It is the theory of Locke, that the angels have all their knowledge spread out before them, as in a map,—all to be seen together at one glance.
THE CULTIVATION OF THE MIND
In continuation of my last letter, I shall proceed at once to the minor details of study, and suggest for your adoption such practices as others by experience have found conducive to improvement. Not that one person can lay down any rules for another that might in every particular be safely followed: we must, each for ourselves, experimentalize long and variously upon our own mind, before we can understand the mode of treatment best suited to it; and we may, perhaps, in the progress of such experiments, derive as much benefit from our mistakes themselves as if the object of our experiments had been at once attained. It is not, however, from wilful mistakes, or from deliberate ignorance, that we ever derive profit. Instead, therefore, of striking out entirely new plans for yourself, in which time and patience and even hope may be exhausted, I should advise you to listen for direction to the suggestions of those who by more than mere profession have frequented the road upon which you are anxious to make a rapid progress. In books you may find much that is useful; from the conversation of those who have been self-educated you may receive still greater assistance,—as the advice thus personally addressed must of course be more discriminating and special. For this latter reason, in all that I am now about to write, I keep in view the peculiar character and formation of your mind. I do not address the world in general, who would profit little by the course of education here recommended: I only write to my Unknown Friend.
In the first place, I should advise, as of primary importance, the laying down of a regular system of employment. Impose upon yourself the duty of getting through so much work every day; even, if possible, lay down a plan as to the particular period of the day in which each occupation is to be attended to; many otherwise wasted moments would be saved by having arranged beforehand that which is successively to engage the attention. The great advantage of such regularity is experienced in the acknowledged truth of Lord Chesterfield’s maxim: “He who has most business has most leisure.” When the multiplicity of affairs to be got through absolutely necessitates the arrangement of an appointed time for each, the same habits of regularity and of undilatoriness (if I may be allowed the expression) are insensibly carried into the lighter pursuits of life. There is another important reason for the self-imposition of those systematic habits which to men of business are a necessity; it is, however, one which you cannot at all appreciate until you have experienced its importance: I refer to the advantage of being, by a self-imposed