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orate it. The mind may be in a great degree passive, and not in that active, lively state, which is essential to the enlargement of its capacities. Every subject to be studied should be viewed in all its different relations and bearings, and not passed by until it is completely mastered. The mind should not be satisfied with merely acquiring facts, but should search diligently for their reasons, and not rest till every obscurity is removed, and every intricate and doubtful point, within the reach of investigation, is settled. The process of acquiring knowledge in this way would indeed be slow, but the mind being kept in constant activity, and being as it were engaged in continual reasoning, would have its capacities daily increased, and be constantly attaining to a higher and higher state of discipline and culture. But not only would the mental faculties be more fully developed, but facts themselves would be more indelibly imprinted on the mind, and thus the remaining object of study indirectly would be accomplished. Moreover, habits of thinking will make study itself more pleasant. They will invest subjects with new interest, and render attractive what be. fore seemed dry and unimportant. The difficulty of the pursuit will cease to be regarded, and the mind, delighting in the acquisition of knowledge, will experience a high degree of satisfaction, in beholding the continual development of its powers, and the multitude of its own creations.
But especially must those who would add something to the sum of knowledge, cultivate habits of diligent thinking. Many of the greatest achievements in science have been the results of mere reflection. For ages had astronomers observed and admired the heavenly bodies ; but Copernicus was the first, with no advantages over many of his predecessors, by thinking merely, to divine the true system of the universe, and to lay the imperishable foundations of modern astronomy. Reflection, too, aided Luther in the discovery of that truth, infinitely important to a deluded, perishing race, justification by faith alone. Such triumphs of thought are indeed rare, and shine like stars in the world's dark firmament. But though all may not hope to make such brilliant discoveries, yet there is scarcely a subject, upon which reflection will not pour new light, and reveal some hitherto unknown truth.
Many are the panegyrics which we are accustomed to hear upon the Baconian system of philosophizing, while the ancient method, which in no small degree consisted in reflection, is regarded as nearly destitute of merit. But Bacon's system derives none of its superiority from its superseding thought, but from its giving to thought a proper end and direction. It would be of little worth, did it not require that facts should not only be collected, but subjected to deep and continued reflection. The mere comparison of isolated truths, however numerous, often goes far less towards establishing general principles, than thought diligently bestowed upon a single one. The man, therefore, who merely collects facts, deserves not to be called a philosopher. He should go a step further, and show that they contain truths which have hitherto remained undeveloped.
Much that we have said of the importance of thinking to study, is
equally applicable to reading. To catch the full meaning and spirit of the author, to judge of his merits, to weigh his sentiments, and to impress upon the niemory the truths which he utters, requires that the mind be awake and active. The most valuable truths, the most exquisite beauties, are not always the most apparent. The gold is not often scattered in masses, but to be found requires patient labor and search. Reading without thought is like traveling with one's eyes shut, through a new and interesting country. The most beautiful and picturesque scenery, and the sublimest objects, are passed by unnoticed. Unless the thoughts are continually employed, the mind gradually acquires sluggish and inattentive habits, and a distaste for all abstruse and profound subjects.
Nothing probably has a stronger tendency to encourage habits of negligent thinking, than the multitude of light and fictitious works which are found in almost every community. The reader, seeling them to be of too little importance to merit careful attention, instead of dwelling on the beauties of the style, the skillful management of the plots, or the truth-like character of the incidents, either abandons his mind to repose, or suffers it to be borne quietly along, as down some gently gliding current. In this way, it soon becomes averse to all vigorous effort, and acquires a dislike for whatever is substantial and improving. More thinking and less reading would, we believe, make wiser and better men.
The imperfect views which most men have of history, can for the most part be traced to the neglect of this same habit. No kind of reading is more important, and yet from it the majority of readers derive but little permanent advantage. It matters litile to know, that once powerful nations and states existed, or that literature, science, and the arts, reached a high state of perfection. The great object of history is to teach ,men by examples, and to enable them, from the lessons of the past, to derive instruction for the future. But while the facts of history are made familiar, its spirit is neglected ; and the majority of readers not only make no attempt to draw their own conclusions, but scarcely bestow a thought on the justness of those of their author. History, to be useful, must not be merely read, but studied. Its truths must be dwelt upon, and made the subjects of long-continued reflection; and then it will be found to contain a soul, which, when transfused into the reader, by its instructions and warnings, will enable him to pass more securely and prosperously through this changing and uncertain world.
