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own integrity, will console you under any unjust suspicions that may attach to you upon the occasion. If your character is generally known to be good, that of itself will remove all doubt. ---Of such infinite importance in al} the wayward occurrences of life is a good characteri---of the supreme and inestimable value of which I am so thos roughly convinced, from experience, that I cannot be too urgent with you to be tender and careful of it; it is the greatest treasure, and the most costly jewel yoụ cạn possess---in short, it is not to be purchased
But dishonesty may also be practised by wilfully imposing upon others, in the price and quality of goods, horses, lands, houses, provisions, or any other articles of sale.
It is a frequent complaint against tradesmen, in general, that they make different prices to different people, according to the readiness with which the customers may be supposed to pay, or their ignorance of the price and quality of the article. --From hence, ill-disposed, and openly dishonest people, argue, that there is no sin in cheating a
tradesman; and the consequence is, that they are · robbed and plundered by strangers, and not unfree
quently by their own servants ; not to mention the depredations committed upon them by a description of necessitous, dishonestly inclined persons of both sexes, termed swindlers, who, under false pretences, and without the least intention
to pay, even if they had it in their power, procure credit for goods, either upon false recommendations of character, or notes and bills which were never meant to be taken up. ;,..,.
This appears to mark strongly the necessity of scrupulous honesty and fair dealing in a tradesman; otherwise, how can he with any justice and ease of mind prosecute to conviction those who "Wrong him?
From whence is it that some ladies make no scruple (if they can do it unseen) to pocket a card or two of valuable lace now and then at their haberdashers ? It is because they know that they are made to pay an exorbitant price for every thing they have, and that the tradesman can afford to lose it. His exorbitancy, however, is no excuse for their dishonesty, but both are more or less to blame. That tradesman is an honest one who for ready money has but a fair price with every customer, rich or poor. :.
There is also a dishonesty which may be practised in evading the payment of revenue duties and taxes ; in exporting or importing goods contrary to law, termed smuggling; and it is the more injurious, as it affects the interest and welfare of our native country at large, which has so strong a claim upon our individual assistance in support of its government and means of defence. - An honest conscientious man will even scruple to act wrong in this case; and, whatever those may
- say who make it a practice to defraud the revenúe, yet be assured that, at the close of their lives, their consciences will convince them that it was as unjust in the sight of God to wrong the públic purse as that of individuals. He who said, You shall not steal, and has also said, Render unto Cæsar what is Cæsar's, &c. meaning that to whom tribute and taxes are due, to them they should be paid. There is one circumstance which must very forcibly strike your young mind, with respect to the necessity of being scrupulously honest in all your dealings, and that is, that, though you may be successfully wicked enough to deceive men, yet you cannot, by any possible means, deceive your God, nor your own CONSCIENCE; nor can you, in after-life, have the least satisfactory enjoyment of riches so acquired. For what profiteth it a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
The sense of dishonesty will haunt you, sleeping or waking ; it will disturb your mind in dreams, and in the festive hour. If no other argument will restrain us from the practice of dishonesty, surely this must have some weight with the reflecting mind ! : There is not a more godlike or respectable character than that of an honest inan. · ... An honest man's the noblest work of God. ?
CH A P. III. .
Of Preserving a good Character.
- A good name is better than riches.
I HAVE considered the admonitions given in the three former sections as the great corner stones necessary to form the basis of a good character. I shall now treat of its inestimable value, and the necessity of preserving it un: stained and unspotted through life. The subse quent divisions of the work will all tend, in a greater or less degree, to that great and important end. We have the experience and declara tion of SOLOMON, the wisest man that ever lived, to assure us that “a good character or name is better than riches ;” and, so far from having any reason to doubt his assertion, the experience of the youngest of us must convince ụs of the truth of it.
The word itself (derived from the Greek language) implies à mark or stamp; for every action we commit, good or bad, impresses the minds of those who are privy to our conduct with a fa
vourabla vourable or unfavourable opinion of us, an approving or a condemning sense of our actions ; and these ideas, whatever they are, become inseparably associated with the sight or recollection of our persons, or the hearing us even named. It must be obvious,' then, to the most thoughtless youth, how yast the necessity and infinite the importance is, that our conduct should always be such as to make these impressions or stamps on the minds of others favourable to our happiness and our interests; and that can alone be done by habitually living in the fear of God, speaking the truth, and acting honestly, in whatever situation of life we are placed. These are the three leading features of a good mind and an unblemished chasaçter.
The man who is possessed of this inestimable jewel can look the world full in the face, maintain his credit, and enjoy that peace and composure of mind which are absolutely necessary to the true relish of life. He who has lost it, is poor indeed, though wallowing in riches.
It is said of the notorious Colonel Chartres, who, by foul play at dice, and lending money at a most usurious interest, had amassed a princely fortune, that he observed, upon some occasion, to a gentleman with whom he was conversing, that “ he would give 10,0001. for a good character, if it were only for the credit of the thing;” but, to