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warning ;-of some of the mischiefs of the latter, it is mine to treat in this short essay.

Few things are more ruinous, even to our secular af. fairs, than customary procrastination. It confuses and blights every kind of worldly business ; for business not attended to in the proper time and season, is either not done at all, or done with more labour and difficulty, and to less purpose.

Some men are in the practice of letting their accounts lie unsettled for several years together. It is no matter forsooth; they are near neighbours and close friends, and can come to a reckoning at any time. At length a settlement between them commences. The accounts of each, however honest, are swelled beyond the expectation of the other. On both sides, several items are vanished from the remembrance of him who is char. ged with them. A warm dispute ensues; perhaps an arbitration ; peradventure an expensive lawsuit;-and these close friends are severed forever.

Some men neglect to make their Wills, though they know their estates would be inherited contrary to their own minds, and to the rule of equity, if they should chance to die intestate. Knowing this, and sincerely wishing that right may be done to their heirs, they are fully determined to perform the necessary act and deed, some time or other. “ But why just now! Another time will do as well.” And thus they delay the thing from year to year, till at last the time of doing it is gone by : a precious widow, or a beloved and desery. ing child, is left to suffer, through life, the bitter consequences of this default.

Some Farmers, double their labour, and lose half their profits, for want of doing things in the proper

Their fields are overgrown with bushes and thorns, all which a little seasonable labour might have

season.

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prevented. Their fences, and even their buildings, are neglected, till the cost of repairs becomes increased several fold; besides their sustaining a train of inconveniences and of serious injuries from the neglect. And so also their crops cost more labour, and at the same time are leaner in bulk, or inferior in quality, by reason that much of the labour that had been bestowed upon

them was out of season. Nor is it uncommon to see farmers of this sort in a mighty hurry and bustle. They are behind their business and running to overtake it; which is the cause of their being so often in a greater hurry than their neighbours.

Many a one, loses his custom as a mechanic, by not doing his work in season. It makes no odds, he thinks, whether the thing be done precisely at the time agreed upon--but so think not his customers.

What does not a merchant lose, in custom, in credit, and in cash, by neglecting his books, though it be only a few months, or a few weeks. How hard does ke find it to set to rights, what might easily been kept right if he had done the work of each day within the day.

Honest Jonathan, borrows a sum of money of his particular friend, on the express promise of scrupulous punctuality. He gets the money by the day: but being busy here and there, he delays to carry or send it. The money happens to be sorely wanted the very day it becomes due ;-and, with that particular friend, Jonathan's borrowing-credit is utterly lost.

His Reverence a clergyman of no mean abilities, appears below himself in the pulpit, merely from his having got into the practice of delaying preparations for the sabbath to the very last of the week, when, not unfrequently, company unexpectedly falls in, or he unexpectedly is called out; so that a considerable pro

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portion of his sermons, composed in the hurry of his spirits, bear no great analogy to the beaten oil” of the sanctuary. A reversal of merely timing his preparations, would contribute as well to the comfort of the respectable gentleman himself, as to the edification of his hearers. Doctor

possesses undoubted skill in his profession, but loves talk better than practice. Called away in a case of pressing emergency, he sets out with speed; but meets an old acquaintance, to whom he opens a budget of news and politics, which takes him up half an hour in the relation; and by the time he arrives, all is

Half an hour sooner, and his patient might have been saved. Violent pains and fevery chills seize us.

If they go not off, we will send for the physician to-morrow. Ere to-morrow arrives, the distemper gains a firmness of fixture that baffles the physician's skill.

Hark! The cry of fear and dismay. The Small Pox! Our children have caught the contagion ; we meant to have them vaccinated, but put it off, and the time for it is now past.

One instance more, and a common one.--" Not ready," says the sharp-eyed lawyer, when the court is in waiting, and the patience of the witnesses is tired with long attendance.--And why not ready? Procrastination lies at the bottom. Here, however, procrastination itself turns to good account. The case is laid over, and the fees augmented :-it is only the pigeons that are plucked.

T

NUMBER LVIII.

Of general diffusion of knowledge,

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PART I. What has been commonly termed the Republic of Letters, till a late period, had been no other than a monoplising and overbearing aristocracy. The precious treasure was in the possession of only a few, who, with miserly feeling, locked it up from the mass of the people; communicating of it merely to one another, and their select pupils.

“ Knowledge that is hid, and treasure that is locked up, what profit is in them both ?" This question of the ancient sage that penned the book of Ecclesiasticus, carries its own answer along with it.

Of very little profit indeed to the world, were those philosophers of antiquity, whose philosophy was either wrapped up in mystery, or withheld from all but the initiated few. For as gold is of no service while it remains hoarded, and is made serviceable only when put in circulation, so also intellectual treasure can benefit mankind, only in so far as it is generally diffused.

The Art of Printing, produced an astonishing change in this important respect: a change that is still progressing, and that promises a most happy consummation. Ere its discovery, the whole rational world consisted of only two classes, namely, learned scholars and an illiterate vulgar; between which, there was very little of fellowship, or of any thing in common. Whereas Printing, by multiplying copies with so much ease, and furnishing books in such plenty and cheapness, soon began to break away that “ middle wall of partition.” Yet it was not till a considerably late

period, that the tree of knowledge has been brought fairly within the reach of the multitude.

From the beginning of the last century, and thence up to the present day, literature and science have advanced chiefly by diffusion. In the former ages, there were giants in the literary departments : men of iron constitutions of body and mind, who, by indefatigable industry and patience of toil, treasured up in their minds and memories, such a prodigious abundance of learning as would now seem incredible. This race of Anakim is well nigh extinct, and of learning there are no living prodigies comparable to those of earlier time. Nevertheless, knowledge has rapidly progressed, by the general spread of it. No longer confined to scholars by profession, or inherited exclusively by the lordly sex, there now are, of both sexes, very many readers, who, without any pretensions to deep scholarship, have arrived to respectable degrees of information. The truth of it is, among those especially who speak the English tongue, there has risen up a middle class, aptly denominated the Well Informed.

And who are These? These are persons who, though not to be ranked with men of deep sholastic lore, nor by any means affecting such distinction, are, notwithstanding, possessed of a fund of useful knowledge, whether for conversation, or for the various practical purposes of life. They are often found, in short, to have a great deal more of general practical knowledge, than commonly falls to the lot of men of profound science or literature. For one who devotes himself to science alone, or to literature alone, however deeply intelligent in that single respect, must needs be ignorant as to most other things.

But the class of the Well Informed requires a more particular description. By no means does it include all readers, and much less all that can read.

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