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A VARIETY OF IMPORTANT AND INTERESTING
PRIVATE FAMILIES AND SCHOOLS.
Seize upon truth where'er 'tis found,
PRINTED FOR W. BAYNES, 54, PATERNOSTER-ROW
BISHOP BURNET, in his account of Archbishop Leighton, says, "That great man in his youth treasured up in his memory a great many striking expressions, made use of on particular occasions by celebrated men in all ages, whether heathen or christian." This he afterwards found of great service to him. It is well known to have been the practice of the ancient sages, to deliver their instructions in short, pithy sentences. This method of teaching, though in our day little used, is certainly attended with some advantages.
An important sentiment wrapt up in few words, by its point and its weight, often strikes deeper, and leaves a more lasting impression, than a long and laboured discourse. Hence that proverb,
The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails, fasfened by the master of assemblies."
Another advantage of this method of instruction is, the assistance which it affords to the memory. When a man has to carry valuable goods through a crowd, where he has to be pressed and jostled on all sides, it is certainly better that he should take up small parcels, and packed in such a manner as to be borne with safety and ease, than to encumber himself with a burden that must soon be lost in the throng. Well-chosen maxims are found particularly useful for conversation. In a thousand cases, they answer a valuable purpose, where long chains of reasoning could find no place. The merchant, who has thousands in the bank, may sometimes be put to great inconvenience for want of a little running cash in his pocket.
I am sensible that some objection may be raised against this method of conveying instruction to the young.
It may be said, proverbial maxims, from their brevity, necessarily involve some obscurity. This is granted. But we find a propensity in the young to untie what is knotty, and examine what is ob
scure, as is evident by their fondness for riddles and enigmas. Those things which are so obvious, as to give no excuse to the understanding, seldom excite much interest. On the contrary, young people in general relish the kernel the more for having the trouble to break the shell. It may be objected, that such maxims as these resemble lime without sand, and have no power to cement and consolidate knowledge in the mind. This objection would carry great weight against a bulky volume, made up of such materials, but it has no force against a small pocket companion like this, which may profitably employ short intervals of time, between the more regular engagements of business or learning.
If it should be said, such sayings and maxims uttered by the young in company, will give them an air of formality, and sometimes expose them to contempt. I reply, it is no argument against the utility of any weapon, that it may happen to fall into unskilful
I have mentioned the authors from whom I have borrowed, because a maxim often owes half