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or is fit to choose, “ qui eligit vel aptus est ad eligendum ;' and thence it comes to mean one who embraces and supports a sect. “Aipetixos, inquit Budæus, qui sectam alicujus amplectitur et fovet." See Stephens' Thesaurus. When used as a term of censure, it refers to those men who are desirous of promoting dissensions, the authors of sects, the leaders of parties, without reference to the opinions maintained by them; and has a bad sense only as those parties or sects are improper and injurious to those among whom they exist. The man who honestly holds peculiar opinions is not a heretic in the scripture sense of the word; (“ Errare possum, hereticus esse nolo," said St. Augustine," I may err, but I will not be heretic;") but he who promotes a separation from him, and thus causes difference and dissension in the church, is a heretic. See, in addition to the authorities above quoted, Dr. Campbell's criticism on the words, aiperis and aipetixos, in the ninth of his Preliminary Dissertations, part 4.

16

ON SELF-EXAMINATION. *

He who wishes to be virtuous, or useful, or wise, must seek to know his own character; he who wishes for happiness must both know and have power over himself, without which it is unattainable. That each one is better acquainted with himself than any one else, is probable ; that each one can know himself best, is certain. But either not being conscious of this power, or wanting disposition to exert it, another's opinion is often mistaken for our own consciousness, and the estimation of our character accommodated to the image reflected from another's mind. The opinions entertained concerning us cannot but affect us; and if we are disposed to consider only or principally what is said or thought that is good, or that alone which is bad, distrust of our powers, or a vain estimation of ourselves will be produced. Although then what is said of us may be of some assistance, and what is thought (could we know it) would be of much more, toward estimating ourselves; yet as others are liable to inaccuracy of judgment, as well as ourselves; as they have not the same means of knowing, and even, if they had, as we cannot, depend on our judgments of their opinions, or their expressions of opinion ; as we have in our full possession the subject of knowledge, and the instruments for examining it; we ought to form our opinion of our character principally from the observations which we can make upon ourselves.

Self-knowledge is to be acquired by honest and habitual examination. We may deceive ourselves as well as others;

* First published in the General Repository, for January, 1813. vol. iii. p. 52.

we may be reserved in our confessions when no ear hears them. There are favorite faults which may escape, from being the companions of our virtues; there are vices to which we may be lenient, because they have in them something of refinement and amiableness ; and the errors of weakness we may pity rather than condemn; when a good quality which is congenial to our natural disposition, has grown into a defect, we may be insensible to it; and from various motives by which we are actuated we may select those that are good, and imagine that they are the only ones which influence us, when they would be lost to a closer inspection in the crowd of unworthy inclinations. It is not unnecessary then to say that this examination should be honest, or to be impressed with the importance of sincerity and openness in our intercourse with ourselves. Truth, without any of the drapery of prejudice or opinion, must be the test of our actions; and we must reverence our judgment too much to attempt to deceive it, or suffer it to be misled.

It is not only when some unusually strong motives have affected us, when our actions have been attended with important consequences, and have had much in them to interest us, that we must ask, what manner of spirit we are of? Not alone when we are suffering from recent guilt; for the stain is then fresh, and disgusting, and may cover something better, and we may, it is possible, too much condemn ourselves. Nor only when our hearts are elevated and warmed by an act of uncommon goodness ; for it may dazzle us : after we have been looking at the sun we see its image on the cloud. Nor again when we are depressed and gloomy; for melancholy is a fog, which is oppressive and chilling, through which the rays of hope cannot penetrate, which obscures vision, which distorts every object, and magnifies what would be beauty into deformity, darkening the path which we are pursuing, and presenting only a prospect of misery and distress the fearful

monsters of diseased imagination. We then only recollect to condemn. At other times we may behold from the emin. ence of expectation the fair landscape of futurity, gilded by the rising sun, rich with promises of good that kindle desire and rouse exertion, whose only shades are for calm repose to refresh and invigorate, and which produces delight alloyed only by the regret that we are not already in possession. This is when health has given activity and spirits ; or when our cheerfulness is excessive from physical excitement, from much company, from uncommon praises, or the flattering attentions of those whom we love and respect; or when new proofs of the esteem of others make us estimate ourselves more highly, and we adopt the good opinion which we think they express; or when some prosperous event has shed light upon our prospects and discovered new sources of pleasure ; or when being relieved from some evil which oppressed us, our steps totter from the relief.-In such circumstances we shall have too much levity for composed retrospection, or be too complacent for fair examination. When we are so partial to ourselves in our estimation of what is to come, it cannot be expected that we shall judge with correctness of what ispast.

There may be seasons of despondence when desperation makes us acquiesce in vice-there may be periods of scepticism when, doubting the danger, we may not fear to err; when the mind cannot discern between good and bad, and amid the tumult of passion no voice can be heard but that which prompts us to indulgence ;-we may gaze with delight upon the leopard's spots or the adder's skin, and forget the venom and the fang ;- in the delirium of guilty feelings, the sting of conscience may be unfelt, and we may be unable to judge of our conduct. At such times we should banish thought from our minds; we should seek safety in flight rather than by combat; we should strive to forget, rather than recollect our feelings, fearing to deepen impressions which may otherwise soon disappear. 1. There are many who, from the constitution of their minds, are incapable of these vicissitudes, who are not liable to the disturbing influence of strong emotions ; and there are none who can always remain in such states of mind as have been described. In most persons the passions and feelings are not usually in powerful operation. They rouse themselves and are violent for a season, and then leave the soul harassed by their invasion to recover its exhausted vigor; so that, for the most part, reason may possess her rightful sway, and then is the period favorable to an impartial estimation of one's own character.

This exercise must be habitual : not merely an unfrequent and occasional inquiry into our characters, to which circumstances peculiarly favorable may excite us, but a constant and unremitted attention to every action, and to each whisper of conscience. We should uniformly reflect whether we do what we ought. We should determine what we will do by considering the great rules of life, which religion affords ; and we should judge of what we have done by refer-. ence to the same guide. We must search minutely into our own hearts; we must detect the motive which would conceal itself, and lay open to our inspection the principles by which we are governed.

In all such inquiries, as are now recommended, every man may consider his character in three relationsmas intellectual, social, and religious. As to the first, one's intellectual character, as there is nothing which pertains to them about which most men are more anxious, so there is nothing concerning which they more often mistake. By some strange inconsistency a double error is common upon this subject. First, the learning or knowledge which is the result of patient study, or judicious observation, is attributed rather to the possession of

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