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one who hath made it the study of his lise to be acquainted with himself, is soon disposed to enter into a free and familiar converse with his own heart; and in such a self-conserence improves more in true wisdom, and acquires more useful and substantial knowledge, than he could do from the most polite and resined conversation in the world.—Of such excellent use is self-knowledge in all the duties of devotion and piety.
Self-Knowledge, the best Preparation for
XII. " OELF KNOWLEDGE will be
* Ilia quoque res morti nos alienat, tjuod hæc jaa
"Distrust and darkness of a future state, "Is that which makes mankind to dread
"their fate: *' Dying is nothing; but 'tis this we sear, "To be we know not what, we know net '""where."
Now, self-kno\vledge 111 a good degree removes this uncertainty: for as the word of God hath revealed the certainty of a future state of happiness, which good men shall enter upon after death, and plainly described the requisite qualisications for it; when a good man, by a long and laborious self-acquaintance, comes distinctly to discern those qualisications in himself, his hopes of heaven soon raise him above the sears of death; and though he may not be able to form any clear or distinct conception of the nature of that happiness, yet in general he is assured that it will be a most exquisite and satisfying one, P 3 and
novimus, ilia ad quæ transituri sumus, nescimus qualia sint. Et horremus ignota. Naturalis præterea tencbrarum metus est, in quas adductura mors crediftur. Sen. Epijt. 83.—" It is this makes us averse to "death, that it translates us to things we are unac"quainted with; and we tremble at the thought of "those things that are unknown to us. We are na"turally afraid of being in the dark; and death is a "Jean ill the dark."
ancLwill contain in it every thing necessary to make it complete, because it will come immediately from God himself. Whereas, they who are ignorant what they are, must necessarily be ignorant what they Jhallbe. A man that is all darkness within can have but a dark prospect forward *. O! what would we not give for solid hope in death ! Reader, wouldst thou have it, know God, and know thystlf.
* Mi mors gravis incubac
"Who, expos'd to others eyes,
Showing how Self-Knowledge is to be
TpROM what hath been said under th« ,■, two former parts of the subject, selfknowledge appears to be in itself so excellent, and its effects so extensively useful and conducive to the happiness of human kind, that nothing need further be added by way of motive or inducement to excite us to make it the great object of our study and pursuit. If we regard our present peace, satisfaction, and usefulness, or our future and everlasting interests, we shall ; certainly value and prosecute this knowledge above all others, as what will be most ornamental to our characters, and benesicial to Qui interest in every state of life, and abundantly recompense all jour labour. .
Were there need of any further motives to excite us to this, I might lay open the many dreadful effects of self-ignorance, and (how how plainly it appears to be the original spring of all the follies and incongruities we see in the characters of men, and of most of the mortisications and miseries they meet with here. This would soon appear, by only mentioning the reverse of those advantages before specisied, which naturally attend self-knowledge: for what is it, but a want of self-knowledge and self-government, that makes us so unsettled and volatile in our dispositions? so subject to transport and excese of passions in the varying scenes of lise? so rash and unguaYded in our conduct? so vain and self-sussicient? so censorious and malignant? so eager and consident? so little useful in the world, to what we might be? so inconsistent with ourselves? so mistaken in our notions of true religion? so generally indisposed to, or unengaged in, the holy exercises of it? and, sinally, so unsit for death, and so afraid of dying? I fay, to what is all this owing, but self'-wrance? the sirst and fruitsul source of his long train of evils. And, indeed,