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“Don’t be discouraged, my young friend!” said an elderly man to his companion, whose youthful appearance indicated that few more than twenty years had passed over his head. “But I am discouraged, Mr. Linton. Hav’nt I been sadly disappointed in every thing that I have undertaken. Success is a word, the meaning of which I shall never realize.” “You are young, Henry.” “Quite old enough to have proved, beyond a doubt, that, try as I will, I shall never rise in the world. I am doomed to struggle on, like a swimmer against a strong current. Instead of advancing at all, I shall be gradually borne down the stream.” “If you cease to struggle, you will, unquestionably.” “And will, whether I struggle or not.” “No: that cannot be. Be vigorous, and long continued effort will gradually strengthen and mature your thoughts. Rough contact with the world, in which you are made to suffer keenly, will bring out the latent energies of your mind. Bear on manfully for a few years — falter not, though every thing looks dark, and success will as certainly crown your efforts, as an effect follows its producing cause.” “I wish I could think so,” the young man replied, shaking his head despondingly. “But I am fully convinced, that for me, at least, the door of success is closed.” “How old are you, Henry?” “Just twenty-seven.” “And you have already failed in three business efforts?” “Yes, and what is worse, have become involved in debt.” “But you mean to pay all you owe, if it is ever in your power?” “Can you doubt that for a moment, Mr. Linton?” the young man said in a quick tone, while a flush passed over his face. “I will pay it all, if I die in the struggle.” “And yet you were just now talking about giving up in despair?” “True. And I do feel utterly discouraged. For the last five years no man has laboured more earnestly than I have. Early and late, have I been at my business, sometimes even till midnight, and yet all has been in vain. Like a man in a quagmire—every struggle to extricate myWOL. xxvii.-11

self from difficulties, has only had the effect to sink me deeper. And now, with honest intentions towards all men, I am regarded by many, as little better than a swindler.” “You are wrong, in regard to that, Henry. Such is not the estimation in which you are held.” “Yes, but it is. I have been told to my teeth that I was not an honest man.” “By whom?” “By at least one of my creditors.” “That is the solitary case of a man whose inordinate love of self, showing itself in a love of money, has made him forget the first principles of the law of human kindness.” “No matter what prompted the unkind remark, its effect is none the less painful, especially as he fully believed what he said.” “You cannot tell, Henry, whether he fully believed it or not. But suppose that his words did but express his real thoughts?—what then? Does his opinion of you make you different from what you really are?” “Of course not. But it is very painful to have such things said.” “No doubt of it. But conscious integrity of purpose should be sufficient to sustain any man.’’ “It might in my case, if I were not thoroughly crushed down. My mind is like an inflamed body—the lightest touch is felt far more sensibly than would be a heavy blow if all were healthy. You understand me?” “Perfectly, and can feel for you. But knowing that the state of mind in which you are is, as you intimate, an unhealthy one, I cannot agree with you in your discouraging conclusions.” “But what can I do? Have I not failed in three earnest, and well directed efforts to advance myself in the world?” “Try again, Henry.” “And come out worse than before.” “No—no—that need not follow. better way.” “Do you mean to intimate that I have not conducted my business in a proper manner?” asked the young man, in a quick voice, his cheek instantly glowing. “I do not mean to intimate,” returned Mr. Linton calmly, “that you committed any wilful wrong in your business. And yet, I suppose you will not yourself deny the position, that there was 121

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something wrong about it, or success would have met your earnest efforts, instead of failure.” “I don't know,” was the gloomy response. “The fates, I believe, are against me.” “What do you mean by the fates?” The young man made no reply, and his monitor resumed in a still more serious tone— “You can only mean, of course, that Divine Being who is the author of our existence, and the controller of our destinies. That Being who is essential love and wisdom, and whose acts towards us can only flow from a pure regard for the good of his creatures. And if such regard be directed by wisdom that cannot err, can any act of his towards you be evil?—

“Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence,
He hides a smiling face.

“His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.’”

“I try to think in that way—and try often,” returned the young man in a softened tone. “But it is hard, very hard to believe that a Being of infinite goodness, would so hedge up the path of any one as mine has been hedged up--would so mock with vain hopes the heart of any one as mine has been mocked.”

“Your mind is not now in a state to think calmly and rationally upon this subject, Henry,” Mr. Linton said; “but the time will come when you will see in this state of severe trial a dispensation of mercy. It will then be perceived, that all this was for the purpose of giving you juster views of life, and confirming you in higher ends than any you have heretofore acted upon. For the present, I will only repeat--Don't be discouraged! Try again! Put your shoulder once more to the wheel. Depend upon it, your time will come; but not until you can bear success in a right spirit. And to have success before you are thus prepared to bear it, would be the worst injury that could befall you.”

