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The Conduct of Human Life. 1. Remember how often you have negiected the great duties of religion and virtue, and slighted the opportunities that Providence has put into your hands; and, withal, that you have a set period assigned you for the management of tho affairs of human life; and then reflect seriously that, unless you resolve immediately to improve the little remains, the whole must necessarily slip away insensibly, and then you are lost beyond recovery.
2. Let an unaffected gravity, freedom, justice, and sincerity, shine through all your actions, and let no fancies and chimeras give the least check to those excellent qualities. This is an easy task, if you will but suppose everything you do to be yonr last, and if you can keep your passions and appetites from crossing your reason. Stand clear of rashness, insincerity or self-love.
3. Manage all your thoughts and actions with such prudence and circumspection as if you were sensible you were just going to step into the grave. A little thinking will show a man the vanity and uncertainty of all sublunary things, and enable him to examine maturely the manner of dying; which, if duly abstracted from the terror of the idea, will appear nothing more than an unavoidable appendix of life itself, and a pure natural action.
4. Consider that ill-usage from some sort of people is in a manner necessary, and therefore do not be disquieted about it, but rather conclude that you and your enemy are both marching off the stage together, and that in a little time your very memories will be extinguished.
5. Among your principal observations upon human life, let it be always one to take notico what a great deal both on time and ease that man gains who is not troubled with the spirit of curiosity, who lets his neighbor's affairs alone, and only takes care of honesty and a good conscience.
6. If you would live at your ease, and as much as possible be free from the incumbrances of life, manage but a few things at once, and let those, too, be such as are absolutely necessary. By this rulo you will draw the bulk of your business into a narrow compass, and have the double pleasure of making your actions good, and few into the bargain.
7. He that torments himself because things do not happen just as he would have them, is but a sort of ulcer in the world; and he that is selfish, narrowsouled, and sets up for a separate interest, is a kind of voluntary outlaw.
8. Never think anything below you which reason and your own circumstances require, and never suffer yourself to be deterred by the ill-grounded notions of censure and reproach; but when honesty and conscience prompt you to say or do anything, do it boldly ; never balk your resolution.
9. If a man does me an injury, what is that to me? It is his own action, and let him account for it. As for me, I am in my proper station, and only doing the business that Providence has allotted; and withal, I ought to consider that the best way to revenge, is not to imitate the injury.
10. When you happen to be ruffled and put out of humor by any cros3 accident, rotire immediately into your reason, and do not suffer your passion to overrule you a moment; for the sooner you recover yourself now, the better you will be able to guard yourself for the future.
11. Do not be like those ill-natured people that, though they do not love to give a good word to their contemporaries, yet are mighty fond of their own commendations. This argues a perverse and unjust temper.
12. If any one convinces you of an error, change your opinion and thank him for it; truth and information are your business, and can never hurt anybody. On the contrary, he that is proud and stubborn, and wilfully continues in a mistake, it is he that receives the mischief.
13. Because you see a thing difficult, do not instantly conclude it to be
impossible to master it. Diligence and industry are seldom defeated. Look, therefore, narrowly into the thing itself, and what you observe proper and practicable in another, conclude likewise within your own power.
14. The principle business of human life is run threugh within the short compass of twenty-four hours; and when you have taken a deliberate view of the present age, you have seen as much as if you had begun with the world, the rest being nothing else but an endless round of the same thing.
15. Bring your will to your fate, and suit your mind to your circumstances. Love your friends and forgive your enemies, and do justice to all mankind, and you will be secure to make your passage easy, and enjoy most of the comforts that human life is capable to afford you.
16. When you have a mind to entertain yourself in your retirements, let it be with the good qualifications of your friends and acquaintance. Think with pleasure and satisfaction upon the honor and bravery of one, the modesty of another, the generosity of a third, and so on; there being nothing more pleasant and diverting than the lively images and the advantages of those we love.
17. As nothing can deprive you of the privileges of your nature, or compel you to act counter to your reason, so nothing can happen to you but what comes from Providence, and consists with the interest of the universe.
18. Let people's tongues and actions be what they will, your business is to have honor and honesty in your view. Let them rail, revile, censure, and condemn, or make you the subject of their scorn and ridicule, what does it all signify? You have one certain remedy against all their malice and folly, and that is, to live so that nobody shall believe them.
19. Alas, poor mortals ! did we rightly consider our own state and condition, we should find it would not be long before we have forgot all the world, and to be even, that all the world will have forgot us likewise.
20. Ho that would recommend himself to the public, let him do it by the candor and modesty of his behavior, and by a generous indifference to external advantages. Let him love mankind, and resign to Providence, and then his works will follow him, and his good actions will praise him in the gate.
