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which the censures and directions are given. You, then, who are in a dependent position, are earnestly recommended to watch that part of the discipline of daily life relating to the pointing out of your faults by your superiors, or to the restrictions they impose on your freedom of word and action. With respect to the first, you may easily ascertain that the irritation you feel arises from wounded vanity. The more conscious you are of deserving the rebuke, the more pain it will give. On such occasions try to disarm the anger of your own feelings by an instant prayer for lowliness of mind, then you will find it comparatively easy to disarm the anger of your superior by a candid and meek confession of the justice of the censure passed upon you. Again, with respect to the strict control exercised over your words and actions, if you can only get rid of the irritation such control will
inflict on your vanity, it will be astonishing how much less unjust it will appear: you should further consider that others are competent to direct you in many circumstances when, though it might be at the moment pleasanter, it would certainly not be so safe to be entirely free from superintendence. The tone of dictation employed in the exercise of the control above spoken of, will give you much less pain if, with a meek and lowly spirit, you consider the right that others have to exercise authority over you. This consideration, too, will be likely to prevent your fancying the tone of dictation where it really was not
In the course of daily discipline, many wounds are given to vanity by disparaging remarks on the taste of the person exposed to this trial. Alterations may be suggested in dress, in manner, in music, or other accomplishments, &c.,
to which pride would be indifferent, in the assured consciousness of superior judgment. If, however, it is accompanied with any degree of vanity, a certain degree of pain will be inflicted, because of the insinuation, plainly implied, of superior taste to your own in the person who gives the advice. Are you irritated when such suggestions are offered to you? They may be prompted by real kindness, or by a love of interference or by a habit of finding fault. The more vanity you have, the more apt you will be to suspect the latter motives. It must be confessed that some persons administer advice in a brusque and dictatorial manner, that can scarcely fail of wounding, when there is any vanity to wound. When there is much, a conciliating tone, a real kindness of motive, will not succeed in making the insinuation palatable to the listeners that they are deficient in taste, intelligence or informa→
tion. Is it part of your daily discipline to receive this species of advice conveyed in a very disagreeable manner? Whatever the pain may be, try to benefit by it; examine carefully how far your vanity leads you to misjudge the motive or the manner of those who have advised you. Good sense, independent of Christian principle, will lead you to see, when you reflect without prejudice on the subject, that it is better to be given the opportunity of correcting any thing that may be amiss in your general deportment, even at the cost of a little present annoyance. And you will be careful not to exclude yourself from the advantage of future admonitions, however disagreeably worded, by a display of ill-temper or an apparent mistake of the motives that prompted them. It will be a good test of a conquest over the feelings of wounded vanity on such occasions, if you adopt, graciously and gratefully, the suggested alterations
in dress, manners, &c., as soon as you have, with an impartial judgment, ascertained that your adviser was in the right.
Many of the subjects here recommended for consideration appear so mean, when set before the mind in their true light, that an acknowledgement of error on such points is naturally very humbling to pride, and to something very different from pride, namely, refined and delicate feeling. But if these emotions of vanity are really allowed in the depths of the heart, not perhaps yet, not perhaps ever, in such odious forms and colours so glaring as have been here represented; still, if they exist at all, is it safe for the Christian moralist to be unaware of that existence? If the discipline of this day should, by inflicted pain, have led you to the discovery of some emotion hitherto
"concealed within an unsuspected part,
The vainest corner of your own vain heart;"