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and to whom he fhould 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-possession under all the various scenes of adversity and prosperity.
1 Both have their temptations: To some, the temptations of prosperity are the greatest; 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 say, No one knows what he can bear, till he is tried. And many persons verify the observation, by bearing evils much better than they seared 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 iffue of it, with him who is the sovereign disposer of all events, in a quiet dependence on his power, wisdom, and goodness.
Such self-possession is one great effect and advantage ot self-knowledge.
Self-knowledge leads to a wife and Jleady Condull.
II. " AS self-knowledge will keep a -^*- "man calm and equal in his'' temper, so it will make him wise and "cautious in his condutl"
A precipitant and rash conduct is ever the effect of a confused and irregular hurry of the thoughts. So that when by the influence of self-knowledge the thoughts become cool, sedate, and rational, the conduct will be so too. It will give a man that even, steady, uniform behaviour in the management of his affairs, that is so necessary for the dispatch of business, and prevent many disappointments and troubles, which arise from the unsuccessful execution of immature or ill-judged projects.
In short, most of the troubles which men meet with in the world may be traced up to this source, and resolved into self-ignorance. We may complain os providence, and complain ot men; but the . fault, if we examine it, will commonly be found to be our own. Our imprudence, which arises from self-ignorance, either brings our troubles upon us, or increases them. Want of temper and conduct will make any affliction double.
What a long train of difficulties do sometimes proceed from one wrong step in our conduct, which self-ignorance or inconsideration betrayed us into? And every evil that befals us in consequence of that, we are to charge upon ourselves.
Humility, the Efsetl of Self-Knowledge.
III. " np R U E self-knowledge always ,*, "produces humility." Pride is ever the offspring of self-ignorance. The Teason men are vain and selfsussicient is, because they do not know their own failings; and the reason they are not better acquainted with them is, because they hate self-inspection. Let a 4 man
man but turn his eyes within, scrutinize himself, and study his own heart, and he will soon see enough to make him humble. "Behold I am vile," (Job xl. 4.) is the language only of self-knowledge *.
Whence is it that young people are generally so vain, self-sussicient, and assured, but because they have taken no time or pains to cultivate a self-acquaintance? And why does pride and stiffness appear so often in advanced age, but because men grow old in "self-ignorance? A moderate degree of self-knowledge would cure an inordinate degree of self-complacency f.
Humility is not more necessary to salvation, than self-knowledge is to humility \.
And especially would it prevent that
bad disposition which is too apt to steal
Upon and insect some of the best human
* Qui bene seipsum cognoscit sib! ipsi vilefcit, nee laudibus dilectatur humanis. Tbo. i Kemp, de Lnit. CItr. Lib. I. cap. 2.
f Quanto quis minus fe videt, tanto minus se displicet. Greg.
\ Scio neminem absque sui cognitione falvari, de qua nimirum mater laiutis, humilitas oritur, et timor Domini. Bernard.—Utraque cognitio Dei, scilicet et tui, tibi necessaria est ad falutem; quia sicut ex noti-r til tui venit in te timor Dei, atque ex Dei notitij iti» dem amor; sic e contra, ex ignorantil tui, supetbia, ac dc Dei ignorant» venit defperatio. Hem in Cantie,
minds, especially those who aim at singular and exalted degrees of piety, viz. a religious vanity, or spiritual pride; which, without a great deal of self-knowledge and self,attention, will gradually insinuate into the heart, taint.the mind, and ibphisticate our virtues, before we are aware; and, in proportion to its prevalence, make the Christian temper degenerate into the Pharisaical.
"Might I be allowed to choose mv "own lot, I should think it much more "eligible to want my spiritual comforts, "than to abound in these at the expence "of my humility. No; let a penitent "and contrite spirit be always my por"Hon; and may I ever so be the favour"ite of heaven, as never to forget that I "am chief of smtiers. Knowledge in the "sublime and glorious mysteries of the "Christian faith, and ravishing contem"plations of God and a future state, are "most desirable advantages; but still % "preser charity which edifieth before the "highest intellectual persections of that "knowledge which puffeth up, 1 Cor. viii. "i-—Those spiritual advantages are cer"tainly best for us, which increase our "modesty, and awaken our caution, and
dispose tts to suspect and deny ourr