Proverbs exemplified, and illustrated by pictures from real life. Teaching morality and a knowledge of the world; with prints. Designed as a succession-book to Æsop's Fables.:
Trusler, John, 1735-1820.
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Designed as a Succession-Book to Aesop's Fables.

After the Manner, and by the Author, of HOGARTH MORALIZED.



Entered at Stationer's Hall.


LONDON, MAY, 1. 1790.

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  • BIRDS of a feather, flock together 141
  • A good Beginning makes a good end 13
  • A Burnt child dreads the fire 22
  • What's Bred in the bone will never out of the flesh 37
  • Set a Beggar on horseback, and he'll ride to the devil 41
  • Tell me what Company you keep, and I'll tell you who you are 17
  • Call me Couzin, but cozen me not *17
  • Full of Courtesy, full of craft 20, 54
  • Charity begins at home 29
  • Every Cross has it's inscription 49
  • Great Cry and little wool 53
  • Much Coin much care 61
  • Cut your Coat according to your cloth 64, 122
  • A Contented mind is a continual feast 64, 190
  • Cruelty's a tyrant always attended with fear 69
  • What can't be Cured, must be endured 73
  • Custom is second nature 83
  • When the Cat's away, the mice may play 90
  • When the child is Christened, you may have god-fathers enough 133
  • All Covet, all lose 192
  • Creditors have better memories than debtors 83
  • What's got over the Devil's back, is spent under his belly *13
  • None so Deaf, as those that wont hear 86
  • Out of Debt, out of danger 121
  • Experience is the mistress of fools 21
  • Of two Evils, choose the least 96
  • Empty vessels make the greatest sound 129
  • A Friend in need, is a friend indeed 45
  • Page  iiiTo Forget a wrong is the best revenge 101
  • Out of the Frying-pan, into the fire 109
  • Feather by feather, the goose is plucked 182
  • Faint heart never won fair lady 181
  • Take away my good Name, take away my life 57
  • All is not Gold that glitters 126
  • Grasp all, lose all 189
  • Hedges have eyes, and walls have ears 61
  • Hasty men seldom want woe 72
  • What we do in Haste, we repent at leisure 72
  • Hunger will break through a stone wall 95
  • Handsome is, as handsome does 105
  • The more Haste, the worst speed 139
  • Every Herring must hang by his own gill 196
  • Kick not against the pricks 77
  • Know thyself Preface
  • Light come, light go *14
  • Love me, love my dog 28
  • Look before you leap 113
  • Little strokes fell great oaks 181
  • Light gains make a heavy purse 183
  • Better Late than never 185
  • It's never too Late to repent 187
  • Likeness is the mother of love 141
  • Every Little makes a mickle 184
  • Like Master, like man 28
  • Might overcomes right 78
  • The Master's eye makes the horse fat 88
  • Necessity has no law 93
  • Needs must when the devil drives 111
  • Page  ivAn Old dog will learn no tricks 117
  • Pride will have a fall *21
  • He must live far of neighbours, who is fain to Praise himself 56
  • Never do that by Proxy, which we can do ourselves 90
  • He that Prieth into every cloud, may be strick|en with a thunder-bolt 99
  • Little Pitchers have great ears 60
  • Rome was not built in a day 184
  • The Receiver's as bad as the thief 194
  • Scald not your lips in another man's pottage 97
  • Strive not against the stream 80
  • It is impossible to make a silk Purse of a sow's ear 42
  • Every Tub must stand on its own bottom 196
  • Fair and Softly goes far 137
  • Wit bought, is better than wit taught 22
  • The Worth of a thing is only known by its want 17
  • Tread on a Worm, and it will turn 25
  • Its an ill Wind that blows no body good 33
  • When the Wine's in, the wit's out 40
  • The Weakest goes to the wall 78
  • They who cannot as they will, must will as they may 94
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PRINCIPLES of religion and lessons of morality, are the first maxims that should be instilled into the minds of youth; but these truths being naturally dry and un|entertaining to playful minds, very much in|dispose them for their reception. This consi|deration occasioned writers to introduce mo|rality under a mask, and teach it in the form of fables and a variety of entertaining sto|ries; others have laboured to communicate this knowledge, by lessons drawn from life, or living characters; but it needs an age to acquire such knowledge, and a man will be going out of the world before he becomes ac|quainted with it. To remedy this defect, pictures of human life have been introduced upon the stage, and he, who has made any observation, must admit, that, since our the|atres have been morally supported, and ex|tended to almost every town, our ideas have been opened, and our manners very much improved; they having held up Virtue in Page  viesteem, and laughed Vice almost out of coun|tenance.

The Vignette in the title-page, expresses this fully. Wisdom holding up a mirror to Folly, and shewing him to himself—Know thyself is a lesson of the first importance, and ought to be imprinted on the mind of every one; for he who knows himself, will be careful to correct his failings, and im|prove his virtues.

Having, some years since, descanted on the work of Mr. Hogarth, and moralized his pieces, and finding them in the hands of a variety of young person, who would not otherwise have taken up a book of improve|ment, I was led to think, that, as every lesson of religious and worldly knowledge is to be met with in our collection of English Proverbs, to exemplify these Proverbs, would almost answer a similar purpose; and having met with an artist, * who knew how to illustrate the follies and vices of mankind, better than most men, I have pro|fited by his abilities; and flatter myself the Proverbs thus introduced to the notice of young minds, will have a much better ef|fect, and make a more lasting impression, Page  viithan any dull reading, or scholastic admo|nition whatever. Every eye is able to col|lect the meaning of a picture, and the idea suggested by it, is caught at a glance; but, to receive impressions from books, it is not only necessary to read, but to reflect; and I very much doubt, whether the sermons of a Tillotson ever preached so effectually, as the paintings of a Hogarth. The art of painting, says Mr. Knox, in his improving Essays, is one of those innocent and delightful means of pleasure, which Providence has kindly af|forded, to brighten the prospects of human life. Under due restrictions and with proper direction, it may be rendered something more than an elegant mode of pleasing the eye and the imagination: it may become a very powerful auxiliary to virtue.

In this sense I have used it; I have made the attempt with a few of our Proverbs, and mean to follow them with more; and, as I wish them to succeed the use of fables, have written them, though in an easy stile, in language, that, whilst I mend the heart, I may improve the mind. To bring youth for|ward, after then years of age, children should be addressed as grown persons; for, treating Page  viiithem as children, tends only to discourage them. If they are, at any time, at a loss; their little, inquisitive minds will make them ask an explanation, and such explanation will be a new and pleasing discovery.

In discoursing on these Proverbs, I have endeavoured to be explicit, yet concise; that, though anxious to inform, I may not tire; and as the illustration of one Proverb, will be continued under its relative, or a similar one, every thing that is necessary on the subject will be said; but apparently under a new head, and some new interesting scene.

The prints, though cut in wood, are so well designed, and the characters so well drawn, that persons of taste may examine them with pleasure.


Page  1

A good Beginning makes a good End.


THIS Proverb is not so general, in its views, as some, being rather limited in its meaning. It does not imply, that a piece of work, well be|gun, must be well finished; though the likeliest me|thod of completing it to your wish, is to begin it so; and a good beginning is a favourable index of a good end; but the maxim has a moral ten|dency, directing its views to mankind who rarely, Page  2in fact, practise in manhood the principles they in|bibe in their youth. Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined. The youth, educated, and brought up in the paths of virtue, seldom strays. It begets a love and veneration for those paths, which ma|ture years serve only to increase.

Children, like tender oziers, take the bow,
And as they first are fashion'd, always grow.

If, therefore, the seeds of religion and honor are sown in youth, they will bring forth the fruits of temporal happiness in riper life.— "Train up a child," says Solomon, "in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not de|part from it."—Thus will a good Beginning make a good End.

Behold, in the scene before us, the calmness and serenity with which the good man meets his end. Death approaches him at his window; shews him that his glass is run, and calls him to futurity. Far from shrinking at the awful summons—far from shuddering at that call, which thousands dread, he receives the notice with open arms; not merely re|joicing to be released from the bed of sickness, but eager to meet his Redeemer, which the holy scrip|tures have taught him to expect, and with an anxi|ousness Page  3to be with Christ; which, in the hour of death, can only flow from the consciousness of a well-spent life. He had been well educated—his begin|ning was good—so was his end. Death is armed with no terrors for him. He boldly throws aside the curtain, and stretches forth his arms to em|brace him. Thus doth the evening of life crown the day.

By the pious precepts, and the virtuous exam|ple of an indulgent parent, the fair Laura profits. See her, on her knees, offering her prayers to the throne of Heaven, and beseeching the gracious Au|thor of her being to enable her to live as has her father, and that "her latter end may be like his." His care had thrown within her tender mind a light upon the gospel, of which the bible before her, and the burning taper are types, and raises her eyes to her Redeemer on the cross, not as to an idol, but as a memento that he died for all. Methinks I hear the good man thus addressing her: "See," says he, laying his spectacles near the scriptures beside him. "See, my Laura, whence I have derived the happiness I now enjoy,—The sacred truths in this book have inspired me with a love for virtue. A well-spent life is the best com|fort of old age.—It disarms death of all its terrors, and enables us to meet it without reluctance.—This Page  4is the bock that tells us "we shall never die"; but that, if our Beginning is good, and we sow the seeds of virtue early, our End will be good also, and, after this life, we shall reap the fruit of eter|nal happiness in the next. We shall be able, on the bed of sickness, to welcome Death, with extend|ed arms, to view with composure the last of our sand running, and exclaim with the good man be|fore us—"O Death! where is thy sting?"

On the contrary—If, in early life, we associate with bad company; if we indulge our wishes, gra|tify our passions, and run heedless and headlong into every vice, we may enjoy a transitory happi|ness, a little pleasure for awhile; but when Death shall come, as, sooner or later, it is sure to do, we shall tremble at its approach, shudder at its ghast|ly visage, draw the curtain round us, shriek at the sight of it's dart, and call upon "the mountains to fall on us and to cover us."

If then we would meet Death without horror, let us lead a good life: if our conscience does not condemn us, we shall have nothing to dread; for, as a bad Beginning makes a bad End, so "A good Beginning makes a good End."

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The Worth of a Thing is best known by its Want.


THE French have a Proverb similar to this. "The cow knows not what her tail is worth till she hath lost it," as it serves to whisk the flies from her; teaching us not to disregard a thing, because we have no present use for it, be it, in it's own nature, ever so insignificant. All things are equally important in their way; and there is no Page  6trifle, be it of what kind it will, but may, at times, be converted to some good purpose. A prudent man, therefore, will never make waste of any thing he has, but use it discreetly, and bless Providence for all it's gifts. The painter has shewn us the force of this truth in the want of water. A hot, scorching season has dried up a well, whose water, not being the sweetest in the neighbourhood, was disregarded; but, at the same time was never known to dry away. When every other spring had sailed, the people flocked to this, saying, "Bad water was better than none," and they must have recourse to the stinking well at last. Here then they flocked, in a sultry, parching day, both men and animals; but how great was their disap|pointment at finding this dry also, and how mani|fest is their chagrin painted in their countenances! Even stinking water would have now been accepta|ble; but these thoughtless people are made to feel the want of it.

Learn then, ye inconsiderate of the age, from the moral of this story, not to spurn at the good offices of those below you; nor become thankless in the hour of prosperity. It may happen that your resources may be dried up, and that you may be in want of those very services you now despise. Friends are not easily acquired; when a man, Page  7therefore, fortunately has friends, let him "shew himself friendly;" and endeavour to keep them. There is no friend so poor, but may have it in his power to be of use to us in the course of life, and his services, therefore, should never be contemned.

This Proverb may also be a lesson to us, not to waste the good things of this life, which Heaven has been pleased to bless us with, under an idea that we may never want them. If we have more than we want, we should bestow it on those who have less. Here we may lay it up in store; for "what we give to the poor, we lend to the Lord," and shall afterwards find in our own chest. We are not, however, to be lavish in our charity, but act with wisdom and discretion; laying something by against an evil day. Many are the turns and ebbs in a man's fortune; and, though he is rich to-day, he may be poor to-morrow. And as he that wastes will want, let us be careful not to bring ourselves into such a situation; for, though the rich have many friends, the poor have seldom any: but these friends of the rich are little else than butter-flies, that flutter round a man's good fortune, as a moth round the flame of a candle, but who will de|sert him when distress comes upon him, and fall from him like withered leaves at the approach of winter.

Page  8We are here taught likewise, in another sense, to husband our time, and never put off that till to|morrow which can be done to-day. For that to|morrow may never come; we may be taken out of the world when we least expect it; and, what we propose to do, may thus never be accomplished. If we are, then, to make provision for our fami|lies, let us do it, whilst we have it in our power; and, if we are to make provision for ourselves, let us not defer it till it is too late. By provision for ourselves, I mean making our peace with Hea|ven, and laying up riches, "where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal." There is no man so virtuous, but stands in need of repentance; and, if he is wise, he will repent of his sins whilst he is enabled to do it; and not waste those precious hours in a life of pleasure and dissipation, which he can employ to more nobler purposes. The time he now thinks so little of, he may one day want, and then what would he give to live it over again? be wise then, and circumspect; make the most of your present hours; be thankful for every thing you have; place your reliance on God, whose springs are never dry; turn every thing within your reach to the best advantage; don't consider even the smallest thing as below your notice; for be assured its Worth is best known by its Want.

Page  9

Experience is the Mistress of Fools.


THERE are many persons in the world who despise admonition, and cannot be brought to believe things wrong, till they have found them so by experience; and often buy this experience at a dear rate. This makes even fools wise; and hence the Proverb Experience is the Mistress of Fools.

Page  10In vain did the inventor of gun-powder perceive its strength in blowing up large pieces of rock. He doubted it's power, until he had placed him|self upon a large stone over some: but his experi|ence was fatal to him, having lost his life upon the occasion. Posterity, however, have been benefited by this rash act; and fools have, by that experi|ment been made wise. It would be well for us all, if, as Lillo says, "we learnt to be wise by others harm!"

There is scarce any situation, any circumstance in life, but, if we look round upon it, we may profit by the experience of others. 'Tis this which the Proverb alludes to; not to wait for con|viction, till we are taught it by experience; fools can do no more, and such a lesson may be attended with bad consequences. This was the case with the inventor of gun-powder we have mentioned. Sad experience, indeed, dwells the longest with us: and it is in this sense that Wit bought is better than wit taught, because self-preservation teaches us that the knowledge we acquire with pain, we are apt to remember longest, as A burnt child dreads the fire.

In illustration of this truth, see the picture be|fore us. The little rogue has incautiously pur|loined Page  11the honey, and the bees have shewn their resentment.—They have done him all the ill they could.—They have stung him.

It's pow'r to hurt, each creature feels;
Bulls aim their horns, and asses lift their heels.

In vain did his parents advise him to desist; in vain did they point out the danger of engaging rashly with a hive of bees: experience has now made him wise; and the smart he feels, will tell him the next time he approaches a bee-hive, to be more upon his guard. The hive is a significant emblem of industry, it being the store-house, where the bees lay up their provision for the winter; and the props, under the hive, are meant to shew that industry will never want support: nor is even the stick without it's moral; pointing straight to the boy that is running off, it tells us, that Industry is the straight line to retirement, for the di|ligent man maketh rich.—Prudent lad, he has benefited by the experience of his compa|nion, and has escaped the harm: knowing now that he cannot gather roses without thorns, or honey without the risk of being stung—"I will pro|vide myself," cries he, "as well as I can, against the danger, and then I'll try."

Page  12Next to purchasing experience at the expence of pain to ourselves, is that wisdom of profiting by the misfortunes of others. Indeed, all knowledge is acquired by observation; and he is the wisest man who learns it soonest; having the advantage of his fellow-creatures, he may smile at the ig|norance of fools; but, if he needs a second cau|tion, he deserves to pay dear for his knowledge; to be laughed at by the world, and to feel the un|pleasant truth, that Experience is the Mistress of Feels.

Page  13

What's got over the Devil's Back, is spent under his Belly.


THE Devil is the Enemy of mankind, and the Parent of Vice; and whatever is done by his instigation, cannot thrive; for God prospers not the evil doer. Money, honestly earned, and procured with honour, will do a man credit, and be the means of his getting more; but ill-gotten wealth never does the possessor any good. When Page  14men know the difficulty of getting money, they are naturally careful of it, and are seldom seen to lavish it away; but those who get it by fraud, by oppression, or extortion, seldom put any value on it, and waste it in the same vicious way in which they got it,—Light come, light go.—The punishment inflicted by Heaven on ill-gotten wealth, is that natural waste of it which gave rise to this Proverb; and persons have lived to see, that fortunes, amassed by unfair dealing, by cards, by gambling, by op|pression, and extortion, when left to the next heir, have been dissipated in riot and debauchery: where|as those which are honestly and honourably acquired, have established a family for many generations. God has been pleased to prosper the undertakings of such a house, and they have been the pride of their relations, and the country round them.

Riches are, undoubtedly, enviable; but they cannot be enjoyed with comfort, and certainly lose that zest, that naturally attends them, when they are acquired with credit.—Sweet is the bread we earn.—And why?—Because we eat it in a spirit of independence; conscious that we have honestly ob|tained it, are beholden only to our own industry for it; and that we have not procured it by oppressing the unfortunate, or extorting it from the igno|rant; by grinding the face of the poor; or ac|quiring Page  15it at the expence of a family's happiness.— A man had better be poor, than rich by unfair means.—Poverty is no way dishonourable, if the poor man is at the same time virtuous; for virtu|ous poverty is, in the estimation of all wise and good men, far more respectable than the possession of ill-gotten wealth. As a competency, or suf|ficiency of money to procure the necessaries and comforts of life is, however, what all men are jus|tifiable in looking for, let us do it by our own in|dustry, and rendering ourselves serviceable to man|kind; for, "the Diligent hand God maketh rich." Let that industry be honest and praise-worthy, such as will bear an enquiry into; and, depend on it, wealth so acquired, will always be found the most lasting: for the Psalmist says, "I have been young, and now am old, yet saw I never the righteous for|saken, or his seed begging their bread." What satisfaction can a man have in such property as he knows he has cheated his neighbour of?—His con|science will be ever flinging his iniquity in his face; be the worst of upbraiders, and deprive him of that real comfort and enjoyment, which the ho|nourable acquisition of wealth brings with it.

Look at the scene before us—a young gentle|man dissipating his fortune in company with bad women and gamblers; where he is plundered, as the painter supposes, of that fortune his ancestor Page  16acquired by fraud. As the Devil was the instiga|tion of such an acquisition, he is here shewn to be the cause of its dissipation; for nothing but the De|vil, the parent of wickedness, could induce a wo|man, the loveliest of the human race, so far to dis|honour herself, as to associate with the abandoned, and become their partners in vice.

