Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Falsehood and Truthfulness
 Selfishness and Unselfishness
 The Cultivation of the Mind
 The Cultivation of the Mind...
 The Influence of Women on...
 The Sphere of Women's Influenc...
 Education of Women
 Back Cover

Group Title: The young lady's mentor : a guide to the formation of character
Title: The Young lady's mentor
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00002046/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Young lady's mentor a guide to the formation of character
Physical Description: <1>, 284 p. : ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: A lady
Croome, William, 1790-1860 ( Engraver )
Sinclair, Thomas S., ca. 1805-1881 ( Lithographer )
L. Johnson & Co ( Stereotyper )
H.C. Peck & Theo. Bliss (Firm) ( Publisher )
Publisher: H.C. Peck & Theo. Bliss
Place of Publication: Philadelphia
Manufacturer: Stereotyped by L. Johnson and Co.
Publication Date: 1852, c1851
Copyright Date: 1851
Subject: Young women -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1852   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1852
Genre: Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
General Note: Added title page, engraved by W. Croome and lithographed in color by T. Sinclair.
Funding: Brittle Books Program
Statement of Responsibility: In a series of letters to her unknown friends, by a lady.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00002046
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002240273
oclc - 18499641
notis - ALJ0819
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front page 1
        Front page 2
        Front page 3
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
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        Page 37
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        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    Falsehood and Truthfulness
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
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        Page 63
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        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
    Selfishness and Unselfishness
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
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        Page 102
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        Page 106
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        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
    The Cultivation of the Mind
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
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        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
    The Cultivation of the Mind (continued)
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
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        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
    The Influence of Women on Society
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
    The Sphere of Women's Influence
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
    Education of Women
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
    Back Cover
        Page 244
        Page 245
Full Text






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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1851, by

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of


- ---


THE work which forms the basis of the present volume
is one of the most original and striking which has fallen
under the notice of the editor. The advice which it gives
shows a remarkable knowledge of human character, and
insists on a very high standard of female excellence. In-
stead of addressing herself indiscriminately to all young
ladies, the writer addresses herself to those whom she
calls her "Unknown Friends," that is to say, a class
who, by natural disposition and education, are prepared
to be benefited by the advice which she offers. "Unless
a peculiarity of intellectual nature and habits constituted
them friends," she says in her preface, "though unknown
ones, of the writer, most of the observations contained in
the following pages would be uninteresting, many of them
altogether unintelligible."
She continues: "That advice is useless which is not
founded upon a knowledge of the character of those to
whom it is addressed: even were the attempt made to
follow such advice, it could not be successful."


"The writer has therefore neither hope nor wish of
exercising any influence over the minds of those who are
not her 'Unknown Friends.' There may, indeed, be a
variety in the character of these friends; for almost all
the following Letters are addressed to different persons;
but the general intellectual features are always supposed
to be the same, however the moral ones may differ."
"One word more must be added. All of the rules and
systems recommended in these Letters have borne the
test of long-tried and extensive experience. There is
nothing new about them but their publication."
The plan of the writer of the Letters enables her to
give specific and practical advice, applicable to particular
cases, and entering into lively details; whereas, a more
general work would have compelled her to confine her-
self to vague generalities, as inoperative as they are
The intelligent reader will readily appreciate and
cordially approve of the writer's plan, as well as the
happy style in which it is executed.
To the "Letters to Unknown Friends" which are in-
serted entire, the editor has added, as a suitable pendant,
copious extracts from that excellent work, "Woman's
Mission," and some able papers by Lord Jeffrey, the late
accomplished editor of the Edinburgh Review.
Thus composed, the editor submits the work to the fair
readers of America, trusting that it will be found a use-
ful and unexceptionable "Young Lady's Mentor."



Contentment ...................................................... 7
Temper ............................................................. 31
Falsehood and Truthfulness................................ 62
Envy ................................................ .. 61
Selfishness and Unselfishness ............................ 74
Self-Control ...................................................... 93
Economy.. .................................................. 117
The Cultivation of the Mind......................... 137, 164
Amusements ................................................. 193
The Influence of Women on Society .................... 218
The Sphere of Woman's Influence.......................... 227
Education of Women............. ........................... 233
Love-Marriage ............................................... 244
Literary Capabilities of Women....................... 266
Ennui, and the Desire to be Fashionable................ 267
The Influence of Personal Character..................... 270
On the Means of Securing Personal Influence ......... 276




IT is, perhaps, only the young who can be very hope-
fully addressed on the present subject. A few years
hence, and your habits of mind will be unalterably
formed; a few years hence, and your struggle against
a discontented spirit, even should you be given grace
to attempt it, would be a perpetually wearisome and
discouraging one. The penalty of past sin will pursue
you until the end, not only in the pain caused by a
discontented habit of mind, but also in the conscious-
ness of its exceeding sinfulness.
Every thought that rebels against the law of God
involves its own punishment in itself, by contributing
to the establishment of habits that increase tenfold the
difficulties to which a sinful nature exposes us.
Discontent is in this, perhaps, more dangerous than

8 Contentmnat.

many other sins, being far less tangible: unless we
are in the constant habit of exercising strict watchful-
ness over our thoughts, it is almost insensibly that
they acquire an habitual tendency to murmuring and
This is particularly to be feared in a person of your
disposition. Many of your volatile, thoughtless, worldly-
minded companions, destitute of all your holier feelings,
living without object or purpose in life, and never re-
ferring to the law of God as a guide for thought or
action, may nevertheless manifest a much more con-
tented disposition than your own, and be apparently
more submissive to the decision of your Creator as to
the station of life in which you have each been placed.
To account for their apparent superiority over you
on this point, it must be remembered that it is one of
the dangerous responsibilities attendant on the best
gifts of God,-that if not employed according to his
will, they turn to the disadvantage of the possessor.
Your powers of reflection, your memory, your imagi-
nation, all calculated to provide you with rich sources
of gratification if exercised in proper directions, will
turn into curses instead of blessings if you do not
watchfully restrain that exercise within the sphere of
duty. The natural tendency of these faculties is, to
employ themselves on forbidden ground, for "every
imagination of man's heart is evil continually." It is
thus that your powers of reflection may only serve to
give you a deeper and keener insight into the disad-
vantages of your position in life; and trivial circum-
stances, unpleasant probabilities, never dwelt on for a
moment by the gay and thoughtless, will with you

- --- ----

(onttntmtitt. 9

acquire a serious and fatal importance, if you direct
towards them those powers of reasoning and concen-
trated thought which were given to you for far different
And while, on the one hand, your memory, if you
allow it to acquire the bad habits against which I am
now warning you, will be perpetually refreshing in
your mind vivid pictures of past sorrows, wrongs, and
annoyances: your imagination, at the same time, will
continually present to you, under the most exaggerated
forms, and in the most striking colours, every possible
unpleasantness that is likely to occur in the future.
You may thus create for yourself a life apart, quite
distinct from the real one, depriving yourself by wilful
self-injury of the power of enjoying whatever advan-
tages, successes, and pleasures, your heavenly Father
may think it safe for you to possess.
Happiness, as far as it can be obtained in the path
of duty, is a duty in itself, and an important one:
without that degree of happiness which most people
may secure for themselves, independent of external
circumstances, neither health, nor energy, nor cheer-
fulness can be forthcoming to help us through the task
of our daily duties.
It is indeed true, that, under the most favourable
circumstances, the thoughtful will never enjoy so much
as others of that which is now generally understood
by the word happiness. Anxieties must intrude upon
them which others know nothing of: the necessary
business of life, to be as well executed as they ought
to execute it, must at times force down their thoughts
to much that is painful for the present and anxious for


the future. They cannot forget the past, as the light-
hearted do, or life would bring them no improvement;
but the same difficulties and dangers would be rushed
into heedlessly to-morrow, that were experienced yes-
terday, and forgotten to-day; and not only past diffi-
culties and dangers are remembered, but sorrows too:
these they cannot, for they would not, forget.
In the contemplation of the future also, they must
exercise their imagination as well as their reason, for
the discovery of those evils and dangers which such
foresight may enable them to guard against: all this
kind of thoughtfulness is their wisdom as well as their
instinct; which makes it more difficult for them than
it is for others to fulfil the reverse side of the duty, and
to "be careful for nothing."*
To your strong mind, however, a difficulty will be a
thing to be overcome, and you may, if you only will it,
be prudent and sagacious, far-sighted and provident,
without dwelling for a moment longer than such duties
require on the unpleasantnesses, past, present, and
future, of your lot in life
Having thus seen in what respects your superiority
of mind is likely to detract from your happiness, in the
point of the colouring given by your thoughts to your
life, let us, on the other hand, consider how this same
superiority may be so directed as to make your thoughts
contribute to your happiness, instead of detracting
from it.
I spoke first of your reasoning powers. Let them
not be exercised only in discovering the dangers and

Phil. iv. 6.


Go uon tmrtn 11

disadvantages likely to attend your peculiar position
in life; let them rather be directed to discover the ad-
vantages of those very features of your lot which are
most opposed to your natural inclinations. Consider,
in the first place, what there may be to reconcile you
to the secluded life you so unwillingly lead. With-
drawn, indeed, you are from society,-from the de-
lightful intercourse of refined and intellectual minds:
you hear of such enjoyments at a distance; you hear
of their being freely granted to those who cannot ap-
preciate them as you could, (safely granted to them for
perhaps this very reason.) You have no opportunity
of forming those friendships, so earnestly desired by a
young and enthusiastic mind; of admiring, even at a
reverential distance, "emperors of thought and hand."
But then, as a compensation, you ought to consider
that you are, at the same time, freed from those intru-
sions which wear away the time, and the spirits, and
the very powers of enjoyment, of those who are placed
in a more public position than your own. When you
do, at rare intervals, enjoy any intercourse with con-
genial minds, it has for you a pleasurable excitement,
a freshness of delight, which those who mix much and
habitually in literary and intellectual society have long
ceased to enjoy: while the powers of your own mind
are preserving all that originality and energy for which
no intellectual experience can compensate, you are
saved the otherwise perhaps inevitable danger of adopt-
ing, parrot-like, the tastes and opinions of others who
may indeed be your superiors, but who, in a copy, be-
come wretchedly inferior to your real self. Time you
have, too, to cultivate your mind in such a manner, and

--- --- ----

12 Qontentment.

to such a degree, as may fit you to grace any society
of the kind I have described; while those who are early
and constantly engaged in this society are often
obliged, from mere want of this precious possession, to
copy others, and resign all identity and individuality.
To you, nobly free as you are from the vice of envy, I
may venture to suggest another consideration, viz. the
far greater influence you possess in your present small
sphere of intellectual intercourse, than if you were
mixed up with a crowd of others, most of them your
equals, many your superiors.
If you have few opportunities of forming friendships,
those few are tenfold more valuable than many ac-
quaintance, among a crowd of whom, whatever merits
you or they might possess, little time could be spared
to discover, or experimentally appreciate them. The
one or two friends whom you now love, and know
yourself beloved by, might, in more exciting and busy
scenes, have gone on meeting you for years without
discovering the many bonds of sympathy which now
unite you. In the seclusion you so much deplore, they
and you have been given time to "deliberate, choose,
and fix:" the conclusion of the poet will probably be
equally applicable,-you will "then abide till death."*
Such friends are possessions rare and valuable enough
to make amends to you for any sacrifices by which they
have been acquired.
Another of your grievances, one which presses the
more heavily on those of graceful tastes, refined habits,
and generous impulses, is the very small proportion of

SYoung's Night Thoughts.

i;onittmtit. 18

this world's goods which has fallen to your lot. You
are perpetually obliged to deny yourself in matters of
taste, of self-improvement, of charity. You cannot pro-
cure the books, the paintings, you wish for-the instruo-
tion which you so earnestly desire, and would so pro-
bably profit by. Above all, your eyes are pained by
the sight of distress you cannot relieve; and you are
thus constantly compelled to control and subdue the
kindest and warmest impulses of your generous nature.
The moral benefits of this peculiar species of trial
belong to another part of my subject: the present
object is to find out the most favourable point of view
in which to contemplate the unpleasantness of your
lot, merely with relation to your temporal happiness.
Look, then, around you; and, even in your own limited
sphere of observation, it cannot but strike you, that
those who derive most enjoyment from objects of taste,
from books, paintings, &c., are exactly those who are
situated as you are, who cannot procure them at will.
It is certain that there is something in the difficulty of
attainment which adds much to the preciousness of the
objects we desire; much, too, in the rareness of their
bestowal. When, after long waiting, and by means of
prudent management, it is at last within your power to
make some long-desired object your own, does it not
bestow much greater pleasure than it does on those who
have only to wish- and to have?
In matters of charity this is still more strikingly true
-the pleasure of bestowing ease and comfort on the
poor and distressed is enhanced tenfold by the con-
sciousness of having made some personal sacrifice for
its attainment. The rich, those who give of their

14 Qontntfmtnt.

superfluities, can never fully appreciate what the
pleasures of almsgiving really are.
Experience teaches that the necessity of scrupulous
economy is the very best school in which those who are
afterwards to be rich can be educated. Riches always
bring their own peculiar claims along with them; and
unless a correct estimate is early formed of the value
of money and the manner in which it can be laid out
to the best advantage, you will never enjoy the com-
forts and tranquillity which well-managed riches can
bestow. It is much to be doubted whether any one
can skilfully manage large possessions, unless, at some
period or other of life, they have forced themselves, or
been force i, to exercise self-denial, and resolutely given
up all those expenses the indulgence of which would
have been imprudent. Those who indiscriminately
gratify every taste for expense the moment it is excited,
can never experience the comforts of competency,
though they may have the name of wealth and the
reality of its accompanying cares.
Still further, let your memory and imagination be
here exercised to assist in reconciling you to your pre-
sent lot. Can you not remember a time when you
wanted money still more than you do now?-when you
had a still greater difficulty in obtaining the things you
reasonably desire ? To those who have acquired the art
of contentment, the present will always seem to have
some compensating advantage over the past, however
brighter that past may appear to others. This valuable
art will bring every hidden object gradually into light, as
the dawning day seems to waken into existence those
objects which had before been unnoticed in the darkness.


Oonttnt int. 15

Lastly, your imagination, well employed, will make
use of your partial knowledge of other people's affairs
to picture to you how much worse off many of those
are,-'how much worse off you might yourself be. You,
for instance, can still accomplish much by the aid of
self-denial; while many, with hearts as warm in cha-
rities, as overflowing as your own, have not more to
give than the cup of cold water," that word of mercy
and consolation.
You may still further, perhaps, complain that you
have no object of exciting interest to engage your atten-
tion, and develop your powers of labour, and endur-
ance, and cleverness. Never has this trial been more
vividly described than in the well-remembered lines of
a modern poet:-

"She was active, stirring, all fire-
Could not rest, could not tire-
To a stone she had given life I
-- For a shepherd's, miner's, huntsman's wife,
Never in all the world such a one I
And here was plenty to be done,
And she that could do it, great or small,
She was to do nothing at all."*

This wish for occupation, for influence, for power
even, is not only right in itself, but the unvarying
accompaniment of the consciousness of high capa-
bilities. It may, however, be intended that these
cravings should be satisfied in a different way, and at
a different time, from that which your earthly thoughts
are now desiring. It may be that the very excellence

"The Flight of the Duchess." Browning.

