Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

5. FRUGALITY.-Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself ; i. e. waste nothing.

6. INDUSTRY.-Lose no time : be always employed in something useful : cut off all unne.

cessary actions.

7. SINCERITY.-Use no hurtful deceit: think innocently and justly; and if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. Justice.—Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are our duty.

9. MODERATION.--Avoid extremes : forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they de

serve.

10. CLEANLINESS.-Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.

11. TRANQUILLITY.-Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

12. CHASTITY.-Rarely use venery, but for health or offspring ; never to dullness or weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

13. HUMILITY.-Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

My intention being to acquire the habitude of all these virtues, I judged it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it on one of them at a time; and when I should be master of that, then to pro

[ocr errors]

ceed to another; and so on till I should have gone through the thirteen. And as the previous acquisition of some might facilitate the acquisition of certain others, I arranged them with that view as they stand above; Temperance first, as it tends to procure that coolness and clearness of head which is so necessary where constant vigilance was to be kept up, and a guard maintained against the unremitting attraction of ancient habits and the force of perpetual temptations. This being acquired and established, Silence would be more easy; and my desire being to gain knowledge at the same time that I improved in virtue ; and considering that in conversation it was obtained rather by the use of the ear than of the tongue, and therefore wishing to break a habit I was getting into of prattling, punning, and jesting (which only made me acceptable to trifling company),

I

gave Silence the second place. This and the next, Order, I expected would allow me more time for attending to my project and my studies. Resolution, once become habitual, would keep me firm in my endeavours to obtain all the subsequent virtues ; Frugality and Industry relieving me from my remaining debt, and producing affluence and independence, would make more easy the prac

tice of Sincerity and Justice, &c. &c. Conceiving then, that agreeably to the advice of Pythagoras in his Golden Verses, daily examination would be necessary, I contrived the following method for conducting that examination.

I made a little book, in which I allotted a page for each of the virtues. I ruled each

page with red ink, so as to have seven columns, one for each day of the week, marking each column with a letter for the day. I crossed these columns with thirteen red lines, marking the beginning of each line with the first letter of one of the virtues ; on which line, and in its proper column, I might mark, by a little black spot, every fault I found upon examination to have been committed respecting that virtue, upon that day.

FORM OF THE PAGES.

TEMPERANCE.---Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

[blocks in formation]

I determined to give a week's strict attention to each of the virtues successively. Thus, in the first week, my great guard was to avoid the least offence against Temperance; leaving the other virtues to their ordinary chance, only marking every evening the faults of the day. Thus, if in the first week I could keep my first line marked T. clear of spots, I supposed the habit of that virtue so much strengthened, and its opposite weakened, that I might venture extending my attention to include the next; and for the following week keep both lines clear of spots. Proceeding thus to the last, I could get through a course in thirteen weeks, and four courses in a year. And like him who, having a garden to weed, dues not attempt to eradicate all the bad herbs at once, (which would exceed his reach and his strength) but works on one of the beds at a time, and having accomplished the first, proceeds to a second; so I should have (I hoped) the encouraging pleasure of seeing on my pages the progress made in virtue, by clearing successively my lines of their spots; till in the end, by a number of courses, I should be happy in viewing a clean book; after a thirteen weeks' daily examination.

« AnteriorContinuar »