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as not only to deceive the spectator, but the ceived ourselves. If any acquaintance beartist. Self-love in its various artifices to tray us, we take warning, are on the watch, deceive us to our min, sometimes makes and are careful not to trust him again. But use of a means, which, if properly used, is however frequently the bosom traitor deone of the most beneficial that can be de- ceive and mislead, no such determined vised to preserve us trom its infiuence--the stand is made against his treachery : we lie perusal of pious books.
as open to his next assault as if he had neBut these very books in the hands of the ver betrayed us. We do not profit by the ignorant, the indolent, and the self-satisfieri, remembrance of the past delusion to guard produce an effect directly contrary to that against the future. which they were intended to produce, and yet if another deceive us, it is only in which they actually do produce on ininds matters respecting this world; but we deprepared for the perusal. They inflate ceive ourselves in things of eternal moment, where they were intended to bumble. As The treachery of others can only affect our some hypochondriacs, who amuse their fortune or our fame, or at worst our peace; melancholy hours with consulting indiscri- but the internal traitor may mislead us to our minately every medical book which falls in everlasting destruction. We are too much their way, fancy they find their own case in disposed to suspect others who probably every page, their own ailment in the ail- have neither the inclination for the power ment of every patient, till they believe they to injure us, but we seldom suspect our own actually feel every pain of which they read, heart though it possesses and employs both. though the work treats of cases diametri- We ought however fairly to distinguish becally opposite to their own :--so the religi-tween the simple vanity and the hypocrisy ous valetudinarian, as unreasonably elated of self-love. Those who content themselves as the others are depressed, reads books with talking as if the praise of virtue implidescriptive of a highly religious state, with ed the practice, and who expect to be the same unhappy self-application. He thought good, because they cominend goodfeels his spiritual pulse by a watch that has ness, only propagate the deceit which has no movements in common with it, ret he fan- misled themselves, whereas hypocrisy does cies that they go exactly alike. Ile dwells not even believe herself. She has deeper with delight on symptoms, not one of which motives; she has designs to answer, combelongs to him, and flatters himself with petitions to promote, projects to effect. their supposed agreement. Ile observes in But mere vanity can subsist on the thin air those books what are the signs of grace, and of the admiration she solicits, without intenhe observes them with complete self-appli-ding to get any thing by it. She is gratucation ; he traces what are the evilences of itous in her loquacity ; tor she is ready to being in God's favour, and those evidences cisplay lier own merit to those who have he finds in himself.
nothing to give in return, whose applause Self-ignorance appropriates truths faith-brings no profit, and whose censure no disfully stated but wholly inapplicable. The grace. presumption of the novice arrogates to itself. It is not strange that we should judge of the experience of the advanced Christian. things not according to the opinion of others He is persuaded that it is his own case, and in cases foreign to ourselves; cases on which seizes on the consolations which belong only we have no correct means of determining ; to the most elevated piety, Self-knowledge, but we do it in things which relate immewould correct the judgment. It would teach diately to ourselves, thus making not truth us to use the pattern held out as an original but the opinion of others our standard in to copy, instead of leading us to fancy that points which others cannot know, and of we are already wrought into the assimila- which we ought not to be ignorant. We tion. It would teach us when we read the are as fond of the applauses even of the history of an established Christian, to la- upper gallery as the dramatic poet. Like bour after a conformity to it, instead of mis- him we affect to despise the mob considertaking it for the delineation of our own cha- ed as individual judges, yet as a mass, we racter,
covet their applause. Like him we feel Human prudence, daily experience, self- strengthened by the number of voices in love, all teach us to distrust others, but all our favour, and are less anxious about the motives combined do not teach us to distrust goodness of the work, than the loudness of ourselves; we confide unreservedly in our the acclamation. Success is merit in the own heart, though as a guide it misleads, as eye of both. a counsellor it betrays. It is both party and But even though we may put more refinejudge. As the one, it blinds through igno- ment into our self-love, it is self-love still. rance, as the other, it acquits through No subtlety of reasoning, no elegance of partiality.
