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PART I.

TEMPER AS WE FIND IT.

Not at rest or ease of mind,
They sat them down to weep; nor only tears
Rain'd at their eyes, but high winds worse within
Began to rise, high passions, anger, hate,
Mistrust, suspicion, discord, and shook sore
Their inward state of mind, calm region once
And full of peace, now tost and turbulent :
For understanding rul'd not, and the will
Heard not her love, but in subjection now
To sensual appetite, who from beneath,
Usurping over sov'reign reason, claimed
Superior sway.

CHAPTER I.

MILTON, Book ix.

THE ORIGIN AND PREVALENCY OF BAD TEMPER.

2. MANY years have I sojourned in this world of grief and sin; and although I have little to say in commendation of my own temper, I believe I am about coming to my senses. And I must

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say, the longer I live the more I see the importance of the apostolic rule,-" As much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."

3. I see clearly enough that ill-temper and incivility gain nothing whatever, but lose much every way. The importance, therefore, to oneself and to all around, of a right good temper, is clear as noon-day: yet I believe not one in a thousand pays any due attention to the study and regulation of it.

4. Many will confess with Job, that "Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward," who, notwithstanding, never seriously reflect on the testimony of St. John, that "the whole world lieth in wickedness ;" and neither feelingly deplore the miseries which sin has entailed on the human family, nor attempt to alleviate them.

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5. The trials of men are as varied as their several situations in life, and one man knows comparatively nothing of the real trials of another. It is commonly and truly said, that, one half of the world knows little how the other half lives.' Some have, in reality, but little to try them; yet they fancy their troubles are greater than any body's else. Others have very painful trials, and they not only conceive that there cannot be greater in the world, but feel some surprise that there should be any of such magnitude as their own; and yet, did they know, and could they but adequately conceive the real situation of many others, they would deem their own state comparatively a paradise. The truth is, this world is far more disordered than is generally imagined, insomuch that we can no more judge of the reality and amount of other people's griefs by their ap

pearance than we can determine what is lodged in the bowels of the moon, by gazing upon her

disk.

6. In whatever direction we turn our eyes over the vast expanse of the world, or within the narrower circle of our own personal observation, we perceive irregular tempers and their baneful effects. In childhood and in manhood, in the cottage and in the palace, in the ignorant and the learned, we observe the vicious outbreakings of temper.

7. Original sin is the unquestionable cause of all the misery and all the angry ebullitions of temper. Look at man in his infant or maturer state; trace the rising youths through their nurseries and the schools, to their full settlement in the multifarious and respective positions in society, and whether they be rich or poor, the features of peculiar and discordant tempers are strongly marked.

8. The evil being radical, and deeply seated in the constitutional nature of man, it can be no wonder that its effects are universal, i.e. co-extensive with the cause. It ramifies like a cancer, and pervades and prevails like some poisonous virus through the 'one blood of all nations of men on all the face of the earth,'-interfering with all the associations and all, even the minutest, concerns of life, and intercepting all natural sympathies and all common duties. Not the ties of friendship nor the claims of nearest kindred are respected, where pride and self-interest constitute the ruling temper. This is often painfully exemplified in that most solemn of all human events -the death of friends. How often have mourning families, retiring from the grave, quarrelled

with almost deadly hatred on the subject of the deceased's will.

9. How often too, in the case of intestacy, has the eldest son seized the whole real estate, to the prejudice of his mother and the younger family: whereas this son had already received an ample patrimony, and the others nothing-not even their education. And he must know too (even if he have no qualms of conscience about honour and honesty) that his late father would have thought it iniquitous to will and devise such a distribution. A person of this covetous temper will attempt to extenuate his wickedness, and justify himself by an appeal to the law; albeit that law in my opinion never was designed to sanction such conduct as this. What! can the humane and equitable laws of England authorise one child, who has already received more than a due portion, to grasp every thing, and doom a widowed and kind mother and young brothers and sisters to absolute indigence? But even if he have the letter of the law on his side,-where is his moral honesty or his filial or even natural affection? What a heart, what a conscience, what a temper such a person must have! To obviate the occurrence of such a domestic calamity, it surely behoves every parent possessed of property to have always some kind of private will by him, even if not attested, until such time as he can arrange matters more to his satisfaction. This is the more necessary as life is always in danger. To be wholly negligent in this matter is a positive injustice to a family.

10. In matters of business one might suppose that relations would surely act in concert, without fraud or grudging or curious temper, and that they

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