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and Finisher of our Faith hath fet us. This fhould be fome Portion of our religious Exercise every Day: And, to excite the Performance of it, let it be remembered, that, unless we betake ourselves to ferious Meditation now, that which at prefent would be a great Bleffing to us, will hereafter be our Plague and Torment; when Confcience fhall awake out of the Sleep, in which we now detain it, and force upon us, whether we will or no, the Confideration of what we now induftriously labour to forget, our Conduct and Proceedings in this State of Trial: When the horrid Scene of our fad Impieties shall start up before us at once; when, being fcourged with the Remembrance of past Enjoyments, and terrified with our prefent Paffions, and groaning under the Conviction of Folly, we fhall have our Shame and Anguish confummated by Defpair. Whofo is wife will ponder thefe Things, that, instead of knowing the Terrors, they may underftand the Loving-kindness of the Lord.

Of Humility.


NDER the Government of our Thoughts, may very properly be comprised the Humility of Mind, which confifts in a modeft and lowly Opinion of ourselves, our Endowments, and Acquifitions; or in not valuing ourselves beyond what is due and just, upon the Account of any Good we are poffeffed of, whether it be internal or external; but, contrariwife, in being content, that any one should think meanly and difparagingly of us; ready to fubmit our Judgment to the Judgment of others; careful to decline all Fame and Popularity; and ftudious to conceal our own Praifes and Excellencies, except when either the Glory of God, or Good of our Brother, are concerned in the Publication.


Under this Confideration the Grace of Humility is opposed to Pride and Vain-glory; which, however indulged in the Heathen Morals, and accounted a Principle fitted for great Undertakings, in the Revelation of the Divine Will, is utterly exploded, and represented as a deteftable Thing, both in the Sight of God and Man. Every one, that is proud in Heart, fays Solomon, is an Abomination to the Lord; and therefore it might well follow, that, though Hand join in Hand, he shall not be unpunished: Whereas, to this Man will I look, faith the Lord, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite Spirit, and trembleth at my Word. Well therefore might our bleffed Saviour, who came to correct the wrong Notions of Heathen Moralifts, as well as fulfil and improve what was contained in the Law and the Prophets, lay the Foundation of his Religion in Humility, and place, in the very Front of his Beatitudes, Blessed are the poor in Spirit : Well might he require of his Followers, to walk in Lowlinefs and Meekness; to be cloathed with Humility; and, in Lowliness of Mind, to esteem others better than themselves; when, though he was a perfect Example of all moral and divine Perfections, yet he commends himself chiefly to their Imitation, upon the Account of this excellent Grace of Humility: Learn of me; for I am meek, and lowly of Heart, and ye fhall find Reft unto your Souls.

And indeed, whether we confider him in, the Mystery of his Incarnation, in the mean Circum ftances of his Birth, or in the obfcure Method of his Life; whether we confider him as emptying himself of his eternal Glories, and drawing, as it were, a Cloud over his inherent Brightness; aš forbidding the Devils, to publifh his Divinity; Men, to declare his Miracles; and his Difciples to speak of his Transfiguration; or, as wafhing his Difciples Feet, and converfing among Sinners:



Thefe, and many other Inftances of his Condefcenfion, argue the most profound Humility, that can be imagined, and fhew us withal the great Care, our Lord took to exemplify it upon all Occafions. For though, of all the Virtues and Excellencies in the World, this of Humility, one would think, was leaft capable of being practifed by the Son of God; yet we may here difcern, what rare Arts and Myfteries God has found out, to teach us this Leffon; and may thence be led to conclude, how much it concerns us to know, 1. The Reafonablenefs and Benefits, as well as, 2. The Means of attaining a Duty, that the Divine Wisdom has been fo particularly follicitous to teach.

