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How Stands My Case With God?

The most famous sentence ever said to have been uttered by a heathen oracle was this, "Know thyself." It well merited the distinction it received, for while self-knowledge brings many advantages, ignorance of ourselves is a fruitful source of folly, sin, and misery. Indeed, it is one of the greatest blots upon our nature. It is the parent of nearly all that is preposterous and ridiculous in human conduct. Nor is this its worst effect. It begets low ideas of sin, and of the love of God in Christ, and so breeds contempt of God's everlasting mercies.

Nor is this all. Not knowing our sins, we do not feel our wants, and so we restrain prayer before God. If we have not a proper view of our faults, pride fills the place of humility, and thus brings many a fall which covers us with disgrace. Did we clearly see our ill-desert we should not be unthankful and fretful, when we have more mercies and fewer trials than we have any right to expect. Our self-conceit will not listen to good counsel, just reproof, or wholesome restraint, and so we are untractable, self-willed, and peevish. Hypocrisy has its seat here, for men never attempt to impose on others, rill they have first deceived themselves. The flattery of others could not hurt us if we did not first flatter ourselves, and thus help to spread a net for our own feet.