1. ABILITIES, Human
The abilities of man must fall short on one side or other, like too scanty a blanket when you are abed: if you pull it upon your shoulders, you leave your feet bare; if you thrust it down upon your feet, your shoulders are uncovered.
Sir W. Temple.
2. ABILITIES, Useful
The raven was an unclean bird; God makes use of her to feed Elijah: though she was not good meat, yet it was good meat she brought. A lame man may with his crutch point out to you the right way, and yet not be able to walk in it himself.
3. ABSENT-MINDEDNESS, Example of
Mr. Lawson once left his lecture-room, taking with him a student's hat, instead of his own book, which he was to carry home. Once he was on the point of leaving his house, having put on his head a lady's bonnet, which had been left hanging on the peg where his own hat ought to have been. Once, walking in a copious shower, a friend took pity on him and loaned him an umbrella, which the meditative divine put under his coat, through fear of wetting and thus injuring what had been kindly loaned to him. While intent on his books, his frightened servant opened his study door, and shrieked out abruptly, "Sir, the house is on fire!" The doctor did not intermit his studies for a minute, but simply remarked, "Go and tell your mistress: you know I have no charge of household matters."
4. ABSTINENCE, as a Remedy
An elderly gentleman, accustomed to indulge, entered the room of a certain inn, where sat a grave friend by the fire. Lifting a pair of green spectacles upon his forehead, rubbing his inflamed eyes, and calling for hot brandy and water, he complained that "his eyes were getting weaker and weaker, and that even spectacles didn't seem to do them any good."—"I'll tell thee, friend," replied the Quaker, "what I think. If thee was to wear thy spectacles over thy mouth for a few months, thy eyes would get round again."
5. ABSTINENCE, Compulsory
A drunkard was often urged by his wife to sign the pledge. He would reply, "I'll sign it after a while; but I don't like to break off at once. The best way is to get used to a thing." — "Very well, old man," said she, "see if you don't fall into a hole, one of these days, with nobody to help you out." Strangely enough, as he returned home, drunk, one day, he fell into a shallow well, and shouted for help. His forbearing wife came to his rescue, saying, "Didn't I tell you so? It's lucky I was in hearing, or you might have drowned." Then she let down the bucket, and told him to "take hold." She tugged at the windlass; but, when he was near the top, her grasp slipped, and down he went into his cold bath again. This was repeated till he grew suspicious and furious, and screamed, "Look here! you're doing that on purpose: I know you are."—"Well, now, I am," said the woman, conscious of her opportunity. "Don't you remember telling me it's best to get used to a thing by degrees? I'm afraid, if I bring you up sudden, you would not find it wholesome." He could but laugh at this application of his own logic, but felt his case growing desperate, and promised to sign the pledge at once, if she would lift him out. This she did, and started him off immediately to sign the pledge; warning him, that, if he ever fell into the ditch again, she would leave him there.
6. ABSTINENCE, Decided
A heathen king, who had been for years confirmed in the sin of drunkenness, had been led to forsake the habit. He said to a missionary, "Suppose you put four thousand dollars in one hand, and a glass of rum in the other. You say, 'You drink this rum, I give you four thousand dollars.' I no drink it. You say you kill me. I no drink it."
7. ABSTINENCE, Gain of
A man, long noted for intemperate habits, was induced by Rev. John Abbott to sign the pledge "in his own way," which he did in these words: "I pledge myself to drink no more intoxicating drinks for one year." Near the end of the year, he again appeared at a temperance meeting, without having once touched a drop. "Are you not going to sign again?" asked Mr. Abbott. "Yes," replied he, "if I can do it in my own way." And, accordingly, he wrote, "I sign this pledge for nine hundred and ninety-nine years; and, if I live to that time, I intend to take out a life-lease!" A tew days after, he called upon the tavern-keeper, who welcomed him back to his old haunt." Oh! landlord," said he, as in pain, "I have such a lump on my side!"—"That's because you have stopped drinking," said the landlord: "you won't live long if you keep on."—"Will drink take the lump away?"—"Yes; and, if you don't drink, you'll soon have a lump on the other side. Come, let's drink together;" and he poured out two glasses of whiskey. "I guess I won't drink," said the former inebriate, "especially if keeping the pledge will bring another lump; for it isn't very hard to bear, after all." And with this he drew the lump —a bag of dollars—from his side-pocket, and walked off, leaving the landlord to his reflections.
