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habitually neglect us in these little points ; even though the former never have done us a single important favour, and the latter, in some one instance or other, have essentially befriended us.

With regard to neglects and trespasses in those little things which constitute the main substance of social life, the worst of it is, that they are incapable of free discussion; and, of course, the wounds from them admit of no healing. We are deeply touched with omissions or slights, for which it would be ridiculous to ex. postulate or complain. They leave a sting, which secretly rankles in our memories and festers in our imaginations, and inwardly we feel sore, while we are ashamed to fret outwardly : the cause of our provocation being an undefinable nameless something, upon which we never can ask for an explanation, and consequently can never obtain


satisfaction. True enough, all this is often ill-grounded, or the offspring of mere jealousy. But that makes the case the more remediless : for ill-grounded enmities are the 'most obstinate ; because, as their causes exist altogether, or chiefly, in the imagination, the imagination is ever busy in colouring and magnifying them ; whereas when the offence, though real, is of a definite form and shape, it may be got over. I have seen two friends dispute and quarrel violently about an affair of moment, and then settle it, and presently become as kind and loving together as ever : and I have seen other two friends, who never quarrelled together at all, become first cold, and at last utterly estranged, by reason of a neglect or slight, on the one side or the other, which, of itself, was too trivial to be so much as mentioned to the offending party.

There are those who are willing to oblige, but are unwilling to receive obligations, though never so small, in any way or in any thing; and they boast of it as a noble quality. But whatever they may think themselves, they violate, in this respect, the general law of social commerce, which requires some degree of recip rocity, or a mutual exchange of commodities. One who is in the way of often receiving from another, little kindnesses which he is never permitted to requite, sinks into a dependent; and his nominal friend, is not indeed a friend, properly speaking, but a patron. The shew of utter averseness to being obliged in any case whatever, is commonly understood aright ; it is taken for pride, or contempt, or coldness, and naturally gives displeasure ; while, on the contrary, to accept of little obligations with frankness, and to be alike willing to oblige and to be obliged, is the proper line of social intercourse.

I will only remark further, that the little daily attentions, upon which social feeling and happiness so much depend, ought to be natural or spontaneous, and not loaded and stiffened with ceremony; and that the only way to make them quite natural or spontaneous, is to have written upon the heart that first of social laws, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.


of the Great Social Law enjoining it upon each to

yield place to each. In the crowded streets of a great city, where multie tudes are passing in opposite directions, while some arcrossing obliquely and others at right angles, it is necessary for every one to give way a little to those he meets; by which means they all have a free passage. Were the whole multitude to pass directly onward without any one's yielding an inch of ground to any body else, all would be obstructed more or less, and confusion must ensue.- Or, if a churlish individual should take it in his head to march forward in a straight line, and in no case make way for man, woman, nor child, nor even for a procession, he would be sure to jostle against some or other at almost every step ; and would receive many an insult, and perhaps hard blows, for his obstinacy and impudence.

And considerably so it is in our journey through life, and with respect to our general intercourse with mankind, 6 In the march of life no one's path lies so clear as not in some degree to cross another's; and if each is determined, with unyielding sturdiness, to keep his own line, it is impossible but he must both give and receive many a rude shock.” In society, in neighbourhoods, and even among close friends, there will spring up rivalries and be sometimes a clashing of opinion, and if all were mutually obstinate there could be no bounds nor end to contention. Whereas by the exercise of mutual condescention, social harmony is preserved and the pleasures of society enjoyed.

The exercise of condescention is ranked among the precepts of the gospel, and is enjoined as a duty upon christians, who are expressly told from divine authority, to be patient towards all mento be courteous. Hence it follows, that the extremely obstinate man who will not yield an ace in matters of interest or opinion, but runs foul of every one that chances to cross his path, does really transgress the rules of the gospel, as well as those of decorum.

Here let me not be misunderstood. Condescention has its bounds, and those bounds are strongly marked. One should never yield opinions, much less principles, that are of great and serious importance. One should never sacrifice conscience to please friends, or for fear of foes. One should never “ follow a multitude to do evil.” One should never suffer himself to be conformied to the world in vicious practices and customs, or in fashions which, though innocent in themselves are too expensive for him to follow. One should never yield any thing to importunity, which self-justice forbids him to yield at all. In these points the person who would go through the journey of life well, must be firm and inflexible. But in matters of indifference, or of no serious consequence, whether respecting opinion or interest, a yielding, accommodating spirit, is not only desirable, but a moral and christian duty. And even in points which are not to be yielded, one should maintain firmness in such a manner, if possible, as to make it evident that he acts from principle rather than from obstinacy.

It would be easy to apply these observations to the various relations of social life, in all which the custom of well-ordered society imposes upon us a regard for the opinions and feelings of others; but more particularly are they applicable to the married state, for it is here that mutual obstinacy of temper meets with daily and hourly opportunities and occasions of collision. “ Trifles as light as air” are perpetually disputed between them, and with as much warmth and pertinacity as if they were articles of faith. Not at all so is it in the instance I am going to relate ; which, however, I must not be understood to hold up as one of the very best of examples.

In my whole pilgrimage through life, which has been a journey considerably long, I have seldom met with a couple who drew together in the connubial yoke more lovingly than Ephraim and Elizabeth his wife. Ephraim is remarkably tenacious of his rights, and values himself much in being master in his own house. Elizabeth, on the other hand, though a woman of uncommon sturdiness of disposition, always minds to humour him in this particular ;-and in nothing under the sun does she seem to glory so much, as in obedience to her husband. Indeed she has often said, that, for whole years together, she had done nothing of importance without asking his advice.

The gift of advice, it is well known, is generally, of all gifts, the most ungraciously received: even those who ask it, seldom follow it. But not so is it here. Advice is asked, given, received, and followed, with the utmost cordiality.

Now would you know, courteous reader, how this is done? I will tell you. Ephraim is an anatomist of the heart, as respects his wife, and this knowledge he makes use of to excellent purpose. “My dear,” says Elizabeth to him, “ Is it best I should buy this piece of silk, and that piece of furniture ? I will buy them, shan't I. Now I think of it, I am invited to make one of the party to the springs; would you advise me to go p” Ephraim, on his part, attentively reads her eyes, her whole countenance, and marks the tones of her voice; and seldom is he at a loss as to her real inclination, or how to shape his answer. If, however, in any particular instance, he be unable to draw a positive conclusion by means of his skill in physiognomy, he asks her a previous question or two. And no sooner is he well assured that she inclines this way or the other, than he warmly advises her to it.

Elizabeth requites him with complacent looks and gracious words. 6 Since you so advise me, so it shall be; for you know I never fail to ask your advice ; much less would I reject it. And I will say it, Ephraim, your advice somehow always turns out for the best.”Nor does the gratified husband, after her leaving the room, fail of boasting to the company, of the mild virtues of his spouse, and of her habitual readiness to bend to his authority.

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