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lowed ground. Truth, Divine Truth, is his pole-star. The inspired volume is his directory; of which he must not wittingly misconstrue any part for the sake of gaining his argument, nor even though he might gain by it the whole world. His case is similar to that of the Persian judges, who were made to interpret the laws of the realm with ropes about their necks, as indicative of the punishment that awaited them if found guilty of any wilful misinterpretation. And besides, as truth must be his sole aim, so his manner of defending it must be consonant to the spirit of Him who
“meek and lowly in heart”—who, “ when he was reviled, reviled not again.” Wherefore, ip that sacred department, if any where, it might be expected that disputes would be conducted with the utmost fairness, and with exemplary benignity of temper. Would it were always so !
66 The man who, in controversy, pays a strict regard to truth and candor, gives clear evidence of the excellence of his understanding and the uprightness of his heart; whereas sophistry and quibble, rancorous invective and scurrilous abuse, warrant a suspicion of the advocate, however righteous be bis cause."
The nation from which we derive our language has been distinguished, above perhaps all others, for steady persevering industry: and several English old sayings, or proverbs, correspond with this prominent feature of national character. One of these ancient sayings of English origin, is, “Never to put off till to-morrow what may be done to-day.” On the contrary, sluggishness and procrastination, are national attributes of the Spaniards, who, though acting with great spirit and vigor whenever roused to action, continue slothful and dilatory at all other times. Nor is it a little remarkable, that there is a Spanish proverb directly of opposite
meaning to the English one just now mentioned. La-
off till to-morrow." Whether it be owing to nature, or to education and habit, or from whatever cause it may spring, there is, in this goodly country, a prevailing disposition to follow the last of these two opposite maxims; though we all are ready to admit the reasonableness of its contrast. No infatuation is more deplorable, nor yet more general, the whole christianized world over, than the vain hope that leads us to put off from day to day the great work which must be done, or ourselves be forever undone. But I now am to speak, not of the common and most deplorable infatuation which relates to the concerns of immortality, but of that which concerns our temporal interests.--Of the fatal error of the former, the Holy Volume and the Pulpit give solemn warning ;-of some of the mischiefs of the latter, it is mine ta treat in this
Few things are more ruinous, even to our secular affairs, than customary procrastination. It confuses and blights every kind of worldly business; for business nof attended to in the proper time and season, is either not done at all, or done with more labor and difficulty, and to less purpose.
Some men are in the practice of letting their accounts lie unsettled for several years together. It is no matter forsooth; they are near neighbors and close friends, and can come to a reckoning at any time.
At length a settlement between them commences. The accounts of each, however honest, are swelled beyond the expectation of the other. On both sides, several items are vanished from the remembrance of him who is charged with them. A warm dispute ensves; perhaps an arbitration; peradventure an expensive lawsuit;-and these close friends are severed forever.
Some men neglect to make their Wills, though they know their estates would be inherited contrary to their own minds and to the rule of equity, if they should chance to die intestate. Knowing this, and sincerely wishing that right may be done to their heirs, they are
fully determined to perform the necessary act and deed, some time or other. “But why just now? Another time will do as well.” And thus they delay the thing from year to year, till at last the time of doing it is gone by; a precious widow, or a beloved and deserving child, is left to suffer, through life, the bitter consequences of this default.
Some Farmers double their labor, and lose half their profits, for want of doing things in the proper
Their fields are overgrown with bushes and thorns, all which a little seasonable labor might have prevented. Their fences. and even their buildings, are neglected, till the cost of repairs becomes increased several fold ; besides their sustaining a train of inconveniences and of serious injuries from the neglect.And so also their crops cost more labor, and at the same time are leaner in bulk, or inferior in quality, by reason that much of the labor that had been bestowed upon them was out of season. Nor is it uncommon to see farmers of this sort in a mighty hurry and bustle. They are behind their business and runniog to overtake it; which is the cause of their being so often in a greater hurry than their neighbors.