Rogues, they say, are generally true to each other; but it does not appear to be the case here, for she is picking the pocket of one of her asso|ciates. It is folly indeed to expect any degree of honesty in those who have not the principle; for nature will shew itself; and those who are bred up in vice, seldom depart from it.

The further effects of Gambling are here depict|ed. From the countenance of him with the empty purse, we learn the distraction of his mind.—Eager to win, and happening to lose, he loses his temper and his patience, and with these his happiness.— For, when a man loses more money than he can afford, it is sure to make him wretched.—The win|ner may smile, but the loser is miserable.—Why then pursue such means, as stand a chance to distress os?—It must be infatuation. Indeed vice of every kind is little else than infatuation; having no sound argument to support it. From Evil, Evil must a|rise; for, What is got over the Devil's Back, in spent under his Belly.

Page  17

Call me Cousin, but Cozen me not.


OF all kinds of vice, I don't know any thing that deserves greater reprobation than Hypo|crisy; and yet nothing is more general in the world. The hypocrite, who carries two faces, be|trays you under the mask of friendship, and is less to be forgiven than a highway robber. The latter boldly attacks you, and puts you on your defence; but the hypocrite takes advantage of our good-na|ture, Page  18imposes on our credulity, and injures us at the moment he gives us reason to expect a ser|vice. He is, as the painter has here represented to us, a wolf in sheep's cloathing; and as one, who, whilst he shakes us by the hand, takes an opportu|nity to pick our pocket.

The world is, in general, so deceitful, and so fuli of dissimulation, that the incautious are easily taken in, and naturally suppose them to be their friends, who, in reality, are their enemies. The Flatterer is of this stamp, though not of so gross a complexion; and it behoves us to be as much upon our guard against a man of this description, as a lurking enemy. The misfortune is, that self-love leads a person to court praise, and be fond of flat|terers; and such as are expert in this art, will do it in so sly and insinuating a manner, as to make us believe, that what they say is the real sentiments of their hearts. The customary compliments in life are pleasing, ingratiating, and denote good-breed|ing; but when they degenerate into flattery, to a sensible man, they are fulsome and disgusting.

When a man, on a first acquaintance, makes great professions of kindness, always suspect him: depend upon it he has some sinister view upon your property; and, if you are not upon your guard, you Page  19will probably find yourself hurt, when you least expect it.

Great familiarity and intimacy is highly impro|per on slight acquaintance; it is scarcely prudent even between those who have long known each other; for he who unbosoms himself to every one he meets, stands a chance of having a dagger plunged in his breast.

Indeed, the integrity of mankind is so little to be relied on, that a wise man will be cautious in all his words, and never say that to his most intimate friend, that he would not say to his bitterest enemy; for a future disagreement may alienate the friend|ship of such a man, and you may be sorry for hav|ing placed a confidence in him. Every man should act so as not to put it in the power of any one to betray him, and then he need not dread an enemy; for whilst his secret is in his own breast, it is his own fault if it be divulged.

Sincere and true-hearted friends are least given to compliment and ceremony: if a man makes more of you than you either desire or expect, be assured he hath cozened you already, or means to it. It is not that a man is obliged to speak unpala|table truths, or say that to his friend he knows will offend him; if he cannot say agreeable things, let Page  20him be silent; but not a fawner, or make great professions that are not sincere: for, He that is full of Courtesy, is full of Craft.—I would stop such a man short, and give him to understand that I saw thro' him, by—"A truce with your kindness, my good Sir,"—Call me Cousin, but Cozen me not.

☞ See Great Cry and Little Wool.

Page  21

Pride will have a Fall.


THIS Proverb requires no interpretation, conveying its moral literally:—but pride, however here alluded to, by no means implies that commendable pride, which dignifies, and is essential to the character of a good man; but that lordly ostentation, that haughty demeanor in af|fluence, which spurns at, and contemns an inferior in birth, fortune or situation; and engrosses our Page  22thoughts to the idle gratification of extravagant pleasure.—This is the Pride that will have a Fall; and herein will the scriptures be verified. "Pride cometh before destruction, and he that exalteth himself shall be abased."—He, that, forgetting his own nature, with-holds from his distressed fellow-creature that relief he is able to afford, and looks down on his humble lot with disdain—this pride will, in all likelihood, have a fall; and he may one day experience the contemptuous treatment he has shewn to others, and that without a friend to pity him.

The upstart, in our print, nursed in the lap of ease, whose father's death put him in possession of a fortune, having launched into all the fashionable follies of the age, embarked in a life of vice and voluptuous pleasure, has here suffered an inconside|rate pride to lead him to the brink of a dreadful precipice. See his reception of the wretched pau|per his father's bounty had often fed—he casts on him a scornful look—the sneer of contempt—and that too at a moment when one step more must so fatally shew him his past errors. In vain does this poor creature implore relief—in vain does the aged mendicant, whose locks are silvered o'er by time—in vain does he tell the son his sire's invariable goodness—his constant charity.—In vain he begs Page  23that the same cause (affluence) may produce the same effect—(benevolence),—No;—deaf to every thing but the impulses of his own vain mind, he gives not a single mite to the famished wretch, who regrets, that with the means, we do not always inherit an inclination, to do good. Age, however, which has furrowed his brow with wrinkles, leaves him the pleasing comfort of a peaceful conscience; and though in the midst of poverty, he enjoys a placid serenity, being under the immediate eye of Providence, who turneth all things to our good: whilst the other, wrapt up in fancied greatness, looks not a step before him, but falls down the precipice his pride had led him to. What are then the consequences? By this precipice we are to understand the downfal of Pride, when Dissipation shall have stripped him of all the gay feathers with which he plumed himself; when his wealth has taken wing to a new possessor; when his mind shall be filled with remorse and horror, and he be left naked and destitute. This is often the fate of the haughty, and the end of the proud man. Then, like the Prodigal Son, he shall be feeding with swine, and covet the situation of the hireling and the slave: but, even in this hopeless state, there is a chance of redemption. Misfortunes, if we construe them right, are messengers, never sent without an errand. Page  24They either come to remind us of past sollies; to correct the present, or prevent the future. Altho' then it is truly commendable to act with becoming spirit; with such a pride, as is consistent with our situations in life; yet to exceed this, is but to in|dulge a disposition of malevolence, which can com|municate no real satisfaction. If it pleases Provi|dence to bless us, and raise us above the common level of mankind, we should not presume on this, but act our part accordingly. We should consider the gifts of fortune as put into our hands for nobler purposes than merely to gratify a sensual inclina|tion. We are to use them as a trust committed to our care, and dispense them so as to do all the good we can. If we are insolent in the possession of them, selfish in their disposal, and lavish them on ourselves alone, let us fear the conse|quences, and dread the time when we may see an end of them; for, sooner or later, Pride will have a Fall.

Page  25

Tread on a Worm, and it will Turn.


THIS Proverb is generally, though errone|ously, used as a plea by those who study to gratify revenge for any trivial injury they may conceive they have sustained; but this is by no means the moral we should draw from it; or that conclusion which calm reflection will justify.—When, to indulge a vicious inclination, we wound the ease of a neighbour, either by defaming his Page  26character, invading his property, or disturbing the peace of his family, it is but a sorry excuse to say, "he has injured me—Tread on a worm and it will Turn."

There is a very material difference between just resentment and unlawful revenge. It is certainly the part of an honest and upright mind, to shew a proper contempt, a consistent resentment at what|ever arraigns the honor or integrity of our principles, and to turn (tho' in adversity) when thus trod upon, by even the splendid sons of affluence: to endea|vour, as far as our situation and circumstances will admit, to avoid a renewal, or continuance of such injuries, as may convert a proper resentment into inconsiderate revenge.—"Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you," was an injunction of our blessed Saviour; and, however dif|ficult its practice may seem, it certainly is within every one's power, if not to do good, at least to do no harm to his enemy. Having said thus much on the misapplication of this Proverb, and the per|version of the sentiment it contains, let us examine its real tendency, and what it is meant to inculcate. It is meant then to teach us, that how trifling, how abject, how insignificant soever persons may appear to us, at the moment we tread upon them, a change Page  27of fortune, and a poignant recollection of injuries, may render their turning on us serious indeed!— Let us look round us, and we shall find many who have, either by the long pursuits of honest indus|try, the death of others, superior abilities, or un|expected causes, risen from the vale of indigence to the height of competence, if not to the pinnacle of affluence.—Then it is they will turn—then will they with-hold those offices of friendship they would otherwise have done us, and of which we may stand in need; then it is they will recollect, that we had not done by them, when in our power, as we would then be done by.

The hoary veteran, in our print, constrained by penury and want, implores charity, under the walls of that very citadel, his earlier days saw him bravely defending.—A golden chain, or a wooden leg, were the extremes of his hope and fear.— Poor fellow!—he has got the latter.—An imperi|ous Turk, enjoying the blessings of a peace, which the other's toils and services have assisted to secure, swings; fearless and undisturbed, in all the pomp of eastern magnificence, and indulges every wish a splendid affluence can create. He passes the sup|plicating soldier without attention, without bestow|ing the slightest token of commiseration; and with|out thinking, that tho' he does no good, he may do Page  28harm: he treads upon the dog, the faithful com|panion of his master's fortune.—The arm, which once bore the firelock to defend a just act, now shoulders the crutch to resent a haughty one, and tacitly says—Love me, love my dog—but, hurt my dog, hurt me.

Even the slave, who follows him, is infected with his master's pride; and, by the sneer upon his countenance, illustrates the Proverb, Trim Tram— Like Master, like Man.— Aesop tells us of the successful efforts made by the grateful mouse to res|cue the embarrassed lion; of the bee's effecting the dove's escape from the fowler—both from the re|collection of former services. Though he meant by this to inculcate the principles of gratitude, yet is shews us the advantages we may one day derive from objects, which, comparatively with ourselves, appear trifling and insignificant. By no means, then, despise the poor; we may, in them, here|after find a friend on some occasion of our lives: but this we cannot expect, if we have given cause to the contrary, for—Tread on a Worm, and it will Turn.

Page  29

Charity begins at Home.


THIS Proverb has been generally misunder|stood and misapplied. It has been con|ceived to allude to the folly of giving to others what we want ourselves; and covetous men have used it in justification of their own selfishness. We here see an instance of it. A hungry pauper has just received a mess of pottage from the hands of bene|volence; and two or three poor wretches, as hun|gry Page  30as himself, are craving part of it; but he is deaf to their solicitations, and steels his heart against their wants. It is not that a man is expected to give away what he is going to eat, to any vagrant that may ask him; but there is a method of re|fusing an alms, that reflects no discredit on the re|fuser. Self-preservation is the first law of nature; and we are justifiable in providing food for our|selves and families; but that being done, a good christian, and one who can feel for the distresses of another, will naturally bestow a little of what he can spare, to those to whom Fortune has not been so bountiful as to himself. He who is poorest has al|ways something to spare; and a cup of cold water, given in the spirit of charity, will mark the dispo|sition of the giver. To take care of ourselves and families, and provide against an evil day, is cer|tainly the duty of every man. In this sense cha|rity may be said to begin at home. As a man should be just before he is generous, so should he be prudent before he is charitable: that is to say, there is no more room for a person in debt to be generous, than there is for him to be charitable, whilst his family is unprovided for. But, if charity, in this sense, should begin at home, it is not necessary it should end there also. The provision we are to Page  31make for ourselves is not to be boundless. When we enjoy fully the necessaries of life, and some of its comforts, we should be willing to contribute to the necessities of others; impart those comforts where we can, and not suffer our unlimited wants to be an excuse for uncharitableness.

God is bountiful to us, and we should be so to our fellow-creatures. Was a man to live for himself alone, he would be the most selfish of all animals. Charity is the characteristic or distinctive mark of a christian. St. Paul says, that void of Charity, we are nothing but "as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal;" alluding to those who are all words, make great professions of kindness, and perform not a single act of benevolence. Charity is, in fact, so godlike a virtue, that our religion teaches us "it shall cover a multitude of sins." But charity, in this sense, is not limited to giving away part of our substance, but to that love of our fellow-creature as would lead us to study his interest. "Charity," says St. Paul, "suffereth long, and is kind; is not given to revenge. Charity envieth not; covets no man's property. Charity vaunteth not itself; is not puffed up;" that is, boasts not of its merits, but is humble and meek, and "behaveth not itself unseemly." In short, it is tender-hearted; feels Page  32for the calamities of the unfortunate; and relieves them where it can; does it from a conviction of the natural weakness of mankind; acts from what it feels itself; reasons from its own wants, and, in the true sense of the Proverb, originates in its own nature, and begins at Home.

Page  33

It's an Ill Wind Indeed, that blows Nobody Good.


THIS is addressed to those who despond, in or|der to teach them philosophy, and shew them that whatever is, is best: there is no event in life, but what tends to some good purpose; and that even misfortunes are not without their uses. There is a superintending Providence, who overlooks our actions, whose ways are higher than our ways, and Page  34his thoughts than our thoughts; and who frequently suffers evil to happen, that good may arise. Often are the righteous afflicted, that their patience may be tried, as was the case with Job; and often are calamities sent into the world to alarm mankind, and bring them back from the paths of sin and folly into those of virtue.

The ways of Heav'n are dark and intricate,
Puzzl'd with mazes, and perplex'd with errors;
Our understanding traces them in vain,
(Lost and bewilder'd in the fruitless search)
Nor knows with how much art the windings run,
Nor where the regular confusion ends.


This Proverb then teaches men patience and re|signation under the worst of circumstances, and enables them to stem that tide of sorrow, that would otherwise too often overpower them.

In common events all tend to some good. If too much rain floods the low lands, it enriches the high ones; and if too much drowth burns up the high grounds, it drys, and does a great deal of good to the low ones. A flood that shall be be|neficial to the farmer, shall be injurious to the Page  35miller; so that if any thing shall occur that may be detrimental in one case, we are not to repine, if it proves beneficial in another; but we are bound to wait these events without murmuring at the dis|pensations of Providence, who does good to all men, in turn; but reconcile ourselves to any seem|ing misfortune; and, from an opinion that it is an act of Heaven, who has something in view above our capacities to discern, kiss the rod that chastises us, and praise the hand that holds it.

The painter has rather taken an unfavourable view of this truth; he has exhibited here a scene of distress, and a number of wretches profiting by it. A high wind has thrown a ship upon a rock, and it becomes a wreck. Part of the cargo has floated ashore, and the inhuman inhabitants are eager to enjoy the plunder. Whilst some are carry|ing off part, others are running to take away more. Cruel as such conduct is, it is too common on the sea-coast; and he has described the unfeeling dis|position of the plunderers, by the joy he has paint|ed in their countenances. If there is any degree of cruelty greater than another, it is this, of rob|bing the distressed, and taking pleasure in the ca|lamity of others. I will close this subject with an epigram suitable to the occasion.

Page  36
Honest Tim and his wife once to sea took a trip,
When a sudden cross wind overset the light ship,
Hand in hand over deck, went this couple together;
Susan sank like a stone; Tim swam like a feather.
Thank my stars, says the man, just arriv'd from the flood,
'Tis an ill wind indeed, that blows nobody good

☞ See Every Cross has its Inscription.

Page  37

What's Bred in the Bone, will never Out of the Flesh.


THIS strongly shews the force of all example, and the evil tendency of bad ones. If we take a glance round us, we shall in general find, that though, as Gay says,

Learning was ne'er entailed from son to son;
yet Vice is, in some measure, hereditary. We shall see the children of the most abandoned treading, Page  38through prevalence of example, and for want of good advice, in the footsteps of their parents, and becoming, literally, Chips of the old Block. Let us not, however, witness this sad truth, without being ourselves imitative—not of the bad, but of the good qualities of our relatives and associates. It is in our younger years that we attract those habits, that either sweeten or embitter our future lives. Our minds, when young, are like tinder— they will catch any spark, whether emitted by Virtue or by Vice; and it is to be lamented, that the latter emits them more than the former.

With early Virtue plant the breast,
The specious arts of Vice detest.

The worthy youth, who carefully shuns the com|pany of the wicked and the irreligious; who con|templates, with serious attention, the many bles|sings his friends enjoy from the practices of vir|tue, will not be contaminated. Example will not, to such a mind, render vice familiar; but, if he avoids the society of those who will in|culcate in him virtuous principles, and associ|ates with those who will engraft ignoble ones, he will insensibly contract a habit, that he may afterwards wish to abandon, but in vain; and find, Page  39when too late, that—What's bred in the bone, will never out of the flesh.

Our painter has illustrated this truth forcibly.— The man in the stocks at once shews the cause, and its effects. Cards and dice, the forerunners of greater vices, have brought him there.—Loss pro|duced quarrels, quarrels punishment, and the ne|cessity of securing him. Happy would it be, should this be the worst consequence of a destructive at|tachment!—No; his cards, box and dice, beside him, tell us, that his present ignominy will not in|duce him to abandon them. His father was a gambler too; and, to supply his losses, invaded the property of others, for which he forfeited his life to the laws of his country. See him hanging on a gibbet on the hill behind. This son was then an infant. His mother, poor creature, the partner of his father's sorrows, though not of his guilt, the law being satisfied, and she a widow,

Bent o'er her babe, her eyes dissolv'd in dew;
The big drops mingling with the milk he drew,
Gave the sad presage of his future years.
The Child of Misery, she baptiz'd in tears.

Grief overcame her—she died, leaving her orphan to the protection of an uncle, who inherited his bro|ther's vices. See him just quitting the public-house, Page  40not from inclination, but necessity, to disgorge the quantity of liquor he had there swallowed, and to return "as a dog to his vomit." Nor will he probably leave it, till, flushed with liquor, he shall sally forth to commit some desperate deed. Can we notice his shocking suspensions of reason, and not believe it possible that this man's end will be like his bro|ther's; not credit the assertion, that the son will, in time, follow both the uncle and the father?

Our painter has further illustrated the Proverb, by the brood of ducks, which have been hatched by a hen, and who, forsaking her wing, and fol|lowing the bent of nature, have taken to the water, amid all the fright and anxiety of the mother for their safety. The fighting cocks assixed as a sign under the grapes, whisper also, that immoderate drinking often sets the best friends and relations at variance, for When the Wine's in, the Wit's out.— It behoves us therefore to avoid it, and, by asso|ciating with none but good and virtuous men, con|tract no unworthy habit: but seeing the progression from drunkenness to ignominious death, and the dreadful effects of bad examples, endeavour to avoid them; for the Proverb says, and the young ducks and game-combatants declare the same, that What's bred in the bone will never out of the flesh.

Page  41

Set a Beggar on Horseback, and he will ride to the Devil.


