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PROPER DISTRIBUTION OF TIME.
Time we ought to consider as a sacred trust, committed to us by God; of which we are now the depositories, and are to render an account at the last. That portion of it which he has allotted to us is intended partly for the concerns of this world, partly for those of the next. Let each of these occupy, in the distribution of our time, that space which properly belongs to it.
Let not the hours of hospitality and pleasure interfere with the discharge of our necessary affairs; and let not what we call necessary affairs encroach upon the time which is due to devotion. To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. If we delay till tomorrow what ought to be done to-day, we overcharge the morrow with a burden which belongs not to it. We load the wheels of time, and prevent them from carrying us along smoothly.
He who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows out that plan, carries on a thread which will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life. The orderly arrangement of his time is like a ray of light, which darts itself through all his affairs. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidents, all things lie huddled together in one chaos, which admits neither of distribution nor review.
The first requisite for introducing order into the management of time, is to be impressed with a just sense of its value. Let us consider well how much depends upon it, and how fast it flies away. The bulk of men are in nothing more capricious and inconsistent than in their appreciation of time. When they think of it as the measure of their continuance on earth, they highly prize it, and with the greatest anxiety seek to lengthen it out.
But when they view it in separate parecls, they appear to hold it in contempt, and squander it with inconsiderate confusion. While they complain that life is short, they are often wishing its different periods at an end. Covetous of every other possession, of time only they are prodigal. They allow every idle man to be master of this property, and make every frivolous occupation welcome that can help them to consume it.
Manhood is disgraced by the consequences of neglected youth. Old age, oppressed by cares that belonged to a former period, labors under a burden not his own. At the close of life, the dying man beholds with anguish that his days are finishing, when his preparation for eternity is hardly commenced. Such are the effects of a disorderly waste of time, through not attending to its value. Every thing in the life of such persons is misplaced. Nothing is performed aright, from not being performed in due season.
But he who is orderly in the distribution of his time, takes the proper method of escaping those manifold evils. He is justly said to redeem the time. By proper management he prolongs it. He lives much in little space; more in a few years than others do in many He can live to God and his own soul, and at the same time attend to all the lawful interests of the present world. He looks back on the past, and provides for the future.
PREPARATION NECESSARY FOR OLD AGE.
A joyless and dreary season will old age prove, if we arrive at it with an unimproved or corrupted mind. For this period, as for every thing, certain preparation is necessary; and that preparation consists in the acquisition of knowledge, friends, and virtue. Then is the time when a man would especially wish to find himself surrounded by those who love and respect him—who will bear with his infirmities, relieve him of his labors, and cheer him with their society. Let him, therefore, now in the summer of his days, while yet active and flourishing, by acts of seasonable kindness and benevolence, insure that love, and, by upright and honorable conduct, lay the foundation for that respect, which in old age he would wish to enjoy. In the last place, let him consider a good conscience, peace with God, and the hope of heaven, as the most effectual consolations he can possess when the evil days shall come.
HESTER CHAPONE, 1727_1801.
MRS. CHAPONE was descended from the ancient family of Mulso, of Twywell, in Northamptonshire. Hester, the subject of this memoir, was the daughter of Thomas Mulso, and was born October 27, 1727. She lost her mother when quite young, and her early education was somewhat neglected; for which, however, she afterward made amends by her own exertions. Though not handsome, she was full of sensibility and energy; of quick apprehension and attractive man
After the death of her mother, she not only undertook the management of her father's house, but devoted a great portion of her time to self-improvement; made herself mistress of the French and Italian languages, and acquired some knowledge of the classic tongues. She discovered, also, strong powers of discrimination and judgment; and while her fancy and warm feelings made her delight in poetry, her sound sense gave her a love of philosophy.
