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All men run after happiness: we have pointed out the easiest and surest road for reaching that goal, which so few know how to attain. We have furnished the youth desirous of fortifying and improving himself, of acquiring knowledge, and leading an agreeable and honourable life, with general principles, of conduct for preserving both health of body and dignity of soul, for cultivating his understanding and adorning his mind. We have presented him with the practical application of these principles, a simple method for regulating the employment of his time, a faithful guide, a sort of portable apparatus, which he may set in motion when he will, and keep going as long as he pleases. He will know nothing either of va-. cuity of soul, or of that too common diseasespleen, which a person who thinks cannot feel without blushing. His whole life, ever usefully employed, instead of affording occasion for repentance, disgust, or regret, will be like a fertile and productive field, which yields its owner abundant crops. In short, we have furnished a method for improving the understanding, and forming happy men, and useful citizens and subjects.
All the results of this method cannot be correctly calculated, without taking the widest and most general view of the question of the employ
ment of time. Time belongs alike to all men, and the employment of the time of each individual, according as it is well or ill regulated, tends to the advantage or detriment of the whole community. This important truth ought, above all, to be deeply impressed on the mind it is the contemplative inaction of a small number of persons that is the germ of the activity of the multitude. As it is the thinking class that sets in motion the active class, that habit of contemplation and meditation which we render simple, easy, and necessary by our method, will double the activity of those who chuse to practise it. It has been justly observed that order enlarges space. The spirit of order which we apply to all the portions of life enlarges for man both the sphere of thought and that of time, since time is a necessary element, which enters into the combination of all human actions and things. The habit of employing the different parts of this
* If good management and great regularity in the appropriation and employment of money really increase the wealth of individuals and states, the same must be the case with time and life. We augment them, we impart to them a virtue of reproduction and fecundity, we multiply their results, if we know how to allot and direct their various applications with regularity and method.
256 THE ART OF EMPLOYING TIME.
important element with order and economy really increases the quantity of it allotted to each individual. We add at once to the quantity and to the quality of actions. They are more numerous in a given space, and they are of a better nature, or better adapted to the grand end, our individual happiness, and the general prosperity.
ART OF EMPLOYING TIME.
Description of the Method of forming a COMMONPLACE BOOK on the Plan recommended and practised by JOHN LOCKE, the celebrated Author of the Essay on the Human Understanding.
A Common-Place Book is a register of such things worthy of being noted as occur to a person in the course of meditation or study, arranged in such a manner, that among a number of subjects any one to which he has occasion to refer may be easily found. The advantages of keeping a common-place book are numerous and important: it not only makes a man read with accuracy and attention, but leads him insensibly to think for himself, provided he considers it not so much as a register of sentiments that strike him in the course of his reading, as a register of his own thoughts on various subjects. Many valuable thoughts occur even to men of no extraordinary genius; and these, without the assistance of a common-place book, are generally lost both to themselves and others.
There are various methods of arranging common-place books, but that invented by Locke, and recommended by him from the experience of its utility during a period of thirty-five years, is not excelled by any that have since been contrived.
The first page of the book devoted to this purpose is to serve as a kind of index to the whole, and to contain references to every place or matter comprised in it: in the commodious contrivance of which index, so that it may admit a sufficient quantity or variety of materials without confusion, the principal merit of the method consists.
The first page then, or, for the sake of obtaining more room, the first two pages, that front each other, are to be divided by parallel lines into twenty-five equal parts; every fifth line of which is to be distinguished by its colour or other circumstance. These lines are to be crossed perpendicularly by others, drawn from top to bottom, and in the several spaces of which the several letters of the alphabet both capital and small are to be duly written. The form of the lines and divisions, both horizontal and perpendicular, will be easily conceived from the following specimen, in which what is to be done in the book for all the letters of the alphabet is here shown in the first two, A and B.