THIS Proverb has an affinity with the last, shewing its meaning in another sense; but has rather a worldly, than a moral tendency. It implies, that put a man out of his natural sphere, and he will act like a fool. We seldom, if ever, see a proper consistency preserved by men that have been suddenly and greatly raised in life. Their Page  42actions correspond with their ideas, which seldom, if ever alter. Let a man be low-bred, and his ideas will be groveling. Take a woman from her kitchen, marry her to a Duke, and she will ever savour of the grease-pot. In short—What's bred in the bone, will never out of the flesh—It is impos|sible to make a silk purse of a sow's ear.—For, as So|lomon says of a sinner—A vulgar fellow will "return like a dog to his vomit, or a sow to her wallowing in the mire."

The painter, in the scene he has represented, seems to allude to the moral sense of this Proverb; that a man, bred up in vice, will gradually make greater strides till he brings destruction on his head. Beggars have no idea of riding, but that of gallop|ing as fast they can go. He is supposed to have the care of a gentleman's horse for a few minutes, with orders, as he was warm, to walk him up and down, that he might not take cold. Instead of this, he mounts him, flogs the poor animal into full speed, and, regardless of the consequences, if he is not going to the Devil himself, is in a fair way of sending a poor old woman there, with all her sins upon her head, having rode over her.

Under this sense of the Proverb, we are taught never to employ immoral, or improper persons, in any of our affairs; the former will be likely to in|jure Page  43us, and the latter to disgrace us: for, in|dependent of any injury we may sustain, whatever wrong they do, the blame will be sure to fall upon us. It is under this reasoning that the law makes the master responsible for the conduct of his ser|vant, when that servant acts by his master's orders.

It is the height of folly for a man to undertake an office he is not capable of; but, if he is presum|ing enough to do it, the fault is in his employer, who ought to make himself acquainted with the in|tegrity and abilities of those he employs.

Fortune, in her wanton moments, has been often favourable to low-bred men, and raised them from a state of poverty to a degree of affluence, that has answered no other purpose than to turn their brain. Far from carrying their success in life with diffidence and modesty, they become arrogant and assuming; and, instead of gaining friends, create a number of enemies, who not only despise them, but laugh at them.

How often have we seen the children of poor parents, whom Fortune has smiled on, when they have grown rich, despise those parents because they were poor; and, instead of assisting them in their advanced years, and letting them share the blessings they enjoy themselves, have deserted them, and Page  44looked down on their humble state with contempt? What do such children deserve?—Not only the detestation of all good men, but the vengeance of the Almighty: and be assured, sooner or later, vengeance will overtake them; for, Set a Beggar on Horseback, and he will ride to the Devil.

Page  45

A Friend in Need, is a Friend Indeed!


BY the laws, both of God and man, we are bound to assist our fellow-creatures to the ut|most of our power, particularly when they need our assistance: and if we are not enabled by for|tune to do them all the good we wish, there are times, when a little aid will do a man a great deal of good; and these are the times we should study to render ourselves of service. Humanity is a god|like Page  46principle. Our Creator is always planning the good of mankind, and we should imitate him, as far as our abilities enable us. Indeed, if we ex|pect his favour, we must be friendly to those about us. If the uncharitable man did but once expe|rience the heart-felt pleasure which the humane man feels within himself, when he has relieved the distressed, and soothed the desponding mind, he would never miss an opportunity of doing a good action, where such an action was in his reach to perform. To receive the grateful thanks and blessings of those we relieve, is, to a sensible mind, a sufficient compensation for any trouble we may take, or any money we may expend in doing them a kind office. What is the use of money, if it be not to gratify and please ourselves?—and surely there is no pleasure equal to that of being a friend to the unfortunate. There are few persons but what spend some idle money; and that which they throw away, would gladden many a poor man's heart. If we time our charity, a small sum, given on certain occasions, will do far greater service, than double the sum at others.

We have here an instance of a humane man visit|ing the house of Poverty. An old man, in the decline of life, lying on a sick bed, supported by Page  47the labour of a widowed daughter; and who, hav|ing children of her own, the little she earns, di|vided among them, is scarce sufficient to keep life together. The scanty meal her industry is capable to procure, shared among the whole, is not suffi|cient to satisfy the hunger even of a sick man. Her love for a blind and aged father, and an infant-family, makes her inability to afford them necessa|ries, a heart-breaking affliction. In the midst of this distress, God sends a benevolent young gentle|man to their ragged cottage. The natural huma|nity and fellow-feeling of this stranger, whom chance brought to their door, led him to enquire the state of this poor family; and we see him at that moment when her father and children were crying for food, without being able to procure it, giving them money, and relieving them in this hour of necessity. The gratitude of this poor fa|mily is evident in their countenances, it affects the heart of their benefactor, draws tears from his eyes, and is a proof of the Proverb, that A Friend in Need, is a Friend indeed!

Imitate, then, this young gentleman—do all the good offices you can—study for opportunities to do good.—Remember that he who is poorest has always something to spare▪ and something that Page  48another wants; and if you bestow that something with a willing heart, you will not only have a re|ward in Heaven, but the good word of all your ac|quaintance, and the blessings of those you relieve.

I will close this subject with the following bon|mot.—A man told an acquaintance he had been to visit a poor friend in prison.—"Then he must be a valuable one," replied the latter, for a Friend in Need, is a Friend indeed.

Page  49

Every Cross has it's Inscription.


THAT is—Every Calamity has an End in view.—Providence never afflicts us in vain. Misfortunes are ministers sent to warn us; they rouse reflection on our past conduct; and awaken the heart to a just sense of its situation. Divines say, "We may often read the sin in its punish|ment."—There is no calamity that does not point to some of our actions, and shew us the sin by re|flection; Page  50but, in the vicissitudes and crosses of life, instead of interpreting their causes properly, and considering why they are inflicted, we are too apt to attribute them to the wickedness of men, or the natural course of things, and employ our thoughts wholly on the means of extrication. We are cer|tainly justifiable in studying to avoid misfortunes, and to extricate ourselves from those we may chance to be involved in; but a religious man will, at the same time, turn his thoughts within his own breast; consider how far he has deserved the correction, kiss the rod that chastises him, be grateful to Provi|dence that he has left a way to escape, and, act like the philosopher, who, having broke his leg, thank|ed God it was not his neck.

Whenever, therefore, we meet misfortunes, let us study to improve by them, and correct our lives.—Rely upon it, Providence, in the infliction, has some view to our good. They are never sent but to answer some wise purpose; and that too a purpose by which we might profit, if we calmly and delibe|rately consider them.

The distressed object in our print, floating on the raft from the ship we see going to pieces on the rock, appears in all the energy of devout prayer.—He seems to call to remembrance his past of|fences, and, with pious resolution, to promise his Page  51God a reformation. Though the deep waters are around him—tho' the surging waves break in upon him—yet the eye of Providence is over him; and, as his repentance is sincere, his preservation shall be secure. He may think his situation peculiarly hard—another ship in sight, with a fair wind, and he the only one washed overboard from his own ship.—But, let us not arraign the unerring judg|ment of our Maker; he is omniscient, and know|eth all things, past, present, and to come. The ship in sight, though tight, and right before the wind, will never reach her destined port; she will founder, and every soul on board will be launched, unprepared, into the dreadful gulph of Eternity.—A few moments, and the wreck of the ship, from which he has escaped, will be beaten to pieces, and all the crew shall perish, whilst a fishing-boat shall convey this repentant mortal safe on shore, and teach him, from the experience of his present distress, to amend his future life, bless Providence for his miraculous escape, the singular protection afforded him, and acknowledge, that—Every Cross has its. Inscription.

The civet-cat had once lost by accident that part for which it is hunted by men. He repined at his hard fate; arraigned the judgment which decreed it, and could not see any advantage he derived from Page  52such a loss. Poor, short-sighted animal! Whilst he is thus lamenting his fate, and complaining to a fellow-creature, he had just met, of the hardness of his lot, the hounds were heard, and the one fell a sacrifice to their pursuits, for the possession of that, which the loss of had fortunately preserved the other. In short, let us be patient under our afflic|tions, and God will give us a happy issue from them; for, be assured, troubles are never sent in vain; and, though our short-sighted reasoning may not shew us immediately the wise end of our sufferings, yet all things happen for the best; and in a little time will misfortune's bud blossom, and bring forth that fruit, which a wise and prudent man will not only gather, but profit by.—"My thoughts," says God to man,

and not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts:
and so certain is it, saith the Proverb, that Every Cross hath its Inscription.

Page  53

Great Cry, and Little Wool,


SAYS the Proverb, when, the Devil is shearing of hogs, they making a great noise, and af|fording no wool; alluding to those who make great professions of kindness, without the least inclination of doing what they say. This is too visible in the great world, I mean among persons of rank; so that it is a common saying, "There is little de|pendance Page  54on a Courtier's promise."—Full of Cour|tesy, full of Craft.

The painter has here given us a good idea of noise without profit; the shrieking of the Devils, the squeaking of the hogs, the rustling and whist|ling of the storm, and the clattering of the magpie.

It is related of the late Duke of Newcastle, who was prime minster, that no man was freer of his promises, and less disposed to perform them. A Major, whom the Duke thought proper to receive, returned, in the time of war, from his regiment, with the loss of his leg; on his waiting on the Duke, the Duke flew to embrace him, with—"My dear Major, I hope I see you well."—"Indeed, my Lord," replied he, "you don't, for I am out of spirits—I have lost my—" "Say no more, my dear Major," said the Duke, stopping his mouth with his hand, and conceiving it to be some promo|tion he had missed, "Say no more, I will give you a better."—"That's impossible, my Lord," returns the Major, "for I have lost my leg."

A man who values his word, and wishes for the confidence of his friends, is very cautious in his pro|mises; but, when he does promise, endeavours all he can to fulfil them. It is this integrity that makes men respectable, and gives them weight and conse|quence with those who know them; but those who Page  55are profuse in professions of services, be assured never mean to perform them.

So again, many a man will tell you, with a squeeze of the hand, he has only to lament that it is not in his power to serve you: when, if he had it in his power, he would be the last that would do it.

This Proverb alludes also to those vain boasters, who arrogate to themselves a merit they are no ways entitled to. Such men, conscious of their defects, and ashamed that the world should see them, endea|vour to conceal those defects, by boasting of an opposite virtue. A liar will tell you, that he could not form his tongue to a lie, though it was to save his life; when at the same time he is telling a number.—So an uncharitable man will often boast of doing some trifling act of good, and preface it with—"I believe I was made with different feel|ings from other men, for I can't pass by an object of compassion without relieving him; not if it was the last penny I had."

All this is ridiculous.—Truth and sincerity are the best stamps of a good character; and a little knowledge of the world is sufficient to discern the true from the counterfeit.

Never then boast of a virtue—let your good ac|tions speak for themselves. As a tree is known by its fruit, so is a good man by the good deeds he Page  56performs.—"It is not every one," saith our blessed Saviour, "that saith unto me, Lord! Lord! that shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doth the will of my Father that is in heaven." The contrite penitent, that, bowed down with a re|collection of his sin and his own unworthiness, struck upon his breast, and cried, "Lord be merciful unto me a sinner!" was, in the eyes of God, a much more respectable man than the boasting Pharisee, who, proud of a few good actions, looked upon him|self as superior to his fellow-creatures, and claimed the favour of Heaven on account of his own merits. Sound not then your own merits, for,—He must live far from neighbours, who is fain to praise himself.—Do all the good you can, but let the satisfaction of having done that good, be your desired reward; that is, when you give alms, "let not even your right-hand know what your left hand doth:" do it not through ostentation, or love of being noticed, but thro' a spirit of philanthrophy and fellow-feel|ing; and, in all your intercourse in life, promise cautiously, but keep that promise inviolably; for he that promises, and does not perform, yields a Great Cry, but little Wool.

☞ See Call me Cousin, but cozen me not.

Page  57

Take away my Good Name, and take away my Life.


THE character of a man is of such importance to his well-being in the world, that to rob him of it, is, perhaps, more cruel than to take away his life. By murdering a man, we deprive him, indeed, of existence, but our malevolence there finds an end: he is then beyond the reach of ma|lice, and, perhaps, becomes possessed of a state of Page  58bliss; but, by taking from him his good name, whilst living, we deprive him of his best friend, a friend that would never forsake him, but pro|tect him through a stormy and adverse life. To rob a man of his character, therefore, is turning him, unarmed, amidst a number of enemies, an act more cruel than murder; and its wantonness is equal to its barbarity: for whilst the slanderer is mangling the reputation of another, he is doing himself disservice. The sensible part of mankind soon discern his design, and, though they may censure the person defamed, they will condemn the defamer.

"Good name, in man or woman," says Shakes|peare,
"Is the richest jewel of their lives.
"He that steals my purse, steals trash; 'tis some|thing —nothing:
"Twas mine—'tis his—and has been slave to thousands;
"But he that filches from me my good name,
"Robs me of that which not enriches him,
"And makes me poor indeed."

Impressed with this idea, the painter has repre|sented a scene, wherein an honest, old man is accused Page  59before a magistrate of crimes of which he never was guilty, and a villain, behind the pillar, is enjoying the accusation. That the countenance is an index of the mind, he has here fully shewn; honesty being pictured in the countenance of the accused, and villainy in that of his accusers. The prisoner appeals only to the integrity of his heart.—"God, says he, "is witness to my innocence; I have no upbraiding conscience; on my character do I depend for sup|port, it is my only resource—Take away my Good Name, and take away my Life! His guiltless heart is his best defence; he needs no evidence in his fa|vour; the prevaricating accusation destroys itself; and the judge, seeing through the conspiracy, ac|quits the accused, and condemns his accusers.

Truth shall o'er ev'ry artifice prevail,
Whilst all the schemes of fraud and falsehood fail.
The flimsy cheat wise judges soon descry;
Those men will rob, that scruple not to lie.

Be cautious, then, how you speak of any one, at least be doubly careful not to speak worse of another than he deserves. Charity will often induce us to lean to the side of mercy, and urge us, when a man's character is demanded of us, to represent it rather better than worse; especially if his liveli|hood Page  60depends upon the character we give him.—This is frequently the case with servants; and here|in we cannot be too delicate. Justice enjoins us to speak truth, but that truth should be tempered with candour, and softened by humanity. We are bound, in honour, to give such persons the cha|racter they merit; but we should not suffer either anger or resentment to aggravate their offences, and swell their faults into crimes, their frailties into vices.

In the other sense of the Proverb, that which our painter more particularly alludes to, the act of mis|representing a character, or giving an unjust one; is truly unpardonable; it betrays a littleness of mind and baseness of soul. Philanthrophy, or to love one another, is a noble principle, and what our religion teaches. What then are we to think of those, who, so far from trying to sweeten the ways of life, will take pains to embitter them; and, in|stead of helping a man, will deprive him of those means that will protect and defend him? For, what is life without a character?—Take away my Good Name, and take away my Life.

Page  61

Much Coin, Much Care.


TO speak in disparagement of coin, or money, would look only like envying the good for|tune of others; for as the rich can command some enjoyments out of the reach of the poor, money has always been considered as a blessing; and to ac|quire money has been the constant study of mankind. But, when we call money a blessing, it is necessary to draw the line; for though riches bring com|forts, Page  62they likewise bring cares; and there is no real enjoyment in any wealth, that is not properly made use of. We are taught by our religion, that the goods of this life are entrusted to us by our Creator, for the purpose of doing good. Was all mankind equally rich, it would interrupt the order of society, and prevent men from being useful and serviceable to each other. God, therefore, has established the poor to be of use to society; but, having done this, he has made some men rich, in order to return those services by protection and good offices; and if a man uses his wealth to any other purpose, he be|trays the trust that Providence has reposed in him, and counteracts the will of Heaven.

"Learn to be content," says St. Paul, "in that state of life in which it has pleased God to place you;" and be assured, that whether you are poor or rich, you are equally respectable in God's eyes, provided you act uprightly in the station of life you are in. Competence is the only wealth a man should covet; that is, a sufficient income to support him in the rank of life in which he stands, and afford him the necessaries and comforts attendant on that rank. All beyond this, is trouble and anxiety; and if his heart is set upon further wishes, they are only a torment to him. The painter has set this forth in the scene before us. We see here pictured a man Page  63shut up in his closet, counting his money, conceived, by the ship above him, to be acquired by mer|chandize. We will suppose it honestly gained; but, as his heart seems centered in his gold, it robs him of his enjoyment. It is not a lock, or strong box that can set his mind at ease.—He dreads not only shipwrecks and thieves, but is alarmed at every step he hears. Even the entrance of his old, trusty valet, with a letter, alarms him, and all his fear is painted on his countenance. This man has not a peaceful moment; independent of the anxiety arising from loss in business, shipwrecks, and the like, he is in constant dread of losing part of what he has; and this dread is a continual tor|ment, and likely to end only with his life. But Death, which frees a man from all cares, is here seen at the window, lifting up the sash, and taking from him the whole. In such a case, how much happier would this man have been, had he cultivated in his breast a spirit of benevolence, and could have brought himself to distribute that superfluous trea|sure he is here supposed to have hoarded, among such distressed objects, as must have fallen within his knowledge! By relieving these, he would have stood in no want either of bolts or boxes, but would have "laid up a treasure in heaven, where thieves do not break through nor steal."

Page  64We are here taught also not to repine at a circum|scribed fortune, but make the best of our situation; and, if we have not an income equal to our expences, to proportion our expences to our income, and Cut our Coat according to our Cloth. If a man can|not afford a joint of meat at his table every day, let him be satisfied with it every other day, and know, that A contented Mind is a continual Feast.—Let him take a view of his own neighbourhood, and he will see, that if there are some men richer than himself, there are some also poorer, and that his own situa|tion is not the most wretched. Every man is the centre of a circle, some of a smaller, some of a greater; and if in that circle of life he does his duty as a good man ought; he is equally respecta|ble with him who acts like himself in a larger circle. If he has fewer indulgencies, he has fewer cares: though money may bring luxuries, it brings also anxiety—for, Much Coin, Much Care.

Page  65

Hedges have Eyes, and Walls have Ears.


THIS is a Proverb to teach worldly policy, and put the incautious upon their guard, with respect not only to their words, but their ac|tions. Hedges are no greater security against a prying eye, than is a wall against a listening ear. As it is easy to see through a hedge, and discover what is doing on the other side, so is it as easy to hear on one side of a wall, what is saying on the Page  66other. The young gentleman, who is here in the garden, planning an elopement with the maid of his heart, little suspects that he is over-heard by her father.

If a man wishes to keep any thing secret, he should not only be upon his guard against hedges and walls, but be cautious before whom he speaks, whether they are persons that can forestall or frus|trate his intentions, or children and servants, that can carry the tale; for—Little Pitchers have great Ears; that is, children are often more attentive to what we say, than we naturally suppose they are.

