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natural temper, that tends to render this connection incompatible with a good share of peace and quiet. On the contrary, the choleric and the cool, the lively and the grave, the talkative and the taciturn, the peevish and the placid, often are found well sorted together. Theirs is like the harmony of different sounding chords ; and if now and then it be transiently interrupted by a discordant note, it is presently restored.
In a word, it is beyond calculation, how much can be done by good husbands towards making good wives, and by good wives towards making good husbands.
of forgetting old debts, and shuffling off the payment
of small ones.
THERE is a pretty large number of men in this country, who, though not of the Hebrew stock, do, nevertheless, cleave fast to that part of the old Mosaical law, which enjoins a Release.* They think, or seem to think, that the debts owed by them are by so much the less binding, by how much the older they have grown, and that when they come to be seven years of age, they are of course cancelled in the chancery of equity and conscience. This is more particularly the case as respects small debts; about which a great many, otherwise of good memories, have a convenient lack of recol
The following story I have heard related as matter of fact :-No very long while since A. lent his neigh
* 25th Chapter of Deuteronomy.
bour B. a small sum of money, to be repaid in one week. However, without any thing being said about it on either side, it ran on a whole year, when the lender asked for the money, and got a prompt renewal of the old promise of payment in a week's time. In the same way it was permitted to run on another year, when the loan was craved again, and again was the same promise renewed. At the end of the third year, A. solicited payment the third time, and in the presence of a third person : and receiving nought but a new edition of the like fair promise, he expressed his determination of speedily doing himself justice, and went his way in a pet. B. was amazed at this uncourteous behaviour --for they had ever before been loving friends he was struck with amazement, and, addressing himself to the said third person, remarked : “ That neighbour of mine, sir, I must needs say, is a worthy man in the main, but after all, he is an oddity. The trifling debt, do you see, is an old affair, an affair of several years' standing, and yet he duns me as hard as if I had borrowed the money but a month ago !" It is a curious fact, of no very auspicious omen,
that while most other things have been growing dearer, promises have been growing cheaper. They are come to be like that kind of drug that operates speedily, or not at all. They become stale as it were by time ; so that the longer the exaction of performance is forborne, the more difficult it is to obtain it. Hence small debts that are waxen old, are as bad as lost, being scarcely worth the trouble of collecting.
Nor is it altogether among the baser sort that this delinquency is found. You may find it among men of high standing, and of honourable feelings in most other respects. They would scorn the imputation of meanness, or falsehood, or roguery ; but nevertheless, per
mit themselves to forget their promises, especially in little matters, and the rather, perhaps, from thinking that their creditors, out of respect or fear, would as lief lose the debts as urge for payment in good earnest. It is found, often found, among men, mild in temper, courteous in their manners, kind and neighbourly, hospitable in their houses, and, in short, of excellent reputations, save this single particular. If you are in distress, and need their charity, they will give ; but if they owe you, they will shuffle off payment without any regard to your interest or feelings. .
Marvellous inconsistency! Are they so blind as not to see that withholding just dues, of however small amount, is positive injustice ? That it scarce makes any difference, on the moral scale, whether one filches from his neighbour, or intentionally withholds what belongs to him ? Are they unaware that it destroys their credit and blots their reputations ? That it attaches to them a general suspicion of want of principle, or rather of wilful falsehood and dishonesty P Are they unaware of the smothered indignation that burns in the bosoms of those they so lightly disappoint? Of the hard and bitter things that are privately said of them on this account, even by their friends ? Or, finally, are they unaware that the public interest suffers more from this species of evil than from all the theft and robbery committed in the land ; and that if all men acted, in this respect, like themselves, there would be an end to private credit and mutual confidence ?
Small debts are entitled to be regarded as debts of honour. A man of strict honour and competent means, will be particularly careful to dischargc, spontaneously and punctually, those trifling debts, which it is so unpleasant even to ask for, and much more to dun for over and over again. A man of strict honesty will say not
to his neighbour," Go, and come again, and to-morrow I will pay," when he has it by him. Instead of which, it is his settled rule, as far as his circumstances will permit, to pay without delay, without hesitation, without grudging, without giving his neighbour the trouble and pain of repeated requisition and importunate soll. citations.
Of devotedness to Pleasure.
It is an irrefragable maxim, as well of experience as of revelation, that, He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor
Indeed scarce any maxim is so fully sanctioned by experience; since, in all ages, and among all ranks
, and classes, an inordinate love of pleasure has proved the certain road to want and ruin.
Most strikingly verified is this sacred text, in the instances of drunkards and debauchees, who give up themselves, soul and body, to the embraces of pleasure, in her grossest and most disgusting forms. Always and every where, these profligates, after a short run, come out not merely poor men, but poor creatures. Inevitably, and very shortly, they become the poorest of the poor; alike destitute in circumstances and con. temptible in character; a burden to their friends, and a heavier burden to themselves.
Mark the young beginner in the career of profligacy; one not of the baser, nor even of the common sorta child of fortune, a heritor of wealth. How accomplished! how blithe and jovial !
Mark him again, in his next stage, when youth is just ripened into the maturity of manhood.
“ If thou beest he, but O how fallen ! how changed !"
See bis bloated countenance, his livid cheek, his beamless eye!
Once more, mark his mid-age. The crop is now fully ripe. See what it is !-squalid poverty; loathsome disease; bodily decrepitude and mental imbecility; alike loathsome and self-loathing.
Finally, mark his end. “ This man of pleasure, when after a wretched scene of vanity and woe, his animal nature is worn to the stumps, wishes and dreads death, by turns."--Now he is sick of life, and bitterly chides the tardiness of time :-anon he starts back with horror, lest the grave should not prove a “dreamless bed."
The classes of downright drunkards and debauchees, include, however, but a small proportion of the hapless mortals whom the siren Pleasure, allures to their ruin and destruction.
“Come on, let us enjoy the good things that are present. Let us crown ourselves with rose-buds, before they be withered."* With such language it is that the sorceress persuades and prompts the youthful heart; nor does she persuaıle and prompt in vain. The delicious poison insinuates itself, and spreads over the whole frame. The youth, thus infected, becomes unstable in all his ways. All close and steady application, whether to study or to business, he heartily loathes. Plodding industry of every kind, he regards with scorn. To make as it were a holiday of the whole year round, is the object of his desire and the summit of his ambition. As years multiply upon him, his habits of fickleness are but the more riveted. He is within the circumference
* 2d Chapter of the Wisdom of Solomon.