« НазадПродовжити »
worth praying for, watching for, and striving for. Do you possess it? Is it one of your points? If so, happy are you.
Another has hope in a very unusual degree, both in temporal and eternal things. He looks on the bright side of every event, and sees an oasis in every desert and a glittering star in the blackest sky. Not only is he hopeful himself, but he makes others so. When he appears, his eye is lit up with animation; and when he speaks, his words are full of encouragement. “The darkest night has a day;" “Many a broken ship gets safe to land;" “Give it up? no, never!” “Hope on to the end!” are words that are continually on his lips. He reminds his desponding Christian friends of the unchangeableness of the Saviour's love, and exhorts them not to fear the threatening storm.
“Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
In blessings on your head.”
In this way he encourages other hearts and strengthens his own. While his desponding neighbours deplore the winter, he anticipates the summer; and when they look mournfully on the west, where the sun is setting to-night, he points cheerfully to the east, where it will rise tomorrow. If hope is not among your points, seek it with all your soul.
A third possesses charity, or Christian love, that, mingling with his thoughts, his words, and his deeds, "hopeth all things" and "endureth all things.” This is an excellent point, indeed, and as
as it is excellent and inestimable. “I am afraid that he is a faulty one," said a clergymen of a notorious offender; “but as I have some bad qualities which you have never seen, so he may
have some good ones that you have never discovered.” Well is it said of faith, hope, and charity, or love, that “the greatest of these is charity.”
To know our points and to turn them to advantage, is true wisdom; to mistake them, and to undertake what we are not equal to perform, is great folly.
But if “every man has a strong corner,” may it not be said, with equal truth, that "every one has his weak side ?” The illustrations which might be advanced to prove the latter remark would greatly outnumber those that support the former observation. There are bad points as well as good ones.
One man is proud and vain, not considering that “a man's pride shall bring him low." This point of his character he shows in his mien and his manner, his look and his language. He walks haughtily, speaks in a dictatorial way, and gives himself all manner of airs in his silly conceit. Pride and vanity puff up many a heart. A proud man, like a fish, is easily caught, if the bait is suited to his taste.
"If," said an old fisherman, “I wanted to catch one simpleton, I would hook him with a bribe; if I wished to catch twenty, I would net them with promises; but if I desired to catch a hundred, I would poison them with flattery." If pride is one of your points, the sooner you get rid of it the better.
Another is deceitful, so that you are never safe with him. He plays different parts at different times; to-day he is a friend and to-morrow an enemy. His language before your face and behind your back never agree; the one is all fur, and the other all talon. “The words of his mouth are smoother than butter, but war is in his heart; his words are softer than oil, yet are they drawn swords.” There is something so mean and pitiful in deceit, that it deserves to be shot at as a target and exposed to general ridicule.
A third is selfish. He is a perfect “I, by itself, I,” all the centre of his own circle. Selfishness is as a blot on his brow, palpably visible to all, though unseen by himself. The apparent kindness of a selfish man is interested, and his seeming generosity is only “throwing a crab to catch an apple.” Of all human failings, selfishness is one of the most common, and, when carried to extreme, one of the most hateful. The poor may suffer, but the selfish man heeds it not; the houseless may shiver, but he wraps himself
in his own blanket and is at ease;
the hungry may perish, but what matters that? ha has enough and to spare.
This is one form of selfishness; but it has others that cannot be counted.
Unnumber'd grateful tongues shall bless
That heart, where'er it goes,
And weeps for others' woes.
In reviewing your qualities, remember that one good and useful point is worth more than a hundred that are neither good nor useful. We read in that instructive fable, “The Fox and the Cat,” that, though the cat had but one point, it enabled her, on approach of the hounds, to run up a tree and to get out of danger, while the fox, with all his cunning and his thousand points, was overtaken by the dogs and torn to pieces. Bear in mind that a little Christian principle is better than much worldly shrewdness; and that faith, hope, and charity, will impart a thousand times more peace and joy than pride, deceit, and selfishness.
Once more, what are your points? If they are good, encourage them; call them out, and bring them into full practice, that they may be as marrow to your bones; but if they are evil, pray against them, strive against them, and abandon them, lest they soil your garments, dim your hope, oppress your heart, and bring you to dishonour.
OLD HUMPHREY ON BIRTHDAYS.
it at all;
Now is my time to write on this subject, if I mean ever to write
upon for it is my birthday, and my gray hairs tell me there must needs be some uncertainty as to its return. An hour
the postman gave his spirited double rap, and my table is tolerably well covered with letters and packages, the winged messengers of friendship and the kind offerings of affection. Every reader must have some interest in his own birthday and in that of his friends; I will try, then, to be suitable in my remarks, and to teach both the merry and the mournful-hearted.
A birthday in youth and prime is usually a sunshiny season; but as the sun of life declines the returning period brings with it more earnest thought and more serious feeling. An old man can hardly avoid looking before and behind him; and thus, while young people, on their birthdays, with their faces lit up with smiles, think only of the present, the aged, on such occasions, with graver countenances, reflect on the past and the future. This is as it should be. Age may be cheerful and yet thoughtful; and not to be the latter would supply a