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up some valuable book, and continue the reading of that book till you have got through it; never burden your mind with more than one thing at a time; and in reading this book, do not run it over superficially, but read every passage twice over ; at least, do not pass on to a second till you thoroughly understand the first, nor quit the book till you are master of the subject; for unless you do this, you may read it through, and not remember the contents of it for a week.”
Despatch is the soul of business; and nothing contributes more to despatch than method. Lay down a method for everything, and stick to it inviolably, as far as unexpected incidents may allow. Fix one certain hour and day in the week for your accounts, 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 an useful and short common-place book of what you read, to help your memory only, and not for pedantic quotations.
Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination; never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day. That was the rule of the famous and unfortunate Pensionary De Witt, who, by strictly following it, found time not only to do the whole business of the Republic, but to pass his evenings at assemblies and suppers, as if he had nothing else to do or think of.
History records the value that great
en placed upon time
ECONOMY OF TIME.
that TIME was beyond price—it was out of the reach of Fortune, aš no gold could recall the past.
When King Alfred was asked how he found time for all the variety of his occupations, his answer was that “he FOUND TIME BY NEVER LOSING IT."
The great and principal rule for the Economy of Time is to set a value upon it, watch it, and systematize it. Alfred, whom historians agree in characterizing as, perhaps, the wisest, best, and greatest King that ever reigned in England, was a remarkable ECONOMIST of his TIME. Asser relates the method he took for dividing and keeping an account of it. He caused six wax candles to be made, each twelve inches long, and of as many ounces weight. The inches were regularly marked, and having found that one of them burnt exactly four hours, by this means he regulated his studies.
This Prince, we are told, was twelve years of age before a master could be procured in the Western Kingdom to teach him the alphabet. Such was the state of learning when Alfred began; but to show the result of DETERMINATION, feeling the misery of ignorance, he resolved on rivalling Charlemagne in the encouragement of literature. He is supposed to have appointed persons to read lectures at Oxford, and is considered to have been the founder of that University. He diffused knowledge throughout his dominions; nor was this end promoted more by his countenance and encouragement than by his own example and his writings; for, notwithstanding the lateness of his education, he had acquired extraordinary erudition, and had he not been illustrious as a king he would have been famous as an author.
PHILOSOPHERS hold it as a sacred truth--that he who WOULD BE HAPPY must place a full value on his time.
PROCRASTINATION AND EXPECTATION.
MOMENTS, they consider, are the dice-boards of destiny: cast well, for eternity hangs upon the hazard of the die.
"In the distribution of human life,” says Socrates, “ that a great part of Time passes away in evil doing—a greater in doing nothing at all—and effectually the whole in doing things beside our business ; some hours in ceremony, a few to pleasure, and the remainder runs to waste." The greatest loss of time is PROCRASTINATION and EXPEC
We let slip the present, which is in our power, and depending upon fortune, quit a certainty for an uncertainty. We should do with TIME as the prudent man does with the TIDE
-use it while we have it, for it does not last long. Time runs on, and all actions have their fate. They are enshrouded in darkness to the blind; but are foreshadowed to the vigilant.
There are three divisions of life-time present, past, and future. What we do (the present) is short; what we shall do (future) is doubtful; but what we have done is certain. The present glides away almost imperceptibly, and the greatest folly in the world is the loss of that time which is at our command, and which we cannot recall; for the future is full of uncertainties, and the present is all that we can call our own. that takes a day away from me,” says the philosopher, “takes away that which he can never restore.”
Time well spent is full of blessings; but he who does not know how to spend his time is the most miserable creature in existence. He is restless in his thoughts, unsteady in his counsels, dissatisfied with the present, and solicitous for the future. Whereas he that prudently computes his hours and his business, does not only fortify himself against the common accidents of life, but improves the most rigorous dispensations of Providence to his comfort, and stands in firmness under all the trials of human weakness.
6 He TIME LOST, EBBS INTO ETERNITY.
BRING BACK MY FLOWERS.
" On the velvet banks of a rivulet,” says the allegory, “ sat a rosy child, Her lap was filled with flowers, and a garland of rosebuds was twined round her neck. Her face was as radiant as the sunshine that fell upon it, and her voice was as clear as that of the birds that warbled at her side. The little stream went singing on, and with each gush of its music the child lifted a flower in its dimpled hand, and, with a merry laugh, threw it upon its surface. In her glee she forgot that her treasures were growing less, and with the swift motion of childhood she flung them upon the sparkling tide until every bud and blossom had disappeared. Then, seeing her loss, she sprang upon her feet and burst into tears, calling aloud to the stream, • Bring back my flowers. But the stream danced along re
ardless of her tears; and, as it bore the blos ing burden away, her words came back in a taunting echo along its reedy margin. And, long after, amid the wailing of the breeze and the fitful burst of childish grief, was heard the fruitless cry, • Bring back my flowers !' Thoughtless youth! who art idly wasting the precious moments so bountifully bestowed upon thee, observe in this thoughtless child an emblem of thyself. Each moment is a perfumed flower. Each moment used may dispense blessings around thee, and ascend as sweet incense to its benevolent Giver. Cherish it; else, when thou hast carelessly flung them from thee, and seest them receding on the swift waters of Time, thou wilt then cry, in tones more sorrowful than those of the child, · Give me back my time!' and the only answer will be an echo from the shadowy past, Give me back my time!'"
TIME Lost-THOUGHTLESS YOUTH, EBBS INTO ETERNITY. CHAPTER IV.
Tue CHOICE OF COMPANY DETERMINES A PREDILECTION
FOR GOOD or EviL-THE LATE MR. BUCKLE-STORY OF THE NETTLE-DEPARTED GENIUS–Poor SOYER.
HE greatness and goodness of great men may be traced to early associations and early examples.
Noble examples stir to noble actions, and the very recital of noble deeds inspires
youth to generous thoughts. It is impossible to mix with the good without carrying away the tincture of virtue.
Evil communication has ruined the generous aspirations of youth of the fairest promise.
The love of society is natural to man; but the choice of our company is a matter of the greatest wisdom and prudence.
The best companions are those who teach in their lives, and prove their words by their actions.
Hannibal himself was unmanned by the looseness of his companions, and though a conqueror by his arms he was overcome by his pleasures. To mix with men staggering in drunken hilarity-spectacles of lust, luxury, and excess—is not safe. The wise as well as the weak do well in flying temptation.
Practical philosophers are the best companions, for they preach to us the things necessary, and keep us to the practice of them; for example adds to the force of a precept, and touches the heart with an affection to goodness. Even seeing and hearing a wise man delights us, and suggests profitable contemplation.