Origin of the work:
(1652 Sárospatak), without date or place of publication, in: Primitiae laborum scholasticorum
1657 Amsterdam, in: Latinitatis schola triclassis
1657 Amsterdam, Opera didactica omnia III
1894 Prague, in the collection: Řeči potocké, Czech translation by F. J. Zoubek & J. V. Novák
1957 Prague, Opera didactica omnia III, (phototype edition)
1960 Prague, Vybrané spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. II, Czech translation by J. Kopecký
1970 Prague, parallel translations of the Latin text into Czech, Slovak, Russian, Polish, Hungarian and German
1992 Prague, J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 15/III
This is one of the speeches given by Comenius when after months of being in residence at Sárospatak he could see little success in his work at the school. He gives three reasons for the situation: 1. there is a lack of suitable books; 2. where the books exist, few have access to them, and 3. the teachers do not have an appropriate method. He sees the remedy as lying in three things: 1. candidates for education should value books above gold and precious stones; 2. they should choose from them things useful for their own education, and 3. they should use them properly.
In later parts of the speech, Comenius provides very specific advice on how to study, the benefits that follow from this, and in what manner useful books are to be obtained. A major help lies on the foundation of a well-stocked school library, and in the diligent and carefully thought-out use thereof. Books, however, can also be a suitable instrument for extra-mural study (among the self-taught). Comenius included this speech, together with the preceding Oration on the Cultivation of the Soul (the De cultura ingeniorum) and the somewhat later Latin School Divided into Three Classes (the Schola Latina) in the collected First Fruits of Labour at the Enlightened Sárospatak Gymnasium (the Primitiae laborum).
For further study, see also:
J. V. Novák & J. Hendrich, Jan Amos Komenský, jeho život a spisy. Prague 1932, p452
Vybrané spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. II. Prague l960, pp479-480
J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 15/III. Prague 1992, pp335-339
Jan Kumpera, Jan Amos Komenský, poutník na rozhraní věků. Prague & Ostrava 1992, pp289-290