Henry Grant, the young man here introduced to the reader's notice, had, at the age of twentyone, done the very imprudent thing of entering into business for himself. True, from the age of seventeen, he had been in the store of a merchant, who carried on a very extensive trade, and had, moreover, acquired so thorough a knowledge of business, that the most important subordinate position in the house had been assigned to him. But all this confidence reposed in him, and this familiarity with the business in which he was engaged, deceived him. He saw that heavy profits were accruing every year. That while he was toiling on through the long months of an annual cycle for a single thousand dollars, tens of thousands were added to the coffers of his already wealthy employer.

“Why should I waste the best years of my life in making money for others?” he asked himself, the day after he had attained his majority. This thought was the germ of discontent in his mind. It was nourished, and grew into a tree, whose thick leaves so overshadowed his mind, that he could not see the clear sky of sober truth above, in which shone stars whose light beamed forth to guide him. He became eager for wealth, that he might have selfish enjoyments. Every beautiful dwelling, the reward of, perhaps, years of steady industry, and now enjoyed by some opulent merchant, he envied its possessor. He sighed when a rich man's carriage rolled by him in the street. Nothing rare, or new, or elegant, gratified his eye, because it was not his own. Impelled by a weak and selfish desire to be suddenly rich, a few years after he had come to the age of manhood, he drew from the hands of his guardian five thousand dollars, the hard-earned and carefully husbanded treasure left him by his father, and threw himself with large ideas and unwavering confidence upon the troubled sea of merchandise. The story of this adventure is soon told. In two years he was compelled to wind up his business, having lost his entire capital. This was a painful shock. But it was of use to him, in unsealing his eyes, and giving him a truer view of life, and soberer ideas from which to act. Still, he could not think, having once been in business for himself, of falling back into the monotonous, dull, and humble condition of a clerk. There was something in the fact of mingling with merchants on a plane of equality, that flattered his vanity. He had thus mingled, and thus felt flattered. The thought of taking his old position, and of losing the courtesies that had been so grateful to him, was more than he could think of enduring. This feeling alone, had none other operated in his mind, would have induced him again to make an effort to get into business. A few months enabled him to so arrange his old affairs, as to be ready to go on again. He found numbers ready to sell him goods on short credit, and this determined him once more to cast himself upon the ocean. He did so. Two more years passed on, and at their termination he found himself, alas! again in a narrow place. Much more than all his profits in that time was locked up in bad debts, remnants, and unsaleable goods. For a time, by borrowing from a few friends, he had been enabled to meet his payments, but that resource at last failed, and trouble again came upon him. But it was a worse trouble than before, and shocked his proud, sensitive feelings severely. His goods and accounts, after all had been given up, were not sufficient to pay the claims against him. He was, therefore, an insolvent debtor. As fairy castles fade away under the magician's touch, so faded away at this event, the glowing ideas of wealth and splendour that had passed so temptingly before the eye of Henry Grant. He did not now ask for his tens of thousands—his country-seats, glittering equipages, and all the splendid paraphernalia attendant upon high station in society, united with immense wealth. To have Possessed the few thousands of dollars that were exhibited as deficits in his accounts, would have compassed his dearest wishes. But even this humble and honourable desire was not granted. He was in debt, and what was worse, with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness added thereto. In due course of time, his business was settled up, and he again thrown upon the world. While debating in his mind the propriety of accepting an offer from his old employer, and enter his store as a clerk, propositions were made to him from an individual to accept a share in his business. He did so without consultation with any friend. The result was unfavourable. Scarcely a year had elasped, before crash went the whole concern about his ears. It was under the disheartening effects of this last disaster, that we have seen him labouring. How far he had just cause of despondency, or just cause to suppose that the fates were against him, the reader will be likely to determine more wisely than he was able to do himself. “Don’t be discouraged, Henry!” said his old employer to him a few days after the conversation between the young man and Mr. Linton. “You are young yet. I was thirty-four when I commenced my present business, and you are but twenty-seven. You have seven years, therefore, in your favour.” “But I am in debt.” “How much?” “Five thousand dollars. Or, if I am to be held liable for my late partner's obligations, some twenty or thirty thousand. But I believe those claims will not come against me. When I entered into the copartnership, I happened to be wise enough to have a clause inserted in the agreement protecting me from all prior obligations of my new associate in business.” “And well for you it is that you did so. Five thousand dollars, then, is all you owe. For your comfort, I will tell you, that, at your age, from imprudences similar to your own, I was ten thousand dollars in debt.” “And remained so for seven years?” “Yes, and for more than that. It was ten years before I was able to wipe off old scores.” “O dear! I should die if I thought it would be ten years before I could write myself free from debt.” “It is not so easy a matter to die as you might think,” the merchant replied, smiling. “But, what am I to do?” asked Grant, in real distress of mind. “Do? Why, there are many ways to do. All that is wanted is patience and resolution;—not mere excitement,<-you have had enough of that.


