Imatges de pàgina

CH A P. VI. Of the particular Duties and Effects of

Humility, with some Remarks upon the Signs of it.

1. L Aving already shewn what Humility

[1 is upon what it is immediately foun: ded, the Reasonableness of it, the Excellency of it, and the indispensable Necessity of it, I know not what in the handling of this Subject may better deserve to be next consider'd, than the particular Duties to which it obli

the Consideration of which accordingly I now proceed.

2. Though Humility, as was observ'd before, be a Vertue which respects our selves, and whereof we our selves are the only proper and immediate Object, yet the Effects and Expressions of it reach further than our selves. And 'tis of these Effects that we are, I suppose, to be understood when we speak of Humility towards God, Humility towards our Neighbour, and Hụmility towards our Selves. For indeed there can be but one Humility in all, and that is that which regards our felves. But then this Humility towards our felves,


(the sole Object of that low Opinion wherein Humility consists) will have effects out of

will make us behave and comport our selves in a certain manner with relation to God, our Neighbour, and our Selves. Which Ef. fects are also so many Duties, to which it obliges us, and which I shall therefore confider according to that Threefold Relation.

3. And firit of the Duties of Humility towards God. This the Prophet expresses in general by walking Humbly with him. He hath Jhewed thee 0 Man what is good ; and what dotb the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love Mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God, Micah 6. 8. Walking here signifies our Carriage, Behaviour, or Deportment in the ordinary practice of Religion, that being the pace which Men ordinarily use when they go, or move from one place to another. And by our walking Humbly with God, we are to understand in general our walking so with him, or our comporting our selves in such a manner towards him, as may bespeak and express the low and humble sense which we have of our felves. For that is properly our Humility, the other is but the Effect of it. Our Humility consists in the low sense which we have of our felves, but then that low sense of our felves will oblige us to Comport our felves in a certain

manner towards God, such a manner as may express that sense. And this is the general of what we are to understand by our walking Humbly with God. But then this more para ticularly includes,

4. First, Our thinking Highly, Magnificentİy, Honourably, and Worthily of him, both as to his Being or Effence, and as to those several Perfections and Attributes whereby,by reason of the narrowness of our Faculties, and their disproportion to lo valt an Object, we are forced as it were by parts, to conceive his simple and undivided Effence. Our thinking highly of his Wisdom, highly of his Power, highly of his Goodness, &c. For though this be no more than what Religion in general obliges us to, since we cannot serve God as we ought, from a principle of Love, and with a filial Ingenuity, without having high and worthy Thoughts of him ; nay, though it be no more than what even the strictness of Philosophic Truth and Science demands, since we cannot be good Philosophers without conceiving rightly of things, and according to their Natures, which riebtly in God is Highly, yet this same thing also flows in a particular manner from Humility, and may be consider'd as a special Effect and Duty of it. For as 'tis the Effect of being low one's self, or in a low place, to make other things seem high, so the more



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Humble we are in our selves, and the lower we descend into the Abyss of our own Nothing, the more raised and elevated thoughts wc Niall have of God, and be the more penetrated with the sense of his Infinite Greatness and Majesty.

5. Secondly, Our prostrating our Souls before him by Acts of the lowest and most profound Veneration, and even annihilating our selves in his Presence, looking upon our felves as Nothing in comparison of his Incomprehensible Being, and Addressing him accordingly in our Religious Worship, not with a faucy Familiarity, or negligent Confidence, as if we were talking with an equal, but with that serious concern and awful Reverence that so vast a Distance and Disproportion requires. An instance whereof we have in that of the Patriarch Abraham, Behold now I have taken upon me to peak unto the Lord, which am but Dust and Ashes, Gen. 18.27. Such a sense should we have of our own Meanness and Vileness when we 'approach unto God, and put our felves more immediately into his Presence. For when will we be Humble if not in our Prayers and Devotions ? The Angels in Heaven Praise him with cover'd Faces ; much more should we his poor Petitioners on Earth, put up our Humble Supplications to him with the most regardful Concern. We should there


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fore approach him Reverently, with recollected Thoughts, filent Passions, and an all over composed posture of Soul, paying him the lowest Submission of all our Intellectual Powers and Faculties, Honouring and Mage nifying him by all that is within us ; thus serving the Lord, as St. Paul expresses it, with all Humility of Mind, Acts 20. 19. :;;!

6. But this is but one part of us,and therefore our walking Humbly with God further requires in the third place all Humility of Body too. That we put our Bodies in Tuch lowly Postures, and use such submissive and reverential Gestures, as either by Nature or by Custom serve best to express the Humility of our Souls. True Devotion indved requires this, but true Humility requires also the same; and 'tis much to be fear'd that lie has neither the one nor the other that neglects it, or can dispense with it. For there is 110 sentiment of the Mind that does so naturally communicate with the Body, as these two do, especially Humility. A Lowly Mind will even Naturally, I had almost said Mechanically, put a Man into a lowly posture of Body, especially in our Religious Addresses to God. Which however some may omit either out of Laziness, or out of Indevotion, or upon a pretence of a more SpiriJual Worship, yet that any should scruple it, and that in the most Sacred Office of our Res Q3


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