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Nature, the greatest possible Humility and Selfannihilation become our reasonable Duty ; but this is not all : Our blessed Saviour, who laid the Foundation of his Religion in this spiritual Grace, has told us expressly, that, except we be converted, and become as little Children, we shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but that be, who mall humble bimself as a little Child, the same shall be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. By the Kingdom of Heaven, in this place, may be intended, both the Kingdom of Grace, and the Kingdom of Glory. The Kingdom of Grace is that sweet and gentle Government, which Christ, the Son of God, and King of Saints, does, by his Spirit, exercise over his Followers, and such as have given themselves up to his Conduct : The Kingdom of Glory is the future Reward and Recompence, which God intends to bestow in the celestial Mansions of Bliss, upon all those, that have persevered in their Obedience to his Commands : And fo the Words import, that Humility of Mind is highly conducive to make us both truly religious here, and eternally happy hereafter.

The Declaration, which God makes by the Mouth of his holy Prophet, is this,

Tbus faith the high and mighty One, that inhabiteth Eternity, whose Name is boly, 1 dwell in the bigh and holy Place, and with him also, that is of a contrite Spirit : And, if we would enquire for the Reason, why the Majesty of Heaven vouchsafes this Honour to Spirits of this Complexion, we shall find, that Humility indeed is the true Foundation of Union and Commerce between God and the Soul. For as it implies in its Notion a due Sense of our Want and Insufficiency; so it carries in it the whole Reason of Prayer, and Application, and Dependence upon God : As it implies in it a juft Sense of the Divine Bounty, from whence come all our Supplies ; fo R 4

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it carries in it the Reason of Praise and Thanks. giving : As it implies a Sense of our own Unworthinels, it is in Effect the same with the Fear of God ; a Sense of our Distance, the fame with the Honour of God; and a Sense of our Obligation, the same with our Love of God : Of so large an Extent is the Power and Influence of this single Virtue, that, let a Man but take Care to encourage and cultivate it, it will naturally and easily lead him through all the Offices of a religious Life. Nor will it only lead him through these, but fit him likewise for Heaven, and prepare him for the Mansions of the Blessed, where his Poverty of Spirit shall be recompensed with a Kingdom, and his Humility with a Crown; with a Crown incorruptible, that fadeth not away, and whose Glory and Lustre will be equal to the Measure of his Humility and Self-abasement : Humble yourselves therefore, says the Apostle, under the mighty Hand of God, that he may exalt you in due Time ; for whosoever shall humble himself, as a little Child, the same Mall be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And therefore,

II, To come to the Means of attaining this heavenly Grace, let us frequently call to Remembrance the Words of our gracious Lord and Saviour ; Blessed are the poor in Spirit : Blessed are they in themselves, as being free from Ambition and Envy, from Anger and Revenge, and all such boisterous and troublesome Passions, as make the arrogant and self-conceited Mind uneasy, and unhappy in the Midst of all the good Things that this World can afford: Blessed are they in the Sight of God, who sees their Heart, and sees there the lovely, the amiable, the charming Virtue ; a Virtue very agreeable to his Divine Nature, who dwelleth on bigh, and yet bumbleth himself to behold the Things in Heaven and Earıb; and, seeing his

own

own Image there, he cannot but have Respekt unto the Lowly : Blessed in the Eyes of Men, who naturally reverence those, that have mean Opinions of themselves ; and therefore the Apostle calls this Virtue the Ornament of a meek and quiet Spirit, wbich not only in the Sight of God is of great Price, but, through its own inward Excellency, commands likewise the Love and Respect of all, that behold it : Blessed amidst all the Changes and Chances of Life; for while this Grace reigns in his Soul, however despised or abused by wicked Men, God's Spirit hovers over him, Angels visit and attend him, his own Conscience justifies him, and the Lord Jesus, that Pattern of all Humility, loves him : But much more blessed in the Conclusion of it, when being translated to the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, he shall enter upon his glorious Inheritance, and there, together with an innumerable Company of Angels, with the general Assembly and Church of the First-born, which are written in Heaven, with God, the Judge of all, and with Jesus, the Mediator of the new Covenant, enjoy unspeakable Happiness for ever.

