How Many of Our Misfortunes Might be Prevented if We Could Each of Us Learn to Say The Little Word No!

My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. – Proverbs 1:10


“I hardly know what to do.” “I have a mind to go.” “I would never have done it, if I had not been over-persuaded.” All these, and many such like sayings, are the expressions of weak minds; people who, without intending ill, are almost sure to act ill, for lack of decision of character. To avoid such folly and weakness, make up your mind as to what is right, and let no persuasion induce you to swerve from it, against your better judgment.

To be infirm of purpose, is to be at the mercy of the deceitful, or at the disposal of accident. Look around, and count the numbers who have, within your own knowledge, failed from lack of firmness. An excellent and wise mother gave the following excellent advice to her son, with her dying breath—”My son, early learn how to say No!”

A failure in this particular is one of the most common faults of mankind, from the highest to the lowest classes of society, and is alike productive of mischief and misery in all. The following sketch is from humble life; recorded by a worthy clergyman.

“How many of our misfortunes might be prevented if we could each of us learn to say the little word No! I remember, when I was a boy, an incident took place, which serves to show the importance of the above little word. In our village there lived a very fine young fellow, named Jones: he was one of those who could never say No. It happened that a recruiting sergeant came there, to enlist soldiers, and, being pleased with the appearance of Jones, he invited him into the public-house, where he was drinking. Since Jones did not like to say No, he went in. Though a sober lad, not being able to say No, he soon got tipsy. He then enlisted, and went abroad. Not being able to say No, he fell into bad company, and got connected with them in their crimes. The last I heard of him was, that he was in jail, under sentence of death, for sheep-stealing; but, through the influence of his friends, his sentence was mitigated to imprisonment. He spoke to some friends who visited him, to the following effect: ‘My ruin has been that I never had resolution enough to say No. All my crimes might have been avoided, could I have answered No to the first invitation to do wrong; but, not being able to say No to a merry companion, even when he invited me to commit a crime, I thus became his accomplice.”

Reader, doubt not the truth of this story, but learn from it to take courage to say No.

“In vain the world accosts my ear,

And tempts my heart anew;

I cannot buy your bliss so dear,

Nor part with heaven for you.”