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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 20

III.—The Evils that Result from Excessive Labour

III.—The Evils that Result from Excessive Labour.

I could say much upon the physical evils that ensue The stunted stature; the undeveloped and impaired constitution; the exhausted, because overtaxed, frame; the premature feebleness that comes before age—for Nature is rigourous in her exactions, and demands the uttermost farthing. Youth may draw bills on the strength of the future, but age, and oft times middle age, must pay them. Nature suffers no dishonour.

I might have dwelt upon the mental harms that follow. The forgetfulness of what once was learnt: the fading out of facts and principles from the memory; the blunting of the keenness, the crippling of the nimbleness of the intellect; the gradual lessening and narrowing alike of the capacities and aspirations of the mind, until little is known beyond prices current, and ignorance covers it like green weeds cover a stagnant pool, shutting out even the reflection of light and beauty,

I might have enlarged upon the irremediable and eternal ruin that results to the soul. It is chained to earth like a captive eagle, and though it would fain soar up into the sunlight, it ceases at last to chafe itself with a vain endeavour. Its energies are bent to the producing and laying up of treasures on earth. Every freshening thought of a Father's and Redeemer's love is expelled—until plodding a weary round of unprofitable and unennobling work, the soul's highest creed comes to be: "Let us eat and drink for to-morrow we die—

'For men mast work and women must weep,
And the sooner it's over the sooner to sleep;
And good-bye to the bar and its moaning.'"

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And the end of such a godless life is a godless eternity of unending and unintermitted misery.

I have but touched on these things in passing. I trust that I have said enough to make all who hear me feel that the subject has a solemn as well as a practical side to it.

Now I must hasten on, for I have kept you long, to point out