8. ABSTINENCE, Pledge of
A young soldier was promoted to be a second lieutenant in one of the colored regiments. "Now let me sign the pledge," said he. Free drinking was then too common in officers' quarters. "Why, you don't like drink," said one of his comrades: "there is no danger of your drinking too much."—"No," answered the young soldier, "I don't like the taste of liquor, and, what is more, I don't mean to like it; so I intend to take my stand as an officer pledged against it." Not finding a temperance society to join, he wrote a pledge of total abstinence, signed his name to it, and put it in his pocket. "Let this never witness against me, so help me God," he said.
9. ABSTINENCE, Season for
"I took the pledge," said an old man, "at the foot of the gallows, when I saw a young man hung. The sheriff took out his watch, and said, 'If you have any thing to say, speak now, for you have only five minutes to live.' The young man burst into tears, and said, 'I have to die! I had only one little brother; he had beautiful blue eyes and flaxen hair; and I loved him. But one day I got drunk, and, coming home, found him gathering berries in the garden, and I became angry without cause, and killed him with one blow with a rake. Drink has done it: it has ruined me! I have but one word more to say: Never! never! NEVER! touch any thing that can intoxicate!'"
10. ABSTRACTION, Dangerous
Sir Isaac Newton, finding himself extremely cold, one evening in winter, drew his chair very close to the grate, in which a large fire had recently been lighted. By degrees, the fire having completely kindled, Sir Isaac felt the heat intolerably intense, and rang his bell with unusual violence. His servant was not at hand at the moment, but he soon made his appearance. By this time, Sir Isaac was almost literally roasted. "Remove the grate, you lazy rascal!" he exclaimed, in a tone of irritation very uncommon with that amiable and bland philosopher; "remove the grate, before I am burnt to death!"—"And pray, master," said the servant, "might you not rather draw back your chair?"—"Upon my word," said Sir Isaac, smiling, "I never thought of that."
11. ABSTRACTION, Fatal
When Syracuse was taken, Archimedes was describing mathematical figures upon the earth; and when one of the enemy came upon him, sword in hand, and asked his name, he was so engrossed with the desire of preserving the figures entire, that he answered only by an earnest request to the soldier to keep off, and not break in upon his circle. The soldier, conceiving himself scorned, ran Archimedes through the body, the purple streams gushing from which soon obscured all traces of the problem on which he had been so intent. Thus fell this illustrious man, from the mere neglect to tell his name.
12. ACTION, Bible Rule of
Boleslaus, one of the kings of Poland, carried about him the picture of his father; and when he was to do any great work, or set upon any design extraordinary, he would look on the picture, and pray that he might do nothing unworthy of such a father's name. Thus it is that the Scriptures are the picture of God's will. Before a man engages in any business whatsoever, let him look there, and read what is to be done, what to be omitted.
13. ACTION, Effect of
"Don't write there," said one to a lad, who was writing with a diamond pin on a pane of glass in the window of a hotel.
"Why?" said he.
"Because you can't rub it out."
The glass may be destroyed, but the human soul is immortal. How careful, then, should we be of the impressions we make on deathless souls!
14. ACTION, Enduring
The famous rose-tree planted a thousand years ago by the Emperor Louis le Debonnaire, in the eastern choir of the Cathedral at Hildersheim, has been in particularly fine bloom this season, and looks fresher and greener than ever. Two shoots, which sprang up from the knotty millennial roots in 1863, have attained already the height of the roof.
15. ACTION, Exhortation to
Let not your exertions end in tears; mere weeping will do nothing without action. Get on your feet: ye that have voices and might, go forth and preach the gospel; preach it in every street and lane of this huge city; ye that have wealth, go forth and spend it for the poor and sick and needy and dying, the uneducated, the unenlightened; ye that have time, go forth and spend it in deeds of goodness; ye that have power in prayer, go forth and pray; ye that can handle the pen, go forth and write down iniquity,—every one to his post; every one of you to your gun in this day of battle; now for God and for his truth; for God and for the right; let every one of us who knows the Lord seek to fight under his banner.
