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From: The True Citizen How To Become One
(Category: The Man)


Accuracy is the twin brother of honesty.--C. Simmons

Without method, little can be done to any good purpose.--Macaulay

A place for everything, and everything in its place.--Old Proverb

Order is the law of all intelligible existence.--Blackie

Order is the sanity of the mind, the health of the body, the peace of
the city, and the security of the state.--Southey

The two words "order" and "method" are so closely akin to each other
that it is quite difficult to separate them, even in the mind. "Order is
heaven's first law," it is said; also, "Method consists in the right
choice of means to an end." Here a distinction is made; but the two
words taken together, cover the line of thought we now wish to follow.

Children nowadays do not learn to read as they once did. They go to
kindergartens; but order is the rule even in such play-schools, and it
is the one great reason why they succeed. All schools and colleges
depend upon order for successful work.

"He who every morning plans the transactions of the day," says Victor
Hugo, "and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him
through the labyrinth of the most busy life. The orderly arrangement of
his time is like a ray of light which darts itself through all his
occupations. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is
surrendered merely to the chance of incidents, all things lie huddled
together in one chaos, which admits of neither distribution nor

There is no talent like method; and no accomplishment that man can
possess, like perseverance. These two powers will usually overcome every
obstacle; and there is no position which a young man may not hope to
secure, when, guided by these principles, he sets out upon the great
highway of life. In after years, the manners and habits of the man are
not so readily adapted to any prescribed course to which they have been
unaccustomed. But in youth habits of system, method, and industry, are
as easily formed as others; and the benefits and enjoyments which result
from them, are more than the wealth and honors which they always secure.

"Never study on speculation," says Waters; "all such study is vain. Form
a plan, have an object; then work for it, learn all you can about it,
and you will be sure to succeed. What I mean by studying on speculation,
is that aimless learning of things because they may be useful at some
time; which is like the conduct of the woman who bought at auction a
brass door-plate with the name Thompson on it, thinking it might some
day be of service."

Orderly boys and girls are fair scholars, firm friends, and good
planners; they make few mistakes, and succeed pretty well in all they
do. Order does not make a genius; but a genius without order is
exasperating when he is a man, and is only pardoned for his want of
order when he is a boy because he is expected to do better each day.
Begin with orderly _habits_; next day try order in _thought_; and then
will follow naturally order in _principles_.

"You would be the greatest man of your age, Grattan," said Curran, "if
you would buy a few yards of red tape and tie up your bills and papers."
Curran realized that methodical people are accurate as a rule, and

The celebrated Nathaniel Emmons, whose learning made him famous through
all New England, claimed that he could not work at all, unless order
reigned about him. For more than fifty years the same chairs stood in
the same places in his study; his hat hung on the same hook; the shovel
stood on the north side of the open fireplace, and the tongs on the
south side; and all his books and papers were so arranged that he
claimed to be able to find any information he needed in three or four

The demand for perfection in the make-up of Wendell Phillips was
wonderful. Every word must express the exact shade of his thought; every
phrase must be of due length and cadence; every sentence must be
perfectly balanced before it left his lips. Exact precision
characterized his style. He was easily the first legal orator America
has produced. The rhythmical fullness and poise of his periods are

A. T. Stewart was extremely systematic and precise in all his
transactions. Method ruled in every department of his store, and for
every delinquency a penalty was rigidly enforced. His eye was upon his
business in all its various branches; he mastered every detail and
worked hard.

It has also been repeatedly asserted that Noah Webster never could have
prepared his dictionary in thirty-six years, unless the most exacting
method had come to the rescue. He himself claimed that his orderly
methods saved him ten or twenty years, and a vast amount of anxiety and

Good habits are the first steps in order for children,--punctuality,
neatness, a place for everything. Yet, do not let habits master you, so
that you never can do anything except in a fixed manner at a fixed time,
and cannot give up your way of doing for the sake of something greater.

It is true, however, that there is a wonderful force in mere regularity.
A writer by the name of Bergh tells of a man beginning business, who
opened and shut his store at the same hour every day for weeks, without
selling two cents' worth of goods, yet whose application attracted
attention and paved the way to fortune.

Sir Walter Scott has also said that "When a regiment is under march, the
rear is often thrown into confusion because the front does not move
steadily and without interruption. It is the same thing with business.
If that which is first in hand be not instantly, steadily, and regularly
dispatched, other things accumulate behind, till affairs begin to press
all at once, and no human brain can stand the confusion."

The great enemy of order is laziness. It is too much trouble to do a
thing when it ought to be done, instead of doing it when you want to do
it. Young people should learn to think, talk, read in an orderly manner.

The country, the state, the town, the home, depend upon order.
Supposing each person did what he wished, without regard to the welfare
of others,--that meals, parties, lessons, came at any time; that
caucuses and elections happened when any one desired them; that prisons
and hospitals took people or not, just as superintendents felt; that
everybody was a self-constituted policeman, yet no one wanted to be
looked after himself;--what a hard time all people would have!

A very important point still remains to be noticed. It is this: Our
principles ought to be strong enough to govern our habits. Habits may
make us disagreeable and fussy; principles make us broad, far-seeing,
sympathetic, and independent. Success in life depends upon having the
_principle_ of order. Always do the _important_ thing _first_; for that
is what order means. Some boys and girls are orderly about their rooms,
but disorderly in their ways of doing things,--always in a hurry, and
always puzzled what to do next. Orderly people make plans, allow a
margin of time for carrying them out, so that they shall not overlap one
duty with another; and then, if there is any time left, they fill it
with some extra employment or enjoyment, which they have kept in the
background all ready for use.


If John Wesley had not been such an orderly boy, he never could have
been the founder of Methodism. He was born at Epworth, England, in 1703,
and had nineteen brothers and sisters, though only ten of them lived
long enough to be educated.

His brother Charles was his intimate companion. When students at Oxford,
they and two other friends formed a small society, which was called the
"Holy Club" by those who laughed at it. They had sets of questions,
labeled in order for their examination. From the exact regularity of
their lives and their methods of study, they came to be called
Methodists, in allusion to some ancient physicians who were so termed.
The name was so quaint that it became immediately popular. They visited
the poor and sick, and had regular lists of inquiries and rules for
general use.

All the orderly habits of his youth guided him even when he became a
man; and the amount of work he accomplished is almost beyond belief. In
the last three years of his life, although sick nearly all the time, he
preached as many times as ever until a week before his death, in 1791.
Always anxious never to lose a moment, and to be methodical in all his
habits, he read as he traveled on horseback for forty years. He
delivered forty thousand sermons, and wrote many books and essays, and
gave away in charity one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which was
a great sum in those days.

The secret of John Wesley's success began in his love of order, and
culminated in the wonderful, orderly discipline of the immense Methodist
denomination. At his death there were nearly eighty thousand members,
whose leaders, great and little, had definite duties to perform. Yet, in
his love for order, he never lost sight of individual poor and sick
people, but remembered to serve each one.

[Footnote: See "Lives of Wesley," by Tyerman (1876); Riss (1875); Isaac
Taylor's "Wesley and Methodism" (1868); and "Wesley's Journals," in
seven volumes.]



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