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the danger is from a storm, or from any other external cause than from sickness. The well-known proverb, 'the Devil was sick, ' &c., shows how generally it has been observed that people, when they recover, forget the resolutions formed during sickness. One reason of the difference—and perhaps the chief—is, that it is so much easier to recall exactly the sensations felt when in perfect health and yet in imminent danger, and to act over again, as it were, in imagination, the whole scene, than to recall fully, when in health, the state of mind during some sickness, which itself so much affects the mind along with the body.
But it is quite possible either to improve, or to fail to improve, either kind of affliction.
And, universally, it is to be observed that, though in other matters, there may be trials which are nothing but trials, and have no tendency to improve the subject tried, but merely to test it (as in the case of the proving of a gun alluded to above), this can never be the case in what relates to moral conduct. Every kind of trial, if well endured, tends to fortify the good principle. There are, indeed, many things which are more likely to hurt than to improve the moral character; and to such trials we should be unjustifiable in exposing ourselves or others unnecessarily. But these, if any one does go through them well, do not merely prove the moral principle to be good, but will have had the effect of still further fortifying it . There is truth, both literally and metaphorically in the proverb, tbat 'The tree roots more fast, which has stood a rough blast.' For it is found that the agitation of a tree in an exposed situation, by winds which do not overthrow it, causes it to put out more and stronger roots. Even so, every temptation that has been withstood,—every trial firmly undergone,—strengthens the roots of good principle.
And the converse, unhappily, holds good also. Every kind of improving process—religious study, good example, or whatever else,—if it does not leave you the better, will leave you the worse. Let no one flatter himself that anything external will make him wise or virtuous, without his taking pains to learn wisdom or virtue from it. And if any one says of any affliction, 'No doubt it is all sent for my good,' he should be reminded to ask himself whether he is seeking to get any good out of it. 'Sweet,' says the poet, 'are the uses of adversity;' but this is for those only who take care to make a good use ofit.
Most carefully should we avoid the error which some parents, not (otherwise) deficient in good sense, commit, of imposing gratuitous restrictions and privations, and purposely inflicting needless disappointments, for the purpose of inuring children to the pains and troubles they will meet with in after-life. Yes, be assured they will meet with quite enough, in every portion of life, including childhood, without your strewing their paths with tht)rns of your own providing. And often enough will you have to limit their amusements for the sake of needful study, to restrain their appetites for the sake of health, to chastise them for faults, and in various ways to inflict pain or privations for the sake of avoiding some greater evils. Let this always be explained to them whenever it is possible to do so; and endeavour in all cases to make them look on the parent as never the voluntary giver of anything but good. To any hardships which they are convinced you inflict reluctantly, and to those which occur through the dispensations of the All-Wise, they will more easily be trained to submit with a good grace, than to any gratuitous sufferings devised for them by fallible men. To raise hopes on purpose to produce disappointment, to give provocation merely to exercise the temper, and, in short, to inflict pain of any kind merely as a training for patience and fortitude—this is a kind of discipline which Man should not presume to attempt. If such trials prove a discipline not so much of cheerful fortitude as of resentful aversion and suspicious distrnst of the parent as a capricious tyrant, you will have only yourself to thank for this result.
'Since the end of suffering, as a moral discipline,' says an excellent writer in the Edinburgh Review (January, 1847), on the Life of Pascal,' is only to enable us at last to bear unclouded happiness, what guarantee can we now have of its beneficial effect on us, except by partial experiments of our capacity of recollecting and practising the lessons of adversity in intervals of prosperity? It is true that there is no more perilous ordeal through which Man can pass—no greater curse which can be imposed on him, as he is at present constituted—than that of not in declaring the Deity to be'the Judge of the world (for this the Jews knew, and most of the Pagans believed), but in declaring that He had appointed a day for that judgment, before Christ's tribunal in]the next world. They were henceforth to look for a retribution, not, as before with the Jews, regular, and with other nations occasionally, but prepared for all men according to the character of each; not, as before, immediate in the present life, but in the life to come.
