Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

No object is more pleasing to the eve, th»n the sight of a man whom you have obliged j nor any music so agreeable to the ear, as the voice of one that owns you for his benefactor.

The coin that is most current among mankind is flattery; the only benefit of which is, that by hearing what we are not, wemaybeinstructed whatweought to be.

The character of the person who commends you, is to be considered before you set a value on his esteem. The wife man applauds him whom he thinks most virtuous; the rest of the world, him who is most wealthy.

The temperate man's pleasures are durable, because they are regular ; and all his life is calm and serene, because it is inuocent.

A good man will love himself too well to lose, and all his neighbours too well to win, an estate by gaming. The love of gaming will corrupt the best principles in the world.

An angry man who suppresses his passions, thinks worse than he speaks; and an angry man that will chide, speaks worse than he thinks.

A good word is an easy obligation; but not to speak ill, requires only our silence, which costs us nothing.

It is to affectation the world owes its whole race of coxcombs. Nature in her whole drama never drew such a part; she has sometimes made a fool, but a coxcomb is always of his own making.

It is the infirmity of little minds, to be taken with every appearance, and dazzled with every thing that sparkles; but great minds have but little admiration, because few things appear new to them.

It happens to men of learning, as to ears of corn: they shoot up, and raise their heads high, while they are empty: but when full and swelled with grain, they begin to flag and droop.

He that is truly polite, knows how to contradict with respect, and to please without adulation; and is equally remote from an insipid complaisance, and a low familiarity.

The failings of good men are commonly more published in the world than their good deeds; aud one fault of a

deserving man shall meet with more- reproaches, than all his virtues praise; such is the force of ill-will and ill-nature.

It is harder to avoid censure, than to gain applause; for this may be done by one great or wife action in an age; but to escape censure, a man must pass his whole life without saying or doing one ill or foolish thing.

When Darius offered Alexander ten, thousand talents to divide Asia equally with him, he answered, The earth cannot bear two suns, nor Asia two kings.— Parmenio, a friendof Alexander's, hearing the great offers Darius had made, said, Were I Alexander I would accept them. So would I, replied Alexander, were I Parmenio.

Nobility is to be considered only as an imaginary distinction, unless accompanied with the practice of those generous virtues by whidi it ought to be obtained. Titles of honour conferred upon such a.s have no personal merit, are at best but the royal stamp set upon base metal.

Though an honourable title may be conveyed to posterity, yet the ennobling qualities which are the soul of greatness are a sort of incommunicable perfections, and cannot be transferred. ]f a man could bequeath his virtues by will, and settle his fense and learning upon bit heirs, as certainly as he can his lands, a noble descent would then indeed be a valuable privilege. >

Truth is always consistent with itself, and needs nothing to help it out. It is always near at hand, and sits upon our lips, and is ready to drop out before we are aware: whereas a lye is troublesome, and sets a man's invention upon the rack ; and one trick needs a great many mfcre to make it good.

The pleasure which affects the human mind with the most lively and transporting tpuches, is the fense that we act in the eye of infinite wisdom, power, apd goodness, that will crown our virtuous endeavours here with a happiness hereafter, largeasourdefires, and lasting as our immortal souls: without this the highest state of life is insipid, and with it the lowest is a paradise.

Honourable age is not that which

siandeth

ftandeth in length of time, nor that is rity; and an enemy cannot be hidden in

measured by number of years; but wif- adversity.

dom is the grey hair unto man, and un- Admonish thy friend; it may be he

spotted life is old age. hath not done it ; and if he have, that

Wickedness, condemned by her own he do it no more. Admonilh thy friend;

witness, is very timorous, and being it may be he hath not said it; or if he

pressed with conscience, always fore- have, that he speak it not again. Ad

calleth evil things; for fear is nothing monisti a friend; for many times it is a

else but a betraying of the succours slander; and believe not every tale,

which reason offereth. There is one that flippeth in his speech,

A wise man will fear in every thing, but not from his heart; and who is

He that contemneth small things, shall he that hath not offended with his

fall by little and little. tongues

A rich man beginning to fall, is held Whoso discovereth secrets lofeth his

up ofhis friends; but a poor man being credit, and shall never find a friend to

down, is thrust away by his friends: his mind.

