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most important of all subjects, how useless ed to possess. Indeed, such is the illimitable your assertions, and how devoid of efficacy nature of knowledge, that persons can only your endeavors to disseminate the principles be said to know much or little by compariof Divine Truth! How enviable does the It is by comparing ourselves with possession of this knowledge now appear to others, and especially with those who are many a zealous Christian who has to deplore more advanced in life, that we first learn the the consequences of a neglected youth ! for I important secret of our own deficiencies. repeat, that in after life it is almost impossi. And it is good to keep the mind open to this ble to impress the mind with the same vivid. truth; for without having clearly ascertained ness, and consequently to enrich the memory our own inferiority, we should always be liawith the same amount of useful knowledge, ble to make the most egregious mistakes ; as when the aspect of the world is new, and not only by telling those around us what the feelings comparatively unoccupied and they already know, and wearying our acunimpressed.
quaintance with the most tedious commonThe same observations which occur in re- place,—but by the worst kind of false aslation to the reading of the Scriptures at an sumption—by placing ourselves in exalted early period of life, apply, in degree, to the positions, and thereby rendering our ignoacquisition of all other kinds of knowledge. rance more conspicuous. Never again will the mind be so free from All this, however, though a fruitful source distraction as now; never again will the of folly and ridicule, is of trifling importance claims of duty be so few; never again will compared with the absolute want-the mental the memory be so unoccupied. If, therefore, poverty—the moral destitution, necessarily a store of knowledge is not laid up while the occasioned by an absence of true knowledge; mind is in this state, it will be found wanting we must begin, therefore, by opening our when most needed ; and difficult indeed is minds the truth, not by adopting the opinthe task, and mortifying the situation, of ions of this or that set of persons, but by those whose information has to be sought, in reading the works of the best authors, by order to supply the demand of every hour. keeping the mind unbiassed by the writings As well might the cultivator of the soil allow or the conversation of persons infected with his grain to remain in the fields, until hunger prejudice, and by endeavoring to view every reminded him that bread was wanted on his object in its full extent, its breadth, its reality, board; as the woman who expects to fill a and its importance. respectable station in life, go forth into society It is the grand defect in woman's intellectunprovided with that supply of knowledge ual condition, that she seldom makes any and information which she will there find per- equivalent effort to do this. She is not only petually required. The use of such knowledge too often occupied with the mere frivolities is a different question, and remains yet to be of life, to estimate the true value of general discussed ; but on the importance of its ac- knowledge; but, she is also too apt to hang quisition in the season of youth, there can be her credulity upon her affections, and to take but one opinion among experienced and ra- | any thing for granted which is believed by tional beings.
those whom she loves. It is true, this ser. Of all kinds of knowledge, that of our own vility of mind may appear to some like actignorance is the first to be acquired. It is an ing out the law of love, which I am so anxhumbling lesson for those to learn, who are ious to advocate; but how is it, if their dearest built up on the foundation of what is called a friends are in error, and if they err in such good education ; yet such is the fact that the a way as to endanger their temporal and knowledge which young ladies bring home eternal interests? Is it not a higher and nowith them from school, forms but a very bler effort of love, to see and rectify such ersmall part of that which they will be expect- ror, than to endeavor to imbibe the same, for
the sake of being companions in folly, or in when to withhold a remark; but all those sin?
enlightened views, all that bold launching One of the greatest faults in the system of forth into the region of intellect, all the comeducation pursued in the present day, is that panionship of gifted minds, which intelligent of considering youth as the season for read- women, even in their inferior capacity, may ing short and easy books. Although the at least delight in, will be wanting to the hapablest of female writers—I had almost said piness of her who chooses to waste the prethe wisest of women-has left on record her cious hours of youth in idleness or frivolity. testimony against this practice, it continues Nor is it easy for after study to make up to be the fashion, to place in the hands of the deficiency of what ought to have been young persons, all kinds of abstracts, sum- acquired in youth. Bare information dragged maries, and short means of arriving at facts; | in to supply the want of the moment, without as if the only use of knowledge was to be arrangement, and without previous thought, able to repeat by rote a list of the dates of too often resembles in its crudeness and inpublic events.
