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1 Cor. xi. 28. Our Saviour upbraids his disciples with their self-ignorance, in not "knowing what manner of spirits they "were of," Luke ix. 55. And, faith the apostle, "If a man (through self-igno- *" "ranee) thinketh himself to be something "when he is nothing, he deceiveth him"self. But let every man prove his work, "and then shall he hare rejoicing in hini"self and not in another," Gal. vi. 3, 4. Here we are commanded, instead of judging others, to judge ourselves; and to avoid the inexcuseable rashness of condemning others for the very crimes we ourselves are guilty of, Rom. ii. 1, 21, 22., which a self-ignorant man is very apt to do; nay, to be more offended at a small blemish in another's character, than at « greater in his own; which folly, self-ignorance, and hypocrisy, our Saviour with
because self-prolation is always necessary to a right self-approbation,
"Every Christian ought to try himself, and may "know himself, if he be faithful in examining. The "frequent exhortations of Scripture hereunto imply "both these, viz. That the knowledge of ourselves "is attainable, and that we should endeavour after !* it. Why should the apostle put them upon exa"mining and proving themselves, unless it was poffi',' ble to know themselves upon such trying and prov"ing?'1 Bmmt't Cbrifi. Oratory, p. j68.
just severity animadverts upon, Mat. vii.
And what stress was laid upon this under the Old Testament dispensation appears sussiciently from those expressions. "Keep thy heart with all diligence," Prov. iv. 23. "Commune with your "own heart," Psal. iv. 4. "Search me, "O God, and know my heart; try me, "and know my thoughts," Psal. cxxxix. "23. *' Examine me, O Lord, and prove "me; try my reins and my heart," Psal. xxvi. 2. "Let us search and try our "ways," Lam. iii. 4. "Recollect, re"collect yourselves, O nation not desir"ed *," Zeph. ii. 1. And all this as necessary to that self-acquaintance which is '£ only proper basis of solid peace f.
* WlplTCWpflTT *e verb (HJ'p) properly signisies to glean, or gather together scattered sticks or straws; ar appears from all the places where the word is used in the Old Testament, (Exod. v. 7, u. Num. xv. 34. 1 Kings xvii. 10.). Hence, by an easy metaphor, it signisies to r:colle(l, or gather the scattered thoughts together; and ought to be so rendered, when used in the reflective form, as here it is. So faith R. Kimchi, (lytt'p) e" ^xoyrie Jlifulas collirere. id sit accurata scrutatior.e, hinc dicitur de qualibet inquisitione. Whence I think it is evident that the word should be rendered as above.
,f- Clemens Alexandrinus faith, that Moses by that ,hrasc, so common in his writings, Tatt herd to thyfelf
Were mankind but more generally convinced of the importance and necessity of this self-knowledge, and possessed with a due esteem for it; did they but know the true way to attain it; and, under a proper sense of its excellence, and the fatal effects of self-ignorance, did they but make it their business and study every day to cultivate it; how soon should we sind a happy alteration in the manners and spirits of men! But the misery of it is, men will not think; will not employ their thoughts in good earnest about the things which most of all deserve and demand them. By which unaccountable indolence, oscitancy, and aversion to self-reflection, they are led blindfold and insensibly into the most dangerous paths of insidelity and, wickedness, as the Jews were heretofore; of whose amazing ingratitude and apostacy God himself assigns this single cause, *' My people do not consider," Isa. i. 3 *.
(Exod. x. 28. xxxiv. 12. Deut. iv. 9.), means the fam« thing as the ancients did by their yvuli ttxaju. Stora. /.ii. 2. cap. 15.
* " There is nothing men are more desicient in "than knowing their own characters. I know not "how this science comes to be so much neglected. "V.'e spend a great deal of time in learning useless '* thin;,"-, but take no pains in the study of ourselves,
Self-knowledge is that acquaintance with ourselves which shows us what -we ire, and do, and ought to be, and do, in order to our living comfortably and usefully here, and happily hereafter. The means of it is self-examination; the end of it self-government, and self-fruition. It principally consists in the knowledge of our fouls; which is attained by a particular attention to their various powers, capacities, passions, inclinations,' operations, state, happiness, and temper. For a man's foul is properly himself, Mat. xvi. 16. compared with Luke ix. 25 *. The body is but the house, the soul is the tenant that inhabits it; the body is the instrument, the sous the artist that directs it f.
"and in opening the folds and doubles of the heart." Reflections an Ridicule, /. 61.
* Præceptum Apoflinis, quo monet, at se quifque nofcati non enim, credo, id præcipit; ut Membra noflra aut staturam siguramque noscamus: neque nos corpora sumus; neque ego, tibi dicens hoc, corpori tuo dico: cum igitur NOSCE TE dicit, hoc dicit, Nosee animum tuum. Nam corpus quidem quasi vas est, aut aliquod animi receptaculum; ab animo tuo quicquid agitur, id agitur a te. Cic. Tufcul. Quest. Lib. I.
11 Cor. v. I. Rom. vi. 13 a imetfut ^«^if, «
Si eeyanv eupififts. Nemes. de Nat. Hom. cap. 6.
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This science, which is to be the subject of the ensuing treatise, hath these three peculiar properties in it, which distinguifh it from, and render it preserable to all other.—(i.) "It is equally attainable by "all." It requires no strength of memory, no force of genius, no depth of penetration, as many other science? do, to come at a tolerable degree of acquaintance with them; which therefore renders them inaccessible by the greatest part of mankind. Nor is it placed out of their reach through a want of opportunity, and proper assistance and direction how to acquire it, as many other parts of learning are. Every one of a common capacity hath the opportunity and ability to acquire it, if he will but recollect his rambling thoughts, turn them in upon himself, watch the motions of his heart, and compare them with his rule.—(2.) "It is "of equal importance to all, and of the
WtfgVAi, fiovov Si 9jg£if0v7«, xet6i\i Tx^opQvn fs-iy. AZar. Anton. Lib. x. § 37. When you talk of a man, I ,would not have you tack flefh and blood to the notion, nor those limbs neither which are made out of It; these are but tools for the foul to work with, and no more a part of a man, than an ax or a plane is a piece of a carpenter. It is true, nature hath glued them together, and they grow as it were to the foul; and there is all the' difference. Collier.