There is immense wisdom in the old proverb, "He
that is slow to anger is better than the mighty." Hannah
More said, "If I wished to punish my enemy, I should
make him hate somebody."
To punish ourselves for others' faults, is superlative
folly. The mental arrow shot from another's bow is
practically harmless, unless our own thought barbs it.
It is our pride that makes another's criticism rankle, our
self-will that makes another's deed offensive, our egotism
that feels hurt by another's self-assertion. Well may we
feel wounded by our own faults; but we can hardly afford
to be miserable for the faults of others.
A courtier told Constantine that a mob had broken
the head of his statue with stones. The emperor lifted
his hands to his head, saying: "It is very surprising, but
I don't feel hurt in the least."
We should remember that the world is wide; that there
are a thousand million different human wills, opinions,
ambitions, tastes, and loves; that each person has a differ-
ent history, constitution, culture, character, from all the
rest; that human life is the work, the play, the ceaseless
action and reaction upon each other of these different
atoms. Then, we should go forth into life with the smallest
expectations, but with the largest patience; with a keen
relish for and appreciation of everything beautiful, great,
and good, but with a temper so genial that the friction
of the world shall not wear upon our sensibilities; with
an equanimity so settled that no passing breath nor
accidental disturbance shall agitate or ruffle it; with a
charity broad enough to cover the whole world's evil, and
sweet enough to neutralize what is bitter in it, — de-
termined not to be offended when no wrong is meant, nor
even when it is, unless the offense be against God.
Nothing short of our own errors should offend...