taste, though it may disguise the radical prinThough we value ourselves upon our disciple, can destroy it. We are still too niuch cretion in not confiding too implicitly in in love with flattery, even though we may others, yet it would be difficult to find any profess to despise that praise which depends friend, any neighbour, or even any enemy on the acclamations of the vulgar. But if who has deceived us so often as we have de- ! we are over anxious for the admiration of the better born and the better bred, this bymerit but they who want penetration. If we no means proves that we are not vain ; it cannot refuse them discernment, we peronly proves that our vanity has a better suade ourselves that they are not so much taste. Our appetite is not coarse enough insensible to our worth as envious of it. perhaps to relish that popularity which or. There is no shift, stratagem, or device dinary ambition covets, but do we never which we do not employ to make us stand feed in secret upon the applauses of more well with ourselves. distinguished judges? Is not their having We are too apt to calculate our own chaextolled our merit a confirmation of our racter unfairly in two ways; by referring to discernment, and the chief ground of our some one signal act of generosity, as if such high opinion of theirs?
acts were the common habit of our lives, But if any circumstance arise to induce and by treating our habitual faults, not as them to change the too favourable opinion common habits, but occasional failures. which they had formed of us, though their There is scarcely any fault in another which general character remain unimpeachable, offends is more than vanity, though perand their gercral conduct as meritorious as haps there is none that really injures us so when we most admired them, do we not be- little. We have no patience that another gin to judge them unfavourably? Do we not should be as full of self-love as we allow begin to question their claim to that discern- ourselves to be ; so full of himself as to hare ment which we had ascribed to them, to sus- little leisure to attend to us. We are par. pect the soundness of tlieir judgment which ticularly quick sighted to the smallest of his we had so loudly commended ? It is well limperfections which interferes with our if we do not entertain some doubt of the self-esteem, while we are lenient to his rectitude of their principles, as we pro-more grave offences, which by not coming bably do of the reality of their friendship. in contact with our vanity, do not shock our We donot candidly allow forthe effect which self-love. prejudice, which misrepresentation which Is it not strarge that though we love ourparty may produce even on an upright mind. selves so much better than we love any other Still less does it enter into our calculation person, yet there is hardly one, however litthat we may actually have deserved their ile we value him, that we had not rather be disapprobation, that something in our con- alone with, that we had not rather converse cluct may have incurred the change in with, that we had not rather come to close theirs.
quarters with, than ourselves? Scarcely It is no low attainment to detect this lurk-one whose private history, whose thoughts, ing injustice in our hearts, to strive against feelings, actions, and motives we had not it, to pray against it, and especially to con- rather pry into than our own. Do we not quer it. We may reckon that we have ac-use every art and contrivance to avoid getquired a sound principle of integrity when ting at the truth of our own character ? Do prejudice no longer blinds our judgment, we not endeavour to keep curselves ignorant nor resentment biases our justice; when wel of what every one else knows respecting do not make our opinion of another depend our faults, and do we not account that man on the opinion which we conceive he enter- our enemy, who takes on himself the best tains of us. We must keep a just measure, office of a friend, that of opening to us our and hold an even balance in judging of our- real state and condition ? selves as well as of others. We must have The little satisfaction people find when no false estimate which shall incline to con- they faithfully look within, makes them fly demnation without, or to partiality within. more eagerly to things without. Early The examining principle must be kept practice and long habit might conquer the sound, or our determination will not be ex-repugnance to look at home, and the fondact. It must be at once a testimony of our ness for looking abroad. Familiarity often rectitude, and an incentive to it.
