« AnteriorContinua »
them. Instead of being confined to plain, wholesome food, and taught to consider their meals as the necessary means of life, they are led, from being pampered with dainties, to regard the indulgence of their appetites as its chief gratification. Thus, is a taste early acquired, and a passion prematurely excited, for mere sensual pleasures; while the mind, in the mean time, is often corrupted by pride, selfishness, and indolence; or its attention called off from
every praise-worthy subject, every laudable
exertion, and every generous pursuit. Not to mention, also, that the health of such children may be materially injured, and that, on every change of situation, they will be prepared to meet with difficulties and hardships, where others, who have been properly bred, and are both healthy and vigorous, would feel themselves happy and contented.
Such being the sinful nature of Wastefulness, and its baneful effects in general, let me carnestly exhort you to guard against it yourselves, and to prevent it, as much as possible, in those who form part of your housholds.
At the same time, carefully avoid every thing, that may be justly construed into niggardliness of disposition, or want of Christian hospitality,
The general rule to be derived from the holy Gospel on this occasion is, enjoy the blessings of Providence, but do not pervert, or abuse them. Let them, in your hands, be the means of diffusing happiness, not of spreading misery ;-of exhibiting patterns of charity and munificence, not of promoting vice, and encouraging dissipation. In short, shew yourselves worthy of husbanding the talent that has been committed to your care, and manifest your gratitude to the Father of Mercies, by a disposition ready, at all times, to give, and glad to distribute.
It would be needless rigor, perhaps, to require, or expect, that the tables of the rich should not sometimes abound with superfluous plenty. There are occasions, when feasting and " making merry" may not only be innocent, but commendable; as we learn from the parable of the Prodigal Son, the marriage in Cana of Galilee, and other parts of the holy Gospel; and we should remember, that the magnitude of the evil complained of does not depend on casual, or incidental circumstances, but on the daily and constant habit. The truly benevolent man, and the Christian, whenever he gives a more sumptuous entertainment than usual, will remember the precept of his Lord
and Saviour, and say to those about him, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost."
In order to accomplish this, he must, by vigilant circumspection, and wholesome reproof, endeavour to deserve the commendation of the apostle, and be "one that ruleth well his own house." Servants should be deeply impressed with the sin, the folly, and even dishonesty of wastefulness. A little reflection, also, might teach them, that by pampering themselves with luxuries in the houses of the rich, and by wasting more than they can enjoy, they are not only.unfaithful to the trust reposed in them, but are compleatly disqualifying themselves for a change of situation.
With the young and inexperienced, whose incomes afford only a competency, they are often the instruments of embarrassment and ruin. We may add, that, if they should ever have a home of their own, the small pittance, which they might have earned by servitude, would soon be dissipated, in procuring a few only of the indulgences to which they had unfortunately been accustomed; and the hardships of life would at all times be multiplied to them in a tenfold proportion.
Farther, let us guard against Waste by preventing what is in its nature perishable from being spoiled, or lost, from carelessness; and, if at any time our cup should be overflowing, and our table more than full, let the hand and heart of Christian charity be ready to satisfy the wants of those, whom her inquiring spirit has previously found out, and deemed most worthy.
If it should appear, for the reasons already mentioned, that we are bound by the duties of religion, as well as the principles of benevolence and humanity, to avoid Waste, ourselves, and to prevent it, as far as possible, in our fellow creatures, it is surely a duty founded even on stronger obligations, to prevent a wasteful consumption of the fruits of the earth, or of that ground, which might furnish food for man, by over-feeding such animals as are kept chiefly for pleasure. "The merciful man" should, indeed, "be kind to his beast ;" but I will not violate the decorum of the pulpit, by entering into any detail of the shameful waste and profusion, that are often indulged, from mere motives of vanity, ostentation, and caprice. Nor will I invade the province of our Courts of justice by descanting on the enormous crimes of monopolising and
forestalling the necessaries of life, or the sinful waste and artificial scarcity, which, in the midst of plenty, they are calculated to produce.
Eyes must we have and see not, ears must we have and hear not," if we "do not know and observe these things."
To conclude,-if Waste and extravagance in this and every other instance could be effectually prevented, and a system of liberal economy be generally established, that should allow every one what he could rationally enjoy, and take from no one any thing that he might reasonably want, it would prove an object of the greatest national importance.
It is impossible to calculate the good that would be accomplished by it, and the evil that would be prevented. Habits of frugality and order, of temperance and sobriety, of charity and beneficence, would then pervade the whole mass of society. What an addition would not this be to the sum of human happiness, and what a subtraction from the load of human wretchedness! Imagination can scarcely forbear to contemplate the vast accession of power, which Christian charity would derive, could she collect and distribute the rich talents, which are trampled under foot by the intemperate and