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a demurer shew and face of religion than their neighbours, are really counterfeits, and mean nothing at the bottom, but their own interest; and therefore wisely resolves upon this thatall religion is, like, theirs, a convenient trick and pretence only invented by cunning men, to keep filly people in awe, to make princes reign safely, and the priesthood live easily. But, as for himself, he knows better things than to fallin with the herd, and to give up to be ridden by the tribe of Levi ; the poorestandmostcontemptible tribeof thetwelve, which had no lot, no inheritance among their brethren, but lived upon the cheat of sacrifices and offerings, and upon driving a gainful traffick for the good things of this world, here paid down to them, by promising and preaching up to thofe they dealt with a recompence in the world to come. Then he sets up openly for profelytes, and a party; runs down all religion, and laughs piety and virtue outof countenance: so that a good and honest man is sure to be his mark wheresoever he finds him; and he is ever shooting arrows against him, even bitter words. When such persons cannot apprehend the usefulness of any part of the creation ; when any thing happens that seems confused and disordered; when their wisdom cannot discern theend, benefit, and design of every thing that falls out; presently they charge God with folly and ill contrivance, or banish him out of the world, and impute all to blind chance, or unavoidable fate. Indeed to be cautious, and upon our guard, in receiving doctrines, and not easily to give up our assent to every tale that is told us, is a point of great prudence, and very requisite, in such a multiplicity of opinions as there is in the world, to preserve us from error. But then we may carry this point too far; we may be fo fcrupulous and circumipect in admitting the teitimonies of men, as to reject some good witnesses among several bad ones; and to deceive ourselves oftentimes, for very fear of being deceived by others. A general undistinguishing sufpicion is altogether as apt to mislead a man as a too easy and unwary credulity. And to this excess a proud scorner is naturally inclined : he is so possessed with the notion of prieitcraft and pious frauds, as to apply it indifferently to all religions, and to every thing in religion : he is so afraid of have ing his understanding imposed upon in matters of faith, that he stands equally aloof from all propositions of that kind, whether true or false : which is, as if a man should refuse to receive any money at all, because there is a great deal goes about that is false and counterfeit ; or resolve not to make a friendship or acquaintance with any man, because many men are not to be trusted. Certainly this is a very great instance of folly; and, in what breast soever it har bours, cannot but indispose a man extremely for the study and attainment of religious wisdom. An extremity of suía picion in an inquirer after truth is like a raging jealousy in an husband, or a friend : it leads a man to turn all his thoughts towards the ill-natured fide, and to put the worst construction upon every thing; and, in consequenceof that, for once that he is really in the right, in his guesses and censures, to be very often and very much in the wrong. Thus · Debates proceed from pride; whilst men too highly value their own private judgments in things doubt. And . ful and indifferent; think meanly of the deter- us into other minations of their superiors ; and will rather fa- fius. crifice peace and charity, than give up any trifling opinion they happen to espouse. And there will be no end of them, till we can be brought to think that governors may be wifer and know better than we what is fit and decent for the publick good. Therefore no-body ought to make himself · the standard of wisdom, nor expect that every one should
yield to his humours, and deny their own inclinations, that they may gratify his. On the contrary, what is more graceful and lovely, and more charming, than humility and modesty, a mean estimation of ourselves, and a willi yield and condescend? Does it not render us both acceptable to God and men ? Does it not carry a singular agreeableness in itself? And though humility may seem to expose a man to some contempt, yet it is truly the readiest way to honour; as, on the contrary, pride is the most improper and absurd means for the accomplishing theend at which it aims. There are no other vices but do in fome measure attain their end; covetousness does usually raise an estate, and ambitious endeavours do often advance men to high places : but pride
and insolence and contempt of others, do certainly defeat their own projects. When the proud man aims at respect and esteem, he never attains it ; for all mankind do naturally hate and slight him. Again, a proud and conceited temper of mind is very likely to run into mistakes, because pride and fulness of a man's self do keep out knowledge, and Itop all the passages by which wisdom and instruction should enter into men, besides that, it provokes God to be their Retrouing enemy, to abandon men to their own follies andEsto punish- mistakes, and to pursue them with extraordinary onent punishments in this or the next world : for pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall; and again, every one that is proud in heart shall not be unpunished; for God resisteth the proud, but the meek will he guide in judgment, and will give more grace and wifdom to the humble. Therefore,
