תמונות בעמוד
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Were mankind but more generally convinced of the importance and necessity of this felf-knowledge, and pofseffed 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 find 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, ofcitancy, and aversion to self-reflection, they are led blindfold and insensibly into the most dangerous paths of infidelity 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 *.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

(Exod. x. 28. xxxiv. 12. Deut. iv. 9.), means the same thing as the ancients did by their quando oscujov. Storm. Lib. 2. cap. 15.

*There is nothing men are more deficient in " than knowing their own characters. I know not < how this science comes to be so much neglected. “ We spend a great deal of time in learning useless * things, but take no pains in the study of ourselves,

6 and

Self-knowledge is that acquaintance with ourselves which shows us what we are, 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 souls; which is attained by a particular attention to their various powers, capacities, paffions, inclinations, operations, îtate, happiness, and temper. For a man's soul is properly himself, Mat. xvi. 26. 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 soul the artist that directs it t.


c and in opening the folds and doubles of the heart," Reflections on Ridicule, p. 61.

* Præceptum Apollinis, quo monet, ut fe quisque nofcat, non enim, credo, id præcipit; ut Membra noftra aut ftaturam figuramque noscamus: neque nos corpora fumus; neque ego, tibi dicens hoc, corpori tuo dico: cum igitur NOSCE TE dicit, hoc dicit, Nosce animum tuum. Nam corpus quidem quasi vas eft, aut aliquod animi receptaculum; ab animo tuo quicquid agitur, id agitur a te. Cic. Tufcul. Queft. Lib. 1.

+ 2 Cor. v. I. Rom. vi. 13.- duvapeis uxns, no de ogyanov owice Jos. Nemes. de Nat. Hom. cap. 6.

Μηδεποτε συμπεριφαναζε το σιρικειμενον αγγειωδες, και illt ogyåvia Taula Ta atspirithaouira, quasa yag isi rx;"


of se hich is oath theirtingullo

Chap. I. of Self-Knowledge. 11

This science, which is to be the subject of the ensuing treatise, hath these three peculiar properties in it, which distinguish it from, and render it preferable to all of ther.-(1.) “ It is equally attainable by .66 all.” It requires no strength of memo

ry, no force of genius, no depth of penetration, as many other sciences 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 o highest importance to every one *.” Other sciences are suited to the various conditions of life. Some more necessary to fome, other to others. But this equal. 1; concerns every one that hath an imrortal foul, whose final happiness he defi?'s and seeks. (3.) “ Other knowledge

'“ highest papra, hovoy de die pipoyla, xabole wreso Qum 15sv. Mar. Anton. Lib. x. $ 37. When you talk of a man, I would not have you tack filcfh and blood to the notion, nor those limbs neither which are made out of it; these are but tools for the soul 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 soul; and there is all the difference. Collier.

is very apt to make a man vain ; this “ always keeps him humble.” Nay, it is always for want of this knowledge that men are vain of that they have. “Know“ ledge puffeth up,” i Cor. viji. 1. A small degree of knowledge often hath this effect on weak minds. · And the reason why greater attainments in it have not so generally the same effect is, because they open and enlarge the views of the mind so far, as to let into it at the same time a good degree of self-knowledge : for the more true knowledge a man hath, the more sensible he is of the want of it; which keeps him humble.

And now, Reader, whoever thou art, whatever be thy character, ftation, or diftinction in life, if thou art afraid to look into thine heart, and hast no inclination

# 'Tis virtue only makes our bliss below;
And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know.

Pepe Kay on Mar

to felf-acquaintance, read no further, lay aside this book; for thou wilt find nothing here that will flatter thy self-esteem, but perhaps something that may abate it. But if thou art desirous to cultivate this important kind of knowledge, and to live no longer a stranger to thyself, proceed; and keep thy eye open to thine own image, with whatever unexpected deformity it may present itself to thee; and patiently attend, whilst, .by divine assistance, I endeavour to lay open thine own heart to thee, and lead thee to the true knowledge of thyself in the following chapters.

CHAP. II. The several Branches of Self-knowledge. We must know what fort of Creatures we are, and what we foall be. THAT we may have a more distinct 1 and orderly view of this subject, I shall here consider the several branches of felf-knowledge, or some of the chief particulars wherein it consists. Whereby perhaps it will appear to be a more copious and comprehensive science than we imagine. And, (1.) To know ourselves, is “ to know . B

o ana

« הקודםהמשך »