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The object of our work is to make men wiser, without
The first series of this work having passed through two editions of five thuusand copies each, the compiler is encouraged to offer to the public a second series, which, he trusts, will not be found, in any respect, inferior to its predecessor.
Many of the extracts contained in this, as well as in the former series, are taken frum rare and valuable books, and almost all of them from the best authors, of various nations and ages. The compiler has availed himself of all sources of reference, whence it appeared to him that he could derive MATERIALS FOR THINKING." That is the title he has given to his compilation ; because that is its object." Reading
Reading” says Locke “furnishes the mind with materials of knowledge; it is thinking, that makes what we read, ours. We are of the ruminating kind, and it is not enough to cram ourselves with a great load of collections, unless we chew them over again; and then they will give us strength and nourishment.” To supply to the reader this mental food; to put him in possession of “ Materials for Thinking ;" is the end and aim of the present publication.
With respect to such subjects contained in this collection, as have been matter of controversy among authors, whether ancient or modern, the arguments on both sides are, generally given; the object of this work being, to engender “thinking," the compiler's purpose would have been frustrated by a one-sided statement; and there is great occasion for “thinking," under such circumstances; in as much as (to use the words of the author of Lacon) “ truth, no less than virtue, not unfrequently forms the middle point between two extremes.”
D’Israeli, in his Essay on Miscellanies, says, “It should be the characteristic of good miscellanies, to be multifarious and concise.” The compiler flatters himself, that the contents of this work fall quite within that description. In the same essay it is mentioned, that “Montaigne's Works have been called by a Cardinal “the Breviary of Idlers.' It is, therefore, (says D’Israeli) the book of man, for all men are idlers ; ” but the compiler would rather describe the universal character of his book in the words of the author of Lacon :-"a volume addressed to those who think, is, in fact, addressed to all the world; for although the proportion of those who do think be extremely small, yet every individual flatters himself that he is one of the number.” The object of this collection is to enlarge the dominion of “thinking," and to multiply its subjects.
This preface, numerous, as have been its quotations—which may be excused, perhaps, in the preface to a book of quotations - shall be closed, with the reader's permission, with one from Dr. Johnson. He says, “ Particles of science are often very widely scattered ; and writers of extensive comprehension have incidental remarks upon topics, which are often more valuable than formal treatises. He that collects these is very laudably employed, as he facilitates the progress of others, and by making that easy of attainment, which is already written, may give some adventurous mind leisure for new thoughts and original designs.” ..
If these and the other objects of this publication be even partially accomplished, the Compiler will consider himself amply compensated for the labour he has had in the Compilation.
WHATEVER CHARITY WE OWE TO MEN'S PERSONS, WE OWE NONE TO
THEIR ERRORS."-Bishop Burnet. i satizonega vlada Tedi
ouvrl_dev toysented to beti No. I.] nos
sup atafoittoor 1. Circumstances.—Children may be nursed and educated more or less judiciously with respect either to their mind or body, or both. They may have more or fewer companions, and these may be severally, more or less intelligent, active, amiable, virtuous, and well informed, or the contrary, or differently mixed. They may be educated at home, or at school, public or private, larger or smaller
, well or ill conducted, containing more or fewer virtuous or vicious, active or indolent scholars They may, at home, see more or fewer visitors, and the society of these visitors may be more or less advantageous to them. They may be left more or less with servants, and the language and conduct of these servants may be more or less exceptionable. They may be treated with more or less indulgence by their parents or guardians, and may associate more or less with them. Their parents may be more or less virtuous, intelligent, active, well informed and arniable, cheerful or melancholy, healthy or sickly, more or less opulent, more or less elevated by birth, or rank, or both, more or less engaged in public or private life, more or less powerful, more or less dissipated, or domestic, &c.
Young men may form friendships and acquaintances more or less valuable or objectionable. They may go to college, enter any profession, engage in any trade, devote themselves to any branch of literature, or to any art or science, and do any one of these under peculiar circumstances, or remain idle, &c. &c. They may become husbands, or remain in a state of celibacy, fathers or not, governors, subalterns, &c., live under a more or less limited monarchy, or a more or less free democracy, in peaceable or turbulent times, at court, or remote from it, &c. They may be more or less fortunate or unfortunate in their several connexions or transactions at any one or more periods of their life, or through the whole of it, and be more or less favored by chance.
aus IndaBoty All these and numberless other circumstances, and all the before enume-d rated peculiarities of corporeal powers, general constitution, native character, mental powers, excitements, and dispositions, may be differently com- a bined in infinitum, and moreover, each individual is liable, as we said before, not only to continual changes himself, but also to be affected by the