[C. H. Spurgeon Picture]


By C. H. Spurgeon

[GospelWeb.net Globe]

Chapter 19

Hints As To Thriving

HARD work is the grand secret of success. Nothing but rags and poverty can come of idleness. Elbow grease is the only stuff to make gold with. No sweat, no sweet. He who would have the crow's eggs must climb the tree. Every man must build up his own fortune nowadays. Shirt sleeves rolled up lead on to best broadcloth; and he who is not ashamed of the apron will soon be able to do without it. "Diligence is the mother of good luck," as poor Richard says; but Idleness is the devil's bolster," as John Ploughman says.

Believe in traveling on step by step; don't expect to be rich in a jump.

Great greediness to reap - Helps not the money heap.

Slow and sure is better than fast and flimsy. Perseverance, by its daily gains, enriches a man far more than fits and starts of fortunate speculation. Little fishes are sweet. Every little helps, as the sow said when she snapped at a gnat. Every day a thread makes a skein in a year. Brick by brick, houses are built. We should creep before we walk, walk before we run, and run before we ride. In getting rich, the more haste the worse speed. Haste trips up its own heels. Hasty climbers have sudden falls.

It is bad beginning business without capital. It is hard marketing with empty pockets. We want a nest egg, for hens will lay where there are eggs already. It is true you must bake with the flour you have, but if the sack is empty, it might be quite as well not to set up for a bakery. Making bricks without straw is easy enough compared with making money when you have none to start with. You, young gentleman, stay as a journeyman a little longer till you have saved a few pounds. Fly when your wings have got feathers; but if you try it too soon, you will be like the young rook that broke its neck through trying to fly before it was fledged. Every minnow wants to be a whale, but it is prudent to be a little fish while you have but little water; when your pond becomes the sea, then swell as much as you like. Trading without capital is like building a house without bricks, making a fire without sticks, burning candles without wicks: it leads men into tricks, and lands them in a fix.

Don't give up a small business till you see that a large one will pay you better. Even crumbs are bread.

Better a poor horse tic an empty stall; Better half a loaf than none at all.

Better a little furniture than an empty house. In these hard times, he who can sit on a stone and feed himself had better not move. From bad to worse is poor improvement. A crust is hard fare, but none at all is harder. Don't jump out of the frying pan into the fire. Remember, many men have done well in very small shops. A little trade with profit is better than a great concern at a loss; a small fire that warms you is better than a large fire that burns you. A great deal of water can be got from a small pipe if the bucket is always there to catch it. Large hares may be caught in small woods. A sheep may get fat in a small meadow and starve in a great desert. He who undertakes too much succeeds but little. Two shops are like two stools a man comes to the ground between them. you may burst a bag by trying to fill it too full and ruin yourself by grasping at too much.

In a great river sweat fish are found, But take good heed lest you be drowned.

Make as few changes as you can; trees often transplanted bear little fruit. If you have difficulties in one place you will have them in another; if you move because it is damp in the valley, you may find it cold on the hill. Where will the ass go that he will not have to work? Where can a cow live and not get milked? Where will you find land without stones or meat without bones? Everywhere on earth men must eat bread in the sweat of their faces. To fly from trouble, men must have eagles' wings. Alteration is not always improvement, as the pigeon said when she got out of the net and into the pie. There is a proper time for changing, and then mind you bestir yourself, for a sitting hen gets no barley. But do not be forever on the shift, for a rolling stone gathers no moss. tick-to-it is the conqueror. He who can wait long enough will win. This, that, and the other, anything, and everything, all put together make nothing in the end; but on one horse a man rides home in due season. In one place the seed grows; in one nest the bird hatches its eggs; in one oven the bread bakes; in one river the fish lives.

Do not be above your business. He who turns up his nose at his work quarrels with his bread and butter. He is a poor smith who is afraid of his own sparks; there's some discomfort in all trades except chimney sweeping. If sailors gave up going to sea because of the wet, if bakers left off baking because it is hot work, if plowmen would not plow because of the cold, or if tailors would not make our clothes for fear of pricking their fingers, what a pass we should come to! Nonsense, my fine fellow; there's no shame about any honest calling; don't be afraid of soiling your hands for there's plenty of soap to be had. All trades are good to good traders. A clever man can make money out of dirt. Lucifer matches pay well if you sell enough of them.

Never mind the stink - Sweet smells the chink.

You cannot get honey if you are frightened of bees, nor sow corn if you are afraid of getting mud on your boots. Lackadaisical gentlemen had better emigrate to Fool's-land, where men get their living by wearing shiny boots and lavender gloves. When bars of iron melt under the south wind, when you can dig the fields with toothpicks, blow ships along with fans, manure the crops with lavender water, and grow plum cake in flower pots, then will be a fine time for dandies; but until the millennium comes, we shall have a deal to put up with and had better bear our present burdens than run helter-skelter where we shall find matters a great deal worse.

