« 上一頁繼續 »
proceed. It is possible to pass many Years without the Necessity of writing Panegyricsor Epithalamiums; but every Man has frequent Occasion to state a Contract, or demand a Debt, or make a Narrative of some minute Incidents of common Life. On these Subjects therefore young
Persons should be taught to think justly, and write clearly, neatly, and succinctly, lest they come from School into the World without any Acquaintance with common Affairs, and stand idle Spectators of Mankind, in Expectation that some great Event will give them an Opportunity to exert their Rhetoric.
II. The second place is assigned to Geometry; on the Usefulness of which it is unnecessary to expatiate in an Age, when Mathematical Studies have so much engaged the Attention of all Classes of Men. This Treatise, 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 Gcometry, it is necessary to proceed by flow Steps, that each Proposition may be fully understood before another is attempted. For which Purpose it is not sufficient, that when a Question is asked in the Words of the Buok, the Scholar likewise can in the Words of the Book return the proper
Answer ; for this may be only an Act of Memory, not of Understanding ; 'it is always proper to vary the Words of the Question, to place the Proposition 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 some particular Part, it Tould be, for that Time, laid aside, till new Light shall arise from subsequent Observation.
When this Compendium is completely understood, the Scholar may proceed to the Perusal of Tacquet, afterwards of Euclid himself, and then of the modern Improvers of Geometry, such as Berrow, Keil, and Sir Isaac Newton.
III. The Necessity of some Acquaintance with Geography and Astronomy 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 Professions, it is scarcely possible that he will not be obliged to apply himself in some part of his Life to these Studies, as no other Branch of Literature can be fully comprehended without them; if he is designed for the Arts of Commerce, or Agriculture, some general Acquaintance with these Sciences will be found extremely useful to him ; in a word, no Studies afford more extensive, more wonderful, or more pleasing Scenes; and therefore
there can be no Ideas impressed upon the Soul, which can more conduce to its future Entertainment.
In the Purfuit of these Sciences it will be proper to proceed with the fame Gradation and Caution as in Geometry. And it is always of Use to decorate the Nakedness of Science, by interspersing such Observations and Narratives, as may amuse the Mind and excite Curiosity. 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 sufficiently curious after the Cause of such a Length of Night, and Intenseness of Cold; and many Stratagems of the fame Kind might be practised to interest them in all parts of their Studies, and call in their Passions to animate their Enquiries. When they have read this Treatise, it will be proper to recommend to them Varenius's Geography, and Gregory's Astronomy.
IV. The Study of Chronology and History seems to be one of the most natural Delights of the Human Mind. It is not easy 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 some Desire of being informed concerning the Generations of Mankind, that have been in Por. feflion 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 Institutions. These are Enquiries which History alone can satisfy; and History can only be made intelligible by some Knowledge of Chronology, the Science by which Events are ranged in their Order, and the Periods of Computation are settled; and which therefore affist the Memory by Method, and enlighten the Judgment, by shewing the Dependence of one Transaction on another. Accordingly it should be diligently inculcated to the Scholar, that unless he fixes in his Mind some Idea of the Time in which each Man of Eminence lived, and each Action was performed, with some Part of the contemporary History of the rest of the World, he will consume his Life in useless reading, and darken his Mind with a Croud 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 nearer Concern. The Student may join with this Treatise Le Clerc's Compendium of History, and afterwards may, for the Historical Part of Chro
nology, procure Helvicus's and Isaacson's Tables ;
V. Rhetoric and Poetry supply Life with its highest intellectual Pleasures ; and in the Hands of Virtuê 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 Gift 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 disccver the particular Paffage