when a rich man is fallen, he hath many Honour thy father with thy whole

helpers; he speaketh things not to be heart, and forget not the sorrows of thy

spoken, and yet men justify him: the mother; how canst thou recompense

poor man flipt, and they rebuked him; them the things that they have done for

he spoke wisely, and could have no thee?

place. When a rich man speaketh, e- There is nothing so much worth as a veryman holdeth histongue, and, look, mind well instructed, what he faith they extol it to the clouds; The lips of talkers will be telling butif a poor man speaks, they fay, What such things as pertain not unto them; fellow is this? but the words of such as have underMany have fallen by the edge of the standing are weighed in the balance, sword, but not so many as have fallen The heart of fools is in their mouth, by the tongue. Well is he that is de- but the tongue of the wife is in their fended from it, and hath not passed heart.

through the venom thereof; who hath To labour, and tobecontent with that

not drawn the yoke thereof, nor been a man hath, is a sweet life,

bound in her bonds; for the yoke there- Be at peace with many; nevertheless,

of is a yoke of iron, and the bands there- have but one counsellor of a thousand,

of are bands of brass; the death there- Be not confident in a plain way.

of is an evil death. Let reason go before every enterprize,

My son, blemish not thy good deeds, and counsel before every action,

neither use uncomfortable words, when The latter part of a wife man's life is

thou givest any thing. Shall not the dew assuage the heat? so is a word better than a gift. Lo, is not a word better than a gif:? but both are with a gracious man.

Blame not, before thou hall examined the truth rebuke.

taken up in curing the follies, prejudices, and sal fe opinions he had contracted in the former.

Censure is the tax a man pays to the public for being eminent.

Very few men, properly speaking, understand first, and then live at present, but ate providing to live

another time.

Jf thou wouldest get a friend, prove Party is the madness of many, for the

him first, andbe not hasty to credit him; g;iin of a few.

for some men are friends for their own To endeavour to work upon the vul

occasions, and will not abide in the day gar with sine fense, is like attempting to

of thy trouble. hew blocks of marble with a r:izor.

Forsake not an old friend, for the new Superstition is the spleen of the soul.

Is not comparable to him : a new friend He who tells a lye is not sensible how

is as new wine; when it is old, thou great a talk he undertakes; for he must

shalt drink it with pleasure. be forced toinvent twenty more tomain

A fiieud cannot be known in prospe- tain that one,

3L 2

Some people will never learn any thing, for this reason, because they understand every thing too soon.

There is nothing wan ting, to make all rational and disinterested people in the world of one religion, but that they should talk together every day.

Men are grateful, in the same degree that they are resentful.

Young men are subtle arguers; the cloak of honour covers all their faults, as that of passion all their follies.

(Economy is no disgrace; it is better living on a little, than outliving a great deal.

Next to the satisfaction I receive in the prosperity of an honest man, I am best pleased with the confusion of a rascal.

What is often termed shyness, is nothing more than refined fense, and an indifference to common observations.

The higher character a person supports, the more he should regard his minutest actions.

Every person insensibly fixes upon some degree of refinement in his discourse, some measure of thought which he thinks worth exhibiting. It is wife to fix this pretty high, although it occasions one to task the less.

To endeavour all one's days tofortify ourmindswith learningand philosophy, is to spend so much in armour, that one has nothing left to defend.

Deference of;en shrinksand withers as much upon the approach of intimacy, as the sensitive plant does upon the touch of one's finger.

Men are sometimes accused os pride, merely because their accusers would be proud themselves if they were in their plac«s.

People frequently use this expression, I am inclined to think so and so, not considering that they are then speaking the most literal of all truths.