- -- -

16 Contttnttnt.

of the office for which you are finally destined requires
a greater length of preparation than that needful for
ordinary duties and ordinary trials. At present, you
are resting in peace, without any anxious cares or dif-
ficult responsibilities, but you know not how soon the
time may come that will call forth and strain to the
utmost your energies of both mind and body. You
should anxiously make use of the present interval of
repose for preparation, by maturing your prudence,
strengthening your decision, acquiring control over
your own temper and your own feelings, and thus fit-
ting yourself to control others.
Or are you, on the contrary, wasting the precious
present time in vain repinings, in murmurings that
weaken both mind and body, so that when the hour
of trial comes you will be entirely unfitted to realize
the beautiful ideal of the poet ?-

A perfect woman, nobly planned
To warn, to counsel, to command:
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill."*

Then, again, I would ask you to make use of your
powers of reflection and memory. Reflect what trials
and difficulties are, in the common course of events,
likely to assail you; remember former difficulties, for-
mer days or weeks of trial, when all your now dormant
energies were developed and strained to the utmost.
You felt then the need of much greater powers of mind
and body than those which you now complain are lying


Qtonitttmtnt. 17

dormant and useless. Further imagine the future cases
that may occur in which every natural and acquired
faculty may be employed for the great advantage of
those who are dear to you, and when you will experi-
ence that this long interval of repose and preparation
was altogether needful.
Such reflections, memories, and imaginations must,
however, be carefully guarded, lest, instead of recon-
ciling you to the apparent uselessness of your present
life, they should contribute to increase your discontent.
This they might easily do, even though such reflections
and memories related only to trials and difficulties,
instead of contemplating the pleasures and the import-
ance of responsibilities. To an ardent nature like
yours, trials themselves, even severe ones, which would
exercise the powers of your mind and the energies of
your character, would be more welcome than the tame,
uniform life you at present lead.
The considerations above recommended can, there-
fore, be only safely indulged in connection with, and
secondary to, a most vigilant and conscientious exami-
nation into the truth of one of your principal complaints,
viz. that you have to do, like the Duke's wife, "nothing
at all."* You may be "seeking great things" to do,
and consequently neglecting those small charities which
"soothe, and heal, and bless." Listen to the words
of a great teacher of our own day: The situation that
has not duty, its ideal, was never yet occupied by man.
Yes, here, in this poor, miserable, pampered, despised
actual, wherein thou even now standest, here, or nowhere,

See page 15.

18 QContttmtnt.

is thy ideal; work it out, therefore, and, working,
believe, live, be free. Fool! the ideal is in thyself;
the impediment, too, is in thyself: thy condition is but
the stuff thou art to shape that same ideal out of-
what matters whether the stuff be of this sort or of
that, so the form thou give it be heroic, be poetic? 0
thou that pinest in the imprisonment of the actual, and
criest bitterly to the gods for a kingdom wherein to rule
and create, know this of a truth,-the thing thou seek-
est is already with thee, 'here, or nowhere,' couldst
thou only see."
When you examine the above assertions by the
light of Scripture, can you contradict their truth ?
Let us, however, ascend to a still higher point of
view. Have we not all, under every imaginable cir-
cumstance, a work mighty and difficult enough to
develop our strongest energies, to engage our deepest
interests ? Have we not all to work out our own sal-
vation with fear and trembling ?" Professing to
believe, as we do, that the discipline of every day is
ordered by Infinite Love and Infinite Wisdom, so as
best to assist us in this awfully important task, can we
justly complain of any mental void, of any inadequacy
of occupation, in any of the situations of life ?
The only work that can fully satisfy an immortal
spirit's cravings for excitement is the work appointed
for each of us. It is one, too, that has no intervals of
repose, far less of languor or ennui; the labour it
demands ought never to cease, the intense and engross-
ing interest it excites can never vary or lessen in im-

Phil. ii. 12.


portance. The alternative is a more awful one than
human mind can yet conceive: those who have not
fulfilled their appointed work, those who have not,
through the merits of Christ, obtained the "holiness
without which no man shall see the Lord,"* "must
depart into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and
his angels."t
With a hell to avoid, and a heaven to obtain, do you
murmur for want of interest, of occupation I
In the words of the old story, "Look below on the
earth, and then above in heaven:" remember that your
only business here is to get there; then, instead of
repining, you will be thankful that no great temporal
work is given you to do which might, as too often hap-
pens, distract your attention and your labours from
the attainment of life eternal. Having been once con-
vinced of the awful and engrossing importance of this
one thing" we have to "do,"$ you wil see more
easily how many minor duties may be appointed you
to fulfil, on a path that before seemed a useless as well
as an uninteresting one. For you would have now
learned to estimate the small details of daily life, not
according to their insignificance, not as they may influ-
ence your worldly fate, but as they may have a ten-
dency to mould your spirit into closer conformity to
the image of the Son.- You will now no longer
inquire whether you have any work to do which you
might yourself consider suitable to your capabilities
and energies; but whether there is within your reach

* Heb. xii. 14.
: Phil. iii. 13.

t Matt. xxv. 41.
f Rom. viii. 29.



any, the smallest, humblest work of love, contemned or
unobserved before, when you were more proud and less
Look, then, with prayer and watchfulness into all the
details of your daily life, and you will assuredly find
much formerly-unnoticed "stuff," out of which "your
ideal" may be wrought.
You may, for instance, have no opportunity of teach-
ing on an enlarged scale, or even of taking a class at
a Sunday-school, or of instructing any of your poor
neighbours in reading or in the word of God. Such
labours of love may, it is possible, though not probable,
be shut out of your reach: if, however, you are on the
watch for opportunities, (and we are best made quick-
sighted to their occurrence in the course of the day,
by the morning's earnest prayer for their being granted
to us,) you may be able to help your fellow-pilgrims
Zion-ward in a variety of small ways. "A word in
season, how good is it!" the mere expression of reli-
gious sympathy has often cheered and refreshed the
weary traveller on his perhaps difficult and lonely way.
A verse of Scripture, a hymn taught to a child, only
the visitor of a day, has often been blessed by God to
the great spiritual profit of the child so taught. Are
not even such small works of love within your reach ?
Again, with respect to family duties, I know that in
some cases, when there are many to fulfil such duties,
it is a more necessary and often a more difficult task
to refrain altogether from interfering in them. They
ought to be allowed to serve as a safety-valve for the
energies of those members of the family who have no
other occupations: of these there will always be some


Qoatentmtnt. 21

in a large domestic circle. Without, however, inter-
fering actively and habitually, which it may not be
your duty to do, are you always ready to help when
you are asked, and to take trouble willingly upon
yourself, when the excitement and the credit of the
arrangement will belong exclusively to others? This
is a good sign of the humility and lovingness of your
spirit: how is the test borne?
Further, you may complain that your conversation
is not valued, and that therefore you have no excite-
ment to exertion for the amusement of others; that
your cheerfulness and good temper under sorrows and
annoyances are of no consequence, as you are not con-
sidered of sufficient importance for any display of feel-
ing to attract attention. When I hear such complaints,
and they are not unfrequent from the younger members
of large families, I have little doubt that the sting in all
these murmurs is infixed by their pride. They assure
me, at the same time, that if there was any one to care
much about it, to watch anxiously whether they were
vexed or pleased, they would be able to exercise the
strictest control over their feelings and temper,-and I
believe it, for here their pride and their affection would
both come to the assistance of duty. What God
requires of us, however, is its fulfilment when all
these things are against us. The effort to control
grief, to conceal depression, to conquer ill-temper, will
be a far more acceptable offering in his eyes, when
they alone are expected to witness it. That which
now his eyes alone see will one day be proclaimed
upon the housetop.*
Luke xii. 3.


I must, besides, remind you that your proud spirit
may deceive you when it suggests, that because your
sadness or your ill-humour attracts no expressed notice
or excites no efforts to remove it, it does not therefore
affect those around you. This is not the case; even
the gloom and ill-humour of a servant, who only re-
mains a few minutes in attendance, will be depressing
and annoying to the most unobservant master and mis-
tress, though they might make no efforts to remove it.
How much more, then, may your want of cheerfulness
and sweet temper affect, though it may be insensibly,
the peace of your family circle. Here you are again
seeking great things for yourself, and neglecting your
appointed work, because it does not to you appear suf-
ficiently worthy of your high capabilities. Your proud
spirit needs being humbled, and therefore, probably, it
is that you will not be allowed to do great things. No,
you must first learn the less agreeable task of doing
small things, of doing what would perhaps be called
easy things by those who have never tried them. To
wear a contented look when you know that, perhaps,
the effort will not be observed, certainly not appreci-
ated,-to take submissively the humblest part in the
conversation, and still bear cheerfully that part,-to
bear with patience every hasty word that may be
spoken, and so to forget it that your future conduct
may be uninfluenced by it,-to remove every difficulty,
the removal of which is within your reach, without
expecting that the part you have taken will be acknow-
ledged or even observed,-to be always ready with your
sympathy, encouragement, and counsel, however scorn-
fully they may have before been rejected; these are all



orr ttntmeunt. 28

acts of self-renunciation which are peculiarly fitted to
a woman's sphere of duty, and have a direct tendency
to cherish the difficult and excellent grace of humility;
they may, however, help to foster rather than to subdue
a spirit of discontent, if they are performed from a
motive of obtaining any, even the most exalted, human
approbation. They must be done to God alone, and
then the promise is sure, "thy Father which seeth in
secret shall reward thee openly."* Thus, too, the art
of contentment may be much more easily learnt. Dis-
appointment will surely sour your temper if you look
forward to human appreciation of a self-denying habit
of life; but when the approbation of God is the object
sought for, no neglect from others can excite discontent
or much regret. For here there can be no disappoint-
ment: that which comes to us through the day has all
been decreed by him, and as it must therefore give us
opportunities of fulfilling his will, and gaining his
approbation, we must necessarily "be content."
It must, indeed, be always owing to some deficiency
in religious principle, that one discontented thought is
suffered to dwell in the mind. If our heart and our
treasure were in heaven,t should we be easily excited
to regret and irritation about the inconveniences of our
position on earth? If we sought "first the kingdom
of God and his righteousness,"$ should we have so
much energy remaining to waste on petty worldly an-
noyances? If we obeyed the injunction, "have faith
in God," should we daily and hourly, by our sinful
murmuring, imply such doubts of the divine attributes

* Matt. vi. 18. t Matt. vi. 20, 21.


$ Matt. vi. 33.

24 Qtuzttti

* Deut. xxxiii. 25.

of wisdom, love, and power? This is a want of faith
you do not manifest towards men. You would trust
yourself fearlessly to the care of some earthly phy-
sician; you would believe that he understood how to
adapt his strengthening or lowering remedies to each
varying feature of your case; you would even provide
yourself with remedies, which, on the faith of his skill,
you would trustingly use to meet every symptom that
might arise on future occasions. But when the Great
Physician manifests a still greater watchfulness to
adapt his daily discipline to your varying temper and
the different stages of your Christian growth, you mur-
mur-you believe not in his wisdom as you do in that
of the sons of earth.
Do not, then, take his wisdom on faith alone; you
must indeed believe, you must believe or perish; but
it may be as yet too difficult a lesson for you to believe
against sense, against feeling. What I would urge upon
you is, to strengthen your weak faith by the lessons
of experience, to seek anxiously, and to pray to be
enabled to see distinctly, the peculiar manner in which
each trial of your daily lot is adapted to your own
individual case.
I do not speak now of great trials, of such afflictions
as crush the sufferer in the dust. When the hand of
God is so plainly seen, it is. comparatively easy to sub-
mit, and his Holy Spirit, ever fulfilling the promise
"as thy day is, so shall thy strength be,"* sometimes
makes the riven heart strong to bear that which, in
prospective, it dares not even contemplate. You, how-







ever, have had no trial of this nature; yours are the
petty irritations, the small vexations which "smart
more because they hold in Holy Writ no place."*
Even at more peaceful times, when you can contem-
plate with resignation the general features of your lot
in life, you cannot subdue your spirit to patience under
the hourly varying annoyances and temptations with
which you are beset. The peculiar sensitiveness of
your disposition, your affectionate, generous nature,
your refinement of mind, and quick tact, all expose you
to suffer more severely than others from the selfishness,
the coarse-mindedness, the bluntness of perception of
those around you. You often say, in the bitterness of
your heart, Any other trial but this I could have borne;
every other chastisement would have been light in
comparison. But why have you so little faith? Why
do you not see that it is because all these petty trials
are so severe to you, therefore are they sent? All
these amiable qualities that I have enumerated, and
the love which they win for you, would make you ad-
mire and value yourself too much, unless your system
were reduced, so to speak, by a series of petty but
continued annoyances. As I said before, you must
seek to strengthen your faith by tracing the close con-
nection between these annoyances and the "needs be"
for them. It is probably exactly at the time when you
are too much elated by praise and admiration that you
are sent some counterbalancing annoyance, or perhaps
suffered to fall into some fault of temper which will
lessen you in your own eyes, as well as in those of

Lyra Apostolica.



26 Qonttntmnt.

others. You are often troubled by some annoyance,
too, when you have blamed others for being too easily
overcome by an annoyance of the very same kind.
"Stand upon" an anxious "watch," and you will see
how constantly severe judgments of others are punished
by falling ourselves into temptations similar to those
which we had treated as light ones when sitting in
judgment upon others. If you would acquire the habit
of exercising faith with respect to the smallest details
of your every-day life, by such faith the light itself
might be won, and your eyes be opened to see how
wondrously all things, even those which appear the
most needlessly worrying, are made to work together
for your good.* These are, however, but the first les-
sons in the school of faith, the first steps on the road
which leads to "rest in God."
Severer trials are hastening onward, for which your
present petty trials are serving as a preparatory disci-
pline. According to the manner in which these are
met and supported, will be your patience in the hour
of deep darkness and bitter desolation. Waste not one
of your present petty sorrows: let them all, by the help
of prayer, and watchfulness, and self-control, work
their appointed work in your soul. Let them lead you
each day more and more trustingly to "cast all your
care upon Him who careth for you."t In the present
hours of tranquillity and calm, let the light and infre-
quent storms, the passing clouds that disturb your
peace, serve as warnings to you to find a sure refuge
before the clouds of affliction become so heavy, and its

* Rom. viii. 28.

S1 Pet. v. 7.

