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common sense. But if any one of them happen to be more forward for his age than what is usual, he makes a prodigious figure in their partial and doting eyes ; nor can they be content to smother or conceal the delicious sensations of their hearts. They exhibit the prodigy of intellect to their acquaintances and visiters; and these, out of courtesy, praise the wonderful boy to his face, and express quite as much admiration of his parts as they feel-and peradventure a little more.
Young master listens nothing loth”—to these notes of adulation. Ere he is out of his teens, he thinks himself too wise for instruction, and too important for advice. He looks down with scorn upon the beaten tracks of life, and must needs strike out some eccentric path for himself. Or, depending on the mere force of genius, he despises plodding industry even of the intellectual kind, as fit only for vulgar souls. The deplorable consequences are inevitable.
A boy flattered much for his genius, or a girl for her beauty, is of all human wights the most likely to become tumid with vanity--that wen of the mind, which alike leforms it, and hinders its growth.
The natural gifts of the mind are dealt out with a frugal hand ; to none so abundantly as to supersede the necessity of mental labour ; and to few so sparingly, that they may not, under the enjoyment of suitable means and with well-directed industry, attain to a respectable standing for knowledge : and whatever of difference there be between mankind in regard to the original powers of their minds, the niost common and the greatest difference between them, arises from a diligent cultivation of these powers on the one hand, and a slothful neglect of them on the other. With respect to intellectual, as well as wordly treasure, it is the hand of the diligent that maketh rich ; while the sluggard,
who neglects to cultivate and improve his mind, will find that mind a wretched waste at the
age of fifty, of however great promise it had been at the age of twenty.
Of bridling the tongue-with a squint at scolding
“ The tongue can no man tame."
If this even had not been the language of inspiration, experience has proved it to be the language of truth. The tongue is the most untamable thing in nature.
Every kind of beasts and birds, and of serpents, is tamed, and has been tamed by mankind.” But not so with the tongue.
Who amongst the sons of men ever yet tamed his own tongue ? Not one.-A person can bridle his tongue, or hold it: but no sooner does he take off the bridle, or let go his hold, than this little member runs wild, and out slips something from it, in the moment of passion or of levity, which the speaker presently wishes back.
Mark Anthony, it has been said, tamed lions, and drove then, harnessed to his chariot, through the streets of Rome. Had he tamed his own tongue, it had been a greater wonder still. The rattle-snake has been tamed, and so has the crocodile : but the tongue never.
Pythagoras imposed on his pupils constant silence, for months and years together. But what did it all signify? No sooner were they permitted to talk, than they gabbled a deal of impertinence.-Besides, to withhold the tongue from speaking at all, is destroying its
end and use, rather than taming it. The gift of speech is too precious to be thrown away.--Let the tongue be accustomed to speak, and to speak as it ought. “A word spoken in due season, how good is it!"
Unruly tongues, on the contrary, produce "a world of iniquity.”—Some are “ full of deadly poison.” Such are they that curse men and blaspheme God, and which utter lies, for mischief or for sport. Such too is the deceitful tongue, “ whose words are smoother than oil; yet are they drawn swords.” There is the sly, whispering tongue, and the babbling, tattling tongue ; each of which“ separateth very friends." 66 The words of a tale-bearer are as wounds." He wounds others thereby and himself too. For the mouth of a such a fool is his destruction.
An impertinent, meddling tongue, makes bad worse, even when employed in offices of friendship. When Job was smit from head to foot, the busy tongues of his wife and his friends were a sorer plague to him than all his biles. And thus it often happens, that a person under misfortunes, suffers, as well from the busy meddling tongues of friends as from the malicious tongues of enemies.
There are fiery tongues. “ The tongue is a fire.” Such is the tongue of the passionate man or woman, whose mouth, foaming with rage, casteth abroad words which are as 6 fire-brands, arrows, and death.” Such also is the tongue of the slanderer and backbiter, which being itself " set on fire of hell,” puts whole neighborhoods and communities in a flame, and 56 setteth on fire the course of nature.” How many a pretty mouth (ah, sweetly fashioned mouth) has been disfigured and made hideous, by the fiery tongue in it.
What then is to be done with this unruly little member, which “ boasteth great things," and occasioneth in
finite mischief in the world ? Since no man, nor woman even, can quite tame it, what is the best way to
First, correct the heart, and keep that with all diligence. The foolishness of the lips is first uttered in the heart. 66 For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."
Next, carefully bridle the tongue. Keep the bit upon it at all times; especially in the moment of sudden anger, and in the hour of joy and conviviality,
Self-command, as respects the tongue, is as necessary as it is difficult. For we are told from divine authority, “ If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body."
I will conclude this little essay with a caution to scolding mistresses : a wholesome caution borrowed from the
an anonymous writer of former times. “Economy” (saith this sound and orthodox lecturer of the fair sex,)“ much depends upon the good management of a family. I have often seen, and long been convinced, that a mild and dispassionate is much more efficacious and salutary, than a severe and rigorous discipline. If you would prevent faults in your domestics, take care that you see but few ; never animadvert on trifles, nor appear discomposed at accidents, nor reprove real faults in a passion."
“ Mrs. Teasy, who has no daughters of her own, has brought up several girls, whom she took out of poor families; but she complains, she never yet has had one but who was a vexation to her. They do her more mischief than all their work is worth ; and though she is always talking to them, she cannot make them mind her. Her complaints are partly true; but the fault is her own, for she spoils all her girls by continually fretting at them. If Betty happens to turn over the swill
pail or break a mug, by stumbling across a broom which Mrs. Teasy in her hurry has left in the way, the old lady is in a rage. “ There, you careless drab! I knew you would do so. You are always breaking things. You waste and destroy more than you earn. I had rather do every thing myself. I never will set you to do any thing again as long as I live.” And so Betty sits down What! you buggage! have you nothing to do ?-Go, fetch the creampot and turn the cream into the churn. How you handle it! I know you will break it, as you do every thing else.” The poor girl, in a trepidation of carefulness and anxiety, lets it fall sure enough. It is dashed into fragments, and the cream scattered round the floor.
660 la! you nasty trollop.--I never saw any thing like this. Just so you do every day. I cannot keep my hands off from you." Thus, with tongue and claws, she frightens poor Betty almost into fits. Nine tenths of the mischief which the girl does, is through an excessive caution to avoid it. Her mind is never calm, nor her nerves steady, because her mistress is ever blaming, scolding, and threatening. By degrees, however, the girl becomes hardened. If she breaks an article when Mrs. Teasy is not present, she secretes it. If enquiry is made, she lies to prevent discovery."
Of Saying too much.
The art of holding the tongue is quite as necessary as the art of speaking, and, in some instances, it is even more difficult to learn.