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means he never sees his own failings, whilst he has those of others always before his eyes.
But self knowledge now help us to turn this wallet ; and place that which hath our own faults before our eyes, and that which hath in it those of others, behind our back. A very necessary regulation this, if we would behold our own faults in the same light in which they do. For we must not expect that others will be as blind to our foibles as we ourselves are. They will carry them before their eyes, whether we do or not.
And to imagine that the world takes no notice of them, because we do not, is just as wise as to fancy that others do not see us, because we shut our eyes.
Moderation the effect of self knowledge,
V. ANOTHER genuine offspring of self knowledge is moderation.
This indeed can hardly be conceived to be separate from that of meekness and charity before mentioned; but I choose to give it a distinct mention, because I consider it under a different view and operation, viz. as that which guards and influences our spirits in all matters of debate and controversy.
from true knowledge, the other from great igno
Moderation is a great and important christian virtue, very different from that bad quality of the mind under which it is often misrepresented and disguised, viz. lukewarmness and indifference about the truth. The former is
The former is very consistent with a regular and well corrected zeal, the latter consists in a total want of it; the former is sensible of, and endeavours with peace and prudence to maintain the dignity and importance of divine doctrines, the latter hath no manner of concern about them ; the one feels the secret infuences of them, the other is quite a stranger to their power and efficacy ; the one laments in secret the sad decay of vital religion, the other is an instance of it. In short, the one proceeds
rance ; the one is a good mark of sincerity, and the other a certain sign of hypocrisy --Ånd to confound two things together, which are so essentially different, can be the effect of nothing but great ignorance, inconsideration, or an overheated, injudicious zeal.
A self-knowing man can easily distinguishi between these two. And the knowledge which he has of human nature in general, from a thorough contemplation of his own in particular, shows him the necessity of preserving a medium (as in every thing else, só especially) between the two extremes of a bigotted zeal on the one hand, and indolent lukewarmness on the other. As he will not look upon every thing to be worth contending for, so he will look upon 10
a cireumstance. And
thing worth losing his temper for in the contention; because, though the truth he of ever so great importance, nothing can do a greater disservice to it, or make a man more incapable of defending it, than intemperate heat and passion; whereby he injures and betrays the cause he is Over anxious to maintain. The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.*
Self knowledge heals our animosities, and greatly cools our debates about matters of dark and doubtful speculation. One who knows himself sets too great a value upon his time and temper, to plunge rashly into those vain and fruitless controversies, in which one of them is sure to be lost, and the other in great danger of being so ; especially when a man of bad temper and bad principles is the opponent ; who aims rather to silence his adversary with overbearing confidence, dark, unmeaning language, authoritative airs, and hard words, than convince him with solid argument; and who plainly contends not for truth but victory. Little good can be done to the best cause in such man who knows human nature, and knows himself, will rather give his antágonist the pleasure of an imaginary triumph, than engage in so unequal a combat.
An eagerness and zeal for dispute, on every subject, and with every one, shows great self suficiency, that'never failing sign of great self
Fames i. 20
ignorance. And true moderation, which creates an indifference to little things, and a wise and well proportioned zeal for things of importance, can proceed from nothing but true knowledge, which has its foundation in self acquaintance.
Self knowledge improves the judgment.
VI. ANOTHER great advantage of being well acquainted with ourselves is, that it helps us to form a better judgment of other things.
Self knowledge indeed does not enlarge or increase our natural capacities, but it guides and regulates them; leads us to the right use and application of them ; and removes a great many things which obstruct their due exercise, as pride, prejudice, passion, &c. which oftentimes miserably pervert the rational powers.
He that hath taken a just measure of himself, is thereby better able to judge of other things.
1. He knows how to judge of men and human nature better. For human nature, setting aside the difference of natural genius, and the improvements of education and religion, is pretty much the same in all. There are the same
passions and appetites, the same natural infirmities and inclinations in all mankind ; though some are more predominant and distinguishable in some, than they are in others. So that if a man be but well acquainted with his own, this, together with a very little observation on human life, will soon discover to him those of 6ther men; and show him very impartially their particular failings and excellencies, and help him to form a much truer sentiment of them, than if he were to judge only by their exterior, the appearance they make in the eye of the world, or the character given of them by others; both which are often very
2. Self knowledge will rightly of facts as well as men. It will exhibit things to the mind in a proper light, and true colours, without those false glosses and appearances which fancy throws upon them, or in which the imagination often paints them. It will teach us to judge not with the imagination, but with the understanding; and will set a guard upon the former,
which so often represents things in wrong yiews, and gives the mind false impress
See Part I. Chap. IV. Ildsteitt eget 790 3. It helps us to estimate the true value of all worldly good things. It rectifies our notions
lessens that enormous esteem we are apt to have for them.on
For when a man knows himself, true interest, he will see how far, and in what degree, these things are table to him, and subservient to his good ;
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