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and operations of the great masses of matter in this our solar system, will but carefully mind his conclusions, which may be depended on as propositions well
$195. This is, in short, what I have thought
Greek. concerning a young gentleman's studies; where in it will possibly be wondered, that I should omit Greek, since amongst the Grecians is to be found the original, as it were, and foundation of all that learning which we have in this part of the world. I grant it so; and will add, that no man can pass for a scholar, that is ignorant of the Greek tongue. But I am not here considering the education of a professed scholar, but of a gentleman, to whom Latin and French, as the world now goes, is by every one acknowledged to be necessary. When he comes to be a man, if he has a mind to carry his studies farther, and look into the Greek learning, he will then easily get that tongue himself; and if he has not that inclination, his learning of it under a tutor, will be but lost labour, and much of his time and pains spent in that, which will be neglected and thrown away as soon as he is at liberty. For how many are there of an hundred, even amongst scholars themselves, who retain the Greek they carried from school.; or ever improve it to a familiar reading and perfect understanding of Greek authors ?
To conclude this part, which concerns a young gentleman's studies; his tutor should remember, that his business is not so much to teach him all that is knowable, as to raise in him a love and esteem of knowledge; and to put him in the right way of knowing and improving himself, when he has a mind to it.
The thoughts of a judicious author on the subject of languages, I shall here give the reader, as near as I can, in his own way of expressing them. He says, *“One can scarce burden children too much with the * knowledge of languages. They are useful to men of “ all conditions, and they equally open them the ena trance, either to the most profound, or the more easy
La Bruyere Meurs de ce Siècle, p. 577, 662...
« and entertaining parts of learning. If this irksome « study be put off to a little more advanced age, young “ men either have not resolution enough to apply to « it out of choice, or steadiness to carry it on. And « if any one has the gift of perseverance, it is not “ without the inconvenience of spending that time “ upon languages, which is destined to other uses: and « he confines to the study of words that age of his life " that is above it, and requires things; at least, it is “ losing the best and beautifullest season of one's life. " This large foundation of languages cannot be well “ laid, but when every thing makes an easy and deep “ impression on the mind; when the memory is fresh, “ ready, and tenacious ; when the head and heart are “ as yet free from cares, passions, and designs; and
those, on whom the child depends, have authority " enough to keep him close to a long-continued appli. “cation. I am persuaded that the small number of es truly learned, and the multitude of superficial pre« tenders, is owing to the neglect of this."
I think every body will agree with this observing gentleman, that languages are the proper study of our first years. But it is to be considered by the parents and tutors, what tongues it is fit the child should learn. For it must be confessed, that it is fruitless pains, and loss of time, to learn a language, which in the course of life that he is designed to, he is never like to make use of; or, which one may guess by his temper, he will wholly neglect and lose again, as soon as an approach to manhood, setting him free from a governor, shall put him into the hands of his own inclination; which is not likely to allot any of his time to the cultivating the learned tongues; or dispose him to mind any other language, but what daily use, or some particular necesșity, shall force upon him..
But yet, for the sake of those who are designed to be scholars, I will add, what the same author subjoins, to make good his foregoing remark. It will deserve to be considered by all who desire to be truly learned, and therefore may be a fit rule for tutors to inculcate, and leave with their pupils, to guide their future studies :
“ The study, says he, of the original text can never « be sufficiently recommended. It is the shortest, « surest, and most agreeable way to all sorts of learn« ing. Draw from the spring-head, and take not things « at second-hand. Let the writings of the great masters “ be never laid aside; dwell upon them, settle them in “ your mind, and cite them upon occasion; make it 6 your business thoroughly to understand them in their “ full extent, and all their circumstances: acquaint “ yourself fully with the principles of original authors; “ bring them to a consistency, and then do you your“ self make your deductions. In this state were the
first commentators, and do not you rest till you “ bring yourself to the same. Content not yourself 6 with those borrowed lights, nor guide yourself by “ their views, but where your own fails you, and leaves “ you in the dark. Their explications are not yours,
and will give you the slip. On the contrary, your “ own observations are the product of your own mind, “ where they will abide, and be ready at hand upon “ all occasions in converse, consultation, and dispute. “ Lose not the pleasure it is to see that you were not 5 stopped in your reading, but by difficulties that
are invincible: where the commentators and scholiasts themselves are at a stand, and have nothing to
say; those copious expositors of other places, who, as with a vain and pompous overflow of learning, « poured out on passages plain and easy in themselves, « are very free of their words and pains, where there " is no need. Convince yourself fully by thus order
ing your studies, that it is nothing but men's lazi. “ ness, which hath encouraged pedantry to cram, ra" ther than enrich libraries, and to bury good authors
under heaps of notes and commentaries; and you 66 will perceive, that sloth herein hath acted against “ itself, and its own interest, by multiplying reading “ and inquiries, and increasing the pains it endeavour" ed to avoid.”
