« PreviousContinue »
of his hearers would dispute. If he should add that dancing-parties beginning at ten o'clock at night and ending at four o'clock in the morning, do use up the strength, weaken the nerves, and leave a person wholly unfit for any home duty, he would also be saying what very few people would deny; and then his case would be made out. If he would say that it is wrong to breathe bad air and fill the stomach with unwholesome dainties, so as to make one restless, illnatured, and irritable, for days after, he would also say what few would deny, and his preaching might have some hope of success.
6. The true manner of judging of the worth of amusements is to try them by their effects on the nerves and spirits the day after. True amusements ought to be, as the word indicates, recreation,- something that refreshes, turns us out anew, rests the mind and body by change, and gives cheerfulness and alacrity to our return to duty.
The true objection to all stimulants, alcoholic and narcotic, consists simply in this : that they are a form of over-draft on the nervous system, which helps us to use up in one hour the strength of whole days.
7. A man uses up all the fair legal interest of nervous power by too much amusement. He has now a demand to meet. He has a complicate account to make up, an essay or a sermon to write, and he primes himself by a cup of coffee, a cigar, and a glass of spirits. This is exactly the procedure of a man who, having used the interest of his money, begins to dip into the principal. The strength a man gets in this way is just so much taken out of his life-blood; it is borrowing of a merciless creditor, who will exact in time the pound of flesh nearest his heart.
XII.- OUR OLDEST FRIEND.
READ AT A MEETING OF FORMER COLLEGE CLASSMATES.
0. W. HOLMES.
On birth-days, and Christmas, and New Year's, too, He always remembers both me and you. 8. Every year, this faithful friend, His little present is sure to send; Every year, wheresoever we be, He wants a keepsake from you and me. 9. How he loves us !-- He pats our heads, And, lo! they are gleaming with silver threads; And he's always begging one lock of hair, Till our shining crowns have nothing to wear. 10. At length, he will tell us, one by one, “My child, your labor on earth is done ; And now you must journey afar to see My elder brother,- Eternity!” 11. And so, when long, long years have passed, Some dear old fellow will be the last,Never a boy alive but he, Of all our goodly company! 12. When he lies down, but not till then, Our kind class-angel will drop the pen That writes, in the day-book kept above, Our life-long record of faith and love. 13. So here's a health, in homely rhyme, To our oldest classmate, Father Time! May our last survivor live to be As bald, but as wise and tough, as he !
Questions. Why should the daylight be called “blinding and dazzling”? Why is the air said to be "groggy”? What is the s steward's pass”? Why is time called a “dead-head”? Explain the ninth stanza.
XIII.- A CHEERFUL TEMPER.
WM. ADAMS. 1. Another thing conducive to cheerfulness, is the regulation of desire within proper and natural limits. Another thing for which Sidney Smith deserves admiration, was, amid all his honorable aspirations, the absence of mean jealousies. He had a brother who was titled and wealthy, but, toward him, was nothing exacting or envious. He occupied his own sphere, and was very brave and contented in managing his own affairs, and the very cattle in his inclosures had occasion to be thankful for his kindness. The conditions of contentment are put at a very low figure in the Scriptures, -"having food and raiment.” It is the intrusion of envy and jealousy that destroys cheerfulness; and, if I were to string together a few brief hints as to the manner in which this bright virtue may be cultivated, they would be in this wise : As every man has a will of his own, you must expect every day that your own will be crossed; and when this is done, you must bear it as meekly as when you cross the will of another.
2. Expect not too much of others, and then they will be more tolerant of you. Esteem others more highly than yourself, and watch for the opportunity in which you can say a kind word and confer a small pleasure. Be studious to see what is good and hopeful, to be applauded in another, rather than what is evil, to be reproved; and, amid all the trivial annoyances of life, measure those substantial blessings which come to you every hour from the open hand of Christ; and, if the practice of these rules does not cure a clouded brow and an irritable manner, then it is because you need, and most probably will have, some other medicine besides that of a merry heart
3. Last of all, chief of all, if you would be cheerful in such a world as this, you must exercise a constant trust in an allwise Providence. But do not suppose that by this I intend anything like that reckless confidence which is born of pride, and inflated by egotism,- which is at once our national characteristic and peril. We mean the recognition of that Divine supremacy which directs the revolutions of time and events, with a wisdom and love and power superior to our own, and an obedient deference to his will. If we will consider it honestly, we shall be convinced of the fact, that the occasions for individual and national gratitude which are owing to our power and achievement, are very few; while those are boundless which spring from Him who watches alike the fall of a sparrow and the rise of empires.
4. Never was there a better compend of wisdom, for individuals and nations, than that expressed in these few words of inspiration, “Be careful for nothing” (the word denotes an uneasy, uncheerful apprehension), “but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.” It has been very profanely said by some, in their perverse way, that, as things are among us, we shall have small occasion for thanksgiving. Such men ought to pass their lives in Mexico or Algiers. Nothing to be thankful for! If all the people of these states would, for the whole day, in their homes and in their houses of worship, employ themselves in recounting the mercies of God by which we are distinguished, what beneficent effects would flow from the gratitude such an occupation would inspire. Direful evils there may be,-national sing may provoke Divine displeasure,- perils may environ us,—but, notwithstanding all, how much for which we ought to be thankful! "The Lord