« PreviousContinue »
8. Students are also in danger of neglecting the memory. This is a faculty of mind too valuable to be neglected; for by it wonders are sometimes accomplished. He who has a memory that can seize with an iron grasp, and retain what he reads, - the ideas, simply, without the language, - and judgment to compare and balance, will scarcely fail of being distinguished. Why has that mass of thought, observation, and experience, which is embodied in books by the multitude of minds which have gone before us, been gathered, if no that we may use it, and stand on high ground, and push our way still further into the boundless regions of knowledge ? Memory is the grand storehouse of the mind, capable, both of vast improvement and enlarged capacity, in proportion as it is properly cultivated.
INDOLENCE AND WANT OF ORDER. - ARTHUR.
[Didactic and Argumentative. - See Rule 2, p. 163.) 1. More young men are hindered from arriving at positions of honor and eminent usefulness, by indolence and want of order, than from any other cause. Nothing great is ever achieved, except by industry and earnest application, combined with an orderly arrangement of all the means necessary to the accomplishment of the object in view.
2. From this, may be clearly seen, the importance of habits of industry and order. Without them, little can be done; with them, almost every thing.
An active and energetic mind may achieve much, even where there is great want of order; but indolence chains a man down, and keeps him fast in one position; it is, therefore, the most serious defect of the two, and should be striven against with an. wearying perseverance.
3. The want of an adequate purpose, is what makes a man indolent. The Indian will spend days and weeks in slothfulness and inactivity, and, to an observer, seem the most inefficient and powerless of human beings; but, let the war-whoop sound, or a deer go bounding past his wigwam, and he is instantly as full of fire, strength, and endurance, as a war-horse. All his slumbering energies have aroused themselves. He feels the force of an adequate purpose.
A man's love is his life; and here we see its illustration. The very life's love of the Indian, is war and the chase. In the pursuit of them, every energy of body and mind is brought into activity. But when the tomahawk is buried, or he comes home from his hunting-grounds, he sinks into apparent imbecility.
4. The Indian is a mere savage, and the instincts of his nature are his prompters. But civilized man stands far above him, and is, or ought to be, actuated by reason, and not by instinct. His rational intelligence should give him the force of an adequate purpose ; and this it will give him, if he but call in its aid.
5. Activity is the result of some end or affection of the mind. Where no purpose is in the mind, there is indolence; but where there is an end in view of sufficient importance, all the powers of the mind come into spontaneous activity. Now, will any young man say that there are not objects for him to attain, of sufficient importance to awaken him from his habits of indolence? We know there is not one whc does not, at times, feel the necessity of concentrating every energy he possesses, for the accomplishment of some end. But the evil is, the thoughts are not kept steadily fixed, but are allowed to wander off, or retire in mere idle musings : and thence comes indolence ; for if there is no fixed purpose, there will be no activity.
6. The first thing to be done, in the correction of this babit, is, deliberately to resolve upon doing something worthy of an effort. Let the object in view be worth attaining, and let there be an end in the mind beyond its mere attainment ; an end of actual utility. In determining the object of pursuit, a good question for any one to ask himself, is, — “lu what am I deficient?” There will doubtless be answers enough to this question, to awaken all a man's energies, and invigorate his efforts. The next question ought to be, * What will be most useful for me to do?” When this question is settled, let him resolve steadily to prosecute his purpose, and in so doing, his success will be highly probable.
7. Most of us sleep too much. From six and a half to seven hours' sleep in the twenty-four, are said by physicians, to be all that a healthy man requires. To a young man, who has acquired the habit of indulging himself in morning slothfulness, it will be something of a trial to rise at five o'clock, in both winter and summer; but the self-denial practiced in doing this, will be so fully repaid in a short time, that we are sure no one, who has waked up to the responsibility of his position, and the incalculable benefits that must result from efforts such as he is making, will sink down again into disgraceful indolence.
8. It is no hardship to rise early ; it only requires an effort at first; and when one is fairly awake and begins to drink in the pure morning air, and to feel a refreshing sense of new life and vigor, he rejoices that he is not lost in dullness, or leaden insensibility. The heavy torpor that we find so hard to overcome in the morning, and which we rest in as a pleasant sensation, is misery, compared to the sense of life that runs through every nerve of body and mind, after pure, cold water has touched the face, and the lungs have expanded with the fresh and invigorating morning air.
9. But next to indolence, with which all are more or less affected, comes want of order, which, in some, is a constitutional defect, and in others, the result of education, or, more correctly speaking, the want of education. But it is never tou late to correct this defect, and the quicker a young man begins, the better. As nothing great can be accomplished without industry and an earnest purpose, so nothing great can be accomplished with any good degree of success, with out order. The one is indispensable to the other, and they go hand in hand, as co-workers in the young man's success and elevation.
THE CURE FOR MELANCHOLY.-C. Wilcox.
[See Construction of Verse, pp. 212 and 218.] 1. Wouldst thou from sorrow find a sweet relief?
Or is thy heart oppressed with woes untold ?
Leaf after leaf, its bosom, rich and fair,
2. Wake, thou that sleepest in enchanted bowers,
Lest these lost years should haunt thee on the night
An angel's wing would droop if long at rest, And God himself, inactive, were no longer blest. 3. Some high or humble enterprise of good
Contemplate, till it shall possess thy mind,
Become thy study, pastime, rest, and food,
to begin, pursue,
Strength to complete, and with delight review, And grace to give the praise where all is ever due. 4. No good of worth sublime will Heaven permit
To light on man as from the passing air ;
That ʼmid gay thousands, with the suns and showers Of half a century, grows alone before it flowers. 5. Has immortality of name been given
To them that idly worship hills and groves,
Or did Paul gain heaven's glory and its peace, By musing o'er the bright and tranquil isles of Greece? 6. Beware lest thou, from sloth, that would appear
But lowliness of mind, with joy proclaim
* Co-lum bi-a's Al'oe, a native plant of America sometimes called the century plant, and erroneously supposed not to blooin until it is 100 years old. But the cime of its blossoming depends upon the rapility of its growth.
† New'ton, (Sir Isaac,) see note, p. 110.
I Howard, (John,) a relabrated philanthrop lát, born in Hackney, England in 1720, and died in 1790.