Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

2. Under the title, at the head of each page, should be mentioned the work from which the notes are extracted.

3. Close to the margin on the left there should be a first column for the insertion of the running numbers, and likewise of the dates or epochs (by centuries for ancient times, and by ten years or even by single years for modern times), to which the passages to be extracted or analysed relate.

4. In the second column, advancing to the right, are to be entered the numbers of the pages and of the chapters of the work from which the extracts are taken.

5. A third column, rather wider than the preceding, contains the words of reference peculiar to each article, or the name of the nation by whose history it is furnished, or that of the science to which it belongs.

6. The fourth column, which is considerably the widest, contains the substance of the facts and observations which the reader thinks fit to select.

7. A fifth column on the right is left blank for such private notes and reflections as the writer

above. In this manner of treating history, she finds the advantages which we have ventured to promise-solid, agreeable, and diversified information, pleasure, and utility.

EN

may please to add, and for references to the articles that correspond.

8. At the end of each book or journal he will form an analytical index of its contents, on Locke's plan, already described.

Besides the journals above-mentioned, it will be adviseable to have two other separate books, which will be found particularly useful by those who cultivate the sciences. The one may be intituled: Experiments made and to be consulted, or luminous and productive Facts, and the other: Experiments to be made, or Series of Questions and Problems to be resolved.

These two books, the one devoted to the past, the other to the future, which are designed mutually to assist each other, and to concur in the same end, must have a wide margin ; each article must be numbered, and in the margin must be written the word of reference to denote the principal subject, or the science, to which the fact cited or the question proposed relates. *

* A methodical collection, formed in this manner, for every science, and containing separately, in the first place, all the interesting facts belonging to it that are to be found scattered through a multitude of works; and in the next, all the problems useful to mankind, the solution of which seems to be reserved for it, would be, in my opinion, an excellent medium for accelerating the progress of the sciences, and for furnishing youth, the investigators of nature, and men of genius, capable of making discoveries, with a greater quantity of materials in each, and those better arranged and more productive from their concentration. The same portion of life would thus supply an infinitely greater number of facts, subjects for observation, inquiry, and experiment; and we might naturally expect also to obtain in the same space of time a greater mass of results.

Every reader may thus form for his own use an abridged, yet complete, general history, either of any particular science, nation, or epoch, or of any branch relative to his personal instruction, and comprise in a series of analytical tables all the principal points that he deems it necessary to study and investigate. Instead of letting slip all the profit of his reading, of which most people retain no more than a vague and useless recollection, he will ensure the means of having what he has read and observed always present to his mind, of better digesting what he reads by meditation, and of rendering it really instructive, by arranging with order and method all that deserves to be impressed upon the memory, that he may be able to refer to and make use of it when he has occasion. The advantages afforded by such a system, practised for ten years only, would be immense and incalculable.

NOTE III.

PLAN OF DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN FOR ATTAINING

MORAL PERFECTION, AND REGULATING THE

EMPLOYMENT OF TIME.

ABOUT this time I conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wished to live without committing any fault at any time, and to conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company, might lead me into. As I knew, or thought I knew, what was right or wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the one and avoid the other. But I soon found that I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I had imagined. While my attention was taken up, and care employed in guarding against one fault, I was often surprised by another ; habit took the advantage of inattention; inclination was sometimes too strong for

I concluded at length that the mere speculative conviction, that it was our interest to be completely virtuous, was not sufficient to prevent our slipping; and that the contrary habits must be broken, and good ones acquired and established, before we can have any dependence on a steady uniform rectitude of conduct: for this purpose I therefore tried the following method.

reason.

0

In the various enumerations of the moral virtues I had met with in my reading, I found the catalogue more or less numerous, as different writers included more or fewer ideas under the same name. Temperance, for example, was by some confined to eating or drinking, while, by others, it was extended to mean the moderating every other pleasure, appetite, inclination, or passion, bodily or mental, even to our avarice or ambition. I proposed to myself, for the sake of clearness, to use rather more names, with fewer ideas annexed to each, than a few names with more ideas; and I included, under thirteen names of virtues, all that at that time occurred to me as necessary or desirable; and annexed to each a short precept, which fully expressed the extent I gave to its meaning.

These names of virtues, with their precepts,

were:

1. TEMPERANCE.--Eat not to dullness: drink not to elevation.

2. SILENCE.-Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself: avoid trifling conversation.

3. ORDER.–Let all things have their places : let each part of your business have its time.

4. RESOLUTION.-Resolve to perform what you ought : perform without fail what you resolve.

« AnteriorContinuar »