A SERMON PREACHED Before the King and Queen AT WHITEHALL, Jan. 19. 1689.

By J. LAMBE, Chaplain to Their MAJESTIES.

Published by Their Majesties Special Command.

LONDON, Printed for Walter Kettilby, at the Bishop's Head in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1690.

A SERMON Preach'd before the KING and QUEEN.

PROV. xxii. 4.

By Humility, and the fear of the Lord, are Riches, and Honour, and Life.

LOrd, who will shew us any Good? is the general Enquiry, the universal Question of all Mankind. Every be­ing pursues its own perfection, and would fain be satisfied in all the Capacities it understands, and in all the importunate Appetites it feels. Desire and Want are the misery of Life, but Good or Happiness, is the free enjoyment of things convenient to us, the gratification of all the genuine dispositions of the true and proper [Page 2]inclinations of our Nature. But such is the ignorance and depravity of Man, that we are not so sensible of the nobler and more excel­lent Capacities of our Minds, as we are of the sensible and more obvious goods of the natu­ral Life. To preserve and defend that being we have acquired, to enrich our selves with all such things as please the Body, and con­duce to the ease of our Lives, and to secure our Acquisitions, by a fair reputation in the World, by the hearty good will, esteem and love, of all that know us; this is the ge­neral design of all Men, these are the practi­cal Principles of every individual Person. But the perfection of the Mind, the improvement of our Reason, the Government of our Will, the fear of God, and the preparation for an Eternal Life hereafter; these, because they are intellectual, invisible, and future, are com­monly less regarded, too often lost, and swallowed up of sense.

Wherefore God, who loves and seeks our Happiness, even more than we our selves, al­lows to our Imperfections, gives us His Laws as we can bear them, and draws us insensibly to Virtue and Obedience, by annexing those good things, which we all perceive, admire [Page 3]and prosecute, to the practice of those Moral Duties, which are equally our Happiness, but not so easily discerned. And thus of his Goodness he leaves us to the knowledge of our Souls, and draws us to himself, our chief and most absolute Good, by the means of those sensible things, which we understand, esteem and love; For By humility, and the fear of the Lord, are Riches, and Honour, and Life.

The Proverbs of Solomon are the Emanations of the great understanding, which God had bestowed upon him,1 Kin. 3.12. above all the Men that ever lived; the most perfect rules of Wis­dom, for the Government of humane Life; piercing and awakening of the Mind, consen­ted to of all, as soon as the words are under­stood. They are generally independent one of another, but compleat and full in every pe­riod. This before us encourages Humility, from the consideration of the great advantages we may reasonably expect, and are assured unto us from the practice of it, even all that is good and desirable in this present World, both Riches, and Honour, and Life.

Which words are a positive assertion of the certain effects and consequences of Humility, that is to say, that a modest opinion of our [Page 4]selves, and a chearful submission to the will of God in all conditions, arising from a pure and perfect Principle of Religion, and the fear of God, will procure us Wealth and Honour, and secure the enjoyment of them both, with Peace and Pleasure, to a good old Age. By Humility, and the fear of the Lord, by such an Humility, as proceeds from the fear of the Lord, are Riches, and Honour, and Life. So that the Text consists of these two Parts.

I. A Duty recommended, Humility with the fear of the Lord.

II. The Reward proposed to enforce and encourage the practice of it, are Riches, and Ho­nour, and Life.

I. I begin with the first, the Duty recom­mended. Humility, with the fear of the Lord. And for the clearer and more perfect illustra­tion of it, I shall briefly consider these two things.

1. The definition, the nature, and prin­ciples of Humility in the general. And

2. The several parts and exercises of Hu­mility so defined.

1. I begin with the first, the definition, nature, and principles of Humility.

Humility has a near relation to many Gra­ces, [Page 5]but if we consider it by it self, as a single Vertue, it is, an habit or temper of Mind, proceeding from a Principle of Religion, or the fear of God, which subdues all lofty, false Opi­nions of ones self, and disposes a Man to a chearful acquiescence, in all Estates and con­ditions of Life, that God shall place him in.

(1.) It is an habit of Mind, a frame or temper of Soul; for a Virtue cannot be de­fined by single actions. Fasting, Weeping, and Praying, may be the effects of Repen­tance, a submiss Behaviour of Humility, or they may not; because the outward acts, be they what they will, may proceed from di­vers causes, and are therefore good or evil, ac­cording to the intention of the Author: they are the Servants of many Masters, and receive their denomination from the inward Principle that produced them.

