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Teach them to study and analyze the life and modes of successful men. What has been done may be done again.
Surround them, as far as possible, with thrifty men.
Let them join business with men who are in the habit of succeeding. Shiftless or irresponsible men will always abound, who are willing to join with them.
Warn them against enterprises where they must bear all the risks, and others share the profits.
Warn them against the peril of being in haste for wealth. Never run ahead of the hounds.
Training for greatness. The Spartans brought their children to public tables, and reared them in the presence of their great men, that they might be familiar with the greatness of Sparta. Noble ends may be kept before their minds till they will never think of themselves as capable of little meannesses. Hold them to noble ambitions and great purposes.
Training for refined society. The highest refinement of soul cannot be lost on them. It cannot harm your boy to school him into gentlemanly manners and habits. To reach this advantage he must
Think. Be at home in his mind. Reflection and thoughtfulness soon show themselves in the face.
Notice the manners of persons familiar with refined society. Object lessons are valuable.
Compare his own conduct with the best models.
CHOOSING A CALLING.
But few are elected, by either endowment or taste, to any one particular calling or trade. Several doors open about you. It may be true that you can do some one thing better than any of the others, but it is usually true that there are a number of things which you can do with tolerable success.
Study your natural proclivities. Sometimes the sports indicate the gifts. Napoleon played with cannon, Nelson with ships.
Study Providence. There is much in having things open before a boy for his development.
Do not break over your natural qualifications. A successful laborer is happier and more useful than an unsuccessful professional man or tradesman. Poor farmers are sometimes made out of good lawyers. Henry Clay, working
with an ox team, would carry the ox goad on his shoulder across the field, and by and by come to himself, to find that he had been waiting for the team to come up, which, understanding his abstraction, had gone aside to graze. Our wishes are often presentiments of our capabilities.
Having settled the calling, let it remain settled. You have left the ship on that plank, now you must reach the shore. Study on the line of your work. You must know all about that. Doubtless you have ability that, well applied, would succeed in several lines. But you have no ability that will succeed in any, if shifting from one to another is the rule.
Pith: study self, study Providence, choose, persist.
HOW TO CONDUCT FAMILY PRAYER.
Conduct it according to your strength. Gifts differ, but the spirit is one. Some Christians have great fluency and boldness in prayer, others have the spirit of testimony, but are unable to lead others in prayer. Some, owing to natural timidity, or untoward training in religious exercises, or from the lateness of their conversion, are not able to pray in the hearing of others. This diversity of gifts necessitates diversity in practice. Some few suggestions may not be out of place.
Have family prayer. If you cannot have it in one form have it in another, but have it. You are intrusted with the fashioning of the religious life and character of a family; you can hardly do your best without the great help of family worship. The family is the type of the Church. The Church in the family is God's favorite idea. He established his Church first in the family of Abraham, because he knew Abraham that he would order his house and his children after him.
Collect your household as far as possible at a stated hour each morning and evening, in a given room, and then read a portion of God's word, and, all kneeling, render thanks for the mercies received and invoke his blessing for the future.
It is a good custom to have each member of the family take part in the service, reading in turn two or more verses, till a suitable amount has been read. Then sing a hymn, or two or three stanzas. If any in the family can play, and you have a piano or organ, it gives additional impressiveness to the service. After this let the father (patriarch) who is the head and minister of the family church, lead in prayer, closing with the Lord's Prayer, in which all join.
If the father is not a professing Christian, and does not forbid family worship, the duty of leadership devolves upon the mother, the same as in
the case of the temporal death of the father. Many a family has been trained into righteousness by the fidelity of the mother. While it is often a great cross for a wife and mother to bear these burdens, yet God honors this fidelity by saving the children, restraining the husband, and often leading him to life.
If the father cannot command courage to lead in prayer, it is often found profitable for him to read the Lord's Prayer instead of offering a prayer of his own construction.
If the father cannot even venture so far, many families have been blessed and nurtured in godliness by all kneeling and uniting in silent prayer for a few moments. In the absence of other modes the reading of prayer prescribed by the Church is of service in keeping the Spirit of God in the family.
It is a valuable custom on the Sabbath morning when the family rests from the labor of the week, for the worship to be varied by having other members of the family, the wife, or some of the children, follow the father in leading in prayer.
It is helpful to have a room where all meet for prayer, and have its appointment suited to help the devotional thought. Let the pictures in that room be distinctively spiritual, or religious. It may be the chapel of the house.
