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CH A P. VIII.
Wherein some of the principal Remedies
against Pride, or Means for the better attainment of Humility, are considere
1. DRIDE though a great, is not an incu
T rable Vice. It is great enough to need, but not so great as not to admit of a Remedy. Which is that very state and degree of Evil that serves to quicken and ingage our Care and Diligence to be delivered from it. We do not use to apply Remedies either to slight Hurts, or to apparently mortal Wounds, to such as will be Cured without, or to such as will not be Cured with them, when a Remedy is either needless or in Vain. But when neither of these is the Case, then is the proper season to seek out for help, and to apply the means of Recovery. Now this is our State. The Devil's Pride is Incurable, both as to the Guilt, and as to the Power and Habit of it. As to the Guilt, for want of a Mediatour to make satisfaction for their Offence, since he that only could do it was pleased not to take upon him the Nature of Angels, but the Seed of Abraham.
And as to the Power, by reason of his Malice and Obstinacy in Evil, arising not so much from the greatness of the Sin, as from the peculiar condition of his Nature and State, whereby he immoveably adheres to whatever he once chuses. In which respect, the Fall as to * Angels * Hoc est lomia is the same as Death is to Men. nibus lors quod
Angelis Cafuso leaving them bound in a fix'd Aquinas. and permanent state, as in Chains of Darkness. But our Condition, Blessed be God, is far otherwise in both respects. The guilt of our Pride, as of our other Sins, is remissible by the Blood of Christ, and the power of it is Conquerable by his Grace, with the concurrence of our own sincere endeavours in the use of such proper Means as serve in subordination to it. The principal of which I shall now briefly consider.
2. In the first place then, the first and most general remedy against Pride,as indeed against all other Sin, I take to be Confideration, or the actual attending to what we Habitually know. For all Sin is from Ignorance as I shewed before, not habitual Ignorance, (for in that respect as Sin may be, to most of our Sins are against Knowledge) but actual Ignorance, that is, an Ignorance which we labour under at the instant when we act, the light of the Mind being then under an Eclipse,
whereby we lose the view of certain Moral or Practical Truths which we habitually and in the general know well enough, but at that point or instant of time not having them in our sight, at least clearly and fully, we may for that Interval be said to be ignorant of them, and that though we have the knowledge of them in our power. Now this actual Ignorance proceeds from Inadvertency or Inconsideration, from our not applying our Attention to what we habitually know. For Pris our not attending to our habitual Knowledge that makes us a&ually Ignorant, as 'tis our actual Ignorance that makes us Sin. And then again, this our Inconsideration, or not attending to what we habitually know, is from our Minds being at that time fill'd, ingaged and divided by the force of the present Temptation, the strong impression of some sensible Good or Evil, which diverts our thought from the Consideration of those governing Truths (such as, that Sin is the greatest Evil) which regulate our Practice ; by the means of which Non-attention to them we become actually ignorant of them, and so act as foolishly as if we did not know them, as indeed for that time we do not. This seems to be the true rise and procedure of Sin, to which therefore the proper and most direct remedy, as striking at the very root of it, must be consideration, or Atten
tion to our habitual Light, the keeping it always in our View, and walking with our Eyes open and fix'd upon it, that so having our Light always with us we may not stumble, as our Saviour assures us that those who walk in the day do not. The proper remedy then against Pride, is Consideration, I do not yet say of what, but Consideration at large, as it implies a waking and recollected state of the Soul, a certain presence of Mind, as I may call it, whereby we have the actual use and command of our general Knowledge, in opposition to that Sleepy and Lethargic state of Soul, wherein we are apt ever now and then to let our Light go out and be benighted, to forget our selves, take a nod,and fall.
3. What is here faid of Consideration, may also as truly and indeed niore directly and immediately be said of Knowledge, which is the effect of it. For since Ignorance is the caufe of Pride, and the remedy of any Distemper is that which is contrary to its Cause, it hence follows that one proper and direct remedy against Pride is Knowledge. Indeed the Apostle tells us that Knowledge puffeth up ; and it is very true of some kinds of Knowledge, and of some degrees of Knowledge, and of so much common Experience informs us, those that know little being generally observ'd to be most Proud of their knowledge.
But then the same experience will also inforti us, that the proper method of Cure in this Case is not to take that little away, but to increase it, by adding more degrees of Knowledge to it. By which it plainly appears, that Knowledge does not properly puff up
norance; that is, that 'tis not our knowing what we do, but our knowing no more than we do that puffs us up with Pride and Selfconceit. And that indeed is very right. 'Tis our knowing no more than we do, that is our not knowing, that is our Ignorance, that is the Cause of all the Pride that is in the World ; and the way to make Men more Humblé is to make them Wiser. But as for Knowledge it self as such, if that should direály tend to Pride, (for as for its doing so sometimes by Accident, that's another matter) I should be but ill imploy'd in endea. vouring to write an instructive Treatise to inform People in the Nature, Reason, and Duties of Humility. But I hope I am about a Good and Christian Undertaking, and that I shall not contribute to any Man's Pride by making him Wiser, especially Gnce we have a very Wise Man's word for it, that with the lowly is wisdom, Prov. 11. 2. The Connexion is mutual. For as Lowliness is a friend to Wisdom, so true Wisdom is a friend to Lowliness. It does not only consist with it,