« הקודםהמשך »
be thankful that I am not under the same.
" But he is quite blind to this fault of 56 his temper, and does not appear to be “ in the least sensible of it.” Why, that " is a greater misfortune still, and he ought to be the more pitied. .
And as to the other pretended ground of prejudice,“ He hath often offended and « injured me,” let me confider, 1. Whether any offence was really intended; whether I do not impute that to ill-nature, which was only owing to ill manners; or that to design, which proceeded only from ignorance. Do I not take offence before it is given ? If so, the fault is mine, and not his : and the resentment I have conceived against him, I ought to turn upon myself *.-Again, 2. Did I not provoke him to it, when I knew his temper?? The fault is still my own. I did or might know the pride, passion, or perverfeness of his nature ; why then did I exasperate him? A man that will needlessly rouse a lion, must not expect always to come off so favourably as the hero of La Mancha.
* For every trifle scorn to take offence;
-But, 3. Suppose I were not the aggrefsor, yet, how came l into his company? who led me into the temptation? He hath acted according to his nature in what he hath done; but I have not acted according to my reason, in laying myself so open to him. I knew him; why did I not shun him, as I would any other dangerous animal that does mischief by instinct? If I muft needs put my finger into a wasp's nest, why should I blame them for stinging me? -Or, 4. If I could not avoid his company, why did I not arm myself? Why did I venture defenceless into so much danger? - Or, 5. Suppose he hath done ine a real and undeserved injury, without my fault or provocation, yet, does not my present discontent greatly aggravate it? Does it not appear greater to me than it does to any body else? or than it will to me, after the present ferment is over ?-And, last
ly, After all, muft I never forgive ? How · shall I be able to repeat the Lord's prayer,
or read our Saviour's comment upon it, Matth. vi. 14, 15. with an unforgiving temper? Do I not hope to be forgiven ten thousand talents; and cannot I forgive my fellow-fervant thirty pence? when I know, not but he hath repented, and God hath orgiven him; whose forgiveness I want
infinitely more than my greatest enemy does mine *.
Such considerations are of great use to foften our prejudices against persons; and at once to discover the true spring, and prevent the bad effects of them. And happy would it be for a Christian, could he but call to mind, and apply to his re
* A man despises me: What then? Did he know me more, he would perhaps despise me more. But I know myself better than he can know me, and therefore despise myself more: And though his contempt in this instant may be groundless, yet in others it would be but too well founded. I will therefore not only bear with, but forgive it.Cor:temnendus eft iste contemptus, faith Seneca. But retorted fcorn is more becoming the character of a Stoic than a Cbriftian.
It has been reckoned a wise and witty answer which one of the philosophers returned to his friend, who advised him to revenge an injury that had been done hin: “ What (fays he) if an ass kicks me, must “ I needs kick him again?" And, perhaps, there is more wit than wisdom in that reply. It seems, indeed, to carry in it something of a true greatness of mind; but does it not, at the same time, discover a kind of haughty and contemptuous fpirit? The truth is, (as a judicious writer observes upon it), “ it is at “ best but a lame and misshapened charity; it has « more of pride than goodness. We should learn of " the holy Jesus, who was not only meek, but lowly. < We should contemn the injury, and pity the weak« ness; but should not disdain or despise the persons « of our enemies. Charity vaunteth not herself, is not “ puffed up, doth not bebave itself unfeemily." See Scougal's Duty of loving our Enemics.
lief, half the good things which that excellent heathen emperor and philosopher Marcus Antoninus could say upon this subject ; some of which I have for the benefit of the English reader extracted, and thrown into the margin *.
* In the morning, remember to say to thyself, This day, perhaps, I may meet with some impertiDent, ungrateful, peevish, tricking, en vious, churlish fellow. Now all these ill qualities in them proceed from their ignorance of good and evil. And since I am so happy as to understand the natural beauty of a good action, and the deformity of as ill one; and since the person that disobliges me is of near kin to me; and though not just of the same blood and family, yet of the same divine extract as to his mind; and finally, since I am convinced that no one can do mne a real injury, hecause he cannot force me to do a dishonest thing: for these reasons, I cannot find in my heart to hate him, or so much as to be angry with him. Marc. Anton. Medit. Book 2. § 1.
You are just taking leave of the world; and have you not yeč learned to be friends with every body? and that to be an honeit man is the only way to be a wise one? Id. Book 4. § 37.
To exped an impoflibility is madness; it is imporfible for ill men not to do ill things. Id. Book 5. $ 17.
It is the privilege of human nature above brutes, to love those that offend us. In order to this, consis cer, 1. That the offending party is of kin to you; a. That he acts thus, because he knows no better; 3. He may have no design to offend you; 4. You will both of you quickly be in your graves; but above all, 5. You have received no ha; m from him ; for
(3.) The mind is apt to be prejudiced against or in favour of certain things and
your mind of reason is the same it was before. Ii', B. 7. $ 22.
Think upon your last hour, and do not trouble yourself about other people's faults, but leave them there where they must be answered for. Id. B. 7.
Do not return the ièmper of ill-natured people up. on themselves, nor treat them as they do the rest of mankind. Id. B. 7. § 355.
Though the gods are immortal, yet they not only patiently bear with a wicked world through so many ages, but, what is more, liberally provide for it; and are you, who are just going off the stage, weary with bearing, though you are one of those unhappy mortals yourself? Id. B. 7. $ 70.
Never disturb yourself; for men will do the same untoward actions over again, though you burst with fpleen. 11. B. 8. $ 4.
Reform an injurious person, if you can; if not, temember your patience was given you to bear with him; that the gods patiently bear with such men, and sometimes bestow upon them health, and fame, and fortune. Id. B. 9. SIL.
When people treat you ill, and show their spite, änd fiander you, enter into their little fouls, go to the bottom of them, search their understandings; and you will soon see, that nothing they may think er Jay of you need give you one troublesome thought. Id. B. 9. $ 27
That is the best thing for a man which God send's him; and that is the best time when he sends it. Id. B. Io. $ 20.
It is sometimes a hard matter to be certain, whe. ther you have received ill usage, or not; for men's actions oftentimes look worse than they are: and