John StoughtonAim at the attainment of clear and accurate habits of thought. A man may think a great deal, and not think clearly; and it is quite possible to mistake muddiness for depth. There are men who appear very thoughtful; but there seems to be neither beginning, nor middle, nor end to what they say. All is a confused jumble. Writing carefully is a good plan for acquiring habits of clear and concerted thought, since a man is more likely to detect the disorder of his thoughts in writing than in talking.

Aim at independence of thought. There are some men who go in leading-strings all their days. They always follow in the path of others, with no good reason for their own opinions. Independence of mind is not presumptuous self-confidence, which is the associate of ignorance; but it is a modest yet firm exercise of judgment upon subjects which the mind understands, — the opposite of that slavish habit which makes one man the mere shadow of another.

Acquire habits of observation. We live in a world of wonders. A thousand objects appeal to a proper use of our eyes and our ears. Books teach much; but that practical knowledge, so useful in the progress of life, that tact in business, so desirable, can only be gained by observation. As a mode of study, it is the cheapest and most convenient of all. Its handmaid is curiosity; and we should never let false pride, lest we should display ignorance, prevent us from asking a question, when it can be answered. The learned John Locke, on being asked how he had contrived to accumulate a mine of knowledge so rich, deep, and extensive, answered that “he attributed what little he knew to the not being ashamed to ask for information, and to the rule he laid down of conversing with all descriptions of men on those topics chiefly that formed their own professions and pursuits.”

Cultivate humility. It is the attribute of great and noble minds. Sir Isaac Newton spoke of himself, at the close of life, as ” a child who had spent his time in gathering pebbles on the shore, while the ocean remained untraversed;” and Mozart, the great musician, just before he died, said, “Now I begin to see what might be done in music.” These ascended to a high elevation on the mountain of knowledge; but this gave them a better idea of the loftiness of the summit. The more we know, the more we shall be convinced of our own ignorance. This is trite enough; but if the great apostles of science and philosophy confessed they knew so little, what ground of boasting can there be for the tyro in their schools? Humility — so beautiful and becoming, so allied to true intellectual greatness — is of itself favorable to mental improvement. It opens the mind to receive instruction with docility, and makes one willing to be taught and corrected. Cultivate humility!

John Stoughton (18 November 1807 – 24 October 1897) was an English Nonconformist minister and historian

See also:
Divine Heredity
Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education
The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster
Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
Non Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of Jesus Christ by Johannes von Müller 1832
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of America from the Ancient Authors Part 1
POLITICAL CONSTITUTIONS by Johannes Von Muller (1832)
The Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster Published 1834 Part 1
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English)
The Doctrine of Fascism, Fascism Defined by Benito Mussolini
The Failure of Marxism and Socialism
Obama’s Nazi Youth Campaign Slogan “Forward”

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