The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 3 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 313

present, perhaps, you may think
yourselves in thriving circumstances, and that you can bear a little
extravagance without injury; but

"For age and want save while you may,
No morning sun lasts a whole day."

Gain may be temporary and uncertain, but ever, while you live,
expence is constant and certain; and, "it is easier to build two
chimneys than to keep one in fuel," as poor Richard says: so "rather
go to bed supperless than rise in debt."

"Get what you can, and what you get hold,
'Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold."

And when you have got the philosopher's stone, sure you will no
longer complain of bad times, or the difficulty of paying taxes.

'IV. This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom: but, after
all, do not depend too much upon your own industry, and frugality,
and prudence, though excellent things; for they may all be blasted,
without the blessing of heaven; and therefore ask that blessing
humbly, and be not uncharitable to those that at present seem to
want it, but comfort and help them. Remember Job suffered, and was
afterwards prosperous.

'And now, to conclude, "experience keeps a dear school, but fools
will learn in no other," as poor Richard says, and scarce in that;
for, it is true, "we may give advice, but we cannot give conduct:"
however, remember this, "they that will not be counselled cannot be
helped;" and farther, that "if you will not hear reason she will
surely rap your knuckles," as poor Richard says.'

Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue. The people heard it and
approved the doctrine; and immediately practised the contrary, just
as if it had been a common sermon, for the auction opened and they
began to buy extravagantly.--I found the good man had thoroughly
studied my almanacks, and digested all I had dropt on those topics
during the course of twenty-five years. The frequent mention he made
of me must have tired any one else; but my vanity was wonderfully
delighted with it, though I was conscious, that not a tenth part
of the wisdom was my own, which he ascribed to me, but rather the
gleanings that I had made of the sense of all ages and nations.
However, I resolved to be the better for the echo of it; and, though
I had at first determined to buy stuff for a new coat, I went away,
resolved to wear my old one a little longer. Reader, if thou wilt

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