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follow directions, and of all others want them most; and indeed what do they not want?
The house of an Irish peasant is the cave of poverty; within, you see a pot and a little straw; without, a heap of children tumbling on the dunghill. Their fields and gardens are a lively counterpart of Solomon's description in the Proverbs; “I went," saith that wise king, "by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding, and lo! it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down." In every road the ragged ensigns of poverty are displayed; you often meet caravans of poor, whole families in a drove, without clothes to cover, or bread to feed them, both which might be easily procured by moderate labor. They are encouraged in this vagabond life by the miserable hospitality they meet with in every cottage, whose inhabitants expect the same kind reception in their turn, when they become beggars themselves; beggary being the last refuge of these improvident creatures.
If I seem to go out of my province, or to prescribe to those who must be supposed to know their own business, or to paint the lower inhabitants of this land in no very pleasing colors, you will candidly forgive a well-meant zeal, which obligeth me to say things rather useful than agreeable, and to lay open the sore in order to heal it.
But whatever is said must be so taken as not to reflect on persons of rank and education, who are no way inferior to their neighbors; nor yet to include all even of the lowest sort, though it may well extend to the generality, of those especially in the western and southern parts of the kingdom, where the British manners have less prevailed. We take our notions from what we see, mine are a faithful transcript from originals about me.
The Scythians were noted for wandering, and the Spaniards for sloth and pride our Irish are behind neither of these nations from which they descend, in their respective characteristics. “Bet ter is he that laboreth and aboundeth in all things, than he that boasteth himself and wanteth bread," saith the son of Sirach, but so saith not the Irishman. In my own family a kitchen-wench refused to carry out cinders, because she was descended from an
old Irish stock. Never was there a more monstrous conjunction than that of pride with beggary; and yet this prodigy is seen every day in almost every part of this kingdom. At the same time these proud people are more destitute than savages, and more abject than negroes. The negroes in our plantations have a saying, "If negro was not negro, Irishman would be negro." And it may be affirmed with truth, that the very savages of America are better clad and better lodged than the Irish cottagers throughout the fine fertile counties of Limerick and Tipperary.
Having long observed and bewailed this wretched state of my countrymen, and the insufficiency of several methods set on foot to reclaim them, I have recourse to your Reverences, as the dernier ressort. Make them to understand that you have their interest at heart, that you persuade them to work for their own sakes, and that God hath ordered matters so as that they who will not work for themselves, must work for others. The terrors of debt, slavery, and famine should, one would think, drive the most slothful to labor. Make them sensible of these things, and that the ends of Providence and order of the world require industry in human creatures. "Man goeth forth to his work and to his labor until the evening," saith the psalmist, where he is describing the beauty, order and perfection of the works of God. But what saith the slothful person? "Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding the hands to sleep." But what saith the wise man ? "So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man."
All nature will furnish you with arguments and examples against sloth: Go to the ant thou sluggard," cries Solomon. The ant, the bee, the beetle, and every insect but the drone, reads a lesson of industry to man. But the shortest and most effectual lesson is that of St. Paul: "If any man will not work, neither should he eat." This command was enjoined the Thessalonians, and equally respects all Christians, and indeed all mankind; it being evident by the light of nature that the whole creation works together for good, and that no part was designed to be useless; as therefore the idle man is of no use, it follows that he hath no right to a subsistence. 'Let them work," saith the apostle, "and eat their own bread;" not bread got by begging, not bread earned by
the sweat of other men; but their own bread, that which is got by their own labor. "Then shalt thou eat the labor of thine hands," saith the psalmist, to which he adds, "Happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee;" intimating that to work and enjoy the fruits thereof is a great blessing.
A slothful man's imagination is apt to dress up labor in a horrible mask; but, horrible as it is, idleness is more to be dreaded, and a life of poverty (its necessary consequence) is far more painful. It was the advice of Pythagoras to choose the best kind of life; for that use would render it agreeable, reconciling men even to the roughest exercise. By practice pains become at first easy, and in the progress pleasant; and this is so true, that whoever examines things will find there can be no such thing as a happy life without labor, and that whoever doth not labor with his hands must in his own defence labor with his brains.
Certainly, planting and tilling the earth is an exercise not less pleasing than useful: it takes the peasant from his smoky cabin into the fresh air and the open field, rendering his lot far more desirable than that of the sluggard, who lies in the straw, or sits whole days by the fire.