This Proverb has a reference also to our actions; teaching us circumspection in what we do; and reminding us, t we are open to the eyes of a discerning and ill-natured world, who perhaps will not put the most favourable constructions on them. It is a difficult thing, I allow, always to speak and act, so as to avoid censure; but it is absolutely ne|cessary not to indulge ourselves in such acts as will not bear the test of day-light, under an idea that we are in the dark, and no eye can see us. Many a man has done that under favour of a disguise, or from an opinion that he is not known; that he would not have done, but under such circum|stances.

Page  67Though he may think proper to run this risk, and escape the censure of the world, yet I presume he need not be told, that there is above, an Eye that seeth, and to whom all hearts are disclosed; an Eye, that, let a man's actions be as specious and equivocal as they may, will penetrate into the recesses of the heart, and read not only a his ac|tions, through every degree of dissimulation, but his very intentions. And, as his future happiness depends on the integrity of his heart, if he has any regard for himself, he will conduct himself so as to stand justified in the eye of Heaven; and so doing, if he makes his heart and his tongue speak the same language, he will go the surest way to avoid the ill-natured remarks of a censorious world.

Act, in short, and speak, as if the eyes and ears of your greatest enemy were open to what you say and do; and be assured you will not act or speak improperly, and there will be little fear of either your words or your actions being misconstrued. A philosopher, being told that certain persons spoke ill of him, replied, "I will then act in such a man|ner, that no one shall believe them."—That is, he would give the lie to all their assertions.

Page  68In short, a wise man will consider himself as set upon a hill, open to the view of all about him, or being in garden, where Hedges have Eyes, and Walls have Ears.

Page  69

Cruelty's a Tyrant, always attended with Fear.


CRUELTY is so repugnant to our nature, that every human being revolts at it; and Con|science, which always tells us when we do either right or wrong, upbraids the cruel man so strong|ly, that his sin is more than he is able to bear: he not only fears the resentment of the world, but dreads his own thoughts.—The Cruelty I allude Page  70to, is inhumanity to our fellow-creatures.—Nature has implanted in our breasts a fellow-feeling for mankind, and nothing but a savage disposition, brought on by habit, and actuated by revenge and self-interest, will lead a man to acts of cruelty.

A barbarity of disposition, a ferocity of temper is too often inculcated by practices; which, though in our childhood, may be considered as of little moment, produce, in our riper years, very seri|ous consequences. This passion, like a snow-ball, will gather as it rolls, and gain strength by age. It is the duty, therefore, of parents, and all who have the bringing up of children, to check a cruel disposition in its spring, and to fix the dam; remembering, that, although water

—"creeps on by slow degrees,
"Yet brooks make rivers, rivers swell to seas."

Nero, the Roman Emperor, we are told, pleased himself, when a child, with tormenting flies, and other insects; committing greater cruelties as his years increased: — from torturing of insects, he proceeded to birds; from birds to brutes, from brutes to mankind. Then he revelled in barba|rity—and we find his insatiable cruelty led him to rip open his mother, in order to see the place of his conception. When we read of such dreadful exam|ples of encouraging a childish propensity to acts of Page  71wanton cruelty; must we not wish that youth "would learn to be wise from others arm," and smother the diabolical passion as it rises. Let us reflect, that Providence has given to every living creature a sense of feeling; that, if we tread upon a worm; it feels a pang as great as when a giant dies:—and let us remember the frogs' observation in the fable, to the boys that were pelting them—"Though it may be sport to you, it is death to us."

It was the dignity of Nero's station, his ty|ranny, and the pusallinimity of the Romans, at that time, which prevented their resentment of his cruelties:—but there was no barrier against the terrors of an evil conscience—he was not without his punishment, even in this world.—Remorse stung him to the quick—he lived the remainder of his life wretchedly, and died miserably.

Vain are a man's titles—vain his wealth—vain his pursuits of pleasure—the guilty mind has no enjoyment—neither rank nor riches can steel the breast against the stings of conscience—"The wicked fleeth when no man pursueth."—He flies, like a hunted deer, from the terrors of his own mind, and the dread of future punishment drives him to despair.

But, we will contemplate the scene in view.—Not more remorse filled Barnwell's mind, when he had murdered his uncle, than does the fratricide Page  72before us.—Just Heaven!—What could induce him to kill his own brother?—An ill-founded jealousy.—Jealous of the imagined partiality of his father, who, poor man! loved them both with equal fondness, though he had not equal cause.—Such acts, the painter tells us, arise from the insti|gation of the Evil Spirit, whom he has pictured here enjoying the success of his temptation, and grinning, like Milton's Satan, a horrid smile.—But, no sooner is the rash deed committed, than re|flection comes, and conscience smites.—Struck with the horror of his crime, he stands aghast—shudders at what he has done, and all his ter|rors betray themselves.—Reflection comes,—but comes too late.—Fear now assails him—he dreads the vengeance of Heaven, and a thousand self-upbraidings complete his misery.—Hasty men seldom want woe.—A rash act is generally its own avenger, and What we do in Haste, we repent at Leisure.—If we would avoid, then, the stings and arrows of an avenging conscience, let us "do to others, as we would have them do to us;" cherish within our bosoms a spirit of philanthropy; love our fellow-creatures, commiserate their misfortunes, and never treat them with any degree of cruelty; for Cruelty's a Tyrant, always attended with Fear.

Page  73

What can't be Cured, must be Endured.


OF all the virtues, Patience is undoubtedly the greatest as it strives against, and combats all our natural inclinations. Every man covets his own happiness, and where that happiness is want|ing, he who can sit down patiently under it, and reconcile himself to his lot, is truly a brave man, Page  74and a christian; for our religion teaches us to be meek and patient under afflictions, and to con|sider them as chastisements sent from Heaven to correct, and make us better.

If, by repining and grieving at misfortunes, we could in any wise remove or lessen them, it might be right so to do; but, after having tried every lawful means to extricate ourselves from them, should we find those means ineffectual, it is our duty to submit, and wait patiently for a change.

It is in the power of men, sometimes, to relieve the distresses of the unfortunate, and asswage their pains; and when this can be done, we are bound to do it. And feeling heart will never need solicit|ing, it will do it as a thing of course, and be happy in the opportunity.

There cannot, surely, be a greater calamity than blindness, which brings on an inability to work for ourselves, and robs us of independence; and, should this calamity be attended with poverty, it is the very summit of all human affliction:—We can then only throw ourselves upon the mercy of our fellow-creatures, and wait their charity with resignation. Even such a misfortune, if incurable, must be indured. We have here this completion of wretchedness before us—a blind, old pauper, Page  75wearing out a life in craving the alms of the bene|volent.—Patient, and resigned under this rod of affliction, like a true christian, he waits with temper, till it shall please God to take him out of the world, and thus ease him of his miseries, for he can have no possible enjoyment here.

To a good disposition, what can give the mind more satisfaction, than by endeavouring to alle|viate this poor man's sorrows, by a little of that spare money we so often squander away. Persons, who have received a religious education, feel themselves obligated to relieve such objects, when they fall in their way; and we may see, by the countenances of these children, the effects of a reli|gious education: it has taught them to relieve the afflictions of others, at the expence of what is most dear to themselves. A little pocket-money every child covets to have, in order to gratify its little wants; yet we see here, that no sooner an object of real charity appears, but their hearts take part in the distress, and they voluntarily re|lieve him.—"Go and do thou likewise."

This Proverb teaches us also to make a virtue of necessity; not to feel hurt at the little rubs we meet with in the world, but to keep up our spi|rits, push on through life as well as we can, and Page  76make the best of what we meet with. We may endeavour to remove a stumbling-block that lies in our way; but if it is out of our power to re|move it, let us leave it where it is, and only take care in passing it, not to tumble over it; for—What can't the Cured, must be Endured.

Page  77

Kick not against the Pricks.


IT does not require any great depth of know|ledge to determine what would be the conse|quence of a man's kicking against a number of sharp points. Considering the Proverb, then, in a literal sense, it seems to convey only a self-evident truth, nothing but what nature herself suggests.—But look further into it, and it is replete with mo|ral and political instruction. By Kick not against Page  78the Picks, then, is understood—Enter into no contest with any one, whose power of resistance is more than you can overcome. "You but break your own teeth," said the File, in the fable, to the Serpent, when it was endeavouring to revenge it|self. What are the usual consequences, when a man of small pittance engages in an expensive suit at law with one of three times his income? Why—that the Weakest goes to the Wall—The law is so expensive, and its subterfuges so many, that those who have not sufficient money to support, perhaps a just cause, must give it up to another, whose for|tune will enable him even to uphold a bad one; for Might too often overcomes Right. To engage, therefore, in litigation under such circumstances, is only Kicking against the Pricks, and injuring our|selves. Such, likewise, is every unequal contro|versy in life, which is no other than contending with those who are better armed than ourselves.

The bruiser before us, a pupil of the Humphreys and Mendozas * of the age, elate with that success, his acquired knowledge in boxing, added to his athletic make, has secured to him, strips to resent the slightest affront. It was in one of these rash quarrels, which such vanity frequently subject|ed him to, that his antagonist retreated to a guard|house Page  79within the walls of the citadel, where the dispute had taken place. Pride and rage as pic|tured in the bruiser's countenance, at once assailed him, closed his eyes against his danger, deafened him to the remonstrances of the centinel, and led him, heedless of the levelled bayonet,, to advance on his enemy, and run against its point. The wound proves mortal, and he benefits the world for the last time in his life, namely, in leaving be|hind him an example of the dangerous conse|quences of a rash opposition.

Though in the contest we engage in, we may expect to come off victorious, from the justness of our cause, from our strength, our abilities, or other rational considerations; yet the influence of money, the weapons with which our antagonist is armed, his subtlety, or other unexpected causes, may shew us that we have only kicked against the pricks. It concerns us, therefore, to be exceedingly circum|spect how we enter into disputes; that we maturely weigh every advantage of our opponent against our own, and if we find him superior in influence, tho' not in equity, rather "bear the ills we know, than fly to those we know not of." A wise man will rather lose a small sum, than endeavour to recover it by law, as by so doing, he will be only follow|ing the vulgar phrase, "Throwing good money after bad."

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Page  80 This Proverb teaches us also, in another sense, never to attempt a thing we are not masters of—Strive not against the Stream—unless you are satis|fied to have your labour for your pains. It is only waste of time, anxiety, disgrace, and loss of trouble.

In every action, then, of our lives, let prudence dictate. Suffer not a trifling injury to become a a serious wrong, through a feeble attempt to re|dress it. Lose not the substance, like Aesop's dog, in pursuit of the shadow*. Avoid conten|tion with those who are more powerful than your|self. If a man affronts you, and you cannot knock him down, as Lord Chesterfield says, never see the affront; and always remember, that it is not only dangerous, but the very height of folly, to Kick against the Pricks.

Page  81

Custom is Second Nature.


THIS Proverb is designed to shew the preva|lence of Habit, whether in good actions or bad. Children, says a philosopher, are like blank paper, we may write on them what we please; and, according to what we write, that is, accord|ing to the education or instruction we give them, so shall we form their dispositions.—"Train up a child," says Solomon. "in the way wherein he Page  82should go, and when he is old-he will not depart from it."—What we are accustomed to in youth, becomes familiar to us in more advanced life, and will then be, as it were, natural to us.

The painter has drawn his illustration of this truth from a winter-scene in the country, that of scating on the ice; and has shewn us, that whilst those in years, who have been used to shelter themselves from the inclemency of the weather, shall shake with cold in the open air, tho' wrapt up in furs; and whilst one young man shall be blowing his fingers and shrinking from the cold, another, who has accustomed himself to the forst, shall be chearfully scating, regardless of the pinching season. He teaches us also by the contrasted appearance of the beggar-boy sliding even with fear, whilst the young gentleman, next him, is scating away with courage, that this exercise does not depend only on being able to endure the cold, for one is as able to do that as the other, but that the art of scating, difficult as it may be, is to be acquired only by practice and habit. One stands firm, and makes his way on an edge, less than half an inch in thickness, whilst the other can scarce keep his footing on a much broader basis. This is the effect also of Custom; having practised it long, it is become natural to the former, and he bears the Page  83cold, and travels on the ice with as much, or more security than the latter can, even on the ground.—So is it in life; whatever we are accustomed to, becomes, as it were our nature, and we can do it with the greatest facility. One man shall swim as well as a duck, to whom water is a natural ele|ment, whilst another cannot keep himself from drowning: so will a bricklayer, whose profession it is to roof houses, run safe and unconcerned along the ridge of a roof, whilst another, unaccustomed to such practices, shall not be able to keep his feet.

If such be the force of Custom, we see how neces|ssary it is to train up youth properly, before improper habits have taken hold of them; for such is the misfortune, that Habit is second Nature; and when once we have acquired a bad one, it is not readily got the better of. Every little, ungain, aukward trick a man shall acquire in his youth, he will carry to the grave with him.—Considering this Pro|verb, then, in a moral sense, it is, above all things, requisite, that good principles should be early in|stilled, lest the natural proneness of mankind to evil should take root in him, and, in the course of years, be so blended with his nature, as not to be conquered.—What's bred in the Bone will never out of the Flesh, is a maxim similar in allusion to the one before us, and confirms the doctrine we have Page  84laid down, that Customs, rooted in us by Habit, will continue with us through life.

Whatever we do, therefore, let us be careful not to acquire bad habits, under an idea of drop|ping them when we please. They are not so rea|dily dropped as we imagine; for the human frame is a machine that will often act involuntarily, and pursue a bias to which it has been accustomed, be that bias as injurious to its nature as it may.

Upon the strength of this lesson also, let us take courage, and never be dismayed at the diffi|culties we meet with. Such things, as at first ap|pear insurmountable, by practice, are often over|come, and rendered easy, for Patience and Perse|verance overcometh all things.—"Eschew evil, then, and do good;" and remember the words of Scripture, that, "He who holdeth out to the last, shall be saved."—That is to say, Shun every evil way, pursue the good, and, my life for it, in the end, you will have occasion to rejoice. The good habits you acquire, will insure you a respectable character through life, and a peaceful conscience in your last moments; and be assured, every evil is to be subdued by a perseverance in well-doing, for Custom is second Nature.

Page  85

Creditors have better Memories than Debtors.


THERE is a great deal of knowledge couch|ed under these words, and the Proverb may be taken in more senses than one. In the literal sense it implies, that Creditors are the more im|portunate, as they find those who are in their debt unwilling to pay what they owe. Indeed, such is the misfortune of trade, that, unless a man will give credit, he will have few customers: and such Page  86the disposition of the world, that as things are estimated by appearances, and men are re|spected, in proportion to the figure they make in life, they are naturally covetous of respect, make the best appearance they can, live to the very out|side of their fortunes, and willing as they may be, to pay what they owe, they often find themselves unable. This distresses the tradesman who gives them credit, makes him importunate in his appli|cations; and the debtor, rather than acknowledge himself poor, affects not to remember the debt he owes. Of course, it being the interest of the one to remind, and that of the other to forget, Credi|tors, in pursuing their interest, are said to have better memories than Debtors, who wish to forget the obligation. This is bad policy, but such is the fact. It would be far better, and more ho|nourable for a debtor to aknowledge what he owes, and throw himself on the lenity of his creditor, than to trifle with his character, anger his appli|cant, and induce him to take hostile measures against him,

The engraver, in the print before us, has taken up the Proverb in this sense. A man whose cre|dulous mind and easy temper has led him to give long credit, to the impoverishment of himself: and whilst he has been administering to the comfort Page  87of others, his own circumstances have grown out at elbows, and he is reduced to the necessity of wearing a threadbare coat. In this state we see him humbly applying for payment, to one who is in his debt; and this man, unthinking and merci|less, forgets, or affects to forget, that he owes him any thing; and to carry on the farce, and ap|pear absorbed in thought, suffers the dog to water against his leg, as it were, unnoticed. He is here pictured as apart from his company, conscious that an application of this kind would disgrace him, and let him down in the eyes of his acquaintance, with whom he has passed himself as a man of for|tune.

In a figurative sense, the Proverb teaches that none are so deaf as those that won't hear. Interest is the greatest perswasive to all worldly act, and where interest leads the man to forget, be assured he will not remember. But when a man is thus artfully deaf, and forgetful to all that is just and honourable, let him remember that there are loud calls which he will be obliged to hear, the calls of Law and the calls of Heaven, and he will be sorry at having shut his ears to the whispers of reason and discretion.

We are also shewn, in another sense, the eager|ness of men to shut their ears to the applications Page  88of their fellow-creatures, to the plaintive woes of the poor, the cravings of necessity, and the cries of the wretched: and surely, he that can turn a deaf ear to such complainants must have a mer|ciless disposition and an unfeeling heart. The poor are ordained by Providence to be the credi|tors of the rich, they have a natural demand on their liberality and charity; and they who are deaf to such demands, or affect not to remember the obligation, are a disgrace humanity, and undeserving of the name of man.

In a further sense, the Proverb teaches us the necessity of attending to the calls of conscience, that great Creditor, who, if its demands are not satisfied in this life, will bring a long account against us in the next; an account which we shall then be unable to discharge; for then it will be too late. The debts of life are to be paid whilst we live. If we do this conscientiously, we shall quit the world unshackled, and having paid the great debt of nature, may hope to live in future bliss, free and unincumbered as the heavenly host. Pursuing this conduct, we shall have nothing to fear, though Creditors have better memories than Debtors.

Page  89

The Master's Eye makes the Horse fat.


A carrier, ev'ry night and morn,
Would see his horses eat their corn;
This sunk the hostler's ails 'tis true,
But then—his horses had their due.
Were we so cautious in all cafes,
Great gains might rise from smaller places.

GAY's fable of the Packhorse and the Carrier, from which the above quotation is taken, greatly supports 〈…〉Page  90whence we should also learn an observance of the old adage, Never to do that by proxy, which we can do ourselves. Those who are most benefited by and step, are certainly most likely to attend to the proper execution of it; for self-interest is the pre|vailing feature of mankind. Let a person have no interest in the business with which he is en|trusted, and you will find him far less attentive than one who derives an advantage from it. When the Cat's away the Mice will play; that is, when the causes which excite our attention are removed, the effects cease.—Had Gay's carrier trusted to the hostler, it is to be questioned whether the horses, under his care, would have had their due, as it would have "sunk the hostler's vails;" and that mercenary consideration induces too many servants to prostitute their master's interest to a trifling and a paltry gain; thence the prudence of being our|seves present when our business is doing. For, the Master's eye makes the Horse fat. Not imper|tinent to this purpose is that story related by Gel|lius, A fat man riding on a lean horse, was asked how it came to pass, that he was so fat and his horse so lean? Because, replied he, I feed myself, but my sservant feeds my horse.