Qonttntmtnt. 27

storms so violent, that there will be no power of seek-
ing a haven of security. That must be sought and
found in seasons of comparative peace. Though the
agonized soul may finally, through the waves of sor-
row, make its way into the ark, its long previous
struggles, and its after harrowing doubts and fears,
will shatter it nearly to pieces before it finds a final
refuge. It may, indeed, by the free grace of God, be
saved at the last, but during the remainder of its
earthly pilgrimage there is no hope for it of joy and
peace in believing.
But when the hour of earthly desolation comes to
those who have long acknowledged the special provi-
dence of God in "all the dreary intercourse of daily
life," "they knew in whom they have believed,"* and
no storms can shake that faith. They know from
experience that all things work together for good to
them that love God. In the loving, child-like confidence
of long-tried and now perfecting faith, they are enabled
to say from the depths of their .heart, "It is the Lord,
let him do what seemeth him good.'" They seek not
now to ascertain the "needs be" for this particular
trial. It might harrow up their human heart too much
to trace the details of sorrows such as these, in the
manner in which they formerly examined into the
details of those of daily life. "It is the Lord;" these
words alone not only still all complaining, but fill the
soul with a depth of peace never experienced by the
believer until all happiness is withdrawn but that
which comes direct from God. "It is the Lord," who


* 2 Tim. i. 12.

t1 Sam. iii. 18.


died that we might live, and can we murmur even if
we dared? No; the love of Christ constrains us to
cast ourselves at his feet, not only in submission, but
in grateful adoration. It is through his redeeming
love that "our light affliction, which is but for a mo-
ment, will work for us a far more exceeding and
eternal weight of glory."
Even the very depth of mystery which may attend
the sorrowful dispensation, will only draw forth a
stronger manifestation of the Christian's faith and love.
She will be enabled to rejoice that God does not allow
her to see even one reason for the stroke that lays low
all her earthly happiness; as thus only, perhaps, can
she experience all the fulness of peace that accom-
panies an unquestioning trust in the wisdom and love
of his decrees. For such unquestioning trust, how-
ever, there must be a long and diligent preparation: it
is not the growth of days or weeks; yet, unless it is
begun even this very day, it may never be begun at
all. The practice of daily contentment is the only
means of finally attaining to Christian resignation.
I do not appeal to you for the necessity of immediate
action, because this day may be your last. I do not
exhort you "to live as if this day were the whole of
life, and not a part or section of it,"* because it may,
in fact, be the whole of life to you. It may be so, but
it is not probable, and when you have certainties to
guide you, they are better excitements to immediate
action than the most solemn possibilities.
The certainty to which I now appeal is, that every

Jean Paul Richter.



Qlontntuttnut. 29

duty I have been urging upon you will be much easier
to you to-day than it would be, even so soon as to-mor-
row. One hour's longer indulgence of a discontented
spirit, of rebellious and murmuring thoughts, will stamp
on your mind an impression, which, however slight it
may be, will entail upon you a lifelong struggle against
it. Every indulged thought becomes a part of our-
selves: you have the awful freedom of will to make
yourself what you will to be. "Resist the devil, and
he will flee from you."* "Quench" the Spirit,f and
the holy flame will never be rekindled. Kneel, then,
before God, even now, to pray that you may be enabled
to will aright.
Before you opened these pages, some of your daily
irritations were probably preying on your mind. You
have often, perhaps, recurred to the annoyance, what-
ever it may be, while you read on and on. Make this
annoyance your first opportunity of victory, the first
step in the path of contentment. Pray to an ever-
present God, that he may open your eyes to see how
large may have been the portion of blame to yourself
in the annoyance you complain of,-in how far it may
be the due and inevitable chastisement of some former
sin; how, finally, it may turn to your present profit,
by giving you a keener insight into the evils of your
own heart, and a more indulgent view of the often
imaginary wrongs of others towards you.
Let not this trial be lost to you; by faith and prayer,
this cloud may rain down blessings upon you. The
annoyance from which you are suffering may be a

~------ -

* 1 Pet. v. 8, 9.

S1 Thess. v. 19.

30 Contattmttt.

small one, casting but a temporary shadow, even like
"Cloud passing over the moon;
'Tis passing, and 'twill pass.full soon."*
But ere that shadow has passed away, your fate may he
as decided as that of the renegade in poetic fiction.
During the time this cloud has rested upon you, the
first link of an interminable chain of habits, for good
or for ill, may have been fastened around you. Who
can tell what "Now" it is that "is the accepted time?"
We know from Scripture that there is this awful period,
and your present temptation to murmuring and rebellion
against the will of God (for it is still his will, though
it may be manifested through a created instrument)
may be to you that "Now." Pray earnestly before
you decide what use you will make of it.

The Siege of Corinth.




THE subject proposed for consideration in the follow-
ing letter has been already treated of in perhaps all the
different modes of which it appears susceptible. Every
religious and moral motive has been urged upon the
victim of ill-temper, and it is scarcely necessary to add
that each has, in its turn, been urged in vain. This
failing of the character comes gradually to be con-
sidered as one over which the rational will has no con-
trol; it is even supposed possible that a Christian may
grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Saviour
while the vice of ill-temper is still flourishing trium-
It is, indeed, a certain fact that, unless the temper
itself is specially controlled, and specially watched
over, it may deteriorate even when the character in
other respects improves; for the habit of defeat
weakens the exercise of the will in this particular
direction, and gradually diminishes the hope or the
effort of acquiring a victory over the indulged failing.
It is a melancholy consideration, if it be, as I believe,
really the case, that a Christiin may increase in love
to God and man, while at the same time perpetually
inflicting severe wounds on the peace and happiness of
those who are nearest and dearest to her. Worse than
all, she is, by such conduct, wounding the Saviour in


82 Szmpnr.

the house of his friends,"* by bringing disgrace and
ridicule upon the Holy Name by which she is called.
In the compatibility which is often tacitly inferred
between a bad temper and a religious course of life,
there seems to be an instinctive recognition of this
peculiar vice being so much the necessary result of
physical organization, that the motives proving effec-
tual against other sins are ineffectual for the extirpa-
tion of this. Perhaps, if this recognition were distinct,
and the details of it better understood, a new and more
successful means might be made use of to effect the
cure of ill-temper.
As an encouragement to this undertaking, there can
be no doubt, from some striking instances within your
own knowledge, that there are certain means by which,
if they could only be discovered, the vice in question
may be completely subdued. Even among heathen
nations, we know that the art of self-control was so
well understood, and so successfully practised, that
Plato, Socrates, and other philosophers were able to
bring their naturally fiery and violent tempers into
complete subjection to their will. Can it be that this
secret has been lost along with the other mysteries of
those distant times, that the mode of controlling the
temper is now as undiscoverable as the manner of pre-
paring the Tyrian dye and other forgotten arts? It is
surely a disgrace to those cowardly Christians who,
having in addition to all the natural powers of the hea-
then moralist the freely-offered grace of God to work
with them and in them, should still walk so unworthy

Zach. xiii. 6.

I' -


of the high vocation wherewith, they are called, as to
shrink hopelessly from a moral competition with the
ignorant worshippers of old.
My sister, these things ought not so to be; you feel
they ought not, yet day after day you break through
the resolutions formed in your calmer moments, and
repeat, probably increase, your manifestations of
uncontrolled ill-temper. This is not yet, however, in
your case, a wilful sin; you still mourn bitterly over
the shame to yourself and the annoyance to others
caused by the indulgence of your ill-temper. You are
also painfully alive to the doubts which your conduct
excites in the mind of your more worldly associates as
to the reality of a vital and transforming efficacy in
religion. You feel that you are not only disobeying
God yourself, but that you are providing others with
excuses for disobeying him, and with examples of dis-
obedience. You mourn over these considerations in
bitterness of heart; you even pray for strength to
resist this, your besetting sin, and then-you leave
your room, and fall into the same sin on the very first
If, however, prayer itself does not prove an effectual
safeguard (rom persistence in sin, you will ask what
other means can be hopefully employed. None-none
whatever; that from which real prayer cannot preserve
us. is an inevitable misfortune. But think you that any
kind of sin can be among those misfortunes that cannot
be avoided? No, my friend: "He is able to succour them
that are tempted;"* and we are also assured that He

Heb. U. 18.


34 ftmpr.

is willing. Cease, then, from accusing the All-merci-
ful, even by implication, of being the cause of your
continuing in sin, and examine carefully into the
nature of those prayers which you complain have never
been answered. The Scripture reason for such disap-
pointments is clearly and distinctly given: "Ye ask
and receive not, because ye ask amiss."* Examine,
then, in the first place, whether you yourself are ask-
ing "amiss?" What is your primary motive for
desiring the removal of this besetting sin? Is it the
consideration of its being so hateful in the sight of
God, of its being injurious to the cause of religion? or
is it not rather because you feel that it makes you
unloveable to those around you, and inflicts pain on
those who are very dear to you, at the same time les-
sening your own dignity and wounding your self-
respect? These are all proper and allowable motives
of action while kept in their subordinate place; but if
they become the primary actuating principle, instead
of a conscientious hatred of sin because it is the abomi-
nable thing that God hates,t if pleasing man be your
chief object, you have no reason to complain that your
prayers are unanswered. The word of God has told
you that it must be so. You have asked "amiss."
There is also a secondary sense in which we may "ask
amiss:" when we pray without corresponding effort.
Some worthy people think that prayer alone is to obtain
for them all the benefits they can desire, and that the
influences of the Holy Spirit will, unassisted by human
effort, produce a transforming change in the temper and

~----- ----

* James iv. 3.

SJer. xliv. 4.

eSmper. 85

the conduct. This they call magnifying the grace of
God, as if it could be supposed that his gracious help
would ever be granted for the purpose of slackening,
instead of encouraging and exciting, our own exertions.
Do not the Scriptures abound in exhortations, warn-
ings, and threatening on the subject of individual
watchfulness, diligence, and unceasing conflicts ? To
the law and to the testimony, if they speak not accord-
ing to this word, it is because there is no light in
them."* Perhaps you have prayed under the mental
delusion I have above described; you have expected
the work should be done for you, instead of with you;
that the constraining love of Christ would constrain
you necessarily to abandon your sinful habits, while,
in fact, its efficacy consists in constraining you to carry
on a perpetual struggle against them.
Look through the day that is past, or watch yourself
through that which is to come, and observe whether
any violent conflict takes place in your mind whenever
you are tempted to sin. I fear, on the. contrary, that
you expect the efficacy of your prayers to be displayed
in preserving you from any painful conflict whatever.
It is strange, most strange, how generally this perver-
sion of mind appears practically to exist. Notwith-
standing all the opposing assertions of the Bible, peo-
ple imagine that the Christian's life, after conversion,
is to be one of freedom from temptation and from all
internal struggles. The contrary fact is, that they only
really begin when we ourselves begin the Christian
course with earnestness and sincerity.

SIsa. viii. 20.

86 ttmpqr.

If you would possess the safety of preparation, you
must look out for and expect constant temptations and
perpetual conflicts. By such means alone can your
character be gradually forming into a meetness for
the inheritance of the saints in light."* Whenever
your conflicts cease, you will enter into your glorious
rest. You will not be kept in a world of sin and sor-
row one moment after that in which you have attained
to sufficient Christian perfection to qualify you for a safe
freedom from trials and temptations: but as long as
you remain in a temporal school of discipline, "your
only safety is to feel the stretch and energy of a con-
tinual strife."t
If I have been at all successful in my endeavours to
alter your views of the manner in which you are first
to set about acquiring a permanent victory over your
besetting sin, you will be the more inclined to bestow
your attention on the means which I am now going to
recommend for your consequent adoption. They have
been often tried and proved effectual: experience is
their chief recommendation. They may indeed startle
some pious minds, as seeming to encroach too far on
what they think ought to be the unassisted work of the
Spirit upon the human character; but you are too intel-
ligent to allow such assertions, unfounded as they are
on Scripture, to prove much longer a stumbling-block
in your way. I would first of all recommend to you a
very strict inquiry into the nature of the things that
affect your temper, so that you may be for the future
on your guard to avoid them, as far as lies in your

I -

* Col. i. 12.

SArchdeacon Manning.


power. Avoidance is always the safest plan when it
involves no deviation from the straightforward path of
duty; and there will be enough of inevitable conflicts
left, to keep up the habits of self-control and watchful-
ness. Indeed, the avoidance which I recommend to
you involves in itself the necessity of so much vigilance,
that it will help to prepare you for measures of more
active resistance. On this principle, then, you will
shrink from every species of discussion, on either prac-
tical or abstract subjects, which is likely to excite you
beyond control, and disable you from bearing with
gentleness and calmness the triumph, either real or ima-
ginary, of your opponent. The time will come, I trust,
when no subject need be forbidden to you on these
grounds, but at present you must submit to an invalid
regimen, and shun every thing that has even a ten-
dency to excitement.
This system of avoidance is of the more importance,
because every time your ill-temper acquires the mas-
tery over you, its strength is tenfold increased for the
next conflict, at the same time that your hopes of the
power of resistance, afforded either by your own will
or by the assisting grace of God, are of course weak-
ened. You find, at each fall before the power of sin, a
greater difficulty in exercising faith in either human or
divine means of improvement. You do not, indeed,
doubt the power of God, but a disbelief steals over you
which has equally fatal tendencies. You allow your-
self to indulge vague doubts of his willingness to help
you, or a suspicion insinuates itself that the God whom
you so anxiously try to please would not allow you to
fall so constantly into error, if this error were of a very

88 tfrptr.

heinous nature. You should be careful to shun any
course of conduct possibly suggestive of such danger-
ous doubts. You should seek to establish in your mind
the habitual conviction that, victory being placed by
God within your reach, you must conquer or perish I
None but those who by obedience prove themselves
children of God, shall inherit the kingdom prepared
for them from the foundation of the world.*
I have spoken of the vigilance and self-control
required for the avoidance of every discussion on
exciting subjects; but this difficulty is small indeed
when compared with those unexpected assaults on the
temper which we are exposed to at every hour of the
day. It is to meet these with Christian heroism that
the constant exertion of all our inherent and imparted
powers is perpetually required. Every device that
ingenuity can suggest, every practice that others have
by experience found successful, is at least worth the
trial. One plan of resistance suits one turn of mind;
an entirely opposite one proves more useful for another.
To you I should more especially recommend the habitual
consideration that every trial of temper throughout the
day is an opportunity for conflict and for victory.
Think, then, of every such trial as an occasion of tri-
umphing over your animal nature, and of increasing
the dominion of your rational will over the opposing
temptations of "the world, the flesh, and the devil."
Consider each vexatious annoyance as coming, through
human instruments, from the hand of God himself, and
as an opportunity offered by his love and his wisdom

Matt. xxv. 24.

