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There are, however, more suitable ways in which young people may make themselves useful, and, by and by, I hope that my Edward and Mary will enter on some of them. One of the most useful ways in which you can be employed, is that of becoming Sunday school teachers. Thousands and tens of thousands have been taught in Sunday schools to fear God, and to read his holy word. Now, there cannot be a kinder, or a more useful act performed in the world, than that of instructing the ignorant, and helping them on in their way to heaven. M. Mamma tells me that, in a few
years, I may be able to make myself very useful in
Mr. F. If we are really thankful to God for his goodness and mercy; if we truly love the Redeemer for what he has done and suffered for us, and unfeignedly value the gospel of Jesus Christ; we shall, in real earnest, desire to be a means, in God's hand, of making known to others the glad tidings of salvation. Show me a Sunday school teacher, who with an humble heart and zealous desire to do good is thus occupied, and I will pronounce him to be a friend to humanity, and deserving the respect and gratitude of young and old.
Ē. I hope soon to be a Sunday school teacher.
T. It will be a long while before I shall be wise enough; but I will do my best.
Mr. F. You have all of you read the account of the rich man and the poor man, who were shipwrecked on an island inhabited by savages. The rich man was despised and treated as a slave, because he could not make himself useful; while the poor man, who had been a basket maker, by forming head-dresses for
the savages of the reeds and rushes, and making them wicker work of the osiers, rose rapidly into importance. In this state of things, the rich man became the servant, or slave, of the poor man.
Peter. Papa! I should like to learn to plat rushes, and to make things for the savages, and then they will not make a slave of me.
Mr. F. I hope that my Peter will not venture on shipboard, till duty calls him there, and then he need not fear the
It is a good rule; in learning to act, never to despise even the least act of usefulness, and never to neglect a fair opportunity of knowing how to perform it: from the blacking of a shoe, to the cleaning of a clock; from the making of a mouse trap, to the management of a steam engine. When person
has once acquired a knowledge of useful acts, go where he will, he will ever find means of putting it in practice.
T. But rich people never work, papa.
Mr. F. Oh yes, they do; often harder than others. Have you forgotten, that Peter the Great worked as a common shipwright. It was that he might be able to direct others, that he set about learning to build ships himself. In common life, in the country, whatever may be a person's pursuits, to know how to sharpen a knife, to use a gimlet, hammer, saw, and chisel, to take a lock to pieces and clean it, to set flower seeds and plants, and even to plant trees, as well as a hundred other things, gives him a great advantage. Common observation, with a little reading and refleetion, will be quite sufficient to enable any one to do such things.
E. Whenever I see the carpenter, the glazier, the pump-maker, the builder, the wheelwright, or the gardener at work, I will keep a sharp eye on him for the future.
T. And so will I; and so will you, Peter, will you not?
P. Yes; but I should like to know how to plat reeds and rushes, for all that.
E. I thought, papa, that a man should only learn one trade.
Mr. F. Every man should make himself thoroughly master of the pursuit he follows, and never neglect it to run after others; but, if we keep our eyes open, we shall see and learn much that is useful, without loss of time and neglect of duty. I know a man at this present time, who is able to do almost everything that is wanted about a house. He can build, put on slates and tiles, lath and plaster; do carpenter's work, glaze windows, paint and paper rooms, repair locks, bolts, and bells, clean a clock, lay out a garden, and prune trees. Now, such a man as this in a neighbourhood is a treasure.
But I must now leave you. Accustom yourselves to acts of usefulness, and you will never be happy unless you perform them.
ACTS OF USEFULNESS CONTINUED.
BEFORE Mr. Franklin sat himself down with his young people to help them in learning to act, a friendly debate took place among them. The carpenter had been at work in the house, and the children had been examining very attentively his chest of tools. Thomas thought that the hammer was more useful than the chisel; and Mary said that, in her opinion, the saw was more useful than either. Peter had a great notion that the gimlet was very useful, for nobody could bore a hole without it; while Edward held up the axe, and asked them whether they did not think more work could be done with that, than with all the rest put together. At last came the question, “ Which is the most useful of all instruments, or machines ?”
Little Peter thought that a knife was, there were so many things that could be done with a knife, and so many that could not at all be done without it. Thomas thought a spade, or a plough, was still more useful than a knife, for if there were no spades and ploughs, the garden could not be dug, nor the field