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trespass on our neighbor—one that may not readily be repaired. It may be in the flower garden of his reputation, in the wheat field of his friendship, or in the department of his domestic affairs--no matter where, a trespass is a wrong-if committed by our cat, we are answerable for it—if by our tongue, it is much more serious and less excusable.
It is declared in Holy Writ, that the tongue is an unruly member and cannot be tamed—that it is full of deadly poison, that its words are sometimes smoother than oil, yet are they drawn swords—that it separateth very friends, and that the words of the talebearer are as wounds; which descriptions are no high encomiums on its good qualities.
We have a variety of tongues that are permitted to run at large by their owners; many of whom are bankrupt, and are not able to render any remuneration for trespasses committed, and go unwhipped of justice. These tongues are a nuisance in society, and stamp their owners with lasting disgrace.
The tongue that feeds on mischief, the babbling, the tattling, the sly whispering, the impertinent meddling; all these tongues are trespassing on the community constantly. The fiery tongue is also abroad, and being set on fire of hell, scatters firebrands among friends, sets families, neighborhoods, churches, and social circles in a flame; and, like the salamander, is wretched when out of the burning element. The black slandering tongue is constantly preying upon the rose buds of innocence and virtue, the foliage of merit, worth, genius, and talent; and poisons, with its filth of inuendoes and scum of falsehood, the most brilliant flowers, the most useful shrubs, and the most valuable trees, in
the garden of private and public reputation. Not content with its own base exertions, it leagues with the envious, jealous, and revengeful tongues; and, aided by this trio, sufficient venom is combined to make a second Pandemonium; and malice enough to fill it with de
They can swallow perjury like water, digest forgery as readily as Graham bread, convert white into black, truth into falsehood, good into evil, innocence into crime, and metamorphose every thing which stands in the current of their polluted and polluting breath.
There are other tongues that are not so pernicious, but which need correction. The scolding tongue often produces mischief, and always disturbs the harmony of a family. It sours the disposition of its owner, destroys good government, injures children, and makes bad servants. A petulant scolding teacher in a school, is worse than the night-mare. A storm of words engenders hatred in the pupils—this destroys respect-in the absence of love and respect, their improvement is more than problematical.
Some well-disposed tongues are prone to say too much, and weary us with continuous speaking, forgetting to stop when they have said enough. In the private circle, such persons often render themselves disgusting, by monopolizing all the conversation, seeming to forget that others have ideas of their own, and tongues to express them. If a company of these persons happen to meet, and their tongues all start on a gallop together, as they generally do, the history of Babel is at once forced on the mind of a reflecting person. In our convivial meetings, and in moments of anger, we are all prone to say too much.
Persons who have, or what is worse, think they have,
a talent for repartee; are in danger of saying too much. Those who form too high an estimate of big I, are sure to run into this error. Those parents, who think their geese are all swans, can talk of nothing but the rare qualities of their own children; their domestic concerns; their conjugal affection; and thus often awaken contempt, perhaps jealousy, in the bosom of a neighbor. Young men often make a mistake, by talking instead of listening. Some old men would talk you into the middle of next year, if you would waste time in hearing them.
To censure the ladies for saying too much, would be cruel; but they must pardon me for admonishing em not to defile their pretty mouths with any of the vile tongues above alluded to—it would be horrible deforinity, blended with native loveliness—a violation of the laws of nature, and a stain upon the sex.
Many public speakers say too much for their own credit, the edification of those who hear them, or the good of our common country. Legislative sessions are prolonged in this way, our courts are extended, vast amounts of money wasted, and less good produced, than if we had no speeches in the halls of legislation and justice. If men are affected with the lingo mania, let them seize, without flourish, upon the strong points of the subject to be discussed--stop when they have said enough—they will then sooner acquire the celebrity they desire, save to the treasury large sums of money, and prove, more conclusively, that they love their country, and respect themselves and their constituents. Let us bridle our tongues, and keep our hearts with all diligence, and be careful not to offend in word, deed, or action.
To appreciate small things properly, is a point not well attended to by the mass, and is the attainment of close observation and a refined discernment. The eyes
of some are so large, that they disdain to look at, much · less analyze, the small threads that make up the warp of human life ; and are careless observers of its filling. Others view every thing through a microscope, and spend so much time in looking, that they take no time for analyzing, and run into an extreme, that is no more to be applauded, than the carelessness of big eyes. The medium course is free from the quagmires of the former, and the thorny asperities of the latter. Time is made up of seconds—they should be prized and improved as well as minutes, hours, and days. The man who misspends the one, is prone to waste the other. The boy who is encouraged to spend pennies for gewgaws, too often acquires a habit that ruins the man. He is taught to place a value on things that have no intrinsic worth-his taste and fancy become vitiated, and his judgment led astray. Mature age sometimes corrects combined trifling errors, contracted in childhood and youth—but habit often proves too strong to be conquered. Parents should remember, that the warp of human life is made up of numberless small threads, and that a coarse filling, carelessly interwoven, may ruin the texture of the fabric of the minds of their children, and all should reflect, that the web is not complete, until death takes it out of the loom and that wisdom, prudence, virtue-in short, that a good life, is the only filling that will give a smoothness to
the piece, that will be approved by Him, who furnished the stock to be manufactured by us.
Nor are the trifles that affect our temporal and everyday concerns, to be overlooked. We should examine the whole machinery of human nature in the light of charity-not that we will find it in that finished and perfect order, as when it received its finishing touch from the hands of its Creator—but, deranged as is the machine, we should make ourselves as familiar with it as possible—its main and hair springs, its combinations, its levers, its valves, its fly wheel, its generating and motive power; and all the minutiæ that forms the grand whole. An ignorance of these, has often been attended with disastrous consequences to individuals, to states, and to nations.
This mastery over the machine, can be obtained only by diligence and application. These ever have and ever will perform wonders. The fabled mouse, with its diminutive teeth, severed a cable that defied the force of a lion and the power of a giant. The operations of nature, our best schoolmaster in natural things—are slow, but sure and uniform-she never leaps. Great good is effected-great estates are accumulated, by adding little to little. Those who pursue a contrary course, like the man who seeks a fortune at the lottery wheel, the gambling table, or in wild speculation, are doomed to find ninety-nine blanks to one small prize, and a large prize, more rare than death by lightning. Most of those who become steeped in crime, enter the mere portals of vice at first — their frail bark is gently moved around by the extreme and scarcely perceptible circles of the awful whirlpool-gradually, they are drawn nearer and closer to the fatal vortex,