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2d. The Reason; where we prove the truth of the Theme by some reason or argument.
3d. The Confirmation; where we show the unreasonableness of the contrary opinion; or, if we cannot do that, .we try to bring some other reason in support of the former.
4th. The Simile; where we bring in something in nature or art, similar to what is affirmed in our Theme, for illustrating the truth of it.
5th. The Example; where we bring instances from History to corroborate the truth of our Theme.
6th. The testimony or Quotation; where we bring in pro verbial sentences or passages from good authors, which show that others think as we do.
7th. The Conclusion; when we sum up the whole and show the practical use of the Theme, by concluding with some pertinent observations. *
TOO MUCH FAMILIARITY GENERALLY BREEDS CONTEMPT.
Proposition. There is no observation more generally true than that our esteem of a person seldom rises in proportion to our intimacy with him.
Rcason. Such is the general disguise men wear, that their good qualities commonly appear at first, and their bad ones aro discovered by degrees; and this gradual discovery of their
* The rules are thus versified by Mr. Walker
The Proposition, the Reason, the Confirmation, tne Simile, the Example he Testimony, and the Conclusion.
The Theme at large the Proposition gives,
failings and weaknesses, must necessarily lessen our opinion of them.
Confirmation. It is the nature of man to have a high opinion of any excellence he is not fully acquainted with: he is prone to imagine it much greater than it really is; and therefore when it becomes thoroughly known, the expectation is at an end, and the good qualities which we at first admired, having no longer the recommendation of novelty, become not only less striking, but often produce indifference and contempt.
Simile. As the frogs in the fable were at first terrified by the noise of the falling of the log which Jupiter threw down into the lake for their king, but by degrees became so familiar with their wooden monarch as to despise it; so kings have often found by mixing too familiarly with their subjects, and masters by being too free with their servants, that they have lost
their importance in proportion to their condescension.
Example. James the First, King of England, was a man of considerable learning, and had as few bad qualities as the generality of his subjects; but, by jesting with his attendants, and descending to childish familiarity with them, scarcely any King of England was held in greater contempt.
T'estimony. A celebrated teacher has said that young people cannot be too much on their guard against falling into too great familiarity with their companions; for they are sure to lose the good opinion of those with whom they are familiar.
Conclusion. It may, therefore, be laid down, as confirmed by reason and experience, that nothing requires greater caution in our conduct, than our behaviour to those with whom we are most intimate.
The necessity of Exercise.
The importance of the government of temper.
An abstract is a summary, or epitome, containing the subo stance, a general view, or the principal heads of a treatise or writing.
The taking of abstracts from sermons, speeches, essays, &c. is an exercise which the student will find exceedingly useful in the cultivation of habits of attention, as well as of analysis. In writing abstracts, it is not necessary to endeavor to recall the exact language of the original, the purpose of the exercise is fully subserved, if the principal idea be recorded
It is generally taken for granted, by most young people of fortune, that diversion is the principle object of life; and this opinion is often carried to such an excess, that pleasure seems to be the great ruling principle which directs all their thoughts, words, and actions, and which makes all the serious duties of life heavy and disgusting. This opinion, however, is ao less absurd than unhappy, as may be shown by taking the other side of the question, and proving that there is no pleasure and enjoyment of life without labor.
The words commonly used to signify diversion are these three, namely, relaxation, amusement, and recreation; and the precise meaning of these words may lead us to very useful instruction. The idea of relaxation is taken from a bow, which must be unbent when it is not wanted to be used. that it: elasticity may be preserved. Amasement literally means an oo casional forsaking of the Muses, or the laying aside our books when we are weary with study; and recreation is the refreshing or recreating of our spirits when they are exhausted with labor, that they may be ready: in due time, to resume it again.
From these considerations it follows that the idle man who has no work can have no play; for, how can he be relaxed who is never bent? How can he leave the Muses who is never with them? How can play refresh him who is never exhausted with business?
When diversion becomes the business of life, its nature is changed all rest presupposes labor. He that has no variety can have no enjoy ment; he is surfeited with pleasure, and in the better hours of reflection would find a refuge in labor itself. And, indeed, it may be observed, that there is not a more miserable, as well as a more worthless being, than a young person of fortune, who has nothing to do but find out some new way of doing nothing.
Å sentence is passed upon all poor men, that if they will not work, they shall not eat; and a similar sentence seems passed upon the rich, who, if they are not in some respect useful to the public, are almost súre to be come burthensome to themselves. This blessing goes along with every aseful employment; it keeps a man on good terms with himself, and consequently in good spirits, and in a capacity of pleasing and being pleased with every innocent gratification.
As labor is necessary to procure an appetite to the body, there must also be some previous exercise of the mind to prepare it for enjoyment; indulgence on any other terms is false in itself, and ruinous in its consequences. Mirth degenerates into senseless riot, and gratification soon terminates in satiety and disgust.
Abstract of the above.
1. It is a common error to suppose that diversion should form the business of life, the contrary being true.
2. This is proved by the derivation of the words used to express diversion
- viz., relaxation, amusement, and recreation.
3. They who have no labor can have no diversion. 4. When diversion becomes labor, it is no longer diversion. 5. All men must have occupation, or be miserable.
6. There must be labor of mind as well as labor of the body, for the well being of both.
Exercises in the practice of taking abstracts are frequently presenteu by the preacher. They may also be foand in volumes of sermons, in pe. riodical papers and essays, in common text-books in literary institutions, and in the wide circle of English literature. It is not, therefore, deemed important tu present them in detail in this volume.
The faculty of invention, it is thought, has been sufficiently exercised in the preceding principles to enable the student now to fill out an essay from heads, outlines, or abstracts, as in the following
1. No being perfectly independent but God.
2. The dependence created by trade and commerce is, in fact, a kind of independence.
3. Pecuniary dependence the most humiliating of any.
4. Pecuniary dependence naturally degrades the mind and depraves the heart.
5. Young people ought to be particularly careful to avoid pecuniary dependence.
The Essay founded on the above heads.
Independence, in the largest and most unlimited sense, is to created beings, a state impossible. No being is perfectly independent, but the One Supreme Being: all other beings, by their very nature, are dependent, in the first place, on their Creator, and in the second, on their fellowcreatures; from whose good-will and assistance they derive their chief happiness.
This dependence, however, consists in a mutual interchange of good offices; in such a suitable return of favors received, as makes each party obliged to the other, and at the same time leaves each other independent. This kind of dependence we find in different countries, that trade in com modities which are necessary to both; by which means, they become useful, but not indebted to each other.
But the most general sense of independence is that of property. The circulating medium, called money, and which is the representative of al most every thing that we wish, has in it something so sacred, that we can never receive it gratuitously, without losing our dignity and becoming dependent. We may ask for favors of another kind, and though they are granted to us, we are not degraded; but if once we ask a pecuniary favor we lose our independence, and become enslaved. No more can we con verse with our creditor on the same equal terms that we did before. No more can we controvert his ovinion, and assert our own: a conscious in