makes us pleased with the society which, in order to improve this principle, we while strangers, we dreaded. Intimacy should make it a test of our sincerity to with ourselves might produce a similar search out and to commend the good quali-effect. ties of those who do not like us. But this We might perhaps collect a tolerably just must be done without affectation, and with knowledge of our own character, could we out insincerity. We must practice no false ascertain the real opinion of others respectcandour. If we are not on our guard weling us ; but that opinion being, except in a may be laying out for the praise of generosi-moment of resentment, carefully kept from ty, while we are only exercising a simple us by our own precautions, profits us noact of justice. These refineinents of self-thing. We do not choose to know their selove are the dangers only of spirits of the cret sentiments, because we do not choose higher order, but to such they are dangers to be cured of our error ; because we “love
The ingenuity of self-deceit is inexhausti- darkness rather than light;' because we cone ble. If people extol us, we feel our good ceive that in parting with our vanity, re opinion of oerselves confirmed. If they dis- should part with the only comfort we have, like us, we do not think the worse of our that of being ignorant of our own faults. selves, but of them ; it is not we who want! Self-knowledge would materially contribute to our happiness, by curing us of that ed, a sort of religious self-deceit, an affection self-sufficiency which is continually exposing of humility which is in reality full of life, us to mortifications. The hourly rubs and which resolves all importance into what vexations which pride undergoes, is far concerns self, which only looks at things as more than an equivalent for the short in- they refer to life. This religious vanity opetoxication of pleasure which it snatches. rates in two ways :- We not only fly out at
The enemy within is always in a confede-the imputation of the smallest individual racy with the eneiny without, whether that fault, while at the same time we affect to enemy be the world or the devil. The do- charge ourselves with more corruption than mestic foe accommodates itself to their al-is attributed to us; but on the other hand, lurements, flatter's our weaknesses, throws while we are lamenting our general want of a veil over our vices, tarnishes our good | all goodness, we fight for every particle that deeds, gilds our bad ones, hoodwinks our is disputed. The one quality that is in quesjudgment, and works hard to conceal our tion always happens to be the very one to internal springs of action,
which we must lay claim, however deficient Self-love has the talent of imitating what-in others, – Thus, while renouncing the preever the world admires, even though it tensions to every virtue, 'we depreciate ourshould be the Christian virtues. It leads us selves into all.' We had rather talk even of from our regard to reputation to avoid all our faults than not occupy the foreground of vices, not only which would bring punish- the canvass, ment but discredit by the commission. It Humility does not consist in telling our can even assume the zeal and copy the ac- faults, but in bearing to be told of them ; in tivity of Christian charity. It communicates hearing them patiently and even thankfully; to our conduct those properties and graces, in correcting ourselves when told ; in not manifested in the conduct of those who are hating those who tell us of them. If we were actuated by a sounder motive. The differ-little in our own eyes, and felt our real insigence lies in the ends proposed. The object nificance, we should avoid false humility as of the one is to please God, of the other to much as mere obvious vanity ; but we selobtain the praise of man.
|dom dwell on our faults except in a general Self-love judging of the feelings of others way, and rarely on those of which we are by its own, is aware that nothing excites so really guilty. We do it in the hope of being much odium as its own character would do, contradicted, and thus of being confirmed in if nakedly exhibited. We feel, by our the secret good opinion we entertain of ourown disgust at its exhibition in others, how selves. It is not enough that we inveigh much disgust we ourselves should excite did against ourselves, we must in a manner forwe not invest it with the soft garb of gen- get ourselves. This oblivion of self from a tle manners and polished address. When pure principle, would go further towards our therefore we would not condescend' to take advancement in christian virtue, than the the lowest place, to think others better than most splendid actions performed on the opourselves, to be courteous and pitiful,' on the posite ground. true scripture ground, politeness steps in as That self-knowledge which teaches us huthe accidental substitute of humility, and mility, teaches us compassion also. The sick the counterfeit brilliant is willingly worn by pity the sick. They sympathize with the those who will not be at the expense of the disorder of which they feel the symptoms in jewel.
themselves, Self-knowledge also checks inThere is a certain elegance of mind which justice by establishing the equitable princiwill often restrain a well-bred man trom sor- ple of showing the kindness we expect to did pleasures and gross voluptuousness. He receive; it represses ambition by convinwill be led by his good taste perhaps not cing us how little we are entitled to superionly to abhor the excesses of vice, but to ad- ority ; it renders adversity profitable by letmire the theory of virtue. But it is only the ting us see how much we deserve it; it crapule of vice which he will abhor. Ex- makes prosperity safe, by directing our quisite gratifications, soberluxury, incessant hearts to him who confers it, instead of rebut not unmeasured enjoyment, form the ceiving it as the consequence of our own principle of his plan of life, and if he ob- desert. serve a temperance in his pleasures, it is! We even carry our self-importance to only because excess would take off the edge, the foot of the throne of God. When prosdestroy the zest, and abridge the gratifica-trate there we are not required, it is true, tion. By resisting gross vices he flatters him to forget ourselves, but we are required to self that he is a temperate man, and that he remember him. We have indeed much has made all the sacrifices which self-denial sin to lament, but we have also much merimposes. Inwardly satisfied, he compares cy to adore. We have much to ask, but we himself with those who have sunk into have likewise much to acknowledge. Yet coarser indulgences, enjoys his own superi- our infinite obligations to God do not fill our ority in health, credit, and unimpaired fa-hearts half as much as a petty uneasiness of culties, and triumphs in the dignity of his our own; nor his infinite perfections as own character.
much as our own smallest want. There is, if the expression may be allow-) The great, the only effectual antidote to
self-love, is to get the love of God and of our by a fiery defence prejudiced the cause neighbour firmly rooted in the heart. Yet which he might perhaps have advanced by let us ever bear in mind that dependance on temperate argument and persuasive mildour fellow creatures is as carefully to be ness. Even a judicious silence under great avoided as love of them is to be cultivated. provocation is, in a warm temper, real forThere is none but God on whom the princi-| bearance. And though to keep silence from ples of love and dependance form but one good words' may be pain and grief, yet the duty.
pain and grief must be borne, and the silence must be observed.