__ _~
I - --


for strengthening your character and bringing your
will into closer conformity with his. You should cul-
tivate the general habit of considering every trial in
this peculiar point of view; thinking over the subject
in your quiet hours especially, that you may thus
have your spirit prepared for moments of unexpected
To a person of your reflective turn of mind, the pru-
dent management of the thoughts is one of the princi-
pal means towards the proper government of the temper.
As some insects assume the colour of the plant they
feed on, so do the thoughts on which the mind habit-
ually nourishes itself impart their own peculiar colour-
ing to the mental and moral constitution. On your
thoughts, when you are alone, when you wander
through the fields, or by the roadside, or sit at your
work in useful hours of solitude, depends very much
the spirit you are of when you again enter into society.
If, for instance, you think over the trials of temper
which you are inevitably exposed to during the day as
indications of the unkindness of your fellow-creatures,
you will not fail to exaggerate mere trifles into serious
offences, and will prepare a sowe place, as it were, in
your mind, to which the slightest touch must give pain.
On the contrary, if you forcibly withdraw yourself from
any thought respecting the human instrument that has
inflicted the wounds from which you suffer or are likely
to suffer,-if you look upon the annoyance only as an
opportunity of improvement and a message of mercy
from God himself,-you will then gradually get rid of
all mental irritation, and feel nothing but pity for your
tormentors, feeling that you have in reality been bene-



fited instead of injured. When ycu have acquired
greater power of controlling your thoughts, it will be
serviceable to you to think over all the details of the
annoyance from which you are suffering, and to con-
sider all the extenuating circumstances of the case; to
imagine (this will be good use to make of your vivid
imagination) what painful chord you may have uncon-
sciously struck, what circumstances may possibly have
led the person who annoys you to suppose that .the
provocation originated with yourself instead of with
her. It may be possible that some innocent words of
yours may Lave appeared to her as cutting insinuations
or taunts, referring to some former painful circum-
stance, forgotten or unknown by you, but sorrowfully
remembered by her, or a wilful contradiction of her
known opinion and known wishes, for mere contradio-
tion's sake.
By the time you have turned over in your mind all
these possible or probable circumstances, you will
generally see that the person offending may really be
not so much (if at all) to blame; and then the candid
and generous feelings of your nature will convert your
anger into regret for the pain you have unintentionally
inflicted. I do not, however, recommend you to ven-
ture upon this practice yet. Under present circum-
stances, any indulged reflection upon the minute fea-
tures of the offence, and the possible feelings of the
offender, will be more likely to increase your irritation
than to subdue it; you will not be able to view your
own case through an unprejudiced medium, until y6u
have acquired the power of compelling your thoughts
to dwell on those features only of an annoyance which

mtwpttz. 41

may tend to soften your feelings, while you avoid all
such as may irritate them.
A much lower stage of self-control, and one in which
you may immediately begin to exercise yourself, is the
prevention of your thoughts from dwelling for one
moment on any offence against you, looking upon such
offence in this point of view alone, that it is one of
those divinely-sent opportunities of Christian warfare
without which you could make no advance in the spi-
ritual life. The consideration of the subject of temper,
as connected with habits of thought, on which I have
dwelt so long and in so much detail, is of the greatest
importance. It is absolutely impossible that you can
exercise control over your temper, or charitable and
forgiving feelings toward those around you, if you suf-
fer your mind to dwell on what you consider their
faults and your own injuries. Are you, however,
really aware that you are in the habit of indulging
such thoughts? I doubt it. Few people observe the
direction in which their thoughts are habitually exer-
cised until they have practised for some little time
strict watchfulness over those shadowy and fleeting
things upon which most of the realities of life depend.
Watch yourself, therefore, I entreat you, even during
this one day. I ask only for one day, because I know
that, in a character like yours, such an examination,
once begun in all earnestness, will only cease with life.
It is of sins of ignorance and carelessness alone that I
accuse you; not of wilfully harbouring malicious and
revengeful thoughts. You have never, probably,
observed their existence: how, then, could you be
aware of their tendency? Perhaps the following illus-


42 qtmptr.

tration may serve to suggest to you proofs of the dan-
ger of the practice I have been warning you against.
If one of your acquaintance had offended another, you
would feel no doubt as to the sinfulness and the cruelty
to both of dwelling on all the aggravating circumstances
of the offence, until the temper of the offended one was
thoroughly roused and exasperated, though, before the
interference of a third person, the subject may have
been passed over unnoticed. Is not this the very pro-
cess you are continually carrying on in your own mind,
to your own injury, indeed, far more than to any one
else's? These habits of thought must be altered, or
no other measures of self-control can prosper with you,
though, in connection with this primary one, many
others must be adopted.
One practice that has been found beneficial is that of
offering up a short prayer, even as your hand is upon
the door which is to admit you into family intercourse,
an intercourse which, more than any other, involves
duties and responsibilities as well as privileges and
pleasures. This practice could insure your never enter-
ing upon a scene of trial, without having the subject
of difficulty brought vividly before your mind. David's
prayer-" Set a watch, 0 Lord, before my mouth; keep
the door of my lips"*-would be very well suited to
such occasions as these. This prayer would, at the
same time, bring you down help from Heaven, and, by
putting you on your guard, rouse your own energies
to brave any temptation that may await you.
There is another plan which has often been tried

SPs. cxli. 3.

- -r ------------

wmptr. 48

with success,-that of repeating the Lord's prayer
deliberately through to oneself, before venturing to
utter one word aloud on any occasion that excites th
temper. The spirit of this practice is highly con
mendable, as, there being no direct petition against,
the sin of ill-temper, it is principally by elevating the
spirit into a higher moral atmosphere," that the ex-
periment is expected to be successful. You will find
that a scrupulous politeness towards the members of
your family, and towards servants, will be a great help
in preserving your temper through the trials of domes-
tic intercourse. You are very seldom even tempted to
indulge in irritable answers, impatient interruptions,
abrupt contradictions, while in the society of strangers.
The reason of this is that the indulgence of your tem-
per on such occasions would oblige you to break
through the chains of early and confirmed habits
From infancy those habits have been forming, an.
they impel you almost unconsciously to subdue eveo
the very tones of your voice, while strangers are pri
sent. Have you not sometimes in the middle of an
irritable observation caught yourself changing and
softening the harsh uncontrolled tones of your voice, or
the roughness of your manner, when you have disco-
vered the unexpected presence of a stranger in the
family circle? You have still enough of self-respect to
feel deep shame when such things have happened; and
the very moment when you are suffering from these
feelings of shame is that in which you ought to form,
and begin to execute, resolutions of future amendment.
While under the influence of regretful excitement, you
will have the more strength to break through the chains


of your old habits, and to begin to form new ones. If
the same courtesy, which until now you have only ob-
served towards strangers, were habitually exercised
towards the members of your domestic circle, it would,
in time, become as difficult to break through the forms
of politeness by indulging ill-temper towards them, as
towards strangers or mere acquaintance.
This is a point I wish to urge on you, even more
strongly with regard to servants. There is great mean-
ness in any display of ill-temper towards those who will
probably lose their place and their character, if they
are tempted by your provocation (and without your
restraints of good-breeding and good education) to the
same display of ill-temper that you yourself are guilty
of. On the other hand, there is no better evidence of
dignity, self-respect, and refined generosity of disposi-
tion, than a scrupulous politeness in requiring and
requiting those services for which the low-minded ima-
gine that their money is a sufficient payment. You
will not alone receive as a recompense the love and the
grateful respect of those who serve you, but you will
also be forming habits which will offer a powerful
resistance to the temptations of ill-humour.
You will not surely object to any of the precautions
or the practices recommended above, that they are too
trifling or too troublesome; you have suffered so much
from your besetting sin, that I can suppose you willing
to try every possible means of cure.
You should, however, to strengthen your desire of
resistance and of victory, look much further than the
unpleasant consequences of ill-temper in your own case
alone. You are still young, life has gone prosperously


with you, the present is fair and smiling, and the future
full of bright hopes; you have, comparatively speaking,
few occasions for irritation or despondency. A natu-
rally warm temper is seen in you under the least for-
bidding aspect, combined, as it is, with gay animal
spirits, strong affections, and ready good nature. You
need only to look around, however, to see the proba-
bility of things being quite different with you some
years hence, unless a thorough present change is
effected. Look at those cases (only too numerous and
too apparent) in which indulged habits of ill-temper
have become stronger by the lapse of time, and are not
now softened in their aspect by the modifying influences
of youth, of hope, of health. See those victims to
habitual ill-humour, who are weighed down by the
cares of a family, by broken health, by disappointed
hopes, by the inevitably accumulating sorrows of life.
Do you not know that they bestow wretchedness instead
of happiness, even on those who are dearest and nearest
to them? Do you not know that their voice is dreaded
and unwelcome, as it sounds through their home,
deprived through them of the lovely peace of home? Is
not their step shunned in the passage, or on the stairs,
in the certainty of no kind or cheerful greeting? Do
you not observe that every subject but the most indif-
ferent is avoided in their presence, or kept concealed
from their knowledge, in the vain hope of keeping away
food for their excitement of temper? Deprived of con-
fidence, deprived of respect, their society shunned even
by the few who still love them, the unfortunate victims
of confirmed ill-temper may at last make some feeble
efforts to shake off their voluntarily imposed yoke.

46 temptr.

But, alas! it is too late; in feeble health, in advanced
years, in depressed spirits, their powers of "working
together with God" are altogether broken. They may
be finally saved indeed, but in this life they can never
experience the peace that religion bestows on its faith-
ful self-controlling followers. They can never bestow
happiness, but always discomfort on those whom they
best love; they can never glorify God by bringing forth
the fruits of "a meek and quiet spirit." This is sad,
very sad, but it is not the less true. Strange also it is,
in some respects, that when sin is deeply mourned over
and anxiously prayed against, its power cannot be more
effectually weakened. This is, however, an invariable
feature throughout all the dispensations of God, and
you would do well to examine carefully into it, that
you may add experience to your faith in the Scripture
assertion, "What a man soweth, that shall he also
reap."* May you be given grace to sow such present
seed as may bring forth a harvest of peace to yourself,
and peace to your friendsI
I must not forget to make some observations with
respect to those physical influences which affect the
temper and spirits. It is true that these are, at some
times, and for a short period, altogether irresistible.
This is, however, only in the case of those whose cha-
'acter was not originally of sufficient force and strength
to require much habitual self-control, as long as they
possessed good health and spirits. When this original
good health is altered in any way that alters their
natural temper, (all diseases, however, have not this

Gal. vi. 7.

-- --

temper. 7

effect,) not having had any previous practice in resist-
ing the new and unaccustomed evil, they yield to it as
hopelessly as they would do to the pain attending the
gout and the rheumatism. If, however, such persons
as those above described are sincere in their desire
to glorify God, and to avoid disturbing the peace of
those around them, they will soon learn to make use
of all the means within their reach to remove the moral
disease, as assiduously and as vigorously as they would
labour to remove the physical one. Their newly-ac-
qui-ed self-control will be blest to them in more ways
than one, for the grace of God is always given in pro-
portion to the need of those who are willing to work
themselves, and who have not incurred the evil they
now struggle against, by wilful and deliberate sin. I
have spoken of only a few cases of ill-temper being
irresistible, and even these few only to be considered
so at first, before.proper means of cure and prevention
are used. Under other circumstances, though the ill-
temper mourned over may be strongly influenced by
physical causes, the sin must still remain the same as
ii the causes were strictly moral ones. For instance,
if you know that by sitting up at night an hour or two
later than usual, or by not taking regular exercise, or
by eating of indigestible food, you will put it out of
your power to avoid being ill-tempered and disagree-
able on the following day, the failures is surely a moral
one. That the immediate causes of your ill-humour
may be physical ones, does not at all affect the matter,
seeing that such causes are, in this case, completely
under your own control. From this it follows that it
must be a duty to watch carefully the effects produced

_ _____ _~_~________ ------Y1


48 mp.

on your temper by every habit of your life. If you do
not abandon such of these as produce undesirable
effects, you deserve to experience the consequences in
the gradual diminution of the respect and affection of
those who surround you.
Should the habits producing irritation of temper be
such as you cannot abandon without loss or detriment
to yourself or others, the object in view will be equally
attained by exercising a more vigilant self-control while
you are exposed to a dangerous influence. For instance,
yea have often heard it remarked, and have perhaps
observed in your own case, that poetry.and works of
fiction excise and irritate the temper. You may know
some people who exhibit this influence so strongly that
no one will venture to make them a request or even to
apply to them about necessary business, while they are
engaged in the perusal of any thing interesting. I
know more than one excellent person, who, in conse-
quence of observing the effect produced on their tem-
per, by novels, &c., have given up this style of reading
altogether. So far as the sacrifice was made from a
conscientious motive, they doubtless have their reward.
From the consequences, however, I'should be rather
inclined to think that they were in many cases not only
mistaken in the nature of the precautions they adopted,
but also in their motives for adopting them. Such
persons too frequently seem to have no more control
over their temper when exposed to other and entirely
inevitable temptations, than they had before the culti-
vation of their imagination was given up. They do not,
in short, seem to exercise, under circumstances that
cannot be escaped, that vigilant self-control which

(tmptr. 49

would be the only safe test of the conscientiousness of
their intellectual sacrifice.
For you, I should consider any sacrifice of the fore-
going kind especially inexpedient. Your deep thought-
fulness of mind, and your habitual delicacy of health,
make it impossible for you to give up light literature
with any degree of safety; even were it right that you
should abandon that species of mental cultivation
which is effected by this most important branch of
study. People who never read difficult books, and who
are not of reflective habits of mind, can little under-
stand the necessity that at times exists for entire repose
to the higher powers of the mind-a repose which can
be by no means so effectually procured as by an inter-
esting work of fiction. A drive in a pretty country, a
friendly visit, an hour's work in the garden, any of
these may indeed effect the same purpose, and on some
occasions in a safer way than a novel or a poem. The
former, however, are means which are not always
within one's reach, which are impossible at seasons
when entire rest to the mind is most required,-viz.
during days and weeks of confinement to a sick and
infected room. At such periods, it is true that the
more idle the mind can be kept the better; even the
most trifling story may excite a dangerous exertion of
its nervous action; at times, however, when it is suf-
ficiently strong and disengaged to feel a craving for
active employment, it is of great importance that the
employment should be such as would involve no exer-
cise of the higher intellectual faculties. I have known
serious evils result to both mind and body from an
imprudent engagement in intellectual pursuits during


temporary, and as it may often appear trifling, illness.
Whenever the body is weak, the mind also should be
allowed to rest, if the invalid be a person of thought
and reflection; otherwise Butler's Analogy itself would
not do her any harm. It is only Lorsqu'il y a vie, il
y a danger." This is a long digression, but one neces-
sary to my subject; for I feel the importance of im-
pressing on your mind that it can never be your duty
to give up that which is otherwise expedient for you,
on the grounds of its being a cause of excitement. You
must only, under such circumstances, exercise a double
vigilance over your temper. Thus you must try to
avoid speaking in an irritated tone when you are
interrupted; you must be always ready to help another,
if it be otherwise expedient, however deep may be the
interest of the book in which you are engaged; and,
finally, if you are obliged to refuse your assistance,
you should make a point of expressing your refusal
with gentleness and courtesy.
You should show others, as well as be convinced of
it yourself, that the refusal to oblige is altogether irre-
spective of any effect produced on your temper by the
studies in which you are engaged. Perhaps during
the course of even this one day, you may have an
opportunity of experiencing both the difficulty and
advantage of attending to the foregoing directions.
In conclusion, I would remind you, that it may, some
time or other, be the will of God to afflict you with
heavy and permanent sickness, habitually affecting
your temper, generating despondency, impatience, and
irritation, and making the whole mind, as it were, one
vast sore, shrinking in agony from every touch. If


_ --C---

I __ _


- ---- --

such a trial should ever be allotted to you, (and it may
be sent as a punishment for the neglect of your present
powers of self-control,) how will you be able to avoid
becoming a torment to all around you, and at the same
time bringing doubt and ridicule on your profession of
If, during your present enjoyment of mental and
bodily health, you do not acquire a mastery over your
temper, it will be almost impossible to do so when the
effects of disease are added to the influences of nature
and habit. On the other hand, from Galen down to
Sir Henry Halford, there is high medical authority for
the important fact that self-control acquired in health
may be successfully exercised to subdue every external
sign, at least, of the irritation and depression often
considered inevitably attendant on many peculiar
maladies. There are few greater temporal rewards of
obedience than the consciousness, under such trying
circumstances, of still possessing the power of procur-
ing peace for oneself, love from one's neighbour, and
glory to God.
Remember, finally, that every day and every hour
you pause and hesitate about beginning to control your
temper, may probably expose you to years of more
severe future conflict. "Now is the accepted time,
now is the day of salvation," is fully as true when
asserted of the beginning of the slow moral process by
which our own conformity "to the image of the Son"
is effected, as of the saving moment in which we "arise
and go to our Father."*

Luke xv.


