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Procrastination is a great fault. On account of their procrastination, the foolish virgins were disappointed in the pleasure which they might have enjoyed. When people do not begin to prepare at a proper time, for what they intend to do, or for what may be expected will happen, they cannot get ready; if they allow themselves too short a time they may disappoint others, and will certainly be punished themselves.
Not to begin a necessary labor in season, but to say "not yet-in a little while," is a very bad habit; particularly for children, who have all much to do, of work and play; and who cannot be either useful or happy, at any time of their lives, if they are lazy while they are young.
Punctuality is the observance of time, and the habit of doing things at regular and appoint ed hours.
IN the country which is at the head of the Mediterranean sea, there lived many hundred years ago a man named Jacob.
Jacob had twelve sons.-He had two wives; their names were Rachel and Leah; they were mothers to some of Jacob's children. In those days, one man had more than one wife. In some countries, at the present time, men have more than one wife. Christians have only one wife. The name of one of Jacob's sons was JoRachel was the mother of two of Jacob's Jacob loved Rachel more than he loved
Leah; he loved Rachel's sons, Joseph and Benjamin, better than he loved his other sons; but he loved Joseph more than all his other child
Joseph's brothers hated him because their father loved him so much; they could not speak peaceably to him; they used to treat him very unkindly. Jacob kept many sheep; his sons took care of the sheep; they used to go into the fields and watch them.
Once, when the sheep were in the field, and some of Jacob's sons were with them; Jacob sent Joseph, who had staid at home with his father, to see if his brothers were well, and to see if the sheep were safe.
When the brothers saw Joseph coming towards them, they said they would kill him, and carry home his bloody clothes, and tell their father that they had not seen him; but that they had found his clothes covered with blood, and that they supposed some wild beast had devoured him.
One of the brothers, named Reuben, who was the eldest of them all, was not so wicked as the rest; Reuben wanted to get Joseph away, and to take him back to his father. Reuben said to his brothers, "let us not kill him, but throw him into this pit." Reuben meant to come back and take Joseph out of the pit. The brothers agreed to do this, and stripped off Joseph's clothes, and threw him into the pit.
These cruel brothers then sat down to eat. While they were eating they saw some Ishmaelites coming that way. The Ishmaelites lived in the country now called Arabia; they were
obliged to pass through Jacob's country to go into Egypt. They might have crossed the Red Sea, but they had no ships, so they travelled on camels, and carried things to sell. They carried spice, and drugs, and sometimes they carried men to sell.
When the brothers saw the Ishmaelites coming, one of them, Judah, said to the others— "Let us not kill Joseph, he is our brother; let us sell him to these Ishmaelites." The brothers said they would sell him; so they drew him up out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver money.
Reuben was not with his brothers when all this happened; he was in some other place; but he went back to the pit, and found that Joseph was taken away. Reuben was very sorry thus to lose his brother.
Jacob had given Joseph a very fine coat, because he loved him so much; it was this coat which his brothers stripped off; they killed a little kid, and stained Joseph's coat with the kid's blood and carried it home, and showed it to their father. When they showed the coat to Jacob, they told him they had found it, and asked him if he knew whose coat it was.
Jacob knew it; he said, "it is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is torn in pieces." Jacob wept, and mourned very much, and his children tried to comfort him. Perhaps when they saw him in so much trouble they were sorry for what they had done.
The Ishmaelites carried Joseph into Egypt, and sold him to a rich man named Potiphar.
Potiphar liked Joseph very much, for Joseph was very good, and did every thing well. tiphar's wife was a wicked woman; she told lies about Joseph to her husband. Potiphar believed his wife; and because she made him angry with Joseph, he put him in prison.
While Joseph was in the prison, two of the king's servants, the butler and the baker, were there also. The keeper of the prison liked Joseph very much;-every body liked him, he was so wise and good a man. The keeper gave Joseph the care of the prisoners, and they used to talk with him.
One morning Joseph went to see the butler and baker. The night before they had both been dreaming; they thought their dreams had some meaning, but they could not tell the meaning. Joseph understood the dreams, and he explained them. He told the butler his dream meant that he would be taken out of prison; and he told the baker his dream meant that he would be hanged. It happened as Joseph said. The butler was taken out of prison, and the baker was hanged.
Joseph staid two years in the prison; then the king dreamed, and the wise men of Egypt did not understand his dream. The butler remembered Joseph, and told the king how he had explained his dream; so the king sent for Joseph, and told him his dream. Joseph told the king his dream meant that for seven years there should be plenty of food in Egypt, and then, for seven years after, there should be a famine.
Joseph advised the king to save what food he
could, for his people to eat when there should be a famine. The king liked Joseph's advice, and he liked Joseph also. The king took a ring off his finger, and put it on Joseph's hand, and dressed him in fine clothes, and put a gold chain about his neck. Pharaoh was the king's name; he gave Joseph a wife, and they had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.
There was a famine, not only in Egypt but in other places; in the country of Jacob the people had not enough to eat. Jacob heard that the people of Egypt had saved food, so he sent his sons to buy some. When the brothers of Joseph had arrived in Egypt he knew them as soon as he saw them; but they did not know him. They bowed, and laid themselves down before him, with their faces to the ground.
Joseph's brothers prostrated themselves before him, because he sold the corn to the people of Egypt, and they wanted to ask a favor of him; they wanted him to sell corn to them, who were strangers. Joseph did not speak kindly to them; he called them spies.
Joseph told his brothers they had come to Egypt to do some harm, if they could. His brothers answered that they were not spies; that their father was a good man; that he had twelve sons--one of his sons was dead-one, the youngest of all, called Benjamin, was at home with his father-the rest had come for food. Joseph said he would not believe them, unless one of them would go back and bring their youngest brother Benjamin into Egypt. He put them all in prison and kept them there three days; then