But knowledge of ourselves lies
- first in considering what we were given at creation and how generously God continues his favour towards us, in order to know how great our natural excellence would be if only it had remained unblemished; yet at the same time to bear in mind that there is nothing of our own, but that we hold on sufferance whatever God has bestowed upon us. Hence we are ever dependent on him.
- Secondly, to call to mind our miserable condition after Adam’s fall; the awareness of which, when all our boasting and self-assurance are laid low, should truly humble us and overwhelm us with shame. In the beginning God fashioned us after his image [Gen. 1:27] that he might arouse our minds both to zeal for virtue and to meditation upon eternal life. Thus, in order that the great nobility of our race (which distinguishes us from brute beasts) may not be buried beneath our own dullness of wit, it behooves us to recognise that we have been endowed with reason and understanding so that, by leading a holy and upright life, we may press on to the appointed goal of blessed imortality.
John Calvin, Institutes II.i.1 (Battles translation, bullet outline mine)
Know creatureliness and fallenness, know self.