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SELF-EXAMINATION
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[ Also see Confession Conscience Investigation Meditation Reflection Self-knowledge ]

As I walk'd by myself, I talk'd to myself
  And myself replied to me;
    And the questions myself then put to myself,
      With their answers I give to thee.
      - Bernard Barton, Colloquy with Myself,
        appeared in "Youth's Instructor", Dec. 1826

In order to judge of the inside of others, study your own; for men in general are very much alike, and though one has one prevailing passion, and another has another, yet their operations are much the same; and whatever engages or disgusts, pleases, or offends you in others, will, mutatis mutandis, engage, disgust, please, or offend others in you.
      - 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope

Oh, the difficulty of fixing the attention of men on the world within them!
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

He who knows himself knows others.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.
      - Confucius

It belongs to every large nature, when it is not under the immediate power of some strong unquestioning emotion, to suspect itself, and doubt the truth of its own impressions, conscious of possibilities beyond its own horizon.
      - George Eliot (pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans Cross)

Never let us be discouraged with ourselves. It is not when we are conscious of our faults that we are the most wicked; on the contrary, we are less so. We see by a brighter light; and let us remember for our consolation, that we never perceive our sins till we begin to cure them.
      - Francois de Salignac Fenelon

How shall we learn to know ourselves? By reflection? Never; but only through action. Strive to do thy duty; then shalt thou know what is in thee.
      - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If any speak ill of thee, fly home to thy own conscience and examine thy heart. If thou art guilty, it is a just correction; if not guilty, it is a fair instruction.
      - George Herbert

Summe up at night what thou hast done by day;
  And in the morning what thou hast to do.
    Dresse and undresse thy soul; mark the decay
      And growth of it; if, with thy watch, that too
        Be down then winde up both; since we shall be
          Most surely judg'd, make thy accounts agree.
      - George Herbert,
        The Temple--The Church Porch
         (next to last stanza)

When you descant on the faults of others, consider whether you be not guilty of the same. To gain knowledge of ourselves, the best way is to convert the imperfections of others into a mirror for discovering our own.
      - Henry Home, Lord Kames

There are two persons in the world we never see as they are,--one's self and one's other self.
      - Arsene Houssaye

It is easy to look down on others; to look down on ourselves is the difficulty.
      - Walter Savage Landor

One should examine oneself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others.
      - Moliere (pseudonym of Jean Baptiste Poquelin)

I study myself more than any other subject; it is my metaphysic, it is my physic.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

All fame is foreign, but of true desert;
  Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart:
    One self approving hour whole years out-weighs
      Of stupid starers, and of loud huzzas;
        And more true joy Marcellus exil'd feels,
          Than Caesar with a senate at his heels.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Man
         (ep. IV, l. 253)

Let not sleep fall upon thy eyes till thou hast thrice reviewed the transactions of the past day. Where have I turned aside from rectitude? What have I been doing? What have I left undone, which I ought to have done? Begin thus from the first act, and proceed; and in conclusion, at the ill which thou hast done, be troubled, and rejoice for the good.
      - Pythagoras

If thou seest anything in thyself which may make thee proud, look a little further and thou shalt find enough to humble thee; if thou be wise, view the peacock's feathers with his feet, and weigh thy best parts with thy imperfections.
      - Francis Quarles

Inspect the neighborhood of thy life; every shelf, every nook of thy abode; and, nestling in, quarter thyself in the farthest and most domestic winding of thy snail-house!
      - Jean Paul Friedrich Richter (Johann Paul Richter) (used ps. Jean Paul)

Know thyself; this is the great object.
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)

We should every night call ourselves to an account: What infirmity have I mastered to-day? what passion opposed? what temptation resisted? what virtue acquired? Our vices will abate of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)

Go to your bosom;
  Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know.
      - William Shakespeare

O that you could turn your eyes towards the napes of your necks, and make but an interior survey of your good selves!
      - William Shakespeare

Speak no more:
  Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul;
    And there I see such black and grained spots
      As will not leave their tinct.
      - William Shakespeare

O Hamlet, speak no more.
  Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul,
    And there I see such black and grained spots
      As will not leave their tinct.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Gertrude, Queen of Denmark at III, iv)


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