Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

or like a well-proportioned body, without a soul to give it life and vigour. Without it, vain : are the commendations of ingenuity and of skill. They are no further useful, they no further invite employment, than as they are exerted with steadiness and vigour. Remissness and inattention destroy confidence. Orders will not be given, or if given, not renewed, when the execution of them is, through idleness, a matter of uncertainty or delay. Industry assists despatch, and is essential to it. Despatch is often necessary. Important consequences frequently depend upon it. Industry aids punctuality in the execution of business, and in the observance of engagements, which is as essential, if we would secure the confidence of others, or give them satisfaction in our dealings, as is despatch. For industry prevents that waste of time, which throws matters behind-hand, and creates delays. It keeps up, likewise, the attention of the mind to its proper business; and preserves and strengthens the vigour which it exercises. Industry embraces and improves the fair opportunities which sloth neglects; The favourable moment passed, it is not to be recalled. “He that gathers in the summer is a wise son; but he that sleepeth in the harvest is a son that causeth shame.” Industry, indeed, while it makes the most of the rising opportunity, allots to every season its proper work; and is methodical as well as active. Regularity assists despatch ; and method relieves fatigue. Let business arrange itself in order, and the exertions of industry marshal themselves in an easy method : nothing will be neglected through forgetfulness, nor will the spirits be disconcerted or exhausted by hurry. On the opening of the day, or of the week, let a prospect be taken of the business . to be despatched, and memorandums be made of the work to be done, that every transaction may take place in proper succession; the mind and the hands will then pass from one to the other with facility, without confusion, and with little fatigue.

Such being the importance, such being the effects of industry, guard against every thing which interrupts

application, or enervates activity. Guard against the fascinating influence of company, amusements, and pleasures. By them time is wasted, opportunities are lost, and expenses incurred. But, besides these evils, the habit of diligence, which would prevent or remedy such baneful consequences, is undermined, and by degrees destroyed. The attention is diverted from the pursuits of business, and the heart totally indisposed for them. Company and recreation are useful to diversify the scene, and unbend the mind; but enjoyed too frequently, or too long, they become pernicious and ruinous. Guard against that impertinent and officious activity, which, expended on concerns foreign to your proper employment and character, would leave you no inclination for your own business. To serve others, or the public, is the expression of generous philanthropy, and enlarges the sphere of usefulness; but when it is done to a gross neglect of our own business, it is activity misapplied ; an offence against self-interest, which is the nearest to us; and an injury even to the community, which is best served, when every one diligently attends to the duties of his calling. Once more, guard against that careless, implicit confidence in the management and activity of others, which may seem to excuse your own exertions. This would be to afford them an example of idleness, while you allot to them the task of industry. It will induce them to hope, that the indolence which tempts you to neglect doing your own part, will not dispose you strictly to scrutinize the fidelity with which they perform theirs. It is easy to perceive what will be the consequence of this expectation. No dependant or substitute can have such powerful inducements to industry, as a man, himself, has to mind his own concerns. Would you have your affairs well managed, and your business well done, act then as much as possible for yourself. Your eye will be the spur to industry, and your hand, joined with the hands of others, will strengthen and invigorate their exer

It is

Integrity must be united with diligence. This is of essential importance in all our social connections. Without it, society would become a den of thieves and banditti; hating and hated, devouring and devoured, by one another. The design of law and government is to guard property, and protect men in their rights. Great and notorious violations of justice, whether by secret fraud, or open violence, are amenable to the tribunal of the magistrate. But there are various cases, in our mutual dealings, which the laws do not reach. There are various arts, by which the cunning may evade their grasp. necessary, therefore, for the honour of his own character, and for the order and security of society, that every man be just, even beyond the prescriptions of law, and act from a uniform principle of integrity, which pervades all his transactions, and reaches to the minutest concerns. It should be his “joy to do judgment,” and to act uprightly. Firm and tried integrity will command respect, establish confidence, and reflect glory. This is, alas! too rare a character: the system of morals, commonly received, is much too lax and indulgent. The Poet seems to have seen this, when, in emphatical but not too exaggerated language, he styled “an honest man the noblest work of God."

