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self with them. Indeed, the best time to call in aid against a passion which has so violent and sudden a power over us, is when we are yet ourselves and in cool blood. At the first signal, or the least hint, he either softened his tone or was vsilent. Finding himself exasperated against a slave, I would beat you, says he, if I were not angry. Having received a box on the ear, he contented himself with only saying, with a smile, 'It is a misfortune not to know when to put on a belmet.' Without going out of his own house, he found enough to exercise his patience in all its extent. Xantippe, his wife, put it to the severest proofs, by her capricious, passionate, violent disposition. It seems that, before he took her for ́this companion, he was not ignorant of her character; and he says himself in Xenophon, that he had expressly chosen her, from the conviction that, if he should be capable of bearing her insults, there would be nobody, though ever so difficult to endure, with whom he could not live. this was the view with which he married her, it was certainly fully answered. Never was woman of so violent and fantastical a spirit, and so bad va temper. There was no kind of abuse and injurious treatment which he had not to experience from her, She would sometimes be transported with such an excess of rage as to tear off his cloak in the open street; and even one day, after

' Cœderem te, nisi irascerer.

If

? This was an eccentric, but certainly not a wise act. It is at variance with the advice of those who have enjoined to avoid the causes of excitement, and it would be presumptuous to act upon it as a general rule. It serves, however, to exhibit Socrates as a man of great self controul.

having vented all the reproaches her fury could suggest, she emptied a pot of foul water upon his head, at which he only laughed, and said, that so much thunder must need produce a shower.1

9. Coolness and recollection are of great use in all the business of life, in all public speaking and social conversation. A sensible writer has said,

The wrath that on conviction subsides into mildness, is the wrath of a generous mind. He who sedulously attends, pointedly asks, calmly speaks, coolly answers, and ceases when he has no more to say, is in possession of some of the best qualities of man. He who seldom speaks, and with one calm, well-timed word, can strike dumb the loquacious, is a genius among those who study nature.' 2

10. He who can maintain this cool and collected frame of mind will more easily wend his way through the world than his ordinary neighbours. Indeed, without a little bending and concession it is impossible to move onward amidst the interruptions common to life. Luther somewhere relates a story, that, two goats meeting on a narrow plank over a deep river, it being impossible for them to pass abreast, one of them very prudently couched, allowing the other to pass over him, so that neither of them might be in danger of falling into the stream. Mr. Cecil characteristically remarks that, the goat that thus couched was a greater gentleman than Lord Chesterfield.' The moral is a memento to persons of precipitate dispositions, who, by discreet self-restraint, and well-timed moderation, meekness and condescen

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'Rollin, vol. v., p. 192.

2 Mr. Birchall.

:

sion, may prevent much inward and outward evil. I have frequently seen coolness and recollection exemplified to the life in persons of little pretention to serious religion and while I have admired their exemplification of the fortiter in re and the suaviter in modo, their gentleness of deportment, and the pleasantry of their spirits under great provocations, I have silently wished that myself, and other professors, might always evince equal discretion, coolness and patience.

11. The advice of old George Fox to his Christian brethren-making allowance for peculiarity of sentiment and expression-is deserving of attention: Therefore, all friends, keep cool and quiet in the power of the Lord God, and all that is contrary will be subjected. . . Be still and cool in thy own mind and spirit from thy own thoughts, and then thou wilt feel the principle of God to turn thy mind to the Spirit, from whom life comes, whereby thou mayest receive his strength and power to allay all blusterings, storms and tempests.'1 We have seen or read of mere worldly men, who have kept cool and collected amidst troubles and assaults, but the Christian believer has the best warranty to keep unmoved and undismayed.

1 Journal.

CHAPTER VIII.

CULTIVATE A HABIT OF REFLECTION, CONTENTMENT AND RESIGNATION.

'A soul without reflection, like a pile
Without inhabitant, to ruin runs.'-YOUNG.

1. REFLECTION distinguishes man from beast: without it life would be dull and monotonous to him as it is to the brute. The pleasures of friendship, of books, of retirement, would be unknown; creation with all its charms, providence with all its goodness, and revelation with all its wonders, would be a blank. Some indeed have but just enough of this quality to answer their bodily wants, nor seem to care for aught beyond; and even others, of higher advantages, fail greatly in the exercise of this faculty. They may possess learning and talents, without exemplifying their practical utility, and thus remain as low and inert as the most uncultivated. My object is not so much to treat on reflection in reference to its scope and capabilities, as to bring it to bear on actual life, in the developement of such tempers as become reasonable men.

2. I have already alluded to individuals, who, under great provocation, resolved on revenge, but, after a little cool reflection, desisted; and who, from this triumph of better judgment over their feelings, have derived greater satisfaction, and, perhaps, made a better impression on their opponents, than would otherwise have been the case.' 3. Small indeed is the portion of that man's happiness who depends only on the favourable aspect of external circumstances.

'To be resign'd when ills betide,
Patient when favours are denied-
And pleas'd with favours given-.
Most surely this is wisdom's part,
This is that incense of the heart-

Whose fragrance breathes to heav'n.'-COTTON.

Dr. Johnson writes: Without asserting stoicism, it may be said, that it is our business to exempt ourselves as much as we can from the power of external things. There is but one solid basis of happiness; and that is, the reasonable hope of a happy futurity... Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.'

1

When are we happiest, then? Oh, when resigned
To whatsoe'er our cup of life may brim;

When we can know ourselves but weak and blind
Creatures of earth! and trust alone in Him

Who giveth, in his mercy, joy or pain

Oh! we are happiest then!'-M. A. BROWN.

4. David is very appropriate, and is to be regarded, as well for his deep experience as his genuine inspiration :--" Fret not thyself because

1 For an instance in point, see Spectator, No. 355.

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