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vert the true end of knowledge; to ruin a man's own happiness, and make him more injurious to fociety. Such is the knowledge of vice, the various temptations to it, and the secret ways of practising it; especially the arts of dissimulation, fraud, and dishonesty. 2. Others will be found unprofitable and useless; as those parts of knowledge, which, though they may take up much time and pains to acquire, yet answer no valuable. purpoie; and serve only for amusement, and the entertainment of the imagination : For instance, an acquaintance with plays, novels, games, and modes, in which a man may be very critical and expert, and yet not a whit the wiser or more useful man. 3. Other kinds of knowledge are good only relatively, or conditionally, and may be more useful to one than another; viz. a skill in a man's particular occupation or calling, on which his credit, livelihood, or usefulness in the world depends. And as this kind of knowledge is valuable in proportion to its end, so it ought to be cultivated with a diligence and esteem answerable to that. Lastly, Other kinds of knowledge are good absolutely and universally; viz. the knowledge of God and ourselves, the nature of our final happiness, and the
way to it. This is equally neceffary to all. And how thankful should we be, that we, who live under the light of the gospel, and enjoy that light in its perfection and purity, have so many happy meanis and opportunities of attaining this most useful and neceffary kind of knowledge!
A man can never understand himself then, till he makes a right estimate of his knowledge ; till he examines what kind of knowledge he values himself moft upon, and most diligently cultivates ; how high a value he fets upon it; what good it does him ; what effect it hath upon him; what he is the better for it; what end it answers now; or what is like to answer hereafter.
There is nothing in which a man's selfignorance discovers itself more, than in the esteem he hath for his understanding, or for himself on account of it. It is a trite and true observation, « That empty " things make the most found.” Men of the least knowledge are most apt to make a show of it, and to value themselves upon ; which is very visible in forward confident youth, raw conceited acadamics, and those who, uneducated in youth, betake themselves in later life to reading, without taste of judgment, only as an accomplishment, and to maké a show of
scholarship; who have just learning en nough to spoil company, and render themfelves ridiculous, but not enough to make either themselves or others at all the wiser.
But beside the forementioned kinds of knowledge, there is another which is commonly called false knowledge; which, though it often imposes upon men under the show and semblance of true knowledge, is really worse than ignorance. Some men have learned a great many things, and have taken a great deal of pains to learn them, and stand very high in their own opinion on account of them, which yet they must unlearn before they are truly wise. They have been at a vast expence of time, and pains, and patience, to heap together, and to confirm themselves in a set of wrong notions, which they lay up in their minds as a fund of valuable knowledge; which, if they try by the forementioned rules, yiz. " The tendency they have to make 56 them wiser and better, or more useful “ and beneficial to others,” will be found to be worth just nothing at all
Beware of this false knowledge; for as there is nothing of which men are more obstinately tenacious, so there is nothing that renders them more vain or more a
verse to felf-knowledge. Of all things, men are most fond of their wrong notions.
The apostle Paul often speaks of these men, and their self-sufficiency, in very poignant terms; who,“ though they feeni or wise, yet (says he) must become fools « before they are wise," 1 Cor. iii. 18. Though they think they know a great deal, “ know nothing yet as they ought 56 to know,” i Cor. viii. 2. But " deceive “ themselves, by thinking themselves fome“ thing when they are nothing,” Gal. vi. 3. And whilst they " defire to be teachis ers of others, understand not what they “ say, nor whereof they affirm," i Tim. i. 7. And “ want themselves to be taught “ what are the first rudiments and prin“ ciples of wisdom," Heb. v. 12.
CHAP. XIV. Concerning the Knowledge, Guarul, and Go
vernment of our Thoughts. XIII. " A NÓTHËR part of fell-know
“ledge consists in a due aca quaintance with our own thoughts, and 6 the inward workings of the imagina66 tion."
The right government of the thoughts requires no small art, vigilance, and resoJution ; but it is a matter of such vast importance to the peace and improvement of the mind, that it is worth while to be at fome pains about it. A man that hath fo numerous and turbulent à family to govern as his own thoughts, which are fo apt to be under the influence and command of his pafhons and appetites, ought not to be long from home : If he is, they will foon grow mutinous and disorderly under the conduct of those two headftrong guides, and taife great clamours and disturbances, and sometimes on the slightest occasions; and a more dreadful fcene of misery can hardly be imagined, than that which is occafioned by such a tumult and uproar within, when a raging conscience or infamed passions are let loose without check or controul. A city in flames, or the mutiny of a drunken crew aboard, who have murdered the capfain, and are butchering one another, are but faint emblems of it. The torment of the mind, under such an insurrection and merciless ravage of the passions, is not easy to be conceived. The most revengeful män cannot wish his enemy a greater. Of what vast importance then is it for