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secmed as if I never should; there were provok ing things happened, but somehow or other they did not provoke me, - why do you smile. father?"
I smile with pleasure, my dear boy, to find that one fortnight's resolute watchfulness has enabled you so to curb your temper that you are not easily provoked."
"But stay, father, you have not yet heard all, yesterday, just as I was putting up my Arithmetic which I had written almost to the end without a single blot, Tom Allen came along and gave my inkstand a jostle, and over it went on my open book; I thought he did it purposely, I think so still, but I don't feel so sure. I did not reflect then, I doubled my fist to strike him."
"But I did not, father, I did not, I thought just in time. There was a horrid choking feeling in my throat, and angry words seemed crowding out; but I did not even say, 'Blame you.' I had to bite my lips, though, so that the blood ran "God bless you, my son.
"And the best of it all was, father, that Tom Allen, who never before seemed to care how much harm he did you, or how much he hurt your feelings, was really sorry; and this morning he brought me a new blank book nicely ruled, and offered to help me copy my sums into it; so I hope I did him some good as well as myself, by governing my temper.'
"There is no telling, Wallace, how much good may be done by a single right action, nor how much harm by a single wrong one."
"I know it, sir; I have been thinking a great deal since I have been up stairs, and I do wonder why God did not make Adam and Eve so that they could not do wrong."
This subject has puzzled older and wiser heads than yours, my son, and puzzled them more than I think it should. If we had been created incapable of sin, there could have been no virtue. Did you not feel happier yesterday after your trial, than if it had not happened?"
"O yes, father; and the strangest of all was, that after the first flash, I had not any bad feelings towards Tom."
"Then you can see, in your own case, good resulting from being free to do good or evil. You certainly were the better for your victory, and, you say, happier. It is far better to be virtuous than sinless, I mean, incapable of sin. If you subdue your temper, the exercise of the power to do this will give you a pleasure that you could not have had without it."
"But if I fail, father?" Wallace looked in his father's face with an expression which showed he felt that he had more than a kingdom to gain or lose.
"You cannot fail, my dear son, while you continue to feel the worth of the object for which you are striving; while you feel that the eye of God is upon you; and that, not only your own happiness, but the happiness of your father, and mother, and brothers, and sisters, of our home, depends on your success."
"But, father, did you ever know any body that
had such a passionate temper, that learned to govern it always?"
"Yes, my child, but not all at once. You are placed in the happiest circumstances to obtain this rule over your own spirit. The Americans are said to be distinguished for their good temper. I believe this is true, not from any natural superiority in them to French, English, or Irish, but because they are brought up among their equals, and compelled from childhood to govern their tempers; one cannot encroach on the rights of another.'
"But it is not so with all Americans, father." 66 'No; those in the Southern States unfortunately have not these restraints, this equal pressure on all sides, and they are esteemed more irascible than the people of the North. This is one of the thousand misfortunes that result from slavery. But we must always remember, my son, that the virtue or vice produced by circumstances is not to be counted to the individual. It is the noble struggle and resistance against them, that makes virtue. It was this that constituted the merit of Washington's subjugation of his temper." "Was he, ate, father?".
—was General Washington passion
"Yes; quite as irascible and passionate naturally, as you are; and yet you know it was his equanimity, his calmness, in the most irritating circumstances, that made him so superior to other
"Was he pious, sir?"
"He had always a strong sense of his responsibility and duty to his Creator."
"And I guess, too, he had good parents, and a pleasant home, and he hated to make them all unhappy."
"I guess he had, Wallace," replied his father, smiling; "but I can give you another example for your encouragement. Which among the Apostles appears to you to have been the gentlest, what we should call the sweetest tempered?" “O, St. John, sir.”
"And yet he appears at one time to have been very impetuous,what you and I call hasty tempered. He was for calling down fire on the offenders' heads. So you see that even a grown-up person, if he has the love of Christ in him, and lays his precepts to heart, so that he will really strive to be perfect as his Father in heaven is perfect, may, at any age, subdue his temper; though the work is far easier if he begins when a child, as you have, in earnest, my dear boy. You have manifested a virtuous resolution; and you not only have my forgiveness, and my entire sympathy, but I trust you have the approbation of your Heavenly Father. Come, come along to your mother; take her happy kiss, and then to dinner. We have not had one right pleasant dinner since you have been up stairs."
Stop one moment, father." Wallace lowered his voice as he modestly added, "I don't think I should have got through it alone, but every day I have prayed to God to help me.
"You have not been alone, my dear son," re
plied his father, much moved, "C nor will you ever be left alone in your efforts to obey God; for, you remember, Jesus has said, 'If a man keep my words, my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.' God, my son, is present in every dictate of your conscience, in every pure affection and holy emotion of your soul.'
A farmer who has seen a beautiful crop bend under the storm, and after it rise stronger and more promising than ever, can have some feeble conception of Mr. Barclay's satisfaction, while, leaving Wallace with their mother, he assembled the children in the dining-room, and recounted to them as much as he deemed proper of his conversation with their brother.
The dinner-bell sounded, and Wallace was heard running down stairs before his mother, his heels as light as his heart. The children, jumping up behind and before him, shouted out his welcome. Grandmama wiped her eyes, and cleared her voice to say, "Dear me, Wally, how glad we all are to see you!" Even Aunt Betsey looked smiling, and satisfied, and unprovokable for an hour to come.
Others may think with Aunt Betsey, that Wallace's punishment was out of proportion to his offence; but it must be remembered, that it was not the penalty for a single offence, but for a habit of irascibility that could not be cured without serious and repeated efforts. Mr. Barclay held whipping, and all such summary modes of punishment, on a par with such nostrums in medicine