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each of which the mind may lie at rest. For every single act of progression a short time is sufficient; and it is only necessary, that whenever that time is afforded, it be well employed.
Few minds will be long confined to severe and laborious meditation; and when a successful attack on knowledge has been made, the student recreates himself with the contemplation of his conquest, and forbears another incursion till the new-acquired truth has become familiar, and his curiosity calls upon him for fresh gratifications. Whether the time of intermission is spent in company, or in solitude, in necessary business, or in voluntary levities, the understanding is equally abstracted from the object of inquiry; but, perhaps, if it be detained by occupations less pleasing, it returns again to study with greater alacrity than when it is glutted with ideal pleasures, and surfeited with intemperance of application. He, that will not suffer himself to be discouraged by fancied impossibilities, may sometimes find his abilities invigorated by the necessity of exerting them in short intervals, as the force of a current is increased by the contraction of its channel.
From some cause like this, it has probably proceeded, that, among those who have contributed to the advancement of learning, many have risen to eminence, in opposition to all the obstacles which external circumstances could place in their way, amidst the tumult of business, the distresses of poverty, or the dissipations of a wandering and unsettled state. A great part of the life of Erasmus was one continual peregrination : ill supplied with the gifts of fortune, and led from city to
city, and from kingdom to kingdom, by the hopes, of patrons and preferment, hopes which always flattered and always deceived him; he yet found means, by unshaken constancy, and a vigilant improvement of those hours, which, in the midst of the most restless activity, will remain unengaged, to write more than another in the same condition would have hoped to read. Compelled by want to attendance and solicitation, and so much versed in common life, that he has transmitted to us the most perfect delineation of the manners of his age, he joined to his knowledge of the world such application to books, that he will stand for ever in the first rank of literary heroes. How this proficiency was obtained, he sufficiently discovers, by informing us, that the Praise of Folly, one of his most celebrated performances, was composed by him on the road to Italy; ne totum illud tempus quo equo fuit insidendum, illiteratis fabulis tereretur, lest the hours which he was obliged to spend. on horseback should be tattled away without re. gard to literature.?
An Italian philosopher expressed in his motto, that time was his estate ; an estate, indeed, which will produce nothing without cultivation, but will always abundantly repay the labours of industry, and satisfy the most extensive desires, if no part of it be suffered to lie waste by negligence, to be overrun with noxious plants, or laid out for show rather than for use.
VALUE OF METHOD IN OUR PURSULTS. DESPATCH is the soul of business; and nothing contributes more to dispatch, thąn method. Lay down a method for every thing, and stick to it inviolably, as far as unexpected incidents may allow. Fix one certain hour and day in the week for your accompts, and keep them together in their proper order; by which means they will require very little time, and you can never be much cheated. Whatever letters and papers you keep, docket and tie them up in their respective classes, so that you may instantly have recourse to any one. Lay down a method also for your reading, for which you allot a certain share of your mornings ; let it be in a consistent and consecutive 'course, and not in that desultory and immethodical manner, in which many people read scraps of different authors, upon different subjects. Keep a useful and short common-place book of what you read, to help your memory only, and not for pedantic quotations. Never read history without having maps, and a chronological book, or tables, lying by you, and constantly recurred to; without which, history is only a confused heap of facts. One method more I recommend to you, by which I have found great benefit, even in the most dissipated part of my life; that is, to rise early, and at the same hoor every morning, how late soever you may have sat up the night before.
You will say, it may be, as many young people would, that all this order and method is very troublesome, only fit for dull people, and a disagreeable restraint upon the noble spirit and fire of youth. I deny it; and assert, on the contrary, that it will procure you, both more time and more taste for your pleasures; and, so far from being troublesome to you, that, after you have pursued it a month, it would be troublesome to you to lay it aside.
THE DEPENDENCE OF BEINGS UPON EACH OTHER. ALL things that the beneficent Creator has produced upon our globe are admirably connected with one another, so as to contribute to their mutual preservation. The earth itself, with its rocks and sands, its ores and its salts, owes its origin and continuance to the elements. The trees, plants, herbs, and all the vegetables, draw their subsistence from the earth; while the animals, in their turn, feed upon the vegetables. . The earth gives nourishment to the plant, the plant is food for the insect, the insect for the bird, the bird for wild beasts; and, in rotation, the wild beasts become the prey of the vulture, the vulture of the insect, the insect of the plant, and the plant of the earth. Even man, who turns all these things to his own use, becomes himself their prey,
Such is the circle in which all things here take their course, that all beings were created for one another. Tigers, lynxes, bears, and a number of other animals, provide us with skins and furs to cover us : dogs pursue the hare and the stag, to furnish our tables : the terrier drives the rabbit from its deepest recesses into our snares : the horse, the elephant, and the camel, are trained to carry burthens, and the ox to draw the plough : the cow gives us milk : the sheep its wool: the rein-deer make the sledges fly over snow and ice: the hawk serves us in fowling, and the hen gives us eggs : the cock wakes us early in the morn, and the lark amuses us with its song in the daytime: the whistling note of the blackbird is heard from morn to evening, and then the melodious warbling of the nightingale is charming to the ear. The sportive lambs, the playful calf, the innocent doves, and the stately plumage of the peacock, give pleasure to the sight : the very fish come from the depths of the ocean, and go up rivers, in order to furnish plenty of provision for men, birds, and wild beasts : the silk-worm spins its web to clothe us : the bees collect with care the honey we find so useful : even the sea continually throws upon its shores craw-fish, lobsters, oysters, and all sorts of shell-fish for our use: the glow-worm, or great fly of Surinam, shines in the midst of darkness, to give light to the inhabitants of those countries.
If we observe the different occupations of man, we shall find that they also tend to this same end, which nature purposed. The sailor braves the dangers of the seas and storms, to convey merchandize, which does not belong to him, to its destined place: the ploughman sows and reaps grain, of which he consumes but little himself. Thus, we do not live for ourselves only; for the wise Author of nature has so ordained, that all beings should be useful to one another.