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Religious contention is the devil's harvest.
CONTENTMENT-the highest Attain
That happy state of mind, so rarely possessed, in which we can say, "I have enough,” is the highest attainment of philosophy. Happiness consists, not in possessing much, but in being content with what we possess. He who wants little always has enough.
Contentment produces, in some measure, all those effects which the alchymist usually ascribes to what he calls the philosopher's stone; and if it does not bring riches, it does the same thing, by banishing the desire of them. If it cannot remove the disquietudes arising from a man's mind, body, or fortune, it makes him easy under them. Addison. CONTENTMENT-with God's Blessing. A little, with the blessing of God upon it, is better than a great deal, with the incumbrance of His curse; His blessing can multiply a mite into a talent, but His curse will shrink a talent into a mite; by Him the arms of the wicked are broken, and by Him the righteous are upholden; so that the great question is, whether he be with or against us, and the great misfortune is, that this question is seldom asked. The favour of God is to them that obtain it, a better and enduring substance, which, like the widow's barrel of oil, wasted not in the evil days of famine, nor will fail. Bishop Horne. CONTENTMENT-Characteristics of.
Contentment consisteth not in adding more fuel, but in taking away some fire; not in multiplying of wealth, but in subtracting men's desires. Worldly riches, like nuts, tear many clothes in getting them, but fill no belly with eating them, obstructing only the stomach with toughness, and filling the bowels with windiness. Yea, your souls may sooner surfeit than be satisfied with earthly things. He that at first thought ten thousand pounds too much for any one man, will afterwards think ten millions too little for himself. Fuller.
CONTENTMENT-in old Age.
Oh this contentment shown by a man, although the sunset clouds of life were gathering around him, inspires new life into the CONTENTMENT-adapted to Circum
hypochondriacal spectator or listener, whose melancholy minor chords, usually in the presence of an old man, begin to vibrate tremendously, as if he were a signpost to the grave! But in reality, a cheerful, vigorous old man, discloses to us the immortality of his being: too tough to be mown down even by death's keen scythe, and pointing to us the way into the second world. Richter.
He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper; but he is more excellent who can suit his temper to any circumstances. Hume.
CONTENTMENT-True Element of.
Let us not repine, or so much as think the gifts of God unequally dealt, if we see another abound with riches; when, as God knows, the
cares that are the keys that keep those riches, hang often so heavily at the rich man's girdle that they clog him with weary days and restless nights, even when others sleep quietly. We see but the outside of the rich man's happiness; few consider him to be like the silkworm, that, when she seems to play, is at the very same time spinning her own bowels, and consuming herself. And this many rich men do; loading themselves with corroding cares to keep what they have already got. Let us, therefore, be thankful for healthened competence, and above all for a quiet conscience. Izaak Walton.
May I always have a heart superior, with economy suitable, to my fortune. Shenstone.
Is that animal better that hath two or three mountains to graze on than a little bee that feeds on dew or manna, and lives upon what falls every morning from the storehouses of heaven, clouds, and Providence? Can a man quench his thirst better out of a river than a full urn, or drink better from the fountain which is finely paved with marble than when it wells over the green turf? Jeremy Taylor.
O grant me, Heav'n, a middle state,
Happy the man who, void of care and strife,
CONTENTMENT-Moral Origin of.
My conscience is my crown;
Enough, I reckon wealth;
A mean, the surest lot; That lies too high for base contempt, Too low for envy's shot.
My wishes are but few,
All easy to fulfil :
I make the limits of my power The bounds unto my will.
I have no hopes but one, Which is of heavenly reign: Effects attain'd, or not desired, All lower hopes refrain.
I wear the cap and he the crown-
I sleep on straw and he on down-
And he's the king, and I'm the clown-
If happy I, and wretched he,
Perhaps the king would change with me!
Lord, who would live turmoil'd in the court,
Since all great souls still make their own content,
We to ourselves may all our wishes grant;
Sweet are the thoughts that savour of con-
The quiet mind is richer than a crown;
The poor estate scorns fortune's angry frown.
Beggars enjoy when princes oft do miss.
A mind content both crown and kingdom is.
