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To succeed in this noble enterprise, we must under stand the delicate and sensitive formation of the mind of man, and the philosophy of his nature. Without this knowledge, we are liable to open the wrong valves, or open the right ones so unskilfully, as to produce confusion, perhaps mischief.
The vicious are restrained and reclaimed by example, persuasion, reproof, and coercion; all of which should be consistent and harmonize. Where example fails, persuasion should be resorted to, in all the mildness and meekness of Christian love and charity. The minds of men may be led, but not forced. We can rarely drive vice out of a man, or a man out of vice. Reserved rights are tender parts of the machinery, the valve of interference must be cautiously opened. The minister who presents the precepts of religion, with all the ardor of heavenly love and affection, instead of pouring upon his hearers a stream of fire and brimstone; does more to restrain vice, reclaim the wicked, and evangelize the world; than one who deals out terror and vengeance like a volcano. Simple truth, in its native dress, is more fascinating, than when decked by the ornaments of men.
If example and persuasion fail, reproof must be administered, with all the kindness and tenderness we use, when we only attempt to persuade. To gain the esteem and confidence of a person we wish and hope to reclaim, is the safety valve, which alone can insure
If all these fail to produce a reformation, and the recusant steps beyond ordinary vice, into the arena of crime; the law valve must be opened, but with no less skill and precaution than the others. To do full justice to the offender, and the offended majesty of the law; the judge and jury must understand the machinery of human nature, or they may open the vindictive valve, and inflict an injury, beyond their power to repair.
In the ordinary concerns of life many open the wrong valve. When I see children growing up in vice, drinking in corruption like water, I conclude they are under the direction of a bad engineer—the wrong valve is opened—they are in danger of ultimate ruin.
When I see young men in full chase after the phantom, PLEASURE, neglecting all that makes the man; fonder of a mint julep than of Bacon or Locke; who prefer the theatre to the lecture room; I fear they may neglect their safety valve, destroy their condenser, burst their boiler, and ruin the noble engine intrusted to them by the grand Architect of the universe, to whom they must render an account of the manner they have performed the important trust committed to their
When I see a married man reeling from the grog shop to his home, there to meet a wife who is all loveliness; children who are all affection; perhaps a mother who is all tenderness; a father who is all anxiety; sisters who are all forgiveness; I know he has opened the wrong valve, and, unless he quickly closes it, and opens the safety valve, he will run his ship on the rocks of disgrace and poverty; and will fall into the hands of those rigid wreckers, the constable, the sheriff, and the judges.
When I see a man neglect his business, and embark on the murky and deceptive stream of politics, pour fellow, say I, you have opened the wrong valve, and most likely will land on the lee shore of disappointment. The political boat carries a large number of deck pas
sengers, who have coarse fare and wood in the bargain; but has a very small cab-in-et.
When I see men run into wild and visionary speculations, working on the high pressure principle, make or break, they open the wrong valve, may break a shaft, and make themselves out of boat and home; and leave their
passengers to manage the wreck in their own way. When I see people forsaking the paths of wisdom, prudence and virtue; ruining fortune, health, and reputation; and endangering their immortal souls, by an indulgence in the follies, fashions, and vices of the day; it is plain they have opened the wrong valves, and live in constant danger of an explosion; fearful and destructive. To better insure safety, let all open the valve of self-examination, explore the labyrinthian mazes of their own immortal minds, become familiar with the safety valves there placed by a God of love, and learn from Him, and his book on this most important of all engineering; how, when, and where to use them, and NEVER OPEN THE WRONG VALVE.
This propensity pervades the whole human family, to a less or greater degree, as the atmosphere does the globe. It is the froth and effervescence of pride. The latter is unyielding haughtiness, the former, as soft, pliant, and light, as the down of a goose. It is selfishness modified and puffed up, like a bladder with wind. It is all action, but has no useful strength. It feeds voraciously and abundantly on the richest food that can be served up; and can live on less and meaner diet, than any thing of which we can have a conception. The rich, poor, learned, ignorant, beautiful, ugly, high, low, strong, and weak—all have a share of Vanity. The humblest Christian is not free from it, and, when he is most humble, the devil will flatter his Vanity, by telling him of it.
It is the weakest and most vulnerable point of human nature, and well does Satan know it, and most deeply should we deplore it. It was the wicket gate of Eden, through which the arch enemy entered, and took Mother Eve's citadel of Innocence. He tried the same plan with our Saviour, but was foiled in his base attempt to snatch the last ray of hope from our race.
Because the woman first yielded to temptation, some have credited females with a larger share of this propensity, than their lords; but the book of books says, “Surely, every man walketh in a vain show.”'
Vanity, like the peacock its ugly feet, is ever striving to hide itself, and will even deny its own name. speak without vanity”—Hush-you deceitful puff. You make men and women, the only animals that can laugh, the very ones to be laughed at.
Dr. Johnson once remarked, “When any one complains of the want of what he is known to possess in an eminent degree, he waits, with impatience, to be contradicted,” and thus Vanity converts him into a fool and a liar, only to render him ridiculous. Vanity engenders affectation, mock modesty, and a train of such like et ceteras; all subtracting from the real dignity of man.
On the other hand, it feeds, with equal voracity on vulgarity, coarseness, and fulsome eccentricity-every thing by which the person can attract attention. It often takes liberality by the hand, prompts advice, administers reproof, and sometimes perches, visibly and
gaily, on the prayers and sermons in the pulpit. It is an every where and ever present principle of human nature—a wen on the heart of man; less painful, but quite as loathsome as a cancer. It is, of all others, the most baseless propensity.
We have nothing of which we should be vain, but much to induce humility. If we have any good qualities, they are the gift of God-in the best of men, there are bad ones enough, if they can see themselves, to strangle Vanity. Let every one guard against this allpervading principle, and teach their children, that it is the shadow of a shade.
Nature, through all her works, in great degree,
VARIETY has been called the spice of life, that gives it all its flavor-hence, many people use so much spice, that every thing becomes artificial, and nature no longer borrows blessings from Variety ; which must be governed by discretion, and made subservient to the wants of nature ; not those of a vitiated taste and pampered appetite. Variety is the opposite of monotony, and should be so used, as to produce an equilibrium between the two—as designed by a wise Creator. Then, and only then, will the mind reap the fruit of both. Alone, the fruit of the former produces satiety—that of the latter, isgust. Frugality is the parent of health-if we eat if twenty dishes at the same meal, or of more than is necessary to support nature, we are not only liable to overload the digestive organs, but impose upon them a