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The examination of our own thoughts—the observation of outward objects—the weighing, measuring, reasoning, praising, blaming which takes place in the mind is thinking, but our thinking is only really useful when it is rightly directed-we all think, but we do not all think correctly—the mental machinery is always in motion but not always with a profitable result.

Thought suggests thought. One thinking man speaks, and those who listen to his words have their thoughts employed in one fixed direction. One thinking man writes, and those who read his compositions are put in possession of his thoughts. But no man can, in the highest and best sense of the expression, be said to think, who only thinks the thoughts of others. Such a man, in the best sense of the term, thinks not, he only thinks he thinks. The thoughts of another to a thoughtful mind suggest thoughts, they are “as good seed in good ground,” they germinate, they bear fruit-true, whatever springs forth as the result of the seed-thought is but the growth of that thought, but there is a wide difference between such fruit and the mere routine of the man who has stored his mind with the thoughts of other men.

The thoughts of the sagacious and prudent of all ages are treasured up in books. Books are the storehouses of thought. But how many books there are which contain very little thought, how many which only repeat old thoughts, how many that hide what thoughts are in them by obscure phraseology—the darkening of counsel by words without knowledge. A whole treatise is really no more than the development of one idea. A sermon, a book, a play, should have but one leading thought, one central thought to which all the others may converge. In the best sermons, the best books, the best plays, this is the case ; but one idea pervades the whole composition and is thoroughly woven into its texture. Now the man who wants to exercise his thinking faculties, would rather be placed in possession of the leading thought and proceed by analysis to the investigation of it for himself.

Such a man would rather think for himself than allow another

to think for him; his reading would only stimulate the powers of thought, and he would seldom, if ever, indulge in the luxury of accepting ready dressed thoughts.

It is for the use of such persons that the present


work has been prepared. The principle adopted has teen that of extracting the leading thoughts from each volume selected for that purpose, and placing it before the reader, so as to invite and attract attention, and compel the faculties of the mind to profitable exercise. As there is much in the way in which a truth is stated, the best writers of various ages and nations are in this volume made to utter their best thoughts in their own words—“Apples of gold in baskets of silver.” The part of the compiler has been simply that of judicious selection ; he has endeavoured to discharge this duty faithfully, how far he has been successful the public must decide. If any excuse be necessary for thus collecting and resetting the scattered gems of genius, it is supplied by Dr. Johnson, who tells us that “he who collects these is very laudably employed, as he facilitates the progress of others and, by making that easy

of attainment which is already written, may give leisure for new thoughts and original designs.”

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He Passion FOR THE UNIVERSAL.—The mind, in its

utmost perfection, should not be ignorant of any

species of human knowledge or accomplishment within its reach; and the body, being a part of us, and that part most prominent and visible, has also a legitimate right to its careful education ; for we are not all soul. The body should indeed be the servant of the mind; but neglect or scorn the slave too much, and he rebels, and may in time become the tyrant. The notion of this--all accomplishment, mental and corporeal—is an old one; it is one upon which the character of the ancient nations, and of Athens especially, was formed. Alcibiades and Pericles were but incarnations of the genius of their country. But, in truth, the task of circling the round of knowledge was more practicable two thousand years ago than it is now: books were few, speculations contracted, learning flowed with a mighty stream, but not from

All the fruits of the Divine Tree were near at hand to the wanderer, and not scattered as they are at present in myriad grafts over the surface of the globe. If this was their advantage in the mental, so, in the corporeal

numerous sources.



education, the life which the ancients led, their habits and their customs so entirely dissimilar from the indolent apathy of modern times, were well suited to perfect all the faculties and to gift with all the graces.

The division of labour has become necessary to a vast and complex order of civilisation; and no longer living in petty cities, but overpopulated nations, one man cannot hope successfully to unite the poet, the soldier, the philosopher, the artist, the critic,-the oracle of one sex and the idol of the other. The true character of the Universal has passed away for ever. It is forturiate for us that the world somewhat early and somewhat roughly rouses us from this ambition, too excursive for common purposes if pursued too long; and that, settled betimes to the pursuit of one career, or to the mastery of one art, we accustom ourselves not to chase the golden apples which lure us from our goal.-Bulwer.


USPICION.—There is nothing makes a man suspect

much, more than to know little ; and, therefore,

men should remedy suspicion by procuring to know more, and not to keep their suspicions in smother.-Bacon.


ISTORIANS.—We find but few historians of all ages

who have been diligent enough in their search for

truth; it is their common method to take on trust what they distribute to the public. By which means, a falsehood, once received from a famed writer, becomes traditional to posterity.-Dryden.

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