Imatges de pàgina

the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it, i Cor: 10. 13. These Texts seem both to intend the same thing and to refer to the strengthening and assisting Grace of God's Spirit, inabling us to reside and withstand Temptations, which is that Grace of God which was sufficient for St. Paul, and is sufficient for all Christians, tho' they may not have it in fuch a measure as he had..., - 7. To this sense it seems also reasonable to apply those two places of the Prophet Isaiah, to this Man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite fpirit, and trembleth at my word, "Ifa. 66. And again, thus faith the high and lofty one that inhabiteth Eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place; with him also that is of a contrite and humble Spirit, &c. Chap. 57. This it seems is God's Dwelling-place upon Earth, the Tabernacle of his Rest, the Soul of an Humble and Lowly-minded Man. But now how does God dwell in' us but by his Spirit, and by the Gifts and Graces'of it. And therefore this again shews that Humility is a dirposition for Grace. As does also that Beatitude of our Saviour Christ, Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. For if by Vertue of this Beatitude, the poor in Spirit (by whom we are chiefly to understand the Humble) are intitled to

the Kingdom of Heaven, then by consequence they must be supposed to be equally intitled to the Grace of God's Spirit, since without Grace there can be no Glory.

8. In the Old Creation we read of a void and informi Mass, and that then the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the Waters. 'Tis so in like manner in the New. Humility is that Mystical Void which is the Theatre of the Divine Operation, upon which the Holy Spirit of God acts by his Gracious,

as upon the other he did by * Natural is here taken as 'ris önpöfed his * Natural Influences. Huto Moral, and not mility is a state of Self-empti. as it is oppoled to ness, and the emptiness of it Supernatural.

is its Capacity, that which disposes it for, and makes it capable of the Divine Inspirations. For one Qualification for being filld, is to be empty, and if we will receive of his fullness, we must be empty in our selyes. He indeed is full, and willing to communicate of his fullness, and the fountain of Grace is always open, and always running, and accordingly, our Saviour in his Discourse with the Woman of Samaria, compares it to a well of Living Water, John 4. But there is some disposition requisite on our part, and that is to be empty when we

come to draw at it, for as St. De Verbis Don. Serma. 59. : Austin says, Tam largo Fonti i vas inane admovendum est. We


had need put an empty Vessel to the mouth of fo large a Fountain. And this is the reason that St. Bernard gives of the great di. versity and inequality in the distribution of Grace, why some have so much, and some so little, which he says is not that God is either a needy or a covetous dispenser of it, but that where empty Vessels are wanting, the Oyl must needs be at a stand. Unde spiritualis gratia inopia tan. In Ascensione

Dom. Serm. 6. ta quibufdam, cum aliis copia tanta exuberet ? Profe&to nec avarus, nec inops eft gratiæ distributor. Sed ubi vaeua vasa de funt, Atare oleum neceffe eft. He alludes to the story of the Widow's Oyl multiplied by the Prophet Elisha, 2 Kings 4. 6.

9. God promises his Grace to the Humble, and therefore there must be something in Humility that disposes Men for Grace. This Heavenly Rain in this differs from the Natural, that it falls chiefly in the lower places, whereas that falls indifferently. But herein however it resembles the Natural Rain, that however it falls, yet it stays and lodges in the lower Grounds, in the Valleys, which also is the chief place for Springs and Fountains, according to that observation of the Pfalmit, he sendeth the Springs into the Valleys, which run among the Hills, Pfal. 104. Now to these Valleys, both St. Austin and St. Bernard compare the Humble and Low-spirit



ed Man. Si Humiles funt valles De Verbis Apo- funt, quod infuderis capiunt, non fioli. Serm. 9. dimittunt. Ši venerit aqua suiper altitudinem decurrit & defluit. Si ad Concavum a humilem locum, & capitur & ftat. So St. Austin. If they are Humble, 'they 'are Valleys, they take what is infused and do not let it go. If water falls upon a high place, it runs down and falls off, but if upon a concavous and low place, it is there received, and there it stands. He might have further added, and inriches it, and makes it fruitful. And so 'tis with the hearts of Humble Men, those Spiritual Valleys, they receive the Grace of God and keep it, (there being nothing in the Spirit of Humility that is oftenlive to the Spirit of God, that grieves or provokes him to depart) and being thus under the standing and remaining Influences of the Dew of Heaven, they grow Fruitful with it,and abound in every good word and work, and so as the Psalmist says, The Valleys are so thick with Corn, that they rejoyce and sing. : ;

16. The Humble Man is the Tree planted by the Rivers of Water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his Season, and whose Leaf does not wither. For where are the Rivers of Water but in the Valleys. Surely in the ValSerino de Sanéto leys fays St. Bernard. For who Benedičio Abban does not see says he, that the teos Torrents de decline the fteep places of the Valley. So truly says he, God refifts the Proud, and gives grace to the Humble. He thrives and prospers, and is fruitful in his low but fat and rich Soil, while the Proud Man on the top of his bleak and barren Mountain, for want of taking or retaining this Spiritual Dew, dries up, hardens and withers. For he is too high for the Grace of God, as having no sense of his need of it, nor can the Spirit of God delight to dwell with him, who has so much of the Spirit of the Devil. No, 'tis the Man of an Hum-. ble Spirit with whom God declares he will take up his Residence and Abode ; and our Saviour comparing the Grace of the Spirit to Water, gives us a hint to conclude that it will not reít upon a Proud Heart. For Wa

And the same may be said of the Divine Grace. And therefore says St. : 3 Bernard again, Altitudo est. In Vigil. Natalis illuc non perveniunt fluenta gratie. He is a high place (speaking of a Proud Man) the streams of Grace do not reach thither. No they do not, but they descend from thence into the lower ground, into the Heart of the Humble and Poor in Spirit, who receives that Grace which the Proud Man re

portion of the Spirit, the Proud Man's share, and his own too,

II. If

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