Imatges de pàgina
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Dei.

am Proud of my Goodness or Vertue, my Goodness suffers by my Pride, and is even lost in my Vanity. For let me have never so many Vertues, 'tis all nothing, nay, I am still a bad Man if I am Proud of them.

..And what does it profit, as Ist Regulâ ad Servos

of St. Austin observes, for a Manz

to Impoverish himself by giving to the Poor, if he is more Proud of his contempt of Riches, than he was of the poffeffion of them. Quid prodest dispergere dando pauperibus, & pauperem fieri, cum anima misera fuperbior efficitur, divitias contemnendo, quam fuerat possidendo. And accordingly he says again in the same place, that Pride lies in wait to destroy our good works, superbia bonis operibus infidiatur ut pereant.

13. And thus having shewn the Reasonableness of Humility by these Four Considetations, it may now perhaps be expected, that I should also represent the unreasonableness of Pride. But besides what has been here Incidentally and Occasionally let fall concerning that matter, 'tis to be considered, that the unreasonableness of Pride is sufficiently feen in the reasonableness of Humility, since whatever is a Reason for the one, is at the same time an Argument against the other, as being the contrary Vice. I shall therefore content iny tell with having shewn the reafonableness of Humility, to which all that remains as further necessary, is seriously to consider what a great Obligation there lies upon us all, to apply our selves to the practice and exercise of a Vertue which appears to be every way so highly reasonable, as also actually and effectually to set about the practice of it. And may God Almighty dispose and assist us by his Grace for the doing of both."

С НА Р.

CHA P. IV.
of the Excellency of Humility.

SECT. 1. The Excellency of Humility argued from the

Reasonableness of it. 1. DY the Excellency of a thing, we un

D derstand something more than the bare Goodness of it, though that be also included. 'Tis the Goodness of it in a very great degree, whereby it exceeds the common proportion of things that are said to be Good. 'Tis the excess of a thing is Goodness, not that whereby it exceeds any certairi particular, (for so a great many things inay exceed, and yet not be what we call excellent) but that whereby it exceeds the cominon Measure or Standard. Now such things there are in common Morality, which has its cardinal Vertues. Such there were in Mofes's Law which had the first and great Commandment, besides those more weighty things of the Law which our Saviour speaks of. And such there are also in Christianity, wherein though all be great and good, yet

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there are things that are more excellent ; and though the whole constellation of its Vertues be Bright and Shining, yet one Star differs from another Star in Glory. And accordingly says St. Paul, the greatest of these'is Charity, I Cor. 13. 13.

2. Now that Humility is a very excellent Vertue in this sense, appears first from what has hitherto been Discours d concerning the great reasonableness of it. For that's the first thing that makes any Vertue to be ex, cellent, and by that we measure its excel lence. For as in matters of Speculation, we call that a good Conclusion which depends upon strong and demonstrative Principles or Premises, and which by the strength or light of them appears most fit to be assented to by us ; fo in matters of Practice or things to be done, (which are as so many practical Conclusions) those things we may justly esteem, and properly call excellent,' for the

doing of which there is a great deal of i Reason. For the more of that there is in

the Premises, the stronger is the Conclusion, or which is the fame in effect, the better is the Vertue.

3. 'Tis by the reason for which it is to be done, that one Vertue exceeds or outshines another. For it must be either the Reason

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giver, that's equal on all sides; the least Vertue, or the least of God's Commands having as much of that as the greatest. That therefore which is not different can make no difference.' And therefore if there be any, it must be from the reason of the thing it felf. Which by the way proves Morality, or that Natural Intrinsic Goodness of some Actions which is Antecedent to, and Independent on the Law of God. For instance, God says that he will have Mercy and not Sacrifice ; which implies, that Mercy is the better of the two ; or as St. Paul speaks of Charity, the more excellent way." But why the better? They were both Commanded, and by the same Authority, and in that re, spect one was as good as the other. That therefore, which was prefer?d must be prefer'd upon the account of its Natural and Intrinsic Goodness. And therefore there are fome Actions that are good in themselves, or that are Mórally good, or else there was no reason why Mercy should be prefer’d before Sacrifice. Nor can they give any account of this matter, who resolve the goodness of Actions into the Will of God, and so make it merely positive. For however in this way they might hope to render a Reason of their simple Goodness, yet the comparative Goodness or Betterness whereby one Action excells another, when they

are

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