Her enthusiastic love of genius made her a warm admirer of Richardson, the
and clearness of mind. It was at his house that she met Mr. Chapone, a young practitioner of law. A mutual attachment was the result, though from his limited means many years elapsed before they were united in marriage. In the mean time, she lived either with her father or with her friends and relations, while her society was widely sought, and her accomplishments were generally acknowledged. At the house of her aunt, Mrs. Donne, of Canterbury, she became acquainted with the celebrated Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, about ten years her senior, and at Mr. Richardson's she met Dr. Johnson. She thus records a meeting with hiin, and the result of an argument maintained by her against him, in a letter to Mrs. Carter on
THE PRINCIPLE OF BENEVOLENCE.
We had a visit whilst at Northend from your friend Mr. Johnson, and
poor Mrs. Williams. I was charmed with his behavior to her, which was like that of a fond father to his daughter. She seemed much pleased with her visit; showed very good sense, with a great deal of modesty and humility; and so much patience and cheerfulness under her misfortune, that it doubled my concern for her. Mr. Johnson was very communicative and entertaining, and did me the honor to address most of his discourse to me. I had the assurance to dispute with him on the subject of human malignity, and wondered to hear a man who by his actions shows so much benevolence, maintain that the human heart is naturally malevolent, and that all the benevolence we see in the few who are good is acquired by reason and religion. You may believe I entirely disagreed with him, being, as you know, fully persuaded that benevolence, or the love of our fellow-creatures, is as much a part of our nature as self-love; and that it cannot be suppressed, or extinguished, without great violence from the force of other passions. I told him I suspected him of these bad notions from some of his Ramblers, and had accused him to you; but that you persuaded me I had mistaken his sense. To which he answered, that, if he had betrayed such sentiments in the Ramblers, it was not his desigu; for that he believed the doctrine of human malevolence, though a true one, is not an useful one, and onght not to be published to the world. Is there any truth that would not be useful, or that should not be known ??
lent fever, which terminated fatally in September, 1761. The severity of this blow was so keenly felt by her, that her life was for some time in danger; but at length the assiduity of her friends and the consolations of religion had their due weight, and she gradually recovered her spirits and her peace of mind.
In 1773, Mrs. Chapone published her “ Letters on the Improvement of the Mind," addressed to her favorite niece, the eldest daughter of the Rev. John Mulso. The work was most favorably received, and soon became extensively circulated. It is, indeed, " one of the best books that can be put into the hands of female youth; the style is easy and pure, the advice practical and sound, and the whole uniformly tends to promote the purest principles of morality and religion." In 1775, she published her “Miscellanies in Prose and Verse,” in one volume. of the poems of this volume, which were, for the most part, the productions of her early life, the best is the “Ode to Solitude.” This was the last work she published. From this time she was called almost every year to mourn the loss of some near and dear friend, which so oppressed her spirits, at her advanced period of life, that at length both her mind and body yielded to the attacks of age and
Toward the close of the century her faculties began to decay, and she died at Hadley, on the 25th of December, 1801.
ODE TO SOLITUDE.
'Thou gentle nurse of pleasing woe,
With eager haste I fly;
Nor listening ear be nigh!
My pensive steps I bend;
Do thou my walk attend !
And ease my lab’ring breast;
No longer be supprest.
Shall Fancy cheat the precious hour,
And calm Reflection's part ?
Thy lov’d Eliza' strays,
Thy heaven-protected ways !
Contentment's bower in view!
Shall there my steps pursue.
Nor lov'd in sad despair;
And all my tenderest care.
From selfish passion pure;
Can never be secure.
ON THE GOVERNMENT OF THE TEMPER.
The next great point of importance to your future happiness is what your parents have, doubtless, been continually attentive to from your infancy, as it is impossible to undertake it too early-I mean the due Regulation of your Temper. Though you are in great measure indebted to their forming hands for whatever is good in it, you are sensible, no doubt, as every human creature is, of propensities to some infirmity of temper, which it must now be your own care to correct and to subdue: otherwise, the pains that have hitherto been taken with you may all become fruitless; and, when you are your own mistress, you may relapse into those faults which were originally in your nature, and which will require to be diligently watched and kept under, through the whole course of
If you consider that the constant tenor of the gospel precepts is to promote love, peace, and good-will amongst men, you will not doubt that the cultivation of an amiable disposition is a great part
1 Elizabeth Carter.