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APHORISMS, MAXIMS, &c.
APHORISMS representing a knowledge broken, do invite men to enquire farther; whereas methods carrying the show of a total, do secure men, as if they were at farthest.-Bacon.
Exclusively of the Abstract Sciences, the largest and worthiest portion of our knowledge consists of Aphorisms: and the greatest and best of men is but an Aphorism.
Truths, of all others the most awful and interesting, are too often considered as so true, that they lose all the power of truth, and lie bed-ridden in the dormitory of the soul, side by side with the most despised and exploded errors.
There is one way of giving freshness and importance to the most common-place maxims-that of reflecting on them in direct reference to our own state and conduct, to our own past and future being.-S. T. Coleridge.
Mature and sedate wisdom has been fond of summing up the results of its experience in weighty sentences. Solomon did so: the wise men of India and Greece did so: Bacon did so: Goethe in his old age took delight in doing so.... They who cannot weave an uniform web, may at least produce a piece of patchwork; which may be useful, and not without a charm of its own. The very sharpness and abruptness with which truths must be asserted,
when they are to stand singly, is not ill-fitted to startle and rouse sluggish and drowsy minds. Nor is the present shattered and disjointed state of the intellectual world unaptly represented by a collection of fragments.—Guesses at Truth.
4. A collection of good sentences resembles a string of pearls.-Chinese saying.
5. Nor do Apophthegms only serve for ornament and delight, but also for action and civil use : as being the edge-tools of speech, which cut and penetrate the knots of business and affairs.-Bacon.
6. I call a complete and generous education that which fits a man to perform justly, skilfully, and magnanimously all the offices, both private and public, of peace and war. ...
...But here the main skill and groundwork will be, to temper them (the learners with lectures and explanations upon every opportunity, as may lead and draw them in willing obedi. ence, inflamed with a study of learning, and the admiration of virtue; stirred up with high hopes of living to be brave men, and worthy patriots, dear to God, and famous to all ages.John Milton.
7. I hesitate not to assert, as a Christian, that religion is the first rational object of Education. Whatever may be the fate of my children in this transitory world, about which I hope I am as solicitous as I ought to be, I would, if possible, secure a happy meeting with them in a future and everlasting life. I can well enough bear their reproaches for not enabling them to attain to worldly honours and distinctions; but to have been in any measure accessary, by my neglect, to their final perdition, would be the occasion of such reproach and blame, as would be absolutely insupportable.—Dr Priestley.
8. St Jerome's advice was, let a child begin to be instructed as soon as he begins to blush. As soon as they are capable of shame, they are capable of discipline. From the time that they shew the marks of their conscience upon their countenance, it ought to be believed, that remorse has taken the place of innocence, since they already know how to put a difference between good and evil.—Dr T. Fuller.
9. Education in the most extensive sense of the word, may comprehend every preparation that is made in our youth for the sequel of our lives; and in this sense I use it. Some such preparation is necessary for all conditions, because without it they must be miserable, and probably will be vicious, when they grow up, either from the want of the means of subsistence, or from want of rational and inoffensive occupation. In civilized life, every thing is effected by art and skill. Whence, a person who is provided with neither (and neither can be acquired without exercise and instruction) will be useless ; and he that is useless, will generally be at the same time mischievous to the community. So that to send an uneducated child into the world, is injurious to the rest of mankind; it is little better than to turn out a mad dog or a wild beast into the streets. -Paley.
10. The object of a liberal education is to develope the whole mental system of man ;-to make his speculative inferences coincide with his practical convictions ;-to enable him to render a reason for the belief that is in him, and not to leave him in the condition of Solomon's sluggard, who is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.-Dr Whewell.
11. The influence of physical causes, in the formation of intellectual and moral character, has never been sufficiently regarded in any system of education. Organic structure, temperament, things affecting the senses or bodily functions, are as closely linked with a right play of the faculties, as the material and condition of an instrument of music with that wonderful result called melody.-W. B. Clulow.
12. Because Education is a dynamical, not a mechanical process, and the more powerful and vigorous the mind of the teacher, the more clearly and readily he can grasp things, the better fitted he is to cultivate the mind of another. And to this I find myself coming more and more; I care less and less for information, more and more for the true exercise of the mind; for answering questions concisely and comprehensively, for shewing a command of language, a delicacy of taste, and a comprehensiveness of thought, and a power of combination.-Dr Arnold.
13. Why should my son be a scholar, when it is not intended that he should live by his learning? By this rule, if what is commonly said be true, that
money answereth all things ;' why should my son be honest, temperate, just, or charitable, since he hath no intention to depend upon any of these qualities for a maintenance ? --Dean Swift.
14. It is an ill-judged thrift, in some rich parents, to bring up their sons to mean employments, for the sake of saving the charge of a more expensive education ; for these sons, when they become masters of their liberty and fortune, will hardly continue in occupations by which they think themselves degraded, and are seldom qualified for anything better. -Paley.