Page images

macy that existed unbroken for more than twenty-two years—says, “I never, during that period, heard him utter an idle word, nor one that did not tend direct.y to edification, nor did I ever see him in any other temper of mind than such as I should desire to be found in when I come to die."

[ocr errors]


A man of my acquaintance, who was of a vehement and rigid temper, had a dispute with a friend of his, a professor of religion, and had been injured by him., With strong feelings of resentment, he made him a visit for the avowed purpose of quarrelling with him. He accordingly stated to him the nature and extent of the injury done him, and was preparing; as he afterwards confessed, to load him with a train of severe reproaches, when his friend cut him short by acknowledging, with the utmost readiness and frankness, the injustice of which he had been guilty, expressing his own regret for the wrong which he had done, requesting his forgiveness, and offering him ample compensation. He was compelled to say he was satisfied, and withdrew full of mortification that he had been precluded from venting his indignation, and wounding his friend with keen and violent reproaches for his conduct. As he was walk

ing home, he said to himself, “ There must be more in religion than I have hitherto suspected. Were any to address me in the tone of haughtiness and provocation with which I accosted my friend this evening, it would be impossible for me to preserve the equanimity of which I have been witness, and especially with so much frank. ness, humility and meekness to acknowledge the wrong which I had done; so readily ask forgiveness of the man whom I had injured, and so cheerfully promise a satisfactory recompense. I should have met his anger by, anger, &c. There is something in religion that I have hitherto been a stranger to.” He soon became a Christian, and at length a minister of the gospel.-Dr. Dwight.



Pinel had the charge of the Bedlam at Paris, and governed the maniacs by the law of kindness alone, the account of which is extracted from a letter read at the Academy of Sciences, by a son of the celebrated Pinel in 1796.

“ The first man on whom the experiment was to be tried, was an English Captain, whose history no one knew, as he had been in chains forty years. He was thought to be one of the


most furious among them.

His keepers approached him with caution, as he had in a fit of fury killed one of them with a blow from his manacles. He was chained more vigorously than any of the others. Pinel entered his cell unattended, and calmly said, “Captain, I will order your chains to be taken off, and give you liberty to walk in the court, if you will

promise me to behave well, and injure no one. Yes, I promise you, (said the maniac,) but you are laughing at me-you are all too much afraid of

“I have six men, (said Pinel,) ready to enforce my commands, if necessary. Believe me, then, on my word, I will give you your liberty if you will put on this waistcoat.' " He submitted to this willingly, without a word. His chains were removed, and the keepers retired, leaving the door open. He raised himself many times from his seat, but fell back again on it; for he had been in a sitting posture so long, that he had lost the use of his legs. In a quarter of an hour, he succeeded in maintaining his balance, and with tottering steps, came to the door of his dark cell. His first look was at the sky, and he cried out enthusiastically, how beautiful !'

During the rest of the day, he was constantly in motion, walking up and down the stair-cases, and uttering short exclamations of delight. In the evening, he returned of his own accord to his cell, where a better bed than he had been

accustomed to had been prepared for him, and he slept tranquilly. During the two succeeding years which he spent in the Bicetre, he had no return of his previous paroxysms, but even rendered himself useful, by exercising a kind of authority over the insane patients, whom he ruled in his own fashion."

In the course of a few days, Pinel released fifty-three manaics from their chains; among them were men of all conditions and countries; workmen, merchants, soldiers, lawyers, etc. The result was beyond his hopes. Tranquility and harmony succeeded to tumult and disorder; and the whole discipline was marked with a regularity and kindness which had the most favorable effect on the insane themselves, -rendering the most furious more tractable.

We see in this very striking and beautiful illustration of the influence of the law of kindness, that it subdues the raging manaic into calmness, and to become as obedient as a child. Since violent madness bows before kindness, what

may we expect its effects to be on the sane?

EFFECT OF KIND WORDS. “ A soft answer turneth away wrath."

'_Prov. xv. 1. When Esau was on his way to take vengeance on his brother Jacob, the latter sent him a present, accompanied by words of kindness, which melted the revengeful heart of Esau into love for his brother.

The kind words of David to his mortal enemy, Saul, melted him to tears. (1 Sam. xxiv, 7-19.)


“ Grievous words stir up anger.” When Rehoboam succeeded Solomon, many of his subjects requested some of their burdens to be removed. The king first asked counsel of some of his old men, who advised him to be kind to his subjects, and speak pleasantly to them, and assured him, that thus he would have loving and loyal subjects ; but his young counsellors “spake unto him, saying, thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, As my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke ; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions." (Chron. 10th chap:) Rehoboam followed the latter advice, and the result was, the ten tribes were filled with


and revolted against their oppressive ruler.


Children are imitative beings, and are inoulded by the example around them, whether good or

« PreviousContinue »