52 ffalstboob anb truttfulnms.



I DO not accuse you of being a liar-far from it; on
the contrary, I believe that if truth and falsehood were
distinctly placed before you, and the opportunity of a
deliberate choice afforded you, you would rather expose
yourself to serious injury than submit to the guilt of
falsehood. It is, therefore, with the more regret that
your conscientious friends observe a daily-growing dis-
regard of absolute truth in your statement of indifferent
things, and, d plus forte raison, in your statement of
your own side of the question as opposed to that of
another. There are, unfortunately, a thousand oppor-
tunities and temptations to the exaggerated mode of
expression for which I blame you; and these tempta-
tions are generally of so trifling a nature, that the
whole energies of the conscience are never awakened
to resist them, as might be the case were the evil to
others and the disgrace to yourself more strikingly
manifest. Few people seem to be at all aware of the
difficulties that really attend speaking the exact truth,
or they would shrink from indulging in any habits that
immeasurably increase these difficulties,-increase it,
indeed, to such a degree, that some minds appear to
have lost the very power of perceiving truth; so that,
even when they are extremely anxious to be correct in
their statement, there is a total incapacity of transmit-

_ __

4falstboob anb trutfulunm-s. 68

ting a story to another in the way that they themselves
received it. This is one of the most striking temporal
punishments of sin,-one of those that are the inevi-
table consequences of the sin itself, and quite inde-
pendent of the other punishments which the revealed
will of God attaches to it. The persons of whom I
speak must sooner or later perceive that no dependence
is placed on their statements, that even when respect
and affection for their other good qualities may prevent
a clear recognition of the falsehood of their character,
yet that they are now never applied to for information
on any matters of importance. Perhaps, to those who
have any sensitiveness of observation, such doubts are
even the more painful the more vaguely they are implied.
For myself, I have long acquired the habit of translate.
ing the assertions and the stories of the persons of whom
I speak into the language in which I judge they origi-
nally existed. By the aid of a small degree of inge-
nuity, it is not very difficult to ascertain, from the
nature of the refracting medium, the degree and the
direction of the change that has taken place in the
pure ray of truth.
Yet such people as these often deserve pity as much
as blame: they are, perhaps, unconscious of the degree
in which habit has made them insensible to the perver-
sion of truth in their statements; and even now they
scarcely believe that what seems to them so true should
appear and really be false to others. The intellectual
effects of such habits are equally injurious with the
moral ones. All natural clearness and distinctness of
intellect becomes gradually obscured; the memory
becomes perplexed; the very style of writing acquires

64 Jal tBoob anb ukruttfutiusig.

the taint of the perverted mind. Truth is impressed
upon every line of Dr. Arnold's vigorous diction, while
other writers of equal, perhaps, but less respectable
eminence, betray, even in their mode of expression,
the habitual want of honesty in their character and in
their statements.
In your case, none of the habits of which I have
spoken are, as yet, firmly implanted. A warm temper,
ardent feelings, and a vivid imagination are, as yet,
the only causes of your errors. You have still time
and power to struggle against them, as the chains of
habit have not been added to those of nature. But,
before the struggle begins, you must be convinced of
its necessity; and this is probably the point on which
you are entirely incredulous. Listen to me, then,
while I help you to discover the hidden mysteries of a
heart that "is deceitful above all things," and let the
self-examination I urge upon you be prompt, be imme-
diate. Let it be exercised through the day that is
coming; watch the manner in which you express your-
self on every subject; observe, especially those tempta-
tions which will assail you to venture upon greater
deviations from truth than those which you think you
may harmlessly indulge in, under the sanction of vivid
imagination, poetic fancy, &c. This latter part of the
examination may throw great light on the subject:
people are not assailed frequently and strongly by
temptations that have never, at any former time, been
yielded to.
I have reason to believe that, as one of the prepara-
tions for such self-examination, you entertain a deep
sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and feel an


5alztboob anb tuh ttfdunttx.

anxious desire to approve yourself as a faithful servant
to your heavenly Master. I do not, therefore, suppose
that at present any temptation would induce you to
incur the guilt of a deliberate falsehood. The percep-
tion of moral evil may, however, be so blunted by
habits of mere carelessness, that I should have no
dependence on your adhering for many future years to
even this degree of plain, downright truth, unless those
habits are decidedly broken through. But do not,
from this, imagine that I consider a distinct, decided
falsehood more, but rather less, dangerous for the
future of your character than those lighter errors of
which I have spoken. Though you may sink so far,
in course of time, as to consider even a direct lie a
very small transgression of the law of God, you will
never be able to persuade yourself that it is entirely
free from sin. The injury, too, to our neighbour, of a
direct lie, can be so much more easily guarded against,
that, for the sake of others, I am far more earnest in
warning you against equivocation than against decided
falsehood. It is sadly difficult for the injured person
to ward off the effects of a deceitful glance, a mislead-
ing action, an artful insinuation. No earthly defence
is of any avail here, as the sorrows of many a wounded
heart can testify; but for such injured ones there is a
sure, though it may be a long-suffering, Defender. He
is the Judge of all the earth; and even in this world
he will visit, with a punishment inevitably involved in
the consequences of their crime, those who have in
any manner deceived their neighbour to his hurt.
I do not, however, accuse you of exaggerating or
equivocating from malice alone: no,--more frequently


alIxtboob anb Qgrutbfulnozs.

it is for the sake of mere amusement, or, at the worst,
in cowardly self-defence; that is, you prefer throwing
the blame by insinuation upon an innocent person to
bearing courageously what you deserve yourself. In
most cases, indeed, you can plead in excuse that the
blame is not of any serious nature; that the insinuated
accusation is slight enough to be entirely harmless: so
it may appear to you, but so it frequently happens not
to be. This insinuated accusation, appearing to you
so unimportant, may have some peculiar relations that
make it more injurious to the slandered one than the
original blame could have been to yourself. It may be
the means of separating her from her chief friend, or
shaking her influence in quarters where perhaps it
was of great importance to her that it should be pre-
served unimpaired. When we lay sinful hands on the
complicated machinery of God's providence, it is im-
possible for us to see how far the derangement may
You may, during the course of this coming day, have
an opportunity of giving your own version of a matter
in which another was concerned with you, and in which,
if the blame is thrown on her, she will have no oppor-
tunity of defending herself. Be on your guard, then;
have a noble courage; fear nothing but the meanness
and the wickedness of accusing the absent and the
defenceless. The opportunity offered you to-day of
speaking conscientiously, however trifling it may in
itself appear, may possibly be the turning point of your
life; may lead you on to future habits of cowardice
and deceit, or may impart to you new vigilance and
energy for future victories over temptation.


alIsateoo a-b Qtutbfulnus. 57

You may, also, during the course of this day, be
strongly tempted as to the mode of repeating what
another has said in conversation: the slightest turn in
the expression of the sentence, the insertion or omis-
sion of one little word, the change of a weaker to a
stronger expression, may exactly adapt to your pur-
pose the sentence you are tempted to repeat. You
may also often be able to say to yourself that you are
giving the impression of the real meaning of the
speaker, only withheld by herself because she had not
courage to express it. Opportunities such as these are
continually offering themselves to you, and you have
ingenuity enough to make the desired change in the
repeated sentence so effectual, that there will be no
danger of contradiction, even if the betrayed person
should discover that she is called upon to defend her-
self. I have heard this so cleverly done, that the suc-
cess was complete, and the poor slandered one lost, in
consequence, her admirer or her friend, or at least
much of her influence over them. You, too, may in
like manner succeed: but what is the loss of others in
comparison of the penalty of your success ? The pu-
nishment of successful sin is not to be escaped.
In any of the cases I here bring forward as illustra-
tions, as helps to your self-examination, I am not sup-
posing that there is any tangible, positive, wilful deceit
in your heart, or that you deliberately contemplate any
very serious injury being inflicted on the persons whose
conversations and actions you misrepresent. ,On the
contrary, I know that you are not thus hardened in
sin. With regard, however, to the deceit not assum-
ing any tangible form in your own eyes, you ought to

68 falstboob ah nruttjtulutzz.

remember the solemn words, Thou, 0 God I seest me;"
and what is sin in his eyes can only fail to be so in ours
from the neglect of strict self-examination and prayer
that the Spirit of the Lord may search the very depths
of the heart. Sins of ignorance seem to assume even
a deeper dye than others, when the ignorance only
arises from wilful neglect of the means of knowledge
so abundantly and freely bestowed. When you once
begin in right earnest to try to speak the truth from
your heart, in the smallest as well as in the greatest
things, you will be surprised to find how difficult it is.
Carelessness, false shame, a desire for admiration, a
vanity that leads you to disclaim any interest in that
which you cannot obtain,-these are all temptations
that beset your path, and ought to terrify you against
adding the chains of habit to so many other difficulties.
There is one more point of view in which I wish you
to consider this subject; that, namely, of "honesty
being the best policy." There is no falsehood that is
not found out in the end, and so turned to the shame
of the person who is guilty of it. You may perpetually
dread, even at present, the eye of the discriminating
observer; she can see through you, even at the very
moment of your committal of sin; she quickly disco-
vers that it is your habit to depreciate people or
things, only because you are not in your turn valued
by them, or because you cannot obtain them; she can
see, in a few minutes' conversation, that it is your
habit to say that you are admired and loved, that your
society is eagerly sought for by such and such people,
whether it be the case or not. Quick observers disco-
ver in a first interview what others will not fail to dis-

3~aIzjmjoob anu ,rnutfjfunilu. 69

cover after a time. They will then cease to depend
upon you for information on any subject in which your
own interest or your vanity is concerned. They will
turn up their eyes in wonder, from habit and polite-
ness, not from belief. They will always suspect some
hidden motive for your words, instead of the one you
put forward; nay, your giving one reason for your
actions will, by itself alone, set them on the search to
discover a different one. All this, perhaps, will in
many cases take place without their accusing you, even
in their secret thoughts, of being a liar. They have
only a vague consciousness that you are, it may be
involuntarily, quite incapable of giving correct infor-
The habitual, the known truth-speaker, occupies a
proud position. Alas I that it should be so rare. AlasI
that, even among professedly religious people, there
should be so few who speak the truth from the heart;
so few to whom one can turn with a fearless confidence
to ask for information on any points of personal inte-
rest. I need not to be told that it is during childhood
that the formation of strict habits of truthfulness is at
once most sure and most easy. The difficulty is indeed
increased ten thousand fold, when the neglect of parents
has suffered even careless habits on this point to be
contracted. The difficulties, however, though great,
are not insuperable to those who seek the freely-offered
grace of God to help them in the conflict. The resist-
ance to temptation, the self-control, will indeed be more
difficult when the effort begins later in life; but the
victory will be also the more glorious, and the general
effects on the character more permanent and beneficial.


60 ffalzeoob atb t rutifuIttUs.

Not that this serves as any excuse for the cruel neglect
of parents, for they can have no certainty that future
repentance will be granted for those habits of sin, the
formation of which they might have prevented.
Dwelling, however, even in thought, on the neglect
of our parents can only lead to vain murmurings and
complaining, and prevent the concentration of all our
energies and interest upon the extirpation of the dan-
gerous root of evil.
In this case, as in all others, though the sin of the
parent is surely visited on the children, the very visita-
tion is turned into a blessing for those who love God.
To such blessed ones it becomes the means of impart-
ing greater strength and vigour to the character, from
the perpetual conflicts to which it is exposed in its
efforts to overcome early habits of evil.
Thus even sin itself is not excepted from the "all
things" that "work together for good to them that love

Rm. viii. 28.




IT is, perhaps, an unknown friend" only who would
venture to address a remonstrance to you on that par-
ticular sin which forms the subject of the following
pages; for it seems equally acknowledged by those who
are guilty of it, and those who are entirely free from
its taint, that there is no bad quality meaner, more
degrading, than that of envy. Who, therefore, could
venture openly to accuse another of such a failing,
however kind and disinterested the motive, and still
be admitted to rank as her friend?
There is, besides, a strong impression that, where
this failing does exist, it is so closely interwoven with
the whole texture of the character, that it can never be
separated from it while life and this body of sin remain.
This is undoubtedly thus far true, that its ramifications
are more minute, and more universally pervading, than
those of any other moral defect; so that, on the one
hand, while even an anxious and diligent self-examina-
tion cannot always detect their existence, so, on the
other, it is scarcely possible for its victims to be excited
by an emotion of any nature with which envy will not,
in some manner or other, connect itself. It is still fur-
ther true, that no vice can be more difficult of extirpa-
tion, the form it assumes being seldom sufficiently
tangible to allow of the whole weight of religious and

_ _

_ __

62 3nbV.

moral motives being brought to bear upon it. But the
greatest difficulty of all is, in my mind, the inadequate
conception of the exceeding evil of this disposition, of
the misery it entails on ourselves, the danger and the
constant annoyance to which it exposes all connected
with us. Few would recognize their own picture, how-
ever strong the likeness in fact might be, in the follow-
ing vivid description of Lavater's:--" Lorsqueje cherche
A repr6senter Satan, je me figure une personnel que les
bonnes qualities d'autrui font souffrir, et qui se r6jouit
des fautes et des malheurs du prochain."
Analyze strictly, however, during even this one day,
the feelings that have given you the most annoyance,
and the contemplated or executed measures of deed or
word to which those feelings have prompted you, and
you must plead guilty to the heinous charge of "rejoic-
ing at your brother's faults and misfortunes." It is not
so much, indeed, with relation to important matters
that this feeling is excited within you. If you hear of
your friends being left large fortunes, or forming con-
nections calculated to promote their happiness, you are
not annoyed or grieved: you may even, perhaps, expe-
rience some sensations of pleasure. If, however, the
circumstances of good fortune are brought more home
to yourself, perhaps into collision with yourself, by
being of a more trifling nature, you often experience a
regret or annoyance at the success or the happiness of
others, which would be ludicrous, if it were not so
wicked. Neither is there any vice which displays
itself so readily to the keen eye of observation: even
when the guarded tongue restrains the disclosure, the
expression of the lip and eye is unmistakable, and

