Mrs. Tibbets is thoughtless—if it were not so she would never have had her large dusty carpet beaten, when her neighbour, who had a wash, was having her wet clothes hung out to dry. Mrs. Williams is hasty and passionate, or she would never have taken it for granted that the carpet was beaten on purpose to spite her, and give her trouble. As it is, Mrs. Tibbets and Mrs. Williams hate one another with a perfect hatred.
Neighbours! Neighbours! bear with one another. We are none of us angels, and should not, therefore, expect those about us to be free from faults.
They who attempt to out-wrangle a quarrelsome neighbour, go the wrong way to work. A kind word, and still more a kind deed, will be more likely to be successful. Two children wanted to pass by a savage dog: the one took a stick in his hand and pointed it at him, but this only made the enraged creature more furious than before. The other child adopted a different plan; for by giving the dog a piece of his bread and butter, he was allowed to pass, the subdued animal wagging his tail in quietude. If you happen to have a quarrelsome neighbour, conquer him by civility and kindness; try the bread and butter system, and keep your stick out of sight. That is an excellent Christian admonition, “A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.”
Neighbours’ quarrels are a mutual reproach, and yet a stick or a straw is sufficient to promote them. One man is rich, and another poor; one is a churchman, another a dissenter; one is a conservative, another a liberal; one hates another because he is of the same trade, and another is bitter with his neighbour because he is a Jew or a Roman Catholic.
Neighbours! Neighbours! live in love, and then while you make others happy, you will be happier yourselves.
“That happy man is surely blest,
Who of the worst things makes the best;
Whilst he must be of temper curst,
Who of the best things makes the worst.”
“Be ye all of one mind,” says the Apostle, “having compassion one of another; love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous; not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing. “To a rich man I would say, bear with and try to serve those who are below you; and to a poor one—
“Fear God, love peace, and mind
And never, never quarrel with your neighbour.”
WE all might do good
Where we often do ill;
There is always the way,
If we have but the will;
Though it be but a word
Kindly breathed or supprest,
It may guard off some pain,
Or give peace to some breast.
We all might do good
In a thousand small ways—
In forbearing to flatter,
Yet yielding due praise—
In spurning ill humour,
Reproving wrong done,
And treating but kindly
Each heart we have won.