Edward Norton was a good Christian boy. He was one of God’s jewels. But there was quite a big speck on this jewel. He had a bad temper. A little thing would often make him very angry. He was fond of reading about the great conquerors spoken of in history. His mother tried to show him how he might become a greater conqueror than they. Every morning, for a whole week, she made him repeat this verse, “He that ruleth his own spirit is greater than he that taketh a city.” At the same time she taught him to pray to God for grace to help him to resist the temptation to get angry, and for power to rule his own spirit.
One day, after they had been talking about this verse, Edward was playing with some boys. A dispute arose between them. One of them called Edward a fool, laughed at him, and made fun of him. In a moment Edward grew red in the face. The fire began to flash from his eyes. He was just doubling up his fist, and raising his hand to strike a blow, when he suddenly stopped. Ho thought of what his mother had said about conquering his spirit. In a moment the silent prayer went up from his heart, “Lord, help me to overcome this angry spirit.” God heard that prayer and helped him. No angry blow was struck. No angry word was spoken. Ho ruled his own spirit. And when he went home and told his mother about it, she threw her arms round his neck, and kissed him, and told him that ho had gained a more glorious victory that day than any that Alexander, or Caesar, or Napoleon ever gained. That was true.