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that “she learned, from Xenophon's book of the Institution of Cyrus, the method of curbing and correcting this unruly and uneasy passion.” But that trick of using her hands on her handmaids, and others, tells against her majesty's scholarship in this corrective school.
Ursinus, the celebrated German divine of the sixteenth century, and compiler of the Heidelberg Catechism, is described as having been a “modest though a very passionate man; but he exercised great control over his passion, and he is said never to have answered an objection immediately.” They tell us of Faustus Socinus that he was constitutionally very choleric, but had so tamed the wildness of his temper that the uniform suavity of his disposition seemed to be a natural gift. Swift bears witness of Lord Somers that he was a consummate master of himself in the command of those violent passions to which he was very consciously subject. “And it is indeed true that no man is more apt to take fire upon the least appearance of provocation ; which temper he strives to subdue with the utmost violence upon himself; so that his breast has been seen to heave and his eyes to sparkle with rage in those very moments when his words and the cadence of his voice were in the softest and humblest manner.” In the same History of the Last Four Years of Queen Anne, Swift maliciously exults in the Duke of Marlborough’s lapse from“ that virtue of subduing his resentments for which he was so famed," and tells how thoroughly he “ forgot his government of his passion for which his admirers used to celebrate him, and fell into all the impotences of anger and violence upon every party debate.” But Swift is writing as a partisan ; and at any rate a student of history and of character will be at least as cautious in accepting his estimate of Marlborough as the still more slashing ones by Thackeray and Macaulay.
Malone relates of Archbishop Secker that, being very irritable in temper, he made it a rule in order to guard himself against any unseemly outbreak of passion, always to speak in a very slow and measured tone; and that this had the effect desired.
Dr. Channing is said to have been conscious of an inherited tendency to irritability and harshness, which sometimes displayed itself in words or deeds; and his biographer mentions that “ sorrowing over such frailty, and feeling its unworthiness, he resolved that he would never become a minister till he had gained a control over all angry dispositions. The struggle led to a beautiful triumph; and no one, who saw the unbroken serenity of his mature manhood, could easily conceive that there had ever been an original excitability to overcome.” Among his early papers, some of which might be headed, like Owen Feltham's, “Resolves," may be read such passages as this : “ When I feel irritable, let me be silent.” “I wish to be cool and collected amidst insult and provocation. I would avoid the diffuseness which characterizes anger, and vindicate my character, conduct, or opinions, in as few and temperate words as consists with the regard I owe to truth.” Elsewhere we find it recorded of him that only on extreme occasions did he express indignation, and then it was tempered with pity. “This consistent gentleness of manner, however, was the result of self command. By temperament he was ardent, even to impetuosity, and nothing in his character was more beautiful than the serene benignity with which he controlled his quick impulses.”
Bishop Blomfield, his son tells us, possessed an almost complete mastery over a temper naturally liable to be soon roused by the angry recriminations of debate.
Mr. Disraeli asserts of Sir Robert Peel, not only that instead of being cold and wary, as was commonly supposed, he was impulsive and even inclined to rashness, but that his temper was naturally a “fiery” one, over which however he had obtained an absolute control. So Jefferson testifies of Washington, that his temper was constitutionally irritable and high toned, but that by reflection and resolution he had obtained a firm and habitual ascendancy over it. “If ever, however, it broke its bonds, he was most tremendous in his wrath." He then became an incarnate “caution,” as his countrymen might style it, of the import of Dryden's line, “ Beware the fury of a patient man.”
One of those pregnant stanzas with which George Herbert meets and greets us, in the Church Porch, thus expounds and expands the theme of our present variations :
“Be sweet to all. Is thy complexion sour ?
Then keep such company; make them thy allay :
Command thyself in chief. He life's war knows,
DEMENTATION BEFORE DOOM.
Exodus iv. 21. IT is written that Pharaoh hardened his heart, and this again
I and again ; as well as, and we may be sure to all intents and purposes antecedently to, the fact that the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart. Pharaoh would have it so. Judicial blindness set in after a time; but first there had been cause shown in Heaven's chancery court. The infatuation was beyond remedy. The ossification of the heart involved, in its progress and development, paralysis of the brain, Dementation was now the precursor of perdition. “ Quem Deus vult PERDERE prius DEMENTAT.”
