Page images
PDF
EPUB

the fault is not in the large sails, but in the ill conduct of the pilot, if our vessel miss the haven. The tide of our love can never run too high, provided it take a right channel.-A Collection of Miscellanies, by John NORRIS, p. 326.

The prevalence and strength of the passions vary; sometimes one or more, and frequently all of them, appear to hold dominion-wine and lust being peculiar to youth; arrogance and ambition with middle life; and avarice and hatred with old age. Some of the passions are more firmly seated than others; but no one can claim exemption from their overruling sway. Whatever may be the repelling strength of conscience, or the efforts of dissimulation, the involuntary and secret influences of some or all of these passions constantly dart through the mind.

And they will hold entire control over us, without the most resolute and constant resistance.

The mind is not only constantly under the influence of these vigorous passions, but it is perpetually exposed to temptations, stimulated by desire, encouraged by examples, and the certainty that all our thoughts are concealed. Everything within and around conspires to prick forward the selfish and licentious spirit of indulgence.

The prevalence of these active and predominating propensities holds this additional advantage over the conscience and the reason. Their strength and power are but seldom counteracted or confronted by the repulsions of intellect. While the passions are vigorous, the mind, with most of us, is apt to be feeble. Perhaps there are ten to one of all the human race whose mental strength is but barely sufficient to provide against the common wants and exigencies of life; so that the secret propensities and selfish inclinations preponderate, and perhaps really govern the conduct of the largest portion of mankind.

Is it, therefore, difficult to explain or account for the immense amount of mental misery with weak and wayward man-the anguish, poverty, ruined health, blasted reputation, shame, remorse, and despair produced by pride, ambition, anger, sloth, lust, debauchery, avarice, and crime ?

FINALE.

Think twice before you speak or act once ; combine and put in requisition all the mental powers, resist the passions of the heart, and restrain the desires of the eye and the flesh; cast

out pride, anger, and last; shun and stifle temptation ; curb in and break down the appetites; avoid and detest fashionable vices; encourage and discipline the mind by habits of strict temperance and constant industry; cheerfully and loyally blend the destinies of life with the inevitable and recuperative relations of honorable marriage and glorious paternity ; fervently cherish and sustain the divine inspirations of the immortal substance of the soul, and humbly walk, and devoutly revere God. Do these plain works of righteousness and truth, persevere, be resolute, and help, peace, security, and salvation must come as surely as there is trust to be reposed in the promises of the Almighty Creator of the universe.

CHAPTER IV.

THE WOOF OF WOE.

Jealousy - Hatred-Riots-Temper-Recklessness-Murmurs-Neglect

of health, Peculiarities-Wilfully bad-Giddy-Idleness—Public opinion-Love of approbation-Vanity-Pride-Egotism-Violence-Selfdestruction-Mind and morals not reciprocal-Should not be too social -nor too precipitate in marriage, &c.—Drinking-Gaming-Bad company-Towns,&c.-Contradiction-Disputes-Discourtesy-Avarice has no redeeming quality-Ambition has–Suspicion- A tale of a lady and gentleman-Mutual hatred--Error-Temper-Oddities–Looks, &c.Faults we censure we may have-Behavior-Shame-Derision-FopsWoman-Honorable old age should be happy-Enthusiasts-Knaves

Tricks-Frauds-Denial of all settled laws-Science and literatureGenius—Psychologists—Indulgence-Lawyers-Opinions- Knowledge -Religion-Judicial abuse - Genius-Truths-References-Comparisons-Intentions—The wayward world.

We are the arbiters of our own destiny, morally and physically, much more than we suppose ourselves to be.

We neglect the discreet precautions for health and behavior, and then repine at the pain and injured health we have brought upon ourselves, and fret and worry at imaginary unkindness, or at resentments we have ourselves provoked.

Purity of purpose is not incidental to intellectual strength or education; the impulses of a bad heart are inherent. They do not come from ignorance or feeble intellects. Some are almost helpless, and scarcely competent to execute the most simple errands. 1

They have no perception; they cannot remember more than one thing at a time. If you tell them to bring you a cup and a spoon, they will only fetch the cup.

