« AnteriorContinuar »
rest of the world, he will consume his life in useless reading, and darken his mind with a crowd of unconnected events; his memory will be perplexed with distant transactions resembling one another, and his reflections be like a dream in a fever, busy and turbulent, but confused and indistinct.
The technical part of chronology, or the art of computing and adjusting time, as it is very difficult, so it is not of absolute necessity, but should however be taught, so far as it can be learned without the loss of those hours which are required for attainments of
The student may join with this treatise Le Clerc's Compendium of History; and afterwards may, for the historical part of chronology, procure Helvicus's and Isaacson's Tables ; and, if he is desirous of attaining the technical part, may first peruse Holder's Account of Time, Hearne’s Ductor Historicus, Strauchius, the first part of Petavius's Rationarium Temporum ; and at length Scaliger de Emendatione Temporum. And for instruction in the method of his historical studies, he may consult Hearne’s Ductor Historicus, Wheare’s Lectures, Rawlinson's Directions for the Study of History; and for ecclesiastical history, Cave and Dupin, Baronius and Fleury.
V. Rhetorick and poetry supply life with its highest intellectual pleasures ; and in the hands of virtue are of great use for the impression of just sentiments, and recommendation of illustrious examples. In the practice of these great arts, so much more is the effect of nature than the effect of education, that nothing is attempted here but to teach the mind some general heads of observation,
to which the beautiful passages of the best writers may commonly be reduced. In the use of this it is not proper that the teacher should confine himself to the examples before him ; for by that method he will never enable his pupils to make just application of the rules ; but, having inculcated the true meaning of each figure, he should require them to exemplify it by their own observations, pointing to them the poem, or, in longer works, the book or canto in which an example may be found, and leaving them to discover the particular passage by the light of the rules which they have lately learned.
For a farther progress in these studies, they may consult Quintilian and Vossius's Rhetorick; the art of poetry will be best learned from Bossu and Bohours in French, together with Dryden's Essays and Prefaces, the critical Papers of Addison, Spence on Pope's Odyssey, and Trapp's Prælectiones Poeticæ; but a more accurate and philosophical account is expected from a commentary upon Aristotle's Art of Poetry, with which the literature of this nation will be in a short time augmented.
VI. With regard to the practice of drawing, it is not necessary to give any directions, the use of the treatise being only to teach the proper method of imitating the figures which are annexed. It will be proper to incite the scholars to indlustry, by shewing in other books the use of the art, and informing them how much it assists the apprehension, and relieves the memory; and if they are obliged sometimes to write descriptions of engines, utensils, or any complex pieces of workmanship, they will more fully apprehend the necessity of an expedient which
so happily supplies the defects of language, and enables the eye to conceive what cannot be conveyed to the mind any other way. When they have read this treatise, and practised upon these figures, their theory may be improved by the Jesuit's Perspective, and their manual operations by other figures which may be easily procured.
VII. Logick, or the art of arranging and connecting ideas, of forming and examining arguments, is universally allowed to be an attainment in the utmost degree worthy the ambition of that being whose highest honour is to be endued with reason; but it is doubted whether that ambition has yet been gratified, and whether the powers of ratiocination have been much improved by any systems of art, or methodical institutions. The logick which for so many ages kept possession of the schools, has at last been condemned as a mere art of wrangling, of very little use in the pursuit of truth; and later writers have contented themselves with giving an account of the operations of the mind, marking the various stages of her progress, and giving some general rules for the regulation of her conduct. The method of these writers is here followed; but without a servile adherence to any, and with endeavours to make improvements upon all. This work, however laborious, has yet been fruitless, if there be truth in an observation very frequently made, that logicians out of the school do not reason better than men unassisted by those lights which their science is supposed to bestow. It is not to be doubted but that logicians may be sometimes overborne by their passions, or blinded by their prejudices; and that a man may reason ill,
as he may act ill, not because he does not know what is right, but because he does not regard it; yet it is no more the fault of his art that it does not direct him when his attention is withdrawn from it, than it is the defect of his sight that he misses his way when he shuts his eyes. Against this cause of error there is no provision to be made, otherwise than by inculcating the value of truth, and the necessity of conquering the passions. But logick may likewise fail to produce its effects upon common occasions, for want of being frequently and familiarly applied, till its precepts may direct the mind imperceptibly, as the fingers of a musician are regulated by his knowledge of the tune. This readiness of recollection is only to be procured by frequent impression; and therefore it will be proper, when logick has been once learned, the teacher take frequent occasion, in the most easy and familiar conversation, to observe when its rules are preserved, and when they are broken ; and that afterwards he read no authors, without exacting of his pupil an account of every remarkable exemplification or breach of the laws of reasoning.
When this system has been digested, if it be thought necessary to proceed farther in the study of method, it will be proper to recommend Crousaz, Watts, Le Clerc, Wolfius, and Locke's Essay on Human Understanding ; and if there be imagined any necessity of adding the peripatetick logick, which has been perhaps condemned without a candid trial, it will be convenient to proceed to Sanderson, Wallis, Crackanthorp, and Aristotle.
VIII. To excite a curiosity after the works of God, is the chief design of the small specimen of
natural history inserted in this collection ; which, however, may be sufficient to put the mind in motion, and in some measure to direct its steps; but its effects may easily be improved by a philosophick master, who will every day find a thousand opportunities of turning the attention of his scholars to the contemplation of the objects that surround them, of laying open the wonderful art with which every part of the universe is formed, and the providence which governs the vegetable and animal creation. He may lay before them the Religious Philosopher, Ray, Derham's Physico-Theology, together with the Spectacle de la Nature; and in time recommend to their perusal Rondoletius and Aldrovandus.
IX. But how much soever the reason may be strengthened by logick, or the conceptions of the mind enlarged by the study of nature, it is necessary the man be not suffered to dwell upon them so long as to neglect the study of himself, the knowledge of his own station in the ranks of being, and his various relations to the innumerable multitudes which surround him, and with which his Maker has ordained him to be united for the reception and communication of happiness. To consider these aright is of the greatest importance, since from these arise duties which he cannot neglect. Ethicks, or morality, therefore, is one of the studies which ought to begin with the first glimpse of reason, and only end with life itself. Other acquisitions are merely temporary benefits, except as they contribute to illustrate the knowledge, and confirm the practice of morality and piety, which extend their influence beyond the grave,