Memory has been defined to be a logical classification of facts. Few things are more important than a logical classification of facts. Without it man is a machine. With it, a master. The logical classification of facts has been made possible and practicable by the arrangement of nature.
A logical classification of facts develops the mind. It makes one think. It compares ideas naturally. A great writer says that thinking is comparing ideas logically. It does not gather knowledge in bits and scraps, in disconnected parts-but assigns each fact to its place in the great system of knowledge. A logical classification of facts renews the mind. It excites the intellect. It calls into play the healthful mental powers, and gives them exhilaration and stimulus to read the handwriting of God upon the rocks, to see God’s handiwork in the firmament, to extract and utilize the secrets of nature.
The logical classification of facts also makes our mental possessions permanent. Disconnected facts will not stay in the mind. They will take their exit. After the mastery of facts, we should see the relation, especially the resemblances between them, and group them into classes. The mind should inspect, unify and arrange ideas as they are presented.
We should classify facts as we read. When ideas come to the mind they should be inspected, arranged and unified. If we read two books, one with a classification of facts, the other without, we will find at the end of a year that one book will be fresh in memory and influential in life, and the other will be a phantom of the past.
Classification varies according to the object, whether it be in the dominion of mathematics, physics, ethics, or any of the sciences. It varies according to our previous knowledge and training. Dissimilar results follow even a journey through the wood. A savage sees in the visible footprint and the bent twig and turned leaf evidences of recent or remote passing of friend or foe. The ornithologist observes the movements, form and habits of the birds. The botanist notes the likeness, differences and characteristics of trees and plants. The poet hears golden-mouthed orators all about him, and reads sermons in stones. The devout man feels the presence of God, in solitude his companion and friend. Each one utilizes facts according to his mental and moral make-up and draws there from a conclusion.