It is true that some men, who are nearly strangers to such a habit, may be for a time more alarmed by the denunciation of immediate temporal judgments for their sins, than by any considerations relative to 'the things which are not seen and which are eternal.' And when such denunciations rest not on uncertain predictions, but on an undeniable and notorious connexion of cause with effect,—as, for instance, of intemperance with disease, or of prodigality with penury—a salutary alarm may be created in some who are unmoved by higher considerations. But such an alarm should be regarded merely as a first step;—as a scaffolding which is to be succeeded by a building of better foundation. For, the effect thus produced, if we trust to that alone, is much less likely to be lasting, or while it lasts to be salutary, because temporal alarm does not tend to make men spiritually-minded, and any reformation of manners it may have produced, will not have been founded on christian principles. A man is not more acceptable in the sight of God than before, though more likely to attain the temporal objects he aims at, if he is acting on no higher motive than the goods and evils of the present world can supply. 'Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.'
But to look for temporal retribution, is surely inconsistent with the profession of a religion whose Founder was persecuted and crucified, and whose first preachers were exposed to ' hunger, and thirst, and cold, and nakedness,' and every kind of hardship, and were 'made the offscouring of all things;' so that they declared that 'if in this life only they had hope in Christ, they were of all men most miserable.' We should consider, too, that those very sufferings were a stumblingblock to the unbelieving Jews; not merely from their being unwilling to expose themselves to the like, according to the forewarnings of Jesus, such as ' In this world ye shall have tribulation; but still more from their regarding these sufferings as a mark of divine displeasure, and consequently a proof that Jesus could not have come from God. Because He was 'a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,'they' did esteem him stricken, SMITTEN OF GOD, and afflicted,' and they 'hid their face from Him.'
And it should be remembered, that the Jews, who had been brought up under a dispensation sanctioned by temporal rewards and punishments, were less inexcusable in this their error, than those Christians who presume to measure the divine favour and disfavour by temporal events.
ESSAY VI. OF SIMULATION1 AND DISSIMULATION.
DISSIMULATION is but a faint kind of policy, or wisdom; for it asketh a strong wit and a strong heart to know when to tell truth, and to do it—therefore it is the weaker sort of politicians that are the greatest dissemblers.
Tacitus saith,' Livia sorted2 well with the arts of her husband and dissimulation of her son,'3 attributing arts of policy to Augustus, and dissimulation to Tiberius; and again, when Mucianus encourageth Vespasian to take arms against Vitellius, he saith,' We rise not against the piercing judgment of Augustus, nor the extreme caution or closeness of Tiberius.'4 These properties of arts, or policy, and dissimulation, and closeness, are indeed habits and faculties several,8 and to be distinguished; for if a man have that penetration of judgment as6 he can discern, what things are to be laid open, and what to be secreted, and what to be showed at half-lights, and to whom and when (which indeed are arts of state, and arts of life, as Tacitus well calleth them), to him a habit of dissimulation is a hindrance and a poorness. But if a man cannot obtain to'' that judgment, then it is left to him generally to be close, and a dissembler; for where a man cannot choose or vary in particulars, there it is good to take the safest aud wariest way in general, like the going softly by one that cannot well see. Certainly the ablest men that ever were, have had all an openness and frankness of dealing, and a name of certainty and veracity; but then they were like horses well managed, for they could tell passing well when to stop or turn, and at such times when they thought the case indeed required dissimulation, if then they used it, it came
1 Simulation. The pretending tliat to be which k not. 'The feigning to bo what one is not by gesture, aetion, or behaviour, is called eimtdution.'—South. - Sort. To fit; suit.
'It sorts well with your fierceness.'—Shakespere. 3 Tncit. Annal. v. i. * Tacit . Bid. ii. 76.
5 Several. Different; distinct.
• Four several armies to the field are led, Which, high in equal hopes, four princes lead.'—Drydcn. * As. That. See page 26. ?Obtain to. Attain to.