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into the House of Mourning, spreads a Meekness over the Mind, and creates a Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness; whilst Richness and Fulness place us in the Scorner's Chair, a Chair of the strongest Enchantment, which scarce ever any Person was known to get out of again. To the Poor the Gospel was preached, by them it was received, the heavy-laden were refreshed with it: The Rich and the Righteous were sent empty away; they went away laughing; they neither wanted, nor sought, nor found any thing
The Idea we form of ourselves, will be the great Director of our Conduct and Manners in all Instances: 'Tis our own Character of ourselves, which we make our chief Business to support, and exhibit to others, in all our Behaviour: It will strongly tincture all our Thoughts, Words and Actions. Now tho' Men do generally take up
their Opinion of themselves upon a flighter Enquiry and Examination, than perhaps any other Opinion whacsoever, yet it is plainly of the utmost Importance, and the most extensive Influence. A Blunder here makes our whole Lives a Misery to our selves, and an Impertinence at leaft, perhaps a Plague to others. As to the Particular before us, this Fulness of Sufficiency of Mind, and the Glee of Complacency arising from it, nothing can possibly be more incompatible with our true Interest, or more incongruous with respect to others. The belt and wisest of Men carry about them many Failings and much Ignorance, and whoever in his Account of himself overlooks all this, and makes it no Part of his character, must not only form a wrong Judgment of himself, but such a kind of wrong Judgment as extends its Wrongness to almost all other Particulars; to all at
least of a moral Nature. There can be no greater Mistake, than for an empty Creature to think himself full, and to act under that Presumption : And they must be the empriest of all Creatures, who thus think and act. If we say that we have no Sin, we deceive our selves in the grossest manner, and the Truth is not in us: We have no Part, nor Lot in this matter, no Conformity to Truth.
In our Intercourse with others, we naturally make Comparisons betwixt them and our felves : Every Man may not do this in a formal explicit Manher, but we all do it in some way or other. Now what sort of Comparisons must they make, who see nothing in themselves, but Excellencies, and in others, nothing but Defects ? What can follow but Laughter and Insult, Mockery and Scorn?
Some Degree of Self-Complacency is necessary to us; Our Beings
would be insupportable without it : And perhaps there are
not many Men, who do not improve their SelfComplacency into Self-Preference in some Particular or other; and there may be no great Harm done in this: Because, whilst we have our Eye on some single Accomplishment of our own, we shall be more diligent to improve it within our selves, as well as more industrious to exhibit it as an Example to others. Neither does it preclude us from observing the Excellencies of others, and submitting our selves to them, except perhaps in that
which the SelfPreference is grounded. Here is so far room for a fair and equal Correspondence to sublist; we are contented to take our Turns in it.
But where Fulness and Sufficiency of Mind, and their Offspring, Contempe and Ridicule take place, there is not only the most effectual Stop Vol. I.
put to all private improvement, but the Balance of Conversation and mutual Intercourse is entirely destroyed. Such Men have no Patience of Mind to attend to long and difficult Researches: Their Fulness is their Evidence in all Cases; their first Thoughts are their last; if they are persuaded, they are not convinced, because their Value of themselves is far greater, than; of Truth. They regard themselves only; everything is due to them : The rest of Mankind are made only to serve, admire, and applaud them; if they pay this Homage, well; if not, the next Business is to make them feel their Refentment.
How such a Conduct must affect the rest of Mankind, every one of whom have their several Merits and Ambitions, is no very difficult Enquiry; the Reason of the thing, as well as our daily Experience will inform us. There will indeed be always