16. ACTION, Important
A certain king would build a cathedral; and, that the credit of it might be all his own, he forbade any from contributing to its erection in the least degree. A tablet was placed in the side of the building, and on it his name was carved, as the builder. But that night he saw, in a dream, an angel, who came down and erased his name, and the name of a poor widow appeared in its stead. This was three times repeated; when the enraged king summoned the woman before him, and demanded, "What have you been doing? and why have you broken my commandment?" The trembling woman replied, "I love the Lord, and longed to do something for his name, and for the building up of his church. I was forbidden to touch it in any way; so, in my poverty, I brought a wisp of hay for the horses that drew the stones." And the king saw that he had labored for his own glory, but the widow for the glory of God; and he commanded that her name should be inscribed upon the tablet.
17. ACTION, Motive of
Zinzendorf owed much of his religious fervor to the casual sight of a picture of the crucifixion, with this simple inscription at the bottom: "All this for thee: how much for me?"
18. ACTION, Necessary to Life
Whilst the stream keeps running, it keeps clear; but if it comes once to a standing water, then it breeds toads and frogs, and all manner of filth. The keys that men keep in their pockets, and use every day, wax brighter and brighter; but if they be laid aside, and hang by the walls, they soon grow rusty. Thus it is that action is the very life of the soul: whilst we keep going and running in the ways of God's commandments, we keep clear and free from the world's pollutions; but if we once flag in our diligence, and stand still, oh, what a puddle of sin will the heart be! How rusty and useless will the graces grow!
19. ACTION, Quality of
The Hebrews have a saying, that God is more delighted in adverbs than in nouns; 'tis not so much the matter that's done, but the matter how 'tis done, that God minds. Not how much, but how well! 'Tis the well-doing that meets with a well-done. Let us, therefore, serve God not nominally or verbally, but adverbially.
20. ACTION, Universal
Man was not made to live merely for the possible reception of external impressions, a harp upon which every fitful wind might blow: he was made to act, to will, to influence, to become a power, and the living centre of ever-radiating impressions. It were strange, indeed, if, in a laborious universe, man should be the only idler among the works of the Creator's hands. While all around are working, from the wavelet's tiniest ripple, and from the rosebud's heart, ever glowing into deeper crimson, to the tireless ocean, and the menial and monarch sun; whilst unwearied labor was the condition of Paradise, and angels cease not in their ministry, and there is no faltering in the march of the heavens, and the Son went about doing good, and the Eternal Father, the Watchman of Israel, neither slumbereth nor sleepeth, you will not wonder that, by a law as benign as it is authoritative, God has impressed activity upon his favorite creature, man, and has provided that his shall not be a zoophite existence, clinging in blind helplessness as a parasite to its guardian rock, but a life beautiful and holy, a life of quickened pulses, and an activity and an energy of which insensate matter knows not; and finding in the rapturous doing of everyday life its very soul and essence of joy. There is a necessity in man, then, for activity. Act he must and will; and it is the province of religion to direct and control this tendency, so that his doing may be according to that which is right.
W. M. Punshon.
21. ACTIONS, Record of
Every man, says a Turkish allegory, has two angels, one on the right shoulder and another on his left. When he does any thing good, the angel on the right shoulder writes it down and seals it, because what is done is done forever. When he does evil, the angel on the left shoulder writes it down. He waits till midnight. If before that time the man bows down his head, and exclaims, "Gracious Allah; I have sinned: forgive me!" the angel rubs it out; and if not, at midnight he seals it, and the angel upon the right shoulder weeps.
22. ACTIONS, Responsibility for
Just as the tiny shells make up the chalk hills, and the chalk hills together make up the range, so the trifling actions make up the whole account, and each of these must be pulled asunder separately. You had an hour to spare the other day—what did you do? You had a voice—how did you use it? Each particular shall be brought out, and there shall be demanded an account for each one.
