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In about a year,
attend on my ministry, and in the course of a few months, having entertained hope in Christ, he made a public profession of religion.. however, it was noticed that he was irregular in his attendance on public worship, and painful rumours of his delinquency reached the ears of his brethren, who could not watch over him strictly on account of the distance at which he lived. Having become of age, he had left his father's house, and was employed upon the railroad near by. Here he fell in with wicked companions, some of whom were already steeped in vice. He began to neglect his Bible, and his customary seasons of devotion, and to suspect, what was probably the fact, that his religion had been more a matter of excitement than of principle. Away from Christian influence, surrounded by profane and licentious companions, he gradually became profane and licentious himself. These facts being ascertained by the church, every effort was made to induce him to return to his duty, but whether through shame, or from a premature hardening in guilt, he refused to hold any communication with the church, or to make any promise of amendment.”
After describing his course in vice, step by step, shewing that he fell by those temptations which are peculiar to the city, waxing worse and worse, until he became a murderer, Dr T. proceeds to say:
“Oh, that you could have heard the warning of that young man from the scaffold ! 'You know,' said he,
how I was brought up I had the best instructions a Christian father could give-oh! if I had followed them, I should have been over yon mountain in my dear father's home; but temptation led me astray, and I it upon
have come to this. I hope now as I leave this world, my voice will warn all young men. Our desires and passions are so strong, that it requires very little to lead us astray. I want to urge
young men never to take the first step in such a career as mine. When the first step is taken in the paths to sin, it is very difficult to stop.""
These examples appear to conflict with the generally received doctrine, that, “ as is the child, so is the man;" and, for this reason, they become more forcible illustrations of the power of evil influences in the city. If the above youths had remained in their quiet country homes, no doubt their lives would have proved that “the boy is father of the man.” But their removal into the midst of so great temptation was too much for even the Christian instructions of the fireside.
Such cases present a striking contrast with that of Lawrence, and serve to magnify the virtues for which he was distinguished. May the reader have wisdom enough to perceive the secret of his success in overcoming temptations, and resolution and principle sufficient to follow his bright example.
EVERY person may have leisure hours; but no one ought to have “idle hours." There is no pursuit which does not afford occasional moments of relaxation from its stern and pressing duties. If these moments are carefully improved in self-culture, they will be ample for making great advancement. As we look around us, we notice a great difference in men and women in point of intelligence; and the reason of that difference lies mainly in the manner of employing their leisure hours. Evenings and Sundays afford more or less time for reading and study; and those men who have improved them in this way for a series of years, are our most intelligent citizens. Of course we do not intend to intimate that the Sabbath should be devoted to any other than religious improvement; but there are abundant religious books, in addition to the study of the Scriptures, the reading of which, on Sunday, will contribute to intelligence as well as to morality and virtue.
While writing, I look around upon my friends and acquaintances, to test the truth of the remark just made. There is Mr A, a painter, possessing much more intelligence than a large part of our citizens ; Mr B, a farmer and miller, having more general knowledge than some liberally educated men ; Mr C, a merchant, possessing far more information and refinement than his fellowmerchant across the street; and Mr D, a young unmarried man, far excelling any of his fellow-bootmakers in his intellectual attainments. There are, also, Mrs E, and Mrs F, distinguished from the rest of the females in the place for their literary taste and acquisitions. Why is this ? There are those around them having fewer cares, and enjoying equal opportunities for improvement, yet they are ignorant and unrefined. It appears to me that the chief cause of this dissimilarity is found in their different manner of employing leisure moments. The persons of intelligence named are well known as readerg in the community, while those around them spend their evenings and other hours in useless conversation or lounging. There is many a man who spends more time at the shops, in discussing politics, and matters of even less importance, than would have enabled him to master some branch of science, if he earnestly devoted it to this end. Burrit, the “learned blacksmith," acquired his remarkable knowledge of the languages, by the improvement of those hours which so many spend in useless talk and idleness. We are acquainted with a young man, who, until recently, has been the book-keeper and cashier of a large mercantile house in the city; and, of course, his time during business hours must have been wholly occupied. Yet he has made such literary improvement, by devoting his evenings to reading and study, that he will acquit himself in composition better than many of our professional scholars. Not long since, he delivered a lecture before a Young Men's Christian Association of so high literary and moral character that it was published in one of our best monthly journals.
Amos Lawrence was a man of distinguished intelligence. Thousands of men, placed in the same circumstances, would have known little beyond the range
of their own business, at the close of life. How, then, did Lawrence make this intellectual improvement ? We answer, by spending leisure hours in reading and study. In a letter to his son, in 1832, he said :
“When I first came to this city, I took lodgings in the family of a widow who had commenced keeping boarders for a living. I was one of her first, and perhaps had been in the city two months when I went to this place; and she, of course, while I remained, was inclined to adopt any rules for the boarders that I prescribed. The only one I ever made was, that after supper, all the boarders who remained in the public room should remain quiet at least for one hour, to give those who chose to study or read, an opportunity of doing so without disturbance. The consequence was, that we had the quietest and most improving set of young men in the town. The few who did not comply with the regulation went abroad after tea, sometimes to the theatre, sometimes to other places, but, to a man, they became bankrupt in after life, not only in fortune, but in reputation; while a majority of the other class sustained good characters, and some are now living who are ornaments to society, and fill important stations. The influence of this little rule will perhaps be felt throughout generations. It was not less favourable on myself than on others."
From these words we learn, not only the secret of his intelligence, but also one of the causes of his life of strict uprightness. The history of his associates proves that the manner of spending their leisure hours had much to do with their success or failure. It is probable that every close observer among business men will declare that, as youth and young men spend their evenings and Sabbaths, so will be their moral characters." Some trader has said: “Tell me how a clerk spends his evenings, and I will tell you how he will get on." He could easily do it; for there is generally only one result of time misspent.
Not long since the papers announced a gross case of