Bts. 63

gradually impresses a character on the countenance
which remains at times when the feeling itself is quite
dormant. Only contemplate your case in this point of
view: is it not, when dispassionately considered, shock.
ing to think, that when a stranger hopes to gratify you
by the praise, the judicious and well-merited praise, of
your dearest friend, a pang is inflicted on you by the
very words that ought to sound as pleasant music in
your ears? I have even heard some persons so incau-
tious, under such circumstances, as to qualify the
praise that gives them pain, by detracting from the
merits of the person under discussion, though that
person be their particular friend. This is done in a
variety of ways: her merits and advantages may be
accounted for by the peculiarly favouring circumstances
in which she has been placed; or different disparaging
opinions entertained of her, by other people better qua-
lified to judge, may also be mentioned. Now, many
persons thus imprudent are by no means utterly foolish
at other times; yet, in the moment of temptation from
their besetting sin, they do not observe bow inevitable
it is that the stranger so replied to should immediately
detect their unamiable motives, and estimate them
You will not, perhaps, fall into so open a snare, for
you have sufficient tact and quickness of perception to
know that, under such circumstances, you must, on
your own account, bury in your bosom those emotions
of pain which I much fear you will generally feel. It
is not, however, the outward expression of such emo-
tions, but their inward experience, which is the real
question we are considering, both as regards your

64 Einbp.

present happiness and your eternal interest. Ask
yourself whether it is a pleasurable sensation, or the
contrary, when those you love (I am still putting a
strong case) are admired and appreciated, are held up
as examples of excellence? If you love truly, if you
are free from envy, such praise will be far sweeter to
your ears than any bestowed on yourself could ever be.
Indeed, it might be considered a sufficient punishment
for this vice, to be deprived of the deep and virtuous
sensation of delight experienced by the loving heart
when admiration is warmly expressed for the objects
of their affection.
There has been a time when I should have scornfully
rejected the supposition that such a failing as envy could
exist in companionship with aught that was loveable or
amiable. More observation of character has, however,
given me the unpleasant conviction that it occasionally
may be found in the close neighbourhood of contrasting
excellences. Alas instead of being concealed or gra-
dually overgrown by them, it, on the contrary, spreads
its deadly blight over any noble features that may have
originally existed in the character. Nothing but the
severest discipline, external and internal, can arrest
this, its natural course.
When you were younger, the feelings which I now
warn you against were called jealousy, and even now
some indulgent friends may continue to give them this
false name. Do not you suffer the dangerous delusion!
Have the courage to place your feelings in all their
natural deformity before you, and this sight will give
you energy to pursue any regimen, however severe,
that may be required to subdue them.


I do really believe that it is the false name of jea-
lousy that prevents many an early struggle against the
real vice of envy. I have heard young women even
boast of the jealousy of their disposition, insinuating
that it was to be considered as a proof of warm feelings
and an affectionate heart. Perhaps genuine jealousy
may deserve to be so considered: the anxious watching
over even imaginary diminution of affection or esteem
in those we love and respect, the vigilance to detect the
slightest external manifestation of any diminution in
their tenderness and regard, though proving a defi-
ciency in that noble faith which is the surest safeguard
and the firmest foundation of love and friendship, may,
in some cases, be an evidence of affection and warmth
in the disposition and the heart. So close, however, is
the connection between envy and jealousy, that the
latter in one moment may change into the former.
The most watchful circumspection, therefore, is re-
quired, lest that which is, even in its best form, a weak-
ness and an instrument of misery to ourselves and
others, should still further degenerate into a meanness
and a vice;-as, for instance, when you fear that the
person you love may be induced, by seeing the excel-
lences of another, to withdraw from you some of the
time, admiration, and affection you wish to be exclu-
sively bestowed upon yourself. In this case, there is a
strong temptation to display the failings of the dreaded
rival, or, at the best, to feel no regret at their chance
display. Under such circumstances, even the excus-
able jealousy of affection passes over into the vice of
envy. The connection between them is, indeed, dan-
gerously close; but it is easy to trace the boundary line,


if we are inclined to do so. Jealousy is contented with
the affection and admiration of those it loves and re-
spects; envy is in despair, if those whom it despises
bestow the least portion of attention or admiration on
those whom perhaps she despises still more. Jealousy
inquires only into the feelings of the few valued ones;
envy makes no distinction in her cravings for universal
preference. The very attentions and admiration which
were considered valueless, nay, troublesome, as long
as they were bestowed on herself, become of exceeding
importance when they are transferred to another. Envy
would make use of any means whatever to win back the
friend or the admirer whose transferred attentions were
affording pleasure to another. The power of inflicting
pain and disappointment on one whose superiority is
envied, bestows on the object of former indifference, or
even contempt, a new and powerful attraction. This is
very wicked, very mean, you will say, and shrink back
in horror from the supposition of any resemblance to
such characters as those I have just described. Alas!
your indignation may be honest, but it is without
foundation. Already those earlier symptoms are con-
stantly appearing, which, if not sternly checked, must
in time grow into hopeless deformity of character.
There is nothing that undermines all virtuous and
noble qualities more surely or more insidiously than
the indulged vice of envy. Its unresisting victims
become, by degrees, capable of every species of detrac-
tion, until they lose even the very power of perceiving
that which is true. They become, too, incapable of all
generous self-denial and self-sacrifice; feelings of bit-
terness towards every successful rival (and there are


__ __


few who may not be our rivals on some one point or
other) gradually diffuse themselves throughout the
heart, and leave no place for that love of our neighbour
which the Scriptures have stated to be the test of love
to God.*
Unlike most other vices, envy can never want an
opportunity of indulgence; so that, unless it is early
detected and vigilantly controlled, its rapid growth is
Early detection is the first point; and in that I am
most anxious to assist you. Perhaps, till now, the
possibility of your being guilty of the vice of envy has
never entered your thoughts. When any thing resem-
bling it has forced itself on your notice, you have
probably given it the name of jealousy, and have attri-
buted the painful emotions it excited to the too tender
susceptibilities of your nature. Ridiculous as such
self-deception is, I have seen too many instances of it
to doubt the probability of its existing in your case.
I am not, in general, an advocate for the minute
analysis of mental emotions: the reality of them most
frequently evaporates during the process, as in anatomy
the principle of life escapes during the most vigilant
anatomical examination. In the case, however, of seek-
ing the detection of a before unknown failing, a strict
mental inquiry must necessarily be instituted. The
many great dangers of mental anatomy may be partly
avoided by confining your observations to the external
symptoms, instead of to the state of mind from whence
they proceed. This will be the safer as well as the

1 John iii.

-- --- ~1

68 i.bg.

more effectual mode of bringing conviction home to
your mind. For instance, I would have you watch the
emotions excited when enthusiastic praise is bestowed
upon another, with relation to those very qualities you
are the most anxious should be admired in yourself.
When the conversation or the accomplishments of
another fix the attention which was withheld from
your own,-when the opinion of another, with whom
you fancy yourself on an equality, is put forward as
deserving of being followed in preference to your own,
I can imagine you possessed of sufficient self-respect to
restrain any external tokens of envy: you will not
insinuate, as meaner spirits would do, that the beauty,
or the dress, or the accomplishments so highly extolled
are preserved, cherished, and cultivated at the expense
of time, kindly feelings, and the duty of almsgiving-
that the conversation is considered by many competent
judges flippant, or pedantic, or presuming-that the
opinion cannot be of much value when the conduct has
been in some instances so deficient in prudence.
These are all remarks which envy may easily find
an opportunity of insinuating against any of its rivals;
but, as I said before, I imagine that you have too much
self-respect to manifest openly such feelings, to reveal
such meanness to the eyes of man. Alas! you have
not an equal fear of the all-seeing eye of God. What I
apprehend most for you is the allowing yourself to che-
rish secretly all these palliative circumstances, that you
may thus reconcile yourself to a superiority that morti-
fies you. If you habitually allow yourself in this prac-
tice, it will be almost impossible to avoid feeling plea-
sure instead of pain when these same circumstances



happen to be pointed out by others, and when you
have thus all the benefit, and none of the guilt or
shame, of the disclosure. When envy is freely allowed
to take these two first steps, a further progress is inevi-
table. Self-respect itself will not long preserve you
from outward demonstrations of that which is inwardly
indulged, and you are sure to become in time the object
of just contempt and ridicule. It will soon be well
known that the surest way to inflict pain upon you is
to extol the excellences or to dwell on the happiness
of others, and your failings will be considered an
amusing subject for jesting observation to experiment-
alize upon. I have often watched the downward pro-
gress I have just described; and, unless the grace of
God, working with your own vigorous self-control,
should alter your present frame of mind, I can see no
reason why you should escape when others inevitably
The circumstance in which this vice manifests itself
most painfully and most dangerously is that of a large
family. How deplorable is it, when, instead of making
each separate interest the interest of the whole, and
rejoicing in the love and admiration bestowed on each
separate individual, as if it were bestowed on the whole,
such love and such admiration excite, on the contrary,
irritation and regret
Among children, this evil seldom attracts notice;
if one girl is praised for dancing or singing much better
than her sister, and the sister taunted into further
efforts by insulting comparisons, the poor mistaken
parent little thinks that, in the pain she inflicts on the
depreciated child, she is implanting a perennial root

-~.. b -


70 3nbp.

of danger and sorrow. Thdichild may cry and sob at
the time, and afterward feel uncomfortable in the pre-
sence of one whose superiority has been made the means
of worrying her; and, if envious by nature, she will
probably take the first opportunity of pointing out to
the teachers any little error of her sister's. The per-
manent injury, however, remains to be effected when
they both grow to woman's estate; the envious sister
will then take every artful opportunity of lessening the
influence of the one who is considered her superior, of
insinuating charges against her to those whose good
opinion they both value the most. And she is only
too easily successful; she is successful, that success
may bring upon her the penalty of her sin, for Heaven
is then the most incensed against us when our sin ap-
pears to prosper. Various and inexhaustible are the
mere temporal punishments of this sin of envy; of the
sin which deprives another of even one shade of the
influence, admiration, and affection, they would other-
wise have enjoyed.
If the preference of a female friend excites angry
and jealous feelings, the attentions of an admirer are
probably still more envied. In some unhappy families,
one may observe the beginning of any such attentions
by the vigilant depreciation of the admirer, and the
anxious manoeuvres to prevent any opportunities of
cultivating the detected preference. What prosperity
can be hoped for to a family in which the supposed
advantage and happiness of one individual member is
feared and guarded against, instead of being considered
an interest belonging to the whole? You will be
shocked at such pictures as these: alas! that they

- ----------


should be so frequent even in domestic England, the
land of happy homes and strong family ties. You are
of course still more shocked at hearing that I attribute
to yourself any shade of so deadly a vice as that above
described; and as long as you do not attribute it to
yourself, my warning voice will be raised in vain: I
am not, however, without hope that the vigilant self-
examination, which your real wish for improvement
will probably soon render habitual, may open your
eyes to your danger while it can still be easily averted.
Supposing this to be the case, I would earnestly sug-
gest to you the following means of cure. First,- earnest
prayer against this particular sin, earnest prayer to be
brought into "a higher moral atmosphere," one of un-
feigned love to our neighbour, one of rejoicing with all
who do rejoice, "and weeping with those who weep."
This general habit is of the greatest importance to cul-
tivate: we should strive naturally and instinctively to
feel pleasure when another is loved, or praised, or for-
tunate; we should try to strengthen our sympathies, to
make the feelings of others, as much as possible, our
own. Many an early emotion of envy might be in-
stantly checked by throwing one's self into the position
of the envied one, and exerting the imagination to con-
ceive vividly the pleasure or the pain she must experi-
ence: this will, even at the time, make us forgetful of
self, and will gradually bring us into the habit of feel-
ing for the pain and pleasure of others, as if we really
believed them to be members of the same mystical
body.* We should, in the next place, attack the symp-
toms of the vice we wish to eradicate; we should seek
1 Cor. xii. 25, 26.

__ __


72 n6g.

by reasonable considerations to realize the absurdity
of our envy: for this, nothing is more essential than
the ascertaining of our own level, and fairly making up
our minds to the certain superiority of others. As soon
as this is distinctly acknowledged, much of the pain of
the inferior estimation in which we are held will be
removed: "There is no disgrace in being eclipsed by
Jupiter." Next, let us examine into the details of the
law of con!pensation-one which is never infringed; let
us consider that the very superiority of others involves
many unpleasantnesses, of a kind, perhaps, the most
disagreeable to us. For instance, it often involves the
necessity of a sacrifice of time and feelings, and almost
invariably creates an isolation,-consequences from
which we, perhaps, should fearfully shrink. On the
brilliant conversationist is inflicted the penalty of never
enjoying a rest in society: her expected employment
is to amuse others, not herself; the beauty is the dread
of all the jealous wives and anxious mothers, and the
object of a notice which is almost incompatible with
happiness: I never saw a happy beauty, did you? The
great genius is shunned and feared by, perhaps, the
very people whom she is most desirous to attract; the
exquisite musician is asked into society en artiste, ex-
pected to contribute a certain species of amusement,
the world refusing to receive any other from her. The
woman who is surrounded by admirers is often wearied
to death of attentions which lose all their charm with
their novelty, and which frequently serve to deprive
her of the only affection she really values. Experience
will convince you of the great truth, that there is a law
of compensation in all things. The same law also holds

__ __~ __ -- -- -- -



good with regard to the preferences shown to those who
have no superiority over us, who are nothing more than
our equals in beauty, in cleverness, in accomplishments.
If Ellen B. or Lydia C. is liked more than you are by
one person, you, in your turn, will be preferred by
another; no one who seeks for affection and approba-
tion, and who really deserves it, ever finally fails of
acquiring it. You have no right to expect that every
one should like you the best: if you considered such
expectations in the abstract, you would be forced to
acknowledge their absurdity. Besides, would it not
be a great annoyance to you to give up your time and
attention to conversing with, or writing to, the very
people whose preference you envy for Ellen B. or Lydia
C. ? They are suited to each other, and like each other:
in good time, you will meet with people who suit you,
and who will consequently like you; nay, perhaps at
this present moment, you may have many friends who
delight in your society, and admire your character:
will you lose the pleasure which such blessings are in-
tended to confer, by envying the preferences shown to
others? Bring the subject distinctly and clearly home
to your mind. Whenever you feel an emotion of pain,
have the courage to trace it to its source, place this
emotion in all its meanness before you, then think how
ridiculous it would appear to you if you contemplated
it in another. Finally, ask yourself whether there can
be any indulgence of such feelings in a heart that is
bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience
of Christ,-whether there can be any room for them in
a temple of God wherein the spirit of God dwelleth.*
1 Cor. iii. 16.

74 .5lfistzbusz aub Onzzlfistjiezs.



