Journal of Dr GFW
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This idle day has again returned and you find many using it agreeable to that appellation. None think of improvement, either moral or religious, but the various schemes of interest are discussed by some. Most assuredly this is a deplorable state of society and calls aloud for reform. I find that day affords me an opportunity of noting a few momentary ideas that have occasionally run through my mind since the seventeenth inst. I have endeavored to keep on the smooth, level path, let occurrences be as they may, using my utmost exertion to create the idea that they were unnoticed by me. My countenances and appearance are closely scrutinized by many. Yet none have had sufficient penetration to open the storehouse of my thoughts and these read the ideas concealed and unutteredor expressed by any external indication. My countenance is under my control, never betraying the internal commotions that may be raging unless at my request or permission. Enemies sometimes are of benfit particularly to the young who have not the opportunity of good counsel or wil not listen to the admonitions of experience as it teaches them not to place too much reliance on any individual until a long and varied course of acquaintance has in various ways proved them friends, for in the common acceptation of friendship, receiving confidence, it is a mere show, an interested pretense, solely for the purpose of deception, no reliance can be placed on it; always be on your guard; never step beyond the bounds of well-defined prudence or it may prove your ruin.
Secondly, it causes him who has suffered from confidence prematurely confided in, and instead of that expeted continuance of friendship, enmity has assumed its place, to be more careful and watchful over his own conduct. It puts him on the outpost guard, and more carefully observe the approach and movements of all claimants to confidence. It elicits a close examination of our past course of life, in order to see when, where, and under what circumstances, and how he was led into difficulties, when every external appeared so favorable and entiicing. It leans us to know that we are not free from danger when everything around appears pleasant and prosperous, and particularly so if that pleasantness and prosperity be not the fruit of our own honest industry. We see there are some advantages, as well as disadvantages, resulting from false friendship. I pleace these things here that you may profit from my experience and avoid the consequences, which I hope you will. I hope these lessons will learn me to become more wise and life declines, and to endeavor to give to those who may come after correct ideas and hints how in some degree to avoid the evils arising from too much confidence placed on small acquaintance. One hour, week, month, or year will not do. It must be years, and several of them too, before you dare venture one inch. Men are corrupt, fraudulent; nothing will make them honest but bonds, and these must be witnesses. May it ever be my delight to expose to you the good and bad actions of men from what I have seen and felt.
It is no uncommon occurrence to see injustice added to inhumanity. This I had presented to my view no longer ago than yesterday. And the circumstances attending it and the effects produced are so conected with my peace that I cannot refrain from noticing it as one of the ten thousand unexpected incidents of life. It is not a little surprising that so many individuals will do that which, when done by others, they positively condemn and represent it as quite unpardonable; all under the same or similar circumstances. My mother-in-law is a woman of delicate health and easily touched when self is the object effected. Often have I heard her complain and weep because her husband had said, at some unlikely moment, a few words not exactly in accordance with her feelings. Oh! How ungrateful, hard hearted and unjust to use such language, and for nothing. She could not help it. She was not in the fault. She considered it quite unjust for him to inflict such pain on her. Now, see how soon she herself commits the same crime and even steps much farther from the road of justice. My companion has often been abraded by her mother for that which she cannot help, when the mother is entirely in the fault that it is so, and could have effectually remedied the very evil of which she complains. I went up to my mother-in-law's yesterday morning where my wife had been gone for some time, and when I entered the house I found my wife in tears and from appearance had been for some time. I saw the countenance change, and not a word spoken, which led me to imagine that I might have been mentioned, which I learned to be the fact, blaming her for what I had done, just as though she had the full control over my actions, and the whole affair of her spite thus vented on me was because I had once left home and went to see some patient (much more dangerous) when she was sick. She said I was mean and all I could think about or cared about was the Irish in the country, meaning the English; that I did not care for her and did not care for my wife, and that if she was dying I would go off and leave her. This and much more of the same nature was said. Now, she did not act the Christian in this case if she is a Moravian, though I think she is a very good woman, only little to selfish. Now this was to use the most language a very injudicious reproof to me. Instead of doing good and endeavoring to make her daughter peaceful and contented, she was endeavoring to sow the bitter seed of disaffection and discontent, and if there had been before this an inclination of that kind, this was the course to aggravate the evil. I have been much disturbed from this cause and now believe that the difficulty before mentioned was instigated by the mother by just such representations, and am now satisfied that interference will have an unpleasant tendency in our domestic relations. I could never have anticipated that the mother of a child could wish to make that child unhappy, but such is the misguided notion of many. They act and never stop to think of the ends of that action. I have no cause, yet, to regrest my change of life. If we unite our endeavors, as it is our duty to make each other comfortable as our circumstance require, all will be well. If not, all will be ill.