« PreviousContinue »
§ 1. Introduction. The ill choice of books a great defect in tlie conduct of study. § 2. Many books are continually superseded by others more perfect. § 2. A remedy proposed. (1) PrepaRatory 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 tbe scriptures. § 9. Good editions of the Bible, especially in the originals. Polyglotts. § 10. The Old Testament, Hebrew. § It. The Greek Sepfliagint. $ 12. The New Testament, Greek. § 13. English Bible. § 14. Other mode: n versions. § 15. Books immediately preparatory for understanding the scripiures. §16, Hebrew lexicons and concordances. §lT.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. (HI.) Theological works, both systematic and miscellaneous. And first, public confessions and catechisms. $ 25. Latin systems of divinity. § 26. Also English. § "7. English practical writers.—Puritans. §28. Nonconformists. §29. Episcopalians. § 30. Scotch. § 31. Americans. § 32. Sermons that excel, as models of composition. § 33. (iv.)ecclesiashcal History, including biography, chronology, rites, and antiquities.—And first, of the Old Testament cburch. § 34. Histories of the christian church. § 35. of some parts of the christian history. $3G. Biography. § 57. Chronology, $ 38. Antiquities. $ 39. (V.) Books that treat of the Pastoral Care, and Public Speak Inc. —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.) MiscellaNeous books. And first, evidences of revealed religion. 5 44. Moral science. § 45. Natural science. § 46. Civil history. § 47. Poetry and music.
$ 1. A. LEARNED author very justly remarks, that
one great defect, in the conduct of study is the',ill 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 orconsultingworthless books, tends to misguide the reader, to spoil his 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.
$ 3, (I.) To remedy in some degree, this too common evil, procure the best Preparatory books, that give a particular account of authors, and their publications. These are principally either Catalogues, or Bibliotheeas.
§ 4. One of the first inquiries of an economical student, when a book is well recommended to him, is, What is the price of it? And as he may be so situated, that he can have no other information than from books, the best step he can take is to procure such Catalogues or Lists of books as contain the prices of them. Of this nature is,
Bent's London Catalogue of books, with their sizes, and prices, thin 8vo. Of this no doubt, there will be successive editions, with improvements. It contains only the firincipal books published in London, from the beginning of the 18th century.
Other catalogues, which are often circulated by town and country booksellers, sometimes contain books which cannot be had in the more common mode of application; and, by comparing them together, the usual price of most books may be soon learnt, making due allowance for the binding, and especially the Edition. This last is a circumstance which deserves peculiar attention. The General Index to the Monthly Review, 8vo. Lond. 1786, and 1799, exhibits the state of English literature for about forty years; that is, from 1749, when the review commenced, to 1790: and one part of the work contains the title of every publication reviewed in that period, with the price under the different classes of literature. This also, no doubt, will be continued. Habwood's View of the different editions of the Classics, 12mo. Lond. 1778, contains also an account of the best editions of the Septuagint, Creek Testament, and Christian Fathers, hoth Greek and Latin, with occasional remarks, and references to the prices. Dr. Adam Clarke's Bibliographical Dictionary contains "a chronological account, alphabetically arranged, of the most curious, scarce, useful, and important books in all departments of literature, which have been published in Latin, Greek, Coptic, Hebrew, Samaritan,
Syriac, Chaldee, jEthiopic, Arabic, Persian, Armenianfie, from the infancy of printing to the beginning of the
. nineteenth century: With biographical anecdotes of authors, printers, and publishers; and a distinct notation of the Editiones principes et optima;. 6 vols, small 8vo,
This extensive compilation contains also the price of each article (where it could be ascertained) from the best London catalogues, and public sales of the most valuable libraries, both at home and abroad. It includes the whole of the 4th Ed. of Dr Harwood's View of the classics, with innumerable additions and amendments.
The Bibliographical Miscellany is a supplement to the above noticed work in 2 vols, small 8vo. It contains, principally, An account of the English Translation of all the Greek and Roman Classics, and ecclesiastical writers— a List of Arabic and Persian Grammars, Lexicons, Ecc. —A Treatise on the knowledge and love of Books—and several bibliographical Systems.
Tn point of tasty appearance, as well as real utility, this work might be greatly improved in a f uture edition. One circumstance must strike most readers, that it would be ii great improvement for the Name of each author to be ])laced prominently in the middle of the page, immediate-' ly preceding the list of his works, as in the articles Homer and Cicero.
§ 5. For an extensive acquaintance with books,especially when a taste for what is useful and solid is in a good degree formed, and the judgment is not liable to be unduly influenced ?by specious titles, Bibliothecas may be consulted with great advantage. And it will naturally occur, that when a sentiment or character of a work is given, the connections and opinions, as well as the taste of the party, should be taken into the account. In this class of Bibliothecas the following- will be useful, and most of them are easily procured: Cavei Scrifitorum JScclesiasticorum Historia Literaria, 2 vols. fol. Oxon. 1740, is a work of great value. To a sketch of the lives of literary characters in every age, •rom the birth of Christ to Martin Luther, is added a list of publications, both genuine and spurious, attributed to them.
Cavei Chartofihylax Ecclesiaslicus, 8vo. Lond. 1685, is an abridgment of the former work.