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'* dom; that is to fay, that multitude of *' affections, thoughts, opinions, and pas"sions, which are in thine heart *."
Concerning the secret Springs of our Actions.
X. " A NOTHER considerable branch •**, "of self-acquaintance is, the "knowledge of the true motives and se"cret springs of our actions."
And this sometimes cannot without much pains be acquired. But for want of it, we shall be in danger of pasting a salse judgment upon our actions, and of having a wrong opinion of several parts of our conduct.
It is hot only very possible, but very common, for men to be ignorant of the chief inducements of their behaviour; and to imagine they act from one motive, whilst they are apparently governed by another. If we examine our views, and look into our hearts narrowly, we fhall sind that they more frequently deceive us in this H 2 respect
* Jurieu's Method of Cbrijlian Devotion, part iii,
respect than we are aware of, by persuading us that we are governed b"y much better motives than we are. The honour of God, and the interest of religion, may be the open and avowed motive, whilst secular interest and secret vanity may be the hidden and true one. While we think we are serving God, we may be only sacrisicing to Mammon. We may, like Je" hu, boast our zeal for the Lord, when we are only animated by the heat of our natural paflions *; may cover a censorious spirit under a cloak of piety; and giving admonitions to others, may be only giving rent to our spleen.
How many come to the place of publics worfhip out of custom or cariosity, who would be thought to come thither only out of conscience? And whilst their external and prosessed view is to serve God, and gain good to their fouls, their secret and inward motive is only to show themselves to advantage, or to avoid singularity, and prevent others making observations on their absence. Munisicence and almsgiving may often proceed from a principle of pride and party-spirit, when
it it may appear to be the effect of pure piety and charity; and seeming acts of friendship, from a motive of selsifhness. him that pushes him on to excel in worthy deeds, or in actions truly good and virtuous, and pursues that design with a steady unaffected ardour, without reserve or falsehood, it is a true sign of a noble spirit: For that love of praise can never be criminal, that excites and enables a man to do a great deal more good than he could do without it. And perhaps there never was a sine genius, or a noble spirit, that rose above the common level, and distinguished itself by high attainments in what is truly excellent, but was secretly, and perhaps insensibly prompted by the impulse of this passion.
* * Kings z. 16.
By thus disguising our motives, \ve may impose upon men, but at the same time we impose upon ourselves; and whilst we are deceiving others, our own hearts deceive us. And of all mvpoihirzsself-deception is the most dangerous, because least suspected. .
Now, unless we examine this point narrowly, we (hall never come to the bottom of it; and unless we come at the true spring and real motive, of our actions} we shall never be able to form a right judgment of them; and they may appear very different in our own eye, and in the eye of the world, from what they do in the eye of God. "For the Lord seeth hot as "man seeth; for man looketh on the out-1 '* ward appearance, but the Lord looketh "on the heart," 1 Sam. xvi. 7. And "hence it is, that " that which is highly "esteemed among men, is oftentimes abo*' mination in the sight of God," Luke "xvi. 15. "Every way of man is right ** in his own eyes; but the Lord panders' eth the hearts," Prov. xxi. 2.
P 3 CHAP.
Every one that hnows himself, is in a parti' cular manner sensible how far he is governed by a Thirst for Applause.
XI. " A NOTHER thing necessary to -^*- "unfold a man's heart tohim1' self is, to consider what is his appetite "for fame, and by what means he seeks "to gratify that particular pafston."
This passion in particular having always so main a stroke, and oftentimes so unsuspected an influence on the most important parts of our conduct, a persect acquaintance with it is a very material branch of self knowledge, and therefore requires a distinct and particular consideration.
Emulation, like the other passions of the human mind, shows itself much more plainly, and works much more strongly in some than it does in others. It is in itself innocent, and was planted in our natures for very wise ends, and is capable of ierving very excellent purposes, if kept under proper restrictions and regulations. But without these it degenerates into a mean and criminal ambition.
"When a man sinds something within
But, on the contrary, if a man's views centre only in the applause of others, whether it be deserved or not; if he pants aster popularity and same, not regarding how he comes by it; if his passion for praise urge him to stretch himself beyond the line of his capacity, and to attempt things to which he is unequal; td condescend to mean arts and low diffimulation for the sake of a name; and in a sinister, indirect way, sue hard for a little inoense, not caring from whom he receives it; it then degenerates into what is properly called vanity. And if it excites a man to wicked attempts, and makes him willing to sa4 crifke