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SUNDAY SCHOOL PENNY MAGAZINE, .
HEART WORK, HEAD WORK, AND HAND WORK.
A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF A MERCHANT. On the 27th of July, 1794, in the small town of Wrington, in Somersetshire, and in an obscure dwelling, SAMUEL BUDGETT, the subject of the present sketch, was born. His parents, unsuccessful in their attempts to earn an honest livelihood, removed from place to place before he reached the age of nine, when they opened a small general shop at Coleford. Adversity had, under Providence, a favourable effect on their characters. They found that true happiness, independent of external circumstances, was to be found in the exercise of love and faith, and they trained their numerous family to look on all the events of life from a religious point of view, inculcating their boundless obligations to their Heavenly Father, and the incalculable worth of the human soul.
The recollections of Samuel's school-days were not of a very bright character. When he was about seven years old, he was taught by a village dame, who punished the misdemeanours of her scholars, by putting them in a corner of the room, and drawing a worsted stocking over their heads. The next governess who had charge of him, amused her pupils as she sat at her spinning wheel, by telling them all kinds of foolish stories about ghosts. The unwise punishment of the one, and the still more unwise amusement of the other, were not likely to have a favourable effect on the mind of a timid and sensitive boy. He afterwards received instruction in a better class of school, but his education was very imperfect.
From his earliest childhood he had a strong propensity to barter, to exchange one thing for another of greater value ; in short, he had a most dangerous talent for making bargains. When he was about ten years of age, he found a horse-shoe, and carried it for three miles to the shop of a blacksmith who gave him a penny for it. This was the first penny he could call his own: and taking every opportunity of earning money, it increased so fast that he soon purchased a copy of Wesley's hymns, a treasure which he had long ardently desired. Happily for him, the judicious training of his parents and his own generous disposition, prevented his regarding money in any other light than as a means of good. An unprincipled boy-one in whom religious feelings had not been cultivated--would
have become a prematurely care-worn miser, but he ever regarded his acquisitions as gifts from God intrusted to him, for the use or abuse of which he should have to render an account at the “ final audit.” Four years after the earning of his first penny, he possessed no less a sum than thirty pounds. He did not spend one farthing of it upon his own pleasure, but gave the whole, without reserve, to his parents. During his apprenticeship he could not, with the utmost care, save more than fifteen shillings; with them he purchased some coals for his sisters, who had settled in a small business at Bristol.
As the time approached when it would be needful for him to fix on some means of earning his own livelihood, his mind underwent a severe struggle; for while a most decided talent for business convinced him and his friends that he was well adapted for trade, he had a great desire to be a foreign missionary. At one time he had almost resolved to devote himself to the work of the ministry, but distrust of his own mental powers, the narrowness of his education, and more than all, the strong claims of his parents upon him in a pecuniary point of view, determined him “to plod on as he could to earn his bread, and help his family." He was, therefore, apprenticed to his elder brother, a small general shopkeeper, at Kingswood, a village about four miles from Bristol.
The little fellow, for he was small of his age, was often at work from six in the morning to near midnight.“ He worked in the shop,” says his biographer, “ he worked in the house; he went upon errands to Bristol ; he was ever at it, work, work, work,” and yet at the end of three years, when he was looking hopefully forward to the time that he should lighten his mother's cares, he had the deep mortification of hearing his brother express a desire that, in consequence of his inability, his indentures should be cancelled.
The inability was nothing more than a want of strength, which from the amount of labour required of him, had probably been overtaxed. A consciousness of mental energy sustained his sinking heart, and during the month, in which he was allowed to look out for a situation, he obtained one in a shop at Bristol. A visit which he paid to his parents at this time, strengthened his firm resolve, with God's blessing, to overcome this untoward circumstance, and to go on perseveringly until he could raise the fortunes of his family. He passed six months in his new situation with satisfaction to himself and his employers. At the end of that time, his brother persuaded him that it was his duty to complete his term of apprenticeship; a selfish proceeding which is unaccountable, as it was quite inconsistent with an otherwise worthy character.