Imatges de pàgina
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as Solomon observes, cometh by Pride, Prov. 13. 10. deadens the force of Injuries, reconciles Differences, pacifies Resentments, throws a Bridle upon the neck of Ambition, and is the best Remedy against all Envy and Emulation in the World. And 'tis for this Reafon, according to St. Austin, that Charity envies not, because, as it immediately follows, it is not puffed up. For he supposes the Aposile to subjoin this latter Character of

Charity as the reason of the De San&Virzi. nitate. Cap. 31.

former. De qui cum di&tum ef

set, Charitas non æmulatur, velut fi caufam quæreremus,unde fiat at non amuletur, continuo subdidit, non inflatur.

19. But I must not forget further to remark that Humility is an excellent Dispofition for Faith, which finds the easiest Admission, and enjoys the most undisturb’d Poffeflion in an Humble Mind. How it inclines a Man to receive the Revelations of God. and particularly the Misteries of Christianity, though it does not comprehend the manner, or reason, or possibility of the Article. How it cafts doren Imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth it self against the Knowledge of God, or the Belief of what he reveals, and brings into Captivity every Thought to the Obedience of Christ. But then if it thus disposes and prepares the way for Faith, it must needs also have a general Influence upon all other

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on the whole Body of Christian Life, which all depends upon the firm belief of the Truths of Revelation. So that Humility will be found to be at the bottom of all Religion. And accordingly. St. Bernard calls

In die Natalia it, Fundamentum custofq; Virtu- Du tum, the Foundation and Guardian of the Verties. But then if its Influence be so great upon Goodness, it must as much

thing I shall observe for the Commendation of Humility, and to shew what an excellent Vertue it is, that it qualifies us for Heaven, from whence the Proud Angels fell. And for this we have our Saviour's exprels word, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Which for the grcater Commendation of Humility is made the first of the Beatitudes.

20. I shall not reckon among the Excel. lencies of Humility the great rarity of it, though that be commonly esteemed as an Excellency. I am rather forry that so excellent a Vertue should be so rare, As indeed I think this is to a very deplorable degree. We all call Christ Master, but where is the Man that learns of him, that learns of himn the lesson of Humility? We content our selves in knowing that 'tis a good thing, in commending it when it comes in our way, and

in censuring the want of it in others ; but who endeavours to have it in himself Ź We allow it a place in our Morality, nay, even Magnify our Religion for teaching it, calling it a Vertue properly Christian.But we overlook it as much in our Fractice as the Heathen Philosophy did in its Morals. God grant us his Grace, that Christianity which is now

than

it

is.

C H A P.

C HA P. V. The Neceffity of Humility considered.

1. D Y Necessity here I do not mean that

D which is Absolute, whose Opposite includes a Contradi&tion, or which excludes all Contingency, as when a thing must absolutely be, and cannot possibly not be, or be otherwise. But I mean a Conditional Neceflity, or a Necessity úpon Supposition, such as that of the Means in reference to that end which cannot be attained without it. For here, though such a means cannot be said to be absolutely Necessary, but Contingent, because absolutely speaking, I may refuse both the End and the Means too ; yet supposing me to be positively and effectually determined upon such an End, it will be necessary for me to will and use that Means, and that because without that Means there is no pollibility supposed of obtaining that End. “And accordingly such means, however Absolutely contingent, are in this sense, and as the Supposition is now put, not improperly said to be necessary. For indeed it is a real degree of necessity for one thing to follow upon the Position of another, though that other bę not neceflary to be put. However, it is not so great a Necessity as that which is Absolute. But in this Sense I know nothing but God and Eternal Truths that can be said to be necessary. All other things are I think Absolutely speaking, but Contingent.

2. The Necessity of a thing imports something more than the mere excellency of it. Every thing that in the sense before defined) is Necessary, is indeed Excellent, but every thing that is Excellent is not as such Necessary. Indeed the same thing that is Excellent may also be necessary (as in the present case but not as such, or for that reason. And accordingly the Excellency of a thing does not infer the Necessity of it. As for Instance, I may commend such a Medicine as an excellent Remedy to Cure such a Disease, and yet it may not be necessary, since 'tis pofsible that the same Disease may be Cured by another Medicine. But indeed if it cannot, then that Medicine is Necessary as well as Excellent, and the more Excellent because Necessary. : 2. Now this is the Case as to Humility It is not only an excellent Means for the procurement of all those good Ends, or to produce all those good, wholesome and defirable Effects, from its Serviceableness to which we have commended its Excellericy in the foregoing Chapter, but is also necelfary to the Procuremeni or Production of

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