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ing at his heart, rising to his throat, and demanding disclosure. He thinks the whole world sees it in his face, reads it in his eyes, and almost hears its workings in the very silence of his thoughts. It has become his master. It betrays his discretion, it breaks down his courage, it conquers his prudence. When suspicions from without begin to embarrass him, and the net of circumstance to entangle him, the fatal secret struggles with still greater violence to burst forth. It must be confessed, it will be confessed; there is no refuge from confession but suicide, and suicide is confession.
LESSON CXXVII. Importance of Keeping and Observing Good Rules of Behavior.
1. If we look carefully into the history of great and good men, we shall find, in almost all cases, that in early life, they have been subjected to the influence of wholesome rules of conduct.
2. There is not, in the pages of human biography, a character more worthy of admiration than that of Washington. If the secret of his greatness were to be expressed in a single word, that word would be self-control. It was because he could govern himself, that he had the power to govern others. He could put aside his own selfishness, and beat down his own passions, and thus he was left to act without those temptations, which draw the mind and heart aside from truth and duty, as iron often makes the needle swerve from the polar star.
3. How did he acquire this art of self-government? He had, no doubt, the early guidance and counsel of a wise mother, and he had the grace and good sense to listen to her instructions. But besides this, his biographer tells us, that, in looking over his papers, he finds, in Washington's hand-writing, a series of Rules of Behavior, written at the age of thirteen, and preserved, of course, through his whole life. These rules are indeed excellent, and seem to be fitted to form such a character as Washington's really was. Who can doubt, that this is one of the secrets of his greatness?
4. In English history, there are few names more worthy
RULES OF BEHAVIOR.
of respect than that of Sir Philip Sidney. He was born in 1554, and enjoyed various places of trust. In every situation he acquitted himself with credit. Such was his reputation, that he was offered the vacant crown of Poland; but the Queen, Elizabeth, would not consent, remarking, that England ought not to part with the jewel of the times. His death, by a wound at the battle of Zutphen, in 1586, was deeply mourned in England, and even King James, the successor of Elizabeth, condescended to write his epitaph.
5. A brief anecdote shows at least one trait in the char
acter of this great and good man. As he lay bleeding on the field of battle, and was going to take a bottle of wine, which his attendants had procured to refresh him, he saw a wounded soldier carried by, who cast a longing glance at the wine. He instantly ordered it to be given to the soldier, saying, "Take it, thy need is greater than mine."
6. As in the case of Washington, we find that Sir Philip Sidney had the advantage of excellent written rules of conduct. The following letter, addressed to him, when a boy, by his father, Sir Henry Sidney, a distinguished English statesman, no doubt was often perused, and reverently observed. It displays singular good sense, and is beautifully written in the simple English of the olden time. It is alike worthy of attention from the wisdom it displays, and from the light it affords as to the state of our language nearly three centuries ago.
7. "I have received two letters from you, the one in Latin, the other in French, which I take in good part; and will you to exercise that practice of learning often, for it will stand you in stead, in that profession of life which you were born to live in; and now, since this is the first letter that ever I did write to you, I will not, that it be all empty of some advices, which my natural care of you provoketh me to with you, to follow as documents to you in this tender age. Let the first action be the lifting up of your hands and mind to Almighty God by hearty prayer; and feelingly digest the words you speak in prayer with continual meditations, and thinking of him to whom you pray; and use this at an ordinary or particular hour, whereby the time itself will put you in remembrance to do that thing, which you are accustomed to do in that time.
8. "Apply your study in such hours as your discreet master
doth assign you, earnestly; and the time, I know, he will so limit, as shall be both sufficient for your learning, and safe for your health; and mark the sense and manner of that you read, as well as the words; so shall you both enrich your tongue with words, and your wit with matter; and judgment will grow, as you advance in age.
9. "Be humble and obedient to your master; for, unless you frame yourself to obey, yea, and to feel in yourself what obedience is, you shall never be able to teach others how to obey you hereafter.
10. "Be courteous of behavior, and affable to all men, with universality of reverence, according to the dignity of the person; there is nothing which winneth so much with so little cost.
11. "Use moderate diet, so as after your meal, you may find your wit fresher, and not duller, and your body more lively, and not more heavy.
12. Use exercise of body; but such as may in no wise endanger your bones or joints; it will increase your strength, and enlarge your breath.
