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him to be as severe in his animadversions on his own conduct as he is on that of others, and as candid to their faults as he is to his own *.
There is an uncommon beauty, force, and propriety, in that caution which our Saviour gives us, Mat. vii. 33–5. “ And “ why beholdest thou the mote that is in “ thy brother's eye, but considereit not “ the beam that is in thine own eye? Or “ how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let “ me pull out the mote out of thine eye, « and behold a beam is in thine own eye? « 'Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out " of thine own eye, and then shalt thou “ fee clearly to cast out the mote out of " thy brother's eye." In which words these four things are plainly intimated ; 1. That some are much more quick-lighted to discern the faults and blemishes of . others than their own; can fpy a mote in another's eye sooner than a beam in their own. , And commonly it is so; they who are most quick-fighted to the faults of o
N 3 * “ The great God seems to have given that com“ mandment (KNOW THYSELF) to those men more “ especially, who are apt to make remarks on other “ men's actions, and forget themselves." Plutarch's Mor. Vol. i. pag. 273.
thers, are most blind to their own. 2. That they are often the most forward and officious to correct and cure the foibles of others who are most unfit for it. The beam in their own eye makes them altogether unfit to pull out the mote from their brother's. A man half blind himself should never set up for an oculift. 3. That they who are inclined to deal in censure should always begin at home. 4. Great cenforiousness is great hypocrisy. Thou hy. pocrite, &c. all this is nothing but the effect of woeful self-ignorance.
This common failing of the human nature the heathens were very sensible of *, and represented it in the following manner. Every man (say they) carries a wallet, or two bags with him; the one hanging before him, the other behind him: in that before, he puts: the faults of others; into that behind, his own; by which means
-- Egomet mi ignosco, Mævius inquit; Stultus et improbus hic amor eft, dignusque notari, Cum tua pervid as oculis mala Lippus inunctis, Cur in amicorum vitiis tam cernis acutum Quam aut aquila, aut serpens Epidaurius ?
Hor. Sat. 3. Lib. 1. Fit enim, nescio quomodo, ut magis in aliis cernamus quam in nobismet ipsis, fi quid delinquitur. Cic. sere,
he never fees his own failings, whilst he has those of others always before his eyes*, " But self-knowledge now helps us to turn this wallet, and place that which hath our own faults before our eyes, and that which hath in it those of others behind our back. A very neceffary regulation this, if we would behold our own faults in the same light in which they do ; for we must not expect that others will be as blind to our foibles as we ourselves are; they will carry them before their eyes, whether we do or no. And to imagine that the world takes no notice of them, because we do not, is just as wise as to fancy that others do not see us, because we fhut our eyes.
· CHAP. V.
Moderation, the Effect of Self-Knowledge.
A u self-knowledge is moderation."
be * Sed præcedenti specatur mantica tergo.
Per. Sat. 4. Non videmus id manticæ quod in tergo est.
Catul. Carm. 20. Nostram peram non videntes, aliorum (juxta Perą Qum) nanticam consideramus. D. Hieron. Epift. 97.
be separate from that meekness and charity before-mentioned; but I choose to give it a distinct mention, because I consider it under a different view and operation, viz. as that which guards and influences our fpirits in all matters of debate and controversy.
Moderation is a great and important Christian virtue, very different from that bad quality of the mind under which it is often misrepresented and disguised, viz. lukewarmness and indifference about the truth. The former is very confistent with a regular and well-corrected zeal, the latter consists in the total want of it; the former is sensible of, and endeavours with peace and prudence to maintain the dignity and importance of divine doctrines, the latter hath no manner of concern about them; the one feels the secret influences of them, the other is quite a stranger to their power and efficacy; the one Jaments in secret the sad decay of vital religion, the other is an instance of it. In short, the one proceeds from true knowledge, the other from great ignorance; ihe one is a good mark of fincerity, the other a certain sigri of hypocrify. And to confound two things together, which are fo Tentially different, can be the effect of
nothing but great ignorance, or inconfideration, or an overheated, injudicious zeal.
A self-knowing man can easily distinguish between these two. And the knowledge which he has of human nature in general, from a thorough contemplation, of his own in particular, shows him the necessity of preserving a medium (as in every thing else, so especially) between the two extremes of a bigotted zeal on the one hand, and an indolent lukewarmness on the other. As he will not look upon every thing to be worth contending for, fo he will look upon nothing worth losing his temper for in the contention ; because, though the truth be of ever so great importance, nothing can be of a greater difservice to it, or make a man more incapable of defending it, than intemperate heat and passion, whereby he injures and betrays the cause he is over anxious to maintain. 56 The wrath of man worketh “ not the righteousness of God," James i. 20.
Self-krowledge heals our animosities, and greatly cools our debates about matters of dark and doubtful speculation. One who knows himself sets too great a value upon his time and temper, to plunge