The Illustrated London Reading Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about The Illustrated London Reading Book.
inaction, what will be able to quicken the more sluggish current of advancing years?  Industry is not only the instrument of improvement, but the foundation of pleasure.  Nothing is so opposite to the true enjoyment of life as the relaxed and feeble state of an indolent mind.  He who is a stranger to industry, may possess, but he cannot enjoy.  For it is labour only which gives the relish to pleasure.  It is the appointed vehicle of every good man.  It is the indispensable condition of our possessing a sound mind in a sound body.  Sloth is so inconsistent with both, that it is hard to determine whether it be a greater foe to virtue or to health and happiness.  Inactive as it is in itself, its effects are fatally powerful.  Though it appear a slowly-flowing stream, yet it undermines all that is stable and flourishing.  It not only saps the foundation of every virtue, but pours upon you a deluge of crimes and evils.

It is like water which first putrefies by stagnation, and then sends up noxious vapours and fills the atmosphere with death.  Fly, therefore, from idleness, as the certain parent both of guilt and of ruin.  And under idleness I include, not mere inaction only, but all that circle of trifling occupations in which too many saunter away their youth; perpetually engaged in frivolous society or public amusements, in the labours of dress or the ostentation of their persons.  Is this the foundation which you lay for future usefulness and esteem?  By such accomplishments do you hope to recommend yourselves to the thinking part of the world, and to answer the expectations of your friends and your country?  Amusements youth requires:  it were vain, it were cruel, to prohibit them.  But, though allowable as the relaxation, they are most culpable as the business, of the young, for they then become the gulf of time and the poison of the mind; they weaken the manly powers; they sink the native vigour of youth into contemptible effeminacy.

BLAIR.

* * * * *

THE RIVER JORDAN.

[Illustration]

The river Jordan rises in the mountains of Lebanon, and falls into the little Lake Merom, on the banks of which Joshua describes the hostile Kings as pitching to fight against Israel.  After passing through this lake, it runs down a rocky valley with great noise and rapidity to the Lake of Tiberias.  In this part of its course the stream is almost hidden by shady trees, which grow on each side.  As the river approaches the Lake of Tiberias it widens, and passes through it with a current that may be clearly seen during a great part of its course.  It then reaches a valley, which is the lowest ground in the whole of Syria, many hundred feet below the level of the Mediterranean Sea.  It is so well sheltered by the high land on both sides, that the heat thus produced and the moisture of the river make the spot very rich and fertile.  This lovely plain is five or six miles across in parts, but widens as it nears the Dead Sea, whose waters cover the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, destroyed for the wickedness of their inhabitants.

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The Illustrated London Reading Book from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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