We sometimes see imprudent religionists
glory in the attacks which their own indisCHAP. XIV.
cretion has invited. With more vanity than
truth they apply the strong and ill-chosen On the conduct of Christians in their inter-term of persecution, to the sneers and ridicourse with the irreligious.
cule which some impropriety of manner or
some inadvertency of their own has occaThe combination of integrity with discre- sioned. Now and then it is to be feared the tion is the precise point at which a serious censure may be deserved, and the high proChristian must aim in his intercourse, and fessor may possibly be but an indifferent moespecially in his debates on religion, with ralist. Even a good man, a point we are men of the opposite description. He must not snfficiently ready to concede, may have consider himself as not only having his own been blameable in some instance on which reputation but the honour of religion in his his censurers will naturally have kept a keen keeping. While he must on the one hand eye. On these occasions how forcibly does
set his face as a flint against any thing that the pointed caution recur, which was immay be construed into compromise or eva- plied by the divine moralist on the mount, sion, into denying or concealing any chris- and enforced by the apostle Peter, to distian truth, or shrinking from any command- tinguish for whose sake we are calumnied duty, in order to conciliate favour; he ated. must, on the other hand, be scrupulously By the way, this sharp look-out of worldcareful never to maintain a christian doc- ly men on the professors of religion, is not trine with an unchristian temper. In en-without very important uses. While it deavouring to convince he must be cautious serves to promote circumspection in the real not needlessly to irritate. He must distin- Christian, the detection to which it leads in guish between the honour of God and the the case of the hollow professor, forms a pride of his own character, and never be broad and useful line of distinction between pertinaciously supporting the one, under the two classes of characters so essentially dispretence that he is only maintaining the tinct, and yet so frequently, so unjustly, and other. The dislike thus excited against the so malevolently confounded. disputant is at at once transferred to the. The world believes, or at least affects to principle, and the adversary's unfavourable believe, that the correct and elegant mindopinion of religion is augmented by the faultsed religious man is blind to those errors and of its champion. At the same time, the in- infirmities, that eccentricity and bad taste, temperate champion puts its out ot his pow-that propensity to diverge from the straigbt er to be of any further service to the man line of prudence, which is discervible in whom his offensive manners have disgusted. some pious but ill-judging men, and which
A serious Christian, it is true, feels an ho-delight and gratify ihe enemies of true piety, nest indignation at hearing those truths on las furnishing them with so plausible'a which his everlasting hopes depend, lightly ground for censure. But if the more juditreated. He cannot but feel his heart rise cious and better informed Christian bears at the affront offered to his Maker. But in- with these infirmities, it is not that he das stead of calling down fire from heaven on not clearly perceive and entirely condemn the reviler's hearl, he will raise a secret sup- them. But he bears with what he disapplication to the God of heaven in his favour, proves for the sake of the zeal, the sincerity, which, if it change not the heart of his op- the general usefulness of these defective ponent, will not only tranquillize his own, characters : these good qualities are totally but soften it towards his adversary; for we overlooked by the censurer, who is ever on cannot easily hate the man for whom we the watch: to aggravate the failings which
Christian charity laments without extenuaFle who advocates the sacred cause of ting. It bears with them from the belief that Christianity, should be particularly aware of impropriety is less mischievous than carefancying that his being religious will atone lessness, a bad judgment than a bad heart, for his being disagreeable; that his ortho- and some little excesses of zeal than gros doxy will justify his uncharitableness, or his immorality or total indifference. zeal make up for his indiscretion. He must! We are not ignorant how much truth it. not persuade himself that he has been ser-self offends, though unassociated with any ving Goci, when he has only been gratifying thing that is displeasing. This furnishes ao his own resentment, when he has actually linportant rule not to add to the unavoidable offence, by mixing the faults of our own cha-Igion, the temper of her advocate may be a racter with the cause we support ; because new evidence of so engaging a kind, that his we may be certain that the enemy will take heart may be opened by the sweetness of the care never to separate them. He will al- one to the varieties of the other. He will at ways voluntarily maintain the pernicious as- least be brought to allow that that religion sociation in his own mind. He will never cannot be very bad, the fruits of which are think or speak of religion without connect-so amiable. "The conduct of the disciple ing with it the real or imputed bad qualities may in time bring him to the feet of the of all the religious men he knows or has Master. A new combination may be formheard of.