We might speak of the prejudice which sometimes exists in the church against independent thinking, and the severe reproofs and reproaches with which those are not unfrequently assuiled, who dare to call in question certain of its ceremonies. Whether or not such a course is most likely to elicit truth, we leave others to judge. A word, also, might be said of the importance, in a government like ours, of every man's forming for himself some opinions in politics, and not suffering himself to be blown about by every wind of party. But passing by tliese matters, we come to a more interesting subject--the importance
of cultivating reflecting habits, in order to a full appreciation of the wonders and beauties of Nature.
Nature, indeed, presents many objects of interest and admiration to the thinking man., From the minutest insect that floats in the sunbeam, to the shining spheres that adorn the firmament—every thing fills his mind with sweet and holy emotion. The unthinking man, in his hurried passage through the world, feels little of that inspiration, which the contemplation of Nature's works cannot fail to awaken. Creation to him is interesting only as it presents a field for the acquisition of wealih, honor, or pleasure. His ideas never rise from the dull round of earthly cares, to those sublime and beautiful objects, which on all sides surround him. But the thinking man beholds in every thing sources of improvement or pleasure. “To him," in the words of another, “ the world becomes a temple, and life one continued act of adoration.” As he beholds the flowers arrayed in a thousand beautiful colors, and the evening sky tinged with brilliant and ever-changing hues; as he sees the silvery moon shining upon the world, and the Aurora illuminating the desolate regions of the north with its tinted light; in a word, as he looks abroad upon Nature, and contemplates her innumerable works, he is filled with admiration and reverence, and is taught to look from “ Nature up to Nature's God," and to behold in Him a being of perfect wisdom and benevolence.
We have thus briefly set forth some of the advantages of thinking, and have endeavored to show, that mankind would be benefited by cultivating it. Their minds would be invigorated, literature, science, and the arts, would assume a new and more interesting aspect, and the world, instead of being a mere theatre on which to obtain wealth, honor, or pleasure, would teem with sources of pure and exalted enjoyment, and awaken in the heart sentiments of love and admiration for the Deity.
THE LOST PLEIAD.
Beneath the star-sprent dome of heaven,
A splendid palace hung:
The Pleiad sisters, young.
Its lofty doors were open thrown,
And bright lights shone within, And tiny feet were tripping fast
Around the circling ring.
Within an open court near by,
Where cooling fountains played, Were golden bowls of nectar placed,
By blooming Hebe made.
The noble guests reclined,
Played by the mourning wind.
But soon, a swell of music sweet
Came rolling through the air,
It banished ev'ry care.
Swept echoing through the halls, Pealed from the vaulted roof of gold,
And shook the frescoed walls.
The dancers ceased their mazy course,
The wondering guests up-sprung, And through the long-drawn archway
Their rapid lootsteps rung.
The throng had reached the central dome,
And filled its vast extent;
In lowly homage bent.
Seven glittering thrones were placed,
The peerless sisters graced. Anon a silver voice is heard
In accents low and sweet: “We queen of this the azure world,
Our loyal subjects greet.
“For many years, o'er your kind hearts,
We've held a peaceful sway,
With each succeeding day.
“ But soon I leave these festive halls,
By many a scene endeared;
The hour I long have feared.
“Ye start and with half opened lips,
Seem asking me to tell
The home I've loved so well.
“ Then audience lend, and while I speak
Each heart, let pity melt,
Of pains by mortals felt.
“Last morn, as from a throne of clouds
I viewed the brightning earth, Up from a thousand mansions rose
The gladsome sounds of mirth.
“ But other tones than those of joy,
Were wafted to my ear;
So mournful and so drear.
“ Then peering through a rifted cloud,
Fringed with an edge of blue,
I shuddered at the view.
“I gazed till horror chilled my heart,
And tear drops dimned mine eye, And thought, of stone must be the heart,
Could aid to such deny.
“ Then from my inmost soul I wished
These mis’ries to allay,
I must not stay away.
“ And now before yon dim lit orb
Has tracked its circle's round,
I tread its mournful ground."