21. When you hear a discourse, let your understanding, as far as possible, keep pace with it, and lead you forward to those things which fall most within the compass of your own observations.
22. When vice and treachery shall be rewarded, and virtue and ability slighted and discountenanced; when Ministers of State shall rather fear man than God, and to screen themselves run into parties and factions; when noise and clamor, and scandalous reports shall carry everything before them, it is natural to conclude that a nation in such a state of infatuation stands upon the brink of destruction, and without the intervention of some unforeseen accidont, must be inevitably ruined.
23. When a prince is guarded by wise and honest men, and when all public officers are sure to be rewarded if they do well, and punished if they do evil, the consequence is plain; justice and honesty will flourish, and men will be always contriving, not for themselves, but for their king and country.
24. Wicked men may sometimes go unpunished in this world, but wicked nations never do; because this world is the only place of punishment for wicked nations, though not for private and particular persons.
25. An administration that is merely founded upon human policy must be always subject to human chance; but that which is founded on the Divine wislom can no more miscarry than the government of heaven. To govern by parties and factions is the advice of an atheist, and sets up a government by the spirit of Satan. In such a government the prince can never be secure undar the greatest promises, since, as men's interest changes, so will their duty and affections likewise,
28. It is a very ancient observation, and a very true one, that people generally despise where they flatter, and cringe to those they design to betray; so that truth and ceremony are, and always will be, two distinct things.
27. When you find your friend in an error, undeceive him with secrecy and civility, and let him see his oversight first by hints and glances; and if you cannot convince him, leave him with respect, and lay the fault upon yourself.
28. When you are under the greatest vexations, then consider that human life lasts but for a moment; and do not forget but that you are like the rest of the world, and faulty yourself in many instances; and withal, remember that anger and impatience often prove more mischievous than the provocation.
29. Gentleness and good humor are invincible, provided they are without hypocrisy and design; they disarm the most barbarous and savage tempers, and make even malice ashamed of itself.
30. In all the actions of life let it be your first and principal care to guard against anger on the one hand, and flattery on the other, for they are both unserviceable qualities, and do a great deal of mischief in human life.
31. When a man turns knave or libertine, and gives way to fear, jealousy, and fits of the spleen; when his mind complains of his fortune, and he quits the station in which Providence has placed him, he acts perfectly counter to humanity, deserts his own nature, and, as it were, runs away from himself.
32. Be not heavy in business, disturbed in conversation, nor impertinent in your thoughts. Let your judgment be right, your actions friendly, and your mind contented; let them curse you, threaten you, or despise you; let them go on; they can never injure your reason or your virtue, and then all the rest that they can do to you signifies nothing.
33. The only pleasure of human life is doing the business of the creation; and which way is that to be compassed very easily? Most certainly by the practice of general kindness, by rejecting the importunity of our senses, by distinguishing truth from falsehood, and by contemplating the works of God.
34. Be sure to mind that which lies before you, whether it be thought, word, or action; and never postpone an opportunity, or make virtue wait.
35. Whatever tends neither to the improvement of your reason nor the benefit of society, think it below you; and when you have done any considerable service to mankind, do not lessen it by your folly in gaping after reputation and requital.
36. When you find yourself sleepy in a morning, rouse yourself, and consider that you are born to business, and that in doing good in your generation, you answer your character and act like a man; whereas sleep and idleness do but degrade you, and sink you down to a brute.
37. A mind that has nothing of hope, or fear, or aversion, or desire, to weaken and disturb it, is the most impregnable security. Hither we may with safety retire and defy our enemies; and he that secs not this advantage must be extremely ignorant, and he that forgets it unhappy.
33. Do not disturb yourself about the faults of other people; but let everybody's crimes by at their own door. Have always this great maxim in your remembrance, that to play the knave is to rebel against religion.
39. Do not condemn death, but mzot it with a decont and religious fortitude, and look upon it as one of those things which Providence has ordered. If you want a cordial to make the apprehensions of dying go down a little the more easily, consider what sort of world and what sort of company you will part with. To conclude, do but look seriously into the world, and there you will see multitudes of people preparing for funerals, and mourning for their friends and acquaintances; and look out again a little afterwards, and you will see others doing the very same thing for them. The Dumb Philosopher. 1719. III. THE SCHOOL AND THE TEACHER IN LITERATURE.
ROBERT SOUTHEY in that quaint and remarkable book “The Doctor, &c.” has introduced much rare learning and eloquent composition to enforce instructive lessons on the training of children and the conduct of life--as in the following conversations at the Doctor's fireside, bearing on young Daniel's home education-which we introduce by a few extracts descriptive of the home and chimney-corner of Dr. Daniel Dove, as well as of Daniel, the son, and Daniel, the father, and the DOCTOR, the central figure of the composition.