Plod is the word. Everyone must row with such oars as he has; and as he can't choose the wind, he must sail by such as God sends him. Patience and attention will get on in the long run. If the cat sits long enough at the hole, she will catch the mouse. Always-at-it grows good cabbage and lettuce where others grow thistles. I know as a plowman that it is up and down, up and down the field that plows the acres; there's no getting over the ground by a mile at a time. He who plods on the clods, rods on rods will turn of the sods while laziness nods.

Keep your weather eye open. Sleeping poultry are carried off by the fox. He who watches not catches not. Fools ask what's of the clock, but wise men know their time. Grind while the wind blows, or if not, do not blame providence. God sends every bird its food, but He does not throw it into the nest; He gives us our daily bread, but it is through our own labor. Take time by the forelock. Be up early and catch the worm The morning hour carries gold in its mouth. He who drives last in the row gets all the dust in his eyes; rise early, and you will have a clear start for the day.

Never try dirty dodges to make money. It will never pay you to lick honey off thorns. An honest man will not make a dog of himself for the sake of getting a bone. It is hard to walk on the devil's ice; it is fine skating, but it ends in a heavy fall and worse. He must have a long spoon who would eat out of the same dish with Satan. Never ruin yourself for the sake of money: it is like drowning yourself in a well to get a drink of water. Take nothing in hand that may bring you repentance. Better walk barefoot than ride in a carriage to hell; better that the bird starve than be fattened for the spit. The mouse wins little by nibbling the cheese if it gets caught in the trap. Clean money or none - mark that - for gain badly got will be an everlasting loss.

A good article, full weight, and a fair price bring customers to the shop, but people do not recommended the shop where they are cheated. Cheats never thrive; or if they do, it must be in London where they catch chance customers enough to live by. The long-bow man may hit the mark sometimes, but a fair shot is the best. A rogue's purse is full of holes. He will have blisters on his feet who wears stolen shoes. He whose fingers are like snares will find other things stick to them besides silver. Steal eels, and they will turn to snakes. The more a fox robs, the sooner he will be hunted. If a rogue wants to make a good trade, he had better twin honest. If all you aim at is profit, still deal uprightly, for it is the most paying game.

Look most to your spending. No matter how much comes in, if more goes out, you will always be poor. The art is not in making money, but in keeping it; little expenses, like mice in a barn, when they are many, make great waste. Hair by hair, heads get bald; straw by straw, the thatch goes off the cottage; and drop by drop, the rain comes into the chamber. A barrel is soon empty if the tap leaks but a drop a minute. Chickens will be plucked feather by feather if the maid keeps at it. Small mites eat the cheese; little birds destroy a great deal of wheat. When you intend to save, begin with your mouth; there are many thieves down the red lane. The ale jug is a great waster. In all other things, keep within boundaries. In clothes, choose suitable and lasting stuff, not tawdry fineries. To be warm is the main thing; never mind the looks. Never stretch your legs further than your blankets will reach, or you will soon be cold. A fool may make money, but it needs a wise man to spend it. Remember it is easier to build two chimneys than to keep one going. If you give all to room and board, there is nothing left for the savings bank. Fare hard and work hard while you are young, and you have a chance of rest when you are old.

Never indulge in extravagance unless you want to make a short cut to the workhouse. Money has wings of its own, and if you find it another pair of wings, wonder not if it flies fast.

He that hath it, and will not keep it; He that wants it, and will not seek it; He that drinks and is not dry, Shall want money as well as I.

If our poor people could only see the amount of money which they melt away in drink, their hair would stand on end with fright. Why, they swallow rivers of beer, seas of porter, and great big lakes of spirits and other fire waters. We should all be clothed like gentlemen and live like fighting cocks if what is wasted on booze could be sensibly used. We would need to get up earlier in the morning to spend all our money, for we would find ourselves suddenly made quite rich, and all that through stopping the drip of the tap. At any rate, you young people who want to get on in the world must make a point of dropping your half-pints and settle in your spirits that no spirits shall ever settle you. Have your luxuries, if you must have them, after you have made your fortunes, but just now look after your bread and cheese.

Pray excuse me for spinning this long yarn, for as I pulled, it came. My talk seems like the Irishman's rope which he could not get into the ship because somebody had cut the end off. I only want to say, do not be greedy, for covetousness is always poor: still strive to get on, for poverty is no virtue, and to rise in the world is to a man's credit as well as his comfort. Earn all you cans save all you can, and then give all you can. Never try to save out of God's cause; such money will taint the rest. Giving to God is no loss; it is putting your substance into the best bank. Giving is true having, as the old gravestone said of the dead man, "What I spent I had, what I saved I lost, what I gave I have." The pockets of the poor are safe lockers, and it is always a good investment to lend to the Lord. John Ploughman wishes all young beginners long life and prosperity.

Sufficient of wealth, And abundant health, Long years of content, And when life is spent, A mansion with God in glory.

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