Page:The Daughters of England.djvu/36

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CHAP. II
ECONOMY OF TIME.


In all our pursuits, but especially in the acquisition of knowledge, it is highly important to habituate ourselves to minute calculations upon the value and progress of time. That writer who could teach us how to estimate this treasure, and how to realize its fleetness, would confer a lasting benefit upon his fellow-creatures. We all know how to talk of time flying fast. It is, in short, the subject of our most familiar proverbs, the burden of the minstrel's song, the theme of the preacher's discourse, the impress we affix to our lightest pleasures, the inscription that remains upon our tombs. Yet how little do we actually realize of the silent and ceaseless progress of time? It is true, that one of the first exclamations which infant lips are taught to utter is the word 'gone;' and the beautiful expression, 'gone for ever,' occurs with frequency in our poetical phraseology. Clean gone for ever, is the still more expressive language of Scripture; and if any combination of words could be made to convey to us clear and striking impressions of this idea, it would be found amongst those of the inspired writers. Yet still we go on from day to day, insensible, and unimpressed by this, the most sublime and appalling reality of our existence.

The fact that no single moment of our lives, whether happy or miserable, whether wasted or well employed, can ever be recalled, is of itself one of the most momentous truths with which we are acquainted—that each hour of our past existence, whether marked by wisdom or by