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seize every opportunity to increase in knowledge. From “the vicissitudes and revolutions of nations and families," and from the “ various occurrences of the world," learn the instability of mortal affairs, the uncertainty of life, the certainty of death. From a coftin and a funeral, learn to meditate upon your own departure. From the vices and follies of others, observe what is hateful in them ; consider how such a practice looks in another person, and remember that it looks ae ill or worse in yourself. From the virtues of others, learn something worthy of your imitation.
From the deformity, the distress, or calamity of others, derive lessons of thankfulness to God, and bymns of grateful praise to your Creator, governor and benefactor, who has formed you in a better mould, and guarded you from those evils. Learn also the sacred lesson of contentment in your own estate, and compassion to your neighbour under his miseries.
From your « natural powers, sensations, judgment, memory, hands, feet, &c." make this inference, that they were not given you for nothing, but for some useful employment to the honour of your Maker, and for the good of your fellow-creatures, as well as for your own best interest and final happiness.
From the sorrows, the pains, the sicknesses and sufferings that attend you, learn the evil of sin, and the imperfection of your present state. From your own sins and follies, learn the patience of God toward you, and the practice of humility to. ward God and men. Thus from every appearance in nature, and from every occurrence of life, you may derive natural, moral · and religious observations to entertain your minds, as well as rules of conduct in the affairs relating to this life, and that which is to come.
II. In order to furnish the mind with a rich variety of ideas, the laudable curiosity of young people should be indulged and gratified rather than discouraged. It is a very hopeful sign in young persons, to see them curious in observing, and inquisitive in searching into the greatest part of things that occur; por should such an enquiring temper be frowned into silence, nor be rigorously restrained but should rather be satisfied by proper answers given to all those queries. For this reason also, where time and fortune allows it, young people should be led into company at proper seasons, should be carried abroad to see the fields, and the woods, and the rivers, the buildings, towns and cities distant from their owo dwelling; they should be entertained with the sight of strange birds, beasts, fishes, insects, vegetables, and productions both of nature and art of every kind, whether they are the products of their own or foreign nations : and in due time, where providence gives opportunity, they may travel under a wise inspector, or tutor to diÄerent paris
of the world for the same end, that they may bring home treasures of useful knowledge.
III. Among all these observations, write down what is more renarkable and uncommon: reserve these remarks in store for proper occasions, and at proper seasons take a review of them. Such a practice will give you a babit of useful thinking: this will secure the workings of your soul from running to waste, and by this means even your looser moments will turn to happy account both here and hereafter. And whatever useful observations have been made, let them be at least some part of the subject of your conversation among your friends at next meeting..
Let the circumstances or situations of life be what or where they will, a man should never neglect this improvement which may be derived from observation. Let bim travel into the East or West-Indies, and fulfil the duties of the military or the mercantile life there : let him rove through the earth or the seas for bis own humour as a traveller, or pursue bis diversions in what part of the world he please as a gentleman ; let prosperous or adverse fortune call him to the most distant parts of the globe; still let him carry on his knowledge and the improvement of his soul by wise observations. In due time, by this means he may render himself some way useful to the societies of mankind.
Theobaldino in his younger years, visited the forests of Norway on the account of trade and timber, and besides his proper observations of the growth of trees on those Northern mountains, he learnt there was a sort of people called Finns in those confines which border upon Sweden, whose habitation is in the woods : and he lived afterwards to give a good account of them, and some of their customs, to the Royal Society for the improvement of natural knowledge. Puteoli was taken captive into Turkey in his youth, and travelled with his master in their holy pilgrimage to Mecca, whereby he became more intelligent in the forms, ceremonies, and fooleries of the Mahometan worship, tban perhaps ever any Briton knew before : apd by bis manuscripts, we are more acquainted in this last century with th; Turkish sacreds than any one bad ever informed us.
IV. Lel us keep our minds as free as possible from passions and prejudices, for these will give a wroog turn to our observations both on persons and things. The eyes of a man in the jaundice, make yellow observations on every thing; and the soul tinctured with any passion or prejudice, diffuses a false colour over the real appearances of things, and disguises many of the common occurrences of life: it never behulds things in a true light, nor suffers them to appear as they are. Whensoever therefore, you would make proper observations, let self with all its influences stand aside as far as possible ; abstract your own interest and your own concern from them, and bid all friead
ships and enmities stand aloof and keep out of the way, in the observations that you make relating to persons and things. . If this rule were well obeyed, we should be much better guarded against those common pieces of misconduct in the observations of men, viz. the false judgments of pride and envy. llow ready is en vy to mingle with the notices which we take of other persons? How often is mankind prone to put an ill sense upon the actions of their neighbours, to take a survey of them in an evil position, and in an uphappy light? And by this means, we form a worse opinion of our neighbours than they deserve ; wbile at the same time, pride and self-fattery tempt us to make umjust observations on ourselves in our own favour. In all the favourable judgments we pass concerning ourselves, we should allow a little abatement on this account.
V. In making your observations on persons, take care of 'indulging that busy curiosity which is ever enquiring into privaie und domestic affairs, with an endless itch of learning the secret history of families. It is but seldom that such a prying curiosity aitains any valuable ends; it often begets suspicions, jealousies and disturbances in households, and it is a frequent temptation to persons to defame their neighbours. Some persons cannot lielp telling what they know ; a busy body is most liable to be. come a luiler upon every occasion.
