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ss of producing it? Does not an impor“tant air, a confident behaviour, a bold
display even of small abilities, and a “ daring pretence to more merit than a “ man poffefses-do not these things impose “ on the credulous, the indolent, the half“ judging; and are not they often the " foremost in the road to reputation and “ employment?” On this ground, a late noted free-thinker takes occasion to depreciate Humility. He styles it a Monkish Virtue, and yokes it with a number of other qualities, which he affirms “ men “ of sense have every where rejected, be“ cause they serve no manner of purpose ; “ neither advance a man's fortune in the
world, nor render him a more valuable “ member of society; neither qualify him “ for company, nor increase his power of “ self-enjoyment; but, on the contrary, s6 cross all these desirable ends, stupify “ the understanding and harden the heart, “ obscure the fancy and sour the temper. “ We juftly therefore,” adds he, “ trans« fer them to the opposite column, and “ place them in the catalogue of vices."
Now I apprehend, that this severe sentence has been paffed on Humility, along with the rest which do not enter into the present question, upon a manifeft mifrepresentation of the nature of that virtue. The author condemns a disposition which sational believers neither profess nor approve, at the same time that he gives it the name of one which lies at the foundation of their Religion. Is this a fair proceeding? The uncandid artifice will appear by enquiring into the real character of Christian Humility. The result we fhall submit to your own discernment and justice.
The Effence of the quality under confederation, you will find expressed with precision in that passage of St. Paul, where with particular folemnity he admonishes every one
not to think of himself more
ç highly than he ought to think, but to " think foberly.” We are not to rate our abilities or attainments, our privileges or possessions, beyond their value, wbich must be estimated exactly in proportion to the pious, the benevolent, and the pru. dent use we make of them. Nor are we to contemplate only the bright side of our conduct, but to look also at those frailties and failings that Shade it in other parts ; fince, without this joint survey, it will be impossible to think of ourselves with any degree of impartiality. Whatever elation of heart would betray us into a forgetfulness of our Maker, of our friends, or of ourselves, we are carefully to repress; fince, no advantage, or gratification, could com pensate for a behaviour founbecoming, and so unwise. We are not to reflect on our virtues or accomplishments with complete satisfaction, as if they were complete ; and yet less are we to arrogate accomplishments or virtues, of which we are wholly deftitute: for in either way we thould,
much mistake ourselves, and offend against truth as well as fobriety. We are not ultimately to affume the praise of any thing we are, or have, or do; as if we had not derived from God, or did not hold of him entirely, our powers, our enjoyments, and our existence: for this were impiety, in. justice, and indecency, at the same time. Neither are we to entertain an over-ween ing opinion of ourselves, on account of thofe perfonal or accidental distinctions, which we have had no hand in procuring : for that were to be guilty of absurdity and vanity alike. Whatever of good we have been enabled to perform, or permitted to tafte, we are still to trace back to the Giver and Inspirer of all good; and whatever of the contrary we have done, or suffered, we are, on the other fide, to impute to ourselves, with sentiments of penitence where Confcience says it might have been avoided, and, where she does not, yet still with sentiments of modefty.
What think ye, Gentlemen ? Is there any thing in this account unreasonable ? I am sure there is nothing unscriptural. What, I beseech you, is Humility thus explained, but a just apprehension of our Teal characters and circumstances, as dependent and indebted, imperfect and guilty; together with such language, and such a conduct, as are without art or ftudy suited to that apprehenfion? Does it then preclude a consciousness of any worthy disposition or action, of any valuable talent or capacity, or any defirable poffeffion whatsoever ? By no means : for that were to preclude an argument in favour of thankfulness, fidelity, and trust. Does the man who is endowed with fincere Humility affect to rail against himself; to confess crimes which he never committed, or offences which he never designed ; to fink beneath his station, to yield up lightly the respect to which he is entitled ; to surrender without a reason any just claim supported by the laws of society, or war