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forth; but their course cannot be foreseen; | and he seldom fails of suffering most from their poisonous effect, who first allows them to flow. I
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF ORDER IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF OUR TIME.
Time we ought to consider as a sacred trust committed to us by God; of which we are now the depositaries, and are to render an account at the last. | That portion of it which he has allotted to us, | is intended partly for the concerns of this world, partly for those of the next. Let each of these occupy, in the distribution of our time, that space which properly belongs to it. Let not the hours of hospitality and pleasure, interfere with the discharge of our necessary affairs; and let not what we call necessary affairs, | encroach upon the time which is due to devotion. To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. If we delay till to-morrow, what ought to be done to-day, we overcharge the morrow with a burden which belongs not to it. We load the wheels of time, and prevent them from carrying us along smoothly. He who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows out that plan, | carries on a thread | which will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life. The orderly arrangement of his time is like a ray of light, which darts itself through all his affairs. But, where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidents, all things lie huddled together in one chaos, which admits neither of distribution nor review. I
The first requisite for introducing order into the management of time, is, to be impressed with a just sense of its value. Let us consider well how much depends upon it, and how fast it flies away. | The
bulk of men are in nothing more capricious and inconsistent, than in their appreciation of time. When they think of it as the measure of their continuance on earth, they highly prize it, and with the greatest anxiety seek to lengthen it out. But when they view it in separate parcels, they appear to hold it in contempt, and squander it with inconsiderate profusion. While they complain that life is short, they are often wishing its different periods at an end. Covetous of every other possession, of time only they are prodigal. They allow every idle man to be master of this property, and make every frivolous occupation welcome that can help them to consume it. | Among those who are so careless of time, it is not to be expected that order should be observed in its distribution. But, by this fatal neglect, how many materials of severe and lasting regret | are they laying up in store for themselves! | The time which they suffer to pass away in the midst of confusion, bitter repentance seeks afterwards in vain to recall. What was omitted to be done at its proper moment, arises to be the torment of some future season. | Manhood is disgraced by the consequences of neglected youth. | Old age, oppressed by cares that belonged to a former period, labours under a burden not its own. At the close of life, the dying man beholds with anguish that his days are finishing, when his preparation for eternity is hardly commenced. Such are the effects of a disorderly waste of time, I through not attending to its value. Every thing in the life of such persons is misplaced. Nothing is performed aright, | from not being performed in due season.
But he who is orderly in the distribution of his time, takes the proper method of escaping those manifold evils. He is justly said to redeem the time. By proper management, he prolongs it. He lives much in little space; more in a few years, than others do in many. He can live to God and his own soul, | and,
at the same time, | attend to all the lawful interests of the present world. He looks back on the past, and provides for the future. He catches and arrests the hours as they fly. They are marked down for useful purposes, and their memory remains. Whereas those hours fleet by the man of confusion like a shadow. | His days and years are either blanks, of which he has no remembrance, or they are filled up with so confused and irregular a succession of unfinished transactions, that though he remembers he has been busy, | yet he can give no account of the business which has employed him.
INDUSTRY NECESSARY TO THE ATTAINMENT OF
The history of the world is full of testimony to prove how much depends upon industry; not an eminent orator has lived but is an example of it. | Yet, in contradiction to all this, the almost universal feeling appears to be, I that industry can effect nothing, I that eminence is the result of accident, and that every one must be content to remain just what he may happen to be. Thus multitudes, who come forward as teachers and guides, suffer themselves to be satisfied with the most indifferent attainments, | and a miserable mediocrity, without so much as inquiring how they may rise higher, much less making any attempt to rise. I
For any other art they would have served an apprenticeship, and would be ashamed to practise it in public before they had learned it. If any one would sing, he attends a master, and is drilled in the very elementary principles; and only after the most laborious process, dares to exercise his voice in public. I This he does, though he has scarce any thing to learn but the mechanical execution of what lies in sensible
forms before the eye. But the extempore speaker, | who is to invent as well as to utter, to carry on an operation of the mind as well as to produce sound, enters upon the work without preparatory discipline, | and then wonders that he fails! |
If he were learning to play on the flute for public exhibition, what hours and days would he spend in giving facility to his fingers, and attaining the power of the sweetest and most expressive execution! If he were devoting himself to the organ, | what months and years would he labour, that he might know its compass, and be master of its keys, and be able to draw out, at will, all its various combinations of harmonious sound, and its full richness and delicacy of expression! And yet he will fancy that the grandest, the most various and most expressive of all instruments, | which the infinite Creator has fashioned by the union of an intellectual soul with the powers of speech, | may be played upon without study or practice; he comes to it a mere uninstructed tyro, and thinks to manage all its stops, and command the whole compass of its varied and comprehensive power! He finds himself a bungler in the attempt, | is mortified at his failure, | and settles it in his mind for ever, that the attempt is vain. |
Success in every art, whatever may be the natural talent, is always the reward of industry and pains. | But the instances are many, of men of the finest natural genius, whose beginning has promised much, but who have degenerated wretchedly as they advanced, | because they trusted to their gifts, and made no efforts to improve. That there have never been other men of equal endowments with Demosthenes and Cicero, none would venture to suppose; but who have so devoted themselves to their art, or become equal in excellence? If those great men had been content, like others, to continue as they began, | and had never made their persevering efforts for improve
ment, what would their countries have benefited from their genius, or the world have known of their fame? | They would have been lost in the undistinguished crowd that sunk to oblivion around them.
THE DESTRUCTION OF SENACHERIB.
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, } And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;| And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee. | Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green, That host with their banners at sunset were seen: | Like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath blown, | That host on the morrow lay wither'd and strown. |
For the angel of death spread his wings on the blast, } And breath'd in the face of the foe as he pass'd;
And the eyes of the sleepers wax'd deadly and chill, | And their hearts but once heav'd, and for ever were still! |
And there lay the steed with his nostrils all wide, | But through them there roll'd not the breath of his pride; |
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf, | And cold as the spray on the rock-beating surf. |
And there lay the rider, | distorted and pale, I
And the widows of Ashur | are loud in their wail, |