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Euclid; a Course of Logic; a Course of Experimental Philosophy ; Locke's .Conduct of the Understanding;' his Treatise, also, on the Understanding ; his • Treatise on Government, and Letters on Toleration.' I desire, for the present, no books of poetry but Horace and Virgil: of Horace, the Odes; but, above all, the Epistles and Ars Poetica. These parts nocturnà versate manu, versate diurnå. Tully De Of. ficiis, De Amicitiâ, De Senectute; his Catilinarian Orations, and Philippics : Sallust. At leisure-hours, an abridgement of the History of England to be run through, in order to settle in the mind a general chronological order and series of principal events, and succession of Kings ; proper books of English history, on the true principles in our happy constitution, shall be pointed out afterward. Burnet's · History of the Reformation, abridged by himself, to be read with great care. Father Paul on Beneficiary Matters,' in English. A French master; and only Moliere's Plays to be read with him, or by yourself, till you have gone through them all. Spectators, especially Mr. Addison's papers, to be read very frequently at broken times in your room. I make it my request, that you will forbear drawing totally, while you are at Cambridge: and not meddle with Greek, otherwise than to know a little the etymology of words in Latin, or English, or French ; nor to meddle with Italian. I hope, this little course will soon be run through: I intend it as a general foundation for many things of infinite utility, to come as soon as this is finished.
• Ever yours.
MY DEAR NEPHEW,
Bath, Jan. 14, 1754, • You will hardly have read over one very long letter from me, before you are troubled with a second. I intended to have written soon, but I do it sooner on account of your letter to your aunt, which she transmitted to me here. If any thing, my dear boy, could have happened to raise you higher in my esteem, and to endear you more to me, it is the amiable abhorrence you feel for the scene of vice and folly (and of real misery and perdition, under the false notion of pleasure and spirit) which has opened to you at your college; and at the same time the manly, brave, generous, and wise resolution and true spirit, with which you resisted and repulsed the first attempts upon a. mind and heart, I thank God, infinitely too firm and noble, as well as too elegant and enlightened, to be in any danger of yielding to such contemptible and wretched corruptions. You charm me with the description of Mr. Wheler, and while you say you could adore him, I could adore you for the natural genuine love of virtue, which speaks in all you feel, say, or do. As to your companions, let this be your rule : Cultivate the acquaintance with Mr. Wheler, which you have so fortunately begun; and, in general, be sure to associate with men much older than yourselfscholars, whenever you can; but always with men of decent and honourable lives. As their age and learn. ing, superior both to your own, must necessarily in good sense and in the view of acquiring knowledge from them entitle them to all deference and submission of your own lights to theirs, you will particularly practise that first and greatest rule for pleasing in
conversation, as well as for drawing instruction and improvement from the company of one's superiors in age and knowledge; namely, to be a patient, attentive, and well-bred hearer, and to answer with modesty: to deliver your own opinions sparingly and with proper diffidence: and, if you are forced to desire farther information or explanation upon a point, to do it with proper apologies for the trouble you give; or, if obliged to differ, to do it with all possible candour and an unprejudiced desire to find and ascertain truth, with an entire indifference to the side in which that truth is to be found. There is, likewise, a particular attention required to contradict with good manners; such as “begging pardon,” begging leave to doubt,' and such like phrases. Pythagoras injoined his scholars an absolute silence for a long noviciate. I am far from approving such a taciturnity: but I highly recommend the end and intent of Pythagoras' injunction; which is, to dedicate the first parts of life more to hear and learn, in order to collect materials, out of which to form opinions founded on proper lights and well-examined sound principles, than to be presuming, prompt, and flippant in hazarding one's own slight crude notions of things; and thereby exposing the nakedness and emptiness of the mind, like a house opened to company before it is fitted either with necessaries, or any ornaments for their reception and entertainment. And not only will this disgrace follow from such temerity and presumption, but a more serious danger is sure to ensue, that is, the embracing of errors for truths, prejudices for principles ; and, when that is once done (no matter, how vainly and weakly) the adhering perhaps to false and dangerous notions, only because one has declared for them, and submitting for life the understanding and conscience to a yoke of base and servile prejudices, vainly taken up and obstinately retained. This will never be your danger: but I thought it not amiss to offer these reflexions to your thoughts. As to your manner of behaving toward these unhappy young gentlemen you describe, let it be manly and easy: decline their parties with civility ; retort their raillery with raillery, always tempered with good-breeding : if they banter your regularity, order, decency, and love of study, banter in return their neglect of them; and venture to own frankly, that you came to Cambridge to learn what you could, not to follow what they are pleased to call pleasure. In short, let your external behaviour to them be as full of politeness and ease, as your inward estimation of them is full of pity mixed with contempt.
I come now to the part of the advice I have to offer to you, which most nearly concerns your welfare, and upon which every good and honourable purpose of your life will assuredly turn; I mean, the keeping up in your heart the true sentiments of Religion. If you are not right toward God, you ean never be so toward man: the noblest sentiment of the human breast is here brought to the test. Is gratitude in the number of a man's virtues ? if it be, the highest benefactor demands the warmest returns of gratitude, love, and praise : Ingratum qui dixerit, omnia dixit. If a man wants this virtue where there are infinite obligations to excite and quicken it, he will be likely to want all others toward his fellow-creatures, whose utmost gifts are poor, compared to those he daily receives at the hands of his never failing Almighty Friend. • Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth, is big with the deepest wisdom. • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and an upright heart, that is understanding. This is externally true, whether the wits and rakes of Cambridge allow it or not: nay, I must add of this Religious Wisdom, Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace; whatever your young gentlemen of pleasure think of a whore and a bottle, a tainted health and a battered constitution. Hold fast, therefore, by this sheet-anchor of happiness, Religion: you will often want it in the times of most danger, the storms and tempests of life. Cherish true Religion as preciously, as you will fly with abhorrence and contempt superstition and enthusiasm. The first is the perfection and glory of the human nature; the two last, the deprivation and disgrace of it. Remember, the essence of Religion is, a heart void of offence toward God and man; not subtile speculative opinions, but an active vital principle of faith. The words of a heathen were so fine, that I must give them to you: Compositum jus fasque animi, sanctosque recessus Mentis, et incoctum generoso pectus honesto.
'Go on, my dear child, in the admirable dispositions you have toward all that is right and good, and make yourself the love and admiration of the world. I have neither paper, nor words, to tell you how tenderly
• I am yours.'
No one can read the above, without deeply feeling the value of such advice so administered, and under circumstances of so much interest. To a boy embarking upon the ocean of academical life, where so