Contentment is a pearl of great price, and whoever procures it at the expense of ten thousand desires makes a wise and a happy purchase. Balguy.
As for a little more money and a little more time, why it's ten to one if either one or the other would make you a whit happier. If you had more time, it would be sure to hang heavily. It is the working man is the happy man. Man was made to be active, and he is never so happy as when he is so. It is the idle man is the miserable man. What comes of holidays, and far too often of sight-seeing, but evil? Half the harm that happens is on those days. And, as for money-Don't you remember the old saying, "Enough is as good as a feast?" Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of its filling a vacuum, it makes one. If it satisfies one want, it doubles and trebles that want another way. That was a true proverb of the wise man, rely upon it: "Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure, and trouble therewith." Franklin.
He that from dust of worldly tumult flies,
There are thousands so extravagant in their ideas of contentment, as to imagine that it must consist in having every thing in this world turn out the way they wish-that they are to sit down in happiness, and feel themselves so at ease on all points, as to desire nothing better and nothing more. I own there are instances of some who seem to pass through the world as if all their paths had been strewed with rosebuds of delight;-but a little experience will convince us, 'tis a fatal expectation to go upon. We are born to trouble and we may depend upon it whilst we live in this world we shall have it, though with intermissions;-that is, in whatever state we are, we shall find a mixture of good and evil; and therefore the true way to contentment is to know how to receive these certain vicissitudes of life,-the returns of
CONTENTMENT-a Pearl of great good and evil, so as neither to be exalted by
the one, nor overthrown by the other, but to
There is scarce any lot so low, but there is something in it to satisfy the man whom it has befallen; Providence having so ordered things, that in every man's cup, how bitter soever, there are some cordial drops-some good circumstances, which, if wisely extracted, are sufficient for the purpose he wants themthat is, to make him contented, and if not happy, at least resigned. Sterne.
nature, and in which every wise man would CONVERSATION-Conduct during. wish to live. Sterne.
Look here, upon this picture and on this,
There is no learned man but will confess he hath much profited by reading controversies,his senses awakened, his judgment sharpened, and the truth which he holds more firmly established. If then it be profitable for him to read, why should it not at least be tolerable and free for his adversary to write? In logic, they teach that contraries laid together more evidently appear: it follows, then, that all controversy being permitted, falsehood will appear more false, and truth the more true; which must needs conduce much to the general confirmation of an implicit truth. Milton.
When we turn our serious attention to the economy of the mind, we perceive that it is capable of a variety of processes of the most remarkable and most important nature. We find, also, that we can exert a voluntary power CONVERSATION-Deficiency in. over these processes, by which we control, direct, and regulate them at our will; and that, when we do not exert this power, the mind is left to the influence of external impressions, or casual trains of association, often unprofitable and frivolous. We thus discover that the mind is the subject of culture and discipline, which, when duly exercised, must produce the most important results on our condition as rational and moral beings; and that the exercise of them involves a responsibility of the most solemn kind, which no man can possibly put away from him. Dr. Abercrombie. CONTROVERSY-Benefits of.
CONTROVERSY-best Kinds of.
As those wines which flow from the first treading of the grape are sweeter and better than those forced out by the press, which gives them the roughness of the husk and the stone, so are those doctrines best and sweetest which
flow from a gentle crush of the Scriptures, and are not wrung into controversies and commonplaces. Bacon.
Not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. Sala.
The progress of a private conversation betwixt two persons of different sexes is often decisive of their fate, and gives it a turn very distinct perhaps from what they themselves anticipated. Gallantry becomes mingled with conversation, and affection and passion come gradually to mix with gallantry. Nobles, as well as shepherd swains, will, in such a trying moment, say more than they intended; and queens, like village maidens, will listen longer than they should. Sir Walter Scott.
interview, but after that they are exhausted, Some men are very entertaining for a first and run out; on a second meeting, we shall find them very flat and monotonous: like hand organs, we have heard all their tunes. Colton. CONVERSATION-Delights of.
There is nothing so delightful as the hearing or the speaking of truth. For this reason there is no conversation so agreeable as that of the man of integrity, who hears without any intention to betray, and speaks without Plato. any intention to deceive.
Cowper. CONVERSATION - Offensive Manner of.
