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Self Knowledge.

Self Knowledge.

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BY James DeKoven

" For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." —
1 Cor. xl 81.
BY James DeKoven

" For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." —
1 Cor. xl 81.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 09, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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SELF-KOWLEDGE.BY James DeKoven" For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." — 1 Cor. xl 81.I showed you on Septuagesima Sunday, that becauseeach one of us has sinned, each one is liable to the punish-ment of sin. Here or hereafter, in body, soul, or spirit,or in all, as sure as the relation of effect to cause, our . sinwill find us out. It may tarry, it may seem to have missedus ; but nearer and nearer comes the hour of judgmentand the terrible sentence. Can we escape it ? Can wemitigate it ? Can we so judge ourselves now as to fore-stall God's judgment? And if so, how, and in whatmanner ?Fit thoughts are these to-day, and meet to be consid-ered, when the Church calls us to repentance.Ash Wednesday is at hand, with its woe and tears andlamentation. " Turn ye even unto Me," says God, " withweeping and with fasting and with mourning, and rendyour heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lordyour God." The rending of the heart — repentance — theDigitized byGoogleSELF-KOWLEDGE. 91turning to God — without these what avail all things else ?What avail happiness, or easy days, or high spirit, or thefreshness of youth, or riches, or pleasure, or joyous pros-pects, if for ever more it sounds in our ears that " for allthese things God shall bring us unto judgment " ?
I ask then your consideration of the first step toward atrue repentance — self-knowledge.In the first place, I remark, that there is no knowledgeso difficult, none in which we are so liable to make mis-takes, as in the attempt after self-knowledge. " He thattrusteth in his own heart," says the wise man, " is a fool."I must appeal to your own experience for the proof of ttiis assertion. There is one whom you have known,and known intimately, for many years. You have seenhim under many and various circumstances. He has beentried in your presence, and you have discovered just howfar he can be depended upon. You know his weaknessand his strength, his failings and his virtues. You haveseen him in times of joy and of sorrow. You feel that if you know any person, you know him. You make allow-ances, in forming your judgment, for either your affectionor your dislike. You remember also that even under themost favorable circumstances, no man can fully under-stand or read another man. But with these allowances,you sit in judgment on your friend, and either to yourself or to others pronounce your sentence. You say he has suchand such qualities, such gifts, such powers, such faults, suchweaknesses, such virtues ; you say he is selfish, or coward-ly, or hard-hearted, or covetous, or quick-tempered, orproud, or envious ; or that he is gentle, and generous, andforbearing, and humble. If this sentence of yours uponyour friend be coincided in by other people, if it be notDigitized byGoogle92 SERMOS.only your own judgment, but the judgment of others whoknow him as well as yourself, you feel as certain of it asyou can be of anything earthly. But now does this per-son upon whom you pronounce judgment agree with you ?Would you dare to tell him exactly what you think of 
him? Would you expect that he would coincide withyou ? Has he not an entirely different, and most often amuch more favorable opinion of himself than you can pos-sibly admit ? Is he not angry with you if you hint at thetruth ? ay, is he not most angry and most vigorouslyprotesting about the very points in which you feel thatyou are most correct ?Let me appeal also to your own experience. Have younever become conscious that, at some past period of yourlife, you have been in a state of the most utter delusion inregard to a course of conduct which you adopted ? Someone did you a wrong ; you resolved to meet it as youthought in a proper spirit. You felt that you were digni-fied, and self-restrained, and high-toned, and justified bycircumstances ; you flattered yourself that in a trying posi-tion you had acquitted yourself as you ought to do ; youprided yourself on your manliness, and self-respect, andproper pride ; and the occasion passed by. ow you look back upon it, perhaps after a lapse of years. The provo-cation, and he who provoked it, are things of the past.How does the course of conduct you thought so well of then look to you now ? Has not the manliness becomesinful self-assertion ; the proper pride, eager self-will ; thedignity and self-restraint, unforgiving anger ? In short,do you not now see that you did not know yourself at all,but were walking in a vain shadow ? And if this be soabout one thing, may it not be true about many ? If it beDigitized byGoogleSELF-KOWLEDGE. 93true of the past, may it not be true of the present ? Mayyou not be utterly and wholly ignorant of yourself ? LikeEphraim of old, may you not have gray hairs upon youhere and there, and know it not ? And, if you thus knowless of yourself than your fellow-men, how far short mustyour knowledge fall, of what the angels see, of what Al-

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