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raised conception that we have of God is, that ACTION-Speech the Reflex of.
Be just in all thy actions; and if join'd
If we hope to instruct others, we should familiarize our own minds to some fixed and determinate principles of action. The world is a vast labyrinth, in which almost every one is running a different way, and almost every one manifesting hatred to those who do not run the same way. A few indeed stand motionless, and, not seeking to lead themselves or others out of the maze, laugh at the failures of their brethren, yet with little reason; for more grossly than the most bewildered wanderer does he err who never aims to go right. It is more honourable to the head, as well as to the heart, to be misled by our eagerness in the pursuit of truth, than to be safe from blundering by contempt of it. The happiness of mankind is the end of virtue, and truth is the knowledge of the means; which he will never seriously attempt to discover who has not habitually interested himself in the welfare of others. The searcher after truth must love and be beloved; for general benevolence is a necessary motive to constancy of pursuit; and this general benevolence is begotten and rendered permanent by social and domestic affections. Let us beware of that proud philosophy which affects to inculcate philanthropy while it denounces every home-born feeling by which it is produced and nurtured. The paternal and filial duties discipline the heart, and prepare it for the love of all mankind. The intensity of private attachments encourages, not prevents, universal benevolence. The nearer we approach the sun, the more intense his heat yet what corner of the system does he not cheer and vivify. Coleridge.
Action hangs, as it were, "dissolved" in speech, in thoughts whereof speech is the shadow; and precipitates itself therefrom. The kind of speech in a man betokens the kind of action you will get from him. Carlyle.
Young men in the conduct and management of actions embrace more than they can hold, stir more than they can quiet, fly to the end without consideration of the means and degrees, pursue some few principles which they have chanced upon absurdly, care not to be innovate, which draws unknown inconveniences; use extreme remedies at first, and that which doubleth all errors will not acknowledge or retract them. Bacon.
what is your duty better than you know it. It ACTIONS-Unselfish.
It is vain to expect any advantage from our profession of the truth, if we be not sincerely just and honest in our actions.
Judge not of actions by their mere effect;
And smallest virtues from a mighty source.
The motives of the best actions will not bear too strict an inquiry. It is allowed that the cause of most actions, good or bad, may be resolved into the love of ourselves: but the self-love of some men inclines them to please others; and the self-love of others is wholly employed in pleasing themselves. This makes the great distinction between virtue and vice. Swift.
For good and evil must in our actions meet;
Go! let your deeds His praises prove;
To you the Master shall be gh,
The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. Samuel.
It behoves us always to bear in mind, that while actions are always to be judged by the immutable standard of right and wrong, the judgments which we pass upon men must be qualified by considerations of age, country, station, and other accidental circumstances; and it will then be found that he who is most charitable in his judgment is generally the least unjust. Southey.
Unselfish and noble acts are the most radiant epochs in the biography of souls. When wrought in earliest youth, they lie in the memory of age like the coral islands, green and sunny, amidst the melancholy waste of ocean. Thomas.
The manner of saying or of doing anything goes a great way in the value of the thing itself. It was well said of him that called a
good office that was done harshly, and with an ill-will, a stony piece of bread; it is necessary for him that is hungry to receive it, but it almost chokes a man in the going down. Seneca.
ACTIONS (Good)-Immortality of.
Act well at the moment, and you have performed a good action to all eternity. Lavater. ACTIONS (Good)-Influence of.
A right act strikes a cord that extends through the whole universe, touches all moral intelligence, visits every world, vibrates along its whole extent, and conveys its vibrations to the very bosom of God! Pray learn to understand how all work has in it a spiritual element; how the meanest thing on earth has a divine side; how all temporary forms include essences that are to be eternal. Whatever be the meanness of a man's occupation, he may discharge and prosecute it on principles common to him with Michael, or Gabriel, or any of the highest spirits of heaven. Binney.
It is little :
But in these sharp extremities of fortune,
Have their own season. "Tis a little thing
ACTIONS (Little)-Power of.
It is a good thing to believe; it is a good thing to admire. By continually looking upwards, our minds will themselves grow upwards; and as a man, by indulging in habits of scorn and contempt for others, is sure to descend to the level of what he despises, so the opposite habits of admiration and enthusiastic reverence for excellence impart to ourselves a portion of the qualities we admire. Here, as in everything else, humility is the surest path to exaltation. Dr. Arnold. ADMIRATION–Novelty necessary for.
Admiration must be continued by that novelty which first produced it; and how much soever is given, there must always be reason to imagine that more remains. Johnson. ¦
There is a pleasure in admiration; and this is that which properly causeth admiration, when we discover a great deal in an object which we understand to be excellent and yet we see (we know not how much) more beyond that, which our understandings cannot fully reach and comprehend. Tillotson. ADMONITION-should be Gentle.
cherish and refresh.
We must consult the gentlest manner and softest seasons of address; our advice must making those to droop whom it is meant to not fall like a violent storm, bearing down and dew upon the tender herb, or like melting It must descend, as the flakes of snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon and the deeper it sinks into the mind. If there are few who have the humility to receive advice as they ought, it is often because there are few who have the discretion to convey it in a proper vehicle, and to qualify the harshness and bitterness of reproof, against which corrupt nature is apt to revolt, by an artful mixture of sweetening and agreeable ingredients. To probe the wound to the bottom with all the boldness and resolution of a good spiritual surgeon, and yet with all the delicacy and tenderness of a friend, requires a very dexterous and masterly hand. An affable deportment and a complacency of behaviour will disarm the most obstinate; whereas, if instead of calmly pointing out their mistake, we break out into unseemly sallies of
passion, we cease to have any influence. Seed. ADVENTURE-Spirit of.
