Once a man came to our house red with wrath. He was boiling over with rage. He had, or supposed he had, a grievance to complain of. My father listened to him with great attention and perfect quietness until he had got it all out, and then he said to him in a soft and low tone, "Well, I suppose you only want what is just and right?" The man said. "Yes," but went on to state the case over again. Very gently father said to him, "If you have been misinformed, I presume you would be perfectly willing to know what the truth is?" He said he would. Then father very quietly and gently made a statement on the other side, and when he was through the man got up and said, "Forgive me, doctor, forgive me." Father had beaten him by his quiet, gentle way.
I saw it and it gave me an insight into the power of self-control. It was a striking illustration of the passage, "He that ruleth Ms spirit [is better] than he that taketh a city."—Henry Ward Beecher.
A merchant falsely accused an innocent Quaker. When the latter called to try to explain, the merchant called to the servant to inform the Quaker that he was not at home.
Calmly the old Quaker looked up the stairway and said something to this effect, "God put thee in a better mind, friend."
This meek reply disturbed the merchant so much that he later apologized and inquired how he could bear such abuse as he had been receiving.
The old Quaker then told how he had observed that one in a passion always spoke loud and so he by God's help made an effort to use a moderate voice.
I'm sure this Quaker had learned the verse that tells us that he that can rule his spirit is better than he that can conquer a city.—Gospel Herald.
Have you ever considered your heart as a parcel of ground? Years ago our forefathers came to this country and "homesteaded" certain portions of land which belonged to the government. This was virgin soil. Much of it had to be cleared of woods and brush before it could be cultivated. It took long, arduous months of work before the land was cleared and crops rewarded the homesteader. But with patience and perseverance much was accomplished and the pioneer was the proud possessor of fertile fields and brought him rich return for his labor.
In clearing the land in the days of the pioneers the task of cutting the trees and removing the thickets and underbrush covering the land was but a small portion of the work involved, for this could quite quickly be accomplished by burning the wood. The difficult part of the work was the removing of the roots and stumps and stones which were underneath the surface of the ground but which must needfully be removed before the work was complete and before cultivation could be undertaken. If this was not done within a short time the area would be covered with a second growth, as difficult to remove as the first. Hebrews 12:15 says: "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up, trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." It is these hidden things in our lives, the "roots of bitterness" which need to be eradicated completely.—Gospel Herald.
Sir Walter Raleigh, a man of known courage and honor, being very injuriously treated by a hot-headed, rash youth, who proceeded to challenge him, and, on his refusal, spit in his face, and that, too, in public, the knight, taking out his handkerchief with great calmness, made him only this reply: "Young man, if I could as easily wipe your blood from my conscience as I can this injury from my face, I would at this moment take away your life." The youth, with a strong sense of his improper behavior, fell on his knees, and begged forgiveness.—Biblical Encyclopedia.
Samuel Stokes, an American missionary, walked through the Punjab, carrying only a water-bottle and blanket, trusting wholly to native hospitality. In one village he was given a particularly hostile reception. The headmen of the village sat in chairs in a circle, smoking, leaving him the whole evening sitting on the floor. When he asked if he might nurse their sick and teach them, they hurled horrible insults at him; but he made no reply. Then they gave him stale crusts in a filthy bowl. He thanked them courteously, and ate. For two days this lasted. On the third day, the headman laid his turban at Stokes' feet as a token of respect. He explained that they had heard that Jesus' disciples were commanded to love their enemies, and had decided to put him to the test. The result had amazed them. Now they brought him their choicest food, and were eager to hear his teaching. If he had lost his temper, he would have lost his chance.—Gospel Herald.
A traveler in Ceylon tells the following story: "As I was dining in a home I was startled to hear the hostess ask her servant to place a bowl of milk on the deer skin beside her chair. I knew at once that there was a cobra in the room, for they prefer milk to anything else. We also knew that a hasty movement meant death, so we sat like statues. Soon, to our amazement, a cobra uncoiled from my hostess' ankle and swiftly glided toward the milk, where it was quickly killed." What a triumph of self-control over the external! But if we use the same quiet trust in Christ as this woman did in the bowl of milk, when the serpent of all evil approaches us, internal triumphs over him would be more numerous than they are now.—Record of Christian Work.
Obedience is necessary in playing a straight game. Christy Mathewson was a much loved ball player, but he had trouble with one of the rules—obedience. Manager McGraw required that at the end of every day's practice all extra players must run around the ball field twice before climbing into the bus to go home. On this particular day all who were supposed to run around the bases started except Mathewson. Go ahead, Matty, take the run with those fellows, and we'll all go home," said the manager. "I've worked hard enough today," replied Mathewson. "Just the same you've got to go," said McGraw. Matty sat there on the bench. "We don't move a foot till Matty runs," said the manager. His teammates urged, but there he sat for over half an hour. Finally he arose, stood at first base as if struggling with himself, then ran the bases twice and jumped into the bus. He said, "That was the most important lesson I ever had. I had to win in the fight over myself, and I did it."—Presbyterian.