Sivut kuvina

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 Receffes 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


B 2

SERM. I. take too much upon you, said Corah 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 Ift state the Notion of Pride.

IIdly, Consider the Unreasonableness of this Vice,

I/ 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 Desire of indulging the latter beyond Measure, Pride takes it's Original. And it is very remark3


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

[ocr errors]

SERM, I. human Excellencies will have a Mixture of

human Weaknesses, our Self-Complacency
ought to be moderated in Proportion to our
Faults and Imperfections. The Difference
between Humility and Pride consists in this,
that the humble Man, whatever Talents he
is pofsest of, considers them as fo many
Trusts repofed in him by God, which are fo
far from raising his Pride, that they excite
his Caution ; as knowing that to whom much
is given, of him much will be required:
Whereas the Proud values himself, as if he
were not only the Subject but the Author
of those good Qualities ; and so makes an
Idol of himself, instead of adoring and thank-
ing God for them, The proud Man is
dazzled with the Lustre of his own Excellen-
cies: Whereas the humble Man, though
not insensible of particular Endowments,
yet thinks meanly of Himself absolutely and
upon the Whole ; and begs that God would
not weigh bis Merits, but pardon bis Of-

A total Self-Loathing, however, would
be as great a Fault, as a clear and unmixed
Self-Liking: It would deaden all the Powers
of the Soul, and link it into a State of
Inaction. There is a Medium between a



just Sense of our Abilities, and an exorbi-Serm. 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


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 effentially corrupt, without any Mixture of Goodness: True Humility chiefly teacheth 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

« EdellinenJatka »