Yet who but he undaunted could explore
When all was still in the destroying hour-
Adversity borrows its sharpest sting from our impatience. Bishop Horne.
It is good for man to suffer the adversity of this earthly life: for it brings him back to the sacred retirement of the heart, where only he finds he is an exile from his native home, and ought not to place his trust in any worldly enjoyment. It is good for him also to meet with contradiction and reproach and to be evil thought of, and evil spoken of, even when his intentions are upright, and his actions blameless: for this keeps him humble, and is a powerful antidote to the poison of vainglory; and then chiefly it is that we have recourse to the witness within us which is God; when we are outwardly despised, and held in no degree of esteem and favour among men. Our dependence upon God ought to be so entire and absolute, that we should never think it necessary, in any kind of distress, to have recourse to human consolations.
Thomas à Kempis.
Ye noble few, who here unbending stand
How blunt are all the arrows of thy quiver in comparison with those of guilt! Blair.
Ask the man of adversity how other men art towards him; ask those others how he arts towards them. Adversity is the true touchstone of merit in both; happy if it does not produce the dishonesty of meanness in
The worst men often give the best advice.
It is expedient to have an acquaintance with those who have looked into the world; who know men, understand business, and can give you good intelligence and good advice when they are wanted. Bishop Horne.
No part of conduct asks for skill more nice, Though none more common, than to give advice: Misers themselves in this will not be saving, Unless their knowledge makes it worth the having;
And where's the wonder, when we will obtrude A useless gift, it meets ingratitude.
Advice is offensive, not because it lays us open to unexpected regret, or convicts us of any fault which has escaped our notice, but because it shows us that we are known to others as well as ourselves; and the officious monitor is persecuted with hatred, not because his accusation is false, but because he assumes the superiority which we are not willing to grant him, and has dared to detect what we desire to conceal. Johnson.
One day, as an ancient king of Tartary was riding with his officers of state, they met a dervise, crying aloud, "To him that will give me a hundred dinars, I will give a piece of good advice." The king, attracted by this strange declaration, stopped, and said to the dorvise, "What advice is this that you offer for a hundred dinars?" "Sire," replied the dervise, "I shall be most thankful to tell you, as soon as you order the money to be paid me.' The king, expecting to hear something extraordinary, ordered the money to be given to the dervise at once. On receiving which, he said, "Sire, my advice is, begin nothing without considering what the end may be."
The officers of state, smiling at what they thought ridiculous advice, looked at the king, who they expected would be so enraged at this insult, as to order the dervise to be severely punished. The king, seeing the amusement and surprise which this advice had occasioned, said, "I see nothing to laugh at in the advice of this dervise, but, on the contrary, I am persuaded, that if it were more frequently practised, men would escape many calamities. Indeed, so convinced am I of the wisdom of this maxim, that I shall have it engraved on my plate, and written on the wails of my palace, so that it may be ever before me."
The king, having thanked the dervise for his advice, proceeded towards his palace; and, on his arrival, he ordered the chief bey to see that the maxim was engraved on his plate, and on the walls of his palace.
Sometime after this occurrence, one of the nobles of the court, a proud, ambitious man, resolved to destroy the king, and place himself on the throne. In order to accomplish his diabolical purpose, he secured the confidence of one of the king's surgeons, to whom he gave a poisoned lancet, saying, "If you will bleed the king with this lancet, I will give you ten thousand pieces of gold; and, when I ascend the throne, you shall be my vizier. This base surgeon, dazzled by such brilliant prospects, wickedly assented to the proposal. An opportunity of effecting his evil design soon occurred. The king sent for this man to bleed him he put the poisoned lancet into a side pocket, and hastened into the king's presence. The arm was tied, and the fatal lancet was about to be plunged into the vein, when suddenly the surgeon's eye read this maxim at the bottom of the bason-"Begin nothing without considering what the end may be." He immediately paused, as he thought within himself, "If I bleed the king with this lancet, he will die, and I shall be seized and put to a cruel death; then of what use will all the gold in the world be to me?" Then, returning the lancet to his pocket, he drew forth another. The king, observing this, and perceiving that he was much embarrassed, asked why he changed his lancet so suddenly. He stated that the point was broken; but the king. doubting his statement, commanded him to show it. This so agitated him, that the king felt assured all was not right. He said, "There is treachery in this; tell me instantly what it means, or your head shall be severed from your body." The surgeon, trembling with fear, promised to relate all to the king, if he would only pardon his guilt. The king assented, and the surgeon related the whole matter, and acknowledged that had it not been for the words in the bason, he should have used the fatal lancet.
The king summoned his court, and ordered the traitor to be executed. Then, turning to his officers of state, he said, "You now see that the advice of the dervise, at which you laughed, is most valuable it has saved my life. Search out this dervise, that I may amply reward him for his wise maxim. Lady M. W. Montague.
Learn to be wise, and practise how to thrive : That I would have thee do; and not to spend Your coin on every bauble that you fancy,