« הקודםהמשך »
In short, most of the troubles which men meet with in the world may be traced up to this source, and resolved into felf-ignorance. We may complain of providence, and complain of men ; but the fault, if we examine it, will commonly be found to be our own. Our imprudence, which arises from felf-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 felf-ignorance or inconsideration betrayed us into ? And every evil that befals us in consequence of that, we are to charge upon ourselves.
things our les front. Our commoni, the
1 CHAP. III. Humility, the Effect of Self-Knowledge. III. “TRUE self-knowledge always
I “ produces humility.” Pride is ever the offspring of self-ignorance. The reason men are vain and selfsufficient 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
man but turn his eyes within, scrutinize himself, and study his own heart, and he will soon fee 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-sufficient, and assured, but because they have taken no time or pains to cultivate a felf-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 to
Humility is not more necessary to falvaa tion, than felf-knowledge is to humility t.
And especially would it prevent that. bad difpofition which is too apt to steal upon and infect some of the best human
* Qui bene feipfum cognofcit sibi ipfi vilefcit, nec laudibus dilectatur humanis. Tbo. à Kemp. de Imit. Chr. Lib. I. cap. 2.
f Quanto quis minus fe videt, tanto minus se disa plicet. Greg.
Scio neminem absque sui cognitione salvari, de qua nimirum mater falutis, humilitas oritur, et timot Domini. Bernard. Utraque cognitio Dei, fcilicet ec tui, tibi necessaria est ad salutem; quia ficut ex notis tiâ tui venit in te timor Dei, atque ex Dei notitiâ itim dem amor; fic è contra, ex ignorantia tui, superbia, ac de Dei ignorantia venit desperatio. Idem in Cantics
minds, especially those who aim at fingular 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 sophisticate our virtues, before we are aware ; and, in proportion to its prevalence, make the Chriftian temper degenerate into the Pharifaical.
“ Might I be allowed to choose my 66 own lot, I should think it much more “ eligible to want my fpiritual comforts, " than to abound in these at the expence “ of my humility. No; let a penitent “ and contrite spirit be always my por“. tion; and may I ever fo be the favour" ite of heaven, as never to forget that I “ am chief of finners. 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 I “ prefer charity which edifieth before the « highest intellectual perfections of that “ knowledge which puffeth up, 1 Cor. viii. “ 1.--Those spiritual advantages are cer“ tainly best for us, which increase our « modesty, and awaken our caution, and « dispose us to suspect and deny our;
« felves. The highest in God's esteem ~ are meaneit in their own; and their « excellency consists in the meekness and “ truth, not in the pomp and oftentation “ of piety, which affects to be seen and 6 admired of men *."
* Stanhope's Tho. à Kemp. Book 2. cb. II.
[CHRIST.] “ My son, when thou feelest thy soul “ warmed with devotion and holy zeal for my fer« vice, it will be advisable to dealine all those me“ thods of publishing it to the world which vain « men are fo industrious to take, and content thyself “ with its being known to God and thine own con“ science. Rather endeavour to moderate and sup« press those pompous expressions of it, in which “ some place the very perfection of zeal. Think 6 meanly of thy own virtues.--Some men, of a bold 166 ungoverned zeal, aspire at things beyond their “ strength, and express more vehemence than con• duct in their actions. They are perfectly carried o out of themselves with eagerness, forget that they « are still poor insects upon earth, and think of no" thing less than building their nest in heaven. Now “ these are often left to themselves; and taught, by « fad experience, that the faint flutterings of men « are weak and ineffectual, and that none soars to “ heaven, except I allift his flight, and mount him “ on my own wings.–Virtue does not consift in a“ bundance of illumination and knowledge ; but in “ lowliness of mind, in meekness, and charity; in a « mind entirely resigned to God, and sincerely dis“ posed to serve and please him ; in a just sense of a " man's own vileness; and not only thinking very “ meanly of one's self, but being well content to be 6 fo thought of by others. Idem. Book 3. chap. 8. " It is a dangerous drunkenness, I confess, that of
CHAP. IV. Charity, another Effect of Self-Knowledge. IV. « CELF-KNOWLEDGE great
W “ly promotes a spirit of meek. “ ness and charity.”
The more a man is acquainted with his own failings, the more is he disposed to make allowances for those of others. The knowledge he hath of himself will incline
" wine; but there is another more dangerous. How “ many souls do I see in the world drunk with var. « nity, and a high opinion of themselves? This “ drunkenness causes them to make a thousand false • steps, and a thousand stumbles. Their ways are “ all oblique and crooked. Like men in drink, they " have always a great opinion of their own wisdom, 1. their power, and their prudence; all which often “ fail them.--Examine well thyself, my soul; see if « thou art not tainted with this evil. Alas! if thou “ denieft it, thou provest it. It is great pride, to « think one has no pride ; for it is to think you are " as good, indeed, as you esteem yourself. But there “ is no man in the world but esteems himself better « than he truly is.
" Thou wilt say, it may be, thou hast a very i!! « opinion of thyself, but be affured, my soul, thou “ doft not despise thyself so much as thou art truly « despicable. If thou dost despise thyself indeed, thou 6 makeft a merit of that very thing; so that pride is 6 attached to this very contempt of thyself.” Juricu's Metbod of Devot. ch. 10. pag. 3.