Imatges de pàgina
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CH A P. III. The Reasonableness of Humility, wherein

the particular Reasons why me Should be Humble are consider'd.

I. MAAN being a Reasonable Creature,

VI expects, and has a Right to demand a Reason for every thing that he is either to believe or do, since without it he can do neither. Not only in Philosophic Truth and Theory, but even in Matters of pure Faith, where the Reason of the thing it self (as believed) is not regarded, nay, even in Mat. ters that are above Reason, where we coniprehend not the manner or possibility of the Article ; even in these things there must be a Reason to induce us to yield our Affent, though not from within, or the nature of the thing it self, yet from without, viz. the Authority of the Proposer. For Faith, tho? in some Respects distinguished from Reason, is yet Absolutely consider'd a Rational Act, and the Reason and Motive of it must be Clear, tho' the Object of it may be Obscure, or else either there will be no Afient given, or he that gives it believes like a Fool. But much more may a Reason be required in matters of Practice, where we have the Opposi

tion of Lusts and Passions to contend with, and to the doing of which, we are led by no Principle of Natural Inclination. Here will be the greater need of Reason to supply this Defect, and to counterpoise that Difficulty. And therefore having in the Two former Chapters shewn what Humility is, and the Foundation upon which it stands, whenever and wherever it actually is, let us now con

Foundation may not be without a Building.

2. Now though whatever makes for the Advantage of Humility, that is indeed, that thews how Humility makes for our Advantage, may in a large sense come within the compass of the reasonableness of Humility, as being a good Reason why we should be Humble, in which Sense the excellency and mecellity of Humility will be a part of its keafonableness ; yet designing to consider thofe Matters distinctly by themselves, by the Rea. fonableness of Humility, I here think more proper to intend such Considerations or Arguments for it, as are taken from our selves, and the circumstances of our own Condition only. For Humility being a Low Opinion of our selves, the Reason why we should be Humble, must be the fame as the Reason why we should think Lowly of our felves. And it seems nost proper, that what is to make us think thus Lowly of our felves, or which

is to be a Reason why we should do so, should be something in or belonging to ourselves. Now there are a great many Reasons of this Nature, why we should be Humble, too ma. ny indeed to be all particularly consider'd 5 and some are too Obvious and Popular to be insisted upon; and therefore to be as Brief as may be in so Copious an Argument, I shall touch only upon the chiefest things, and that too iri their Generals, reducing what I have to offer to these Four General Heads, which perhaps will conipreliend all that is considerable, at least all that is necessary to be cona sider'd in this matter. 1. The Reason Man has to be Humble, coua

fider'd as a Creature. 11. The Reason he has to be Eumble, confi

der'd as a sinful Creature. III. The Reason he has to be tumble, confi

derd as a Creature under certain natural Infirmities and Imperfections.

having received all his Good from God.

These are all very Humbling Confiderations, some one way, and fonie anotiver, and that we niay proceed the more orderly in them, we will dispose of them in so many distinct Sections as follows.

SECT. The First Argument for Humility, taken from

the Consideration of Man as a Creature. 1. THIS, though not the first thing that

1 is conceivable in Man, (for we must

before we conceive him as a Created Being) yet it is the first thing in him that can be fitly used as an Argument to shew the reasonableness of his being Humble. For if you consider him barely as a Being, there is no reason why he should be Humble upon that Account, Being as such importing n10 Imperfeetion, but the quite contrary. But no sooner do you consider him as a Creature, but the reason of his Humility begins to appear. So that Humility seems to have been very early in securing a Right to our Duty and Observance ; and though it be one of the latest Vertues that we practice, as depending upon the Knowledge of our selves, which Men sel. dom arrive to till the shadows begin to lengthen ; yet 'tis one of the first that demands our regard, since the reason of it as it 25. from our 1elves, lo it begins also with our

sélyes. . 2. 'Tis true indeed, that a Creature as such, implies no Sin in it; and accordingly, Creature and Sinner are here set down as two distinct Heads of Argument. Nothing Evil or Sinful can come out of the hands of God. who is Holy in all his Works, as well as Righteous in all his Ways. And therefore all Creation must be a state of Innocence, and every Creature as a Creature must be Innocent or Sinless. Again, as a Creature implies no Sin in it, so neither does it any natural Faultiness or Deformity. For God making all things with the best Art, and according to the best Patterns, even those Eternal and Immutable Reasons of things which are in his own infinite Mind,must needs make them all perfect in their Kinds. And accordingly he that made them, so pronounces of them. And therefore no Creature as such can be faulty, nor ought to be so esteemed by 118. And accordingly St. Austin confesses it as a fault in himself that he had found fault with part of God's Creation, and censures the doing so as Unfound, and as it were Unorthodox. Non eft fa- Clar

ture

Confefs. Lib.g.

Chap 4. nitas eis quibus difplicet aliquid Creatura tua, ficut mihi non erat cum difflicerent multa que fecisti. And this he condenins as finding fault with God himself, when he gives this as the realon of his running into the (Manichean) error of the two Principles, because he was unwilling to acknowledge that to be God's which displeased him, and

that

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