I have heard that nothing gives an author so great pleasure, as to find his works respectfully quoted by others. Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you. I stopped my horse, lately, where a great number of people were collected at an auction of merchants’ goods. The hour of the sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times; and one of the company called to a plain, clean, old man, with white locks, ‚Pray, Father Abraham,
‚It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people one-tenth part of their time to be employed in its service: but idleness taxes many of us much more; sloth, by bringing on diseases, absolutely shortens life.
„Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labour wears, while the used key is always bright,” as Poor Richard says. — „But, dost thou love life? then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of,” as Poor Richard says. — How much more
‚But with our industry we must likewise be steady, settled, and careful, and oversee our own affairs with our own eyes, and not trust too much to others: for, as Poor Richard says,
„I never saw an oft-removed tree,
Nor yet an oft-removed family,
That throve so well as those that settled be.”
And again, „Three removes are as bad as a fire,” and again, „Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee:” and again, „If you would have your business done, go; if
‚So much for industry, my friends, and attention to one’s own business; but to these we must add frugality, if we would make our industry more certainly successful. A man may if he knows not how to save as he gets, „keep his nose all his life to the grindstone, and die not worth a groat at last. A fat kitchen makes a lean will;” and,
„Many estates are spent in the getting,
Since women for tea forsook spinning and knitting,
And men for punch forsook hewing and
‚This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom; but, after all, do not depend too much upon your own industry, and frugality, and prudence, though excellent things; for they may all be blasted without the blessing of Heaven; and therefore, ask that blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those that at present seem to want it, but comfort and help them. Remember, Job suffered, and was afterwards prosperous.
‚And now to conclude, „Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn