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whether you succeed or not.
The very effort will be useful. Strength is increased by exercise. Indolence and despondency enfeeble the
powers. If you hold a limb in one position, and fancy you cannot move it, it will become so numbed and cramped that in time you really cannot.
If you try to do what is right, and do not succeed, try again and again, till you do succeed.
Many a good effort is lost for want of perseverance. Remember the woman of Canaan, and let her success encourage to perseverance in the face of discouragements, Matt. xv. 28.
The Divine blessing is afforded to honest endeavours but we have no right whatever to expect it but in connexion with them. How easily might the woman of Sarepta have said, "It is of no use to try," when commanded to make bread for the prophet, and herself, and her child, with a handful of meal, 1 Kings xvii.; or the servants, when told to fill the vessels with water, to supply the lack of wine, John ii.; or the man, when commanded to stretch forth his withered hand, Mark iii. 5: but, in every instance, see what happy and unlooked-for results attended the effort of faith and obedience.
In whatever good and lawful enterprise we are engaged, we are warranted, in humility and faith, to ask and hope for the Divine assistance and blessing; and, above all, in those which have for their object the salvation of souls, we are invited and encouraged to attempt great things, and ask great things, and expect great things. "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it," Psa. lxxxi. 10.
ANTIQUITY AND NOVELTY.
A PAIR OF PORTRAITS.
"NONE of your new-fangled notions for me," was the uniform reply of old Mr. Dormer, to every proposal for the adoption of any sort of modern invention or improvement.
Mr. Dormer was a man of good property, residing on an estate of his own, situated three or four miles from that of my uncle, with whom he was on terms of greater intimacy than with any other of the neighbouring gentlemen; for my uncle discerned and appreciated his real excellences, and treated his little peculiarities with a greater degree of forbearance and candour than the rest. The old gentleman was fond of my uncle's society, and was not in fear of being ridiculed by him. It is remarkable, however, that he would listen with calmness, if not with approbation, to remarks from my uncle, which, if they had been made by any other person, he would have deemed highly offensive; and the few instances in which he, in the least degree, deviated from his long-adopted systems, were all at my uncle's suggestion.
An estate, contiguous to that of Mr. Dormer, came by marriage into the possession of Mr. Ken
nedy, a man whose tastes and habits were the very antipodes of those of his neighbour. It may be supposed that this dissimilarity precluded all intercourse between the two gentlemen and their families. Such, however, was not the case. They frequently met, spent an hour or two in friendly altercation, and separated, each with an increased sense of his own superiority, and a growing contempt for the understanding and the taste of his antagonist sometimes, with a resolution to meet no more; but more frequently, with either the censorious, or the benevolent determination of shortly making another visit, with the view to pry out and ridicule the foibles of his neighbour; or in the hope of making a convert of him to preferences and pursuits more in unison with his own. According as these dispositions prevailed, they were, for the time, the best friends imaginable, or the bitterest enemies-no, that is too harsh a phrase-the most unapproachable neighbours. And they spoke of each other with pity or with contempt, as, 66 A good sort of a man, with a few oddities;" or, "A man given up to most perverse and preposterous notions and practices.'
The two gentlemen sometimes met at my uncle's: not frequently, and scarcely ever by appointment; for my uncle exceedingly objected, on principle, to such a selection of guests as would be, in effect, setting two men against each other, to render themselves ridiculous, for the amusement or the annoyance of the company; and he knew human nature too well to suppose that such set encounters, in the presence of others, had any tendency to bring the combatants nearer to each other, or to cure or soften down the peculiarities and prejudices
of either. Sometimes, however, it happened that one of the two dropped in accidentally when the other was making a visit. On these occasions, both were under the salutary restraints of the laws of courtesy. Each, however, was evidently on the watch for an opportunity to throw out some remark on his neighbour's hobby; and indeed almost every topic afforded some such occasion. The conversation generally commenced playfully, but would sometimes have terminated angrily, but for the shrewd and good-humoured interposition of my uncle, who, without seeming to do so, acted as moderator on these occasions, and generally extorted, from each of the parties, such concessions in favour of the other, as sent them away mutual friends.
Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy were one afternoon at my uncle's, with a few other friends, when the former, who happened to sit near a window which commanded a view of the avenue, suddenly exclaimed, "Here comes the president of the antiquarian society, my worthy friend, Stephen Dormer, Esq., with his old-fashioned daughter, and his old-fashioned dog! Did ever any mortal behold such a hat and such a waistcoat?"
"Oh, yes," replied uncle, "I have often seen your good father dressed in exactly the same style. If your own recollection does not confirm mine, the admirable portrait in your drawing-room does."
"My father!-yes; but that portrait was taken at least thirty years ago. If my father had lived to the present day, it is not to be supposed that he would have retained that ridiculous costume."
"I do not know that the costume is, in itself,
more ridiculous than that of the present day. Do you not think that, a few years hence, the propensity to ridicule what is not the exact mode of the day, will find as ample scope for its exercise on what you now wear and admire, as the old-fashioned garb of our worthy friend at present affords you?"
Possibly it may but, at all events, I will take care not to adhere so long to any one mode as to give to posterity an opportunity of recognizing my portrait by the cut of the coat. I must rub up the old quiz about his tailor."
My uncle had scarcely time to request that Mr. Kennedy would give a truce to his quizzing, as he could not permit his friend to be annoyed in his house, when the old gentleman was announced. He was indeed an original. It seemed as if all the manufactories of Great Britain had been ransacked to procure every article of his dress, the very best of its kind; and as to the make, it was the old gentleman's pride, that not a single article had been varied, in its cut, from that of the suit he wore in the reign of George II., when the prince and princess of Wales, accompanied by their son, (afterwards king George II.,) visited the silkmanufactories in Spitalfields, of one of which his father was the proprietor. Since that period, considerably more than half a century had intervened. The old gentleman had outlived the tailors, and sempstresses, and peruke makers of his youth; yet he contrived, by hunting out the most antiquated work-people in each department, by preserving an original pattern of each article, by rigidly enforcing exact conformity in every particular, and by paying a more than liberal price for compliance with his wishes, still to keep up a