« السابقةمتابعة »
induce or prompt us more to love and fear and trust him, as our God, our father, and all sufficient friend and helper ? Voub ei ai lombo) DNA ali Niye els hiqeni bloow deguodt 4134
Tuovis) buis niet 23 Os twiced Joharrondie .S aus sodati ZA CHAP. XI. O ytob sdn for
upd diod Self knowledge teaches us rightly to perform the duties
of religion. w N 516 23:0 ELIOR1021192ut idir: 9mJTDi na yis 29991 ei b\XI.2) SELF knowledge will be a good help and direction to us in many of our devout and christian exercises! Particularly, trial. In the duty of prayer , both as to the matter and mode. He that rightly knows himself, will be very sensible of his spiritual wants, and he that is well acquainted with his spiritual wants, will not be at a loss what to pray for.
Our hearts would be the best prayer books, if we were well skilled in reading them. Why dor men pray, and call for prayers when they come to die, but that they begin a little better to know themselves? And were they now but to hear the voice of God and conseience, they would not remain speechless. But they that are born deaf are always dumb.?":91 so bisi 9w boAgain; self
knowledge will teach us to pray, not only with fluency, but fervency; will help us to keep the heart, as well as order our speech before God ; and so promote the grace as well as the gift of prayer. Did we but seriously consider what we are, and what we are about ;
whom we pray to, and what we pray for, it is impossible we should be so dead, spiritless, and formal in this duty, as we too often are.
The very thought would inspire us with life, and faith, and fervour.
2. Self knowledge will be very helpful to us in the duty of thanksgiving : As it shows us both how suitable and how seasonable the
mercies are which we receive. A christian that keeps up an intelligence with himself, considers what he hath, as well as what he wants ; and is no less sensible of the value of his mercies, than his unworthiness of them: And this is what makes him thankful. For this reason it is, that one christian's heart even melts with gratitude for those very mercies, which others disesteem and depreciate, and perhaps despise, because they have not what they think greater. But a man that knows himself, knows that he deserves nothing, and therefore is thankful for every thing. For thankfulness as necessarily flows from hu. mility, as humility does from self acquaintance.
3. In the duties of reading and hearing the word of God, self knowledge is of excellent use to enable us to understand and apply that which we read or hear. Did we understand our hearts better, we should understand the word of God better ; for that speaks to the heart. A man that is acquainted with his own heart, presently sees how the divine word penetrates and explores, searches and lays open its most inward parts, feels what he reads; and finds that a quicken
ing spirit, which to a self ignorant man is but a dead letter.
Moreover, this self acquaintance teaches a man to apply what he reads and hears of the word of God. He sees the pertinence, congruity, and suitableness of it to his own case ; and lays it up faithfully in the store room of his mind, to be digested and improved by his after thoughts. And it is by this art of applying scripture, and urging the most suitable instructions and admonitions of it home upon our consciences, that we receive the greatest benefit by it.
4. Nothing is of more eminent service in the great duty of meditation; especially in that part of it which consists in heart converse. who is unacquainted with himself, is as unfit to converse with his heart, as he is with a stranger he never saw, and whose taste and temper he is altogether unacquainted with. He knows not how to get his thoughts about him. And when he has, he knows not how to range and fix them; and hath no more the command of them, than a general has of a wild, undisciplined army, that has never been exercised, or accustomed to obedience and order. But one who hath made it the study of his life to be acquainted with himself, is soon disposed to enter into a free and familiar converse with his own heart; and in such a self conference improves more in true wisdom, and acquires more useful and substantial knowledge, than he could do from
the most polite and refined copyersation in the world." Of such excellent use is self knowledge in all the duties of devotion and piety,
XII. SELF knowledge will be an habitual preparation for death, and a constant guard against the surprise of it. Because it fixes and settles our hopes of future happiness. That which makes the thoughts of death so terrifying to the soul, is its utter uncertainty what will become of it after death. Were this uncertainty to be removed, a thousand things would reconcile us to the thoughts of dying, ji ya Distrust and darkness of a future's
state, Is that which makes mankind to dread their fate ;
Dying is nothing : but 'tis this we fear, wat. To be we know not what, we know not where
Now self knowledge, in a good degree, dissipates this gloom, and removes this dreadful doubt. For as the word of God hath revealed the certainty of a future state of happiness, which the good man shall enter upon after death, and plainly described the requisite qualifications for it ; when by a long and laborious self acquaintance, he comes distinctly to discern those qualifications in himself
, his hopes of heaven
soon raise him above the fears of deathAnd though he may not be able to form any clear or distinct conception of the nature of that happiness, yet in general he is assured that it will be a most extensive one, and will contain in it every thing necessary to make it complete ; because it will come immediately from God himself. Whereas they, who know not what they are, must necessarily be ignorant what they shall be. A man that is all darkness within, can have but a dark prospect forward.
Oh, what would we not give for solid hope in death! Reader, wouldst thou have it, know God, and know thyself.