It is those who did not like to retain God in their knowledge, that are said by the apostle to be by God given over to a reprobate mind. It is of those who distinctly and emphatically have pleasure in unrighteousness, that he says, “and for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie,” which dementation should involve their doom. They grope in the dark without light, and He maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.
“For wicked ears are deaf to wisdom's call,
And vengeance strikes whom Heaven has doomed to fall," says the Homeric Odysseus; and again, “For Zeus infatuates all, and all believe” a lie. And in another place we see Athene 6 cloud with intellectual gloom the suitors' souls, insensate of their doom.” In the Iliad again, we have the Trojans given over to welcome fatal counsel :
“ The shouting host in loud applauses joined,
The worst advice, the better to refuse." Cicero, in his account to the people of Rome of the Catiline conspiracy, alleged that the conspirators must needs be under a divine and judicial infatuation, and could never have acted as they had done, if the gods had not confounded their senses.
The argument is mosaically inwrought by Ben Jonson, as his manner is, into his tragedy on the subject :
“It is a madness Wherewith Heaven blinds them, when it would confound them.” Catiline was in the mind's eye of Prescott, when he described Pizarro as, though greedy of others' goods, yet, “like the Roman conspirator, prodigal of his own"; and then went on to tell how, obeying the dictates of his own rash judgment, the conqueror of Peru rejected the warnings of his wisest counsellors, and relied with blind confidence on his destiny,—an infatuation imputed by Garcilasso to the malignant influence of the stars. “But the superstitious chronicler might better have explained it by a common principle of human nature; by the presumption nourished by success; the insanity, as the Roman, or rather Grecian, proverb calls it, with which the gods afflict men when they design to ruin them.” Hophni and Phineas hearkened not unto the voice of their father Eli, because the Lord would slay them. But already the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, insomuch that men abhorred the offering of the Lord. They would not hearken, for their hearts were self hardened; (to-day if ye will hear, harden not your hearts :) therefore the Lord willed to slay them. In a
1 So with the “reprobates” denounced by the apostle (Rom. i. 28), because they did not like (oủk édokljaoav) to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate (ådókimov) mind. There is, seemingly, a play of words, so to say, on edokimasan and adokimon.
like sense it was of the Lord to harden the hearts of the confederate kings, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might destroy them utterly.
If the followers of Wycliffe, at a certain period, observes Dean Milman, gradually surrendered themselves to a fanatic madness, and became more and more “daringly and insultingly hostile to the clergy, the clergy might seem under a judicial determination to justify these worst extravagances of hatred.”
A modern historian of ancient Athens remarks of the infatuated conduct of Pausanias, towards the last, that it seems to have partaken of that inconsiderate recklessness which, in the old superstition, preceded the vengeance of the gods. Mr. Fonblanque refers, in another instance, to the Scottish superstition, that when a man is near his death he becomes fey, and denotes his approaching fate by a number of unusual and frantic actions, of the character of which he seems unconscious. A masterly critic of the career of the first Napoleon declares of his diplomatic doings after being driven across the Rhine, and on the eve of his fall, that “there is not such a case of ‘quem Deus vult perdere' in history as the breaking off those negotiations [at Chatillon] by the emperor. ... The lust of conquest had by this time completely got the better of conmon sense in his mind. He was drunk with ridiculous confidence in his 'destiny."" Like the doomed monarch in Shakspeare, this confidence should, by the strength of its illusion, now draw him on to his confusion ; for we “all know, security is mortal's chiefest enemy.” Or, as Shakspeare has it in another play :
“But when we in our viciousness grow hard,
To our confusion." What we have just seen said of Napoleon was said of the allies at an earlier period in that prodigious strife; their imprudence in hazarding a battle at Austerlitz almost tempting Alison, for instance, to“ believe that Providence had struck the