Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

a

[ocr errors]

Such Prospects, distinctly and deliberately furveyed, will produce the most beneficial effects upon his temper and opinions. While they place before him the means of increaling his information, they will render him a more correct judge of its values and secure him from conceit, affectation, and pedantry. They will render him more capable of appreciating the relative importance and comparative merit of different studies, when referred to the use and ornament of life. He will discern the natural affinity which fubfifts between the different branches of polite literature, and how capable they are of increasing the influence, and improving the beauties of each 'other. . In short, various pursuits, skilfully choten and affiduously followed, can give proper activity to every faculty of the mind, inasmuch as they engage the judge ment, the memory, and the imagination, in an agreeable exercise, and are associated for one beneficial purpose-like the genial drops of rain, which defcend from heaven, they unite in one common ftream to strengthen and enlarge the current of knowledge.

By studies thus diversified, the mind is fupplied with copious materials for the serious reflexions of retirement, or the lively intercourse of fociety; it is enabled, by the combination of many particular ideas, to form those general principles, which it is always eager to embrace, which are of great use in the conduct of life, and may prove in every

B 3

situation

fituation pleasing and advantageous. In fort, such a plan is calculated to disseminate that knowledge, which is adapted to the present improved state of society, to divest learning of pedantry, and to afford the scholar fome insight into the researches of the philosopher, the occupations of the man of business, and the pleasures of the man of taste. .

And as the Arts and Sciences bestow mutual assistance, and reflect mutual light, so are they highly efficacious and beneficial when combined with professional knowledge. To some professions indeed they are essentially necessary, to all they are ornamental. They afford illustrations which render professional studies more easy to be understood, and they furnish supplies, which are conducive to their complete success.

Every one must allow, that all systems of Education, if constituted upon right principles, should be well adapted to the fituations of those, for whofe fervice they are intended. In selecting the topics of the following work, I have therefore considered Young Men, with a view to their most important relations in life, as CHRISTIANS, as STUDENTS, and as MEMBERS OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE, the welfare and profperity of which depend upon the usefulness of their attainments, and. the respectability of their conduct.

It is evident from gêneral observation, that the principles of religion are congenial with the mind of man: for even among tribes the most bar. bárous and uncivilized, whether we explore the wilds of Africa, or the shores of the Pacific Ocean, where the capacities of the inhabitants are narrow and limited, and very few virtues are remarked to expand and flourish; fome traces of religion, fome notions of an Omnipotent and Over-ruling Power, darkened as they may be by gross superstition, are still found to prevail. And even in the civilized country of France, where the impious abettors of the Revolution proceeded so far as to insult the reason of an enlightened people, by compelling them to abjure their faith in their Creator and their Redeemer, how difficult has it been found to producė eyen external conformity to their decrees; and with what ardour are the people returning to the open profession of Christianity, now their Ruler is fully aware of the expediency of its revival and public exercife! It appears therefore, that to inculcate those principles of religious duty, which the mind naturally invites, and to improve its capacity for the reception of the most fublime truths, is no more than a proper attention and due obedience to the voice of Nature,

And as the truth of Christianity is founded upon the strongest arguments, and unites in the closest union our public and private, our temporal and eternal happiness, it justly forms the graundwork of Education. The attributes of the great - B4

Creator

Creator-mhis power as the Author, and his good. ness as the Governor of the universe the bright example of the Saviour of the world, as represented by the holy Evangelists—his actions marked by the purest benevolence, his precepts tending immediately to the happiness of man, and his promises capable of exciting the most exalted and most glorious hopes, are peculiarly calculated to strike the imagination, and interest the fenfibility of youth. Such sublime topics, inculcated upon right principles, cannot fail to encourage those ardent sentiments of love, gratitude, and veneration, which are natural to susceptible and tender minds. Since therefore the same principles which are congenial with the dispositions of young men are most conducive to their happiness; fince, in short, the evidences of CHRISTIANITY are miraculous;—since it is an express revelation of the will of God, and as such we can have no pretence to reject its proofs, and no right to resist its claims to our observance; it must unquestionably be a subject of transcendent importance, and therefore stands as the first and leading topic of my work.

CRISTIANITY

As the knowledge of LANGUAGE is intimately connected with every other kind of information, and as in the Languages of ancient GREECE and ROME are preserved some of the noblest productions of human genius, I assign to these subjects the next place.

· In recommendation of OUR OWN LANGUAGE it is fuperfluous to have recourse to arguments. All who are acquainted with it, foreigners as well as natives, must be convinced of its excellence, particularly as it is the vehicle of productions eminently diftinguished by Genius, Taste, Learning, and Science. .

And as Language should be considered not merely as a channel to convey our thoughts upon common occasions, but as capable of ornament to please, and of energy to persuade mankind; and as such improvements are both gratifying and beneficial to fociety, proper attention is due to the study of ELOQUENCE.

· Cicero, the most celebrated of Roman Orators, has very justly remarked, that ignorance of the events and transactions of former times condemns us to a perpetual state of childhood: from this condition of mental darkness we are rescued by HISTORY, which supplies us with its friendly light to view the instructive events of paft ages, and to collect wisdom from the conduct of others. And as there are particular countries, from which we have derived the moft important information in Religion, Arts, Sciences, and Literature, we ought carefully to intpect the pages of their interesting records. ..

The most ancient people of whom we have any authentic accounts, are the JEWS:: to them was communicated, and by them was preserved, the knowledge of the true God; while all other nations

were

« ElőzőTovább »