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doings ; to be pragmatical observers of what is said s ER M. or done without us (that which perchance may little xvir. concern, little profit us to know), and in the mean while to be strangers at home, to overlook what parfeth in our own breasts, to be ignorant of our most near and proper concernments, is a folly, if any, to be derided, or rather greatly to be pitied, as the source of many great inconveniences to us. For it is from ignorance of ourselves that we mistake ourselves for other persons than we really are; and accordingly we behave ourselves toward ourselves with great indecency and injustice; we assume and attribute to ourselves that which doth not anywise belong unto us, or become us: as put the case we are ignorant of the persons we converse with, as to their quality, their merit, their humour ; we shall be apt to miscall and mistake them; to misbehave ourselves in our demeanour toward them; to yield them more or less respect than befits them; to cross them rudely, or unhandsomely to humour them: in like manner, if we be strangers to our hearts, shall we carry ourselves toward our own selves; we shall hence, like men in a frenzy, take ourselves for extraordinary people, rich and noble, and mighty, when indeed, our condition being duly estimated, we are wretchedly mean and beggarly. Wedo frequently hug Rev. iii. 17. ourselves (or rather shadows in our room), admiring ourselves for qualities not really being in us; applauding ourselves for actions nothing worth ; such as proceed from ill principles, and aim at bad ends; when as, did we turn our thoughts inwards, and regard what we find in our hearts, by what inclinations we are noved, upon what grounds we proceed, we should be ashained, and see cause rather to bemoan than to bless ourselves : descending into ourselves we might perchance discern that most of our gallant performances (such as not considering our hearts we
* Ut nemo in sese tentat descendere, nemo.
SER M. presume them to be) are derived from self-love or XVII. pride; from desire of honour, or love of gain;
from: fear of damage or discredit in the world, rather than out of love, reverence, and gratitude toward God, of charity, compassion, and goodwill toward our brethren, of sober regard to our own true welfare and happiness; which are the only commend
able principles, and grounds of action. St. Luke Luke xviii. telleth us of certain men, who persuaded themselves
that they were righteous, and despised others; upon occasion of whom our Saviour dictateth the parable of the Pharisee and Publican. Whence, think we, came that fond confidence in themselves, and proud contempt of others ? * From ignorance surely of themfelves, or from not observing those bad dispositions, those wrong opinions, those corrupt fountains within,
from whence their supposed righteous deeds did flow. Gal. vi. 3,4. If any man, faith St. Paul, giving an account of such
presumptions, thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, fouTÒU OLEVAT atớ, he cheats himself in bis mind;
but let every man examine his work, and then he mall Tipos šaurin have rejoicing in himself alone (or privately with him
self); fome, he implieth, do impose upon and delude themselves, imagining themselves somebodies (endued forsooth with admirable qualities, or to have atchieved very worthy deeds), when as, if they would enquire into themselves, they should find no such matter ; that themselves were no such men, and their works no such wonders : but if, faith he, a man doth, δοκιμάζειν εαυτό το έργον, implore and examine what he doth, and in result thereof doth clearly perceive, that he aĉteth upon good reasons, and with honest intentions, then may he indeed enjoy a solid interior satisfaction (a true xaúxmpą, or exultation of mind), whatever others, not acquainted with those inward springs of his motion, do please to
υτόν άπαταν, και οίεσθαι είναι τι έδέν όντα, υπό της κενής dens purvautor. Nazianz. Orat. 27,
judge of him, and his proceedings. No man indeed S E R M. can truly value himself, or well approve of his own XVII. doings, so as to find any perfect comfort in himself, or in them, who doth not by studying himself discover whence and why he acts: one may be a flatterer, but cannot be a true friend to himself, who doth not thoroughly acquaint himself with his own inward ftate; who doth not frequently consult and converse with himself: a friend to himself, I said; and to be so is one of the greatest benefits that human life can enjoy ; that which will most sweeten and solace our life to us : friendship with others (with persons honest and intelligent) is a great accommodation, helping much to allay the troubles and ease the burthens of life ; but friendship with ourselves is much more necessary to our well-being ; for we have continual opportunities and obligations to converse with ourselves; we do ever need assistance, advice, and comfort at home *: and as commonly it is long acquaintance and familiar intercourse together, which doth conciliate one man to another, begetting mutual dearness and confidence, so it is toward one's self : as no man can be a friend to a mere stranger, or to one whose temper, whose humour, whose designs he is ignorant of; so cannot he be a friend to himself ut, if he be unacquainted with his own disposition and meaning; he cannot in such a case rely upon his own advice or aid when need is, but will suspect and distrust himself; he cannot be pleasant company to himself, but shall be ready to cross and fall out with himself; he cannot administer consolation to his own griefs and distresses; his privacy will become a desertion, his retirement a mere folitude.
patriæ quis exul fe quoque fugit? Αυτός σεαυτώ χρω συμβέλω, και τω θεώ. Νaz. Epit. 6ο.
+ “Ένιοι τον ίδιον βίον ως άτερπίσατον θέμα προσιδείν έχ σομένουσιν, ουδ' ανακλάσαι τον λογισμών ως φώς έφ' εαυλές και περιαγαγείν' αλλ' η ψυχη γέμoυσα κακών παντοδαπών, και φρίτλουσα, και φοβουμένη τα έκδο», εκAnda Jupati, &c. Plut. de Curiol. p. 916. A a
S ER M. But passing over this general advantage, I shall with xvII. fome more minutenefs of distinction consider divers
particular advantages accruing from the practice of this duty, together with the opposite inconveniences, which are consequent upon the neglect thereof, in the following discourse.
Keep thy Heart with all Diligence, &c.
Prov. iv. 23.
Keep thy Heart with all Diligence, &c.
practice of this duty, and the inconveniences of xviii. the neglect of it.
1. The constant and careful observation of our hearts will serve to prevent immoderate self-love and self-conceit; to render us sober and modest in our opinions concerning, and in our affections toward ourselves; qualifying us to comply with the apostolical precept, jen opoveão uteg in der opoveīv, that is, not to overween, or overvalue ourselves, and our own things : for he that, by serious inspection upon his own heart, shall discern how many fond, impure, and ugly thoughts do twarm within him; how averse his inclinations are from good, and how prone to evil ; how much his affections are misplaced and distempered (while he vehemently delights in the possession, and impotently frets for the want of trifles, having small content in the fruition, and but sender dila pleasure for the absence of the greatest goods ; while empty hopes exalt him, and idle fears deject him; while other various passions, like so many tempests, drive and toss him all about); who shall observe, how
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