« הקודםהמשך »
and will 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, muft necessarily be ignorant what they hall be. A man that is all darkness within can have but a dark prospect forward *.
0! what would we not give for solid hope in death! Reader, wouldst thou have it, know God, and know thyself.
* Illi mors gravis incubat
Qui, notus nimis omnibus,
Sen. Tha. Thyes
FROM what hath been said under the I 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 humanı 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 beneficial to our interest in every state of
life, and abundantly recompense all our 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 show how plainly it appears to be the original spring of all the follies and incon. gruities we fee in the characters of men, and of most of the mortifications and miseries they meet with here. This would foon appear, by only mentioning the reverse of those advantages before specified, 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 excess of passions in the varying scenes of life? so rash and unguarded in our conduct ? so vain and felf-sufficient? fo cenforious and malignant ? so eager and confident ? so little useful in the world, to what we might be? so inconsistent with ourselves ? fo mistaken in our notions of true religion? fo generally indifpofed to, or unengaged in, the holy exercises of it? and, finally, so unfit for death, and so afraid of dying? I say, to what is all this owing, but felfignorance ? the first and fruitful fource of all this long train of evils. And, indeed,
there is scarce any, but what may be traced up to it. In short, it brutifies man, to be ignorant of himself. “ Man that is “ in honour, and understandeth not (him“ self especially), is as the beasts that pe“ rish," Psal. xlix. 20.
« Come home then, O my wandering, « self-neglecting soul, lose not thyself in “ a wilderness or tumult of impertinent, “ vain, distracting things. Thy work is is nearer thee : the country thou shouldst “ first survey and travel is within thee; « from which thou must pass to that a66 bove thee; when, by losing thyself in « this without thee, thou wilt find thy« self, before thou art aware, in that be" low thee. Let the eyes of fools be in o the corners of the earth; leave it to “ men beside themselves, to live as with« out themselves; do thou keep at home, 6c and mind thine own business ; survey « thyself, thine own make and nature, " and thou wilt find full employ for all " thy most active thoughts *. * But, dost
* Mirantur aliqui altitudines montium, ingentes fluctus maris, altiffimos lapsus fluminum, et oceani ambitum, et gyros fiderum, et relinquunt seipsos, nec mirantur, (faith St. Augustin). « Some men admire ** the heights of mountains, the huge waves of the
“ thou delight in the mysteries of nature? “ consider well the mystery of thy own. « The compendium of all thou studieft is “ near thee, even within thee; thyself “ being the epitome of the world *. If “ either neceflity or duty, nature or grace, “ reason or faith, internal inducements, « external impulses, or eternal motives, ~ might determine the subject of thy ftu« dy and contemplation, thou wouldst “ call home thy distracted thoughts, and
€ sea, the steep falls of rivers, the compass of the “ ocean, and the circuit of the stars, and pafs by " themselves without admiration.”
* Τις εν αξιως θαυμασειε την ευγενειαν τε] τεζων τε. συνδεοντος εν εαυ]ω τα θνηθα, τους αθαναίοις, και τα λογικα τοις αλογοις συναποντος, τα φεροντος εν τη καθ εαυ1ον φυσει της τασης κλισεως την εικονα, δια και μικρος κοσμος ειgrilas, T8 tor avins nãousys nagu to ©:8 w goroias ; do os σπανία και τα νυν, και τα μελλονία: δι ον ο Θεος ανθρωπος geyovs. Nem. de Nat. Hom. cap. I. pag. 34.~ Who can sufficiently admire the noble nature of that creature, Man, who hath in him the mortal and the im. mortal, the rational and irrational natures united, and so carries about with him the image of the whole creation; whence he is called microcom, or the little world; for whose fake (so highly is he honoured by God) all things are made, both present and future; nay, for whose fake God himself became man? So that it was not unjustly said by Gregory Nessene, that man was the macrocosm, and the world without the microcofin.