This, though it may seem to concern none but direct scholars, is of so great moment for the right ordering of their education and studies, that I hope I shall not be blamed for inserting of it here, especially if it be considered, that it may be of use to gentlemen too, when at any time they have a mind to go deeper than the surface, and get to themselves a solid, satisfactory, and masterly insight in any part of learning.
Order and constancy are said to make the Method.
great difference between one man and another; this I am sure, nothing so much clears a learner's way, helps him so much on in it, and makes him go so easy and so far in any enquiry, as a good method. His governor should take pains to make him sensible of this, accustom him to order, and teach him method in all the applications of his thoughts; show him wherein it lies, and the advantages of it; acquaint him with the several sorts of it, either from general to particulars, or from particulars to what is more general; exercise him in both of them; and make him see, in what cases each different method is most proper, and to what ends it best serves.
In history the order of time should govern; in phi. losophical inquiries, that of nature, which in all progression is to go from the place one is then in, to that which joins and lies next to it; and so it is in the mind, · from the knowledge it stands possessed of already, to that which lies next, and is coherent to it; and so on to what it aims at, by the simplest and most uncompounded parts it can divide the matter into. To this purpose, it will be of great use to his pupil to accustom him to distinguish well, that is, to have distinct notions, whereever the mind can find any real difference; but as carefully to avoid distinctions in terms, where he has not distinct and different clear ideas. i § 196. Besides what is to be had from study and books, there are other accomplishments necessary for a gentleman, to be got by exercise, and to which time is to be allowed, and for which masters must be had.
Dancing being that which gives graceful Dancing.
Be motions all the life, and, above all things, manliness and a becoming confidence to young children, I think it cannot be learned too early, after they are once of an age and strength capable of it. But you Music.
must be sure to have a good master, that knows, and can teach, what is graceful and becoming, and what gives a freedom and easiness to all the motions of the body. One that teaches not this, is worse than none at all; natural unfashionableness being much better than apish, affected postures; and I think it much more passable to put off the hat, and make a leg, like an honest country gentleman, than like an ill-fashioned dancing-master. For, as for the jigging part, and the figures of dances, I count that little or nothing, farther than as it tends to perfect graceful carriage.
197. Music is thought to have some affinity with dancing, and a good hand, upon some instruments, is by many people mightily valued. But it wastes so much of a young man's time, to gain but a moderate skill in it; and engages often in such odd company, that many think it much better spared : and I have, amongst men of parts and business, so seldom heard any one commended or esteemed for having an excellency in music, that amongst all those things, that ever came into the list of accomplishments, I think I may give it the last place. Our short lives will not serve us for the attainment of all things; nor can our minds be always intent on something to be learned. The weakness of our constitutions, both of mind and body, requires that we should be often unbent: and he that will make a good use of any part of his life, must allow a large portion of it to recreation. At least this must not be denied to young people, unless, whilst you with too much haste make them old, you have the displeasure to set them in their graves, or a second childhood, sooner than you could wish. And therefore I think, that the time and pains allotted to serious improvements, should be employed about things of most use and consequence, and that too in the methods the most easy and short, that could be at any rate obtained; and perhaps, as I have above said, it would be none of the least secrets of education, to make the exercises in the body and the mind, the recreation one to another. I doubt not but that something might be done in it, by a prudent man, that would well. con