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A GOOD NAME.
A good name is rather to be | loving favour rather than silver chosen than great riches, and and gold.
SOME aim at the reputation of being learned, and others, of being brave. The scholar, the soldier, and the politician, disregard the toil and self-denial which may be necessary to secure their favourite objects. It is even possible that men may be proud of their infamy, and seek notoriety in wickedness. Above all others, it is the prevalent desire of men to secure the distinctions of wealth, and to have their names associated with hoarded thousands.
All these may attain their objects of pursuit, but does the acquisition secure happiness ?
Alas! no. The learned, the brave, the affluent, and the great, are the marks at which envy and malignity aim their shafts, and their distinction often becomes the source of their bitterest annoyance. Besides, none run in the career of mere worldly ambition, without sinning against God; and this entails self-accusation and painful disquietude.
A good name, however, that is, a reputation founded on benevolence and goodness, is rather to be chosen than great riches. It is a high and ennobling distinction for a man, that “he does justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with his God.” Ilow much more fra
grant the name of a Howard or a Wilberforce, than that of a Cæsar or a Napoleon! Even in the humbler walks of life, a good name may be acquired by him, whose heart overflows with love for his neighbour, and whose conduct is ever governed by principle. The upright, compassionate, benevolent, disinterested, and sincere, secure an esteem, which all the hoarded treasures of the covetous could not purchase. Wealth may be acquired by accident or fraud, but a good name only by virtue. How sweet the possession! It implies virtues which must be associated with tranquillity of mind, and a conscience void of offence to God and
O, how should youth strive to lay the foundation for such a reputation! How should they avoid every thing which might bring on it the slightest tarnish! It would be to them a priceless treasure, and yet, one false step may for ever put the acquisition beyond their reach.
My soul, let thy distinction be that thou lovest God supremely and thy neighbour as thyself. Pity and relieve the wretched; walk circumspectly towards them that are without; in thy slightest actions be careful to furnish no occasion for gainsaying or reproach ; avoid the imputation of meanness, selfishness, and covetousness; secure the approbation of conscience in all things, and whilst a sojourner on earth, let it be - seen that thy absorbing desire is to promote the glory
of God, and the best interests of thy fellow men. Let it be thy aim to be a lover of God, and a lover of
Then shall thy name be as precious ointment poured out.
HUMILITY AND PRIDE.
BETTER is it to be of an hum- The Lord will destroy the ble spirit with the lowly, than to house of the proud : but he divide the spoil with the proud. will establish the border of the
When pride cometh, then com- widow. eth shame: but with the lowly A man's pride shall bring him is wisdom.
low : but honour shall uphold Pride goeth before destruc- | tbe humble in spirit. tion, and an haughty spirit be- Surely he scorneth the scornfore a fall.
ers: but he giveth grace unto Every one that is proud in the lowly. heart is an abomination to the An high look, and a proud Lord : though hand join in hand heart, and the plowing of the he shall not be unpunished.
wicked, is sin. Before destruction the heart By humility and the fear of of man is haughty; and before the Lord are riches, and honour, honour is humility.
THERE is no grace more frequently inculcated in the word of God than humility-no vice more pointedly condemned than pride. The one supposes a low, the other an exaggerated estimate of our own attainments, and hence the first is founded in truth, and the latter in ignorance. There is no state of mind in which men are so little disposed to be taught of God, or to recognize their dependence on him, as that of pride. It leads to self-confidence, engenders a haughty and overbearing spirit, suppresses sympathy for others, and the gentle charities of life, and is utterly at variance with every sentiment and emotion suitable to the Christian character. A proud worshipper of God, or a proud follower of the meek and lowly Jesus, are contradictory terms.
On the other hand, humility is the first feeling of the heart when regenerated by the Spirit of God, and it becomes deeper and more habitual in proportion as the soul perceives the excellent glory of God and its own depravity. “Mine eye seeth thee,” said Job, “ wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and in ashes.” David, in contemplating the external works of the Creator, “the heavens, the work of his fingers, and the moon and the stars which he had made,” was constrained to exclaim, “what is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him ?” Infinitely insignificant in comparison with the Almighty, and unspeakably impure in comparison with the most Holy, man may well exclaim, Behold, I am as nothing before thee! The blessed Jesus taught his disciples “to learn of him who was meek and lowly in heart," and the most eminent of his followers have always been distinguished by this temper of mind. Guilty and ruined as we are, we have nothing of which we can be justly proud.
Solomon, from his elevated position, had peculiar opportunities of observing the divine procedure, and he has given us the result of his observation in the passages above quoted. He had uniformly noticed that pride was the precursor of destruction, while humility preceded exaltation; and with this experience he had learned that "it was better to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”
Remember, O my soul, that thy God, while he contemns the proud, has promised to dwell with them who are of an humble and contrite heart, and tremble at his word. What reason hast, thou to be humble ! How grievously hast thou dishonoured thyself and thy God by thy sin! Does not the remembrance of thy lowly origin, “ the degenerate plant of a strange vine," humble thee? Canst thou be uplifted when thou recallest thy unthankfulness, unfruitfulness, and shortcomings in duty ? Does not the recollection of the ingratitude with which thou hast requited thy merciful and loving Saviour, produce in thee lowly thoughts of thyself? Is it not sweet for thee to walk in the valley of humiliation ? Is it not most congenial with thy feelings, most suitable to thy condition? Thou hast no ground of boasting ; thy best righteousness is imperfect; thou hast fallen infinitely below the holy standard of God's law. And is there indeed honour and exaltation for thee? Bless the Lord, for it is of his rich, unmerited grace that thou art invested with the dignity of a son of God, and shalt hereafter be glorified as an heir of his kingdom.