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XLVIII.- THE PORTRAIT. Many hundred years ago in a large town, a certain merchant died, and left behind him a considerable fortune. It was known that he had an only son who was absent on a journey; but no one in the town knew the son, so as to be able to identify him.
After some time three young men arrived in the town, each one claiming to be the son of the merchant, and the true heir of his fortune. The Judge directed that a good portrait of the merchant be brought. When this had been done, he said: “Whosoever of you three shall, with an arrow, come nearest hitting the mark I make on the breast of the portrait, shall be regarded as the true heir. The first shot, and came very near.
The second still nearer.
The third, while taking aim, began to tremble, grew pale, burst into tears, cast bow and arrow on the earth, and exclaimed : “No, I cannot shoot; I will rather lose the whole fortune!"
Then the Jndge said to him : "Noble youth, you are the true son, and the rightful beir; and the other two who have shot so well are neither sons, nor heirs; for a true son is not able to send an arrow through the heart of his father even in his portrait !
In the heart of a child
There's a sacred love,
By the One above.
XLIX -THE LOOKING-GLASS.
A brother and sister, Anthony and Pauline, saw their mother's looking-glass on the window, and viewed themselves in it. Anthony was very beautiful, and smiled with an inward pride toward his image in the glass. Pauline was somewhat disfigured by marks of small pox, and she wept as she beheld herself in the glass.
Their mother, coming near at that time, said: “You, Anthony, do not pride yourself on perishable beauty; and be careful that you do not destroy it by sinful indulgences! And you, Pauline, comfort yourself with the thought that there is something better than beauty of face, and seek to supply what you lack in this respect, by cultivating the beauty of the spirit.”
Since beauty of face and form we lose,
L.- THE SEVEN STICKS. A farmer had seven sons, who often quarrelled with one another. In
this kind of strife they lost much time. Yea, some evil disposed per. sons endeavored to make capital of this strife with a view of cheating them of their inheritance after their father's death.
Then, one day, the father called all his sons together, laid before them seven sticks firmly bound together in a bundle, and said : “To him who shall break this bundle of sticks, I will count down one hundred large dollars.” One after the other made the attempt with all his strength; bat each one confessed: “It is not possible to break them.”
"And yet,” answered the father, “there is nothing easier." He picked up one stick after another and broke it with ease. “Ah,” cried out the sons, " to do it in that way is certainly easy ; in that way a little boy could break them."
Then the father said : As it is with these sticks, so it is with you, my sons! So long as you cling unitedly together, you will be able to sustain yourselves, and no one can injure you ; but if the bond of pcace which uvites you is broken, you will be easily served as I have treated these sticks wbich lie broken on the floor before you !”
Ever beware of strife and brawls--
ADVICE TO YOUNG MEN. Socrates did not urge his friends to enter early upon public employments, but first to take pains for the attainment of the knowledge neces. sary for their success in them.
Are you stepping on the threshhold of life? Secure a good moral character. Without virtue you cannot be respected; without integrity you can never rise to distinction and honor.
Be careful lest a too warm desire of distinction should deceive you into pursuits that may cover you with shame by setting your incapacity and slender abilities in full ligbt.
People who have the rashness to intrude into stations without proper authority and the requisite preparation for the service of the public, not only involve others in loss, but subject themselves to ridicule.
The tricky, deceitful, and dishonest are rarely prosperous : for when confidence is withdrawn, poverty is likely to follow.
The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world, is to be in reality what we appear to be.
When once a concealment or deceit has been practiced in matters where all should be fair and open as the day, confidence can never be restored any more than you can restore the white bloom to the grape or plum that you have once pressed in your hand.
Error is the cause of many's misery, the corrupt principle that has produced evil in the world ; 'tis this which begets and cherishes in our souls all the evils that afflict us, and we can never expect to gain true and solid happiness but by a serious endeavor to avoid it.
Falsehood is not only one of the most humiliating vices, but sooner or later it is most certain to lead to most serious crimes.
Industry, well directed, will give a man a competency in a few years, The greatest industry misapplied is useless.
APPLES OF GOLD-YO. 11.
Friendship must be accompanied with virtue,
Demand alliance and in Friendship hurn. Few subjects have been more discussed and less understood than that of friendship. According to the opinions of some, this virtue instead of being the assuager of pain, becomes the source of every inconvenience. Such speculatists, by expecting too much from friendship, dissolv connection, and by drawing the bands too closely, at length break them.
Real friendship is of slow growtb, and never thrives unless engrafted upon a stock of known and reciprocal merit. Though judgment must collect the materials of the goodly structure, it is affection that gives the cement; and passion as well as reason should concur in forming a firm and lasting coalition. llence it is, that not only the most powerful but the most enduring friendships, are the produce of the early seasons of our lives, when we are most susceptible of warm and affectionate impressions. The connections into which we enter in any after period, decrease in strength as our passions abate in fervor.
It were hard to put more truth and untruth together, in few words, than in the reinark—that " Whosoever is delighted in solitude, is either & wild beast or a god.” For it is true, that a natural and secret aversion in any man towards society, has something of the savage beast, while it is most untrue, that it has anything at all of the divine nature, except it proceed not from a pleasure in solitude, but out of a desire to sequester a man's self for a higher conversatiou ; such as was falsely and feignedly assumed by some of the eminent heathen, as Epimenides the Candian, and Numa Pompilius the Roman, and truly and really felt by divers of the ancient hermits and holy fathers of tbe Church. Little, indeed, do men consider what solitude is, and how far it extends. For a erowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk, but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love. The Latin adage touches the truth, " Magna cicilas, magna solitudo; a great city is a great desert; because in a great town friends are scattered, so that there is not that fellowship, for the most part, which prevails in smaller communities. But we may even go farther and truly affirm, that is is a miserable soli. kude, to want true friends ; without whom the world is but a wilderness.
Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul !
sweet'ner of life, and solder of society ! And in this sense also of solitude, whoever in the frame of his natore and affections, is unfit for friendship, partakes of the brate and not of humanity.
A principal fruit of friendship is the discharge of the heart's fulnesss
superinduced by passions of all kinds. We know that diseases of obstruction_suffocations—are most dangerous in the body; and it is not much otherwise in the mind. You may take calomel and sarsaparilla to open the liver, steel to open the spleen, flower of sulphur for the lungs, but no medicine opens the heart but a true friend, to whom one may impart griefs, joys, fears, hopes, suspicions, counsels, and whatever lies upon the heart to oppress it, in a kind of civil shrift or confession.
It is observable how high a rate kings have set upon this fruit of friendship, purchasing it often at the hazard of their own safety. For princes, by reason of the distance of their fortune from that of their subjects, cannot gather this fruit, except, to make themselves capable thereof, they raise some persons to be, as it were, companions and almost equals to themselves; and that many times leads to inconvenience. Augustus raised Agrippa to such a height, that when he consulted with Mecænas about the marriage of his daughter Julia, Mecenas took the liberty to say, that he must either marry his daughter to Agrippa or take away his life; there was no other alternative, he had made him so great.
The observation of Philip de Comines relative to Charles Duke of Burgundy is not to be forgotten, namely, that he would communicate to none bis secrets, and least of all those secrets which troubled him most; which closeness, Comines proceeds to say, did not a little impair and in the end, waste his understanding; and he might well have applied the same judgment to bis second master, Lewis the Eleventb, whose closeness was his torment. It is a dark saying of Pythagoras, but true; Cor ne edito ; eat not your heart. For, if we may admit a hard phrase, those who want friends to communicate with, are, indeed, Cannibals of their own hearts. An admirable consequence of such friendly communication, is in its diverse influence,-redoubling our joys and dividing our griefs; for there is no man who imparts his joys to his friend, but rejoices the more, and none that discloses bis misery to his friend, but grieves the less; so that like the virtue attributed by the alchymists to the philosopher's stone for the body, it works all contrary effects but still to the good and benefit of nature. In bodies, onion strengthens and cherishes any natural action, and on the other hand weakens and dolls any violent impression ; even so is it of minds.
Celestial Happiness ! when e'er she stoops
Each other's pillow to repose divine. The second fruit of friendship, is healthful and sovereign for the understanding, as the first is, for the affections. Friendship indeed makes fair weather in the affections from storms and clouds—but it creates daylight in the understanding out of darkness and confusion of thought. Nor is this to be understood only of faithful counsel from one's friend ; but whoever has his mind furnished with many ideas, will discover, in communicating and discoursing with another, that his wits and understanding do clarify and brighten; he tosses his thoughts more
easily ; he marshals them more orderly; he sees how they look when turned into words ; finally he waxes wiser than himself, and that more by an hour's discourse than by a day's meditation. Themistocles beautifully remarked to the King of Persia, "That speech was like tapestry when opened and spread forth ; by which the mind's conceptions were displayed in imagery and figure, whereas in thoughts they lie concealed, like tapestry rolled in packs.” Neither is the benefit under consideration, derivable from such friends alone who are able to give counsel, (though they are best,) but a man by the act of discoursing learns of himself, brings his own thoughts to light, and whets his wits, as against a stone which itself cuts not. In a word, a man were better to explain himself to a statue or picture, than suffer his thoughts to lie smothered in silence.
But of this second fruit of friendship, the point, which is more open to common observation, is faithful counsel from a friend. Heraclitus said well, in one of his apothegms, “Dry light is ever the best." It is true that the light one receives by counsel from another, is drier and purer than that which comes from his own understanding and judgment; which is ever imbued and drenched in his affections and customs; and there is as much difference between the counsel a friend gives and that which one gives himself, as there is between the counsel of a friend and of a flatterer; for, indeed, there is no such flatterer of a man as himself
, and there is no such remedy against self-flattery, as the liberty of a friend. Counsel is of two sorts; the one concerning manners, the other, business. For the first, the best preservative to keep the mind in health, is the faithful admonition of a friend. The calling of one's self to a strict account, is a medicine sometimes too pungent and corrosive; reading good books of morality, is a little flat and dead to the taste ; observing our faults in others is often improper for our case; the best receipt of all, (best for operation and the best to take,) is the admonition of a friend. It is strange what gross errors and extreme absurdities, many (even great men) commit, for want of a friend to remind them of them selves, much to the damage both of their fame and fortune. For as St. James saith, they are like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass” who “goeth his way and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. As for business, a man may think if he will, that two eyes see no more than one ;—that he who plays the game, sees always more than the looker on; that a man in anger, is as wise as he who has said over the six and twenty letters, or that a musket can be shot off as well at arm's end as upon a rest ; and such other fond conceits_fancying that he is all in all. But when all is done, the help of good counsel, is that which setteth business straight. If any man will take counsel by piece-meal,-asking it in one business of one man and in another business of another;
it is well, (that is to say, better perhaps than if he asked none at all,) but he incnrs two dangers; one, that he may not be faithfully counseled—it being a rare thing to have counsel given except by a perfect and entire friend, that is not bent to some private ends of him that gives it, the other, that the counsel he receives may be hurtful and upsafe, (though well meant,) an intermixture of mischief and of remedy; even as if you were to call in a physician supposed skilful for the cure of the disease you complain of, but unacquainted with the general con