Imatges de pÓgina

proceed. It is poffible to pass many Years without the Neceffity of writing Panegyrics or Epithalamiums; but every Man has frequent Occafion to state a Contract, or demand a Debt, or make a Narrative of fome minute Incidents of common Life. On these Subjects therefore young Perfons should be taught to think juftly, and write clearly, neatly, and fuccinctly, left they come from School into the World without any Acquaintance with common Affairs, and ftand idle Spectators of Mankind, in Expectation that fome great Event will give them an Opportunity to exert their Rhetoric.

II. The fecond Place is affigned to Geometry; on the Usefulness of which it is unneceffary to expatiate in an Age, when Mathematical Studies have fo much engaged the Attention of all Claffes of Men. This Treatife, is one of those which have been borrowed, being a Translation from the Work of Mr. Le Clerc; and is not intended as more than the first Initiation. In delivering the fundamental Principles of Geometry, it is ne-ceffary to proceed by flow Steps, that each Propofition may be fully understood before another is attempted. For which Purpose it is not fufficient, that when a Question is afked in the Words of the Book, the Scholar likewife can in the Words of the Book return the proper Anfwer; for this may be only an Act of Memory, not of Understanding; it is always proper to vary the Words of the Queftion, to place the Propofition in different Points of View, and to require of the Learner an Explanation in his


own Terms, informing him however when they are improper. By this Method the Scholar will become cautious and attentive, and the Master will know with Certainty the Degree of his Proficiency. Yet, though this Rule is generally right, I cannot but recommend a Precept of Pardie's, that when the Student cannot be made to comprehend fome particular Part, it should be, for that Time, laid afide, till new Light fhall arife from subsequent Obfervation.

When this Compendium is completely understood, the Scholar may proceed to the Perufal of Tacquet, afterwards of Euclid himself, and then of the modern Improvers of Geometry, fuch as Berrow, Keil, and Sir Ifaac Newton.

III. The Neceffity of fome Acquaintance with Geography and Aftronomy will not be difputed. If the Pupil is born to the Ease of a large Fortune, no Part of Learning is more necessary to him, than the Knowledge of the Situation of Nations, on which their Interests generally depend; if he is dedicated to any of the Learned Profeffions, it is fcarcely poffible that he will not be obliged to apply himself in fome Part of his Life to thefe Studies, as no other Branch of Literature can be fully comprehended without them; if he is defigned for the Arts of Commerce, or Agriculture, fome general Acquaintance with thefe Sciences will be found extremely useful to him; in a word, no Studies afford more extenfive, more wonderful, or more pleafing Scenes; and therefore

b 2


there can be no Ideas impreffed upon the Soul, which can more conduce to its future Entertainment.

In the Purfuit of thefe Sciences it will be proper to proceed with the fame Gradation and Caution as in Geometry. And it is always of Ufe to decorate the Nakednefs of Science, by interfperfing fuch Obfervations and Narratives, as may amuse the Mind and excite Curiofity. Thus, in explaining the State of the Polar Regions, it might be fit to read the Narrative of the Englishmen that wintered in Greenland, which will make young Minds fufficiently curious after the Caufe of fuch a Length many of Night, and Intenseness of Cold; andStratagems of the fame Kind might be practifed to intereft them in all Parts of their Studies, and call in their Paffions to animate their Enquiries. When they have read this Treatife, it will be proper to recommend to them Varenius's Geography, and Gregory's Aftronomy.

IV. The Study of Chronology and Hiftory seems to be one of the moft natural Delights of the Human Mind. It is not eafy to live without enquiring by what Means every thing was brought into the State in which we now behold it, or without finding in the Mind fome Defire of being informed concerning the Generations of Mankind, that have been in Poffeffion of the World before us, whether they

they were better or worse than ourselves; or what good or evil has been derived to us from their Schemes, Practices, and Inftitutions. These are Enquiries which History alone can fatisfy; and Hiftory can only be made intelligible by fome Knowledge of Chronology, the Science by which Events are ranged in their Order, and the Periods of Computation are fettled; and which therefore aflift the Memory by Method, and enlighten the Judgment, by fhewing the Dependence of one Tranfaction on another. Accordingly it fhould be diligently inculcated to the Scholar, that unlefs he fixes in his Mind fome Idea of the Time in which each Man of Eminence lived, and each Action was performed, with fome Part of the contemporary History of the rest of the World, he will confume his Life in useless reading, and darken his Mind with a Croud of unconnected Events, his Memory will be perplexed with diftant Tranfactions refembling one another, and his Reflections be like a Dream in a Fever, busy and turbulent, but confufed and indiftinct.

The Technical Part of Chronology, or the Art of computing and adjusting Time, as it is very difficult, fo it is not of abfolute Neceffity, but fhould however be taught, fo far as it can be learned without the Lofs of thofe Hours which are required for Attainments of nearer Concern. The Student may join with this Treatife Le Clerc's Compendium of Hillory, and afterwards may, for the Hiftorical Part of Chro


b 3

nology, procure Helvicus's and Ifaacfon's Tables; and if he is defirous of attaining the technical Part, may firft perufe Holder's Account of Time, Hearne's Ductor Hiftoricus, Strauchius, the first Part of Petavius's Rationarium Temporum; and at length Scaliger de Emendatione Temporum. And for Inftruction in the Method of his Hiftorical Studies, he may confult Hearne's Ductor Hiftoricus, Wheare's Lectures, Rawlinson's Directions for the Study of Hiftory: and for Ecclefiaftical Hiftory, Cave and Dupin, Baronius and Fleury.

V. Rhetoric and Poetry fupply Life with its highest intellectual Pleasures; and in the Hands of Virtue are of great Ufe for the Impreffion of juft Sentiments and Recommendation of illuftrious Examples. In the Practice of these great Arts, fo much more is the Gift of Nature than the Effect of Education, that nothing is attempted here but to teach the Mind fome general Heads of Obfervation, to which the beautiful Paffages of the best Writers may commonly be reduced. In the Ufe 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 juft Application of the Rules; but having inculcated the true Meaning of each Figure, he should require them to exemplify it by their own Obfervations, 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 Paffage



[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »