« PreviousContinue »
5. The Roman Empire was overturned in the west by the Goths and Vandals,* and other barbarous nations from the north, whose descendants now possess several of the most fertile countries of Europe. They were afterwards farther reduced by à people from the cast, being the followers of Mahomet, under the name of Saracens:t and lastly and finally by the Turks, I who still keep possession of their conquest.
9. You are to understand, that the Goths and Vándals, Saracens and Turks, did not unite their armies: moreover, when the Goths conquered the greater part of the Romans, there were no such people as the Saracens; and the Turks were not known for several hundred years after, being, as it were, another name given to the descendants of the Saracens.
7. The Vandals were a people about the time of the Goths, and subdued a part of the Roman Em- . pire soon after.
* The Goths and Vandals originally came from the northern parts of Europe and Asia, viz. Sweden, Russia, &c. who were then in a very savage and uncivilized state; but at the time of their overrunning the Roman Empire, they came from the rorth into Germany, &c.; but even at that period their habits of life were so brutal that they obtained the appellation of barbarians.
† Those people inhabited Persia, Turkey, Arabia, and Egypt.
# The Turks first came from the mountains of Persia, being a tribe of fierce barbarians, who overpowered the Saracens ;--and since their time occupied the country of the latter.
CHAP. I. Observations on the right method of Reading, in order
to obtain general and useful Knowledge.
1. Im-pos'-ed, pret. laid on as a burden or penalty. 2. Ra"-ti-on-al, a. wise, judicious; having the use of reason. 3. So'-ci-al, a. fit for company or conversation, as relating to a christian-like disposition.
. Ex-er't, v. to apply strength, force, or vigour. 4. Per-pe"-tu-al, a. never ceasing, continual, everlasting. 6. Ac-cu'-mu-late, v. to add, or to gather together.
Per-pe"-tu-a-ted, pret. made perpetual.
,. 1. THERE is no obligation imposed on any one to acquire a knowledge of every thing: the short extent of human life, and the limitation of our natural abilities, render such an attempt vain, because įmpossible. 2. Yet, nevertheless, every rational being is under some obligation to improve his understanding ; which will otherwise remain a barren desert, or become overrun with weeds and brambles.
3. The common duties of society, which we owe as social beings, oblige all persons whatever to exert their reasoning powers on a multitude of occasions. 4. Every hour of our life calls for some regular exercise of our judgment, concerning persons and actions, times and things; as without a prudent de
termination in the affairs, we are engaged in, we shall be plunged into perpetual sorrow.
5. There is no person in life, from the lowest order to those placed in the most exalted rank, but what has much leisure and many opportunities to cultivate his reason, and to enrich his mind with a variety of knowledge; in order to acquire this, he has nothing more to do than to learn the art of reading. 6. For it is by reading that we accumulate our personal stock of knowledge; the knowledge of other men, whose attainments have been perpetuated and dispersed in writings.
7. And all that you have to do, to gain profit and advantage from reading, is to read with great attention and deliberation; understand as you go along, and endeavour to improve the truths you read, by remembrance. 8. Without attention in reading, it is impossible to remember ; and without remembering, it is time and labour lost, to read or learn..
9. Bishop Sanderson, having acquired a large fund of useful knowledge, was once asked how he attained it; the inquirer supposing he must have read a great number of books. 10. The Bishop answered, that he had read but very few; but that those authors he had read were well chosen; that he had made them his study, and had never let a single sentence pass without thoroughly making himself master of the author's meaning. 11. “There are some people,” says Dr. Watts, “who never arrive at any deep, solid, or valuable knowledge, in any science or business of life, because they are perpetually fluttering over the surface of things, in end
less search of variety; ever inquiring after something that is new, without taking any pains to lay up and preserve the ideas they have gained.” 12. Their minds may be compared to a looking-glass, which receives a variety of impressions, without retaining any.
Su-per-ci"-li-ous, a. laughty, overbearing, arbitrary.
low opinion of himself and his advantages, is submissive to
authority, and attentive to instruction. 2. Fel'.led, pret. cut down (brought to the ground).
Cop'-pice, s. low woods cut at stated times, small wood, &c.
Sap, s. the juice which ascends in and nourishes plants. 3. Con-cus'-sion, s. the act of putting a thing into violent motion,
shaking or agitation. 4. Py'-ra-mid, s. a solid pillar standing on a square basis, and ter
minating at the top in a point. Em'-i-nent, a. high, lofty, applied to situation. Figuratively,
exalted, preferred, or conspicuous on account of place, rank,
or merit. 5. Ce-les'-ti-als, s. pl. the inhabitants of heaven-angels; relating
to heavenly regions. . 10. Ush'-er, v. to introduce as a forerunner or harbinger, to precede. 13. Bas'-est, a. (in the superlative degree), counterfeit or adulterated.
(Applied to actions, a mean, narrow, and sordid disposition.) Duc'-tile, a. easy to be bent; easy to be drawn out at length ;,
applied to the mind, tractable, complying, or yielding.
“ The supercilious and the vain, the arrogant and the proud, should be taught to understand that Humility is the foundation-stone of felicity.”
. 1. HE that would build to last, should lay his foundation low; even the conversation of a man is tottering, if it be not founded on humility. 2. The
proud man, like the early shoots of a new felled coppice, thrusts out full of sap, green in leaves, and fresh in colour; but, bruised and broken with every wind, and being top-heavy, is wholly unfit for use. 3. Whereas the humble man retains in it the root, can abide the winter's chilling blast, the ruffling concussions of the wind, and can endure far more than that which appears so flourishing. 4. Like the pyramid he hath a large foundation, whereby his height may be more eminent; and still the higher he is the less doth he draw at the top, as if the nearer heaven the smaller he must appear. 5. And indeed the nigher man approacheth the celestials, the more he doth consider God, and sees the more to make himself vile in his own esteem. 6. Humility ever dwells with men of noble minds; it is a flower that prospers not in lean and barren soils; but in a ground that is rich, it flourishes and is beautiful.
7. We are sent to the apt for industry, to the lion for valour, to the dove for innocence, but for humility, unto God himself. 8. What is that man the worse who lets his inferior go before him? 9. The folly is in him who takes what is not his due; but the prudence rests with him, who in the sereneness of his worth, does not value it. 10. The sun chides not the morning star, though it presumes to usher in the day before him.
11. Humility prevents: disturbance: it rocks debate asleep, and keeps men in continued peace. 12. I had rather be counted too hunible, than a little proud. 13. Even in gold, the stiffest is the basest; but the purest is the most ductile.