appropriate display, a provision of raw fruits, Now, if ever an entire history or a com- and undressed food, instead of the luxuries plete work is worth reading, it must be at an of an elegant and well-furnished board. early period of life, when attention and leisure I have heard it pleaded by young women, are both at our command. By the early and that they did not care for knowledge"_"did studious reading of books of this description, not wish to be clever.” And if such persons those important events which it is of so much would be satisfied to fill the lowest place in consequence to impress upon the mind, be- society, to creep through the world alone, or come interwoven in the memory, with the to have silly husbands, and idiot sons, we spirit and style of the author ; so that instead should say that their ambition was equal to of the youthful reader becoming possessed their destiny. But when we see the same of nothing more than a mere table of facts, persons jealous of their rights as intellectual she is in reality associating herself with a be- beings, aspiring to be the companions of ra. ing of the highest order of mind, seeing with tional men, and, above all, the early instructthe eyes of the author, breathing his atmo- ors of immortal beings, we blush to contem. sphere, thinking his thoughts, and imbibing, plate such lamentable destitution of right feelthrough a thousand indirect channels, the ing, and can only forgive their presumption very essence of his genius.
in consideration to their ignorance and folThis is the only kind of reading which is ly. really worthy of the name. Abstracts and I cannot believe of any of the young percompendiums may very properly be glanced sons who may read these pages, that they over in after life, for the sake of refreshing could be guilty of such an act of ingratitude the memory as to dates and facts; but unless to the great Author of their being, and the the works of the best authors have been Giver of evey good and perfect gift they posread in this manner in early life, there will sess, as deliberately to choose to consign to always be something vapid in our conversa- oblivion and neglect the intellectual part of tion, contracted in our views, prejudiced in their nature, which may justly be regarded our mode of judging, and vulgar in our as the highest of these gifts. I would rather habits of thinking and speaking of things in suppose them already acquainted with the general. In vain may we attempt to hide fact, that those passions and emotions, to this great deficiency. Art may in some the exercise of which they believe themselves measure conceal what is wanting; but it can especially called, are many of them such as not bring to light what does not exist Pru. are common to the inferior orders of animals, dence may seal the lips, and female tact may while the possession of an understanding point out when to speak with safety, and capable of unlimited extension, is an attribute
ECONOMY OF TIME.
of the Divine nature, and one which raises among the miracles wrought by the Saviour them to a level with the angels.
while on earth. Other apparent impossibili. ties he did accomplish before the eyes of wondering multitudes, breaking the bonds of nature, and even raising the dead to life ; yet,
we find not among these mighty works, CHAPTER II.
that he said to any single day in man's experience, “ Thou shalt dawn again." No.
