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expression; but those are very few who possess that equanimity of mind, as on all occasions to consider whether the sentence they are going to utter may not excite a disagreeable emotion in those to whom they are speaking. Who is it that on this point can truly say they never offend? That they have repressed every word, and stopped every insinuation that could give uneasiness. That in this respect they have always done unto others as they would be done unto ; It has just been observed, that the principles of a good temper must be founded in piety. He who has no motive but humour, and no guide but caprice, will only be kind and gentle by starts. As the animal spirits are raised or depressed, as his whims are gratified or opposed, such must be the alternate change of his good or bad temper. As the quicksilver in a thermometer is af fected by every degree of heat, so the passions will act on that sort of good-nature, which will be as inconsistent as the vicissitudes of pleasure and pain, and as variable as the changing accidents of life. But if you would wish, my young friend, to
acquire a habit of gentleness, which no alteration can affect, and no adversity subdue, consider
the regulation of your temper as a religious duty; that the happiness of others is connected with your behaviour, and to be meek and lowly of heart is incumbent on every follower of Jesus Christ. When you reflect on the omnipresence of God, you will think no place so private, and no society so mean as to allow of neglect. Though you may dispense with the ceremonials of form among your relations and inferiors, you will consider the august presence of the Deity as sanctifying every place, and will not dishonour him by the admission of any malevolent actions; you will learn that the little incidents of life are none of them trifling, and that, however unconnected they may appear, they are become important by their reference to, and effect on moral virtue. If others are ill-natured, cross, and spiteful, they excite you to be angry, fretful, and malicious. Thus does ill-temper in one person tempt another to the same sin; and who can tell where the evil influence will stop? It will hardly cease but with the true Chris. tian. When he meets with provocation, and is disposed to make a passionate an. swer, his heart will arrest him in the words of the Apostle: "See thou do it not, for I
fear God." Let this sentiment, my young friend, be your motto. On all occasions, where you are tempted to vice, it will prove your safeguard. It is said of one of the ancients, that he subdued his passion by repeating the alphabet before he would make any reply. This was a wise method, as, in that space, his anger had time to cool. But if we allow ourselves leisure for any deliberation, what a check must it give to a wrong disposition, to be prevented with the remembrance of an all-observing God!
It is impossible to live in society without bearing contradiction from others. We are created with different features and complexions, and no two persons can be found alike in mind any more than in person. But this variation, as it causes beauty in the natural appearance, is likewise the occasion of harmony in the moral character. If we were all to desire the same thing, how very few could be gratified! If every one chose the same occupation, not half of our wants could be supplied. No plan of human wisdom can improve the designs of God. Let us submit, then, to his institutions, and comply with his laws, for that is the only way to
We must therefore love our neighbour as ourselves, that is, consider the respective claims which others have upon us, and act as we in their situation could reasonably desire they should behave by us. What, therefore, my dear reader, would be your wishes from a young person placed in your condition? Were you a parent, should you not be grieved, if your child at any time should be insolent, saucy, and sullen? See then you do it not, if you fear God. Were you a master or superior, should you not expect reverence, submission, and obedience ? Could you receive, without displeasure, an ungrateful, provoking, and pert answer? See then thou do it not, but fear God. Are you not vexed to be contradicted, or opposed by your equals and companions? See then you do it not to them, if you fear God. If you were a servant, would not kind language and gentle treatment endear the persons of those to whom you were obliged to submit ; and on the contrary, must not imperious orders and unreasonable blame greatly increase the burthen of labour, and add to the restraints of servitude? See then that you do not such things to your poor bro
ther, but fear God. Thus would the foun. dation of a good temper be laid in reverence to the Deity. Other considerations are for. cible, but to a pious mind this becomes irresistible. No difference of condition, as we have before observed, can alter that sweetness of manners which depends on the fear of God. It will operate alike towards those over whom we have authority, while it inclines us to an humble conduct where we are bound to obey. The provocations of others are blunted as it were before they reach us, and all undue resentment is stopped by the reflection, that we fear God. We shall forget the offence that they intended us, in the recollection that we may sanctify our own passions, and, by subduing their violence, obtain the approbation of Almighty Goodness. But further consider how calm, how serene and comfortable does that family appear where all the dif ferent members live together in unity! Those things are usually the most unimpor tant which occasion the loudest contention. Why should you expect that every one must yield to your opinion? Have you any claim to superior wisdom? Or can show that your sentiments are infallible?