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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary
Is defined by Mr. Locke to be the perception of the connexion and agreement, or disagreement and repugnancy of our ideas. It also denotes learning, or the improvement of our faculties by reading; experience, or the acquiring new ideas or truths, by seeing a variety of objects, and making observations upon them in our own minds. No man, says the admirable Dr. Watts, is obliged to learn and know every thing; this can neither be sought nor required, for it is utterly impossible: yet all persons are under some obligation to improve their own understanding, otherwise it will be a barren desert, or a forest overgrown with weeds and brambles. Universal ignorance, or infinite error, will overspread the mind which is utterly neglected and lies without any cultivation. The following rules, therefore, should be attended to for the improvement of knowledge.
1. Deeply possess your mind with the vast importance of a good judgment, and the rich and inestimable advantage of right reasoning
2. Consider the weaknesses, failings, and mistakes of human nature in general.â€”
3. Be not satisfied with a slight view of things, but to take a wide survey now and then of the vast and unlimited regions of learning, the variety of questions and difficulties belonging to every science.
4. Presume not too much upon a bright genius, a ready wit, and good parts; for this, without study, will never make a man of knowledge.â€”
5. Do not imagine that large and laborious reading, and a strong memory, can denominate you truly wise, without meditation and studious thought.â€”
6. Be not so weak as to imagine that a life of learning is a life of laziness.â€”
7. Let the hope of new discoveries, as well as the satisfaction and pleasure of known truths, nor take up suddenly with mere appearances.â€”
8. Once a day, especially in the early years of life and study, call yourselves to an account what new ideas you have gained.â€”
9. Maintain a constant watch, at all times, against a dogmatical spirit.â€”
10. Be humble and courageous enough to retract any mistake, and confess an error.â€”
11. Beware of a fanciful temper of mind, and a humorous conduct.â€”
12. Have a care of trifling with things important and momentous, or of sporting with things awful and sacred.â€”
13. Ever maintain a virtuous and pious frame of spirit.â€”
14. Watch against the pride of your own reason, and a vain conceit of your own intellectual powers, with the neglect of divine aid and blessing.â€”
15. Offer up, therefore, your daily requests to God, the Father of Lights, that he would bless all your attempts and labours in reading, study, and conversation.
Watts on the Mind, chap. i; Dr. John Edwards's Uncertainty, Deficiency, and Corruption of Human Knowledge; Reid's Intellectual Powers of Man; Stennett's Sermon on Acts 26:24-25 .
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Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Knowledge'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/cbd/k/knowledge.html. 1802.
the First Week of Advent