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much more trouble than all the pains you might be at in performing it. And a wise man will always determine himself by the end, or by such a retrospective view of things, considered as past.
Again, on the other hand, if you sind a strong propenston to any particular action, examine that with the like impartiality. Perhaps it is what neither your reason nor conscience can fully approve; and yet every motive to it is strongly urged, and every objection against it slighted. Sense and appetite grow importunate and clamorous, and want to lead, while reason remonstrates in vain. But turn not aside from that faithful and friendly monitor, whilst with a low still voice she addresses you in this soft, but earnest language: "Hear me, I beseech you, but this one "word more. The action is indeed out "of char-icter; what I shall never ap"prove. The pleasure of it is a great "deal over-rated; you will certainly be *' disappointed. It is a false appearance that now deceives you. And what will you think of yourself when it is past, and you come to reflect serioufly on the matter ?» Believe it, you will then wish you had taken me for your couniellor, instead of those enemies of mine, G 3 "your "your lusts and passions, which have so ?' often misled you, though you know J f never did."
Such short recollections as these, and a little leisure to take a view of the nature and consequences of things or actions before we reject or approve them, will prevent much false judgment and bad conduct, and by degrees wear off the prejudices which fancy has sixed in .the mind, either for or against any particular action; teach us to distinguish between things and their appearances; strip them of those false colours that so often deceive us; correct the sallies of the imagination, and leave the reins in the hand of reason.
Before I dismiss this head, I must observe that some of our strongest prejudices arise from an excessive self-esteem., or a too great value of our own good sense; and understanding. Phiiautus in every thing shows himself very well satissied with his own wisdom, which makes him very impatient of contradiction, and gives him a distaste to all who shall presume to oppose their judgment to his in any thing. He had rather persevere in a mistake than retract it, lest his judgment fhould suffer, not considering that his ingenuity and good sense suffer much more by such ob
ilinacv. stinacy. The fulness of his self-sufficiency makes him blind to those impersections which every one can see in him but himself. So that however wise, sincere, and . friendly, however gentle and seasonable your remonstrance may be, he takes it immediately to proceed from ill-nature or ignorance in yoii% but from no fault in him. Seneca, I remember, tells us a remarkable itory, which very well illustrates this matter. Writing to his friend Lucilius, "My wise (fays he) keeps Harpaftes in f her house still, who, you know,' is a "fort of family-fool, and an encumbrance "upon us. For my part, I am far from "taking any pleasure in such prodigies. "If I have a mind to divert myself with "a fool, I have not far to go for one; I f can laugh at myself. This silly girl, all "on a sudden, lost her eye-sight; and *' (which perhaps may seem incredible, "but it is very true) she does not know "flie is blind, but is every now and then "desiring her governess to lead her a"broad, saying the house is dark. Now, "what we laugh at in this poor creature, f we may observe, happens to us all. Np "man knows that he is covetous or insa"tiable. Yet with this difserence, the '' blind seek somebody to lead them, but "we are content to wander without a "guide. But why do we thus deceive *' ourselves? The disease is not without "us, but sixed deep within. And there"fore is the cure so dissicult, because we "do not know that we are sick V
The Necessity and Means of hiowing our Natural Tempers.
IX. "ANOTHER very important -^*- "branch of self-knowledge is, <' the knowledge of those governing pas"sions or dispositions of the mind, which "generally form, what we call, a man's "natural temper."
The, difference of natural tempers seems to be chiefly owing to the different degrees of influence the several pafsions have upon the mind. e. g. If the pafsions are eager and soon raised, we say the man is of a warm temper; if more sluggish and slowly raised, he is of a cool temper; according as anger, malice,.or ambition prevail, he is of a fierce, churlish, or haughty per; the influence of the softer passions Cons of love, pity, and benevolence, forms a sweet, sympathizing, and courteous temper; and where all the passions are duly poised, and the milder and pleasing ones prevail, they make what is commonly called a quite good-natured man.
m. Eplst. 51.
So that it is the prevalence or predominance of any particular passion, which gives the turn or tincture to a man's temper, by which he is distinguished, and for which he is loved and esteemed, or shunned and despised by others.
Now, what this is, those we converse with are soon sensible of. They presently see through us, and know the fault of our temper, and order their behaviour to us accordingly. If they are wise and wellmannered, they will avoid touching the string which they know will jar and raise a discord within us. If they are our enemies, they will do it on purpose to set us on tormenting ourselves.. And our friends we must suffer sqmetimes with a gentle hand to touch it, either by way of pleasant raillery or faithful advice.
But a man must be greatly unacquaint-r ed with himself, if he is ignorant of his predominant passion, or distinguishing temper, when every one else observes it. And vet Low common is this piece of