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"Sweet is the destiny of all trades, whether of the brows or of the mind. God never allowed any man to do nothing. How miserable is the condition of those men, which spend the time as if it were given them, and not lent; as if hours were waste creatures, and such as never should be accounted for; as if God would take this for a good bill of reckoning: Item, spent upon my pleasures forty years! These men shall once find that no blood can privilege idleness, and that nothing is more precious to God than that which they desire to cast away-time."
HOW TO SPEND A DAY.
THE day never broke more beautifully than on the seventeenth of April. It was one of those bright, delicious mornings, which occasionally take us by surprise in the early months, the more delightful because they stand out from the harsh and grating season, like the beautiful flowers of the cactus from their unsightly trunk. I think there was not a cloud in the whole sky; and as the light cautiously stole up from the eastern horizon, like the gentlest pencilings of the northern aurora, it presently spread into a wide, soft blush, which might remind the reader of Pope's Homer's rosy-fingered Morn. The air was silent and motionless, as if it were watching that fair phenomenon in the east ; and, as yet, but one or two birds had opened their sweet throats to salute it. One of these, a melodious blackbird, was seated on the branch of a tree within a few feet of David Ellington's window; so that that hearty young mechanic, who slept while he slept, but knew when to be awake, somewhat by the rule that his father taught him when a boy, "Work while you work, and play while you play," was broad awake by the time the bird had got half through the first strain of his melody. He turned his sunburnt face to the window, and opened his large eye to the light; and I think the night-angels that had watched by him must
have delayed to depart from their post, while they gazed for a time on the glowing smile which passed over his manly countenance. Beautiful," said he, "beautiful! it looks like the very smile of God, and that bird expresses it in his song, as perfectly as if he could speak.
'Thine is the music, Father! thine
That can't perceive thee every where.'
This said, he looked for a moment on the objects of his love, that were sleeping by his side, and then stole gently from his bed, dressed himself, took his Bible from the table, and read; closed it, and after a little pause, knelt in prayer. It was not long, but it was hearty; not words, so much as a wakeful gratitude and a quick thought of dependence and love. It was the morning salutation of a confiding child to his parent; and not the bird that continued whistling by his window was freer from constraint, or uttered itself from a heartier impulse. And no other sound broke in upon the silence. He left his wife and children to a little longer refreshment on their pillows, passed quietly out of the chamber, - not down stairs, for the house was of one story only, took his box of tools and his hat, and went out to his day's work.
It was at more than a quarter of a mile distant that the unfinished house stood, at which he was to work during the day as a journeyman carpenter. He was there before the sun, and before his employer; and as he returned to his breakfast, he found his neighbor in the next house just opening his door, and setting his mouth almost as wide, as he yawned and stretched himself on the threshold.
"Well done, Ellington," said he, stepping down to the fence to greet him as he passed; "so here you are slaving
yourself to death at this time of day. What's the use of turning life into a mere drudgery? You'll wear yourself to death."
It was not the first time that John Smith had showed this neighborly anxiety on account of Ellington's unseasonable industry. Indeed, it was too great a contrast with his own habits, and was leading to too serious a contrast in their conditions, not to make it a matter of grave importance to him. In order to keep down some uncomfortable feelings of shame and self-reproach, he found himself obliged to exaggerate the ill-tendency of his neighbor's habits; thus, like greater men, carrying the war into the enemy's country, in order to be saved the trouble of a hopeless defence at home. Smith was not what is usually considered a bad man; but he was irresolute and shiftless, and he had no strength of principle to give vigor to his occasional wishes that he could do better. A very common case.
Why," replied Ellington, "it's very healthy being up early, and I suspect that I enjoy myself quite as well as you do."
'Nobody can enjoy himself till after breakfast. It takes forever to get waked up, and one is always out of sorts till he has warmed himself with his coffee."
"Or his bitters?" said Ellington, smiling.
"No; you know I have not touched them this twelvemonth."
"Yes, thank God! I know it. think you were not half a man till you have found that was not true, find the same true with the coffee."
"Give up coffee! Not I."
But then you used to you had your glass;
and perhaps you would
"No reason that you should; but I mean, you may find out, if you try, that it is not the only thing to make a man