Using Our Time Profitably

The following excerpt is from The doctrines and discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church, “SECTION XV. Of Employing our Time profitably, when we are not Traveling, or engaged in Public Exercises.”

Question 1. What general method of employing our time shall we advise?

Answer. We advise you, 1. As often as possible to rise at four. 2. From four to five in the morning, and from five to six in the evening, to meditate, pray, and read the Scriptures with notes, and the closely practical parts of what Mr. Wesley has published. 3. From six in the morning till twelve, (allowing an hour for breakfast,) read, with much prayer, some of our best religious tracts. 

Question 2. Why is it that the people under our care are not better?

Answer. Other reasons may concur, but the chief is, because we are not more knowing and more holy. 

Question 3. But why are we not more knowing? 

Answer. Because we are idle. We forget our first rule, “Be diligent. Never be unemployed. Never be triflingly employed. Neither spend any more time at any place than is strictly necessary.” We fear there is altogether a fault in this matter, and that few of us are clear. Which of us spend as many hours a day in God’s work as we did formerly in man’s work? We talk, — talk or read what comes next to hand. We must, absolutely must, cure this evil, or betray the cause of God. But how? 1. Read the most useful books, and that regularly and constantly. 2. Steadily spend all the morning in this employment, or at least five hours in the four and twenty. “But I have no taste for reading.” Contract a taste for it by use, or return to your former employment. “But I have no books.” Be diligent to spread the books, and you will have the use of them.