23. ACTIONS, Usefulness of Common
It is the bubbling stream that flows gently; the little rivulet which runs along day and night by the farm-house, that is useful, rather than the swollen flood or warring cataract. Niagara excites our wonder; and we stand amazed at the powerful greatness of God there, as he pours in from the hollow of his hand. But one Niagara is enough for the continent of the world, while the same world requires thousands and tens of thousands of silver fountains and gently flowing rivulets that water every farm and meadow, and every garden, and shall flow on every day and night with their gentle, quiet beauty. So with the acts of our lives. It is not by great deeds, like those of the martyrs, good is to be done, but by the daily and quiet virtues of life.
Rev. Albert Barnes.
24. ACTIVITY, Achievements of
Dr. Adam Clarke said that "old proverb about having too many irons in the fire was an abominable old lie. Have all in it,—shovel, tongs, and poker." Wesley said, "I am always in haste, but never in a hurry: leisure and I have long taken leave of each other." He travelled about five thousand miles in a year; preached about three times a day, commencing at five o'clock in the morning; and his published works amounted to about two hundred volumes. Asbury travelled six thousand miles a year, and preached incessantly. Coke crossed the Atlantic eighteen times, preached, wrote, travelled, established missions, begged from door to door for them, and labored in all respects as if, like the apostles, he would "turn the world upside down." At nearly seventy years of age he started to Christianize India.
25. ACTIVITY, Importance of
It is good policy to strike while the iron is hot: it is still better to adopt Cromwell's procedure, and make the iron hot by striking. The master-spirit who can rule the storm is great, but he is much greater who can both raise and rule it. To attain that grand power, one must possess the brave and indomitable soul of activity which prompted Edmund Burke to exclaim to his constituents in his famous speech at Bristol, "Applaud us when we run; console us when we fall; cheer us when we recover: but let us pass on,—for God's sake, let us pass on."
E. L. Magoon.
26. ACTIVITY, Incitement to
Were the Olympian Agonistæ inspired by the admiring gaze of applauding thousands? Did the thunders of acclamation which awoke the echoes of Olympus excite the Athletæ to higher energies? How, then, shall we be affected, who believe that we are under the watchful eye of the Dread Supreme? The King looks on those who are running the heavenly race, who are wrestling with spiritual antagonists, and who are handing "a cup of cold water" to some drooping and thirsty disciple! As the King's eye brightens with approbation, let us resolve to climb the highest steps of duty, and to walk on the loftiest mountains of holy enterprise.
Dr. J. Parker.
27. ACTIVITY, Result of
If we travel slowly, and loiter on the road, Jesus will go on before us, and sin will overtake us. If we are dilatory and lazy in the vineyard, the Master will not smile on us when he walks through his garden. Be active, and expect Christ to be with thee: be idle, and the thorns and briers will grow so thickly, that he will be 8hut out of thy door.
28. ACTIVITY, Reward of
History informs us of an old Roman soldier who served forty years in the cause of his country,—ten as a private, and thirty as an officer. He had been present in one hundred and twenty battles, and had forty-five times been severely wounded. He had obtained fourteen civic crowns for having saved the life of a Roman citizen, three mural crowns for having been the first to mount the breach, and eight golden crowns for having rescued the standard of a Roman legion from the hands of the enemy. He had in his house eighty-three gold chains, sixty bracelets, eighteen golden spears, and twenty-three horse-trappings, the spoil of war. Let the Christian be equally faithful to his Saviour, and the glory and value of his reward shall far exceed that of this old Roman soldier.
29. ADAPTATION, Force of
A French man of infidel principles was walking one evening beneath the shade of some noble trees, in the neighborhood of B. "How grand and beautiful are these noble trees!" said the wanderer, as he looked up into their branches; "but how singular that so large a tree should bear a fruit so small as the acorn!" Still wondering, he cast his eye upon a gourd-vine running along the hedgerow, with its stem so tender, that the slightest pressure would have severed it, and yet yielding a fruit weighing one hundred pounds. "How singular," said the wanderer, "that so small a plant should grow so large a fruit! If I had been God," said he, "I would have managed creation better than this. I would have put the small fruit on the small plant, and I would have placed the large gourd on this noble oak." And then, wearied with the heat of the day, he laid himself beneath the shade of its spreading branches, and fell asleep. An acorn, already ripe, fell on the face of the sleeper. Awakened by the falling of the little fruit, the thought flashed upon his mind, "Had that been the gourd of one hundred pounds weight, I should probably, by this time, have been a corpse." He immediately went on his knees to ask forgiveness of God. He saw that the Author of all good had rightly disposed of every tree, and the fruit thereof. Conviction went on, under Divine direction, until conversion took its place, and the thoughtless blasphemer became a servant of the Most High God.
