There is a wonderful store of wisdom behind the admonition of the Grecian philosopher, "Gnothe seauton" (Know thyself). A glance at the words is enough to start us on a line of investigation. Spontaneously the question suggests itself, Who or what am I? We may not have thought it worth while before to look ourselves up. An interesting task it is indeed, and much depends on the way in which we begin our quest. In contemplating himself, a man may feel very well satisfied until, met by some discovery of his own weakness or halted by such a challenge as the above, he is startled into a train of introspection. It is a good thing to learn a little of what we are, just as we find ourselves.

In this work of self-inspection it may be well first to consider what is our motive. Are we prompted simply by a sense of curiosity, a desire merely to discover our peculiarities or idiosynerasies? Or is it our purpose to expose our faults that we may destroy them, our errors that we may correct them, and our weaknesses that we may overcome them? Admitting that we are sincere in our desire to get better acquainted with ourselves for the sake of self-improvement, how shall we proceed? We are quite safe in adopting the same method in self-examination that we would employ in scrutinizing the character of those with whom we wish to associate. We might, for instance, desire to know the general opinions held about them and why such opinions had been formed; so it is frequently wise to learn what opinions are held respecting ourselves, and why. Too apt we are to consider every adverse criticism, or even a kind correction, as some form of injustice or persecution, and thus allow self-justification or self-pity to rob us of the lessons we need to learn. Others may be able to see our faults more readily than we can. Even a false accusation made by a so-called enemy may aid us. It will do us no harm to examine and see if there is any ground whatever on which such an accusation might be based.

May 7, 1910

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