« PředchozíPokračovat »
for so many years, support such an intense application to business, so unfavourable to health. His friends were often expressing their painful apprehension, that it would impair his health and shorten his days, and addressing him with that carnal advice, Master, spare thyself: and, with regard to his last illness in particular, it might have been happy for them and the world, had he regarded it. But love to God and man, and zeal for the salvation of souls, bore him on. He needed no recreation ; for his work was his highest pleasure. When he saw any success of his labours, and found that his writings were useful to many, it gave him fresh spirits and resolution. When he was advised, by a friend, to relax a little, and not preach so often, his answer was, Be in no pain about me. I hope that we have the presence of God among us, and that He is bearing testimony to the word of His grace. I take all the care of my health, which is consistent with doing the proper duties of life; and when I find myself refreshed rather than fatigued with these attempts of service, I cannot think myself fairly discharged from continuing them.” To another friend, he thus writes : “ I am indeed subject to a little cough, but I never preached with more freedom and pleasure. I am generally employed, with very short intervals, from morning to night, and have seldom more than six hours in bed; yet such is the goodness of God to me, that I seldom know what it is to be weary. I hope my labours are not in vain. There are those who drink in the word with great eagerness; and I hope it will be found, that it is not merely as the barren sand drinks in the rain, but rather that it falls on ground which divine grace will make prolific. This animates me to my
labours.” In short, he lived much in a little time; and thought it was better to wear himself out in his Master's service, than rust in literary indolence, or drag on a longer life, when his vivacity and activity might be so much diminished, as in the course of nature they generally are. The motto of his family arms was, Dum VIVIMUS, VIVAMUS ; under which he wrote the following lines, very expressive of his general temper:
“ Live, while you live," the Epicure would say,
Rev. John Wesley, M.A.
(SERMON ON EARLY RISING.)
REDEEMING THE TIME. This particular way of redeeming time, namely, from sleep, appears to have been exceedingly little considered, even by pious men. Many, that have been eminently conscientious in other respects, have not been so in this. They seem to think it an indifferent thing, whether they slept more or less; and never saw it in the true point of view, as an important branch of true Christian temperance.
I. That we may have a more just conception hereof, I will endeavour to show, first, What it is to redeem the time from sleep.
It is, in general, to take that measure of sleep every night which nature requires, and no more ; that measure which is most conducive to the health and vigour both of the body and mind. But it is objected—“One measure will not suit all
some require considerably more than others. Neither will the same measure suffice even the same person at one time, as at another.
When a person is
sick, or, if not actually so, yet weakened by preceding sickness, he certainly wants more of this natural restorative than he did when in perfect health. And so he will, when his strength and spirits are exhausted by hard and long-continued labour." Al} this is unquestionably true, and confirmed by a thousand experiments.
If any one desire to know exactly what quantity of sleep his own constitution requires, he may very easily make the experiment which I made, about sixty years ago. I then waked every night, about twelve or one, and lay awake for some time. I readily concluded that this arose from my lying longer in bed than nature required. To be satisfied, I procured an alarum, which waked me the next morning at seven (near an hour earlier than I rose the day before); yet, I lay awake again at night. The second morning I rose at six; but, notwithstanding this, I lay awake the second night. The third morning I rose at five: but, nevertheless, I lay awake the third night. The fourth morning I rose at four (as, by the grace of God, I have done ever since); and I lay awake no more. And I do not now lie awake (taking the year round) a quarter of an hour together in a month. By the same experiment, rising earlier and earlier every morning, may every one find how much sleep he really wants.
“ But why should any one be at so much pains ? What need is there of being so scrupulous? Why should we make ourselves so particular? What harm
is there in doing as our neighbours do ?-Suppose, in lying from ten till six or seven in summer, and till eight or nine in winter."
The not redeeming all the time you can from sleep, the spending more time therein than your constitution necessarily requires, hurts your health. Nothing can be more certain than this, though it is not commonly observed; because the evil steals on you by slow and insensible degrees. In this gradual and almost imperceptible manner, it lays the foundation of
many diseases. It is the chief real (though unsuspected) cause of all nervous diseases in particular. Many inquiries have been made, why nervous disorders are so much more common among us than among our ancestors. Other causes may frequently concur; but the chief is, we lie longer in bed. Instead of rising at four, most of us, who are not obliged to work for our bread, lie till seven, eight, or nine. We need inquire no further. This sufficiently accounts for the large increase of these painful disorders*.
* Popularly speaking, there is much truth in, and about, this paragraph: the conclusion is, however, too peremptory; and the premises too unscientifically laid down. A professional writer, treating of the nervous system, would probably have traced many complaints of this nature to the want of regular exercise in open air, or to other causes ; and be surely would not, with so much absolutism, have penned the words—" instead of rising at four.” Might it not have been better to say—" instead of rising at four, five, or six"-? The morsel of autobiography, given by Mr. Wesley in a preceding paragraph, is, indeed, very interesting, as it exhibits strength of fibre in the constitu.