It is by overlooking those whom we employ; that we secure ourselves from the impositions to Page  91which confidence in unworthy servants, and an absence when our business is transacting, too fre|quently subjects us. But this prudent caution, this necessary inspection, differs essentially from that distrustful disposition which betrays, upon all oc|casions, an aukward suspicion of an honest ser|vant; thus giving him cause to think his probity is doubted, when, in fact, we are acting only with discretion. We should consider our servants as our humble friends, and though prudence directs: us to prevent, as much as we can, the possibility of their doing us an injury; benevolence teaches us to preserve a just medium, so as not to wound a feeling heart by mean suspicions, upon every slight appearance of probability. Be politic—be as cautions as you will—but let them know, as little as you can, that you are so. This will at|tach them to you; this will make a servant (unless. he is very abandoned indeed) shudder at the idea of abusing a generous confidence that he believes is placed in him.

The farmer in our print, has visited his fields—he has made it his constant custom; hence it be|trays no suspicion of his reapers industry, though, in fact, this was the sole motive of his presence. His open, honest deportment rather chears their labour than discourages it; he meets them with Page  92good words, commends their diligence, and has the satisfaction of seeing his work go well on.

Whatever our situation in life is, let us act our part well. If masters, let us excite in our depen|dants respect and love, by betraying no ground|less suspicions; and yet, in doing this, let us not lose sight of prudent care, nor forget the practice of Chaucer's theory.

If they are good, why, e'en praise them; if bad, then find fault.
If servants, let us so demean ourselves that we may never sear a master's eye; yet let us not presume so much upon ourselves, as to be offended at that; inspection which his prudent cares may dictate, for his excuse and our consolation, remembering, in either station, that "the Master's eye makes the Horse fat."

Page  93

Necessity has no Law.


LAWS are made to keep unruly men in order, and prevent their doing wrong; and punish|ment is sure to follow when these laws are trans|gressed or broken through; but necessity has al|ways been a powerful pleader in extenuation of guilt. Not only in the eye of the law, but in the eye of reason, the will is ever taken for the deed,Page  94and they who cannot as they will, must will as they may; that is, must do as they can. It is under this consideratio that the law will allow one man to kill another, if he cannot otherwise escape with his own life; but that the killer may never use this necessity as a pretence, it is expected that the person, so urged, shall flee from his enemy as far as he can; but when he can fly no further, and is pressed by a sword, or other deadly weapon, against a wall, he may then, to save his own life, kill his pursuer if he can, and the act will not be called murder.

By the same mode of reasoning, there are few things which a man is compelled to, that the laws, either human or divine, will punish him for doing; but he is to be careful, and not attribute to ne|cessity, what might have been avoided.

Our painter has supposed a case, in which the feelings of mankind are called sorth to decide. A poor, distressed widow, with two infant-babes cry|ing for food and none to give them; and pressed also with hunger herself, without a penny to purchase bread, is led to purloin a loaf from a baker's shop. Instead of commiserating her unhappy situation, the heard-hearted monster seizes her for the theft, and we see her here pleading a pardon on her Page  95knees, and urging her extreme poverty and hun|ger, and the hunger of her children, as dear to her as life, in excuse for her crime. For, what|ever allowances the feeling heart of men may make for such an offence, it surely is an act of dishones|ty. No want, no love for herself or for her off|spring should have led her to such an act. Hunger, they say, will break through stone-walls, that is, a man driven to excess of hunger will regard nei|ther bards nor bolts. self-preservation being the first law of nature, it is in vain to talk of reason or of law to a craving appetite.—But, if necessity has no law how was this poor woman criminal?—Before she was in this very forlorn state, she should have applied for relief. The same laws that punish such an act as this, would have given bread both to her and to her children. In this country, no one is suffered to perish for hun|ger, and had she applied to a magistrate, he would have procured her provision. Conscious of her guilt, she sues to the baker for forgiveness, and pleads her uncommon distress, in excuse for what she did. Humanity, therefore, takes up her cause, and we see a beneficent person behind her going to pay for the loaf she took.

Page  96Whatever were this woman's intentions; how|ever strongly nature might plead in behalf of her infant children, she was without excuse,

We are not to do evil, that good may come.
Cer|tainly, of two evils we are to choose the least, but we are to avoid both, if both can be avoided; where this is not the case, we shall stand excused for committing of one, for Necessity has no Law.

Page  97

Scald not your Lips in Another man's Pottage.


ALL men have naturally too much trouble, to wish for more, and too many vexations at|tendant on their own affairs, to enter into those of others. If a man's humanity leads him to take part in the distresses of a fellow-creature, there is an excuse for so doing; and to such men, this Page  98Proverb, by no means, alludes; but there are a number of persons so industriously officious, as to interfere in the concerns of others, without being requested, and without doing any good, or reap|ing any reward but trouble and vexation to them|selves; and it is to the folly of such persons, this Proverb directly points.

Such is the case before us. A man and his wife had been quarrelling, and their words had ended in blows. Humanity will naturally stand forth in defence of the weaker sex, where a wo|man seems to be oppressed; but, in disputes be|tween man and wife, it is dangerous meddling. The law of this country have given a husband authority over his wife; and though it is the duty of the latter to submit to the former, in all things that are legal and honest, yet we often find, in the lower class of people, such a spirit of opposi|tion, that when the ladies cannot support their arguments sufficiently by words, that is, scolding their husbands into a compliance, they will boldly fight it out, and endeavour to carry their point by their fists.—And yet they love their husbands too, and will, at any time, defend his cause, tho' at the expence of their own. Such was the situa|tion of things when our painter took up his pen|cil. Page  99A good-natured man passing by, interfered in her behalf, and whilst the man was beating his wife, he beat the man to make him desist. And what was the consequence? The woman's resent|ment against her husband immediately dropped, she took up the cudgels in his defence, and flew at the stranger, with a

Has not a man, you rascal, a liberty to beat his own wife if he pleases?
And the only thanks he got, was a broken head for his pains.

It is the same in other cases as in this; officious meddlers in affairs of others, seldom, if ever, get the thanks of the person they thus labour to serve; they frequently bring trouble on themselves by such interference, and are always considered as impertinent. Where a man sees mischief likely to ensue, it is his duty to put a stop to it, where he can; but, if the business in which he steps forth, will not be attended with bad consequences, either to himself or society, it is good policy to pass it by.

He that passeth by (says Solomon), and med|dleth with that belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.
He stands a chance of being bit. So says another Proverb, He that prieth into every Cloud, may be stricken with a thunder-bolt. Besides, such officious med|dling Page  100is not only bad policy, but ill-manners. It is a mark of low-breeding, and if persisted in, will be sure to give offence.

Learn then, from this Proverb, never to inter fore in things that don't concern you; give not your advice unasked, and scald not your lips in Another man's pottage.

Page  101

To Forget a Wrong, is the best Revenge.


AND why? Because it heaps coals of fire on our enemy's head. This is the worldly meaning of the Proverb, the religious one I shall mention hereafter. Revenge only irritates a-fresh; but "a soft answer" (says Solomon)

turneth away wrath:
it disarms the angry man, and tickles him into temper. It is, according to the Page  102vulgar adage, cutting his throat with a feather, and wounding him in a part where he is most sus|ceptible, I mean his mind. To return
evil for evil, and raising for raising,
is only making the breach wider, and stopping up every avenue to a reconciliation; whereas, to return
good for evil,
is not only christian-like, but re|flects the javelin that was thrown at us, and plunges it in the heart of him that threw it. It fills him with shame, to think his enemy should be so much his superior, and in censuring his anta|gonist, he condemns himself; a wise man, then, will endeavour to forget a wrong, justly conclud|ing that,
Good-nature and good sense should always join:
To err is human; to forgive, divine.

Convinced of the propriety of this doctrine, the painter has represented an old warrior, whose pro|fession is hostile, entering a citadel with a re|vengeful disposition, preceded by a hissing snake, the harbinger of venom: his sword is in his hand, and implacability in his countenance. Whatever may have been the offence given, he seems here determined to revenge it; and perhaps, fire and slaughter would be the result of such a rash deter|mination; Page  103but meek-eyed peace arrests him in his progress, and with gentle accents, sooths his rage. A contest ensues between his anger and his pity.—He grows warm at the offence, but he makes allowance for the offender,—rankles at the affront, but pities the affronter,—resents the in|dignity, but labours to stifle it: and, though me|ditating revenge, he wishes to forgive it, and Peace whispering in his ear, To forget a wrong is the best revenge;—he concedes to the heavenly truth, drops his enmity, and seems truly great, not only in his own eyes, but in the eyes of the world. The city, that a moment before was threatened with destruction, is now secure from hostilities. A dove, the emblem of peace and innocence, is bearing an olive-branch; and this man has the honour, not only of rising superior to an enemy, but of tri|umphing over himself.

Indeed, the revengeful mind is never at ease: it is not only unhappy, whilst premeditating injury to those who have wronged us; but when we have completed our wishes, and gratified our revenge, it must embitter our life, to reflect, that an inhu|man principle has so far led us astray, as to destroy the happiness, the enjoyments, or perhaps, the life, of a fellow-creature. In mercy, therefore, to our|selves, to Forget a wrong is the best revenge.

Page  104It is far more so, in a religious view. "Ven|geance is mine, saith the Lord, I will repay it." One of the seven supplications to Heaven, in our daily prayer, enforces the necessity of conforming to this admonition, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us." If the degree, then, of forgiveness extended to us, be in proportion to that we extend to others, despe|rate indeed must be the case of the malicious and revengeful man! When this, therefore, is consi|dered, and more particularly that the Lord will avenge the cause of the righteous; to forgive and Forget a wrong, surely must be the best revenge.

Page  105

Handsome is, that Handsome does.


IF to Forget a wrong, is the best revenge, as we have seen in the last Proverb, good offices to an enemy must be a superior, effect of hu|manity. What think we then of the good Sama|ritan, assisting the distressed Jew, who, in his journey from Jerusalem to Jericho, had fallen among thieves, who had stripped him, robbed Page  106him, and cruelly treated him? Observe here the priest and the Levite. The former, who had seen the deplorable object lie almost breathless, welter|ing in his congealed blood, to avoid even an en|quiry, passes by on the other side. The Levite too, an attendant also on the temple, views this poor wretch, and though every gash in his man|gled flesh cried and pleaded for compassion, this hard-hearted monster, spoke neither a word of comfort, nor moved a hand to help — he passes also on the other side; but the good Samaritan, when he beheld the Jew, between whose sect and his own, there was an implacable malignity,—when he beheld him, he sprung instantly from his mule, and administered every aid he could afford. He dressed his wounds, placed him on his own mule's back, and walked beside him, through summer's heat and sultry sands, 'till he conducted him to a house, where he ordered him to be taken care of; thus sinking his enmity to an imbittered foe, into compassion for a fellow-creature. And in doing this, he not only gratified his own pride, by triumphing over his enemy, but his own feel|ings in this act of humanity; for, let a man be in the greatest state of affluence, in the highest of all worldly enjoyments; nay let his utmost wish be Page  107indulged, and he will not have half that pleasure which arises from one good and virtuous action. Let us make our conduct then the standard of our beauty.—Let Nature paint the check, and Virtue paint the mind; for handsome is that Handsome does.

It is the action, and not the fortune, or situa|tion in life, by which the sensible and discerning characterise mankind. It is not the beautiful face,—the graceful form,—the lovely look;—It is not these that constitute beauty, when the mind is de|formed;

Honor and Fame from no condition rise:
Act well your part, there all the honor lies.

It is our conduct, our actions in life, that must give us claim to a good name.

Praises on tombs, are trifles vainly spent:
A man's good name is his best monument.

The garter'd knight—the titled peer—the lau|relled chief—are distinctions their possessors no lon|ger merit, than as they preserve the cause that cre|ated them. "A few fleeting years," and honour—as Falstaff says, pointing to the grave—"lies there." In a word, it is actions only that consti|tute nobility.

The nobleman is he, whose noble mind
Is filled with inborn worth, unborrow'd from his kind.
Page  108 And I must observe, that even in conferring kind|ness, there is a handsome way of doing it. One man shall shew a civility with more grace; and in so doing, shall confer a greater honour than ano|ther, in performing an act of the highest huma|nity. Manner is every thing, and a liberal mind is visible in all it does. Every man should study this art, it is easy to be learnt, and when acquired, gives a man infinite credit in the world.

Let us, for a moment, turn our thoughts to|wards the middling class of men, and we shall find honour, truth, and gratitude, even with a plain education, sufficiently informed to reverence their God, and do honour to human nature. He that does as he would be done unto, acts a good part to his fellow creature—is an ornament to his race—and a noble citizen of the world. We should despise no man for his appearance, for his condi|tion in life, nor think those only great and honest who boast of wealth and titles. The external ac|tions of a man are nothing weighed against his virtues. It is no matter, in the eyes of the sen|sible world, whether he be ennobled, if he acts nobly; or whether he be handsome, if he does handsomely, for handsome is that Handsome does.

Page  109

Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire.


FROM the desperate situation of a poor fish, thrown alive into the water, to be boiled, and jumping in that water for life, and its having no alternative in escaping, but falling in|to the fire, this Proverb would teach us, not to give up one situation for another, let the first be ever so disagreeable, if the second be not a bet|ter. We are too apt to think our own situation Page  110of life worse than that of others, and of course to be discontented and dissatisfied. But this betrays ignorance and want of reasoning. Be assured, there is no state of life without its troubles and in|conveniences; and were we to change it for ano|ther, that other would be not less burthensome, though in a different respect. From habit and custom, we are better acquainted with, and feel the troubles attendant on our situation, more than others can do, who are not so well acquainted with them; and the same reasoning will tell us, that the burdens and troubles which others feel, we have no idea of; of course, a wish to change one state for another, unless we are sure to profit by the change, is only getting out of the frying-pan into the fire. "Learn then" (says St. Paul)

in whatsoever state you are, therewith to be content.

We are also taught here, of two evils to choose the least; to do all the good we can, and to do as little wrong as possible. No man is perfect; we are as naturally prone to sin, as the sparks fly up|ward; but reason is given us to subdue these na|tural inclinations, and curb the impetuosity of our tempers. If we must commit a sin, let it be as little as can be helped. In a worldly sense, by choosing the least of two evils, is understood, con|sidering Page  111well before we determine, and of two situations in life, to make choice of the better, and of two evils, venture on the least. If one man is to put confidence in another, it is better to confide in an honest man than a rogue; and if a man is to cross a river, it is safer to pass it on a bridge, than in a boat. But the fear of danger will naturally point out conduct in such kind of evils. Man requires only caution in those that are more concealed; and the best advice he can have, is to act, on all occa|sions, with circumspection.

Indeed, there are situations in life, where duty obliges a man to counter-act his own inclinations; cases wherein necessity having no law, he is com|pelled to take measures which his heart disap|proves. Such is the situation of a parent who is frequently obliged to correct the object of his love; and that of a magistrate who, often, for the good of the public, is obliged to take away the life of a fellow-creature. This, indeed, is the particular sense of the Proverb, to which the painter alludes, Needs must when the devil drives.

This Proverb will also bear another interpreta|tion, namely, that our vicious inclinations, when they get a-head, are a kind of temptation that leads us into sin, which requires more than common re|solution to withstand; and like the devil, the pa|rent Page  112of vice, goads us on to do that which our na|ture would otherwise recoil at. But, it is incumbent on christians to resist the devil, and fly from him, and pray to God for those spiritual aids, that will enable us to oppose this tempter and set him at de|fiance: it is what God expects of us, and what, as good men, we are bound to do, that in flying from one sin, we should be careful not to plunge into another. In shunning prodigality, we should not become covetous; and in avoiding covetousness, we should beware of prodigality. So again, in striving to be humble, we should not be mean; and in studying to preserve a proper dignity, we should not be proud. For he who, in avoiding one vice, runs into the opposite, does little else than jump out of the Frying-pan into the Fire.

See Look before you Leap.

Page  113

Look before you Leap.


THE object of this maxim is to teach circum|spection, and to do nothing rashly. Indeed, as few things, when done, can be undone, it is necessary to consider well before we do them, as afterwards it may be too late to remedy them. This holds good in every step in life, but the Page  114painter has thought proper to point it out more particularly in that most important of all steps, matrimony. Without circumspection here, the remainder of our lives must be embittered, and we shall have reason to repent our rashness, as long as we live.

There are a number of requisites necessary to constitute the happiness of a married state, and so much is it the interest of either man or woman, to conceal, from the objects of their choice, their tempers and situation in life, if they will not bear examination, that it is wonderful there are not more unhappy marriages than there are. It is truly a leap in the dark, and a mere matter of chance, whether they leap safely or not. The passions of youth are too ungovernable to give way to en|quiry; and attachments once formed, are often too strong to be broke through. It would be wise therefore, if young folks, (should their inclina|tions lead them to seek a partner for life) would advise with their parents, or nearest relations, in a concern so essential to their happiness. Love is an idle term; it is merely the fever of the mind, and, if encouraged, is apt to rage; but, if discouraged, may be overcome: distress will soon cool it, for, when Poverty comes in at the door, Love will fly Page  115out at the window. In short, as there can be no true happiness without a competence, this is the first consideration; and, as an enquiry of this kind, is generally beyond the reach of young minds, who so proper to consult as our parents, or best friends, who can have no view in the advice they give, but the welfare of those they advise? Per|sons conversant in life, and acquainted with the world, are certainly best able to judge in matters of this kind; and if we are wise, we shall abide by their determinations. If the character, tem|per, and situation of the object is found, upon a strict enquiry, to be such as to make an alliance with for life, prudent, pursue your inclination; but if they turn out the reverse, shun the con|nexion as you would a pestilence, and, not like a silly moth, flutter round the flame of a candle, till you burn your wings. In short, Look before you Leap, for snakes among sweet flowers do creep.

Let us, however, not only be circumspect in this, but in every undertaking in which we em|bark. The man who thinks before he acts, is most likely to act with discretion, and have no future cause to repent of his conduct; but he who acts blindly, without any foresight, will probably Page  116suffer for his rashness. If the blind lead the blind, they will both fall into the ditch. "Be watchful, then, and vigilant;" walk with your eyes open, and Look before you Leap.

See Out of the Frying-pan into the Fire,

Page  117

An old Dog will learn no Tricks.


FROM the natural sagacity of a dog, who, when young, may be taught a number of en|tertaining tricks, we here understand the useful|ness of an early education. Children are like blank paper, we may write on them what we please, and if we omit to give them that educa|tion that will render them serviceable to them|selves, and useful to society; if we neglect to Page  118

train them up in the way wherein they should go,
we shall not only entail their curses upon our heads, but the censure of all who know us. Parents, who have at heart the happiness of their children, will feel themselves interested in this matter. If they wish to make them the comforts of their old age, and render the latter part of their lives happy, they will instruct them early in the principles of virtue, and sow such seeds of good in their hearts, as shall bring forth commendable fruits in their riper years. Old age is intractable, morose, slow and forgetful. The Greeks have a maxim,
one may as well physic the dead, as in|struct old men.
If young folks have been put in a wrong way at first, there is little hopes of amending them, when they grow rigid by years.
The tricks a colt getteth at his first backing,
Will, whilst he continueth, never be lacking.
That is to say, if a colt is badly broke in, he will never be good for any thing.

