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tury, 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, in-door and out, 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. No man scarcely commits 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 beg
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 horror at his first outset.
Here, a youth of natural likeliness consorts with the idle and dissipated ; not because he feels any hanker- . ing 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, lewdness, deep-gaming ; and turns out at last either a desperate villain, or a Jumpish sot.
There, a youth of good parts, of considerable learning, 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 doting parent interprets for a mark of sprightly genius, rather than the incep
tive blossom of foul corruption. Unchecked in childhood, and perhaps flattered in his art and cunning; as he advances in age his genius takes a wider range. By little and little he proceeds on, till after no long while, 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, for the most part, that puerile immoralities tolerated and encouraged, were the seeds which had ripened into so fearful a crop.
Of Cutting the Coat to the Cloth.
CERVANTES, in his inimitable Don Quixotte, finely ridicules the custom of larding conversation and writings with proverbs or old sayings, by his dealing them out, whole dozens in a string, from the simple lips of Sancho. Moreover, the polished Chesterfield is known to have warned his son against this species of vulgarism, 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 mistake, and nobody's general practice is wide from it. Bat 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 favoured country of ours. Nor is any single frailty abounding among us, of more mis. chievous consequence, than the perverse effort to enlarge the coat beyond what the cloth will allow. Thousands, and many thousands, are the hapless victims of this prevailing folly. Thousands, and many thousands, at this very moment, are in poverty and straits, pining, and perhaps repining, who might have been at their ease, had they always minded to 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 prudent, than the imprudences of which we sorely feel the smart.
Be it so! And then, a great many even 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 smile in the sunshine of contentment.
It has been remarked by a writer of other times, that 6 he who is ignorant of the art of arithmetic is but half à man.” Meaning that one who goes on with his affairs at random, or without calculation, must needs conduct them 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 Jabour of counting his money, to reflect upon the labour it cost his father to get it, and thence was indu
ced 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 behindhand 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 matter 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 and scanty, resolute abstinence from all extraordinary expense, rigid frugality, and even parsimóny, 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 shall 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 uncommon occurrence. The youth of forward parts and 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 parts and 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 attracts, and disappoints, by exhibiting to view the whole of his goods in the shopwindow. His stores are all seen at once. They dazzle at first view, and expectation stands a tip-toe. 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 bides its head, and gathers secret strength, Scarce blown at inidsuminer."*
* Sir Thomas Moore,