Even the familiar face of yesterday is turned In all our pursuits, but especially in the away from us for ever; and though so closeacquisition of knowledge, it is highly impor- ly followed by the remembrance of the past tant to habituate ourselves to minute calcu- night, as well might we attempt to grasp
the lations upon the value and progress of time. stars, as to turn back and enjoy its sweet reThat writer who could teach us how to esti
pose again. mate this treasure, and how to realize its
What then is the consequence? Since time, fleetness, would confer a lasting benefit upon this great ocean of wealth, is ebbing away his fellow-creatures. We all know how to from us day by day, and hour by hour; since talk of time flying fast. It is, in short, the it must inevitably diminish, and since we subject of our most familiar proverbs, the know the lowest rate at which it must go, burden of the minstrel's song, the theme of though none can tell how soon it may to them the preacher's discourse, the impress we affix be gone for ever, is it not our first duty to to our lightest pleasures, the inscription that make the best possible use of what remains, remains upon our tombs. Yet how little do and to begin in earnest, before another day we actually realize of the silent and ceaseless shall escape from our hold ? progress of time! It is true, that one of the We will suppose the case of a man who first exclamations which infant lips are taught finds himself the possessor of a vast estate, to uiter is the word “gone;" and the beautiful with the power to cultivate it as he will, and expression, “ gone for ever," occurs with fre- to derive any amount of revenue from it quency in our poetical phraseology. Clean which his ingenuity or labor may obtain for gone for ever, is the still more expressive lan- him; yet, with this condition—that an enemy guage of Scripture; and if any combination shall be entitled to take away a certain porof words could be made to convey to us clear tion of it every day, until the whole is gone. and striking impressions of this idea, it would The enemy might, under certain circumstanbe found among those of the inspired wri- ces, with which the owner could not be acters. Yet still we go on from day to day, in- quainted, enjoy the liberty of taking the whole sensible, and unimpressed by this, the most at once; but a certain part he must take sublime and appalling reality of our existence. every day. Now, would not the man who
The fact that no single moment of our held this property on such a tenure, look lives, whether happy or miserable, whether sharply to his own interest, and endeavor to wasted or well employed, can ever be recall discover by what means he could turn his ed, is of itself one of the most momentous estate to the best account, before its extent truths with which we are acquainted—that should be so far diminished as to cripple his each hour of our past existence, whether means ? Reflecting, too, that each day it was marked by wisdom or by folly, is gone for becoming less, and that the smaller its extent, ever; and that neither ingenuity, nor effort, the smaller would be the returns he might nor purchase, nor prayer, can call it back. expect, would he not begin, without the loss Nay, so far is it removed from the range of of a single day, so to improve his land, to till, possibility, that we should live again for any to sow, and to prepare for getting in his proportion of our past lives, that it was not even | duce, as that he might derive a lasting rev
enue of profit from the largest portion, be- do those around us continue their accustomfore it should have passed out of his own ed avocations ? and why do we join them at hands?
last, as if nothing had occurred ?" It is beA very common understanding, and a very cause time passes on, and on, and neither life, trifling amount of knowledge, would prompt nor death, nor joy, nor sorrow, nor any of the the possessor of such an estate to do this; changes in our weal or wo, present the miyet, with regard to time, that most valuable nutest hindrance to his certain progress, or of earthly possessions, how few of us act retard for a single moment his triumphant upon this principle! With some, the extent and irresistible career. of this estate is narrowing to a very small Nor is it simply as a whole, that we have circle ; but with the class of human beings to take into account the momentous subject whom I am addressing, there is, in all human of time. Every year, and month, and day, probability, a wider field for them to speculate have their separate amount of responsibility; upon. Illness, it is true, may come and but especially the season of youth, because snatch away a large portion, and death may the habits we acquire during that period, be waiting to grasp the whole: how much have an influence upon the whole of our more important is it, then, to begin to cultivate after lives. and reap in time!
