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it be at the expence of his judgment, and to the mortification of his vanity;
?"'3 be sensible of our false Knowledge, a goad Step to Self Knowledge.
VI. "TTTOULD you know yourself, '* "take heed and guard a"gainst false knowledge."
See that the light that is within you be not darkness; that your favourite and leading principles be right. Search your furniture, and see what you have to unlearn. For oftentimes there is as much wisdom in casting off some knowledge whiph we have, as in acquiring that which we have not; which perhaps was what made Themistocles reply, when one offered to teach him the art of memory, that he had much rather he would teach him the art of forgetfulness.
A scholar that hath been all his life collecting of books, will sind in his library at last a great deal of rubbifh; and as his taste alters, and his judgment improves, he will throw out a great many as trasli and lumber, which, it may be, he once valued and paid dear for, and replace
them with such as are more solid and useful. Just so should we deal with our understandings; look over the furniture of the mind; separate the chaff from the wheat, which are generally received into it together; and take as much pains to forget what we ought not to have learned, as to retain what we ought not to forget. To read froth and trifles all our life, is the way always to retain a flashy and juvenile turn; and only to contemplate our sirst (which is generally our worst) knowledge, cramps the progress of the understanding, and is a great hinderance to a true self-knowledge. In short, would we improve the understanding to the va- luable purposes of self-knowledge, we must take as much care what books we read, as what company we keep.
"The pains we take in books or arts, "which treat of things remote from the "use of lise, is a busy idleness. If I stu"dy (fays Montaigne) it is for no other "science than what treats of the know"ledge of myself, and instructs me how "to live and die well *."
It is a comfortless speculation, and a plain proof of the impersection of the human man understanding, that, upon a narrow scrutiny into our furniture, we observe a great many things which we think we know, but do not; and a great manythings which we do know, but ought not. That of the knowledge which we have been all our lives collecting, a good deal of it is mere ignorance, and a good deal of it worse than ignorance. To be sensible of which is a very necessary step to self-acquaintance *.
* Rule of Life, $ag. 8s, 90.
Self-InspeEiion peculiarly necessary upon somt particular Occasions.
VII. " YT70ULD you know yourself, *" "you must very carefully 4< attend to the frame and emotions of "your mind under some particular inci"dents and occasions."
Some sudden accidents which befal you when the mind is most off its guard, will better discover its secret turn and prevailing disposition, than much greater events you are prepared for. e. g.
(i.) Consider how you behave under
* Sea Part i, chap. xii). Jm.
any sudden affronts or provocations from men. "A fool's wrath is presently "known," Prov. xii. 16. ;'. e. a fool is presently known by his wrath.
If your anger be soon kindled, it is a sign that secret pride lies lurking in the heart, which, like gunpowder, takes sire at every spark of provocation that lights upon it. For whatever may be owing to a natural temper, it is certain that pride is the chief cause of frequent and wrathful resentments: For pride and anger are as nearly allied as humility and meekness. "Only by pride cometh contention," Prov. xiii. 10. And a man would not know what mud lay at the bottom of his heart, if provocation did not stir it up.
Athenodorus the philosopher, by reason of hi3 old age, begged leave to retire from the court of Augustus, which the emperor granted him; and as Athenodorus was taking his leave of him, " Remember, "(said he) Cæsar, whenever you are '" angry, you say or do nothing, before "you have repeated the four-and-twenty "letters of the alphabet to yourself." Whereupon Cæsar catching him by the hand, J have need (says he) of your presence 3 " JlHh
jlill; and kept him ,a year, longer *. This is celebrated by the ancients as a rule os excellent wisdom. But a Christian mayprescribe to himself a much wiser, viz. "When you are angry, answer not till "you have repeated the sifth petition os "the Lord's prayer, Forgive us our tref"PnJsest as "we forgive them that trespass "again/} us; and our Saviour's comment "upon it, For if ye frgive men their tref"pases, your heavenly Father will also for"give you: but if ye forgive not men their "trespasses, neither will your Father forgive "your trespajss" Matth. vi. 14, 15.
It is a just and seasonable thought that of Marcus Antoninus upon such occasions. "A man mifbehaves himself tof wards me,—what is that to me? The u action is his; and the will that sets him "upon it is his; and therefore let him *' look to it. The fault and injury is his, "not mine. As for me, I am in the con"dition Providence would have me, and M am doing what becomes me f."
But still this amounts only to a philosophical contempt of injuries, and falls
* See Plut. Mar. Vol. i. fag. 238. f Mtd.tat. Book $. § 35.