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engagements. To himself it is a rule of incalculable importance, and applies to every occupation and every pursuit. The ancients represented time under the similitude of an old man, with a single lock upon his forehead, gravely, but steadily approaching an assembled multitude-and whoever seized this lock, and held him by it, was born onward with the most assured pledge that could be given, of future success. But if any suffered him to pass them, he spread the wings, which till then, were concealed behind him and flew away with a rapidity, which rendered persuit utterly vain. Hence the homely adage, "Take time by the forelock." Better be fifteen minutes too early than one too late. Too late! Alas what a crowd of sensations cluster round that ill-omened phrase! The disappointments how numerous! The disasters how sad! The consequences, Oh! who can trace them, as they reach through all future time, and embosom themselves in the abyss of eternity.

The importance to one's self of being before the time, may perhaps be more closely illustrated by an example. I have in my eye a young man who was my classmate in College. There was nothing in the structure of his mind or in its development peculiarly striking. It seemed to me a mind cast in the ordinary mould, with no stamp upon it of either genius or brilliancy. But I marked the regularity with which he attended upon all the duties of the Institution. He was ever before the time in the chapel, the recitation room, the Society's hall, or whatever else there was a just claim upon his merit and attention. Nor did he ever offer as an excuse, that he was unprepared for any exercise to which he was properly called. He took time by the forelock, and had his lessons all thoroughly digested long before the hour of recitation arrived. His essays were all written, a week in advance of the time when he was expected to read, and as leisure offered, he would frequently after re-model and re-write them. He left nothing to be done at the eleventh hour; but carried out the principle of punctuality into every thing that concerned him.

The result was, he left many of his class lagging behind, while he pressed onward with increasing energy, and making every day a sensible increase to his stock of knowledge. He was at last graduated with a distinction which he had not hoped to attain. And without entering into the minute particulars of his after life, suffice it to say that he became a minister of the everlasting Gospel, where he carried out this same principle in his preparations for the sanctuary-in his family, in his parochial visitations, and in the meetings of Ecclesiastical counsels.

Whoever else was behind the time, with him there was one undeviating rule. He was never tardy-never unprepared. And by this means he acquired that vigor of thought, and energy of style, and pathos of utterance, so essentially requisite to distinguished usefulness, as a herald of the cross. There was nothing tame, or imbecile, or common-place in any of his efforts. To himself then, his habit of punctuality was amazingly useful; and not less so to others, than to himself. This example has had a powerful influence in producing a similar habit among all who were within its range. Nor has he failed to impress the duty by those arguments, which every ingenuous mind will admit to be unanswerable. What right have I to cause a number of men, whom I have engaged to meet at a particular hour, not only to waste their time, but become impatient and fretful by my delay? I rob them of that which I never can restore-the precious hours thus worse than wasted. I set them a pernicious example-I betray an important trust-I tantalize with the sensibility of those whom I am bound to respect and cut off a portion of their usefulness. In an individual case, which I have occasioned, may be small, but in the aggregate the amount exceeds belie.

Let me select another instance of a different character, to illustrate the principle. Our funeral solemnities, it is too well known, are seasons of great and tantalizing delay. When the appointed hour arrives, the undertaker is not there, or the hearse is not there, or the minister is not there-or some of the pall-bearers, or mourners, or attendants, or friends are absent-there is nothing in readiness for the solemnity. And not unfrequently, a single individual keeps hundreds in waiting, not merely minutes, but hours after the allotted period for commencing the solemnities. And who does not know that such delays are calculated, more than any thing else, to unfit the mind for receiving any favorable impression from the spectacle of mortality, whose obsequies are celebrated? How many have wished themselves away before the services began; and how many have fled from the scene, as soon as they could decently do it, in anger that they were thus duped of the time that should have been devoted to other duties? It is on this account that the generality of funerals utterly fail of producing any good effects. Let punctuality be observed by those who have the management of these solemnities, and they will oftener prove, what they are intended to be, salutary lessons to the living.

In conclusion, I will only remark, that the period is rapidly approaching, when the feast to which we are all invited, will be ready;

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and should our preparation be delayed till the door is shut, our exclusion will be final and for ever. My soul shudders at the thought of being an outcast from God-of dragging out an eternal and miserable existence an exile from my Father's house! And I would employ the brief residue of my days in diligent, and active, and persevering efforts to escape from so fearful a result. For none can be too soon or too well prepared, as the night is far spent, and the day is at hand. I would awake, and array myself in the righteousness of Christ, and be ready to meet him at his coming; for he will not tarry beyond the allotted hour. And then it will be said, and finally said, "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still.