2. To the same Purpose, let us frequently consider the fad and mischievous Effects of Pride ; that this Vice first brought Rebellion and Strife into Heaven, and cast down the Apostate Angels thence ; that every proud Man robs God of the Honour due to his Providence, erects new Altars to strange Deities, and, by the wildest of all Idolatry, burns Incense to himself ; that Pride makes Men haughty and assuming in their Carriage, peevish and perverse in their Humour, troublesome and contentious in Business, cavilling and captious in Conversation; and is therefore far from gaining the Love and Esteem of others : But, above all, that this is a Vice destructive to our Souls, as it covers our lurking Faults, and draws a Veil before

our

our Weaknesses and Wants; as it prevents all Repentance, and proves a certain Bar to all Improvements : For it shuts the Door against Admonition and Reproof, forbids the Advice of Friends, and silences the Checks of Conscience. The most fender Appearances of Virtue it brings near and magnifies, the most deformed Blemishes it throws off, and lefsens to the Eye, so that Delusion only reigns, and Truth is never received, till some awakening Dispensation does at last, perhaps too late, discover the Man to himself.

3. To the fame Purpose, let us frequently meditate on the Saints of God, those great Exemplars of Humility, that are recorded in the Holy Scriptures : How Abraham, who had the Honour to be ftiled God's Friend, made no Difficulty to humble himself with the Name of Duft and Afbes; how yocob confefses himself less than the least of God's Mercies ; how David acknowledges himfelf a Worm, and no Man; how the great Teacher of the Gentiles, who was taken up into the third Heaven, and had Revelations imparted to him, too glorious for human Tongue to utter, descends fo low as to term himself the least of the Apostles, not meet to be called an Apostle, and what is more, not only less than the least of all Saints, but even the chief of Sinners. But, above all, let us set before us the meek and lowly Jesus, who, though he was in the Form of God, and thought it no Robbery to be equal with God, yet bumbled bimself to the Form of a Servant, and became obedient unto Death, even the Death of the Cross. And shall not we, for whose Sakes all this was done and suffered, give Proof of an humble and submissive Spirit ? Shall not the fame Mind be in us, which was in our gracious Saviour? Yes, this is our Duty, this our Interest, and therefore we will set this Pattern always before our Eyes, and, in the constant Course of our Actions, bear it always in Mind, that Pride in him, who calls himself a a Christian, is perfectly absurd, and more intolerable, than in any other Sort of Men, because the Author of the Christian Religion was so humble.

SECT. I.

Of the Government of our Pasions and Affections.

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Y the Word Passion we understand, either a

strong Tendency of our Souls towards fomething, that we look upon as very good, and condu, cive to our Happiness ; or a strong Aversion, and Resolution to fly from what we apprehend to be evil and pernicious to us: And this, on both Sides, attended with such a sensible Commotion of the Blood and Spirits, as keeps the Mind much employed upon the present Affair, to the Exclusion of every Thing else, and the Prevention, many Times, of all deliberate Reasoning concerning our Conduct.

In this Respect therefore it differs from Affection, properly so called ; for Affection is the Defire or Averfion we have to any Object, that we conceive to be good or evil, but without any bodily Disorder, and is therefore a simple Modification of the Mind: Whereas Paffion is always attended with a violent Motion, in which we feel a Kind of Pain: and Uneasiness, whether the Object, that causes it, be good or bad. For we find by Experience, that, in this imperfect State of our Nature, the most agreeable Passion, even that of Joy, has something in it, that overcomes and presses us too close ; that causes an Uneasiness in the Midst of Delight, and is sometimes so violent, as to sink us under the Weight of more Happiness, than we can bear.

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