GRACE AT THE TABLE.
Render unto God thanks for daily bread. This should be done reverently by the head of the family. Some families stand round the table till the blessing is invoked. Some families sing the long-meter doxology. Some families sing the doxology, and then follow it with the vocal blessing. Some families bow their heads in silence, each invoking God's blessing. Some families repeat each a verse of Scripture. Some families repeat the Scriptures, thus and then ask the blessing. Any form that seems best suited to the tastes and convictions of the family is good enough. The supreme point is to acknowledge and thank God, and invoke his continual blessing.
HOW TO PROFIT BY HABIT.
Habit becomes destiny. God gives us the power to form habits that we may crystallize victories. All improvement in the fingers of the knitter, in the eye of the painter, in the tongue of the speaker, in the hand of the artisan, is the gift of habit. Habit is a channel worn in the substance of the soul, along which our purpose and our ability run with increased facility. Prayer, faith, regularity in life, all that builds up steadiness of character, is
augmented by habit. Habit is the parent's hold upon the child, and the good man's power against Satan. The formation of a habit reduces to this simple direction: Apply yourself to a given plan industriously, punctually, and persistently.
Having this power in your mind, use it in acquiring habits of obedience and of faith.
HINTS AND HELPS IN CONVERSATION.
The ability to converse instructively and elegantly is one of the greatest endowments and accomplishments. By it other minds, even of the highest order, are led with the greatest ease. It is a delightful way in which to receive and impart information. Varilles said: "Of ten things which I know, I have learned nine from conversation." The gift of speech is man's supreme distinction. This is one impassable gulf between him and the lower grades of life. Its use in the common every-day intercourse of life makes up a large part of the intellectual activity of the race. Nothing in culture can exceed the importance of doing it well. The following hints and helps have been carefully gleaned from a wide range of authorities, and are here presented as matter familiar to many of our readers, but as matter which each successive generation needs to learn for itself:
The soul of refined conversation is the same as the soul of refined manners, namely, good-will toward others and a desire to secure their comfort and increase their happiness. This great law underlies all the rules on this subject. The authoritative putting of this law is, Do as you would be done by. Say nothing unpleasant when it can be avoided.
Avoid satire and sarcasm.
Never repeat a word that was not intended for repetition.
Cultivate the supreme wisdom, which consists less in saying what ought to
be said than in not saying what ought not to be said.
Often cultivate "flashes of silence."
It is the larger half of the conversation to listen well.
Listen to others patiently, especially the poor
Sharp sayings are an evidence of low breeding.
Shun faultfinding and faultfinders.
Never utter an uncomplimentary word against any one.
Compliments delicately hinted and sincerely intended are a grace in con
Commendation of gifts and cleverness properly put are in good taste, but praise of beauty is offensive.
Repeating kind expressions is proper.
Compliments given in a joke may be gratefully received in earnest.
Don't talk of yourself, or of your friends, or your deeds.
Give no sign that you appreciate your own merits.
Do not become the distributer of the small talk of a community. The smiles of your auditors do not mean respect.
Avoid giving the impression of one filled with "suppressed egotism."
Do not be too positive.
Do not talk to hear yourself.
Do not talk to display oratory.
Do not try to lead in conversation, looking around to enforce silence. Lay aside affected silly etiquette for the natural dictates of the heart. Direct the conversation where others can join with you, and impart to you useful information.
Avoid oddity. Eccentricity is shallow vanity.
Be what you wish to seem.
If you find bashfulness or embarrassment coming upon you, do or say something at once. The commonest matter gently stated is better than an embarrassing silence. Sometimes changing your position, or looking into a book for a moment, may relieve your embarrassment, and dispel any settling stiffness.
Avoid telling many stories, or repeating a story more than once in the same company.
Avoid repeating a brilliant or clever saying.
Never treat any one as if you simply wanted him to tell stories. People laugh and despise such a one.
Never tell a coarse story. No wit or preface can make it excusable.
Tell a story, if at all, only as an illustration, and not for itself. Tell it accurately.
Be careful, in asking questions for the purpose of starting conversation or of drawing out a person, not to be rude or intrusive.
Never take liberties by staring, or by any rudeness.
Never infringe upon established regulations among strangers.
Do not always prove yourself to be the one in the right. The right will appear. You need only give it a chance.
Avoid argument in conversation. It is discourteous to your host.
Cultivate paradoxes in conversation with your peers. They add interest to common-place matters. To strike the harmless faith of ordinary people in