeased with what she affects to censure, or that she is afraid to lose her reputation for wit in proportion as she advances her credit for piety, injures the cause more than he who attacked it; for she proves, either that she does not believe what she professes, or that she does not reverence what fear compels her to believe.-5.
That cold compound of irony, irreligion, selfishness, and sneer, which makes up what the French (from whom we borrow the thing as well as the word) so well express by the term
persiflage,” has of late years made an incredible progress in blasting the opening buds in piety of young persons or fashion. A cold pleasantry, a temporary cant word, the jargon of the day (for the “great vulgar” have their jargon), blights the first promise of seriousness. The ladies of “ ton” have certain watchwords, which may be detected as indications of this spirit. The clergy are spoken of under the contemptuous appellation of the parsons.” Some ludicrous association is infallibly combined with every idea of religion. If a warmhearted youth bas ventured to name with enthusiasm some eminently pious character, bis glowing ardour is extinguished with a laugh; and a drawling declaration that the person in question is really a mighty “harmless,” good creature, is uttered in a tone which leads the youth secretly to vow that, whatever else he may be, he will never be a good, harmless creature.-8.
SINCE, then, there is a season when the youthful must cease to be young, and the beautiful to excite admiration, to learn how to grow old gracefully is, perhaps, one of the rarest and most valuable arts which can be taught to woman. It is for this sober season of life that education should lay up its rich