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• Taking them one with another,” said the Rev. S— S-, “ I believe my congregation to be most exemplary observers of the religious ordinances; for the poor keep all the fasts, and the rich all the feasts." This fortunate flock might be matched with the crew of the A-frigate, whose commander, Capt. R-, told a friend that he had just left them the happiest set of fellows in the world. Knowing the captain's extreme severity, his friend expressed some surprise at this statement, and demanded an explanation.
Why,” said the disciplinarian, “ I have just had nineteen of the rascals flogged, and they are happy that it is over, while all the rest are happy that they have escaped."
CONSCIENCE—Something to swear by. Conscience being regulated by the opinion of the world, has no very determinate standard of morality. Among the ancient Greeks and Romans, suicide was a magnanimous virtue, with us it is a cowardly crime. The Spartans taught their children to steal; we whip and imprison ours for the same act. No man's conscience stings him for killing a single adversary in a duel, or scores in war, because these deeds are in accordance with the usages of society ; but he may, nevertheless, be arraigned, perchance, for murder, at the bar of the Almighty. Terror of conscience, therefore, would seem to be the fear of infamy, detection, or punishment in this world, rather than in the next. Criminals, who voluntarily surrender themselves to justice, and confess their misdeeds, are, doubtless, driven to that act of desperation by their conscience; but it is from a dread of Jack Ketch, and the intolerableness of suspense. They would rather be hanged once in reality than every day in imagination. Pass a law that shall legalize their offences, or let them be tried and acquitted, from some flaw in the indictment, and their minds will be wonderfully tranquillized. How much safer a guide and monitor would our conscience become, if we adapted it to the immutable laws of God, instead of the fluctuating opinions of man, and were pene
trated with the great truth that, whatever may be our present
CONSERVATIVE-One who has evinced a good sense, that entitles him to our respect, by becoming ashamed of the word Tory. With the exception of the mere boroughmonger, whose sordid' motives deserve no indulgence, every generous reformer will give credit to his conservative opponent for the same sincerity of feeling, and purity of purpose, that he himself professes and claims. Invective and personality prove nothing on either side, but a lamentable want of good taste and good argument. There is one party to which all aspire to belong, and whose characteristics none can mistake —that of the GENTLEMAN; not limiting this all-embracing appellation to the vulgar distinctions rank and external appearance, but to the innate gentleness and liberality, which a peasant or an artisan may possess in as eminent a degree as a peer or a prince. Let the reformer, whose victory is won, grace it by forbearance-let the conservative, whose further opposition is useless, disdain the guerilla warfare of faction. The former should now employ himself in realizing the advantages he so confidently anticipated from his great measure; the latter, in guarding against the dangers he not less positively prognosticated. Gladly holding out the right hand of fellowship to each other, both should unite in endeavouring to accomplish their mutual object-the advancement, the glory, and the happiness of their common country. So shall old England, with improved institutions, renovated energies, and a united people, re-assert her proud prerogative of teaching the nations how to live.
CONSOLATION - for unsuccessful authors. Many works,” says Chamfort, “succeed, because the mediocrity of the author's ideas exactly corresponds with the mediocrity of ideas on the part of the public.” Writers who fail in hitting
the present taste, are apt to appeal to posterity, which, even if it should ratify their fond anticipations, (a rare occurrence,) will only show that they have still failed, because they have gained an object which they did not seek, and missed that which they sought. Let him profess what he will, every man writes to be read by his contemporaries; otherwise why does he publish? It would be a poor compliment to a sportsman to say—“You have missed all the birds at which you took aim, but you fire so well that your shot will be sure to hit something before they fall to the ground. He who professes to do without the living, and yet wants the suffrages of the unborn, stands little chance of obtaining his election, and is sure that he cannot enjoy it, even if he succeed. Few will possess such claims to celebrity as Kepler, the German astronomer; and yet there was a sense of mortification, as well as an almost profane arrogance, when, on the failure of one of his works to excite attention, he exclaimed, “My book may well wait a hundred years for a reader, since God himself has been content to wait six thousand years for an observer like myself.”
CONTENT-A mental Will-o'-the-wisp, which all are seeking, but which few attain. And yet every one might succeed, if he would think more of what he has, and less of what he wants. Daily experience may convince us that those who possess what we covet, are not a jot more happy than ourselves: why then should we labour and toil in chasing disappointment? How few feel gratitude for what they have, compared to those who pine for what they have not! Aut Cæsar aut nullus is the prevalent motto : not to have everything, is to have nothing. Like the famous Duke of Buckingham, some are more impatient of successes, than others are of reverses; by basking in the sunshine of fortune, they become sour, and turn to vinegar.
“Let this plain truth those ingrates strike,
Who still, though bless'd, new blessings crave,
Simply by liking what we have.”
Or, if this fail, let us call arithmetic to our aid, and learn content from comparing ourselves and our lot with the many who want what we possess, rather than with the few who possess what we want.
CONTROVERSY—What a blessing to the world if it had exemplified the dictum of Sir William Temple, that all such controversies as can never end, had much better never begin! At the present moment, when the necessity of a Church reformation is so generally discussed, it may not be uninteresting to reprint the lines on the famous controversy between John Rainolds and one of his brothers, wherein each converted the other.
« In points of faith, some undetermined jars,
As to religious controversy, we will set an example worthy of all imitation, by saying nothing about it, further than to refer the curious in euch matters, to the tomb of Sir Henry Wotton, in the chapel at Eton, whereon is the following inscription—“Hic jacet hujus sententiæ primus auctor:-Disputandi pruritus Ecclesiæ scabies.” “ Here lies the first au
thor of this sentence :-The itch of disputation is the scab of the Church.”
CONVERSATION-rational.—See Library.-Solitude anything but company. Despotic but civilized countries, such as France under the old monarchy, where the men having little or no share in the government, and being unembittered by party politics, throw their whole minds into social intercourse, are the best adapted for conversational excellence. In England we have too much business, and too much political acrinony to allow us either time or aptitude for the enjoyment of society in all its nonchalance, sprightliness and vivacity ; while even the narrow bounds left to us, are still further restricted by our pride, reserve, and exclusiveness. On these accounts English women are in general much better conversationists than the men. In many families, the daughters have more cultivated minds than the sons, and will discourse of literature and the arts, while their brothers can talk of little but dogs and guns, a horse-race, or a boxingmatch. Even upon politics, when they will discuss them, women are more philosophical than men, because their passions and interests are not so deeply embarked. Not being educated for the business of life, they are more dispassionate, and are only the more agreeable for being ornamental instead of useful.
How incalculably would the tone of conversation be improved, if it offered no exceptions to the example of Bishop Beveridge: “I resolve never to speak of a man's virtues to his face, nor of his faults behind his back.” A golden rule! the observation of which would at once banish flattery and defamation from the earth. Conversation stock being a joint and common property, every one should take a share in it; and yet there may be societies in which silence will be our best contribution. When Isocrates, dining with the King of Cyprus, was asked why he did not mix in the discourse of the