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to make sport at. Tom, indeed, was very careful in looking after the linchpins; in never giving his horses too much water when they were hot; nor, whatever was his haste, would he ever gallop them up hill, strike them across the head, or, when tired, cut and slash them, or gallop over the stones, as soon as he got into a town, as some foolish fellows do. What helped to cure Tom of these bad practices was, that remark he met with in the Bible, that "a good man is merciful to his beast." He was much moved one day, on reading the prophet Jonah, to observe what compassion the great God of heaven and earth had for poor beasts; for one of the reasons there given why the Almighty was unwilling to destroy the great city of Nineveh, was, " because there was much cattle in it." After this, Tom never could bear to see a wanton stroke inflicted. "Doth God care for horses," said he, " and shall man be cruel to them?"
Tom soon grew rich, for one in his station; for every gentleman on the road would be driven by no other lad, if careful Tom was to be had. Being diligent, he got a great deal of money; being frugal, he spent but little; and having no vices, he wasted none. He soon found out that there was some meaning in that text which says, that" godliness hath the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come;" for the same principles which make a man sober and honest, have also a natural tendency to make him htalthy and rich; while a drunkard and a spendthrift can hardly escape being sick and a beggar. Vice is the parent of misery in both worlds.
After a few years Tom begged a holiday, and made a visit to his native village; his good character had got thither before him. He found his father was dead; but, during his long illness, Tom had supplied him with money; and, by allowing him a trifle every week, had had the honest satisfaction of keeping him from the parish. Farmer Hodges was still living; but, being grown old and infirm, he was desirtws to retire from business. He retained a great regard for his old servant, Tom; and finding he was worth money, and knowing he knew something of country business, he offered to let him a small farm at an easy rate, and promised his assistance in the management for the first year, with the loan of a small sum of money, that he might set out with a pretty stock. Tom thanked him with tears in his eyes; went back, and took a handsome leave of his master, who made him a present of a horse and cart, in acknowledgment of his long and faithful services; for says he, " I have saved many horses by Tom's care and attention, and I could well afford to do the same by every servant who did the same by me; and should be a richer man at the end of every year by the same generosity, provided I could meet with just and faithful servants, who deserved the same rewards.
Tom was soon settled in his new farm, and in less than a year had got every thing neat and decent about him. Farmer Hodges's long experience and friendly advice, joined to his own industry and hard labor, soon brought the farm to great perfection. The regularity, sobriety, peaceableness, and piety of his daily life, his constant attendance at church twice every Sunday, and his decent and devout behavior when there, soon recommended him to the notice of Dr. Shepherd, who was still living, a pattern of zeal, activity, and benevolence to all parish priests. The doctor soon began to hold up Tom, or, as we must now more properly term him, Mr. Thomas White, to the imitation of the whole parish; and the frequent and condescending conversation of this worthy clergyman contributed, no less than his preaching, to the improvement of his new parishioner in piety.
Farmer White soon found out that a dairy could not well be carried on without a mistress, and began to think seriously of marrying: he prayed to God to direct him in so important a business. He knew that a tawdry, vain, dressy girl was not likely to make good cheese and butter; and that a worldly and ungodly woman would make a sad wife and mistress of a family. He soon heard of a young woman of excellent character, who had been bred up by the vicar's lady, and still lived in the family as an upper maid. She was prudent, sober, industrious, and religious. Her neat, modest, and plain appearance at church (for she was seldom seen any where else out of her master's family) was an example to all persons in her station, and n^ver failed to recommend her to strangers, even before they had an opportunity of knowing the goodness of her character. It was her character, however, which recommended her to Farmer White. He knew that " favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised:"—"Ay, and not only praised, but chosen too," says Farmer White, as he took down his hat from the nail on which it hung, in order to go and wait on Dr. Shepherd, to break his mind, and ask his consent; for he thought it would be a very unhandsome return for all the favors he. was receiving from his minister, to decoy away his faithful servant from her place, without his consent.
This worthy gentleman, though sorry to lose so valuable a member of his little family, did not scruple a moment about parting with her, when he found it would be so greatly to her advantage. Tom was agreeably surprised to hear she had saved fifty pounds by her frugality. The doctor married them himself, Farmer Hodges being present.
In the afternoon of the wedding-day, Dr. Shepherd condescended to call on Farmer and Mrs. White, to give a few words of advice on the new duties they had entered into; a common custom with him on those occasions. He often took an opportunity to drop, in the most kind and tender way, a hint on the great indecency of making marriages, christenings, and, above all, funerals, days of riot and excess, as is too often the case in country villages. The expectation that the vicar might possibly drop in, in his walks, on these festivities, often restrained excessive drinking and improper conversation, even among those who were not restrained by higher motives, as Farmer and Mrs. White were.
