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On the Choice of Companions.
ON THE CHOICE OF COMPANIONS.
There is nothing to which all, but young people in particular, should pay more attention than to the choice of their companions; for nothing has a greater influence on their conduct through life. It is an old saying, and a very true one, and one adopted by an Apostle, that “ Evil communications corrupt good manners ;" for nothing has more influence with man than example: and if we choose those for our companions who live without the fear of God before their eyes, and in open disregard of His laws, we shall insensibly and unintentionally be led to imitate them. It is always far easier to prevent acquiring
bad habits than to conquer them when acquired. Our wisest way is to preserve ourselves as free from such temptations as we can; and, though I am far from thinking that we should treat either with scorn or contempt those who, from want of instruction or any other reason, are not worthy associates, still we ought to see the great importance of choosing as our friends those only from whose intercourse we can learn what is desirable. There is also another reason why we should pay particular attention to this point. Men are led to judge of our character by the conduct of those with whom we associate ; and if we are known to keep company with drunkards, swearers, and those whose lives are not honest and of good report, it is natural to suppose, either that we ourselves join in these crimes, or at least that we do not disapprove them. Never, then, let us be led away by fair words and promises ; for vice often wears a very pleasing aspect: we read in the Bible that even Šatan can transform himself into an angel of light; and it frequently happens that a bad man is more agreeable in the eyes of the world than a truly good one. Let us be careful, then, before we choose any friend, to learn, if possible, something of his character, that we may know what we may have to expect from him, and may thus be on our guard. I have seen so many unhappy consequences arising from the contagion of bad example, that I cannot too earnestly press on the attention of your readers the necessity of being very careful indeed in their choice of companions. They should never forget those important words of Solomon, My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not."
To the Editor of the Cottager's Monthly Visitor.
HAVING been a constant reader of
Publication from its first appearance, I have observed, that one of your Correspondents has written on slovenly habits; and, thinking that one extreme ought as much to be avoided as the other, I offer these few hints on the subject of dress.
Many will spend even their last shilling in the purchase of needless and ornamental articles of dress. How much better the money might be applied in procuring useful and respectable clothing for themselves or their families! If wives would become habitually frugal, and make a good use of their husbands' earnings, this might draw the husbands to habits of temperance and sobriety; and then the most humble villager might be as happy in his cottage as the rich man in his palace. Happiness, indeed,
67 does not belong to particular stations, but to particular habits and dispositions.
An immoderate love for dress is the parent of many heinous crimes; for when once the taste for dress is acquired, a great temptation arises to gratify it, either by honest or dishonest means.
A fine shawl exposed in a shop window has offered a temptation which has led females to their ruin.
Whilst, however, I feel most strongly the danger of an immoderate love of dress, I consider neatness and cleanliness to be of very great consequence indeed ; and it is highly desirable that all persons should endeavour so to regulate their expences that they may provide themselves with good, useful, and respectable clothing, according to their stations in life.
If you will insert the above, you will confer an obligation on
(From the Plain Englishman.)
In a country parish in Buckinghamshire the poorest families enjoy the benefit of a portion of the sum of 801. from a fund left to it by a person who, when a poor boy travelling from the north of England to London, happened to be taken dangerously ill with the small-pox in this village. He was taken in by some of the kind inhabitants, and nursed with the utmost care till he was sufficiently recovered to be able to pursue his journey. In the course of years he got into trade in London, and made a large fortune; and, at his death, it was found that he had left several thousand pounds to the parish where he had been so kindly nursed in his days of poverty and adversity. The money was placed in the funds, and the interest of it is now divided twice a year among the numerous poor
Ar a meeting held at Norwich, the chaplain of the County gaol stated, that of 593 prisoners, 300 could not read at the time of their commitment, 68 could read a very little, 68 could read moderately well; and 157 could read and write. Some persons, when they reflect on the great exertions which have been made towards the education of the poor,-and, when they see the quantity of crime that is still existing in the country, are inclined to despair, and to say that no good has been done, and that the people were just as good before they could either read or write. The truth is, that those who expected the education of the poor to put an end to all crime expected a great deal more than could reasonably be looked for. They saw, indeed, that the greater part of the criminals in our
69 gaols could neither read nor write, and they therefore concluded that this ignorance was the cause of their crimes. In part, indeed, they judged properly. When a child has not been taught the difference between right and wrong, it is quite natural to expect that it will follow its own inclinations without stopping to ask which way its duty calls it ;-in fact, it knows nothing about duty,- how then can it practise it ? Then, moreover, a person who can neither read nor write has no rational employment for the mind, and therefore has much idle time on his hands; and we all know the danger of idleness.--we know the old proverb,--which is indeed a very certain truth,—that “ when a man is found idle, the devil will set him to work.”
“ For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do."
Then a man gets into bad company, he is there led on to positive crime; his mind has nothing within it to teach him where his companions are wrong, and into what danger they are rushing; and, as he cannot read, he has not the opportunity, which the sight of a book might give him, of finding what a miserable course he is pursuing. Such a man (if he was able to read) could hardly take up a book, which he would meet with in any decent family, without having a chance of learning that his present course was wrong and ruinous. But the instruction of a Christian is not to be left to the chance of any book that he might happen to pick up. His rule is to come from the word of God. And the man who cannot read is in a great measure deprived of the advantage which the study of the Scriptures affords. Not indeed, wholly deprived, in a Christian country; for he may attend the public worship of God, and there may have great opportunities of learning what is right;-he perhaps also lives in a devout family, and there he may learn much that is good; and thus we do see many upright, honest, and