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ous moments with fortitude and patience, it is of still greater value to be able to prevent their being tedious; which can be accomplished only by turning them to good account, through assiduous diligence in proper and useful pursuits.

Nor is the apocryphal text that I am conimenting upon, of less pertinent application to the interesting subjects of economy and morals.

It is the hand of the diligent that maketh rich. Most estates have been acquired by degrees, by regular and well-applied industry, and by a prudent care against waste in even the smallest matters. By these means, in a long series of years, estates have grown up to such a magnitude as the owners themselves would be puzzled to account for. They had met with nothing that could be termed great good luck. The wheel of fortune never turned them out a lottery prize, nor did they ever gather a single sheaf from the field of speculation ; and they themselves can hardly see, how their estates ha so increased. The truth of it is, that small annual savings, so judiciously managed as to be made constantly productive, will, in the space of half a century, count up to the magnitude of considerable wealth. On the contrary, many of the estates that are spent, chiefly leak out in small streamlets. The heirs, or owners, are neither stained with gross vices, nor chargeable with wanton prodigality. But small things they have contemned, or at least neglected. And what from lack of industry, or the misapplication of it, and what from incessant little wastes, their all is gone at length, and they look about them, deeply wondering how the catastrophe hath happened.

Turn we now to the consideration of Morals--and here also, our text holds true. Seldom does a man commit a crime of the blackest grain, till he hath ripened himself for it by degrees. It is by little and little, he plunges into the depths of turpitude. He begins with contemning small things; with disregarding the minor points in the code of morality; and, step by step, he advances, till at length he becomes capable of crimes, of which the bare thought would have struck him with korror at first.

Here, a youth of estimable qualities associates with the idle and dissipated; not because he feels any desire for the intoxicating cup, but because he loves sport and jollity. Presently, however, his moral nature is deteriorated. By imperceptible degrees he slides into intemperance, profanity, deep gaming; and turns out at last either a desperate villain, or a lumpish sot.

There, a youth of good talents, of considerable learoing, and possessed of pleasing social qualities,—is seen, nevertheless, from his very cradle, to trespass often, in the small way, against truth and integrity. He begins with petty. falsehoods and petty frauds; mere childish or juvenile roguery, which the doating parent interprets for a mark of sprightly genius, rather than the inceptive blossom of foul corruption. Unchecked in childhood, and perhaps flattered for his art and cunning; as he advances in age his genius takes a wider range. By little and little he proceeds on, till at last he adventures upon great things, and is arraigned before the bar of justice as a perjurer, a swindler, a forger, or a thief.

In short, were all the tenants of our state prisons to publish a true and full account of themselves, it would be found that puerile immoralities tolerated and encouraged, were the seeds which had ripened into so fearful a crop. They did not become high-viced at once, but by gradual advances. In the first step they had themselves perhaps been inveigled into vice ; in the last they were adepts in the fiendly art, and qualified to tempt and inveigle others. With respect to these, and also to those in various parts of our country who have recently been brought to the ignominious scaffold, were their future crimes foretold them when their hearts were tender, their blood had run cold; they would have stood aghast, or uttered shrieks of heart-rending distress.

CHAP. LXXXV.

Of cutting the coat to the cloth. CERVANTES, in his inimitable Don Quixote, finely ridicules the custom of larding conversation and writings with proverbs or old sayings, by his dealing them out by dozens from the simple lips of Sancho. So also the polished Chesterfield is known to have warned his son against this species of vulgarity, as well as against all unfashionable vice. But notwithstanding these high authorities, there is a great deal of pith in some old sayings; for, in fewest words, they convey the lessons of sound experience.

Of adages of this sort, few have a more extensive, or a more useful meaning, than the one which here follows:Cut your coat to your cloth."

The literal sense, nobody can naistake, and nobody's general practice is wide from it. But its metaphorical sense is daily contravened in the practice of no inconsiderable part of the sons and daughters of the giddy race of Adam, and more especially in the present age, and in this so highly favored country. Nor is any single frailty among us, of more mischievous consequence, than the perverse effort to enlarge the coat beyond what the cloth will allow. Thousands are the hapless victims of this prevailing folly. Thousands at this very moment, are pining in poverty and straits, who might have been at their ease, had they always cut the coat according to the measure of their cloth. And though what is past admits of no remedy, yet it may be made to have a salutary bearing upon things to come; 'since hardly any thing has a more direct tendency to make us prident, than the imprudences of which we feel the smart.

