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tality as well as time, and each according to their respective importance. It seeks the attainment of worthy objects by worthy and suitable means. It keeps the end in view, and the means it properly adapts to the end. It shuns the evil that is avoidable, and what is unavoidable, it meets with resignation and firmness.
An ounce of genuine Prudence is worth a pound of unbridled Genius. What signifies fine sense, exalted sense, even the best theoretical sense in the world, if it produces worse than nonsense in practice? What signifies it that one have great parts and great learning, united, if, notwithstanding, he acts the part of a fool ?
“ How empty learning, and how vain is art,
Save where it guides the life, or mends the heart." Look at Bibulus, the most exalted, yet the most selldegraded of men ! Seemingly, he never thinks foolishly, nor ever acts wisely. Endowed with uncommon talents, and possessing the advantages of superior learning, his whole life, nevertheless, is a series of inconsistencies, errors and follies; and all from the want of prudence, without which, no man is truly great, or can be useful to others, or even to himself.
Prudence, consists of soundness of judgment, together with firmness of resolution to follow the dictates of judgment. For want of such firm resolution, many act absurdly, though they 'speculate wisely; being drawn astray, contrary to their better knowledge, by indolence, by timidity, by ungoverned passion, or by their propensities to particular ruinous vices.
Prudence, as particularly respects the concerns of this life, is a gift of Nature, distributed, like intellect, in different degrees among mankind. Some discover the rudiments of it even from childhood.
Others are naturally rash, headstrong, and disposed to follow the impulse of the moment without either foresight or reflection ; till taught to their cost, and sometimes hap. pily cured, in the school of experience. While others again, notwithstanding excellent advantages for learning discretion, continue, as to this particular, radically defective to the end of their lives. They have quick. ness of apprehension, readiness of wit, volubility of tongue, and besides, dame experience has severely disciplined them in her school. But all this notwithstanding, they still have the weakness of infancy in this particular; in middle age, and even to old age, their minds are yet in the cradle.
But though the prudence of which I am now speaking is a natural gift, it is an improveable gift. Where there are any rudiments of it at all in the
young mind, it may, by proper means, be strengthened and increased; and it is one of the essential parts of education to lead the pupil into the habit of forethought and reflection, and to cultivate in him a sturdy growth of welldirected Resoluteness ; which, in fact, is a main pillar of the human heart. As many persons are imprudent for want of education, so, unquestionably, the ruinious imprudences of many others are owing to a perverted or unsound education; an education that leads them to contemn the condition alloted to them by Providence, and to restless aspirations after one that is unattainable.
Some certain circumstances have been the means of imbuing a whole population with remarkable prudence continuing for ages. In Holcroft's Travels in Holland it is remarked : “ The Dutchman, living in continual danger of inundation, and of losing, not only the fruits of his industry, but his life, becomes habitually prudent. His foresight is admirable, his perseverence not to be conquered, and his labours, unless seen, not to be believed." The Scotch, also, have, time out of mind,
been as it were inoculated with prudence, as relates to the various branches of economy; and it is clearly accounted for from the peculiar circumstances of their history. In some other countries (unfortunately, in our own, for one instance) a concurrence of several extraordinary circumstances has occasioned very many thousands to be imprudent, rash, and desperately adventu
And as on the large scale, so on the small ones : a sound education, correct habits, and a just way of thinking, in early life, generally lead to prudence of conduct in its following stages; and so contrariwise.
One of the many important branches of prudence, is carefully to avoid incuring enmities, as far as can be done consistently with uprightness of character and a good conscience. For seldom does one unnecessarily make an enemy of his fellow creature but he finds cause to regret it afterwards ; and as seldom has one had reason to be sorry that he has used the soft answer which turneth away wrath. But instead of arguing this point, I will merely adduce a very curious and a very instructive specimen from the Memoirs of Franklin.
“ In 1736," observe the Reviewers, in the Analectic Magazine, “ Franklin was chosen clerk of the general assembly of Pennsylvania ;-his first promotion, as he calls it in his narrative. The choice was annual, and the year following, a new member made a long speech in opposition to his re-election. We copy what he relates on this occasion, because it is every way characteristic."
“ As the place was highly desirable for me, on many accounts, I did not like the opposition of this new ember, who was a gentleman of fortune and education, with talents that were likely to give him in time great influence in the house, which indeed afterwards hap
pened. I did not, however, aim at gaining his favor by paying any servile respect to him, but after some time took this other method. Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting that he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately; and I returned it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the fa
When we next met in the house, he spoke to me, (which he had never done before,) and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death. This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim that I had learned, which says, he that has once done you a kindness, will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged. And it shows how much more profitable it is prudently to remove, than to resent, return and continue inimical proceedings."
Of the vast importance of Manner in giving Counsel
To exasperate is not the way to convince: nor does asperity of language or of manner necessarily belong to the duty of plain-dealing. So far otherwise, a scolding preacher, or a snarling reprover, betrays alike a gross ignorance of the philosophy of the human mind, and the absence of christian meekness; and however
zealous be his aim to do good, the provokingness of his manner will defeat the benevolence of his intentions.
The following remarks are from the pen of a man as distinguished for christian piety, as for superior genius the immortal Cowper. “ No man" (says that evangelical poet) was ever scolded out of his sins. The heart, corrupt as it is, and because it is so, grows angry if it be not treated with some management and good manners, and scolds again. A surly mastiff will bear perhaps to be stroked, though he will growl under that operation, but if you touch him roughly he will bite. There is no grace that the spirit of self can counterfeit with more success than that of zeal. A man thinks he is fighting for Christ, when he is fighting for his own notions. He thinks that he is skilfully searching the hearts of others, when he is only gratifying the malignity of his own; and charitably supposes his hearers destitute of all grace, that he may shine the more in his own eyes by comparison."
Nor is either scolding or ridicule the proper way to eure men of their religious prejudices : for by infiaming their anger, it renders their prejudices the more stubborn and inveterate. It is no matter how absurd, or even how munstrous, their errors and prejudices be; if you
offend them by the grossness of your manner, there is little hope of your convincing thein afterward by the cogency of your reasoning.
The Baptist Missionaries in India at the first insult. ed, as we are told, the superstition which they attacked, and ridiculed and reviled the Bramins in the streets, and at their festivals, when the passions of the blinded and besotted populace were most likely to beánflamed. But experience taught those pious and apostolical men that this was not the right way to make converts : for which reason, in 1805, they made a declaration of the