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accomplish much by the due exercise of reflection, and positive efforts of the mind. But they, who are endued with wisdom and grace from above, possess a decided advantage over others. They find their only remedy in, and derive their only supports from experimental religion.




1. SAY not that this is irrelevant, or foreign to the subject: here, indeed, is the source of the evil

Nothing in nature is more unknown to man than himself.'1 гvæli σeautov, Know thyself, was a saying of Solon, which was thought worthy to be inscribed in gold on the front of the most renowned temple of Apollo, and is respected to this day by all wise men. Even St. Paul asked, "Know ye not your own selves?" Self-knowledge is so important a science that the excellent Mason thought it worthy to embrace a volume by itself-a work deserving much more than a common reading. There can, in fact, be no proper self-government without self-knowledge: whoever, therefore, sincerely wishes to improve and regulate his temper, will do well to study, as a primary principle, the genius of his nature, and its peculiar bias or failing. He may, by the light of nature, come to

1 Mr. Adam's Private Thoughts.

the conclusion, as many heathens have, that man is greatly lapsed from his original constitution; but I must remind him that he can know nothing certainly and perfectly, any more than the heathen, except by the effectual teaching of the Holy Spirit, whose office and prerogative it is to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.1 Common reason tells us that theft and lying, intemperance, and angry passions, and violence and murder, are evils flowing from our nature; but it is by a far higher light than the best human reason, that we come to confess with St. Paul,"the law is spiritual, but I am carnal.”2


2. I apprehend that few comparatively, even among Christian professors, really and seriously study human nature with any adequate attention. They read the scriptures and hear sermons, and listlessly fall in with common opinions without question or investigation, and tenaciously hold, it may be, the common errors about human capacity, dignity, clemency, &c. shudder at reports of the flagrant outbreakings of sin, and seem wonder that men will do or even can do such abominable wickedness,-regarding such extreme acts as contingent excrescences, rather than as the natural fruit of the old stock, which all the branches, more or less, bear. In fact they lose sight of those strong and positive declarations of God, that all flesh hath corrupted its way; that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, so that none can fully know it;3 seeming to forget, too, that human nature is precisely and essentially the same in all, that all are 2 Read Rom. chap. vii.

John xvi. 8.

3 Gen. vi. Jer. xvii. 9. Mark vii. 21. Gal, v. 19.

prone to the same excesses, and have, in their pristine constitution, the seeds of the same iniquity.

3. The opinion of that acute Scotchman, Dr. Cheyne, so characteristically delivered to one who was talking of the excellency and dignity of human nature, is that of every one who has been truly convinced of sin by the Holy Ghost,' Hoot, hoot, mon, human nature is a rogue and scoundrel! or why should it perpetually stand in need of laws and religion to keep it in bounds?'

4. A sensible writer in the Guardian, who, I apprehend, had little proper knowledge of religion, expresses himself as follows: I must confess there is something in the changeableness and inconstancy of human nature, that very often both dejects and terrifies me. Whatever I am at present, I tremble to think what I may be. While I find this principle in me, how can I assure myself that I shall be always true to my God, my friend, or myself?' No man indeed knows what he is capable of, if left to himself and the will of Satan. The Christian's antidote against such painful apprehensions, is in his assured hope and reliance in Him who has overcome the wicked one, and has pledged his word that he will preserve his people to the end.

5. Another elegant writer remarks, Would a man know himself, he must study his natural temper, his constitutional inclinations, and favourite passions; for by these a man's judgment is easily perverted, and a wrong bias hung upon his mind. These are the inlets of prejudice, the unguarded avenues of the mind, by which a thousand errors and secret faults find admis

sion, without being observed or taken notice of.' i


6. I have already treated largely on the diversity of tempers; and it answers to reason that, without some attentive regard to one's own peculiar turn of mind, bias, or failing, we can never cultivate temper with any adequate success. He who is naturally warm, sanguine,2 or hasty, should be particularly on his guard under all circumstances. This special regard to our peculiar temper demands priority of attention to all other studies. To this effect a grave writer saith, Include thyself, O my soul, within the compass of thine own heart; if it be not large it is deep, and thou wilt there find exercise enough....Concern not thyself with the wars and quarrels of public or private persons. Take cognizance of those contests which are between thy flesh and thy spirit; betwixt the law of thy members and that of thy understanding. Appease those differences. Teach thy flesh to be in subjection, replace reason on its throne, and let piety be its counsellor. Tame thy passions, and bring them under bondage. Put thy little state in good order; govern wisely and holily those numerous people which are contained in so little a kingdom; that is to say, that multitude of affections, thoughts, opinions, and passions, which are in thine heart.' 3

7. Dr. Evans, with great propriety comme..ces his volume of sermons on the Christian temper with this text-Ye know not what manner of spirit

1 Addison.

2 Doubtless this sanguine disposition requires much correction and regulation by divine grace.'-REV. T. SCOTT.

3 Jurius. Method of Devotion.

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