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some of the antient Heathen writers in my quotations by way of notes; this, I confefs, seems like an oftentation of reading, which I always abhorred. But it was conversing with those authors that first turned my thoughts to this subject ; and the good senfe I observed in most of their aphorisms and sentiments, procured my esteem, and made the temptation of transcribing several irresistible, when I thought them pertinent to the matter in hand. However, if the reader thinks they will too much interrupt the course of the subject, he may entirely omit them : tho’ by that means he will perhaps lose the benefit of some of the finest sentiments in the book.
I remember a modern writer, who is grievously offended with Mr. Addison for so much as mentioning the name of Plato, and for presuming, in one of his Spectators, to deliver his notions of humour in a kind of allegory, after the manner of that Greek author ; which he calls a formal method of trifling, introduced under a deep oftentation of learning, which deferues the feverest rebuke (a): and perhaps a more severe one was never given upon so small a provocation. From gentlemen of so refined and delicate a
(a) See Introduction to an Esay towards fixing the true standard of wit, &c. pag. 20, 21,
tafte I can expect no mercy. But the public is to judge, whether this be not as culpable as the contrary affectation, which prevailed so much in the last century.
One great view, when I put these thoughts together,
benefit of youth, and especially those who are students and candidates for the sacred ministry; for which they will find no science more immediately necessary (next to a good acquaintance with the word of God than that which is recommended to them in the following treatise ; to which every branch of human literature is fut ordinate, and ought to be fubfervient. For certain it is, the great end of philosophy, both natural and moral, is to know ourfelves, and to know GOD. The highest learning is to be wise, and the greatest wisdom is to be good ; as Marcus Antoninus fomewhere observes.
It has often occurred to me, in digesting my thoughts upon this subject, what a pity it is that this most useful fcience should be so generally neglected in the modern methods of education ; and that preceptors and tutors, both in public and private seminaries of learning, should forget that forming the manners is more necessary to a finished education than furnishing the minds of youth. Socrates, who made all his philosophy subfervient to morali
ty, (6), was of this sentiment; and took more pains to rectify the tempers, than to replenish the understandings of his pupils : he looked upon all knowledge as useless speculation, that was not brought to this end, to make us wifer and better men. And, without doubt, if in the academy the youth have once happily learned the great art of managing his temper, governing his passions, and guarding his foibles, he will find a more solid advantage from it in after-life, than he could expect from the best acquaintance with all the systems of ancient and modern philosophy.
It was a very just and sensible answer, which Agefilaus, the Spartan king, returned to one who asked him, What it was in which youth ought principally to be instructed ? He replied, that, which they have most need to prałtise when they are men (c). Were this single rule but carefully attended to in the method of education, it might probably be conducted in a manner much more to the advantage of our youth than it is at present.
Dr. Fuller observes, that pains we take in books or arts, which treat of things remote from the ufe of life,
(b) Totam philosophiam revocavit ad mores, Sen. Epift. 72.
(c) See Plutarch's Laconic apothegms under the word Agefilaus,
is but a bufy idleness (d). And what is there in life which youth will have more frequent occasion to practice than this? What is there which they afterwards more regret the want of ? What is there in which they want more direction and af, sistance, than the right government of their passions and prejudices ?. And what more proper season to receive those assistances, and to lay a foundation for this difficult but very important science, than the ear-. ly part of youth ?
It may be said, “it is properly the of'fice and care of parents to watch over • and correct the tempers of their children - in the first years of their infancy, when ' it may easiest be done. But if it be not done effectually then, (as it very feldom is) there is the more necessity for it afterwards. The truth is, it is the proper office and care of all who have the charge of youth, and ought to be looked upon as the most important and necessary part of education.
It was the observation of a great divine and reformer, that he who acquires his learning at the expence of his morals is the worse for his education (e). And we may add, that
(d) Rule of Life, pag. 82.
(e) Qui proficit in literis et deficit in moribus, non proficit fed deficit. Oecolampadius. See Hift. of Pop. Vol. ii. p. 337.
he who does not improve his temper, together with his understanding, is not much the better for it. For he ought to measure his progress in science by the improvement of his morals; and remember that he is no further a learned man than he is a wise and good man; and that he cannot be a philosopher until he be a Christian (f).
But whence is it that moral philosophy, which was so carefully cultivated in the ancient academy, should be forced, in the modern, to give place to natural, that was originally designed to be subservient to it? Which is to exalt the handmaid into the place of the mistress (8). This appears not only a preposterous, but a pernicious method of institution. For as the mind takes a turn of thought in future life, fuitable to the tincture it hath received b
in (f) Te in scientiâ profecisse credas quantum in moribus fueris emendatior; eo usque doctum, in quantum bonum : ita philosophum, ut Chris tianum. Præf. ad Nem.
(8) Things were coming to this pass so early as Seneca's time, who laments that plain and open truth was turned into a dark and intricate science. “ Philosophy (says he) is turned inS to philology; and that thro' the fault both of • Masters and Scholars ;. the one teach to dis
pute, not to live ; and the other come to them 6 to mend their wits, not their manners.- Where. o as philosophy is nothing else but a rule of life. ! Quid autem philosophia, nisi vitæ lex eft?'