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Thomas De Witt Talmage
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 260 pages of information about Around The Tea-Table.

There is not as much difference between horses and men as you might suppose.  The road between mind and equine instinct is short and soon traveled.  The horse is sometimes superior to his rider.  If anything is good and admirable in proportion as it answers the end of its being, then the horse that bends into its traces before a Fourth avenue car is better than its blaspheming driver.  He who cannot manage a horse cannot manage a man.

We know of pastors who have balky parishioners.  When any important move is to take place, and all the other horses of the team are willing to draw, they lay themselves back in the harness.

First the pastor pats the obstreperous elder or deacon on the neck and tells him how much he thinks of him.  This only makes him shake his mane and grind his bit.  He will die first before he consents to such a movement.  Next, he is pulled by the ear, with a good many sharp insinuations as to his motives for holding back.  Fires of indignation are built under him for the purpose of consuming his balkiness.  He is whipped with the scourge of public opinion, but this only makes him kick fiercely and lie harder in the breeching-straps.  He is backed down into the ditch of scorn and contempt, but still is not willing to draw an ounce.  O foolish minister, trying in that way to manage a balky parishioner!  Let him alone.  Go on and leave him there.  Pay less attention to the horse that balks, and give more oats to those that pull.  Leave him out in the cold.  Some day you will come back and find him glad to start.  At your first advance he will arch his neck, paw his hoof, bend into the bit, stiffen the traces and dash on.  We have the same prescription for balky horses and men:  for a little while let them alone.

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

Anonymous letters.

In boyhood days we were impressed with the fertility of a certain author whose name so often appeared in the spelling books and readers, styled Anon.  He seemed to write more than Isaac Watts, or Shakespeare, or Blair.  In the index, and scattered throughout all our books, was the name of Anon.  He appeared in all styles of poetry and prose and dialogue.  We wondered where he lived, what his age was, and how he looked, it was not until quite late in boyhood that we learned that Anon was an abbreviation for anonymous, and that he was sometimes the best saint and at other times the most extraordinary villain.

After centuries of correspondence old Anonymous is as fertile of thought and brain and stratagem as ever, and will probably keep on writing till the last fire burns up his pen and cracks to pieces his ink bottle.  Anonymous letters sometimes have a mission of kindness and gratitude and good cheer.  Genuine modesty may sometimes hide the name of an epistolary author or authoress.  It may be a “God bless you” from some one who thinks herself hardly in a position to address you.  It may be the discovery of a plot for your damage, in which the revelator does not care to take the responsibility of a witness.  It may be any one of a thousand things that mean frankness and delicacy and honor and Christian principle.  We have received anonymous letters which we have put away among our most sacred archives.

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