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DIFFICULTY

OF KNOWING One's SELF.

A

SERMON.

Printed in the Year MDCCLII.

The Manuscript Title Page of the following

Sermon being loft, and no Memorandums written upon it, as there were upon the others, when and where it was preached, made the Editor doubtful whether he should print it as the DEAN's, or not. But its being found amongst the fame Papers; and the Hand, although written fomewhat better, bearing a great Similitude to the DEAN's, made him willing to lay it before the Publick, that they might judge whether the Stile and Manner also do not render it still more probable to be his.

THE

DIFFICULT Y

of

KNOWING One's Self.

2 Kings viii.. Part of the 13th Versé. And Hazael said, But what, is thy Servant a

Dog, that he mould do this great Thing ?

UÍTE have a very signal Instance of

the Deceitfulness of the Heart, reprefented to us in the Person of Hazael; who was sent to the Prophet Elisha, to enquire of the Lord concerning his Master the King of Syria's Recovery. For the Man of God having told him that the King might recover from the Diforder he was then labouring under, began to set and fasten his Countenance upon him of a sudden, and to break out into the most violent VOL. VIII.

Expressions Expressions of Sorrow, and a deep Concern for it; whereupon, when Hazael, full of Shame and Confufion, asked, Why weepeth my Lord? He answered, Because I know all the Évil that thou wilt do unto the Children of Israel; their Atrong Holds wilt thou set on Fire, and their young Men wilt thou slay with the Sword, and wilt dash their Children, and rip up their Women with Child. Thus much did the Man of God fay and know of him, by a Light darted into his Mind from Heaven. But Hazael, not knowing himself so well as the other did, was startled and amazed at the Relation, and would not believe it possible, that a Man of his Temper could ever run out into such enormous InItances of Cruelty and Inhumanity. What, fayeth he, is thy Servant a Dog, that he should do this great Thing ?

And yet, for all this, it is highly probable, that he was then that very Man, he could not imagine himself to be ; for we find him, on the very next Day after his Return, in a very treacherous and disloyal Manner, murdering his own Master, and usurping his Kingdom; which was but a Prologue to the fad Tragedy which he afterwards acted upon the People of Ifrael.

And now the Case is but very little better with moft Men, than it was with Hazael ; however it cometh to pass, they are wonderfully unacquainted with their own Temper and Disposition, and know very little of what passeth

within them : For of so many proud, ambitious, revengeful, envying, and ill-natured Perfons that are in the World, where is there one of them, who, although he hath all the Symptoms of the Vice appearing upon every Occafion, can look with such an impartial Eye upon himself, as to believe that the Imputation thrown upon him, is not altogether groundless and unfair? Who, if he were told by Men of a discerning Spirit and a strong Conjecture, of all the evil and absurd Things which that false Heart of his would at one Time or other betray him into, would not believe as little, and wonder as much, as Hazael did before him? Thus, for Instance : Tell än angry Person, that he is weak and impotent, and of no Consistency of Mind; tell him, that such or such a little Accident, which he may then despise, and think much below a Passion, shall hereafter make him say and do several absurd, indiscreet, and misbecoming Things : He may perhaps own, that he hath a Spirit of Refentment within him, that will not let him be imposed on, but he fondly imagines, that he can lay a becoming Restraint upon it when he pleaseth, although it is ever running away with him into some Indecency or other. · Therefore, to bring down the Words of my Text to our present Occasion, I shall endeavour, in a further Prosecution of them, to evince the great Necessity of a nice and curious Inspection into the several Receffes of the Heart, that Y a

being

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