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himself should never set up for an oculift. (3.) That they who are inclined to deal in cenfure should always begin at home. (4.) Great censoriousness is great hypocrisy ; which is nothing but the effect of woeful Selfignorance.
This common failing of the human nature the Heathens were very sensible of (n), and described it in the following manner. Every man, (say they) carries a wallet, or two bags with him ; the one hanging before him, and the other behind him; into that before, he puts the faults of others ; into that behind his own ; by which means he never sees his own failings, whilst he has those of others always before his eyes for public criticism (0). (n) — Egomet mî ignosco Mævius inquit ; Stultus et improbus hic amor eft, dignusque
3. Fit enim, nescio quomodo, ut magis in aliis cernamus quam in nobismet ipfis, fiquid delinquitur.
Cicero. (0) Sed præcedenti spectatur mantica tergo. Non videmus id manticæ quod in tergo eft.
Catul. Carm, 22. Noftram peram non videntes, aliorum (juxta Perfum) manticam consideramus. D. Hier, Ep.91.
Per. Sat. 4.
But Self-Knowledge now helps us to turn this wallet ; and to place that which hath our own faults, before our eyes, and that which hath in it thofe. of others, behind our back. A very neceffary regulation, if we would behold our own faults in a proper light. For we must not expect that others will be as blind to our foibles as we ourfelves are.
They will carry them before their eyes, whether we do or not. . And to imagine that the world takes no notice of them, because we do not, is just as wise, as to fancy that others do not see us, because we shut our eyes.
Moderation the Effeet of Self-Knowledge.
NOTHER genuine off-spring of
This indeed can hardly Me conceived to be separate from that of meekness and charity before mentioned; but I choose to mention it distinctly because I confider it under a different view and operation, viz. as that which guards and influences our fpirits in all matters of debate and controverly.
Moderation is a very important Christian Virtue, entirely different from that bad quaJity of the mind, under which it is often misreprefented and disguised, viz. Lukewarmness and indifference about the truth. The former is very consistent with a regular and well-corrected zeal, the latter consists in the total want of it; the former is sensible of, and endeavours with peace and prudence to maintain, the dignity and importance of Divine Doctrines, the latter hath no manner of concern about them; the one feels the secret influences of them, the other is quite a stranger to their power and efficacy; the one laments in secret the fad decay of vital Religion, the other is an instance of it. In fhort, the one proceeds from true knowledge, the other from great ignorance; the one is a good mark of fincerity, and the other a certain sign of hypocrisy. And to confound two things together, which are so essentially different, can be the effect of nothing but great ignorance, inconsideration, or an overheated, injudicious zeal.
A felf-knowing man can easily distinguish between these two: and the knowledge which he has of human nature in general, from a thorough contemplation of his own in particular, shews him the necessity of
preserving a medium (as in every thing else, so especially) between the two extremes of a bigotted zeal on the one hand, and indolent Lukewarmness on the other. As he will not look upon every thing to merit contending for, fo he will esteem nothing worth losing his temper for in the contention. Because tho' the truth be of ever so great importance, nothing can do a greater disservice to it, or make a man ‘more incapable of defending it, than intemperate heat and passion; whereby he injures and betrays the cause he is over-anxious to maintain. The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God*.
Self-Knowledge heals our animosities, and greatly cools our debates about matters of dark and doubtful speculation. One who knows himself sets too great a value upon his time and temper, to plunge rashly into those vain and fruitless controversies, in which one of them is sure to be loft, and the other is also in great danger ; especially when a man of perverse temper and bad principles is the opponent ; who aims rather to filence his adversity with over-bearing confidence, dark unmeaning language, authoritative airs, and hard words, than to convince him with
* James i. 20.
folid argument; and who plainly contends not for truth but victory. Little good can be done to the best cause in such circumftances. And a wise and moderate man, who knows human nature and knows himfelf, will rather give his antagonist the pleasure of an imaginary triumph, than engage in so unequal a combat.
An eagerness and zeal for dispute, on every subject, and with every one shows great self-sufficiency; that never-failing fign of great felf-ignorance. And true moderation, which creates an indifference to little things, and a wise and well-proportioned zeal for things of importance, can proceed from nothing but true knowledge, which has its foundation in Self-acquaintance.
CH A P. VI.
Self - Knowledge improves the Fudgment.
NOTHER great advantage of being
well acquainted with ourselves is, that it helps us to form a better
Judgment of other things.
Self-Knowledge does not inlarge or increase our natural capacities, but it guides and regulates them; leads us to the right use and application of them; and removes many