Be it so! And then, many of those who are now grieving that their all of earthly substance is lost, will yet, by God's blessing, restore themselves to a competence, and sinile in the sunshine of contentment.

It has been remarked by a writer of other times, that “ he who is ignorant of the art of arithmetic is but half a man.” Meaning, that one who goes on with his affairs at random, or without calculation, must needs conduct thein ill, whatever be his natural talents or capacity.

We are told of a noble Venetian, who ordered his steward to deal out to his extravagant son no more money than what he should count when he received it; and that the prodigal youngster, having been used to nothing but the pursuit of his pleasures, was led, by the labor of counting his money,

to reflect

upon

the labor it cost

his father to get it, and thence was induced to retrench his expenses, and alter his manner of life.

In like manner, only a little attention to arithmetic, as respects apportioning the size of the coat to the measure of the cloth, might save from ruin many a goodly young man, and many an estimable family, of the present generation.

" It is seldom seen,” observes the great Locke, “that he who keeps an account of his income and expenses, and thereby has constantly under view the course of his domestic affairs, lets them run to ruin; and it is not to be doubted but many a man gets behind hand before he is aware, for want of this care or the skill to do it.”

The arithmetic that is here recommended is by no means complex or puzzling, but is plain and level to every common understanding. Therein the only question to be asked and solved is, Can I afford it? No matter that the thing is cheap. No inatter that this is comfortable, and that is fashionable; no matter that such a style of living is most respectable in the eye of the world. Before you purchase the one, or go into the other, ask yourself the simple question, whether you can afford it, and · let the true answer be the regulator of your expenses ; else your circumstances will soon be ruined past all hope.

With all those, in short, whose utmost means of living are small, resolute abstinence from all extraordinary expense, rigid frugality, and even parsimony, along with well-directed industry, so far from marks of meanness, are noble virtues.

There are yet some other respects in which the sage advice, to cut the coat to the cloth, is to be carefully heeded: of these I will now mention only one, namely, the effort, more especially in early life, to build up the fabric of reputation too high and magnificent for its basis.

This is an error of no uncominon occurrence. The youth of ardent feeling is in haste to acquire fame, and neglects no opportunities of self-display. His own indiscretion in this respect, is seconded by that of his friends, who, by means of extravagant encomiums on his genius, puff him into notice. Thus is he made to enter upon the theatre of life, with a reputation impossible for him to sustain. He is like a trader, who at

tracts, and disappoints, by exhibiting to view the whole of his goods in the shop-window. His stores are all seen at once. They dazzle at first view, and expectation stands a tiptoe. To unfounded expectation disappointment succeeds of course, and he sinks as far below his true level perhaps, as these adventitious circumstances had raised him above it. Better, far better had it been for him, if his coat had been cut to his cloth.

One should beware of taking upon credit a greater amount, not only of money, but of reputation, than one will be able to make good. In the last respect as well as the other, it is a dangerous experiment for a young man to pass himself for more than he is worth.

On the contrary, there is no less truth than beauty in the following lines of the poet:

“I have learn'd to fear
The blossom that is early, and its leaves
Too soon exposed to the chilling spring:
But much I hope from the more modest bud,
That hides its head, and gathers secret strength,
Scarce blown at midsummer.”

By no means would I be understood to discourage, in young minds, strenuous exertions to deserve honorable distinction. Youth who are emulous to arrive at the first attainments, can hardly fail to rise above mediocrity; for whoso aims at a high mark, whether he quite reaches it or not, is likely to reach higher than another of equal abilities who levels bis aim with a mark that is low.

CHAP. LXXXVI.

Of turning good to ill, by tampering with it.

A GREAT part of the ill that we suffer might be avoid ed, if we would only learn to let well alone. But such is the plague of our hearts, relative to temporal as well as higher matters, that we are seldom, or never, quite contented with our lot, when even it is no unpleasant one, but mar and spoil what we perversely endeavor to mend.

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