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Carefully avoid an argumentative and difputative turn, which too many people have, and fome even value themselves upon, in company; and when your opinion differs from others, maintain it only with modefty, calmness, and gentleness; but never be eager, loud, or clamorous; and, when you find your antagonist beginning to grow warm, put an end to the dispute by fome genteel stroke of humour. For, take it for granted, if the two best friends in the world difpute with eagerness upon the moft trifling fubject imaginable, they will, for the time, find a momentary alienation from each other. Difputes upon any fubject are a fort of trial of the understanding, and must end in the mortification of one or other of the difputants. On the other hand, I am far from meaning that you should give an universal affent to all that you hear said in company; fuch an affent would be mean, and in fome cafes criminal; but blame with indulgence, and correct with gentleness.
Always look people in the face when you speak to them; the not doing it is thought to imply conscious guilt; befides that, you lofe the advantage of obferving by their countenances, what impreffion your discourse makes upon them. In order to know people's real Sentiments, I truft much more to my eyes than to my ears; for they can fay whatever they have a mind I should hear; but they can feldom help looking what they have no intention that I fhould know.
If you have not command enough over yourself
to conquer your humours, as I am fure every ratio nal creature may have, never go into company while the fit of i 1-humour is upon you. Inftead of company's diverting you in those moments, you will displease, and probably fhock them; and you will part worse friends than you met: but whenever you find in yourself a difpofition to fullennefs, contradiction, or teftiness, it will be in vain to feek for a cure abroad. Stay at home, let your humour ferment and work itself off. Cheerfulness and good-humour are of all qualifications the moft amiable in company; for though they do not ne ceffarily imply good-nature and good-breeding, they represent them, at leaft, very well, and that is all that is required in mixt company.
I have indeed known fome very ill-natur❜d People, who were very good-humoured in company; but I never knew any one generally ill-humoured in company, who was not effentially ill-natured. When there is no malevolence in the heart, there is always a chearfulness and cafe in the countenance and manners. By good-humour and chearfulness, I am far from meaning noify mirth and loud peals of laughter, which are the diftinguishing characte riftics of the vulgar and of the ill-bred, whofe mirth is a kind of storm. Obferve it, the vulgar often laugh, but never smile; whereas, well-bred people often fmile, but feldom laugh, A witty thing never excited laughter; it pleafes only the mind, a glaring abfurdity, a blunder, a filly accident, and those things that are generally called comical, may
and never diftorts the countenance :
excite a laugh, though never a loud nor a long one, among well-bred people.
Sudden paffion is called fhort-lived madness; it is a madness indeed, but the fits of it return fo often in choleric people, that it may well be called a continual madness.. Should you happen to be of this unfortunate difpofition, make it your conftant ftudy to fubdue, or, at least to check it when you find your choler rifing, refolve neither to speak to, nor answer the person who excites it; but stay till you find it fubfiding, and then speak deliberately. Endeavour to be cool and fteady upon all occafions; the advantages of fuch a fteady calmness are innumerable, and would be too tedious to relate. It may be acquired by care and reflection; if it could not, that reason which diftinguishes men from brutes would be given us to very little purpose: as a proof of this, I never faw, and scarcely ever heard of, a Quaker in a paffion. In Truth, there is in that fect a decorum and decency, and an amiable fimplicity, that I know in no other.
HAT a number of hillocks of death appear all round us! What are the tomb-ftones, but memorials of the inhabitants of that town, to inform us of the period of all their lives, and to point out the day when it was faid to each of them,
Your time fhall be no longer ?" Oh, may I readily learn this important leffon, that my turn is haftening too; fuch a little hillock fhall fhortly arise N 3
for me in fome unknown spot of ground, it fhall cover this flesh and these bones of mine in darkness, and fhall hide them from the light of the fun, and from the fight of man, till the heavens fhall be no more!
Perhaps fome kind furviving friend may engrave my name, with the number of my days, upon a plain funeral ftone, without ornament, and below envy: there fhall my tomb ftand among the reft, as a fresh monument of the frailty of nature and the end of time. It is poffible fome friendly foot may now and then vifit the place of my repose, and some tender eye may bedew the cold memorial with a tear: one or another of my old accqaintance may poffibly attend there to learn the filent lecture of mortality from my grave ftone, which my lips are now preaching aloud to the world; and if love and forrows should reach fo far, perhaps, while his foul is melting in his eye-lids, and his voice fcarce finds an utterance, he will point with his finger, and fnew his companion the month and the day of my decease. O, that folemn, that awful day, which shall finish my appointed time on earth, and put a final period to all the defigns of my heart, and all the labours of my tongue and pen!
Think, O my foul, that while friends or ftrangers are engaged on that fpot, and reading the date of my departure hence, thou wilt be fixed under a decifive and unchangeable sentence, rejoicing in the rewards of time well-improved, or fuffering the · longer
longer forrows which shall attend the abuse of it, in an unknown world of happiness or mifery.
The Danger of late Repentance.
T is a wife and just observation among Chriftians, though it is a very common one, that the fcriptures give us one inftance of a penitent faved in his dying hour, and that is the thief upon the cross, that fo none might utterly defpair; but there is but one fuch inftance given, that none might presume. The work of repentance is too difficult, and too important a thing, to be left to the languors of a dying bed, and the tumults and flutterings of thought, which attend fuch a late conviction. There can be hardly any effectual proofs given of the fincerity of fuch repentings: and I am verily perfuaded there are few of them fincere, for we have often found these violent emotions of conscience vanish again, if the finner has happened to recover his health: they seem to be merely the wild perplexities and ftruggles of nature, averfe to mifery, rather than averfe to fin: their renouncing their former lufts, on the very borders of hell and deftruction, is more like the vehement efforts of a drowning creature, constrained to let go a moft beloved object, and taking eager hold of any plank for fafety, rather than the calm and reasonable and voluntary designs of a mariner, who forfakes his early joys, ventures himself in a ship that is offered him, and fets fail for the heavenly country. I never will pronounce fuch efforts and endeavours desperate, left I limit the grace of God, which is unbounded;