"Let a man examine himself." On starting out to war, the knight of old had his armor thoroughly examined, to see that there were no weak places where the weapon of the enemy could find an entrance. We need to keep a close watch on our character, intentions, and motives, to see that no element of mortal sense has worked in unawares.
Nothing is more distasteful to mortal sense than the task of self-examination. At no time does it utter louder protests. The time seems to be wasted. Well, it asks, have you nothing else to do than to think about yourself? Is it not a form of selfishness to be thus think—thinking about yourself when you ought to be out helping others? But is the time wasted? Are we always best employed when doing that which the mortal sense approves of, as being "good, active service?" Is the time wasted when the ship is lying in the dry dock, being examined to see that she is fit for the next voyage?
Sometimes we may wonder why we are left with so little to do in Science. Is it not that we need to be taken into the dry dock? Before we blame the wind for our slow sailing, we had better see to our canvass, whether, in our conservatism, we have not been keeping it partly reefed; or if the ballast has not shifted, and become one-sided. We are always too ready to look out, instead of looking in for the cause of any discord. The very trials that are the most distasteful to us should be the most precious, because they lay bare faults we would not otherwise think of. We are caused to ask ourselves "Why?" "Why?" over and over again, until we discover the hidden error.