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blood is corrupted by intemperance and idleness.
Be industrious, therefore, O young man! consider labour as the best physic both for body and mind, and industry the sure road to riches, plenty, peace, and honour. :
If you are an apprentice, or servant, remember that your honour consists in fidelity; and that your highest virtues are submission and obedience. Be patient, therefore, under the reproofs of your master, and when he rebukes you answer not again ; if he is a considerate man, the silence of your acquiescence will not be forgotten.
Be studious of his interests, be diligent in his affairs, and faithful to the trust which he reposes in you. Your time and labour belong to him; defraud him not of them, for he payeth you for
CHA P. IV.
" Evil communications corrupt good manners.” ST. PAUL!
IN the great journey you are performing, the : bow of life must not be kept continually bent ;
to relax sometimes, is both allowable, and even necessary; and as, in those hours of recreation you will be most in danger, it will be requisite for you to be then most vigilantly on your guard. Companions will then be called in to share with you in your pleasures; and, according to your choice of them, both your character and disposition will receive a tincture ; as water passing through minerals partakes of their taste and efficacy. This is a truth so universally received, that to know a man by the company he keeps is become proverbial, in the natural, as well as in the moral world, like associating with like, and labouring continually to throw off whatever is heterogeneous. Hence we see that discordant mixtures produce nothing but broils and fermentations, till one of them becomes victorious; and, as what God has joined, he will have none to put asunder; so, what he has thus put asunder, he forbids to be joined. I have said thus much only to convince you how impossible it will be for you to be thought a person of integrity, while you converse with the abandoned and licentious; and that, by herding with such, you will not only lose. your character, but your virtue too ; for, whatever they find you, or whatever fallacious distinctions you may make between the men and their vices, in the end, the first qualify the last, and you will asşimilate or grow like each other ; that is to say, by becoming familiar with evil courses,
you will cease to regard them as evil; and by ceasing to hate them, you will soon learn both to love and practise them. And this may be concluded without breach of charity; for it is extremely difficult for frail human nature to recover its lost innocence, but as easy for it to precipitate itself into all the excesses of vanity and vice.
Nor does the danger of bad company affect the mind only. Say that you preserve your integrity, which is as bold a supposition as can be made, by countenancing them with your presence; though not: equally guilty, you may be liable to equal danger. In cases of riots and murders, all are principals; and you may be undone for another person's crime. Nay, in cases of treason, even silence is capital ;, and, in such unhappy dilemmas, your must either betray your friend's life, or forfeit your own. Thus the infamous assassin,
who attempted the murder of one of the Princes - of Orange, not only brought destruction on him
self, but on his confidant also; who, though he abhorred the fact, yet kept the counsel of the contriver; and the discovery of the last was made merely by observation from the circumstance of his being often seen in company with the former.
Fly, therefore, the society of sensual or designing men, or expect to lose your innocence ; feel your industry, from a pleasure, become a burden, and your frugality give place to extravagance These mischiefs follow in a train; and,
when you are once linked to bad habits, it is as hard to think of parting with them, as to plunge into a cold bath to get rid of an ague. Neither does the malignity of the contagion appear all at once : the frolic first seems harmless, and, when tasted, leaves a longing relish behind it; one appointment makes way for another, one ex. pence leads on to a second ; some invite openly, others insinuate craftily; and all soon grow too importunate to be denied...
. You will feel some pangs of remorse on your first degeneracy, and you may make some faint resolutions to be seduced no more ; which will no sooner be discovered by these panders to destruction, but they will use every art to allure you back to bear them company in the broad-beaten path to ruin. Of all which, none is to be more dreaded than raillery; and this you must expect to have exercised upon you with its full force : business and the cares of life will be rendered pleasantly ridiculous; looseness and prodigality will be called living like a gentleman ; and you will be upbraided with meanness and want of spirit, if you dare to persist in the ways of æconomy and virtue. Here, then, is a fair opportunity to make a stand, and shew your steadiness, courage, resolution, and good sense : encounter wit with wit, raillery with raillery, and appear above being hurt by banter ill-founded, and jests
without a sting. There is as much true fortitude in standing such a charge as this, and being staunch to your integrity, as facing an enemy in the day of battle, or rolling undismayed in a tempest, when winds and seas seem to conspire your destruction. Many men who could stand both the last shocks, have relented in the first; and, through mere impotence of mind, have been undone. I have myself stood undismayed in the raging tempest, though I could not withstand the allurements of my companions, or the blandishments of pleasure.
I recollect that, upon my first entrance into life in London, though I was then arrived at man's estate, having, unfortunately for me (as I have already observed), been brought up almost a recluse in the country, in an academic employ: ment, I was assailed by my companions and brother clerks in a great public office, in which I had made sufficient interest to be placed, in every way that could allure me and tempt me to do as they did. The consequence was, that, being pleased with the change of scene, and my inexperience, added to the wish of being on good terms with them, prevailing, I was by degrees laughed out of my native good principles and diffidence, and, in a very short time, gave into all their private extravagance, dissipation, and wildness, though, at the same time, I was cau