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I esteem your services. We must not part now." The following quotations deserve the attention of persons of this character. “He that is slow to anger, is better than the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city." (Prov. xvi. 32.) “The discretion, or prudence, of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression." (xix. 11.) "He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly." (xiv. 17.) "Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go." (xxii. 24.) "An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression." (xxix. 22.) "The passionate man," says Dr. Blair, "lives in a continual storm; in vain is affluence, or even health and continual prosperity; for the least trifle is sufficient to discompose his mind, and poison all his pleasures." Ira furor brevis est; anger is a short madness; it undermines the constitution, while it scatters firebrands, arrows, and death, to the annoyance and misery of all, and to the destruction of many, of which history furnishes too many proofs.
Calmness and mental tranquillity are the very reverse of the temper, just referred to. Our Lord pronounces a blessing upon "the meek." (Matt. v. 5.) "Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth." The apostle Peter also speaks of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (1 Pet. iii. 4.) True meekness is a grace of the Holy Spirit, which gives the soul such wisdom as makes it mild and gentle. "Meekness," says Mr. Henry, "not only gives great peace of mind, but often adds a lustre to the countenance. We read of three only, in Scripture, whose faces shone remarkably,-Christ, Moses, and Stephen, and they were eminent for meekness." A man of a meek and quiet spirit is not easily provoked, does not soon take offence, utters no rash expressions, forms no rash vows, is courteous, affable, and obliging, and studies neither to give, nor to take offence, or construe that into an insult, which was never intended to be such. Such a person, whether a master or a servant, a child or a parent, a tutor or a scholar, a minister or a hearer, will study and pursue the things that make for peace, and guard against every thing that might interrupt it. It is said of Christ, that when he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not, but, in all things, submitted himself to him that judgeth righteously." (1 Pet, ii. 23.)
A good-tempered man is affable, courteous, and obliging, desirous of making others happy. As a Christian, he acquiesces in the will of God, bows to the authority of his word, and receives it with meekness as the engrafted word, able to save his soul. While he confesses his inability to solve the mysteries of providence and grace, he does not reject them, because they are mysteries, but receives them as secrets that are to be revealed and explained hereafter.
"Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain ;
And he will make it plain."
As a minister, the good-tempered man is easy of access; kind to all, but familiar with none; courteous and agreeable in his manners; mild in his censures and reproofs; humble in his deportment, and equable in his disposition; not a lord over God's heritage, but a friend, a counsellor, an adviser.
As a master, he endeavours to render all his family happy; not haughty to his domestics, nor a terror to his children, nor a bashaw to his wife; he meets them all with a smile of complacency, and they welcome him with expressions of love, respect, and veneration.
As a tradesman, he is civil and polite, neither cringing on the one hand, nor independent on the other; thankful for the support he receives, and exercising his patience where it is required. A respectable woollen draper in the neighbourhood of Berkeleysquare, was during his life-time highly esteemed by his connexions, as a man remarkably good tempered, obliging, and patient; the last quality he had so practised, that scarcely any thing, in the way of business, was known to affect him, so as to ruffle his temper. Some persons determined, however, to put it to the test. They visited his shop and requested to see some superfine scarlet cloth. He produced several pieces of excellent quality and superior colour, but after opening them, and requesting that the strangers would examine them with the greatest scrutiny, he was informed that none of them would answer their purpose. At length he produced another, which they after some hesitation condescended to approve. "And what quantity," said he, " would you please to have?" One of them coolly replied; "a shilling's worth." "I
will cut it for you," said he, "with great pleasure," and accordingly cut out a piece the size of the shilling, and presented it with the usual inquiry; "Is there any thing else wanted?" “Nothing ; we have to apologize for giving you so much trouble." "By no means, gentlemen, I shall be exceedingly happy to serve you at any other time, and am very thankful for your custom now.”
How numerous are the complaints of bad-tempered servants or children. My friend, Mrs. Jones, remarked to me, some time ago, "I am so teazed with my cook; she suits me in all respects, except her temper; but she is so hasty, so captious, so soon put out of the way, that I am afraid to speak to her." My friend is one of the best tempered women I know, and has acquired the name of the good tempered Mrs. Jones; indeed every person loves and respects her.
Bad tempered children are a great annoyance at home and abroad. Robert Ireland never succeeded any where, principally on account of his temper; when he lived at home, he was a trouble to his parents, a vexation to the servants, and a source of misery to his brothers and sisters. He filled a situation for a short time, but was returned to his parents, as one whose temper disqualified him to remain.
Nothing is more common, when a person is introduced in conversation, than to inquire, "Is he good tempered? Is he affable, obliging, polite? or is he touchy, sullen, revengeful, proud?" They who have the former qualities should be thankful, and continue to cultivate them, guarding at the same time against entertaining dispositions of an opposite character. They who have the latter, should learn to govern their temper, and not only watch against the evil, but pray against it. Divine grace is capable of changing the lion into a lamb, and the ferocious savage into all that is mild, amiable, and gentle. If Socrates declared that his natural disposition was so changed, that he was regenerated by philosophy; the Christian may truly say, that the regenerating influence of the Spirit of God has made him a new creature. Evil tempers, raging pasions, do not comport with a state of grace, "Where Satan reign'd in shades of night, The gospel strikes a heavenly light; Our lusts its wond'rous power controls, And calms the rage of angry souls."
It will be conceded by all who have paid any attention to the disputes that have unhappily arisen in families, societies, and Christian congregations, that they have originated, and been promoted, and maintained by persons of violent and ungovernable tempers; hence the subject is of great importance. Doubts and fears in the Christian's mind, are to be traced to the same source. Duelling, litigations, and strife, are effects of the same cause. Let every one adopt the well known maxim, " Rege animum," govern your temper, and quarrels and discord will lose their influence.
My reader! are you good tempered? If not, pray to Him who is able to cause peace to rule in your heart. Now is the time to correct what is wrong, and to cultivate what is desirable; therefore, "whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
"Our flesh and sense must be denied,
Passion and envy, lust and pride;
While justice, temperance, truth, and love,
THE ART OF ENJOYING A BOOK.
THERE are very few readers in the world. Thousands and tens of thousands will take up a book occasionally, open it at random, yawn over a page or two, and lay it down again; but very few are to be found who are really readers in the full sense of that expression. In many cases they have not acquainted themselves with the nature of the work, by a careful perusal of the title-page, much less, of the introductory remarks; and seldom or never do they travel out of the volume itself to find who the author was; when and where he lived; what was his object in writing; what were the principles which influenced him, or whence and in what manner he obtained the information which he professes to give. And yet, all these circumstances ought to be known and weighed, before we are thoroughly prepared to enjoy any volume that may fall into our hands. "Book openeth book," is a maxim that should be always borne in mind; and, indeed, what is true of other books, is true also of experience and knowledge of every kind. A book
has its place in the world, as well as any circumstance of historical note-it is, in fact, a portion of history; and should be adjusted in its proper niche, before we can fully enter into and appreciate its contents.
But our young readers will perhaps grow weary of this preceptive strain, and prefer a few illustrations, by actual reference to some work that bids fair to interest them. We are always ready to comply with their wishes, and shall feel much pleasure in doing so, after we have offered a few preliminary observations:
In the perusal of every book, it should be borne in mind that mere knowledge is not all we want. We are often surprised to hear it remarked, that education is in itself a real, unquestionable, certain good, without reference to the character or tendency of that education. Upon this principle the disciples of socialism, of infidelity, of dishonesty; or, to speak more plainly, the libertine, the atheist, or the pickpocket, are deriving incalculable benefit from the lectures of Owen, the writings of Paine, or the biographies of such infamous miscreants as Dick Turpin or Jack Sheppard. To us, this doctrine appears most unsound; or to brand it by one word unscriptural. The Bible nowhere represents an education in sin or error as a blessing; and to waive the extreme cases of which we have just spoken, how greatly error preponderates over truth in many of our present systems of education! So it is with respect to most of the books continually poured forth from the public press. Let a selection be made at random from the leading works of the day (excepting, of course, those professedly christian), and we think it would puzzle the most careful and studious reader to make even a tolerable guess at the religious creed of those who wrote them. Of many it might with truth be said, "God is not in all their thoughts;" whilst of the others it would be surmised that a spurious and jocose deism was the only religious system they had ever heard of.
Under these circumstances, it may well be asked by our young readers, "What are we to do? Are we to abstain from the reading of every book that is not professedly religious?" By no means: no one enjoys reading more than we do-we are perfect enthusiasts; literally devouring any volume that promises to repay us for the time we spend upon it, and feeling happy in the thought that we are walking in the steps of the great, the good, the best