30. ADAPTATION, in Nature
The bodies of animals hold in their constitution and properties a great and important relation to the elements by which they are surrounded. The wings of birds bear a relation to air, and the fins of fishes to water.
Throughout the universe there is a wonderful proportioning of one thing to another. The size of animals, of man especially, when considered with respect to other animals, or to the plants which grow around him, is such as a regard to his conveniency would have pointed but. A giant or a pygmy could not have milked goats, reaped corn, or mowed grass; a giant could not have rode a horse, trained a vine, or shorn a sheep, with the same bodily ease as we do, if at all. A pygmy would have been lost amongst rushes, or carried off by birds of prey.
It may be observed, likewise, that the model and the materials of the human body being what they are, a much greater bulk would have broken down by its own weight. The persons of men who much exceed the ordinary stature betray this tendency.
How close is the suitableness of the earth and sea to their several inhabitants, and of these inhabitants to the places of their appointed residence!
Take the earth as it is; and consider the correspondency of the powers of its inhabitants with the properties and condition of the soil which they tread. Take the inhabitants as they are; and consider the substances which the earth yields for their use. They can open its surface; and its surface supplies all which they want. Such is the length of their faculties, and such the constitution of the globe, that this is sufficient for all their occasions.
When we pass from the earth to the sea, from land to water, we pass through a great change; but an adequate change accompanies us of animal forms and functions, of animal capacities and wants. The earth in its nature is very different from the sea, and the sea from the earth; but one accords with its inhabitants as exactly as the other; and the correspondency instituted by Divine Wisdom pervades and harmonizes the whole.
31. ADAPTATION, Proves a Creator
The earth is adapted as the home of man. The sun is at the right distance from the earth to give light, heat, and life. The opposite wants of animal and vegetable life secure the purity of the atmosphere. Animals consume oxygen and exhale carbon, while with plants the operation is reversed. Without the plants the animals would soon perish, and the plants could not exist without the carbonic acid which animals are constantly imparting to the air. The equilibrium of the atmosphere is further maintained by the great system of the winds, which force the air in perpetual currents from the equator to the poles, and the reverse.
32. ADAPTATION, Wisdom of
He alone is wise who can accommodate himself to all the contingencies of life; but the fool contends, and is struggling like a swimmer against the stream.
From the Latin.
33. ADOPTION, Definitions of.
Adoption is that act of God by which we who were alienated, and enemies, and disinherited, are made the sons of God, and heirs of his eternal glory.—R. Watson.------Adoption is an action whereby a man takes a person into his family, in order to make him part of it, acknowledges him for his son, and receives him into the number, and gives him a right to the privileges of his children. Pharaoh's daughter adopted young Moses, and Mordecai Esther. Ex. ii. 10; Esther ii. 7, 15.
34. ADOPTION, Dignity of
How high is this dignity! To be called the sons of God! this is our prerogative royal. We tell you not of a kindred imperial, adopted into some of the Cæsars' families; nor of David matching into the house of Saul, which seemed to him no small preferment; we blazon not your arms with the mixture of noble ingressions, nor fetch your lineal descents from heroes and monarchs. You are made the sons and daughters of God: this is honor amply sufficient.
35. ADOPTION, Honor of
When the Danish missionaries stationed at Malabar set some of their converts to translate a Catechism, in which it was asserted that believers became the sons of God, one of the translators was so startled that he suddenly laid down his pen, and exclaimed, "It is too much: let me rather render it, 'They shall be permitted to kiss his feet!'"
