Be entreated, patient reader, to arouse yourself from mental slumber, and educate the immortal mind God has implanted in your bosom. Suffer not that god-like thing to pine and waste away, and die within you for lack of necessary care and culture. Endure any other wants rather than the wants of the mind – any other abuse rather that which contract, and debases this.
Remember, the most priceless property you can have and hold is your mind, and that every improvement you can make in it will last forever. It will live when earth melts and passes away, immortal amid the ashes of the universe, standing erect while stars fall and the heavens are on fire. Take care of your mind! Treat it not as a toy or a trifle, but remember it is the “divinity stirring within you.” Be not seduced by the cares or pleasures, the business or the amusements of this world, from your fidelity to this prime concern of your life.
Over all that rich land of promise and hope, lying in your own bosom, with all its silver floods, and waving fields, and purple clusters, we call you to become cultivators and overseers, as ye are also lord-like proprietors. Let others scramble for this world’s pelf and perishing vanities, search ye for mental excellences. Put the body off, if need be, with the hardest fare and the coarsest raiment, crown and sceptre for the mind. Regard the outer man as they shadow, the inner man as thyself; and while worldings and sensualists fish for pearls in stagnant mud-pools, cast thou into the clear crystal depths of a soul that has been refined illuminated, elevated by prayer, pains-taking, and a divine blessing, till its bosom has become studded with stars, and its untroubled surface is a serene picture and panorama of the glories of the overhanging sky.
Excerpt from Wasted Intellect
Is it really necessary that men and women should toil and labor twelve, sixteen and even eighteen hours, to obtain the mere sustenance of their physical natures? Have they no other wants which call as loudly for satisfaction as those? Call ye this life – to labor, eat, drink and die, without knowing anything comparatively speaking, of our mysterious natures – of the object of our creation and preservation and final destination? No! ‘tis not life. It is merely existing in common with the inanimate and senseless part of creation.
“Life is earnest!” Not to obtain the perishing things which pertain to the outward; but earnest in procuring the riches of enduring, unfading and ever increasing goodness and true-wisdom! Goodness and wisdom are among the real necessities of life!
In truth there can be no life without them – all is darkness and death where these are wanting. True wisdom will lead us to cultivate all our faculties in that way and manner which shall most increase our own usefulness – add to the good of our fellow creatures and honor the great Creator. In order to increase the former, a portion of time must be devoted to moral and intellectual culture corresponding with the importance of the object.
When I hear people say they have no time to read – O, how does the thought come home to my heart – “in Heaven’s name what do they live for.” No time to read! What in mercy’s name do they do for thoughts, for the ever active and restless mind to feast upon from day to day!
What do they do with the starving intellect which is ever crying give, give, as the wonders and sublimities in the vast creation, unfold themselves to view and which requires knowledge to satisfy its unbounded wishes. Is it possible that any can be satisfied to exist only in a physical sense, entirely neglecting the cultivation of the noblest powers which God has given them?
Rather we say, let the old tabernacle of clay be clothed in rags, and enjoy but two meals per day, than suffer the intellect to dwindle – the moral and religious capacities to remain uncultivated – the affections unfurnished the charity limited – the mind contracted with blind bigotry and ignorance!
Oh! toiling fellow mortal, if thou by hard and unremitting labor eight hours out of the twenty-four, canst not provide for they physical wants – resolve from this time hence forth and ever. to give thy influence on the side of Labor Reform!
—Miss H.J. Stone
Written for the Voice of Industry
“A Friend, a book the stealing hours secure
And mark them down for wisdom.”
Did we all know the real satisfaction which those who are hungering and thirsting after knowledge, derived from new and enlarged views of the sublimities of truth, how differently should we live.
How many years of bliss, think ye, did Franklin live, in that hour when the lightnings of heaven yielded to his philosophy, and be demonstrated to the world a mighty and hitherto unknown truth? O, how are the low, grovelling enjoyments of life cast into the shade, when contrasted with those of the eternally progressive intellect, and ever expansive mind! How is it possible for us, being placed in such an infinitely variegated and sublimely glorious world, with senses and capacities to approach and enjoy, and yet remain in almost total ignorance of the very laws which pervade all its minutest parts and their adaptation to the comfort and existence of our race? Yet so it is, with very many in this day of exalted privileges, and unsurpassed advantages.
Why should the frail, perishing body which we inhabit, receive so large a share of our precious time and thoughts, while the mind which so richly repays us for all the care and attention we bestow upon it, is neglected – abused by too many among us?
That person who ‘secures the stealing hours,’ in the ever instructive society of a friend or book, and marks them down for wisdom,’ is not only happy and peaceful now, but is laying up the treasures where neither the moth of time nor the rust of death’s dark call can corrode or reach – Treasures, which are full of blessedness, flowing from a true knowledge of the Great Author of all mind and matter, the holy laws by which he governs and upholds the universe – the infinite goodness which shines in every event of his providence – the riches of that better, immortal life to come – which by faith is already ours and which will bear the spirit calmly on through all the vicissitudes of life, and at last enable it to sing the song of triumph over death and the grave!
On a right of improvement of our time, also depends the happiness of those who are connected with us in all the walks of life. If we misspend our time, we are taking away so much from the rightful claims of society. We are in duty bound to be faithful to God, to our fellow creatures, and our own souls. It will amount to but very little for us to talk of reform unless its spirit has begun in our own hearts and lives to be manifest! We may preach and write against he evils of community until our heads are blossoming for the grave, and it will be of no avail, unless we point out a remedy and apply it every day in all our intercourse with the world.
There is much said concerning slavery and not without reason, but there is slavery in our very midst which demands that our “Voice” should be raised against it, in thundertones, which shall rouse the careless to duty. It is none other than the cruel slavery of Sin! – This monster it is, which rivets the chains on all our suffering race here at the North, and at the South! Is there any bondage mental or physical in the Gospel of Christ? Does the true follower of the humble Nazarene, find it in his heart to treat those for whom his blood flowed freely, like the beasts of the field? It cannot be! A sweet fountain cannot send forth bitter waters. Jesus hath declared it and we must receive it as the truth of God! –
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
—Miss. H.J. Stone
Lowell, July 1845
(This letter, published by a former operative in Lowell, was published in 1867, long after the Voice ceased publication).
Thirty years ago I was a factory girl in the city of Lowell. I was ambitious to do something for myself in the way of earning money to pay my expenses at an Academy; and being too young to teach school in the country, not strong enough to do housework or learn a trade, I went into the card-room on the Fremont Corporation.
I am satisfied from my own experience, as well as from observation of the working classes for many years, that nothing can be done for their education or elevation of the working classes for many years, that nothing can be done for their education or elevation, until the hours of labor are reduced. After one has worked from ten to fourteen hours at manual labor, it is impossible to study History, Philosophy, or Science.
I well remember the chagrin I often felt when attending lectures, to find myself unable to keep awake; or perhaps so far from the speaker on account of being late, that the ringing in my ears caused by the noise of the looms during the day, prevented my hearing scarcely a sentence he uttered. 1 am sure few possessed a more ardent desire for knowledge than I did, but such was the effect of the long hour system, that my chief delight was, after the evening meal, to place my aching feet in any easy position, and read a novel. I was never too tired, however, to listen to the lectures given by the friends of Labor Reform, such as John Allen, John C. Cluer or Mike Walsh. I assisted in getting signers to a Ten Hour petitions to the Legislature, and since have resided in Boston and vicinity have seen and enjoyed the good results of that improvement in the condition of the working classes.
—A Working Woman
Boston Daily Evening Voice, Feb. 23, 1867