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complimentary. "Talents are required for the ministry, as you say, but judgment, tact, and industry are required. to manufacture candles successfully. A fool would not
make much headway in the business."
"I meant no reflection upon Boston's tallow-chandler," and a smile played over his face as "Uncle Benjamin" said it; "but I really think that Benjamin is too talented for the business. Five talents can make candles well enough; let ten talents serve the Church."
"Well, that is sound doctrine; I shall not object to that," replied Josiah; "but if poverty makes it impossible for ten talents to serve the Church, it is better that they make candles than to do nothing. Candle-making is indispensable; it is a necessary business, and therefore it is honourable and useful."
"The business is well enough; a man can be a man and make candles. This way of lighting dwellings is really a great invention; and it will be a long time, I think, when anything better will supersede it. This new country is fortunate in having such a light, so cheap and convenient, so that the business is to be respected and valued. But Benjamin is greater than the business."
The last remark set forth "Uncle Benjamin's" views exactly. He really supposed that no improvement could be made in the method of lighting houses and shops by candles. That was the opinion of all the Franklins. To them a tallow-candle was the climax of advancement on that line. If a prophet had arisen, and foretold the coming of gas and electricity for the lighting of both houses and streets, in the next century, he would have been regarded as insane—too crazy even to make candles. Progress was not a prevailing idea of that day. It did not enter into any questions of the times as a factor. If succeeding generations should maintain the standard of theirs, enjoying as many privileges, it would be all that could be reasonably expected. Candles would be needed until the "new
heaven and new earth" of Revelation appeared. Possibly they would have believed that their method of lighting would be popular in "that great city, the Holy Jesusalem," had it not been declared in the Bible that they will "need no candle," because "there shall be no night there."
"Uncle Benjamin" added, what really comforted Josiah : "Of course, if you are not able to send Benjamin to college, he can't go, and that ends it. If I were able to pay the bills, I should be only too glad to do it. Benjamin is a remarkable boy, and his talents will manifest themselves whatever his pursuit may be. He will not always make candles for a living; you may depend on that."
"Perhaps not," responded Josiah; "if Providence introduces him into a better calling, I shall not object; but I want he should be satisfied with this until the better one comes."
As the time drew near for Benjamin to exchange school for the candle-factory, his disappointment increased. To exchange school which he liked so well, for a dirty business that he did not like at all, was almost too much for his flesh and blood. His feelings revolted against the uncongenial trade.
"You don't know how I dread to go into the candlefactory to make it my business for life," he said to his mother. "I feel worse and worse about it."
"We are all sorry that you are obliged to do it,” replied Mrs. Franklin. "I am sure that your father would have made any sacrifice possible to send you to college, but it was simply impossible. You will have to make the best of it. God may open the way to employment that will be more congenial to you some time. For the present He means that you should help your father, I have no doubt of that; and you must do the best for him that you can."
"That is what I intend to do, however much I dislike the business. I want to help father all I can; he has a hard time enough to provide for us."
Benjamin expressed himself as frankly to his father, adding, "I really wish you would engage in some other business."
"And starve, too?" rejoined his father. "In such times as these we must be willing to do what will insure us a livelihood. I know of no other business that would give me a living at present-certainly none that I am qualified to pursue."
"Well, I should rather make soap and candles than starve, on the whole," Benjamin remarked in reply; "but nothing short of starvation could make me willing to follow the business."
"One other thing ought to make you willing to do such work," added his father; "a determination to be industrious. Idleness is the parent of vice. Boys like you should be industrious even if they don't earn their salt. It is better for them to work for nothing than to be idle."
"I think they had better save their strength till they can. earn something," said Benjamin. People must like to work better than I do, to work for nothing."
"You do not understand me; I mean to say that it is so important for the young to form industrious habits, that they had better work for nothing than to be idle. If they are idle when they are young, they will be so when they become men, and idleness will finally be their ruin. 'The devil tempts all other men, but idle men tempt the devil;' and I hope that you will never consent to verify the proverb."
Mr. Franklin had been a close observer all his life, and he had noticed that industry was characteristic of those who accomplished anything commendable. Consequently he insisted that his children should have employment. He allowed no drones in his family hive. All must be busy as bees. All had something to do as soon as they were old enough to toil. Under such influences Benjamin was reared, and he grew up to be as much in love with industry
as his father was. Some of his best counsels and most interesting sayings, when he became a man, related to this subject. There is no doubt that his early discipline on this line gave to the world his best sayings on this and other subjects. The following are some of his counsels referred to:
"Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labour wears, while the used key is always bright."
"But dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of."
"If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality."
"Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry all easy; and he that riseth late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night; while laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him."
"At the working-man's house hunger looks in but dares not enter."
"Diligence is the mother of good-luck, and God gives all things to industry."
"One to-day is worth two to-morrows."
"Drive thy business! let not thy business drive thee." "God helps them that help themselves."
He wrote to a young tradesman as follows:
"Remember that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labour, and goes abroad or sits idle one-half that day, though he spend but sixpence during his diversion or idleness, ought not to reckon that the only expense; he has really spent, or rather thrown away, five shillings besides.
"The sound of your hammer at five in the morning, or nine at night, heard by a creditor, makes him easy six months longer; but, if he sees you at a billiard-table, or hears your voice at a tavern, when you should be at work, he sends for his money the next day; demands it before he can receive it in a lump."
Benjamin became a better teacher than his father; and, no doubt, was indebted to his father for the progress. Had he gone to college instead of the candle-shop, the world might not have received his legacy of proverbial wisdom. For these were the outcome of secular discipline, when he was brought into direct contact with the realities of business and hardship. Colleges do not teach proverbs; they do not make practical men, but learned men. Practical men are made by observation and experience in the daily work of life. In that way Franklin was made the remarkable practical man that he was.
Had "Uncle Benjamin" lived to read such words of wisdom from the pen of his namesake, when his reputation had spread over two hemispheres, he would have said, “I told you so. Did I not say that Benjamin would not always make candles? Did I not prophecy that he would make his mark in manhood?"
Benjamin became a tallow-chandler when he was ten years old; and he meant to make a good one, although the business was repulsive to his feelings. At first his industry and tact were all that his father could desire. He devoted the hours of each workday closely to the trade, though his love for it did not increase at all. If anything, he disliked it more and more as the weeks and months dragged on. Perhaps he became neglectful and somewhat inefficient, for he said, in his manhood, that his father often repeated to him this passage from the Bible:
"Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men." When Benjamin became the famous Dr. Franklin, and was in the habit of standing before kings, he often recalled this maxim of Solomon, which his father dinged rebukingly in his ear. It was one of the pleasantest recollections of
Mr. Franklin watched his boy in the candle-trade closely, to see whether his dislike for it increased or diminished.