The way to avoid pride, and to attain to humility, is to Means of remember that all the advantages we enjoy, either Bumility of body or mind, above others, are not the effect of our merit, but of God's bounty: that those, whom we are apt to contemn, are valuable in the light of God, the only fountain of true honour : that by having consented to fin we have committed the most shameful action imaginable, the most contrary to justice and right reason, and to all sorts of decency; and that, as long as we are cloathed with flesh and blood, we are still liable to the fame offences against the inajesty of Heaven. We must suppress all proud and vain thoughts when they first arise in our minds, and especially never suffer them to take possession of our imagination; and keep a constant watch over our words and actions, that we may check the first inclinations to pride andvain-glory. And whoever does not thus watch over his own heart will be in And when danger of falling into this fin; because, if God is frustrated. so good to bear with him for a while in his folly, he never thinks of repentance; but, mistaking his forbearance, has the vanity to esteem himself a favourite of God; and when at last he is corrected by any manner of punishment from God or man, he is so far from considering its justice, necessity, and his own just deserts, that he murmurs against
God, and breathes out his blafphemous hatred against his divine justice ? and consequently becomes much more re proachful to his neighbour, who shall attempt by any means to draw him to a true knowledge of himself. Whereas he, that is of a calm and meek temper, is always ready to receive the truth, and holds the balance of his judgment even; but pafsion (ways and inclines it one way, and that commonly against reason and truth. So that pride is a great hindrance to knowledge, and the very worst quality that a learner can have: it makes men refuse instruction, out of a conceit that they have no need thereof: the sufficiency of their knowledge has hindered many from what they might have known.
The folly of which sin appears, in that we value ourselves, very frequently, upon things that add notrue worth The folly of to us; that neither make us better nor wiser; that 'pride. are in their own nature perishable, and of which we are not owners, but stewards. Or, if the things bevaluablein themselves, they are God's immediate work in us; and to be proud of them is the surest way to lose them. The folly of pride appears by considering the three things whereof men are ápt to be proud, the goods of nature, of fortune, and of grace. · The goods of nature are beauty, strength, wit, &c. Now the folly of being proud of any of these appears ; In reform of because, if we really have them, which we are apt the goods of often to mistake, they are possessed, most of them, nalure. by other creatures in a greater degree. For is not the white and red of the most celebrated beauty's face far surpast by the whiteness of the lilly and redness of the rose ; and is not the greatest strength and swiftness of man greatly exceeded by the strength and swiftness of many other creatures? Neither are they at all durable; for a phrensy, sickness, or oldage, certainly destroys them. And whatever they are, we give them not toourselves; but receive them from the hands of God.
As for the Hoods of fortune, which are wealth, honour, &c. we have no reaion to be proud of them; becaule The goods of they add no true worth to a man, and are in their fortune. nature perishable: besides, we have them but as stewards ; and they are not owing to ourselves: for if they are lawfully
got,'tis God's blessing; if unlawfully, we have them on such terms, that we have no reason to boast of them. Are we proud of riches ? riches cannot alter the nature of things; they cannot make a man worthy, that is worthlessin himself: the value of the estate may be very great; but that of the man is not at all greater, if he does not employ his estate as the great engine to procure moral pleasures, and to do benevolent offices. The judicidus should consider things intrinsically, and think him the greatest, who strives, as much as in him lies, to make others happy by his benevolence, good by his example, and wife by his instructions.
Lastly, As to the goods of grace, which are those virtues The goods men are endowed with; it is a great folly to be of grace. proud of them; because, though they are things in themselves truly valuable, yet they are God's immediate gifts to us; and to be proud of them is the surest way to lose them, and the consequence of such a loss is no less than eternal punishment.
IV. Another opposite to humility is the sin of VAINOf vain- GLORY, which is an eager desire of the applause glory. of men: a sin that prevents the admission of Christ into the heart; and consequently sets us in the utmost danger; since all our safety and hope of salvation depends upon our being one with Christ and Christ in us. Besides, this fin is
menerthe high road to many more: because he, that is The fin of it.
4. resolved to court the praise of men at all adventures will never scruple to commit the greatest fins, when they are in fashion, or are supposed in any wise to contribute to gratify his vain-glory. Yet this littleair, which is no more than a blast or the breath of men, yields no real advantage:
for it is no proof of my wisdom and goodness, beDanger.
cause another tells me I am wise and good : with which if he tells it to my face, I must be an arrant fool to be pleased; because it is too often flattery: and there is as much
folly to be pleased, when applauded behind my tay back; because it neither brings me pleasure nor profit. Again, he that so eagerly pursues praise as to reject the dictates of reason and conscience, and only takes care to do what may raise his esteem among men, yields himself a