Young folks, then, should consider the necessi|ty of their being taught before they are too old to learn. A tree is best to bend, whilst a twig, and

Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclin'd.

Page  119The mind of a young person, is open to infor|mation; the memory is then strong, he has no pre|judices to oppose, and, of course, is well disposed to learn. Parents and teachers, sensible of this, take great pains to instruct those they have the care of; and, if children knew their own interest, instead of thinking such instruction a hardship, or the correction that makes them tractable and govern|able, a punishment, they would kiss the rod that chastises them, and bless the hand that scourges them. "Spare the rod" (says Solomon) "and spoil the child."

The painter, in the design before us, has con|trasted one of the deplorable consequences of the want of an early education, with the advantages arising to those that have it.

A poor, old sailor, who had lost his leg in the service of his country, and, of course, unfit to follow his profession, not being able to live on the scanty pittance allowed by government, for the support of such unfortunate men, is under the ne|cessity of seeking for some employ. Had he, when young, been taught to read and write, he might have found a maintenance by his pen, to which, the loss of his leg would have been no in|teruption. Wanting this early knowledge, and being bred up to no kind of trade, his only re|source Page  120is to turn porter, and hobble from place to place with other people's loads. Here also, he is at a loss; unable to read the directions he re|ceives, he is under the necessity of requesting the assistance of those he meets; and we see here, a school-boy, one who is blessed with that instruction which the old man has his whole life-time lament|ed the want of, reading the direction for him, and pointing out the way he is to go.

Happy is the lad so informed; and thankful ought he to be, to those persons who have taken care to instruct him!—Let him make the most of his time whilst young, for his early days will soon pass away, and when he becomes a man, he will have other cares to take up his thoughts; cares perhaps, for a family, and cares for his future hap|piness. "Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth," so shall the mind and heart be well-disposed to perform those christian duties that will make a man serene in his dying hour, and leave him no dread of a miserable futurity. Youth is the only time to acquire good habits, for Old dogs will learn no tricks.

Page  121

Out of Debt, out of Danger.


WEALTH being the idol of a money-loving people, we are too apt to reverence the rich, and worship the opulent; of course, riches give a man might and influence among his neigh|bours. It is on this consideration, that wealth makes a man respectable; for without a com|petence Page  122he cannot be independent, and it is inde|pendence only that makes him great.

The laws that guard the property of individuals, have made imprisonment a punishment for debt. If one man is indebted to another, and owes him money, it is in the power of the person he is in|debted to, to lock him up till he can pay him. Hence the Proverb Out of Debt, out of Danger of imprisonment. The painter, sensible of this, has here given us a sketch of a countryman paying a debt to a lawyer, and his officer of vengeance, a bailiff, in wait behind him. Thus by paying what he owes, he escapes the trap of the law.

This should naturally teach our men of fashion not to live at the expensive rate they do, but to cut their coat according to their cloth, and bound their expences by their income. He is not the richest man who has the greatest income; but he who lives within that income. If a man has five thousand pounds a year, and spends six thousand, he must be often in want of money; whereas, if he has but five hundred, and lives upon four, he has always something to spare. Of course, he that has fewest wants is the richest man.

If gentlemen were to consider the ignominy of being at the mercy of a taylor, or a shoe-maker, Page  123as certainly they are, when in their debt; they would be more cautious how they purchased things upon credit. Where can be their pride, when they are liable to be dragged from their coach, as in the next print, by the hands of a bailiff, and locked up in a jail? And where can be their feel|ing, when perhaps they owe their finery and their indulgences to the labour of those who are poorer than themselves; when they are beholden to a taylor and a shoe-maker for their dress, and to the butcher and baker for their daily food? Surely a man in such a situation has little to boast of; much less to enable him to raise his head above those tradesmen, who perhaps are abundantly richer than himself, far more independent, and of course, more respectable characters.

If a man would confine his wants and wishes to the bounds of his income, and never think of pur|chasing a thing till he has the money to pay for it; his money would go much farther, and he might walk abroad and enjoy liberty, without the fear of insult, or the danger of being taken prisoner.

I will further observe upon this subject, that to the disgrace of the profession of the law, there are a number of what are called petty-fogging attornies, or unprincipled professors of it, that, when they Page  124get a man into their clutches, will never let him escape, till they have fleeced him pretty hand|somely. These are men, that, like locusts, fatten on the misfortunes of a country, and live upon the miseries of others. There is no being safe from the claws of these harpies, but by paying regularly for what we buy, and then being out of Debt, we shall be out of Danger.

Page  125

All is not Gold that Glitters.


THE painter has continued on his last scene and given us a sketch of the consequences of being in debt. Here now is your gentleman, that man of rank and distinction, who exalts himself above his fellow-citizens; and, because he can have a little more credit, has more impudence; holds his head up, and looks down on the common Page  126class of mankind with contempt! He rides in his coach, is dressed in velvet, and considers him|self as an ennobled being, forgetting at the same time, that he owes these appendages of his greatness, perhaps, to the good-nature and credulity of his coach-maker and his taylor.

How are the mighty fallen!
The time of payment comes round, he has it not to pay, the laws of his country are put in force against him, a ruffian officer is employed to enforce these laws, he is dragged by the collar from his coach to repent his indiscretion within the walls of a prison and iron bars, and his poor coachman left to repent his master's mis|fortune, the downfal of pride, and the loss of his place.

Let the dissipated man of fashion view this pic|ture, and say, in what his fancied dignity consists. If there is any human disgrace, if there is any contemptible situation, it is this; and every man who will presume to run in debt, and has not the money to pay that debt, when called on, is liable to this indignity: his coachman is in a far happier situation, and much more respectable in life, being in no danger of such an insult.

But this is only a sequel of the last Proverb, Out of Debt out, of Danger; the proverbial expression before us, All is not Gold that Glitters, has a dif|ferent Page  127allusion, and the painter is happy in de|scribing both in the same scene. Appearances are deceitful, we cannot trust to them; many an ach|ing heart has been concealed under a laced gar|ment, and many a troubled mind has rolled in a gilded chariot. Before we survey the situation of those apparently above us, let us consider the ap|pearance well, and see whether there is any thing in it truly enviable. I will take upon me to say that he who enjoys the necessaries of life, with some few of its comforts, in a state of independency, is a far happier man than he who possesses every luxury, at the expence of his peace of mind.

When any man is discontented with his situation in life, let him compare it with that of others; let him consider whether those riches, that rank and power which many enjoy, do not carry more tor|ments with them, than real happiness; and let us also look into the situation of those below us, and see, whether we are not in possession of many com|forts which others want; others, perhaps, who have had better expectations in life, and are more de|serving than ourselves. This should surely prevent us from repining at our own misfortunes, and make us thankful to Providence for the blessings he has been pleased to bestow upon us. True happiness Page  128is seated in the mind, and within every one's reach If our fortune is not adequate to our wishes, let us confine our wishes to our fortune. Let us make the best of our situation, and not lose the enjoyments of the present moment, in looking forward to the future; that future may never arrive, and if it does, it will bring with it an equal share of bitter|ness. Let us learn then, as St. Paul teaches us,

in whatever state we are, therewith to be con|tent;
and let us remember, that however envi|able a more exalted state of life may appear, there is no state but what has its attendant cases, and that All is not Gold that Glitters.

See Call me Cousin, but Cozen me not, to which Proverb this also alludes.

Page  129

Empty Vessels make the Greatest Sound.


"A CLOSE mouth," says Solomon, "makes a wise head" and a fool's bolt is soon shot," implying, that prating and tattling is the index of a weak mind. A man whose tongue is ever running upon trifles, and who is eternally babbling, not only renders himself ridiculous to his acquain|tance, but lays himself open to the designing Page  130world: he is never safe. There is a description of men, ever upon the watch, to take advantage of the weak; and to betray a weakness upon all occasions, is only setting such men to work. Keep, therefore, your own counsel, never let the world know what should be concealed in your own breast; for, if you communicate your ideas without re|serve, you will meet with those who will profit by those ideas, and deprive you of the advantages you might reap from them yourself.

Look abroad in life, and you will observe a set of weak, young men, who are always talking of themselves and their own unimportant affairs. There cannot be a greater rudeness to your com|pany, than troubling them at all times with your own concerns, independant of impressing them with an opinion that you can keep nothing secret. Be assured, if you cannot keep your own secrets, you will never be entrusted with those of others, and a man had better withdraw himself from society, than lose the confidence of his friends.

But the chief end of this Proverb, and which the painter particularly alludes to, is vain boasting. Under this interpretation of it, we are taught not to make ourselves a laughing-stock, by boasting of virtues we never practise, of courage we never Page  131possess, or of abilities we never shew. Brag may be a good dog, but hold-fast is a better. That is to say, it is better to bite and not bark, than bark and not bite. If a man boasts of virtues, believe him a rascal; if he vaunts of abilities, be assured he had none; and if he brags of courage, my life for it, he is a coward. See the vain boaster be|fore us. This Quixote has cloathed himself in armour, in order to perform wonderful atchieve|ments; he blusters and makes a great noise, and all to what purpose? Merely to wage war with the pigs; and who, like him, will squeak before they are hurt. To shew us the natural disposition of this swaggerer, the designer has introduced a drum, the symbol of empty noise, and has made Folly, on a lamp-post, staying his up-lifted sword, with a pair of taylor's sheers.*

Whatever our pretensions are, if we are mo|dest and silent on the matter, we shall stand in more credit with our acquaintance. The modest and diffident, that is, he who withdraws him|self from public notice, rises in esteem on the Page  132assuming man, as much as the meek-eyed beauty does on the forward and painted flaunter; the one is attractive, whilst the other is disgusting.

In a word, if we wish to stand well with our friends, to enjoy their confidence, and merit their esteem, we have only to shew our worth by our actions. These will speak for themselves, and are much better tests of innate superiority, than the vain boast of empty words; for as the substance is better than the shadow, so full vessels are most sought after, though Empty Vessels make the greatest Sound.

Page  133

When the Child is Christened, you may have God-fathers enough.


THE moment a man is independant of the favours of the world, that moment he will find it more ready to bestow them; when we no longer need a friend, we find enough ready to assist us: these are however friends who flutter round us when in prosperity, and bask in our sun|shine; but who desert us when overhung by the clouds of adversity.

Page  134If we look abroad into life, we shall soon learn that adversity is the touchstone of friendship; and that the only time to know our friends, is, when we stand in need of their services. In other situa|tions, what appears to us friendship, is a mere de|lusion, the absolute gratification of selfish views; as all the proffered services of men end only in interested motives, and sordid expectations, offer|ing us a small favour to receive a greater in its stead. He only is the true friend who serves us on our own account, and seeks no other reward than that conscientious and heartfelt satisfaction that re|sults from the performance of humane and charita|ble acts. And when this laudable inducement is his only spur, base must be that wretch, who trampling on all laws, both human and divine, returns evil for good, by abusing the good offices of his benefactor, and spurning in the brighter day of fortune, the shelter he experienced in its storms! But to the more immediate sense of the Proverb.

Do we not, in almost all the occurrences of life, find, that when the Child is Christened we may have God-fathers enough?—For when our necessities are relieved—when we no longer require aid—we shall have many offers; but, if like Gay's Hare in the fable, we apply to our acquaintance in the our of need, we shall find them, like her many Page  135friends, full of excuses, abandoning us to those ca|lamities which a single exertion of theirs might have relieved us from. They are sorry they have it not in their power, or we might command them.—But, let us escape from the wreck;—let the ex|cess of complicated distress not carry us beyond the reach of fate, by sending us on that journey.

From whose bourne no traveller returns.
In short, let us surmount our misfortunes, and we shall have assistance in plenty; that is to say, when the Child is Christened, we shall have God-fathers enough. Look on the scene before us.—See the hum|ble servility of the crouching sycophant, tendering his services, when they are no longer wanted. A few days only before, the solicitous parent, anxious to bestow the first token of christianity on his darling infant, asked his false friends to become its sponsors. No; like the persons, in the parable, invited to the feast, they made various excuses; but no sooner do they see the business done, and their services not required, than they come forth voluntarily, and tender what they till then refused.

There are other little emblems in this picture. By the trees, in full leaf, adjoining the church, the painter would tell us, that the doctrines of religion are wide expanded to afford us shelter; that much Page  136depends upon ourselves; and that if we cultivate our understandings, and bring them to that full perfection the trees are arrived at, we shall have a just sense of our moral and religious duties; and they will bring forth that fruit that will secure, not only our temporal, but our eternal, happiness. The infant in the left arm of its mother, and next the minister, the delegate of Heaven, emphatically speaks, and says that our hearts should ever turn to God; it tells us too, that the child should never turn its face against its parent. The honest con|tempt the father shews, for offers unsolicited, for services he does not need, teaches us not to credit the sincerity of those, who, in the time of our prosperity, shall tender kindnesses they at other times refuse; or conceive every one to be our friend who speaks to us fairly, or makes us pro|mises. Proffered service, and at such a time, de|clares its own selfish view, that money begets friends, and that when the Child is Christened, we may have God-fathers enough.

Page  137

Fair and Softly goes Far.


THE design of this Proverb is to condemn every kind of hurry; expedition is necessary upon all occasions, for "delays are dangerous," but, haste or hurry is not the way to be expeditious. The painter, in the design before us, shews us evidently, that he who goes softly, goes sure, and Page  138also far; but he that spurs on too fast, at first setting out, either falls by the way, or tires before he comes to his journey's end. The old man here trotting to market, is most likely to reach it sooner than he who sets out on a gallop. As the French say, He who walks too hastily, often stumbles in a plain way*; so he who rides as fast as his horse can go, is more likely to fall than one who goes gently on: for "a whet is no let," say the mowers, in giving a fresh edge to their scythes.

But, this Proverb may be otherwise construed. By the age of the horse and its rider, it appears that they have jogged on together through life, in an even, gentle way, and have, of course, been free from those accidents that attend the wild and im|petuous. Nothing should be done hastily, says another Proverb, but killing of fleas; for if we make the least delay here, they escape us.

He who does things in a hurry, never thinks; and without thought, it cannot be well done; for accord|ing to the Italians, Hastily and well never meet. A man of sense may be expeditious, but is never in Page  139a hurry; convinced that hurry is the surest way to make him do, what he undertakes, ill: he may do it wrong, and have it to begin a-fresh; which a little consideration might have prevented. To be in a hurry is a proof that the business we embark in, is too great for us; of course, it is the mark of little minds, that are puzzled and perplexed, when they should be slow and deliberate; wishing to do every thing at once, they are able to do nothing.

Tarry a little, that we may make an end the sooner,
was a saying of Sir Amias Paulet; and Festina lente, or On slow, is the motto of the Onslow arms.

Let us be steady then in all things we under|take; consider the business well, before we begin, and remember, that we had better do half of them well, and leave the rest undone, than do the whole indifferently. Though unnecessary delays may be dangerous, it is universally allowed, that in gene|ral, "the more haste, the worst speed."

Besides, as another Proverb says, Haste makes waste, and waste makes want, and want makes strife between the good man and his wife. What a a collection of evils then attend this one act of imprudence! Waste, Want and Strife. Waste is the father of many evils; Want is the mother of many more; and Strife, their offspring, engen|ders Page  140others. From Waste springs hard-heartedness thanklessness, debauchery, and distress; from Want, beggary, rapine, extortion and dishonesty; and from Strife, animosity, anger, quarrels, and blood-shed: these might be branched out into many others, equally dreadful. If then you would guard against the effect, remove the cause. Remember, that great rivers proceed from small springs, and great vices often originate in little errors. Think before you act. Do nothing without deliberation. Walk gently, and you will tread safely: and, in the long run you will get on, for Fair and Softly goes Far.

Page  141

Birds of a Feather, Flock together.


AS this is true among the feathered tribe, so is it among mankind. As we see wild-geese, crows, pidgeons, plover, and other tribes fly in flocks; so do we observe, in human life, that men of a peculiar way of thinking, generally associate with each other. Likeness is the mother of Love. Young men delight in the company of young, old Page  142men of old, learned men of learned, and even wicked men of wicked. Thus the gambler associ|ates with men of his own stamp, and the drunkard is usually seen with those who are fond of strong liquors. Hence arose the Proverb, "Tell me what company you keep, and I will tell you who you are."

As men covet the esteem of each other; it is incumbent on all, to be careful, not to give man|kind a bad impression of us; for a good character is sooner lost than gained. The world is apt to judge of us from the company we keep; if then we would be thought well off, let us pick that company, and never be seen to associate with those who are despised. I have seen religious men so scrupulous in this point, that they would not be seen even speaking to a wicked man, lest it should be supposed they approved of his evil actions. In|deed, if men were nicer in this respect than they are, it would go a great way towards reforming the world; for, if bad men were not admitted into the society of the virtuous, it would be a greater punishment than any penalties enacted by law.

The allusion of this Proverb might be carried still further; as a man who is often seen in low company, will find an access to better very diffi|cult; such as are ambitious of keeping good com|pany, should never mix with any below them: Page  143when I say never, I do not ay, on no occasion whatever, this perhaps our connections in life may render almost impossible, but I mean, that to be well received in the best of company, a man must not associate with the lower. By low company, I mean low in birth, low in rank, low in parts, and low in manners; that company, who insignificant and con|temptible in themselves, are proud of being seen with you, and who will flatter your very vices, in order to keep in with you.

The vanity of being reckoned the first person in company, has led many a young gentleman to associate with those persons who have degraded him, and even prevented his being received into better assemblies. Every one should be ambitious of im|proving his mind, and getting forward in life; and this is not to be done, by mixing with people be|low ourselves. Depend upon it, a man sinks or rises, according to the level of the company he keeps.

What is the scene before us but riot, revelry, and drunkenness? Such persons whose minds are ill|disposed to thought and business, seek relief from themselves in music, cards, and riot; and whilst they thus think to spend their idle hours agreeably, they involve themselves in penury and wretchedness, and bring on sickness and ill health; and once inured to Page  144this way of life, they enjoy no other, but return like a dog to his vomit. The painter has given us to understand, that such a life is a departure from virtue, and brought about by the Enemy of mankind, by shewing us, that though these men have sat up late, burnt out their light, and drank more than they can contain, he is spurring them on to a farther excess of beastliness, and putting the bell into the hand of the drunkard, to ring for more liquor; thus filling up the measure of their iniquity.

Beware then of bad company; shun them as you would a pestilence; and remember, that if you would avoid evil, associate not with evil doers. A good character is sooner lost than gained. Be your principles what they will, they are liable to be infected; and if you would not be thought vicious, keep no vicious company; for the censure of the world will be sure to fall on you if you do, from an opinion that you must be of the same stamp with the company you keep, as Birds of a Feather, Flock together.