You felt, six years ago, as if you had the world in a sling. I saw it all, and knew where it would all end.” “Why did not you tell me so?” “Because you would not have believed me. And, besides, ‘bought wit is best.' No experience like a man's own! A few years of disappointment and trouble I saw would be necessary to thresh off the chaff of your character.” “And pretty well threshed 1 have been, verily! But, to come back to the one question ever uppermost in my mind. What am I to do?” “There is one thing you can do, Henry,” replied the merchant, “and that is to come into my store and receive a salary of twelve hundred dollars a year.” “My heart thanks you for your kind offer,” replied the young man earnestly. “But, to do so, would be to act from a mere selfish regard to my own interests.” “How so?” “The salary of a clerk will yield simply a support; it cannot pay off my debts.” “You wish, then, to go again into business?” “I must do something to relieve myself from . debt.” “I do not see, as things now are, that going into business will accomplish this very desirable object. So far, business has only tended to involve you deeper and deeper.” “I know that, and it is because of this, that I am so terribly disheartened.” “Then come into my store, and devote yourself for a year or so to my business. It will yield you a living. By that time something may open before you. It is time enough yet, depend upon it, for you to enter the arena of strife as a merchant. The position is one requiring a cooler head and more experience than you are yet possessed of. I have long since been satisfied, from extensive observation, that, as a general rule, nine men out of ten fail, who enter into business as merchants, under thirty years of age.” At last, but with some reluctance, Henry Grant fell back into his old place as clerk, where he remained for four years. During that period, early painful experiences formed in his mind a true flame of thought. He was enabled to see how and where he had been in error, and how wrong ends had led him into imprudent acts. He could not, at times, help smiling as a recollection of former states came up, in which it seemed to him, that he had but to list his hand and gather in wealth to any extent. Then he was eloquent on principles of architectural taste, and could descant wisely upon rural beauties, enhanced by liberal art. Nowhere could he find a mansion either in the city or country, that fully came up to his ideas of what a rich man's dwelling should be. But a spirit far more subdued had now come over him. He could go up into higher regions of his mind, and see there in existence principles whose pure delights flowed not from the mere gratification of selfish


and sensual pleasures. He was made deeply conscious, that even with all the wealth, and all the external things which wealth could give, for the gratification of the senses, and for the pampering of selfishness and pride, he could not be happy. That happiness must flow from an internal state, and not from any combination of external circumstances. About this time the oldest son of his employer arrived at his thirtieth year. Up to this period he had, since the attainment of his majority, held an interest in his father's business, which regularly yielded him about two thousand dollars per annum. A proposition to enter into business with this son, on a cash basis of twenty thousand dollars, and credit to any reasonable extent, was at once accepted by Grant. Ten years from that day he was a sober-minded merchant, steadily and wisely pursuing his business, and worth every cent of fifty thousand dollars. “The fates have at last grown propitious,” remarked old Mr. Linton to him one day with a look and tone that was understood. “I have only become a wiser man, I presume, and therefore better able to bear an improved condition,” was the reply of Mr. Grant. “Then you do not now regret your early disappointments?” “O no. I am truly thankful that I was not suffered to acquire wealth while under the influence of my vain, weak and foolish ideas. My reverses were blessings in disguise. They were sent as correctors of evil.” “That you can now see clearly?” “O yes. Had I been allowed to go on successfully, treasuriug up wealth, I should have been made miserable. My weak desires would have been ever in advance of my abilities. I should have envied those who were able to make a more imposing appearance than myself, and despised all who were below me. And, surely, in this life, I can imagine no state so truly unhappy as that.” “He is the wise man,” returned Mr. Linton, “who thus, from seeming evil educes good. The


longer we live, and the more of the ups and downs of life we see, the stronger becomes our conviction that there is One above all, and wiser than all, who rules events for our good. Between the ages of twenty-one and thirty are usually crowded more disappointments and discouraging circumstances –- more trials and pains — than in all a man's after life. Will any one who has passed forty tell you in his sober reflective moments that he cannot look back and see that these have all worked together for his good? I think not. And this will be the case as well with him who has grown rich as with him who still toils early and late for his daily bread.” “There is then, you believe, an overruling Providence that has reference to a man's external condition in the world—permitting one to grow rich, and keeping another poor?” “I do. And all this regards his eternal, and not his mere temporal condition. Our mistake lies in estimating the dealings of Divine Providence as referring particularly to our external condition. This is not the case. We are regarded with a love that looks to our higher and better interests--to our spiritual and eternal good. External things, because it is by these that we are most affected, are so governed, as to lead us to think of interior things that appertain to the life within—to that life which we are to live when separated from the body. It matters not how blindly we are pursuing a course in which we are determined to succeed—the Great Ruler and Governor of all things will obstruct our way, if that way leads to our spiritual destruction, and it is possible to turn us into a better way. Too often it happens that men are allowed to go on in evil courses, because, if turned from them, they would pursue after more direful, soul-destroying evils.” “If this lesson could only be received by us, and fully believed when we first enter upon life, how many bitter hours of discouragement it would save us,” replied Mr. Grant with feeling. “But experience is the only sure teacher. We only know what we have lived.”

