« הקודםהמשך »
there is scarce
may ced up to it. In short, it brutifies man, to be ignorant of himself. “ Man that is “ in honour, and understandeth not (him“ self especially), is as the beasts that pe“ rish," Psal. xlix. 20.
“ Come home then, O my wandering, “ felf-neglecting soul, lose not thyself in “ a wilderness or tumult of impertinent, “ vain, distracting things. Thy work is nearer thee: the
thou shouldst “ first survey and travel is within thee; « from which thou must pass to that ar bove thee; when, by losing thyself in " this without thee, thou wilt find thy“ felf, before thou art aware, in that be “ low thee. Let the eyes of fools be in « the corners of the earth; leave it to
men beside themselves, to live as with« out themselves; do thou keep at home, 66 and mind thine own business; survey
thyself, thine own make and nature, " and thou wilt find full employ for all
thy most active thoughts *. But, dost “ thou delight in the mysteries of nature? “ consider well the mystery of thy own. “ The compendium of all thou studieft is
* Mirantur aliqui altitudines montium, ingentes fuctus maris, altiflimos lapsus fluminum, et oceani ambitum, et gyros siderum, et relinquunt seipsos, nec mirantur, (faith St. Augustin). • Some men admire * the heights of mountains, the huge waves of the
near thee, even within thee; thyself “ being the epitome of the world *. If “ either neceflity or duty, nature or grace, “ reason or faith, internal inducements, “ external impulses, or eternal motives, “ might determine the subject of thy ftu« dy and contemplation, thou wouldst “ call home thy distracted thoughts, and
« sea, the steep falls of rivers, the compass of the
ocean, and the circuit of the stars, and pass by " themselves without admiration.”
* Τις εν αξιως θαυμασειε την ευγενειαν τε7ε τεζωε τε. συνδεοντος εν εαυω τα θνηθα, τους αθαναίοις, και τα λογικα τους αλογους συναπονος, τα φερονος εν τη καθ εαυον φυσει της σασης κλισεως την εικονα, δι α και μικρος κοσμος ειρηαι, τα τοσαυτης ηξιoμενε σαρα τε Θε8 προνοιας και σανα και τα νυν, και τα μελλονα· δι ον ο Θεος ανθρωπος yeyovs. Nem. de Nat. Hom. cap. 1. pag. 34.–
Who can sufficiently admire the noble nature of that creature, Man, who hath in him the mortal and the im. mortal, the rational and irrational natures united, and so carries about with him the image of the whole creation; whence he is called microcosm, or the little world; for whose fake (so highly is he honoured by God) all things are made, both present and future; nay, for whose fake God himself became man? So that it was not unjustly said by Gregory Nessene, that man was the macrocosm, and the world without the microcosm.
employ them more on thyself and thy
Now, then, let us resolve, that, henceforth, the study of ourselves shall be the business of our lives; that, by the blessing of God, we may arrive at such a degree of self-knowledge, as may secure to us the excellent benefits before mentioned : To which end we would do well to attend diligently to the rules laid down in the following chapters.
Self-Examination neceffury to Self-Know
ledge. THE HE first thing necessary to self
knowledge is felf-inspection.” We must often look into our hearts, if we would know them. They are very deceitful; more so than any man think, till he has searched, and tried, and watched them. We may meet with frauds and faithless dealings from men; but, after all, our
own hearts are the greatest cheats, and there are none we are in greater danger from than ourselves.
* Baxter's Mischief of Self-Ignorance.
We must first suspect ourselves, then examine ourselves, then watch ourselves, if we expect ever to know ourselves.
How is it possible there should be any self-acquaintance without self-converse ?
Were a man to accustom himself to such self-employment, he need not live till thirty before he suspects himself a fool, or till forty before he knows it*.
Men could never be so bad as they are, if they did but take a proper care and scope in this business of self-examination t. If they did but look backwards to what they were, inwards to what they are, and forwards to what they fall be.
And as this is the first and most necesfary Rep to self-acquaintance, it may not be amifs to be a little more particular in it. Therefore,
(1.) This business of self-scrutiny muft be performed with great care and diligence, Otherwise our hearts will deceive us even whilst we are ex anining them. « When
we set ourselves to think, fome trifle or “ other presently interrupts and draws us
* See the Complaint, or Night Thoughts, part i. pag. 28.
+ Hoc nos peffinos facit, quod nemo vitam fuam respicit. Quid facturi fimus, cogitamus, et id raro: quid fecerimus, non cogitamus. Sen. Epift. 84.
“ off from any profitable recollection, “ Nay, we ourselves fly out, and are glad 66 to be diverted from a severe examina6c tion into our own state ; which is sure, “ if diligently pursued, to present us with « objects of shame and forrow, which << will wound our fight, and foon niake " us weary of this neceffary work*."
Do not let us flatter ourselves, then, that this is a mighty easy business; much pains and care are neceffary sometimes to keep the mind intent, and more to keep ic impartial; and the difficulty of it is the reason that so many are averse to it, and care not to descend into themselves t.
Readet, try the experiment; retire now into thyself, and fee if thou canst not ftrike out foine light within, by closely urging such questions as these. " What to am I? foś what was I made ? and to is what ends have I been preserved so long " by the favour of my Maker? do I re
member, or forget thofe ends ? have I " answered, or perverted them? What “ have I been doing since I came into « the world? what is the world or mye 66 self the better for my living so many
years Stanhope's Tho. à Kempis, pag. 166. * Ut nento in fefe tenta: defcindere! Perf. Sat. 4.