« הקודםהמשך »
(1.) We must keep a vigilant eye upon our hearts, i. e. our tempers, inclinations, and passions. A more necessary piece of advice we cannot practise in order to selfacquaintance, than that which Solomon gives us, Prov. iv. 23. Keep your heart with all diligence, or, as it is in the original, above all keeping *.q. d. Whatever you neglect or overlook, be sure you mind your heart t. Narrowly observe all its inclinations and aversions, all its motions and affections, together with the several objects and occasions which excite them. And this precept is enforced with two very urgent reasons in fcripture. The first is, because out of it are the issues of life. ie. As our heart is, so will the tenor of our life and conduct be. As is the fountain, so are the streams; as is the root, so is the fruit, Matth. vii. 18. And the other is, because it is deceitful above all things, Jer. xvii. 9. And therefore without a constant guard upon it, we shall insensibly run into many hurtful self-decep
+ Parallel to this advice of the royal preacher is that of the imperial philojopher, Evdor Baers gvdov yapan anyn te ayude. Look zoithin; for within is the fountain of all good. M. Aurel. lib. 7. $ 59.
tions. To which I may add, that without this careful keeping of the heart, we shall never be able to acquire any considerable degree of self-acquaintance or self-government. .
(2.) To know ourselves, we must watch our life and conduct as well as our hearts. And by this the heart will be better known; as the root is best known by the fruit. We must attend to the nature and consequences of every action we are disposed or soļicited to, before we comply; and consider how it will appear in an impartial review. We are apt enough to observe and watch the conduct of others; a wise man will be as critical and as severe upon his own; For indeed we have a great deal more to do with our own conduct than other mens; as we are to answer for our own, but not for theirs. By observing the conduct of other men, we know them; by carefully observing our own, we must know our. Felves,
of others concerning us, particularly of our
Enemies. III. “ W OULD we know ourselves, we
W « should not altogether ne“ glect the opinion which others have of « us, or the things they may say of us.”
Not that we need be very folicitous about the censure or applause of the world, which is generally very rash and wrong, according to the particular humours and prepoffefsions of men; and a man that knows himself will soon know how to despise them both. “ The judgment which « the world makes of us, is generally of « no manner of use to us; it adds noc thing to our souls or bodies, nor lessens « any of our miseries. Let us constant“ ly follow reason, (says Montaigne), and « let the public approbation follow us the “ same way if it pleases."
But still,' I say, a total indifference in this matter is unwise, We ought not to be entirely insensible to the reports of others; no, not to the railings of an enemy: for an enemy may fay fomething out of .
ill-will to us, which it may concern us to think of coolly when we are by ourselves; to examine whether the accusation be just, and what there is in our conduct and temper which may make it appear so. And by this means our enemy may do us more good than he intended, and be an occasion of discovering something of our hearts to us which we did not know before. A man that hath no enemies ought to have very faithful friends; and one who hath no such friends, ought to think it no calamity that he hath enemies to be his effectual monitors.--"Our friends (fays Mr. • Addison) very often flatter us as much 66 as our own hearts. They either do not “ see our faults, or conceal them from us; « or soften them by their representations, 6 after such a manner that we think them « too trivial to be taken notice of. An ad“ versary, on the contrary, makes a strict, « er search into us, disoovers every flaw $ and imperfection in our tempers; and S though his malice may set them in too “ strong a light, it has generally fome s ground for what it advances. A friend « exaggerates a man's virtues ;, an enemy “ inflames his crimes. A wise man should $6 give a just attention to both of them, so far as it may tend to the improve
* ment « ment of the one, and the diminution of « the other. Plutarch has written an ef« fay on the benefits which a man may & receive from his enemies; and, among “ the good fruits of enmity, mentions « this in particular, that by the reproaches « it casts upon us, we see the worst side " of ourselves, and open our eyes to fe« veral blemishes and defects in our lives « and conversations, which we should not “ have observed without the help of such « ill-natured monitors.
« In order likewise to come at a true, « knowledge of ourselves, we should con« fider, on the other hand, how far we “ may deserve the praises and approba« tions which the world bestow upon us; " whether the actions they celebrate pro« ceed from laudable and worthy motives, « and how far we are really poffefsed of « the virtues which gain us applause a« mongst those with whom we converse. « Such a reflection is absolutely necese « fary, if we consider how apt we are ci« ther to value or condemn ourselves by “ the opinions of others, and to sacrifice « the report of our own hearts to the - judgment of the world *.”
Speftat. Vol. vi, No. 399.