« הקודםהמשך »
Of such vast importance to the peace, as well as the improvement of the mind, is the right regulation of the thoughts, which will be my apology for dwelling so long on this branch of the subject : Which I shall conclude with this one observation more ; that it is a very dangerous thing to think, as too many are apt to do, that it is a matter of indifference what thoughts they entertain in their hearts; since the reason of things concurs with the testimony of the holy scriptures to assure us, “ That the allowed thought “ of foolishness is fin,” Prov, xxiv. 9*.
Concerning the Memory, XIV.“ A MAN that knows himself will
· « have a regard not only to - the management of ħis thoughts, but " the improvement of his memory.”
The memory is that faculty of the foul, which was designed for the storehouse or repository of its most useful notions ; where they may be laid up in safety, to be produced upon proper occasions.
where * Nam scelus inter fe tacitum qui cogitat ullum Facti crimen haber.
Juv. Sat. 13
Now a thorough self-acquaintance can-, not be had without a proper regard to this in two respects. (1.) Its furniture. (2.) Its improvement.
(1.) A man that knows himself willhave a regard to the furniture of his memory; not to load it with trash and lumber, a set of useless notions or low conceits, which he will be ashamed to produce before persons of taste and judga ment.
If the retention be bad, do not crowd it. It is of as ill consequence to overload a weak memory, as a weak stomach. And that it may not be cumbered with trash, take heed what company you keep, what books you read, and what thoughts you favour; otherwise a great deal of useless rubbish may fix there before you are aware, and take up the room which ought to be possessed by better notions. But let not a valuable thought flip from you, though you pursue it with much time and pains before you overtake it. The regaining and refixing it may be of more avail to you than many hours reading. What pity is it that men should take
fuch . such immense pains, as fome do, to learn those things, which, as soon as they become wise, they must take as much pains to unlearn!--A'thought that should make us very curious and cautious about the proper furniture of our minds.'
(2.) Self-knowledge will acquaint a man with the extent and capacity of his memory, and the right way to improve it. .
There is no fmall art in improving a weak memory, so as to turn it to as great an advantage as many do theirs which are much stronger. A few short rules to this purpose may be no unprofitable digreffion.
1. Beware of all kinds of intemperance in the indulgence of the appetites and pas, fons. Excesses of all kinds de a great injury to the memory.
2. If it be weak, do not overhad it. Charge it only with the most useful and folid notions. A small vefsel should not be stuffed with lumber : But if its freight be precious, and judiciously stowed, it may be more valuable than a ship of twice it's burden.
3. Recur to the help of a common placebook, according to Mr. Locke's method, and review it once a year, But take care that by confiding to your minutes or me
morial morial aids, you do not excuse the labour of the memory; which is one disadvantage attending this method.
4. Take every opportunity of uttering your best thoughts in conversation, when the subject will admit it: That will deeply imprint them. Hence the tales which common story-tellers relate, they never forget, though ever so filly
5. Join to the idea you would remember some other that is more familiar to you, which bears some fimilitude to it either in its nature, or in the sound of the word by which it is expressed; or that hath some relation to it either in time or place. And then by recalling this, which is easily remembered, you will (by that concatenation or connection of ideas, which Mr. Locke takes notice of), draw in that which is thus linked or joined with it; which otherwise you might hunt after in vain.--This rule is of excellent use to help you to remember names.
6. What you are determined to remember, think of before you go to sleep at night, and the first thing in the morning, when the faculties are fresh. And recollect at evening every thing worth remembering the day past.
7. Think it not enough to furnish this store-house of the mind with good thoughts; but lay them up there in order, digested or ranged under proper subjects or classes ; that whatever subject you have occasion to think or talk upon, you may have recourse immediately to a good thought, which you heretofore laid up there under that subject, so that the very mention of the subject may bring the thought to hand; by which means you will carry a regular common place-book in your memory. And it may not be amiss sometimes to take an inventory of this mental furniture, and recollect how many good thoughts you have there treasured up under such particular subjects, and whence you had them.
Lastly, Nothing helps the memory more than often thinking, writing, or talking on those subjects you would remember. But enough of this.
CHAP. XVI. Concerning the mental Taste. XV. “ A MAN that knows himfelf, is
11 « sensible of and attentive to « the particular taste of his mind, especial“ ly in matters of religion.” L 2