They have no thrift or forecast, make no provision for winter or age, although they are sometimes affectionate and harmless, while those distinguished for wisdom are sometimes brutal and selfish.

Man is a social being; but this propensity is like all other appetites, which should be held in proper check and control, and not indulged too much.

The habit of perpetual and unlimited intercourse is unnecessary and unprofitable; it leads to familiarity and bickering.

Mere chatter and gabble is trifling, indecent, and vulgar. There can be no self-respect or proper regard for others where this rudeness is reciprocated. The true source of personal dig. nity is not reserve, but circumspection; not austerity, but due and careful gravity; not ostentation, but benevolence.

An irrestrainable love for company argues ignorance, a barren intellect, and often leads the inoffensive and harmless into strife.

Instead of selecting a choice and suitable companion, with whom all spare time should be spent, in harmony, refinement, and mutual improvement, frugality and love, so as to secure the certain and permanent elements of safety, peace, and respectability, and make home a paradise, hasty, impulsive matches are made, or good ones neglected: other intimacies are sought, home becomes a boarding-place, an inn, where duty, not love, censure, not forbearance, rules; and societies, clubs, taverns, engine-houses, bowling saloons, volunteer companies, yacht excursions, fish-houses, race-grounds, and gambling rooms are resorted to, to fill up the deep and ever-widening void for mental occupation.

Then come drinking, smoking, late hours, bad company, waste time and money, loss of character, and all the dark and ruinous train of discomforts, afflictions, and ruin, contrived by our own folly, and unjustly charged to chance and bad fortune.

Infinite annoyance comes, too, from a spirit of contradiction, differing in opinion, and raising debates; telling persons they are wrong, and do not understand things; imputing to them ignorance and wilful error. .

Unless required for the necessary maintenance of truth, this is wrong, and never fails to make enemies. We may ourselves be in the wrong. Very often disputes involve nothing but mere opinions, which are entitled to equal respect.

A discreet man will not be too emphatic or positive; no one can bear a flat rebuke. The aggressor will be shunned, and perhaps despised.

Opinions are not strengthened by angry vindications; and it is vulgar. to raise unnecessary disputes on any occasion.

Avarice, and a desire for riches, is one of the most violent of

all the passions, and develops itself with equal force in every grade of morals, mind, and knowledge.

It is the most sordid propensity; and, where it is uppermost, generally overshadows every good quality

The rough corners of those in pursuit of fame and glory are sometimes concealed by genius and chivalry; but avarice would seem to go with no redeeming virtue.

There is no limit to the mental torture we inflict on ourselves by the indulgence of unfounded suspicions.

Persons of amiable and interesting qualifications, whose society might improve the sphere of mental happiness, in jealous moods, are suspected of pride and slight; till, with other frets and flirts, we warm up discontent and hate, and fill the soul with bile and choler. These vile propensities aggravate the temper, increase exasperation, and make us miserable. Fractious and fretful dispositions banish all love, justice, and peace, and compel others, in self-defence, to shun them as they would a pestilence.

An amiable but suspicious young gentleman was nervously excited at a group of men, who, as he passed them, whispered to each other, and eyed him sharply; he pursued one of the party for explanation, and was abashed to learn that they were admiring his noble and elegant bearing.

An amiable gentleman and an estimable lady wilfully misunderstood each other. The gentleman imagined that the lady crossed his path at every turn on purpose to annoy and insult him with her arrogance and raillery. At length, at a funeral, where they casually met, he was introduced to and required to walk with her.

This, too, he took for a trick to tantalize and vex him more.

On their way, she recriminated on him the same device, and spiritedly submitted to his sense of honor, if his malice would never be appeased.

Mutual explanations revealed how much they were alike, and that, without any cause, they had been dodging and hating each other most bitterly for more than two years.

Acquaintance wears away prejudices, even with those who are so weak and unjust as to feel unkind towards strangers. But still it is wrong to let temper and jealousy crook the feelings for an imaginary fault or personal dislike.

Every one has his peculiarities; ours may be as disagreeable to others as theirs are to us; and if mutual dislikes are to be

« PreviousContinue »