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We are a little family of four—we the primary colours. We have been in existence ever since the world began; we were in Eden before Adam was, and very busy we were getting it ready for him, and his gentle helpmate, Eve. I myself am Red. I am a fiery little fellow, hot and hasty, and when I get into the fire, beware of me, for I am a very demon then. After me comes meek, tender-hearted Blue; Yellow is a wild boy, something like me in his disposition; he and I are very good friends, and have many a sport together in the soft clouds at sunset. Green is a sober fellow, and a very pleasant one; he is busy just now in decorating the new grass and young leaves for spring. We would be very happy together, for we are always busy, although our occupations are all different. I say we would be a merry set of little fellows, if it were not for two enemies, and I grieve to say it, these enemies are fallen ones of our own race. I mean first, a dark fearful foe, who spreads his dingy wing over us, and in spite of our labours, all day, always gets the better of us at night. This is an imp called Black; and another, his opposite, who ever since the world began has been the servant of disease and decay, blanching the roses I paint, and the warm cheek I have under my special protection, and covering every thing in winter with his own cold semblance; his name is White. The Sun, our good benefactor and parent, has a great hatred towards these enemies of ours; indeed, when he appears they have to fly. I like to see him in the spring, darting his angry rays at our last-mentioned enemy, and forcing him to run down the hills, and hide his head in the crevices. But I am wandering from my story. As I said, we were in Eden before Adam was. The morning he first appeared, was very bright and beautiful. The sun was shining gaily, and I and my companions were up early and hard at work painting. Green had done the trees and the grass, and was now sitting down, to take in hand some young mosses, that had just come up and were calling him. And the katydids and the grasshoppers came and chirped lively music around him. Blue had lent her colour to the morning sky, and was crossing a meadow, to lay her tiny brush on the waters beyond—when what was her joy to find, that here her labours might be spared. It was already painted for her, she had looked Heaven-ward, first, (and mortals, ye may find a moral in it.) her task upon Earth was lightened, the blue of the sky was reflected in the glassy 11 *

wave. Blue shook her wings for joy. “I shall have time now to finish all those violets in the hollow,” said she. So she sat down on a pebble and began to colour these her favourites, looking up and smiling ever and anon at the blue birds, flying backwards and forwards over her head. Yellow was busy too, that morning; thousands and thousands of flowers were calling him, and the golden sunbeams, on the tops, beckoned him hither and thither, and the golden fruit bending over the stream waved backwards and forwards reproachfully at his delay, for he was gilding the sands by the water side, and keeping a strict watch over the gold fish, that crowded to that part of the water. I too had my hands full that day. Oh, how I worked and panted till my red face grew still redder, as I ran from flower to fruit, and from fruit to flower. The strawberries kept me a long time among them, for they were a very large family, and then I had such countless varieties of flowers, not including my darling roses. Further in the wood, I had to climb over wreaths of polished scarlet berries, and in the air my robin redbreasts, and on the beach there were shells to be lined, and in the ocean-depths more shells and sea-weed, and branching coral, and bright glowing rubies. But by mid-day, it was all complete, and we stood and congratulated each other on what we had done. Suddenly a burst of celestial music was poured forth—and again all was hushed, and Adam, the Man, stepped forth. For days we ministered to him, delighting his eyes in every possible manner; but, sometimes, at evening, when he was asleep, we would dance round him, we merry ones, and sometimes we would pity him that he was alone. Another gala-day burst upon Eden. It was whispered among us, that we were to have another mighty guest. So we set to work again painting and painting; but we were well rewarded for all our pains, by the sight of the lovely creature, who walked timidly, hand in hand with Adam, through our forest shades. Overcome with delight, and intoxicated with joy, for I always was a gay wild fellow, I raised my wings, and springing to her chiselled lips left there some of my choicest and rarest crimson, a peculiar shade, which I had never yet bestowed upon any earthly thing. I touched her cheeks also, and making one of the zephyrs waft a rose leaf by, I found the tint matched exactly. Yellow settled in her hair, that luxuriant mass, 125

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