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have fifty thousand pegs to drive this week.” It would seem almost impossible to do it. Drive fifty thousand pegs in a week! A multitude of boys would say: “I can't ;" “I won't try it." But this lad just went to work, and accomplished it without a word of complaint. This is an illustration of the necessity there is for perseverance in every trade and profession.
A mother wishes her daughter to attend to music. How long will it be before the girl will become an adept in the art? Five, eight, ten years, perhaps. Day after day, year after year, she must finger the keys, playing the same lessons over and over. Many have to be almost whipped into the necessary application. It is only the most patient endurance that can make the girl mistress of the piano.
There are our faults, too: it requires a great deal of watchfulness, and self-lecturing, continued for a series of months and years, to overcome them. Some bad habit formed in childhood or youth often sticks to a man all his days, because he has not perseverance enough to overcome it. How many parents are now lamenting over the evil habits of sons and daughters, whom they have counselled again and again about their ways, but in vain! Perhaps their children have really tried for a while to correct themselves, but unguarded moments come often, and they find themselves doing evil when they would do good. It is so difficult to conquer their evil inclinations that they almost relinquish the attempt in despair.
Remember, reader, that the faults of character and conduct cannot be reinoved without the most resolute perseverance.
“Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate:
Learn to labour and to wait."
The literal meaning of integrity is soundness. He who possesses it, is true to his convictions of right. With the late Henry Clay, he would “rather be right than be President.” He cannot be bought or sold for money, honour, or power. He adheres to truth and duty with a firmness that nothing can overcome. Every one knows where to find him. The vicious know better than to tempt him to depart from right. It is the morally weak and undecided who succumb to “divers temptations.” There is some encouragement to tempt this class; for they do not stand firmly, either in their own or God's strength. But the youth or man of uncompromising integrity is firm as the hills; and the more he is tempted, the firmer he grows.
Every time he rises above proffered inducements to wrong doing, he becomes stronger to hurl aside every succeeding tempter that rises in his path.
Such was Amos Lawrence from youth to age. He had not been long in the shop at Groton before his employer found that he was a boy to be trusted. Long before his apprenticeship closed, he had the general oversight of the entire business. Would his employer have placed him in so responsible a place unless he had entire confidence in his integrity? By no means.
A merchant, engaged in an extensive wholesale business, once pointed a friend to a young man in his shop.
“That young man,” said he, “is my banker."
Perceiving that his friend did not comprehend the drift of his remark, he added :
“ He has the entire charge of my financial matters. I have too much on my mind to be perplexed with them.”
The friend inquired if he did not fear to commit such a trust to a youth, and expressed the opinion that it is not safe for a man to yield the oversight of his financial concerns to any person.
And he cited several cases of extensive fraud.
The merchant responded : "I fear no such thing. James came into my shop when he was not more than twelve years
age, and he has proved to me that he is strictly honest. He could commit a fraud of ten thousand pounds if he were disposed, and make off before I could help myself; but I have no fears. He is not the young man for such games."
It was integrity which placed James in that responsible situation. So it was this virtue in Amos Lawrence which induced his employer to put so much responsibility upon him. His other excellent qualities, no doubt, had their influence; but all of them together would not have secured for him such confidence if integrity had been wanting.
Neighbours and friends also appear to have regarded His good
him with peculiar favour on this account. judgment, no doubt, had something to do with the matter; but his being a "young man of his word” had not a little to do with such confidence. They would not have trusted a wild, reckless, unprincipled clerk in
Few men ever lived who adhered more tenaciously to right from youth to old age than Mr Lawrence. His biographer says of him:
“His daily actions were guided by the most exalted sense of right and wrong; and in his strict sense of justice, Aristides could not surpass him. He was a living example of a successful merchant, who had, from the earliest period of his business career, risen above all artifice, and had never been willing to turn to his own advantage the ignorance or misfortunes of others. He demonstrated in his own case the possibility of success, while practising the highest standard of moral obligation. He had ever commanded the confidence of those around him. When an apprentice in his native town, many of his customers relied upon his judgment rather than their own. He never deceived them, and early adopted as his rule of life, to do to others as he would have them to do to him. Thus he stood high in the confidence, as well as in the estimation, of his neighbours. What · Amos' said was right, and no one could gainsay.”
His pastor said, in his funeral sermon :
“His integrity, I may venture to say, stands absolutely unimpeached, without spot or blemish. His history as a merchant, from first to last, will bear the strictest scrutiny. Its minutest incidents, which have faded from the memory of those concerned ; its most secret acts, might all be brought into the light before us; and, like those, I trust, of many of his fraternity, they would seem only to illustrate the purity and integrity of his principles, the conscientious regard to truth and right and justice with which he conducted all the negotiations of business, and all the affairs of his life. He seemed ever to have a moral sensibility, which kept him from deviating a hair's breadth from what he saw to be his duty. It was this that constituted the strength of his character, and was one of the great secrets of his success. It was this that secured him, when a young man, the entire confidence of some of the wealthiest and best men of that day.”
How different it is with multitudes in all branches of business! How many strive for a livelihood by fair means, when they can, and by foul means, if
necessary! How many make the end justify the means ! How many excuse themselves in small departures from truth on the ground of their trifling character! How many do not hesitate to take advantage of the misfortunes and ignorance of others to fill their purses !
We once conversed with a Boston clerk, who contended that it is utterly impossible to maintain strict honesty in transacting the business of a retail mercantile house. We brought arguments to convince him that he was wrong; and now we bring the spotless character of Amos Lawrence, as an irrefutable argument that his views are false. No matter where a man is placed, he can do right if he pleases; and the more unfavourable his circumstances, the more praiseworthy and sublime is his integrity. The celebrated reformer, Zwingle, never appeared more noble and godlike, than