What the doctor said, was always in such a cheerful, good-humored way, that it was sure to increase the pleasure of the day, instead of damping it. "Well, farmer," said he, "and you, my faithful Sarah, any other friend might recommend peace and agreement to you on your marriage; but I, on the contrary, recommend cares and strifes."* The company stared—but Sarah, who knew that her old master was a facetious gentleman, and always had some good meaning behind, looked serious. "Cares and strifes, sir," said the farmer; "what do you mean 1" "I mean," said he, "for the first, that your cares shall be who shall please God most; and your strifes, who shall serve him best, and do your duty most faithfully. Thus all your cares and strifes being employed to the highest purposes, all petty cares and worldly strifes shall be at an end.
"Always remember, that you have, both of you, a better friend than each other." The company stared again, and thought no woman could have so good a friend as her husband. "As you have chosen each other from the best motives," continued the doctor, "you have every reasonable ground to hope for happiness; but as this world is a soil in which troubles and misfortunes will spring up; troubles from which you cannot save one another, misfortunes which no human prudence can avoid; then remember, 'tis the best wisdom to go to that friend who is always near, always willing, and always able, to help you; and that friend is God."
* See Dr. Dod's Sayings. [John Dod, whose religious aphorisms long ago
adorned almost all farm-nouses and colleges, was a pious minister in Northamptonshire, at the beginning of the seventeenth century.—Ed.]
"Sir," said Farmer White, " I humbly thank you for all your kind instructions, of which I shall now stand more in need than ever, as I shall have more duties to fulfil. I hope the remembrance of my past offences will keep me humble; and the sense of my remaining sin will keep me watchful. 1 set out in the world, sir, with what is called a good natural disposition, but I soon found, to my cost, that without God's grace, that will carry a man but a little way. A good tempter is a good thing; but nothing but the fear of God can enable one to bear up against temptation, evil company, and eril passions. The misfortune of breaking my leg, as I then thought it, has proved the greatest blessing of my life. It showed me my own weakness, the value of the Bible, and the goodness of God. How many of my brother drivers have I seen, since that time, cut off in the prime of life, by drinking, or by some sudden accident, while I have not only been spared, but blessed and prospered. O, sir! it would be the joy of my heart, if some of my old comrades, good-natured, civil fellows (whom I can't help loving), could see, as I have done, the danger of evil courses, before it is too late. Though they may not hearken to you, sir, or any other minister, they may believe me, because I have been one of them; and I can speak from experience, of the great difference there is, even as to worldly comfort, between a life of sobriety and a life of sin. I could tell them, sir, not as a thing I have read in a book, but as a truth I feel in my own heart, that to fear God and keep his commandments, will not only bring a man peace at the last, but will make him happy now. And I will venture to say, sir, that all the stocks, pillories, prisons, and gibbets in the land, though so very needful to keep bad men in order, yet will never restrain a good man from committing evil, half so much as that single text, ' How shall I do this great wickedness, and sin against God ?'" Dr. Shepherd condescended to approve of what the farmer had said—kindly shook him by the hand, and took leave.
The Way to Plenty; or, the Second Part of Tom White. Written in 1795, the Year of Scarcity
Tom White, as we have shown in the first part of this history, from an idle postboy was become a respectable farmer. God had blessed his industry, and he had prospered in the world. He was sober and temperate, and, as was the natural consequence, he was active and healthy. He was industrious and frugal, and he became prosperous in his circumstances. This is in the ordinary course of Providence; but it is not a certain and necessary rule. "God maketh his sun to shine on the just and the unjust." A man who uses every honest means of thrift and industry, will, in most cases, find success attend his labors. But stui "the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong." God is sometimes pleased, for wise ends, to disappoint all the worldly hopes of the most upright man. His corn may be smitten by a blight; his barns may be consumed by fire; his cattle may be carried off by distemper; and to these, and other misfortunes, the good man is as liable as the spendthrift or the knave. Success is the common reward of industry; but if it were its constant reward, the industrious would be tempted to look no further than the present state. They would lose one strong ground of their faith. It would set aside the Scripture scheme. This world would then be looked on as a state of reward, instead of a state of trial; and we should forget to look to a day of final retribution.
Farmer White never took it into his head, that, because he paid his debts, worked early and late, and ate the bread of carefulness, he was therefore to come into no misfortune like other folk, but was to be free from the common trials and troubles of life. He knew that prosperity was far from being a sure mark of God's favor, and had read in good books, and especially in the Bible, of the great poverty and afflictions of the best of men. Though he was no great scholar, he had sense enough to observe, that a time of public prosperity was not always a time of public virtue; and he thought that what was true of a whole nation might be true of one man. So the more he prospered, the more he prayed that prosperity might not corrupt his heart. And when he saw, lately, signs of public distress coming on, he was not half so much