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fortune of their own, free from all that grandeur and magnificence of misery which is sure to attend an invidious greatness. And he who is not contented with such a condition, must seek his happiness (if ever he have any) in another world; for Providence itself can provide no better for him in this.- BISHOP SOUTH.
I content myself in having sufficient for my present and ordinary expense, for, as to extraordinary occasions, all the laying up in the world would never suffice; and 'tis the greatest folly imaginable, to expect that fortune should ever sufficiently arm us against herself.—MONTAIGNE.
Content is a pearl of great price, and whoever procures it at the expense of ten thousand desires, makes a wise and a happy purchase.--BALGUY.
It is not only necessary that we should be industrious to acquire means, but that we should make a careful and judicious use of those means when acquired. If we work hard, and at the same time spend fast, we are nothing the better, except as it is better to be employed than to be idle. If we do not work very hard, or from any other cause gain but a small income, and if we spend freely nevertheless, the case is worse still, for then we must soon exhaust our means, run in debt, and become miserable. The true plan is to spend in proportion to what we gain, but never to spend all that we gain. We should always reserve and lay up something, so that, in the event of our being unable to work from sickness or old age, or any accident, we may not be in want. Every man, however little he may earn, should, if at all possible, save a little, to be a relief to him in the day of trouble.
However rich we may be, we should always take care to spend our money on proper objects. To spend it in wicked or foolish amusements, is the same as throwing it away, or as if we had never exerted the industry by which it was gained. That industry and that money are lost to us and to the world. We should also be on our guard against wasting any food, or spoiling any furniture, or other property, that can be of use. How much better to give any thing we spare
to the deserving poor, than either to misspend it on frivolities, or waste the good things we buy with it!
THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER: A FABLE. In the winter season, a commonwealth of ants was busily employed in the management and preservation of their corn; which they exposed to the air, in heaps, round about the avenues of their little country habitation. A grasshopper, who had chanced to outlive the summer, and was ready to starve with cold and hunger, approached them with great humility, and begged that they would relieve his necessity with one grain of wheat or rye. One of the ants asked him how he had disposed of his time in summer, that he had not taken pains, and laid in a stock, as they had done. “ Alas! gentlemen,” says he, “ I passed away the time merrily and pleasantly, in drinking, singing, and dancing, and never once thought of winter. 66 If that be the case," replied the ant, “ all I have to say is, that they who drink, sing, and dance, in the summer, must starve in the winter.“
FRUGALITY OF SOME GREAT MEN. Some of the greatest men in station that have ever lived have been remarkable for their frugality. Alexander the Great dressed himself almost as plainly as any of his inferior officers. Cato, the elder, one of the consuls of Rome, never wore a coat which cost him above a hundred
and used to say that he counted that dear at a halfpenny of which he had no need. The Emperor Augustus, who was master of nearly all the known world, wore clothes made by his wife and daughter, and lay in a bed no costlier than that of a private person. Rodolph, Emperor of Germany, the founder of the house of Austria, dressed so plainly, that, once entering a baker's shop to warm himself, the baker's wife scolded him away from her fire, as a worthless-looking person. His descendant, Charles V., Emperor of Germany
and King of Spain, was also in the habit of wearing very plain clothes, as was Louis XI. of France, in whose account books we find two shillings entered for fustian to make new sleeves for his old doublet, and three-halfpence for liquor to grease
his boots. Yet all these great sovereigns were men who never grudged a large expense on proper occasions.
A FRUGAL FAMILY. Children should learn to be careful of every thing—not for their own use, for that may lead to selfishness, but for some
It is generous in them to share what they have with their playmates, but they should never destroy any thing. I once visited a family, where the most exact economy was observed; yet nothing was mean or uncomfortable. From following a true economy, they were as comfortable with little, as others could be with much. In this family, when the father brought home a package, the older children would of their own accord put away the paper and twine neatly, instead of throwing them into the fire, or tearing them to pieces. If the little ones wanted a piece of twine to play scratch-cradle, or spin a top, there it was in readiness; and when they threw it upon the floor, the older children had no need to be told to put it again in its place.
HALF A CROWN'S WORTH. Valentine was in his thirteenth year, and a scholar in one of our great schools. He was a well-disposed boy, but could not help envying a little some of his companions who had a larger allowance of money than himself. He ventured in a letter to sound his father on the subject, not directly asking for a particular sum, but mentioning that many of the boys in his class had half a crown a-week for pocket money.
His father, who did not choose to comply with his wishes for various reasons, nor yet to refuse him in a mortifying manner, wrote an answer, the chief purpose of which was to make him sensible what sort of a sum half a crown a-week was, and to how many more important uses it might be put, than to provide a schoolboy with things superfluous to him.
Where potatoes are much cultivated, two bushels, weighing eighty pounds a-piece, may be purchased for half a
Here are one hundred and sixty pounds of solid food, of which, allowing for the waste in dressing, you may reckon two pounds and a half sufficient for the sole daily nourishment of one person. At this rate, nine people might be fed a week for half a crown; poorly indeed, but so as many thousands are fed, with the addition of a little salt or buttermilk.
Many of the cottagers round us would receive with great thankfulness a sixpenny loaf per week, and reckon it a very material addition to their children's bread. For half a crown, therefore, you might purchase the weekly blessings of five poor
families. Many a cottage in the country inhabited by a large family is let for forty shillings a-year. Half a crown a-week would
pay the full rent of three such cottages, and allow somewhat over for repairs.
The usual price for schooling at a dame-school in a village is twopence a-week. You might therefore get fifteen children instructed in reading, and the girls in sewing, for half a crown weekly. But even in a town you might get them taught reading, writing, and accounts, and so fitted for any common trade, for five shillings a-quarter; and therefore half a crown a-week would keep six children at such a school, and provide them with books besides.
All these are ways in which half a crown a-week might be made to do a great deal of good to others. I shall now just mention one or two ways of laying it out with advantage to yourself.
I know you are very fond of coloured plates of plants, and other objects of natural history. There are now several works of this sort publishing in monthly numbers. Half a crown a-week would reach the purchase of the best of these.
The same sum laid out in the old bookshops in London would buy you more classics, and pretty editions too, in one year, than
could read in five. Now, I do not grudge laying out half a crown a-week upon you; but when so many good things for yourself and
77 others may be done with it, I am unwilling you should squander it away like your schoolfellows in tarts and trinkets.
Jesus took the loaves ; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down, and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, GATHER UP THE FRAGMENTS THAT REMAIN, THAT NOTHING BE LOST.John, vi. 11, 12
Though it is intended that each human being should depend chiefly on himself for all he needs or desires, yet all human beings are connected by various common ties, and it is necessary that they should wish well to each other, and be disposed to serve and help each other, on all fitting occasions.
By wishing well to each other, we are induced to look with kindness on what our fellow-creatures are doing for themselves, and to address them in a friendly manner. The good words we use cause those we address to feel kindly to others, and thus an agreeable state of feeling is sent abroad throughout society, and the total amount of human happiness is much increased. If, on the contrary, men were not to wish well to each other, there would be a general sulkiness amongst them, and no one would feel happy.
There are many evils in the world, from which no one can be sure of escaping, however careful he may be. We may
be sick or hurt; our best schemes may fail ; poverty and want may beset us. It is proper, when any suffer from these evils, that the rest should do what is in their power to console, help, and restore them. By these means the unfortunate are saved from extreme or great hardship; and the rest are made happier, for it is delightful to be able to lessen the sufferings of our fellow-creatures.