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Serm. I. the Account of accidental Differences; if,
for Instance, being a Man of a large Compass of Thought and deep Penetration he shall despise another, because he is of a duller Apprehension or perhaps an Idiot. For it is to be considered, that the Soul is of the same Kind in Both, equally great as to all essential Qualities in the one as in the other; and the only Superiority he has confists perhaps in a finer Contexture of the Brain, or a livelier Flow of the Animal Spirits: which is plain from this ; that an Accident or a Disease shall reduce a Man of the most distinguished Sense to the Condition of a Natural, And it would be just as reasonable to despise a Man, because He could not work as well as we with wretched Instruments; as to contemn a Man, because He cannot reason as well with a Body incommodiously formed for Thinking: The Body being an Instrument to the Soul in Thinking. The Soul of one Man is lodged as it were in a commodious lightsom Mansion, where it can command a spacious Prospect, and take in Variety of Objects; and the Soul of another
pent up as it were in a dark Dungeon, where there are few or no Inlets of Knowledge.
But when this earthly Tabernacle shall be Serm. I. diffolved, and the Mind enlarged, they will, both of them, be upon an equal Foot. When that Knowledge which is in Part shall be done away, and that which is
perfect is come ; a Man of the dullest Apprehension shall perhaps be in a Moment wiser, than the greatest Scholar after a Life 'laid out in painful Researches can be here. So little Reason is there to lay great Stress upon those accidental Differences which di. stinguish one Man from another ; at the same time that it is Ingratitude to God, as well as false Humility, to depreciate human Nature in general. }
Pride then is, as the Text exprefseth it, the Thinking too highly of ourselves. It is an over-weening Conceit of our Dignity, founded upon some real or imaginary Superiority to our Neighbours : which, when it expresseth itself in an imperious and overbearing Carriage, and a commanding Mien is called Haughtiness; and is generally the Fault of a narrow Education: Whereas Men of an enlarged Conversation give into a more delicate Pride, which can never enjoy itself, but when it is so artful, as, to conceal itself under the Mask of Humility.
The Generality of Mankind consider only the Surface of their Actions, without ever sounding the Depths of their Heart, and tracing the inward Workings of the Soul. Indeed we cannot but be sensible of the violent Emotions and Agitations of any Paffion; bat the stiller and gentler Movements oft escape our Notice. Thus when Pride becomes so enormous, as, in the Words of a judicious Writer *, “ to make Men use « their Servants, as if they were Brutes, " their Inferiors as Servants, and their “ Equals as Inferiors;” Men must be blind to over-look this Vice in others, or even in themselves. But when it conceals itself under studied Disguises and Refinements, it will, except we are very attentive, elude our Observation.
To give some Instances, a Person is perhaps very liberal : but while he does not examine the Principle of his Liberality, he shall not perceive, that Pride is often the Source of it, that he only makes an Exchange of Money for Glory, and dispenfes his Favours, because he values the Vanity of Giving, more than the Thing, which he gives. Another miltakes the Affability of the Gentleman, or Hooker's Works, Page 520.
Man of the World, for the Humility of Serm. I. the Chriftian. Whereas he ought to consider, that we oft beat down those Vices which are flagrant and glaring, by others which are secret and out of Sight. Thus we often get the better of Intemperance not by a virtuous Principle, but merely by a passionate Fondness for long Life, by the Fear of Death or by Avarice. Thus we often facrifice our outward Pride to an in. ward one.
We keep in our Infolence, because a supercilious and contemptuous Treatment of others would only make' us contemptible. But Affability and a Complacency of Behaviour opens us a Passage to the Hearts of Men, and gains us an advantageous Situation in their Minds. It may be a more artful Manner to engage that Respect which we seem to decline. Men of this Turn may be very affable, not to do Honour to others, but as they take Affability to be an Honour to themselves.
It has been observed, I suppose, by way of Compliment to the present Age, that one Vice at least, viz. that of Hypocrisy, seems to be banished from among us: But alas! unless we could divest human Nature of it's Weaknesses, no Vice will ever be
SERM. I. quite extinct, though it may appear under
another Form. Thus a religious Hypocrisy seems indeed in some Measure to be no more : But in the Room of it, there has started up a genteel and polite Hypocrisy, a certain Decency of Behaviour, which, by putting on the Appearances of every Virtue, prevents the Reality of
any. What is fouland loathsom in each Vice, Men must keep out of Sight, unless they would be public Nufances: But then they only part with it's outward Deformity, without any Amendment of the Heart. Nay some, I believe, confound the Ideas of Politeness and Morality. They mistake the Averversion, which they have in themselves, to whatever is ill-bred, unseemly and offenfive in any Sin, for a genuine Love of Goodness: They imagine that to be a Virtue, which is only Vice refined.
The more a Man knows of the World, the more sensible he will be, that he must conceal the odious Part of Pride, unless he would be odious himself. But then he may
retire into himself to cherish each favourable and delightful Idea of his own Worth, that sooths and flatters his Vanity, Thutting out all humbling and mortifying