Page images

fulness gave an inexpressible delight to the circle of his fireside. With respect to his conduct to his servants and dependants, the very words he used in eulogizing the memory of M. Rouquet, are applicable to himself. He beheld his servants as fellow-creatures, and knew that they had as much right to happiness as himself. Disdainful looks, proud, snappish, severe speeches, which some can make use of upon every supposed offence, were never seen or heard from him; hence none of those changes appeared among his servants, which so sadly disgrace the families of many. From the best of principles they were bound to serve him, and that principle was love."

17. The unreasonable requests to which Mr. Hill was continually subject are almost incredible; and the patience with which he bore them all was truly surprising . . . I do not recollect a single instance of his losing his temper when annoyed in this manner; nor do I ever remember him to have given way to uncontrolled irritability, under the most trying excitement. In this respect he was, in the retirement of his family, a happy example of the precepts he so forcibly inculcated in his public ministration.' 2

18. I would earnestly advise that youth should be accustomed to read somewhat elaborately the biographical sketches of such heroes and eminent Christians as have, in the midst of active life, most exemplified the excellences of temper.


must perceive I mean something higher, more true, and more incidental and explicit than the mere details of birth, parentage, occupation, tal

1 Life, p. 443.

2 Ibid, p. 235.

ents, accomplishments, popularity, patronage, writings, where they lived, and where they died, and how they were buried, with some commonplace flatteries, totally unsupported by any proper evidence, and as likely to be false as true: and for these reasons unworthy to engross the reader's time.



1. INTEMPERANCE, as I have before remarked, is a fruitful cause of vile and abominable tempers. The disturbers of the peace, the inmates of our prisons, the exciters of anarchy, the authors of schism, the promoters of rude and brutish sports, the duellists, &c. are almost invariably intemperate. Look at any company or mob excited with drink, what wickedness is there that such persons will not commit? The publications of the Temperance Society exhibit appalling facts, and the newspapers are daily adding to their number.

2. But intemperance in eating and drinking is by no means confined to those who openly 'glory in their shame.' There are, what are vulgarly called, soakers: they are openly more regular indeed, but it is only regular intemperance: they must have a daily potation of from one to three bottles of wine, or from six to a dozen glasses of spirits and water, and yet may not appear particularly inebriated. Who can wonder at any disorder of temper, of mind, or of body, under such criminal

[ocr errors]

excess? There is likewise the equally criminal habit of gormandizing: every viand, every sauce, and every dish that misguided ingenuity can invent, is brought into requisition: plain wholesome ordinary food will not suffice; but something rare, far-fetched, and high-seasoned. This fickleness of palate is not unattended with fickleness of temper. Some have been pleased to cast slurs upon parsons,' as the best connoisseurs of good dishes, and have exhibited them in prints as false as they are ludicrous. It is to be regretted indeed that some ministers, both in and out of the church, are too much addicted to dining and supping out, and indulge in fantasies for nice dishes; but the charge of gormandizing no more strictly applies either to ministers or aldermen' than to any other class in the community, whose means and chances will compass the indulgence. Intemperance is not confined to the highest classes in society: if it were, there would be fewer bankruptcies than there are. Many very moderate tradesmen and agriculturists lash out far beyond what is justifiable. Even among the lowest ranks many are self-indulgent and intemperate as far as ways and means will admit. Many mechanics, labourers and servants will indulge till they cannot bend to their work; and if spoken to, they will show their ill-tempers. The greasy, bloated, pimpled face is a sure indication of over-feeding. An old fashioned poet has the following quaint but wholesome lines:

'To miss a meal sometimes is good,

It cools and ventilates the blood;

Gives nature time to cleanse her streets
Of all the crudities of meats.'

It is to be regretted that there are many among the poor who can seldom get a good full meal; but the condition of many of these is aggravated by the fact that they often spend their small casual pittance in drink, and thereby render themselves and their families doubly wretched. In their miserable abodes the comfort of good tempers can be little known.

3. I may further remark, that, some people, while sober, are as quiet and well-behaved as need be; but as soon as drink takes effect, they become most rude and brutish. Some can scarcely transact any business, or speak in public, till they have had a glass. Others, while sober, are diffident, timid, and often cowardly and sheepish,-insomuch that they can hardly open their lips in company; but after a glass or two, they get up a firm countenance and good nerve, and can talk profusely, tell an anecdote, or joke with the ladies. Others, again, are naturally of a solid saving turn they seldom drink for drinking's sake; but now and then, on a particular occasion, they take a glass or two which makes them so cheerful and chatty, that one is ready to wish they were always So. But I apprehend that, in nine cases out of ten, it is quite the reverse. As to sottish, open drunkards, they are as devoid of sense as of every amiable temper.

4. Temperance has been called the best physic. It is certainly conducive to health; and not only so, but cheerfulness likewise. As intemperance clogs the body, stupifies the mind, and wastes the property, so temperance is fruitful of a variety of blessings and comforts unknown to the voluptuous.'i

Rev. C. Buck.

« PreviousContinue »