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Lost His All In A Lottery

( Originally Published 1902 )

PETER COOPER, when he was in his teens, invented a toy wagon, for which he received six dollars. He saved four more, which made ten dollars—his first capital stock. He was persuaded by a friend to invest the whole amount in lottery tickets, every one of which drew a blank, leaving him penniless. He said it was the most fortunate investment he ever made, as it impressed upon his mind, at the very beginning of his career, the folly and sin of taking values out of life without giving back corresponding values in return. And he made a rule, which he faithfully kept, that, while he would not be careless of securing values by just means, he would try to render some valuable service to humanity every day and every hour in the day. He studiously avoided all questionable methods of accumulation, and often declined to invest in legitimate enterprises because they had in them too much of the idea of speculation.

The lottery is a vice which insinuates itself into the hearts of some good people by pretending to be a virtue. It appears in the form of an angel of mercy, and proposes many acts of charity; and some good people yield to the temptation and employ the lottery to raise money for benevolent institutions. They have taken it in some form or other into fairs and festivals to help the church. The lottery is a gambling device which has no reason for its existence anywhere, much less in the Church of God. It is well to learn, early in life, the folly and sin of undertaking to get something for nothing.

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