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of those who promise, knowing they cannot perform, or, that the performance will at least be problematical. We have a large and increasing number of this class of bipeds in the labyrinth of life—cancers upon our body politic. Not a few pass along, and appear in style too, who live by borrowing and promising, and never paying. True, like caterpillars, when they have stripped one orchard of its leaves, they are compelled to emigrate to another; and having been well fed at the last, they appear "fat and sleek" at the next, which gives them new credit, and thus they pass through life, and move in fashionable circles, because they can keep up appearances, by swindling the industrious, under the present wide-spread system of promise making and breaking. These are the favored children of fashion, a kind reciprocity exists between them—she furnishes precedents in high life, to take off the curse of promise breaking, and they are thus enabled to be number one in her train.
In matters that are erroneously considered minor, promise breaking is very common, and extends to all classes, and a large majority of persons. Ten men make an appointment to meet at a certain time and place—one or two may be punctual; nine may get there half an hour after the time fixed, but some one generally takes an hour's grace; thus are the punctual robbed of an hour, and probably suffer by it, for punctual men are systematic, and have particular business for every hour. This is a serious evil. A friend makes an appointment to call on his or her friend at a particular time—the time arrives, the call is anxiously, perhaps impatiently waited for—the promise is broken, and not unfrequently, ill blood has been the consequence. One family promises to visit another on a certain day; extra money and time are expended to give the entertainment—the promise is broken, and, perhaps, their friendship too. But the vilest, most brutal, and most hellish promise breakers, are those demons of men, who promise marriage to an innocent and unsuspecting girl, and then desert, if not ruin her. Such brutes should be caged with scorpions, fed on aquafortis, and drenched with prussic acid; a mild punishment, compared with the enormity of the crime. Finally, let those who have made promises to the great Jehovah, either by or without a profession of religion, beware how they break them. It cannot be done with impunity. He is not man, broken promises to Him, will be fearfully punished.
Prudence is the combination of wisdom, reason, discretion, and common sense ; the offspring of a clear head, a correct judgment, and a good heart. It regards the past, the present, and the future; time and eternity; never shrinks from known duty; acts with coolness and decision; investigates impartially, reasons correctly, and condemns reluctantly. The prudent man meets the dispensations of Providence calmly; views mankind in the clear sunshine of charity; is guided by the golden rule in his dealings; cherishes universal philanthropy; and soars, in peerless majesty, above the trifling vanities and corrupting vices of the world, and lives in constant readiness to enter the mansions of bliss beyond this vale of tears.
It is not the consequent result of shining talents, brilliant genius, or great learning. It has been truly said by Dr. Young, and demonstrated by thousands, With the talents of an angel, a man may be a fool. A profound scholar may astonish the world with his scientific researches and discoveries; pour upon mankind a flood of light; illuminate and enrapture the immortal mind with the beauties of expounded revelation; point erring man to the path of rectitude; direct the anxious mind to the Saviour's love; and render himself powerless in the cause of truth, by imprudent and inconsistent practices.
"How empty learning, and how vain is art;
One grain of prudence is of more value than a cranium crowded with unbridled genius, or a flowing stream of vain wit. It is the real ballast of human life. Without it, dangers gather thick and fast around the frail bark of man, and hurry him on to destruction. The shores of time are lined with wrecks, driven before the gale of imprudence.
Prudence may be urged upon the reader negatively, for there are but few, who do not better know, than they practise this virtue.
It is not prudence for children and youth, to disregard the good counsel of their parents and teachers; contracting habits, calculated to lead them into crime, and destroy their future happiness and usefulness.
It is not prudence in parents, to permit their children to grow up in idleness and ignorance, pursuing, unrestrained, the wild inclinations of corrupt nature— pleasures, that will lead to corruption; vice, that will involve them in lasting disgrace and ruin. A high responsibility rests on parents to train their children properly. The mutual comfort of both, the salvation of their souls, and the salvation of our country, depend much upon the manner in which the rising generation is trained.
It is not Prudence to contract sudden intimacies with .strangers. Many wolves are wandering about in sheep's clothing; with long faces, smooth tongues, and demon hearts; seeking for some unwary lamb, whose jugular they can tap, before their true character is known, or even suspected. Genuine coin loses nothing by being tested—genuine good hearts will not depreciate, by being proved in the crucible of truth-telling time. You can extend the hand of charity, without mingling souls.
Hasty, or compulsory marriages are seldom prudent and rarely happy. After the blissful knot is tied, it is Prudence for the twain to do all in their power to render each other happy; to both pull the same way, carefully avoiding cold indifference, cruel neglect, angry words, discordant views, and unnecessary crosses; for love, like china, once broken, is hard to be repaired —like the caged bird, once fled, it is hard to be regained.
It is not Prudence, but base injustice, to bear false witness against our neighbor, either by petty scandal, open slander, or willful perjury. Slander is more to be dreaded than the cholera. It is like a sulphureous fire or a charcoal gas, that suffocates as we slumber; a scorpion in the grass, inflicting an unsuspected, but deadly sting.
It is not Prudence, but cruel, to trifle with the feelings of others, by inspiring hopes only to be blasted, and making promises only to be broken; more especially, if a female heart is concerned.
It is not Prudence to travel in the wide-beaten path of the pernicious credit system of the present day, by which debtor and creditor are not unfrequently involved in mutual ruin, and sink, embraced, in the slough of poverty.
It is not Prudence to leave a certain business, because its gains are slow, and embark in another kind, to which you are an entire stranger. Nor is it Prudence to rush into wild and visionary speculations, because one out of a hundred may have succeeded. Slow and sure, is an old and sound adage.
It is not Prudence to place ourselves on the rack of imaginary wants, unnecessary disquietudes, and discontented minds; because we are not placed in the palace of fortune, and are not able to follow all the wild freaks of ever-varying and fickle fashion, and make as magnificent a show, or as great a dash, as many who live in splendor, until they dash their fortunes to pieces, and perhaps that of a confiding friend. Our ancestors were plain, frugal, temperate, and happy.
It is not Prudence to pine under misfortunes or disappointments. Never give up the ship while a plank floats within your reach. Industry and perseverance have, and ever can, perform wonders.
It is not Prudence to indulge in procrastination, crowding to-morrow with the business of to-day. Putting off the payment and collection of debts, often leads to a lawsuit and the loss of friendship.
It is not Prudence to take for granted all we hear, or tell it to others. Nor is it Prudence to be blown about by every wind of doctrine, or fresh breeze that