(2.) Again, Humility is such an habit of the Soul, as must be framed and wrought by a Principle of Religion, or the fear of God, for so sayes the Text, By Humility, with the fear of the Lord, proceeding from a Principle of pure Religion, are Riches, and Honour, and Life. God has commanded it, I will there­fore study the goodness of it, that I may [Page 6]love it, and chuse it, and endeavour to attain the perfection of it. Nothing can be a Vertue in us that we have not chosen. Dispositions of Nature may be rewarded, if by our care we preserve them uncorrupt; and they are very happy that are naturally well in­clin'd, but the Vertue is far more perfect, to say no more, that is freely chosen, against the bent of our inclination; when reason exerci­ses its proper power, and subdues unreasona­ble Appetites, devoted Customs, to the Obe­dience of God.

In our present instance, there is a depression of Mind in many Men by nature, an indiffe­rence to every thing, which is not so proper­ly the grace of Humility, as a natural Necessity. Humility then is an habit or temper of Mind, arising, not from sinister respects, not from reasons without our selves; nay not from na­tural necessity, but from a principle of Religion, or the fear of God. And it chiefly consists in these two things.

First, In a modest, just opinion of our selves, and

Secondly, In a chearful submission to the will of God, in all the conditions of Life, that Providence shall place us in.

First, Humility subdues all lofty false opinions of our selves, of our own perfe­ctions and deserts. It is the exercise of our Reason in judging and valuing our selves and others: that we neither arrogate those quali­ties which indeed we never had; nor magnify those we have, in our own conceit, above the degree of perfection we have attained, but that we think of our selves as we ought to think, as S. Paul describes the nature of Humility, Rom. 1 2.3.

Every Man, by the instinct of his nature, would be more excellent and perfect than he is. God only is stable and immutable, desi­ring and wanting nothing, but we are weak and impotent, always craving and never sa­tisfied; weary of our own condition, as if we wanted something that was our due, and en­vying the condition of our neighbour, as if he had too much. God has therefore obliged us to Humility, or a just opinion of our selves and others, that we may be sensible of our own miscarriages, defects, and faults, as well as of the graces and good qualities of our Neigh­bour; that we may be glad our own condition is so happy as it is, and ready to acknowledge the Excellencies, and be well contented with the Prosperity of others, as the same St. Paul [Page 8]explains Humility, Phil. 2.3. In lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better than himself. That is the first.

Secondly, The second part of Humi­lity respects our place and station in the World, and teaches us to submit with chearfulness to the will of God, under all the dispensations of his Providence. It moderates Ambition, re­gulates the desire of Worldly Goods, and dis­poses us to a grateful liking, to ease and satis­faction in the place we are in. Our desires will be higher or lower, according to the opi­nion we have of our selves; but Humility sub­dues those false imaginations, which Pride and Vanity impose upon us. It shews us our weakness, dependance, faults, and imperfecti­ons, and inclines us to be well contented in our station, and to believe our selves to be very well provided. This is the definition, the na­ture, and principles of a Religious Humility, as it respects our Neighbour and our Selves.

There is another considerable part of Humi­lity, that is exercised in a more immediate manner upon God Himself, and consists in the most honourable apprehensions of His Sacred Majesty, in the most sincere acknowledge­ment of our dependance upon Him, and Ob­ligations [Page 9]to Him for Life, and all the comforts of it, in the most profound respect and reve­rence; in the most obsequious addresses to him, in the deepest sorrow, in the greatest in­dignation against our selves, in the lowest de­mission of Mind, whensoever we offend him, together with all the outward expressions of our inward sense, that Nature, Reason, Custom, or Example, shall direct us to. But because this part of Humility towards God, is more easy in the practice, than the other; there is no dispute between God and his Creature for preeminence, he understands our thoughts, and can easily punish our Pride and Arrogance; and therefore no Man, who believes his Be­ing, does directly oppose himself against him, or set himself in competition with him. And therefore at the present, I shall only consider that part of Humility that is exercised upon our Neighbour and our Selves. And it chiefly consists, as you have already heard, in a mo­dest opinion of our own deserts, and a chear­ful submission to the will of God, under all the dispensations of his Providence. As Pride on the other hand is an over-weaning opinion of ones self, contempt and undervaluing of others, with a sutable ambition of Worldly [Page 10]greatness, to assert and support this vain con­ceit. Thus Pride is explained by Arrogance, Prov. 8.13. By Self-conceit, Phil. 2.3. By a vain desire of Glory, Gal. 5.26. and [...], one that boasts of his endowments, Hesychius explains by [...], a proud Man. Superbia, says St. Aug. est perversae celsitudinis appetitus (de Civ. Dei) and he describes a proud Man thus: He cannot bear to be subject to any: amongst his equals he affects precedency; and what he wants in merits, he will invade and force by flattering his supe­riours, envying his equals, and despising those below him. Thus much for the definition, the na­ture, and principles of Humility in the ge­neral.