Page  145

Make Hay whilst the Sun shines.


WE are here admonished to avail ourselves of every opportunity of forwarding our de|signs, for delays are dangerous, and opportunity neglected brings repentance. Hay can only be made whilst the sun shines to dry it, and as its continuance is very uncertain, if wet should come, our harvest Page  146will be spoiled. We should not then waste our lives in dull supineness, like Shakespear's Smith, swallowing a Taylor's news, whilst our work cools upon the anvil, but strike the iron whilst 'tis hot, for when cold, it will not yield to the hammer. Let us not then defer that till to-morrow, which can be done to day, for something on the morrow may hap|pen to prevent us: we should recollect that the present moment is but ours for the instant, and that very chance it produces for our benefit, if not then embraced, will be irrecoverably lost.

The painter has illustrated this Proverb by a prison-scene, putting the admonition here given, into the mouth of the man without the gate, calling to his comrades within, and telling them, Now's the time to escape, their centinel being off his guard. These are supposed to be seamen, taken in war, and imprisoned. By his representing the centinel asleep, he would teach us the consequence likely to result from his drowsiness;—what ills may arise from inattention to those duties with which we are entrusted. By his negligence, the means given to discharge his office, are rendered useless. The key which secured the prisoners, is wrested from him, and lies at his feet, and he sleeps upon the loaded musquet and fixed bayonet, Page  147weapons put into his hands, to guard against those very steps his carelessness has suffered to be com|mitted.

The ill-judged doubts which the inattentive have of this Proverb, is represented in the coun|tenance of the prisoners, who seem to hesitate whether they shall make hay, although the sun shines, or escape, though the centinel sleeps; though the birds on flight direct their way, and contrast the blessings of liberty and free air, with

durance vile, and sad contagion,
and though if they avail not themselves of the present opportunity, another may never offer, and they may repent they missed it.

We learn from this Proverb also, a piece of worldly policy, to find out the moments of insinu|ation, the mollia tmpra fandi, the soft hours of perswasion, when we are best likely to succeed with those to whom we apply. If we wish to speak with efficacy, and make an impression on those we speak to, we should select those moments when they are best disposed to listen to us, and when what we say, is most likely to be attended to. Our application then will probably not be fruitless, and we shall profit by the wisdom. Upon this prin|ciple, we should not talk of patience to enraged men, or religion to a drunken man; but wait till Page  148favourable opportunities offer, and embrace those opportunities when they do.

In a religious sense, this Proverb teaches not to defer our repentance. Man is naturally a sinner, prone to sin, as the sparks fly upwards; and as sinners cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven, without repentance; repentance is necessary to our future happiness. Young persons, unwilling to mor|tify themselves, and break off from habits they find a pleasure in, postpone their repentance to a future day, and idly think, it will be time enough to re|form when they grow old in life. This perhaps might do, if they were certain of living to be old. But what if they are cut off the next year, the next month, or the next day?—What becomes of their repentance then?—They die with all their sins upon their heads, and rush into futurity, to meet the vengeance of an angry God.—How unwise this!—Repent then in time. Attend to the voice of Heaven:

To day, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
A good life is equally pleasant as a bad one, and is the best of comforts when we come to die. Lose not then the present opportunity; avail yourself of the hours now in your possession. Catch the moments as they fly. Be not regardless of the indulgence of Providence, and Make Hay whilst the Sun shines.

Page  149

Time and Tide will wait for No one.


THIS Proverb is a sequel of the foregoing, Make Hay whilst the Sun shines. Embrace the first opportunity that offers to do what is to be done, for Time and Tide will wait for no one. They continue their progressive route, regardless of consequence; and it is as much out of our Page  150to stay the one as the other. Although Xerxes whipped the seas, for disobeying his injunction, he found the vanity of his conduct, and felt the force of the Proverb, for he

—Surveyed his numerous host with tears,
To think they'd die within a hundred years.
And although Canute lashed the waves for wetting his feet, not all their power could reverse the course of nature. These mighty kings are now crumbled with the dust. Time still rolls on, and the waters have still their tides. Happy are they who im|prove the present moments, and are prepared for the awful summons, when Death shall call!

"Go about your business" is inscribed on the Temple Dial, laconically telling us, that the mo|ment we are idly gazing on it, might be better employed. The ruined monastery, in the scene here painted, pictures to us the evil ravages of Time. The setting sun denotes, that though it has shone in its meridian lustre, it is now sinking into darkness. Not a single leaf blooms here its verdure, and the sacred Cross, at whose foot the holy Frier once bent the knee of adoration, is tumbling under the hand of Time, and mouldering with the dust of those sacred relicks which decora|ted Page  151once the choir. The glass is run; Time has stretched his arm to cut away the sad remains; and will at length,

—like the baseless fabrick of a vision,
Leave not a wreck behind.
He is drawn flying to denote that Time is ever on on the wing; is bald behind, silently implying, that we cannot pull him back; and with a single tuft before, saying, we may catch him by the fore|lock, and lay hold of the first moments that occur; not deferring our concerns till a future day, but embracing the present hours, whilst in our posses|sion. So the impetuous tide rolls heedlessly along, regardless of what happens, and carries all before it, for Time and Tide will wait for no one. The one mows down, and the other sweeps, all before it, leaving scarce the remembrance of what is past.

Know then, that each revolving sun brings us hearer to our end; and as on the bed of sickness, and in the last extremity of expiring nature, we cannot stay the hand of Death, or prolong the time of our existence; and as the hours we lose are past recall, how much does it behove us, e'er our glass is run, to employ our hours well; that when Time shall cut us down, and the tide roll its waters over Page  152us, we may have finished the work of our salva|tion, and have nothing to do, but receive a joyous welcome in the regions of eternal bliss.

Eager to mend, and brookless of delay.
Sincere repentance waits no future day.

Upon the whole, whether in a civil or religious sense, you determine upon a thing, if you can do it instantly, do it, without delay; no time like the present, a thousand unforeseen circumstances may interrupt you at a future time. If the favouaable hour is past, 'tis not to be recalled. Do then what you have to do, whilst you find yourself disposed. Never reject a present happiness, in prospect of a future one, but enjoy your life whist you may, for a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and Time and Tide will wait for No one.

Page  153

Children and Fools have Merry lives.


CHILDREN, because from their tender age they study nothing but to promote their little pleasures; and fools, because their ignorance puts them beyond the reach of rational enjoyments, are merry at trifles, and strangers to reflection.

The Proverb means to say, that fools, though of full age, are little wiser than children, who for want Page  154of thought and reason, never look forward, but enjoy the present moment; labouring to banish re|flection by low mirth, and excite laughter from those as ignorant as themselves. Children then, thus compared to fools, must see the folly of their conduct. Though they may burst into roars of laughter, at ten or twelve years of age, at the low buffooneries of a droll;—though they may lead very merry lives before the sense of care breaks in upon them, yet when they come to years of discre|tion, and see things in a different light, they should act quite otherwise. St. Paul says,

When I was a child, I thought as a child, I spake as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

The concerns and anxieties of life will naturally intrude upon our pleasures, and checquer our hap|piness with a degree of pain. And it is wise and allowable, to enjoy the moments as they pass, and not suffer the prospect of a future pleasure, to rob us of the present; for that future prospect may never be realized.

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done, is that which shall be done; for there is nothing new under the sun.
None but fools then will miss the enjoyment in their Page  155power, under an idea of waiting for that which may never come. As real and substantial happiness de|pends upon peace of mind, and as there can be no such peace, where there is no pleasing reflection; children, as their reason opens, and as reflection offers itself, should lay that foundation of future happiness in their own breasts, as will secure them comfort and a tranquil old age; that is, they should attend to the instructions they receive from their parents and teachers, persons who know better than themselves; and not by a foolish indifference to every thing serious, and an idle attachment to folly and mirth, create temporary joy, at the expence of lasting comfort, and all that is praise-worthy. We should consider that our days roll on, that every additional year brings with it its cares; that we may be thrown on a bed of sickness, even in early life; that our spirits will flag at repetitions of in|considerate and immoderate pleasures; and of course, that we should conduct ourselves so, whilst we have the power of doing it, that reflection may not wound us, when that power is no more. The grasshopper, in the fable, on the approach of win|ter, begged the Ant to lend her a few grains of corn, "What," asked the provident ant,
did you do all the summer, that you are without food now?
"Sung," replied the grasshopper,
well Page  156then,
retorts the ant,
as you sung in the sum|mer, you may dance in the winter.
The ant had no mercy for the thoughtless mendicant.

The bag-piper before us, is one of those incon|siderate fools, who live a merry life, because it suits their idle disposition;—a man who from his strength and make, might have followed the plough, wielded the sword, or levelled the musket, and thus have rendered himself of use in society:—No; he meanly condescends to drone away his life, as vacant in thought as the yelping animal before him, or the children that are dancing round him. The simple grin—the low grimace—the grating discord, and the enjoyment he derives from this assemblage of unmanliness, constitute in his mind a merry life,—but—he is a fool;—he thinks but as the children he is playing to. They indeed have merry lives, and their age is an excuse for their want of thought.

With respect to ourselves, let us abandon those foolish propensities, to which the unthinking are addicted;—let us not expect every thing calm, and unruffled, in the ocean of life:—Storms will natu|rally arise, but let us meet them with resignation and fortitude, and be prepared to oppose them; for all men have their share of trouble; and every one must bear his own burden; it being Children only and Fools that have merry Lives.

Page  157

Much Meat, much Maladies.


IT is the disgrace of the inhabitants of this country, that of all others, they are most ad|dicted to intemperance: I mean not excess in drinking, but excess in eating; so that it is almost grown into a Proverb, that Englishmen dig their graves with their teeth. I have had occasion to Page  158shew the folly and wickedness of drunkenness, which is intemperance in drinking, and to say something of gluttony, which is excess in eating; but this Proverb bears another complexion, and points out to us that gluttony not only brings on disease, but that he who studies his palate, shortens his days. Nature is soon satisfied; and we see in rustic life, that where men feed upon homely food, and are obliged, from their poverty, to put up with scanty fare; they are generally in better health and spirits, and, in reality, more happy than those, whose wealth enables them to indulge their appetites, at the expence of their constitution; for surfeiting and diseases often attend full tables.

The painter, sensible of this, has given us a view of the consequence of intemperance. A wealthy citizen blown up with corpulency, choaked for want of breath, and racked with the excruci|ating pains of the gout, not only in his feet, but in his stomach. The agony he feels is painted in his countenance: he is become unweildy through want of exercise; and to gratify a greedy appetite, has lost the use of his limbs; of course, confined to the melancholy reflection of having been his own tormentor. We are taught, by the picture above, representing a man eager in weighing his Page  159money, that he has been anxious in the accumula|tion of that, which he has converted to very bad purposes.

I am convinced that excess in eating has done as much harm, if not more, in society, than excess in drinking. A cheerful glass of wine, if not taken to intoxication, that is, if it does not make a man drunk, and deprive him of the command of his reason, often exhilerates the spirits and comforts the constitution; and under this conception, phy|sicians have frequently prescribed the cheerful use of wine, or to drink occasionally a little more than we have been used to; but they never thought of advising a sick man to over-eat himself.

If loading the appetite dulls the understanding, makes a man heavy, sleepy, and inactive, and unfits him for the purposes of society, it incapacitates him for business, and indisposes him for exercise. Want of exercise brings on corpulency, with all the inconveniences of repletion and foulness, and the consequence is a complication of diseases, tor|ture of body, and an untimely death. Be assured, if a man finds himself unwell, that temperance is his best physician, and exercise his best nurse. Let him keep regular hours, never feed but when he is hungry, eat sparingly, drink moderately, and use Page  160proper exercise, and he may throw physic to the dogs. But if he makes use of his money to pam|per his appetite, he not only punishes himself in this world, but runs the risk of being punished in the next; for gluttons and drunkards are included in that list of sinners, who, without repentance, will be shut out from Heaven.

Disorders brought on by ourselves, are unpitied; a great eater is considered as little better than a monster, and he who ransacks the creation to gra|tify his palate, is not only the derision of all who know him, but becomes his own executioner; is a self-murderer in the eye of Heaven, and falls un|pitied and unlamented. In a word, if a man un|well must consult physicians, I beg leave to recom|mend Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet, and Dr. Merryman, Haec tria, mens laeta, requies, moderata diaeta*.

These are the three best physicians in the world; for intemperance only brings on discase, and much Meat, much Maladies.

Page  161

Opportunity makes the Thief.


THIS is one of those Proverbs which they who make allowances and undertake to account for the depravity of mankind, use in their behalf, attributing the dishonesty of men to the truly honest man will avail himself of no oppor|tunity Page  162to do an improper act. Convinced he is under the eye of Heaven, he will act, as if the eyes of Mankind were upon him, and be afraid to com|mit himself, or do by another, what he would be unwilling any one should do by him.

The painter, however, has fallen in with the humour of the world, and has shewn us that oppor|tunity here has made a thief; for whilst a gentleman is sleeping in his garden, a rascal has turned his pockets inside out, robbed him of his money, and is carrying off his hat and wig, his sword and his cane.

If the dishonesty of men can ever be attributed to opportunity, it must be opportunity accompa|nied with necessity. We can easily make allow|ances for the frailty of human nature, when neces|sity pushes hard; and if a poor, famished wretch pressed with hunger, should see a piece of bread lie in his way, and an opportunity offer to take it, unobserved, where he knew it would not be given him, on asking for it, I say, it would require, in such a case, more than human exertion, to with|stand the temptation, and a feeling man would pardon the infirmity; but it does not follow that such an act is justifiable. The laws of this country have pointed out where such a man may seek re|lief, Page  163and, of course, will always punish the trans|gressor.

A prudent man, however, will be careful not to lay temptation in the way of those whose situa|tions in life, might urge them to fall in with them; that is to say, masters, superiors, and housekeepers should secure their money and move|able goods under lock and key, that their servants may have no temptation to steal. Safe Bind, safe Find. He who secures his property, is in little dan|ger of losing it; but he who leaves it at the mercy of others, must not always expect to find it undi|minished.

But this Proverb may, in its allusions, be carried further: we may from hence learn the dangers of opportunity, in other cases than that of theft. Wherever opportunities hold forth temptation, we should always avoid them: we should shun the company of bad men, and bad women, lest the opportunities this may afford, should induce us to follow their example. Opportunities of drinking and revelling may make a drunkard of a sober man; and opportunities of debauchery, may make a libertine of a modest one.—Our passions natu|rally incline us to evil; and as few men can tho|roughly Page  164subdue their passion and inclinations, it is adviseable to avoid the temptation.

On this consideration, it is incumbent on all who have the care of youth, never to slip an opportunity to amend their morals: they should never give them an opportunity to corrupt them, but keep them out of harm's way; and young folks should reflect, that when parents and guar|dians abridge them of what they call pleasures, it is done with a view to their welfare, which their infant-understandings will not enable them to see into. For occasions of temptation tend as much to corrupt the morals, as Opportunity does to make the Thief.

{inverted ⁂} See Necessity has no Law.

Page  165

Wherever a man Dwells, he shall be sure to have a Thorn-bush near his Door.


The miseries of men are half unknown:
Fools idly think no sorrows like their own.
Such is the fact, that all men have their share;
Let each then well his own misfortunes bear.

NO place, no condition is exempt from trou|ble; it is the common lot of humanity; and that which, in reality, constitutes our happi|ness. Page  166For were we to experience no wretched|ness, we should not be sensible of a freedom from it. Relief from racking pain is almost an atone|ment for the sufferings we underwent. Man is a discontented being, panting for a certain some|thing, he knows not what: always coveting the seeming happiness of others, and missing the en|enjoyments within his own reach.

That cruel something unpossess'd,
Corrodes and leavens all the rest.
Let him, however, obtain his utmost wish, let him be in the height of his fancied bliss; some acci|dent will intervene at times, to sour his joy and chequer his happy moments.
Who breathes, must suffer; and who thinks, must mourn:
And he alone is bless'd, who ne'er was born.
Without this thorn in the flesh, as St. Paul calls it, without this mixture of evil with our good, we should never reflect on our situation here, nor cast a thought upon the world to come. Crosses, then, and troubles, are afflictions sent from Heaven to Page  167bring us to reflection, and should be considered as tending to our good.

The painter has here represented a merchant sitting on his quay, surrounded with all the trea|sures a world can afford; the merchandize of the Indies, that acquisition that wealth only can com|mand; enjoying, in a fair day, the arrival of one ship, and the delightful prospect of another com|ing into port. These are, says he, the conse|quences of industry, and the blessings of a concur|ring Providence! But in the midst of this boasted happiness, and old servant brings him a letter an|nouncing the failure of his correspondent abroad, by which he suffers in his fortune. A gloom im|mediately over-spreads his countenance, and all his prospects are clouded. From the happiest of men, he thinks himself the most wretched, arraigns the conduct of Heaven, and, "charges his God foolishly," with that which is merely the accident of things.—Why despair?—Why dissatisfied?—Should such a fatality happen, as is common to all, should our fortune suffer shipwreck, it is much wiser to summon our resolution, bear up against the stroke, set our wreck again to work, and labour to rise victorious from its ruins.

Page  168Never let us suppose that our misfortunes are more than those of others; no man is without his troubles; and could we see into the heart of him, whom we observe rolling in the midst of pleasures, we might possibly see a heart torn with disappoint|ment, and racked with vexation. If we have more misfortunes than the rest of our acquaintance, let us pride ourselves in overcoming them. Instead of despairing and viewing our troubles in a hopeless light; it is a duty we owe, not only to ourselves, but to our friends and relations, to exert ourselves upon the occasion, and use every honest endeavour to extricate ourselves from the difficulty; for there never yet was a way in, but there was a way out, And I believe no industrious man can, upon re|flection, say, that he was ever so much embar|rassed, or ever so unfortunately situated, but Pro|vidence pointed out a way to escape: so that let his situation be what it may, he may console him|self, that he is not the only one that suffers, for, Wherever a man Dwells, he will be sure to have a Thernbush near his Door.

Page  169

Enough is as good as a Feast.


THE design of this Proverb, is to teach men moderation, and shew the absurdity of co|veting more than they want. When hunger is sa|tisfied, even the sight of meat is disgusting. Little difference between a Feast and a Belly-full; and when our inclinations are gratified, what more can we need? "Take no thought," says our Sa|viour, Page  170"for to-morrow, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, or wherewithal you shall be cloathed; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself." This advice of our Lord, seems, at first sight, with the Proverb, to contradict that carefull provision which every prudent man should make for himself and his family, in laying by some|thing against an evil day, so as to protect him and his from future want; but his meaning is merely to condemn that carking care which some fearful men are continually troubled with, and which pre|vents their present enjoyments. By the enough of the worldly man is understood a little more than he has; but the enough here alluded to, implies that provision sufficient, with honest industry, to enable a man to support himself and his family; not ••at avaritious scraping together that knows no bounds, and that renders us churlish and unfeeling to the wants of others. Ambition is like a ladder, where, a man having got upon one round, is dis|contented till he reaches the top, and, is then un|happy that he can go no higher.

