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A PROPER CHOICE OF BOOKS
Till I come, give attendance to reading. 1 TIM. iv. 13.
1. Introduction. The ill choice of books a great defect in the conduct of study. § 2. Many books are continually superseded by others more perfect. § 3. A remedy proposed. (1) PREPABATORY books, that give a particular account of authors and their works. § 4. Catalogues. § 5. Bibliothecas. § 6. Periodical publications. § 7. Books useful to form a judgment of authors. $ 8. (II.) BIBLICAL authors, that give immediate assistance for studying the scriptures. § 9. Good editions of the Bible, especially in the originals. Polyglotts. § 10. The Old Testament, Hebrew. § 11. The Greek Septuagint. § 12. The New Testament, Greek. 13. English Bible. § 14. Other modern versions. § 15. Books immediately preparatory for understanding the scriptures. § 16. Hebrew lexicons and concordances. §17. Greek lexicons and concordances. 18. English dictionaries and concordances. § 19. Commentators on the whole scriptures. § 20. On the whole New Testament. § 21. On select parts both of the Old and New Testament. § 22. On select parts of the Old Testament only. § 23. And of the New Testament only. § 24. (III.) THEOLOGICAL works, both systematic and miscellaneous. And first, public confessions and catechisms. § 25. Latin systems of divinity. § 26. Also English. § 27. English practical writers. Puritans. § 28. Nonconformists. 29. Episcopalians.
30. Scotch. § 31. Americans. § 32. Sermons that excel, as models of composition. § 33. (IV.) ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY, including biography, chronology, rites, and antiquities.-And first, of the Old Testament church. § 34. Histories of the chiria
tian church. § 35. of some parts of the christian history. $36. Biography. 37. Chronology. § 38. Antiquities. § 39. (V.) Books that treat of the PASTORAL CARE, and PUBLIC SPEAKING. -And first, of the pastoral care. § 40. Of public speaking, in general. § 41. Of preaching, in particular. § 42. Books in which eloquence is eminently exemplified. § 43. (VI.) MISCELLA NEOUS boos. And first, evidences of revealed religion. § 44. Moral science. $45. Natural science. § 46. Civil history. $47. Poetry and music.
1. A LEARNED author very justly remarks, tha one great defect, in the conduct of study is the 'all choice of books; and yet perhaps is of all others the most common fault. Many persons read any thing they light upon, and to them the cheapest books are the most valuable. In most Sales the purchasers had much better give ten times the money they pay for books, to be without them; for, in addition to the price, the time spent in reading them, which is far more important, is all thrown away. Besides, to be too much engaged in reading or con ulting worthless books, tends to misguide the reader, to spoil is taste, and corrupt his language. It is the business of a student to peruse the best books, on every subject, and to employ himself on those only.
2. Many books, which, at the time of their first publication, were very proper to be read, because the most valuable of their kind, are now comparatively useless; for others have been since published on the same subjects, which are much superior with regard to the matter, method, and language; which correct their mistakes, supply their defects, and advance much farther towards perfection. Consequently, it is egregious trifling to spend time and pains upon the former, to the neglect of the latter.*
See CLARKE'S Essay on Study, page 115.