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4. Rome; by whom founded; on what built; most famous public buildings mentioned in history; extent and population in the time of Augustus; present state.
5. The elephant; where found; size; appearance; food; habits; utility.
6. The seasons; appearances of nature; operations; amusements, &c., at the different periods of the year."
Miscellaneous Essays may treat of any subject which is interesting or instructive. Write miscellaneous essays from the following heads:—
I. It is a great mistake to suppose that amusement should form the business of life. II. The original meaning of the terms amusement, relaxation, and recreation, may convince us of this. III. That which is made the business of life ceases to be amusement. IV. Rich and poor must be employed, or be unhappy.
I. It is very often taken for granted by young people, that amusement is the principal object of life; and this opinion is frequently carried to so great an excess, that pleasure seems to be the ruling principle which directs all their thoughts, words, and actions, and which makes the serious duties of life heavy and disgusting. Such an opinion, however, is no less absurd than unhappy, as may
* As recommended in the precedin note, the Teacher may discontinue giving hints, when his Pupils . some practice in writing Descriptive Essays. When they have a competent knowledge of geography and local history, narration and description may be combined by making them write imaginary excursions, travels, &c., either in the form of Essays, Letters, or Journals.
be shown by taking the other side of the question, and proving that there is no real enjoyment without labour.
II. The words commonly used as synonymous with amusement, are relaxation and recreation; and the precise meaning of these words may help us to take a correct view of this subject. Amusement signifies an occasional forsaking of the muses, or the laying aside of our books when we are weary with study. The idea of relaxation is taken from a bow, which must be unbent when it is not wanted, that its elasticity may be preserved. Recreation is the refreshing of our spirits when they are exhausted with labour, that we may be ready, in due time, to resume it again. From these considerations it follows, that, to use a common expression, the idle man who has no work, can have no play; for, how can he leave the muses, who is never with them 2 how can he be relaxed, who is never bent P how can play refresh him, who is never exhausted with business 2
III. All rest presupposes labour: hence, when amusement becomes the business of life, its nature is changed. He that has no variety, can have no enjoyment: he is surfeited with pleasure, and in the bitter hours of reflection, would find a refuge in labour itself. Indeed, it may be observed, that there is not a more miserable being, than a young person who has nothing to do but find out some new way of putting off time.
IV. We sometimes hear it said of poor men, that if they do not work, they shall not eat; and a similar remark may be made upon the rich, who, if they are not in some respect useful to the public, are almost sure to become burdensome to themselves. A blessing goes along with every useful employment: it keeps a man on good terms with himself, and consequently in good spirits, and in a capacity of being pleased with every innocent gratification. As labour is necessary to procure an appetite to the body, so must there 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.
1. On History.
I. History a most interesting and useful branch of study. II. History a representation of human character; the record of human experience. III. The various kinds of information which we derive from the study of history.
IV. Some of the great moral lessons which history teaches."
2. On Parental Affection. I. Parental affection implanted by Providence for the preservation of the species. II. We are, therefore, indebted for it to the great Father of all. III. Remarkable instances of parental affection. IV. The corresponding duty of children.
3. On Generosity.
I. Generosity is doing more than we are obliged to do. II. We must do justice to escape the censure of the laws; but to be generous we must do more than the laws require. III. Christian morality is true generosity. IV. Generosity produces generosity. V. Remarkable examples of generosity.
4. On Politeness. I. The origin of the term. II. The ordinary acceptation of it. III. Politeness ought to express that benevolence artificially, which religion requires in reality. IV. What Christian maxim is the foundation of all true politeness 2 W. Correspondence between politeness and religion.
5. Sympathy. I. What is sympathy P II. It at once supports and adorns human nature. III. It guards our infancy, instructs our childhood, and performs all the kind offices of friendship in riper years. IV. It consoles us in our last moments, and defends our character after death. V. A person without sympathy, and living only for himself, is the basest and most odious of all creatures.
6. On Education.
I. Education consists not only in acquiring knowledge, but in the formation of such habits as determine the character.
* It may at first be necessary for the Teacher to assist his Pupils in amplifying these heads. He may also suggest examples, and other illustrations, especially when they occur in the course of their ordinary studies. II. The station of men in society, more dependent on education than on birth or fortune. III. Fortune may descend to us from others; but education must be acquired by ourselves. IV. Alexander the Great said he was more indebted to his tutor Aristotle, than to his father Philip. V. The superiority of one man to another, owing more to education than to nature. VI. How many have remained in inferior situations, who might have risen to eminence, but for the want of education : VII. Much may be done in the way of educating themselves afterwards, by those whose education has been neglected in childhood and youth. VIII. We ought to cherish gratitude to the friends who have bestowed upon us this blessing, and respect for the institutions at which we ourselves have been educated, or which place education within every one's reach. *
7. On the Love of Order.
I. Order is of the utmost importance in the affairs of life. II. A love of order is a love of beauty, propriety, and harmony, in the material and in the moral world. III. A love of order appears in the regulation of our expenses, in the spending of our time, in the choice of our company, and even in our amusements. IV. Arguments for orderly habits from the Scriptures. V. Connexion between the love of order and other virtues.
8. On Affectation.
I. Affectation is apparent hypocrisy. II. It has its origin in vanity. III. Affectation hurts the pride of others, by endeavouring either to impose upon them or to excel them, and therefore makes them its enemy. IV. Nothing more exposes affectation than contrasting it with its opposite. Affectation wears a disguise, is a double character, and creates suspicion; simplicity is what it appears to be, has a unity of character, and creates confidence. V. Affectation is a folly by which we gain nothing but contempt. VI. An affected character may be compared to a palace built of ice. VII. Affectation tarnishes the most shining qualities.
9. On Composition.
I. The general meaning of the word, its application to particular arts, and the branch of study to which it is usually limited. II. The importance of studying composition, knowledge being of little use without the art of communicating it. III. The best means of acquiring this art.
10. On Conversation.
I. Ability to converse little appreciated, because of familiar uSe. II. The improvement derived from conversation. III. The pleasure derived from conversation. 11. On Reading. I. Reading compared with conversation. II. Reading more conducive to improvement than ordinary conversation. III. Its effect upon the mind of the student. 2. IV. Its effect upon his language. 12. On Memory. I. Memory the storehouse of the mind. II. To some not a treasury of things, but alumber-room of words. III. What ought to be the effects of observation, discourse, and reading 2 IV. To what persons will memory bring constant causes of regret and misery 2 V. To whom is it a never-failing spring of pleasure ?
13. On Curiosity. I. Curiosity a useful or a pernicious principle, according as directed. II. What we owe to well-directed curiosity. III. The effects of ill-directed curiosity. IV. Character of a person notorious for ill-directed curiosity.
14. On Filial Duty. I. The earliest virtue we can practise. What may be reasonably hoped of the child that displays it. II. It is a virtue of the heart : it has also the sanction of the understanding. III. Remarkable examples of filial duty.