THIS is a difficult subject to address you upon, and
one which you will probably reject as unsuited to your-
self. There are few qualities that the possessor is less
likely to be conscious of than either selfishness or un-
selfishness; because the actions proceeding from either
are so completely instinctive, so unregulated by any
appeal to principle, that they never, in the common
course of things, attract any particular notice. We go
on, therefore, strengthening ourselves in the habits of
either, until a double nature, as it were, is formed,
overlaying the first, and equally powerful with it.
How unlovely is this in the case of selfishness, even
where there are, besides, fine and striking features in
the general character, and how lovely in the case of
unselfishness, even when, as too frequently happens,
there is little comparative strength or nobleness in its
intellectual and moral accompaniments !
You are now young, you are affectionate, good-
natured, obliging, possessed of gay and happy spirits,
and a sweetness of temper that is seldom seen united
with so much sparkling wit and lively sensibilities.
Altogether, then, you are considered a very attractive
person, and, in the love which all those qualities have
won for you from those around you, may bring forward
strong evidence against my charge of selfishness. But


z.Ifiz'fjtzs an anuitlfiznMtfa 75

is not this love more especially felt by those who are
not brought into daily and hourly collision with you.
They only see you bright with good-humour, ready to
talk, to laugh, and to make merry with them in any
way they please. They therefore, in all probability,
do not think you selfish. Are you certain, however,
that the estimate formed of you by your nearest rela-
tives will not be the estimate formed of you by even
acquaintance some years hence, when lessened good-
humour and strengthened habits of selfishness have
brought out into more striking relief the natural faults
of your character ?
The selfishness of the gay, amusing, good-humoured
girl is often unobserved, almost always tolerated; but
when youth, beauty, and vivacity are gone, the vice
appears in its native deformity, and she who indulges
it becomes as unlovely as unloved. It is for the future
you have cause to fear,-a future for which you are
preparing gloom and dislike by the habits you are now
forming in the small details of daily life, as well as in
the pleasurable excitements of social intercourse. As
I said before, these, at present almost imperceptible,
habits are unheeded by those who are only your
acquaintance: but they are not the less sowing the
seeds of future unhappiness for you. You will, as-
suredly, at some period or other, reap in dislike what
you are now sowing in selfishness. If, however, the
warning voice of an "unknown friend" is attended to,
there is yet time to complete a comparatively easy
victory over this, your besetting sin; while, on the
contrary, every week and every month's delay, by
riveting more strongly the chains of habit, increases

- -

76 StIfubmtnas anb Rnstlifttbutzz.

at once your difficulties and your consequent dis-
This day, this very hour, the conflict ought to begin:
but, alas I how may this be, when you are not yet even
aware of the existence of that danger which I warn
you. It is most truly a part of sin to be unconscious
of itself."* It will also be doubly difficult to effect the
necessary preliminary of convincing you of selfishness,
when I am so situated as not to be able to point out to
you with certainty any particular act indicative of the
vice in question. This obliges me to enter into more
varied details, to touch a thousand different strings, in
the hope that, among so many, I may by chance touch
upon the right one.
Now, it is a certain fact, that in such inquiries as the
present, our enemies may be of much more use to us
than our friends. They may, they generally do, ex-
aggerate our faults, but the exaggeration gives them a
relief and depth of colouring which may enable the
accusation to force its way through the dimness
and heavy-sightedness of our self-deception. Examine
yourself, then, with respect to those accusations which
others bring against you in moments of anger and ex-
citement; place yourself in the situation of the injured
party, and ask yourself whether you would not attach
the blame of selfishness to similar conduct in another
person. For instance, you may perhaps be seated in
a comfortable chair by a comfortable fire, reading an
interesting book, and a brother or sister comes in to
request that you will help them in packing something,

Archdeacon Manning.

- --

Stlfixtiuzz anb fans*tlvtzs. 77

or writing something that must be finished at ascertain
time, and that cannot be done without your assistance:
the interruption alone, at a critical part of the story,
or in the middle of an abstruse and interesting argu-
ment, is enough to irritate your temper and to dis-
qualify you for listening with an unprejudiced ear to
the request that is made to you. You answer, proba-
bly, in a tone of irritation; you say that it is impossible,
that the business ought to have been attended to earlier,
and that they could then have concluded it without
your assistance; or perhaps you rise and go with them,
and execute the thing to be done in a most ungracious
manner, with a pouting lip and a surly tone, insinu-
ating, too, for days afterwards, how much you had been
annoyed and inconvenienced. The case would have
been different if a stranger had made the request of
you, or a friend, or any one but a near and probably
very dear relative. In the former case, there would
have been, first, the excitement which always in some
degree distinguishes social from mere family inter-
course; there would have been the wish to keep up
their good opinion of your character, which they may
have been deluded into considering the very reverse
of unselfish. Lastly, their thanks would of course be
more warm than those which you are likely to receive
from a relative, (who instinctively feels it to be your
duty to help in the family labours,) and thus your
vanity would have been sufficiently gratified to recon-
cile you to the trouble and interruption to which you
had been exposed.
Still further, it is, perhaps, only to your own family
that you would have indulged in that introductory irri-


78 *fitfzbnatz aub Bmz*Iizbutnlz.

station of which I have spoken. We have all witnessed
cases in which inexcusable excitement has been dis-
played towards relatives or servants who have an-
nounced unpleasant interruptions, in the shape of an
unwelcome visitor; while the moment afterwards the
real offender has been greeted with an unclouded brow
and a warm welcome, she not having the misfortune
of being so closely connected with you as the innocent
victim of your previous ill-temper.
I enter into these details, not because they are ne-
cessarily connected with selfishness, for many unselfish,
generous-minded people are the unfortunate victims of
ill-temper, to which vice the preceding traits of cha-
racter more peculiarly belong; but for the purpose of
showing you that your conduct towards strangers can
be no test of your unselfishness. It is only in the more
trying details of daily life that the existence of the vice
or the virtue can be evidenced. It is, nevertheless,
upon qualities so imperceptible to yourself as to require
this close scrutiny that most of the happiness and
comfort of domestic life depends.
You know the story of the watch that had been long
out of order, and the cause of its irregularity not to be
discovered. At length, one watchmaker, more inge-
nious than the rest, suggested that a magnet might,
by some chance, have touched the mainspring. This
was ascertained by experiment to have been the case;
the casual and temporary neighbourhood of a magnet
had deranged the whole complicated machinery: and
on equally imperceptible, often undiscoverable, trifles
does the healthy movement of the mainspring of do-
mestic happiness depend. Observe, then, carefully,


__ __ __

Zetlfizbntuz a-0 auzlfizmbnal.f7

every irregularity in its motion, and exercise your in-
genuity to discover the cause in good time; the de-
rangement may otherwise soon become incurable, both
by the strengthening of your own habits, and the dis-
positions towards you which they will impress on the
minds of others.
Do let me entreat you, then, to watch yourself during
the course of even this one day,-first, for the purpose
of ascertaining whether my accusation of selfishness is
or is not well founded, and afterwards, for the purpose
of seeking to eradicate from your character every taint
of so unlovely, and, for the credit of the sex, I may add,
so unfeminine a failing.
Before we proceed further on this subject, I must
attempt to lay down a definition of selfishness, lest you
should suppose that I am so mistaken as to confound
with the vice above named that self-love, which is at
once an allowable instinct and a positive duty.
Selfishness, then, I consider as a perversion of the
natural and divinely-impressed instinct of self-love. It
is a desire for things which are not really good for us,
followed by an endeavour to obtain those things to the
injury of our neighbour.* Where a sacrifice which
benefits your neighbour can inflict no real injury on
yourself, it would be selfishness not to make the sacri-
fice. On the contrary, where either one or the other
must suffer an equal injury, (equal in all points of view
-in permanence, in powers of endurance, &c.,) self-
love requires that you should here prefer yourself.
You have no right to sacrifice your own health, your

See Bishop Butler's Sermons.


80 Zt~flstitutz anb niftults~ s.

own happiness, or your own life, to preserve the health,
or the life, or the happiness of another; for none of
these things are your own: they are only entrusted to
your stewardship, to be made the best use of for God's
glory. Your health is given you that you may have
the free disposal of all your mental and bodily powers
to employ them in his service; your happiness, that
you may have energy to diffuse peace and cheerfulness
around you; your life, that you may "work out your
salvation with fear and trembling." We read of fine
sacrifices of the kind I deprecate in novels and ro-
mances: we may admire them in heathen story; but
with such sacrifices the real Christian has no concern.
He must not give away that which is not his own.
"Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in
your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."*
In the case of a sacrifice of life-one which, of
course, can very rarely occur,-the dangerous results
of thus, as it were, taking events out of the hand of
God cannot be always visible to our sight at present:
we should, however, contemplate what they might pos-
sibly be. Let us, then, consider the injury that may
result to the self-sacrificer, throughout the countless
ages of eternity, from the loss of that working-time of
hours, days, and years, wilfully flung from him for the
uncertain benefit of another. Yes, uncertain, for the
person may at that time have been in a state of greater
meetness for heaven than he will ever again enjoy:
there may be future fearful temptations, and conse-
quent falling into sin, from which he would have been

*1 Cor. vi. 20.

.Z*ftlbbntzz aub ~ntzafizbnttsz.

preserved if his death had taken place when the pro-
vidence of God seemed to will it. Of course, none of
us can, by the most wilful disobedience, dispose events
in any way but exactly that which his hand and his
counsel have determined before the foundation of the
world;* but when we go out of the narrow path of
duty, we attempt, as far as in us lies, to reverse his
unchangeable decrees, and we "have our reward;" we
mar our own welfare, and that of others, when we make
any effort to take the providing for it out of the hands
of the Omnipotent.
It is, however, only for the establishment of a prin-
ciple that it could be necessary to discuss the duties
involved in such rare emergencies. I shall therefore
proceed without further delay to the more common
sacrifices of which I have spoken, and explain to you
what I mean by such sacrifices.
I have alluded to those of health and happiness. We
have all known the first wilfully thrown away by need-
less attendance on such sick friends as would have
been equally well taken care of had servants or hired
nurses shared in the otherwise overpowering labour.
Often is this labour found to incapacitate the nurse-
tending friend for fulfilling towards the convalescent
those offices in which no menial could supply her place
-such as the cheering of the drooping spirit, the selec-
tion and patient perusal of amusing books, an animated,
amusing companionship in their walks and drives, the
humouring of their sick fancy-a sickness that often
increases as that of the body decreases. For all these

Acts iv. 28.

_~_ _~_L~_~~~


82 0tlfistnt z anb lyzstIfnlutns.

trying duties, during the often long and always pain-
fully tedious period of convalescence, the nightly watcher
of the sick-bed has, it is most likely, unfitted herself.
The affection and devotion which were useless and un-
heeded during days and nights of stupor and delirium
have probably by this time worn out the weak body
which they have been exciting to efforts beyond its
strength, so that it is now incapable of more useful
demonstrations of attachment. Far be it from me to
depreciate that fond, devoted watching of love, which is
sometimes even a compensation to the invalid for the
sufferings of sickness, at periods, too, when hired at-
tendance could not be tolerated. Here woman's love
and devotion are often brightly shown. The natural
impulses of her heart lead her to trample under foot
all consideration of personal danger, fatigue, or weak-
ness, when the need of her loved ones demands her
This, however, is comparatively easy; it is only fol-
lowing the instincts of her loving nature never to leave
the sick room, where all her anxiety, all her hopes and
fears are centred,--never to breathe the fresh air of
heaven,-never to mingle in the social circle,-never to
rest the weary limbs, or close the languid eye. The
excitement of love and anxiety makes all this easy as
long as the anxiety itself lasts: but when danger is
removed, and the more trying duties of tending the
convalescent begin, the genuine devotion of self-denial
and unselfishness is put to the test.
Nothing is more difficult than to bear with patience
the apparently unreasonable depression and ever-vary-
ing whims of the peevish convalescent, whose powers

Itzintso an b EnItIfjutntgza. 83

of self-control have been prostrated by long bodily ex-
haustion. Nothing is more trying than to find anxious
exertions for their comfort and amusement, either
entirely unnoticed and useless, or met with petulant
contradiction and ungrateful irritation. Those who
have themselves experienced the helplessness caused
by disease well know how bitterly the trial is shared
by the invalid herself. How deeply she often mourns
over the unreasonableness and irritation she is without
power to control, and what tears of anguish she sheds
in secret over those acts of neglect and words of un-
kindness her own ill-humour and apparent ingratitude
have unintentionally provoked.
Those who feel the sympathy of experience will
surely wish, under all such circumstances, to exercise
untiring patience and unremitting attention; but, how-
ever strong this wish may be, they cannot execute their
purpose if their own health has been injured by pre-
vious unnecessary watching, by exclusion from fresh
air and exercise. Those whose nervous system has
been thus unstrung will never be equal to the painful
exertion which the recovering invalid now requires.
How much better it would have been for her if walks
and sleep had been taken at times when an attentive
nurse would have done just as well to sit at the bed-
side, when absence would have been unnoticed, or only
temporarily regretted l This prudent, and, we must
remember, generally self-denying care of one's self,
would have averted the future bodily illness or nervous
depression of the nurse of the convalescent, at a time
too when the latter has become painfully alive to every
look and word, as well as act, of diminished attention



.%tshnlft itsbntzs aiib n~s~Es

-- --

and watchfulness; you will surely feel deep self-re-
proach if, from any cause, you are unable to control
your own temper, and to bear with cheerful patience
the petulance of hers.
I have dwelt so long on this part of my subject,
because I think it very probable that, with your warm
affections, and before your selfishness has been hardened
by habits of self-indulgence, you might some time or
other fall into the error I have been describing. In
the ardour of your anxiety for some beloved relative,
you may be induced to persevere in such close attend-
ance on the sick-bed as may seriously injure your own
health, and unfit you for more useful, and certainly
more self-denying exertion afterwards. How. much
easier is it to spend days and nights by the sick-bed
of one from whom we are in hourly dread of a final
separation, whose helpless and suffering state excites
the strongest feelings of compassion and anxiety, than
to sit by the sofa, or walk by the side, of the same in-
valid when she has regained just sufficient strength to
experience discomfort in every thing;-when she never
finds her sofa arranged or placed to her satisfaction;
is never pleased with the carriage, or the drive, or the
walk you have chosen; is never interested in the book
or the conversation with which you anxiously and
laboriously try to amuse her. Here it is that woman's
power of endurance, that the real strength and noble-
ness of her character is put to the most difficult test.
Well, too, has this test been borne: right womanly has
been the conduct of many a loving wife, mother, and
sister, under the trying circumstances above described.
Woman alone, perhaps, can steadily maintain the clear

S.ittzjbnfs ani uzntfjehtzEbntz. 85

vision of what the beloved one really is, and can pa-
tiently view the wearisome ebullitions of ill-temper
and discontent as symptoms equally physical with a
cough or a hectic flush.
This noble picture of self-control can be realized
only by those who keep even the best instincts of a
woman's nature under the government of strict princi-
ple, remembering that the most beautiful of these in-
stincts may not be followed without guidance or re-
straint. Those who yield to such instincts without
reflection and self-denial will exhaust their energies
before the time comes for the fulfilment of duties.
The third branch of my subject is the most difficult.
It may, indeed, appear strange that we should not have
the right to sacrifice our own happiness: that surely
belongs to us to dispose of, if nothing else does. Besides,
happiness is evidently not the state of being intended
for us here below; and that much higher state of mind
from which all "hap"* is excluded-viz. blessedness-is
seldom granted unless the other is altogether withdrawn.
You must, however, observe that this blessedness is
only granted when the lower state-that of happiness
-could not be preserved except by a positive breach
of duty, or when it is withheld or destroyed by the
immediate interposition of God Himself, as in the case
of death, separation, incurable disease, &c. Under any
of the above circumstances, we have the sure promise
of God, "As thy days are, so shall thy strength be." The
lost and mourned happiness will not be allowed to
deprive us of the powers of rejoicing in hope, and

Coleridge's Aids to Reflection.

