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familiar and tutelary spirit, ever ready to appear when we need its aid. We shall thus acquire great presence of mind, and a
correctness of moral and intellectual views, which will enable us to avoid many faults, indiscretions, inconsiderate actions, and an immense and irreparable loss of time. Why should not man, whose noblest prerogative is reason, make such a continual use of that admirable faculty as never to act, or speak, without some fixed aim ?
But a rule of conduct, in order to produce real and salutary effects, must be adapted to the weakness and levity unfortunately belonging to the human mind. It is necessary to fortify man against the inconveniencies and dangers attached to his nature. We shall therefore strengthen the first condition, by a second of equal import
VIII. SECOND CONDITION.---A DAILY EXAMINATION MADE RE
GULARLY EVERY MORNING AND EVENING OF THE EMPLOYMENT OF THE PRECEDING DAY.
Every person anxious to make himself better, and to promote his happiness, should daily devote a few moments, either before he retires to rest, or in rising in the morning, to a retrospect of what he has done, said, heard, and observed during the
preceding day. This rapid review will occupy precisely a portion of time which is otherwise lost by all mankind, but which, by this method, is gained and employed in the most beneficial man
Seize this moment, which seems to be marked out by nature, and which social life itself always allows you to dispose of as you please, to examine your soul, to recollect all that you have seen, remarked, learned, all that you have said wisely or unwisely, usefully or uselessly, to the benefit or detriment of your body, mind, and heart. Demand of yourself a strict account of the employment of all your moments during the preceding twenty-four hours. Ask, as it were, this question of each day that has just passed :“ In what respect hast thou promoted my physical, moral, and intellectual improvement; in a word, my happiness? I made thee my tributary, hast thou paid thy debt?” Consider time as a farmer, whom you bind down to pay a certain rent, by a lease, the conditions of which he must strictly fulfil, or as a person of whom you have a right to exact a certain toll or duty. This toll, or this rent, is to be paid at each fixed term.
* Time may also be considered as a moral being, which, ever present and ever fugitive, seems every moment to say to us :
Life thus becomes an equally agreeable and instructive journey, in which no lesson is forgotten, no example lost: every moment is rendered subservient to health, the acquisition of knowledge, or moral improvement. Can it be doubted that this method, pursued with constancy and perseverance, would produce effects, slow, imperceptible, and progressive, it is true, but not the less certain and infallible ?
IX, THIRD CONDITION.---A WRITTEN SUMMARY OF THE DAILY
ACCOUNT OF DEEDS AND WORDS, OR USE OF AN ANALYTICAL JOURNAL.
Let us add a third condition to the two former. It is impossible to guard man too much against his own inconstancy, or to confirm him too strongly in a habit that is acknowledged to be good and beneficial.
The mind would not wander in the proposed examination; it would be circumscribed within
“ Here I am, seize me!" and who, while flying, asks this question : “ What use have you made of me? what advantage have you derived from the moments that I have given you in my course ?" How many would be obliged to answer in the words of the emperor Titus, when reproaching himself for suffering a day to pass without doing a good action: Diem perdidi –“I have lost a day.”
very narrow space of time, all the occurrences of which would be still recent and fresh in the memory; and it would confine its attention to the three branches which we have determined. This habit, however, might not be pursued with assiduity; a person might relax and become careless; he might not be always equally scrupulous in fol. lowing the gradual progress which he has made, or in guarding against an involuntary negligence, by which he would soon be led away from the object.
We must not therefore limit ourselves to an act of mere meditation and reflection, but habituate ourselves to fix the results of them in writing in a
book, in which it would be necessary to enter i only a few lines every day. By committing to
this book a summary of what we have done and said, and the principal particulars of the employment of our time, we shall have a daily analysis of our situation and conduct, a kind of thermometer, indicating the different degrees and variations of temperature in the physical, moral, and intellectual constitution.
“ Why,” says Condillac, in his excellent Treatise on Education, “ do we not direct the attention of a child, or of a youth, to what passes within him when he reasons and forms opinions,
when he feels desires, when he has contracted habits? Why do we not point out to him the occasions on which he has employed his faculties to advantage or disadvantage, and teach him by his own experience to manage them better? When he has been led to these first observations, he will exercise his faculties with more skill; he will in consequence be solicitous to exercise them, and will gradually acquire a habit of this exercise.” Such is the great and inestimable advantage of the proposed analysis.
The necessity which a person imposes on himself to write regularly a few lines every day occupies five, or, at the utmost, ten minutes, every morning after he has risen, and is compatible with all the circumstances of life.
This method, which at first view, may appear. tedious and troublesome, but which habit and a firm resolution will soon render simple and easy, is already pursued in the army, where the subalterns daily deliver to their superior officers, and these to the colonel of the regiment, an accurate report of all that has passed in their respective. companies. This practice is not interrupted even when nothing new has happened; a continual vigilance and rigid discipline are thus maintained. Are we then less interested in watching over our,