Page images
PDF
EPUB

A remarkable instance of which is related as fol. lows: Sir Isaac had a favourite little dog, which he called Diamond. Being one evening called out of his study into the next room, Diamond was left behind. When Sir Isaac returned, having been absent but a few minutes, he had the morti fication to find that Diamond had overset a lighted candle among some papers (the nearly finished labour of many years,) which soon were in flames, and almost consumed to ashes. This loss, as Sir Isaac was then very far advanced in years, was irretrievable ; yet, without once striking the dog, he only rebuked him with this exclamation : “Oh, Diamond! Diamond! you little know the mischief you have done!

The famous Dr. Boerhaave was once asked, by a friend who admired his patience under provocations, “ Whether he knew what it was to be angry, and by what means he had so entirely suppressed that impetuous and ungovernable passion ?" He angwered, with the utmost frankness and sinceri. ty, that “ he was naturally quick of resentment, but that he had, by daily prayer and meditation, at length attained to this mastery over himself.”

It is related of Dr. Hough, Bishop of Worcester, who was remarkable for the evenness of his temper, that having a good deal of company at his house, a gentleman present desired his lordship to shew him a curious weather-glass, which the bishop had lately purchased, and which cost him above thirty guineas. The servant was accordingly ordered to bring it; who, in delivering it to the gentleman, unfortunately let it fall, and broke it all to pieces. The company were all a little deranged from this accident, but particularly the gentleman

who asked to see it, and who was making many apologies for the accident. “ Be under no concern, my dear Sir!says the bishop, smiling; I think it rather a lucky omen: we have hitherto had a dry season, and now I hope we shall have some rain; for I protest I do not remember ever to have seen the glass so low in my life.

The Duke of Malborough possessed great command of temper, and never permitted it to be ruffied by little things, in which even the greatest men have been occasionally found unguarded. -As he was one day riding with Commissary Marriot, it began to rain, and he called to his servant for his cloak. The servant not bringing it immediately, he called for it again. The servant, being embarrassed with the straps and buckles, did not come up to him. At last, it raining very hard, the duke called to him again, and asked him what he was about, that he did not bring his cloak. “ You must stay, Sir (grumbles the fellow,) if it rains cats and dogs, till I can get at it.” The duke turned round to Marriot, and said, very coolly, "Now I would not be of that fellow's temper for all the world.”

Dr. Goldsmith's impetuosity of temper was sometimes great, but this was corrected by a moment's reflection. His servants have been known, upon this occasion, purposely to throw themselves in his way, that they might profit by it immediately after ; for he who had the good fortune to be reproved was certain of being reward. ed for it.

The late Rev. Mr. Brewer, of Stepney, was a man remarkable for a peaceful temper. He had adopted certain maxims, by the constant obser

vance of which he maintained, in all his civil, domestic, and sacred connexions, the utmost harmony, peace, and union ; for he used to say, He was deaf, when he could hear ; blind, when he could see ; dumb, when he could speak ; that he extinguished all the fires he could, and never kindled any."

One cannot but reflect on the great advantages of such a disposition. Men may call it weakness and effeminacy ; but without it there is no real felicity. He who is determined to sacrifice every thing to his own passion and temper, and will never submit in the least to any of his fellow-creatures, will find it not only a barrier to his felicity, but a stain upon his character. “ Our state in this life resembles that of

passengers in a crowded street. every one, pursuing the way in which business or pleasure leads him, meets with obstacles and interruptions from others bent upon the same errand. If all resolve to keep their road directly onward, withoui the least attention to others, neither yielding a little to let them pass, nor regulating their steps and motions in some correspondence with those of the rest, universal confusion must ensue, and none will be able to advance with tolerable speed. Whereas, if every one attends a little to the accommodation of his neighbour as well as his own, and complies with such rules as are laid down for the general advantage, all may proceed with reasonable convenience and expedition. In the march of life, no ones's path lies so clear as not in some degree to cross another's : and if each be determin. ed, with unyielding sturdliness, to keep his own line, it is impossible but he must both give and receive many a rude shock."

[ocr errors]

TEMPERANCE.

TEMPERANCE has been called the best physic. It is certainly conducive to health, and not only so, but to cheerfulness likewise. As in. temperance clogs the body, wastes the property, and stupifies the mind, so temperance is fruitful of a variety of blessings and comforts unknown to the voluptuous.

It is said of Diogenes, that, meeting a young man who was going to a feast, he took him up in the street, and carried him home to his friends, as one who was running into imminent danger, had he not prevented him.

“ What would that philospher have said, had he been present (says Addison) at the gluttony of a modern meal? Would not he have thought the master of a family mad, and have begged his servants to have tied down his hands, had he seen him devour fowl, fish, and flesh; swallow oil and vinegar, wine and spices; throw down sallads of twenty different herbs, sauces of an hundred in. gredienis, confections and fruits of numberless sweets and Aavours ? What counter-ferments must such a medly of intemperance produce in the body! For my part, when I behold a fashion. able table set out in all its magnificence, I fancy that I see gouts and dropsies, fevers and lethar. gies, with other innumerable distempers, lying in ambuscade among the dishes.”

Lewis Cornaro, a Venitian of noble extraction, was memorable for having lived healthful and active to above 100 years of age, by a rigid course of temperance. In his youth he was of a weak constitution, and, by irregular indulgence, reduced himself, at about forty years of age, to the brink of the grave, under a complication of disorders; at which extremity he was told, that he had no other chance of his life, but by becoming sober and temperate. Being wise enough to adopt this wholesome counsel, he reduced himself to a regimen of which there are very few examples. He allowed himself no more than twelve ounces of food, and fourteen ounces of liquor each day, which became so habitual to him, that, when he was about seventy years old, the experiment of adding two ounces to each, by the advice of his friends, had like to have proved fatal to him. At eighty-three he wrote a treatise, which has been translated into English, and often printed, intitled, " Sure and certain Methods of attaining a long and healthful Life;" in which he relates his own story, and extols temperance to a degree of enthusiasm. At length, the yolk of an egg became sufficient for a meal, and sometimes for two, until he died, with much ease and composure.

A knight of my acquaintance,” says Dr. Cotton Mather, “ visiting the famous Dr. Lower in his last sickness, asked him for the best advice he could give him, how to preserve his health and prolong his life ?” The doctor only answered him, . Do not eat too much.' After some other dis. course, the knight, not imagining that the doctor had thoroughly answered his enquiry, repeated it. The doctor thereupon only repeated his answer,

Why, did I not tell you, do not eat too much ?' and farther said not.”

Sir Theodore Mayem, on his death-bed, gave this advice to a noble friend that asked his counsel for the preservation of health :-"Be moderate in

« EelmineJätka »