So much time thrown away on these elegant trifles!
(J. A. James, "Christian Zeal")
"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Eph. 5:16
There are three things which, if lost, can never
be recovered--time, the soul, and an opportunity.
In order to be useful, it is necessary to cultivate habits
of order, punctuality, and the right employment of time.
There is no doing good without the proper use of time.
Two things cannot be done at once. Benevolent service
requires time. And how much time is wasted, which the
miseries and needs of society require! "Redeem the time!"
is a warning that should ever be sounding in our ears!
We need time for the improvement of our own souls--and
we need it for the good of others. We can do much with a
proper use of time--and nothing without it. There is scarcely
anything to which the injunction of our Lord more strictly
applies than to time--"Gather up the fragments that nothing
be lost." Order redeems time, so does punctuality--therefore
order and punctuality are ways of supplying the time
necessary for the exercise of deeds of mercy.
Redeem time from useless reading, and other selfish
entertainments--and also from that excessive addictedness
to the worldly accomplishments of music, arts, and fancy
craft-works, which are so characteristic of the present day.
That some portion of time may be given to these things is
admitted. I am not for parting with the exquisite polish which
skill in these matters imparts to female elegance. I love to
see the decorations of female mind and manners. Of this I
may have to speak again in a future chapter, and therefore
shall merely now enquire--when the cries of misery are
entering into her ears, and the groans of creation are arising
all around her; when countless millions abroad are living and
dying without the light of the gospel and the hope of salvation;
when at our own doors will be found so many passing in
ignorance and wickedness to their eternal destinies--is it
humane for a Christian woman to spend so much precious
time each day over her knitting, crotchet, or embroidery
work? As she sits plying those needles, and bringing out,
it may be, the tasteful design, hour after hour--does she
never hear the cry of human woe, "Come over and help us!"
Does it never occur to her, how many souls have gone into
eternity unprepared to meet their God, since she took her
chair and commenced her daily entertainment?
Or, even leaving out of view the employment of her time
for deeds of mercy to others; is it not an afflicting sight
to behold so much time thrown away on these elegant
trifles, which might be employed in cultivating one's own
mind and heart, by reading useful Christian literature?
You cannot, systematically, do good either to yourself
or others, without redeeming time for the purpose!