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him alone, than he is to the man who refutes him, or who instructs him at the expense of his tranquillity.
WORDS are an amazing barrier to the reception of truth.
DEFINITION of Words has been commonly called a mere exercise of grammarians: but when we come to consider the innumerable murders, proscriptions, massacres, and tortures, which men have inflicted on each other from mistaking the meaning of words, the exercise of definition certainly begins to assume rather a more dignified aspect.
TASTE FOR STUDY AN ACQUIRED TASTE.
WITHOUT study, no man can ever do anything with his understanding. But in spite of all that has been said about the sweets of study, it is a sort of luxury, like the taste for olives and coffee—not natural, very hard to be acquired, and very easily lost.
LIVE WITH ABLE MEN.
ONE of the best methods of rendering study agreeable is, to live with able men, and to suffer all those pangs of inferiority, which the want of knowledge always inflicts.
THERE is nothing so horrible as languid study; when you sit looking at the clock, wishing the time was over,
TOTAL REPOSE. · THE RULE OF RIGHT.
or that somebody would call on you and put you out of your misery. The only way to read with any efficacy, is to read so heartily, that dinner-time comes two hours before you expected it. To sit with your Livy before you, and hear the geese cackling that saved the capitol; and to see with your own eyes the Carthaginian suttlers gathering up the rings of the Roman knights after the battle of Cannæ, and heaping them into bushels; and to be so intimately present at the actions you are reading of, that when anybody knocks at the door, it will take you two or three seconds to determine whether you are in your own study, or in the plains of Lombardy, looking at Hannibal's weather-beaten face, and admiring the splendour of his single eye;-this is the only kind of study which is not tiresome; and almost the only kind which is not useless: this is the knowledge which gets into the system, and which a man carries about and uses like his limbs, without perceiving that it is extraneous, weighty, or inconvenient.
THERE is one piece of advice, in a life of study, which I think no one will object to; and that is, every now and then to be completely idle,—to do nothing at all.
THE RULE OF RIGHT.
SLEEP as much as you please, if your inclination lead you only to sleep as much as is convenient; if not, make rules. The system in everything ought to be, — do as you please-as long as you please to do what is right.
PROCESS OF THOUGHT.
PROCESS OF THOUGHT.
I HAVE asked several men what passes in their minds when they are thinking; and I could never find any man who could think for two minutes together. Everybody has seemed to admit that it was a perpetual deviation from a particular path, and a perpetual return to it; which, imperfect as the operation is, is the only method in which we can operate with our minds to carry on any process of thought.
THE ART OF LISTENING.
THERE are few good listeners in the world who make all the use that they might make, of the understandings of others, in the conduct of their own.
RESPECT FOR OTHERS.
I MAY be very wrong, and probably am so, but, in the whole course of my life, I do not know that I ever saw a man of considerable understanding respect the understandings of others as much as he might have done for his own improvement, and as it was just that he should
A CURE FOR CONTRADICTING.
THE habit of contradicting, into which young men,and young men of ability in particular,—are apt to fall, is a habit extremely injurious to the powers of the understanding. I would recommend to such young men an intellectual regimen, of which I myself, in an earlier period of life, have felt the advantage: and that is, to
assent to the two first propositions that they hear every day; and not only to assent to them, but, if they can, to improve and embellish them; and to make the speaker a little more in love with his own opinion than he was before. When they have a little got over the bitterness of assenting, they may then gradually increase the number of assents, and so go on as their constitution will bear it; and I have little doubt that, in time, this will effect a complete and perfect cure.
THERE is one circumstance, I would preach up, morning, noon, and night, to young persons, for the management of their understanding. Whatever you are from nature, keep to it; never desert your own line of talent. If Providence only intended you to write poses for rings or mottoes for twelfth-cakes, keep to poses and mottoes: a good motto for a twelfth-cake is more respectable than a villanous epic poem in twelve books. Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed: be anything else, and you will be ten thousand times worse than nothing.
UNITY OF THE MIND.
TALENT is talent, mind is mind, in all its branches. Wit gives to life one of its best flavours; common sense leads to immediate action, and gives society its daily motion; large and comprehensive views, its annual rotation; ridicule chastises folly and impudence, and keeps men in their proper sphere; subtlety seizes hold of the fine threads of truth; analogy darts away to the most sublime discoveries; feeling paints all the exquisite passions of man's soul, and rewards him by a thousand inward
CAUTION AN AID TO TALENT.
visitations for the sorrows that come from without. God made it all! It is all good! We must despise no sort of talent; they all have their separate duties and uses; all, the happiness of man for their object: they all improve, exalt, and gladden life.
CAUTION AN AID TO TALENT.
CAUTION, though it must be considered as something very different from talent, is no mean aid to every species of talent. As some men are so skilful in economy, that they will do as much with a hundred pounds as another will do with two, so there are a species of men, who have a wonderful management of their understandings, and will make as great a show, and enjoy as much consideration, with a certain quantity of understanding, as others will do with the double of their portion; and this by watching times and persons; by taking strong positions, and never fighting but from the vantage ground, and with great disparity of numbers; in short, by risking nothing, and by a perpetual and systematic attention to the security of reputation. Such rigid economy,—by laying out every shilling at compound interest, very often accumulates a large stock of fame, where the original capital has been very inconsiderable; and, of course, may command any degree of opulence, where it sets out from great beginnings, and is united with real genius.
SOME men get early disgusted with the task of improvement, and the cultivation of the mind, from some excesses which they have committed, and mistakes into which they have been betrayed, at the beginning of life.