The habit of making correct calculations Perhaps it is the apparent extent of our upon how much can be done in any stated prospect in early life, which deludes us into portion of time, is the first thing to begin with, the belief that the enemy is actually not tak- for without this, we are very apt to go on ing any thing away. Still there are daily and with any thing that may happen to interest hourly evidences of the lapse of time, which us, to the culpable neglect of more important would serve to remind us of the impossibi- duties. Thus, though it may be well for a lity of calling it back, if we would but regard man to pluck the weeds up in his garden for them in this light. If, for instance, we have half an hour after breakfast; yet, if his actual committed an egregious folly, if we have act business lies in the counting-house, or the ed unjustly, thrown blame upon the innocent, exchange, it would be worse than folly for or spoken unkindly to a dear friend—though him to remain plucking weeds up for half it was but yesterday, last night, or this morn
the day. ing--not all our tears, though we might weer
In order to make the best use of time, we oceans, could wash away that single act or must lay out beforehand the exact amount word ; because the moment which bore that proportioned to every occupation in which stain upon it, would be gone—and gone for we expect to engage. Casualties will per
petually occur demanding an additional alAgain, we scarcely become acquainted with lowance, and something must consequently lite in any of its serious aspects, before death be given up in exchange ; but still our calcu. is presented to our notice. And where are lations may generally be made with a degree they—“ the loved, the lost ?" Their days of certainty, which leaves no excuse for our have been numbered—all those long days of being habitually at a loss what to do. companionship in which their friends might
There is a class of young persons, and I have loved, and served them better, are gone fear not a very small one, who rise every for ever. “And why," we ask, when the blow morning trusting to the day to provide its falls nearest to ourselves—when the delight own occupations and amusements. They of our eyes is taken away as with a stroke- descend from their chambers with a listless, why do not the sun, and the moon, and the dreamy hope that something will occur to stars, delay their course ?-why do the flow interest, or enliven them, never imagining ers not cease to bloom ?—the light and cheer- that they themselves are called upon to enliful morning not fail to return? above all, why / ven and interest others. Such individuals
being liable to disappointment every day, al- either lay out for yourself, or, what is far most always learn to look upon themselves as better, endeavor to accomplish more. This unfortunate beings, less privileged than others, is the more to be recommended, because we and, in short, ill-treated by faith, or rather by learn, both by experience and observation, Providence, in being placed where they are. that whenever we bring down our good inIt is this waiting to be interested, or amus
tentions to a lower scale, it is a certain symped, by any thing that may chance to happen, tom of some failure either in our moral, intelwhich constitutes the great bane of a young lectual, or physical power. Still there is wonan's life, and while dreaming on in this much allowance to be made for the inexperimost uuprofitable state, without any definite ence of youth, in not being able to limit good object of pursuit, their minds become the intentions by the bounds of what is practicaprey of a host of enemies, whose attacks ble; it is therefore preferable that a little might have been warded off by a little whole should be taken off, even from what is good some and determined occupation. Their in itself, rather than that you should go on feelings, always too busy for their peace, be miscalculating time, and means, to the end come morbid, restless, and ungovernable, for of life. want of proper exercise ; while imagination, There are persons, and some considerably allowed to run riot over a boundless field of advanced in years, who habitually retire to vague and half-formed observations, leads rest every night, surprised and disappointed their affections in her train, to fix upon what that the whole of their day's work has not ever object caprice or fancy may select. been done. Now, it is evident that such per
It is not attributing too much importance sons must be essentially wrong in one of to the right economy of time, to say that it these two things—either in their calculations might prevent all this. I presume not to lay upon the value and extent of time, or in their down rules for the occupation of every hour. estimate of their own capabilities; and in Particular duties must always appertain to consequence of these miscalculations, they particular situations; and since the necessary lave probably been making the most serious claims upon our attention are as varied as mistakes all their lives. They have been our individual circumstances, that which in promising what they could not perforın; deone would be a right employment of time, ceiving and disappointing their friends, and would be a culpable breach of duty in another. those who were dependent upon them; be
There are, however, a few general rules sides harassing their own spirits, and dewhich cannot be too clearly or too deeply im-stroying their own peace, by frightful mispressed upon the mind—rules which the calculations of imperative claims, when there rich and the poor would be equally benefited was no residue of time at all proportioned to by adopting; which the meanest and the such requirements. most exalted individual would alike find it The next rule I would lay down is, if possafe to act upon; and by which the wisest sible, of more importance than the first. It and best of mankind might increase their is, that you should always be able to say what means and extend their sphere of usefulness you are doing, and not merely what you to their fellow-creatures.
are going to do. “I am going to be so The first of these rules is to accustom busy-I am going to get to my work—I am yourselves every morning to say what you going to prepare for my journey-I am going are intending to do; and every night, with to learn Latin—I am going to visit a poor equal faithfulness, to say what you have ac- neighbor." These, and ten thousand other tually done during the day. If you find any “goings,” with the frequent addition of the material difference between what you' have word "just" before them, are words which intended, and what you have achieved, try form a net-work of delusion, by which hunto proportion them better, and the next day, / dreds of really well-intentioned young persons