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Bishop Burnett on Education

All histories tell us, beside the evidence reason gives for the thing, what advantages youths have reaped from the wise educators, and the best and greatest Princes have been those whom philosophers bred.

The measures whereby governours should be chosen are these; first, he should be one that sincerely fears God; for, since that is the chief design of man, it should be first looked to; yet superstition in religion should be none of the qualifications I would desire in one, but one of generous, sublime, and rational maxims, should be chiefly fought for. Branches of these are virtue, candour, contempt of the world, humility, and meekness; for one that hath crooked notions or bad practices in any of these, must make a bad governour.

Wisdome and discretion is to be sought in the next place, without which even a good man will prove a bad governour. If he have not the wise arts of gaining the youth’s love, of tyming reproofs, of insinuating precepts, and of moderating his corrections.

A serene good nature is also a very necessary qualification for a governour; that by his moroseness he may not deterre teh youth from his company, but by his sweet behaviour may make him delight in conversation: yet with this there must be joined gravity, otherwise he shall quickly lose his authority; and indeed it is a rare compound to find a mixture of douceur and gravity. For the want of this did Marc Aurele turn off fyve of his son’s governours; because at table upon the occasion of some buffoonery they laughed so intemperately, that they stamped , clapped their hands and frisked with their bodies