A stitch in time saves nine
This proverb emphasizes the importance of little things and the danger of neglecting the insignificant beginnings of evil. It means that it we promptly mend a small tear in our clothes when we first notice it, we shall prevent the tear from becoming a large hole, which it will take a lot of trouble, time and labor to repair.
Many other illustrations of the same truth could be given. Sometimes the seeds of the papal tree get lodge in cracks in the masonry of building, and take root and grow. When they are little plants, it is easy to pluck them up; but if they are allowed to remain, they become trees and split the building to pieces.
A small hole in a canal embankment can be stopped up with very little trouble; but if it is neglected, it will widen into a great breach, which it will require much labor and expense to make good. As the old saying teaches, a kingdom may be lost by neglecting to replace a nail in a horse’s shoe; the horse was lost; for want of a horse, the rider was lost; for want of the rider the battle was lost; for want of the battle, the kingdom was lost’
This lesson applies to matters of health. A man catches a cold, and thinking it a small matter, neglects it. It develops into pneumonia, and he is dangerously ill for weeks, or even dies. If he had taken the cold in time, he would have saved his life.
It can be applied, too, to morals and character. No one acquires bad habits all at once. They all began in small and apparently innocent indulgences. Let us take the example of drunkenness, or drug-taking. A drunkard begins by taking a glass of wine now and then, and thinks nothing of it. But the desire and appetite for wine grows, until it becomes a craving: and before he knows where he is, he has become a slave o drink; then the drink takes a drink; then the drink takes t man.’ The safe way is to avoid the first glass.
Inattention to details, and the neglect of small beginnings, has marred many a fine career.
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