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No sentence in this volume is more pregnant with important truth to the church of Christ than the former of these. Would that every Christian professor would test its truth for himself! From what numerous lamentations of unfruitfulness, from what oppressive hours of doubt and sadness, would he be saved! And what an influx of joyous emotion would often be experienced! How much more favourably would religion appear in the eyes of the world! And how much greater progress would it make!
"Wake, thou that sleepest in enchanted bowers,
Lest those lost years should haunt thee on the night
Wake, ere the earth-born charm unnerve thee quite,
Shall deck thy grave with amaranthine flowers, And yield thee fruits divine in heaven's immortal bowers." 9th. "I have felt the importance of giving to life the character of business, and of making the varied pursuits of each day a matter of obligation. Let me live with this impression, that there is some one thing I ought now to be doing, and that if I omit it, it never can be done, and that consequently not only it, but all the good consequences which might result from it will be lost for ever. In deciding what I am to do in any given case, always make a deliberate appeal to reason and conscience. Consult my own interests in relation to the whole duration of my being.
ÆTAT. 21] THE HONOUR AWAITING TRUTH.
Seriously ask myself the question: What, upon the whole, is best to be done in this case? I think I shall not often find difficulty in answering it. The difficulty often arises from a moral cause-a reluctance to act according to the verdict pronounced.'
"In order to detect error it is necessary to be thoroughly grounded in the truth. It is not well for young minds to busy themselves with controverted points. They are not qualified for this until they have made themselves masters of a pretty large field of certain truth. To call judgment into such exercise before it has attained strength and maturity, is the direct way to weaken it. Besides, matters of controversy are much more easily decided afterwards. A matured judgment will often detect by a single glance what else would have required long study."
"Truth, in this world, is a poor dejected maiden-pure, indeed, as the lily. But she will not always wear this dejected mien. She is destined to shine in majesty upon a radiant throne before which all shall bow, and render a willing or unwilling homage. Those who have protected and defended her in her low estate shall have an exalted place in her court, and share her immortal honours."
14th. “A rainy afternoon, but still the scene before me is refreshing to the soul-the trees just bursting into leaf and dripping with rain; the grass plot green, fresh, luxuriant, and glistening with moisture, which in countless drops trembles upon the delicate spires. At the far end, a long row of daisies bow their heads in thankfulness for the bounty of heaven."
17th. "Had more than usual enjoyment in prayer this morning. Our Saviour's 'Sermon on the Mount' interested me much. How forgetful I am of that which ought to be constantly remembered. I have a perverse
inclination to walk in any direction but the straight-forward path of duty. What need for watchfulness and prayer!"
23rd. "I have not cultivated the eloquence of the parlour. There is an easy, affable mode of address which I greatly lack. There is a tact of speaking a word in season, and giving a tone and direction to the thoughts of others without their perceiving it, more valuable than the most splendid attainments."
"I think I never saw so clearly as now the vast importance of early rising. I am certain it is the only sure ground of my success in study. I find that if the faculties are vigorously exerted in the morning they are in better condition through the day. Had I only from five to eight every morning for study, a respectable standing in the ministry might be maintained."-It is scarcely possible to attach too much importance to this habit. I once heard an intelligent person say that he never knew a greatly good man that was not an early riser. It is certain that the habit is highly favourable to health, to mental vigour, and to spiritual advancement, and no one therefore wishing largely to secure these benefits will live in its wilful neglect. It has been estimated that "the difference between rising every morning at six and at eight, in the course of forty years, supposing a man to go to bed at the same time he otherwise would, amounts to 29,000 hours, or three years 121 days and 16 hours, which will afford eight hours a day for exactly ten years." What a large portion of time for an accountable creature to waste! But it is worse than wasted; for, says the celebrated Dr. Cheyne : "nothing can be more prejudicial to tender constitutions, studious and contemplative persons, than lying long in bed, lolling and soaking in sheets after one is distinctly awake, or has slept a due and reasonable time. It necessarily thickens the juices, enervates the solids, and weakens the constitution. A free open air is a kind of cold bath,
ÆTAT. 21] HOW TO AVOID RASH JUDGMENTS.
especially after rising out of a warm bed, and consequently makes the circulation brisker and more complete, and braces up the solids, while lying in bed dissolves and soaks them in moisture. This is evident from the appetite and hunger which those that rise early feel beyond that which they get by lying long in bed." The practice needs no further recommendation than the simple statement that no one ever regretted its adoption. I would strongly urge the reader who may need some stimulus in the formation of this habit, to read Mr. Wesley's sermon on "Redeeming the Time."
26th. "Rose at six. Felt some irritation this morning but have been able to overcome it. Been troubled with anxious thoughts about my future lot. I retired for devotion and was enabled to cast all my care upon God. These words have very much supported me they that seek the Lord shall not want any good.' My future destiny is no concern of mine. All I have to do is to seek the Lord."
Nothing ever proceeded from his pen more characteristic than the following:-27th. "In thinking or speaking of any class of persons among whom I have not mingled much, let me remember that it is probable I may have an erroneous idea of them. Be particularly careful to ground no conclusions upon narrow and imperfect views, either of persons or things. This course will lead to truth and charity."-We cannot avoid receiving impressions as to the character of those with whom we come in contact, but these can never be confidently relied on until they have been often repeated. Every man varies in his moods, and the impression we receive of him at one time, under one class of circumstances, will sometimes be the very opposite of that we should receive at another time, under another class of circumstances. And not only so, but our impressions will be influenced by the states of our own mind.
Nor should it be forgotten that the particular features of character which a stranger exhibits to us, depends greatly on those which we exhibit to him. Man, in his social nature, is like one of those flowers which discloses itself in a genial atmosphere, but folds its leaves and conceals its beauties on the approach of an unfriendly breeze. Our impressions of character therefore depend greatly upon ourselves.
Here is a string of aphorisms relating chiefly to mental and moral habits.
"An acquaintance with the first principles of many subjects will have a tendency to consolidate all one reads into an harmonious system. There is a tendency to forget first principles."
"Have such an arrangement of the mental economy that the results of observation may be deposited in their right place, and be always ready for use."
"I can do nothing unless I get my studies into order. Then only my eye is clear and my arm strong. I cannot proceed effectually unless I know in what part of the regions of knowledge I am. I like always to have one central thing upon which my attention is concentrated."
"It is of the utmost importance to have the plan of life distinctly laid down, to have the boundaries of that plan well defined, and always to keep the grand ultimate object of pursuit vividly in view. This has been the case with those men who have shone so conspicuously-who have astonished and blessed the world through which they passed with rapid march to a glorious immortality."
"Give the intellectual power the sovereignty, but keep imagination, taste, &c., like a well-trained army in its service. Edward's reason sat solitary upon the throneno courtiers. It became a tyrant, and spread around it the gloom of tyranny."