Bind the chariot to the swift beast
These words are addressed to the inhabitants of Lachish.
Our subject is promptitude in action.
I. Be quick in your material engagements. The distinction between the secular and the spiritual is not real but fictitious. A man should be quick in all his legitimate temporal engagements, whatever they may be. By quickness is not meant the hurry of confusion, but adroit expertness, skilful promptitude. As Shakespeare said, “What the wise do quickly, is not done rashly.”
1. The quicker you are the more you will accomplish. An expert man will accomplish more in an hour than a slow man in a day.
2. The quicker you are, the better for your faculties. The quick movement of the limb is healthier than the slow; the quick action of the mental faculties is more invigorating than the slow. As a rule, the quick man is in every way healthier and happier than the slow.
3. The quicker you are, the more valuable you are in the market of the world. The skilful man who cultivates the habit of quickness and despatch increases his commercial value every day.
II. Be quick in your intellectual pursuits. You have an enormous amount of mental work to do, if you act up to your duty, and discharge your mission in life.
1. The quicker you are, the more you will attain. The more fields of truth you will traverse, the more fruits you will gather from the tree of knowledge. Some men in their studies move like elephants, and only traverse a small space. Others, like eagles, sweep continents in a day. The quick eye will see what escapes the dull eye, the quick ear will catch voices unheard by the slow of hearing.
2. The quicker you are, the better for your faculties. It is the brisk walker that best strengthens his limbs, the brisk fighter that wins the greatest victories. It is by quick action that the steel is polished and that weapons are sharpened. Intellectual quickness whets the faculties, makes them keen, agile, and apt. “Bind the chariot to the swift beast.”
III. Be quick in your spiritual affairs.
1. Morally you have a work to do for your own soul. The work is great and urgent.
2. Morally you have a work to do for others. There are souls around you demanding your most earnest efforts, etc.
(1) Be quick; the work must be done during your life here, if ever done.
(2) Be quick; your life here is very short and uncertain.
(3) Be quick; the longer you delay the more difficult it is to do. (Homilist.)
Promptitude in action
An officer of high rank in the British Army relates how he won the first step of the ladder to recognition and promotion, He was then a young sub-lieutenant of engineers in Ceylon. One morning, while at a quiet game in the amusement room, unaware that any duty was being neglected, the governor of the island saw him. “What are you doing here, youngster?” said his chief. “I thought you would have been at Negombo by this time! What to do there, sir? What! Have you not received your orders? Go to the quartermaster-general at once.” But it was nearly one o’clock before the young fellow could find that officer. When found, his instructions were to proceed to Negombo, an old fort twenty-three miles north, make a plan of the barracks there, and note various important details. But the sub-lieutenant was vexed; for that evening he was obliged to attend a dinner party at the Government House, and there was not much time to spare. However, he saddled his Arab horse, that could do almost anything except fly, and covered the twenty-three miles in two hours. Next, field book and tape line in hand, he made the necessary measurements and calculations, sketching plans, and writing down facts and figures. Having drafted an accurate report, he remounted his faithful steed, and was back in Colombo before the dinner hour. Walking in quietly with the other guests, the governor saw him, and exclaimed: “You here, sir! What were your orders? Why are you not attending to them? Be off at once!” “My orders were to go to Negombo, sir,” replied the young officer, repeating the instructions. “Then, what do you mean by neglecting them?” “I have not,” was the answer. “The report is finished, and will be laid before you tomorrow morning.” The governor showed his delight by the glow of satisfaction on his face. He detailed the matter to his staff, dwelling on the smart and accurate obedience manifested, and from that day the young man rose steadily in his profession. (Sunday companion.)