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will a wise man, for his own peace, deal with the passions of others, as with his
Self-Knowledge, as it acquaints a man with his weakness and worst qualities, will be his guard against them : and a happy counterbalance to the faults and excesses of his natural temper.
(3.) It will keep the mind fedate and calm under the furprize of bad news, or afflitting providences.
For am I not a creature of God? • And
life and comforts, are they not wholly at his disposal, from whom I • received them; by whose favour I have . so long enjoyed them; and by whose mercy
and goodness I have still so many 6 left?
• A Heathen can teach me, under such o loffes of friends or estates, or any com
fort, to direct my eyes to the hand of é
God, by whom it was lent me, and is now recalled ; that I ought not to say, it is loft, but restored. And tho' I be injuriously deprived of it, still the hand of * God is to be acknowledged; for what $. is it to me, : by what means, he that
gave me that blessing, taketh it from me : again (h):
#e that rightly knows himself will live every day dependent on the Divine Author of his mercies, for the continuance and enjoyment of them; and will learn from a higher authority than that of a Heathen moralist, that he hath nothing he can properly call his own, or ought to depend upon as such : that he is but a steward employed to dispense the good things he pofsesses, according to the direction of his Lord, at whose pleasure he holds them; and to whom he should be ready at any time cheerfully to resign them, Luke xvi. 1.
(4.) Self-knowledge will help a man to preserve an equanimity and self-possession under all the various changes of adversity and prosperity.
Both have their temptations : to some the temptations of prosperity are the greatest; to others, those of adversity. Self-knowledge shews a man which of these are greatest to him; and, at the apprehension of them, teaches him to arm himself accordingly; that nothing may deprive him of his conftancy and self-possession, or lead him to act unbecoming the min or the Christian.
We (h) Epiftet. Enchirid. cap. 15.
We commonly fay, no one knows what he can bear, till he is tried ; and many persons verify the observation, by bearing evils much better than they feared. Nay, the apprehension of an approaching evil often gives a man a greater pain than the evil itself; this is owing to inexperience and self-ignorance.
A man that knows himself, his own strength and weakness, is not so subject as others, to the melancholy presages of the imagination ; and whenever they intrude, he makes no other use of them than to take the warning, collect himself, and prepare for the coming evil ; leaving the degree, duration and the issue of it with Him, who is the sovereign disposer of all events, in a quiet dependence on his Power, Wisdom and Goodness.
Such felf-possession is one great effect and advantage of Self-knowledge.
Self-Knowledge teads to a wise and steady
S Self- Knowledge will preserve a man
will make him wife and cautious in his conduct.
A precipitate conduct is always the effect of an irregular hurry of thought; whereas the conduct will become sedate and rational by the influence of Self-Knowledge. will give a man 'that steady and uniform behaviour in the management of his affairs, that is so necessary for the dispatch of business; and prevent many disappointments which arife from the unsuccessful execution of immature or ill-judged projects.
Most of the afflictions which men meet with in the world may be traced up to this fource, and resolved into Self-ignorance. We may complain of Providence and complain of men ; but the fault, if we examine it, will commonly be found to be our own; our imprudence, which arises from Selfignorance, either brings our troubles upon
us, or increases them.
Want of temper and conduct will make
affliction double. What a long train of difficulties do sometimes proceed from one wrong step in our conduct, into which self-ignorance or inconfideration betrayed us ? And every evil that befals us in consequence of that, we are to charge upon ourselves.
Humility the Effect of Self-Knowledge.
Men are vain and self-sufficient because they do not know their own failings ; and the reafon they are not better acquainted with them is, because they hate self-inspection. Let a man but turn his eyes within, scrutinize himself, and study his own heart, and he will soon fee enough to make him humble. Behold, I am vile *, is the language only of Self-knowledge (i).
Young. Fob xl. 4. (i) Qui bene feipfum cognofcit fibi ipfi vilefcit, nec laudibus dilectatur humanis, Tho, à Kemp de Imit, Chr, lib, i, cap. 2.