Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

as Poor Richard says. Perhaps they have had a small estate left them, which they knew not the getting of; they think, “It is day, and it will never be night:" that a little to be spent out of so much is not worth minding; but “ Always taking out of the meal-tub, and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom," as Poor Richard says; and then, “ When the well is dry, they know the worth of water.” But this they might have known before, if they had taken his advice. “If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some; for he that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing," as Poor Richard says; and, indeed, so does he that lends to such people, when he goes to get it in again. Poor Dick further advises and says,

" Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse,

Ere faucy you consult, consult yonr purse.” And again, “Pride is as loud a beggar as Want, and a great deal more saucy.” When you have got one fine thing, you must buy ten more, that your appearance may be all of a-piece; but Poor Dick says, “It is easier to suppress the first desire, than to satisfy all that follow it.” And it is as truly folly for the poor to ape the rich, as for the frog to swell, in order to equal the ox.

“ Vessels large may venture more,

But little boats should keep near shore.” , It is however a folly soon punished; for, as Poor Richard says, “ Pride that dines on vanity, sups on contempt; Pride breakfasted with Plenty, diped with Poverty, and supped with Infamy." And after all, of what use is the pride of appearance, for which so much is risked, so much is suf

fered ? It cannot promote health, nor ease pain ; it makes no increase of merit in the person, it creates envy, it hastens misfortune.

But what madness it must be to run in debt for these superfluities! We are offered, by the terms of this sale, six months credit; and that, perhaps, has induced some of us to attend it, because we cannot spare the ready money, and hope now to be fine without it. But, ah! think what you do when you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty. If you cannot pay at the time, you will be ashamed to see your creditor; you will be in fear when you speak to him; you will make poor pitiful sneaking excuses, and, by degress, come to lose your veracity, and sink into base, downright lying; for, “ The second vice is lying; the first is running in debt,” as Poor Richard says; and again, to the same purpose, “ Lying rides upon Debt's back :" whereas a free-born Englishman ought not to be ashanied or afraid to see or speak to any nian living. But poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue. « It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.”— What would you think of that prince, or of that government, who should issue an edict forbidding you to dress like a gentleman or gentlewoman, on pain of imprisonment or servitude? Would you not say that you were free, have a right to dress as you please, and that such an edict would be a breach of your privileges, and such a government tyrannical? and yet you are about to put yourself under that tyranny, when you run in debt for such dress? Your creditor has authority, at his pleasure, to

VOL. VI.

154

ELEGANT EXTRACTS. BOOK XII. deprive you of your liberty, by confining you in gaol for life, or by selling you for a servant, if you should not be able to pay him. When you have got your bargain, yon may, perhaps, think little of payment; but, as Poor Richard says, “Creditors have better memories than debtors; creditors are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times." The day comes round before you are aware, and the demand is made before you are prepared to satisfy it; or, if you bear your debt in mind, the term, whicb at first seemed so long, will, as it lessens, appear extremely short: Time will seem to have added wings to his heels as well as his shoulders. “Those have a short Lent, who owe money to be paid at Easter.” At present, perhaps, you may think yourselves in thriving circumstances, and that you can bear a little extravagance without injury, but

“ For age and want save while you may,

No morning son lasts a whole day."
'Gain may be temporary and uncertain; bot
ever, while you live, expense is constant and cer-
tain; and, “ It is easier to build two chimneys,
than to keep one in fuel." as Poor Richard says:
so, “Rather go to bed supperless, than
debt.”
“ Get wbat you can, and what yon get hold

on get hold,
'Tis the stone that will torn all your lead into gold.
And when you have got the philosopuer:

the philosopher's stone,
Sare you will no longer complain of Da
the difficulty of paying taxes.

IV. “This doctrine, my friends,

ar lead into gold.

[ocr errors]

ine, my friends, is reason and

wisdom: but, after all, do not depend too much upon your own industry, and frugality, and prudence, though excellent things; for they may all be blasted, without the blessing of Heaven: and, therefore, ask that blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those that at present seem to want it, but comfort and help them. Remember, Job suffered, and was afterwards prosperous.

• And now to conclude, “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other,” as Poor Richard says, and scarce in that: for it is true, “We may give advice, but we cannot give conduct.” However, remember this, “ They that will not be counselled cannot be helped ;" and further, that, “If you will not hear Reason, she will surely rap your knuckles," as Poor Richard says.'

Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue. The people heard it and approved the doctrine, and immediately practised the contrary, just as if it had been a common sermon; for the auction opened, and they began to buy extravagantly.-I found the good man had thoroughly studied my almanacks, and digested all I had dropped on those topics during the course of twenty-five years. The frequent mention he made of me must have tired any one else; but my vanity was wonderfully delighted with it, though I was conscious that not a tenth part of the wisdom was my own, which he ascribed to me; but rather the gleanings that I had made of the sense of all ages and nations. However, I resolved to be the better for the echo of it, and though I had at first determined to buy stuff for a new coat, I went away, resolved to

wear my old one a little longer. Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine.--I am, as ever, thine to serve thee,

RICHARD SAUNDERS.

Franklin.

DETACHED SENTENCES. To be ever active in laudable pursuits, is the distinguishing characteristic of a man of merit.

There is an heroic innocence, as well as an heroic courage.

There is a mean ip all things. Even virtue itself hath its stated limits; which not being strictly observed, it ceases to be virtue.

It is wiser to prevent a quarrel before-hand, than to revenge it afterwards.

It is much better to reprove, than to be angry secretly.

No revenge is more heroic, than that which torments envy by doing good.

The discretion of a man deferreth his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

Money, like manure, does no good till it is spread. There is no real use of riches, except in the distribution; the rest is all conceit.

A wise man will desire no more, than what he may get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and live upon contentedly.

A contented mind, and a good conscience, will make a man happy in all conditions. He knows not how to fear, who dares to die.

There is but one way of fortifying the soul

« ZurückWeiter »