Convince your people that not only pleasure invites, but necessity also drives them to labor. If you have any compassion for these poor creatures, put them in mind how many of them perished in a late memorable distress, through want of that provident care against a hard season, observable not only in all other men, but even in irrational animals. Set before their eyes, in lively colors, their own indigent and sordid lives, compared with those of other people, whose industry hath procured them hearty food, warm clothes, and decent dwellings. Make them sensible what a reproach it is that a nation which makes so great pretensions to antiquity, and is said to have flourished many years ago in arts and learning, should in these our days turn out a lazy, destitute, and degenerate race.
Raise your voices, reverend sirs, exert your influence, show your authority over the multitude, by engaging them to the practice of an honest industry, a duty necessary to all, and required in all, whether Protestants or Roman Catholics, whether Christians, Jews, or Pagans. Be so good among other points to find
room for this, than which none is of more concern to the souls and bodies of your hearers, nor consequently deserves to be more amply or frequently insisted on.
Many and obvious are the motives that recommend this duty. Upon a subject so copious you can never be at a loss fo some. thing to say. And while by these means you rescue your countrymen from want and misery, you will have the satisfaction to behold your country itself improved. What pleasure must it give you to see these wastes and wild scenes, these naked ditches and miserable hovels, exchanged for fine plantations, rich meadows, well-tilled fields, and neat dwellings; to see people well fed and well clad, instead of famished ragged scarecrows, and those very persons tilling the fields that used to beg in the streets.
Neither ought the difficulty of the enterprise to frighten you from attempting it. It must be confessed a habit of industry is not at once introduced; neighbor, nevertheless, will emulate neighbor, and the contagion of good example will spread as surely as of bad, though perhaps not so speedily. It may be hoped there are many that would be allured by a plentiful and decent manner of life to take pains, especially when they observe it to be attained by the industry of their neighbors, in no sort better qualified than themselves.
If the same gentle spirit of sloth did not soothe our squires as well as peasants, one would imagine there should be no idle hands amongst us. Alas! how many incentives to industry offer themselves in this island, crying aloud to the inhabitants for work? Roads to be repaired, rivers made navigable, fisheries on the coasts, mines to be wrought, plantations to be raised, manufactories improved, and above all, lands to be tilled and sowed with all sorts of grain.
When so many circumstances provoke and animate your people to labor, when their private wants and the necessities of the public, when the laws, the magistrates, and the very country calls upon them, you cannot think it becomes you alone to be silent, or hindermost in every project for promoting the public good. Why should you, whose influence is greatest, be least active? why should you, whose words are most likely to prevail, say least for the common cause?
323.-The Influence of the Parental Character.
REV. RICHARD CECIL. [THE Rev. Richard Cecil had in his day a deservedly high reputation a. a preacher. His works were published in three 8vo. volumes, and his Remains,' a series of short essays and of remarks made in conversation or in letters, were published shortly after his death by his friend the Rev. Josiah Pratt. Mr. Cecil was born in London, Nov. 8, 1748, of pious parents, and the extract we give from his Remains' contains some interesting personal allusions. Some time after he had entered the church and was ordained, he became minister of St. John's Chapel, Bedford Row, London. In 1800 he was presented to the livings of Bisley and Chobham in Surrey, and he died in 1810.]
The influence of the parental character on children is not to be calculated. Everything around has an influence on us. Indeed, the influence of things is so great, that, by familiarity with them, they insensibly urge us on principles and feelings which we before abhorred. I knew a man who took in a democratical paper, only to laugh at it. But, at length, he had read the same things again and again, so often, that he began to think there must be some truth in them; and that men and measures were really such as they were so often said to be. A drop of water seems to have no influence on the stone; but it will, in the end, wear its way through. If there be, therefore, such a mighty influence in everything around us, the parental influence must be great indeed.
Consistency is the great character, in good parents, which impresses children. They may witness much temper: but if they see their father "keep the even tenor of his way," his imperfections will be understood and allowed for as reason opens. The child will see and reflect on his parent's intention and this will have great influence on his mind. This influence may, indeed, be afterwards counteracted: but that only proves that contrary currents may arise, and carry the child another way. Old Adam may be too strong for young Melancthon.
The implantation of principles is of unspeakable importance