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A BOOK FOR A QUIET HOUR.
SOME things God gives often: some, He gives only once. The Seasons return again and again, and the flowers change with the months, but youth comes twice
to none. While we have it we think little of it, but we never cease to look back to it fondly when it is gone.
That we realize its value so poorly while we enjoy it rises from several causes. What we have for an hour or a day is prized in some degree rightly, but we are young for long years together. Then we judge of a thing only by contrast and comparison, and youth is all sunshine. It is only as it fades that the shadows come out and show us what we have lost. One hour of its spirits and health in later life would be priceless, because they are gone; but we spend years radiant
with both, and don't know our happiness from never feeling the want of them. We even weary for a future,
which we reach only to lament having done so. If the sun rose only once in the year we should know how to value the light; as it is, we don't think of it. In Lapland all the world flock to see it again after a six months' eclipse: here, where it rises each day, it finds us asleep. Water in the desert; summer in winter; health in sickness; youth in age; want makes the worth.
There is a third cause, besides: we are so thoughtless. Our minds, like butterflies, light on many things, but rest on none. Familiarity dulls reflection, as light on water brightens the surface, but hides the depths. We get accustomed to things and never trouble ourselves more about them; we use, enjoy, or look at them, mechanically, and without a second. thought. Like children, each moment engrosses us, and it is only by an effort we realize either the past or the future. A little quiet thinking is good for us all. Life, like the landscape, needs to be studied, to be realized in any completeness. It is only by dwelling on details that we slowly master the whole, and know either its faults or beauties aright. Half-an-hour's thought in youth would go far,, if used to contrast it with other parts of the picture of life, to make it more sensible of its superlative happiness.
I wish to help such a fit of reflection, by setting the heart and head to think, by some hints and re