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SERM. before) these things are in themselves little valuable, (as LXI. serving no great purpose, nor furthering our true happi
ness ;) seeing they are not commendable, (as not depending on our free choice, but proceeding from nature or chance ;) seeing they are not durable or certain, but easily may be severed from us; the vanity of self-conceit founded on them is very notorious, and I shall not insist more to de
clare it; I shall only recommend the Prophet's advice Jer. ix. 23, concerning such things: Let not the wise man glory in his 24.
wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches : but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth: that is, nothing within us or about us should elevate our minds, excepting the assurance that God doth govern the world, being ready to protect and succour us, to dispense mercy and justice to us; so that how weak and helpless soever in ourselves, yet confiding in him, we shall never be overwhelmed by any wrong or misfortune.
So much concerning Self-Conceit; the other parts of vicious Self-Love may be reserved to another occasion.
OF SELF-CONFIDENCE, SELF-COMPLACENCE,
SELF.WILL, AND SELF-INTEREST.
2 Tim. iii. 2.
For men shall be lovers of themselves, &c.
II. A xorper like culpable kind of self-love is that of serm. self-confidence ; when men beyond reason, and without LXII. regard unto God's providence, do rely upon themselves and their own abilities, imagining that, without God's direction and help, by the contrivances of their own wit and discretion, by the prevalency of their own strength and courage, by their industrious care, resolution, and activity, they can compass any design, they can attain any good, they can arrive to the utmost of their desires, and become sufficiently happy; not considering, that of God (in whose Dan. v. 23. hand our breath is, and whose are all our ways; in whose Job xii. 10 hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind) all our being and all our ability do absolutely depend ; that he manageth and turneth all things, dispensing success according to his pleasure; that no good thing can be performed without the supply and succour of Jer. x. 23. his
grace, nothing can be achieved without the concurrence of his providence; that, the way of man is not in himself, it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps ;
a “Όσις γαρ αυτός ή φρονείν μόνος δοκεί, "Η γλώσσαν ήν εκ άλλος ή ψυχήν έχειν, , Ούτοι διαπτυχθέντες ώφθησαν κενοί. Soph. Αntig.
xvi. 9. xix. 21.
SERM. that the preparations of the heart in man, and the answer
LXII. of the tongue, is from the Lord ; that, although a man's Prov. xvi. 1. heart deviseth his way, yet the Lord directeth his steps; that
no king is saved by the multitude of an host, a mighty man
is not delivered by much strength, a horse is a vain thing Psal. xxxiii.
for safety; The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the Eccles . ix. strong; that (as St. Paul, one abundantly furnished with
abilities suiting his designs as any man can be, doth acknow2 Cor. iii. ledge) we are not sufficient of ourselves to think any thing, 5. ii. 16.
but our sufficiency is of God: these oracles of truth, and even dictates of reason, no less than principles of religion, they consider not, who confide in their own abilities with which nature or fortune do seem to have furnished them.
This is that instance of self-love, which the Wise Man Prov. iii. 5, biddeth us to beware of: Trust, saith he, in the Lord with
all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
This is that which he condemneth as foolish, and opposite Prov.xxviii
. to wise proceeding: He that trusteth in his own heart is 26.
a fool; but whoso walketh wisely shall be delivered.
This is that which smothereth devotion, and keepeth equum men from having recourse to God; while they think it ipse parabo. needless to ask for that which they have in their power, or
have means of obtaining; this consequently depriveth them of divine aid, which is afforded only to those who seek it, and confide therein.
This often engageth men to attempt things rashly, and causeth them to come off unhappily; God interposing to cross them, with
purpose to cure their error, or confound their presumption.
From hence, if God ever suffereth their attempt to pros
per, they sacrilegiously and profanely arrogate to themHabak. i. selves the success, sacrificing to their own net, and saying Isa. x. 13. with him in the Prophet, By the strength of my hand have
I done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent.
This causeth most omen to fail of true content here, and of happiness finally; while taking them to be, where they are not, at home, within their own hand or reach, they
neglect to search after them abroad, there where they only SERM. do lie, in the hand and disposal of God. '
LXII. OF SELF-COMPLACENCE. III. A like act of blameable self-love is self-complacence, that is, greatly delighting in one's self, or in the goods which he fancieth himself to enjoy, or in the works which he performeth ; when men, in contemplation of their works and achievements, go strutting about, and saying with that vain prince, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built ? Dan. iv. 30. when reflecting on their possessions, they applaud and bless themselves, like the rich man in the Gospel, Soul, (saith he, Luke xii. looking upon his accumulated store,) thou hast much goods 19. laid up for many years. Such vain soliloquies do men ordinarily make. Thou hast (saith a man to himself) rare endowments of soul; a wonderful skill and ability in this and that matter; thou art master of excellent things; thou hast managed very important business, hast accomplished hard designs, hast achieved brave feats, with great dexterity and admirable success, by thy wit and industry; thou hast framed and vented very curious orations, very facetious speeches, very nervous and pithy discourses; thou has put obligations upon this man and that; thou hast got much credit and interest amongst men; the world much looketh on thee, loveth and prizeth thee hugely, resoundeth with thy fame and praise ; surely thy worth is notable, thy deserts are egregious; how happy art thou in being such a person, in performing such things, in enjoying such advantages ! Thus with a spurious and filthy pleasure do men reflect upon and revolve in their minds the goods they deem themselves to possess, and the favourable occurrences that seem to befal them; being fond of their own qualities and deeds as of their children, which, however they are in themselves, do always appear handsome and towardly unto them; any little thing is great and eminent, any ordinary thing is rare, any indifferent thing is excellent to them, because it is theirs; out of any thing, how dry and insipid soever it is in itself, they suck a vain and foolish pleasure.
SERM. Hence is that honest and pure delight which they should LXII.
taste in faith and love toward God, in the hope of future celestial things, in the enjoyment of spiritual blessings, in the conscience of virtuous practice, quite choked or greatly damped.
Hence also that hearty contrition and sober sadness, which, by reflection upon their great defects and frequent miscarriages, they should continually maintain in their souls, is utterly stifled.
Hence also that charitable complacency in the welfare, and condolency with the adversities of their brethren, is suppressed ; hence cannot they be satisfied with any thing done by others, they cannot apprehend the worthy deserts, they cannot render due commendation to the good deeds of their neighbour ; for while men are so pleased with their own imaginary felicities, they cannot well discern, they will not be duly affected with, the real advantages or disasters of themselves or of others.
IV. Another culpable kind of self-love is self-will (av. Jáðeia, pleasing one's self in his choice, and proceeding without or against reason;) when a man unaccountably or unreasonably, with obstinate resolution, pursueth any course offensive to others, or prejudicial to himself, so that he will not hearken to any advice, nor yield to any consideration diverting him from his purpose, but putteth off all with a -Stat pro ratione voluntas : Say what you can, let what will come on it, I will do as I please, I will proceed in my own way; so I am resolved, so it shall be.b
This is that generally which produceth in men the wilful commission of sin, although apparently contrary to their own interest and welfare, depriving them of the best goods, bringing on them most heavy mischiefs; this causeth them irreclaimably to persist in impenitence. Hence do they stop their ears against wholesome counsel; they
äraš tolltw, penxioo pe aile5 rúIn. Nero apud Dion. Cass. Oi kaleis io Xueeyvá poves. Synes. Calv. Vid. Sen. Ep. 23. de Ben. 438. Arr. ii. 15.