BIRTH, PARENTAGE AND HOMESTEAD OF DR. DOVE. DANIEL, the son of Daniel Dove and of Dinah his wife, was born near Ingleton in the West Riding of Yorkshire, on Monday, the twenty-second of April, old style, 1723, nine minutes and three seconds after three in the afternoon; on which day Marriage came in and Mercury was with the Moon; and the aspects were on f a week earlier, it would have been a most glorious trine of the Sun and Jupiter; circumstances which were all duly noted in the blank leaf of the family Bible.
Daniel, the father, was one of the race of men who unhappily are now almost extinct. He lived upon an estate of six-and-twenty acres which his father had possessed before him, all Doves and Daniels, in uninterrupted succession from time immemorial, farther than registers or title-deeds could ascend. The little church called Chapel le Dale stands about a bow-shot from the family house. There they had all been carried to the font; there they had each led his bride to the altar; and thither they had, each in his turn, been borne upon the shoulders of their friends and neighbors. Earth to earth they had been consigned there for so many generations, that half of the soil of the churchyard consisted of their remains. A hermit who might wish his grave to be as quiet as his cell, could imagine no fitter resting place. On three sides there was an irregular low stone wall, rather to mark the limits of the sacred ground, than to inclose it; on the fourth it was bounded by the brook whose waters proceed by a subterraneous channel from Wethercote cave. Two or three alders and rowan trees over the brook, and shed their leaves and seeds into the stream. Some bushy hazels grew at intervals along the lines of the wall; and a few ash trees, as the winds had sown them. To the east and west some fields adjoined it, in that state of half cultivation which gives a human character to solitude ; to the south, on the other side, the brook, the common with its limestone rocks peering every where above ground, extended to the foot of Ingleborough. A craggy hill, feathered with birch, sheltered it from the north.
The turf was as fine and soft as that of the adjoining hills; it was seldom broken, so scanty was the population to which it was appropriated; scarcely a thistle or a nettle deformed it, and the few tombstones which had been placed there were now themselves half buried. The sheep came over the wall when they listed, and sometimes took sbelter the porch from the storm. Their voices, and the cry of the kite wheeling above, were the only sounds which were heard there, except when the single bell which hung in its niche over the entrance tinkled for service on the Sabbath day, or with a slower tongue gave notice that one of the children of the soil was returning to the earth from which he sprung
The house of the Doves was to the east of the church, under the same hill, and with the same brook in front; and the intervening fields belonged to the family. It was a low house, having before it a little garden of that size and character which showed that the inliabitants could afford to bestow a thought upon something more than mere bodily wants. You entered between two yew trees clipped to the fashion of two pawns. There were hollyhocks and sunflowers displaying themselves above the wall; roses and sweet peas under the windows, and the everlasting pea climbing the porch. The rest of the garden lay behind the house, partly on the slope of the hill. It had a hedge of gooseberry bushes, a few apple trees, pot herbs in abundance, onions, cabbages, turnips and carrots; potatoes had hardly yet found their way into these remote parts: and in a sheltered spot under the crag, open to the south, were six beehives, which made the family perfectly independent of West India produce. Tea was in those days as little known as potatoes, and for all other things honey supplied the place of sugar.
The house consisted of seven rooms, the dairy and cellar included, whictz were both upon the ground floor. As you entered the kitchen there was on the right one of those open chimneys which afford more comfort in a winter's erening than the finest register stove; in front of the chimney stood a wooden bee hive chair, and on each side was a long oak seat with a back to it, the seats serving as chests, in which the oaten bread was kept. They were of the dark. est brown, and well polished by constant use. On the back of each were the same initials as those over the door, with the date 1610. The great oak table, and the chest in the best kitchen which held the house linen, bore the same date. The chimney was well hung with bacon, the rack which covered half the ceiling bore equal marks of plenty; mutton hams were suspended from other parts of tho ceiling; and there was an odor of cheese from the adjoining dairy, which the turf fire, though perpetual as that of the magi or of the Vestal virgins, did not overpower. A few pewter dishes were ranged above the trenchers, opposite the door on a conspicuous shelf. The other treasures of the family were in au open triangular cupboard, fixed in one of the corners of the best kitchen, halfway from the floor, and touching the ceiling. They consisted of a silver saucepan, a silver goblet, and four apostle spoons. Here also King Charles's Golden Rules were pasted against the wall, and a large print of Daniel in the Lion's Den. The lions were bedaubed with yellow, and the prophet was bedaubed with blue, with a red patch upon each of his cheeks: if he had been like his