2. I proceed, as I proposed in the second place, to consider the several parts and exer­cises of the duty so defined.

The Vertue of Humility is one, and indi­visible, neither more nor less than a modest opinion of our selves, a chearful contentation in our place, with candor, deference, and good will to all. But the practice upon these principles are as various, and infinite, as our capacities of expressing the sentiments of our Mind.Ep. 66. Vertue is one, says Seneca, neither less nor greater, but its species are many, which are ex­press'd [Page 11]according to the variety of life and actions. And in our present instance, I shall endeavour to illustrate the principal exercises of Humility, in these following particulars.

  • (1.) In our Desires and Aims.
  • (2.) In our Looks and Gestures.
  • (3.) In our Garb, and Habit.
  • (4.) And principally in our Conver­sation.

(1.) In our Pursuits, Desires, and Aims: A Man that is truly humble in his own opi­nion, will moderate his ambition of Worldy goods, he will be always apt to think he has as much as he deserves, and ready to rejoice in the rewards of Vertue, upon whomsoever they shall light. If any good befals himself, he does not look upon it as his due, but as a kind encouragement to pursue that Vertue which he thinks he wants at present. But the desires of the proud are never satisfied; if once a Man can perswade himself that his deserts are great, he can never be pleased, till he has attain'd the reward which his vain conceit has set upon his merit. Besides, it is Power and Riches that nourish his Pride, that gratifie his fond opinion of himself, and force, at least, a dissembled honour from abroad. And there­fore [Page 12]the vanity of his Spirit, will inflame his desire, after all such things as indulge and feed the humour. St. Aug. sayes of Pride and Ambi­tion, that they are so far one and the same, as Pride is never to be found without Ambition, nor Ambition without Pride. (de Salut. Doct.) Is he made Tri­bune of the People, Epist. says Seneca, speaking of a proud Man, instead of returning thanks for that, be com­plains that he is not promoted to the Praetorship, nor would that content him, unless they chuse him Consul. Nay, the Consulship it self will hardly please him, un­less he may rule alone. So true is that account which Solomon has given of him, That he always expects to divide the spoil, Prov. 16, 19. that is the first.

(2.) The second exercise of Humility is in our Looks and Gestures. A Man of an hum­ble Mind, that is truly sensible of his own de­sects, will not estrange, or separate himself from his Neighbour. He does not delight in the distance of inferiour People, nor strike an awe upon them by an haughty look. He is al­ways sensible of his own defects, and is there­fore glad that his Neighbour will be free, and easy with him; extreamly pleased with a good acquaintance; with the intire and perfect Friendship of all about him. Humilis ultimum [Page 13]se judicat, & blando vultu terram intuens, De Salut. docum. sayes St. Aug. he is so far from neglecting, much less from scorning any Man, that he addresses all with a clear and a chearful Countenance, with freedom and courtesy, with sweetness and af­fability. Nay the very gestures of his Body well express the humility of his Mind, his mo­tions are indifferent, easy, free and natural, without affectation or singularity, [...], says St. Paul, he is not puffed up, he is not swell'd with high conceit, he does not strut, and look down with contempt upon the World, but governs all his gestures by the rules of ingenuity, and the customs of the place. But the looks of the proud are affected, singular and scornful, [...], a Man of Pride is he, qui super alios apparet, ut se conspici­endum praebeat, one that looks over all the World, that he himself may be exposed to view. He uses all imaginable artifice to be seen, inquired of, and admired, though it be but of the simple. And thus the unreasonable thirst of Honour, betrays a Man, insensibly, into contempt and scorn; for we shall hear in the end, that the humble Spirit shall inherit Glory; Ecclus 22.24. and not the Generation of Men, Pro. 30.13. whose Eyes are haughty, and whose Eye lids are lift up. That is the second.

