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SERM. I. human Excellencies will have a Mixture of
A total Self-Loathing, however, would
juft Sense of our Abilities, and an exorbi-SERM. I. tant Opinion of them. The former is of admirable Service to Mankind, when qualified with a due Proportion of Discretion and Modefty. A juft Consciousness of those Talents, with which God has intrufted us, will give Life and Spirit to our Undertakings, and be a powerful Motive to those Actions, which may make us truly glorious: Modesty and Discretion will be a Bar to those Attempts, which being above our Sphere may make us ridiculous. Thus do these two act in Concert, and while the former prompts us to difplay ourselves; the latter prevents us from expofing ourselves. The Flame will afpire upwards, but it will be with Trembling.
It is a falfe Humility to have low derogatory Thoughts of human Nature in general, as if it were entirely and effentially corrupt, without any Mixture of Goodnefs: True Humility chiefly teacheth us to have low Notions of those personal Differences, which distinguish one Man from another. Man ought to reverence himself, as a Being capable of Knowledge, Virtue, and everlasting Happinefs: but then he becomes blameable, when he is elate upon B 4 the
SERM. I. the Account of accidental Differences; if, for Inftance, being a Man of a large Compass of Thought and deep Penetration he fhall despise another, because he is of a duller Apprehenfion or perhaps an Idiot. For it is to be confidered, that the Soul is of the fame Kind in Both, equally great as to all effential Qualities in the one as in the other; and the only Superiority he has confifts perhaps in a finer Contexture of the Brain, or a livelier Flow of the Animal Spirits: which is plain from this; that an Accident or a Disease shall reduce a Man of the most distinguished Senfe to the Condition of a Natural, And it would be just as reasonable to defpife a Man, because He could not work as well as we with wretched Inftruments; as to contemn a Man, because He cannot reafon as well with a Body incommodiously formed for Thinking: The Body being an Inftrument to the Soul in Thinking. The Soul of one Man is lodged as it were in a commodious lightfom Manfion, where it can command a spacious Profpect, and take in Variety of Objects; and the Soul of another may be pent up as it were in a dark Dungeon, where there are few or no Inlets of Knowledge. But
But when this earthly Tabernacle fhall be SERM. I. diffolved, and the Mind enlarged, they will, both of them, be upon an equal Foot. When that Knowledge which is in Part fhall be done away, and that which is perfect is come; a Man of the dullest Apprehenfion shall perhaps be in a Moment wiser, than the greatest Scholar after a Life 'laid out in painful Researches can be here. So little Reason is there to lay great Stress upon those accidental Differences which diftinguish one Man from another; at the fame time that it is Ingratitude to God, as well as false Humility, to depreciate human Nature in general.
Pride then is, as the Text expreffeth it, the Thinking too highly of ourselves. It is an over-weening Conceit of our Dignity, founded upon fome real or imaginary Superiority to our Neighbours: which, when it expresseth itself in an imperious and overbearing Carriage, and a commanding Mien is called Haughtiness; and is generally the Fault of a narrow Education: Whereas Men of an enlarged Converfation give into a more delicate Pride, which can never enjoy itself, but when it is fo artful, as to conceal itself under the Mask of Humility.
The Generality of Mankind confider only the Surface of their Actions, without ever founding the Depths of their Heart, and tracing the inward Workings of the Soul. Indeed we cannot but be fenfible of the violent Emotions and Agitations of any Paffion; but the stiller and gentler Movements oft efcape our Notice. Thus when Pride becomes fo enormous, as, in the Words of a judicious Writer *, "to make Men ufe "their Servants, as if they were Brutes, "their Inferiors as Servants, and their "Equals as Inferiors;" Men must be blind to over-look this Vice in others, or even in themselves. But when it conceals itself under ftudied Difguifes and Refinements, it will, except we are very attentive, elude our Observation. To give fome Instances, a Person is perhaps very liberal: but while he does not examine the Principle of his Liberality, he shall not perceive, that Pride is often the Source of it, that he only makes an Exchange of Money for Glory, and difpenfes his Favours, because he values the Vanity of Giving, more than the Thing, which he gives. Another miftakes the Affability of the Gentleman, or
* Hooker's Works, Page 520.