صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

body of vices, that make up her train'. This method must vary, according to the different callings and circumstances of mankind. They whoin God hath blessed with plentiful fortunes, which set them above the necessity of engaging in any profession, are happy in this respect, that they have more command of their tiine, and consequently may give a larger proportion of it to the improvement of their minds by reading, meditation, and prayer, as well as to the employment of discovering and relieving the wants of their poor neighbours. They, on the other hand, who must go forth to their work and to their labour, whether of mind or body, are happy in this respect, that a great part of their time is laid out for them, and they are prevented from wasting it in idleness, by the order of Providence. Be it their care to consecrate their labour to God, by regarding it as a penance imposed on them for sin, and performing it in a spirit of contentment and resignation, cheerfulness and joy; even as Christ performed his, looking for and hasting to that time, when they shall enter into the promised rest. In the morning let the mind be seasoned with devotion and heavenly wisdom, to fit it for its employment; and in the evening, to prepare it for its repose. Let the sabbaths and festivals of the church be in no sense days of idleness, much less of vice and folly; but given to the works of religion and charity; that they may be to us, what they were designed to be to all, minute representations of the Sabbath that remaineth for the people of God; little preludes to that everlasting jubilee, that shall be one day celebrated in the heavenly Canaan. Woe be to that man who wastes these hallowed portions of his tine upon the concerns of the world and the lusts of the flesh, doing nothing, or worse than nothing: stranger to the resurrection of Jesus, the glories of the saints, and the joys of heaven, he rejects the pledges of his eternal inheritance, and throws those jewels into the mire, that should have adorned his crown of righteous

" It may be added, as a supplement to this rule-Have always some work in hand, which may be going on, during the

many inter. vals (for many there will always be) both of business and pleasure. On this part of the subject read the RAMBLER, Vol. III. No. 108, and consider well the instance of ERASMUS, there adduced. Read likewise SPECTATOR, Vol. II. No. 93, 94, and Vol. IV. No. 316.


Secondly, Be moderate in your recreations. Recreations, we all know, are necessary. It is the Christian's concern to take care that they are innocent; which they will be, if they give rise to no evil passion, such as anger, or avarice, too generally attendants upon games of all sorts; and if no more time be spent in them than is necessary to unbend the mind, and fit it for a return to its employment. But when recreation becomes, as of late in this nation, a trade and a profession, and is made a means of putting the soul upon the rack of contending passions, it no lon. ger deserves the name, but is in reality a drudgery imposed by the adversary of human happiness upon those who will not give their time

their time to the service of their Maker. In one word, it is Egypt and the taskmasters over again. From which we have reason

2 D


to pray that our good Lord would vouchsafe to deliver us all!

Thirdly, Cut off, as much as may be, unnecessary visits. Of all thieves, they are the worst who rob us of our time, because for the loss of that no amends can ever be made us“. And there are in every place some who, being idle themselves, do their best endeavours to make others so; in which work, partly through a disposition in those others to be made so, and partly through a false fear and shame, which binders them from fraying away such birds of prey, they are too often suffered to succeed.

An assembly of such persons can be compared to nothing but a slaughter-house, where the precious hours, and oftentimes the character of all their friends and acquaintance, are butchered without mercy. And, perhaps, there are few maxims that have more truth in them, than one laid down by a great master in the art of Holy Living : “No man can be provident of his " time, who is not prudent in the choice of his com'pany."

Lastly, Examine, every evening, how you have spent the day. For how can that man know the state of his affairs who keeps no account? The task, at first, will be irksome, and the adversary will try every way to make you neglect, and by degrees drop the practice. And why? Because he knows that no person who continues it will long remain under his power. It will let you into some secrets that will greatly shock and alarm you. But you must know

On the Robbery of Time, see a most excellent paper in the IDLER, Vol. I. No. 14.

[ocr errors]

your follies; how else can you reform thein? Whereas, when a constant and faithful performance of this exercise, the benefits and advantages of which are without number and without end, has brought you acquainted with your errors, every day will correct those of the preceding. You will find that God has given you time enough for every good purpose", but none to waste. You will soon know the true value of time, and become an adept in the management of it. And of this be assured, for your comfort and encouragement, that the time rightly employed, be it when it may, is with God “an acceptable time;" and that every day well spent is to yourselves " a day of sal"vation."

d This seems to be intimated to us in that question of our Lord—“ Are there not twelve hours in the day?" John, xi. 9.




I TIMOTHY, vi. 11.

Follow after patience.

Among all the graces that adorn a Christian soul, like so many jewels of various colours and lustres, against the day of her espousals to the Lamb of God, there is not one more brilliant than this of patience; not one which brings more glory to God, or contributes so much towards making and keeping peace on earth; not one which renders a man more happy within himself, more agreeable to all about him: insomuch that even they who theinselves possess it not, yet are sure to commend it in others. They set their seal to the truth, though by so doing they condemn their own practice. Patience is a virtue common to us with God; it is the characteristic of Christ, and the leading precept of the Gospel; it is recommended by the examples of all the saints; rendered necessary by the present state of man; and set off by the manifold inconveniences of its contrary, impatience, as well as its own incomparable excellences and advan

« السابقةمتابعة »