36. ADOPTION, Sacred and Secular
Betwixt civil and sacred adoption, there is a two-fold agreement and disagreement. They agree in this, that both flow from the pleasure and good will of the adoptant; and in this, that both confer a right to privileges which we have not by nature; but in this they differ: one is an act imitating nature, the other transcends nature: the one was found out for the comfort of them that had no children, the other for the comfort of them that had no Father. Divine adoption is in Scripture either taken properly for that act or sentence of God by which we are made sons, or for the privileges with which the adopted are invested. We lost our inheritance by the fall of Adam: we receive it by the death of Christ, which restores it again to us by a new and better title.
37. ADORNMENT, Rebuked
A Quaker gentleman, riding in a carriage with a fashionable lady decked with a profusion of jewelry, heard her complain of the cold. Shivering in her lace bonnet and shawl as light as cobweb, she exclaimed,—"What shall I do to get warm?"
"I really don't know," replied the Quaker solemnly, "unless thee should put on another breast-pin!"
38. ADVENT, The Second
Did you ever hear the sound of the trumpets which are blown before the judges as they come into a city to open the assizes? Did you ever reflect how different are the feelings which those trumpets awaken in the minds of different men? The innocent man, who has no cause to be tried, hears them unmoved. They proclaim no terrors to him. He listens and looks on quietly, and is not afraid. But often there is some poor wretch waiting his trial, in a silent cell, to whom those trumpets are a knell of despair. They tell him that the day of trial is at hand. Yet a little time, and he will stand at the bar of justice, and hear witness after witness telling the story of his misdeeds. Yet a little time and all will be over,—the trial, the verdict, the sentence; and there will remain nothing for him but punishment and disgrace. No wonder the prisoner's heart beats when he hears the trumpet's sound! So shall, the sound be of the archangel's trump.
J. C. Ryle.
39. ADVERSITY, Discipline of
As weeds grow fastest in a fat and rank soil, so our corruptions grow and thrive, and are ready to overrun our souls, when our outward state and condition is most prosperous and successful; and, therefore, God's love and care of us constrain him sometimes to use severe discipline, to nip those luxuriances, and to cut us short in our temporal enjoyments; which else, he sees, we should only turn into provision for our lusts.
40. ADVERSITY, Effect of
Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.
41. ADVERSITY, Friendlessness in
As it is with the deer that is hunted, when the huntsman goes into the park, he rouses the whole herd, and they all run together; but if one be shot, and they see the blood run down, they will soon push him out of their company. Or, as a man being in his travel upon the road, and there being a sun-dial set up in the way, if the sun shine, he will step out of his way to take notice of it; but if the sun do not shine, he will go by a hundred times and never regard it. So let but the sun of prosperity shine upon a man, then who but he? he shall have friends more than a good many; but if a cloudy day come, and take away the sunshine, he may easily number his acquaintance. And so when a man goes on in the credit of the world, he shall be welcome into all companies, and much made of by every one; but if he come once to be shot, and disgrace put upon him, then he shall soon perceive a cloud in every man's face, no one so much as regarding him.
42. ADVERSITY, Influence of
There are minerals called hydrophanous, which are not transparent till they are immersed in water, when they become so; as the hydrophane, a variety of opal. So it is with many a Christian. Till the floods of adversity have been poured over him, his character appears marred and clouded by selfishness and worldly influences. But trials clear away the obscurity, and give distinctness and beauty to his piety.
43. ADVERSITY, Lesson of
Should the native of some distant world, on which the sun always shines, visit our globe, he would be filled with dismay as he beheld the sun disappear, and darkness envelope nature as in a funeral pall. How would his astonishment increase, as, amid the increasing darkness, myriads of worlds, of which he never dreamed, blazed forth upon his vision. Thus, often, adversity affrights us; but, instead of contracting our blessings, it reveals to us new sources of comfort, worlds of joy, hidden while the veil of prosperity hung about us.
