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BY GEO. L. CRAIK, M.A.
IN THREE VOLUMES.
CHARLES KNIGHT & CO., LUDGATE STREET.
HIS WRITINGS, AND HIS PHILOSOPHY.
BACON has himself said, that, although some books may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others, that should be only in the less important arguments and the meaner sort of books; "else," he adds, "distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things." This is in his essay entitled 'Of Studies; and undoubtedly the works of a great writer can only be properly studied in their original form.
But abridgements, compendiums, analyses, even of the works of the greatest writers, may still serve important purposes. If properly executed, even the student of the original works may find them of use both as guides and as remembrancers. A good compendium should be at least the best index and synopsis. The more extensive the original book, or books, the more is such a compendious analysis wanted, not to supersede or be a substitute for the original, but to accompany it as an introduction and instrument of ready reference. It is like a map of a country through which one has travelled, or is about to travel; or rather it is like what is called the keymap prefixed to a voluminous atlas, by which all the other maps are brought together into one view, and their consultation facilitated.
To the generality of readers, again, a comprehensive survey in small compass of an extensive and various mass of writings is calculated to be more than such a mere convenient table of contents or ground-plan. In the same Essay Bacon has said, "Some books are to be tasted,