« הקודםהמשך »
Showing the great Excellency and Advan
tages of this kind of Science. HAVIN
AVING in the former part of the
subject laid open some of the main branches of self-knowledge, or pointed out the principal things which a man ought to be acquainted with, relating to himself, I am now (reader) to lay before you the excellency and usefulness of this kind of knowledge, (as an inducement to labour after it), by a detail of the several great advantages which attend it, and which thall be recounted in the following chapters.
Self-Knowledge the Spring of Self-Podelion. I.“ Oledge is, that it gives a man
NE great advantage of self-knowo the truest and most constant self-popel
A man that is endowed with this excel. lent knowledge is calm and easy.
(1.) Under affronts and defamation. For he thinks thus : “ I am sure I know my“ self better than any man can pretend to 46 know me.
This calumniator hath in“ deed at this time mifsed his mark, and « shot his arrows at random; and it is “ my comfort that my conscience acquits “ me of his angry imputation. However,
'there are worse crimes which he might « more justly accuse me of, which, though “ hid from him, are known to myself. « Let me set about reforming them, left, “ if they come to his notice, he should 66 attack me in a more defenceless part, “ find something to fasten his obloquy, “ and fix a lasting reproach upon my cha« raeter *.”
* Εαν τη σοι αταγγειλη, οι ο δεινα σε κακως λεγει, μη
There is a great deal of truth and good fense in that common saying and doctrine of the stoics, though they might carry it too far, that it is not things but thoughts that disturb and hurt us *. Now, as felfacquaintance teaches a man the right government of the thoughts (as is hown a
απολογε προς τα λεχθενα αλλ αποκρινε, οι εγνοει γας τα αλλα προσοντα μοι κακα, επει και αν ταυλα μανα ελεχε». Epict. Encb. cap. 48.-If you are told that unotber reviles you, do not go about to vindicate yourself, but reply thus :'“ My other faults, I find, are bid from bim, elfe I foould have heard of them too."
Ταρασσει τις ανθρώπες, και τα πραγματα, αλλα τα περι των πραγμαίων δογματα. Id. cap. 10.-It is not things, but mens opinions of things, that disturb theni,
Μιμνησο οι εκ ο λοιδορων η τυπιων υβριζει, αλλα το δογμα το σερι τεων ως υβριζονίων. Ιd. cup 27-Remember, it is not be that reviles or afaul's you that injures you, but your thinking that they huse injured yuΣε γαρ αλλος και βλαψει, αν μη συ θελης: τοτε δε εση βαβλαμμενος, «αν υπολαβης βλασεσθαι. 14. φωτ. 37.-Νο man can burt you, unless you pleufe to let him ; iben only are you burt when you think yourself fo.
Τα πραμαλα εκ απίείαι της ψυχής, αλλ εσω εσηκεν έτρεμεντε αι δε οχλησεις εκ μονης της ενδον υποληψηως. Marc. Anton. IvIed. Lib. 4. $ 3 --I bing's do not touch the mind, but fand quietly without; the vexation comes from with n, from our fufpicions only -Again, Ta, πράγματα αυτα εδ οπωσιας ψυχης απτεται: «δε εχει ειτεδον προς ψυχην εδε τρεψαι εδε κινησαι ψυκην δυναται τρεπει δε και κινει αυτη εαυτην μονη. Ιd. Lib. 5. και 19.-. Things themselver cannot affeet the mind; for they have #o entrance into it, to turn and move it. Ιι : 1Fς και clone that turns and moves itself.
bove, Part I. Chap. XIV.), it will help him to expel all anxious, tormenting, and fruitless thoughts, and retain the most quieting and useful ones, and so keep all easy within. Let a man but try the experiment, and he will find that a little resolution will make the greatest part of the difficulty vanish.
(2.) Self-knowledge will be a good ballast to the mind under any accidental hurry or disorder of the passions. It curbs their impetuosity, puts the reins into the hands of reason, quells the rising storm, ere it make shipwreck of the conscience, and teaches a man to “ leave off contention “ before it be meddled with,” Prov. xvii. 14. it being much safer to keep the lion chained, than to encounter it in its full strength and fury. And thus will a wife man, for his own peace, deal with the pailions of others as well as his own.
Self-knowledge, as it acquaints a man with his weaknesses and worst qualities, will be his guard against them, and a happy counterbalance to the faults and excefles of his natural temper.
(3.) It will keep the mind fedate and calm under the surprise of bad news, or afflicting providences. « For am I not a creature of God?
“ and my life and comforts, are they not “ wholly at his difpofe, from whom I “ have received them, and by whose fa. « vour I have so long enjoyed them, and “ by whose mercy and goodness I have " still so many left me?
“ A heathen can teach me, under such « lofses of friends, or estate, or any com“ fort, to direct my eyes to the hand of “ God, by whom it was lent me, and is ós now recalled, that I ought not to say, “ it is loft, but restored; and though 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 takes it from me “ again * ?"
He 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 that 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 poffesses, according to the direction of his Lord, at whose pleasure he holds them,
• Epiel. Enchirid. cap. 15.