(3.) This inward habit of true Humi­lity, will be visible in our outward garb, in our way of living in the World. A Man that is truly humble, does not desire to be talk'd of. He rather affects to be concealed. He is afraid lest those who read upon him, should ob­serve more evil qualities than good; and there­fore he always appears and lives, without de­sign of observation, without any just provo­cation to envy, or evil will; but as a Man of his condition, according to the custom of his Country, may be supposed and expected to appear and live. But a garish habit, and a manner of living, that is above his quality or estate, is a certain indication of Pride and Dis­content. He is sollicitous of publick notice, and shews, that he thinks it fit, and right, that he should be in a higher station than he is; and therefore he will thrust himself into the out­ward garb and habit of it, though with the utmost hazard. He that imitates the fashions of Men in Authority, Honour and Wealth, betrays his Ambition, though he makes him­self ridiculous. That is the third

(4.) And lastly, This inward habit of true Humility, will chiefly express it self in our Conversation,

First, With our Acquaintance, Friends and Equals, a Man of an humble Mind is full of courtesie and condescension, forward and ready in all expressions of civility and re­gard to his Friend, even more than he him­self expects. He is not emulous of preceden­cy, but if place be undoubtedly his due, he rather accepts it in complyance with the oeco­nomy of the World, than for any delight in the thing it self; according as St. Paul directs, Rom. 12.10.1 Pet. 5.5. Be kindly affectioned one towards another, with Brotherly Love, in Honour prefer­ring one another. He despises no Man's judg­ment, nor obtrudes his own Opinion with rudeness, violence, or passion, though it may be never so clear or evident; He hears the discourse of others, with all civility and just allowance, if it be good and proper, with­out any visible dislike, much less affront, if it chance to be frivolous and impertinent.Gal. 5.26. He neither provokes nor envies any, Man. He does no­thing through strife or vain-glory, but in lowliness of mind, he esteems his neighbour better than himself. Phil. 2.3. In a word, he is always jealous of his own judgment, and ready to say with Agar, Pro. 30.2. Surely I have not the under­standing of a Man, and is therefore well con­tented, [Page 16]if by all the Arts of Civility and Love, he may preserve a good understanding, and a kind acceptance in the World. But a proud Man is always full of himself, jealous of his reception, impatient till you understand how much he thinks himself above you. He expects that all the court should be address'd to him, that he should preside and rule over all the Company; that every Man should be of his Opinion, hear his Discourse, allow his Characters, endure his tediousness, commend his Wisdom, admire his Beauty, and add to the Character he gives or insinuates of him­self: if you oppose him, you strike him to the heart; if you rebuke him, he becomes your Enemy, for so says Solomon, Pro. 9.7. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee; rebuke a wise Man, and he will love thee.

Secondly, Again, In his conversation with those that are any way superiour to him. An humble Man has a low opinion of him­self, and is satisfied in his station; he wishes he could deserve what he has, or more, but is well contented with the promotion of his betters; He frankly rejoices with them that do re­joice, Rom. 12. and is really pleased with the prosperity of any Man. He is chearful under Government, [Page 17]and loves the hand by which the benefits of the Commonwealth are dispensed unto him;Eph. 5.21. 1 Pet. 5.5. he is sincere and free in all the Customary Ho­nours that their place and quality require. But a proud Man hates his Betters, his address is forced, his outward Compliment is against his will; he abhors from his Soul, that the Ho­nour and Wealth, which his vain conceit has resolved to be due to himself, should be en­joyed by another: and therefore he does what he can to find a fault, to depreciate his worth, and to stir up Enemies: he is ready to carp at his Abilities, vilifie his Manners, reflect upon his Wisdom, undervalue his Estate, despise his Person. Something or other to bring him under obloquy, and level him with him­self.

Thirdly, and lastly, In his Conversa­tion with those below him. A Man of an hum­ble Mind will be candid, civil, and ingenuous in the highest stations. He hides his acciden­tal lustre, with a true and a decent greatness, and converses courteously with inferiour Men; He neither frights them from him by his Pomp, nor discourages their approach by a forbid­ding look, but is easy of address, ready to be spoke with, benign and chearful towards all. [Page 18] He condescend to Men of low estate, (Rom. 12.16.) Receives their visits, treats them kindly, accepts their Presents, helps them in distress, as our Saviour washed the Disciples feet (Joh. 13.14.) and obliges us, according to his Exam­ple, to wash one anthers feet. He accepts the services of his Servants with a chearful Coun­tenance, and a civil gratitude; He makes their places easy, by shewing himself the Friend, as well as the Master of the Family. But a Man that is proud and potent, is the most intolerable Being upon Earth; he stu­dies to make himself a terrour to all about him; he is pleased when he can appale them by a stern and cloudy Countenance. Nay so un­accountable is Pride with Greatness, that he does not know himself, what it is he expects from his Dependents. St. Aug. upon this ac­count compares him to a Ship that is tossed upon the Waves, De Salut. Doc. lib. without a Pilot. What humour, lust, or passion, must be gratified to day, is uncer­tain; quite the contrary perhaps to Morrow. Who shall be next in his favour or displeasure, is hard to guess. If you please him, he is fre­quish in his favours; for his kindness to you, is only to use you as his Slave for a while; if you fall into disgrace, he designs and works your ruine.

These are the principal Acts, the necessary Effects both of Humility and Pride; where-ever the Principle is, these will be the certain radical operations of it; we shall fall into them naturally, as occasion offers. Only in this, as in all other Vertues whatsoever, al­lowance must be made to the Passion and Sur­prizes, to the Frailty and Imperfections of hu­mane Nature. But where these outward acts are as stable and equal, as even and uniform as our present state permits, there, and there on­ly, is the Virtue: for it does not consist in any particular thing, not in conversing with the Poor, not in an abject Countenance, not in a squalid Habit; but in an uniform practice of all the necessary acts of Humility, as occasi­on offers. It is this alone that is the Grace, because it is this alone that can never be acted or put on. It is impossible that Hypocrisie should be uniform, no Hypocrite can imitate so many several things. The Expressions of Humility are copious and infinite, and there­fore are never to be taught or acted. But the Grace it self is an inward, living Principle, and will influence our outward Actions, easi­ly, naturally, and without teaching.

Hence it appears, that Kings and Noblemen [Page 20]may be humble as well as others: they may use an outward Grandeur according to their Quality, and yet be very meek: for the Grace is within the Man; he may possibly endure, ra­ther than be conceited of his Equipage, much less a Despiser of others. No, we must take especial care to preserve the oeconomy of the World, and the distinctions of Men, in all our Meditations of Humility and Pride, and endeavour, according to what has been said, to have a right understanding of both.

Thus, as briefly as I could, I have laid be­fore you, as well the Nature and Definition, as the principal Acts and Exercises of a Religi­ous Humility.

II. And I now proceed to the Second Gene­ral, the Reward proposed to perswade and en­courage the Practice of it: By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life. And here there are these two things to be con­sidered.

1. That Riches and Honour and Life are a real Blessing, and the proper matter of Reward. And

2. That Humility with the Fear of the Lord will certainly procure them.

1. That Riches and Honour and Life, are a real Blessing, and the proper matter of Reward.

Happiness can be nothing else but the Satis­faction of natural Appetites, according to, and not exceeding the Intention of Nature. God has made us capable of variety of Satisfa­ctions, and given us suitable Desires, and there­fore want in any of these is Misery in proportion: for there is no notion of Misery, but Empti­ness and Desire unsatisfied. What is contrary to our Nature, frets and grates us, but what is agreeable to our true and natural dispositions delights and pleases us; the one is called Happi­ness, the other Pain or Misery: and therefore the Goods of the World (comprehended here in Riches and Honour and Life) having a real value in them, in their order and degree, are proposed as the Reward of Humility with the fear of the Lord. If Temporal Blessings prove pernicious to us, as oftentimes they do, the Fault is not in them, but in us, in that we re­solve our final Happiness into them, and set our Affections upon them, to the prejudice of our higher and more excellent Capacities. But they may be lawfully enjoyed to that de­gree that God allows, and are worthy of a just [Page 22]pursuit in the way that he proposes, and that is, says the Text, by humility, and the fear of the Lord. This is the Method that God has ap­pointed, and they that seek them thus, may ex­pect to attain them.

(1.) By a natural Power and Efficacy in the Vertue it self.

(2.) By an Efficacy Moral; there is some­thing in the practice of Humility, that dispo­ses kindly to all those several ends.

