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phafis and Force. For I say, according to Serm. I. the Grace given unto me to every one among you, not to think of himself more highly than be ought to think, but' to think soberly.
In which Words St. Paul adviseth us, that instead of viewing ourselves in that engaging Light, which the servile Flattery of others, or our own affuming Vanity (our greatest Flatterer of all) might place us in, we should endeavour to form a true Esti. mate of our Worth, or in the Words of the Text, think soberly.
Among the many Imputations, which we are willing to faften upon those whom we have an Aversion to, that of Pride is, I think, one of the most common. Now, if we would examine the innermost Recesses of the Mind, I doubt we should often find, that our own Pride is the Cause, why we tax others with it. Men elate with the Thoughts of their own Sufficiency are ever imagining, that others are wanting in their Regard to them, and therefore very apt to conclude, that Pride must be the Cause, why they with-hold from them that Respect, which they have an unquestioned Right to in their own Opinion. Of this we have a pregnant Instance in Scripture : You
Serm. I. take too much upon you, faid Corab and his
Accomplices, when they themselves were taking too much upon them, and invading the Province of Aaron. Hence it is, that their Character seldom escapes the Brand of Vanity, who have the Fortune to be possest of those Accomplishments, which would make their Detractors vain.
But before we asperse others with this Censure, let us consider what Pride is, and correct our Mistakes about the Nature of it.
In the following Discourse I shall therefore If state the Notion of Pride.
IIdly, Consider the Unreasonableness of this Vice.
If then, I am to state the Notion of Pride.
Our Happiness, as well as Knowledge, arises from Sensation and Reflection; and may be reduced to these two Articles, viz. that of pleasing Sensations, and that of agreeable Thoughts. Now as to a Desire of indulging the former without Check or Control, are owing Lust, Drunkenness and Intemperance; so from a Defire of indulging the latter beyond Measure, Pride takes it's Original. And it is very remark
able, that those, who most deny them- Serm. I., selves pleasing Sensations, will be, except they are very much upon their Guard, apt overmuch to indulge agreeable Reflections upon themselves. In Proportion as they resist the coarser Self-Indulgences, the more refined and spiritual Vices will gain an easier Entrance. Just as subtle and thin Matter finds Admittance and fills up the Vacancy, where Bodies of a grosser Contexture cannot penetrate. Pride springs from a partial View of ourselves, a View of the bright Side of ourselves, without balancing against, it our numerous Imperfections and Defects, how little Good we can perform without the Grace of God, and how little we actually do perform even with it. It does not consist in the bare Consciousness, that we have some Accomplishments, as for Instance, good Sense, Beauty, great Abilities; but in that Exultation of Mind, which is consequent upon that Consciousness, unallayed by any Self-Dissatisfaction arising from a Survey of our Sins and Frailties. If our Virtues and Perfections (supposing them our own Acquisitions) were unallayed; then an unallayed Self-Complacency might justly be the Result of a Knowledge of them: But as
B 3 human
SERM. I. human Excellencies will have a Mixture of
human Weaknesses, our Self-Complacency
A total Self-Loathing, however, would
juft Sense of our Abilities, and an exorbi-Segm. I. tant Opinion of them. The former is of admirable Service to Mankind, when qualified with a due Proportion of Discretion and Modesty. A just Consciousness of those Talents, with which God has intrusted us, will give Life and Spirit to our Undertakings, and be a powerful Motive to those Actions, which may make us truly glorious : Modesty and Discretion will be a Bar to those Attempts, which being above our Sphere may make us ridiculous. Thus do these two act in Concert, and while the former prompts us to display ourselves; the latter prevents us from exposing ourselves. The Flame will aspire upwards, but it will be with Trembling.
It is a false Humility to have low derogatory Thoughts of human Nature in general, as if it were entirely and essentially corrupt, without any Mixture of Goodness: True Humility chiefly teachech us to have low Notions of those personal Differences, which distinguish one Man from another. Man ought to reverence himself, as a Being capable of Knowledge, Virtue, and everlasting Happiness: but then he becomes blameable, when he is elate upon .. B 4