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And as his springing steps advance, |
Like shoots of flame on midnight pall! |
Flag of the free heart's only home, I
Where breathes the foe but falls before us, |
And freedom's banner streaming o'er us! |
MOTIVES TO THE PRACTICE OF GENTLENESS.
To promote the virtue of gentleness, we ought to view our character with an impartial eye; and to learn, from our own failings, to give that indulgence which in our turn we claim. It is pride which fills the world with so much harshness and severity.
the fulness of self-estimation, we forget what we are. We claim attentions to which we are not entitled. We are rigorous to offences, as if we had never offended; unfeeling to distress, as if we knew not what it was to suffer. From those airy regions of pride and folly, let us descend to our proper level. Let us survey the natural equality | on which Providence has placed man with man, and reflect on the infirmities common to all. If the reflection on natural equality and mutual offences, be insufficient to prompt humanity, let us at least remember what we are in the sight of our Creator. Have we none of that forbearance to give one another, which we all so earnestly entreat from heaven? Can we look for clemency or gentleness from our Judge, when we are so backward to show it to our own brethren? |
Let us also accustom ourselves to reflect on the small moment of those things which are the usual incentives to violence and contention. In the ruffled and angry hour, we view every appearance through a false medium. The most inconsiderable point of interest or honor, swells into a momentous object; | and the slightest attack seems to threaten immediate ruin. But after passion or pride has subsided, we look around in vain for the mighty mischiefs we dreaded. The fabric which our disturbed imagination haa reared, totally disappears. But though the cause of contention has dwindled away, its consequences remain. We have alienated a friend; we have embittered an enemy; we have sown the seeds of future suspicion, malevolence, or disgust. Let us suspend our violence for a moment, when causes of discord occur. Let us anticipate that period of coolness, which, of itself, will soon arrive. Let us reflect how little we have any prospect of gaining by fierce con tention; but how much of the true happiness of life 1 we are certain of throwing away. Easily, and from the smallest chink, the bitter waters of strife are let
forth; but their course cannot be foreseen; | and ha 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, I 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 distri bution nor review. |
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 incon sistent, 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 wel come 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, labors 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, 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. Į 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. I
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, that industry can effect nothing, 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
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 labori ous process, dares to exercise his voice in public. [ This he does, though he has scarce any thing to learn but the mechanical execution of what lies in sensible