Do not the forms of politeness interfere with Christian fidelity? I ask this question in consequence of a case known of a minister, who at the first interview, sat down by the conscience of a sinner, and pressed it pungently with divine truth: I know not what was the result, except that it was well received. This interview was made the subject of conversation, when one remarked, that he had known a similar case, when the individual's serious impressions were entirely effaced by the abruptness of manner in which the subject of religion was introduced; and that it was quite certain, in his mind, that much more injury than good was the result of such attacks. But, after all, I thought it very questionable whether the injury supposed was a reality. The apparently unpropitious interview may yet prove to be propitious; and the individual may, at some future time, be brought into the kingdom of God by that very effort. When the harpoon of the whaleman has taken full effect, the mighty monster of the sea flies and flounders and plunges and struggles, with an energy that nothing but a death wound could have inspired. So the very stab of truth that transfixes the conscience, and brings the sinner to lie tamely as a lamb at the foot of the cross, is often preceded by convulsions and throes that

*Contributed anonymously to a religious paper.

resemble death itself. I have seen a man quit the sanctuary in a rage, and refuse to bow at the domestic altar, and avow infidelity, and become a bold blasphemer, while the truth was fixing his barbed arrows in his soul. The result of the whole is, the Spirit of God is now constraining him to meet his naked heart alone. "Sharp arrows of the Mighty, with coals of juniper," were drinking up his spirit; and he made himself desperately angry, to keep himself from being terribly afraid. But, in cases of this kind, what is the frequent, and very desirable effect? I remember one who threatened his wife that if she went to make a profession of religion, he would have the oven heated against her return, and throw her in. She went :-he gathered the fuel; he kindled the fire; and while the oven was heating, he became terribly alarmed, and when she came back she found him on his knees in an agony of despair, imploring mercy; and she knelt with him and joined in the prayer. It was his determined resolve to carry his rash threat into fearful execution; but he was overpowered by the Spirit of God, and his paroxysm of rage was exchanged for tears of contrition. All this was but a struggle of his conscience against the truth of God, applied by the agency of the Spirit. Often, the very thing we ought to do must offend, if it does not result in salvation; and if it do thus result, it is a result that arises often from the very offence. Our motto should be that of the orator who was pleading an unpopular measure, and when one came to cut him down, he calmly said, "Strike, but hear me !"

Oh, what a pity, and what a grief, that Christian parents do not keep their families so familiar with this subject, both before and after conversion, that we may approach them without ceremony, and as readily inquire into the health of their souls as their bodies! How much time would thus be saved; and, what is far more, how many a word might be spoken that would reach the conscience and sanctify the heart, which is not said, because the laws of politeness forbid it. "Oh, tell it not in Gath; publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the Philistines rejoice; lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph!" Shall we care so much about the rules of politeness as to lose the chance of saving the soul? If your house were in flames at a midnight hour, must we go through all the forms of genteel vexation-ring the bell and wait the tedious process of an announcement-before we communicate to you the alarming intelligence? If your child was drowning, might we not make an abrupt effort to save it from a watery grave or even bid the dog do it? Or if your child was seized

with some fatal disease that required the immediate application of a known remedy, might we not administer it without going through all the forms of painful ceremony? One father, at least, wishes to be understood, that he throws his family open to the approach of the ministers of religion, and fears no ill consequences from the abruptness of manner in which they may approach them with the message of salvation. Oh, seize them! bring the truth into close and burning contact with their consciences; and give them no rest day nor night, till they rest on the sufficiency of the atonement, and are joyful in the presence of the King! He wishes to meet them all in heaven, and that none of them may be missing when the Lord Jesus Christ maketh up his jewels. But he is afraid that in this desire he will fail if the forms of politeness are suffered to interfere with ministers in the discharge of their duty. He remembers with pleasure one city which was visited with a powerful effusion of the Spirit; and then it was, that the word of divine truth was not embarrassed by any such restraints. You could go any where, and speak to any one without ceremony on the concerns of the soul, and he would listen to you with deep and thrilling interest. And the result was, that the work of God pervaded every street, and its influence was seen in many families in that beloved city. And he longs for the return of another season so joyous, so full of interest, and of such unspeakable blessings to multitudes of immortal souls. But he can not look for it when and where and while these impediments stand in the way of reaching the conscience, which should be made of easy access to those who would ply it with truth and fit it for heaven.

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