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SERM. pafseth for a goodly ornament, a rich possession, a matter XLIV. of great satisfaction, and much use: men are commonly

afhamed of nothing so much as ignorance; but if any knowledge meriteth esteem for its worth and usefulness, this, next to that concerning Almighty God, may surely best pretend thereto; if any ignorance deserveth blame, this certainly is most liable thereto: to be studious in contemplating natural effects, and the causes whence they proceed; to be versed in the writings and stories of other men's doings; to be pragmatical observers of what is said or done without us, (that which perchance may little concern, little profit us to know,) and in the mean while to be strangers at home, to overlook what pafleth 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 affume and attribute to ourselves that which doth not anywise belong unto us, or become us : as put 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 thém: in like manner, if we be strangers to our hearts, Thall we carry ourselves toward our ownselves ; we fhall 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 wretchKex.iii. 17. edly mean and beggarly. We do frequently hug our

selves, (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; whenas, did we turn our thoughts inwards, and regard what we find in our hearts, by what inclinations we are moved, upon what grounds we proceed, we should be ashamed, and see cause rather to SER M. bemoan than to bless ourselves: descending into ourselves, XLIV. we might perchance discern that most of our gallant per-ve nemo in formances (such as not considering our hearts we presume fefe tentat them to be) are derived from self-love or pride; from de-defcendere, fire 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 fober regard to our own true welfare and happiness; which are the only commendable principles and grounds of action. St. Luke telleth us of Luke xviii. certain men, who persuaded themselves that they were?. righteous, and despised others; upon occasion of whom our Saviour dictated the parable of the Pharisee and Publican. Whence, think we, came that fond confidence in themselves, and proud contempt of others? From ignorance furely of themselves, or from not observing those bad dilpositions, those wrong opinions, those corrupt fountains within, from whence their supposed righteous deeds did. flow b. If any man, faith St. Paul, giving an account of Gal. vi. 3. such presumptions, thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, łautòv opevaratą, he cheats himself in his mind; but let every man examine his work, and then he shall have rejoicing in himself alone, (or privately with himself;) {autor some, he implieth, do impose upon and delude themselves, uomo. imagining themselves somebodies, (endued forsooth with admirable qualities, or to have achieved very worthy deeds;) whenas, if they would inquire 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, explore and examine what he doeth, and in result thereof doth clearly perceive, that he acteth upon good reasons, and with honeft intentions, then may he indeed enjoy a solid interior satisfaction, (a true xaúxnud, or exultation of mind,) whatever others, not acquainted with those inward springs of his motion, do please to judge of him and his proceedings. No man indeed can truly value himself, or well approve of his own

και Ρώσον εαυτόν απατάν, και ολισθαι είναι τι έδέν όντα, υπό της κενης δόξης φυσιGuinov. Nazianz. Orat. 27.

II pes

SERM, doings, so as to find any perfect comfort in himself, or in XLIV. 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 aequaint himself with his own inward state, who doth not frequently consult and converse with himself: a friend to himself, I said; and to be fo is one of the greatest benefits that human life can enjoy; that which will most sweeten and solace our life to us: friendfhip with others (with persons honest and intelligent) is a great accommodation, helping much to allay the troubles, and ease the burdens 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; fo cannot he be a friend to himself, if he be unacquainted with his own disposition and meaning d; 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 crofs and fall out with himself; he cannot administer consolation to his own griefs and distreffes ; his privacy will become a defertion, his retirement a mere folitude. But passing over this general advantage, I shall with some more minuteness 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.

-patriæ quis exul fe quoque fugit?
Αυτός σεαυτώ χρω συμβέλη, και το θεώ. Νaz. Epit. 6ο.

4 "Ειοι τον ίδιον βίον ως άτερπίσατον θίμα προσιδείν έχ υπομένεσιν, εδ' ανακλάσει τον λογισμών ως φώς έφ' εαυτές και περιαγαγείν' αλλ' η ψυχή γέρυσά κεκών ταντοδαπών, και φρίσσα, και φοβεμένη, τα Ινδον, εκπηδά θύραζε, σεPia. Curios. p. 916.



PROV, iv. 23

Keep thy heart with all diligence, &c. I PROCEED to the particular advantages of the practice SERM. of this duty, and the inconveniences of the negle&t of it.

XLV. 1. The constant and careful observation of our hearts will serve to prevent immoderate felf-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 apoftolical precept, kes Qgoveīv únèp Ô dei opo- Rom. xii. 3. veiv, that is, not to overween, or overvalue ourselves, and our own things : for he that, by serious inspection upon his own heart, shall difcern how many fond, impure, and ugly thoughts do swarm within him ; how averse his inclinations are from good, and how prone to evil; how much his affe&tions 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 Nender displeasure 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 obferve, how clouds of darkness, error, and doubt do hover upon the face of his soul ; so that he quickly taketh up opinions, and soon layeth them down, and often turneth from one mistake unto another; how unsettled his resolutions are, especially in the pursuance of the best goods, and

SERM. what corrupt mixtures cleave to his beft purposes; who XLV. taketh notice how backward he is unto, and how cold in,

devotions toward God; how little sensible of his goodness, or fearful of his displeasure, or zealous for his honour, or careful of performing his duty toward him; how little also it is that he desireth or delighteth in the good, that he pitieth and grieveth at the evil of his neighbour; how Pluggish also and remiss he is in the pursuance of his own best affairs, and highest concernments; he that doth, I say, frequently with heedfulness regard these imperfections and obliquities in his own heart, how can he be ravished with self-love? How can he be much taken with himself? Can any man dote upon such deformity, admire such weakness and naughtiness? No surely : that men are so amorous of themselves, so haughty and arrogant in their conceits, doth constantly arise from not reflecing on their own hearts; not beholding themselves wiftly enough in

that mirror; not considering, according to just representation there, how little lovely or worthy they are: if they did practise that, they would fee reason, and thence become inclinable, rather to despise, to loathe, to pity themfelves.

2. Upon that advantage is consequent, that this practice

will dispose us with equanimity and patience to bear all quicquid patiare fe-. crosses and grievances befalling us; so producing not only Ovid.Ep.s. an excellent virtue, but a confiderable solace to us; for the

being conscious of so much unworthiness, which observation of our heart will necessarily discover, will not only justify the providence, (so removing all just cause of complaint,) but will commend the benignity of God unto us,

(so administering good matter of thanks.) "It will prompt Ezra ix. 13. us heartily to confess with those in Ezra, that our punish

ments are less than our deservings; to join in acknowledg. Pf. ciii, 10. ment with the Pfalmift, that God hath not dealt with us

after our pns, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities ; Lam. iii.22. fo say with Jeremy, It is of the Lord's mercy that we are

not consumed, because his compafons fail not; with Jacob, Gen. xxxii. I am less than any of thy mercies.

3. Particularly this practice will fence us against immo

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Leniter ex merito


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