Modesty makes large amends for the pain it gives the persons who labour under it, by the prejudice it affords every worthy person in their favour.

The difference there is betwixt honour and honesty seems to be chiefly in the.motive. The honest man does that from duty, which the man of honour does for the fake of character.

A lyar begins with making falsehood appear like truth, and ends with making truth itself appear like falsehood.

Virtue should be considered as a part of taste; and we should as much avoid deceit, or sinister meanings in discourse, as we would puns, bad language, or false grammar.

Deference is the most complicate, the most indirect, and the most elegant of all compliments.

He that lies in bed all a summer's morning, loses the chief pleasure of the day: he that gives up his youth to indolence, undergoes a loss of the fame kind.

Shining characters are not always the most agreeable ones; the mild radiance of an emerald is by no means less pleasing than the glare of the ruby.

To be at once a rake, and to glory in the character, discovers at the fame time a bad disposition and a bad taste.

How is it possible to expect that man. kind will take advice, when they will not so much as take warning?

Although men are accused for not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps as few know their own strength. It is in men as ;n soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold which the owner knows not of.

Fine fense, and exalted sense, are not half so valuable as common fense. There are forty men of wit for one' man of sense; and he that will carry nothing about him but gold, will be every day at a loss for want of ready change.

Learning is like mercury, one of the most powerful and excellent things in the world in skilful hands; in unskilful, most mischievous.

A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong; which is but saying, in other words, that he it wiser to-day than he was yesterday.

Wherever I find a great deal of gratitude in a poor man, I take it for granted there would be as much generosity if he were a rich man.

Flowers of rhetoric in sermons or serious discourses, are like rhe blue and red flowers in corn, pleasing to those who come only for amusement, but prejudicial to him who wouM reap the profit. It often happens that those ave the best

people. people, whose characters have been most injured by slanderers: as we usually find that to be the sweetest fruit which the birds have been pecking at.

The eye of a critic is often like a microscope, made so very fine and nice, that it discovers the atoms, grains, and minutest articles, without ever comprehending the whole, comparing the parts, or seeing all at once the harmony.

Men's zeal for religion is much of the fame kind as that which they shew for a foot-ball; whenever it is contested for, every one is ready to venture their lives and limbs in the dispute; but when that is once at an end, it is no more thought on, but sleeps in oblivion, buried in rubbish, which no one thinks it worth his pains to rake into, m'uch less to remove.

Honour is but a fictious kind of honesty; a mean but a necessary substitute for it, in societies who have none; it is a fort of paper-credit, with which men are obliged to trade who are deficient in the sterling cash of true morality and religion.

Persons of great delicacy should know the certainty of the following truth There are abundance of cases which occasion suspence, in which, whatever they determine, they will repent of their determination; and this through a propensity of human nature to fancy happiness in those schemes which it does not pursue.

The chief advantage that ancient writers can boast over modern ones, seems owing to simplicity. Every noble truth and sentiment was expressed by the formeir in a natural manner, in word and phrase simple, perspicuous, and incapable of improvement. What then remained for later writers, but affectation, witticism, and conceit I

What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculties '. in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a God!

If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men'scottagesprinces palaces. He is a good divine that follows bis own instructions; I can caster

teach twenty what were good to be done, than to be one of the twenty to follow my own teaching.

Men's evil manners live in brass j their virtues we write in water.

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together; our virtues would be proud, if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair, if they were not cherished by our virtus?.

The sense of death is most in apprehension;

and the pool- beetle that we tread upon,

In corporal sufferance seels a pang as great,
As when a gi-mt dies.

$ 197. The Way to Wealth, as clearly jhcvjn in the Preface of an old Penny l•va/tian Almanack, intitud, "Poor Richard impro-jed." Written by Dr, Benjamin Franklin.

