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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 236 pages of information about Friends and Neighbors.

Do not forget to make due allowances for the original constitution and the manner of education or bringing up, which has been the lot of those with whom you have to do.  Make such excuses for Others as the circumstances of their constitution, rearing, and youthful associations, do fairly demand.

Always put the best construction on the motives of others, when their conduct admits of more than one way of understanding it.  In many cases, where neglect or ill intention seems evident at first sight, it may prove true that “second thoughts are best.”  Indeed, this common slaying is never more likely to prove true than in cases in which the first thoughts were the dictates of anger And even when the first thoughts are confirmed by further evidence, yet the habit of always waiting for complete evidence before we condemn, must have a calming; and moderating effect upon the temper, while it will take nothing from the authority of our just censures.

It will further, be a great help to our efforts, as well as our desires, for the government of the temper, if we consider frequently and seriously the natural consequences of hasty resentments, angry replies, rebukes impatiently given or impatiently received, muttered discontents, sullen looks, and harsh words.  It may safely be asserted that the consequences of these and other ways in which ill-temper may show itself, are entirely evil.  The feelings, which accompany them in ourselves, and those which they excite in others, are unprofitable as well as painful.  They lessen our own comfort, and tend often rather to prevent than to promote the improvement of those with whom we find fault.  If we give even friendly and judicious counsels in a harsh and pettish tone, we excite against them the repugnance naturally felt to our manner.  The consequence is, that the advice is slighted, and the peevish adviser pitied, despised, or hated.

When we cannot succeed in putting a restraint on our feelings of anger or dissatisfaction, we can at least check the expression of those feelings.  If our thoughts are not always in our power, our words and actions and looks may be brought under our command; and a command over these expressions of our thoughts and feelings will be found no mean help towards obtaining an increase of power over our thoughts and feelings themselves.  At least, one great good will be effected:  time will be gained; time for reflection; time for charitable allowances and excuses.

Lastly, seek the help of religion.  Consider how you may most certainly secure the approbation of God.  For a good temper, or a well-regulated temper, may be the constant homage of a truly religious man to that God, whose love and long-suffering forbearance surpass all human love and forbearance.

MANLY GENTLENESS.

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