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FORMATION OF HABITS.
Indian Fashions. Dr Chalmers's Handwriting. John Foster's
Regret. IIabit of Seeing. Audubon's Bet. Lady Mary Wortley Montague a Physician. Not ashamed to ask a Question. Secret of Despatch. Chinese Student. Always waiting. Reproof warded off. Just slipping on her Things. Lord Brougham's Rules. Mr Condar's Speech. A Sure Recipe. Strive to please. Never-failing Beauty. Haydn's Gladness. Feast of Joy. Fair Weather will come. Passion disgusting in Women. Rejoicing in God.
The different tribes of Indians in this country have various notions as to what constitutes human beauty. But whatever their ideas may be, they are all careful to begin to train the child according to this standard early. If the pappoose belong to the Flatheads, he has a board securely bound to his head, that his skull may be flattened by the
DR CHALMERS'S HANDWRITING.
continual pressure. If he is a child of one of the Nez Perces, his nose is early cut and trimmed into the fashionable shape. All, while infants, are fastened to a board, that they may be erect.
I have seen
an Indian over a hundred years of age, who was still straight as an arrow in consequence of being thus trained. Thus can impress habits upon the body, the mind, and the whole character. These habits are of great value if good, but if wrong, they are sore misfortunes. Dr Chalmers wrote a very illegible hand. When writing to his mother, he says, “ Let me know if you can read my present letter; for if you can, it will give me satisfaction to know that I can make myself legible. I have made a particular effort, and I hope I have succeeded in it.” Three years after, his old habit is strong as ever; for in a letter from his mother to one of her other children, she writes, “I had a letter last night from Thomas. It is a vast labour the reading his letters. I sometimes take a week to make them out." It is hardly necessary to bring forward such an example to prove that habits are formed
JOHN FOSTER'S REGRET.
in early life, and grow upon us, and cling to us firmer and firmer, the longer we live. Whether we desire them or not, we shall have them. Dr Paley says truly : “We act from habit nine times, where we do once from deliberation." Let the habits of the aged be what they may, we do not expect or attempt any change. But it is very important for the young to know what habits to form, and how this may be done. Any action repeated at stated periods becomes a habit. Thus the habit of the intemperate begins by his having stated hours or places where he drinks. And if any one desires to know whether his future life will be happy or wretched, let him now decide what habits to abandon, what ones to strengthen. “How much I regret,” says John Foster, “ to see so generally abandoned to the weeds of vanity that fertile and vigorous space of life, in which might be planted the oaks and the fruit-trees of enlightened principle and virtuous habit, which, growing up, would yield to old age an enjoyment, a glory, and a shade.”
Life-long habits you are now forming, and
HABIT OF SEEING.
I am wishing to point out to you some of those · which are essential to your happiness and usefulness, through your whole life.
1. Cultivate a habit of close observation.
Some people see things in general, and some do not see them at all. A few have the power to use the eye for the purpose for which it was given. It is not seeing a landscape as a whole, but noticing the minute parts of it, that makes it beautiful. It is not seeing the grove as a whole, that makes the vision so pleasant, but it is the study of the different trees, their various shapes, heights, the shades of their leaves, and their attitudes. Keep the eyes open, and the ears awake. Every new class of knowledge and every new subject of interest becomes, to an observer, a new sense to notice innumerable facts and ideas, and consequently receive endless pleasurable and instructive hints, to which he had been else as insensible as a man asleep." There must be originally, in the mind of a good observer, the faculty ; but it is greatly improved and enlarged by cultivation. “The capabilities of any sphere of observation,
observation,” says a strong
thinker, "are in proportion to the force and number of the observer's faculties, studies, interests. In one given extent of space, or in one walk, one person will be struck by five objects, another by ten, another by a hundred, and some by none at all.” Notice the minutest object, pick up even the smallest morsel of knowledge, retain the smallest fact, save the rustiest nail ever lying in the dust.
Have patience, you will find the value of all at last. When Audubon was on a visit to the Natural Bridge in Virginia for the first time, he travelled a short distance with a farmer, who offered to bet that Audubon could not tell when he came to the Bridge. But Audubon stopped directly on the bridge, saying, “We are
on it now.” The astonished farmer inquired how he knew he was on the right spot. He explained by saying that he saw a little pee-wit, and knowing that these little birds build their nests under bridges, he knew that the bridge could not be far off. There is scarcely a spot in creation, or a thing created, or an art among men, however humble, from which something may not be learned, or in which some beauty