I. We ufually think it a very humbling Confideration, to remind a Perfon of the Meannefs of his Original: But what Original can be fo mean, as to be sprung from nothing? It is enough to take down the Spirit of the brightest Intelligence to confider, that nothing was his Original, a State more vile and dishonourable, than the Chaos itself. Now this is the Condition of Man: He had his Rife from nothing, and derives his Pedigree from Darkness and Emptinefs; and though, by Omnipotence, he is now become fomething, yet ftill he holds his Being as precariously, as he first received it, and depends as much upon the Will of his Creator for his Existence, as Light does upon the Sun, or the Image in the Glafs upon the Prefence of the Body: For, if God does but turn his Face from him, and ceafe to behold him, he immediately, and without any other Influx, relapses into nothing. And fhall that Being then be proud, which was once nothing, and has still such a natural Propensity towards Annihilation, as to need only a bare Negative, to make him nothing again? He certainly muft forget his first Extraction, that can give the leaft Admittance to Pride; and, to


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gether with that, muft forget likewife the Method of his Preservation, if he has not a most feeling Senfe of his Dependence and Infignificancy.


It is a strong Sarcasm upon human Pride, That which we meet with in the Royal Preacher, where it is faid, that Pride was not made for Man, nor furious Anger for them, that are born of a Woman; for, fancy Pride where we will, it is no where fo improper, no where fo incongruously placed, as in Man Not because his Make is only of the common Clay, neither tempered, nor figured, nor tinged more elegantly, than that of other Creatures; as infirm, and putrid, and contemptible, as any of theirs; for this is the leaft Part of his Abasement: It is a smaller Difgrace to his Pedigree, that Corruption is his Father, and the Worm his Mother and Sifter, than that Sin is his Off-fpring. His Make is but common, but his Depravation wholly fingular: And therefore let the Sea be proud, whofe Waves know their Bounds; let the Beasts be proud, who live agreeable to the Laws of their Nature; the Locusts and Caterpillars, who are God's Armies; the Wind and Storm, that fulfil his Word; but let not Man, the only Rebel in Nature, that stands diftinguished from the reft of the Creation, not so much by his Reason, as by his Guilt, the only Heir of Wrath, and Shame, and Mifery, let him not be proud; Pride was not made for him.

"But, though this Profpect of Man be thus a"bafing, yet is there not another Light to con"fider him in? Are not the Accomplishments of "Art, and Aids of Fortune, and much more the "Endowments of Wisdom and Virtue, valuable "Things, and Matters of our juft Efteem? And "may not our Imagination please and delight it"felf with these?" Thefe Things we allow, indeed, are justly estimable, but then we affert far

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ther, that no Man ought to value himself for them ; and the Reafon is, because they are not his, but God's, intrufted only to him, and for which he ftands accountable: Treasures and Talents they are, committed to the earthen Veffel, but yet the Veffel itself is no more than earthen ftill. It is from a Prejudice of vulgar Mistake then, that we call any Advantages, fupervenient to our Nature, by the Name of Acquifitions, as if the getting of them were imputable to the Glory of our own Counfels and Endeavours. St Paul plainly confutes this Notion, when he directs this Queftion to the Boafter; what haft thou, that thou haft not received? It is God, that, to the Attainment of all outward good Things, gives both the Means, the Ufe, and the Iffue; that, to the Attainment of all inward Accomplifhments, gives both the Capacity, the Application, and the Succefs; that, to the Attainment of all moral Perfections, gives both the Power, the Will, and the Deed. Nothing is more frequently taught us in Scripture, than that every good and every perfect Gift cometh from above; that of ourselves we can do nothing; that all our Sufficiency is from God: Paffages to this Purpose are very numerous, as if the Holy Spirit were more than ordinary jealous of our Incredulity in this Point. But now, if it be asked, why God chufes to difpenfe good Things to us, rather than fuffer us to acquire them; why all our Perfections are Gifts, and why we are fo often, and so instantly put in Mind, that they are fo? The Reafon is given in the foregoing Place of the Apoftie, Why then doft thou glory, as if thou hadst not received? To receive, and to glory, to be obliged, and yet to be proud, is pure Abfurdity; as abfurd as it were for a Man to think himself rich, merely because he has borrowed a large Sum.

Thus, whether we confider the Original, or Cor. ruption, the Defects, or Accomplishments of our


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