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rank or individual of Society!—But I have fince discovered, that my credulity has been impofed upon that I have been deceived by the fuggestions of indolence, and the excufes of laziness; for, on often putting the question to men who confumed more than half of the day in useless inactivity, or in following with eagerness the uninftructive amufements of the town, the fame answer in fubftance has always been given me.We here difcover the fertili ty of men's imaginations in inventing paliatives for their erroneous opinions. However dull and ftupid these men may appear in the ordinary tranfactions of life, they feldom or never are at a lofs, when an excufe is wanting, to cover a falfehood, or to throw an artificial light upon the appearance of things. Surely that mode of life is erroneous where individuals purfue no conduct becoming their dignity as rational creatures, but appear to be moved to action by a principle little better than brute instinct; the height of their wishes is to fatisfy their fenfual appetites, and the ultimatum of their pursuits, debauchery and diffipation. That man who has three hours in every day

undifpofed of, cannot reasonably urge as an excufe that he has not time enough on his hands to devote to fcience and the improvement of his mind: let him reflect, that lo much wafted every day, in the course of forty years, becomes an awful accumulation—no lefs than ten years of his actual existence. Ye midnight rovers! ye who riot in the halls of diffipation, or in the cells of prostitution, re- 1 flect on the hours that ye murder, and the time that ye waste to no generous purpose! As men, let us forbear to add to pofitive and unconquerable difficulties, thofe obftacles which indolence or irrefolution is ever ready to invent, and when the fatigue of the countinghoufe (or whatever fituation of life we may be engaged in,) is over, let us relax our minds by the pleafures of ftudy, and not make idle excu fes that we have not a fufficiency of time for fuch employ. Would not young men by acting in this manner, approach nearer to the intention of Omnipotence, than afferting a falfehood to palliate a known fault, and then, perhaps immediately, throwing away that little time which they have, either in the unmeaning

buzz of fashion, the routine of diffipation and folly, or at an affemblage of human creatures, folicitous only concerning the turn of a card, or the rattle of a dice-box?

The plea of ftupidity is likewife grounded in indolence of difpofition: for of this I am fully perfuaded, that hardly any task is too fevere, or any obstacle too great, for human perfeverance to conquer. There are many men unacquainted with the extent of their own powers, and when the fmalleft accident obftrucks their progrefs they retire coward-like from a commendable purfuit, when, perhaps, had they the fortitude to try what refolution is capable of effecting, the collifion of action with their torpid intellect might awaken them to vigour and to life. Thofe metallic fubftances, which, by the density of their nature, are leaft fufceptible of impreffion, retain it, when once made, much longer than those of a more penetrable texture. I have obferved, that the analogy ftrongly exifts between the human mind: children, whofe inert comprehenfions feemed to defy the united efforts of art and induftry, have by unremitting perfeverance,

become great and illuftrious characters. The human mind seems to retain images in proportion to the difficulty of impreffing them: yet it does not follow, that fprightlinefs of difpofition, quickness in reply, and pertinacity of wit, in children, are prefages of their becoming paragons of excellence when men; but it often happens, either through flattery, or other caufes, that they ceafe their literary purfuits, contented with what they have already acquired. A certain portion of wisdom (ftrange as the hypothefis may appear) feems to be within the reach of every man who is determined to acquire it. Some obtain the ne plus ultra at an early period, while others attain it only after intenfenefs of application and feverity of ftudy. The human mind can be compared to the earth, which will remain barren and fterile to thofe who are indolent and ungrateful enough not to ftudy its cultivation. Defervedly punished is that man who retires to his tomb with the ignorance of a barbarian; who when living, let the opportunities of inftruction efcape, and treated with indignant fcorn the republic of letters.


However fruitfulness of imagination and promptitude of excufe may furnish us with expedients to deceive each other, at the great day of retributive juftice, fuch fallacies will be of no avail. When the great Judge fhall enquire in what manner they employed their time when in a corporeal state, and their confciences must tell them, that they wilfully profiituted it at the fhrine of diffipation and folly; what mercy can they expect, after having wantonly deftroyed one of his best gifts?

Therefore, as an exoneration, to fay, that, after the hours of bufinefs, we have not time enough upon our hands to cultivate our minds, is not defenfible by reafon, but repugnant to common fenfe: He who knowingly murders the fleeting moments as they pafs, cannot repine at the punishment, because he previously knew the penalty.



WILL it be unworthy of hiftory-will it be a departure from the refpect I owe my readers,

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