The painter has here given us a picture of a shepherd family, who, having satisfied their own hunger, are giving the remainder to a pauper at their door, convinced that what they have to dispose Page  171of is lent to the Lord, and will be returned them in time of need.

Could the unfeeling wretch, who withholds a good office from a distressed object, when he has it in his power to perform one; I say, could he but be sensible of the heart-felt pleasure, the beneficent man enjoys within himself, at having fed the hun|gry, cloathed the naked, and made the widow's heart to sing for joy, he would wonder at his want of nature, repine at his inhumanity, and would truly abhor himself. There is certainly a greater pleasure in giving than receiving; but, indepen|dant of this pleasure, it is the duty of all men to do good where they can, and bestow a part of their income in charitable acts. Let no one suppose, that what he gives to the poor is thrown away; for God will bless his acts of beneficence, and, for every guinea he thus bestows, will give him two in return. It is to the blessing of Providence that we owe what we have, and he who gave us that can give us more; that is to say, he will prosper our labours, dispose the minds of men in our fa|vour, and put us in a situation to improve our for|tune.

But the great doctrine of the Proverb is to teach us, with St. Paul, "to be contented in that state Page  172in which Providence has placed us," to enjoy those blessings God has been pleased to bestow on us, and not covet those out of our reach; and, like the dog and the shadow, lose a present comfort, in searching for a future one. How apt are young folks, to promise themselves greater happiness at a distant period! The boy pleases himself with thinking, that, when he becomes a man, he shall be at the summit of his wishes; but when that period arrives, he looks forward to something more distant. It is idle and boyish: our life is very short, and passes away very imperceptibly; and the only true happiness, is a quiet mind, and the peaceable enjoyment of the present moment. Riches bring with them, trouble and care; and in coveting more than we want, we wish for anxieties, that would load and oppress us. The chief of our wants are of our own creating,—Nature is sa|tisfied with a very little, and Enough is as good as good as a Feast.

☞ See, Grasp all, Lose all.

Page  173

A Faint heart never Won fair Lady.


THIS Proverb figuratively implies, that cou|rage and perseverance are absolutely neces|sary to effect any end we may have in view, and is, by no means, confined to the literal sense; for, as a faint heart never won fair lady, so cowardice and supineness, will infallibly produce a failure in the accomplishment of any other purpose we may aim Page  174at. Before, however, we determine to persevere, we should maturely consider the object of our at|tention, and how far it may tend (if successful) to our honour, our interest, or our happiness. If it is not likely to produce this good effect, we should give up the attempt; but if, on the contrary, we find it may prove instrumental to either of them, let us push forward with an honest zeal, with a spirited resolution, remembering that, nothing Venture, nothing Have.

The proverb teaches us, also, never to despair, never to relax in our endeavours to perform a good action,—never to have a faint heart in laudable pursuits;—for, though perseverance, even in a good cause, is not always victorious,—though we can|not command success, we may do more—we may study to deserve it. Virtue has a sure reward, though it may be a late one. The practice of vir|tue will ever afford a serene prospect, a lasting happiness, far beyond the glittering perspectives, the momentary transports of delusive vice. It is surely natural for an honest man to pursue, with an anxious alacrity, those purposes that are worthy of him; to preserve, throughout, a consistent perse|verence; not to be frightened by ideal obstacles, or, "make mountains of mole-hills."

Page  175But to apply the Proverb—Perhaps it will be difficult to find a more significant allusion, than the one here adopted. To possess the real object of our affections, is one of the most solicitous pursuits of mankind. Most other desires have their rise from the prejudice of education; but this derives its birth from nature. Though the ruling passion of mankind is a thirst for gain, yet this often leads to the perversion of honour, virtue, and goodness; whereas, the one we are speaking of confirms them all.

Let us understand, then, that the perseverance recommended, is only in those pursuits, which, when overtaken, will repay our labour with placid satisfaction; and will afford us pleasure on con|templation. A heedless insolicitude betrays an in|difference for the object we aim at, whilst an assi|duous and important care, shews the value of those sources from whence they spring.

The Tar in our print, like the element on which he gains his livelihood, has his calm and boisterous moments; but in the most violent of the latter, he acts with prudence; and in the smoothest even of the former, carefully avoids every thing that is in|discreet. A wife is the object of his wishes—He meets with a woman whom he fancies he should Page  176like, attacks her with boldness, accosts her under the consciousness of acting honourably, and declares his passion for her with his natural bluntness and ho|nesty. She listens to his proposals, and crowns his wishes, by accepting his offers. Modesty, on her part, compels a faint resistance; but his perseve|rance conquers all. She is sorry at having given him a moment's pain, and wonders why she did so.

Thus the rough seas, which, when the winds have laid,
Look calm, and wonder at the wreck they've made.

The church is now before him, here he takes her for his wife, makes her his own, blesses him|self for his bold enterprise, convinced that, if we mean to take our game, we should, if possible, never lose sight of the chace; and happy in the reflection that he has profited by the Proverb, A Faint heart, never Won fair Lady.

Page  177

Murder will Out.


SO horrid a crime is murder in the eye of Hea|ven, that the wretch who can be guilty of such an act, has as little chance of escaping the pu|nishment of the law, as the punishment of God. The eye of Providence is ever abroad and watch|ful over all its works, and will never suffer one who robs a fellow-creature of his life to escape Page  178with impunity. We have a signal instance of this in the story to which our print alludes.

A traveller, who strolled into a church-yard, to pass the time, whilst his dinner was preparing at the inn, took notice of a human skull, which a grave-digger had thrown out with the earth, in digging a grave. Whilst his eye was upon it, it moved, a toad having crawled under it. This cir|cumstance called his attention farther, and he per|ceived the remains of a rusty nail, sticking fast in one of the temples. He took up the skull, ex|amined it, and was then led to conceive, that this nail had occasioned the death of the man to whom it once belonged. He asked the grave-digger, who had long been employed in that office, and grown old in his profession, whether he knew whose skull that was, or who had been buried in that grave. The old man, whose knowledge of the parish reached but to all its inhabitants, and who could tell from father to son, where this man lay, and that man was buried, informed the tra|veller, that he had not opened this grave for ma|ny years, and that he believed the skull he had now thrown out belonged to a man who, on a journey, about twenty years ago, died at the adjoining Inn. He died suddenly, continued the old man; Page  179and from a variety of circumstances, before and after, the ill-natured world charged the landlord with murdering him. Some enquiry was made, but it ended in nothing. God forbid any thing, I may say, should hurt his character!—The man may be innocent.—The suspicion is blown over and he is now respected.

This story dwelt with our traveller. He was now more convinced than before, that the nail in the skull occasioned the man's death, and that he could be no other than murdered. He flew to the Inn, closetted the landlord, told him what he had seen and heard, and charged him with the fact. The man, whose conscience became instantly his upbraider, and "whose crime," like Cain's, "was more than he was able to bear," with trem|bling and with faultering tongue, confessed the fact, became his own accuser, and thus suffered for the murder he had committed twenty years before. This inn-keeper having found his guest possessed of great property, not only robbed him of that pro|perty, but also his life, by driving a slender nail into his skull within the hair, whilst he was asleep, hoping, by this, that he never should be discover|ed: but sooner or later, Murder will Out.

Page  180In a less criminal sense, this Proverb teaches us, not to do wrong through the hopes of its never be|ing discovered. Many a man betrays himself in an unguarded moment, and many more are betrayed by means they little expect. Let a man do nothing which he is ashamed of, nothing which his own mind condemns, and he will have no cause to fear a discovery—Honesty is the Best policy—If, to hide his guilt, he tells a lie, he will be obliged to tell twenty more to conceal that lie; and the pains he takes, and the anxiety he is under to preserve his character, is a greater punishment than he knows how to bear. He bears it, however, for a while, and a while only—Some unforeseen accident brings the hidden mystery to light; and this accumula|tion of guilt, not only encreases his disgrace, but adds to his punishment. His conscience becomes his tormentor, and his friends triumph in his ca|lamity; for, let a man carry on his intrigues as se|cret as he will, he is never secure from detection, for vice will, in the end, betray itself, and knavery come to light, as Murder will Out.

Page  181

Little strokes fell Great oaks.


WE are here taught, not to be discouraged at the greatness of any enterprise, for, Faint Heart never won fair Lady. Time and Patience overcometh all things; and wonderful things have been effected by perseverance. A man, with a journey of a hundred miles before him, thinks he Page  182never get through it.—Most assuredly he will not, if he never sets out;—but let him make the attempt, and every step he advances, he will find himself nearer to his journey's end. So is it in all we un|dertake.—Every thing is not to be done at once; but, by degrees, we shall obtain our object. It is not in the power of any man to cut down a large tree, at one stroke of an axe; but let him repeat those strokes, and he will accomplish his purpose. So with the stone-cutters before us.

What more hard than stone, and what less easy to be cut? Stone can be sawn through by degrees, and chizelled into any form we please. Bridges have been built by laying stone upon stone; and the most stupendous piles have been raised, and have given way to the arm of man. Flints have been worn by the feet of pismires; and the paths of ants are easily discovered. The greatest number is made up of units; and the wa|ters of the sea, are made up with drops. The hardest stone has been hollowed out by drops of water continually falling on it.

Plutarch tells a story of Sertorius, to this pur|pose. To persuade his soldiers, that understanding was more available than strength, he caused two horses, with long tails, to be brought out; the one Page  183poor and lean, the other lusty and strong. To the weak horse, he sets a stout, strong, young man, and to the strong horse, a little, weak fellow; each was to pull off his horse's tail. The young man, catch|ing all the tail at once in his hands, began to tug with all his strength, labouring and sweating to little purpose, till at last, being tired, he gave it up: whereas, the weak man, with more under|standing, pulled his horse's tail, hair by hair, and thus, by perseverance, in a little time, got off the whole tail, without much labour; for, according to the Italian proverb, Feather by Feather, the Goose is plucked. In short, the meaning of the Proverb is, that assiduity overcomes all difficulty.

In another sense, it teaches us, that Light Gains make a Heavy Purse; that is, those who sell for small profit, vend more commodities, and make quicker returns of their money, than those who are covetous of gain, and sell their goods at a dearer rate. Indeed, those who sell dear, are likely to be losers in another way; their goods remain long on hand, and frequently spoil and grow out of fashion.

Under this sense of the Proverb, we are taught, likewise, to save our money, for, as Little and osten fills the Purse, he who begins to save, will Page  184soon find himself rich. As Rome was not built in a Day, so a great estate is not acquired in a few hours; but, Every Little makes a Mickle; and great things rise from small beginnings.

In a religious sense, we learn from the scene before us, that perseverance in well-doing, is the way to be saved. No man can lay siege to Hea|ven and take it by violence: but if he pursues the path that leads to it, and holds out to the end, he will then be within reach, and may lay hold of the crown of life.

In a word, whatever object we may have in view, let us keep our eyes fixed upon it, make use of the means that are in our power to obtain it, persevere in those means, never be discouraged, or give the point up, and we shall gradually accom|plish our aim.—Few difficulties are so great as not to be overcome; for Little strokes fell Great oaks.

Page  185

Better Late than Never.


IT is certainly wiser, both in the religious and civil sense of this Proverb, to begin a thing early than late; but, if we miss an early appli|cation, it is better to take up useful matter late, than not to take it up at all; for as, in a civil light, to leave a thing undone, which we had in our power to do, is unwise; so, in a religious one, to Page  186"leave undone those things which we ought to have done," is criminal; for, the sin of omission is equal to that of commission: that is to say, he who omits to perform a duty, enjoined by religion, is equally culpable with him who commits a sin which religion forbids; of course, if we have neg|lected to perform any positive duty, let us set about it, be it ever so late, for—better Late than Never.

Our designer, in the scene before us, has re|presented the refuse, or lower class of people, at|tending, at last, to the voice of religion. He has supposed them a long time abandoned to vice, and deaf to the whispers of conscience. He has hu|mourously pictured without, a wretch riding post to the devil, and one of his imps behind him, flogging on the poor jade of a horse, to increase the haste of this man's overthrow, who, mad as he seems in his career, has nothing in prospect but a gibbet in this life, and eternal punishment in the next; yet such is the infatuation of men, that they will pursue their inclinations, though they tend immediately to their destruction.

Happy is it for such men, that there is a God above, who often takes compassion on their weak|ness, and exerts himself to bring them back from the error of their ways! He awakens them from Page  187their deadly lethargy, by the calls of Conscience, that secret monitor, that always tells a man when he does right or wrong, and leads him to his temple, there to hear the truths of religion, from the mouth of his priests. Impressed with these divine truths, they become convinced of their er|rors, are ashamed of having lived so long in sin and wickedness, acknowledge that it never is too Late to Repent, and become intirely new crea|tures.

A regular attendance at divine worship, is a duty we owe not only to God, but to ourselves. The mind is there disposed to hear religious truths; and, when uttered with solemnity, becoming their Author, and the sacredness of the place, they make such an impression on the mind, as is likely to continue with us. We owe every thing to God; we must be unnatural and ungrateful, not to return him thanks for it: and, as we can command no|thing of ourselves, to whom should we apply, in all our wants, but to him? "Ask," says he, "and you shall have." Let us then pray to him, with sincerity of heart, and there is little fear of our obtaining what we want, or that which is much better; for He is certainly the best judge, whe|ther what we ask, will be beneficial for us, or not.

Page  188Never despair then, or be discouraged at hav|ing offended your Maker; he is always ready to receive a penitent supplicant, to forgive us our sins, and take that man to his favour, who re|turns to him with a contrite heart. The sooner a man leaves off, and forsakes his evil ways, the sooner is his pardon sealed; but, if he has con|tinued in sin ever so long, it is never too late to repent; and—

Better Late than Never.

Page  189

Grasp all, Lose all.


THE known fable of the Dog and the Sha|dow, is a true emblem of covetousness. With a piece of meat in his mouth, he forded a river, and seeing his own shadow in the water, took it for another dog with a piece of meat, and endeavouring to catch at this other, let that fall which he had hold of, and thus, for the shadow, Page  190lost the reality. "Covetousness brings nothing home;" for, in aiming at what is out of our reach, we too often lose what we have in possession.—A contented mind is a continual feast.—And, if we have enough, why should we wish for more?—He who husbands a little well, will make it go far|ther than he who has a great deal, and takes no care of it. Besides, covetousness is so contrary to the principles of a liberal and humane man, that it is sure to meet with enemies. Every man sets his face against it; and all that part of the world that are not nicely honest, which is by far the greater part of mankind, will take a pleasure in over-reaching one who is covetous; and many a man, with a competent fortune, has risked it, in hopes of adding to his wealth, and lost the whole.

But, take this Proverb in another sense, and it is equally true; he who is discontented with his pre|sent situation, and looks forwards for a happier, some time to come, loses the enjoyment he might receive at present, in the prospect of what may never come to pass; for, was a man to live 500 years, he would find no alteration in the disposition of mankind. What has been will be again. "The thing that hath been," says Solomon, "it is that Page  191which shall be; and that which is done, is that which shall be done, for there is nothing new under the sun."—Learn then, in whatsoever state you are, therewith to be content. Enjoy, with pru|dence, the comforts and pleasures which your situation affords; and lose not sight of present happiness, in hunting after that which is to come.

True happiness is within every one's reach: it does not consist in wealth and honours, but in a contented mind. If a man has but a competency, he has no reason to be dissatisfied; for there are thousands in the world who are not so blessed, and yet may boast of equal merit. A great fortune falls not to every man's lot, and yet almost every man may be rich; for he who has fewest wants is richest. And man who has a hundred pounds a-year, and spends but ninety, has ten pounds to spare, and, of course, is a rich man; whereas, he who has five thousand pounds a-year, and spends six thousand, must be poor, and embarrassed for money.

Let a man's fortune be ever so small, if he acts his part in life well, he will be always respectable. Strive, therefore, to be contented with what you Page  192have, and envy the wealth of no man. Improve your income, if you can, but do it with honour and liberality; and remember the old adage—All covet all lose—and the fable of the dog—Grasp all Lose all.

☞ See Enough is as good as a feast.

Page  193

Every Tub must stand on its own Bottom.


WE are here taught to pay a proper regard to our own actions, as every one must an|swer for himself, and "bear his own burden." the French have a Proberb to this effect, "Every one must go to the will his own sack; that is, carry his own load himself.

Page  194Whether a man considers himself as a member of society, or as a Christian, he is responsible for his own conduct. Human laws will call him to an account in this life, and divine laws in the next.

Sensible of this truth, the painter has given us a view of the last Judgment, when all men will rise from their graves, and be summoned before the Almighty, to give an account of themselves; when those who have lived a good life on earth, will be rewarded with everlasting happiness; and those who have led a wicked life on earth, will be punished with eternal misery.

There are some cases, where a man will be obliged to answer for the conduct of others, but there are none in which he will not be responsible for his own. If a man advises his neighbour to do wrong; if he assists him in doing it; if he sees him going to do it, can prevent in and does not; he is not only equally guilty with him who does the wrong, and liable to be punished in this life, but will most assuredly be called to an account in the next, not only for his own soul, but for that of his neighbour. The receiver, say our laws, is as bad as the thief; that is, he who receives stolen goods, knowing them to be stolen, and does not divulge it, is equally liable to be punished with Page  195the thief. If such then be the case of things, a man should be very careful how be commits sin, or gives occasion to others doing it.

But, though he will thus be obliged to answer for the misconduct of others, let no one suppose, that if he is urged to do wrong, the person urging him will be the only one blamed: it is his duty to avoid the wrong, and not to listen to ill-advisers; for, Every Herring must hang by his own Gill, and every one will be punished for his own faults.

Future punishment is a serious piece of busi|ness; and, was a man aware of the consequences of a bad life, he would not dare to commit a sin. A few years on earth is nothing to the endless ages of eternity; and he who, to gratify an idle passion, or a wicked inclination for a short time, would risk the chance of being miserably wretched for a long futurity, can be no other than a mad|man. On that day of trial, when all men will be called before God and his holy angels, to give an account of their conduct whilst on earth, ex|cuses will stand them in little stead: having been led into sin, by constitution, by unruly passions, by ill advisers, by example, by fashion, by inte|rest or any wordly motive, will be poor and in|effectual pleas. If a man has done well, our Sa|viour, Page  196the judge of all the earth, will welcome him, with a

Come ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.
If he has done ill, he will re|ceive the dreadful sentence,
Go ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels;
for every one will be punished or re|warded hereafter, according to his actions here, and Every Tub must stand upon its own Bottom.