86 8tAfisst ab n ult$rthas.

serving God in peace; also of diffusing around us the
cheerfulness and contentment which is one of the most
important of our Christian duties. These privileges,
however, we must not expect to enjoy, if, by a mistaken
unselfishness, (often deeply stained with pride,) we
sacrifice to another the happiness that lay in our own
path, and which may, in reality, be prejudicial to
them, as it was not intended for them by Providence:
while, on the contrary, it may have been by the same
Providence intended for us as the necessary drop of
sweetness in the otherwise overpowering bitterness of
our earthly cup.
We take, as it were, the disposal of our fate out of
the hands of God as much when we refuse the happi-
ness He sends us as when we turn aside from the path
of duty on account of some rough passage we see there
before us. Good and evil both come from the hands
of the Lord. We should be watchful to receive every
thing exactly in the way He sees it fit for us.
Experience, as well as theory, confirms the truth of
the above assertions. Consider even your own case
with relation to any sacrifice of your own real happi-
ness to the supposed happiness of another. I can
imagine this possible even in a selfish disposition, not
yet hardened. Your good-nature, warm feelings, and
pride (in you a powerfully actuating principle) may
have at times induced you to make, in moments of ex-
citement, sacrifices of which you have not fully counted
the cost." Let us, then, examine this point in relation
to yourself, and to the petty sacrifices of daily life. If
you have allowed others to encroach too much on your
time, if you have given up to them your innocent plea-


StlItixjtas mxb Eutitbutnsst .

sures, your improving pursuits, and favourite com-
panions, has this indulgence of their selfishness really
added to their happiness? Has it not rather been un-
observed, except so far to increase the unreasonable-
ness of their expectations from you, to make them
angry when it at last becomes necessary to resist their
advanced encroachments? On your own side, too,
has it not rather tended to irritate you against people
whom you formerly liked, because you are suffering
from the daily and hourly pressure of the sacrifices
you have imprudently made for them? Believe me,
there can be no peace or happiness in domestic life
without a bien entendu self-love, which will be found
by intelligent experience to be a preservative from
selfishness, instead of a manifestation of it.
From all that I have already said, you will, I hope,
infer that I am not likely to recommend any extrava-
gant social sacrifices, or to bring you in guilty of self-
ishness for actions not really deserving of the name.
Indeed, I have said so much on the other side, that I
may now have some difficulty in proving that, while
defending self-love, I have not been defending you.
We must therefore go back to my former definition of
selfishness-namely, a seeking for ourselves that which
is not our real good, to the neglect of all consideration
for that which is the real good of others. This is view-
ing the subject en grand,-a very general definition,
indeed, but not a vague one, for all the following illus-
trations from the minor details of life may clearly be
referred under this head.
These are the sort of illustrations I always prefer-
they come home so much more readily to the heart and


88 Stlfz itss anb tanszftssntes.

mind. Will not some of the following come home to
you? The indulgence of your indolence by sending a
tired person on a message when you are very well able
to go yourself-sending a servant away from her work
which she has to finish within a certain time-keeping
your maid standing to bestow much more than needful
decoration on your dress, hair, &c., at a time when she
is weak or tired-driving one way for your own mere
amusement, when it is a real inconvenience to your
companion not to go another-expressing or acting on
a disinclination to accompany your friend or sister
when she cannot go alone-refusing to give up a book
that is always within your reach to another who may
have only this opportunity of reading it-walking too
far or too fast, to the serious annoyance of a tired or
delicate companion-refusing, or only consenting with
ill-humour, to write a letter, or to do a piece of work,
or to entertain a visitor, or to pay a visit, when the
person whose more immediate business it is, has, from
want of time, and not from idleness or laziness, no
power to do what she requests of you-dwelling on all the
details of a painful subject, for the mere purpose of giv-
ing vent to and thus relieving your own feelings, though
it may be by the harrowing up of those of others who are
less able to bear it. All these are indeed trifles-but
Trifles make the sum of human things,*
and are sure to occur every day, and to form the cha-
racter into such habits as will fit or unfit it for great
proofs of unselfishness, should such be ever called for.
Besides, it is on trifles such as these that the smooth-
Hannah More.

ZtIfstl zssu anb autItr)ts. 89

ness of "the current of domestic joy" depends. It is a
smoothness that is easily disturbed: do not let your
hand be the one to do it.
In all the trifling instances of selfishness above
enumerated, I have generally supposed that a request
has been made to you, and that you have not the
trouble of finding out the exact manner in which you
can conquer selfishness for the advantage of your
neighbour. I must now, however, remind you that
one of the penalties incurred by past indulgence in
selfishness is this, that those who love you will not con-
tinue to make those requests which you have been in
the habit of refusing, or, if you ever complied with
them, of reminding the obliged person, from time to
time, how much serious inconvenience your compliance
has subjected you to. This, I fear, may have been your
habit; for selfish people exaggerate so much every
"little" (by "the good man") "nameless, unremem-
bered act," that they never consider them gratefully
enough impressed on the heart of the receiver without
frequent reminders from themselves. If such has been
the case, you must not expect the frank, confiding re-
quest, the entire trust in your willingness to make any
not unreasonable sacrifice, with which the unselfish are
gratified and rewarded, and for which perhaps you
often envy them, though you would not take the trouble
to deserve the same confidence yourself. Even should
you now begin the attempt, and begin it in all earnest-
ness, it will take some time to establish your new cha-
racter. En attendant, you must be on the watch for
opportunities of obliging others, for they will not be
freely offered to you; you must now exercise your own

90 SZttitass az ant iMsintss.

observation to find out what they would once have
frankly told you,-whether you are tiring people phy-
sically or distressing them morally, or putting them to
practical inconvenience. I do not make the extravagant
supposition that all those with whom you associate have
attained to Christian perfection; the proud and the
resentful, as well as the delicate-minded, will suffer
much rather than repeat appeals to your unselfishness
which have often before been disregarded. They may
exercise the Christian duty of forgiveness in other
ways, but this is the most difficult of all. Few can
attain to it, and you must not hope it.
Finally; I wish to warn you against believing those
who tell you that such minute analysis of motives, such
scrutiny into the smallest details of daily conduct, has
a tendency to produce an unhealthy self-consciousness.
This might, indeed, be true, if the original state of
your nature, before the examination began, were a
healthy one. "If Adam had always remained in Para-
dise, there would have been no anatomy and no meta-
physics:" as it is not so, we require both. Sin has
entered the world, and death by sin; and therefore it
is that both soul and body require a care and a minute
watchfulness that cannot, in the present state of things,
originate either disease or sin. They have both ex-
isted before.
No one ever became or can become selfish by a
prayerful examination into the fact of being so or not.
In matters of mere feeling, it is indeed dangerous to
scrutinize too narrowly the degree and the nature of
our emotions. We have no standard by which to try
them. If a medical man cannot be trusted to ascertain


ftI tusrss a ?istftIjunt s.

correctly the state of his own pulse, how much more
difficult is it for the amateur to sit in judgment on the
strength and number of the pulsations of his own heart
and mind.
The case is quite different when feelings manifest
themselves in overt acts: then they become of a nature
requiring and susceptible of minute analyzation. This
is the self-scrutiny I recommend to you.
May you be led to seek earnestly for help from above
to overcome the hydra of selfishness, and may you be
encouraged, by that freely offered help, to exert your
own energies to the utmost 1
Let me urge on your especial attention the following
verses from the Bible on the subjects which we have
been considering. If you selected each one of these for
a week's practice, making it at once a question, a warn-
ing, and a direction, it would be a tangible, so to speak,
use of the Holy Scriptures, that has been found pro-
fitable to many:-
"We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmi-
ties of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every
one of us please his neighbour for his good to edifica-
tion. Even Christ pleased not himself."*
"The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto,
but to minister."t
"He died for all, that they which live should not
henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which
died for them, and rose again."S
"Look not every man on his own things, but every
man also on the things of others."a

Bom. xv. 1, 2, 3. t Matt. xx. 28. 2 Cor. v.16. Phil. I

_ _



92 rtIzfrjuzss anb instlftjsi .

"Let all your things be done with charity."*
"By love serve one another."t
"But as touching brotherly love, ye need not that I
write unto you, for ye yourselves are taught of God to
love one another."t
"My little children, let rs not love in word, neither
in tongue, but in deed and in truth."4
"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love
worketh no ill to his neighbour, therefore love is the
fulfilling of the law." 1
"All things whatsoever ye would that men should
do to you, do ye even so to them."

1 Cor. xvi. 14. t Gal. v. 13. 1 These. iv. 9.
S1 John iii. 18. l Rom. xiii. 9, 10. Matt. vii. 12.

- -- ---




You will probably think it strange that I should
consider it necessary to address you, of all others, upon
the subject of self-control,-you who are by nature so
placid and gentle, so dignified and refined, that you
have never been known to display any of the outbreaks
of temper which sometimes disgrace the conduct of your
You compare yourself with others, and probably
cannot help admiring your superiority. You have,
besides, so often listened to the assurances of your
friends that your temper is one that cannot be dis-
turbed, that you may think self-control the very last
point to which your attention needed to be directed.
Self-control, however, has relation to many things
besides mere temper. In your case I readily believe
that to be of singular sweetness, though even in your case
the temper itself may still require self-control. You will
esteem it perhaps a paradox when I tell you that the
very causes which preserve your temper in an external
state of equability, your refinement of mind, your self-
respect, your delicate reserve, your abhorrence of every
thing unfeminine and ungraceful, may produce exactly
the contrary effect on your feelings, and provoke inter-
nally a great deal of contempt and dislike for those

__ ___


whose conduct transgresses from your exalted ideas of
On your own account you would not allow any unkind
word to express such feelings as I have described, but
you cannot or do not conceal them in the expression of
your features, in the very tones of your voice. You
further allow them free indulgence in the depths of
your heart; in its secret recesses you make no allow-
ances for the inferiority of people so differently con-
stituted, educated, and disciplined from yourself,-
people whom, instead of despising and avoiding, you
ought certainly to pity, and, if possible, to sympathize
In this respect, therefore, the control which I recom-
mend to you has reference even to your much vaunted
temper, for though any outward display of ill-breeding
and petulance might be much more opposed to your
respect for yourself, any inward indulgence of the same
feelings must be equally displeasing in the sight of
God, and nearly as prejudicial to the passing on of your
spirit towards being "perfect, even as your Father
which is in heaven is perfect."*
Besides, though there may be no outbreak of ill-
temper at the time your annoyance is excited, nor any
external manifestation of contempt even in your ex-
pressive countenance, you will certainly be unable to
preserve kindness and respect of manner towards those
whose errors and failings are not met by internal self-
control. You will be contemptuously heedless of the
assertions of those whose prevarication you have even

Matt. v. 48.


once experienced; those who have once taunted you
with obligation will never be again allowed to confer a
favour upon you; you will avoid all future intercourse
with those whose unkind and taunting words have
wounded your refinement and self-respect. All this
would contribute to the formation of a fine character in
a romance, for every thing that I have spoken of implies
your own truth and honesty, your generous nature,
your delicate and sensitive habits of mind, your dread
of inflicting pain. For all these admirable qualities I
give you full credit, and, as I said before, they would
make an heroic character in a romance. In real life,
however, they, every one of them, require strict self-
control to form either a Christian character, or one that
will confer peace and happiness. You may be all that
I have described, and I believe you to be so, while, at
the same time your severe judgments and unreasonable
expectations may be productive of unceasing discom-
fort to yourself and all around you. Your friends
plainly see that you expect too much frolp them, that
you are annoyed when their duller perceptions can dis-
cover no grounds for your annoyance, that you decline
their offers of service when they are not made in exactly
the refined manner your imagination requires. Your
annoyance may seldom or never express itself in words,
but it is nevertheless perceptible in the restraint of
your manner, in your carelessness of sympathy on any
point with those who generally differ from you, in the
very tone of your voice, in the whole character of your
conversation. Gradually the gulf becomes wider and
wider that separates you from those among whom it
has pleased God that your lot should be cast.



StIf-eo ntrol.

96 J% if-Control.

You cannot yet be at all sensible of the dangers I
am now pointing out to you. You cannot yet under-
stand the consequences of your present want of self-
control in this particular point. The light of the future
alone can waken them out of present darkness into dis-
tinct and fatal prominence.
Habit has not yet formed into an isolating chain that
refinement of mind and loftiness of character which
your want of self-control may convert into misfortunes
instead of blessings. Whenever, even now, a sense of
total want of sympathy forces itself upon you, you con-
sole yourself with such thoughts as these: Sheep herd
together, eagles fly alone,"* &c.
Small consolation this, even for the pain your loneli-
ness inflicts on yourself, still less for the breach of
duties it involves.
There must, besides, be much danger in a habit of
mind that leads you to attribute to your own superiority
those very unpleasantnesses which would have no ex-
istence if that superiority were more complete. For,
in truth, if your spiritual nature asserted its due au-
thority over the animal, you would habitually exercise
the power which is freely offered you, of supreme con-
trol over the hidden movements of your heart as well
as over the outward expression of the lips.
I would strongly urge you to consider every evidence
of your isolation-of your want of sympathy with others
-as marks of moral inferiority; then, from your con-
scientiousness of mind, you would seek anxiously to
discover the causes of such isolation, and you would
endeavour to remove them.
Sir Philip Sidney.


.StU- outmol. 97

Nothing is more difficult than the perpetual self-
control necessary for this purpose. Constant watch-
fulness is required to subdue every feeling of supe-
riority in the contemplation of your own character,
and constant watchfulness to look upon the words and
actions of others through, as it were, a rose-coloured
medium. The mind of man has been aptly compared
to cut glass, which reflects the very same light in
various colours as well as different shapes, according
to the forms of the glass. Display then the mental
superiority of which you are justly conscious, by
moulding your mind into such forms as will represent
the words and actions of others in the most favourable
point of view. The same illustration will serve to
suggest the best manner of making allowances for
those whose minds are unmanageable, because unedu-
cated and undisciplined. They cannot see things in
the same point of view that you do; how unreasonable
then is it of you to expect that they should form the
same estimate of them.
Let us now enter into the more minute details of
this subject, and consider the many opportunities for
self-control which may arise in the course of even this
one day. I will begin with moral evil.
You may hear falsehoods asserted, you may hear
your friend traduced, you may hear unfair and exag-
gerated statements of the conduct of others, given to
the very people with whom they are most anxious to
stand well. These are trials to which you may be
often exposed, even in domestic life; and their judi-
cious management, the comparative advantages to one's
friends or one's self of silence or defence, will require

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