13. " Delight to be cleanly as well in all parts of your body as in your garments; it shall make you graceful in each company, and otherwise you will become loathsome.
14. Be you rather a hearer and a bearer away of other men's talk, than a beginner or procurer of speech; otherwise you will be accounted to delight to hear yourself speak.
15. "Be modest in all companies, and rather be laughed at by light fellows for maiden shamefulness, than of your sober friends for pert boldness.
16. "Think upon every word you will speak, before you utter it; and remember how nature hath, as it were, rampired up the tongue with teeth, lips, yea, and hair without the lips; and all betoken reins and bridle to the restraining of the use of that member.
17. "Above all things, tell no untruth; no, not in trifles; the custom of it is naught. And let it not satisfy you, that the hearers for a time take it for a truth, for afterwards it will be known, as it is, to shame, and there cannot be a greater reproach to a gentleman, than to be accounted a liar.
18. Study, and endeavor yourself to be virtuously occu
pied; so shall you make such a habit of well doing, as you shall not know how to do evil, though you would.
19. "Remember, my son, the noble blood you are descended from, on your mother's side; and think that only, by a good life and virtuous actions, you may be an ornament to your illustrious family; and otherwise, through vice and sloth, you will be esteemed labes generis [a stain on your family], which is one of the greatest curses that can happen to
20. "Well, my little Philip, this is enough for me, and I fear too much for you, at this time; but yet, if I find that this light meat of digestion do nourish anything the weak stomach of your young capacity, I will, as I find the same growing stronger, feed it with tougher food. Farewell. Your mother and I send you our blessing; and may God Almighty grant you his; nourish you with his fear, guide you with his grace, and make you a good servant to your prince and country."
LESSON CXXVIII. St. Patrick.
1. THERE are so many absurd legends of this Irish Apostle, that his name has been brought into contempt, particularly among Protestants. But an examination of his true history, will lead every fair-minded person to a very different estimate of his character.
2. St. Patrick appears to have been a native of Boulogne, in France, and to have been born about the year 387 A. D. In his sixteenth year he was made captive in a marauding expedition by an Irish king, Nial of the Nine Hostages. Being carried to Ireland, he was sold as a slave to a man named Milcho, living in what is now called the county of Antrim. The occupation assigned him was the tending of sheep. His lonely rambles over the mountains and the forest are described by himself, as having been devotel to constant prayer and thought, and to the nursing of those deep devotional feelings, which, even at that time, he felt strongly stirring within him.
3. At length, after six years of servitude, the desire of escaping from bondage arose in his heart. "A voice in his dreams," he says, "told him, that he was soon to go to
his own country, and that a ship was ready to convey him thither." Accordingly in the seventh year of his slavery, he betook himself to flight; and, making his way to the southwestern coast of Ireland, was there received on board a merchant vessel, which, after a voyage of three days, landed him on the coast of Gaul.
4. He now returned to his parents, and, after spending some time with them, devoted himself to study, in the celebrated monastery of St. Martin, at Tours. During this period, it would appear that his mind still dwelt with fond recollection upon Ireland; for he had a remarkable dream, which, in those superstitious ages, was regarded as a vision from heaven. In this, he seemed to receive innumerable letters from Ireland, in one of which was written, "The voice of the Irish."
5. In these natural workings of a warm and pious imagination, so unlike the prodigies and miracles with which most of the legends of his life abound, we see what a hold the remembrance of Ireland had taken of his youthful fancy, and how fondly he already contemplated some holy work in her service.
6. Having left the seminary at Tours, he spent several years in travelling, study, and meditation; but, at length, being constituted a bishop, and having at his own request been appointed by the See of Rome to that service, he proceeded on his long-contemplated mission to Ireland.
7. Let us pause a moment to consider the state of Ireland at this period, that we may duly estimate the task which lay before this apostle, and which we shall find he gloriously accomplished. The neighboring Island. of Britain, it will be remembered, was still under the Roman yoke; but no Roman soldier had ventured to cross the narrow channel between Britain and Ireland, and set his foot upon Irish soil. To Ireland, then, Rome had imparted none of her civilization.
8. The country was, in fact, in a state of barbarism; the government was the same as that which had been handed down for centuries, and which continued for ages after. The territory was divided among a great number of petty chiefs, who assumed the title and claimed the sovereignty of kings, but who yet acknowledged a sort of nominal allegiance to the monarch of the realm. The disputes between