Let young men, before they become conversant with the arts of those whose great aim is to be suddenly rich; or with those who are hackneyed in the ways of the world, enter on life with fixed and nice principles of justice and probity. Their conduct will be open, undisguised, and manly. They will be superior to all arts of deception; and to all advantages, the desire of gain might tempt them to take of the ignorance, passion, or incapacity of others. They will then be fair and impartial in transferring, bartering, or exchanging property, whether in goods or service. They will be cautious how they bind themselves by promises, they will be wary and explicit

, exact and candid, in making contracts : but, when their word is engaged, when the agreement is formed, they will be inviolably true to their word;

they will be just and faithful to their engagements. They will, independently of express stipulation, study punctuality in their payments. The money we owe is not our own; it is the property of other men in our keeping. To withold payment, is to keep back their due; and is embarrassing to commercial dealings. It creates evils to others, vhich recoil upon the man bimself. The borrower is the person of whom the wise man says, with great propriety and energy, “that he is a servant to the ender.” “I hate to be in debt,” writes the Poet Gray to his friend Swift; “for I can't bear to pawn five pounds worth of my liberty to a taylor or a butcher" In a word, let the principle of probity be fixed n the heart, and govern the commerce of life; so far fom invading, you will maintain the rights of others, hey will be dear and sacred to you as your own.

But like other excellent and virtuous principles, this of integrity cannot be preserved without care and circumspection. In the whole course of a wise and virtuous conduct, snares beset us. Temptations will invade the path of upright conduct; and without foresight and caution, wemay find it difficult to preserve our integrity. When men enter into a life of business, it is the time to by down such rules, to form such plans, as will be effectual securities against any mental deviation. Young tradesmen, look around you ; consult the experence of others; ask on what rocks have men split, and made shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. Many have set out in life with a fair name, and pleasing prospects. They spread their sails with hope. They left the harbour with a serene sky and favourable winds. But they gave too much sail, or carelessly ran on some quicksands, or rocks, and were lost. Their fair hopes ended in bankruptcy, disgrace, and poverty.

The failure of others has originated in a neglect of economy. They have not proportioned their expen

ditures to their income. They have begun upon a 1 large plan of living, or hate soon launched out into a

luxurious and splendid appearance, above the propriety of station, and the ability of their fortune, without counting on the events that might require retrenchment, or the losses which might abridge ability. Extravagance and profusion orm the manners of the times. They are pleasing to the gaiety and vanity of young minds who are thus tempted to begin, (as to their mode of living,) where if even prosperity smiled upon them, they should be content to end. Here let young men guard against he fascinating charms of show and luxury. Let economy, without parsimony, regulate their domestic es ablishment, and all their personal expenses. In this conduct there is decorum; the effect of it is independence.

To the neglect of their accounts may the fall of others be imputed. The method and punctuality, before recommended, are in no instance more important, than in the matter of accounts. No entry should be omitted; no folio shoud be passed over without the amount of the sums i presents being adjusted. The state of affairs of the debts and credits, should be kept in a plain, exact, and distinct order, so as, on inspection, to exhibit a far view of their situation. The books should undergo a regular and frequent review; and the balance be duly settled, that the mind may not remain ignonnt of the amount. Without this care and inspection, a man must act at random; his affairs will be ceranged, and his transactions be embarrassed. In his situation it will be difficult to preserve probity, and such errors will arise, as will expose the characte: to great suspicion of collusion and fraud. Distress, at the least, will follow, even if ruin be avoided.

To proceed in this argument, a disastrous issue, at other times, is the effect of too bold measures, and of too great eagerness to increase a fortune. Overtrading often proves fatal; and must even be a matter of great hazard. It increases dependence on the responsibility of others. It is a temptation; indeed it brings on a necessity to gain credit beyond the immediate ability to answer it; and, while it may

« ПредишнаНапред »