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THE FATAL BLOW.
NEVER give way to anger. Passion is in itself sinful; and this is alone a sufficient reason why every schoolboy should strive mightily against it. But, besides this, it makes its unhappy subject appear so despicable and hateful to all around him, and brings so much mortification and selfreproach home to his own bosom, that no one, surely, would choose to be passionate. Another reason yet remains for keeping temper under control. Unrestrained passion is most dangerous to all within its reach. If it could but be told how many lives have been taken away in the heat of unbridled anger since the world began, the sad record would certainly fill us with dismay. How true it is that “ Wrath is cruel, and anger outrageous !” and how wise the injunction, “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul !” Prov. xxvii. 4; xxii. 24, 25.
It is to be feared that there are but few men living who have not heard of one or more instances in which the indulgence of passion has been attended by great misery, and perhaps by loss of life; and, certainly, there are but very few passionate people who have not, at some time or other, incurred the danger of actual murder. The guilt of murder they, alas! too often bring upon themselves, and its dreadful punishment, too; for the word of God assures us that he who hates another with malicious hatred is a murderer ; and that he who passionately calls his brother “ fool,” is in danger of hell-fire, 1 John iii. 15; Matt. v. 22. Happy is he, then, who wrestles with the unholy passion within his heart, and who sincerely prays for help against temptation. “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city,” Prov. xvi. 32.
Louis was ungenerous, unforgiving, and passionate. In his best moods he was so disagreeable that no boy in the school cared to be his companion in a walk or at play ; and when crossed, or in any way offended, it was really shocking to see the fury that flashed in his dark eye, and to hear the threats which he uttered. More than once did his outbursts of rage bring him to the brink of an ignominious dismissal from the school ; and still oftener was he kept in strict seclusion, and debarred from holding any intercourse with his schoolfellows, because of his quarrelsome and passionate temper. Sometimes boys—and men, too—who are passionate, are heard to plead that their temper, soon heated, soon cools also, and that, when not in a passion, they are the best-natured people living. It may be so with some; though it is very doubtful whether it be generally so; and if it be, it forms no excuse for passion. But, however it may be with others, Louis was very unapt to be reconciled to any one who ever offended him, or to be sorry for what he had said or done, when the heat of temper was over. On the contrary, he would brood, for days and weeks, over some real or fancied injury, and, on the slightest provocation, renew the quarrel with redoubled fury. It is a great pity that there are so many people in the world like Louis.
A boy of a different spirit was Frederick -a curly-headed, merry-eyed little fellow, as full of fun as Louis was full of malice. He had not been at school a week before he was the general favourite ; and this kindly feeling towards him grew stronger with time. Even Louis relaxed his bad temper, so far as Frederick was concerned, and full three months passed before he could find heart or opportunity to quarrel with him. It was not that Frederick freely gave away what are generally reckoned by schoolboys as good things; for he had none to give. His friends were far from being rich ; probably they made some sacrifices to give him a good education, and neither thought it necessary nor right to give him much money to spend, nor to supply him with luxuries from home. Some boys have a very mistaken notion that lavishness can purchase friendship. We have more than once seen the experiment tried, both by boys and men ; but we never knew it succeed. Unless a kind and be.