صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

9o e accusa

of mens laud he that knows himself, will soon know how to despise, them both, The judgment which the world makes of us is generally of no manner of use to us; it adds nothing to our souls or bodies, nor lessens any of loé miseries. 9. Let us constantly follow reason, (says Montaigne) and let the publick approbation follow us the same way, if it pleases. * But still, I say, a total indifference in this matter is unwise. We ought not to be entire sly insensible to the reports of others ; no, not to the railings of an enemy; for an enemy may say something out of ill will to us, which it may concern us to think of coolly when we are tion be just, and what there is in our conduct and temper which may make it appear so: ảnd by this means our enemy may do us more good than he intended and discover to us something in our hearts which we did not before advert

A man that hath no enemies ought to have very faithful friends; and one who hath no such friends, ought to think it no calamity that he hath enemies to be bis effectual monitors. “Our friends (says Mr. Addison) very often flatter us as much as out own hearts. i They either do not see our faults or conceal them from us ; or soften them by their representations, after such a manner that we think them too trivial to be taken notice of. An adversary, on the contrary, makes a strieter search into us, discovers every flaw and imperfection in our

No. 6.

[ocr errors]

and among

tempers ; and though his malice may set them in too strong a light, it has generally some ground for what it advances. A friend exaggerates a man's virtues, an enemy. infames his crimes, A wise man should give a just attention to both of them, so far as it may tend to the improvement of the one and the diminution of the other, Plutarch has written an essay on the benefits which a man may receive from his enemies ;

the good fruits of enmity, mentions this in partieular, that by the reproaches it casts upon us we see the worst side of ourselves, and open our eyes to several blemishes, and defects in our lives and conversations, which we should not have observed without the help of such ill, natured monitors.

In order likewise to come at a true knowledge of ourselves, we should consider, on the other hand, how far we may deserve the praises and approbations which the world bestow upon us; whether the actions they celebrate proceed from laudable and worthy motives, and how far we are really possessed of the virtues which gain us applause amongst those with whom we converse. Such a reflection is absolutely necessary, if we consider how apt we are either to value or condemn ourselves by the opinions of others, and sacrifice the report of our own hearts to the judgment of the world.'

In that treatise of Plutarch here referred to, there are a great many 'excellent things pertinent to this subject : and therefore I thought it

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

not improper to throw a few extracts out of it into the margin.

It is the character of a dissolute mind, to be entirely insensible to all that the world says of us; and shows such a confidence of self knowledge as is usually a sure sign of self ignorance. The most knowing minds are ever least presumptuous. And true self knowledge is a science of so much depth and difficulty, that a wise man would not choose to be over-confident that all his notions of himself are right, in opposition to the judgment of all mankind; some of whom perhaps have better opportunities and advantages of knowing him (at some seasons especially) than he has of knowing himself. Because herein they never look through the same false medium of self flattery.


the ises pon seed



Frequent converse with superiours a help to self knowl


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

IV. ANOTHER proper means of self knowledge is to converse as much as you can with those who are your superiours in real excellence.

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise.?* Their example will not only be your motive to laudable pursuits, but a mirrour to

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

* Prov. xiii. 20,

your mind ; by which you may possibly discern some failings or deficiencies, or neglects in yourself, which before escaped you. You will see the unreasonableness of your vanity and self sufficiency, when you observe how much you are surpassed by others in knowledge and goodness. Their proficiency will make your defects the more obvious to yourself ; and by the lustre of their virtues you will better see the deformity of your vices ; your negligence by their diligence ; your pride' by their humility; your passion by their meekness; and your folly by their wisdom.

Examples not only move, but teach and direct much more effectually than precepts; and show us not only that such virtues may be practised, but how, and how lovely they appear when they are. And therefore if we cannot have them always before our eyes, we should endeavour to have them always in our mind; and especially that of our great head and pattern, who hath set us a perfect example of the most innocent conduct under the worst and most disadvantageous circumstances of human


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

وو. دا و دارو در روز از اور ہائی کو

[ocr errors]


Of cultivating such a temper as will be the best disposi

tion to self knowledge.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

V. IF a man would know himself, he must with great care cultivate that temper which will best dispose hiin to receive this knowledge.

Now as there are no greater hindrances to self knowledge than pride and obstinacy, so there is nothing more helpful to it than humility and an openness to conviction.

1. One who is in quest of self knowledge must above all things seek humility. And how near an affinity there is between these two, appears from hence, that they are both acquired the same way. The very means of attaining humility are the properest means for attaining self acquaintance. By keeping an eye every day upon our faults and wants we become more humble, and by the same means we become more self intelligent. By considering how far we fall short of our rule and our duty, and how vastly others exceed us, and especially by, a daily and diligent study of the word of God, we come to have meaner thoughts of ourselves; and by the very same means we come to have a better acquaintance with ourselves.

A proud man cannot know himself. Pride is that beam in the eye of his mind, which renders him quite blind to any blemishes there.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »