Abbildungen der Seite
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

pleases to order it to form itself into. The mind is in a fluid state, but it hardens up gradually to the consistency of rock or iron, and you cannot alter the habits of an old man, but as he has begun he will proceed to go on to the last. By diligence I mean, among other things—and very chiefly-honesty in all your inquiries into what you are about. Pursue your studies in the way your conscience calls honest. More and more endeavour to do that. Keep, I mean to say, an accurate separation of what you have really come to know in your own minds and what is still unknown. Leave all that on the hypothetical side of the barrier, as things afterwards to be acquired, if acquired at all; and be careful not to stamp a thing as known when you do not yet know it. Count a thing known only when it is stamped on your mind, so that you may survey it on all sides with intelligence.

66 There is such a thing as a man endeavouring to persuade himself, and endeavouring to persuade others, that he knows about things when he does not know more than the outside skin of them. There is also a process called cramming in some Universities—that is, getting up such parts of things as the examiner is likely to put questions about. Avoid all that is entirely unworthy of an honourable habit. Be modest, and humble, and diligent in your attention to what your teachers tell you, who are profoundly interested in trying to bring you forward in the right way, so far as they have been able to understand it. Try all things they set before you, in order, if possible, to understand them, and to value them in proportion to your fitness for them. Gradually see what kind of work you can do; for it is the first of all problems for a man to find out what kind of work he is to do in this universe. In fact, morality in study is, as in all other things, the primary consideration, and overrides all others."

ON THE CHOICE OF BOOKS. " Learn to be discriminative in your reading to read all kinds of things that you have an interest in, and that you find to be

[blocks in formation]

really fit for what you are engaged in. Of course, at the present time, in a great deal of the reading incumbent on you you must be guided by the books recommended to you by your professors for assistance towards the prelections. And then, when you get out of the University, and go into studies of your own, you will find it very important that you have selected a field, a province in which you can study and work.

“ The most unhappy of all men is the man who cannot tell what he is going to do, who has got no work cut out for him in the world, and cannot go into it. For work is the grand cure of all the maladies and miseries that ever beset mankindhonest work, which you intend getting done. If you are in a strait, a very good indication as to choice-perhaps the best you could get—is a book you have a great curiosity about. You are then in the readiest and best of all possible conditions to improve by that book. It is analogous to what doctors tell us about the physical health and appetites of patients. You must learn to distinguish between false appetite and real. There is such a thing as a false appetite, which will lead a man into vagaries with regard to diet, will tempt him to eat spicy things which he should not eat at all, and would not, but that they are toothsome, and for the moment, in baseness of mind. A man ought to inquire and find out what he really and truly has appetite for-what suits his constitution; and that, doctors tell him, is the very thing he ought to have in general. And so with books. As applicable to almost all of you, I will say that it is highly expedient to go into history—to inquire into what has passed before you in the families of men. The history of the Romans and Greeks will first of all concern you; and you will find that all the knowledge you have will be extremely applicable to elucidate that. There you have the most remarkable race of men in the world set before you, to say nothing of he languages, which your professors can better explain, and which, I believe, are admitted to be the most perfect orders of speech we have yet found to exist among men. And

[blocks in formation]

you will find, if you read well, a pair of extremely remarkable nations shining in the records left by themselves as a kind of pillar to light up life in the darkness of the past ages ; and it will be well worth your while, if you can get into the understanding of what these people were and what they did. You will find a great deal of hearsay, as I found, that does not touch on the matter; but perhaps some of you will get to see Romans face to face; you will know in some measure how they contrived to exist, and to perform those feats in the world; I believe, also, you will find a thing not much noted, that there was a very great deal of deep religion in its form in both nations. That is noted by the wisest of historians, and particularly by Ferguson, who is particularly well worth reading on Roman history; and I believe he was an alumnus in our own University. His book is a very creditable book. He points out the profoundly religious nature of the Roman people, notwithstanding the wildness and ferociousness of their nature. They believed that Jupiter Optimus Jupiter Maximus- -was lord of the universe, and that he had appointed the Romans to become the chief of men, provided they followed his commands—to brave all difficulty, and to stand up with an invincible front—to be ready to do and die; and also to have the same sacred regard to veracity, to promise, to integrity, and all the virtues that surround that noblest quality of men-courage to which the Romans gave the name of virtue, manhood, as the one thing ennobling for a

In the literary, ages of Rome, that had very much decayed away; but still it had retained its place among the lower classes of the Roman people.

“Of the deeply religious nature of the Greeks, along with their beautiful and sunny effulgences of art, you have a striking proof, if you look for it. In the tragedies of Sophocles there is a most distinct recognition of the eternal justice of Heaven, and the unfailing punishment of crime against the laws of God.


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][graphic][ocr errors]




FTER your father was honourably admitted

a member of one of the Inns of Court, he relinquished his printing administration for legal studies, to which, you are aware, he assiduously applied himself.

To describe all the battles of the press in which your father had been engaged—fights against the stamp duty-fights against the paper duty-struggles to establish papers and publications—fights against the cheap immoral press—to tell you of his calmness in success, and the boldness with which he met reverses, would not only be irrelevant to the purport of this work, but would appear egotistic, in which your father fears he is already a bankrupt. One thing, however, your father must state, that during a long period of his life as a printer and editor, when immorality blurred the pages of the cheap press, your father's aim and influence was to support its dignity; and whether it was the Mirror, the Home Companion, or any other publication with which he was connected, not one line was printed that could in the slightest degree taint the mind of youth, or cause a blush to crimson the cheek of modesty.

On one occasion, as your father passed through the office, he observed an engraving that had an offensive appearance. He at once ordered the machine to be stopped, saying, 66 Send the formes to the person they came from, and tell him from me, hat rather than disgrace humanity, I will take all res onbility with respect to the fortnight's notice to which he is


« ZurückWeiter »