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competency for age, these three objects, next to our religious duties, ought equally to divide our attention, contenting ourselves with as little as possible of what the world calls pleasure and amusement; for, at the close of life, the remembrance of that kind of indulgence will be bitter, while the recollection of useful exertions and solid amusements will inspire the aged with sweet remembrance and hope..
I need not observe to you, ingenuous youth! that, unless yon are born to an independent fortune, you must either learn a business, or study for one of the professions; and that, as your sole dependence for success in life will rest upon your own diligence and exertions in the particular employment you make choice of, so your whole time, and all your thoughts, must, as far as pose sible, be devoted to acquiring the thorough knowledge of it, under a master, and afterwards exercising it for yourself, in order to obtain a livelihood, and lay up in youth a store for the unavoidable wants and necessities of age, when you will, probably, from infirmity, be confined within the narrow limits of your dwelling, unable to work, ashamed to beg, and cut off from the busy scenes of life, the society of the cheerful, and the company of the wise and good,
This, then, connected with your indispensable duties to God, is the first object you are to have in view at the outset of life; but as the mind
cannot be continually kept intent upon business, and it is necessary to have hours of rest and relaxation from it, it becomes a question of considerable importance, how that leisure time is to be disposed of, so as best to answer the purpose it is designed for, and, at the same time, to turn it to the best advantage.
I answer, that useful studies, mechanical pursuits, and cheap pleasures, or simple recreations, are the most likely to please and unbend the mind, while both the head and the heart are im- . proved at the same time, and no 'sting left behind.
In this view of the subject, permit me, ingenuous youth! strongly to recommend to you these three methods of filling up your leisure time.
In the first place, make it a point, during your apprenticeship, to continue those useful studies, of which the foundation is generally laid at school; for it is in the retirement and tranquility of your leisure evening hours (far better so spent than in a tavern, bagnio, or theatre) that you will best digest, understand, and improve, upon what you may have already read, and from which the usual noise and confusion of a public school more or less, diverts that close attention which is necessary to its being effectual. ---This mode of spending your time will also keep you out of the reach of temptation and expence.
Reading is to be ranked as the best of amusements, as being not only the most innocent, but, if the subjects are themselves innocent, as being justly esteemed both useful and laudable · When the business of the day is over, then, and not till then, let books be your companions ; not such as are merely amusement, as romances, or deal too much with imagination, as poetry and plays; or distract the mind with wrangling altercations, as controversy ; but history, especially that of your own country; travels, I mean such as are to be depended upon; moral treatises; some.. little law; and authentic tracts on the British and other European Constitutions. : Though you are not to be so enamoured of study as to pur: sue it to the prejudice of your business; there is no necessity for a man of business to be incapable of or unused to study. : ::
While you are young, therefore, lay in a stock of knowledge; and, though crude at first, it will digest and ripen by degrees ; so that, when the hurry of advanced life leaves you no leisure for contemplation, you will find your inemory a good substitute for it, and that it will assist you almost as well. ;
In the second place, that there may be some variety in your studies and amusements, I would particularly recommend to your attention the pursuit of mechanical knowledge, as being the
.. . most
most likely to engage and attract the mind, and become advantageous and useful to you as you grow up in life ; for as no one can discern his proper talent till it begins to unfold itself, it is possible that you may have a genius for this spe; cies of useful science, without being sufficiently sensible of it. With this view, then, it is, that I have subjoined to this work a Treatise on the extensive Utility, Advantages, and Amusement of Mathematical Learning; to which I again request your closest attention, as it is necessary that every youth should have some innocent and solid pursuit in view to fill up his time, and divert his attention from vicious courses ; not to mention the probable, or, at least, possible, future advantages which may be naturally expected to result from it.
In the third place, it is observable, that we connect the idea of expence so closely with that of diversion, that we hardly reckon those among qur pleasures which we do not pay for. But this is a perfectly mistaken idea, and is both bad rea-, soning and bad æconomy; for the most exquisite, as well as the most innocent, of all enjoyments, are such as cost us least; reading, fresh air, good weather, rural walks, fine landscapes, and the beauties of Nature. Unbend, therefore, principally with these ; they afford a very quick relish, while they last, and leave no remorse when over.
Of the Knowledge of the World, with suitable
Maxims and Advice.
*6 The proper knowledge of man-is man !"
THE Knowledge of the World, or that faculty of discerning men well, and through the deepest disguise discovering their real views, intentions, inclinations, and motives of action, and then act: ing upon them, is only to be acquired by gradual experience and close observation ; just as wisdom is the result of time and reflection alone ; some acquire it sooner, some later, according to circumstances, and their tàlent for penetration and discernment. --- But it is necessary to all, and ought to be studied as much as books. . · Could a window, ingenuous youth ! be fixed in the human breast, and the deceitful heart of man thus laid open to view, there would be no occasion for that knowledge of which I speak. It is dissimulation, insincerity, want of honour and integrity in man that causes the necessity for it. I shall, therefore, lay down some rules to assist you in the acquirement of this necessary knowledge.