44. ADVERSITY, Philosophy of
It was a high speech of Seneca (after the manner of stoics), that the good things which belong to prosperity are to be wished, but the good things that belong to adversity are to be admired: "Bona veram secundarum optabilia, adversarum mirabilia." Certainly, if miracles be the command over nature, they appear most in adversity. It is yet a higher speech of his than the other (much too high for a heathen), "It is true greatness to have in one the frailty of a man and the security of a God." "Vere magnum habere fragilitatem hominis, securitatem Dei." This would have done better in poesy, where transcendencies are more allowed; and the poets, indeed, have been busy with it; for it is, in effect, that strange thing which is figured in that strange fiction of the ancient poets, which seemeth not to be without mystery; nay, and to have some approach to the state of a Christian: "That Hercules, when he went to unbind Prometheus (by whom human nature is represented) sailed the length of the great ocean in an earthen pot or pitcher, lively describing Christian resolution, that saileth in the frail bark of the flesh through the waves of the world." But to speak in a mean, the virtue of prosperity is temperance, the virtue of adversity is fortitude, which in morals is the more heroical virtue. Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament: adversity is the blessing of the New, which carrieth the greater benediction, and the clearer revelation of God's favor. Yet, even in the Old Testament, if you listen to David's harp, you shall hear as many hearse-like airs as carols; and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath labored more in describing the affliction of Job than the felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not without many fears and distaste; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes.
45. ADVERSITY, a Test
Ask the man of adversity how other men act towards him; ask those others how he acts towards them. Adversity is the true touchstone of merit in both; happy if it does not produce the dishonesty of meanness in one, and that of insolence and pride in the other.
46. ADVERSITY, Use of
A man who had enjoyed great prosperity, and amassed considerable wealth, without thought of God, was at length overwhelmed with calamities. His life was imperilled, his property was lost, his family were sick nigh unto death, he lost his eyes, and, last of all, his boy died. He desired to be led to the side of his dead son, and handled the loved form which he could no longer see. There he exclaimed, "O God! it is enough! Stricken, smitten, and afflicted, the wandering child of pious parents, who have long since gone to heaven, will yield. I will kiss the rod that smites me; and, though I cannot now see thee in all nature, as once I might have done, yet I do and will hear thee in the silence of my heart." They came to remove him; but he said, "Oh, no! not yet; not until here, audibly, in your presence, and, above all, in the presence of the all-seeing God, I make my vows. Samuel! dearest Samuel! thou wilt never come to me, but I will go to thee, in that world where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest."
47. ADVICE, Danger of Disregarding
"Be sure, Herbert," said Mr. Wise to his son, "not to go beyond your depth in the river: the surface looks very fair and sparkling, but there is an ugly eddy beneath, that may prove too strong for you."
"How do you know, father?" asked Herbert.
"I have tried it," was the reply. "It nearly overcame me; but I could swim, and so got beyond it. Remember what I tell you: beware of the undertow."
Herbert went in to bathe, and was very careful to keep near the shore every time. "It cannot be very dangerous here," he thought, and uttered it aloud to his companion. "It is as smooth as glass; and I can easily return if it is rough beneath, for I can swim now."
"You had better not go," urged his friend: "my father knows this river well, and he says the undertow is very dangerous."
"I will go in a little ways," replied Herbert, "and, if I find it dangerous, come back." And he started vigorously for the middle of the river. His companion, watching him, saw him throw up his arms wildly, and heard his shout for help; but, when help reached him, it was too late. The undertow had got him. He was drowned in the treacherous river I
Mrs. M. L. Rayne.
48. ADVICE, Taking
He who can take advice is sometimes superior to him who can give it.
49. ADVOCATE, Advantage of an
Juvenalis, a widow, complained to Theodoric, king of the Romans, that a suit of hers had been in court three years, which might have been decided in a few days. The king, being informed who were her judges, gave orders that they should give all expedition to the poor woman's cause; and in two days it was decided to her satisfaction. Theodoric then summoned the judges before him, and inquired how it was that they had done in two days what they had delayed for three years. "The recommendation of your majesty," was the reply. "How," said the king: "when I put you in office, did I not consign all pleas and proceedings to you? You deserve death for having delayed that justice, for three years, which two days could accomplish." And, at that instant, he commanded their heads to be struck off.
50. AFFECTATION, Avoiding
Be yourself. Ape no greatness. Be willing to pass for what you are. A good farthing is better than a bad sovereign. Affect no oddness; but dare to be right, though you have to be singular.