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Oh, what a thing is man! how far from power,
and rest! He is some twenty sev'ral men, at least,
Each sev'ral hour.
But then a thought creeps in,
Will lose a pleasure.
Now eat his bread in peace,
Now all day spares. He builds a house : which quickly down must go,
As if a whirlwind blew
His mind is so.
Did alter with his mind;
With his desires !
There would be no commerce,
And live apart.
Will not suffice our turn.
Our own salvation.
ON HIS BLINDNESS.
WHEN I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
Lodg’d with me useless; though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He, returning, chide ;
I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent
Either man's work, or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his 'state Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean, without rest:
Sir Matthew Hale.
(FROM HIS WORKS; AND, HIS LIFE BY BISHOP BURNET.)
OF THE REDEMPTION OF TIME. I would consider, first, How time is to be redeemed; and, secondly, Why time is to be thus redeemed.
On the manner of redeeming the time, I shall set down only these generals :
1. We are to neglect no opportunity that occurs, to do good; but, (1.) To watch all opportunities, that offer themselves thereunto. (2.) To seek for them, if they offer not themselves. (3.) To use them; and not to let them slip.
2. In the co-incidence of opportunities of several kinds, and suiting to several actions, to give those the prelation that correspond to the most worthy actions ; and, in the co-incidence of opportunities for actions of equal moment, to prefer such as are most rare, and probably of unlikelihood to occur again, before those that are under a probability of frequent occurrence.
3. We are to be very careful to leave no baulks or interspersions of idleness in our lives. Those men that have most employment, and of the most constant nature, cannot choose but have certain interstitia
between the varieties of business, which
be fitted with employments suitable to their length or qualities; and it becomes a good husband of his time, to have some designations and destinations of businesses, that may be suited to the nature, quality, seasons, and more of those vacant interstitia. An industrious husbandman, tradesman, scholar, will never want business fitted for occasional vacancies and hore subsicivæ [the parings of time]. Gellius, in his Noctes Attice, hath left us an experiment of it: and a Christian, even as such, hath ready employment for occasional interstices-reading, praying : the crumbs and fragments of time should be furnished with their suitable employments : it is precious ; and therefore let none of it be lost.
4. Much time might be saved and redeemed, in retrenching the unnecessary expenses thereof, in our ordinary sleep, attiring and dressing ourselves, and the length of our meals; as, breakfasts, dinners, suppers; which, especially in this latter age, and
among people of the better sort, are protracted to an immoderate and excessive length: there is little less than ten or twelve hours, every day, spent in these refections and appendancies, which might be fairly reduced to much less.
5. Take heed of entertaining vain thoughts, which are a very great consumption of time, and are very incident to melancholy and fanciful persons, whom I have known to sit the greatest part of several days in projecting what they would do, if they had such
estates, honours, or places, and such kind of unprofitable and vain meditations ; - which humour is much improved in them that lie long in bed, in a morning.
6. Beware of too much recreation. Some bodily exercise is necessary, for sedentary men especially ; but let it not be too frequent, nor too long. Gaming, taverns, and plays, as they are pernicious, and corrupt youth ; so, if they had no other fault, yet they are justly to be declined, in respect of their excessive expense of time, and habituating men to idleness and vain thoughts, and disturbing passions and symptoms, when they are past, as well as while they are used. Let no recreations, of any long continuance, be used in the morning ; for they hazard the loss or discomposure of the whole day after.
7. Visits made, or received, are, for the most part, an intolerable consumption of time, unless prudently ordered; and they are, for the most part, spent in vain and impertinent discourses. (1.) Let them not be used in the morning. (2.) Let the visits made to, or by, persons of impertinence, be short, and at such times as may be best spared from what is more useful or necessary; viz. at meals, or presently after. (3.) But, if the persons to be visited are men of wisdom, learning, or eminence of parts, the visits may be longer; but yet, so as the time may be profitably spent in useful discourse; which carries in it as well profit and advantage, as civility and respect.
8. Be obstinately constant to your devotions at certain set times; and be sure to spend the Lord's