Courteous Reader, I have heard, that nothing gives an author so great pleasure, as to find his works respectfully quoted by others. Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you. I stopped my horse, lately, where a great number of people were collected at an auction of merchants goods. The hour of the sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times; and one of the company called to a plain, clean old man, with white locks, « Pray, father Abraham, what think you of the times f Will not those heavy taxes quite ruin the country? how shall we be ever able to pay them? What would you advise us

tor' Father Abraham stood up, and

replied, 'If you would have my advice, I will give it you in short; "for a word to the wise is enough," as Poor Richard soys.' They joined in desiring him to speak his mind, and gathering round him, he proceeded as follows*:

« Friends,'

* Dr. Franklin, wishing to collect into on» piece all the sayings upon the following subjects, which he had dropped in the course of publishing the Almanacks called Poor Richard, introduces f.-her Abraham for this purpose. Hence it is, that Poor Richard is so often quoted, »nd that, in the present title, he is laid to be improved.—Notwithstanding the stroke of humour in the conclud

3 L. 3 in*

* Friends,' fays lie, the taxes are, indeed, very heavy; and, if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much byour pride, and four times as much by our folly; and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us, by allowing an abatement. However, let us hearken to good advice.and some, thing may be done for us; " God helps them that help themselves," as Poor Richard fays.

I. 'It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people one. tenth part of their time, to be employed in its service: but idleness taxes many of us much more; sloth, by bringing on diseases, absolutely shortens life. "Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labour wears, while the used key is always bright," as Poor Richard fays.— *' But dost thou love life, then do not squander time, for that is the stufFlife is made of," as Poor Richard fays.—How much more than is necessary do we spend in sleep! forgetting that " The sleeping fox catches no poultry, and that there will be sleeping enough in the grave," as Poor Richard fays.

"If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be," as Poor Richard fays, "the greatest prodigality;" since, as he elsewhere tells us, " Lost time is never found again; and what we call time enough always proves little enough:" Let us then up and be doing, and doing to the purpose: so by diligence shall we do more with less perplexity. " Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry all easy; and, he that riseih late, must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night; while laziness travels so slowly, that poverty soon overtakes him. Drive thy business, let not that drive thee j and early to bed, and early to

ingparapiaphof this address, Poor Richard (S.-.unders) and father Abraham have proved, in Ar?t~ nca, that they are no common preacher.:.—And shall we, brother En£lisliman, rct'ulc goud fense »nd laving knowledge, because it come; from the other side of the water?

rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise," as Poor Richard fays.

'So what signifies wishing and hoping for better times? We may make these times better, if webestiroursclves. " Industry need not wish, and he that live* upon hope will die fasting. There are no gains without pains; then help hands, for I have no lands," or, if I have, they are smartly taxed. "He that hath a trade, hath an estate; and he that hath a calling, hath an office of prosit and honour,".as Poor Richard fays; but then the trade must be worked at, and the calling well followed, or neither the estate nor the office will enable us to pay our taxes.—If we are industrious we shall never starve; for, "at the working man's house hunger looks in, but dares not enter." Nor will the bailiff or the constable enter, for "Industry pays debts, while despair encreaseth them." What though you have found no treasure, nor has any rich relation left you a legacy, " Dili, gence is the mother of good luck, and God gives all things to industry. Then plow deep, while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and to keep.'' Work while it is called to-day, for you know not how much you may be hindered to-morrow. "One to-day is worth two to-morrows," as Poor Richard fays; and farther, "Never leave that till to-morrow, which you can do today."—If you were a servant, would you not be ashamed that a good master should catch you idle? Are you then your own master? be ashamed to catch yourself idle, when there is so nyich to be done for yourself, your family, your country, and your king. Handle your tools without mittens : remember, that "The cat in gloves catches no mice," as Poor Richard fays. It is true, there is much to be done, and, perhaps, you are weak-handed ; but stick to it steadily, and you will see great effects; for "Constant dropping wears away stones: and by diligence and patience the mouse ate in two the cable; and little strokes fell great oaks."

« Methinks 1 hear some of you fay, '* Must a man afford himseifno leisure J" I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says; " Emplov thy time well,

if

« ZurückWeiter »