ed in his mind. He may begin to see what Let not then the friends of truth unneces- he had supposed antipathies reconciled, to sarily increase the number of her enemies, unite two things which he thòught as imLet her not have at once to sustain the as possible to be brought together as the two saults to which her divine character inevita-poles-he may begin to couple candour with bly subjects her, and the obloquy to which Christianity. the infirmities and foibles of her injudicious, But if the mild advocate fail to convince, and if there are any such, her unworthy he may persuade; even if he fail to persuade, champions expose her:
he will at least leave on the mind of the adBut we sometimes justify our rash vio-versary such favourable impressions, as lence under colour that our correct piety may induce him to inquire farther. He may cannot endure the faults of others. The Pha- be able to employ on some future occasion, risees, overflowing with wickedness them- to more effectual purpose, the credit which selves, made the exactness of their own vir- his forbearance will have obtained for him : tue a pretence for looking with horror on the whereas uncharitable vehemence would publicans whom our Saviour regarded with probably have forever shut the ears and compassionate tenderness, while he repro- closed the heart of his opponent against any bated with keen severity the sins, and espe- further intercourse. cially the censoriousness of their accusers. But if the temperate pleader should not be •Charity,' says an admirable French wri- so happy as to produce any considerable efter, is that law which Jesus Christ came fect on the mind of his antagonist, he is in down to bring into the world, to repair the any case pronoting the interests of his own divisions which sin has introduced into it: to soul; he is at least imitating the faith and be the proof of the reconciliation of man patience of the saints ; he is cultivating that with God, by bringing him into obedience to meek and quiet spirit of which his blessed the divine law ; to reconcile him to himself Mastergave at once the rule, the injunction, by subjugating his passions to his reason; and the praise, and in fine to reconcile him to all mankind, If ‘ali bitterness, and clamour, and maby curing him of the desire to domineer over lice, and evil speaking,' are expressly forthem.'
bidden in ordinany cases, surely the prohibiBut we put it out of our power to become tion must more peculiarly apply to the case the instruments of God in promoting the of religious controversialists. Suppose Volspiritual good of any one, if we stop up the taire and Hume had been left to take their avenue to his heart by violence or impru- measure of our religion (as one would really dence. We not only put it out of our power suppose they had) from the defences of to do good to all whom we disgust, but are Christianity by their very able contemporawe not liable to some responsibility for the ry, bishop Warburton. When they saw failure of all the good we might have done this Goliah in talents and learning, dealing them, had we not forfeited our intluence by about his ponderous blows, attacking with our indiscretion? What we do not to others, the same powerful weapons, not the enemies in relieving their spiritual as well as bodily only, but the friends of Christianity, who wants, Christ will punish as not having been happened to see some points in a different done to himself. This is one of the cases in light from himself; not meeting them as his which our own reputation is so inseparably opponents, but pouncing on them as his connected with that of religion, that we prey ; not seeking to defend himself, but should be tender of one for the sake of the tearing them to pieces ; waging offensive other.
war; delighting in unprovoked hostilityThe modes of doing good in society are when they saw him thus advocate the Chrisvarious. We should sharpen our discern- tian cause, with a spirit diametrically oppoment to discover them; and our zeal to pui site to Christianity, would they not exultingthem in practice. If we cannot open man's ly exclaim, in different opposition to the exeyes to the truth of religion by our argu-clamation of the apostolic age, “See how ments, we may perhaps open them to its these Christians hate one another!' Wherebeauty by our moderation. Though he may as had his vast powers of mind and astonishdislike Christianity in itself, he may, from ing compass of knowledge been sanctified admiring the forbearance of the Christian, by the angelic meekness of archbishop be at last led to admire the principle from Leighton, they would have been compelled which it flowed. If he have hitherto refu- to acknowledge, if Christianity be false, it sed to listen to the written evidences of reli-lis after all so amiable that it deserves to be VOL. I.