Many a one, loses his custom as a mechanic, by not doing his work in season. It makes no odds, he thinks, whether the thing be done precisely at the time agreed upon-but so think not his customers.
What does not a merchant lose, in custom, in credit, and in cash, by neglecting his books, though it be only a few months, or a few weeks. How hard does he find it to set right, what might easily have been kept right, if he had done the work of each day within the day.
Honest Jonathan, borrows a sum of money of his particular friend, on the express promise of scrupulous punctuality. He gets the money by the day: but being busy here and there, he delays to carry or send it. The money happens to be wanted the very day it becomes due ;-and, with that particular friend, Jonathan's borrowing-credit is utterly lost.
Doctor possesses undoubted skill in his profession, but loves talk better than practice. Called away
If they go
in a case of pressing emergency, he sets out with speed; but meets an old acquaintance, to whom he opens a budget of news and politics, which takes hiri up half an hour in the relating; and by the time he arrives, all is over. Half an hour sooner and his patient might have been saved.
Violent pains and fevery chills seize us. not off, we will send for the physician to-morrow. Ere to-morrow arrives, the distemper gains a firmness that baffles the physician's skill.
Hark! The cry of fear and dismay. The Small Pox! our children have caught the contagion; we meant to have them vaccinated, but had put it off, and the time for it is now past.
Upon the whole:-That which may be done at any time, is seldom done in season, and often left undone; whereas a little time that is known to be the only time, suffices for bringing much to pass. Again, when we have various means of obtaining our object, we are less likely to obtain it than if we had only onė, and that a feasible and good one; for a vibrating mind is inactive, and he that loiters rarely succeeds.
For the same reason, one good calling is better than half a dozen.
Of the well informed.
What has been commonly termed the Republic of Letters, till a late period, had been no other than a monopolizing and overbearing aristocracy. The precious treasure was in the possession of only a few, who, with miserly feelings, locked it up from the mass of the people; communicating it merely to one another, and their select pupils.
“ Knowledge that is hid, and treasure that is locked up, what profit is in them both ?” This question of the ancient sage that penned the book of Ecclesiasticus, carries its own answer along with it.
Of very little profit indeed to the world were these
philosophers of antiquity, whose philosophy was either wrapped up in mystery, or withheld from all but the initiated few. For as gold is of no service while it remains hoarded, and is made serviceable only when put in circulation, so also intellectual treasure can benefit mankind, only so far as it is generally diffused.
The Art of Printing, produced an astonishing change in this important respect: a change that is still progressing, and that promises a most happy consummation. Ere its discovery, the whole rational world consisted of only two classes, namely, learned sholars and an illiterate vulgar; between which, there was very little of fellowship, or of any thing in common.Whereas Printing, by multiplying copies with so much ease, and furnishing books in such plenty and cheapness, soon began to break away that “middle wall of partition." Yet it was not till a considerably late period, that the tree of knowledge has been brought fairly within the reach of the multitude.
From the beginning of the last century, and thence up to the present day, literature and science have advanced chiefly by diffusion. In the former ages, there were giants in the literary departments : men of iron constitutions of body and mind, who, by indefatigable industry and patience of toil, treasured up in their minds and memories, such a prodigious abundance of learning as would now seem incredible. This race of Anakim is nearly extinct, and of learning there are no living prodigies comparable to those of earlier time. Nevertheless, knowledge has rapidly progressed, by the general spread of it. No longer confined to scholars by profession, or inherited exclusively by the lordly sex, there now are, of both sexes, very many readers, whó, without any pretensions to deep scholarship, have arrived to respectable degrees of information. The truth of it is, among those especially who speak the English tongue, there has risen up a middle class, aptly denominated the Well Informed.
And who are these? These are persons who, though not to be ranked with men of deep scholastic lore, nor by any means affecting such distinction, are, notwithstanding, possessed of a fund of useful knowledge,