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tions, mistaking too often meer Change for Improvement.
It is likely indeed, that this Institution doth not now answer the good Purposes it might, and actually did. Mismanagement may
have crept in: For render a Thing unfashionable, it must decline. But we ought not to charge on the Design Abuses thereof, nor confound the Effect with its Cause. Thus, general Disregard occasions Failure in Execution ; but that Failure should not be alledged as an Argument to justify this Disregard; although, when established, it keepeth up and encreaseth it. Negligence is at first the Effect of Contempt, afterwards a Cause.
I WOULD not however be understood to alsert, that this Plan of Instruction is perfect, that all Objections offered against it are groundless. On the contrary, it is urged with much Shew of Reason and some Truth; “That the conti“ nued Discourse of a Professor, however judi“ ciously composed, cannot convey sufficient Knowledge of
Art or Science; to the Attainment of which Care, Attention, and “ the Slowness of gradual Progress are necessary. That this essential Defect hath farther
an evil Tendency, accustoming young Per“ fons to content themselves with such super“ ficial Knowledge as they can glean up
from hearing loose general Essays, and to consider " this as a competent Fund of Learning; from “ whence usually spring Conceit and Pedantry.”
If we were to trace up the Dislike of this Article of Academic Education to its Source, I fear, that we should find it closely connected with, or rather a Branch of somewhat, more momentous, of a Prejudice against the Whole; a Plant, the Seeds of which have been of late industriously sown in the Mind, have taken Root, and been artfully cherished there ; until at Length it hath grown to mighty Size and Strength, extending its Branches far and near; and hath well nigh covered the Land.
And yet, upon weighing the Matter, one is at a Loss to assign for this Aversion any
tolerable Appearance of Reason. Setting aside Revelation, are there any Writings, which
prefent Goodness in fo amiable a Light, which re. commend the noblest and most
Virtues, Justice, Friendship, the Love of our Country and of Mankind, in so warm and strong a Manner, as the Volumes transmitted to us from
Greek and Roman Antiquity? Any, that give an higher Idea of the Dignity of human Nature ; or any, that contribute more to strengthen and elevate the Mind, to raise and unfold all its Talents ? Where are there offered to us more beautiful Models of true masculine Eloquence, finer Sentiments, exhibited in all the Grace of pure
and unaffected Ornament?
Do not they place us amid the busiest, the most splendid Scenes ; lay before us the greatest Characters; acquaint us with the most private Transactions, and bring us into the Conversation and Intimacy as it were of the most extraordinary Persons; who joined to the Advantages of Letters consummate Experience of the World; some of whom moved in the most exalted Sphere, and gave Law to the whole Earth?
And can it be imagined, that such Ideas, fuch Scenes, such Patterns and Companions must not be highly beneficial to Youth?
ESPECIALLY, what can equal our Surprize when we tenquire into the End proposed from that. Form of Education, to which this hath bcen condemned to give Place; “ A Know
lege of modern Languages and of the “ World?”_For surely the best Foundation of the former is an Acquaintance with the Antients; Excellence of Stile even in one's native . Tongue is best learned from their admirable Models ; since what is essential in Eloquence is common to all Languages. And the latter, to á Mind rude, unlettered, unprincipled, is usually the greatest of Misfortunes; it becometh Knowlege of Vice and Folly.
But it is not my Design at present to enter into so large a Field : The Branch of this Prejudice I set out with, which hath led me insensibly into these Reflexions, in my Opinion deserveth our careful Attention ; especially in this Place, bearing, as it doth, a particular Relation to your Lordships Trust.
It was allowed, that the Objection beforementioned hath some Force; but the Inference doth not seem just. We ought not to condemn from a View of one side. The Question is, are there not Advantages which greatly lessen, which do more than counterballance the Evils objected ? And may not Methods be found of procuring still farther Advantages ?
« The continued Discourse of a Professor cannot convey
sufficient knowledge of a Science.”—True: Yet that hinders not, but that may do a great deal, and profit much.
The more diligent Hearers, who join with their Attendance
upon such regular Course a Perusal of the best Authors on each Article, may receive from it great Benefit; because a Man of Genius and good Capacity may comprehend in those, however short, Compositions the principal Points; may open more general Views; and by abridging, supplying, explaining; set Things in a new and fuller Light. On the other Hand, the Careless, who do not read, may yet derive from thence some Knowlege, likely to prove useful afterwards, at least ornamental; certainly preferable to total Ignorance.
AGAIN, Discourses coming from the Mouth of an esteemed Person naturally make an Impression upon the Minds of the Audience, turn their Thoughts to the Matters treated of, are made the Subjects of Conversation, probably of Debate; which cannot fail of engaging them in Disquisitions and Enquiries concerning the Things talked of: And among many Persons it must happen, that some will perlist in these