(3.) By an efficacy Divine and Spiritual; the blessing of God will assist and forward the designs of the humble, that he shall ordina­rily attain his ends, and live in Plenty, Honour, and Esteem, to a good old Age. By Humi­lity, and the fear of the Lord, &c.

(1.) By a natural power and efficacy in the vertue it self. An humble disposition tends to Riches, procures Honour, and pre­serves Health.

First, It tends to Riches, and pro­motes our interest in the World. It causes us to propose such ends as are reasonable, and within our reach; it makes us cautious and prudent in our measures. It gives us Patience under the crosses and disappointments of the World, and encourages us to try contentedly [Page 23]again. His Life is comfortable, his matters are managed with silence and discretion, his Mind is steddy, calm, and fit for business. But the Proud are high and lofty in their aims, furious in prosecution, and impatient of any rub. They propose more to themselves than they can compass, which baffles all their pro­jects, and brings them to nothing in the end.

Secondly, Again, Humility natural­ly tends to Honour, Wisdom and Steddiness; Patience and an even prudent managery are so seldom seen, that they never fail to procure esteem and a fair reputation in the World. Those things have a lustre in them, which by a necessary efficacy, like the Sun it self, dazle the sight, and charm the spirits of all Men.

Thirdly, and lastly, Humility natu­rally tends to Health, and prolongs our Life. Pride and solicitude, Envy and desire unsatis­fied, nourish a continual Passion, exhaust the Spirits, disquiet sleep, and so destroy the Health and Life of many.Plut. As Themistocles says of himself; that the Victory and Trophees of Mil­tiades, interrupted his Peace, and would not suffer him to take his rest. But an humble indifference, a meek and a chearful temper, is the Fountain [Page 24]of all tranquillity and pleasure: his Spirits do not rage, and boil, and overset the Body; his rest is sweet, his Mind is free, neither empty of all design, nor pressed down with care. He has business enough to employ his thoughts, leisure enough to regard himself, content and quiet under all events. And thus by natural causality, From Humility, &c.

(2.) Again, By an efficacy moral; Hu­mility disposes kindly to all these several ends, because it conciliates the good opinion of all Men. The deigns of the humble are modest, and therefore he uses no indirect provoking Arts to attain his Worldly ends. He builds a Fortune upon no Man's ruine; he is fair and upright in all his dealings, candid and ingenu­ous, without design or trick, which irresista­bly gain the good-will of all. Every one will be his Friend, ready to assist him, advise him, inform him of any design that is upon him, or of any good that may be in his way. And in­deed a stock in the favour and good-will of our Neighbour, may prove the best estate in this uncertain World.

(3.) And lastly, By an efficacy Divine and Spiritual; The Blessing of God will attend the humble, and so dispose and order second [Page 25]Causes, that they shall live in Plenty, Peace, and Honour, to a good old Age. An hum­ble compliance with the will of God, Con­tent in our Station, Gratitude for Benefits re­ceived, Patience and Self-denial under cross Events, dispose, in their nature, to the Fa­vour and Love of God, the Governour of the World. He cannot but be pleas'd with those that comply with his Providence, and pro­mote his own Designs. And therefore upon whom shall I rest, says God, but upon him that is of an humble and a contrite spirit? Humility is a Bed of Repose and Pleasure to God himself, is St. Au­gustine's Note upon the place. And though the Lord be high, yet he hath respect to the lowly, but beholdeth the proud afar off, Ps. 138.6. The Proud are in a manner out of his sight; but the humble are under his particular care and providence. And therefore the meek shall inhe­rit the Earth, Matth. 5. They shall have wisdom and counsel, Prov. 11.2. They shall be exalted, Luk. 1.52. They shall have rest and tranquillity in all conditions, Matt. 11. ult. But pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall, Prov. 16.18. Tollitur altissimè, ut majori casu ru­at. And thus, By humility, and the fear of the Lord, are riches, and honour, and life, as well [Page 26]in the Nature and Reason of the thing, as by the special Promises of God.

