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There is a great deal of truth and good sense 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 selfacquaintance teaches a man the right government of the thoughts (as is shown a
απολογε προς τα λεχθενα αλλ αποκρινε, οι εγνοει γαρ τα αλλα προσοντα μοι κακα, επει θκ αν ταυλα μανα ελεχεν. Epist. Encb. cup. 48.-If you are told that another reviles you, do not go about to vindicate yourself, but reply tbus : “ My other faults, I find, are bid from bim, elfe “ I foould bave heard of them too."
* Ταρασσει τις ανθρωπες, και τα πράγματα, αλλα τα σιρι των πραγμαίων δογματα. Ιd. εαρ. 10.-It is not things, but mens opinions of ibings, that difturb thenie
Μέμνησο οι εκ ο λοιδορων η τυπων υβριζει, αλλα το δογμα το σιρι τεων ως υβριζονίων. Ιd. caψ 27.-Rumcm ber, it is not be tbat reviles or afaul's you that injures you, but your thinking that they have injured y u Σε γαρ αλλος ο βλαψει, αν μη συ θελης: τοτε δε εση βαβλαμμενος, o αν υπολαβης βλασβεσθαι. 10. φιστ. 37.-Νο man can beirt you, unless you pieufe to let him; i ben online are you burt when you think yourself fo.
Τα πραμαλα εκ ααείαι της ψυχης, αλλ εγω εσηκεν ατρεμέντε αι δε οχλησεις εκ μονης της ενδεν υποληψηως, Marc. Anton. IvIud. Lib. 4. $ 3-Tbing's do not touch the mind, but fand quietly without; the vexation comes from with n, from our suspicions only Again, Ta, πράγματα αυτα ει οπωσιας ψυχης απτεται εδε εχει ει: ξεδον προς ψυχην εδε τρεψαι εδε κινησαι ψυκην δυναται" τρεπει δε και κινει αυτη εαυτην μονη. Ιd. Lii. 5. και 19.-.
Things themselver cannot affeet the mind; for they have mo entrance into it, to turn and move it. It is the mind alone 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 hure ry 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 wise 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 excelles of his natural temper.
(3.) It will keep the mind fedate and calm under the surprise of bad news, or
« and my life and comforts, are they not “ wholly at his dispose, from whom I “ have received them, and by whose fa. « voar 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 “ losses 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 « now recalled, that I ought not to say, “ it is loft, but restored; and though I be « injuriously deprived of it, still the hand o 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 poffefses, according to the direction of his Lord, at whose pleasure he holds them,
and • Epiel. Encbirid. cap. 15.
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-poffefsion under all the various scenes of adversity and prosperity.
Both have their temptations : To some, the temptations of prosperity are the greateft; to others, those of adversity. Selfknowledge shows 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 constancy and self-possession, or lead him to act unbecoming the man or the Christian.
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 they should. 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 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 self-poffeffion is one great effect and advantage of self-knowledge.
CHAP. II. Self-knowledge leads to a wife and steady
Conduct. II.“ AS felf-knowledge will keep a i n 6 man calm and equal in his « temper, so it will make him wife and « cautious in his conduct." · A precipitant and rash conduct is ever the effect of a confused and irregular hur. ry of the thoughts. So that when by the influence of felf-knowledge the thoughts become cool, fedate, and rational, the conduct will be fo too. It will give a man that even, steady, uniform behaviour in the management of his affairs, that is fo necessary for the dispatch of business, and prevent many disappointments and troubles, which arise from the unsuccessful execution of immature or ill-judged projects.