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waiting for dinner, company, or his pupils assembling
wgether, that he might make some advance in the work he was about. Doing nothing was his greatest fatigue. He thought, and often told his pupils, that one good work was the best relaxation from another; and therefore he would not allow any chasm between the several kinds and branches of business he was to transact. He found it an infelicity to have his thoughts divided between two affairs which lay before him; and observed, that as much time had been sometimes spent in deliberating which of the two should be entered upon first, as would have finished one, if not both. To prevent this, he laid as exact a plan of business as he could, at the beginning of every year; but as this alone was too complicated and extensive, he had also his plan for every month, and sometimes for every week, besides what was to be done in his stated course of lectures and public services. He contrived to have a few hours every week, to which no particular business was allotted: these he set down, as a kind of cash-account, in which any unexpected affair was to be transacted, or the time lost by accidental hindrances, might be in some measure retrieved, without breaking in upon his general plan.
Through all his riper years he kept an exact account how he spent his time; when he rose; how many hours had been employed in study, or the more public duties of his station ; how much time was really, at least in his apprehension, trifled away; and what were the causes of its loss. Under this last particular, I
find him lamenting taking up a book, with which he had no immediate concern, and which yet engaged his attention, and so broke in upon the proper duties of his study. He laments, on another occasion, pursuing too long some abstruse mathematical inquiries, the advantages of which were by no means an equivalent for the time employed in them. He often complains of the loss of time by some visits, which civility and good manners obliged him to pay; and resolves not to make himself such a slave to the customs of the world, as to neglect more important duties out of regard to them. He found even friendship a snare to him; and that the company of his friends produced some ill effects, with regard to his business and religious frame.“ While I have had company with me," he writes,“ my work hath been interrupted ; secret devotion straitened ; the divine life reduced to a low ebb, as to its sensible workings, though my heart continued right with God.” At another time : “ Too much company, though very agreeable to me, led me to neglect some part of my business; and turned that, in which I so much rejoiced as a very pleasing circumstance, into a mischief, rather than a benefit. Had I been resolute, to have commanded an hour or two in the morning, I should have been less embarrassed through the day. I will, therefore, be more watchful and self-denying on this head.” He was desirous to do the work of every day in its day, and never defer it till the morrow; knowing there would be business enough remaining for that day, and all the days and
hours of his life. He thought (and his own temper showed it) that activity and cheerfulness were so nearly allied, that one can hardly take a more effectual method to secure the latter, than to cultivate the former, especially when it is employed to sow the seeds of an immortal harvest, which will be rich and glorious, in proportion to our present diligence and zeal.
So solicitous was he to improve every moment, that one of his pupils generally read to him when he was dressing and shaving. In these short intervals he was improving himself and them, by remarking on their manner of reading, and pointing out to them the excellencies or defects of sentiment and language in the book read. When he was upon a journey, or occasional visits to his friends, where he spent the night, he took his papers with him; and employed all the time he could seize, especially his morning hours, in carrying on some good work, for his people, his pupils, or the world. While he was preparing his Family Expositor for the press, he did something at it daily. When an intimate friend bad expressed some fear lest his academy should be neglected, while he was preparing some works for the public, he thus wrote to him : “So far as I can recollect, I never omitted a single lecture on account of any of the books that I have published. The truth is, I do a little now and then; something every day, and that carries me on. I have wrote some of my pieces in short hand, and got them transcribed by my pupils; and thus I do by many letters. This is a help to me, and some considerable advantage to those whom I employ. I scarce fail being in the lecture-room three hours every morning; that carries me through my stated work; and, with the concurrence of my assistant, I oversee the academy pretty well.” So great was his diligence in his Master's work, that he often preached several days in a week in different villages about Northampton ; and chose the evening for those services, that his lectures might not be omitted. During his annual vacation, which continued two months, one of them was usually spent in close study, pastoral visits, or making little circuits among the neighbouring congregations, by the desire of their respective pastors. In the other month, he visited his friends in London, and other parts of the kingdom, finding such excursions and journeys serviceable to his health: yet he pursued his studies and writings, and frequently preached occasional sermons, especially in London and its environs, almost every day. I find that in some years he preached one hundred and forty times; in others, many more; besides his repetitions, expositions and devotional lectures at home. So that the exhortations he gave his brethren, in his discourse on “ The Evil and Danger of neglecting the Souls of Men," came with peculiar grace and propriety from him, as they were illustrated by his own example.
Nor must I, in this connexion, omit his correpondence; which was almost large enough to have taken up the whole time of a person of common abilities
and industry. His letters were principally of business, and that of the most important kind. Besides his correspondence with the parents and guardians of his pupils, he had many letters to write in answer to questions of moment, proposed to him by his brethren, especially those who had been his pupils; and by congregations at a distance, who applied to him for direction and assistance. His judgment was often desired by learned men, concerning critical difficulties, or works which they were preparing for the press ; and his own publications would naturally enlarge his work of this kind. His correspondence with persons of the first rank for wisdom and learning in the Established Church required much attention and delicacy. Several foreign gentlemen and divines, who had heard of his character and read his works, sought his epistolary acquaintance; and corresponding with them, in Latin or French, required some particular application. It is surprising to find how many hundred letters he received and answered in the space of one year. I may say of him, as Pliny of his uncle, “ When I consider his dispatch of so much business, I wonder at the multiplicity of his reading and writing; and when I consider this, I wonder at that.” But his resolution was indefatigable; and God had given him a happy facility in the dispatch of business. He was master of the contents of a book upon a summary view, and could readily express his thoughts upon the most abstruse questions with ease and perspicuity.
It is wonderful that his tender constitution should,