VI. Let your observations even of persons and their conduct, be chirtly designed in order to lead you to a better acquaintance with Things, particularly will human nature, and to in: form you what to imitate and what to avoid, rather than to furaish out matter for the evil passions of the wind, or the impertinences of discourse, and reproaches of the tongue.
VII. 'Though it may be proper sometimes to make your observations concerning persons as well as things, the subject of your discourse in learned or useful conversation ; yet what rea marks you make on particular persons, especially to their disudvantage, should for the most part lie hill in your own breast, till nome just and apparent occasion, some necessary call of providence leari you of speak of them. If the character or conduct which you observe, he greatly culpable, it should so much the less be published. You may treasure up such reinarks of the follies, indecencies, or vices of your neighbours, as may be a constant guard agaiost yoar practice of the same, without exposing the reputation of your neighbour on that account. It is a good old rule, that “ our conversation should rather be laid out on things than on persons ;” and this rule should generally be oliserved, unless names be concealed, wlieresoever the faulis or follics of mankind are our present theine. Our late Archbisliop Tillotson has written a small but excellent discourse on evil speaking, wherein be admirably explains, limits and
applies that general apostolic precept, Speak evil of no man; Tit. iii. 2.
VIU. Be not too hasty to erect general theories from few particular observations, appearances or experiments. That is what the logicians call a false induction. When general observations are drawn from so many particulars as to become certain and indubitable, these are jewels of knowledge, comprehending great treasure in a little room ; but they are therefore to be made with the greater care and caution, lest errors become large and diffusive, if we should mistake in these general notions. A hasty determination of some universal principles, without a due survey of all the particular cases which may be included in them, is the way to lay a trap for our own understandings in their pursuit of any subject, and we shall often be taken captives into mistake and falsehood. Niveo in his youth observed, that on three Christmasdays together there fell a good quantity of snow, and now he baib writ down in his almanack as part of his wise remarks on the weather, that it will always snow at Christmas. Euron a young lad, took notice ten times that there was a sharp frost when the wind was in the north-east, therefore in the middle of last July, he almost expected it should freeze, because the weather-cocks shewed him a north-east wind; and he was still more disappointed, when he found it a very sultry seasons.-It is the saine hasty judgment, that hath drawn scandal on a whole nation for the sake of some culpable characters beloug-, ing to several particular natives of that country; whereas all the Frenchmen are not gay and airy; all the Italians are not jealous and revengeful ; nor are all the English over-run with the spleen. :
CHAP. IV.–Of Books and Reading. 1. THE world is full of books, but there are multitudes which are so ill written they were never worthy any inan's read. ing; and there are thousands more which may be good in their kind, yet are worth nothing when the month or year, or occasion is past for which they were written. Others may be valuable in themselves, for soine special purpose or in some peculiar science, but are not fit to be perused by any but those who are engaged in that particular science or business. To what use is it for a' divine or physician, or a tradesman, to read over the huge volumes of reports of judged cases in the law? or for a lawyer to learn Hebrew and read the Rabbins? It is of vast advantage for improvement of knowledge and saving time, for a young man to have the most proper books for his reading recommended by a . judicious frierd.
II. Books of importance of any kind, and especially com-:
plete treatises on any subject, should be first read in a more general and cursory manner, to learn a little what the treatise promises, and what you may expect from the writer's manner and skill. And for this end I would advise always that the preface be read, and a survey taken of the table of contents, if there be ope, before the first survey of the book. By this means you will not only be better fitted to give the book the first reading, but you will be much assisted in your second perusal of it, which should be done with greater attention and deliberation, and you will learp with more ease and readiness what the author pretends to teach. In your reading, mark what is new or unknown to you before, and review those chapters, pages, or paragraphs.“ Unless a reader has an uncommon and most retentive memory, I may venture to affirm, that there is scarce any book orchapter worth reading once that is not worthy of a second perusal. At least take a careful view of all the lines or paragraphs wbich you marked, and make a recollection of the sections which you thought truly valuable.
There is another reason also why I would chuse to take a superficial and cursory survey of a book, before I sit down to read it, and dwell upon it with studious attention; and that is, there may be several difficulties in it which we canpot easily understand and conquer at the first reading, for want of a fuller comprehension of the author's whole scheme. And therefore in such treatises we should not stay till we master every difficulty at the first perusal; for perhaps many of these would appear to be solved when we have proceeded farther in that book, or would vanish of themselves upon a second reading. What we cannot reach and penetrate at first, may be noted down as matter of after consideration and enquiry, if the pages that follow do not happen to strike a complete light on those which went before.
III. If three or four persons agree to read the same book, and each bring his own remarks upon it at some set hours appointed for conversation, and they communicate mutually their sentiments on the subject, and debate about it in a friendly manner, this practice will render the reading any author more abundaotly beneficial to every one of them.
IV. If several persons engaged in the same study, take into their hands distinct treatises on one subject, and appoint a season of communication once a week, they may inform each other in a brief mapper concerning the sense, sentiments and method of those several authors, and thereby promote each others improvement either by recommending the perusal of the same book to their companions, or perhaps by satisfying their enquiries coucerping it by conversation, without every ones perusing it.
V. Remember that your business in reading or in conversa