« הקודםהמשך »
be ? fo inconsistent with ourselves ? fo miltaken in our notions of true Religion ? so generally indisposed to, or unengaged in the holy duties of it? and finally, so unfit for death and so afraid of dying ?-I say, to what is all this owing, but Self-ignorance ? the first and fruitful source of all this long train of evils.--And indeed there is scarce any, but what may be traced up to it. In short, it embrutes man to be ignorant of himself. Man that is in honour, and underftandeth not, (himself especially) is as the beasts that perish +.
• Come home then, O my wandering, selfneglecting foul; lose not thyself in a wil• derness or tumult of impertinent, vain,
distracting things. Thy work is nearer 'thee ; the country thou shouldft first sur
vey and travel is within thee ; from which • thou must pass to that above; when,
by losing thyself in this without thee, • thou wilt find thyself, before thou art
aware, in that below thee.—Let the eyes • of fools be in the corners of the earth;
leave it to men beside themselves, to • live as without themselves; do thou keep s at home and mind thine own business. Survey thyself, thine own make and na
it ture * Pfal. xlix. 20.
• ture, and thou wilt find full employ for all
thy most active thoughts t. But doft thou • delight in the mysteries of nature ? Confider well the mystery of thine own.
The compendium of all thou studieft is near thee, even within thee ; thyself being the epitome of the world (b).-If necessity
or + Mirantur aliqui altitudines montium, ingentes fluctus maris, altiffimos lapsus fluminum, et occeani ambitum, et gyros fyderum, et relinquunt feipsos, nec mirantur; faith St. Augustin. Some men admire the heights of mountains, the huge waves of the sea, the steep falls of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuit of the stars, and pass by themselves without admiration.
(6) Τις 8 αξιως θαυμασεις την ευγενειαν τον 7* W* to ourd 90% dos en eaulw Te Ima toisalavaτους, και τα λογικά τους αλογοις συναπονες, τα φεροντος εν τη καθ εαυτον θυσει της πασης κλισεως την εικονα, δι α και μικρος κοσμος ειρήθαι, το τοσαυτης αξιομενε παρα τα Θεα προνοιας και δι ον σανία και τα νυν, και τα μελλονία: δι ον ο Θεος arpatos nyove. Nem. de Nat. Hom. cap. 1. pag. 34. Who can sufficiently admire the noble nature of that creature man, who hath in him the mortal and the immortal, the rational and irrational natures united, and so carries about with him the image of the whole Creation ; whence he is called Microcofm, or the little world; for whose fake (so highly is he honoured by God) all things are made both present and future; nay, for whose fake God himself became Man ?-So that it was not unjustly said by Gregory Neffene, that Man was. the Macrocofm, and the world without the Microcofm.
or duty, nature or grace, reason or faith, • internal inducements, external impulses or - eternal motives, might determine the
subject of thy study and contemplation, thou wouldft call home thy distracted thoughts and employ them more on thyself and thy God (C).
Let us then resolve, that henceforth the study of ourselves shall be the business of our lives. That, by the blessing of God, we may arrive at such a degree of SelfKnowledge, as may secure to us the excellent benefits before mentioned. To which purpose we should diligently attend to the rules proposed in the following Chapter.
Self-examination necessary to Self-Knowledge.
Knowledge is Self-inspection.
all, (c) Baxter's Mischief of Self-ignorance,
all, our own hearts are the greatest cheats ; and there are none we are so much in danger from as ourselves. We must first suspect, then examine, and watch ourselves if we really intend to know ourselves. How is it poflible there should be any Self-acquaintance, without Self-converse ? Were a
man to accuftom himself to fuch felf-employment, he need not live till thirty before he suspects himself a fool, or till forty before he knows it (d).
Men could never be so bad as they are, if they took proper care and scope in this business of self-examination (e). If they did but look backward to what they were, inward to what they are, and forward to what they shall be.
And as this is the first and most necessary step to self-acquaintance, it is not amiss to be a little more particular in it. Therefore,
(1.). This business of self-serutiny must be performed with great care and diligence. Otherwise our hearts will deceive us, even
whilft (d) See the Complaint or Night Thoughts, Part i.
(e) Hoc nos pessimos facit, quod nemo vitam suam respicit. Quid facturi fimus, cogitamus, et id raro : quid fecerimus, non cogitamus. Sen. Epift. 84.
whilst we are examining them.
6 When we set ourselves to think, some trifle or
other presently interrupts and draws us off ' from any profitable recollection. Nay
we ourselves fly out, and are glad to be • diverted from a severe examination into
our own state ; which is sure, if diligently pursued, to present us with objects of fhaine and forrow, which will wound
our sight, and foon make us weary of ' this necessary Work (f ).'
Let us not flatter ourselves that this is an eafy business : much pains and care are necessary sometimes to preserve the mind intent; and more to keep it impartial. The difficulty of it is the reason that so many are averse to it; and care not defcend into theinfelves (g).
Reader, try the experiment, retire now into thyself : and see if thou canst not ftrike out some light within, by closely urging such Questions as these — What am I? . For what was I made ? And to what end · have been preserved so long, by the favour " of my Maker? Do I remember, or forget those ends ? Have I answered or per
verted (f) Stanhope's Tho. à Kempis, pag. 166. (8) Ut nemo in sese tentat descendere ! Perf.