Use. It now remains that we earnestly en­deavour to accomplish our Souls with this so useful, so advantagious a Vertue. You see it is every way your Interest, as well as it is your Duty: Pride is a vain and empty Satisfaction, a continual Disappointment; but Humility is a sure Foundation of Riches, and Honour, and Life. Pride would fain be great but can­not; but Humility is indifferent, and is there­fore courted by the World, it follows it, and offers it self unto it. If you say, that Pride is so natural to us, that it is impossible to be root­ed out; that it has so obtained in the World, that no Man with any Decency or Reputati­on can lay it now aside. The Answer is this, that if it were impossible, it could not be made a Duty: the truth is, the Desire of a more perfect State, to strive after greater Excellen­cies, than we have, the Emulation of vertuous and lovely Qualities: These are the true dis­positions and genuine Inclinations of humane Nature; but the Vice of Pride is unnatural and wholly foreign to us: it would be esteem'd for that which it has not, it would be rewarded for that which it deserves not, it [Page 27]is a Complication of Immoralities, Rebelli­on against the Providence of God, Detracti­on, Envy, Malice, and vain Imagination. This, to be sure, is a Disease we have brought upon our Selves; we love the Vice, we nou­rish the Distemper, we force our Nature to it, and vainly hope, to come off at last by plead­ing a Necessity. But did you ever endeavour to cure this Malady in earnest? did you ever use the proper Means? did you ever consider how little reason you had to be proud or haughty? what a miserable imperfect Being the best of us is, how insufficient, how de­pendent? St. James perswades to Humility from hence, That we are all subject to God, (c. 4. v. 7.) And what have you, says St. Paul, that you have not received? If you receiv'd it, why do ye glory? Nay, even that, that we have recei­ved, and is so precarious, so intirely at the will of another, is so little in it self, so fading and imperfect, that it is no Foundation of Conceit or Haughtiness. For we are nothing but soreness and corruption, says the Prophet. Sordet in conspectu Judicis, S. August. quod fulget in conspectu operantis, says the Father. It is well that there re­mains a more perfect State hereafter for us, who never attain to so great a Perfection of our [Page 28]Nature here, as other Beings do in theirs. What is our Beauty? it is commonly mista­ken, especially by our Selves; but where in­deed it is, the Shades do so hide the Light, that it generally spoils the Picture. The Flow­ers of the Field excel us: and what we have, is fading and inconstant; there is no security in it, no propriety, and therefore the value of it is not great. Is it his Wisdom that a Man may value himself upon? Which Wisdom? That of Yesterday, or his present Senti­ments? For alas, a Man is so unstable, so in­consistent with himself, that his Principles, O­pinions, and Institution of Life, are seldom the same many years together. There is al­ways some byass or other that obstructs his Judgment, and hinders the free and proper motions of his Mind, which at the best are but imperfect. What is it then? Is it Wealth and Power that puff us up? But Power without Reason and Goodness, is a Whirlwind, a Tem­pest, Belluine Ferocity, the degeneracy of hu­mane nature: and as for the Power that is just­ly exercised, it is equally beneficial to the Sub­ject, with the Prince, it equally secures them both in their Rights and Properties. The Power and Dominion of one Man over another, is [Page 29]at the best, but a necessary evil, brought into the World to restrain the exorbitant tempers of Men, and indeed most evil to those that exercise it. Does it not oblige them to a te­dious attendance? are they not subject to di­stracting Cares, opprobrious Censures, dan­gerous Envy, treacherous Conspiracies, and frequent Dissolutions? Upon the matter then, there is nothing in a Man's Possession that is sufficient to elate his Mind? That that really commends him, is an humble sense of what he has attained, and an earnest endeavour to proceed and improve; this at the same time will both prevent the assuming Glory, and make you really deserving of it.

Finally, Set the Example of our blessed Sa­viour before your Eyes, who humbled himself to death upon the Cross for us. Let us blush, says the Father, to be proud, S. August. for whom our Saviour is thus humbled. We must needs be very unde­serving Wretches, who so provoked the Al­mighty Justice, that nothing but the Blood of his Son could atone our guilt. These things, if well considered, would be sufficient to keep down all the ebullitions of a haughty Spirit; especially if we add to this, our constant Prayers to God for his assistance, who will be always [Page 30]ready to support our weakness, prevent temp­tation, facilitate our Victory, and bring us at last to that Happy State, where we shall all be as great and glorious as we can desire.Matt. 5.3. For blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the King­dom of Heaven. To which God of his Mercy bring us all, for Jesus Christ his sake the Righ­teous, to whom with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, be all Honour, Glory, Praise, Dominion and Obedience, now, and for E­vermore. Amen.


PAge 3. line 4. for leaves read leads, p. 6. l. 11. for devoted r. and rooted, p. 12. l. 6. r. Doc.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.