I know of no manner of speaking so offensive as that of giving praise, and closing it with an exception. Steele.
The pith of conversation does not consist in exhibiting your own superior knowledge on matters of small importance, but in enlarging, improving, and correcting the information you possess, by the authority of others.
Sir Walter Scott. CONVERSATION-Requisites of.
Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. Shakspeare.
Never hold any one by the button or the hand, in order to be heard out; for if people are unwilling to hear you, you had better hold your tongue than them. Chesterfield.
One of the best rules in conversation is, never to say a thing which any of the company can reasonably wish we had rather left unsaid: nor can there anything be well more contrary to the ends for which people meet together, than to part unsatisfied with each other or themselves.
The first ingredient in conversation is truth, the next good sense, the third good humour, Sir W. Temple.
and the fourth wit.
Amongst such as out of cunning hear all and talk little, be sure to talk less; or if you must talk, say little. La Bruyère. CONVERSATION-Styles of.
He that would please in company must be attentive to what style is most proper. The scholastic should never be used but in a select company of learned men. The didactic should seldom be used, and then only by judicious aged persons, or those who are eminent for piety or wisdom. No style is more extensively acceptable than the narrative, because this does not carry an air of superiority over the rest of the company, and therefore is most likely to please them: for this purpose we should store our memory with short anecdotes and entertaining pieces of history. Almost every one listens with eagerness to extemporary history. Vanity often co-operates with curiosity, for he that is a hearer in one place, wishes to qualify himself to be a principal speaker in some inferior company, and therefore more attention is given to narrations than anything else in conversation. It is true, indeed, that sallies of wit and quick replies are very pleasing in conversation, but they frequently tend to raise envy in some of the company; but the narrative way neither raises this, nor any other evil passion, but keeps all the company nearly upon an equality, and if judiciously managed, will at once entertain and improve them all. Johnson.
Tasso's conversation was neither gay nor brilliant. Dante was either taciturn or satirical. Butler was sullen or biting. Gray seldom talked or smiled. Hogarth and Swift were very absent-minded in company. Milton was unsociable, and even irritable, when pressed into conversation. Kirwan, though copious and eloquent in public addresses, was meagre and dall in colloquial discourse. Virgil was heavy in conversation. La Fontaine appeared heavy, coarse, and stupid; he could not speak and describe what he had just seen; but then he
was the model of poetry. Chaucer's silence was more agreeable than his conversation. Dryden's conversation was slow and dull, his humour saturnine and reserved. Corneille in conversation was so insipid that he never failed in wearying: he did not even speak correctly that language of which he was such a master. Ben Jonson used to sit silent in company and suck his wine and their humours. Southey was stiff, sedate, and wrapped up in his intimate friends, but in mixed company he asceticism. Addison was good company with preserved his dignity by a stiff and reserved silence. Fox, in conversation, never flagged; his animation and variety were inexhaustible. Dr. Bentley was loquacious. Grotius was talkative. Goldsmith wrote like an angel, and talked like poor Poll. Burke was eminently entertaining, enthusiastic, and interesting in conversation. Curran was a convivial deity; he soared into every region, and was at home in all. Dr. Birch dreaded a pen as he did a torpedo; but he could talk like running water. Dr. Johnson wrote monotonously and ponderously, but in conversation his words were close and sinewy; and if his pistol missed fire, he knocked down his antagonist with the butt of it. Coleridge, in his conversation, was full of acuteness and originality. Leigh Hunt has been well termed the philosopher of hope, and likened to a pleasant stream in conversation. Carlyle doubts, objects, and constantly demurs. Fisher Ames was a powerful and effective orator, and not the less distinguished in the social circle. He possessed a fluent language, a vivid fancy, and a well-stored Chambers.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace St. Paul. unto the hearers.
In what way, or by what manner of working, God changes a soul from evil to good, how Ho impregnates the barren rock-the priceless impenetrable mystery, in all cases alike. gems and gold,-is to the human mind an
As to the value of conversions, God alone can judge. God alone can know how wide are the steps which the soul has to take before it can approach to a community with Him, to the dwelling of the perfect, or to the intercourse and friendship of higher natures.