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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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Includes all those various frauds which we practise on urselves in forming a judgment, or receiving an impression of our state, character, and conduct; or those deceits which make our hearts impose on us in making us promises, if they may be so termed, which are not kept, and ontracting engagements which are never performed. Self-deception, as one observes, appears in the following cases: "

1. In judging of our own character, on which we too easily confer the name of self-examination, how often may we detect ourselves in enhancing the merit of the good qualities we possess, and in giving ourselves credit for others, which we really have not.

2. When several motives or passions concur in prompting us to any action, we too easily assign the chief place and effect to the best.

3. We are too prone to flatter ourselves by indulging the notion that our habits of vice are but individual acts, into which we have been seduced by occasional temptations, while we are easily led to assign the name of habits to our occasional acts and individual instances of virtue.

4. We confound the mere assent of the understanding naturally, attended by some correspondent but transient sensibilities, with the impulses of the affections and determination of the will.

5. We are apt to ascribe to settled principles the good actions, which are the mere effect of natural temper.

6. As sometimes, in estimating the character of others, we too hastily infer the right motive from the outward act; so in judging of ourselves we over-rate the worth, by over- valuing the motives of our actions.

7. We often confound the non-appearance of a vicious affection with its actual extinction.

8. We often deceive ourselves by comparing our actual with our former character and conduct, and perhaps too easily ascribing to the extirpation of vicious, or tha implantation of virtuous habits, that improvement which is owing merely to the lapse of time, advancing age, altered circumstances, &c.

9. another general and fertile source of self-deception is our readiness to excuse, or at least to extemate, the vices of our particular station: while we congratulate ourselves on the absence of other vices which we are under no temptation to commit.

10. We deceive ourselves by supposing our remorse for sin is genuine, when, alas, it does not lead to repentance.

11. By forming improper judgments of others, and forming our own conduct upon theirs." From this view we may learn,

1. That the objects as to which men deceive themselves are very numerous; God, Jesus Christ, the holy Spirit, the Bible and Gospel doctrines, religious experience, sin, heaven, hell, &c.

2. The causes are great and powerful; sin, Satan, the heart, the world, interest, prejudice.

3. The numbers who deceive themselves are great; the young, the aged, the rich, the poor, self-godly.

4. The evils are many and awful. It renders us the slaves of procrastination, leads us to over-rate ourselves, flatters us with an idea of easy victory, confirms our evil habits, and exposes us to the greatest danger.

5. We should endeavour to understand and practise the means not to be deceived; such as strict self-inquiry, prayer, watchfulness, and ever taking the Scriptures for our guide.

6. And lastly, we should learn to ascertin the evidence of not being deceived, which are such as these: when sin is the object of our increasing fear, a tenderness of conscience, when we can appeal to God as to the sincerity of our motives and aims, when dependent on God's promise, providence, and grace, and when conformed to him in all righteousness and true holiness. Christ. Obs. 1802, p. 632, 633.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Self-Deception'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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