Imatges de pàgina

those outward Indications, as I shall shew when I come to consider the Signs of Humility. In the mean time, be those Indications true, or be they false, still they are but Indications. But as for Humility itself, it is an inward thing, lodg’d in those inward parts, where God, as the Psalmist says, Pfal. 51. requires Truth, and makes us to understand Wisdom secretly in the inner Man, the Recess of the Soul, that Spirit of the Mind, Eph. 4. 23. which St. Paul makes to be the Seat and Subject of true Regeneration. There Pride Erects her Throne, Sits in Imperial State, and Exalts her self on High, Crown'd, Waited upon, Attended, Courted, and Flatter'd by Self-love. And there also Humility has her Foot-stool, a Low and Abject, but an Easie and Quiet Seat, that yields true Rest and Peace to the Soul ; our own Nothing, and God's Fulness, being the best Center and Repose of thie Creature.

25. The Sum of this Account is this. Humility in the Primary Sense and Radical Notion of it, is a true and just Estimation of our selves, to think of our felves rightly, and as we ought to think, that is, to think of our felves as we are. But then because we indeed are Vile and Low, therefore Humility in the Secondary Sense of it (which is the Sense that now passes for the ordinary NoD 2


tion of Humility) imports a Base and Low Opinion of our selves. But then this Low Opinion of our felves, is not necessarily to be understood as to our particular Excellencies, as if it were not consistent with Humility, to think our felves possess'd of them when we have them, but that we think Lowly of our selves upon the whole, so as not to value our selves upon those Perfections which we have, any more than if we had them not from a sense of our Dependency upon God, that we are nothing of ourselves, nor have any thing in our selves but what we have received. But then again in this low Opinion of our selves, we are to regard our selves chiefly as to the state of our corrupt Nature, and as a Root or Principle, in which respect indeed we are nothing, as having nothing Originally from ourselves. Then again, this low Opinion of our felves to which Humility obliges us, is to be understood Abram lutely as we are in our felves, and not only Comparatively, with regard to other Men,

sense do, or may think meanly of themselves. Which low Opinion of our selves, that it may be indeed that Humility which Christianity requires, and to complete the Notion of it, must be as I have shewn, not a transient Act, but a setled and an abiding Habit of the Soul,


thoroughly possess’d and affected with a Deep and Habitual Sense of its own Vileness and Unworthiness. And this I take to be true Christian Humility.

26. To perfect the Account of which, I think fit to add these Two further Collateral Remarks. First, That Humility is the proper Vertue of a Creature. It is true in. deed, that in the most Large and Primary Sense of it, as it signifies a true and just Estimation of ones felf, nothing hindlers but that God may be capable of it. Nay, 'tis most certain, that he does and must possess it, as much as any other Perfection. For to think rightly, is an Absolute Perfection of an Intelligent Being; one of those Perfections which the Schools call Perfectiones fimpliciter fimplices, that is, a Perfection that is purely and simply so; a Perfection wherein there is no Imperfection, and not only in a certain Kind, or as to a limited Respect. And therefore the most perfect Being must needs have it whoever wants it ; so that in this Sense also we may securely say, we are sure that the Judgment of God is according to Truth, as to himself, as well as to all other things. But indeed, if Humility be consider'd in the more strict and reduced Sense of it, and as it is cornmonly taken for a low Opinion of ones God is not capable of it, but the Crea.

D 3


ture only. The Superexcellency of his Na. ture sets him Infinitely above it, and that even upon the former Supposition, since he cannot think truly of himself, without thinking Highly at the same time to the utmost Degree. But then that Highly, though it would be Pride in us or in any Creature, is not so in him, because he cannot think of himself above what he is, nor consequently above what he ought to think

27. The other Remark is, that Humility is that special part of the Duty of Man which respects our felves. We talk indeed of Humility towards God,and Humility towards our Neighbour. And 'tis true indeed, there is so much Foundation for this way of speaking, as that the Effects of Humility will be found to extend even to these, there being particular Duties arising from it, wherein God and our Neighbour are concern'd as well as our felves, as I shall shew under a distinct Head for that purpose, when I come to treat of the particular Duties of Humility, But though there may be some Variety in the Duties of it, yet I think 'tis plain, that the thing it self properly speaking is but one. and that we our felves are the Proper and Immediate Subject of it ; Humility being a low Sense and Opinion of a Man's self, ace cording to the Measures above described, and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

so reducible to that part of the Duty of Man, which the Apostle has pointed out to us under the Head of Sobriety ; which is a Duty that immediately Affects our selves. But how far God and our Neighbour are concern'd in it, is indeed a thing very fit to be consider'd, but not I think in this place.

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinua »