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8. “ Practice makes perfect.” 9. There is a great difference between practice and
precept. 10. Those who perform services to their country
should not go unrewarded. 11. History contributes to divest us of our prejudices. 12. Poverty raises up the arts. 13. Difference of opinion should not be considered an
evil. 14. Truth is said to lie in a well. 15. Apprehension often interferes with duty. 16. This plan was unsuccessful. 17. Praise should be given judiciously. 18. The whole campaign was a series of defeats. 19. John was the worst king that ever sat on the
English throne. 20. Few are wholly without ambition, 21. Self-indulgence produces irresolution and gene
ral weakness of character. 22. Some nations have been celebrated for their deli
cacy of taste. 23. A good critic looks at both sides of the question. 24. Every one should give something to the poor. 25. Ignorance and crime go hand in hand. 26. The selfish are never happy. 27. There is a difference between patience and
apathy. 28. It is difficult to say great things in few and simple
words. 29. We should never anticipate misfortunes. 30. Every station has its trials. 31. Clearness is the first quality of style.
EXAMINATION QUESTIONS ON PART III.
1. What is the difference between an assertion and an argu
ment ? 2. What propositions require no proof ? 3. Mention some of the sources of argument. 4. What is meant by arguing by enumeration ? 5. How may the principle of “ contrast” be used as a source of
argument ? 6. What is arguing by explanation ? 7. In what cases may the principle of “cause and effect” be
applied to support a statement ? 8. Explain the form of argument by experience. 9. How may history be used in illustration or in proof of
assertions ? 10. What other forms of argument may be occasionally ap
plied ? 11. For what purpose is analogy generally applied in reasoning ? 12. How is the form of interrogation applicable in support of
an opinion ?
SUBJECTS FOR COMPOSITION.
SUBJECTS for composition have various forms. Sometimes a single word may be chosen for this purpose, as Order, Education, Philosophy ; another form is where a general proposition is made a subject for writing, as, “ The study of art should not be neglected ;" or a proverb, as, “Fortune favours the brave.” A third is when we are desired to write “On the advantages of a college education," or "On the evils produced by bad example," &c.
In all these forms of composition, the writer should begin with some general introductory remarks, which will naturally lead to the subject, and prevent the ungraceful and abrupt effect that would be produced by plunging at once into the question proposed. A definition is not always necessary; but if the subject is to be treated in a special or particular sense, it is indispensable that we explain that meaning, in order to prevent any misapprehension on the part of the reader. This will appear especially necessary when we remember that many subjects may be treated in a great variety of ways. For example, Education is a word of wide acceptation, and might be made the subject of as many different themes or exercises as it has meanings :1. The process of strengthening the reasoning powers ; 2. The cultivation of the taste; 3. Moral training; 4. Bodily exercise, &c. Opinions to be given and maintained on these different meanings of the word would obviously be distinct from each other.
In writing a simple theme, our opinions should be merely general, and we should bear in mind that the whole object of the composition is to prove the truth of those opinions. The previous chapter on “Forms of Argument” will be of assistance in this part of the exercise; but it may be as well to mention that it is not necessary - if indeed possible — to apply all the forms of argument there explained to every subject ; and that in arranging the arguments, it is advisable that they rise in power as the writer proceeds, so that the strongest be reserved for the last. Thus, the accumulation of well-founded arguments, and their continual increase of power, will produce the desired effect of convincing the reader of the correctness of our views. When the arguments are thus arranged, the whole theme should be brought to a close by summing up,—that is, touching briefly upon some of the leading arguments already adduced.
The following theme on avarice will perhaps more fully illustrate these observations.
(Introduction. Of all subjects of thought, the human character is perhaps the most difficult and perplexing
to understand. It is made up of so many and such contradictory qualities, and these are intermingled so closely and in such different proportions, that it requires all the shrewdness and sagacity of the highest intellect to unravel these perplexities so as clearly to expose the whole character to view. Of
dispositions, it can scarcely be said that they are positively either good or bad,- the various feelings and passions of our nature being so blended, that it is difficult to determine whether the good or the evil preponderates.
(Definition.) But whenever we meet with a man devoted to the accumulation of money, and living for that sole purpose, (opinion) we unhesitatingly condemn such a disposition as unworthy a human being, and pernicious to general society. Now this is not a particular opinion ; it is one held by a very large majority of mankind, and from which few, if any, will be found to dissent.
How comes it that men seem universally — and, as it were, instinctively—to condemn this vice? By what internal feeling are they urged invariably to abhor the practices of the miser, and shun all intercourse with him ? (1st argument: the nature of things.) The cause seems to lie deeply rooted in the nature of humanity. We feel, without any direct
of soning, that such a man is wanting in all those emotions and affections we naturally look for in human beings. (2nd argument: effects on self.) He is not like ordinary men; he has no benevolence, no kindness, no charity, no sympathy. He takes no interest in his species, and is equally indifferent to strangers and his more immediate relations.